So I'm back from teaching Magic to my students. I guess it's time to play some Magic on the computer! (I'm actually lying; I played this last night. This will be a shorter update, then I'll play some more and have a bigger one after I go to the movie this evening. Whee!)
So I decided it was time to take out the puny 1/1 fliers white had for my deck and put in some real flying creatures. (Note: I'm not skipping the black support in the thread; it's a great color and I'll give it a chance as the second later, but I was already camping up red and haven't seen any good black in the shops, so red is staying the secondary until I have a good enough deck to start dungeoning.)
And here's what I've discovered of the map so far. Basically, I've gone nowhere. It seems like it is time to branch out, maybe find some mountains where I can win some cards I want in ante.
First though, someone steps to my turf: a druid. I want his Mishra's Factory rather badly, so I agree to duel him. Mishra's Factory is a non-basic land. The basic lands -- Forest, Swamp, Island, Mountain, and Plains - all just make one mana of the appropriate color. Mishra's Factory only makes colorless mana, which can only be used for the generic parts of spell costs. In exchange for this, though, I can pay one mana to turn it into a 2/2 creature until the end of the turn. This is awesome because the Factory often dodges lots of annoying mass creature kill spells, since it tends not to be a creature when they happen. It also helps in deck construction. Since I need to use a certain number of lands in my deck, if one is the Factory, I can get combat uses out of an otherwise "wasted" slot.
In today's issue of "when bad cards do good," Phantasmal Terrain not only locks down one of his Mishra's Factories, it also allows the Sea Serpent to come in on the offensive. That's the cool (and sometimes infuriating, when you lose to it) thing about Magic: very few cards are so bad that they don't sometimes make a big difference.
The Serpent gets threatened in a double block...
...but Lightning bolt offs the bear before damage and the treefolk die instead. Instant kill is the best thing ever. Tim, man of all matches, takes out the Killer Bees, and that's about all for my sandal-clad opponent. You can block an opponent's creature with more than one of yours, which is what happened here. In these cases, all of your blockers deal damage to the attacker, but the attacker chooses how to distribute the damage from his creatures. If the bear had survived, the serpent would have died and I would have been able to kill one of his guys. Fortunately, the crafty instants can be played even in the middle of combat, so Lightning Bolt took out the bears, leaving the inadequate Treefolk flying solo.
Mishra's Factory is mine! The tree-hugger didn't deserve industrialization anyway.
I hit some ruins on the way out.
Some ruins are better than others. I always hate the "you can trade cards for life" ones, but this one is particularly absurd.
This looks more promising, though! A dragon guarding a large number of nice cards.
The game started pretty poorly.
And it didn't really get any better. Ow. If only I'd had Unsummon. Worth noting: if I'd had two more mana links here, the guy would have faded away before he killed me. Yet another reason building up the buffer is key.
Another dragon looms from the ruins. Well, ok, technically a Hydra, but fewer wings, more heads, comes to about the same thing. And this one has a Mox! I've got to try to take it down. Moxes are free artifacts that tap for a mana. What kind of mana depends on the color of the mox. This one, the Pearl, taps for a white mana. If that sounds a lot like a land that happens to be an artifact instead, you'd be right, but they're amazingly good cards because they let you get around the "play one land per turn" rule.
Hydras are one of the nastier enemies, with decks full of the winning combination of mana flare and gigantic burn spells, so I don't expect much.
The starting hand is mediocre, but it has Black Vise in it, and it isn't like I can mulligan, so here goes! I play a land and live the dream of turn 1 Black Vise. Black Vise is a 1 cost artifact that makes the opponent take damage each turn based on the number of cards in his hand. It deals 1 damage for each card above four. Dropping it turn 1 is great, because they are sure to take 3 damage immediately, and are likely to take 2-3 a few more times as well before they get to dump their hands.
Amazingly, he's stuck on one land, and is soon discarding, taking 3 from the vise every turn while he's at it! My new Mishra's Factory gets off on the right foot, adding some damage at the same time.
He eventually gets land 2 just in time to Disintigrate the Clay Statue, but it is way too late, and the Factory and Vise take him down not long after.
I in no way deserved that Mox. But I'll take what I can get! Dragon Engine is a totally acceptable guy as well, at least given the quality of cards still in the deck.
I also run into another town that lets me trade blue amulets for red cards. I trade my two blue amulets for a fistful of Mountains and a Disintigrate.
As I'm leaving known territory, the deck looks like this: