I just can't stay away from you, thread.
Re: Super-rare cards. Yes, you can get banned/restricted cards, normally as dungeon or event loot, but sometimes just randomly.
Anyway, I've played a few more battles and the deck has gotten lots better!
First, I set about rectifying that life total thing:
Each time I get a mana link with a town, I get +1 life. If a wizard ever takes over that town, though, I lose the life and it sucks. Looking for these is priority 1 until 15 life or so. At that point you have a nice buffer but one of the difficult things about the early game in this game is that enemies love to use Unholy Strength, Unstable Mutation, Giant Growth, and similar cards that shoot out bursts of damage. They're decidedly mediocre in 20 point games (well, not Giant Growth but for the most part) because the extra 3-6 damage isn't going to make or break. At 10 starting life...yeah.
I took the mana link quest and ran into a succession of Undead Knight enemies on my way to the objective.
Remember what I said about bursty damage? These guys are the masters.
Basically I lost a lot. 3 games in a row, in fact.
Then I had an epiphany.
Nothing says "fuck you" to guys getting enchanted or pumped like Lightning Bolt. In Magic, if your spell is an instant, you can play it at any time--even when the opponent already has a spell waiting to happen. In this case, your spell happens first, a rule called "last in, first out." This means that if I play Lightning Bolt, or Swords to Plowshares, or whatever, on a creature that is waiting to have an enchantment put on it, the creature dies, and the enchantment fails because the creature it was supposed to go on is already dead.
Ok, so Swords to Plowshares would do as well as Lightning Bolt, but a) the thread seemed to like red more, b) I have Shivan Dragon and c) Lightning Bolt is a common so easier to get than Swords, which is uncommon.
So, since I'd lost three white cards to ante anyway, I decided to assemble red as my second color.
I got lucky in running into a "buy any card" vendor in a ruin. I couldn't afford much, but I could get a Bolt. I also used my two blue amulets at the "blue amulet for red cards" city to get 5 Mountains and another Bolt.
Somewhere along the line I ran into yet another Undead Knight and remembered some good advice from earlier in the thread.
Throughout this time I had some pretty boring matches that were one-sided one way or another. Throughout all of them, though, Divine Offering clearly wanted to tell me I was wrong in calling it a sideboard card earlier on. This was the best of the times. Note I drew it that turn.
Divine Offering is an instant for a white and a colorless (1W) that destroys an artifact and gives me life equal to the artifact's mana cost. The Tetravus there costs a whole 6 mana, as well as being quite a dangerous artifact creature, so seeing Divine Offering off the top of my deck was awesome.
I took a quest for a red card of my choice. I had to hunt down and kill a Conjurer.
What a dapper looking gent!
Hm. This hand could be better. At least I get to get my aggression on with the Benalish Hero. Islands would be nice, though.
Once again, Divine Offering, while not an Island, shows up just on time. That card is really going the distance to try to make me like it main deck. The Rod of Ruin that I destroyed there lets its controller pay 3 mana and tap the Rod to deal 1 damage to a creature. With all my guys having 1 toughness, that had the potential to be really ugly.
Luckily two Islands in a row shop up, enabling Prodigal Sorcerer (ok, I'm getting tired of typing his full name -- his unoffical name is Tim, and I'll use that from now on) and Clay Statue. Unfortunately...
Steal Artifact is another enchantment like Holy Strength, only this one is an Enchant Artifact, and it isn't good. This is one you play on your opponent's artifact, and then you can use it against them!
He has enough mana to regenerate the Statue, so I send my Benalish Hero on a suicide mission. Tim then cleans it up.
Regeneration is a special ability a lot of creatures have, indicated in the text and in this game by the little plantish symbol in the bottom of the box. Regeneration has a cost, usually mana, to use it. When you regenerate a creature, it "cancels out" one death. Clay Statue costs 2 to regenerate, and he only had 2 mana, so it can regenerate from the Benalish Hero, but then Tim uses his tap ability to deal 1 more damage, and it is out of chances.
He deploys a Pirate Ship on his turn, and I try the second Clay Statue. The Pirate Ship would be a serious issue, except that the Samite Healer can save my guys. Pirate Ship is like our Tim, but bigger -- it can tap every turn to deal 1 damage to any target. Samite Healer can tap to prevent one damage. They cancel out, but if it weren't for the Healer, the Pirates would cut right through my guys.
Well, doesn't this look fucking familiar? Only this time I don't have a Benalish Hero to run into the thing.
At this point, the game stalls out since I can't attack into my second stolen Statue.
Then the War Machine shows up. Unfortunately I have to discard Black Vise to the upkeep, but fortunately it can pretty well rough up anything he has.
But wait, Ultiville, doesn't he have your regenerating Clay Statue to block with? Yes, but remember how I said you could play Instants any time? Well, special abilities, like Tim's, work the same way. I can play Tim's ability at the end of his turn, killing the Statue. When a creature regenerates it becomes tapped if it wasn't, and a tapped creature can't block. Since the Statue won't untap until his turn, it is safely out of the way while the War Machine thunders in.
Unfortunately he sets up another Rod of Ruin on his turn. This isn't a disaster, but the clock is certainly running now; I need to end him with the War Machine before he takes out my support guys, since with two one damage targeted attacks he can start killing around the healer.
I attack and he chump blocks the War Machine with the Wall of Air. Luckily, he draws nothing.
The day is mine!
I'm pretty sure this isn't the right choice for my reward, but it's a LP thread. Bashing with gigantic headlining creatures is part of the goal.
Also, I randomly got Moat (!!) from a ruin. I forgot to screenshot the "you got Moat!" message because I was too shocked, but there it is.
Moat is a different kind of enchantment; it doesn't enchant anything, it just exists. These are like non-creature artifacts: they sit in play and do their thing forever unless the opponent messes with them. A lot of decks just don't have enough flying creatures to win around Moat, so it is one of the best cards in the game, and finding it lying around is absurdly lucky.
Also featured with Moat: the current decklist. We're still a little ways away from actually putting red into the deck, but we're getting there.
I've actually played some more, but it is my bed time now. I'll update the rest after 300 tomorrow, and I'll be in the thread from time to time from work to answer questions.
Next time: We face down Dragons with varying results, get our first piece of power jewelry, and red finally goes into the deck...though how long it lasts is up to you.