Thursday, 16 September 2010

Saying goodbye to Shards Block

By Wagz

*Sob*. I wish that it weren't so, but it is time for Shards of Alara, Conflux, Alara Reborn and M10 to rotate out of Standard. Oh sure, Bloodbraid Elf and Blightning have made things pretty miserable over the last 12 months. Between Bloodbraid Standard and Zendikar Limited I've experienced some of the worst Magic™ formats I've ever seen.

But I love Multicolour!

There - I said it, and I'm not ashamed. If you've ever seen me Cube draft (my favourite format) you'll have seen some of the 7-colour monstrosities I've put together and won with.

As a result I had to say one last goodbye to some of my favourite cards (mostly from last year's Standard). This week at WNM I played the following:

4 Arcane Sanctum
1 Celestial Colonnade
1 Creeping Tar Pit
3 Crumbling Necropolis
4 Island
1 Lavaclaw Reaches
2 Mountain
4 Rupture Spire
4 Scalding Tarn
3 Swamp
3 Ajani Vengeant
3 Cruel Ultimatum
3 Earthquake
4 Esper Charm
1 Ethersworn Adjudicator
4 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
3 Lightning Bolt
4 Mana Leak
3 Sedraxis Specter
2 Wall of Denial
4 Wall of Omens
2 Celestial Purge
4 Luminarch Ascension
2 Oblivion Ring
2 Slave of Bolas
2 Thought Hemorrhage
3 Wall of Reverence

I won round 1 against White Weenie and round 2 against UW Control before losing round 3 to Green Eldrazi Ramp and round 4 to Aggro Vampires (Nantuko Husk version). A 2-2 record didn't quite do the deck justice but I had a lot of fun.

Round 1 I got to cast Cruel Ultimatum and Ultimate my Ajani in a single turn to leave my opponent with no hand and only 2 Honor of the Pure in play. Two turns later I Esper Charm 2 of his 3 cards away and Jace Ultimate him for a near-flawless victory.

Cruel Ultimatum, Planeswalker Ultimates, casting Eldrazi - these are the moments I play Magic™ for! I don't like Bloodbraid into guy getting 2 Vengevines back. I like casting cool spells - if I want infinite creatures I'll play Pokemon™ thx. Shards of Alara Block, I will miss you dearly. I cannot wait for the next multicolour block. Artifacts are pretty awesome too though ;)

Monday, 13 September 2010

Guest Article: Remember to have fun, by Mick Edwards

By Mick Edwards

People who know me will know that August was a month in which I took magic very seriously. Not only was Nationals on everyones mind, but i was qualified for Pro Tour Amsterdam. This meant I spent A LOT of time testing what I expected the new extended metagame to be (special thanks to people helping me test such as Rob Catton). In the end I think a slight bad judgement in the meta (I predicted all combo/punishing fire decks) made me play a weak deck and I didnt make day 2, finishing 4-4.

However, one common theme with this event (and all other large event I have been to) was the underlying sense of 'Magic is also really fun, remember?' and by that I mean Cube Drafting! Cube drafting for those that don't know is where a player basically makes their 'own set' using whatever cards they like. The initial Cubes were based around the most powerful cards available, and its quite nice to 'open a pack' to pick from Black Lotus, Sol Ring, Treachery, Recurring Nightmares, etc. However some people make their Cubes a bit different - e.g. Rob Wagner and Seb Parker both have cubes consisting of the most powerful extended (old extended) legal commons and uncommons. The thing about cube is its purpose. When I enter a PTQ I play to win, when I sit down against my opponent I often try to play like a machine designed for winning magic games. When I draft cube I play for fun, when I sit down I have a laugh!

Thinking back, some of the most fun I've had playing magic has been weird formats that are only really played for fun: Reject rare draft, Multiplayer Winston draft, elaborate mental magic pack wars style. So when I though about how I wanted to play more magic for fun purposes it saddened me when I realised that part of what makes these formats so fun is the people involved and I was going back to playing Magic Online. Thats when it hit me! Momir Basic:

Momir basic is THE random fun format, but its actually got more skill to it that it seems and the random factors of mana screw/flood are taken away.
I strongly encourage anyone who has a Magic online account to play this format as its pretty crazy. Here are some pro tips I have found:
  • Never play an island unless you have an ability that needs it as Benthic Behemoth crops up a fair amount at 8.
  • There are some good one drops but your chances of hitting them are low, some good ones I've hit include goblin chirurgeon and dragonmaster outcast.
  • In general its proabably best not to make a 1 drop.
  • Two drops are better than three drops, this may seem weird but a lot of mana elves/myr are at 2 as well as guildmages!
  • Play more mountains I currently run 15 mountains in my Momir deck, when you make dragons you want them to breathe fire.
Finally I want to mention an idea I have had for building a cube of my own, hopefully creating an entirely different cube format. I want people to vote on what they think are the worst cards in each set for inclusion in my 'Worst Cube Ever'. Keep an eye on the Leeds Facebook site for more details, or begin the voting for M11 Cards here: