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November 16, 2011


Into the Roil: Carnival of Blood (Innistrad)

by Dredd77

Ever wondered what might happen if you take an Intro Pack deck to Friday Night Magic? Longtime Ertai’s Lament reader Steve “Stric9” Mock did… and lived to tell about it.

Armed with Innistrad’s Carnival of Blood, Steve went to his Local Gaming Store (LGS) and looked to take down a field of competitive Standard decks. “I’ve taken a creative approach to my experience,” he notes, “because honestly, I got slaughtered.” That said, Into the Roil will be an occasional feature about the intersection of the preconstructed and competitive worlds- we hope you enjoy!

The ground rolled beneath my feet, gaping cracks split the soil, and trees whose tops I could not see tumbled downwards as enormous shards of rock pushed upwards and the earth restructured itself. Beasts who would have been revered as gods on other planes shambled along, unperturbed by the violent shaking and temblors. I walked to the edge of a precipice and stared out over great floating plains and swirling oceans to gauge this plane’s potential. I caught my breath as I saw its true gods. And they were rending the very essence of mana from all things. A lifeless barren wasteland devoid of life lay in their wake. So, this plane was lost, despite what I had hoped. Very well.

I inhaled. And my body disintegrated. In the space between, in the void, in the nothing, I sought those like me. I followed traces of the spark and drifted between dimensions.

I exhaled. The motes of my body regathered. My feet planted themselves firmly on the peak of a mountain made of metal and I surveyed the land. Insects buzzed by, their clockwork mechanisms whirring and clicking. Silent birds glided along, the light of the many suns glinting off their plated wings. The valleys below shone with razor sharp blades of grass and constructs the size of small mountains guided hordes of smaller constructs. Literal armies of metallic beings marched to and fro, like ants, constantly busy, never stopping. It was efficiency at its climax. And it all dripped with poison. Every surface was covered in a foul ichor. It transformed whatever it touched. This would be a long and arduous task. And not at all what I sought. I desired battle. I desired a challenge. I desired victory. Others had been here, the trace was strong, and the path easy to follow.

I inhaled again. In the ether of the vacuum, I heard the call. I felt the pull. A challenge had been sounded.

'Bustling' indeed!

I exhaled and found myself in the plaza of a bustling city. People moved this way and that, in a hurried, almost frantic fashion. I observed their clothing and fashioned myself accordingly. The light of day was quickly dimming and I felt a massive tide of magic as the moon of this planet began its upward climb. Ah, now I understood the fear. For not all here were human. And the night brought changes. The mana was strong. I would make it my own. I would make this place my own. But not at once. I would introduce myself to this plane, learn its secrets, and bend it to my will. This was Innistrad. And it would be mine.

The sunlight was gone and I stood alone on an empty street. Except for one. He stared intently from a distance. Good. My first challenge. The duel began without words, I reached out and called a blood drinker to my side. It screamed as it sped through the air lashing out twice while my opponent struggled to establish himself. He gritted his teeth in concentration and brought forth a Champion of the Parish and instilled it with Angelic Destiny. Alongside a warrior from the broken plane of Mirrodin, they crushed my resolve with ease.

I regathered myself to battle once more, straining to draw forth sufficient power from the chaotic and dark parts of this plane. I laughed in scorn to see a pair of Doomed Travelers assault me, but my laughter stopped once I saw they had the Honor of the Pure. Then my foe called upon an old spirit of Innistrad- the Geist of Saint Traft–  to put a quick end to things. A shining knight upon her steed watched as I fled. I never attained sufficient mana to even wound my opponent.

Frustrated, I left the city behind me and traversed the mountainsides, closer to the leylines of mana I had been seeking to empower myself with. And here I encountered my second challenger. A vampire of a pure bloodline attacked me and grew stronger as it fed so I pushed forth my own minion as fodder. A mage well-versed in the destructive power of volcanoes appeared accompanied by beasts intent on their own suicidal attacks. In a gesture of defiance, I called yet another vampire to my side and imbued him with rage twice over. I grinned as my servant plowed into the enemy even as I succumbed to his onslaught.

Perhaps I would take a more focused approach to defeat my enemy. This time I delved into his mind and filled it with horrors beyond imagining sending one of his own shrieking into oblivion. I brought forth newly turned vampires time and again only to see them burnt to cinders. As their ashes filled the sky, birds of crimson flame erupted from the earth and rushed towards me searing me with agonizing tendrils. I weathered one wave after another only to see the sky itself tear open and see brimstone missiles rain down upon me. Today is not the day, I thought to myself as I sought refuge in the safety ether.

I would be back. And it would be an event of reckoning.


I’d like to thank Exalted Games in Tacoma, Washington for allowing me to write about my experience at Friday Night Magic this weekend. I also want to say that I thoroughly enjoy playing at their Magic tournaments during the month. There were 3 rounds and since I lost the first two without having won a match, I was given a bye for the last round. That being said, I still managed to go up another level on Planeswalker points! I loved seeing the confusion on my opponents’ faces while they tried to figure out what I was playing. I mentioned to a couple players that I had used the Intro deck, Carnival of Blood, right out of the box and they were amazed that I would even attempt something like that. Given my performance for the night, I may have to try one of the decks that was rated higher by Ertai’s Lament or use an Event Deck the next time. Granted, this was an experiment in fun, but I’d like to be able to be get in a win here or there, too. I welcome any suggestions or comments you might have for this article.


Steve “Stric9” Mock is married with three daughters, ages 6, 1, and one pretty much here. Even Daisy, the toy poodle, is a girl. His wife calls him “Soldier by day, Dork by night.” Steve played Magic in high school, but was way too poor to do much more than stare at a Force of Nature. It wasn’t until the family started growing that he needed a hobby he could participate in from home. That’s when Steve started following Ertai’s Lament to learn more about the game. As a player, Steve falls somewhere between Vorthos, Timmy, Spike, Johnny, and Timmy. Actually, he doesn’t even know what those nicknames mean. Anyhow, the quality of art and storyline have drawn him in and he is an active Magic player when time (WIFE) permits. Steve would like to remind some of his fellow players that it’s ok to look good and smell clean while you play. Steve does it every day.

16 Comments Post a comment
  1. mart
    Nov 16 2011

    I’ve brought a few meddled intro decks to FNMs with mostly similar results. the neato factor of the whole idea plummets pretty quick when your opponent starts dropping real cards. I can imagine a stock intro deck would be an even bigger massacre. good on ya for trying to shake up the metagame, though.

  2. Jux2p0ze
    Nov 16 2011

    Hey, I give props for doing it. I’d like to see how an Event deck runs at FNM to see if it’s really up to the hype. I straight off-the-rack “Hold the Line” wrecked my Kitchen Table Crew due to the ferocious speed, while a heavily “meddled/mused” one into a G/W token hybrid absolutely demolished the KTC on powerful synergy (Gavony Township and Mikaeus is pretty much a win).

    I still wanna see if there are good decksmiths out there that can stick to a Precon or Event deck’s rarity restrictions to make a top end FNM contender. Perhaps a new article? “Laboratory Maniac?”

  3. fillip
    Nov 16 2011

    Well, that was an interesting article and I commend you for your courage. But yeah, even a Meddled intro pack would be slaughtered in any competitive environment, although I’d be interested to know if ayone has had ay success.

  4. Nov 16 2011

    + The writing style is the chief source enjoyment here.

    + Gotta give props to any guy willing to spend that money to get thrown into a pack of wolves.

    – Overall, not a useful learning experience. The only slightest possible saving grace for this idea is if he constructed a deck based on an Intro Pack. Either expanded the Intro Pack with more contents that made it a budget version; or bought the same Intro Pack/Event Deck like 2 times to stay true to the limited Intro technology.

  5. Nov 16 2011

    This was definitely an experiment and thank you for all the comments thus far. I’m not a huge tribal player aside from old school elves so I wonder in what ways this deck could me made more effective. I don’t think two of the same would do it at all though. Precise decisions would have to be made and/or the addition of rares/mythics. Looking back at Ertai’s comments during the analysis/play, it would absolutely need removal. I couldn’t take care of anything that came up in front of me, no matter how slow. The Dead Weight I pulled from the booster that came along was the only useful removal card I had. Perhaps, if there are enough ideas, I can construct this deck like Devon mentioned and bring something more formidable to the table. And I’m really glad that you all enjoyed the reading experience. In the end, the fun I have while playing is what matters most.

  6. Nov 16 2011

    I think an Intro Pack could definitely be upgraded to be FNMable. I mean my FNM deck is Deathfed with almost $25 more put into it and it is just very good… Last week I won a game against straight-up UB Control that was probably quintuple what my deck was worth. So I know it can be done.

    In fact, this feature should pair up as a follow-up to Whispers of the Muse, Ertai’s Meddling, or Ertai’s Trickery. After we’ve created a stronger deck from an Intro Pack or what have you, somebody inspired from that building takes it to FNM and brings back their story. That’s what Into the Roil would benefit from.

  7. Nov 16 2011

    Oh, by the way. I did win a friendly Game Three in Round One after I lost the first two. I was able to turn on a Blood-Crazed Neonate into a Rakish Heir with Falkenrath Marauders afterwards. What a sweet, sweet victory.

  8. Nov 17 2011

    Oh my gosh, you go to Exalted Games? I went there two weeks ago! I should probably stop in for an FNM.

    I apologize if this is going too local, but have you ever went to the other card shop in Tacoma, Northwest Sportscards?

    • Nov 17 2011

      Wow. I didn’t realize you were a local! I haven’t been to NW Sportscards yet, but I’ve heard about it. They had a huge tournament a month or two ago, but it was too rich for my blood. With the family and all, it’s hard to spend an entire day just playing Magic. Exalted’s 7 PM FNM’s have a good turn-out and it’s a really friendly environment.

      • Nov 17 2011

        You should start doing something like Jay-Moldenhauzer-Salazar’s preconstructed experiments. Loved those articles.

        I’m actually much more of a casual player – I haven’t been to an FNM for something like seven months now. Alas, I have bad memories of Exalted’s – I lost my Commander deck there a while ago (during Innistrad Sunday prerelease) so I’m a bit hesitant to go there again.

        Hope to see you around someday!

        • Stric9
          Nov 17 2011

          Do you have a link to those articles? I’ve never heard of them. Bummer about your deck. I wear a backpack so no one can steal my stuff since so many peple show up sometimes. I haven’t heard about any thieves recently though, I just started playing there a month or two ago.

  9. Cdnmedic84
    Nov 27 2011

    Interesting read! I tried an intro deck at’s fun if you’re completely new and don’t mind getting whooped and asking about all the mechanics of the game. If you’ve been around the block I can see it getting old quickly! 🙂

  10. J
    Mar 28 2012

    Ironically I run a version of the Carnival of Blood deck, though it’s abit more modded than most, with some pretty good results. Finished up two weeks ago at FMN 5 rounds, with a 3/2 record. Biggest issue was straight red aggro >.<


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