Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Money Horizons

I never imagined, when I began playing Magic during Summer 2012, that Wizards would slowly and successfully implement a tiered model for it's products. The current tiered model seems to be:

1. $15 packs for the top 5%, Ultimate Masters and future products. These are premium booster boxes in the $300 and above range.
2. $10 packs for the top 5% that enable players in this wealth bracket to mingle with folks in the bottom 95%, Modern Masters, Eternal Masters, others, and now, Modern Horizons. These are premium booster boxes in the $180-$220 range.
3. $4 packs for the bottom 95%, Standard sets and the occasional special product, such as Battlebond and Commander. This is Magic for the masses.

Unless you are willing to spend $500 and above per month on Magic, you will not be able to afford this hobby at tiers 1 and 2. These tiers are for Modern, Legacy, Vintage, and hardcore Commander players/collectors/investors. That means you will have to pass on an ever-increasing range of products. These products are very desirable for a Magic player. You can make some awesome pulls out of those $10, $15 packs.

If you, like me, are a peasant, you are buying battlecruiser packs and Commander precons. That's it. There is still MTGO, where many cards are cheap to rent, but then you are in a split platform world: MTG Arena (MTGA) for Standard, and MTG Online (MTGO) for all other formats.

There is everything right with Wizards trying to make as much money as possible, and we peasants should not feel bad that the company needs to do this in order for us to get our $4 packs, our birthright. Yet, as a peasant, I sense something is wrong with this tier model, and I long for the day when ALL packs will be $4, and also for the days when Wizards will once again be an independent company, no longer a conglomerate's cash cow to make up for other dog areas of said conglomerate.

How long will the tier model stick? Maybe forever. Every change comes with a possible secondary effect, something no one could have foreseen. I think there is a scenario in which players who would have purchased the content in tiers 1 and 2 substitute with other games. But this is just a scenario. Another scenario, which I think is more realistic, is that Wizards' tiered model milks the last generation of players willing to pay absurd amounts of money for artsy cardboard.

In my case, I have substituted with Pokemon, but I am a trend of one person, and that is not data. I will continue buying occasional Standard packs and Commander decks for paper, and testing out tier 1 and tier 2 products on MTGO. I am excited about Modern Horizons, but only for MTGO. I have so far refused to collect any of the tier 1 and tier 2 packs. I just can't do that.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

WAR Bant Proliferate

There is enough Proliferate in this deck for all of Magic history. I love it. Here are the planeswalkers (Nissa is shown in the Grixis post):

Jian Yanggu is really important to place counters on creatures with no counters.

Vivien's -2 ability allows me to cast an extra card, even if I have to pay the cost, and I can cast it anytime.

I am untapping lands with Kiora. I am sure it can be used to untap mana rocks.

Ajani's ability to put a counter on each creature is really strong.

Nissa is much better suited for a mono-green deck, especially for it's ultimate ability. Turning lands into creatures is really powerful, and in a deck full of proliferate, those lands can become even stronger creatures later in a game.

Here is the deck.

I made a copy of Ajani with Spark Doubler and added counters twice: sweet!

So many cards in this deck proliferate, that the blue ones are outnumbered by the green ones.

Here, I get to use Vivien's Arkbow.

The better creatures for a Proliferate deck don't need any help in getting counters.

Vivien lets me pick Nissa here.

Another Proliferate example.

Nissa turning lands into creatures.

And then I can buff the land-now-a-creature.

Nissa's ultimate would be absurd in a deck full of Forests.

Many lands-now-creatures.

Thuder Drake gets a counter from the second spell I cast.

Panhelion II is just too heavy, IMHO.

Proliferate triggered by Evolution Sage.

Hydras can get really big!

...really, really big.

WAR Grixis Amass + Proliferate

This has to be one of the most fun decks I have built in a long time. There are several really cool interactions, and I love combos and +1/+1 counters.... yeah, this one is a keeper. It's a singleton deck right now because I am learning how all of these cards play and interact with each other. Here are the planeswalkers:

Narset is awesome. If you can find a way to proliferate, you can keep pumping it to get that one extra draw per activation. Do remember to that if it has two loyalty counters left, it dies when you activate it!

I am back to solitaire on MTGO because all Standard players have moved to Arena. Davriel's discarding can be abused in this deck against a real opponent.

Tibalt can generate lots of tokens as I keep boosting him (it's only a -1 activation).

Ashiok does not get play in Solitaire. It's great against real opponents.

Chandra is great. Nothing wrong with getting to play extra cards per turn.

Ral is stronger in a pure UR deck than in this deck.

Angrath is perfect for this deck.

Ob Nixilis is also great, just need to test him against a real opponent.

Here is the deck.

Bolas's Citadel is better in a deck with White and a lot of lifegain. It comes in late game, and you should be able to win the game with it if someone does not remove it immediately. If you have 20 life for it, you can cast 20 CMC worth of cards for free... yeah, that's one way to end the game in your favor.

As I keep boosting my Amass token, I can take one counter from it and draw a card with Soul Diviner once a turn.

I would take Contentious Plan to a play set in this deck. It's a sure booster for all of my planeswalkers AND the Amass token.

Narset is really good in this deck.

Flux Channeler is an all-star uncommon. I would take it to a play set in this deck. Now I want to build blue-X decks and blue-X-Y decks (X, Y, being some other color).

Dreadhorde Invasion is the key to boosting the Amass token every turn. I would add more copies to this deck, but maybe not more than three to make sure I don't die to the constant life loss.

Spark Double is a great card. Here I used it to get a new, fully loaded Narset.

Here is another extra draw from Narset.

Read the card! I did not and here is a miss-playL Fblthp back to my deck by mistake.

Ahhh, Proliferate... so awesome!

I can use Spark Double to have two Amass tokens. Not sure if I want to, just doing it here to show it.

Ahhh, Proliferate... so awesome!

The Amass token can be absurdly big since every time you trigger Amass, there is only one token where the Power/Toughness from Amass goes (minus copying the token).