Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The Borrowing Commandments and Matty G's Shardless Tinker


Just a quick general topic this time, card borrowing etiquette:
1.    Give maximum notice to the person you want to borrow from.
2.    Ask them nicely.
3.    Travel to meet them, don't ask them to break their schedule to give you cards.
4.    Give them your phone number. Ask them for their's
5.    Arrange how you will return the cards to them BEFORE you even borrow the cards.
6.    Take a photo of the cards you are borrowing and message that photo to person you're borrowing from. Alternatively type a list in your phone and text that list to them. Do this even if they have their own list. Obviously make note if they are foil/foreign/stamped/slightly missprinted etc.
7.    If you have 4 goyfs in your deck but only borrowed 2 of them. The 2 best condition goyfs go to the person you borrowed from. This is good standard practice.
8.    Do not borrow cards if you aren't returning them 1st hand. Neutral parties care less than you do.
9.    If it is absolutely necessary to return cards by proxy, stash a list of the cards with the cards, along with your name, your phone number, the date you left them and the name of who's cards they are.
10. Thank the person you borrowed from and tell an anecdote of how good the cards were.
11.If you borrowed some pimp and someone complements it, tell that person who's cards they are and tell the person you borrowed from about the compliment.
12.I think it's acceptable to borrow the same card no more than twice. If you want to borrow that card again you should buy the card instead. You can always sell it once you stop playing it. If a card is >$150 I think you can ignore this rule.
13.If you fail at borrowing and return cards behind schedule, never borrow from that person again.

Did those rules sound bitter? :P I haven't been too badly stung by borrowers. I lost two shocks once, well before they were reprinted. Apparently I lost Ian Seet's Badlands by proxy, I wonder what he's doin. He's a great guy.

Alright, onto Matty G's deck! 

1 Drift of Phantasms 1 Vedalken Shackles
1 Baleful Strix 1 Pithing Needle
1 Shardless Agent 1 Sensei's Divining Top
1 Coiling Oracle 1 Mox Diamond
1 Deathrite Shaman 1 Chrome Mox 
1 Phyrexian Revoker
1 Scavenging Ooze 1 Personal
1 Thragtusk 1 Mystical Tutor
1 Myr Battlesphere 1 Impulse
1 Wurmcoil Engine 1 Ancestral Vision
1 Inkwell Leviathan 1 Into the Roil
1 Disfigure
1 Underground Sea 1 Dimir Charm
1 Watery Grave 1 Go for the Throat
1 Bayou 1 Repeal
1 Tropical Island 1 Telling Time
1 Breeding Pool 1 Abrupt Decay
1 Overgrown Tomb 1 Putrefy
2 Swamp 1 Lim-Dul's Vault
2 Forest
5 Island 1 Tinker
1 Flooded Strand 1 Gitaxian Probe
1 Polluted Delta 1 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Verdant Catacombs 1 Thoughtseize
1 Marsh Flats
1 Scalding Tarn 1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Mishra's Factory 1 Garruk Relentless
1 Wasteland
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Seat of the Synod
1 Vault of Whispers

I've thought of a few things to say and I'm just gonna spew them out in no particular order cause it's easier that way.

Matty's a relatively new highlander player which is a pretty tough gig to be honest. We play Thursday nights at Glab (which is tonight, yay!) and there are a bunch of dudes who have been playing the same decks for ages. Refining and tweeking, so their decks are really good and they are proficient with them. Also, those guys aren't going to change their decks anytime soon cause they keep having success with them, so it's up to everyone else to beat them! 2 players that come to mind are Karl Eyre (featured in my blog 2 weeks ago) and Ben Di Stephano, both with GWx equipment decks. Another consistent Highlanderer is Wilfy Horig with UBG Ancestral control, but he hasn't always played that deck.

So Matty G. One night he decided he wanted to try 60 card highlander so he grabbed his EDH deck and whittled it down to 60 cards. This process has been done before, mostly at the old nats events where people would be like "hmmm what're the side events tomorrow? oh look, highlander, I have Elder Dragon Highlander, how different can it be?" Very different! as Matty has found. His current build is far from what his EDH deck was I'm sure.
Anyway, Matt's taken a few loses and he's mixing up his strategy to try a new angle (I'm never sure whether to refer directly to the analysee "you" or indirectly "Matt", which would be better?). I imagine the reason Matt moved away from counterspells because they aren't his style.
Counterspells are a good compliment to Tinker because you can protect your artifacts from getting destroyed, but protecting your artifacts isn't a necessity if you add a few more to the deck, which Matt has done in his latest iteration. GWx equipment decks are also pretty big right now and they are good against counterspells. 

Matt wants to play Shardless Agent and I respect that, I love Shardy, but he does make deck construction quite tough as Matt mentioned. Only cards he's truly terrible with at the moment are Chrome Mox and Mox Diamond....Ol'Shardy, Shardonay, Smoke-a-shard, Charishard, Shardeeeeeyyyyyyyy!!!!!!

So those things I was going to mention:
1.    Card suggestions:
·       Tarmogoyf, the man, get him in their.
·       You're playing plenty of tutors for Tinker, so protect it and win the game. Duress and Inquisition of Kozilek.
·       Vendilion Clique is another solid card which can protect your Tinker by putting their answer on the bottom and it's also a good beater.
·       You can add the 3 remaining on-colour fetch lands, play them over 1 of each basic. You really want to max out your fetchlands when you're playing Deathrite Shaman, Sensei's Divining Top, Brainstorm (will refer to this again soon) and Jace. Plus they make your mana better and increase your island count for Vedalken Shackles.
·       You're playing Chrome Mox and Mox Diamond because they're good with Tinker. To make the most of the speed boost and to regain the card disadvantage, you can add more draw spells. Phyrexian Arena and Thirst for Knowledge are two that come to mind.
So Telling Time is in this list, I suspect you may have cut it by now, as there are a bunch of cantrip spells which perform better like:
 Brainstorm (also great for putting your Tinker Targets and late drawn moxes back into your deck)·       Preordain, Ponder, Serum Visions etc. All these dig spells are great in decks which have varying card functions and cards which regain all the tempo lost whilst digging (e.g. Tinker, Vedalken Shackles, Thragtusk).

Some other sweet artifacts that Matt could add include:
·       Porcelain Legionnaire. Matt's already walking down the dude path. This guy is a serious wall for zoo decks and if Matt adds DITS (duress, inquisition, thoughtseize) he can protect it.
·       Trinket Mage. The trick with Trinket Mage is finding enough artifacts that are good by themselves. Too few and late game you'll draw Trinket Mage with no targets and he'll be shit. One artifact that doesn't see enough play is Cursed Scroll. When you're playing Shardless Agent all your cards are pretty proactive so you won't be banking cards in your hand and making Cursed Scroll shit. He also plays Chrome Mox and Mox Diamond to drop his hand size.

The only bad card in this deck is Coiling Oracle. Coiling Oracle is Elvish Visionary more than 50% of the time and Elvish Visionary is unplayable outside of Elves. Actually it's worse cause your opponent sees the card. When you do flip a land, you get a rampant growth and a 1/1. A 1/1 in Matt's deck isn't very useful. Most of the time it'll chump to gain ~4 life. Occasionally a 1/1 will let his planeswalkers live an extra turn. I know I played Coiling Oracle in Scapeshift. It has since been cut as it performed badly.

Into the Roil isn't bad but it can probably go. It's a good card if you have a lot of card advantage and will win the late game. Matty has a bit of card advantage in his current build but not compared to Ancestral Recall decks.
Good to see Matty trying out the new Dimir Charm. Don't know how this will perform. Will have to get some feedback on that one.

Having done a couple of these deck analyses, I'm getting conscientious of turning everyone's decks towards similar cards. With this in mind there is a chance I will break my '1st deck posted' rule if that deck is very similar to a deck that I've already analysed.

Think I'll have a Mango Milkshake and watch the movie 'Trainspotting'. I've heard it referenced a bunch but know nothing about it. Hope it's good.

Oh, and congrats to Sam Loy on winning the Adelaide PTQ, about time he got a big result, man I wanna win the Melbourne PTQ this weekend. Neems, Isaac, Sam...great travel crew.

Chao yo!


  1. Rule 7. Seriously? The rest of your rules sound pretty good, but that one I think is terrible. I'd rather give the person I loaned cards from a little present (10% value of cards borrowed in cash or some such) as a thank you.

    Trainspotting. My god man, this movie is sick. When it's finished you'll miss it and feel like your coming down, and want to do some drugs haha.

    What you said re suggesting similar cards for decks of a similar nature; even highlander has staple cards that most decks will use if in that colour (Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile eg). So I like your idea to not deck tech decks similar to ones you've done before. A quick perusal of decks on and you'll start to see a trend of the good stuff showing up everywhere.

    Love that you suggested Cursed Scroll, I love that card. The MUD deck I've been brewing I've changed from a prison deck (which got absolutely smashed by a tier 3 aggro deck over ten games, tiny sample size but I just never felt I had a chance, I probably built it kinda shit though lol) to a stompy version which it should be good in. Bit pissed I traded Way my Mana Crypt about. Year ago now though :-(.

    I've noticed you never seem to suggest Mirri's Guile/Sylvan Library, how come? I think these two cards are insane. Sylvan Library against a durdley deck with no constant pressure is pretty sick.

    Ill post my MUD stompy when I've had a chance to properly test it. Don't want to present you with an untested list. I do like Esperzoa and Mana Vault together though :-). Wondering if Voltaic Key and Cursed Scroll is a little janky, or the shizzles!

    P.S. Thanks for taking the time to do this blog! Pretty sure I'm not the only one that loves it. :-).

    1. Thanks man :)

      Rule 7 is for the best. Borrower loses out but it eliminates the chance of the lender getting screwed. Of course you don't follow the rule if the condition of the cards are completely different.

      I'm messing around with artifacts as well. Not sure which direction to take yet. Once I feel like I've made it as good as possible I can feature it in a blog entry

      I haven't played with Sylvan Library enough to recommend it really. It's a complicated card. I should try it out though

  2. Assuming 'Personal' means Personal Tutor, the BUG tinker list is 8 points, (Tinker, Mystical Tutor, Personal Tutor and Lim Dul's Vault).

  3. Hey Luke, thanks for the insight, looking forward to implementing it tonight. Some responses to your feedback:

    - you're right, I moved away from counterspells mainly because they didn't seem good enough vs Karl and Ben, and I can't compete with Wilfy on the counterspell axis because he has A Call and is just generally better at countering things than I am, which hints at the "not my style" factor. Also it feels better to lose while being proactive than it does to lose because you countered the wrong thing or didn't draw enough counters.

    - Goyf is an obvs addition, as are the other on-colour fetches, just an availability issue there. Everyone seems cagey about lending atm so it's hard to ask to borrow.

    - have been wanting to play Legionnaire form the get-go, thanks for the permission! Cursed Scroll is another sweet card that I'm glad to have gotten the nudge ( to play.

    - I friggin' hate Mox Diamond and Chrome Mox, so I appreciate the tips for mitigating their shitness.

    - In my haste to be the first person to post and thus get their list reviewed, I omitted some obvs cards and included some bad ones. I didn't end up playing Telling Time or Coiling Oracle, and I did play Thirst for Knowledge, Trinket Mage and Preordain. I'll consider Ponder and Serum Visions for tonight. Disfigure is also a weird inclusion.

    - didn't end up playing Dimir Charm last week but I still like the look of it, since I think all of the modes are something I want to be doing. I'll give it a run this week.

    - also thanks to Sam for the points heads up, for some reason I thought Mystical was 1 point.

  4. Hey Luke,
    (Ignnore the pseudonym, It's Brian here!)
    Here's my list:

    1 Cabal Coffers
    1 Watery Grave
    1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
    1 Creeping Tar Pit
    1 Drowned Catacomb
    1 Riptide Laboratory
    1 Darkslick Shores
    1 Sunken Ruins
    6 Islands
    9 Swamps

    1 Remand
    1 Thoughtseize
    1 Brainstorm
    1 Miscalculation
    1 Go for the Throat
    1 Dismember
    1 Ponder
    1 Liliana of the Veil
    1 Inquisition of Kozilek
    1 Mana Leak
    1 Demonic Tutor
    1 Jace Beleren
    1 Perplex
    1 Muddle the Mixture
    1 Counterspell
    1 Mental Misstep
    1 Bitterblossom
    1 Gifts Ungiven
    1 Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
    1 Trickbind
    1 Snuff Out
    1 Daze
    1 Fabricate
    1 Sadistic Sacrament
    1 Mystical Teachings

    1 Grave Titan
    1 Snapcaster Mage
    1 Batterskull
    1 Phhyrexian Metamorph
    1 Phyrexian Revoker
    1 Wurmcoil Engine
    1 Vampire Hexmage
    1 Venser, Shaper Savant
    1 Dimir Cutpurse

    1 Sensei's Diving Top
    1 Expidition Map
    1 Mana Vault

    SIDEBOARD (incomplete, suggestions welcome!):
    1 Back to Basics
    1 Innocent Blood
    1 Pithing Needle
    1 Force Spike
    1 Duress
    1 Undermine

    Let's face it; I'm a total scrub. I've been playing competative magic for around eight months, and have been playing Highlander for five. This deck started with Andy from the lab helping me build 'highlander on a shoe-string', and it was mono black.
    About two months ago, I decided to add blue. It's a little all over the place, but I'm sure you can assist!


  5. Pretty good borrowing guide there.
    What do you do if you borrow a card for like 3 years ? Whats the etiquette there ?