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Urza's Hot Tub

Happy Monday MTG peeps,

As it is the first Monday in February, it's time for some Magic the Gathering randomness. Sorry - no cool Mirrodin Besieged game combos or awe-inspiring ideas to share with fellow playrs for you today - instead, it's a bit of a trip backwards in time . . . we'll start by taking a soak in Urza's Hot Tub.

First off, let's have a look at the card -

Urza's Hot Tub, 2

Artifact, Unhinged Common

{2}, Discard a card: Search your library for a card that shares a complete word in its name with the discarded card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library.


Something of interest -

Wizards of the Coast also developed a web page when this card was rolled out with Unhinged, a humorous parody set released in 2004 and illegal to play in almost any format.

The website comes from the card Urza's Hot Tub printed in Unhinged. Like the card says, you are basically tutoring by discarding one card and searching your library for a card that contains an exact word from the discarded card. This can be any word in the discarded card's name. This website helps you to search through a database for cards with a single word from as many words as you type in. The results are displayed and from there selecting a card takes you to the Gatherer, the official Magic: The Gathering card database.


Also of interest -

The creature from the card, AWOL appears not to have been relegated to the missing panel on a carton of milk but has found its way into Urza's Hot Tub where it looks like he's having an absolutely lovely evening.

Righto -

Moving along with the randomness of this post -

We rather like the milk carton shown on the AWOL carton, so let's investigate this a bit further . . .

Yeah -

MTG Weirdness - and we love it - Thanks Wizards !


MTG Mint Card has Knights vs. Dragons Duel Deck Box for the upcoming Duel Deck. This most excellent product from UltraPro has 1 full colour duel deck box, 2 full colour deck boxes, 2 full colour dividers, and a Write-on Strip to ensure your name is on it and prevent it from being claimed by your envious friends.



Another Friday Potpourri

Happy Friday MTG peeps,

We are getting another dumping of snow in Central Ontario again today but still plan on heading out to Friday Night Magic latter this evening to take that interesting Rabid Gnarlid deck for a spin. After some playtesting, we've decided that we've just about fallen in love with that fugly looking critter - Aura Gnarlid delivers a whole truckload 'o' fun during game play, especially if enchanted with Phyresis. We thought we would be having some serious mana issues running a three colour deck (Shards of Alara is a long way off and obviously no tri-colour help here), but found it was not an issue at all.

Anywhoos - speaking about FNM, we are looking forward to March's FNM promo, Wall of Omens.

Wall of Omens, 1
Creature - Wall, ROE Uncommon
When Wall of Omens enters the battlefield, draw a card.

This card is an excellent early drop which provided some measure of security against early swings on the game table and to boot, it also passed you a card - We loved the original art by James Paick rather like the alt art by Howard Lyon on this as well.

Next up - something new on the Mirrodin site. Here is scarry-looking Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger Wallpaper.


"Everything knows hunger. The beast gnawing upon a bone, the earth waiting to claim that beast's own bones, the plants that scavenge its blood from the dirt. To feed, to consume, to make the strength of another your own – these are not merely Phyrexian ideals. They are fundamental precepts of the universe!"

"The green-aligned faction aims to create a natural state in which predation will thrive unhindered. Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger, seeks to eliminate sentience in favor of power. Consumption and strength are all that matter in the Tangle now. To accomplish his goals, Vorinclex has a powerful and ruthless ally: Glissa Sunseeker has become Glissa, the Traitor."



Start preparing your standard deck for Mirrodin Besieged Game Day which is taking place next weekend. For additional details on play organisation, check out our previous post HERE.

We are actually getting a little anxious right now - it's been a full four weeks since out Mirrodin Besieged pre-orders shipped from two different on-line stores and we have not yet seen them in our mail box. Two things about this - (1) we'll most likely pay extra to have them courier the order from now on, and (2) if we do not get our MBS cards by Monday or Tuesday next week, we will most likely not be attending the MBS Game Day tournament - we really hope this does not happen.


Dragons & Knights

Happy Thursday MTG peeps,

Interesting spoiler / preview from WoTC Monty today over at Magic Arcana. It appears that we now have our very first confirmed card appearing in the Duel Decks: Knights vs. Dragons (near page bottom) . . . perhaps not much of a stretch of the imaganation as this was the go-to Knight for some time - say 'hello again' to Knight of the Reliquary.
Released in Conflux back in February, 2009 - it became a popular card (it went for around $8 locally) but not for long - it soon fell out of favour as the new set feeling wore off and we were able to pick up a deck set for around $1.60 each. Then, the whole 'land matters' theme hit standard with Zendikar and the Knight was making Top 8 deck lists everywhere - this was when it hit about $15 locally during spring of last year (April / May, 2010). After it rotated out of standard, it returned to it's orignal price and still commands about $8.

We are uncertain whether there will be the man-lands and fetchlands on the Knight's side of this duel deck to necessitate having a KotR but that of course is up in the air still.
We can very well imagine which Dragons and Knights may be in the new Duel Deck but we have a good feeling that the product will be awesome - - that is except for the art preview . . .

Sorry but the new alternate art by Wayne Reynolds for KotR just is not making the cut for us - we guess that Michael Komarck's original was just so spot-on, we cannot accept an alt-art for this card. We're also not altogether sold on the other alt art for Bogardan Hellkite.

And here are the vital stats . . .

Deck Design and Development: Chris Millar and Zac Hill
Languages Available: English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish
Duel Decks: Knights vs. Dragons will be available in English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish on April 1, 2011 with an MSRP of $19.99.

Valor and Steel Clash with Rage and Fire! The greatest knights have gathered together to once and for all end the reign of terror that has plagued their lands for centuries. Holy paladins, noble cavaliers, and swift skyhunters all answer the call to hunt dragons to the death and restore order to the realm. For dragonkind, the answer is simple - incinerate the invaders! Enraged goblin minions pour from the mountain crags to repel the intruders, but that’s only to give the majestic hellkites time to take to the skies and unleash a firestorm that no knight could hope to survive. A world hangs in the balance. Will you enter the battle under the banner of purity and order, or will you plunge the land into chaos and dragonfire?
And finally -
A reminder about the list from MTG Mint Card showing the Mirrodin Besieged Top 10 selling cards as of Feb 2011 . . .

1. Psychosis Crawler
2. Black Sun's Zenith
3. Thopter Assembly
4. Contested War Zone
5. Phyrexian Vatmother
6. Bonehoard
7. Creeping Corrosion
8. White Sun's Zenith
9. Mitotic Manipulation
10. Inkmoth Nexus



Rabid Gnarlids

Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

Some of our MTG Realm readers may not know this but we're certain many of you do from our previous posts (here, here, and / or here), that we have a place very close to our heart for Aura Gnarlid. This cute 'n' fuzzy little badger / bear-cat / whatever (?), has performed rather well in a number of casual standard environment games. We last ran a deck with him and Eldrazi Conscription when Sovereigns of Lost Alara was still in standard.

Anywhoos - Aura Gnarlid very rarely stays just a 2/2 critter - just add some auras and watch your opponent squirm. The beauty of this card shines when the power of each potential blocking creature is checked against Aura Gnarlid's power as blockers are declared and the second ability now counts each Aura on the battlefield regardless of who controls it and pumps him up to a frightening level. Of course, this fella is prone to removal and that is where we must rely on the very excellent evasion / pseudo-troll-shroud provided by either Canopy Cover or Vines of the Vastwood.

Now when we first saw Phyresis spoiled in the new Mirrodin Besieged set, we thought that this aura is demanding to be placed on an unblockable creature. Our first candidate of choice was (of course), our Gnarlid Buddy. Imagine a pumped-up Fatty McFatster who happens to be unblockable AND saddled with a devastating infect ability to heap the poison counters on your oppoent - we think that for a standard budget deck, this will deliver a truckload of fun and will win you the game.

One of the more important aspects of an aura deck to keep in mind is that one should heap as much auras on the battlefield as possible with a focus to

(1) disrupting your oponent's mana base (through either Spreading Seas or Contaminated Ground),

(2) Eliminating or neutralising threats (through Quag Sickness, Brink of Disaster, or Narcolepsy- unfortunately white certainly has more to offer in this department), and

(3) Provide early blockers while still supporting our focus on auras (through the Zendikon cycle auras Wind Zendikon or Corrupted Zendikon).

One thought to take to heart is to 'always pack a parachute' - or more commonly described as having a plan 'B'. Should you be able to drive out a fist full of auras and not be able to eventually draw into an Aura Gnarlid, things will quickly get sticky. Fortunately, we have an ability to bring it out of our deck with Diabolic Tutor. Of course Green Sun's Zenith would work just as well or even better but we're waiting until the price settles a bit more. having said that though, we do have a preference for Diabolic as it would search for ANY card in your library and you do not have to reveal it (which of course would unsettle your opponent). Anywhoo, you get the idea - double your chances of being able to pull out your card.

So where do we go from here ?

Franky Scarlet, we have only a partial idea - We invite you to provide some suggestions how best to build this pile of 60 cards including a sideboard - suggestions must include Aura Gnarlid AND Phyresis. We'll take our Rabid Gnarlids for a walk during our next Friday Night Magic and get back to you.
Lastly -

A plug for a friend of ours, Ms. Sugar Vintage, purveyor of fine vintage clothing who happens to be running a contest just now. Why would the average MTG player be interested ? - because looking good while slinging cards is just good. Anywhoos - it's a scarf giveaway - just look at MTG legends Lino Burgold of Germany or Jeremy Dezani of France why scarfs are awesome.



New Quest

G'Day folks and Happy Tuesday,

Across Ontario and many other provinces in Canada-Land, we were celebrating Family Day while south of the border, our American cousins were celebrating President's Day. President's Day just seems so much cooler than spending time with the fam (just kidd'n - we had a massive breakfast buffet and were quite glad to have worn our buffet pants for the occasion).

Anywhoos -
To business. We have a couple of things to get off the plate today - first up a look at Frank Karsten's mono-white Quest deck from Paris and then to the announcement in today's Magic Arcana - another Duel Deck. Strap in and let's go . . .

Magic Pro Tour Hall of Famer Frank Karsten shares his Mono-White Quest Standard deck from Pro Tour Paris that is all about getting Argentum Armor onto a cheap creature. A deck list will be posted later this weekend. Frank came in around 47th place, which considering how vast the field was - this is not to shabby.

Frank had with great wit, called his deck "Car-Go" (after the ubiquitous rise of the 'Caw-Go' decks) as he built it in the back of his buddy's car while they were driving from the Netherlands to Paris.

Here's the vid from WoTC ->

So let's have another look as to what's in it . . .

60 Cards 23 Lands : 4 Marsh Flats, 4 Arid Mesa, 11 Plains, 4 Contested War Zone
31 Creatures : 4 Glint Hawk, 4 Memnite, 4 Ornithopter, 4 Accorder Paladin, 3 Squadron Hawk, 4 Signal Pest, 4 Steppe Lynx, 4 Kor Skyfisher
6 Other Spells : 4 Quest for the Holy Relic, 2 Argentum Armor
15 Sideboard Cards : 1 Squadron Hawk, 2 Jinxed Idol, 1 Journey to Nowhere, 4 Kor Firewalker, 3 Refraction Trap, 1 Sword of Feast and Famine, 1 Sword of Body and Mind, 2 Divine Offering

This is a great deck - it is within the budget of most casual players - even us. We already had something very similar to this ahead of the release of Mirrodin Besieged and had modified our existing deck when MBS came out - we sideboarded some extra equipment and dropped in the new Signal Pest. We went back to the drawing board and copied Karsten's exact build and took it to our casual standard metagame and was promptly chewed up and spat out after several hours against a variety of decks at our kitchen table. We might think of taking this to FNM but are shy. Anyways - like we may have said in the past, what works on a Pro-Tour circuit may fail in an epic way at the kitchen table. Pro-Tour decks are designed to win against popular archetypal builds at the tournament.

Next up -

It's vengeance versus guile to decide the fate of a shattered plane.
Duel Decks: Ajani vs. Bolas

The leonin Ajani Goldmane scours the shards of Alara with a single thought in mind: revenge. Filled with rage at the murder of his brother, Jazal, Ajani searches for his killer. Leaving no stone unturned, his wrath grows along with his power as a Planeswalker, leading him to an ultimate showdown with the Multiverse's master manipulator. Nicol Bolas is beginning to feel effects of the eons of time and knows it will take the mana of an entire plane to rejuvenate his ancient power and set his new schemes in motion. As he expertly maneuvers the pieces of his interplanar game into place, he encounters an indomitable will bent on retribution. The battle of Alara's Maelstrom is in your hands. Determine the fate of an entire plane and the outcome of an epic conflict between two rival Planeswalkers.

Deck Design and Development: Chris Millar and Mark Gottlieb
Languages Available: English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish
Release Date: September 2, 2011
MSRP: $19.99

And finally -
We always look forward to see where players may be taking their game next and follow popular cards. Here is a very odd / interesting list from MTG Mint Card showing the Mirrodin Besieged Top 10 selling cards as of Feb 2011 . . .

1. Psychosis Crawler
2. Black Sun's Zenith
3. Thopter Assembly
4. Contested War Zone
5. Phyrexian Vatmother
6. Bonehoard
7. Creeping Corrosion
8. White Sun's Zenith
9. Mitotic Manipulation
10. Inkmoth Nexus



Friday Potpurri

Happy Friday MTG peeps,

In today's post, we'll cover a lot of ground, so keep up. We have two new Magic the Gathering Wallpapers from cards from the next 'Action' set, some notes on the new Caw-Go / Caw-Blade tech from Magic Weekend Paris, and some tips about collectible card storage . . . Let's go -

First up - Yummy MTG desktop Wallpaper to pimp up your laptop or mobile device . .

Melira, Sylvok Outcast Wallpaper
Illustrated by Korean / Australian artist Mr. Min Yum


"What irony. All my life, my purity of flesh has been scorned as weakness. To be driven from my home, bereft of family, denied everything for the circumstance of my birth – and now I am looked to as a beacon against the dark? Forget strength - I do not know if I have the will to be what is asked. But be it I must, for there is now no alternative." – Melira

Next up -

Phyrexian Metamorph Wallpaper
Illustrated by Jana Schirmer & Johannes Voss


"The perfect form is that which performs its function perfectly. But to achieve true perfection, one's form must be able to adapt and evolve to accommodate new purposes. Furthermore, the adaptation must not be random; it must be designed, with logic and reason being the most important influences." – excerpt from The Great Synthesis of Jin-Gitaxias


Righto - next - a look at what the Pro's took to Paris last weekend. As we here at MTG Realm subscribe to Casual Magic with a focus on fun (winning is always nice), we do not usually take note of what is 'hot' but this case we are very interested as the Pro decks did look like fun builds and could easily fit in a budget deck (after the removal of big daddy Jace).

Let's talk about the birds - - Squadron Hawk was everywhere. Six of the Top 8 decks at Paris played 4 maindeck copies, and a seventh played a full playset in the sideboard. We were lucky to pick up the Mystic way back when it was considered jank (we payed $5.50 for a deckset). Thanks to the attention in Paris, one could expect to pay about $92 for the same deckset) - for this reason we would consider the build still budget-friendly.

Anywhoos - Stoneforge Mystic is the other piece of the “Squadron Hawk package.” Stoneforge Mystic has seen cross-format play and has been the staple of White Aggro, but this weekend has shown it to be a force in Blue-based Control strategies as well. The threat of an unending stream of 1/1 flyers, boosted by mostly by Sword of Body and Mind or Sword of Feast and Famine, is just too powerful to ignore.

Here is the winning decklist of Ben Stark from PT Paris . . .
Lands (26) : 1 Arid Mesa, 4 Celestial Colonnade, 4 Glacial Fortress, 5 Island, 4 Plains, 4 Seachrome Coast, 4 Tectonic Edge
Creatures (8) : 4 Squadron Hawk. 4 Stoneforge Mystic
Sorceries (8) : 4 Day of Judgment, 4 Preordain
Planeswalkers (7) : 3 Gideon Jura, 4 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Instants (9) : 3 Mana Leak, 1 Deprive, 4 Spell Pierce, 1 Stoic Rebuttal
Artifacts (2) : 1 Sword of Feast and Famine, 1 Sylvok Lifestaff
Sideboard (15) : 2 Baneslayer Angel, 2 Divine Offering, 1 Negate, 2 Flashfreeze, 4 Oust, 3 Ratchet Bomb, 1 Sword of Body and Mind

And finally - as promised - a tip for your collectible card storage.

You may very well know that the internet was built to share cat photos - and as everyday is Caturday, we think it apropos to share with you this image . . .

Yep - cat in a box - and you are wondering where your foil Jace, the Mind Sculptor may have gone. This feline certainly knows. TIP - keep your cards out of reach of the kitteh if thats possible. The upside however may be playing against an opponent with a cat allergy - you know which way that game will go.

Finally -
As the standard format is in a state of flux and a great number of things can happen with all the new Mirrodin Besieged cards out in player's hands, we suggest you swing on over to MTG Mint Card and check out their nice Deck Central page to stay on top of the latest decks in development.


Factions within Factions

Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

We love the flavour of Magic the Gathering just as much (or even more) than the next player and sometimes even play an unsuitable or underpowered card in a game simply because the card has the flav - - anywhoos - here's some excellent flavour from the Mirrodin Besieged Players Guide which may be had in every Fat Pack - you can't have our guide so get thee to your local Gamery Shoppe and pick one up.

"The plane of Phyrexia was all but destroyed when Urza's Planeswalker allies devastated it during the Phyrexian Invasion of Dominara. But that was not the end of Phyrexia entirely. Yawgmoth and his minions ensured that Phyrexia would endure by creating an insidious colonizing weapon known as "the oil". When Karn unknowingly introduced the oil to Mirrodin, Phyrexia was reborn."

"Access to Mirrodin's interior core of pure mana enabled Phyrexia to accelerate its unnatural evolution in a matter of decades. But Phyrexia is changed by the world of Mirrodin. In its original system, Phyrexia had access only to black mana. Here on Mirrodin, Phyrexia has evolved along each axis of mana color, creating factions in the formerly monolithic threat. This has made Phyrexia both stronger and weaker than before- stronger because it's more varied and adaptable, weaker because it now lacks the unity of purpose it once had."

"Led by Elesh Norn, the white-aligned faction believes that Phyrexia must adhere to the teachings of the Father of Machines. They intend to indoctrinate everyone about the truth, even if it means tearing them limb from limb and reattaching the parts into a creation that is worthy of Phyrexia. They are dogmatic, hierarchal, and orthodox in their methods."

"Led by Jin-Gitaxias, Augur of the Core, the blue-aligned faction uses experimentation to find the ways to perfection. They are clinical, methodical, and research-orientated, with no sense of compassion for the creatures they mutilate in the name of the True Science. They collect scores of research subjects and perform gruesome tests, all in the name of progress."

"Led by the mysterious Sheoldred, Whispering One, the black-aligned faction has one goal: enslave. Believers will serve. Unbelievers will be made to serve. All will bow to Phyrexia. Geth, the undead lord of the Vault of Whispers, had embraced Phyrexia long before the rest of Mirrodin knew the threat. Now, he controls a vast army of undead in service of their goals."

"Under Urabrask the Hidden, the red-aligned faction rejects the hierarchy and order of the main Phyrexian leadership. They cultivate industry and birth-furnaces, which will reforge the world in their perfect vision."

"The green-aligned faction aims to create a natural state in which predation will thrive unhindered. Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger, seeks to eliminate sentience in favor of power. Consumption and strength are all that matter in the Tangle now. To accomplish his goals, Vorinclex has a powerful and ruthless ally: Glissa Sunseeker has become Glissa, the Traitor."

Next Up . . .

Check out this vid from MTG Mint Card showing some sweet cardboard p0rn in the form of big daddy Jace, the Mind Sculptor . . .

Nice, innit ? Don't know about you but we're salivating.

NOW - The to the assignment . . .

Open up a second window to Barry White's 'Love's Theme' or equally appropriate cheesy 70's skin-flick soundtrack and let the music play in the background while watching the original video of MTG Mint Card showing off Jace 2.0 . . . much better ? Discuss below in the comments.


MBS Game Day

Magic the Gathering players are sure to be looking forward to the upcoming Mirrodin Besieged 'Game Day' which will be taking place on the weekend of March 5th and 6th, 2011. Find a location near you who is running this event with the handy Locator app from Wizards.

Game Day events are organised at local hobby / game stores approximately 1 month after each set's release. Magic Game Day is 'Standard format' (Zendikar, Worldwake, Rise of the Eldrazi, Magic 2011, Scars of Mirrodin, and Mirrodin Besieged), and will showcase the newest cards in Mirrodin Besieged.

Don't have a standard format Deck ? - Don't worry - there are Mirrodin Besieged Event decks available for purchase at your store. There should be a post about MBS Event decks from Wizards tomorrow.

Anywhoos - Let's yatter about the promos !

All participants receive an exclusive Treasure Mage promo card (while supplies last). The Top 8 payers each receive a full-art Black Sun’s Zenith promo card. The cards are awarded to the Top 8 even if the tournament cuts to the Top 4.

The Top 2 finishers with Mirran-affiliated decks receive a Pristine Talisman preview card from Mirrodin Pure. The Top 2 finishers with Phyrexia-affiliated decks receive a Suture Priest preview card from New Phyrexia! This is in addition to any Top 8 prize cards you might win for their overall event finish.

Black Sun's Zenith, xbb
Sorcery, Rare
Put X -1/-1 counters on each creature. Shuffle Black Sun's Zenith into its owner's library.

Treasure Mage, 2u
Creature - Human Wizard, Uncommon
When Treasure Mage enters the battlefield, you may search your library for an artifact card with converted mana cost 6 or greater, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. If you do, shuffle your library.

Suture Priest, 1w
Creature - Cleric, Common
Whenever another creature enters the battlefield under your control, you may gain 1 life.
Whenever a creature enters the battlefield under an opponent's control, you may have that player loses 1 life.

Suture Priest appears to be an solid candidate to replace Soul Warden in the Soul Sister's deck which oddly enough we were just blogging about in our last post featuring a mono-white life gain deck.

Pristine Talisman, 3
Artifact, Common
Tap : Add to your mana pool. You gain 1 life.

This is very reminiscence of the old Talisman cycle in the original Mirrodin set. We really don't expect to see another full cycle across all colours but rather a simplified one featuring Mirran and Phyrexian mirrors.

A reminder about what a faction aligned deck means when it comes to Standard events . . . A faction aligned deck must include at least ten cards featuring the Mirran or Phyrexian watermark and NO cards containing the opposing watermark. For example a deck containing ten Phyrexian watermarked cards from Scars of Mirrodin and Mirrodin Besieged and a variety of other standard legal cards would be a Phyrexian aligned deck as long as it contains no cards with the Mirran watermark.
And finally a word about storing your Magic the Gathering cards . . .

We suggest you recycle that dumpy looking cardboard box you carry your pride and joy in and use the awesome looking Magic Mirrodin Besieged Mirran Crusader / Phyrexian Crusader, Ultra Pro Magic the Gathering 9-Pocket Portfolio. This puppy from MTG Mint Card holds 90 Cards and will make your trade bait look sweet.


Get A Life

Happy Monday MTG Peeps,

As it is Valentines Day, why not send that special Magic the Gathering player in your life an apropos V-Day card - great collection of MTG-themed cards over nearby at 'Other Side of the Planet'.

There have been about a dozen eMails (Frank - yours three requests only count as sone sorry), well as two or three requests from guys at our local store (looking at you Austin) that we here at MTG Realm do another 'What We're Playing' segment. Since we like you the reader so very much, we will do at least two before the week is out. We'll get to some new builds with awesome Mirrodin Besieged cards latter but for today, we will re-visit an older (still standard environment) casual Alt-Win Life Gain deck. Life
Gain builds did seriously drop in popular favour with players after 1/2 of the 'Soul Sisters' (Soul Warden) left standard play but we're still willing to attempt to make something work on the game table. having said that we think there may be some new answers in the next set 'Action' (New Phyrexia / Mirrodin Pure) in the form of Suture Priest.

ALT-WIN is short for alternative win. This describes any deck that utilizes specific cards or strategies that win you the game without bringing your opponent down to zero life or less. There are quite a few out there but not that many which make it to the pro-circuit. The latest popular Alt-Win decks are of course made with the slick 'Infect' tech from Scars of Mirrodin and Mirrodin Besieged. These builds do not attempt to drop your life to zero but pile 10 poison counters on you to win and are somewhat popular in our local meta-game right now.

Anywhoos - we wanted to yatter about an Alt-Win Life Gain deck which utilizes Felidar Sovereign to win the game by pushing your life total to 40. Not having a parachute with an Alt-Win build is a bit risky so one would be well served by ensuring there is provision for a beater or two. The primary goal of this particular build is complete kitchen table fun and it certainly delivered on this.

Here's the list after some serious tweaking . . .

38 Spells
3 x Exilir of Immortality
4 x Soul's Attendant
3 x Serra Ascendant
3 x Brave the Elements
3 x Rest for the Weary
3 x Journey to Nowhere
4 x Ajani's Pridemate
3 x Survival Cache
2 x Ajani Goldmane
3 x Day of Judgement
2 x Baneslayer Angel

2 x Elspeth Tirel
3 x Felildar Sovereign

22 Lands
19 x Plains
2 x Tectonic Edge
1 x Emeria, the Sky Ruin

Exilir is a neat little card providing some serious lifegain while implementing a great recycling program. Soul's Attendant is great if you can get it to go off at 30 life which has not happened very often for us but it does allow a nice fat target for our opponent to work on while ignoring latter threats. Brave the Elements and Journey to Nowhere allows some measure of protection for cards we wish to preserve or to remove opponent's threats. Day of Judgement also buys some time to reset the board - who cares if you knock some of your critters off as well - you can always get them back with Exilir of Immortality.

Rest for the Weary provides an amazing 8 life on landfall for only two mana while Survival Cache at three mana provides a rebounding total of 4 life and 2 potential card draws. Ajani Goldmane is decent to trigger life gain, provide +1/+1 counters (which is great against an infect deck) and has the possibility of creating a massive fatty in the form of an Avatar. The next Planeswalker, Elspeth Tirel is from Scars and we think is seriously underrated. Elspeth is another great life gain card, provides chump blockers as well as another board sweeper. Baneslayer Angel is a no-brainer in any build which needs lifegain. Finally, Felidar Sovereign is the card which provides that alt-win condition - we just wish it had evasion.

Our fav play to date was a combo using Elspeth Tirel to blow up everything and altough we had no tokens out we had three fatties trapped under Journey to Nowhere. After the Journey's left play, we had almost a full board to alpha strike for lethal damage next turn.

Righto - that's it for now - comments most welcome below and feel free to send in pics of your fav build you're playing with right now to copysix [at] gmail [dot] com.

In other news, we've been watching with some interest the rise and fall of Mirrodin Besieged card prices on MTG Mint Card. One big loser is Thrun, the Last Troll which was moving at around $32 but now at around $20. One big winner is Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas who was at one point going for around $35 and is now pegged at over $50 and we expect to rise a bit more. Anywhoos - it's a great time to revisit as the general metagame is starting to settle down and solidify after the set's release.