Am I The Bolas? - The "God" Hand

Mike Carrozza • November 15, 2023

Angrath's Marauders Illustrated by Victor Adame Minguez

Hello, and welcome to Am I the Bolas?

This column is for all of you out there who have ever played some Magic and wondered if you were the bad guy. I'm here to take in your story with all of its nuances so I can bring some clarity to all those asking, "Am I the Bolas?" Whether it's because of a mean play or even just getting bored with your playgroup, I'm ready to hear you out and offer advice. All you have to do is email!

I'm Mark Carbonza, the guy absolutely crushed we didn't get a new Zetalpa! 

Not even a nod???

This week, a story about something or other, yada, yada, you'll read the email!

(Email edited for brevity, clarity, adding those things that make the cards pop up, and you know what, this was bothering me: I'm sorry I was so flippant up there. I know you're going to read the email, but I didn't have to catch an attitude. The truth is, I've got a lot going on right now and I really appreciate you. I'm sorry for being snippy.)


I just recently started reading your column during the slow times at work, and I've found it really entertaining and helpful. I didn't realise I would have something to share so quickly, but I can't stop thinking about a game I played the other day where there didn't seem to be hard feelings, but I can't help but feel I should have made a different choice.

For context, my friends and I play Commander once or twice a week depending on our schedules. We've been increasing our power level over the past year as we get more familiar and comfortable with deck synergies, but we tend to stay away from tutors since we like variance and the fastest mana any of us run is Sol Ring.

Tutors and Sol Ring are where I might have gone a little wild with my Delina, Wild Mage deck. It was a three-person pod with Raff, Weatherlight Stalwart and Obeka, Brute Chronologist. We shuffled up, and when I drew my starting hand, I was in absolute shock: three Mountains, Maze of Ith, Sol Ring, Harmonic Prodigy, Swiftfoot Boots, and a Hazardous Blast.

I knew that if I kept the hand, I would be the threat to win the game from turn one. I tell the other two that I drew an insanely powerful opening hand that would probably warp the game. Raff and Obeka are both cool with it and so we start playing. I come to my first turn and draw Imperial Recruiter. Most of the creatures in my deck, including a Professional Face-Breaker, are power two or less, so when Delina is able to make multiple copies of the guy, I can get basically whatever I need.

At this point, the game is basically all gas, no breaks. The Harmonic Prodigy doubles Delina's triggers, which are then leveraged into a shocking amount of value. By turn five, the Professional Face-Breaker is giving me tons of Treasure and card advantage, Raff is not able to come up with answers, and Obeka is using Demons in a desperate attempt to beat me to death because she's unable to draw a board wipe. Then I play Angrath's Marauders and Witty Roastmaster. The game ends with me turning my board sideways and creating enough copies of Angrath's Marauders that I dome each player for 256 damage from ETB triggers alone.

I know they both said they were cool with me keeping an incredible starting hand, but I can't help but feel like I should have taken a mulligan anyways because, while it was amazing to have the deck do exactly what it was designed, neither of my friends could actually do anything. There weren't any hard feelings, at least.

When I say there were no hard feelings, it was the vibe from our post-game chat. They both wished the game hadn't been such a blowout but acknowledged they had played knowing it could turn out that way after telling me it was okay to keep "the god hand".

It might be worth adding that this was our last game of the night, and we'd just come off of a game where the Raff player had had an incredible victory with his Slimefoot and Squee deck which involved him using a 100/100ish Juri, Master of the Revue as a nuke.

Thanks for taking the time to read this! I appreciate your work a lot 🙂

Relic Robber's Biggest Fan


Hey, Relic Robber's Biggest Fan! I'm glad you enjoy the column! Thanks for sharing your story and if anybody reading this would like to share theirs, please send them over to Stories, Reddit posts, anything you'd like!

Now, let's get into this story. 

There are a few things I picked up on that are worth noting right off the top:

  1. Your playgroup seems to be quite communicative and open. I love to see that. 
  2. You're all aware of and play into the power level shared within the group. 

I appreciate this story a lot. Warning the table of "the god hand" and them agreeing... that's out of your hands at this point! Literally and figuratively! Oh, baby! Wordplay!

Getting to see the deck do the exact thing it was designed to do is a lot of fun. It's definitely more fun when it's met with resistance and it still works the way it's meant to.

I don't know that you should feel guilty or like you should have taken a mulligan. The cards do what the cards do, your table is aware of the deck, you warned them about the incredible hand you drew, and they said yes. 

Have your fun. There's no reason to feel too bad when your pod is fine with it. 

That said, if this is how you feel even with their permission, I would recommend adjusting your decks to remove the tutors to make them less consistent. Make efforts to be comfortable with what you're playing. 

But as it stands, I have to acknowledge that I don't think you're the Bolas at all. 

That does it! Send in your stories, folks! And if you're looking for more Am I The Bolas, stay tuned for... something I have in the works. That's all I'll say! Nothing more! 

Mike Carrozza is a stand-up comedian from Montreal who’s done a lot of cool things like put out an album called Cherubic and worked with Tig Notaro, Kyle Kinane, and more people to brag about. He’s also been an avid EDH player who loves making silly stuff happen. @mikecarrozza on platforms