Sunday, 28 June 2009

Drafting with Wagz #2 - 5 Colour Control: An Example

By Wagz

Hey guys, I've just completed a draft and have won the first round. This article is designed as a guide for drafting 5 colour control in shards block. The important thing to know is that the deck is a misnomer - you should aim to draft 2 colours and splash the other 3. I chose Red and White for this deck, but the actual 2 colours depend on your draft picks. One should try to draft this deck when you get a few bombs and some good removal early, that sort of thing. As an example:

------ ALA ------
Pack 1 pick 1:
Cathartic Adept, Lightning Talons, Naya Panorama, Onyx Goblet, Obelisk of Esper, Godtoucher, Forest (FOIL), Elvish Visionary, Bloodpyre Elemental, Soul's Grace, Tower Gargoyle, Skeletonize, Puppet Conjurer, Elspeth, Knight-Errant, Island

Obviously take the Planeswalker - Elspeth rocks.

Pack 1 pick 2:
Ridge Rannet, Steelclad Serpent, Excommunicate, Banewasp Affliction, Jungle Weaver, Hissing Iguanar, Carrion Thrash, Jund Panorama, Glaze Fiend, Rhox War Monk, Scavenger Drake, Etherium Astrolabe, Hellkite Overlord, Swamp

Very interesting. There's a common or a foil rare missing. Most likely it's a common and he's taken Oblivion Ring, so Elspeth isn't looking as mono-white as she could do. We take the Mythic and consider 5 colour RW.

Pack 1 pick 3:
Dreg Reaver, Sigil Blessing, Druid of the Anima, Gustrider Exuberant, Resounding Wave, Magma Spray, Blightning, Naturalize, Obelisk of Grixis, Fire-Field Ogre, Sunseed Nurturer, Cunning Lethemancer, Plains

We briefly consider Druid to cast our spells, but Magma Spray is solid removal and a high pick with all the blades about, and fits in the potential RW plan beautifully. I say RW because you can pick up Stun Snipers and Intimidation Bolts really late in Alara Reborn and enemy colours makes splashing easier due to the borderposts. We are looking to get more cheap removal, manafixing and big bombs if possible now.

Pack 1 pick 4:
Viashino Skeleton, Call to Heel, Excommunicate, Druid of the Anima, Thorn-Thrash Viashino, Jund Panorama, Obelisk of Bant, Hindering Light, Drumhunter, Demon's Herald, Skill Borrower, Swamp

Druid is fine, but if we want to leave open the option of going Naya with bombs I would prefer to take Drumhunter, so I do. Jund Panorama is probably the correct pick here though.

Pack 1 pick 5:
Vectis Silencers, Deathgreeter, Resounding Roar, Soul's Fire, Mosstodon, Waveskimmer Aven, Elvish Visionary, Dragon Fodder, Esper Battlemage, Covenant of Minds, Forest

Soul's Fire - one of the less good removal spells in a control deck but removal spells are exactly what they say they are so we take it.

Pack 1 pick 6:
Welkin Guide, Dreg Reaver, Cylian Elf, Volcanic Submersion, Onyx Goblet, Spell Snip, Gustrider Exuberant, Jhessian Infiltrator, Dragon's Herald, Plains

Welkin Guide is alright, but the only other possible card is Volcanic Submersion. Not too happy with the draft so far as we're not getting the nuts but there isn't anything great here anyway. Don't even think about Dragon's Herald.

Pack 1 pick 7:
Marble Chalice, Deathgreeter, Spell Snip, Dispeller's Capsule, Volcanic Submersion, Relic of Progenitus, Sphinx's Herald, Invincible Hymn, Plains

Relic is good against Unearth Decks who are good against decks with lots of removal (the deck we are trying to be). Take it and smile a little.

Pack 1 pick 8:
Jhessian Lookout, Dreg Reaver, Cancel, Volcanic Submersion, Filigree Sages, Kiss of the Amesha, Ooze Garden, Island

Everybody loves a Kiss. It's a control players dream, we are suddenly a bit happier - RWu is a good deck.

Pack 1 pick 9:
Cathartic Adept, Lightning Talons, Onyx Goblet, Obelisk of Esper, Godtoucher, Soul's Grace, Island

Need to splash the Kiss and Hellkite somehow, great for us.

Pack 1 pick 10:
Ridge Rannet, Steelclad Serpent, Banewasp Affliction, Carrion Thrash, Etherium Astrolabe, Swamp

Guess Mick wasn't in this draft - Take the Ridge Rannet as a cycling finisher.

Pack 1 pick 11:
Dreg Reaver, Obelisk of Grixis, Sunseed Nurturer, Cunning Lethemancer, Plains

Another Obelisk makes us happy, need more removal but we're on track.

Pack 1 pick 12:
Viashino Skeleton, Thorn-Thrash Viashino, Demon's Herald, Swamp

Viashino

Pack 1 pick 13:
Vectis Silencers, Deathgreeter, Forest

Silencers

Pack 1 pick 14:
Onyx Goblet, Dragon's Herald

Herald

Pack 1 pick 15:
Sphinx's Herald

Ignore computer.

------ CON ------
Pack 2 pick 1:
Darklit Gargoyle, Fiery Fall, Wretched Banquet, Esper Cormorants, Parasitic Strix, Aven Trailblazer, Vectis Agents, Molten Frame, Elder Mastery (FOIL), Scattershot Archer, Ignite Disorder, Unstable Frontier, Grixis Slavedriver, Kederekt Parasite, Island

Fiery Fall is removal and manafixing, wonderful!!

Pack 2 pick 2:
Wild Leotau, Frontline Sage, Fiery Fall, Pestilent Kathari, Court Homunculus, Molten Frame, Infectious Horror, Rhox Bodyguard, Wandering Goblins, Reliquary Tower, Gluttonous Slime, Grixis Slavedriver, Telemin Performance, Forest

Fiery Fall is removal and manafixing, wonderful!!

Pack 2 pick 3:
Fiery Fall, Wretched Banquet, Drag Down (FOIL), Aven Trailblazer, Kaleidostone, Molten Frame, Rhox Bodyguard, Scattershot Archer, Infectious Horror, Manaforce Mace, View from Above, Volcanic Fallout, Swamp

Fiery Fall is removal and manafixing, wonderful!! However, we take the Volcanic Fallout as wraths make control decks a little better.

Pack 2 pick 4:
Wild Leotau, Frontline Sage, Fiery Fall, Pestilent Kathari, Court Homunculus, Molten Frame, Infectious Horror, Rhox Bodyguard, Wandering Goblins, Vagrant Plowbeasts, Corrupted Roots, Island

Fiery Fall is removal and manafixing, wonderful!!

Pack 2 pick 5:
Sylvan Bounty, Pestilent Kathari, Matca Rioters, Maniacal Rage, Nacatl Outlander, Nacatl Savage, Valiant Guard, Ancient Ziggurat, Fleshformer, Spore Burst, Mountain

Aw, looks like normal service has been resumed. I take the Fleshformer as it's a bomb in 5 colour.

Pack 2 pick 6:
Rhox Meditant, Vedalken Outlander, Kranioceros, Mana Cylix, Lapse of Certainty, Suicidal Charge, Constricting Tendrils, Nacatl Hunt-Pride, Elder Mastery, Plains

Nacatl Hunt-Pride is a very good card and one we need - big creature that can win us the game.

Pack 2 pick 7:
Sylvan Bounty, Maniacal Rage, Nacatl Outlander, Nacatl Savage, Valiant Guard, Dragonsoul Knight, Manaforce Mace, Cylian Sunsinger, Plains

We take Dragonsoul Knight as it's pretty fine.

Pack 2 pick 8:
Traumatic Visions, Rhox Meditant, Scattershot Archer, Nacatl Savage, Wandering Goblins, Brackwater Elemental, Dreadwing, Island

Traumatic Visions. Nothing really here and we probably won't play it, but there is the potential to go more Blue in Reborn. Most of the good cards there are aggro however.

Pack 2 pick 9:
Darklit Gargoyle, Vectis Agents, Molten Frame, Scattershot Archer, Ignite Disorder, Unstable Frontier, Island

Ignite Disorder is a mini-wrath against a lot of quick Blades starts, very happy. Why do these always table??

Pack 2 pick 10:
Court Homunculus, Infectious Horror, Wandering Goblins, Reliquary Tower, Telemin Performance, Forest

Raredraft

Pack 2 pick 11:
Kaleidostone, Scattershot Archer, Infectious Horror, View from Above, Swamp

Take Kaleidostone, won't play it.

Pack 2 pick 12:
Rhox Bodyguard, Wandering Goblins, Corrupted Roots, Island

Rhox Bodyguard might get played for the lifegain, have to see what Green we get in Reborn.

Pack 2 pick 13:
Maniacal Rage, Valiant Guard, Mountain

Maniacal Rage

Pack 2 pick 14:
Constricting Tendrils, Plains

Tendrils

Pack 2 pick 15:
Plains

On-colour bomb - Fixes our mana, windmill slam.

------ ARB ------
Pack 3 pick 1:
Putrid Leech, Colossal Might, Pale Recluse, Naya Sojourners, Singe-Mind Ogre, Bant Sojourners, Sanctum Plowbeast, Demonic Dread, Magefire Wings, Sigil of the Nayan Gods, Giant Ambush Beetle, Lorescale Coatl, Morbid Bloom, Fight to the Death, Mountain

The normal me would love the Ambush Beetle, but it's gonna be hard to play with little fixing. We take the Pale Recluse as fixing.

Pack 3 pick 2:
Breath of Malfegor, Thopter Foundry, Marrow Chomper, Flurry of Wings, Soulquake, Plains, Wildfield Borderpost, Etherium Abomination, Esper Sojourners, Ethercaste Knight, Godtracker of Jund, Jhessian Zombies, Grixis Grimblade, Ethersworn Shieldmage

We take the GW Borderpost and sigh a bit more about our mana.

Pack 3 pick 3:
Putrid Leech, Colossal Might, Pale Recluse, Singe-Mind Ogre, Bant Sojourners, Sanctum Plowbeast, Demonic Dread, Magefire Wings, Sigil of the Nayan Gods, Gloryscale Viashino, Stun Sniper, Sigil Captain, Island

Stun Sniper - the man behind RW.

Pack 3 pick 4:
Mistvein Borderpost, Glassdust Hulk, Leonin Armorguard, Cerodon Yearling, Sanctum Plowbeast, Igneous Pouncer, Bant Sojourners, Sigiled Behemoth, Zealous Persecution, Intimidation Bolt, Unbender Tine, Forest

Intimidation Bolt - the spell behind it, wicked.

Pack 3 pick 5:
Mistvein Borderpost, Glassdust Hulk, Leonin Armorguard, Cerodon Yearling, Sanctum Plowbeast, Igneous Pouncer, Sigiled Behemoth, Stun Sniper, Unbender Tine, Dragon Appeasement, Mountain

2>1, so we take Stun Sniper.

Pack 3 pick 6:
Tainted Sigil, Plains, Jund Sojourners, Vedalken Ghoul, Sigiled Behemoth, Violent Outburst, Sigil Captain, Architects of Will, Deny Reality, Glassdust Hulk

ZAP

Pack 3 pick 7:
Winged Coatl, Grixis Sojourners, Ethercaste Knight, Captured Sunlight, Magefire Wings, Trace of Abundance, Messenger Falcons, Wall of Denial, Forest

Messenger Falcons is usually great, but Wall of Denial is necessary. Note that we should be looking at hybrid cards whose definite mana symbol is one of our main colours only. So Messenger Falcons, but not Trace of Abundance in RW for example.

Pack 3 pick 8:
Mind Funeral, Swamp, Arsenal Thresher, Offering to Asha, Godtracker of Jund, Demonspine Whip, Talon Trooper, Soul Manipulation

Took Talon Trooper, should probably take Demonspine Whip as I have no artifact removal and few cheap creatures. This bums me in round 2 when I draw all my mana.

Pack 3 pick 9:
Naya Sojourners, Bant Sojourners, Demonic Dread, Magefire Wings, Lorescale Coatl, Morbid Bloom, Mountain

Bant Sojourners is on-colour but rubbish so I legacy-draft the Lorescale Coatl.

Pack 3 pick 10:
Breath of Malfegor, Soulquake, Plains, Etherium Abomination, Esper Sojourners, Godtracker of Jund

Raredraft. I have enough playables by now anyway.

Pack 3 pick 11:
Singe-Mind Ogre, Bant Sojourners, Magefire Wings, Sigil Captain, Island

Uncommondraft.

Pack 3 pick 12:
Sanctum Plowbeast, Sigiled Behemoth, Unbender Tine, Forest

Sanctum Plowbeast - I actually wanted one of these to fetch my blue.

Pack 3 pick 13:
Unbender Tine, Dragon Appeasement, Mountain

Tine

Pack 3 pick 14:
Tainted Sigil, Vedalken Ghoul

Ghoul

Pack 3 pick 15:
Forest

Untaps for free! Might make the cut as a one-of.

The decklist, for those interested very few:

1: magma spray
2: ignite disorder, 2 stun sniper, sanctum plowbeast, pale recluse
3: dragonsoul knight, fleshformer, jund sojourners, wall of denial, intimidation bolt, soul's fire, volcanic fallout
4: elspeth
5: 3 fiery fall, nacatl hunt-pride, kiss of the amesha
6: ridge rannet, hellkite
Mana: GW borderpost, esper and grixis obelisks, 1 Forest, 2 Islands, 1 Swamps, 5 Plains', 7 Mountains

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Legacy deck

By Jim Marlow

Hey everyone,

I hope all is well in the Team Leeds camp, and everyone is super psyched for manc, there are certainly enough Team Leeds members going to make it embaressing for us to not make top 8, if not the blue envelope, so here's hoping.

Anyway, Rik has recently pointed out that for those who rip an abortion of a sealed pool there is more to do than beat Mario Pascoli all day at the gunslinging table all day, as there is an Ipod up for grabs at the legacy tournament.

I really do not know enough about legacy, except that it is amazingly fun, and some of the spells are pretty fucking retarded....

My proposed deck for the event is kind of a mix between a conventional counter-top deck and a U/G threshold deck, but also using standstill (which i have no idea if it has a place in the deck)

Here's the list i have made


4 x nimble mongoose
4 x tarmogoyf
4 x lorescale coatl
2 x trygon predator

4 x force of will
4 x daze
3 x standstill
4 x brainstorm
2 x ponder
3 x stifle

3 x sensei's divining top
3 x counterbalance
2 x umezawa's jitte

4 x polluted delta
2 x flooded strand
4 x tropical island
4 x wasteland
2 x mishra's factory
2 x island

Im not really sure if lorescale coatl is worth playing or is any better than werebear, which has the infinitely funnier name, and so probably deserves the slot for no other reason.

Also, im not sure if the standstill is relevent in this type of deck, but i thought with goyfs and the coatl's growing and/or the ability to arrange the counterbalance/top combo i can create multiple softlocks whilst still being an aggressive deck

Saying that, i would like to play the maximum number of stifle's and ponders, which seems to be the norm for UG threshold decks, and cutting the standstills would allow me to do this.

I really have no idea whether this is worth playing, or if the deck is an absolute pile, so please give me a few pointers if you can.

Also, i have a partial sideboard of the obvious, but im not entirely sure what else i need to be prepared against and/or how to combat it.


See you all soon, and look out for a facebook message coming round about preparation for PTQ Manchester.


Until then,


Jim


As always, feel free to comment on anything about this article, or anything unrelated to magic whatsoever. If you would like to contribute to the TLM blog, please email any ideas, articles, pictures or anything else to ss07jm@leeds.ac.uk

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

FNM at Runik Games

By Jim Marlow

Hey everyone,

I hope the PTQ testing is going swimingly, i am certainly ready to bring the rain come the 4th of July in Manchester, hopefully this time i can get a match win.

Anyway, i'v just this second walked in from a great night of draft at Runik Games in Bury St Edmunds. I keep forgetting to comment on my fnm's because i have been a bit busy so they seem to come and go before i get the chance to write, so i made a point to do a bit on tonights debacle.

The format, due to lack of conflux boosters (who the hell has been buying those), was in fact Shards/Shards/Reborn, which was a little unorthadox, but hey its all good draft fun i guess.

My first pick was a pretty easy decision, with nothing special in pack except a tower gargoyle, tidehollow strix and crumbling necropolise, with the gargoyle as the obvious pick here.

I then get passed a tezzeret the seeker....

The rest of pack seems a little quiet, im pretty sure im being cut, with resounding wave type cards filling out a few weak picks before i get a late tidehollow strix into an arcane sanctum, nice.

Second pack i first pick a sanctum gargoyle, then get a 4th pick tower gargoyle. Other highlights include a 13th pick couriers capsule.

Reborn was mostly filling in with borderposts, esper stormblades and the shieldmage dude.

Here's my deck.

2 x tower gargoyle
1 x sanctum gargoyle
2 x talon trooper
2 x cloudhearth drake
1 x glassdust hulk
1 x fatesticher
1 x esper battlemage
1 x puppet conjurer
1 x tidehollow strix
1 x esper stormblade
1 x ethersworn shieldmage

2 x resounding wave
2 x couriers capsule
1 x crystalization
1 x slave of bolas
1 x oblivion ring
1 x mistvein borderpost
1 x tezzeret the seeker

6 x island
6 x plains
3 x swamp
1 x grixis panorama
1 x arcane sanctum

I hope you all agree that the deck is a pretty sick puppy, and i managed to take down the draft with it.

My only disappointment of the evening is not winning 1 match by comboing off with fatesticher, puppet conjurer and tezzeret. i thought it was quite clever to make all the humunculous i make by untapping into 5/5's, but apparently 3 tower gargoyles are better than 2, even if 1 costs 4.


See you all on friday night for testing and drinking, if anyone wants to!


Until then,


Jim


As always, feel free to comment on anything about this article, or anything unrelated to magic whatsoever. If you would like to contribute to the TLM blog, please email any ideas, articles, pictures or anything else to ss07jm@leeds.ac.uk

Monday, 22 June 2009

Drafting with Jim - #10

By Jim Marlow

Hey everyone,

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. Im sure you guys and gals can tell from the lack of articles produced that i am certainly enjoying mine, i was reconciled with my old friend alcohol this week, which was nice.

I was getting low on packs due to my chronic draft problem so i needed to start doing well again, but sadly i made a bit of a mess of this one, standard i guess.

Pack 1, pick 1 - Knight of the skyward eye

This was a pretty hard pick, it was between this, souls fire, esper battlemage, and sprouting thrinax. I am not too hot on the esper battlemage because i prefer to draft aggressive decks, and although i prefer jund to naya, i went with the essentially 2 colour card over 3

Pack 1, pick 2 - Court archers

Not a fantastic second pick, and maybe the steward of valeron would better to support signaling myself as base g/w, as it didnt table

Pack 1, pick 3 - Bloodpyre elemental

Possibly another bad pick by passing the naya battlemage, o well.

Pack 1, pick 4 - blightning

poo pack!

Pack 1, pick 5 - agony warp?

crumbling necropolis in here too, guess im going 5 colour with some kind of green base?

Pack 1, pick 6 - grixis panorama

Pack 1, pick 7 - blightning

Pack 1, pick 8 - jungle weaver

Remaining picks - cylian elf, deathgreeter, incurable ogre, godtoucher, forest, forest, swamp

Pack 2, pick 1 - Meglonoth

Its a bit annoying to pass an armilery sphere and a drag down, but im pretty sure this guy is a bomb, and i still want to be green based i think.

Pack 2, pick 2 - Dark temper

Pack 2, pick 3 - Ember weaver

Im not sure this is the pick over a rupture spire, when i need more mana fixing. O well.

Pack 2, pick 4 - Soul's Majesty

Harmonize this ain't, but i think its slightly better than voices from the void for my deck right now

Pack 2, pick 5 - nacatl outlander

Pack 2, pick 6 - rhox meditant

I like this guy, he has a fat ass and draws cards, and it doesnt look like im going to be aggressive anymore

Pack 2, pick 7 - wretched banquet

I overvalue this card

Pack 2, pick 8 - viashino slaughtermaster

Pack 2, pick 9 - Knotvine mystic (foil)

Pack 2, pick 10 - Pestilent Kathari

I undervalut this one!

Remaining picks - absorb vis, vectis agents, asha's favour, wandering goblins, mountain

Pack 3, pick 1 - terminate

Only a jund sojourners to pick from

Pack 3, pick 2 - Kathari bomber

I like this guy, but 2nd pick isnt great

Pack 3, pick 3 - crystalization

Pack 3, pick 4 - Sangrite backlash

Pack 3, pick 5 - kathari bomber

Pack 3, pick 6 - igneous pouncer

Pack 3, pick 7 - Stun sniper

Looks like im base R/G splashing black and white here, borderposts would be nice

Pack 3, pick 8 - firewild borderpost

Not really the post im looking for

Pack 3, pick 9 - deny reality

Remaining picks - fieldmist borderpost, double negative, magefire wings, vedalken ghoul, swamp.


Here's the deck i built

1 x wretched banquet
1 x terminate
1 x sangrite backlash
1 x nacatl outlander
1 x stun sniper
1 x viashino slaughtermaster
1 x crystalization
1 x firewild borderpost
2 x blightning
1 x dark temper
1 x knight of the skyward eye
1 x court archers
1 x ember weaver
2 x kathari bomber
1 x pestilent kathari
1 x souls majesty
1 x bloodpyre elemental
1 x absorb vis
1 x jungle weaver
1 x meglonoth
1 x igneous pouncer
1 x incurable ogre

1 x grixis panorama
6 x mountain
5 x forest
3 x swamp
2 x plains

In the end i ended up 2-1 with this deck, which is probably fair for it's power level. I think i could have drafted better but it didnt go horribly, my mana just coming unstuck in the Last round, but i think that was to be expected of a deck like this with little mana fixing.

O well, see you all next time


Until then,


Jim


As always, feel free to comment on anything about this article, or anything unrelated to magic whatsoever. If you would like to contribute to the TLM blog, please email any ideas, articles, pictures or anything else to ss07jm@leeds.ac.uk

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Refining Jund for Manchester

By Jim Marlow

Hey everyone,

I hope everyone enjoyed my tournament report, and if you havent read it then be sure to have a read.

I have been playing my jundy cascade rock deck for a while know, and i am still a little uncertain about it, but i think it has so much potential.

why?

It has the ability to harness these cards -

maelstrom pulse
putrid leech
bloodbraid elf
jund charm
anathemancer

probably better than any other deck in the format.

I think up untill now G/B elves may have been the better way to exploit the power of putrid leech and maelstrom pulse (my current favourite creature and spell in standard....sorry vendilion clique, it's over)

But obviously since elves and rock deck became more popular, the door was wide open for the blue menace to enter the fray once more!

i know what your thinking, i predicted this by playing faeries during national qualifier season. I like to think that i am SOOO far ahead of the metagame, i play decks BEFORE they become good in a metagame, techy.

The rise of faeries means that i think the volcanic fallouts, jund charms and flame javelins are needed, and as long as i can get the mana right i think jund is becoming better and better positioned.

However, 'as long as i can get the mana right' is most definately easier said than done for someone as bad as me.

So here is what im playing at the moment

4 x anathemancer
4 x bloodbraid elf
4 x boggart ram-gang
4 x putrid leech
3 x sygg, river cutthroat
2 x chameleon colossus

4 x maelstrom pulse
2 x jund charm
2 x volcanic fallout
4 x flame javelin
3 x bituminous blast

4 x savage lands
2 x vivid marsh
1 x vivid grove
1 x vivid crag
2 x fire-lit thicket
2 x graven cairns
2 x twilight mire
4 x reflecting pool
2 x sulfurous springs
1 x llanowar wastes
1 x mountain
1 x forest
1 x swamp

S/B

2 x volcanic fallout
2 x cloudthresher
3 x deathmark
4 x kitchen finks
2 x thought hemorrhage
2 x pithing needle

I would really appreciate any help with this deck. I know im improving this deck, but sometimes when you have worked on or played with a deck for a while you cant see the wood for the trees, and maybe some of the cards i see as essential are just not.

The only thoughts i have had are to possibly remove a bituminous blast and/or a sygg river cutthroat. I think i am more concerned with the bituminous blast, simply because of the swingy nature of cascade.

Sure blast into bloodbraid elf and maelstrom pulse is a free win, but equally blast into leech or a second sygg is bad times.

Im not sure if the 3rd blast would serve better as a 25th land, or whether this more stable manabase can afford to be just 24 lands.

Please give me any feedback you can, i would love to get the deck up to scratch before the ptq, as another 0-2 would be a little embaressing.

See you all soon,


Until then,


Jim


As always, feel free to comment on anything about this article, or anything unrelated to magic whatsoever. If you would like to contribute to the TLM blog, please email any ideas, articles, pictures or anything else to ss07jm@leeds.ac.uk

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Tournament Report - Ptq Austin, Phoenix Games, Leicester

By Jim Marlow

Hey everyone,

Sorry about the delay in getting this tournament report up, and the general lack of articles otherwise, i have been crazy busy with a variety of different things, and the thought of having to write about how badly i did in this tournament has been pretty off-putting.

I made it to Leicester really easily and feeling pretty good actually, i even wangled an early night from work so was well slept before an event, it felt almost surreal to be playing in a premier event without hallucinating during most rounds.

49 players turned up to battle for the spot, which i think seems a little low considering its a Leicester PTQ, but i have found it really hard to find information on this PTQ season on Wizards of the Coast, and have had to rely on various posts on forums and from word of mouth at other tournaments. I think this is a real shame because TO's work really hard to both achieve and maintain a high level of attendance and competition to get these PTQ's, and Wizards just isn't giving them the very little support they need, by telling people the events are on.



But hey, i guess i dont want to get started on WOTC bonin To's, do i?

Aside from this however, the guys at Phoenix Games put on a really great event. The venue can hold a decent amount of people but after some rumbling about the amount of room Chris and his team happily moved all the tables to give some extra room. It's this kind of immediate reaction to the requests of players which separates Phoenix Games as one of the nicest places to play magic in the country (Aside from free parking about 50 yards from the venue and the mighty JABBERWOCKYYYY!) . Also, the judge staff were really cool, and in general it was a great event.

Anyway, i tweaked my jund cascade deck for the event slightly, taking out the 2 finks i had maindeck for chameleon colossus. I decided that this change increased the value of both my cascade spells, by making me more likely to hit my more valuable spells with bloodbraid elf, and of course i can cascade into colossus with bituminous blast.

Here's the deck i played.

4 x anathemancer
4 x putrid leech
4 x bloodbraid elf
4 x boggart ram gang
3 x sygg river cutthroat
2 x chameleon colossus

4 x flame javelin
4 x maelstrom pulse
3 x bituminous blast
2 x jund charm
2 x volcanic fallout

4 x savage lands
2 x ghitu encampment
2 x graven cairns
2 x firelit thicket
2 x twilight mire
2 x reflecting pool
2 x sulphurous springs
1 x llanowar wastes
1 x karplusen forest
2 x mountain
2 x forest
2 x swamp

S/B

2 x cloudthresher
2 x volcanic fallout
3 x deathmark
2 x pithing needle
2 x thought hemorrhage
4 x kitchen finks

Im very happy with this list, with the exception of the mana. Im not sure whether this deck needs the 25th land, but even so i am almost certain my manabase is wrong.

Round 1 - Ben Gamble - Jund Aggro

Ben was playin the hackblade type super aggresive jund deck.
Game 1 - I mull to 5 on the draw and Ben gets double hackblade, i manage to get a 2-1 sweeper but then i only draw anathemancers to his almost exclusively non-basic manabase and he plays sewn eye drakes (yep!) and gets there. My opponant plays a bloodbraid elf revealing colossal might to an empty board.....no you cant attack for 7.

Game 2 - I take control after again sweeping double hackblade. I am getting better value off of bloodbraid elf than my opponant as he's apparently not playing ram gang i think. Im really unsure whether i maelstrom pulse my opponants borderpost when im on the play here, maybe its what i should have done, but he played lands anyway so i guess not. Either way i get there.

Game 3 - Im not sure what happened here, whether i kept a bad hand or just got outraced, but i lost.

This was obviously not the start i was looking for. I was on tilt a bit here because i know i hadnt played my best, ok, but certainly not my best. Also, it was one of those situations where i felt like i was the better player than my opponant, i know that sounds a little arrogant but i dont know, you know when a loss you shouldnt have pisses you off.

Round 2 - Adam Barnett - W/U control

Great, round 2 against one of the countries best players, this sir, is the droid im looking for. Moreover, not only does my deck have quite a few dead cards, but i have absolutely no idea what his does (and still kind of dont)

Game 1 - This game goes super long, with some early exchanges by ram gangs into plumeveils etc and a couple plainswalkers meeting maelstrom pulse. One of my anathemancers connects and unearths for about 10 damage, but after that we both draw land for a very very long time, and i think eventually i got helixed quite a few times by ajani vengeant for the win.

Game 2 - This time i got a little bit of a better draw. Some early exchanges again and this time i draw 3 anathemancers..score. Sadly i think 1 or 2 of my lands have been blown up by nicol bolas, so im only on around 6 lands. Although i deal with the plainswalkers, Adam finds an obelisk of alara, which gains him quite a lot of life before i find a maelstrom pulse, the turn after he plays a martial coup for 5. I kill the obelisk and sweep the tokens, but Adam coups again for 8...annoying. I play end of turn bituminous blast, needing a sweeper or pulse, nothing. Then bloodbraid elf on my turn....nothing. I lose.

0-2 is obviously not a great result for the day.

I know i didnt play fantastically, but i played ok and i there were'nt any howling mistakes for the day, so i feel a little unlucky to have gone 0-2. I feel like the deck is definately misbuilt, the mana base at least. I think i need to drop the underwhelming manlands for a few vivids and up the reflecting pool count. I wont really lose anything my opening myself to anathemancer because i should be the aggressor, and i am getting far too many forest/graven cairns hands. I feel like if i can sort the mana out this deck can be a real contender. I feel like today i got underwhelming cascade cards, and still he deck performed ok. I think with good mana this deck can be one of the best in the format, and good cascades are very hard to beat.

Luckily for me i drafted like a PRO!!!! (it was a complete abortion with a nicol bolas)
and 2-1'd with it.

This made me happy, especially my round 1 opponant who got very annoyed with me winning with a bad deck. I personally thought it wasnt too awful.



I was tempted to play something different after the tournament, but i know where i have gone wrong with the deck and i an going to continue to work with it for the Manchester PTQ in July 4th....after which i will probably write a similar article saying its the worst deck ever and im playing faeries forever now....o crap im lending the cards to Rob for nationals.....RDW maybe?
Anyway, im going to be in Leeds for the ptq manchester, probably spendin a night in Leeds, so maybe the ol' Team Leeds could meet up at my house for testing and a smash up (either/or) if anyone is still about.

I would usually do some highlights and lowlights for an event like this, but having thought about it for a while the biggest highlight was probably my jabberwocky sandwich for lunch, as well as convincing Ben from Cambridge to go there instead of McDonalds and him getting seriously bitten by the wocky bug afterwards.



Hopefully i will see some of you in Manchester for some spell slinging.


Until then,


Jim


As always, feel free to comment on anything about this article, or anything unrelated to magic whatsoever. If you would like to contribute to the TLM blog, please email any ideas, articles, pictures or anything else to ss07jm@leeds.ac.uk

Monday, 15 June 2009

Drafting with Jim - #9

By Jim Marlow

Hey Everyone,

Hopefully everyone in Leeds is ok, i was lucky enough to bump into a few guys at the PTQ in Leicester this weekend, ill have a report up for it in the nexty couple of days, because im waiting for Chris from Phoenix Games to send me some pictures he took at the event, so look out for that in the next couple of days (P.S - it wont be very long).

Anyways, i sold off a ton of rares i had accumulated from drafting over the last few weeks. I never seem to open anything valuable, but recently got some lucky rips with a foil jenara, ajani, sarkhan etc. I was going to try and redeem a set of shards, but i really cant be bothered, and selling off a load of stuff netted me like 65 tix, so i can get at least 5 drafts in hopefully.

Pack 1, pick 1 - flameblast dragon

Only a naya charm and tidehollow strix make up quite a weak pack, aside from the sick good bomb which is pretty good for me.

Pack 1, pick 2 - souls fire

Decent removal when you have a fat guy, and the only other picks are algae gharial and blood cultist, both which i have started to value less than i did (yes everyone, my love affair with algae gharial is over!)

Pack 1, pick 3 - souls fire

mise well nab another.

Pack 1, pick 4 - drumhunter

My love affair with drumhunter is certainly not over!

Pack 1, pick 5 - rakeclaw gargantuan

only a dregscape zombie of note

Pack 1, pick 6 - rakeclaw gargantuan

Pack 1, pick 7 - godtoucher

Remaining picks - souls might, viashino skeleton, cylian elf, welkin guide, behemoths herald, bloodthorn taunter, onyx goblet, island

Pack 2, pick 1 - Goblin razarunners

I love this guy, he works really well with naya sojourners too, which i will be picking higher with both this guy and drumhunter. Also, if i get stalled in late game he is problematic

Pack 2, pick 2 - dark temper

Im not sure whether this is better than the nacatl hunt pride that i passed, but i think so.

Pack 2, pick 3 - rhox meditant

I actually like this guy a lot now.

Pack 2, pick 3 - ember weaver

I need some more red permanents, but hopefully i can fill out my lower curver with blades etc, The gleam of resistance is tempting but a beaver is a beaver!

Pack 2, pick 4 - fiery fall

Pack 2, pick 5 - filigree fracture

love this card when everyone is bumming esper, but i would have liked the rhox meditant too, maybe it was the pick considering my low creature count.

Pack 2, pick 6 - filigree fracture (foil)

Sylvan bounty is tempting, but you can get them really late anyways.

Pack 2, pick 7 - scattershot archer

Pack 2, pick 8 - spore burst

Remaining picks - sylvan bounty, aerie mystics, kranioceros, rotting rats, plains, swamp

Pack 3, pick 1 - Lavalanche

is this really worth the splash?

Pack 3, pick 2 - madrush cyclops.

I think i partly made this pick because he has a funny face, but i dont know. The only other option was naya sojourners. I am in desperate need of 2-3 mana guys.

Pack 3, pick 3 - valley rannet

So i pick a 6 mana guy right, this pick should have been vithian renegades i think, never mind.

Pack 3, pick 4 - wildfield borderpost

Pack 3, pick 5 - giant ambush beetle

Pack 3, pick 6 - pale recluse

Pack 3, pick 7 - jund sojourners

Remaining picks - sigilled behemoth, putrid leech, valley rannet, wargate, nulltread gargantuan, sigilled behemoth, breath of malfegor, forest.

Here's the deck i made

1 x cylian elf
1 x putrid leech
1 x wildfield borderpost
1 x dark temper
2 x souls fire
1 x ember weaver
1 x filigree fracture
1 x drumhunter
1 x goblin razerunners
1 x madrush cyclops
1 x rhox meditant
1 x giant ambush beetle
1 x naya sojourners
2 x rakeclaw gargantuan
1 x welkin guide
1 x fiery fall
1 x sylvan bounty
1 x flameblast dragon
1 x pale recluse
1 x valley rannet
1 x lavalanche

5 x forest
6 x mountain
4 x plains
2 x swamp

Sadly i crapped out in the first match of this draft. The deck i drafted had very little resistance to early beats of any description, and turn 1 nacatl both games against me was good enough for 6 and 8 damage respectively, by which time i had more to deal with and my opponant had drawn the removal he needed anyway.

Its a shame because i think with a couple of steward of valerons or other creatures this deck could have been really sick, o well.

I might head to a couple more ptq's if i have the money and time off work ( very unlikely), so maybe ill see you there.


Until then,


Jim


As always, feel free to comment on anything about this article, or anything unrelated to magic whatsoever. If you would like to contribute to the TLM blog, please email any ideas, articles, pictures or anything else to ss07jm@leeds.ac.uk

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Deck Tech: It could even be a Boat! Brew

By Wagz

Hi all! I just got back from WNM where I went 3-1 with a new deck: It could even be a Boat! Brew. This deck is the stone cold nuts. I beat 2 Jund decks and a Grixis control deck, losing to Andy Devine with maindeck Double Negatives.

The idea behind the deck was that having qualified for nats today on rating (thank you, thank you, no really thank you) I wanted to play something fun as I didn't have to care about my constructed rating for approximately 1 year. I figured that cascade was the most fun thing in standard as I'm a pretty lucky person and wanted to look for a way to abuse it. Firstly, the name of the deck is because when you cascade, you could get anything - you could even get a boat. So, in went Chameleon Colossus, who has to be a Boat, right?

Then I wanted ways to abuse cascade. Some people use Esper Charms and the like, but most of the good cascade spells are Red Green or Green White, so I was a bit loathe to stretch my manabase that far. Magic Workstation with a filter on 1-2cmc yielded the fix - Quirion Dryad. This guy gets 2-3 counters off most cascade spells, adding superb value to already good cards. Naya Charm is a fantastic way to keep the deck going and I wanted a lot of land to make sure I was actually casting my spells. After a lot of tweaking (don't think it's optimal, but it's as close as I could get), presented here is the decklist:

4 Quirion Dryad
1 Elvish Visionary
4 Violent Outburst
1 Behemoth Sledge
4 Naya Charm
2 Maelstrom Pulse
4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Captured Sunlight
1 Boat!
4 Bituminous Blast
4 Enlisted Wurm
4 Treetop Village
4 Reflecting Pool
2 Exotic Orchard
4 Vivid Green
3 Vivid Red
2 Vivid White
2 Fire-Lit Thicket
2 Wooded Bastion
2 Forest
1 Mountain
1 Plains

Sideboard:
4 Kitchen Finks
4 Jund Charm
2 Enigma Spinx
2 Necrogenesis
1 Pithing Needle
2 Ingot Chewer

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Preparing for PTQ Austin

By Jim Marlow

Hey everyone,

I hope everyone likes the new layout of the blog, with just one article to read and the rest in the archive. Me and Wagz spoke about how to make the blog a little easier to read so im going to be uploading no more than an article a day, meaning each article will be on the main page for at least a day, and i will try to make the articles a bit more concise and broken up.

please let me know via comments or email if you prefer this, or prefer how it was before and ill change it back.

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Anyway, im preparing for the PTQ in Leicester this sunday, which is standard. I am pretty happy with the deck i played in Lincoln last weekend so i have madea few changes and i will probably play that, although i am getting increasingly tempted by a doran deck.

I decided that the figure of destiny's were a bit poo, because there simply isnt a long game deck in the format any more. So basically i get a 4/4 against a slow deck, and a 2 mana 2/2, which dies to my sweepers against other decks, not good!. Without figures i was happy to take out magma sprays for bituminous blasts, meaning im getting far better value from the cascade.


Here's the list i will (probably) be playing in Leicester

4 x anathemancer
4 x putrid leech
4 x bloodbraid elf
4 x boggart ram gang
3 x sygg river cutthroat
2 x kitchen finks

4 x flame javelin
4 x maelstrom pulse
3 x bituminous blast
2 x jund charm
2 x volcanic fallout

4 x savage lands
2 x ghitu encampment
2 x graven cairns
2 x firelit thicket
2 x twilight mire
2 x reflecting pool
2 x sulphurous springs
1 x llanowar wastes
1 x karplusen forest
2 x mountain
2 x forest
2 x swamp


S/B
2 x cloudthresher
2 x volcanic fallout
3 x deathmark
2 x pithing needle
3 x thought hemorrhage
2 x kitchen finks
1 x primal command

I much prefer this build to my last, flame javelin was sick all day, so im happy to go up to 4. Bituminous blast also works much better here and i much prefer having more answers to creatures like rhox war monk and wilt leaf liege, that my previous build struggled a little do deal with.

Im a bit unsure on the mana-base, which at the moment just looks a bit of a mess. Im happy to cut more basics to smooth it out, because i know it makes me weaker to anathemancer, but im the aggro deck anyway, right? Iv only really tweaked it to make it more putrid leech friendly, and because i dont need so much red for figure of destiny activations.

Anyway, all comments will help.

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For reference, im very tempted by this deck, so if anyone hasnt decided a deck yet, give this a go.

4 x noble heirach
4 x treefolk harbinger
4 x putrid leech
3 x gaddock teeg
3 x kitchen finks
2 x dauntless escort
4 x doran the seige tower
4 x wilt leaf liege

4 x path to exile
4 x maelstrom pulse
2 x behemoth sledge

3 x treetop village
4 x murmuring bosk
4 x wooded bastion
2 x twilight mire
2 x brushland
3 x llanowar wastes
3 x forest
1 x plains

S/B

4 x thoughtseize
2 x pithing needle
2 x dauntless escort
4 x zealous persecution
1 x kitchen finks
2 x identity crisis


Hopefully ill see some guys from Leeds at the PTQ, let me know if any of you are travelling down.


Until then,


Jim


As always, feel free to comment on anything about this article, or anything unrelated to magic whatsoever. If you would like to contribute to the TLM blog, please email any ideas, articles, pictures or anything else to ss07jm@leeds.ac.uk

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Tournament Report - Magic Madness

By Jim Marlow

Hey everyone,

It's good to see Wagz has started a drafting column to show everyone how a proper limited player drafts successfully and doesnt hope to lucksack his way to an 8 man victory.

As you all know i made my way to Lincoln on saturday for Magic Madness, run by the fine team at definitive games, which had an absolutely stellar prize support, including

1st - case of boosters
2nd - booster box
3rd and 4th - half box

Plus booster prizes for everyone, random door prizes given every round and a free entry into a raffle!

Also, the fact that Chris and Matt? (i think that's your name) are awesome guys helps a great deal.

If anyone is interested in other tournaments or wants to buy reasonably priced singles head over to http://www.definitivegames.co.uk/ - i thoroughly recommend it.


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Anyway, having had some difficulty in getting my hands on pithing needles, and some tinkering, here's the deck i played.

4 x anathemancer
4 x boggart ram gang
4 x bloodbraid elf
4 x putrid leech
3 x figure of destiny
3 x sygg, river cutthroat

3 x flame javelin
2 x volcanic fallout
2 x jund charm
3 x magma spray
4 x maelstrom pulse

4 x savage lands
2 x ghitu encampment
2 x fire-lit thicket
3 x graven cairns
1 x twilight mire
1 x llanowar wastes
2 x sulphurous springs
1 x karplusen forest
2 x reflecting pool
2 x mountain
2 x forest
2 x swamp

S/B
1 x pithing needle
2 x cloudthresher
2 x volcanic fallout
4 x thoughtseize
2 x thought hemorrhage
3 x kitchen finks
1 x primal command

Im far more happy with the 2/2 split of volcanic fallout and jund charm, and the
4th sweeper in there is definately awesome.

25 people turned up to play for the case, which was slightly less than i expected, but it meant only 5 rounds of swiss, which was awesome as i could get home early. Also, it meant that even a 3-2 record might get to top 8.

Round 1) - Lester Cupples - Bant Exatled

Game 1 - Turn 1 akrasan squire from my opponant was met by a sigh of relief, as i knew my deck should quite easily handle with such decks. I magma sprayed a sigilled paladin and took a few beats but eventually i got a 3 for 1 off a sweeper and then got sygg active with a boggart ram gang as my opponant drew lots of land

Games 2 - see game 1, except with not many lands.

Round 2) - Thomas Duignan - Bant

This round was a 'feature match' - recorded on camera by the guys at definitive games, and as soon as it goes up on youtube ill add a link to this article.

I know Thomas is a decent player so i wasnt that happy about this round, but i was lucky enough to win the die roll, meaning i would have 2 games on the play, which i feel is key to this match.

I cant remember too much about these games because i knew there would be a video, but game 1 Tom mulliganned to 5 and game 2 i managed to have maelstrom pulse a rafiq, then cascade into a second for the backup rafiq, which turned the games in my favour.

Round 3) - Nathaniel - Grixis Faeries

Luckily i scouted this deck a little bit as i finished the last round quite quickly and saw a banefire to win the round, but nothing else red, although i assumed grixis charm, as i know Fu was toying with such a deck. Nat was an awesome guy from Bath and a real pleasure to play against.

Game 1 - Nathaniel makes a turn2 bitterblossom, which is fine. I make an anathemancer which connects a couple of turns and then sit on lands with double volcanic fallout and flame javelin in hand. Nathaniel lets anathemancer take him into single digits, and after i use my first fallout, and flame javelin'ing an attempted mistbind clique after championing a token, all i do is wait for blossom to get nathaniel low enough for volcanic fallout to get the job done.

Game 2 - I get a slightly slower start but still manage to get a ram gang down, with a jund charm and cloudthresher in hand. Double scion from my opponant is annoying and as i cant cast cloudthresher i try jund charm but spellstutter sprite spoils my fun. Nathaniel swings my down to facing lethal next turn. I untap with my opponant on 12, swing with bloodbraid elf, he takes it and goes to 9. He has 2 mana up, but he allows my anathemancer to resolve, taking him to 4, so instead of killing a guy i go for the flame javelin but my opponant has countersquall, sad face!

Game 3 - This game went much the way of the first, with my sweepers dealing with double scion and then i had the ram gangs to get there.

Round 4) - Hans - rdw

My notes are pretty bad here so im not going to attempt to give a detailed report of this (sorry, i didnt take too much notice of each game as i was trying to focus more), but Hans won 2-1 after 2 close games, then my keeping a 2 land god hand and never drawing the 3rd land after literally 8 or 9 turns, meaning Hans' mogg fanatic dealt me 9 damage, shame.

So 3-1 after the loss, but it didnt matter much because i had the best tiebreakers by a long way, and i knew i could draw into top 8 regardless. I probably should have offered the ID this round, but i didnt want to get the dreaded down pairing and have to play to get in.

Round 5 - ID
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Woot, top 8.

I was obviously happy to make top 8, but more than that it was awesome to see that 3 of the guys i had beated already had made it in, which i know does not mean i can beat them every time, but you always feel like you have the advantage as you know you can beat them. Even the rdw matchup was fine as i think if i had drawn a land or two i would have been in awesome shape.

It was also awesome to see that Mark Pinder, all round good guy and a great asset to the magic community, Bryan and Marios Doropolous got into top 8 too, along with my opponants from rounds 2-5 and myself. It was kind of annoying to see the top 8 filled with good players, but on the other hand i was glad to see people that both deserve the places, are nice guys and friends of mine doing well too.

Quarter Final - Thomas Duignan

I was pretty happy with this pairing, i think only the faeries deck was a better matchup for me, i think, plus i had already won this match already right?

Sadly not, and i was dealt with fairly swiftly in 2 games, facing down rafiq and finest hours, which really turn this deck into a potentially explosive weapon.

Thomas is a great guy though, and he thoroughly deserved his win as his plays were excellent. Thomas went on to defeat Mark pinder in the semi-finals, and went on to play Hans in the final, which im afraid i did not stay around to watch.

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Overall, the day was awesome. It was great to see some guys from Bristol who had made the journey up, and also it's great to do well, so i left pretty happy.

Im happy with the performance of the deck, but i will definately be changing it slightly for the ptq next weekend. All i can say is this - Sygg, river cutthroat and putrid leech are both truly ridiculous creatures!

...oh and bloodbraid elf aint too shabby either.

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Some highlights and lowlights of the day.

Highlights

- Definitive games for putting on a cracker of an event, nice work guys

- The feature match area - this was so cool, and im realy excited about the matches going up on youtube. This was an amazing idea guys.

- Reasonably priced card, and a huge selection - why do traders never have commons or uncommons when you need em, well these guys had it all

- Ordering subway platters and having a decent selection of cheap food and drink. It was my first time to Lincoln and i wouldnt want to have to wander round for food and drink, even if it wasnt pissing it down with rain (which it was).

- Making top 8!

Lowlights

- Not bringing home the case for Team Leeds, noob.

- No-one having a pithing needle for me to trade/borrow/buy

- Not drawing a 3rd land in the entire game 3 of round 4, despite it being so loooong.


Lets hope i can have a repeat perfomance in Leicester next sunday and get myself a free ride to Austin, Baby!


Until then,


Jim


As always, feel free to comment on anything about this article, or anything unrelated to magic whatsoever. If you would like to contribute to the TLM blog, please email any ideas, articles, pictures or anything else to ss07jm@leeds.ac.uk

Drafting With Wagz #1

By Wagz

The girlfriend went to Rome today so we had to get up at half 5. Having got a taxi back to mine I figure I'll check what Premier Events are on so I can spend all day with a Sealed Pool. Online Champs today?? Bawww :(. So, I intrepidly enter an Alara Block 4-3-2-2 draft and here's what happened:

Pack 1 pick 1:
Druid of the Anima, Thorn-Thrash Viashino, Courier's Capsule, Yoked Plowbeast, Banewasp Affliction, Deft Duelist, Windwright Mage, Executioner's Capsule, Volcanic Submersion (FOIL), Outrider of Jhess, Fleshbag Marauder, Exuberant Firestoker, Topan Ascetic, Hell's Thunder, Island

I pick the Fleshbag Marauder. I was torn between it and the Executioner's Capsule. The Topan Ascetic is a close third but there are a few other Naya-type cards in there and Removal is goodness. Also, potential wheelers are the Druid, Firestoker and Volcanic Submersion so I'm setting myself up alright.
Pack 1 pick 2:
Ridge Rannet, Steelclad Serpent, Excommunicate, Banewasp Affliction, Jungle Weaver, Knight of the Skyward Eye, Cavern Thoctar, Cancel, Obelisk of Jund, Volcanic Submersion, Woolly Thoctar, Seaside Citadel, Puppet Conjurer, Forest
Woolly Thoctar all the way!! There's a rare missing but nothing comes close to this guy. Currently I might splash him in a Jund deck or give up on Black altogether, have to see what I get passed. The key is to take powerful cards but be open to not using them if you can get passed 22 other powerful cards.

Pack 1 pick 3:
Hissing Iguanar, Steelclad Serpent, Marble Chalice, Viscera Dragger, Resounding Roar, Viashino Skeleton, Coma Veil, Mountain (FOIL), Jund Charm, Scavenger Drake, Jhessian Infiltrator, Brilliant Ultimatum, Swamp

Keeping my options open I take the Jund Charm. It's a powerful card and between a wrath and a giant growth, I pick Wrath. Iguanar is good too but I don't want to take it.

Pack 1 pick 4:
Call to Heel, Kederekt Creeper, Savage Hunger, Ridge Rannet, Obelisk of Bant, Wild Nacatl, Incurable Ogre, Windwright Mage, Grixis Battlemage, Rockcaster Platoon, Hell's Thunder, Plains

Wild Nacatl is a solid card that is highly pickable. He makes for retardedly busted starts and pushes me towards RG splash white and black maybe.
Pack 1 pick 5:
Sighted-Caste Sorcerer, Bloodpyre Elemental, Tortoise Formation, Branching Bolt, Jund Panorama, Obelisk of Bant, Hindering Light, Incurable Ogre, Puppet Conjurer, Behemoth's Herald, Island
Branching Bolt? It must be my Birthday! So, solidly RG now 'cos the guys on my right are definitely not... or don't like killing dudes.

Pack 1 pick 6:
Blightning, Naturalize, Obelisk of Grixis, Resounding Scream, Bloodthorn Taunter, Soul's Grace, Lush Growth, Fire-Field Ogre, Swerve, Plains
I consider the Fire-Field Ogre but that's just too many colours. Blightning just isn't good enough any more as you can't pick up multiples and people get their hand down quite early nowadays. With this in mind I take the Naturalize as a solid sideboard card.

Pack 1 pick 7:
Skeletal Kathari, Tortoise Formation, Gift of the Gargantuan, Outrider of Jhess, Windwright Mage, Jund Panorama, Relic of Progenitus, Cradle of Vitality, Island

Jund Panorama helps muchly if I'm to splash Black.

Pack 1 pick 8:
Savage Hunger, Ridge Rannet, Jungle Weaver, Obelisk of Bant, Incurable Ogre, Mountain (FOIL), Scourge Devil, Island
Scourge Devil is the man, he swings for lots.

Pack 1 pick 9:
Thorn-Thrash Viashino, Yoked Plowbeast, Banewasp Affliction, Deft Duelist, Volcanic Submersion (FOIL), Outrider of Jhess, Island

Submersion tabled. Always welcome for the board and potentially the main deck.

Pack 1 pick 10:
Steelclad Serpent, Banewasp Affliction, Jungle Weaver, Cancel, Volcanic Submersion, Forest
Jungle Weaver is a late big guy. Looks like I'm in the right colours now but haven't seen much White. I'm happy to bang down on RG and splash for what I can using basic landcyclers (you can get lots of the green one in conflux easily) and borderposts. I always consider my manafixers to come during pack 1 because it is important to know what you can and can't do in a deck.

Pack 1 pick 11:
Marble Chalice, Viashino Skeleton, Coma Veil, Mountain (FOIL), Swamp

I consider the Mountain, but mise well get rid of removal.
Pack 1 pick 12:
Call to Heel, Savage Hunger, Grixis Battlemage, Plains
People don't like looters? I take it out.

Pack 1 pick 13:
Tortoise Formation, Behemoth's Herald, Island

Herald.
Pack 1 pick 14:
Lush Growth, Plains

Growth
Pack 1 pick 15:
Island
------ CON ------
Pack 2 pick 1:
Canyon Minotaur, Traumatic Visions, Rhox Meditant, Zombie Outlander, Kaleidostone, Wandering Goblins, Might of Alara, Valiant Guard, Salvage Slasher, Goblin Outlander, Dragonsoul Knight, Reliquary Tower, Fleshformer, Scepter of Dominance, Swamp
How boring. I think whoever packed this booster is in the same colours as me. I take the Might of Alara because it's fine in an aggro deck that can get up to 4 basic lands in play but I'm only expecting the Canyon Minotaur back.

Pack 2 pick 2:
Faerie Mechanist, Absorb Vis, Valeron Outlander, Sylvan Bounty, Matca Rioters (FOIL), Vectis Agents, Molten Frame, Rhox Bodyguard, Scattershot Archer, Infectious Horror, Nacatl Hunt-Pride, Fusion Elemental, Elder Mastery, Forest

Rioters is a solid dude. I have a lot at 3 mana at this point but he's badass. And shiny.
Pack 2 pick 3:
Pestilent Kathari, Dark Temper, Parasitic Strix, Matca Rioters, Bone Saw, Worldly Counsel, Rotting Rats, Asha's Favor, Ignite Disorder, Voices from the Void, Viashino Slaughtermaster, Worldheart Phoenix, Plains

Bleurgh. Erm, take the Shock. The Slaughtermaster can be tops with pump spells and is good against non-levelled-up Blades, but I can't reliably use his ability and removal is removal.
Pack 2 pick 4:
Canyon Minotaur, Rhox Meditant, Vedalken Outlander, Nacatl Outlander, Grixis Illusionist, Exploding Borders, Lapse of Certainty, Scattershot Archer, Dragonsoul Knight, Manaforce Mace, Skyward Eye Prophets, Mountain
Nacatl Outlander. Stupid Conflux... *grumble*. He's in my colours and fills my curve nicely, but where's the Banefire etc??

Pack 2 pick 5:
Zombie Outlander, Matca Rioters, Darklit Gargoyle, Wretched Banquet, Exploding Borders, Maniacal Rage, Nacatl Outlander, Nacatl Savage, Valiant Guard, Ignite Disorder, Plains
Ignite Disorder is a card I love nowadays. With Reborn in the mix this is a Branching Bolt usually. Yesterday I drafted with Rik and we splashed one in our Esper deck (:D). It killed a Tidehollow Strix and the Sewn-Eye Drake he had just cast on turn 4. We were worried he was going to get too far ahead of us ...

Pack 2 pick 6:
Frontline Sage, Wretched Banquet, Sylvan Bounty, Court Homunculus, Molten Frame, Infectious Horror, Filigree Fracture, Grixis Slavedriver, Soul's Majesty, Island
Bad Harmonise for me. Card draw is card draw and you don't get much in RG. The Filigree Fracture is also completely pimp right now with Borderposts and the fact that Esper got even better with Reborn (it was kinda poo in triple Shards unless you got like double Tower Gargoyle). The Sylvan Bounty will nearly always table from here because people don't like fixing their manabase consistently.

Pack 2 pick 7:
Bone Saw, Gleam of Resistance, Tukatongue Thallid, Lapse of Certainty, Constricting Tendrils, View from Above, Unstable Frontier, Telemin Performance, Plains
Unstable Frontier will help with the splashes but I'm starting to hate the deck a little bit. Can't see another open colour though so I'm in the right place I'm sure. Bet the dude to my left took the two Hell's Thunders and thought they were good.

Pack 2 pick 8:
Frontline Sage, Pestilent Kathari, Suicidal Charge, Maniacal Rage, Rotting Rats, Court Homunculus, View from Above, Plains

Maniacal Rage? People like to stick this on early drops but I'm too scared to 2-4-1 myself. Not that it doesn't ever work out, but I'm a control player and I don't like sending dudes to their doom or throwing away cards very much.
Pack 2 pick 9:
Canyon Minotaur, Kaleidostone, Wandering Goblins, Valiant Guard, Salvage Slasher, Reliquary Tower, Swamp
Canyon Minotaur is my first 4 drop apparently (I remember now that there were none in Shards of Alara - check the spoiler, you won't find any). He's also a creature and not terrible which my deck needs right now. By the way, Wandering Goblins is terrible and not a creature. I errata'd it to help people out.

Pack 2 pick 10:
Sylvan Bounty, Molten Frame, Scattershot Archer, Fusion Elemental, Elder Mastery, Forest

Manafixing woo! Molten Frame used to be good but now I hate to cascade into it - Leave them out of the main but be happy to get them late. There aren't any bad cards in here though, puzzling.
Pack 2 pick 11:
Bone Saw, Worldly Counsel, Rotting Rats, Voices from the Void, Plains
Voices is strong but unplayable for me so I take it.

Pack 2 pick 12:
Canyon Minotaur, Grixis Illusionist, Scattershot Archer, Mountain
Hill Giant yay. By the way, you may have seen me pass a few Scattershot Archers. Well noticed.

Pack 2 pick 13:
Darklit Gargoyle, Valiant Guard, Plains
No happy last pick for lefty.

Pack 2 pick 14:
Sylvan Bounty, Island
But happy last pick for me, super yays.

Pack 2 pick 15:
Constricting Tendrils
------ ARB ------
Pack 3 pick 1:
Winged Coatl, Lorescale Coatl (FOIL), Putrid Leech, Qasali Pridemage, Colossal Might, Jhessian Zombies, Demonic Dread, Offering to Asha, Firewild Borderpost, Naya Hushblade, Marrow Chomper, Tainted Sigil, Anathemancer, Necromancer's Covenant, Island
2 drop please. Naya Hushblade is absolutely fine. Any draft deck in Alara block needs to be capable of busted starts. This will be happy after a Wild Nacatl. Colossal Might is also pimpy. I leave the RG Borderpost because I'm a 2 colour deck and I need 2 drops.

Pack 3 pick 2:
Jhessian Zombies, Grixis Grimblade, Ethersworn Shieldmage, Wildfield Borderpost, Crystallization, Architects of Will, Violent Outburst, Naya Hushblade, Vectis Dominator, Firewild Borderpost, Thopter Foundry, Bituminous Blast, Mind Funeral, Swamp
Cascade woo. Bituminous Blast is a slam-dunk.

Pack 3 pick 3:
Esper Sojourners, Vengeful Rebirth, Giant Ambush Beetle, Nulltread Gargantuan, Swamp, Naya Sojourners, Singe-Mind Ogre, Deadshot Minotaur, Bant Sojourners, Sigiled Behemoth, Putrid Leech, Colossal Might, Pale Recluse
I love Vengeful Rebirth. Get other removal spells back, kill a guy, dome you for lots. Love it.

Pack 3 pick 4:
Leonin Armorguard, Architects of Will, Fieldmist Borderpost, Crystallization, Demonic Dread, Magefire Wings, Sigil of the Nayan Gods, Arsenal Thresher, Offering to Asha, Ardent Plea, Wall of Denial, Forest
Crystallization means I do have to splash white and black but it's so strong. I'm gonna look for WG and RB Borderposts now but I have some fixings already. Oh yeah, note the synergy of Vengeful Rebirth and Sylvan Bounty. I can get one back, cycle it next turn and then cast the other one the turn after *evil laughs*.

Pack 3 pick 5:
Winged Coatl, Putrid Leech, Colossal Might, Demonic Dread, Offering to Asha, Firewild Borderpost, Naya Hushblade, Demonspine Whip, Unbender Tine, Dragon Appeasement, Mountain
Hushblade 2-drop please. These guys' abilities obviously makes them best in multiples. Also, is that 3 RG Borderposts and 3 Colossal Mights going round? Some have to table so I won't pick them until they do.

Pack 3 pick 6:
Monstrous Carabid, Talon Trooper, Deadshot Minotaur, Godtracker of Jund, Igneous Pouncer, Esper Sojourners, Grizzled Leotau, Vithian Renegades, Nulltread Gargantuan, Swamp
Vithian Renegades should be called Filthy Renegades, very strong card in this block and a 3/2 for 3 on-colour and another badly needed dude. I considered the Minotaur too but I need a lower curve, and the Igneous Pouncer isn't gonna get cast in this deck so I'll wait for my fixings.

Pack 3 pick 7:
Leonin Armorguard, Fieldmist Borderpost, Demonic Dread, Magefire Wings, Sigil of the Nayan Gods, Offering to Asha, Shield of the Righteous, Dragon Appeasement, Swamp
UW Borderpost was a bad pick. I should take the Cycle of the Nayan Gods or the Leonin Armorguard if I'm taking a card I won't play.

Pack 3 pick 8:
Colossal Might, Pale Recluse, Naya Sojourners, Bant Sojourners, Etherium Abomination, Reborn Hope, Mind Funeral, Plains
A Might! This one hasn't even tabled. Naya Sojourners and Pale Recluse are also good cards but Might is Right.

Pack 3 pick 9:
Winged Coatl, Demonic Dread, Offering to Asha, Firewild Borderpost, Marrow Chomper, Tainted Sigil, Island
*sigh*, take the dual land.

Pack 3 pick 10:
Architects of Will, Violent Outburst, Vectis Dominator, Thopter Foundry, Mind Funeral, Swamp

My 2 drops are good so the Violent Outburst isn't terrible. Cascade makes it okay. I get closer to a removal spell this way but have to be careful with the Ignite Disorder. Probably shouldn't go in the same main deck.

Pack 3 pick 11:
Nulltread Gargantuan, Swamp, Naya Sojourners, Bant Sojourners, Putrid Leech
Late Leech or what? I take the Naya Sojourners. I might pay the kicker someday and get a 5/3 on it.

Pack 3 pick 12:
Fieldmist Borderpost, Magefire Wings, Offering to Asha, Forest
pfft

Pack 3 pick 13:
Unbender Tine, Dragon Appeasement, Mountain
blah

Pack 3 pick 14:
Godtracker of Jund, Swamp
burp

Pack 3 pick 15:
Swamp

mkay.

So the deck looked a little light on dudes but had solid solid spells and a good curve. Decklist:

Wild Nacatl
Nacatl Outlander
2x Naya Hushblade
Woolly Thoctar
Matca Rioters
Vithian Renegades
2x Canyon Minotaur
Scourge Devil
Naya Sojourners
Jungle Weaver

2x Sylvan Bounty
Ignite Disorder
Crystallization
Colossal Might
Violent Outburst
Branching Bolt
Dark Temper
Soul's Majesty
Bituminous Blast
Vengeful Rebirth

Firewild Borderpost
Unstable Frontier
Jund Panorama
2x Plains
Swamp
6x Forest
5x Mountain

Solid deck with a solid curve and a good manabase. How did it fare?

Match 1 vs. Grixis:

Game 1: I fix my mana and get some beatz down. He stabilises a Spellbound Dragon which I have to Crystallize. I have 3 Forests, Plains, Mountain, Swamp in play, Mountain and Bituminous Blast in hand. He has 7 lands and the Dragon. He untaps, lays a land and plays Nicol Bolas. I consider conceding but that's sissy stuff. In response to his attempt to kill my Mountain (bad - I would kill the Crystallize) with Bolas (Bolas up to 8 counters) I Bituminous Blast the Dragon to rfg it, the cascade giving me a Wild Nacatl. I untap, lay a mountain so the Nacatl is once more a 3/3, unearth my Scourge Devil and attack Bolas for 8. Woot, as they say. He gets a Tezzeret and another Spellbound Dragon into play but I'm swinging a lot and pull it off.

Game 2: I draw all the manas and he gets the 2 walkers into play.

Game 3: I keep Forest, Mounain, Unstable Frontier, Wild Nacatl, Nacatl Outlander, Branching Bolt and Naya Sojourners... of course. Turn 1 Nacatl, turn 2 make another Nacatl and swing for 2, turn 3 swing for 4 and Branching Bolt the Pestilent Kathari he made (I could use Unstable Frontier to make my Wild Nacatl bigger but I had nothing to do with 2 mana so I was saving my mana for if he did nothing to cycle the Sojourners to pump my guy. The Sojourners is also a good answer to Wreched Banquet here). Turn 4 I draw Mountain, cycle sojourners and use Unstable Frontier to swing for 6, puts him on 8. He untaps and plays a Vedalken Outland. I have drawn the Colossal Might by this point so with him having Red and Black untapped I goes for the win on my Wild Nacatl, Might it and use Unstable Frontier, swinging for exactly lethal. Busted starts I tells you.

Match 2 vs. Bant:

Game 1: I get a few dudes and he gets a Topan Ascetic so neither of us swing. He makes Pale Recluse and then Knight of New Alara. He swings with the 6/7 Reculse and I block with a 2/2, a 2/2 and a 3/3 since he is tapped out. He assigns 4 damage to the 3/3 and 2 damage to the Wild Nacatl 2/2 so I cycle Naya Sojourners to save it. I have a Colossal Might in hand I can pump the Minotaur with but I want to save a trick to try to deal with that stupid Liege. I make a guy and he makes Skyward Eye Prophets and a Naya Hushblade, which are both silly big. I make a Matca Rioters and pass. He plays Cycle of the Nayan Gods (you can hardcast it?) on his Knight of New Alara and swings with all 3 multicolour guys. Seizing the opportunity I block with enough to keep a 4/4 in play and kill his dudes after the Liege has gone away. "Oh, I'll know that for next time" he says.. I can't draw many more dudes so I lose after my 2/1 races his 2/3 flier and 2/4 ground guy but it was a close one after his big mistake.

Game 2: I mull to 5 and keep a 1 land, landcycler, cycle hand but don't draw anything relevant (a land) so he wins.

I'll probably do another couple of drafts today but don't expect reports. See you on Wednesday

Wagz xxx

Friday, 5 June 2009

Drafting with Jim - #8

By Jim Marlow

Hey everyone,

For some reason i have a weekend off, hooray for the credit crunch causing people to not get married. Also, it means i can play a bit more magic, im pretty excited about going to Lincoln because i have heard a lot of good things about the city.

Iv got another draft for you guys, this time a jund deck. It could have been a lot better than it is but as im writing this i just won my first round so who knows.

Pack 1, pick 1 - Agony warp

I took this over fatesticher and vithian stinger, it seems pretty obvious to me.

Pack 1, pick 2 - Arcane sanctum

pretty good second pick, im happy taking this over a wild nacatl, viscera dragger and blood cultist

Pack 1, pick 3 - thunder thrash elder

I know right, but this pack was just poo.

Pack 1, pick 4 - resounding thunder

Obviously this is pretty late, looks like im going to have to move to grixis or cut jund hard seeing as iv passed a couple of good cards.

Pack 1, pick 5 - goblin assault

Easily better than a blister beetle, this card is awesome too, makes the thunder thrash elder less poo too!

Pack 1, pick 6 - necrogenesis

Looks like im full blown jund here, i thought about the goblin deathraiders but i love this card too much

Pack 1, pick 7 - obelisk of jund

Pack 1, pick 8 - dregscape zombie

Remaining picks - corpse connosieur, incurable ogre, gift of the gargantuan, volcanic submersion, dragon's herald, mountain, island

Pack 2, pick 1 - Banefire

pretty good, i hear.

Pack 2, pick 2 - Soul's Majesty

Pack 2, pick 3 - ember weaver

Pack 2, pick 4 - Wretched banquet

Pack 2, pick 5 - wild leotau

Annoying to be passing a voices from the void because i love it but this is probably my favourite conflux common

Pack 2, pick 6 - macta rioters

Pack 2, pick 7 - exploding borders

This was a tough pick, there was a spore burst and filligree fracture in there too. Not sure if this is right.

Pack 2, pick 8 - exploding borders

Pack 2, pick 9 - aerie mystics

Pack 2, pick 10 - sylvan bouty

Nice late surprise

Remaining picks - court humunculous, infectious horror, mountain, mountain, island.

Pack 3, pick 1 - rhox brute

Not a great pack here, and i like this guy.

Pack 3, pick 2 - gorger wurm

Another weak pack

Pack 3, pick 3 - kathari bomber

I think this guy is better for me than putrid leech and colossal might.

Pack 3, pick 4 - firewild borderpost

Pack 3, pick 5 - gorger wurm

Pack 3, pick 6 - mage slayer

I havent had much experiance with it but im told this is pretty sick, i took it over a jund hackblade

Pack 3, pick 7 - valley ranner

Pack 3, pick 8 - monstrous carabid

Remaining picks - esper stormblade, fieldmist borderpost, singe mind ogre, dragon appeasement, esper sojourners, breath of malfegor, forest.

Here's my decklist.

1 x wretched banquet
1 x necrogenesis
1 x dregscape zombie
1 x firewild borderpost
1 x mage slayer
1 x resounding thunder
1 x goblin assault
1 x ember weaver
1 x kathari bomber
1 x thunder thrash elder
2 x exploding borders
1 x rhox brute
1 x wild leotau
1 x incurable ogre
1 x souls majesty
1 x volcanic submersion
1 x corpse connosieur
2 x gorger wurm
1 x sylvan bounty
1 x valley rannet
1 x banefire

7 x forest
7 x mountain
3 x swamp

I ended up losing in round 2 with this deck to a 5 colour exalted deck which made aven squire on turn 2 both games he won. Game 2 i managed to stall and get enough damage in so i could banefire for 9 for the win, but i kept a slow hand game 3 and my opponant made turn 2 aven squire into turn 3 exated looter guy and turn 4 rhox brute, not much my exploding borders can do about that.


See you all soon


Until then,


Jim


As always, feel free to comment on anything about this article, or anything unrelated to magic whatsoever. If you would like to contribute to the TLM blog, please email any ideas, articles, pictures or anything else to ss07jm@leeds.ac.uk

Running good and ready for Lincoln

By Jim Marlow

Hey everyone,

Firstly, congratulations to Andy Edwards for winning a draft this year...nice broodmate, i mean deck. Seriously though, well drafted.

Secondly, with ratings cut-off's this week a final congrats to all the lucky guys who made it to Nats from Team Leeds, well done guys and do us proud in Brighton.

Obviously, anyone not qualified (me), win the grinders!!!!!!

Before i move on to my tweaked deck for lincoln on saturday, i want to write a little about a draft i did at Runik Games this week. I won it (obv) and it was basically hilarious to get some sick late picks, i mean LATE!

P1,p1 - im faced between tower gargoyle and realm razor. I think they are pretty equal because they are both kind of bombs. I think razor is more powerful than gargoyle when ahead on board, but much worse when your behind. In the end i went for gargoyle, this may have been right or wrong.

After this my next 2 picks are both oblivion rings....woot. Im a little bit annoyed to be passing a sanctum gargoyle but whatever.

Pick 4 - there are'nt many good cards except a branching bolt and....caldera hellion?!?

so i guess i take that.

pick 5 i get jungle shrine, guess im moving into naya. Sorry whoever got realm razor (guy to my left).

I then get some half decent cards, knight of skyward eye, etc.


Obviously the sanctum gargoyle comes round which i take, and then i get both 13th and 14th pick cavern thoctars!

yep, this actually happened.

It's actually quite hilarious, because for some reason i still thought i was strongest in esper, splashing for the hellion (i got some half decent esper and no review period). I drafted horribly, taking a load of bad cards. Luckily the rest of the table took all the bad cards, so when it came to deckbuilding i realised i had inadvertantly drafted a (probably) draft-winning naya deck.

Thanks very much.


Anway, here's a polished version of the deck i posted last night after i goldfished and talked to some guys.


4 x anathemancer
4 x boggart ram gang
4 x bloodbraid elf
4 x putrid leech
3 x figure of destiny
3 x sygg, river cutthroat

3 x flame javelin
3 x volcanic fallout
1 x jund charm
3 x magma spray
4 x maelstrom pulse

4 x savage lands
2 x ghitu encampment
2 x fire-lit thicket
2 x graven cairns
1 x twilight mire
1 x llanowar wastes
2 x sulphurous springs
2 x reflecting pool
4 x mountain
2 x forest
2 x swamp

S/B
3 x pithing needle
1 x jund charm
2 x cloudthresher
3 x thoughtseize
2 x thought hemorrhage
3 x kitchen finks
1 x primal command


See you all soon,


Until then,


Jim


As always, feel free to comment on anything about this article, or anything unrelated to magic whatsoever. If you would like to contribute to the TLM blog, please email any ideas, articles, pictures or anything else to ss07jm@leeds.ac.uk

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Noobflogger Boss

By Wagz

Wagz here again with another exciting edition of my Draft watching series. This is only the second episode so I imagine it will be a sporadic series, but the last draft I watched - Jim Marlow's - won the pod. Lets see if we get a repeat success!

Pack 1:

P1: Broodmate Dragon... There was also a Fatestitcher and an Oblivion Ring in here and some unexciting picks so nothing great will wheel, but it might help with the signals.
P2: Bloodpyre Elemental was taken over a Resounding Silence, a Dregscape Zombie and a Quietus Spike. This is a good removal spell and is going towards a Jund or Grixis style deck. I say not Naya as we are leaving the Silence in and the two cards so far are not really quick or having power >5. The Quietus Spike is worth consideration, however, as well as the Silence for moving towards a 5 colour style deck - worth it with so many players who typically draft green at the table.
P3: Court Archers. I hadn't really considered this card as the other picks were Dragon Fodder, Sigil Blessing, Elvish Visionary or a bad Exuberant Firestoker in there. The Blessing and Firestoker can be easily dismissed, but if we are moving into Jund then the 2 drops are much more synergistic, the Visionary more so now we have only 1 pack of the uncommons which get bigger when stuff die. There are so many good 2 drops in Conflux and Reborn that I don't think the Court Archers is a high pick any more. The card went on to be good for Andy in the games however, letting Broodmate Dragons fly over Pale Recluses.
P4: A very quiet pack here contained a Bant and a Grixis Panorama, a Sigil Blessing and a Cloudhearth Drake. The Drake being by far the strongest cards could be a signal, but it's not strong enough to change just yet. The Grixis Panorama is taken as Mana-fixing is good.
P5: Undead Leotau is taken with Call to Heel, Excommunicate and Esper Obelisk being the next best cards. This is pretty early for the cards to dry up this much so we should be on the lookout for some other shard to move in to if possible.
P6: Skeletal Kathari is taken but there's a Waveskimmer Aven and a Deft Duelist in there. I personally would take the Duelist here and see about changing to Esper splashing the Broodmate and Bloodpyre as the Esper cards in Conflux are awesome so it is the perfect time to switch. 3/2 fliers for 5 aren't terrible though.
P7: Dregscape Zombie is a nice surprise after some dry packs. A Naturalize and a Kederekt Creeper are in there too with a Guardians of Akrasa, so it looks like we are in the right colours anyway, hmm.
P8: Cavern Thoctar? Fist Pump! Another Dregscape Zombie and a Grixis Obelisk too mean we are happy in the colours again, carry on.
P9-15: Glaze Fiend, Cancel, Grixis Battlemage (people don't like Looters?), Death Greetest, Swerve, Soul's Grace and Mountain.

Pack 2:

P1: Wild Leotau is fine but a relatively boring pack. There is a Viashino Slaughtermaser, a Cylian Sunslinger and a Filigree Fracture in here too. The Sunslinger is obviously Naya only and the Slaughtermaster is fine but this isn't a quick deck at the moment. I think Filigree Fracture has gone up in my estimation to a top 4 pick but Wild Leotau is a solid creature.
P2: RG and RB outlanders are fine two drops and there's an unsplashable Scepter of Insight in the pack but the pick is between Drag Down and Fiery Fall. The Fiery Fall is obviously better in a vacuum but we might look to go BGr to maximise the Putrid Leech count in pack 3 so Fiery Fall is only a removal spell then, rather than a super-powered manafixer. Andy picks the Drag Down but later said it wasn't the right pick. I still don't know for sure but I would have taken the Fall.
P3: Exploding Borders is taken as we have little manafixing so far. Beacon Behemoth is also good, but there's an Esper Cormorant and a Traumatic Visions in here too - maybe changing decks was a good idea? Too late to tell as you can't change what you do based on future information.
P4: Scarland Thrinax is a great pass, but there's another Traumatic Visions in there.
P5: Another Exploding Borders helps the manafixing - there are great GW cards in Alara Reborn so it is worth picking up ways of fixing White now. Another Cormorants is in here and there's also a Fusion Elemental, a Voices of the Void and a Nacatl Savage. Too early for sideboard cards but the 5 colour deck has some good options.
P6: Andy picked the Wretched Banquet. I like this card a lot and he certainly was light on removal up to this point. Sludge Strider and Parasitic Strix confirm a wide-open Esper deck but we're going pretty well now. There was also a Matca Rioters here but removal is more important, even though this guy would be easily 3 or 4 big.
P7: Hellkite Hatchling is taken - wish we had the Visionary or Dragon Fodder at pick 3 now :p. GW outlander isn't worth splashing for and I'm not sure if Unstable Frontier is worth taking for a deck with expensive cards.
P8: Absorb Vis is good manafixing (even if Black is the 3rd colour) and a way of winning games for no reason. There was an Aerie Mystics in here too.
P9: Scattershot Archer is good sideboard card with a UW Outlander in the pack still.
P10-15: Molten Frame, Traumatic Visions (???), Vectis Agents, Esper Cormorants (?!?!?!?!?), Lapse of Certainty and Forest.

Pack 3:

P1: Intimidation Bolt is the pick over Filigree Angel, Sewn-Eye Drake and Valley Rannet. It means splashing White but we took the Exploding Borders for largely that reason. Sewn-Eye Drake would otherwise be my pick - people seemed to be scared of playing a 1 toughness guy but he flies in for 3 which is a great deal.
P2: Madrush Cyclops. Woot! Great dude for the deck. Had to pass a Sangrite Backlash but cards which win games are better than cards which stop the opponent from winning in Limited - no TurboFog here.
P3: Vithian Renegades is a solid dude and the potential to Stone Rain your opponent (via. Borderposts) for free is great. However, Enlisted Wurm is more than huge (first time I played this guy I was using the GW theme deck, Cascaded into Mighty Emergence... Oh Yeah!!) so takes the biscuit and stomps all over it.
P4: Gorger Wurm is picked. There was also a GW post, an Igneous Pouncer and a Colossal Might in the pack. The Post might be taken with the two white cards but Gorger Wurm is a 5/5 for 5 which is big anyway.
P5: Jund Sojourners is an uncounterable Zap which can sometimes be played as a 3 mana 3/2 so is in fact, very good.
P6: Kathari Bomber is taken. There was also a Monstrous Carabid but there are a few Devour guys in here so it's good synergy. There was another Jund Sojourners too but I like the flier.
P7: Vithian Renegades is a great pick and came quite late. This was taken over a Colossal Might - better watch out for those in the play then.
P8: Another Jund Sojourners - woot!
P9-15: Filigree Angel, Singe-Mind Ogre, Cerodon Yearling, Soul Manipulation, Sanctum Plowbeast, Illusory Demon and Swamp.

I don't have Andy's decklist but it mostly writes itself if you take the playable Jund Cards and picks 1 & 3 from Reborn. There was a good Esper deck went round but not enough of a sign to switch to it early enough and no bombs that make switching mandatory (e.g. Crovax the White in TPF draft).

Needless to say, he stomped all over the opponents thanks to Dragons and stuff - looks like Noobflogger Boss has produced two perfect drafts - who wants to be watched next time?

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Punt of the week - #1

By Jim Marlow

Hey everyone,

Obviously the purpose of this blog is more about how the rest of Team Leeds and myself are getting on as well as some more general articles about decks, magic theory etc i dont like to seem to above my station as i know im a pretty awful player.

Luckily, being as bad as me i get to see, and more often make, many hilarious mistakes that i really wish i could share with more people than the person sitting across from me.

Just to let everyone know, i dont want to come across badly and be using names, or have this article use names to let everyone know how bad certain people are at magic, so if you are commenting or sending in suggestions for punt of the week, please dont use names or write maliciously about anyone, cheers.

Anyway, on with the hilarity

Its round 3 of a draft i recently played in, and im playing a pretty decent naya deck against a good esper deck, which i know has sen triplets, tower gargoyle, and various other items.

Game 1 - opponant plays tidehollow sculler, i show sigil captain, resounding silence, and 2 lands. my opponant takes the sigil captain, then 2 turns later attacks with 2 men.....

Game 2 - i have branching bolt in my opening hand, but get really aggresive with valeron outlander into hushblade. I have a rhox brute in hand but im unsure whether to play it or keep bolt mana up. I play the brute. Opponant plays tidehollow sculler, i reveal branching bolt, sigil captain, valley rannet and a land. Opponant takes valley rannet then makes esper stormblade (the one that flies).......

I had to step outside for a couple seconds after this match.


Anyway, i know this column will be pretty popular seeing as there are soo many huge steaming mistakes made at Leeds and elsewhere round the country, so send them in to the usual email address (at the bottom) and ill post one a week, or more if i can.

See you all soon


Until then,


Jim


As always, feel free to comment on anything about this article, or anything unrelated to magic whatsoever. If you would like to contribute to the TLM blog, please email any ideas, articles, pictures or anything else to ss07jm@leeds.ac.uk

June Update + Magic Madness at Lincoln

By Jim Marlow

Hey Everyone,

As most of Team Leeds will know, i have now departed Leeds for most of the summer and have returned to become the monolithic 'Team Bury St Edmunds'. With 1, extrodinarily skilled player and a particularly catchy name, i dont see why we(i) wont be on the tour in no time.

Anyways, i hope everyone is having fun back in Leeds, i try to go home for the summer to give the rest of the people who play magic in Leeds a chance to win a few matches....and all that.

Having said that, anyone who keeps up with ratings will have notices my recent hemorrhage of rating points which i can only attribute to a succession of hugely punted games at 4 highly unsuccessful regionals. As you all know, my ratings mean a lot to me (Hawking reference anyone? no?), and soo this post will be my last......good bye.

Please be aware that this threat of suicide is far from serious, luckily i have had players like Andy 'Beard' Edwards losing by my side every step of the way to keep my morale absolutely tip-top...cheers Andy.

Many of you will be wondering if i am going to write anything either serious or of any value in this article....for the answer please refer to the other 52 hashed articles produced by myself and others.

Sadly, my loss of rating in a big way is not a joke, and i have lost over 100 points in both constructed and total, as well as around 20 in limited in about 6 weeks, which is pretty bad times. (im talking sub-1700 constructed now....*shudder*)


Im sure you guys will be glad to know i have been playing some magic down south. I went to Cambridge last night and went a respectable 2-1, which probably what i deserved with my deck but i was annoyed to have lost my first round which i know i could have easily won. I think i need high expectations of myself to maintain a high level of play, so im happy to be annoyed about losing here(does this make any sense?) Also, my 3rd round was a bit of a shambles - i have been toying with making a 'punt of the week' column ever since i had the pleasure of watching a certain puntington bear, so watch this space, because last nights was a howler - P.S not by me!


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Magic Madness


This will be the second time the fantastic guys at Definitive Games have run a magic madness event, and let me tell you im very excited.

I met Chris Alsopp at regionals in Leicester, we had a great game and did some nice trading afterwards. He also gave me a leaflet about a magic event it sounded cool, but i went happily on my way, knowing i probably wouldnt go.

Then at Altrincham regionals i played in a draft, and afterwards i traded with the guy, who i later found out was another members of the Definitive Games team. Sorry dude, i didnt get your name but you were cool too, and also kindly gave me info about Magic Madness

So when i got home i emptied my bag, and found said leaflet, this is how far i got


1st place - CASE (216 x boosters)

....what?

yessir, a case of boosters, which i have heard is a pretty damn good prize for 1st place on a 65 person cap.

Looks like im going to Lincoln this saturday then, well i hope so because i have paid for the tournament (£20) over the internet already, another awesome feature from definitive games.

Im pretty torn between playing the deck i want to play, and playing faeries. I thought faeries might be a decent deck to make a comeback a couple of regionals ago, but i really dont know if i want to play it again, and i think i would like to try something a little bit different, so here's what i will probably play (i say probably, when anyone who knows me will know i will change on the day)


4 x figure of destiny
4 x putrid leech
4 x anathemancer
4 x boggart ram gang
4 x bloodbraid elf
3 x sygg, river cutthroat

4 x maelstrom pulse
3 x volcanic fallout
3 x magma spray
3 x flame javelin

4 x savage lands
2 x ghitu encampment
2 x fire-lit thicket
2 x graven cairns
1 x twilight mire
1 x llanowar wastes
2 x sulphurous springs
2 x reflecting pool
4 x mountain
2 x forest
2 x swamp

S/B

4 x kitchen finks
2 x primal command
2 x infest
2 x cloudthresher
3 x thoughtseize
2 x thought hemorrhage


Im pretty happy with the deck, im still unsure about a couple cards, namely figure of destiny and flame javelin. I think i either commit to both or neither, replacing with bituminous blasts and chameleon colossus x 3 and the 4th volcanic fallout. However, this makes the deck a bit slower and it means i dont have too many chances to trigger sygg on the opponants turn.

I thought about incinerate, but it kills neither clique or colossus, so i would still need either blasts or flame javelins.

Anyway, please feel free to give feedback on this deck, and maybe ill ship you one of my 216 boosters, but probably not!


See you all soon,



Until then,


Jim


As always, feel free to comment on anything about this article, or anything unrelated to magic whatsoever. If you would like to contribute to the TLM blog, please email any ideas, articles, pictures or anything else to ss07jm@leeds.ac.uk