Blog Archives

Modern Legacy: The Thinking Machine Scourge

Let’s revisit the banned list. On the top of that list is the five artifact lands. Does that mean Affinity as a deck is dead? I think not. I believe that the deck is very viable if you take an objective look at what exactly makes it tick.

Read the rest of this entry

The Grinding Stone – Standard Post M12

Hello!  Welcome to the second edition of “The Grinding Stone.”  This week I will be going over the post M12 Standard format.  While it will be short lived, the format will be relevant for the upcoming Starcitygames.com open events and US Nationals.  Comprising of the Zendikar block, Scars block, M11 and M12, the New Standard is shaping up to be quite interesting.

With Jace and Stoneforge banned, the format really feels fresh.  There is still the Splinter Twin/Exarch combo looming, and while the old bad guy Valakut will be making a comeback, there is still quite a lot of design space.  Many creatures and strategies that were completely neutered by Jace have been given a new life.  Titans are good again.  Cards like Consecrated Sphinx and Wurmcoil Engine rise in value as there is no “Jace Test” anymore.  There is also another reason these creatures will be standing out, but we will get to that in a bit. Read the rest of this entry

The Commander’s Chair – Land Base

Today I will be discussing building a land base for your Commander deck. I knew I would have to write this article when I started this series. I have been delaying it, because lands are just is not the most fun topic to discuss. However, almost every deck in Magic needs to play at least some lands. I build a land base for Commander in a similar fashion to the way that I build a land base for a 60 card deck. When building a land base you need to know if you will need to know;

  • The number of lands your deck needs
  • The number of basic lands vs. non-basic lands you should run
  • The color requirements of your lands in relation to your deck
  • If your deck can replay lands from the graveyard

Read the rest of this entry

Modern Legacy: Return of the Walking Dead

I played at the recent SCG Legacy Open in Baltimore, and I got 20th overall. I think that high of an finish obligates me to write a report and even write up a primer of sorts on my deck of choice. What was the deck that I brought? It was LEDredge.

Read the rest of this entry

The Grinding Stone – Focus, by Chris VanMeter

So, I am sitting at a table with Gerry T and Adam Cai and some number of other masters. As per usual I am just being quiet, taking in everything they are all saying. Some kid comes over to Gerry, very red in the face and obviously tilting over something and starts to go on and on about how his opponent literally drew the 3 cards that he needed in the exact order that he needed them to win. Mid-sentence Gerry stops him and says “If you didn’t win this I don’t really want to hear it.” “Of course I didn’t win, he drew his outs!” The kid replies. “Oh, so your opponent drew cards that were in his deck?” says Gerry. The kid leaves visibly upset. I completely understand what he is feeling. That used to be me. While I have been playing Magic for a long time, I am just now learning some of the best lessons to keep your head straight and help you stay focused while playing “higher level” Magic.

Hello! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Chris VanMeter. I currently live in Wichita Kansas, but I am originally from the Seattle/Tacoma area. Until the end of last year I would constantly lose my focus while playing in the later rounds of Magic tournaments. I would still make plenty of PTQ and local cash tournament Top 8’s, but most of the time I would lose my win-and-in round or just lose in the quarter finals. I would always be so happy, telling all my friends that all I had to do was win one more and I could just double draw in. I would also be extremely devastated when I lost the next round and the ensuing tilt would carry me right through my next loss, knocking me out of the Top 8. After years and years of this same practice, I decided that I was going to step my game up. Test more, and test more effectively. Most of all, I would start to only focus on a “one game at a time” mentality. This became my Mantra. In between rounds I would chant it in my head to start focusing, much the same way Brian Kibler does with his “song of the tournament.” I would do this while shuffling for game one. I would do this while side boarding. Even after the match was over, be it me or my opponent turning in the game slip, I would go right back to “one game at a time”. This helped me to push out thinking about how many more rounds I would have to win to draw into the Top 8. It would help me to overcome tilt when my opponent runner-runners me. More importantly, it would help me keep a fresh mind when making it to the Top 8. When you are so focused on getting there and how many rounds you have to win, once you make it to the Top 8, your mind just relaxes and you aren’t playing at the same level as before. Read the rest of this entry

The Commander’s Chair – Hmm, Upgrades

By now, the new Commander decks should be available to everyone. I hope everyone reading this is able to pick up at least one of the decks. After you are done playing with these decks against each other in their natural state, you will want to make some improvements, so that you can start playing against regular Commander decks.

Tweaking a Commander deck is an ongoing process for every Commander player. There is not a “best deck” available like you get with competitive formats. For most Commanders there is not even a best build for their deck. Today I will be going over the basic method for upgrading your Commander deck using the preconstructed deck Mirror Mastery as an example. Read the rest of this entry

The Commander’s Chair – Why Everyone Should be Playing Commander

I have heard a slightly disturbing rumor; there are people out who walk among us who play Magic the Gathering, but they do not play Commander. As hard as it may be too believe, I still hear people saying they do not play and that they do not have any interest in playing. In general, these people are “competitive only” players who treat Commander and any casual format as a waste of time.

Today, I am here to tell you that while Commander is a casual format, Commander is not just for casual players. Everyone who plays magic on any level should find a way to get in a few Commander matches every now and then. Hopefully after reading this article, you can start playing yourself, or convince some of your spikier friends to start playing. Read the rest of this entry

The Commander’s Chair – The Age of Legends

The full commander spoilers have been released. I do not think I have ever been more excited for a release. We have 51 all new Magic cards. More importantly, we have 15 all new multi-colored legends to add to the list of possible commanders. Today, I will be going over each of the new multi-colored commanders and what archetypes they could accommodate.

Read the rest of this entry

Modern Legacy: A Fish Out of Its Pond

There is a deck in Legacy, which has every one of its creatures and most of its lands within the Modern cardpool, really  losing only 12 cards when we take it out of the Legacy pool. That deck is Merfolk, a favorite of many Legacy players, possibly one of the most common Legacy decks there is. The deck’s strength lies in its synergy within its creatures, along with the massive tempo gains afforded by Force of Will, Daze, and Mental Misstep. Could such a deck exist in Modern? We’ll follow along in my efforts to build and strengthen a Modern Merfolk deck.

Read the rest of this entry

The Commander’s Chair – Magical Mushrooms

Last week on twitter, I asked which tribe people would like to see as an example tribal deck. The twitter community answered back with a wide variety of suggestions. These suggestions ranged from the commonly known elves and goblins to the more obscure tribes such a Homarid and Unicorns. The tribe that got more than 5 times the votes of any other – Fungus.

Tribal decks are unusual, in that they are not completely an archetype on their own. Tribal decks work by choosing a tribe, and then working with the natural archetype that goes along with that tribe. For example, Azami decks are wizard tribal decks. Most people do not think of them as tribal, since they play like either tradition control or speed combo decks. Still, they play almost exclusively within the wizard creature type.

Read the rest of this entry