Every Friday in July, the DCI® is going to give players all around the world a chance to get a creature so powerful that it was one of the first cards ever banned in the Extended format. This card, which first appeared in Alpha, was at one time considered too powerful for Constructed play. Aside from being a 5/3 creature for only 4 mana, it also has a rather unique evasion ability: it can’t be blocked by walls! Of course, I am talking about Juggernaut, and you can get a foil version with the FNM stamp on it by playing in a Friday Night Magic event.
Once upon a time, players would pair the unstoppable Juggernaut with another Alpha card, Invisibility, to make this powerhouse creature completely unblockable. Now, both of these cards have been reprinted; Juggernaut is in Mirrodin®, and Invisibility is in Eighth Edition, the core set for the Magic: The Gathering® game. This means that you can play both of these cards at your local Friday Night Magic tournament.
Friday Night Magic tournaments are happening on a weekly basis all over. To find the closest FNM event to where you live, check out the Wizards of the Coast website. FNM offers a great opportunity to play Magic games against other players in you area, as well as to trade and learn new ways to use some of your favorite cards. The top two players in each FNM tournament each receive a special promo card like Juggernaut. However, you don’t have to win to get one of these cards. At each tournament, two of these promo cards are also given out randomly as door prizes for players that did not win the event.
Before you show up to play, make sure you find out what type of tournament you will be going to. Some Friday Night Magic tournaments are Sealed or Booster Draft; this means you will get cards at the tournament, so all you need to bring is a life counter and some tokens. Other FNM tournaments use the Standard Constructed format. Standard decks may include cards from Eighth Edition, Mirrodin, Darksteel™, Fifth Dawn™, Champions of Kamigawa™, Betrayers of Kamigawa™, and the newest expansion, Saviors of Kamigawa™. No more than four of any one card may be in a Standard deck other than basic lands. You may also use a sideboard for your Standard deck. The sideboard must be exactly 15 cards and may be switched into your deck after the first game you play against a new opponent to try to counter his or her strategy.
To help you get an idea of some of the decks you might see at your local Friday Night Magic tournament, I asked the players in my area if I could post the winning deck from our local weekend tournament. Hopefully this deck will give you a good idea of what you might see at your next FNM event.
This deck was piloted to an undefeated victory by Elliott Kasun. The focus of the deck is simple: deal damage to your opponent quickly while using the land destruction cards like Stone Rain and Molten Rain to slow your opponent’s response to your attacks. The deck also uses Hearth Kami, which can attack for 2 damage every turn or destroy a cheap mana source like Chrome Mox. The Magma Jets and Volcanic Hammers in the deck are there not to deal damage to the opposing player, but primarily to clear the way for attacks by aggressive creatures like the Slith Firewalkers and the Genju of the Spires.
To help add a long-term win condition to the deck in case the land destruction doesn’t slow your opponent down enough, Elliott also plays 4 Arc Slogger and 1 Kumano, Master Yamabushi. Both of these creatures are big, attacking for 4 damage per turn, and each has an ability that can either deal damage directly to your opponent or help clear a path to get some attacks through to your opponent. On occasion, you might even have a chance to put one of these powerhouse creatures out on turn 2 or 3 using one of the Seething Songs in the deck as a quick mana boost. If your opponent doesn’t have an early answer to one of these creatures, then they can win a game all on their own.
The sideboard for this deck offers some interesting solutions to some other decks you might see other players playing. Sowing Salt will help you to eliminate your opponent’s non-basic lands. This is especially good against decks using “Tooth and Nail” that rely on getting all three of the Urza’s lands into play: Urza’s Power Plant, Urza’s Tower, and Urza’s Mine. By completely removing one of these three from your opponent’s deck, you turn them into lands that essentially just make colorless mana. The Boils in the sideboard also offer an interesting addition against a blue control deck, destroying not one land, but all of your opponent’s islands. Elliott also used his Vulshok Sorcerers effectively in a mirror match. This card was able to shut down all of his opponent’s Slith Firewalkers and Genju of the Spires and deal a good bit of damage.
To play in a Friday Night Magic tournament, you will need a DCI membership card. If you don’t have one, the organizer of the tournament will be able to provide you with one. It is important that you remember your number and keep your membership card. You can use this number to check out your Magic rating and ranking against local players. This number can also be used to sign up for Magic Player Rewards and get more cool promo cards.
All FNM events are run at Rules Enforcement Level (REL) 1, which is a more relaxed set of rules designed to maintain a serious level of play while not penalizing players for making errors due to inexperience. This means that FNM is a great was to learn about how tournaments work and get started on the path towards the Magic Pro Tour.
This Friday would be an excellent time for you to go to your local store and play in a Friday Night Magic tournament. Not only do you have a chance to win an exclusive promo card, but you can also meet lots of new players in your area. FNM is the place to be on Friday night if you enjoy battling across the planes of Dominaria, Mirrodin, Kamigawa, and the rest of the multiverse. You might even have a chance to send an invisible Juggernaut hurtling at someone's head.
Brian started playing Magic in spring 1994 (when you could still buy Antiquities boosters!) After becoming a DCI Judge in 1999, he has judged numerous Grand Prix, PTQs, local events, and even a couple of Pro Tours. He joined the Wizards of the Coast Delegate program in June 2004 and in what free time he has left after judging, delegating, and playing will be a contributing writer for the MPR newsletter.