reetings, my poppets! Have I gotten here through some gateway or parallel dimension? Am I a rampaging Id to Ben's normally in-check Ego? And what is this "evil" anyhow? Am I evil just because I've drugged Ben, lathed him up in the finest of honey, and thrown him in a closet with crazed, starving weasels? No! I call that a public service for the greater good of Magic
, it is!
Do you want to see pictures of drugged Ben, doused in honey, being eaten alive by starving, crazed weasels?
I don't even know why I give you the choice here; I know that you'll all pick the pics! That's the power of Evil Ben—prediction and mind reading! Mayhem and chaos! Building on... NO BUDGET!
That's right. Welcome to the column where we Build on No Budget, dedicated towards building decks that cost a minimum of thirty tickets using Magic Online prices! If you ain't playing with fetch lands, you ain't playing Magic, I says! This week's column continues the Sprouting Phytohydra deck. Stop rushing me! I'll get to the deck in a second, you plebes! First, I have to address some
time wasters polls you voted on last week:
Which fact about Sprouting Phytohydra is most important?
|Whenever Sprouting Phytohydra is dealt damage, you may put a token into play that's a copy of Sprouting Phytohydra.
|Sprouting Phytohydra Costs 4G to play.
|Sprouting Phytohydra has defender.
|Sprouting Phytohydra is a 0/2 creature.
|Sprouting Phytoydra is creature type 'Plant Hydra.'
Which method is best for winning with a Sprouting Phytohydra deck?
|Lots of Tutors!
|Proactive Hand Removal!
How would you like for this deck to win, primarily?
|Infinite-sized army of plants
|Infinite Sharphooter pings
|Infinite life gain
|Infinite card drawing
|Infinitely large other creatures
See, 75% of you cared that Sprouting Phytohydra makes copies. And 75% of you want to make a deck with mana acceleration or a combination of themes as your main strategy. And hell, 75% of you love Bitter Ordeal, Goblin Sharpshooter, and Wakestone Gargoyle.
Screw you all!
1.9% of you care that Sprouting Phytohydra is creature type Plant Hydra. 8.8% of you want proactive hand removal. 9.2% of you want infinite card drawing. This week's deck is for the 19.9% out of 300% of you (or 6.63%, because I know 100% of you can't do math good). To the other 95% of you, all I gotta say is:
Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha!
Let me explain the ins and outs of this-here 25-0 masterpiece, because I'm sure that you all can't fully appreciate the genius that went into this deck.
First off, I got Sprouting Phytohydra
in this deck because it's a Sprouting Phytohydra
deck. Duh. Then, I got Ashes of the Fallen
and Haakon, Stromgald Scourge
because so few of you care that it's a Plant Hydra. We'll make it a Knight, cause that'll make 98.1% of you unhappy that I'm focusing on creature type, and 1.9% upset that I'm making sure it doesn't matter that our Plant Hydra is a Plant Hydra!
8.8% of you want proactive hand removal, so One with Nothing it is. You think I want Duress or Cabal Therapy or Mind Shatter? Your gotta prove yourself to use cards like that, you punks. Instead, papa Evil is gonna lay a whoppin' on his own hand, and then beat you down anyways despite the 'look ma, no hands!' approach to this deck! I don't want a win—I want a humiliation.
Damnation is there because people like playing with creatures, and I don't want them to have fun playing against me. If I kill all their creatures, maybe they'll disconnect and I'll just count the game as a win for this column. Or something. I'm just going to say I won every game anyhow, and edit out all the losses. 25-0 record, here I come!
Fecundity lets me draw my entire deck and get my hand stacked for Spiraling Embers / Rite of Flame / Simian Spirit Guide at the end, so I can do my hand's worth of damage to an opponent. Someone emailed Good Ben or posted in the forums about the Embers, but I'm taking credit for the suggestion, because this here column is my column this week, and not theirs.
I bet you wanna see how this did. I'll oblige, but only because I'm the Evil Genius, and you are not.
Game 1: Korn1399 (Elves)
This guy drops Wellwisher on turn two, and then puts double Blanchwood Armor on her. The nerve! What am I supposed to do other than drop Simian Spirit Guide to chum- block, and then Damnation his board out from under him? Then I get Fecundity, which bites a chunky Tranquility. Tranquility! That could wreck this whole deck! Well, not if I have a second Fecundity, Æther Flash, and Sprouting Phytohydra. At 6 life, I draw the majority of my deck and give him the big ol' how-do-you-do known as a 26-point Spiraling Embers.
korn1399: i think that was the cheapest lamest way to win
I yam what I yam!
Game 2: Sargis (Red-Green Land Destruction / Burn)
He wins because I get stuck with three One with Nothing
in my hand. I have him locked down with double Æther Flash
, and Damnation
, but I get burned to death over One with Nothing
. One with Nothing
! What kind of no-name jerk plays with that card? Not me, anymore! I had enough lands, spells and everything to survive four land destruction spells.
Out: 4 One with Nothing
In: 4 Duress
What I really need is Abandon Hope—but I'll settle for just taking the best card out of my opponent's hand. That's one less card they can play against me! But wait, you say, doesn't that leave me with no way to get Haakon, Stromgald Scourge out of my hand? How perceptive!
Out: 4 Haakon, Stromgald Scourge, 4 Ashes of the Fallen
In: 4 Wall of Roots, 4 Vulturous Zombie
These are, in my estimation, both Plants. Plants matter, right? Vulturous Zombie works well with Æther Flash, and Wall of Roots can kill itself with Fecundity. It all comes together!
Game 3: manmade (Dragons)
, he gets blazing speed in playing large, huge Dragons: Crimson Hellkite
, Bladewing the Risen
, Nicol Bolas
—the works. I draw all four Damnation
s in this game, and he STILL keeps bringing back Dragons, eventually killing me. I had the Phytohydra
s and the Æther Flash
going, but nary a Fecundity
I need more ways to get my combo pieces each game, 'cause this losing stuff is for jerks, and if there's one thing I'm not, it's losing! So, in come:
+2 Diabolic Tutor
-2 Vulturous Zombie
And homeostasis is achieved through tutoring for love and profit. In fact, screw those flying Plants. They're no good! I *shudder* realize that *shudder* the readers of the *shudder* non-evil version of this *shudder* "column" may be *shudder* not completely wrong and I *shudder* add two copies of *shudder* Bitter Ordeal to the deck, so that I have a three-card combo instead of a four-card one.
+2 Bitter Ordeal
-2 Vulturous Zombie
Game 4: tenshi9 (Spirits)
A couple of quick Æther Flashes lock down the board, and a stray Jugan, the Rising Star is dealt with via Spiraling Embers. The combo then goes off, and I bring myself down to two cards, play double Bitter Ordeal to bring tenshi9 down to three cards left in library... and then finish him off with Spiraling Embers anyhow. I pulled out my pocketwatch from the pouch I keep 'neath my horned exterior—and found that it took six minutes to draw most of my deck, four minutes to remove thirty-eight cards from tenshi9's deck, and three seconds to click on Spiraling Embers to deal more than his 20 life points. Evil Ben enjoys wasting those ten minutes when only three were needed, at most.
Game 5: devinthedude (Black-Green Tokens)
He makes stuff like Essence Warden
and Verdant Embrace
, and I send it to the cold dark with Damnation
and Æther Flash
. I can't handle Verdant Force
and double Icy Manipulator
, and I die at 1 life, with Æther Flash
on the board, having just tutored for both Sprouting Phytohydra
... but I only have one source of green mana on board (my Forest
) and no way to use my Wooded Foothills
to grab a second... and no way to play my Overgrown Tomb
in hand, untapped. Oh laborious fancy-lands, the hellish turnabout you have wrought!
It has become a pain that I cannot function once a Sprouting Phytohydra has come into play, be it before an Æther Flash, so thereupon I will seize upon the opportunity to add Goblin Sharpshooters to this pile of sixty, placating yet another segment of some unforeseen population that clicks on an option within a poll within the mirror-image of this column. Strike mine eyes, for it pains me to see, and seize my ears, for I will hear no more!
Out: 1 Bitter Ordeal, 1 Simian Spirit Guide, 1 Spiraling Embers, 1 Fecundity, 1 Diabolic Tutor
In: 3 Goblin Sharpshooter, 2 Liliana Vess
The Vess, of course, as tutor number five. Also, though it pains me to unpain my painlands, I forsake some Blood Crypts in favor of more mundane lands capable of less shocking fortune, should I be at one life.
Out: 2 Blood Crypt, 1 Overgrown Tomb
In: 2 Forest, 1 Mountain
Game 6: Pitbull3433 (Red-Artifact Beatdown)
Myr Servitor, as a pair. Myr Retriever. Spikeshot Goblin. Gold Myr. Cranial Plating. This is what I lose to, as I draw four Wall of Roots, a Bitter Ordeal, and one Æther Flash, served turns too late. What good is a Wall of Roots, if it has no mouth, and cannot scream?!
Game 7: Djinn Lynx (Black-Red-Green Aggro)
The start in his court is a serve with Quirion Dryad and Burning-Tree Shaman. I return with Æther Flash and Damnation, and his ball bounces back with a Terminate in my Sprouting Phytohydra. I delay for Duress, upon which a cursory examination of my erstwhile foes' hand reveals a diabolical plan indeed with Putrefy. I deny his recourse, and then reapply the Phytohydra, for the measure of thirty-eight uses. He undergoes a Bitter Ordeal of defeat, but I am a generous man: I leave him a dozen cards left in his library. These are all lands; he conceeds. I am victorious yet again!
Game 8: Grulf (Elves, foul Elves!)
Elves, foul Elves!
Yes, foul Elves! Elves of all shapes and sizes! Elves that grow with Door of Destinies
, Elves that grow too large for my mere Goblin Sharpshooter
to handle! Elves! Elves that, when I play a pair of Fecundity
, draw half a dozen cards when those Elves become Damned. Elves! Elves in my kitchen, Elves in my bathroom, Elves crawling across my keyboards like slithering beasts of the woods. Elves! I shall stand thee no more, Elves! Though even Seeker of Skybreak
will be 9/8 and Fyndhorn Elder
8/8, I shall have a moral victory, even as my life total reaches the deep negatives. Curse you, Elves!
You did not want Ben to use infinite card drawing? Now I see why—it is too good for your veins! I will not let you see me with Fecundity any longer. I shall not play with four-card combinations, but only three. Three! That is less than four, so now you, reader, are shorted by one. And I am greater for your loss!
Out: 3 Fecundity, 4 Wall of Roots, 2 Forest, 4 Rite of Flame, 1 Simian Spirit Guide, 1 Spiraling Ember
In: 2 Swamp, 1 Goblin Sharpshooter, 2 Bitter Ordeal, 1 Diabolic Tutor, 1 Ancient Grudge, 3 Gruul Signet, 2 Rakdos Signet, 2 Golgari Signet, 1 Liliana Vess
More tutoring! More acceleration! More deck removal! A smattering of ways to deal with those thrice-cursed artifacts! Less green—less green like those Elves, like some jolly giant, like Plants—there is only one Plant. It is not a Forest, it is not a Treefolk, it is not a Zombie, but a HYDRA! The only true plant is a Hydra, and I shall prove it well or die trying! It is not enough to draw my combo—my enemies must be crushed under a regimented root of efficiency and redundancy!
Game 9: suppha273 (Hondens)
My opposition poses a quandary—iffin' he plays Paradox Haze, and then drops Honden of Night's Reach and Honden of Cleansing Fire, how long will it be before Evil Building on a Budget has no cards in hand? The answer, my friends, is turn five, leaving your anti-hero with but a Goblin Sharpshooter on the board, and some lands and a Signet for mana. As the game progresses, I am forced to play each and every card from my hand as they reach my grip, increasing my base to many lands, and allowing me to make my opponent go through a couple of Bitter Ordeals, taking out his sense of Hondens of Infinite Rage, though leaving him with Seeing Winds, and a nasty case of Gaea's Blessing for a reverse-decking. But huzzah! When he begins to draw seven cards a turn with his new Honden friend and his Haze, to the top of my deck springs, in succession, a second Goblin Sharpshooter, a Sprouting Phytohydra, and Diabolic Tutor! I am saved! In short order, the following transpires:
Shoot Sprouting Phytohydra #1 with both Goblin Sharpshooters.
Put Sprouting Phytohydra #2 and #3 into play.
Untap both Goblin Sharpshooters.
Shoot Sprouting Phytohydra #2 and #3 with both Goblin Sharpshooters.
Put Sprouting Phytohydra #4, #5, #6, and #7 into play.
Untap both Goblin Sharpshooters.
Shoot Sprouting Phytohydra #4, #5, #6 and #7 with both Goblin Sharpshooters.
Put Sprouting Phytohydra #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14, and #15 into play.
Untap both Goblin Sharpshooters.
Shoot Sprouting Phytohydra #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14 and #15 with both Goblin Sharpshooters.
Put Sprouting Phytohydra #16, #17, #18,#19, #20, #21, #22, #23, #24, #25, #26, #27, #28, #29,#30, and #31 into play.
Untap both Goblin Sharpshooters.
Shoot Sprouting Phytohydra #16, #17, #18, #19, #20, #21, #22, #23, #24, #25, #26, #27, #28, #29, #30 and #31 with both Goblin Sharpshooters.
Decline to put Sprouting Phytohydra #32, #33, #34, #35, #36, #37, #38, #39, #40, #41, #42, #43, #44, #45, #46, #47, #48, #49, #50, #51, #52, #53, #54, #55, #56, #57, #58, #59, #60, #61, #62 and #63 into play.
Untap both Goblin Sharpshooters.
Have Goblin Sharpshooter #1 shoot Goblin Sharpshooter #1. Have Goblin Sharpshooter #2 shoot Goblin Sharpshooter #2.
Hide the guns in the book depository.
Shoot Lee Harvey Oswald #1.
Shoot Jack Ruby #1.
Diabolic Tutor for Bitter Ordeal.
Play Bitter Ordeal for 33 cards, leaving my opponent with but an empty library, and dreams of Hondens run amok.
Apply deep-tissue therapy oil to fingers #1, #2, #3, #4, and thumb #1 on my left hand, and fingers #5, #6, #7, #8, and thumb #2 on my right hand, having clicked "okay," "yes," and "no" and stacked effects over four hundred times in the above sequence.
Apply eye-drops for staring open-eyed for over fifteen minutes.
Enjoy my evil victory with my evil Sharpshooters and my evil Sprouting Phytohydras.
Game 10: penumbra thorn (Blue-Black Milling)
Twenty cards are lost to my grave as I Glimpse the Unthinkable with both mine eyes. Szadek, the Lord of Secrets himself shows up for my doom! But lo, Liliana Vess strips his hand of countermagic, and Goblin Sharpshooter and Sprouting Phytohydra join forces, and Vess brings Æther Flash straight to mind. When young penumbra thorn (so I assume him to be, for he has a name all in lower case) tries to bounce my enchantment, I respond by dealing 20 damage, 1 point at a time, to his brainpan. He is dead, and I am perfect yet again!
And lo, my time on this mortal plane has ended, and once again my record is perfect! Even for those that I may have lost in the flesh, I have won them in spirit as my deck has grown mightier, and my opponents despaired as my win took precious, precious quarters-of-an-hour off their lives. I am truly the master of Building on No Budget, and I did it despite the best of intentions from Ben's readers and their fancy "poll results." Now is the hour of my discontent, and my discontent comes from dreams of millions of plants, carried away on roots of one bitter ordeal after the next.
Is this a fate worse than honey-weasels? Until next we meet, I will bid you adieu, and take with me the profits of your time, your budget, and your sanity, in that order. Farewell!