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.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Back From Vacation

Man, it's been a while.  Road trip back to Arkansas, Star Trek Into Darkness, vacation in the Dominican Republic, and now its time for FNM!  Since I'm so refreshed, I decided to take a new approach and try out a new deck.  Totally stealing this from Bryan Fry over at the Nerdivores MTG Podcast.  He has this list at 4-0, and I'm super stoked to try it out.  I was also shocked to check back with Dragon's Maze to find Voice of Resurgence is now a $50 card (the most expensive card in Standard right now).  Craziness!  So without much ado, here's the list I'm running tonight, I'll post a follow up or just edit this later to let you know how I do.

B/R/w Standard Vampires

4 Godless Shrine
4 Sacred Foundry
4 Blood Crypt
3 Dragonskull Summit
1 Clifftop Retreat
1 Isolated Chapel
4 Cavern of Souls

Follow up - due to sick wife, I did not make it out to FNM, and now that seeing Aristocrats are still a thing after the SCG open, I want to build that deck again.  I'm so wishy washy when it comes to what to play lol...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Please, Pardon the Interruption

I apologize for not having any updates the last couple weeks, and have to say that I will be out until at least June 5.  I will be enjoying a bit of vacation before summer classes begin.  So no Magic news from me, but be sure to follow Wizards, TCGPlayer, and Star City Games for spoiler updates for Modern Masters and M14.

I'll be thinking of you all while I'm drinking umbrella drinks on the beach.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Quick Update

Sorry for the lack of posts, its been finals week and the last two weeks have been crazy with school.  Will update soon.  Yes Dragon's Maze is out, and so far...I'm not impressed.  Plus they are already spoiling some of M14, and I saw some cool screenshots of Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014 on FB yesterday, why they dont just merge it with MTGO online I don't know...

More to follow.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dragon's Maze Pre-release

Well, another pre-release has come and gone, I hit up my LGS for the midnight as per my norm.  Take a power nap before and then get up at 1130 and roll out.  We only had 20 players this time, down from the norm, but given the set size I kind of expected it.  The owner also changed up how he did the event, you didn't have the option to preorder the guild of your choice, but were given a guild and then we had 10 minutes to trade with the other players.  I was surprised to get Izzet paired with Boros (I opted to keep mine) I was hoping for some really good stuff, but alas no mythics from Dragon's Maze, but I did get another Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius to add to my collection.  I took the same strategy I always do, sort by color, dropped the two colors that weren't in my guilds (so I wound up with a Team America style build), and then started looking at the mana curve, oh and dudes, can't forget dudes (you can't win without turning dudes sideways).  First let me apologize, it was late, i didn't take notes, and I already broke the deck apart.  Typical ramp, several one drops, into two, then three, and four and finally, yes i put in Niv-Mizzet, sadly I was only able to drop him in once and he got dealt with swiftly.

I have to say there were several cards that got played against me that I was thoroughly impressed with;

First I just liked the art and hexproof here on Ascended Lawmage, I think I really want a playset of these in foil...

Now this guys not out of Dragon's Maze, but I kinda liked it, given that it gives all your creatures haste and they have to attack each turn made me stop and think and start casting creatures during my second main phase, something that's always been a problem for me.

Then there was the match that the Maze Abomination came out, and as you can see, that makes the Hellraiser Goblin not as good, especially since the player I played knew to take out my other attackers first so that everyone had to attack and die...

Hidden Strings was a card I actually got two of in my sealed pull, I really liked this and it made it very easy to occasionally get through and attack or untap an attacker and have him ready to block.  especially when I would use it ciphered onto a flyer...

The last card that I encountered that seems to be REALLY good is the Savageborn Hydra, wow, event with 3-4 counters this guy is a beast, and I have to say I want to build a deck around him...

While these aren't all the cards I'm excited about, these are the main ones that I encountered/played at the prerelease and I have to say given the size of the set, at 156 cards minus the 10 guild gates, the 10 Clue Stones, the fact that there are only 10 mono-colored cards for each color, this set still has some good flavor and will make a nice addition to the block.

Now I can't wait to see what M14 has in store for us, I'm hoping for something special given its the anniversary of the game (come on full art land) and then Theros this fall.  I will be sad to see innistrad block drop off, there's some sexy stuff in there!

Take care all, and remember...everyday i'm shufflin!

Oh, and I went 3-1 in the pre-release.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Re-Evaluating How to Play Magic (or going back to square one)

Last Friday at FNM, after having been very frustrated at my results at the TCG Player event, I took a long hard look at myself, my play-style and decided i needed to either get better or get out.  First thing I decided was that I need to become more aware of the board state, and also read my cards.  These are two small details that can lead to big change.  I know it sounds really stupid to have to tell my/yourself to look at the board state and to read your cards, but its that simple.  If you aren't paying attention, you will miss out on something so minute that it could be the difference between winning and losing.  After close consideration I decided to stop running the ultra competitive decks for the time being, I really enjoyed playing the Aristocrats deck and the newest American Midrange was fun, but I feel that in order to hone my craft, I need to take a different approach, given that my FNM is not ultra competitive and most of the stuff run is low cost, kitchen table kind of decks.  So with that in mind, I built a new deck that started off as a mono red, but then decided to splash green and add two Domri Rade to the main board.  So here's a rundown of what I was running.  I don't remember what the original sideboard was, but given all the graveyard shenanigans that are going on at my FNM, I've already made changes

Main Board
4   Rootbound Crag
18 Mountains

4   Thundermaw Hellkite
4   Hellrider
4   Stromkirk Noble
3   Rakdos Cackler
3   Vexing Devil
4   Burning Tree Emissary
1   Boros Reckoner
2   Domri Rade

4   Bonfire of the Damned
1   Mizzium Mortars
4   Searing Spear
4   Pilar of Flame

4   Grafdiggers Cage
3   Ash Zealot
3   Boros Reckoner
1   Staff of Nin
4   Brimstone Volley

I think I need to change the sideboard up a bit, drop to 2 cages, and add in another Staff of Nin and then the fourth Ash Zealot.  I also think, if I'm going to run Reckoner, it needs to be at least a 2 of, if not 3 of.  Also was looking at Archwing Dragon in the 4 spot, since he's not targetable by sorcery speed removal...

So, What do you think?  Oh, I guess I should report how it performed...

Current Record

And here's the breakdown:

Round 1 - Naya Wolves, Game 1 he dropped a Wandering wolf and the dropped 2 rancors on it, but he couldn't keep up with the hellrider bonus damage.  Game 2 ramped into two Thundermaw Hellkites, Hellrider and a Burning Tree Emissary. 1-0

Round 2 - Bant Reanimator - This was a tough matchup, I had no graveyard hate, and once thragtusk hit, the extra lifegain was just too much for me to combat.  I did take out thragtusk with a searing spear, but he just reanimated and thats 5 more life, had a hard time getting ramped up to 5 and drawing a hellkite.  1-1

Round 3 - Orzhov Extort deck, this one went to  3 games, in game two I kept a 2 lander and didnt see more land until turn 5, extort can be very nasty (or very beneficial if your extorting).  2-1

Round 4 - The Aristocrats, this one also went to three, but sadly I never saw him drop a Falkenrath Aristocrat, but man those Skirsdag High Priests scare me, so they were handily destroyed before any shenanigans could go off.  I have to say looking at the top card with Domri really makes it nice, esp if you find that creature...  3-1

Only loss was to reanimator, and the sideboard has been modified to try to combat that.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Dragon's Maze on the Horizon

With pre-release events starting next Friday, and the set releasing the next week, it feels like only yesterday we were all stoked about Gatecrash and the Boros Legion.  Now we're on the cusp of the next release and all the new cards that are going to set the current meta on its head (possibly).  The more I think about this the more I have to wonder how many more shocklands will I get, what is the change to the packs going to do to the pricing of those lands, and will I actually play with Guild Gates?

Given that this was a small set, the spoiler season was much shorter than on the larger sets, but I feel like they've been awesome, there are some real standout cards, at least for me, I'm loving Master of Cruelties, Obzedat's Aid, and Dragonshift (I really lean toward Orzhov lately).

I know there are a ton more that have been revealed through Reddit and of course via official channels, but these are the ones I see myself messing with.  I love that the guild Champions (maze runners) are just rares and not mythics, so we should see a lot of them hitting the boards at FNM and tournament level.  We all know that the weekend the set hits, all the pro players who have sponsorship from the big sites will have all they need of any of these new cards. 

How do you do it when you play the week of a new set, do you hit your shop before FNM and get your cards to start modifying your existing decks or will you hit as many pre-releases you can so you have a good assortment of cards before release?  Me I try to hit at least 2-3 pre-releases and then I usually take the older stuff to that FNM and spend the weekend working though my new stuff and then the following week take some new brew, I'll also be keeping an eye on tournaments that weekend to see what the pros are slinging.  How much product to you buy?  Are you a completionist?  Do you buy singles and just draft the rest of the set out?

Look forward to hearing from you all

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Poor Day at the TCG Player 5k (or man do I really suck at this game)

Those who've been following know that I've been playing Magic again for a little better than a year (plus the 2+ years I played in college around Revised, Ice Age, and on up through Weatherlight).  I admit, I'm not the best player, but I have fun.  But after going to a tourney and going 0-4-drop I just felt a huge punch in the gut, that maybe I don't know what I'm doing, and I need to figure out how to remedy that.  First let me say this and I really mean it;

I'm fat, I sweat, but I don't stink...There was so much nerd funk at the event that in some instances it made my nauseous.  Everyone gets hot, and sweaty, but for the love of Orzhov please put some damned deodorant on.  There is no excuse for a grown person, who can drive and spend the money to buy and play this game to smell like that.  You give us nerds the bad name that we've had to deal with forever, don't perpetuate this.  Next event, whether its TCG or Star City, I think you guys should team up with Old Spice or Axe, or whoever and hand out samples, maybe it will sink in, but hey, it probably won't.

So on to the tournament, first let me say the setup was crazy at first, there were two lines, but no one really knew what to do, there was a slight lack of communication early, but then as more judges arrived, that changed.  I know the TO, but I made the suggestion that they get a bullhorn or some type of amplified mic to make announcements, b/c the noise level pretty much killed anything they said after about the 3rd row of tables, oh and there were 308-309 players, so it was well beyond expectations and that was awesome, which means I assume the tourney turned a profit (308*$30/person - $5k in prizes = money leftover...), so I expect that means they'll bring it back again sometime.

So on to the matches...
Every person I played in the 4 rounds before I dropped were incredibly nice, personable and talkative.  I was worried I'd wind up playing mouth breathing neck-beards all day who could not carry on a conversation with anyone outside of the mouse in their pocket.  But everyone was cool, from the guy who said he'd only been playing 2 weeks running the American Midrange deck to the seasoned player who drove all night from Houston to come play.

I was running The Aristocrats (pretty much the Conley Woods version from last month), in round 1 I got paired with a guy playing American Midrange.  Game 1 I made the biggest boner I could make, I cast Blasphemous Act and not thinking about the Boros Reckoner he had on the board, took 13 to the face and then got Searing Speared and Pillar of Flamed.  On to game 2, a little smoother, we're volleying damage back and forth and then I look at life totals I'm at 15, he's at 11...Harvest Pyre for 12 into a searing spear for the win.


Round 2
Guess what, another American Midrange deck, game one I was on an aggro tear with my Falkenrath Aristocrat and two Boros Reckoners, then they get detentionsphered, but I get Sorin out, pump him a little and then take his Gideon with 5 counters, get to swing a couple of times before he spheres him too, then its like 5 turns of nothing but land and I'm done.  On to game two, this game was over before I could do anything, I was totally flooded with mana, and just had no responses.


Round 3
Guy called his deck Jund Vampires, it really looked cool, I wish I could have gotten a breakdown on it, I'd like to play it at FNM.  I don't have a lot of notes on this one, but I remember it going fast.


Round 4
Naya Humans, this one was crazy, silverblade paladin paired with Wolfir silverheart dealt 12 damage and wow, I had no response.  Game two I took a win with a turn four Falkenrath Aristocrat and Boros Reckoner.  Game three he took it with some early Burning Tree Emmisarys and Mayor of Avabrook.

After this my other two friends and I were all 0-4, 0-4, and 1-3 respectively and we mutually agreed to quit and go drown our sorrows in pizza and play some Cards Against Humanity (which had us all laughing our asses off all night).

Losings not fun, but if I learned one thing this weekend its to look at the cards in play, be mindful of what I'm doing, and know when to mulligan and pile shuffle.  Hoping it gets better, I'm already brewing up some new deck ideas, don't want to spoil incase anyone I play actually reads this.

Until next time.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

FNM Shenanigans (or Selesnyagans)

So, I took the Selesnya decklist from last weeks post to FNM, and I have to say I was really disappointed, it play-tested great, but I didn't account for all the random jank that my LGS has running, all in all the deck finished 1-3, which after thinking about it, most of the onus for those loses falls to me, I was so focused and thinking about the $5k tournament, that I really wasn't paying as much attention as I should have been.  I underutilized my mulligans, and then one match I just got so fed up with the guy I was playing, b/c he kept milling me and putting my mana in the graveyard, or severing my dorks, I just got tired of it and scooped halfway through game two.  A quick breakdown of the four matches follows.

Round 1
Played against a GW, started out with 3 mana in hand, and then proceeded to not draw any more, opponent dropped Champion of the Parish turn 1, Mayor of Avabruck turn two, and Rancor turn three, then it was just some cheap 1 drop humans to pump the Champ, and I was overwhelmed.  Game 2, mulliganed to 6, kept a 2 land hand (my mistake), no mana dorks, took me till turn 4 to draw a land, and by then he was ramped and slamming me down.


Round 2
Boros Battalion matchup
This match was over before it could begin, again had mana problems, I've got to get the mulligan art figured out, but with battalion triggers on every creature, by the time he had 3 out, I just couldn't stop him.  Game 2 was about the same, just couldn't stop the beat down.  This deck looks fast and fun, I may have to build one of my own.


Round 3
RWG Thragtusk/Restoration Angel
Was acually able to get through and deal damage, the mana dorks hit right on turn 1 and got in for damage quick and early with no response, finished him off 2-0, seems my opponent had been plagued by my mana issues from earlier...


Round 4
Played blue/black cheap crap - Duskmantle Seer and Nightveil Spector.  Basically with all his tricks, he was discarding all my land, and severing my creatures, so I dont have a lot to say, other than it was a miserable loss.

I got this deck from Bryan Fry over at Nerdivores MTG podcast, he's 9-1 with this deck at 2 FNM's, I must have been doing something wrong, our the meta at my store is just crazy, but I think I know that is true.  What has this taught me?  Not every deck that looks good, and has a strong play record will do well everywhere.

Oh, and it's spoiler season, I've seen more posts on FB about spoiled cards, and it seems the majority of these are coming out of reddit (the asscrack of the internet).  I'll work up a new post with a few of the cards that I think are going to be game changers.  For now you can look at the official Wizards spoiler page here.

The big $5k tcgplayer tournament is Saturday in Farmers Branch, if you read this and your there, be sure to say hello!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

My First Big Tournament

So, on Saturday, April 13, TCGPlayer is hosting a $5k tournament in Dallas (technically Farmers Branch).  So I'm trying to work out in my head what I want to play, I was thinking about the Aristocrats, but its currently 7/5 at 3 FNM's.  Seeing all the JUND/JUNK going around I thought about running that, but I hate running anything that I haven't had time to test out.  Then I thought about mono red with Reckoners/Thundermaw Hellkites/Hellriders...

Standard has just really become such a varied beast, I just don't know what to brew up, I like the idea of a fast deck that can take control and hit hard and fast and leave nothing, but I also don't want to be a dick.  I like the two decks I posted last week, but I will not have a lot of time to test them out and I just don't want to miss any mechanics or triggers at a tournament.

Those of you who are newer to magic or like me who played 18 years ago and then quit and came back, you missed a lot of content and I also didn't know all the lingo and still don't know it all.  Here is a short primer about deck types/alliances, all of this came out of the Alara block...

  • Bant - Bant is one of the five shards of Alara. It is primarily white-aligned with green and blue as secondary colors.  It is inhabited by humans, aven, rhoxes, the semi-intelligent leotau mounts, and the angels that watch over the plane.
  • Esper - Esper is one of five Shards of Alara. It is primarily blue-aligned, with white and black as secondary colors.  It is primarily inhabited by humans, vedalkens, and sphinxes, and a small race of blue-skinned sentient beings called the homunculi, among others.  It is also the native plane of Tezzeret.The most distinguishing characteristic of its inhabitants is their complete use of etherium to improve their skills and life spans.
  • Grixis - Grixis is one of five shards of Alara.  It is primarily black-aligned, with blue and red as secondary colors.  Due to the predominance of undeath, it is possible to find undead versions of Bant's leotaus and Jund's viashinos in Grixis.  Before Grixis split off from the mega-plane of Alara, things were different. White and green mana still flourished there.  The land was called Vithia, a white-aligned empire of humans and other races, a land proud of its dynasty of wise and honorable monarchs.
  • Jund - Jund is one of five shards of Alara.  It is primarily red-aligned, with black and green as secondary colors.  Most of Jund is covered with active volcanoes that add difficulty to the lives of its human, crocodrillian viashino and rat-like goblin inhabitants, but are of great advantage to the dragons that dominate it.  Life on Jund is a never-ending struggle of survival of the fittest, expressed through the devour mechanic.
  • Naya - Naya is one of five Shards of Alara.  It is primarily green-aligned, with red and white as secondary colors.  It is inhabited by gargantuan beasts, humans, elves who worship the beasts, a feline race called nacatl, and minotaurs that stalk the canyons.  After the Shards realigned and Alara was reborn, some vedalken heretics from Esper migrated to Naya, while the coatl snakes were created from the influx of blue mana.  Naya is Ajani's birthplace.

I hope that this helps clear up any confusion about what your seeing when decklists are posted, and will know where the names come from.  If you have any suggestions about what you'd run at a tournament, I'd love to hear it.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Missing another FNM

With it being Easter weekend and all, we're packing up the SUV, and meeting up with the in-laws.  5 hours in the care with a 3 year old who's watching Dora, Diego, Yo Gabba Gabba, and Blues Clues on repeat...which means no FNM for me #sadface, yes I just typed out a hashtag in a blog post #hashtag.  So last week was ok, 2-2 with the aristocrats, I think its time to change, so here are a couple of my upcoming deck brews I want to try...

This first deck, I really feel like for sideboard I want another Sigarda, at least two Obzedat's, a blind obedience, and some O-rings.  What are your thoughts?  I haven't really built a sideboard into this, but would love to hear more thoughts on it.

Main Deck 1

Main Deck
60 cards
4   Sunpetal Grove
4   Temple Garden
3   Plains
10 Forest
1   Gavony Township

22 lands

Arbor Elf
Avacyn's Pilgrim
Strangleroot Geist
Loxodon Smiter
Centaur Healer
Silverblade Paladin
Restoration Angel
Sublime Archangel
Wolfir Silverheart
Sigarda, Host of Herons

31 creatures
Selesnya Charm

7 other spells

The second deck is one that I cannot take any credit for, its Gavin Verhey's "Everybody Lives" deck from an article on the mothership this week.  I'm not going to plagiarize his work but man, what a great article, this deck looks fast and nasty and I like it a lot!  This is a deck I want to run, and I can get behind it, it seems to be a lot of economy (except for the shocklands) and main staple for most standard players.  With the rotation on the horizon (trust me, October will be here before we know it), I really want to play some more Innistrad block cards. 

Main Deck 2

Main Deck
60 cards
4  Godless Shrine
4  Isolated Chapel
6  Plains
5  Swamp

19 lands

4  Blood Artist
4  Boros Elite
3  Cartel Aristocrat
4  Champion of the Parish
4  Diregraf Ghoul
3  Doomed Traveler
4  Dryad Militant
4  Gravecrawler
4  Rakdos Cackler

34 creatures

1  Blind Obedience
3  Immortal Servitude
3  Orzhov Charm

7 other spells

That's all for now, keep slinging and also thanks to all the new traffic from the Magic the Gathering Google+ group!

Monday, March 25, 2013

PAX East MtG Announcements!

So, this past weekend, there was this little show called the Penny Arcade Expo (or PAX) East.  Not to be confused with PAX Prime (Seattle).  Given that PA is based in Seattle and so is Wizards, they share a lot of info at their expos, showing lots of love and in some cases throwing an awesome party.  The big news this weekend was the release of several tidbits of goodies, first a sneak at a Dragon's Maze card, Ruric Thar, the Unbowed;

Also previewed were several pieces of art from Gatecrash, thanks to the wonderful team from tcgplayer  they got some good screens from the presentation and also have just posted these pics.  Also revealed were the mechanics about the pre-release and the guild packs:

Dragon's Maze will feature all ten guilds from Ravnica. In the prerelease sealed format, players choose their guild and receive a guild pack of the appropriate guild, but it can also support a second guild. Each player attending the prerelease receives the same promotional card, which can not be played in the sealed deck (as opposed to the prerelases to Return to Ravnica and Gatecrash). The draft format for Dragon's Maze also reverts to the normal format of drafting the three sets in a block in reverse order of their release, in this case Dragon's Maze - Gatecrash - Return to Ravnica.  Booster packs for Dragon's Maze do not contain basic lands. Instead each booster contains either a Guild Gate, a Shock land, or the mythic rare land Maze's End in the appropriate ratio of their rarities. The Shock lands have the appropriate expansion symbols of Return to Ravnica and Gatecrash, but the Gates are part of Dragon's Maze and have a Dragon's Maze expansion symbol making them part of the set and thus marking the first time cards other than Basic lands are printed multiple times within the same block.

Also shown were the 10 Guild Champions, again thanks tcgplayer!  Given a look at the promo for the pre-release which was Maze's End, and also revealed upon completing the maze each player gets a foil plains.

And lets not forget they finally revealed the next block names, codenamed "Friends", "Romans", and "Countrymen", are now Theros, Born of the Gods, and Journey to Nyx respectively.  A god based set, which harkens back to Eldrazi?  If I remember some of the old original concepts for MtG included some mythology but I could be wrong.  Theros, will be 249 cards so a large set, based on the set naming, I think we will see a large/small/large block.  Will we see the return of Titans?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Grrr...Nerd rage!

So another FNM has come and gone.  I'm frustrated that I didn't have the best night, with a record of 2-2 with the Aristocrats, my losses came to a green/white aggro with mayor of avabruck, and some very lucky oblivion rings.  The other loss came in game 4 to a guy who has been running the same deck since AVR, tokens featuring favorable winds and Intangible virtue, so basically with no removal on my end I couldn't stop the onslaught of spirit tokens.  I guess I'm just ready to see some new stuff, so I may have to try the other store in town, as the meta at my store doesn't seem to be changing much.  That or I may switch to my red deck wins...