Sunday, 28 July 2013

It's an Izzet Blitz

By Norman Ralph

Deck decision made. I have decided to blow a lot of my budget on building a deck from scratch. It's likely to blow £60 ($55 on cards, plus sleeves and a deck box) of my £75 budget, which will leave me with about 4 weeks of capital to buy into events, meaning I will need to average 2 boosters per week in prizes to get through to Theros to replace about half of my deck. This, like my deck, means I am all in on this strategy.

My deck list:

Creatures (11)
4 Nvix Cyclops
4 Young Pyromancer
3 Guttersnipe

Spells (27)
4 Boros Charm
4 Izzet Charm
3 Artful Dodge
3 Feelings of Dread
4 Pillar of Flame
1 Shock
4 Faithless Looting
4 Thought Scour

Lands (22)
2 Steam Vents
1 Glacial Fortress
2 Azorius Guildgate
2 Boros Guildgate
2 Izzet Guildgate
3 Plains
4 Mountain
6 Island

I have been testing the deck online a lot and have found that Young Pyromancer is an all star - it wins a lot of games by playing nicely with the removal suite. I kill one of their guys and make one of my own with a single card spent.

The main thrust of the deck, however, is to play a Nivix Cyclops and untap with him so you can attack with an artful dodge (cast and flashed back) plus a Boros Charm's double strike mode which deals 20 damage from a creature that can't be blocked. Some of the lists online run Faith's shield instead of the 22nd land to try and protect the combo from removal, but I found that I almost never drew it when I wanted it and when I did draw it I really just wanted a charm or a Faithless Looting instead. I think it might be right to play some copies in the sideboard for games 2 and 3, but a sideboard is a bit of a luxury I can't afford right now.

Talking of sideboards, at the moment I don't have any cards for it, but I definitely need ways of interacting with control decks and protecting myself against the super aggressive match ups. For the control decks, I think a Delver based conversion might be the way to go. For the aggro decks, several copies of Electrickery are in order.

As usual, any comments are more than welcome.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Picking a Deck

By Norman Ralph

Having made my call to arms last month, FNM Hero Team Leeds style is starting to warm up. M14 has been released bringing with it the official start date for my challenge. From release day onwards, any Planeswalker Points I earn will be with my FNM Hero deck.

Talking of decks, the Event Deck for M14 has now been spoiled. In terms of cards per pound Event Decks are almost certainly the best way to go but, as with a lot of the recent Event Decks, I have been left unimpressed with the offering. Whilst there are some good cards in the deck, I feel that they could have been stronger. My thoughts on Event Decks for the last few sets have focussed on why Wizards keep producing decks that are OK but are missing some glaringly obvious cards. I want an Event Deck to be a strong deck out of the box whilst being open to improvement. I understand that Wizards won't just package up a fully powered Jund deck or similar and I would not want them to. I appreciate a budget deck that works without the more powerful additions. I would love them to make a R/G deck that plays well against the big boys straight out of the box, not because it is stuffed fall of bombs and mythics but because it is built with synergy and fluidity in mind.

Having said all of that, I am quite tempted to start off with this Event Deck mainly due to the fact that all of cards are going to be Standard legal for the whole of the coming year which means that I can focus my initial budget and any winnings on replacing cards with better options rather than having to replace cards once they rotate out. The other option is to build an Izzet aggro deck built around Young Pyromancer, Nivix Cyclops and Guttersnipe. This has the benefit of fitting my play style better as well as being relatively cheap to build. It does, however, rely on some cards that will rotate out of Standard in September.

I have created my tracking documents for people to follow my card pool and budget. You can them on my Google Drive.

As we are now fully underway on FNM Hero I will be bringing you updates on a weekly basis from now on, so get this added to your feed reader, or favourite the site, and keep up with the fun and frolics of the next 12 months.

Comments are always welcome.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Team Leeds Challenge: Pauper!

I love commons.

The meat and potatoes of any deck, these unsung heroes are the glue that hold the pile of expensive rares together to produce the top level decks.

Where would standard be without Farseek?  Legacy without Brainstorm?

I'm on a mission to encourage more people to take up this much neglected format in paper. I have built a pauper cube to help spread the virtues of pauper as an accessible format for all.

More recently there has been a push to make standard pauper a thing, providing the perfect place for a new player to start. Low investment, lots of fun.

So what is pauper?

It is a format of decks made from only commons. In standard pauper this includes the last two blocks (taken today that is Return to Ravnica and Innistrad) as well as current standard legal core sets (At present M13 and M14).

Classic pauper is more like legacy; any card printed at common in the history of magic (apart from Cranial Plating) is legal.

So why play pauper?

1.       It’s cheap: 75 commons isn’t going to put you back a lot. Hang around after a draft and you will more than likely be able to pick these cards up for free.

2.       It’s the perfect place for new players to get to grips with tournament magic play due to its accessibility and generally less complex nature (although there is plenty of scope for combo).

3.       Ample of scope for creativity, without compromising on quality. All deck types can be played using the available card pool.

If you are interested drop me an email @

The pauper cube will launch August 11th . Hope to see you at Patriot Games Leeds. Currently 7 seats remaining. 

Friday, 5 July 2013

[FNM Hero] Lets see how this will evolve….

Too late to back down now! I’ve committed. My deck is pre-ordered through Patriot Games Leeds and awaiting my pickup. I also brought a deck box, and theoretically brought sleeves (I have plenty in a box at home but I‘ll take them from the budget).

Starting budget:  £75


4 x Bred for the Hunt (Bred for the Hunt)  = £2.00
4 x Hands of Binding (Hands of Binding)  = £0.80
4 x Spell Rupture (Spell Rupture)  = £0.80
4 x Simic Charm (Simic Charm)  = £2.00
4 x Rapid Hybridization (Rapid Hybridization)  = £2.00
4 x Elusive Krasis (Elusive Krasis)  = £2.00
1 x Ultra Pro Deck Box: Gatecrash -Simic Zameck Guildmage (simic deckbox
#86040)  = £2.00
4 x Young Wolf (Young Wolf)  = £0.80
4 x Strangleroot Geist (Strangleroot Geist)  = £4.00
4 x Zameck Guildmage (Zameck Guildmage)  = £2.00
4 x Cloudfin Raptor (Cloudfin Raptor)  = £0.80
4 x Experiment One (Experiment One)  = £4.00
100x Ultra-Pro sleeves, Black = £3.50

Total = £26.70

Remaining = £48.30

So I’ve got a deck, a box, sleeves and a plan. Obvious improvements to this deck are:

1: The manabase: a set of shocks wouldn't go amiss.

2: Some better sideboard options apart from Island and Forest.

3. M14 bringing me Scavenging Ooze.

Proposed Deck List

Creature (24)
4x Cloudfin Raptor
4x Elusive Krasis
4x Experiment One
4x Strangleroot Geist
4x Young Wolf
4x Zameck Guildmage

Land (23)
10x Forest
9x Island
4x Simic Guildgate

Instant (8)
2x Rapid Hybridization
4x Simic Charm
2x Spell Rupture

Sorcery (2)
2x Hands of Binding

Enchantment (3)
3x Bred for the Hunt


2 Rapid Hybridization
2 Spell Rupture
2 Hands of Binding
1 Sanctuary Cat (Foil!)
Bred for the Hunt
6 Island

Next installment I’ll talk about my card choices, interactions and plan. Maybe I’ll get some play testing in soon to see how much of an abomination my creation is! If anything it will be fun! Thanks for your time! @MagicMander