MTG Commander: Yarok, the Desecrated

Another blog, another early deck I built that it’s time to take apart.

This deck has a lot of Yarok ETB synergy, but not much focus. It’s a toolbox without a single strong path to victory. There are infinite mana combos with Peregrine Drake and Shrieking Drake or other bouncers, and bouncing Gray Merchant of Asphodel is good for lethal damage, and Phyrexian Ingester can get huge when its ETB trigger is doubled. When the deck succeeds, it’s when it happens to draw the cards required to slow the game down long enough to eventually win on its own terms.

Yarok, the Dessicated

Commander (1)
Yarok, the Desecrated

Creatures (51)
Acidic Slime
Aether Adept
Agent of Treachery
Archaeomancer
Avatar of Growth
Blood Seeker
Boneclad necromancer
Cavalier of Night
Cloudkin Seer
Coiling Oracle
District Guide
Dream Stalker
Eidolon of Blossoms
Elvish Rejuvenator
Elvish Visionary
Fleshbag Marauder
Gatecreeper Vine
Golgari Findbroker
Gravedigger
Gray Merchant of Asphodel
Grim Guardian
Healer of the Glade
Highway Robber
Horizon Chimera
Howling Giant
Identity Thief
Jace’s Mindseeker
Man-o’-War
Massacre Girl
Mulldrifter
Nekrataal
Pelakka Wurm
Peregrine Drake
Phyrexian Ingester
Pharika’s Mender
Ravenous Chupacabra
Reclamation Sage
Risen Reef
Salvager of Secrets
Satyr Wayfinder
Sea Gate Oracle
Shrieking Drake
Sower of Temptation
Storm Sculptor
Sylvan Ranger
Tatyova, Benthic Druid
Whirler Rogue
Wood Elves
Yarok’s Fenlurker
Yavimaya Granger
Zulaport Cutthroat

Sorceries (3)
Blood for Bones
Bone Splinters
Gruesome Fate

Enchantments (1)
Trespasser’s Curse

Instants (6)
Displace
Ghostly Flicker
Murder
Rescue from the Underworld
Teferi’s Time Twist
Worldly Tutor

Artifacts (2)
Bag of Holding
Swiftfoot Boots
Lands (36)
Evolving Wilds
Golgari guildgate
Halimar Depths
Pine Barrens
Simic Guildgate
Survivors’ Encampment
Tainted Isle
Tainted Wood
Temple of Mystery
Thornwood Falls
Underground Sea
Island
Swamp
Forest

MTG Commander: Elsha of the Infinite

This is a Spellslinger deck based around Elsha of the Infinite, the alternate commander from C19’s Mystic Intellect preconstructed deck.

The general idea of the deck is to get a bunch of mana out, and then play lots of spells off the top of the deck. This increases Elsha’s Prowess, allowing for some big attacks, and triggers other effects like Guttersnipe to win the game. In practice, this deck was a bit inconsistent: it stalls too often when you have a land or creature on top of the deck, and it hasn’t been easy to get win conditions into play before needing to play a lot of spells.

Casting tons of spells like this can be a lot of fun to play! However, it’s not fun to play against at all. Even though the deck is fairly effective, I’m taking it apart because it’s not fun for other players. My original plan was to rebuild Elsha as an Artifact Storm deck, but I decided to build Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain instead. Artifact storm is more effective, but spoiler alert: it’s also not fun to play against.

Now it’s time to take this deck apart, so I can use parts of it for Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest.

Elsha of the Un-funite

Commander (1)
Elsha of the Infinite

Creatures (9)
Burning Prophet
Crackling Drake
Gelectrode
Goblin Electromancer
Guttersnipe
Spellheart Chimera
Talrand, Sky Summoner
Thermo-Alchemist
Wee Dragonauts

Instants (26)
Anticipate
Arcane Denial
Brainstorm
Chaos Warp
Counterspell
Disenchant
Fact or Fiction
Fork
Frantic Search
Hindering Light
Increasing Vengeance
Jaya’s Greeting
Leadership Vacuum
Lightning Bolt
Magmaquake
Mystical Tutor
Negate
Opt
Pyretic Ritual
Refuse
Repeated Reverberation
Retraction Helix
Snap
Swords to Plowshares
Turnabout
Twiddle

Sorceries (12)
Beacon Bolt
Divination
Divine Reckoning
Faithless Looting
Mana Geyser
Ponder
Preordain
Serum Visions
Tamiyo’s Epiphany
Windfall
Winds of Abandon
Wrath of God

Enchantments (5)
Ghostly Prison
Jace’s Sanctum
Land Tax
Propaganda
Unifying Theory

Artifacts (14)
Azorius Locket
Boros Signet
Burnished Hart
Commander’s Sphere
Darksteel Pendant
Izzet Locket
Mana Vault
Marble Diamond
Mind Stone
Sky Diamond
Sol Ring
Traveler’s Amulet
Wanderer’s Twig
Whispersilk Cloak
Lands (33)
Boros Garrison
Boros Guildgate
Command Tower
Evolving Wilds
Exotic Orchard
Forge of Heroes
Highland Lake
Island
Izzet Boilerworks
Izzet Guildgate
Mountain
Myriad Landscape
Mystic Monastery
Plains
Prairie Stream
Swiftwater Cliffs
Temple of the False God
Temple of Triumph
Terramorphic Expanse
Tranquil Cove
Vivid Creek
Wind-Scarred Crag
Zhalfirin Void

Just a Motorcycle

Just a motorcycle, looking like a motorcycle should. It’s perfect for an urban commute, but I’m not planning to ride on highways much.

I was a bit concerned about the kids getting bad ideas when they turn 16, but I learned that anything Dad does is inherently uncool anyway, so no worries.

2011 Suzuki Tu250x; Suzuki Gel seat, custom tank badge.

Pittsburgh Flea Markets

I stopped going to flea markets for a while, and in that time the Pittsburgh flea market scene has changed significantly. Here’s an update from what I’ve learned so far this year.

The biggest, best flea market around is still in Rogers Ohio, Fridays only (year round). This one takes extra effort since it’s on a week day, relatively distant, and takes all day to get through the whole thing, so I usually only go once a year.

My previous favorite local flea market was Wildwood Peddler’s Fair, but that closed a year or so ago. I think they never really recovered from the flooding of Hurricane Ivan.

Trader Jack’s in Bridgeville is one of the older markets which is still going strong, but unfortunately I don’t like it any more than I used to.

My newest discovery is Rossi’s Pop-Up Market, which is less than 7 miles away in an ex-Loew’s theater. It’s indoor-outdoor, all year round, Saturday and Sunday. This is a much nicer, cleaner place than Jack’s, though I still haven’t found anyone selling good old tools.

I also haven’t found anyone I recognized form Wildwood. Maybe they went out of business, or maybe I just haven’t found the right market yet?

What is a Windsor Chair, Anyway?

I realized that most likely, not everyone who reads this knows what a Windsor Chair is.

In broad strokes, a Windsor Chair is a chair which uses a solid plank for a seat, with sticks sticking out of the bottom for legs, and sticks sticking out the top to form the back and/or arms. In contrast, other chairs tend to use a frame of some sort instead of a plank seat, and often combine the upper back posts with the rear legs.

Of course, one could apply any number of statements of the form, “It’s not a Real Windsor Chair unless …,” and many people do. Those people are usually chairmakers (or teachers of chairmaking) who are describing the chairs they make (or teach you to make), in an attempt to sell you something.

There are many different traditional styles of Windsor Chair. Their names usually describe the construction of the upper part of the chair: “fan back,” “bow back”, “sack back,” “continuous arm,” and “bird cage” are some examples. Other names describe the overall form, such as “writing arm chair” and “settee.”

The height of American Windsor Chair design and construction was from the mid 1700’s through early 1800’s. They were produced by hand in mass quantities, and were ubiquitous in American homes. As the Industrial Revolution began, designs degenerated for the sake of ease of production.