Category Archives: Perilous Research

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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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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Perilous Research 05: GenCon And Getting Back On Track

Hello, Readers. I’m sorry I haven’t posted any articles lately but since I’ve gotten back from GenCon things in my life went from being hectic to downright crazy. When I got back to work from my trip I found out that they moved our inventory forward a month, giving us only 3 weeks to prepare. On top of this three of our employees decided to quit. Fun times in the line of Retail. But, no one wants to hear about this. You’re hear to read about Magic! Let’s get to it.

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Financial – Gaining Value with Artist Attendance at Events

Today I am going to take a step out of my comfort zone in writing Magic articles. I’ve been playing Magic for a while and writing about playing the game comes naturally to me. What doesn’t come naturally to me is writing about the financial aspects of magic; buying, selling, and trading. This past extended weekend I had to pleasure to attend GenCon 2011. It was my fifth time attending the Best Four Days of Gaming. Normally I go to test new games, find interesting knick-knacks, and feed my girlfriend’s obsession with dice-sets. This year I went almost solely to play Magic. I attempted to grind into Nationals (which I failed to achieve, but thats a story for another day…i.e. tomorrow), played in a Midnight Madness Chaos Draft, and even the m12 Celebration Sealed event.

However, not only did I find myself actually playing magic, but doing a lot of trading as well. While going through my binders I had two specific pages that people kept stopping at and asking about cards in. These weren’t my two pages of Power, or my duals, or my shockland collection. These were a select group of cards that I collected before the event and purposefully put together on those two pages, even though to some people it looked like a random assortment of cards. The cards in question were Foil and Non-Foil versions of Child of Alara, Dhamia, both Ashlings, Ink-Eyes, Marrow-Gnawer, Glissa the Traitor (both normal and Prerelease), and Jenara. Why these cards? What’s so special about them beyond being awesome legends? Read the rest of this entry

The More You Know – An Outsider’s Prospective

We have a special treat for you today.  A double interview from to of the costars of Red Cast Wins.  Sean aka SwordtoPlow and Jason.  In this installment they interview their significant others about Magic and why some one would ever dream of not playing it.  Be prepared to have your feelings hurt and your eyes opened.

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Perilous Research #4: Predicting Standard Metagame Shifts


Competitive Magic has found itself in an odd place this year. There are large events that take place almost every weekend. With the modern technology available, a large portion of these events are now being covered live. Typically even the ones that aren’t being covered by webcasts can be followed via twitter as the players in the event constantly post how they and others are doing and what they played. This brings a change to the way we play the game in constructed formats like Standard.

Gone are the days of only changing your deck when a new Set arrived. Instead of making changes every three months, players are now changing their lists on a week-to-week basis. The formats are being played heavily every single weekend in events much more competitive than the local FNM. Players are there to win, and will usually only bring decks that they are sure they can win with. But unlike a few years ago, when you would pick a deck and play it for a whole season, you now choose your weapon of choice based upon changes in the metagame.

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Perilous Research #3: m12 Sealed, US Nationals, and You!

Welcome back to Perilous Research! Today I’ll be covering a topic most of you have probably just recently had interaction with at your local prerelease or release events, m12 Sealed. I have to admit right now, that I am a sealed junkie. Nothing makes me happier than cracking fresh booster packs and looking to see what goodies await me inside that shiny wrapper. Usually for me this takes place when I’m drafting and I’m only going to get 2 cards out of the pack I open, and not at the same time. With Sealed however what you open is what you get. You don’t have to worry about opening that ridiculous booster holding a foil planeswalker and a non-foil planeswalker and having to pass the non-foil even though you opened it, and you therefor want it. This difference is what makes Sealed appealing to the people who will typically avoid drafting. While typically drafts happen a lot more often, Sealed is a lot more popular. This is probably the reason for it being the format of choice for Prerelease events.

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Perilous Research 2: U/W VenserBlade in m12 Standard


The m12 Prerelease events have come and gone, leaving us with a whole new core set and a lot of important decisions to make. Important decisions such as “Why should I even bother buying any of this product if all of the good cards are just a bunch of reprints?!” Unfortunately, this is the subject matter for an entirely different article. One which I am not going to write. Why? Because griping about what is in m12 isn’t actually going to change what is in m12. The set is officially spoiled and we’re stuck with all 249 of these cards for Standard. It’s time to deal with it and move on to what we should really be putting our focus into, m12 Standard. Read the rest of this entry

Perilous Research #1: Back in Black(Blue) Value

Welcome to Perilous Research #1! I am your host, Jason Clark. I’m a spike player hailing from Delaware, USA. I’ve been playing on and off since Ice Age. With my latest return to the game I have the ability to dedicate the time and resources I need to Magic to actually advance my game and have a chance at winning a PTQ/Open/etc. These articles will be weekly, but each week I will be changing back and forth between Limited and Standard because I am madly in love with both and writing about only one would make my head explode.

For this first Perilous Research I’m going to talk about Limited with Scars Block Draft. I’ve been drafting a lot of New Phyrexia/Besieged/Scars lately just like everyone else. There are a bunch of articles out there on the general archetypes and strategies in this specific draft format. Instead of just creating another one of these articles I am going to go over a specific archetype that I find myself drafting more than any other; Black-Blue Value. Read the rest of this entry