Hello folks! I hope that your day is going charmingly well.
This week I wanted to dip into Abe's Deck of Happiness and Joy, one of my iconic decks, that's thousands of cards big. On Tuesday, we did a deep dive into the deck and I pulled some cards out. I showed you a picture of deck in its fat box. Today I want to look at 10 cards from that deck that have won the game for me. Are you ready for a list of my recent game-winning moments and the cards that made them possible?
Great, let's do it!
10. Trap Runner
Let's set this up. My foe controls a No Mercy, which is killing my dorks as they damage her. That's a powerful problem and I am not drawing any removal for it, but I have been getting removal for her dorks, which is important as I am down to fewer than five life. She's down to just one dork, a game-winning Dragon (I think it was a Shivan Dragon, but I don't remember for sure) which only needs to connect with me to win. It's bigger than my stuff, I have a few dorks like Nekrataal that can't block, but I control Trap Runner. When she swings, I can tap and block and then prevent me from taking any damage. My foe quickly realizes that she must keep the Dragon home, but I am able to hit her and swing through with smaller evasive dorks of my own. But with her No Mercy, they die as soon as they slip through. It takes at least 10 rounds, but I finally kill her while my Trap Runner saves me from the Shivan Dragon long enough for the win!
Great job Trap Runner!
9. Chandra, Awakened Inferno
It was turn six in a fat six-player pod. And Chandra, Awakened Inferno is one of the few planeswalkers that can hurt everyone each turn. I dropped her and +2ed her immediately to give everyone an emblem, which they can't interact with. At least two enemies had the ability to counter her, but that couldn't happen. She was attacked, and I chumped some enemies. And I managed to +2 her again before she died. But that was enough. In 10 turns, I was the winner and everyone else had died to Chandra and a few attacks.
Speaking of planeswalkers, my final foe was sitting behind Jace, Architect of Thought. I happened to have a few dorks, but they were all earlier game plays like Elvish Visionary and Satyr Wayfinder that were stopped by his +1. He was just about to ultimate it, but he needed to keep it at +1 to remain alive, as he was down to five life. Then I top decked the Bedevil like a champion and killed it. I killed him two turns later. Good job Bedevil!
It's a five-way multiplayer and a fast amount of lands from two Veteran Explorers has ramped us to the middle game early on. That helps because I am sitting on a five-color Conflux. I am behind in the game and sitting behind some powerful curves from three of my foes, while a fourth is sitting at nine cards in hand with a Reliquary Tower and running blue only. I use my Boseiju, Who Shelters All to make it uncounterable, and then I tap out for Conflux on my turn, and I grab five cards that win me the game:
On the next turn, I have enough mana to Boseiju Decimate and drop the Verdict, which is naturally uncounterable. Then in future turns I can take another turn, Tutor for another Time Warp effect, and recur all of them plus the Conflux with my All Suns' Dawn! Good job Conflux! Now I don't usually go for a Time Warp package, but the blue player had already taken two extra turns, so I figured it was fair game.
6. Bringer of the Blue Dawn
I had alternate casted Bringer of the Blue Dawn on the seventh turn of the game, and it was one of my few dorks. My others had been killed on arrival (Consecrated Sphinx) or were minor enough to slip under the radar (Spike Feeder) as removal went elsewhere. I was playing against a group of Commander players who were not used to the power of it as the Bringer cycle is much harder to run there than elsewhere, due to its color identity. It resolved, and no removal followed. Alright.
Over the next three turns, I drew six cards and punched for 15 trampling damage. I split up its attacks to keep everyone at the table going. There were meatier threats that had resolved as well. Then my sped-up deck drew it. I was at eight mana, and it drew the sweeper In Garruk's Wake as well as a ninth land and dropped the land. At the end of one foe's turn, I cast a flash dork that needed to be countered as bait, and it was taken. I then untapped, cast In Garruk's Wake, and then killed folks with my Bringer in a few turns with the additional card advantage that buried my foes.
5. Living Death
Living Death is unique among cards. Most game-changing cards fit into one of two categories:
- Wrath of God, Balance: These cards are great "break in case of emergency" cards that will bring you back from a losing game state and reset the game state to neutral.
- Armageddon, Winter Orb: These cards are great at pushing your board position from "slightly favoring you" to "probably winning this game."
Now, an Armageddon can't really do the role of the first category. Are you losing badly? Why would destroying lands help? Now destroying lands as part of an Obliterate? Sure! But Armageddon and similar cards help you win more. Wrath of God is what you cast when you are behind in creatures to give yourself time and resources to regather. Armageddon is what you cast you are ahead in creatures and looking to close out the game. They serve different roles.
Living Death is one of a handful of cards that does both. It can take you from a losing situation where you are one or two turns from death to destroying all creatures on the battlefield, and then bringing everything back at the same time, so you can wind up as a dominant player in one card. For those reasons, it's better than those effects. It's always been in my deck going back to the Standard build that combined Sneak Attack with Living Death.
I just recently got another Living Death win when I was down on board. Early removal took out some of my team and I chumped with my others to fill up my graveyard. Then Living Death arrived and I went from losing to winning, and a few turns later I won that game against two others. Living Death remains one of the best cards of all time and finding cards that can do the same is one of the best ways you can ensure success.
I run Reweave in my deck as a valuable emergency instant way to handle any permanent, even a land. It's sacrificed, which can yield you a lovely answer to an indestructible card. The only issue is that your foe gets the top card of that permanent type back. Blow up a land? First land they hit from their library is out there. An artifact creature? Then the first artifact or dork they flip goes out. I also will use it in desperation to send one of my dorks or in response to removal as my key card about to head out. It's a lot of fun! However, something happened the other day.
How many arcane spells do I run in my build? Of thousands of cards in my deck?
What do you think happened? That's right! I drew an arcane spell. And not just one arcane spell, but two - with Reweave in hand! I got three of those things, and I upgraded my early dorks into much better random ones and then won the game!
3. Memory Jar, Academy Ruins
While my deck is not a combo deck per se, it's so big that I often run across accidental combos. It's often like a game of Mark Rosewater's Magic: The Puzzling where you try and find combos in the cards to win the game from a losing state. That recently happened to me when I won a game by decking everyone else.
Here's how it went. I drew Memory Jar and dropped it. I then tapped and sacrificed it, which puts it in the graveyard with its ability on the stack. I then tapped Academy Ruins to draw it. I had enough mana to repeat but no more. I then did that once more on my next turn after tapping the Ruins to reload it. The 21 cards drawn were enough to deck my foes. But not me!
2. Hibernation's End
In a four-way match, I had been the early leader of winning the game, and then my board was blown up by removal and folks were coming my way, but not without still looking at each other. They didn't want to overexpose. I cast my final card in my hand, Hibernation's End. My first choice was a 1/1 deathtoucher (Gnarlwood Dryad, who was close to a 3/3), which helped keep people off from the ground, but some aerial folks attacked me. My next choice was Fog Bank to protect my skies. Then my next three choices went to mad value. Let me show you:
My three-drop pulled out cards and pushed folks into dropping their cards knowing that I could grab more.
My four drop drew me an extra card and served to grab me a valuable passel of life.
My five-drop was obviously Cloudblazer. More life and cards. Then someone finally managed to find some enchantment removal and took out the End. My Dryad rose in size. In the meantime, this is what happened:
- Five turns passed, safely.
- Five cards drawn naturally during those turns able to be used later (or played as lands)
- Three cards drawn from 'Blazer and Guardmage.
- 5 life gained
- Each foe lost a card
That's how strong the End can be over time. It's a powerful card that changes the board quickly.
However, it's not my top winning card. Allow me to introduce a fellow Coldsnap Green rare:
1. Panglacial Wurm
Imagine a game where you have hit top-deck mode. It's late game. You began with four players, one is out, and all three have fewer than 10 life left. None of us have any gas left in our hands, and all creatures and planeswalkers are dead. My foe to the left has a land that can tap and make dorks, and we think he's going to win the game. And then I top deck... a fetch land, I think it was Evolving Wilds. I am about to win the game!
And there we have it. 10 great game-winning moments and the cards that won them! What did you think? Anything in here that you liked? Just let me know!
P.S. - One of the most common questions I get as a writer of articles like this one, is how my Huntington's Disease impacts my writing. Great question! I have the answer here for you.