Sunday, 12 April 2015

The End of An Era

Hi everyone,

Sad post today. As you can probably tell, I've had a lot going on in my life lately and I've had to make a couple hard decisions. Recently, I've become very involved in a local game store in Winnipeg (A Muse N Games), so far as to get my Level 1 Judge certification to run their FNMs and GPTs. I've also entered back into the romance market as well as getting more overtime at work. As a result of all of this, my time has been significantly cut down and I have to sacrifice something and I've decided it to be my blog. I've had a ton of fun doing this, but the time it takes to find a card and research it fully (something which I admit I hadn't don ein my more recent reviews) and then write an accurate (and sometimes funny) review for it takes a lot of mental energy and at the end of a 10-hour day in a woodshop, that's just not possible.

I'm currently working on a couple other projects and, if they go through, I'll be sure to post links here, but other than that I'm done.

Thank you to everyone who came here regularly, those who came once or twice, and those who accidentally stumbled on this blog. It's been fun.


Thursday, 5 March 2015

Vacation Time!

Hi everyone! Just a quick announcement to say that I'll be taking a couple weeks off to deal with some stuff in the real world. I should be back by Dragons of Tarkir prerelease time! Thanks for understanding.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Lashknife Barrier

Lashknife Barrier

Honestly, this isn't that terrible of a card. It's basically mass Absorb 1 that trips. If you've got a meta where you have a lot of little creatures and your opponents use a lot of small mass damage (like Circle of Flame), this might be an okay budget sideboard card. I'm trying to be as nice as I can to this card.

Pros: Creature protection, trips
Cons: Only prevents 1 damage from each source
Rating: 2.5/5

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Smoke Teller

Smoke Teller

You want a solid Limited creature? Well, here;s a solid Limited creature. I've seen many of these get passed in drafts (I ended up with 6 in one draft) because they don't think it's that great, but that's based mostly on the ability. The ability is sometimes useful (depending on what your opponent pulled), but that's not what makes this card a solid Limited pick. It's a bear. Bears are good in Limited. It can trade with a face-down creature and it's a quick drop for faster decks. Is it a snap first-pick? No. Is it a fourth+ pick? Yeah, I'd say so. 

Pros: Bear with an ability
Cons: Off-colour sometimes useless ability
Rating: 3/5

Friday, 13 February 2015

Foresight/Manipulate Fate

ForesightManipulate Fate

Both of these cards probably look pretty bad. "Why would I want to exile three cards from my library and only get one in return?" I hear you cry in classic internet rage, but these cards are actually pretty good Game 1 cards. Think about it this way: how many times have you played an FNM match where you've drawn a completely dead card, either because your opponent is running the wrong kind of deck (ie: drawing a removal spell against a hexproof deck) or because you're running a combo deck and you didn't draw your last piece? It doesn't seem like my, but these cards both improve your chances of drawing something you need by taking out the chaff that you don't want. At the very least, you can use them to remove lands from your deck once you've got your land base set up. I say they're "Game 1" cards because I think they're good to have in the first game before you sideboard them out once you know what your opponent is playing.

Pros: Allows for deck tuning on the fly
Cons: Slow trip, sorcery speed
Rating: 3/5

Manipulate Fate
Pros: Allows for deck tuning on the fly, cantrip
Cons: Sorcery speed
Rating: 3.5/5

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Soratami Mirror-Mage

Soratami Mirror-Mage

Despite the fact that I love the Kamigawa block, I'm not above admitting that it had terrible cards. This card is irredeemably bad. Basically, this costs 6 mana to bounce a creature, 5 if you haven't played a land that turn. Even for Limited, that's pretty bad and that's a format where 5 mana kill spells are considered usable. Even the body can't save it since a 2/1 flier for 4 is also bad. Sorry Kamigawa, but you had really bad cards.

Pros: Repeatable creature bounce
Cons: Bounces 3 lands, 2/1 flier for 4
Rating: 0/5

Friday, 30 January 2015

Then and Now: Fetch Lands

Back in 2002, WotC introduced a new type of land search cards. They were like the Mirage fetches except that they could be used on the first turn they came out. They were great back in the day, but are they that great in the current environment?

Bloodstained MireBloodstained MireFlooded StrandFlooded StrandPolluted DeltaPolluted DeltaWindswept HeathWindswept HeathWooded FoothillsWooded Foothills

Yes, Yes, they are still good. Very good. Buy some. 

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Tips and Tricks: Fun at FNM

So, I thought I'd get on here this week and talk about something that I've recently started going back to: Friday Night Magic. Now, this doesn't just apply to FNMs as it can be applied to any non-pro Magic event, but for simplicity's sake, I'm just going to say "FNM". These aren't going to be tips on how to be better at FNMs specifically, but they may help. These are going to be bits of advice on how to have more fun and be a more enjoyable opponent for other players. So, here are 5 tips for making your FNM more enjoyable for everyone.

1: You Don't Need to 2-0 Each Round
This is something that I had to learn the hard way on my own. Often, I used to get very worked up over the result of my first game of each match. I used to think that winning that gave me some sort of edge over my opponent or that I was guaranteed the match or something along those lines. As a result, I would often stress out if I lost the first game and it usually led to a 0-2 loss for me. Since then, I've discovered that if I treat the first game as a complete wash, I have a lot more fun and I do better too. I'm not suggesting that you sabotage yourself, just that think of a first game loss as a big opportunity instead of a defeat.

The logic behind this is pretty simple. Firstly, it gives you an opportunity to get into the pilot seat of your deck fairly comfortably. This is really important for Limited events as you probably won't have had time to fine-tune your deck as much as in Constructed formats. The longer you have to adjust to your deck and your opponent, the better it is for you. Secondly, I find that it actually gives you a leg up on your opponent instead of the way I used to think. This is because your opponent may not want to sideboard fully against your deck since they won the first time. This gives you a slight advantage as you will be able to tweak your deck a little more than your opponent and catch them off guard. Finally, it might make your opponent mess up in the second game. This really depends on your opponent, but I know a few players that will let a simple game win inflate their ego so much that they will make rookie mistakes and therefore make it easier for you. Just don't lose your mind is all I'm saying.

2: You're Not Playing Jon Finkel
This is something I see way too often: a player getting upset at an opponent for forgetting to untap his lands or draw her card for the turn or something stupid like that. A lot of new players come out to FNMs and their impression of the game and its community as a whole is impacted by their opponents. Yes, I understand you want to win, but you've probably got an advantage over your opponent if you've been playing longer than they have. If you lose, oh no! You're out a whole 3 packs maybe? What's the big deal? Just keep calm and keep playing Magic.

3. Be a Teacher
As with the last point, many new players come out to store-level events to learn and experienced players should act as teachers for them. Don't tell them how to play the game though. It's very important to teach new players organically. Don't say "Cast Doom Blade targeting my untapped Jokulmorder so you can swing in with your Village Cannibals for the win"; that doesn't teach them anything. Say something like "Your Cannibals are big enough to kill me if they can get through this combat". Phrasing like that just plants the seed of an idea in their mind and it becomes up to the player to nurture it. Mark Rosewater wrote a great article a few years ago about teaching people Magic and it's a good place to start for teaching tips (seriously go read it).

4. Make Friends
If you're going to your local store to play FNMs, get to know the people you're playing with. If you're visiting from out of town, experience some new friends and a different gaming environment. You can bounce deck ideas off other people who might have differing viewpoints and make point things out to you that you never noticed before. Making new friends is one of the best ways to grow as a Magic player.

5. Laugh
Seriously. It's a game. Have some Jace-damned fun with it!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

DekTek: Thief's Punishment

Time for another DekTek and this time it's Legacy. Here's my list for Thief's Punishment, an 8-Rack variant.

4x Augur of Skulls 
8x Swamp 
4x The Rack 
2x Waste Not 


As you can probably tell, this deck is meant to go extremely fast and ruin my opponent's early game. Ideally, starting turn 2, I can keep my opponent from pretty much doing anything. I have 11 cards in the deck that force a double discard, which is very powerful and even moreso now since Treasure Cruise has been banned. I don't really need that many creatures either, since my opponent probably won't get the chance to play them. If necessary, I can swing for beats with my Factories and hastey Rats. The Cursed Scrolls are there for topdeck situations wherein my Racks or Afflictions aren't killing the opponent for some reason. 

The sideboard is definitely something that catches people's attention, for two cards in particular. The first is the pair of Ashen Riders. A few people think that, because I have Deathrites in the sidebaord, I'm going to be stupid and attempt to hard cast them, but that will never happen. They are in there purely for two match-ups: Show and Tell and Dream Halls. Nothing is more satisfying in Game 2 to see the look on an opponent's face when I exile their Emrakul, the Aeons Torn with my Rider. The other odd card is the trio of Drown in Sorrows. I had Bile Blights in there originally, but I thought that it wasn't working out the way I wanted. It dealt with Young Pyromancer tokens, but not with the Pyromancer itself. Same with Elves and Goblins. Then I thought: what do I care about that has 3 toughness? Not much it turns out. Even though it's one turn slower, I think Drowns work better than Blights simply because, in the games that I bring them in, it's a 3 mana Damnation with a Scry 2 trigger.

So that's Thief's Punishment. It's probably my favourite of my current Legacy decks to run just because it's so consistent and has a decent win ratio. It presents my opponents with some tough decisions sometimes (especially control players) and it's just a fun deck to play.

Oh, if you didn't get the reference, thieves historically lost their hands in some Arabic countries. So there you go. 

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Whirlpool Whelm

Whirlpool Whelm

I think too many people underestimate this card. At the very least, it's an Unsummon with Scry 1. At most, it's a Repel for two less. Either way, it sets your opponent back a turn in regards to what they have on the field. However, I think the clash is also a very important part of this card. Knowing what your opponent is about to draw (or isn't, depending on what they choose) is important. Not great outside Limited though, there are much better options, so I'm not sure you'll see this outside of drafts and Sealed.

Pros: Potentially cheaper Repel
Cons: Only hits creatures, may only be Unsummon
Rating: 3/5