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[WIP] GW Enchantress

Those who know me, know I love decks that are complex and have lots of interactions. I love a deck that rewards tight play and a solid grasp of its play lines.

In the days or yore, I played a casual Enchantress deck with Bramble Elemental and Aura’s like RancorMark of Fury, Crown of Flame, Fiery Mantle, and Ghitu Firebreathing. When I saw that GW Enchantress was a thing in Legacy I immediately wanted to play it. Granted, it’s not a very popular archetype and the argument against playing the deck is very reasonable. It is, for the most part, a bunch of separate pieces that do nothing alone and eventually coalesce into a win-condition–some would argue too slowly. In other words, Enchantress is a Control deck with a combo finish and in a format where combo also includes Show and Tell, Hypergenesis, and ANT, a turn nine or ten win just isn’t as impressive.

However, what about in standard?

Ever since we were told Theros was going to be an Enchantment block, I was hoping for the pieces to play a Standard-level Enchantress. Well, we got this:


I was skeptical at first when I saw our enchantment Enchantress was 4CMC, but in a world with Aburpt Decay 2GG is actually better than 1GG and besides, the three-drop slot is packed full of other wonderful toys. Cards like Courser, Boon Satyr and Banishing Light, cards that make the deck not just a collection of enchantments that do almost nothing but instead of collection of creatures that can beat down. The list I’m playing right now was inspired by the one Tomohoro Saito posted right when Nyx released.

I’ve since changed the list after a week of general success and then a week of nothing but draws as game one took forever.

2014-05-13 19.23.48
Deck List

Lands Creature Spells Non-Creature Spells
  • 4x Temple of Plenty
  • 4x Temple Garden
  • 9x Forest
  • 5x Plains
  • 4x Elvish Mystic
  • 3x Sylvan Caryatid
  • 3x Nyx-Fleece Ram
  • 4x Courser of Kruphix
  • 4x Eidolon of Blossoms
  • 1x Heliod, God of the Sun
  • 2x Archangel of Thune
  • 2x Karametra, God of Harvests
  • 3x Oppressive Rays
  • 4x Banishing Light
  • 4x Sphere of Safety
  • 2x Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
  • 2x Primeval Bounty

The core of the deck’s power is Sphere of Safety. Since just about all of your creatures are also enchantments, sphere stacks up rather quickly and most decks can’t even get through an enchantment count of three or four. It’s not like the deck fails to operate without it either. The Caryatids, Rams, and Coursers are massive brick walls for most decks that allow you to get past turns five and six when Elspeth, Karametra, and Thune take over the game. Rays and Light make for an effective removal package, placing a further tax on their earlier threats trying to attack and removing big threats somewhat permanently.

I’ve so far had pretty solid matches against Aggro and most Mid-range decks, but devotion Decks–especially those playing Nykthos–can push through a single Sphere without too much trouble. Gray Merchant and Fanatic of Mogis are both very dangerous cards, since you really only have four spells that remove a permanent from the field.

Which is why my sideboard is as follows:

  • 2x Banisher Priest (More real removal)
  • 3x Selesnya Charm (Mostly for GR monsters, and Mono-Black)
  • 3x Mistcutter Hydra (Can win blue based match-ups all on its own)
  • 2x Rest In Peace (Better for this deck than Scavenging Ooze)
  • 2x Bramblecrush (My answer to Nykthos)
  • 3x Celestial Flare (My only real hope against Hexproof)

I had the Thunes side, but I feel like I need to be able to win/steal Game One so that I’m under less pressure to close out two more games and with the Rams, Coursers, and Primeval Bounty, I do gain a lot of life and my creatures get massive quickly. I’ll have a report from states after this weekend, but until then, if you have any questions leave me a comment or tweet me @darkr3x.

Until next time, my all your top decks be excellent.


[Story – WIP] The Haunting at 29th and Q

Synopsis/BackgroundJump to Story

One of my goals for my first semester was to write a short story. Not a novel chapter, not a novella that I’d crammed into a tiny space, but a standalone narrative with a beginning, middle and end. That said, this Tess mystery is still part of something larger—think of it as something like the Sherlock Holmes or Miss Marple short stories—but I feel it accomplishes that goal of having a narrative singularity.

As a note, the setting is a bit Sci-Fi/Alternate Reality, with primates not being the sole recipients of the “sapience gene.” Though I’ve not quite hammered down all the details, the history does stay pretty close to our own as most of the exceptions are pre-history and end up ironed out by the natural course of events. Yes, I realize that beast people would have greatly altered the course of history, but I’m fairly confident that the major high points would have still happened thanks to the nature of sapience. There would still be leaders, empires, and wars. Conflicts over religion, race, and everything else would still persist. In essence, the names might be different, but the moves and their effects are fairly inevitable.

Anyway, sticking with the Sherlock context, this is after Tess’ Sign of Four and Study In Scarlet cases and is about halfway through Adventures. The principles have already been established and the groundwork for the their relationships laid. The two mains, Kao and Tess, are roommates in Gilligan Hall at River City University.

Tess is at RCU because it is the premiere university for undergraduate creative writing. She has spider in her ancestry which is shown most prominently by her pointed ears and six extra eyes, two in the center of her forehead, one on either temple, and one on either cheekbone; the irises are red and the sclera is black. She is slender, pensive, and styles her hair to hide most of her eyes. She likes playing MMOs.

Kao on the other hand, is going to RCU on a Track and Field scholarship and is a psychology major. Her parents are from Australia and she carries the accent with pride. Kao has ‘roo in her ancestry and as such has their characteristic feet and ears, along with a tail that comes down to the back of her knees. Kao dresses casually, preferring printed t-shirts and loose pants. She is a hardcore PC gamer and does Maui Thai.

The story starts in February, six months into freshman year. People know that Tess solves mysteries about ghosts and the occult, her blog about the cases gets around a thousand hits a day. Their last case was stopping a cult from stealing the silver plates used by President Jefferson for communion. We open as the pair of them walk through historic Citadel Hill towards one of the city’s recent hauntings.

Story Jump to Top

Tangora Del’Tessa—just Tess, please—and Kao Folsmith stood on the corner opposite of a mansion whose grounds occupied the entire block of 29th and Q in Citadel Hill. The sky was cloudless and the winter evening was tinged with a subtle chill.

“And you’re sure that place isn’t haunted?” Kao asked in a wavering tone. She was bundled up in a heavy black zipper hoodie that bore the letters RCU and came down to her hips. Her long speckled ears were down and back against her scarf. “I saw the news last night. A woman got attacked by the ghost while walking near here.” Her blue eyes darted around the abandoned intersection, looking for any sign of the specter they had come to disprove.

Tess blew her bangs out of her face and shifted in her patch-covered canvas coat. She stared across the street, taking in the huge house for a moment before responding. “Yeah, that place is totally haunted.”

Kao glanced at her roommate, eyebrow quirked and eyes widening. It was so hard to tell when the spider-girl was being serious with her deadpan tone; even now, after six months of living together.

Tess grinned at the expression, “If bad taste could be counted as a haunting, that is. My room is more haunted than this place.”

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[NaNoWriMo] Chapter 1 (Draft)

Got most of chapter one done, for now anyway–i need to move on and get more broad strokes filled in or I’ll spend all of NaNo tweaking this one scene. As such, I figured that I would put it up so people who were curious about what I was writing this time ’round could get a taste.

Some Background
This is a story I’ve been “writing” for years now. I’ve got snippets all over the narrative in various states of draft. In keeping with the NaNo spirit, I’m only using them as notes and re-writing the lot of them. This time though, I’m gonna get it all down. Get all of it written–even if it kills me 😀

Chapter 1

When we first started North, I didn’t think that my life would take the dramatic turn it was about to. Granted, yes, things had already begun to change, year’s end was coming after all. The solstice brought with it the first signs of life’s return. Already the nights were growing shorter and the days warmer, the snow around Magian was melting, and the Silver river was nearing it’s banks.
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[Suspicions Of Devils] First Draft ‘Shopped

Got the first draft of Suspicions workshopped in class last week—and the feedback was somewhat mixed. A fair share like I’ve I got so far, a few think I went too far with the fantastical–I think it might have been the Cerberus Bear. In the interest of making the story fit the rather diminutive 5k word count, I have to agree that I’ve probably put in too much for it to really work. Working on paring it down and refocusing on a more “realistic—though still fantasy” story.

Oddly, the biggest contention point was the use of creatures that, to me anyway, are common knowledge. Here’s an example: an orc gets on the bus with James in the first scene and everyone was torn about what I called it. Some worried it being an orc carried too many connotations that would be missed on some readers, some felt I needed to call it something else, others felt that my description was too Warcraft and not enough Tolkein.

The disparity struck me as odd. Leading me to hazard a guess that most my class is probably not deeply steeped the in fantasy canon. Which creates a…unique situation. One that is both an opportunity and a potential disaster. In a story with only five thousands words, I don’t have the luxury of explaining every little creature I throw down. Since I would like to get this published, it would seem my audience is limited to only those with at least a cursory knowledge of what these things are. A problem indeed.

On the other hand though, this is—at heart—a detective noir. Something many people like, even if they don’t completely catch every nuance. On that thread, what’s to say that an orge or minotaur need any more explaining than just their names and what they’re wearing? Why not just run with it like they’re a normal thing—which in the setting they are—and leave it up to people’s imagination? In a way, that should work, it might even make people who wouldn’t read fiction consider picking up something fantastical.

Which comes back to my point above, that I need to keep this as reigned in as possible—even when the mood strikes me to go all over the place. Grounding this narrative in noir fiction gives it an edge that cuts through the need for a complete context. Hopefully I can pull that off…I’ve never quite been to hold back on a neat idea.

Wish me luck!

[Classwork] Type B Essay (Part 1)

Something for ENGL491, we’re supposed to write a “Type B” eassy, which is less architecture and more feeling. This is about half of what I’ve got done so far, which was mostly fueled by sorrow this morning, I hope to pen the second bit once I’m over the depressed.

The say you can do anything.
     When you’re growing up.
That you can be
     A Fireman
          A Scientist
     A Rock Star
          An Astonaut
     A Doctor
          The next Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and so on
Successful, if you know what I mean.

You can be successful, if you know what I mean.

Yet, things hardly go that way.
     A school that hates you (for being curious no less!)
     Peers who are dicks (because you aren’t much of a boy)
     Politics, of all kinds (gotta love divorcees)
you start to lose interest in being anything you just wanna get threw get done get away and live your life on your own terms.

You can be successful, if you know what I mean.

Graduate high school with a
     two three nine
          two brothers, Wolf and Fox
               hurt feelings
                    a broken heart.
Get into college because of someone saw your potential (that’s read: pitied you). But hey, its college right? You need college to be successful right?

You can be successful, if you know what I mean.

Freshman year, already up to eyes in debt. Roommates are dicks. Friends with Ginko and Soy.
Meet girls.
     Love one.
          Tea Leaves, walks in the moonlight, and fires under the sky
     Get stuck with another.
          Stare into the Abyss and it stares into you—a mirror has no
               substance of its own
     Try a third, only to not be a “man”
          —because that’s what guys do right?
          —take virginity?
               planting a flag
               finding a new world
               shooting the moon.
          I never really liked Columbus anyway.

You can be successful, if you know what I mean.

Sophmore year. Move in with Ginko and Tea Leaves, enjoy your first summer living your life. Confession. Rejection. Sword play in the rain leaves bloody cuts that dull the pain inside.

Buy a cycle, fix it up, own something for the first time ever and then, fight a landshark. Flying, spinning, bouncing, CRASH! Nothing good ever lasts.

Find the house a scam, move out. Move in with Ginko again. Helpless honesty breeds dissent. Move out to live alone. More debt just to have a roof. This is success right?

You can be successful, if you know what I mean.

Fox is military now, Wolf’s in the same boat as me.
Come home to darkness carrying a bag sodden with grease. Stare at my screen with limp fingers gripping a controller until I pass out. Sleep doesn’t come otherwise, too much thinking.
Get up. Work. Class. Work. Game. Pass out.
Get up. Work. Class. Work. Game. Pass out.
Get up. Work. Class. Work. Game. Pass out.
Get up. Work. Class. Work. Game. Pass out.

You can be successful, if you know what I mean.

Wolf folds and moves home. Totally alone. College is a terrible thing. Whomped by a senpai, brews at his place. I hate the taste of Yuengling. Friends with his roomie Beard.
Meet a new girl.
     She’s shiny and full of fire—but with someone who couldn’t even give a rat’s ass about her.
Get up. Work. Class. Work. Game. Pass out.
Get up. Work. Class. Work. Game. Pass out.
Get up. Work. Class. Work. Game. Pass out.
Get up. Work. Class. Hang with Beard. Game. Pass out.

You can be successful, if you know what I mean.

Are you sure you can do this?
Are you sure you want to keep going?
Aren’t you just wasting money?
Just quit and go home.

NO! Even if it sucks, this is MY life. I can do this. Crashing into the wall is all I know. It’s all I’ve ever done.