52 FNMs – Mixer

Any Magic player knows that going out to a bar with a bunch of fellow Magic players is usually a risky proposition. That’s mostly because you’re going to end up talking about Magic cards all night because Magic is fucking sweet. Sometimes, you’ll even end up playing at the bar, which is a real crapshoot, especially once that really drunk chick at the bar goes over to the ATM that’s really close to your table as a ruse to see what you guys are doing, and, when she asks what you’re doing, your friend goes, “Playing Magic,” and she goes, “Is that like Dungeons & Dragons?” and your friend goes, “It’s kinda like a mix between Dungeons & Dragons and poker; higher-level games of Magic are more based on what you’re representing–“ and then you stop listening because it’s making you wanna die, so you get up and go grab some free pulled pork because this dive bar is giving out free food today, and you feel entitled to it even though you’re from out of town because you’re fairly sure that you and your friend are the first people to tip this bartender since Reagan was president.

The drunken inclination to play Magic is huge. Of course, being drunk makes other stuff awesome, too—I could go on and on; believe me—but I wouldn’t want to ostracize any readers under twenty-one. Hang in there, you guys!

Unfortunately, numerous independent studies, conducted by me, yield troubling data—it turns out that alcohol consumption is, in fact, not conducive to playing Magic. When you’re drunk, naturally, you have to think about things more. What are you doing during all that thinking? You are sobering up, and sobering up while you’re still awake is among the worst feelings in the world.

Speaking of sobering:

I got an e-mail from a reader by the name of Steve:

This is Steve - or JD.5 - from the forums of your article. I'd be more than honored for you to defac-, um, 'alter' my cards. My play is almost entirely FNM's but I do delve into some 5-Color Ante pretty much every week. So the cards in mind that I had for you range directly from my 250 card deck that I play with.I suppose I should ask, do you have a preference of what you would like to draw on? Creatures, Sorceries, Instants, Lands, whatever? The only thing I do ask is that the card needs to at least be somewhat intact so I can prove that I am actually playing with 'said card' (i.e. I loved your Stasis but... I could never play it in good faith and I don't want it to just rot in my binder). Actually, you know what... fuck it. Draw on them in any way you want. If they don't believe me, then I'll just go drink and forget about it.

My kinda guy!

By the way, I’d never heard of people playing five-color ante with two-hundred-fifty-card decks, but it sounds fucking sweet. I don’t really like Commander so much—the goals are unclear, power levels are all over the place, games usually become very army-Magic-esque, it’s mostly politics, and people get butt-hurt when your deck is too good . . . but five-color ante? SIGN ME THE FUCK UP.

Oh yeah, here’s the requisite supplies picture:

I had a bunch of Midas Touch beer by Dogfish Head for just this occasion—it’s very high-gravity—but I drank them all Sunday night because both of the teams whose fan bases are completely made up of insufferable assholes won. So, whiskey it is. Besides, Jameson never let anyone down, especially not the Irish.

That is a Contract from Below. I was very shocked to receive an Unlimited card in the mail. CoolStuffInc has it at $3, so, not the most expensive card I’ve ever done, but good enough to get me nice and nervous. Fear is a great way to breed creativity I’ve heard. Then, I read Contract from Below.

. . .

Hooo-leeee shit.

Is this card just completely broken in this crazy format? “Okay, I’ll draw seven, then add a card to the ante that doesn’t matter because I’m gonna win because I just drew seven.”

So, we’ve got a broken card. And now we have to draw on it.

I chose blue for a lot of reasons, the chief one being that when you play it, your opponent will be sad. Sad, blue. No-brainer. Also, I’ve been reading up on rarities in Magic cards lately, and I’ve yet to find a blue-bordered card anywhere. I figured Steve could have the only card of its kind, a super-ultra-rare blue-bordered card that he can jam in his friends’ faces as he steals their Amulet of Quozs or Fourth Edition Islands or whatever it is one wins in a game of two-hundred-fifty-card five-color ante. Also, I thought the blue would look pretty sweet with the black. I am an artist.

The last sentence of the quoted part of Steve’s e-mail confirms this.

Just a little shading of the background, a bottle, and we’re done with that card. I even left Steve a spot to sign. Also, I tried to draw a beer bottle in the card text, but I think it came out a little too phallic. The “XXX” on the bottle label definitely doesn’t help. Oh well!

I have no idea what Amy Weber was going for with this picture. Okay, I have some idea—she was supposed to draw a bird that had been jeweled . . . or had the quality of “jewel” . . . or something.

Jeweled Bird seems to be a pretty good card in the five-color ante format—you get to draw a card, no matter what your mana situation is (which is probably nice because I’m sure you just get color-screwed in this format a lot), and if you have one or more expensive cards in your ante, you can always just switch them with the Jeweled Bird. However, this makes it so Steve’s opponent can take the Jeweled Bird if he wins, so, y’know, can’t make this one too good, or else his opponent will play really hard to win it! Or something like that.

Having limited supplies kinda sucks. I guess I kinda tried to take the jeweled theme as far as it could go (whiskey was really starting to kick in at this point) and meant to make the bird’s body have jewels in it, which turned out really shitty because the yellow marker is basically worthless.

I drew an “X” over the bird’s eye because it had dead eyes anyway; I killed the bird, just as I imagined Steve would be killing the bird in order to get his Tempest Efreet—or whatever—back.

When I was a kid, I used to go through the morning paper and try to cross out letters and words in columns in order to make funny messages. Combine that with my propensity for waking up early and . . . yeah, I was not a very welcome overnight guest at my grandparents’ house. I guess when I did this, I was channeling that, and I took it too far and blacked out the rest of the card completely. My realization of the fact that the card was probably going to go to someone else at some point probably factored in the anger I so clearly took out on this Magic card. I am an idiot.

I honestly did not remember doing that, so as a token of apology, I’m going to ship an Arabian Nights Jeweled Bird to Steve (retail price: $3.99). UNBRIDLED GENEROSITY FROM MR. 52 FNMS HIMSELF.

Oh yeah, FNM. Yeah, I did badly.

Won my first two rounds against Grixis—both times through Curse of Death's Hold—then lost to a very hard U/B control deck that I don’t think had any game whatsoever against any aggressive deck (apparently, when you’re able to counter every spell your opponent plays, ramp just loses) and Honey Badger (apparently, when your endgame is six Sun Titans and a Spellskite, ramp just loses) consecutively.

Did I like the deck? Not really. I felt that my two wins were purely because my opponents just didn’t have it. A spectator during my fourth round pointed out I could’ve been more aggressive with my Inkmoth Nexuses than I was; a big hole in my game (there are many of them) is playing around too much shit and knowing when to flip the switch and know when you’ve just gotta hope he doesn’t have it. Luis Scott-Vargas is probably the best example of a player who knows how to feel a game and when to hold back and when to go for it based on his cards and what his opponent does and/or represents. I wish I could do that.

Then again, some people like ramp decks. I’m not going to pretend to understand it, but, hey, if Primeval Titans are your thing, it doesn’t get much better than this deck. Even though I boarded it out every single match (didn’t see a single fucking Delver of Secrets), Black Sun's Zenith outstrips Slagstorm by miles. Black Sun's Zenith doesn’t care if that Geist of Saint Traft is wearing a Sword of War and Peace! Black is definitely the way to go in the ramp decks because:

Grave Titan


Inferno Titan
Black Sun's Zenith


Doom Blade


Galvanic Blast

All that seems so obvious now, but credit is definitely due to Conley Woods for identifying that, putting it into action, and taking down the Grand Prix.

Have fun at your prereleases, and I’ll see you next week.

Jon Corpora
Pronounced Ca-pora