Monday, April 16, 2012

The Devil and the Littlest Frost Titan.

So it's spoiler season and Avacyn Restored is a pretty phenomenal set, even at 25% spoiled every card seems over the top and impressive across the board, kudos to wotc for this one. This is something that will be compared to other impressive third sets like Urza's Destiny or Apocalypse. I'm very excited about this one especially with Grand Prix Los Angeles around the corner. I thought I would take some time to talk about the planeswalkers and how they really are breaking new ground.

I'm the kinda person that would follow the color wheel, or the set number, or any number of things that would make me examine Tamiyo first, but I believe that the stigma Tibalt portrays would actual cause you to read only half of this week's blog as he is so obscure that most of came to a conclusion.


Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded

Planeswalker - Tibalt
+1: Draw a card, then discard a card at random.
-4: Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded deals damage equal to the number of cards in target player's hand to that player.
-6: Gain control of all creatures until end of turn. Untap them. They gain haste until end of turn.
Illus. Peter Mohrbacher #161/244 2

Because he fits the proper curve for rdw doesn't necessarily mean that's where he belongs. At turn 2, on the draw, the only way to successfully attack him and drop him requires a champion of the parish and 2 triggers, something that a lot of decks wouldn't want to see right away. As a planeswalker that can't defend himself this worst case scenario makes him a fog that would allow a control or midrange deck the extra turn against the agro match ups. This is red's wall of omens when it's a bad play. Now, when it goes unchecked it starts fueling decks like frites or u/r delver which seems to be assembling. His ultimate is something that may not be used often but not many walkers can without the proper set up, at RR it is very likely that our first devil walker will for lack of a better word threaten his opposition to draw the attention his way. As more miracles are spoiled remember to check back on Tibalt, I wouldn't cram them all into a deck but there may be a place for reforge the souls, possibly Temporal Mastery.

So from there we look at a card that a lot of people are on the fence about.

Tamiyo, the Moon Sage

Planeswalker - Tamiyo

+1: Tap target permanent. It doesn't untap during its controller's next untap step.
-2: Draw a card for each tapped creature target player controls.
-8: You get an emblem with "You have no maximum hand size" and "Whenever a card is put into your graveyard from anywhere, you may return it to your hand."
Illus. Eric Deschamps #79/244 4

This is a frost titan that cost 5 that is a hella lot harder to kill. The 5 drop puts it at a disadvantage in certain situations, much like JTMS was back during its release, you wouldn't want to put it in danger with the potential of a small army of jund creatures and I can say the same now with Tamiyo. Tamiyo isn't Jace. I would say when Jace was fair, I'm sure that's a hard statement to take in, Tamiyo comes damn close, her only folly is the extra 1 mana, but if any of you remember Gideon had the same kinda critiques against him. When you look at both of these walkers it's best to ignore the ultimates as they aren't very impressive in comparison to others, but the first 2 abilities are simply amazing in the right decks.

These are both fair, well designed walkers, which still means that you have to 2 for 1 them, last time I checked that was called card advantage.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

More spoilers

It's normally not like me to really be so main stream and tackle spoilers as they come in like this, yes I've addressed full and complete sets once they have been fully spoiled, all the more reason for me to do it.

Angel of Jubilation

Is very very real. I would go as far as to say Mikaeus, the Lunarch has been replaced in a lot of decks. I would go further to say that bulking up on Mikaeus is a very bad idea, not that it really has been a good one.

Avacyn, Angel of Hope

Been there done that, limited bomb, flavor, casual, crack them, trade them, profit.

Banishing Stroke

New Phyrexia has done a great job keeping good uncommons like this down. It will see plenty of play in block this summer, but wont really be able to shine in standard until rotation. Without seeing more cards that will interact with the miracle mechanic it's hard to see it's potential but if the cards do present itself this could be the next dismember, the next inquisition. That's based on the fact that anything is possible, at this point it's not very probable.


It's cute, possibly a decent board card, could see play in modern alongside another card I'm about to mention in a WUR twin deck.

Restoration Angel

This card is getting a lot of attention, as it should. The big interaction is this and snapcaster, and as I advised on twitter last week, holding snap caster is a safe call as even if this is hype this is hype that already drives an already playable card. Other cards that interact with this: titans, metamorph and his cousins, variants of acidic slime, and any of the come into play silver bullets in pod decks. And as I mentioned in cloud shift, restoration angel + kiki jiki brings another splintertwin esk engine and could re surge the decks dominance in modern as the loss of ponder and preordain makes it inconsistent and slow piecing together combo pieces. Don't be shocked that this isn't at least an experimental deck that you might see piloted by well known deck builders in the near future.

Silverblade Paladin

The buy a box promo, underwhelming in that aspect, but it's par for what it does, without its soul bound battle buddy, which can easily be disrupted in the same kinda decks that would run his cousin mirrian crusader. Definitely a limited bomb.

Latch Seeker

Big invisible stalker, no hexproof. More blue agro type creatures, which is something that has become a trend, still no resurrection of fish or skies type decks but I can top that up to phyrexian mana, titans, swords, which neither had to really deal with in a standard environment.

Temporal Mastery

Where the angel was the flavor of the week last week, this is this weeks. And I've talked negatively about this card, because it really isn't as absurd to the point where personal tutor should sell out out $50, and by gp atlanta we will see this. This isn't like time warp where you can combo with it because without it's miracle cost its just to much. There will be many cases where top decking this only means you draw yet another card, and that's not bad, when I see it I think this is how time walk was when there weren't the various knobs and levers that exist in most combo decks.


Soulbound thing, limited these seem amazing, but there are far to many removal spells now a days that turn these cards into vanilla creatures.

Demonic Taskmaster

I like how "good" demon cards are half decent cards, it's decent, not very stable in constructed play. All these board position cards do is give people a reason to complain about dismember.

Demonlord of Ashmouth

I imagine during testing this didn't have the exile clause and play testers were just letting it sac itself to itself. Along side other creatures with undying its amazing otherwise it acts like the champion cards from Lorewyn.


Another flavor card, limited bomb, edh powerhouse, I could see this as maybe a target for mimeoplasim. This could be a go to card in frites after rotation, maybe this set will open an opportunity for frites to be competitive in block.

Killing Wave

I like it, it's going to kill a lot of dudes in certain match ups and a couple points of damage, it's not necessarily death cloud, mutilate, or damnation, but I wouldn't over look this when your slinging swamps.

Thunderous Wrath

Cards that will be in RDW 500 Trebeck. The goblin grenade you have to top deck without the sac draw back, this will see play.

Craterhoof Behemoth

Generic Green Timmy mythic, is huge and silly, with all these big monsters I wonder if more ways to cheat them into play will present them self, I hope that's not the case, a tooth and nail type meta is about as boring as the control mirror.

Druids' Repository

It will be interesting if a green weenie deck that utilizes this presents itself, but right now it's no where to be seen. Limited card. Edric comes to mind for edh.


It cost 6 for a quasi unblockable 4/2 with undying, it's a big mess, I'd draft it if I absolutely had to.

Joint Assault

Giant Growth with a bonus if I play shakey cards, house of cards type strategy that most Johnnys may attempt because they have to build something miserable that wins 1% of the time?

Sigarda, Host of Herons

Makes me laugh, it's like every casuals dream, but I wouldn't call it a casual card, it's just a hexproof dude with edict proof. Day of judgement is still a card.

Moonsilver Spear

Spear of saint traft, it's a bit pricey in comparison to other amazing equipment cards but if delver needed something for the mirror in block this is it.

Cards number #233/244, #234/244, and #235/244 will cause people to cry for the ban hammer.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Avacyn Commander Deck

Hello everybody it's Monday again so here I am to beat everyone to the punch..."beat everyone to the *insert magic jargon here*", patient pending...I'm working on it. I thought I'd have to gripe about WotC's botch earlier today when they used some cheap programing method to host the first official spoiler for Avacyn Restored, it took them several hours but it was finally corrected.

Check it out.

While this fits your typical cookie cutter reanimator target, it's still underwhelming when she weighs in to Iona, progenesis, emrakul, even in standard this may make a decent companion to elesh, but it's not going to replace her.

And then I thought wow, this would be a pretty awesome commander.

So without further a due, the first Avacyn, Angel of Hope commander deck:


Avacyn, Angel of Hope


Sun Titan
Solemn Simulacrum
Benalish Commander
Fiend Hunter
Captain of the Watch
Kor Cartographer
Cloudgoat Ranger
Emeria Angel
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Hero of Bladehold
Knight-Captain of Eos
Patrol Signaler
Riftmarked Knight
Daru Warchief
Knight Exemplar
Adarkar Valkyrie
Admonition Angel
Akroma, Angel of Wrath
Serra Ascendant
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
Myr Battlesphere
Twilight Drover
Crovax, Ascendant Hero
Mirror Entity
Celestial Crusader


Raise the Alarm
White Sun's Zenith
Beacon of Immortality


Leyline of the Meek
Oblivion Ring
Luminarch Ascension
Glorious Anthem
Honor of the Pure
Marshal's Anthem
Celestial Mantle
Faith's Fetters
Endless Horizons
Land Tax

Sorcery spells

Conqueror's Pledge
Decree of Justice
Hour of Reckoning
Martial Coup
Nomads' Assembly
Spectral Procession
Storm Herd


Arid Mesa
Flooded Strand
Windswept Heath
Marsh Flats
Emeria, The Sky Ruin
Flagstones of Trokair
Kjeldoran Outpost
Kor Haven
Maze of Ith
Mystifying Maze
Mistveil Plains
Sejiri Steppe
Windbrisk Heights
27 Plains


Mana Crypt
Mana Vault
Fellwar Stone
Coalition Relic
Extraplanar Lens
Gauntlet of Power
Sol Ring
Sensei's Divining Top
Thran Dynamo


Elspeth, Knight-Errant

Of course this is just a rough draft, but this is what I would start out with before doing anything fancy like fit in a stoneforge package or change up the creature/wrath ratio, a lot of that has more to do with your own meta. The beauty of Alacyn is you don't have to play swiftfoot boots or lightning greaves, although I would recommend looking for a place for them once people wise up and start running oblation and chaos warp, but I couldn't begin to tell you the number of times I've had opponents that had to read oblation. Play dudes, ramp up, drop angel, and laugh as the battles of attrition fall into your favor. Enjoy.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The DCI says that twitter is part of the tournament floor.

Not every suspension makes headlines, typically the publicity is reserved for flagship players. And if it wasn't for Sperling and Lee's tripping over their words on twitter I'd probably never of known about it. Today is my birthday and I was going to postpone this week's blog until tomorrow but this really struck a chord and I feel that the community shouldn't agree with WotC's decision. Gerald Freas, took photos of players at gp indy and were being sent to his twitter with captions that cruelly described players being photographed. There has been a bit of confusion as to how this was handled and I do plan to talk to some of the level 2 judges I know about it. According to sources there was no warning, the judges, the TO, no one at the venue approached him and asked him to stop what he was doing. A lot of people have chimed in saying that they saw him do it, and expected the ban to carry out, none of them claiming to interact with him or talk to a judge about it. 18 months is the same sentence that is given to people that are deliberately cheating. I wish this was all there was to this story but it gets even uglier, Aaron Forscythe favorites tweets that insult Freas, this alone looks like a complete train wreck on WotC's part.

This is what happens when bad meets evil, and Gerald isn't the only person to be held accountable, just as it would for bribes and other penalties, all surrounding parties that witnessed the events and did nothing should also be held accountable if this is the future of events.

The average magic player at a large event has poor hygiene and is an eye sore to look at, so instead of removing something that creates a health issue it's easier to remove the people that point this out?

This is to create an example, that we as players are not allowed to use social media during events because these parts of the internet are considered part of the tournament floor. I imagine WotC supports SOPA.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Kiss your token deck goodbye.

I certainly don't have the best track record when it comes to B&R. But when I see IV being put onto the chopping block as a candidate for banning in block I had to double.... triple take. Between that and JVL advocating to young new players on his "building on a budget" article that ponder was modern legal figured I had a slew of topics...that I would rather just not address. It's not that they aren't important, it's just they've all been addressed and beaten into the ground already. It's funny I wanted to make posts on Monday to avoid this sort of thing. Twitter has been painfully slow, no one was mugged or had their car broken into this weekend, and it snowed here in California. I imagine this is what it's like to be in bizarro world, I know it's all fucked up but what more should I expect from bizarro world.

It should be obvious that if you have BWG tokens in block you should spend time this evening unsleeving and prepping to sell off the walkers so you can rebuild something else, the image means it's getting banned. I want to argue that it's just in modern because everything gets banned there, but I've come to learn that B&R isn't really about rational thought and over looking design that WOTC spends years on. What it's really about is whining on twitter after shifting large quantities of stock out and wanting to do the same with the remainder of your inventory, currently SCG has 9 sorins and 9 garruks in stock. Coincidence that their writers have been advocating the deck as a problem, only in the second hand business you want your top sellers to flop, lets you sell a wider range as the hive mind catches back up. It's dirty pool, it wont stop, but it needs to be made more apparent.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Circle of Protection: Theft

Theft has gotten way way waaaaaaaay out a hand over these past couple of weeks and twitter seems to be getting a lot of people talking in circles. This is never going to go away, magic cards cost way to much money, most standard decks are the equivalent to a car payment and legacy...actual cars. Imagine a room full of 20-30 year old males, over 90% of them are overweight and out of shape, they all carry books and boxes of card board estimating anywhere from 800-1500 dollars on average, when there is security they man the front door, the halls outside, and they armed with a walkie talkie and can't physically do anything. But it gets better, you don't have to walk down to the pawn shop or swindle people out of the back of your car, there are people in the building that pay cash for this cardboard without having to check id and no documentation. This is candy land for any thief.

I just want to make it clear that things have been taken into consideration, long before any of this the head judge does take time during announcements to address taking care of your belongings, something along the lines of "watch your shit, don't let your buddies watch your shit, they aren't going to treat it like it's their shit", I'm not sure if I'm actually quoting or paraphrasing but you get the idea. But what more do you want than that, it's not the judges job to act as security, they aren't your mother.

So what do we, the players do. There is the obvious, maintaining your belongings under you, putting your chair leg through your back pack strap. There's also the easiest, carry nothing other than your deck strategy, which works if you don't like trading or making money from the vendors.

What to consider:
1. Your bag itself, do all the zippers work? Are there any holes or tearing? This isn't your school books, these are your magic cards, it's money, if your bag isn't in great condition, buy another one.
2. Weight, are your belongings so heavy that you can't comfortably carry them around for 8-10 hours, your probably one of those people that trust your friends casually playing between rounds to watch your stuff, consider some, possibly all of it gone. That extra couple of decks for casual play maybe your clothes and hygiene products, leave it in the room, lighten the load.
3. Size, if it cant fit into a bathroom stall with you, you should of bought vendor space, you need to be able to properly watch your bag under your own power.
4. Deck boxes, the perfect thing to pocket, if you have several of these things your asking for it, keep it simple, what you need, everything else needs to be under lock and key and attached to you or not on the floor.
5. While trading, watch your books, if your belongs make you to stationary your going to have problems moving while your partners buddy shows up and it slowly moves further and further from you.
6. Restrooms, use the ones closest to the floor or the ones on the floor, many events are held at convention centers and I know the line can get long sometimes, but if your not capable of fending off several people maybe it's best you stay with the herd.

Simple stuff no one really takes into consideration, you may not be watching your stuff every second, they are.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Asphyxiating Blast

Over the weekend this received a lot of attention. And based on the rationality of this doesn't matched the already confirmed names of Avacyn Restored's pre-release and buy a box card, even though the release and game day cards easily fall under "promo", was quickly discarded as fake. But what if it's not. What if WotC understands that it has to properly address what's wrong with legacy. FoW isn't on the RL I do understand that, which is why the discussion of it being reprinted is very common as it obviously feels mythic, which is why the uncommon fetches a $50+ price tag. But FoW can't be reprinted, because it's just to good, dramatically unbalancing blue for the next 2 years is the only way to properly justify a reprint in a non promotional print. So ideally we would need a "fixed" version, an almost neutered version to help usher in the next generation of legacy players, if WotC does in fact want to preserve the format. Id go as far as to say that this would ultimately allow WotC to ban FoW, maintaining a necessary evil that must exist as there are way to many combo decks that would easily be a repeat of combo winter times one thousand.

The argument "WotC learned it's mistake from misstep" argument is heavily flawed. Now the source really didn't state how they came into contact with this information it could very well be a poor translation. Now what if it read like this:

Asphyxiating Blast

You may pay 2 life and exile a blue card from your hand rather than pay Asphyxiating Blast's mana cost. Counter target spell with converted mana cost 3 or less.

Now from a standard players view point this is a 2 for 1 for the first couple of turns of play and as the game progresses it becomes a narrow cancel. It's good, feels mythic, yet isn't overpowered. But it would still be quickly banned in modern, that list isn't long enough yet and is dictated by twitter.