Thank you for stopping by.

I first became acquainted with Magic: The Gathering during Alpha set. After that initial foray where I was introduced by a neighbor to the game, I didn’t play again until the Tempest block. Then I took a long, 20 year hiatus until 2019 when another neighbor reinvigorated my desire to play by urging me to buy some Dominaria and Core 19 packs for a friendly draft. Since then I’ve found myself addicted to deck building.

I prefer traditional formats like Vintage/Legacy/Modern/Standard/Pauper as opposed to this zany, newfangled “Commander” format all the kids are raving about.

I lean toward the / end of the color spectrum; preferred hubs are Reanimator and any type of build that uses uncommon or otherwise off the wall strategies or win-cons.

God I miss the old artwork and flavor text from the older expansions; some of the new stuff is half decent but it doesn’t hold a candle to the gorgeous art of cards like those found in the Arabian Nights expansion or Mirage block. And then there’s the classical literary quotes on cards like Repentant Blacksmith, Juzam Djinn, Hammerheim, Karakas, Pendelhaven, Revelation...the list goes on! I weep softly when I realize just how lackluster today’s MtG sets are in this respect, by comparison. But, I digress.

Feel free to leave any comments or questions you may have on any of my decks; all upvotes are much appreciated as well.

Balaam__ says... #1

No problem Optimator. You build a lot of good stuff and I’m always on the lookout for new ideas to incorporate into my own decks, and any ways to improve my win rate.

November 29, 2022 9:26 a.m.

Optimator says... #2

Thanks for the up-votes!

November 29, 2022 1:38 a.m.

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Said on Balaam__...


No problem Optimator. You build a lot of good stuff and I’m always on the lookout for new ideas to incorporate into my own decks, and any ways to improve my win rate.

November 29, 2022 9:26 a.m.

As DreadKhan mentioned, Sol Ring is banned in Legacy. Usually the site is pretty good at emboldening banned cards in red, but I guess this one slipped by.

That said, there’s a lot good here but some not so good. You have a fairly good grasp on exactly what you want your deck to do, which is key, but I think some card choices don’t fit well in the greater scheme of things even if they possess theoretical utility.

Protean Thaumaturge and Copy Enchantment are questionable. There are too few Enchantments in the deck to make either viable; Protean Thaumaturge is essentially useless unless you successfully resolve an Enchantment, of which there are only 12–and your opponent is likely going to view this possibility as a distinct threat, holding counter magic in reserve (particularly if they’ve already cast a powerful creature threat of their own).

At 4 copies, Copy Enchantment is already in and of itself a full third of your total Enchantment count, which make the odds of effectively utilizing it diminished. If you can fulfill the criteria to cast it and have it resolve, all well and good, but if not you’re stuck holding a dead card. Imagine an opening hand with one or even two copies.

Ensoul Artifact and Arcane Flight are both great choices that offer immediate, tangible results. I’d recommend cutting the other cards I mentioned earlier and replacing them with with something else. Good countermagic comes to mind, as since you’re in and in the format with arguably the best countermagic, there really isn’t a good reason not to run it. It’ll create opportunities to stop the opposing player from removing your own key pieces, as well as open the door for you to preemptively eliminate big plays on their side.

November 28, 2022 11:39 p.m.

@Gidgetimer There’s a George V/Royal Assassin joke in there somewhere.

Edit—…too soon?

November 26, 2022 8:02 p.m. Edited.

I wonder if halfway across the world there are backgammon players mulling over the idea of incorporating mechanics from Magic: the Gathering into their game

Edit-Oh darn, the little thinking face emoji doesn’t show up:/

November 26, 2022 8:16 a.m. Edited.

Said on Monopoly...


No problem. I was thinking of building a Temur variant based on this for Modern. Black Market Tycoon + Freed from the Real could do some really degenerate stuff.

November 25, 2022 10:59 a.m.

Said on 101% Mono Black …...


Thanks Epicurus, and I appreciate the suggestion too. I’ll add Priest of Forgotten Gods to the maybeboard for the eventual revision.

Edit-it’s literally not letting me save the deck after adding the card. No idea what’s going on. I’ll try again later.

November 24, 2022 2:11 p.m. Edited.

Said on Xalph...


Decks including known banned cards really ought to be tagged as Casual. You may not care about the illegal card(s), but plenty of users on this site view other people’s decks for the possibility of improving their own in a given format.

November 23, 2022 3:40 p.m.

Said on 101% Mono Black …...


Thanks Oldcrow80, much appreciated!

November 23, 2022 11:38 a.m.

Said on 101% Mono Black …...


@Chasmolinker ah, thanks for the recommendations. I don’t think Infernal Grasp had come out when I built this, but it’s definitely worth considering over Cast Down. I think I had Cast Down here as a remnant of an earlier Pauper draft I wasn’t able to get working, but with the multitude of Legendary creatures in Modern I agree Infernal Grasp is a better choice. I’ll maybeboard it for now until the overhaul process. Thanks!

November 23, 2022 10:57 a.m.

@sergiodelrio thanks, and thanks for the suggestions too! I went ahead and added Profane Command to the maybeboard for now. That was a card I overlooked back when I built this, and maybe it is worth including. I happen to have a few too, if I recall. I’ll probably eventually give this deck an overhaul, at which point it might find a spot.

November 23, 2022 10:53 a.m.

Said on Mono-Black Burn?...


@hiddengibbons that’s clever, I completely overlooked treasure tokens as a way to pay the flashback cost without adding .

November 22, 2022 10:24 a.m.

Said on Mono-Black Burn?...


Great build. I have a Modern version that works well, and I’ve tried my hand at a Pauper format variant too but I wasn’t able to get it off the ground. You have some interesting and effective card choices here (Qarsi Sadist among others) I hadn’t considered.

November 21, 2022 2:36 p.m.

Said on The Kingdom of …...


Excellent deck description. If this is specifically a flavor/lore build, that’s fair enough.

But if you intend to actually sit down and play this in Legacy as-is, you will likely be massacred primarily because of the card count. Trimming this down to exactly 60 cards is the best possible advice. Consistency will exponentially improve, and you’ll be far less likely to encounter mana drought in your opening draw.

November 19, 2022 4:46 p.m.

Hm, I was going to link the only deck you have listed on your page for you, but it’s entirely blank. You may have to add it again.

November 14, 2022 8:39 a.m.

While it’s randomized as to what’s discarded, you get to repeat that process as many times as you want to/are able. With the option to tutor your wincons to hand, it’s just a matter of discarding enough times until you hit one. Couple that with the fact you’re likely to have less than your starting 7 cards in hand, and odds go up you’ll discard what you want to. It isn’t a perfect system, but this was never intended to be a tier 1 deck.

November 13, 2022 6:25 p.m.

@Batman18 Are you referring to the ‘discard at random’ part of Kindle the Carnage’s rules text?

November 13, 2022 6:10 p.m.

@Batman18 Dovin's Veto is viable I suppose, but I’d rather have the ability to counter anything. I think it outweighs the guaranteed success that Dovin's Veto offers in exchange for only taking care of non-creature spells. Although if you know in advance what threats you’re facing in a given matchup, you may want to switch them out after all.

November 13, 2022 3:55 p.m.

Thanks Chasmolinker, I’m definitely still looking for feedback on this one. I’ve received a bunch of great suggestions but since getting a PS5 I haven’t given this one much time. Still planning on a complete overhaul at some point.

November 11, 2022 1:51 p.m.


Modern Problems Require Modern Solutions

Modern Balaam__


Ferngully (Help Wanted!)

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Altar of Despair

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Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny

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Trouble at the Old Mill!

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Exham Priory

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Geralf’s Walk-In Clinic

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Darwin’s Dirty Onus

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Finished Decks 105
Prototype Decks 11
Drafts 0
Playing since Tempest
Points 1130
Avg. deck rating 19.47
T/O Rank 28
Helper Rank 24
Favorite formats Legacy, Vintage, Modern, Pauper
Suppressed formats Pre-release, MTGO, Unformat, Heirloom, Commander / EDH, Noble, Hero, Block Constructed, Duel Commander, Tiny Leaders, Highlander, Magic Duels, Penny Dreadful, Leviathan, 1v1 Commander, Pauper EDH, Canadian Highlander, Brawl, Arena, Oathbreaker, Historic, Commander: Rule 0
Cards suggested / good suggestions 136 / 106
Venues Tales of Adventure
Last activity 14 hours
Joined 3 years