Too Many Cooks


Youtube Scavenger Hunt

by: Jason Waddell Hannes had been bugging me. Pestering really. Text messages linking to the most inane, random YouTube videos. https://www.y...


[Book / Movie] This is Where I Leav...

by: Jason Waddell Saturday, airport, the closing moments of a week-long pilgrimage to Texas for my brother's wedding. On account of jetlag, I spent...


Book Review (kind of): Snuff, by Ch...

Six hundred dudes. One porn queen. A world record for the ages. A must-have movie for every discerning collector of things erotic. Didn't one of us on...

Too Many Cooks

Youtube Scavenger Hunt

by: Jason Waddell

Hannes had been bugging me.

Pestering really. Text messages linking to the most inane, random YouTube videos.

“I’m not even interested in golf”, Hannes added.

I responded each time with the only appropriate response.

“Not now Hannes, I’m at work.”

When this proved an ineffective deterrent, I was forced to change tactics. “Tell you what, I’ll make you dinner Friday, and we can watch YouTube videos to your heart’s content.”


The dishes were cleared and the festivities began, aimlessly at first.

“Less than 5000 views! It’s a travesty!”

Hannes was nothing if not passionate. As we watched, he waxed poetic on the intricacies of the YouTube ecosystem.

“Every YouTube session diverges in one of two directions: you either get stuck in some obscure abyss, or you reach VEVO.”

“So there’s a tipping point? Could we intentionally cross from one to the other?”

We devised a game.

The Rules

At the end of each video, YouTube presents you with a 4 by 4 grid of suggested videos. The goal was to start at a completely random location and, by navigating the suggested video links, eventually reach VEVO territory. More specifically, the Nicki Minaj: Anaconda official video. Truth be told I didn’t actually know what Nicki Minaj looked like, and had only heard the name as some sort of negatively regarded pop sensation. But I wasn’t one to turn down Hannes’ anthropological offerings.

Our starting point? A click of the Wikipedia “Random Article” page.


Perfect. We’d search YouTube for “gravity assist”, click the first link, and begin our journey there.

Planetary Physics

Video 1: Gravity Assist or Stealing a Planet Angular Momentum and Getting Away With It 
Video 2: Gravity Assist
Video 3: Gravity Visualized
Video 4: David Blaine: How I held my breath for 17 min

Four clicks in and we’d made our first leap. We were moving on to greener pastures.

Youtube’s Got “Talent”

David Blaine led us to You’ve Got Talent territory, one step closer to music and one step closer to Nicki Minaj.

Video 5: Top 5 Magician auditions on Got Talent
Video 6: Top 5 acts EVER on World’s Got Talent 

Click six was undoubtedly a bad move. Before formalizing the challenge, Hannes and I had gotten stuck in an inescapable web of cyrillicly-titled Russian folk music videos. Cultural diversity was not our goal. We needed to toe closer to America’s Got Talent and steer clear of the World’s edition, multiculturality be damned.

Video 7: America’s Got Talent 2014 Top 10 (First Auditions)
Video 8: America’s Got Talent 2013 Episode 10
Video 9: Michael Jackson song sung by a 16 year old young man Must see AWESOME!!!

Okay, color me unimpressed, but performing a Michael Jackson piece at age sixteen is hardly noteworthy. The King of Pop himself started his recording career at a much younger age, so you’re not remotely in prodigy territory. And can we be clear on video naming etiquette? This video was hardly awe-inspiring, and certainly doesn’t classify as compulsory viewing.

But it did lead us to a deep place. A dark place. A swirling eddy we’d soon be desperate to escape. The Michael Jackson corner of YouTube. Neverland Ranch.

Michael Jackson Purgatory

Video 11: Michael Jackson – Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough
Video 12: Michael Jackson – Black or White

There was no progress in sight.Every video ended with another wall of suggested Michael Jackson videos. We had to get out, by any means necessary. We devised a plan. Find Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal. Surely there we could take an Alien Ant Farm cover escape hatch.

Video 13: Michael Jackson – Scream
Video 14: Michael Jackson: Smooth Criminal – Moonwalker Version [Blueray]

We didn’t find a link to a cover. What we found was much, much worse.

Parody Hell

Video 15: Disney’s Frozen – Thriller by Michael Jackson

Video 16: Memorial Michael Jackson animation – MJJCN

Video 17: Michael Jackson VS Spongebob 2!!! Revenge of the Sponge

Ugh. The ’2′ in the title isn’t an errant character. It’s the second in a series of, from what we could see, at least four installments.

Video 18: Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” Tribute in LEGO
Video 19: Shrek – Thriller (Parody of Michael Jackson)

We thought it couldn’t get worse. But that was just wasted optimism.

The Seventh Circle

Video 20: Creeper – A Minecraft Parody of Michael Jackson’s Thriller (Music Video)
Video 21: Wrecking Mob – A Minecraft Parody of Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball
Video 22: Like An Enderman – Minecraft Parody Gangnam Style
Video 23: Minecraft Style – A Parody of PSY’s Gangnam Style 1 hour (With animations)

Insanity began to set in. But our path was clear. We had to reach the surface. Swim through the mire of parodies to each an official PSY video.

Video 24: Baby Gangnam Style – PSY babies dancing (Evian)
Video 25: “Walking Dead – Dancing Zombie” – Gangnam Style – Daniel Cloud Campos
Video 26: Psy – Gentleman Spiderman (SA Wardega)
Video 27: PSY – “Gentleman” (Hongtleman) Parody by Trend Factory
Video 28: Gentleman-Little PSY
Video 30: PSY (ft. HYUNA) 오빤 딱 내 스타일-
Video 31: PSY – HANGOVER feat. Snoop Dogg M/V

Jackpot. Our destiny was just a few clicks away.

The Promise Land

Video 32: Nicki Minaj – Pills N Potions (Official)
Video 33: Nicki Minaj – Anaconda (Lyric Video)
Video 34: Nicki Minaj – Anaconda Video Reaction
Video 35: Nicki Minaj Anaconda Video: Behind the Scenes Vlog


Something was wrong. Clicks that should lead to the official video didn’t. There was no way to get there organically.

“Are you sure it’s on YouTube Hannes?”

“I watched it yesterday. It’s got more than 200 million views. It’s on there. Keep trying.”

We tried a few more videos in vain, but the connection wasn’t there. Was YouTube silently directing traffic away from the video? Had they deemed it too raunchy to stumble upon by accident? What reasoning had caused this behavior?

As a final measure, we searched for Anaconda directly. And sure enough, it was there.

Maybe YouTube was on to something. Maybe we shouldn’t be watching this video after all.

[Book / Movie] This is Where I Leave You

by: Jason Waddell

Saturday, airport, the closing moments of a week-long pilgrimage to Texas for my brother’s wedding. On account of jetlag, I spent most of the week waking up hours before my family, during which time I burned through a pair of Murakami hard-covers and Chuck Palahniuk’s Rant, borrowed (permanently) from my high school sweetheart’s bookshelf. Books of merit. Books more worthy of review.

I paced the halls of Austin Bergstrom Airport, with 14 hours of travel looming on the near horizon. This was my fate. To find entertainment in an airport bookstore. The Fault In Our Stars. Somebody told me something about that book. Was it garbage or amazing? Can we take the risk? I’m not about to drudge through some George R. R. Martin tome, and if memory serves J. K. Rowling’s latest was hardly purported to deliver.

I flip aimlessly through the pages of a couple bestsellers. Am I too much of an asshole to appreciate the layman’s literature? When did I become so pejorative? Why am I using the word ‘pejorative’? Shouldn’t the readers know I spelled it ‘perjorative’ until Chrome produced a squiggly red underline?


Look at this fucking book. It’s got a movie poster on the cover.



Okay, that’s actually just the movie poster, but Google Images is failing me big time here. The same image was used for the book cover, which you, the reader, will have to take on faith.

The movie cast wasn’t listed on the book itself, so it was some guesswork on my part. There’s Jason Bateman, in something that isn’t Arrested Development, which means it must be terrible and underwhelming. Some generic looking woman that I later learned to be Tina Fey. Is that really her? How much did they airbrush this photo? Is there a copy of Bossypants around here we can cross reference?

That dude who dies in House of Cards. Spoiler alert. Some unidentifiable blonde. And Adam Driver! Yes, I’m a bandwagoner. And yes he plays my favorite character on Girls. Well, it’s either Adam or Ray. Is it misogynist to favor the men on Girls over the women. Why are all the women so irredeemable. Are these the archetypes of our generation? Does everyone identify as a Hannah or a Jessa? I should hope not. But I’ll be damned if I haven’t heard a girl describe herself as a “Carrie Bradshaw” for the last time.

The book opens to a generic and overwrought premise. Father Foxman has kicked the bucket, and the four kids of the Foxman clan (the Altmans in the screen adaptation) gather to sit Shiva for a week and honor the dead while reenacting tropes of familial dysfunction. Jason Bateman’s character is naturally the protagonist, because when is he not? I mean, I know he played that creeper faux-cool dad in Juno, and maybe the periphery is a more fitting role for him because that movie seemed to actually receive some acclaim. Bateman’s wife has cheated on him with his boss. Each of his siblings have their own shitty problems. And by the end of 90 minutes / 330 pages we’re all going to laugh, cry, hug, and ultimately learn about ourselves and humanity. Because that’s what you do in dysfunctional family movies.

I don’t know what I was hoping to get from the book. I’d just spent a week with my own family, undoubtedly occupying the Bateman role with a wife who is off sleeping with somebody else now. Thankfully not my boss.

Jonathan Tropper (that’s the author’s name!) clearly understands humanity and family, and the writing, at least in the beginning, is punchy and insightful. But as the pages drag on the book suffers at the hands of its overly tropey premise, and if there’s some underlying message it hasn’t fully permeated my membrane. Something about life, and love, being messy. None of the relationships presented are clean couples. Everyone has needs they seek to fulfill via some third party.

And it turns out the mom is a lesbian? What? I mean, sure, whatever, but it’s just so tacked on and hamfisted, like the secret lesbian reveal in the dumpster-lit Ready Player One, a book which I’d implore you once again not to read. And yes, it was all over the Austin airport, because author Ernest Cline has had the gall to take up residence in my former stomping grounds of North Austin, which I’m going to interpret as some personal affront.

If the book was merely mediocre, the film is a travesty by virtue of wasting a wealth of acting talent. The film adaptation manages to miss on every possible emotional note, with the aplomb of a generic rom-com, sans romantic plotline.

The point being, when traveling, always bring more books than you think you’ll need.

More RipLab Book Reviews:

Ready Player One
How to be Black
The Road

Book Review (kind of): Snuff, by Chuck Palahniuk

Six hundred dudes. One porn queen. A world record for the ages. A must-have movie for every discerning collector of things erotic. Didn’t one of us on purpose set out to make a snuff movie.

This book is gross.

It’s not often that I read things that make me physically uncomfortable. There was a scene in Murakami’s Wind-up Bird Chronicles that made my skin crawl, in stark contrast to the imagery of the rest of the book. Snuff is filthy from cover to cover.

The proverbial curtain opens at the start of a 600-man gangbang, as a washed-out porn starlet from decades past attempts to redefine her legacy by breaking the record for most number of sex acts performed in a single, err, sitting. One of the guys is trying to kill her, maybe. Who knows. It’s not the sort of premise that would usually direct me to the checkout stand of the local bookstore.

Tangential Bullshit

The book was loaned to me by a friend, a girl who previously featured in the blog as “the English woman” in an OkCupid blog entry, a series which curtailed on account of an ongoing undefined relationship with a wide-eyed and effervescent Belgian girl we’ll call Katrin.

Previous dating summaries served as eulogies of sorts, the records of dead relationships. The Katrin saga carried me from January to the end of August, as I endured the tail-end of what became a hellish 13-month cohabitation with my ex-wife while she navigated her next step in life.

It was an on-again off-again affair, characterized by Katrin pushing for more commitment and me infamously using the words “good for now” during a 2am “define the relationship” talk. Even in the absence of an official title, we filled our weeks with each other’s company. In my mind I had written her off as “not a long term match”. Our goals are different. She’s in her prime, trying to start a family. I’m escaping the cloud of an overdrawn eight-year relationship.

But emotionally, as months of our faux boyfriend-girlfriend dynamic passed, I grew rather attached.

Katrin had warned for months that she would start trying to see other people, and as her dates started to trickle onto the calendar, I became surprisingly jealous. My ex was days away from moving out, and the added emotional turmoil of my home life meant something had to give. I did what I thought was best: end things with Katrin.

Days later my ex-wife moved out with our two dogs, and everything combined into a perfect storm. My ex was gone. My dogs were gone. Katrin was gone.

And I was alone.

I spent more than a year consumed primarily by an anticipation of the day when my ex would move out, but when the moment came there was no relief. All those closest to me were gone, and my mind flooded with thoughts of Katrin. She had wanted more from me for months, and suddenly, desperately, I was willing to give it to her. My mind swirled with competing hypotheses. On the one, I had been too blinded by living with my ex to appreciate what Katrin had to offer. Suddenly I could imagine a future together, to see past my ex’s move-out date.

On the other, I was simply afraid to be alone. Was I just setting myself up for a long-term mistake to avoid short-term pain. I didn’t expect losing Katrin to hurt so much, but was the pain of my ex and dogs moving out being projected onto Katrin? Those problems were irreversible, but the relationship with Katrin was, in theory, salvageable.

In the end I made a desperate plea to win her back, but she stood firm. I was acting out of emotion, she claimed. Sit on these feelings for a few weeks, and if they’re still there, we’ll revisit the issue. And besides, she’d met someone new. He deserved a chance. Supposedly.

As the weeks have passed I have come to realize that I do, genuinely, deeply care for Katrin. As the shock of being alone wore off, my feelings for Katrin remained. I think we could work, long term. And she agrees. But in the Monte Hall problem you always switch. She’s moving on.

The Book

I took in Snuff  curled up on my terrace with a blanket as the first signs off fall started to fill the air. The book opens in a wearhouse, where 600 guys are going to town on the buffet table while waiting for their allocated minute with porn star Cassie Wright.

The story is divulged through a cast of interwoven perspective characters. Game of Thrones in a gangbang, if you will. The personalities are there. An 18 year-old virgin with a bouquet of flowers in tow. A primetime television star trying to put to bed rumors of his homosexuality. A fictionalized Peter North-type trying to reclaim the spotlight.

I’m going to give it to you straight and admit I don’t have a tremendous lot to say on this book. I powered through its 200 pages in one sitting mostly to distract myself from Tangential Bullshit. The book seems to demand skimming, and despite its relative brevity, I found the narrative to be overdrawn and plotting at parts. About three-quarters of the way through the book I started skipping entire pages just to reach its conclusion.

The book is raw, gross and at times discomforting. My friend told me that, after finishing it, she couldn’t watch porn for a week. I can’t say I’ve been similarly affected, but I also don’t know if I’m better off for having read it. Perhaps I have a deeper smut tolerance? I’m sure there are those out there who can come across goatse its ilk without flinching, but I don’t know if that’s an admirable goal.

If there are lessons to glean from the book, I’ve yet to synthesize them. But it did distract me for a few hours. Mission accomplished?


More RipLab Book Reviews:

Ready Player One
How to be Black
The Road

Turbo Living End in Modern

By: Dom Harvey

Now that the Modern PTQ season is over, it’s a great time to explore some more decks that I can’t be tempted to waste a PTQ shot on for another 8 months now! Let’s set the stage first:

With the release of Alara Reborn, players quickly found ways to exploit cascade by using mechanics with wonky costs such as suspend and split cards to bypass cascade’s CMC restriction. At its most ‘fair’ this involved Shardless Agent into Ancestral Vision or Bloodbraid Elf into Boom // Bust, but this quickly moves into unfair territory once you carry this idea to its logical extreme. If you’re willing to contort your spell base so that only one card is on or below the CMC threshold, you can guarantee that a cascade spell will hit that card every time and so build your deck accordingly. In Standard, this meant the delightful Seismic Swans deck:

Lands (41)
Battlefield Forge
Cascade Bluffs
Fire-Lit Thicket
Ghitu Encampment
Graven Cairns
Reflecting Pool
Spinerock Knoll
Treetop Village
Vivid Crag
Vivid Creek
Vivid Grove
Vivid Marsh
Vivid Meadow

Creatures (8)
Bloodbraid Elf
Swans of Bryn Argoll

Spells (11)
Ad Nauseam
Bituminous Blast
Captured Sunlight
Primal Command
Seismic Assault
Sideboard (15)
Aura of Silence
Countryside Crusher
Maelstrom Pulse
Primal Command
Vexing Shusher
Wickerbough Elder
Wrath of God

In Extended, you could live every Timmy’s fantasy:

Lands (21)
Calciform Pools
Forbidden Orchard
Fungal Reaches
Gemstone Caverns
Gemstone Mine
Reflecting Pool
Tendo Ice Bridge

Creatures (21)
Akroma, Angel of Fury
Angel of Despair
Bogardan Hellkite
Simian Spirit Guide
Sundering Titan

Spells (19)
Ardent Plea
Demonic Dread
Thirst for Knowledge
Violent Outburst
Sideboard (15)
Akroma, Angel of Fury
Fungal Reaches
Ingot Chewer
Meddling Mage
Venser, Shaper Savant
Vexing Shusher

And there’s always that guy who loves playing Restore Balance:

Creatures (14)
Greater Gargadon
Riftwing Cloudskate
Simian Spirit Guide
Thassa, God of the Sea
Vendilion Clique

Planeswalkers (7)
Ajani Vengeant
Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Garruk Relentless
Gideon Jura
Jace, Architect of Thought

Spells (22)
Ardent Plea
Detention Sphere
Fieldmist Borderpost
Firewild Borderpost
Restore Balance
Violent Outburst
Wildfield Borderpost

Lands (17)
Arid Mesa
Hallowed Fountain
Misty Rainforest
Scalding Tarn
Steam Vents
Stomping Ground
Temple Garden
Sideboard (15)
Anger of the Gods
Detention Sphere
Ingot Chewer
Kor Firewalker
Krosan Grip
Leyline of Sanctity
Mistveil Plains
Ricochet Trap

Fans of 5th-pick draft commons have had it good in Modern and its predecessors since 2010, when Living End arrived on the scene. Since then it’s been the subject of occasional PTQ/GP Top 8s and frequent mockery, both of which it deserves. This year it appeared on Magic’s largest stage in the hands of Michael Hetrick, who booked a 8-0 start at Pro Tour Valencia before falling back into the pack on Day 2:

Creatures (29)
Architects of Will
Deadshot Minotaur
Fulminator Mage
Jungle Weaver
Monstrous Carabid
Pale Recluse
Simian Spirit Guide
Street Wraith

Lands (19)
Blackcleave Cliffs
Blood Crypt
Godless Shrine
Grove of the Burnwillows
Kessig Wolf Run
Overgrown Tomb
Stomping Ground
Verdant Catacombs

Spells (12)
Violent Outburst
Demonic Dread
Living End
Sideboard (15)
Ingot Chewer
Sin Collector
Leyline of the Void
Jund Charm

Hypergenesis was much more explosive than Living End and was capable of much more busted starts, but in trading Emrakul for Deadshot Minotaur you gain a certain consistency. The conceptual beauty of Living End is that your cyclers both put themselves where they need to be for Living End and get you one card closer to a cascade spell. This helps the deck tremendously against discard and in any kind of long game. Want to match the control deck land drop for land drop? Seeing at least one extra card a turn lets you do that. Need to find a sideboard card to answer their hate? You may be drawing to two or three outs, but you have many more streets to hit them on.

(And of course, there are the games where Plan A is called off and you start hardcasting Valley Rannets, or you resolve a small or ‘desperation’ Living End and get to relive Alara Limited. The fact that Living End has a failure rate – that manifests itself in hilarious ways – is a knock against the deck from a pilot’s point of view, but speaks well to its contribution to the format).

One big problem with the deck is that, in a format of ruthless and quick combo decks, Living End usually makes a cursory effort of winning around turn 4, and doesn’t close out the game immediately. If you only bring back two creatures with Living End, a removal spell and any respectable blocker is enough to put the game back in their corner; and if you take time to power up your Living End, they have more chances to advance their own game plan. What if we traded in that staying power for racing stripes?

Creatures (24)
Monstrous Carabid
Deadshot Minotaur
Architects of Will
Glassdust Hulk
Street Wraith
Faerie Macabre

Spells (13)
Violent Outburst
Ardent Plea
Demonic Dread
Living End

Mana (3)
Simian Spirit Guide

Lands (20)
Mana Confluence
City of Brass
Gemstone Mine
Forbidden Orchard
Darkslick Shores
Seachrome Coast
Llanowar Wastes
Shivan Reef

This is a no-frills list built with the sole aim of resolving a big Living End as soon as possible. The most common way to stock your graveyard quickly outside of Street Wraith is:

T1: 1-mana Cycler
T2: 1-mana Cycler x2
T3: Living End

Hetrick’s list is better at this than most as he has Architects of Will alongside the Jund-tinted cyclers, but Glassdust Hulk gives us the full 16 ’1-drops’ and Faerie Macabre pitches for free too. Hetrick has only 8 cascade effects, and Demonic Dread spends a lot of time complaining that it has nobody to play with. This list has 8 unconditional cascaders, rising to 10 when Dread is relevant. All this is possible thanks to Mana Confluence, which allows us to play 16 rainbow lands and only have a few gaps to fill with fastlands/painlands.

With this manabase we can take our pick of sideboard cards as long as they fit the 3 CMC constraint. Ingot Chewer and now Wispmare are additional 1-mana ‘cyclers’ and efficient answers to hate cards (though beware of tension between Ingot Chewer and Architects/Hulk) and Shriekmaw is a more heavy-duty answer to creatures, Ricochet Trap is the go-to card against counterspells (Hetrick’s Sin Collectors complement these well, but with a rainbow manabase we get to upgrade to Vendilion Clique), and Beast Within is an all-purpose answer that lets you tax their mana. Timely Reinforcements is a possible safety valve against aggro decks. The 4th Living End belongs somewhere in the 75 as you don’t want to cascade or draw into them all when the game goes long against blue decks. The 3rd Demonic Dread in the board might be right too, as using it as a 3-mana Wrath is perfectly fine in some matchups.

As for possible resistance, you will face down countermagic at some point. Traditional Living End tries to pick fights with cards like Fulminator Mage or Beast Within that threaten to mess up the opponent’s mana. We can’t mimic that approach – we could sideboard Fulminator Mage, but most of the blue decks can also switch plans quickly with Snapcaster and Lightning Bolt, which happens to be great against our City of Brass/Mana Confluence deck; drawing out the game just plays into their hands. Instead, we have attack when their shields are down. They have to live in constant fear of Violent Outburst: you often get more time than you ‘should’ because they can’t afford to tap out as long as you have 3 mana open. You can exploit this with the help of Simian Spirit Guide: if you cycle mainphase when you have two land and play the land that you ‘topdecked’, most opponents will assume they have a turn of safety. Even if they know the premise of your deck, they often won’t be watching out for Simian Spirit Guide; and if they are, they may assume that it’s unlikely you have Outburst *and* Guide right here. In any case, EOT Outburst into a second cascader on your turn is the best way to fight through countermagic. The sideboard gives us Ricochet Trap, an efficient way to force through a spell that has random but useful applications against Snapcaster Mage.

Discard is much less of a concern than it is for most combo decks. Old favourites like Hive Mind and Enduring Ideal get written off, whatever their other strengths, because it’s so hard for them to beat a naked Thoughtseize. By contrast, this deck is as homogeneous as it gets for a combo deck – you have only have cyclers and cascaders. They’re gunning for your cascaders, but they have maybe 6 discard spells that they have to draw naturally while you have ten cascaders and can tear through your deck to find them. Discard is a worry when it’s stripping away your answer to a hate card, but beyond that it’s refreshingly easy to fight through.

Graveyard hate is in short supply at the moment – there’s no established ‘graveyard deck’, and there are so many bases to cover in Modern that you can’t waste sideboard slots on fringe decks. That means you rarely see full-on hate like Rest in Peace, which requires an answer; instead, the most you’ll face is Scavenging Ooze and Relic of Progenitus (and formerly Deathrite Shaman though, as Hetrick pointed out, the presence of DRS wasn’t all that bad as it forced graveyard-based decks out of the format and so reduced the need for dedicated hate). Most decks running Ooze either will often have non-green lands in play when they cast it, so you’re looking at two or maybe three activations on one turn. Rather than cycle every turn and let them use Ooze to full effect, it’s best to sandbag cyclers and fill your graveyard in one turn – you may only get to Living End for a few creatures, but that’s often enough. Alternatively, you can burn a cascade spell as a Wrath of God, and then cycle to your heart’s content. If you’re on the play, you can also just resolve a Living End before they get to untap with Ooze.

Relic of Progenitus is a little harder. If possible, bait a Relic activation with a ‘small’ Living End, and then with Living End still on the stack you can bin cyclers (typically the free cyclers in Street Wraith and Faerie Macabre) and proceed as normal; and, as above, you can sometimes just power through it with back-to-back cascade spells. If you want other cards in your graveyard to feed to the tap ability, deliberately ticking down Gemstone Mine can do the trick.

The deck is a blast to play – ‘drawing’ tons of cards, a splashy combo finish, and the occasional bizarre game that degenerates into primitive combat. It has a lot of raw power – you get to cast a thermonuclear Martial Coup on the third turn in most games – and can easily steal games even in ‘bad’ matchups. I highly recommend giving it a try.