Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Pauper Gauntlet

Welcome to the Pauper Gauntlet, Season Two!

For more information on what happened in Season One, please read here: http://magicgatheringstrat.com/2014/06/the-pauper-gauntlet-season-one-2013/

What is the Pauper Gauntlet?
  • The Pauper Gauntlet is a competition between Pauper decks (not players) where the decks try to survive as long as possible. Every round decks are eliminated if they lose. The rounds get harder and harder (see below).
  • In the end, one deck will do what BorosKitty did in the first season and be the last remaining deck in the Gauntlet.
  • The Pauper Gauntlet is quite casual and meant to be taken as light entertainment. The first season in 2013 was a lot more successful than I expected, so I hope you will enjoy this one as well.
How can you get involved in the Pauper Gauntlet?
  • You can watch the videos on the YouTube channels MagicGatheringStrat and sngprop
  • You can read articles about the Gauntlet on this blog or on MagicGatheringStrat.com
  • You can brew a deck and submit it to the Gauntlet in the comments below
  • You can submit a deck you like to see played in the Gauntlet (that you perhaps did not brew yourself) in the comments below
  • You can champion a deck and win prizes. This will be detailed in my September 14th blog post here when the list of all decks is known. You can not become the champion of a deck before September 14th.


Submit a deck for the Pauper Gauntlet

You will need to submit a link to your deck list including a sideboard plan in the comments below.

  • Your deck is submitted for possible entry into the Pauper Gauntlet by posting in the comments below (and nowhere else).
  • Your deck must have a deck list available on a web site that I can link to. There are several such services. Here is one: http://tappedout.net/mtg-deck-builder/  Include than link in your post in the comments below.
  • You should include a sideboard plan to help me play the deck. The better you make the sideboard plan, the better my chances are to win with the deck. Remember that a majority of Magic duels are played after sideboarding. Here is a good example of a template for a sideboard plan: http://magicgatheringstrat.com/2014/07/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-13-stompy/
  • Your deck is more likely to be approved if it is unique (no similar deck is already approved), if it has community interest, if it has achieved results in Daily Events or Premier Events, if you have a sideboard plan and if you have tips about playing the deck.
  • You can submit a deck until noon GMT+2 September 10th in the comments to this blog post. If you submit later, your deck will not be in the second season of the Pauper Gauntlet. 
  • I have the final say whether a deck is approved or not.
  • The comments to this blog post is the only way to submit a deck to the Pauper Gauntlet. If your deck is submitted anywhere else, it will not be entered in the Pauper Gauntlet.
  • The list of the 23 decks pre-approved for the second season of the Pauper Gauntlet will be posted on this blog on September 14th 2014. They are also available here: http://magicgatheringstrat.com/2014/08/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-20-familiars/ 
  • You do not have to have access to Magic Online to submit a deck. In fact, several brewers were not on Magic Online for the last season. After all, you don't play your own deck in the Pauper Gauntlet. I play all decks. 
  • If you make a video playing the deck, that makes it more likely to be approved for the Gauntlet. You can get a free 30-day trial of the software I use here: http://www.techsmith.com/download/snagit/  (No, I do not get anything for promoting them)
Some tips on brewing for Pauper

I made this video with David Shaffer last year. It contains some useful tips about brewing aggro, control and combo in Pauper. It explains many things that are good to think about when brewing, including why two-color aggro decks have huge problems in the format.




23 decks are already qualified for the Pauper Gauntlet
A comprehensive list will be posted here on September 14th.

Spoilers are available in the master playlist for the Pauper Gauntlet S02 here



The rules
  • Whatever happens in the Paupet Gauntlet happens. There are no takebacks.
  • Every deck is played by the same player to make it fair (me).
  • The last remaining deck wins the Pauper Gauntlet S02
  • All the details about the competition and being the champion of a deck will be posted here on September 14th.
  • Every deck plays one match each round.
  • The first two rounds are double elimination, i.e. a deck has to lose both round one and round two to get eliminated.
  • Every round after round two is single elimination. Once a deck loses, it is eliminated from the Pauper Guantlet.
  • If all remaining decks are eliminated in one round, they all advance to the next round.
  • The details of the rounds are presented below
  • The opponent is the first person that joins the match on Magic Online. I intend this to be random but if people search me out to play me, that is fine with me.
  • Whenever Magic Online says I win (I win after playing, opponent leaves etc) the deck advances to the next round.
  • There will be a voteback after round 4. More details in the September 4th blog post (the 23 decks).
  • If there is a banning, brewers are allowed to update their decks or eliminate their decks if they feel the deck is now unplayable. 
  • Brewers are not allowed to update their deck lists if there are no bannings or other really good reasons (making an error in deck construction to begin with is not a good reason)
  • No more than 100 decks will be approved for the second season of the Pauper Gauntlet.
  • If you have any questions, please watch the first video in the playlist as it has a FAQ. If your question is not answered there, feel free to ask it in the comments. Please do not try to change the structure of the Pauper Gauntlet now. There will be an opportunity to evaluate the format after the Gauntlet is finished (as there was for season one).
The rounds
I will play the rounds in the following environments. The idea is that winning will get harder and harder.

Round 1-2: Any practice room on Magic Online except the Tournament Practice room (the hardest)
Round 3-12: The Tournament Practice Room on Magic Online
Round 13: The two-man queues on Magic Online
Round 14: An 8-man single elimination event. The deck(s) that gets the best results in the event advances to the next round.
Round 15: A Daily Event/Premier Event/Pauper Event for each deck. The deck(s) that gets the best results in the event advances to the next round. As these are extremely inconvenient for me right now (starting at 02.30 am only) there will be only one of these rounds.
Round 16-inf: The Tournament Practice Room on Magic Online

How can you follow the Pauper Gauntlet?
  • You can watch videos on youtube.com/magicgatheringstrat or youtube.com/sngprop
  • For your convenience all videos will be added to the Pauper Gauntlet Season Two playlist (the video above)
  • There will be some sort of weekly or biweekly show with me and some MagicGatheringStrat people summing up what has been going on lately in the Pauper Gauntlet. More details to follow on September 14th.
  • Every match will be posted on the @MagicGathStrat twitter account
  • There will be a blog post here every Sunday with the results of the previous week
How long will this take?
Last time it took roughly three months. This time - with a lot more decks and two rounds of double elimination - I expect it to last until New Year or way into 2015, but it is very hard to predict. I expect at least 350 matches, probably more than that.

What if I make a stupid play mistake?
Well, this video answers that question. I am by no means a perfect player and there will be mistakes. The brewer can help by making an extensive sideboard plan and providing tips & tricks for playing the deck.



Contact information
YouTube: MagicGatheringStrat (subscribe!)

and sngprop (subscribe there too)
Twitter: @MagicGathStrat  (hashtag: #paupergauntlet)
www.facebook.com/Magicgatheringstrat
Subscribe and Like please. It helps.



That's it. I hope you enjoy the second season of the Pauper Gauntlet.

The first deck (Illusory Tricks) will play the first match on September 14th. That match will be published on the MagicGatheringStrat YouTube channel.






Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Drafting M15: White Commons

In this series I will try to review all the cards of M15, starting with the commons.

The Green commons: http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/08/drafting-m15-green-commons.html
The Black commons: http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/08/drafting-m15-black-commons.html
The Red commons: http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/08/drafting-m15-red-commons.html

Now its time for the White commons.

Here they are, in order of perceived power for Draft.



Triplicate Spirits: If you have played any M15 limited, you know that this is a format defining card. Once again a white token making card breaks a limited format, just like Battle Screech in VMA. Just the fact that this card makes Negate maindeckable in M15 limited should make you take notice of it. This is the best common in the format by far.



Raise the Alarm: Its main use is to enable Triplicate Spirits. Still, two bodies for two mana is a great deal in this Convoke format. Draft this highly.


Pillar of Light: You deal with the small threats with your horde of white creatures. You deal with the big threats with this. Don't forget that Kinsbaille Skirmisher can help you get rid of those creatures with 3 Toughness. Do not be afraid to sideboard this out if you don't see at least one target in the first duel.

Sanctified Charge: It is so obvious but yet so powerful that your opponent really can't do much when you cast it. It will punish him severely if you play at least 15 creatures or creature creating cards.

Kinsbaille Skirmisher:  Just a bear with a solid upside. Helps with Convoke. Helps defend. Helps Pillar of Light. Overall quite hard working.

Oreskos Swiftclaw: He dies to everything but he will often take someone with him to the grave and, in those rare cases when your opponent stumbles, will punish an opponent early some of the time.

Razorfoot Griffin: Not the best flyer of all time, but this is a card that will be played and will do work. Put to shame by the blue flyers.

Midnight Guard: A solid body that untaps when you need him the most for Convoke costs or blocking. Very solid.

Sungrace Pegasus:  The Pegasus has impressed me. There are many ways in this format to make him extremely useful and can often trade for a x/1 creature if nothing else.

Heliod's Pilgrim: This guy goes in his deck and not in others. If you have three of him, a Spectra Ward and four more enchantments to target, you are set to win the draft. If not, be careful and think twice before maindecking him.

Oppressive Rays: Does a lot less than you think it will do. Most playable in a very aggressive deck.

Selfless Cathar: Useful 1-drops that are not dead draws in the late game are very good for the Convoke deck.

Marked by Honor: This risk of getting 2-for-1ed is huge and you really don't want to play this but it will serve quite adequatly as your Heliod's Pilgrim target 2-4 if you have to do that.

Ephemeral Shields: Often the creature you save with this is not better than the creature you would have played instead of it. Do not play unless you are starving for playables.

Solemn Offering: An excellent sideboard card.

Soulmender: Annoying and convoke enabler. Maybe a 23rd card, hopefully not in your main deck.

Divine Favor: If your opponents removal is all red and damage based, this actually becomes quite good. If he has any other color in his deck- which he probably has - you do not want to play this card. You could make a case for it in a heavy Pilgrim/Broodkeeper deck, but you really should be looking for something - anything - else.

Tireless Mercenaries: Horribly overcosted.

Meditation Puzzle: Never play cards that just gain you life unless you get 20+ life. This is not worth a card and will not help you get back in the game. Remember that when you draw this, your opponent draws yet another threat and develops his board while you accomplish very little. Never play except against a deck with three or more Lava Axes.


Here is an interesting vote about card ratings in M15 that I found useful: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1_ZdBVXiHLW55FUfFJsYBPgHnuUeXqgTii_PML9Px8VM/pubhtml#

Next time: Blue Commons!




The new and "improved" standard

Hi Everyone!
If you saw the title and thought you must read this article, you likely already read Mark Rosewaters article on the new release cycle. The short version of that is, 2 set blocks and no core set and 18 month rotations for standard instead of 2 year rotations.

I thought to myself that this means that every 4 months, standard is going to rotate....but what does that mean, it means people will have to buy more cards. Seriously, think about it. Shorter rotation means that casual players who play Friday Night Magic will have a deck that will be good for about a year assuming it uses cards from the old block and the new block and the core set (we're assuming they made the deck right when the first set of a new block came out). The new format, making the same timing assumption, their deck only works for 18 months.

I hate to sound cynical to some readers, but seriously Wizards real purpose is to make more money. Mark Rosewater even said it would be "more work" for R&D that would be met by "additional staff". Sorry to burst everyone's bubble, but companies don't hire new staff because their employees are "working too hard", they hire new employees because they will create more revenue than they cost. I thought that part of the article was Rosewater trying to glaze over the fact that it's all about money, not "creativity" or whatever other crap they are selling as the reason (to be fair, I have said many times that Wizards is run by [people not well educated in the way of business] when it comes to business and it's possible that they are really doing this because "they care". But don't take that one to Vegas).

I'll do my best not to rant about Wizards anymore in this article because I know I have been doing a considerable amount of that lately.

I do however agree that the third set of blocks are usually the worst. Look at Saviors of Kamigawa, Maze's end, Fifth Dawn. I'm not saying they didn't have any good cards, I'm saying that these sets were bad for standard that they didn't add much to Standard (except SOK, worst set since Homelands and it still holds that title today).

What's the good side of all this? It's a big one, all the investors (or traders if you want to nitpick terms) in MTG and MTGO are going to have the opportunity to make even more money. Yay!!

Magic card prices are largely influenced by standard rotation, that's the best way to predict when cards will be high and low, not individual cards, that's a different kind of investing (that you should stay away from). When the sets rotate the prices change.

Here's how you make more money, new blocks will rotate every 6 months. It used to be every year. That's twice as many cycles of price fluctuations. I don't know what you plan to do, but I'm going to make some money on the new standard.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Pay attention to this email.... !!

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The Great Depression of Magic Online



Hi Everyone!
A couple weeks ago I mentioned that Magic 2015 was doing really badly. None of the cards are worth much and at the time the expected value of a Magic 2015 sealed tournament was a greater than $10 loss based on 50% match wins. I have asked why. I’m always interesting in what everyone else thinks about the cause for this phenomenon. I have narrowed the cause of this down to two major causes and several minor causes. It seems like everything is doing really badly now (there exceptions like Liliana of the Veil and Wasteland).

The first major cause driving the prices of cards on MTGO down is the switch to version 4. I don’t argue that it’s terrible software, and Wizards is awful at everything except making fun games, but seriously, people are quitting over this? I think most people are stepping away because they need time to accept the change. If everyone were really quitting, there would be hundreds of collections for sale on eBay, and I’ve only seen a few lately. I think this a temporary change in price, and will be back to normal within 2 months.

The second major cause of the depressed MTGO economy is this is the uncertainty period after RTR/THS Standard but before THS/KTK. It’s an uncertain time and people have a tendency to hang on to their money in uncertain times, even in the stock markets. Additionally, it seems like a lot of people have sold their Vintage Masters cards to recoup tickets to but Khans of Tarkir when it comes out next month. Now that that’s happened, everyone else left holding Vintage cards is either someone who plays, or someone who is speculating the cards will go up. These two elements of uncertainty are major drivers of a sluggish economy. Look at surveys of the level of uncertainty of Americans during the Great Recession, it was at the highest point since the Depression, coincidence? I doubt it. Uncertainty causes people to hold on to their money.

There’s also one minor cause that I have seen quite a lot that I think is interesting, but never the less is still a minor contributor to the sluggish MTGO economy. This is people who played in paper and wanted to play Vintage for “cheap” so they signed up for an MTGO account. They got all the cards, and played, then it seems like many of them lost interest and decided to sell their collection. It was identify these kinds of collections because the collection had all Vintage/Legacy legal cards and the seller claimed they “tried MTGO” but are going back to paper.


While it’s important to understand the condition of the market and be able to effectively identify what stage of the cycle is currently occurring always remember that it’s unlikely that the economy won’t recover.
Mtg Confidant

Drafting M15: Red Commons

In this series I will try to review all the cards of M15, starting with the commons.

The Green commons: http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/08/drafting-m15-green-commons.html
The Black commons: http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/08/drafting-m15-black-commons.html

Now its time for the Red commons.

Here they are, in order of perceived power for Draft.


Lightning Strike: It turns out that paying 1 mana extra for Lightning Bolt is still awesome.



Borderland Marauder: He does not work well on the defensive but if you are on the defensive with a red deck, you are doing things wrong. Beat down! Hard and quick. I have found that he works excellent with in a Blue Red aggressive deck, but the truth is that he just works excellent in any aggressive deck. He is just way ahead of the curve. Draft him early.




Inferno Fist: I think this card is quite far behind the two above it, but it is still excellent removal and works great with creatures with evasion. Be careful when you play it! It might be worth waiting a turn not to get 2-for-1:ed. Play it only when you are sure it will stick and you have a spare red mana to fire it off (even if it is to the face in the worst case).

Generator Servant: Having a 2/1 for 2 is not really bad and the upside is there with this little guy. If you can get out a five drop on turn 3, you are way ahead. The value of Generator Servant goes up with the amount of bombs and semi-bombs you have. With four or more good targets I would maindeck all the Generator Servants I could get my hands on.

Krenko's Enforcer: Two evasive damage for three mana is usually good enough and this guy keeps suprising me with his utility. Beware those Bronze Sables!

Scrapyard Mongrel: The Mongrel looks so good in theory but you will find that you often can't get enough artifacts to utilize his full potential. Much better than the Ensoul Artifact plan in the artifact deck though.

Crowd's Favor: Being able to combat trick for zero mana is always respectable. Impossible to play around.

Goblin Roughrider: Just a solid beater than I personally pick above Crowd's Favor. Often replaces the Borderland Marauders you did not get.

Rummaging Goblin: Exactly what you need to beat those control decks. Beware using him against an aggressive opponent. If your opponent is faster than you are, this might just be the guy to sideboard out and replace him with anything that can block early.

Blastfire Bolt: It is so clunky but you probably have to maindeck one and maybe two of this very expensive removal. Don't expect to 2-for-1 anyone with this.

Torch Fiend: We already know that 2 power for 2 mana is a great deal and Torch Fiend's ability to deal with Juggernauts and other dangerous artifacts makes me want to maindeck at least one and have a few more in my sideboard.

Thundering Giant:  This is just so unexciting. You should be able to do something better for five mana with your other color. I cringe when I have to maindeck the Giant.

Miner's Bane:  Very similar to the Giant. He hits much harder though and trample is relevant. But six mana is a ton in this format and your opponents will have better sixdrops than you if you are forced to maindeck Miner's Bane.

Forge Devil: Can be utterly useless but if you have convoke plans, I would maindeck this little guy. There are plenty of decks where you want to sideboard him in.

Hammerhand: Deceptive card that does very little for the value of a card. Almost only good when you are winning. Avoid cards like this.

Wall of Fire: Why are you playing such a defensive card in the most aggressive color in the format. You are doing something wrong.

Foundry Street Denizen:  Quite useless but might be the 23rd card in a convoke heavy deck to get those Triplicate Spirits or Siege Wurms into play.

Lava Axe: Only good when you know that you are the beatdown against a much more controlling deck. Great at closing out games in that case but otherwise often a dead draw that will cost you the game.

Clear a Path: I am glad to see that they still print skill testers to give the good drafters a chance to win some drafts.


Here is an interesting vote about card ratings in M15 that I found useful: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1_ZdBVXiHLW55FUfFJsYBPgHnuUeXqgTii_PML9Px8VM/pubhtml#

Next time: White!

Duel Decks: Speed vs Cunning

The decklist of new Duel Decks are revealed. We, botters, must know every new product to protect ourselves from unexpected losses due to Wizards reprint policy. However, these decklists don't contain any top card that may plummet soon. Putting it all together, it is 120 not worth much cards. Although, Wizards showed a new cycle of lands available in Khans. These lands enter the battlefield tapped and provide three mana in Wedge colors.


Friday, August 22, 2014

MTGO Library Bot 8.38

8.38 is a minor update, a build fixing:

  • a problem with the loading of the pricelist when PersonalPrices.txt was involved. 
  • the "1digit" and "2digit" commands it Classified were not working
  • cards with price = 10 tixs were sometimes advertised as 1 tixs (the final zero was trimmed)

MTGO Library Bot 8.37

ML Bot 8.37 fixes two problem:

  • some bots were not displayed on wikiprice, now they will correctly appear
  • automatic card transfer trades will now stop after 2 empty trades, so two bots won't be busy for an entire timeslot (doing empty trades!)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

More about the dynamics of a game company like Wizards of the Coast

Hi Everyone!
I'm happy to report that my previous article on Wizards management was very popular and I got a great response so today I'm writing a follow up article. You can read the original article here. 

I did get a couple questions about why that doesn't work for Wizards but other companies promote the best worker to be the supervisor. The short answer is that while they do it, it doesn't work well there either. It's a pretty well known fact that many American businesses are run pretty poorly and one of the major weaknesses is quality management. In fact, several years ago I started saying, Small businesses are small for a reason. I still think this holds true, and the reason is typically poor management.

During my tenure as a college student I worked for many small companies that were trying and trying to grow but the growth plans kept falling apart. I thought then that there's a reason things aren't working and I could pinpoint the cause of failure, but I couldn't identify what was the right action to achieve success. Later on I learned all about the right thing, I suppose I had an advantage going into graduate school because I already knew what not to do. The reason for failure was always, of course, poor leadership.

Enough background on my experiences. What in the world does this have to do with Wizards of the Coast? We know management is important, and we know that Wizards is bad at said management. There is one unique thing about Wizards. I mentioned it earlier this week in my weekly youtube show (that's the link for the entire series if you're interested, episode 8 is the one I am referencing). Wizards being a game company requires exceptionally talented people to design and develop their games. I have a name for this kind of industry. I call it a "superstar industry". I think of it like any professional sport. Think about it. The players (designers at Wizards) get all the fame and win the games (make the cool cards at Wizards) and you hardly ever hear about their coaches (management at Wizards). In truth the coaches of world class athletes are responsible for making them perform their best, that's the same function of a manager. The easiest way to identify a superstar industry is to look at the "worker" and the "managers" and ask, can the manager do this as well as the "worker"? If the answer is no way in hell, it's probably a superstar industry. The relevant part to wizards is that there lies a special talent that people either have or don't have that allows the "worker" to be a "superstar". 

As I said before, I'm really good at identifying what's getting done wrong. The short version of what's wrong is that Wizards is promoting their "superstars" to be in charge of other people, departments, projects, deadlines. They give them this responsibility because they assume that since they're a superstar designer that they will be a superstar manager.....WRONG! People get this crazy idea that if someone is good at one thing they are good at everything. Good management needs to know that their skill at the task does not always (most of the time doesn't) translate to motivating or teaching others to being the best.

The bottom line is that players sometimes make great coaches, but have every pro sports player try to coach anyone else, the majority would be average coaches. The same thing happens with wizards, they hire the Mike Trout of designers to become the coach of the designers and his talent lies in designing, not managing designers.



You can reach me at Facebook and Twitter by following below, also you can email me directly at mtgconfidant@gmail.com.

Mtg Confidant






Drafting M15: Black Commons

In this series I will try to review all the cards of M15, starting with the commons.

The Green commons: http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/08/drafting-m15-green-commons.html

Now its time for the Black commons.

Here they are, in order of perceived power for Draft.



Flesh to Dust: This is what the world has come to. Five mana! I guess Murder was overpowered. Now we have both the double black casting cost and then three more mana on top of that. Still, you will need those. The big question is how many you can play in a deck and still be competetive? Four perhaps? Unconditional removal rules the world and this is, by far, the best black common. Being able to kill Ancient Silverback is very relevant.





Accursed Spirit: This is often the way you win. This card and Krenko's Enforcer are the reason why Bronze Sable is a perfectly maindeckable card. Most decks don't have an answer. Sit back, Flesh to Dust their threats and enjoy winning with the Spirit. This format is faster than M14 but Accursed Spirit is still a workhorse.




Sign in Blood: Against some of the ultrafast decks, this can feel bad, but it is often a huge advantage to resolve Sign in Blood. This card is a reason to play Urborg and a reason never to maindeck colorless lands with minor effects.

Covenant of Blood:  This removal spell is surprisingly useful. More playable if you combine black with white for the token making. Still, I always want to see one or two Covenant of Blood at the top of my curve.

Typhoid Rats: If you are playing an aggressive build (such as Rakdos) you should rate this lower. But if you are defensive, trying to win with your Accursed Spirits or blue flyers, this will protect the ground very efficiently.

Carrion Crow: The drawback has been suprisingly relevant in my games. This may deserve a higher rating as it is still a 2/2 flyer for three mana.

Rotfeaster Maggot: This is a card for the Green-Black Dredge deck, where it will work extremely well. Will be very decisive against aggressive decks. If you have a Gravedigger, this can get really out of hand, not to mention a Roaring Primadox.

Child of Night: Very efficient at stopping the early beatings. Would be better if there wasn't so much hate against 1-toughness creatures in the format.

Shadowcloak Vampire: This is often a necessary evil and the evasion can prove decisive. Still, there are plenty of good five-drops in this format and I often put the second Shadowcloak Vampire in the sideboard.

Witch's Familiar: Being a 2/3 means that you can block a lot of things and live in this format. This is a cornerstone of the defensive Black deck.

Crippling Blight: Another card that makes Child of Night worse. I often start this in the sideboard and bring it in against many of the decks in the format.

Zof Shade: Good late game card that often never gets online but just gets to block a Runeclaw Bear so that you can survive.

Necromancer's Assistant: I play these only for curve reasons or in the Green-Black deck. They constantly underperform but can block Juggernauts. Much better in a defensive deck but once you get Forge Devilled, you will regret maindecking this card.

Festergloom: Maindecking one Festergloom is said to be OK. Varies a lot with your secondary color and how many 1-toughness creatures you bring to the table. It deals with Triplicate Spirits, which helps it a lot.

Necrobite: Significantly worse than in Vultron-laden Theros block. I don't play these at all but I might be underrating the card. Its often my 27th card.

Unmake the Graves: I find this card very weak. I know decks can be built to profit from it and it is probably good against the control decks.

Mind Rot: Sideboard card. Bring in Mind Rot against the control decks and the bomb-laden decks you can not otherwise deal with.

Black Cat: Violently overrated by drafters. Better against bad players that refuse to lose their cards. Do not play these in 8-4 drafts.

Eternal Thirst: Auras are not good in draft. Auras that do not boost power and toughness are the worst. Stay away. Unless you have a very clear plan for this card and why it fits into your deck, do not play it.


Black is a deep color with many playable cards. The upside is not exciting, but you will often find more than enough playables so you can cut your Necrobites and be happy about it.

Here is an interesting vote about card ratings in M15 that I found useful: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1_ZdBVXiHLW55FUfFJsYBPgHnuUeXqgTii_PML9Px8VM/pubhtml#

Next time: Red!


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Thoughts on Wizards Management



Hi Everyone!
Today, I want to look away from the MTGO economy and look at Wizards as a company. This article is in response to the very popular article from last weekend posted on this blog. I have a couple areas that I have a great deal of expertise in. One of those areas is management.

I have hinted at it before when I wrote about the flip-flopping regarding Vintage Masters on demand drafts. It appears to me that Wizards management is awful. Click here to read comments about Wizards from current and former employees.

Based on everything I knew before last week about Wizards, I confidently said, they make a good product but could be run more effectively. I have been reading articles by Mark Rosewater for at least 10 years, every single one. When I read that much from a certain person, I tend to be able to pick up on what they were or are feeling when they write, even if they aren’t the next iconic writer. Mark Rosewater wrote several times about how Wizards had made a mistake or made a poor decision. Mostly it was about a single card design, and it’s reasonable to expect that a card would slip through the cracks and make it to print (the article on skullclamp comes to mind released right after the ban announcement was made).

 Sometimes it was about entire sets or blocks. In another article he talked about how Kamigawa block was a success (I didn’t believe he really felt that way but when I realized he did, but that was worse than thinking he was lying to the readers). He talked about how Kamigawa was rich with flavor but the power level was low (he didn’t mention it but the mechanics were terrible too), and how Homelands was weak with flavor and had a low power level.
I didn’t make any assumptions purely off that article, but that was the article was when all my ideas came together. I realized that Wizards didn’t completely get it. If I were in charge a bunch of people would have gotten fired over Kamigawa block. It was so bad, I actually quit playing magic for a number of years because of it. Let’s look at a Magic set like a car. Let’s say there are two main factors to each, Magic has a flavor element and an element I’m going to call playability and it includes quality of mechanics and power level. Now lets look at the two main things a car needs to do for us. It needs to go forward when we push the gas pedal, and slow down when we push the brake pedal. Wizards calling Kamigawa anything other than a complete 100% failure is like the car we’re testing accelerating to 100 MPH and crashing into a wall at the end of the test track, then reporting, that our car was awesome, it went really fast, it didn’t stop in time, but it went fast. I have to point out that there is quality control that comes between the design and prototype of the car. All this was supposed to have been done between the design and the production of the prototype car.

I don’t mean to ramble but if the product doesn’t work, regardless of one or some parts working well, the product didn’t work and as a result is a failure.That's not to say the parts can't be used in other applications, but the project as a whole was a failure.

I read the reviews on glassdoor.com about wizards. When everyone who leaves the company says it’s terrible and the only people who say it’s great are the people who still work there, there’s something seriously wrong. I have left jobs and don’t think it was a bad job, I just outgrew the position.

I think that the reviews online about Wizards as a company are interesting because it’s what I have always said about Wizards (confirmed by Mark Rosewater articles). Wizards is run by a bunch of math nerds with Ph.D.’s in math. That’s great for the designers to be nerds, but the nerds need to stay out of the business operations of the company. Most of the complaints are regarding the software development and that sales and marketing have more power than they should. It makes sense that marketing should say, “I want it to be like this so the final product will match our brand image”. But Sales and Marketing needs to stick to what they know and let the coders do the coding.

Go ahead and shoot me an email at mtgconfidant@gmail.com or friend me on facebook or follow me and let me know if you want to hear more about my thoughts on these kinds of issues!

Thanks for reading!

Mtg Confidant

Pauper Gauntlet competitor #10 RUG Tron

The Pauper Gauntlet is coming to mtgolibrary. You can submit your Pauper brews starting August 31st right here. Please do not submit any decks yet.

Some of the deck lists of the competing decks that are pre-qualified by different means will be presented here. This is deck #10.

Earlier deck lists
Deck #1 Illusory Tricks: http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/06/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-1-illusory.html
Deck #2: Love Train http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/06/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-2-love-train.html

Tron
Make enormous mana and do generate things. This deck became possibly due to the banning of Temporal Fissure in 2013. It has an excellent matchup against top tier deck Mono Black Control who just can't control all the broken things this deck is doing.

The guy who made the deck is named Avignon and you can find his excellent article on the deck here:
https://www.mtgoacademy.com/4-color-tron-in-pauper-constructed/


RUG Tron by Avignon
Lands (20)
4 Urza's Mine
4 Urza's Tower
4 Urza's Power Plant
1 Haunted Fengraf
1 Quicksand
1 Khalni Garden
1 Remote Isle
2 Mountain
1 Island
1 Shimmering Grotto

Creatures (12)
4 Mulldrifter
4 Sea Gate Oracle
3 Fangren Marauder
1 Ulamog's Crusher
Spells (28)
4 Expedition Map
4 Chromatic Sphere
4 Chromatic Star
4 Ancient Stirrings
4 Prophetic Prism
4 Firebolt
1 Compulsive Research
1 Flame Slash
2 Rolling Thunder
Sideboard (15)
2 Serrated Arrows
1 Arc Lightning
1 Flame Slash
2 Pyroblast
1 Fangren Marauder
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Ray of Revelation
3 Circle of Protection: Red
3 Circle of Protection: Green


So what I am going to use this deck list for? What is the Pauper Gauntlet all about? Good questions! Learn more about the Pauper Gauntlet here: http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/06/the-pauper-gauntlet-is-coming-to.html

I just found out that Pauper Daily Events are back! In a way! Read more here: http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/magic-online-announcements-august-12-2014-2014-08-12

If you are interested in Pauper, I hope you are not European because then you probably can not play them.


Contact me
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Blog: mtgolibrary.blogspot.com

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