Building A New Deck

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I am not a deckbuilding expert.  I like to think I am pretty good at tweaking existing lists to perfect them for my expected metagame, but I am no deckbuilder.  That said, I recently attempted to build a new brew that could attack the metagame from a new angle.  I'm not going to claim this is going to win the next Pro Tour or anything like that, but I thought my process might be helpful.

I went to a tournament last Saturday, where I played UW CawBlade because I felt the benefit of having a stable manabase while still running four Tectonic Edges was a bigger gain than either the Red or Black splashes offered.  I cruised into the top eight with a single match loss to Elves!, during which I was mana screwed.  I lost in quarterfinals to the same Elves! player in a heartbreaker.  He misplayed himself out of the game repeatedly, but I only had three land on turn eight after keeping a three-lander with Mana Leak, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Linvala, Keeper of Silence, and Day of Judgment, so it didn't matter.

In between rounds I did some good trading, picking up a foil Sword of Fire and Ice for only $25, as well as some other treasure.  While flipping through some binder or other I came across a card I had never seen before: Cyclops Gladiator.  I'm not sure how I had never seen one before, but after reading it I quickly traded the $3 or so I needed for a playset.

The Cyclops Gladiator caught my eye for several reasons.  First, it is a Red creature that has a four mana casting cost.  At the moment there are several good Red creatures, but only the Hero of Oxid Ridge costs four to cast, making the Gladiator a welcome addition on the curve to any deck looking to go a little larger on the scale.

Second, almost every creature being played at the moment has less than four power and toughness.  That means that the Cyclops Gladiator can almost always kill a creature with his ability and live to tell about it, which could be game-breaking against many creature based decks.  It is also the right size to take on anything in the current CawBlade lists short of a sideboarded Baneslayer Angel or Sun Titan, whether equipped with a Sword of Feast and Famine or no.

I had already been considering four Inferno Titan as a good way to start a decklist due to their awesomeness against basically everything, but most of my lists had moved in a RUG direction, featuring Lotus Cobra, Andrios, Roaming Explorer, and the other usual suspects.  When I saw the Cyclops Gladiator I started imagining a deck featuring a full playset of both the Cyclops Gladiator and the Inferno Titan.

After a bit more trading and browsing through other binders I stumbled across another large Red creature that had escaped widespread attention: Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs.  Kazuul has seen a small amount of play, mostly as a one or two of in RUG sideboards, but he hasn't become widely adopted.  The Cliff Tyrant makes attacking a risky proposition for most aggressive decks.  They are forced to choose between attacking and paying the mana to stop you from getting free blockers or playing spells for the turn.  If they don't attack and instead play spells you have gotten a free untap step, buying you time to cast another fatty or otherwise deal with the pressure.  If they attack you and pay the mana you are probably in a lot of trouble, but it will keep the situation from deteriorating any further.  After coming across the Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs, I traded for a playset, valued at $5.

I couldn't think of any other good Red creatures I would want for a midrange-controlish deck like which didn't seem like much of a problem when I didn't want many more creatures anyway.  At this point I was thinking I had about half of the deck built: four Inferno Titan, four Cyclops Gladiator, three Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs, and four Everflowing Chalice for some acceleration.  I only wanted three Kazuuls because of the Legendary status.  Twenty-four lands seemed about right for a first draft, which made thirty-nine cards together.  Twenty-one cards to fill.

Some creature removal would be essential, preferably better than one-for-one so that this deck could have some additional sources of card advantage.  In went four Arc Trail and four SlagstormBurst Lightning seemed worth of inclusion as it can take out a Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas after a +1, activated Celestial Colonnade, or Stoneforge Mystic with a [card Sword of Feast and Famine]Sword[/card] on it.  Burst Lightning also represents a significant chunk of life if you want to point it at their head.

At this point the list looked like this:

4 Inferno Titan

4 Cyclops Gladiator

3 Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs

4 Everflowing Chalice

4 Arc Trail

4 Slagstorm

4 Burst Lightning

24 land

That leaves only nine card to fill in.  Having filled in some of the broad strokes, I wanted to take another look at what all the pieces were and how they fit into the whole.

General Game Plan:  Control the ground with removal long enough to land a fatty or two that can lock the game up.  The fatties are all sources of card advantage, hopefully allowing this deck to have some play into the late game.  It should play like a control deck.

Finishers: Cyclops Gladiator, Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs, and Inferno Titan.

Early Control: Arc Trail, Burst Lightning, and SlagstormArc Trail and Slagstorm can take out multiple creatures, helping to generate card advantage, and the Burst Lightning is good at taking down larger threats and Planeswalkers.

Strengths: This list seems very good against decks attempting to win by attacking in the early game.  Boros, Elves!, KRed, all seem like good matchups.  CawBlade could easily pull ahead with an unchecked Jace or Gideon, but barring those I like my chances.

Possible Weaknesses: Decks that don't rely on the attack phase.  Looking at the list so far I would guess that it goldfishes a kill around turn seven or eight which means it will almost assuredly lose to either Valakut or Pyromancer because it would be too slow to beat them before they went off, and it has no meaningful disruption.  I would also expect this deck to be weak to any deck playing a significant number of counterspells.  All the the threats require a large amount of mana to cast, enough that it would probably be the only meaningful thing you did with your turn.  When you are spending a whole turn to cast a single threat at sorcery speed, you turn every Counterspell your opponent has into a pseudo Time Walk.  For the same reason it would be weak to any deck playing significant spot removal.

Possible Fixes: More burn would give the deck a greater chance at racing combo decks like Valakut or Pyromancer, as would smaller, quicker creatures.  The danger of going with creatures is they would make our Slagstorms less card-advantageous.  Manlands are always helpful against counterspells, so perhaps I could add Raging Ravine or Lavaclaw Reaches with a splash, and/or Dread Statuary.  Having lands that also can attack would be helpful in fighting against targeted removal as well.

With the expected weaknesses and possible fixes in mind, I take another look at the mana curve.

1 Burst Lightning

2 Arc Trail, Everflowing Chalice

3 Slagstorm

4 Everflowing Chalice, Cyclops Gladiator

5 Burst Lightning, Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs

6 Inferno Titan

Even with some cards pulling double duty and being counted at multiple places due to their variable costs, I still see a mana curve that looks more like a line.  At the moment there is basically one card at every point on the curve.  This could be awesome if we curve out perfectly, but it opens the possibility of drawing the wrong cards at wrong time and not being able to use your mana to its fullest.  That means I'd like to add a few cards to fill in the gaps, especially at the three- and four-drop spots.

Possible Options:

Tumble Magnet: Tumble Magnet is one of the strongest ways to spend three mana in Standard.  It can buy you a fog for three turns from a Sword of Feast and Famine, which is more than any spot removal can do.  Doom Blade and its kind are great for taking down various Titans, but it is pretty weak when the opponent is attacking with [card Squadron Hawk]four 1/1s[/card] and a [card Sword of Feast and Famine]Sword[/card].  It is also strong against manlands, making the opponent pay their activation cost multiple times before finally getting to attack.

Koth: Koth of the Hammer is a strong four drop in any Red deck that wants to be aggressive.  His mana producing ability is useful, but that's just a happy bonus and not what you're really paying for.  The main event is the hasty 4/4s and the threat of a game-ending ultimate.  While I may be wrong, my feeling is that Koth belongs in the sideboard, not the maindeck.  The deck I have so far is more a control deck than an aggressive deck.  It wants to control the ground with spot removal before generating card advantage with a large threat, not attack with Goblin Guide.  While it may assume a more aggressive role against some decks, I don't think [card Koth of the Hammer]Koth[/card] fits with the game plan of the maindeck.

Sphere of the Suns: [card Sphere of the Suns]The Sphere[/card] would enable splashing a second color a more feasible option, if desired, and could also accelerate the fatties onto the field.  Eight accelerators may be too many, but it is worth considering.

Iron Myr: Iron Myr is a decent accelerator if we want to rush into the mid/late game, and could block if need be.  It has summoning sickness while the Everflowing Chalice does not, and it is also vulnerable to spot removal.  If it seemed a second color was needed I would probably go with the Sphere of the Suns before the Myr, but if the deck stays mono Red, the ability to block when needed may be a greater benefit than the drawbacks of summoning sickness + vulnerability.

Gideon: Gideon Jura would be rather hilarious with Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs.  He would fit well with this deck's current game plan of controlling the ground until fatties hit play, then attacking for a million.  The only drawback is the double-White required to cast, which would make casting him the turn after a Cyclops Gladiator a little tricky.  If the deck moves to add another color, however, Gideon Jura is high on the list for reasons to go White.

Preordain: Significantly easier to splash than [card Gideon Jura]Gideon[/card], Preordain could help smooth the draws of the deck considerably.  An Everflowing Chalice is exactly what you're looking for on turn two, but it is a poor topdeck on turn eight.  The same is inversely true of the fatties such as Inferno Titan.  A small splash for Blue could allow for a significant boost in the average card quality of cards drawn in the later game while also ensuring the accelerators were cast in the early game, rather than clogging up the hand later on.

Jace Beleren: [card Jace Beleren]The lesser Jace[/card] would require a more committed mana base than just Preordain, but it would also yield greater rewards.  At the moment the deck can gain card advantage through its creatures but it has no way to actually draw cards.  Killing two or three creatures with each creature you cast is certainly card advantage, but it does not increase your options the way having more cards in hand does.  [card Jace Beleren]Jace, Jr.[/card] fits well on the curve and would increase our ability to grind out a long game which could prove quite helpful.

Jace, the Mind Sculptor: If you're going to play a Jace, you might as well play the best one, right?  The mana curve is probably fine.

Fauna Shaman and Vengevine: This is just clearly not going to work.

Consecrated Sphinx:[card Consecrated Sphinx]The Sphinx[/card] is one of the best ways to cement a small lead in Standard today.  If this deck trades one-for-one all day until landing a fatty, the Sphinx could fit in well.

Primeval Titan: Another strong Titan, Primeval Titan could search up any manlands that ended in the deck, or perhaps something like Teetering Peaks or Smoldering Spires.  If we're running a Red and Green deck with Primeval Titan, however, why aren't we just playing Valakut?

I don't think that I've stumbled across anything format breaking here.  This most-of-a-deck is probably good enough to do well with at FNM with some tweaking, but my goal with this article was not to build the next Pro Tour winner, but rather to share my process of deckbuilding.  When I come across a card or idea that hasn't been exploited yet I try to follow it as far as it will go.  After sketching out the broad strokes, I try to examine its strengths and weaknesses.  Then I look at the mana curve again and try to brainstorm any intersections of cards, trying to think of ways I can solve its current weaknesses while also plugging holes in the mana curve to ensure your mana is being used fully when possible.  The most important thing, however, is to put it together and play a few games.  Many decks that seem good on paper are unplayable when put together, just as many that seem amazing in theory fail entirely when put to the test.

Good luck brewing!

Brook Gardner-Durbin

@BGardnerDurbin on Twitter

31 thoughts on “Building A New Deck

  1. Brook,

    I am glad to see you consistently writing and hope it all works out well. In the past, you have called me out on my FB when I said something you may have felt was uncalled for. With all do respect, I am doing the favor.
    You are one of the better players in Montana and most players cringe when they see they are paired against you. When you win a game, you portray it as something that should of obviously should of happened. When you lose a game ( Elves! ) you let your opponent know how bad he played and all the mistakes he made. I would like to address sportsmanship.

  2. During your first loss to Elves!, your opponent was so excited he actually beat the Montana State champ, and he went to shook your hand while saying "Good Games." You refused to shake his hand, did not look him in the eye, and said "no they weren't, but best of luck in the rest of your matches."
    Writing on this site, you are wanted to be respected and compensated for your opinion, to some, perhaps this means you are held to a higher standard.
    Telling players that they do not "play a real deck" after they even may have beat you with it is childish. One of these was a 15 year old kid playing Mono White Argentium. This kid and his "fake deck" won the very $500 tournament you t8'd.

  3. As far as the Elves! player, he is a good guy and an average magic player. I am glad that you did apologize to him later on, but felt you could of handled it differently.

    By now means am I looking for a long winded rebuttal or justification for anything. I am merely a store owner. I actually feel your articles are worth reading at this point, but can not and will not recommended them based of your tournament interactions. In future readings, I'd like to see less about how bad your opponents are and how fake their decks are; I'd like to see your thoughts while in the tank and how you adjust to your local meta as well as larger meta when you travel.

  4. PS…. if these comments will hurt your deal with this site, I do not want that and rather you delete them ASAP if that's the case. I do mean everything I said with respect.

    1. Todd,

      Late feedback, but I hope you see this. We take our writers and content seriously, and do not let one comment sway our opinions. That said, you should feel free to keep writers honest and express your opinions freely (in a civil manner).

      Thanks for the feedback!

  5. Todd,
    interesting points, but I disagree with several.
    First, I don't feel I act like I act as if me winning a game was obviously something that should have happened. I respect the random aspect of the game and the fact that means I can lose to anybody, up to and including someone with a precon in their first tournament.
    When I lost to the elves player in question in the swiss, I mulliganed three times in the games and failed to do anything relevant. Calling those games is being generous with the term. I am not going to call them games if they weren't. If he had mulliganed and hadn't done anything relevant I wouldn't have said good games when I extended the hand, everyone should know that that is just poor form. As you said, I did wish him luck in the rest of his matches. I realized later that he may have taken my disagreement with his statement of Good Games as indicating that he didn't deserve to win or an insult to him personally, which was not at all what I meant. I only meant that I didn't feel they were actual games, and I clarified that when we were rematched in the top8.
    I do not bring up the subject of play mistakes with opponents, as I know what a touchy issue that can be. If they bring it up however, I am going to mention anything I thought was a mistake. If they don't bring up the topic I don't comment on any plays they made I felt were mistakes. If they do bring it up, however, it seems clear to me they are trying to improve their game and not mentioning something they did that I felt was a mistake would be doing them a disservice.
    I try to look at my game as objectively and dispassionately, in an attempt to take any ego out of the picture and examine what went wrong if I lost. After a loss, I appreciate anyone observing questioning any of my plays they felt were incorrect. I sometimes forget that others are less disassociated from their plays and perceive a criticism of their play as a personal criticism, which is certainly not what I am intending when discussing possible play mistakes, and am perhaps come off sounding harsher than I intend.
    I haven't felt as if I was harping on "how bad my opponents were and how fake their decks are", but if others are feeling that way I will examine further articles through that lens.
    as always, thanks for the input.

    1. I enjoyed the article and your reasoning here, but did you really not shake an opponent's outstretched hand? If true, that and the statement "Calling those games is being generous with the term. I am not going to call them games if they weren't." probably indicate that the original commenter's concern might be a worthy subject of reflection and introspection, 'objectively and dispassionately.'

      You might not be able to control your draw, you certainly can't control your opponent's deck choice, but how we conduct ourselves in the public eye is certainly something that we CAN control. Anyway, looking forward to more!

    2. Obviously I don't know the entire situation, but I can see where Brook is coming from about the "good games" comment. I HATE it when opponents try to tell me good game when I'm stuck on two land or draw only one color. A good game is one where both players play well and trade punches until one emerges victorious, not one where only one person gets to play Magic.
      With that said, upholding sportsmanship is key in every aspect. If I lose a game to my own play mistake I tend to get down on myself after a match, something I've learned can sometimes upset the person who beat me. As such, I've tried to adjust accordingly. Your name and reputation are the most important thing you can have inside the Magic community, and that means that sometimes you just have to suck it up, shake their hand and tell them good game. Telling them that their deck sucks or isn't real doesn't help the situation at all.
      On another note, I'm on the same page as Brook when it comes to play mistakes. I hope anyone watching my game questions my play afterward, because that is the only way to improve. On the other hand, I'll never tell someone about their misplays unless they have shown they are receptive to it. Some people just aren't, and it's a fine line.

  6. Brook,

    I made a transition from competitive player ( low 1920s ) to store owner. I know I could be both if I wanted too, but Montana in general is a causal format. The tournament circuit I created is to introduce competitive magic to Montana ( which I think we both agree is good!
    Your article "" has been your best. In previous writings, you have commented how bad a Valakut player was, how bad Mono W Argentium was and now "Elves!" has made the list to either decks or players that made mistakes.

    I remember your match of Mono W a few months back. As you sat down, you told your opponent ( a 15 year old boy ) that his deck "isn't a real deck." The truth of the matter is, that deck was the only thing he can afford and after months of saving up allowance and doing odd jobs, that's what he can afford. He won that third game against you and has also won the last $500 cash tournament.

    I would advertise your articles on my face book fan page that gets about 30k+ hits a month (31,443 past 30 days ) because I love that Montana has a writer for the game, but I have no desire to link something that puts other players down in any way. I personally like positive entertaining articles.

  7. There are so many elitist players and writers that exist and make casual players feel bad. Not everybody started competitive like you are now Brook. I personally do not think there is anything wrong with a humble approach and positive thinking. I hope my comments ( might of well have been an article ) have at least shed SOME light on things that you can consider.

    Best of luck


  8. Personally, I would never turn down a handshake, or give a begrudging, "Yeah, good games," even when they're not.

    However, a little part of me dies inside whenever someone shows no sensitivity for the way the game played out. If you win a match and they weren't good games, it's pretty crass IMO to say it anyway. A "Better luck next time," or "Better luck in your next match," is much more appropriate.

    Good read as always, Brook.


  9. Todd,
    part of a tournament report is how the games played out. If I am writing a report from a tournament I went to and saw an opponent make a bad play that let me win a game I should have lost, that seems worthy of mention to me. I haven't made any personal attacks on any of the players and think they're a great group of guys, but I would be doing my readers a disservice if I didn't include any plays that gave me a chance to win when I should have lost. Mind tricking an opponent into Valakut-ing my Jace instead of killing my Gideon when they are at three life and my only other attacker is a Squadron Hawk is a play worth mentioning. If the Valakut player reads that later and feels bad, I'm sorry, but I can't simultaneously avoid hurting anybodys feelings and write a complete report.
    As for the WW player, the question of whether or not it was a real deck came up when he asked me what I thought of the deck shortly after my first article, which was looking at the data from Worlds. At worlds only a single WW Quest deck made it to a winning record, indicating it is not a strong choice. I did not know that he was playing Quest when he asked me what I thought of the deck, or I would not have softened the blow some. I thought he was considering building it and was attempting to caution him against such a choice. Since then we have back and forth on the point when seeing each other at other tournaments, in a way that felt to me like good-natured ribbing. I have congratulated him on his other top8s and most recent win and felt we were on good terms, but if he has spoken to you and said something indicating that isn't true I will certainly do what I can to correct that next time I see him.

  10. I extended my hand while saying good game. In return, I was told No they weren't, but good luck in the rest of your rounds. Did I take this personally? Hell yes. I am a gamer, I have been since I was 10. My brothers were both gamers and both taught me the courtesy you extend your fellow gamers, The respect you should give them, regardless of how much you may like them or agree with how they play. When my hand shake was turned down and no Good Game was heard in response, I took it, as many other gamers would, as an insult to Myself. While I appreciated the Apology I'm not convinced that it wasn't just a public appearance thing to you.
    My first encounters with gaming and gamers were Starcraft and Warcraft. And I'd like to use Starcraft as an example. Starcraft 1 was a highly competitive game where there were a myriad of strategies with each different race. The one that consistently angered people? Zerg. The zergling rush in fact. Less then 10 minutes into the game your base was flooded and you were killed. You were pissed, defeated, and maybe even disheartened, You still said Good game. They may have made three thousand mistakes that could have saved them some amount of units to continue the attack on another base. Regardless, Good game was said.
    Good game at it's most superficial is an acknowledgment of how the games you just played went. That is not the reason I said it. I said it because I respected you as a fellow player, and state champion at that. Instead of the sportsmanship I expected of someone in your position, Instead of common decency and courtesy, you pretty much brushed me off and might as well have said F off. The absolute lack of sportsmanship you showed was a gross display of immaturity and You are the exact reason people Won't play in tournament play. Not because they aren't good, or even bad, but because people act like elitist Jerks and won't show them the respect as fellow Gamers or even assist them in growing as a player. in it's stead they receive pure discouragement.
    Go ahead and call this what you will, but as far as I am concerned, You represent almost every problem gamer communities have. The only thing to possibly is say Lose with Dignity and Win with Humility.

  11. Jesse,
    I'm sorry you took it so personally, that was certainly not my intention. I never said you didn't deserve to win, that your deck was bad, or anything in that line. I disagreed with you about whether the games we played were actual games, nothing more. I feel saying GGs after two completely non-interactive games is just poor form. I mulliganed and was manascrewed and did nothing relevant. To me, that is not a good game, so I'm not going to call it that. To me a good game is when both players interact and trade cards back and forth-when one player has three land on turn seven it is not a good game.
    When I refused the handshake and disagreed with you about GGs, I meant no personal insult. I was only saying I did not agree that they were "good" games. I could have been playing a deck of 59 Mountains and a Craw Wurm for all the difference it made in our games.
    I am sorry if I have given you the impression I was an elitist, as that was never intended and not how I think of myself. I am constantly amazed when I win, as I do not think of myself as particularly good at this game.
    I realized later, after our match in the swiss, that I may have come across as more of a jerk than intended, which was why I apologized and clarified when we played again. At that time I said that I did not mean anything as an insult and I was not saying you did not deserve to beat me or anything along those lines, but only that nothing relevant happened in our games which was why I had refused the GGs. At the time you accepted and shook my hand, which indicated to me you and I had no problems. If you still felt animosity towards me, I would have appreciated hearing it then when I would have done what I could to make amends. I thought we were good after that, seeing this here is a complete surprise to me. <div style="margin: 6px 0pt 0pt; display: block;"><a class="a2a_dd" href=""><img src="; alt="Share/Save/Bookmark" width="171" border="0" height="16">

    1. So there we have it, after dodging the question I posed earlier you finally cop to the fact that you brushed off a handshake only when the actual eyewitness forces you to confront the fact. Do you realise how much ink you've devoted to quibbling and self-justifying in these comments? When a game is not a game is as stupid a remark as Bill Clinton's infamous "define 'is'" comment. Grow up, mate, your extraordinary efforts to twist around the issue of sportsmanship are beyond childish, and you've just publicly added your name to the list of the negative players of the game. A simple "I was on tilt, sorry I refused to shake your hand" would have been more than enough to redeem yourself and settle the matter, but it seems even that wee bit of grace escapes you. "When I refused to shake your hand, climbed up on the table, undid me drawers and took a steaming shit on your deck, I didn't mean to insult you, and I don't think of myself as elitist." Hilarious!

      I respect you as a fellow writer for this site, but you've just lost me as a reader. There are many players in the game today writing who
      a. have better records than you do, and
      b. don't feel the need to be dildos in what- at the end of the day- really is just a game.

      That's right, mate.

      A game.

      Get over it.

      This column really should be a wake-up call for you.

  12. Dude, I've been told a thousand times I didn't play a good game after I won, and to be completely honest after looking back I didn't play well. We have all made mistakes in the heat of the moment, the important thing is that we apologize, which Brooke did… I can't blame a brother for being a little upset, and honestly 3 land in a control deck on turn 7 is a pretty legitimate reason to be pissed. If someone tells you a game wasn't good that doesn't mean they are insulting you either, a good game is an evenly matched game. Magic isn't a game for little kids, and sometimes you have to reflect on situations a little harder. And IF you are told you didn't play well, you should take it as advise instead of blowing up.. That's how all the pros got where they are today, they can take the criticism and improve themselves.

  13. Ok so how is it "a game of magic" if i get to sit there with no land and i had to mulligan to five while the other guy beats my face in. then says good game no that just makes me more pissed and makes him look like a ass. you know you can always say hey sorry you got land screwed dude but good luck in the rest of the tourny. i would shake his hand for that but telling me good game when all that happened is him playing magic and me just sitting there with three land on turn 10 and hes beating my face in. NOT COOL. You cant win them all so ya when you lose you get mad and sometimes you need to vent we all get angry with magic at some point. i know i do at times but you still can realize the other guy is pissed off and you can tell him good game in a diffrent way to not further his anger towards you. So i blame the elves guy for not realizing Brook was pissed off that is wasnt even a game of magic. But seroiusly guys give Brook some slack hes not perfect he got mad and he didnt want to shake hands because he beileved that match didnt deserve it. Give it a break all ready.

  14. It is 8 PM on a Friday night and there it is again. . .the Doritos dust laden hand extended by a manboy along with the barely articulated "Good Game". . . .now I know it was not a good game and the kid has already moved on and is in fact looking around to see if any "real" Magic players are open so he can test his new deck while waiting for the next round. Do I shake and add more fakeness to the process? Being a wimp I do but I am not left feeling like I have joined a warm fuzzy fraternity of sportsmanlike conduct.

  15. Aside from this ongoing debate in the comments here, I like your article. I do pretty much the same thing when brewing, starting with a concept or card(s) and building a rough draft from there. I also like brewing up something by attacking the metagame, for example, not many decks have answers right now to Wurmcoil Engine. I then try to put Wurmcoil in the best deck possible to maximize ts effectiveness.

    Btw, there's something wrong with your list… there's no islands in it! Are you feverish, do I need to take you to the hospital?

  16. Here is what I dream of. . . Jen loses 0-2, said manboy that delivered the beat down says, bummer about the lands, now many are you running? And we digress to what can be short ( I realize I am not the center of the universe) but meaningful conversation about the random acts of yuck that happen to all decks on occasion (some of more than others).

    So in the above instance think a moment about what might have been occurring, you just beat BGD but deep in your heart you didn’t really beat him as they were not good games down to the wire, they were the kind of games that happen but are very unpleasant to live through. You are going to walk away and as soon as you can go find your little posse and whisper “I beat BGD”, all the time knowing they were not good games where your two decks and brilliant minds battled it out to the end. I suspect the ritual GGHS may not have been extended in the true sportsman like manner. . . think about your own actions before going after others.

  17. I especially remind you of this as a looser. I lose a lot. Even managed to go 0-33 in league once. . .Being on that end of the match on a very regular basis I am an expert on how you boys present yourselves in winning. I have even had the very pleasant experience of being at a Pre-release with almost 100 players in the room, round 3 they post the pairings and some dude, upon seeing he is playing me loudly says "I got paired down?, can you check that again, I can't believe I got paired down". . . .thanks dude, I know I suck . . .(sweetness of that was I beat him once he was through with his tantrum).
    I have a unique place in this game as I have played since the begining and am what is politely called a "non-traditional" player as I am a 47 year old woman. I have played Magic in about 10 different states and a bit overseas and one of the most telling moments for me is when I walk into a shop. The responses vary from "I wonder whos mom that is?" to "Hey, did you bring trades?" I can instantly tell the calliber of the group by how I am recieved.

  18. One of my best experiences was when I first moved to Montana and found the worlds smallest and not terribly appealing shops and a young boy instantly says, "do you have a deck? wanna play?". . . This was Brook at all of about 12 years old and of course he beat me but then proceeded to look through my deck and helped make it better. He has very kindly and patiently tolerated my love of Sage Owl and bad decks with fliers for years, included me in group even tough my play level is not even close to par and has over the years been supportive of my continued efforts to get better at playing Magic. I have never know him to be unsportsman like or unpleasant unless provoked. And when provoked he is brilliant!

  19. I know that if I had an issue I could go to Brook and say "yo dude, that was totally not right" and we would talk about it and move on.
    In the end, this forum is for articles about the game and not a couch for you to vent your personal inner struggles with the size of your . . .well. . .I let you figure that out
    Take care of your own issues first before you point the finger at others, that this is such an issue for you that you use such articulate and well thought out rhetoric to attack someone in a public forum tells me that someone needs a hug. Take it off line dudes. . .

  20. I have played several games against Brook and due to the fact that we are friends, have watched many of his matches. Even last night, he took the time to help a returning player who hasn't played in a while, and after beating a newish player pretty handily, he took the time to explain a couple things to help this burgoening magic player. He didn't have to do these things, he certainly could have went to the "good" magic players and bragged that these players are noobs and then cackled like a jackal, but nothing was said and no evil laughing commenced. Brook has been there to help me become a better magic player, and yes he has told me that stuff that I have brewed was not a real deck; however, him and I are still friends and the world has not ended. Granted, he's not perfect, but who is? Just accept him for who he is, and if you ask for advice, then don't expect him to sugar coat it. I certainly don't sugarcoat mine when asked.

  21. The responses above for the most part have saddened me. Brook, we may disagree with several things regarding the game of magic, but we do have a mutual respect and feel we have our conversations with a bit of maturity. Your responses have been mature and respectful and I do appreciate that.

    Jen, for a 47 year woman you are lowering your alleged standards of maturity and I feel have done the meaning of this thread a great disservice.

    You played 5 total games against Jesse. You did not get land screwed all 5 games. I do recall tectonic edge and acidic slime being present in his deck, but the relevance of that is small but present.

    In the end, I do understand where you are coming from ( sorry for ending with a preposition.) I am not going to get involved in a personal attack on Brook or Jesse. I felt I voiced my original concerns accordingly and feel if there are any concerns, the parties should talk it out directly and not depend on summoned thread trolls to toss out cheap shots on their behalf. I am going to ask my locals and people who know me to back off of this thread and hope that Brooks friends will do the same.

    My goal has been and continues to be to unite gamers and gaming in Montana. This was not my intention. Lets resolve this before it turns into a Biggie TuPac situation.

    <3 Todd

  22. The responses above for the most part have saddened me. Brook, we may disagree with several things regarding the game of magic, but we do have a mutual respect and feel we have our conversations with a bit of maturity. Your responses have been mature and respectful and I do appreciate that.

    Jen, for a 47 year woman you are lowering your alleged standards of maturity and I feel have done the meaning of this thread a great disservice.

    You played 5 total games against Jesse. You did not get land screwed all 5 games. I do recall tectonic edge and acidic slime being present in his deck, but the relevance of that is small but present.

    In the end, I do understand where you are coming from ( sorry for ending with a preposition.) I am not going to get involved in a personal attack on Brook or Jesse. I felt I voiced my original concerns accordingly and feel if there are any concerns, the parties should talk it out directly and not depend on summoned thread trolls to toss out cheap shots on their behalf. I am going to ask my locals and people who know me to back off of this thread and hope that Brooks friends will do the same.

    My goal has been and continues to be to unite gamers and gaming in Montana. This was not my intention. Lets resolve this before it turns into a Biggie TuPac situation.

    <3 Todd

  23. Hi everyone,

    Is this truly the venue in which you would like to discuss this topic? All of us here at Quiet Speculation work really hard on maintaining a professional atmosphere where you can come to learn about every facet of Magic: the Gathering. Every article that you read here has had hours of work put into the writing, the editing, and everything else that it takes to bring you the best content we can.

    Does anyone, anywhere have something to say about Brook's writing?

    From the bottom of my heart, thank you for visiting us here and taking the time to read the articles in which many people have spent a lot of effort producing.



  24. Brook made me the player I am today. I first met Brook when I showed up in Montana as a naive player with an outdated Boros deck, he beat me to a pulp and right afterward he grabbed my deck and gave me TONS of advise.. everything from what cards I should play to how to better my play style. Brook kept me in the game when I was in the slumps. He lent me cards he built me decks and he really taught me how to compete competitively. When I think of people that are good for Magic and are willing to put in the time to help out the MTG community Brook is always at the top of the list…

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