I’m going to write a little bit about Magic: the Gathering today.

On the whole, I’ve been very pleased with the Return to Ravnica Block.  As many in my local gaming group know, I LOVE playing planeswalker decks, better known as “Superfriends” decks.  Whenever someone asks about trading, the first question out of my mouth is usually “got any planeswalkers?”

The reason why I like planeswalkers is threefold.  First, I like the thematic idea of “I don’t sully my hands with battle and spells.  I just invite friends to do it more me.”  It gives kind of a mob-boss feel to the game.  Second, they are the gift that keeps on giving.  There are very few cards in the game that give you multiple abilities each turn without requiring you to spend additional resources (or without even requiring you to tap them, an important point that I will come to later).  Third, I get a lot of enjoyment out of complex board states.  With each planeswalker, you have at least 3 abilities, two of which you can usually play the turn that it hits the table.  So if you have 4 planeswalkers out, that gives you 8-12 abilities, from which you can choose 4, and you haven’t used any of your resources yet!

I started playing a Green, Red, and White superfriends deck years ago that was founded Garruk Wildspeaker, Sarkhan Vol, Nissa Revane, Ajani Vengeant, Karn Liberated, and Elspeth Knight-Errant.  The deck accelerated quickly using Arbor Elves and Utopia Sprawls, and really hit it hard with Genesis Wave.  As time went by and new planeswalkers came about, I continuously tweaked the deck into a  4 color beast that plays very smoothly.  Unfortunately, its biggest problem is that it tends to run out of gas quickly.  That is, it gets the planeswalkers onto the table, and can be overwhelming if they survive, but if they don’t, it’s pretty much done.

I then decided to play around with a Super-Villains deck.  It was a silly concept built around Jace Beleren, Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker, Chandra, the Firebrand, Liliana Vess, and Tezzeret, the Seeker.  The general idea was to draw a bunch of cards using Howling Mines, and to take a bunch of extra turns using Savor the Moment (notice that planeswalkers don’t care if you don’t take an untap step).  When you are drawing 2-3 cards per turn and taking ridiculous numbers of extra turns thanks to Chandra, the Firebrand forking the Savor the Moments, it’s easy to pull way ahead.  Over time the deck got better with the introduction of Lotus Blooms (which Tezzeret can put into play for free), Darksteel Citadels (Tezzeret again), and better lands.  It was generally great at drawing cards and resources, but had trouble with the actual winning; the only ways that it generally won was through repeatedly using Nicol Bolas’s ultimate or by using Tezzeret’s ultimate on all of the artifacts.

So I had one deck that got a lot of fast mana but ran out of cards, and another that gave players extra cards and turns, but fewer resources.  I thought that each was less than stellar, right up until I played them in a game of two-headed giants.

To be continued…