Monday, 21 April 2014


Last night I cracked out my old MtG decks and brushed off the cobwebs. It hasn't been that long since I played; I took a few decks to Japan with me last year and we played quite a few times, but recent games have been played with more recent decks. This time around I dug deep and went for the special reserve black label decks. Aged in an antique wooden chest since 1999 (ish), these decks have seen and dealt a lot of punishment.

This deck was created in response to friendly criticism against my mono-red "burn-of-all-your-eyebrows" deck of the mid-90's. It is based thematically around the Hurloon Minotaur from my very first starter deck, but contains cards from a myriad of different sets that existed during the 90's and early 00’s. If the card says "minotaur" on it, chances are it is in this deck. Due to the Labyrinth Minotaur being blue, it is not a mono-red deck anymore. To make taking islands more worthwhile, I rolled in some Flights, Jumps and Enchantments in there that allow me to get my minotaurs in behind enemy lines. On the red side we have Hurloons, Anaba Shamans, Spirit Callers and Ancestors as well as some direct damage from Fireballs, Disintegrates and Lightning bolts. I also have Firebreathing in there to increase the damage output of the minos. Basically, I pump out weak minotaurs that get buffed very quickly and flexibly, which are more than likely able to fly. If that doesn’t work, I disintegrate you. Hurray!

Something Wicked…
This is a green and black deck to make the skin crawl. It is full of instant buffs that make small things much bigger without any warning (Giant Growth, Howl from Beyond, Pufferfish Extract), as well as a ton of essentially unblockable creatures. It also contains a lot of green damage avoidance cards (Fog, Regeneration) and mana generation (Llanawar Elves), as well as black cards that kill things dead (Terror, Disembowel, Eradicate, Engineered Plague, Vile Requiem). On top of that, there are a handful whopping great big monsters.

Thus armed we played a couple of rounds of MtG. Within minutes I had a flying, firebreathing minotaur out, so I was happy for the night! I got Wade down to 2 life points before he dragged himself back with a 6 point Stream of Life. He then wiped out my minotaurs with Vile Requiem and cut me down over the next couple of turns with a Craw Wurm enchanted with Fear.
In the second game I was a little short on lands, so took some bad hits early on. Even after I got some defences out Wade had enough 1/1 creatures (including 10 thrull tokens) to finish me off. When any one of those 1/1’s can be buffed to 4/4 or higher at a moment’s notice you know you are in trouble! I was one land away from dumping an Inferno on the whole lot of them (6 damage to each creature and player) but that would have ended my game as well instantly.

We swapped decks over and I had another shocker, picking up no swamps during the game with a hand full of black creatures and spells. I managed to summon some walls (Wall of Brambles) and deal some damage with Llanawar Elves and Giant Growth early on, but against flying firebreathing minotaurs, I stood no chance. Still, it was great to get the old decks out again. I think next time I will have to shuffle better!
We spent the rest of the night playing Star Wars Duels, which saw Luke Skywalker “I will not fight you”ing, Jango Fett rocket jump-sniping, Mace Windu purple lightsabering and Vader relentlessly force choking. Leia was quickly throttled to death, leaving me with a hand full of useless cards. Despite that, I got Vader down to 3 or 4 hits before Jango shot Luke to pieces from across the board. Vader finally got his redemption (read: he got a purple lightsaber to the face) but Jango again finished off the good guy and inherited the universe. Seriously, who is that guy anyway? Overall, not a very lucky night for me gaming-wise but still great fun.
I’ll leave you with a happy snap shot of the “work-in-progress” during the night. I managed to paint the tiny white dots on the jewelled cockpits of half-a-dozen Clan Wolf Mechs, whilst the guys were busy doing all kinds of things. Try and see how much old school stuff you can see in the pic below…

See you across the table,