Sunday, January 29, 2017

Aether Revolt: impact on Modern format

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

A Fatal Push is undoubtly the number one Aether Revolt card. It is the new one-mana removal that kills most of Modern playable creature cards. The power level similar to Path to Exile. A black color have been waitng a long time for such card.

A cat beast with blue horns called Felidar Guardian makes a new turn 4 combo with Saheeli Rai that creates infinite 1/4 hasty artifact Cat Beasts. It works very similarly to a Splinter Twin deck, but this combo is much easier to stop. Additionally, you must be playing three-color Jeskai deck. This both cards dominated the first bigger Standard events. Will it take the same route in Modern?

Baral, Chief of Compliance will be tested in Grixis Control and Jeskai Control. The early blocker, that reduces the cost of instant and sorcery spells, turns into Merfolk Looter while casting a counterspells. Looting is not quite as good as drawing card, but it still is adventageous. Speaking of counterspells, Disallow will be a new, better Counterspell if Baral is on the battlefield. This cards may go together.

Another card with potential is Lifecrafter's Bestiary. It is not a Glimpse of Nautre, but Elves deck may gain a large amount of card advantage over its opponent and constant scry help to find the answer you are looking for.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The top ten decks in Pauper right now

After the emergency banning of Peregrine Drake the Pauper metagame has been in an interesting state of flux. Being forced to fight Drake decks turned very aggressive and then it took some time to find a deck that could handle all that aggression. Now there is one and after years and years as a tier 1.5 deck UB Control is finally in the top tier of decks.

As of today, Jan 25 2017, this is the top ten decks of the Magic Online Pauper metagame.

1. Delver (10,1%)
2. UB Control (9,7%)
3. Murasa Tron (9,4%)
4. Bogles (8,3%)
5. Kuldotha Boros (8,3%)
6. Stompy (8,0%)
7. WURG Tron (6,6%)
7. Izzet Control (6,6%)
9. Affinity (6,6%)
10. Burn (4,5%)

Not as healthy a metagame as the Modern metagame I talked about last week but still pretty healthy.

Note the two different Tron builds, which really makes Tron the #1 deck in the meta.

Its amazing to still see Delver up there. It has been a tier one deck since before even Delver of Secrets was printed.

I have no idea why UB Control is that big right now when it traditionally has a bad Tron matchup and not a super stellar Delver matchup. If someone could explain that to me I am all ears. What caused UB Control to become a tier one deck after all this time?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The top ten decks in Modern after the bannings

Gitaxian Probe and Golgari Grave-Troll were banned. What happened with the metagame? Lets have a look.

As of today, Jan 22 2017, this is the top ten decks of the Magic Online metagame.

1. Abzan (10% of the metagame)
2. Jund (7,6%)
3. Tron (7,1%)
4. Affnity (5,7%)
5. Burn (5,1%)
6. Titan Shift (4,4%)
7. Bant Eldrazi (4,4%)
8. Amulet Titan (3,8%)
9. Grixis Control (3,3%)
10. Ad Nauseam (3%)

If the aim of banning Gitaxian Probe was to get rid of combo that did not really happen.

Dredge is nowhere to be seen so it seems Golgari Grave-Troll was extremely critical to the deck.

GBx is back in force. I guess that is only natural. Much like aggro is often the better choice in a new Standard format, GBx is always the safe choice n a new Modern format. Grim Flayer seems to be doing some work.

I am amazed at the success of Tron. I had counted Tron out. I was definitely wrong. At some point I will get back to playing it. I am still playing Burn and enjoying it very much.

Overall the metagame looks very healthy. Look, there is even a control deck in there!

No more prerelease events online

Wizards has announced that they will not host online prerelease or release online events anymore. Read on to find out how they argued theirs decision

Perelease events on Magic Online have been a cornerstone of our releases for a long time. When most events were scheduled or queues, Prereleases made a lot of sense as standalone events that spotlight the new set and offer an experience similar to what you might find in your local game store. In a post-Leagues world, however, Prerelease events makes less sense as we place emphasis on players being able to play on their own schedule.

In addition, some players also expressed confusion about the events and their structures and how a Prerelease League differed from a friendly or competitive League that starts a few days later. Other players were frustrated because of their preference for competitive or friendly events, which were not always available with limited Prerelease offerings. Finally, we want to maximize the opportunities for players to play, and short Leagues like the Prerelease Leagues don't provide enough time for some players to reliably join and finish their courses. This means they are excluded from the experience or have matches left to play when the League ends, which are feel-bads we want to avoid where possible.

Now with the change for Aether Revolt release, you don't need to focus on the event calendar to try to decide when the events you like start. Instead, come January 25, you can just jump in and start playing in your preferred event! Our normal suite of Sealed and Draft Leagues for Aether Revolt will be available right after the downtime, and these Leagues will continue through Amonkhet.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Worth Wollpert leaves Wizards of the Coast #blameworth

After 16 years at Wizards and a long time in charge of Magic Online, Worth Wollpert has stepped down.

The reason stated is that Wizards is restructuring digialt. That is probably a good idea and it is natural that it includes some layoffs. You really can't blame Worth for wanting to do something else.

I am personally amazed at the amount of stuff he has handled. And all the negative feedback he has endured.

The announcement by Wizards in itself is very interesting. They claim to be reimagining digital versions of Magic and other Wizards games. They will bring the characters and worlds to other games and experiences. They will make Wizards experiences more efficient, connect and convenient.

All I can think when I read that is "What does this mean for the value of my investment in MTGO cards?". I guess it is just too early to tell.

Wizard's announcement about the restructuring:

Worth confirms in a tweet:

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Bombardment Tokens in Pauper

Going wide is quite popular in Pauper currently but sometimes you stall. What if we had something that could do damage in that situation? What if we used Raid Bombardment?

For the upcoming four weeks I will be playing this deck on the youtube channel MagicGatheringStrat:

Main Deck
4 Ash Barrens
4 Battle Screech
2 Boros Garrison
1 Cenn's Enlistment
4 Journey to Nowhere
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Mogg War Marshal
3 Mountain
11 Plains
3 Raid Bombardment
3 Rally the Peasants
1 Secluded Steppe
4 Soul Warden
4 Soul's Attendant
4 Squadron Hawk
1 Veteran Armorer
3 Wind-Scarred Crag

1 Dust to Dust
2 Electrickery
2 Lumithread Field
2 Prismatic Strands
4 Pyroblast
2 Relic of Progenitus
2 Sundering Growth

This will be an exercise for all of so the deck list is not written in stone but subject to change every week.

Here are some notes from the deck's creator, cannonspectacle:

Well, one thing I've done is, if Enlistment is still in the deck, I like making land drops until I hit 8 mana, so I can potentially double Enlistment. Otherwise the deck only needs about 6 mana, to cast and flashback Rally the Peasants
And I've found that Raid Bombardment is probably the best card in the deck. It's like a War Horn, except it's also a way to deal lethal even on a clogged board.
I've found that making red more than just a splash adds a lot of power to the deck.

As for sideboarding, if it looks like my opponent has Shrivel or Electrickery, I bring in the Lumithread Fields, since this version is even more vulnerable to sweepers than the traditional build of Tokens.

Depending on the matchup, I trim spot removal (ie Journeys) against creature-light decks, late-game cards (ie one Enlistment and one Rally/Bombardment) against aggro, and a couple Soul Sisters when my life total doesn't matter.

Evincar's Justice is pretty much game over. Creatureless control decks are hard to win, although having access to Lightning Bolt helps. Elves can be tough unless you keep their board clear and kill them fast, since Wellwisher gains more life than the Soul Sisters. Any other go-wide strategy is pretty easy, especially with Raid Bombardment to deal unblockable damage.
Massive Raid might be a card to consider.

I will report back here when the four week journey with the deck is done. It begins tomorrow on

Saturday, January 14, 2017

How to draft Aether Revolt?

I'm going to present you the list of cards, starting from the best pick during the draft and ending on the least desirable card. For instance, if you don't have any card from "1st pick" card pool look for cards in "3rd pick". Cards not mentioned below shouldn't rather appear in your deck.

1st pick
Black: Gifted Aetherborn, Herald of Anguish, Yahenni’s Expertise
Red: Freejam Regent, Release the Gremlins, Quicksmith Rebel
White: Exquisite Archangel, Sram’s Expertise
Blue: Quicksmith Spy
Green: Aetherwind Basker, Lifecrafter’s Bestiary, Ridgescale Tusker, Rishkar, Peema Renegade
Arifact: Aethersphere Harvester, Walking Ballista

2nd pick:
Black: Aether Poisoner, Battle at the Bridge, Cruel Finality, Daring Demolition, Fatal Push, Foundry Hornet, Glint-Sleeve Siphoner, Midnight Entourage, Perilous Predicament, Vengeful Rebel, Yahenni, Undying Partisan
Red: Aether Chaser, Chandra’s Revolution, Enraged Giant, Gremlin Infestation, Hungry Flames, Kari Zev, Skyship Raider, Lightning Runner, Reckless Racer, Scrapper Champion, Shock, Sweatworks Brawler.
White: Aeronaut Admiral, Aethergeode Miner, Airdrop Aeronauts, Alley Evasion, Caught in the Brights, Consulate Crackdown, Countless Gears Renegade, Dawnfeather Eagle, Deadeye Harpooner, Felidar Guardian, Restoration Specialist, Solemn Recruit, Sram, Senior Edificer, Thopter Arrest
Blue: Baral’s Expertise, Bastion Inventor, Dispersal Technician, Hinterland Drake, Illusionist’s Stratagem, Leave in the Dust, Merchant’s Dockhand, Reverse Engineer, Shielded Aether Thief, Skyship Plunderer, Trophy Mage, Wind-Kin Raiders
Green: Aether Herder, Aetherstream Leopard, Druid of the Cowl, Greenbelt Rampager, Greenwheel Liberator, Lifecraft Cavalry, Maulfist Revolutionary, Monstrous Onslaught, Narnam Renegade, Prey Upon, Rishkar’s Expertise
Multi: Ajani Unyielding, Maverick Thopterist, Oath of Ajani, Outland Boar, Renegade Wheelsmith, Rogue Refiner, Spire Patrol, Tezzeret the Schemer, Tezzeret’s Touch, Weldfast Engineer, Winding Constrictor
Arifact: Barricade Breaker, Daredevil Dragster, Metallic Mimic, Scrap Trawler, Treasure Keeper, Untethered Express,

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Gitaxian Probe and Golgari Grave-Troll are banned in Modern

Dredge had really gotten a boost from Cathartic Reunion and Prized Amalgam which means that Golgari Grave-Troll goes back on the banned list once again. It was fun to see the troll in play for a while but I can only agree with this decision.

Gitaxian Probe enabled too many strange things in the format and I think it is time to see it go away. Phyrexian mana is utterly broken and this card proved the point.

Standard had also gone a bit crazy and we see some Standard bannings, something that is not very common.

Three cards were banned in Standard:

Emrakul, the Promised End
Smuggler's Copter (finally)
Reflector Mage

Pauper was untouched, which I agree with.

Full announcement here:

What is your opinion on the bannings?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Aether Revolt: mechanics

Prerelease of Aether Revolt in starts on January, 14 (paper Magic). Energy counters and Crew are the returning mechanics. Additionally, we will get two totally new:

  • Improvise - a keyword ability that enables you to pay generic mana cost with the help of your artifacts. Each artifact you tap after you're done activating mana abilities pays for one generic mana. In other words, your spell will be cheaper if you tap artifact(s) while casting the spell. Improvise won't ever cover the colored mana portion of a mana cost.
    Tip: you can tap artifact creatures even if they have summoning sickness. 
  • Revolt - an ability word that checks if any permanent you controlled left the battlefield this turn. It doesn't matter where that permanent went. A creature died or got exiled? Revolt. Your pernament was bounced? Revolt!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Flashback Favorites and Standard Gauntlet

The 2016 year was a year of Modern flashback drafts, wheras 2017 will be a year of Flashback Favorites and throwback Standard Gauntlets.

Flashback Favorites are a selection of the most popular draft formats from Magic Online's history, from both before Modern and after. It will not be a phantom events, so you will keep all cards you open.

Standard Gauntlet Series, as the name suggets, are gauntlet meaning you'll be given a random deck from a set of selected lists. Then you will run a 3-match (regardless of record) league, which have the same entry and prize structure as leagues for Cube Drafts and other phantom events. The decklists for each gauntlet will be published on Magic Online's website before the event is run. Standard Gauntlet events will be running for one week each and will be proceeded chronologically forward through Magic's history, all the way back to the 1990s.

Schedule of events for 3 months:
January 4–January 11: Flashback Favorites (Zendikar/Zendikar/Zendikar)
January 11–January 25: Legacy Cube
January 25–February 22: Break for Aether Revolt
February 22–March 1: Throwback Standard Gauntlet #1
March 1–March 8: Flashback Favorites (Invasion–Planeshift–Apocalypse)
March 8–March 22: Cube Draft
March 22–April 12: Flashback Favorites (Modern Masters: 2017 Edition)