When you are so close yet so far

Born of the Gods is about to come out and I’m probably not going to get to play much.  No luck on the job front so far between Trevor or I…at least not something we can rely on.

Worse than not being able to play Magic with my friends due to funds is knowing that I’m just one e-mail away from potentially being able to.  And greater than just being able to play, I would be able to mostly support Trevor with just my position and allow him to write while working side jobs and doing the things he loves.  As long as he could cover the student loan payments, I would be happy.

Yet, I sit here in limbo, stressing out over what to do, deciding on should we or shouldn’t we regarding moving in with my parents, driving myself further insane at work, and pushing him to get a job and probably put him back into previous depression.  There is no greater gift for me than to see him happy, and he is happiest when he is writing and working on projects with people and being ambitious.  Things that a job don’t allow you to do normally.

I will probably get to go to at least one event for BNG, so I will report back my thoughts.  Thank you for listening to me rant in the mean time.

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FNM BUG Mid-Range

For the past couple of weeks I had been trying to play the Golgari Aggro decks that had been appearing place, but not having much luck with them.  So this week, with more time off to look at lists and really get an idea of what I wanted to play in this format, I finally decided to give BUG Mid-Range a go.

I used Jeff Hoogland’s List, which you can go see easily and read about his path to getting to the list, for FNM for a few reasons.  My store has a lot of aggro players or Esper Control players.  This deck gave me the ability to switch gears in order to handle one over the other a little bit better.  I wasn’t going to be getting rid of any Erebos or Thassa, but I would make it a lot harder for them to turn on.  Another reason is that I had all the pieces available to me.  I was missing one Hero’s Downfall, but that was easily replaced by a Putrey with the added benefit of killing multiple Spears that way.

Round one was against a Boros Devotion deck that leaned to the Red side.  I got in there with a Nightvale Specter and wound up exiling a Mountain and a Stormbreath Dragon.  I had a Cartyiad on the board, so I could have played the Stormbreath Dragon at any point with that, but for whatever reason that did not click.  Instead, Prognostic Sphinx got there  as I chipped away at his wall of Boros Reckoners and Ash Zealots.  For the second game I sided in Doom Blade and Ultimate Price for the Putrefy and one Downfall so that I had cheaper removal.  I also brought in the extra Golgari Charm in order to have some Regen power.  I won the next game and the round pretty quickly.

Round two was just straight Red Devotion, however he couldn’t seem to get it going.  I used a similar sideboard plan and killed a lot of his creatures by Monstering Polukranos.  He won the second game when I kept a bad hand, but I was able to fuse Far/Away by using Ashiok’s abilities.  Using the -2 to grab a previously exiled Burning Tree Emissary and then doing the rest was just very satisfying for some reason.  Otherwise, it was Polukranos in this game that just trampled over with some aid of a Sphinx.  Jace was also important in these games because it made a lot of his guys ineffective attackers unless they were unleashed, which then prevented him from chump blocking in many cases.

Round three was against someone who normally played Esper Control so I was pretty sure that is what I would be going up against.  Then suddenly, there was a pile of white weenies on the board.  Good thing I had a handful of Golgari Charms to deal with the Solider of the Pantheon, Daring Skyjek, and Imposing Sovereign.  Once I stabilized we were golden, it was just the initial issue with Solider gaining him life.  I brought in the same number of removal, plus the Ratchet Bombs to take care of the Solider’s.  I took out two Ashiok’s since I wouldn’t be able to cast anything from his deck and Nightvale was doing his job fine.  Game two was much of the same, but with the Ratchet bomb I not only used Golgari charm as a board wipe, but had a back up on board that made him hesitant to play other items. Jace was also important in this match up since It allowed me to dig for the cards I needed, like Charms, Ultimate Price, and Nightvale Spector.

It was nice to go 3-0 again, something I haven’t done since rotation.  I seemed to have finally found my groove in this format, just in time for it to change.  One thing I would want to change in this deck is having a Vraska in the sideboard, although I’m not sure where yet.  At least for my stores meta, she is very good and people often don’t expect her either.  I had a lot of fun and go to use cards that are definitely underestimated in my opinion.

The things that come with moving

With Trevor losing his job and both of us looking at new jobs, the prospect of moving comes along with that.  What has been interesting during looking at places that we are getting feedback from is our process of ranking what we think of these locations.

First we look at the internet providers in the area.  With my grad school being online and so much of life revolving around it, having crappy internet is not an option.  We look at company reviews, the speeds they offer, pricing.  We search for if they instill caps on households and what happens if you hit those caps.  We would love to go somewhere that Google Fiber is available, but, that is incredibly narrow and maybe not so fair to a search.

Then, we go and we put a local zip code into WoTC’s find a store.  Since neither of us enjoy playing online(which is contradictory to our first requirement), we need a store nearby.  We enjoy the interaction with people, a place to go once a week that isn’t the grocery store.  Having a card/gaming shop around ensures that we have someway to connect with people who have similar interests to us and can then branch out into things we are not so interested in.

I look at crime reports for various areas.  There is a certain threshold of cost to crime I’m not willing to go back into.  Maybe it is because I did it as a kid and I know how awful it is or it could be that I don’t want to ruin my husband’s level of innocence he has on these things. Either way, I won’t go for the cheapest place if it also means being in a bad area.

Then we look at the grocery stores.  With all my allergies, having an ‘organic’ food market around tends to be a good thing.  If there isn’t, I tend to have to dig deeper and see if there is at least a section that will sell dairy free goods, note if vitamins have fish in them, have antibiotic free meat, and so on.  Smaller areas tend to not be as open to this idea while larger cities, or ones that are growing, do.

There are other things we look at as well.  Parks we can go to, recreation, tax costs, and government structure.  These things don’t necessarily get ranked though, as much as they are filed away in some part of my mind that remembers them for the long term.

But that is about it…If you know of any positions open, either in the writing or IT world, give me a yell so I can pass them on 😀

Been Isolated

Sorry I haven’t been keeping up.  Honestly, I’ve been a bit isolated.  Some of it is self-imposed other parts are more dependent on things going on.

I had another massive surgery on my foot, so I haven’t fully walked in over two months.  Even before that walking was painful and exasperating due to the pain and swelling.  I hate being the weak link so I stopped going to as many events and being as social.  Then at the end of November, Trevor lost his job, so I’ve been determined not to go anywhere and spend money.  It is also one of those times where I’m not sure if life is going to be uprooted or not, due to his job loss and possible job prospects, so I just start to cut ties with people…not talking, not showing interest, not caring.

It probably isn’t good for me.

Most of my MTG experiences have been on DoTP and a little bit of MTGO/MODO…which was awful. Hopefully when it comes back it won’t be so bad.  I went to GPDC and did side events and saw people I normally wouldn’t, but did not play in the main event as I did not have a Legacy deck. The events I did play in I did well, but never quite made it to first.  Didn’t expect much considering how long it had been since I had held cards in my hand.

I’ll probably be at an IQ this weekend since it is relatively close and free.  Trevor and I both have cards to play with, so we had may as well.

I’ve been playing quite a bit of League as well, trying to get better in the jungle and top lanes since those were my weakest positions previously.  Until I have a multitude of champions that I can play in all positions down pat, I don’t think I will do much in the ranked system.  That and school which I have to do nearly 5 nights a week…

Anyway, hopefully I’ll be more interactive here in the future.  Might use this as an outlet for a bit.  Might post some fiction type items.  Probably do some tournament type reports.  Probably get some PS4 game reviews up…maybe even some for Vita…or go back and do more comic book reviews… I don’t know.  Tell me what you want to see

Rock-Walkers, My Rise, My Fall, and learning to Dust Myself Off

Hi guys!  I haven’t been chatting much because, well, I haven’t been doing much.  After surgery I re-injured my foot and was put back on restricted activity, which limited the number of events I could go to and how far I was really willing to travel.  Having a big black boot of junk all the time is not the most comfortable way to take part in events.  So mostly I did things at my LGS like GPTs.

However, last Friday I got the go ahead to drive and walk around a bit more, so I high tailed myself over to SCG Open Richmond.  It is only about an hour to an hour and a half drive from where I live, so I figured it would be a good test of both my physical capability and where I was at in the rat race since the release of M14. I got there early, asked for fixed seating(which if you are ever injured or disabled, you should totally ask for at a large event. They are normally more than accommodating) and looked through my deck and deck list one more time.  The guys from my shop who had been there the previous day for Team Sealed and I made some final tweaks before the player meeting and then we were off!

It wasn’t so good.  Everyone had Jund at this event.  Or at least it felt like it.  And while I was able to pull ahead in one Jund match-up, the others I just couldn’t.  I wound up 2-4 and then dropped for the day.  It was already 5 pm and I didn’t want to push myself driving home during the times when I-95 construction is going on.

However, looking at the deck as it was before M14, and what it turned into after M14, I think I have found a pretty steady compromise.  So for the rest of the blog post I am going to talk about the 3 iterations of the deck and how I think it will continue to change.

Original

4 Deathrite Shaman

4 Strangleroot Geist

4 Dreg Mangler

2 Disciple of Bolas

4 Desecration Demon

2 Garruk Relentless

2 Liliana of the Veil

2 Vraska the Unseen

2 Curse of Deaths Hold

3 Abrupt Decay

1 Tragic Slip

3 Golgari Charm

3 Putrefy

2 Golgari Guildgate

4 Overgrown Tomb

4 Woodland Cemetery

1 Rogue’s Passage

7 Forest

6 Swamp

This deck was solid.  It had consistent answers for everything while still being able to delivery punches.  I played this a lot at Monday Night Standards and FNM at the shop with many fantastic results.  I don’t think I had ever been so happy playing a deck.  Whatever I couldn’t get rid of via Abrupt Decay, Putrefy, or Liliana, Vraska would take care of.  Curse of Death’s Hold really put people a turn back since their mana dorks died or on a very strict counter of what they could play.  This deck was amazing in my eyes and it could do no wrong.

Then M14 came along and this is what I wound up with the morning of the Open:

V2

4 Deathrite Shaman

2 Scavenging Ooze

2 Lifebane Zombie

2 Varolz, the Scar Stripped

2 Disciple of Bolas

4 Desecration Demon

2 Thragtusk

2 Garruk Relentless

2 Vraska the Unseen

4 Liliana of the Veil

1 Curse of Death’s Hold

2 Doom Blade

2 Golgari Charm

2 Putrefy

3 Abrupt Decay

2 Golgari Guildgates

4 Overgrown Tomb

4 Woodland Cemetary

1 Rogue’s Passage

4 Forest

9 Swamp

This deck was not consistent enough to really get a good idea of the decisions you need to make. I would constantly have one piece without the other or be stuck with something that I couldn’t use.  The biggest flop this past weekend was Doom Blade.  I was expecting much less black in the field then there way, and having Doom Blade in your hand while trying to take control of a crazy board state was not helpful.  Varolz is not enough of a threat against many of the decks that are out there, not the same way that Dreg Mangler is.  Scavenging Ooze and Lifebane Zombie did work, but adding in Thragtusk messed up the curve just a bit too much.  I realized that in my deck I don’t want creatures, perhaps the most vital thing, to cost over 4.  D-Demon should be the top of my creature curve.  Having Vraska in my hand isn’t the worst thing if I can’t cast her because she is a free card to toss.  Thragtusk means I can’t play him, and it is going to be awfully hard to scavenge for him too. If I can have a Varolz out long enough.

So I have been mulling it over this week, really thinking about the changes I made between the two decks and if they can reconcile.  I think they can.  Doom Blades are coming out for a bit, although I think they will be useful in the future, and Putrefy is going back in.  The two Thragtusk and Varolz will be coming out.  I’m going to be going up to 4 Dreg Manglers again and 3 Lifebane Zombie. So the final product for testing this weekend will look like this:

V3

4 Deathrite Shaman

2 Scavenging Ooze

3 Lifebane Zombie

4 Dreg Mangler

2 Disciple of Bolas

4 Desecration Demon

2 Vraska

2 Garruk

4 Liliana

3 Abrupt Decay

3 Putrefy

2 Golgari Charm

1 Curse of Death’s Hold

2 Golgari Guildgates

4 Overgrown Tomb

4 Woodland Cemetary

1 Rogue’s Passage

5 Forest

8 Swamp

I’m going to play with the mana base a bit more, thinking about two more Golgari Guildgates to throw in.  But I feel that this is much more solid.  And working with the same deck for so long has really given me a new level of focus and analysis capability.  So despite doing piss poor at an event, the whole drive home I just realized, even above the searing pain in my foot, that I had reached a new level.  I had transcended.  I could indeed, rebuild it to make it bigger, stronger, faster.

And I would do so as soon as I got some sleep.

The Shake Down

There have been a lot of changes recently within the Magic community.  Most of them having to do with the Rules Changes coming with M14. Which I don’t think I can classify as all bad.

Mostly because of the legendary rule.  While I understand the Vorthos side of things where not more then one legend should be around at once, I was also the awful person who took advantage of that rule to use my Garruk as removal for your Garruk.  Now that two Garruks can exist at once I just rationalize it as they have come from different points in time and planes and are appealing to two totally different Planeswalkers. But that is just me.

The legendary rule changing, though, I think will be interesting for all of the formats and change how the game is played.  I feel that during these huge rule shake ups, we get a new shake down of players that have had the potential to be great, but with the establishment coming down have really been able to shine. It will provide some absolutely absurd things that those players with quick wit will find a way around.

The sideboard rule change is something else that I don’t see as bad. In fact I quite often wish I could just add this extra card to my deck without having to remove things. It will ultimately reduce the amount of time you have to sit there and make sure your cards are right and also reduce the amount od penalties given by judges. It will be more welcoming to new players who will be more able to adapt their way through a game at a pace that is good for them and take 15 minutes to figure out if they take out two of this does their combo that they are so proud of still work?

The Land rule I don’t think applies to most of us. I for one was gone when Exploration was around and as I’m not quite up to snuff on my old cards like some people, it it is something that I’m not super concerned with.  I think this will affect a very small group of people in mostly the eternal formats.

So yeah, some good stuff, and things I think will overall improve game play and bring some refreshing changes to the game.  Rules can change, so if something isn’t working out, maybe they will change it around a bit and make it fit the game a bit better.

Brewing Some crazy

So Trevor and I have been tossing back ideas on a deck and we have a v1.0 ready. It is interesting because it is once again an Aggro Control type but it is three colors rather than my normal two.

We are calling it Angry Golgari.

Now you ask why we are calling it that. It is simple. We splashed red for no creatures we actually want on the field. Just things to act as a distraction and rile up an opponent.  Just about everything in there that gets used is B/G, but the red is in there for a twist.  Hopefully you will see why in the decklist!

Mainboard

Creatures

-4 Slumbering Dragon

-4 Vexing Devils

-3 Lotleth Troll

-4 Strangleroot Geist

-4 Dreg Mangler

3 Varolz, the Scar-Striped

3 Falkenrath Aristocrat

Spells

2 Golgari Charm

3 Grisly Salvage

3 Abrupt Decay

3 Putrefy

Land

-1 Forest

-1 Mountain

4 Overgrown Tomb

4 Blood Crypt

4 Stomping Ground

4 Woodland Cemetary

4 Rootbound Crag

2 Dragonskull Summit

So if you did figure it out the plan here is to use those one drop creatures mostly as cannon fodder.  If I have to play a Slumbering Dragon, it isn’t the worst thing in the world because who wants to swing in and make a huge dragon for me if they aren’t going to kill me?  Also, I can just eat it for the Aristocrat, then scavenge the 1 red for 3 more counters to put on either her or one of my other guys.

Not a bad plan in theory. It wasn’t too bad in practice last night either, although I didn’t do much.  I decided to draft since so much of the deck right now is proxied out. In between matches though, I played a bit against people in the Constructed FNM and didn’t have a bad time, although I rarely got to finish a game before time was called.  there tends to be a lot of talking when you don’t show up at FNM for a while.

I still need to do more testing and tweaking, so this is definitely a v1.0. Also trying to figure out my best sideboard options.  I have a pile of cards in my head, but since we just finished narrowing down the Mainboard yesterday I didn’t have the time to get the rest straight.

If you want to test it out, feel free too and just let me know how it goes, what worked and what didn’t!  If you have a suggestion leave it here too, or contact me on twitter!