Tag: fruit-of-the-first-tree

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Avatar Bruce Gray - March 13, 2015

Crack a Pack MTG Fate Reforged with Bruce #23 (4th)

Crack a Pack MTG Fate Reforged Booster

Crack a Pack with Bruce 23.  4th Fate Reforged

By Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters

Hard to believe that Fate Reforged will soon be paired with Dragons of Tarkir and we will be saying goodbye to Khans of Tarkir for draft purposes. In the mean time, let’s open up another pack and see what we would take in a draft pick 1, pack1.  Here we go!

 

Common

 

Uncommon

 

Rare

 

Land

 

Where to start?  There are some very solid cards in the pack, so let’s start with our Rare.  Mardu Strike Leader is a super sweet little addition to the collection of Black/White warriors.  A 3/2 for 3 mana that gets a 2/1 warrior whenever it attacks?  If this gets left unchecked this is a menace because that 2/1 warrior is a full card.  The token trades with Morphs and most 2 drops in the format, meanwhile the Strike Leader is taking sizable chunks out of your opponent.  If you can slot him into that B/W warriors deck he is an all-star, but even on his own he’s very useful and well worth the pick up.  I would be pulling him to the front of my pack as an early favorite for our first pick.

 

Mistfire Adept is another pretty sweet card. This is essentially a Hill Giant on the Vanilla Test…and that’s just fine.  However, you want this guy for his Prowess ability and the ability to make something fly.  Essentially, in a Prowess build, this guy can act like a 4/4 flier (or better) and really cause havoc.  He’d be pulled forward because I really like the Jeskai/Prowess deck, but I’m not sure he’s better than the Strike Leader. He takes a few more pieces in order for him to really shine while the Strike Leader is just good all the time.

 

Fruit of the First Tree is not a first pick.  The set up is far too high on it, it doesn’t impact the board nearly well enough, and really isn’t what I want to do with my deck.  NOW, in a janky brew…sure…I’ll play this, but in a draft this would be a long way down my list. I’ll save this to the end and see if one of the other players around the table wants to play it.

 

Marang River Prowler is card I like very much.  His ability to keep coming back and to be unblockable is really solid.  Sure, he’s only a 2/1, but that puts your opponent on a clock that if they can’t finish you off then the Prowler is going to slowly get the job done. If you can add on a little augmentation, like maybe a +1/+1 counter from a Bolster trigger, that clock just gets that much quicker AND you don’t really feel bad if it dies because it comeing straight back.  There are decks that don’t really want him, but he’s quite strong and more often than not he’s a solid addition.  I don’t think he’s a first pick, but he is a solid card and will usually make the cut in most deck lists.

 

Sandsteppe Outcast is something I’d be grabbing quite readily.  Quite literally he’s the best common in this pack and plays into that B/W warrior deck.  Pair this with Harsh Sustenance and you immediately have some terrific interactions. He’d be up to the front on the pack as well, but I think the Strike Leader is still better.

 

Mardu Runemark is not something I want.  I don’t like the Runemarks and it sets you up to lose 2 cards for 1 with a simple removal spell.  The Jeskai Runemark is really the only one of this cycle I like (which is in this pack too) but the Mardu Runemark doesn’t offer me enough except being two for oned. I’ll pass.

 

Hunt the Weak is not a first pick, or even in the top five cards in this pack, but it always seems to do good work.  I won’t turn it down if I’m in Green.  Nothing brings a bigger smile to my face than playing a Morph on turn 3 and then turn 4 fighting their Morph with Hunt the Weak and winning combat.  That feels really good. This is a solid mid-round pick up.

 

Smoldering Efreet is for those Red aggro decks.  I’m not a big fan, but I can see that it has its place. I would be prioritizing this pretty late once I start to get a bit of sense where my deck is going, but it isn’t usually my play style. I would let this go and wouldn’t think twice about it.

 

Douse in Gloom, however, is exactly what I want.  Inexpensive removal that just gets the job done.  This would be a fairly early mid-round pick up in my eyes.

 

Abzan Skycaptain is something I rather like as well.  The fact that it Bolsters when it dies is pretty nice and makes your opponent decide if it would rather just let it connect, or kill it and run the risk of the extra +2/+2  landing somewhere that isn’t pretty. At 4 mana he’s a tad on the steep side for a 2/2 body, but I think there is enough upside that I won’t mind running him. Likelihood is that this would be an early mid-round pick up for me.

 

Sultai Emissary is a very reasonable 2 drop that feels like it gives you a 2 for 1 because it replaces itself when it dies.  That extra Manifested creature can be very useful.  I’m not crazy for it, but I would be very interested in seeing it in the mid-round.  Maybe if I’m lucky it will wheel and I’ll get a second shot at it.

 

Lotus Path Djinn is just a reasonable dude.  You aren’t crazy excited to see him, but you aren’t sad either.  He flies which is always nice, but otherwise there isn’t much to say.  He’s just another serviceable body to run in your Prowess deck.

 

Harsh Sustenance is just fine, but it isn’t an early pick because it is 2 colours.  Once I have established that I’m playing Black and White I would consider this because it plays really nicely with some of the other cards in this pack (if I can get them).  Mardu Strike Leader, Sandsteppe Outcast and even the Sultai Emissary work well with this card and can make for a big turn.  However, to take this early and over commit to a pair of colours could strand this in your sideboard and have it never really see play or leave your deck weak and floundering.

 

Top 5 cards

  1. Mardu Strike Leader
  2. Mistfire Adept
  3. Sandsteppe Outcast
  4. Marang River Prowler
  5. Douse in Gloom

 

First pick is pretty clearly the Mardu Strike Leader.  I like the Adept and the Outcast, but I would rather have the Strike Leader by virtue of the extra beefy tokens it can produce.  If it goes unchecked it can quite easily take over the game.  I’m sad that it isn’t a 3/3 because 2 toughness means it dies to lots of things, but a little augmentation and this is just going to be menace.  I would be slamming this first pick and then really looking to see if the Douse in Gloom, Sultai Emissary or even the Abzan Skycaptain don’t wheel to give me a shot at the B/W deck as I head into the Khans pack.  At least, that’s the theory. Sometimes you can’t get stuck on that flashy rare and if Black dries up I would be pretty prepared to hop colours to something that is more available.

 

Well, there we have it folks.  Thanks for taking the time to stop in have a read here at Casual Encounters and Three Kings Loot.  Feel free to drop me a line below or hit me up on Twitter.  Have yourself a great MTG day!

 

By Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters

@bgray8791 on Twitter

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Avatar Bruce Gray - March 10, 2015

Casual Encounters – G/B “I like Big Butts”

Nessian Asp - Casual standard deck

G/B “ I like Big Butts”

By Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters

Sir Mix-a-Lot would be proud of me.  Perhaps not in the same way as his famous song, but I too admire a good back side.  The bigger the better.  Of course, when I’m talking about playing Magic I’m referring to the toughness of creature which is sometimes referred to as the creature’s “butt”.  C’mon! What did you think I was talking about?  Get your mind out of the gutter! Sheesh. Today I’ve got something a little off the wall that some of you might enjoy the next time you sit around the Kitchen table to battle it out.  Let’s see what I’ve got on tap for you guys.

A couple of weeks ago I was playing a Theros Block sealed event on MTGO and opened up a busted pool.  Elspeth, Ajani, Pain Seer, good removal in Black, solid creatures in Green…including a Scourge of Skola Vale.  I ended up playing Abzan (also known as Junk) mostly for Elspeth and Ajani, however my deck was predominantly B/G.  Yes, Elspeth and Ajani were amazing and they were the number one reason I won a number of my games.  However, The Scourge of Skola Vale was my big hitter.  The worst part was, when I put him in the deck I just imagined that he might be useful, but little did I know that he would be awesome.

The Scourge of Skola Vale is a rather janky rare from Born of the Gods that is 3 mana for a 0/0 Hydra that enters play with two +1/+1 counters on it and trample. Those stats are hardly overwhelming. However, tap Scourge of Skola Vale, sacrifice a creature, and at instant speed it can gain +x/+x counters where X is equal to the toughness of the creature that is sacrificed.  That still hardly seems game breaking, but let me assure you, the ability can be very potent.  The question is all a matter of timing.  You declare a creature as being a blocker.  That ensures that there actually is a block and you don’t get hit.  Then, before damage is assigned, sacrifice your creature (particularly if it was going to die anyway) to the Scourge and boost the Scourge. In short order your Scourge of Skola vale is an unhealthy sized creature with Trample that no longer behaves like a 3 drop but more like a 6 or 7 drop.

The question remains, How do you maximize the number of counters you put on the Scourge of Skola Vale? Clearly you want to play things with high toughness , block with them, and sacrifice them to your Scourge. It seems simple, but the problem with most high toughness creatures is that they attack very poorly or not at all.  What is a guy to do? Let’s see what I did.

 

G/B “I like big butts” – Casual standard deck

 

The creature package is pretty straight forward.  Elvish Mystic is going to be a big key to the game plan because it helps ramp you to some of the more expensive pieces in your deck.  You really want to play one of these guys on Turn 1 to get you out of the gate quickly.  On Turn 2 you really want to be playing an Archers’ Parapet to hold off any immediate threats and early drops that your opponent can get down and bash away with.  Also, with 5 toughness, the Parapet is an ideal target to sacrifice to the Scourge.  The curve is a little wonky because you don’t really want to play a Scourge on Turn 3 so you end up skipping and waiting to play a 5 drop.  Nessian Asp  or Pheres-Band Centaur are both really solid 5 drops.  With either of these guys on board you can follow up with Scourge and still hold up mana for a Ranger’s Guile.  It is pretty key to hold up the Ranger’s Guile the moment  your opponent sees you tap out your  Scourge is going to eat a removal spell.  Ranger’s Guile pretty much laughs at targeted removal spells and ensures your Scourge survives.   Sac just about ANY creature to your Scourge, protect it with a Ranger’s Guile and then rumble in for a huge pile of damage.  Sound like fun?  I thought so.

The other route this deck can take is a little different.  You have a whole bunch of creatures that have been sacrificed and are in your graveyard thanks to your own Scourge and you are running out of ways to get through for damage.  What can you do?  Well, hello my old friend Nighthowler.  Bestow this on just about anything with a whole bunch of creatures in the graveyard and you instantly have a menace requiring an immediate fix.  The synergy between the Scourge and Nighthowler is unmistakable because as you power up the Scourge you are powering up future Nighthowlers.  I love a good plan B!

The spells all exploit creatures with high toughness.  Grim Contest  is a neat take on the fight mechanic that will ensure that just about anything you fight will die thanks to the extremely high toughness stats on many of your creatures.  Kin-Tree Invocation gives you yet another potent attacker so long as you have something sizable kicking around on the boardFruit of the First Tree pairs really nicely in this sort of deck because if it is on a creature, sacrifice that creature (to Scourge no less) and then reap the benefits of gaining a whole pile of life, but more importantly, drawing a whole pile of cards. Green card draw is a little tricky to find and play, but the reward for using it like this is extremely high and could really dig you out of a jam.

There’s the deck.  It isn’t very fancy, but it does take a bit of peculiar take on getting to your opponent.  The best part is that the whole deck is really quite affordable.  The rares are all $0.50 bulk rares, the other spells are also equally cheap and the mana base is ALL basics. Could it really get any cheaper ?  Not really.  There are lots of ways to upgrade the deck ranging from Scry lands and Life Gain lands in the mana base to Courser of Kruphix and Sylvan Caryatid in the creature package thanks to their versatility and high toughness.  Also, some other potent creatures like Rotting Mastodon and Swarm of Bloodflies work well in this deck and could be added in as need be. There are also a number of other options available to you too that can help maintain this deck and help you to keep the cost down while still having a loads of fun.

This looks like something fun to take for a spin around a kitchen table.  Will it have legs at a competitive event?  No way.  The curve is way off, the removal is suspect and is generally too slow.  However, around the kitchen table with your pals this will get a giggle or two…until your Scourge of Skola Vale stomps a mud hole through one of your pals and then they will sit up and take notice.  It’s cheap, is capable of some silly shenanigans and is totally unassuming from the outset.  Time to play rope a dope and be crowned Kitchen Table Champ!

Thanks for taking the time to stop in here at Casual Encounters and Three Kings Loot.  I hope you guys enjoy the deck and have a chance to go on out and give it a try.  Until the next time, have yourselves a great MTG day and remember keep it fun, keep it safe…and keep it casual!

 

By Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters

@bgray8791 on Twitter

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Avatar Three Kings Loot - September 2, 2014

Fate Reforged spoiler – Release notes, Artwork & Card Galle...

Magic Fate Reforged- large pre-orderFate Reforged spoilerFate Reforged spoiler symbol

Release notes

  • Set 2 of 3 in the Khans of Tarkir block
  • Number of Cards: 185
  • Prerelease Events: January 17-18, 2015
  • Date: January 23, 2015
  • Game Day: February 13, 2015
  • Official Three-Letter Code: FRF
  • Twitter Hashtag: #MTGFRF

 

Fate Reforged spoiler

Colorless

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

White

Abzan AdvantageAbzan RunemarkAbzan SkycaptainArashin ClericAven SkirmisherChannel HarmCitadel SiegeDaghatar the AdamantDragon Bell MonkDragonscale GeneralElite ScaleguardGreat-Horn KrushokHonor's RewardJeskai BarricadeLightformLotus-Eye MysticsMardu Woe-ReaperMonastery MentorMastery of the UnseenPressure PointRally the AncestorsSage's ReverieSandblastSandsteppe OutcastSoulfire Grand MasterSoul SummonsValorous StanceWandering ChampionWardscale Dragon

 

Blue

Aven SurveyorCloudformEnhanced AwarenessFascinationFrost WalkerJeskai InfiltratorJeskai RunemarkJeskai SageLotus Path DjinnMarang River ProwlerMindscour DragonMistfire AdeptMonastery SiegeNeutralizing BlastRakshasa's DisdainReality ShiftRefocusRenowned WeaponsmithRite of UndoingSage-Eye AvengersShu Yun, the Silent TempestShifting LoyaltiesSultai SkullkeeperSupplant FormTemporal TrespassTorrent ElementalWhisk AwayWill of the NagaWrite Into Being

 

Black

Alesha's VanguardAncestral VengeanceArchfiend of DepravityBattle BrawlerBrutal HordechiefCrux of FateDark DealDiplomacy of the WastesDouse in GloomFearsome AwakeningGrave StrengthGurmag AnglerHooded AssassinMardu ShadowspearMardu Strike LeaderMerciless ExecutionerNoxious DragonOrc SureshotPalace SiegeQarsi High PriestReach of ShadowsSibsig HostSibsig MuckdraggersSoulflayerSultai EmissarySultai RunemarkTasigur, the Golden FangTasigur's CrueltyTyphoid RatsGhastly Conscription

 

Red

Alesha, Who smiles at DeathArcboundBathe in DragonfireBloodfire EnforcersBreak Through the LineCollateral DamageDefiant OgreDragonrageFierce InvocationFlamerush RiderFlamewake PhoenixFriendly FireGoblin HeelcutterGore SwineHumble DefectorHungering YetiLightning ShriekerMardu RunemarkMardu ScoutMob RuleOutpost SiegePyrotechnicsRageformShaman of the Great HuntShockmaw DragonSmoldering EfreetTemur Battle RageVaultbreakerWild Slash

 

Green

Abzan Kin-GuardAinok GuideAmbush KrotiqArashin War BeastArchers of QarsiBattlefront KrushokCached DefensesDestructor DragonFeral KrushokFormless NurturingFrontier MastodonFrontier SiegeFruit of the First TreeHunt the WeakMap the WastesReturn to the EarthRuthless InstinctsSandsteppe MastodonShamanic RevelationSudden ReclamationTemur RunemarkTemur SabertoothTemur War ShamanWarden of the First TreeWhisperer of the WildsWhisperingwood ElementalWildcallWinds of Qal SismaYasova Dragonclaw

 

Artifact

Goblin Boom KegHero's BladeHewed Stone RetainersPilgrim of the FiresScroll of the MastersUgin's Construct

 

Multicolored

Atarka, World RenderCunning StrikeDromoka, the EternalEthereal AmbushGrim ContestHarsh SustenanceKolaghan, the Storm's FuryOjutai, Soul of WinterSilumgar, the Drifting DeathWar Flare

 

Lands

Crucible of the Spirit Dragon

Tokens

Manifest and Morph Token Monk Token 1  Spirit TokenWarrior Token

Pre-release promos ‘Time Shifted Cards’

Ugin's Fate booster - Fate Reforged spoiler

Ugin's Fate Display

Fate Reforged pre-release will introduce special promo ‘Time Shifted Cards’. During the event you get to pick your  Tarkir Clan and will also receive a special ‘Ugin’s Fate” booster pack which contains a Token, a Land card and certain amount of ‘Time Shifted Cards’ from a pool of 40 holo foil stamped cards with alternate art which demonstrates how the plane of Tarkir has changed. The PAX Australia panel showcased three of these cards.

  • Smite the Monstrous (exchanging a mastodon for a dragon),
  • Ghostfire Blade (showing that everyone was left-handed a 1000 years ago),
  • Briber’s Purse (showing a pay-off to a tyrannical dragon.

Briber's Purse - Ugin's Fate Ghostfire Blade Smite the MonstrousHordeling Outburst

 

Fate Reforged promos

Launch event January 23–25, 2015

Sandsteppe Mastodon

 

Game Day February 14–15, 2015

Mardu Shadowspear - Game Day

 

Game Day Top 8

Supplant Form - MTGFRF Game Day promo

 

Exclusive playmat for the Game Day Champion

Fate Reforged Game Day champion playmat

 

Buy-a-Box Promo

Shamanic Revelation Buy-a-Box Promo

Fate Reforged Artwork

Fate Reforged spoiler artworkCrux of Fate - Fate Reforged spoiler ArtUgin Fate Reforged spoiler artSoulfire Grand MasterWandering ChampionUgin's ConstructValorous StanceSupplant FormShockmaw DragonScroll of the MastersOutpost SiegeMardu ScoutJeskai InfiltratorFrontier SiegeDestructor DragonCrucible of the Spirit DragonCitadel SiegeArchfiend of DepravityManifest artworkAinok GuideMonastery MentorNoxious DragonPilgrim of the FiresPressure Point

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