To this day I don’t know why, but when I started playing Old School I started messing around with Candelabara and Mana Flare. I’d never played these cards once before dabbling in Old School. I’m not even sure I knew Mana Flare existed. But here I am, 3 years later, still tinkering with the list because it gives me a kick. My most recent inspiration for picking the Sticks back up was ATC 155 starring Greg Kraigher. Ironically, Greg said his inspiration for talking about Mana Flare and Drain Life was ATC 154 (Interdimentional Cable).
Yeah, I know I’ve used that clip before, but it’s never failed to get a laugh. Drain Life in a Candle Flare build sounded like a lot of fun, and I’m on record as one who feels Drain Life is a strong card and underplayed. With the power of Hymn in ATL you don’t have to twist my arm to build a black-heavy version. Keep in mind this build is for the April Gentleman’s NEOS, meaning no Library, Ancestral or Mind Twist. Also keep in mind I’m committed to the 61st Spice Card all month, and I’m trying to do a better job of featuring my toes in the deck pic.
My first note on this build is that Hymn is clunky as fuck. My hypothesis was a Hymn or 2 early could just win games, or at least buy me a couple of extra turns to get off a big Fireball or start casting Drain Life upon my opponent. Fifteen black sources plus a Lotus and 2 Rituals should have been plenty of black to support Hymn but whether it was just the shit end of the variance stick or just a bad assumption it wasn’t working out. At minimum I should have run the 4th City over a Volc, but I just hate 4 City decks. My other note, which again feels a little more like shit luck than reality, is I had a really hard time keeping up with creatures. Seems like 2 Abyss, 2 Maze, Chaos Orb, Balance and 5 red X spells before we even get into the Drains and the DT should be plenty of ammo to pick off an early flurry of Lions or Pixies but that didn’t turn out to be the case. Realistically my main concern was Factory since I have no answers other than 2 Maze, but most players don’t get aggressive with Factory early since they need to cast spells and don’t want to roll the dice attacking into an open red or white source. It’ll be interesting to see where I end up next because if I’m not playing Hymn it’s hard to make an argument for Drain Life. On the plus side Greed was amazing! It way overperformed every time it was on the table, and has amazing synergy with Mirror. Originally I was going to run 2 Greed in this list but somehow I could only find one with the rest of my black spells and it’s driving me crazy. Does that happen to you guys? You know you own cards and you just can’t find them anywhere and the thought of where they are just consumes you?
So now I have to wait to run this deck back when I’m not playing 61 cards since the more I think about it, the more certain I am that Inferno kept me off 2 black early. But then I have to jam in the Library, Strip, MT and the Ancestral. I’d better practice my Orb flips too. I could get used to this whole not flipping thing. And please wish me luck finding those Greeds! If you see me start to unravel or notice other weird behavior (I stop drawing dicks on things, for example) please reach out with some coping tips. Later misers.