Sunday, September 25, 2016

What does Kaladesh mean for Pauper?

This time, right before the release of another big set, the Interwebs fill up with articles that speak about interesting cards for Pauper, the all-common format, mainly played on Magic Online.

I am here to disappoint you.

Pauper contains commons going all the way back to Magic's creation. That means that a new set of 264 cards is going to make a minimal impact. Still, we sometimes get a gem or two (such as Thermo-Alchemist in Eldritch Moon). Remember - to put some card in your deck from Kaladesh, you have to take out a card that is probably pre-NWO and amazing.

Here are the cards I think have a real possibility of finding a spot in a tier 1-3  deck in Pauper. They are listed in order with the likeliest card at the top.

Gearseeker Serpent: A 5/6 for UU could see play in Affinity. Quicksilver Behemoth has seen play and is just a 4/5 at a similar mana cost. However, two blue colored mana could be too steep. Being 5/6 is so good, though, being able to block Gurmag Angler is worth a lot.

Fragmentize: The ability to disenchant something for 1 mana can not be ignored. This will see sideboard play.

Dramatic Reversal: This has no home in an existing deck but the effect is so powerful that maybe, just maybe, something could be built around this.

Cathartic Reunion: Tormenting Voice saw fringe play in tier 3 decks. This card is clearly more powerful some of the time and it just reeks of combo potential. It will probably just not be as good as the blue alternatives.

Reckless Fireweaver: Its base stats are very weak at 1/3 for R1 but the effect is very powerful. It don't see it finding a spot in Affinity (what do you cut?) but there are some rogue decks that could benefit from this.

Take Down: Stompy and other green decks could use a card like this. The ability to take down a Spire Golem for 1 mana is nothing to sneeze at. However, I believe Scattershot Archer will remain the better choice.

Salivating Gremlins: This card is not good but we know that people will try to break it. It will appear in brews.

Larger than Life: Infect might just want this. Trample is sweet and similar cards have seen play.

Self-Assembler: Getting four 4/4s will be useful for some decks, especially decks that don't have access to green for Auroch's Herd

Dhund Operative: I have seen Suicide Black lists sporting 4 Vault of Whispers and 4 Bonded Constructs in a desperate attempt to make this playable. There might be a better way so I figured the card deserved a mention at least.

I have not mentioned reprints (I am looking at you, Prophetic Prism) that are already established in the format.

This list can become very different if the next set contains any playable Pauper cards that use Energy. If that is the case we have to reconsider cards such as the Puzzleknots but for now they are all useless to us.

How to draft Kaladesh?

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 rather appear in your deck.

1st pick:
artifact: Skysovereign, Consul Flagship.
white: Aetherstorm Roc, Angel of Invention.
blue: Confiscation Coup.
red: Chandra, Torch of Defiance.
black: Demon of Dark Schemes, Noxious Gearhulk.
green: Nissa, Vital Force, Verdurous Gearhulk.

2nd pick:
artifact: Multiform Wonder, Smuggler's Copter.
white: Cataclysmic Gearhulk, Fumigate, Skywhaler’s Shot.
blue: Saheeli's Artistry, Torrential Gearhulk.
red: Combustible Gearhulk, Skyship Stalker.
black: Marionette Master.
green: Bristling Hydra, Cultivator of Blades.
multi: Cloudblazer, Depala, Pilot Exemplar, Dovin Baan, Rashmi, Eternities Crafter, Unlicensed Disintegration, Voltaic Brawler.

3rd pick:
artifact: Ballista Charger, Bomat Bazaar Barge, Chief of the Foundry, Cultivator's Caravan, Filigree Familiar, Fleetwheel Cruiser, Foundry Inspector, Iron League Steed, Key to the City, Metalwork Colossus, Narnam Cobra, Renegade Freighter, Scrapheap Scrounger, Sky Skiff, Snare Thopter.
white: Aerial Responder, Aviary Mechanic, Captured by the Consulate, Consul’s Shieldguard, Fairgrounds Warden, Fragmentize, Gearshift Ace, Glint-Sleeve Artisan, Impeccable Timing, Master Trinketeer, Propellor Pioneer, Revoke Privileges, Skyswirl Harrier, Thriving Ibex, Visionary Augmenter, Wispweaver Angel.
blue: Aether Meltdown, Aether Theorist, Aethersquall Ancient, Experimental Aviator, Gearseeker Serpent, Glimmer of Genius, Glint-Nest Crane, Insidious Will, Janjeet Sentry, Long-Finned Skywhale, Malfunction, Nimble Innovator; Padeem, Consul of Innovation, Shrewd Negotiation, Wind Drake.
red: Aethertorch Renegade, Brazen Scourge, Chandra’s Pyrohelix, Fateful Showdown, Furious Reprisal, Harnessed Lightning, Lathnu Hellion, Maulfist Doorbuster, Pia Nalaar, Spontaneous Artist, Thriving Grubs, Welding Sparks.
black: Aetherborn Marauder, Ambitious Aetherborn, Dhund Operative, Die Young, Eliminate the Competition, Essence Extraction, Gonti, Lord of Luxury, Lawless Broker, Live Fast, Make Obsolete, Maulfist Squad, Ovalchase Daredevil, Prakhata Club Security, Subtle Strike, Syndicate Trafficker, Thriving Rats, Tidy Conclusion.
green: Arborback Stomper, Architect of the Untamed, Armorcraft Judge, Elegant Edgecrafters, Hunt the Weak, Kujar Seedsculptor, Longtusk Cub, Nature’s Way, Peema Outrider, Riparian Tiger, Servant of the Conduit, Thriving Rhino.
multi: Contraband Kingpin, Empyreal Voyager, Kambal, Consul of Allocation, Restoration Gearsmith, Veteran Motorist, Whirler Virtuoso.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Mtgo hotfix for broken binder

*UPDATE*  The binder problem seems to be fixed.

WotC just deployed a hotfix to the active trade binder problem. You need to restart your MTGO and the binders should be working fine as usual.

Our team is now doing tests, we'll keep you informed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Kaladesh limited first impressions

One of my favorit sets to draft (and play Sealed) was Mirrodin. The fact that there were so many artifacts meant there was so much good stuff for every deck. It felt like christmas in every draft. I was on hiatus during Scars of Mirrodin which means that I have been waiting a long time for Kaladesh limited. The fact that draft is now played in league form makes it even more interesting.

Magic Online prereleases being on October 7th. I quit limited early during BFZ. I think this might be the time to get back in.

What to expect of the format
The commons look very strong. Black has a 3/2 deathtouch creature at common! I think we can expect a faster than average format. It will not be Magic Origins or Zendikar fast though.
Because the commons and uncommons look strong I think we can expect a pauper format, i.e. it will a format not dominated by bomb rares. 
A lot of cards generate bonuses for artifacts. Artifacts will be better than usual
Play 17 lands. As there are some sinks, I would tend to go 18 more than 16.
2/2s for 2 are probably not good enough even though the format is fast. 

New mechanics and how they will affect the format
Energy - this mechanic is hard to evaluate at this early stage. Will probably help finish games if they go late. It looks like a deep mechanic with lots of play to it. 
Fabricate - full of options. Will make the format more interesting. I will tend to evaluate cards with Fabricate a little higher. 
Vehicles - they look so bad but I expect them to be better than expected and matter. I will be scared of including too many in my deck. Imagine having a vehicle out with no creatures. That is basically the same as taking a mulligan.

Here is an overview of the new mechanics in Kaladesh:

Fix your trade binder after the Mtgo Update

We found a way to fix the trade binders after the Mtgo update.

This is a bug preventing everyone (including 'humans') from adding / removing cards to the active trade binder. The binder is basically broken. There is nothing you can do to fix, you have to trash it and create a new one. Below the exact procedure

1) you need to create a new binder, empty 
2) you need to make it active 
3) you need to erase the old trade binder 
4) restart mtgo, let the bot go and handle the client as usual

Bugs in MTGO 93.633

The latest version of MTGO, released by WotC few hours ago, is heavily bugged. We had to rewrite parts of the bot to bypass these bugs and we will be publishing a bot update in few hours. 

There could be some errors on your MTGO that do not depend on ML Bot. The most common are:
  • a constant "Loading Magic Online" alert message. If you have so, your account is unable to trade. You need to move MTGO to another pc and / or clone your virtual machine from a working one

  • impossibility to make your cards tradable. This happens on some accounts, and it is not related to the "Loading Magic Online". Not even manually you can make cards tradable

Beside that, the rest of the bot and mtgo is working.

Monday, September 19, 2016

How to build a Modern deck cheaply?

While it is not really possible to buy a Modern deck cheaply without a lot of patience, there is certainly a way to spend your money effectively and efficiently to avoid the prohibitive costs of some Modern decks. Here are some basic tips to follow as you are picking up staples for a new deck. Keep in mind that these strategies are predicated on patience. If you absolutely must play a new deck tomorrow, you will not find this information beneficial.

Before even starting to make the investment proxy your deck first. Find a deck you enjoy and want to build. It seems pretty obvious but I know so many players without a clear plan of what they even want to play. Maybe you own a few Arcbound Ravagers and want to play Affinity but also own some Noble Hierarchs and wouldn’t mind playing a green deck. Later you have a lot of money in cards and no deck.

Buy the cheap cards first 
Modern cards don’t usually get cheaper over time. Without any reprints, a card can quickly gain on value over the course of time. Take a Modern Masters set as example. When the full spoiler was revealed, the cards that were not included in the set skyrocketed. Cheap card were not cheap cards anymore. Even the commons are destined for rising prices.

Buy the most expenisve cards later
Many players start building a deck from the most expensive cards, assuming the rest should fall into place more easily. Indeed, it is true, but only if you manage to get full deck quickly, but if you know that it will take you months to complete a deck it is rather a bad decision, becasue these cards are on WotC's radar and the probability of reprint is higher. Product announcements are every six months

Buy recent reprints
If you acquire recent reprints with right timing you cannot loose money on this investment. If you are thinking of Modern in longterm it is usually a good decision to buy a playset of recent reprints, because sooner or later you will need these cards and they are much cheaper now due to high supply. Tip: Heritage Druid, Inquistion of Kozilek should be on your radar now.