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End of an Era

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Before I dive into precisely what the title of this article means, I want to talk a little bit about Overextended—or "Throwback," as we've been calling it. The response to the most recent Throwback article was, shall we say, underwhelming, and as such the tournament is being put on silent mode. Note that this does not mean we are abandoning the format; we are going to continue to develop it. Instead, things will be running silently in the background, and I will be updating the tournament in chunks. In the meantime, we will be returning to Commander, the most noble of formats.

It has been a while since the big-boy decks have been discussed, and I think with the new set rapidly approaching, it's only fair to remind ourselves how much fun we can have. As of late, I find myself gravitating more toward Maga than any other Commander deck. Maga gives me lots of fun things to do while still "playing fair" with other people at the table. I found that Progenitus was getting hated out a little too much, and so I've temporarily put him aside.

Before we get too far into things, let me remind us of the list for Maga:

So let's start off with the obvious: Emrakul is no more. Bannings have removed him from the party, and I can't say that I blame anyone. In his place, we find Nirkana Revenant. I don't particularly care about the pump ability so much, nor the fact that she's a Vampire, but man, is that double-mana ability strong! I love effects like that, and the fact that it makes her a threat on her own is all the better in my opinion.

Next up, we have some interesting new removal cards that have found their way into the mix: Massacre Wurm and Black Sun's Zenith. Both cards allow for massive card advantage, with the Zenith even being reusable, à la Beacon of Unrest. I've killed many a player who was running tokens just by having Massacre Wurm wipe his board. I love it when my Infest doubles as a super Drain Life. In order to make room for our new pieces of removal, a few of the sillier cards were cut. While I respect the ability of Grim Discovery to perform double duty, most of the time, the card was simply underwhelming, particularly with Crucible of Worlds lingering about. Similarly, while I love discard effects, Mind Shatter did too good a job of singling out one person and wasn't really group enough for my needs.

Last but not least, we have two more utility cards: Steel Hellkite and Contagion Engine. The Engine lets us get away with so many cheeky things, Proliferating our own planeswalkers, gaining favor with someone else by Proliferating theirs, or even just using it in conjunction with Zenith to kill off massive armies. Steel Hellkite gives us some much-needed utility. The idea that we now have a way to blow up enchantments is exciting for a mono-Black player, and I can tell you I have been putting the Hellkite to use on pesky Jace decks as well. In order to make room for our latest toys, we had to say goodbye to Eternity Vessel, which was more of a challenge to aggro players than a benefit to us anyway, and Mind Twist, for many of the same reasons as Mind Shatter. With the new additions, I feel that the deck has turned a corner and has become not only fun but also very effective at doing whatever it wants to do at any point in time.

So at this point, you must be asking yourselves, "What's with the title?" This Saturday is the last of the regional prereleases. Unfortunately, in many areas, with the advent of the store-level prerelease, many of the "larger" prereleases have really lost their luster. I'm not here to pass judgment on the merits of one system over the other, but instead, I will say that I personally will miss the larger events. Getting to see three to four hundred people all in one place for what is essentially the opening day of Magic is a very neat thing. As a judge, it's been hectic and rewarding; you get to interact with players in a more fun way than normal, and best of all, you get to see players from all over reconnecting. I will very happily recall a story of a couple who would come and play Two-Headed Giant every single prerelease: Kiwi and Chris, the "Unbeatable Team" (as they preferred to be called). Truthfully, since moving to store-level events, I have not seen that couple at a Magic event in Florida. Stories like that are ones that I will miss, along with the camaraderie of spending long hours together and just genuinely bonding.

With all that being said, I want to invite everyone to come on out to the last regional prerelease this weekend and to give them the proper sendoff they deserve. I'll be Head Judging in Orlando with Megan Holland of mtgmom.com fame spell-slinging. I don't care if it's your first big prerelease or you want to come by for old time's sake; I look forward to hearing from you and maybe—just maybe—getting a few games in. Have fun this weekend. See you all next week!

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