Network  Jun 9, 2002

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The Tome

A Woman's Touch: Enchantress
  - by Dawn Lorne

I guess I should introduce myself before I get started. My name is Dawn Lorne, and up until three weeks ago I was spending all my time playing Vintage (a.k.a. Type One). I was all warm and cozy playing with my Mana Drains and Mind Twists. I enjoy dropping Moxen just as much as the next girl, probably more. I occasionally played some Standard and frequently drafted, and I even kept up with all the formats being discussed by Magic writers, but Vintage was my bread and butter.

That all changed three weeks ago when I was at a party a friend of a friendís was throwing. I was a long way away from my home in Columbus and I didnít know many people at the party. I kind of wandered around the house for a while listening to the conversations and dancing a few times with the people that I did know. I even got to turn down a few pickup lines. I never was going to actually accept the offers being made, but that sort of thing does tend to be good for a girlís ego. About an hour into the party, I heard a voice coming from a group of ten or twelve guys sitting in the living room. I knew one of the guys because he was the one throwing the party, and that was it. The voice said quite clearly: ďExtended will not be about throwing a bunch of Jackal Pups and Wild Dogs into the Red Zone. Itís going to all be all about preparation and board control. You can target my ass with Tinker if you like, but Iím going to be the guy that comes out on top just like always. Read my goddamn articles Scott. If thereís anyone out there in the world that can say that theyíve logged more hours of Extended testing than me Iíd like to meet him.Ē

This caught my attention. Finally a group of people at this party that I could relate to! I moved in carefully like Laura Croft moving in for the kill. I kind of wished I had those guns of hers (the actual guns, boys, calm down). ďThe key cards are the unsung heroes like Capsize and Powder Keg. People are so focused on Tinker and Reanimator that theyíre getting tunnel vision. I need people who are willing to test some of the stupid-looking decks that I submit to the group, because those are often some of the best decks available anywhere. Iím talking about things like Chimera, Turboland, and maybe even Pandeburst.Ē The guy throwing the party answered: ďWe know that youíre the best Extended player in our group, Tim, so weíll trust your judgment. Just keep in mind that Nationals is our primary concern, so donít expect a lot of help to begin with.Ē

I started putting two and two together. His name was Tim, he played a lot of Extended, and he writes articles. Just earlier that morning I had been reading a rant by a guy named Tim on a website called The Tome about the Extended rotation. Coincidence? Throwing caution to the wind like the rebel I am I walked over to the guy and tapped him on the shoulder. We talked for a moment, and I found out that I had been right! This was Tim Sprague, the guy who wrote the articles on The Tome. He was kind of surprised that someone knew who he was. Really I was surprised that I had remembered his name, too, and even more surprised that I remembered I enjoyed his articles. The guy throwing the party, Dan, joked: ďYou read Timís articles and you actually like his articles? No accounting for taste, I guess.Ē

For the rest of the night I talked with Tim about everything ranging from politics to Magic, especially about Extended. I hadnít played the format much except for the occasional PTQ, so I wasnít completely up-to-date on everything going on. He patiently explained what he thought that the format would look like after the rotation in November. He talked about his theory about the Big Four and how they were already creating a metagame and that the people that said that there was no way to predict the metagame were wrong. Tim made a lot of sense. More than that, he was funny and endearing in a weird sort of way. Maybe there was a game of Magic outside of Limited and Extended after all.

I really wanted this guy to like me. I donít think men will ever understand why we women do the things we do or why we feel the way we feel. I was seeing Tim as someone I wanted to get to know better, much better, but on a deep primal level I was seeing him as prey. The poor guy never had a chance. The problem of course was that he was too shy to make the appropriate move. Before I headed back to Columbus with Denise, I made it quite clear to him that he was going to give me a good-bye kiss, and that the good-bye would be a temporary one. I think he was quite happy to oblige. I really didnít want to leave after that kiss though. I had more interesting ideas. Thereís a time and a place for everything though, and this wasnít the time for any of that.

And thatís how I started saying good-bye to Vintage and hello to Extended.

Even though we donít live close to each other, Tim and I have been together every possible second for the last three weeks. As much as I started out the predator and he the prey, just like every woman begins things like this, I have fallen for him hard. To put it simply Iím in love with him. Our joint passion for Magic has led to a lot of games. Since heís so intent on testing Extended decks Iíve been giving him a hand with that. One night, while he was giving me a shoulder rub I noticed a stack of papers and graphs sitting on the top of his short bookcase. The decklist on the top was a new Extended deck version of Enchantress. Iíve always liked Enchantress. The key cards are all women after all, and Yavimaya Enchantress is one tough chick.

I brought up Enchantress when he visited me at work a few days ago. He was a bit upset that Iíd looked at the papers since his testing group is a bunch of paranoids, but that was just too bad, now wasnít it? He wasnít really mad in any case, and I made it up to him later by helping him with some playtesting. Tim even made a few calls and convinced the rest of his group to let him show me everything they had on the deck, which I thought was rather nice of him. Iím working with this deck.

4 Verduran Enchantress
4 Argothian Enchantress
4 Yavimaya Enchantress
4 Llanowar Elves

4 Hidden Herd
4 Hidden Gibbons
4 Wild Growth
4 Exploration
4 Seal of Strength
4 Rancor

3 Gaeaís Cradle
17 Forest

Itís a nice and flexible deck. A Yavimaya Enchantress is a difficult creature for aggressive decks like Stompy and Sligh to deal with. Hidden Herd and Hidden Gibbons give control something to think about when they want to play a land or counter a spell. My favorite card in the deck though is Argothian Enchantress. Sheís one tough woman, and no one can touch her. If there are any other women reading this Iím sure you can identify with that.

So far Iíve played against Tinker, Welder, Reanimator, The Rock, Chimera, Sligh, Stompy, and Turboland.

Tinker- This is a hard match before sideboarding. After boarding Iíve been using Splinter which makes things a whole lot better. Unfortunately Hibernation is bad news for Enchantress.

Welder- This is a rather odd match. There are times when I gain so much card advantage that Welder is left behind. Sometimes a Masticore gets into play and wrecks me. On the plus side Tangle Wire isnít very much of a concern because of the speed of Enchantress. Splinter once again comes in from the sideboard.

Reanimator- I canít win against a fast Avatar of Woe. Game one is always bad for me even though itís not unwinnable. After sideboarding I bring in Dwell on the Past to put that bitch back in the deck where she belongs. Iíve been considering striping in black for Planar Void in the sideboard and Diabolic Edict in the main, but thatís something I have to test.

The Rock- Probably my worst match. I have to play around Pernicious Deed, and this deck doesnít like to play around anything. I barely ever win game one. Game two is a different story since I bring in Bind. The trick at that point is to work around Spiritmonger by going for multiple Yavimaya Enchantresses. Since Iím drawing so many cards a turn that is rarely a problem. Hidden Herd is also very good for early pressure.

Chimera- This is the most erratic match that Iíve played. There are times when Chimera can just shrug off all the punishment Enchantress can deal to it and go for the combo kill, and there are times when its land base is its own worst enemy and I can do a quick kill. Iíd say that this match is in favor of Enchantress though, as Iíve been going about 60-40 against it.

Sligh- Poor Sligh. It tries so very hard to win against Enchantress but it just canít. While itís possible for Sligh to burn out the Enchantress player with direct damage it also has to race very large Yavimaya Enchantresses and things like Hidden Gibbons. Thatís too much fat for a few Jackal Pups and some Firebolts. Poor Sligh.

Stompy- I think Tim sums up this match the best: ďYour green is better than its green.Ē One of his favorite cards is Pouncing Jaguar even though he doesnít play it much, but heís forced to admit that Enchantress handles the Jaguar and its little friends quite easily. River Boa can be an annoyance, but only until you drop a Rancor on something big.

Turboland- Iíve played against three versions of this deck so far, and none of them are good matches for me. Thatís not to say that the games are unwinnable. Enchantress really does force Turboland to go infinite or lose. That means with a less than stellar draw Turboland can lose to a less than stellar Enchantress draw. Also working in your favor is the difficulty of playing Turboland correctly. If just one mistake is made you can pounce on it and make the Turboland player pay.

Enchantress is going to be a really strong deck if the metagame is a lot of aggressive decks when November rolls around. Tim has mentioned to me in passing that he believes the metagame will be a lot of Stompy, Sligh, and White Weenie to begin with because people are more comfortable playing something aggro when they havenít prepared much. Weíll see about that, but Iím inclined to believe him. Iíve been doing a lot of research into past Extended seasons in the last few weeks, and Iíve noticed that aggro decks comprise a high percentage of tournaments early in the season.

I canít say that Iím missing Vintage all that much. Thereís a bit of a thrill working on decks for a completely new format. Iím also starting to really enjoy Extended as a whole. Itís both broken and balanced at the same time. I canít wait for November to roll around so that I can sit down at my first Extended tournament and show my opponents why the format needed a womanís touch.

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