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Magic: The Gathering!!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Captain'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 awhile. There will be another deck soon, but until then I would like to take you on a little journey that I hope you enjoy.] - Calvin

Captain’s Log!!!

Never Trust Blue Planeswalkers

Hello my Planer 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. I have traveled the Multiverse for roughly 13 Earth Plane years. If you know how many years past by in the rest of the Planes when compared to this one, you know 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 have to offer. If you are here to learn when is the best time to attack, the best way to cast a spell from your graveyard, or some advice on how to defeat several foes at a time…. sorry. Not this week.  When you have been around as long as I have, you learn that you will have time to pick these things up. Sometimes you need to stop and smell the Black Lotus. 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 warning tale about one of the most well known and secretive Planeswalkers of the Multiverse, Jace Beleren.

Lost In Translation!


I was hiding out in the center of Rushwood after repaying a debt to a local ally who happens to be a part of the local resistance. I have tendencies to help the people over the establishment, not because I’m against the law but due to the fact that laws have a tendency to be one-sided in a lot of places where “fair” is not taken into consideration. Also, I was given a little something for my troubles.  I received a rare scroll which could fetch me a good price on most other planes. I said my fair wells and started to head out. I packed my Jhovall and started to head out to Rishada so that I may return to my local ship. When you get into trouble in the woods, the best place to escape to is the sea.

Noon- Cliffside Market

I arrive at a local trade shop, where I hear an argument. In the Market place, there are usually a lot of heated debates over price, quality, and what not. After awhile it all blends together. But this time I here two voices that sounds familiar, but not to this plane. I locate the source to find, Jace Beleren and Tezerret going back and forth over something. From my location I can see the two of them but I can’t make out what they’re discussing. They have cool yet icy looks on their faces, no one near them can tell what’s going on, but I can. I feel the mana in the area building and this has to stop now!  I force my way over to them just in time to hear the tail end of what sounds like “…ere’s no other option.” I shield myself in preparation for something big. I see two huge blue flashes and a sudden burst of wind blows my hood off. I look to see the damage done but… they we’re gone. I knew what happened but by the look on the faces of the people around me, it was about to get ugly. Some were dim to what happened but seemed more interested in the fact that the face on a newly posted wanted poster was standing there, in the middle of the Market. I could see someone trying to get the local guard while pointing in my direction. My options are low so I decide on the one course of action I have left.

The Blind Eternities

I needed to leave my supplies in a hurry but, after I Planeswalk, I could still see a trail left behind by the two mages but they split into two different directions. I have a short amount of time, but I couldn’t tell which was which. Sudden walking like that blurs my senses. I pick one at random and follow it. I landed in a small, dark room. I couldn’t make out which Plane I landed on. I took a moment to gather myself but a moment was too long. I could hear a chant and the sudden force of a binding spell pinned me up against a wall. I could barely open my eyes but I already knew who I had followed.
“Welcome to Arkhos, Captain.”
“Thank you, Mister Beleren.”

Arkhos- Who knows when

After a quick talk, Jace realized I wasn’t after him per se, just trying to escape the commotion he and Tezzeret created. But that still was not enough to be released from the bind spell. My head finally cleared up enough to gain some movement but I had to remain calm. On Arkhos, the power of illusionary magic is unquestionably strong. I’ve had previous clashes with Jace, I knew him very well to not test him. He will help you clear your mind without a second thought.

I could feel my strength return. “If you’re going to keep me here the least you could do is offer me a beverage.” He looks at me questionably but I know him. Had this been Tezzeret, I would have been better off just asked him to stab me because at least he would consider it. But this was Jace. He may not admit to it but somewhere deep down under all of that logic and trickery is something… trusting.
When he left the room I dug deep into the little mana I could find. I draw upon it just enough to form a crumble spell. As I prepared it, Jace return. I cast the spell on the wall behind me, just in time to catch him off guard. A quick shot to the gut and I grabbed him by the collar. ”Ok Mister Beleren, what was all that about back on Mercadia?” I pulled him up and it all became clear when he faded away. Like I said, Arkhos is a very powerful place for illusionary magic. I knew it was too late to try to find Jace, but I did know that the next time I saw him he owed me a large sum of money or a rare scroll.

Jace... You Owe ME!
It’s getting late and the candle in my den is getting low. Hopefully you have enjoyed this latest journey into one of the many stories that I have to offer. Please leave comments and I will see you next time.
C.R. Russell

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Oh Captain, My Captain!!!

Grave Mistake!

Welcome one and all!  This is Captain Red Zone coming to you once again with the final part of my new deck series for Tri-Colors for your viewing delight. This week, we’re going into Red/White/Black A.K.A Oros.


NO!!NO!! NO!! OROS!! NO “E”!!!

This color combination is very low on the Commander options. Yet again, we have another combination where we only have three to pick and choose from. I really wish we had more than three options in this and the other color combinations that fall in the shallow end of the Commander pool. Maybe I’ll try something with that idea at a later day but, for now, let’s get to picking one. First one that’s up and out is Oros, the Avenger. I haven’t done a deck based on any of the Elder Dragons or their Planeshifted Brethren in this series, and I don’t intend on starting now. That leaves us with....

The Demon, Dragon, and Angel loving Kaalia of the Vast...

and the crazy graveyard antics of Tariel, Reckoner of Souls.

These two ladies are from the same household but they each have their own room. Kaalia seems to have the most visitors, and since I don’t want to catch anything, I’m going to go to Tariel. Her randomness just seems to appeal to me. She’s a little confused and I think I’m just the kind of guy she needs around to help keep her focused. So let’s go!

Rise from Your Grave!

So first, I’m going to see what I can do about that whole “at random” thing in her text box. If the only creature card in an opponent’s grave is the one you want, then Tariel’s choice is actually really easy.

Selfless Exorcist, Cemetery Reaper, Stonecloaker, Steamclaw, Withered Wretch, Shadowfeed, Sewerdreg, Scrabbling Claws, Purify the Grave, Phyrexian Furnace, Offalsnout, Mortiphobia, Moratorium Stone, Mirror Golem, Heap Doll, Headstone, Funeral Pyre, Fade from Memory, Crypt Creeper, Cremate, Coffin Purge, and Beckon Apparition: Selfless Exorcist is good for removing the smaller creatures and any Walls. Cemetery Reaper costs a little mana, but removing a creature to make a 2/2 Zombie token that the Reaper turns into a 3/3 is worth it. Stonecloaker is interesting because you can flash it in, remove a creature, and then return Stonecloaker to your hand for more grave hate later. Withered Wretch, Phyrexian Furnace, Steamclaw and Scrabbling Claws are the best of the cheapest, continuous ways to remove creatures from graveyards with no real drawbacks. Mortiphobia could be counted as a good graveyard hate card as long as you have thing you want to discard. After that, it’s just kind of bad. Sewerdreg is good against anyone using Swamps and can be used to remove any card from the grave.

Just to point out that Crypt Creeper, Heap Doll, and Offalsnout are all one time usage but you can play them, use them to attack or block with, and if they would die anyway, sacrifice them and remove something. Mirror Golem is kind of a one shot trick, but if you use it to remove say a Wurmcoil Engine, it gains protection from artifacts and creatures which make it a great attacker. Moratorium Stone plays a good role of dealing with a single card or say removing a staple card form the whole game, like a Sol Ring or even a say a titan of some kind. Headstone and Cremate removes a card and draws you a card. Funeral Pyre and Beckon Apparition replaces themselves by removing a card and giving you a flying 1/1 token. Fade from Memory can be cycled for the same graveyard removal cost and Shadowfeed will remove something from the grave and gain you three life. Purify the Grave and Coffin Purge are functional copies each other. Two cards that can remove up to four cards at instant speed should do us just fine when others try is get cute with their Survival of the Fittest.

With all that graveyard hate we need to make sure we have something to hate on. Usually the game will play out and we’ll get free targets from cards others have played, but I think a more active approach should be taken here. A built in way to make sure our opponents have creatures in the yard for us to steal will make our graveyard removal cards work the most effectively. So I’m thinking we should add a package of cards that will make sure that there’s always something in the grave. We need a discard package.

Mind Twist, Extortion, Mind Warp, Noggin Whack, Last Rites, Discordant Dirge, Stupor, Unnerve, Liliana's Specter, Noxious Toad, and Cackling Fiend: Mind Twist, Mind Warp, and Discordant Dirge provides a nice way to cause a lot of discards for some poor player. Stupor, Extortion, and Noggin Whack are good for two for one plays so you can keep the other players from having too big of a hand. Last Rites may cause you to discard your hand but I feel there will come a time where it may be needed. Liliana's Specter, Unnerve Noxious Toad, and Cackling Fiend all give you discard attached to a creature which is a good two for one because they lose a card while you gain a creature.

Words of Waste, Liliana Vess, Liliana of the Veil, and Scythe Specter: Here we have a more permanent set of discard cards for us to use. Words of Waste will take away your draw for the turn but it will deal with one card from every other player’s hand. Scythe Specter only needs to connect with one player to make a huge impact on all of your opponents while Liliana plays double duty with both copies of herself.  

Liliana's Caress, Megrim, Sangromancer, and Geth's Grimoire: If we’re going to have people discarding so often, we might as well make them pay for it, right? Megrim and Liliana’s Caress both play the same role by making your opponents lose two life points for each card. Sangromancer works in the other direction by gaining us three life for each discard while also gaining us three life if an opponent’s creature dies. Geth’s Grimoire becomes a nice way to draw some cards due to discard and combos with Words of Waste. You negate your draw with words of Waste, activate Geth’s Grimoire, and then negate Geth’s Grimoire with the Words. Repeat until all of our opponent’s hands are empty. Just remember that you could draw extra cards with each discard with Grimoire. Say there’s three other players you would get to draw up to three cards because it’s a may trigger.

Unburial Rites, Animate Dead, , Coffin Queen, Gravespawn Sovereign, Rise from the Grave, Debtors' Knell, Nezumi Graverobber, Reanimate, and Chainer, Dementia Master: With all of that discard, chances are we’ll also end up with a few targets for some graveyard resurrection. We can’t depend on only our Commander to pull this whole graveyard theft together. So I figured we would need a few additional ways to bring things back from the grave. Animate Dead is so funny because of its simple effect needing so much text to explain that it has to be here. Debtors' Knell is free grave theft while Chainer, Dementia Master steals dead creatures and pumps them for you. Nezumi Graverobber is graveyard removal and if for some reason an opponent has nothing in their grave you get to steal other creatures. Coffin Queen also steals dead guys and you can exile them so you can steal again and the opponent doesn’t get to try a regrow on their creature. Gravespawn Sovereign works well with your other zombies and your Cemetery Reaper.  Rise from the Grave and Reanimate for some non-conditional theft and Unburial Rites to regain your own creatures.

Diabolic Tutor, Rune-Scarred Demon, Beseech the Queen, and Cruel Tutor: Sometimes we just need to find a card from our deck. These are here to help make our hands a little easier to deal with.

Avatar of Woe, Terminate, Deathbringer Liege, Mortify, and Visara the Dreadful: With all of the things in this deck, we may still need a way to deal with other creatures that made it pass our discard control. It never hurts to be ready to destroy a few creatures.

Oros, the Avenger: Oros pulls up in here as a nice way of dealing with token decks. Not too many board wipes here but at least this one is repeatable. Also, with this kind of hand control there shouldn’t be much on the field you didn’t put there.

And Kill Your Master!

With 13 Mountains, 13 Plains, and 13 Swamps we can start ripping graveyards apart. As always, my mana base here is just a starting point. At the bottom, you can check out the deck list. Next week we’re… probably doing nothing due to my sixth anniversary to my wife. I’ll probably be taking that one off. But I may or may not have a little something something for you too, but don’t hold me to it. Feel free to leave any comments you have and you can always hit me up at CaptainRedZone@gmail.com.

You can also find me on OffColorCast.com where I podcast with Cassidy Silver and Christian Renoe. Just a heads up, OffColorCast.com may not be work safe. As always thanks for the read and I will see you next time with 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 Tariel, Reckoner of Souls
1 Oros, the Avenger
13 Mountain
13 Swamp
13 Plains
1 Selfless Exorcist
1 Cemetery Reaper
1 Stonecloaker
1 Steamclaw
1 Withered Wretch
1 Shadowfeed
1 Sewerdreg
1 Scrabbling Claws
1 Purify the Grave
1 Phyrexian Furnace
1 Offalsnout
1 Mortiphobia
1 Moratorium Stone
1 Mirror Golem
1 Heap Doll
1 Headstone
1 Funeral Pyre
1 Fade from Memory
1 Crypt Creeper
1 Cremate
1 Coffin Purge
1 Beckon Apparition
1 Mind Twist
1 Extortion
1 Mind Warp
1 Noggin Whack
1 Last Rites
1 Discordant Dirge
1 Stupor
1 Megrim
1 Scythe Specter
1 Unnerve
1 Geth's Grimoire
1 Liliana's Specter
1 Liliana's Caress
1 Sangromancer
1 Words of Waste
1 Noxious Toad
1 Cackling Fiend
1 Liliana Vess
1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Unburial Rites
1 Animate Dead
1 Chainer, Dementia Master
1 Coffin Queen
1 Gravespawn Sovereign
1 Rise from the Grave
1 Debtors' Knell
1 Nezumi Graverobber
1 Reanimate
1 Diabolic Tutor
1 Rune-Scarred Demon
1 Beseech the Queen
1 Cruel Tutor
1 Avatar of Woe
1 Terminate
1 Deathbringer Liege
1 Mortify
1 Visara the Dreadful