zombie apocalypse!

So, at today’s I’m Board draft, where we did an odd DKA-DKA-ISD draft (no one knows why), I drafted a pretty hilarious theme deck – zombies! I certainly passed a lot of good/better spells merely because there was a combo card in the pack to take instead :P

Swamp x8, Island x5, Forest x2, Evolving Wilds, Grim Backwoods

Gravecrawler, Dead Weight

Think Twice, Mayor of Avabruck, Highborn Ghoul

Armored Skaab, Headless Skaab, Secrets of the Dead, Chosen of Markov, Markov Patrician, Reap the Seagraf x2, Tribute to Hunger, Ghoulraiser

Galvanic Juggernaut, Briarpack Alpha

Farbog Boneflinger x2, Relentless Skaabs Death's Caress, Morkrut Banshee

Geistcatcher's Rig, Zombie Apocalypse

Noteworthy cards not in the deck: Bitterheart Witch, Curse of Misfortunes, Curse of Thirst, Curse of Oblivion. If I had gotten the Curse of the Bloody Tome on the wheel, I definitely would have played it. Deranged Outcast was taken pretty early as well (2nd pick Briarpack Alpha, didn’t see much green after that). Increasing Ambition also didn’t make the cut.

You bet your burgers I shouted out “ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!!!” every time I played it ;) It even won me a game, getting back Relentless Skaabs and Farbog Boneflinger while killing off Gatstaf Shepherd and Woodland Sleuth to stabilize at 6 life :D


So Dark Ascension is officially part of Standard now, which means I’m running around trying to complete a set of Gravecrawlers for the Game Day tournament coming up in a few weeks. Most people who are up to speed with Standard and looked over the Dark Ascension spoiler probably saw “Gravecrawler? Geralf’s Messenger? Mono black aggro!” I, too, am on that bandwagon. However, I’m going through a few deck ideas right now and am not quite sure what exactly I’m going to pursue, thus I don’t have a decklist to post yet (also, I like being secretive about it, since I’m sure so many people read my blog and are going to steal my ideas). All I know is it involves zombies.

dark ascension prerelease

This last weekend was the Dark Ascension prerelease. I was in Minnesota visiting my folks for Chinese new year, so I ended up playing sealed at Legion Games. Unfortunately, I also broke my midnight prerelease streak :( if you’re going to say I’m not hardcore enough because I didn’t want to play at midnight after working 8 hours then driving 4 hours… you’d be right~

Saturday: I thought I opened the nuts, getting both Sorin, Lord of Innistrad and Bloodline Keeper along with some pretty decent removal in black and white (Dead Weight, Smite the Monstrous, Burden of Guilt, Avacynian Priest, Death’s Caress) and solid creatures, but I ended up going 2-2. I started off strong, with a 2-0 on the meat of my deck alone (didn’t see Sorin, Bloodline Keeper, or Skirsdag Flayer at all), but then made a pretty huge misplay in game 3 of my 3rd match. I was ahead with a Galvanic Juggernaut and Avacynian Priest, while my opponent had no creatures. My hand was Silverchase Fox, Death’s Caress, and a sandbag land. My opponent plays a Soul Seizer. I attack with my Juggernaut, putting him to 11, then Death’s Caress the ghost to untap my Juggernaut. He plays a Thraben Heretic and Sharpened Pitchfork, equipping on the same turn. I topdeck Avacyn’s Collar and throw it on my Juggernaut. He declines the block, going to 5… that all-powerful magic number 5… and plays Thraben Doomsayer. I should have been more patient, holding back the Death’s Caress and just taking the Soul Seizer, playing and saccing my Silverchase Fox if/when he chose to Mind Control one of my guys. This would leave me with Death’s Caress for anything he played (i.e. Thraben Doomsayer). Even if I were scared of the ghost, I could always tap it with my priest. Then, round 4, I play the guy with 8 removal spells, all 3 games he has turn 6 Blood Feud to wreck me. Sigh… ah well.

Sunday: Opposite of the previous day, I open a pretty unimpressive pool, a couple bombs but no real removal in relevant colors… and end up going 3-1 with my desperation deck. The match I lost was against a guy who had… many bombs in his deck, so I didn’t feel that bad (Black Mikaeus, Curse of Death’s Hold, Daybreak Ranger). My “removal” spells were Burden of Guilt, Silent Departure, Hollowhenge Spirit, and Dungeon Geists. Oh, I guess Bone to Ash, too -_- Yep, sad stuff. Basically a rehash of GP Minneapolis: Zendikar. I played a 19-creature, 16-land deck that was hyperaggressive, relying on crappy tricks like Curiosity + Invisible Stalker (over the infinitely more playable Silverchase Fox + Think Twice) to randomly win games with him and Elder Cathar. (That was the only reason I played Invisible Stalker. I could have played a Heavy Mattock too, but then I’d have to resign every game where I play it out of shame.) I did win a couple games solely from Geist-Honored Monk (first time ever getting her in limited!), but mostly just super-aggro’d people out (T2 Gather the Townsfolk into Niblis of the Mist, equip Inquisitor’s Flail on a flyer, suicide creatures to play Skaab Goliath, random stuff like that). I definitely ended 3+ games with Skaab Ruinator in my hand, 1 creature away from casting, but also 1 turn away from winning anyway…

If you want to check out my pools, I’m pretty confident I picked the right colors (BW for Saturday, UW for Sunday), but I’m definitely interested in hearing any thoughts!

dka_prerelease (DOCX file)

return to innistrad

In preparation for the Dark Ascension prerelease next weekend, I decided to do a draft at I’m Board today. The drafts there are $10 for packs, keep your picks, no prizes. It’s a pretty casual crowd, newer players, players who don’t know rules, etc. To them, I’m probably more or less a pro ;) Here’s the deck I drafted, first picking Mentor of the Meek.

Gavony Township
Pilgrim of Avacyn x2
Silverchase Fox x2
Darkthicket Wolf
Avacynian Priest
Mentor of the Meek
Village Bellringer
Fiend Hunter
Abbey Griffin x2
Slayer of the Wicked x2
Mausoleum Guard
Ulvenwald Mystics
Galvanic Juggernaut
Grizzled OutcastsSilver-Inlaid Dagger
Bonds of Faith
Travel Preparations
Spidery Grasp
Smite the Monstrous

As you might expect, the deck smashed faces. After the draft, I was able to unload tons of dollar/junk rares (and a few substantial ones) to trade for some higher value cards. Since my trade binder is larger than it needs to be, I encouraged them to take out everything they wanted and was able to walk away with a Snapcaster, Sad Robot, Phantasmal Image, Past in Flames, Woodland Cemetary, and a few other random low-value cards in exchange for a Primeval Titan, Inferno Titan, a couple 4-5 dollar cards, a bunch of 3-4 dollar cards, and about 20+ junk rares and random uncommons. I double-checked with them all, and they were uninterested in competitive Magic, so I hope they enjoyed greatly boosting their collections for a few casually-unimpressive cards!

sometimes, bombs are just “meh”

Just got back from FNM. I’ll give full disclosure by alerting you that, yes, this is a complaining post, but yes, I still finished 2nd in my draft pod.

First off, I would be very much richer if I just opened the packs I brought instead of playing with them. First pack: foil Past in Flames. Second pack: Mikaeus, the Lunarch. Third pack: Garruk Relentless. Gross. Fortune did not smile upon any other packs in the pod, so I ended up redrafting the Past in Flames and a Hinterland Harbor. Certainly not a horrible pickup, but not exactly exciting either.

My deck was kind of a mess, I started out in white/blue, but, in pack 2, got passed a pack with bad white cards, no blue cards, and a Brimstone Volley. Picked it up, then got passed another empty WU pack, but with a Rage Thrower. Grabbed a Shimmering Grotto for the potential red splash, then ended up switching completely into red for my secondary and then taking the Garruk in pack 3. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any good 2-drops, but decided to play a pretty aggressive deck.

Bye in the first round, got somewhat card screwed in games 1 & 3 vs. Sam Black, but game 2 was able to get the nuts going with T2 Mikaeus, T4 Garruk, T7 Rage Thrower, pump my guys. 3rd round against local legend Jasper, I had a bad game 1 when I was on the play, he got a T1 Reckless Waif T2 Ashmouth Hound with removal backup and I went down quickly. Game 2 went pretty long, but I was able to get enough 2-for-1s to come out ahead with creatures on board when he had nothing and was top-decking. Game 3, Jasper unfortunately ended up mulling to 4 and I (finally) had my aggressive curve-out hand.

Here’s my deck:

Shimmering Grotto, Forest, Mountain x8, Plains x7


Silverchase Fox, Mikaeus, the Lunarch, Bonds of Faith, Harvest Pyre, Moment of Heroism

Elder Cathar x2, Voiceless Spirit x2, Kessig Wolf, Feral Ridgewolf x2, Brimstone Volley

Thraben Sentry x2, Abbey Griffin, Slayer of the Wicked, Garruk Relentless

Pitchburn Devils

Geistcatcher’s Rig, Into the Maw of Hell

turns out bombs are good

Opened Balefire Dragon and Geist of St. Traft, played WU humans with red splashing for the dragon and Blasphemous Act, won out 3-0, splitting the last round for 6 packs (leaving early is nice). That said, I am very excited to start drafting this set, since tribal is not forced (Lorwyn) and the mechanics are very interesting and fun :)

Would definitely like to play something other than WU, though. I mean, it’s good, but for 3 events, playing WU in all 3 seems like overkill…

horror midnight

Off to the Innistrad midnight prerelease I go!

UPDATE: Ended up 3-1, splitting in the last round with a 2-0-1 so I still got 6 packs. Here is the deck I built:

Silent Departure x2
Spectral Rider, Snapcaster Mage, Bonds of Faith
Elder Cathar x2, Midnight Haunting, Chapel Geist, Fiend Hunter, Civilized Scholar, One-Eyed Scarecrow
Forbidden Alchemy, Claustrophobia, Dissipate, Trepanation Blade
Slayer of the Wicked, Moon Heron, Smite the Monstrous
Battleground Geist, Mirror-Mad Phantasm, Sturmgeist
Dearly Departed
Shimmering Grotto, Plains x8, Island x8

Standouts: Snapcaster Mage, Midnight Haunting, Trepanation Blade, Battleground Geist
Less-than-enthused: Claustrophobia, Mirror-Mad Phantasm
Could have been worse: Dearly Departed (never got to cast it, but ended up in my graveyard a lot O.o)

innistrad party at pax!

Post last updated: 11:00 PM CST

At PAX in Seattle, there’s an Innistrad party, and the spoilers are flooding in! @mtgcolorpie is tweeting the most pictures the quickest. Check out the new “gravefall” mechanic! Can you say “Birthing Pod jumps in price”? All the spoiled cards are being updated in the second post on MTG Salv’s Rumor Mill.

Also, if you haven’t been keeping up with spoilers, one of the other new mechanics is day/night. There are double-faced creatures (or presumably any permanent card) marked as Day on the front and Night on the back. If a certain condition is fulfilled (cost paid or condition met), you flip the card over to the Night version. Some cards have conditions that flip back to the Day version as well. There is a (official name) Checklist Card which was described as having two columns with cards listed down it, with a box to write in power/toughness. The back of the card is the regular Magic back, so you can use it as a substitute if you’re playing limited without sleeves. No official image yet, but the MTG website should have the official rules regarding Day/Night cards at 11 PM CST. These Checklist Cards are supposedly very commonly found in packs, so I’m guessing they either replace the tips/tricks cards or we’ll now get 2 random cards in packs (1 token/tips card, 1 checklist card).

Another new thing is an Enchantment subtype called “Curse,” which apparently always refers to Enchant Player effects. The one spoiled so far is Curse of the Bloody Tome, which mills the enchanted player for 2 on their upkeep, for 2U at common.

RANDOM: Lol, totally capitalizing on the PAX previews to get tons of blog hits :P If you didn’t know where you look for Innistrad spoilers, I guess you came to the right spot!

UPDATE: Here is the link to the Innistrad Mechanics article on Daily MTG. And, from the Checklist Card displayed in the article, we know that the new Garruk (Garruk Relentless) is a Day/Night card!

RANDOM: This is going to be somewhat annoying to draft on paper, since you’ll be able to see other people’s double-faced cards :/