Sunday, November 21, 2010

Should they join Kor Firewalker?

Hey kids! Congrats to Jeff Thomas on winning the last FNM! I think he is still busy making soldier tokens down at 3rd right now. Unfortunately I have decided that a much more interesting discussion would be on the proposal to ban both Jace the mind sculptor in Standard and Survival of the Fittest in legacy. Right now those two cards are inarguably dominating the format and definitely presenting a huge change in the way people build decks. You either beat them(sometimes!) or join them. Anyway let’s talk about the history of banning cards…

Wizards of the Coast official position on banning cards is well, you shouldn’t ban cards, only in dire circumstances. In the past five years, in standard they have let the cards play out unitil rotation…leading to well a player base filled with whiners(not the kind in california or france). The past two standard formats were dominated by Bitterblossum and bloodbraid elf, which in the end weren’t banned, and well dominated until their respective rotations. The last cards to be banned where the well affinity bannings in 2005 which banned all of the artifact lands, disciple of the vault, and arcbound ravager, which led to well the format being dominated by tooth and nail where some people argued for that to be banned as well.

Affinity was one of the most degenerative decks of all time, probably next to academy as the best type two deck of all time. The format forced people to main deck artifact hate, which was almost insane given how bad artifact hate was against the rest of the decks in the meta. Affinity had turn 3-4 kills, was quite resilient to hate, and could win out of nowhere. And that’s even without skullclamp which was banned the previous fall for well being one the best cards of all time.

I guess it all kinda arbitrary, but I suppose it needs to reach the affinity line in terms of power, performance, and well reiliancy. Altough one could quickly argue that all of those strategies and Jace are just as dominiate, I would tell them that having the rest of the field would have 8-12 dead cards against non-affinity opponents. Affinity also gave the opponent very little time to react, and made things very non-interactive(not a Webster word). Either way, point conceded that its very arbitrary the line to ban cards.

Now, that brings us to legacy, legacy being an eternal format which well I guess the “wait till rotation” route doesn’t work out. The last card to be banned was mystical tutor, a key card in both reanimator and Storm decks. Mystical was thought to keep getting more and more powerful, decks were simply made to find there instant or sorcery, play it and win the game.

Alright I guess I will just make a chart based off of past criteria and well my pretend expert opinion:

Suspect #1:

Jace the Minscupltor

Format dominating?

Totally guilty of that, in the last stars city open it was 50% of the top 16. Once played the card needs to be immediately dealt with.

Create a non-intereactive style of play?

Well not really, the thing about jace is that it gets better with player skill, it bounces creatures, finds answers, and controls the opponents draw step. In fact, the card is all about intereaction.

Quick end to games? A combo engine?

Not really, it will certainly put the opponent ahead but it’s not an engine. It finds answers.

Finds a home in a variety of decks?

Yes, it’s not just putting one strategy ahead, there are many kinds of jace decks. Right now we have RUG cobra, UB control, and UR destructive force. Which is a definite argument for it stay giving that it allow multiple types of strategy.

Unstoppable?

Well not really, the valakut ramp decks apparently have good game against the blue decks, and another plan is just win before turn one with vampires, goblins, or elves. Pyromancer’s ascension deck is also a good choice against the Jace decks too. Yes it’s a card advantage, and will take the game over if unanswered but it’s not unstoppable.

You can kill planeswalkers with burn, attacking it, or playing another Jace. Who needs Maelstrom pulse and oblivion ring? Well everyone, but they are not the only the cards.

Verdict:

You probably shouldn’t ban it, there will always be the ‘best’ card in standard. Its powerful, it does win games, but at the end of the day it promotes interaction and smart play. Sure its one of the best blue cards since well I guess brainstorm that doesn't mean its ban worthy.

Suspect #2

Survival of the fittest.

Format dominating?

Yes it certainly is the most popular strategy. However, it doesn’t show up as much as Jace does, however it is a bigger format.

Create a non-interactive style of play?

Yes, it certaintly does. Games in which survival “goes off” are incredibly non-interactive, the other player has to have the answer within a turn or lose.

Quick end to games? A combo engine?

Oh yeah, that’s what it is, an engine with vengevines or necrotic ooze.

Unstoppable?

Well no, but it’s quite resilient. There are a lot of good cards against survivial. But they have plenty of search and discard and counters to play around the hate. Also many have alternate wins with being a ug madness deck or a gw agro. So while you have all those anti-survival cards you have to deal with mongrel or goyf coming in at you.

Will it continue to dominate?

Well I will put it this way if they ban both vengevine and necrotic ooze, survival would still be quite playable as a draw engine, in fact there will probably be cards in the future that will break it.

Verdict:

At the end of the day, I am against survival being banned; however, it seems that has much more criteria to be banned than Jace does. One it’s a combo engine and two there is no rotation
While I say that it’s more bannable than Jace, I still am against banning it. In fact, I am against banning mystical tutor as well. There has to be points were we accept the power level of some cards. Survival is definitely equal to mystical’s power level so I won’t be surprised to see it get the ax.

Props:
Mark Sanchez the best QB in the NFL, yeah I said it

Slops:
The guy in my comments who I remember in the 7th round for taking out a baby and skinning it in front of everyone. Now whose the lying cheater!! =P
You guys for not mentioning anything about blue waffles

Anyway until next time….

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Goblins, the road to recovery, blue waffles,the therapy that wasn't, and why I play

Hey kids! Well it’s been a long time but hey, I had a lot going on. I had a relationship, the subsequent end of that relationship, and well other stuff going on. I won’t get too much into the break up stuff, but heck as always I got to tie in my pretend life into my real life as a planeswalker. There was a certain feel of redemption or I guess validation, in other words, I guess a feeling that there are more good things to come magic wise and well other life wise.
The road to recovery began on saturday. Last night, I attended the Jupiter games Legacy Power nine tournament. The prize pool is well ridiculous; I wish 3rd universe had this kind of payout each week.

Top 8 drafts the power nine.

9-16 drafts a set of duals

16-24 drafts the set of fetchlands.

Around $2,000 in prizes.

This is almost as a good as a 5k payout. Legacy players from as far as Columbus Ohio were in attendance. I of course sleeved up my favorite archetype of all time:

Goblins

Deck list

4x aether vial
4x goblin lackey
4x goblin warchief
4x goblin piledriver
4x goblin ringleader
4x goblin matron
4x gempalm incinerator
3x mogg war-marshall
2x siege gang
2x warren weirding
1x goblin sharpshooter
4x badlands
4x mountains
4x bloodstained mire
2x scalding tarn
2x arid mesa
4x wasteland
4x rishadan port

Sb:
4x cabal therapy
4x extirpate
4x pyrokinesis
3x blood moon

At the end of the day, the only card I would change is blood moon in the side, I think Jitte deserves some testing, to get an edge on aggro matchups. The reason why should become apparent. Possibly pithing needle deserves a look too.

Well round one was called after I filled out my decklist...

Round One mono blue Merfolk.

I think every time, I see turn one island aether vial, I get more excited than a kid eating blue waffles. Check them out online if you never heard of them, they are blueberry waffles made by eggo, yum yum. My opening hand was:

Mountain, port, warmarshall, Piledriver, Piledriver, gempalm, and a fetch.

I got a read on him, by seeing a silver gill adept on his decklist. Turn two I baited him by playing war-marshall and he responded by countering with force of will, turn three I played piledriver, and then played another. They sat there and chumped and eventually I was able to kill all of his dudes from sharpshooter and the gempalms I drew off of my endless stream of ringleaders.
The next game was a blur; I just remember blowing him out with pyrokinesis. I hope all of my matches are this easy lol.

1-0

Round two 3/4 color control

In the first game, He gets stuck at two lands, and I essentially port him out of the game. His only play was dark confidant, and that quickly got gemplamed. I kept tapping his green to stop mean ole tarmogoyf from showing up.

Game two was probably one of the best of the Tournament. I sided in cabal therapy’s. Turn one aether vial, turn two, I therapy’ed naming tarmogoyf, I got 3 tarmogoyfs, his hand was then land, deed and smother, I then tapped my vial, dropped lackey, and sacked it naming deed.

Ouch, four cards in one turn. I then easily won the game. Cabal therapy is nuts =).

2-0

Round three “the rock”

Before the match the guy talked about how he had no clue about legacy, I hoped that continues.
First game I blew him out with lackey, rishadan port and goblins, he kept asking to read all of my goblins, which confirmed his lack of legacy knowledge.
The next game he played some goyfs and a jitte, and well that was all she wrote.

Game three, I kept this hand

Fetch, Goblin Lackey, Goblin Piledriver, Siege Gang, port, gempalm, Goblin Warchief.

Would you keep this hand?

Well I did, and I won turn three. Best summary of a game ever? Ok fine, turn one lackey sigh, turn two, swing, drop siege gang, play piledriver, turn three swing and sac.

Round 4 gw survival

Game one, all I saw was a savannah, a birds, and a forest…yeah I had no idea what he was playing.

Game two, I came out really slow, he got a turn two survival and well that was pretty much it.

Game three, my opening was something like this:
Mountain, Goblin Lackey, Goblin Piledriver, mountain, Wasteland, gempalm, Ringleader.
I got off lackey, and was able to ringleader into good stuff. He once again had a really bad hand.

Nice guy though, but man he played slow. Thought for hours during mulligan and eventually kept.

So 4-0, looking pretty good. If I win two out four, I get prize, If I win the next two, that’s a top 8. So as long as I don’t play zoo, particularly zoo with stoneforge mystics and jitte, I could be quite successful.

Round 5 Zoo with stoneforge mystics and jitte

Well, game one kept a hand with two wastelands and two aether vials, hoping to screw him out of the match. I knew he was zoo from overhearing people talk about him. And well, he fetched for two basics, and played a turn two stoneforge mystic.

Game two, he once again had turn two stoneforge, and well, that was all she wrote. Jitte is retarded

Although as a side note, he got in an argument with his wife on the phone during the whole match, so I guess I kinda did win on the account I didn’t have to deal with that.

4-1 =( in matches

1-0 in not having to deal with angry women.

Round sixUG Survival

Game one, I win the roll. I go turn one lackey, he plays land go. I swing in drop warchief off of lackey, drop two piledrivers. He untaps, looks at it and scoops. He didn’t have a single creature in his hand.

Game two, he begins to start survivaling out his vengevines, I stop him with extirpate. You remember that card from last match that owned, well guess who showed up. Jitte is retarded.

Game three, well this the most well, I guess the judge decided this one. I went turn one, I named survival off cabal therapy, got one! I saw Jitte, and few creatures, no force of will. Two turns later. I play Goblin matron grabbing incinerator, it resolves, I then sack the Matron to therapy….

“yeah sure *smiles*”

“alright I will name Jitte”

“oh wait force of will”

“no it just resolved.”

“no I didn’t know you played it”

“JUDGE!”

Now in the real world of magic, there is no way that spell didn’t resolve. However, the judge saw it differently, he saw it as a lack of player communication, which I don’t think I’ve could have been more clear. The force of will was allowed, and the coming jitte well cost me the game.

Either way, I shook on it with him. I will probably file it under him not paying attention, rather than something more malicious. Still in a big match you should be paying attention. I did wish him luck...

4-2

0-1 too bad calls

Well it’s do or die time, I really hope I can get a good match up out of the next round….

Round seven u/b merfolk

Game one, he plays underground river and pass, I go turn one lackey. He plays mutavault. Right
now I have him on fish, but I am not 100% sure. I play Goblin Piledriver, no response, I hold lackey so it doesn’t activate and block. No port or waste. Next turn I swing in, and gempalm incinerate his vault. After it becomes a 2/2, but before declare blockers. I get a ringleader, from that point I just smash him.

Game 2, I don’t remember this game at all, but I win, so hey my bad guys.

Round 8 Affinity.

Game one, this game was soooooo tight. Like tighter than robin hoods tights tight, like he was a soprano for a reason tight.(and yes I know I could have used a perverted joke, ok fine opposite of goblin matron tight). The match started off with him mulliganing down to five. He started out with memnite, opal, land, ravager, the next turn he played cranial plating, ouch! That’s a better five than the 1998 Bulls. All I could do was muster up a mogg war marshalls and slowly block. A ringleader came later, and eventually siege gang helped me to it. Eventually, I had piledriver, matron, and a sharpshooter in hand. He had plating, 3x myr enforcers(one untapped), ravager, and an ornithopter(untapped) on board no hand. My board had 4 tokens, warchief, and siege gang. He was a 18, I was 7. All I could do was matron for a gempalm and hope that would buy me a turn. He swung in with all of his enforcer and the ravager(he knew I had gempalm and siege gang to stop onithopter from going in). I block with three of my tokens and let an enforcer through, I am at 3. Eot I gempalm his onithopter. Next turn I go in with matron, Sharpshooter, siege gang, warchief, a token and a freshly played piledriver. That is exactly 17 damage plus a goblin sack from siege gang was the game.

Game two, a lil different complexion. He went first, and dropped ancient den and thoptor. I wastelanded his land. He then laid down nexus and passed. I promptly wastelanded that on my turn. From there I had port and slowly beat in with goblin tokens, holding my ringleader back because I wanted to port his lands.

And that was well all she wrote….




Well not really…6-2 and 14th gets me a play-set of volcanic islands.

This was a great finish in a high level tournament, but it definitely made me think about well I guess the whole rest of my life. For those who don’t want a heartwarming speech go look up those blue waffles I talked about. Anyway before this things in my life weren’t going too great. The Jets got shut out by the packers, broke up, my job turned down my request for a raise, and the 3rd reic…I mean the Republican Party took Congress. That got me thinking, life’s a lot like magic, there’s always times when you succeed, and there are always those times when you mess up or someone makes a bad call. The point is well, keep playing cards. Life always finds a way to balance things, but if you keep working at trying to succeed, more often than not you will. Life is about fighting through adversity, at many points in the tourment I thought I was done. After round 5, I was almost on tilt from the bad call. However, you got to balance your emotions and play strong through the times when your ahead AND the times your behind. At the end of the day, if you have a good set of friends and a good head thats a top 8 in my book. (ok, lame but you get my point lol).

Props:

Robert Greene for not only driving me but for the bad lands
Lil bear for texting me about magic while his was busy.
My 7th round opponent for turning in the correct results for me
Jupiter games for being a great legacy scene.
People who sleeve up merfolk
Goblin Lackey, for well, being awesome
Santonio Holmes, for well, being awesome
This guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVtEX1J7tXQ

Slops:

People making bad calls
People who sleeve up zoo with stoneforge mystics and jittes.
And this girl: http://www.bluewaffle.net/


Anyway until next time…