09/29/2011 FtL: "Magic Words, Part 1"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's From the Lab article, which goes live Thursday morning on magicthegathering.com.

In Darth Parallax's deck, the fetch lands and Drowned Catacomb-type lands are aren't that good because of the lack of basic lands. There are some with basic land types, but not enough. Also, why is nobody commenting?

Momus, the Greek god of sarcasm

Pray to him.

The first deck on this list really takes me back. In the days when Soraya the Falconer was new, I ran a similar deck with Soraya, Serra Aviary, Zephyr Falcon, Mesa Falcon, and a few others.  Back then I was only playing casual stuff with high school classmates, but among our little circle, the deck was undefeated.  I did get an opportunity to play it against a friend of mine who did play tournaments regularly, and after beating him soundly a few times in a row, his one comment was "I've never seen a theme deck play that well,"  which for the casual player I was felt like high praise.  Of course, at the time, the theme was "falcons," not "birds."

To this day, it still remains my favorite deck I've ever played.  Seeing a modern update of the theme makes me smile!
I see only one problem with that BIRDS deck: No storm crows
I wonder if Darth Parallax knows that the german version of Armageddon is literally called Gotterdammerung.
 I love this article. It's so rich in flavor, even more so, somehow, than most of your elaborate decks, Noel, of which I'm already a great admirer.

 The Birds deck tells the story of an unambitious aven planeswalker, spending this portion of her life living quietly in an aerie with other avens on a seaside cliff on some out-of-the way plane, dedicated to the simple life of flying, fishing and watching the storms roll in. But, if her flock is ever threatened, she'll let the great powers that she's built up over the centuries fly free in its defense.

 The Blitz deck tells of the wanderings of a fiery, erratic planeswalker, originally from some barbarian tribe on a rough-and-tumble plane with very intense weather patterns. He's always been drawn to storms, and especially the lightning, because it's almost as temperamental and aggressive as he is. He spends his centuries looking for new incarnations of lightning, traveling far and wide, following the fronts and seeking lost shrines to forgotten storm gods. And mercilessly frying anyone who looks at him funny.

 The Death deck is the tragic tale of a necromancess who drives herself mad in the pursuit of power and respect. When not looting ancient tombs or dredging the rotting ruins of long-buried civilizations or combing the blackest of the black wares at the most heinous markets in the multiverse, she's cloistered for years at a time in her ebon stronghold, feverishly focused on ever more unorthodox and forbidden means of forcing her will upon the dead, no matter how much of herself she loses upon the soulstained altar in the process. And then, when every grave opens and death itself heeds her call to arms, then, then!, they'll all see! Then they'll all learn!

 The Peace deck's builder already told the story of its retired planeswalker. Having given up his wandering ways many, many years before, he's dedicated his life to teaching in the vast monastery he's founded on a quiet coast on some distant plane, far removed from everything save the murmur of the waves. But if anyone should ever happen to find reason to attack him or his brotherhood, the centuries he spent traveling the busier paths of the multiverse left him, and his many students, more than enough knowledge and mastery to draw his attacker to a bemused stalemate and show them another path.

 The Swarm deck is a complicated view into the impenetrable life of a paradoxical druidess who wants to stay as far from civilization as she can manage yet who loathes isolation and cherishes company. So she spends her centuries in the deepest depths of the forests of planes uncountable, always seeking to befriend and learn from the largest, most thriving colonies of each plane's native creatures, so long as they never lay a finger upon the sanctity of the woods themselves. She travels covered in a creeping layer of symbiotic insects so thick upon her body that it looks as though she's replaced her skin with a writhing, chitinous exoskeleton and those few times that she deigns to return to the flets of an old elven village or orochi tribe that she lived with many decades before, the grandchildren of her old friends can't help but wonder if she might be a treefolk, her hair looks 
like so much moss upon her scalp with clouds of spores drifting away from it.

The Clog deck is the fascinating portrait of a young, talented but unmotivated planeswalker who can't quite give up his past as a taskmage from before his spark ignited. He works as a magical enforcer for a powerful theocratic church, dissuading or silencing doctrinal or political dissent whenever it arises and always looking to make a little extra coin with the plane's profiteers on the side. Meanwhile, he passes his life dissolutely, still wholly unaware of the immensity of his true worth to the church and the multiverse at large or, perhaps, just mostly unconcerned. Maybe, if he ever gets 
unwittingly sent to silence another planeswalker, subtly brewing discontent among the church's tithepayers, he'll learn just how much more is out there for him to see and learn.

 The Learn deck is the cautionary tale of another young planeswalker, one of the many to have their spark ignite among the billions of Ravnica's teeming masses. She was quickly discovered by the Izzet League and pressed into its service as one of the Firemind's living eyes and ears. Too young to know 
yet the true extent of her potential and told to travel and absorb every possible fact from every plane she visits, she does just that, forcefully learning from everything and everyone she meets even if she doesn't have the capability of actually retaining half of all that she experiences; the old dragon can just delve it out of her unconcious mind when, or if, she ever makes it back to Ravnica again. But some of the things she's seen so far, some of the secrets shared with her by a cryptologist working on a set of 10,000-year-old clay tablets, or the visions she sometimes sees shining in the scales of her coatl familiar, these things make her begin to wonder if, perhaps, there might actually be life outside of the thrill and press of the city, that, maybe, a debriefing chair in the highest tower of an Izzet cloudscraper workshop isn't the most illustrious future she could hope for.

 The Snikt! deck is the story of a legendary swordsmith whose spark ignited in the glorious wake of his genius just as he was finishing his magnum opus, the most perfect sword ever forged. He was about to perform the final act when the world blinked all around him and, suddenly, he was standing in a snowy taiga, his smithy nowhere in sight. The heatwaves steaming from the brilliantly glowing blade formed themselves into a five-pointed symbol, then radiated away into the branches above and the sword, the most perfect sword, the pinnacle of the smith's entire life, shattered in the cold. Since that day, he's spent the centuries searching the planes for the greatest smiths and the most powerful blades known to the multiverse, obsessively seeking every possible technique that he might be able to use to approach or exceed that single moment of greatest brilliance that was lost to him forever.

 The Götterdämmerung deck is a glimpse into the wild-eyed reason of entirely rational insanity. This is an old planeswalker. Older than she herself can possibly remember. And she's tired. And she's begun to get scared. The longer she's lived, the more signs she's begun to see that everything, her life, her spark, her world, the multiverse, the Blind Eternities themselves, are coming to an end. The more she thinks about it, the more she convinces herself of the truth of it all, just as she tries to convince some of the many planeswalkers she's met over the millennia. But no one ever listens. So she decides that the only thing left for her to do is to take control of the end, to dominate it and bend it to her will, to tame Armageddon and have it be on her terms. So she begins a madman's campaign of burning out, caving in, tearing down and blowing up every plane that she walks upon. Dark angels begin to follow her like starving rats and incarnations of slaughter and chaos appear in her wake like the diseased breath of death alive. Some planeswalkers fight her. Others walk with her, hoping to limit her destruction or just to loot the aftermath for their own gain. And with every new plane left barren and desolate behind her, she draws one step closer to what she knows will be the true finale, when she'll open the ancient disk and the last apocalypse will be upon her. But, unknown to her, in the end, she's just one more pawn on Nicol Bolas's universe-sized board and, ultimately, she's playing right into the old wyrm's claws.

Thanks to you for the contest, Noel, and to everyone who contributed for crafting such evocative decks. I look forward to the next installment and the next after that, and after that.
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