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Casual Tech, Weaseling, and Some Limited Advice
By Alex Makhovykh
So much stuff to talk about and I gotta try to fit it all in one article. Iíll try not to make it boring for you. Sorry I didnít have one in a while, but when I had some free time and was mostly reading new articles and Jamie Wakefieldís archives. Man, he is great! I still have a few of his articles that I didnít read yet, but Iím working on that. Today I have some casual tech and a little draft report for you. Also an analysis of two of my multiplayer decks - built on a limited budget with cards that I have. Moving on to the article:

Casual Tech: Parallax Wave

Parallax Wave. It was and still is used regularly in high quality tournament decks in order to slow down your opponent. The wave was and still is used to temporarily get rid of opponentís blockers or attackers. It was also used as one of many enchantments featured in Replenish decks. However, in general, the wave wasnít used for other purposes. I have some combos that maybe not be tournament quality, but are a lot of fun in casual decks. So hereís what Parallax Wave can combine with:

Wrath of God/Mageta, the Lion/Rout, Jokulhaups/Obliterate, Pandemonium, any 187 creatures, Aura Shards, Invasionís Djinns, Cauldron Dance, Earthquake/Breath of Darigaaz/Fault Line/Savage Twister/Warmonger/Rupture/Warpath/Task Mage Assembly, Plague Spitter/Pestilence/Dry Spell/Thrashing Wumpus/Crypt Rats, Void/Powder Keg, Living Death, Balance, Cataclysm, Evacuation, Brawl, Fickle Efreet, Avatar of Might, Fading creatures, Stronghold Discipline, Relentless Assault, Flowstone Slide, Massacre, Forced March, Tangle Wire, Death Pit Offering, Puffer Extract, Generalís Regalia, Nevinyraalís Disk and much more. Wave is also good in aiding you during combat, saving your creatures from creature kill or theft, and against token creatures or creatures with kicker.

Well, you know what? I decided that I just donít have enough time to go through all the lists trying to find cards that are good for this deck and then the filtering them out. Taking out 500 cards takes a pretty damn long time. So, sorry, arhar, but I canít do it. Its 8:26 p.m. and people are hungry for articles, so I should try to submit this as soon as possible. Leave the Assassin for someone else (Like I was getting it anyway). I will however hint some readers as to what my deck was about when I was making it. First I was making a red/green/white deck with a lot of mana producers, Parallax Waves, Jokulhaups, Wrath of God, Natural Order or two, and Patterns of Rebirth. The purpose of this deck would basically be to wave out your fatties, then nuke the world and kill everyone once your fatties come back. Multani and Verdant Force were the kill cards, thought I had a lot more fatties that I was waiting to wave out. After, I would theoretically cast the ĎHaups and a Patterned/Waved creatures would come into play to beat on my opponents. I used Enlightened Tutors and Sterling Groove to find the so-called "combo pieces". The deck was about 90 cards. Later, I decided to take out red, and make a more consistent, 60 card green-white deck. Since I had no more access to Jokulhaups or Obliterate I decided to use Cataclysm and Wrath of God to create the havoc. Donít ask me why, but it just didnít work. The deck had only 4 cards in 2 and 3 casting cost mana slots, but 17 in 4. Geez. Finally, I just gave up. But hey, if anyoneís interested in that Assassin, I think I planted the seed in your head. Now go make the deck, and if you do win, let me know. Iím really interested on what this couldíve become.

All right, now with that done, I would like to move on to the next part of my article, which is analyzing my two casual and inexpensive multiplayer decks. They are both based on the weasel principle. I noticed something about my group lately. In order to survive till the end, you have to be able to not seem as much of a threat in the beginning while keeping certain control of the game. You must also be able to produce some sort of threat close to the late game so that you have a way to win. Therefore, my 2 multiplayer decks were redesigned, and hereís what the first one looks like:

"Why attack me?.dec"
Mana base(24):
9 Islands
7 Plains
4 Swamps
2 Forbidden Watchtowers
1 Salt Marsh
Drake-Skull Cameo x1
Defense/Removal/Mind Manipulation(25):
4 Stormscape Apprentices
2 Swords to Plowshares
4 Seal of Cleansing
1 Wall of Essence
1 Wall of Tears
1 Angelic Shield
2 Samite Archers
1 Shield Dancer
1 Orimís Prayer
1 Devout Witness
1 Propaganda
1 Seal of Doom
3 Seerís Vision
1 Capsize
1 Dromar the Banisher
Otha Stuff(11):
1 Distorting Lens
1 Hanna, Shipís Navigator
1 Benalish Heralds
1 Pursuit of Knowledge
2 Clone
1 Radiant, Archangel
1 Death or Glory
1 Dismantling Blow
1 Mahamoti Djinn

The best thing about this deck is its many little combos. They include Seals or other enchantments and Hanna, Dismantling Blow or Benalish heralds and Pursuit of Knowledge, and Dromar and Distorting Lens. I should probably explain what the heck "mind manipulation" means. Now I want you to look under that section and tell me, aside from Swords, Capsize, and occasionally artifact/enchantment removal or Dromar, what cards donít tell opponent: "Attack some one else. Why would you want to attack me? Why not attack him/her? Iíll just ..." Apprentices will simply tap your opponentís creatures, walls will either benefit you or send his creatures back, Samite Archers will pick off his smaller creatures, and seals will pick off his permanents. Shield Dancer will send the damage back, Propaganda will make it harder for his creatures to attack, and Dromar will send his whole freakiní army back to his hand next turn. Seerís Vision becomes extra spicy, because why would your opponent attack you if you may be holding some removal, when its clear that this other player is defenseless? Psyche tricks are everything. I should also mention that in our multiplayer group a player whoís attacking must announce who he is attacking and with what, and then people can tap his attackers if they want. That contradicts the 6th edition rules a bit, but it is much more fun and less confusing this way.
Anyway, you have a total of 24 mana sources in this deck insuring that you will almost never get mana screwed. Two of your lands are Forbidden Watchtowers which serve a double purpose as blockers. You have Radiant, Mahamoti, 2 Clones and your Dromar as finishers. Should they all be destroyed, you have a way of getting them back with Death or Glory, or you can try to win through pinging with Samite Archers or apprentices. Sometimes you can establish a late-game lock with Hanna and the Seal of Doom or Cleansing. This deck has a lot of ways to win, can set opponents against each other with Seerís Vision, and is a helluva lot of fun. Try it and you wonít be disappointed. Keep in mind that I used the cards that were available to me, but remember, everythingís replaceable. If you have better stuff than I had to offer, put it in, if you donít have something, replace it with something similar. Live by this rule and your life will be filled with joy. I think. Donít quote me on this.

Now, I am going to move onto the next deck. If you have any questions or comments about either of the deck, please send me an e-mail and I will really appreciate it.

This deck got more of a beatdown-control thing going on, but its still very weaseling-dependent. It is also built of the cards that I got, though it includes more rares than the first deck. Hereís the decklist:

Rith of All Weasels.dec

Things Known as Lands(20):
1 Brushland
4 Elfhame Palaces
1 Shivan Oasis
5 Plains
5 Forests
4 Mountains

Weaseling/Creature Control/Defense(29):
4 Thornscape Apprentices
3 Tinder Walls
2 Vine Trellis
2 Spidersilk Armors
1 Lowland Basilisk
1 Saber Ants
1 Jolrael, Empress of Beasts
1 Seal of Fire
1 Fireslinger
1 Filed Surgeon
1 Wall of Glare
2 Seals of Cleansing
1 Balance
1 Troubled healer
1 Shield Dancer
3 Auras of Silence
1 Blinking Spirit
1 Stormbind
1 Belbeís Armor

Fatties and More(11):
1 Regrowth
1 Pattern of Rebirth
1 Lhurgoyf
1 Dirtcowl Wurm
1 Multani, Maro Sorcerer
1 Hymn of Rebirth
2 Charging Trolls
3 Rith the Awakener

A while ago when I was just starting to work on this deck, some people in my group told me that I shouldnít play with more than one legend because a lot of times it will just sit in your hand. Jeez, will I be glad if Rith ever has to sit in my hand. I figure that if he sticks around that long, I should have an army of trillions of saproling tokens following me, and if he doesnít, then Iíll have another sitting in hand waiting to come out. Plus you have Stormbind should your Rith be Pacified or Arrested. Some of the card choices may seem weird, but I think youíll understand why I used cards that I did, as most of them are self-explanatory. This deck has quite a few finishers, with the rest of space intended for utility and mind tricks. Most of the stuff can give your opponent that "attack me and suffer" or "attack someone else donít get hurt as much" feeling, while others can be beneficial to your opponents when they go on attack on someone else. For example, turning someoneís lands into 3/3ís when theyíre attacked will certainly make them your friend and will most likely kill of the attackers creatures. Later in the game you can fly over both with Rith of whatever you wish, but when the time is right up to you to decide. Keep in mind, this is a deck that is built out of cards that are available to me, and obviously not all the cards that could be there are there. This more or less is a cheap deck that doesnít cost a lot to build other then the few rares in it. Nothing in it should be very hard to find, except perhaps the Riths. (Ritheses? Rithes?)

Now, onto the draft part of my article. On Friday night, me and around a dozen other people get together on the second floor of a shop/restaurant by the name of "Sci-Fi World". Usually people trade, or play multiplayer or duels, and sometimes draft. That was the case today, so I decided to join in. So I went downstairs, bought 3 boosters, and we began. The guy who was to the right of me told everyone that he got a dragon - Croisis. Great, now I gotta try to get a Wallop my sideboard. Being a lucky (yeah right) guy that I am, I was able to draft it late in the first pack. I had a lot of cards, and 4 different colors, black excluded. Red was going to stay because it had pretty much the only removal spells available to me. I wanted to keep white because of many creatures that I got in it and the Dismantling Blow. My green creature base was also very solid and the 2 Harrows seemed very tempting. The 2 Serpentine Kavus looked pretty damn good too. And I wanted to splash blue for the blowís kicker and the ability of Benalish Heralds. Easier said than done. Nah, it wasnít so hard.

Creatures(13):
Angel of Mercy x1
Benalish Heralds x1
Alloy Golem x1
Darigaazís Attendant x1
Rage Weaver x1 (Probably shouldíve been Rogue Kavu)
Ancient Kavu x1
Crimson Acolyte x1
Serpentine Kavu x2
Thornscape Apprentice x1
Thunderscape Apprentice x1
Llanowar Knight x1
Yavimaya Barbarian x1
Other Spells(10):
Wax/Wane x1
Breath of Darigaaz x1
Canopy Surge x1
Power Armor x1(Foil) (Sick! Sick!)
Tribal Flames x1
Zap x1
Maniacal Rage x1
Dismantling Blow x1
Harrow x2
Lands(23):
Forest x6
Mountain x5
Plains x4
Island x2

I didnít get a single cloak, but that didnít upset me too much. We were going to play 3 rounds, so that everyone got to play everyone else. The person with the best record gets to pick any rare and take it. Then the second place player chooses one. Etc. Same with uncommons. Well, I was just hoping that my deck wouldnít play as bad as it looked. I hoped for the best and started playing. I will not bore you with game descriptions, partially because I donít remember much of what happened. I promise next time I will take notes. Rather I will share my experiences with certain cards and offer some advice. I finished undefeated, winning the whole draft. Some of the things may be obvious, but I am also trying to aim at people who are just starting drafting. Now, hereís some advice based on the experience I learned from this draft:
1) I won my first 4 out of 6 games thanks to my Power Armor. Literally. Piece of advice - take this card early while you can, no matter what deck youíre playing. It is simply amazing. I canít say enough for it. Angel of Mercy with a Power Armor can take on a dragon. It can help you smash your opponent for 2 to 4 points each turn. It can save your creatures in combat. Take my advice and pick this card, because the things it does are simply great.
2) Zap is good. Very good. Almost always trading off with a small creatures it also gets you card advantage and can deliver the final blow to a bigger creature when needed. For the lack of anything else it can be used at the end of your opponentís turn to ping him without loosing a card. Very useful.
3) Harrow is also an amazing card. I managed to get 2 and was never sorry when I drew one. It solved any colored mana problems that Iíve had at the same time increasing my mana supply and thinning out my deck. If you get this card, play it. Also it combined very well with Tribal Flames and Power Armor.
4) Moderately priced creatures are very good in this format, but then again you probably already knew it. I was able to get a lot of fat, including 2 Serpentine Kavus, Alloy Golem and Angel of Mercy among others. They were a large part of why my deck succeeded. If your opponent doesnít have a regenerating blocker, a bigger creature or a tapper, theyíre in for a world of pain.

Hereís the best part of all. If you are low on money and wanna pick up some cards cheap, thereís one thing you should do. Draft. Learn to draft if you donít know how to, and perfect your skill with Netdraft. Then go to your shop and draft with other people. If you win- you just got a great deal. If you didnít - hey it was worth the fun. Hereís the final list of cards that I got after I drafted and completed all the trades:

Void
Croisis, the Purger
Death or Glory
Mageís Contest
Twilightís Call x2 (Found out later that it doesnít actually bury creatures in play. So thatís why no oneís using them!)
The Rack (4th edition)
Foil Power Armor
Spite/Malice
7 other Invasion uncommons and 35 Invasion commons.

This is for $11.50. Canadian. Since a lot of you are American Iíll translate:
I got all this stuff for $7.71
All of it.
Well, I did spend a few hours actually drafting and playing, but unlike some people I know who play for cards, I enjoy it! So, I spent a very fun evening with people I know and got all that stuff for $7.71. Sounds like a good deal to me. And man, am I ever planning on doing it again.

By the way, Iím not like a card genius or an amazing player. In game 2 against my last opponent I made so many mistakes that I shouldíve lost. Example:
My opponent just summoned a kickered Pouncing Kavu. Being a smart guy that I am I go ahead and attack him with my Ancient Kavu. I think for a second then place my Kavu in the graveyard. Two turns later, he casts a new Pouncing Kavu. With Kicker. On my turn, what do I do? I attack him with Darigaazís Attendant. He thinks for a second, then blocks with the kavu. I think for a second then drop the Attendant into graveyard. I think that game he even managed to get his Croisis out. He was a good player to, but somehow, I still won (Wax/Wane, Canopy Surge, Angel of Mercy and Power Armor won it for me if I recall correctly). Damn I was embarrassed.

All Iím trying to say is that you donít need to be some sort of a draft genius. After all, if you went to the store, hung out with friends and had some fun drafting, thatís all that really matters. I donít mean that you should waste 12 bucks each week on nothing, just remember that winning isnít everything.

Anyway, I hope youíve enjoyed reading this article as much as I did writing it, and remember that I appreciate all the input you might have about it. So please, send me an e-mail to superguy98@hotmail.com with your opinion, suggestions, or anything else. Thanks, and Ďtill the next time remember to keep it casual!

Alex Makhovykh a.k.a. Superguy
superguy98@hotmail.com

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