Beyond the Mat – Steve M.

I love playing combo decks. So much so that I am “that guy” in the store that runs legacy events. Give me a deck with Lion’s Eye Diamonds and ritual effects, and I am a happy camper. Yes, I love combo, but it’s not all blue skies and sunshine.

If there is one problem with the combo deck – it’s keeping track of everything that is going on that turn you “go off.” Sure you could be a square and keep track of all the mana and storm counts on a pad of paper, but that’s boring. “How much mana do you have?” “What’s the storm count?” It’s enough to drive you crazy. But rather than sit back and do nothing, I took action. I created a playmat that lets your opponent know all of your mana and storm counts. Players of the world, I give you the Combo Player’s Playmat. See, I told you I loved combo.

Before we get started you will need the following: a hard card case, a black marker, a pencil, a coin, a ruler, and a blank mat.

The Storm Playmat 2

First, on either side of your mat, take a sleeved card and trace three outlines in pencil. The top box will be for exiled cards, the center will be for your library, and the last box is for your graveyard.

The Storm Playmat 3

Now that you have created space for your deck we can move on to the top of the mat and create the mana counters. As you can see on my mat, I have made a row for the three important colors in combo (red, black, and blue). To make sure your rows are straight, take a ruler and draw off three lines. Then, starting at the end, write the color. Using a coinThe Storm Playmat you will then trace ten circles in each row, numbering each one when you finish.

To create the storm counter we will move to the other side of the mat. Starting from top to bottom, write “Storm.” Just like we did with the mana counter, take a ruler and draw two lines to get your rows as straight as possible. Still have that coin handy? Great. Take that coin at trace it as many times you want and number them when you finish.

The Storm Playmat 4For the final step you will need a black maker, but you can use any color your heart desires. Trace over the pencil and you are done. Congratulations.

Using your new mat is simple. Take four glass counters for mana and storm counts, place your deck in the center box, and you are ready to  go.

When I first unveiled the, mat my opponents gave me a funny look. After one game they quickly changed their tune. Without the need to stop the game to ask for counts we were both able to focus all of our attention to the game, making for a more enjoyable experience. Well, except when I pointed 12 copies of Tendrils of Agony at them.

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