Power and Toughness—Dragon’s Maze, Mad Men, and Reanimator

The Walking Dead ended a few weeks ago so I’ve been writing Power and Toughness before, during, and after Mad Men airs on AMC. This week’s episode is the one where Martin Luther King’s death is mentioned. They said “negro” a second ago and it felt super weird to hear, as it always does.

“That dress is atrocious,” said Jen.

“Which one? The racist Asian-looking one or the Easter one?” I asked.

It’s hard to focus and easy to get sucked into the drama of a show filled with characters that gross me out. I prefer my douchey characters killing the undead or turning into the undead and being killed.

A Johnny Walker advert featuring Christina Hendricks in a black non-boob highlighting dress runs probably every commercial break. There are a couple of beats where the screen falls below her breasts to her mid-thigh, accentuating her hips shifting as she walks towards the alcohol. She holds it up level with her face, announces that it’s Johnny Walker, and that you ordered it.

Jen appreciates me not wearing headphones while “we” watch Mad Men but I’d much prefer Dillinger Escape Plan or the Drive soundtrack thumping in my mind than imaginary stressful relationship drama. Jon Hamm is presently voicing an ad for the new American (Airlines). I can almost always pull a famous voice out of an otherwise faceless commercial.

I was excited to give Dane’s list a try at FNM. Here it is, modified slightly after I successfully tried a few changes on MTGO.

4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Geralf’s Messenger
4 Restoration Angel
4 Thragtusk
2 Disciple of Bolas
3 Cloud Shift
3 Abrupt Decay
4 Oblivion Ring
1 Obzedot Ghost Council
1 Liliana of the Veil
4 Grisly Salvage
2 Unburial Rites
4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Godless Shrine
2 Cavern of Souls
1 Vault of the Archangel
1 Ghost Quarter
4 Woodland Cemetary
4 Isolated Chapel
3 Temple Garden
1 Swamp

Sideboard

3 Acidic Slime
1 Abrupt Decay
2 Golgari Charm
1 Ghost Quarter
4 Duress
1 Pithing Needle
2 Sever the Bloodline

I played three Reanimator decks in a row. Dane’s deck seemed so good against Reanimator because of the card draw insanity and Reanimator’s inability to interact early enough to do much of anything before I could draw two or three thousand cards and take over the game before a bunch of Angels showed up to ruin my evening. I went 1-2 against some pretty perfect Reanimator draws, rarely able to draw a shit ton of cards off of my Tusks and Disciples and assorted Junk whatnots.

My opponents looked like this:

Round One vs. Bobby’s Reanimator

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Round Two vs. Lee’s Reanimator

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I beat Lee in two games. One game I had to Oblivion Ring his Centaur Healer to not die the following turn and it ended up saving me the game.

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Round Three vs. Charles’s Reanimator

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Charles crushed me.

Round Four vs. Nick’s…control deck of some sort

Nick agreed to split packs so I conceded to him. I just couldn’t deal with playing a control deck, though it’d probably have been a breath of fresh air after the three straight Reanimator matches. I felt the tilt coming on and I’m grateful that Nick agreed to share the prize pool with me, especially since it was considerably better, since he went 2-1-1 with my scoop, netting us each more packs than if I won. I walked home in a state of disbelief at how twisted the store’s meta can be at times. Variance, my friends, variance. Weeks of endless control decks. Weeks of all aggro decks. A night of Reanimator. How can we even predict what people will be playing. Maybe our friend Zac Clark will start taking a poll of the meta on Fridays prior to his departure for work and keep a running data on the shifts in the actual state of the meta at Twenty Sided. It’d be insanely helpful to see how various decks ebb and flow.

I had a total blast at the 3 pm Saturday Dragon’s Maze Prerelease. Gruul with a hint of Golgari. My deck had a single bomb in Savageborn Hydra. I won ever game I played until I faced Jon when he Act of Fucking Treasoned it two games in a row to blow me out. That guy knows how to beat me in Magic.

Here’s what my first day of Dragon’s Maze Prerelease looked like:


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Brandon is sort of a Prerelease nemesis of mine, having destoroyed me and Kadar in Two Headed Giant with his bowtied partner more than once in the past (or maybe once but so badly it felt like twice).


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This guy fell victim to the Hydra twice.


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I kept this hand. I can’t remember if I won or not.


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This guy stops Savageborn Hydra dead in its tracks.


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Rob hamming it up with Jon, the Obliterator Obliterator, prior to Jon obliterating me.


This is what my decked looked like with relevant sideboard cards:


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Dunno that the image is big enough for you to see. I had a lot of four drops which lead to some pretty awkward and slow starts. Burning-Tree Emissary was almost always a “free” Grizzly Bear. The all-stars of the deck were Mugging, Zhur-Taa Druid, Homing Lightning, and Savageborn Hydra. Rubblebelt Raiders almost always died before it could do anything awesome. Mossdog was always just okay, but I never played against a dedicated flying creatures deck where I bet he shines. I was most impressed with Zhur-Taa Druid’s performance.

I finished the day 2-2. The final match was an agreed upon split with my opponent and we played it out for fun. Good thing, too, as I lost convincingly in our for fun games.

The extra fluff of the race through the Maze itself wasn’t very exciting. I am not a fan of the guild meetings or the other group activities required of every Prerelease this block. I get that it’s good for new players and all that but it’s super boring and eats up a lot of time that could otherwise be spent, I dunno, playing some fucking Magic. Hopefully that kind of shit won’t happen during M14 or the Theros block Prerelease events. It’s a seriously corny time-suck.

As always the event went incredibly smoothly and everyone seemed to have a total blast playing with new cards. Hugh Kramer said if he opened a Ruric Thar I could have it then opened a foil Ruric Thar and said I could trade him for it. No one has heard from Hugh in a couple days. I hope he’s all right.

Towards the end of Mad Men, Don Draper’s older son said, to a black dude cleaning between the showings, “Everyone likes to go to the movies when they’re sad.” It was a pretty complicated moment in the episode and reason number one that I’ll probably begrudgingly watch it again next week. This somehow relates to how I feel about Magic.

See you next weekend at the Release of Dragon’s Maze. I’ll be at Twenty Sided for the early flight on Saturday if all goes well. Hunter, Kadar, and I will represent Hipsters literally and bloggily at the SCG Somerset team event on Sunday. You’ll hear all about it next week. Practice resumes Thursday at Fat Cat.

Til then,
Matt
MTGO: The_Obliterator

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Comments
6 Responses to “Power and Toughness—Dragon’s Maze, Mad Men, and Reanimator”
  1. Zac Clark says:

    I couldn’t agree more that the “RUN THE F%$%^ING MAZE” mini game was a boring waste of time. I get that they want to add some kind of flavor to the day, but why not just add some packs instead. like here winning guild that’s winning at Magic… here’s some more Magic Packs… or even better pack awards for the first rounds reported.

    • Matt Jones says:

      I dunno if I have that much rage for it, but, yeah, as a 33 year old dude it is a pretty big waste of time. With so few years left in my life I come to appreciate my MTG time differently than when I was nine.

  2. Zac Clark says:

    Dear WOTC

    MOAR TAPPING LESS TESTTAKING

    signed Durdle Magus

  3. Hugh says:

    I am not a crook!

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