Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury!

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The official Fate Reforged spoilers have begun and one of the cards that excites me is Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury:

kolaghan

The card itself isn’t really all that much. As a commander of a dragon-themed deck, Bladewing the Risen is probably just better in those colours, but Kolaghan does have Dash, the new Mardu mechanic. This means that once Kolaghan has died a couple of times and is too expensive to cast from the command zone repeatedly, its controller can simply Dash it out once and then keep casting it for the Dash cost from the hand as needed. It’s quite narrow, but a nice option to have. The trigger also scales, meaning if you attack with Kolaghan and two other dragons, they all get +3/+0, if you attack with Kolaghan and five other dragons, they all get +6/+0 and so on.

I’m not saying it’s a great commander, but certainly a sweet addition to all the casual Dragon tribe decks in EDH.

Kolaghan, aside from getting its name seemingly right out of Skyrim, also has a special Mardu symbol with what looks like another pair of wings – so it’s wings with a pair of wings for Kolaghan. It looks quite cool, to be honest. It’s also rumoured he’s one of five dragons in a cycle, and apparently, Fate Reforged will contain the highest dragon-per-booster ratio ever. Timmies rejoyce!

What do you think of Kolaghan? Leave a comment!

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Zedruu the Greathearted is coming to town (part 1)

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After establishing her as the Santa Claus in Magical Christmas Land (where even Rotting Mastodon is a good card), I decided to tinker a bit with my old Zedruu list. Learning from my Grand Arbiter Augustin IV deck, I decided to take the deck in an enchantment route, with lots of controlling elements and cards that support diplomatic play. First thing’s first, though, and we’ll start with the main protagonist of this story:

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Raka isn’t perhaps the strongest colour combination for mainly two reasons: it lacks the consistent and stable ramp of green and the tutoring of black. It does, however, nicely combine the control elements for each colour in this case, even if the deck will have a higher variance than many others. We’ll begin by looking at the non-permanent control elements in the deck:

The Sweepers:
1 Wrath of God
1 Hallowed Burial
1 Rout
1 Terminus
1 Supreme Verdict

Sweepers are an important part of the format, and being white is what you really want when it comes to the effectiveness of sweepers. Hallowed Burial and Terminus are half-way feel-bad cards if they tuck a commander or two, but they’re much to effective at crippling some decks not to be played. Rout can be cast at an instant speed for the low low price of seven mana, and Supreme Verdict is uncoutnerable. The odd one out is, strangely enough, the benchmarking Wrath of God, which “just” destroys all creatures. I think it serves is spot as the fifth sweeper, and it is the easiest to cast of them all.

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1 Hinder
1 Spell Crumple
1 Cryptic Command
1 Desertion

This is my standard minimum package for countermagic in EDH, and they all have some sort of added effect. Given infinite resources, a Mana Drain would probably fit right in with the gang – if “fitting right in” means “showing up later than everybody else, fixing the juke box by casually hitting it, then walking out with one chick on each arm, going ‘eyy'”, but the funds aren’t there. Maybe at some point in the future.

The spot removal:
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Return to Dust

Here we have interesting things happening – or rather, not happening. Only two spot removals that aren’t permanents in the entire decks, and they are the two most obligatory instants in white EDH decks. The reasons for this will be apparent once we look at the permanent-based control cards, but we’ll leave that for another day.

F*cked up commanders: Zedruu the Greathearted

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’tis the season of Christmas, and even though the practice isn’t practiced in Sweden, there is a certain Santa in Magical Christmas Land that leaves not only coal, but even worse presents for kids that have been naughty. I’m talking, of course, about Zedruu the Greathearted.

zedruuthegreathearted.hqZedruu – which we first called “Getjocke” in our local playgroup, in part because of her androgynous appearance and name, in part because it’s hilarious with a Finnish-Swedish accent (non-speakers of these languages will have to take my word for it. It might have been a “you had to be there” thing though) – is a very interesting general from a mechanics standpoint. Being white-blue-red, she is one of only four creatures in total to be of the Jeskai persuasion, and one of only three to pre-date that silly name.

Like with many other cards or mechanics, the designer’s perspective didn’t follow through. While the designer clearly intended the card to be played diplomatically, i.e. “Oh, you’re out of blockers? Here, have a wall, and I’ll get some benefits from that too!”, players quickly found more interesting stuff to give away – like Bronze Bombshell or Grid Monitor which conveys a negative effect on the controller.

Typically though, most of the stuff Zedruu gives away will be of no worth to the receiving player, like Oblivion Ring or similar cards with an enters the battlefield-effect, and the controller will rarely, if ever, matter to the card given away. It will grant Zedruu some bonuses, however.

So there you have it. Zedruu will either give you coal (Oblivion Ring), or poison coal (Bronze Bombshell). She will likely laugh while doing so, and somehow, she’s making money doing it. Which is f*cked up.

In keeping with the spirit of the season, I will be writing a bit about my own Zedruu deck in the coming days.

She sees you when you’re sleeping
She knows when you’re awake
She knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!

What do you think of Magic’s evil Santa? Leave a comment!

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

 

 

Over the holidays, Wizards hit us with a Fate Reforged spoiler with some dignity: Ugin the Spirit Dragon!
ugin the spirit dragon

 

It’s quite obvious that he’s going to make a splash in EDH, but I think even modern Tron decks might find use for him. Only time will tell how big of a deal he’ll be, and how big his price tag will be, but I for one really like him as a card. His +2 protects himself quite well, and his -X very well, and his ultimate mirrors Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker, and good old Nicol Bolas in a neat way. On top of that, it’s extremely powerful.

What do you think of Ugin, the Spirit Dragon? Leave a comment below!

 

Mana Burn #8 – Gifts Ungiven

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Well, well, well. Look at this, outside snow is slowly falling while your uncle Grim Lavamancer is sitting by his open fire, roasting almonds. Alright, not really – it’s actually several degrees above zero (that is in Cecilius), raining, and the open fire is “Fireplace for your home” on Netflix which means that my almonds remain woefully unroasted. Still, it’s that wonderful time of year, Christmas, and what better way to celebrate than with a special Christmas Mana Burn?

Don’t answer that. It was a rhetorical question.

Mana Burn, for the uninitiated is the native webcomic of Goyf Wars, brought to you by me – your friendly neighborhood Grim Lavamancer. Anyway, since it’s Christmas I’ve asked all of the planeswalkers to make you a short seasons greetings in the form of a Christmas card. As always, click on the thumbnail below to enjoy the comic in it’s full size glory.

Click to read-8As you may have guessed, all of the christmas cards are actually based on Magic cards (except for Green, since she has views), can you spot which ones? One of them should be fairly obvious while the rest may require some more obscure knowledge of the game (or strong google-fu). If you can guess all four you’ll be the winner of some imaginary roasted almonds.

That’s it for this week. See you all around. And Merry Christmas from me as well.

Merry Christmas from GoyfWars!

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I was planning to get a banner of Infernal Spawn of Infernal Spawn of Evil but time makes fools of us all.

Merry Christmas from us at GoyfWars. When this post goes live, I’ll still be sound asleep in my bed on christmas day, and I will hopefully do much of just that over the holidays. Over the next couple of days, we’ll be featuring another issue of Mana Burn by Grim Lavamancer, as well as some shorter stuff from PurgAtog. The rest of the time we’ll devote to eating and drinking ourselves silly with our loved ones. There might be some EDH as well, we’ll see.

Please note that the lads writing this blog is from Sweden, where saying “Merry Christmas” still isn’t considered to be politically incorrect. No flames, please.

Mana Burn # 7 – God of Revels

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It’s time for Mana Burn! As always, I am your host – Grim Lavamancer. And I’m here to tell you that fools dig for corpses, water or gold. But the earth’s real treasure is far deeper.

No, wait. That’s not what I’m here to do at all. I’m here to show you the latest issue of Mana Burn. You know the drill, click on the image below to read the comic in it’s full size glory:

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Red, being to colour of emotions (amongst other things) is of course the colour you’d go to if you want to have a good time. White (the colour of order and stuff) and Blue (the colour of cold intellect etc.) on the other hand aren’t quite as much fun. That’s why you’d rather go to a Jund party (red and his friends) than an Azorious party (white and blue), of course you may end up being eaten by a dragon at the Jund party, but at least you’ll have a good time.

White and Blue’s scrying device is an old artifact, do you know which one? First poster to answer correctly will win an imaginary cinamon roll. Of course, you should comment even if you don’t know – it’s the cool thing to do!

Until next week my friends!

My Magic christmas wish list

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As the days grow shorter and we approach the jule tide, many like to reflect on the year past and make wishes and promises for the coming year. Not one to go against the grains in this case, I will do so as well, starting with the wishing for the coming christmas season.

yasovadragonclawI wish for a cycle of good wedge legends in Fate Reforged to use as generals in EDH. Looking at Khans of Tarkir, I really only like Surrak Dragonclaw. The rest are either quite under-powered in EDH, or strictly too much of a build-around legend for my taste. Yasova Dragonclaw, the ancestor of Surrak in the story, promises some very interesting legends in Fate Reforged – since she could technically be the general of several different colour combinations, mono-green, green-blue, green-red, and blue-green-red, at least rules wise, and all the combinations aside the first one would be able to use her ability! A cycle of similar legends is sure to be printed in Fate Reforged, and I can’t wait to see what they’ve cooked up.

I wish for lots of neat Legacy events. Though EDH is probably my favourite format and my all-time top pass time, Legacy is where I keep my competitive side alive and burning. With a format that is spiralling out of control price-wise, and with SCG cutting the prize support and coverage for their Legacy tournaments quite a bit, one can be forgiven for thinking the format is going through some sort of crisis. I hope no cards are banned in January, I’d prefer it if they un-banned things instead, Mystical Tutor perhaps? Un-bannings, along with Fate Reforged, hopefully sparks some life into the format, and prompts some good Legacy events in Sweden next year.

ruggedprairie.hqI wish for filter lands in Modern Masters 2015. The filter lands, i.e. Rugged Prairie and friends, from Shadowmoor and Eventide, are reaching quite ridiculous prices, much thanks to their popularity in Modern, but also sheer usefulness in EDH. I own none of these lands, and haven’t been arsed to drop the cash on them just yet. It’s not that I’m that poor, it’s just an opposition to dropping $15+ on random lands for my EDH decks feels like a waste when they’re sure to get a reprint some time.

I wish for much less cheating. I’ve been writing quite a bit about cheating by prolific players at high-level events this year, and it’s a sad truth that people resort to blatant cheating when money’s on the line. I might as well wish for a lottery-winning ticket, since chances are people will still cheat next year, but as long as we’re wishing, we might just roll with it, right? I wish that the people who are habitually cheating at tournaments sees the error of their ways, and I wish that the people who have been caught cheating learns their lessons and returns to the game with a new sense of piousness. Not holding my breath on this one.

And that’s it, that’s all I want for christmas! What are you wishing for, Magic-wise, dear reader? Leave a comment below!

Legacy’s unsung heroes

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Boasting the second-largest card pool in the format – only Vintage is bigger and we’re talking a couple dozen more unique cards in a card pool of over 14 000 cards – Legacy is immensely deep and vast as a format. Of course, only a few hundred of these 14 000 cards are even remotely playable, it’s a strict fact that most Magic cards are simply bad cards and in a format as inherently broken and powerful in Legacy, only the top dogs get to eat.

There’s no wonder that there are plenty of hidden gems in a format of this size, even with the relative high power level. This post is dedicated to Legacy’s unsung heroes. It’s not a top 5 list, because I was unsure about how to quantify something as subtle as being undervalued or underplayed.

relicofprogenitus.hqRelic of Progenitus: Reanimator and Dredge seems to still hold some presence in the format, despite it generally being more hostile to graveyard decks with the inclusion of Dig Through Time and especially Treasure Cruise. Deathrite Shaman holds a lot of value in matches where both players play these powerful delve spells, since it can slow down the opponent and let you cast your delve spell first. Relic of Progenitus has the same up-side, but also comes with the added bonus of hosing the opponent’s Deathrite Shaman – since they can’t steal things from your graveyard as long as your Relic of Progenitus is untapped. Blowing it up seems less than ideal if playing with delve spells, but could timed with your own delve spells, and it’s a nice out if the opponent hits 6-7 cards first. Timing is key, since blowing it up in response to a delve spell will do nothing at all. As a bonus, Relic of Progenitus fits well into a Trinket Mage package in slower artifact-based control builds.

spellsnare.hqSpell Snare: For a single blue mana, Spell Snare trades one-for-one with important threats or key spells in most every deck-to-beat in the format. Stoneforge Mystic, who is especially potent against grindy decks, since it’s quite slow and Young Pyromancer has together somewhat invalidated Tarmogoyf as the best two-drop in the format, and incidentally, all three are countered by Spell Snare by not Spell Pierce. No blue decks play Dark Confidant anymore due to Treasure Cruise, but there are decks that still play Snapcaster Mage. Further, Counterbalance is hardly the most important spell to counter against Miracles, but it can be extremely frustrating to play against and might shut down large parts of any deck’s game plan.

Against Elves it mostly only counters Elvish Visionary and Green Sun’s Zenith for one, but both are quite important spells, depending on your deck. Lastly, against Sneak and Show the card is mostly dead, but that’s just a single match-up. It’s too bad Delve doesn’t actually lower the mana-cost of a spell, since that would mean Spell Snare could counter a Dig Through Time played for UU or a Treasure Cruise for 1U. That said, the card solves a lot of problems in today’s metagame, and should at least be considered for a slot or two in most tempo- or control builds.

pyroclasm.hqPyroclasm: Two damage to all creatures for 1R is amazingly potent in today’s metagame, where Stoneforge Mystic, Delver of Secrets, Deathrite Shaman  and Young Pyromancer are the supreme creatures of the format, and with Elves still a force to be reckoned with, having access to Pyroclasm is hardly a bad thing. Golgari Charm, Engineered Explosives, Rough // Tumble etc. all have similar effects, but none are as elegant, as effective, and as easy to cast as the good old Pyroclasm. Lam Phan played a whole three of them in his sideboard at Grand Prix: New Jersey, and he clearly knows what he is doing. Play it, live it, love it.

These are my three favourites among a whole slew of playable but underplayed cards in Legacy. What are your favourites? Tell me in the comments section below!

The Art and the Mistakes 3: Flamekin Village

Flamekin Bladewhirl – Does this look like a guy that wakes up in his house every morning, going down to the kitchen and slicing some bread?

No.

Flamekin Brawler – Does this look like a guy that pats his children on the head when they done something good?

No.

Rebellion of the Flamekin – Does this look like a guy that likes to sit in a comfy chair reading a book, listening to the rain dropping on the roofs?

No.

Soulbright Flamekin – Does this look like a guy even capable of LIVING IN A HOUSE?!

No.

Why am I asking all this questions? It is because i really think the card Flamekin Village, a new card released in Commander 2014, is totally wrongly designed.

To me Flamekins are not civilized beings, going to the well for a bucket of water* every two days or so. Flamekins are creatuers of pure fire, summoned when needed. They are angry and only wants to make a hassle for someone. Thats, in short, why I dislike the card.

And naturally I have to show the card, here it is:

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This is just personal opinions. Apart from the above, I think the card can do some crazy shit in EDH/Commander.

What are your opinion on Flamekins and their village? Please let me know.

 

* Yes there was a hole in the bucket!