Let’s just take a break from all this D&D malarkey to talk about another one of Wizards of the Coast’s franchises; their long-running cardboard crack, Magic: the Gathering!
I’ve recently mentioned that I’d been losing interest in Magic; I hadn’t played it properly for ages, or made new decks… it was kind of just withering on the vine, and this certainly wasn’t helped by my utterly god-awful time at the Khans of Tarkir pre-release, a day so completely without joy or satisfaction that I couldn’t even bring myself to write a tongue-in-cheek, oh-look-at-me-I’m-not-good-at-this-but-oh-well post; it was fucking atrocious, and put me in a shitty mood for a few weeks.
So when my friend Adam proposed a day of playing Magic, I was tentative. But then as I was browsing various MtG forums, I came across a budget Standard thread in which players were posting decks whose contents topped out at the $20 mark. And you know what? When you strip away all the fetchlands and planeswalkers and competitive Pro-Tour netdecking bullshit, and you’re given some constraints – in this case funds – you can be pretty creative and make some fun decks!
So that’s what Adam and I did. We set ourselves the “Low Standards” challenge, and started making decks whose contents added up to £15 or less, going by prices on Magic Madhouse. I made three decks (with four more in the works) and after a lot of games yesterday, I can absolutely 100% confirm that they were great fun to play!
Outlasting Heroes (Green-White +1/+1 counter shenanigans)
Funny thing is that most of this deck’s budget went into the Phalanx Leader, aka Old Spice Spartan. This was just a great straight-forward Heroic deck; cast buff spells, get counters, get further benefits from the various Abzan “lords”. I must say, I never thought much of Reap What Is Sown, but after yesterday… Jesus, that thing’s brutal. I can just see myself tweaking this deck as we get more Abzan stuff as the Khans block progresses.
Sultai Munchies (Blue-Green-Black walls/sacrifice)
Not gonna lie; I saw this deck idea on the forum thread and loved it so much that it was pretty much my whole reason for proposing the “Low Standards” challenge, because I wanted to build it so much! I’ve made a few of own tweaks, such as the Edicts (glorious in a deck where you’re eating your own guys) and Reapers of the Wild (a card that I am quickly becoming incredibly fond of). To be honest I could’ve made the deck dual-colour as most of the key pieces are black and green, but I do love me some tri-colour…
Temur Monsters (Red-Green-Blue fatties)
More tri-colour, and in my favourite combination! I love red-blue, blue-green and red-green all separately, so I was an absolute shoe-in for the Temur Frontier! I really wanted to do a deck with some of the cool monstrosity and tribute creatures from Theros, and this deck seemed a perfect excuse for that. It honestly surprises me that great creatures like Ember Swallower and Nessian Wilds Ravager command prices as low as 50p! But what do I know? I guess I’d prefer to play for fun rather than treat the game as an elitist dick-measuring contest.
Hopefully our Low Standards games will become a regular occurrence; I’m already threatening Adam with promises of blue-black constellation-control and some kind of red-blue prowess thing. And minotaurs. Absolutely minotaurs. I’m also trying to pitch the idea of “Low Standard 2013” where we make decks for Innistrad-M13-Return to Ravnica Standard, aka The Absolute Best Combination Ever.
I can safely say that I’ve bitten by the Magic bug again, and I couldn’t be more pleased.