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Roy Anderson Roy Anderson - January 28, 2015

How I Broke Into Magic Online

Monastery Swiftspear artwork - RDW aggro Standard

How I Broke Into Magic Online

By Roy Anderson

Magic Online (MTGO) is Wizards of the Coast’s digital version of Magic: the Gathering, for anyone who is unfamiliar. It is host to every format and card you can think of. On top of that, it allows you to play high-level magic at almost any time of day! Imagine my excitement when I first stumbled on this amazing software. However, there was one elephant (token) in the room that I just couldn’t remove and that was the cost to play.

 

Bringing down the cost

Like most people, I don’t have massive amounts of expendable income. I already play the paper version and almost never miss a Friday Night Magic (FNM) or Prerelease at my local game store (LGS.) This puts me in a position where, given my income, playing both online and offline regularly just isn’t going to happen. BUT WAIT! We have to at least try to get the most out of a limited budget. In this article, I am going to tell you how I broke into MTGO and grew my investment in order to limit the amount I would need to spend in the future.

So when I first looked at MTGO, I tried to figure out which events would give the most payout for the lowest investment. After evaluating my options, I figured out Standard queues would yield a reasonable amount of prizes with a relatively low risk. With this option, there was a small start-up cost, however, unlike draft, there was less capital needed to enter each tournament.

Obviously, if constructed is my game, I was in need of a deck. Since the name of the game was economics, the deck had to be cheap. I began looking at deck lists online and browsing Gatherer (Magic’s card database) in order to construct a list. Finally, I found a relatively cheap list that won a few standard tournaments in different forms and I figured I could make it work. What deck was it you ask? Well, it was none other than our good friend, Red Deck Wins (RDW)! After price checking the cards needed to construct this list, I had a thought. I am sure I can cut some corners and make it even cheaper! Eidolon of the Great Revel is a strong in RDW, however, the cost of a play set was high so I decided to take it out. I also replaced some slightly more efficient removal and changed the number of certain creatures in my list to reduce cost.

RDW Aggro Standard list by Roy Anderson

 

Now as you can probably see by this deck list, there is not too much power in this deck. The deck is mostly chalked full of cheap creatures with efficient removal/burn and ways to “punch through” to your opponents life total.  On the other side, you also probably don’t see too much cost in this deck either. This is especially true for MTGO as prices are scaled down slightly due to a smaller demand. The only card that is worth a decent amount of money are the Stoke the Flames. I found that card too important to cut as it has the potential to kill so many creatures in the format as well as burn enormous amounts of damage.

Sideboard

 

This sideboard may appear to be filled with crap, and to a degree, you would be correct. Some of the cards here are really cheap and poor answers to certain threats that the deck would otherwise lose too. For example, Torch Fiend for Whip of Erebos, Harness By force for midrange matchup, and Bring Low for Abzan (I guess). However, some of these cards are really big all-stars in the right matchup and no one ever sees some of them coming. Scouring Sands pings (deals one damage to) each creature your opponents control and gives you scry one for a nice cherry on top. This is very good against Jeskai Tokens, Aggro Mirrors, and also gave me some scraping wins by breaking me through a swarm of hornets. Searing Blood is also very efficient creature removal in the current standard format. This is another card that comes in against other creature decks.

 

Breaking it down

Overall, at the time of purchasing this deck, the overall cost was approximately 20 dollars. For anyone who plays Magic, they can’t help but smile at that price for a competitive deck. And let me assure you, this deck has beaten every deck in the format at least once. It has even taken down some unlucky souls who decided they wanted to try their hand at rouge brewing. There are two main reasons this deck is successful: Mana and Speed.

This deck has a much easier time with its’ mana compared to many of the decks in the format. Its’ mana is one of its strongest characteristics especially in a sea of three to five color decks. In fact, I won a chunk of games just because my opponent’s mana wasn’t well supported. Due to this deck being monocolored, you will never be unable to utilize your hand to its full potential. An even bigger upside is the cost of the creatures. Since the top of your curve is basically a two mana spell, land drops are not much of a problem even if you get land screwed. I often keep one land hands as long as I have a creature and a Titan’s Strength. The scry is usually enough to dig me to a second land before I need it.

The second great attribute this deck has is its’ amazing speed. It can close out games often before many decks can establish a strong board presence. By the time your opponent has one or two creatures, your Hammerhand and Frenzied Goblin will push your creatures through for the win. You will also have them at a low enough life total from suicide runs that a top deck Stoke the Flames is often enough.

Often times, this deck has a very explosive start. I think my favorite opening in the entire deck is as follows:

Turn One: Land, Swiftspear, and smash for one.

Turn Two: Land, Swiftspear, and smash with Titan’s Strength for five. Play another creature.

Turn Three: Mogis’s Warhound bestowed, hit for five more plus an additional one to two for your other creature.

Seems pretty scary huh? The great part is, I got this draw fairly often. In the worst cases, Valley Dasher or War-Name Aspirant would eat up my turn two. The worst creature you want to see hit the battlefield is a Sylvan Caryatid. Even when this happens, you can often grow your creatures big enough to punch through or just swarm past them. As far as I am concerned, it just slows me down.

 

Record

Well, as I said, this deck gave me great success on MTGO. At the point of writing this article, my cumulative record with it in tournament queues (I practiced with it for a while before putting money on it) is a whopping thirteen to two. Not bad for such a cheap way to play.  Now, on MTGO, constructed queues require two tickets for entry and pay out one pack of Khan’s to the winner. A pack of Khan’s is currently worth approximately three tickets. Using my record as an example along with my initial 10 tickets left over from my thirty dollar investment, I am currently up nine tickets. With some serious grinding, assuming my record continued, you could make a massive profit. I know most people just want to use MTGO to draft. At least that is how it is for me. Anyway, you will earn a draft after about 30 – 40 games with some tickets to spare. I know that doesn’t sound like the most attractive option, but efficiency and lower variance almost never is. If you tried to do the same infinite drafting with limited, you would have to get first or second in every single draft. This is also factoring in the fact that all tournaments are single elimination. I guess an alternative solution would be to just pull a foil fetch every draft, however, we are sticking to a realistic approach.

 

More cheap fun

So I bet you are wondering, are there any other ways to play on MTGO without throwing money at it? Why yes, there actually is a way to draft for cheap that is much easier to play infinitely. This is in the form of Wizard’s various cubes that they host throughout the year.

In order to maximize fun and value, I always play in the swiss as opposed to the single elimination events. The reasons being: One, you will always get to play in all of your rounds giving you more time to enjoy some of the blasts from Magic’s past, and two, they are much easier to rinse and repeat. It is true that the single elimination cube drafts have actual older set pack payouts, however, they require at least a two to zero record. In addition, you will need tickets in order to draft that set with a two to zero record so, unless you get first, you still have to shell out two dollars. In the swiss events, you can just win two of any of your matches and it will allow you to gain free re-entry. These queues use a special currency called phantom points and you earn enough to hop right into another event after a two to one record.

 

Well, I hope this article helped you out and possibly pushed you to give MTGO a try. It will take a little time to learn how to effectively use the program, but once you get over that initial hump, your magic skills can take over. If anyone is interested in seeing MTGO play of either the legacy cube or the RDW I described earlier, please leave a comment below. I look forward to writing more for you guys next week as I have a column in the works but I am going to be on my way to GP San Jose next week so expect to hear about the main even in next week’s article!

Until next time, Happy Planeswalking!

 
By Roy Anderson
@Sockymans 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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