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Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Few Innistrad League Announcements

Hey guys!
  I have a few announcements that I'll go over in the morning, but if you happen to catch this E-mail/post (or the post on Facebook) you'll be up to speed before then. :)

1. Sign-ups for League are now CLOSED! I'm out of product and barely have enough to go around for prizes and the next pack distribution. Thanks to everyone's support for making this such a big success! We have 11 players! I hope everyone's having as much fun with it as I am. :)

2. OVERALL POINTS MODIFICATION(S)/CLARIFICATION(S): Remember we started out with a "5 match minimum" to get your points counted toward a period. What's been in question in part, though, is do those points "disappear" as if they never happened if you don't get to your 5 match minimum?

The answer is NO! If you don't get your 5 matches in, while it means it won't count for the period (the way things stand now, which I'll explain later), it's still matches you played in the overall standings.

Which leads to another question (one we'll think about possibly now but definitely for the next upcoming league, which I've already heard rumbles of interest to do after Avacyn Restored is out): Do we keep a match number minimum in order to be counted for prizes each period? Points would still go into the overall numbers (up to your best 5 matches of a period), but do we deny prizes because someone couldn't get their 5 matches in? The idea is to encourage play, and I'm wondering if this won't eventually do the opposite and discouraging play if it seems like a person can't get to 5 matches.

Maybe a 5-match limit to what's counted in a period instead? Maybe a rule that says "While there's no minimum number of matches to complete in a given period, you may only count your best 5 matches toward your period's point total (which if you play in 5 or fewer matches is all of your matches)."?

And would we want to consider changing this rule ASAP instead of waiting for the next League?

3. RULE ABOLISHED: No longer will you be keeping up with your League pool. At least, it's not mandated any more. It became too much of a hassle and now that school's started back up and going on all 8 cylinders I just don't have the time to track everything. So don't worry about recording your new packs or trades unless you want to keep a personal record of what all's in your pool.

4. RULE ADDED: This is mostly to cover the times when people have their 5+ matches in and are waiting around for prizes on the Saturday that ends each period. If you wish, you can go ahead and get your new pack and start making trades or modifying your decks using the new pack's contents. However, I ask you keep track of what new stuff you got/traded for/put in your deck due to the new cards you got. If we need people to play in order to get someone to 5 matches, I want them to be able to face anyone in the room with their decks being based on the same pack number their opponent's on. The best way to do this is to open your pack and as you modify your deck note what you took out and put in so you can change quickly back to your pre-new pack deck.

      EXAMPLE: You open your 8th Innistrad pack and find a Heartless Summoning that could help out some of your more expensive black creatures and a Bloodline Keeper, so you add them in as two of the cards you need to reach the new 50 card minimum along with 4 basic lands and 4 cards you already had from your first 7 packs' contents/trades done with cards from the first 7 packs. Later, someone still on their 7th pack still needs 1 more match to complete their 5 match minimum. Take at least the Heartless Summoning and Bloodline Keeper out so you're using a deck that only uses your first 7 packs' contents/trades. (whether you want to get rid of the other cards that got you to 50 cards is up to you; the key is to have only cards that came from those first 7 packs' contents/trades).

5. PRIZES: The prizes for this period will come from:

1) 3 sealed Innistrad packs, split as a pile of 2 packs and a lone pack.
2) 2 packs of Innistrad to crack open and display for picking cards from them.
3) 1 Angelic Overseer
4) 1 Verdant Force from Premium Deck Series: Graveborn
5) 1 Duress from Premium Deck Series: Graveborn
6) 1 Exhume from Premium Deck Series: Graveborn
7) 1 Dread Return from Premium Deck Series: Graveborn

Hopefully this gives everyone something good to look forward to. :) And it puts $1.75 into the overall, end-of-League prize pool to help with a BIIIGGGG Innistrad card and the big cards from Premium Deck Series: Graveborn. ;)

6. BONUS PERIOD: Here are the rules I'm thinking of implementing for the Bonus Period coming up (the time from 1/28 through 2/11):

a) We have 2 players who are 1 period behind (5 matches disadvantaged) at least. To help them make up the time and for me having not enough product to get them started sooner, however many periods they weren't in League they'll be able to play up to 5 matches each to make up ground in the overall standings. For example, someone who hasn't been able to play in the first 2 periods will get the chance to play 10 matches in the next two weeks, while someone who wasn't in it for 1 period will get to play 5 matches.

b) Players who have been in the League since the end of the 1st Period (which should be everyone except for 2 players) may play in as many matches as they wish, but they may only take their best 3 matches and replace them in the overall points standings.

c) Matches played during the Bonus Period for those of us going for replacement points will not change your overall win percentage; they will only change your overall points score. So in essence, if you ever finished a period below 15 points, I literally go back and say "Oh, a loss/tie? Nah...it's a win now. +3 points.  "

d) You are still bound by the "no more than 2 matches per person" rule. I may make an exception if the new players need points but can't find people to play easily, but that will be the only exceptions given.

I'll go over all this tomorrow morning and/or afternoon to get everyone's feedback and see where we go from here on some of the discussion questions. I suggest you read up on this and form your opinions if you're on the computer before coming to SMM.

Thanks for your attention and putting up with some messy first-run issues with the League system. :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

POLL: Keep Track of League Pools: Abolish?

Hey guys!
  Just getting a feel if anyone would be soooo heartbroken if I didn't keep track of new packs entering the League pool and all that. Right now we have 9 players (should be 11 by the end of the week) and the idea of just entering cards is becoming a chore. I think we can trust each other to not add cards that shouldn't be in the pool.

  But still, I want to make sure it's not gonna interrupt your enjoyment of League to not keep track of what you open. :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Last-Minute Cancellation of League Today, 1/21

Sorry for the late notice, but I only got it late this morning myself.

Because of the threat of severe weather, Rachel thought it best to cancel League for today.

Northgate Mall's food court is usually our backup option, but I won't be there. I share the same concerns she and others have expressed about the conditions today.

We'll be back next week, 1/28, with the run-up to the end of Period 2 and the start of our Bonus Period! :)

(And I'll have this week's prizes posted sometime next week, probably Wednesday)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Innistrad Points Update: Final Period 1 and Current Period 2

 We're into a new 2-week period in our Innistrad League! Yay! Congrats to everyone who played. And we didn't just play, we played hard. We had 29 total matches played last period. Consider that each match had to be a minimum of 2 games and we have at least 58 games played in 2 weeks. Whew! That's a lot of card playing!

I feel everyone got something good, so at least you know your entry fee goes toward something nice and useful. :)

The final results for Period 1 were:

1. David McKnight, with 15 points and a 100% win percentage for his 5 best matches.
2. Shaun Walker, with 15 points and a 83.3% win percentage
3. Danny Mullinax, with 12 points
4. Wayne Eanes, with 10 points
5. Preston Hamill, with 9 points and a 61.54% win percentage.
6. Jonathan Taylor, with 9 points and a 60% win percentage.
7. Marcus, with 9 points and a 50% win percentage (I mis-recorded his match totals)
8. Jenn, with 3 points
9. Tiff Higgins, with 0 points. :(

These points will go into the overall placings total, so what you see here is the current overall placings as well. :)

On to this period though! Already we have 8 matches completed in the last 6 days. For some, the extra pack changed their decks up in a big way. Right now only David has not played any games (that I have on record, anyway).

1st: Shaun, with 6 points
2nd: Tiff, with 3 points and a 100% win percentage
3rd: TIE, Jonathan and Wayne with 3 points each and 2-1 game records.
5th: Jenn, with 3 points and 60% win percentage
6th: Preston, with 3 points and a 50% win percentage.
7th: Danny, with 0 points but a 20% win percentage.
8th: Marcus, with 0 points and a 0% win percentage
9th: David, with no matches played yet.

These points standings and win percentages can change DRASTICALLY, though! We still have a week and a half in the period. Today's 9th place player may be Saturday's commanding #1 player. :)

We also may have 1-2 more player starting Saturday, so we could see a HUUUGE shake-up!

I have a box of Innistrad on the way. If you want to play in the League, I'm taking sign-ups as late as next Saturday (January 28th). The price will be $21.50 total. This gets you 7 packs of Innistrad and puts $2.25 into the prize pool for this period. If you're local enough and want to meet during the week to get your pool together, we can arrange that so you won't have to worry about doing so much the first Saturday you're here. :)

I'll catch you all later! :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Vote Needed for INN League End Date

hey all!

i wanted to get everyone's idea on when to end the Innistrad League.

I'm wanting to go at least to the end of March. This way we have roughly 1 month of us running decks on a 40-card minimum, 1 month on 50, and 1 month on 60.

the original idea was to run through Avacyn Restored in May, but that may be too long.

So here are a few ideas. Feel free to vote on one of these or suggest one of your own. :)

1) March 24th
2) April 14th
3) May 26th (allowing one pack of Avacyn Restored to enter the pool)

Please respond when you get a chance. Thanks! :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Feedback Needed: Change in Tiebreaker Rules Needed?

Hey everyone!

I'll update points later tonight, but I wanted to get some feedback on something that might need to change.

As it stands right now, 2-way ties in points would be dealt with by a match at SMM  before prizes are distributed.

However, we now have 9 people in the League. This opens the possibility more and more for 3 or more people to tie on points. We are also usually short on time at SMM, so a tiebreaker match may draw the league time out a bit because it would delay prize distribution.

I wanted to see how everyone felt about using each player's win percentage each period as the tiebreakers instead, THEN if it's still a tie do a match.

If we do that, do we want to base the win percentages on ALL the games a person plays, or do we pick out their best 5 matches like we do for the points themselves and count the win percentages from there?

I've tested both ways (count all matches vs. only count the best 5) and so far there's not much difference because hardly anyone can get more than 5 matches in (I think 4 of us COULD on Saturday, and 2 of us are already there).

What do you all think?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Few More Dark Ascension Previews for the Internet Infrequent!

Hey guys!
  A few more days have passed and we have even more preview cards to go through. Oh, the joys of preview season! lol.

Here are a few hints before we get started:

1) This block's Giant Growth effect can be permanent...or you can get a smaller but still permanent boost off it.

2) A new Werewolf "Lord"...that can help keep your transformed Werewolves out a little longer.

3) A new ability word helps super-anthem your creatures...if you're about to die.

4) Sorin gets a new version, and his intentions, though dark, have a little more purity to them. That doesn't mean he won't steal your stuff, though.

Alright, that's one of every rarity, in order (Common, Uncommon, Rare, and Mythic Rare). Wanna see the cards? Then here we go! (NOTE: All images are used from MTGSalvation.com)

1) Here's our Giant Growth of the Innistrad block. Announcing...Hunger of the Howlpack!

How's that for a boost? Get your First Striker to kill something, then get a permanent +3/+3 boost on a regular attacker! Probably more of a Limited bomb and casual Constructed card, I doubt we'll see it in tournament play. Modern possibly? Maybe. That would be the only venue I'd see it in, and only if it's in either a Persist deck (to get rid of the -1/-1 counter) or a Doubling Season deck to get upwards of +6/+6 on a creature dying. But even then, I feel the kitchen table is where this will stay. (Still...the potential is nice. ;)  )

2) Alright, bear with me as this is a foreign-language preview. But I'll post the translation below the picture. This is the 2nd Werewolf "lord" for Innistrad block. But this one doesn't require a Transform. In fact, the name is indicative of how much help he can be to your Double-Faced Werewolves.

Presenting...Everwolf! (NOTE: Name may change once the English version is known.)

The translation (also from MTGSalvation):

Creature - Wolf
Intimidate (This creature can't be blocked except by artifact creatures and/or creatures that share a color with it.)
Other Wolf and Werewolf creatures you control get +1/+1.
Werewolf creatures you control that aren't Humans can't transform.

Nice! This gives Werewolves "lords" (creatures that give +1/+1 to others of their type) a bit of a mana curve at 2 mana (Mayor of Avabruck//Howlpack Alpha) and 3 mana (Everwolf). And it helps your transformed Werewolves stay transformed too! So if you combine this with Howlpack Alpha, you've got a 3/3 Intimidator and you're making 4/4 Wolf tokens every end of your turn.

Not...too...shabby. :)

Will this allow Werewolves to gain some strength? I think so. Two "lord" effects at some low mana costs and the ability to keep Werewolves like Holwpack Alpha, Wildblood Pack, and Terror of Kruin Pass in their transformed states can really help you out. Not to mention the pseudo-Fog Moonmist provides your Werewolves so they can deal combat damage but not take it and...yeah, I'd be surprised if Werewolves are never attempted at an SCG.

3) Who doesn't love getting +2/+2 on all your creatures, eh? Well...if you want it, a new ability word will give it to you.

Introducing...Thraben Doomsayer and the Fateful Hour ability word!

This will be nice in a token deck. A recurable 1/1 creature is nice, and it works well with the Pre-Release card in helping to ensure you have a steady stream of Humans to sacrifice.

What's especially interesting about Thraben Doomasyer, though, is the new Fateful Hour ability word.

Fateful Hour creates or replaces abilities and effects on cards. Fateful Hour always happens when your life total is 5 or less. Then, you either get additional benefits or replacement effects.

Thraben Doomsayer is an example of getting additional effects at 5 or less life. When you're that low, all your other creatures get +2/+2. So while the Sentry won't be 4/4, your Human tokens you created will be 3/3s late in the game. Or the pre-release promo will be an 11/11 Flying Trampler. If that doesn't win the game, I dont' know what will.

Will Thraben Sentry see play? Oh heck yes! He'll be a kitchen table favorite, and at best he'll see play in G/W Tokens as a constant token creator. Not being Legendary will help you become a token factory with 2 of these and a Parallel Lives. And thanks to Isolated Chapel, I'll bet that Demon pre-release card could see some serious play as a 1- or 2-of. (At least, I hope. I want that card to be sooooo good because it has the potential to be soooo powerful!)

There are other Fateful Hour preview cards out. I'll preview a few of those before the set releases.

And finally!!!...
4) It was obvious by the ads for Dark Ascension that at some point we'd get a new Sorin. You don't advertise a Planeswalker character without having a Planeswalker card to go with it.

We got our answer yesterday...in the form of Sorin, Lord of Innistrad!

 WHEW!!!! Let's break this bad boy down!

+1: 1/1 Vampire with Lifelink!? Sweet! I can make chump blockers that gain me life. That can only HELP Sorin. :)

-2: Permanent +1/+0? Heck yes! Nothing you can do to that emblem once it's made. And if you can hold out long enough, guess what? Emblems (as best as I remember) aren't Legendary. So if you can afford at least one turn to make a 1/1 token, you can use up Sorin to get a permanent +2/+0. With some good fliers or even mediocre attackers, that's a huge permanent bonus!

-6: Alright, let me get this straight...all your base are belong to us!? Oh heck yes! "Only" getting 3 permanents may be horrible, but if you can get your opponent's best stuff it can be downright brutal.

I'll bet we'll see him being used. Maybe not as heavily as, say, Elspeth Tirel or any of the Garruks, but with the ability to give a permanent Battle Cry and make Lifelinking tokens, it's kind of hard to ignore. Plus, with all the "dual" lands in Scars of Mirrodin and Innistrad combined, I wouldn't doubt seeing a Parallel Lives deck splashing some Isolated Chapels to run him.

Of course, also remember this comes from a non-competitive player so take this advice for what you will. lol.

That's all I have time for today. We'll be continuing our Innistrad League Saturday! Come down and join us, play some non-League games if you're not in it or (unfortunately) can't get in it. We welcome all kinds of players! :)

Also feel free to leave comments on any of these preview recaps and start a discussion on what cards will and won't see major play. :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

League Standings Updates, Heading Into Home Stretch of Period 1!

Hey guys!
  I thought you'd all like an update on how the standings are going for Innistrad League.

Right now we have 6 players: myself, David "Ducky" McKnight, Marcus, Jenn, Wayne Eanes, and Tiff Higgins.

We started off strong with 5 of those 6 players starting 2 Saturdays ago. We have since added Tiff and she's got a League match and some trades under her belt.

Since the last update, we've had the following happen:

* Marcus completed one more match against Ducky, winning it 2-1.
* Wayne and I have completed 2 league matches (the most we can do against each other). He won both, taking one 2-1 and the other 2-0.
* I beat Tiff today, going 2-0.

The updated standings are as follows:

Marcus: 12 Points (UNDEFEATED! And needing 1 more match to count for points)
Wayne: 9 Points (Needing to complete 1 match to count his points)
Preston: 6 Points (and completed all my matches. :)  I'm going for replacement points now.)
Jenn: 0 Points (2 Completed and 3 remaining)
Ducky: 0 Points (1 completed, 1 in progress against Wayne, and 3 more needed after)
Tiff: 0 Points (1 completed, needs 4 more)

I've also run into a snafu with new player additions. I only have enough boosters left to add 1 more person this weekend, then I have to wait until I get a new box. What this means is that some players are gonna start further behind than they already are if they start within the next 2 weeks just because of a supply issue.

So we're fixing that (and I'll make a separate post about it here as well).

Since we have our quarterly Post-Release on February 11th, which is usually a League Saturday (where we finish up our Period matches, do prizes, and distribute the next pack), instead of counting for a new points period from January 28th through February 11th we'll do a "Bonus Period." You'll still get your pack on the 28th, but there will be no prizes on the line. You'll only pay $2.75 to get your next pack. Then, during those 2 weeks, you can complete up to 3 total matches (total may change based on feedback) to replace previous bad match scores with improved new ones. Then, after the Dark Ascension Post-Release, we'll start back on a normal schedule: you'll get 1 pack of Dark Ascension to add to your League pool and $5 will cover your entry for that period.

Again, I apologize for what may be some forced delays in getting started. I'm hoping the Bonus Period helps make up for it.

If you have any questions, let me know! I'd be happy to help. :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

IMPORTANT: Dark Ascension Post-Release. MUST READ!


Okay, guys, I have a situation on my hands.

Thanks to my prolonged schooling, I'm running out of cash...FAST!

After I buy my book for this semester (yes, BOOK! I only have one class. Yay! :)  ), I'm dangerously low on funds.

MEANING...this is gonna affect my Dark Ascension booster box ordering.

Here's the deal: In order for me to ensure I have the cash to buy our Dark Ascension boxes, I kinda NEED to have pre-signups and pre-pays.

It also means I can't take "IOUs" like I've done in the past. I've GOTTA have cash this time around.

So what's the entry fee?

Same as always: $9. I'm not greedy here! lol! I just need an influx of cash quickly!

What I'd LIKE to get, though, is the number of people interested in the Post-Release and a Pre-Pay from them before Release Day. That'll help me pay for at least 1 box, maybe 2 depending on how many pre-pays I get.

You can also Pre-Pay for loose packs, too. That'll also go toward box buying if you Pre-Pay.

Here's how it'll work: You Pre-Pay for the Post-Release, I'll guarantee you a choice of if you want the Pre-Release promo (if I get any) or the Release Promo...even if you've already been to one! (Remember, in the past I've restricted it to "If you've been to a Pre-Release, you don't get a Pre-Release card unless I have enough to go around." Now you have the option of doubling up on a promo!). It'll still be one promo per person (the rest will be used throughout Innistrad League as part of the prize pools), but it's free choice of which one you want (if I get Pre-Release promos AND While Supplies Last)

You can choose not to pre-pay and just show up on the day of the Post-Release and pay there. But I warn you, if I don't get a lot of pre-pays then I can only afford 1 box. And at that point, you're risking I don't already have 12 people who are ONLY drafting. If I get only 1 box, there's a chance I won't have loose boosters available until 1-2 weeks later.


1) I'm low on cash, meaning I can't GUARANTEE I can afford enough Dark Ascension to last through the Post-Release for both the event AND loose pack buying.

2) To help ensure I can afford to get enough, I'm asking people who already know they'll be doing our Post-Release to please pre-sign up and pre-pay. The more pre-pays I get, the more I can guarantee enough boxes (and therefore boosters) to go around.

3) You can pre-pay for loose packs, too. This will help TREMENDOUSLY!

4) If you don't pre-pay, and if my pre-pays are few and far between, I'm only gonna guarantee one box, which means at most 12 entrants for the Post-Release draft AND possibly no loose packs for 1-2 weeks while I resupply.

If you're interested in the Post-Release (February 10th, the week after Release Weekend as always) and KNOW you'll play in it, please Facebook message me, E-mail me (CardGameNut@gmail.com), and pay ASAP. Let me know 1) If you're playing in the Post-Releaes ($9) and 2) how many loose packs you want ($2.75 per pack, as always). (I ask you keep those separate so I can make sure I prioritize Post-Release players from loose pack buyers)

Priorities will go to Post-Release players first, and only for draft entry. Loose packs will be sold after the Post-Release draft starts.

Thanks for your understanding and cooperation! :)

Dark Ascension Previews for the Internet Infrequent, Part 1!

Hey guys!
  Those hints I posted last night about Dark Ascension? I want to go ahead and share the cards that fit with the hints. So in the order of those hints, here's the start of our Dark Ascension Previews for the Internet Infrequent! :)

  (Yes, I now put that to let everyone know these are not exclusives. This is mainly done for a couple reasons: 1) I have friends in the League who don't learn about new cards except through here and the links I provide, and 2) I just like ranting and seeing if I can guess the good cards correctly. lol.)

1) "There are only 13 new Double-Faced cards. Yep...13. And not all of them are creature-to-creature or Planeswalker-to-Planeswalker."

So the first preview isn't really a preview of a card. It's the Checklist Card that will be in most Dark Ascension packs. (And I'll assume it's the same ratio as Innistrad: In 75% of the packs, the basic land is replaced with a Checklist Card)

And here it is!

Picture from MTGSalvation.com
Already we can see a few things:

A) There are only 13 new Double-Faced Cards. This may explain why you can see the card names a little easier. :p

B) There is a multi-colored Double-Faced Card. It's a guess this will be a Legendary Creature because the name fits with what you'd expect to be a Legendary.

C) There are 2 Double-Faced Artifacts! And I'll preview one here in the next day or two.

D) There's a 1-mana Double-Faced Card.

These ought to be very interesting cards, especially the artifacts and the 1-drop transformer.

To go along with these previews, I'll be showing the Pre-Release and Release Double-Faced Cards later in this post, so watch out for those in just a bit. :)

2) "Reverse Persist, anyone? Yep, it's here. :)"
So you remember Persist, right? If the creature died and did not have a -1/-1 counter on it, it came back with a -1/-1 counter.

So what's the opposite?

Introducing Undying! Undying is a new Keyword, but the form of it isn't new. Undying effectively works just like Persist, but it mentions +1/+1 counters instead of -1/-1 counters. So while this mechanic wouldn't work in a Gavony Township-based deck, it might be interesting in other areas.

Like, for example, a green beatdown deck maybe? Maybe in Zoo in Modern? How about taking a look at this card before judging?

Introducing Strangleroot Geist!

From MTGSalvation.com
Holy cow! A 2-mana 2-power creature with haste that if blocked comes back as a 3/2 ready to block!? I thought this was part of the reason Wild Nacatl got banned in Modern. Now they're gonna give it back? *facepalm*

And this creature doesn't even need other specific lands. Just cast it, swing for 2, and if they block you get a 3/2. If not, you just got your 2 points of damage in.

On the plus side, there's really no other upside to this. It's not an Elf, it's not a Wizard, and it's not a Faerie or a Goblin, so we're safe from absurd brokenness. lol. But this little fella's powerful, I can guarantee that now. :)

3) "The Pre-Release and Release cards are still Double-Faced Cards...and they are creatures. They come from 2 colors not used in the last go-around in Innistrad's Pre-Release and Release promos."

Here we go! This will either be the reason you play in Pre-Release or Release events or the reason you'll just wait these cards out in the dollar bin. lol.

Like Innistrad, these promos are Double-Faced Cards, and they're both Rares. (Yeah, it's not fun that the Pre-Release isn't a Mythic again, but considering they're going with DFCs as the promos you can't really pull your only Mythic DFC to be the promo, can you?)

So without further ado, here are your reasons to go to Pre-Release and Release!

The first card is the Pre-Release promo. Remember Lord of the Pit? How about Time Spiral's Liege of the Pit? This DFC is sort of similar...but a lot more powerful and a lot cheaper on the mana cost!

I am proud to introduce Ravenous Demon/Archdemon of Greed!!

Image from MTGSalvation.com
WHEW! Okay, let's break it down...

For 5 mana, you get a 4/4 creature. Not good, right? Eh...maybe...

But here's one of the good things about this card...the turn you play him, you can Transform him! That's right! Just sac a human and all of a sudden you just paid 5 mana and a creature (beh! Worthless Humans!) to get a 9/9 flier that tramples!

Here's the big downside, though: You've gotta keep a Human in play in order to not take damage from the Demon. Even worse, if you don't sac a Human, you have to tap your big ol' 9/9 flier. So that definitely can suck. :( However, if he's in an otherwise Human-centered deck, it may not be that hard to keep going. ;)

The other Double-Faced Card is your traditional Werewolf DFC. It has the same Werewolf transform triggers and starts off as an otherwise vanilla human...but when he transforms, it's gonna cost your opponents to transform him back!

Presenting...Mondronen Shaman/Tovolar's Magehunter!

Okay, so a 3/2 for 4 mana isn't too good for staying power, but what if you got a lot more out of that? Say, 2-4 damage?

That's what Magehunter is there for! Let's say they don't draw anything to help them get rid of your Werewolf. You transform into Magehunter, maybe attack, and say "go." Now if they can't deal with it, they're gonna take 2 damage for every spell they cast, and if their intent is to re-Transform it they'll have to take 4 damage to do it.

Is it Constructed playable? I'd say barely. I think enough 1-to-1 removal exists to take care of this before it's a threat. But you may say if it takes a removal spell out of your opponent's hand, it's worth it already. :)

4) "A new mill card comes around...and if you Flashback it, it's twice as potent. :)"

Oh yes! Mill could be a decent archetype in either Standard or Modern now.

In one of last week's flavor columns, WotC hinted that Flashback'd cards may be more powerful than when they're cast normally. And in this preview, we see just how sick they can get.

Ladies and gentlemen, let's introduce a double-miller, Increasing Confusion!

Image from MTGSalvation
Whew! Okay, so let's get this straight...in Modern, I could combo this with Urzatron to help power out a huuuuge mill run...then next turn I could Flashback it for the same cost and get double the cards!?

What about Standard? If you run a Ramp deck, all you need is a single Blue so Hinterland Harbor in 4s would help along with just a few Islands.

I've always loved mill as a theme. Why worry about your or your opponent's life when you can just keep their cards from them? But I'd say to be Standard good decks would have to be able to produce more than 1 mana per land or keep mana birds and Pristine Talismans on the table long enough for it to count. In Modern or even casual, I'd love to mix this with Primeval Titan and the Urzatron. :)

5) "A 1-mana 2/1 that has its own form of Flashback."
Alright, let me set the record straight: Creatures do not have a Flashback-like mechanic. This is an individual card in the set that does this...at least, so far.

Let's give a few more hints. It's a Zombie, and it's the second 1-mana 2-power creature its had this block (the first being Diregraf Ghoul).

How good could it be? Well, let's find out.

Introducing our Goblin Guide-like creature of the block...Gravecrawler!

From MTGSalvation

Not too shabby for a 1-mana creature! Okay, so it can't block. Big whoop! It's a beater anyway!

Some are already talking about using him in MartyrProc decks (decks running the Martyr of Sands/Proclamation of Rebirth combo to gain insane amounts of life each turn) as a recurring beater/blocker. I see this as being the new low-end go-to creature for any Black deck that wants to try and get in for early damage. In a way, it's this block's Goblin Guide. While it won't see huge use in eternal formats (no Haste), I have no doubt he'll be a Standard superstar before the year's out and may eventually be a Modern star if MartyrProc goes aggro more than controlish.

And we're down to our final card of the day. You know how people always kid about the coming zombie apocalypse? Well...

6) "A card that says "destroy all Humans." No, I'm not putting words into this card's metaphorical mouth. It doesn't say "Choose a creature type, then destroy all creatures of that type." It says "destroy all Humans." :)"

Here we are, ladies and gentlemen. If you've made it this far, it's only fair that I give you what I think is the most flavorful and fun card in this set of previews. Will it be good? It depends on if Human decks keep it up as the SCG events or if something in Dark Ascension supplants them. But considering what's in the format now, maybe it's not unreasonable to play...Zombie Apocalypse!

From MTGSalvation

Yes, I can see the tagline now. "Zombie Apocalypse, it's coming! February 3rd, 2012. Are you ready?" lol.

But seriously, I like this card. I don't know if it'll be any good. It's a tribal board wiper, so unless you can guarantee a bunch of Humans gets caught up in this or that you have a lot of Zombies ready to come back from the dead, I don't know how much good this will be.

I could see a self-milling strategy with this and a full playset of Snapcaster Mage. It'll eventually cost you 8, but when you can get stuff like Geth, Lord of the Vault; Skaab Goliath; Skaab Ruinator; or Unbreathing Horde; or perhaps a strong Zombie comes out in Dark Ascension, this may be worth it from a reanimator standpoint.

On the negative sides, it brings the creatures back tapped, only affects one creature type, and is a Sorcery so you can't play end-of-turn shenanigans with it. So for its Constructed playability, I'll say again that it just depends on how big a threat Humans are. If they're a big enough threat, 6 for a board wiper may be worth it. If they're not, this will remain a strictly casual card until self-milling and better Zombies come along.

Still, though, this will be a cool card to have. It's one of those that could even get people who normally aren't into card games to try Magic. And if it can do that, I think it's a good card overall. :)

That's it for this round of previews...and there's still more! Did you know Ray of Revelation is coming back? Yep! So if Modern needed a Flashback-able enchantment kill spell, it has it now! There are also other new cards that'll preview tomorrow on DailyMTG.com and on Twitter and various other social media websites, so stay tuned to those for updates that I can't get out. :)

Also remember, our Innistrad League runs long enough to put a few packs of Dark Ascension into the League pool, so start watching out for cards you may want for your League decks.

We hope to see you all Saturday, but if not I hope you enjoyed the previews here.

Dark Ascension Hints and Insights

Hey everyone!
  If you're not on the internet a lot, just to check on here mostly, there are a ton of Dark Ascension previews that went up today!

  But for now, instead of doing a rundown of some interesting cards, I'm gonna give you a few hints about what's in the previews:

1) There are only 13 new Double-Faced cards. Yep...13. And not all of them are creature-to-creature or Planeswalker-to-Planeswalker.

2) Reverse Persist, anyone? Yep, it's here. :)

3) The Pre-Release and Release cards are still Double-Faced Cards...and they are creatures. They come from 2 colors not used in the last go-around in Innistrad's Pre-Release and Release promos.

4) A new mill card comes around...and if you Flashback it, it's twice as potent. :)

5) A 1-mana 2/1 that has its own form of Flashback.

6) A card that says "destroy all Humans." No, I'm not putting words into this card's metaphorical mouth. It doesn't say "Choose a creature type, then destroy all creatures of that type." It says "destroy all Humans." :)

Have fun thinking about these! :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Innistrad League, Week 1 Update!

Hey all! A few things to update you all on the Innistrad League:

1) Because deck building took so long today, I'm extending the time to earn points for the opening 2-week period to 1:30 PM on January 14th. At 1:30, I'll calculate the totals, we'll do prizes, and then add a new pack to our League pools.

2) From the 14th until the end of the League, you'll have until 1:30 PM 2 weeks later to earn your points for a certain 2-week period. This should allow time without having to worry about deck building/modifying time.

3) To be eligible for overall prizes, I'll keep registration open until the morning of January 28th. By that point we'll have 1 pack added to our pools with a second one coming at the end of the day.

4) Do you want me to get score pads for you to keep track of your matches and match records more easily?

5) We're looking to shorten up the League total run time from May to April, possibly sooner. What do you all think?

Remember, you can still get in on this first round of Innistrad League up through the start of the day January 14th. After that you'll be running for the second 2-week stint between the 14th and 28th. After the 28th, no new entries will be accepted.

As for how things ran today, we got 5 people initially signed up (and plenty of room for more! :) ). We also got 5 full matches done and here are the results so far:

Marcus: 9 points
Wayne: 3 points
Preston: 3 points
David: 0 points
Jenn: 0 points

I know I've already changed my deck around quite radically due to some unexpected variances in how a few of our players are running their decks. This sets up for an interesting League moving forward. :)