The Spirit of Giving: And the Winners are…

The Spirit of Giving: Brew decks, win prizes with

The Spirit of Giving: And the Winners are…

Before we get into the details, let me just take a moment to say:

Love to brew

We were besieged with entries after last week’s article. I had expected a few, but I simply was not ready for the volume and quality which blitzed the mailbox.

As you might imagine, it was extremely tough to whittle down the submissions; luckily, the Manaleak team are not intimidated by hard work. Allow me to introduce my judging cronies, a couple of card-slinging degenerates you may already be familiar with from this fine site


Picking our winners

As I outlined last week, we assembled a shortlist of entries before selecting a winner in each category. Here’s a quick reminder of what we were looking for in the submissions:

Judging criteria


Once we had decided on Category winners, one of those decks was selected as an overall winner on the basis of how strongly it checked all of the above boxes.

I’m not going to spoil the surprise for you, dear reader. Instead, we’ll take a tour of the top decks to build suspense for our grand reveal. It’s called showmanship, I believe.

Assignment one: The most beautiful deck in the world.

The conditions of this assignment were simple: brew a Modern deck filled with cards which are beautiful in form and function… which translates as ‘look pretty and draw cards‘.

Assignment 1


Category winner: Stevie Boyle

Here’s what Stevie had to say about this magnificent specimen:

“The deck is a midrange to control deck which aims to control the pace of the game with powerful instants and sorceries, while pushing damage through with Etched Oracle and Spellbound Dragon.

Spellbound Dragon in particular has big damage potential thanks to the high CMC cards Cruel Ultimatum, Kozilek and Enter the Infinite! Blast of Genius also combos with these cards for huge burn to the face!”

Most Beautiful Decklist - lands pt 1Most Beautiful Decklist - lands pt 2Most Beautiful Decklist - twosMost Beautiful Decklist - threesMost Beautiful Decklist - foursMost Beautiful Decklist - fivesMost Beautiful Decklist - sixes to twelves


Personally, I just love the fact that this deck has more 6+ drops than it does 2 drops… and anything which curves all the way up to 12 is right in my wheelhouse. My colleagues were even more effusive in their praise.

Judges comments 1

Assignment two: The contrabulous Fabtraption of Professor Horatio Hufnagel

In this mechanically-minded challenge, we asked readers to build the most complex and versatile Legacy-legal machine they possibly could, without using any non-artifact cards.

Assignment 2


Category Winner: Eduardo Sajgalik

Eduardo described his creation thusly:

I’m convinced there are a near infinite amount of board states and results from this, especially with infinite mana from metal worker + Staff of Dominion. Includes the Station combo.

While his comments might be simple and succinct, the deck is anything but. Try to get your head around this beauty…

Contraption Decklist - landsContraption Decklist - zero and oneContraption Decklist - twoContraption Decklist - threeContraption Decklist - four and fiveContraption Decklist - six and up


Two decks which curve all the way up to 12? I’m in dreamland here.

The thing I particularly like about this deck is the way we can win through almost any obstacle. Opponent has infinite life? Mill them out with Incubator plus Grinding Station. Infinite life and an Eldrazi in the deck? Power a Blightsteel into play and slap them for the full helping of poison… or better yet, Helm of Obedience for a silly amount and perhaps steal the Eldrazi…

Judges comments 2

Assignment three: This way lies Madness

For our final challenge, we asked you to place your opponent in an elevator, straight to hell.

Assignment 3


Category Winner: Graeme Jamieson

Graeme lavished us with a full user-manual for his evil creation. Reading it feels like going over someone’s study notes for the Necronomicon.

“The objective of this deck is to create a board state where your opponent is put in a position where their own turn works against them while you decline to take turns.

Notable Combos-

(Skull Collector OR Bloodclock) + Aether Vial + Chittering Rats

  • With Aether Vial on 3, this allows you to put a card from your opponents hand back ontop of their deck in their draw segment, immediately after they have drawn it if it is the only card in their hand. Hilarious. For added fun, cast Never Ending Torment and steadily remove their deck from the game before finally allowing them to draw a card (Pro-tip, remove their instants first!)

Sundial of the Infinite + (Any one of Call to the Grave, Magus of the Abyss, Gibbering Decent, Havoc Festival)

  • Bad effects that happen in each player’s upkeep, and the ability to skip your own turn and thus not have the bad effects yourself

Sundial of the Infinite + Herald of Leshrac

  • Steal all their land, refuse to let the Cumulative upkeep trigger resolver until they’ve built up their land again by ending your turn with the trigger on the stack, then when they’ve played enough lands, take a turn to steal more. For added fun, ultimately sacrifice it for failing to pay the upkeep, and end your turn in response to the trigger attempting to return lands to your opponent.

Descent into Madness + Herald of Leshrac

  • Exile your opponent’s Lands as a cost to Descent! Woooo!”

Madness Decklist - Land and ZeroMadness Decklist - one to threeMadness Decklist - four and five Madness Decklist - six and seven

This is an abomination. I love it. Herald of Leshrac is so fantastically mean-spirited that I almost became emotional when I read the decklist.

Judges comments 3

And now… the overall winner!

After going through all the top decks in some detail and chewing over the comments of the judging panel, I feel I have to award first place to  Graeme Jamieson for his marvellously monstrous Descent into Madness Submission.

Congrats to Graeme

Graeme will receive a pre-sleeved, internet-famous copy of the Eternal Bargain Commander deck from my personal collection.

To our valiant runners up, Messrs Stevie Boyle and Eduardo Sajgalik, will go a Holiday Gift Box each courtesy of

Thanks for playing

I don’t know about you folks, but I’ve had a brilliant time with this competition. There have even been bonus spin-offs, such as Stevie entering a pact to play his brew in the next local Modern tournament… but that’s a story (and perhaps an article) for another time.

I’d like to thank my judging comrades, Grant and Ru, for helping me to wade through the submissions and pick the most golden examples for your reading pleasure.

If you’ve enjoyed yourself, let us know if the comments thread. Who knows? We may even be tempted to run another challenge, someday…


Please let us know what you think below...

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