Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Trumping the Eternities

The Monday Night Magic program recently brought to my attention a new Planechase variant using something called "The Eternities Map." You can read about it at the Wizards site here. I think it's awesome, giving you at least a little control over what game-warping effect will be in play.

To make it even more awesome, the Youtube example-run uses Roger Zelazny's planeswalking terminology from the Book of Amber, including both "trumping" and "hellriding".

In Zelazny's universe, the "Princes of Amber" are always trying to kill one another as cosmic royalty is known to do from time to time. Rein-visioning us Planewalkers as those mighty scions of Oberon gives a multiplayer game all the more levels of backstory. Dibs on Merlin! Now to make a "Ghostwheel" deck.

Here's his video…

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Last Guardian

When you need mac n' cheese…or cat litter…or shampoo, you probably have a local store you invariably go to. You're familiar with the isle layout. You know where everything is. You know the entrances and exits.

I have a place like that.

It's called Target.

You probably have a Target. Perhaps we have shopped together at Target, unknowingly, perhaps at different Targets in different cities but with unified mind all the same.

Yesterday I saw a product I've been curious about for a while… the Deckbuilder's Toolkit.

Let it be known I do not buy my products lightly. I weighed the options back and forth for a while, as my cart sat patiently filled with cat litter, mac n' cheese and a delicious toolkit-shaped void.

Eventually the id won. The kit went into the cart. I pushed my treasures back towards the check out. I was almost there.

And then I had to face him.

The Last Guardian.

He was wearing a red shirt, as is customary of his ilk. He lurked behind the register, his eyes gleaming.

He wanted my money…and so much more.

I could have perhaps picked a different lane, as it is in Target there were others also willing to take my selections. But this one I chose

"Oh, Magic the Gathering!" he said, as if welcoming an old friend.

"I used to play this! Great game. My friends and I all had these cards when we were kids."

I didn't really know where the conversation would go…and this kept me on edge. Sometimes they go one way, sometimes they go another. I tried to smile.

Me: "Yep, I know all about that."

Him: "You know, I gave my whole collection away. Man, I'm really kicking myself now for it. I heard some of those cards are worth thousands of dollars."

Me: "Isn't that something."

Him: "I had a huge collection. Holograms, foils, you name it."

If this is some type of cold reading, he wasn't doing very well. I try not to give him any more information, and just try to get my bags of merchandise back into the cart.

He sees my hurry, but continues talking.

Him: "Oh, some of the new decks are really cool, too. I really like 'Hell's Minions'."

Him: "Yep, see you later, have fun!"

And then I was free, and into the packing lot. I was alive, my body and soul completely free of either cursing or petrification.

The contents of the Tool Kit are fairly well known at this point.

To tell you the truth, one of my main interests in getting this kit were the Lightning Bolts. In all the reviews I've read, the Kit has contained 3 of the ol' 3-damage-for-1-mana instants. And, as it turns out, mine was no different.

I've been playing since revised, and I did have a few Lightning Bolts to start with. But then my wife wanted to make a couple decks, and my precious Lightning Bolts somehow exited from regular circulation. She's never used a red deck against me either. Just one of those funny things.

So I got the Lightning Bolts. And a huge pile of other cards. One was Explosive Revelation, which is headed straight for my Niv-Mizzet EDH deck. The fact that you get to KEEP the card you draw makes all the difference, I think this will be amazing.

 Also contained inside were 4 booster packs. Priced at $4 normally, they made the Toolkit's retail of $20 seem like a pretty good deal. The Boosters I got were 2 Zendikar, 1 Worldwake and 1 Rise of the Eldrazi.

Booster Packs are random…totally and completely random. You are getting 15 cards picked out of about 249 by a machine. And 8 of these cards are probably going to be trash. But the dice came up a natural 20 this time around because one of the Zendikar packs contained none other than a foil Scalding Tarn, which will also be joining Niv-Mizzet. A card I never would have paid the money for as a single, and there it was looking up at me.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Lose the Hand

It is a very rare moment indeed when a tournament report catches my interest.

But when someone comes up with a deck that wrecks people's carefully laid plans, intensive research, backbreaking testing and luxuriously acquired cards…now that's something I can break the popcorn out for.

Such is the deck presented by Hannu Vallin at the Finnish Nationals tournament.

If you read the DailyMTG "mothership", you've probably already seen it, since it's right there.

Here's some history. For about 12 years now, discard-happy casual control players have been trying to build decks around a particular card. That card is here:

Since Stronghold, Megrim has been reprinted many times. Competitive players have never liked it. Why?

First, the enchantment itself does nothing. Second, it costs 3 mana. Then you have to start casting spells AFTER that to get any payoff. 

Here's the reality: by the fourth turn…when you start using your discard…your opponent has already gotten rid of a sizable portion of his or her hand. Maybe there's only 2 cards left. You discard 2 of them…then they have no cards in hand, and you have a hand full of discard and an enchantment that is completely worthless.

Now then, what has changed in the modern day to make a deck like this remotely viable? 

Well, we know Blightning is a pretty good card…but Jund players have been using that piece of tempo/card advantage pretty consistently already. Heck, I LOVE using Blightning. If I have a red/black deck, I'm running Blightning. It combines the words Blight and Lightning. I would use it just for that.

I see two relatively recent developments. In M10, a little common called Burning Inquiry was released. I've been trying to make Burning Inquiry work with Words of War, but the Finnish pros saw standard applications in the form of Megrim. Burning Inquiry actually puts cards back into the hand of your opponent so they can discard them again to Megrim! 

And secondly, they printed a new Megrim. No, not a reprint, a BETTER version of Megrim.

Liliana's Caress works to fix the other complaint…the "power" behind your discard engine comes out even faster and starts affecting the board earlier. The Finnish folks liked the effect so much they put both the old Megrim and new Caress in the same deck.

What you end up with is a deck that basically is focused on two things…discarding your cards and hitting your foe in the face with damage. Jani Lindroos, the guy who actually won the tournament, wished he could be running something this cool.

To all the people out there with some Megrim deck rotting away deep in their Magic Backpacks (delicioso!), I say to you: bring your decks into the light…the time is now…the tools you've been waiting for are here.

Thanks to Brian David-Marshall for brighting (or is that blightening?) my day with this dark delight.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Poetry in Motion

Okay, back to stuff from 18 years ago.

Whippoorwill is a card I've tried to build decks around since the very beginning. I have a few of them. Since The Dark was selling for $10 a pack in my golden years, this probably means I traded some good cards long ago in exchange for sliding a couple of these flightless birds out of the binder of someone far better informed.

Today's Whippoorwill does a number of interesting things. Unlike many cards from that period, the oracle wording is approximately the same. Just a few template changes.

Target creature can't be regenerated this turn. Damage that would be dealt to that creature this turn can't be prevented or dealt instead to another creature or player. When the creature is put into a graveyard this turn, exile the creature.

Let's take a closer look.

1. Whippoorwill does target. So creatures with shroud are unfortunately protected, no matter how much we hates them.

2. The targeted creature can't be regenerated. Bye, bye Will o' the Wisp! The Wisp was actually one of my initial reasons to start working with the card…always getting stalled out against some jerk's Wisps. Unfortunately, this technique never seemed to work. There are fewer Wisps now, but they do occasionally pop up in the royalty of formats…Elder Dragon Highlander.

3. Damage dealt to the creature can't be prevented. Bam! This wording doesn't seem like much, since when people hear "damage prevention" they tend to think of spells like Healing Salve. But, as I explained in a previous post, preventing "damage prevention" is essential to fighting the Beast with 4 Heads…protection! With Whippoorwill in play, no longer will protected creatures block with impunity.

4. Damage can't be redirected to another player or creature. In the olden days, this effect was seen primarily in Simulacrum. But in recent years we've seen the introduction of much more efficient spell in Harm's Way. Whippoorwill stops this spell cold. So if an annoying white player is giving you the "stop hitting yourself" routine, here's a way to flip him the "bird". Yeah, I said it.

5. When the creature is put into the graveyard, exile it instead. Once upon a time, you worried primarily about Resurrection and Animate Dead. Over the past decade or so, the graveyard has become a much, much more temporary place. And there are even cards that work while they're in the graveyard. A creature targeted by Whippoorwill will never trouble you again, no matter how many recursion effects your opponent's hand is packed with.

So there you go. As the design space of magic cards in general have increased, the abilities of Whippoorwill have grown slightly more relevant. 5 different ways to foil your opponent's carefully laid plans, packed into a 1/1 for 1. Of course the ability is double green, which is annoying.

One ability Whippoorwill has NEVER had…and believe me I've tried…is the ability of flight. Despite the clearly depicted wings, Whippoorwill merely hovers slightly above the ground. You'll never equip it with a Loxodon Warhammer and send it sailing over the heads of an army of blockers. It just sits there and disintegrates dead bodies somehow…like feathery quick-lime.

Believe it or not, there is a poem about the "wings" issue. I read it today and it tickled me enough to write all about this poor, unloved bird. Thanks very much to KingRamz for putting Whippoorwill's plight into the limelight all anew.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Vast Explorations of Mark Zug

Ever since I found out he did the art for the card of the same name as this web log, I have been a fan of Mark Zug. It didn't take much, just a casual perusal that quickly led into finding everything I could by him.

Today, TheStarkingtonPost had a link to a small writeup Zug did on "breaking in" to the world of fantasy and speculative fiction art.

If you have never seen his work en-masse, forget peering at card art on the Gatherer and check out his full web page here.

When I was a youth, one of best presents I remember getting was a box of old Asimov's my aunt and uncle had gotten ahold of. Each one of them were packed to the gills with strange and interesting stories…all the kinds of stories I loved to read…surrounded by descriptions of every form of culture and environment the human mind was capable of dreaming up.

And on the cover was always the real deal…a fully realized world in 2-dimensional form. I don't think he has ever done anything for Asimov's, but his art certainly fits the bill.

One of the things I don't really like about the Magic "multiverse" is the limited scope. Every "dimension" only seems to be about the size of a planet. A single planet, usually with a relatively monotous geography. Although Zendikar was somewhat different in this regard, as it had both tundra, jungle and desert all in one go. But I hunger for worlds where there are planets orbiting each other…where the action is not limited to one thin crust of dirt.

Dungeons and Dragons did it with Spelljammer…and so I have full faith a plane could be constructed where wizards made the same voyages and the spacemen of my favorite sf stories. Zug is already in the mind set, spread out among his works you will find celestial body after celestial body, ready for exploration.

Once again, check out the man's web site. It is amazing.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Just Plain, Simple Garruk

Prerelease was an edge-of-the seat affair…with me falling off the edge (in game terms) more than once. The few times I remained firmly planted, it was while enjoying the endless riches produced by everyone's favorite planeswalker, Garruk Wildspeaker.

I like sealed events a lot because not only do you get new cards out of the deal, but you get to PLAY with new cards. In this case, I was pretty fresh to the whole planeswalker experience.

Hard to believe? Sure, I've faced off against the dreaded new card type plenty of times. I could never excape them all together. But with both a universal "mythic" rarity and a distrurbingly rabid fanbase, I have never had the chance to either open one accidently or even purchase one from my local card shop proprietor.


The world changed when I opened Garruk. What once was a normal pack of random M11 cards resolved itself into a definite set of outcomes. An explosion of light and sound. I might have fallen out of my chair (in chair terms).

Part II:

"But with great power comes great responsibility." Mel, the Cook on Alice

I may have pulled Garruk from his humble foil-wrapped sarcophagus, but could I USE him?

This would actually be my undoing. Because, seriously, planeswalkers are a lot harder than they look. Not only did I have to defend him from every conceivable attack, but I had to make sure to use his as efficiently as possible.

Here he is:

Here is the rough explanation for planeswalker cards.

Rules Lizard: Once he's on the field, you can "use" the planeswalker once during each of your turns. Abilities happen at sorcery speed, and add or subtract "loyalty" counters. If a spell targets an opponent, you can choose to redirect any damage from that spell to the planeswalker card. If you attack an opponent you can choose to attack the planewalker instead. In both of these cases, the "loyalty" acts like life and the card goes away if loyalty goes down to zero.

Short Story: There's not a lot of removal out there that can affect planeswalkers directly. You can't Terror or Disenchant a planeswalker. But you can certainly hurt them with damage.

Part III: A growing FEAR

As soon as I was "down with Garruk", I'm pretty sure I saw a lightning bolt hiding behind every folding chair.

 I would tap my 4…my eyes would swept the room…and suddenly my forehead would be slick with sweat.

At one point, I untapped my land "to take Garruk out of Lightning Bolt range," as I explained to my opponent, before noticing he wasn't even playing red. Hopefully this wasn't too big of a "tell." At least I wasn't bleeding from my eyes.

And then there's the problem of blockers.

In a lot of games, blocking really isn't a winning proposition. But all that changes with Garruk. While I sweatily searched for phantom damage coming to me in spell form, I unfortunately would leave my attack phase with all creatures tapped. Note to self: planeswalkers are not creatures, but they do interact with them.

In hindsight, this is how I should probably have played with Garruk.

1. Use his "untap" abilities to get all my good stuff onto the field faster.

2. Once I have all my good stuff, use the "make a beast" ability to make even more good stuff

3. Win

Having gone through about 6 solid hours of paranoid fever dreams regarding all the ways to kill planeswalkers, I'll just wrap up my post with 6 ways to get rid of a troublesome planeswalker, 1 in each color followed by an artifact. Are these good ways? I don't know how I came up with them.


Anybody who plays with white already knows all about Wrath of God style effects. Planar Cleansing takes more mana, but also conveniently gets rid of things like planeswalkers and much, much hated Searing Meditation.


Blue has plenty of creatures with flying. Send in the flyers and slap him silly! The prime threat to a planeswalker is in fact creature damage…never forget!


Nothing wrong with creature damage. Few folks have anything to block Dauthi Horror, allowing you to nip problems in the bud!


I hear they use Earthquake in standard for this exact purpose! Not only do you get rid of some (probably) annoying creatures, but you can also redirect the player damage into the vulnerable underbelly of your hated planeswalker.


And if Earthquake does something, chances are Hurricane is going to do it too! In this case, you are also blowing up annoying flyers, instead of pesky utility creatures.


With Ferropede you don't even have to redirect the damage. You ding your opponent for 1, and you also ding his planeswalker for 1…simultaneously!

Hopefully this all helps. As I type this, I'm also finally getting around to listening to Mr. Suitcase's coverage of the St. Louis Star City Games Open. Very entertaining! Apparently in legacy tournaments people have the same problem with foreign cards I do (note: once again, all questionable comments I make about foreign cards are inapplicable to my Russian Blood Crypt!). Judge!

Good luck with all your planeswalker killin'…just don't come after my Garruk!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Traumatized at the Prerelease

Perhaps the most lasting memory of my Prerelease is the man who took great delight in drinking the very thoughts from my head. Not content to win, he stared into the murky depths of my soul to try to pry the cards out of my mind before I played them.

"Well, I KNOW you have a Inspired Charge. Otherwise you wouldn't attack the way you are."

Then a quick scan through my graveyard.

"You've already got one in the graveyard. Which means the other one is…IN YOUR HAND."

My every thought is laid bare.

"Get out of my head!" I cry, rubbing my temples.

But he just smiles his crooked smile.

Of course I have an Inspired Charge. And he can't really do much about it. The thing about combat tricks is this: usually you have to act like they aren't there anyway. If you "play around" a combat trick (for instance, NOT blocking and letting the damage through) you're just accomplishing what your opponent intended, without even casting the card.

The same logic follows with counterspells. You just have to play stuff until they run out of counters, hopefully saving your best spell for when permission needs no longer to be asked for. After the Mana Leak, for instance.

He eventually beat me anyway, just about everyone had their turn wiping the table with me. I'd like to blame my sealed pool.

But winning was not enough for this man.

Here's the truth. Magic is not just one game, its actually many overlapping games. Tournament players have tried for years to distill the play element down to some simple factors, but the human mind is a complex instrument we only have the barest control over.

In this case, my card playing intersected with his mind-reading objectives. I'm pretty sure I made his day.

On the forums, in particular MTGSalvation, players deep in heated argument enjoy citing a rather infamous blarcticle written by one "Sirlin" called Introducing…The Scrub.

The  Scrub, you see, is a player who has an overly-rigid code of conduct. A person with arbitrary rules above the normal rules of competition, and who expects other players to follow them.

Sirlin is a man who likes his Street Fighter. In fact, he's designed several versions of the game. In his mind, the Scrub is someone who thinks particular moves are "cheap" or detests it when players spam quick attacks for a random victory.

At the prerelease we are all scrubs. Every. Single. One of Us.

You may not be warm to the idea, but if you deny it…you risk losing out on any fun you potentially could be having. Pick the colors you enjoy. Pick the cards you enjoy. And by all means, play mind games to your heart's content.

I was also milled that dark day. He had a Traumatize, and that's all a person really needs with a 40 card deck. The experts say its not a good idea…that you're better off running removal or more creatures or whatever. A Traumatize plus a nice thick wall of blockers gets the job done, believe me.

Lots of people seem to lose sight of the primal joy of Magic in their quest for some sort of competitive greatness. When you get to the end of the day, you are playing cards like the rest of us. See the game for the artificial layers of social abstraction that it is, and you'll find you can put up with a lot.

Except for body odor. That is not a joke, nor should it be part of any social interaction no matter how abstract. First rule of prerelease…Take A Shower Before You Go.

That is all.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

In with the new equipment, out with the old equipment

Wizards is always designing new awesome equipment. Awesome equipment takes the form of some do-hickey, usually with a bunch of keywords attached.

For the longest time, the awesome equipment of choice was Loxodon Warhammer. There was also apparently a Jitte that terrorized people for quite some time as well. A Jitte…like what a ninja turtle would use.

Today's standard is ruled by a monster named Basilisk Collar. Pretty sweet, mostly because of the incredibly affordable casting cost and equipping cost. I've long coveted this bit of neckwear, but because of its use on the "tournament scene," my shekels have unfortunately had to remain in the shekel-jar.

Flashforward to TODAY. Or more precisely 3 days from now. The 2011 has replaced the collar with a new bit of hotness. That hotness is Sword of Vengeance.

Should be good, and much more in the Loxodon Warhammer vein. More abilities, bigger activation costs. I'll probably grab this one as well…as soon as its out of standard. Until then, I'll be busy gaining life and destroying creatures AT THE SAME TIME.

FOR PENNIES. Standard giveth, and then it taketh!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Beast with Four Heads

Progenitus may look like he has 9 heads…but in reality there are 4. I am of course talking about the keyword Protection.

Protection is always written as: Protection from "quality". The quality can be anything. The heads remain the same. Per the Comprehensive Rules, the 4 heads are:

1. Prevent all damage from "quality" sources
2. Cannot be equipped/enchanted from "quality" equipment/auras
3. Cannot be blocked by "quality" creatures
4. Cannot be targeted by "quality" spells or abilities from "quality" sources

This brings me to another card coming in M11: Leyline of Punishment

Progenitus has 4 heads, along with all of his other "protection"-clad ilk, and Leyline of Punishment gets rid of one of them. And once the weak chink has been exposed in the armor, other weaknesses follow.

When damage can't be prevented, creatures with protection can no longer block other creatures without taking damage from their attacks. Sweepers like Volcanic Fallout start having an effect. And it might only take one more strike to seal the deal. 10 damage? I always play with Greater Gargadon in my hand. Mmmmmmmm. Gargadon.

For a color like red, where you aren't gaining life or preventing damage to yourself anyway, Leyline of Punishment is a win-win. There is no downside. And you will find yourself slowly gaining incremental advantage throughout the game (potentially could come into play on turn ZERO) from this one little enchantment.

Others are already waxing much more eloquent than me about the other more amazing Leylines coming to M11. I'll just sit here and make some observations about the red one. The punishing one. The one that will be mine.

One of the other spoiled cards, one I just saw today, also does some non-targeting opponent disruption probably won't make it into a post later, so here:

I know exactly the deck this will go in. And its a rare 8 mana creature…already poised for the bargain bin! INDEED!

Perfect Strangers

The spoiling of Reverberate has got me thinking about the red/blue Dichotomy again. Or supposed Dichotomy because…face it…these guys have a lot in common.

Yeah, I know, blue counters spells and red deals damage. But WHAT ELSE?

There is something blue and red both do equally well…and that is to screw up your oppoent's plans. I am talking about misdirection (aka Misdirection), and more precisely Reverberate.

Reverberate is of course the fixed version of Fork we've been waiting for all these years. It works, in fact, just like the red version of Twincast. Which was the original "fixed" Fork in blue. One is double red, the other is double blue.

So does that mean another Fork variant could be designed with 1 red and 1 blue?

Evidently not, becuase 1 red and 1 blue right now gets us Swerve. Redirection is not the same as copying or doubling, but it is another ability found equally across both red and blue.

Of course, the most effective misdirections come when, like with Swerve, the two colors are combined.

You would be very surprised how good the Flectomancer really is. Not quite Willbender, but close.

If you like messing with people while their spells are on the stack, there's probably something for you in blue…and probably the exact same spell or "mirror image" card in red. Have fun!

Next post: how to defeat the "Beast with Four Heads".

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Lot of Damage

Just saw this on twitter.

Sounds like a job for Snag!

Black and White, Neon Knights

I was going to talk about Convoke, but the article ended up being a little longer than anticipated, so its going out to the workshed for a while.

In its place, I look at some creatures, and then I look at some spells which COMPLEMENT those creatures. If you don't think they work together, go ahead and send me a note. I'm not a genius or anything.

Back in Revised, creatures were really hit or miss. You had awesome things like Hypnotic Specter, and then you had things like Scathe Zombies.

You can imagine which card I was opening in starter decks (the common one!)

I got this one

I got this one

And even this slick black bordered number:

Oooh…new border.

Anyway, creatures in Revised were pretty hit or miss and opening a pack of today's cards is going to show you creatures that might have "creeped" in power over the old standby. Some have remained with same, since they were overpowered to begin with, like the Specter. Others have stayed (like the Zombies) as some sort of cruel joke on the part of Wizards of the Coast.

Today, I look at 2 creatures from Revised who still come out swinging despite their advanced age.

White Knight and Black Knight.

Like two peas in a pod they are. Black Knight was always slightly better than White Knight in part because of the removal on the white side of the color pie. Things like Swords to Plowshares, Path to Exile and Condemn.

But both Knights are solid 2/2's with first strike, a still-powerful combination in this day and age. And they aren't the only ones. The history of Magic is littered by rugged 2/2 bodies with additional abilities slapped on like they were going out of style. Just look at Knight of Meadowgrain, Hand of Honor and Knight of the White Orchid (it's like a mini Land Tax!).

You'd be surprised, but the double white and double black have never been much of a problem. In the olden days, no one would be attacking until at least the forth turn anyway, and today we have a world of enemy colored dual lands to choose from, many of them quite inexpensive.

What spells go with a large pile of Knights? Traditionally Swords and Wrath of God.

Today, I'm going to forget about obvious choices. We don't want to give our opponent life. We don't want to give him land. We want to give him nothing, other than the cold light of utter defeat.

Our guys are 2/2, and most of them have first strike. This means a lot, because if we can magically reduce their toughness to 2 or less, we have combat in the bag.

First spell: Zealous Persecution

This, ideally, becomes a one-sided Wrath of God. If they are 4/4 or smaller, your Knights are taking them down.

Here's another one:

This is probably the handiest creature removal even invented. Seriously. This is removal that doesn't target, removal that's completely one-sided and removal that can't be countered. Yes.

What can do 2 damage? Every single one of your knights.

What creatures does Sudden Spoiling work on? Every one of them. Every single one of them in all of Magic. Even Darksteel Colossus, even Progenitus and even Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.

How about another good one?

Sudden Spoiling takes its cues from Sorceress Queen, combined with a "sweep" version of Humble.

Neither of these are as good, however.

Incremental Blight makes lots of creatures die, and the ones still alive are no match for first strike. For another "sweeping" effect, look no further than Marsh Casualties.

Another goodie because it doesn't target! Reducing your foe's army by -2/-2 is also probably putting them in 2/2 first strike range.

What about more white removal, you may ask. White usually either destroys everything, like with Wrath of God, or it does a pin-point trade-off of a creature for some type of benefit. In my opinion, it is almost worth it to save creature removal for black, and instead use white for other problems regarding artifacts, enchantments and planeswalkers. Oblivion Ring takes care of them all.

And then there's Vindicate. But the problem here is of course the cost. I don't have any, probably won't get any.

So the overall message here is…when planning your deck, especially if its a casual deck, think BIG. You are going to have to deal with a lot of problems, and you're not going to get some measly sideboard to cherry-pick solutions off of.

Open up your mind, the sky's the limit.