Sunday, October 23, 2016

Reverting Standard rotation

This week Wizards announced that the twice yearly rotation is making it too difficult for new players to get into the format. Hence, Standard is reverting from the once a year rotation, which was introduced almost two years ago and was suppoused to come live soon, back to the two year rotation. 

We tried something that we thought would be overall better for the environment, but we have come to realize it isn't, based on player feedback. We heard you, and we're willing to change back to the way it was, and back to the way that gave players the most positive experience.

Wizards have studied the data and found that players feel that the faster rotation made Standard less appealing and players don’t like the change. Wizards realized that they had made a mistake, but they fixed it.

Playing Mentor in Vintage for the first time

As a bot owner I have been picking up VMA cards since 2014 and seen them fall steadily for two years. So why not put them to use? Time to get into Vintage.

I have tried Workshop before but after the most recent banning the deck changed completely, turning it once again expensive to get into.

This is the deck I choose to test instead:

Main deck
2 Snapcaster Mage
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Brainstorm
3 Cabal Therapy
4 Gitaxian Probe
3 Preordain
1 Repeal
1 Demonic Tutor
2 Mana Drain
1 Time Walk
4 Force of Will
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
4 Flooded Strand
2 Island
1 Library of Alexandria
4 Polluted Delta
2 Tundra
2 Underground Sea
1 Treasure Cruise
3 Mental Misstep
1 Yawgmoth's Will
1 Mox Sapphire
2 Swords to Plowshares
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
3 Gush
4 Monastery Mentor
1 Dig Through Time

1 Plains
2 Nihil Spellbomb
2 Disenchant
2 Ravenous Trap
1 Vendilion Clique
4 Meddling Mage
2 Swords to Plowshares
1 Notion Thief

Having no idea what I was doing at all I just went to the TP room on MTGO and tried it out. It seemed impossible to find a match in any other room.

I expected to get a real good beating.

I imagined that I would be crushed instantly but that did not happen. In fact, it turned out I was playing way too slowly and I was in danger of losing to the clock (something that rarely happens in Modern but does happen in Pauper sometimes). I also did not expect that the format would be so complicated. I loved every second of it.

Now, if I just could find a primer on this deck and even a sideboard plan, I would be thrilled. If you know of any, give me the links please. Mtgsalvation, my usual source for such material, definitely did not deliver.

There is a free Vintage tournament with real prizes at every Sunday. Check out more here:

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Enchantress in Modern

I was looking for a fun, new, casual Modern deck. I looked around on mtgsalvation and found this thread:

I am way to used to the tier 1 threads with excellent primers so I was quite disappointed that the first post was not updated but there was some gold on the later pages.

Then I came upon Saffron Olive excellent budget article:

It convinced me that the deck was indeed worthy of some play.

This was my first attempt at winning against a "real" deck.

Strengthened by this experience and some comments, I came up with this list.

Main deck
8 Forest
4 Plains
4 Temple Garden
4 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills

1 Greater Auramancy
2 Journey to Nowhere
1 Luminarch Ascension
1 Nyx-Fleece Ram
4 Ghostly Prison
4 Oblivion Ring
1 Story Circle
2 Sphere of Safetly
1 Sigil of the Empty Throne
4 Utopia Sprawl
2 Fertile Ground

4 Arbor Elf
4 Courser of Kruphix
4 Eidolon of Blossoms
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

3 Nyx-Fleece Ram
3 Rule of Law
3 Nevermore
3 Story Circle
1 Sphere of Safety
1 Open the Vaults
1 Seal of Primordium

That's 31 enchantments. I should be able to draw some cards.

Emrakul might look odd but it gives me inevitability plus prevents me from decking myself.

The only budget choice I made was to not go buy Leyline of Sanctity which has an obvious spot in the deck. The budget version of Leyline is Ivory Mask.

Stay tuned for an update and you will learn how I did with the deck.

If you have any suggestions for the list, please let me know

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Redemption changes

The ability to redeem digital sets for physical ones has long been one of the pillars of the Magic Online economy. When the program was first launched in the early 2000s it was designed to make players feel more comfortable with investing into digital cards by providing an escape hatch to the world of paper Magic.

Starting with Kaladesh, the redemption period of a set will begin roughly 30 days after the set's release, up until the start of redemption for the next block set (Amonkhet in this case). Wizards provided this handy graphic to demonstrate the new timeline:

This period is significantly shorter than the old timeline, which guaranteed redemption for the Standard lifetime of each set, with a cut-off date of about one year after rotation. This means the redemption period will be reduced from approximately 2.5 years down to 6 months and small sets like Aether Revolt will barely receive a redemption period of three months

The fun fact is Battle for Zendikar is redeemable for 5 months after Kaladesh is no longer redeemable, and Shadows over Innistrad is redeemable nearly a year after Kaladesh goes off. Shadows over Innistrad will be redeemable for a few months after Amonkhet.

Will people rush to redeem sets and as a result Standard singles will reach new heights?

One is more than certain, once the redemption window closes on the Kaladesh block next spring, prices on Kaladesh cards not seeing very strong Standard play will crash hard.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

My Kaladesh prerelase experience

I played the Kaladesh prerelease. Overall I was very impressed by the format. It seemed like tons of fun. I was poorly prepared and it felt almost like back in the day when I had to read all of the cards.

The new league structure is fantastic. No longer did I need to book six consecutive hours to my wife's despair - no, now I could just play the matches at my convenience. Very neat.

This is the pool I was presented with and the deck building decisions I made. What deck would you have built?

Red Green was very strong. In all the matches I played except the last one, a RG deck won the match. Sadly, however, that deck was not always one.

The first match clearly showed me the power of my deck as I crushed my opponent with RG violence.

In the second match I once again applied brute force and beat my UG Energy opponent to a pulp.

So much violence!

After that it did not go too well. You can see the rest of the matches in the playlist provided below:

Monday, October 10, 2016

Kaladash: impact on Modern format

The most interesting cards from Kaladash that may find home in Modern format:

Fastlands: enemy-color lands are always welcomed in any multicolor deck.

Inventor’s Fair: it suits very well to Lantern Control deck. A tutor for whatever you are missing and a constant lifegain, which gives you more time to set a lock. This card would be totally nuts if it wasn't legendary.

Toolcraft Exemplar: a one-mana three-power creature with first strike may be tested in Affinity deck. It isn't vulnerable to Stony Silence. The only drawback is early white mana. On the other hand, we have Springleaf Drum and Glimmervoid so playing it on turn one might be more common than it seems. While going white, we may include Dispatch mainboard, which is another powerful spell.

Smuggler’s Copter: crew a Memmnite into evasive attacker. The looting ability is significant in a deck that doesn’t require many mana sources and runs out of fuel very shortly.

Voltaic Brawler: a two-mana creature that attacks for four trample damage twice seems to fit to Zoo decks. While these have largely gone out of favor because of Death's Shadow, Voltaic Brawler is another tool for those decks.

Chandra, Torch of Defiance: I have doubts that Chandra will see Modern play, but though four-mana planeswalkers have a way of making their way in, e.g Nahiri, the Harbinger. Chandra seems like a solid four-mana spell for a Primeval Titan deck. It eneables you even a turn four Titan. Not to mention that if you don’t have the Titan, Chandra offers a small amount of draw power to help find it.

Scrapheap Scrounger: this card is tailor-made for Dredge. When you dredge over Scrapheap Scrounger, you get the card that matters in your graveyard and triggers Prized Amalgam. A 3/2 for two is unlikely to just win the game on its own, but it will for sure help you somehow accomplish this task.

Autohority of the Consuls: a sideboard card, that stops Goryo's Vengeance, Through the Breach and Nahiri, the Harbringer.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Smuggler's Copter

In the early new Standard format, Smuggler's Copter looks very good. Is it too good?

A two-mana artifact that can be played by any deck with creatures (and let's face it, Wizards have made sure there are no creatureless decks anymore) that can easily win the game by itself - is that too good?

Are we about to face an 18-month period dominated by a two-drop artifact? That kind of reminds me of the days of Cursed Scroll being a 4-of in every deck in Standard back in the ancient past.

I think it would be unwise to enter a Standard tournament today without sufficient answers for an early Copter. However, this format is filled with answers that helps.

Grasp of Darkness, Harnessed Lightning, Fragmentize, Appetite for the Unnatural, Unlicensed Disintegration, Murder, Stasis Snare, Spatial Contortion, Skywhaler's Shot, Blessed Alliance, Clip Wings, Negate, Ceremonious Rejection, Natural State,  Immolating Glare ...

It seems that Wizards will not make Mirrodin-level mistakes any longer.

If you are playing read you can get fancy with Fiery Temper through the discad trigger to deal with opposing Smuggler's Copters.

The format is still in flux. It will be interesting to see how dominant the Copter becomes.

If you are looking at this from a financial perspective, this is definitely the time to sell any Smuggler's Copter you get your hands on. A rare from a large set will not hold a price of 16 tickets for long, no matter how dominant it is.