Guess what! I want to tell you stories about my Magical cards.
I stole this idea from my friend Cassidy, who is much more committed to maintaining an online presence than I am, so we'll see how long I am interested in this. Since I'm working with the base assumption that no one is going to read this, let's get right into some throwaway stories by telling the Prehistory of Mr. P's EDH adventures.
Episode Zero: Prehistory
When I got back into Magic in 2002 after a seven-year layoff, I played a lot of Vintage. This lasted until about 2004, when my friends Tristan, Chad, Cassidy, Tyler and I managed to drive away everyone from our LGS in Lebanon, New Hampshire by boring them to death with good Vintage decks, which is to say “decks that they had absolutely no chance at ever beating.” At this point, I stated playing Legacy, and Standard. Something in my personality dictates that I need to have all the available pieces to play anything, so I was constantly acquiring cards (mostly through trades) in order to have the pieces for any deck that was even slightly viable in any format. I also developed a serous fetish for foils.
I moved from Bellows Falls, Vermont to Amherst, Massachusetts in August, 2007. Lorywn was released that fall. I had stopped playing Standard by this point, as I did not have a game store that I attended regularly at that time. The last time I had played standard was right after Time Spiral came out. Once Future Sight came out, I decided I was not interested in paying $200 for a playset of a card that I wasn’t all that impressed with anyway. This was when I stopped playing competitive Magic.
For the first few months of living in my new home, my friend Tyler and I played a fair number of casual games, mostly based around a format called “Rainbow Stairwell,” where you make a 60 card deck with 24 lands, and 36 cards; 6 cards in each color (one for each CMC 1-6), and 6 artifacts CMC 1-6. It was OK, but it quickly got boring, as there were certain cards that were just better than others in each slot (what CMC 1 artifact is better than Sol Ring?) We eventually got bored of that. I bought a lot of Lorwyn, but didn’t really buy much in the way of Morningtide. I was starting to lose interest.
Then, slightly before Shadowmoor came out, we learned about a new format called Elder Dragon Highlander. This format seemed pretty cool, and we quickly built some decks. I remember the first deck I built was a Sol'Kanar The Swamp King build, as he was my favorite creature from back when I opened him in a Legends pack. I threw in a whole bunch of things that were good in Type 1 (Brainstorm, Force of Will, Lightning Bolt) and some beaters. The deck was terrible; it could one-for-one things all day, but it had a hard time maintaining card advantage. It was from these early games that I learned that the incremental advantages that are so huge in formats like Vintage mean absolutely nothing in EDH; EDH is about consistent card advantage, and getting value from every card in your deck.
Looking back, the first few EDH decks I built were fairly embarrassing. I had the Sol-Kanar GoodStuff list that did nothing, a Ghost Council deck that had a strong Enchantment theme (I wanted to run Debtor’s Knell, The Abyss, and Moat) but no actual draw engine or win conditions, and a few other decks I have forgotten. My main playgroup at this time was my friend Tyler, and our housemate Anthony (AKA “Duck.”) Tyler had a Sek’Kur, Deathkeeper list that could do lots of stuff provided that it had its General, a free sacrifice outlet, and a draw engine in play. It was pretty awesome. As I remember, Tyler also made Maga, Traitor to Mortals. Duck had a Sygg, River Guide deck that was pretty much the most irritating thing ever to play against (later he would build a Rafiq list that was the most irritating thing ever to play against.) Duck also made a Lyzolda, the Blood Witch deck. Around this time my friends Chad and Cassidy also began playing EDH.
I think of those early days as our developmental period, where we figured out many things through the process of trial-and-error. This was before there were regular EDH articles on SCG, and while there was probably a knowledge base about the format, we certainly didn’t access it. We were learning, and slowly developing an understanding for what worked, and what cards only seemed good. It was an interesting process. I think the first true breakthrough I had was when I built Teneb, The Harvester.Next time: We dispense with the boring stuff and start looking at Mr. P's decks by pondering Teneb, The Harvester, the deck he never ever plays.