Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Angriest Little Ornithopter

On Thursday night I played Magic: the Gathering. Learned a couple of things.
  • If one guy starts calling them "articrafts," pretty soon everyone will be.
  • If you have nine lands and Untamed Might in your hand, then clearly your only choice is to play it on your partner's Ornithopter. Hereby dubbed "The Angriest Little Ornithopter."
  • Three teams of two players is a ridiculous format. The game was like two hours long, and at the end we got to that stupid point where everyone has like eight lands and two cards in their hands.
  • My deck is way too defensive. Was running green/blue with big critters, mana accelerators and a lot of control to clear the way for those critters. I liked the idea and have even gotten it to work a couple of times, but in bringing the deck down from the 60 card limit I'd built it with and the 40 card limit I'd just found out I'd played it with, I took out too many of the high-cost cards and ended up with a deck that frustrated people until the endgame and then couldn't do much itself. No good.
  • Deck building is hard. Absolutely the most interesting part of the game, but I'm still getting the hang of defensive/offensive balance, combos, and how to find the right mana curve for a given deck. Nevermind that I haven't yet actually played all that much Magic, so I'm really still getting a handle on how to judge the relative values of the cards themselves.
  • For instance, I hadn't realized until tonight how useful Glint Hawks can be. I hadn't fully made the distinction between "discard" and "return to your hand" for some stupid reason, until one of the other teams used it to play Contagion Engine twice.
  • I'm pretty sure infect isn't quite as good as this group thinks it is. It is good, but more importantly, it's a fairly straightforward strategy to assemble. It takes a little more thought to put together a non-infect deck that's equivalent to it. That might still be a big enough advantage to let it dominate casual play, but as far as I can tell the main use infect sees in tournament constructed is for creature removal, not as a serious attack on the player.
  • Why the heck wasn't the rule "15 poison counters to win" in two-headed giant before Friday?


  1. The best time I ever had playing Magic was the first three months or so after my buddy and I were first introduced to the game, round about 1999 or so. Gifted with a huge pile of used cards from various editions, we set about constructing decks, playing them against each other and our housemates (including the girl who would later be my wife), fine-tuning our strategies and trying to put the biggest smack-down on each other. Our deck construction evolved even as we instituted our own house rules (60 card decks, max 4 of any non-Land, any edition/card fair game and unbanned) and added "theme" to our decks (like, "the all bird/flying" deck, or the "big worm deck").

    We were all barely employed at the time, living off booze and credit cards so we had quite a few marathon sessions...generally free-for-all stuff (none of us could cooperate well enough for "team play"). It was only the discovery of tournament rules and hard-core players/decks that we got soured on the thing. And we all got real jobs, too.

    Ahhh...days of my misspent youth. Enjoy it while you can!
    : )

  2. Make an old school Ornithopter combo deck. Research cards - Enduring Renewal, Goblin Bombardment. Add in that nasty little 0/2 fly-boy for Zero mana to cast. It's a great way to piss people off.

  3. JB: Nice! The situation with this group is pretty similar. One of the players in my D&D game got this big batch of cards off Ebay, and he and his housemates and friends have all been building decks out of it. (One of them also has some cards of his own.) I have my own set, but I've been trading with him for interesting bits and pieces. Definitely been taking advantage of the fact that they live just right across the street and have very little good to do with their time.

    Mr. Gone: Dang! Nice! That combo is actually even better with the current block, thanks to the Memnite -- 1/1 0-cost artifact creature. And might be a handy addition to my attempts to build a deck around Day of Judgment.

  4. The infinite damage combo is always fun for one game. It generally makes people so mad they try to scheme a deck designed to counter yours. That's when the control tuning comes in. I miss the days of Tempest block and Urza's Saga block. Sigh.