Thursday, 29 October 2009

WNM Report - Time Sieve

By Wagz

Hi there, it's been a while since I posted but I did really well at WNM last night with an underplayed deck so I feel I really should. I played Time Sieve Combo because I believe most of the hate to be gone from the format and the deck's worst nightmare (my previous favourite deck) has rotated down to about 2 cards (Swamp and Island much?). Here is the list I played last night (not exactly what I wanted to play, but what I could scrape together - the sideboard is incorrect):

  • 7 Island
  • 2 Plains
  • 1 Swamp
  • 4 Glacial Fortress
  • 2 Drowned Catacomb
  • 4 Mistvein Borderpost
  • 4 Fieldmist Borderpost
  • 4 Kaleidostone
  • 4 Howling Mine
  • 1 Font of Mythos
  • 3 Time Sieve
  • 4 Angel Song
  • 4 Spell Pierce
  • 2 Tezzeret the Seeker
  • 2 Jace Beleren
  • 3 Glassdust Hulk
  • 1 Thopter Foundry
  • 4 Time Warp
  • 4 Open the Vaults

  • Sideboard:
  • 1 Platinum Angel
  • 4 Day of Judgment
  • 1 Baneslayer Angel
  • 3 Vedalken Outlander
  • 2 Path to Exile
  • 1 Celestial Purge
  • 3 Negate

In round 1 I faced Kier Teasdale and kept a slightly slow hand. He admitted he also had kept a slow hand so I got some combo pieces down early. He had light disruption in the form of Tidehollow Sculler and Duress before revealing his deck to be a Sanguine Bond combo deck. The last possible turn before I would die I took infinite turns and swung in with humungous guys via Tezzeret. Game 2 was similar, but he had more disruption and took me down to zero the turn before I could get there. Game 3 was a very long one as I got a Platinum Angel out. At -5 life I countered his Path to Exile and was able to combo off the next turn, swinging in for 32 with unblockable Hulks (this guy is sick).

Round 2 saw Andy Edwards in the hotseat with Jund. We know each others decks from playtesting and lending cards so I wasn't happy when he won the dice roll. He was more unhappy when he got stuck on 2 lands. I was playing around Blightning and Maelstrom Pulse on my borderposts for ages by keeping Spell Pierce up but eventually just made guys with Thopter Foundry and swung in. Game 2 was more back-and-forth but I landed a Baneslayer, which races hard when you get to keep taking turns.

Round 3 I met Sam Walsh and didn't know what he was running. I saw Savage Lands straight away so had him on being Jund and so played around the Pulse+Blightning. He got a Sprouting Thrinax and a Bloodbraid into a second Sprouting Thrinax and had the burn the turn before I was going to combo (being on the play is so much better with this deck). Game 2 I cycled my 3 Glassdust Hulks early and was able to Open the Vaults them back into play. I found 2 artifacts to be able to swing in for lethal over 3 turns. Game 3 Sam had to mulligan twice, which was unfortunate. I was able to punish this with 2 early Vedalken Outlanders which swung in after I took a few extra turns.

Round 4 I faced Andy Devine and we decided to ID to confirm the prizes. He was playing a Steppe Lynx Bant deck and we went 1-1 in practice games.

I came 2nd in the Tournament and would heartily recommend this deck for future WNMs, but I would change the sideboard to 2 Baneslayer Angel, 4 Vedalken Outlander, 4 Day of Judgment, 3 Celestial Purge, 2 Negate and I would change the M10 Duals to 4 Marsh Flats and another Plains and a Swamp to help cast the Borderposts.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Naya Zoo in Standard

By Jim Marlow

Hey Everyone,

I have been away from Leeds this week so i couldn't crush the draft, leaving it to Beard and Chris Vincent to take down the 2 pods in this weeks triple Zendikar draft.

Luckily, i have returned for another week of standard, meaning i have to test whatever deck i make against numerous jund and vampire decks, awesome.

I started trying to reinvent the bant control deck i had conjured last week, then when i saw my esper charms i immediately started examining 5 colour build (traditional, not cascade) I was having a real hard time building a 5 colour deck, mainly because i knew i wanted to use baneslayer as a win condition, but tbh jwar jwar sphinx is a lot better because when you eventually fling out you're lightning rod for removal its still no good, but sadly i dont have any of the shroud sphinx....and i gave up after trying to build a 4 colour control (no red).

Here's what ill be playing if i can muster some cards from other people

4 x wild nacatl
4 x knight of the reliquary
4 x woolly thoctar
4 x bloodbraid elf
4 x baneslayer angel

4 x burst lightning
4 x lightning bolt
4 x path to exile
3 x ajani vengeant
1 x behemoth sledge

2 x jungle shrine
4 x rootbound crag
4 x sunpetal grove
4 x arid mesa
4 x mountain
4 x plains
2 x forest

4 x volcanic fallout
4 x great sable stag
4 x celestial purge
3 x luminarch ascension

The deck is painfully simple to build and play, but aggressively costed creatures and removal spells is the oldest combo in magic, so im pretty sure this deck can get there against any of the other decks in the current field. I thought i would take a break from playing decks im not good enough to pilot and play a no brainer for once.

See you all Tuesday

Untill then,


As always, feel free to comment on this article, or anything related or unrelated to magic whatsoever. If you would like to contribute to the TLM blog, please email any pictures, ideas or articles to

Monday, 19 October 2009

Tournament Report - PTQ San Diego, Manchester

By Jim Marlow

Hey guys,

This weekend saw the GameCon return to Manchester for another hugely successful 3 days of gaming fun, including some awesome magic events.

Sadly, monetary constraints meant i couldn't make the saturday, which saw (i think) 3 members of Team Leeds make the top 8 of a GPT for Paris, with Mick Edwards winning the whole thing...can anyone beat him.

Good luck if you go to Paris though Mick, with those 3 byes you only need to win another 12 or so rounds and you might get another pro point, yay lvl 3!

So Rob, Martin, Fu, Mick, Colin and myself went back to Manchester for the PTQ on the Sunday, which was also a zendikar sealed event, with around 60 players in the mix for the flights to San Diego.

The pool i opened was pretty poo, luckily i got passed a semi-decent one, which was a quite aggressive r/g number. The guy who passed me it said he hated the pool...but he was in the GPT later, so bah.

The deck i played featured double plated geopede along with a u/r fetchland, harrow and some other decent creatures, along with a spire barrage, burst lightning and punishing fire to make up a decent removal suite.

Round 1 - Ross Silcock - 5 colour (i think)

Ross is a good guy, and all round unlucky player from Manchester, and i had a real laugh in this round.

Sadly, i won this round through Ross having some massively uncharacteristic bad luck. His multicoloured deck did not serve him the lands he needed, and although he cleary had some mana fixing, his manabase seemed ambitious, and despite his bombs getting there in game 1, games 2 and 3 my aggressive draw didn't help his colour screw.

1-0 (2-1)

Round 2 - Sam Stokes - b/w

Game 1 - this was a bit of a raping sadly, i think i won on turn 5 with a double geopede and fetchland draw my notepad reads his life total to be; 20, 17, 7, 1.....

Game 2 - i got a slightly less aggresive draw (only 1 geopede before turn 3), and despite Sam playing Day of judgement to clear a pretty full board, i had burn and backup guys in hand to finish him off. His friend said he could have wrathed earlier, but to be honest im not sure it woudl have helped. Apparently he was colour screwed for a couple turns, and both games i got him on a pretty quick clock.

The only loss of life i had in both games was from scalding tarn....but both games i played my refuge later to finish on 20, phew

2-0 (3-1)

Round 3 - Richard Parker - g/b/r

Richard is a really good limited player, so obviously this wasn't going to be easy.

Both of our decks featured a swath of removal so it seemed to be based on whoever had a guy left after the board was repeatedly ravaged on both sides.

Game 1 - The game stalled somewhat when we both got flooded, and the board, after numerous trades with turntimber basalisks (he had 2, i had 1) was both of us having a nissa's chosen equipped with a blazing torch, which didn't seem like a massively profitable attack for either of us. I think i eventually burst lightninged the chosen to start gettin in, and i have a feeling i eventually found my terra stomper to get ther.

Game 2 - I got the beats in early, and once again Richards bigger suite of removal than mine meant none of my guys got in too often, by finding both basalisks again and the torch slinger. Eventually i had a guy and shatterskull giant to richards basalisk. Richard magma rifts my giant, which i respond to by primal bellowing my guy for 5 or 6 i think, he then plays a land and gets my giant to block, but then kickers a vines of vastwood....which still means they trade. Richard realised the huge punt he has made and gets pretty angry at himself (mick and rob who played him in the next two rounds heard the story from him). I play another dork. Richard plays goblin runeblaster, (my hand is harrow and fetchland) i harrow in reponse for 2 mountains, knowing my only probable out is spire barrage if richard has another guy. I rip the spire barrage, so get in with both dorks, getting 2 damage through and putting Richard to 5, play and crack the fetchland for a mountain and spire barrage for exactsies!!! bam!

This felt pretty good.

3-0 (5-1)

Round 4 - Guy (u/g)

Game 1 - Guy played turn 1 kraken hatchling, which basically stalled my board enough for his turns 2 and 3 terns to get there..blurgh. i know this is who the deck is meant to work but his deck didnt feel superior so im still confident.

Game 2 - I keep 2 mountains and fetch, 2 red spells and 2 green spells. He plays turn 1 hedron crab, i draw a green spell., he then mills 2 forests and i draw 3 successive green spells and only find 1 forest about 3 or 4 turns later, by which time he plays jwar jwar sphinx, which is good enough.

After the games he tells me how he takes out his maindeck relic crush for the 5 mana forest walker.....good luck in the top 8.

3-1 (5-3)

Round 5 - Big cheats Steve.

Game 1 - I get pretty annoyed by generally a lot of shifty play, which isn't help by previous stories of this guys tendencies to do stuff which is a bit underhand. Throughout the game Steve is trying to pick up lands when he plays the wrong ones, he looks at his cards when shuffling. Eventually i call a judge when steve says go, no wait i attack for 3 first. The judge rules against me and i get on with it, but i draw pretty badly and lose.

Game 2 - Im pretty annoyed in general, im put off by watching for shady actions, of which there are many, and im not concentrating on the game. I sit on 4 lands and decline to harrow to unload my hand of 5 mana spells, so basically watch Steve beat me up with an emeria suhc a punter

This match really highlighted two things to me

1) i need a better knowledge of the rules and need to be more confident in calling a judge when something is wrong. I should have got a judge to watch the game straight away knowing i was playing this guy and should have spoken up about everything i thought was wrong, rather than let them playing at my mind and not concentrate on the game.

2) Point 2 was going to be something slanderous and rude; but whatever. i would say im above calling people names on the internet but i cant really say that having written most of this blog's articles. Im sure players who act in certain ways will eventually get caught and punished, and it is cetainly a learning curve to my need for an absolutely concise knowledge of the rules so that i can make sure this is the case.

3-2 (5-5) Bad times, probably out of top8 contention now, depending on results and my tiebreakers holding up, as i had previously been very near the top of the breakers.

btw, cheaty steve got his just desserts by comin 9th on tiebreakers.

Round 5 - Dylan Black

I played this guy before in Manchester in a draft after a PTQ, he drafted a sick deck and i beat him with a piece of crap.

Game 1 - I cant remember if we got flooded or screwed, but this was a real non game,. with one of my randon dorks getting there against Dylan's team.

Game 2 - I say i hope we have a proper game this time, which must have jinxed it, because both of us drew probably twice the number of lands to spells. I get some really insignificant beats in with a nissa's chosen, possibly a bladetusk boar or something else. Sadly Dylan goes and draws some kind of spell and stabalises with him on 8. I get in, leaving him on 8 and a couple of dudes left, with a burst lightning in hand (that i can kicker at least twice, i can do that for 8 damage right?). I figure i can get in with everythig, then make a pretty punty attack getting my guy killed for no reason but putting dylan to 5, oops. He taps his mass of land for a kickered conquerer's pledge....shitsticks, guess i better draw my spire barrage, which is worth at least 7 (8 mountains in deck), yay!

4-2 (7-5)

Overall the ptq was successful, my deck was fine, and on another day i may have squeezed into top 8 with it. I feel both my losses good have easily gone the other way, but certainly that is the case for one of my wins. Im just glad i am over my period of crapping out PTQ's. I think i am pretty good at zendikar sealed, and i am confident i can at least top 8 given another chance and a playable pool, as long as i dont gift a round to some dirty cheater.

In other news, some people stole 9 boosters of prize support from Rob, Mick of myself that we had shuffled together to do a classic multiplayer winston, which was a little annoying to say the least. We think we know who it was but with very little in terms to go by in terms of knowing what the cards were etc it was hard to prove anything. It was just a bit sad that they did it really, i know who the people are and one of them is friends with some of the better players in the country, so i am surprised at his attitude, but i played him in the Nats LCQ and i thought he was a tosser then so whatever.

Annoyingly, i cant make this Tuesday because i am going back home for a funeral, so i may have to build a constructed deck or something for next week.

Untill then,


As always, feel free to comment on this article, or anything related or unrelated to magic whatsoever. If you would like to contribute to the TLM blog, please email any pictures, ideas or articles to

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Tournament Report - Leeds FNM 13th October

By Jim Marlow


So the first Standard event in Leeds since Zendikar became legal is firmly in the history books....and boy what a difference those wraths and fetchlands made

1st & 2nd

5 Colour control


Its no real surprise that Zendikar wasn't going to revolutionise standard, the huge effect of Zendikar becoming legal is all the cards you lose, not the cards you gain (there are about 700 of them after all)

Obviously though, and even in this very early stage, there are some interesting decks to emerge from zendikar, using most of the 28 cards in the set. This of course is the boros fetchland landfall deck, combining good weenie's with crazy landfall triggers and getting there with goblin bushwacker (who's insane btw)

So with the choice between Jund, Boros and a worse deck than those i was more than happy to oblige with the islands, precious islands!

Here, of course, is the deck i played

4 x baneslayer angel
4 x knight of the reliquary
4 x rhox war monk
4 x wall of reverence
2 x essence scatter
3 x negate

3 x bant charm
4 x path to exile
3 x day of judgement
3 x jace beleren
1 x behemoth sledge

4 x seaside citadel
4 x misty rainforest
3 x glacial fortress
3 x sunpetal grove
2 x gargoyle castle
4 x plains
3 x island
2 x forest

3 x luminarch ascension
1 x day of judgement
4 x celestial purge
3 x meddling mage
2 x oblivion ring
1 x essence scatter
1 x quest for ancient secrets

Round 1 - Matt Kitchen (Landfall Zoo)

Game 1 - Matt keeps lynx, geopedo 5 lander and draws good....i keep 5 lander and draw land, and these games dont take long.

Game 2 - I keep 3 land, 2 wrath 2 path to exile (nuts amirite)......i die with 3 lands in play having drawn a 3rd path to exile, 2 bant charms and a celestial purge, with 3 wraths in hand, sigh.

I was pretty beat up about this, but i felt like i still had a strong deck. I just love how every creature in my deck is really annoying for an aggro player.

Round 2 - Wayne Cook - Vampires

Cant remember this round exactly because it was sooo tight, and i was being harassed by people asking me for the details of Game09 as if i was some kind of guru (which they were right to assume).

In the end i took the round, im fairly sure 2-1, and fairly sure because in game 3 i kept 3 celestial purges in my opener and 4th draw was celestial purge - BANG!

Round 3 - Steve Parker - Boros

Game 1 - Steve kept but it seemed risky, my hand was ok as i knew i had war monk turn 3, which is pretty nutty. Steve played turns 1 and 2 elite vanguard but had no 2nd land....i made war monk, then wall of reverence, then baneslayer......

Game 2 - Steve hit me pretty hard with bushwackered dudes, i wrathed, he rangered for goblin guide and bushwacher for a rinse repeat...putting me pretty low. I wrath again only for steve to play 2nd ranger of Eos...nice. I manage to stem the bleeding with wall of reverence, but when im all but dead i finds me a baneslayer off my last jace activation, she seems pretty good.#

Round 4 - Some noob - Archive trap Mill

Game 1 - Bye (0-1) my wall of reverences, wraths and essence scatters are dead...and im pathing hedron crabs (i kept them in for this!)


+3 meddling mage
+1 quest for the ancient secrets
+2 oblivion ring
+3 luminarch Ascennion

-4 wall of reverence
-3 day of judgement
-2 essence scatter

I managed to take games 2 and 3 down, a combination of opponants not finding the right mana and in game 3 luminarch ascension just getting there, even after i missed the chance at the first activation.

Overall the deck performed ok, i would almost certainly drop the essence scatters, which were god awful. I would probably play either wall of denial or adding the 4th bant charm and negate, but i am more tempted by the denials with the negate in the board, although bant charm was good all day.

I would have liked to face jund to see exactly what the deck could do against it, so i am in no illusions that this is in fact the real deal after a 3-1 at fnm, and im pretty sure just going with bant aggro could be the answer, because war monk and bant charm are so solid its unreal, then you have rafiq and finest hour to auto-win....all on turn 3 with the help of heirarch or cobra. Also, it means you still have access to wall of reverences (sick), luminarch ascension, celestial purge and meddling mage...which will probably be making up for most of my sideboards for the next few months..

Anyways, im pretty excited about the weekend, its Game09. I had a massively shit time last year, but anyone who knows why knows its more my fault for being a hilarious fool, and nothing to do with Game08.

Rumour has it that a certain R.Powell may be gracing Leeds with his presence once more, which alone is enough to make me wet my knickers.

Anyway, hopefully i will have a (winning) report up on the PTQ early next week, and probably some more incoherent babble to look like im doing something in between.

Untill then,


As always, feel free to comment on this article, or anything related or unrelated to magic whatsoever. If you would like to contribute to the TLM blog, please email any pictures, ideas or articles to

Monday, 12 October 2009

Finding decks in a new look Standard

By Jim Marlow

Hey everyone,

Zen is here, the first drafts are in the books, and everyone seems happy. Whether you're cracking fetchlands, priceless treasures, or just drafting a solid deck then zendikar limited seems like a pretty sick format.

This week is the first time Leeds hosts a standard event since zendikar became standard legal, so there has been some excitement about finding the 'new' best decks, and then finding the cards...which is another matter completely.

As it's sealed for this ptq season, i wasn't planning on doing too much work on standard right now, but i have had a few ideas in my noggin rattling around, and finally one made it's way onto paper. Even luckier, i managed to arrange to borrow over £200 worth of cards to make sure i could have the deck built for this weeks standard, sick puppy. Thanks to everyone who is lending me cards this week, its really awesome of you. If anyone needs any cards, i may be able to help, although my collection doesn't really include too many of the chase rares from zen or m10....i haven't been spending a lot of money on magic cards lately (i did just order a set of baneslayers though)

Anway, the results from the philly 5k are now in. Unsuprisingly, or not, a jund deck one, with many more in the top 16 (at least 5 or 6). Interestingly, the uber quick boros landfall deck came in 2nd, with red deck wins (!) coming in 3rd.

There were a few naya decks lower down in the top 16, none broke the top 8....even with baneslayer!

The format at the moment looks like a selection of aggro and midrange decks, none of which are exactly to my liking. I have been trying to find the elusive control deck, which is certainly proving difficult to find in a crypticless format. (there's still cancel though, right!)

Here's the pile i will be playing on Tuesday

4 x baneslayer angel
4 x knight of the reliquary
4 x rhox war monk
4 x wall of reverence

4 x essence scatter
2 x negate
3 x bant charm

4 x path to exile
2 x day of judgement
3 x jace beleren
1 x behemoth sledge

4 x seaside citadel
4 x misty rainforest
3 x glacial fortress
3 x sunpetal grove
2 x gargoyle castle
4 x plains
3 x island
2 x forest


3 x luminarch ascension
2 x day of judgement
4 x celestial purge
3 x meddling mage
2 x oblivion ring
1 x negate

I have no idea how good or bad this deck is, but i know all the cards in it are pretty good, so fingers crossed it will deliver.

Im not really sure why i put meddling mage in the sideboard, i was going to put the blue quest in against mill (which seems to be popular in leeds), but meddling mage seems a bit more useful, as it can shut down a lot of decks that rely on key spells - warp world, mill, time sieve etc.

Its kind of exciting to be venturing into an unknown format, especially given that not only is there some doubt over how good/bad your deck is, you dont really know what anyone else will play....hopefully SOMEONE wont play vampires.

Report coming after Tuesday - if anyone hadn't noticed, the Leeds weekly magic club is now on tuesday, but is still in TJ's club in the woodhouse estate (google it for location)

Untill then,


As always, feel free to comment on this article, or anything related or unrelated to magic whatsoever. If you would like to contribute to the TLM blog, please email any pictures, ideas or articles to

Friday, 9 October 2009

Guest Article: Ben Heath - Heathy Hates Unhinged

By Ben Heath

Heathy Hates Unhinged

Heathy here with a special feature this time around, revolving around the subject of Unhinged.
Contrary to popular belief, I actually enjoy playing unhinged. I just don’t like to play it every 10 minutes, however most of the time the games are really fun and throws out some wacky combos. Here’s the first one:

The Situation – 6 Islands in play, Topsy Turvy in play as well as a Carniverous Death Parrot and ___________ (yes that is an Unhinged card), both enchanted by Loose Lips, each lets me draw four two cards when they attack unless the opponent says a chosen sentence (I chose ‘I won’t make you play Unhinged again’ and ‘Ben Heath is the greatest judge ever’ or something like that. The point is I knew my opponent would never say them). My opponent is on 16,
I attack, putting him down to 13. Draw four cards, since phases are in reverse order I then untap, then in my upkeep Number Crunch my Topsy Turvy, turn order is returned to normal, so I get another attack phase, put opponent down to 10 and draw four more cards. Post combat play Topsy turvy, head straight back to beginning phase, untap, upkeep Number Crunch No. 2 on Topsy Turvy, put my opponent down to 7 and draw 4 more cards. Topsy Turvy is cast again. This cycle repeats for a third time, my opponent is on 8 and 4 more cards are added to my hand (yes my opponent really was THAT stubborn). As I cast Number Crunch No. 4, my opponent says ‘oh, not another one’. The rest, as they say, is history...

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Shiny New Zendikards!

By Wagz

Hi all! I haven't written a column in a long while. Mostly the reason for this was a) going on holiday, then b) helping run WNM having passed my level 1 judge test. Under the previous tournament rules if you are judging an event then you cannot play in it. This rules makes obvious sense at high-level events, but at low-level events such as WNM it is a little annoying to not be able to get in on the action. Thankfully, as of October 1st this rule has been altered and I can take part in drafts. Yay for me! With that in mind, I took part in last night's draft, the first with Zendikar, and the biggest draft in a very long time - 26 players making 3 pods.

Before I got through my deck I'll mention some of my picks. My first pick was Kor Hookmaster. I got some criticism for this from people who haven't yet worked out how good this guy is. The booster was fairly shallow anyway without any removal spells so I was basically taking the best creature and hopefully one without too much of a mana commitment. This guy is the nuts, helping to race, helping to stay in the game. He does so much for so little. Anyway, I then got passed 2 Burst Lightning and Errant Ephemeron.. I mean Windrider Eel. So I felt pretty committed to Red Blue at this point. The Lightnings can be easily splashed, but I was getting passed them and most of the colours in this set want a good commitment to those colours - so if you can just run them as part of your colour that is better than splashing them. I went for a good tempo deck with a hint of Landfall going on, probably not taking the best use of the mechanics in the set but getting a deck which was likely to get there a few times:

2x Plated Geopede
1x Goblin Shortcutter
1x Welkin Tern
1x Tempest Owl
1x Torch Slinger
1x Ruinous Minotaur
1x Gomazoa
2x Shatterskull Giant
1x Bladetusk Boar
1x Windrider Eel
1x Merfolk Seastalkers
1x Living Tsunami
1x Sky Ruin Drake
1x Trusty Machete
2x Burst Lightning
1x Ior Ruin Expedition
1x Magma Rift
1x Paralyzing Grasp
2x Spire Barrage
1x Khalni Gem
2x Teetering Peaks
7x Mountain
7x Island

This is a good deck. Some notes on the play: I didn't kick Torch Slinger, instead running him out on turn 3 just to get a guy on the board. Limited is about getting guys down and beating face, or making sure your opponent can't do that. You don't want to skip your turn 3 to have a slightly better turn 5. Khalni Gem was solid, not for the mana fixing, but to reload on landfall and Teetering Peaks. The Peaks were good for pumping my blue fliers - it is wasted on red creatures mostly. I also had 4 Faceburn spells, which help seal the deal if my evasive and massive guys don't get me there.

In the event I went 2-0-1, ID-ing with Mick in the final (he likes to keep his rating and I like to keep my winning record against him :p) though he looked at my deck and reckoned I'd have won anyway. I heard a lot of people saying they just didn't know what to draft in this format. I think it's basically like a normal format - if you can "theme out" your deck then that can help but just make sure you have good creatures and removal as always. Don't confuse your deck's aim by playing off-theme cards (my Gomazoa was good on the day but doesn't beat so was probably the wrong card for my deck) and make sure you have a good curve but something to use the excess mana in the end (Kicker is good here). Thanks for reading, see you next Tuesday for Standard.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

October update, on being 21 and the PTQ's for San Diego

By Jim Marlow

Hey everyone,

I hope all are well, i am most certainly unwell after my birthday.

October obviously saw the running of successful pre-release and release events by the new team of officials that have taken the reigns following the departure of the sorely missed Rik Powell.

Both events have been covered, but its a great testament to see that Rich Hagon commented on how well they were run on his latest article on, chech it out if you want, certain players from Team Leeds are mentioned by name.

With Austin coming up and worlds after that, we now return to a season of sealed PTQ's for the first of the pro tours of the 2010 season, San Diego.

If the thought of going to a place named after a whale's vagina wasn't enough, zendikar sealed seems to be a really good format, although i doubt you will catch me saying that after a string of bad PTQ results

This is the currently scheduled list of PTQ's

Manchester 18th-Oct
Gravesend 1st-Nov
Cambridge 7th-Nov (clashes with GP Paris)
Birmingham 14th-Nov
Southampton 28th-Nov
Dundee 5th-Dec
London 2nd-Jan 2010

Team Leeds will obviously be able to take a horde of players to manchester, and im sure Birmingham is well within most players range, but apart from these two it looks like there isnt much chance of a Leeds contingent throughout the PTQ season.

I am really surprised to see Leicester or Bristol not on the list, although i am certainly glad that the fine work of Graham Henderson and family at Inner Sanctum Collectables is finally being rewarded by PTQ's. I will probably head home for a weekend to go there, although Cambridge is notorious for being home to some of the finest magic players in the country, particularly those who specialise in limited....great! (hopefully they will all be at the GP!)

Anyway, it's time to be arranging cars, trains etc for the PTQ's, because it will be a shame if Team Leeds can not attend at least two or three of the PTQ's this season in numbers.

See you all tomorrow for the first WNM Zendikar draft......God knows i want to open fetch lands after getting 1 in my box. Misty Rainforests are worth £75, right?

Untill then,


As always, feel free to comment on this article, or anything related or unrelated to magic whatsoever. If you would like to contribute to the TLM blog, please email any pictures, ideas or articles to

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Zendikar Release event - Leeds, 3rd October

By Jim Marlow

Hey everyone,

The zendikar release has now come and gone. Unsurprisingly, or not considering the amount of boosters cracked, no priceless treasures were found in Leeds today, but i would love to hear if anyone finds any in the future.

Also, it was great to hear that local trader, Mark Hammond ( sold out of Zendikar booster boxes, despite the more modest turn out of 19 players, which it has to be said was around expected.

The release, as i'v said was 5 fun filled rounds of sealed for the 19 of us who turned up. Here's my deck from the event.

1 x vampire lacerator
1 x guul draz vampire
1 x bloodgast
1 x gatekeeper of malakir
1 x vampire nighthawk
1 x vampire hexmage
1 x mold shambler
1 x kor skyfisher
1 x surrakar maurauder
1 x territorial baloth
1 x timbermaw larva
1 x zendikar farguide
1 x oran-rief recluse

1 x harrow
1 x khalni expedition
2 x journey to nowhere
1 x blazing torch
2 x vines of vastwood
1 x soul stair expedition
1 x hideous end

3 x plains
9 x swamp
6 x forest

I didnt think too much of my deck, certainly not after i thought i had a reasonably deck at the prerelease which only took me to 2/3 before dropping. However, this deck was capable of aggresive draws, and certainly had the removal and some larger creatures to power through longer games, especially with the all star kor skyfisher on the splash (best guy ever!!)

Round 1 - Rob Catton

I can remember the games too well because this was one of many g/b mirrors i played, so this must mean either the black and green are very deep in zendikar or some people misbuilt their pools, although in Rob's case i would suggest the former. We both saw turn 1 lacerators in game 1, which i managed to sneak through some nice draws.

In Game 2 i basically lost to vampire nighthawk being an absolute shitkicking. The tempo swings this guy gives in the race is sick.

In game 3 we traded resources much like the third, and again rob found the nighthawk....but i had him down to precarious life. Luckily for me, i managed to draw a 1 outer in the form of blazing torch.....who knew it meant vampires couldnt block the equipped creature!

1-0 (2-1)

Round 2 - Andy Devine

Andy was playing a similar deck to mine, G/B with a white splash (i really dont know what for) Andy is also a pretty good player, and having dodged a bullet by beating Rob Catton i wasnt happy with this pairing.....especially considering the table 1 pairing (ill let you know weds if you have forgotten)

Game 1 andy was stuck on 3 lands after a horrible mull to 5 on the play, one of which i mold shambler'd before andy drew another land. A few spells for andy meant he stayed alive a turn or 2 but it wasnt to be.

Game 2 - Andy this time went to 6, and again got stuck on 2 lands. This time i had a more aggresive draw, and i think river boa was the only spell Andy played all game. This game really highlighted the power of bloodghast to me, as i was attacking in to the river boa, forcing andy to tap a land, and take beats from my deathtouch scorpion, and then i could just play a land and get my bloodghast back, eventually i drew the hideous end and managed to off the snake, sick!

Sorry Andy, would have really loved a game, but ill take wins when they're there to be had. Also, dodging another bullet seems awesome, c'mon bad player in round 3.

2-0 (4-1)

Round 3 - Steve Tyson

Another really decent limited player, someone i consider to be the dark horse of Leeds, because he is always there or there abouts in the drafts, and has in the short time he has been part of the Leeds group risen fast to be at the heels of the pro(s).

I really cant distinguish between games in this match, because they were all incredibly close. Steve was again in green and black, with the usual low cost aggresive black creatures backed up by a barrage of fat green men...who get fatter with land.

The one moment i remember was in game 3, im on the draw and steve has played a turn 1 vampire lacerator and turn 2 guul draz vampire, with the life totals 20-9 in steve's favour (yeah, im in the shit!).

I have 1 plains, 2 forests and a swamp. I play kor skyfisher, bouncing the plains, replay the plains and journey to nowhere the guul draz guy, leaving me with 3 cards in hand to steves 2. Steve attacks and i block, prompting disfigure, but i have the one forest up for the vines of vastwood, and steve doesn't have another creature. I soon found out he drew loads of land after that, and i unleash the beasts in hand for the WWWWWinnn

I dont mean this as a trumpet blowing excercise, i think the cards i had are sick in limited, sick. I mean im no mathematician, but doesnt kor skyfisher + journey to nowhere x vines of vastwood = human ejaculate....., no?

3-0 (6-2)

Round 4 - Mick Edwards

Well, after 3 decent players i finally get to play someone awful. Obviously its awesome to have me and mick at the higher end of things, with Fu not far behind, so we were all going to be in the mix for the top slots.

Again, another nail biting race, this time falling in micks favour to his, again, g/b deck with a subtle allies theme, nicely including the turntimber ranger, who it seems is quite the scrotum bashing.

This was probably the closest of all the matches i played today, with both of us with having landwalking with creatures, although sadly mine put micks on a three turn clock and his put me on 2. The board developed and some trades ensued, culminating in me needing (but failing) to draw one of 2 copies of vines of vastwood to forestwalk for the win.

Ah well.

3-1 (7-4)

Round 5 - Steve Parker

I only remember playing steve at a prerelease, i think for shadowmoor or eventide (whichever one has demigod) where he beat me in round i wasnt really excited about this.

Game 1 - i managed to get a decent aggresive draw, which was slowed somewhat by the baloth cage trap, but luckily i had the journey to nowhere to the token and managed to get enough throug for the win.

Game 2 - I wasnt exactly sure what steve was playing because he hadnt played a massive amount of spells, but he certainly appeared to have some hot green and blue spells, with some decent mana fixing to compliment. In this game i was all but dead to the +4/+4 and trample landfall guy, combined with fetchland. I managed to stack up a 3 for 1 to eventually kill it, and then managed to get in weenie beats with bloodghast while hoping steve didnt draw a creature.......he did, but i had gatekeeper of malakir by this point.

4-1 (9-4)

Apologies if i have missed anything out, most or all of these reports are probably some figment of my imagination as i failed once again to bring a pad and pen to the event. Also, im afraid the quality of my opponants demanded some level of concentration from me, which meant i had less time to remind myself to write about this moment later.

Either way, i came 2nd behind Mick for the release. I opened my boosters but i have them saved to build a sealed pool with when i get to 6, as they might be relevent for the upcoming PTQ season.

In other news, i did a draft afterwards, passed a p1,p1 warren instigator in favour of a vampire nighthawk....passing hideous end also. Turns out the guy to my left took the end and cut me in pack 2 despite me cutting hard pack 1 (trips crypt ripper). I then open Marsh flats (slam amirite) and a goddamn foil vampire that goes right to craig, who is also in black....yay!

i get bashed by craig round 1, the end! least i have my warren instigater?

See you all on wednesday, where it will be Zendikar draft, and i will be 21 years old!

Untill then,


As always, feel free to comment on this article, or anything related or unrelated to magic whatsoever. If you would like to contribute to the TLM blog, please email any pictures, ideas or articles to

Thursday, 1 October 2009

WNM - planechase multiplayer

By Jim Marlow

Hey everyone,

I hope wednesday served as a cold reminder that magic isn't just about making a half-awake train ride to the nearest PTQ before crapping out and getting at home at midnight with bad beats and punts on your mind, its just a game, one thats meant to be played for fun.

John did a magnificent job of organising an event, presummably the first of it's kind in this country, and creating a real buzz around with various hilarious events happening on separate tables that were being shared accross the room.

Before i became part of the Leeds magic group two years ago i spent around 6 months or so soley playing multiplayer games of all kinds with some housemates, mostly with precon decks, maybe with very slight alterations, and im very aware of the exciting tales that come from multiplayer action.

Paradoxically, the strength of the players in the Leeds group can also serve as it's weakness in acquiring new players to the can be a daunting task coming up against some of the better players in the country in your first couple of weeks (that said, Leeds still has one of the largest fnm groups in the country). Even the FNM's played in Leeds are very competative, and given the level of the players, the decks are highly tuned, so players rarely get the chance to showcase their helix pinnacle monstrousity, or their mesa enchantress pile.

In all honesty, i got knocked out of both my games, and didnt have the best of times doing it, but these were not because it wasnt fun, i just didnt get a chance to get sigil of the empty throne working and bust out some sick turns.

For reference, here's the deck i played

4 x mesa enchantress
1 x reveillark
4 x martial coup
3 x idylic tutor
3 x sigil of the empty throne
4 x oblivion ring
4 x curse of chains
4 x pacifism
4 x runed halo
1 x armoured ascension
1 x rise of the hobgoblins
1 x endless horizons
1 x greater auramancy

23 x plains
2 x gargoyle castle

Overall, despite my poor performance in the event, it was a great idea, and certainly the majority of players in Leeds were going pretty mad for it, i cant remember a Leeds FNM being that rowdy with crowds of exciting magic players telling each other how they died, or killed the others.

Being my first time playing planechase, it certainly was a new experiance for me, and although i didnt have as much of a blast as most of the other players, i think it was a great idea, and certainly a tournament that i would like to see repeated in the future.

The planechase events will be fantastic events to bring new players too, because the effect of player skill on the outcome of the game is greatly reduced, yet the fundamentals of the game are the same. Also, it was great to see people that dont often win FNM's to be crushing games of planechase and winning themselves a load of boosters, because i remember having a huge chip on my shoulder until i won my first FNM.

Anyway, i certainly look forward to the next planechase event. Even though i dont enjoy them as much as other types of magic, they are still loads of fun, and i think they are great for acquiring new players and for less serious magic players.

See you all at the Weekend for the Release event...just to let everyone know im 21 on Monday, so a case or 2 of Zendikar would be much appreciated.

Untill then,


As always, feel free to comment on this article, or anything related or unrelated to magic whatsoever. If you would like to contribute to the TLM blog, please email any pictures, ideas or articles to