Monday, February 28, 2011

Have an Android Phone?

Then you need:  MTG Deck Forge by Lagdroid

It is one of the most amazing MTG apps I have on my droid phone.  Everyone who has a space phone seems to have the life counter apps and such, but this app goes one step further.  It's a full deck builder suite of tools: Deck Builder, Gold fishing, Price Checker, Life Counter, and much more.  Now this app isn't the most intuitive off the bat, and I recommend reading the walk through and watching the videos.  Also, if you have any questions about the app, the dev has replied very quickly to my emails. 

Deck Building:
Basically you can build decks in this app save them to various formats to email or share.  This is the best feature.  I have a google group that we share deck lists and ideas for various formats and this app has let me brew up some decks amazingly fast.  It was a lot quicker then when I was using google docs spreadsheet to share with these guys.  You can set up your preference so that it auto adds 4 to the deck when you search up a card.

Gold Fishing
After making a deck, it allows you to gold fish some hands and check to see how the deck flows.  It keeps track of what turn you play a card and lets you see how a game will proceed. 

Price Checker
When it's time to trade, the phones come out nowadays.  What I hate most is how long this process takes when people check multiple sites.  This app rips data from 3 sources (more to come I hear) at real time and displays all the editions, prices and source.  It is as quick as typing in a card and waiting for the response. 

Card Search
Full high res image, oracle and original text, editions, and price.

Gatherer Like Functions:
I hate the new wizards gatherer.  It isn't as good as it used to be.  This is almost better then gatherer, it only needs sort by CMC for the output. 

While all this is great, this app still has a bit to go.  While it was well worth the $2.50 on the market that I paid, it still needs a bit of refinement. (its $5 now on the market)

The Bad:
Life Counter-  Has to be one of the worst I've seen.  Luckily, there are a ton of free apps that do this better.

# of Decks-  I've noticed with the more decks you save, the slower the app runs.  I keep my lists around 20 or so and I don't seem to have much of a slow down.  Go over that?  You will see significant lag (on my Droid X).

Non-Intuitive- It takes a bit to get used to, very hard for new people using the app to get comfortable using it.  I've heard some people return the app after 15 mins because they can't figure it out. 

But over all, this app gets a rating of A- because it does everything I need it to do but needs refinement. 

There is another app that you can get also its called Magic TG Tracker.  Its free (but with ads) and has a paid non-ad version.  Works about the same, less functionality but way more intuitive.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The FNM Report

MBS/MBS/SOM is such an interesting limited draft.  The double MBS gives way to archetypes, that normally, might not get there.  As I am hearing from other people, many other shops are running this over the standard MBS/SOM/SOM for two reasons that I can tell.  At my shop, theres a few people where they drafteed 3x SOM so much, that they are burnt out.  Hearing they can draft 2xMBS switches things up so much that they are back into wanted to play this.  This might be reasons TO's/Owners are wanting to run this.  Second reason is that people just want to crack new rares/mythics.

Today I wanted to go through a couple of the archetypes that I have seen come out of 2xMBS/1xSOM:

Ichor Wellspring.dec
I'm sure you heard the Pro's talking about this at the last PT.  Ichor Wellspring is real.  You can either go one of two ways:  Draft a lot of ways to sac them, or just use them as 2 mana cost metalcraft enablers.  If you want the optimal way to sac them, its most likely going to be R/X type of deck.  Last night a buddy at a separate table drafted 5 Ichor Wellsprings in his two MBS packs while drafting a R/W deck.  He had over 4 sac outlets that just let him clean up that table easily.  

Infect Fatties:
This is something that you didn't see with 3x SOM.  It's a deck that utilizes Phyresis and large dudes.  The goal is to get some ramp using Viridian Emissary and Myr to throw out fatties that can either get a Phyresis thrown on them or have built in toughness w/infect.  While I won't say this is a "broken" strategy, it is actually pretty viable.  It's hard enough dealing with the old SOM G-Dino's strategy, its harder when they just flat out kill you in 2 hits.  This strategy also utilizes Unnatural Predation to its best ability.

U/B Mill:
This is a strategy that you need to just force going into the tourney.  I've seen a couple people attempt this post pack 1, and it just comes out bad.  There's just some picks you must get early and a lot of.

Key Cards:
Shriekhorn - Must have, no one will draft these.  Draft 5-6.
Vedalken Infuser - This guy turns your Shriekhorns on for DAYS
Screeching Silcaw - With so many shriekhorns, this shouldn't be hard to turn on.  Take a few Ichor Wellsprings too.
Horrifying Revelation - No one takes this either, draft plenty. 

Sounds awful yet?  Oh it gets better!

The Enablers:
Fuel for the Cause - A counterspell that will keep your Shriekhorns on.
Spread the Sickness - Removal that will keep your Shriekhorns on.
Steady Progress - Draw that keeps your Shriekhorns on.
Thrummingbird - Keep'n them on!
Contagion Clasp - Isn't this a high pick anyways?

The Bombs:
Blue Sun's Zenith - Yes, that is Any player may draw.  WIN!
Contagion Engine - Double the counters and wrath?  Don't mind if I do.
Grindclock - Who drafts this?
Decimator Web -  Get there quicker.  Go for the quad kill!

Now the point is not to draft only these cards, but a good mix of decent/consistent mill and controlling cards.  If you can, draft a Plague Stinger and proliferate your victory.  Remember, this is only viable with 2x MBS because you get such a huge amount of Shriekhorns that NO ONE DRAFTS. 

I also want to give a shout out to my new fav blue uncommon: Vedalken Anatomist.  This guy is such a house it isn't even funny.  I had opponent after opponent staring this guy down with nothing to do about it.  He needs to be answered early or he just ends up giving U/x decks time to do what they want to do.  So many times I was sitting on this guy just waiting to blow my opponent with anything I could possibly draw.  Draft early, draft lots because this guy will win you games.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Did you guys see these?

This has to be the best thing Wizards has done in a while to bring people to constructed.  I've always hated the fact that none of the pre-cons were even close to compeditive in any format.  They were allways just "themed" decks.  Now they've decided to give new players a way to walk into a store and just pay an entrance fee + deck cost and start playing. 

Check these out:

Fyi: If you buys 2 of "Into the Breach" thats 4x goblin guides!  What a steal!  Throw in some mox opals and that deck gets serious. 

FNM Limited Prep

This FNM is going to be MBS/MBS/SOM limited draft.  My shop that I attend (Shane's) has been running this the last few times because a majority of the players want to open new packs.  This limited event will be much more similar to the MBS/MBS/MBS limited you see on MTGO. 

We get approximately 30-40 people every FNM with a diverse level of play skill.  This type of crowd can be either good or bad.  Most of the time people are trying to draft a cohesive deck, but some times people switch deck strategies so often during the draft that it is not even funny.  Knowing this helps me prepare my mind for what is going to go down...

So the question often is, "How do I prepare for a Limited Event?" or more specifically this limited FNM.

1)  Know the Set
I can't stress this enough.  If you are seeing a card for the first time while drafting or opening a sealed pool you are doing something wrong.  Before you play in a limited event, engrave each of the cards into your head.  Look up and down, across and forward on Gatherer to know each card.  Commons and Uncommons will be the most important cards to know as they will make up the majority of your deck.  Before an event, I always glance over the set once or twice just to get the juices flowing.

2)  Have a Plan
While I will always advise against forcing a theme in limited, you need to have a plan going into the event.  Do you know the archetypes for a particular limited set?  Do you know what cards have good synergy?  Do you have an idea on what those around you are going to do?  These are things you should know going into the event.  Since the same people generally come down for FNM, I catch a lot of drafting habits.  So if a guy is placed next to you that you know forces infect EVERY time and is passing you bombs in the other colors, you need to not even think about infect cards.  In fact, you may just want to pass a few just to make sure he stays infect. 

3)  When all else fails, do something unexpected
This is my bread and butter.  Doing something that you opponents don't plan for(and at first, you probably didn't).  Mono Green Metalcraft?  Yea, I 3-0'd with that.  Was that my initial plan?  Hellz 2 the no.  Did it get me 20 bux in store credit?  Yes it did. 

Overview of the Deck:
The Goods:
3x Ichor Wellspring

3x Mirran Mettle
2x Viridian Corrupter
2x Blight Widow

The Bomb:
1x Ezuri's Brigade

I won't put anything else, but those were the honorable mentions.  What did I learn with this draft?  1)  Mirran Mettle is good in this format.  Especially with protecting you few infect dudes and taking down large dudes.  2) Artifacts that don't "do" anything (see ichor wellspring) add to metal craft without the chance of being dished blowout.  3) Even if your opponent has Sword of Feast and Famine, you can still beat them with a mono green metalcraft deck!

Well till next time, check you guys on the filp side!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Improving that Binder: MTG Price Speculations

Below are are few highlights of the cards I heard the most about at the trading tables.  I've included some of my speculation on the cards.   
Stoneforge Mystic - Worldwake Rare
Current: $20-25
Trend: Stable, to down.
If you can pick these up via trade for $15-20, but never over $20.  If you are shelling out cold hard cash for these at the moment, expect to pay the full $20 at most brick and mortar shops.  I would advise against this option, as they will most likely settle down around $15.  Remember, Worldwake was one of the most opened sets in magic, so there are ALOT of these on the secondary market.  Right now post PT and potential UW brews in extended are keeping the price up. 

Sword of Feast and Famine - Mirrodin Besieged - Mythic Rare
Current: $15-20
Trend: Stable to up.
The pro-blackness is the sickness.  This card is hot right now.  Second most sought after card in the local meta.  You only need one to go with your Stoneforge Mystic.  If you do not have one, pick one up ASAP.  If you can pick one up in trade from $15-20, do so.  This card has plenty of potential in extended this season(and seasons to come). 

Inkmoth Nexus - Mirrodin Besieged - Rare Land
Current:  $8-12
Trend:  Down
This guys hasn't found a home yet.  While fun with Tez, just isn't getting there very quickly.  This was preselling at 12-14, and has seen a small price dip.  I would expect this to continue until someone post good results with this in standard or legacy (the two places with the most potential for this card).  Even then, only expect an upswing to around $10. 

Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas (Planeswalker) - Mirrodin Besieged - Mythic Rare
Current: $45-60
Trend: Down Down Down
If you have extras, now is the time to liquidate and pick up later.  This guy saw a huge jump because of new brews at the PT and a rush to get 4 of by everyone subsequently.  Over the PT weekend they saw a jump from 35 to 40 to 50 to sold out by most major sites and stores.  The price jump was only due to demand.  As more MBS packs are opened, there will be more and more Tezzy's available.  Expect another Gideon situation.  I am stamping this one to hit a bottom of $25.  This will all change if there are legacy or vintage implications. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Props to

Just got my order in from and it is awesome!  Check this out, I paid 100.74 for 46 MBS boosters shipped.  This is the lowest price I've paid for a box of magic yet!  They have a deal going on (hopefully still) where they are selling $2.19 no max per booster pack.  A bunch of my friends though that they might be selling loose boosters from box mapping, but this is not the case.  I received 1 full sealed box of MBS and 10 loose packs.  WHAT A STEAL!  I'd go pick some up if I were you. 

I cracked the sealed box and pulled 5 mythics and a bunch of solid rares.  Sadly no tezzys, but overall a good box.  The last 10 backs are going to be used for drafts.  We have a draft in town that takes 5 packs or 15 bucks for entry, and pays out 7 for 3-0.  RL infinite is possible there.   My original plan was either to use all 46 for drafting for a couple of buddies of mine if they were all loose packs, but hey, sealed product is sealed product.

FNM Results and Meta - Running Standard BUG

Walking into the tournament this FNM I know that I would see a vast increase in the number of players running Squadron Hawk and Stoneforge Mystic.  Just looking at the drastic price jump of Stoneforge Mystic in most shops from $10 to $20 a pop over this last week, it had to be the case.  (Quick side note-  Stoneforge Mystic is going to be an insane bomb for some time to come, especially when the white/red sword comes out, pick them up if you can get a good trade or cheaper than 20).  This is why I was leaning towards Massacre Wurm as a potential bomb against these players.  All worked out.... almost.

Here is the final list that I ran:

4x Creeping Tar Pit
4x Darkslick Shores
4x Misty Rainforest
4x Verdant Catacombs
2x Island
3x Forest
2x Swamp
2x Tectonic Edge

4x Lotus Cobra
2x Frost Titan
3x Massacre Wurm

4x Mana Leak
1x Go for the Throat
2x Disfigure
2x Spell Pierce
1x Doom Blade

4x Preordain
2x Inquisition of Kozilek
4x Explore
1x Praetor's Counsel

4x Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2x Garruk Wildspeaker

3x Flashfreeze
2x Grave Titan
4x Spreading Seas
2x Tectonic Edge
2x Black Sun's Zenith
2x Memoricide

About my list:
I really liked the RUG list that did well at San Jose that ran 2 Garruks, I feel they are much more effective then Oracles of Mul Daya at the moment.  He does everything you want him to, makes dude, untaps lands, makes your creeping tar pits RIDICULOUS!


Match 1 B/R Vamps:
Game 1 we battled it out, I got out a Massacre Wurm and Praetors Council.  Things were over quickly after that.  Game 2 I resolved Jace and Garruk for the win.... or so I think.  As I dug with Jace to get a better clear for his board, my Garruk made blockers for his army.  Sadly, all I received was more Jace and more Garruk and land and failed to beat his scrying/bladed vamps.  Game 3 was over before it started.  Creeping Tar Pit into Island into Darkslick Shore.  As much as I tried to dig, I just couldn't get there.

Match 0-1
Games 1-2

Match 2 Mono Black Control
I played this kid who was playing a mono black artifact based deck.  The theme didn't seem well put together and his games only hinged on if he was able to resolve and equip a Sword of Feast and Famine.  One of the games he did, the other two he didn't.  With a bit more thought, he may be able to put something more cohesive together.
Match 1-1
Games 3-3

Match 3 Mono White Myr
This match was against a new player that put some precons together and made a somewhat cohesive deck.  Game 1 he was able to resolve a Myr Battlesphere and it was over for me.  As I tried to ramp, I just couldn't get there quick enough with a Massacre Wurm.  I brought the hammer down on games 2 and 3 for punishment.  His card quality just wasn't good enough.   This was his first constructed tourney, so I post game we worked on some decks and deck ideas for his next go around.

Match 2-1
Games 5-4

Match 4 Boros
Game one he resolves a t1 Stepped Lynx that pretty much got there for my opponent.  Turn 2 I Inquisitioned a Stoneforge Mystic out of his hand and Disfigure his resolved Geopede.  I stumbled on my land for a few turns and can't find an answer to the t1 Stepped Lynx.  Game 2 was just a worrying as game 1.  I proceed to make my land drops up to 5, and for whatever reason I can't get the 6th (which also has to be black for my Massacre Wurm).  In that time searching, I was able to resolve 3 Jace's and a could removal spells that kept me alive.  Then came the beatings.  His field of 2x Squadron Hawks, Plated Geopede, 2x Stepped Lynx, gets thrown to the grave for 10 damage to the dome with a Massacre Wurm.  Next turn he slams down Stoneforge Mystic getting Sword of Feast and Famine and 2x Squadron Hawks.  Little does he know, my next turn is MASSACRE WURM #2.  Play of the night for this deck.  Game 3 was a bit of a battle again, it all came down to in the end stealing my Lotus Cobra to remove my resolved Jace.  If that didn't occur, I had the straight up nuts in my had if I untaped.

Match 2-2
Games 6-6
Even Breaks.

Moral of the story: 
Needs more development.  At least I was able to get a better feel for the meta at my local shop.  I believe that Massacre Wurm is an absolute beast, especially since squadron hawks, stoneforge mystics and mirrian crusaders seem to be so prevalent.  At no time in the night did I want Grave Titan over Massacre Wurm. 

Next Steps:
-1 Praetors Councel (always wanted something else)
-2 Frost Titans (just never good)
-1 Explore (light on green sources)
-1 Doom Blade
-2 Spell Peirce

+2 Wurmcoil Engine
+1 Go for the Throat
+2 Spreading Seas ( I was boarding them most of the time)
+1 Black Sun Zenith
+1 Liliana Vess (Want to experiment a bit with BUG Plainswalkers)

Hopefully you guys enjoy my FNM Tourney Report.  Stay tuned for more as I believe we have a draft on Monday and Standard on Wednesday.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I have to tell you, this has to be the best carrying case around for those of you who go to a lot of PTQ's and FNM's.  I used to haul around a pretty large backpack that held 3 binders and a whole bunch of decks.  It got to the point where I realized that I was carrying thousands of dollars of my stuff around and hurting my back at the same time.  So I decided to minimize the amount of stuff I was going to carry and it came down to these essentials:

Decks-  2 EDH(Commander), Standard Compeditive, Standard Brew, Limited Sleeves and Box
Counter-  Dice, Counter, Coins
Trades-  Only bringing the easily tradables. 

All slamed into a small carrying case.  My back no longer hurts, I have lower fear of losing all of my MTG cards, and the strap fits perfectly even for a big guy like me. 

Also, you can easily slide in a 4 pocket Monster Binder in there also, so you can have trades on you at all times.  The Monster Binders must be the best protection you can get for your cards.

Standard BUG!

I am thinking about rolling this out come this FNM.  I've been toying with BUG over RUG for a while in this meta game and it just seems like a more interesting choice.  Massacure Wurm just seems like a bigger house in games with small dudes on the table.  Team that up with some good removal and draw, it might just get there.

I'll be sure to report on how it did in the match ups after FNM. 

4x Creeping Tar Pit
4x Darkslick Shores
4x Misty Rainforest
4x Verdant Catacombs
3x Island
2x Forest
2x Swamp
2x Tectonic Edge

4x Lotus Cobra
2x Frost Titan
3x Massacre Wurm

4x Mana Leak
3x Go for the Throat
2x Spell Pierce
1x Doom Blade
4x Preordain
3x Inquisition of Kozilek
3x Explore

4x Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2x Garruk Wildspeaker

Still working on the SB, any comments would be great.