Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hellrider Gruul Casual Modern

It is remarkable that a once Standard powerhouse like Hellrider is now a penny rare online. I have been meaning to build a deck around it in Modern for quite some time. Here it is.

Boros Casual Modern

I took my fun Standard Boros deck and put in Lightning Bolt and Path to Exile, and now I have a reasonable Modern version.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The current Standard meta game bores me

I miss SOM/ISD and ISD/RTR. Here is where I stand with the various ways to play Standard as a casual player:

1. The Minotaur tribal is fun, but it is missing good one and two-drops.
2. I like Devotion a lot, and even more to experiment with in Modern.
3. Bestow sucks soooo bad. Most of those cards are stuck with the Bestow text for no reason. Not only is there no reason to play the cards the have 5+ mana costs for Bestow, spending that much mana on an aura for a small return is unthinkable in Modern.
4. U/B is one of my favorite color pairs, but is just too dominant. Nightveil Specter would be a cool Johnny card if it was optional, but it is not. If you play U/B you HAVE to play Nightveil Specter.
5. Born of the Gods does not have super fun build-around cards, although I will keep trying.
6. The two-color gods, and specially Karametra, seem unplayable for devotion.
7. Some of the Monstrosity cards are fun.
8. It sucks that Mutavault is in Standard. It is pushing most if not all competitive decks to use it. AVR had Cavern of Souls, but I don't remember Cavern being such an expensive card.

And this is why I have tuned out Standard until Journey into Nyx comes out and am instead playing casual Modern. Gatecrash had a similar effect. Back then Standard became such a fast format that I did not find it that much fun.

Monday, March 17, 2014

AVR Modern Casual: Miracles

I kept all of the UWR uncommon and rare miracles and Temporal Mastery, but did not include my soon-to-be-redeemed Bonfire of the Damned and Entreat the Angels.

Modern Zombies Casual: Philactery Lich build-around

It is a very fickle deck because if you only have one artifact on the board and it gets destroyed or exiled, so do any Philactery Lich on the board. It is still a fun deck.

Here is a board state example.

AVR Modern Casual: Zombies build-around Dread Slaver

This deck is a lot of fun.

Here is a board state example. I wanted to have some flying zombies in this deck.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

AVR Casual Modern: Descendant's Path Take 2, now Simic Humans + Wolfir Silverheart

Title says it all. I took a hint from the artwork and exchanged the wolves for humans, but the deck needed some punch. I added Wolfir Silverheart, which I cannot auto-cast unless I have another one on the board, but can hard-cast later in the game For The Win (FTW). Ghostly Flicker is awesome: I can bring back an Omenspeaker for Scry 2 and an additional land from Borderland Ranger.

Here is the deck. I have been playing it a lot today, and it is a ton of fun.

Here are three screenshots from fun games. First one is when I overwhelm with all the creatures I got to free cast or to cast with Prophet of Kruphix.

Here are double soul-bonded Wingcrafter and Wolfir Silverheart.

And here I beat an opponent with a 28/28 critter because I can chump block turn after turn with my free-casted humans.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

AVR Casual Modern: Descendant's Path

First, I love the artwork on this card. Terese Nielsen is without doubt my favorite Magic artist. I made a very casual Wolf deck because it contains my super combo in mono-green. The deck is a lot of fun, but a lot has to be aligned for it to work. This one is casual all-the-way.

Descendant's Path will let you cast at no cost a creature that matches the tribe of a creature you already control. There are many ways for this deck to be disrupted, and only a few for it to win. I played against someone putting my lands on top of my library, and that proved very disruptive because I wasn't getting a wolf to be the first card drawn. On the plus side, I was able to soulbond a Wolfir early  in the game, but the earliest that could happen is on turn 4, and I can already do that with mana-accelerating elves.

While it is tempting to load the deck with a bunch of uncastable fatties, the deck needs to play on its own without Descendant's path. 

AVR fun: Modern casual flyers Favorable Winds build-around

This is yet another fun set. I wish I had played with many of these casual cards when they were in Standard.

It is very cool to have a 4/3 Delver!

Friday, March 14, 2014

AVR fun: Modern Casual Demonic Taskmaster

This deck has turned out to be a lot of fun out of the gate. It is weak against Pacisfism and Oblivion Ring but it is very strong against Elves and Merfolk, especially if in the latter case someone makes the mistake of copying the Taskmaster (ouch, get ready to sacrifice your dear Merfolk!-and someone did that today!).

Now that I have played Essence Harvest in this deck, I wonder if I can use it when I souldbond a Wolfir Silverheart in a Golgari build....

Here are the commons from AVR showcased in this deck:

RTR and THS Redemptions

I am not planning to redeem M14, and if I change my mind it will be because the set as a whole becomes cheap to redeem. M14 has the humanoid slivers and two very heavy planewalkers (Garruk and Chandra). The set has at this point one card I care about (Witchstalker) and I am not about to redeem a whole set for one card.

RTR Block: I would like to redeem one set each, even if I missed out on buying some of the cards I am missing when they were cheaper. I would like to keep playsets of the shocklands for Modern play.

get one more

Blood Crypt
Breeding Pool
Hallowed Fountain
Overgrown Tomb
Steam Vents
Temple Garden
Water Grave

get 5 (ouch!)

godless shrine
sacred foundry
stomping ground

I am missing these:

THS block is way more affordable, and it can be the foundation of a great casual cube. Heroic requires card disadvantage, as do all those enchantments, and Bestow is grossly over-costed. This is good news because I needed a cheap block to have fun with. I plan to redeem one of each, and to complete at least THS soon to ensure I don't have to pay a lot for a card that becomes a staple somehow. I am missing these:

elspeth     14.21
erebos       5.95
master        6.78
polukranos    9.55
stormbreath  14.04
thassa        7.05

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Avacyn Restored Cube: Cloudshift and Restoration Angel

I have begun work on a cube centered on AVR, which has turned out to be an amazing set. This was the set that had just come out when I started playing Magic. I plan to play as many of the cards in this set online to understand how to better build a cube around it. I am starting with Cloudshift because it is a cheap effect found on a much more expensive card in this same set: Restoration Angel. I am getting started by building a deck around this card in White/Green.

I will buff it up with uncommons, rares, and Mythic Rares. I currently have a near complete set of AVR on line that is a few cards away from redemption.

This deck will get Restoration Angel (of course!) and:

Angel's tomb (artifact)
Cathar's crusade (5-drop white rare enchantment)
Soul of the Harvest (6-drop green rare)

Here is a first try.

And here is an optimized version. Cathar's Crusade and Soul of the Harvest are definitely casual cards. The rule-of-thumb to go by for Modern is: if the casting cost is 5 or greater, the card has to be able to either win the game by itself, or help you win the game quickly after landing on the board. It seems to me that neither of these cards have even the slightest chance of doing that.