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The Stupidest Joke in Magic Numerology

Commander / EDH Battlecruiser Control Multiplayer


In the summer of 2017, getting drinks with the playgroup after a long day of smashing commanders at each other, I was struck by a terrible, beautiful idea. To create a deck so stupid, it would be barely functional on paper. A deck so outrageous, it exists beyond the term "power level." A deck with tokens, about tokin', that could only be brainstormed while tokin'.

A deck that seemed impossible to create, but godddamn it, the math just worked out perfectly.

As of 2/8/2018, the reigning champion deck of the EDHChicago.com playgroup.

The rootinest, tootinest, zootinest deck I had ever dreamed of.

This is The Sixty-Nine Four-Twenty Deck.

But what the hell do those numbers mean?

Anyone who has passed through middle school could enlighten you to the significance of the numbers 69 and 420. What do those numbers have to do with this deck, though? Well, that's simple.

There are 69 spells in this deck, all of them CMC either 6 or 9. The total CMC of all these spells, added together, is 420. This comes out to 67 six-drops (402) and two nine-drops (18) for a total of 69 six-and-nine-drops (420).

ONLY six and nine drops? How the hell do you stay alive for that nonsense?

We run some "early game" interaction in the form of discounted wraths: Hour of Revelation has CMC 6, but often will only cost 3. Terminus can be miracled for a single , and one-half-of-our-nine-drops Blasphemous Act will generally only cost . New addition Tetzimoc, Primal Death lets us spend our early mana marking opposing creatures for a later death.

Once we hit six mana, we run close to a complete suite of six-mana wraths to finalize our catch-up. Planar Cleansing and Akroma's Vengeance nuke the whole board (and the latter can cycle if it isn't necessary); Merciless Eviction and Austere Command offer flexibility; Bane of Progress cleans up all opposing mana rocks and whatnot; and Hex is a "wrath" with flavor too good to pass up.

Our final catch-up card Linvala, the Preserver, while less impactful as only a 3-for-1, still offsets some early damage while creating two bodies for the price of six.

But what about ramp?

Morph a Zoetic Cavern, then flip it over the next turn. Or cycle a Shefet Monitor. Bam, six-drop on turn five.

Once we hit six mana, the most important thing to do is reach 12 mana. When almost every spell you draw is powerful on its own, raw card draw isn't as important as being able to do two things in one turn. Rapacious One, Dreamstone Hedron, and Savage Ventmaw help us get to 12, while Lurking Predators, Wild Pair and Sunbird's Invocation are the cheat codes.

Wait... 69 spells means only 31 lands. How the hell you hittin' land drops?

Through the magic of landcycling! There are a whopping 13 cards with CMC six that let you discard them in order to search for a land. While some of these are basic landcycling (Fiery Fall, Sylvan Bounty, and the useful-on-its-own Grave Upheaval), most search for land types, such as the Swampcycling and Islandcycling on Jhessian Zombies. Because of this wording, its important to maximize on duals with land types: ABUR duals, shocks, BFZ tangos, and Amonkhet cyclers all fit the bill. If the budget permitted me, I would upgrade with fetches as well, since those pair naturally with these dual lands, and lets face it we don't really need mana sources 7+ in the late game.

Both cyclers and fetches can power out an early Tasigur, the Golden Fang, too!

With the 13 landcyclers considered, we are at a virtual 44 mana sources, as long as our opening hand contains a minimum of two lands on its own. This deck cannot, ever, under any circumstances, keep a hand with fewer than two lands and at least two landcyclers. Luckily, I have very rarely found this to be a problem in practice.

I like synergy-driven decks, not wacky decks themed around a technical restriction. What kind of synergy can I expect to find among 69 six-and-nine drops?

You would be happy to find out, for those of you who are easily amused (and I don't know why you're still reading if you aren't easily amused), that this deck has a token subtheme. The Locust God and Thopter Assembly are difficult-to-remove threats that leave many little friends behind. Dragonlair Spider and Elspeth, Sun's Champion come with their own armies, and Infernal Genesis will always net us six tokens whenever it flips a spell.

Once we have our tiny army, we can exchange soldiers for beefier opposing creatures with Djinn of Infinite Deceits, or cash them all in for much larger honkies with Synthetic Destiny.

The deck also features one not-quite-infinite combo with Hellkite Charger + Savage Ventmaw . Once they are both swinging, we only need to pay a single generic mana to take an extra combat step, then repeat until tapped out.

Interesting... what other cool stuff can the deck do that other decks can't?

Even though it's almost never trappable, Summoning Trap is our "cantrip," digging seven cards deep for the best creature you can find. We also run the highest impact counterspells in Aethersnatch, Time Stop, and Spelljack. The raw strength of this package makes Torrential Gearhulk more than worth it.

Ethereal Usher is our Demonic Tutor, finding anything our childish heart desires, as long as it isn't Blasphemous Act or Reya Dawnbringer.

Part the Waterveil is my favorite card in the deck, flavor-wise. Not only isn't it a six-drop, but it has an alternate cost of nine! It can sixty-nine itself! Fitting for a spell that takes an extra turn, the most masturbatory effect in Magic.

As mentioned, Reya Dawnbringer is our other nine drop of choice, since we can mathematically only afford to play two and Blasphemous Act is essential for the early game. Other options for this slot during deckbuilding included Artisan of Kozilek, Blazing Archon, Bringer of the Black Dawn (can't bring myself to just run a single piece of the whole cycle), Clone Legion,Colossus of Sardia, Expropriate (I just don't got dang own an extra one!), Rise of the Dark Realms (same), and of course Grozoth.

While it seems like a "just for fun" card, Gate to the AEther skews positively for us the same way Infernal Genesis, Sunbird's Invocation and Sorin, Grim Nemesis will always guarantee great value. We do still run "just for fun" cards with Hive Mind and Knowledge Pool, though the latter is definitely getting cut for an Etali, Primal Storm once I get my hands on an extra.

Almost every creature in the deck has a Wild Pair. Even wacky-ass 5/8 Oblivion Sower can find Wrexial, the Risen Deep!

Shefet Monitor is our best landcycler, being able to instantly fetch out graveyard hate with Scavenger Grounds.

So that's all the flashy stuff. What about the meat and potatoes? (Goddamn I could really go for some meat and potatoes right now)

The best six-drops ever to see print. If it costs six and nets us more than a card, on average, Sixty-Nine Four-Twenty is probably playing it.

Alright, you got me. I'm high on this deck now. Should I bring this deck to my weekly gathering?

If you and your friends just go nuts for extremely immature jokes taken to their logical extreme, this is the deck for you. Provided you can survive and landcycle your way til turn 6 without getting nuked or combo'd, the beats with six-drop upon six-drop upon six-drop are shockingly real. It may seem like an enormous joke (and it is), but don't count it out.

Cup your body and pass the dutchie, cuz The Sixty-Nine Four-Twenty Deck is here to stay.


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