March 13, 2012
By DAN aka chaosorbFTW
I started playing Magic when I was 13, and I’ve had a lot of learning experiences with the game over the years. However, no matter what strategy tips, deck building ideas, or playtesting epiphanies I’ve had, no lessons have been more important to my game than my “Big 3” revelations:
1) Lands don’t get sacrificed once you use them (it was early in my development, and once I figured this out the game made a lot more sense).
2) My decks would probably be a lot better if I added some rares into the piles of commons I was playing.
3) More information leads to better decisions, and better decisions lead to more wins.
I have always loved Type 1, and originally whet my teeth in the format playing a version of Keeper. It wasn’t until a few months after I started playing that I realized why the deck had become so popular: it could answer almost anything, as long as you knew what you were up against and made the correct decisions. It had silver bullets for almost any strategy, just enough counter-magic to control the game, a handful of disruption spells, and a few solid win conditions that were difficult to deal with. It was not the most broken or degenerate deck of it’s time, but in the right player’s hands it was exceptionally hard to beat. What made that deck really tick was it’s controllers ability to make the right decision at the right time. Read the rest of this entry »
March 1, 2012
By JUDSON aka GUDoug
It is hard to imagine a world without Eldrazi, Infect, Titans, Consecrated Sphinx, Avenger of Zendikar, Rite of Replication, Genesis Wave, Praetors, Exsanguinate, or Shards of Alara Block and it’s many generals. A world where color fixing lands and utility lands like the Shards of Alara Tri-lands, any number of dual lands, new man lands, enemy color fetchlands, panoramas, Evolving Wilds, Emeria, the Sky Ruin, Oran-Rief, the Vastwood, Reliquary Tower, and Mystifying Maze don’t exist. A world where cards like Tinker, Tolarian Academy, Fastbond, Gifts Ungiven, Staff of Domination, Channel, and Metalworker are all still playable. A world where your general is super-legendary and doesn’t die to clone effects. That is the world of EDH I starting playing in back in the spring of 2008.
Ninety-nine cards just don’t go as far as they used to. I said this about cards I wish could play but just don’t have room for anymore awhile back to a fellow EDH player. It seemed like the possibilities for deck spots were limitless when I started. Shadowmoor was recently released back then, and to be honest (and in the name of full disclosure) the only reason I started playing the format was to have something to do in-between rounds and after FNM. There was a small group that always played EDH during these times and they would never want to play standard, which were the only decks I had. Fourteen sets have come out since then, 15 if you count the Commander product. That is a staggering amount of cards. My first two decks I built are still in active rotation and just thumbing through them over 50% of the cards in each were not around when I started playing. Read the rest of this entry »
March 8, 2012
By PAT aka IRPOTENTIAL
Preface: For those of you unaware about how Yu-Gi-Oh! cards are printed, as of when I played, there were five rarities. They were common, rare, super rare, ultra rare, and secret rare. Each level added something shiny to the card. Commons were just ink on cardboard, rares had silver card names, super rares had foil art, ultra rares had gold card names and foil art, and secret rares had fancy shiny sparkly card names and sparkly foil art. I have no idea what’s been going on in Yu-Gi-Oh! for about five years.
Let me give you a brief history of me and CCGs. I started playing Magic way back during Odyssey block. A few friends had some cards and taught me to play. Their interest in Magic quickly waned and I hopped around in a few different groups of friends that played until no one I knew really cared about Magic anymore right around the release of Mirrodin. However, several of my friends had been playing Yu-Gi-Oh! for a year or so and we had been waging war trying to recruit each other.
Trust me, this article will say something useful about Magic eventually. Read the rest of this entry »
March 6, 2012
By KIRSIN aka DUNE ECHO, co-founder CasualPlayers.org
Where It All Came From
For raw, unbalanced power, it’s often so very satisfying to look to Magic’s past. One of the appealing factors of the Commander format is how it allows many players, particularly players with older collections or players with more disposable income, to run cards that have been relegated to the Vintage-only Eternal format. This exhaustive list includes obvious cards like Bazaar of Baghdad, Mana Crypt, Mishra’s Workshop, and Timetwister. All of these have an allure to them because they are cards from Magic’s earliest days when Development and Design hadn’t quite decided on the best rules for Magic’s balance and health.
In December 2011 the question of “To buy or not to buy a Mana Crypt?” was posed by a player on the MTGSalvation forums. The thread’s author very specifically did not want to debate whether or not Mana Crypt should be banned in Commander for its power. Instead, the author was asking for input regarding whether or not Mana Crypt is strong enough in Commander that it would be a worthy such a large investment over possibly buying other and/or more cards instead? Given that Mana Crypt can currently run anywhere from $43 to $76 on eBay for an unsigned, unaltered English black-bordered version and $72 to $104 for a foil Judge Gift Program version, Mana Crypt is a significant financial investment to any player. There are many other cards such as Jace, the Mind Sculptor that are equally or potentially more game changing for that type of monetary investment. So is Mana Crypt a truly viable purchase for the what it does? Read the rest of this entry »
March 15, 2012
By DAN aka chaosorbFTW
When does synergy become combo?
I was walking home from school one day when a man standing outside a comic book store asked me if I wanted to learn how to play a new game. I quickly thought about all the lessons my parents and teachers had told me about strangers, paused then and said “Sure, why not?” That was my introduction to Magic, and my first purchase was a crisp, beautiful Chronicles pack containing an Arcades Sabboth. It was almost as if the fates were pushing me towards EDH from that first day.
Fast forward many years, and I had stopped playing Magic entirely. I just didn’t have the motivation to grind out competitive tournaments, play-testing, and FNMs anymore. I sold everything and walked away, convinced I was done. I happened to run into an old friend at work one day, and we spent some time talking about games we had played like a pair of war vets; remembering when every weekend day meant a new tournament and format to prepare for. Then he mentioned he had been playing EDH. I nodded and thought that must be a new deck type or card name, but never asked until many days later what exactly EDH was. As he explained the rules and game play, I felt that excited tingle coming back about deck construction and game play. Not long after Wizards released the Commander product and I was hooked again, thinking about lines of play and deck tech with most of my spare time. Read the rest of this entry »