Wednesday, December 23, 2009

This is my solution to a puzzle alderon666 posted on the source.

P:Sea, Scrubland, SDT, SDT

1) Scrub->Rit, BBB
3) Doomsday


4) SDT breaking LED for UUU to draw Meditate
5) Meditate with U floating to draw SDT, LED, LED, LED
6) SDT
7) LED
8) LED
9) LED, break LEDx3 for BBBBBBUUU
10) SDT->IGG floating BBBBU returning DD, LED, LED
11) LED
12) LED
13) DD cracking LEDs for UUUBBB for:

Tendrils of Agony

14) SDT->Meditate to draw SDT, LED, LED, SDT floating BBBBU
15) LED
16) LED
17) SDT (BBBB)
18) SDT, break LEDs for 6 black (B: 10)
19-24) SDT->SDT
25) Tendrils of Agony with 24 Storm

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

emsuite - Emidln's Mail Suite

Over the last few months I've increasingly wished for a mail server that could store everything in a SQL database. I searched for such a solution using Sendmail and Postfix to varying degrees of success. dbmail seemed to be the best solution available, but its configuration was neither elegant nor easy. The web-based tool provided left me wanting something else and the way users were handled didn't seem very intuitive. Nothing else in the open-source realm seems to approach dbmail in quality so I came into the idea of writing my own.

I've been toying around with Twisted for a few years now with some medium-sized projects using twisted.words, twisted.web, and twisted.conch to simplify various tasks. From this past experience, I knew an api existed for SMTP/ESMTP/IMAP/POP3 and I'm decently comfortable with Twisted so I started there first.

I've been reading, rereading, and prototyping several mail servers over the last month based on twisted. I finally came into a database schema that I liked, an authentication model that I can live with, and a couple neat features for my mail server. Most importantly, all of the key features I need from a mail server were relatively painless to steal from twisted or implement on top of it:

- Database-backed mail storage, authentication, and full virtualization for users/aliases/domains
- SMTP AUTH over TLS to allow secure external relaying
- Spamlist processing for whitelists/blacklists
- Easy quota system for users and domains
- IMAPv4 over SSL support

Some side effects of rolling my own database-backed mail system:

- separation of headers, body text, and mime attachments for optimized storage
- fast full-text search of emails for users and designated individuals for entire groups or domains.
- one backup operation: everything, configuration to data is stored inside a db
- failover support via MySQL clustering
- customized usage reports per user, group, or domain
- more featureful webmail client that can bypass the limitations of IMAP and POP3

I'm excited about an upcoming code release on If you're interested in the code, leave me a message. Otherwise, check back here for updates.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tourney Report: Legacy on 9-19-2006

I had the opportunity to play a 23 man Legacy event today near Jacksonville, IL. I sleeved up the following list for 6 rounds of swiss+1. As most of you know, I've been playing NLS since doing initial development of the deck several months ago. This is a fast storm combo deck packing Ad Nauseam, Doomsday, and Ill-Gotten Gains with a powerful tutor package and strong complement of cantrips. The deck is light on protection but makes up for it with increased cantrips including Sensei's Divining Top.

For this event, I tried a white splash. The 3 non-blue lands and lack of Island didn't really affect me all day, although I will gladly be moving to a more blue-centric manabase when Zendikar comes out so I have to mull fewer hands due to blue cantrips + nonblue duals. City of Brass is splashed to help the color distribution. I haven't found the lifeloss signficant yet in testing or tournament play. The singleton Silence maindeck is a nod to an increased amount of Tempo decks over CB decks in my metagame.

// NLS by emidln
4 Polluted Delta
3 Bloodstained Mire
3 City of Brass
1 Underground Sea
1 Volcanic Island
1 Badlands
1 Scrubland
1 Bayou
4 Lotus Petal
2 Chrome Mox
4 Lion's Eye Diamond
4 Dark Ritual
2 Cabal Ritual
4 Brainstorm
4 Sensei's Divining top
2 Ponder
4 Mystical Tutor
3 Burning Wish
2 Infernal Tutor
1 Doomsday
1 Ill-Gotten Gains
1 Meditate
1 Ad Nauseam
1 Tendrils of Agony
4 Duress
1 Silence

SB: 1 Silence
SB: 2 Xantid Swarm
SB: 1 Hurkyl's Recall
SB: 1 Pyroblast
SB: 1 Chain of Vapor
SB: 1 Krosan Grip
SB: 1 Tendrils of Agony
SB: 1 Empty the Warrens
SB: 1 Doomsday
SB: 1 Ill-Gotten Gains
SB: 1 Deathmark
SB: 1 Infernal Tutor
SB: 1 Thoughtseize
SB: 1 Reverent Silence

Round 1 vs BGW Deadguy

He opens with Thoughtseize and has to make a decision on:

City of Brass
Sensei's Divining Top
Dark Ritual
Lion's Eye Diamond
Lotus Petal
Infernal Tutor

He takes Infernal Tutor and I play out City of Brass, LED, Petal, SDT. He Hymns me on his turn 2 and I Brainstorm off SDT. I keep LED + Mystical in that order on top and ditch another land and my Dark Rit. After playing the LED for my turn I pass and he plays a Tombstalker off Dark Ritual. I draw Mystical Tutor and Mystical into Ad Nauseam which, via LEDs and SDTs, wins me the game.

SB out: 3 Duress
SB in: 1 Chain of Vapor, 1 H.Recall, 1 Silence

Reasoning: Duress isn't very good here. If I Duress my opponent I'm probably still getting disrupted on turn 2. He doesn't have anything that gamebreaking that Silence doesn't deal with or that Duress can even take. I brought in Chain of Vapor and H.Recall as a concession to potential hate bears or early Chalice @ 0 or Tormod's Crypt, but also because Duress is just bad. Silence has the potential for a full turn of no disruption spells if necessary. I didn't expect Chant effects and am prepared to drop a game 2 to one if my opponent has them.

He opens up Scrubland, Rit, Hypnotic Specter.

My opening hand (after a mull to 6) is this:

Petal, Delta, Ponder, LED, Burning Wish, Petal

I crack delta for Ponder and find myself a Dark Ritual. From there I make a lot of Goblin tokens. He doesn't have a Maelstrom Pulse and I quickly take the match.


With my opponent playing Tarmogoyfs of his own plus white already, Vindicate seemed more likely than Maelstrom Pulse or Pernicious Deed. It's arguable for a black-based aggro-control deck to keep those cards in against a potential ETW, but maybe people would rather keep in STP for potential Dark Confidants than Deed/Pulse for ETW tokens or to clean up artifacts. For what it's worth, when I play BGW against Storm, I keep in Deed as their best option is to generally throw out a bunch of artifacts while trying to set up IGG or Ad Nauseam.

Round 2 vs Merfolk

I open up Duress, Volc, Mire, SDT, Tendrils, Brainstorm, LED. I open with Volc and SDT. My opp plays Aether Vial on his turn and I get some hot Brainstorm + Fetch action where I trade Tendrils and Brainstorm for a Mystical Tutor and Dark Ritual. My eot SDT reveals me a super-sexy Lotus Petal that I draw on my turn. After Duress clears out his Force of Will, I proceed to get my Mystical Tutor for Ad Nauseam on and win easily.

SB out: 1 Infernal Tutor, 1 Cabal Ritual, 1 Ponder, 2 Chrome Mox
SB in: 2 Xantid Swarm, 1 Silence, 1 Pyroblast, 1 Thoughtseize


I was worried about Merfolk slightly with my decision to go with the more mana-intensive Silences over extra Xantid Swarms combined with the relatively few mana sources in NLS. I considered not cutting Ponder or Chrome Mox, but in the end decided that I could survive mana disruption by mulling properly better than I could survive Stifles, Spell Snares, and Force of Wills.

I open up with City of Brass into Xantid Swarm. Swarm gets Dazed. Opp wastes my land and I run out fetch->badlands, SDT. SDT finds me a City of Brass which I play. I run out a Thoughtseize with Pyroblast backup and get some protection, but enemy uses Cursecatcher, Daze, Divert, and Blue Elemental Blast to foil my plans.

I don't change my sideboard after game 2.

I open up a Ponder which gets me a Xantid Swarm, I run out a Lotus Petal so I can pay for a Daze if enemy has it and play Xantid Swarm. Swarm resolves through Daze and I win shortly thereafter playing through a Cursecatcher.


Game 1 went according to script. Enemy had Divert in a heavy-aggro metagame to stop removal spells post sideboard. I received some splash hate there with my critical Thoughtseize taking the worst card in my hand, but I couldn't recover from losing the battle in time to win game 2. Game 3 saw me getting lucky with a Ponder into a Xantid Swarm while my opp didn't have Force of Will.

Round 3 vs Zoo

Opp plays Wild Nactl turn 1. He attacks me down to 16 via Qasali Pridemage and loses to Doomsday on my turn 2.

SB out: 4 Duress
SB in: 1 Chain of Vapor, 1 H.Recall, 1 Thoughtseize, 1 Silence


Duress isn't very good. Their scariest cards tend to be hate bears, which Duress won't usually grab. Doing something that isn't finding combo pieces on my turn isn't really what I want to do which is another strike against Duress. Finally, Silence causes my opponent to not play extra spells and could theoretically stop burn spells from turning me away from Doomsday if I have to go later than I'd like.

Opp does nothing turn 1. I Ponder into chaff and shuffle but am lucky to grab a Mystical Tutor off the shuffle. Opp has turn 1 Ethersworn Canonist. I drop and land and Burning Wish for Deathmark. He attacks me and then drops a couple dudes. I Deathmark his guy, then Brainstorm + fetch into an Infernal Tutor->IGG ftw.

Aggro is mostly a joke. Zoo needs to board a lot of cards or catch you with a bad hand to have a chance here. Even in those situations, Zoo's chances of winning 3 games aren't that great.

Round 4 vs Goblins (R/b/g)

I open with Ponder. Opp opens with Mountain, Goblin Lackey. I Brainstorm on my turn but can't win so I pass. Enemy wastes my land and drops a SGC. I eot Mystical for Dark Ritual and win with Doomsday.

SB out: 4 Duress,
SB in: 1 Thoughtseize, 1 Chain of Vapor, 1 H.Recall, 1 Silence


This is mostly the same as Zoo except with fewer hate bears. There is a small chance the enemy could Earwig Squad, but that doesn't actually beat us since we have 3 Burning Wish + Tendrils. They can do a lot of damage pretty fast and black builds have been known to carry discard in the sb. Silence in the early turns is pretty good as it stops them from developing creatures on board sans Lackey or Aether Vial.

Enemy has Leyline of the Void start the game in play. Opp plays turn 1 Goblin Lackey. I play land, mox, burning wish->Doomsday. Opp does something irrelevant and loses to Doomsday on turn 2.


Leyline of the Void isn't all that scary. My opponent didn't have much of a board for combo and I ran him over appropriately.

Round 5 vs Urg Dreadstill

I open with a SDT off City of Brass (ouch). I optimize while taking some damage long enough to resolve Mystical Tutor -> Silence on enemy's end step to break Standstill. I untap and win with Burning Wish->Tendrils after Duress + Silence clears him of useful stuff.

SB out: 2 Cabal Ritual, 1 Ad Nauseam, 2 Chrome Mox, 1 Infernal Tutor
SB in: 2 Xantid Swarm, 1 Silence, 1 Thoughtseize, 1 Pyroblast, 1 Krosan Grip


Ad Nauseam is pretty much not what you want to be doing. Infernal Tutor is pretty expensive here, and you will probably only need one to win after a large counter war.

I Duress away a CB seeing a Spell Snare. I Brainstorm finding SDT while putting a Pyroblast on top of my deck to set up turn 3 Burning Wish breaking LEDs to get an ETW. Turn 3 enemy plays Goyf + Island. Enemy Spell Snares, I SDT into Pyroblast and make a ton of Goblins. He doesn't draw EE and I win.


Going for ETW is kinda scary given that Dreadstill has EEs, but I had an opening and risked it. I figured that my opponent's chances of finding EE were roughly 50/50 if he was playing 3 so I took the risk knowing I'd be on the play for g3.

Round 6 vs Zoo

I keep a hand on Brainstorm, fetch, Ponder with a ton of accel and fail to win a bomb. Enemy eventually beats me to death.

SB (same as Rnd 3)

I open up a pretty good hand that lets me Infernal Tutor -> Ad Nauseam ftw before my opponent plays a land.

No sb for g3.

Opening hand: Fetch, Fetch, Mystical Tutor, Ponder, Lion's Eye Diamond, Tendrils of Agony, Burning Wish.

Enemy has turn 1 Nacatl. I draw Lotus Petal and open with Ponder hitting Cabal Rit. Enemy stalls on 1 land and attacks + plays Nacatl #2. I Mystical Tutor for Dark Ritual in upkeep and win with Burning Wish -> IGG with a Tendrils in grip.


I ran into the bad luck game one of keeping a hand on cantrips and then not cantripping into stuff. Game 3 my opponent missed his second land drop but I could have won the game pretty easily even through a hatebear due to my Mystical Tutor (it would have taken another turn).

Final Thoughts:

I didn't really have any bad matchups. Dreadstill isn't the best matchup, but I was able to keep Counterbalance off the table through a combination of Duress and luck. I've been practicing with the deck more and it seems to show with the speed that I've been seeing lines of play. Also, swiss+1 is awful for an event where first place received two boxes of M10 and second place receives 18 packs.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I noticed a comment from Jordi Amat (piZZero on SoloLegacy) that cuts to the core of what I have believed for a long time. Writing about storm combo, indeed magic in general, does not produce eye-opening ideas causing amazing lines of play for an experienced player. I don't know any secrets to playing Brainstorm and I can't offer you a formula to go 90-10 vs the field. I can offer you generalizations about cards in or matchups with storm combo (e.g. don't run out Brainstorm turn 1 unless it's protecting something (maybe from Duress or Thoughtseize) or the three card dig will either win (missing a rit effect) or cause you to not lose the game (Wasteland)) and commentary on specific lines of play (like my Duress Situation).

Sadly, most plays with storm combo follow a similar pattern. You ask yourself, "what does the most to help me win?" and then run with that play. If you generally maximize the number of cards you've seen with cantrips and sandbag your tutors, you'll find that (a) you win a lot of games with storm and (b) the deck really isn't that hard to play, regardless of the list. Of course, this assumes that you know what the cards in your hand can do, what's left in your deck, and you have at least some idea of the cards your opponent might use to try to interact with you. Knowing what you need to win the game is half the battle. The other half is getting lucky while maximizing your chances to see those cards.

In summary, if you are already a strong technical player with a solid understanding of your lines of play, I don't have a lot to help you with. I can tell you to practice more so you can pull off your analysis fast enough to not get called for stalling, but you probably already knew to do that. However, if you don't yet see all the plays for yourself, I can try to point them out for you while explaining why a given line of play is correct.
There has been some discussion about taking Force of Will or Spell Snare in my Duress Situation #1 because the Ad Nauseam is "unlikely to fail with 10 life." I posted this on detailing a little more about what happens when you Ad Nauseam with your opponent holding Lightning Bolt and Fire/Ice.

First, you need to understand that if you leave your opponent with 5 points of a burn, a good player isn't going to just let you know when to stop. That is, they're going to hold the burn until after you finish resolving Ad Nauseam. This means once you get to 7 life you only have 4 Mystical Tutor + 4 Duress + whatever lands/petals/moxen you haven't drawn that don't autolose you the game. If you go to 6 life and you don't have a Tendrils or a way to find it already (for example, going to 6 from 8 due to Burning Wish or going to 6 from 10 due to Tendrils is fine) you can't win the game because flipping any win condition causes you to go into lethal burn range.

Second, you have to understand that you start the flipping at 13 life, not 15. Your know your first two flips and they are SDT and Brainstorm. You also lose win conditions and gain loss conditions as you continue flipping. At 11 life, Doomsday no longer wins the game. At 10 life, Ill-gotten Gains actively loses you the game. At 9 life, add Tendrils to the list of things that kill you. Doomsday and Cabal Ritual find their way to the list at 8 life. 3 Burning Wish cease being win conditions and begin to kill you at 7 life. Also at 7 life, any remaining Brainstorms, Ponders, Sensei's Divining Tops, and Dark Rituals kill you (putting you at 6 life where you can't flip and win).

When you first start out, you have 40 cards remaining in your deck with 12 win conditions, 13 life, and a grand total of 37 CMC. There are decent odds to win the game here, (you have roughly a 30% chance of winning outright and your alternative is to take a card that that does you, on average, 0.6 damage) but still far worse odds than if your opponent gets to use Force of Will on your Ad Nauseam. There is also still a chance that you 70% chance of not winning keeps stacking until you get into a situation that, in addition to having a decent chance to win, also has a significant chance to immediately lose. As you draw cards that don't win or lose, your average CMC of cards remaining to not kill you is going to rise and/or put you into a situation (with a high CMC like IGG) where you are either losing a lot of potential win conditions (i.e. at 7 or 8 life).

If you take Fire/Ice, you have two major opportunities to bait the opponent (first with a properly played Cabal Ritual, second with Ad Nauseam) into letting you have a guaranteed win. As I mentioned in the article, Force of Will on any card you plan cannot harm you (in fact, causing you to immediately win), so why would you want your opponent to discard it? If you take Spell Snare, you can still bait with Cabal Ritual and Ad Nauseam, but if the Ad Nauseam is let resolve, you now are actually in the same situation as if you took Force of Will: you have to stop early on Ad Nauseam or risk dying to enemy burn.

Taking Fire/Ice gives you the best opportunity to win the game. Not taking it because Fire/Ice isn't as objectively good or "you always take Force of Will" is a pretty poor excuse. Even worse when you lose matches because you refuse to think lines of play through.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

// Next Level Storm
// German Variant (cheeseburger/nemavera list)
// Bombs
1 Tendrils of Agony
3 Burning Wish
1 Infernal Tutor
4 Mystical Tutor
1 Ad Nauseam
1 Doomsday
1 Ill-Gotten Gains
1 Meditate

// Card Quality
4 Brainstorm
3 Ponder
4 Sensei's Divining Top

// Acceleration
4 Lotus Petal
2 Chrome Mox
4 Lion's Eye Diamond
4 Dark Ritual
3 Cabal Ritual

// Protection
4 Duress

// Manabase
4 Polluted Delta
4 Bloodstained Mire
2 Volcanic Island
1 Underground Sea
1 Badlands
2 Bayou
1 Island

// Sideboard
SB: 1 Tendrils of Agony
SB: 1 Empty the Warrens
SB: 1 Infernal Contract
SB: 1 Infernal Tutor
SB: 1 Doomsday
SB: 1 Thoughtseize
SB: 1 Reverent Silence
SB: 1 Pyroblast
SB: 1 Pulverize
SB: 2 Vexing Shusher
SB: 3 Xantid Swarm
SB: 1 Deathmark