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Craig H

Magic: the Gathering

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I love Ferocidon being unbanned now because honestly, why not? It's got a month or so of life left until rotation, let it out to play one last time.

And fuck Hogaak and Faithless Looting. Hogaak should have been banned months ago and while it's frustrating that WotC was literally the only source I saw say that Hogaak didn't need to be banned, I'm glad it's banned now. 

I'm also very happy I held onto my set of Stoneforge Mystics. Those should shoot up in price now.

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Ok ok ok ok ok...

Am I alone in thinking these new storybook cards look like fucking trash? They're ugly as hell.

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They are definitely uhhhh different.

This is why Wizards are doing all the different booster packs now though. People who want function get the draft packs, people who want the flash can pony up for the collector's packs.

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They also announced the sets for next year yesterday, which will be Theros Q1, Kioria Q2, Core Set Q3, and Zendikar Q4. Maro kept making it sound like a return to Theros would happen sooner rather than later, but Zendikar is a surprise. I wonder if they'll wind up doing a print run of fetch lands. Hell, do the allied fetch lands in Core Set 2021 and do the enemy fetch lands in Zendikar.

Oh, and please don't print any more stupid ass Eldrazi cards. 

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Special event in Arena going on right now, you can play with Eldraine cards that have been previewed in precon brawl decks. The fairy deck is my favorite one.

The storybook cards are... interesting looking. Lots of value, since you can cast the spell side and then cast the creature later on.

I'm still not sold on food tokens, though. What an odd concept.

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I already finished up the Eldraine brawl event. I played the UWB deck. That one seems to be the best. It just overwhelms your opponent and even if they get a board wipe, you can quickly recover and rebuild. Plus the UWB deck has multiple removal spells and two Wrath-like cards.

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There were very exciting announcements for Arena yesterday. Things in the works are 4 player mode, cube drafting, drafting against humans, Commander, etc. They're only in the works at this moment so it's not part of their roadmap, but hopefully it makes it's way to Arena next year.

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I found the announcement of the event letting everybody play with every card in standard to be pretty exciting. Let everybody brew new decks, at least for a short period of time. Then there'll be a one entry only league on October 6th where you can play any deck in standard. 12 wins gets you a copy of every card in standard but you're out after 2 losses.

If you can get 12 wins in that event, more power to you. Really high bar to set.

I've been doing M20 drafts mainly the past few weeks. I'm really looking forward to how Eldraine effects standard and I'm really looking forward to drafting the set!

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Throne of Eldraine is live on Arena, as is the "play any deck in standard" queue. Last night, I got some games in with Esper Dance, Golgari, and Simic Food. The Dance deck in particular was a lot of fun to play, using wrath effects and Doom Foretold to control the board then fire off a big Dance of The Manse to reanimate a bunch of artifacts and enchantments from your graveyard, drawing cards off your eggs and globes and making them all 4/4 creatures. Good stuff.

Questing Beast is dumb as hell.

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Questing Beast is very good.

Here's my very early take on the format post-Eldraine: Too many people are trying to make Questing Beast, among other cards, work and I just wind up steamrolling them with my revamped Cavalcade deck. People just try to pump out the beast as fast as possible or playing that goose card and try to gain life  with food cards and golden eggs. And I'm just like, well, I can't block your dude, but I'm about to swing with my Chandra's Spitfire for 16 damage sooooooo...GG? Or if it's not that, then I just go wide with a bunch of 1/1s and crank out damage from Cavalcade of Calamity.

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Cards that I've said are "messed up Magic cards" while playing on ladder the past few days: Fires of Invention, Rankle, Murderous Rider, Questing Beast, Oko, Wicked Wolf, Fae of Wishes, The Great Henge.

This set is gas and I love it.

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I really love playing Esper Stax or Esper Doom.

You want to see something really fun? Make sure you're playing a deck with Legions End in it and when you play a Cat in the Oven deck, cast it on the cat and watch them immediately concede.

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Honestly, that might be my favorite deck to play at the moment. Nobody expects Doom Foretold. They also expect their food tokens or wolf tokens to save their good cards. Yeah, nah. You can sac that Garruk and keep your two wolves.

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Magic continues turning into a weekly shit show. They banned Field of the Dead - GREAT! They didn't ban Oko - WHAT THE FUCK?! There were two cards that needed to be banned and those were FotD and Oko, but of course they wouldn't outright admit to making a mistake with Oko since he's the fucking poster child for the entire set. So now we get to suffer with him until the BR announcement in November when he'll hopefully be banned. 

And then on top of that they announce Pioneer. Do you know what Magic really didn't need? Another non-rotating, Modern format. So it's Modern, but from Return to Ravnica onward, and only the fetch lands are banned. I don't even know where to begin with how fucking stupid this is. Literally no one wanted another non-rotating format. More importantly, only the degenerate players want this format so they can all play their degenerate cards again. Awesome. A bunch of assholes get to play Ramunap Red or Energy Emrakul and a bunch of other bullshit. I've been saying this for years now, but the best solution to the Modern and Standard problem would be to bring back Extended. Magic needs a rotating Modern format with banned cards more than it needs a non-rotating format without fetches. Or better yet, maybe, oh, I don't know, not continue to fuck over your Arena customers and have some synergy by making Pioneer the Historic format. That would legitimize that format in Arena, avoid so many issues with Paper/MODO that Pioneer creates, and everyone is happy. But as usual, WotC can't help but shoot themselves in the foot.

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Wizards: "Ok, for this Brawl event, Sorcerous Spyglass is banned because it shuts down planeswalker commanders!"

Yay!

Wizards: "But Oko is legal, even though you can use it as a commander and it totally shuts down all the cool creature commanders."

Bwuh?

I have an immediate concern about WotC's "just play through it" attitude with Broko and Friends, especially since the best answers are stopped by green cards (fuuuuuuck Veil of Summer and Wicked Wolf) but leaving it legal in Brawl is dumb as hell. Players on Twitter say their gameplay experience was greatly enhanced when they started autoscooping to Broko decks and that's not good.

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Well, I decided to go the planeswalker route with brawl and went with Nicol Bolas, going 5-0. Turns out, lots of removal and counters into Bolas whenever you want is REALLY good.

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Oko is BANNED!

(In Brawl)

Also, the first round of bans came out for Pioneer. Felidar Guardian, Leyline of Abundance and Oath of Nissa are the first to fall.

Leyline of Abundance and Oath of Nissa lead to the ridiculous Green Nykthos deck that could power out a massive Walking Ballista as early as turn 3.

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Yeah, when I saw that The cat was banned I was like, "this is my shocked face." They're going to do these bannings every Monday through the end of the year. This is basically going to end up like shorter history Modern, but with no fetches.

I also can't wait until Oko is banned in standard and they do their typical boilerplate bullshit explanation of, "well, we didn't want to ban it at the time because we wanted to give more time to see if it was really that much of a problem."

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Another thought, I fucking hate Eldraine limited. I'm still doing the thing where you rare draft to eventually get 4x of each rare and I'm probably 10 or 15 drafts away from that point. There's some interesting archtypes to draft, but you practically have to draft mono U, UB, or even UG to draft a mill deck because that's all you'll play against. I did 3 drafts last night and almost all of my games were against mill decks or Lucky Clover mill decks. Also, I have yet to see one fucking Lucky Clover come up in any of my draft packs.

It's to the point where when someone plays a turn 1 Merfolk Secretkeeper I just concede instead of wasting my time. I had one game where I had the win well in hand and my opponent draws into a Lucky Clover and a Merfolk Secretkeeper. So that was 8 cards gone. Next turn, he draws another Secretkeeper. 8 more cards gone. I have lethal on board if I don't get milled in my opponent's next turn and he drew into a THIRD Secretkeeper.

This shit is ridiculous. It's like playing against really unfair AI all the time, like there's rubber banding going on. The state of limited for Eldraine really makes me hate the set as a whole.

I can't wait until I hit 4x of each rare and I can just go back to playing standard ranked or Historic. LOL that's a joke. No one's playing Historic. 

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If they could get the bots right so people aren't drafting six Merfolk Secretkeepers, Eldraine draft is pretty fun, IMO. Hopefully they'll get it sorted with updates, but there's lots of fun interactions in limited that you don't get to see when people are dumping your deck into your graveyard. I even enjoyed watching the bits of this weekend's MC that were limited. And then they featured the mono-blue deck who opened Gadwick AND Folio of Fancies. Oof.

Standard is a dumpster fire, but players are still trying to innovate. The numbers from Frank Karsten said that 69% of players had Oko in their 75 at the MC. There's a few outliers out there like Azorious Control, various colors of Adventures and Temur Reclaimation, but even those are warped by the presence of food decks, playing cards like Aether Gust main deck.

I'm aboard the Javier Dominguez train. World Champ brought an offbeat Gruul Adventures deck and went 8-2 in the standard portion with it. Believe in the Cleave!

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I'm just wondering what the meta will look like once/if Oko gets banned. I know some people also want the Goose banned, but that's just dumb. Goose is a worse Birds of Paradise. They're not going to ban that.

All of the decks out there are very interesting. I'll probably still keep playing Spitfire Calamity or Esper Stax. Esper Stax is just so much fun to play.

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Gruul Adventures has been my main deck of choice right now. The players who took it to the MC hit it out of the park with their build. It's grindy and can set up a win out of nowhere with Embercleave and Rimrock Knight on a card like Lovestruck Beast or Questing Beast.

Seth Manfield posted a video on the TCG Player YouTube page about the deck. Why not learn about the deck from a Hall of Famer who helped build it and piloted it to a good finish at the MC?

Spoiler

 

This week's State of Arena was a really cool one: next week brings us Historic and a friends list! There will be a Bo3 Historic queue and the first set of Historic cards will be dropped into the client. Nothing utterly broken, but some cool build-around cards like Phyrexian Arena, Cryptbreaker, Fauna Shaman, and Serra Ascendant. Oh and Hyppie is back. Yay!

My friend: "When do we get Dark Ritual?"

Me: "LOL never."

https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/magic-digital/mtg-arena-historic-rollout-2019-11-13

Edited by FireThunder
spoiler tags, how do they work?

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Oko, Once Upon a Time, and Veil of Summer are BANNED in Standard. Arena has already been updated with the changes and when you log in, you get wildcards refunded for each copy of a banned card.

Wrenn and Six is also BANNED in Legacy. Turns out, a two mana planeswalker that returns a fetchland or Wasteland to your hand every turn at no cost is really REALLY overpowered.

And Narset gets restricted in Vintage. People like drawing extra cards.

https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/news/november-18-2019-banned-and-restricted-announcement

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I haven't played Standard since Throne of Eldraine came out, so I don't have an opinion on whether Once Upon a Time is overpowered. But the reason WotC gave for banning it sounds ridiculous to me. It "provides a level of early mana fixing that other colours don't have access to"? Isn't that like banning Shock because it provides a level of early direct damage that other colours don't have access to? Mana fixing is supposed to be a Green thing, isn't it?

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On 11/18/2019 at 11:46 AM, FireThunder said:

Oko, Once Upon a Time, and Veil of Summer are BANNED in Standard. Arena has already been updated with the changes and when you log in, you get wildcards refunded for each copy of a banned card.

Wrenn and Six is also BANNED in Legacy. Turns out, a two mana planeswalker that returns a fetchland or Wasteland to your hand every turn at no cost is really REALLY overpowered.

And Narset gets restricted in Vintage. People like drawing extra cards.

https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/news/november-18-2019-banned-and-restricted-announcement

This was honestly the right move. At first I thought that banning Veil and Once were overkill, but honestly, they're both degenerate cards and they shouldn't have been printed to begin with. WotC wouldn't be WotC though if they didn't regularly shoot themselves in the foot. Remember when they created that council to ensure shit like this didn't happen? WotC comes up with more shit that never sticks to the wall than WWE does. 

I did play around 5 or 6 games of standard last night and it was nice to not see T1 Once Upon a Time or T2 Oko. I played one deck that played a T1 Goose and I felt like I got the shakes for what would come next. It was basically just a GWB deck that tried to pump out creatures. Thankfully I always had a Kaya's Wrath, an Oath of Kaya, or a Murderous Rider. They still got me down to around 2 life, but I stabilized, recovered, got enough life back with Golden Eggs and Dance of the Manse bringing them back, and eventually they conceded.

So far, the meta just looks like a lot of random aggro or mid-range aggro and Izzet Phoenix. I did play a mirror match against another Esper Stax deck and they wound up conceding because I got my Doom Foretold out first. While I love that Esper Stax deck and it's fun to play, it does crumble against Cavalcade decks and Gruul aggro when those both get too fast of a start.

I'd like to build another deck, but I'm not sure what else would be fun to play. My main two are Stax and Cavalcade and my Cavalcade deck has a very high winrate, even when I'm on the draw,. Izzet Phoenix is kinda meh because it's just a bunch of counterspells until you can combo out a bunch of Phoenixes, Azorious Control is also boring, and I don't know how viable Reclamation is now.

My all time favorite decks are Mirrodin era Ponza (T1 Chrome Mox and Slith Firewalker, T2 Seething Song into a Sword of Fire and Ice or an Arc Slogger), Ravnica era Ghazi Glare, Standard GW Astral Slide, Extended Psychatog, and Standard CounterTop. Oh, and various GB decks. I don't just want to bring beats to the face. I like a little more interaction and more stuff to do.

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