Monthly Archives: September 2011

Taking a Stab at GP Montreal

As many of you know, on September 16th through the 18th I traveled up to Canada to compete at Grand Prix Montreal. It was an amazing experience that I will probably never forget. Not only for the way it changed the way I look at the game but also the way I want to compete. On the opposite of what Luis said in his article about the GP, I really was riding high on my competitive spirit. I had been doing well at my local drafts, placing well at my FNM, and just feeling the Fire just burn inside me. I had missed Top 8 at my GPT by one place. So, as I finally got into the car for Montreal I was really feeling good about my chances despite having no byes. But this is a poor start of a story, there should be a beginning.  Read the rest of this entry

Thran Utopia #27: That new set smell

Innistrad marks the end of a spoiler season and simultaneously the beginning of a new one: one of exploration of unknown waters. The whole set is out and brewers and players from around the world try to figure out what the cards do for metagames new and old alike. What cards will impact the casual tables? What interactions will populate the Sunday tables at the next Pro Tour? Every single set has, at least for me, a common pattern in how you react to it upon release and thereafter. What happens when all is new and shiny? Read the rest of this entry

Perilous Research 06: Scars/m12/Innistrad Standard

Every fall there is a magical time when a whole block and core set worth of cards rotate out of standard and a brand new large set is introduced to the environment. The change is the largest one to happen to Standard each year and with it comes lamentations, joy, and brewing. This time around we are forced to mourn the loss of Valakut, Splinter Twin, Allies, and the Eldrazi. These are the decks that are solidly lost with rotation. All the other decks are still playable in some fashion with new cards to replace the ones that are rotating.

With the rotation we also see a few Block decks become stronger and must also consider them for the new environment. Puresteel and Tempered Steel were already making decent finishes in Standard before rotation, they will only be better after. Koth Red and Tezzeret decks are other strategic areas from Scars Block that are worth exploring for the new Standard.

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You’re a Designer, Harry! #17 – Basic Adventuring Party

Hello again, readers, to You’re a Designer, Harry!, a column where my readers’ feedback impacts the public process of designing a Magic: The Gathering set. I started writing with the idea to do a column like this because it was pretty fresh idea compared to what I’m used to seeing (non-design, non-collaborative Magic articles). And this column started strong, were hopes were high and comments were abundant. …And where are we now? Sputtering ever behind! This must be fixed!

Ever since the Great Designer Search 2, thanks to the collaborative nature of the competition and the use of Wizards Community wiki, a Magic design community had grown as strong as ever. It’s still ever-thriving as websites devoted to Magic design had sprung up: Goblin Artisans, Designer Fun on Channel Fireball, and many from the #mtg Twitter community (I’m trying to get #mtgdesign to be the official hashtag for Magic design, but it seems that tag is too many characters, especially considering the nature of tweeting about Magic design. #GDS2 is long over, too). This column had been a result of the GDS2, with me being a former Top 101 candidate. Read the rest of this entry

Basic Fundamentals

You sit at your table or on your floor cards spread about you in some manner. You slowly start picking up small piles that lay in front of you and add them together. Thirty-four spells. Well, you are playing control so Twenty-six lands is about right. You add in the obligatory dual lands and utility lands and see you have room for about twelve basic lands. Running some quick statistical calculations (or in my case, guessing) you decide how many of each basic land you want. Now you reach for you stack of Islands and Plains.

For some players the story ends here. They count out eight Islands and six Plains and sleeve up their deck to battle. But these players are in the minority. The other 95% of us, myself included, reach the step where you add basic lands to your deck and are faced with a new challenge: Which basic lands do I use? You probably already know which basic lands you like to use. Most of us do. So really, that isn’t the question I’m looking to answer here. It’ll come up though, don’t get me wrong. We all love our own versions of the five cards you essentially need to play Magic. But, the more important question is Why do we use the basic lands we choose?

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MTG Financial Fundamentals: The Value of Snapcaster Mage

This week’s entire article will be focused on one card.  The reason for this is simply because this card has gotten more attention in the past weeks than any other card.  PTQ Grinders are fervently brewing with this card across multiple formats including Standard, Modern, and perhaps even Legacy.  Financial gurus are looking to maximize profit in the inefficient market which surrounds this card.  Traders and collectors alike are all monitoring this card, awaiting the right time to pick it up; knowing it is too soon now, but wondering when the right time will come. 
The card in question, of course, is Snapcaster Mage. Read the rest of this entry

Thran Utopia #26: Innistrad Threeview (part 3 of 3)

Today I conclude my first-ever full Threeview set review. I discuss Innistrad-cards using three words: nothing more, nothing less. It’s poetry in the form of Magic cards. Or nonsense. Probably both. Read the rest of this entry

Thran Utopia #26: Innistrad Threeview (part 2 of 3)

Today, we continue with this peculiar Innistrad set review. Every card gets discussed, but every card just gets three words. Three! You’d be surprised how much can be said with three words. It’s like poetry, except about Magic. Read the rest of this entry

Thran Utopia #26: Innistrad Threeview (part 1 of 3)

Around the time of the M12 prerelease I had a few cards I wanted to talk about, but I found out there wasn’t much to say about them. So I limited what I could say about them to three words per card. Today, I’m doing the same for Innistrad, card for card. A lot of this is made up on the spot, making this almost some kind of psychological experiment where I just blurt out the first three coherent words that come to mind. I have no idea how this will turn out, so please let me know in the comments if I have struck set-reviewing gold or a turd. Here goes for the first two colors: white and blue! Read the rest of this entry

Red Cast Wins #9 – Don’t call it a comeback!

We come back after a long break with stories of GP Montreal. We also talk about Innistrad spoilers and our ever popular conversations on tilt.

Red Cast Wins #9 – Don’t call it a comeback!

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