Sunday, November 27, 2016

Drafting Magic 2013

Magic 2013 was the draft format I got started with on youtube. I have liked it the best of all the core sets.

Its the flashback draft format happening right now on Magic Online. Try it out. You might enjoy it.

A couple of tips

1. It is a very midrange format. It is hard to be super aggro but it does work from time to time.
2. Exalted is real. This is one of the reasons for tip #3.
3. White is the best color.
4. When you go black and it is open - go heavy black! The shade works.
5. Red comes with good burn and mediocre creatures.
6. Friendly color combinations work best.
7. You need strong uncommons to do well with blue. However, the uncommons are very strong.
8. One toughness creatures die easily. If they don't, they are very good.  Consider sideboarding them out against Red.
9. Creatures with enter the battlefield effects are awesome.
10. Green is a stronger color than usual.

The pressure

A feeling of pressure during a tournament could totally ruin you and your performance. How to deal with it? Read on to find out.

  • Keep expectationes low. Don't visualize yourself holding a trophy just after winning four rounds. Simply do your job and play to your maximum ability.  So focusing or worrying about results when you are playing is pointless. The more expectations you take with you into a tournament, the more mental weight you will have piled on your shoulders each round you play.
  • I bet you feel very comfortable during FNM, but why many players get nervous in Grand Prix event? The game is the same. Rules are the same. You played Magic bazillion times before and you are not doing anything different than what you have done many times before. Perceive every game of Magic as a kitchen table game. It is just Magic.
  • Paired against local pro player or worldwide fameous name? 'Hell no, I'm surely doomed.' Is it really true? While playing against a newbie, does it mean you are giving him adventage? Definately not. You are trying to win a game at any cost. Either your opponent. Don't pay attention against whom you are playing. No matter if it is pro player or potentially worse player than you are. Pay attention to matchup and state of board, instead. 
  • Losing is a natural thing. It doesn't mean you are a bad player. The sooner you realize it, the better it is for you. A new dawn will come and so the new tournaments. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Tom Ross wins SCG Modern Open Columbus with Tron

Tom Ross won the SCG Modern Open! Great job! But it was not RG Tron. It was GW Tron!

Why would you give up the best dual land in Modern to play white instead of red?

Well, there are a couple of reasons.

First, lets have a look at the deck.

Main deck
4 Ancient Stirrings
1 Brushland
4 Chromatic Sphere
4 Chromatic Star
4 Expedition Map
1 Forest
1 Ghost Quarter
4 Karn Liberated
3 Oblivion Stone
3 Path to Exile
3 Razorverge Thicket
2 Relic of Progenitus
1 Sanctum of Ugin
1 Spellskite
4 Sylvan Scrying
2 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
2 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
4 Urza's Mine
4 Urza's Power Plant
4 Urza's Tower
2 World Breaker
2 Wurmcoil Engine

3 Blessed Alliance
1 Ghost Quarter
3 Nature's Claim
1 Ravenous Trap
2 Rest in Peace
2 Thragtusk
3 Warping Wail

The idea of playing GW instead of GR is not new to Tron players. The main reason has been Path to Exile. Get a powerful spot removal spell instead of  Pyroclasm - should work well in certain metas. Timely Reinforcements also was a staple in the GW Tron decks. This is noticeably missing in Tom Ross's list.

As the author of the Modern Bible of RG Tron I have never advocated GW Tron. Today, I might have changed my mind.

The answers are all in the sideboard. Rest in Peace seems a much more powerful answer to Dredge than Relic of Progenitus. Blessed Alliance also swings the troublesome Burn Match in a way the older sideboard cards just never did. 

Also, it helped that Blood Moon decks are very popular. Contrary to popular belief, Blood Moon is not very effective against Tron decks with Oblivion Stones, Ugins and Karns.

Amazing deck choice, Tom! One day I may even consider playing Warping Wail which I am still on the fence about. 

Treasure Chests in paper Magic

From November 26 through December 17, stores around the world will be able to host Standard Showdown tournaments on Saturdays with special promotional prize boosters earned through undefeated play. Apart from performance, Wizards suggested distributing them as prizes for new players.

Stores will receive 40 prize boosters (ten for each event). Additonally, stores can also get 44 Standard Showdown Boosters to use as buy-a-box promos over the holiday season. Each purchase of a Kaladesh Booster Box will get you two boosters and each booster contains three-cards:
  • one premium Standard legal card, including Zendikar Expeditions and Kaladesh Inventions, not including double-faced cards.
  • two Standard legal rares or mythics (Battle for Zendikar through Kaladesh, excluding Oath of the Gatewatch and double-faced cards).
Zendikar Expeditions and Kaladesh Inventions appear in roughly 1 in 33 boosters.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Penny Dreadful - a new super cheap format on Magic Online

What would you say if I told you there is a format where you can play some super powerful rares and a deck costs less than 75 cents? Well, now there are.

Penny Dreadful is a new player run format on Magic Online where every card in the format costs 1 cent or less. That's the rule. There is - to my knowledge - no ban list. Every card on Magic Online that costs 0.01 or less is legal in your deck.

The format self-regulates, as a deck that dominates the format will increase in price slightly and become illegal by the next rotation. There is a rotation upon each new set release on Magic Online.

In a format where the staples will cycle with every set release, brewers take center stage in a race to define the next meta. At less than 1 Tix per deck, no card is out of your budget!
Mechanics that weren't quite powerful enough to compete in Modern and Standard are now king in Penny Dreadful.
Now I just have to figure out how to find someone to play with without joining the clan. 

Yes, its the ship! Treasure Cruise is legal in Penny Dreadful!

Best way to find matches is probably to join the Penny Dreadful clan on MTGO.
The Penny Dreadful web page: 
The Penny Dreadful Reddit: runs a weekly tournament on US-friendly hours:

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Changes to Magic Online Events

Wizards has announced several changes to the way Magic Online events work.

* Competetive draft leagues are added. Single elimination events. Better payouts.
* Existing 6-2-2-2 draft leagues renamed "Friendly Draft Leagues"
* Prestive Avatars added to show how awesome you are through your avatar.
* Treasure Chests get better cards and EV goes up about 50 cents per chest.
* Treaure Chests will become tradeable
* C16 and Conspiracy: Take the Crown cards added to treasure chests

Full announcement by Lee Sharpe here:

Disable User Account Control In Windows 10

On Microsoft Windows 10, User Account Control ('UAC') prevents applications from making certain changes on your PC. Some applications try to change system-related parts, such as the Registry or the file system.

ML Bot is one of these applications because, in order to manage Magic Online and uninstall / reinstall it, the bot needs to access the file system (the "files on your hard drive"). If you don't disable UAC, ML Bot will not be able to perform certain tasks on Magic Online and in particular to repair MTGO in case of crash. As result the bot will work fine until MTGO crashes. At this point ML Bot will not be able to handle the crash and recover.
Please note that on a stable machine this will hardly happen and keeping the UAC turned will not affect you however typically this is not the case, MTGO is very unstable and crashes often and turning off UAC is mandatory.

Here is how to disable UAC and get rid of its popups in Windows 10.

Step 1
Firstly, right click on the “Start” button and select Control Panel option.

Step 2
Select "view by: large icons"

Step 3
Select the User Account option.

Step 4
Select the 'Change User Account Control setting' option

Step 5
Select User Account Control settings, and move the slider to the bottom (Never Notify). If the slider is already at the bottom (Never Notify) then move it up, release the mouse, move it down again to Never Notify and release it. Click OK.

Step 6
When you click OK the new dialogue box is open. Click YES.

Step 7
At this point UAC should be disabled. You will need to restart your PC. Once restarted, launch ML Bot using the icon on the Desktop,  if you completed the steps successfully the bot will launch without UAC. If you still see a request dialog from UAC, you did not disable UAC and you need to do again the steps above. If the problem still persists, please contact us via email at or

Frontier - a new format

For some time Wizards are speaking about creation of a new format, which would be the successor of Modern. It would be a new, nonrotating format in which we use cards from the latest sets. Unfortunately, apart from a few vague statements we have never received the details. Players took the matter into theirs own hands and created a format from the bottom up. Ladies and gentlemen, I present a Frontier, the new format in MTG, also known as postmodern.

Frontier was officially born on September 26, when the two largest MTG stores in Japan (Hareruya and BigMagic) announced that they are starting supporting a development of the new format. This was a response to requests from Japanese players, who were fed up with bland and rapidly rotating Standard. The dominance of aggro decks around was an argument too.

All cards that were legal in Standard are available, starting from Magic2015, which was the first set when Wizards printed holograms on Rare and Mythic cards for the first time. Thus, the Frontier includes: Magic 2015, Khans of Tarkir, Fate Reforged, Dragons of Tarkir, Magic Origins, Battle for Zendikar, Oath of the Gatewatch, Shadows over Innistrad, Eldritch Moon and Kaladesh.

In the last weekend of October, about 300 players (!) in Tokyo gathered and played the first big official tournament in Frontier.

I'm curious how this format will develop. Well, it has the support from shops. Not only in Japan but also in the US. Enthusiasm of players is huge. Will it share the fate of Tiny Leaders, which quickly grew tired. Will it receive a official support from the Wizard? What do you think of the new format?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Braid of Fire

Look at this beautiful card, designed for a world with mana burn. Without mana burn in the rules anymore, should this card not be exploitable? How to exploit it?

Sure, there are disadvantages. Lets look at them.

Modern is fast.
You have to use the mana in your upkeep
This card gives you a lot of mana when it is too late to really use it for anything.
An two mana enchantment is quite vulnerable
Other decks do this more efficiently (i.e. Tron or ramp strategies)

I want to try to break this card. I see two routes.

The combo route
Kruphix, God of Horizons.

There are better combo decks. I will not try to go the combo route today.

The control route

What if we take an Izzet control shell and only use instants in the deck? Suddenly all the cards are good on their own and they become great with Braid of Fire. I am thinking along the lines of the Izzet Post decks of old in Pauper.

Well, lets experiment.

Very rough first draft of a deck list 
4 Braid of Fire
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Think Twice
1 Whispers of the Muse
4 Steam Vents
2 Stomping Ground
4 Wooded Foothills
4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Arid Mesa
5 Mountain
4 Manamorphose
2 Anger of the Gods
2 Magmaquake
2 Ravaging Blaze
1 Firespout
1 Mysteries of the Deep
4 Serum Visions
2 Comet Storm
2 Volcanic Geyser

3 Pyroclasm
4 Ancient Grudge
2 Anger of the Gods
2 Firespout
1 Magmaquake
2 Vandalblast
1 Ravaging Blaze

How would you exploit Braid of Fire? What cards are needed for the deck? Leave your comments below

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sideboarding mastery

Over half of our games are sideboarded, but sideboarding is perhaps the most underrated art in Magic. The aim of this article is to provide some tips and key ideas that you can incorporate into any deck you play.

  • Don't reveal the number of cards you sideboard. Put them all in your deck at the same time and then remove the number at the same time. In Limited, players often don't make any changes and if you don't have any card which will improve your performance, you can always bluff your opponent. Side out 3 Plains and side in 3 Plains. Confuse him.
  • While we are on the subject of Limited and you are facing an aggro deck, which you cannot catch up with, consider changing your mana curve. Bring in some not obvious choices, like 2/1 for 2 mana in order to trade with their 2-drops. The point here is that you already win the late game anyway so you can afford a bad card. Contrary with both slow deck. Add a 7/6 for 6 mana. A creature that makes a difference in a long game.
  • Base sideboard plan on whether you are on the play or on the draw. Take a card like Knight of the White Orchid as example. It is great if you are on the play and you can search for a plains card, but if you are starting you will probably not benefit from its ability. So, it is rather a safe bet to sideboard it out, while you are starting. 
  • It may seems very unpopular, but consider siding out few land cards when the matchup is not about speed or you are significantly changing the mana curve.
  • Be aware of fact that your opponent is sideboarding as well. He may totally change a game plan, for example side out all creatures he has, so adding more removal spells against him might be not the best move. 

Wizards emergency bans Peregrine Drake in Pauper

During the regular banning announcement people expected Peregrine Drake to be banned in Pauper. The card reintroduced the broken Ghostly Flicker type combo decks and arguably even made them better. Gone were the old Familiars shells of tricky combinations. Now you could just take a good control deck and add Peregrine Drake and Ghostly Flicker and voila! you had one of the most broken decks in Pauper history.

Now no other midrange deck could keep up. The only way to combat drake was to go fast or play Drake yourself. Even the control decks had little chance.

With very little experience I picked up the deck and beat a UB Mystical Teachings deck.

Shockingly, Peregrine Drake was not banned during the regular banning announcement.

Then, this happened:

I could be wrong but I don't think this has happened since Jace, the Mind Sculptor wrecked Standard.

Peregrine Drake is now gone starting November 16th. I am quite excited about this change. Better late than never. I am looking forwards to playing Pauper in a healthy metagame once again.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

10-tix Modern Goats

Our 10-tix Modern league at is in full swing. We had 66 players.
Here are the basic details:
It turns out that format was quite varied.

I crashed and burn with my Burn deck, but not before I had this epic match against Coalition Victory (!).

My friend Brennon decided that 10-tix Modern was a perfect place to play a Goat Tribal deck (!).
Yes, that is what he played. Tribal Goats!

And then of course we have my other buddy, Bobgar, who played Stompy.