Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Draft Tuesday

Welcome to draft Tuesday friends! Cal here, first Gatecrash pack I've seen here.

I've been so outta the metagame recently so this is a "going in blind" pack for me. Ill break it down and take the cards for their face value and their synergy within the pack.

So lets get started with the rare. My first reaction is, "not bad.. If there were some way to buff this, it could be pretty dangerous to some people." But looking at the other cards in the pack it just doesn't really work. although High Priest's ability is potentially very good, a 1/1 is just WAY to easy to be killed and while you get to destroy 1 of your opponents creatures/artifacts its just not worth it. I'd probably pass it. All in all id say this is a rather medium pack. My pick would be the foundry street denizen. With that card its a solid first pick for an aggro deck. The snapjaw, slaughterhorn, and shanktail seem decent enough filler cards if you are looking for creatures. If G/R is what you are going for the Primal visitation might not be bad. +3/+3 buff is not bad at all. Haste is good to although I doubt it will be relevant most time considering the card costs 5 mana.

Thats about all I can say about this pack. Again I've been out of the scene for awhile and I'm sure some of the criticisms were terrible. Next week will be better.

These next few days I am gonna go over some decks I will be looking at and breaking them down. Hopefully with some game-play too. I think filming so games off Cockatrice or something with the decks would be fun. Tell me what you guys think. Also tell me a bit about the pack if I missed anything.

One last thing. I am still looking for writers. If you are interested in having some fun writing an article or two per week for us, and receiving a bit of money please shoot an email to "Cal.Wooten95@gmail.com".

Best of luck to you guys, I hope you have a good rest of the week.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Born Again

Long time no see.... Cal here, I started rereading all of my old posts and I really pumped me up. For the past few weeks I've been looking to get back into magic. Just today I decided I would like to start the blog up again. It was a lot of work... but it was fun as hell. I was looking to go to prerelease yesterday so I could have some content., but alas I could not. So this article is basically just a catch up for you guys and where I want to take this page. Also I would like to discuss something that happened between Ryan, Drew, and I but I will save that for last. So lets start with some bullet points.

  • MtGO, Cockatrice game play with readers weekly! that's right, I want to play with you people!
  • New Media! I'm talking videos, podcasts, and everything in between. 
  • CONTENT. Lots more content  than before! Might start out slow until I get more writers.
  • More writers? Hopefully Ryan and Drew can return... But I think I want upwards of  5+ writers
Draft Tuesday will return starting tomorrow. Of course I haven't really looked at any gatecrash cards yet... so that will be interesting. I plan to talk about decks in the metagame I am looking to purchase/build upon for the next week or so seeing as I have no standard deck.

So thats pretty much the short/long term agenda. I go ahead and share with you guys what happened between Ryan and I.

I think it was sometime late November I called Ryan asking if I could swing by to grab a few of my cards he still had. As well as ask where he got a cord for his car that I was looking to get. Apparently, a few days prior someone had gone to his home and stolen his box of cards out of his truck. Something like $1700 worth, as well as the cord I had mentioned. So I met at his house and helped brainstorm possible scenarios or where they could be. I helped him check craigslist thinking maybe the criminal posted it on there trying to make some quick cash. I also advised him to file a police report. Which he never did. A few days later he and Drew came to my house and asked me if it was I who stole them. Of course I would never steal let alone from my friends. I understand why they thought it was me. It is a weird coincidence that I called asking about the 2 things missing. Although I am not quite dumb enough to call in and ask about an item I stole if I were to steal it. So I understand them coming over and talking to me. I figured that was it. Well apparently they didn't believe me and told everyone I took their cards. Dec.11 was  my birthday and I  got a message from Ryan saying "Happy birthday, what made you change your mind?" I had no idea what that meant so I asked him and he just gave me a ambiguous answer that didnt make any sense. A few weeks later my other bud told me that someone actually left his box of cards at his house on my birthday. Which first of all is incredibly lucky that Ryan received his cards back. Not to many people get their stuff back after it is stolen.

I don't hold any resentment towards Drew or Ryan, I'm a bit mad they still thought it was me even after talking to me about it. The only problem is I feel like they will hold this suspicion against me for nothing. I didn't take your cards. Nor would I ever.

Thats pretty much the tale. I'm sure I can get him back on board hopefully.. We will see how it goes. Anyway, thats all for right now. I hope to be taking this page MUCH further. Leave a comment if there is something new you would like to see. <3 Cal

Friday, April 20, 2012

FNM 4/20/12

Hey guys its Drew, Welcome! today i will be talking about my U/B control deck that I will be playing tonight. my goal to this build was to make something that could combat the very present esper build at the moment, in specific, Esper Planeswalkers as well as defeat other decks i will run into. Here is my list:
Land 27:
Darkslick shores 4
Drowned catacomb 4
Island 8
Swamp 7
Nephalia Drownyard 3
Ghost quarter 1

Creatures 7:
Snapcaster mage 4
Grave titan 2
consecrated sphinx 1

Enchantment 2:
curse of death's hold 2

Planeswalker 1:
liliana of the veil

Artifact 2:
Batterskull 2

Sorcery 2:

Black sun's zenith 2

Instant 19:

dissipate 2
Tragic slip 3
Go for the throat 3
tribute to hunger 1
forbidden alchemy 2
Think twice 4
Mana leak 4

Flashfreeze 2
dissipate 1
curse of death's hold 1
Bloodline keeper 1
Ghost quarter 2
nephalia drownyard 1
tribute to hunger 2
nihil spellbomb 1
Jace memory adept 1
Ratchet bomb 1
surgical extraction 1
massacre wurm 1

Okay so my deck features grave titans unlike many other u/b control decks. I find grave titan to have the stopping power to end most games once i have controled enough. leading up to a titan I counter spells and use kill spells to keep my self alive. Once i am at 5 mana my deck becomes very efficient with either a curse of death's hold or a batterskull. Curse of death's hold is very effective against any creature deck because it can clear tokens and significantly makes enemy creatures weaker. Batterskull is a powerhouse creature being a 4/4 vigilance lifelink it allows me to hold the line against attacking creatures and protect and raise my life total. If my enemy targets my batterskull with a kill spell I can pay 3 mana and return batterskull to my hand. Nephalia drownyard is a invaluable component to the deck. By being able to mill my opponent, I have another win condition which allows my deck to be more successful.
   My sideboard has the 4th copy of drownyards which allows me to mill my opponent if i am playing against another control deck. Bloodline keeper, the 3rd curse, massacre wurm and ratchet bomb are all used in a match up against tokens, tribute of hunger is to deal with thrun. Ghost quarter and flashfreezes are all useful against wolfrun, and surgical is universal. My deck is built to be very defensive until i can play a titan and switch to the offensive. U/B control is very fun to play and i will do a follow up tomorrow about my match ups and how i did! Thanks for reading, Drew.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The New Planeswalker Points System and You (if you actually got to GPs) by Ryan Clark

Hello and greetings. Sorry for the long time since my last post, but with it being end of school and all the testing/homework/mowing/actually playing magic, I have failed to set time aside for writing.  Today I thought about talking about standard for the new PTQ season but saying all info I would be providing would be obsolete in about 2 weeks when Avacyn Restored comes out, I thought I would talk about something often looked over: Planeswalker points.
First of all, if you don’t know what planeswalker points are, they are awarded to magic players for wins (or participation) in all sanctioned magic events from prereleases to the Pro tour. What they do is track your records and participation for entry into certain events or byes at Grand Prix’s. If you just play at FNM each week and don’t particularly care for larger events, then perhaps this article isn’t for you (I will you remind you, though, that there will be a FNM championship next year bases off of points from FNM. Once Wizards announces what it is and how to get there I will let you know). If you are curious as to how many points you have follow this link:  http://www.wizards.com/Magic/PlaneswalkerPoints to the page and enter the info it asks, its fun!
There are five different categories for planeswalker points: Seasonal, Yearly, Lifetime, FNM, and Professional.
These are points earned by high finishes at Grand Prix’s and Pro Tours. They are very hard to get (Not even I have any) and are used mainly by pros. It determines if they are at a certain pro level to earn an appearance fee when they compete  at large events and if they automatically qualify for Pro Tours . If you have any of these skip the next few paragraphs and get to the seasonal part where I have the most to say and that everyone should listen to and think about.
These are points only earned from FNM and will be used for that FNM championship I talked about earlier… Whenever that is… and whatever that is… So yeah…. Moving on…
Any time you compete in a sanctioned magic event, you get lifetime points. They never disappear or go away. You have them-- you guessed it-- For life. They don’t qualify you for anything, and are mainly used for bragging at how many you have over the years.  Who has the most? Shuuhei Nakamura with 69,336 points. Keep in mind you only earn 3 points for a win at FNM, so basically, you got a long way to go.
It tracks your points over a 12 month period, hence the name. The only thing it’s used for is to determine your eligibility for participating in your country’s World Magic Cup Qualifiers. Plain and simple, don’t worry about it too much.
Finally, we get to the reason why I decided to write this article. Seasonal points are based off of each four month season and show if you qualify for any byes at all at Grand Prix’s (you want byes at GP’s if you want to do well. Its free wins, and who wouldn’t want that?). In fact a new season just started at the start of April, and with it, new thresholds for achieving those precious byes. Under the old system, racking up 300 points got you a one round bye, 600 got you two bye rounds, and 1,200 for 3 rounds. As many as 300 points seems like a lot, but in reality it isn’t.  In fact there were 5091 people in the U.S alone who earned at least 300 points this past season, 1209 had two round byes, and finally 128 Americans earned the all so great 3 round byes. What the problem is, is that with all those byes, Magic games don’t get played at Grand Prix in the early rounds. This makes harder to separate the records of people to decide the top eight in sixteen or so rounds which means people with the same record as some in the top 8 might not get in because of tiebreakers (which also favor byes). So in order to help the problem wizards decided to make it harder to get byes and thus make more people play Magic in the early rounds of GP’s. Now, 400 points get a one round bye, 750 for two and 1500 for the three. If that was in place for last season only 2919 in the US would even have a one round bye, 620 would have two byes, and only the top 61 in the States would have the three. This makes a HUGE difference.  This is going to make so many GP’s easier to determine top 8, 16, 32, and 64 based more off of record and less of opponent match win percentage (tie breakers).  Many of the pros have been asking for it (even ones who wouldn’t have earned the 3 byes) and here it is. Now, if you earned byes last season (December 26- April 1) on the old levels, you get those for this season (April 1-August 19) Starting with points earned this season for byes next season is when the new system starts. So with that in mind (and a GP in San Antonio next season) my goal is to get the 750 points to earn the 2 round bye. I hope this was helpful and remember to hit up those PTQ’s, SCG open events, and GP’s to earn those points and I’ll see you there. Until next time, this is Ryan. May you never get mana screwed.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Draft #3

Hey guys it's Cal and welcome to draft Tuesday! First off I would like to say that out draft tonight is gonna start at 7:00 P.M. central, so in about an hour an a half from this post on Cockatrice. I'll start a room with the name "MtGGeneral" and the password will be "Draft3". The room will be created at about 6:50. So anyone wanting to do a fun draft or learn how to play we would love to have you. For those of us who cannot make it I still have a pack that everyone can look at and discuss.

This pack has a pretty weak rare and is a little short when it comes to bombs. The only half decent bomb is Gravetiller Wurm. Although this pack lacks in some areas it definitely has some great cards in it for all colors (although red is a bit weak). For green Dawntreader Elk is a very strong card in a draft situation. As well as hunger of the howlpack which I have seen awful things be done with it. Putting three +1/+1 counters on a creature is ridiculous in sealed. For Black Highborn ghoul is VERY good. 2 black mana for a 2/1 with intimidate? Yes please. It does very well in getting through your opponents defenses. If you have been drafting some white Loyal Cathar is a very solid 2 drop, and it even sees play in constructed. The fact that it is a 2/2 with vigilance for 2 mana is good, but once it dies you get to flip it into a 2/1 zombie. That's great! Blue has thought scour which is good if you're looking to draw, but stormbound geist has great evasion as well as it having undying which will boost it to a 3/3 after it dies. These aren't the only decent cards in this pack, they are just the most notable. If this is your first pack for the draft it is a very solid start and almost any of these cards picked will start to shape your deck very nicely.

That's all for the written part of draft Tuesday. I hope to see you guys soon, best of luck to all of you. Remember, 7 pm, be there or be square.

Monday, April 16, 2012

So You're intrested in magic?

Hey everyone it's Cal. I've been getting some requests for an intro into magic for everyone. So without further ado, here it is!

Do you want to play Magic? Or maybe you've seen some friends play or you started reading this blog and it seemed like a fun game. Well I'm here to give you all the information you want to know about Magic so you can decide if it's something you would be interested in.

Magic the Gathering was created by Wizards of the Coast which is a subsidiary of Hasbro. It is one of the original TCG or trading card games, only preceded by baseball cards. Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokemon all came after this game. Magic started in 1993 and is doing better than ever now with a huge amount of players world wide as well as a great variety of merchandise and a thriving secondary economy that has to do with the sale of cards that is not directly controlled by Wizards..

Magic the Gathering puts every player in the role of a "Planeswalker" which is an elite spell caster who has the ability to travel between universes (Planes) and use spells and the 5 colors of mana from across the multiverse to defeat powerful foes. Sounds kinda role play right? Well that's just the lore behind the cards/game, which I enjoy a lot. But If you just want a fun, strategic, and challenging game without immersing yourself, Magic still has tons of things to be interested in. The immersion just adds a fun sense of flavor to the game.

The game is played by 2 or more players who start out with 20 life. The object of the game is simply to reduce you opponent to 0 life or defeat them in one of the other possible ways. Magic is always changing and has TONS of formats and game types to fit everyone's play-style. There are formats that use the newest cards, as well as some that use old cards, and even a format that use everything ever printed ever. No banned cards. Of course game type wise you have team games such as two headed giant, Emperor, and many other game types that game be played with 2 people. I've even seen single player games that involve trying to survive a zombie horde.

Now that I got the basic concept and story behind Magic out of the way I can start talking about how to get started in Magic. The best thing to do is see if any of your friends play, or are willing to try Magic with you. Because the fact of the matter is that if you decide to start and play alone you will more than likely find it boring and won't continue. Besides, it is SOOOO much more fun learning a new game with all your friends than struggling through by yourself.

 Magic is VERY beginner friendly, so once you get a friend or two on-board head down to Walmart or Target and get a "Intro deck" which is a Prebuilt deck and contains a booster pack and an invaluable rules sheet that has great pictures that show you the basics.  Once you have this it still might be hard to completely understand how to play so use other resources like Youtube or Google. After awhile you may get sick of your deck and want to build your own deck. I recommend a fat-pack which you can get at walmart or Target and it contains a awesome die, tons of lands, and 9 booster packs. It is more expensive than the "deck builder kit" but I have not purchased a Deck builder kit so I can't really recommend one.
One thing to know about Magic is that it is a hobby, and with every hobby it requires some time and money. If you don' t feel comfortable about putting a lot of money into a card or something, don't buy it. You can have a great time with Magic at a casual level with your friends and you won't have to spend more than $20. But if you want to get more competitive more money is probably going to be required if you want to place well.

Our last thing is if you want to get a little more competitive. Every Friday night local stores(usually comic stores) have an event called "Friday Night Magic" which is a tournament for all Magic players in the area. FNM is a very relaxed place, and while it is more competitive there is nothing at stake for losing and the main purpose of FNM is purely to have fun and become a better Magic player. From there you may start to want to get into even more competitive events such as large scale tournaments that can have an upwards of 500 people! Well you can find those as well as local shops that support FNM using Wizards of the Coast's "event locator" on their Magic website.

 Thanks for reading guys, I hope I gave a bit of insight. Tomorrow is draft Tuesday and I plan to do a draft on cockatrice starting at 6:30 P.M. Central. If anyone new or who wants to learn is available then feel free to come! I'll have someone who is dedicated to teaching new players at the draft. If you don't have Cockatrice you can download it here. "http://cockatrice.de/".  Cockatrice is a free program that allows people to play magic on their computer. I'll make an update on the blog around 5-6 P.M. tomorrow that lists the room name as well as the password to get in. If you have any questions at all please ask! I hope you guys have a great rest of the week and good luck to all of you.
<3 Cal.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

 Hi everyone it's Cal. Sorry about the lack of posts this past week. School has been pretty intense right now for all of us plus band, swimming etc. This weekend I went to the FNM as well as a tournament Saturday but for this post I'm gonna give you just a report on Friday. This week I was running a B/W tempered steel from which I borrowed the majority of from Ryan, and I gotta say I enjoyed it. It is a fun deck when you are putting such insane amounts of pressure on your opponent by turn 1. I was initially planning on just running tempered steel for FNM then switching back to my “Esper Flare” for the tournament the next day, but tempered steel ended up getting me 1st place at FNM so I decided I had to take it to the tournament.

So my initial thoughts were that not many people were prepared for tempered steel at FNM which more less was right. I didn't play anyone who had cards side-boarded just for tempered steel.

Round 1: Zombies
Zombies has always intimidated me because of my control deck. I just don't know how to play around them super well with my control. But tempered steel held up very nicely and I enjoyed the fact that I can out aggro someone.
Game 1: I ended up loosing this game because I kept a bad hand and hoped for the best, he just happened to have or draw into 2 gravecrawlers and 2 messengers by turn 3.
Game 2: I won this game with infect from my inkmoths while he drew into almost all mana.
Game 3: Win as well but I did not have a super quick hand. I ended up wearing him down while he again, got mana screwed.
Round 2: Birthing pod
One of my buddies Steven who was playing mono-black heartless lost to this deck in the first round so I was a little unsure what to expect.
Game 1: Started off with a 2 Vault skirge turn 2 and by turn 3 I got out a tempered steel meaning I was dealing 6 and gaining 6 a turn all in the air. There really wasn't much he could do.
Game 2: This game was a loss. By turn 5-6 I was out of creatures and he had birthing pod. I lost my tempo and the confidence of being able to control the match. He got out 2 sun titans and just a ton of creatures.
Game 3: This game was a very fast match. I started off with memnites and a mox opal, and by turn 4 I had out a 2 etched champions, memnites, and a vault skirge.

Round 3: Planeswalker control.
As the pairings went up and I saw my table I just laughed. I was against Ryan who I've beaten every game at the game store we were at.
Game 1: Very fast game. I got out some memnites and a mox and played tempered steel turn 2. he was looking at 10 damage turn 2 and all he could really play was an island.
Game 2: Unfortunately I lost this match because Ryan just had to many answers to stall me long enough for him to start dropping planeswalkers. Once 2 planeswalkers drop I've lost my tempo and theres to much going on for me to handle.
Game 3: This game was almost the same as game 1. Tempered steel turn 2 and swing in for 10+ by turn 2-3.

Round 4: U/B zombies.
I sat down at my table and saw Josh ( who I played last week and beat) who is a VERY good opponent. The only reason I've ever previously beaten him was because he choose to play what he called “a weak deck”. But right now we both knew we were playing for 1st or 2nd .
Game 1: I had to mulligan down to 5 this game with 4 land in hand. For some reason I only drew land and I just couldn’t keep up with zombies.
Game 2: I choose to play first this game and hand a great opening hand with 2 memnites and a signal pest. So I dropped both of those turn 1 and just kept increasing the pressure each turn giving me a win.
Game 3: I won this game on the condition that he didn’t draw anything but lands. Turn 2 he managed to get out a phyrexian crusader ( which I thought was an odd sideboard card) and managed to get me to 5 poison counters before I got out a glint hawk idol and Etched Champion as well as tempered steel. So attacking with the crusader was pointless. I ended up swinging 4 a turn with the idol while he just drew lands until I slowly got him down to 0.

It was a good night and I had lots of fun. I’m pretty happy about the results even though I went 8-4 game wise. I still got first and I got a bad ass dismember in my binder now. I also opened two future sight packs and got a pact of negotiation as well as an akromas memorial. So very good pulls. As for the tournament yesterday I will write that probably by.....Wednesday? My goal there was to place in top 16th which I ended up accomplishing. I think I might get Drew to write a “starting out magic” or something Monday for beginners, and then we have draft Tuesday, which I hope we can do an actual draft on cockatrice. One last thing before I go, Ryan, Drew, and I are thinking about reaching out to other medias like video or podcast or something. Any Ideas? If there’s something you would enjoy please comment. So that's all for today guys, I hope all of you have an awesome week.
<3 Cal.