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The Road to Tourneyland
By Mark Ortego
“The Road to Tourneyland” by Mark Ortego

Before I tell you about my experience let me say that I have long since lost my “passion” to write and am now making a forced attempt to revive it….sorta, even though I play magic as much as I use to my life otherwise is very different than back in the days when I use to like to write, it was sanctuary for me, a place where I could escape but now I no longer need that kind of solitude but I am so jazzed about this deck and a few others I’ve been playing that I thought I’d like to share it.

The decklist below is a modified version (KJ-Style) of Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014 Ramaz Boss Deck (The deck you face at the end of the campaign).

UGR Prophetic Ravings

Artifacts (4)
1x Dragon’s Tooth
1x Elixir of Immortality
1x Kraken’s Eye
1x Wurm’s Tooth
Creatures (13)
1x Conquering Masticore*
1x Dragonlair Spider*
1x Intet, the Dreamer*
4x Jungle Barrier
1x Malestrom Wanderer*
1x Master of the Wild Hunt*
4x Obstinate Baloth*
Spells (28)
1x Blatant Thievery*
1x Burgeoning
1x Crush of Wurms*
4x Desperate Ravings*
4x Flame Slash*
2x Fool’s Demise*
1x Ghitu Fire
3x Harmonize*
4x Prophetic Bolt*
3x Savage Twister
4x Temporal Springs
Lands (30)
2x Evolving Wilds
10x Forest*
7x Island*
7x Mountain*
1x Reliquary Tower
3x Terramorphic Expanse

*=from the original deck list in DotP 2014

This deck is S-L-O-W, I have to rely on an opening hand with Flame Slash or a turn 3 Savage Twister for 1/1 weenies but chances are that I’ll be taking damage early on hence the reason I added the life charms (Kraken’s Eye, Wurm’s Tooth and Dragon Claw), my defense creatures start at 4 mana in the way of Jungle Barrier (2/6 Wall of Blossoms) and Obstinate Baloth (4/4 and I gain 4 life when it CIP). A Burgeoning in my opening hand is what I hope for and several land so I play a land whenever my opponents play a land but with room for only one copy in a 75 card deck the chances are slim.

This past weekend (3/22/2014) was an extra Games Day for GASP (Gaming Association of Southwestern Pennsylvania) where I am still a part of the league I started called the MML (Multiplayer Magic League) this is its 10th year anniversary and we are as strong as we’ve ever been with averaging about 10-15 players each month but yesterday there was no official MML game because we already had our March MML two weeks ago but I attended because I knew there’d be a few other MML players there and I’ve been chomping at the bit to play some of my new decks with the Ramaz Deck being the one I wanted to play the most.

We had four players; Wayne (Playing B/W Orzhov extort), Dave (playing my creature-less mono black deck) and David (playing new Sliver deck). Since Dave was playing my Mono-Black deck I knew that we’d never have a creature out for very long because it has Innocent Blood and Barter in Blood and Unmake and with Mirari in play and Dark Rituals and Cabal Coffers in play well, lots of black mana and those spells has always helped me keep creatures off the board but today Dave couldn’t get those out and so the Orzhov and Sliver decks flourished….ugh, but fortunately Dave played a turn three Syphon Soul and a single Unmake on a small creature and so HE was the target….sweet.

David had reached an Army of Slivers rather early in the game and focused his attention Mono-Black deck and the Orzhov deck kept extorting us and for a long while I was left alone and as Mooseman always says, “NEVER LEAVE MARK ALONE!” it’s true, most of my decks are slow but when they sink their teeth into the game it becomes difficult to overcome my deck but it is possible. So the game raged on back and forth, David’s slivers had lifelink and he’d attack Dave and then would lob a beefy Corrupt at David and Orzhov would enjoy extorting us every turn that is until played a mid-game Savage Twister and cleared the board for X = 5, only my two Jungle Barriers remained (2/6 walls) *whew!*

This gave me time to rip through my deck via Desperate Ravings and with a Dragon’s Claw in play I was drawing cards and gaining life, I also had a Wurm’s Tooth in play and David’s Sliver deck had lots of green in it so that helped, too. I found in my hand Blatant Thievery which allows me to gain control of a permanent from each player and so I took a big sliver (the lifelink one which was his second one he played after the Twister), Orzhov’s fat 4/4 that whenever it attacked I could search my graveyard for a creature or artifact and Mono-Black’s Cabal Coffers (could I use it? Nope, but neither could Dave and that was his mana engine). This didn’t change the game but it made the others worry a bit more than they did after the first Savage Twister. I also had the land Reliquary Tower in play which allows me to have no maximum hand size so I have like ten cards in my hand by now and pretty much everything I need to start eliminating players, the first being mono-black.

“Sliver boy” finally got mono-black down to 4 life and so before mono-black’s next turn I used Prophetic Bolt to take him out (one down two to go). Meanwhile Orzhov had about 35 life and so “Sliver Boy” went after him and got him down to under ten several turns later and then on my turn I played Crush of Wurms which gave me three beefy 6/6 wurms which kept Slivers off my back and made Orzhov nervous. By now Slivers stopped attacking and was holding back creatures as defenders so he stopped gaining life aggressively, I still had his lifelink Sliver and attacked Orzhov with it and my wurms, it took me two turns but I finished off Orzhov.

Sliver Boy started drawing lands….land after land (like 3 turns in a row), I had played Elixir of Immortality and gained 5 life and shuffled all of my goodies back into my library and played Harmonize twice. He didn’t have Crystalline Sliver in play so I Flame Slashed two of his slivers and then attacked with my wurms. I got him down to 4 life and then yes, of course, I Prophetic Bolted him for the win.

I really like this deck, a lot!

I got to play a Commander game using the pre-con commander deck Counterpunch:

1 Barren Moor
1 Command Tower
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Golgari Rot Farm
1 Orzhov Basilica
1 Rupture Spire
1 Secluded Steppe
1 Selesnya Sanctuary
1 Temple of the False God
1 Tranquil Thicket
1 Vivid Grove
1 Vivid Marsh
1 Vivid Meadow
8 Swamp
10 Forest
8 Plains
1 Aquastrand Spider
1 Deadly Recluse
1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Monk Realist
1 Selesnya Evangel
1 Golgari Guildmage
1 Selesnya Guildmage
1 Nantuko Husk
1 Fertilid
1 Spawnwrithe
1 Vampire Nighthawk
1 Spike Feeder
1 Yavimaya Elder
1 Squallmonger
1 Penumbra Spider
1 Sigil Captain
1 Shriekmaw
1 Dark Hatchling
1 Teneb, the Harvester (My Commander)
1 Hornet Queen
1 Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter
1 Symbiotic Wurm
1 Celestial Force
1 Karador, Ghost Chieftain
1 Chorus of the Conclave
1 Skullclamp
1 Sol Ring
1 Golgari Signet
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Orzhov Signet
1 Selesnya Signet
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Acorn Catapult
1 Soul Snare
1 Fists of Ironwood
1 Necrogenesis
1 Vow of Malice
1 Awakening Zone
1 Vow of Wildness
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Vow of Duty
1 Attrition
1 Aura Shards
1 Doom Blade
1 Tribute to the Wild
1 Footbottom Feast
1 Afterlife
1 Mortify
1 Nemesis Trap
1 Cobra Trap
1 Alliance of Arms
1 Cultivate
1 Harmonize
1 Syphon Flesh
1 Bestial Menace
1 Hex
1 Hour of Reckoning
1 Death Mutation
1 Storm Herd

I discovered that I don’t really care for EDH (Commander)….sorry, the one card rule sucks for my style BUT I played in a 6 player game because there was no one else to play against and I always have my pre-con Commander with me (unaltered). I don’t remember a whole about this except after three of the players were eliminated there was a red/white artifact deck and GBW deck left (and me). I kept forgetting to play my Commander and never did but I had the green/white enchantment called Aura Shards in play and drew a Storm Herd (for 8WW put X 1/1 Pegasus tokens with flying into play where X equals your life total, I was at 34).

I plopped down 34 tokens and triggered the Aura Shards for the amount of artifacts and enchantments my two opponents had in play, it sucked to be them. I was gonna win next turn as my opponents collectively were at 34 *grin*

So they go and play some stuff (I didn’t pay attention but two turns later I wish I had) and it’s my turn and I swing for the kill.

Artifact girl plays Holy Day. Crap. Then BWG dude somehow swings with a 52/45 trampler and I die. Sorry, I can’t remember what he did to get that but I sat there for a few minutes and whatched him do it R/W Artifact girl, too. She cursed.

I may buy another pre-con Commander deck, maybe all five originals but that’ll be it for me,…..for now.

I got to play my nearly finished new pet deck:

“Full English Breakfast”
Creatures (37)
1x Akroma, Angel of Wrath
4x Birds of Paradise
1x Blazing Archon (Thanks Oversoul!!!!!!)
4x Body Double
1x Elvish Lyrist
1x Essence Warden
1x Eternal Witness
1x Gilded Drake
1x Mystic Snake
1x Phage the Untouchable
1x Phyrexian Dreadnaught
1x Phyrexian Metamorph
2x Quirion Ranger
1x Seedborn Muse
1x Spike Feeder
1x Spike Weaver
1x Squee, Goblin Nabob
4x Tradewind Rider
1x Uktabi Orangutan
4x Volrath’s Shapeshifter
4x Wall of Roots

Other Spells (8)
4x Forbid
4x Survival of the Fittest

Land (30)
2x Breeding Pool
9x Forest
9x Island
1x Misty Rainforest (This one has got to go)
1x Undiscovered Paradise (maybe this one, too)
4x Terramorphic Expanse (These have got to go!)
4x Tropical Island


I didn’t get to play it in a multiplayer game but I got a good feel for it and I need to have in my opening hand a Wall of Roots or a Birds of Paradise and Survival of the Fittest along with a forest and it’s all good. I had those in my opening hand and my opponent (Sliver Boy) was playing a green/white weenie deck….FAST!

Though I am unfamiliar with this deck in particular it has a similar concept to the ATS deck of mine of the past (Angry Tradewind Survival) whereas it’s pretty much a toolbox deck and I had an answer for everything. Once I got the Blazing Archon (5/6 flyer and creatures can’t attack you) copied by a Volrath’s Shapeshifter it was only a matter of time before I put my opponent away. This deck feels good to play but it’ll piss off my opponent’s for sure if it sinks it’s teeth into the game.

The search lands….ugh, they don’t work well with this deck because when I use them I lose whatever creature I had on top of my graveyard making my Shapeshifter an 0/1 grrrrr…..it was bad enough when I would use Squee for the Survival and my Shapeshifter became a 1/1 until the beginning of my upkeep which is when I could return Squee back to my hand but he wasn’t playing burn or spot removal so I was okay (No, no Swords to Plowshares in his deck).

All in all it was good day for play testing my decks, I also made a soldier deck (I am really trying to play with more creatures, really!) and I am really hoping that my Ramaz Boss deck will fare well next month in the April MML game.

Until next time (if there is a next time), I’ll be traveling on that long and dusty road….to Tourneyland.
~KJ

Read More Articles by Mark Ortego!

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