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We're a local unofficial Magic gathering group in Hixson, TN.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Don't Forget, Innistrad League Starts THIS SATURDAY (12/31)!

It's the moment we've all been waiting for...for months, literally!

We're set to start out Innistrad League this upcoming Saturday, 12/31!

Initial entry fee is $18.50. This gets you 6 packs of Innistrad to use in a Sealed Deck that will be used in part during the duration of the League, which runs through May unless we decide to shorten it (which we'll talk about Saturday).

The $2 over the normal entry fee goes to prizes. Here's what we'll have in the first 2-week prize pool:

* 1 pack of Innistrad
* 1 Animate Dead from Premium Deck Series: Graveborn
* 1 Exhume from Premium Deck Series: Graveborn
* 1 Buried Alive from Premium Deck Series: Graveborn
* Cards from 2 packs of Innistrad and/or Magic 2012

These cards will be placed on a table after the 2-week period is over and, starting with the player with the most points and working down and back around, each player will pick 1 thing from the prize table until everyone is either happy with what they have or prizes run out.

Also remember, you get a free Tormented Soul promo card just for playing the League!

If you have any questions, the rules are a few posts down from this one. Feel free to leave feedback or E-mail me directly (CardGameNut@gmail.com).

We hope to see you Saturday! :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

First Prize Pack for Innistrad League (Mostly) Decided

Here's what I'm looking to put into the first prize pool of Innistrad League for splitting, to be given out January 14th for the 2 weeks running December 31st through January 13th (assuming 6 players minimum):

* 1 full pack of Innistrad
* 1 Buried Alive from Premium Deck Series: Graveborn
* 1 Exhume from Premium Deck Series: Graveborn
* 1 Animate Dead from Premium Deck Series: Graveborn
* Contents of 2 packs of M12 and/or Innistrad, to be picked one card at a time

The 2 packs will be opened and their contents splayed out before the winner has to make any choices on whether they'd pick a single card or the full pack of Innistrad. So the prize table will have 33 single cards plus a full pack of Innistrad on it to be picked, starting with the winner of the 2-week period and working our way down and back around until all the prizes are picked or everyone is happy with what they have.

This leaves $2.25 left over if we have 6 players, so I'm thinking of storing that as "extra" toward more prizes into the overall prize pool at the end of League. What do you all think?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Updated Innistrad League Rules: Feedback Needed Still

Hey guys!

I have a new version of the Innistrad League rules up on Google Docs. Go here to view it:


If you have any feedback on any aspect of the League or feel some rules could be clarified better, whatever the feedback is, feel free to leave it here or contact me directly (CardGameNut@gmail.com).

We will start on December 31. That's one week from this upcoming Saturday. Whatever I get no feedback on, I'm going to keep, so I encourage you to let me know if you disagree with any aspect of these rules.

Thank you for your time and effort to help ensure a fun League for everyone! :)

Newest Banned/Restricted List Updates: Modern Affected

(The announcement of the updated Ban/Restricted lists can be found here; if you click on this link you'll see the official explanation for the updates)

Hey guys!
  Earlier this morning Wizards of the Coast posted their December 20th Banned/Restricted List update to take effect January 1, 2012.

  No formats were touched...except Modern.

Punishing Fire
Wild Nacatl

Wild Nacatl and Punishing Fire were both featured in Zoo builds.

Punishing Fire would be combined with Grove of the Burnwillows to either do a net of 1 damage to the opponent that's reuseable or to get a reuseable 2 damage hit to creatures. And with enough mana and Punishing Fires, that turns into 4, 6, or 8 to a creature in exchange for some life gain the opponent will end up losing because you're re-re-reusing your Punishing Fires.

Wild Nacatl has a lot in common with Kird Ape. Kird Ape was popular in the then-new Extended format. It could easily be a 2/3 creature on Turn 1 thanks to Taiga being legal in the format then. Because it was so efficient, it got banned. And in later years, everyone laughed that a potential 2/3 for 1 mana ever got banned in Extended.

Flashforward to Modern. Wild Nacatl has a little more going for it. We have the Modern equivalent of Dual Lands in the form of "shock lands". As well, Wild Nacatl has a friend Kird Ape never had :"Fetch lands." Yes, on Turn 1 Wild Nacatl could easily be a 2/2 for 1 mana, then next turn a 3/3 for 1 mana with little chance for an opponent to answer until a few turns later. Here's all it takes:

Turn 1: Arid Mesa, "crack" the Fetchland to get a Temple Garden/Stomping Ground, cast Wild Nacatl. Now that you control a Plains/Mountain (whichever of those lands you got), you have a 1-mana 2/2.

Turn 2: If your opponent didn't have a Lightning Bolt, you play any of the other Plains and/or Mountain "shocklands" and Wild Nacatl becomes a 3/3. Add Noble Hierarch to the mix and you have a 4/4 when attacking on Turn 2.

And it seems this kind of play happened more often than not. With fetchlands and Exalted triggers, it's easy to make Nacatl much more powerful than it was for Kird Ape to ever be and much faster too.

For these reasons, the DCI felt that the variety of the format was being threatened. Zoo decks are too prominent, in part because of Wild Nacatl and in part because of the Grove of the Burnwillows/Punishing Fire combo. As well, the Grove/Fire combo was being used as a win condition in other decks that could afford to run the combo.

And because deck variety was being threatened, the DCI felt the need to ban these 2 cards.

On the plus side...this is the fewest bannings that have happened to Modern since the format sprang up earlier this year. Last update had 6 cards banned, and the initial announcement (on August 12th) had a whopping 21 cards on it. With 29 cards on the list, I have a sneaky suspicion we'll see at least a couple cards come off the list next update (scheduled for March 20th to be effective April 1, 2012).

What do you all think? Are these bans the correct move? Should something have been unbanned? What about in other formats? Feel free to leave your comments here and share and discuss! :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Innistrad Initial Rules Posted

Hey guys!
  Follow the link below for the initial Innistrad League details. Feel free to post any feedback here.


Any and all feedback is welcome! :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Preliminary Innistrad League Details (FINALLY!)

Okay, guys. Preliminary information about Innistrad League! (FINALLY! lol!)

Start date: December 31st

Run time: Roughly 14 weeks, give or take depending on feedback.

Basic Prize Support: Everyone gets a free promo Tormented Soul for playing (while supplies last). Devil's Play promos will be included at random periods as part of a bi-weekly further prize split. Other basic prize support TBD.

Entry Fee: $16.50 will get you 6 packs of Innistrad to use in constructing a minimum 40-card deck. Trades within the League will be allowed (details TBA). Also, add $2 to help with further prize support every 2 weeks (details TBA).

Pack Additions: Packs will be added every 2 weeks at $2.75 per pack, 1 pack at a time. This means on Week 3 you'll be at 7 packs, Week 5 up to 9 packs, etc.

Further Prize Support: I wish to incorporate the Graveborn pre-con deck somewhere in here (Premium Deck Series: Graveborn list link is about 4 posts below this). Also, I'll throw in packs of Innistrad either to the winner and/or to split among all the players.

EXACT details are still TBA, most likely tomorrow or Thursday. But I wanted to give a basic run-down and get some feedback before we get official details out.

Who's interested? Who would want to play?

PS: You WILL be able to use your League cards outside of the League. We'll have everyone type out their pack openings and any trades made so each player can have a record of what cards should go back into their League piles when playing for League games. Exact details on how this will work will be posted in the next few days.

Friday, November 25, 2011

SMM Not At Church Saturday, 11/26

We will not meet at the church for SMM this Saturday, 11/26. Rachel is hosting a family Thanksgiving meal that she does every Saturday after Thanksgiving.

We can meet at the Northgate Mall food court area instead.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Premium Deck Series: Graveborn DECK LIST SPOILER!

Alright, guys. The moment we've been waiting for! (Or at least, I have been waiting for)

Premium Deck Series: Graveborn comes out November 18th, a week from today. But someone's already leaked the spoiler to MTGSalvation.com.

Wanna know more? Of course you do! I mean, who wouldn't want a blinged-out Reanimator deck? :)

21 Swamp
Polluted Mire
Ebon Stronghold
Crystal Vein

Avatar of Woe
Crosis, the Purger
Inkwell Leviathan
Sphinx of the Steel Wind
Verdant Force
Blazing Archon
Putrid Imp
Hidden Horror
Faceless Butcher
Twisted Abomination
Zombie Infestation
Cabal Therapy
Last Rites
Sickening Dreams
Animate Dead
Buried Alive
Diabolic Servitude
Dread Return 

The list is taken straight from this MTGSalvation thread on the deck.

That's not too bad now! Just think of some of the heavily-weighted cards based on either price or popularity or use in a traditional Reanimator deck:

Dread Return
Blazing Archon
Sphinx of the Steel Wind
Exhume (and 3 copies! :)  )
Animate Dead (with the current oracle wording, new art, and 3 copies! :)  )
Inkwell Leviathan
Duress (and 3 copies! :)  )
Putrid Imp
And most importantly of all...Swamp! (What, did you expect to pay those black costs without swamps? :p  )

TCGPlayer has the low end of these contents being $70+. The MSRP for this deck? $35, plus tax. That's not a bad chunk of change cut from the price, considering at one point Entomb was around $30-$35 all by its lonesome.

If you've been wanting to get in on the Reanimator deck type but didn't have the staples of the deck, or you want to bling out your current Reanimator cards, or you're just looking for a fun all-foil deck to play, consider picking this up. I'm getting 3: one to hold on to and 2 to bust open, combine, and use.

I've already done some sample hand draws online and I'll just say, turn 2 Sphinx of the Steel Wind after Turn 1 Entomb and Turn 2 Exhume or Animate Dead is very hard to come back from. ;)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Some (Long Overdue) Updates

Hey guys!
  It's been a while since I've done any updates. I apologize for that. School's been so hectic that I haven't had much time for anything else.

1) Innistrad League: I will have some preliminary procedures for Innistrad League this Friday, 11/11.

2) A bit of release news, we've had the front cover for Premium Deck Series: Graveborn. It confirms Entomb as a reprint alongside Buried AliveCrosis, the PurgerAvatar of Woe (for its 5th reprinting and its 4th in about 2 years' time), and even an alternate art Animate Dead!

Image from DailyMTG.com
Also, on MTGSalvation.com, it's rumored that there will indeed be 1 Mythic Rare and it will be from Shards of Alara block. (Like we need any more foil Alara reprints??) The big contenders for that spot are Thraximundar, Sedris, the Traitor King, Sphinx of the Steel Wind, and Empyrial Archangel.

We'll see which Mythic gets the nod, along with possibly the full decklist, this upcoming Monday. I'll post the list when it goes up, so stay tuned!

3) Next Saturday, November 19th, we will not be meeting at the church for SMM.

4) I need tournament ideas. If you've got something you want to try, let me know and I'll see where I can fit it into the schedule. Remember, though, that you need to have at minimum rules and tournament procedures ready 2 weeks before the tournament date minimum. If you want something to go up for a vote, let me know and I'll post a poll here and on Facebook.

5) Personal request more than anything: I'm looking to pick up a Tundra (yeah, I know, that's ironic considering I traded my then-"extra" one. lol!). I'll take it in any condition, language, etc. as long as it's sleeve-playable. Cheapest tournament-playable versions are much more preferable. lol! I can trade toward it or mix cash and trades. E-mail me (CardGameNut@gmail.com) if you can help out.

That does it for me for now. Any comments or questions feel free to post them here or E-mail me.

Take care all! :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Who's Interested: Innistrad League?

Hey guys!
  Nathaniel and I want to get a preliminary count of who would be interested in doing an Innistrad league.

  Here's the basics of how it will work: When we start the league, you'll get 6 packs of Innistrad and you'll build a Sealed Deck from your 6 packs and any trades you make from your league stuff only (ie: You can't use cards you didn't open in those 6 packs to trade for league stuff to use for your league deck). You'll play other people in the league each week to earn points. Every so often (time frame still TBD), you'll add 1 pack to your league collection and can modify your deck even more. (And at a certain point, we may up the minimum deck count, but that detail is still TBD). We'll continue battling and adding packs until a certain cutoff (still TBD). We'll figure out what we'll do, if anything, for prizes then.

  While we don't have specifics, we would like to get what the interest level is. Entry fee would be a minimum of $16.50 to get in (the price of 6 Innistrad packs) and $2.75 for each additional pack until we hit our cutoff date.

  Is there any interest so far? Nathaniel is working on details and hopefully we'll have those soon. I know he, I, Wayne, and one other are interested, so we have 4 so far. We'd like to get as many people as we can, though. But do note that telling us of your interest does not obligate you to play. It's just to gauge how many we can expect so we'll know if we need to buy additional product, know what kind of prizes (if any) we could do, etc.

Thanks! :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Promo Distribution for Post-Release Determined

Hey everyone!
  So considering I only got two Mayor of Avabruck promos, I decided to re-think how the promo distribution would be done. On the plus side, I have ten Ludevic's Test Subject promos as well. So here's what we'll do for promo distribution:

1) We won't distribute the promos until after the tournament ends.
2) The top 2 players who did not attend a Pre-Release will each get a Mayor of Avabruck promo.
3) Everyone else will receive Ludevic's Test Subject promos in the order in which they sign up on Saturday while quantities last.

I hated to limit the Mayors this way, but considering I only have 2 I'd rather not just give them out to the fastest 2 people to sign up. Considering their "rarity" (as I usually get at least 5-7 Pre-Release promos), I thought it best to treat them more like prizes.

What does everyone think? Do you think this is a fair way to handle the distribution of such a low-quantity promo?

Who's Interested in Post-Release?

Hey everyone!
  The Post-Release for Innistrad is coming up soon! But to help get things running smoothly Saturday, I'd like to know about how many people to expect for Saturday. If you're planning on attending, please either post here or send me an E-mail (CardGameNut@gmail.com) and let me know if you and/or any of your friends are planning on attending and how many people to expect from your "group".


Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Will Not Be At SMM Saturday, October 1st

Hey everyone!
  I will not be at league Saturday. Rachel is in charge as far as behavioral issues are concerned. Technically, she always is, but considering I won't be there it's even more important that you follow any instructions she gives. You'll be meeting in the upstairs library; the church will be using the downstairs area for an even they're doing. Everyone have fun and I'll see you for the Post-Release next Saturday, October 8th. :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

UPDATED: Necessary Policy Document Version 2

I've updated our policy document for the lead-up to the Post-Release next Saturday, October 8th. Please review it and print it off. I'll only have one more adjustment to it that I need to add in but I need to get some opinions on it first (the Draft Pod cutoff).

Let me know what you think.


LINK: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1m5i_x-BI3n78sCbdpwCc6HBAu77uyibTceOyRL-Wprw/edit?hl=en_US (or click on the title of this post)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

POLL: Draft Pod Cutoff Number

Hey guys!
  I was wondering what you all felt would be a good number of people to start making draft pod cutoffs (that is, when we reach X number of people we'll add another drafting circle rather than expanding the current one(s)). I've also posted this on Facebook, so if you respond there you don't need to do anything else.

I figured 8 people (then no pod is above 8 people max), I've heard 12 a couple times, and I've also heard "TO's discretion." But I'd like to have a policy ready so we'll know what to expect for any draft.

Let me know in the comments below, on Facebook, or E-mail me at CardGameNut@gmail.com.

Thanks! :)

October Banned/Restricted List Update: Heavy Hits for Blue and Modern

(The following information is from this article detaliing the Banned/Restricted List Changes and this forum post on MTGCommander.net)

Hey all!
  Today's another Banned/Restricted announcement, this time a normally scheduled one. All normaly Banned/Restricted updates happen on the 20th of ever 3rd month (so there are 4 regularly scheduled updates in a year). This is the first Banned/Restricted announcement since Jace, the Mind Sculptor got banned in Standard, Stoneforge got semi-banned in Standard, and the Modern official Banned list was released.

And today sees more changes than are normally seen out of a Banned/Restricted Update. Let me put it this way...the only formats NOT hit seemed to be Scars of Mirrodin block and Standard. Everything else that has sanctioned play at least once a year got a Banned/Restricted List update.

So let's go ahead and get started off with the first rotating format to get updates...EXTENDED!

Extended Ban List Update

Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Mental Misstep
Stoneforge Mystic

REASON: Basically, every card banned here was a big player in too many successful decks over the last 3 years in Standard. Players seemed to complain about how the format was shaping up, so these new bans are a means to help revitalize interest in Extended.

NOTE: There is no partial banning of Stoneforge Mystic. She is completely banned in Extended.

Now let's move on to our most recent Eternal format, MODERN!

Modern Ban List Update

Blazing Shoal
Green Sun's Zenith
Rite of Flame

Blazing Shoal delivered too consistent of a quick kill: Turn 1-2, throw out Blighted Agent or Inkmoth Nexus, Turn 2-3 cast Blazing Shoal and ditch a Dragonstorm/Reaper King/Progenitus to get lethal Infect damage.

Cloudpost was dominating, allowing very quick mana acceleration in combination with Vesuva and Glimmerpost. Supposedly, these decks could hit 15 mana by Turn 4. This was deemed unhealthy.

Green Sun's Zenith: Early or late game, it's just too efficient at what it does. It can either act as early mana acceleration by getting a Dryad Arbor or get a late-game beater like Primeval Titan. It was getting to a point where all Green decks were going the Green Sun's Zenith route and no other way.

Ponder and Preordain: Like Brainstorm and Ponder in Vintage, they're too good at what they do. In some combo decks, it became too easy to find combo pieces...just like Brainstorm.

Rite of Flame: Combo enabler that was seen way to often. One of the highest finishing decks at the latest Pro Tour won 9 out of 10 games with it and the games ended VERY quickly.

Next up, we're moving to the more restrictive format...LEGACY!

Legacy Ban List Update

Mental Misstep

REASON: Mental Misstep was a mistake...a BAD mistake. Printed to help non-blue decks have access to a Force of Will-type card, instead blue deck adopted Mental Misstep ALONGSIDE Force of Will. What happened to the Legacy metagame was exactly the opposite of what they intended. They planned to ban the card if the results were poor, and, well, they were.

So congratulations! Unless you're playing Standard, Scars of Mirrodin block constructed, or Vintage, you have no opportunity to play Mental Misstep.

And almost finally, we get some good news with an unrestriction in the most open format for legalities, VINTAGE!

Vintage Restricted List Update


Fact or Fiction

REASON: Fact or Fiction was powerful long ago, and the time seems to have come to unban it and see if it's as big a powerhouse now as it was then. This goes along with unbannings like Grim Monolith and Time Spiral in Legacy where each proved to be not overpowered in the present day.

ULTIMATELY LASTLY AND FINALLY...finally (:p)...we have a COMMANDER update with one unbanning and 1 banning as a Commander.

Commander Ban List Update

Lion's Eye Diamond

BANNED AS A COMMANDER (still okay in the other 99 cards of your deck):
Erayo, Soratami Ascendant


Lion's Eye Diamond: Sheldon Menery, basically the internet leader for EDH, and his rules committee feel that while Lion's Eye Diamond COULD have potential issues, the benefits of letting newer players explore "non-scummy" ways to use it seems to be worth unbanning. Or something like that? But they'll keep a close eye on it and see if it ends up hurting the format.

Shahrazad: Meant to let newer players have some fun with subgames, the rules committee was finding that people were building Shahrazad-based decks just to annoy players. That's never good for the game. Whatever exception allowed Shahrazad to be played was removed and it's not completely banned.

Erayo, Soratami Ascendant as a Commander: Simply put, he effectively ends games as soon as he hits the board. Sheldon and the rules committee don't like Commanders that do that. Players learn the hard way that, unless they have a very narrow set of answers, they can't deal with Erayo once it flips.

All of these changes except Commander take effect on October 1st, so enjoy your Ponders, Preordains, Mental Misstepts, and Rite of Flames a little while longer. For Commander, the changes are immediate, as best I can tell.

That is all for tonight. Comments? Suggestions? Feel free to post here. :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Innistrad Post-Release October 8th! Details Here

Hey guys!

We're coming up on yet another new set. I can't believe how fast these things fly! But that's okay. It's just more Magic fun and goodness we get to have, right?


WHEN: Saturday, October 8th.

START TIME: 10:30 for announcements, 10:45 for actual drafting.
     NEW: I will take Pre-Registrations for the Post-Release. You do not have to pre-pay. This will help me determine how many people I can expect and plan out how the day will go roughly. Also, if you are Pre-Registered and running late due to traffic or unforseen circumstances, contact me and I might be able to extend the start time by a few minutes to allow you time to get here.

FORMAT: Innistrad Draft utilizing 3 packs of the new set Innistrad.

DRAFTING RULES: When you open a pack, write down any and all Rares and Foils you see in your pack. Then, pick one card and pass the rest to your left. Once everyone is done picking a card, reach for the next pack coming around, pick a card, and pass to the left again. Do this until everyone has 14 cards (I'll explain this later). Then, after everyone's had a few moments to review what they picked, do the same process for the second pack but pass to the right this time. Finally, open the 3rd pack and repeat the process, going back to the left for this final pack.

DRAFTING PODS: Should we have 9 or fewer people in the tournament, we will put everyone into a single "draft pod", or circle of people drafting. At 10-18 people, we will do 2 pods of ~5-9 people each (depending on what half of our total attendance is), and so on.

DECK CONSTRUCTION: You will build a minimum 40-card deck utilizing the cards you drafted PLUS any basic lands you may need. We will provide basic lands.
  NOTE: In Limited-type events, you are not limited by the "4-of maximum" rule. If you draft 8 copies of a card you really like and want to use all 8, nothing's stopping you from using all 8 in your main deck.


1) While supplies last, everyone will receive...

    A) Mayor of Avabruck/Howlpack Alpha Double-Faced Card Pre-Release Promo

Both Images from Epic Puzzles & Games

    B) Ludevic's Test Subject/Ludevic's Abomination Double-Faced Card Release Promo
Images from Epic Puzzles & Games
    So new or returning players may be wondering "wait...Double-Faced Cards? What in the world??" Yes, you read that right. Double-Faced Cards are cards that are useable on either side of a Magic card, thus they don't have a traditional Magic: The Gathering card back. It's an experiment from Wizards of the Coast to try and make Werewolves, Vampires, and other horror tribes feel the way you'd expect them to: small and innocuous at first, but when the moon rises they turn into fierce creatures!

    You can read the rules on Double-Faced Cards here: Double-Faced Rules from Wizards of the Coast. As well, I'll go over all this before the draft starts.

2) In addition, depending on how many people sign up, I may give out 1-3 booster packs as prizes to the top couple of players.

3) In addition, everyone gets to reserve 1 (one) Rare/Mythic Rare or foil card from the packs they open themselves.
    Example: You open pack 1 and get a Rooftop Storm (a Rare). After all the cards are drafted from the first pack, you open the second pack and get a Garruk Relentless/Garruk, the Veil-Cursed double-faced card (a Mythic Rare). After the second pack is completely drafted and you open the 3rd pack, you see a Sulfur Falls (a Rare) and a foil Traben Sentry/Thraben Militia (a Common). You may choose only from among those 4 cards which 1 (one) you want to keep without worrying about it going into the prize pool.
    NOTE: You may wait to see what all goes into the prize pool before deciding if you want to reserve a card.

4) Further in addition, after the tournament is over, all players will put all Rares/Mythic Rares and foils into a big prize pool (except for the ones that were reserved). We may also add the contents of an opened Innistrad pack to the pile if money allows. Starting in finishing order, anyone who did not reserve a card from their packs will choose one card that's left and take it. The process continues down the finishing order until everyone has 1 (one) card. Then, starting back in finishing order and going until all cards are taken, each player will take 1 (one) card at a time.

  Because of Double-Faced Cards and their Checklist Cards, we will modify a few things about the drafting procedure based on the nature of such cards.

A) Exclusion of Basic Lands from Packs: Because Checklist Cards take the place of Basic Lands, we will for the first time in SMM history exclude the Basic Land from packs. The Checklist Card, used essentially as a legal proxy for Double-Faced Cards, are not playable in and of themselves so must be removed. And since they take the place of Basic Land cards in 75% of Innistrad packs, I figure the fairest thing to do is to not only knock the Checklist Cards out of the pack but also the Basic Lands so that everyone has 14 cards with which to start drafting in their pack.

B) Distribution of Checklist Cards: This will depend entirely on how many Double-Faced Cards some people drafted into their main deck. Because there's 1 Double-Faced Card per pack but not necessarily 1 Checklist Card per pack, we may have to ration everyone to a certain number of Checklist Cards. I will give first priority on Checklist Cards to those who are not using opaque sleeves, then anyone else who wants to use Checklist Cards in place of their Double-Faced Cards will be able to while the Checklist Cards last.

C) Double-Faced Cards Themselves: Wizards of the Coast had a policy ready to go...then tweaked it last night. Here's the rules for drafting with Double-Faced Cards in general:
   1) Every pack has 1 (one) Double-Faced Card, so everyone will have to draft with them.
   2) While the card is in the pack, you may attempt to conceal it as best as you can.
   3) Changed from previous Wizards of the Coats policy: If you pick a Double-Faced Card, it goes on top of your draft pile and cannot be concealed until you pick another card and put it on top of the Double-Faced Card.
   4) If you are not using opaque sleeves, be sure to let me know so I can give you first priority on Checklist Cards. Then, as supplies from the packs last, it's first-come first-served on Checklist Cards. Finally, I'll have some available for $.05 each if we run out of the ones from the packs.

If you have any other questions or any concerns or suggestions, feel free to comment or E-mail me at CardGameNut@gmail.com

We hope to see you on the 8th! :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

NEW and IMPORTANT: Policy Document for SMM Effective 9/10

Hello everyone!

Since some major confusion during a tournament that was run while I could not be in attendance, it became clear that a policy document of some kind was needed so that everyone knows what everyone's roles and expectations are at SMM.

So if you follow the link in the headline of this blog post or just click right here, you will see Version 1 of the SMM Policy Document.

Outlined in this policy document are, in general:
1) "Chain of Command": Who's in charge of disciplinary actions, Tournament Organizer chain of command, Judge/Rules Manager chain, and Socrekeeper chain.

2) "General Expecations at Saturday Morning Magic (SMM)": This outlines the expectations of you, the player, at all times and specifically during games.

3) "Tournament Policies: Introduction": This basically lays the groundwork for the policies guiding the Tournament Organizer.

4) "Tournament Policies: Specifics": Start Times, Formats, Overtime rules, Types of Tournaments, Rules Questions, and Penalties are all covered here. NOTE: A section on prizes is missing. For the moment, this is at TO's discretion.

This policy is to go into effect this Saturday, 9/10. Of course, with all new policies it'll take us a while to get acclimated to the changes so I don't expect perfect adherence the first few times out. Please work on things that are mentioned in this document with which you know you will have problems.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New Modern Tech from Pro Tour Philadelphia

The first official Modern tournament has come and gone, and already there's one HUGE obstacle to playing in the format.

You've gotta get around Combo decks in order to have a chance.

Yes, Pro Tour Philadelphia featured a metagame very short on Control, very high on Combo, and few aggressive decks to be seen.

That's not to say combo didn't attack. By all means, the combo decks I saw must attack to win the game. But that's usually for a one-hit kill. Opponents usually concede if they have no answers to the combo as it's being played.

That said, what may or may not reach the top of the value charts after Pro Tour - Philadelphia?

1) Shadowmoor/Eventide "Filter Lands"
These innocuous lands were seen in some of the big combo decks, including the one that ended up taking the Championship title for the Pro Tour. Splinter Twin seems to run not only the Ravnica shock land Steam Vents but also Cascade Bluffs, the U/R "Filter Land" that lets you turn a Blue or Red mana into 2 Reds, 2 Blues, or 1 of each.

However, some of the others have been going up too without notice. Sunken Ruins (U/B) is up to nearly $7. Cascade Bluffs (U/R) is at $9. Fetid Heath is at $7, while Flooded Grove is around $6. If you can find these kinds of lands cheap, I'd suggest you pick them up, because in place of actual Ravnica Shock Lands these are the next best thing.

Keep an eye on him and some of his friends. Ravnica shocklands aren't cheap anymore. ;)
2) Blazing Shoal and Disrupting Shoal
Anyone remember a cycle of Instants from Betrayers of Kamigawa that let you pay X plus 2 of a certain color or exile a card in your hand with converted mana cost X in order to get some potentially large benefit? Like Nourishing Shoal was either XGG or exile a green card from your hand with converted mana cost X in order to gain X life.

It seems the 2 big ones now thanks to Modern are Blazing Shoal and Disrupting Shoal, the Red and Blue Shoals.

Sensing a Theme Yet? Well, R U? ;)
So you're wondering "Okay, I can see the filter lands since they're an alternative to Ravnica lands and aren't as bad as the original Painlands. But how in the WORLD did these pop up!?"

Blazing Shoal is actually found in a U/R Infect deck, utilizing Blighted Agent as the Poison dealer of choice.

"Wait...I still don't get it. So you pitch, what, a Searing Wind? Seems a bit slow to me."

Well, first of all, remember you have 4x Ponders, 4x Preordains, and 4x Slight of Hands you could use for extremely cheap Sensei's Divining Top-type of effects.

But then you also have Summoner's Pact.

"Okay, I'm lost. Just spell it out."

Okay. Look at Reaper King and Progenitus. What do they both have in common? They're Green creatures and can be searched for by Summoner's Pact, and they're Red cards to be pitched with Blazing Shoal.

Get it now? :) :)

So anything that's associated with this form of the combo deck is probably on the rise. Right now Blazing Shoal can't be had at retailers for less than $13 before shipping while Disrupting Shoal and Summoner's Pact are around $8 each.

Will the bubble on them burst? We'll see...

3) Bridge From Below
Dredge may be dead due to some of the Modern bannings, but that's not stopping people from speculating on Bridge from Below.

Innistrad seems to be providing a viable self-Mill strategy. If that strategy works just as well as Dredging in Legacy, expect Bridge from Below to possibly maintain its currently $18+ value. However, this is purely speculative, in my humble opinion. There have been no tournament results I've seen suggesting that Bridge from Below got another lease on life thanks to Modern. Back on life support? Maybe. But as a competitive strategy? Only Innistrad will tell for the near future.

4) Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
By now you know about the Standard combo involving Splinter Twin and Deceiver Exarch. It was born out of the Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Pestermite combo.

So what would be better than either combo?

Try BOTH in the same deck.

I don't know if anyone was expecting Splinter Twin's father to show up in Modern.

The deck that won Pro Tour Philadelphia featured 2 Kiki-Jikis along with 4 Splinter Twins to copy either infinite Pestermites or infinite Deceiver Exarchs. Kiki-Jiki wasn't the main plan, he was actually the backup and there for redundancy (what's better than 4 Splinter Twins? How about "6"?)

Kiki-Jiki is around $8 right now, but if Control doesn't come back after a ban list update I wouldn't be surprised to see him higher.

5) Storm and Through the Breach Combos
Remember the days of Dragonstorm? Of a player trying to use Ignite Memories, like, 7 times to kill their opponent off just to wind up just short of the goal?

Anyone remember an attempted Legacy deck that tried to use Through the Breach combined with Protean Hulk to pull out 3-4 Hedron Crabs, 1-2 Sakura Tribe-Elders, and a few Dryad Arbors to mill your opponent down to 0?

Both are back with a vengeance. :)

Have any Rite of Flame? You're looking at a $2.50 or so CommonSeething Song? Working on $1. Desperate Ritual? $.50, and I wouldn't be surprised to see $1 if either of these decks stays hot in Modern.

On the storm side, you're seeing a pairing up of Grapeshot and Pyromancer's Swath or Empty the Warrens with Pyromancer's Ascension. The Swath is running around $4 now, while Pyromancer's Ascension hasn't come much above its $2 Standard format price. Grapeshot and Empty the Warrens are so easy to get they're still just regular Commons.

The BIG winner on price gains, though, is Through the Breach.

WINNER: Sleeper Hit of Modern

Through the Breach has seen a radical price hike. Once a dollar bin Rare from Champions of Kamigawa, now it's a legitimate force in the Modern metagame.

Is it being used with Protean Hulk? Possibly. But that wasn't the focus.

How about getting some cheap Eldrazi Titans or 3 Beast Withins on a creature?

Of course, this deck is Blue/Red, so it gets some help from another friend in Champions of KamigawaPeer Through Depths, giving Through the Breach upwards of 16 spells to dig for the right combination of cards.

Other cards that could have been mentioned were left out because they'd already gained so much and will most likely hold where they are. Noble Hierarch, Vesuva, Ravnica block Shocklands, Vendillion Clique, etc. are some of the most obvious from the announcement, either leading up to it or pretty immediately after the fact.

What do you think? Are there any cards that are undervalued in your opinion? Overvalued? Will the ban list change on the first Banned/Restricted List announcement since Modern became legal? Leave your opinions below. I look forward to seeing them.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Organized Play Changes: Planeswalker Points!

One of the most significant changes in the history of the DCI has come around today. The change affects how points are awarded for playing in sanctioned tournaments.

Before, the DCI granted or took away points based on wins and losses in tournaments, and those gains or losses were relative to the ranking of the person you were playing. If you played a lower-ranked player and lost a match, your loss would be small compared to if you faced someone a lot higher in the rankings, for example.

This led some pros to hit a certain threshold of points and "sit on them" in order to qualify for certain tournaments. "What's the point in playing," they'd say, "if we can lose our byes by having bad rounds in relatively small events?"

Today, that all changes.

The DCI has put together a new points system for Magic called "Planeswalker Points."

This is the gist of how it works (and the article is linked in the title of this post): Players will receive points not only for their match records in tournaments, but also just for attending. And the bright part of this system is NO POINTS CAN BE LOST FOR MATCH LOSSES.

That's right! The system does NOT penalize you for losing in Magic.

Players will automatically get points just for attending a tournament. Casual events (which have no specific tie-in like FNM, Grand Prix, etc.) will net a player 1 point just for playing and will not have math records affect their total in any way (so wins are just as good as losses as they're both worth 0 Planeswalker Points at Casual events).

At competitive events, the attendance points are based on how many people play. The more that play in the event, the more points you get just for playing! Match wins then award 3 points toward your Planeswalker Points, Ties award 1, and Losses 0.

Planeswalker Points will be divided into a few categories like Lifetime Points, Competitive Total, and Friday Night Magic Total. Byes and other rewards will be available from time to time depending on the category. For example, Grand Prixs will be divided into seasons now, and having a certain Competitive Total for a season gives you a certain amount of Byes for Grand Prixs in that season!

Competitive Events will have Multipliers built in to help raise your total quickly. For example, let's say after all your matches and attendance points at Grand Prix - MakeUpaCity, you earn 100 points. Grand Prixs have a multiplier of x8, so you earned 800 points!

What does this mean for the Pro Tour, then?

Grand Prixs will no longer directly offer invites into the Pro Tour. But because of their Multiplier values, attending them is strongly recommended to quickly raise your Competitive and Lifetime Points rating so you can play in the now-Invite Only Pro Tours.

I know this can all be confusing. I wanted to get this out as fast as I could. For more information, click the link on this headline.

Questions? Comments? Feel free to post below! :)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Going Forward with Reverse Modern. Feedback Needed.

After some thinking about running Reverse Modern a week from this upcoming Saturday, I've decided to go ahead and run it.

However, I'll need some feedback. I had a few issues with people saying they didn't like the idea of the format, but I don't know what's wrong with it inherently. I'm not the DCI or WotC. Formats I think up may not be fully thought out. That's why I need input and advice to help make any format we try the most successful it can be.

I do know we'll do the following:

1) Reverse Modern will allow only those cards originally printed before the current card frames existed (so anything before Mirrodin and 8th Edition)

2) You may use any version of card that was originally printed in the older frames (so a M12 Birds of Paradise is just as legal as an Alpha one).

3) Ban list currently is following the Legacy ban list. Any input into additions is greatly appreciated.

4) Despite what I originally posted, I'm stripping any bonuses for using exclusively older cards. This seemed to be a point of contention when the issue came up, so I'll heed the feedback and will give no bonuses. That way an M12 Birds of Paradise, for example, means exactly the same as an Alpha one, for example.

5) Entry Fee is $2. The prizes will come from leftover promos, leftover April Charity Tournament prizes, and a prize pack split of however many packs the entry fee will buy from M12.

6) Minimum entry level is 3 people. The tournament style will be swiss in the sense that everyone will play each other one time before either ending the tournament or cutting to the finals/semi-finals (as time allows).

Is there any feedback anyone could provide to help make this format enjoyable? I appreciate any insights.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Some Updates on Double-Faced Cards and Checklist Cards

Hey guys!
  I don't know if you've quite absorbed the Double-Faced Card (DFC) stuff from last night yet. If you haven't, be sure to read the post right below this one.

  Now, since last night a few clarifications have come up as to how often Checklist Cards will come out of packs and how Double-Faced Cards will be treated in gameplay and tournaments. I have no links for this stuff, unfortunately, but I'm sure once the set is released more of it will be officially posted.

1) (At least?) One Double-Faced Card will be in each Innistrad pack.
  One of the questions that came up overnight was due to the fact that Double-Faced Cards are in a way open information and that a player is not required to hide any facet of it.

  So the question came up, "Then how do you overcome some of the inherent disadvantages in drafting?" One of those disadvantages came as this: "If I and 2 others open a pack and have a Double-Faced Card, while 5 others at my Pod don't, that gives those 5 a HUGE advantage, doesn't it?"

  Some of that disadvantage was offset by the (extended) ruling that you CAN hide your Double-Faced Card using reasonable methods. But the fact that you're going to extra lengths just to hide a card shows you're looking at a Double-Faced Card.

  Well, now everyone at the table will be hiding cards. For Innistrad (and I presume the rest of the block), everyone who opens packs will have at least one Double-Faced Card. That way everyone will be scurrying to find a way to hide their card, so just doing that doesn't tip off anyone.

2) Converted Mana Costs of Night Side Up Cards
  Someone gets a Mayor of Avabruck (casting cost 1G) out and it has transformed into Howlpack Alpha. You get an Engineered Explosives sitting with 2 charge counters on it.

  Question: Can you use the Engineered Explosives to destroy the Howlpack Alpha?

  Answer: NO!!!

  Matt Tabak, head of the rulings side of Magic, posted on Twitter that the Converted Mana Cost of a Double-Faced Card showing the Dark part is 0.

  So by extension, this means if you wanna get rid of Howlpack Alpha by way of Engineered Explosives, you'll have to force it to transform back into Mayor of Avabruck and then use the Explosives.

3) Face-Down Double-Faced Cards?
  A question came up about how Ixidron would work with Double-Faced Cards.

  The answer: It doesn't. Double-Faced Cards have no "face-down" side. Both parts of the card are considered to be face-up at all times, thus they can never be turned face-down.

  This also means you can't use Illusionary Mask with Double-Faced Cards either.

  "What about using Checklist Cards?" Checklist Cards are effectively legal proxies. They behave exactly the same as any Double-Faced Card. So, while that idea is clever, it won't work.

4) Checklist Card Frequency
  Another issue that came up was this: "So we can use Checklist Cards if we're not using opaque sleeves or just prefer all our cards to have the regular card backing. But how often will I come across these in packs?"

  The answer came from Mark Rosewater on Twitter. Roughly 3/4ths (75%) of Innistrad packs will have a Checklist Card in place of the land for the pack.

Does this mean the Checklist Card is a draftable card? I don't know. What I'd assume is we'd start putting Checklist Cards and land cards in with the Tokens/Tips & Tricks when we draft. We'd have to ditch the Checklist Cards because they have no value unless you're using them in place of a Double-Faced Card. At that point, they're not additional cards for your decks but rather more like proxies. Then, to even out the pack count for everyone, since Checklist Cards take the place of Innistrad basic land cards we'd probably just also ditch the basic land for Innistrad block only.

Of course, more official details will come as to how to deal with drafting and what to do with the Checklist Cards. I'm just speculating on how I'd expect things to go.

What do you think? Do you like Double-Faced Cards from a casual perspective? Tournament perspective? In general? How about these new rules about them?

The Big Mystery of Innistrad: Day/Night Mechanic EXPLAINED!

(All information comes from here: http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/feature/157b)

A funny thing happened a few days ago. A promo image came up on MTGSalvation.com, seemingly showing two sides of the same creature.

Image from MTGSalvation.com Forums
It looks like this is a Mayor of Avabruck that can somehow become Howlpack Alpha. Notice the "3/3" and the arrow-like direction signaler pointing to the right side of the card. One part of the card appears to have a sun symbol and the other a moon symbol, seemingly depicting a Day and Night side.

"Wait...what does this mean?" people asked. They examined the card picture. "It's gotta be 2 sides of the same creature. I wonder how they'll pull that off..."

"Are we sure it's the same creature and not 2 different cards?" Answer: "It's 193a for the Mayor side and 193b for the Howlpack side."

"Maybe they'll use tokens for the Night side?" "Maybe they'll put the Night side on the back of the card's Day side." "Fools! They never printed an alternate card back BECAUSE of problems playing with different card backs."

Well...tonight we got our answer.

It's PAX Prime this weekend, and since at least last year Wizards of the Coast throws a party to celebrate the upcoming new set.

They revealed 3 Night/Day cards...but didn't reveal HOW they'd work.

Then we got our answer at Midnight.


1) The Basics
Day/Night cards will be double-sided cards. That's correct! For the first time in a tournament-legal Magic release, some cards will not have a traditional "Deckmasters" card back.

Day and most Night cards will have a "transform" ability. This will be a condition that, when met, forces you to flip the card from one face to the other.


From MTGSalvation.com
So let's say it's your turn. On your upkeep, you check to see if anyone cast any spells in the previous turn. If they did not, you get to transform (flip over) Gatstaf Shepherd into this...

Image from MTGSalvation.com
So if you can somehow keep your opponent from casting spells, you'll get this guy on your next upkeep. Not bad, eh? 2 mana potentially nets a 3/3 Green Werewolf creature with Intimidate.

"Wait...it's got no mana symbols. Do you know it's green because of the border?"

Nope! There's an official way to tell the color. See the green dot right directly to the left of the word "Creature" in the type line (just below the illustration)? That dot denotes the creature's color(s). So Gatstaf Howler is green because the colored dot next to "Creature" is green, not because the frame is green.

But now we see another Transform Trigger: At the beginning of each upkeep, if a player cast two or more spells last turn, transform Gatstaf Howler. So on ANY upkeep, if ANY player cast two or more spells during the last turn, guess what you get back?

And on your turn, in order to get your 3/3 back, you'll have to cast nothing so on your opponent's upkeep you can transform into the Howler.

Easy as mud? lol!

Let's try this again. Pay attention to Screeching Bat in this 3-card picture.

Image from MTGSalvation.com

Screeching Bat is normally a 2/2 black Bat creature with Flying and a Transform Trigger. You may pay 2BB on your upkeep to transform the bat. What does it transform into? Just FLIP THE CARD OVER!

Image from MTGSalvation.com
It now becomes a black 5/5 Vampire creature named Stalking Vampire with ANOTHER Transform Trigger. (Quiz question: How do I know it's a black creature? If you said "because of the black dot next to 'Creature'", you've got the hang of it!) If you pay 2BB again during your upkeep, you transform Stalking Vampire. What does it transform into?

If you guessed the Screeching Bat, you're right! You would just flip the card back over.

NOW, then, here's the million dollar question...HOW THE HELL DOES DECK-BUILDING WORK WITH THESE DOUBLE-SIDED CARDS!?!?!?

2) Deck Construction with Double-Sided Cards

Since Double-Sided Cards don't have a normal Magic "Deckmaster" card back, if left unsleeved they'd be marked cards and you'd get penalized.

Wizards of the Coast thought of 2 solutions to this.

A) Play with Opaque Sleeves
The easiest way for a player to solve the problem is to just get opaque sleeves. Then the sleeves' backs will be showing and you'll have no problems. If you need to Transform a card, just take it out of its sleeves, flip the card over, and put it back in the sleeve.

If you do use opaque sleeves, be sure that the DAY side is the one that's showing initially face-up at all times except when in the transformed state, which can only happen on the Battlefield. The day side is the side with the mana cost, making it the default position.

B) Play with Checklist Cards
In most packs of Innistrad, you'll find what's called a "Checklist Card" and looks like this...

Image from MTGSalvation.com

Checklist Cards have a normal Magic back side. If you are not using sleeves or do not wish to use the actual double-faced cards in deck construction, you can replace them with these Checklist Cards and use them to stand in for the double-faced card on a 1-to-1 basis (that is, for every one double-sided card you take out, you use exactly 1 Checklist Card to replace it).

To properly use a Checklist Card, first take a double-faced card from your deck and set it off to the side. Then, take a Checklist Card and fill in the bubble next to the DAY SIDE'S CARD NAME. Then put the Checklist Card into your deck. There, it'll act as the double-faced card you said it'll represent until you're ready to actually use the double-faced card in play.

If you use a Checklist Card to replace at least one double-faced card, all other double-faced cards MUST be replaced by Checklist Cards. Also, a single Checklist Card replaces exactly one double-faced card.

So lets say you have no sleeves but want to use a Gatstaf Shepherd/Gatstaf Howler and a Screeching Bat/Stalking Vampire.

First, take out the Gatstaf Shepherd/Gatstaf Howler. Set it off to the side.
Next, take a Checklist Card and fill in the bubble next to Gatstaf Shepherd. Remember, only the DAY names are listed, so don't go looking for Gatstaf Howler anywhere on the Checklist Card.
Finally, put the Checklist Card in your deck face-down like a regular Magic card.

Repeat that process to replace your Screeching Bat/Stalking Vampire, but instead fill in the bubble next to Screeching Bat instead of Gatstaf Shepherd.

BE SURE TO USE A WRITING UTENSIL THAT WILL NOT SHOW UP ON THE BACK OF THE CARD. Any issues with that will result in your card being considered marked.

Clear as mud? GOOD! Play Magic Online. It'll be a lot easier, I'm sure. lol!!!

Now here's yet another question...what about drafting!?!?!?!?

3) Drafting with Double-Faced Cards
Drafting can get pretty tricky with double-sided cards. While they're still in their packs (as in, not yet picked), they are OPEN INFORMATION. A player may choose to show either side of a double-faced card and is not required to hide any information on it. However, players may take reasonable steps to conceal the identity of any double-faced cards. Regular-faced cards still follow the same hidden information rules: No player can look at a single-sided card except the person who's currently picking from among cards in that pack.

As for when you do pick a Double-Sided Card, you have a few options. Universally, as of Innistrad, you are not required to keep your drafted cards in the same pick order as how you picked them. While we do things more casually at SMM and already follow this new rule, keep in mind for the next few weeks at DCI-sanctioned events that technically you should not be putting cards out of order from how you picked them.

What this now allows is for you to be able to hide more effectively any double-sided cards you pick (though it's not just double-faced cards that can be put in out of order). For example, if your 5th pick is a double-faced card, you could grab a Checklist Card, put it on the bottom of your draft pile, and start piling up your double-faced cards right above it however you wish ("face up"/Day version showing once you go through your pile, or "face down"/Night version showing as you go through your pile).

Other than that, there's no change in how they're drafted.

And to wrap up, we have a mechanics issue...WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU COPY A DOUBLE-FACED CARD?

4) Copying Double-Faced Cards
This one actually gets pretty simple. See, cards that make copies don't have a double face. So if they were to "transform", they'd just turn face-down...if they transformed.

There's a new rule to take care of this, mostly for "copy" cards.

Any non Double-Faced Card that would transform instead does not.

So let's say you have Clone copy a Gatstaf Howler, the Night version of Gatstaf Shepherd. Then a player casts 2 spells after you copy the Howler. On the very next upkeep, you check. A player DID cast 2 or more spells, so Gatstaf Howler transforms back into Gatstaf Shepherd. BUT CLONE, on the other hand, has no back side to transform into. Therefore, Clone just sits there, still as a copy of Gatstaf Howler. :)

I hope that was all clear as mud for you all. lol! I'm sure there will be lots of questions. Feel free to post them here or E-mail me.

I'll be back later today with more reveals from Innistrad...including some enemy-paired dual lands, a new keyword, and a new Aura supbtype. :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

$2 Booster Sale Update: Booster List

(This is a copy-and-paste from Facebook, so pardon the odd formatting)

My final count of $2 boosters is this: Zendikar, 36 packs (1 sealed box); Worldwake, 0; Rise of the 

Eldrazi, 0; Scars of Mirrodin, 1; Mirrodin Beseiged, 1; New Phyrexia, 15. Limits will be in place of 

3 packs of New Phyrexia and 6 packs of Zendikar per person until 2:00 PM. After that, I have some 

priorities before they'll open up for anyone to buy me out. Scars and Mirrodin Beseiged will be first-

come, first-served as of 10:00 tomorrow.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Card Releases Coming Soon to a Hobby or Retail Store Near You!

Hey guys!
  I haven't posted about upcoming new releases in a while, so let's jump right into it, eh?

From the Vault: Legends
This year's installment of From the Vault releases tomorrow (August 26th). From the Vault: Legends contains 14 Legendary Creatures throughout most of Magic's last 11 years along with a couple of Portal: Three Kingdoms Legendary creatures.

Also included is one Innistrad preview, similar to how they previewed Hellkite Overlord in FtV: Dragons before Shards of Alara or last year's Scars of Mirrodin preview Sword of Body and Mind in FtV: Relics.

Here is a link to the article showing all 15 cards in the set: http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/arcana/774

For those too lazy to hit the link, here are the 14 reprints:
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir (new art)
Kresh the Bloodbraided (new art)
Progenitus (new art)
Doran, the Siege Tower
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker (new art)
Sun Quan, Lord of Wu
Cao Cao, Lord of Wei
Captain Sisay
Omnath, Locus of Mana
Oona, Queen of the Fae
Rafiq of the Many (new art)
Sharuum the Hegemon (new art)
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
Visara the Dreadful (new art)

And finally, we have the Innistrad preview, which I'll just post right...down...here...NOW!

Image from DailyMTG Article on FtV: Legends

Mikaeus is interesting, I think. I don't know if it'll ever see competitive play, but I like the idea. You put a certain amount of +1/+1 counters on him, then you can start semi-Proliferating more +1/+1's on each other creature you control. And when you start running low? You can either tap Mikaeus himself to put another counter on or you could use cards like Contagion Clasp or Tezzeret's Gambit to refuel him AND add more +1/+1 counters to every other creature you have.

I like him for casual play, but we'll see how he does competitively. I doubt he'll make much of a splash, but those +1/+1's add up pretty quickly...just sayin'.

From the Vault: Legends is another all-foil mini-set. All 15 cards, including Sun Quan, Cao Cao, and Mikaeus, have the usual From the Vault foiling on them. The set's MSRP is $35, but you know most stores are jacking the price up because 1) it's a very limited release (like all other From the Vault sets) and 2) Sun Quan and Cao Cao are seeing print for the first time in years and in foil. I was able to snag a couple at $60, but if you can get them for MSRP I'm sure you can turn a profit just on Sun Quan, Cao Cao, and Progenitus.

Duel Decks: Ajani vs. Nicol Bolas
The next release coming up, this time for regular buying (as in Wal-Mart or Target kind of regular) is the next in the Duel Decks line, Ajani vs. Nicol Bolas.

Set on the plane of Alara, this Duel Deck is meant to chronicle a struggle between Ajani Vengeant against Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker.

Ajani's deck is more tuned to be a beatdown theme, utilizing Naya's shard to its fullest extent. Ajani's deck also includes new artworks for Ajani Vengeant himself (in foil, as all Planeswalkers in these decks are), Lightning Helix, and Behemoth Sledge.

Nicol Bolas' deck is more of a control deck, meant to stall the field and accelerate his mana until he can get his biggest weapons on the battlefield, namely himself. New artworks are included for Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker himself (in foil, as all Planeswalkers in these decks are), Counterquall, and Deep Analysis (which, btw, will be Deep Analysis' first time in the current frame non-foiled).

Deep Analysis brings up an interesting speculation for Innistrad. When Deep Analysis first appeared in Torment, it was a Common. It's had a promo printing since then, but there's no official rarity for promos. Normally, when a card is re-released in a deck, it gets its most recent rarity attached to it. Deep Analysis, though, is marked as an Uncommon in the deck.

Why is that big news?

Innistrad is known to be bringing back Flashback (thanks to some Duels of the Planeswalker game leaks). And the decks were known last year to have preview cards (Duel Decks: Elspeth vs. Tezzeret gave us Kemba Skyguard and Contagion Clasp as early preivews for Scars of Mirrodin). It's suggested this is a bit of a sneaky "preview card" without being so obvious that it's a preview.

These deck lists don't look like you'll get too much of a return on investment, but seeing as how Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker is now hitting $17 for a regular one, it may be worth the $20 to pick up the decks just to get Nicol Bolas. :)

The deck lists can be found here in this Arcana: http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/arcana/783

The decks release September 2nd. If you're a fan of either Planeswalker, I'd suggest picking these up just for the Planeswalkers. If not, and you're looking at the financial aspect, I'd either pick one up and keep it sealed or just skip over it.

Duel Decks: Venser vs. Koth
Not much is known about the next Duel Decks to be released after Ajani vs. Nicol Bolas. What is known is they're switching up the order of how they do Duel Decks.

Instead of getting a tribal- or otherwise-themed Duel Deck in the Spring and a Planeswalker deck in the Fall, they're switching up the order starting next year. A Planeswalker Duel Deck will release in the Spring, while a Tribal- or otherwise-themed Duel Deck will release in the Fall close to the next new block to come out.

Why is WotC changing this up? With tribal-like themes in each set, WotC feels a tribal-themed Duel Deck will bring more energy to the release of a new block. This way, players can get a feel for certain tribes before they're released in the upcoming block.

As for the actual Duel Deck in question, not much is known aside from the story aspect. Venser and Koth are both trying to save the plane of Mirrodin from the Phyrexians. However, they have their own ways of saving the plane. Venser wants to find Karn, knowing the plane is doomed without him; but Koth won't abandon the Mirrans and would rather die in battle than seemingly give up on them.

This Duel Decks set will release on March 30, 2012, and retail for $20. The Arcana announcing it can be found here: http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/arcana/779