Tag: debilitating-injury

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Roy Anderson Roy Anderson - February 5, 2015

GP San Jose: The Sockymans’ Story (Day One)

Pearl Lake Ancient

GP San Jose: The Sockymans’ Story (Day One) – Team Sealed

By Roy Anderson – Sockymans

Hello my fellow looters! It’s Sockymans here with this week’s article, or should I say, articles. That’s right, this week is a two part series (As you probably saw from the title) about my adventures at Grand Prix San Jose. Now, I was only there for two days, Saturday and Sunday, so the article today will be about the first day of the main event.

To start off, man was I excited to see a Grand Prix so close to home. I was even more excited to see that the main event format was Team Sealed. To add even more excitement it was just a week after a new set release, therefore, it had a very new format! Now before I go into the actual day, I want to clarify some things people may not know.

 

Team sealed

So Team Sealed, what is it? It is a format you don’t see too often but if you have two friends that are also into Magic, I would highly recommend it. It works similar to regular sealed except you are on a team of three people. You start, just like in sealed, cracking your packs and building a deck. However, in Team Sealed, you have 12 packs between the three of you to build three decks. This gives you more options in each color, however, you must be able to figure out which team member gets which card. I will talk more about this when I describe my team’s pool. Another thing I want to note is that you must have every card in the sideboard of a certain player. You cannot have cards flowing between players sideboards so that is an important thing to decided as well. So when decks are built and round one starts, you are sat opposite another team. The way it works from there is each person plays against the person sitting opposite from them and whichever team has two of their members win their match, wins the round. During the games you are allowed to talk to your team and get advice about: plays, hands, and even sideboard options. If you make day two, after another Team Sealed round, you get to play team draft which is a whole other can of worms. Well, let us get to the meat and potatoes of the article!

Starting this story on a good note, we got to wake up at 6:30am. Now continuing this story with less sarcasm, we got there early very anxious for the event to start. There was a huge turnout for the main event which made competition fierce. In order to make day two, a team would need to not lose more than two rounds in a nine round tournament. My friends, John, Andy, and I, knew that would be tough but we were pumped and ready to go.

So they announced the start and we sat down. For those who have never played at competitive level  before, there is a step before you just crack packs and build decks. You first open a pool of cards and register every single one. Only after this is done, you pass your pool to someone else. This ended up being a good thing this time around as the pool we had to register was utter garbage. There were no strong archetypes, no strong reason to play any colors, no bombs, nothing. Bullet dodged. So we finally finish all of the boring stuff and we get our real pool. Our pool was much better. Lots of strong Fate Reforged, FRF, and Khans of Tarkir, KTK, cards with good pulls to multiple different archetypes. After some deliberation with my comrades we all settled on decks that were good and the decks we wanted to play. The end result was a very strong Abzan deck, a Sultai Control deck, and a mediocre R/W Aggro deck. We figured this divide of cards was decent at the time and we all were happy with the archetypes we had. I ended up with a personal favorite of mine, Sultai Control.

I won’t leave you hanging on the details, so here is the list I decided to run:

 

Abomination of Gudul – This creature was never too relevant for me and I think in FRF/KTK it is actually a bit worse. That being said, it was always a morph in the worst match-up and it did cycle through my deck quite a few times in the longer games

Pear Lake Ancient – This is just a very powerful game ending card. It only came out of my deck in extreme situations when my opponent’s deck was super fast. Even in the aggro matchup, it was good as a flash blocker.

Debilitating Injury – Super solid early game removal.  Even in FRF/KTK this remains an all-star.

Disowned Ancestor – This was mostly used to muck up the ground and keep me alive until I dropped Torrent Elemental or Pear Lake Ancient. I took this card out in control matches, however, I was not sad with this in the main deck.

Sultai Scavenger – A very solid mid-game flier. It was useful at getting past defenses. It was even a way to get Torrent Elemental into exile to use his ability. 10/10 would play again.

Archer’s Parapet – Same reasoning as Disowned Ancestor but I would have much rather had two of these. This never got boarded out as it is a supper good card.

Longshot Squad – This was in because I needed creatures, it was a Hill Giant with upside. I can’t complain about that.

Scout The Borders – Delve fuel, enough said.

Sultai Flayer – This was another all-star in my deck. The life gain was always very relevant and he has a nice body in the format. He definitely lifts bro.

Aven Surveyor – This card I was still on the fence on. Some games I was super impressed and others I was not so happy having him. First off, he was two blue which hurt in a three color deck with little fixing. My other concern was his body for his mana cost. Even if you didn’t need the bounce, which was never the case, he still died to every piece of removal and couldn’t trade with other fliers.

Enhanced Awareness – Can you hate anything with draw a card? It never seemed to end up in my hand when I needed it though. I kind of wish I had a treasure cruise along with this card.

Torrent Elemental – This card is bonkers. Using quadrant theory, this card was never bad at any point in the game. When you are ahead he wins the game almost immediately. When at parody he wins almost immediately, during setup he doesn’t serve much purpose but when behind he is even a flying blocker with a big butt.

Whisk Away – This was a card that was just okay in all my matches. I cast it and was reasonably happy with the results when I did. It was not a removal spell but it was quite the tempo swing.

Douse In Gloom – This card was awesome. I wrote about it quite a bit in my FRF pre-release article so I won’t cover it too much here. The only thing I want to say is that my opinion has not changed about this card. I am happy it exists.

Gurmag Angler – This is a new addition to the delve family and I think it is a pretty good one. It is had a huge body that not many other creatures can tangle with. It is also out of removal range for most of the removal spells in this format too unless your opponent is white. This guy also was a very common two for one as they would chump and use a removal spell.

Reach of Shadows – This card I was always happy with. Five mana, kill something other than morphs or manifests. Since the format is slower in general than formats in the past, five mana is very achievable to kill a big threat.

Rotting Mastodon – This should not have been in my deck. I never liked it much in KTK and it got worse. It was boarded out every game for something.

Sultai Emissary – This card made me happy to have, especially in the aggro mirror match-up. It is pretty much the black Jeskai Sage except he is card advantage with a card on the board. You are not even unhappy when you manifest a land. In my deck I ran 18 lands which meant if I could turn one into a creature and trade I was happy as a red player with a Lightning Bolt.

Whisperer of the Wilds – Since I had many five to seven drops this helped me ramp just a little bit. It was a bread and butter card. I was never happy with it but never sad.

Wildcall – This card I was unhappy with at the prerelease. Boy was I wrong. This is a very good card for any matchup. At the very worst it is two green for a 2/2 with possible upside. In most games, this card was the most flexible in my deck. On average it made a four to six power creature that would  become the biggest threat on the board. Sometimes, it would just manifest a land and I would be 100 percent happy with a six power land.

 

Sideboard Stratedy

There you have it, my GP SJ main event deck. Neither of my team mates were using blue so I got a lot of very powerful spells. I also had a good amount of very relevant sideboard choices against different matchups. Against aggro I could side in an extra Sultai Emissary, Despise, Force Away, and a few other low drops. Against a mid-ranged strategy, I would side in Disdainful Stroke, Despise, Tasigur’s Cruelty and a few other relevant creatures. Finally, against control, I would switch to a game of fighting for resources. I would take out some low cost removal and side in Disdainful Stroke, and Tasigur’s Cruelty. Now that our decks were completed, it was time to do what we came to do, play Magic and chew bubblegum! (You know the rest.)

 

Main Event

Round One

This round was the first of the tournament. My teammates and I, unofficially named “The Ainok Bond-kins,”  were ready to start on a good foot. My first round match was the mirror match and I felt pretty confident that I could win with my good resource advantage cards. Torrent Elemental helped pick me up a quick game one and I was feeling great. Andy was also winning his match. John, not so much, however, I was still happy. Game two I was not so fortunate. I ended up losing to flooding a bit and my opponent resolving a Treasure Cruise and slowly beating me out of the game. No big deal, I am on the play for game three. I look to see how my team is doing and they are both done. Turns out, we are one and one so this game three was the deciding game. The pressure was on.

Game three was a very long game. Lots of trades, draw spells, and board stalls. Finally, a line of play opened up that started to tip the scales in my favor. I resolved a Tasigur’s Cruelty delving away my Torrent Elemental. I was able to cast it tapped and I put my opponent in top deck mode. Turns out he didn’t draw anything but an Gurmag Angler. This turned out not to matter as I quickly untapped and started crashing in. Turned out that ended up winning me the game! My day was off to a good start.

 

Round Two

So, I don’t know if any of you here recognize the name, but my second round opponent was none other than Day9 and his friends Case and Tristan. First of all, it was awesome to be able to talk to him and he was a super nice guy, however, I was playing Case. So there is not much to talk about this round as there was one card that won every game that it came out. This resulted in my losing 1-2 which was a bummer. The card I speak of is Ojutai, Soul of Winter. This card is expensive, however, against a deck like mine, that was not a big problem. Had Case been playing my friend John, he may have won with his very aggressive deck. The two cards I had that could deal with that card was my two copies of Reach of Shadows. I also boarded in a Disdainful Stroke when I first saw the card. Unfortunately, game three, he played a Frontier Siege which, for a dragon deck, was pretty good. I never saw it so I was unable to board against it. Sadly, despite Andy winning. John lost another match and we were now 1-1.

 

Round Three

After pulling ourselves together, we went to face our next opponents. This time I was against my worst matchup: Aggro. This is when I also want to point out what I think the red MVP card in FRF is and that is: Goblin Heelcutter. This card wreaked havoc on my deck. I lost the first game and thanks to some good sideboard options and a good draw, I made it to game three. Sadly, he curved out really well despite a Debilitating Injury in my opening hand. Andy, who is a boss, was now 3-0 and our team was 1-2. John was getting creamed in mirror matches for the first three rounds.

 

Round Four

This was it, if we lose here, we have no chance of making day two. The record you needed to get to day two was at least 7-2. If we wanted that record, it would be a long rest of the day. We sit down against our next round opponents and they were also on the block. They seemed to be having a lot of fun and it was a fun match overall. It was another mirror match and this time, I knew how to board better. I was learning the matchups and changing my deck more and more each game. I boarded in both Tasigur’s Cruelties and Disdainful Stroke after winning game one. I lost game two and I knew I had to win in order to carry the team. I looked to my teammates and, to my surprise, they had won. Yay!  We had hung on for at least one more round.

 

Round Five

Another mirror match? At this point, I felt like my deck was advantaged in the mirror. I had a Pearl Lake Ancient, a good curve, good removal, and lots of ways to generate card advantage. This time, for the first time in the tournament, it was an easy 2-0. I looked over at Andy and finally, he dropped a game. I was worried as John’s deck was disadvantaged in yet another mirror. However, he had won his best of three and we were on to yet another match!. Awesome! 3-2

 

Round Six

I will be 100 % honest, I don’t even remember this round as the next one was so intense. The important part is we won yet again. We were all starting to realize that the dream was real for us! We were crawling back from a 1-2 record to end up sitting pretty at 4-2. We only had three rounds to go. Let’s move on.

 

Round Seven

At this point in the tournament, it was getting intense. Side events were closed down and everyone had been there for so long and come so far. We sat down against some very nice foreign players who made some great conversation. My matchup this time around was another aggro deck, which I dreaded seeing. This was different from other aggro decks I had faced. It was mostly red Mardu and boy was it fast. Game one I was obliterated despite having a removal heavy hand. Alright, on to game two. I made some needed side boarding and moved into game two. Notably, I brought in Despise and Tasigur’s Cruelty in order to kill dash cards. I also brought in my second Sultai Emissary which was good against his 3/1s and 4/1s. Through some good managing of resources and a timely Pearl Lake Ancient, I took game two. Sadly, my opponent came out of the gate swinging on turn two. Even with the removal in my hand, nothing prepared me for being hit by Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury. Luckly, I was able to kill it and his other dash with Tasigur’s Cruelty, however, it was too late. I lost. As it turns out, both my allies bit the dust as well. Our dream had died.

All in all, we had a lot of fun at the GP San Jose main event. If you ever have a chance to play in any GP, I would highly recommend it.

I will have another article up later this week detailing my day two GP report. I hope you enjoyed this article. Let me know what you think and, if you were there, let me know what your record was and what you played.

For now, Happy Planeswalking!

 

By Roy Anderson

@Sockymans on Twitter

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Roy Anderson Roy Anderson - January 20, 2015

Tales From the Prerelease: Fate Reforged sealed

Abzan Beastmaster - Fate Reforged sealed

Tales From the Prerelease: Fate Reforged sealed

By Roy Anderson

Hello, fellow looters and welcome to my first ever article written for The Bag of Loot and hopefully there will be many more to follow. I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to write about for my very first article. Should I start a column? Should I talk about Magic Online? Or maybe I should write an article about which removal spells would best work to finally dispose of Justin Bieber? Either way, I decided that since this is the first of my content for The Bag of Loot, I would write about another recent first. This first being my initial experience with Magic’s new set: Fate Reforged.

Who doesn’t love a good prerelease? Maybe people who like to be in bed by eight o’ clock on a Friday night, however, I don’t think anyone by that description is reading this article. Khan’s was such an amazing set and Wizards have been doing better and better with the events in general that I was extra juiced for this event. Looking back on the night, it did not let down my expectations at all.

Anyway, let’s begin our story around ten o’ clock Friday night. I always tend to show up early to make friends and participate in the only thing comparable to casting Magic Cards: Trading Magic Cards. Prereleases are some of the best times to trade for cards as few events bring such a big crowd to your Local Game Store (LGS), and more people means more cards. I am not going to spend too much time on trading, (as that is not why you are here) but some notable additions to my collection were: A foil Artifact Mutation, Rite of Replication, and plenty of sweet sweet foils. ( I have a problem ok.)

Finally, the clock strikes midnight. Magic time! Sultai Time! Sultime? Forgive me for the pun but, Sultai was the actual clan I decided to go with. I had no predisposition of the specific deck I wanted to play, however, I did get a card pool that was very well positioned for a leap into my favorite archetype. My favorite deck in Khans of Tarkir Limited is the four to five color control deck with a Sultai base. I always felt like it is a very strong deck and the new cards from Fate Reforged only gave the deck more tools. I will go over the specific new cards that I found to be helpful in this deck in a little bit. (At least the ones that I got to play with.) So without further ado, here was the deck list I ended up with and a little explanation of why I ran each card:

 

Five Color Death – Limited Fate Reforged sealed

 

Breaking it down

Abomination of Gudul x1- This is just a solid value morph that is also in the right colors. The deck I ran, due to having five colors, was 18 lands. This creature would help me filter through my deck during my land heavier draws which greatly helped out my decks consistency. It is also worth noting that it’s 3/4 body is very strong against a majority of Fate Reforged cards. I got more value out of blocking and flipping it than I thought I would. This flier also beats a lot of the smaller body fliers that got brought into the format by Fate Reforged.

Abzan Beastmaster x2 – This was a card that I really wanted to try and use because I am a big fan of low setup cost card draw engines. I had many occasions where this card would draw cards off himself as I was the control deck. I was very happy with this card even at the bottom end where I had to snap block him to trade with a morph. At the worst, in my deck it was still a one for one trade that stalls the game which is exactly what a control deck wants.

Atarka, World Render x1 – I only got to attack with this card once as it always acted as a lightning rod and immediately ate a kill spell every time I played it. The one time I attacked with it, I won the game by a landslide. Twelve flying damage a turn is no joke. Even if they manage to have a blocker, trample and double strike are a good combo.

Aven Surveyor x1 – This did not initially make the cut into my deck, however, it was about midway through the event that I re-read this card and kind of had a moment where I asked myself, “Why am I not playing this card?” It is an easy, slow-going, late game clock attached to a powerful tempo swing. I like it especially due to the fact that counters, heavy mana investment, and the rune mark cycle are very easy ways to get additional value out of using this card. Did I ever play this with a +1/+1 counter? No

Bathe in Dragonfire x2 – This kind of fell in the same boat where I had two in my pool and I wasn’t playing them. Boy was I stupid for not main decking these sooner in a control deck. Not much else to say about this card other than it kills a lot and is cheap.

Channel Harm x1 – Now this is an expensive but very effective trick that I can easily say fit the bill in my heavy control deck. In fact, this was my only white card. A majority of the time, it was only a one for one and a tempo swing, however, that ended up working out for my deck a majority of the time.

Debilitating Injury x1 – Cheap, efficient, solid removal in Khan’s limited, not much to really say about it.

Douse in Gloom x1 – This was one of the New Fate Reforged cards I happen to really like. Not only did this kill morphs, but there are a lot of new and existing two toughness cards that this made short work of. The additional effect of gain two life was also surprisingly relevant in a majority of my games. As the control deck, any amount of life gain helps carry you to the late game that much easier.

Enhanced Awareness x1 –  I was very happy with this card being in my deck. It filters through the top three cards in order to grab two or even all three if you have a land in your hand you want to pitch. This card does occupy a crowded slot mana wise, however, at instant speed, it offers flexibility.

Master the way x1 – Solid removal that replaces itself. Not much to say here. It is a little disappointing that it is a sorcery though as that reduces flexibility.

Monastery Flock x2 – This card served a few purposes in my deck. First, it is just a very flexible creature that could be an effective wall or a 2/2 beat down creature. Second, and most importantly, it almost always triggers Abzan Beastmaster which I was playing two of. This two card combo drew me more cards than I can count over the five rounds.

Reach of Shadows x1 – Probably one of the best single target removal spells in the format. It also lends itself to a flexible five drop slot which made it even better.

Ruthless Ripper x1  – This card was mainly used as an effective way to deal with threats on board. The two life did not really matter much, however, the deathtouch allowed this creature to trade up quite a few times as well as force my opponents to hold back attacks in fear.

Soulflayer x1  – This was one of the few real bombs in my deck. In my deck, it almost always ended up being a 4/4 flier for two black, due to my Monastery Flocks and other fliers, which as it turns out, is awesome! The best cast scenario in my deck was to have a Ruthless Ripper in my graveyard in order to give it deathtouch as well which allowed it to hold off anything in the air from attacking.

Sudden Reclamation x1 – Instant speed selective draw two, what is not to like? I found it surprisingly relevant at all stages of the game too. Early game, I wanted to fix my land drops and charge my delve engine. Late game, it got back my best creature and usually got back one of my tap lands to gain a life.

Sultai Soothsayer x1 – #Value and delve fodder on a creature with a body who will, nine times out of ten, trigger Abzan Beastmaster? Hop in! In all seriousness, I would play this card any time I am in Sultai colors because this card has a lot of value.

Swarm of Bloodflies x1 – This card was decent. It worked well with all my kill spells which gave my opponents a big clock. I was never supremely happy to cast this card however, it did pull its weight quite well though. WARNING: Manifesting this card will make you a sad panda.

Tasigur, the Golden Fang x1 – I played this card but found myself never caring to activate him. As far as I was concerned, this was a stronger Hooting Mandrills. This card may have some real power in constructed but in limited, this is by no means a super bomb heavy card.

Write into Being x2 – This card was mediocre for me, however, it felt like a necessary card to include. This card served a few purposes for my control deck. First, my deck had 18 land, therefore, most of the time I would manifest a land just to get more value from my deck. Second purpose of this card was draw fixing. What was essentially scry two ended up being very powerful whenever I cast it. Lastly, it was a way to add more creatures to my deck which only ran a limited number as a majority of cards were removal spells.

That was a big exhaustive, but that was my deck and I was very happy with it. In addition to the cards listed above, my sideboard was stacked with additional removal just in case it was needed which made me feel comfortable in every match-up. Speaking of match-up, I think it’s time for round one.

 

Round One

I was ready to play! Let’s do this! My first round opponent sits down and we start talking and he tells me that this is his first ever game of Magic. Oh boy, this means I have some work to do. There was really no challenge in this match-up due to his skill despite the raw power of his deck, however, I made sure he had as much fun and learned as much as he could. I wanted to walk away from that table with a new player among our ranks and that was job number one. Game one was short, and I tried to make it that way. Unknown to me until turn two, he kept a one land hand despite me explaining mulligan’s as I took one. I don’t think he quite understood the importance of them or of mana yet so I tried to end his suffering fast as he didn’t draw a single land. Game two was where he actually played a real game of magic. Despite the first game only lasting five minutes, this game took us to time. This was due to his slow play and need for explanation but I didn’t mind. I won in the end thanks to a well placed Channel Harm, the life gain from my lands and Douse in Gloom. War Flare and Ponyback Brigade did a number on my life total and always took him all the way with some help from me. At the end of it all, mission accomplished, he wasn’t a very vocal person and kind of quiet, however, by the time I left to turn in the match slip, he was smiling and in a good mood.

 

Round Two

My second round was an opponent from my LGS that is quite skilled. I have faced him in many finals so I was stoked for a good match. He was playing a very effective Temur aggro shell which I have seen be very effective in the past. Game one, my seven card hand had no land. Bleh…well, time to ship it. I was on the play so I was fine with it. Down to six cards and….another horrible hand with only one land. Five cards? Still only one land…. Well, four cards might be better? Still one land was all my deck seemed to want to give me so I played it. It went about as well as you expected with me hanging on as long as I did thanks to a Debilitating Injury. Game two I decided to play and I got a much better hand. I was trading removal spells for creatures and generally feeling good about my chances and then…the fire nation attacked. Not really, but he played Shaman of the Great Hunt which immediately allowed him to use that and his 3/3 to crash in for seven and gain a whole lot of upside. At this point in the game he was even able to activate the ferocious ability that turn. This is where I made a crucial mistake. I let it live another turn despite a kill spell residing in my hand. I decided to develop my board a little while longer which allowed another turn of smash for nine this time and draw two more cards. At this point all prior card advantage I had gained had been lost and we were back to being even. To top it off I was now bleeding to death. The game went on and I had actually stabilized through Abomination and Soulflayer which got flying. It got to the point where I had lethal on board and all he had was a 2/2 flier. Abomination was holding him back and I was sure I was going to win and this is where I made the game breaking mistake. I had Master the Way  and I saved it instead of cracking it off to kill the 2/2 while I was at two life. I was killed by a flipped Temur charger giving it trample into a Runemark and Dragon Scale Boon. Ouch.

 

Round Three

Opponent was a no show! Well, bright side was that one other person had a no show as well so we each took the win in our respective matches and played each other. He was piloting one of the most stacked Abzan decks I could have imagined. Two Falconers, two Battle Priests, premium removal and strong on-color rare cards. I ended up beating him two to zero however due to my strong removal suit. Let’s move on to round four!

 

Round Four

Imagine my opponents and my surprise when we both sit down and realize we had been playing each other for the last hour. He was my “third round” opponent. Well at least we both knew each other’s decks in and out because we also shared them with each other. In all honesty I was feeling great because I was the one who won. Game one was very difficult however, remember when I talked about attacking with Atarka once? Well it quickly ended the game. My opponent had so much removal, but had just used his Suspension Field on another mediocre creature. To my credit, I baited it out because I knew he had it. On to game two which technically never ended. We battled back and forth with removal and playing giant threats. Eventually, I was able to take control of the board and forced him to Crux of Fate during turns which caused me to win the match leaving me at 3-1. (Yay!)

 

Round Five

At this point it was five in the morning. My opponent wanted to go home and though the extra packs weren’t worth staying for. I win…technically.

 

In Summary

I do feel that 4-1 was the result I expected given how I was playing and the quality of my card pool. I just wish more matches were actual legitimate wins, but you go to prereleases to have fun right? Well, I had a boat load of fun despite having to wake up for work in the morning. I look forward to seeing Fate Reforged unfold as a format and continue to figure it out.

Thanks for reading guys! Feel free to comment below or message me your own fun prerelease stories or memories. See you next time!

 

By Roy Anderson
@Sockymans on Twitter
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Avatar Bruce Gray - November 5, 2014

Crack a pack MTG Khans of Tarkir with Bruce (3rd)

Khans of Tarkir booster - Crack a pack MTG

Crack a pack MTG Khans of Tarkir with Bruce (3rd)

by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters

Fresh of my weekend of playing entirely too much Magic at an event, and getting a bonus chance to draft the Khans format, I was all excited this week to sit down and crack a pack and see what we find.  The format is super fun and I can’t wait to get another crack at it, but in the meantime this will need to suffice for me.  Let’s crack open our pack and see what we find this week!

 

Rare

 

 

Uncommon

 

 

 

 

Common

 

 

 

 

Wow, just my luck.  This is a tough pack to work with because there are so few creatures.  There are only two creatures to look at in this pack and neither of them are super noteworthy. Are they bad creatures?  No.  But you certainly aren’t going to First pick either of them.  So, you are going to prioritize things slightly different in this pack.

Our rare today is How of the Horde.  I’ve been kind of down on this card for a while now because it just feels like a bad Fork spell.  I got spoiled by Fork as a young player…and Reverberate was very similar.  Both of those were 2 mana (granted double Red) and at Instant speed.  This is 3 mana and a sorcery meaning it is significantly less versatile and much slower.  Now, it could combo off something crazy with some Jeskai Prowess triggers (unless I have misunderstood how this copy effect works) but I would like to look at it in the context of this pack.  This COULD copy such things as the Take Up Arms and net you 6 tokens.  Or it could copy the Rush of Battle or Swift Kick you some added value.  All of these cards could wheel and might make this a valuable pick, but I’m not overly fond of going this route because it takes a lot of set up to make this card good.  I’m more likely to pass on it and move to something else.

The card that actually drew my attention first was Nomad Outpost.  The reason it got my attention is because I learned from my experience, and watching a few other drafters play on Twitch, that mana fixing is huge in this format and that prioritizing land early in the draft is fairly key.  This Nomad Outpost enables you to go the Mardu route, but it also enables Jeskai as well, meaning that it could be a very useful addition in this pack.  Besides, you have the remaining 3 full packs to try and find spells to cast and if this pack is a bit on the weak side it might be the best play just to grab the land and work on building the consistency of the deck.

Debilitating Injury grabs my attention next because of what it offers.  It is inexpensive, reliable, removal that just crushes Morph cards.  It may as well read “Morph Hate” on the text line.  With the high number of Morphs circulating around in the format it is a good idea to have a couple of these handy to take them out before they flip and really cause trouble. It can also shrink down something much large down to a manageable size so you can block it more profitably.  This isn’t idea, but may be your only way of dealing with something big like an Abzan Guide or something.

Stubborn Denial is a super-efficient counter spell that will most likely become relevant in some sort of Constructed format because it costs 1 mana.  Spell Pierce was the same some way and has become a staple in Modern.  However, you are much less likely to have the 4 power creature on board to trigger the Ferocious on this to counter something out-right in your draft deck making this somewhat conditional, but still very good.

I haven’t given up on Take Up Arms.  I know it isn’t Raise the Alarm or Triplicate Spirits, but I have hope that any card that produces three tokens is a strong addition to a deck.  It could synergize nicely with some of the other tribal Warrior cards.  It might be a trap because it might be too slow to be overly relevant, but if Hordling Outburst can be good, I feel like this could be good too.

Leaping Master is a “Bear” that can gain flying if you get stuck.  He’s a little underwhelming but could be tricky to cope with if you can make him a little bigger and then pay to make his fly each turn.  Flying isn’t overly prevalent in this set and the fact that this card gets some measure of evasion really makes this guy’s stock climb.

Disdainful Stroke lets you counter their most relevant spells for a mere two mana.  You KNOW this is Constructed worthy because it pretty well hits every Planeswalker currently in Standard and most of the most relevant spells.  Now, an Aggro or Burn deck can make this useless quite readily, but in Limited the logic still applies.  Most of the biggest bombs your opponent wants to play are 4+ mana and the ability to set them back for a mere 2 mana is very appealing.

Rush of Battle could be kind of funny if you can grab the Take Up Arms early, and then find this late to capitalize on the synergy between the warrior tokens and this spell.  It is still kind of slow and clunky at 4 mana and Sorcery speed, but you might not care.

Sagu Archer is a very reasonable creature that is actually quite valuable because it also packs Morph.  That makes it very versatile and a very real play to make on turn 3 to build your board presence.  The Reach is relevant as well once it flips but is otherwise fairly vanilla.

Swift Kick is Instant speed removal…sort of…and I still don’t like it.  It’s 4 mana and the fact that it doesn’t boost the toughness of your creature makes it kind of unappealing.  I would look at this very late in the round.

Naturalize is 100% a sideboard card.  Enough said.

Jungle Hollow and Tranquil Cove are both very appealing for the same sort of reasons as the Nomad Outpost.  Access to the correct combination of mana is hugely important and has started to push the relative value of these cards in Draft quite a bit higher.  The fact that there are two in this pack alone shows just how prevalent these lands are, and consequently how relevant they are to your deck.  Don’t overlook these guys.

Jeskai Banner.  Pass.  Slow. Not good enough.  End of discussion.

 

 

Top 5 Cards

  1. Nomad Outpost
  2. Debilitating Injury
  3. Howl of the Horde
  4. Disdainful Stroke
  5. Sagu Archer

 

First Pick

So, this pack has lead me to an interesting choice where the Rare doesn’t really figure in the equation. Do I want the cheap and efficient Morph Killer, or the land to build options and consistency?  I feel like I want the land for the sake of consistency and the options it affords.  Injury is a good card but I can assure you I’ll see a few more copies of that before the draft is over so I had better grab the land and make use of it to ease the mana burden on the deck and build in some inherent consistency.  These sorts of packs always make for the most difficult choices because I could conceivable go a number of different directions quite happily but I feel like the Outpost is the safest, most reliable options afforded out of this pack.

Well there we have another pack of Khans and another very tough choice.  What are you guys finding?  Is drafting the lands as crucial as I seem to think or do you routinely stumble into the cards and mana you need on your own as the draft progresses? Would you have grabbed the Rare in this pack?  Would you have picked something else entirely?  Shoot me a tweet and let me know so we can all help each other start to sort out this very tricky draft format.

Thanks very much for reading again this week…and until next time may you open nothing but mythic bomb rares.

by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters
@bgray8791 on Twitter
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Avatar Three Kings Loot - May 19, 2014

Khans of Tarkir Spoiler – Release notes, Artwork & Card Gal...

KHANS-PRE-ORDER LARGE

 

Set Name Khans of Tarkir
Block Set 1 of 3 in the Khans of Tarkir block
Number of Cards 269
Prerelease Events September 20-21, 2014
Release Date September 26, 2014
Launch Weekend September 26-28, 2014
Game Day October 18-19, 2014
Magic Online Prerelease Events October 3-6, 2014
Magic Online Release Date October 6, 2014
Magic Online Release Events October 6-22, 2014
Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir October 10–12, 2014
Pro Tour Khans of TarkirLocation Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Pro Tour Khans of TarkirFormats Swiss:

  • Standard
  • Khans of Tarkir Draft

Top 8:

  • Standard
Official Three-Letter Code KTK
Twitter Hashtag #MTGKTK
Initial Concept and Game Design Mark Rosewater (lead)
Mark L. Gottlieb
Zac Hill
Adam Lee
Shawn Main
Billy Moreno
and Ken Nagle
Final Game Design and Development Erik Lauer (lead)
Doug Beyer
David Humpherys
Tom LaPille
Shawn Main
and Adam Prosak
with contributions from Matt Tabak
Languages English, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish
Available in Booster Packs, Intro Packs*, Event Deck*, Fat Pack*

(* – Not available in all languages)

(Magic Online only available in English.)

 

Khans of Tarkir is going to be a large set—small set—large set block structure (like InnistradDark Ascension, and Avacyn Restored, with a special consideration for Limited and “a time travel element” yet to be revealed.

Tarkir itself is a plane of five warring clans, each worships a different aspect of the plane’s (now extinct) dragons.

  •  The five clans are based around a single color in WUBRG order with one ally and one enemy
  •  Each clan has it’s own mechanic plus morph

Abzan Houses – White ManaRed ManaGreen Mana, Aspect: Endurance, Khan: Anafenza, Symbol: Scales, Theme: Control
Jeskai Way – Blue ManaRed ManaWhite Mana, Aspect: Cunning, Khan: Narset, Symbol: Eye, Theme: Tricks
Mardu Horde – Red ManaWhite ManaRed Mana, Aspect: Speed, Khan: Zurgo Helmsmasher, Symbol: Wings, Theme: Aggro
Sultai Brood – Red ManaGreen ManaBlue Mana, Aspect: Ruthlessness, Khan: Sidisi, Symbol: Fang, Theme: Resource manipulation
Temur Frontier – Green ManaBlue ManaRed Mana, Aspect: Savagery, Khan: Surrak Dragonclaw, Symbol: Claws, Theme: Midrange fatties

 

Intro videos to Khans of Tarkir Spoiler

 

Khans of Tarkir Trailer from WotC

 

Khans of Tarkir WPN Retailer Video

 

Khans of Tarkir Spoiler

KTK card reviews by authors Daniel Crayton and Bruce Gray

 

 Abomination of Gudulainok trackeralabaster kirinalpine grizzlyAltar of the Broodarc lightningarcher's parapetArmament Corpsarrow stormawaken the bearbarrage of bouldersbecome immensebellowing saddlebruteblinding spraybloodfire expertbloodfire mentorbrave the sandsbring lowburn awaycancelcanyon lurkersCranial archivecrippling chilldazzling rampartsdead dropDeath frenzydebilitating injurydefiant strikedisowned ancestordragon gripdragonscale boondutiful returnerasefeat of resistancefeed the clanFirehoof Cavalryforce awayglacial stalkerHeart-piercer bowhighland gameHighspire Mantisincremental growthjeskai studentkheru bloodsuckerkheru dreadmawkill shotkin-tree wardenKrumar Bond-Kinleaping masterlongshot squadmardu blazebringerMardu Hateblademardu hordechiefMardu RoughriderMaster the waymistfire weavermonastery flockmystic of the hidden waynaturalizePonyback brigaderite of the serpentroar of challengerotting mastodonRush of Battlesage-eye harrierSagu Archersalt road patrolscaldkinscion of glaciersscout the bordersseek the horizonseeker of the wayset adriftshattersiegecraftsinging bell strikesmite the monstroussmoke tellerSnowhorn ridersultai flayersultai scavengerSultai Soothsayersummit prowlerswarm of bloodfliesswift kicktaigam's schemingtake up armsThrottletimely hordemateTomb of the Spirit Dragontormenting voicetrumpet blasttusked colossodonvalley dashervenerable lammasuwar behemothWarden of the Eyewaterwhirlweave fateWetland Sambarwhirlwind adeptwindstormWoolly LoxodonUnyielding KrumarMonastery SwiftspearBloodsoaked ChampionHordeling OutburstDig Through TimeAbzan FalconerBriber's PurseChief of the EdgeChief of the ScaleEmbodiment of springGurmag SwiftwingHigh sentinels of ArashinKin-Tree InvocationMer-Ek NightbladeMolting SnakeskinPine WalkerRakshasa's SecretRetribution of the AncientsRide downTrap essenceTuskguard CaptainDespiseWinterflameAbzan CharmJeskai AscendancyDisdainful StrokeGoblinslideGrim HaruspexHooting MandrillsQuiet ContemplationSavage PunchSecret PlansSidisi 's PetSurrak DragonclawTreasure CruiseVillainous WealthBear's CompanionButcher of the HordeEfreet WeaponmasterKheru Lich LordMaster of PearlsWitness of the AgesAbzan BannerJeskai BannerMardu BannerSultai BannerTemur BannerAbzan Battle PriestHooded HydraJeskai CharmSiege RhinoAdamant NegationAshcloud PhoenixMurderous Cut Deflecting PalmTemur CharmPearl Lake AncientTrail of MysteryBloodfell CavesBlossoming SandsDismal BackwaterJungle HollowRugged HighlandsScoured BarrensSwiftwater CliffsThornwood FallsTranquil CoveWind-Scarred CragMardu CharmMeandering TowershellRakshasa DeathdealerSultai AscendancyEmpty the PitsFrontier BivouacHardened ScalesIcy BlastMantis RiderOpulent PalaceSandsteppe CitadelSavage KnucklebladeSuspension FieldMindswipeWar-Name AspirantClever ImpersonatorCrater's ClawMocking InstigatorSage of the Inward EyeKheru SpellthiefRaider's SpoilsDragon's Eve SavantsFlying Crane TechniqueGhostfire BladeHorde AmbusherRuthless RipperTemur ChargerWatcher of the RoostWingmate Roc Avalanche Tusker - Intro packs alternate artAnkle Shanker - Intro packs alternate artRakshasa VizierAbzan AscendancyAnafenza, the ForemostMardu Ascendancy Sagu MaulerSee the UnrwittenUtter EndSidisi, Brood TyrantEnd HostilitiesHowl of the HordeSorin, Solemn Visitor Ugin's NexusBitter RevelationAbzan Guide Ainok Bond-KinHeir of the WildsIcefeather Aven Jeskai Windscout Lens of ClarityMardu WarshriekerShambling AttendantsBloodstained MireFlooded StrandPolluted DeltaWindswept HeathWooded FoothillsRattleclaw MysticSarkhan the DragonspeakerNarset, Enlightened MasterCrackling DoomTemur Ascendency - Khans of Tarkir SpoilerSultai CharmDragon-Style TwinsDuneblastHerald of AnafenzaMardu SkullhunterNecropolis FiendIvorytusk FortressZurgo Helmsmasher Dragon Throne of Tarkir

Khans of Tarkir Tokens

Goblin Token Bear Token Zombie Token Vampire Token Snake Token Spirit Warrior token Spirit Token Morph token Emblem - Sorin Emblem - Sarkhan Bird token

 

 Each of the Khans of Tarkir Intro Packs will have alternative art

Sage of the Inward Eye

Sage of the Inward Eye – Jeskai Way Intro packs alternate art

Rakshasa Vizier

Rakshasa Vizier – Sultai Brood intro pack (alternate art)

Ankle Shanker - Mardu Horde prerelease promo

Ankle Shanker – Mardu Horde Intro pack (alternate art)

Avalanche Tusker

Avalanche Tusker – Temur Frontier Intro pack (alternate art)

Ivorytusk Fortress - Khans of Tarkir Spoiler

Ivorytusk Fortress – Abzhan Houses Intro pack (alternate art)

Promo Khans of Tarkir Spoiler

Rattleclaw Mystic - Buy-a-box promo Dragon Throne of Tarkir - Launch Promo Heir of the wilds - Game Day participation promo Utter end - Game Day  top 8 Game Day Khans of Tarkir champion playmat

 

DD: Speed vs. Cunning – Khans of Tarkir Spoiler

 

Jeskai Elder - Khans of Tarkir SpoilerMystic Monastery - Khans of Tarkir SpoilerNomad Outpost - Khans of Tarkir SpoilerMardu Heart-Piercer - Khans of Tarkir SpoilerThousands winds - Khans of Tarkir SpoilerZurgo Helmsmasher

Artwork for KTK

Demon art ktk Jeskai art 1 Jeskai art 2 Jeskai constructs Mardu Horde art 1 Sorin 1 Sultai art 2 Sultai art 3 Sultai art Temur art 1 Temur art 2 Termur art 3 Termur art 4 Ugin's Nexus

Duneblast artwork Herald of Anafenza artwork Khans of Tarkir art 1 - Mardu Skullhunter artwork Rattleclaw Mystic artwork

Fetch Lands artwork for KTK

Bloodstained Mire artwork Flooded Strand artwork Polluted Delta artwork Windswept Heath artwork Wooded Foothills artwork

Sarkhan Vol artwork Sultai brood artwork Temur Frontier artworkKhans of Tarkir Artwork 6

Abzan Houses clan artwork

Abzan Houses banner Abzan Houses clan art 01 Abzan Houses Clan art 02 Abzan Houses clan art 03

 

Jeskai Way clan artwork

Jeskai Way bannerJeskai Way Clan art 01 Jeskai Way Clan art 02

 

Mardu Horde clan artwork

Mardu Horde bannerMardu Horde clan art

 

Sultai Brood clan artwork

Sultai Brood banner Sultai Brood clan art

 

Termur Frontier clan artwork

Temur Frontier Banner Temur Frontier Clan art 01

More Khans of Tarkir spoiler artwork

Khans of Tarkir artwork 01 Khans of Tarkir artwork 02 Khans of Tarkir artwork 03 Khans of Tarkir artwork 04 Khans of Tarkir artwork 05 Khans of Tarkir artwork 06 Khans of Tarkir artwork 07 Khans of Tarkir artwork 08

Clan Symbols for Khans of Tarkir Spoiler

Abzan Houses symbol

Abzan Houses symbol

Jeskai Way symbol

Jeskai Way symbol

Mardu Horde symbol

Mardu Horde symbol

Sultai Brood symbol

Sultai Brood symbol

Temur Frontier symbol

Khans of Tarkir Spoiler

Clan Champions Artwork

Abzan Champion

Abzan Houses

Jeskai Champion

Jeskai

Mardu Champion

Mardu

Sultai champion

Sultai

Temur Champion

Temur

Intro Pack Rares of Khans of Tarkir Spoiler (Alternate art)

JESKAI - Sage of the Inward Eye

JESKAI – Sage of the Inward Eye Illustrated by Anastasia Ovchinnikova

SULTAI - Rakshasa Vizier

SULTAI – Rakshasa Vizier Illustrated by Peter Rohrabacher

ABZAN - Ivorytusk Fortress

ABZAN – Ivorytusk Fortress, Illustrated by Matt Stewart

TEMUR - Avalanche Tusker

TEMUR – Avalanche Tusker illustrated by Eric Deschamps

MARDU - Ankle Shankler

MARDU – Ankle Shankler illustrated by Steven Belledin

 

Tarkir Clans

Abzan Houses

Abzan Houses

Mardu Horde

Mardu Horde

Sultai Brood

Sultai Brood

Temur Frontier

Temur Frontier

Jeskai way

Jeskai Way

Khans of Tarkir Artwork 1

Anafenza

Anafenza

Narset

Narset

Sidisi

Sidisi

Surrak Dragonclaw

Surrak Dragonclaw

Zurgo Helmsmasher

Zurgo Helmsmasher

Sarkhan Vol

Sarkhan Vol

Khans of Tarkir Artwork 3 Khans of Tarkir  Artwork 4Khans of Tarkir Artwork 5

 

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