Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Ertai’s Meddling’ Category


Reads: Meddling ‘Depths of Power’ on Gathering Magic!

A convergence! That’s the best word I can think of to describe the fact that the Magic 2013 Intro Pack Depths of Power seems to be on a lot of folks’ minds these days. No sooner do I submit a ‘Meddling’ (tuning/rebuilding) of the deck for Gathering Magic than our inbox gets not one, but two requests to run a Whispers of the Muse on it!

The Whispers will be coming up later this evening, but for now here’s a link to the article over on Gathering Magic. Stop on over and check out the new framework I’ve given the deck, and say hello to boot!


Ertai’s Meddling on QS: Repel the Dark (INN)

As we head into the lengthening shadows of Dark Ascension, we look if there’s anything that can be done to help the hapless Humans of Innistrad to better prepare them for the coming horrors. Starting with the Intro Pack Repel the Dark, and using only Innistrad and Magic 2012 cards, indeed there seems to be quite a bit of room for improvement!

Many of you will remember Magic Beyond the Box from last year, as our preconstructed feature column over on Quiet Speculation.  Come on by, check out the deck, and say hello!


Ertai’s Meddling: Deathly Dominion (INN)

Good news for fans of precon tinkering! Today we’re exploring the runt of Innistrad’s ghoulish litter, Deathly Dominion! A Black/Green deck built around the morbid mechanic, we judged this one to be the worst of the lot- and most in need of a makeover.

Read more »


Guest Meddling: Devouring Skies (New Phyrexia)

So, here we are… the fires of war have been extinguished by the icy breath of death… all the battle cries that have planted the seed of hope into the hearts of those who charged forward have faded into a melancholic silence… all those artfully crafted weapons were exposed to decay just like the courage of those wielding them.

The plague of Phyrexia has come over Mirrodin- it has consumed another world leaving us speechless to a scenario that we explore in New Phyrexia. As corruption has spread, innovation has declined. Phyrexia’s tools for victory are fear, doubt, infiltration, and defiling what is good and noble. How do you fight an enemy that does not attack your house but your very heart? Not your home but your hope?

Read more »


Guest Meddling: Doom Inevitable (Mirrodin Besieged)

Being invited for guest-meddling, I decided to look into the MBS deck that seems most appealing to me: Doom Inevitable. Although I’d rather get my after work drink with the Mirrans than the Phyrexians, the subtlety and wit with which they are pursuing their goals – though we already know the outcome – hint at a long-term master plan that needs to be admired.

Read more »


Ertai’s Meddling: Path of Blight (Mirrodin Besieged)

Today begins our next round of Ertai’s Meddlings for the Mirrodin Besieged intro decks. For those recently joining us, the Meddlings are one of our most popular features, where we take an intro deck and tighten it up. As the game’s developers have acknowledged, intro decks include a number of suboptimal choices to help guide new players along the path to deckbuilding. In that vein, then, Meddlings are signposts along the way- a possible outcome if you take out the bad cards and fill it with ones that reinforce the deck’s underlying theme and strategy.

Of course, cramming a bunch of rares and mythics into the deck to up its power level is one thing, but we prefer to take the accessible approach. Many new and returning players don’t have access to every card they’d like, so Ertai’s Meddling adheres to the following two rules:

The idea here is to let folks build with cards they might already have laying about, rather than having to go out and buy a bunch more. There’s also the added challenge of ‘doing more with less.’ As Mark Rosewater so often says, restrictions breed creativity. That being the case, the object of our creativity today is Path of Blight, the successor to Phyrexian Poison and the set’s infect-based offering. Unlike Poison, Path drops the Black component and picks up White, reflective of the growing corruption of the Phyrexians on Mirrodin. For us, this makes our job a little more difficult, as Black is loaded with quality infect cards but White has precious few. Let’s see what we can come up with, and we’ll begin by reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of the deck we identified in our initial review.

Read more »


Whispers of the Muse: Oscar’s Power of Prophecy

Just today we recieved a comment from a new reader on one of the Meddling articles for Magic 2011- Power of Prophecy. Because so many members of the community here are quick to help with great advice no matter how inexperienced the player, I thought I’d go ahead and post it in the open rather than buried back on page 20 where few might see it:

Hi i was thinking about changing the deck quite a bit. I recently started playing MTG with my friends so i’m looking for a non tournament deck atm.

My biggest concern is a friend playing green/black deck based on elves and tokens if I don’t draw the Leviathan fast enough and have enough mana i’m screwed.

Besides i think i’d like to make this deck into one where the main focus is to get Leviathan protect it (with Whispersilk cloth, counter spells) and destroy the enemy with islandwalking/flying creatures. Therefore i was thinking about something like :
16 Islands
9 Plains
2x Harbout Serpent
2x Wall of frost
2x Stormtide Leviathan
2x Aether Adept
2x Cloud Elemental
2x Water or Air Servants
2x Whispersilk Cloack
2x Diminish
4x Cancel
4x Negate
1x Call to Mind
2x Safe Passage
2x Sleep
2x Mind Control
2x Ice Cage
2x Arrest

Though i’m still unsure about this since i’m totally new to the game.
I believe scrying would be quite usefull in order to obtain the leviathan and the needed mana for it’s cost but then again i dont know what to drop.

Maybe changing the wall of frost for 2x Crystal ball or Foresee. Or dropping cancels/negates though i really don’t like the idea of not having them. If anyone has some suggestions please post them I’ll be grateful for any advice.

Suggestions for Oscar?

Edit: ‘Retconned’ the title to reflect our new series.


Ertai’s Meddling: Metalcraft (Scars of Mirrodin)

At last, we are proud to present our final Scars of Mirrodin installment of Ertai’s Meddling, the mighty Blue/Red Metalcraft. For those of you who have recently joined us, the Meddling series is where we take an intro deck and fine-tune it. We remove that which isn’t working, add in a few things that might work better, and at the end of the piece have a shiny new upgraded version of what we began with. Of course, as Mark Rosewater so often says, “restrictions breed creativity,” so where would we be if not for a few restrictions? Ertai’s Meddling has two, we call them the “rules” and here they are:

Why these rules in particular? Two reasons. The first is that we want to preserve the flavour and character of the intro deck. If we broke it open to the full spectrum of cards, we’d end up with a much more competitive deck, sure, but one fairly far away from what we started with. Second, we want these decks to be affordable. Stuffing in a fistful of rares and mythics might work for some, but it  hardly is the norm for any number of reasons. We want folks to be able to grab their box or binder, pull out their intro deck, and get to work with the cards they may already have lying about!

Read more »


Guest Meddling: Blades of Victory (Magic 2011)

Not too long ago, I started playing with a group of people at my college on Monday nights. About half the group was newer players, taking their first steps into the world of Magic: the Gathering. These new players ran the gamut in skill level and what cards they had available to them, but one thing remained constant-they all wanted to improve their decks. 

Let’s be honest, it’s not very difficult to realize that, say, Bog Raiders and Canyon Minotaurs aren’t winning you any games (the exception being Limited, where both are decent picks, but that is an entirely different beast). However, I constantly find newer players asking for other people to make their decks better, and while I’m certainly all for helping people out, that’s no way to learn! 

Today I am taking the M11 Intro Deck Blades of Victory and outlining some simple steps that can be taken to “pump it up.” More importantly, I’ll explain some of the reasoning behind each tweak, to provide a nice basic iullustration on “why this card is better than that one.” 

Read more »


Ertai’s Meddling: Deadspread (Scars of Mirrodin)

Thank you for joining us today as we release the next installment of the ever-popular Ertai’s Meddling series! Today we’re putting Scars of Mirrodin’s Deadspread firmly in our sights, and seeing if we can’t salvage what is a promising mechanic from the somewhat mediocre intro deck it’s been given. As ever we’ll be invoking the rules of Ertai’s Meddling, to make sure that our finished product is something fun and easily obtainable for everyone. That means:

Deadspread was the showcase deck for the new Proliferate mechanic, and had a lot of promise. Get some conters on the board, proliferate like crazy and finish off your decimated opponent. At least, that was the plan! As you might expect, the execution was perhaps a little shy of the mark.

So as we begin, what do we have to work with? Here are the strengths and weaknesses we identified in our analysis and playtesting of the deck:

Here, too, are the raw materials that we have to begin with:

For this Meddling, we’ll be making one version of the deck. Frequently Meddlings in the past have made an improved version of the deck, then used its components to make a mono-coloured variant. This won’t work well for Deadspread– as the first set in a new block, it’s tools aren’t fully developed yet, and we need all the Proliferate we can get. A second deck could be made that would abuse all the charge-counter artifacts we have to play with, but for today’s purposes we want to arrive at a very tightly-focused proliferate deck that makes the mechanic work.

Read more »

%d bloggers like this: