Game #54: Mikaeus the Unhallowed

Game #54: Mikaeus the Unhallowed
Date: 2013-08-28
Location: Family Game Store, Savage, MD
Vs: Molimo, Maro Sorcerer; Savra, Queen of the Golgari (GUILD); Karona, the False God
Result: Mostly Fun Loss

MikeShadevsMolimo, Maro-SorcererImage Image (1)

I keep a 1 land hand with a Blood Pet, and don’t draw another land until Turn 4. Molimo and Karona play tons of Lands and Savra plays a Corpsejack Menace which becomes a Slave of Bolas for Karona. I have a Pawn of Ulamog and a Solemn Simulacrum. Molimo plays a Yew Spirit, and Karona plays Oros, but both get sacrificed to a Savra activation.

I cast Mikaeus, and do a few tricks with Mindless Automaton and an Avatar of Woe, but Karona kills Mike and makes other stuff die too. At some point Savra uses Hex to clear the board of all but her minions and I get hit for 18 by a Wight of Precinct 6. I recast Mikaeus, and my Thornbite Staff is Naturalized before I can get it on Avaatar of Woe. Karona returns and starts making the rounds, knocking me down to 3 life. Eventually Savra uses her brother Jarad to sacrifice enough things to kill off the table.

About the Deck: (Tapped Out someday)

This is a deck made to take advantage of Sacrifice and ETB triggers. It has some silly stuff, but it also happily plays Triskelion, and I have won games by Mike & Trike. The best feature is that I have a sweet altered card for the General (not a printed foil, but an acutal painted alter) of The Shade from DC Comics’ “Starman” series that Balthor’s owner did for me on commission.

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On Proxies

Proxying cards is a hot-button issue for a lot of EDH players. On one hand, it’s a casual, non-sanctioned format that is nominally about Fun/Social gaming, so why does it matter if the cards are real or not. Some of the best cards in the format are $100+ . On the other hand there are copyright/counterfeit implications, as well as some indignance by those with $100+ cards when other people get to have the same effect for 5-cents.  I’m not going to go any further in to the debate; if you’re reading this, you’ve probably read it all before. Instead, I’ll just explain how I handle proxies.

(If you haven’t been part of the debate, Commander Cast’s “Staple Remover” just wrote an article about it)

My basic policy is:  If you own a copy of a card, you can proxy it in a deck.   I call this the Physical MTGO rule. If you own the cards that you need for a deck, you could theoretically build that deck, so go ahead and use them.

This is, of course, within reason. A deck of all sharpie-proxies would be ugly and hard for opponents to understand, and just printing out an entire deck is kind of lazy (except not, because that’s a lot of physical cutting and pasting).

In practice, I have “placeholders” in a lot of my decks. Sharpied lands that hold the slot in the deck for the actual card.  Whenever I can, I keep a binder of my most commonly used cards so that I can swap cards in if I draw the placeholder (or, if playing with sticklers who are willing to wait for me to prepare a deck, swap the cards in before a game and swap them back out afterwards).  It’s sort of like the “Commander Cube” idea, with out the pain in the backside of having to Draft.

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Case in point:  I own 90% of a playset of Revised Duals.  They’re good lands and they go in every deck. They’re better than any other multi-color land (I don’t proxy for Shocks – I only play what I own) They also are expensive, and I can’t afford to buy enough for all of my decks. Rather than swapping them around all of the time, I put real ones  in the two-color decks, and do sharpie-proxies for the rest. I keep a page in my proxy binder with one of each as “proof of ownership.”  Some people think it’s because I don’t play with sleeves or worry about damaging them, but I’ll happily shuffle them into a deck if someone wants me to take the time to do it. (I almost sharpie altered one of my 3 Underground Seas for an old CommanderCast contest with a picture of Ib Halfheart  on a ‘beach’ vacation, but I can’t draw well enough to make it look cool)

tropis-1sm

Other cards that I frequently have placeholders for:  Good lands that are also expensive (Urborg; Cradle; Stronghold, etc.).  Genesis; Survival of the Fittest.  None of these are cards that I play in every deck that they could fit into, but when they really fit into a deck, I want to have them there.  I also proxy Sol Rings (I own about 15-20), but I don’t have to have them in every deck.    For the lands and the Sol Ring, I’ll usually just use the sharpie-proxy on the table, and for the non-land permanents I’ll always fish out the actual card from the binder.

The key thing here is that I proxy for cards that I really want to have in a deck. Just because a deck has green, it doesn’t mean I feel that the TryHard Law of Staples requires me to include a Cradle and Survival of the Fittest, but for the 4% of my decks that I want to have a Survival in, I don’t feel super bad about sticking a placeholder in.

The other area where I use proxies is for Generals and Planeswalkers. Wiping a foil-common and printing a custom-card decal  with MSE is pretty easy (though time consuming), and I like having foil generals, or alternate art generals, or full-art generals. Sometimes the old Legends cards have kind of lame art, so I like to make them look cooler (or I’ve gotten an Italian Legends card because they’re cheap, but want to easily see what it says in English… in those cases I often use a clear sleeve with the cards back to back).

Angus MacKenzie Gwendlyn di Corci.1 Lady Caleria.2 Xira Arien.2

I don’t play Planeswalkers a lot, but they’re usually pretty pricey, and when I do want one for a deck, I really want it in the deck. Plus, Planeswalkers ALSO look cool with alternate art, so I’ve made foil-proxies for several of those as well.

Chandra Ablaze Elspeth Knight-Errant.1 Liliana of the Dark Realms  Tamiyo the Moon Sage

I am planning a WUBRG Planeswalker deck. In order to make that happen, I’m going to have to proxy a lot of them (only ones I own though), but I think it will be cool. I thought about doing alternate arts of DC superheroes (as the “Superfriends”), but instead I’m going to go with  Marvel’s “NextWave”.

Tezzeret Agent of Bolas

I don’t mind playing against non-placeholding proxies if they’re not going overboard, but only if it’s for play-testing purposes, or because the card is in the mail.  However, I’ll usually give a hard time to someone who’s slotting in things like Mishra’s Workshop, or Imperial Seal, etc.

In the last few months I have done some de-proxifying of decks. The equipment suite that used to be shared between Kemba, Rafiq and a few others got mostly replaced in Kemba when I decided it wasn’t Voltron.  I own a set of Swords of Protection and Value, but I only play them in two of my decks.

So, there you have it. I’m a terrible human being that fundamentally ruins your ability to enjoy the game because of individual, non-gameplay-based, choices I make in my decks.