Testing the theme decks from Magic: The Gathering's Time Spiral expansion took longer than I expected.
The set's a mixture of completely new cards, new cards utilising old concepts and some classics I never wishfully thought would be reprinted (Psionic Blast, anyone?).
The decks are:
* "Fun With Fungus" - black and green spells aimed at cultivating an army of saprolings that can be sacrificed for all sorts of benefits or simply used to overrun the opponent.
* "Hope's Crusaders" - white spells only. A core of knights possessing the flanking ability from Mirage, aided by fliers, instant "flash" blockers, healing and cards that tap your enemies.
* "Reality Fracture" - blue and red spells that can be either (a) cast cheaply with delayed results ("suspend"), (b) returned to your hand for reuse ("buyback" from Tempest) or (c) duplicated for every spell that's previously taken effect in the turn ("storm" from Scourge).
* "Sliver Evolution" - green, red and white spells. Slivers are also from Tempest. While in play, they pass on their abilities to other creatures of the same type, thus becoming exponentially powerful in groups.
The results were:
1st - "Fun With Fungus" (3 match wins, 10 game wins)
2nd - "Sliver Evolution" (2 matches, 8 games)
3rd - "Hope's Crusaders" (1 match, 6 games)
4th - "Reality Fracture" (0 matches, 6 games)
I don't have to tell you "F/W/F" is the strongest deck. All it has to do is survive the early game and it generally has superior numbers - if not total board control.
"R/F" was kinda unlucky to finish last as, given the right draw, it can generate some amazing 20-to-0 kills. This doesn't happen often enough, though.
Helping keep me entertained while I staged these 30 battles - many of them protracted - were the album "Rise" by Irish rockers The Answer (thanks, LA) and some bootlegs of English comedian Daniel Kitson (cheers, PG).