Jeff Zandi is a five time pro tour veteran who has been playing Magic since 1994. Jeff is a level two DCI judge and has been judging everything from small local tournaments to pro tour events.

Jeff is from Coppell, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, where his upstairs game room has been the "Guildhall", the home of the Texas Guildmages, since the team formed in 1996. One of the original founders of the team, Jeff Zandi is the team's administrator, and is proud to continue the team's tradition of having players in every pro tour from the first event in 1996 to the present.


 

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Going Bigtime
Playing Magic With Oversized Cards
by Jeff Zandi


11.05.04  One of the great things about Magic: the Gathering is that the game can be played so many ways. Recently, me and a friend got bored and started looking at my oversize card collection, and we decided to play a game with them.

These cards are roughly 9 inches by 6 inches and have an oversized card reprinted on one side with a traditional Magic card back printed on the back. Also on the back of each oversize card is the printed warning ďNOT FOR PLAY USEĒ. Well, as Wizards of the Coast have themselves proven time and time again, rules are made to be broken. Although seventy-nine different oversize cards were created, my collection contains over one hundred including a lot of reprints. I am missing just a few of the oversized cards that have been produced. These cards were produced as promotional items and have appeared in all sorts of places, from Arena league giveaways and prizes to magazine inserts. One oversized card, Answan Jaguar, was even included in the Magic computer game from Microprose all those years ago. Answan Jaguar is a card that was made up for the early computer game version of Magic.

This oversized card is unplayable in a regular game. Several oversized cards were produced reprinting cards from Unglued including Blacker Lotus, Squirrel Farm, Incoming! and Infernal Spawn of Evil. I donít have any of the oversized Unglued Cards. The first oversized cards appeared in 1995, and included Black Lotus, Serra Angel (featuring the original Doug Shuler art) and Hurloon Minotaur (he was still the corporate trademark for Wizards of the Coast back then). The oversized cards were discontinued in 1999 as the Arena league was slowly discontinued by Wizards of the Coast, a program that would soon be replaced by Friday Night Magic for all intents and purposes.

During the July Fourth weekend of 1999, at the last Origins convention in Columbus, Ohio, to include the U.S. Nationals tournament, there was an opportunity to play with the oversized cards. Among the serious players and highly competitive DCI sanctioned Magic tournaments, there were two free spirits (I forget who they were) playing actual games with the oversized cards. It was only at this late date that basic lands had finally been printed in the oversized card format, making actual play with the giant cards possible.

We made a stack of 90 cards including no basic lands (but PLENTY of non-basic lands Iím afraid) and one-on-one drafted them (some people call this Ďcontinuous draftí). Both players first review the pile of cards to be drafted. After shuffling the cards up, the first player draws four cards, drafts one of them (without showing what he drafted to the other player) and then reveals the remaining three cards to the second player. The second player then selects two of the remaining three cards, and the first player receives the last card. Player two then draws four cards, drafts one card, allowing player one to select two of the remaining cards, leaving player one with the last card from that group of four cards. This process continues until the entire stack of cards is reduced to only two cards. The two remaining cards are randomly distributed, giving each player one of the remaining face down cards.

Here are the two SICK decks that were drafted.

OVERSIZE DECK ONE
Juzam Djinn x3
Shivan Dragon x3
Fallen Angel
Balduvian Horde
Black Knight
Solíkanar the Swamp King
Drain Life
Pox
Necropotence
Incinerate
Chaos Orb (point and shoot rules)
Black Lotus x3
Mirror Universe
Jesterís Cap
Earthquake
Icy Manipulator
Wheel of Fortune
Ivory Tower
City of Brass x2
Swamp x8
Mountain x6

OVERSIZE DECK TWO
Lhurgoyf x2
Juzam Djinn x2
Ernham Djinn x2
Serra Angel x5
Shivan Dragon
Fireball
Stormbind
Cursed Scroll
Vampiric Tutor
Zuran Orb
Balance
Chaos Orb (point and shoot rules)
Swords to Plowshares
Black Lotus x3
Library of Alexandria
Swamp x4
Forest
Brushland x2
Karplusan Forest
City of Brass
Mountain x3
Plains x4

Hereís what happened when Kent and I let these two silly decks loose against each other. (Kent is my oldest friendship outside of family, weíve been friends since the first day of 5th Grade in September 1974. Kent was into Magic for the first couple of years after it arrived in 1996, but now plays only casually and only very occasionally. However, Kent is a very experienced gamer and old school Magic player and was very familiar with the cards in these two decks, although neither of us ever played with multiple Black Lotuses before.) My deck is the black/red deck with the tiniest ability to splash blue for Solíkanar the Swamp King. My deck looks tighter, but the Black Lotuses and the multiple colored lands seem to solve most of the problems of Kentís four color creation.

GAME ONE
T1 Jeff plays first keeping Mountain x2, Black Knight, Juzam Djinn, Earthquake, Ivory Tower, Chaos Orb. Plays Mountain, Ivory Tower.
T1 Kent keeps Plains x2, Library of Alexandria, Fireball, Stormbind, Juzam Djinn and Serra Angel. Draws Swamp, plays Library of Alexandria.
T2 Jeff gains one life from Ivory Tower (21-20) Draws and plays City of Brass. At end of turn, Kent activates Library drawing Serra Angel.
T2 Kent draws Shivan Dragon, plays Plains. Discards Serra Angel.
T3 Jeff gains one life from Tower (22-20). Draws and plays Mountain. Plays Chaos Orb, activates Orb targeting Library of Alexandria (21-20), Kent responds by tapping Library to draw Vampiric Tutor.
T3 Kent draws and plays Brushland. Discards Shivan Dragon.
T4 Jeff draws and plays Black Lotus, Mountain, sacrifices Lotus for black, plays Black Knight, Juzam Djinn (20-20)
T4 Kent draws Balance. Plays Swamp. Plays Balance keeping Juzam in his hand.
Jeff sacrifices both creatures and one Mountain.
T5 Jeff draws and plays Mountain.
T5 Kent draws Serra Angel.
T6 Jeff draws and plays Icy Manipulator (19-20).
T6 Kent draws and plays Mountain.
T7 Jeff draws Mirror Universe.
T7 Kent draws and plays City of Brass, Serra Angel (19-19).
T8 Jeff draws and plays Swamp.
T8 Kent draws Black Lotus, plays Juzam Djinn (19-18), Serra tapped by Icy
T9 Jeff draws and plays Solíkanar the Swamp King (18-18)
T9 (14-17) Kent draws and plays Cursed Scroll. Attacks with Serra (14-17) and Juzam blocked by Solíkanar.
T10 Jeff draws Incinerate. At EOT, Kent targets Jeff with Cursed Scroll naming Fireball (only card in his hand) (12-17).
T10 Kent draws Black Lotus, plays Lotus. Serra tapped.
T11 Jeff draws and plays Swamp. At EOT, Kent targets Jeff with Cursed Scroll naming Fireball (only card in Kentís hand) 10-17.
T11 Kent draws Ernham Djinn. Sacrifices Lotus for three red mana, plays Fireball for seven targeting Jeff (3-16)
T12 Jeff draws and plays Juzam Djinn, concedes KENT WINS GAME ONE ON TURN 12

GAME TWO
T1 Jeff plays first keeping Juzam Djinn, Swamp x2, Balduvian Horde, Icy Manipulator, Jesterís Cap, Drain Life. Plays Swamp.
T1 Kent keeps Swamp x2, Karplusan Forest (RG pain land), Cursed Scroll, Ernham Djinn, Lhurgoyf, Fireball. Kent draws Brushland (GW pain land), plays Swamp, Cursed Scroll.
T2 Jeff draws and plays Swamp.
T2 Kent draws City of Brass, plays Karplusan Forest.
T3 Jeff draws and plays Mountain.
T3 Kent draws Serra Angel, plays Brushland.
T4 Jeff draws and plays Swamp, Juzam Djinn. At EOT, Kent targets Jeff with Cursed Scroll naming City of Brass but revealing Lhurgoyf.
T4 Kent draws and plays Black Lotus, Swamp, sacrifices Lotus for three red mana, plays Fireball targeting Juzam Djinn.
T5 Jeff draws and plays Mountain, Balduvian Horde discarding Drain Life at random.
T5 Kent draws Mountain. Plays City of Brass, Serra Angel (20-19)
T6 Jeff draws and plays Swamp, Icy Manipulator, attacks with Horde (20-14).
T6 Kent draws Ernham Djinn. Plays Mountain, Ernham Djinn (20-13). Serra tapped by Icy.
T7 Jeff draws City of Brass, plays Swamp. Attacks with Horde (20-8) Plays Jesterís Cap, activates and sacrifices Cap to remove Chaos Orb, Balance and Swords to Plowshares from Kentís deck.
T7 Kent draws and plays Juzam Djinn. Serra tapped by Icy.
T8 Jeff draws and plays Swamp. Taps Juzam with Icy, attacks with Horde blocked by Ernham Djinn.
T8 (20-7) Kent draws Black Lotus, plays Lhurgoyf (20-6), attacks with Serra Angel (16-6)
T9 Jeff draws and plays Juzam Djinn.
T9 (16-5) Kent draws Vampiric Tutor. Attacks with Serra Angel (12-5). Jeff taps Kentís City of Brass at EOT (12-4) T10 Jeff draws and plays Incinerate targeting Kent (12-1) Jeff taps Kentís City of Brass with his Icy Manipulator (12-0) JEFF WINS GAME TWO ON TURN TEN

GAME THREE
T1 Kent plays first keeping Plains, Mountain, Juzam Djinn, Fireball, Cursed Scroll, Zuran Orb and Serra Angel. Plays Plains, Cursed Scroll.
T1 Jeff keeps Swamp x3, Mountain, Black Lotus, Solíkanar the Swamp King, Shivan Dragon. Jeff draws Juzam Djinn. Plays Swamp.
T2 Kent draws Serra Angel, plays Mountain.
T2 Jeff draws and plays Mountain, Black Lotus, sacrifices Lotus for three blue mana, plays Solíkanar the Swamp King.
T3 Kent draws and plays Swamp.
T3 Jeff draws Necropotence, plays Swamp. Attacks with SolíKanar (20-15) At EOT, Kent targets Jeff with Cursed Scroll naming Serra Angel and revealing Serra Angel. (18-15)
T4 Kent draws and plays Chaos Orb, activates and sacrifices Orb targeting Solíkanar the Swamp King.
T4 Jeff draws Chaos Orb, plays Swamp, Necropotence. Draws Earthquake, Fallen Angel and Swamp with Necropotence (15-15).
T5 Kent draws and plays Swamp, Juzam Djinn.
T5 Jeff plays Swamp, Chaos Orb, activates and sacrifices Chaos Orb targeting Juzam Djinn. Draws Icy Manipulator, Wheel of Fortune and Juzam Djinn with Necropotence (12-15) Discards Wheel of Fortune.
T6 Kent draws and plays Plains, Serra Angel.
T6 Jeff plays Icy Manipulator. Draws Swamp, Shivan Dragon with Necropotence (10-15).
T7 Kent draws and plays Mountain. Jeff taps Serra with Icy. Kent plays second Serra Angel.
T7 Jeff plays Shivan Dragon. Draws Ivory Tower, Black Lotus with Necropotence (8-15).
T8 Kent draws and plays Brushland. Plays Zuran Orb. One Serra Angel is tapped by Jeffís Icy.
T8 Jeff plays Ivory Tower. Draws Mountain with Necropotence (7-15). At EOT, Kent targets Jeff with Cursed Scroll naming and revealing Fireball. (5-15)
T9 Kent draws Vampiric Tutor, plays Fireball targeting Jeff. (0-15) KENT WINS GAME THREE ON TURN NINE

Building these decks, it was impossible to guess how explosive they would be. While three Black Lotuses in each deck hinted at the possibility, the inclusion of so many mana intensive and relatively expensive creatures in each deck made Kent and I wonder if any of these big creatures would ever get into play. Other than the Black Knight in my deck (which probably shouldnít be in there anyway!) the cheapest creatures in either deck cost four mana. Both decks could probably have been built better. Now that we have seen the kind of power that can be put into play so quickly by both decks, there are changes to the decks each of us would like to make.

The jury is still out on whether Jesterís Cap is good or not for these decks, each deck had multiple copies (this oversized card was widely distributed and is one of the few in the less attractive white bordered
design) in the sideboard. Both decks are a little low on removal cards, and this could make the Caps really good for removing the few answers that the opponent does have, but the Cap is kind of expensive and felt slow in the one game where it was played.

Before we played, I questioned whether Incinerate would actually be useful, since in itself, it would be unable to destroy ANY of Kentís creatures. In the match detailed above, it was a terrible late draw in game one, but was the game winning card draw in game two.

In game three, Necropotence got into play quickly enough on turn four, but proved to be too expensive in life loss. It still seems like there are a lot of possible draws that could include Necropotence, Ivory Tower (why not get
greedy?) and at least one land and at least one Black Lotus. Draws like these would be difficult to beat for even these two SICK decks.

Below is a list of all seventy-nine of the oversized cards that have been printed by Wizards of the Coast to date.

Abeyance Instant 1W White
Adarkar Wastes Land
All Hallow's Eve Enchantment 2BB Black
Aswan Jaguar 2/2 Creature 1GG Green
Autumn Willow 4/4 Creature 4GG Green
Balance Sorcery 1W White
Balduvian Horde 5/5 Creature 2RR Red
Baron Sengir 5/5 Creature 5BBB Black
Black Knight 2/2 Creature BB Black
Black Lotus Mono Artifact 0 Artifact
Blacker Lotus Artifact 0 Artifact
Blinking Spirit 2/2 Creature 3W White
Brushland Land Land
Cadaverous Bloom Enchantment 3BG Gold
Chaos Orb Mono Artifact 2 Artifact
City Of Brass Land Land
Crimson Hellkite 6/6 Creature 6RRR Red
Cursed Scroll Artifact 1 Artifact
Dark Banishing Instant 2B Black
Deflection Interrupt 3U Blue
Disenchant Instant 1W White
Dissipate Interrupt 1UU Blue
Drain Life Sorcery 1B Black
Earthquake Sorcery XR Red
Enduring Renewal Enchantment 2WW White
Erhnam Djinn 4/5 Creature 3G Green
Fallen Angel 3/3 Creature 3BB Black
Fireball Sorcery XR Red
Force Of Nature 8/8 Creature 2GGGG Green
Forest Land Land
Greater Realm of Preservation Enchantment 1W White
Guardian Beast 2/4 Creature 3B Black
Hurloon Minotaur 2/3 Creature 1RR Red
Hurricane Sorcery XG Green
Hydroblast Interrupt U Blue
Icy Manipulator Mono Artifact 4 Artifact
Incinerate Instant 1R Red
Incoming! Sorcery 4GGGG Green
Infernal Contract Sorcery BBB Black
Infernal Spawn Of Evil 7/7 Creature 6BBB Black
Island Land Land
Ivory Tower Artifact 1 Artifact
Jester's Cap Artifact 4 Artifact
Jokulhaups Sorcery 4RR Red
JuzŠm Djinn 5/5 Creature 2BB Black
Karplusan Forest Land Land
Lhurgoyf */* Creature 2GG Green
Library Of Alexandria Land Land
Meditate Instant 2U Blue
Mirror Mirror Artifact 7 Artifact
Mirror Universe Artifact 6 Artifact
Mountain Land Land
Natural Balance Sorcery 2GG Green
Necropotence Enchantment BBB Black
Nether Shadow 1/1 Creature BB Black
Order Of The White Shield 2/1 Creature WW White
Personal Incarnation 6/6 Creature 3WWW White
Plains Land Land
Pox Sorcery BBB Black
Prosperity Sorcery XU Blue
Pyroblast Interrupt R Red
Pyroclasm Sorcery 1R Red
Recall Sorcery XXU Blue
Serra Angel 4/4 Creature 3WW White
Serra Angel [alternate art] 4/4 Creature 3WW White
Shatterstorm Sorcery 2RR Red
Shivan Dragon 5/5 Creature 4RR Red
Sibilant Spirit 5/6 Creature 5U Blue
Sol'kanar the Swamp King 5/5 Creature 2RBU Gold
Squandered Resources Enchantment BG Gold
Squirrel Farm Enchantment 2G Green
Stormbind Enchantment 1RG Gold
Swamp Land Land
Swords to Plowshares Instant W White
Vampiric Tutor Instant B Black
Vesuvan Doppelganger */* Creature 3UU Blue
Wheel Of Fortune Sorcery 2R Red
Zuran Orb Artifact 0 Artifact

Next week, look for a detailed review of the Champions of Kamigawa sealed deck PTQ being held in Dallas tomorrow, November 6th, 2004. I will be running that tournament, which will feature the best combination tournament Magic and poker player in the world, Mr. David Williams. Iíll bring you all the news right here on the Pojo next Friday.

This weekís story was all about just having fun with Magic. After more than a month of intensive limited practice with Champions of Kamigawa, it really felt good to play some totally casual Magic with these crazy giant cards. I tend to take the game of Magic pretty seriously, playing with the Big Cards this week reminded me that Magic is a game. Games are supposed to be fun.
Sometimes I forget that Magic is FUN.

As usual, Iím always interested to know what YOU think.

Jeff Zandi
Texas Guildmages
Level II DCI Judge
jeffzandi@thoughtcastle.com
Zanman on Magic Online
 

 

 

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