Monday, March 24, 2014

"Dream Death: Orzhov Aura's 2014"

"Dream Death: Orzhov Aura's 2014"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. 

I simply cannot deny my fondness for Auras and enchantments. Since I first latched a Blanchwood Armor on a Treetop Scout with a One with Nature on it. It was the first deck that I ever built to simply destroy the Ravager Affinity decks that plagued me during the First Mirrodin Block.

I have always believed in the power of Auras and I guess Magic has finally come up with enough cards to support this particular deck. I love where the escalation is going and I am eagerly awaiting more cards to upgrade all my Standard Pauper decks or simply create new ones.

Awhile back I was able to create an Orzhov Aura deck that took advantage of Yoked Ox's Unnatural toughness. Something that simply did not die to simple burn or creatures that were far stronger than it. With the release of Born of the gods I have begun an evolution from that deck that steps more into Light and Dark Dreams as the Auras now emerge. 

4 X Orzhov Guildgate
9 X Plains
9 X Swamps
22 Lands

4 X Nyxborn Shieldmate 
4 X Hopeful Eidolon
4 X Nyxborn Eidolon
4 X Baleful Eidolon
3 X Observant Alseid
3 X Auramancer
22 Creatures

4 X Ethereal Armor
4 X Pacifism
4 X Altar's Reap
4 X Dark Favor
16 Spells

So what do we have here exactly? Well just another deck that is begging to unite with each other and create something monstrous. We have a +1/+2, a +1/+1 Lifelink , a +2/+1 and +1/+1 Death Touch as well as a +2/+2 Vigilance Creature. 5 creatures that are enchantments and could easily be bestowed when needed. So if we manage to attach all these auras on let us say the 1/1 Hopeful Eidolon we get something like this.... A 7/7 Titan made of Dreams...Well more like a nightmare for opposing players. Something that is Vigilant , Lifelinking and Destroys any creatures it touches. Chances are we may never see this titan in play and the reason is because of the Ethereal Armor that is also included here.With all of the Auras hitting the battlefield and at a much easier rate because of less mana cost we might be seeing bigger creatures early that would be more ready for assaults. Still , I would make it a personal goal to have all the Auras Unite. It might be hard and really messes up priorities but it is fun and that is what playing is about.

I have to confess that I was a little lazy on this one. I didn't want to put in any Devour Flesh or Celestial Flare just for the heck of it. I want my creatures to slam into other creatures , watch them wither and die from First Strike and Death Touch. The Mana curve is something that I worked on here as well and I found that the creatures all max out at 3 mana. Auramancer makes an appearance here as a little bit of recursion. One of my favorite cards from Innistrad seems to be a bit underused though it has been reprinted in M14 , Read the Bones gets more love than Altar's reap. Well not in this deck. I still love Instant Card Draw even if it does cost me a creature. When you think about it if it is a bestowed creature you have at least 2 other creatures falling off and still fighting for you.Then you could just cast Auramancer and get that card you just sacrificed to draw 2 cards.Not bad for something that you would Sacrifice to an opponents  Devour Flesh or Celestial Flare anyway.

In Conclusion this deck is not afraid. It wants to mix it up with other creatures. It brims with so much potential power that it could give you a 7/7 monster that could attack on turn two! Most of the time people wake up from Dreams. Opponents facing these Nightmares seldom do. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

"Waving from the Dark"

"Waving from the Dark"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. MD

When I was a young kid( and yes it does seem like quite a while) my mom told me a story that I have been trying to puzzle out until this day.

In the early 70's in Odiongan , Romblon. There was a Wake that was set up in the area of Torrel. Now during those times going into the area meant driving or walking on foot with muddy fields of rice all around you and with only a few lamp posts in between so you better be with someone who has a lamp or flashlight when you absolutely need to walk out at night.

During this wake there was a particular old lady who was rumored to have Aswang blood in her which is said to be passed on from generation to generation. She was playing Mahjong and some of her relatives who owned an Owner Type Jeep ( only a few had those on the island) were going back home and offered her a ride. Not coming with them meant that she would stay in the wake until morning because there was no way that she could go home in her feeble state. Amazingly the old woman said that they could go on just ahead while she finishes her game and she would catch up to them.

The relative thought she was not making any sense. How could an old woman outrun a motorized vehicle? Since she was known to kid around a lot the relative just ignored the old woman and drove off with his family. Now getting out of Torrel meant that you would drive straight for 5 to minutes out of a muddy road,rice paddies taller than the average person on both sides. When you reach the main road you turn right going to Dapawan. About 5 minutes heading in that direction you hit the end of the Ricefields and into the town proper.

This is where the story gets weird. When they were about to enter Dapawan the male driver saw what looked like someone who was waving at them from a distance. Given that this was late at night and no other lights in the area they were surprised that there was even someone out there but there was. It was the old lady who was waving at them to stop so that she could get on. The family members all looked at each other in puzzlement. Here was a 70 plus old woman who impossibly got ahead of their vehicle without the hint of any running or signs that she has been through anything. As the old woman climbed unto the jeep everyone gave her a lot of space.

The Speculations....

Now there has been a lot speculation as to how the old woman did this. One is that there was a secret way , a faster way going to Dapawan from Torrel.However in order for such a way to exist. It would have to cut the distance of a a whole rice field. In the darkness, full of mud and unseen mud pools it would have been hazardous even to a normal person, lest to a 70 year old Lola. Stumbling in the dark and even falling in to one of those carabao pools was a great possibility.The Lola did not look like she was in any kind of field that night. No mud on her clothes or slippers.

Another way was if the Lola used a motorcycle to get ahead of her relatives. There was only one way in or out of that area during that time. And being a 2 lane street our Lola's relative could have easily seen any other vehicle in both directions or hear them at least because it was awfully silent. There was none. Just the Lola waving at the end of the road.

The Most compelling theory is that she merely flew.Aswangs have been known to shapeshift after all or she could have sprung wings which would have made it so much easier to traverse the distance and even stay ahead of her relatives own type jeep.

I have not mentioned names in hopes of protecting the families reputation. The story and family is real. Some of them still live in Romblon as of today. Not one of them could explain what happened without mentioning the Aswang blood that could very well be in them. 

"Marshmist Titan: Giants on the Cheap"

"Marshmist Titan: Giants on the Cheap"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

When my friend Mark Abude told me that they would have a Standard Pauper Tournament in my previous work place and that he decided to run a Mono Black Devotion deck I just had to ask him if he added the Marshmist Titan to his deck list. I mean what is not to like about a monstrosity that comes in and helps you destroy a couple of  opponents with that beefy 4/5 body right?  

The indication that you were able to cast him a bit cheaply means that you were successful in keeping your permanents alive for the long haul.

I mean with enough bodies you could cast it as early as turn 4. 

Turn #1 you play a land and Festering Newt , 
Turn # 2 you play a Rakdos Shred-Freak 
Turn # 3 you play a land a shadow Alley Denizen and another Shred-Freak.And that would be it. You have now wiped out 6 colorless mana from the giants cost because your devotion to black is already 6.And so the beat down begins... 

"All the better to get your giant out..."
On turn 4 Marshmist Titan will cost a measly 1 black mana to cast. 1 mana for a 4/5 and a ton of other permanents to boot as well. 

When your creatures are able to survive till turn 4 it is a great sign to move things forward and with one or 2 Marsh mist titans coming into play you could really push your opponents in the red zone. Turn 5 kill seems all that likely now...with or without a Gray Merchant hanging around in the wings but it is still great to have one handy for the Mono Black Devotion Coup De Grace. Still with a couple or even 3 Marshmist Titans you could win out on the damage points alone. 

Just think about it a 4/5 Giant for 1 Black Mana. Sounds like a lot of carnage to me. 

Monday, March 10, 2014


Virgilio F. De leon Jr. MD

A couple of years ago my classmates from High school and I got in touch with each other. It was great hanging with them for a couple of times so they planned a big get together that I missed entirely because I had a shift.On that night one of us passed away tragically as he was on his way home. His name was Delfin.

I remember him from High school , he was always someone who could crack you up with jokes but he also had a serious side to him. He was well loved among our classmates because of this. Most of our classmates were at his wake and his burial. I was again absent in both occasions because of work obligations. I often wondered if he was mad at me in some way since I was always absent.

I got my answer one night as I was preparing for my night shift. As was my custom I had my facebook on along with some other websites like and People would usually PM me once in awhile and I would answer whenever I can while dressing up and fixing my pack for the night.

One particular PM startled me. It simply said. "Pre, Kamusta ka na?"

It was Delfins account. The account that was dormant for more than 2 weeks. The account that no one else had any access to and here was the owner asking me how I am from beyond.

My room was in the 3rd floor and since Aven was sleeping with her lola I was all alone in our townhouse. I had no response to that one simply question. I unplugged my laptop. Turned it off and hoped that I don't start getting text messages from my dead classmate.

I went to my shift a bit shaken and I had to brace myself when I dared to open my laptop again.The message was gone. There was no PM from him. Was I so tired that I started imagining things? was it from guilt?

There were no other PM's.I am hoping that there wouldn't be.