Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Grinding Station - a Modern Budget deck

As you may be well aware, we are doing a Modern Silverblack league on right now. Modern Silverblack is Modern with only commons and rares. In the third round of the league I got crushed by Tazerdadog playing a Grinding Station deck. I was aware of this list because my old buddy and MagicGatheringStrat streamer Farfishere won the last Modern Silverblack event on with such a deck.

This is the list Farfishere played.

MAINDECK (60 Cards)
12 Creatures
Etherium Sculptor
Myr Retriever
32 Spells
Chromatic Sphere
Chromatic Star
Conjurer's Bauble
Grinding Station
Ichor Wellspring
Locket of Yesterdays
16 Lands
16 Island
SIDEBOARD (15 Cards)
Tormod's Crypt
Echoing Truth
Rapid Hybridization
Spell Pierce

Tazerdadog had improved the list by adding Hibernations in the sideboard.

This deck may be the fastest deck in Modern Silverblack having about 15% T3 kills and consistenly winning on T4 if not hated (according to Tazerdadog).

The combo
With a Myr Retriever in the graveyard you kill a Myr Retriever in play using Grinding Station, retrieving My Retriever. You need to reduce the cost of playing a Myr Retriever to zero using either Locket of Yesterdays and/or Etherium Sculptor. Riddlesmith will have enabled Locket of Yesterdays and provided the Myr Retriever in the graveyard. At that point you go infinite and mill your opponent out.

You will beat anything that is not packing enough sideboard hate to stop you. The most efficient such sideboard hate is probably Suppression Field.

Is this deck playable in "normal" Modern?
Tazerdadog had several wins in the JFF room on Magic Online with the deck. I think the deck is viable BUT there is a lot of sideboard hate that is rare that will just destroy you. Stony Silence comes to mind immediatly. The deck is very cheap to put together so why not give it a try and see how you do?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Battle for Zendikar makes me less happy than I thought it would

Sunken HollowHi Everyone,
I'm in a rant and rave mood. I'm going to rant and rave about Battle for Zendikar. I just think the hype didn't match the product.

Yeah, there are good cards and the Expeditions are cool, but I think that's not technically Battle for Zendikar. Really we got man-lands that I personally don't feel are anywhere as good as the original Zendikar man-lands.

I also think the "battle lands" are awesome in standard and clearly favor multi color decks designed to play the long game. But, are the battle lands going to be as great as we think? I'm not thinking so. They have the provision that I need two basics in play to come into play untapped. The problem is that Legacy and Vintage have real dual lands that always come into play. Modern decks rarely play basics. If they need duals, there are better options than the battle lands.

I think it's cool that they are fetchable but having a deck loaded with fetches is as hard on the old life total as a bunch of shock lands.

High Stakes Magic

Wizards proved again that they are listening to community and as a response to player's feedback they introduced the Power Nine Challenge. It is a top-heavy prize structure Vintage tournament, which will take place on fourth Saturday of each month.

The prize structure is really tempting and goes as follow:
- 1st: A Vintage Masters Black Lotus, a Vintage Masters Timetwister, a complete premium Battle for Zendikar set, a complete non-premium Battle for Zendikar set and 500 Play Points
- 2nd: A Vintage Masters Ancestral Recall, a complete non-premium Battle for Zendikar set, and     400 Play Points
- 3rd: A Vintage Masters Mox Sapphire and 300 Play Points
- 4th: A Vintage Masters Mox Ruby and 300 Play Points
- 5th: A Vintage Masters Mox Jet and 250 Play Points
- 6th: A Vintage Masters Mox Pearl and 250 Play Points
- 7th: A Vintage Masters Mox Emerald and 250 Play Points
- 8th: A Vintage Masters Time Walk and 250 Play Points
- 9th-16th: 250 Play Points

In my opinion P9 have bottomed out already and its value will steadily raise.

The Modern Bible chapter 36 - The end and where do we go from here

We sat out to try to learn as much as possible about RG Tron. I started this series on Feb 22 this year. At this moment the chapter one article has 6311 views. That is far more than any MTG thing I have ever written, even more than the original Pauper Gauntlet announcement which was the old record holder. I hope you have appreciated the series. The quest to master RG Tron is neverending and will go on from here. If you want to follow that quest please subscribe to my YouTube channel MagicGatheringStrat. That is also the best place to ask me questions regarding the deck - just comment on any RG Tron video on the channel (there are 100+ Tron videos).

So these are my closing words on the Tron subject for this time.

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

I still think it is wrong to replace a cheap spell such as Spellskite or Relic of Progenitus with an 8-drop. However, the power level of Ugin is just too high not to include him. I am currently playing two and will probably go down to one if I test Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger.

My current Tron list

Right now I am playing the Modern League with RG Tron on Magic Online.

This is the list I am currently using. 

1 Tendo Ice Bridge

1 Eye of Ugin
1 Forest
1 Ghost Quarter
4 Grove of the Burnwillows
4 Urza's Mine
4 Urza's Powerplant
4 Urza's Tower

1 Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
3 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Spellskite

4 Oblivion Stone
4 Karn Liberated
2 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

4 Chromatic Sphere
4 Chromatic Star
4 Expedition Map
4 Sylvan Scrying
4 Ancient Stirrings
2 Relic of Progenitus
3 Pyroclasm

4 Nature's Claim
3 Slaughter Games
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Relic of Progenitus
2 Spellskite
1 Boil
1 Pyroclasm
1 Rending Volley
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

As you can see it is basically the list from chapter 5 of the Bible adjusted for Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and with some metagame dependent sideboard changes.

Mono Blue Tron
I get a lot of questions about Mono Blue Tron. I don't have any experience with the deck but from what I have been able to gather the two decks are extremely different. RG Tron is the ultimate midrange deck, defending itself against the aggro decks and having a better endgame than the control decks. Mono Blue Tron is more of a pure control deck - perhaps the closest Modern comes to such a deck.

Fortunately I know exactly the guy to ask about Mono Blue Tron: Pierakor! Pierakos is a frequent player of Mono Blue Tron who streams on and who has been kind enough to put together a Bible (!) for Mono Blue Tron here:

The very last closing thought
RG Tron is a metagame dependent deck. I do think that every Tron player should have a secondary deck that has different strengths and weaknesses from Tron. If combo, affinity and burn are out in great numbers you should probably play that other deck. If I do a second Modern Bible (nothing has been decided yet) I will be looking for such a deck.

For a full list of the chapters of The Modern Bible:

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Scapeshift bugs me

ScapeshiftHi Everyone!

Today I want to complain about Modern. Those of you who know me, know that I think modern gives a great card pool to play but lacks a lot of the answers of older formats that keep certain decks from being degenerative. The lack of certain types of answers makes combo decks very powerful in the format.

Straight combo decks aren't the popular choice at the time of this writing (storm would be a straight combo deck, twin has a backup and is not a straight combo deck).  The deck of choice is usually blue with an infinite combo of some sort.

Scapeshift doesn't have an infinite combo, but it's usually enough to kill the opponent in a single shot. Here's the issue. It's a playable deck that features a bunch of blue cards and a one card combo. Seriously, it's counterspells and green ramp cards, and that's it.

Maybe it's just me but I think the very nature of "one card combo" decks takes away from what Magic is and is about.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Is the new Jace really worth the price on Magic Online?

Jace, Vryn's ProdigyHi Everyone!

The short answer is yes.

The longer answer is only slightly more complicated. Let's look at what's good in Magic Origins. I mean yeah, there's a lot of stuff that's "good" but really, what's actually good in tournament play?

Hangarback Walker and Jace. That's all? Yep.

The Walker is the most expensive rare in the set and at the time of this writing the third most expensive card in the set. Now I know Magic Online Mythics behave unlike cards in real life, but Nissa and Jace are the cards more expensive than the Walker. They are also the only planeswalkers that see play in successful high level tournaments (read: the Pro Tour).

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Thoughts on Tron in Modern Silverblack

(I was going to name this article The Modern Silverblack Bible of RUG Tron but I still have too many questions to try to write a bible on the subject)

As you may be aware of me and my gang (the MagicGatheringStrat community) are running a Modern Silverblack League. Read more about that here:

We do these leagues every other month and everyone is welcome to join. They are free to enter and Cardhoarder sponsor us with 75 tix in prices.

Short summary of Modern Silverblack: The format is Modern. Only commons and uncommons allowed. Expedition Map and Intangible Virtue are banned in addition to everything that is banned in Modern.

I want to play Tron, of course. I played Tron last time we did this in 2014.

Here is the list I played:

1 Crystal Shard
3 Sylvan Scrying
3 Reap and Sow
2 Gruul Signet
1 Urza's Factory
4 Chromatic Star
4 Mulldrifter
2 Vivid Creek
2 Vivid Crag
4 Firespout
4 Forest
4 Artisan of Kozilek
4 Urza's Mine
4 Urza's Power Plant
4 Urza's Tower
4 Brutalizer Exarch
1 Shimmering Grotto
3 Acidic Slime
4 Prophetic Prism
2 Eternal Witness

3 Sowing Salt
2 Relic of Progenitus
2 Back to Nature
3 Pyroclasm
1 Nihil Spellbomb
4 Timely Reinforcements

I think there are a lot of things wrong with this list. Also new cards have arrived.

However, this list is extremely established. The player run free tournament site used to run Modern Silverblack events every week.

You can find decklists here:

These events ended on August 30th, 2014.

RUG Tron was a very established part of the metagame. Every list was very similar to the one above.

I do have a lot of questions.

* Why are there so many double-green casting cost cards in a deck with 12+ lands that produce mana of no color?
* Why is Brutalizer Exarch worth playing? It seems that for six mana you want something that can stabilize (see below) such as Wurmcoil Engine in Modern or Fangren Marauder in Pauper. Exarch produces a mediocre body and a choice between super-expensive tutoring and a Creeping Mold effect (as there are no planeswalkers). That seems underwhelming. If we reach six mana we probably have Tron and could do bigger things.
* How do we survive a fast creature rush or just direct damage? We have zero life gain. Both in Pauper and Modern Tron tends to reach the 1-3 life level before stabilizing (often through life gain) and then winning by going over the top
* What new cards make the list? Frontier Bivouac seems like a given but what else? Bane of Bela Ged? Rolling Thunder seems like a good card for that deck too but can we really afford double red? Blighted Fen and Blighted Cataract looks tempting.
* Four nine-mana spells? Even RG Tron in Modern can not afford that many giant bombs
* Why the LD subtheme in Acidic Slime and Brutalizer Exarch? Is Tron that big a part of the meta? It does not seem like more than 10% if you look at the stats. Or are there really maindeck noncreature artifacts and enchantments we fear this much?
* Some lists did play Ancient Stirrings and 1-mana removal (Lightning Bolt or Flame Slash). I do find the exclusion of Ancient Stirrings very troubling as that is perhaps the best card in Modern Tron AND in Pauper Tron
* 3 Sylvan Scryings just surprise me. Why? Do we not want Tron? Without maps this is the only way to ensure we find Tron
* There was a very varying amount of signets in the lists. I can understand the attraction of the signets but they see zero play in Daily Event tested RUG Tron lists in Pauper (ever) over a two year period. That is telling me something.
* Urza's Factory seems like a really slow lategame plan. I realize that it probably wrecks control but counterspells are so weak in Modern that I have a hard time seeing them do anything against Artisan of Kozilek cast triggers in the lategame anyway. Urza's Factory is just too massive a downgrade from Eye of Ugin IMHO. Even Haunted Fengraf looks better to me.
* Why the need for more lands than Pauper and Modern Tron?
* Why do we not run the full set of eggs? Don't we like our bombs and Firespouts and want to draw them more often?

What does Tron try to do in Pauper and Modern?

To understand what Tron tries to do we have to look at two well tested lists from Pauper and Modern that play somewhat differently.

First we have Avignon's Classic RUG Tron Pauper deck:

And then we have this typical list from Modern:

We do lack a lot of tools from Modern RG Tron such as Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, Karn, Emrakul, Ulamog and Wurmcoil Engine.

That probably means we have to play more like RUG Tron from Pauper.

In both Pauper and Modern the gameplan for Tron is simple.
1. Survive
2. Go over the top with a more powerful lategame and win

It is not more complicated than that.

Improvements to the Pauper List if we play it in Silverblack

So what cards do we gain access to that Pauper does not have. What good uncommons can we play?

Artisan of Kozilek: A significant improvement over Ulamog's Crusher.

Blighted Fen: Having a land that can kill a huge creature seems useful.

Sweepers: Pyroclasm and Firespout makes a world of difference.

Three Color Land: Frontier Bivoauc seems like a strong addition to the deck.

Timely Reinforcements: RG Tron playes in Modern were moving over to WG Tron for a while mainly because of this card. I think we need a white land in our sideboard to help us cast this. Otherwise it might not be timely at all.

So what does Tron try to do in Silverblack?
Looking at the list at the top of the article the goals of Tron seems to be very different in this format. When I changed to the list I will present below I got the comment that I had turn Tron into a grindy deck .... but I don't see it. I have turned it into a regular battle proven Tron deck as the deck is played in Pauper and Modern top level events.

Here is my first attempt at a RUG Tron list that I played in the first week of the League. I defeated a BG Rock-style deck 2-1.

Deck list
4 Ancient Stirrings
4 Sylvan Scrying
4 Frontier Bivouac
1 Sea Gate Oracle
4 Chromatic Star
4 Mulldrifter
1 Ghost Quarter
2 Rolling Thunder
3 Firespout
2 Forest
2 Artisan of Kozilek
4 Urza's Mine
4 Urza's Power Plant
4 Urza's Tower
1 Shimmering Grotto
3 Fangren Marauder
2 Acidic Slime
4 Prophetic Prism
1 Pyroclasm
4 Chromatic Sphere
1 Haunted Fengraf
1 Gurmag Angler

1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Back to Nature
3 Pyroclasm
2 Sowing Salt
4 Timely Reinforcements
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Firespout
1 Jungle Shrine
1 Acidic Slime

I have since made changes to the deck but here is the match on video for completeness. Gurmag Angler was the clearest mistake and he is no longer in the list. 

I will continue work on the RUG Tron Silverblack list but I would be very happy for your input. 

Other references

Salvation has a pretty good thread on RUG Tron in Pauper:

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Modern Bible of RG Tron chapter 35 - How do you beat RG Tron?

The first time your run Into RG Tron in Modern it may seem very discouraging. Getting all your colored permanents destroyed by Ugin, the Spirit Dragon or removed with Oblivion Stone does not feel good and it feels way worse when Emrakul, the Aeons Torn comes down and it is time to sacrifice six permanents.

So how do you beat this monstrosity?

Play a combo deck
Tron thrives on destroying creatures and playing giant guys. If your plan is to win by combo before turn 7 you should just go for your combo plan. Chances are that Tron is very vulnerable to it.

Put the Tron deck under early pressure
Somewhat surprisingly to some players the RG Tron deck is very vulnerable to really fast aggro decks like Zoo and Infect. Make sure you put the Tron deck under early pressure.

Destroy the mana base of the Tron deck
This only works if you have put the Tron deck under early pressure. If you can T2 Tarmogoyf, T3 Fulminator Mage you are on to something. Tron is very good at repairing its mana base with all the search cards so you can not allow Tron to find the time to do this. Also, even if Tron does not hit Tron the deck can very often Oblivion Stone the world on T5 and play a Wurmcoil Engine on T6.

Make sure your game plan is not wrecked by Pyroclasm
If all your creatures die to Pyroclasm you may have a problem. In Modern you can often choose 3+ toughness creatures (even at one mana!) - make sure you do this.

Do not play a control deck and try to get to the lategame
Tron owns the lategame with Emrakul. No matter which deck you are playing you are the aggro deck in this matchup. Bolt + Snapcaster + Bolt can be your best route to victory.

Play Stony Silence if you have white mana
Of all sideboard cards none does as much damage against Tron as Stony Silence. No, not even Crumble to Dust is better than that. 

For a full list of the chapters of The Modern Bible:

Full art basics in Oath of the Gatewatch

The next set Oath of the Gatewatch will feature full art basic lands from Battle for Zendikar too. The Oath of the Gatewatch fat packs will also include full art basic lands.

Given the limited print run of Battle for Zendikar fat packs, I assume that Oath of the Gatewatch fat packs will be in limited supply as well. This is unfortunate for those who like to acquire fat packs to have them, but the silver lining is that, even with a limited run on both fat packs, this does put a lot of full art lands into circulation. Currently, BFZ fat pack price is far above MSRP and to get one you need to pay over 50 USD (eBay source).

Anyway, it is encouraging to see a full art basic land in each booster pack. If you are drafting from time to time you will surely collect enough lands to pimp your decks. You have at least 6 months to do so.

Friday, October 16, 2015

New Set Buying Advice!

  When launching a new set in your store its important to remember the cardinal rule... A store without tickets is NOT an active store. Cash flow is important and without it customers may feel the credit left in the store will not be worthwhile... so with that being said, I have come up with a simple yet effective way to prevent a huge Event Ticket Drop off in your store as new sets are released and cards are being sold as fast as they are early on in that sets release.

Step 1: Set your Quantity for RAREs and MYTHICs to only 1 or 2

Step 2: Allow time for your Bots to build up the stock and begin selling the inventory you already purchased

Step 3: Once you have seen the existing stock begin to move with some degree of stability with regards to Buying and Selling this sets cards.. Then adjust your Quantity by increasing the count by 1 and repeat Step #2.

Step 4: Repeat until the desired Quantity is obtained and your ticket count remained level the whole time.

The entire system depends on EVENT TICKETS.... so it is imperative that stores adjust the Quantity according to current ticket counts, such that the stores do not dip to low in tickets and/or run out of tickets.

I hope this helps folks... Good Luck and Happy Botting!

 Fellow Botter

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Recreating Necropotence in Pauper

I am not a brewer. I brew very seldom. I prefer to let other people brew and then I make a fool of myself playing their decks on YouTube.

Last deck I brewed was Rot Wolf Control in Pauper. That did not work out. That was three years ago.

Recently the voices in my head kept reminding me of the glory that was Necropotence in the Black Summer of ages past. A guy at my local store brewed the first semi-working Necropotence deck. We refined it. My friend Leon Lindb├Ąck took it a rough draft of the list to the first Pro Tour and made history.

Check out Leon's deck here:

Mono Black Control (MBC) is #3 in the Pauper metagame while I am writing this.

Can we adapt MBC to become more like Necropotence?

A typical MBC deck
Here is a typical MBC list from MTG Goldfish:

4 Chittering Rats
3 Cuombajj Witches
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
3 Gurmag Angler
4 Phyrexian Rager

3 Chainer's Edict
2 Corrupt
4 Sign in Blood
2 Unearth
2 Disfigure
1 Echoing Decay
3 Geth's Verdict
2 Tendrils of Corruption
2 Oubliette

3 Barren Moor
1 Bojuka Bog
18 Swamp

1 Echoing Decay
3 Bottle Gnomes
3 Choking Sands
3 Duress
1 Relic of Progenitus
2 Shrivel
2 Wrench Mind

The Necropotence deck of the Black Summer
The Black Summer Necro list looks something like this (4 months later than Leon's triumph)

4 Hypnotic Spectre
4 Knight of Stromgald
4 Order of the Ebon Hand

4 Necropotence
3 Nevinyrral's Disk
4 Hymn to Tourach
4 Drain Life
1 Soul Burn
3 Serrated Arrows
1 Zuran Orb
1 Ivory Tower
1 Dark Banishing

18 Swamp
4 Strip Mine
4 Dark Ritual

The sideboard is fairly irrelevant for a Pauper adaption.

Looking for similarities

Both decks have 22 lands, so lets stick with that. No, in fact let us count Dark Ritual as half a land. So we are going for 20 Swamp + 4 Dark Ritual.

Necropotence = Sign in Blood; Fairly large downgrade
Hypnotic Spectre = Chittering Rats; Alternatively Liliana's Spectre but I think rats are just better
Knight of Stromgald - 3 Anglers + 4 Ragers + 1 Gray Merchant(more expensive but that will do)
Drain Life = Corrupt; Actually an upgrade
Soul Burn = Gray Merchant of Asphodel
Hymn to Tourach = Wrench Mind; Not as good but similar at least.

We will try to emulate 3 Disk + 1 Dark Banishing with 4 Chainer's Edict. Not even close in removal power but we don't need a reset button as badly

We will reduce the number of Serrated Arrows (which is still a fine card, especially with Dark Rituals) to fit in one more Read the Bones (only the precense of a huge number of card draw spells can even hope to emulate the power of Necropotence)

Ivory Tower and Zuran Orb are powerful lifegain spells. They are replaced by Gray Merchants.

We replaced two of the Strip Mines with Swamps above. Lets replace the two other Strip Mines with two Read the Bones for the full set of 8 card draw spells + 4 Ragers to try to emulate Necro.

Finally we need Tendrils of Corruption for that little extra life gain to fuel our "Necro" things.

And we will try to fit in one Unearth because really cheap things that we can cast while Necroing is highly essential.

Pauper Necropotence
20 Swamp
4 Dark Ritual

4 Chittering Rats
3 Gurmag Angler
4 Phyrexian Rager
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel

4 Wrench Mind
4 Corrupt
4 Chainer's Edict
2 Serrated Arrows
4 Read the Bones
2 Tendrils of Corruption
1 Unearth
That is 10 lifegain spells and 12 card draw spells.

Rough Sideboard Draft
2 Echoing Decay
4 Dead Weight - against Delver
1 Coumbajj Witches - against Delver and to replace a 2 toughness creature
2 Bottle Gnomes - against Burn
4 Duress - against Control
2 Relic of Progenitus

What have we given up compared to traditional MBC for our uncertain "Necro" value?
We are playing 15 creatures instead of 18.
We are playing less removal.
We certainly have a worse matchup against Delver.
Our curve is probably a bit off and that is the #1 thing we need to work on now.
We have to rework the sideboard plan for certain.
We have no Gray Merchant + Oubliette synergy (that is because we already have way too many 3-drops)

This is just a thought experiment but I might just submit this deck to the Pauper Gauntlet starting on November 8th. I still have to figure out if this is within the rules or not (I did submit Rot Wolf Control in earlier seasons) - what do you think? Can I do that?

What do you think about the deck? Are Read the Bones, Sign in Blood and Phyrexian Ragers just not good enough card draw spells to pretend to be like Necro? Should I just go back to playing Blue Black with Mulldrifters or Deep Analysis if I want to draw this many cards?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Magic Online dead time

Hi Everyone!

The past week has been rough on me. I have been lamenting that the only thing that actually matters on Magic Online right now is.......oh wait, nothing.

Yeah, Legacy cube is available and a lot of people enjoy it but I think I'd enjoy it more if there were a new tournament legal set available.

Wizards really treats Magic Online like a red-headed step child. They have a buggy interface that's the worst program I've used outside some opensource stuff that was on version .1.

The worst is the way we have to wait for sets to come out. I really think this is silly because Magic Online and paper Magic are two completely different products.

Yes, it is the same game but I think it's unlikely that everyone has a paper and online collection of cards. In fact, I know many players who find online playing so convenient that it's hard to drag myself out of the house after a difficult week to play in Friday Night Magic.

Anyway, it would be nice if they didn't treat us online players like second class citizens.

Should I buy Magic Online Expeditions?

Hi Everyone!

I have some friends asking if they should buy all the BFZ Expeditions. Normally, since they aren't redeemable, I'd have to say no.

No because non-redeemable cards don't have the same cycle if price increases and decreases. But these are different.

Even with Vintage being pushed last year by WOTC with Vintage Masters the Vintage community is not what the Modern community is. This is relevant because the only expeditions (that we're sure of) are the fetch lands (they're played in every format they are legal in). The BFZ "two basics" lands might see some play in eternal formats, but I'm not banking on something that may or may not happen.

Yes because many of the Expedition lands are proven to be staples in all the eternal formats.

So what do we do?

If you want them because they are cool, then get them. If you're trying to invest, remember that they won't behave similarly to regular foil mythics. They are going to be long term investments and the lands that aren't Modern (yes, only modern) staples may not hold value over time.

The Modern Bible of RG Tron chapter 34 - Problem Matchup Videos

Only two weeks left, my friends.

Next week we will discuss how to beat RG Tron when we turn traitors and play other decks.

In the final week I will talk about playing Mono Blue Tron, my current list of RG Tron and anything else that I need to wrap up. If you have any questions, now is the time to ask them.

Problem matchup videos
Today we will illustrate some of the points we have been discussing recently.

Here we go!

You can find many more RG Tron videos on (my community youtube channel)

RG Tron vs Splinter Twin

RG Tron vs Scapeshift

RG Tron vs Storm  (I wish we could have talked more about this matchup)

RG Tron vs Infect

RG Tron vs Burn

RG Tron vs Amulet Bloom

For a full list of the chapters of The Modern Bible:

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Sealed Deck: rules change (paper only)

Starting with Grand Prix Sydney and Grand Prix Madison the procedures for opening a Sealed Deck pool are as follows:

A player (A) opens booster packs and in the very same time the player (B) on the other side of the table observes this. Then, the player (B) opens his booster packs and player (A) watches it. Afterwards, players register each other’s pools and pass cards back, meaning the cards you orignially opened are yours and it is your sealed deck pool now. Rest remains as normal.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Modern League on MTGO is live

I have been waiting for a league to play on MTGO since 2005. I spent most of my MTGO time 2002-2005 playing leagues. They were my favorite format by far.

Many things are different now that leagues finally return to Magic Online. They are constructed and they seems to be much more expensive (5 instead of 20 matches, still a high entry fee). That will not stop me. I have no interest in (nor the wallet to play) Standard but now that the Modern league is live I will join it immediatly.

I will be playing RG Tron (of course!) and I will present my league list before the end of the Modern Bible of RG Tron.

You can follow my matches on starting Friday October the 16th.

Will you be playing in the MTGO Modern league? I hope to see you there!

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Modern Bible of RG Tron chapter 33 - RG Tron vs Living End

Living End currently stands as #3 in the MTGO metagame so I figured that would be a good topic for our last look at a specific matchup with RG Tron in Modern. 

You can find a sample list here:

Combo is death for RG Tron. We fear combo decks above everything else. The worst are the quick combo decks that win on turn 3 or turn 4 that we simply have no answers for in game 1. This is one of these decks. Living End also maindecks Fulminator Mage, which is one of the best answers for RG Tron in the format. 

Fortunately for us, we happen to maindeck a card that is one of the best answers for Living End. This is the time that you will regret cutting those copies of Relic of Progenitus. 

Is this a bad matchup for RG Tron?
Yes, it is. Living End is a fast combo deck. We do not like that. 

Useful and less useful sideboard cards
Chalice of the Void: Set it to 0 and watch them cry. Until they draw Ingot Chewer. 

Grafdigger's Cage: I have no idea how you fit this into your SB but here it might prove useful.

Pithing Needle: For Fulminator Mage. Beast Within will take care of it and it will hamper your Oblivion Stone. 

Relic of Progenitus: If you managed to leave a copy or two in the sideboard (I know how much competition there are for those slots) this is the time you will be rewarded for it. 

Slaughter Games: Take Living End. Even though this is a card I highly recommend sideboarding it is less useful here than against, for example, Scapeshift. Living End can still play like a durdly midrange deck. However, RG Tron excels against durdly midrange decks ... except when they maindeck Fulminator Mage. 

Spellskite: See above

Stone Rain: If you are on the play you can stop their turn 3 from wrecking you.

Torpor Orb: Depending on what creatures they are using, this might another matchup than Twin where you want to board in your Torpor Orbs.

Less useful main deck cards
Oblivion Stone: Extremely useful if you can clear out their graveyard after you blow everything away.

Pyroclasm: Does nothing. Sideboard out.

Relic of Progenitus: This is the #1 reason you maindeck Relic of Progenitus

Spellskite: Does not do much.

Wurmcoil Engine: The fact that Wurmcoil Engine actually survives a Living End in a sense is extremely useful. 

Next week will be problem matchup video week, including two recent matches I played against Affinity. 

For a full list of the chapters of The Modern Bible:

Sunday, October 4, 2015

BFZ Fat Packs

Hi Everyone!

Over the weekend I was surfing the web and stumbled upon They are one of those online stores that seems to have every single card you can imagine (almost). But I was looking into the price of booster boxes and found that fat packs are being sold for MORE than retail!

I understand that this is release weekend, but I'd think that Channel Fireball would sell things for retail at most, I mean retail is designed to be the price set by manufacturers to be the "come get it for this much price" (retail is usually obscenely expensive but WOTC is okay about not being ridiculous).

Channel Fireball wasn't just selling the Fat Pack for a little more than retail, a full 25% more than retail ($50, retail is $40).

So why do we care? We care because it appears that with full art lands and the Zendikar Expeditions the expected expected value (yes, two expecteds) of a Fat Pack is more than $40. Right now it probably is more than $40 per fat pack, but like everything in MTG, after people draft the set a few million times the supply will be much larger and cards will be cheaper.

I love full art lands as much as the next guy and I love special edition foil only promo cards more than most people, but seriously, let's not get all crazy and wait a little on buying BFZ.

If you're an avid competitive standard player who NEEDS the new cards, you're probably less concerned about overpaying than I am. If you're not someone who needs the new cards, especially the expedition cards, wait until the prices calm down a little.

Prices spike at the release of every set and BFZ has full art lands and special cards (Expeditions) so it's going to be especially turbulent immediately at the release of the set.

Battle for Zendikar: combat tricks

Surprises are not welcomed during a draft. You should be able to predict what your opponent may be holding in his hand in order to minimalize the risk of misplay. To this end, I've prepared a list of cards that do unexpected combat tricks - instants.

WhiteEncircling Fissure; Gideon's Reproach; Inspired Charge; Lithomancer's Focus; Roil's Retribution; Smite the Monstrous; Stasis Snare; Tandem Tactics.
BlueAdverse Conditions; Roilmage's Trick; Scatter to the Winds.
BlackComplete Disregard; Grave Birthing; Grip of Desolation.
RedOutnumber; Stonefury; Sure Strike; Turn Against.
GreenInfuse with the Elements; Natural Connection; Plummet; Swell of Growth; Unnatural Aggression.
MultiBrutal Expulsion; Ulamog's Nullifier.
Coloress: Scour from Existence; Titan's Presence

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Modern Pro-Tour

Hi Everyone!

Today I was thinking about the Modern Pro Tour. I distinctly remember last year Wizards eliminating the Modern Pro Tour (the format was set to be standard). Player outrage caused Wizards in one of their many "things people think are good but actually aren't" (the changing of things is bad because they didn't anticipate player outrage, it's like getting a math problem wrong and correcting it when it's pointed out that you were don't get credit for getting the answer right.) changed one Pro Tour that year.

I think over time Wizards will see the dollar signs and reach the decision that LSV has always openly stated. He says the Pro Tour is for showing off the new product. It would help advertise the new set more than a Modern tournament would.

So here's my question. When Wizards realizes this and does away with the Modern Pro Tour will Modern become a novelty, or a format that doesn't get any respect? Do you think they would let the format get out of control being that there's no need to have it at least somewhat balanced before the Pro Tour.

I think Modern will turn into a joke of a format and players will complain....then Wizards will bring back Extended, the now defunct rotating format.

What do you think?