Best posts made by Shaman Ben
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Preface to a Series of Crimes:

This is the first in a series of appendices intended to supplement and slowly transmogrify the primer of my good friend @thecravenone into a work all my own, in my usual subtle yet entertaining fashion. This mirrors my time with the deck itself, which I started playing after @JACO crushed me with his version in round one of Vintage Champs in 2015. Since that day I have not played another vintage deck. My life and love belong to 2 Card Monte.

My list, which I will vaguely reference throughout my supplemental material:

Addendum One: Goblin Welder is Not Your Friend

When you were young, you always felt like an outcast. The world was trying to dress you in the trappings of a life that did not fit you. To mold you into something else. Something ugly. Something uniform. You cursed silently and tried to resist, but each day took more from you. It was tearing you apart, and forcing the pieces back together to form some caricature of you that you could not recognize or embrace. It was slow torture and soon there would be nothing of you left. Just the shell of who you could have been forced into being what their world decided.

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Things changed the day you met Goblin Welder.

You were standing by yourself outside of a Mirrodin concert, trying not to look nervous or out of place. Feeling like an impostor, you felt only panic as the grimiest little guy in the street came charging your way. He was bellowing Agnostic Front lyrics and stomping about with questionable balance. He thrust a Mindslaver full of an unknown substance at your face, and you had no choice but to drink it. It burned as it went down, but with the warmth came inebriation. Fast and strong, it was a welcome departure from the emotions twisting about inside you like Teferi’s Puzzle Box. You would not remember much from that night, a theme that would recur throughout the years you would spend together. His methods and madness would rattle you like the Chains of Mephistopheles but they would leave you feeling alive.

From that day on you ran the scene together. You were unstoppable. A Juggernaut tearing through the walls that used to contain you. The world was yours. Side by side, your companionship was forged in darksteel and penned in aether. It felt like it would last forever, like nothing could knock you from the high of endless nights of consuming Serum Powder and Thousand-Year Elixir. The spirit of Lin-Sivvi was coursing through your veins.

When you were an Apprentice Wizard it was easy to ignore the writing on the walls as you tore them down like a Dwarven Demolition Team. Every moment was a new opportunity, and consequences never manifested if you did not look too closely. Never mind that the path was paved with problems, you had to keep charging into the light. It was more important to escape the darkness than face the music.

Punk Rock forever.

Each passing sunset made it a little harder to disregard the price of your friendship. The freedom you felt at his side began to show the true cost. He was always taking your things. Sometimes your nice things. Sometimes things you needed. Things you cherished. And he was trading them for things he told you that you wanted. That you could not live without. Things that he needed. His next fix. He was giving you the refuse from his crime-laden lifestyle and making you an accomplice. You could only turn a blind eye and swallow the truth for so long. Your Limited Resources were strained. Soon they would be One with Nothing.

Times were changing. Your battle raged on, but the more you pushed against the Rule of Law the more you were left with only Exhaustion. The purpose of the fight had become so hazy that you could no longer be sure there was an enemy. You began to question why you were fighting at all. The spirit of resistance dwindled. You were working too hard and accomplishing too little.

Things had to change.

When Goblin Welder got locked up, it was a breath of fresh air. You took a job at the Bazaar of Baghdad to try and get your things together. After some courses at the Tolarian Academy, you established yourself in a real career working for Mishra. By the time you went out on your own and founded Gifts Ungiven incorporated, your reckless Goblin friend was a fading memory.

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We will fast forward through the years to last week, when Goblin Welder showed up unannounced to your Suburban home front to the extreme discomfort of your new and rather conservative wife.

At first, you are elated to see your old friend. Sealed away in the confines of nostalgia, you remember him as a safe, fun-loving brother from your Glory days. You recall things being much better than they were, and you are excited to catch up and maybe even get a taste of your former life.

So you spend an evening pounding beers and trying to keep him quiet as he tells stories that make your new spouse cringe and send you into a panic as you worry about your kids overhearing his steady stream of profanity and vulgarity as they are supposed to be asleep down the hall. You drop numerous hints that it is time to wrap things up. He has a comfortable disregard for your prodding and your wife’s discomfort, and after a few more beers he cannot possibly manage to get anywhere safe.

So he is sleeping on your couch.

He will be gone in the morning.

But when you get home from work the next day, there he is, cutting out lines of Serum Powder in front of your mother in law talking about the time you stole Squee’s Toy and hid it in the private chambers of the Adventurer’s Guildhouse after properly compensating Rubinia Soulsinger. As you erupt in anger to keep him from providing the most intimate details of your past in front of your nearby children, too overwhelmed to begin addressing the open use of substances in front of your family, he stares at you in disappointment.

His feelings are hurt.

He tells you that you have changed, and sulks off into the living room. He plops down on your couch as you follow him, wondering if he is right, too rattled to know what to do. Your new life is a little too close to the molded shell they were making for you when you met him, but it is a hell of a lot better than waking up smelling of vomit and holding your head to keep it from throbbing, trying to figure out where you are as you stumble out of an abandoned warehouse near the Rishadan Port.

Youth has its place. And that place is the past.

You try to explain things to him, and he pretends to understand, but the conversation is distant and full of unspoken resentment on both ends. He agrees to pack his things and head out the next day, telling you about a fishing trip he has planned with Karn, Silver Golem that he was going to drag you along on as a surprise for your upcoming birthday, despite the fact that your birthday was a month ago. You begrudgingly agree to let him stay one more night in exchange for his promise to reign in his behavior, knowing well that you are already in over your head with your family for his exploits.

You look in on him from the kitchen as he drinks a bottle of your expensive scotch on your couch, dripping it down his GG Allin shirt that smells like it has not been washed since before the Time Spiral. It is a sad sight on tired eyes.

They say Legends never die. But let’s face it. The last thing your successful and happy life needs is an old legend bringing up the time you snorted Serum Powder off the belly of the Masked Gorgon to get so snow blind that she could not turn you to stone. Even as you reflect on this you have to worry that he is working on trading your four door sedan that you use to drop your kids off to school for a Goblin Charbelcher, unaware that you no longer keep a stock of green mana around to fire it up by the pool. With any luck he has not already turned your lawn mower into some ticking gnomes or traded your satellite dish for a darksteel reactor. There is just no place in your life for Goblin Welder.
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Let go of the past. Punk is dead.

To Sum things up in a more direct manor, Goblin Welder does not make the cut these days. He is a liability at best. I played him for too long, trying to make him good, but it was more work than it was worth. He is at his best if they kill or counter him, fearing him from some memory reflex instead of practical application.

You are playing Leyline of the Void, making him worse against your opponent at least some of the time. Removal in main decks increases every day, and even when the Shops deck does not shut him down with a Revoker they shoot him with a Ballista. Goblin Welder is a weapon of the past, better left to rest in memory than tarnish in resurrection.

Next up will be addendum 2, the Draw 7 Diatribe, but I think this is as much as I have in me for the morning.

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I will play 2 card monte in any and every environment. If I knew everyone was packing 4 null rods, I would still play it. As such, my opinion about its positions is at least a little biased, if not down right insane. I am not going to win many games playing safe and strategic magic. I am going to win by killing someone on turn one while they still have a null rod in hand. I am going to win by destroying null rod with ancient grudge. I am even going to win by playing a painters servant, naming blue, and then casting demonic consultation for the last remaining red elemental blast in my deck. If it is not in the first six cards, I will red blast the fuck out of that null rod and grindstone my fiendish opponent for bringing such an offensive little weapon to this battle for justice and the future of our delicate species.

posted in TheManaDrain Metadiscussion read more


Most decks cannot stand up on their own as it is.

They are propped up by shoddy foundations that will inevitably collapse on their own.

Building them to be "collapsible" is going to get someone hurt.

It is poor judgment and I urge you to reconsider your request. Think of the peasants.

posted in Vintage News read more

First, we played Dark Depths with Vampire Hexmage. But that was not good enough. So we started playing it with Thespian's Stage, and that was not good enough either. So we decided to make it cost a little more and have less stability and play it with Solemnity, and no matter how bad that was we could at least talk about if not terribly execute the plan with Mirage Mirror.

But none of this was enough.

So now, we are going to play our own, hate card, play dark depths, and destroy our hate card to get MARIT LAGE!

You people sure like to work hard at things.

Before anyone figures it out, I am going to let you in on the next piece of brilliant and unexplored bit of Dark Depths Technology.

For 30 mana spread out over however many turns you can manage to live, you can summon MARIT LAGE with only one card!

But how you ask?

The options are limitless.

Modern uses some combo from Hour of Devastation and Devoted Druid to create infinite mana. Why not make just 30 and summon MARIT LAGE?

You could Animate a Worldgorger Dragon. I have killed people with Caller of the Claw and 20,666 bears, why not Marit Lage?

You could cast power artifact on your basalt monolith and pretend you are playing oldschool, making MARIT LAGE the newest pair of shoes on the power line.

If you gain enough life, its reasonable to cast channel and summon Marit Lage in exchange for 30 life.

Only you can prevent forest fires. Dont get caught up trying to summon Marit Lage to do so.

posted in Vintage News read more

I enjoyed the part where you discussed my win at the Team Serious Invitational. Mostly because I like to hear about me. Great work as always gentlemen.

posted in Vintage Community read more

I updated my blog tonight, talking about mono green in Oldschool. Hardly vintage, but all community. If 93/94 magic is your thing, you could probably read worse words. Because mine are fucking awesome.

Love you all.

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posted in Vintage Community read more

I want to play with 4 copies of channel.

I want to play with 4 copies of demonic consultation.

I will not say whether or not these are good ideas, but they would make vintage more enjoyable for me, as I try very hard to make things less enjoyable for my opponent.

posted in Off-Topic read more

MTG Underground

Posted in my blog today. Oldschool tournament report from the Oldschool Players Ball. Not vintage content, but a worthwhile read for likeminded folk.

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MTGO does not work for me. It takes away too much of what drives me to play. I appreciate that it exists for other people, but the thing that keeps me playing vintage is our monthly gatherings and community. If not for that, i would probably just be playing oldschool at my house.

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I played a build of this deck to a 5-1 finish at our local Vintage today, losing the first round to shops on the draw, then beating Oath twice, Landstill twice, and finally the other 5-1 Pyromancer deck. I likely would have beat shops on the play and the other matches never felt close.

This is the list I played:

I recognize that Slimefoot is just gratuitous, but I said I was going to play it and I held to my word. I would definitely like to play Leovold in that slot. The sideboard can use some work.

posted in Vintage Community read more

I build decks.

As in, I am an Exterior Carpenter, quite literally a deck builder. I routinely make magic related jokes at work, which no one understands, and often make building trade references when discussing cards, which is also usually lost in the noise. But it amuses me endlessly.

posted in Vintage Community read more


Greatest victory ever.

When Brian Oathed up Emrakul, I stole his Griselbrand, drew 14 cards, played enough permanents to survive the annihilator 6, block his Emrakul with his Griselbrand, and still finish him off with Grindstone. I was very drunk, but it was glorious. 2 Card Monte for life.

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@nedleeds If you just started playing mental misstep, you could use it to counter all the missteps that are keeping it down. The solution is probably more missteps not less. Think of mental misstep as Malort. Sure Malort is terrible, especially if you just sample it occasionally or have some asshole force it on you. But if you get your own bottle, and you start forcing it on others, before long you find that it is not only fulfilling, but actually rather enjoyable.

Mental Misstep, the Malort of Counter Magic.

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This is an amazing resource and I appreciate all the work that went into it.

posted in Official Tournament Results read more

We had 17 players for our Sanctioned No Proxy Vintage Trial for a Bye at Eternal Weekend.

After 5 rounds of Swiss and a cut to top 8, our Winner was @biggysmallz77


1 Mike Rogers @biggysmallz77 - 2 Card Monte
2 Kyle Lenox @zodiacboyscout - White Trash
3 Kevin Cron @CHA1N5 - Solemn Depths Mentor
4 Matt Wareham - Ravager Shops
5 Aaron Katz - @methaloam UWR Mentor
6 Michael Tabler - Paradoxical Outcome
7 Steve Sasala @ssasala - White Eldrazi
8 Chad Teuscher - UWR Mentor

9 Nam Tran - @nartman99 2 Card Monte
10 Andrew Raichlin - Jacodrazi
11 Kevin Reinke - Dredge
12 Andrew McLennan - 2 Card Monte
13 Marcel Moore - Dredge
14 Marland Moore - @moorebrother1 Nahiri Landstill
15 Steve Walsh - Dredge
16 Mike Kaczor - Bomberman
17 Mark Kubiak - @mdkubiak UWR Mentor

Top 8 Lists:










Thanks to everyone that came out.

posted in Vintage News read more


New Blog post covering the February Team Serious Invitational for Matt Hazard's Birthday. Read it and tell me what you think.

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We had 26 players come out to battle through five rounds of swiss and the following elimination rounds. In the end, Charles Rolko @Rolko took home the Time Walk.

A break down by Player and Archetype at the end of Swiss, the playout of top 8, and eventually, top 8 deck lists can be found below:

End of Swiss Standings:

  1. Charlie Krug Esper Humans
  2. Shaman Ben (Me) 2 Card Monte
  3. Matt Wareham Shops
  4. James Crouch UW Teferi
  5. Justin Waller UWR Mentor
  6. Charles Rolko UWR Mentor
  7. Jake Weinmann Oath
  8. Daniel Overbeek Esper PO
  9. Kevin Cron UWR Mentor
  10. Kyle Lenox UWR Mentor
  11. Alvaro Mendez-Gomez Shops (had time vault and voltaic servant)
  12. Andriy Yatskiv Dredge
  13. Yuriv Yatskiv Shops
  14. Aaron Katz Bant Mentor
  15. Jeremy Pinter Esper PO
  16. Andrew Mclennan Two Card Monte
  17. Nam Tran Brass City Vault (Shops)
  18. Tom Brownell 4c Landstill
  19. Mike Shops
  20. Greg Kraigher Mono Red Prison
  21. Mark Kubiak Esper PO
  22. Mitchell Castaldini UR Pyromancer
  23. Scott Wilding Blue Belcher
  24. Chad Teuscher BK Oath
  25. Marland Moore UWR Stoneblade
  26. Marcel Moore Shops

Top 8:

Charlie Krug (1) defeats Daniel Overbeek (8)
Shaman Ben (2) defeats Jake Weinmann (7) with his own Griselbrand
Charles Rolko (6) defeats Matt Wareham (3)
James Crouch (4) defeats Justin Waller (5)

Top 4:
Charles Rolko (6) defeats Charlie Krug (1)
James Crouch (4) defeats Shaman Ben (2)


Charles Rolko (6) defeats James Crouch (4) to win the Time Walk


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My first podcast, both appearing and listening, and I have to say, it is by far my favorite.