Mike Turian swears the name "The Muppet Show" wasn't his idea, although it is goofy enough to be his. He claims Jeff Cunningham and Eugene Harvey came up with it, and now each of them is supposed to be one of the Muppets. Mike was originally Fozzie Bear, but he really wanted to be Gonzo. So now Jeff has assumed the role of Fozzie. Eugene, of course, is Kermit the Frog.
This team arose out of necessity. Cunningham's Pro Tour team consists of himself, Tomi Walamies, and Brett Shears. Shears couldn't afford to come to this event, and Walamies is still living in Finland. So Cunningham showed up on a lark looking for a team. Luckily for him, Turian and Harvey were going to be without Gary Wise, their teammate for the upcoming Team PT. Wise was in the wrong place at the wrong time a few weeks ago (or so I've heard), and he was "asked" to take place in a voluntary quarantine of people that might have seen someone that heard about someone that talked to some guy with SARS. So, not wanting to ruffle any more feathers with the border and immigration people, he stayed home. Harvey and Turian's original choice for a replacement was fellow CMU'er Andrew Cuneo, but Cuneo had band practice and couldn't come. So Cunningham volunteered.
The results have been good so far; the Muppet Show is one of 18 teams at 4-0 going into the second deck construction.
The three teammates set out all the colors individually and picked out just the goodies, as if building five monocolored decks. Then they started looking around to see which colors would go well together.
They immediately discounted black-white Clerics since there were no good black Clerics in their card pool. The next deck that looked interesting was blue-white; it would have had lots of good cards—they had both Jareth and Arcanis—but would lose outright to a Sparksmith. Turian laid out red-green, but Cunningham was sure that deck would have too many combat tricks (Shocks, Wirewood Pride, Vitality Charms) and potentially not enough guys.
They did have 24 playable black cards, including big beaters like Nefashu and Phage. Turian wanted to put blue with the black, keep red-green, and make red-white as well. Cunningham felt they'd be better of splitting the white with black and blue to make a Soldier deck and a Cleric deck, and keeping the red-green. They tried those combinations.
With the three decks partially built, Mike asked Jeff how the white-black deck looked.
"Nothing special," said Cunningham.
"I don't think any of the decks we've built are anything special; I just want to build decks with lots of synergy that have good chances of winning," replied Turian.
"Nah, this [black-white] is awful – only nine Clerics," said Jeff. The tribal theme was not coming through.
They switched all the colors around again, with Turian going back to red-green, Jeff to blue-black, and Eugene to white-red. Turian made Jeff give up some blue fliers so that Eugene's deck could put up some reasonable offensive threats. Their two Flooded Strands made splashing blue easy in the white deck.
Cunningham finished laying out his deck, saying he had stripped to the 18 best cards—the bare minimum.
"If I stripped THIS deck to the bare minimum," said Eugene, "I'd have Jareth. Just Jareth." Eugene grabbed a few more two-drop Goblins, but his deck was still schizo. It had early reckless attackers and clumsy late-game cards like Daunting Defender.
They turned their attention to the blue-black deck.
"How's that deck Jeff?"
"That deck has to be the best. We have to make it the best."
Lacking confidence in all their current builds, they agreed to switch again. This time black-red, red-white, and blue-green. Convention be damned.
Turian's newest deck was black with five red cards; it tried to be a fast deck, but it really wasn't. Eugene, meanwhile, was cobbling together a red-white Goblin theme with an out-of-place Cloudreach Cavalry, and a blue splash of just Aven Fateshaper.
Turian made his deck slower and more controlling with Temple of the False God, then worked in Nefashu, Anurid Murkdiver, Phage, and two big landcyclers. Now it was a late game deck. Jeff had a typical blue-green deck that stalled the ground and won in the air, but would lose to an opposing Gourna. But these three decks looked as good as any they had built thus far.
They started registering and Eugene was scrambling to reinforce his Goblin theme with Airdrop Condor and lots of little red men. As they started marking down cards, I realized that the ideal scenario might be for Mike to forego the few red cards he had in his deck (Erratic Explosion, Goblin Machinist, and Chartooth Cougar) and let Eugene have them. But it was too late.
Or was it? With 2:45 left in deck construction, Mike came to the conclusion that red was wrong for his deck and that Eugene's deck should have it all. Mike hastily threw all the white Clerics into his deck and let Eugene have the Cougar and the Machinist. The Fateshaper left Eugene's deck and made its way back to Cunningham, and everything seemed to fall into place.
These decks are good enough to get them the 3-1 they need for a chance to draft on Sunday, but it was through perseverance that The Muppet Show came to what looks to be sound conclusions on how they should have been built.
Mike Turian – The Muppet Show
Seat A – Second Sealed Deck
Eugene Harvey – The Muppet Show
Seat B – Second Sealed Deck
Jeff Cunningham – The Muppet Show
Seat C – Second Sealed Deck