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Now I know my MoJhoSto's

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Originally titled "I've Got a Fever, And the Only Prescription is more MoJhoSto"

The following events may or may not have happened in the way I describe them.

INT - MANANATION OFFICE - MORNING

It's a busy day in the ManaNation Office. The clacking of keyboards, flickering of MAGIC cards and writers conducting interviews fill the air. At the head of the room is the editor's door. It's a typical WOOD DOOR with a glass window with three words printed on it:

T. Trick Thompson

The door flies open as TRICK sticks his head out.

TRICK

(Yelling)

PIE! Get in here!

The CIGAR almost falls out of his mouth as he yells these words. The door slams shut. A SINGLE MAN stops writing on the keyboard, rises from his desk and makes his way to the Editor's office.

INT - TRICK'S OFFICE - MORNING

The man walks in and shuts the door behind him. TRICK is staring out the window with his arms behind his back.

TRICK

You enjoying the gig, Pie?

ROBBY

Yes, very. Actually, my name is Robby.

TRICK turns around and death stares at his writer through the cigar smoke.

ROBBY

(Cont'd)

MTG Color Pie is just my online handle...

TRICK

Don't care. You're doing that casual format, right? The one all the kids are clamoring about.

ROBBY

Commander?

TRICK

No, that other one.

ROBBY

EDH?

TRICK points his cigar at ROBBY and sits in his chair.

TRICK

Yeah, that's it.

ROBBY

Well, Wizards changed the name of the format to Commander and...

TRICK cuts him off and waves his hand in dismissal.

TRICK

Don't care, that's your department. Anyway, I want you to do something for me. Stop that EDH stuff for me.

ROBBY

Wait, you're firing me? This is because Ben's back?

TRICK

What? No!

ROBBY

And I think we can do well together. I mean, sure it's a little awkward being in the same shared cubicle since we're not trying to steal each other's ideas...

TRICK

Shut up.

ROBBY

Yes, sir.

TRICK

I'm not firing you. I want you to give up that EDH stuff for a week. Write about something else. You think you can handle that?

ROBBY

Sure. What's the assignment?

TRICK

There's been all this chatter about a new online format. FloJo, or something like that.

ROBBY

MoJohSto?

TRICK

Well, look at the big brain on Pie. Looks like someone ate their Wheaties this morning.

ROBBY

Robby.

TRICK

Doesn't matter. I want you to tell the world about it.

ROBBY

Yes, sir.

ROBBY stats there in silence as TRICK looks at him.

TRICK

Well? Go write!

As ROBBY is heading out the door, TRICK yells at him.

TRICK

(Cont'd)

And send Parker in here! I need more Spidey pics!

And that's why I'm not talking about Commander this week.

So, what is this MoJohSto thing? It's an online Vanguard format that's really, really fun. Yes, sorry ladies and gentlemen, I'm talking about Magic Online today. If you ever wanted to try online out and not spend a whole lot of money, this is going to be your best chance.

But why this format? As you'll see, it's incredibly fun. All of it's random, so you have to constantly adapt to what you and your opponent(s) have. Unlike Cube, or Commander, you just don't know what's coming around the corner. One minute, you could have 3 6/6 Wurms from Crush of Wurms ready to smash face when your opponent's at 7 life, no creatures and no cards in his hand. The next, your board wiped out due to a Harmonize that lead to a Plague Wind and a Knight of the Reliquary. At a fee of only around $12 bucks (the cost of the Vanguard Avtars), you can continually play a fun format. Why? You deck never changes and there's no entry fee.

You know how last week I said I didn't like decklists? Well, here is the only decklist you will ever see in this column. A sample MoJhoSto decklist:

[cardlist]

[Vanguards]

1 Momir Vig, Simic Visionary

1 Jhoira of the Ghitu

1 Stonehewer Giant

[/Vanguards]

[Lands]

60 Basic Lands

[/Lands]

[/cardlist]

No, I'm not joking. You use your lands to turn into creatures and spells, that's all you'll need in your deck. Keep reading.

MoJhoSto stands for the three Vanguard Avatars used in the format. If you've never played a format using the Avatars, it works like this: They sit in your Command Zone at the beginning of the game, much like a Commander does in Commander (Malkovich Malkovich). Sometimes they affect your starting hand size and life, sometimes they don't. They sit there the whole game and anytime you could activate or trigger one of them, you can do it. It's like a Planeswalker or enchantment that your opponent's can't hit.

Then you win the game.

For you older players out there, yes, Vanguard Online is just like the old Vanguard cards. It's way easier to do it online and there's things online that you can do that you can't offline. For example, let's look at them one at a time.

Momir Vig, Simic Visionary

x, Discard a card: Put a token onto the battlefield that's a copy of a creature card with converted mana cost X chosen at random. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery and only once each turn.

Hand: +0

Life: +4

So, you discard a card, pay mana and get a random creature that costs the same mana as you spent. This means if you pay 4 mana, you can get any one of these creatures:

  • Swans of Bryn Argoll
  • Battering Craghorn
  • Boldwyr Heavyweights
  • Phelddagrif

Or any other 4 casting cost creature. Some notes about this:

  • You're putting a copy of it onto the battle field, not casting it. So, anything that says "When you cast ~this~" doesn't work.
  • It doesn't matter what colors you use when you pay for these, it's all random.
  • Enter the battlefield and leaves the battlefield abilities still trigger. They still go to a graveyard when they die, but since they're tokens, they're not in your graveyard.
  • The token creatures still have their mana cost. This is important for later.

I'll go into some creatures to keep inmind a little later, but let's get to the Jho of the format.

Jhoira of the Ghitu

3, Discard a card: Copy 3 instants chosen at random. You may cast 1 of the copies without paying its mana cost.

3, Discard a card: Copy 3 sorcery chosen at random. You may cast 1 of the copies without paying its mana cost. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery.

Hand: +1

Life: +0

Momir will give you creatures, Jhoria shall grant you sorceries and instants. You get three random ones to choose from. Yes, from any 3 sorceries or instants that have been printed online, regardless of the casting cost. More notes:

  • X spells are equal to 0. A Banefire is 0. Mind Spring is 0. Genesis Wave is 0. I can keep going if you wish.
  • It doesn't matter what colors you use when you pay for these, it's all random.
  • You still have to pay any extra costs. Goblin Grenade still needs a Goblin, Devastating Summons requires you to sac lands, etc.
  • The Hybrid spells from Shadowmoor don't work, since you're casting it without paying the mana cost.
  • The "Wishes" don't work since you the game won't allow you to get cards from outside the game.
  • Rebound and Buyback doesn't work.
  • Unlike Momir, you can keep doing this multiple times a turn.
  • The instants can be played as instants in response to another player "casting" their Jhoria spell. You can get Counterspells, though it is a huge gamble.

You can completely whiff on the three cards you get:

Whiff Stack

I have also seen someone get two copies of the same card with the Jhoria ability. This leads me to believe that each one of the triggers does behave randomly.

And now, to the third piece of this Three-Headed Monster:

Stonehewer Giant

Whenever a creature enters the battlefield under your control, pit a token onto the battlefield that's a copy of a random Equipment card with converted mana cost less than or equal to that creature's converted mana cost. Attach that Equipment to that creature.

Hand: +1

Life: -5

There's a bug on this wording as confirmed my Lee Sharpe on Twitter. You actually only get a random Equipment less than the converted mana cost of the creature, not equal to as well. This is important because if you have an effect that creates tokens (not Momir, but like Beacon of Creation), they don't get tokens. What this basically means that if you create a creature with a converted mana cost of 1, you only get a random Equipment that costs 0. If you create a creature with a converted mana cost of 10, you can get anyone that's less than 10, including 0. If said equipment can't equip a creature (such as protection from artifacts or doesn't mean the requirements of the equipment), it enters the battlefield unattached. And, just like regular Equipment, it says on the battlefield after it's killed so you can re-equip it to another creature if you wish.

Now that the three Vanguard avatars have been explained, it's time to play. If you're creating a game, use the following settings (change it if you're in Mulitplayer obviously):

MoJhoSto Startup

You need to identify MoJhoSto to the other players. That's just a little helpful. Then shuffle up and play. You'll notice some strange thing first. You start out with 9 Basic Lands. DON'T MULLIGAN! You may think would be a natural thing to do, but break this habit. It looks really weird. But please, don't do it.

Then, you play. Get creatures on the battlefield, cast spells and play!

What, you want tips? Fine, you can get them.

When building your deck avoid Islands. I know that sounds silly, but there's hardly any activated creature abilities that require Blue mana, and creature with Islandwalk will kill you. In fact, the better creature activated abilities tend to be in Black and Red. Fill your deck with more of those basic lands than the others; don't ignore Islands however, just don't pack your deck with them. But it's all up to personal preference.

There are three keys to this format: Mana available, cards in your hand and cards in your opponent's hand. The more lands you have and the more cards you hold, the more options you have. Drawing cards is always good, and spells that put lands in your hand are just as good as drawing in this format. See Shard Convergence (That's why you don't want to get rid of all your Islands). Mana acceleration is also amazing; Far Wanderings is a bomb.

The way I see it, I can always do damage to my opponent by attacking. If given the option of a Lava Axe effect or making them discard, if I can't kill them this turn, I make them discard. This is the converse to the above paragraph.

Sorceries tend to be more powerful than instants. Mark Rosewater already talked about it here (only one of several times), but if you've got the choice of casting a random sorcery or instant, choose sorcery. More bounce is going to be in instants, more creature destruction effects are going to be in sorceries while both are good for drawing.

If you whiff on your Jhoria (which does happen), see if one is a cantrip (it says "Draw a card" at the end of the spell). Choose that one.

Please please please auto-yield to the Avatars. You can still counter if you wish, though it will make the game go so much faster and way less clicking. Sometimes multplayer games can last longer than Commander multiplayer games if that can be believed. But, you'll save your sanity of you just auto-yield (Right click the avatar when it comes up and select "Always Auto-yield").

Here's a handy list (as of SOM):

Equipment where CMC costs 0:

  • Accorder's Shield
  • Bone Saw
  • Paradise Mantle
  • Sigil of Distinction
  • Spidersilk Net

These are the cards that get equipped to 1 casting cost creatures (and sometimes more). The best one is Paradise Mantle on your first turn, because on your second you can cast a sorcery. Why is that good? I've once cast a second turn Violent Ultimatum taking out each of my three opponent's only land and a second turn Crush of Wurms. Because you've got a little better than a die roll to get a Mantle, go for it on turn 1.

Another handy list (as of SOM):

Creatures by CMC and relevance (every creature of that cost)

Zero

  • Crimson Kobolds
  • Crookshank Kobolds
  • Dryad Arbor - Is a Forest
  • Kobolds of Kher Keep
  • Memnite
  • Ornithopter - Flying
  • Phyrexian Marauder Will die on entry
  • Phyrexian Walker
  • Shield Sphere
  • Shifting Wall - Will die on entry

Ten

  • Broodstar - Flying
  • Deep-Sea Kraken - Unblockable
  • Dragon Tyrant - Flying, Trample (Upkeep of RRRR)
  • Greater Gargadon
  • Kozilek, Butcher of Truth Annihilator 4 (You DON'T get to draw)
  • Krosan Cloudscraper (Upkeep GG)
  • Myojin of Infinite Rage (No Divinity Counter)
  • Myojin of Seeing Winds (No Divinity Counter)
  • Progenitus - Protection from Everything
  • Reaper King
  • Spawnsire of Ulamog Annihilator 1, Token creation

Eleven

  • Darksteel Colossus - Trample, Indestructible
  • Hypnox - Flying
  • Mycosynth Golem
  • Pathrazer of Ulamog Annihilator 3, Can't be blocked except by 3 or more creatures
  • Polar Kraken - Trample, Cumulative Upkeep: Sac a land, ETB tapped
  • Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre Annihilator, Indestructible (You don't destroy anything)

Twelve

  • Iname as One
  • It That Betrays - Annihilator 2, Get sacrificed lands to your side

Thirteen

NONE

Fourteen

NONE

Fifteen

  • Autochthon Wurm - Trample
  • Emrakul, the Aeons Torn Flying, Pro from colored spells, Annihilator 6

Sixteen

  • Draco - Flying, Upkeep of 10, minus 2 for each basic land you control

Don't cast a creature spell of 13 of 14; you won't get anything. I'd recommend not to go to 16, since both the Wurm and Emrakul are much better. The 0 casting cost creature will no enter play with Equipment, but you can Momir for 0 if you wish. Again, you can only Momir once a turn.

I tend to favor sorceries over creatures. I will play multiple sorceries over a creature sometimes. There's a wider range of things that you can do with a sorcery over a creature. You can draw cards, destroy things, or create creatures. But, the options give you flexibility. Because of this, I will not pay 3 for Momir. I avoided them in Momir Basic and here too. In my opinion, I don't find that there are good enough 3 drops in this format; my example of Knight of the Reliquary before is a 1 out of 1400+ possibility. Even though Han Solo never wanted the odds, that may just be too much.

If you haven't played Magic for all that long, I suggest trying out this format. Kind of like Commander, you'll see spells you have never seen before, but get the chance to play them out. For old timers, you'll bring in the nostalgia as cards in old borders come popping out at you. Hey, you might even get good ides for your Commander deck that you never thought of before. You'll laugh at the odd things you'll see as you and your opponent(s) goat each other on about which spell to cast.

My opponent had this:

And he cast the Warp World. I Momired a Avenger of Zendikar next turn.

Stonehewer granted him a Kitesail.

Let's play online: MTGColorPie

Update 12:29am: - Removed erroneous line about kicking spells off of Jhoira.

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