Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Long Time, No Post

So, it's been a while, school is winding down, so I am going to try to be a better blogger.  That being said, I haven't been at FNM as much as I'd like as well, but life and a kid will do that.  So what's happened since we last spoke...wow, August 13, so since then I attended my first GP in Oklahoma City (also my first trip to OKC) and scrubbed out after round 4 of sealed, weak pulls and poor deck building on my part, but live and learn right?

So Theros is out, and it's a thing.  Mutavault is back, and its a thing, not much on my mind right now, but here is a link to a deck I'm toying with, would love to hear some thoughts, I love playing with the Tier 1 tourney decks, but this is my first real attempt at a brew, so let me know what you think.

To be continued...


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Don't look now, but you're losing

So I took FNM off last week, as I could only get a hall pass for one night/day of gaming.  I knew I wanted to hit Gameday because those full art cards are just so damned sexy.  I took my Big Red deck from my last post and it was a totally different run, I wound up 1-3 thanks to a round 4 bye.  I just could get any synergy going, it was either flood or no mana, I didn't change a thing.  And it wasn't like it was a fun set of losses, we were done fast most rounds so I just sit around and wait, which really sucks.  It's a lot more fun to lose and put up a fight, but when you got nothing, it's just misery.

So I decided to dust off and start from scratch, taking a cue and trying out Harry Bradford's G/R Aggro from the SCG Classic in Albany last weekend.  So far in playtesting it seems to work well.  I'm gonna take it to FNM this week and see what I can come up with.  Next week I'll be back home in Arkansas, maybe try to hit up one of my old LGS's and see what I can do in a different meta.  So what are you playing?  Anything besides the obvious big hitters out of M14?  Let me know.

Oh and Bryan Fry, if you're reading this, I miss your podcast, none of the other standard casts are as good.


Arbor Elf
Elvish Mystic
Flinthoof Boar
Ghor-Clan Rampager
Scavenging Ooze
Strangleroot Geist
Thundermaw Hellkite

Domri Rade

Mizzium Mortars

Basic Lands

Kessig Wolf Run
Rootbound Crag
Stomping Ground

Burning Earth
Volcanic Strength
Ruric Thar, the Unbowed
Bonfire of the Damned
Flames of the Firebrand
Pillar of Flame

Monday, August 5, 2013

Long Break, and Red Deck Wins...Still

So, with vacation, school, inlaws visiting, and life in general I haven't found time to play much Magic.  But I got back and played to last two weeks.  Feels good to get back and socializing with my gaming friends.  I was running BR Vampires last week, but this week an article on TCGPlayer caught my eye. It's red, but its BIG, and I thought that was pretty cool, given that most people are running 2-3 color decks in my meta so lots of shocks and that gives a larger deck time to ramp up.  One of the things I tried to do was ensure I had at least 3 lands in my opening hand, and really hoped one of them was a Mutavault.  I realize now that the Mutavaults are there to help trigger the Hellrider damage triggers.  Overall the deck handled very well, seemed to be a good match up against most of my meta, I really only got nervous once, playing against Kalonian Hydra.  It held its on very well against American Midrange.  So on with the list if you really want to see it.

4 Bonfire of the Damned
4 Boros Reckoner
3 Brimstone Volley
4 Burning Earth
4 Chandra's Phoenix
4 Hellrider
21 Mountain
4 Mutavault
4 Pillar of Flame
4 Searing Spear
4 Thundermaw Hellkite

1 Blasphemous Act
3 Curse of the Pierced Heart
3 Mark of Mutiny
3 Skullcrack
3 Volcanic Strength
2 Wild Ricochet

Monday, July 8, 2013

Rules Changes

This was supposed to be posted in June, sorry...

Well, I'm late to the party here on reporting on the new changes coming in October.  So we will have a new core set and some new rules to contend with in addition to the new set.  I'm just going to borrow from WoTC here and I'll make my own comments...

The "Legend Rule"

Let's dive in, shall we? The "legend rule," rule 704.5k for those of you following along at home, is changing. Under the current rules, any time two or more legendary permanents with the same name were on the battlefield, they would all be put into their owners' graveyards as a state-based action. Under the new rules, any time two or more legendary permanents with the same name are controlled by a player, that player chooses one of them and the rest are put into their owners' graveyards as a state-based action.
One way to think about it is the "legend rule" now looks at each player individually. It doesn't matter what any other player controls. Clearly, this has a few play ramifications. If you control a legendary permanent, having another one enter the battlefield (by playing a second one or creating a copy of the first one) will leave you with one on the battlefield. It may be the old one. It may be the new one. That's up to you.
Also, creating a copy of a legendary permanent controlled by another player will simply give you a copy. The one controlled by the other player won't explode, won't leave the battlefield, and really won't be affected at all. Clones do what they were intended to do, which isn't to be situational killing machines. Let's look at two examples to see the new rules in action:
  • You control Teysa, Orzhov Scion. Your opponent enchants it with Pacifism. You cast anotherTeysa, Orzhov Scion. You choose the new one to remain on the battlefield. The one enchanted byPacifism is put into its owner's graveyard (and then so is the Pacifism).
  • Your opponent controls Ruric Thar, the Unbowed. You cast Progenitor Mimic, copying it. Both creatures may stay on the battlefield as long as they're controlled by different players. AfterProgenitor Mimic's ability creates a token copy of Ruric Thar, you must choose one to stay on the battlefield. The other will be put into its owner's graveyard as a state-based action.
I've recruited ace developer Sam Stoddard to write more about R&D's motivations behind this change and the change to the "Planeswalker uniqueness rule." You should check out his article here. Oh, didn't I mention the Planeswalker one? Well then...

The "Planeswalker Uniqueness Rule"

You didn't think we were leaving our heroes out in the cold, right? Just giving the legendary permanents a shiny new upgrade? Because the Planeswalkers are coming along for the ride.
The "Planeswalker uniqueness rule" is getting a very similar update to what the "legend rule" got. The new rule 704.5j will state that if a player controls two or more Planeswalkers that share a Planeswalker type, that player chooses one and the rest are put into their owner's graveyards as a state-based action. Again, you no longer have to worry about what other players control. Let's look at a couple of examples:
Again, Sam's article has much more information on these changes. Check it out here. And I really can't stress enough: these changes aren't in effect until July 13 in live tournaments and July 24 on Magic Online.

Sideboards in Constructed Tournaments

We're also making an adjustment to sideboard composition in Constructed tournaments. Previously, your main deck was sixty or more cards and your sideboard was either fifteen cards or zero cards, indicating you weren't using a sideboard. With the new rule, your main deck is still sixty or more cards but your sideboard is now up to fifteen cards. Additionally, you are not required to swap cards between your main deck and sideboard on a one-for-one basis. For Games 2 and 3 (and so on), as long as your main deck is sixty or more cards and your sideboard is no more than fifteen cards, you're good. This change makes sideboarding in Constructed and in Limited closer.
The real benefit of this change is the following scenario, which is all-too-common at more competitive events: after Game 1, you bring in some cards from your sideboard, shuffle up, present your deck, and you discover you've presented a sixty-one-card deck. There are fourteen cards in your sideboard and you've just received a game loss.
Under the new rules, what you did in that scenario is legal and you can go about playing Magic. Here's a chart to demonstrate what's legal and not under the new rules (listed as main deck/sideboard):
Game 1Subsequent GamesLegality

We expect most players will continue to play sixty cards in the main deck and fifteen in the sideboard, but some interesting variations are possible.

Indestructible Promoted to Keyword

I frequently get asked why indestructible isn't a keyword. The answer has always been because it doesn't need to be. It's just an English word with a definition, slightly modified for use in Magic. Compare it to something like deathtouch, which carries all sorts of rules baggage. Indestructible simply meant "can't be destroyed."
And while these reasons are good and noble and true, it didn't match the reality that players didn't get it. Heck, even most of R&D didn't get it. Many people assumed it was a keyword. Well, as Mark Rosewater often reminds us, "Bananas suck." No, wait, that's not it. "You can't fight human nature." There we go. So, starting with the Magic 2014 Core Set , indestructible is now a keyword. It will appear by its lonesome on permanents that naturally have it and in abilities like "target creature gains indestructible until end of turn."
Why does this matter? Well, for the most part it doesn't, but it can be different in two cases:
Case 1: A permanent is made indestructible by another spell or ability (for example, Withstand Death), and then it loses all abilities. Previously, it would still be indestructible, because that was just something true about the permanent. It wasn't an ability the permanent had. With the change, the permanent will no longer have indestructible.
Case 2: Creatures (or permanents) you control are made indestructible until end of turn by a spell or ability (for example, Boros Charm). Previously, a creature that came under your control after that spell or ability resolved would be indestructible, as that spell or ability didn't change the characteristics of any creature. With the change, that new creature won't have indestructible as it wasn't under your control at the right time to gain it.
A little more than sixty cards will be receiving the new template and functionality.

Unblockable Demoted to Definitely Not a Keyword

And when people ask about indestructible, unblockable is usually not far behind. One might expect it to get a similar upgrade to keyword, but alas, one would be mistaken. Here's the thing: there are actually many variations on unblockable. There are cards like Barrenton CragtreadsFirefright MageGoblin War Drums, and several others. It would be strange and counterintuitive if unblockable functioned like a keyword but all the subsets of unblockable didn't. So, to alleviate confusion as to why unblockable isn't a keyword, we're going to make it more obvious that it isn't by changing its template to "can't be blocked." As you've seen, the words "can't be blocked" were used on cards already, so this change seemed very natural. Please note this is a change in template only. No cards will functionally change.

Playing Additional Lands

Did you know that right now (assuming you're reading this article before July 13, when these rules changes take effect), whenever you play a land, if more than one rule or effect allows you to play that land, you must specify which rule or effect you're using? Yeah, most people didn't. In practice, this means that if you control something like Oracle of Mul Daya and play a land, the correct play is to specify that this is your additional land for the turn. Furthermore, you could then bounce the Oracle and recast it. Then you could play an additional, additional land. You could then go on to play your land for the turn. What a mess.
With the Magic 2014 Core Set , we're introducing a new system for playing lands that focuses on the number of land plays you have. Any time you want to play a land for any reason, if you've used all your land plays for the turn, then you can't play the land. By default, you have one land play on each of your turns. Spells or abilities can add to this number. So can permanents that allow you to play additional lands, but if these permanents leave the battlefield, those additional land plays disappear.
As before, you can take a special action once on each of your turns during either main phase to play a land. A spell or ability may also instruct you to play a land as part of its resolution (for example, the activated ability of Djinn of Wishes). No matter how you're playing the land, it uses up a land play. If you're out of unused land plays for a turn, you can't play a land. And just like before, you can never play a land if it isn't your turn.
Here are some examples:
  • You start your main phase with one land play. You play a land. You then activate Djinn of Wishes, revealing a land. You have no unused land plays, so the revealed land can't be played.
  • You start your main phase with one land play. You activate Djinn of Wishes, revealing a land. You play that land. You then want to play another land (by taking your once-a-turn special action). However, you have no unused land plays, so you can't play another land this turn.
  • You start your precombat main phase while controlling Oracle of Mul Daya. You have two land plays. You play a land. Then Oracle of Mul Daya dies during combat, so you're back to one land play and it's been used. During your postcombat main phase, you can't play another land.
  • You start your precombat main phase while controlling Oracle of Mul Daya. You have two land plays. You play a land. Then the Oracle is returned to your hand, so you again have one land play, and it's been used. You recast Oracle of Mul Daya, and you have two land plays again, one of which you've used. You can now play a second land.
Most of the time, it's a simple question of asking how many lands you've played in a turn and figuring out how many you're allowed to play. It doesn't come up that often, but I believe when it does come up, the rules now behave in a more sensible manner.

Spoilers Ahoy!

So the full set of M14 is spoiled, and holy crap no dual lands in a core set...Seems odd to me, I know we're swimming in Shocklands right now, but man, that just seems crazy.  You can see the full list with art over at the mothership.

Sorry for the short post, but not much else going on, haven't played in a couple of weeks due to my LGS having a busted AC, family stuff, and summer school; but hoping to get out to 2-3 pre-releases this weekend.

Keep on shuffling!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Why you shouldn't buck a trend...

So I took a different deck to FNM after going 4-0 with the aristocrats last week.  I decided since i completed my playset of Voice of Resurgence, that I needed to go back to Selesnya.  I built it pretty similar to Bryan Fry's Big Selesnya deck, with a few modifications, dropped the Centaur Healers in place of the Voices, and added two Alive // Well.  I was amazed at this deck, generally with 8 mana dorks I usually get one in every opening hand, Friday was the exception, I rarely saw them, and had a hard time pulling double white or double green in several matches.  I should have stuck with the winning deck that I used last week and I might have faired better than 2-2.  No monster pulls in my 2 prize packs this week, but there's always next week.  Here's hoping they get the AC fixed as this week looks like the start of the Texas summer heat.

Until next week, don't keep a one lander, and stay cool!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

First time ever 4-0 and a monster pull

Last friday was epic, let me stress this never happens...I went to FNM running the latest Aristocrats build, it was rocking and working on all 4 cylinders.  I only went to 3 games in round 2 because I was ashamed to mull to 4, round 4, I'm 3-0 and facing one of our more competitive players, we get all the way to then end, and he's got me its game 2 and I'm locked down due to Curse of Death's Hold, and most of my creatures have little asses.  When I was like, "Damn there goes my perfect night!" and he looks at me and goes "your 3-0?"  me, "yep".  "I scoop, I concede" So technically I didn't do as well as it sounds, but hey, I'll take it.  So with tiebreakers I'm second, I get 6 packs and the promo.  I toss a pack to the guy who gave me the win, and then I start opening, first pack...foil Voice of Resurgence, the whole store is like holy crap, lemme see, whatcha want for it...  I'm like, I dunno yet, it does complete my playset, so let me think.

So there it is, great night, just need to add in some graveyard hate and enchantment destruction, and I should be able to do well again this week.