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Craig H

Magic: the Gathering

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Might as well talk about Magic related stuff here. I'm going to go through the process today of trying to recover my gems from the closed beta and then start working towards that mono red deck that's just straight burn. I stopped playing Arena for awhile because I had amassed a really decent collection of rares and mythics, had a really good mono red deck, a UW control deck with Teferi, and a green stompy deck and when all that went away, I was kinda annoyed to rebuild that collection.

I may as well jump back in though, even if it's to draft. I liked drafting on Arena more than Magic Online except for the BO1 format. Drafting with paper magic remains the best.

The other big drawback to arena is the lack of anything other than 1v1. As time goes on a collections get bigger I would hope that there's a way to include 2 headed giant with cube drafting.

I also still play paper Magic, but mostly modern. I typically pilot a RG ponza/land destruction deck because I'm a bastard and casting Bloodbraid Elf and cascading into Stone Rain, Molten Rain, or Blood Moon is the best.

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Do you like really stupid memes? Do you like Magic: The Gathering? The new Ravnica Allegiance set has you covered.

 

37 Persistent Petitioners

23 Islands

You are welcome.

You will not win a lot of game with this nonsense, but damn I have a fun time anyway. It's sooooooo stupid. (If you are confused about how this "have more than 4 of a card" mechanic is handled, you only need the 4 max and then the game will let you add however many copies you want.)

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I don't think "Draft" is that good in Arena yet mainly because it's not a true draft where you are passing packs around the table, so it ends with some weird imbalances. Personally I think if I was to spend gems I'd rather just go Sealed, but as of yet I've held out spending that kind of money for gems. 

I want a Fat Deck mode with an absolute minimum of 100. Even more would be great. Let's get stupid.

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2 minutes ago, Death From Above said:

I don't think "Draft" is that good in Arena yet mainly because it's not a true draft where you are passing packs around the table, so it ends with some weird imbalances. Personally I think if I was to spend gems I'd rather just go Sealed, but as of yet I've held out spending that kind of money for gems. 

I want a Fat Deck mode with an absolute minimum of 100. Even more would be great. Let's get stupid.

The main reason why I liked drafting in Arena is because the AI drafting is really, really dumb and I would get insane shit passed to me. I didn't really go "infinite" with drafting, but the amount of times where I didn't wind up better than I was going in was few and far between.

My biggest complaint was having to play against the same shit over and over again, which is just a byproduct of everyone drafting against AI and then playing human opponents.

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I'm waiting for Ravnica to have a regular Draft event so I can pay gold, since I can grind up 5k in a day or so, and I've found drafting gets the best stuff, since, ya know, the AI is dumb and if I see a mythical rare pop up, fuck getting my theme, I'll just grab it.  Arena really helped me get over the "what the fuck is going on" hump one runs into with CCG's, along with following a couple MTG players on Twitch.  I kinda wish I had started with this as a CCG years ago instead of getting into what became the absolute fucking mess YGO became.

 

The daily/weekly gift decks don't fully suck and you can get an idea of some neat themes for it, but you're not likely to survive ranked above Bronze tier.

 

Speaking of Ranked, season ends in a week.  

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I got up to gold something-or-other and at that point whoa nelly good luck.

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Welp, to my surprise, the Gates deck isn't a meme. The deck is competitive enough that a writer for Star City Games, Bryan Gottlieb, wrote an article about it today.

It's pretty inexpensive as well, depending on how you build the deck. Gates Ablaze is a really good mass removal spell that's an uncommon, Guild Summit is an uncommon that can draw you a lot of cards, Gatebreaker Ram and Gate Colossus can be decent finishers for the deck and are also uncommon, Circuitous Route ramps your mana up very quickly while drawing you two cards if you have Guild Summit in play and is uncommon. The guildgates themselves are all common as is Gift of Paradise and Growth Spiral.

I'm playing a version with Nexus of Fates to take many turns and two copies of Hydroid Krasis as the finisher. Counterspells are a major concern, but I haven't hit too many control decks on ladder thus far. My thanks to mono-red players for keeping them down!

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Man I want to do some kind of deck built around Gate Colossus but I just cannot work out a different deck that is actually good and not just "nothing happens until turn 5" that isn't distinctly better by just cutting the Colossus and all the gates. My instincts want to say there is a way to pull it off in some sort of white/green token deck but every time I try to put it together I just run out of space to fit the things you need inside of 60. It's like two separate good ideas that just don't work together, so far.  The other problem with trying to work it into white/green is you are just wiiiiiiiide open to flying, AND to black clearance shit. Maybe I should just buckle and, get this, play a normal deck that is proven to work.

I feel like white/blue Azorius is going to get slept on in this set because it's not just some gross Teferi nonsense, plus everyone is (rightly) on Gruul right now, but there's going to be some really good decks there too. Some of the new white/blue stuff is really fun looking and not just "bore your opponent into a concession". Maybe the real obstacle is that mono-blue tempo may actually turn out to be more reliable, and that deck is cheaper than just about anything else actually good.

Speaking of which, Essence Capture may be the new set card that gets played in mono-blue a lot (counter a creature spell, put a +1/+1 token on any creature you control). Super good card to pair with Mist-Cloaked Herald and Curious Obsession. 

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I've been tweaking one of the Green/Blue structure decks I got from a weekly that's Merfolk themed and runs great if I can swarm early.  But man, I run smack into dead hands a TON.

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I never got into the MTG craze, and we have a game store by where I live that does tournaments pretty much every Friday/Saturday. With Arena getting some buzz, I debated downloading it and giving it a shot to see if I could learn how to play.

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21 minutes ago, Chaos said:

I never got into the MTG craze, and we have a game store by where I live that does tournaments pretty much every Friday/Saturday. With Arena getting some buzz, I debated downloading it and giving it a shot to see if I could learn how to play.

It's honestly worth it, but I feel like Arena would really get you more prepared for "kitchen table Magic" than anything else. Magic Online is a deeper experience and better resembles actual Magic, but it's also not free to play like Arena is.

The one thing I learned in playing so many tournaments is that knowledge of the rules and turns means as much as the cards you're playing. Magic Online better replicates that since Arena does a ton of the work for you.

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As someone that went in the other CCG direction and is just getting into Magic now, and tried both Arena and Online, Arena is way better if you know nothing to get into the game.  I'm not where I would need to be to wade back into Online yet, especially with the previously mentioned pay for everything system Online has (even with the free card dealers), but I'm way more comfortable and knowledgeable of the process and some rules now after playing Arena a ton than I would be if I only played Online.  

 

If you know nothing about Magic, starting with Arena and dropping $5 for the starter kit is the better way to start.  You can win enough with the starter stuff grinding Dalies to build yourself up without dropping money.

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Oh, for sure. Sorry, what I was trying to say didn't come out the way I was thinking about it. Yeah, Arena being free to play and handling the heavy lifting of rules and phases for you is way better for learning Magic. Its UI is also infinitely more appealing than Magic Online's, which is still stuck in 2000 or 2001 (whenever it came out).

I think if you have any interest in playing in tournaments though, then Arena probably won't do a great job of preparing you for that experience. I mean, you'll at least know how to play, but I could see someone maybe not understanding steps or phases or passing priority and getting tripped up on that. That makes for an uncomfortable experience because then you have to place your trust in the hands of your opponent to guide you through the process and even with FNM people look for any advantage to win. That said, other than playing Magic Online to prepare yourself for that, the only other way to get used to all of that is to just jump in on the deep end. You're probably going to eat a lot of shit at first, but you'll get through it.

Anyway, Arena at least gets you started and gets you started for a few bucks. That's better than dropping $100 on a box of cards and then another $100 to $1000 on singles or trying to wrangle up a group of friends and drafting packs.

What I really, really, really, really wish they'd bring back in Arena is Magic: the Puzzling. I think that's maybe what it was called, but years ago when Duels of the Planeswalkers was first coming out and whatever it was before that, there would be a mode with puzzles to solve that usually were based around winning in 1 turn with a crazy board state. I loved that shit and I know other people did too. Adding that as a daily mode to farm a little bit of currency would be a good way to learn more about the game and add some variety to the dailies.

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Honestly, the real world local tournament scene has always seemed to me to be a CS:GO level of toxic garbage fire. If anything I wish Arena made it easier to access actual casual, non-meta play that you could have among friends in real life. Play and Ranked are literally the exact same "Top 2 rows of Current Metagame decks from MtG: Goldfish" except one has a meter and one doesn't. I don't understand why online CCG's never seem to have guilds or friend lists or something where you can just play around with the roughly 85% of cards that literally never get tried because there's mathematically no reason to ever use them in a game vs. randoms that aren't cooperating.

It's not really a learning curve or challenge issue, so much as it is that I feel they hurt their own player retention because there's only so many thousands of times you can play some faceless random playing mono-red aggro before you are bored with it. Granted, Magic has enough actual hardcore addicts and full time players they can probably afford to ignore this. But if they really want to make their game as fun as it can be, they shouldn't.

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7 hours ago, Death From Above said:

Honestly, the real world local tournament scene has always seemed to me to be a CS:GO level of toxic garbage fire.

No idea what "CS:GO" is, but I'm sorry to hear that the Alberta scene is unpleasant. I've had almost unilaterally positive experiences with the Toronto tournament scene.

7 hours ago, Death From Above said:

I don't understand why online CCG's never seem to have guilds or friend lists or something where you can just play around with the roughly 85% of cards that literally never get tried because there's mathematically no reason to ever use them in a game vs. randoms that aren't cooperating.

Magic Online has guilds and friends lists.

And I take it you only play constructed? There are certainly cards that aren't even playable in limited, but it's nowhere near 85%.

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If anyone really wants to see a CCG where over 90% of the cards ever printed are worthless, YGO is right there.

 

And no, I will never stop shit talking YGO and how Konami seems to make it worse every card they release.

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Mono-Red is so strong right now. I got 4 Immolation Shamans out of my Allegiance packs so far, so I threw together an Off-Brand Mono-Red Aggro deck that is nothing other than "what can I do without spending a wildcard today" and even that just steamrolled to the 15-win cap on the daily rewards. I only threw in Squee for laughs because the poor guy never sees any action and even he's fine. Anyway, I expect to see Immolation Shaman start seeing some wider play at some point, because it's honestly pretty good.

 

 

Off-Brand Mono-Red

3 Ghitu Lavarunner
4 Shock
1 Dire Fleet Daredevil
1 Dismissive Pyromancer
4 Immolation Shaman
4 Lava Coil
4 Lightning Strike
4 Viashino Pyromancer
3 Guttersnipe
1 Risk Factor
1 Squee, The Immortal
1 Arclight Phoenix
2 Rekindling Phoenix

2 Demanding Dragon
2 Banefire
Land

It's just hard to stop, man. The Immolation Shaman's special menace activation ability is really something if you can use all the instants to keep the board relatively clear.

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One of the streamers I watch toys around with a mono-red Goblin deck that if it goes wide quick,  its deadly,   it if it doesn't get those enchantments, its DOA.  I want to try that out soon.

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The funny thing is one of the hardest counters to Goblins is a Goblin Chainwhirler.

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Anyone play EDH/COmmander?

I've got a local playgroup that catch up every couple of weeks for a day of MTG goodness. I'm putting together a pretty jack Vaevictis Asmadi, the Dire deck built around the sacrifice mechanic.

I also love Arena. It's base level Magic but jumping on to smash out 15-20 games in a sitting, crack some packs and brew something terrible... Good times. Currently running a Mono B Nicol Bolas deck. I splash blue and red for Bolas only and the rest is just removal, reanimation & draining people out. It's terrible but people stall for ages because they have NFI what's being played haha

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The Dimir stuff in the new set owns. That 3/3 flying/hexproof/deathtouch + Quasiduplicate = *chef kisses fingers*

I can't believe Quasiduplicate has jump-start. Countering it once doesn't even stop it. And if you get it off twice, lol

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On 1/29/2019 at 4:36 PM, L_W_P said:

Anyone play EDH/COmmander?

I've got a local playgroup that catch up every couple of weeks for a day of MTG goodness. I'm putting together a pretty jack Vaevictis Asmadi, the Dire deck built around the sacrifice mechanic.

I also love Arena. It's base level Magic but jumping on to smash out 15-20 games in a sitting, crack some packs and brew something terrible... Good times. Currently running a Mono B Nicol Bolas deck. I splash blue and red for Bolas only and the rest is just removal, reanimation & draining people out. It's terrible but people stall for ages because they have NFI what's being played haha

Half of my friends like Commander and half don't. What we're really into is cube drafting. Two of my friends always have a cube ready to go. The only problem with cube drafting is that the actual drafting and then deck building takes at least an hour or hour and a half. Since some of my friends don't have families or kids and don't understand that people live on a schedule and time is precious, there's a lot of time wasted waiting for people to show up when they said they were going to show up. That said, it feels like the most "fair" version of Magic. No one can make anything super oppressive like my giant Astral Slide deck. Same thing with Commander. Commander always has that one or two decks that just get way, way, way, way too powerful in short order and then it turns into a big discussion about nerfing our decks to make the experience more fun. Like, no one wants to play against a Memnarch deck where I just steal all of your shit. Go figure, right?

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BTW, I didn't notice this until I went to r/magictcg today, but apparently WotC let go of half of their judge leadership. They really are making more of a pivot to esports then from the looks of it. I just don't see how it's going to work. Paper Magic has been the backbone of the game and that's not going to change. And there's still no roadmap for 2019 events and beyond.

Magic Arena is great and all, but moving to it and prioritizing it over the paper product is WotC cutting their nose off to spite their face. Not that I'm surprised they'd do that or anything. WotC has made a lot of dumb, WWE-esque decisions over the last few years.

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Im certain that in 5 years time standard will be Arena only and we will get maybe 2 paper sets a year to support modern and commander.

Something like the Commander sets in June then a masters/vintage/legacy type eternal booster box product around the Christmas holidays. Maybe through the year they print some of the top standard decks into paper collections for FNM or paper collectors, but Arena is the future for sure. If I could play multiplayer EDH on there I would.

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11 hours ago, Craig H said:

Same thing with Commander. Commander always has that one or two decks that just get way, way, way, way too powerful in short order and then it turns into a big discussion about nerfing our decks to make the experience more fun. Like, no one wants to play against a Memnarch deck where I just steal all of your shit. Go figure, right?

One of my friends built a Purpheros deck that just killed us week after week. We talked to him about it so he moved it into a Krenko deck that did the same.

Now he plays a Nekusar deck that is only slightly less oppressive but it's still a race to kill him first then see who is left for the cripple fight to finish.

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