This thread is for discussion of this week's From the Lab, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It's twister!
No mention of cipher? (specifically, hidden strings, trait doctoring)
4 x Fabled Hero
4 x Favored Hoplite
4 x Phalanx Leader
4 x Battlewise Hoplite
4 x Hopeful Eidolon
4 x Aqueous Form
4 x Ordeal of Thassa
4 x Hidden Strings
1 x Trait Doctoring
2 x Gods Willing
1 x Brave the Elements
1 x Spear of Heliod
2 x Bident of Thassa
There are so many ways to repeatedly trigger Heroic, it shouldn't be surprising if some of them didn't make the cut. I like Crown of Flames / Shimmering Wings and Mark of Fury myself, as well as Seething Anger and Anoint (errata has granted it targeting :D)
Creator of the Multiverse database for custom sets, the Magic Turing machine (proving Magic Turing-complete) and the random Magic card generator.
Nice decks, but a missed opportunity for the Crystal Crusader deck to be named "Whim Away" or, even more cryptically, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight".
There were 14 Tutors in today's Lab Deck not counting Life from the Loam and Fetch Lands.....
and all the deck does is cast Flame Jab targetting a single hero at a time.
There wasn't any Anax and Cymede. There wasn't room for Agent of Fates in EITHER Hero Deck.
And the Arena did not deliver a Heroes vs. Villains Grudge Match, as would have been awesome.
I am more forgiving that the article made no reference to "Superfriends", the archetype of putting together as many Planeswalkers as possible,
because I see how that's going ''off the beaten path'', and it shouldn't be a cause for let down.
Except this is the Lab, and failure to be Surprising and go off the beaten path for the sake of Awesome IS a Let-Down.
Here is the deck I would have put for the first slot:
4x Akroan Crusader
2x Fabled Hero
2x Agent of Fates
2x Blue Fish Hero
1x Anthousa, Setessan Hero
1x Anax and Cymede
1x Daxos of Meletis
4x Akroan Colossus
10 Spells inc.
Theros Double Targeters
to make Heroic interesting.
and 12 cards to make Akroan Colossus
come out and be awesome!!!!
1 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
1 Heliod, God of the Sun
2 Spear of Heliod
Because these are the "Good Guys" of Theros!
You will note this includes 5 colors of Heroes,
and Akroan Colossus, and this is Heroic Week, and in case you missed it
yes, this is absolutely a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Voltron reference!
the OTHER Deck I would have built, for the Theran Megazord to face in THE ARENA
would not have been "more of the same casting spells on Heroic to make triggers make Timmy effects"
No, I would have gone for a Super Friends or Super Villains Deck, and I would have done my best to make it
able to go Infinite. Definitely include Planeswalkers.
I don't know why Mike Cannon consistently sacrifices Fun for Winning, but he's so Spike it makes me wonder why nobody else sees it.
I get that the Arena Section means he has to make decks Somehow-Somewhat Playable, but Duel Decks comes out twice a year with Bad Decks that have
a Flavorful Mythic Rare to Embody the Deck
alt art Uncommons that set the Mood of the Deck
and additional reprints or two of enough strength to Empower the Deck.
and a bunch of other cards that go in lots of different directions- you're supposed to take the decks apart and build them in the direction you like most
with the pieces that came with it and other cards that go well with the pieces you kept.
Duel Decks are pretty fantastically un-Spike though, even if they're more Spike than I'd build them.
they're also pretty freakin Vorthos, even if they aren't half as Vorthos as I'd make them.
From the Lab isn't limited to the confines of pre-boxed product like Duel Decks is though. From the Lab's New "Arena" feature can bring everything to the table that
Duel Decks WISHES it could.
And...it's still not going there. It doesn't have much in the way of "Crazy Dreams". Really, it looks like it builds Limited Archetypes with some Legacy-legal cards thrown in.
Mike is the least Vorthos and least Johnny of any one I've ever read, and it saddens me to no end that From the Lab has fallen this far.
Somebody PLEASE get some more Evan-O-Meter up in this Lab!!!!
His decks are just boring.
The Lab is allowed to be a lot of things, but Boring isn't one of them.
They do things way too consistently, and even what they do isn't very impressive.
At least I tried to blow up the Rules when I went Infinite. All he's doing is dealing damage. :P
Heroic is not a mechanic automatically geared towards being very "Johnny"-- it's something that, if you are a LAZY DECK DESIGNER, you WILL
end up making something that looks pretty "Limited Archetype", or "just Timmy beats and Damage and stuff"
but EVERY CARD IN THE GAME can be put into a deck that's Better Than That if you try hard enough.
There are so many pop-culture references to make and so much in-world Magic Flavor to tap into, that we not only can do better than this article--
we can ALWAYS do better than this article. This was Way, Way, Way, too Melvin and Spikey. He didn't bother at all to tell any Real Cool Fun Stories.
There are many variations of Johnny. Mike's particular approach to Johnny is very focused on infinite combos, and extremely tutor-heavy play to get out whatever three-card combo is the focus of the current deck. Personally I don't really like this kind of "Johnny", but I acknowledge that's just my preference.
You're calling for a much more flavour-driven kind of Johnny deck. Some would say your proposal is more Vorthos than Johnny, although Johnny just means "wants to express himself". Vorthos decks care about the flavour of Magic (I guess you're touching Vorthos when you care about the "Good Guys of Theros"), but caring about a flavour external to Magic (like Voltron, Superfriends etc) is Johnny, like building a rock band themed deck.
Anyway, previous writers for From the Lab were definitely more varied in their approach to Johnnydom.
Noel deCorva's infamous Lich's Losses deck would technically not ever end the game, but the flavour is magnificent - "I want to kill my opponent an infinite number of times. Ultimate defeat!"
Chris Millar built six decks composed entirely of one-syllable cards, and then wrote an entire article from one-syllable words, and his decks would often include Chimney Imps just for fun.
Mark Gottlieb wrote an entire article dedicated to killing all your opponents' lands both now and all the ones they play in the future. (He also posted combos like Enter the Dungeon + R&D's Secret Lair + Revelation - making you play under the table while your hand is on the table...)
And I don't have any links for Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar's time in the House of Cards, but from what I remember he was more into the "synergies" than specific infinite combos too.
The point is, there are lots of different takes on Johnny. Mike's is one approach - not the one you or I would most like, but a popular one (I assume) nonetheless. There are presumably other writers out there writing articles with a different approach to Johnniness, more like Chris Millar's.
If anyone wants to relive the delightful Chris Millar days, my page of quotes from pretty much every one of his articles is still online.