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!
Everyone loves Out of the Deck Box, right? So why don't we do a whole episode where we each pick one of our many (many) decks and tell you folks all about it? Sound like a plan?

Well tough. We're not doing that. Instead, Brian thought we should each pick a deck that wasn't our own and talk about it. After lots of “huh?” we decided that it was, in fact, a good idea. Brian kicked us off by talking about my old roommate Corey's Sneak Attack deck. Dirk wanted to tell everyone how my Poison Ping deck works. Mike wanted to discuss Dirk's Bird tribal deck. Since I have a Bird deck too, Brian went over it and we spent a while discussing the similarities and differences. We'll have to do this again with some other decks, it's a lot of fun. And I finished things off by expounding on a deck with a very touching origin, Mike's Killer Instinct deck. It's a nice and simple episode, but it was a lot of fun. We hope you guys enjoy it as much as we did.

Oh yeah, if you'd like a look at the decklists in their entireties (is that even a word?), then check out the forum link at the bottom of these show notes. It'll be on the Facebook group too in case you guys wanna check it out there.

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Direct download: Episode_54_-_Out_of_Someone_Elses_Deck_Box.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:49pm EST

Episode 53 - Savoring Shards: Exploring the Flavor of Alara Chewie here. First off, I'd like to apologize for the lateness of this episode. We recorded it almost a week ago, but I've been bouncing back and forth between really busy and seriously exhausted, so it's all my fault. You can spread around the blame with the other dorks if you want though, I'm not going to stop you.

In this episode, Mike thought we should take a closer look at the Shards. Of Alara. Since this is a block just oozing with flavor, everyone seems to be talking more about the flavor and philosophy and whatnot of this one than they have in previous sets. Not ones to stand idly by while the bandwagon trundles along without us, we hopped on. And what a buffet it is! We looked at the flavor of the shards in various ways, including but not limited to:

- The colors that comprise each shard

- The colors that are missing from each shard

- The mechanical identity of each shard

- Citing examples from flavor text

- General setting and feel of each shard

In other news, there's also news in this episode. Wizards recently revealed the name and whatnot for the final set in the Alara block. You can find it, if you are so inclined, here:

Wizards also FINALLY gave us some information about the next iteration of Duel Decks. Jace vs. Chandra is coming Nov. 7, and it looks to be seriously awesome. Two 60-card decks, each with 4 rares, which includes the foil alternate art versions of Jace Beleren and Chandra Nalaar. Six cards get new artwork featuring the planeswalkers in action. Control vs. Burn, baby! I can't wait. Check out the announcement showing some of the art the product information pages in the links below.

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Direct download: Episode_53_-_Savoring_Shards-Exploring_the_Flavor_of_Alara.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:49pm EST

It must have been a full moon or something. Perhaps Karma reached out to slap us. Whatever the deal was, we had serious problems actually getting this episode recorded. The recording program didn't seem to want to record. Part of the way through, Brian decided to turn into Optimus Prime transforming into a truck. He didn't actually make it all the way through to the end of the episode. After he transformed, he rolled out. Dirk absolutely forgot how to read set labels. And we realized again that we were all incredibly stupid about Tarmogoyf when Future Sight broke.

This episode, we decided to talk about the recent Standard rotation. A truly ridiculous number of cards left Standard when Shards of Alara came out, putting an end to the largest Type II environment...ever. We lost Coldsnap, Time Spiral, Planar Chaos, Future Sight, and the Timeshifted sheet. Well, we didn't lose them, they just rotated out of most popular Constructed format. Extended and whatnot still have them, don't panic.

To commemorate this, we decided to take a look back at these sets from a different point of view. We wanted to check out some of the cards that came out of nowhere to define the format (Tarmogoyf, of course). We also wanted to take a look at some cards that just didn't live up to the hype. Not just the hype that Wizards built up, but the expectations we had about how much some of the cards would do. I think you'll find that our discussion leads us to believe that there's a lot more to be discovered and explored in the cards that just rotated out of Standard.

Not only do we have serious technical issues on this episode, but we also have what could be the single most awesome thing ever. Perhaps we had such problems because Karma wanted to balance out this particular show. One of our longtime listeners, JungleRatRob, decided to do a remix. He took a truly staggering number of audio clips from the show and mixed them with Weapon of Choice by Fatboy Slim. He sprinkled in a few of Strong Bad's "DELETED" buzzers for humorous impact.

What he got out of it was a piece of pure, unadulterated AWESOME. I'll be honest with you, I was in tears the first time I heard it because I was laughing so hard. Even my Mom liked it, and she doesn't listen to the show at all. As Mike put it: "Our musical entertainment is a survey of the true heart of the show. The rambling of lunatics, that is." Amen to that. He really managed to avoid any of the actual content of the show and deliver a piece of music that really cuts down to who we are and why we love to do the show. And for that we are forever indebted to you, JungleRatRob, for the effort you put into this, becaues you did for us. We appreciate it more than you can possibly imagine.

Music for this episode:

No One Expects the Mana Pool by JungleRatRob

Look for it for individual download soon, right here on our feed. Hit the forums and tell us what you think.

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Direct download: Episode_52_-_Standard_Rotation_-_Time_Flies_in_a_Snap.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:27am EST

Whether it's caused by eroding your memory, freezing your brain, dampening your thoughts, having your secrets drowned or your grimoire stolen, glimpsing the unthinkable, looting, brokering, or just being driven insane by the sound of the millstone relentlessly grinding away, Milling is never a fun way to lose a game of Magic. But it sure is a great way to win a game of Magic! If you can get it to work, that is.

In this episode, which is brought to you with one more Polar Kraken than usual, we're going to take a long, hard look at being run out of cards. We have three decks that each win by depleting your opponents' libraries, albeit each one does so in its own particular fashion, which you can see further down in the show notes. Different colors go about milling in different ways, and we'll cover all the ones that come to us. Keep an ear out for a lively biological discussion about the classification similarities and disparities between crustaceans and cephalopods. And no, I'm not making that up.

Dirk’s Milling Deck


Drift of Phantasms x3

Soratami Mindsweeper x2

Lore Broker x4

Belltower Sphinx x4

Blizzard Specter x2

Vedalken Entrancer x4

Thought Courier x1

Lurking Informant x4


Millstone x2


Seal of Doom x4


Last Gasp x3

Psychic Drain x4

Glimpse the Unthinkable x3


Swamps x8

Islands x8

Dimir Aqueduct x4

Brian's Milling Deck



2:Azorius Chancery

1:Boreal Shelf

4:Ink Dissolver

3:Drowner of Secrets


3:Information Dealer

3:Silvergill Adept

2:Wandering Graybeard


1:Stonybrook Schoolmaster

1:Grimoire Thief

1:Riptide Chronologist

4:Merrow Commerce

3:Memory Sluice

2:Forced Fruition

2:Pemmin's Aura

2:Summon the School

1:Hoofprints of the Stag

Mike's Squid (Mollusc?) Alarm

Land (22)

15: Island

2: Cephalid Coliseum

2: Saprazzan Skerry

2: Sveylunite Temple

1: Shelldock Isle

Creature (14)

2: Cephalid Broker

2: Cephalid Looter

2: Chronozoa

2: Riptide Shapeshifter

1: Arcanis the Omnipotent

1: Isleback Spawn

1: Magus of the Future

1: Murkfiend Liege

1: Polar Kraken

1: Tidespout Tyrant

Non-Creature (24)

4: Accumulated Knowledge

4: Rune Snag

4: Serum Visions

4: Wistful Thinking

2: Capsize

2: Feldon's Cane

2: Homarid Spawning Bed

2: Intruder Alarm


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Direct download: Episode_51_-_Ransacking_the_Library_-_Fifty-Three_to_Go.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:52pm EST

Episode 50 - Super Special Shards Prerelease Dorkstravaganza

Hey all! This is Brian, taking the reins of the show’s writing department for a week, and what a week it is to be here. The Mana Pool is proud to present its 50th Episode spectacular. Lions! Squires! Mana-producing, vigilancing, multi-color bears! We’ve got it all, so come on in!

In this episode, we’ve got 50% more hosts than usual. Dirk, sadly, could not be there for reasons that Chewie will kill him for later. In the meantime, we’re joined by guest hosts in the form of Thomas (Mike’s brother), AJ (dorking group member from days past), and Jason (garthok84 of the forums, and an increasingly present guest host). The six of us crowd around the proverbial campfire that is the internet recording program and regale you and each other with our stories from the Shards of Alara prereleases. With 4 locations, somewhere over 7 decks, and more Masters of Etherium and Broodmate Dragons than you can shake a very large stick at, this is the episode you don’t want to miss!

After you listen to the show, log on to the forum thread for this episode. Tell us what you thought about it, and while you’re at it, share your own stories from the prerelease if you made it out. [Chewie note: All the decklists that were given to me by the various hosts and guest hosts and no-shows will also be posted in the forums, so go check them out there.]

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Direct download: Episode_50_-_Super_Special_Shards_Prerelease_Dorkstravaganza.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:40pm EST