Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Is a booster box worth the money?

IMHO it all depends on what you want to do.

1. If you want to take a chance at pulling a Jace, Architect of Thought and don't want to shell out $40 for a card, your only other option is to open lots of packs, and a booster box is ideal for that.

2. If you like cool surprises or want a bunch of what a set offers, even if the cards aren't selling for much, then a booster box I think is just perfect. I wanted to have a lot of artifacts and not just at common and uncommon only and opened a booster box of Scars of Mirrodin. I had a blast. I even pulled a Wurmcoil Engine !!! and a foil Molten-tail Masticore 

3. If you really like one of the large sets, a common/uncommon playset is great. My only gripe is that the complete common playset is a ton of cards, and has playsets of all those commons that work for 15 minutes in limited and then are relegated to storage boxes to collect dust. I wish more uncommon-only playsets were sold. Still, once a set has been out for a while, these playsets are a great bargain. Even with a booster box you don't even get close to having a common/uncommon playset. With the box of Scars of Mirrodin I am still missing one common!!!
4. I am liking the intro packs more and more, and especially the battle packs. These out-of-the-box are a little weak, but all the fun is in opening the packs that come with this product and boosting the content in the pre-made pack.

Even though ebay sellers and the online bots perform a needed service, when in doubt, I am all for sealed product untouched by non-Wizards.

Monday, October 29, 2012

ISD+RTR Vampire Rakdos Online Deck

This deck is built around a playset of Stromkirk Captain.

ISD+RTR Izzet Online Deck

I started with an intro pack. I am learning that this is a great way to avoid the bots, buy a couple of rares and some playable cards, and get underway to a redemption all at once.

ISD+RTR Rakdos Deck Online

I started with an intro pack. I am learning that this is a great way to avoid the bots, buy a couple of rares and some playable cards, and get underway to a redemption all at once.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Band of Commons Version 0.2

After some solitaire play testing I came up with the following conditions of play:

1. Take 100 cards for each of the five colors especially chosen for their low playability in other formats, especially Standard Constructed, Modern Constructed, and Commander. This is the 500 cards pool. Split this pool randomly and equally amongst any number of players. For two players that would be 250 cards. There are no artifacts and no dual lands. There are also no multicolored cards.

2. Take 20 lands for each of the colors and shuffle these. That's a pool of 100 lands.

3. Each turn is the same as the normal turn except that during the draw step each player draws one card from their library and one random land from the shared pool of 100 lands.

4. There is no mulligan. Each player draws 10 cards from the library-which has no lands, and 5 cards from the shared pool of lands.

5. During play a player can choose to cast a card normally or cast it into the Band Zone.

Band Rules

1. The band has five cards. These cards are in a neutral zone until there are five cards and the band is complete.

2. The band has one creature, the band leader, and four non-creature permanents. Cards in the band can be of any of the five colors.

3. The band is played like a planeswalker.

a. The initial loyalty points X of the band is equal to the Converted Mana Cost of the creature that is the band leader. (X=Loyalty=CMC.)

b. The large negative ability at -2*X that is always of the type "deals Y damage to creature or player," where Y=(P+T) of the band leader. A 4 CMC 5/3 Band Leader will have 4 loyalty and a -8 ability that reads "deals 8 damage to creature or player."

c. Three of the band members are "0" abilities.

d. The positive band member, or fifth member of the band, has a +(Z=CMC) ability. Because the CMC of the members of the band has to individually be minus one that of the band leader, we could use a 3 CMC non-creature permanent as the positive member and it would have a +3 ability. That means that it would take two turns of plus abilities to be able to use the large negative ability. This example band would start at 4 loyalty, be at 7, then 10 and the 10-8 to remain in play after using the large negative ability.

4. Some cards cannot be in the band. Any card can be in the deck, and the deck can be composed of Standard-legal or Modern-legal or Commander-legal cards. Only common cards can be in the band with the exception of some commons: X commons, double-sided commons, common artifacts, and common dual lands cannot be in the band. By X commons I mean commons that have CMC, P, or T that is not explicitly predefined-no * or X. Planeswalkers are implicitly excluded from the band because these are Mythic Rare cards. Band of Commons are for junk cards. Any card that is even remotely playable in Standard or Modern and is included in a Band of Commons deck is defeating the purpose of this format.

5. Uncommons are allowed in the deck, but there cannot be any Rares or Mythic Rares in a Band of Commons deck. At some point I should come up with a list of Standard and Modern playable commons and uncommons to explicitly exclude from Band of Commons deck.

6. Echantments and Enchantment Auras that enchant the player cannot be members of the band.

Here is an example band.

The band leader is a 5 CMC 4/3 creature. The loyalty of the band is 5, and it has a -10 ability that reads "This band deals 7 damage to creature or player."

Here are the three regulars, or "0" ability members of the band.

 Here is the positive member of the band. It has a +3 ability.

Let's write out this example band:

-10: This band deals 7 damage to creature or player.
0: Target player reveals his or her hand. You choose a nonland card from it. Exile that card.
0: Destroy target artifact or enchantment.
0: Reveal the top four cards of your library. Put all land cards revealed this way into your hand and the rest into your graveyard.
+3: This band deals 3 damage to target creature or player [Morbid ability ignored].

Band of Commons: A Junk Commons Playing Format (Version 0.2)

In this post I will log my development of this playing format.

Post 1

The first and second abilities of a planeswalker read a lot like the flavor text of many commons. Given that we are all stuck with boxes of commons, I have been thinking of how to make these common cards a lot more playable. Commander has already done that for many legendary creatures, but these were already playable enough in other formats. I took the first and second ability of the 34 planeswalkers that have been issued to RTR set and took out the name of the planeswalker and substituted it with the generic "this card."

[follow this link for this post]

Post 2

After examining the planeswalker abilities that do not include the last, and usually game-ending, ability, I think a really cool band of commons would be composed of five cards, with the first card being the band leader and its converted mana cost equal to the big game ending -2*X ability as well to the loyalty points of the band at X=CMC. If use a multiplier of 2 I get some pretty big game ending negatives which are consistent with the planeswalker end-the-game ability. In order to make sure that bands have reasonably high loyalty points the band leader must be a creature. X cards are allowed because you will still be playing into a mana pool same as you do for any other format. For example, if I use Pathbreaker Wurm as the band leader, the band it creates has 6 loyalty points, green color identity, and a -12 ability that says "This band deals 10 damage to creature or player." To make this mechanic work, all of the flavor text of the band leader has to be ignored, it must always deal damage equal to the sum of its Power and Toughness, and it must deal such damage to either the player or a specific creature on the battlefield.

I call this version 0.1 for Band of Commons

[follow this link for this post]

Post 3

In this post I show examples of Version 0.1 Band of Commons. I am still using bands with color identical to that of the band leader.

[follow this link for this post]

Post 4

After some play testing, I have changed some of the basic rules. In this new version (0.2) I place no color constraints on the members of the band and come up with a limited environment that allows each player to have a deck as they would in Standard Constructed.

[follow this link for this post]

ISD+RTR Standard Dual Lands to RTR set

Here are the current dual lands. I am missing many of these.

The total cost by set to get one each is $61.70 for Innistrad, $2.53 for Dark Ascension, $23.56 for Avacyn Restored (Cavern of Souls mostly), $20.99 for Magic 2013, and, due to the re-printing of the Ravnica shock lands, an eye-popping $81.75 for Return to Ravnica.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Modern Staples to RTR: The Cards

Here are the 330 cards I selected from recent online and paper card top decks. I have ordered the cards by color, then type, then from highest number in sample to smallest. Here are the dual lands.

For the dual lands, if we pick what's in range (Alara Reborn and before), the "safe bet" list is:

1. Treetop Village
2. Blinkmoth Nexus
3. Twilight Mire
4. Grove of the Burnwillows
5. Fire-Lit Thicket
6. Urza's Mine
7. Urza's Power Plant
8. Urza's Tower
9. Glimmervoid
10. Windbrisk Heights


Safe bet list for the artifacts:

1.  Relic of Progenitus
2.  Cranial Plating
3.  Darksteel Citadel
4.  Ornithopter
5.  Springleaf Drum
6.  Ethersworn Canonist
7.  Arcbound Ravager
8.  Expedition Map
9.  Chromatic Sphere
10. Chromatic Star


Safe bet list for white creatures:

1.  Aven Mindcensor
2.  Soul Warden
3.  Ranger of Eos
4.  Soul Warden
5.  Martyrs of Sands
6.  Reveillark
7.  Flickerwhisp

Safe bet list for legendary white creature:

1.  Kataki, War's Wage

Safe bet list for legendary white planeswalker:

1.  Elspeth, Knight-Errant

Safe bet list for white non-creatures:

1.  Suppression Field
2.  Path to Exile
3.  Disenchant
4.  Spectral Procession
5.  Wrath of God
6.  Steelshaper's Gift


Safe bet list for blue creatures:

1.  Pestermite
2.  Cursecatcher
3.  Merrow Reejerey
4.  Silvergill Adept
5.  Glen Elendra Archmage
6.  Wake Thrasher

Safe bet list for blue non-creatures (long list!):

1.  Threads of Disloyalty
2.  Unstable Mutation
3.  Spell Snare
4.  Remand
5.  Gifts Ungiven
6.  Cryptic Command
7.  Annul
8.  Thrist for Knowledge
9.  Echoing Truth
10. Peer Through Depths
11. Piracy Charm
12. Telling Time
13. Pact of Negation
14. Repeal
15. Serum Visions
16. Sleight of Hand
17. Thoughtcast


Black Creatures

Safe bet list for black creatures:

1.  Dark Confidant (of course!!!)
2.  Plagued Rusalka
3.  Nekrataal
4.  Shriekmaw
5.  Withered Wretch

Safe bet list for legendary black creature:

1.  Vendilion Clique

Safe bet list for black non-creatures:

1.  Thoughtseize
2.  Raven's crime
3.  Night's Whisper

Ouch for black.....not much of a presence in competitive modern decks?

Red (Creatures First)

Red Sorceries

Safe bet list for red creatures:

1.  Kird Ape
2.  Hellspark Elemental
3.  Avalanche Riders
4.  Simian Spirit Guide
5.  Keldon Marauders
6.  Spark Elemental

Safe bet list for legendary red creature:

1.  Kiki-Jiki Mirror Breaker

Safe bet list for red non-creatures (another long list!):

1.  Blood Moon (a classic)
2.  Seismic Assault
3.  Smash to Smithereens
4.  Volcanic Fallout
5.  Shard Volley
6.  Flames of the Blood Hand
7.  Seething Song
8.  Shrapnel Blast
9.  Desperate Ritual
10. Tribal Flames
11. Molten Rain
12. Stone Rain
13. Lava Spike
14. Rift Bolt
15. Sowing Salt
16. Grapeshot
17. Shattering Spree
18. Flame Jab
19. Shatterstorm
20. Empty the Warrens

Green (creatures first)

Green Sorceries 

Safe bet list for green creatures:

1.  Tarmogoyf (announced!)
2.  Wall of Roots
3.  Noble Hierarch
4.  Eternal Witness
5.  Elves of Deep Shadow
6.  Heritage Druid
7.  Nettle Sentinel
8.  Sakura-Tribe Elder

Safe bet list for green non-creatures:

1.  Seal of Primordium
2.  Chord of Calling
3.  Might of Old Krosa
4.  Summoner's Pact
5.  Sylvan Scrying
6.  Life from the Loam
7.  Scapeshift
8.  Search for Tomorrow

Multicolored and Hybrid

Safe bet list for multicolored and hybrid creatures:

1.  Kitchen Finks
2.  Bloodbraid Elf
3.  Qasali Pridemage
4.  Fulminator Mage
5.  Knight of the Reliquary
6.  Harmonic Sliver
7.  Murderous Redcap
8.  Anathemancer
9.  Boggart Ram-Gang
10. Figure of Destiny
11. Orzhov Pontiff

Safe bet list for multicolored and hybrid non-creatures:

1.  Jund Charm
2.  Terminate
3.  Zealous Persecution
4.  Manamorphose
5.  Electrolyze
6.  Putrefy
7.  Esper Charm
8.  Shadow of Doubt
9.  Maelstrom Pulse
10. Firespout
11. Blightning

Some of what I call 'safe vets' may come out in the remaining sets of the RTR block instead of in Modern Masters.