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

Sideboard:
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.
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.
FNM
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…
Lifetime
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.
Yearly
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.
Seasonal
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.
MTGO-RedVelvet
Cockatirce-RedVelvet
Twitter-@RedVelvetMTG

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.
Cal.

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.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Spoiler season 2

 Hey guys its Drew again, Welcome! With more spoiler cards being released everyday we have a lot to talk about! Today I will be talking about a few new cards that caught my eye and will likely see play in constructed.
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage - Planeswalker - Avacyn RestoredTo start things off let's talk about  Tamiyo, the moon sage. We have a 3uu planeswalker that is very control oriented. +1: Tap target permanent. It doesn't untap during its controller’s next untap step.
-2: Draw a card for each tapped creature target player controls.
-8: You get an emblem with “You have no maximum hand size” and “Whenever a card is put into your graveyard from anywhere, you may return it to your hand.”
Tamiyo passes the first test of determining if a planeswalker is good, can he/she protect themselves? Tamiyo starts off with 4 counters and by doing the +1 as your first ability she will be at 5 counters and be able to tap down creatures which could harm her. the -2 ability gives you great card advantage and will make your opponent reluctant to attack you. If you can level tamiyo up enough and -8 then you have pretty much won the game. By being able to constantly recycle your counter and kill spells as well as fallen creatures and planeswalkers you will be very difficult to defeat in any circumstance due to your arsenal of spells. Tamiyo's home is control decks, U/B will be most effective when Tamiyo is played in it.
Vexing Devil - Avacyn Restored SpoilerNow lets shift over to red. Vexing devil... this card is insane! and marks the return of a strong mono red in the standard meta-game.  If you compare vexing devil to lava spike you will see what I'm talking about. You get a 4/3 creature turn one with a built in lava spike that does 4. The best combo I can think of with this card in standard would be in a R/W deck when this card is played on turn 2. You play vexing demon, your opponent takes the 4 and in response you cast cloudshift to exile and return Vexing demon to the field forcing them to take another 4 or just let it be a creature. overall this card will see play in every format in RDW decks. It is extremely powerful and is one of the better cards in this set.  Continuing with red let's talk about the new planeswalker that got announced today.  Tibalt, the fiend-blooded. First off this is the first 2 mana planeswalker ever. That is a extremely low cost for a planeswalker making this guy pretty cool.
 +1: Draw a card, then discard a card at random.
-4: Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded deals damage equal to the number of cards in target player’s hand to that player.
-6: Gain control of all creatures until end of turn. Untap them. They gain haste until end of turn.
Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded - Avacyn Restored PlaneswalkerAt first glance Tibalt isn't insanely good. However he does have a few good uses. I see Tibalt being played in a Burning Vengeance deck as well as a red blue deck which will inevitably come out with the new red/blue planeswalker either in this set or in the upcoming return to ravnica block featuring the red blue izzet. As of right now Tibalt isn't that useful but I predict that he will be in the future. 

Thanks for reading! be sure to follow us and comment. Feel free to ask any questions you might have. Until next time, happy casting, Drew.

Quick Update

Hey guys it's Cal. We've seem to had a communication problem the past few days over who was writing and who wasn't. Drew is suppose to post an article he wrote in a couple hours. I'm not sure about Saturday because Ryan and I are gonna be gone all day at a tournament. So at the least I'll give you all a full report on Sunday. So thanks for waiting guys, here is a pic I found that some of you might enjoy.
<3 Cal.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Draft Tuesday #2!

Well, well, well looks like it's draft Tuesday once again. It's Cal and I'm here with a Dark Ascension pack chosen randomly, and oh look, we pulled a mythic rare! Mikaeus the Unhallowed decided to make an appearance. Now if you get the first pick in this one it is a solid pack lets get started.

 So the obvious card that everyone is gonna look at is Mikaeus. But I would lean more towards Markov Warlord seeing as it is godly in sealed. Mikaeus seems to be something that helps achieve a winning condition while Markov Warlord is a Winning condition itself. Both coming in at a 6 mana cost they both fit into the "Bombs" part of a sealed deck. Now Mikaeus does have some relevance in constructed (although he doesn't see a whole ton of play) He seems to be just a bit too large of a play for his impact, although his impact is relevant and strong, he is probably a secondary choice to Markov. Now lets say you get this pack and Markov is gone and Mikaeus would be a legitimate addition to you deck-in-progress, he is a very strong candidate.

So looking at the rest of the pack there are some pretty good fillers here. Midnight guard is a good filler for only 3 mana. Kessig recluse is a good option considering its deathtouch and reach although reach is not very useful in a DK/INN/INN draft. Another solid choice is the Gravetiller wurm which with it's morbid ability, your opponent could be staring down a 8/8 with trample, which is never fun.

So that's more or less that's the pack. So I'm thinking next week we should do an actual draft on Cockatrice. I'll get Ryan and Drew to get in and then whoever else wants to join. 8pm Central sound good? Next Tuesday just check the blog, and along with the normal draft Tuesday I'll post more info. Comment on here if you would be interested in the draft so we know how many spots to open. My Cockatrice name is Orflarg.

Hope you all had an awesome weekend. See you all soon!
<3 Cal.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Spoiler Season #1

Hey guys its Drew, today I will be talking about a couple of Avacyn Restored spoiler cards and some uses they might have in standard and limited play.
Avacyn Restored Spoiler - CloudshiftLet's start off with Cloud shift: W instant, "exile target creature you control, then return that card to the battlefield under your control". When I saw this I was instantly very excited, especially because it is a common. Picking up a playset of this card will be very easy. Okay so let's go over the uses for this card and why it is awesome. If your solemn simulacrum is tapped on the battlefield and your opponent is hitting you with a gravecrawler, you can play Cloudshift return your simulacrum to the battlefield, go fetch your basic land then block the gravecrawler because your simulacrum enters untapped, kill the gravecrawler, and your simulacrum then draw your card. This Venser like ability just keeps getting better as the game progresses, leading us to the next card of discussion, restoration angel.

Avacyn Restored Spoiler - Restoration AngelRestoration Angel has the same effect as Cloudshift but is a creature and a able blocker.  With flash this card can be played as a instant and used for the same purpose as Cloudshift with being a 3/4 flying creature in addition to the awesome ability. This card played on a titan can quickly become lethal and can serve as a excellent win condition. These two cards act as damage control being able to untap a creature at instant speed and kill one of your opponent's creatures if they aren't expecting the play. It can also be used to abuse the "when this creature enter's the battlefield" type abilities and capitalize on powerful abilities. I will definitely be picking up 4 copies of this card. Both of these cards are very playable in standard.
       
Avacyn Restored Spoiler - Temporal Mastery
Now lets talk about a  couple of blue cards. Temporal mastery is the most promising of the miracle effect cards in the spoilers so far. If top decked this card can save you from defeat. When played in a control deck, this card wouldn't be completely useless even when you have to pay the 5uu. This card reminds me of the Zendikar set card Lighthouse chronologist which when leveled up gave 2 turns every turn allowing you to win faster and cripple your opponent's defenses. I am not quite sure whether or not i like the new mechanic but there might be a good miracle card released in the spoilers later on.

Avacyn Restored Spoiler - WingcrafterWingcrafter also caught my eye when I was browsing the new cards today. I am liking the Soulbond mechanic a lot and I think it has potential. With Wingcrafter you essentially can make one of your more powerful creatures a flyer as well as get a 1/1 flyer with it. Though Wingcrafter is relatively easy to kill it could provide a edge early in the game in a haunted humans deck especially with bonded with a champion of the Parrish or mirran crusader. This card will see play in humans for sure and perhaps other decks. It is very promising and a one drop to play. It will be easy to acquire as it is a common.
That's all for today, be sure to follow and comment. I will be posting more about spoiler cards that catch my eye and have potential as they are released. Until next time, happy casting, Drew.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Told You…. #3(By Ryan Clark )



Hello there. It’s Ryan again.  I’m going to keep this one short because I need to write it fast. Anyway, I found some more time relevant information about last my last article:
To start off, I’m just going to say… I WAS RIGHT!!!
But Why, Ryan? Why Were You Right?
At yesterday’s Des Moines, Iowa SCG open event, how many Delver deck do you think made top eight? How about one. That’s right. Only one deck PERIOD that played Delver made top eight and three in the top sixteen (http://sales.starcitygames.com//deckdatabase/deckshow.php?&start_date=2012-01-15&end_date=2012-04-08&event_ID=19&city=Des+Moines). So what does this list mean? If you were named Brandon and played GR aggro you had a good shot at winning….
Or in reality GR aggro beats Delver. WE’RE ALL SAVED! NO MORE TALK OF BANNING!!!

Wait… Whaaaat? Wasn’t Delver the most played deck?
To put it simply, yes. But if it isn’t winning, does it matter?  What happened is that the people who played GR aggro saw what happened last week in Salt Lake City and realized that all they really had to do was beat Delver. There were many articles on StarCityGames.com that were titled just that, most of which pointing to RG aggro as the way to go. Think about it-- if you know what everyone’s going to play, doesn’t it make it that much easier to know what you should be?  After mono Red won two SCG Legacy opens in a row earlier this year, cards like Warmth and Leyline of Sanctiy became a must have if you expected to go far in the event, saying the popularity of the mono red deck due to its cost to build.
In Conclusion
I’m not trying to say don’t play Delver. It’s a good deck. It was just over hyped and now it’s seeing its decline that will keep it down for a few weeks. But don’t pout, it will be back along with the uproar to ban it.
Until next time I’m Ryan, may you never get mana screwed.
MTGO-RedVelvet
Cockatrice-RedVelvet
Twitter-@RedVelvetMTG

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Mono-Black Preesh?


 Hey guys, Its Cal. Now I'm going to have to apologize because I've been out all day and just got back from a modern tourney, so the quality in this post may be a little lacking. I didn't do so hot so I'm not gonna talk much about it. Although Ryan did and he made a cool $50 off it so I'm sure he will fill you in tomorrow. Anyway, I got a request for a decent, relatively cheap mono-black deck so here it is. These are just a few I found online and these are really not the best I've seen. Now if you have the money a sword of war and peace or Feast and famine all fit VERY nicely in here. Now some other cards that go well in mono-black are Tribute to hunger as well as Phrexian Obliterator  which I can't believe are not in here. Now all of these are still expensive but they are magnificent additions to a deck!



4 Gravecrawler
2 Fume Spitter
3 Skirge Vault
2 Diregraf Ghoul
2 Cemetery Reaper
4 Geralf's Messenger
1 Skinrender

4 Tragic Slip
2 Mortarpod
4 Geth's Verdict
2 Doom Blade
4 Distress
2 Altar's Reap
3 Lashwrithe
21 Swamp

 VS.
4 Gravecrawler
2 Fume Spitter
4 Diregraf Ghoul
3 Cemetery Reaper
4 Geralf's Messenger
1 Skinrender

4 Tragic Slip
2 Mortarpod
4 Geth's Verdict
2 Doom Blade
4 Distress
2 Altar's Reap
3 Lashwrithe
21 Swamp
Thanks for reading, and sorry for the lack of quality, but I have had a long/tiring day and I'm going to bed. But I will make it up to you guys. Expect some good reads tomorrow from Ryan and hopefully Drew Monday. Best of luck to all of you and your adventures.
<3 Cal

Friday, April 6, 2012

Delver is not the new Jace/Stoneforge #2 (by: Ryan Clark)



Hey guys, It's Ryan.  I was going to wait until Sunday to post an article talking about the change of seasons (magic seasons not weather), but with all the talk on twitter and by other people I know saying Delver of Secrets should be banned, I thought I should clarify on some things.
                                                                                                        THE NUMBERS
This is where most of the controversy begins. Five of the top eight decks at last week’s GP Salt Lake City played four copies of the card. Seems high, but obviously there are other decks that made it so it’s not that bad. Plus, if you watched the coverage all weekend, you would notice that a lot of other decks were played such as BU control, humans of all colors, RG Ramp, RG agro (which most delver players would say is their worst match-up) and many other decks.  Right now, if you even wanted to play mono red, you would still have a playable deck that wouldn’t get destroyed.  However, some people have started to make the comparison to the CawBlade deck of the past year… Really guys? Do you not remember how bad CawBlade was, and how delver looks so tiny in comparison? Remember GP Dallas last year, and all 32 copies of Jace TMS in the top eight? Yeah, everyone who made top eight had four in the main deck… Or GP Singapore that had seven of the top eight decks playing Stoneforge Mystic... Doesn’t that sound fun playing against the same cards every round?


Brewing is possible
       Here’s a little story for you.  As new phyrexia came out, one card in particular caught my eye.  Phyrexian Obliterator. Sure it was BBBB for the mana cost but I felt like there were enough cards in black to almost make mono black and then splash with the dual lands for blue. However, after a few games of testing, I realized why Cawblade is so good.  Turn two, I played Stoneforge and got the sword of feast and famine (protection from my deck basically). Turn three, Hawk and go find the rest. Turn four, Jace and fait seal so I never find my obliterators or if you’re lucky you play your obliterator turn 4 after he taps out to play Jace. And then they -1 Jace to return him to your hand so they can mana leak it this time. This situation doesn’t just apply to Pyrexian Obliterator. Any bomb in standard had to meet the “Jace test”. How does it handle Jace? Would I rather play it over Jace? When the answer to the first question was “badly” and to the second one more often then not,“no”, they would go back to the tried and true method of just playing them and trying to out-play everyone else in the 30 mirror match-ups you would have against it.  In the current standard, we haven’t seen a ton of Delver until this past weekend, since Conley won GP Orlando with his GBR ramp deck. Saying one card is hurting the game after a strong performance for one week after 2 ½ months of being on the back burner is, at least, a jump to conclusions.

Are We Having Fun Yet?
       Wizards of the Coast have even come straight out and said the reason they banned Jace and Stoneforge was because people weren’t having fun, and were playing less magic as a side effect.  With each of the new sets, that doesn’t seem to be the case right now. I don’t know about you, but I’m having the most fun ever playing magic (saying most of my magic career until now was during Cawblade). There are so many angles of decks to make, and ways to draft that even the pros make dramatic changes on what they play from week to week. If you’re the kind of person who wants to make rouge decks, you’re fine, you want to play delver, you’re fine, if you want to play control, you’re fine, and even the mono red player has a spot in this meta game.  So please stop trying to get cards banned in standard as quickly as possible. The banning of Jace and Stoneforge was needed, but should not be repeated for every good card that leads the pack in standard. Until next time this is Ryan, and may you never get mana screwed.
MTGO- RedVelvet
Cockatrice- RedVelvet
Twitter- @RedVelvetMTG



Thursday, April 5, 2012

Puzzle Thursday #1

Hey everybody it's Cal and welcome back to MtG General! So I think I'm gonna do a Puzzle Thursday  starting this week. So tell me what you guys think. Here is your scenario.
  Your opponent Cubemaster Bill has been beating you down with Sword of War and Peace (i.e. Sword with protection from your deck) for most of the game. You were doing a fair job of keeping up with the damage, but a Plow Under really set you back.  You considered casting an upkeep Magma Jet to scry away the lands, but then you realized that the Mountain on top is exactly what you need to win the game this turn.
After drawing your Mountain, the board looks like this. It is currently the beginning of your first main phase.
You CAN win this turn. How would you guys do this? I'll comment on this in a day or so with the correct answer.
 Follow/Comment and tell me if there's anything you want me or the other writers to write about! Best of luck on you and your adventures.
<3 Cal.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Future Sight

 Hey guys its Drew. Today i will be talking about the role prediction and other skills play in magic games and how helpful they can be. Knowing what deck your opponent is playing before you play them is a huge advantage. When you play different decks you have to change your strategy to work around and beat their ploys. right when the game starts look to see what land they play. In standard you can begin to formulate what your opponent is playing when they play their first land. If they play a island their deck can range anything from delver, spirits, esper and solarflare. The color of the mana gives insight into what strategy your opponent will be playing based on the behavior traits of the color. If your opponent plays a forest it is easier to decipher what they are playing much faster than with a island. The only green decks in the meta game are G/R ramp, and mono green aggro. these green decks will often always have a 1 drop on the first turn instantly revealing what they are playing. A darkslick shores suggests the deck is either control or aggro or perhaps a mix. When you see darkslick shores expect either zombies, esper, U/B control, or delver spirits.
    Think logically. You can often predict what your opponent will play on a certain turn based on how much mana they have. By predicting this you can save your removal spells to take care of the threat right away. If I am playing against a green deck then i can expect a solemn simulacrum or Thrun the last troll on turn 3 or 4 depending on their ramp speed. By saving your answers for cards that you anticipate you will be one turn ahead of your enemy. This strategy is used by professional chess players to work around and defeat their opponent's plans. Prediction is a skill that takes time to learn and master as well as a lot of practicing and reading up on what the current decks played in the metagame are.
   Think slowly. By slowing down and taking every factor into consideration you will be much more unlikely to make a play mistake. Speeding through your turn and making hasty decisions can and will cost you the game even if you draw good cards. A good player will be able to use a mediocre hand with skill by taking time and thinking slowly and logically. Always think before you cast a spell, how much mana does my opponent have untapped? How many cards do they have in their hand? what kind of deck are they playing? think through everything before you play your card.
Throughout the game think about the following; how am I trying to win the game right now? what am I doing to accomplish this goal? What is my opponent doing to try to win the game? what are they doing to accomplish this goal? How am I preventing them from winning? By thinking this over constantly you will realize a potential combo your opponent may have and it won't catch you off guard.
  Practicing these skills WILL make you a better player over time. Take your time on your turn it isn't a race and when you go too fast that's when the big mistakes that will cost you the game are made. Until next time, Happy casting, Drew.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Draft #1

Hey guys it's Cal. Welcome to draft Tuesday! This being our first week I'm just gonna post a pack and talk a little about how it would work in a sealed deck environment. Hopefully soon we might be able to do our draft Tuesdays on Cockatrice or something and get an actual draft with people. Anyways, here is the pack!

Now looking at this pack there is one MAJOR player here, and that is of course Hellrider. Although I have yet to see him be played in sealed I can definitely see relevance in him.  He is definitely a deadly 4 drop in a draft. I would almost be inclined to build my whole deck off of him if this was my first pack. But lets say you got all your bombs, or Hellrider just doesn't fit in what you have so far. Well if you really can't squeeze in Hellrider from this pack there really aren't any other solid options. Hinterland Hermit and Pyreheart wolf are some good fillers. Falkenrath Torturer are also pretty decent in sealed. Anyway, this pack (other than Hellrider) really is not all that unfortunately.   Well That's all I can write today sadly, but I hope to see you guys again soon! Remember to follow if you enjoy this blog and also comment and tell me if you guys would be interested in a draft on Cockatrice. Best of luck to all you guys and your adventures. See you soon.
<3 Cal.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Angels and Praetors

Hey guys! my name is Drew Cordell, I will be blogging on Magic The Gathering General with Cal and Ryan. I have been playing for just over a year and have learned a great deal of information from reading pro player articles and they have really helped me improve as a player. I play on cockatrice often, my user name is Emperion, so feel free to add me on there.  Anyways lets get started with my topic of the day; Avacyn, Angel Of Hope. Avacyn at first sight looked like a very overpowered card that was quite possibly broken. seeing as the set is named after her,  I had to force my self to slow down and go over every word of text on the card to properly evaluate the card  without jumping to hasty conclusions.

Okay so lets go over the key components of the card, we have a 8 drop with 3w in the cost. She is a 8/8 with flying and vigilance and makes all of your creatures indestructible. At first glance she looked like a very solid and playable card, however  with the current state of standard there are many answers to this card once it resolves such as vapor snag, oblivion ring, Geth's verdict, tribute to hunger, Liliana of the veil etc... Once Avacyn hits the battlefield she does not provide any ridiculous benefit right when she resolves and could result in a wasted turn. However if paired with swift foot boots this card could be very powerful if you manage to get the combo. the 8/8 flying vigilance puts your opponent on a fast ticking clock to death but in the end Elesh norn grand cenobite is the superior version of this card.

at a cheaper mana cost Elesh Norn the clear choice to play at 7 mana with 2w in the cost Elesh Norn is easier to cast in a 2 or three color deck, whereas the 3w in Avacyn's cost inhibits your ability to play her in multi-color decks . Elesh norn's static ability "creatures your opponents control get -2/-2." becomes active the second Elesh norn resolves resulting either in a massive board clear, or rendering your opponent's creatures into petty obstacles in your wake of destruction. Even if your Norn gets hit by a kill spell when she resolves you have still destroyed your opponents tokens and small creatures. At a smaller mana cost with more benefits, Elesh norn gets the slot in the deck over Avacyn. At $30 USD Elesh norn is quite pricey but can save you numerous times in a difficult situation. She is a very solid investment to make because the standard metagame is more or less focused on tokens at the moment.
 I predict that Avacyn, Angel Of Hope will cost around $4-10 which could be a good replacement for budget players if you aren't looking to spend a lot  of money on a couple copies of Elesh Norn. When Elesh norn cycles out of standard Avacyn might be the replacement depending on what appears in the m13 core set. In modern Avacyn has no place. Iona shield of emeria is much more powerful due to being able to completely stop your opponent from casting spells of a chosen color. With Avacyn Restored being the largest set in the block it looks promising for housing lots of new playable cards as well as changing the metagame.
           
   Thanks for reading and feel free to comment and share your opinions Happy casting everyone! Until next time, Drew.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A New Start #1


Hello and welcome to my first article on the Magic General. First of all my name is Ryan Clark and go by RedVelvet on MTGO and Cockatrice (for playing legacy and vintage because we all know what it’s like to get old cards on MTGO). Im also on Twitter @RedVelvetMTG. I’m always open for new people who enjoy magic so don’t be afraid to message me and follow me on twitter.  With that said Ive only been playing magic for a year now but have quickly moved up to where I regularly attend local PTQ’s (with spurts of success) and now hope to reach the next level and actually make a Pro Tour.  One of the main goals of me writing for this blog is to help improve my game.  I’ve been a regular reader of many pro players online articles, many of which said one of the things that helps their game the most is writing about it because it forces you to collect honest data and not be bias in your decisions. I hope for people reading this will learn from the stories and ideas I’ve accumulated over the past year and will continue to advance on.  Anyways now that you have a small sliver of info on me  I will just finish this article talking about the FNM I went to last week with Cal. In his post before Friday he was right that I was going to play tempered steel, however with a few pesky scars commons missing and realization of our local metagame I talked myself out of it.  I ended up playing a friend’s Esper “planeswalkers” deck because he couldn’t go and I wanted to try something different… (not that different). I have the “”s around planeswalkers because that’s what he called it even though it only had 1 Karn 1 Giddeon 1 Elspeth and 1 Lilliana…. Let’s just say my opponents were right to think they were playing against esper control and not planeswalkers. When I looked through it I noticed one other problem… 1 copy of lingering souls. I had some of his other cards with me he wanted to trade which included 7 lingering souls so I know it wasn’t card availability so I called him up to see if he just messed up the conversation went a little like this….
Him: “hello”
Me: “You’re an idiot”
Him: “what?”
Me: “how many copies of lingering souls are in your deck?”
Him: “just 1 it’s not THAT good”
Me: insta hang up.

It might sound like we are fighting here but we are just best of friends and give each other as much grief as possible at the others expense.  Needless to say after our conversation I fixed the souls problem but didn’t have enough time to really work on the whole deck so I don’t think its really worth showing the list. Just know there were 4 planes walkers and two Elesh Norns and the rest pretty normal for either espercontrol or planeswalkers…. Without the counter spells…. Oh wait I lied… he had TWO mana leaks and that’s it…. Didn’t really see them till my opponent’s would have enough mana to pay for it. Anyways I ended up only going 1-3 even though I force game 3s in all rounds I lost (going 2-0 in the win) wasn’t really blown out except for when my opponent played. Phyrexian Obltterator pass. Play Falkenrath Aristocrat swing for 9. Play another swing for 13… sick. Anyways better luck next week.  Remember to follow me on twitter @RedVelvetMTG and check back next week for a new (in more detail) article yet to be decided on. Untill next time this is Ryan, may you never get mana screwed.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

FNM 3/30/12

Hey everyone. Got the results in from FNM last night. Overall I got 2nd place (winning me a very sparkly tectonic edge) and for my matches I went 3-1 and 6-5 games wise. Not to good I know. How did I get 2nd? That's a good question and I'll explain how I got it later on.
Round 1: Green Aggro
Game 1: First off I had to mull down to 6 with 4 lands in hand. I knew that if i mull'd again There would be no chance so I kept. He was able to get me down to about 6 with strangleroot geist and a few other 2-4 drops before I drew anything half decent. I ended up pulling a sun Titan but of course he immediately followed it up with a beast within. Game loss.
Game 2: This guy had Thruns on deck. So again he got me down to about 6-8 with his quick creatures, but I was able to drop Wurmcoil and gain a lot of life while bringing him down to 10. I had the wurmcoil tokens and a sun titan out as well as some tokens from timely reinforcements. He swung with everything (predator ooze at about 10/10 and two 2/2s) I blocked the ooze and his others with my soldier tokens killing them. At his 2nd main phase he dropped a Thrun as his only untapped creature and passed turn. I went straight into combat and swung with wurmcoil tokens and sun titan, and with sun titans triggered ability I target a phantasmal image in my grave and brought it back copying thrun opening up 12 damage winning me the match. Game Win
Game 3: For some reason on this game I made a bunch of play errors, but I was able to control him down and bring him to about 8 life. I dropped a Sphinx and my next turn I got him down to 4. He had an Inkmoth which could have bought him a few more turns if I hadn't Top deck'd and Elesh Norn to put his Inkmoth out of commission. Game Win.
Round 2: R/W aggro                           (I'll try and make the reports a little less lengthy)
Game 1: This guy started off with a reckless waif which as a turn 1 drop is not fun against control. He ended up hitting me with 2 waifs and a 3/3 stormblood until I dropped Wurmcoil which was able to save as I quickly climbed up to the upper 20's in life. Game Win.
Game 2: This was a fast game. I had to mull down to 6 and he went ahead and dropped two reckless waifs and two stormbloods before I could get 3 mana. Game loss.
Game 3: Same as last game turn 3 he got out two stormbloods and two reckless waifs, but this time I was ready (kinda). He was able to get me down to 1... thats right 1 life before I was able to Day of judgement killing everything except his Koth. I then followed it up my next turn with a Wurmcoil again shooting my life total up. Thanks Wurmcoil <3. Game Win.
Round 3: B/R Zombie vampires?
Game 1: Lets just say Falkenrath aristocrat x2. I tried to image it and stall him, but he was to quick. He also red suns zenith'd me for 7. Game Loss.
Game 2: This game was annoying... He had me where no matter what I did I was gonna lose at least 5-7 life per turn. Two Geralfs messengers? And all I got is a day of judgement.... I'll pass. Game loss. :'(
Round 4: Esper Planeswalker control
This was an incredibly even match-up and lasted a solid hour. Before this round began I was ranked 5th and he was ranked 3rd. The person who was 4th had already played him so I guess I lucked out.
Game 1: Standoff until both of us had over 10 mana... we were both to scared to play anything. He ended up resolving a grave titan...ouch. My turn I imaged his titan. His turn tragic slip...(made me sac Image) followed with an Elesh Norn. Swung for 16. Game loss.
Game 2: Again, almost nothing resolved but  I was able to get out a Wurmcoil, which he promptly killed, and Then I resolved an Elesh Norn pumping my Wurms up enough for the game. Game Win.
Game 3: This game was very similar to both previous games and the only notable thing was my win condition. He O-ringed a sun titan of mine and had a Liliana of the veil up at 2.  I O-ringed his O-ring bringing back my sun Titan. He used Liliana's -2 (killing her) to force me to sac but I played a snapcaster before her ability resolved and sac'd him instead. Sun titan finished him off. Game win.

I'd like to make Wurmcoil engine the creature of the week because he saved my ass quite a bit. It was a great FNM and I had loads of fun. I also just recently found out about standard PTQ happening in Dallas so I'm for sure hitting that up, as well as a Grand Prix in San Antonio in a few months. If you guys have any questions/suggestions just leave a comment.
Thanks for reading guys, see you all next week.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Hey guys! welcome to MtG General! This is going to be the first post of a hopefully great blog. So I figured I would start out today with my current FNM deck list that I will be playing tonight. So what you guys can plan on expecting from this blog is many deck lists that either I am running or some of my friends might be running as well as reports on local FNM's as well as reports on any big tournaments I attend such as SCG, PTQ, or grand prix's. Unfortunately my next big tournament most likely wont be for awhile.
So the deck I am running tonight is some where between Esper and Solar flare. I've had this deck for awhile and I've been really hesitant right now to put down any money for a new deck. But this deck is fun and I enjoy playing it.
Main Board
Artifacts
1 Ratchet Bomb

Creatures
2 Phantasmal Image
3 Sun Titan
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Consecrated Sphinx
1 Snapcaster Mage
Enchantments
2 Oblivion Ring


Instants
1 Blue Sun's Zenith
1 Dissipate
3 Doom Blade
4 Forbidden Alchemy
3 Mana Leak
2 Negate
4 Think Twice
2 White Sun's Zenith

Legendary Creatures
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

Sorceries
2 Day of Judgment

Basic Lands
4 Island
4 Plains
1 Swamp

Lands
2 Darkslick Shores
3 Drowned Catacomb
2 Ghost Quarter
4 Glacial Fortress
2 Isolated Chapel
4 Seachrome Coast
Side Board
3 Nihil Spellbomb
2 Ratchet Bomb
1 Phantasmal Image
2 Dissipate
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
2 Day of Judgment
3 Timely Reinforcements
1 Ghost Quarter 
Again this deck isn't the most efficient, but its pretty damn fun to play. Anything tonight below a 3-1 though is rather sad though...
 My friend Ryan should be running a Tempered steel deck and I think sometime tomorrow I will go ahead and post his deck list a long with my report/reflections on tonight.
For the most part that concludes my first blog. So you guys feel free to comment, suggest things you want to hear, and share. I'll talk to you guys tomorrow. Wish me luck!
P.S. I don't have MtGO right now because my funds are a little low, but I do play on Cockatrice consistently. My name is Orflarg, and if you see me feel free to hit me up. I'd be more than happy to play.