Deck Tech: Exploring Magic (and Green-Blue Clues) with Chris Carpenter

Posted in Event Coverage on October 22, 2016

By Corbin Hosler

Chris Carpenter came to Providence with a modest goal: win a match.

A modest goal, to be sure. One that many players in the hall today at Grand Prix Providence take for granted, and one that most first accomplished long ago. But for Carpenter, it's the primary goal. The first goal, the first step in his growth as a Magic player.

His lands give away his experience. Carpenter came armed with Revised lands, the kind not seen regularly at tables for 20 years. It was perhaps the most obvious sign of the fact that this was Carpenter's first trip to a tournament larger than Friday Night Magic.

"Honestly, I was terrified to come here," he said. "I've never played in a big tournament, and I don't even win all that much at FNM. But I heard this was a few hours away, and I thought I would give it a shot."

Chris Carpenter is a player recently returned to Magic who made the step of attending his first Grand Prix.

For Carpenter, the trip to his first Grand Prix is a long time in the making. His most vivid memories of his early Magic career come from casting Homelands and Ice Age cards in his younger days. It didn't take long for him to become hooked on the game, though a career and children took him away from the game for an extended period.

But Magic wasn't done with Carpenter yet. As is the case more and more often as the game matures, it was Carpenter's children that brought him back. His 12-year-old son picked up the game with friends and introduced his father t it. So long after his first foray into Magic, Carpenter decided to give it a shot again.

"At first I didn't plan on buying any new cards; I heard there was Legacy format, and I thought I would just go and play with my olds," Carpenter recalled with a laugh. "I thought I had built a Pestilence deck that would just dominate. Of course, then I played against Dredge and just had no idea what was going on. So I thought maybe I should look into Standard."

Since then, Carpenter has become a regular at Greenfield Games, his local store in Greenfield, Massachusetts. He recently completed his first Modern deck and has enjoyed brewing in Standard, leading to the Green-Blue Clues list he started 2-0 with at Grand Prix Providence.

"It has definitely surpassed my expectations for my first event," he said. "I'm having a blast, win or lose. I was terrified coming in, but it's been awesome to play in an event like this. Everyone has been nice and I'm having fun."

Carpenter's deck definitely qualifies as "fun". Taking advantage of previously forgotten cards like Erdwal Illuminator, Tamiyo's Journal, and Ulvenwald Mysteries, Carpenter's list aims to generate card advantage through Clue tokens while also deploying the "combo" potential of Briarbridge Patrol. With such ease generating Clue tokens, Carpenter can hit six mana and sacrifice them to draw cards and then put a difficult-to-answer threat into play like Emrakul, the Promised End or Plated Crusher. Coax from the Blind Eternities also allows him access to several silver bullets out of his sideboard.

It also allows him to create board states like this.

Using Jace's Scrutiny on your own creature just to create tokens, then using double Confront the Unknown for lethal? Not bad for a homebrew. It may not be a perfect list, but Carpenter is happy that he's found some success at his first big tournament, and ecstatic that he's done it while displaying the creativity (he calls his deck "Tamiyo's Patrol") that brought him back to Magic in the first place.

From the kitchen table to Friday Night Magic to a hot start at Grand Prix Providence, Carpenter is, as he puts it, living the dream of casual Magic players everywhere.

Chris Carpenter's Green-Blue Clues

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