So there’s a Magic: The Gathering Movie in the works and everyone from pros, to casuals, former players to current ones and even WOTC employees and the artists are all thinking the same thing: CASTING. Who will play Jace? Who will play Karn? Who will play Fblthp? (My votes on these go: Joseph Gordo-Levitt – yes I call him Gordo, Vin Diesel, and Bobcat Goldthwait, respectively.)
I can tell one thing, artists have been thinking about the Magic movie since the game’s inception. You can tell because they’ve been not-so-secretly casting actors and celebrities to play the parts of legendary creatures in their cards since there has been such thing as a legendary creature. But is anyone really interested in a movie about Marhault Elsdragon starring the always questionably hair-plugged John Travolta? No, of course not. That sounds terrible. But what about some other Legends who resemble celebs? Could their movies turn out to be the cash-cow Hasbro is looking for? Let’s check out 5 commanders who look like celebrities and then build a deck around the one we think is the least terrible.
Odric, Master Tactician – Sean Connery
This is the classic as far as I’m concerned. Sean Connery as Odric leading an army of soldiers into battle against some evil presence, probably something that looks like orcs but we’re not going to call them orcs because we don’t want to be accused of ripping off LOTR even though we fully are. Not a terrible pitch, but we can’t use Connery as Odric, because this movie would have to end up with Odric deciding for the orcs that they just wouldn’t block/fight back and the movie would only last as long as it takes for 3 other dudes to join him.
Anafenza, the Foremost – Lena Dunham
I’d watch a movie about Anafenza just to see Lena Dunham ride a chariot pulled by goats, so I’m going to say this sounds strong to me. I’m not so sure about the clause that I’m positive Lena would write into the contract however; that Anafenza must get sloppily nude at least once in the film. I mean, I’m all for getting tastefully nude, but something about the proximity to the goats is making me uneasy. Wait, the goats are always naked! Lena will LOVE this!
Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts – Aubrey Plaza
When it comes to an actor who;s mastered looking bored and angry sitting in a chair, look no further than grumpy cat’s human form, Aubrey Plaza. Her job on Parks & Rec was to basically act as disinterested as possible and if I can judge anything about the character of Teysa by purely going on the art from her card and not reading any of the books or anything, it’s that she is mighty indifferent about most things – especially that chair and possibly even that old cane she is holding. But does all this add up to a Blockbuster film? Probably not, right?
Daxos of Meletis – Fat Jason Momoa
Big Daddy Daxos, or more like Big Dad-Body Daxos could easily be an action star, we just need to get Momoa to eat nothing but burritos and spray cheese for a few months first. Look I’m not saying Daxos is fat, but when he took his shirt off Elspeth tried to jump behind him and choke him out with a chain. Seriously folks, Daxos is so fat when Olivia Voldaren bit him she got diabetes. For real, the guy gets no respect, no respect at all.
Johan – Darth Maul mixed with Avatar, the Last Airbender
Gone are the days when you could ask a 7th grader to draw you a picture of a “rude demon”, put it on a magic card where the colours make no sense and have an ability that I get tired of trying to understand about 2 seconds into reading it. No, nowadays the people in charge of Magic make sensible creatures like Chromanticore and make reasonable abilities like Annihilator. Seriously, the text on this card is so brutal whoever writes the Oracle text couldn’t even figure out how to just say “Creatures you control get Vigilance if Johan is untapped” without their head turning into a mashed turnip. I don’t want to make a movie about this card based purely on spite.
Veldrane of Sengir – Joan Jett/Chrissy Hynde/Pat Benatar/Callisto from the 90’s X-Men cartoon
In a bizarre chain of events, if Wizards really wanted to mess everything up, they could go a real “The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus” route and have this obscure character played by 3 former rock goddesses and a fairly obscure cartoon character. Now THIS is the movie I want to see. Admittedly, there’s never ever been a good movie made with the word “Imaginarium” in it’s title, but I think this time it could work. “The Imaginarium of Veldrane of Sengir” is a title that just screams TAKE MY MONEY, does it not?
So which one of these magnificently bad movie ideas/celebrities should I build a budget deck for? Well I’m going to go with Lena Dunham and her nude goats for what I think are pretty obvious reasons. Despite the pure bliss that making a deck around Veldrane would be, I’ll pick something that you may actually be able to win with once and a while.
Lena Dunham as Anafenza in NUDE GOATS, the Magic: the Gathering Movie
So Anafenza likes to attack, place counters on things, and she doesn’t let our opponents’ creatures hit the graveyard, so naturally, lets get some things that care about counters, let us attack and kill the other guys’ creatures.
So let’s start things off by playing to the Abzan colours’ strengths and build around token producing and mass +1/+1 counter addition. This is something Green & White love to do and since we have access to black, let’s add some sacrifice benefit since that also synergizes with our token theme. We’ll sac tokens to draw cards and also to force our opponents to sacrifice their creatures. Finally, we’ll use some creatures like Abzan Falconer to give our team a mass ability like flying and see everyone just sail over our opponents and put them out of their misery.
Of course since we’re in green, ramp should be no problem, especially when we get great synergy out of cards like Gyre Sage and Fertilid. The more counters the better on these guys and Fertilid even takes advantage of Bolster triggers which generally look pretty weak in EDH.
As far as token producers go, it just doesn’t get too much better these days than Mycoloth. Since his reprinting in C15, he’s had a drop in price, and really, if you’re running a sacrifice/tokens build, you just can’t go wrong with the big fungus. Other budget token makers I love are Conqueror’s Pledge, Mobilization, and since we need to represent Lena’s goats, Springjack Shepherd. Goats are a bit of a theme in this deck and when I say “theme” I mean “joke”.
So with an army of tokens, and probably a lot of other guys, the best thing to do is mass pump them all and swing for the win, right? Well, since this strategy tends to ramp up instead of explosively going off in one turn, we’ll take a lot of creatures that add incremental value to the creatures we have out on our board. Something like Elite Scaleguard or the aforementioned Abzan Falconer do a good job of arriving on the battlefield and letting you win of you have a decent state already, but they also add value to your board state as you get ready to swing for the win with adding damage over many turns and even Outlasting. Crowned Ceratok is another solid way to add evasion to your creatures with counters and once you get your Bloodspore Thrinax up and running, everything is huge anyways, so let the nude goats run free!
Finally, you’re not always going to be on the attack in EDH. We know this, Lena Dunham knows this, and certainly Butcher of Malakir knows this. Naturally, since Anafenza sports a Junk/Abzan colour scheme we’ve included some sacrificing effects that work well with our numerous tokens. Sac outlets like Viscera Seer and Ashnod’s Altar are staples in the format and Butcher of Malakir (played by Adam Driver? Nice Girls synergy there.) and Dictate of Erebos help us out when the board stalls and/or we’re staring down any hexproof voltron generals.
A few hidden gems that help keep this deck competitive but also under $50 are Palace Siege – now you can sac your non-token creatures too, End Hostilities – arguably better than Wrath of God in decks not running much equipment and Titania’s Boon – not a super powerful effect, but one you will often wish you had in this deck. Put those beside limited all stars like High Sentinels of Arashin, Ainok Bond-Kin and Abzan Battlepriest and you have a sub $50 deck that can swing with the big boys in your playgroup. Also you can act out a weird movie starring Lena Dunham as Anafenza, Adam Driver as the Butcher of Malakir, a host of goats and Andy Serkis as the lovable Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest! You’re Welcome, HOLLYWOOD.