This entry is part 6 of 13 in the series (Vexing) Devil's Advocate

378127_10150441621792624_1477312954_nI was leaning back in my chair with my eyes closed, relaxing in my cramped (but cozy) office at Vexing Devil and Associates. I knew I had a guest when I heard the creaking on my hardwood floors, but I didn’t bother rearranging myself. Only one person in the building walks into my office without knocking.

He never knocks. It might be a lack of manners, or maybe knocking just isn’t a thing on Innistrad.

“Eric, good job on the Zur case.” Vexing Devil congratulated me. “Defending the players instead of the cards was a stroke of genius.”

“I’m adaptable.” I responded cooly. I opened my eyes but continued to lean back in my chair. I figured the relaxed posture would go nicely with the smug smile on my face. “And Stroke of Genius is blue, I don’t play that colour anymore.”

He smirked at my joke. In hindsight, maybe he was just pausing to enjoy what he was about to do to me. “Yes. Adaptable. It’s for that very quality that I’m bringing this case to you.” He produced a thick, bound folder seemingly out of thin air and slid it across my worn wooden desk.

“Who’s the client this time? ” I asked confidently as I picked up the folder and flipped it open. “Are we tackling the Hexproof case ye-“

I froze, and did my best not to burst right in front of the head of the firm. I had only been working cases for them for a few weeks, and he could turn around and fire me in a heartbeat if I accidentally offended him.

I lasted maybe three seconds.


Hahahahaha... Wait, you're serious?

Hahahahaha… Wait, you’re serious?

He tried waiting for me to stop laughing so he could speak. When it became clear that I wasn’t going to stop anytime soon, he just powered through. 

“You may want to take a second look at that file before dismissing this case so casually,” he said pointedly, frowning at my laughter.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” I managed to choke out through gasps of air. My ribs were gonna be sore from laughter for the rest of the day. “You’re absolutely right. Wizards should have worked on balancing this thing more, it’s clearly overpowered. Maybe we can start a petition to the EDH rules committee to have it thrown on the banlist?” I kept giggling as I reopened the folder and gave it a closer look.

Then it was Vexing Devil’s turn to laugh.

“What the hell, Vexing!” I screamed at him. “This is a prosecution case. I’m a defence attorney!”

“It’s the case you have. I expect a full argument posted by Thursday, same schedule as always.” He smiled smugly. I wondered if I looked that douchey when I grinned. 

“No way,” I refused, throwing the case file back down on my desk. “Give it to someone else. I am strictly defence. I joined this team to stem the hate towards cards, not spread it.”

“You joined this team to play devil’s advocate,” he said flatly. “Players who attack group hug decks at a table get hated on, accused of being jerks, and treated like they are taking the game to seriously. Don’t think of it as attacking group hug, think of it as defending them.” He paused to give me a look that made it clear I had no choice. “It’s your case.”

“I don’t want it.” I sulked.

“And I want someone to actually let me stay on the field instead of paying four life. I guess we’re both hosed.” He turned and started to walk out of my office.

“This is outside my wheelhouse. I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do!” I shouted after him.

He paused at the door to flash me one more cocky grin over his shoulder. “You’ll be fine. After all, you’re adaptable.”

Smug B@$#@^&. Go put on some pants.

Smug B@$#@^&, go put on some pants.

Huh. Okay. I guess this is a thing.

It’s fine. I can totally do this. I mean, it’s not like I love group hug and built the deck with three different generals or anything.


Vexing Douche did have a point though. The way players who attack group hug decks are treated is kind of crappy. So I’ll just write my article explaining why some people dislike playing with the deck, and hopefully it will be illuminating instead of hate generating. Seeing as how I have played with the deck, played off of the deck, and played against the deck, it is something I should at least be knowledgable about.

Oh, boy. Here we go.

In My Client’s Defence…

The Defendant Stands Accused of…

Never stood on this side of the courtroom before. Is it just me, or is it hotter over here? Anyone else notice that?

Never stood on this side of the courtroom before. Is it just me, or is it hotter over here? Anyone else notice that?

So people who hate group hug do it for two reasons: one is results-based and the other is more behavioural. The first is pretty simple, the second is… less so.

The results-based reason isn’t too disimilar from why people hate land destruction or combo decks. They either feel like group hug just makes one player auto win and end the game early, like combo; Or they feel the deck disrupts their game plan harder than a sailor who’s spending his leave in a Thai brothel, like land destruction (except with more foreign prostitutes). Control decks suffer the worst in the second example, as the group hug player hands out more resources than the control player can deal with.

So here is how the second (and far more troubling) reason evolves. Player One is sitting down to play a multiplayer game, and sees that Player Two is shuffling up group hug. Player One does not like the deck for the reason(s) in the paragraph above, decides that the deck will disrupt his game plan more than help it, and thus focuses on stopping Player Two.

I would like to point out that nothing bad has happened so far. Group hug decks are not obligated to make everyone love them, they can disrupt everyone’s game plans willy nilly (I should really use that phrase more). And Player One can swing his cardboard dick at whomever is sitting at the table, up to and including Player Two. None of this is a problem, the problem is what happens next.

William asked that I remove the image I found for tiny orgasms. He is no fun.

Yeah, William didn’t like the cardboard dick image either. Lame.

Player Two starts to take a beating. He can’t really protect himself, as his global effects have probably helped his opponent and most of his deck was designed for love, not war. Player Two might look to the other players for aid, but sooner or later there is going to be a game where Player One uses a Sun Titan to surgically enhance the size of Player Two’s sphincter.

And Player Two will be maaaaad. Mad as all hell. Why would he get attacked? His deck doesn’t win, so it posed no threat! It’s just fun tabletop chaos! Player One must be a try-hard jerk who takes the game too seriously. Doesn’t he know that you don’t attack group hug decks?

See, all through deck design, building, and then playing, Player Two thought his group hug deck would go unmolested. He figured that since he can’t really win, no one would see his plays as a threat. He thought that because of his archetype, he was entitled to play his cards without interference and laugh as they dictated the pace and outcome of the game.

That’s a pretty important word there, “entitled”. Made all the more relevant by the fact that male nerds (who represent the vast majority of Magic’s players, including myself) do self entitlement pretty much better than anyone else on the planet. Seriously, we’re in third place. Right behind The One Percent and Joffrey Baratheon.

Seriously now. Will someone, anyone at all, just KILL THIS LITTLE S#!%SACK!

Seriously now. Will someone, anyone at all, just KILL THIS LITTLE S#!%SACK!

Listen up my brothers, because this lesson will serve you well. In Magic, as in life, you are entitled to one thing and one thing only: a cubic metre’s worth of sweet f#^%ing nothing.

You went through your college program and got your degree? Nice work, but that doesn’t entitle you to a high paying job. You were nice to the girl at the comic bookshop and even payed for her dinner once? That’s cool of you, but that doesn’t give you any right to go spelunking in her crotch cave (did you hear that sound? Like a dozen people standing up and then sitting back down? That’s the sound of the women of the internet about to jump on my side until I referred to their vaginas as “crotch caves”). You built a deck with no win conditions and silly cards? Good on you man, seriously. But don’t expect to sit down at the table with your deck and play with yourself in front of everyone.

Because Player One isn’t a bag full of dirty dicks. He was just playing Magic. He looked at the board, decided you would cause him some headaches, and tried to shut you down. If your deck didn’t have an answer because you were too busy packing it with Forced Fruition and Collective Voyage, then the blame for your situation falls on exactly one person: You.

Kryptonite Rings and Silver Bullets

This will be a good place to put a picture of a cute hyena laughi- HOLY F#%^ SALT THAT IS DAMN TERRIFYING!

This will be a good place to put a picture of a cute hyena laughi- HOLY F#%^ SALT THAT IS DAMN TERRIFYING!

Heheh. Hehehehe. Hahahahahahahah! OOOHH AHH HAA HAA HA!

… Aaah. Heh. No. I’m not writing a silver bullets segment for this. If you really wanna beat group hug that bad, just sit to their immediate left.

Jeez, who actually wants me to pick apart the weaknesses of group hug? And next week: classes in self defence against people who punch themselves in the face!

Well, I guess some people actually do that.

Well, I guess some people actually do that.

We, the Jury, Find the Defendant…

Please, please, please, do not stop playing group hug decks. The way they shift the whole dynamic of the table is awesome, and if I never see another Boldwyr Heavyweights, I will shed the saddest solitary tear you have ever seen. But don’t go into games thinking that your going to get the “little brother” treatment just because of how you built your deck, and definitely don’t go off on another player because he swung his dudes in your direction. You have to be prepared for actual gameplay just like everyone else. And if you don’t want to play a game…why did you sleeve up your deck in the first place?

A group hug deck is still a deck, and it should be treated as such by other players. You don’t get a free pass to do whatever you want without opposition just because you run Hunted Wumpus

And to answer the question on everyone’s mind: Is Omniscience still a evil card if it is played in group hug?

Why!? Why would someone think this was a good idea!?

This is not a sharing-and-caring card. This is a laugh-as-you-cry card.

Yes, it is. It always is.

Eric lives in a bunker buried beneath the Canadian wasteland where he awaits the arrival of  Cthulhu that will spell the end of all things. Just kidding, Cthulhu’s bringing the beer for the hockey game later. If you want to talk to him (Eric, not Cthulhu) then leave a comment below or send him emails willy nilly (hah, knew I’d fit it in again) at He’ll get back to you after he sleeps off his star-god induced hangover.


Series Navigation<< (Vexing) Devil’s Advocate 5 – Zur, the Enchanter(Vexing) Devil’s Advocate 7 – Thrun! Sigarda! Uril! Geist! Lazav! For the Hexproof Voltron! >>