Friday, 30 January 2015

Then and Now: Fetch Lands

Back in 2002, WotC introduced a new type of land search cards. They were like the Mirage fetches except that they could be used on the first turn they came out. They were great back in the day, but are they that great in the current environment?

Bloodstained MireBloodstained MireFlooded StrandFlooded StrandPolluted DeltaPolluted DeltaWindswept HeathWindswept HeathWooded FoothillsWooded Foothills

Yes, Yes, they are still good. Very good. Buy some. 

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Tips and Tricks: Fun at FNM

So, I thought I'd get on here this week and talk about something that I've recently started going back to: Friday Night Magic. Now, this doesn't just apply to FNMs as it can be applied to any non-pro Magic event, but for simplicity's sake, I'm just going to say "FNM". These aren't going to be tips on how to be better at FNMs specifically, but they may help. These are going to be bits of advice on how to have more fun and be a more enjoyable opponent for other players. So, here are 5 tips for making your FNM more enjoyable for everyone.

1: You Don't Need to 2-0 Each Round
This is something that I had to learn the hard way on my own. Often, I used to get very worked up over the result of my first game of each match. I used to think that winning that gave me some sort of edge over my opponent or that I was guaranteed the match or something along those lines. As a result, I would often stress out if I lost the first game and it usually led to a 0-2 loss for me. Since then, I've discovered that if I treat the first game as a complete wash, I have a lot more fun and I do better too. I'm not suggesting that you sabotage yourself, just that think of a first game loss as a big opportunity instead of a defeat.

The logic behind this is pretty simple. Firstly, it gives you an opportunity to get into the pilot seat of your deck fairly comfortably. This is really important for Limited events as you probably won't have had time to fine-tune your deck as much as in Constructed formats. The longer you have to adjust to your deck and your opponent, the better it is for you. Secondly, I find that it actually gives you a leg up on your opponent instead of the way I used to think. This is because your opponent may not want to sideboard fully against your deck since they won the first time. This gives you a slight advantage as you will be able to tweak your deck a little more than your opponent and catch them off guard. Finally, it might make your opponent mess up in the second game. This really depends on your opponent, but I know a few players that will let a simple game win inflate their ego so much that they will make rookie mistakes and therefore make it easier for you. Just don't lose your mind is all I'm saying.

2: You're Not Playing Jon Finkel
This is something I see way too often: a player getting upset at an opponent for forgetting to untap his lands or draw her card for the turn or something stupid like that. A lot of new players come out to FNMs and their impression of the game and its community as a whole is impacted by their opponents. Yes, I understand you want to win, but you've probably got an advantage over your opponent if you've been playing longer than they have. If you lose, oh no! You're out a whole 3 packs maybe? What's the big deal? Just keep calm and keep playing Magic.

3. Be a Teacher
As with the last point, many new players come out to store-level events to learn and experienced players should act as teachers for them. Don't tell them how to play the game though. It's very important to teach new players organically. Don't say "Cast Doom Blade targeting my untapped Jokulmorder so you can swing in with your Village Cannibals for the win"; that doesn't teach them anything. Say something like "Your Cannibals are big enough to kill me if they can get through this combat". Phrasing like that just plants the seed of an idea in their mind and it becomes up to the player to nurture it. Mark Rosewater wrote a great article a few years ago about teaching people Magic and it's a good place to start for teaching tips (seriously go read it).

4. Make Friends
If you're going to your local store to play FNMs, get to know the people you're playing with. If you're visiting from out of town, experience some new friends and a different gaming environment. You can bounce deck ideas off other people who might have differing viewpoints and make point things out to you that you never noticed before. Making new friends is one of the best ways to grow as a Magic player.

5. Laugh
Seriously. It's a game. Have some Jace-damned fun with it!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

DekTek: Thief's Punishment

Time for another DekTek and this time it's Legacy. Here's my list for Thief's Punishment, an 8-Rack variant.

4x Augur of Skulls 
8x Swamp 
4x The Rack 
2x Waste Not 


As you can probably tell, this deck is meant to go extremely fast and ruin my opponent's early game. Ideally, starting turn 2, I can keep my opponent from pretty much doing anything. I have 11 cards in the deck that force a double discard, which is very powerful and even moreso now since Treasure Cruise has been banned. I don't really need that many creatures either, since my opponent probably won't get the chance to play them. If necessary, I can swing for beats with my Factories and hastey Rats. The Cursed Scrolls are there for topdeck situations wherein my Racks or Afflictions aren't killing the opponent for some reason. 

The sideboard is definitely something that catches people's attention, for two cards in particular. The first is the pair of Ashen Riders. A few people think that, because I have Deathrites in the sidebaord, I'm going to be stupid and attempt to hard cast them, but that will never happen. They are in there purely for two match-ups: Show and Tell and Dream Halls. Nothing is more satisfying in Game 2 to see the look on an opponent's face when I exile their Emrakul, the Aeons Torn with my Rider. The other odd card is the trio of Drown in Sorrows. I had Bile Blights in there originally, but I thought that it wasn't working out the way I wanted. It dealt with Young Pyromancer tokens, but not with the Pyromancer itself. Same with Elves and Goblins. Then I thought: what do I care about that has 3 toughness? Not much it turns out. Even though it's one turn slower, I think Drowns work better than Blights simply because, in the games that I bring them in, it's a 3 mana Damnation with a Scry 2 trigger.

So that's Thief's Punishment. It's probably my favourite of my current Legacy decks to run just because it's so consistent and has a decent win ratio. It presents my opponents with some tough decisions sometimes (especially control players) and it's just a fun deck to play.

Oh, if you didn't get the reference, thieves historically lost their hands in some Arabic countries. So there you go. 

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Whirlpool Whelm

Whirlpool Whelm

I think too many people underestimate this card. At the very least, it's an Unsummon with Scry 1. At most, it's a Repel for two less. Either way, it sets your opponent back a turn in regards to what they have on the field. However, I think the clash is also a very important part of this card. Knowing what your opponent is about to draw (or isn't, depending on what they choose) is important. Not great outside Limited though, there are much better options, so I'm not sure you'll see this outside of drafts and Sealed.

Pros: Potentially cheaper Repel
Cons: Only hits creatures, may only be Unsummon
Rating: 3/5

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Fate Reforged Spoiler Tyme

(Images supplied by

So, the end of spoiler season has arrived and I guess it's time to talk about my favourite and least favourite new cards. Because I've got a lot of favourites and not favourites, I'm restricting myself to 1 of each rarity.

Favourite Common: Temur Battle Rage

Yeah. This card is amazing. Instant-speed double strike? That's really powerful. Instant-speed double strike AND trample? Sweet Baby Jace, that's just... wow. I think this might see Standard play in aggro decks as a finisher. I doubt it'll see play anywhere else, but man this is a good card.

Least Favourite Common: Smoldering Efreet

*sigh* Red will never get a good bear will they? At least this one doesn't have to attack every turn like a lot of the other ones.

Favourite Uncommon: Dark Deal

This is my favourite uncommon for one reason: I think it'll see Legacy play in 8-Rack (and possibly more decks). Wheeling an opponent's hand can really tilt an opponent, especially if they are about to go off next turn. Even as a topdeck, this card is great because you're not losing any cards. Even if you are losing cards, you can use this to get cards you might actually want.

Least Favourite Uncommon: Reality Shift

Blue didn't need a Path to Exile. People keep telling me that it's not that good since Pongify sees no play, but there are a couple of minor differences that make this better. First, it gives them a bear instead of a 3/3. Second, that bear might be a key spell that your opponent will no longer have access to. Imagine using this in response to someone trying to draw a card with Sensei's Diving Top. Either they'll have to tuck that card further down in response, or lose that card as a bear. Finally, it exiles instead of destroying. In environments like Standard where Whip of Erebos exists and Legacy where tons of reanimation exists (along with Delve on both sides), exiling a creature is really relevant. Control is going to get a lot stronger when this card gets out.

Favourite Rare: Supplant Form

I just love this card to death (and the Game Day art). Bounce and Clone token at Instant-speed is pretty powerful. I doubt it'll see non-EDH play, but it'll still be fun to see played.

Least Favourite Rare: Crucible of the Spirit Dragon

Anyone who has been following spoiler season this year knew this was coming. It card is just so disappointing. I wasn't expecting a new Cavern of Souls or anything, but not this. I really wish it had "X, Tap: Add X mana in any combination of colours to your mana pool. Spend this mana only to cast Dragon spells or activate abilities of Dragons." instead. With that text, you still get same basic effect, except it doesn't take a billion turns to charge up. 

Favourite Mythic: Soulfire Grand Master

Every part of this card is great. Lifelink bear? Great. Smaller Tamanoa effect? Great. Instant/sorcery recursion? Great. I see this being especially effective with Stoke the Flames since you can both tap creatures and pay its cost to recur the spell repeatedly. 

Least Favourite Mythic: Monastery Mentor

This card is great, but I think it's being overhyped and that's why it's my least favourite mythic. I don't think this will see as much play as people think. It costs 3, and that's a little too much for burn decks to play. Yes, Goblin Rabblemaster also costs 3 and it sees tons of play, but that card does something on the first turn it's out and without any other spells being needed. This card needs you to be able to cast another spell on the same turn for it to be more than just a Raging Bull, which effectively raises its CMC to 4 or 5. I also don't think it'll see that much play in Jeskai Ascendancy decks either, as 3 mana seems to be a lot to pay for a finisher, especially considering that that deck can win on turn 2. I think this will be a card that makes early adopters sad that they paid $20+ for this card on launch. I might be wrong, but that's what I really think.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

DekTek: The Sacred Order of Mana (EDH)

Here's a new segment where I talk about some of my own decks and share the list with you. So here's the first deck: The Sacred Order of Mana, my Seton, Krosan Protector EDH.

Enchantment (6)

1x Aluren
1x Rowen

So, what does this deck do? It's basically mono green Storm. Ever seen how Legacy Elves plays? It's basically like that except I don't need to wait for 2 other Elves for Heritage Druid. My commander, Seton, allows all my Druids (which are basically all my creatures) to become Llanowar Elves the turn they come in, so I get a lot of mana early on. Once that happens, I can easily start stomping on my opponent and force them into panic mode before they have set-up.

Superstars (that aren't obvious):

Gilt-Leaf Archdruid

This guy is probably the primo removal target in my deck. At least, during the second and subsequent games. As I said before, my commander lets my Druids tap for mana the turn they hit the field which means they can be used to cast more Druids. This card makes sure that I have that next Druid in my hand. If I fail to draw enough Druids, I can always just remove a player from the game by stealing all their lands. 

Skyshroud Claim

This is a magic time machine that warps you from turn 4 to turn 6 (at least). That in itself doesn't make it very magical, but the fact that the Forests come in untapped, meaning I can follow this up with more ramp spells or more creatures (which are basically ramp spells in this deck).

Creeping Renaissance

Seeing as my commander only costs 3, playing him after a boardwipe is not that much of an issue (much easier if I have Aluren out). Even if I tap out in order to play both him and this, I can probably get most of my boardstate back in the following turn. If it happens again, this card has flashback and I can just recur my board a second time.

So yeah, this is one of my favourite EDH decks. It's not the cheapest to build due to cards like Gaea's Cradles and Regal Force (although I use a gold-bordered Cradle because no one here cares) but it is really fun and quite competitive. If you're looking for a mono-green competitive EDH deck, this one is a great place to start.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Top Black Commons for EDH

Here are some of my favourite black commons for use in EDH. These aren't broken or super-powerful, but these deserve a thought when you're building an EDH deck with black in it.

1. Barren Moor/Polluted Mire

Barren MoorPolluted Mire

The cycling lands are pretty awesome in the late game, especially in EDH. Once you've got all the mana you need, you can easily turn these into more useful cards. Both of these are pretty awesome inclusions in black decks.

2. Blood Seeker

Blood Seeker

Death by a thousand cuts is still death, right? This is a great addition to most decks. It slowly drains your opponents of life (or quickly if your opponent has tokens) and probably won't get removed for a while, and if it does, at least it's eating a removal spell instead of your general or another one of your important creatures.

3. Bog Initiate

Bog Initiate

Mono-black colour-fixing? What is this madness?! Seriously though, in a tri or five-colour deck, this card can allow you to run black-intensive spell without much worry of being short on black mana.

4. Choking Sands/Rancid Earth/Sinkhole

Choking SandsRancid EarthSinkhole

Ask anyone I play with and they'll tell you I love land destruction. Yes, it's dirty. Yes, it's unfair. However, despite being those two things, it is effective. Most decks don't have a way to recur their land cards from their yards so being able to blow and important one up at the right time can be crucial. Given that black can't really deal with noncreature permanents that well, these are great additions for dealing with problems.

5. Darkness


I think Fog is a largely underrated card in EDH, especially since more than a few games are won via alpha swings. Having a mono-black version in your deck will definitely catch opponents off-guard.

6. Diabolic Edict/Geth's Verdict

Diabolic EdictGeth's Verdict

People often discount the early game, but many problem creatures are played on the first few turns. From dealing with cheap commanders like Rhys the Redeemed and Gaddock Teeg to quick-drop creatures such as Serra Ascendant and Weathered Wayfarer, these cards are pretty efficient at their job. Finally, it also kills traditionally solo protected creatures like Rafiq of the Many and Uril, the Miststalker.

7. Eyeblight's Ending/Victim of Night

Eyeblight's EndingVictim of Night

These are basically unconditional removal cards. The number of times that you won't be able to cast either of these can probably be counted on that guy on the right's fingers.

8. Oubliette


It's mono-black Journey to Nowhere. Yeah, it lets the creature keep all the counters and Auras attached to it, but mono-black exile is hard to come by, so I'll take what I can get.

9. Psychotic Episode

Psychotic Episode

This works really well when played after an opponent tutors for a card since it forces them to waste another card to get it back. I also really like it because graveyards are very easily accessed in EDH, so discard spells aren't as valuable as other formats. Finally, if their commander is in your opponent's hand, they probably aren't going to be seeing it for a while.

10. Sadistic Glee

Sadistic Glee

I just like this because it will eventually demand an answer, even if you don't do anything. Since EDH is a multiplayer format, your opponents can easily do all the heavy lifting for this card to work.

11. Shade's Form

Shade's Form

Remember False Demise? This is the black version, only better. I don't even really care for the first bit (although it's pretty great for your own creatures) but the second part is great. Put it on an opponent's creature that you want or put it on your own that you don't want to die.

12. Tortured Existence

Tortured Existence

Finally, we come to a card that most people have seen, but I thought I'd include anyway since it is a common. Being able to constantly cycle through your creatures is pretty powerful, especially in reanimator decks. While not a powerhouse in its own right, it can easily be a very strong card when used correctly.