Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I learned a neat trick with Steam. If you run a non-Steam app through a Steam shortcut, you can still use Steam's screenshot function. So I can run Magic Online through Steam and it'll let me press F12 any time to get an instant snapshot. For example, I recently played a Commander game with my Mayael deck.

I keep a land-light hand because it has three library manipulation spells. My plan is to use them to find land and figure things out from there. With enough land I can start Abundancing for spells and so on. The big question is whether I want to open with Top or Mirri's Guile. I went with Top, but looking back, I think that's wrong. I already know I just want lands, and there was a very good chance I'd be tight on mana with no ramp spells in hand (especially against Grand Arbiter Augustin IV), so I should have played the one that triggers for free. But oh well, I play my Top, Augustin plays his Commander, Tolsimir opens with Master's Call...for some reason? Which makes me suspect that his list was just bad, since that's a terrible card that doesn't even work with Tolsimir's pump. (I asked him later why he was playing so many colorless token-makers and he said he'd only just slapped the list together, which I could believe.) And of course Riku has turn 1 Sol Ring into Forgotten Ancient, Kodama's Reach, and Wurmcoil Engine, so that's pretty busted. Then I pulled a land out of my top 3 to cast Mayael.

Tolsimir comes out of the gates swinging with a Luminarch Ascension and a Skullclamp, which Augustin spends an Aura of Silence and a Manriki-Gusari activation on, respectively. Unfortunately, Riku's Forgotten Ancient pumps the Wurmcoil Engine to 10/10 and, with Tolsimir's chumo-blocking Saprolings and Augustin's deathtouching Phyrexian Metamorph copy of the Wurmcoil, I'm the one who has to take the hit.

I play Quicksilver Amulet, Augustin plays a Yosei, Tolsimir durdles with main phase Jade Mage activations, and then when Riku's turn rolls around again he gets to lay down a Mana Reflection. Which is obviously absurd. The fact that the Wurmcoil is swinging in a different direction is not much consolation.

I fail to find a Hallowed Burial in my top 3 cards, so I pass the turn. Augustin does nothing, and Tolsimir inexplicably plays Martial Coup for four. Who does that? Naturally, Riku uses Mana Reflection to do stupid things, in this case Doubling Season into Hamletback Goliath, making three creatures that each have enough power to one-shot any of us. I bring in my own Wurmcoil off my Amulet to trade with his, untap, and fail to topdeck anything useful.

Augustin, on the other hand, has Austere Command. But he makes a savage misplay here. He chooses big creature + little creatures. There is no way that's correct. The only little creatures on the board are random token durdles and my Mayael. He thought the tokens were a bigger threat than the Mana Reflection, but he was wrong. Mana Reflection is absurdly powerful. Especially in a Riku deck. True, Mayael is a threat, but I just regenerate her off of Yavimaya Hollow so that doesn't matter. He should have killed big creatures and enchantments. This misplay, spoiler alert, ends up deciding the game.

Sadly, I continue to draw nothing useful. How come I don't get turn 1 Sol Ring? Augustin tries Windborn Muse and a Body Double for another Wurmcoil. Tolsimir plays Myr Battlesphere--more colorless tokens? Okay. Riku, of course, still has Mana Reflection and Doubling Season in play, so he casually recasts his commander and drops triple Hydra Omnivore and triple Primeval Titan. How do you even beat that?

Augustin thinks he knows how to beat that: Rite of Replication with kicker for five Primeval Titans. If he'd had the chance to untap, that could have been pretty good, except Riku uses Mystical Tutor to grab Bribery, destroys my Homeward Path with a fetched Strip Mine, casts Bribery, copies it with Riku, pulls out Vigor from my deck, triples it with Riku, pulls out Arcanis the Omnipotent from Augustin's deck, does not copy it with Riku (damn), drops Avatar of Fury off Mosswort Bridge, triples it with Riku, and somewhere along the line this prompts concessions from Tolsimir and Augustin.

I'm not scooping yet because I still have outs. I have my own Austere Command and other Wrath effects that let me live and make a potential comeback (his hand is empty). I have Insurrection that is just a straight kill. I have Blazing Archon that forces him to find an answer (through my Vagrant Plowbeasts and Deathless Angel) before he can kill me.

But of course I don't get any of those and I am dead.

This game went very poorly.

Lessons learned:
  • Missing land drops still sucks.
  • Don't play Martial Coup for 4. I mean seriously, who does that!
  • Please kill Mana Reflection.
  • If you have Mirri's Guile and Top in the same opener, you've basically already mulled to six.
  • For some reason T1 Sol Ring seems to correlate with winning the game.

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