Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Case for Legacy Masters in 2016 (Online Only)

In 2014 and 2015, Wizards has issued two Online Only sets to help grow Vintage and Legacy: Vintage Masters in 2014, supplemented by several cards from Conspiracy; and Tempest Remastered, which has brought to us a much needed reprint of Wasteland. There is still a need online for reprints of almost all of the Legacy staples. Some of these staples currently sell at very high prices in the (bots) secondary market. Here they are:

Like Tarmogoyf in Modern, Wasteland deserves several reprintings. And like the Fetchlands and the Shocklands in Modern, the ABU lands need to be kept affordable. Finally, the Cryptic Command of Legacy is Force of Will, and should also be in the 'reprint every two years' list.

Yes, Vintage Masters already made many Legacy staples less expensive, but there is clearly a lot more room to decrease the high price of many of the format staples.

There is, however, another route, and one that could potentially generate more sales for Wizards, and that is to remaster each block as was done for Tempest. That would work, especially if the next one is Mercadian Masques, but that would mean a much slower schedule to get new players to have a nice Legacy staples stash to play multiple tier 1 decks. In my opinion, the only way for a Legacy online set to be as successful as Vintage Masters is to do as VMA did: 'do it once, do it right,' and the only way to do that is by issuing Legacy Masters Summer 2016 with 'all the trimmings.'

Friday, May 29, 2015

Off and Running with Modern Masters 2015

Link to Part 9 of my Modern Masters 2015 Activity Log

During the last Modern Masters I spent endless hours following the prices of certain cards. This time I have decided to buy what I want to play with up-front and then take my time with a much smaller number of cards to follow that I think will likely go down in price, such as Iona and Elesh Norn, of which I need one of each for a Gifts build, but as EDH staples I expect them to go down. Here is what I am doing this time: complete the common/uncommon play set, including Remand and Dismember; get play sets of all of the penny or junk rares; get a play set of Cryptic Command (ouch); and get one Vendilion Clique (ouch, ouch, ouch).

I am putting to use lessons I learned from Vintage Masters: I got the two JTMS's up front and had a blast.

Here are the rares, including the Cryptic Commands.

Here is the Clique.

May 30 Update: bought a few more junk rares that crashed. Here is the current buy/watch list.

Later May 30 update: Eldrazi, Comet Storm, get in my collection!

May 31 update: for my gifts tron build. I also got Surgical Extraction.

Next installment: I am down to following a handful of cards

A Legacy Stash

I have been building a Legacy stash to learn about how all those cards work. I am a casual player, and therefore not interested in competitive Legacy. That saves me from requiring a play set of Force of Will, which is a ticket to entry for competitive Legacy. Oh, and a play set of Wasteland would not hurt. I am not doing that. Instead, I am building up a stash of the 21 sets for seven blocks: Mirage, Tempest, Urza, Mercadian Masques, Invasion, Odyssey, and Onslaught.

Here is a link to some of the packs I have opened.  

Because Mercadian Masques has only been released as what is now a very expensive bot block booster, I am skipping it for now. The divide and conquer plan has been to focus on the first three blocks, and now that I have a good stash of those, to move on to the last three blocks. Here is the Estimated Value out of online packs for both ranges. Thanks to MTGGoldfish for such an awesome price site. Its no surprise that Urza's Saga and Tempest are lottery packs, although I am surprised by Exodus also having low EV for the cost of the pack... The first three columns are the average value by rarity, and the next three have each multiplied by how many there are in a pack (10 for commons, 3 for uncommons, 1 for rare). Urza's Legacy packs are the best for the first three blocks: you pay $1.42 for a pack that on average will yield $2.07 in cards. That is a very good deal.

Here is the second range, the one I am focusing on now.

For the last three blocks, it looks like opening packs for Judgement (JUD), Odyssey (OD), Plainshift (PS) and Scourge (SCG) is a good idea, and buying singles is better for the other five sets. I have no idea why anyone would want to crack a Legions (LGN) pack. I will, however, crack packs for Invasion (IN), Apocalypse (AP), Onslaught (ONS) and Torment (TOR), but only just for fun. 

Tempest Remastered was a very big help to fill some big holes, especially a Wasteland. Thanks to this set, I can move on to the next three blocks and feel that I have really good coverage for the first three.

I have cracked a bunch of Odyssey packs. Here is how far I am for the money cards.

If I buy only singles of cards that are less than 25c each for the five sets in the last three blocks that are not good for cracking packs, it would take this much money: Torment ($3.09); Invasion ($11.77); Apocalypse ($3.16); Onslaught ($8.80); Legions ($3.62)

June 3 update: these are the Odyssey cards I am missing.

Here are penny uncommons I was missing, and two penny rares I was also missing.

Monday, May 25, 2015

[Standard] Shamanic Revelation Build-around

...this time with 24 lands and many substitutions. The major one that made it a winning deck is the inclusion of two Scuttling Doom Engines.

I lost some games to Brutal Hordechief combos, but now that I have fatties, I can beat it.

Here I exile the Phoenix once it is ready to attack.

I draw a bunch with Shamanic Revelation, and gg win for me soon thereafter.

In this game Jace Guildpact is used to pop my engine, I have my token taken out Jace's protecting critter to take out Jace for two.

My opponent can drop tokens out of a mana ability.

Shamanic Revelation to the rescue, and gg win for me soon thereafter.

This deck was playing a brutal combo: Gift of Immortality on the executioner critter and if you kill it, it comes back asking you to sacrifice a critter as its enter-the-battlefield ability. I fell for that one once!

The next time I was asked to sacrifice a critter, I used my engine to hit for 6.

But soon I was out of critters to sacrifice...

No suspense, Shamanic Revelation to the rescue after popping enough tokens out of Herald of Anafenza.

And a selective combat trick to pop the Hornet's Nest. The white Siege was buffing critters and that helped me.

And a Suspension Field on a buffed token.

...and, you guessed it, Shamanic Revelation to the rescue.

Suspension Field for the last critter, and gg for me for the win.

An extreme example of mana screw

I am working on a white/green deck in Standard showcasing Shamanic Revelation and I get mana-screwed like it has not happen in thousands of games. Here is the draft deck, which is several cards away from 'smooth operations' (or deletion if I can not get it to such a working state).

...AND I completely missed that I was playing with 20 lands and not 24... I was asking to get mana screwed, just not this badly.

I get to turn 18 with one Forest!

I get to draw white mana with the 25th card in my deck! That means almost all of my white mana is in the lower half of my library!

I still managed to win the game because my opponent could not do anything about my Hornet Nest.

[Modern] Ashiok with Friends (Grixis Delver)

Ashiok really is not a great planeswalker in Modern, but I am trying as always to use a card as best I can.

This deck is really good, but a lot more because of Ashiok's super friends, and not really because of Ashiok. Actually, switching Ashiok out (are you impressed by how I avoid gender with Ashiok?) for a play set of Snapcaster Mage is what would make this deck really awesome.

This deck is really a weak Grixis Delver shell (sorry, Ashiok). Here I turn two Delvers and win.

My opponent tries chump-blocking, but it is too late.

Here I put Cyclonic Rift to work. I love this card.

Here I take out a dual land with Demolish.

And this is my favorite play for this GrixisDelver shell: take out cards with Slaughter Games.

Bye, super strong token.