Thursday, December 27, 2018

Ravnica Golgari Guild Kit expanded to Commander: Jarad Part 2

This deck required major changes to improve.

Even though devotion is not a major theme for this deck, once in a while it will help me to turn Pharika into a creature.

Liliana's Elite can get big. Also, even though this is solitaire, I like to measure how much spot removal is in my hand, which in a real game would come in handy.

Ob Nixilis is a great card draw engine, and Gitrog is amazing in this deck.

The inclusion of Planar Bridge is a great addition to this deck.

Helm of the Host belongs in every commander deck I make these days.

What's not to like about drawing so many cards?

This deck can get silly with the Helm of the Host activations.

...really out of control.

This improved version of the deck is great at feeding the graveyard for Jarad (11/11 here).

Here is a close-up of Jarad.

Ravnica Golgari Guild Kit expanded to Commander: Jarad Part 1

This deck went through multiple variations. Just like Boros, it is based on a YouTube build. The first video is here:

And this video is in the following playlist:

I get to tutor in this deck, which is great for casual as well as stronger decks. This deck has a Paharmonicon group of cards, which makes Panharmonicon a great target to tutor.

Jarad, as a four-drop, can land on the board early.

Here, I get to use Kicker on Jose Vess for a bunch of Zombie tokens.

Here is a very early Jarad thanks to a Signet.

The deck is good at feeding the graveyard, as it should be! And this gets Jarad to be bigger as you drop more creatures in your graveyard.

Charnel Troll is tricky. I tried it, and it goes against what Jarad needs to do.

I took it out for the next iteration of this deck.

Explore is surprisingly effective and especially so with Panharmonicon on the board.

Here is a late game simulation after double Explore.

Here is a strong midgame. After this, I made some changes (covered in the part 2 post for this deck).

Saturday, December 15, 2018

A Casual Vintage Shell

I plan to play some Vintage in 2019, and thanks to the recent panic, I was able to rent the Power 9 for $50. I added cards I thought I would want in any deck I build for this fun challenge in the immediate future. I will make upgrades here and there, always keeping the shell as cheap to rent and as generally useful as possible. Here is the very first version of it:

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Ultimate Masters: One and Done, Right?

"One and done" is a term used in the TCG business to mean that the print run for a product is limited. 'We are doing one limited print run, and it's one and done.' Or, worse case for rarity, UMA will have a second, and much smaller print run. Here is an issue I have with how this term is used when it's in reference to a FOMO (fear of missing out) cash grab like UMA: if that one and only single unique will never happen again limited print run is gigantic (which it looks like UMA's was-gigantic, I mean), then it does not matter that it's 'one and done.' Here are selected listings (listing 4 or more copies, and I only picked one screen shot of listings) for the top rare, bottom rare, and top uncommon (by selling price) for UMA.

January 2019 is going to be a great month for buyers of Magic singles. Happy New Year, fellow bottom-feeders!

Ultimate Masters: Anatomy of a Train Wreck.

There is a panic going on with UMA singles on release as sellers rush to dump a very large supply of singles as the most saturated market for Magic singles (or any TCG singles) ever plays out. Here are some pictures of the train wreck. Here are 40 listings of UMA Liliana of the Veil.

Channel Fireball listing 20 copies at $69.99 (giving you the price to make it easy for you to find their listing above) does not mean they have only 20 copies. It most likely means that they are listing 20 and have more that they have pulled. Regardless, this is a large supply of the highest value non-foil, non-Box Topper in UMA.

It's simple math as to why UMA is a bad investment for singles sellers:

1. It's a ratio and not an absolute value. It doesn't matter if the box has an EV of $20,000 when it got mega-hyped, it's about what that EV will be when you list the cards to sell versus what you paid for the box. If you bought the box for $10,000 and sold for $9,999, you lost money, period. UMA is like that: if you are paying $200 at mega-wholesale, and the singles crash, and you sell on average for $199, you lost money. This is what seems to be happening to UMA.

2. Supply and demand: if many LGSs are cracking boxes in the hundreds, that is a very large supply. Legacy and Vintage are dead formats (there is not one million players for each waiting to buy singles). You are selling to Modern and Commander, and collectors who don't care about formats. If those three groups don't have enough capital to pump the price of the singles, anyone who bought into UMA either unloads at a loss now, or sits on it for at least one year hoping none of these singles make it into some other reprint.

3. If many of the entities (LGSs, private individuals) who bought large numbers of boxes bought them on credit, they need to unload the product to make bank. This one is the scary one. Can UMA take down an LGS? We will not know this soon.

Multiple factors have played into the panic:

1. Product saturation: the three buying groups (Modern players, Commander players, and non-format collectors) have already been carpet-bombed with Masters (reprint) sets, beginning Summer 2016, when Eternal Masters was issued.

Eternal Masters (6/10/16)
Modern Masters 2017 (3/17/17)
Iconic Masters (11/17/17)
Masters 25 (3/16/18)
Ultimate Masters (12/7/18)

2. Market timing: this one ties in to product saturation, but also with UMA getting dropped as a Christmas surprise after many players had already allocated and/or spent their play money on something other than UMA. I am one of these players. No matter how much I may dislike the gigantic cash grab that is UMA, I would have still gotten a few singles, especially Demonic Tutor. But Ultimate Masters was announced AFTER I had spent all my play money for the year. If I buy any UMA singles (which I probably will, I am not Mother Theresa, I will buy cards when I need them, even if they were printed in what I think is one of the most unethical products I have seen issued in a while), I will have to wait until January 2019, when my next budget kicks in.

January UMA singles are going to be awesome. I already have my buy list ready. These are hype prices, and only for general reference. Let's see what the actual prices are in January 2019.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

MTGO Casual Vintage

I am planning to use this fictitious format to have some solitaire fun on MTGO as it slowly fades into nothingness. I add the power 9 to a singleton 60 card Vintage legal deck, and, voila! Also, the only non-basic lands legal in this made-up format are the Ravnica I bounce lands.

This example is my Boros Ravnica Kit Commander deck pared down for this format. It's just an early trial deck.

Any deck in this format can go wide pretty quickly.

It's just for fun.

I hope MTGO survives for at least one more year.

I look forward to making more of these decks and playing them on MTGO.

Can you imagine if in a long term future someone owned the rights to these cards and printed a deck with the power 9 on paper? A boy can dream!