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  • published the article Why Scavenging Ooze is better than Deathrite Shaman
    So we have Scavenging Ooze coming up in M14, making it legal in Standard and Modern formats. As a primarily Modern player, I am fairly excited about the new addition.

    Now a lot of people look at Deathrite Shaman as THE creature to interact with graveyards in the format. As much as I like DRS, I don't like trying to find ways to jam him into my decks running green, and not black. Luckily enough, not only can Ooze fill this slot, but it beats Deathrite Shaman at any time where you have more green mana available than they have DRS on the board. Think about it. If you have an Ooze on the board with 2 green on the board, and your opponent has a Deathrite Shaman, you can tap 1 green to exile a card of theirs. If they respond with DRS activation, you can respond with the other green and exile again with the Ooze. If they have another DRS, it only costs 1 more green mana to respond to that one as well.

    Sure, sure, Ooze doesn't deal damage when you exile sorcery or instant spells, but he gets bigger when you exile creatures, and his ability doesn't require him to tap, which means you can attack and still use his ability as much as you can afford before your next turn. I think that kind of makes up for the lack of damage. Ooze also has the potential to get pretty big too. Exiling 3 creatures will get you a 5/5 and 3 life for an incremental cost of 1GGGG.

    So for this Modern player, Ooze is a welcomed addition to the card pool.
    Posted in: Why Scavenging Ooze is better than Deathrite Shaman
  • published the article Chancellor of Awesome
    When I pick cards for my EDH decks, function is more important than power level. I often use cards that fit the theme or sub-theme of my decks and keep my own personal list of staples as small as possible. When putting together a Vorosh, the Hunter deck (now The Mimeoplasm), the theme was stealing things from my opponents and their graveyards with a sub-theme of milling. Chancellor of the Spires got included in the build eventually, and he is absolutely amazing.

    How amazing is the Chancellor? He makes Rite of Replication and Spitting Image bad. How often do you see either of those cards in an EDH game? Almost any game when a player is running blue at least. Does making an infinite number of 5/7 flyers sound good to you? Me too... especially when someone has a Time Warp effect in their grave too.

    Not good enough for you? Couldn't you use an extra wrath effect? Maybe some card draw? There is almost always something worth playing in a graveyard at any given point in an EDH game. I have even used Makeshift Mannequin to play some of those sorceries at instant speed. I know that he is extra good in my deck because of the milling effects, but there are many times where I feel like he is an auto-include to almost every deck with blue.

    I also like the fact that he easily fits into a budget build. Most of the time you can pick one up for less than a dollar. That all adds up to a pretty good reason to play him. Give him a try if you haven't, and let me know how it goes.
    Posted in: Chancellor of Awesome
  • published the article The Vault Skirge
    I remember seeing a foil Squadron Hawk selling for $10 a piece at a standard tournament back before Stoneforge Mystic got banned and Caw-blade was the dominant deck in the format. When I was digging through my girlfriends cards last night, I came across a foil Vault Skirge and immediately thought it had potential to hold a similar value for Affinity decks in modern.

    Currently, a foil Vault Skirge can be bought on Card Kingdom for only $.75. Its seeing play in standard with some Tempered Steel based decks. I have noticed the card is really strong in Modern Affinity builds, sometimes making a 10+ point life swing with Cranial Plating. While the card is only at a 75 cent value currently, I would bet money that it is going to go up.

    Why do I think that? With the recent ban list, Affinity has become one of the strongest decks in the Modern format. Anyone who is playing it should also be playing Vault Skirge. People who like to pimp out their decks will want foils. While I dont expect to see it hit $10 the way Squadron Hawk did, I could see it hitting a few dollars in value.

    I know this is not exactly relevant information, but it was on my mind so I felt like writing about it.
    Posted in: The Vault Skirge
  • published the article DOL's Guide to EDH
    There are a lot of different aspects to consider when building an EDH deck. Most of those should be ignored when building a deck, because you dont need to have the best deck or cards to win. There are two different things that usually determine the outcome of a game:

    1. Politics: This is a multiplayer format, and thus the actions and balance of the table have a significant impact on how games play out. If everyone recognizes a player in the game as an immediate threat, they tend to gang up on the threatening player. Players sometimes also want to look out for the guy who is giving them a mutual advantage (Blood Moon might look favorable to the guy with a lot of basic lands out). There are other times where people will attack someone other than you, simply because you have a Royal Assassin or No Mercy in play. No matter how you look at it, Politics have a huge impact on the game, and there are several ways to utilize it to give you the upper hand (even if it seems like you don't to everybody else at the table).

    2. Timing: Timing is key, and can often mean the difference between winning and losing. Anybody can play Exsanguinate, but not everybody kills 2 opponents while putting the 3rd in lethal range with it. Hallowed Burial can take care of more than one general, so dont immediately blow it just to get rid of Uril, the Miststalker. Chances are that he could be swinging at someone else anyway, which is also a good reason to save removal. If someone has a nasty threat on the board, unless its an immediate threat to you, let someone else take care of it. You start with 40 life, so you can take some damage before you need to really worry about your life total anyway (as a guideline, it usually becomes a concern to me around 15 life or less).

    That is all you need to know to win in EDH. Of course there is more to EDH than that, but those are the things that have the greatest impact on the outcome of a game. You dont need the best cards, or the best deck. I have seen people win games with pauper decks, so dont feel like you need to sink a lot of money into cards to build a good deck. Lets look at some other things that are generally good in a singleton 100 card multiplayer format:

    Tutors: Tutors are by far the best type of card to run. You only have 1 of each card in your deck, and if you want to go grab a specific one (or one of a type) then finding ways to tutor for those cards can really improve how your deck functions. Dont feel like you need to drop good money on a Demonic Tutor either, because 9 times out of 10 Diabolic Tutor will do the job.

    Manafixing: If you are running a 3 color deck, its very important to be able to access all 3 of those colors. A few commons such as Darksteel Ingot and Cultivate can help make sure you get what you need. I am personally a big fan of the Panoramas and use them in almost all of my EDH decks.

    Answers: There are so many cards from so many sets, that you can never really be too sure what you will run into. Because of this, its good to try and prepare for just about everything. Every card you see should be worth playing, which means it should also be worth answering. If you can pack enchantment hate, do it. If you have artifact hate, put it in. You dont need to overload a deck with answers, but its good to throw at least 1 or 2 in. You never want to be facing down an Eldrazi Monument without having some way to deal with it. Some people think its okay to just let others deal with these threats, but I personally think that is a bad way to approach a problem. I know not every color has answers to everything, but Steel Hellkite may just become your deck's new favorite card.

    Alternative Resources: Since we are starting at 40 life, and playing multiplayer, games tend to run longer than your normal dueling environment. You still only draw 1 card per turn, and without some way to draw more, you are often going to run out of steam mid game. There are alternatives to just drawing extra cards. Some cards let you play things from your grave (or from your opponents graves). Cards like Thada Adel, Acquisitor can let you steal things from your opponent's decks. Your hand and library are your primary resources, but be sure to include ways to utilize graveyards and your opponents decks to your own advantage. Some generals have recursion built into them, but Rise from the Grave and the like can help too.

    Sweepers: Sweepers are generally good to include in a build. There will be times when everybody at the table has something scary out and wiping the board with Austere Command may be your only way out. Oblivion Stone can also help in decks that normally have trouble dealing with enchantments. I dont recommend loading up on sweepers, as that can really draw a game out, but I feel like 3 is a good number to have.

    FUN: Be sure to have fun, and build decks that are fun. We encourage social interaction, and when people are having fun they are more interested in continuing to play. No one is going to want to keep playing against a deck that is just trying to combo out game after game. Keep things fresh and exciting by finding and playing cards people have never seen before. I always get more pleasure when someone gets excited about something new than I do from actually winning. I don't remember much about the last few games I played, but I sure remember my buddy saying "Oh my god, that is so cool. I never saw that guy before" when I played Ixidron a few weeks back.
    Posted in: DOL's Guide to EDH
  • published the article Beating the Modern Meta
    Let me start out by saying that this is my first blog post ever, so if its a little off base, that is probably why.

    Now I have been thinking a lot about Modern. Probably more than any other format lately, and considering I play EDH more than any other format, Modern is a little outside of my normal realm of expertise. I came to the conclusion that a lot of people are coming to now about a week ago.

    The deck I am working with is a BGr Melira build. Initially, I wanted to get my combo online as quickly as possible. I felt the best way to do this consistently was to disrupt my opponent with cards like Duress and Thoughtseize so they didnt have removal or counter magic when I was ready to go off.

    When I started play testing, I found that this was not only a good way to protect Melira, but it was also a good way to prevent my opponent from even doing anything. Lots of these combo decks simply fell apart if I took one or two cards from their hand. Exarch Twin and 12post were a complete joke to my deck, and a few persist guys can buy plenty of time against Zoo to get my combo online. With already having a great match up against 3 of the top decks in the format, I felt that I was definitely headed in the right direction.

    Enter Living End. I thought Living End was going to be a walk in the park. A sac outlet would turn their win con into setting me up for my win con. Well, it didnt quite work like that. Shriekmaw usually made quick work of Melira when coming back from the grave. Surgical Extraction seemed to be yelling my name at this point. Not only could I exile Shriekmaw (or anything else) in response to Living End, but I could also ping it out for 2 in the event I was tapped out. It seemed like the perfect answer.

    And then Jund came along with Punishing Fire and Grove of the Burnwillows. What a pain in the butt this was for me when all of my creatures are 2 toughness or less. Jund was the toughest match up for me at this point. Again, Surgical Extraction (or rather, Extirpate) seemed like the best solution for Punishing Fire.

    Thinking back to the combo decks that I was already having a field day with, I thought "well how about Surgical Extraction against those decks?" It seemed like a good idea. Since I was already playing hand disruption main deck, it was easy to rip an entire combo piece out of their deck after I made them discard. Suddenly a t1 Thoughtseize + Surgical Extraction led opponents to scooping after losing Hive Mind or Grapeshot before they even got to play a land. How awesome is that?

    Granted its going to take more than hand disruption and Surgical Extraction to beat every deck in the meta, it sure does a good job at shutting down about half of them. If you can build a deck that can consistently beat the other half of the meta, I would say that you are in pretty good shape for a competitive Modern tournament.
    Posted in: Beating the Modern Meta