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Econo-Standard - Bob Pitcher (8/25/2008)

For those of you who read my Isles of Orkney article, I just have to point out that a Nucklavee
Nucklavee
NucklaveeSet: Eventide
Cost:
6
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
U
Number:
110
Artist:
Trevor Hairsine
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
When Nucklavee comes into play, you may return target red sorcery card from your graveyard to your hand. When Nucklavee comes into play, you may return target blue instant card from your graveyard to your hand.
appeared in the Top 8 Standard decks at the US Nationals!

*giggle*

This article is about a couple of Standard decks I have been working on for casual games. Authors with better Magic credentials than myself have written countless articles about the current Standard metagame. If you are a serious competitor, I urge you to go to those articles. Less experienced players might find something useful or entertaining in my article, but you won’t find any World Championship tech here.

In keeping with my “casually competitive” nature, the Standard decks in this article will not include any rare cards. That allows me to enjoy building a deck rather than just throwing together a current “deck to beat”. Unless I am testing to compete in a serious tournament, I find no joy in playing a serious deck designed by someone else.

Building decks with no rare cards does not mean I throw deck theory to the wind. I try to incorporate as much theory as I can into my decks. Obviously, that helps make the deck better, but it also helps me teach less experienced player something about the game. I try to share my ideas during games and in articles like this. I’m not particularly intelligent Magic-wise, but I’ve been playing a LONG time, and I’ve read so much about the game, that I usually have something interesting to reveal to less experienced players.

The first deck is actually a conversion of a deck I was hoping to play in the current Block Constructed Pro Tour Qualifier season: Wilt-Leaf Fire. The block deck consisted of some better green/white hybrid cards mixed with some red for Lash Out
Lash Out
Lash OutSet: Lorwyn
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
183
Artist:
Scott Hampton
Text:
Lash Out deals 3 damage to target creature. Clash with an opponent. If you win, Lash Out deals 3 damage to that creature's controller. (Each clashing player reveals the top card of his or her library, then puts that card on the top or bottom. A player wins if his or her card had a higher converted mana cost.)
and Firespout
Firespout
FirespoutSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
205
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
Firespout deals 3 damage to each creature without flying if R was spent to play Firespout and 3 damage to each creature with flying if G was spent to play it. (Do both if RG was spent.)
. The beefy creatures such as Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers
Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers
Wilt-Leaf CavaliersSet: Knights vs. Dragons
Cost:
15
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elf Knight
Rarity:
U
Number:
15
Artist:
Steve Prescott
Power:
3
Toughness:
4
Text:
Vigilance
could withstand my own Firespout
Firespout
FirespoutSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
205
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
Firespout deals 3 damage to each creature without flying if R was spent to play Firespout and 3 damage to each creature with flying if G was spent to play it. (Do both if RG was spent.)
s as I swept the table of any Kithkin, Merfolk, or Elves. The colors also gave me access to some anti-Fae tech, main deck and sideboard. Wilt-Leaf Fire was not one of the popular decks to beat, but it was mine, and I was excited to get to play it competitively. Unfortunately, surgery interrupted my hopes of attending two PTQ’s in the Toronto area. My status as an old married guy with kids leads me to chose not to drive four hours for other PTQ’s.

For my casually competitive Standard version of my Wilt-Leaf Fire deck, I wanted to continue with the theme of using Firespout
Firespout
FirespoutSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
205
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
Firespout deals 3 damage to each creature without flying if R was spent to play Firespout and 3 damage to each creature with flying if G was spent to play it. (Do both if RG was spent.)
and creatures able to withstand Firespout
Firespout
FirespoutSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
205
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
Firespout deals 3 damage to each creature without flying if R was spent to play Firespout and 3 damage to each creature with flying if G was spent to play it. (Do both if RG was spent.)
. Here’s what I came up with, followed by an explanation of why I chose the cards.

Creatures (20):
4 Stonecloaker
Stonecloaker
StonecloakerSet: Planar Chaos
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Gargoyle
Rarity:
U
Number:
19
Artist:
Tomas Giorello
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flash (You may play this spell any time you could play an instant.) Flying When Stonecloaker comes into play, return a creature you control to its owner's hand. When Stonecloaker comes into play, remove target card in a graveyard from the game.

4 Phyrexian Ironfoot
Phyrexian Ironfoot
Phyrexian IronfootSet: Coldsnap
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Sub Type:
Snow Artifact - Construct
Rarity:
U
Number:
139
Artist:
Stephan Martiniere
Power:
3
Toughness:
4
Text:
Phyrexian Ironfoot doesn't untap during your untap step. 1oSi: Untap Phyrexian Ironfoot. (oSi can be paid with one mana from a snow permanent.)

4 Kitchen Finks
Kitchen Finks
Kitchen FinksSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
5
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Ouphe
Rarity:
U
Number:
229
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Kitchen Finks comes into play, you gain 2 life. Persist (When this creature is put into a graveyard from play, if it had no -1/-1 counters on it, return it to play under its owner's control with a -1/-1 counter on it.)

4 Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers
Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers
Wilt-Leaf CavaliersSet: Knights vs. Dragons
Cost:
15
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elf Knight
Rarity:
U
Number:
15
Artist:
Steve Prescott
Power:
3
Toughness:
4
Text:
Vigilance

4 Calciderm
Calciderm
CalcidermSet: Planar Chaos
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
u
Number:
23
Artist:
Dave Kendall
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Vanishing 4 (This permanent comes into play with four time counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a time counter from it. When the last is removed, sacrifice it.) Calciderm can't be the target of spells or abilities.


Spells (16):
4 Skred
Skred
SkredSet: Coldsnap
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
97
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Text:
Skred deals damage to target creature equal to the number of snow permanents you control.

4 Into the North
Into the North
Into the NorthSet: Coldsnap
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
111
Artist:
Richard Sardinha
Text:
Search your library for a snow land card and put it into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.

4 Firespout
Firespout
FirespoutSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
205
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
Firespout deals 3 damage to each creature without flying if R was spent to play Firespout and 3 damage to each creature with flying if G was spent to play it. (Do both if RG was spent.)

4 Harmonize
Harmonize
HarmonizeSet: Planar Chaos
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
u
Number:
149
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
Draw three cards.


Land (24):
4 Arctic Flats
Arctic Flats
Arctic FlatsSet: Coldsnap
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Sub Type:
Snow Land
Rarity:
U
Number:
143
Artist:
John Avon
Text:
Arctic Flats comes into play tapped. T Add G or W to your mana pool.

4 Highland Weald
Highland Weald
Highland WealdSet: Coldsnap
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Sub Type:
Snow Land
Rarity:
U
Number:
147
Artist:
John Avon
Text:
Highland Weald comes into play tapped. T Add R or G to your mana pool.

4 Treetop Village
Treetop Village
Treetop VillageSet: Urza's Legacy
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
U
Number:
143
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Text:
Treetop Village comes into play tapped.T: Add one green mana to your mana pool.1G: Treetop Village becomes a 3/3 green creature with trample until end of turn. This creature still counts as a land.

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

4 Snow-Covered Mountain
Mountain
MountainSet: Arabian Nights
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Tap to add R to your mana pool.
s
4 Snow-Covered Forest
Forest
ForestSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool.
s

The whole snow theme came about as a way to fix the mana in this deck. Not using rare cards meant that I miss out on the best lands. The Vivid lands are okay, but I can’t search for them with something like Rampant Growth
Rampant Growth
Rampant GrowthSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
246
Artist:
Tom Kyffin
Text:
Search your library for a basic land card and put that card into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.
. Into the North
Into the North
Into the NorthSet: Coldsnap
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
111
Artist:
Richard Sardinha
Text:
Search your library for a snow land card and put it into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.
, however, can search for Arctic Flats
Arctic Flats
Arctic FlatsSet: Coldsnap
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Sub Type:
Snow Land
Rarity:
U
Number:
143
Artist:
John Avon
Text:
Arctic Flats comes into play tapped. T Add G or W to your mana pool.
and Highland Weald
Highland Weald
Highland WealdSet: Coldsnap
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Sub Type:
Snow Land
Rarity:
U
Number:
147
Artist:
John Avon
Text:
Highland Weald comes into play tapped. T Add R or G to your mana pool.
. That provides this deck with mana fixing (getting the right colors), mana acceleration (putting extra land into play early), and deck thinning (getting land out of the deck so I have more chance of drawing a spell later on when I don’t want more land).

Of course the snow theme allowed me to use Skred
Skred
SkredSet: Coldsnap
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
97
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Text:
Skred deals damage to target creature equal to the number of snow permanents you control.
instead of Lash Out
Lash Out
Lash OutSet: Lorwyn
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
183
Artist:
Scott Hampton
Text:
Lash Out deals 3 damage to target creature. Clash with an opponent. If you win, Lash Out deals 3 damage to that creature's controller. (Each clashing player reveals the top card of his or her library, then puts that card on the top or bottom. A player wins if his or her card had a higher converted mana cost.)
or Incinerate
Incinerate
IncinerateSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer
Text:
Incinerate deals 3 damage to target creature or player. Creatures damaged by Incinerate cannot regenerate this turn.
. I do like the idea of Incinerate
Incinerate
IncinerateSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer
Text:
Incinerate deals 3 damage to target creature or player. Creatures damaged by Incinerate cannot regenerate this turn.
, as it prevents regeneration and can be used to deal damage directly to my opponent. Skred
Skred
SkredSet: Coldsnap
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
97
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Text:
Skred deals damage to target creature equal to the number of snow permanents you control.
is just too powerful to ignore though. Big removal like Skred
Skred
SkredSet: Coldsnap
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
97
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Text:
Skred deals damage to target creature equal to the number of snow permanents you control.
is necessary against creatures that are too big for my Firespout
Firespout
FirespoutSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
205
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
Firespout deals 3 damage to each creature without flying if R was spent to play Firespout and 3 damage to each creature with flying if G was spent to play it. (Do both if RG was spent.)
s to deal with.

Continuing with the snow theme allowed me to consider Phyrexian Ironfoot
Phyrexian Ironfoot
Phyrexian IronfootSet: Coldsnap
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Sub Type:
Snow Artifact - Construct
Rarity:
U
Number:
139
Artist:
Stephan Martiniere
Power:
3
Toughness:
4
Text:
Phyrexian Ironfoot doesn't untap during your untap step. 1oSi: Untap Phyrexian Ironfoot. (oSi can be paid with one mana from a snow permanent.)
over Tattermunge Duo
Tattermunge Duo
Tattermunge DuoSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Goblin Warrior Shaman
Rarity:
C
Number:
218
Artist:
Jesper Ejsing
Power:
2
Toughness:
3
Text:
Whenever you play a red spell, Tattermunge Duo gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Whenever you play a green spell, Tattermunge Duo gains forestwalk until end of turn.
. Both can survive my own Firespout
Firespout
FirespoutSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
205
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
Firespout deals 3 damage to each creature without flying if R was spent to play Firespout and 3 damage to each creature with flying if G was spent to play it. (Do both if RG was spent.)
s. I like that the Duo can sometimes have Forest
Forest
ForestSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool.
walk. Then I thought, “What good is sometimes having evasion against some of the players?” The Ironfoot, on the other hand, is already bigger than the duo, can be played no matter what color I might be short on, increases the snow count to 24 for Skred
Skred
SkredSet: Coldsnap
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
97
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Text:
Skred deals damage to target creature equal to the number of snow permanents you control.
, and can untap to block on my opponent’s turn. Ironfoot dodges Shriekmaw
Shriekmaw
ShriekmawSet: Lorwyn
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elemental
Rarity:
U
Number:
139
Artist:
Steve Prescott
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
Fear When Shriekmaw comes into play, destroy target nonartifact, nonblack creature. Evoke 1B (You may play this spell for its evoke cost. If you do, it's sacrificed when it comes into play.)
and Terror
Terror
TerrorSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
Buries target creature. Cannot target black creatures or artifact creatures.
, and survives Nameless Inversion
Nameless Inversion
Nameless InversionSet: Lorwyn
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Tribal Instant
Sub Type:
Shapeshifter
Rarity:
C
Number:
128
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
Changeling (This card is every creature type at all times.) Target creature gets +3/-3 and loses all creature types until end of turn.
, Incinerate
Incinerate
IncinerateSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer
Text:
Incinerate deals 3 damage to target creature or player. Creatures damaged by Incinerate cannot regenerate this turn.
, Shock
Shock
ShockSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
206
Artist:
Randy Gallegos
Text:
Shock deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
, etc. Envelop
Envelop
EnvelopSet: Judgment
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
39
Artist:
Don Hazeltine

Text:
Counter target sorcery spell.
e please.

Last year I played in a TSP Block Constructed PTQ. I performed poorly, but my deck was really fun. It was the net deck known as Kavu Justice
Justice
JusticeSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Ruth Thompson
Text:
During your upkeep, pay WW or bury Justice.Whenever any red creature or spell assigns damage, Justice deals an equal amount of damage to that creature's or spell's controller.
. I don’t want to get into that deck too much here, other than to say I got the Stonecloaker
Stonecloaker
StonecloakerSet: Planar Chaos
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Gargoyle
Rarity:
U
Number:
19
Artist:
Tomas Giorello
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flash (You may play this spell any time you could play an instant.) Flying When Stonecloaker comes into play, return a creature you control to its owner's hand. When Stonecloaker comes into play, remove target card in a graveyard from the game.
s and Calciderm
Calciderm
CalcidermSet: Planar Chaos
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
u
Number:
23
Artist:
Dave Kendall
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Vanishing 4 (This permanent comes into play with four time counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a time counter from it. When the last is removed, sacrifice it.) Calciderm can't be the target of spells or abilities.
s from that deck. Calciderm
Calciderm
CalcidermSet: Planar Chaos
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
u
Number:
23
Artist:
Dave Kendall
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Vanishing 4 (This permanent comes into play with four time counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a time counter from it. When the last is removed, sacrifice it.) Calciderm can't be the target of spells or abilities.
s are obviously big enough to survive my own Firespout
Firespout
FirespoutSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
205
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
Firespout deals 3 damage to each creature without flying if R was spent to play Firespout and 3 damage to each creature with flying if G was spent to play it. (Do both if RG was spent.)
s. They have Shroud too, which makes them fill the void left by Chameleon Colossus
Chameleon Colossus
Chameleon ColossusSet: Morningtide
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Shapeshifter
Rarity:
R
Number:
116
Artist:
Darrell Riche
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Changeling (This card is every creature type at all times.)Protection from black2GG: Chameleon Colossus gets +X/+X until end of turn, where X is its power.
when I chose not to use rare cards. Stonecloaker
Stonecloaker
StonecloakerSet: Planar Chaos
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Gargoyle
Rarity:
U
Number:
19
Artist:
Tomas Giorello
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flash (You may play this spell any time you could play an instant.) Flying When Stonecloaker comes into play, return a creature you control to its owner's hand. When Stonecloaker comes into play, remove target card in a graveyard from the game.
can be used to save the Calciderm
Calciderm
CalcidermSet: Planar Chaos
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
u
Number:
23
Artist:
Dave Kendall
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Vanishing 4 (This permanent comes into play with four time counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a time counter from it. When the last is removed, sacrifice it.) Calciderm can't be the target of spells or abilities.
before it Vanishes. Yes, Stonecloaker
Stonecloaker
StonecloakerSet: Planar Chaos
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Gargoyle
Rarity:
U
Number:
19
Artist:
Tomas Giorello
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flash (You may play this spell any time you could play an instant.) Flying When Stonecloaker comes into play, return a creature you control to its owner's hand. When Stonecloaker comes into play, remove target card in a graveyard from the game.
does not target the creature, so you can chose to bounce Calciderm
Calciderm
CalcidermSet: Planar Chaos
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
u
Number:
23
Artist:
Dave Kendall
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Vanishing 4 (This permanent comes into play with four time counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a time counter from it. When the last is removed, sacrifice it.) Calciderm can't be the target of spells or abilities.
regardless of Shroud.

Saving Calciderm
Calciderm
CalcidermSet: Planar Chaos
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
u
Number:
23
Artist:
Dave Kendall
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Vanishing 4 (This permanent comes into play with four time counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a time counter from it. When the last is removed, sacrifice it.) Calciderm can't be the target of spells or abilities.
is not enough of a reason to use Stonecloaker
Stonecloaker
StonecloakerSet: Planar Chaos
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Gargoyle
Rarity:
U
Number:
19
Artist:
Tomas Giorello
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flash (You may play this spell any time you could play an instant.) Flying When Stonecloaker comes into play, return a creature you control to its owner's hand. When Stonecloaker comes into play, remove target card in a graveyard from the game.
, but there are many other reasons. Obviously a 3/2 flyer for three mana is nothing to ignore. Mix in 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 you have the ability to surprise your opponent and mess with the math of the game. Removing cards from graveyards is stronger than ever, with Retrace, Reveillark
Reveillark
ReveillarkSet: Morningtide
Cost:
5
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elemental
Rarity:
R
Number:
22
Artist:
Jim Murray
Power:
4
Toughness:
3
Text:
Flying When Reveillark leaves play, return up to two target creature cards with power 2 or less from your graveyard to play. Evoke 5W(You may play this spell for its evoke cost. If you do, it's sacrificed when it comes into play.)
, and Makeshift Mannequin
Makeshift Mannequin
Makeshift MannequinSet: Lorwyn
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
124
Artist:
Darrell Riche
Text:
Return target creature card from your graveyard to play with a mannequin counter on it. As long as that creature has a mannequin counter on it, it has "When this creature becomes the target of a spell or ability, sacrifice it." 0
around. Stonecloaker
Stonecloaker
StonecloakerSet: Planar Chaos
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Gargoyle
Rarity:
U
Number:
19
Artist:
Tomas Giorello
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flash (You may play this spell any time you could play an instant.) Flying When Stonecloaker comes into play, return a creature you control to its owner's hand. When Stonecloaker comes into play, remove target card in a graveyard from the game.
can foil an opponent’s removal spell (or Sower of Temptation
Sower of Temptation
Sower of TemptationSet: Lorwyn
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Faerie Wizard
Rarity:
R
Number:
88
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flying When Sower of Temptation comes into play, gain control of target creature as long as Sower of Temptation remains in play.
) by bouncing the target. How about bouncing the target when an opponent aims Mirrorweave
Mirrorweave
MirrorweaveSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
6
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
143
Artist:
Jim Pavelec
Text:
Each other creature becomes a copy of target nonlegendary creature until end of turn.
at one of your creatures? You’ve probably already thought of a couple tricks for Stonecloaker
Stonecloaker
StonecloakerSet: Planar Chaos
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Gargoyle
Rarity:
U
Number:
19
Artist:
Tomas Giorello
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flash (You may play this spell any time you could play an instant.) Flying When Stonecloaker comes into play, return a creature you control to its owner's hand. When Stonecloaker comes into play, remove target card in a graveyard from the game.
before finishing this paragraph.

I wrote about Kitchen Finks
Kitchen Finks
Kitchen FinksSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
5
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Ouphe
Rarity:
U
Number:
229
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Kitchen Finks comes into play, you gain 2 life. Persist (When this creature is put into a graveyard from play, if it had no -1/-1 counters on it, return it to play under its owner's control with a -1/-1 counter on it.)
in my Olka’s Veil article. I won’t repeat what I wrote there, but there’s more to say now! Finks does not survive my own Firespout
Firespout
FirespoutSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
205
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
Firespout deals 3 damage to each creature without flying if R was spent to play Firespout and 3 damage to each creature with flying if G was spent to play it. (Do both if RG was spent.)
s, but if I get to sweep away a few of my opponents creatures, the exchange is probably worth it, especially if my Finks Persists back into play and gains me two more life. Of course, a Finks with a -1/-1 counter on it would work pretty well with a Stonecloaker
Stonecloaker
StonecloakerSet: Planar Chaos
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Gargoyle
Rarity:
U
Number:
19
Artist:
Tomas Giorello
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flash (You may play this spell any time you could play an instant.) Flying When Stonecloaker comes into play, return a creature you control to its owner's hand. When Stonecloaker comes into play, remove target card in a graveyard from the game.
, don’t you think?

It’s not just about good individual cards, but about how those cards work together.

Of course, planning a Standard deck requires considering ways to handle the current “decks to beat”. After Nationals, red decks seem to be all the rage. Faeries are still a threat, and we can’t ignore Kithkin or Elves yet either. Firespout
Firespout
FirespoutSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
205
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
Firespout deals 3 damage to each creature without flying if R was spent to play Firespout and 3 damage to each creature with flying if G was spent to play it. (Do both if RG was spent.)
and big creatures go a long way in dealing with the various “weenie” decks. Re-using Kitchen Finks
Kitchen Finks
Kitchen FinksSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
5
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Ouphe
Rarity:
U
Number:
229
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Kitchen Finks comes into play, you gain 2 life. Persist (When this creature is put into a graveyard from play, if it had no -1/-1 counters on it, return it to play under its owner's control with a -1/-1 counter on it.)
with Stonecloaker
Stonecloaker
StonecloakerSet: Planar Chaos
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Gargoyle
Rarity:
U
Number:
19
Artist:
Tomas Giorello
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flash (You may play this spell any time you could play an instant.) Flying When Stonecloaker comes into play, return a creature you control to its owner's hand. When Stonecloaker comes into play, remove target card in a graveyard from the game.
should help against those nasty red decks, but watch out for Stigma Lasher
Stigma Lasher
Stigma LasherSet: Eventide
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elemental Shaman
Rarity:
R
Number:
62
Artist:
Aleksi Briclot
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Wither (This deals damage to creatures in the form of -1/-1 counters.) Whenever Stigma Lasher deals damage to a player, that player can't gain life for the rest of the game.
. This deck has some resilience against Magus of the Moon
Magus of the Moon
Magus of the MoonSet: Future Sight
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Wizard
Rarity:
R
Number:
101
Artist:
Franz Vohwinkel
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Nonbasic lands are Mountains.
, in that it runs some basic lands and can play Skred
Skred
SkredSet: Coldsnap
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
97
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Text:
Skred deals damage to target creature equal to the number of snow permanents you control.
, Firespout
Firespout
FirespoutSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
205
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
Firespout deals 3 damage to each creature without flying if R was spent to play Firespout and 3 damage to each creature with flying if G was spent to play it. (Do both if RG was spent.)
, and Ironfoot regardless of the Magus.

In my Isles of Orkney article, I mentioned how I wanted to build a Block deck using Retrace and Tilling Treefolk
Tilling Treefolk
Tilling TreefolkSet: Eventide
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Treefolk Druid
Rarity:
C
Number:
78
Artist:
rk post
Power:
1
Toughness:
3
Text:
When Tilling Treefolk comes into play, you may return up to two target land cards from your graveyard to your hand.
. I am still trying to create that deck, and found something similar to build for one of my casually competitive Standard decks. I saw how Civic Wayfinder
Civic Wayfinder
Civic WayfinderSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elf Warrior Druid
Rarity:
C
Number:
157
Artist:
Cyril Van Der Haegen
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Civic Wayfinder comes into play, you may search your library for a basic land card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. If you do, shuffle your library.
could work like Tilling Treefolk
Tilling Treefolk
Tilling TreefolkSet: Eventide
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Treefolk Druid
Rarity:
C
Number:
78
Artist:
rk post
Power:
1
Toughness:
3
Text:
When Tilling Treefolk comes into play, you may return up to two target land cards from your graveyard to your hand.
to power up Retrace. Raven’s Crime is about the only Retrace spell I feel is good enough for Standard, and the Wayfinder is an Elf, so I tinkered with my Dark Elves deck and came up with this:

Creatures (20):
4 Llanowar Elves
Llanowar Elves
Llanowar ElvesSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elves
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Anson Maddocks
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool. This ability is played as an interrupt.

4 Wren’s Run Vanquish
Vanquish
VanquishSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
20
Text:
Destroy target blocking creature.
er
4 Wolf-Skull Shaman
4 Imperious Perfect
Imperious Perfect
Imperious PerfectSet: Lorwyn
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elf Warrior
Rarity:
U
Number:
220
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Other Elf creatures you control get +1/+1. G, T: Put a 1/1 green Elf Warrior creature token into play.

4 Civic Wayfinder
Civic Wayfinder
Civic WayfinderSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elf Warrior Druid
Rarity:
C
Number:
157
Artist:
Cyril Van Der Haegen
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Civic Wayfinder comes into play, you may search your library for a basic land card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. If you do, shuffle your library.


Spells (16):
4 Raven’s Crime
4 Nameless Inversion
Nameless Inversion
Nameless InversionSet: Lorwyn
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Tribal Instant
Sub Type:
Shapeshifter
Rarity:
C
Number:
128
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
Changeling (This card is every creature type at all times.) Target creature gets +3/-3 and loses all creature types until end of turn.

4 Shriekmaw
Shriekmaw
ShriekmawSet: Lorwyn
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elemental
Rarity:
U
Number:
139
Artist:
Steve Prescott
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
Fear When Shriekmaw comes into play, destroy target nonartifact, nonblack creature. Evoke 1B (You may play this spell for its evoke cost. If you do, it's sacrificed when it comes into play.)

4 Overrun
Overrun
OverrunSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
All creatures you control get +3/+3 and gain trample until end of turn.


Land (24):
4 Vivid Grove
Vivid Grove
Vivid GroveSet: Lorwyn
Cost:
0
Type:
Land
Rarity:
U
Number:
277
Artist:
Howard Lyon
Text:
Vivid Grove comes into play tapped with two charge counters on it. T: Add G to your mana pool. T, Remove a charge counter from Vivid Grove: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.

8 Swamp
Swamp
SwampSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add B to your mana pool.
s
12 Forest
Forest
ForestSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool.
s

When first working on this deck I broke my “four of each card” rule to get around having four Shriekmaw
Shriekmaw
ShriekmawSet: Lorwyn
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elemental
Rarity:
U
Number:
139
Artist:
Steve Prescott
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
Fear When Shriekmaw comes into play, destroy target nonartifact, nonblack creature. Evoke 1B (You may play this spell for its evoke cost. If you do, it's sacrificed when it comes into play.)
. Now that Nationals has defined red as an important color again, the removal power of Shriekmaw
Shriekmaw
ShriekmawSet: Lorwyn
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elemental
Rarity:
U
Number:
139
Artist:
Steve Prescott
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
Fear When Shriekmaw comes into play, destroy target nonartifact, nonblack creature. Evoke 1B (You may play this spell for its evoke cost. If you do, it's sacrificed when it comes into play.)
has increased enough for me to use four in a casual deck. Four Overrun
Overrun
OverrunSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
All creatures you control get +3/+3 and gain trample until end of turn.
is more than I would usually recommend, but to keep my casual decks simple, four is not all bad.

I listed Shriekmaw
Shriekmaw
ShriekmawSet: Lorwyn
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elemental
Rarity:
U
Number:
139
Artist:
Steve Prescott
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
Fear When Shriekmaw comes into play, destroy target nonartifact, nonblack creature. Evoke 1B (You may play this spell for its evoke cost. If you do, it's sacrificed when it comes into play.)
as a spell, because it really is intended as a Terror
Terror
TerrorSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
Buries target creature. Cannot target black creatures or artifact creatures.
type of spell. I chose Nameless Inversion
Nameless Inversion
Nameless InversionSet: Lorwyn
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Tribal Instant
Sub Type:
Shapeshifter
Rarity:
C
Number:
128
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
Changeling (This card is every creature type at all times.) Target creature gets +3/-3 and loses all creature types until end of turn.
over Terror
Terror
TerrorSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
Buries target creature. Cannot target black creatures or artifact creatures.
for my deck, so I don‘t roll over and die to a black deck. With Inversion as my instant removal spell, I wanted Shriekmaw
Shriekmaw
ShriekmawSet: Lorwyn
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elemental
Rarity:
U
Number:
139
Artist:
Steve Prescott
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
Fear When Shriekmaw comes into play, destroy target nonartifact, nonblack creature. Evoke 1B (You may play this spell for its evoke cost. If you do, it's sacrificed when it comes into play.)
there to back it up should I run into some non-black fatties. Of course, Shriekmaw
Shriekmaw
ShriekmawSet: Lorwyn
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elemental
Rarity:
U
Number:
139
Artist:
Steve Prescott
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
Fear When Shriekmaw comes into play, destroy target nonartifact, nonblack creature. Evoke 1B (You may play this spell for its evoke cost. If you do, it's sacrificed when it comes into play.)
can double as a creature should its Terror
Terror
TerrorSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
Buries target creature. Cannot target black creatures or artifact creatures.
effect not be useful. Inversion, by the way, helps with the Wolf-Skull Shaman, as it counts as an Elf card (Shapeshifter
Shapeshifter
ShapeshifterSet: Fourth Edition
Cost:
6
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Power:
*
Toughness:
(7-*)
Text:
Shapeshifter has power and toughness that add up to seven, but neither may be more than seven. Set them when Shapeshifter comes into play; you may change them during your upkeep.
).

The lack of rare lands for coloured mana forces me to include Vivid Grove
Vivid Grove
Vivid GroveSet: Lorwyn
Cost:
0
Type:
Land
Rarity:
U
Number:
277
Artist:
Howard Lyon
Text:
Vivid Grove comes into play tapped with two charge counters on it. T: Add G to your mana pool. T, Remove a charge counter from Vivid Grove: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
. This leads to some draws that prevent me from playing an Elf on turn one. That can’t be helped as long as I stand by my casual deck building parameters. Llanowar Elves
Llanowar Elves
Llanowar ElvesSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elves
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Anson Maddocks
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool. This ability is played as an interrupt.
are best as a first turn play, but the Elf theme of the deck helps prevent the tiny Elf from being wasted in later turns. Also, a 2nd or 3rd turn Llanowar
Llanowar
LlanowarSet: Planechase
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Plane
Sub Type:
Dominaria
Rarity:
C
Number:
22
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
All creatures have "{T}: Add {G}{G} to your mana pool." Whenever you roll {C}, untap all creatures you control.
Elf can still set up an early Overrun
Overrun
OverrunSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
All creatures you control get +3/+3 and gain trample until end of turn.
.

Four Civic Wayfinder
Civic Wayfinder
Civic WayfinderSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elf Warrior Druid
Rarity:
C
Number:
157
Artist:
Cyril Van Der Haegen
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Civic Wayfinder comes into play, you may search your library for a basic land card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. If you do, shuffle your library.
seems excessive, but again, it helps make up for the lack of rare lands. It happens to be an Elf, which makes it work fine with Imperious Perfect
Imperious Perfect
Imperious PerfectSet: Lorwyn
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elf Warrior
Rarity:
U
Number:
220
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Other Elf creatures you control get +1/+1. G, T: Put a 1/1 green Elf Warrior creature token into play.
and Wolf-Skull Shaman. Similar to Into the North
Into the North
Into the NorthSet: Coldsnap
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
111
Artist:
Richard Sardinha
Text:
Search your library for a snow land card and put it into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.
mentioned earlier, the Wayfinder thins the deck of a land, improving my chances of drawing non-land cards later in the game. It also helps feed the Retrace mechanic of Raven’s Crime, much like I was planning on doing with Tilling Treefolk
Tilling Treefolk
Tilling TreefolkSet: Eventide
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Treefolk Druid
Rarity:
C
Number:
78
Artist:
rk post
Power:
1
Toughness:
3
Text:
When Tilling Treefolk comes into play, you may return up to two target land cards from your graveyard to your hand.
.

Raven’s Crime is nothing at all like Thoughtsieze. It does not let you take your opponent’s best card on turn one. In fact, it should usually take the worst card from your opponent’s hand. What Raven’s Crime does do, however is destroy your opponent’s hand whenever you have extra land. With an Elf deck, every land beyond the first few is extra, meaning Raven’s Crime can go bananas on an opponent’s hand. Where Thoughtseize
Thoughtseize
ThoughtseizeSet: Lorwyn
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
145
Artist:
Aleksi Briclot
Text:
Target player reveals his or her hand. You choose a nonland card from it. That player discards that card. You lose 2 life.
can pick apart an opponent’s strategy early on, Raven’s Crime will run your opponent out of gas a few turns later. Your opponent will be left in “top deck mode”, and will lose any card they can’t play right away. Oh, and Raven’s Crime makes Wayfinder better.

It’s not just about good individual cards, but about how those cards work together.

Déjà vu. [Editor's note: Whoa.]

Wolf-Skull Shaman helps provide for some card advantage. It doesn’t exactly draw more cards, but it can help create more permanents….essentially for free. With 26 Elves in the deck (counting Inversion), the Shaman should be making you a Wolf token over 40% of the time. Thinning your deck of land with the Wayfinder can only improve these numbers.

This deck is susceptible to sweepers like Wrath of God
Wrath of God
Wrath of GodSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Quinton Hoover
Text:
All creatures in play are buried.
, Damnation
Damnation
DamnationSet: Planar Chaos
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
r
Number:
85
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
Destroy all creatures. They can't be regenerated.
, and Firespout
Firespout
FirespoutSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
205
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
Firespout deals 3 damage to each creature without flying if R was spent to play Firespout and 3 damage to each creature with flying if G was spent to play it. (Do both if RG was spent.)
. To protect against such sweepers, I try to be careful not to play more creatures than I need. If I know I can Overrun
Overrun
OverrunSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
All creatures you control get +3/+3 and gain trample until end of turn.
by turn four or five, I only need a few creatures in play, especially if those creatures are able to get some damage in early. Against possible sweepers, I never put two Wolf-Skull Shamans in play at the same time. I prefer to keep the 2nd one for after the sweeper, as the tokens it might produce help me recover. As the game progresses, Raven’s Crime should tear apart the opponents hand, such that THEY won’t be able to easily recover after a sweeper.

This deck is crying out for Treetop Village
Treetop Village
Treetop VillageSet: Urza's Legacy
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
U
Number:
143
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Text:
Treetop Village comes into play tapped.T: Add one green mana to your mana pool.1G: Treetop Village becomes a 3/3 green creature with trample until end of turn. This creature still counts as a land.
, but the mana is already a mess. Adding more lands that come into play tapped would slow things up even more. I’d like Harmonize
Harmonize
HarmonizeSet: Planar Chaos
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
u
Number:
149
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
Draw three cards.
in this deck, but there just isn’t room. Harmonize
Harmonize
HarmonizeSet: Planar Chaos
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
u
Number:
149
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
Draw three cards.
could take the place of Raven’s Crime, but that just starts me on a path towards making the deck more like the green/white/red one above. I like to go nuts with Raven’s Crime in casual games!

In planning on dealing with the popular Standard decks, I envisioned this deck having three stages of strategy. It begins much like other weenie decks. Then Overrun
Overrun
OverrunSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
All creatures you control get +3/+3 and gain trample until end of turn.
gives it some game winning power (much like Mirrorweave
Mirrorweave
MirrorweaveSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
6
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
143
Artist:
Jim Pavelec
Text:
Each other creature becomes a copy of target nonlegendary creature until end of turn.
in Kithkin decks). If a game goes longer, Raven’s Crime can run the opponent out of gas, so to speak. The new red decks thrust upon us after Nationals are problematic for this deck. There is some hope in that Red’s third turn 4/4 Gouger cannot block, possibly allowing Overrun
Overrun
OverrunSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
All creatures you control get +3/+3 and gain trample until end of turn.
to be huge. Of course, the downside to that is how the Gouger and a burn spell will likely win the game during the next turn if the Overrun
Overrun
OverrunSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
All creatures you control get +3/+3 and gain trample until end of turn.
did not finish things. I have not tested the match at all, but it does not look promising. I can only hope my casual games will feature poorer builds of such red decks.

Again, I don’t expect either of these decks to win any serious matches. I built them as an exercise in deck design and I play them to have fun. I write about them to share some of my ideas about Magic theory with players who might be less experienced. I see at least fifteen points regarding deck design and Magic theory in this article. I am no expert in any of those points. I may even be incorrect about some of them. At the very least, I hope to influence readers to consider Magic theory while they design decks. That’s much more entertaining than copying a “deck to beat” from the net. Sure there’s a place for net-decking in our game, but creating and playing your own decks is where the real fun is. That’s what casual gaming is all about.


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