BW(r) Warriors in FKK draft – initial thoughts

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I drafted my first Fate Reforged-Khans of Tarkir-Khans of Tarkir draft today, and while I did 3-0 for first place, I won’t be writing much about the draft itself. We drafted at the new local store, which was nice, and there were some new faces there that I played against, which was even nicer. My first opponent was very young, probably around 12-13 years old, and had drafted a UR deck with lots of burn but quite few creatures, and I won quite handily 2-0. He wasn’t bitter and told me about his sweet Sliver deck, which, he ensured, could beat any deck of mine. I honestly really wish I shared his unadulterated enthusiasm for the game. Really.

In my second game, I faced off against Mardu, but while I had drafted small and efficient creatures, my opponent had drafted Mardu Banner and Lightning Shrieker. I don’t share the Limited Resources that the banners are that awful, but I probably wouldn’t pick any of them very high, at least not as long as I had an abundance of fivedrops to ramp into, with very few four- or three-drops – not that that is very likely in this format. I won 2-0 off the back of a mana flood on his point.

killshot.fullIn my third game, I won 2-1 against RG and the best card in my deck was Dead Drop, which is so, so good when you’re ahead on the board. The game I lost was the only game I dropped in the draft, and I did so without any Plains. I should’ve really mulliganed, in retrospect.

So, what did I draft? My deck can be seen here on TappedOut.net, and as you can tell, it’s not very good. I never expected to 3-0 with that deck, but somehow I did. The idea wasn’t to add red, or even to go BW from the start, but all the good removal kept getting passed, so I folded.

I want to expand upon BW(r) Warriors in Khans limited. I liked drafting that deck in triple-Khans, and it served me well today, even if I didn’t get any of the lords in Khans of Tarkir. I think that the deck might still be viable in Fate-Khans-Khans, and I wanted to look at some of the new additions the archetype.

First and foremost, Sandsteppe Outcast is a pretty neat addition to the archetype. I wouldn’t consider getting the +1/+1 counter unless I had played a turn two Cheif of the Scale prior, and even though the token it creates isn’t a Warrior, I think Sandsteppe Outcast enables the deck to go even wider, alongside Mardu Hordechief and other token generators in the format. Going wide is perhaps more dangerous these days with Pyrotechnics in the format, which did almost burn me (pun intended) today.

sultaiemissary.fullThe deck is blessed with two new common warriors in black, Alesha’s Vanguard and Sultai Emissary, and I happened to play both. Neither were fantastic, the latter does replace itself upon death and does provide crucial turn three Raids with Mardu Hordechief, but the manifested creature isn’t a Warrior, and the card itself is small for the cost. Alesha’s Vanguard is a Hill Giant with a cheaper Dash, and as such isn’t very great, but not entirely awful either.

Dashing Alesha’s Vanguard seems an awful turn three play, especially when that turn could’ve been used by casting a Morph instead, but Dash has the upside of being a cheap way to get the creatures into play with Haste for the surprise alpha strike in later turns. Those were the only times I used Dash, at any other point, Alesha’s Vanguard was basically a worse Unyielding Krumar, who I’ve actually grown to like quite a bit.

Lastly, white has Aven Skirmisher, who is a Warrior, but that’s about it. I wouldn’t play it unless I was really hurting for cheap Raid enablers, it’s just too small to be worth a card. I played Firehoof Cavalry in my deck as a Raid enabler, and was unhappy to do so, even if it can on paper deal some damage later on.

mercilessexecutioner.fullIn the uncommon slots, black has Mardu Shadowspear for a quasi-2/1 for B who can’t chump-kill Morphs. Pretty uninteresting, but what I said about Aven Skirmisher holds true for this as well. Battle Brawler, on the other hand, is pretty cool and has the ability to be a really dangerous two-drop as long as it’s on, but I see myself getting 2-for-1’d by blocking incorrectly at some point in the future and getting blown out by a removal on my only white or red permanent. It’s interesting, but strictly worse than some other two-drops available to the archetype, most notably the Chiefs. Lastly, black has Merciless Executioner, a functional re-print of Commander staple Fleshbag Marauder, who is pretty good on paper. It’ll chump block a lot of stuff in the format, and chances are you’ll have some 1/1 token hanging around to get whacked.

Finally, white has Mardu Woe-Reaper who I like quite a bit, presuming it comes down on turn 1. Getting in for 4-6 damage and then trading for a Morph is sweet for a single white mana. Chances are that won’t happen every time however, which is why I consider this in the same department as the rest of the cheap Raid enablers.

Going wide with Warriors is my way of doing it in FKK, with the deck a bit diluted with the new cards, I think splashing red for Ponyback Brigade and Trumpet Blast is the way to go. More drafting is definitely needed, though I really want to draft something non-black the next time I play.

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Winners of the Banhammer Raffle

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Previously on Goyf Wars: The menace that had plagued the format all fall was finally gone – with Treasure Cruise removed from the environment, the survivors are left to pick up the pieces. Who will be restored to former glory, and who will be left behind in the junk binders?

With the regards to the ban of Treasure Cruise, I want to look at what decks and cards will be most affected by the change. The “winners” in this case are cards that will become more important, or will be played more frequently in the near future, and the “losers” are the opposite; cards that will be played less frequently.

The Winners:nimblemongoose.hq
Nimble Mongoose: Welcome back to the format, old friend. Canadian Threshold can again play its oldest threat without fear of public shaming, with Treasure Cruise gone. During its time in the format, Treasure Cruise pushed Nimble Mongoose away from RUG Delver, and stand-in as threat 9-12 was generally Young Pyromancer. Though I never actually sleeved up RUG Delver with Young Pyromancer for a tournament, I feel the child soldier is a bad fit for the deck. Canadian Threshold is a deck full of reactive spells, but Young Pyromancer revels in proactive spells, like cantrips. Young Pyromancer whispers to you to cast just another main phase Brainstorm, while Canadian Threshold begs you to hold them until you really need them. This lack of proper dynamics makes me welcome Nimble Mongoose back into the 60, finally.

Hymn to Tourach: Hymn to Tourach is arguably one of the game’s best, most mana-efficient, discard spells. Everyone who has spent some time in Legacy knows the sinking feeling when the opponent taps two black mana and starts to look for a die. However, even if the discard is random, when the opponent can easily reload with Ancestral Recall – especially when decks play four of them, alongside four Brainstorms and four Ponders – discarding things from your opponent’s hand is rarely an effective strategy. Oh, how I long to start off a game with turn one Deathrite Shaman into turn two Hymn to Tourach and Wasteland.

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The queen of fanservice is back!

Liliana of the Veil: Presuming UR Delver and Young Pyromancer will lose power in the format, Liliana of the Veil will be a stronger card in the future. With her +1 restored to power, since generating card advantage now is harder than to just cast a sorcery speed Ancestral Recall, and her -2 much better since it’s likely to hit stuff other than 1/1 Elemental tokens, Liliana is back in power. Clearly, one of the winners of this change.

Dig Through Time: Some petty fools will probably just try and replace their Treasure Cruises with Dig Through Times, and although the latter is an exceptionally powerful card, it doesn’t beat Treasure Cruise in redundancy or sheer power. Decks like UR Delver will not want to cast this UU instant, because aggro decks like that want to chain spells together in an explosive turn 3-4 and win, meaning that doubling the price of the Delve card will be quite devastating. Still, decks like Stoneblade, Show and Tell, and maybe some sort of slower control build now that the format’s premiere Aggro deck is a bit neutered, will all be fine places for a couple of copies of Dig Through Time. It’s the older, more studious, more cultured cousin that will be in charge for the foreseeable future.

Elves!: Not a single elf card specifically, but more like the deck in general. Elves was a good deck even during Treasure Cruise’s reign, but an influx in 2/1 mage prodigies along with 1/1 tokens meant that more people were playing small sweepers like Pyroclasm or Golgari Charm were more attractive, and incidentally, they all created splash damage on the deck full of 1/1’s and 2/2’s. With these sweepers less attractive as sideboard cards, Elves are sure to benefit – though I’m not seeing a huge surge in the deck’s power or popularity.

worldgorgerdragon.hqWorldgorger Dragon: Clearly, a card that will most definitely see more play with Treasure Cruise banned is a card that happened to be unbanned at the same time. It’s unlikely that it will prove more effective than other reanimation targets (specifically Griselbrand, the bench mark of this category of creatures), but let’s not forget that Worldgorger Dragon with Animate Dead and Nephalia Drownyard is a turn 2 kill, something Griselbrand won’t do in the same situation. If one adds Oona, Queen of the Fae it’s a kill even if the opponent is packing Eldrazis who would otherwise protect the opponent from the mill death. The combo is easily disrupted by Stifle, Abrupt Decay and everything else that regular Reanimator loses to, but it’s funny as hell when executed and will surely see some fringe play.

 

The Losers:
Young Pyromancer / Monastery Swiftspear: The two prime beaters of UR Delver, who ironically didn’t make it into the deck name, both benefited greatly from Treasure Cruise, since both really like it when the pilot plays some cantrips, reloads and then plays some more cantrips to chain a bunch of triggers together and either deal a huge amount of damage in one turn, or create an overwhelming board state for the opponent. These two are still able to somewhat do this, and I don’t think UR Delver is completely uncompetitive because of the ban, but these two creatures will carry somewhat of a lesser impact in the future.

Thoughtseize: This one is minor, but decks that used to play Hymn to Tourach before Treasure Cruise in some metas decided to play Thoughtseize instead, and some of these decks might go back to the bigger brother of discard spells now. Thoughtseize is still a brilliant card in many metagames, especially those with some non-redundant combo decks in them, but it’s unlikely to see more play with Treasure Cruise gone.

chainsofmephistopheles.hqChains of Mephistopheles: I don’t suspect there will be much change in the usage statistics of Chains of Mephistopheles, it’s a horrifyingly expensive card to get a hold of, and it only have uses in fringe decks, but when Treasure Cruise was legal in the format, Chains of Mephistopheles had more utility and was even included in the maindeck of some decks. It still has usage in the format, but again, it’s fringe and very expensive, and thus will not be seen more.

Pyroblast: A card that will see sharp decline in usage, I predict, is Pyroblast. Pyroblast was a perfectly acceptable maindeck card during the Treasure Cruise terror, but will likely just be relegated to be a very good sideboard card in the near future.

Golgari Charm: Cheap sweepers, especially those that come in instant speed, are valuable in metagames with a bunch of X/1’s, and Golgari Charm has two other useful modes. It’s a great sideboard card in decks that can run it, and will likely stay great, but perhaps not as great as it has been against UR Delver, the format’s best-performing deck for quite some time. Golgari Charm is respectful as a 1-2 of in sideboards, but that’s about it in the future. Clearly another “loser” in this case.

 

And that’s it for my list. What do you think will be the best-performers in the coming Legacy format? Leave a comment below!

Mana Burn #11 – The Golden Fang

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Hello everyone, it’s once again time for the number one blog-based Magic the Gathering webcomic out there! (Well, I haven’t done any actual research on the subject, but I’ll assume there aren’t that many to compete with)

It’s time for Mana Burn the native webcomic of Goyf Wars, brought to you by me – your friendly neighborhood Grim Lavamancer. As usual, just click on the image below and read to your heart’s content!

Click to read-11Yes, it’s another one about the new expansion. I know. But hey, it’s the hot topic right now. The card, in case you don’t know which one I’m talking about is this fine piece of 4/5 nastiness:

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Pretty enough for our favorite purple dressed, black aligned, planeswalker (or second favorite depending on what you think of Liliana Vess) to swoon over. You may notice that the comic this week is a bit bigger than the previous ones, I’m experimenting a bit with the canvass, trying to find the optimal size for the comic. It may take a few weeks before I settle on a size so I hope you’ll bear with me.

Until next week my friends!

Ding dong, the witch is dead!

treasure cruise bannerAfter much anticipation, here’s the total tally for the new Banned and Restricted list:

Standard:
No changes.

Modern:
Treasure Cruise, Dig Through Time and Birthing Pod are banned.
Golgari Grave-Troll is no longer banned.

Legacy:
Treasure Cruise is banned.
Worldgorger Dragon is no longer banned.

Vintage:
Treasure Cruise is restricted.
Gifts Ungiven is no longer restricted.

So in total, I was correct about Standard, one card off from Legacy and Modern, and way off on Vintage. I thought Jesaki Ascendancy was up for the chopping block, but apparently breaking the “three-turn kill” rule wasn’t as damning after all. One of the readers also commented on this:

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I agree, I had no idea what I was talking about. I didn’t see the DCI banning Birthing Pod, again, I have no idea what I’m talking about – though in my world, knowing what one is talking about when it comes to Modern is akin to being able to recite the Bristol Stool Scale from memory.

Treasure Cruise getting the axe in both Modern and Legacy, as well as Vintage, wasn’t really surprising. It was clearly too good for the faster formats, and really needed to go. I’m glad they kept Dig Through Time in Legacy, since it’s a bit more restrictive and less objectively powerful than its common Dredge brethren.

I’ll post an in-depth view on the winners and losers in the Legacy format due to this ban tomorrow, but for now – what do you think, dear reader? Leave a comment below!

 

Ban season is coming up!

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Fate Reforged is almost upon us, and soon the new B&R announcement will be revealed. Here’s what I think will happen:

Standard:treasurecruise.full
No changes. (still shit)

Modern:
Jeskai Ascendancy is banned.
Treasure Cruise is banned.
Dig Through Time is banned.

Legacy:
Treasure Cruise is banned.

Vintage:
No changes.

Jeskai combo breaks the “turn three rule” of Modern, and the delve spells have been tearing up Modern and Legacy for quite some time. They probably need to go, although it’s a bit sad that the only real Aggro deck in Legacy (UR Delver) will be back to tier two town.

What do you think will happen on Monday? Leave a comment below!

Mother F’in Kird Ape!

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My sincere apologies for the lack of updates this month. New job takes all my time!

With the advent of Treasure Cruise in the format, Legacy was thrown into a cluster crud of decks doing their best to pack 4 Ancestral Recall, and this includes Canadian Threshold. This meant that the old work horse Nimble Mongoose didn’t cut it anymore – while a 3/3 Shroud for a single mana sure is good, it’s not quite as good as drawing three cards.

As such, pilots of Canadian Threshold have been experimenting with other threats to round out the creature base, most popular must be Young Pyromancer. Daryl Ayers, however, wasn’t satisfied with having the kid in the bunch instead went all the way back to Arabian Nights and Kird Ape!

He took his list all the way to the top at the SCG Open in Philadelphia this weekend. The pinnacle of creation that is his list can be seen in its entirety here.

Mana Burn #10 – Future Sight

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You know how, when you’re playing a game of Magic, you play a spell. It might be a burn spell, it might be Incinerate. You should only play two mana for it but for some reason you tap three. One Mana is left in your Mana Pool and you can’t get rid of it. With tears in your eyes you end your turn and await your just punishment. You know what that means right?

Well, nothing. But if you’re a washed out veteran like me, you know that you’ve just got Mana Burned.

This week, we’ve got a very special Mana Burn (the native webcomic of Goys Wars, brought to you by me – your friendly neighborhood Grim Lavamancer) for you. It just so happens to be the longest one yet! What are you waiting for? Click on the image below to read the comic!

Click to read-10As you may have guessed it was actually my intention to publish this one last week. But it was a bit harder to make than I had imagined and time started to run out, so you’re getting it this week instead. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it – it was certainly fun to make. This is what Mana Burn might have looked like if I was trying to tell an actual story, and who knows? If I make ’em long enough we might just see some of this after all.

Until next week my friends!

Atarka, World Render

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Temur’s dragon is finally revealed and it’s probably the best one out of the bunch:

Atarka, World Render

Atarka, World Render is a beast. It does cost seven mana and has a small ass for something for seven mana, but holy heck, that ability. In case you’re not doing the math, Atarka as a general will one-shot people with the help of say Xenagos, God of Revels. Even the other way around, if Xenagos happens to be the general of an RG deck, casting this and simply activating Xenagos will make her hit for 24 damage.

It might not be “competitive” (though that word is sour when it comes to EDH), but once in a blue moon, someone somewhere will get hulk smashed by this.

Atarka for life!

Tasigur, the Golden Fang

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The new Sultai Khan has just been spoiled, and, to paraphrase myself – I wanted something in the BUG colours that’s build-around, but not graveyard centric. Tasigur doesn’t quite fulfil that, but he’s still pretty cool:

tasigur

A 4/5 for what could effectively be around 3-4 mana the first time you cast him is pretty neat, but he lacks both protection and evasion. The ability is also unique but probably hard to abuse in a format with as much variance as EDH. I guess it’s possible to Delve away most of your graveyard and then use things like Scroll Rack and Sensei’s Divining Top to get the worst out of the two cards you mill. Durdly as all heck, but it does have some cute interactions with Sidisi if nothing else.

What do you think of Tasigur? For certain, he’s at least a lot cooler than Daghatar, but other than that? Leave a comment!

Resolutions for 2015

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The holidays are almost over, at least here in Sweden, we do have another day off on Tuesday, i.e. Epiphany, meaning most of us won’t start work until Wednesday. I’m celebrating my Epiphany by playing in the finals of the local Magic league that’s been going on over 2014. I haven’t participated in a single big tournament in town since March, for various reasons, but four people that were qualified for the event had to bow out, so I made the cut for T12 being fourth reserve. Not really deserving, considering I haven’t played much there, but still.

The tournament is nine rounds of swiss, three rounds of Standard, three rounds of Legacy, followed by a cut to top 8, which will be three rounds of Khans of Tarkir draft, everything tallied up at the end of the day, so no single-elimination. I still don’t have a Standard deck, so I’m not sure how to work that bit out, we’ll see. I will be posting a report here anyway, if I can remember enough details to make it interesting.

forceofwill.hqOther than that, there are plenty of Magic just around the corner, two big events in March and April respectively, and my first new year’s resolution for 2015 is to either take them a lot more seriously or not seriously at all, I haven’t decided. Going less serious is fine, but half-assing it like I tend to do now isn’t alright.

With that in mind, going even more casual in EDH is a good think, I think. I’m afraid the losses get to me in a way it should’t when playing a casual format with friends. Playing less blue is a way to fix this, since any deck without blue technically isn’t a Magic deck. Thus, my second resolution for 2015 is to play more non-blue decks in EDH. This isn’t possible in Legacy, since I don’t own the lands for it, and the idea of playing non-blue in an eternal format seems like a good way to lose rounds one and two to combo and then go home early. Playing less Magic isn’t in my interest.

dreamcache.hqAside the obvious issue of “not enough time”, I also felt that during 2014, I didn’t spend enough cash on the hobby. I hate not wanting to spend money on drafts or singles for my EDH decks, and, while my fiancé and I have a wedding to save up for, I will be starting a new job this week with a more normal salary, meaning the days of turning over pennies to finance drafts are probably over. At least I hope so. In any case, my third resolution is to spend more cash on the game. Everyone likes it when we consume you know.

And that’s it. Those are my three resolutions for 2015! What are your Magic-related resolutions for 2015? Tell me in the comments!