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At this past week’s game night I was able to get in a game using my Sharuum deck… and I won!!! Wahoo! For our first game however, I was playing Ghave, Guru of Spores. Opponent 1 was playing Arcum Dagsson, Opponent 2 was playing The mother$@&!ing Mimeoplasm and Opponent 3 was playing Sen Triplets. I was doing well, amassing a huge token army, but a well placed Phyrexian Rebirth from Sen Triplets lost me all of my creatures. Shortly after that Arcum won with a lock-down combo, causing us all to concede from the game.

Game two for the night was my Sharuum deck, and I was playing against Captain Sisay, The Mimeoplasm, and Sen Triplets. It was a little odd playing against another Esper deck, and I was somewhat
worried that he would try to get stuff out of my hand using the triplets, but he didn’t cast his general one time the whole night (and we played a total of three games.) The Sharuum deck worked just like it was supposed to. My only worry the whole game was when Sisay had Sigarda, Host of Herons and Avacyn, Angel of Hope on the board, and I knew that Gaddock Teeg was coming the next turn. Thankfully, I was able to cast Tezzeret the Seeker, removing four loyalty counters to put Phyrexian Metamorph into play copying Sigarda. This opened up Avacyn and she was sacrificed thanks to a Grave Pact in play on the Mimeoplasm’s board. I let it slip unfortunately that I was winning the following turn now that I had the Metamorph in the graveyard, and Mimeoplasm tried to cast something to get rid of it, but I had a Counterspell handy. The following turn I cast Sharuum, cycled her with the Metamorph about six hundred times and then cast Bitter Ordeal for the win. It was great fun though my opponents didn’t really agree.

The final game of the night was a marathon that went back and forth so many times it was insane! I changed over to playing my Animar, Soul of Elements deck and the others played their same generals. I came out of the gate strong, but with very little mana. Sadly, I hit a point where my library dried up and just wasn’t giving me anything useful. Sisay was desperately trying to lock his board down so we couldn’t interact with her at all. The Mimeoplasm of course was desperately trying to cast his general over and over, and it was over and over because everyone else was desperately trying to keep him off the board. Eventually I broke Sisay’s hold on the board with a Phyrexian Metamorph copying a legend (either Avacyn, Sisay, or Sigarda, I can’t remember which.) Sen Triplets were taken out of the game first, but the remaining three of us battled it out for a long time after. Finally, after much back and forth I landed a Consecrated Sphinx to which my opponent answered by casting The Mimeoplasm, copying my Phyrexian Metamorph, which was copying my Consecrated Sphinx. Some sick draws later I had a Reliquary Tower on the board and a hand chock full of cards, and after a couple turns I dropped Seeedborn Muse. Then I dropped a Quick Sliver on the board and by the following turn I had a massive board presence and was able to drop a Craterhoof Behemoth for the win!

I think the Sharuum deck is working incredibly well now, and I haven’t made that many tweaks to it since that first week that I played it. I’m sure that there are things I could do differently, better

 cards, etc… and I am very open to suggestions. I am not very willing to drop much more cash on this deck, as I already spent quite a bit getting it to where it is now, but please, feel free to comment and give feedback, etc…

Bear in mind that my strategy is to be in total control at all times. I have only the creatures that I need to win the game by method of combo. As such, of course Sharuum is the centerpiece of that combo. I have six other cards, three of which are the combo
enablers (Metamorph, Sculpting Steel, and Tainted Aether) and the other three are the win-cons
(Disciple of the Vault, Dire Undercurrents, and Bitter Ordeal.) To get me to my combo I have seven different tutors, nine card draw spells, and three recursion spells, including Pull from Eternity which lets me grab something out of exile and put it into my graveyard! Since I don’t have any creatures, the only real way to protect myself is through removal. I have a large supply of targeted removal in various forms from bounce to destroy to exile to tuck, as well as a large supply of mass removal across those same categories. In all I have seventeen pieces of removal in the deck. To further protect myself and my combo I have four pieces of counter magic of various forms, as well as five “other” spells that help to
protect me but aren’t removal or counter magic. I am absolutely itching to get Humility on the table! Finally, and mainly because I know at least one opponent plays The Mimeoplasm, I have a couple of pieces of graveyard hate. Last but not least are the mana rocks (six of them), and my mana base. I try to always keep a fair amount of it basic, so out of a total forty lands, twenty-two of them are basic.

The only thing I am considering at this time is to drop one of the six mana rocks and put in another card draw spell or tutor to help get to that combo faster, as my mana generally seems pretty solid.

The list is below, so as I said, feel free to leave a comment on what cards you wouldn’t include, what you would use in their place, etc… I appreciate all feedback. Up next? I want to film a piece for CMDR Decks with my Ghave deck soon. Also, I’m working on a Blue/Red deck, but figure I should wait until I have some Return to Ravnica in my hands!

General

Combo

Tutor

Card Draw

Recursion

Removal – Targeted

Removal – Mass

Countermagic

Other Protections

Graveyard Hate

Mana Rock

Mana Base

Like many this past weekend, I trekked into Los Angeles to attend the Star City Games Open at the LA Convention Center. Actually, I really went to attend Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo, but I knew that SCGLA was going to be there, so I threw some Commander decks and some empty sleeves into my backpack… just in case.

I arrived at the expo about 30 minutes before it opened, but luckily for me the tournament area for SCG was already open, so I went in, grabbed a chair and perused my program for which panels I would attend, and which booths I would check out. While sitting there I saw Brian David Marshall chatting and registering his deck. That’s really the only Magic “celeb” that I saw all day.

When they announced the Expo was open I went right through the little side opening they had between the tournament area and the expo proper to avoid the long lines to get in the main doors. Don’t worry I paid for my entry into the expo, even though it would have been incredibly easy to slip out into the main expo without doing so.

The first stop was the main stage where Stan Lee opened the expo and announced a new iOs game that he has been involved with, Stan Lee’s Verticus, developed by Moonshark.  After that I went to check out the Zombie Apocalypse, a giant obstacle course where you have to get past a bunch of zombies in order to “make it out alive!” Essentially you have flags tied to your belt and if a zombie gets all of your flags then you loose. It was comprised of a bunch of inflatable jumper-type obstacles. At this time of the morning nobody was running it yet, and there was ‘nary a zombie in sight. I would have loved to give it a go, but the cost was a tad steep at $30.

One of the reasons that I wanted to attend this expo, aside from being one of the few “big” comic expos that I can attend each year (one of which constantly sells out and is incredibly expensive… yeah, you heard me San Diego Comic-Con!) is the fact that Felicia Day and the cast of The Guild were going to be in attendance and doing a panel. I definitely had to see that, but I had a couple of hours so I wandered the con floor, visiting booths, picking up stickers and buttons, and the like. One booth was for http://gamechurch.com/ a group of people who bring Jesus into gaming using terminology that gamers can understand. Being a Christian, I appreciate what they are doing. I also got a free t-shirt for following them on Twitter and Facebook. Magic artist Howard Lyon had a booth there and he was selling artist proof cards, so I had him sign and do a little sketch on the back of an Idyllic Tutor proof, and the sketch he did on the back is pretty cool. I quickly stopped off at the Geek & Sundry booth as well. Geek & Sundry is Felicia Day’s You Tube channel that is filled with great shows and is just dripping in “Geek” culture. One of my favorite shows is Table Top, a show hosted by Wil Wheaton in which he plays board games with his friends. It is a 30 minute show with a new episode every other Friday. I grabbed a Geek & Sundry button and a Table Top sticker!

I saw a booth selling iPhone cases (comic inspired of course!) and they had a little game going. If you could hit two of the same targets with just three shots from a Nerf dart gun, then you got an iPhone case for free! As I waited in line to take my shot I was looking over the neighboring booth’s steampunk paraphernalia. They had a bin of walking sticks with different toppers, and I realized that some of them were just old door knobs that they had attached to a stick! And at least one was being held on with electrical tape! Insane what people will buy. Anyway, it got to be my turn with the Nerf gun and I was able to take out my targets and get this sweet Captain America case for my iPhone! The last thing I wanted to mention was the booth for a game store called Cardboard Arcade that sells, you guessed it, board games! I thought it was such a great name for a game store that I had to stop and chat for a few seconds. They were attempting to learn to play the new Android: Netrunner card game. They had one sealed copy left and at a great price so I picked that up as well!

Finally I went up to grab some lunch and a seat for the Guild panel. The panel right before theirs was for screenwriter Max Landis, writer of the movie Chronicle. He was very entertaining, giving his thoughts on comics, movies, and would answer just about any question that anyone wanted to ask.

The Guild panel was great, and the whole cast was there except for Sandeep Parikh who was sadly across the country and couldn’t make it. They chatted and answered questions and were generally all-around funny and entertaining. It was well worth the drive, the parking fees, and the expo entrance fees just for that.

There were two things remaining that I wanted to do. There was another panel at 3:00 where Kevin Smith was going to be interviewing Batman, Adam West himself! This was for an episode of Smith’s podcast, Fatman on Batman. The other thing I wanted to do was play some Magic!  The interview was going to be happening on the main stage of the con. There are no seats and it is super crowded and loud, so I decided that I would just listen to the podcast later and go play some Magic instead!

I headed back over to the SCG area and signed up for an M13 draft. My P1P1 was a Duskmantle Prowler and I decided I was going to try for the black/white exalted deck. Bear in mind that this is the first time I drafted M13. However, I listen to Limited Resources every week, so I hope I get a bit of knowledge from there. My second pick however was a red card. Chandra’s Fury. By the end of the first pack I was strongly in black/red. P2P1 was a Vampire Nighthawk, so I was very happy with that. Aside from that pack two was pretty lackluster, though I did pick up a Chronomaton something like pick four or five. I open pack three and go to pull out the land and token and I see the rare… or in this case the mythic, its a Thundermaw Hellkite! I slammed it down and passed the rest of the pack with just a cursory glance. Pick two I was passed a Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis, and after that I picked up several more black exalted creatures! Pack three was my savior in terms of really bringing the deck together.

Match one, I play against a White/Red deck. In game one I managed a great start, but soon after he was able to take out my board and stabilize. I never recovered as I never pulled a second black mana source to cast some of my removal and he took me down. Game two I had a horrible start, but luckily so did he, and I was actually able to get my board going and take him down pretty easily. The third game was actually a really great game. It had a lot of back and forth, with the tables turning on each of us multiple times. In the end he took me down but it was a blast to play! I didn’t once get either of my bombs in any of the three games, which is very sad. Since this was single elimination I was done. Now I had the choice to either play one more draft or do a Commander pod. I went over to look at the board and they needed just one more for the next Commander pod, so I signed up!

We sit down and everyone reveals their generals. I was playing my Sharuum the Hegemon deck (come on, this is a prized pod worth $20! I had to play my most competitive deck!) Opponent 1 is playing Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, so I know I’ve got some kind of combo deck going on there. Opponents 2 and 3 are BOTH playing Riku of Two Reflections! OP2 states that at his shop they don’t apply the legend rule to generals, to which the OP1 and I say NO! So we call a judge. He hears the issue and says “I’ll be right back.” When he comes back he says that Star City Games policy is that the Legend rule simply does not apply to generals. We say ok, and then about 1/3 second later I say “wait a minute! That completely negates my deck, which relies on the legend rule to combo out!” The judge says “I’ll be right back.” After a bit he comes back and says “Congratulations, you guys have done something that not many people can say they’ve done… you’ve gotten Star City to change a policy!” The new policy was that for generals, the legend rule does not apply as long as the multiple generals are controlled by two different players. Finally, a resolution that we can all live with, and we can start the game. I mulligan one time as my opener had plenty of land, but nothing really worth doing. After my free mull, I have only two lands, but a removal spell, a counter, and a couple of mana rocks, so I keep. My game starts off pretty great with a turn one borderpost, and within about four turns I have quite a bit of mana. By turn six I could combo out in one turn as long as I get the cards I need. At this point I don’t have them. OP2 gets Riku on the board quickly, and suits him up with a Lightning Greaves, but OP3 answers by podding (Birthing Pod) into an Acidic Slime, killing the Greaves. I cast Oblation on Riku and he gets shuffled. OP1 tries to cast Kiki-Jiki, but I know I can’t let it hit the board so I Hinder it to the bottom of OP1’s library. At this point I’ve both miracled a Temporal Mastery and hard-cast a Time Warp hoping to get into some tutors or card draw, but haven’t gotten there yet. OP3 decides that he wants a Time Stretch, and searches my library for it with a Knowledge Exploitation. Sadly (for him) I only have two extra turn effects in my deck, but he finds my Bribery and casts it on OP2, taking one of his creatures. I take my turn but sadly don’t draw anything worth while. When it gets back around to OP3 he is able to combo out with a combination of Palinchron, Kiki-Jiki, and a bunch of other things. I really only did two things that game, and both of them tucked the opponent’s generals, but sadly one opponent remained untouched, and it was he who won the game.

In looking back at the game, I’m wondering if I don’t have too many mana rocks in the deck (I think there are six) and if I should cut them back to include another card draw or tutor spell? Still this is only the fourth time I’ve played the deck, and I was playing against four other combo players! I was also unfamiliar with the combos involved in any of the three decks, so I really didn’t know what to look for. I just knew that I couldn’t let Kiki-Jiki or Riku hit the board, and OP3 never once tried to cast him.

I know that competitive Commander is something that most people don’t care for, and honestly, I don’t care for it either, but  in the end I did get to play some Magic, and I did have fun doing so. The last time I went to an SCG Open I left feeling miserable because I didn’t win a single game (and I had done multiple drafts and multiple Commander pods) and i had spent a ton of money to just lose. This time I had a different perspective, and a great day at the Expo leading up to my losses. Plus I walked away with a great card for the trade binder in the Hellkite I pulled during the draft!

If you’ve seen any of my recent posts you know that I just finished building a new deck. I still need to do some tweaking here and there to really tune it, but so far I like the way it handles. The topic of today’s post isn’t the deck though, it’s the cards in the deck. I have been in this game for a long time. As such I have a rather extensive collection ranging from the current set M13 all the way back to Revised. There are many gaps in my collection, most notably the period from around Kamigawa block when I stopped buying cards all-together, and Rise of the Eldrazi when I got back into it. I’ve done a decent job of filling in stuff in the Alara and Zendikar blocks, but there will always be cards “missing” from my collection… particularly since my eyes are now focused on Commander almost exclusively. When I’m building a new deck, I rarely shy away from cards that I don’t already have when “card searching” but when I am going through and “culling the pile” to get my numbers down to the appropriate deck size, sometimes those cards that I don’t have get rejected simply because I have a card that serves a similar function, but when I really need a particular card that I don’t have, where do I go to get it?

Many times if I need a card or two for a deck I will visit a local collectors show that I’ve mentioned before, Frank & Son’s Collectible Show in Walnut, CA which was recently featured on Storage Wars when Daryl found some Magic cards and needed somewhere to sell them. This show happens twice a week and houses a large variety of vendors, and several options of who to buy from, sell to, or trade with to pick up Magic singles and sealed products.  They generally have comparative prices to the current secondary market, and the presence of multiple dealers means that they have to compete with each other, so in some cases you can get cards for cheaper than the secondary market. I also sell cards here (usually for trade value towards other cards) but it is like dealing with any “store” in that they typically buy for 1/2 market value.

When I have a large number of cards to buy, or can wait an extended time to receive the cards I need, then I turn to the internet. I like two stores in particular, www.coolstuffinc.com and www.cardkingdom.com. CSI tends to have slightly higher prices but also has a customer loyalty system (I currently get 8% off singles and 2.5% off everything else) and they provide free shipping for orders over $100. They also carry many other collectible games as well as board games, so if I only need $60 worth of cards, I can toss in a $40 board game to hit the free shipping mark. Card Kingdom tends to have better prices, but a relatively small collection relative to CSI. They also provide free shipping, but not until you get to $250. That said they ship much faster than CSI (probably as they are in Seattle vs. CSI being in Florida (I’m in California.)

Like the vendors at F&S, both of these stores offer to buy cards, and also like those vendors, they typically buy at 1/2 market value. There is a difference however. Online stores will generally buy a much larger selection of cards than a vendor in person. Additionally, most stores offer a bump in value if you get store credit instead of cash. Most of the live vendors won’t do this unless you haggle a bit with them. Both CSI and CK provide a 20% bump in value if you get store credit. CSI seems to pay a bit more in some cases, but their buy list is a text list that you have to scroll through. CK has a search feature that makes finding out if you have cards they want a breeze. CK also tends to buy a lot more of the lower end singles than CSI at slightly higher than bulk prices. However, CSI offers to buy bulk cards where CK doesn’t seem to. As an example, I just sold three thousand basic land cards to CSI for $10 per thousand. That’s not bad for stuff I just had sitting around on a shelf.

To further mitigate the costs of this expensive hobby, if I have a particularly valuable card that I want to get rid of, it is often worth it to sell it on eBay. Yes, there are fees and hassles associated with doing this, but you often still come out ahead when compared to dealing with vendors whether they are online or physical. Another thing that I like to sell on eBay is bulk cards. Yes, CSI will buy bulk common and uncommon cards, but at a range of $4-$6 per 1000, and you have to have newer sets separated from older sets. I recently sold thirty-two-hundred common and uncommon cards on eBay for $40 plus shipping. That’s over $10 per thousand, and even with eBay and Paypal fees, it is still more than the highest end $6 per thousand that CSI pays.

The final option to acquiring cards that I need is trading. I don’t get out to the LGS that much, so my trading is limited to my small play group (somewhat stagnant) and the internet. Recently I found a site called www.pucatrade.com that is an “automated” online trading system. Essentially I put in my “haves” and “wants” and Puca Ttrade lets me know who to send my “haves” to. Once they receive my cards I get Puca Points for the values of those cards. (A Puca Point is roughly $0.01 as near as I can tell) When I have enough Puca Points for a card on my “want” list, then they tell someone who has that card on their “have” list to send it to me. When they do then I lose that many Puca Points and they gain it. For an introverted person like me, the ability to anonymously trade and know that I’m getting fair values for all of my cards, and paying fair values for all the cards I get is awesome. Now, all that praise aside, I still haven’t actually done a trade via Puca Trade as of yet, I just found it last week after all, but I look forward to getting into it.

I know how this post comes off, just as an advertisement for all of my favorite sites. That isn’t what it is supposed to be. This post is supposed to be an informative post about the many options that we Magic players have in buying, trading, and selling our cards. It is inevitable that some stores and sites get a little plug in this type of post, but just so you know, I am not affiliated with any of these sites, nor am I getting any form of reimbursement from any of them.

 

 

 

                      

I finished my Sharuum build yesterday, and was able to play it last night. I have to say that I really like this deck, even though I didn’t win a game. First I have some quick notes about where I went with the deck, but then I’ll get into the games.

At some point during this build I decided to go almost creature-less. I had planned on using a few utility creatures (i.e. Solemn Simulacrum,) and maybe spells like Midnight Haunting to be able to flash in blockers if necessary. I also had the Time Sieve/Thopter Assembly infinite turn combo in the deck.  I was on-plan and had my giant stack of two-hundred-plus cards cut down to just seventy-one cards meaning I had to cut just eleven cards (with a forty land mana base,) and as I was doing so, more and more of the creatures and/or creature spells were falling out. In the end I have only two creatures, Sharuum and Disciple of the Vault, and I needed those for the combo. I also have a total of seven cards that in multiple combinations of two along with Sharuum can complete the infinite combo and win the game. This provides resiliency and the ability to naturally draw any number of combo pieces easier. I have a decent focus on tutors, and currently have seven or eight various tutors. Another way to get to the combo pieces is through card draw. I have a heavy contingent of card draw, probably nine or ten pieces. The last thing I wanted to focus on in getting to my combo is mana acceleration. I need nine mana to cast the simplest form of the combo all in the same turn. There isn’t much ramp available in an Esper deck, but there are a TON of mana-rocks, and I have six or seven of them in the deck to both ramp up colorlessly and fix the colors. I originally had planned on at least one infinite turn combo, and didn’t want it to take up too much space, so I settled on Thopter Assembly/Time Sieve, but in the end the Thopter was a creature, it cost a lot of mana and the combo took up two spots, so it got cut. I do have some extra turns in the form of Temporal Mastery and Time Stretch. That is all how I get to my combo, but I also need to protect myself, and since I don’t have ANY creatures outside of combo pieces, that means removal! I have somewhere in the range of twenty removal spells that very from targeted destruction to mass tuck and everywhere in-between. They cover the full gamut of instants, sorceries, enchantments, and artifacts, and range in converted mana cost from one to six or seven. I also have a small suite of protection spells that include things like Humility and Ghostly Prison, as well as a couple of bounce spells. All of these serve to protect me from opponent’s creatures. The final focus on protecting my combo is counter-magic. My deck is heavily leaned towards removal, but a good counter-suite is important, so I have seven or so pieces of counter magic in various forms. I tried to keep most of it as hard counters, but there are some conditional counters in there as well. The last step was the mana base. I typically sit at forty land in any three color deck, in addition to any ramp and/or mana rocks that I may use. I also am sure to include a decent amount of basic land so-as to avoid too much trouble from non-basic land destruction. My first Sharuum build had maybe three basic lands and I had problems with land destruction. This version still has a lot of non-basics, but the basics range from six to ten in each of the three colors. I just had to determine the correct ratio and I was ready to go!

Game One:

My opener was great. I had plenty of mana and a couple of rocks, and I was all set. I had an early Sensei’s Divining Top, and I was digging for my combo. I pulled a turn three miracle-cast Temporal Mastery off the back of a Mystical Tutor and tried to Beseech the Queen to find my Sculpting Steel, but it was countered. Rafiq went after Sol’Kanar first, and he couldn’t stabilize. Uril could have gotten in for some damage a few times but had forgotten that his Fires of Yavimaya gave all his creatures haste. Such a shame! Early in the game I had the great draw spells, a couple of tutors, and an extra turn, but soon my hand dried up. I was holding two synonymous combo pieces in my hand and just needed the other side to that puzzle. Sol’Kanar hates the combo decks and just wanted the game over so he cast a Braingeyser on me for seven… and I didn’t draw into a combo piece, tutor, or draw spell! I was using Sensei’s Divining Top like crazy trying to get to something. Rafiq took out Sol’Kanar, and Uril was beating me down… but not with general damage. I started removing creatures left and right, and cast a Reins of Power on Rafiq, hitting him with his own general for a ton… but not quite enough. He then took out Rafiq for me. At this point I was holding a few key pieces of counters and removals. He, of course, had Finest Hour, and after his first attack step which killed Uril he attempted to kill me. I cast Murder on  Rafiq. I took my turn using Top to try and find a tutor, a piece of card draw, or that last piece of my combo, but didn’t find it. I still had a trick or two though. The next turn, as predicted, he tried to cast Rafiq again… tried. Hinder did it’s job and put him on the bottom of the library! A short time later he tried the Sublime Archangel route, and I killed that too. At some point I should have cast Sharuum just to attack in for damage, I didn’t even have an artifact in the yard! But I was dumb and wanted to go off with the combo, so I waited. And in the end he got through all of my removal and took me out. My next card was Diabolic Revelation!

Game Two:

  • Me: Sharuum the Hegemon
  • Opponent 1: Rafiq of the Many
  • Opponent 2: Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund
  • Opponent 3: Uril the Mist Stalker

This game was horrible. I milled to six and had only two mana. I was taken out very quickly by Rafiq and that was all there was to it.

Game Three:

  • Me: Sharuum the Hegemon
  • Opponent 1: Rafiq of the Many
  • Opponent 2 (Nemesis!): Sol’Kanar the Swamp King
  • Opponent 3: Uril the Mist Stalker

This game went better for me. I was holding off my opponents, and I had all combo pieces in hand! I just needed that magic ten mana, and with that I was struggling. Uril was focused on Rafiq, and a timely Lightning Bolt from Sol’Kanar stopped Rafiq from suiting up with a Sword. This took Rafiq out of the game early. Eventually I hit Gilded Lotus and finally got enough white to cast Wrath of God. I finally hit the ten mana, but Sol’Kanar had Gauntlets of Chaos and wouldn’t tap down to under five, so I knew as soon as I started my combo he would swap out one of the pieces. I was under attack from Uril. What I should have done was cast Sculpting Steel copying my Gilded Lotus (tapped down by an Icy Manipulator), and I would have been able to sweep again with a Scourglass, but I was, again, being stubborn in not wanting to waste a combo piece. Uril took me out and shortly after took out Sol’Kanar as well.

Game Four:

  • Me: Ghave, Guru of Spores
  • Opponent 1: Rafiq of the Many
  • Opponent 2 (Nemesis!): Sol’Kanar the Swamp King
  • Opponent 3: Uril the Mist Stalker

Ok, ok, game four I switched over to my Ghave deck. So I know it isn’t my Sharuum deck, but holy crap was it fun. I was fairly lucky in that Sol’Kanar decided to focus on Rafiq for most of the game and I was able to get both Doubling Season and Parallel Lives on the board. Then I dropped Ghave with 10 counters, made four 1/1’s and pumped them to 3/3 with Oran-Rief, the Vastwood. I was then able to Exsanguinate for three which took Uril out of the game (he had been under attack from both Rafiq and Sol’Kanar). I dropped Cathar’s Crusade which is just INSANE with a token deck, and especially with Ghave, Doubling Season, and Parallel Lives! Then Ghave died and I was left with three 3/3 Saps, but on my next turn I was able to hard cast Entreat the Angels for three… which resulted in 12 4/4 angels thanks to my doublers! With Cathar’s Crusade on the board each one put 24 +1/+1 counters on my Saps, and 22 counters on each angel! I won.

That last game was epic in that I was able to go off, but this was largely due to the fact that Sol’Kanar would not let up on Rafiq, despite the other two opponents (myself and Uril) being much more threatening at the time. This is the very reason that I built the Sharuum deck in the first place… at least the Rafiq player got a taste of what I feel most every week.

So, how did the Sharuum deck work? Well, it obviously needs a little bit of tweaking, as I didn’t win a single game. In the first game my counter magic and removal worked great, but I couldn’t hit the card draw and/or tutors to get to the combo pieces. The second game I was largely mana-screwed, and didn’t have any ramp, card draw… well, much of anything really. The third game I had the combo but couldn’t protect it, and took too long to get to the ten mana needed to cast it. Still, in light of the fact that I was playing against Voltrons all night, one of which is very well-tuned (Rafiq), I think the deck did ok. I think I might tone down the card draw, and maybe some of the removal in order to get a couple more tutors into the deck, and maybe that would enable the combos a bit more. When I get some tuning done I’ll put up a list of the final build.

I also have ideas for a  low CMC Rhys the Redeemed build (top out at 4 CMC with Sublime Archangel!), and a Gisela, Blade of Goldnight aggro build, so look for posts about them in the future!