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BMoor's Magic The Gathering Deck Garage
The Suspense is Killing Me
March 5, 2010 

Today's fix is notable not just because of the deck involved, but because it gives my audience a bit of a back-stage view of how I write my fixes. Not entirely because I wanted it, but Kwaddy here raises a few questions I'm going to have to answer.

If you look back in your inbox you will eventually find an email from me over a U/W suspend deck. I also said that I would try and get a friend to look at my deck list and surprisingly, he did. In the email I also stated that I would send any new decklists if need be. So, here it is:

Creatures: 19
4x Drift of Phantasms
3x Ethereal Usher
3x Infiltrator Il-Kor
2x Ghost-Lit Warder
3x Jhoira's Timebug
3x Lost Auramancers
1x Mirror-Sgil Sergeant

Other Spells: 20
4x Paradox Haze
4x Reality Strobe
3x Dream Fracture
3x Honden of Seeing Winds
4x Chronomantic Escape
2x Journey to Nowhere

Lands: 21
11x Island
6x Plains
4x Sejiri Refuge

I also forget to mention in the first email that I would really really enjoy it if you would post the edited decklist after you fix it. Otherwise, I will undoubtedly deliberate for ever over how many of each card should be included, and never build it. Finally, please edit this monologue of emails together so that the masses do not have to get confused over what I am going on about. Oh, and also, could you reply with a confirmation email saying that you have received this email and my other two emails? Just to warn you, the excel attachment on this email will contain a macro that contains a random card draw of this deck. And finally again, can you post on your next deck edit how far behind you are in emails? Is it about a month?

Yours hopefully,
kwaddy1

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Okay then, Kwaddy, I probably did get your previous E-mail, and I got the more recent one you sent that listed the U/R suspend deck you used to run. Normally, when I got that E-mail I would've then deleted this one, since I only keep the most up-to-date versions of E-mails. The reason I decided to respond to this E-mail instead of those other ones is that this E-mail had a better flow to it than the newer one, and I probably already deleted the older one.

Yes, it's true, sometimes I delete messages without fixing the deck therein, and when I do so, I don't tell you about it. It's not something I like to do, but sometimes it becomes necessary. Why? Well, there are quite a few reasons.

1. I can't fix it.
Yes, believe it or not, I am not a sentient avatar of pure Magic: the Gathering talent. Sometimes I really just can't make the deck work. Sometimes the deck already looks almost exactly like how I'd build it myself, and I have nothing to add. Sometimes the deck is so poorly put together, the person who sent it on has obviously never read any of my articles or they'd at least know what I'd suggest.

2. I can't write about fixing it.
My job is 50% knowledge about Magic, and 50% knowledge about writing. As anyone who's ever been to school knows, if you only do 50% of an assignment, you get an F. And my assignment isn't just to tell you how to improve your deck, it's to teach everybody who reads my column how to improve their own deckbuilding, and to be entertaining in the process. If your deck is boring, or its only flaws are technical complaints like land-to-spell ratio, I pass on it.

3. I can't fix it fast enough.
I do get backed up sometimes, and while I try to read every E-mail I get when I first get it, sometimes I don't notice the part where you said you needed it by Friday for your card shop's special tournament. More generally, if I take too long, I figure there's a chance that, after playing with a flawed deck long enough, the correspondent will probably have figured out on their own what's wrong with the deck, or given up and built a new one. My usual time frame for this is a month to a month and a half-- if you get no response from me after seven weeks, you can safely assume you're not getting one. The good news is, there is no limit on how many E-mails you're allowed to send.

4. I fixed a similar deck.
You may remember that the Stuffy Doll contest first originated by the sheer number of people that sent me what was basically the same deck: Stuffy Doll, Shivan Meteor, Skred, etc. Before that, I was receiving Izzet decks just about every week-- I fixed a few, and would then direct other Izzet mages to whichever article best matched their deck. So, if I fix a deck that looks kinda similar to yours shortly before or after you E-mailed me, read that article and try to pick up a few pointers from it, because there's a good chance that's all you're getting. Sorry.

5. You sent me several E-mails.
Kwaddy, if I hadn't already deleted your older E-mail when I received this one, I would've deleted it immediately after receiving this one. Typically, out of fairness to others, I don't do several fixes for the same person in short succession. If you send me several decks at once, I only fix one. If you send me an "updated" version of a deck you already sent, the original gets deleted. And FYI, I work in chronological order based on when it got mailed to me, so by doing this you're demoting yourself to the end of the line.

But enough talk-- we haven't even started fixing the deck yet!

First of all, we need to remove Ethereal Usher, or at least a few copies of it. I understand that you want to use it to tutor for Chronomantic Escape, but it's such a bad card, and it becomes useless once you've drawn an Escape. Drift of Phantasms at least is fairly useful as a 0/5 flying wall, to hold off an opponent until you're set for Escapes.

Also on the chopping block is Ghost-Lit Warder. Four mana is too much to pay to counter a spell, especially when it's not even a hard counter. You may as well just run Mana Leak and be done with it.

I also wouldn't mind seeing a few more suspend cards in here. Riftmarked Knight is a good, if oft-overlooked one, and would probably help more than Lost Auramancers would. And since you don't want your games to stall out past 30 minutes, a nice, beefy win condition would be nice. Celestial Colonnade is a nice one, as is pretty much any Angel that costs less than seven mana and has power higher than four.

You also should take a look at Dust of Moments, a sneaky and unexpected way to instantly play any suspended cards you may be waiting on, or simply take a few turns off the clock.

Per your request, Kwaddy, here's my final decklist:

Creatures:
4x Drift of Phantasms
3x Infiltrator Il-Kor
3x Jhoira's Timebug
2x Lost Auramancers
2x Riftmarked Knight
1x Mirror-Sigil Sergeant

Spells:
4x Paradox Haze
4x Reality Strobe
3x Dream Fracture
4x Mana Leak
3x Honden of Seeing Winds
4x Chronomantic Escape
2x Recumbent Bliss

Lands:
11x Island
6x Plains
4x Celestial Colonnade

Since my rambling dragged this article on longer than necessary, I'll end here. Good luck!

 

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Magic the Gathering Deck Fixes