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Originality Counts
Part XI
Written by Rob "Jantrix" Mattis

Greetings once again, fellow card floppers. I hope that you are enjoying the new millennium edition of Gate to Phyrexia magazine. This month I have two deck submissions from readers for your perusal and enjoyment as well as two theme decks that I have been having fun with lately.

I sincerely wish that I had something earth shatteringly profound to say for the new millennium ahead but I don't. All I can say—is stay young forever. I'm 31 years old and I still think action figures are cool. Especially those McFarlane figures, they rock. I think that Toy's 'r' Us is just about the coolest place on the planet. I have two young sons that I take, just so I don't look like a deviant when I go in there. My wife just divides my actual age by two to get my mental age equivalent. Actually, I think that by the time I am 50, I'll be able to divide by three.

Okay I think that I'll put my decks up first this month, since I don't have the reader submitted decks with me at this moment. Yes, my logic is staggering isn't it? The first one is a deck that I've always wanted to put together—a bug deck. So I went through my boxes and pulled out 4 of all my green bug types. Imagine my wrath when I discovered that Killer Bees was a "summon swarm", and Giant Mantis was a "summon mantis"! Aaarggg! Luckily WotC has gotten much better about his lately and has begun generalizing their creature types. So to "summon insect" I went. The deck is a heck of a lot of fun to play, and in casual play, it does quite well in duels and multi-player free-for-alls. I have named the deck after an H.G. Wells novel about a science experiment that goes awry, and creates gigantic bugs (and other critters) that start killing and eating people. It's called—

Food of the Gods, by Rob Mattis
Creatures (22)
2 Arcridian
2 Bayou Dragonfly
2 Caller of the Hunt
2 Caustic Wasps
2 Deadly Insect
2 Giant Caterpillar
2 Goliath Beetle
2 Marker Beetles
2 Saber Ants
2 Venomous Dragonfly
2 Yavamaya Gnats
Other (20)
4 Blanchwood Armor
4 Ferocity
4 Gaea's Embrace
4 Overrun
4 Spidersilk Armor
Lands (22)
18 Forest
4 Hickory Woodlot

Now I know what you are thinking, "where are the Coat of Arms and Ancestral Mask?" Easy, they are in another of my 35 decks. Besides neither really screamed "buggy" to me. As for the Caller of the Hunt, aka "the bug lady", she just works so well in this deck that I just had to include her. The bugs in this deck have so many useful abilities that the deck really does well, the Caustic Wasps and Venomous Dragonfly in particular. However the Deadly Insect really doesn't fit a deck that relies so much on creature enchantments. So I'll swap that one out as soon as something cool presents itself. Maybe something from Nemesis . . . ? A friend of mine hates this deck so much that he build a deck against it called "Black Flag". I don't know whether to be pissed or flattered.

The next deck is a sea-based theme deck, mono-blue of course. It is quick on the defense and slow on the offense. The offense being the new fattie—Tidal Kraken. Since the Kraken looks kinda like the one from the movie, I've called the deck—

Clash of the Titans, by Rob Mattis
Creatures (0)
2 Giant Crab
2 Giant Oyster
2 Hammerhead Shark
4 Man-o'-War
2 Stinging Barrier
4 Tidal Kraken
Spells (0)
2 Brainstorm
4 Counterspell
4 High Tide
Other (0)
2 Veiled Serpent
4 Diplomatic Immunity
2 Levitation
2 Soothsaying
Lands (0)
16 Island
2 Saprazzan Cove
4 Saprazzan Skerry

This one is just a collection of some of my old favorites, like Giant Oyster. When this card came out in Homelands, it was often used in many of the control decks that were played in my circle of gamers. It always brought a collective, "oh crap," from the other players when it hit the table. It was dubbed, "the chewer," because it would just chew up small critters, especially critters that had a tap activation, like Tim. Another oldie-but-a-goody is Man-o'-War. Didn't counter it when it was first cast? Try, try again. The idea is to keep your opponent off of you until you can get the Kraken out. There is just something vile about a 6/6 unblockable creature. Especially when you make it untargetable as well. I will add however, that you had better be careful when you cast the Kraken, especially if your opponent is playing black. A single Eradicate, will completely snatch the teeth right out of this deck. So I'd save those Counterspells for protecting the big fella. Maybe even include some of the new pitch counters, Thwart. (Hmm, I'll have to look into that.) I added some library manipulation with Brainstorm and the very cool, Soothsaying, which is one of the more useful cards from the Mercadian Masques set. Now for the oddball card up there, Levitation. It can be used as a decent finisher card, but to be perfectly honest, I included it so that this deck doesn't get ripped up by my wife's Pegasus deck, her favorite. There is nothing more humiliating than getting pounded by a bunch of flying ponies.

Okay the next two decks are submitted by Gate to Phyrexia readers. As chance would have it, they are both Sleeper Agent decks. Go figure, huh? If you would like to see your original deck featured on the classiest Magic magazine on the web, please drop me a line. All credit is given to the creator of the deck and your name and address will be posted for the entire world to see and marvel at. I will also use your own deck explanation, word for word, so please include one. Please don't send me the same old-same old tired decks with a few card changes. The key word here is originality.

The first deck is submitted by Nicholas Rupprecht at It is a sneaky-type deck called—

Double Agent, by Nicholas Rupprecht
Team Mascots (4)
4 Sleeper Agent
Agent Control (15)
3 Torment
3 Wall of Souls
4 Pacifism
3 Spirit Link
2 Wall of Essence
Alternate Win Conditions (7)
4 Drain Life
1 Imp's Taunt
2 Avenging Angel
Other Stuff (18)
4 Dark Ritual
3 Disturbed Burial
4 Necropotence
4 Disenchant
3 Reaping the Rewards
Lands (16)
6 Plains
3 Reflecting Pool
2 Salt Flats
5 Swamp
Sideboard (15)
3 Defense Grid
4 Duress
1 No Mercy
3 Radiant's Dragoons
2 Sacred Ground
2 Warmth

"It began because a friend of mine loves Sleeper Agents and put his (along with Despondencies) into every black deck he owned for a while. Eventually, I decided to make a deck around them. I eventually gave it four ways to win rather than just the Agents, ranging from rather normal (Drain Life and Angel beatings) to bizarre (Sleeper Agent) to really bizarre (Imp's Taunt)."

This looks like a very solid deck. Nicholas also included a list of alternate cards to use if you don't have all the high dollar rares, but I think that was too much help. I leave that for you to figure out on your own if you need to. From what I can see this is a good example of the slower deck variety. This would have problems with a speedier deck. I'm sure most of the Agent control cards would get quickly used to stem off a weenie attack. However if it can hang on it would eventually win out. Necropotence is very essential for this deck, I think.

The next deck was submitted by John Zamarra, at He calls it—

The Leech, by John Zamarra
Creatures (14)
2 Diseased Vermin
2 The Fallen
2 Sleeper Agent
4 Leeching Licid
1 Thrashing Wumpus
1 Howling Wolf
2 Spore Flower
Spells (12)
4 Dark Ritual
2 Darkness
2 Constant Mists
4 Fog
Other (24)
1 Armageddon Clock
2 Copper Tablet
2 Cursed Artifact
2 Cursed Land
2 Festering Wounds
3 Warp Artifact
4 Leeching Licid
1 Cyclone
3 Maddening Wind
4 Wanderlust
Lands (22)
4 Bayou
6 Forest
12 Swamp

"The Leech is a green-black combo that attempts to win by accumulating cards that deal X damage per upkeep. This deck also is way too slow, but the Fogs and similar effects really keep me alive. Not to mention they piss off my opponent when he's got a twin Leeching Licid'd, Wanderlusted Sleeper Agent who has dealt no damage for the past three turns. }:0) But this one has only about a 1 in 5 victory ratio. I know it has got to be possible to get the idea to work, maybe I'm not using the right colors, or maybe I have too much variety. I don't know."

Well people, I'm pretty sure that John would appreciate any help. I think that an early defense of walls might help, or a splash of white to include Peacekeeper. I think that going with 4 Sleeper Agents, 4 Wanderlusts, 4 Festering Wound, and 4 Leeching Licid should make up the entirety of the leeching cards. Add 4 Wall of Blossoms, 4 Wall of Souls, 4 Vine Trellis, 2 Crenelated Wall should make up the early defense. Add 2 Respite and 4 Constant Mists for late game defense. An Overrun would make scrap lumber out of the walls. Lastly I would add 4 of the new Mercadian Masques creature, Groundskeeper, to keep those Constant Mists rockin' your opponent. This is a very streamlined version of this deck, and I realize that John might not have all the cards I mentioned. I think that with his existing deck, the odds of drawing a dead hand (no useful cards on the first draw) are very great.

Well that's all for this month. I truly hope that everyone had a great holiday, and will have a prosperous new year/decade/century/millennium. Also, I want you to do something for me. When you play your next opponent, as you play your first land, look up at your opponent and say. "I'M GONNA GUT YOU LIKE THE BLUEGILL I CAUGHT AT SUMMER CAMP!"

I did, and he laughed so hard that he shot Pepsi from his nose. Yuck.

Your originality while disemboweling advocate,

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