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CardShark Content - Brian Baker (12/7/2005)

I play multiplayer Magic almost as often as I play in drafts or duels. Not too long ago, the ratio was actually heavily skewed toward a great many more multiplayer games. Since that time I’ve graduated from college and moved on to what many call the “real world.” I still enjoy the odd get-together with my friends when it happens, but it isn’t the automatic thing to do anymore. It’s quite telling what a little bit of distance can do when you have to drive thirty minutes to campus versus the ten to fifteen to get to the local card store.

Still, multiplayer is very close to my heart. I had barely begun my introduction into the MTG world when multiplayer games became the norm for me. I still tend to initially evaluate cards from this mindset (Syphon Soul
Syphon Soul
Syphon SoulSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
159
Artist:
Melissa A. Benson
Text:
Syphon Soul deals 2 damage to each other player. You gain equal to the damage dealt this way.
kicks Highway Robber
Highway Robber
Highway RobberSet: Mercadian Masques
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Mercenary
Rarity:
C
Number:
139
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Highway Robber comes into play, you gain 2 life and target opponent loses 2 life.
to the curb in multiplayer, for example) and while my experiences have widened since my inception I have always come back to chaos games.

Some time ago I set out to create a deck that would embody the principles that I love most about multiplayer. As I always try to do with theme decks, I take a look at the principles behind what it is that I am representing before I even get to the card selection. In short: what is it about multiplayer games that I love, translated into mechanics?

The very first thing that attracted me to Magic at all was the seemingly infinite interactions that could occur in the space of a game. There was simply no way to even begin to chart how varyingly complex and engaging a game could be, and the more players that participated in a given game, the greater level of interaction. Randomness also plays a bit of a part here, since randomness helps generate different outcomes to similar situations. Some find randomness to be a defect of the game, but I appreciate it.

Another thing that I loved about multiplayer was the endurance that it required. Surviving long enough to finish one opponent may take some time, but additional opponents would require extra effort and concentration.

As a side note, it is also important to consider what will not fit in the theme of a deck. While I wanted to come out on top of a game, I was adamantly opposed to building a deck that could pull off some cute trick (like infinite mana and a Fireball
Fireball
FireballSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Text:
Fireball does X damage total, divided evenly (round down) among any number of targets. Pay 1 extra mana for each target beyond the first.
) to just up and win. Nor did I want to build a deck that would completely disable the other players’ actions. I find nothing rewarding in piloting Stasis
Stasis
StasisSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Fay Jones
Text:
Players do not get an untap phase. Pay U during your upkeep or Stasis is destroyed; cards still do not untap until the next untap phase.
to success.

So, at this point I wanted a deck that would promote variety and randomness while still having the consistency and foundation to survive a longer game. The source of inspiration came, ironically enough, from my fiancee. She picked a card at random from my collection to include in a deck. I wasn’t expecting her choice and my theme to actually be one and the same, but it worked out. My significant other, who has never played a game of Magic in her life, pointed to Shared Fate
Shared Fate
Shared FateSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
49
Artist:
Matt Cavotta
Text:
If a player would draw a card, that player removes the top card of an opponent's library from the game face down instead. Each player may look at and play cards he or she removed from the game with Shared Fate as though they were in his or her hand.
. I forgot about the deck I was trying to build previously and began the process of building my “multiplayer” multiplayer deck.

It’s worth pointing out exactly why Shared Fate
Shared Fate
Shared FateSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
49
Artist:
Matt Cavotta
Text:
If a player would draw a card, that player removes the top card of an opponent's library from the game face down instead. Each player may look at and play cards he or she removed from the game with Shared Fate as though they were in his or her hand.
fits the bill so perfectly. Shared Fate
Shared Fate
Shared FateSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
49
Artist:
Matt Cavotta
Text:
If a player would draw a card, that player removes the top card of an opponent's library from the game face down instead. Each player may look at and play cards he or she removed from the game with Shared Fate as though they were in his or her hand.
ensures that all players have an equal chance of playing each other’s decks, with no between-game swap necessary. It certainly promotes randomness and variety. It was up to the rest of the deck to fulfill the foundation requirements.

The initial decklist is lost to the ages, although I could probably take an unwieldy stab at what all was in it. It did make use of library manipulation like Sleight of Hand
Sleight of Hand
Sleight of HandSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Phil Foglio
Text:
Look at the top two cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand and the other on the bottom of your library.
and Fact or Fiction
Fact or Fiction
Fact or FictionSet: Invasion
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
57
Artist:
Terese Nielsen
Text:
Reveal the top five cards of your library. An opponent separates those cards into two face-up piles. Put one pile into your hand and the other into your graveyard.
, but too often this helped the opponents out of Shared Fate
Shared Fate
Shared FateSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
49
Artist:
Matt Cavotta
Text:
If a player would draw a card, that player removes the top card of an opponent's library from the game face down instead. Each player may look at and play cards he or she removed from the game with Shared Fate as though they were in his or her hand.
. I met with varying degrees of success with the deck, depending on the game and the players. A player at the card store, during a three-person free-for-all, commented that it was so much fun he wanted to assemble a copy of the deck for himself. I enjoyed the compliment, since my decks don’t turn into templates all the time.

To be completely honest, however the deck did not perform to my fullest aspirations. I later analyzed what it was in the deck that did or did not work toward the theme and toward the consistency of the deck. Here is the current incarnation of the deck.

Fates Unbound (60 cards, extended legal)
Blue (30)
2:Spy Network
Spy Network
Spy NetworkSet: Onslaught
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
115
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Look at target player's hand, the top card of that player's library, and any face-down creatures he or she controls. Look at the top four cards of your library, then put them back in any order.

2:Merchant Scroll
Merchant Scroll
Merchant ScrollSet: Homelands
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Liz Danforth
Text:
Search your library for a blue instant or interrupt. Reveal that card to all players and put it into your hand. Reshuffle your library afterwards.

4:Ideas Unbound
Ideas Unbound
Ideas UnboundSet: Saviors of Kamigawa
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Sub Type:
Arcane
Rarity:
C
Text:
Draw three cards. Discard three cards at end of turn.

2:Second Sight
Second Sight
Second SightSet: Darksteel
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
33
Artist:
Luca Zontini
Text:
Choose one: Look at the top five cards of target opponent's library then put them back in any order; or look at the top five cards of your library and put them back in any order. Entwine U.

3:Trade Secrets
Trade Secrets
Trade SecretsSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
118
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Target opponent draws two cards, then you draw up to four cards. That opponent may repeat this process as many times as he or she chooses.

2:Concentrate
Concentrate
ConcentrateSet: Odyssey
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
78
Artist:
Glen Angus & Arnie Swekel
Text:
Draw three cards.

2:Inspiration
Inspiration
InspirationSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
76
Artist:
Zina Saunders
Text:
Target player draws two cards.

3:Wheel and Deal
Wheel and Deal
Wheel and DealSet: Onslaught
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
121
Artist:
Alan Pollack
Text:
Any number of target opponents each discards his or her hand and draws seven cards. Draw a card.

2:Heed the Mists
Heed the Mists
Heed the MistsSet: Betrayers of Kamigawa
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Sub Type:
Arcane
Rarity:
U
Number:
36
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Text:
Put the top card of your library into your graveyard, then draw cards equal to that card's converted mana cost.

2:Shared Fate
Shared Fate
Shared FateSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
49
Artist:
Matt Cavotta
Text:
If a player would draw a card, that player removes the top card of an opponent's library from the game face down instead. Each player may look at and play cards he or she removed from the game with Shared Fate as though they were in his or her hand.

4:Shoreline Ranger
Shoreline Ranger
Shoreline RangerSet: Scourge
Cost:
6
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Bird Soldier
Rarity:
C
Number:
51
Power:
3
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying
Islandcycling 2

2:Opportunity
Opportunity
OpportunitySet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
6
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
37
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Target player draws four cards.

Artifact (8)
4:Fellwar Stone
Fellwar Stone
Fellwar StoneSet: Fourth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Quinton Hoover
Text:
T: Add one mana to your mana pool. This mana may be of any type that any land opponent controls can produce. Play this ability as an interrupt.

4:Darksteel Ingot
Darksteel Ingot
Darksteel IngotSet: Darksteel
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
C
Number:
112
Artist:
Martina Pilcerova
Text:
Darksteel Ingot is indestructable. (Destroy effects and lethal damage don't destroy it.) T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.

Land (22)
2:Oboro, Palace in the Clouds
Oboro, Palace in the Clouds
Oboro, Palace in the CloudsSet: Saviors of Kamigawa
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Legendary Land
Rarity:
R
Text:
T Add U to your mana pool. 1: Return Oboro, Palace in the Clouds to its owner's hand.

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


The name of the deck comes from the most solid interaction that the deck offers: Shared Fate
Shared Fate
Shared FateSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
49
Artist:
Matt Cavotta
Text:
If a player would draw a card, that player removes the top card of an opponent's library from the game face down instead. Each player may look at and play cards he or she removed from the game with Shared Fate as though they were in his or her hand.
and Ideas Unbound
Ideas Unbound
Ideas UnboundSet: Saviors of Kamigawa
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Sub Type:
Arcane
Rarity:
C
Text:
Draw three cards. Discard three cards at end of turn.
. It doesn’t hurt so much to draw those three cards when they aren’t really in your hand, and thus do not need to be discarded at the end of turn.

Spy Network
Spy Network
Spy NetworkSet: Onslaught
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
115
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Look at target player's hand, the top card of that player's library, and any face-down creatures he or she controls. Look at the top four cards of your library, then put them back in any order.
and Second Sight
Second Sight
Second SightSet: Darksteel
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
33
Artist:
Luca Zontini
Text:
Choose one: Look at the top five cards of target opponent's library then put them back in any order; or look at the top five cards of your library and put them back in any order. Entwine U.
are the only forms of strict library manipulation left, and they do a good job without actually putting cards into hand. This avoids the problems I mentioned earlier. While Merchant Scroll
Merchant Scroll
Merchant ScrollSet: Homelands
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Liz Danforth
Text:
Search your library for a blue instant or interrupt. Reveal that card to all players and put it into your hand. Reshuffle your library afterwards.
and Shoreline Ranger
Shoreline Ranger
Shoreline RangerSet: Scourge
Cost:
6
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Bird Soldier
Rarity:
C
Number:
51
Power:
3
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying
Islandcycling 2
also more or less fit into this category, they may not always be useful to another player if they “draw” one off of Shared Fate
Shared Fate
Shared FateSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
49
Artist:
Matt Cavotta
Text:
If a player would draw a card, that player removes the top card of an opponent's library from the game face down instead. Each player may look at and play cards he or she removed from the game with Shared Fate as though they were in his or her hand.
, so they are safe to leave in.

Wheel and Deal
Wheel and Deal
Wheel and DealSet: Onslaught
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
121
Artist:
Alan Pollack
Text:
Any number of target opponents each discards his or her hand and draws seven cards. Draw a card.
is a card that many overlook as an inferior Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of FortuneSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Daniel Gelon
Text:
All players must discard their hands and draw seven new cards.
, but in this instance is solves a problem. You see, a big problem occurs when people don’t want to play by Shared Fate
Shared Fate
Shared FateSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
49
Artist:
Matt Cavotta
Text:
If a player would draw a card, that player removes the top card of an opponent's library from the game face down instead. Each player may look at and play cards he or she removed from the game with Shared Fate as though they were in his or her hand.
’s rules. They continue to play the cards they still hold in their hand from before the Fate hit play, which gives them an edge in play consistency. Wheel and Deal
Wheel and Deal
Wheel and DealSet: Onslaught
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
121
Artist:
Alan Pollack
Text:
Any number of target opponents each discards his or her hand and draws seven cards. Draw a card.
takes that from them, instantly emptying their hand of all cards from their own deck.

I believe that the rest of the deck more or less speaks for itself, giving card advantage to the user but nothing more. Decks with answers to the Shared Fate
Shared Fate
Shared FateSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
49
Artist:
Matt Cavotta
Text:
If a player would draw a card, that player removes the top card of an opponent's library from the game face down instead. Each player may look at and play cards he or she removed from the game with Shared Fate as though they were in his or her hand.
have no problem dealing with this deck, leaving me to deck myself, but such is the fickle world of Chaos. The deck is fun to play, which I believe is the entire point. I am glad that I was able to really capture the theme that I wanted and form a solid deck around it.

Thanks for reading. Until next time, have fun playing someone else’s deck!


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