Serious_Fun

Revisiting multiplayer's best spirit

Spirited Away-kening

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The letter F!or spirit week, I'm going to revisit a creature I had the pleasure of previewing back when Legions came out: Seedborn Muse. Really, looking at any other card in a column that talks so much about different multiplayer formats would be inexcusable. The thing's high in the Hall, and many readers feel it should be #1. Whatever alternative format you play, Seedborn Muse is an absolute bomb. So today, we pay homage to this terrific card.

In my preview article on Seedborn Muse, I put forth an Amazing Analysis, to wit:

The more players there are in the game, the more times your stuff will untap.
—Anthony Alongi, Analyst Extraordinaire

Now, with a couple years' experience with Seedborn Muse under our collective belt, I think we can all stretch our noodles and add:

If your deck taps its own lands or creatures to do things, Seedborn Muse can help.
—Anthony Alongi, Analyst Extraordinaire

Another analytic miracle! Quote away, my friends. The service is still free.

My finely tuned sense of irony aside, there are thousands of potential combos for Seedborn Muse, with possibilites ranging from Shivan Gorge to Catapult Master to Earthcraft. Before you write and tell me you "can't believe I forgot" your favorite…well, believe it. I've wiped them all from memory and if you try to remind me I'm not listening NYAH NYAH NYAH-NYAH NYAH…

This week, I'm just looking at how this already amazing card may have gotten a boost from Champions.

First Task: Making Zubera More Useful

I have a confession to make: our multiplayer group provided feedback to Wizards during the development of Champions of Kamigawa. (I'll debrief some other time. For now, please hold your questions.) This week, I'm just mentioning this because we were all underwhelmed by the Zubera cycle. (They were called "effigies" at the time.) At least two or three of us made a serious run at making effigies work in limited Emperor, constructed chaos, and a few other multiplayer formats.

They never really seemed to work out. Now, these things have gotten some good press here and there since the release, so I'm glad players are finding uses for them. Personally, I think they work best as decent early fodder in a deck shooting for the long game.

What sort of long game, you may ask? And what do they have to do with Seedborn Muse, since they don't tap for anything (except to attack)?

For me, the answer to both questions starts with Opposition. Opposition is a popular tournament card that has a much harder time in group play. Seedborn Muse, unsurprisingly, makes this enchantment ridiculous in the casual arena as well as the tournament arena. But the question becomes, how do you get enough resources to keep tapping stuff? How can you be certain you'll have enough creatures to untap/tap and suppress multiple opponents' threats?

Enter the zubera.

The green and blue zubera – also spirits, happily for spirit week – both replace themselves (green with a token creature, and blue with a card). So your chances of keeping a Muse-Opposition lock stay pretty high. Before you find Opposition, they do an okay job of keeping attention elsewhere – few group players will try to trade with an early 1-defense creature, and only a few more will attack you with a superior creature "just to get the zubera out of the way."

What other Champions cards might work in a deck like this? Plenty, but I sought a fairly unusual path. I put in Meloku the Clouded Mirror, which gives you more tokens down the road. At that point, I thought it was pretty funny to put in Konda's Banner; but feel free to ignore that if you must. And finally, Time Stop feels rather useful when you want to untap your Opposition fuel in a hurry.

From there, I added some older, more conventional "Awakening" style cards:

At least one other card (beyond all of the cards that have been used in past Tradewind RiderAwakening style decks) might look good in a deck like this: Leige of the Hollow for the squirrel tokens to power Opposition. I left it out since I thought the chances of Konda's Banner working properly was highest with blue legends (and you'll note how Meloku's illusion tokens go to 3/3 when Mistform Ultimus waves the Banner).

Second Task: Make Like A Snake

Snakes are my son's favorite animals. I'm trying so hard to get my wife to accept a snake as our second pet. (We already have a dog – a real dog, mind you; not a stubby, bug-eyed, frilly abomination that shares a whisper of canine genetic code.) In celebration of my eventual victory in this argument, here's a wakeful snake deck:

Yeah, still predominantly blue-green. Let's look at another Kamigawa-Krazy-Kolor to go with the Muse…

Third Task: Go With Godo

We've done a couple of tricks so far using creatures with tapping abilities and such. However, the Seedborn Muse can also be used very simply: to keep an aggressive deck from losing on the counterattack. For kicks and giggles, I made the deck completely red-white except for the Muse. You could just pick one color and have a simpler mana base, of course.

Neither this deck nor the previous deck have a lot against flyers – except for hitting back harder. Adjust as necessary for your group's metagame.

Task #4: Go Ahead With The Stupid Combo

Within Kamigawa block, there are a few cards that partner well with the Muse to do occasionally silly things. Let's revisit a few snakes, add some new ones, throw in some killer spells, and see what doesn't crackle. Of course, there's no guarantee these reckless enchantments won't backfire…this may work better as an Emperor deck than anything else. (Substitute direct damage and/or Naturalize for the River Boas.)

Don'tPlayPandemoniumEarly.deq

Theoretically, with all the relevant enchantments, Seshiro, and a Hatchery set at (to be reasonable) 3 out, you could tap the Hatchery for three 3/3 snakes, activate Pandemonium to deal 9 fairly distributable damage, double that through the Furnace to deal 18, attack with the (hasty – don’t forget Fires!) snakes to deal another 18 to another player, and then sack all three through the Rites to deal another 12 somewhere else. Of course, the Muse helps here by getting you to do everything but the combat damage on each other player's turn. The River Boas should make sure everyone's down to no worse than 18 when you finally get this working; and the Constrictor and Eggwatcher are there for synergy.

Yeah, this deck begs for Eureka, or Gamble, or something, for heaven's sake. But if you're interested in this sort of deck, the absence of those cards isn't going to make it any less attractive, am I right?

There's also some combo potential with Heartbeat of Spring, since you can tap a land for two mana every turn. I'll let you folks explore that one on your own.

Thanks for revisiting this spunky spirit with me! Feel free to sing other praises of the muse on the boards.

Anthony cannot provide deck help. He's out buying a pet snake and all appropriate supplies without the knowledge and/or approval of his children's mother.

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