Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The MagicGatheringStrat podcast

Even though this is episode 1 of the podcast, it really is not a new podcast. We used to call it the Standard Pauper Show but found that the format was a bit too narrow for a full-length podcast.

I am one of the co-hosts. The main host is Brennon Rankin, the hugging care bear of Standard Pauper and my third co-host is Sam the VaultBoyHunter, the master of Player Run Events.

I did start out as a guest talking about the Pauper Gauntlet but now that S02 is over I just overstayed my welcome, became a host.and Brennon & Sam are too nice to kick me out.

What is this podcast about?
We still cover Standard Pauper (the cheapest format on Magic Online) but we now also talk about Magic in general with a focus on cheaper formats such as Pauper and the formats used in the Player Run Events (PREs).

Starting with episode 2 we will cover Pauper Classic Tuesdays, my favorite PRE at

There is also general tomfoolery and the occassional outburst in Swedish.

What are Player Run Events?
Player Run Events are free to enter tournaments ran by players (often sponsored by Bots so that you can win prizes despite the events being free).

Marcos Rodriguez will tell you more about the PREs here:

How can you find the MagicGatheringStrat podcast?
We are on itunes:

We also upload every episode to the youtube channel MagicGatheringStrat

Twitter: @MagicGathStrat
Twitch: MagicGatheringStrat

Modern Decks - Soul Sisters Part 3

Hi Everyone!

Today we're back with my first Modern deck, Soul Sisters. Last time We talked about the deck we focused on it's strengths and it's ability to win nearly any creature matchup with giant Ajani's Pridemates and 6/6 Flying Lifelinked Serra Ascendants.

Some problems we noticed in game two of my video from previous weeks was that a bunch of 1/1 creatures aren't good when the real win conditions get pathed or abrupt decayed.

The other problem is glaring. It's a mono-white deck. It has a decent sideboard of hate for various match ups that were popular online at the time I played the deck. The deck obviously needed removal and didn't have any mainboard so a lot of the time it was just not possible to win game 1 against large threats even if the opponent had light removal.

The other major problem with the deck is still is a problem. White fundamentally lacks disruption. The deck just rolls over to combo decks. My only mission versus combo decks is to kill them before they combo. Sometimes this deck behaves like a midrange deck and other times it behaves like a super aggro deck by attacking with a 10/10 on turn 3.

The only combo deck I had a good matchup against was Scapeshift because I'd wait until they tried to kill me and pop my martyr to gain a bunch of life and stay alive. Sometimes I'd even pop a couple martyrs by turn 3 or 4 and message my opponent and ask if they can even do 50 damage. The answer was usually no and they conceeded.

So I came up with various versions of the deck and found them all the same versus heavy removal and combo.

Eventually I thought I'd stray from soul sisters "budget roots" and make some sweet changes to see if I could get the deck to be competitive.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The problem with Modern? Yes, it really has a problem, a big one.

Hi Everyone,
Today, we're taking a small step away from the Soul Sisters deck series in order to talk about something that's been really controversial to a lot of readers. Paulo Vitor Dama Da Rosa wrote an article talking about the problems with Modern.

He wrotge that the big problem is that Modern has a lot of linear strategies that are all good and that many matchups depend on sideboard cards.

He proposed that more sideboard slots be allowed in Modern to account for the wide array of decks and lack of versatile cards in the format (all the good sideboard cards are "silver bullets"). I think this a potential solution and would serve to make the format better.

I thought it was important to talk about this as it's the "outing" of the problem I planned to discuss in my next article discussing Modern decks.

This week I read numerous internet forums of people defending Modern as their format of choice and how it has variety and is a great format...I didn't comment because I didn't have hours and hours to disprove all their nonsense arguements.

Here's the fact, you need to play either a combo deck or a deck with sideboard slots devoted to beating combo decks, or decks that can win before a combo deck can go off (think burn and infect). The reason Abzan was the most played deck is because it wasn't combo and is has disruption in the form of Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek and cards like Abrupt Decay and Maelstrom Pulse serving as general answers.

The other option is to play other decks. I'm currently doing a series on Soul Sisters (it's fun to play and easily beats the creature decks in the format and has the amazing side effect of not losing to twin combo much) and last Wednesday I showcased a video of the deck and showed it against another creature deck. Soul Sisters won. This coming Wednesday, I'm going to post about the deck versus a combo deck. It's not pretty. The only chance I have versus a combo deck is sideboard hate, sometimes I get lucky and am able to kill my opponent before they can go off. I often find myself taking mulligans if I didn't draw any of my sideboard hate in my opening hand.

The Modern Bible of RG Tron chapter one - Introduction

Welcome to the most extensive walkthrough of a Magic deck ever attempted. In this series we will go deep into Modern strategy, examining the ins and outs of the RG Tron deck every Sunday. When you think we have gone too deep, we will go even deeper. When you can't stand me talking about RG Tron anymore, I will talk some more about RG Tron.

At the end of the series - 35 weeks in the future - you will know more than you have ever wanted about the Tron deck and be capable to pilot the deck confidently.

There will be an accompanying video series about the deck as well, including lots and lots of gameplay.

If this becomes popular, my intention is to make a follow-up series covering another deck and possibly put several series into a book.

This is a living document so I will come back to it and update it. This means that this article will, by the time we are finished in October, include links to all parts of the series.

We will present three different builds of the deck, build several sideboard and sideboard plans, allowing you know exactly what to sideboard out and in of the deck. We will discuss how to adapt to shifting metagames, evaluate new cards and examine every major matchup in detail.

Welcome to the first installment of the Modern Bible.

Red Green Tron in Modern Table of Contents

1: Introduction. You are reading it right now.
2: The lands
3: The engine
4: The win conditions
5: The Ulamog deck ("Ulamog")
6: The Sundering Titan deck ("Titan")
7: The Wurmcoils only deck ("Coil")
8: 20 or 21 lands?
9: Sample videos
10. Mulligans
11: The principles of the RG Tron sideboard
12: Sideboard candidate cards part 1
13. Sideboard candidate cards part 2
14. Sideboarding: Slaughter Games Targets
15. Sideboarding & Chalice of the Void numbers
16. Main deck cards you should not play.
17. Ulamog SB plan.
18. Titan SB plan.
19. Coil SB plan.
20. Gameplay videos
21. Doing the right thing with Karn Liberated
22. Tips for playing the deck
23. Why does this deck ever lose?
24. Cutting Emrakul
25. Tron vs BGx
26. Tron vs Splinter Twin
27, Tron vs Burn
28. Tron vs Affinity
29. Tron vs Merfolk
30. Battle for Zendikar first impressions
31.Tron vs Scapeshift.
32. RG Tron vs Mono U Tron.
33. Tron vs Living End.
34. Problem matchup videos
35. How do you beat RG Tron?
36. Summary & wrapup, including a word about playing Mono Blue Tron, final verdict on Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and  the deck list I am currently playing.

Please let me know below which specific matchups you want to see covered or that you have questions about.

Be warned. Once you pick up the Oblivion Stones, it is hard to stop using them :)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Duel Decks: Elspeth vs Kiora

Duel Decks: Elspeth vs Kiora is the 15th set in the Duel Decks series. It will be released on February 27, 2015. The online release was not announced yet, but it is usually 10 days after the paper one.

The Duel Decks will be priced at 19.99 USD and for this money you get:
  • 2 Ready-to-play 60-card decks (click here to check decklists), where six cards receive new artwork: Elspeth, Sun's Champion, Kiora, the Crashing Wave, Mother of Runes, Temple of the False God, Explore and Decree of Justice.
  • 2 Deck boxes
  • 4 Creature tokens
  • Strategy insert
  • Rules reference card
The money cards online are the titled Mythic Rares. Elspeth, Sun's Champion goes for 12,90 and Kiora, the Crashing Wave is 8,18. Additionally, 4x Accumulated Knowledge are worth ~10. Rest of cards is a bulk, which will lay on your account for ages untill you find someone willing to purchase it. Anyway, the price for this DD seems very attractive, espeically you get a promo altered Mythics.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

MTGO Library Bot 9.26

We have just released ML Bot 9.26. The update from the older versions is required because Wizards changed the login screen and the old ML Bot versions are not able to login. The "username" and "password" fields have been moved down 20 pixels and thus the bot clicks on different locations.

Evaluating the Pauper Gauntlet S02

The second season of the Pauper Gauntlet is over.

This is the time when you tell me what you liked and did not like about the Pauper Gauntlet so we can refine the format for a possible third season.

You can also leave comments on YouTube in this video below

Some things I need your feedback on:

* Double elimination
* Quitters
* The Voteback
* Streaming
* Number of decks
* Pre-submitted decks (such as the winner)
* The mtgolibrary coverage (too much? too little?)
* Your favorite deck
* Your favorite match
* Anything else you can think of

We need a player to do a second season of the Standard Pauper Gauntlet. Comment below if you are interested.

Now it is actually really over. This is the last blog post about the second season of the Pauper Gauntlet. Thank you for watching

Modern Decks - Soul Sisters Part 2

Hi Everyone!

I'm back, and as promised with a video for you all.

Here's a match of Soul Sisters in it's original form. It works well vs creature decks. It does have some shortcomings and they mostly a function of price. A lot of people play soul sisters because the deck is very inexpensive compared to other Modern decks.

It showcased both the way the deck should perform and it's shortcomings. I lost game two because my opponent had a Goblin Chieftain and several 1/1 tokens that became 2/2. My opponent didn't play optimally but would have crushed me that game if he had. I know this is only one match, but it's pretty representative of creature deck matchups.

Unfortunately, the deck didn't do well against tokens and needed more removal. I had Path to Exile and Disenchant in the sideboard, but I need them main deck.

Here was my first round of changes:

4 Martyr of Sands
4 Serra Ascendant
4 Soul Warden
4 Soul's Attendant
4 Ajani's Pridemate
4 Honor of the Pure
4 Ranger of Eos
4 Squadron Hawk
2 Auriok Champion
3 Path to Exile
2 Cavern of Souls
2 Windbrisk Heights
19 Plains

3 Disenchant
3 Aven Mindcensor
1 Path to Exile
3 Rest in Peace
3 Stony Silence
2 Proclamation of Rebirth

I moved the Proclamations to the sideboard and brought in some paths.

One other think I found lacking with the deck was a complete lack of surprise. Everything I did excluding path to exile was at sorcery speed. This had to change. I added windswept heights because much of the time it would put me over the 30 life mark and make my Serra Ascendants get their bonus and ultimately lead to the win.

I'll next time is when the deck really got fun. I added some cards that made the deck so much better.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Music and productivity at work

Appropriately selected music to our daily duties can have a significant impact on how we perform. In this post I'm sharing with you a set of songs that will improve your productivity at work.

One of the key components of high productivity is our state of mind. As you know, the music directly affects on our state of mind. Studies show that the corresponding sound can increase our level of concentration. Of course, listening to a good song itself does not cause, that you will suddenly start doing your job well.

Listening to music you like is pleasurable, it will not only make the task seem more fun but as research shows, it can actually help you complete the task faster. Without a doubt music helps in many areas of our life, for instance with intense exercise (anyone who’s ever been inside a gym could tell you that). While setting MtGO bot prices you may listen any kind of music. If you’re working on something that you have done many times before, even if it’s complicated, your performance can increase and errors become less likely when you listen to music you like. On the other hand, you shall stop listening to music if you are learning something new. With immersive tasks, lyrics are especially destructive to our focus. So, instrumental music is the best choice for intellecutall work. As far as, nowadays most of jobs are services I will present you a some instumental songs, if you enjoy it check other songs of the artist. Feel free to add your suggestiones in comments.

- Tom Middleton: Yearning
- Twentyeight: Monday Night
- Fell: Bright
- Vibraspehere: Ensueno
- M-Seven: Future you
- Kodomo: Concept 1
- Paul Kalkbrenner: Azure
- Emancipator: Greenland
- Soundtracks from movies, e.g Hans Zimmerman

Power_T looks over BUGs & Pigs for Pauper

BUGs & Pigs by Galactic President was one of the smash hits of the Pauper Gauntlet.

Here is a recent video with the deck:

It is a very complicated BUG-colored Control deck without counterspells ... with Brindle Boar!

I did a full piece on the deck here:

There are many awesome brewers in Pauper, but there is one I respect more than any other, simply because his brewing once got me on the Pro Tour. That was long ago, but Power_T will Always remain my Mr Miyagi for Magic. Apparently he got interested in this deck, so he brewed his own version that I intend to share with you here.

BUGs & Pigs as modified by Power_T

Creatures (21)
4 Fume Spitter
4 Sakura Tribe Elder
3 Crypt Rats
3 Brindle Boar
1 Wickerbough Elder
4 Mulldrifter
2 Krosan Tusker

Spells (17)
4 Tragic Slip
2 Undying Evil
4 Chainer's Edict
2 Grim Harvest
3 Deep Analysis  (if you are Grim Harvesting all the time, maybe Treasure Cruise is bad)
2 Sylvok Lifestaff

Lands (22)
3 Bojuka Bog
6 Forest
2 Golgari Rot Farm
1 Island
1 Jungle Hollow
1 Simic Growth Chamber
4 Swamp
4 Thornwood Falls

Sideboard (15)
1 Disfigure
2 Doom Blade
2 Thrull Surgeon
4 Choking Sands
4 Thermokarst
1 Brindle Boar
1 Wickerbough Elder

Affinity: -3 deep, -1 spitter, +1 boar, +2 doom blade, +1 elder
(Random) Aggro: -3 Deep, -1 elder,  +1 disfigure, +2 doom blade, +1 brindle boar
Burn: -4 slip, -4 chainer's, -3 deep, -1 rats, +2 surgeon, +8 LD (= +4 choking sands, +4 thermokarst) +1 boar, +1 elder
Delver: -2 UE, -1 lifestaff, -1 deep, +1 disfigure, +2 doom blade, +1 elder
Delverfiend: -3 deep, -1 elder, +1 disfigure, +2 doom blade, +1 boar
Goblins = Random aggro
Familiars: -2 lifestaff, -3 boar, -1 elder, -2 UE,  +8 LD,
Hexproof: -2 spitter, -4 slip, -3 deep,  +1 elder, +4 choking sands, +4 thermokarst
Izzet Control: -2 UE, +2 thrull surgeon
MBC: -2 spitter, +1 boar, +1 elder. OR -1 elder, +1 boar. Depends. Do they have oubliette? Middle road: -1 spitter, +1 boar.
RUG Tron: -4 spitter, -2 slip, -2 lifestaff, -1 boar, -1 elder, -1 rats, -1 UE,  +4 choking sands, +4 thermokarst, +2 thrull surgeon, +2 doom blade
Stompy = Random aggro
Ugw Turbomill: -4 slip, -4 edict,  -2 lifestaff, -1 boar, +1 elder, +4 choking sands, +4 thermokarst, +2 thrull surgeon,

Some things to think about and random comments
Delver: Very bad matchup
DelverFiend: 24 Life is not enough if they have double strike
Familiars: Wait until they flicker/Bounce the Cloud of Faeries and then kill it
Izzet Control: Kill their creatures and watch them deck themselves.
RUG Tron: Horrible matchup before sideboard

Modern Decks - Soul Sisters Part 1

Hi Everyone!

Today, I'm starting a new series on several Modern format decks. I thought it would be fun to talk about my decks and the evolution they went through and ultimately how I think they fare in the current metagame.

The first deck I'm going to talk about is Soul Sisters. This is what I'm classifying as a creature deck (it wins by attacking with creatures and is fair, IE not combo or control). I'll go into classifications of decks more when we go over some of the decks that straddle the line of creature and combo or control and combo.

The deck works by getting one of the three different soul sisters into play and playing an Ajani's Pridemate and watch it grow like crazy, or because of a convenient side effect of life gain being that your lifetotal gets high, you can get a 6/6 Flying, Lifelinked Serra Ascendant for a single white mana.

The deck has a few notable interactions. The first is the "soul sisters" Soul Warden, Soul's Attendant, and Auriok Champion.

 Here was my first attempt at the deck:

3 Martyr of Sands
4 Serra Ascendant
4 Soul Warden
4 Soul's Attendant
4 Ajani's Pridemate
3 Honor of the Pure
2 Spectral Procession
3 Ranger of Eos
4 Squadron Hawk
4 Auriok Champion
2 Proclamation of Rebirth
2 Cavern of Souls
21 Plains

It was similar to a list I saw online and wanted to build some resiliency to the deck from board sweepers. It also included Martyr of Sands for that instant 6/6 flying, lifelink Serra Ascendant.

If you look at it, it's kind of a cross between the now separate archetype of Martyr Proc and Soul Sisters. It served me well and was a fun deck to play, it had creatures that provided card advantage, it was aggressive, and it was fun to play.

Next time, I'm going to talk about some of the shortcomings the deck had and what I did to remedy them.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Evolution of Modern Post Pod

Hi Everyone!

As we all know Birthing Pod was banned and the first pro-tour playing Modern was last week since the banning.

I was under the assumption that since red was only for removal and burn in Jund, that white would be just path to exile and Siege Rhino. It's funny because I remember Jund stopped playing with the splash of white for Lingering Souls because four colors was too hard to make work in a deck with only five enemy color fetches.

Something I didn't take into account is that since there are now more fetch lands in Modern, it's easier to have more basics in a deck. Something I used to never see in Modern.

I also didn't see the impact of lingering souls. It was interesting that while it was always known as a good card even though it seems to have stepped aside, is back in a big way.

Let this be a testament to the power of Siege Rhino. I think it's here to stay in Modern and it's worth picking them up cheap when they're still available for a low price.

One other thing that's interesting is many cards from Jund (liliana, goyf etc) picked up a lot in price. The one that didn't is Dark Confidant. I can only explain the lack of increasing price for Dark Confidant that Siege Rhino is so good and it's come into play effect is so powerful that the life loss just isn't worth the card anymore.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

MTGO Library Bot 9.22

Last month we introduced the possibility to start & stop your bot(s) from the Online Control Panel (read more here: To offer the service we implemented a push notification service.

ML Bot 9.22 fixes an error of that push notification service causing an error window with title "PubNubPOC". The error was not halting the bot or preventing it from trading, but it prevented the remote connection to work

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Final results of the second season of the Pauper Gauntlet

It took five months but now the Gauntlet is over. Stompy is the winner.

Deck lists here:

The results of the first season the Pauper Gauntlet here:

This is the final result of season two:

75th place: Pox, Deathtouch, Dumb Green Tron.

48th place:  Icy Hot Hottie, AzoriusKitty by ShaffaWaffa5, Mono Black Control, 1-Land-Spy, Allies, CawBlade, Cogs, Dimir Cipher Tricks, GruulKitty, GW Beatdown, Hobo Omelette, Glass Cannon Red, Izzet Splice and Burn, Metalcraft, Midnight Presence, Mono Green Devotion, Mono Red Kuldotha Tron, People of the Sun, Pesky Clerics, RG Madness, Rise of the Legionaire, Rot Wolf Control, Shock the Kitty, Slivers, Thunder Trees, UB Creatureless Control, WatchRites, White Hot Hottie

31st place: UB Trinket Control, Delver, BeastDown, Tron, Izzet Control, Croca Jund, Crypt Songs, Elf Bomb, Hexproof, Golgari Undead Dredge, Infect, Squawks to Plowshares, Squawk Rites, Thallid Bowel Control, UG Madness, Zoo.

Voteback: Love Train, TurboFog and Illusory Tricks return.

21st place: Devil Children, Dimir Teachings, Five Color Green, Gray Mercs, Mana Burn, Mono Blue Artifacts, Mono Red Ping, Persistenly Undying, Project X, TurboFog

15th place: Bant Presence, Illusory Tricks, Love Train, Mono Black Land Destruction, MUC, Tortured Toolbox

12th place: Green Grifters, AzoriusKitty by Power_T, BorosKitty (the champion of S01)

11th place: DelverFiend

8th place: Goblins (repeat top 10 performance), Green One, Rebel Grind.

7th place: BUGs & Pigs

4th place: Mono Red Heroic, Exhume Control, Familiars

3rd place: Affinity

2nd place: Burn

1st place: Stompy (repeat top 10 performance)

The top 10 decks qualified for a possible future season 03.

Decks eliminated before round seven

Only three decks out of 77 lost during double elimination (R1+2): Pox, Deathtouch, Dumb Green Tron

Round three

The early losers were Icy Hot Hottie, Illusory Tricks, Love Train, AzoriusKitty by ShaffaWaffa5, Mono Black Control, 1-Land-Spy, Allies, CawBlade, Cogs, Dimir Cipher Tricks, GruulKitty, GW Beatdown, Hobo Omelette, Glass Cannon Red, Izzet Splice and Burn, Metalcraft, Midnight Presence, Mono Green Devotion, Mono Red Kuldotha Tron, People of the Sun, Pesky Clerics, RG Madness, Rise of the Legionaire, Rot Wolf Control, Shock the Kitty, Slivers, Thunder Trees, Turbo Fog, UB Creatureless Control, WatchRites, White Hot Hottie (31 decks)

Round four

UB Trinket Control, Delver, BeastDown, Tron, Izzet Control, Croca Jund, Crypt Songs, Elf Bomb, Hexproof, Golgari Undead Dredge, Infect, Squawks to Plowshares, Squawk Rites, Thallid Bowel Control, UG Madness, Zoo.

The voteback

You decided that Love Train, TurboFog and Illusory Tricks deserved a second chance at glory.

Round five

Devil Children lost to Affinity 0-2 Dimir Teachings lost to Affinity 1-2 Five Color Green gets its enchanted lands destroyed by RG Land Destruction 0-2 Gray Mercenaries of Asphodel lost to Affinity 1-2 Mana Burn lost to Delver 1-2 Mono Blue Artifacts lost to RUG Tron 0-2 Mono Red Ping lost to Izzet Trinket 0-2 Persistently Undying lost to Izzet Cruise Control 0-2 Project X got run over by DelverFiend 0-2 Turbo Fog lots to Obzens playing AzoriusTron 0-2

Round six

Bant Presence lost to DelverFiend 0-2 Illusory Tricks lost to Burn 0-2 Love Train lost the unlikely mirror match 1-2 Mono Black Land Destruction lost to Affinity 0-2 MUC lost to Affinity 0-2 Tortured Toolbox lost to Winter Zoo 0-2

Round seven

Round seven turned into a bloodbath. Only half the decks survived! That was unexpected, to say the least. AzoriusKitty lost to Affinity 0-2. Yes, it was Eredion again. That guy is a Gauntlet killer! BorosKitty lost to Burn 0-2. The champion has fallen! DelverFiend lost to Boros Metalcraft 0-2 Goblins lost to Surucucu playing RG Aggro 1-2 Green Grifters lost to Affinity 0-2 Green One was defeated by Izzet Tron 0-2 Rebel Grind lost to Izzet Tron 0-2

Top 10 playoff

After 18 bonus matches Goblins, Green One and Rebel Grind got 8th place, DelverFiend got 11th place and AzoriusKitty by Power_T, BorosKitty and Green Grifters shared 12th place.

Round eight

BUGs & Pigs lost to Delver 0-2.

Round nine

Exhume Control lost to Delver 0-2. Familars lost to RG Aggro 1-2. Mono Red Heroic lost to MBC 1-2.

Round ten

All three remaining decks won! Stompy beat Izzet Control 2-0. Affinity beat Burn 2-0. Burn beat Simic Mill 2-0.

Round eleven

Affinity lost to RUG Tron 0-2. Stompy beat Grixis Teachings 2-0. Burn beat Affinity 2-0.

Round twelve

Both remaining decks lost so the Gauntlet continued. Stompy lost to RB Flashback 1-2. Burn lost to Affinity 0-2.

Round thirteen

This was the first tournament round. Both remaining decks played a two-man tournament. Burn lost to MBC 1-2 and Stompy won the Pauper Gauntlet by beating Hexproof (a known problem matchup) 2-0.

I hope you enjoyed the Pauper Gauntlet. I did. See you next time! Well, we need to do the evaluation thing first and then we are truly done, I promise :)

MTGO Library Bot 9.21

ML Bot 9.21 has just been released, fixing a crash of version 9.20 happening when making all tixs tradable. The crash happened only for bots with the option "make cards tradable" unchecked.

We also took the time to revise the whole "make tickets tradable" functionality that was not working properly after last Wednesday MTGO update.

Monday, February 9, 2015

MTGO Library Bot 9.19 and 9.20

Two days ago we released ML Bot 9.19 and today we released ML Bot 9.20.
These are two minor builds fixing a problem with the "make tickets tradable" functionality.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

There's a Pro Tour this weekend, here's how I handle it

Hi Everyone,
This morning (right about when this article is posted) Pro Tour Fate Reforged Top 8 is beginning. The top 8 is Modern format and from what I saw on the early day two coverage, the combo decks like infect and Summer Bloom/Titan decks were doing well in addition to the Modern regulars (twin and Abzan).

As I'm sure many of you know, this means that many cards from these decks will jump in prices for a short time then settle back to normal because they are narrow cards. It's the cards with a broad range of applications that are going to go up in the long term.

My plan is to lower my prices a small percentage (about 5% of the jump depending on the card) in order to unload all my cards that are very narrow or only fit in one deck (I'm talking to you, Amulet of Vigor). Then after the hype dies, buy them back.

It's an alternative strategy that many business owners refuse to use because it doesn't "maximize profit" per unit of input. I am a big advocate of taking a little less than you need and functioning on higher volume.

The only disadvantage of this strategy is if you don't have enough inventory to facilitate high volume trading. If you don't have the inventory to compete this way, don't compete this way.

How do I know if I can compete this way?

It's pretty simple, when a card spikes in price (like Glittering Wish when Jeskai Ascendancy first came out) do you sell out? If the answer is yes, you likely should raise your prices a little. If the answer is no, you need to follow my lead and start using the size of your inventory as a resource for you to compete.

Limited Lessons #5 and #6

This is the third part of our new video series focusing on the ins and outs of Limited Play.

The first tpart was about The Value of a Card and How to Play around a Card. You can find it here:

The second part was about Signals and Deckbuilding. You can find it here:

Today we will talk about Mulligans and Quadrant Theory


Quadrant Theory

If you liked this series, please let us know and there might be even more episodes.

Ugin's story

During the Fate Reforged pre-release you get a booster pack which contains 1 land card, 1 token and 2 random alternative cards for completing the event. In paper Magic you could open Ugin, the Spirit Dragon in such pack. When Magic Online players started wondering why the heck no one seemed to be getting any Ugins, Wizards clarified that this card was not given out.

Putting it mildly, the community was not pleased with this announcement. More and more people expressed disapproval what forced Wizards to change their mind. Eventually, Wizards has opted to give random players copies of Ugin based on the number of pre-release they participated. A player's likelihood to get an Ugin, the Spirit Dragon is the same as it is in paper Magic.

The moral of the story: Wizards listen what the community has to say or in other words Wizards care about marketing.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Magic Online Economy is at a standstill

Hi Everyone!

Magic Online seems to be at a standstill. There aren't a lot of FRF cards in circulation yet and it could take some time before they are readily available. FRF cards are being bought and sold but it's a risky market to get into right now.

It's risky to buy FRF cards because they're still new and overpriced in the market. If you plan to buy them now, you'll need to unload them as quickly as possible and resign yourself to making a small profit on them.

The alternative is to wait until after the weekend and hope you "hit" on the cards you bought. They should skyrocket if they're seen in winning Modern decks. We all know(or at least should know) that picking individual cards is dangerous and really risky.

Also, since everyone is scrambling to get their FRF cards, no one is buying any Khans cards. Historically, it's going to take a couple weeks for new decks to come out before Khans sales pick back up.

We have a winner of the Pauper Gauntlet S02

Two decks enter, one deck leave. Stompy and Burn went into the tournaments rounds this week, playing a two-man tournament each.

Burn ran into MBC with Gray Merchants and Corrupt!

Stompy faced its nightmare matchup: Hexproof. Deluxeicoff once said that this match is 97-3 for Hexproof.

The End
As one deck won and the other lost, we now have a winner of the Gauntlet. Congratulations to the deck and to denofbears, who was its champion. He wins two foil paper Shocklands and a MTGO Elspeth, Sun's Champion.

Basic facts
What is the Pauper Gauntlet?

Full list of the 77 Pauper Gauntlet decks for the second season: 

What now?
I will present the final result of the Gauntlet and then we will discuss the Pauper Gauntlet itself and how to improve it for a possible third season in the next article. After that this five month journey is over. Thank you so much for following the Gauntlet. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Never ever play the two-mans and eight-man constructed tournaments on MTGO

It is a bad idea to play the two-man constructed tournaments on Magic Online (and the 8-mans) if you are interested in going infinite. In fact, playing the small tournaments is a serious leak compared to playing the Daily Events and the Premier Events.

Sad facts
The approximate resale value of a pack of Khans of Tarkir is 2.7 tickets at this point.
You pay 2 tickets to play a two-mans.
That means you have to have a 74% win rate in the long run to break event. Despite your win rate in the Tournament Practice room, very few people achieve this in the two-man queues.
If you can actually manage a 80% win rate (very unlikely) you only make 32 tickets in 100 tournaments.

This, of course, does not apply if you are only interested in the entertainment value and are prepared to pay for it.

Most people know this, why are you going on about it?
Well, having said all this, I will now play the two-mans and possibly the eight-mans with the remaining two decks of the second season of the Pauper Gauntlet.

Calculate the value of any MTGO tournament here:

Price of Khans of Tarkir boosters:

What is the Pauper Gauntlet and what are the rules?

Full list of the 77 Pauper Gauntlet decks for the second season:

Fate Reforged: 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.

White: Sandblast, Jeskai Barricade, Channel Harm, Rally the Ancestors, Abzan Adventage, Pressure Point, Valorous Stance.
Blue: Refocus, Whisk Away, Rite of Undoing, Reality Shift, Supplant Form, Will of the Naga.
Black: Reach of Shadows, Douse in Gloom, Crux of Fate.
Red: Wild Slash, Collateral Damage, Temur Battle Rage, Arcbond, Friendly Fire, Dragonrage, Bathe in Dragonfire, Pyrotechnics, Mob Rule.
Green: Ruthless Instincts, Return to the Earth, Winds of Qal Sisma.
Multi: Grim Contest, War Flare, Cunning Strike, Harsh Susteance, Ethereal Ambush.

Now is the time for Khans

Hi Everyone!

I have been talking about it for a long time now. I think my first week I even mentioned the release of Fate Reforged changing the price of Khans was about 5 weeks ago. It's been a while coming, but the time is now!

Khans is currently at it's lowest price ever on Magic Online. I think the price could drop a little more next week when Fate Reforged comes out.

There's also a lot of new things that I haven't seen much before. Wizards is making Fate reforged packs with lands from Khans to make it possible to draft FRF, FRF, FRF. I think this is going to make the price of Khans behave differently in the future compared to other large expansions. I also think that since Dragons of Tarkir will be a large set, it will be designed to be drafted by itself. I truly believe drafting and having new draft formats is the primary goal of Wizards wanting to change the Standard format. I think it's nonsense that they mentioned that it's because "standard gets stale" and they are willing to hire more staff to produce more new set ideas just because they care about the players.

I think it's motivated by selling more cards completely and I don't know how much drafting goes on in paper Magic but I know it is the primary way cards get onto Magic Online.

Anyway, rant off, buy Khans now or in the next week or two. It's currently at an all time low and could drop lower but probably won't because there are still good cards that will need to be played in standard for the next year and will have a reduced supply online.