Tag Archives: magic tournaments

Mirrodin Beseiged Prerelease Albuquerque Tournament Report

War!  Mirrodin is under attack and this past weekend was the first chance players had to finally pick a side in the war.  The Mirrodin Beseiged Prerelease was very different from any event Wizards has ever organized before.  Players were asked to pick a side in the Mirran v. Phyrexian war, and that side would determine what packs the players would have access to.

ThrunIwantyou

Chatting with other players around the hall it quickly seemed that the sides were evenly matched.  People went with Mirran because of better spot removal, better mythic rares, deeper card pool from Scars, and the more expensive prerelease foil.  People joined Phyrexia because of better sweepers and of course infect.  “It seems good when your opponent starts at 10 life,” one player told me, making the argument for infect.  The consensus was that If you picked Phyrexian you would be playing infect.  I decided to go Phyrexian because I want the third set in the block to be a dark evil place, entirely a flavor choice.  I loved the Phyrexian threat from the entire Weatherlight Saga and I was glad to see their return to Mirrodin.

For the sealed pool each player got three packs of Scars of Mirrodin and three faction packs based on their choice of allegiance.  No matter what faction a card belonged to you could play it if it was in your pool.  Here was my pool:

Artifacts

Colored

The first thing I looked at was how many creatures with infect I had; nine. Nine? Really?  I was sure that if I went Phyrexian I would end up with a solid amount of infect creatures.  Too bad.  Trying to keep my dream alive I looked at all of the the other cards that added poison or proliferated; seven more.  I realized that if I stuck with the infect game plan that I would force myself to play cards that were not good.  I usually do not try to force an archetype.  I decided to go back to square one and evaluate the cards the way I always do.

Bombs.  I was lucky to crack two bombs that can end the game on their own.  Carnifex Demon can wipe away the opposing board with ease.  This monster is also awkward for other infect decks to play against since any block he makes will reload him for more devastation.  Myr Battlesphere is a giant threat that will win you the game without too much effort.

Removal.  I was lucky here with plenty of good choices for spot removal and a Wrath-like effect in Creeping Corrosion (Foil).

Monsters.  I had a mixed bag of infect and non-infect guys that were all over the mana curve.  Flyers in white, but not much else.  Four mana myr would go nice with my Battlesphere.

Goodies.  Darksteel Axe was going in no matter what.  Livewire Lash too.  Other than that I was pretty flexible.

Colors.  Carnifex Demon ensured I would play Black.  I also had three Black removal spells.  Virulent wound is great at killing mana myr and opponents little infect guys.  I liked the game swing that Creeping Corrosion offers so I decided to go Green.  White was cut after that since the most important cards required WW and even though I had mana myr I did not want to loose out on black mana.  Blue was not deep enough, only Corrupted Conscience had game changing potential and I wanted to be as aggressive as possible with my curve.  I only had four Red cards  total and two Red mana myr, but those cards were all removal (one on a stick) so I decided to splash Red.  Deciding on Jund, here is what my deck looked like.

It seems like this build is not focused enough on one game plan but I just had to change my mindset.  My goal was not to poison out my opponent but rather to use my infect creatures as a from of removal.  I wanted to force my opponents into bad blocking situations to eliminate the threats from their guys and then break through with one of my bombs or equip a smaller guy to go to work.  I tried to maximize the value of each one of my cards with symmetry.

Virulent Wound can reload Carnifex Demon, can kill an Emissary to tutor up a missing land, and is removal.  Bloodshot Trainee, once equipped with the Axe or the Lash can deal with almost any threat.  Lash on any one of my infect creatures is extra awesome with Untamed Might.  Viridian Emissary was awesome for me since people would take the damage early thinking I was infect.

Took this build to a 4-0 finish at the tournament.  I won with poison counters twice and with good ol’ damage the rest of the time.  I only lost one game with it all morning.  The lesson here is to not be distracted by forcing an archetype.  Going into the tournament it was a given that if you were picking Phrexian you were picking infect.  In sealed format, it is more important to evaluate which cards have the most value through symmetry.  In draft it tends to be easier to force a specific build since you have control over what cards you will take.  I hope you all had fun at your prerelease tournaments over the weekend.  If you have any cool stories just leave a comment below.

Scars of Mirrodin – Impact on Standard (Type 2)

Scars of Mirrodin.  Looming large over the horizon, Wizards’ newest expansion is set to hit the stores on October 1st.  With the release of Scars of Mirrodin new strategies will emerge and once powerful decks will disappear to the realm of Extended.  With all of the available spoilers it is time to speculate on what changes will occur to the Standard (type 2) meta-game.  This shift will be important with the 2010′s State and Provincial Championships on October 9th.  We will see if we can figure out which cards will make the biggest impact in the post Shards of Alara/M10 tournament world.  It is a time of new beginnings and a time to revisit places in our past.  Thinking about our past, I would like to take one moment to say goodbye to all of our Shards of Alara friends:

So long, Jund!

Time to hang up our Putrid Leechs and Sprouting Thrinaxs.  No deck was more dominant in the Shards meta-game than this B/G/R build.  High powered threats and spectacular removal made Jund the most feared and prepared against deck since the Faeries of Lorwyn.  The biggest loss?

Bloodbraid Elf

Forget Maelstrom Pulse and Broodmate Dragon, this Elf provided amazing card advantage to steal games all by herself. Without Bloodbraid, Jund would not have been remotely viable. This Elf Berserker found a home in every deck that could support her colors. Easily the best uncommon in the set. Now for a few more farewells:

It’s been fun, but now we need to move on. See you in Extended!

Out of the dozens of cards that have been spoiled already, I have picked up on a few that seem like they will make an impact on the Standard Meta currently dominated by U/W Control, FauNaya, Valakut-Ramp and Mythic Conscription.

U/W Control
Come rotation on October first U/W Control will loose a few pieces, most notably Elspeth Knight-Errant. It will be interesting to see if Elspeth Tirel will be able to replace her old incarnation. The new Planeswalker costs one more and cannot generate counters and token together. I think that the five mana casting cost will not prevent the switch initially but might come to really matter since the meta game is so fast right now. On the flip side, Elspeth’s new ultimate is very powerful. The next option in Planeswalkers is the powerful Venser the Sojourner. Also comining at a casting cost of five, the U/W walker has some interesting abilities. Being able to exile your Baneslayer Angel and following that up with Day of Judgment is a strong play in control. The other loss is the token generating Martial Coup. This loss should not impact the archetype to significantly since most build will only include it as a one-of. Path to Exile is another big loss to U/W, the role will need to be filled by the more situational Condemn.

FauNaya
This archetype is on the way out in my opinion. Scars of Mirrodin does not offer anything to this deck that is on par with Knight of the Reliquary or Noble Hierarch. The deck also looses Oblivion Ring, Qasali Pridemage, Realm Razer and the superstar Bloodbraid Elf. I am sure that the Vengevine/ Fauna Shaman engine will still be around but I think the deck will look vastly different.

Valakut-Ramp (Titan-Ramp)
The plan is simple; ramp into Primeval Titan and use him to set up a kill with Valakut the Molten Pinnacle. This is the big dog in the yard, Valakut-Ramp only looses Rampant Growth in the rotation. However, nothing in the new Standard will fits the curve of this card. Cultivate might work. I like Strata Scythe as an alternate win condition if you need to play around Spreading Seas. I also think that Genesis Wave fits nicely in the deck. Valakut-Ramp will be the archetype to beat early in the season until new strategies are discovered.

Mythic Conscription (Eldrazi Conscription, Mythic)
The biggest loss for this deck is Sovereigns of Lost Alara. The Exalted Spirit let you search up your Eldrazi Conscription in order to put the game away. Without the ability to tutor for the key enchantment, Mythic should no longer be a threat in Standard.

What’s Next?
Scars of Mirrodin offers us a vast selection of powerful spells that are sure to have an immediate impact on the new Standard. Take a look at some of the things you should be hoping to pick up at your Pre-release event this weekend:

Scars of Mirrodin will offer us plenty of new options and old favorites will soon go by the wayside. I am really looking forward to playing Phylactery Lich with Darksteel Axe. I recommend going to a Pre-release this weekend since there will not be much time to prepare for States coming up in October. The 2010′s State and Provincial Championships will be the first big events to play with the new Standard. Study your spoilers and see what you can do to deal with U/W control and Valakut-Ramp. Goodbye Bloodbraid Elf, and thanks for all the fish.

Power 9 Pro Seeks Team Member, Evangelist, MTG Lover

Power 9 Pro seeks MtG players to join our team.

Ultimately, the role that any player who joins Power 9 Pro will be is an evangelist. In addition to being a part of a team of players that discusses decks, strategy, and card evaluation, you’ll represent Power 9 Pro to the MtG community at large.

What’s an evangelist?

An evangelist is someone who looks to develop recognition of Power 9 Pro as a player-centric company among the MtG player-base. With 14 million active players worldwide (and a LOT more closet-and-used-to-be-players), there are a lot of people that Power 9 Pro needs to touch. Our goal is simple: make life easier and better for players.

While we’re currently looking for three to five more players to join the team, the tasks will vary from player to player.

If you’d like to be considered, you must first meet all these criteria:

  1. Good Attitude: smiles more than frowns. Says, “Good game” or “Thank you” EVEN IF YOU LOSE. Poor sportsmanship is a major turn off. In addition to building Power 9 Pro, we want every player that wears a p9p shirt to encourage players.
  2. Must love MTG — please note that this comes second to a good attitude but that it’s just a smidgen less important. If you’re not a MTG player…well, you should be. ;-)
  3. Interested in developing a brand: this means a certain degree of entrepreneurial, self-starter attitude. There’s no monetary risk for our evangelists but the attitude of “making something happen” is certainly needed.
  4. Well spoken, capable writer: Power 9 Pro needs players who can play well and also communicate their ideas effectively and clearly.
  5. Play in tournaments. While you may not be looking to get on the Pro Tour or travel your state for every possible PTQ, you must be a tournament player. Why? Simple: you cannot evangelize very well alone from inside your bedroom.
  6. Active in MtG community: Whether you host tournaments at your home or are active on the forums, we need players who are already aware of the “broader MTG community.”
  7. There is a small stipend that comes to being a member of the Power 9 Pro Team. You cannot live off this job but we expect only a small fraction of full time work. This will not be a major time commitment and will not conflict with school or other jobs. Basically, we want the evangelist role to simply be a subsidized position for activities that MtG players already do: play and discuss MtG.

    If this is interesting so far, please email me at James[at]Power9Pro[no-Spam-seriously][dot]com. I’ll follow up with a small test-task to start the evaluation process.

    ~james.

Power 9 Pro Online Workshops

In case you’ve heard a little about our Pro-Player workshops or caught one of my tweets about them, I thought I’d post a bit more info and a couple of clips to give everyone a better idea of what we’re putting together over here. After all, I’m a player, always looking to improve my game and imagine there are a lot more players like me out there. I have to admit I certainly don’t have all the exposure or practice these master players do, but I know that excellent coaching goes a long way to improving my game…Like I said, it’s always great to win. :)

Power 9 Pro’s workshops are your chance to get first hand advice and analysis of Magic the Gathering with some of the best players in the world. In addition to real-time streaming, we limit workshop size to 15 people. This gives everyone a chance to ask questions and interact directly with not only the pro instructor but also the rest of the participants. I can personally say that being able to hear and discuss other players’ questions and opinions has led to a number of interesting discussions. No need to be shy but if you prefer to listen and soak in the information, then sit back and relax.

By delivering the workshop over the Internet, everyone can participate regardless of location–your house, office [after hours of course. ;-)], a friend’s place, local shop, or even sandy beach in the tropics. We can always wish! The software connecting everyone is free of charge, guaranteed to be malware free and best-in-industry. After signing up, you will recieve a link with confirmation time and instructions (you just click the link). You can then stream the audio through your computer or dial a toll free number. Simple and convient. All participants will also receive the full video-audio recording for later review. I’ve found this great for reviewing important points. Here are a couple of examples from our most recent workshops with Ben Lundquist.

Our next workshop series will be starting December 8th at 5:30 PST (8:30 EST) with renowned player Luis Scott-Vargas. You can see the full schedule at power9pro.com/workshops/schedule.php .

I’d love to hear your topic requests and any other thoughts you may have, so let us know what you think in the comments. Also, if you sign up for our newsletter, we’ll send you a free mp3 of Ben Lundquist discussing the fluctuations and changes of a Meta-game; great for trying to calculate what deck to play at your next tournament!

Zendikar Card Review batch 04 (249/249)

Welcome to the fourth and final batch of Zendikar preview cards.  We’d like to take a moment to thank the tireless folks at mtgsalvation for their work on the spoilers we’ve all come to know and love.

Below you’ll find the first impression, knee-jerk reactions of myself and my teammate James, upon seeing these cards for the first time.  As usual, James is focused on constructed formats, specifically block, standard, and extended, while I evaluate the cards in the paradigm of limited, with a smattering of commentary related to EDH and legacy.  Without further ado, here come the cards!

Bold Defense – 2W
Instant (Common)
Kicker {3}{W}
Creatures you control get +1/+1 until end of turn. If Bold Defense was kicked, those creatures get +2/+2 and first strike instead.

JOE

This is a good execution of the kicker mechanic.  The card has a decent ability, but at a slightly increased mana cost than you’d usually find, in this case, we can compare the card to glorious charge.  In exchange for this nerfed initial ability, you get a card that doesn’t lose as much relevance in the late game.  When you top-deck this card later on, when you actually have seven mana, suddenly it’s a much more powerful combat trick.  This is a well rounded trick and will be commonly seen in white decks lacking harder removal.

JAMES
I don’t see this being good enough. I’d rather just play Glorious Charge and have some mana left open for 2nd main phase shenanigans–or more Attack phase shenanigans like a Harms Way. That being said, I haven’t run Glorious Charge in any constructed decks…maybe I should! That’d give me a better benchmark on this card. My gut tells me Bold Defense is just over-costed for the affects.

Caravan Hurda – 4W
Creature – Beast (Common)
Lifelink
1/5

JOE

This creature’s raison d’etre is to stall the ground while your fliers and other evasive creatures push through the winning damage.  Creatures like this epitomize what’s known loosely as a “skies” archetype, traditionally found in the UW color combination.  A 1/5 lifelink is a real bummer for an opposing green mage whose early drops become less appealing.  He does what he does, and that’s great.  Just don’t mistake the deck he belongs to.  This guy is out of place in a curve-conscious aggro white deck, but at home with a slower, more controlling WU skies type deck.

JAMES
Seems great for limited but the 5cc for constructed is underwhelming.
comment

Cliff Treader – 1W
Creature – Kor Scout (Common)
Mountainwalk
2/1

JOE

He’s not a bad grizzly bears kind of guy… 2-drop with 2 power.  This cost and power define the white aggro decks, and some limited formats in general.  He’s randomly superb against red opponents, but will often be maindecked just because his power and CMC are right for your curve.

JAMES
I like this for constructed, SB in particular. I really wish it was Pro-Red because it would be some serious SB-beats against a red deck. Mountainwalk just isn’t enough; oh well…

Kor Duelist – W
Creature – Kor Soldier (Uncommon)
As long as Kor Duelist is equipped, it has double strike.
1/1

JOE

An interesting card.  He seems to be an improvement upon boros swiftblade, a card which was always suited up anyway.  I’m guessing he’s got more applications in constructed, but will occasionally make an appearance in limited as well.  Again, this is a card with a proper home.  His proper home is the aggro archetypes, and obviously he’s more appealing with a trust machete or whatnot.  Every so often, you might run him sans equipment if your curve really wants to be as low as possible.

JAMES
Umezawas Jitte and Sword of Fire and Ice really like this guy. He’s so cheap. Too bad the stack-in-combat’s been removed. Previously we could have removed charge counters from the Jitte after the firststrike damage was done, and pumped our guy to keep him around (and do more damage) during ‘normal combat damage.’ Alas, we’re stuck with the current rules [probably perpetually from here on out--or so we should assume]. What sort of stinks is that he’s pretty conditional and equipments do cost a fair bit of mana to get going. The only equipment I could see effective on a creature like this is the Bone Saw which you could play and equip without too much disruption to your normal curve-creature-drop. Behemoth Sledge is also on-color and would offer considerable tempo but it wouldn’t come into play until at least turn 4. In the end, I’m trying to keep an open mind about this creature but my main concern is that activating the doublestrike requires quite the investment. I mean, let’s face it; the two equipments I cited (Jitte & Sword) are a couple of the best equipments printed thus far, so they’re for the most part good on any creature. Doh, I guess I have to say “nope, not good enough.”

Landbind Ritual – 3WW
Sorcery (Uncommon)
You gain 2 life for each Plains you control.

JOE

Lifegain, though more popular now than perhaps ever, has never been my cup of tea.  I can’t see running this card in limited, nor constructed.  However, I’m a bad person to ask about this card.  I suppose it’s capable of gaining you 10 life for 5 mana under ideal conditions.  Some people may think that’s worth it… I just don’t.  I’d much rather have a card which advances my board position or reduces my opponent’s.

JAMES
I don’t see lifegain as worth it unless it changes the board state. As it is, gaining life just to gain life isn’t worth it. If you’re dying, just play the new Day of Judgment and reset the board. I mean, Kitchen Finks is so awesome because you’re gaining life on top of presenting an efficient beat-stick (with persist which is just amazing). This does nothing of the sort…

Makindi Shieldmate – 2W
Creature – Kor Soldier Ally (Common)
Defender
Whenever Makindi Shieldmate or another Ally enters the battlefield under your control, you may put a +1/+1 counter on Makindi Shieldmate.
0/3

JOE

I’m none too stoked about the Defender ability on this guy.  He’ll be played to attain a critical mass of allies at times, but I sure would rather have more copies of the blue ally with the same ally-ability, only having flying rather than defender and starting as a 1/1 rather than an 0/3.  That common ally will be nuts.  This one is kind of a dud, but critical mass is critical mass.

JAMES
Boo.

Noble Vestige – 2W
Creature – Spirit (Common)
Flying
{T}: Prevent the next 1 damage that would be dealt to target player this turn.
1/2

JOE

A forgettable spirit, this… Spirits are a creature type I’ve been following closely since creating my Ghost Council of Orzhova EDH deck.  I shall not be including this creature therein.  It does have evasion, which is a plus, though his ability is pretty weak.  Sometimes a 1/2 flier for 2W makes the cut, but I’m always hoping for better.

JAMES
Underpowered in a world of crazy goodness. Find a better creature. ;-)

Pillarfield Ox – 3W
Creature – Ox (Common)
2/4

JOE

Ox?  Really?  A new creature type for Ox?  Not “Bovine” or something?  Meh.  “Mammal?”  Nope.  Ox.  Oh well.  Whatever.  This guy’s less exciting to me than hill giant, unless I desperately need another ground-staller in a skies deck.

JAMES
Not so horrible in limited but pretty boarderline. Probably a late pick but we should all be aiming for better 4 drops. I see no reason to include this in any constructed decks.

Shieldmate’s Blessing – W
Instant (Common)
Prevent the next 3 damage that would be dealt to target creature or player this turn.

JOE

Strictly worse than healing salve is not the kind of endorsement you’re looking for.  This card sucks ass, people.

JAMES
I can get behind this–exact opposite of Joe!!111!!! lol. It’s cheap and prevents all damage from a Lightening Bolt. I don’t see a reason for not playing this in limited where you can bluff or create a creature attrition situation. It’s one less than Harms Way but loses the ability to redirect. Because of that, I think Harm’s Way will remain the constructed include but I wouldn’t be all to surprised to see this in a constructed deck. It’s not the worst card in the world. What is the worst card in the world? I’m going to ask on Twitter now! lol

Sunspring Expedition – W
Enchantment (Common)
Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may put a quest counter on Sunspring Expedition.
Remove three quest counters from Sunspring Expedition and sacrifice it: Gain 8 life.

JOE

If you want lifegain, use this rather than Landbind Ritual.  If they use removal on this, consider it a success for you.  I won’t be playing this card.

JAMES
Same comment as on Landbind Ritual (above).

Lethargy Trap – 3U
Instant – Trap (Uncommon)
If three or more creatures are attacking you, you may pay {U} rather than pay Lethargy Trap’s mana cost.
Attacking creatures get -3/-0.

JOE

Not terrible, I guess.  You can sometimes get favorable combat exchanges, making trades your opponent accepts into pure losses, but this isn’t likely to make the cut in my decks either.  The trap cost will probably be turned on fairly often, but I still don’t feel very warm and fuzzy about the card.  If this is the level of trick you’re resorting to, is blue really that strong for you?

JAMES
This looks pretty good for an Esper-Control style deck. I’m not exactly sure if token-based decks will be around much longer but there’s certainly an opportunity for a Solider deck developing from the cards printed in M10 and Zendikar so being attacked by 3 creatures is all together possible. The trap cost makes it pretty sweet for U/Esper decks since it’s cheap and will leave room for casting Esper Charm @ EOT (for example). We’re entering a new Extended format where Zoo looks poised to make a strong finish. Zoo is essentially “the” aggro deck of the upcoming Meta and from discussions with Ben Lundquist this past Wednesday the Meta-cycle starts with a ‘big splash aggro deck’ [deck X] transitioning to a control-style deck [deck Y] and then decks geared to beat the control deck [deck Z]. From this POV, I say this looks good for people considering Fairies for the upcoming extended season where it’s likely to have 3 creatures attacking. Even the creation of a one-turn Fog for U can be enough for stabilization to occur. The single-Blue commitment for Trap/Non-Trap casting also makes it very splash-able.

Merfolk Seastalkers – 3U
Creature – Merfolk Wizard (Uncommon)
Islandwalk
{2}{U}: Tap target creature without flying.
2/3

JOE

Whoa.  This is deceptively powerful.  Tapping a single creature makes for a solid utility creature.  Being able to tap multiples in the late game is fairly crazy.  The stats aren’t terrible either, given he has islandwalk.  This one gets a big nod.  Thumbs up.

JAMES
I don’t see how it’s goign to tap multiple creatures late game…What am I missing on this one? Anyway, tapping down creatures in limited is pretty good but I worry the cost is too high–its 300% the cost of Blinding Mage for example. From what we’ve seen of Merfolk in this set, I believe there are better options for constructed play.

Seascape Aerialist – 4U
Creature – Merfolk Wizard Ally (Uncommon)
When Seascape Aerialist or another Ally enters the battlefield under your control, Allies you control gain flying until end of turn.
2/3

JOE

Cool… this is a great ally to build around.  Evasion is something a lot of allies lack.  Giddy up.

JAMES
Pretty interesting for an Ally. Since Allies all trigger off each other, we can assume we’re getting at minimum +1/+1 to our other allies. Swinging in with a big team of flying, pumped up creatures sounds good in my head but a lot of flop ideas sounded good in people’s heads and ended up being duds. (Spam comes to mind but that’s just me). Test it out for block, for shiz.

Shoal Serpent – 5U
Creature – Serpent (Common)
Defender
Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, Shoal Serpent loses defender until end of turn.
5/5

JOE

Serpents in blue are usually piss poor creatures that have some weird ability to seem appealing despite that fact.  Hmm… let’s see.  6-drop 5/5… not bad.  Sometimes attacks… I dunno.  I’m on the fence here.  Blue just usually doesn’t want to go in the fatty direction, though it will be easier to pair with green than ever.  I just think this ends up sitting the bench in favor of far better creatures more often than not, but it’s probably more playable than a lot of Serpents in the past.

JAMES
I got nothing.

Spreading Seas – 1U
Enchantment – Aura (Common)
Enchant land
When Spreading Seas enters the battlefield, draw a card.
Enchanted land is an Island.

JOE

Almost never relevant, almost never played.  If you’re doing island walk shenanigans with this, you’ve probably failed a skill test somewhere in there.  At least this cantrips.  God willing, I’ll never play this card.

JAMES
It’s better than Seas Claim…if that means anything. lol.

Bog Tatters – 4B
Creature – Wraith (Uncommon)
Swampwalk
4/2

JOE

I’d say it’s a sideboard card against black at best.  4/2 is too dang vulnerable on 5.  No thanks.

JAMES
Might see play in limited, as Joe mentioned, restricted to SB where it would potentially shine. Otherwise, it’s way too expensive for its stats.

Crypt Ripper – 2BB
Creature – Shade (Common)
Haste
{B}: Crypt Ripper gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
2/2

JOE

I like this Shade alright.  Haste is a nice ability in my book… it’s often what helps you swing the tempo race back into your favor.  Shades are decent in general, and this one has a decent cost.  Just look at loch korrigan.  I dunno… in some decks, I definitely run this dude, but it’s always when I’m heavy black (thank you Dr. Obvious).

JAMES
This wouldn’t be bad in a limited deck but I don’t think at 4cc it’s worth the affects for constructed. In its favor, here are the advantages: On turn 4 it’s a 2/2 Hasty (obviously). Late game (and this is what i mean by in “its favor”), it’s a hasty that you can pump for more damage–let’s say a 4/4 hasty. Not horrible. It is a threat in and of itself. Very, very borderline. I’d rather play the new Specter, Guul Draz Specter for 4cc. But that’s just me.

Guul Draz Vampire – B
Creature – Vampire Rogue (Common)
As long as an opponent has 10 or less life, Gull Draz Vampire gets +2/+1 and has intimidate. (It can’t be blocked except by artifact creatures and/or creatures that share a color with it.)
1/1

JOE

Looks like Wild Nacatl got bitten by a vampire or something.  This one’s solid and interesting.  The fact that he’s a piddly 1/1 early makes him far worse than nacatl, but later on, he’s the same size as the kitty cat, but with Intimidate, the new fear.  Evasion is nice, especially for little guys later in the game.  I think the vampire deck looks mighty sexy in this format.  We’ll see.

JAMES
Not horrible. It’s pretty decent mid-game and Intimidate might make this worth having 2x in a deck. I mean a 3/2 “fear” (which intimidate is in this case) for one is not bad. The casting cost lets us play another spell, it’s splash-able, etc. I see some advantages to this little common but probably restricted to block play.

Hagra Crocodile – 3B
Creature – Crocodile (Common)
Hagra Crocodile can’t block.
Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, Hagra Crocodile gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
The creatures of Zendikar are opportunists, eating whatever is available to them. Like goblins. Or boats.
3/1

JOE

5/3 on the attack for 4.  That’s good stats.  Fits into a suicidal black all-in kind of aggro deck.  Something about this guy doesn’t jive with my own style, but I definitely see him being played… paired with green to abuse landfall, this guy might well have a spot on 4.

JAMES
I see this in limited but not making it to constructed. I just see better 4-drops in Mono-Black (such as Vampire Nocturnus

Heartstabber Mosquito – 3B
Creature – Insect (Common)
Kicker {2}{B} (You may pay an additional {2}{B} as you cast this spell.)
Flying
When Heartstabber Mosquito enters the battlefield, if it was kicked, destroy target creature.
2/2

JOE

Playable / decent without kicker, and with late game relevance (and how!) due to the kicker ability.  This is a saweet common for black.  No holds barred creature destruction for 2B more?  Awesome.

JAMES
I wish the casting costs were reversed. It’s too pricey as a 4-drop. It’s also pretty dang expensive for a 7 drop. Probably not the worst card in limited but there are [again] better options for limited.

Marsh Casualties – BB
Sorcery (Uncommon)
Kicker {3}
Creatures target player controls get -1/-1 until end of turn. If Marsh Casualties was kicked, those creatures get -2/-2 instead.

JOE

Yet again, this is a good spell without kicker that gets better later on with the kick.  Building a deck around this will be easy, and sweepers like this card are often what win you the game.  I’m guessing this is a very high pick for anyone who opens a sweet black rare, and might draw other people into black too, if infest and the like are any kind of historical indicator.

JAMES
Not bad at 5cc since you can wipe the board but (obviously) Infest is WAY better.

Mindless Null – 2B
Creature – Zombie (Common)
Mindless Null can’t block unless you control a Vampire.
2/2

JOE

gray ogre with a drawback?  I’m only playing him in a very-heavy vampire deck.

JAMES
Nope. Not good enough.

Nimana Sell-Sword – 3B
Creature – Human Warrior Ally (Common)
Whenever Nimana Sell-Sword or another Ally enters the battlefield under your control, you may put a +1/+1 counter on Nimana Sell-Sword.
“He asked if I had work for him. No wasn’t the right answer.”
- Samila, Murasa Expeditionary House
2/2

JOE

Hill Giant on his own means he’s playable with or without allies.  Obviously with allies is preferable, since he then helps critical mass and isn’t dead / weak on his own.  Top notch common ally here.

JAMES
I’m really not down with these expensive 3/3′s (and 2/2′s). I guess the “advantage” to these is the ally trigger but that’s soooooo situational. I’m a doubter.

Surrakar Maurader – 1B
Creature – Surrakar (Common)
Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, Surrakar Maurader gains intimidate until end of turn.
2/1

JOE

Meh.  Bear-ish.  Bear-cub.  I’m not too stoked on him, but in aggro decks, you take bears and whatever evasion you can, even if it only works most of the time.

JAMESDecent early game, dud late.

Bladetusk Boar – 3R
Creature – Boar (Common)
Intimidate
3/2

JOE

I guess for constant Intimidate, I’ll accept a loss of toughness off hill giant.  This one’s not bad.

JAMES
This is fine for limited but R wants more than this in constructed paly.

Goblin Shortcutter – 1R
Creature – Goblin Scout (Common)
When Goblin Shortcutter enters the battlefield, target creature can’t block this turn.
2/1

JOE

Interesting bear here too.  All these bears are right on the borderline between playable and “meh”, but the ones like this with a sometimes relevant ability are okay in certain decks.  Being a goblin helps his stock too.  I dunno… I play him sometimes, but he’s not among the first creatures I’m putting into deck slots.

JAMES
This is pretty good late game in limited when you want to squeeze a fatty through for the win or experiencing locked board positions. Off a Bloodbraid Elf this isn’t so bad–but hell, isn’t everything good off a Bloodbraid?

Highland Berserker – 1R
Creature – Human Berserker Ally (Common)
Whenever Highland Berserker or another Ally enters the battlefield under your control, you may have Ally creatures you control gain first strike until end of turn.
2/1

JOE

This is an awesome early-drop ally, and an example of a bear I’d probably run unless he’s my only ally.  I’d usually rather have him than the shortcutter above unless I had some sick goblin deck going.

JAMES
This is a pretty good ally. I would figure to see this in block–but I’m not sure what colors will rule supreme for allies in block (and it’s DAMN early to call block cards since we’ve only got this first set out).

Inferno Trap – 3R
Instant – Trap (Uncommon)
If you’ve been dealt damage by two or more creatures this turn, you may pay {R} rather than pay Inferno Trap’s mana cost.
Inferno Trap deals 4 damage to target creature.

JOE

This is quite solid removal.  Probably a decently-high pick for red.

JAMES
Not bad, not bad. Two creatures might be asking a lot and you’re only removing one of them. Still in limited this might be a good play. I’d pick it up were I in-color.

Magma Rift – 2R
Sorcery (Common)
As an additional cost to cast Magma Rift, sacrifice a land.
Magma Rift deals 5 damage to target creature.

JOE

I don’t know what to make of this one.  The removal is good, since 5 damage will deal with a lot.  But the downside is huge, losing a land.  This will depend entirely on the curve of the deck in question.  If I want to get to 7 eventually, there’s no way I run this.  If I top out at 5, it’s a different story.

JAMES
Nah, that’s okay. Were it creature or player, I’d say we’ll see this in Austin as a mono-red include but as it is, this sucks.

Mark of Mutiny – 2R
Sorcery (Uncommon)
Gain control of target creature until end of turn. Put a +1/+1 counter on it and untap it. It gains haste until end of turn.

JOE

Interesting.  This is a little worse than act of treason, since you hand the guy back slightly bigger.  Still, this will win you some games when played at the right moment.  And obviously, this is sick with any kind of creature sacrifice outlet.

JAMES
EEek. you better be winning with this or it’s toast for you. Gain control, put a counter on it, get your “damage in” and then hand them a bigger, better creature? No thank you.

Molten Ravager – 2R
Creature – Elemental (Common)
{R}: Molten Ravager gets +1/+0 until end of turn.
0/4

JOE

Not interested.  Good blocker, but yeah… I’m not into this kind of guy.

JAMES
Not horrible in limited. Not at all. Big ass means that your opponent has to block or risks you tempo-ing them out. It’s pretty cheap too at 3cc. I don’t see this making waves in constructed play though.

Seismic Shudder – 1R
Instant (Common)
Seismic Shudder deals 1 damage to each creature without flying.

JOE

This will be really awesome as a splash card in flying-based decks.  As a sweeper, it will see play in a lot of decks, actually, but some red decks have too many X/1s themselves to be comfortable with this, so I’m guessing this sees the most play in decks that aren’t base-red.

JAMES
Doh, had a comment then re-read it. ‘Without flying’ is not the same as ‘With Flying.’ Pass.

Shatterskull Giant – 2RR
Creature – Giant (Common)
4/3

JOE

Well hell, this is basically a better hill giant.  Paying R instead of 1 is a bargain for that extra point of power.  Playable as hell.

JAMES
Not good enough for constructed play.

Slaughter Cry – 2R
Instant (Common)
Target creature gets +3/+0 and gains first strike until end of turn.
“Since when did ‘AIIIEEEE!’ become a negotiation tactic?”
- Nikou, Joraga bard

JOE

This is as removal-like as combat tricks can get.  It’s almost always going to kill a creature in combat, and every once in a while might steal a game in an alpha strike.  Good common.

JAMES
Great shenanigan card. Act like you’re chumping and then remove the creature? Not bad but probably not quite good enough for constructed play.

Spire Barrage – 4R
Sorcery (Common)
Spire Barrage deals damage to target creature or player equal to the number of Mountains you control.

JOE

seismic strike can only hit creatures, so that’s why this gem is 2 more.  I think it’s worth it in a base-red deck.  Lava axe has won me some games, and this is way more versatile, but every bit as capable of doing 5 to end the game.  This gets the nod (in red).

JAMES
Slightly too expensive for constructed play. It’s also conditional since you can’t really splash for this in constructed. For extended you don’t even want 5 mountains in play. That’s too many.

Torch Slinger – 2R
Creature – Goblin (Common)
Kicker – {1}{R}
When Torch Slinger enters the battlefield, if it was kicked, it deals 2 damage to target creature.
2/2

JOE

Shades of Flametongue Kavu here.  This is gray ogre early, and lets you shock too later on.  solid.

JAMES
One more than Murderous Redcap and lacking in persist. Bummer.

Joraga Bard – 3G
Creature – Elf Rogue Ally (Common)
Whenever Joraga Bard or another Ally enters the battlefield under your control, all Allies you control gain vigilance until end of turn.
1/4

JOE

Well, it’s none too exciting, but this is another ally to help attain that critical mass I keep talking about.  I’m guessing that you’ll be rolling if you have more than 6 allies, and a creature that’s worse than another but has the ally creature type will sometimes make the cut for that reason.  If you already have 6 other allies that are decent, I dunno… I still might play him.  It’d really depend on the other options there, but this won’t be among the first allies I line up for inclusion.

JAMES
Not the worst of the allies and far from the best.

Tajuru Archer – 2G
Creature – Elf Archer Ally (Uncommon)
When Tajuru Archer or another Ally enters the battlefield under your control, Tajuru Archer deals damage equal to the number of Ally creatures you control to target creature with flying.
1/2

JOE

Whoa… this guy’s very cool.  A cheap ally which helps green-based ally decks combat their historical nemesis, fliers.  Good stuff.

JAMES
A great sb include for block-constructed going Allies. Ausser-dass, ich sehe nichts.

Tanglesap – 1G
Instant (Common)
Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt this turn by creatures without trample.

JOE

Weird.  Usually a fog, but in the color of trample, sometimes it’ll be more like safe passage or something.  Conditionally awesome, usually marginal.  I like my tricks to do more than buy me a turn most times.

JAMES
Weird. Definitely worth considering in a limited deck since as we’ve seen (or you should have seen) Safe Passage is very playable in limited. I don’t see the point in constructed.

Timbermaw Larva – 3G
Creature – Beast (Common)
Whenever Timbermaw Larva attacks, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn for each Forest you control.
2/2

JOE

Hmm… I guess he’s hill giant or better on the attack, but in exchange he’s vulnerable the rest of the time.  Probably has a time and place to shine.

JAMES
Sits around as a 2/2 but probably swings on T4 as a 4/4. (assuming dual-color decks). In mono-G, this is a pretty good beat stick. I just wish it was bigger than a 2/2. Maybe a 1/3 or something would make me feel safer. Otherwise, I feel like I’d be paying four for a creature that’s going to get zapped. Meh, just play Garruk Wildspeaker at the same casting cost.

Vastwood Gorger – 5G
Creature – Wurm (Common)
5/6

JOE

Weak.  Not my thing, but occasionally necessary when you’re the fatty deck and lack enough fatties… but wait… why are you the fatty deck then?  I dunno… 5/6 is pretty beefy.  It might see play, but I’m guessing it’ll usually be reluctant play.

JAMES
Fine in limited since it’s obviously going to apply significant pressure. Not good enough for constructed.

Standard Pauper – Red/Black Blightening Deck Discussion

Much of Power 9 Pro’s focus in our articles is on tournament-level play but we also play casually when we can find the time. One of our teammate’s Zak participates in a “Standard Pauper” tournament from time to time. Zak thought he would bring up the decklist with our team to see if we couldn’t help with tweaks. Here’s the discussion that ensued.

Please remember that standard pauper means cards that are type 2 legal, and are common.  No uncommons, rares, or mythics allowed.

Zak:
Here’s the list that I’ve played thus far.

Pauper Blightning: 60 Cards (Pre-M10)


Now, post M10, I need to make some changes, but I want some input from the team.  

note: An abundance of Borderposts makes smash to smithereens an absolute beating, especially on decks that are 3 colors, Flame Jab is absolutely amazing, my favorite card in the list. Goblin Deathraiders[provides] simply amazing pressure.

Problem # 1 – Shock Rotates Out
Solution – Add Lightning Bolt (This is obvious)

Problem # 2 – Incinerate Rotates Out
Solution – I’ve temporarily added Sparkmage Apprentice, but this is definitely able to be changed.  Definitely want some input here, because this deck really wants as many burn spells as possible, and the bigger the better.  

Problem # 3 – Duergar Assailant becomes worse without damage on the stack
Solution – I think the right move might be to just leave it in here, but his slot could be open to something else.

Joe:

First thought: if you love flame jab, are you certain 2 is the right number? 

The only card I am skeptical of is terminate… seems like even that might be better as a burn spell… spot removal is traditionally avoided in burn decks.  I’d recommend at least re-evaluating terminate with skepticism, and if you come to the same conclusion about it, so be it.

If you’re set on removal, there are other more greedy options out there too… soul reap for example… easier to cast, slightly more narrow, but with the chance of incinerate on top… just saying, there’s other stuff out there.  Personally I’d avoid terminate and similar spells entirely… burn all the way.  I’d experiment with using no creatures whatsoever.  You can gain subtle edges with that… using sweepers and such.

Card Brainstorm:

Burn:


Maybe Give it a Try?:

SB?

As fireball variants, breath of malfegor, giant’s ire, lava axe, and quenchable fire all do bargain damage, but can’t double as removal.

James:
Joe had similar feedback to what I was thinking. Absorb Vis was also on my list. Swamp cycle or 8 life swing. I would personally keep removal to SB. Tendrils would be good.  

Quench fire seems good. If you can throw a fattie or two in, maybe soul’s fire?  I would definitely consider/focus on that a burn deck doesn’t run much spot removal. Basically, if you’re focused on spot removal, you’re probably losing.  Lava axe may actually work. Seems like flame jab works against shard volley. It’s also very under powered in my opinion. Raven’s crime is one up on power and reinforces your partial control theme through blightening.

Dillon:
Bloodspyre Elemental and Resounding Thunder come to mind. Flame Jab is a card I have always thought could break standard at one point.
Balefire Liege and that seem pretty good together.

The spark mage can kill Llanowar elves and Nip Gwyllions, [two cards] I think would be good in pauper. Mosquito Guard would be really good in pauper too.

Zak:
1. Bloodpyre Elemental is too slow.  Not only does it cost 5 in a deck that curves out at 3, it only hits creatures at sorcery speed, and seems extremely fragile as a 1 toughness dude.

2. Resounding Thunder seems good as another burn spell.  The only problem that I have with using Jund Panorama’s instead with a forest or two is that it decreases the effectiveness of Flame Jab.  I only want 3 lands, maybe 4, but the rest I want to either sacrifice to Shard Volley or use to retrace Flame Jab.  If I cycle the thunder, I’m going to have a lot of mostly wasted land sitting on the board.  This is the same with cards like absorb vis, they just don’t help me speed up the kill.  If I have 2 lands to cycle Vis, I’ve got 2/3rds of my mana set, and most likely am pretty well off.  

3. Breath of Malfegor is nice, but again the cost factor comes up.  This deck needs to be as fast as it possibly can, which it is.  If I start casting 5 mana spells, I’ll need to increase the land count, which will decrease the overall burn count.  

4. A HUGE (read 80% of the meta) part of Type 2 Pauper is the Mimics from Eventide.  These are often fueled by cards like Nyp Gwyllion and Steam Hopper, and I see the Sparkmages being a kill spell over 60% of the time based on experience.

5. I believe that Flame Jab will lose potential if I start drawing multiples.  Sure, they’re amazing in the late game and get rid of so many things, but I only want to get 1 in the graveyard, and then I can machine-gun my opponent.  Think about this situation:

I have a Flame Jab in the graveyard, with a few cards in hand.  This situation is relatively common in the late game.  The worst-case scenario is that I draw a land, which, thanks to Jab will become 1 damage, and my odds of drawing superior burn increase.  The best case scenario is that I draw a piece of burn, which is exclusively better than a Jab.  However, with any more jabs you run the risk of a third option.  That is, drawing a spell, which turns out to be a Jab.  You get the same effect as if you had a land, yet your odds of drawing superior burn have actually decreased, as you have the same amount of lands in your library with a smaller amount of spells.

6. Tendrils is not good in a deck that really only wants one swamp out.  It’s like 4 mana for 1 damage and one life most of the time, and if terminate doesn’t belong (which I’m starting to think it doesn’t), than neither does Tendrils.

7. Raven’s Crime and Duress both have a minimal effect on the game as far as my plans are concerned.  Duress could go in the board though against any decks packing lifegain.  I;d much rather get a threat/burn spell on turn one than taking away something that probably wouldn’t have hurt me all that much in the first place.  

8. The mana in this deck takes a fair bit of practice to get right.  The only reason I can get away with both Shard Volley and Flame Jab is because I need so few lands for my plans to work properly.  

9. I considered Soul’s Fire, but the combination of so few creatures and the abundance of highly played spot removal, I don’t see it pulling its weight.

10. Regarding Lava Axe + Breath of Malfegor again.  I think that maybe a 1 or 2 of could help me pull some games out of my ass.  Will consider it.

11.  One of the things I like about having creatures in the deck is it doubles the efficiency of burn spells.  If I have a goblin deathraiders on the battlefield, a burn spell that kills my opponent’s only dude might as well also deal 3 damage to them.  Thus, the decreased burn rate that comes with using burn on creatures is mitigated.  Again, Goblin Deathraiders is the cheap, high-power card that allows this to work with maximum effectiveness.

Joe:
Good analysis.  I think you’re right about keeping the curve low.  This is historically the pattern for winning burn decks.

Zak:
I figured it out, and the answer is a card nobody actually mentioned.  Dragon Fodder has always given me trouble, as it provides pressure, but it also makes your opponents reluctant to use their removal spells.  I just cut the sparkmages entirely, thinking that the Vithian Stingers and Hurly-Burlys in the board can do their job better.  Also, I kept Terminates in, because they are my only out to anything with toughness greater than 4.  However, I often will board them out.

Dillon:
why terminate over doomblade? you can cast doomblade with a panorama and a swamp. seems like that is pretty important. also the sparkmage has to be better. direct damage as well as killing something or perhaps finishing off a creature post-combat. i think a white weenie deck would be good in pauper with no viable board sweeper.

Zak:
Terminate kills Putrid Leech

Here’s The Final List:

Pauper Blightning: 60 Cards (Post-M10)

$5k Standard Tourney — G/W Tokens Report and 3 Lessons

August 7th through August 9th, Superstars Game Center hosted a $5k Standard event. Friday the 7th was an early bird, main flights on Saturday and then the official day 2 on Sunday.

(If you’re looking for my 3 main take-aways, those are at the very bottom of this report).

I played in the Early Bird flight on Friday as well as the main flight Saturday morning.

My Friday decklist consisted of the following:


Saturday:

You’ll notice a few differences first off:
Lack of Sable Stags and a Sunpetal Grove. This was simply a matter of accessibility.

Generally speaking, the difference between a number of G/W decks I’ve seen, there are no mana producers included in the deck. The turn 3 w-w-w for Spectral Procession is great but after careful consideration, I considered the mana producers a dead card after turn 3. This deck archetype really needs to focus on putting out the beats and in a big way. So far as the Nobel Heirarch, the exalted ability is not that great of a factor since I’ll typically be attacking with more than one creature–in fact, as the name tokens implies, I want a bunch of them out there. :)

The turn 3 slot lightens up a bit with Glorious Anthem dropping from standard with the release of M-10. Honor of the Pure easily takes Anthem’s place in this deck.

The G/W tokens builds presented here also have a pretty big curve, from 1 to “7″–counting Martial Coup as a 7cc spell. However, mana-cost for mana-cost, the creatures and threats presented by this deck are extremely efficient. Rather than just one creature that demands spot removal (Cloudgoat Ranger), G/W Tokens can run Captain of the Watch. Even with the removal of the “main creature” (Ranger & Captain), the board still has a bunch of token creatures. With 4x Honor of the Pure, I’m hard pressed to find a game in my notes where it wasn’t a deciding factor–meaning, I had it in play.

The deck also runs 4 planeswalkers, 2x Ajani Goldmane and 2x Elspeth, Knight Errant. If I were to play in the tournament again tomorrow, I would switch it to 4x Ajani. From all the matches played, Elspeth’s ability is slightly under-powered & anti-synergistic for this particular build, whereas Ajani’s ability to give all my creatures vigilance and +1/+1 is ridiculously powerful.

Day 1 I ran 2x Knight of the Meadowgrain, and on Day 2 I ran 2x [card]Gaddock Teeg[card]. There was quite a bit of discussion over these two cards Saturday morning. Despite finally deciding to run Teeg main and K.o.t.M. SB, I do think that the Knight is better for game one’s. Essentially my rational for this comes down to the fact that if I need Teeg against an opponent, I want 4x which I can do at SB anyway. Contrast that to “blindfolded,” I’d rather have a 2/2 first strike, lifelink–which can easily become a 3/3.

There’s also the 2x Harm’s Way with an additional 1x in SB; I believe this card is extremely important. It seems like such a simple spell but the flexibility in it’s execution cannot go under-stated.

I’d like to thank Pedro for helping me come to the realization of how important and how much I need to run Harm’s way and Knight of the Meadowgrain. :)

With all the deck details out of the way, here’s a quick review of all the matches, etc.

Friday:
Rnd 1: Fairies
Game one he wins on the back of a Bitterblossom, Spellstutter Sprite, Broken Ambitions, Vendillion Clique, and[card]Mistblind Clique[card]. Surprise surprise! ;-)
In came the Stags and Gaddock Teeg, out went Martial Coups and Elspeth.
Not much in my notes but I won the next two games. :) Game 2 handidly with him taking huge hits and me ending at 20. Game 3 there was a minor race but I had the faster/bigger beats with him going from 12 to zero.
1-0-0
Rnd 2: R/B Aggro Can Win
His start was a bit slow this game and was fairly uneventful ending with me at 22 and him going from 6 to 0. Game 2 I make a critical mistake and mistap my land (Sunpetal Grove into Windbrisk Heigtts–Sunpetal was my only white source and I had 3 or 4 forests in play!!). Had I had the white open, I could have used a Harm’s Way to take my opponent from 3 to 1 and then had the open alpha on the backswing. Dang! Game 3 he wins with me having a slower start and taking fast early beats from mounting in intensity to my demise.
The loss here is a bit sad because it resulted in me being randomly paired with LSV next match. doh!
1-1-0
Rnd 3: vs. LSV piloting 5cc (list here)
His build features Baneslayer Angel at 3x. Game 2 I was able to use Path on one, but he proceeded to drop another two and then add in the Cruel Ultimatum just for the heck of it. lol. Good times playing with Luis and getting to chat with him a bit. It’s not easy to get attention or one-on-one time with a pro. Funny highlights: Game 1 his lifetotal ending at 46–that includes a bunch of beats from a Baneslayer and a Cruel Ultimatum. Game 2, he “only” got to 24 life. Fun times!
1-2-0
Rnd 4: Jund Agrro
Game 1 I established an early Honor of the Pure and a Finks. He did drop an early Putrid Leech which after two activations was Exiled via the Path. I dropped token generating creatures and smashed face. Game 2 I dropped an early Finks again matched by a Leech. The life swing was too much, especially after I dropped a second Finks. With an Honor out, I was hitting for 8 per turn. Ouch.
2-2-0

With my record at 2-2, I was already out of the contention for the 8 slots open for Day 2 (Sunday, top-32 single elim). I decided to drop from the tournament. I wanted to discuss decks with a friend who just qualified by going 4-0 (and could Intentionally Draw the next two rounds). I also wanted to watch another round of LSV playing and then head home a bit earlier (11:30pm) to hit the sack for an early start Saturday morning.

Day 2: (entering this Sable Stag less. :( )
Rnd 1: Like the day before, Rnd 1 is matched against a Fairies deck
I lose game 1. Game 2, I drop beats quickly and sweep. Game 3 a similar occurrence. Gaddock Teeg was a champ both games.
1-0-0

Rnd 2: G/W Little Kid (not tokens)
First off, I start the round with a game loss. Because I was sitting around yammering and debating away about my build (ie Gaddock Teeg vs Knight of the Meadowgrain as 2x MD), I was rushing when I filled out my deck registration. What’s funny is that the decklist started off with full names, such as Ajani Goldmade and Elspeth, Knight Errant but the judges announced they were taking lists as I was filling it out. Apparently when I reached Windbrisk Heights, I was so pre-occupied with finishing the list, I only wrote “Windbrisk.” Oops.
Anyway, I take the loss in stride and win the next two games in a row.
One was pretty close with me only at 6, and I taking him down to 0 from 12 (Game 2).
2-0-1

Rnd 3: Jund Aggro
Game 1, I mulled to 6 on the Play. He quickly goes from 20 to 14 to 5 to 0. I ended at 13. Game 2, he establishes an early board position and smashes me down from 15 to 8 to 4 to zero. In Game 3, unfortunately, the high land count (25) came to haunt me as a drew 6 lands in a row. Any card other than Honor of the Pure or a land would have won me the match as he was only beating in with a lone Putrid Leech.
2-1-0

Rnd 4: Merfolk
On the Play I have a fairly good 7. The game is extremely close but Wake Thrasher proved superior to my army taking me from 9 to zero. Game 2, he has an extremely good draw with a number of counters and the right merfolk to quickly end the match.
2-2-0 doh. i have to undefeated from here out to q’ for the next day

Rnd 5: Merfolk
This round I start off with a game loss for being a bit late. (Was grabbing a bite to eat and ended up being about 30 seconds late–enough for a game loss. doh!!!)
Despite the handicap, I won both games quickly. There was a bit of a Cryptic Command action game 2 (officially game 3) that was doing a good job of stalling the ground forces of a casted honor of the pure into a sepectral procession into a Captain of the Watch. He simply didn’t have enough outs and I had great, great draws both games.
3-2-0

Rnd 6: Fairies
The only really intersting event occured in game three. Unfortunately for my opponent he had to mulligan to 5. He drops a turn 2 Bitterblossom so I was prepared for an uphill battle. He drops a second Bitterblossom on turn 4 or 5. By this point though, I’ve been able to captialize on his hand-size disadvantage, including the lack of counters that could have potentially stopped an onslaught from a Knight of the Meadowgrain. In the end, I’m pretty sure the double Bitterblossom is what killed him.
4-2-0 (Just one more round to go for qualification!)

Rnd 7: R/B Aggro (with Demigod of Revenge)
First game I was able to get 9 pnts of damage in one swing but he was able to keep the beats coming faster, including the casting of his Demigod.
Game 2 featured my second blunder of the day. I dropped a turn 2 Knight of the Meadowgrain. On my turn 3 (eot actually) he casts Lightening Bold targeting my Knight. I not only had mana open but I had the Harm’s Way in hand (would have targeted him). As the match played out, I’m convinced this mistake cost me the match, somewhat reinforced by the fact that he ended the match at 1 life and me drawing 3 lands in a row. :(
4-3-0
End of my chances at the $5k Superstars had open.

Three Simple Take-aways

  • Play Harm’s Way carefully.
  • Pay attention to board position, mana accessibility and deck registration.
  • Last but certainly not least: Be on time.

FNM M-10 Draft in Wellington New Zealand

FNM tournament report for 7.16.2009

I show up at 6:30 loaded for bear – we have 18 players so we separate into 2 pods – most of the players seem pretty casual – the binder carrying dudes from last week apparently are boycotting the store and they’re actually outside the store at a table in 8 degree Centigrade weather playing EDH.  Go figure.

It’s a rare draft, so I get to keep what I open.

First pack – HELLO there!

Siege-Gang Commander

!!Woot!!!  baby – this makes siege-gang number 3 this week!
Easy pick – though I pass a pyroclasm.
Pick two:

serra angel

Okay – I’m prepared for crazy now….
I stick to my draft plan and get a pretty sick curve deck – we didn’t see any bolts or pacifisms though, which was odd..

Game 1 vs. Loren playing G/B

Round 1
Loren powers out a Llanowar elf, The lifelink vampire, a warghoul, a spider, doom blades a blocker, and Overruns me turn 7.

Round 2
Loren mulls down to 6, and accidently drops a doom blade, but keeps the hand.
I power out bears and an angel, while Loren drops 6 forest in a row but no creatures.

1-1

Round 3
Loren drops an early Vampire Aristocrat which totally messes up my math.  I got an early Pegasus to race him but he can hit me with the Aristo all day as he has plenty of men to sac to it and save.  I eventually get a Blinding Mage which keeps him down, and the Pegasus goes all the way.

We play a game for fun which is pretty epic – it involves a Howl of the Wolfpack for 6(!?!!) vs. my bear army and that pesky pegasus which carries the day – I win by 2 points.

1-0

Game 2 vs. Mike playing W/B

Round 1
Mike drops a turn 1 plains, soul warden (quickly becoming one the most annoying commons to deal with).  I drop a pegasus (good thing!)  he drops a black knight and throws a harm’s way at my horsie.

I can’t really deal with the Knight, but I what I can do is drop a  truck load of Lions and Pikers race him.  I stay at seven and I get him down from 23 to five, and mise Siege Gang off the top.

Round 2
Mike leads with Black Knight, and I have a white bear.  He plays the 1/3 flying vigilance griffin.  I think a bit and cast Excommunicate on it – this lets me get  a free hit in while keeping him off his harms way – maybe not the best attack but I go for the tempo play figuring I can race him.
I get a minotaur out, but he drops a White Knight for the four power defense.  One of my Pikers beats up a Knight on the attack thanks to Safe Passage, and I get a Serra to break the stall but he’s got a blinding mage for it. – I get a second Serra but he taps it and Assassinates it (combo!) .  He then rises from the grave (Ultra combo!) my own Serra and beats me to death with it.

Round 3
I mull to six.  Mike drops turn 1 and 2 soul warden and a pegasus, followed by the double knights.  He gets double Blinding Mage to hold down my two Serras and I’m never in the game – He ends the game at 32 life.
The entire time I had Act of Treason in my hand and it was never playable.  I mained it because of big bombs like Serra, Shivan Dragon, and Platinum Angel but it was never relevant in a single game.

1-1

Game 3 vs. Richmond playing B/R
Richmond doesn’t seem super confident in his deck and his card choices and play reflect this.

Game 1.
I mull down to six, keeping a 1 land hand on the draw as I’ve got lion, piker, and blinding mage but it takes me until turn 5 to draw a second land.   By the time I get a mage he has inferno elemental, followed by Vampire Nocturnus.  My life goes down in massive chunks and I can’t keep the elemental down and possibly kill the vampire with 3 lands, so I concede at 5.

Game 2.  Did I mention I hate those penny sleeves yet.
I mull down to six again, trying to make sure my deck is sufficiently randomized – this time I get a 5 land hand and a serra on the draw. I sigh and keep.

Richmond drops an early 2/1 bat, and I answer with my Serra, having drawn the pump spell and a safe passage – this isn’t good if he has a doom blade I have no game.. he casts unholy strength on the bat making it 4/2.  I swing in and he blocks (not a good call for him, since I was basically waving a big sign saying I had a combat trick) and I safe passage.  He weaknesses my Serra (!) and casts Soul Bleed on it(!!) I really don’t have anything else so I keep swinging, but he drop a lava axe on my head.  Eventually I get a siege mastadon – and he draws and plays Black Knight for it.
I get Goblin Artillery off the top, and bash the black knight.  I’m at five but I have the other Safe Passage for another Lava Axe, so I swing in with enough damage and a Glorious charge for +3.  No complaints.

Game 3.
Mull down to six with these ridiculous sleeves.

Piker comes down, then armorsmith, and a Piker.
He drops a Bat and a Bog Wrath. I drop a Serra and he drops a dude.
I swing in my whole team and he blocks with his team with no mana untapped.  again, he should have just taken the hit as I’ve the Glorious Charge to kill most of his team.
He drops a couple more bears and I swing in again and he blocks agains and I safe passage my team, basically wrathing him.

I tell him after the game he had nothing to lose as I was attacking with my whole team – he had enough guys to race me and a defensive fog off safe passage is better than safe passage that wraths his men.  So why block me?

2-1

For my 3rd place win I didn’t get an FNM or even a pack.. but I did get the foil Ant Queen and I can’t complain about the rare drafting.

Match Walk-through: Elementals vs Five Color Bloodbraid

In the following video, Stan, Bryan and I take an in depth look at Elementals vs Five Color Bloodbraid (or Five Color Cascade).
The builds for these deck are as follows:
Elementals:

Five Color Bloodbraid:


Hope this is helpful for you as you evaluate decks and look for in-game tips. If you spot any plays you disagree with or think were particularly clever, be sure to let us know in the comments!

5 1/2 ways to prevent theft at magic tournaments

big thanks to copysix at mtg-realm for emailing the team about the recent post from bill starks at the starkington post.

bill starks’ post focused on a series of thefts occurring at the Grand-Prix Chicago tournament. apparently by the end of the first day of Grinders, already 20 bags were missing. unsatisfied with the first day pull, at least one suspect was apprehended during the act on Day One. sparks’ break down is pretty interesting to read so i encourage everyone to check it out–it reads like the first 5 minutes of the the sting.

i’ve noticed players discussing theft at previous events, including grand prix la in janurary (i don’t believe nor want to imply theft was as much an issue there; however, the players were definitely discussing the issue). it’s seriously uncool that we players even have to think about theft. we should be thinking only about magic. that’s the only thing that matters, right? ;-)

here’s a short list of five things you can do to prevent YOUR magic stuff from being taken:

Tip 1: keep your cards with you at all times — sounds cliche but a lot of players actually don’t do this.

Tip 2: only trust your closest mtg-friends to watch your possessions–but only long enough for you to visit the restroom or buy a couple of packs. meaning, don’t impose on your friend to be responsible for your stuff.

Tip 3: only bring what you need for the tournament. this one is for the players who insist on bringing huge backpacks to tournaments, stuffed with every rare they ever opened from a pack. totally unnecessary (and a tad-bit obnoxious in my opinion). for many players, following this tip may mean getting a trade binder that only has cards worth trading for–and there are only like 100 so that shouldn’t be a problem. (sorta kidding about the 100 cards thing…sorta).

Tip 4: keep your possessions between your feet during play.

Tip 5: don’t ever forget that people will steal your things the first chance they have–so don’t give them any!

Tip 5.5: aside from being disgusted that people would stoop so low in their attempts at getting a “free ride,” [seriously! Get – A – F***g – Life!] i wanted to point out that the dragon’s egg design anticipates players needing a bag that is small enough to easily manage their tournament decks without being bulky and consuming a lot of space at the tables–let’s face it, we’re crammed into the tournament rooms. not only can the shell be taken out of the dragon’s egg (where you can keep everything in plain view on the table), the dragon’s egg itself is small enough to stay on your back during play–or as i prefer to stow it, between my feet. Copy Six said in his email that he’s also strapped the dragon’s egg across the back of his chair and not had any issues either.

putting the dragon’s egg (or any bag with your mtg cards in it), next to your feet allows for what happened to Ben Wienburg. it’s unfortunate that we players need to worry about other players looking to poach our possessions but that’s the state of things. better to just be prepared, right?

the design for the dragon’s egg is super convenient for accessing anything you need even in a cramped tournament hall while also keeping the cards secure. access + protection = god send.

proper gear may not help you win a game, but it will certainly help prevent losing $2000+ in cards at one go…

Power 9 Pro Valentine’s Day Legacy Bash – Rio Rancho New Mexico

Team Power 9 Pro member Roberto Gonzales is hosting Power 9 Pro’s first ever tournament in Rio Rancho, New Mexico at the Inquisitive Coffee and Gaming.

The tournament will be held on Valentine’s Day (Saturday, February 14), because we know that Magic is your true love! Registration starts at 9AM and the tournament starts at 10AM.

The grand prize winner gets a box of Conflux and a Dragon’s Egg Tournament Bag!

Format: Legacy
Entry Fee: $12
Prizes:
1st prize – 1 box Conflux and Dragon’s Egg
2nd prize – 1/2 box Conflux
3rd-8th prize – split 1/2 box Conflux and 1 box Morning Tide