Monday, August 23, 2010

The Opening Hand

Hello, everybody, and thanks for dropping by "Untap Target Player," the Magic: The Gathering blog dedicated to the community of casual Magic: The Gathering players.  In this blog, we'll discuss individual cards and deck strategies from the perspective of a veteran CCG player, as well as new and innovative ways that you can use these cards to battle your fellow fanatics.  Whether you're a new player of MTG or you've played since Alpha, there will be something you can take away each week.

Let's start with a little backstory.  Since I was five years old, I've loved to game.  I come from a family of gamers (mind you, the more traditional "Scrabble" and "chess" kind), but as a result, I was primed to make gaming a part of my life.  I've played collectible card games since I was eleven years old - I got swept into the phenomenon that was Pokemon.  As my pre-pubescent mind succumbed to the allure of "Gotta catch 'em all," a table-top gamer was born.  I remember the excitement of waiting in line for my Starter Set and slinging cards from my Fire and Fighting deck with glee.  Did you feel the same way cracking your first pack of Magic?

Charizard > Jace the Mind Sculptor

I drifted away from card games like this for a while until I met my roommate my freshman year of college.  As a fellow Pokemon nut, he got it, and the dormant giant resurfaced.  I got back into the environment again at a local shop, and I picked up Magic there.  Several friends at school played, and I got involved in that community.  Since my sophomore year, I planned the tournaments and ran the events for the school.  It was a very casual environment; we drafted probably once a month, and people played any deck they wanted from Zuberas to Zombies, from Madness to Myrs.  Standard was too expensive for our college blood, so we improvised formats.

Blurry, but I'm the guy in the blue shirt leaned over the table.

I love the kinds of decks that made our own college metagame fun, and although I will cover Standard plenty, this blog is for the more casual player - there are plenty of sites devoted to Standard decks, the metagame, and the like.  But I hope this blog is more like the place you play - friends who gloat ONE mythic in their deck of mismatched cards, a clever Legacy tactic that locks you out of every turn EVER, and the sigh-inducing Sliver/Ally deck.  So without further ado, let's get started!

At my prime, I had dozens of decks put together at once, even if they were terrible.  I prefer quantity over quality just because I am easily bored.  At school, I was most famous for my Land destruction deck or my R/W Boros deck.  This was my first competitive deck, and after a frustrating loss, I would pull out the Boros Guildmage covered box of death and sling some tasty hasties.

My colors run, but they run FAST.
To start off the discussion though, I know everyone has a favorite deck that although it may not be as "top tier" as Jund, Mythic Conscription, or Vampires, is still your preferred stack of sixty (or larger).  These can be themed decks, unusual tribal decks, combo decks where you NEVER draw the whole thing, but you'll always brag if you had... (see Johnny, Combo Player).  You can post decklists or generic information about the goal/combo/flavor of the deck.  Also, if you have a specific one in mind, tell me a funny play or table occurance that made the deck become your fave.

I'll use my own Boros as an example.  It was a straight-foward weenie+burn with lots of haste.  Just something about putting a fattie in play swinging is riotous. 

Whoops, your face is gone.

In one particular game against a friend of mine's Zombie deck, he was up against the ropes, sitting at an uneasy 2 or 3 life.  I was out of critters and vulnerable.  Then he dropped good old Phage the Untouchable on me.  Yeah, the one with poison 10.  That one.  It came to my turn and I was top decking.  C'mon Lightning Helix, I prayed.  I peeled the card off my library with an enthusiastic swipe.  No gold border greeted me, but a delightful alternative.  I passed the turn with no blockers to stand between Ms. Pale-Face and myself.  My friend smiled maniacally and drew his card, setting it on an idle stack, his hand.  He turned Phage sideways, coming at me for game.  Alas, I tapped down three and triumphantly announced "Boros Fury-Shield." 

My friend's smile turned upside down, and the entire audience laughed, amused at a bewildered opponent who took 4 to the face from his own lethal creature.  Now, the way the rule worked, he just took 4 damage from Phage, and the life-decimating gloves she was wearing didn't have any additional effect, but the induced humiliation was unphaged, I mean "unphased."

What's that on her face?  It's the mask of shame.
Share your favorite casual deck and why it's your favorite.  I'd love to see them! 

Until next time, don't forget to untap!

- Matt

1 comment:

  1. My favorite deck is definitely my Giant deck. My husband has yet to defeat it (although he made it for me!). He's more apt to go for instant gratification and, generally, doesn't build up strategic moves over a long period of time (which is what I like to do). Although he's a better player than me, I've somehow managed to have a stroke of luck in that our differences in how we play happen to favor my style of gaming. For now, I like to bask in the glory of being undefeated.

    I really like your first entry, by the way.