Friday, 31 July 2009

Ready to Grind at Brighton

By Jim Marlow

Hey everyone,

This will almost certainly be my lost article before 'winning' (scrubbing out of....but for me the first player to the bar is the real winner) nats and GP brighton next week, so i thought i would reveal my finished deck with which im hoping to grind in.

It is similar to my previously posted 5 colour deck but i am gearing it more towards the mirror, because i think 5 colour will almost certainly be the most played deck, then faeries, kithkin and combo elves.

3 x broodmate dragon
3 x plumeveil
2 x mulldrifter

4 x cryptic command
3 x broken ambitions
2 x negate

4 x esper charm
2 x ajani vengeant
1 x jace beleren
3 x cruel ultimatum
1 x obelisk of alara

2 x volcanic fallout
2 x firespout
2 x hallowed burial

4 x vivid creek
3 x vivid marsh
2 x vivid meadow
2 x vivid crag
4 x reflecting pool
3 x sunken ruins
2 x mystic gate
2 x cascade bluffs
1 x exotic orchid
3 x island

S/B

2 x thought hemorrhage
2 x runed halo
2 x identity crisis
1 x jace beleren
2 x wall of reverence
2 x volcanic fallout
4 x great sable stag


Im really happy with the deck, hopefully if i play tight and get a bit lucky i can get there no problems with it, because the raw power of the deck is under no question.

Not entirely sold on the wall of reverence's in the sideboard, or the configuration of sweepers i hae between main deck and sideboard, as i may switch a firespout and fallout round, depending on the showing of faeries in the grinders. If i take the wall of reverences out they will almost certainly become puppeteer cliques, as i wanted to get some.

The thought hemorrhage's are another last minute addition because i have trouble dealing with baneslayer angel, although i may just add a 3rd hallowed burial into the board. I think i just have a soft spot for thought hemorrhage because i love the card.

Obviously with these minor changes as possibilities i havent fully devised a sideboard plan yet....its obviously one for tuesday night.


The very best of luck goes out to all the players coming from Leeds and anyone else i know, im sure that some of the guys will do well, in either Nats or the GP....hopefully i can do the same.

See you all soon


Until then,


Jim
(GB National Champion, 2009)

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, 29 July 2009

Drafting with Wagz (and Andy) #5 - Being Responsive

By Wagz

Tonight I had Andy Edwards round for some draft action. We did a draft where we 2-0'd twice then got the old screw-flood in the final. We had a Malfegor for kicks which we topdecked at precisely the right time, and during the draft I called a 4th pick Armillary Sphere and the exact slot it was going to appear in before the booster showed so we felt that whatever is the source of luck was being pretty nice to us. We therefore decided to go into another draft, one which was much more fraught with decisions.

In reports on drafting we often hear about 'signals'. These are important but it is never really made clear why. For the most part it is a matter of course of being responsive and seeing that our desired strategy is being taken, such as not getting any good fat creatures for a fatty Naya deck. Rather than pig-headedly carrying on with the picks we have, we need to exercise more self-control and respond to the signals. This can involve abandoning your previous picks completely (I once abandoned my first 6 picks to take the deck being shipped to me and won the draft) or simply altering your strategy to cope with the situation - such as taking WG weenie when the RG fatties are drying up.

The draft presented here is an extreme example - taking cards which fit in multiple strategies and being aware of those strategies and what we can easily abandon, so as to be completely aware of what's being shipped in time to salvage our picks:


------ ALA ------
Pack 1 pick 1:
Naturalize, Obelisk of Grixis, Resounding Scream, Bloodthorn Taunter, Knight of the Skyward Eye, Cavern Thoctar, Shore Snapper, Waveskimmer Aven, Coma Veil, Soul's Grace, Rockslide Elemental, Necrogenesis, Swerve, Clarion Ultimatum, Island

Nothing obvious here. When you have an unobvious opening pack there are two choices really - take something okay and force it, or take the best card and pretend the booster you get passed was the first. Knight of the Skyward Eye, Rockslide Elemental and Necrogenesis are the only cards worth considering here.

GW aggro is always terrible for me due to a lack of removal and bad exalted creatures in Alara Reborn, which means Knight is forcing Naya aggro = 1 strategy.

Rockslide Elemental fits in any deck playing red and most befits an aggro deck. Goes well in unearth, devour and weenie decks = 3 strategies.

Necrogenesis is a powerhouse, but is in an awkward colour combination. It looks like it fits only in Jund but secretly (don't tell anyone) you can splash it in a deck with only one of the colours main. Hence, this fits in control decks playing black and/or green = lots of stratgies, all of which are control.

We take the Necrogenesis after a lot of discussion and were prepared to abandon it but it is powerful, turning off Unearth and working wonders against Exalted.

Pack 1 pick 2:
Vectis Silencers, Resounding Silence, Deathgreeter, Kederekt Creeper, Cancel, Obelisk of Jund, Volcanic Submersion, Rakeclaw Gargantuan, Onyx Goblet, Spell Snip, Fatestitcher, Qasali Ambusher, Kiss of the Amesha, Plains

No card here clearly goes with the 'genesis, but we are prepared to change. The best cards are Resounding Silence, Fatestitcher and Kiss of the Amesha. Qasali Ambusher used to be great but has lost lustre recently as if you're not attacking in GW then you're not doing it right which means you generally have to hardcast the guy. So it therefore falls to the three blue-white cards. These all want to be in control decks and Kiss is the best in that role, so we take it. A GB and a UW card so far, great..

Pack 1 pick 3:
Cancel, Rakeclaw Gargantuan, Bloodthorn Taunter, Naturalize, Angelsong, Blister Beetle, Sighted-Caste Sorcerer, Tortoise Formation, Coma Veil, Skeletonize, Corpse Connoisseur, Jhessian Infiltrator, Plains

Best card here is Red.. We notice the second Rakeclaw Gargantuan and realise we are probably shipping Naya, which means some kind of UB based deck is mostly likely to be rewarding. At this point a 5-colour control deck could be the order to use all our picks and we're certainly not being shown a good aggro deck. Take Skeletonize.

Pack 1 pick 4:
Skeletal Kathari, Goblin Deathraiders, Mosstodon, Dragon Fodder, Gift of the Gargantuan, Filigree Sages (FOIL), Outrider of Jhess, Grixis Panorama, Infest, Scourge Devil, Behemoth's Herald, Mountain

Before this booster came up Andy and I were just saying how a 5cc deck really needs a mass removal spell. If you don't get Jund Charm this usually means opening Volcanic Fallout or Martial Coup. We get passed an Infest here and are very happy with it. 5 colour control with a black base is being presented to us here if 3 people passed Infest (which got better with the Blades).

Pack 1 pick 5:
Sanctum Gargoyle, Rip-Clan Crasher, Lush Growth, Gift of the Gargantuan, Obelisk of Bant, Incurable Ogre, Grixis Panorama, Carrion Thrash, Grixis Battlemage, Scourglass, Swamp

This booster is a very curious one. Clearly the person that opened it wanted to pass Esper signals by shipping Sanctum Gargoyle and Scourglass. However, the next 3 people didn't want to know about it. Therefore, it's decision time. If we take a Scourglass (Gargoyle is not an option due to power and decktype reasons) then we may put the guy to our left in Esper but we have already shipped some mediocre Naya and the guys to our right will pass us Esper in pack 3 (the better control cards are in pack 3, the better aggro ones in pack 2). If we take Grixis Panorama then we get a better manabase but are losing out on a fantastic card. We take the Scourglass and are tempted by 5-colour Esper control.

Pack 1 pick 6:
Cylian Elf, Lightning Talons, Naya Panorama, Onyx Goblet, Obelisk of Esper, Godtoucher, Gustrider Exuberant, Esper Battlemage, Scourge Devil, Mountain

Esper Battlemage is a great Esper control card and helps us ship Naya more.

Pack 1 pick 7:
Yoked Plowbeast, Kederekt Creeper, Savage Hunger, Coma Veil, Shadowfeed, Waveskimmer Aven, Tidehollow Sculler, Exuberant Firestoker, Forest

Tidehollow Sculler is a very good card for us. I always wondered when this guy gets taken, and now I know.

Pack 1 pick 8:
Ridge Rannet, Courier's Capsule, Akrasan Squire, Dispeller's Capsule, Godtoucher, Cathartic Adept, Lightning Talons, Plains

That's a very late Akrasan Squire, but the Courier's Capsule is for us. We have found our stategy and are going with it - hooray for being responsive to the cards!

Pack 1 pick 9:
Obelisk of Grixis, Resounding Scream, Bloodthorn Taunter, Shore Snapper, Coma Veil, Swerve, Island

Obelisk of Grixis is a card which is very good in 5cc decks.

Pack 1 pick 10:
Kederekt Creeper, Cancel, Volcanic Submersion, Onyx Goblet, Spell Snip, Plains

This pick isn't automatic but we took Kederekt Creeper as a sideboard card (deathtouch, you see).

Pack 1 pick 11:
Bloodthorn Taunter, Naturalize, Tortoise Formation, Coma Veil, Plains

One less Naturalize to face.

Pack 1 pick 12:
Filigree Sages (FOIL), Grixis Panorama, Behemoth's Herald, Mountain

Tabled the Panorama, nice.

Pack 1 pick 13-15
Carrion Thrash, Godtoucher, Forest

------ CON ------
Pack 2 pick 1:
Sedraxis Alchemist, Beacon Behemoth, Darklit Gargoyle, Unsummon, Armillary Sphere, Kranioceros, Valiant Guard, Grixis Illusionist, Yoke of the Damned, Vectis Agents, Hellspark Elemental, Elder Mastery, Viashino Slaughtermaster, Mark of Asylum, Forest

Nothing hugely exciting here, but Armillary Sphere is an auto-include in 5cc. It'll certainly help us splash anything off-colour if we want to. We are on the lookout for manafixing in Conflux, as always.

Pack 2 pick 2:
Absorb Vis, Kranioceros, Mana Cylix, Gleam of Resistance, Wild Leotau, Goblin Outlander, Constricting Tendrils, Tukatongue Thallid, Asha's Favor, Dragonsoul Knight, Spore Burst, Skyward Eye Prophets, Sigil of the Empty Throne, Island

Absorb Vis is manafixing and a decent control card. The pack is a bit light though, we don't expect to wheel anything significant.

Pack 2 pick 3:
Beacon Behemoth, Darklit Gargoyle, Unsummon, Armillary Sphere, Kranioceros, Valiant Guard, Grixis Illusionist, Yoke of the Damned, Vectis Agents, Gluttonous Slime, Fusion Elemental, Sludge Strider, Swamp

Decision time - think fast! Armillary Sphere, Fusion Elemental or Sludge Strider? Sphere removes our mana worries, Fusion Elemental is a huge creature and Sludge Strider pushes for Esper. Though we are resolved to be 5-colour, a stable manabase and on-colour spells is a good thing to have, splashing only for the best cards. If we are to take a creature, I much prefer Sludge Strider here as it stops leaking Esper control signals and Fusion Elementals do sometimes table.

Pack 2 pick 4:
Esper Cormorants, Aven Trailblazer, Kaleidostone, Toxic Iguanar, Scattershot Archer, Yoke of the Damned, Nacatl Savage, Wandering Goblins, Corrupted Roots, Fusion Elemental, Skyward Eye Prophets, Swamp

Another Fusion Elemental is good, sure, but Esper Cormorants is so on colour and a very big flier.

Pack 2 pick 5:
Zombie Outlander, Matca Rioters, Darklit Gargoyle, Asha's Favor, Nacatl Outlander, Grixis Illusionist, Exploding Borders, Lapse of Certainty, Paragon of the Amesha, Controlled Instincts, Island

At this point we are satisfied with the Esper strategy and take Darklit Gargoyle. We would still like to splash the off-shard bombs but a more solid spellbase is the key to 5cc really. He has evasion and allows us to play aggro if we need to.

Pack 2 pick 6:
Absorb Vis, Kranioceros, Mana Cylix, Gleam of Resistance, Constricting Tendrils, Tukatongue Thallid, Asha's Favor, Paragon of the Amesha, Aerie Mystics, Forest

Absorb Vis or Gleam of Resistance? Both are fine but we go Absorb Vis for the black focus to the deck (Infest etc).

Pack 2 pick 7:
Pestilent Kathari, Matca Rioters, Bone Saw, Constricting Tendrils, Court Homunculus, Molten Frame, Infectious Horror, Manaforce Mace, Forest

I want to take Court Homonculus, but Andy convinces me to take Matca Rioters. Both are unlikely to make the deck but I concede we have more support for a 4/4 or 5/5 Rioters.

Pack 2 pick 8:
Traumatic Visions, Zombie Outlander, Kaleidostone, Brackwater Elemental, Maniacal Rage, Nacatl Savage, Countersquall, Mountain

Traumatic Visions, Zombie Outlander or Brackwater Elemental? All require us to play blue, in which event manafixing is very much needed so we take the Visions.

Pack 2 pick 9:
Sedraxis Alchemist, Unsummon, Kranioceros, Valiant Guard, Grixis Illusionist, Elder Mastery, Forest
Sedraxis Alchemist. Some cards don't need thinking about.

Pack 2 pick 10:
Kranioceros, Constricting Tendrils, Tukatongue Thallid, Asha's Favor, Skyward Eye Prophets, Island

Skyward Eye Prophets. It's looking a bit slow now, hope Reborn is alright for us.

Pack 2 pick 11-15:
Vectis Agents, Scattershot Archer, Controlled Instincts, Constricting Tendrils, Forest

------ ARB ------
Pack 3 pick 1:
Wildfield Borderpost, Sewn-Eye Drake, Mistvein Borderpost, Glassdust Hulk, Bant Sureblade, Terminate, Demonic Dread, Offering to Asha, Firewild Borderpost, Naya Hushblade, Mask of Riddles, Wall of Denial, Etherwrought Page, Knight of New Alara, Swamp

We take Wall of Denial. An excellent control card. We would still like some kind of creature with which to win but are in some kind of decent shape.

Pack 3 pick 2:
Winged Coatl, Deadshot Minotaur, Veinfire Borderpost, Esper Stormblade, Deny Reality, Rhox Brute, Sigiled Behemoth, Zealous Persecution (FOIL), Grixis Sojourners, Ethercaste Knight, Kathari Remnant, Mage Slayer, Anathemancer, Island

Esper Stormblade is a fine creature with which to swing. We could occasionally aggro with it too, but just having a 3/2 flier is good.

Pack 3 pick 3:
Wildfield Borderpost, Architects of Will, Terminate, Cerodon Yearling, Deny Reality, Grizzled Leotau, Valley Rannet, Bant Sojourners, Sanctum Plowbeast, Shield of the Righteous, Sigil Captain, Tainted Sigil, Plains

*enter Dalek mode* TERRMINATE!!

Pack 3 pick 4:
Sanity Gnawers, Island, Grixis Sojourners, Valley Rannet, Sanctum Plowbeast, Igneous Pouncer, Demonspine Whip, Singe-Mind Ogre, Bant Sureblade, Pale Recluse, Stormcaller's Boon, Brainbite

This pick took a while, but we settled on the UW 2-drop in Bant Sureblade. There are a few manafixers in here which would have been nice, but you need spells to cast with all this fixed mana.

Pack 3 pick 5:
Unbender Tine, Forest, Godtracker of Jund, Igneous Pouncer, Esper Sojourners, Grizzled Leotau, Ardent Plea, Jhessian Zombies, Ethersworn Shieldmage, Naya Sojourners, Gorger Wurm

I wish Shieldmage had Fear so he would truly be the Spanish Inquisition SURPRISE! What a guy.

Pack 3 pick 6:
Architects of Will, Deny Reality, Grizzled Leotau, Valley Rannet, Bant Sojourners, Sanctum Plowbeast, Skyclaw Thrash, Drastic Revelation, Mind Funeral, Swamp

Andy makes me take Skyclaw Thrash. Very good pick, we are splashing anyway and he's an artifact.

Pack 3 pick 7:
Wildfield Borderpost, Architects of Will, Valley Rannet, Bant Sojourners, Sanctum Plowbeast, Enlisted Wurm, Double Negative, Flurry of Wings, Forest

I repeat - "Pack 3 pick 7:". Enlisted Wurm...

Pack 3 pick 8:
Offering to Asha, Vithian Renegades, Mountain, Putrid Leech, Demonic Dread, Magefire Wings, Arsenal Thresher, Glassdust Hulk

Putrid Leech...

Pack 3 pick 9:
Wildfield Borderpost, Mistvein Borderpost, Demonic Dread, Offering to Asha, Mask of Riddles, Etherwrought Page, Swamp

Just the droid we were looking for, GW borderpost.

Pack 3 pick 10:
Deny Reality, Sigiled Behemoth, Kathari Remnant, Mage Slayer, Anathemancer, Island

Kathari Remnant is a solid control card, keeping dirt away all game and fetching up a creature to make up for the fact that you're playing a wall.

Pack 3 pick 11:
Bant Sojourners, Sanctum Plowbeast, Shield of the Righteous, Tainted Sigil, Plains

Sanctum Plowbeast helps us fix our mana.

Pack 3 pick 12-15:
Grixis Sojourners, Esper Sojourners, Sanctum Plowbeast, Forest

Another Plowbeast helps us fix the manas if we needs it. We came through with a good control deck in the end. We got a 4-11 one match with the Scourglass. Blew out a 12/9 First Strike creature with Shieldmage in the same game. One guy Unsummoned our Enlisted Wurm too, when he was in approximately zero danger, much appreciated.

With this article we make special mention to say goodbye to Damage on the Stack. Magic Online's update tomorrow brings with it the new rules. Farewell old friend, R.I.P. xxx

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

M10 Sealed

By Jim Marlow

Hey everyone,

I have been busy at work and with various other distractions so im afraid i havent been doing too many articles or anything. I won a couple of boosters and got some more to make up a sealed pool, i was going to look at it and build it but seeing as the last one got a solid response i thought i would publish the pool anyway... although from the looks of it, the build is almost certainly g/b/r in some form.

1 x open the vaults
1 x master of the wild hunt
1 x goblin artillery
1 x prodigal pyromancer
1 x assassinate
2 x bramble creeper
1 x howl of the night pack
1 x overrun
1 x stampeding rhino
1 x siege gang commander
1 x darksteel colossus
1 x naturalize (foil)
1 x llanowar elves
1 x rampant growth
1 x pyroclasm
2 x deadly recluse
1 x disentomb
2 x doom blade
2 x razorfoot griffen
2 x essence scatter
1 x raging goblin
1 x excommunicate
1 x soul warden
1 x merfolk looter
2 x burst of speed
1 x ornithoper
1 x stone giant
1 x negate
2 x zombie goliath
1 x horned turtle
2 x kindled fury
1 x entangling vines
1 x lava axe
1 x divine verdict
1 x kelinore bat
1 x howling mine
1 x howling banshee
1 x wurm's tooth
1 x white knight
1 x jump
1 x palace guard
1 x sparkmage apprentice
1 x shatter
2 x burning inquiry
1 x serpent of the endless sea
1 x soul bleed
1 x lifelink
1 x jackal familiar
1 x convincing mirage
1 x air elemental
1 x wall of faith
1 x trumpet blast
1 x stormfront pegasus
1 x undead slayer
1 x diabolic tutor
1 x time scour
1 x righteousness
1 x telepathy
1 x unsummon
1 x veteran swordsmith
1 x unholy strength

Well that's the pool, i will add to the post with my final build tomorrow morning, but from where im sitting it's pretty straightforward, just a case of how much to splash black, because the g/r doesnt offer too many 3-5 mana dudes, but the deeper you go into black the less effective the howl of the night pack is, although the howl plus master of the wild hunt is pretty sexy, and so is siege gang, so i guess i would only splash for the 2 doom blades, assassinate and the kelinore bat maybe.

Anyway, have fun messing with this pool, once again i imagine iv missed a trick here.

More fun to come 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

Monday, 27 July 2009

Punt of the Week #3

By Ben Scoones

Hey everyone, this is Ben Scoones from Cambridge. Some of you probably know me already or we've met briefly at a PTQ. I've been told by Wagz that you like to read about punts, so here's one that happened the other day.

It's a Shadowmoor sealed event, as I'm pretty bored of ACR draft and prep for nats so feel like playing an actual fun format. It's round 2, game 1 and the (relevant) board state is the following:

Me: Wickerbough Elder (with counter still on), 1 untapped Forest, Duergar Assailant.

My opponent: An attacking Duergar Mine Captain (untapped after his ability was activated) equipped with Scourge of the Nobilis (so it's a 5/3). He also has Bloodmark Mentor and 3 white mana untapped.

I assume that he has some form of trick, most likely a Fire at Will (having tapped his mana specifically to leave WWW). So, before blocking I remove the -1/-1 counter from my Wickerbough Elder to destroy the Scourge of the Nobilis, making his Duergar Mine Captain a 3/1 first striker. I then block with the Wickerbough thinking if he has fire at will he stacks damage, kills my guy and then I kill his with the duergar assailant (this is online btw, for those of you questioning why damage is still stacking). Instead of making this play however, he decides to Fire at Will my Wickerbough Elder before damage. Rather than letting my Elder die, I shoot his Mine Captain with my Assailant. The end result of this is that his guy dies, he's wasted a very good trick, lost a Scourge of the Nobilis and all it's cost me is my Duergar Assailant and my guy getting +1/+1. As if this wasn't enough, following his rather poor play he decides to concede the entire match! Sure, why not, I'll take that win.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Standard musings

By Jim Marlow

Hey everyone,

I had hoped to not write about my current thoughts on standard, and what i'll be playing for quite some time, mainly because i had very few thoughts at all on it. I was hoping to wait for the US nationals to get me a netdeck for nationals (if i need one), in case i decide to go on the grind with a T2 deck.

Having said that, i think it would be foolish to ignore the other nats going on around this time, in particular the japanese and australian nats, which yielded some interesting decks, and lead me to pretty much decide on what ill be playing come August.

This is a slightly tweaked version of Shuuhei's list from Japanese Nats, ill probably be playing something similar, dependant on various tech revelations from US nats.

3 x mulldrifter
3 x plumeveil
3 x broodmate dragon

4 x cryptic command
3 x broken ambitions
3 x agony warp
4 x esper charm

4 x firespout
2 x hallowed burial

3 x cruel ultimatum
2 x ajani vengeant

4 x vivid creek
3 x vivid marsh
2 x vivid meadow
2 x vivid crag
4 x reflecting pool
3 x sunken ruins
2 x mystic gate
2 x cascade bluffs
1 x exotic orchid
3 x island

S/B
3 x anathemancer
2 x identity crisis
2 x runed halo
2 x wall or reverence
1 x hallowed burial
2 x volcanic fallout
3 x great sable stag


This is what im playing at the moment, it seems to be pretty good, so its probably what ill be playing at grinders, so fingers crossed. I think all the matchups are ok, i would like to see how this does against combo elves, but im guessing that anything with counterspells and sweepers should be ok because as long as i can counter the primals and regal forces i can sweep before being swarmed.

More sealed and draft articles to come this week so look out for them,


See you 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

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Drafting with Wagz #4 - With added Fu

By Wagz

Tonight's draft was in conjunction with Fu. It is a good idea to draft with other people because you get to discuss picks and plays. If you cannot justify your pick/play to another person then maybe it isn't the best idea anyway. It also means you both might find new cards you otherwise wouldn't play with and such. I have drafted with Rik, Joe Churcher, Martin, Ben Heath, Andy Edwards and Mick Edwards at various points and it's always more fun in numbers :). Note that this is illegal in real life Magic but unenforcable online. Onto the picks:

------ ALA ------

Pack 1 pick 1:
Sigil Blessing, Court Archers, Viashino Skeleton, Call to Heel, Excommunicate, Viscera Dragger, Carrion Thrash, Vithian Stinger, Gift of the Gargantuan, Outrider of Jhess, Blood Cultist, Dragon's Herald, Corpse Connoisseur, Tezzeret the Seeker, Mountain

We take the Mythic Rare. Online you are more prone to take cards worth Tix since you can more easily get your money back, but Planeswalkers are nearly always great anyway. Tezzeret is IMO by far the weakest Planeswalker, at least in Draft, but you can build a deck around him and is an excellent start to an Artifact deck.

Pack 1 pick 2:
Cancel, Obelisk of Jund, Volcanic Submersion, Rakeclaw Gargantuan, Onyx Goblet, Spell Snip, Guardians of Akrasa, Goblin Mountaineer, Shore Snapper, Qasali Ambusher, Demon's Herald, Sangrite Surge, Quietus Spike, Island

I am always happy to abandon Tezzeret after picking him and want to take Qasali Ambusher but Fu convinces me to go with the Quietus Spike since UB and UW have good fliers you can equip it to. I don't like paying 3 to equip stuff unless it's a Hammer since it is not good tempo until late late game.

Pack 1 pick 3:
Viashino Skeleton, Call to Heel, Excommunicate, Viscera Dragger, Druid of the Anima, Thorn-Thrash Viashino, Soul's Grace, Mosstodon, Waveskimmer Aven, Elvish Visionary, Jund Battlemage, Angel's Herald, Forest

The green drafter in me again wants me to take Waveskimmer Aven but we take the Viscera Dragger. It's a fairly solid card anyway and helps us to pass a lot of Green cards for signals.

Pack 1 pick 4:
Kederekt Creeper, Resounding Roar, Jhessian Lookout, Welkin Guide, Undead Leotau, Obelisk of Grixis, Blister Beetle, Cavern Thoctar, Angelic Benediction, Sphinx's Herald, Gather Specimens, Swamp

Still good Naya cards in here, but Blister Beetle is good - better than it used to be even, so we take the little critter. We are wary of having too few artifacts - not many getting passed is not a good sign.

Pack 1 pick 5:
Tortoise Formation, Coma Veil, Sanctum Gargoyle, Etherium Sculptor (FOIL), Outrider of Jhess, Grixis Panorama, Obelisk of Bant, Seaside Citadel, Bant Battlemage, Scourge Devil, Mountain

Or is it? We obv take Sanctum Gargoyle but are not sure what's going on. Was there a better artifact in there? We just need to buckle down and cut our colours heavily now since there's not really anything to move into.

Pack 1 pick 6:
Thorn-Thrash Viashino, Yoked Plowbeast, Banewasp Affliction, Rakeclaw Gargantuan (FOIL), Soul's Grace, Kathari Screecher, Scavenger Drake, Dawnray Archer, Immortal Coil, Plains

I convince Fu to take the Kathari Screecher now as it curves well and has Unearth but he wanted the Scavenger Drake. I like that guy as well but it just doesn't do enough quick enough any more.

Pack 1 pick 7:
Steelclad Serpent, Marble Chalice, Viscera Dragger, Obelisk of Grixis, Resounding Scream, Bloodthorn Taunter, Cavern Thoctar, Sunseed Nurturer, Plains

A second Viscera Dragger is much better than a Steelclad Serpent and gives us a better Black deck. We are losing the artifact focus and may just be splashing Sanctum Gargoyle, we'll see.

Pack 1 pick 8:
Goblin Mountaineer, Carrion Thrash, Glaze Fiend, Gift of the Gargantuan, Obelisk of Bant, Esper Charm, Cunning Lethemancer, Forest

Esper Charm isn't a bad pick here, it means the guys a couple to our right probably aren't in Esper, or that the shard is under-drafted around the table.

Pack 1 pick 9:
Viashino Skeleton, Carrion Thrash, Gift of the Gargantuan, Outrider of Jhess, Dragon's Herald, Corpse Connoisseur, Mountain

Corpse Connoisseur is not as good as he used to be. Having said that, we have 3 Unearth cards already so we do take it.

Pack 1 pick 10:
Volcanic Submersion, Onyx Goblet, Shore Snapper, Demon's Herald, Sangrite Surge, Island

Onyx Goblet might combo with Tezzeret?

Pack 1 pick 11-15
Excommunicate, Undead Leotau, Coma Veil, Soul's Grace, Plains

Leotau is fine, not much to see here.

------ CON ------
Pack 2 pick 1:
Esper Cormorants, Unsummon, Rhox Meditant, Vedalken Outlander, Absorb Vis, Brackwater Elemental, Suicidal Charge, Maniacal Rage, Rotting Rats, Goblin Outlander, Vagrant Plowbeasts, Gluttonous Slime, Esperzoa, Rakka Mar, Island

I have come to the conclusion that Esperzoa is a trick, he's far too slow in real life. Doesn't work without several Moxen. Esper Cormorants is obviously fine but I make us take Rakka Mar. She is an absolute bomb if we are willing to splash Red and it doesn't look like artifacts are working out for us.

Pack 2 pick 2:
Matca Rioters, Darklit Gargoyle, Wretched Banquet, Esper Cormorants, Quenchable Fire, Tukatongue Thallid, Lapse of Certainty, Rupture Spire, Suicidal Charge, Ancient Ziggurat, Nacatl Hunt-Pride, Viashino Slaughtermaster, Exotic Orchard, Plains

Shame to pass a second Esper Cormorants, but Exotic Orchard is really great in the format.

Pack 2 pick 3:
Dark Temper, Frontline Sage, Aven Squire, Wretched Banquet, Sylvan Bounty, Canyon Minotaur, Constricting Tendrils, Tukatongue Thallid, Asha's Favor, Corrupted Roots, Spore Burst, Dreadwing, Island

Dark Temper is a fine removal spell if we are increasing our Red quotient with so many Black creatures already.

Pack 2 pick 4:
Pestilent Kathari, Valeron Outlander, Armillary Sphere, Aven Trailblazer, Brackwater Elemental, Exploding Borders, Maniacal Rage, Nacatl Outlander, Sludge Strider (FOIL), Cumber Stone, Reliquary Tower, Plains

Armillary Sphere will obviously help our mana, but Sludge Strider is what we take, hoping to revive our artifact theme.

Pack 2 pick 5:
Bone Saw, Sedraxis Alchemist, Vedalken Outlander, Rhox Bodyguard, Wandering Goblins, Valiant Guard, Salvage Slasher, Jhessian Balmgiver, Nacatl Hunt-Pride, Elder Mastery, Mountain

We take Sedraxis Alchemist, and excellent creature in UB.

Pack 2 pick 6:
Absorb Vis, Valeron Outlander, Sylvan Bounty, Aven Squire, Pestilent Kathari, Asha's Favor, Grixis Illusionist, Lapse of Certainty, Shard Convergence, Forest

We'll need this Absorb Vis to cast our splashed spells.

Pack 2 pick 7:
Darklit Gargoyle, Wretched Banquet, Quenchable Fire, Tukatongue Thallid, Lapse of Certainty, Rupture Spire, Suicidal Charge, Gluttonous Slime, Mountain

Ditto about Rupture Spire

Pack 2 pick 8:
Absorb Vis, Unsummon (FOIL), Asha's Favor, Grixis Illusionist, Lapse of Certainty, Ancient Ziggurat, Controlled Instincts, Swamp

I think I put together a decent case for Ziggurat but we go with the more consistent Absorb Vis, which will help cast any Thopter Foundries or Terminates we see in pack 3.

Pack 2 pick 9:
Unsummon, Rhox Meditant, Vedalken Outlander, Brackwater Elemental, Rotting Rats, Goblin Outlander, Island

Can't argue with an Outlander. We take the Goblin one but I can see Fu's not keen. Probably should have taken the artifact one as it's fetchable, but pro: white is much more relevant in shards limited.

Pack 2 pick 10:
Wretched Banquet, Quenchable Fire, Tukatongue Thallid, Lapse of Certainty, Ancient Ziggurat, Plains

Wretched Banquet is a removal spell, which we sorely need.

Pack 2 pick 11-15:
Corrupted Roots, Cumber Stone, Salvage Slasher, Asha's Favor, Mountain

Cumber Stone is a good sideboard card. I like to play it main if I have 2 or more.

------ ARB ------
Pack 3 pick 1:
Vithian Renegades, Meddling Mage, Mountain, Bant Sojourners, Sigiled Behemoth, Etherium Abomination, Esper Sojourners, Enlisted Wurm, Marrow Chomper, Sewn-Eye Drake, Mistvein Borderpost, Glassdust Hulk, Bant Sureblade, Terminate, Igneous Pouncer

A quick check reveals Meddling Mage is going for 1.2 Tix, so we take the Terminate.

Pack 3 pick 2:
Sanity Gnawers, Sages of the Anima, Forest, Godtracker of Jund, Igneous Pouncer, Esper Sojourners, Grizzled Leotau, Stun Sniper, Singe-Mind Ogre, Deadshot Minotaur, Talon Trooper, Grixis Grimblade, Soul Manipulation, Offering to Asha

Grixis Grimblade is one of my preferred Blades and is welcome in our early-drop-light deck.

Pack 3 pick 3:
Colossal Might, Jhessian Zombies, Ethersworn Shieldmage, Naya Sojourners, Gorger Wurm, Vedalken Ghoul, Violent Outburst, Naya Hushblade, Vectis Dominator, Firewild Borderpost, Demonspine Whip, Etherwrought Page, Plains

We want to take the Shieldmage, but Fu's brother (a national team member) won a draft with 3 Etherwrought Pages so we take it to try it out.

Pack 3 pick 4:
Fieldmist Borderpost, Putrid Leech, Colossal Might, Pale Recluse, Naya Sojourners, Demonic Dread, Magefire Wings, Sigil of the Nayan Gods, Arsenal Thresher, Unbender Tine, Dragon Appeasement, Mountain

Fieldmist Borderpost helps us a lot.

Pack 3 pick 5:
Singe-Mind Ogre, Soul Manipulation, Stormcaller's Boon, Veinfire Borderpost, Jund Sojourners, Breath of Malfegor, Etherium Abomination, Gloryscale Viashino, Mage Slayer, Anathemancer, Island

As does Veinfire Borderpost.

Pack 3 pick 6:
Gorger Wurm, Leonin Armorguard, Architects of Will, Fieldmist Borderpost, Arsenal Thresher, Demonic Dread, Offering to Asha, Firewild Borderpost, Morbid Bloom, Mountain

As does Fieldmist Borderpost. We now have good mana, possibly.

Pack 3 pick 7:
Swamp, Godtracker of Jund, Igneous Pouncer, Esper Sojourners, Grizzled Leotau, Zealous Persecution, Singe-Mind Ogre, Jhessian Zombies (FOIL), Offering to Asha

Fu wants Esper Sojourners, I want Igneous Pouncer. We take Zealous Persecution as it is really strong.

Pack 3 pick 8:
Jhessian Zombies, Ethersworn Shieldmage, Naya Sojourners, Vedalken Ghoul, Violent Outburst, Vectis Dominator, Fight to the Death, Mountain

I think we just got flashed by a Shieldmage. This guy is the nuts.

Pack 3 pick 9:
Mountain, Bant Sojourners, Esper Sojourners, Mistvein Borderpost, Glassdust Hulk, Bant Sureblade, Igneous Pouncer

The good thing about few people drafting Esper is that you get stuff like Glassdust Hulk tabling.

Pack 3 pick 10:
Sages of the Anima, Forest, Godtracker of Jund, Igneous Pouncer, Esper Sojourners, Offering to Asha

Got my Igneous Pouncer. I love this guy. I've swung for the win out of nowhere for no reason with him a few times.

Pack 3 pick 11:
Ethersworn Shieldmage, Vedalken Ghoul, Violent Outburst, Vectis Dominator, Plains

2nd Shieldmage is very welcome.

Pack 3 pick 12-15:
Unbender Tine, Etherium Abomination, Demonic Dread, Swamp

We won the draft with more than a bit of luck. We didn't play optimally (I had the mouse, so it was mostly my fault) but curved out pretty well and didn't get manascrewed. We managed to Shieldmage our opponents first guy game one all 3 matches, but one of them had Call to Heel for his own guy. We never did draw Rakka Mar but always had the mana for her, which never interfered with playing our other guys. Tezzeret was less than awesome for us, getting us 3 Borderposts and 1 Etherwrought Page. He did save us some damage and fix our mana though, so he was probably worth it. I drew the right lands at the right time a lot too, Fu had a face of disbelief :).

Anyway, the moral is: draft with other people because you will get a new experience out of it. If anyone wants to draft with me (and has a draft set on MTGO) then let me know and I'll try to find some time. Cheers guys, Wagz

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Jim's huge release over the Magic 2010 Core Set

By Jim Marlow

Hey everyone,

Sadly, once again working late caused me to sleep in for the release event in Ipswich today, which i didnt have a car for anyway so i dont know how i was getting there.

However, i went into town and got some boosters to do a little sealed for an article which i thought everyone might like, here's my pool.

White

1 x palace guard
1 x holy strength
1 x lifelink
1 x solemn offering
1 x griffin sentinel
1 x wall of faith
1 x silence
1 x divine verdict
1 x harm's way
1 x armoured ascension
1 x razorfoot griffen
1 x silvercoat lion
1 x soul warden

Blue

3 x cancel
2 x serpent of the endless sea
2 x sleep (1 foil)
1 x essence scatter
1 x unsummon
1 x ponder
1 x twincast
1 x mind spring
1 x disorient
1 x wind drake
1 x air elemental
1 x convincing mirage
1 x jump

Black

2 x doom blade
1 x black knight
1 x sign in blood
1 x deathmark
1 x disentomb
1 x warpath ghoul
1 x xanthrid demon
1 x duress
1 x nightmare
1 x relentless rats
2 x acolyte of xanthrid
1 x kelinore bat
2 x assassinate

Red

2 x jackal familiar
1 x sparkmage apprentice
1 x raging goblin
1 x lava axe
2 x yawning fissure
1 x goblin piker
1 x firebreathing
2 x burning inquiry
2 x panic attack
1 x stone giant
1 x fiery hellhound
1 x fireball
1 x earthquake
1 x act of treason

Green

1 x prized unicorn
1 x naturalize
1 x windstorm
1 x deadly recluse
1 x runeclaw bear
1 x giant growth
2 x bramble creeper
1 x enourmous baloth
2 x borderland ranger
1 x llanowar elves
1 x acidic slime
1 x rampant growth

Colourless

1 x gorgon flail
2 x whispersilk cloak
1 x dragon's claw

1 x terramophic expanse



Looking at the cards i have availible, im pretty sure i am going to be mostly discarding white, and probably blue too, although i think sleep is a very powerful card in limited because the tempo of double alphastrike is amazing, im not sure it is worth it as it will only ever be a double splash.

Green offers some decent ramp effects, with my double civic wayfinder and rampant growth to go with the llanowar elves i have.

Also, red has the bombs of earthquake and fireball which obviously benefit from the ramping

However, i like black with the double doomblade, xanthrid demon is a bomb, but sadly a lot of the other playables hae double colour requirements in the casting cost.

Here's the list i would play from these.

1 x llanowar elves
2 x jackal familar
1 x giant growth
1 x deathmark
1 x rampant growth
2 x doom blade
1 x deadly recluse
1 x runeclaw bear
2 x borderland ranger
1 x act of treason
1 x fiery hellhound
2 x yawning fissure
1 x acidic slime
2 x bramble creeper
1 x prizes unicorn
1 x earthquake
1 x fireball
1 x enourmous baloth


I really dont know if this deck is any good, or is the best that can be built from the pool. It could really do with some more or better fatties to ramp into. Im loving the possibility of land destruction with the ramping, but this might just be a bit shitty.

O well.

See you 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

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Drafting with Jim - #11

By Jim Marlow

Hey everyone,

Sorry for the huuuge delay in uploading this draft, every time it takes a lot longer to do the draft articles and something kept coming up, but i got in from work just now so i thought this was much more useful than sleep.

P1,p1 - Infest

Kiss of the amesha is a quite narrow second, with sculler and punish ignorance going left too. I much prefer infest to amesha right now, as my favourite w/u deck is the artifact aggo w/u, and in 5 colour i rate infest over the kiss.

P1,p2 - fatesticher

Grixis/esper are some of my favourite achetypes, and i think this is much better to support a more controlling build, although it pains me to pass both an executioners capsule (which may have been the pick here) and a vithian stinger

p1,p3 - corpse connoisseur

works well i guess, although i would like the blister beetle back, passing ranger of eos is fine.

P1, p4 - dregscape zombie

Is this the pick over souls fire, i guessed as i am pretty unearthy it was fine.

P1,p5 - fatesticher

yus!!!!

P1, p6 - blightning

hopefully the obelisk of grixis will table, but blightning is better than that i think as i am in the best colours for landcycling, plus even without multiples its great at stripping the last few cards from hands, which are usually either bombs or the land to play the bombs.

P1,p7 - scourge devil

i think this is fine over bloodpyre elemental, is my deck looking pretty good or is it me?

Remaining picks - lightning talons, spell snip, incurable ogre, onyx goblet, jhessian infiltrator, shadowfeed, plains, mountain

P2, p1 - rupture spire

Not a ridic pick 1 but scepter of fugue isnt mind boggling plus i dont think i have enough blue permanents to first pick sedraxis alchemist over the spire

P2,p2 - armilery sphere

this is pretty good, i dont need a great deal of mana fixing but allow splashes should i need to make some.

p2,p3 - Absorb vis

more mana fixing, this is almost all the fixing i really need, and im not taking it over anything exciting which is just fine.

P2, p4 - sedraxis alchemist

this time i give the alchemist the nod over the rupture spire, half because i have a decent amount of fixing, but also because i like the tempo he gives, and with the mana fixing i can pick more blue permanents. not sure if this is correct

P2,p5 - elder mastery

possibly the goblin outlander is the pick here, but im tempted by the blue permanent, plus when this gets active its really ridiculous

P2,p6 - molten frame

Remaining picks - pestilent kathari, vagrant plowbeast, scepter of fugue, vectis agents, valeron outlander, asha's favour, mountain, asha's favour, island

P3,p1 - Terminate

solid

P3,p2 - sewn eye drake

nothing else here, blue permanant

P3,p3 - grixis grimblade

see above

P3,p4 - kathari bomber

P3,p5 - Lorescale coatl (foil)

not sure why i picked this, i want it in real life but that doesnt really help me, but i havent got what else was in the pack

P3, p6 - kathari bomber

P3, p7 - demonic dread (foil)

Remaining picks - monstrous carabid, double negative, godtracker of jund, monstrous carabid, double negative, vedalken ghoul, magefire wings, forest.


OVerall the draft went a little worse than my first 7 or 8 picks indicated, maybe i misdrafted, but i was pretty sure i was in the right archetype but i just didnt see much after my first 5 picks in packs 2 and 3, o well, i guess it just happens like that sometimes.

Here's my deck

1 x amilery sphere
1 x grixis grimblade
1 x terminate
1 x scepter of fugue
1 x blightning
1 x infest
1 x dregscape zombie
2 x kathari bomber
1 x pestilent kathari
2 x fatesticher
1 x spell snip
1 x sedraxis alchemist
1 x sewn eye drake
1 x corpse connoiseur
2 x monstrous carabid
1 x elder mastery
1 x absorb vis
1 x molten frame
1 x vectis agents
1 x demoni dread (shudder, but at least it finds either terminate, a-sphere, grimblade or drgscape)

1 x rupture spire
8 x swamp
2 x island
6 x mountain

I went out in round 2 of this event (not sure if it as 4-3-2-2 or 8-4), so not all bad considering the deck wasnt too great, which is a shame when your talking about a deck with infest, corpse connoiseur and 2 fatestichers.


O well,

See everyone at Nats.


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, 16 July 2009

Tournament Report - WNM at Runik Games, Bury St Edmunds

By Jim Marlow

Hey Everyone,

I hope everyone is having an enjoyable release week. I am very excited about the changes M10 will bring to Standard, because i have been finding standard a bit stale for the past couple of months, with the decks that seem to be performing being the ones i would rather not play, or when i play something else, i crap out to the aforementioned decks.

I didnt come prepared for this week because there isnt really a scheduled series of events in Bury like in Leeds, but i was really hoping to be drafting. Sadly, my plans fell at the first hurdle when i found out the shop had 0 (zero) boosters in stock......o any expansion or core set, i guess Yu-Gi-Oh really is doing that well then.

It turns out it was another T2 Standard Constructed event, which is ok, but i still had my jund deck from last week probably would have done ok, but i felt like playing something different, so i knocked together this list.

4 x figure of destiny
4 x knight of the white orchid
3 x ethersworn canonist
4 x stillmoon cavalir
4 x kitchen finks
2 x ranger of eos
3 x wall of reverence

4 x path to exile
2 x oblivion ring
4 x ajani vengeant
2 x martial coup

4 x ancient ampitheatre
2 x moutain
18 x plains

S/B
3 x wrath of god
4 x burrenton forge tender
3 x celestial purge
3 x reveillark
1 x loxodon warhammer
1 x ethersworn canonist


I know what your thinking, this deck is a little bit poo. Well, i guess your right, but if you know me you know i carry round a folder with a load of good cards should i need them for a deck or to lend to someone. I sort this folder by colour, and this deck was basically made up by taking out the first page and a half of white cards, and adding a lot of plains....done.


Round 1 - A nice man who lent me a D20 then left later on - jund aggro

My opponant was playing the hackblade/colossal might aggro, which as i was sitting down (when he was wished good luck by the store owner....yeah i strike fear into the hearts of men) he professed to 'go off' by turn 5.

Game 1 - Turn 5 came and went, and im pretty certain i was still on a sizeable amount of like, like 10 or something. I had a stillmoon cavalier and my opponant has a jund hackblade left after some battling. He attacks, i block, and he reveals the surprise colossal might..... +1/+0 then first strike i guess....

Game 2 - On turn 4 my opponant finds his 3rd land for a ram gang, i take 3 and make mi figure 4/4, then make a turn 4 wall of reverence....he races?

Round 2 - Grant - kithkin.

I guess this is an ok matchup post board as i have more wraths and the stillmoon cavaliers, but i need to survive to find the cards i need first.

Game 1 - I get a pretty killer draw and get early beats on with triple figure of destiny...nom. Grant finds some land and makes a couple guys but i can still get round for damaghe, and my stillmoon cavalier only needs to swing once to finish him off.

Game 2 - Grant finds all 4 of his path to exiles, 2 celestial purges for my ajani's, an unmake and wraths my stillmoon. I am finding all my removal too, and despite finding another stillmoon grant has too many guys for me. I get an ajani up some counters to keep his guys tapped, but his forge tender stops me a helix, and then i make a mistake pathing the forge tender and not the figure he has. In the end i decide to armageddon and then wrath, take 8 leaving me on 8 then next turn i can play a creature from my hand, and hopefully draw something. I draw a plains, play my knight of the white orchid but grant draws plains and plays his last card in hand, his 4th path to exile...shame.

Game 3 - I bring in the noobhammer, which i mistakenly leave out of game 2 in this match which is essentially a race. Grant gets ahead on the board but i wrath, then i mistakenly play out a second stillmoon cavalier as i think i can beat for the win but this time grant wraths, leaving him a figure in hand courtesy of ranger of eos. The figure bites it and luckily i find another stillmoon cavalier after we both draw dead, and finally i have something to equip my noobhammer onto, especially since i have been drawing land. I smash in for 9 twice, putting me to 42 life i think, grant finds a mirror entity, with an equally large mass of land, but misses a chance to crack back when he forgets to tap my kitchen finks at end of turn, meaning his attack in turn 3 of extra turns for 27 doesnt get there, as he has no way to stop the cavalier.

Great Games.

Round 3 - Meo - Combo Elves

Meo asked me what to play today between a jund deck which didnt look to exciting and a really nice build of combo elves, but his uses banefire as a finisher. I love it because it uses gilt leaf archdruid and the druid accelerant package, which is awesome, although i think he would be better off using the primal command and mirror entity package to just bash through, with banefire as backup.

Game 1 - I resolve turn 2 ethersworn canonist, and Meo plays a birds of paradise, then a llanowar elves, then another birds of paradise in the next three turns. I make big men and smash.

Game 2 - Meo thoughtseizes my canonist, which is annoying, but despite finding the right mana generators he cant find either a regal force or primal command, and so has to start chumping. He keeps finding useless mana dorks and can banefire me for 10 simply from the mana his guys can make, but i an getting in with my guys and this is not enough.

3-0 is obviously a great result, and winning is good, especially with a deck i know little about and that i made 5 minutes before the event (played my first round unsleeved) My rating has finally decided its had enough of going south and has begun the long and painful journey back to where i was at a few months ago...although i must say that i am doing better than ever at limited so Finkel watch out.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I hope you enjoyed this, the draft i promised will finally go up tomorrow, so keep an eye out for that.

Nats is getting very close now, i hope everyone is excited about it.

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, 15 July 2009

July Update

By Jim Marlow

Hey everyone,

Firstly a quick apology for the lack of articles in the las couple of weeks, i have been trying to get 4-5 a week done, but im pretty busy with work and apparently my girlfriend wants to spend some time with me when im not at university, so im doing my best.


M10 is finally here, along with some new rules changes, which are no doubt going to shake up standard for this summer when Nationals comes to Brighton.


Luckily, UK Nationals are quite late in the season, at least they are after US and Australian Nationals, which are probably more high profile. This means i will probably not do as much preparation into finding a decent deck in standard, which is nice and easy.

However, on the face of it, it looks like aggro decks are going to be sick without wrath, and white weenie is obviously going to be one of, if not the most popular decks as it is largely unchanged but strictly better than before M10.

Also, it looks like Hallowed Burial will finally get some love, it was also the second best wrath in the format, but still people played austere command and martial coup, well hallowed burial is the nuts, anyone ever heard of reveillark? Speaking of which, i think the dedicated lark decks will no doubt be very few and far between.

Mono red will probably be played a lot more with bolt and ball lightning back along with the usual suspects. Im still not a bit fan, mostly because mono white will beat mono red unless mono red gets decent draws. However, i think if mono red gets bigger we may see the return of forge-tenders to the main, and personally if i was playing mono white, i would play knight of the white orchid too, because having 8 two mana 2/2's with first strike is not great for ball lightning or hellspark elemental.



Other than this, i would imagine that most of the decks we will see at the various Nationals tournaments will be the usual suspects - Elves, which is probably my favourite deck right now, faeries, bant......etc.

M10 does bring some decent cards to the format, but i think the new lands are probably going to be the most played cards from M10, and any others will basically fit into the already created deck archetypes, possibly with some upgrades such as doom blade over terror.



What will i be playing in coming weeks?

I havent really thought of standard for a while, nothing is really blowing my socks off, and as im not qualified for Nats i will probably try grinding in the sealed event unless i find a deck before then.

I have been working on a B/r control deck for a little while which is basically mono black control splashing bolt and a couple other cards, if i forge together anything semi-playable i will post it in the next couple of days.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On a completely unrelated note, if anyone wants to order a Team Leeds Magic t-shirt - please contact me giving me your size and the name you would like to have on the back. I cant really sa how much it will be, because it depende on the size of the order - but i wont order untill we have enough people to make it less than £10

If you didnt get a shirt last time or want a second one, get in touch, my email is below, or over facebook. For those who asked, i am going to look into the possibility of getting the t-shirts in black as well for anyone interested.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


See everyone at Nats.

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, 12 July 2009

Punt of the Week (sic) #2

By Wagz

Hi all, hope you have had / will have a good prerelease. As I am judging the Leeds Event I went elsewhere for my prereleasy action. It may have cost more than Leeds, but I need my fix dammit :). Anyway, onto today's punt. The guy has been playing twice as long as I have but looked like a young chap. In his pool he had a Garruk, a Bogardan Hellkite and a Fireball, among other nasties.

With Garruk in play, on one counter, and having 1 tapped Beast token and a Jackal Familiar (2/2 can't attack or block alone) against my 2/1 Lifelink creature only, I casually mentioned that the Overrun ability on Garruk is silly. So, he taps his 6 lands and uses Garruk to untap another 2. "Here come's the Hellkite", thought I. No!, he aims a Fireball at my guy and me. There's me sunk, but wait!. He's deliberating.. actually, he's just going to do the damage to my face, why kill my creature? Is it beacause I untap and attack his 2 counter Garruk with my 2/1 when he has only the Familiar with which to block? Maybe.. just maybe.

Not a punt, but I mind-tricked a win in my last game of my last match. My opponent is on 5 and I have Sign in Blood so I really want him to use his Goblin Artillery to kill my creature instead of doing so with a removal spell. I pick up the Artillery and look surprised and annoyed that I could lose my creature so easily. He taps his guy, goes to 2, attacks me to 4, I untap and let him draw 2.. gg!

Friday, 10 July 2009

Challenge: Draft a better deck than this

By Wagz

Not really an article, more a playful boast. Fu came round to mine (Wagz') tonight for some drafting. We took down the first draft with a slick Esper deck quite quickly so fancied some more action. This is our decklist, followed by our picks in order. Please show me a better deck than this because we can make a decent deck out of our sideboard.

Wild Nacatl
Jund Charm
Predator Dragon
Bone Splinters
Algae Gharial
Drumhunter
Jungle Weaver
Rip-Clan Crasher
Relic of Progenitus
Sangrite Surge
Viashino Skeleton
Archdemon of Unx
Carrion Thrash
Plains
Mountain

Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker
Banefire (he took foil Martial Coup, we beat him)
Volcanic Fallout
Drag Down
Dark Temper
Viashino Slaughtermaster
Armillary Sphere
Charnelhoard Wurm
Fleshformer
Dragonsoul Knight
Goblin Outlander
Canyon Minotaur
Exploding Borders
Canyon Minotaur
Maniacal Rage

Uril, the Miststalker
Sangrite Backlash
Bituminous Blast
Igneous Pouncer
Firewild Borderpost
Putrid Leech
Sanctum Plowbeast
Putrid Leech
Terminate (tabled)
Veinfire Borderpost
Jund Sojourners
Valley Rannet
Morbid Bloom
Morbid Bloom
Plains

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Tournament Report - WNM at Runik Games, Bury St Edmunds

By Jim Marlow

Hey Everyone,

Another week and this time Type 2 constructed magic was the order of the day at Runik Games.
I never really know what to play anyway, and metagaming for a really diverse field (much moreso than leeds) on top of choosing a deck to play made it pretty hard to prepare.

I decided on jund ramp as i wanted to play some lavalanches.

Here's my decklist

4 x kitchen finks
4 x chameleon colossus
4 x putrid leech
2 x broodmate dragon

4 x rampant growth
4 x garruk wildspeaker

3 x lavalanche
2 x jund charm
1 x volcanic fallout
4 x maelstrom pulse

2 x primal command
2 x banefire
1 x loxodon warhammer

4 x savage lands
4 x twilight mire
2 x firelit thicket
2 x reflecting pool
4 x treetop village
4 x forest
2 x swamp
2 x mountain

S/B
4 x anathemancer
2 x cloudthresher
3 x volcanic fallout
3 x thought hemorrhage
2 x firespout
1 x primal command


Round 1 - Neil - B/W non tokens

Game 1 - This is the kind of matchup the deck is built for, as long as his various silly b/w men dont get too big. Sadly, neil has a edge of divinity on his nip gwyllian turn 2, followed by a deathbringer liege and wall of reverence. Luckily my double finks enable a garruk to land safely, but Neil unmakes a finks, killing the other meaning im left with only garruk. This is ok, because i can untap lands with garruk to lavalanche for 6, killing his whole team, but leaving him on a pretty healthy 32 life. I follow up with chameleon colossus and broodmate dragon, then get in for more than 32 in 1 swing.

Game 2 - Neil doesnt have any plays for the first 3 turns, missing his 3rd land drop, whilst i have double putrid leech, which seems good. I make a chameleon colossus after a leech gets unmade and attack for 8 twice, which just about gets it done.

1-0 (2-0)

Round 2 - Chris playing all in green

Game 1 - I realise this is a pretty bad matchup because i have no spot removal meaning i pretty much have to win before i see any of chris' threats, which is a pretty mean feat. I make putrid leech into finks which beat down chris down to 6 who is on an apparently slow draw, but then he makes a diety of scars and a noble hierarch. I attack with both my men and he wisely blocks both, pretty much meaning i cant win, as i was hoping to push through enough damage for volcanis fallout to finish it.

Game 2 - I keep a 2 lander and miss my 3rd land drop, which is a bit poo. I draw a savage lands for turn 4 but on chris' 4th turn he impromptu raids into a woodfall primus to destroy my savage lands.....savage.

1-1 (2-2)

Round 3 - Dan? - Kithkin

Game 1 - Im pretty happy about this matchup as it is essentially what my deck is made to beat, many little men. I take minimul beats from dan who from the looks of it has kept a 6 lander with figure of destiny....ok. Dan gets his figure to 4/4 which is annoying, but i get garruk online. Dan paths the finks i use to protect garruk but doesnt get in with he mutuvault to kill him as garruk was up to 5. O well, best lavalanche for many then. I attack with a putrid leech twice and a lavalanche for 9 wins the game.

Game 2 - Dan gets a far better draw here but i have volcanic fallout then lavalanche for his men. Sadly, having used these dan finds double stillmoon cavalier, which is annoying for my finks + leech. I find colossus to start beating, but dan is winning the race going aerial with cavaliers. Luckily for me i rip a firespout from the board and my team survives while go to the bin, leaving me free to swing for 6 then 14 next turn, the best!!!.

2-1 (4-2)

Round 4 - ? - jund tokens.

I cant really remember the details of each separate match because the games were both heavily interupted by me having to tell my opponant why most of the stuff he was doing was wrong. Im pretty good at handling new players to the game, being as nice as i can whilst explaining how they can achieve what i think they are trying to do, which is a bit of a skill as you are meant to be playing them at a game of magic. I always feel bad telling new players that they cant do this etc but i think its best they get a good grasp of the rules, and i think if you do this in a nice way and not rules lawyer people it can be really beneficial to their learning.

However, my opponant was basically a little shit, who was pissing me off quite a bit.

I had loaned the use of my playset of bloodhall oozes for the day, which was fine. I had them in my trade binder but he didnt have anything i wanted and i just got the 4th so i was thinking of keeping them anyway.

Game 2 he makes a bloodhall ooze turn 2, after making a b/r borderpost. He puts a counter on the ooze then makes a Sarkhan Vol, puts sarkan up a counter and puts 2 counters on the ooze, it takes me at least 5 minutes to explain this problem, and then another 5 minutes when i say the +1/+1 only lasts untill the end of turn. I obviously lavalanched both the ooze and sarkhan next turn, but whatever.

I always try to be nice to new players, and people in general, so i let him trade the whole playset of oozes off me for a fnm kitchen finks, which i didnt really want.

After i had done this however, i tried to discuss the game and how he could have done things differently, by perhaps making a 10/10 predator dragon which i knew he had all game, rather than devouring everything to mycoloth then me killing him. He basically threw this back in my face and then asked whether i cheated when i pumped my putrid leech to trade with his dragon broodmother after he had blocked with it and asked if it was a 2/2 when he blocked. Twat!

3-1 (6-2)


Anyways, its horrible to end on a rant such as this, and i hate facing people who i dont get on with, its such a shame, especially as im trying to help this guy. O well.

I have a draft to upload tomorrow from ages ago so look out for 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

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Drafting with Wagz #3 - When it goes a bit wrong

By Wagz

Today we look at what happens when a draft isn't going so well. Here it's because we quite clearly were passing too many cards in our colours and weren't getting cards in other colours to move into. You can probably make up your own morals and apply them to other situations, but it's worth knowing when things aren't working out and what you can do to remedy it, even if it involves taking a gamble.

------ ALA ------
Pack 1 pick 1:
Dreg Reaver, Cylian Elf, Resounding Thunder, Call to Heel, Yoked Plowbeast, Naturalize, Obelisk of Grixis, Resounding Scream, Bloodthorn Taunter, Knight of the Skyward Eye, Drumhunter, Grixis Battlemage, Rockcaster Platoon, Crucible of Fire, Island

I take Resounding Thunder here as it's by far the best card, but I take note of Knight of the Skyward Eye and Drumhunter and consider that Naya might not be the shard to go for, depending on what I can cut.

Pack 1 pick 2:
Knight of the Skyward Eye, Resounding Scream, Naya Panorama, Cancel, Rakeclaw Gargantuan, Bloodthorn Taunter, Druid of the Anima (FOIL), Soul's Grace, Mosstodon, Waveskimmer Aven, Naya Charm, Grixis Battlemage, Invincible Hymn, Plains

I know what I just said, but Naya Charm is much stronger than anything else in the pack. However, I am passing another Knight, Rakeclaw, Mosstodon and Druid. I am in the middle of sending "Naya is open" signals but have nothing good to move into. This is dangerous territory. The best way to combat it is to ignore one colour in the shard completely and hope that the person sticks to that side of things. So I am moving into Red if this continues.

Pack 1 pick 3:
Dregscape Zombie, Cylian Elf, Soul's Fire, Vectis Silencers, Welkin Guide, Bone Splinters, Shadowfeed, Rip-Clan Crasher, Lush Growth, Arcane Sanctum, Blood Cultist, Angel's Herald, Swamp

Arcane Sanctum is the best card here, but it's just a good card, not a signal. I take Soul's Fire as I don't want the guy seeing Red Removal and it's a decent card anyway. Hoping if he is in Naya then he'll take the Welkin Guide (I would).

Pack 1 pick 4:
Court Archers, Viashino Skeleton, Call to Heel, Excommunicate, Viscera Dragger, Soul's Grace, Mosstodon, Waveskimmer Aven, Angelic Benediction, Exuberant Firestoker, Salvage Titan, Swamp

I consider the Viscera Dragger as it is a good card but a part of me doesn't want to abandon Naya Charm so I take Mosstodon. Not sure about this one, but it reinforces my I'm Red-Green signals by cutting the best cards in those colours each time. Don't try to pretend the Court Archers is better than Mosstodon btw, 1/3's do not block the 3/2's that are attacking due to Alara Reborn.

Pack 1 pick 5:
Excommunicate, Viscera Dragger, Druid of the Anima, Thorn-Thrash Viashino, Yoked Plowbeast, Bloodpyre Elemental, Soul's Grace, Kathari Screecher, Naya Battlemage, Rockcaster Platoon, Mountain

Bloodpyre Elemental is a clear sign that Red is open now, but Naya Battlemage is dangerous. We take the Elemental as it is a good removal spell, but we very much believe now that Blue-Black is being taken heavily to our right and the guys to our left are going to read us as passing Green-White. This is not ideal for us as having only 1 defined colour can lead to getting passed rubbish in the 3rd pack. We want to continue taking Red and cut another colour, preferably Green,

Pack 1 pick 6:
Welkin Guide, Bone Splinters, Deft Duelist, Savage Hunger, Hissing Iguanar, Steelclad Serpent, Tortoise Formation, Shadowfeed, Dawnray Archer, Mountain

Iguanar is a fine card which we take. A late Deft Duelist will hopefully persuade the guy on our left to go Bant Colours with his White-Green.

Pack 1 pick 7:
Shore Snapper, Incurable Ogre, Windwright Mage, Cloudheath Drake, Obelisk of Naya, Esper Panorama, Behemoth's Herald, Sacellum Godspeaker, Swamp

I consider the Incurable Ogre but I fancy trying Sacellum Godspeaker. We are likely to splash for random bombs as we are so colour ill-defined and they might have large powers. While we have to find the colour for them, this guy will bring them down earlier. Note the Red-Green and Red-Black basic landcycle creatures in Alara Reborn have 5 or 6 power. Forward planning is a must in drafts because you can tell the context of a card and what to draft around it. You don't have Jam, Meat and Icecream in one dish despite them being all tasty - you draft the cards which work well with one another. Knowing what will be available in the future affects what cards are good to take now.

Pack 1 pick 8:
Shore Snapper, Waveskimmer Aven, Coma Veil, Soul's Grace, Jund Panorama, Obelisk of Bant, Thoughtcutter Agent, Island

Panorama is much-needed Manafixing. We take.

Pack 1 pick 9:
Dreg Reaver, Cylian Elf, Yoked Plowbeast, Obelisk of Grixis, Bloodthorn Taunter, Crucible of Fire, Island

Take the 2-drop Grizzly Bear for curve. If you have to resort to 5 colour big stuff then fitting it around a creature curve will help.

Pack 1 pick 10:
Resounding Scream, Bloodthorn Taunter, Soul's Grace, Waveskimmer Aven, Invincible Hymn, Plains

I can never deal with Waveskimmer Aven so I take it out, even though that's not being friendly with my neighbour. But i'm not sending bad signals anyway.

Pack 1 pick 11:
Cylian Elf, Shadowfeed, Lush Growth, Angel's Herald, Swamp

Bear!

Pack 1 pick 12:
Viashino Skeleton, Soul's Grace, Angelic Benediction, Swamp

Uncommondraft

Pack 1 pick 13:
Soul's Grace, Rockcaster Platoon, Mountain

Platoon is a fine movie / sideboard card, but with too much white for us to consider it seriously.

Pack 1 pick 14:
Tortoise Formation, Mountain

I take the playable card, Mountain.

Pack 1 pick 15:
Swamp

------ CON ------
Pack 2 pick 1:
Esper Cormorants, Parasitic Strix, Aven Trailblazer, Kaleidostone, Ember Weaver, Exploding Borders, Lapse of Certainty, Scattershot Archer, Yoke of the Damned, Nacatl Savage, Fusion Elemental, Hellspark Elemental, Volcanic Fallout, Extractor Demon, Swamp

Interesting pick. Volcanic Fallout is clearly strong, but Extractor Demon is humungous. We take him and consider going more Jund, splashing Naya Charm.

Pack 2 pick 2:
Toxic Iguanar, Faerie Mechanist, Wall of Reverence (FOIL), Gleam of Resistance, Sedraxis Alchemist, Vedalken Outlander, Wandering Goblins, Brackwater Elemental, Suicidal Charge, Maniacal Rage, Paragon of the Amesha, Elder Mastery, Sacellum Archers, Mountain

The best on-colour card here is Sacellum Archers, but that's only good if we're playing a bunch of white mana. But then why wouldn't we play Wall of Reverence? Take the foil rare.

Pack 2 pick 3:
Beacon Behemoth, Zombie Outlander, Matca Rioters, Darklit Gargoyle, Wretched Banquet, Rotting Rats, Asha's Favor, Grixis Illusionist, Gluttonous Slime, Skyward Eye Prophets, Fleshformer, Font of Mythos, Island

Beacon Behemoth is the pick, we need solid creatures to fit the curve, and a couple more bombs.

Pack 2 pick 4:
Canyon Minotaur, Traumatic Visions, Zombie Outlander, Kaleidostone, Salvage Slasher, Brackwater Elemental, Exploding Borders, Maniacal Rage, Controlled Instincts, Skyward Eye Prophets, Scepter of Fugue, Mountain

Canyon Minotaur is not a strong card. It is the correct pick here as it fits a curve nicely. Traumatic Visions is the strongest card here but we cannot afford to change to such strong Blue. Maybe the guys on our right will appreciate it and pass us more Green & Red in pack 3.

Pack 2 pick 5:
Faerie Mechanist, Bone Saw, Gleam of Resistance, Sedraxis Alchemist, Wandering Goblins, Brackwater Elemental, Suicidal Charge, Maniacal Rage, Countersquall, Filigree Fracture, Forest

The best Green or Red card here is Filigree Fracture. There are no other good Red or Green cards in the pack. This is worrying because it probably means the guys to our left were confused about the signals we sent. Filigree Fracture is a fine card in a world of Borderposts and might make main deck or great sideboard card so we take it and hope.

Pack 2 pick 6:
Toxic Iguanar, Bone Saw, Sedraxis Alchemist, Wandering Goblins, Brackwater Elemental, Suicidal Charge, Maniacal Rage, Dreadwing, Scarland Thrinax, Island

Finally, a card to favour Jund - Scarland Thrinax. This guy is the pimp.

Pack 2 pick 7:
Canyon Minotaur, Traumatic Visions, Zombie Outlander, Salvage Slasher, Brackwater Elemental, Maniacal Rage, View from Above, Unstable Frontier, Plains

Canyon Minotaur is curvy. We note the number of Zombie Outlanders going around, 3 so far is it? Another Traumatic Visions there too. Shame the blue was lacklustre in pack 1.

Pack 2 pick 8:
Pestilent Kathari, Asha's Favor, Vectis Agents, Molten Frame, Knotvine Mystic, Voices from the Void, Inkwell Leviathan, Forest

I take Molten Frame for sideboarding. If the deck isn't ace then having a good sideboard will help a lot. Leviathan is good and Pestilent Kathari is fine, but we're not changing colours now, just splashing good cards if we get any more in Reborn (who doesn't get good cards in Reborn??).

Pack 2 pick 9:
Kaleidostone, Lapse of Certainty, Scattershot Archer, Yoke of the Damned, Nacatl Savage, Hellspark Elemental, Swamp

Nacatl Savage might seem like the obvious pick, but it's for more reasons than that. We want to be free to draft the best cards in Reborn and not take 2-drops, so we want our early defence now in order to take big cards later.

Pack 2 pick 10:
Wandering Goblins, Brackwater Elemental, Suicidal Charge, Maniacal Rage, Elder Mastery, Mountain

Suicidal Charge is a fine sideboard card.

Pack 2 pick 11:
Rotting Rats, Asha's Favor, Grixis Illusionist, Fleshformer, Island

Fleshformer could still make the deck.

Pack 2 pick 12:
Maniacal Rage, Controlled Instincts, Skyward Eye Prophets, Mountain

Prophets is the strongest card.

Pack 2 pick 13:
Suicidal Charge, Maniacal Rage, Forest

2 Charges gives us game against weenie hordes.

Pack 2 pick 14:
Suicidal Charge, Island

3 gives us reassurance.

Pack 2 pick 15:
Plains

------ ARB ------
Pack 3 pick 1:
Bant Sureblade, Terminate, Leonin Armorguard, Cerodon Yearling, Jhessian Zombies, Grixis Grimblade, Vedalken Ghoul, Sigiled Behemoth, Violent Outburst, Grixis Sojourners, Zealous Persecution, Reborn Hope, Illusory Demon, Nemesis of Reason, Island

Now that's what I'm talking about! If we had a good deck we'd take Terminate. Luckily, we've been setting ourselves up for taking bombs and manafixing in Reborn so we take Nemesis of Reason since it randomly wins games you have no reason to be playing in. It's like Cascading the exact right spells sometimes - gets you games you weren't in.

Pack 3 pick 2:
Bant Sojourners, Zealous Persecution, Vithian Renegades, Nulltread Gargantuan, Knotvine Paladin, Swamp, Mistvein Borderpost, Monstrous Carabid, Talon Trooper, Trace of Abundance, Grizzled Leotau, Stormcaller's Boon (FOIL), Architects of Will, Fieldmist Borderpost

Possibly the wrong pick. I wanted to splash that last guy so I took the Mistvein (Blue Black) Borderpost. Trace of Abundance may have been better as acceleration as well as splashing the colours.

Pack 3 pick 3:
Fieldmist Borderpost, Mistvein Borderpost, Monstrous Carabid, Talon Trooper, Sangrite Backlash, Trace of Abundance, Grizzled Leotau, Valley Rannet, Bant Sojourners, Demonspine Whip, Skyclaw Thrash, Morbid Bloom, Plains

Sangrite Backlash is good removal so we take it. Good removal makes bad decks tick better than they should.

Pack 3 pick 4:
Colossal Might, Jhessian Zombies, Naya Sojourners, Firewild Borderpost, Jund Sojourners, Captured Sunlight, Trace of Abundance (FOIL), Etherium Abomination, Lorescale Coatl, Reborn Hope, Mayael's Aria, Swamp

Tempting as Jund Sojourners is, Firewild Borderpost is the dual land of choice for this deck. Colossal Might is good in a different deck.

Pack 3 pick 5:
Architects of Will, Mistvein Borderpost, Monstrous Carabid, Grizzled Leotau, Valley Rannet, Bant Sojourners, Ardent Plea, Unbender Tine, Dragon Appeasement, Sovereigns of Lost Alara, Mountain

Valley Rannet will help us fix our mana and is good with that Sacellum Godspeaker we talked about earlier. Plans, together, come?

Pack 3 pick 6:
Terminate, Leonin Armorguard, Cerodon Yearling, Vedalken Ghoul, Sigiled Behemoth, Violent Outburst, Grixis Sojourners, Vengeful Rebirth, Nulltread Gargantuan, Swamp

Terminate is #1 removal. However, I am going to take more landcyling guys so Vengeful Rebirth is the pick for me. I love the card a lot. I've talked to Mick and he disagrees with me on this but I didn't give him the full draft as context - what do people think?

Pack 3 pick 7:
Naya Sojourners, Singe-Mind Ogre, Demonic Dread, Offering to Asha, Firewild Borderpost, Giant Ambush Beetle, Reborn Hope, Illusory Demon, Island

I get passed Giant Ambush Beetle every draft and I don't know why. Is it too hard to cast or something? Do I overestimate 4 power of haste and removal spells? I sincerely doubt it. I take it.

Pack 3 pick 8:
Pale Recluse, Singe-Mind Ogre, Brainbite, Grixis Sojourners, Valley Rannet, Shield of the Righteous, Marrow Chomper, Forest

Valley Rannet would be good. We want to splash Naya Charm and possibly Wall of Reverence. We take Pale Recluse.

Pack 3 pick 9:
Jhessian Zombies, Vedalken Ghoul, Sigiled Behemoth, Violent Outburst, Grixis Sojourners, Reborn Hope, Island

Jhessian Zombies might help us to splash our bombs. Not un-worth taking.

Pack 3 pick 10:
Bant Sojourners, Nulltread Gargantuan, Swamp, Monstrous Carabid, Trace of Abundance, Stormcaller's Boon (FOIL)

Got my chance to amend for my earlier mistakes. I take Trace of Abundance.

Pack 3 pick 11:
Monstrous Carabid, Bant Sojourners, Demonspine Whip, Morbid Bloom, Plains

Demonspine Whip is good against slow controlly decks. I've lost to it before.

Pack 3 pick 12:
Naya Sojourners, Jund Sojourners, Reborn Hope, Swamp

Tabling Jund Sojourners? Okay.

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

I seem to get this pick a lot. I had more Unbender Tines before this pick.

Pack 3 pick 14:
Sigiled Behemoth, Swamp

Take the unplayable 5/4 for 6 with a relevant ability...

Pack 3 pick 15:
Island


I won't bore you with a decklist as there aren't tonnes of playables and it hardly seems relevant. Instead, a couple of play moments / quizzes.


What is the play here?
.
.
.
.
I elected to unearth the Demon and attack for 10. If I had a removal spell then I would have killed the Outlander and kept a guy back to block, so I looked desperate. Jund Sojourners was the only card I could have to win in this situation as far as I could tell, but is that more likely than me having a non-green guy to play, in which case not blocking gives him the win? Hard to tell.

He didn't block and I cheekily cyled my Sojourners for the last point, but I don't think he misplayed.

Game 3 of that match I made turn 4 Extractor Demon off turn 3 Sacellum Godspeaker. It got immediately Crystallizationed but he had no other way of targeting it (I kept milling his Agony Warps and Alchemists, rather rude of me). That game I drew 6 non-land cards: Godspeaker, Demon, Valley Rannet, Soul's Fire, Resounding Thunder (which cycled into) and Vengeful Rebirth (I could get the Thunder back and have RGW untapped). Actually, his turn 3 Puppet Conjuror looked pretty comedic opposite the Demon.

Lost in the final to a good deck. Ah well, think we did the best we could.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Tournament Report - PTQ Austin at Fanboy3, Manchester

By Jim Marlow

Hey everyone,

This weekend saw a huge showing from Team Leeds at the PTQ in Austin, in particular it was great to see the likes of Wayne Cook, Sam Walsh and Ben Coltman making the trip to take on the ptq, and having a great deal more success than some of the more experianced tournament players. Hopefully you guys all had a great time and it gives you the confidence to come out to more events like these.

I had basically been pursuaded to play my last tournament of faeries by mick, as we agreed it would be a touching last sentiment as i am lending some of the cards for Rob to play fae at nationals for.

Also, my increased frustration with the jund deck was wearing pretty thin, cascade actually sucks balls.

Round 1 - Manveer playing b/w tokens

urggh, a coinflip at best i think.

Game 1 - I dont have a bitterblossom, so i manage to hold off a couple of threats, but as soon as he resolves something i get crushed.

Game 2 - I have a turn 1 thoughtseize, and i take his bitterblossom, leaving a thoughtseize which he can play on turn 2 when i have already played my bitterblossom. This is pretty risky, and almost certainly a misplay, as i can just as easily take the thoughtseize and broken ambitions his bitterblossom before resolving my own. Manver obv rips the swamp and my hand looks a hell of a lot worse, eventually leading to him developing a decent board. I managed to draw another bitterblossom and a cryptic off the top allows me to swing, tap then swing for just enough for his own bitterblossom to kill him, phew.

Game 3 - No bitterblossom turn 2 but i have triple scion, which is pretty awesome here as i think i need to put on a decent clock. I make a mistake here by mistbind clique'ing when i have spellstutter, scion and bitterblossom, and my opponant has 1 card. Obviously its the zealous persecution, which massively blows me out and the alpha he comes in for puts me to 5....ouch. I draw pretty well but even with double scion and 1 in hand plus an agony warp i can not stop his team of 2 tokens, cloudgoat ranger and tidehollow sculler from dealin the last points of damage.

Round 2 - Rob Catton - Faeries.

ARGGH!

I know im ok at playing the mirror, but i know it also depends at least to some extent on the number of thoughtseizes and bitterblossoms which you can resolve.

Game 1 - I dont have the bitterblossom, but rob on a mull to 5 does, which is a bit of a crapper. I get too far behind and the bitterblossom wins the game eventually. Rob played really tight too so there wasnt much i could have done.

Game 2 - I have to mull to 4, having secluded glen, mutavault, spellstutter and mistbind clique. Rob leads with thoughtseize on the stutter, bitterblossom then jace. Thats enough for me.

Obviously i was annoyed with doing pretty craply in the mirror, which i know i play better than a lot of people. Sadly, Rob is really good at playing faeries too, as he has been playing it as long as i remember, so my lack of decent draws cant be negated.


Yep, apparently i have TWO! 0-2 drops to my name this ptq season, which is pretty bloody awful for me. I was on a bit of a downer about this, but to be honest i wasnt really in the mood when i got there considering i had been up late watching a tramp set up camp outside my house in Leeds.

I think i need to make sure i go into events like these feeling good about the event, well slept, fed and confident of my ability to play my deck. I have wandered into too many events recently feeling ok or bad about it, then im surprised that i do badly (despite being an apparently half decent player).

After the main event i crushenated a draft with this heap o' crap

1 x druid of the anima
1 x jund hackblade
1 x ember weaver
1 x dragonsoul knight
1 x sprouting thrinax
1 x bloodbraid elf
1 x kathari bomber
1 x monstrous carabid
1 x wild leotau
1 x rhox meditant
1 x messenger falcons
1 x rakeclaw gargantuan
1 x court archers
1 x viscera dragger
2 x bloodbyre elemental

1 x dark temper
1 x firewild borderpost
1 x celestial purge
2 x exploding borders

1 x rupture spire
5 x forest
5 x mountain
3 x swamp
3 x plains

O well, this was probably my last constructed event untill nats, barring some wnms at bury, and i will almost certainly be entering the sealed grinder over the constructed, provided it is ala block and not M10, as i seem to be able to succeed in limited atm.

Anyway, as a final thought i was really happy with the showing of Team Leeds at manchester, sorry for not wearing my shirt in the end, i was going to put in on when i got there, then by the time i had time to change i had dropped, which i didnt think looked to good anyways. Team Leeds probably made up a quarter of the people at the PTQ, which is incredible, and the rowdiness when people get their prizes is probably my favourite part of the day, as Me and Beard get to confirm our status as 'the peoples champs'....at least untill the cheer for Mick Edwards brought down the freaking house!

Anyway, it was great seeing everyone, and i look forward to seeing you all at Nats/Gp


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, 5 July 2009

Guest Column: Drafting with Mick #2

By Mick Edwards

After spending a week of winning shadowmoor nix-tix draft it was back to silly formats this where I was certain to draft all my shadowmoor winnings away. I started with the incredably silly format of OLS making a random goblin/beast mish-mash that got beat by a very good soldier deck (turns out Rock Jockey is not an amazing morph beater but a bad hill giant with a drawback).
I then decided to try an equally silly format - ACR draft

Pack 1 pick 1:
Jungle Shrine
Over Viscera Dragger, Druid of the Anima, Knight of the Skyward Eye
I like the Knight alot and took some time over this decision but solid mana fixing is never a bad start to a draft.

Pack 1 pick 2:
Bull Cerodon
Over Rockslide Elemental, Rip-Clan Crasher, Bloodpyre Elemental
There was a common missing as the rare was lich's mirror, I can only imagine a foil was taken
The only common I can think of is oblivion ring and I dont think it was that print run.

Pack 1 pick 3:
Topan Ascetic
Over Ridge Rannet, Courier's Capsule, Akrasan Squire, Bone Splinters, Qasali Ambusher, Naya Panorama
Very Solid creature,

Pack 1 pick 4:
Naya Panorama
Over Tidehollow Sculler, Dawnray Archer
Maybe this is a signal that esper is open, but taking mana fixing is also ok I think.

Pack 1 pick 5:
Scourge Devil
Windwright Mage, Esper Charm, Esper Panorama
Definately a sign that esper is open, but I think my bomb (bull cerodon) is strong enough for me to stay naya

Pack 1 pick 6:
Dragon Fodder
Over Rip-Clan Crasher, Metallurgeon, Corpse Connoisseur, Cavern Thoctar
Posibly the wrong call but Dragon fodder is a niche card in what it does and i might be able to pick up some good devour creatures/dragons

Pack 1 pick 7:
Drumhunter
Over Carrion Thrash, Jungle Weaver
Jungle Weaver is good but drumhunter is key to this archtype.

Pack 1 pick 8:
Soul's Fire
Over Resounding Roar, Resounding Silence,Kederekt Creeper
Wow, strong pack!

Late Picks: Rip-clan crasher!


------ CON ------
Pack 2 pick 1:
Path to Exile (FOIL)
Over Aven Trailblazer, Brackwater Elemental, Exploding Borders, Filigree Fracture, Spore Burst, Esperzoa, Blood Tyrant,Fiery Fall, Pestilent Kathari, Valeron Outlander, Armillary Sphere
I thought about splashing for the bomb blood tyrant but decided foil path was good enough

Pack 2 pick 2:
Aerie Mystics
Over Kranioceros, Darklit Gargoyle, Faerie Mechanist, Rhox Bodyguard, Scattershot Archer
A much less impressive pack for my deck.

Pack 2 pick 3:
Gleam of Resistance
Over Goblin Outlander, Might of Alara, Ignite Disorder, Sludge Strider
Gleam is both fixing and a combat trick, I rate it very highly.

Pack 2 pick 4:
Aven Trailblazer
Over Filigree Fracture, Rupture Spire
Maybe the wrong choice as rupture spire is one of the best manafixers in the set, but i needed answers to fliers.

Pack 2 pick 5:
Knotvine Mystic
Over Skyward Eye Prophets, Kederekt Parasite, Esper Cormorants, Unsummon, Absorb Vis, Brackwater Elemental

Pack 2 pick 6:
Viashino Slaughtermaster
Over Esper Cormorants, Unsummon, Absorb Vis, Brackwater Elemental
Same print run, feels like I should have gone esper for these late comorants

Pack 2 pick 7:
Vagrant Plowbeasts
Over Grixis Slavedriver,Unsummon, Absorb Vis, Brackwater Elemental
same print run again

Pack 2 pick 8:
Exploding Borders
Over Cumber Stone, Knotvine Mystic, Pestilent Kathari,Wretched Banquet (FOIL), Brackwater Elemental
Late picks: Toxic Iguanar


------ ARB ------
Pack 3 pick 1:
Enlisted Wurm
Over Crystallization, Karrthus Tyrant of Jund, Terminate, Grixis Grimblade, Ethersworn Shieldmage, Wildfield Borderpost
I went for the very strong cascade card overthe removal or the crazy bomb, I probably could have splashed for the 7/7 but Enlisted wurm is a great fit for this deck.

Pack 3 pick 2:
Behemoth Sledge
Over Naya Hushblade, Rhox Brute
Perfect!

Pack 3 pick 3:
Crystallization
Over Sigiled Behemoth, Violent Outburst
Much Needed Removal

Pack 3 pick 4:
Bant Sureblade
Over Pale Recluse, Valley Rannet, Naya Sojourners, Gorger Wurm, Sigiled Behemoth, Messenger Falcons
This may have been the wrong pick but my deck was lacking early drops and bant sureblade is a very good early drop.

Pack 3 pick 5:
Wildfield Borderpost
Over Cerodon Yearling, Lorescale Coatl, Ethersworn Shieldmage

Pack 3 pick 6:
Stun Sniper
Over Mayael's Aria, Sigiled Behemoth, Violent Outburst, Fieldmist Borderpost

Pack 3 pick 7:
Sigiled Behemoth

Pack 3 pick 8:
Leonin Armorguard
Over Thopter Foundry! wow thats late!

Pack 3 pick 9:
Wildfield Borderpost

Pack 3 pick 10:
Sigil of the Nayan Gods
Over Wildfield Borderpost, Firewild Borderpost
Late picks: 2 Sigiled Behemoth!!!

GAMES:
Round 1: after making my deck I lose my internet connection and frantically run around trying to get back online. I manage to reconnect seconds before I get kicked for inactivity and 3 minutes later I have won the round. Game one I go: t1 borderpost, t2 land cycle, t3 knotvine mystic, t4 Bull Cerodon, t5 Vagrant PLowbeast, t6 Sigiled Behemoth

Round 2: I got mana screwed twice while he made t2 pro-red dude, t3 pro red dude, t4 punish ignorance my 1st play in one game and a turn 4 esperzoa (after more pro-red guys of course) in the other game that kept bouncing his borderpost while I kept replayinga Stun Sniper that he kept unsummoning.

EXTRA:
For people wondering how my game against marco in the ptq quarter finals went, I made a mistake which cost me the game, it went something like this:

I made figure and made it 4/4 while he made bitterrblossom then i made ramgang and he tried to agony warp to -3/-0 the ramgang and -0/-3 to kill the figure (with his faerie token) but i have gutteral response next turn he tries the same trick, only this time I have 4 mana up, I gutteral response his agony warp again but he has spell stutter for the gutteral response I forget that I can just make my figure a 4/4 again after the agony warp and it dies

I then realise but think it doesnt matter as I can force through enough damage with ramgang + ghitu encampment to put him in lethal banefire range (I have banefire in my hand) so i put him to 6 (and he has bitter blossom) he then topdecks mistbind clique tapping me out before I can play banefire and then topdecks loxodon warhammer to gain himself 7 life