60 Card Challenge

Chewie realized that all of his casual multiplayer decks ran anywhere from 61-65 cards. This is the chronicle of how he managed to get them all down to 60 cards, as well as any other changes he made along the way. Hopefully you’ll be able to learn something along with him.

The MassKill Evolution: Step 1 – 60CC

Wrath of God 1

Welcome back to another edition of the 60 Card Challenge! For those joining us for the first time, let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. A while back I realized that all my casual 60 card decks seemed to hover between 61-65 cards, and it was killing me. So I started to make the hard cuts and document them all, hoping to find some shareable lessons or deckbuilding truisms or something. While I was at it, I also kept track of any updates I made to throw those into the discussion as well.

But that’s not all we’re gonna do with the deck this time.  Note how it says Step 1 up there in the title.  But I’m going to take a cue from my rambling cohost and be all cryptic about it for now, so you’ll just have to keep reading.  Now that we’re all up to speed, let’s talk about the deck.

I did a pretty in-depth Cardshark article on the evolution of my MassKill deck way back in 2008. If you’d like to read it, it’s right here. Hey, there’s actually an even older one from the deck’s infancy in 2004 right here. For those that don’t want to take the time, I’ll recap quickly. Try to keep up.


The Deck
Originally, I wanted to build a deck that made Wrath effects asymmetrical. Mind you, this was a very long time ago. There was no Undying. There wasn’t even Persist! I had the Penumbra dudes. Their shadows jump out at you when they die, which is just terrifying! Then I had the Symbiotic dudes, who have a serious bug problem. I don’t wanna off your guy, his killer head lice will attack me! Ew!  But that was about it.

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60CC – Scars are Sexy

Kulrath KnightWelcome to another edition of the 60 Card Challenge!  This is a series of articles where I (Chewie, in case you missed the link up there that says “by Chewie”) discuss my previous inability to have 60 card decks.  Since I play almost exclusively multiplayer, I felt that I could get away with having more cards in my deck because I usually had more time to draw out of any problems.  Well that’s just sloppy.  So a long time ago, I started going through all my decks, determined to get them all down to 60 cards.  While I was at it, I kept a record of any changes I made to them, whether it involved getting them down to 60 or not.  In fact, I still keep track of changes I make so I can include them in these articles.  I decided to start every deck with 22 lands (I know it doesn’t seem like enough but I needed a baseline from which to start, and we are talking multiplayer casual here) and go from there.  At the end, I’ll finish up with any lessons I might have learned about the deck, casual deckbuilding in general, or even myself as a player.  Now, on to this edition’s deck!


The Deck
I don’t know about you guys, but I really loved the Shadowmoor side of Lorwyn.  I mean it, it was awesome.  I loved the way it was a twisted image of Lorwyn.  I loved the insane things you could do with all the hybrid mana.  And I really loved Wither and Persist along with the running gag of -1/-1 counters.  When I saw Kulrath Knight I very nearly pooped myself, I’m not gonna lie.  What?  I’m a grown man, shut up.

Anyway.  I thought it was great that I could instantly pacify an opponent’s creature just by giving it a -1/-1 counter.  That just seemed like way too much fun, so I proceeded to build a deck around this whole theme.  At first, basically everything came from Shadowmoor, since it was the latest block and where the counter theme was strongest.  Here’s the deck, before I move on.

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60CC – Unblockable

Covert OperativeFirst off, here’s a quick refresher on what the 60 Card Challenge is all about. A long while back, I realized that almost all of my casual multiplayer Magic decks were hovering anywhere from 62-65 cards. That bothered me on a professional level. So I grabbed a pen, a notebook, and my massive box of decks and decided to cut them all down to 60 cards. As a baseline, I would start each deck with 22 land unless I felt it needed more or less after playing. While I was digging through the decks making cuts I also did some updating. I kept a record of all of this, and continue to do so as I make changes. I’ll explain the underlying process behind every change I make. Hopefully there will be some form of lesson to be learned from each deck’s evolution. Okay, refresher over.

The Deck
A very, very long time ago I saw the Covert Operative and his unblockable brothers. And then I saw an Isochron Scepter with a pump spell on it, and a light bulb came on above my head. I built an entire deck around pump effects and unblockable guys. Looking back, it was admittedly pretty bad, especially for multiplayer. But the idea was there! Lucky for me, I realized how bad it was and went from temporary pump effects to equipment as the source of power boosting! I even wrote an article about that process for Cardshark.

But sadly, that wasn’t so good either. The deck went through several more changes over the years. I wrote another Cardshark article about that – the precursor to the 60 Card Challenge as it stands today. But this isn’t about where the deck has been in the past, this is about where the deck is going now!

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60CC – Crimson 187

Oni of Wild PlacesHoly crap, another 60 Card Challenge! Now that all the coding issues and advertising deals are fixed, we can continue on with business as usual. You’ll notice all these cards have the nifty little card pop-ups and links to Cardshark where users are selling them. Ain’t technology grand?

The last time I wrote one of these here 60 Card Challenges, I had a couple copies of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle that were removed from a deck. I figured this time I’d show you what I did with them, because I’m sure the suspense has been killing you, right? Right? Anyone? …Bueller?


The Deck
Anyway, back in Kamigawa Block, they printed a cycle of creatures that said “At the beginning of your upkeep, return a [this colored] creature you control to its owner’s hand.” When I saw this, I immediately wanted to build a red deck full of 187 creatures to abuse the ability (a black one too, but that’s not important for this particular article). Red has lots of little guys that do some damage when they hit play, right? How awesome! Of course, the red part of this cycle (Oni of Wild Places) costs freakin’ SIX mana, so that made it a little more difficult to abuse. So never mind the abuse, I’ll just build a deck around it. Plus, it seems like every block gives this deck just a little bit more love, so it should be able to adapt and change with the times. And with that, here it is:
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60CC – The Chuck Deck!

Bloodshot Cyclops

There you guys are! I’ve been looking everywhere for you! Where have you been for the last 4 months? I’ve had this decklist and discussion ready to go all this time. Geez, so much for loyalty in readership.

Okay, you got me. I primarily worked on these 60 Card Challenge posts at work during lunch and breaks. Then work picked up and ran, and my computer got co-opted for use on the production floor, so I wasn’t able to do it there anymore. And when I got home the last thing I wanted to do was sit in front of a computer again.

But now I’m unemployed and have nothing but time on my hands, so here I am to start writing again! In my time thus far without a job, I’ve been watching lots of movies, and I just watched the one that originally inspired this next deck. In 2003, Ang Lee released a masterpiece, his take on Marvel’s Green Goliath, Hulk. When I saw Hulk pick up a tank by the turret, spin around, and let it go hammer throw style, I knew I had to do that for myself. After throwing my back out and spending a while in the hospital with gamma radiation poisoning, I decided perhaps an exact duplication wasn’t such a good idea. So I turned to Magic, and thus was born the Chuck Deck! Continue reading »