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Magic: The Gathering!!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Captan's Log!!!

[Hello again readers!  This week the Captain is going to try something very different than usual.  Today’s article is a little short and has nothing to do with Commander or theme decks.  If you’re looking for a deck list... seems like you may need to wait a week.  There will be another deck next week and trust me, it is awesome!  But until then, I would like to take you on a little journey that I hope you enjoy.] - Calvin

Here Kitty!

Hello my Planar Brethren!  This week on 3TF I have decided to take the opportunity to bring you one of the many tales that I have gathered from around the Multiverse.  But we should not get too far ahead of ourselves.  Further introductions are in order.  I have been traveling the Multiverse for roughly 13 years on this Plane called Earth.  That may not seem too long, but if you only knew how many years passed by in the rest of the Planes when compared to this one you would realize 13 years is a LONG time.  In my travels, I have met some of the most famous and infamous people, places, and creatures the Blind Eternities could create.  If you are here to learn how to handle yourself in one on one duels, the newest piece of magic, artifacts to don in the arenas of the champions, or some advice on how to defeat several foes at a time…. sorry. I can’t help you.  When you have been around as long as I have these things become almost like buying the latest Golem 3.0 just to get home, open it, and hear from you friends about how the Golem 4.0 just came out today.  If you want to hear tales of the secret lives of your favorite Planeswalkers, Legendary Heroes and Villains, grab a seat and take a moment with me. If you have made it this far I would like to start with a somewhat sad tale about one of my fellow `Walkers, one Ajani Goldmane.

The Tale of A Lost Cat!

Log Enter- 05/16/50 Lorwyn

I was wandering around a kithkin marketplace on Lorwyn. With a little illusion magic they thought I was an elf.  FYI, kithkin make some of the best Hackberry jam this side of Dominaria so get some.  While I was out and about I ran into Ajani.  We talked for awhile about how things have been going.  I got to tell you if you have any kind of a heart, send that guy a letter.  He told me about how his brother was murdered, what happened to Naya, and how he had to leave home for awhile just to clear his head.

Log Enter- 05/28/48 Moag

I took Ajani with me to this bar on Moag for a well needed round of shots.  He was telling me about how he left Alara and got a chance to make some waves in the duels arena.  He made some friends with some of the other `Walkers he met named Elspeth and Jace.  He really is more of the supportive guy.  He likes to help other be their best, but be careful cause if you get him upset he will burn down your house, crops and all. 

 After a while, he calmed down a little.  Trust me; with Elspeth around he is a much calmer guy.  I even heard stories about how she brushed him a few time to help calm him in his sleep, but I’m not saying what Mind Sculpting mage told me that little nugget.

Log Enter- 05/28/48 Moag late afternoon

Anyway, Ajani told me about how after that he spent less time in the arena.  He was a regular in the friendly matches with no prizes on the line.  Then he just started crying.  I had to almost gag the guy because people started to look.  I got to tell ya, ain’t nothing worse than watching a fat man cry.  When he finally finished, I ask what just happened and that was when he pulled a paper out of his pocket.

“Dear Mr. Goldmane,

We would like to take this time to thank you for all the great entertainment you have provided over the years.  It pains us to inform you that you have not qualified for this year’s summer fights...  “



He said he was 25 points short, and if he only had made it to two more top tables he would be able to still fight for one more year.  We had a few more drinks and I had to ask him the big Q… now what?  He said he would go home to try and see if he could try cleaning up the mess Bolas left behind.  I could tell you, that is one disorderly dragon; but it’s another story altogether (maybe for later).  

Log Enter- 05/30/48 Moag

After a few days, Ajani and I parted ways. He said he could use some help and asked if I would be interested.  I really hate cleaning up after others, but if you walk the Planes enough you realize it’s full of untidy `Walkers who just seem to love destroying everything in their wake.  I said sure, so he asked if I could find some others to come to Alara.

Time for a Cat Nap!

It’s getting late and the candle in my den is getting low.  This is the first, of hopefully, many stories that you will come to listen.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did telling it and I hope to see you next week.  Please leave comments and I will see you next time.

C.R. Russell

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oh Captain, My Captain!!!

Walk into the Random...with Jhoira!

Welcome one and all!  This is Captain Red Zone coming to you with the last part of my Dual Color deck series for your viewing delight. This week we go into Red and Blue. With These two colors our options are down two a total of …FOUR Legends. That’s right this combination is pretty dry when it comes down to it. We have to pick from this group so we can start to work on the deck. So let’s go!

Let’s start the eliminations with… Tibor and Lumia. This card is one of the worst Legends I’ve seen in a long while. Now that’s saying something when the best theme this thing can give is make things fly and/or burn something for one when you play a blue and/or red spell. I’ve done the pinger thing once already and I’m not ready to go there again just yet.  Strangely enough, this is also one of the reasons I’m not going to use Nin, the Pain Artist. So that leaves Jhoira and Niv-Mizzet.

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind! This dragon is 10,000 years young and has this little thing he does when you draw a card that would make your dog jump up and beg for a treat.

Jhoira of the Ghitu! This young lady was among the most feared Commanders in the game with her ability to put King Spaghetti into play.

So while I would like to spend time with Niv-Mizzet and have him teach me something interesting, I think this week I’m going to try to help Jhoira break out of the bad rap she has gotten from hanging out with that colorless jellyfish. Yeah that’s right and if that flying blob of space jelly has a problem with me I’m not too hard to find!

Chance Doesn't Mean Meaningless Randomness!

So in order to make this deck interesting I’m going to add something Red is good at… Randomness! You see when what makes Jhoira decks scary is the way they are usually filled to the brim with creatures that can finish a game when they hit the field. Now yes we will have some of these huge spells and creatures (why else would you be playing Commander?) but we’ll have a far smaller target on us if every card we get shows up randomly. So let’s get to it.

Apathy, Planeswalker's Fury, Planeswalker's Mischief, Wild Evocation, and Infectious Rage: Apathy is an interesting take on Pacifism where your opponent can shut it off for the price of a cad. The  Planeswalker enchantments adds a little fun with their random cause. Wild Evocation lets us all drop bombs and Infectious Rage is her to take on token decks.

Burning Inquiry, Control of the Court, Desperate Ravings, Devastating Dreams, Gamble, Goblin Lore, Wild Swing, Surreal Memoir, Skullscorch, Scrambleverse, and Kindle the Carnage:
Here are a few random spells. Burning Inquiry, Control of the Court, Goblin Lore, and Desperate Ravings can draw cards without sending up any red flags. Devastating Dreams is great for keeping the lands in check while it and Kindle the Carnage both can finish off creatures. Gamble is a great way to save your Commander after tuck effects. Wild Swing adds a little risk to its removal but can be fun. Skullscorch will usually be a burn spell but if you’re playing a person with a graveyard based deck and you may get them to discard…while someone else removes their yard. Surreal Memoir can bring back any of these spells for you but at random and it does it twice.  Scrambleverse is interesting in that if you use it early it can be fun but late game with a developed board it could be a win condition.  

Capricious Efreet, Charmbreaker Devils, Magus of the Scroll, and Noggle Ransacker: These creatures can be really fun to try out. Because of their random effects, you never know how things are going to end up but it can be fun to watch. With Capricious Efreet, I say use it as the card you pick for its effect, so in case it lands on you it doesn’t cause you too much trouble. Charmbreaker Devils is a new card to try from Innistrad and while it give you a random spell it is still card advantage. Magus of the Scroll can give you free Shocks. Noggle Ransacker is a draw spell on a small body but at least you can pay with Red or Blue to get it.

Circular Logic, Obsessive Search, Fiery Temper, Reckless Wurm, and Violent Eruption: With all these random discards we might as well use some of it to our advantage, right? When it comes to Madness, Red and Blue are a little light but hey. Circular Logic is a good counterspell if you have a pretty full grave while Obsessive Search will draw you a card in almost any situation. Fiery Temper, Reckless Wurm, and Violent Eruption are the Red Madness cards that give you a burn spell, a 4/4 for three mana, and a way to deal with tokens respectfully.

Balance of Power, Betrayal, Borrowing 100,000 Arrows, Brainstorm, Browbeat, Catalog, and Cerebral Vortex: These draw spells can help you balance out all of that randomness. Catalog, Brainstorm, and Cerebral Vortex can help with some hand and deck fixing. Betrayal, Balance of Power and Borrowing 100,000 Arrows can all draw you a ton of cards while Browbeat is just great way to deal some damage but can also get you some cards when people are low in life late game.

Elkin Lair, Warp World, Hive Mind, Eye of the Storm, Knowledge Pool, and Knowledge Vault: These all have a block of text and that means they can be fun when you want to change up the game. I suggest that you click each one here and take your time reading them in Gatherer before you go out and use them. They bring a lot of randomness to any game but you really want to know what they do before you cast a Warp World while Hive Mind and Eye of the Storm are on the field. Trust me your going to need some paper and a judge to smooth that one out.

Karn Liberated, Sway of the Stars, Chandra Ablaze, Time Stretch, Blasphemous Act, Mana Matrix, Take Possession, Insurrection, and Destructive Force: Big spells are big. I for one would love to have one of these in hand with Jhoira out and some free mana up. The best part is that we should be able to hard cast these without any tricks. But let’s be honest these bring some interesting game states. Like if the guy in your group playing Ramp sees you suspend a Destructive Force, is he going to “go for it” and try to finish you or the game before it comes in… or does he hold back and wait for it because he knows he can come back? The four turns of waiting can be hard on anyone when they know they can’t stop it in time.

Myojin of Seeing Winds, Inkwell Leviathan, Phyrexian Ingester, Excruciator, Avatar of Slaughter, Lorthos, the Tidemaker, Sphinx Ambassador, Magmatic Force, Akroma, Angel of Fury, Balefire Dragon, Consecrated Sphinx, Frost Titan, and Sphinx of Jwar Isle: … What… Look the Eldrazi are the reasons this little lady is in so much hot water with the Commander community now. We can still use her to bring in the big nasties we just need to make sure Annihilate is not in their text box. So here we have some of the best creatures these colors have to offer that will still be feared but won’t cause your friends to hurt you in the parking lot.

Paradox Haze, Copy Enchantment, and Copy Artifact: if you’re playing Jhoira you better have Paradox Haze to help bring those upkeeps quicker and a Copy Enchantment copying it will put a game into a real two turn clock. Copy Artifact is also great to use with all the artifacts running around in every deck. You can even copy Mana Matrix to bring the cost of your spell down even more!

Well That Was Random!

With 18 Mountain and 18 Island we can step away from the randomness and away from this series. This was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done and I would like to try it again soon. As always, my mana base here is just a starting point. At the bottom, you can check out the deck list. Next week we …. Hmmm…. I’m not too sure where to go from here…. Well I’ll go figure something out. If you have any theme ideas or Commander deck you would like to see let me know in the comments or you can find me on Facebook chatting it up in the Three to the Face!!! Facebook Group!

As always thanks for the read and I will see you next week for another article!

Hope you had fun and please leave any comments or suggestions.  Until next time,

This is your Captain speaking… We’re heading into the Red Zone!!!

1 Apathy
1 Burning Inquiry
1 Capricious Efreet
1 Charmbreaker Devils
1 Control of the Court
1 Desperate Ravings
1 Devastating Dreams
1 Elkin Lair
1 Gamble
1 Goblin Lore
1 Infectious Rage
1 Kindle the Carnage
1 Magus of the Scroll
1 Circular Logic
1 Noggle Ransacker
1 Planeswalker's Fury
1 Planeswalker's Mischief
1 Scrambleverse
1 Skullscorch
1 Surreal Memoir
1 Wild Evocation
1 Wild Swing
1 Balance of Power
1 Betrayal
1 Borrowing 100,000 Arrows
1 Brainstorm
1 Browbeat
1 Catalog
1 Cerebral Vortex
1 Chandra Ablaze
18 Island
18 Mountain
1 Warp World
1 Hive Mind
1 Eye of the Storm
1 Knowledge Pool
1 Knowledge Vault
1 Karn Liberated
1 Sway of the Stars
1 Time Stretch
1 Blasphemous Act
1 Mana Matrix
1 Take Possession
1 Insurrection
1 Destructive Force
1 Myojin of Seeing Winds
1 Inkwell Leviathan
1 Phyrexian Ingester
1 Excruciator
1 Avatar of Slaughter
1 Lorthos, the Tidemaker
1 Sphinx Ambassador
1 Magmatic Force
1 Akroma, Angel of Fury
1 Balefire Dragon
1 Reckless Wurm
1 Consecrated Sphinx
1 Frost Titan
1 Sphinx of Jwar Isle
1 Jhoira of the Ghitu
1 Paradox Haze
1 Copy Enchantment
1 Copy Artifact
1 Obsessive Search
1 Fiery Temper
1 Violent Eruption

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Oh Captain, My Captain!!!

First Strike!

Welcome one and all!  This is Captain Red Zone coming to you with the next Dual Color deck in my series for your viewing delight.  This week we go into Red and White, and I have to say these two colors are interesting when combined.  So Let’s look at the Legends and see where we’re headed!

Unlike last week, where we had only three to choose from, we have five choices here, so let’s find our leader.  Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer looks promising, but the Metalcraft ability feels like it wants a deck that’s more artifact than Red White, so we’ll put that one to the side for later.  Brion Stoutarm is great, but a little over used.  Razia, Boros Archangel looks like a good pick, but I like to be able to cast my Commander more than once a game.  Basandra, Battle Seraph is interesting by locking spells out of the combat phase, but I think I want her in the deck more than leading the deck.  Which leaves us with only…

Argus Kos is a general I could follow.  The man is basically a 5/5 for five that pumps other creatures you have as long as they’re in his colors.  He’s really aggressive and basically reads “If you’re not attacking on the front lines with me, GET OUT OF MY SQUADRON!”  Too bad his art sucks.  The guy looks like he’s taking a lunch break instead of smashing face.  So from now on just picture him as this instead…

So with that we can move on to a deck for our fearless leader full of the most battle ready fighters we can find!

Victory is in the Attack!

The main thing to remember about Agrus is his abilities are triggered abilities.  That means that they work when a certain condition is met.  In order for them to work, you have to be able to attack with him.  If something happens and you can’t attack with him, like he’s destroyed or tapped before you can declare attackers or enter your battle phase the effects don’t happen.

But on the other hand the effects do stack.  If you can, say, have him attack more than once a turn, his abilities will happen for each time he attacked.  Also, if we have other creatures with attack based triggers, we can chose what order they resolve.  One of the most recent card designs that showcase this is the Battle Cry cards from Mirrodin Besieged.

Accorder Paladin, Goblin Wardriver, Hero of Bladehold, Hero of Oxid Ridge, Loxodon Partisan, Kuldotha Ringleader, and Signal Pest: These guys are, with the exception of the Signal Pest, Red or White.  When they attack with Agrus, he will pump them and they will pump him.  One of the best examples for the ability stacking is Hero of Bladehold.  You can have the tokens go on the stack first, and then the Battle Cry.  Doing this will pump your other creatures except for the tokens if you just want two 1/1’s.  The other way is to put the Battle Cry first and then the token effect.  This put the tokens into play and then pumps them into 2/1’s.  With Agrus attacking, you can set it up where your tokens are 2/3’s while Agrus is a 6/5 and The Hero is a 3/6!  Now that is a lot of power bumping for just two cards and it gets even crazier for each Battle Cry creature you get out.

I’ll let you start doing the math with this list alone before we go any further. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.



Chieftain en-Dal, Pianna, Nomad Captain, Rage Forger, Benalish Veteran, Renegade Warlord, Soltari Champion, Charging Paladin, and Victory's Herald: Now take all of that math and add a few abilities to it.  Things like the Chieftain en-Dal’s First Strike or Victory’s Herald Flying and Lifelink.  You could also use Pianna, Renegade Warlord, Benalish Veteran, and Soltari Champion’s Battle Cry like abilities, or Charging Paladin as a reverse Battle Cry.  If you can get a few +1/+1 counters on your guys you may be able to use Rage Forger’s ping ability.

Need more time?

Kinsbaile Balloonist, Preeminent Captain, and Springjack Knight: These three will only affect one guy at a time.  Kinsbaile gives out a little flying and the Knight may be able to give out a random doublestrike with its clash ability.  The Captain works better in a deck full of soldiers but in this deck there are around seven other soldiers, so I’m sure we can get to use him more often than not.

Alaborn Cavalier, Cho-Arrim Bruiser, Flanking Troops, Seasoned Marshal, Frenzied Goblin, Galepowder Mage, and Grotag Thrasher: With all of the attacking we plan on doing here these guys will help us clear the way a little.  Alaborn Cavalier, Cho-Arrim Bruiser, Flanking Troops, and Seasoned Marshal all tap down at least one guy when they attack.  Frenzied Goblin and Grotag Thrasher makes it so a creature can’t block which is almost as good as tapping it. Galepowder Mage can remove a creature from your opponents side of the field but you can also use him to blink out one of your creatures, like say a Titan or something.

Crested Craghorn, Goblin Grappler, and Lowland Tracker: These Provokers are a lot scarier when we can pump them up with all of our other guys.  That makes them removal for the creatures your opponents refuse to attack with.  I hope they weren’t too attached to their Fauna Shaman.

Dwarven Vigilantes, Goblin Grenadiers, Razia, Boros Archangel, Basandra, Battle Seraph, Mana-Charged Dragon, Flameblast Dragon, Cyclops Gladiator, Inferno Titan, and Sun Titan: Here we have a few more creatures with a variety of attack triggers.  With all of the mind numbing attack triggers here, after playing this deck you should have no problems with stacking abilities.  Just remember a lot of these are not may abilities so you have to make sure you keep track of them.

Hellkite Charger, Aggravated Assault, Breath of Fury, Fury of the Horde, Relentless Assault, Seize the Day, Waves of Aggression, and World at War: With all of the abilities we have that have some kind of attack trigger, we could use any extra attack phases we can get.  This package can quickly kill any one player… maybe more if you get good with your stacking of triggers.

Empty City Ruse, False Peace, and Moment of Silence: Hey, just because we’re going to be attacking a lot doesn’t mean we want the other guy to get into the red zone!  These here can keep those with a better board than our from switching gears on you.

Akroma's Memorial, Knighthood, Rise of the Hobgoblins, and Eldrazi Monument: Here we have a few more permanent effects.  We don’t have to attack all the time and these are good  on the offense and on the defense if we need it.  Flying, Vigilance, Trample, Haste, Protection from two popular colors, +1/+1, and Indestructible are great to give to all of your creatures… and that’s only two of these!  Also, with all the attacking we’re going to be doing, First Strike gets even better because it means we can kill just about anything in battle.

Darksteel Plate, Shield of Kaldra, Sword of Feast and Famine, Sword of the Paruns, and Sword of War and Peace: You can’t go to war without a few weapons.  This package is here to give our troops a few pieces of live ammo to load up on.  I think we all know that just about every card that starts with the word Sword is good, so we’ll go to the Shield and Plate. Give these to one of your small guys to keep them alive after they run out into battle to keep them from dying. They are also indestructible so their not going anywhere.

Swords to Plowshares, Path to Exile, Wrath of God, Day of Judgment, and Destructive Force: Removal is great to have and you should never leave home without it.  Board swipes and spot removal can really help you keep the game where you want it.

Ajani Goldmane and Ajani Vengeant: Goldmane is here because he can pump our guys and give them vigilance so they can attack and block for us in a pinch.  The Vengeant gives out a little removal while also adding some control to the mix.  Not much to say about the other abilities on these two, because they’re not important or the chances of pulling them off are very unlikely.

Fall In!

With 17 Mountains and 18 Plains we can call this tour complete. As always, my mana base here is just a starting point. At the bottom, you can check out the deck list. Next week we get into the last of the dual decks with Red and Blue.

As always thanks for the read and I will see you next week for another article!

Hope you had fun and please leave any comments or suggestions.  Until next time,

This is your Captain speaking… We’re heading into the Red Zone!!!

1 Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran
1 Razia, Boros Archangel
1 Basandra, Battle Seraph
1 Cyclops Gladiator
1 Accorder Paladin
1 Alaborn Cavalier
1 Benalish Veteran
1 Charging Paladin
1 Chieftain en-Dal
1 Cho-Arrim Bruiser
1 Crested Craghorn
1 Dwarven Vigilantes
1 Flameblast Dragon
1 Flanking Troops
1 Frenzied Goblin
1 Galepowder Mage
1 Goblin Grappler
1 Goblin Grenadiers
1 Goblin Wardriver
1 Grotag Thrasher
1 Hellkite Charger
1 Hero of Bladehold
1 Hero of Oxid Ridge
1 Inferno Titan
1 Kinsbaile Balloonist
1 Kuldotha Ringleader
1 Lowland Tracker
1 Loxodon Partisan
1 Mana-Charged Dragon
1 Pianna, Nomad Captain
1 Preeminent Captain
1 Rage Forger
1 Renegade Warlord
1 Seasoned Marshal
1 Signal Pest
1 Soltari Champion
1 Springjack Knight
1 Sun Titan
1 Victory's Herald
18 Plains
17 Mountain
1 Aggravated Assault
1 Breath of Fury
1 Empty City Ruse
1 False Peace
1 Fury of the Horde
1 Moment of Silence
1 Relentless Assault
1 Seize the Day
1 Waves of Aggression
1 World at War
1 Akroma's Memorial
1 Eldrazi Monument
1 Darksteel Plate
1 Shield of Kaldra
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
1 Sword of the Paruns
1 Sword of War and Peace
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Path to Exile
1 Wrath of God
1 Day of Judgment
1 Destructive Force
1 Knighthood
1 Rise of the Hobgoblins
1 Ajani Goldmane
1 Ajani Vengeant