[Battle for Zendikar] New duals!

nde bannerJust a quick morning post, PAX has resulted in a lot of cool spoilers, and I will cover them all (Ulamog, Gideon, the chase rares) in time, but for now, the most important bits are these doozies:

prariestream(There is one for each friendly colour combination of course).

New duals with the basic land types is exciting, and even thouh these will be worse than the Ravnica Shock lands in Modern and obviously unplayable in Legacy, I’d say that they will go very nicely into two-colour decks in EDH. Perhaps even three-colour. The restriction, that you have to play two basic lands first to get them into play untapped, is a very interesting design and I like these quite a bit.

What do you think of the new duals? Leave a comment!

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[Battle for Zendikar] Guardian of Tazeem

nde bannerThe World Championships are running right now at PAX, and while I’m excited to see no less than two Swedes fighting for the title, I’m also excited for the new Battle for Zendikar spoilers! This little thing showed up in the middle of the stream yesterday:

guardianoftazeem

As of right now, I haven’t found a better scan, so I apologize for the quality.

While this fellow probably won’t make a splash in any of the constructed formats I care about (Legacy and EDH), he is a complete Limited bomb and a very effective beater. 4/5 flier for 5 is above the curve as-is, and the Landfall ability makes it crazy. Despite what I said about constructed formats, fetchlands make him even more crazy, since that means he can tap down two things.

Overall, I’d say it’s a good card with a neat design. What do you think?

Mana Burn #20 – Origins 3

Mana burn banner

Hey-o! It’s me, Grim Lavamacer. And you’ve guessed it, it’s time for a new Mana Burn! (Your one and only blog based Magic the Gathering webcomic.)

Today we’ll continue our journey through the origin story of White. For those of you who’ve missed the first two parts you might want to check them out.

You should know the drill by now, just click the image below to read the comic:

Click to read-20The Boros, much like the guards in Oblivion, don’t mess around. They see someone breaking the law. They intervene. No matter how small the crime, you pay the fine or get beaten to a bloody pulp.

Now, I should warn you all in advance, I am horrible at drawing fight scenes, so the odds are high that you might not be able to tell what the heck is going on in the next strip.

Stay tuned folks!

Battle for Zendikar, the first spoilers

nde bannerNear Death Experience banner. I know the card is from Rise of the Eldrazi, but the art is just so baller! Besides, Gideon is in the new set as well!

The lists for Duel Decks: Zendikar vs. Eldrazi were revealed recently, along with a few new preview cards that are quite exciting. I don’t want to discuss all of them, but here’s a link to the article: Link to the mothership. In bullet points:

  • Allies are back
  • Landfall is back
  • There are three new keywords so far, Devoid, Ingest and Awaken.

Devoid and Ingest are both Eldrazi keywords, and both are represented on a pretty sweet common:

dominatordroneIn Limited, I’d say a 3/2 for 3 with no drawback is playable as is, at least in most formats. It depends on how fast the format will be and how important it will be to curve out. Zendikar was one of the fastest Limited environments of all time, where Rise of the Eldrazi was one of the slowest – with the latter featuring the infamously bad Glory Seeker, completely unplayable in the format but at least playable in every othoblivionsowerer Limited environment. Zendikar, on the other hand of the spectrum, was so fast that drafting a 2/1 vanillia for 2 over bomby 6-drops was almost always the right call. Only time will tell where Battle for Zendikar will fit in, but if it leans to the faster format, I’d say Dominator Drone is pretty good. If you can curve into it from a colourless 2-drop, the upside will make a difference, and it also means drafting multiple Dominator Drone will be nice.

Devoid is interesting since it will allow stuff like Dominator Drone to be good without having a Mirrodin-esque Limited environment with a bunch of colourless decks running around. Ingest doesn’t do much in this case, but it does have some synergy with at least one other spoiled Eldrazi card, the first spoiler in fact. Oblivion Sower makes use of not only cards it exiles itself but any exiled cards, and it’s very likely we’ll see more of these effects in higher rarities. Perhaps a build-around uncommon?

sheerdropAwaken, along with Landfall, are the revealed Zendikarian mechanics, and both reward playing lots of lands in your Limited decks. This leads me to believe this will be a slower format than usual. As far as Sheer Drop goes, it at least seems like a playable on first glance, playing it as a 1-for-1 for 3 is fine, even if it is Sorcery speed, and if you get to Awaken it, it’s an effective easy 2-for-1. If only it was an Instant it could’ve lead to some pretty crazy blow outs on the Limited tables coming this fall.

All in all, I rather like what I see from Battle for Zendikar so far, and I really enjoyed the old Zendikar block, so I’m pretty excited for this year’s fall set.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!

Hail to the King

yasova banner

Tasigur is hereby dethroned for now. I’ve changed my direction on my “main deck”, and really only swapped one colour, but it is a total revamp, with a new general, a new game plan, and a new focus. I’ve been meaning to build this general for a long time, for many reasons, but first – let’s meet the lady in the spotlight:

yasovadragonclaw.fullI’ve chosen Yasova as my new general for a multitude of reasons:

  1. In Gameplay terms, she’s very efficiently costed, a 4/2 with an upside for 3 is no slouch, not even in EDH.
  2. Also, in gameplay terms, her ability tends to synergise well with sacrifice outlets.
  3. She’s Temur, my favourite of the Tarkir clans (followed by Abzan, and I’m looking at replacing Dromoka with Anafenza at some point in the future).
  4. Thankfully enough, she’s a female character in a fantasy game and she’s not complete fanservice.
  5. Yasova is, ungratefully, the least popular Temur general, according to EDHREC.

The deck is still very rough, but this is my latest build: Yasova Dragonclaw on TappedOut.net.

The deck revolves around pumping Yasova, stealing stuff with her ability, hitting with things she’s stolen, and then sacrificing it to a sacrifice outlet.

I played two games of Kingdoms to break in the deck on Wednesday, after completing the deck thanks to some trades with Mr Grim Lavamancer himself. Around the table were:

Ghoulcaller Gisa (MBC / Zombies!) – new guy who borrowed my deck.

Zurgo Helmsmasher (Voltron) – Psykopatmullvad here.

Glissa, the Traitor (Artifact value)

Surrak Dragonclaw (Goodstuff) – Grim Lavamancer here.

Kruphix, God of Horizons (Big Mana Bombs!)

In the first game, I looked down upon a Forest, meaning I was The Knight – with Gisa as my King. Kruphix got off prophetofkruphix.hqto a great start and eventually assembled Kruphix + Prophet of Krupix + Consecrated Sphinx, meaning he took six turns for every one turn everyone else took, and drew eleven cards. Not fair. He eventually powered out some huge green beasts and hit the King for north of 60 points of damage without any combos in a single combat phase.

There was nothing I, nor the King, could do.

In the second game, I looked down at a Plains, horror-struck. I was quickly set upon by the table’s obvious bandits, Gisa and Zurgo, bringing me down to around 30 life before my supposed knight, Surrak, could stabilize the game for me. Kruphix identified himself as Knight, and helped me a lot, which made me assume he was either Assassin or Usurper, most likely the former.

After Zurgo was eliminated, Gisa went a turn or so later. This left me (King), Surrak (Knight – supposed), Kruphix (Assassin – supposed) and Glissa (usurper – supposed). Glissa had been passive throughout the game, and not tempting any allegience, meaning I was almost sure she was trying to get me into a position where she could alpha-strike me to steal the throne. Surrak and I talked about it, and decided to take out Kruphix, which we did.

When finally Glissa fell, Surrak revealed he was the Knight indeed, thankfully, but when the cards were turned over, Glissa was the Assassin, Gisa and Kruphix were Bandits, and Zurgo was the Usurper (!). Kruphix played the game really well and patiently, even though he had lots of gas on hand all the time, and was very co-operative. Apparently, a random Mutilate from Gisa saved me, about ten turns before Gisa died. Nobody noticed.

So again, two quite intense games, one a bit short ending throgh Bandit victory (and a solid one), one very long and very exicitng, ending in a narrow Temur victory for the King.

Hail to the King!

GoyfWars is now officially one year old!

elvish house party banner

Again, with the creepy banner. Since the blog is turning a year, I’ve taken the time to reflect upon this year’s experiences with Magic as a whole and this blog. Stay tuned for more content.

I didn’t imagine I would last a full year of blogging about nothing but Magic, but thanks to some encouraging words from readers and having lots of fun with this project, we’ve now officially made it a full year of GoyfWars goodness.

To be honest, I blogged a lot more in the beginning, and a lot less after New Year’s. The reason for this is that I changed work on January 1st, to something that took much more time and energy from me than I expected, and there was less of that to devote to Magic in general and this blog in particular. As of yesterday, I have started a new job again, with again a bit less time and energy expected to be devoted to Magic in the future, but the blog will still live on I’m aiming at about a post every third day or so. If the other contributors draw or record, that will obviously be posted as well.

In a perfect world, I would devote less time to my day job, and more time writing in general, not only about Magic.

In a perfect world, I would play a lot more Magic.

The world isn’t perfect yet however, though it could well be. I’m getting married in less than a month and most of my free time is spent preparing for the wedding (which will be epic, and even have a Magic nuance). My future wife doesn’t play, but has expressed an interest in the hobby and sharing it with me, and I’m looking at building a couple of Portal-esque decks with lands, creatures and sorceries to teach her. Aside that, I’ve moved back home, closer to the old stomping ground and the old gang – and as such I play less competitive Magic and more EDH – which also reflects upon the content of the blog.

I don’t think it’s any worse off though.

Finally, before I get sentimental, I’d like to humbly thank my co-contributors, Grim Lavamancer and psykopatmullvad for their contributions to the blog. I’d also like to thank all of our readers for devoting their time to reading this blog, and I’d especially like to thank the minority who takes the time to jot down a comment or two. It means a lot.

 

Here’s to another year of GoyfWars!

The New Commander set

city of shakar

Recently, Wizards announced this year’s Commander product, something people were expecting from Comic Con, but apparently we’ll get the goods on PAX this year instead. As of now, there’s not much info out, but here’s a link to Wizard’s announcement: Announcing Commander 2015.

So far, they’ve given us two pieces of information:

  1. This year’s edition is two-colour enemy pair decks, i.e. we’ll get white-black, red-white, blue-red, green-blue, and black-green. This is significant, because this means that we won’t get any four-colour commanders from this year’s product, and it also tells us that next year is likely the five ally colour pairs.
  2. This year’s edition will feature cards that use “experience counters”, and right now nobody outside Wizards now what this is. My prediction is a Skullbriar-esque mechanic, but with more interesting triggers. Personally, I’m a fan of Skullbriar and his colour combintion, and I’d like something like this from the green-black commander:

[Cardname] 2GB
Whenever a creature is put into play from your graveyard, put an experience counter on [Cardname].

Whenever a creature is put into an opponent’s graveyard from play, draw a card for each experience counter on [Cardname].

[Skullbriar’s text about counters]

2/4

 

What are your predictions or hopes for Commander 2015? Leave a comment!

The problems with alternative wins

city of shakar

Since about a month ago or so, I’ve been driving an hour back and forth to my job. This ends on Monday, when I switch my work place to something closer to home, but for the last month I’ve been doing a lot of driving, especially since my job involves quite a bit of it as well.

As such, I’ve been consuming podcasts at an unprecedented rate. One of the podcasts I’ve stumbled upon is a pretty new EDH podcast known as Commander’s Brew and I find it a pretty nice listen. Every episode, the two hosts agree upon a theme (a commander, a card, a strategy) and both brew budget lists around the decided theme – usually the decks weigh in at around $50 or so.

In this week’s episode, they brewed The Mimeoplasm and the hosts started discussing Infect and Mill as alternative win conditions in EDH, since one of them made his deck to be an Infect deck.

And I have to say I don’t like either, but for different reasons.

jace,themindsculptor.hq

The only way I’ve ever won with Milling.

Milling:
At first glance, milling (i.e. putting cards from the opponent’s library straight to the graveyard without passing GO! until they run out and deck out) seems to be a perfect viable strategy, since it actually doesn’t scale with the format, at least not as much as life totals does. In regular Magic, players start with 20 life and usually 60 cards. In EDH, where we have 40 life and 100 cards, the life is thus increased by a factor of 2, where the cards are only increased by a factor of 1,67. It is therefore, logically, easier to mill someone out in EDH compared to regular constructed than it is to eliminate someone by combat damage in EDH compared to constructed.

Infect:
As with milling, Infect doesn’t scale with the format, and Infect doesn’t scale at all! Whereas players double their life total, 10 poison counters is still a kill, meaning that if a creature with Infect could be regarded as dealing twice their power of combat damage to a player in regular constructed, it deal four times its power in combat damage in EDH, making them four times as effective as non-Infect creatures in the format! Pretty good, right? Wrong.

inkmothnexus.hqThe issue with both milling and Infect as paths to victory is that they are inherently alternative paths to victory, different from what the players around the table are trying to do. Most EDH games will likely end in either a huge infinite (or redundantly powerful) combo, or via a grind eliminating players in succession of aggression or perceived strength. Infect contributes to neither – and it will draw lots of hate.

When an Infect player sits down at the table, the following scenario is likely to happen. Player A (Infect) “goes off” and kills the weakest player, Player B, at around turn four or five. Player C and D realise the imminent threat, gangs up on Player A, stomps on his face and eliminates him. This leaves Player A and B to sit around and do nothing while player C and D finish the game. This is feel-bad for all players. In the following game, players B, C and D will gang up on Player A right from the get-go.

Milling doesn’t draw that amount of hate, but every time you sit down with a mill deck at a table, you will not be able to make alliances with other players and gang up on someone to face a threat or go in for the kill, since likely everyone else tries to win via a combo or combat damage. Instead of facing around 60 life points, reasonably 30 of which you can almost expect others to deal with (unless they are on the mill or the Infect plans), you sit down facing three-hundred cards, all of which have to be milled in order to eliminate the other players. Since you probably can’t help much, building alliances will be tough.

Voltron strategies suffer a bit from the same issue, but nowhere near as bad, as they tend to (aside Skittles) to deal regular combat damage as well, meaning you are moving the game forward for everyone, not just yourself, when you attack someone with your Voltron’d up Commander.

In both of these cases, I’d say the strategies can work, but probably better in a 1 vs. 1 setting, or else it takes a lot of alliance making and politricking. I guess I could give it a recommendation to experienced players looking for something different to play with newer playgroups. Not Infect, though. Never Infect.