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Challenge Accepted - Billy Mitchell (12/27/2012)

Let's get right into it! We have a lot of stuff to get into this week!

As you all know, I've been throwing down with Esper Flash
Flash
FlashSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
67
Artist:
David Ho
Text:
Put a creature card from your hand into play. You may pay its mana cost reduced by up to 2. If you don't, sacrifice it.
for the past few weeks. After playing game after game against Rakdos Aggro, I decided that I needed to try something else. Nephalia Drownyard
Nephalia Drownyard
Nephalia DrownyardSet: Innistrad
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
245
Artist:
Cliff Childs
Text:
{T}: Add {1} to your mana pool. {1}{U}{B}, {T}: Target player puts the top three cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
simply does nothing in the matchup. While it does improve the Bant
Bant
BantSet: Planechase
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Plane
Sub Type:
Alara
Rarity:
C
Number:
4
Artist:
Michael Komarck
Text:
All creatures have exalted. (Whenever a creature attacks alone, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn for each instance of exalted among permanents its controller controls.) Whenever you roll {C}, put a divinity counter on target green, white, or blue creature. That creature is indestructible as long as it has a divinity counter on it.
matchup some, with the addition of Elixir of Immortality
Elixir of Immortality
Elixir of ImmortalitySet: Magic 2011
Cost:
1
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
206
Artist:
Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai
Text:
{2}, {T}: You gain 5 life. Shuffle Elixir of Immortality and your graveyard into your library.
, even that is a dicey proposition.

Honestly, Nephalia Drownyard
Nephalia Drownyard
Nephalia DrownyardSet: Innistrad
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
245
Artist:
Cliff Childs
Text:
{T}: Add {1} to your mana pool. {1}{U}{B}, {T}: Target player puts the top three cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
in multiples seems to be more of a liability to the manabase than anything. I really wanted a deck with flexible mana. If I had access to a duo of Hallowed Fountain
Hallowed Fountain
Hallowed FountainSet: Dissension
Color:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
174
Artist:
Rob Alexander
along with either Watery Grave
Watery Grave
Watery GraveSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Sub Type:
Island Swamp
Rarity:
R
Number:
286
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
(T: Add U or B to your mana pool.) As Watery Grave comes into play, you may pay 2 life. If you don’t, Watery Grave comes into play tapped instead.
or Godless Shrine
Godless Shrine
Godless ShrineSet: Guildpact
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Sub Type:
Plains Swamp
Rarity:
R
Number:
157
Text:
(T: Add W or B to your mana pool.) As Godless Shrine comes into play, you may pay 2 life. If you don’t, Godless Shrine comes into play tapped instead.
, playing 2 or 3 Nephalia Drownyard
Nephalia Drownyard
Nephalia DrownyardSet: Innistrad
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
245
Artist:
Cliff Childs
Text:
{T}: Add {1} to your mana pool. {1}{U}{B}, {T}: Target player puts the top three cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
would be easy. But alas! Neither card is available in Standard until Gatecrash hits store in February.

If I want to play two shocklands with the UW Flash
Flash
FlashSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
67
Artist:
David Ho
Text:
Put a creature card from your hand into play. You may pay its mana cost reduced by up to 2. If you don't, sacrifice it.
shell, I currently have two options. If I play Temple Garden
Temple Garden
Temple GardenSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Sub Type:
Forest Plains
Rarity:
R
Number:
284
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
(T: Add G or W to your mana pool.) As Temple Garden comes into play, you may pay 2 life. If you don’t, Temple Garden comes into play tapped instead.
, I can play Thragtusk
Thragtusk
ThragtuskSet: Magic 2013
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
R
Number:
193
Artist:
Nils Hamm
Power:
5
Toughness:
3
Text:
When Thragtusk enters the battlefield, you gain 5 life. When Thragtusk leaves the battlefield, put a 3/3 green Beast creature token onto the battlefield.
along with Restoration Angel
Restoration Angel
Restoration AngelSet: Avacyn Restored
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
32
Artist:
Johannes Voss
Power:
3
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flash Flying When Restoration Angel enters the battlefield, you may exile target non-Angel creature you control, then return that card to the battlefield under your control.
to make every game I play last forever. My other option would be playing Steam Vents
Steam Vents
Steam VentsSet: Guildpact
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Sub Type:
Island Mountain
Rarity:
R
Number:
164
Text:
(T: Add U or R to your mana pool.) As Steam Vents comes into play, you may pay 2 life. If you don’t, Steam Vents comes into play tapped instead.
and putting me on a similar plan to what Gerry Thompson has been playing over the past few weeks. After vowing to abstain from Bant
Bant
BantSet: Planechase
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Plane
Sub Type:
Alara
Rarity:
C
Number:
4
Artist:
Michael Komarck
Text:
All creatures have exalted. (Whenever a creature attacks alone, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn for each instance of exalted among permanents its controller controls.) Whenever you roll {C}, put a divinity counter on target green, white, or blue creature. That creature is indestructible as long as it has a divinity counter on it.
Control for as long as I can, I gathered the cards I needed to play American Flash
Flash
FlashSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
67
Artist:
David Ho
Text:
Put a creature card from your hand into play. You may pay its mana cost reduced by up to 2. If you don't, sacrifice it.
.


Billy Mitchell
December 8th, 2012
American Flash
Flash
FlashSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
67
Artist:
David Ho
Text:
Put a creature card from your hand into play. You may pay its mana cost reduced by up to 2. If you don't, sacrifice it.


Creatures (11)

4: Augur of Bolas
Augur of Bolas
Augur of BolasSet: Magic 2013
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Merfolk Wizard
Rarity:
U
Number:
43
Artist:
Slawomir Maniak
Power:
1
Toughness:
3
Text:
When Augur of Bolas enters the battlefield, look at the top three cards of your library. You may reveal an instant or sorcery card from among them and put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.

3: Snapcaster Mage
Snapcaster Mage
Snapcaster MageSet: Innistrad
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Wizard
Rarity:
R
Number:
78
Artist:
Volkan Baga
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flash When Snapcaster Mage enters the battlefield, target instant or sorcery card in your graveyard gains flashback until end of turn. The flashback cost is equal to its mana cost. (You may cast that card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)

4: Restoration Angel
Restoration Angel
Restoration AngelSet: Avacyn Restored
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
32
Artist:
Johannes Voss
Power:
3
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flash Flying When Restoration Angel enters the battlefield, you may exile target non-Angel creature you control, then return that card to the battlefield under your control.


Instants and Sorceries (23)
2: Counterflux
Counterflux
CounterfluxSet: Return to Ravnica
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
153
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer
Text:
Counterflux can't be countered by spells or abilities. Counter target spell you don't control. Overload {1}{U}{U}{R} (You may cast this spell for its overload cost. If you do, change its text by replacing all instances of "target" with "each.")

1: Rewind
Rewind
RewindSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
93
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Text:
Counter target spell. Untap up to four lands.

2: Think Twice
Think Twice
Think TwiceSet: Time Spiral
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
86
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Text:
Draw a card. Flashback 2U (You may play this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then remove it from the game.)

4: Thought Scour
Thought Scour
Thought ScourSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
52
Artist:
David Rapoza
Text:
Target player puts the top two cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard. Draw a card.

4: Pillar of Flame
Pillar of Flame
Pillar of FlameSet: Avacyn Restored
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
149
Artist:
Karl Kopinski
Text:
Pillar of Flame deals 2 damage to target creature or player. If a creature dealt damage this way would die this turn, exile it instead.

4: Azorius Charm
Azorius Charm
Azorius CharmSet: Return to Ravnica
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
145
Artist:
Zoltan Boros
Text:
Choose one — Creatures you control gain lifelink until end of turn; or draw a card; or put target attacking or blocking creature on top of its owner's library.

3: Sphinx's Revelation
Sphinx's Revelation
Sphinx's RevelationSet: Return to Ravnica
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
M
Number:
200
Artist:
Slawomir Maniak
Text:
You gain X life and draw X cards.

1: Izzet Charm
Izzet Charm
Izzet CharmSet: Duel Decks Izzet vs. Golgari
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
21
Artist:
Zoltan Boros
Text:
Choose one — Counter target noncreature spell unless its controller pays {2}; or Izzet Charm deals 2 damage to target creature; or draw two cards, then discard two cards.

1: Syncopate
Syncopate
SyncopateSet: Odyssey
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
103
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Counter target spell unless its controller pays X. If that spell is countered this way, remove it from the game instead of putting it into its owner's graveyard.

1: Supreme Verdict
Supreme Verdict
Supreme VerdictSet: Return to Ravnica
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
201
Artist:
Sam Burley
Text:
Supreme Verdict can't be countered. Destroy all creatures.


Artifact (1)
1: Runechanter's Pike
Runechanter's Pike
Runechanter's PikeSet: Innistrad
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Sub Type:
Equipment
Rarity:
R
Number:
231
Artist:
John Avon
Text:
Equipped creature has first strike and gets +X/+0, where X is the number of instant and sorcery cards in your graveyard. Equip {2}


Lands (25)
4: Clifftop Retreat
Clifftop Retreat
Clifftop RetreatSet: Innistrad
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
238
Artist:
John Avon
Text:
Clifftop Retreat enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a Mountain or a Plains. {T}: Add {R} or {W} to your mana pool.

4: Glacial Fortress
Glacial Fortress
Glacial FortressSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
226
Artist:
Franz Vohwinkel
Text:
Glacial Fortress enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a Plains or an Island.{T}: Add {W} or {U} to your mana pool.

4: Hallowed Fountain
Hallowed Fountain
Hallowed FountainSet: Dissension
Color:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
174
Artist:
Rob Alexander

2: Island
Island
IslandSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add U to your mana pool.

1: Moorland Haunt
Moorland Haunt
Moorland HauntSet: Innistrad
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
244
Artist:
James Paick
Text:
{T}: Add {1} to your mana pool. {W}{U}, {T}, Exile a creature card from your graveyard: Put a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield.

1: Mountain
Mountain
MountainSet: Arabian Nights
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Tap to add R to your mana pool.

1: Plains
Plains
PlainsSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add W to your mana pool.

4: Steam Vents
Steam Vents
Steam VentsSet: Guildpact
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Sub Type:
Island Mountain
Rarity:
R
Number:
164
Text:
(T: Add U or R to your mana pool.) As Steam Vents comes into play, you may pay 2 life. If you don’t, Steam Vents comes into play tapped instead.

4: Sulfur Falls
Sulfur Falls
Sulfur FallsSet: Innistrad
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
248
Artist:
Cliff Childs
Text:
Sulfur Falls enters the battlefield tapped unless you control an Island or a Mountain. {T}: Add {U} or {R} to your mana pool.


Sideboard (15)
1: Curse of Echoes
Curse of Echoes
Curse of EchoesSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura Curse
Rarity:
R
Number:
34
Artist:
Slawomir Maniak
Text:
Enchant player Whenever enchanted player casts an instant or sorcery spell, each other player may copy that spell and may choose new targets for the copy he or she controls.

1: Detention Sphere
Detention Sphere
Detention SphereSet: Return to Ravnica
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
155
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
When Detention Sphere enters the battlefield, you may exile target nonland permanent not named Detention Sphere and all other permanents with the same name as that permanent. When Detention Sphere leaves the battlefield, return the exiled cards to the battlefield under their owner's control.

1: Oblivion Ring
Oblivion Ring
Oblivion RingSet: Lorwyn
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
C
Number:
34
Artist:
Wayne England
Text:
When Oblivion Ring comes into play, remove another target nonland permanent from the game. When Oblivion Ring leaves play, return the removed card to play under its owner's control.

2: Dispel
Dispel
DispelSet: Worldwake
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
26
Artist:
Vance Kovacs
Text:
Counter target instant spell.

1: Drogskol Reaver
Drogskol Reaver
Drogskol ReaverSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
7
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
M
Number:
137
Artist:
Vincent Proce
Power:
3
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying, double strike, lifelink Whenever you gain life, draw a card.

4: Izzet Staticaster
Izzet Staticaster
Izzet StaticasterSet: Return to Ravnica
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Wizard
Rarity:
U
Number:
173
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer
Power:
0
Toughness:
3
Text:
Flash (You may cast this spell any time you could cast an instant.) Haste {T}: Izzet Staticaster deals 1 damage to target creature and each other creature with the same name as that creature.

1: Negate
Negate
NegateSet: Morningtide
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
43
Artist:
Jeremy Jarvis
Text:
Counter target noncreature spell.

2: Rest in Peace
Rest in Peace
Rest in PeaceSet: Return to Ravnica
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
18
Artist:
Terese Nielsen
Text:
When Rest in Peace enters the battlefield, exile all cards from all graveyards. If a card or token would be put into a graveyard from anywhere, exile it instead.

1: Jace, Memory Adept
Jace, Memory Adept
Jace, Memory AdeptSet: Magic 2012
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Planeswalker
Sub Type:
Jace
Rarity:
M
Number:
58
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
+1: Draw a card. Target player puts the top card of his or her library into his or her graveyard. 0: Target player puts the top ten cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard. -7: Any number of target players each draw twenty cards.

1: Supreme Verdict
Supreme Verdict
Supreme VerdictSet: Return to Ravnica
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
201
Artist:
Sam Burley
Text:
Supreme Verdict can't be countered. Destroy all creatures.



This list is a 72 of the 75 cards Gerry Thompson played at the most recent TCGPlayer Invitational event. You'll find each version of UW Flash
Flash
FlashSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
67
Artist:
David Ho
Text:
Put a creature card from your hand into play. You may pay its mana cost reduced by up to 2. If you don't, sacrifice it.
will play very similar to each other. If you've played one then you've played them all. General advice: if you decide to switch decks with short notice, you should play something within the same archetype. I very rarely play aggro decks simply because I am not aware with the interactions I could encounter. If I can play something strategically familiar, I can more circumvent a bit of the learning curve.

I'm not going stick you with another tournament report for two articles in a row. Instead I'll highlight my takeaways from the event. Before I get too ahead of myself, I would like to give a couple shout outs to The Encounter in Allentown, PA, who put on quite an event this past weekend. Aside from being an event for their yearlong championship series, The Encounter went the extra mile to make this a Grand Prix Trial for Atlantic City. Stores like The Encounter raise the bar from what I expect whenever going to any event from a weekly event up to a Pro Tour Qualifier.

In two of my first 3 rounds I faced Bant
Bant
BantSet: Planechase
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Plane
Sub Type:
Alara
Rarity:
C
Number:
4
Artist:
Michael Komarck
Text:
All creatures have exalted. (Whenever a creature attacks alone, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn for each instance of exalted among permanents its controller controls.) Whenever you roll {C}, put a divinity counter on target green, white, or blue creature. That creature is indestructible as long as it has a divinity counter on it.
Control. If you happen to play or sit down against this deck, you should play as quickly as possible. These games are liable to go super-long; my games ranged from 30 minutes to 42 minutes. Between UWx Flash
Flash
FlashSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
67
Artist:
David Ho
Text:
Put a creature card from your hand into play. You may pay its mana cost reduced by up to 2. If you don't, sacrifice it.
and Bant
Bant
BantSet: Planechase
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Plane
Sub Type:
Alara
Rarity:
C
Number:
4
Artist:
Michael Komarck
Text:
All creatures have exalted. (Whenever a creature attacks alone, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn for each instance of exalted among permanents its controller controls.) Whenever you roll {C}, put a divinity counter on target green, white, or blue creature. That creature is indestructible as long as it has a divinity counter on it.
Control, Bant
Bant
BantSet: Planechase
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Plane
Sub Type:
Alara
Rarity:
C
Number:
4
Artist:
Michael Komarck
Text:
All creatures have exalted. (Whenever a creature attacks alone, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn for each instance of exalted among permanents its controller controls.) Whenever you roll {C}, put a divinity counter on target green, white, or blue creature. That creature is indestructible as long as it has a divinity counter on it.
is without a doubt more equipped to play the long game which subjects you to the uncomfortable role as the beatdown. Moorland Haunt
Moorland Haunt
Moorland HauntSet: Innistrad
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
244
Artist:
James Paick
Text:
{T}: Add {1} to your mana pool. {W}{U}, {T}, Exile a creature card from your graveyard: Put a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield.
and Runechanter's Pike
Runechanter's Pike
Runechanter's PikeSet: Innistrad
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Sub Type:
Equipment
Rarity:
R
Number:
231
Artist:
John Avon
Text:
Equipped creature has first strike and gets +X/+0, where X is the number of instant and sorcery cards in your graveyard. Equip {2}
go a long way in this matchup.

This is one of the only matchups where the default target for Thought Scour
Thought Scour
Thought ScourSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
52
Artist:
David Rapoza
Text:
Target player puts the top two cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard. Draw a card.
is your opponent. If you plan on killing them with a Runechanter's Pike
Runechanter's Pike
Runechanter's PikeSet: Innistrad
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Sub Type:
Equipment
Rarity:
R
Number:
231
Artist:
John Avon
Text:
Equipped creature has first strike and gets +X/+0, where X is the number of instant and sorcery cards in your graveyard. Equip {2}
on that turn, sure target yourself and win the game. If you cannot, you are more likely to make an impact by ridding the opponent of their powerful cards. Pound for pound the fight isn't fair. If you are lucky enough to mill the opponent's single Elixir, you're in good shape. While on the topic, counter Elixir of Immortality
Elixir of Immortality
Elixir of ImmortalitySet: Magic 2011
Cost:
1
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
206
Artist:
Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai
Text:
{2}, {T}: You gain 5 life. Shuffle Elixir of Immortality and your graveyard into your library.
at any cost. It seems innocuous but it will kill you. Obviously, not by itself but the game is likely to get to a point where you can't afford to cast Sphinx's Revelation
Sphinx's Revelation
Sphinx's RevelationSet: Return to Ravnica
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
M
Number:
200
Artist:
Slawomir Maniak
Text:
You gain X life and draw X cards.
for much value and you will fall too far behind on card advantage.

I have heard whispers that Bant
Bant
BantSet: Planechase
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Plane
Sub Type:
Alara
Rarity:
C
Number:
4
Artist:
Michael Komarck
Text:
All creatures have exalted. (Whenever a creature attacks alone, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn for each instance of exalted among permanents its controller controls.) Whenever you roll {C}, put a divinity counter on target green, white, or blue creature. That creature is indestructible as long as it has a divinity counter on it.
Control is on the decline but I beg to disagree. While the deck may not have a great game against the Rakdos and Rakdos Red (essentially the same deck but focused to slay its namesake), it feasts upon the remainder of the format. At this event in particular, Bant
Bant
BantSet: Planechase
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Plane
Sub Type:
Alara
Rarity:
C
Number:
4
Artist:
Michael Komarck
Text:
All creatures have exalted. (Whenever a creature attacks alone, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn for each instance of exalted among permanents its controller controls.) Whenever you roll {C}, put a divinity counter on target green, white, or blue creature. That creature is indestructible as long as it has a divinity counter on it.
Control occupied half of the Top 8.

I stated some time ago that Huntmaster of the Fells
Huntmaster of the Fells
Huntmaster of the FellsSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Werewolf
Rarity:
M
Number:
140
Artist:
Chris Rahn
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Whenever this creature enters the battlefield or transforms into Huntmaster of the Fells, put a 2/2 green Wolf creature token onto the battlefield and you gain 2 life. At the beginning of each upkeep, if no spells were cast last turn, transform Huntmaster of the Fells.
would be making a comeback and, at least locally, it has made its presence felt. Without opening Pandora's Box, this card is what midrange green-based decks should be doing right about now. Huntmaster of the Fells
Huntmaster of the Fells
Huntmaster of the FellsSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Werewolf
Rarity:
M
Number:
140
Artist:
Chris Rahn
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Whenever this creature enters the battlefield or transforms into Huntmaster of the Fells, put a 2/2 green Wolf creature token onto the battlefield and you gain 2 life. At the beginning of each upkeep, if no spells were cast last turn, transform Huntmaster of the Fells.
stops the bleeding against the Rakdos decks, easily flips against control lists and gobbles every small creature it can get it paws on. Expect to see a lot more of him in the future, especially when Breeding Pool
Breeding Pool
Breeding PoolSet: Dissension
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
172
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
Forest Island, (T: Add G or U to your mana pool.) As Breeding Pool comes into play, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, Breeding Pool comes into play tapped instead.
and Stomping Ground
Stomping Ground
Stomping GroundSet: Guildpact
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Sub Type:
Mountain Forest
Rarity:
R
Number:
165
Text:
(T: Add R or G to your mana pool.) As Stomping Ground comes into play, you may pay 2 life. If you don’t, Stomping Ground comes into play tapped instead.
s enter the format. For now, he is happy to live in Jund
Jund
JundSet: Planechase 2012 Edition
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Plane
Sub Type:
Alara
Rarity:
C
Number:
20
Artist:
Aleksi Briclot
Text:
Whenever a player casts a black, red, or green creature spell, it gains devour 5. (As the creature enters the battlefield, its controller may sacrifice any number of creatures. The creature enters the battlefield with five times that many +1/+1 counters on it.) Whenever you roll chaos, put two 1/1 red Goblin creature tokens onto the battlefield.
midrange lists along with Olivia Voldaren
Olivia Voldaren
Olivia VoldarenSet: Innistrad
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Vampire
Rarity:
M
Number:
215
Artist:
Eric Deschamps
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Flying {1}{R}: Olivia Voldaren deals 1 damage to another target creature. That creature becomes a Vampire in addition to its other types. Put a +1/+1 counter on Olivia Voldaren. {3}{B}{B}: Gain control of target Vampire for as long as you control Olivia Voldaren.
and Thragtusk
Thragtusk
ThragtuskSet: Magic 2013
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
R
Number:
193
Artist:
Nils Hamm
Power:
5
Toughness:
3
Text:
When Thragtusk enters the battlefield, you gain 5 life. When Thragtusk leaves the battlefield, put a 3/3 green Beast creature token onto the battlefield.
.

Always the fan of innovation, I feel the need to acknowledge a Rakdos Red innovator. For those who haven't seen this new inbred concoction, let's take a peek:

Murae Ryuji
December 8th, 2012
Rakdos Red
4th Place Grand Prix Nagoya

Creatures (26)

4: Ash Zealot
Ash Zealot
Ash ZealotSet: Return to Ravnica
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Warrior
Rarity:
R
Number:
86
Artist:
Eric Deschamps
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
First strike, haste Whenever a player casts a spell from a graveyard, Ash Zealot deals 3 damage to that player.

4: Falkenrath Aristocrat
Falkenrath Aristocrat
Falkenrath AristocratSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Vampire
Rarity:
M
Number:
138
Artist:
Igor Kieryluk
Power:
4
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying, haste Sacrifice a creature: Falkenrath Aristocrat is indestructible this turn. If the sacrificed creature was a Human, put a +1/+1 counter on Falkenrath Aristocrat.

3: Hellrider
Hellrider
HellriderSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Devil
Rarity:
R
Number:
93
Artist:
Svetlin Velinov
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Haste Whenever a creature you control attacks, Hellrider deals 1 damage to defending player.

4: Knight of Infamy
Knight of Infamy
Knight of InfamySet: Magic 2013
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Knight
Rarity:
U
Number:
96
Artist:
Peter Mohrbacher
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Protection from white (This creature can't be blocked, targeted, dealt damage, or enchanted by anything white.) Exalted (Whenever a creature you control attacks alone, that creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.)

4: Rakdos Cackler
Rakdos Cackler
Rakdos CacklerSet: Return to Ravnica
Cost:
5
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Devil
Rarity:
U
Number:
220
Artist:
Ryan Barger
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Unleash (You may have this creature enter the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it. It can't block as long as it has a +1/+1 counter on it.)

4: Stromkirk Noble
Stromkirk Noble
Stromkirk NobleSet: Innistrad
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Vampire
Rarity:
R
Number:
164
Artist:
James Ryman
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Stromkirk Noble can't be blocked by Humans. Whenever Stromkirk Noble deals combat damage to a player, put a +1/+1 counter on it.

3: Thundermaw Hellkite
Thundermaw Hellkite
Thundermaw HellkiteSet: Magic 2013
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Dragon
Rarity:
M
Number:
150
Artist:
Svetlin Velinov
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying Haste (This creature can attack and {T} as soon as it comes under your control.) When Thundermaw Hellkite enters the battlefield, it deals 1 damage to each creature with flying your opponents control. Tap those creatures.


Spells (10)
4: Searing Spear
Searing Spear
Searing SpearSet: Magic 2013
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
147
Artist:
Chris Rahn
Text:
Searing Spear deals 3 damage to target creature or player.

2: Bonfire of the Damned
Bonfire of the Damned
Bonfire of the DamnedSet: Avacyn Restored
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
M
Number:
129
Artist:
James Paick
Text:
Bonfire of the Damned deals X damage to target player and each creature he or she controls. Miracle {X}{R} (You may cast this card for its miracle cost when you draw it if it's the first card you drew this turn.)

4: Pillar of Flame
Pillar of Flame
Pillar of FlameSet: Avacyn Restored
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
149
Artist:
Karl Kopinski
Text:
Pillar of Flame deals 2 damage to target creature or player. If a creature dealt damage this way would die this turn, exile it instead.


Lands (24)
8: Mountain
Mountain
MountainSet: Arabian Nights
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Tap to add R to your mana pool.

1: Swamp
Swamp
SwampSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add B to your mana pool.

4: Blood Crypt
Blood Crypt
Blood CryptSet: Dissension
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
171
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
Swamp Mountain, (T: Add B or R to your mana pool.) As Blood Crypt comes into play, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, Blood Crypt comes into play tapped instead.

3: Cathedral of War
Cathedral of War
Cathedral of WarSet: Magic 2013
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
221
Artist:
Kekai Kotaki
Text:
Cathedral of War enters the battlefield tapped. Exalted (Whenever a creature you control attacks alone, that creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.) {T}: Add {1} to your mana pool.

4: Cavern of Souls
Cavern of Souls
Cavern of SoulsSet: Avacyn Restored
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
226
Artist:
Cliff Childs
Text:
As Cavern of Souls enters the battlefield, choose a creature type. {T}: Add {1} to your mana pool. {T}: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. Spend this mana only to cast a creature spell of the chosen type, and that spell can't be countered.

4: Dragonskull Summit
Dragonskull Summit
Dragonskull SummitSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
223
Artist:
Jon Foster
Text:
Dragonskull Summit enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a Swamp or a Mountain. {T}: Add {B} or {R} to your mana pool.


Sideboard (15)
2: Tormod's Crypt
Tormod's Crypt
Tormod's CryptSet: Chronicles
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Text:
T: Sacrifice Tormod's Crypt to remove all cards in target player's graveyard from the game.

2: Volcanic Strength
Volcanic Strength
Volcanic StrengthSet: Magic 2011
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura
Rarity:
C
Number:
158
Artist:
Izzy
Text:
Enchant creature Enchanted creature gets +2/+2 and has mountainwalk. (It's unblockable as long as defending player controls a Mountain.)

2: Annihilating Fire
Annihilating Fire
Annihilating FireSet: Return to Ravnica
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
85
Artist:
Clint Cearley
Text:
Annihilating Fire deals 3 damage to target creature or player. If a creature dealt damage this way would die this turn, exile it instead.

2: Tragic Slip
Tragic Slip
Tragic SlipSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
76
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Text:
Target creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn. Morbid — That creature gets -13/-13 until end of turn instead if a creature died this turn.

1: Ultimate Price
Ultimate Price
Ultimate PriceSet: Return to Ravnica
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
82
Artist:
Karl Kopinski
Text:
Destroy target monocolored creature.

1: Appetite for Brains
Appetite for Brains
Appetite for BrainsSet: Avacyn Restored
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
84
Artist:
Michael C. Hayes
Text:
Target opponent reveals his or her hand. You choose a card from it with converted mana cost 4 or greater and exile that card.

1: Bonfire of the Damned
Bonfire of the Damned
Bonfire of the DamnedSet: Avacyn Restored
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
M
Number:
129
Artist:
James Paick
Text:
Bonfire of the Damned deals X damage to target player and each creature he or she controls. Miracle {X}{R} (You may cast this card for its miracle cost when you draw it if it's the first card you drew this turn.)

1: Dreadbore
Dreadbore
DreadboreSet: Return to Ravnica
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
157
Artist:
Wayne Reynolds
Text:
Destroy target creature or planeswalker.

1: Duress
Duress
DuressSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
132
Artist:
Lawrence Snelly
Text:
Look at target opponent's hand and choose a noncreature, nonland card there. That player discards that card.

2: Mizzium Mortars
Mizzium Mortars
Mizzium MortarsSet: Return to Ravnica
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
101
Artist:
Noah Bradley
Text:
Mizzium Mortars deals 4 damage to target creature you don't control. Overload {3}{R}{R}{R} (You may cast this spell for its overload cost. If you do, change its text by replacing all instances of "target" with "each.")



Murae Ryuji wasn't the innovator by the way. He was busy in Japan putting up a solid finish at Grand Prix Nagoya and qualifying for the Pro Tour. The individual in question (which is the fancy way of saying I never got his name) played Hellhole Flailer
Hellhole Flailer
Hellhole FlailerSet: Return to Ravnica
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Ogre Warrior
Rarity:
U
Number:
167
Artist:
Steve Prescott
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
Unleash (You may have this creature enter the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it. It can't block as long as it has a +1/+1 counter on it.) {2}{B}{R}, Sacrifice Hellhole Flailer: Hellhole Flailer deals damage equal to its power to target player.
in his 75. The pilot and his lot of zombies and friends ran over his quarterfinals opponent. Without having played his exact list, the card seems to fit snugly as a formidable 3-drop, replacing Geralf's Messenger
Geralf's Messenger
Geralf's MessengerSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Zombie
Rarity:
R
Number:
63
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
Geralf's Messenger enters the battlefield tapped. When Geralf's Messenger enters the battlefield, target opponent loses 2 life. Undying (When this creature dies, if it had no +1/+1 counters on it, return it to the battlefield under its owner's control with a +1/+1 counter on it.)
from the blueprint Rakdos strategy.

Moving Forward
If you are not aware, the current Planeswalker Point season ends on December 16th. For those not in the know, the Planeswalker Points System rewards you with byes for Grand Prix and entry for the World Magic Cup qualifiers held around the country. I am expecting to end the season with about 300 points, below the 400-point threshold to obtain a one-round bye for Grand Prix Atlantic City and Pittsburgh this upcoming season.

Perhaps it's my personal game or maybe it's all the support I have been receiving lately. Either way, I'm setting my sights high. My goal is to obtain at least two byes by the end of the next season, which will end sometime around mid- April. In order to achieve my goal, I will need a whopping 750 points. A closer look at the number show that's not actually too hard.

Like your average tournament, you obtain 3 points for every match win, 1 for every draw and 0 for each loss. The kicker is participation points and multipliers. Participation points are just that. If you show up, you get points. The multipliers are the bang for your buck. Here are my Planeswalker Point earnings from Grand Prix Philadelphia:


Grand Prix Philadelphia 2012
Event Type: Magic Grand Prix
Event Multiplier: x8
Players: 1987
Participation Points: 64
Format: Sealed

Match History:
1 Win (+24)
2 Loss (+0)
3 Win (+24)
4 Loss (+0)
5 Win (+24)
6 Loss (+0)


First, I got 64 points for showing up! I could have withdrawn immediately after receiving my sealed deck. I still would have earned 16% of the points needed to earn a one- round bye. After ending my day early, it had earned 136 points, good for more than a third of the points for a one- round bye. If you can play three Grand Prix and win half the time, then you've got a bye waiting for you at your next event.

While the mythical x8 multiplier is exclusively for Grand Prix, Grand Prix Trials and SCG Open events provide 3x multipliers and Pro Tour Qualifiers provide a 5x multiplier. If I attend and win about half my matches at two Grand Prix (~150 points each), 2 SCG Opens, 3 Grand Prix Trials (~50 each), and 4 Pro Tour Qualifiers (~75 each), I would earn more than enough points to pass my goal.

This plan seems solid. Stick to the plan, earn byes. There is a slight problem. The PTQ has switched to from Sealed to Modern. Now what should I play? Jund
Jund
JundSet: Planechase 2012 Edition
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Plane
Sub Type:
Alara
Rarity:
C
Number:
20
Artist:
Aleksi Briclot
Text:
Whenever a player casts a black, red, or green creature spell, it gains devour 5. (As the creature enters the battlefield, its controller may sacrifice any number of creatures. The creature enters the battlefield with five times that many +1/+1 counters on it.) Whenever you roll chaos, put two 1/1 red Goblin creature tokens onto the battlefield.
? Storm? Splinter Twin
Splinter Twin
Splinter TwinSet: Rise of the Eldrazi
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura
Rarity:
R
Number:
165
Artist:
Goran Josic
Text:
Enchant creature Enchanted creature has "{T}: Put a token that's a copy of this creature onto the battlefield. That token has haste. Exile it at the beginning of the next end step."
? How about GW Little Kid? Melira Pod sounds cool. There's something to think about.


Game on,
Billy Mitchell

Badluckbandit on MTGO
@badluckbandit on twitter


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