The Mana Pool
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60CC - The Mountains of Madness

Chewie here again, this time with a deck I actually did something to.  I've mentioned my multiplayer discard deck several times, whether it be in articles or on the show.  It's one of my oldest deck ideas, and the basic tenets haven't changed since I first came up with the idea.  But before I go into any sort of detail, here's the list (complete with made-up impressive sounding deck name that's never been used before):


The Mountains of Madness
Land (22)
12 Swamp
3 Island
2 Tainted Isle
1 Creeping Tar Pit
2 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
2 Dimir Aqueduct

Creatures (19)
4 Abyssal Nocturnus
4 Lore Broker
4 Screeching Buzzard
4 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Magus of the Jar
1 Nihilith
1 Myojin of Night's Reach

Noncreatures (23)
4 Megrim
1 Words of Waste
1 Debtor's Knell
1 Oversold Cemetery
2 Howling Mine
1 Memory Jar
1 Well of Knowledge
2 Time Spiral
2 Ill-Gotten Gains
1 Windfall
1 Prosperity
1 Bribery
3 Wheel and Deal
2 Evacuation


So the idea is pretty simple.  Keep cards in everyone's hand, play a Megrim, then make everyone discard their hands.  This used to be a lot harder, trust me.  Let's go through some of the key cards.  Megrim is the main kill condition.  Each card discarded means 2 damage.  Ideally, I only have to make each person discard 10 cards to win.  And of course, I have a full crapload of ways to fill (and then empty) hands.  Howling Mine gives an extra card a turn.  Mikikoro can draw everyone an extra card when I have some leftover mana.  The Well of Knowledge can draw anyone an extra card when they have some leftover mana.  Time Spiral gives everyone a full hand and gives me plenty of mana to play with after casting it.  Windfall and Ill-gotten gains give me a full-hand discard AND puts cards back in their hand so they can discard more!  The various Jar-related guys give me a slightly dirty way to win out of nowhere.  However, Wheel and Deal is by far the easiest way to just say "I win, let's play another one."  And for the extreme late game, there's the Myojin of Night's Reach.

But I'm not JUST out to win with massive discard all at once.  Lore Broker gives me the chance to inflict some serious chip damage, as does Words of Waste.  The Abyssal Nocturnus gets seriously big really quickly, and he gets evasion to punch through.  Nihilith is another big guy who comes out pretty quickly and can evade his way into someone's face.  The Screeching Buzzard is primarily a deterrent to keep people from swinging at me, which actually works better than you might think.

And finally, some assorted other.  Creeping Tar Pits are great for sneaking in the last few points of damage when my Megrim gets destroyed.  Solemn Simulacrum helps smooth out some draws and can profitably chump block if necessary.  Debtor's Knell and Oversold Cemetery let me reuse the few creatures I have.  Evacuation functions as both a panic button to save my ass and a way to fill up everyone's hand for a coup de grace.  Bribery is just cool, and since my creature count is kind of low I thought I'd throw it in.  You know, for fun and profit.


Now as you can see, this deck is sitting pretty at 64 cards.  So I need to somehow knock 4 cards out in order to reach my destination.  But first, I want to add in some cards!  I acquired 3 more Creeping Tar Pits, so they simply must go in.  That's an easy fix though, I'll knock out the 2 conditional duals, the Tainted Isles and a Swamp and be good to go.

Still sitting at +4 cards.  The first two choices were pretty simple, actually.  I took out the singleton Bribery because I've started building EDH decks, and a single Bribery sounds just right for EDH.  Prosperity is the next to go, because it just doesn't really do enough.  I'm pretty sure it's a holdover from a time when I was still short one of the mass draw spells.  That and to maximize its card drawing potential, I need to use up enough mana to not be able to cast one of the mass discard spells and actually capitalize on my opponents' full hands.  The Well of Knowledge is something similar, as it just doesn't do enough on its own to warrant taking up a space in the deck.  And since it's totally dependent on my opponents' willingness to pay to draw cards, it is entirely possible that it'll just sit there and do nothing.  So out it comes.

Hey, we're down to +1 card!  This one was both really tough, and stupidly easy.  I could have gone with the Debtor's Knell or the Myojin, since they cost a million.  I could have taken out the singleton Words of Waste or Nihilith.  I don't even have the Geth's Grimiore to go with the Words anymore (but that's because I tried to stop being that guy), so it's not like it's living up to its full potential, but it's still good enough by itself to leave in for now.  I almost tried taking out the Howling Mines, but then I remembered that they tend to take the heat off of me in the early game.  Instead, I decided to take out the Memory Jar.  Why you ask?  Because even though I am a bit of a jerk, I'm a complete ass.  The Memory Jar is just wrong.  Sure it basically does the same thing as Windfall or Ill-Gotten Gains, but it's going to knock out 7 cards almost every time for almost every player.  There's a reason it's as infamous as it is, you know?  I left in the Magus of the Jar because at least then they have a have a turn to either kill him off or prepare for the worst.  Sometimes being civil is more important than winning, you know?

Here's the full list of changes, in case you want it in an easily digestable format:

+3 Creeping Tar Pit
-2 Tainted Isle
-1 Swamp
-1 Bribery
-1 Prosperity
-1 Well of Knowledge
-1 Memory Jar


And here's the final list, just in case you wanted to see that too.

The Mountains of Madness
Land (22)
11 Swamp
3 Island
4 Creeping Tar Pit
2 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
2 Dimir Aqueduct

Creatures (19)
4 Abyssal Nocturnus
4 Lore Broker
4 Screeching Buzzard
4 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Magus of the Jar
1 Nihilith
1 Myojin of Night's Reach

Noncreatures (19)
4 Megrim
1 Words of Waste
1 Debtor's Knell
1 Oversold Cemetery
2 Howling Mine
2 Time Spiral
2 Ill-Gotten Gains
1 Windfall
3 Wheel and Deal
2 Evacuation


In an effort to have this be more than just a showcase of my decks, this final paragraph in each of these posts will be dedicated to larger lessons you should take away with you.  Of course, lots of them are going to be the same, but hopefully you won't notice.  Of course, when you only have 60 slots to work with and you're trying to craft a deck that can take down multiple opponents, every card has to pull its own weight.  If there's a card that isn't worth it, get rid of it!  Personal preference is also a factor.  I don't want to be too much of a horrible prick (gameplay-wise, that is) so I removed the stuff I see as unfair and unfun.  For those people who care more about winning than increasing the group's amount of fun (and there's nothing wrong with that, it's just not how my brain works), taking out the Memory Jar seems like a stupid choice.  And for them, of course, it would be.  And finally, when it comes to playing lots of multiplayer fun games, be sure to keep the big picture in mind.  I don't mean to pay attention to what everyone is doing (that's a given), I'm talking the big picture that extends outside of this game.  I have lots of decks built at all times.  If I have a card in this deck, but it really doesn't do much here or would definitely be more effective in that deck over there, then there's no reason to hamstring that other deck just because this card is already in this one.  Bribery would be most excellent in one of my EDH decks that contain blue, so I'm going to let it shine over there rather than leaving it here just because it's neat.

And of course, after I write this they reveal the new Megrim in M11, Lilliana's Caress.  It's Megrim except it costs 1 less and instead of damage, which is more easily prevented or redirected, it causes loss of life.  As soon as I get my hands on a any of these, they'll begin replacing the Megrims.  It's entirely possible that something like the Words of Waste or maybe a Buzzard will come out to increase the number of cards with this effect, but I'll have to play it out a few times to see how it works.

Hope you enjoyed taking this look at my process.  As always, any and all feedback, positive or negative, is welcome.  Since I'll probably be doing a lot of these, please let me know what you liked and didn't like.  You can comment right here or roll over to our forums at http://cardshark.freeforums.org.  Thanks for reading and uh, go play some Magic!

Category:60 Card Challenge -- posted at: 10:37am EDT