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Unread 01-01-2012, 02:14 PM   #1
Gregness
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Video Games Yet another Magic: The Gathering thread

So, we have these from time to time and they never get too much traffic but you know who gives zero fucks? ME!

So, I'm heading to my friendly neighborhood comic shop to partake in a new year's draft of MTG Innistrad. I'll post a draft summary later; probably limited to what I first picked out of every pack and then game summaries because if I take the time to write down the full contents of every pack along with my pick the other dudes at the table are likely to lynch me.

So, this is an all-purpose Magic thread, discuss away and then later you can bask in my Magic skillz/mock me mercilessly for my performance in the draft.

(Also, I found myself wanting a Card games thread tag with like, yugi on it or someshit)
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Unread 01-01-2012, 03:46 PM   #2
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I just started getting into the game with my brother. We each asked for an intro pack for christmas, but it turns out the Innistrad intro packs kind of suck ass (oh my GOD Eldritch Onslaught needs work) so we each got another one during boxing day sales. And then my brother turned out to like his new deck (an Event Deck, the illusion one from m2012) so much that he gave me his christmas one too.

So, I have 3 intro packs and nothing else. Except for the boosters that come with intro packs, of course.

My summaries:

Eldritch Onslaught is a really cool idea but the cards they give you to pull it off are absolute bullshit. It's full of Flashback cards, and it comes with 2 copies of Burning Vengeance (do 2 damage to whatever you like each time you play something from your graveyard), so the idea is that you just mill the shit out of your deck and play Flashback cards nonstop. But most of the Flashback cards kinda suck, and if you're against someone with counterspells or enchantment-destroying abilities, you lose the firepower Burning Vengeance would give you. The creatures aren't even worth mentioning, except that a handful of them will help mill your deck for you. I have some cards in the mail that will help it out though, they'll be here in a few days and I might have updates for you then.

Spectral Legions feels pretty vanilla. It's very easy to get a crapton of creatures on the field, and there are a few good force multipliers that will make your horde of flying crap somewhat useful. But it feels like all defense, no offense, because while you can block everything forever, it's very difficult to put down units that will deal damage, and it doesn't really have any offensive spells. I have ideas for making it better, but I haven't put them into action yet - I think there's an enchantment out there that gives white creatures +1/+1...?

Admittedly, I haven't played against decks with any sort of variety. My brother sticks with his Blue deck, Mind Controlling and Negating everything I drop, so that probably skews my results a bit. But my third deck, Life for Death (from New Phyrexia... so a little older), is absolutely outstanding in this case. It lets me put out some serious damage very very quickly, and while it costs some health to do so (phyrexian mana!) it also comes with a lot of life generating cards. I can pretty much gut myself every turn and never suffer for it, and the best part is, you eventually get to play Rage Extractors which deal damage to creatures or players every time you cast a spell that uses phyrexian mana. It's a quick beatdown that starts and never stops. I love it to bits.

Still looking forward to seeing Eldritch Onslaught work properly, though.
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Unread 01-02-2012, 01:10 AM   #3
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Well, went 3-1 in the tournament and ended up taking 3rd overall. Oh, Blue/Red aggro-control, why can't I quit you?

I've gotta do some baking yet tonight (dark chocolate fudge!) so I'll post my decklist tomorrow but here's some initial thoughts. Kerensky, I don't know what flashback cards you've got in that Eldritch Assault deck, but I found the flashback cards to be completely nuts in my deck today. One card I pulled, Forbidden Alchemy, lets me have my choice of cards from the top four, with the rest going to the graveyard. Now, that's good on its own and it has flashback to boot. To make it even nuttier, if the cards you throw away have flashback then its almost like straight drawing a bunch of spells.

Now that's some card advantage.

MVP's were Devil's Play and Grasp of Phantoms. I was literally never unhappy to see either of them.
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Unread 01-02-2012, 04:06 AM   #4
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I just started back into MTG myself. My friends got me back in for Innistrad, but I've found that them(and the game shops in my area) weren't nearly as competitive as I am. I've not got a very casual deck to play with them and I started playing MTGO.

Found out the online version was not nearly as expensive to play at as they offer formats that require very little investment in the cards in Momir Basic(a type of commander game where it's your Momir avatar and 60 basic lands that make up your deck) and Pauper(constructed decks can only contain commons). Haven't touched Momir yet(it's too random for my tastes), but I really like Pauper. Had decided I was going to use my Xbox Live money and MMO money in the budget on it...did so for november and december, but I'm literally making a profit off of Swiss dailies now that I don't think I need to input any more cash now:o Guess I've gone "infinite" as the folks on MTGO like to say.

Maybe I'll be able to save up some boosters and tickets to draft some. I've always liked drafting, but constructed is what I excel at. I will say that I've started to hate the sight of Delver of Secrets. Pretty much every blue deck I runs into runs it. Not so much hate for the card, but the entire control playstyle.

EDIT: If anyone is up for an actual MTGO clan, I'm game. Just putting it out there:O

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Unread 01-02-2012, 08:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregness View Post
Forbidden Alchemy
Oh my GOD I should have ordered that one. That would have made Eldritch Assault good almost on its own. The main problem with the deck is its propensity for milling lands and Burning Vengeance into the graveyard by accident, but if I could fish them out and save them...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregness View Post
MVP's were Devil's Play and Grasp of Phantoms. I was literally never unhappy to see either of them.
I have 2 Devil's Plays in the mail as we speak (I don't draw the only one I have often enough for it to be worthwhile), and I LOVE Grasp of Phantoms because of the synergy it has with some of the other cards in Eldritch Assault. You're supposed to be sending your own deck to the graveyard to collect on Flashbacks (stuff like Dream Twist and Think Twice), but a lot of the effects you're using to mill yourself also work on your opponent. Great combo: Grasp of Phantoms followed by Dream Twist to kill the card you just sent to the top of the enemy deck.

I just played a few more games with Spectral Legions (slightly modified) vs Illusionary Might (completely unchanged), and I have been finding Mind Control to be the biggest asshole in existence. Before we started I actually switched in a couple of Paraselenes and a Silverchase Fox to deal with it, but in Game 1 I apparently didn't shuffle very well and they all ended up in a pile near the bottom of my deck.

Game 2 went significantly better because I grabbed a Mask of Avacyn very early on, which gave me free reign to make my heaviest hitters immune to his control spells. We were interrupted before I could finish him off, but I have high hopes for the next game too.

I sort of want my brother (the owner of that bloody goddamn deck) to try one of my others for once, just so I can practice playing against a different style. I have plenty of ideas for improving Spectral Legions, but most of the ideas revolve around defeating Mind Control - more Masks of Avacyn - or shutting down his illusions - Gideon's Lawkeeper jumps to mind - so I'm certain that they'd be useless for almost any other type of deck in existence.

Too many swap tags bluh.
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Unread 01-02-2012, 10:25 PM   #6
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So, now that I'm back at my own place it's much easier to open these Gatherer links.

Kerensky, one reason you're having so much trouble is that Illusionary might is just a better deck than Spectral Legion considering both their fresh-from-the-box states. Illusionary might is an event deck, which means it's much more tuned and consistent, while Spectral Legion is intended for newer players to play while they learn. Consider the number of one-of cards in each deck. The factory decklists put Illusionary might at 5 one-ofs, all of them rares. Your Spectral Legions deck has 11; more than twice as many one-ofs as Illusionary might. There are times when it's appropriate to run just one of a card in your deck such as when it's a very narrowly targetted card that you won't need every game and you have a way to search for it out of your deck but that's the exception, not the rule.

Basically, figure out how you want to win (The big three are lots of small, fast creatures, medium sized creatures with spell support, or control spells with a few very large creatures for finishers) and figure out the cards in your deck that best achieve that goal and run a full set of four of all of them. That's all while keeping under 60 cards total. The idea is to draw into your best spells as early and as often as you can so keeping your deck size to the minimum and running a full set of cards maximizes the chance that it shows up.

Also, I think I figured out part of your problems with the Eldritch Assault deck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kerensky287 View Post
*snip*

Great combo: Grasp of Phantoms followed by Dream Twist to kill the card you just sent to the top of the enemy deck.

*snip
That actually works against one of the best things you get out of Grasp of Phantoms. Consider this: You (piloting Eldritch Assault) and your brother (piloting Illusionary Might) start a game and you go back and forth, you each get a few hits in at the other, but then the game stalls because you've each got a few creatures out and don't want to leave yourself vulnerable to a counterattack when you swing in. So, in this situation you're each basically waiting to draw into something to break the stalemate right? Now, say you draw into Grasp of Phantoms and he gets a land (best case for you). So, you cast Grasp of Phantoms to put his best creature back on top of his library, which gives you enough of an advantage to attack for a few points of damage.

What do you do to follow up?

If you Dream Twist right away, that gets rid of the creature, but then you're leaving the chance for your brother to draw something relevant that might let him steal the game from you outright. Now, let's say that instead of dream twisting him, you just pass the turn to him with the satisfaction of a successful attack. You know what happens? Instead of something that might let him break the stalemate in his favor, he draws a creature that will at best put him back on even footing while at the same time he's lost a lot of time and mana resummoning it. Remember, when he summons it again, it gets summoning sickness and so he can't attack you with it.

Now, it comes back to your turn again and you get to draw a card. Let's assume the worst here and it's a card that is absolutely zero help in the current situation. In that case, simply flashback your handy dandy Grasp to put that same creature back on top of your bro's library and swing in for some more tasty, tasty damage. Bro's turn comes around and what's he do? He summons his creature for a third time. You just got what amounts to two free turns.

There's certainly situations in which Grasp of Phantoms is a great deal worse than that, sure. When it's good though? It's damn good.

For reference, here's the decklist from my draft yesterday:

8x Mountain
9x Island

2x Makeshift Mauler
2x Stitched Drake
1x Moon Heron
1x Fortress Crab
1x Tormented Pariah
1x Scourge of Geier Reach
1x Kessig Wolf
1x Armored Skaab
1x Geistcatcher's Rig
1x Civilized Scholar
1x Night Revelers

1x Sharpened Pitchfork
1x Blazing Torch

1x Think Twice
1x Sensory Deprivation
1x Devil's Play
1x Dream Twist
1x Grasp of Phantoms
1x Forbidden Alchemy
1x Geistflame
1x Into the Maw of Hell

This post is already getting super long so I'll post my recollections on the draft later.
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Unread 01-02-2012, 11:23 PM   #7
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My problem with Eldritch Onslaught is more that it has next to no reliable offensive power if your Burning Vengeance spells don't make it out. The creatures are good for defense, but the ones that can actually attack are rare, expensive, or don't fit with the direction of the deck. The spells you're supposed to be relying on seem more geared toward killing everything in your own deck, drawing more cards, or holding your opponent at bay.

Basically, here's how you do damage with Eldritch Onslaught:
1) Burning Vengeance. 2 damage to creatures or players each time you cast something from your graveyard, ie. each time you flashback ANYTHING. But you only have 2 Burning Vengeance spells.
2) Charmbreaker Devils. 4/4 creatures that get +4/+0 every time you cast an instant or sorcery, and return instants and sorceries to your hand at random each turn. But they cost a ton of mana and you only have one in the entire deck. I have never NOT milled it by accident.
3) Scourge of Geier Reach... but by the time your opponent has enough creatures for it to be worthwhile, you'll probably already be dead. Also? Just one in the deck.
4) Sturmgeist. I think the idea is that you'll be playing so many cards from your graveyard that your hand will just inflate like crazy, but I have never survived that long. And again? Just one in the deck.
5) Harvest Pyre. By the time the ball's started rolling, you'll have a billion and one cards in your graveyard that you didn't intend to mill. It basically turns this card into a two-mana Kill Any Creature card. But there is just one in the deck.

I was looking at the decklist again and I literally smacked my gob when I noticed that it didn't include Devil's Play. I must have gotten it in one of my booster packs or something, but it's just so fucking essential to the deck's functioning that I can't believe they let it sneak by.

Laboratory Maniac is a card I recently discovered too. If you have it on the field and your deck runs out of cards, you win the game. WHAT. WHY IS THIS NOT ALREADY IN THE DECK.

I actually want to order 4 Lab Maniacs, just so that I have another win condition.

Other than that, I have a few Back from the Brinks (which basically give your creatures flashback!) on order, just so I have the chance to use a few of those creatures I mill, I'm getting a few Runic Repetitions, which give me back exiled Flashback cards, and a few Catalyst Stones, which reduce flashback costs but which I recently discovered are too old to be viable under tournament rules. So fuck.

But once it's all compiled, here's how I basically see myself having two win conditions:
1) Drop a Burning Vengeance or two and abuse the hell out of them. Use Catalyst Stone as early as possible, spend Runic Repetition on spells with cheap flashback (Dream Twist and Think Twice, most likely), and just go straight for my opponent's heart while burning my own deck to the ground.
2) Lab Maniac followed by full-speed milling.


...I think I've put a little too much thought into this.

EDIT: And I realize that my brother's Event Deck is actually kinda designed to be better than my intro packs (hence why he has 4x Mind Control, 4x Master of Illusion, and infinity illusory creature cards), but I just see that as a challenge. I lose more than I win, but oh how the wins are sweet.

EDIT2: Oh my god I need this for Spectral Legions.

I have so many spells that create 1/1 White Spirit tokens with Flying that it's not even funny. If I could make them even 2/2, I'd be hard to stop. 3/3 would practically be a win condition.
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Unread 01-02-2012, 11:52 PM   #8
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That actually works against one of the best things you get out of Grasp of Phantoms. Consider this: You (piloting Eldritch Assault) and your brother (piloting Illusionary Might) start a game and you go back and forth, you each get a few hits in at the other, but then the game stalls because you've each got a few creatures out and don't want to leave yourself vulnerable to a counterattack when you swing in. So, in this situation you're each basically waiting to draw into something to break the stalemate right? Now, say you draw into Grasp of Phantoms and he gets a land (best case for you). So, you cast Grasp of Phantoms to put his best creature back on top of his library, which gives you enough of an advantage to attack for a few points of damage.

What do you do to follow up?

If you Dream Twist right away, that gets rid of the creature, but then you're leaving the chance for your brother to draw something relevant that might let him steal the game from you outright. Now, let's say that instead of dream twisting him, you just pass the turn to him with the satisfaction of a successful attack. You know what happens? Instead of something that might let him break the stalemate in his favor, he draws a creature that will at best put him back on even footing while at the same time he's lost a lot of time and mana resummoning it. Remember, when he summons it again, it gets summoning sickness and so he can't attack you with it.

Now, it comes back to your turn again and you get to draw a card. Let's assume the worst here and it's a card that is absolutely zero help in the current situation. In that case, simply flashback your handy dandy Grasp to put that same creature back on top of your bro's library and swing in for some more tasty, tasty damage. Bro's turn comes around and what's he do? He summons his creature for a third time. You just got what amounts to two free turns.
To add to this explanation, unless the creature in question is some type of bomb that will literally win the game for your opponent, there really isn't a reason to Dream Twist it. Think about it in terms of card advantage, you are using two of your potential cards to get rid of one threat. It's a potential way to deal with it, but hey you might have a mana leak in hand or some other type of counter that would be much better to use as you absolutely know what he's going to draw.

So, you gotta think do I really want to play from my hand(or exile for flashback) two cards to deal with one threat, or do I want to just jilt his tempo a bit so that I might be able to get my Undead Alchemist out so that my Dream Twist is that more effective, or maybe till you scry and you see a number of flashback cards you can definitely use now. Two card combos to get rid of one threat are meh.

And to further talk about Innistrad, the casual paper deck I built is basically a human tribal deck that focuses around sacrifice effects. I love me some Johnny playstyle and really like Unruly Mob and Thraben Sentry/Militia so thats where I went with the deck. It's U/W so that I may use Invisible Stalker and Vivisection. Invisible stalkers are great as an alternate win condition as them with equipment quickly wins games. I use Demonmail Hauberk as my sacrifice engine(along with spirit token humans) and Back from the Brink as my recursion. It works well, but not near the level as competitive standard decks. I will say that Pentavus has some mad hyjinks with the mob late game.

Innistrad has definitely added some good to the game. I love the flip mechanic, love the flavor, hell just love the whole set. I hope the rest of the block continues in this magnificence.
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Unread 01-03-2012, 02:53 AM   #9
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...Think about it in terms of card advantage...

...do I want to just jilt his tempo a bit so that...
I think Kerensky said he was new to Magic? We should probably be more careful throwing around terms like 'card advantage' and 'tempo' without doing some explaining. Basically, consider the number of cards you have as a resource. In a normal game, you and your opponent each draw one card per turn and so you have access to the same number of resources at any given time (relatively speaking). So, any series of plays which results in you having more usable cards remaining than your opponent has given you card advantage.

I think an exaggerated example serves best here.

Imagine you and your opponent are in the middle of a game and you each have three creatures and two cards in hand and nothing else relevant. So, if you use a spell to kill one of his creatures, you each then have four cards remaining (you have three creatures and one spell, he has two creatures and two spells). Now, if you can arrange it so that one of your spells kills two of his creatures, you have four cards remaining to his three and thus you have gained a bit of card advantage. If all your trades are even from then out he should run out of cards before you and you should be able to win because he doesn't have any more resources.

This explains it better if you don't mind reading.

Tempo is a touch trickier, but it relates to the relative speeds at which you and your opponent will kill each other. For example, if I spend two mana on a 3/1 and my opponent spends two mana on a 2/2, I will kill him in seven turns and he'll kill me in ten turns provided no one blocks. I have the tempo advantage. If on the next round my opponent summons a 3/4 and I summon another 3/1 with two of my mana and use my last mana to cast Silent Departure, then he has essentially wasted this turn and only has his 2/2 to my two 3/1's. I now have a massive tempo advantage and will kill him in three turns unless he starts blocking.

Some more stuff on tempo.

Naturally, these two kinds of advantages can also overlap in places, but don't worry about that too much yet.

For the Eldritch Assault deck, look into getting some Stitched Drakes. Since you're naturally milling so many cards into your own graveyard, finding one to remove to pay the alternate cost should be easy and you get a cheap 3/4 flying creature out of the deal. You get a use for milled creatures, and a way to beat face. Win/win!
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Unread 01-04-2012, 04:44 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Gregness View Post
For the Eldritch Assault deck, look into getting some Stitched Drakes. Since you're naturally milling so many cards into your own graveyard, finding one to remove to pay the alternate cost should be easy and you get a cheap 3/4 flying creature out of the deal. You get a use for milled creatures, and a way to beat face. Win/win!
If you can find a Skaab Ruinator, that'd be even better. He's superior to the drake in everyway(though he costs 3 exiles) and he can be cast from the gy. He's amazing. Only problem is he's mythic. Stitched Drake is great in the meantime.
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