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

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! :)