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CardShark Content - Michael Potter (5/16/2002)

I’ve read quite a few reports in which the author had to drive a fair distance to get to wherever they had to play. I’m lucky that I don’t have that issue. The local store (Pleasanton Sports Cards) is under 5 minutes from my place. Prereleases and PTQ’s are 45 minutes or so away (traffic is a big variable in the SF Bay area). An internet search turns up 5-6 stores that run Friday Night Magic within an hour’s drive of either my place or near where I work. With all that availability, you would think I would have a huge ratings history and foil cards galore. Those who harbor that type of thought missed the part about me being married with a 5-year old and a pregnant wife. At least Kate likes to play magic and my daughter Sarah’s likes it too. Whenever I get all proud of my playing skills, I remember that my 5-year old has a perfect record against me.

Here’s the rules I play with my daughter. We draw the same number of cards as the rules say and I play by all the rules. She can play any spell as long as she has mana of the right color. She likes Black and Green as colors. It’s hard to win when she’s dropping a turn 1 Blastoderm
Blastoderm
BlastodermSet: Nemesis
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
C
Number:
102
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Fading 3 (This creature comes into play with three fade counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a fade counter from it. If you can't, sacrifice it.) Blastoderm can't be the target of spells or abilities.
, but she’s only 5 so I should be able to pull it off every once and a while. Sarah’s starting to read pretty well and actually has the flow of the game reasonably down. I’m guessing that I’ll be taking her to tourneys in a year or so and I’m looking forward her smashing 15 year-old boys with her decks. I know that 15 year-old boys love to have little girls beat them.

I thought that I would write a little bit about the local store I play in and what the metagame there is like. It might give a better understanding of what I have to face when I play. The environment at the local store is way different than the environment at PTQ’s and other large events that I also play in

Pleasanton Sports Cards doesn’t run sanctioned tournaments. We (the players) now have DCI Reporter installed and ready so sanctioned events are going to come soon, but they’re not sanctioned yet. That has a few big plusses. The first is that you can take janky, early stage decks in to play, have them implode and lose every match, and not lose a point of ratings. It also means you can be looser with the rules and let newer players use the odd proxy or two without others getting all uptight about it.

We’ve just started T2 on Friday nights. We run 4 rounds of swiss and then calculate the standings. Since there isn’t a top 4 or top 8, there is no reason to ID and all the games get played out. There’s a player base of about 100 different players. Sundays (1.5 except the 1st Sunday which is draft) draws 20-30 people. Fridays have been drawing close to 16. The players are mainly mid to lower teens with 5-6 of use “old” folks around.

Mid-teens are hard to play against. They tend to be either late middle-school to early high school, they don’t have driver’s licenses yet, and, for the most part, they aren’t dating (heck, they’re Magic players, they may never date – of course I was a gamer when I was growing up and had zero trouble dating and I think that stereotype is false). That means that they don’t have too heavy a course load and they can spend a lot of time playing. It gets worse in the summer time as they tend not to have summer jobs. I don’t know how many other people have noticed, but I find that this age group seems to make a breakthrough every summer and they get better and better as players.

As an “older person”, I have two advantages over the younger players. To be honest, the first is money. If I want to, I can go out and get whatever cards I need for whatever deck I want to play. That’s a built in advantage that exists in most stores and PTQ’s. You can even plan for it when you enter a big tournament. Pay attention to the decks that use a smaller number of expensive rares because there will be a good number of people playing it.

The second advantage is that I have lived through the worst stages of testosterone poisoning and survived. That means I can concentrate better than they can and I can’t be as easily distracted when I’m playing. Not making dumb mistakes wins you many games that you otherwise would have lost, especially when your opponent makes a dumb error. The key appears to be giving them choices and playing instants or abilities during their turn when they’re trying to do something during their turn. Once their train of thought gets interrupted, they have trouble reconstructing the combat trick they’re trying to do. They also tend to get overly frustrated by counter spells and tend to think you have a hand full of counters at all times.

The second advantage has been increasingly blunted over the last year. The more experienced players have worked with the less experienced players and more people are playing “net decks”. I know that some people have a prejudice against net decks, but they are good for less experienced players to play because they are tuned and they promote good play. That means that the player base in the shop has been playing with better decks and becoming better players. When you play against better decks, you can’t afford to make as many (or any) mistakes. You also get a much better idea of the “rhythm” that a good deck has and this helps you make better decks or make better decisions when changing an existing deck.

So I’m looking around for a Type 2 deck to play. I’ve played Zevatog a few times and tested with it a bunch. I decided I wanted to play something else and something I had never played before in a tournament. I remembered an article by Jay Schneider on a deck he called Salmon Snack, so I decided to give it a whirl. I went and reread the article and Jay warned that the deck was fairly hard to play and that it takes practice.

Note 1: I wrote in my Bad Acid deck analysis that I’m an accountant. I’m actually the Controller of a public company. No sooner do I decide to play a deck that the person who published a deck list warns that it takes practice than my company decides to do a secondary offering. That moves up the deadline for our 10-Q and puts us in overdrive to get an S-3 filing ready (these are documents that you have to file with the Securities Exchange Commission). That means my time for testing went to zero. Heck, I barely had time to get the cards together and sleeved.

Note 2: This is a general warning based on trying out many different decks that warn about needing testing because they are “difficult” or “peculiar”. I have come to the understanding that what it really means is that the deck isn’t quite as good as it is portrayed. Instead, the deck’s designer knows the deck inside out and that’s a main reason why it wins. Any deck is like that. The more you play it and get to know the exact count of each card in the deck, the better you’ll play it. The more times you face a particular threat or opportunity, the more data you’ll have to sift through and make the best decision. Some decks are harder to play than others but I have never seen a deck that was simple to play. There just are too many different deck types out there and too much randomness from shuffling the decks. Even Sligh has choices after choices with big pressure on making the right choices at the beginning.

I could have just switched back to playing Psychatog
Psychatog
PsychatogSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Atog
Rarity:
U
Number:
292
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
, but I’m stubborn so I stayed with Salmon Snack. I was surprised that I had all the cards from the main list except for one Time Stretch
Time Stretch
Time StretchSet: Odyssey
Cost:
10
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
108
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Target player takes two extra turns after this one.
, Earthquake
Earthquake
EarthquakeSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Does X damage to each player and each non-flying creature in play.
, and Karmic Justice
Karmic Justice
Karmic JusticeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
26
Artist:
Ray Lago
Text:
Whenever a spell or ability an opponent controls destroys a noncreature permanent you control, you may destroy target permanent that opponent controls.
. I don’t understand why I don’t have 4 Earthquake
Earthquake
EarthquakeSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Does X damage to each player and each non-flying creature in play.
s. I was able to borrow a Time Stretch
Time Stretch
Time StretchSet: Odyssey
Cost:
10
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
108
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Target player takes two extra turns after this one.
(I leant out a Bird of Paradise, a Call of the Herd
Call of the Herd
Call of the HerdSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
231
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Text:
Put a 3/3 green Elephant creature token into play. Flashback 3G (You may play this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then remove it from the game.)
, and a Spellbane Centaur
Spellbane Centaur
Spellbane CentaurSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Centaur
Rarity:
R
Number:
271
Artist:
Rick Farrell
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
3/2 Card Text: Creatures you control can't be the targets of blue spells or abilities from blue sources.
). Here’s the list I played:

Salmon Snack (originally presented by Jay Schneider on Brainburst)

Spells(42)

4:Chromatic Sphere
Chromatic Sphere
Chromatic SphereSet: Invasion
Cost:
1
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
299
Artist:
Luca Zontini
Text:
1, T, Sacrifice Chromatic Sphere: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. Draw a card.

4: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.

4:Fertile Ground
Fertile Ground
Fertile GroundSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchant Land
Rarity:
C
Number:
252
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Text:
Whenever enchanted land is tapped for mana, it produces an additional one mana of any color.

4:Far Wanderings
Far Wanderings
Far WanderingsSet: Torment
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
125
Text:
Search your library for a basic land card and put that card into play tapped. Then shuffle your library. Threshold - Instead search your library for three basic land cards and put them into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.

4: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.

4:Allied Strategies
Allied Strategies
Allied StrategiesSet: Planeshift
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
20
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Target player draws a card for each basic land type among lands he or she controls.

3:Earthquake
Earthquake
EarthquakeSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Does X damage to each player and each non-flying creature in play.

1:Pyroclasm
Pyroclasm
PyroclasmSet: Ice Age
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Pat Morrissey
Text:
Pyroclasm deals 2 damage to each creature.

3:Evasive Action
Evasive Action
Evasive ActionSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
23
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
Counter target spell unless its controller pays 1 for each basic land type among lands you control.

1:Ghitu Fire
Ghitu Fire
Ghitu FireSet: Invasion
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
144
Artist:
Glen Angus
Text:
You may play Ghitu Fire any time you could play an instant if you pay 2 more to play it.Ghitu Fire deals X damage to target creature or player.

1:Death Grasp
Death Grasp
Death GraspSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
95
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Text:
Death Grasp deals X damage to target creature or player. You gain X life.

3:Early Harvest
Early Harvest
Early HarvestSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
222
Artist:
Janine Johnston
Text:
Target player untaps all basic lands he or she controls.

3:Time Stretch
Time Stretch
Time StretchSet: Odyssey
Cost:
10
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
108
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Target player takes two extra turns after this one.

2:Nostalgic Dreams
Nostalgic Dreams
Nostalgic DreamsSet: Torment
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
135
Text:
As an additional cost to play Nostalgic Dreams, discard X cards from your hand. Return X target cards from your graveyard to your hand. Remove Nostalgic Dreams from the game.

1:Restock
Restock
RestockSet: Invasion
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
206
Artist:
Daren Bader
Text:
Return two target cards from your graveyard to your hand. Remove Restock from the game.


Land(18)

13:Forest
Forest
ForestSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool.

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

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:Swamp
Swamp
SwampSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add B 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.


Sideboard
1:Circle of Protection: Red
1:Evasive Action
Evasive Action
Evasive ActionSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
23
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
Counter target spell unless its controller pays 1 for each basic land type among lands you control.

1:Fervent Denial
Fervent Denial
Fervent DenialSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
86
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer
Text:
Counter target spell. Flashback 5UU (You may play this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then remove it from the game.)

2:Pyroclasm
Pyroclasm
PyroclasmSet: Ice Age
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Pat Morrissey
Text:
Pyroclasm deals 2 damage to each creature.

2:Sacred Ground
Sacred Ground
Sacred GroundSet: Stronghold
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
112
Artist:
Terese Nielsen
Text:
Whenever an effect controlled by any opponent puts a land into your graveyard from play, put that land into play.

1:Karmic Justice
Karmic Justice
Karmic JusticeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
26
Artist:
Ray Lago
Text:
Whenever a spell or ability an opponent controls destroys a noncreature permanent you control, you may destroy target permanent that opponent controls.

4:Collective Restraint
Collective Restraint
Collective RestraintSet: Invasion
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
49
Artist:
Alan Rabinowitz
Text:
Creatures can't attack you unless their controller pays X for each creature attacking you, where X is the number of basic land types among lands you control. (This cost is paid as attackers are declared.)

1:Creeping Mold
Creeping Mold
Creeping MoldSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
220
Artist:
David Seeley
Text:
Destroy target artifact, land, or enchantment.

2:Mana Short
Mana Short
Mana ShortSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Dameon Willich
Text:
All opponent's lands are tapped, and opponent's mana pool is emptied. Opponent takes no damage from unspent mana.


The only two changes I made to the listing as it appeared on Brainburst were to add one maindeck Pyroclasm
Pyroclasm
PyroclasmSet: Ice Age
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Pat Morrissey
Text:
Pyroclasm deals 2 damage to each creature.
(in place of the missing Earthquake
Earthquake
EarthquakeSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Does X damage to each player and each non-flying creature in play.
) and replace one Karmic Justice
Karmic Justice
Karmic JusticeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
26
Artist:
Ray Lago
Text:
Whenever a spell or ability an opponent controls destroys a noncreature permanent you control, you may destroy target permanent that opponent controls.
with a Creeping Mold
Creeping Mold
Creeping MoldSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
220
Artist:
David Seeley
Text:
Destroy target artifact, land, or enchantment.
. This deck runs a fair amount of green mana and I’ve always been partial to Creeping Mold
Creeping Mold
Creeping MoldSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
220
Artist:
David Seeley
Text:
Destroy target artifact, land, or enchantment.
. I had one overriding reason for running it – there are a few enchantments that will completely hose this deck. A perfect example is Aegis of Honor
Aegis of Honor
Aegis of HonorSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
1
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
1: The next time an instant or sorcery spell would deal damage to you this turn, that spell deals that damage to its controller instead.
. The deck that Jay presented has zero ability to deal with Aegis of Honor
Aegis of Honor
Aegis of HonorSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
1
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
1: The next time an instant or sorcery spell would deal damage to you this turn, that spell deals that damage to its controller instead.
or any other artifact or enchantment (other than Earthquaking the game to a draw and going to the next game). Vindicate
Vindicate
VindicateSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
126
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
Destroy target permanent.
might do the trick as well at the cost of needing W and B out faster than you might want them but with the plus of killing Wild Mongrel
Wild Mongrel
Wild MongrelSet: Odyssey
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Hound
Rarity:
C
Number:
283
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Wild Mongrel gets +1/+1 and becomes the color of your choice until end of turn.
s and Psychatog
Psychatog
PsychatogSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Atog
Rarity:
U
Number:
292
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
s dead. Then again, Terminate
Terminate
TerminateSet: Planeshift
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
128
Artist:
DiTerlizzi
Text:
Destroy target creature. It can't be regenerated.
in the Sideboard would do the same. I’m also not too sure what Karmic Justice
Karmic Justice
Karmic JusticeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
26
Artist:
Ray Lago
Text:
Whenever a spell or ability an opponent controls destroys a noncreature permanent you control, you may destroy target permanent that opponent controls.
really does. It doesn’t work on Braid’s ability as you sacrifice which isn’t “destroy”.

Jay presents a very good tutorial in his original article on Brainburst. It isn’t a premium article, but I paid the subscription fee and I encourage you to do the same. The article is good in that it explores the reason for his card choices, has a very good section on how to shuffle this deck (it really applies to just about any deck), a good explanation of how the deck plays, and sideboarding choices for many of the main archetypes.

The article can be found here:

http://www.brainburst.com/feature/jayschneider/020426.asp

Despite Jay’s warning about the how hard the deck is to play; this style of Domain deck is reasonably simple in concept. Stay alive and build your mana base. Disrupt
Disrupt
DisruptSet: Weatherlight
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Adam Rex
Text:
Counter target instant, interrupt, or sorcery spell unless its caster pays an additional 1.Draw a card.
your opponent’s offensive strategy. Build up massive mana in a pool. Blast your opponent to death.

What is difficult about the deck is confidence. You have turns and turns of really not doing all that much while your life total ticks down. This is not a deck where you’re playing creatures or countering spells or otherwise doing something interactive with your opponent almost every turn. You’re building mana and drawing cards. Your mana building is going through your deck and picking out whatever land you need. Then you shuffle again. And shuffle. Did I mention that you do a fair amount of shuffling? During this time you need to have confidence that the deck is well built and an understanding that it goes off all at once.

Remember – your life doesn’t matter if your opponent reaches zero before you do. This deck brings your opponent from 20 to 0 in one huge burst.

The first number to keep track of is how much mana you need in play to do 20 points of in one turn with one Early Harvest
Early Harvest
Early HarvestSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
222
Artist:
Janine Johnston
Text:
Target player untaps all basic lands he or she controls.
.

You need 12 lands in play. That generates (12-3) + 12 = 21 mana = 20 points of Ghitu Fire
Ghitu Fire
Ghitu FireSet: Invasion
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
144
Artist:
Glen Angus
Text:
You may play Ghitu Fire any time you could play an instant if you pay 2 more to play it.Ghitu Fire deals X damage to target creature or player.
damage in one shot. For 2 more mana Ghitu Fire
Ghitu Fire
Ghitu FireSet: Invasion
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
144
Artist:
Glen Angus
Text:
You may play Ghitu Fire any time you could play an instant if you pay 2 more to play it.Ghitu Fire deals X damage to target creature or player.
can be cast as an instant. For Death Grasp
Death Grasp
Death GraspSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
95
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Text:
Death Grasp deals X damage to target creature or player. You gain X life.
, you need 13 lands. That generates (13-3) +13 = 23 mana = 21 points of Death Grasp
Death Grasp
Death GraspSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
95
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Text:
Death Grasp deals X damage to target creature or player. You gain X life.
damage and life gain in one shot.

The formula for how much mana you generate from one Early Harvest
Early Harvest
Early HarvestSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
222
Artist:
Janine Johnston
Text:
Target player untaps all basic lands he or she controls.
is 2N – 3 = Mana where N = # of lands in play (at least 2 Green).

Number of Lands = N
Mana = M
Ghitu Fire
Ghitu Fire
Ghitu FireSet: Invasion
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
144
Artist:
Glen Angus
Text:
You may play Ghitu Fire any time you could play an instant if you pay 2 more to play it.Ghitu Fire deals X damage to target creature or player.
(ins) = G (I)
Death Grasp
Death Grasp
Death GraspSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
95
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Text:
Death Grasp deals X damage to target creature or player. You gain X life.
= DG

N M G (I) DG
4 5 4 (2) 3
5 7 6 (4) 5
6 9 8 (6) 7
7 11 10 (8) 9
8 13 12 (10) 11
9 15 14 (12) 13
10 17 16 (14) 15
11 19 18 (16) 17
12 21 20 (18) 19
13 23 22 (20) 21

It is reasonably common that you’ll have 2 Early Harvest
Early Harvest
Early HarvestSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
222
Artist:
Janine Johnston
Text:
Target player untaps all basic lands he or she controls.
s (a combination of recursion and card drawing). The formula for the amount of mana for N lands with 2 Early Harvest
Early Harvest
Early HarvestSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
222
Artist:
Janine Johnston
Text:
Target player untaps all basic lands he or she controls.
s is 3N – 6.

Number of Lands = N
Mana = M
Ghitu Fire
Ghitu Fire
Ghitu FireSet: Invasion
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
144
Artist:
Glen Angus
Text:
You may play Ghitu Fire any time you could play an instant if you pay 2 more to play it.Ghitu Fire deals X damage to target creature or player.
(ins) = G (I)
Death Grasp
Death Grasp
Death GraspSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
95
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Text:
Death Grasp deals X damage to target creature or player. You gain X life.
= DG

N M G (I) DG
4 6 5 (3) 4
5 9 8 (6) 7
6 12 11 (9) 10
7 15 14 (12) 13
8 18 17 (15) 16
9 21 20 (18) 19
10 24 23 (21) 22
11 27 26 (24) 25
12 30 29 (27) 28
13 33 32 (31) 31

So somewhere between 9 and 13 mana on the table you can win the game if the opponent can’t counter or deflect your spell or gain life. I listed the two tables with amounts far below 20 because you also have to keep into account the fact that you may have Earthquake
Earthquake
EarthquakeSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Does X damage to each player and each non-flying creature in play.
d for damage earlier or that painlands may have dragged down your opponent’s life totals.

I’m sure that eyes are glazing over right now, but if you want to play this type of deck, this is the prep you need to do beforehand. I ran out of time before the tournament and I didn’t get to set out the numbers like I did above.

The next thing to do is try and figure out how many turns it is likely to take you to get to 9 – 13 mana on the table. With only 18 land total in the deck, there will be a fairly high number of times that you will have 1 or less land in your hand. You have about a 76.4% chance of making your first 2 land drops if you play and an 82.6% chance if you draw. This is fairly crucial as you need to hit 2 mana to start the mana search and build up process. Using 18 lands means that around 1 game in 4 to 1 game in 5 you will stall out for a turn or so at one land. This is modified somewhat by mulliganing correctly, but it is one weakness of the deck.

Then you need to consider what is the next mana level you need to hit to start rapidly accelerating towards the combo “going off”. Once you reach 2 mana (as long as one is green), you have an excellent chance of immediately jumping to three mana via the 2 different 2 mana acceleration cards. Two mana is good enough to kill one toughness creatures via an Earthquake
Earthquake
EarthquakeSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Does X damage to each player and each non-flying creature in play.
for 1, but three is better as it kills bears (2 toughness) – unless you use Pyroclasm
Pyroclasm
PyroclasmSet: Ice Age
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Pat Morrissey
Text:
Pyroclasm deals 2 damage to each creature.
, which is better against weenie decks, or decks that really need Birds of Paradise
Birds of Paradise
Birds of ParadiseSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Mana Birds
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Power:
0
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. This ability is played as an interrupt.
. Three mana also allows you to cast Far Wanderings
Far Wanderings
Far WanderingsSet: Torment
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
125
Text:
Search your library for a basic land card and put that card into play tapped. Then shuffle your library. Threshold - Instead search your library for three basic land cards and put them into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.
which can get you to 4 mana. All this acceleration is needed because your chance of drawing land is smaller than average because of the lower land count the deck starts with.

Once you hit 4 mana, you need to look at getting threshold and then casting Far Wandering for 3 lands. 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.
is the main route at this point, but you do have the Chromatic Sphere
Chromatic Sphere
Chromatic SphereSet: Invasion
Cost:
1
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
299
Artist:
Luca Zontini
Text:
1, T, Sacrifice Chromatic Sphere: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. Draw a card.
’s you can put in your graveyard and the other cards you’ve cast at this point. Do not be afraid of using one of your recursion spells to get additional land search cards out of your graveyard for reuse.

In case I’m not making it plain enough, the deck builds in steps. There is no constant source of damage or damage prevention on the table. You trading your life total for time to build your mana base. Earthquake
Earthquake
EarthquakeSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Does X damage to each player and each non-flying creature in play.
trades life for slowing the clock down. The step-by-step approach makes the deck vulnerable to counter spell disruption. Early (turns 2-4), you tend to tap out to cast your spells. That makes Disrupt
Disrupt
DisruptSet: Weatherlight
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Adam Rex
Text:
Counter target instant, interrupt, or sorcery spell unless its caster pays an additional 1.Draw a card.
, Force Spike
Force Spike
Force SpikeSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
John Matson
Text:
Counter target spell unless its caster pays an additional 1.
, and Circular Logic
Circular Logic
Circular LogicSet: Torment
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
33
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Text:
Counter target spell unless its controller pays 1 for each card in your graveyard. Madness U
bigger threats than they will be after turn 4.

The combination of the threat of disruption to the phases of the deck and the low land count both add to the risk that the deck will just fizzle. Salmon Snack fizzles with the best of them.

If a player with counter spells quickly recognizes your deck, he could seriously stall you by arresting your mana development early. If you can’t grow to 4 mana, you have no card drawing.

The deck has no real way of dealing with an early Standstill
Standstill
StandstillSet: Odyssey
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
102
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Text:
When a player plays a spell, sacrifice Standstill. If you do, then each of that player's opponents draws three cards.
and allowing 3 more chances to get a counter spell in return for growing an extra mana just doesn’t seem like a good trade to me.

One last tip. Time Stretch
Time Stretch
Time StretchSet: Odyssey
Cost:
10
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
108
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Target player takes two extra turns after this one.
means untap twice and draw two more cards. By the time you can cast it, you’ve taken most of the land out of your deck. I second Jay’s suggestion to Time Stretch
Time Stretch
Time StretchSet: Odyssey
Cost:
10
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
108
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Target player takes two extra turns after this one.
whenever you can and trust the deck to go off in the next turn or two.

I’ll list out how my tournament games went, but I not only didn’t have time to test with this particular Domain build, I left work a lot later than I had planned and didn’t get anything to eat. There’s a restaurant right next store to the shop, but the deck plays real slow and I’m the one who mans the DCI Reporter computer to enter results and get the rounds going. Needless to say, I played hungry as well.

Match 1 – Jon Ma playing GBW

Jon has been improving rapidly as a player over the last few months. He was an autowin for quite a while but not any more, I have to play hard against him. Game 1 I keep a one land hand and top deck land #2. The deck works like a well oiled machine and I quickly build up a big mana base, and then blast him out for the win. Once the deck gets going I stop playing against Jon and start becoming a shuffle master as I search, shuffle, search, shuffle, etc. Jon almost nods off. I almost nod off as well.

Game 2 I get a slow start and take quite a while to get to 4 mana of any color to help me. Jon builds up his mana base and drops an Overgrown Estate
Overgrown Estate
Overgrown EstateSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
113
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
Sacrifice a land: You gain 3 life.
. He was fussing in game 1 about getting to 2 white mana and he’s fussing about it again. My food-starved brain doesn’t pick up why he would need it. I do a quick calculation of the number of land he has in play and how Estate and go into super-Far Wandering’s mode without paying attention to keeping mana open or exactly what I’m tapping. I have a Time Stretch
Time Stretch
Time StretchSet: Odyssey
Cost:
10
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
108
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Target player takes two extra turns after this one.
in hand and recursion and Early Harvest
Early Harvest
Early HarvestSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
222
Artist:
Janine Johnston
Text:
Target player untaps all basic lands he or she controls.
. I figure I take him out in the next few extra turns I’ll have. I say go and he drops a kicked Desolation Angel
Desolation Angel
Desolation AngelSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
38
Artist:
Brom
Power:
5
Toughness:
4
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) Flying. When Desolation Angel comes into play, destroy all lands you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all lands instead.
on my ass. Scoop. Of course, a crowd is now watching me play (I wouldn’t call search/shuffle really playing) and they get a kick out of seeing the Angel hit the table.

Game 3 I side in Creeping Mold
Creeping Mold
Creeping MoldSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
220
Artist:
David Seeley
Text:
Destroy target artifact, land, or enchantment.
and play much more carefully. He still gets an Estate down. Time is called. In my first extra turn I cast Time Stretch
Time Stretch
Time StretchSet: Odyssey
Cost:
10
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
108
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Target player takes two extra turns after this one.
. I take the next turn to finish setting up and then burn Jon down for 31 points of damage, overwhelming his Estate. I made him blow up his Estate via Creeping Mold
Creeping Mold
Creeping MoldSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
220
Artist:
David Seeley
Text:
Destroy target artifact, land, or enchantment.
a turn earlier so I knew exactly how much I needed to blast Jon for.

Match 2 – Carl Jantzen (or something close to Jantzen, I would think typing his name into the computer every week would help me remember) playing UG

Carl is a solid player who has liked type 2 for a while so he’s fairly familiar with it. I had been wondering how the deck would do against UG. Jay’s article had dismissed it as a threat. I wasn’t so sure about that.

Game 1 and Game 2 (I sided in Mana Short
Mana Short
Mana ShortSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Dameon Willich
Text:
All opponent's lands are tapped, and opponent's mana pool is emptied. Opponent takes no damage from unspent mana.
and the extra Evasive Action
Evasive Action
Evasive ActionSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
23
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
Counter target spell unless its controller pays 1 for each basic land type among lands you control.
but never drew them) were virtually identical. I got a decent start, Carl disrupted the flow of the deck with a timely counter spell or two, put me on a clock with a small amount of creatures that grew via threshold and then won as the deck fizzled. I couldn’t get my card drawing going and he got a card advantage jump on me. I had more mana and less cards. He had less mana but more cards. He always seemed to have the right cards as well. The games went fairly quickly but the extra searching and shuffling I did still dragged the games out long enough that there was a little crowd of players watching me as my deck fizzled in my hands.

Match 3 – Brian Lavites playing BW

Brian is one of the younger players in the store. He’s not that great a player yet, but I’ve seen his game improving over time. He has to #1 most positive attitude in the store, though. I’ve never seen someone having as much fun as he does, even when his deck is getting rolled. Since we switched to age-modified swiss for the Sunday 1.5 tournaments, I haven’t played Brian at all, so I was looking forward to seeing how much he had improved.

Brian’s playing some sort of BW deck he made himself with a little bit of life gain. It’s not the greatest deck in the world (I made a mental note to sit down with him next week and help to improve the deck), but he seemed to have a blast playing it. Except for all the pauses where I was shuffling after searching out a land. Then the same bored look all my opponents quickly gained when playing against the deck showed up for Brian as well.

Both the games were the same. I built up mana, took some small amount of damage from creatures, and then Ghitu Fire
Ghitu Fire
Ghitu FireSet: Invasion
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
144
Artist:
Glen Angus
Text:
You may play Ghitu Fire any time you could play an instant if you pay 2 more to play it.Ghitu Fire deals X damage to target creature or player.
for a whole bunch. So I won. Somewhere in all the shuffling I noticed that Brian’s playing his creatures in the second main phase after attacking, something I seem to have to teach all the newer players (what the heck are their friends at school doing when they teach them?) and I had mentioned to Brian in the past.

Match 4 – David Birks playing GBR Terminator

David’s about my age and recently came back to the game after dropping out somewhere around Ice Age. Magic Online is what rehooked him. He and I practice together a fair amount and we’re going to team together for the Team Sealed PTQ’s coming up. I know what deck he’s playing and he knows what I’m playing. He was slapped around pretty bad the first few weeks back playing 1.5 with some of his old decks, but he won the last 1.5 tournament using Super Grow.

Game 1 is frustrating in that I have a swamp and two Chromatic Sphere
Chromatic Sphere
Chromatic SphereSet: Invasion
Cost:
1
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
299
Artist:
Luca Zontini
Text:
1, T, Sacrifice Chromatic Sphere: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. Draw a card.
’s and Fertile Ground
Fertile Ground
Fertile GroundSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchant Land
Rarity:
C
Number:
252
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Text:
Whenever enchanted land is tapped for mana, it produces an additional one mana of any color.
in my hand. It takes a couple of turns for me to get up to 2 mana and then I start building up my base but I’m taking too much damage too quickly. I use Early Harvest
Early Harvest
Early HarvestSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
222
Artist:
Janine Johnston
Text:
Target player untaps all basic lands he or she controls.
and Death Grasp
Death Grasp
Death GraspSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
95
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Text:
Death Grasp deals X damage to target creature or player. You gain X life.
twice (via recursion) to kill some of his creatures but I can’t hold off the onslaught. I think if I had hit two mana one or two turns earlier I could have pulled the game off. Then again, he had an arena out and drew nothing but dead cards against me and land for quite a while, so I may just have been lucky against him.

Game 2 featured him dropping an Arena
Arena
ArenaSet: Timeshifted
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
3, T: Tap target creature you control and target creature of an opponent's choice he or she controls. Each of those creatures deals damage equal to its power to the other.
pretty quickly once again. I tried to rally, but I wasn’t fast enough and this deck can’t handle an active Monger. In both games he aimed his discard at card drawing an I had to switch into top deck mode in both games without a way to restock my hand. Game 2 was a pretty big fizzle, the deck started to get critical mass and then stalled out.

So I finished 2-2. I ran the standings and I came in 10th. That’s the worst I’ve done at a tournament at that store in quite a while (maybe a year) and I even missed the pack prize point (50% of all players win at least one pack).

I was pretty disappointed with the way the deck performed. I’ll chalk some up to lack of practice and lack of food, but I’m convinced that it is at least partially the fact that the deck is fragile and either runs low on mana or can easily be knocked off stride and lose before it recovers.

I’m also pretty unsure about using Earthquake
Earthquake
EarthquakeSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Does X damage to each player and each non-flying creature in play.
over Collective Restraint
Collective Restraint
Collective RestraintSet: Invasion
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
49
Artist:
Alan Rabinowitz
Text:
Creatures can't attack you unless their controller pays X for each creature attacking you, where X is the number of basic land types among lands you control. (This cost is paid as attackers are declared.)
main deck. Wild Mongrel
Wild Mongrel
Wild MongrelSet: Odyssey
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Hound
Rarity:
C
Number:
283
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Wild Mongrel gets +1/+1 and becomes the color of your choice until end of turn.
s and Spiritmonger
Spiritmonger
SpiritmongerSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
R
Number:
121
Artist:
Glen Angus
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Whenever Spiritmonger deals damage to a creature, put a +1/+1 counter on Spiritmonger. B: Regenerate Spiritmonger. G: Spiritmonger becomes the color of your choice until end of turn.
s can pretty much ignore the effects and if you have to Earthquake
Earthquake
EarthquakeSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Does X damage to each player and each non-flying creature in play.
for 4+ damage for a bigger creature, you damage yourself as well which shortens your clock. I’ll probably try it once more (I have put a little more practice time into it), but I can’t recommend it over other decks that are in the environment.

I’ll make one final observation on the deck. I had to shuffle so much that I actually started paying attention to my riffle shuffles. I’m not getting a good riffle; far too often I’m dropping 3 cards from one side down into the other. I’m going to practice riffling and make sure I pile shuffle before and between every game as well. I did shuffle like crazy and pile shuffle a bunch when playing the deck so I don’t think that was the cause of the fizzle, but Jay’s article does warn about making sure you shuffle well. I’ve always gone crazy with shuffling all the decks I play and I’ve noted that I mulligan much less than my opponents do.





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