Sunday, January 15, 2017

Bombardment Tokens in Pauper

Going wide is quite popular in Pauper currently but sometimes you stall. What if we had something that could do damage in that situation? What if we used Raid Bombardment?

For the upcoming four weeks I will be playing this deck on the youtube channel MagicGatheringStrat:

Main Deck
4 Ash Barrens
4 Battle Screech
2 Boros Garrison
1 Cenn's Enlistment
4 Journey to Nowhere
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Mogg War Marshal
3 Mountain
11 Plains
3 Raid Bombardment
3 Rally the Peasants
1 Secluded Steppe
4 Soul Warden
4 Soul's Attendant
4 Squadron Hawk
1 Veteran Armorer
3 Wind-Scarred Crag

1 Dust to Dust
2 Electrickery
2 Lumithread Field
2 Prismatic Strands
4 Pyroblast
2 Relic of Progenitus
2 Sundering Growth

This will be an exercise for all of so the deck list is not written in stone but subject to change every week.

Here are some notes from the deck's creator, cannonspectacle:

Well, one thing I've done is, if Enlistment is still in the deck, I like making land drops until I hit 8 mana, so I can potentially double Enlistment. Otherwise the deck only needs about 6 mana, to cast and flashback Rally the Peasants
And I've found that Raid Bombardment is probably the best card in the deck. It's like a War Horn, except it's also a way to deal lethal even on a clogged board.
I've found that making red more than just a splash adds a lot of power to the deck.

As for sideboarding, if it looks like my opponent has Shrivel or Electrickery, I bring in the Lumithread Fields, since this version is even more vulnerable to sweepers than the traditional build of Tokens.

Depending on the matchup, I trim spot removal (ie Journeys) against creature-light decks, late-game cards (ie one Enlistment and one Rally/Bombardment) against aggro, and a couple Soul Sisters when my life total doesn't matter.

Evincar's Justice is pretty much game over. Creatureless control decks are hard to win, although having access to Lightning Bolt helps. Elves can be tough unless you keep their board clear and kill them fast, since Wellwisher gains more life than the Soul Sisters. Any other go-wide strategy is pretty easy, especially with Raid Bombardment to deal unblockable damage.
Massive Raid might be a card to consider.

I will report back here when the four week journey with the deck is done. It begins tomorrow on

Saturday, January 14, 2017

How to draft Aether Revolt?

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 "1st pick" card pool look for cards in "3rd pick". Cards not mentioned below shouldn't rather appear in your deck.

1st pick
Black: Gifted Aetherborn, Herald of Anguish, Yahenni’s Expertise
Red: Freejam Regent, Release the Gremlins, Quicksmith Rebel
White: Exquisite Archangel, Sram’s Expertise
Blue: Quicksmith Spy
Green: Aetherwind Basker, Lifecrafter’s Bestiary, Ridgescale Tusker, Rishkar, Peema Renegade
Arifact: Aethersphere Harvester, Walking Ballista

2nd pick:
Black: Aether Poisoner, Battle at the Bridge, Cruel Finality, Daring Demolition, Fatal Push, Foundry Hornet, Glint-Sleeve Siphoner, Midnight Entourage, Perilous Predicament, Vengeful Rebel, Yahenni, Undying Partisan
Red: Aether Chaser, Chandra’s Revolution, Enraged Giant, Gremlin Infestation, Hungry Flames, Kari Zev, Skyship Raider, Lightning Runner, Reckless Racer, Scrapper Champion, Shock, Sweatworks Brawler.
White: Aeronaut Admiral, Aethergeode Miner, Airdrop Aeronauts, Alley Evasion, Caught in the Brights, Consulate Crackdown, Countless Gears Renegade, Dawnfeather Eagle, Deadeye Harpooner, Felidar Guardian, Restoration Specialist, Solemn Recruit, Sram, Senior Edificer, Thopter Arrest
Blue: Baral’s Expertise, Bastion Inventor, Dispersal Technician, Hinterland Drake, Illusionist’s Stratagem, Leave in the Dust, Merchant’s Dockhand, Reverse Engineer, Shielded Aether Thief, Skyship Plunderer, Trophy Mage, Wind-Kin Raiders
Green: Aether Herder, Aetherstream Leopard, Druid of the Cowl, Greenbelt Rampager, Greenwheel Liberator, Lifecraft Cavalry, Maulfist Revolutionary, Monstrous Onslaught, Narnam Renegade, Prey Upon, Rishkar’s Expertise
Multi: Ajani Unyielding, Maverick Thopterist, Oath of Ajani, Outland Boar, Renegade Wheelsmith, Rogue Refiner, Spire Patrol, Tezzeret the Schemer, Tezzeret’s Touch, Weldfast Engineer, Winding Constrictor
Arifact: Barricade Breaker, Daredevil Dragster, Metallic Mimic, Scrap Trawler, Treasure Keeper, Untethered Express,

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Gitaxian Probe and Golgari Grave-Troll are banned in Modern

Dredge had really gotten a boost from Cathartic Reunion and Prized Amalgam which means that Golgari Grave-Troll goes back on the banned list once again. It was fun to see the troll in play for a while but I can only agree with this decision.

Gitaxian Probe enabled too many strange things in the format and I think it is time to see it go away. Phyrexian mana is utterly broken and this card proved the point.

Standard had also gone a bit crazy and we see some Standard bannings, something that is not very common.

Three cards were banned in Standard:

Emrakul, the Promised End
Smuggler's Copter (finally)
Reflector Mage

Pauper was untouched, which I agree with.

Full announcement here:

What is your opinion on the bannings?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Aether Revolt: mechanics

Prerelease of Aether Revolt in starts on January, 14 (paper Magic). Energy counters and Crew are the returning mechanics. Additionally, we will get two totally new:

  • Improvise - a keyword ability that enables you to pay generic mana cost with the help of your artifacts. Each artifact you tap after you're done activating mana abilities pays for one generic mana. In other words, your spell will be cheaper if you tap artifact(s) while casting the spell. Improvise won't ever cover the colored mana portion of a mana cost.
    Tip: you can tap artifact creatures even if they have summoning sickness. 
  • Revolt - an ability word that checks if any permanent you controlled left the battlefield this turn. It doesn't matter where that permanent went. A creature died or got exiled? Revolt. Your pernament was bounced? Revolt!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Flashback Favorites and Standard Gauntlet

The 2016 year was a year of Modern flashback drafts, wheras 2017 will be a year of Flashback Favorites and throwback Standard Gauntlets.

Flashback Favorites are a selection of the most popular draft formats from Magic Online's history, from both before Modern and after. It will not be a phantom events, so you will keep all cards you open.

Standard Gauntlet Series, as the name suggets, are gauntlet meaning you'll be given a random deck from a set of selected lists. Then you will run a 3-match (regardless of record) league, which have the same entry and prize structure as leagues for Cube Drafts and other phantom events. The decklists for each gauntlet will be published on Magic Online's website before the event is run. Standard Gauntlet events will be running for one week each and will be proceeded chronologically forward through Magic's history, all the way back to the 1990s.

Schedule of events for 3 months:
January 4–January 11: Flashback Favorites (Zendikar/Zendikar/Zendikar)
January 11–January 25: Legacy Cube
January 25–February 22: Break for Aether Revolt
February 22–March 1: Throwback Standard Gauntlet #1
March 1–March 8: Flashback Favorites (Invasion–Planeshift–Apocalypse)
March 8–March 22: Cube Draft
March 22–April 12: Flashback Favorites (Modern Masters: 2017 Edition)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

If you want to get good at MTG you have to set SMART goals for yourself

If you want to improve at Magic the Gathering, you have to set clear goals for yourself. If you want to become the best local player at your FNM or want to win the Pro Tour does not matter but with a clear goal you can more easily see what steps you need to take to achieve it.

A smart person once made the SMART rule for goals. That works for business people. It works for MTG players as well.

A useful goal should be SMART!

S: Significant. Your goal should be significant. It should mean something to you. Achieving this goal should be a milestone in your Magic career. It can be a small milestone but it still has to be significant to YOU.

M: Measurable. Your goal should be measurable. "Get better at Mulliganing" is not a SMART goal. "Mulligan 10% less hands" is better. Measurable goals should not focus too hard on win rates as your win rate suffers from variance - you are still drawing cards from a deck and looking to much at your win rate will make you too results-oriented, a classic downfall for players of any card game (or all random games).

A: Attainable. Set realistic goals that you can reach within a meaninful period of time. "Being in the hall of fame" is a nice goal but it will not lead you on the path you need to take to master your local FNM metagame.

R: Relevant. Make sure your goal is really something you want to achieve. Consider the costs. Making the Hall of Fame will require sacrifice along the way. Are you prepared to make that sacrifice? How will this goal help you achieve your longterm goals?

T: Trackable. The goal must have a set time when you should have achieved it. "Play ten FNMs" is a worse goal than "Play ten FNMs before January 2018"

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Always ask yourself what you could do better in Magic

One enormous mistake most Magic players make is to try to justify their plays and try to prove that they are good enough players.

Magic is a very complicated game. When I was playing in my 2nd World Championship I was fairly convinced that the game was solved. I attributed my 8-10 record to bad luck, bad matchups etc. Shortly thereafter I fell off the pro tour circuit. I could not have been more wrong. Magic has proved again and again that it is one of the most complicated games around. It is far from solved.

Always ask yourself what you could have done better in a game of magic. Review your games. Look for your mistakes. Look for your tendencies. Know your mental shortcuts and do not be afraid to reconsider them.

The question you should always be asking yourself i s "How can I improve my game". Never ask "Why did this happen to me?" If there is anything in common among Magic pros that are constantly successful it is their neverending quest to question what they know of the game, listen to other good players and improve, improve, improve.