Magic: the Puzzling

Recently, I’ve gotten back into Magic: the Gathering. It’s a very periodic function for me: I love the emergent interactions between a complex ruleset, but then I spend too much time or money and get burnt out. But currently, it’s on the upswing, because I’ve stuck pretty well to my goal: Focus on a single concept that intrigues me. That concept? Thallids!

I’ve played Magic long enough that when Fallen Empires first came out, and they had a faction which was, briefly, sentient masses of fungus originally bred for food, which had turned against their creators. So, cool story hooks, Check. Then, the mechanics supporting them were great: Every thallid grew (got a counter) every turn, and when they got enough, the counters budded off into new monsters called Saprolings, or into poisonous darts, or whatever. They even had an elvish farmer which could convert them into Life points– their original function, story-wise. This meant that they worked very well together, and had an almost organic exponential rise to their strength. Well, at least in theory. In practice, they weren’t strong enough quickly enough, and were quickly overwhelmed but just about anything else.

Cue some months ago, when I reapproached magic: In the intervening years, new cards featuring Thallids and Saprolings had been printed. Some new, good cards. So I’ve rebuilt a Thallid-centric deck, and while it’s not complete, it’s gotten fairly decent (if still a little slow). I started with the awesome Fun with Fungus Deck (guess I wasn’t the only one to love Thallids), and have been modifying it slowly.

Some Cards in the Deck:
Elvish Farmer
Night Soil
Deathspore Thallid
Thelon of Havenwood
Thallid Germinator
Pendelhaven Elder
Savage Thallid
Sporesower Thallid
Thallid Shell-Dweller
Golgari Rot Farm
Verdant Embrace
Sporoloth Ancient
Doubling Season

I’d like to add:
Thelonite Hermit
Coat of Arms

Any Magic geeks out there with other improvements?

9 Responses to “Magic: the Puzzling”

You might find other useful cards among the Golgari and Selesnya Guilds in the Ravnica block. A few that come to mind are Selesnya Evangel, Selesnya Guildmage, Vitu-Ghazi the City tree and Glare of Subdual if you are looking to bleed white into it. They definitely go more with the Saproling theme than the Thallid theme, but then again Thallids can do fun things with Saprolings. A really good search engine for magic cards is . They can really help you out. Other generic cards that go well with tribal themed decks are Brass Herald, Alpha Status, and Door of Destinies, but note for Door of Destinies playing a spell and putting a creature into play are two different things. Anyhow, just a few thoughts for you to consider.


Nate - May 14th, 2008 at 12:47 pm

Yeah, what he said.

I was going to suggest brass herald or coat of arms. But I dont know if I want to help make that deck any better 😉

flakeytheleper - May 14th, 2008 at 3:50 pm

I found another great one:
Primal Forcemage

I may succumb to my weakness and grab a few of these from (thanks for alerting me to its existence, Nate!).

Also, I had pulled the Herd Gnarrs out of my deck, but now I’m thinking of putting them back, even if they aren’t Thallids. Oh, the decisions!

Paradoxdruid - May 14th, 2008 at 11:55 pm

I always find a home in my Thallid decks for a sprout swarm or two. Its a great end of turn trick to get a out a few more Saprolings. If you do bleed into white I would suggest the Utopia Mycon it might help with color fixing.

Gilvoro - June 5th, 2008 at 8:33 am

Thanks for the suggestion, Gilvoro- for that extra Sprout goodness, I ended up putting in 3 Thelonite Hermits. The best change was adding in 4 Putrefy, though– that card is so cheap for what it does.

In a sealed deck recently, I got an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and a Nightmare, which were used to great effect. I’m tempted to throw them into the Thallid Deck, because why not?

Paradoxdruid - June 5th, 2008 at 10:46 am

I picked up Reiner Knezia’s non-collectible magic clone _Blue Moon_ on Tanga a week or so ago. Anybody want to give it a try when it comes?

Ted - June 5th, 2008 at 11:41 am

Blue Moon does look interesting, but I think my favorite part of magic is making the custom decks, so I’m not sure how much it would appeal. Maybe we could try it out at PaulCon?

Paradoxdruid - June 6th, 2008 at 2:48 pm

You can do custom decks in Blue Moon, it just ships with pre-built decks to start with. Our time at PaulCon is pretty limited this year, so probably not then, unfortunately. We’ll find some once you’re less busy. 🙂

Ted - June 6th, 2008 at 4:43 pm

Maybe if I hadn’t already spent a bit of time and energy into getting to know and enjoy Magic, something like Blue Moon would interest me more… but I really enjoy the versatility of Magic, and the Magic decks I’ve built, that it would seem kind of silly for me to play a non-collectible magic clone when I could instead play a game of Magic with my favorite customized deck. Just my two cents…

On another Magic note, I’ve really enjoyed some of the Magic games I’ve played lately, in particular a 5-person game that actually worked out pretty well. Each person had two allies and two enemies — the two people immediately to their left and right were allies, while the two across were enemies. It lead to some interesting dynamics, and made it really tough when one of my allies got taken out first because then I was the only one fighting against one of my enemies. Anybody else played some fun multiplayer Magic games? Any tips for not letting it get too slow?

teisha - June 8th, 2008 at 12:50 am

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