Achievement…Unlocked

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With a new Standard season upon us, I want to change the way I’m writing these articles. While brewing with the new cards (and I have been brewing like crazy…) I said to myself “Man, I would love to blink Armada Wurm with Restoration Angel while Trostani is in play.” At first this seemed like nothing more than my normal jankiness, but then it hit me: that sounded an awful lot like an achievement. At the time that didn’t mean too much to me, but I filed it away under “potentially awesome ideas” and carried on trying to fit Rhox Faithmender in a viable Standard deck.

During the prereleases, on more than one occasion I went with the defender strategy. The first time I managed to get four defender creatures in play at once, I thought “DING! Achievement Unlocked – Build a house with four Walls in play.” I made casual mention of this to my opponent, who laughed. Maybe I’m on to something here!

Bored one evening, I tried to figure out how I could use this achievement idea as an article, podcast or maybe even video series. It would be like a cross between Trainwreck Tuesday and my regular articles, in all likelihood. I came up with a framework and sent it out to the Twittersphere, who seemed to have a positive disposition.

The next step was to check with some writers whose opinion I value and see what they thought. The idea was universally acclaimed. That’s enough for me!

The Plan

Each week for FNM, I will build a deck to obtain one or more achievements. In order for the achievements to count, I have to win at least one round that week. I will constantly add achievements to the list, but once I accept an achievement (either one I come up with or one that is submitted by you, the readers) I cannot remove it from the list without actually, you know, achieving it. Submitted achievements can be changed at my discretion, and I can also choose to refuse them. Once accepted though, they are locked in.

I thought about assigning points values or difficulty levels to each achievement, but that seemed like a lot of work for little reward. This isn’t a contest (though I encourage readers to join in and share their decks and achievements) so the score would ultimately mean nothing. Instead I will likely have a Google document that tracks the achievements and the dates they were obtained. I’m considering taking pictures of the board states too, though that might upset some of my opponents.

The Initial List

Social media is awesome, isn’t it? While trying to come up with a list of achievements to get me started, I was drawing multiple blanks. Fortunately, Twitter exists. I put the feelers out into cyberspace and got a tremendous response! There were so many good ideas that it kicked my own brain into gear. Let’s start with some of the ideas I received.

@lansdellicious Resolve a Worldfire. Successfully crush dreams by overloading a Cyclonic Rift eot. Break Séance.
@Corrupted Angel

I can’t just RESOLVE a Worldfire, that’s too easy. I need to WIN after resolving a Worldfire. The obvious way is with Thragtusk, but Oblivion Ring (and maybe even Detention Sphere) bear looking into as well.

Cyclonic Rift is already in one of the decks I have been testing for Provincials, so that seems like a must. Like I said in my blue set review, this has a sweet one-two punch with Rakdos’s Return, so that will likely be my starting point.

Séance is a perfect Johnny card, and with populate in the new set I have a feeling it might be worth exploring. There are also plenty of creatures with haste that can squeeze some extra value out of the much-maligned enchantment.

@lansdellicious Hard-cast Griselbrand on turn 4.
@AirborneMoxen

This seems rather hard, close to impossible in fact. I’m guessing it involves Axebane Guardian in some way, but I can’t get my head around it. Turn 5 is a lot more reasonable, as is getting Griselbrand in play on turn 4. I think we’ll go for that instead.

@lansdellicious Well, Azor’s Elocutors is an obvious one. Win with each guild. All nonland cards have to be the same rarity.
@SaviaWanderer

By far the most popular suggestion was to filibuster my way to victory. I’m all over that idea, and I already have a couple of plans to help me get there. The card is too funny to ignore, that’s for sure. Plus I just like saying “filibuster.” Such a shame that proliferate is gone…

Winning with each guild is a nice, clean and simple one that will require some thought. Winning 5 FNMs in one season is a tough assignment around here though, so I will have to change it to having better than a .500 record with each FNM. I want these to be attainable.

Having all nonland cards be the same rarity seems very difficult. I think I will try this one, though I have no idea how it will do. It will be very interesting to say the least.

@lansdellicious resolve Worldspine wurm
@NextLevelGreen

Similar to resolving Worldfire, this isn’t enough on its own. Hard-casting it is more of a challenge than resolving Worldfire I guess, but I also want to hit it off Guild Feud and perhaps even Heretic’s Punishment. Another interesting one would be to sacrifice it to Disciple of Bolas, because OH HELL YES. Draw ALL the cards!

I did consider adding “Reanimate Worldspine Wurm” to the list, which IS theoretically possible but requires a lot of work. Maybe later in the season. Oh, and Jarad. I must use Jarad to fling this guy at someone. And Fling! It’s in Standard too! Well, that escalated quickly.

@lansdellicious You must win a game with a card of each color in play/graveyard?
@travishall456

Trust my Horde of Notions cohost to do something like this to me. Five-colour decks are on the verge of being playable right now, but I think we might have to wait for Gatecrash. Of course Chromatic Lantern is a card, and going the Reanimator/self-mill route is also an option. Yeah, I think I can do this.

@lansdellicious Activate Gavony Township with 2 Corpsejack Menaces in play. Cast Epic Experiment FTW. Build a deck where the only creatures are dragons.
@jpatchak

Corpsejack Menace is probably very good, especially in combination with cards like Champion of Lambholt and Gavony Township. A shame Juniper Order Ranger is not in Standard, but I digress. Getting a couple of them into play isn’t too difficult, neither is activating Township. Putting all the pieces together might be slightly more challenging, but fun as heck.

I want Epic Experiment to be good. Sadly, it isn’t. Every angle I’ve taken with a deck built around it just hasn’t been good. With that said, I won’t give up on it. It’s too sweet! Maybe something with tokens and Burn at the Stake, since there is just no good burn right now.

A Dragon deck? Timmy City! Yeah, that’s going to happen, and will almost certainly involve Descendant’s Path and/or Call to the Kindred. Being able to hide behind an early Slumbering Dragon and possibly cheap blockers like Dragon Hatchling makes this even MORE fun.

@lansdellicious Get a Cryptborn Horror to enter the battlefield with 19 counters on it.
@lacluyze

Dammit Cluze! At least 18 would be reasonable without just being overkill, as it could be a Corpsejack Menace scenario. I’m happy to go for a huge Cryptborn Horror though, but how about we stick with a double-digit P/T so that I’m not winning more/setting myself up for Zealous Conscript beatdown?

@lansdellicious win a game with as many different std legal legends as possible in your deck (aim for at least 10 xD )
@Mildy_Vein

I really like this idea. There are some kick-ass legends in this Standard environment, and enough of them are in red, black and white that I can play Legend Reanimator and not feel bad about it. Griselbrand, Gisela, Avacyn…yeah, this is something I can do.

@lansdellicious achievement, play an fnm with a deck based on each guilds Mechanic.
@IsayTheeNay

Excellent suggestion. Making theme decks can be difficult with mechanics like overload and detain, but I don’t want mono-easy here. Anything that I can do over multiple weeks is going to be fun for sure.

@lansdellicious Play 20 charms in one deck. Possibly include Epic Experiment.
@NewSpectrum

I actually wanted to do this anyway, although some of the charms are just bad sometimes. Maybe just have at least 2 of each charm in the 75. That way I don’t need 4 main-deck Rakdos or Golgari Charm. Epic Experiment was mentioned above, and I don’t think I want it here.

From these suggestions came a few of my own:

Win with a Smitty deck. I have a terrible streak of luck with Jesse’s deck. Either that or they are just terrible. Setting myself a goal to win an FNM with one of his decks should push me pretty hard, especially if I say that I have to take his 75.

Draw 8 cards in a turn with Sphinx of the Chimes. Sphinx is just begging to be used. It says draw four on it! For no mana! I have a couple of ideas here: Gravecrawler, Veilborn Ghoul, Think Twice, even Forbidden Alchemy.

Take an extra turn with Search the City. I think every mad scientist out there wants to do this. It probably has to be in the same deck as Sphinx of the Chimes, to maximise the four-ofs. Misthollow Griffin would appear to be an auto-include here too.

Make 6/6 Pack Rats. This will probably be one of my early decks, because I haven’t had much of a chance to pick up the cards I need from RTR yet. I did open a playset of Pack Rats though, and much of the deck I am planning is relatively cheap. Big rats are big!

Kill someone with only damage from Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord. Being able to recur him and use his ability more than once in a turn make this a little easier than it might appear. Adding in some scavenge elements and Gavony Township will make for a fun deck at the very least!

Challenge Accepted!

This all gets underway this week at our first Standard FNM with RTR. I expect a lot of people will be playing their decks for Provincials, meaning I will be in for a rough ride (I am judging the event). I’m thinking I will go with a Rats Scavenge deck with Jarad, Splinterfright, Ghoultree and maybe Boneyard Wurm. Hopefully I will open some Lotleth Trolls between now and then!

I am really looking forward to trying to work with these achievements and have some fun at FNM while still trying to win. Like I said earlier, feel free to put suggestions for more achievements in the comments section. The more the merrier!

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