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

Advertisements

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.

My Day at WMCQ DC (WAY LATE)

Not really a tournament report as much as a personal reflection and diary of the day. To late for a full on report, things have changed a lot since then!

I was really excited for the WMCQ in Washington, DC. Not because I had really expected to do well or I was attempting to prove any kind of point, but because it was a nearby event that I could go to and be comfortable at within my surroundings.

I had been to this convention center before since it is also where the SCG DC Open was and had been in the area a lot either going to visit places or for work type stuff.  It was a pretty relaxing thing for me.  Kinda felt like I was part of the home team.  I really enjoy going to play at places where I have already been or know something of. Philly is another comfortable location, as will Richmond be in a few months.  Can’t beat playing in the building that you graduated college from, right?

But anyway, the day started out much earlier than Trevor or I planned.  A friend from our play group messaged us at 6:30 am asking if we could lend him cash to get in since he didn’t have an ATM card. Fine, but since I’m up this early I’m making tea first. Which was perhaps the best decision in the world.

We go pick up our friend and rather than Metro in we decided to drive.  Metro is normally an awesome option unless it is 4-20, Earth Day, and they are single tracking or closing tracks all over the place and making it difficult to get around.  Plus there is $15 parking a few blocks away from the venue that isn’t all that bad. And on the way back I could hit my favorite restaurant!

So we get to the convention center and it is kind of a mess thanks to AwesomeCon also going on in the same building. So you have this mass of nerds kind of just all over the place with some really poor directions. We figured out which room the WMCQ was in and made sure our Pre-registers went though and sat down at what was a pretty empty table. Trevor had printed out our deck lists before hand, but of course, mine go left behind so I had to fill one out real quick.  Oh well, I guess at least it wasn’t both that I had to do.

The room filled up quickly and we started off the day with nearly 400 players.  It was yet another day of an SCG event being split into two rooms causing confusion for many players.  In fact, I think it is a good thing that they had so many other events happening at the same time because there were enough drops after round 1 to get at least all the WMCQ players in one room.

The most important thing I learned about today is the fact that I am not a bad player. I know what calls to make when when I know the decks I’m playing against. The issue is that my playgroup likes to play a lot of the same archetypes.  So for the weeks leading up to the WMCQ I was testing over and over against the various Aggro decks.  Against those decks, I just kicked face.  However, going up against something like G/W tokens or Planeswalker Superfriends, I just wasn’t sure of the reactions I needed to have.

Many people are telling me the solution to this is to get on MTGO, which I might start doing as soon as I have the income for both paper and online Magic. But until then I don’t really have a desire to try and balance both and feel as though I losing something to gain one other thing.  Not to mention time to play both online and in person and do school work and actually work is limited. Some people would say I’m not dedicated, but I would say balancing just three out of those four things and doing pretty well at all of them shows more dedication to life overall than just one item.

Anyway, my Golgari deck is getting put back together, maybe made into a light Jund deck and I will keep you updated on that. Hoping to have that ready for GameDay. I am going to continue keeping the Bant Control/Prime Speaker deck in order and updating it as I go.  I have cards I need to pick up over the next week or so, but I have been working on trading for more of them as opposed just buying them.

I think that is all I have for now. I’ll get a decklist for you guys as things become more solidified and tested.

 

Pre-release and why I was kinda sad.

I of course picked Golgari for the one event I got to go to.  I was super excited at first because I figured between the Golgari pack and my allied guild pack (Dimir) I would have some options and then with 4 Dragon’s Maze packs I would get some decent options.

I didn’t.  I didn’t get anything it felt like. Some soft removal in the way of enchantments, but nothing really good.  My pool basically did just consist of the Gatecrash and Return to Ravnica packs, I think I used maybe 5 cards not including lands, from Dragon’s Maze.  The rest of it was not in my colors nor did I have the fixing for it.  It did not result in a fun time.

Afterwards I was talking with Trevor and I think overall I just wished that along with the two guild packs from the two earlier sets, there had been a pack of Dragon’s Maze dedicated to the two guilds.  Somehow split the cards and give us an ‘Alliance’ pack so to speak.  Something that actually gave us cards from the set in the colors we wanted to play so we could see them.  I don’t care how the mishmash of cards happen in that pack, but to have something like that would have been helpful.

But, enough of about me. How was your pre-release? What guilds did you play? Any stand out cards you stumbled into? Reply here or on twitter: @mtgreiunicorn

Finals and Surgery

So i’m down to the wire with this course. It is the first one I have really had to work at in order to keep my 4.0…I’m right now sitting between a 92 and 93, so I should be good as long as I keep my solid track record, but it requires a lot of work.

I”m also getting surgery on May 3rd, so I have been running around trying to get things prepped for that.  Always nice when you find out one week, need to get the pre-op stuff done the following week, and then surgery the next week.  Been crazy that is for.

ON top of that, been writing for MTG Bro Deals, trying to get them something about bi-weekly.  The format I really like is actually kind of interviewing the whole community rather than the ‘pros’ or the people who are most seen.  So please follow me on Twitter @mtgreiunicorn  to take part in conversations or tell me if you would want to see the questions here!

Other than that, looking at the Dragon’s Maze set and I”m not sure if I’m going to do another Commons to look for in Standard play list this time…all the cards are Multi-colored!  I guess I could do it by guild if you guys are really interested, but as of right now I’m not even all that excited about the set.

Due to work and surgery I don’t even get to really take part in pre-release stuff or release stuff.  Hopefully I can do a gameday, but we will see how I feel by then.

I guess I still need to get you guys WMCQ DC stuff too…*headdesk* so much stuff.

A bit more realistic testing

So Monday turned into a very late night that I have not recovered from yet.  Or perhaps I’m just having issues sleeping in general again.  Or it may be the swatch of homework sitting at home for me that I just can’t seem to concentrate on. No matter what I feel like crap.

But hey, at least Monday was a good night.

First let me lay out the deck list I was using.

Prime Speaker Bant

Creatures                                                                                Sideboard

-4 Loxodon Smiter                                                                -3 Feeling of Dread

-4 Restoration Angel                                                            -1 Negate

-4 Thragtusk                                                                         -2 Rest in Peace

-1 Sigarda, Host of Herons                                                -1 Dissipate

-2 Prime Speaker Zegana                                                   -3 Geist of Saint Traft

-2 Angel of Serenity                                                            -1 Oblivion Ring

Spells                                                                                     -2 Supreme Verdict

-4 Farseek                                                                            -2 Garruk, Primal Hunter

-4 Azorius Charm

-3 Selesnya Charm

-2 Detention Sphere

-2 Supreme Verdict

-3 Sphinx’s Revelation

Lands

1 Forest

-1 Cavern of Souls

-2 Gavony Township

-3 Hallowed Fountain

-3 Hinterland Harbor

-3 Sunpetal Grove

-4 Glacial Fortress

-4 Temple Garden

-4 Breeding Pool

So that is the deck.  Right now it is very basic and close to what everyone else is playing Prime Speaker Bant wise.  I have been trying to figure out if there is anything main board that I need to change in order to fit me better, but so far it seems to fit me just fine.  I feel like the sideboard will constantly need to be changed in order to better fit the current meta, but that is pretty easy to do and test.

I guess the thing is that I’m looking for a deck that acts consistently with how I play.  Prime Speaker Bant so far has done that.  It feels really weird to not need to switch a deck around, but it is indeed what has happened.

The first match I played against was a Dega Reanimator deck that was pretty awesome!  Lots of big guys that he didn’t mind getting rid of just to use Unburial Rites on later.  It was nice to play against something slightly different that still provided a good challenge to me over all.  I was able to really think about what I really need to play and what order it needed to be done in to make  sure I didn’t fall behind.  I lost, but I put of a fight and saw a lot of room for improvement play wise as well as how some interactions worked that I would not get to see otherwise.

I also learned a lesson regarding Feeling of Dread.  I would play it, have it sitting in the graveyard and have a fantastic plan for using it again!  It was so good in my mind!  Until I realized multiple time I would leave a Sunpetal Grove or Temple Garden up with like, Gavony Township.  The flashback is one and a blue, not one and a white.  That game really got it into my head and it was somthing very important to do, even though it was just a sideboard card.

Second game of the night was another rogue type build that someone had just wanted to play for fun, which was great.  although, the issue is that I don’t really remember what it was.  I know looking at my notes that the games were quick enough that I don’t have enough to even put it together.  I just don’t think I ever reached a point to stabilize the board in my favor and instead kind of got stuck in this cycle of just getting run over and chump blocking with Smiters.  After he won 2-0 for the round we played some fun games against another deck he had which really allowed me to get some more longer games in and see how I stacked up against mill.  Straight mill I kind of overrun, but for the most part, so does everyone.  Control with Mill as a win con…well, that is different and we will get to that a bit later.

The third game is one that sort of stung.  My opponent was playing a Jund type deck and just couldn’t keep going.  It was very much a game where until around turn four no damage was done and none was done to me until turn nine-ish.  By that point I had plenty online to stablize with if he did start to do anything with me.  He eventually was able to start climbing back up as well with Thragtusk, but at that point I was just much faster and able to take things or bring back my own Thragtusks.  I eventually won with a life of 24.  The second game went similarly only I was really able to get the Resto, Thrag, Angel of Serenity Combo off.  Multiple times.  So despite his ability to get the Thragtusks out and try to threaten me with the normal Jund guys, I would Detention Sphere, Supreme Verdict and get some guys back, or any number of things.  I think I also got a Zegana off in this mix with Angle of Serenity on the field, so that just even put me farther ahead.

There is something in this game above that happened this week as well with another individual that I would like to talk about in another post sometime this week that I want some opinions on.  I don’t know if it is me or what, but it is just continuously eating at me.

At this point of the evening I was 1-2.  There was no way I was in contention for the gift certificate prizes that are given out at the store, but I was in Top 8 due to all the drops and it being nearly 10:30 pm.  Top 8 gets a pack.  I may as well stick around and just play, right?

Last match was pretty epic.  It was another Jund deck, but this time more Reanimator in nature.  And by that I mean steal things from my graveyard.  The first to games don’t even matter.  It was an exchange of creatures and killing things and bringing them back all over the place.  The third Game was the cake topper.  I won despite him using Rise from the Grave on my Sigarada.  However, that was about the only answer he had at the time.  He was able to Dissipate a few things, but I had enough creatures around to just come right back.  I ended the night 2-2 and while that isn’t the best I learned a lot of how the deck interacts with more competitive decks and how I respond to more competitive people with it.

The next Monday was much better.  It was only 3 rounds which means it was over before midnight and a lot of people there practicing for the WMCQs were around.

My first match up was against a RDW that attempted to not let me stabilize.  We went three games and of note was a misplay by me with a Selesnya Charm to create a Knight to block rather than use it to exile the Thundermaw Hellkite he laid down.  Despite this massive miss play I was still able to hold out long enough to Angel of Serenity his Thundermaw and bring back some things from my graveyard that would help me in the long game.  I was also able to hit off Gavony Township and make Thragtusk larger, which is always a good thing since it would then take two Searing Spears just to kill him rather than him and his child.  Second game I lost due to him just getting an awesome draw.  I was able to hold out quite a bit longer then most people would against RDW, but it wasn’t enough when your just drawing lands.  Third game he would have won if it wasn’t for the fact that he laid out two Boros Reckoner and I was able to wipe them out with a D-Sphere.  With them gone I had an Ash Zealot and Stromkirk Noble to worry about, but they were quickly taken care of with Loxodon Smiters or Zegana.

So i beat the RDW and was mildly proud of myself.  Well be covering this with that other deck in another post though.

Second match-up was against Naya Blitz.  It was another time where I thought I was going to lose miserably.  However, I was rather surprised.  I was able to play around a lot of things.  I made sure to quickly have the mana on line and be able to return Flinthoof Boar to the top of his deck.  Then when he had a couple out through what ever means I Detention Sphere’d them.  I would be aggressive with the attacking while still keeping my ground guys open for blocking.  The second match was similar, but it when a bit longer, but I was able to stabilize long enough to do the damage needed to end it.

At this point I’m 2-0.  For the first time ever I’m vying for first place.  I was a littler jittery.

My last match was a control mirror.  He was playing Esper Control, which I now have identified as a problem.  Our first game took 45 minutes and almost a whole page of life totals in my notebook.  He ultimately won out due to Nephalia Drownyard and putting me in the box of playing Zegana or not.  The second game I had him down life wise, but Blind Obidence put me behind as did two Nephalia’s.  I lost, but came in second for the night, which was a pretty awesome thing in itself for me.

I’m now trying to really think of how to better match up against Control Mirror’s because I just didn’t have all the answers I needed in the last match.  I’m not sure if the answer is shifting to a more control deck or being able to use soemthing like Psychic Spiral to maximize them milling me like that.  I know I need to practice some more against Bant and Esper, but I am feeling more comfortable against most of the other architypes out there.  I have some testing arranged for this weekend and hopefully I will see some more standard Reanimators and perhaps even The Aristocrats.

Author’s note: Sorry the Sideboard section is wonky.  I’m devising tables, but wanted to get this up too >.<

Team Enchantment

So, You Make the Card for Magic: The Gathering has gone off into Run Off mode.  Last week there was a poll opened up with all the card types besides Planeswalker.  When they said something this morning, basically Instant/Sorcery and Artifact were gone.  Creature tried to vie for a spot, but didn’t quite get there.  Apparently it was not a 6/6.  But it was third, so maybe it was a 4/4 equipped with Rancor or something who knows.  Which just goes to show how awesome Enchantments are.

So we currently have the option of either a Land or an Enchantment to chose from. Land had 26.56% and Enchantment had 26.53%.  This is way within a margin of error of misclicks, or time outs and other stuff, so I fell the run off is more than fair!  Plus more than fun!

I am in the Enchantment camp.  I find envisioning a Land card very difficult unless we know what set it is going to come out in, what the story and background of that set is, what kind of flavor is around.  Non-basic Lands I feel need to fit the set they are coming out in.  If it comes out in a Core Set, well, then I feel like you get this kinda non-descriptive Land that tried to be good at everything and thus doesn’t particularly excel at anything.

I find Enchantments to be much more flexible.  The flavor can be conveyed through multiple means and can fit into a bunch of places quite easily.  The mechanics of Enchantments allow the players who are voting on this to really think about what they want to see a creature do and make it happen.  Or even how they would like to see a game state morph from one turn to the next and come up with a real challenge to the current constructs of how to play.  These ideas are really exciting to be as a player.

Enchantments are some of my favorite cards in the game.  I love cards like Curse of the Bloody Tome, Pursuit of Flight, Rancor, and Stab Wound to name recent ones.  They tend to just stack on to of one another, building formidable creatures.  Gift of Orzhova on an evolving Adaptive Snapjaw in draft because you got BUG?  Yes please!

Now you are giving us the opportunity to make this crazy thing happen?  At a time when Enchantment Removal is not run often? And I can do all the things with it potentially? Yes, this makes me very happy.

Really, though, overall an Enchantment is going to be much more fun to design then a land.  We are going to get some crazy things going and they are going to evolve and spread and continue to turn into other things.  A Land, well, is just gonna hand out until the next From the Vault: Realms.  Really.

So go vote for Enchantments HERE.  Now.  Just got do it now and thank me later.

Writing this made me realize that maybe it is time I go try my hand a Bant-chantments…hmmm…

P.S.-Wrote this on my lunch break at work.  It is a quick opinion piece. Maybe I’ll do one more in depth once this weeks homework is done.