Saturday, December 29, 2012

Infect Cube

I have quarantined my Infect cards because of how I have seen infect work while playing it online during the last rotation of Standard Constructed. The only way to make a cube that works for Infect is one that only allows playing infect. With the cards in this selection (160 something, with 85 creatures) I have a mini cube that two players can use to play Infect. Here are videos of these cards.

Redemption Status for ISD Block, M13, and RTR set

This is the next installment in the paying saga.

[here is the link to the previous installment]

I just realized that by drafting I can occasionally pick out cards I am missing. Here are the cards I am missing aftet a 2 ISD + 1 AVR draft and a 3 RTR draft.


Dark Ascension

Avacyn Restored

Magic 2013

Return to Ravnica

Friday, December 28, 2012

Ravnica Block Booster Pack Opening Videos

I opened one booster pack of Ravnica, two of Guildpact, and two of Dissension.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Opened Seven Packs of Saviors of Kamigawa

I recently went through seven packs of Saviors of Kamigawa to add to the Innistrad/Kamigawa/Odyssey playing selection or cube I had been planning (these plans have changed and now it looks like I will do Kamigawa and Shards of Alara blocks for a commander cube) and I must agree with the negative comments I have read about the relative unplayability of these cards. Talk about overcosted.....

Rending Vines compared to Naturalize is the best example I could come up with. All of the uncommons I pulled read like the less playable commons from Innistrad, the rares read like somewhat playable uncommons from Innistrad, and save for some exceptions, most of the commons are really screaming at me "I dare you to figure a way to play me against any other set in Modern."

Also....there seems to be an ability missing in this set that would make it OK to have an infinite hand. What is up with all these cards that base their abilities on the number of cards in a hand? Most of the time you want to be playing your cards, not to have a large hand???

Lastly, if so many cards are based on maximizing the number of cards in your hand, why not have a large number of cantrips or put draw abilities all over the place?

I totally get why those packs are sitting unopened.

Here are the videos.

Advice on Buying Bulk Commons

This advice applies for bulk from any set, or bulk from a specific set. It sounds like harsh advice, especially coming from me as a new player, but my advice is that the right number of bulk commons to buy is "zero" and it is based on having done so a couple of times. Now I sprinkle them on various selections of better cards. There are some really great commons, but they tend to get picked out from the bulk selections. What makes bulk generally is what has proven to be fairly unplayable. I elaborate. Thought Scour and Bump in the Night are very playable commons....well, these are less likely to pop up than "name a common from Saviors of Kamigawa" in a bulk selection. True than you can limit yourself to bulk commons for a specific set, but even there there are less than playable commons in every set, say Ravnica City of Guilds or Shadowmoor.

A complete playset of commons (x4) or one of each (1x) is a better alternative, but there you also get the less than playable sucks, but the less playable commons just don't get played. You can try to play them the way someone can try to eat less or walk more, but its a chore. Just like everything wrapped in bacon tastes good, any selection of magic cards wrapped in the more playable cards, some at common, many more at uncommon, is fun to play ALL the time. I will take a play set of Rancor over 200,000,000 free commons from almost any set.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Cubes Matching Distant Blocks

I have been scanning the Modern sets in what I think is a fun way, and that is by matching two blocks that were not in the same Standard Constructed playing environment. This is true for any block that is not contiguous in time with another block. I am separating Lorwyn from Shadowmoor even though they are otherwise considered a block because I want to separate a tribal block (Lorwyn) from a hybrid block (Shadowmoor).

I use four loose categories that sometimes fit a block better than others: artifacts, tribal, multicolored, and mechanics. The ones that are least fitting are tribal for Zendikar and Innistrad, but I think this label is close enough to decide how to pair these up.

The order as issued is:

1. Mirrodin [artifacts]
2. Kamigawa [tribal]
3. Ravnica [multicolored]
4. Time Spiral [mechanics]
5. Lorwyn [tribal]
6. Shadowmoor [multicolored]
7. Alara [multicolored]
8. Zendikar [tribal]
9. Scars of Mirrodin [artifacts]
10. Innistrad [tribal]
11. Return to Ravnica [multicolored]

The cubes that I think will be the most fun are:

1 and 9. Mirrodin/Scars of Mirrodin: an artifact cube. Who wouldn't want that? It is no surprise that this is the first cube I have attempted and completed. All others are works in progress or not started. I can add to all from the many Innistrad and Return to Ravnica cards I have from opening packs I buy at my local Target.

2 and 7. Kamigawa and Shards of Alara: a Commander cube with the least popular block yet the one with the most legendary creatures (Kamigawa) and one of the most popular blocks also with many legendary creatures, and in the latter case, some of the most popular commanders (Shards of Alara).

3 and 6. Ravnica/Shadowmoor: a multicolored cube with two of the most popular blocks is a no-brainer. Enough said.

4. Time Spiral: this block is all about nostalgia for the mechanics (manifested as abilities) of previous sets. Therefore the best match is with the core set and with pre-Modern sets. This cube may need a small number of cards from all other blocks that are representative of specific abilities. Maybe this is where I can put all those infect cards from the Scars of Mirrodin block that I did not include in the artifacts cube.

5 and 10. Lorwyn and Innistrad: a tribal cube with two of the most popular blocks is yet another no-brainer.

8 and 11. Zendikar and Return to Ravnica: two words-Dual Lands. Yes, Zendikar has the fetch lands and Return to Ravnica has the shock lands. Seems like a match made in dual land heaven. Of course, there are also all those Guild Gates for your casual deck building pleasure!

And then there are the pairings that fit the cards I have. In addition to the Mirrodin/Scars of Mirrodin pairing, the subject of my artifact cube, I also have a veritable mountain of Innistrad block cards, some ready to pair up with Kamigawa, and there is also pairing up Ravnica with Return to Ravnica.

August 20, 2013 edit:

Now that I have a bunch of M10 cards I am thinking of the following super cubes:

1. Tenth Edition + Ravnica + Return to Ravnica [all about the Ravnica guilds]

2. M11 +  M12 + Mirrodin + Scars of Mirrodin [all about artifacts with Titans added "to taste"]

3. Lorwyn + Kamigawa + Innistrad [all about tribal]

Time Spiral belongs in a cube with the Legacy cards for which all those mechanics were brought back.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Optimized Rat Deck Online

I added play sets of Rancor,Transguild Promenade and Evolving Wilds. Because I can now splash for any color, I also added a play set of Bump in the Night.

Here is a 1 win/2 loss match online. My opponent's deck is the very best (and, of course, extremely expensive) Bant (white, blue, green) deck possible.

Game 1 (lost). I gained a slight lead with the rats, but once a couple of Jace, Architect of Thought cards showed up, it was GG (good game).

I got one of my Underworld Connections to help me draw.

But Jace's second ability enabled my opponent to draw more and draw from a much better deck. Blue has long been the winning color in Magic, going back to the very first set, Alpha.

Here is the early game transcript.

And then comes Angel of Serenity to seal the deal by capturing my one remaining rat.

By this time, even though I had two Underworld Connections ready to draw for me, my life count was too low to use them effectively. This is where the Elixir of Immortality play set I added would have come in handy.

I won the second game. The stars were aligned for my rats in this game.

My opponent dropped a solid 1/5 defensive creature, but I copied my Pack Rats fast enough to get them pumped strong.

I lost the third game, a Thragtusk and Planeswalker affair.

I was able to boost my life count well with Elixirs.

But Thragtusk just kept on coming.

Two Thragtusks against my deck running out of creatures was too much, even after I played a Curse of Death's Hold to slow them down -1/-1. I only slowed down my loss at this point. This is one of the big failings of the Pack Rat deck: you have to pull them at the right time, and if you don't, you lose.

Here are two Detention Sphere with two of my  cards, and a Jace. This deck is packing some serious heat (my opponent's, that is).

And to add insult to injury my opponent drew a Tamiyo and a core set Garruk! Please!

The good news is that I was able to win one game against this amazing deck. I think this Pack Rat deck is one of the best budget decks in the current format. Of course, tournament decks are NEVER budget decks in Magic. Budget:Lose::Money:Win.