Animal Magnets Aplenty

Posted in Serious Fun on December 10, 2002

By Anthony Alongi

With 250 valid entries, Animal Magnetism certainly attracted—geez, I'm sorry, I didn't even see that one until I wrote it! (I'll try to be more careful)—its share of attention from readers. (Read the intro and rules to "Break This Card!" here.) There were also a dozen or so entries that I disqualified because they didn't follow the rules—in most cases, the decks didn't contain Animal Magnetism or even green! (Can't shake a stick without smacking a ninny, am I right?) But because a level 3 certified judge I know and respect was among the disqualified entries, I think I have to take some of the blame. In retrospect, I can see where some of my rules were confusing, so I apologize to anyone who misunderstood the guidelines. We'll all get it together for next time, agreed?

The following are decks that I feel the Internet community shouldn't live without. I chose sixteen decks, two from each of eight categories (into which the entries fell rather neatly). If your deck isn't listed, it's quite possible that it was awful. No, okay, seriously, if I don't mention your deck, it's quite possible that I received it when I was in an odd mood. Both Jay LouderThanMollusks-Zanzibar™ and I will be the first—well, the first and the second, I suppose—to admit that these contests are incredibly subjective exercises.

CATEGORY ONE: THE BASIC RECURSION MODEL

Seems simple, doesn't it? You offset the drawback of Animal Magnetism (losing some good creatures) by bringing the creatures back another way. While many different options were offered, ranging from Exhume and Reanimate to Twilight's Call and Patriarch's Bidding, the first one that I came upon was a bit more classic than that.

Damn Fungus!

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For the second deck in this category, I'd like to present the best single-creature companion to Animal Magnetism: Gurzigost. It's a beast in every sense of the word, so it fits well into a beast-themed deck.

Beast Attraction

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CATEGORY TWO: LOOK MA, NO CREATURE CARDS!

Of course, just because a card has the word animal in its title doesn't mean you have to play with creature cards . . .

Dang, No Creatures Again?

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Animal Magnetism, if resolved, means almost certain threshold—and several flashback cards in your graveyard. As the game goes on, even a flashback card like Grizzly Fate should still go off at threshold. Parallel Evolution can reach amazing heights with a strategy like this.

Witless and Creatureless

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No, really, Battle of Wits does nothing. Normally a ruse like that won't catch my eye, but given my strong ambivalence toward that card, I gotta say that I like it. In addition, there's plenty of support for milling, reshuffling, and card drawing with Gaea's Blessing, Pedantic Learning, and Oath of Druids. The Oath, Mirari, Chain of Acid, Maze of Ith, and Propaganda all serve as fine multiplayer features.

Of course, because Living Wish can pull any creature that suits its controller, the deck is technically not creatureless. But it's still a creative main deck. And because it blends different ideas that other readers had, it's worth seeing.

CATEGORY THREE: RESTRICTED CHOICES

A popular method with Animal Magnetism is to provide such an overwhelming set of creatures, that your opponents are damned if they do and damned if they don't. In my opinion, these decks have the toughest road to travel—they have to balance a sufficient quantity of strong creatures, decent support cards, and a path to hard cast the creatures if plan A fails. Here are a couple of decks that seemed to do pretty well in that respect:

Reya's Magnetism

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As committed to Legends as Mark may seem, that's nothing compared to how devoted David Leavitt is . . .

Legendary Magnets!

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Here, the interaction between Kavu Lair and Eureka is nice, and they add color to what might have been an otherwise fairly bland list of all of our favorite recent Legends. It's also nice to see a nod toward mana-fixing, on the off chance you can't get Magnetism or Eureka to resolve!

CATEGORY FOUR: TOP-DECK MANIPULATION

A few of the decks set aside the path to victory to focus on making Animal Magnetism work more smoothly. I ought to recognize a couple, as there were quite a few along these lines! We'll start with a fairly original one.

Bring out the Big Guy

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There were actually several Information Dealer decks that came through, but this was the only one that barely had any Wizards in it, and you've got to love that.

A more conventional and fluid deck came from Vinnie Prabhu, who favored traditional Impulse and Scroll Rack tech.

Magnetic Personality

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CATEGORY FIVE: PROPER ACCELERATION

I couldn't help but notice quite a few entrants who took pains to avoid getting Llanowar Elves as a result of a five-mana card. We've given credit to that school of thought and posted two decks that I feel are strong entries.

Bifurcated Magnetism

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I also like the way Jay uses Soothsaying to help arrange Magnetism's effect. The combination of mana acceleration and library manipulation makes his creature set more plausible. (Actually, I barely glanced at the set beyond Gamekeeper—really, fatty selection is often just a matter of style, except for those decks that design themselves for a specific creature effect.)

Of course, if you don't mind your Llanowar Elves, you could consider Kenny Wong's deck—he has his own logic for wanting them on the board.

Turbo Laugh V.94769475.23321

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Last Laugh. Who'd have thought? And I always believed that card was just for ninnies.

CATEGORY SIX: GRAVEYARD-FILLING

There was a chunk of entries that wanted to fill the graveyard—not for recursion, but for other reasons altogether. Here's a pair for your perusal.

You Kill It, We Grill It!

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The weirdest things can catch your eye in a deck like this. For me, it was Strongarm Tactics and Incarnations. I just like the way they work together. Of course, the main point of the deck is elsewhere—Mortivore, Lhurgoyf, and Avatar of Woe. There were many variations on this deck—Incarnations were very popular—but I think Jonathan blended these ideas most fruitfully. My only regret is that there's no real place for Wonder, which many readers favored. Glory is also pretty swell, but green-white decks had a hard time coming across as viable in chaos.

I had to make some tiny alterations (regarding restricted cards) to get that last deck Type I legal. This is a good time to point out that if a deck is generally well presented, I don't mind a small format error. Try to get the banned/restricted cards right, but don't fret if you miss one or two.

If you'd like to see more Lhurgoyfs, do I have a treat for you!

Magnevores

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Anne-Françoise actually had two Tectonic Breaks and two Bend or Breaks in place of Wildfire, but because she suggested that it was so close to Standard legal, I had to take her up on it. While the deck uses many cards considered substandard in most circles and focuses on land destruction (which can be very unfriendly in multiplayer), it's not blowing up lands for the sake of slowdown—there's a purpose to it, and it can hit pretty hard. So I'm pleased to include it.

CATEGORY SEVEN: ELEPHANT-LOVING DECKS

Okay, this category surprised me too, but where else could I put Andrew Wright's creative take on the contest?

When Herds of Sorceries Attack

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And before you call Andrew a unique freak (which you're still welcome to do after I'm done with this sentence), check out Mike O'Leary's take on the mystical magnetism of pachyderms.

Better Off Dead

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Elephants. Who knew? And speaking of noisy animals . . .

CATEGORY EIGHT: ANNOYING COLLEAGUES

Some fool named Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar also entered the contest. His deck wasn't nearly as good as the ones I got from the rest of you, but if I don't say something nice about it, he'll whine on Thursday. So, um, here's the very prompt deck he submitted:

Green Magnets

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His was actually one of the very few monogreen decks I got, so posting this wasn't completely ridiculous . . . I suppose.

I ought to also recognize the entry from Abe Sargent (a blast from my starcitygames.com past), who submitted the only five-color deck.

Who Admits They Live in Ypsilanti in Their Bios?

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