Sunday, February 18, 2018

Jace, the Mind Scultptor unban

Modern format has very diversified meta. To support my claim you should know, that Pro Tour, which took place two weeks ago, had 64 different archetypes! There is no deck, which is clearly better than others and it has siginificant percentage of the meta. In spite of that Wizards decided to unban Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Bloodbraid Elf. Here is summary of what is motivating the change:

  • Modern's return to the Pro Tour, shining a spotlight on the format, makes this a great time to revisit past decisions and see if they still make sense in the current era. 
  • The data we gathered both from the Pro Tour itself and from the several weeks of Magic Online play as pro players tested for the event have helped us cross-check our decisions against what's doing well in the real world. 
  • Compared to other B&R windows, this one has the maximum amount of time before another Modern Pro Tour. This will allow the format to breathe and evolve without immediately undergoing the pressures of the world's top competition. 
  • The reprint of Jace in Masters 25 will provide greater availability for our player base.

Over time, competitive Modern has evolved to be a format of fast, proactive threats. The bar for tapping four lands during one's main phase to cast a single spell is quite high, often restricted to cards that threaten to win the game immediately. In my opinion it is good decision, which will not ruin the format. Do you remember what Bitterblossom and Ancestral Visions unbannings did to the format? Literally nothing.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Game loss / warning

Four most common mistakes resulting in game loss / warning and how to avoid them:

1. Deck error.
This is when there is a discrepancy between the deck you present to your opponent and the deck you registered. Commonly, this will be due to a missing or additional card. For example, when you forget to de-sideboard after the previous round or when you "stole" or "lost" a card by for instance Oblivion Ring effect cards. To prevent this fix your deck right after the match, don't wait and don’t let anything or anyone distract you

2. Deck registeration error
It happens when you make a mistake with your deck list. It also applies to mistakes made during registering sealed pools. For sealed pools, I find it very useful to sort the cards into colours, then register the pool. I'm using Roman numerals, instead of Arabic numerals. "I" is better than "1", beacuse you can easilly "I" turn into "II" by just adding "I". Changing "1" into "2" is not so simple.
After all, count the number of cards in each color and check if it is correct.

3. Tardiness
This is where you don’t turn up on time for your round. If a player is not in his or her seat 10 minutes into the round, he or she is issued a second game loss. The most popular reasons include smoking, going for food or to the toilet. If you are a smoker, go for a smoke in the same place the other smokers do, because you will see them going back and not lose track of time. For food the best thing to do is simply bring some food with you to the tournament. If you need the toilet for longer amount of time tell it a judge and you will unlikely get a game loss. Instead, you may get a time extension.

4. Missed triggers
If you are on five life and you miss the trigger on your Dark Confidant you are likely to get a warning. For this reason many players will put a die on their library so that they don’t just draw a card and forget a card that triggers in their upkeep. But still you must remember to put the die back.
Other solution may be to learn a habit to scan left to right with your eyes for the triggers.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Arena's Economy

So far, Wizards have stated that there will be no trading in MTG Arena. Now, Wizards are revealing how Magic the Gathering Arena economy will work. It is still a beta, so it may change in details throughout testing, but the general concept should stay the same.

So, how could we get cards if the trading is disabled?

  • in eight-card booster packs (5 commons, 2 uncommons, and 1 rare or mythic rare)
  • draft packs (14 cards, land has been removed)
  • individual card rewards: a system where where for every match win, players will receive one card in MTG Arena, up to 30 per day.
  • Vault. When you would collect a fifth copy (or more) of a card, you earn vault progress instead of adding that card to your collection. Once you have earned enough vault progress, you can open the vault and get something of value. At present, opening the vault gives you eight wildcards: 4 common, 2 uncommon, 1 rare and one mythic
  • Wildcards are special cards that have a chance to appear in the place of each card at any rarity in every booster you open. You can redeem a Wildcard one-to-one for a card at that same rarity. For instance, a rare wildcard can become any available rare.

There will be two in-game currencies:

  • Gold: This currency is earned in MTG Arena by winning games, completing quests and wins in events. 
  • Gems: These can only be purchased for real money from the in-game store. So, if you want to speed up gameplay and bypass dull collecting gold you buy gems. Recently, it is very popular business model of game companies.
It looks promising.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Masters sets

In the beginning, we had Modern Masters. The idea behind Masters was to reprint some Modern  format iconic staples, which would not appear in any Standard set. Over time, we had three Modern Masters and Wizards realized,  that they have to be very careful about how quickly they reprint cards, because otherwise doing more Modern Masters becomes hard. We, players, must admit that Masters sets are well-developed and give a lot of fun to draft. It was one of the factors why Modern Masters sets and Eternal Masters were financial successes.

Senior Magic Designer Gavin Verhey revealed last week that future Masters sets will be based around specific themes rather than formats. Limiting Masters sets to only reprinting cards from a single format was unnecessarily constraining Wizards ability to reprint cards. Modern, Legacy, and Vintage players all need reprints, and switching to thematic Masters sets will allow Wizards to reprint a much broader range of cards every year.

Iconic Masters was the first of these. Masters 25, coming out in March, is the next thematic set. We will be celebrating the Magic's 25th anniversary. A set with cards from magic's entire history.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Standard after bans

Ramunap Red and Energy decks dominated Standard format. Temur was considered as the best deck, while Ramunap Red as a second, so for a big tournament there was very little room for brewing. No diversity and Wizards took action. Banning two of the most important cards in the blue-green-based energy decks Rogue Refiner and Attune with Aether completely killed Temur and Sultai Energy. It led to ban of Ramunap Ruins and Rampaging Ferocidon. Otherwise, red deck would overwhelm the metagame. There were other cards that could have been banned, but Wizards choice is reasonable. Ramunap Ruins was a fuel to late games, while Rampaging Ferocidon was good card against Temur Energy deck. If Energy is gone, Rampaging Ferocidon is safe ban too. It doesn't hurt other decks much and it weakens old reck deck. Wizards may be also anticipating Rampaging Ferocidon being very powerful against decks that will emerge after the dust settles from the banning, such as tokens or vampire decks.

The question is what decks will be tier1 now. Standard is once again wide open, there is no clear answer. Well-known decks such as White-Blue Approach, and White-Blue Cycling can shine now. But, we need to wait for big tournament to see the true winners of latest bans. Will it be Mardu Vehicles, some kind of control, Black-Red with Chandra and Hazoret, Vampires? Who knows maybe Black-Green Constricor comeback?

Sunday, January 14, 2018

How to draft Rivals of Ixalan?

I'm going to present you the list of cards, starting from the best pick during the draft and ending on the least desirable card. For instance, if you don't have any card from "2nd pick" card pool you look for cards in "3rd pick". Cards not mentioned below shouldn't appear in your deck. Notwithstanding, cards like vanilla creature 2/2 for 2 mana are as well essential in your deck in order to be able to stop early threats of your opponent.

1st pick:
whiteBishop of Binding, Trapjaw Tyrant
blue: -
blackRavenous Chupacabra, Tetzimoc, Primal Death
redRekindling Phoenix, 
green: -
coloress: -
multi: -

2nd pick:
white: -
blue: -
blackChampion of Dusk, Dire Fleet Poisoner, 
redEtali, Primal Storm, 
greenGhalta, Primal Hunger, Tendershoot Dryad,
coloressThe Immortal Sun
multiAzor, the Lawbringer, Elenda, the Dusk Rose, Profane Procession

3rd pick:
whiteBaffling End, Everdawn Champion, Exultant Skymarcher, Famished Paladin, Forerunner of the Legion, Imperial Ceratops, Legion Conquistador, Luminous Bonds, Martyr of Dusk, Paladin of Atonement, Radiant Destiny, Raptor Companion, Skymarcher Aspirant, Slaughter the Strong, Temple Altisaur, Zetalpa, Primal Dawn
blueCrashing Tide, Curious Obsession, Deadeye Rig-Hauler, Kitesail Corsair, Nezahal, Primal Tide, Riverwise Augur, Seafloor Oracle, Silvergill Adept, Siren Reaver, Warkite Marauder, Waterknot.
blackDusk Legion Zealot, Fathom Fleet Boarder, Forerunner of the Coalition, Golden Demise, Impale, Moment of Craving, Oathsworn Vampire, Reaver Ambush, Sadistic Skymarcher, Tomb Robber, Twilight Prophet, Voracious Vampire.
redBombard, Dire Fleet Daredevil, Fanatical Firebrand, Forerunner of the Empire, Form of the Dinosaur, Goblin Trailblazer, Mutiny, Needletooth Raptor, Swaggering Corsair, 
greenCacophodon, Crested Herdcaller, Deeproot Elite, Forerunner of the Heralds, Hardy Veteran, Hunt the Weak, Jadelight Ranger, Jungleborn Pioneer, Path of Discovery, Swift Warden, Thrashing Brontodon, 
coloressCaptain’s Hook, Traveler’s Amulet
multiAngrath, the Flame-Chained, Atzocan Seer, Deadeye Brawler, Dire Fleet Neckbreaker, Huatli, Radiant Champion, Jungle Creeper, Kumena, Tyrant of Orozca, Legion Lieutenant, Merfolk Mistbinder, Protean Raider, Raging Regisaur, Relentless Raptor, Storm Fleet Sprinter, Hadana’s Climb.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Rivals of Ixalan: mechanics

Prerelease of Rivals of Ixalan starts on January, 13. This time there are few returning mechanics, such as: enrage, explore, raid, transform and double-faced cards. We will get only one totally new mechanic:

  • Ascend - if you control ten or more permanents, you get the city's blessing for the rest of the game. The city's blessing isn't a permanent or emblem, and nothing can destroy it or otherwise interact with it. When you have the city's blessing, you gain a significant advantage depending on the spell you played. Both permanents and spells can have ascend. If a spell has ascend, you get the city's blessing as part of the spell's resolution if you control ten or more permanents. If a permanent has ascend, you get the city's blessing immediately once you control ten or more permanents: this is a special action that doesn't use the stack and cannot be responded to. Ascend always looks at the current game state, not the past, and all the time checks how many pernaments you have.