The FNM Syndrome (And Why I’ve Learned to Love It)

I am just going to come out and say it. I LOVE FNM. Everything about it. Everything from the people, to the store I game at (Dreamer’s Games in St. Louis Park, MN), to what it stands for in the MTG community. I’ll even go as far as saying that I love what FNM has done to impact the whole Planeswalker Points system and vice versa.

It’s official; I’m suffering from FNM Syndrome. I don’t know how to cure it; and quite frankly, I don’t care. Because for me, it’s a purely symbiotic disease. It feeds my MTG addiction while allowing me to flex the often used but never abused analytic muscles deep within my brain.

How so? Well, it’s quite simple. I love the FNM syndrome because I love deckbuilding. Ever since this new Planeswalker Points system has been introduced, I have had no fear when it comes to deckbuilding. Normally I would attend FNM (when I did attend, which was often infrequent), I would be more concerned about doing well than about trying new things. It really got in the way of my true love affair: building decks with cool cards at the centerpiece.

Maybe part of it comes at the best timing, with Innistrad being release as a hugely top-down design focused sight. Maybe it’s a bit of both luck with the timing of the set and the timing of the PWPTS changes. Either way it’s a weird syndrome to be afflicted with, especially coming from someone who doesn’t aspire to be a grinder or PTQ regular. I just look to FNM to have a good time with friends in an environment that doesn’t pressure me to waste wads of cash on a frivolous night that I’d soon rather forget. So you’re thinking, then why would PWPTS affect my outlook on deckbuilding at all? Why wouldn’t I just never care about my rating in the first place, even with the old system?

I guess it was just liberating to know that the company who has produced this game for more than half my life is willing to let go of antiquated systems. Maybe it’s just the fact that the whole system encourages you to just go out and play the game. Hell, maybe it’s the time in my life, where my personality has shifted enough to not always take this game seriously. Maybe it’s just that I want to swing for 6 with one of the baddest mf’ers to walk the Multiverse (Geist of Saint Traft, of course). Who knows? I just know I’m loving the syndrome and I’m embracing it.

Geist of Saint Traft

Kneel before my badass-ery.

How so? Well since coming back to regular FNM play after a two year hiatus, I’ve literally played upwards of 8 different decks in a matter of 2 and a half months. Almost a new deck a week. My deckbuilding juices are overflowing like ectoplasmic goo in Dana Foster’s tub. I’ve just grabbed random cool cards to build with. Hell why not? Who cares if I go 1-3 at FNM? It allows me to learn about cool new interactions while have a crazy good time.

I’ve even built a deck based on Gutter Grime. YES, Gutter Grime. And I went 2-2 with it (not too bad when the centerpiece is an overcosted Green enchantment).

At any rate, I’ll cut to the chase. My latest creation is probably my best yet (until I make something else badass and sweet). Here it is in all it’s glory:

Land
2 Forest
1 Gavony Township
2 Glacial Fortress
1 Hinterland Harbor
3 Island
1 Moorland Haunt
3 Plains
4 Razorverge Thicket
4 Seachrome Coast
2 Sunpetal Grove


23 lands

Creatures
4 Birds of Paradise
3 Cloistered Youth
4 Snapcaster Mage
3 Geist of Saint Traft
4 Mirran Crusader
2 Hero of Bladehold
1 Thrun, the Last Troll


21 creatures

Spells
3 Ponder
3 Vapor Snag
3 Feeling of Dread
4 Mana Leak
3 Travel Preparations


16 other spells

Sideboard
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
4 Doomed Traveler
3 Timely Reinforcements
2 Turn Aside
2 Spellskite
3 Leonin Relic-Warder


15 sideboard cards

I love tempo decks and this deck is chock full of tempo cards. Vapor Snag and Feeling of Dread will tear up other decks that aim to lay down a couple quick blockers to try to make the pain subside until they can Day of Judgment. Other quick decks will just get out classed by Mirran Crusader. Travel Preparations comes in to offer quick Overrun type effects to blow out your opponent when they’re in the danger zone. And Snapcaster can definitely beat some face too while allowing you to come back pretty easily in the mid game (if you do happen to be behind).

The main reason why I decided with a tempo deck is because I wanted to build a deck that features the badass-ery that Geist of Saint Traft truly is. Sure he’s good on his own, but he doesn’t do well when facing down another dude. Yeah you’ll get in 4 damage, which is fine for 3 mana. But really what you want to do is rely on him, purely because he’s hard as hell to kill if you can’t throw a guy in his way. Enter Feeling of Dread and Travel Preparations. And watch as your opponent prays to all that is Geist.

I’m looking to crush this week’s FNM. Hell if not, at least learn more ways to use the cards I love. You gotta ask yourself; what are you doing this week for FNM? Playing a 75-card copy of a Wolf Run list? Or thinking of a way to abuse the hell out of Undead Alchemist? I know which direction I’m taking. And it’s all thanks to the FNM Syndrome.

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One thought on “The FNM Syndrome (And Why I’ve Learned to Love It)

  1. I’m happy the PWP change impacted someone in a strong way.

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