The Mana Pool
Join Brian, Mike, Dirk and Chewie as they discuss all things Magic: The Gathering. Since there are plenty of tournament and strategy podcasts out there, we've decided to focus on the fun of the game in all its many forms, from Prereleases to multiplayer free-for-alls to whatever else we can come up with. Give us a listen!


Well hello there everybody.  This is Mike, filling in for Chewie on the show notes because something something I don't even know.  There's probably a perfectly reasonable explanation.  But hey, that's what friends are for.  Speaking of, by way of Brian's creative genius, we have a very special episode for you tonight.

I'm sure all of you out there at some point have dreamed up some custom cards, or at least thought of some wacky abilities or nifty text to put onto a card.  Because Magic is a 2+ person game, I'm also assuming most of you play it with other people, some of them fairly regularly.  Every player has his or her own special quirks and characteristics (some endearing, some infuriating), so what if you took those gameplay elements and translated them onto cards?  Brian gave us all a homework assignment to do just that, and you'll be both surprised and unsurprised at many of our results.

Oh, and something about movies.  Rant rant rant.


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Direct download: Episode_139_-_Create-a-Host.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:25pm EST

Episode 138 - Pick Your Controversy (and M11)


Well we've got lots of stuff for you this episode. First off, there's a Magic Mad Lib, provided by jars from the forums. Then we have some controversial stuff. We kick it off with Hornet Sting again, this time going into a deeper discussion about what may or may not be wrong with the card on any number of levels. Then we hit the Esper Charm incident described by Cedric Phillips on StarCityGames. This one gets deep. Feelings are hurt, friendships are destroyed, podcasts are forever ruined...and then Dirk proves once again why he's a genius.

Then we've got M11 as a whole. Two of us hit the Prerelease, which we'll tell you about. Then we all take a look at M11 in its entirety and ruminate and marinate on it for your amusement and edification.

Oh yeah, check out this awesome Legend of Zelda set that Monday Night Magic mentioned. It's awesome.
http://www.gamesradar.com/f/behold-our- ... 4459310090


Intro Music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com
Break Music - Chrono Trigger Main Theme (Orchestrated) composed by Yasunori Mitsuda

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Direct download: Episode_138_-_Pick_Your_Controversy_and_M11.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:00pm EST

Episode 137 - M11 and Why Chewie is on Every Show

Hey there, all of you Mana Pool listeners! If you’re not a Mana Pool listener, you’re in the wrong place. Otherwise, hey! This is Brian. My rambling has spilled over onto the show notes, no longer content to take up 80% of the podcast air space.

Mike and I handle the usual tasks of intro matters, listener emails, and Cardshark member promotions for July. Why us instead of Chewie? You’ll have to find out!

Then it’s time for M11 previews. We definitely take our time with a fair number of these, but that’s because they are both sweet and great. By now, you can see the entire spoiler up on the Wizards page, but you’ll find exclusive ramble-lore-chewie content here that you can’t find anywhere else. If you happen to hear an inappropriate joke here or there, don’t worry about it- it’s just the voices in your head. Lines of Lay, Lichs (Liches?) that beat down, cards that aren’t Twincast, Destructive Force and the creatures that survive it (but only if you have enough Mountains), and the worst color pie related crime since ever await. We hope that you are just as excited about M11 as we are, and if you have your own thoughts about the previewed cards in this episode, head over to the forums and voice your opinion.

Sit back, turn down the lights, turn up the volume and leave the heat at medium well. The Mana Pool is here


Intro Music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-137-m11-and-why-chewie-is-on-every-show-t554.html
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Direct download: Episode_137_-_M11_and_Why_Chewie_is_on_Every_Show.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:25pm EST

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 EST


Well hello there. What's a dork like you doing on an internet like this? Ah, that makes sense. No, I won't tell your mom. This is Mike, taking the reins of the show notes while Chewie is working hard preparing the previous episode, sneaking it in underneath our rolling storage limit on the hosting site. You'll notice a familiar unfamiliar voice on this episode, as we once again have Eric the Pluronymic joining us for a fun time all around.

M11 previews are still trucking right along, as would be expected. Thankfully, Wizards didn't drop another 80+ cards on us since the last time we recorded, so we're able to hit all of them. Among cards like Almost Johnny Magic, Sort of Man-o-War, Not Really Vengevine, and What Would Give You the Idea Scars of Mirrodin Has Artifacts, we have plenty to talk about. We start to bring home the second half of the show with a discussion of what the new Deathtouch templating actually means (for real this time [seriously]). It's a little embarassing to have jumped the gun when all the information I needed could have been inferred from what was already out there, but that just happens sometimes. Finally, we close with a special Out of the Deck Box segment from Eric, detailing a really amazing sounding deck that's all about wolves (feel free to Lock Up, Release, or associate with Winter, as appropriate to your personal Metal preference).


Intro Music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com
Break Music - Flesh by Ill Mic: http://www.illmic.com

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Direct download: Episode_136_-_M11_and_Guest_of_Many_Podcasts.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:12pm EST

60CC - Flock of Seagulls


​Hello again my faithful readers!  This one's simple yet entertaining.  When I started playing again around the time Onslaught came out, I noticed that Birds seemed to be a tribe they were pushing.  This was cemented when I saw Aven Brigadier, who is just ridiculous with the various Bird Soldiers.  But it wasn't until I saw the Judgement card Soulcatcher's Aerie that I was completely blown away.  Every time a bird dies, ALL these other birds get bigger?  HOLY CRAP!  So I set to work building a Bird deck.  The first one was just a bunch of big expensive awesome birds, a Brigadier, and a pair of Aeries.  As the years have gone by, I've tweaked and changed and fixed and focused the deck.  Here's the pre-60CC list:


Flock of Seagulls
Land (22)
8 Plains
7 Island
2 Azorius Chancery
2 Coastal Tower
1 Sejiri Refuge
2 Seaside Haven

Creatures (30)
4 Soulcatcher
2 Courier Hawk
2 Keeper of the Nine Gales
2 Aven Riftwatcher
2 Jotun Owl Keeper
1 Lieutenant Kirtar
1 Pride of the Clouds
1 Emeria Angel
1 Commander Eesha
2 Aven Fisher
2 Aven Augur
2 Celestial Gatekeeper
2 Phantom Flock
2 Crookclaw Elder
1 Aven Brigadier
1 Windbrisk Raptor
2 Shoreline Ranger

Noncreatures (10)
4 Soulcatcher's Aerie
4 Battle Screech
2 Disenchant


Seaside Haven baby!  The Soulcatcher makes an appearance all the way from Odyssey to keep watch over his Aerie.  I have a few birds that can off themselves for the good of the flock, like Aven Augur, Lieutenant Kirtar and the Aven Riftwatchers.  With a single counter on the Aerie, the Phantom Flock becomes impossible to kill with damage.  I have a bit of a bird token generating subtheme rolling around in here too, what with the Owl Keeper, Pride of the Clouds, Emeria Angel, and the set of Battle Screeches.  More small birds for cheap in the early game means more giant Serrakeet birds for cheap in the late game!  The Keeper of the Nine Gales and Crookclaw Elder take advantage of my fairly ridiculous number of birds to do nifty things like bounce threats or refill my hand.  And let's not forget the Windbrisk Raptor as a nice way to change the game in a single swing.

But you see, then I started opening packs from the Zendikar block.  I nabbed a second Emeria Angel which of course MUST go in this deck.  I also opened an Archon of Redemption.  The more I looked at it, the more it spoke to me.  It whispered to me of three counters on an Aerie and not paying for the third upkeep on an Owl Keeper, then playing a land with Emeria Angel out, then flashing back a Battle Screech.  Such riches are more than even my considerable imagination could conjure, and I was weak in the knees.  In that moment of weakness, I agreed to put this evil Archon in the deck where it clearly belonged.  But only as a single, for multiples would surely bring about the end of days!  *ahem* Sorry about that.  What was I saying?

Oh yeah, I'm putting in new cards.  The Pride of the Clouds makes bird tokens, but it has to be in my hand and it takes 4 mana BEFORE I draw for the turn!  The Emeria Angel has to be on the battlefield and I have to play lands.  Holy crap, I was gonna do that anyway!  So an even 1-for-1 swap on those two seems fair to me.  If this deck was more about a swarm of tiny birds, then the Pride could be absolutely amazing, but it's actually about making a swarm of huge birds, so it loses some value when I could just include another bird or a more efficient token-maker.  I looked at the Soulcatcher next.  There's a full set in there.  I don't think a full set is really necessary, especially since I already have the full set of Aeries.  And for some strange reason, I feel compelled to put the Archon in here.  Not quite sure what that's about.  so let's just do another swap there.

At this point, I'm still sitting at +2 cards.  Let's see what's left.  Disenchant!  What good does that crap do?  It does all kinds of good, the hell is wrong with you?  What about...Courier Hawk?  It's small and vigilant, which works really well with the Aerie later in the game, but it's a possibility.  My favorite thing to do with Aven Fisher is sacrifice it to a Seaside Haven to draw two cards and bump up the rest of my birds, and even if I don't get to do that it still replaces itself when death comes for it.  No, at this point I decided to knock off the Shoreline Rangers.  The deck runs pretty well on 4 mana, so the islandcycling isn't as necessary as it was in previous incarnations.  In other words, it's a holdover from the time I had a whole mess of 5 and 6 cost birds in the deck.  With the smaller, sleeker creature the deck has become, the Rangers are unnecessary.  They're still good, just not here.

As always (well, it will be always), here's the full list of changes:

+1 Emeria Angel
-1 Pride of the Clouds
+1 Archon of Redemption
-1 Soulcatcher
-2 Shoreline Ranger

And here's the final list, sitting right at 60 cards:


Flock of Seagulls
Land (22)
8 Plains
7 Island
2 Azorius Chancery
2 Coastal Tower
1 Sejiri Refuge
2 Seaside Haven

Creatures (28)
3 Soulcatcher
2 Courier Hawk
2 Keeper of the Nine Gales
2 Aven Riftwatcher
2 Jotun Owl Keeper
1 Lieutenant Kirtar
2 Emeria Angel
1 Commander Eesha
2 Aven Fisher
2 Aven Augur
2 Celestial Gatekeeper
2 Phantom Flock
1 Archon of Redemption
2 Crookclaw Elder
1 Aven Brigadier
1 Windbrisk Raptor

Noncreatures (10)
4 Soulcatcher's Aerie
4 Battle Screech
2 Disenchant


So now for the educational part of this post.  First off, keep an eye out for cards that do the same thing only better, like the Emeria Angel replacing the Pride here.  Also, if you're like me, you keep decks for a long time and tweak and change them as new cards come out.  Watch out for those cards that were required to make the deck run smoothly back in the day.  Sometimes you just have to go back to first assumptions and take a good look at those cards that you just leave in there because they've always been there.  Question everything!  And that's not just a lesson in casual deckbuilding, that's a life lesson.  But enough of all that.  Hope you've enjoyed the little birdies.  Thanks for reading and uh, go play some Magic.

Category:60 Card Challenge -- posted at: 12:44pm EST

Episode 135 - Double Standard, M11, and Spiders
NOTE:  THIS EPISODE (AND THUS THE DISCUSSION ABOUT POSSIBLE CHANGES TO DEATHTOUCH) WAS RECORDED WAY BEFORE WIZARDS SAID ANYTHING ABOUT IT.

THANK YOU,
THE MANAGEMENT


Eric of Many Names is back with us again, adding fuel to the various and sundry fires.  Speaking of fires, after a somewhat brief rant to clear out my system, we start this episode off right by looking at the new Extended format and the Banned and Restricted list changes.  What do you guys think about it?  We already know what one person thinks!  We have a recorded message from Tosus detailing some of his thoughts on this as well as Archenemy.  Note the fireworks going off behind him...you know, because it's funny.

Holy crap I hate spiders.  There's also some listener mail, the next Premium Deck Series announcement (Fire & Lightning - http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/arcana/477) and of course we have to take a look at some of the one million M11 cards that have already been shown (http://www.wizards.com/magic/tcg/article.aspx?x=mtg/tcg/magic2011/spoiler).

There's an interesting discussion about some possible changes to Deathtouch, stemming from the new reminder text on Greater Basilisk.  Of course, now we know all about what the changes are, but this entire discourse came about because Mike saw the new reminder text and tried to figure out why they would change it to that specifically.  It's an excellent look at why Mike is our rules guy.  Hope you enjoy!

Star Wars Soundboards can be found here: http://www.starwars.com/games/playnow/soundboards/#/?theme=01

Intro Music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com

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Direct download: Episode_135_-_Double_Standard_M11_and_Spiders.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:47pm EST