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One of a Kind: Booby Trap
By Eric Turgeon
How many chances does a writer on a family-safe Magic website get to say the word booby? Not many. So what a wonderful relief it is to see the booby-licious card, Booby Trap sitting in 9th Edition, acting as a legitimate excuse to use the word booby almost 40 times in a single column! Booby Trap, Booby Trap, Booby Booby Booby Trap! Okay, I'm done. Before you start thinking I'm a complete pervert, let me tell you another reason Booby Trap caught my eye.

When a new set comes out on Magic Online, I like to buy enough products to participate in a release league and two booster drafts. 9th edition was no different and in my first draft, someone passed me a foil Booby Trap! A foil rare that lasted until the fifth pick! I'd be insane not to take it. (Yeah, I draft like that. Want to fight about it?) So anyway, two months later, this shiny foil Booby Trap is sitting in my collection collecting online dust. It doesn't really fit in, well, any deck. So what does one do in that situation? Build a deck around it!

Now a lot of people would go out and pick up two or three more Booby Traps for a ticket if they want to build a deck around it. Not me. I'll build a deck around a single Booby Trap. In fact, this happens to me quite a lot. I enter a draft, come out with a single copy of some odd rare and it sits around doing nothing. So this will be the first in a series of columns called "One of a Kind," where I explore how to get the most out of a single copy of some card. I think this actually translates better to paper collections than online ones since the availability of cards for a lot of people is basically what they open plus what their friends open and are willing to trade.

Now onto the Boobies! I mean Booby Traps. I mean the Booby Trap. Just one, remember? Yeah. So first things first, we want to let our Booby Trap multiply. The easiest way to do this is with a little card called Fabricate. Boom! Now we have, for all intents and purposes, five Booby Traps in our deck. Great.

Now we move onto the next problem: Booby Trap seems to have some problems winning games by itself. It can (barring any damage prevention) do 10 damage to an opponent in one shot. So there's two ways to win the game with only one copy: double the damage it does or have it go off a couple times. Looking at our first choice gives us a couple options. Online, Furnace of Rath and Overblaze can both double the Booby Trap's damage. Desperate Gambit can also serve this purpose, but only on paper. Doubling the damage would make for a quick and amusing win, but it comes with a slew of risks, one of which is that it makes the deck very susceptible to life gain. So I'm going to have to go with the second option and make my Booby Trap work double time. The easiest way to get a Booby Trap out of the graveyard is Eternal Witness. I happen to be lucky enough to own four of them, so I'll include them. Luckily, alternate solutions exist such as Ritual of Restoration and Myr Retriever.

Now we have to make sure that our Booby Trap works the way we want it to. So we have to be psychic and figure out what card our opponent is about to draw. Or we could throw some Lantern of Insights in the deck and let them do that for us.

At this point, we have a reliable way to find our Booby Trap, set it off, and get it back once it blows up, but we still can't really cast it reliably. Also, I've mentioned the use of three different colored cards to go in the deck, so it would be nice to have some way of fixing and accelerating our mana. For a task of this undertaking, I'm going to suggest four each of Kodama's Reach and Sakura-Tribe Elders. Common mana fixers are not hard to get a hold of and with my previous inclusion of Eternal Witness, I know that green should be the favored color of the deck.

So how is this deck shaping up so far?

4 Eternal Witness
4 Myr Retriever
4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Booby Trap
4 Fabricate
4 Kodama's Reach
3 Lantern of Insight
3 Ritual of Restoration

27 non-land cards. Not a bad start. I do notice a couple problems, though. The first is that I need those Myr Retrievers to get back the Booby Trap. But I have no reliable way to destroy the Myr Retrievers. So I'll throw in a couple Blasting Stations to both ease the process and eliminate small potential threats. Two Blasting Stations will put the deck at 29 cards. I'll add some Naturalizes, which are almost always useful, to put the deck at 32 cards. Also, since I'm already utilizing three colors and I happen to own a single Bringer of the White Dawn, which also happens to work very well with the Booby Trap, I'll throw that in there.

At this point, there's a number of different options to fill the remaining three card slots to reach 36 total non-land cards. One of the main colors in the deck is blue, so we could add any number of card drawing or library manipulation spells. Another is white, which opens up some options for damage prevention, which would be useful considering the speed of this deck. Finally, we can add more mana-fixing in green. Any of these ideas would be a helpful addition to the deck. However, I chose a different route, and decided to add more graveyard recursion with a Skeleton Shard and a couple Ornithopters for early air defense.

So my final one-of-a-kind Booby Trap decklist looks like this after adding some lands:

OneBoobyTrap

1 Bringer of the White Dawn
4 Eternal Witness
4 Myr Retriever
4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Booby Trap
2 Blasting Station
4 Fabricate
4 Kodama's Reach
3 Lantern of Insight
3 Naturalize
2 Ornithopter
3 Ritual of Restoration
1 Skeleton Shard
3 Elfhame Palace
10 Forest
2 Coastal Tower
6 Island
1 Plains
1 Mountain
1 Swamp

Well building a Booby Trap deck is fine and dandy, but how well does it perform? I won't lie to you. My first couple of games did not go well. Through the first seven games I played, I believe my record was 0-6-1, with the single draw coming from the fact that you can neither win nor lose a solitaire game. I'm clearly in need of some wholesale changes.

The first thing to go would be the Ritual of Restorations. Not once did I cast one of these. In fact, I never even cast a Booby Trap, so Ritual of Restoration is irrelevant until I can actually get a Booby Trap out. I'm also going to take out the Ornithopters, since I feel like they just can't do enough to prevent all the early damage I was taking. Without the Thopters, the Skeleton Shard is much worse and the combo was really slow to get going anyway.

What the deck needs is creature removal. Most of my losses came at the hands of weenie hordes and big creatures. To deal with the weenies, I'm going to throw in a couple Infests; to deal with the fatties, I'll throw in some Rend Fleshes. Hideous Laughter might be a better choice over Infest since it's spliceable with the Rends, but judging from my previous games, there's no way I'm going to have the mana to pull that off. The ability to cast Infest on the third turn is a bigger advantage to me, but I'll still have to see how it goes. Obviously, these additions are going to throw off my mana, so I'll tweak that while I'm at it. Ravnica recently came out, so that should help my mana development. I've also included any good dual lands that I happen to own, but they're hardly necessary.

OneBoobyTrap v.2

1 Bringer of the White Dawn
1 Carven Caryatid
4 Eternal Witness
4 Myr Retriever
4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Will-o'-the-Wisp
1 Blasting Station
1 Booby Trap
4 Fabricate
2 Infest
4 Kodama's Reach
3 Lantern of Insight
3 Naturalize
3 Rend Flesh
1 Caves of Koilos
1 Coastal Tower
2 Dimir Aqueduct
1 Elfhame Palace
7 Forest
1 Golgari Rot Farm
4 Island
1 Mirrodin's Core
1 Mountain
1 Plains
2 Salt Marsh
2 Swamp

Holy crap, that is one ugly decklist! That's what happens when you have an online collection like mine. Surprisingly, I didn't run into a lot of mana problems. As you can see, I also added a Will-o'-the-Wisp, which does the Ornithopter's job, but a little better and a Carven Caryatid, which provides early defense, can actually kill attackers, and replaces itself. I threw in the Caves of Koilos since I own it, but a Swamp would suffice in its place.

This deck performed much better. I lost my first game due to mana flood I think I had 18 lands either in play or in my hand before the game ended. I also lost the second game, but actually managed to get my Booby Trap to go off, which is a huge improvement over early results. Then I won my next two games just the way the deck is supposed to win. One of the wins even came against a pretty aggressive white weenie deck that brought me down to 1 life before I managed to stabilize and set my Booby Trap twice for the win.

I still haven't playtested it as extensively as I would like, but here's some possible changes I would consider making judging from my experience so far.


  1. Replace the Infests with Hideous Laughter. As strange as the assortment of lands is, this deck has no trouble reaching four mana and the bonus of playing instant speed, as well as the possible splice possibility with Rend Flesh gives Hideous Laughter a slight edge over Infest.
  2. Drop the Will-o'-the-Wisp and the Blasting Station. The effect of either Infest or Hideous Laughter makes both of these cards pretty irrelevant. I included the Wisp because it was a cheap regenerating creature that could hold off early attacks, but it still won't survive the -X/-X nature of my board sweepers. The Blasting Station was included to get my Myr Retrievers in the graveyard, something that I can do more easily with the Infests/Laughters or even with a Naturalize. I'd probably replace one of them with another creature removal spell and the other with another Carven Caryatid, if I owned another one.

    So there you have it: the next world championship Magic deck. I guarantee that no one will have tested against it. It's still not pretty and I still don't think it will win more than half the games it plays, but it does require some practice and skill to pull off a win and it's a ton of fun to play with. Win or lose, almost all my opponents told me they liked the deck. So pull out your odd copy of Booby Trap, strap some support around it (no pun intended) and have fun watching your friends look on as you toast them with one of the worst rares in 9th Edition.

    Read More Articles by Eric Turgeon!

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