Skip to content

Embracing M10 rules and Grand Prix Boston

June 22, 2009

It was 3am and I had just got home and plopped on my bed. I turned on my macbook and began a quick check of gmail and my daily sites. In a sleepy haze I began reading the article on the changes coming in M10 at the wizard’s site. 

Changes sweep through the R&D department like spring cleaning. Aaron Foresythe’s article on these changes was like a tangent about all the imperfections in the game that they had let slide for so long. Mulligans, tokens ownership, Lifelink, Damage on the stack, mana burn; it really was just a long time coming.

mf90_steThe real kicker here is damage on the stack. I personally embrace the direction combat is taking. I had a very long discussion with a great magic player I know who is debating whether or not to quit the game. He told me that the removal of damage on the stack is tearing away the skill of the game. He then brought up Sakura Tribe Elder and Mogg Fanatic, how they are dead and how there are no more tricks. I admit that they got a lot worse, but at the same time, they weren’t filled with skill either. I know people that when they first learned how to do tricks with damage on the stack, they felt like the best players.

Think about Mogg Fanatic for a second, isn’t the play always just “damage on? sac him and ping you/that for 1”. He was just a one trick pony if you really think about it. He was almost never killing the thing he was blocking, but rather assisting some other creature in lethal or just getting in there for some more damage. Killing some random x/1 isn’t what he is known for, but rather being able to block you from taking damage and then hurt the opponent. Has he changed all that much with damage leaving the stack? No. He can still block, prevent you from taking non-trample damage and ping the opponent. 

Lets say there is a 3/1 crashing at you, and you have the Tribe-Elder as a blocker. You have a choice, does he block for lethal or does he slither into your deck and grab a land? The better player only gets better with these rule changes. Until all the creatures have their “correct play” pinned on them, like Mogg Fanatic and Sakura Tribe-Elder.

Creatures like Ravenous Baloth did get considerably worse from this change, but again, the better player will still win through skill, because there is still so much skill necessary to outplay your opponent. It is not losing any at all, but perhaps gaining it for the time being while the rules are still a shock to many copycat players.

The thing about Magic R&D is that they are always right with their decisions. I have yet to be disappointed with their decisions. I remember seeing Planeswalkers for the first time and thinking “What are they doing to this game?”. I think I can honestly say that Planeswalkers are one of the greatest things to happen to Magic. I personally am behind all of R&D’s decisions.

Lets talk about the new dual lands.

42a_02o4sozpie_EN

Comes into play untapped if you control a basic land of the two corresponding types. Again, I was upset at first. The more I thought about it, the more I like them. I foresee the death of 5 color decks, the uprising of mono color decks, and a slower pace of mana fixing after those vivid lands get pushed. Terramorphic Expanse should perhaps get reprinted to help out their dual lands. I hate seeing that vivid land/reflecting pool garbage. “I like Broodmate Dragon but there isn’t really a deck that is good with those colors, or has a slot for it…oh wait, I can run all three colors! I also like Ajani Vengeant, Plumeviel, Putrid Leech, Cryptic Command and Bloodbraid Elf. Lets run them all!” That is just annoying. Anathemancer will soon be gone from view because non-basics will be a thing of the past. I hope. 

M10 will also bring some interesting reprints like Ball Lightning, Lightning Bolt and my personal favorite Duress. The power level of these cards is a clear indicator of where they see their game going.

I will be attending Grand Prix Boston at the beginning of August. I am very excited to be able to use M10 right out of thNEW_GPe gates for an endless weekend of booster cracking, hotel charades, and random tournaments into the middle of the morning. I’ll be taking a 4-day weekend off of work for this endeavor.

The other night I had an idea to draft Type IV. Type IV is a format of playing Magic where you have infinite mana of all colors, can only play one spell a turn and start with a hand of 4. Your deck is usually just filled with the most awesome cards in Magic’s history. I drafted Progenitus beat-down. 1st pick Progenitus, into second pick Finest Hour kind of sealed the deal for me. I had some really great synergies in my 40 card deck. I am considering making my own pampered Type IV brick of cards. Maybe on my down-time between M10 and Zendikar. Drafting piles of rares is just hilarious. Kind of like my Star Trek birthday party in a couple weeks. I will have my box of M10 by then so lots of drafting will ensue with laughter wrapped in U.S.S Enterprise outfits. James Kirk drafting G/B.

Well, I will be waiting eagerly for M10 spoilers. In the meantime I will ponder over how great Lightning Bolt will be, how over-hyped Ball Lightning will be, how over looked Acidic Slime will be, and how under appreciated the new duals will be.

Dillon

Words of Paradise: Stepping up your game

May 12, 2009

As a card player you draw cards, hold them in your hands, and make decisions. If you are playing Magic with another person you pick up on some things. Some people show their emotions on their sleeve, like when they draw a land when they needed a spell they slump their shoulders in disbelief of their luck. I am sure you have heard of a ‘Poker face”, and I will tell you, a good one will make you play wrong. It just happens.

Watch your opponent. Being able to read your opponent when they draw a card will considerably help you. It gives you information of what is in their hand, and can drastically change how you approach a scenario you are faced with.

Little effort of putting it into their hand, or just a very minimal glance at the card they just drew will usually lead you to believe they drew a dead card.

Other cards have slight variances. For instance, they just play most things that are going to stick on the field like a creature or a perhaps a borderpost. 

The moment they draw an instant, they usually get the look of question “What should I do with this?”. A glance at that, then to refresh their memory they look at the field.

Watch where they put their cards. I used to arrange the cards in my hand so that the relevant spells are at the top and the lands are in the back and I now watch for that trait in other people. I once played a kid that had the face of a statue. Poker face passed down through the generations. He would draw a card with the same face every single time. I then got to look at his hand during one of our matches with a Tidehollow Sculler or something, and I noticed how the cards were arranged. Spells and then lands. I continued under the assumption that he keeps his hand organized at all times. Sure enough, he would draw and file it. Lands hit the back of the hand, good stuff on top.

Take notes. When you are cruising on Sculler’s boat through your opponent’s hand, write down what you see. If you see 2 plains, each of them different art, jot down the artist and watch which ones he plays. Some of that stuff is actually better if you can memorize it, because if your opponent can see you writing that down then they will play accordingly. 

Things I take note of is alternate art of the same card. I see a Karpulsan Forest from Ice Age and then one from 10th edition, I take note of that. If I see a card is foil, I take note. Anytime a card goes into your opponent’s hand, either from drawing, bouncing or searching for it in their deck, make sure you write it down.

Know their graveyard. Late game is a perfect time to get to know your opponent’s deck. Look through their graveyard often to become familiar with what they could be playing in the future, or perhaps what they can unearth. Check for those flashback abilities and don’t let them jump out at you when you least expect it. Counting cards is a great tool as well. Probability makes it way in their too. Saw 2 Path to Exile the first game and around turn 9 you still haven’t seen one. Be expecting your best guy to turn into a tapped land sometime soon. Feel free to take notes here too.

Check the competition. Finished with your match? It might help you in the long run to get up and check out the competition while you aren’t playing. Watch for key cards and attach them by face so you can say “Dr. Pepper shirt guy runs Colossal Might, Volcanic Fallout, and Magma Spray.” When you start a match with him, be sure to write down a little reminder to yourself about it.

I hope to get in as many articles as I can before Regionals strikes. 

Dillon

New artwork for Path to Exile

March 7, 2009

picture-11Rebecca Guay might not have done any art for Conflux, but here she comes in full force for alternate art Path to Exile. As much as I have been debating Swords to Plowshares vs Path to Exile, I must say that this nearly wins the art contest against Russel Crowe holding a scythe in the middle of a hillside praire.

So, let me hear what you think: Swords or Path. I know each of them have their advantages, but you must now choose only one. Choose wisely.

Deck tech: Bant Brew

March 4, 2009

I have been playing around with different standard decks such as Silent Zombies, Blightning Beatdown, and Green Aggro. I attempted to take my favorite aspects from those decks and apply them to something that is seriously tournament worthy.

ala2021Silent Zombies, was a Black White deck I made using Lord of the Undead to create card advantage through cycling Viscera Dragger and then returning it to your hand for yet another card. Lord of the Undead also created a removal engine with returning Nameless Inversion to your hand for instant creature killing. Reveillark was also on the roster for bringing back the plethora of 2 power zombies such as Stillmoon Cavalier, Death Baron, Lord of the Undead, and Tidehollow Sculler. First turn Thoughtseize, second turn Tidehollow Sculler. Until you have done that at least once on the play, you do not the power of hand disruption like that duo. Being able to grab that Volcanic Fallout, or Banefire pretty much turns your Tidehollow Sculler into a flag bearer that will have your opponent shooting spells at his boat rather than your face. –On a side note, I have 4 foil Tidehollow Scullers being signed by rk post himself within the week!–

Being able to draw a card: -1 loyalty.

Having a solid creature on the field: 3 mana.

Being able to win with a deck you built on your own: Priceless.

My Bant Brew, is really just everything I love about Magic. Here is the deck list as MtgVault shows it:

picture-2

What I have done here is try and find the perfect balance of Power, Counter magic and Disruption.triforce2 

At the top of the Triforce in the Power part is Rhox War Monk, Troll Ascetic, Rafiq of the Many and Kitchen Finks. They do so much on the battlefield without a lot of dedication into your manapool. While in the 3-4 casting cost range, you are definitely getting your moneys worth with these guys. 

In the bottom right you have Counter Magic. Broken Ambitions, Glen Elendra Archmage, Bant Charm and the swiss army knife of counterspells, Cryptic Command. With an arsenal like this, you are usually ready for any serious threats that your opponent would be able to cast. Broken Ambitions is awesome early game, and late. Glen Elendra is a bit of an investment because ideally you need 5 mana to really use her but once she is at her full potential she is quite a pest to your opponent’s plans and playing around her becomes tiresome for their spells. Bant charm has some sweet Artifact hate, and Creature removal along with being able to deal with instants. And of Cryptic Command. It needs no introduction.

In the sense of disruption we have Vendilion Clique and Sower of Temptation. These two Faeries give you insight into your opponents hand, and gives you and option of transforming one your opponents cards into the top card of their library. Remember, you don’t have to choose a card, but can just glance and neglect to put a card at the bottom. Sower of Temptation gets that blocker out of your way, that attacker out of your face, their Wizened Cenn from powering up their other Kithkin. Sower changes the tide of the battle in usually a game winning manner.

Noble Hierarch is really a pivotal point of this deck, and having it first turn gives it that speed to out-race other decks. Having a great mana base was never one of my strong suits for building decks, and I hope someone reading this blog is really good at fixing manabases in decks, but I have made sure that getting that first turn, untapped green mana source a priority with 2 forests, and 4 yavimaya coasts. I might add a brushland in there over the plains, to get more green sources in there that come into play untapped. Having a turn two Vendilion Cique or Kitchen Finks really puts you in a great position.

This friday I will be testing my Bant Brew in a Standard Tournament, hoping to pick up those new Kitchen Finks. I am on the fence about the art on the card, but I really like foil cards, so I will let it slide this time. 

I watched the finals of Pro-tour Kyoto live at around 3 in the morning after I got home from 2 full days of Drafting and partying with friends. I must say it was the most Magic filled weekend I have ever had. 

FNM was a draft of Con-Con-Shards, and I drafted a deck with like 3 Exploding Borders in a deck. If you don’t know how good that card is in limited I suggest giving it a spin. 

That night was my friend’s 21st birthday and I have never seen a Cornell apartment so filled with people. They have a good taste in music though, so I am grateful for that. I brought my friend Zack along from our night of Magic and he leaned up against the old apartment’s wall and it caved in, luckily my friend who owned the apartment was a nice guy. It was a wild night, so wild that I went to bed at 5:30 in the morning. We then made plans to attend a Legacy tournament at the next day. I assure you, the best technique to playing magic, is a good nights rest. I was a bit dislodged from the previous night, still in a shirt and tie from work the day leading up to FNM, and slinging a deck I had never used before. It was based around Replenish, and I gotta say, combo decks are really awesome to use. Then again so is Force of Will.

A highlight from the Legacy tournament was definitely mulliganing to 5 and going on a no-land hand on the draw, and top-decking an island. I went on to win that match by the skin of my teeth.

After 3 rounds of the Legacy tournament, there were rumors of a draft starting up, I just couldn’t resist. Shards-Shards-Conflux was the mix. I drafted something like 3 Vithian Stingers and a Algae Gharial. A few Magma Sprays, and a Hellkite Hatchling later, I was setting up a really solid deck. First round was easy, 3rd turn Stinger, 4th turn Stinger, 5th turn Stinger. All three on the board is just absurd in that format. Second round I made mulliganing mistakes but had a really great Blightning against a near-mirror match. Third round was in the bag because it followed the first round 3rd turn Stinger, 4th turn…

Then after that draft was yet another. If I had any sleep that night I would been able to make great plays. It was a good draft though, I pulled Elspeth and Banefire. I went 1-2 against the 24th best limited player in the world and could have won, I swear, if I had gotten a full nights rest. I sound like a broken record.

Tomorrow is playtesting time for me with Bant Brew and I will cover it’s good match-ups and it’s horrible match-ups. By the weekend, I should have a full detailed report of the tournament, and give you some insight into the Standard universe of post-Kyoto.

Leave some comments on the deck, things I should change, suggestions you might have (I have been thinking Jace vs. Mulldrifter for card draw. Also the fight for the 3rd turn play). Perhaps you want to hear more about Legacy. Or you just can’t figure out a good way to play test a deck. Just leave a comment!

Magic 2010 is now.

February 23, 2009

I haven’t been blogging much lately, and I am sorry for that. FNM practicing, college, working at CMOG, and constant deck building. I am currently working on 2 very cool Standard decks that have been tearing up the Fae, U/G Elf Warriors, Rouges, Naya Aggro and R/W Reviellark. Speaking of Standard, there has been an announcement on Wizards about the next core set.

Instead of seeing 11th, 12th and 13th edition coming out over the next 6 years, you will see Magic 2010, 2011, and 2012 come out over the next 3. All of which will have new cards in them, contain Mythic rares, and have intro packs for each color. Also, they aren’t reprinting any of the pain lands, Ravnica duals or the fetch lands, much to some super rumors and near bets that they would reprint the Ravnica duals, but they are doing brand new lands.

With new cards come Prereleases and Launch parties, and for Magic 2010, the Prerelease falls on my birthday, July 12th. You can imagine how excited I will be to be tearing into Magic history, as I turn 21.

Speaking of Prereleases, I placed 1st at the Conflux prerelease! It was sheer luck, I tell you what. How many times did I top-deck a Malfegor for the win, you ask? 3 times, and 2 of those times were in the final match against a kind fellow by the name of Corey. He vowed to never play Malfegor in a deck.

My pool was pretty nasty though: 2 Blightning, 2 Branching Bolt (one foil), Broodmate Dragon and Malfegor. More than a boy could ask for right there.

This past FNM we had a two-headed giant tournament, so I made two deck lists that centered around Realm Razer. One deck was running counters, card draw and normal Faerie trickery. The other had guns like Realm Razer, Figure of Destiny, Garruk, Ajani Vengeant, and Chameleon Colossus. I made sure we stripped down the early game of our opponents, with Spellstutter Sprites, Negates, Magma Sprays, and Path to Exiles. After Realm Razer sticks on the field, Jace is filling our hands, Bitterblossom is giving us immense field advantage, Ajani is pinning and throwing Lightning Helixes around, Birds of Paradise, Noble Hierarch, and Bloomtender are all giving us sources of mana. It was absurd. We lost once to an Elf Ball deck, but other than that, Realm Razer control was astounding. 

Star City Games is hosting 10, 5,000 dollar Standard tournaments around the nation this year, and the first one was this past weekend. An Esperlark deck grabbed 1st place while Faeries took second. 

I am planning on attending the $5,000 Standard Tournament they will be holding in Boston in June, as well as the tournament they will be holding in Philadelphia later in the year. My new years resolution was to go to more sanctioned Magic tournaments, so I am making the pilgrimages to the tables. All of the Star City Tournaments are timed in such a way that Pro Tour Qualifiers for Honolulu follow the next day.

This blog should get pretty interesting over this coming March. I have been working on some decks, and I have been teaching some interesting concepts concerning disruption, card advantage, field advantage, and mulliganing. Also, with a wider range of people around me seriously wanting to play Standard, I have a lot more time to play test different decks and cards in the metagame. It is funny how metagames vary everywhere you go, but I will try my best. 

To be honest, after playing against the number 1 player in my DCI district, and going 1-2 to his Boat-Brew deck, I feel like I have grown so much from when I first cut his deck to when I smiled in defeat to Siege-Gang commander. There is something so immensely mind wracking about knowing you are going against the best around, that your level of playing is pulled so far up, that you are almost surprised that you were ever as low as you once were. It becomes more and more like chess each time I play. You cannot make a play without first thinking far into the future. Once you grasp some techniques about predicting future plays from your opponents, the game is usually yours. 

So, I want to ask you, the reader what you want to know the most:

The list of cards in the deck.

Analysis of how the deck works.

Why certain cards over other cards.

How the match-ups went.

The opponent’s decklist.

My FNM draft pool.

My FNM matches.

Focus on the Standard format.

The Limited Format.

The Casual Format.

Philosophies on playing Magic better.

Just leave a comment, and let me know what you think of everything so far. I am really open to suggestions, and eager to get lots of reader wanted content into each article I have time to write. 

Bon Voyage,

Dillon

Getting ready for the Conflux Prerelease

January 25, 2009

I haven’t really had anything new to talk about Conflux since the recent spoiling of Progenitus. I have been staying up late for each and every Magic article even to the dismay of having class in the morning. I have also been reading the Rumor Mill over at the Salvo pretty extensively and am sometimes surprised by how insightful some of the people are that lurk in those waters, but most of the time I just skip over the words and look at the spoilers.

ld22_fivecolors

I have been trying to become an efficient limited player for a while, and after playing loads of Shards of Alara drafts and sealed deck tournaments, I feel like Conflux will be a fresh look on something that I feel like has started to become a bit tiresome. I found myself always drafting the same deck and I found myself winning every time I did that too. Vithian Stinger, Wild Nacatl, Blightning, Sprouting Thrinax, Oblivion Ring, Blister Beetle and the house cards such as Broodmate Dragon and Predator Dragon. Those were the cards I looked for, those are the cards I got, those are the cards I won with. Lets look at what makes these the greatest cards to draft or include in your sealed deck.

If you are new to the Limited format then let me give you the low-down of what makes this a very enjoyable way to play the game of magic. Imagine you and your friends all of varying skill levels and all with different wells of monetary funds to spend on magic cards. Now imagine that you all get a random set of cards in the form of 3 Shards of Alara booster packs and 3 Conflux booster packs. Now you make a deck. 

When you look at booster packs normally, you usually just see trash. That trash is now the different colored legos upon which you will build a well-oiled machine. Seeing as how you are already thinking TRASH, I used that word as an acronym to help you remember what you want to look for in each pack you open.

T– Troll Ascetic305

R– Removal

A– Answers

S– Solid Creatures

H– House cards

Troll Ascetic

Troll Ascetic means any creature that is going to stick around for an extended period of time. When I play Troll Ascetic 2nd or 3rd turn, you are usually going to be seeing him for the rest of the game (holding a Loxodon Warhammer in his hands eventually) on my side of the board. He cannot be targeted by your Oblivion Ring or Shock. He dishes out 3 damage in combat, and lives to tell the tale with his regeneration ability. Also, at 3 casting cost, he is one of the most efficient creatures in the game. Drafting a Troll Ascetic would be like drafting Brett Favre as your quarterback. What, Troll Ascetic isn’t in Shards of Alara or Conflux? Well, let me outline what it means to be a Troll Ascetic. Shroud or other forms of it (my friend calls “shell” the whole “can’t be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control” thing), Protection, and 4 toughness. The power of 4 in magic is like being immune to Branching Bolt, Resounding Thunder, Naya Charm, Ajani Vengeant, Caldera Hellion among other sources of 3 damage in Shards of Alara. It is a powerful number in the magic universe.

In Alara there is a certain crocodile that everyone fears to see hit the field: Algae Gharial. His ability to grow in size from digging graves AND not be targeted by anything, is truly astounding in the Limited format. Something you will begin to realize about Limited, is that creatures rule. A good creature is what wins you the game, and being able to pick out those Troll Ascetic from the trash, is very important. Lets look at some Trolls from Conflux.

The outlander series are all considered trolls because of their protection of the enemy colors based on their casting cost, for instance: 

Goblin Outlander

                         br
Creature – Goblin Scout                          Common
Protection from white
                              2/2

Being able to regenerate is a very powerful ability, therefore I must mention:

Vagrant Plowbeasts

5gw
Creature – Beast Uncommon
1: Regenerate target creature with power 5 or greater.
    6/6

And powerful abilities on a creature is cool, but when it has 4+ toughness, it becomes awesome.

Goblin Razerunners

2rr
Creature – Goblin Warrior Rare
1{R}, Sacrifice a land: Put a +1/+1 counter on Goblin Razerunners.
At the end of your turn, you may have Goblin Razerunners deal damage equal to the number of +1/+1 counters on it to target player.
    3/4

Starting at 4 toughness is amazing for this Goblin. You sometimes have access land in your limited deck, why not morph that terrain into turn by turn damage. This is almost a House card, pretty much borderline. 

One more card to look out for is Aerie Mystics

Aerie Mystics

4w
Creature – Bird Cleric Uncommon
Flying
1{G}{U}{T}: Creatures you control gain shroud until end of turn.
    3/3

Giving your creatures Shroud will be a pivotal move to keep you in the game. The power of Shroud in Limited is like never having to worry about dying other than from combat damage and your own devour.

Removal

Removal is an important tool in Limited, some could argue the most important part of being ahead of your opponent. Lets look at the greatest removal spell in Conflux (the greatest removal spell in recent history)

      

Path to Exile

w
Instant Uncommon
Remove target creature from the game. Its controller may search his or her library for a basic land card, put it into play tapped, then shuffle his or her library.

 

Removing their creatures from the game is a surefire way to win. Sounds like a no-brainer, but really, this is a format all about getting out your best hitters and keeping them there until they have swung for that last point of damage. Stopping their fighters is important, and removing them from the game is just plain nasty. Oblivion Ring is obviously a very great option, as it is the most powerful removal spell in the format right now. Spells that do damage to creatures, like the almighty Branching Bolt, will obviously be important to get into your deck, but one that sticks out in my mind from Conflux is:

y3h78pa0c_en

Banefire

xr
Sorcery Rare
Banefire deals X damage to target creature or player. 
If X is 5 or more, Banefire can’t be countered by spells or abilities and the damage can’t be prevented.


If they do have that Cancel in their hand to try and stop your game winning action, well lets just say, it was sad that they held onto it. This spell also brings up a great point I would like to make: You are going to have excess mana, so don’t worry about having something that costs a lot to play, the game will more than likely last long enough were you will be able to cast it. Banefire will be winning games around the world on Saturday where X will be clicking in from about 5-9 uncounterable, unpreventable damage. Lets move one shall we?

Answers

Answers range from Naturalize to an Obelisk. Naturalize answers your opponents artifacts and enchantments while an Obelisk will answer your mana problems. Being screwed over by an opponents Maniacal Rage slapped onto your Guardians of Akrasa is not something you want to see happen, so be prepared. It doesn’t matter who you are, you do not want to be screwed over for mana, so get the tri-lands, obelisks and buckle up. Answers vary in some ways, but are really there to help you when you are faced with a problem, and if you don’t have a way to fix a problem, then you are going to fail in that game.

Solid Creatures

Solid Creatures are not the same as Troll Ascetic, they are the filler creatures. This is where all the empty slots of your 40 card deck is filled. This is where Elvish Visionary gets a good seat over Cylian Elf, because you get card draw where you can in this format, and to get an early game beater and an extra card, is just awesome (but, if there is an empty spot, Cylian Elf will be welcome). In Conflux there are solid creatures that you will want to slap in there.

Canyon Minotaur

 3r
Creature – Minotaur Warrior                                                              Common
 
    3/3


Aven Squire

1w
Creature – Bird Soldier Common
Flying
Exalted 
(Whenever a creature you control attacks alone, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn.)
  #3/145 1/1


      

Rhox Meditant

3w
Creature – Rhino Monk Common
When Rhox Meditant comes into play, if you control a green permanent, you may draw a card.
    2/4


Grixis Slavedriver

5b
Creature – Zombie Giant Uncommon
When Grixis Slavedriver leaves play, put a 2/2 black Zombie creature token into play.
Unearth 
3{B}
    4/4

I really like Grixis Slavedriver in the sense that you get a lot of solid creatures. 12 power for 10 mana. 4 creatures. Very cool.

Hellspark Elemental

   1r
Creature – Elemental                                                                         Uncommon
Trample, haste
At end of turn, sacrifice Hellspark Elemental.
Unearth 
1{R}
        3/1

Turn 2 you hit them for 3 damage. then if they play a creature, you unearth it and either put them at 14 or they trade with something that will be removed from the game anyway. Very awesome creature. Lets move on!

House Cards

House cards are the tanks at the back of the pack, because they are usually rares. Usually these are the first pick that sets the trend for the rest of the deck. Conflux brings us a bunch.

Inkwell Leviathan

7uu
Artifact Creature – Leviathan Rare
Islandwalk, trample, shroud
“Into it’s maw went the seventh sea, never to be seen again while the world remains.” -Esper Fable
  #30/145 7/11

I couldn’t help but mention this guy first. If he resolves, which in this format, isn’t that much of a fear, but I can’t help but imagine how screwed your opponent is. It has 11 toughness, it has shroud, it has trample, and seeing as how it is a multi-color set, you will more than likely be controlling an island.mhtocxvjv_en2

Wall of Reverence

3w
Creature – Spirit Wall Rare
Defender, flying
At the end of your turn, you may gain life equal to the power of target creature you control.
    1/6

It has flying and 6 toughness, which will shut down nearly all fliers. This will set a tempo of tremendous life gain that your opponent just won’t be able to catch.

 


Mirror-Sigil Sergeant

5w
Creature – Rhino Soldier Mythic Rare
Trample
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control a blue permanent, you may put a token into play that’s a copy of Mirror-Sigil Sergeant.
    4/4

Uncontested, this will win you game. They have 4 toughness, they have trample and they are duplicating like wild cats. I was hoping this would be better for Constructed, but he is an absolute god in Limited.

Apocalypse Hydra

xrg
Creature – Hydra Mythic Rare
Apocalypse Hydra comes into play with X +1/+1 counters on it. If X is 5 or more, it comes into play with an additional X +1/+1 counters on it.
1{R}, Remove a +1/+1 counter from Apocalypse Hydra: Apocalypse Hydra deals 1 damage to target creature or player.
    0/0

Again, lots of mana is not a problem here, and this thing is just going to be ridiculous. Knocking away their chump blockers is like removing any chance they had of controlling this hydra.

Obelisk of Alara

6
Artifact Rare
1{W}{T}: You gain 5 life.
1{U}{T}: Draw a card, then discard a card.
1{B}{T}: Target creature gets -2/-2 until end of turn.
1{R}{T}: Obelisk of Alara deals 3 damage to target player.
1{G}{T}: Target creature gets +4/+4 until end of turn.


This is the last card I want to look at today. It creates tempo in the sense that it gains you 5 life. It finishes them with the 3 damage and the +4/+4. It kills and nerfs their creatures with the -2/-2. This is about as controlling as an Umezawa’s Jitte. No one wants to go against this. Have your Naturalizes ready.

I hope you have enjoyed my look at the world of Limited. Kick butt this weekend at your local prerelease and remember, if your opponent somehow plays a Progenitus, do the right thing and don’t panic, just scoop your cards and concede.

picture-3Also, I wanted to give a plug to CCGTradepost for doing an awesome job at setting up a trading site for all of us folks who don’t have a super extensive trade circuit around us at all times. I suggest you set up an account, and get to trading! You can find nearly any Standard legal card in the Have/Wants lists of its ever growing amount of user created pages. They are nice people and very understanding. It is all based on the tried and true system of ‘feedback’ so you know you are dealing with a grade-A person. So, after you make an account, be sure to drop me a line at my page, then trade me a Garruk Wildspeaker!

Bon Voyage,

Dillon

Child of Alara

January 18, 2009

(W)(U)(B)(R)(G) Trample. When Child of Alara is put into a graveyard from play, destroy all non-land permanents. They can’t be regenerated. 6/6. 

crib_swapI suggest that the only way you get rid of this baby is with an old fashioned crib swap. This card should be code named Benjamin Button.

It is hard to tell how much this card will effect Standard play. 5 color control gets serious removal on a reoccurring basis with Cruel Ultimatum‘s ability of returning a creature from your graveyard to your hand. Kitchen finks will still be hanging on though. Not to mention this kid is a heavy hitter, and nobody wants to hurt a child. Makeshift Mannequin can make this slugger a seriously annoying reanimation. Imagine this, end of their turn, snag out your Child of Alara. It can now attack and be such a serious threat for their board. Do I take 6? Block some of the trample damage and make sure I don’t kill it? Or nuke the field. 

Upon first glance I wonder how that kind of tempo change could help any of the current decks that are being played. The metagame will shift when Conflux comes up over the hillside in less than 3 weeks. Will Child of Alara make an appearance? My bet is, ‘Yes’. It is far too powerful and easy to cast to not see constructed play. A new breed of beat down coming from the man-lands like Treetop Village could be in our future. Don’t be surprised if hideaway lands are holding many of the spells in this set either (Nicol Bolas, Conflux, Progenitus just for starters).

Into the graveyard from play is a pretty popular triggered ability in this set so far, and getting there isn’t hard. I am going to test you guys with a little rulings question. What do you think would happen in the following: Devour being a static ability triggers when Skull Mulcher resolves and is coming into play, so there for, you have an option to sacrifice creatures. You control the following creatures: Child of Alara. Now this is where the knowledge of the stack is an important tool in playing magic. Do you devour the Child of Alara or don’t you? If you do devour it, does your Skull Mulcher stay alive or doesn’t it? Leave it in the comments!

Official Conflux spoilers start in one hour and so does Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Wish him a happy birthday and I’ll see you at midnight along with many other eager readers as we are refreshing the Magic website for the first look into our game’s future.

Bon Voyage,

Dillon