with Andy Van Zandt
Card 50 Life Group Games
Ah, nostalgia. Remember
that song "Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen)"?
It had a line that said "Advice is a form of nostalgia.
Dispensing it is a way of wishing the past from the
disposal, wiping it off,
painting over the ugly parts and recycling for more than
And while this is
certainly true for the most part, as was most of the
song/speech, I still
like me a big ol' bowl of nostalgia on occasion. When I
playing magic (see, this is where I was going with this)
it wasn't so much
as one on one games with bad decks... It was big 8+
person group games.
Not with normal decks... with 120 card decks (which we
used to play one on one games too). Not with 20 life...
with 50. This led
to big games with lots of stuff in play and some
political maneuvering. I
liked it then, I like it now, even if I don't get that
much opportunity to
play it anymore. Here we'll go over a few of the finer
points of this, the
second in a series of "Formats that don't matter".
Everything's good... almost. I mean, nothing can make
playable, but almost anything else with an interesting
ability has a viable
use in such wide ranging games. I used to play a single
in one of my decks so when It got down to one or two
players and I had an
advantage, I could drop that and mess up their
strategies for the next
couple turns. Instant abilities are excellent too,
especially stuff that
will affect combat. This is primarily because of the
politics of the game.
Fog for someone else when they would die otherwise, and
you've got a buddy
for life (or at least until you need to kill them or
vice versa). Clones
give you the coolest abilities in play (and
doppelgangers were even better).
Diversify and conquer. Just make sure to leave
yourself some defense and
some way to finish off the last couple players.
The part where I said there was cool political actions?
(No, not like in
Jyhad/Vampire tES). Well, that's a double-edged sword.
You have to be very
careful of what you're doing, and you don't want to
make enemies until
you're ready to handle ALL of them. Most people think a
howling mine or two
is a great way to make everyone your friend at the
table... until someone
can't use enough spells in a turn to stop from
discarding, so he gets a
little annoyed and starts using them on YOU. By the
same token, when you
have the choice of either terror'ing the biggest
creature on the table or
discarding, you should strongly consider discarding.
When you terror that
fatty, no matter how much you may try to justify it as
the only logical
action, you'll have painted a big target on your head.
If you've really
got a death wish, you can do some mass annoyance
spells, like earthquake.
Tick off everyone at the table all at once, do it right.
Also, you have to remember you have to at least appear
to be a force to be
reckoned with, without looking like TOO much of a
control decks don't work very often, because you look
like the one weak link
ripe to be attacked, and when someone does, and you're
forced to Rout away
everything, suddenly everyone wants you dead. If you're
the only guy at the
table with fliers... and it's Two shivans, a morphling,
and a vesuvan copied
shivan, sudenly you're looking too strong, and you may
see your whole army
wiped out when a couple players decide you are looking
like your stockpile
of weapons is a bit more than is necessary for self
Wyluli wolf that attacking creature, use a desert on
that one! Weee! Mana
Flares and Howling Mines! Jayemdae tomes that you
actually get to use!
Saprolings as a viable strategy! Like I said at the
anything goes. Remember to hold back a counterspell or
something to phase
out all your critters, or a caller of the claw to
recover, in case anybody
gets a little too frisky and tries to end everyone's (or
just your) fun all
at once with a decree or somesuch. The Hive or Master
Of the Hunt are good
ways to build up a "defense" without looking like too
much of a threat...
with the added bonus of getting to play cards that have
never ever been
tourney viable! yay! If you don't see the fun in that,
with you. Fountain of youth, and other
also add up, and let you recover from any small early
So yeah. You should get some friends together, build a
large decks, and play some 120 card 50 life magic. 50
life protects you
while you develop your deck, just make sure you do it
right. Even big
stacks of random cards with appropriate land is fun in
this format. Who
doesn't like amassing huge armies of guys and then
sitting back with them
while the other players destroy each other? The only
other thing that even
rivals magic at it is Legend of the Five Rings in group
games. And don't
forget, you can still be decked... Thran Foundry/Feldon's
Cane can be a
You can reach
Andy at: firstname.lastname@example.org