How did you all do in the Magic 2014 prereleases? I failed to play in one this time around, time constraints and all. I'm way too old to go to midnight prerelease, and that is compounded whenever I have the best six year old in the history of ever hanging out with me. One of the local game stores had to cancel their Saturday prerelease due to lack of attendance, and the other shop had sixteen, but of course, spending time with the best six year old in the history of ever takes precedence.
I might also be really mad at Magic right now. I've not won a pack on MTGO since July 7th. I've played in at least a tournament a day since then and my match record over that period of time is truly something to behold. In matches played since July 7th, I am 7-14. I've had two tournaments where I went 2-2, three tournaments with a record of 1-2 and the rest were the classic 0-2 drops. At this point I do not even remember what the packaging looks like on booster packs of Return to Ravnica. I've tried everything to break this streak. I've played MTGO in different rooms of my house. I've switched decks, I've played different formats, but it all comes down to the same thing. I'm losing and I'm not sure why. To combat this, I am going to stream for a long time on Tuesday, and see if other people can point out what I am doing wrong. I know variance plays a huge part in this game, but I feel like I'm coming up on too many tails when I have called heads. It's frustrating to keep losing, so hopefully we'll see where I am going wrong, be it on incorrect sideboarding, keeping to many questionable hands, or just not having a good read on the decks in the format. I do know that I am ready for M14 to come along and shake things up. The only benefits that I have seen in regards to losing as often as I am is I am getting other stuff done. I'm in the middle of reading Chasing Perfect by Bob Hurley. I'm a couple of dungeons deep in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and I've been walking more. I've yet to draft Rise of the Eldrazi, and that is unfortunate, but I am out of tickets so I guess my reward for winning will be drafting a format I have never done before. Finally I am writing more. Some stuff is fiction, some stuff is Magic based, and I think I worked out a schedule for the content that I will be adding to the site. Once a month, I'll have my MOCS recap. I'll have a draft article as well. Twice a month I'll do an edition of Outside the Deckbox. Of course that will change, I mean I am writing about the cards that I will not miss when Theros rotates out M13 and Innistrad block right now.
Speaking of that, we know that M14 will change the format, but the best shake up though is going to come when Theros comes out. Innistrad block was a great limited set. It added a ton of stuff to Standard with the enemy lands, (Huntmaster of Fells) Restoration Angel and others. It was all in all a really strong block. You know you're doing something right when the block has impact in Legacy events. Werewolves actually won an event in Michigan. Delver of Secrets, Snapcaster Mage and a host of other cards will impact Modern and Legacy for what seems like years to come, but it's been a long time. Many cards have flipped, Olivia Voldaren will become full, and Doomed Traveler will finally get to that place he was going to. While I sat out most of Innistrad to play the WowTCG, I know the year I spent playing with these cards seemed to go on for what felt like forever.
Of course Innistrad and the rest of the block will be joined in rotation by M13. I came back to Magic because of one card, Rancor. It's my homeboy. It also has some of the best flavor text! I'll actually miss Rancor. Omniscience will be another card that will result in me missing it unexpectedly. It gave us new planeswalkers, and really showed off the Exalted mechanic to players who missed it the first time around.
I'll miss a lot of these four sets, and I'll write about what I'm going to miss later (I could start and end with Rancor, but I will not I promise!). I'm writing about those cards that I just hate to play against, the ones that I will not miss at all. These cards caused me great distress (sarcasm, if cards are causing you distress, please take a break!) and ended a lot of my events! These cards are ones that I know I will see again. Delver in Pauper, Liliana in Modern, Snapcaster Mage in the same format. I know I will see them again, but I also know that I can attack into 3W and not fear an angel coming to block my best creature and gaining a beast token and five life in the process. This is the ten things I think I think. (Thanks Peter King!)
Oh, you're at 4 and you've stabilized against an empty board? Sure would be a shame if I came off the top of your opponents deck.
10. Huntmaster of the Fells
This werewolf at is essence was a four mana 4/4. Sure it was spread over two creatures, but that may have been the worst thing about him. Aggro decks chugging along suddenly had to deal with two blockers, which is my mind has led to cards like Volcanic Strength and Madcap Skills seeing play. If you lacked a piece of removal to deal with this chances were the wolf would eat one creature when it blocked, and then when the Huntmaster player did not make another play, the flipped Ravager would eat another guy. Against aggro that is a fine play, but locking the game up with the reflip and two more life and another dork really put the screws to some matchups.
9. Geist of Saint Traft
The one prerelease that I played for Innistrad featured this guy. I won matches because I would cast him and enchant him with Ghostly Possession. True he never actually dealt damage again, but the angel he made got there plenty of times. I will not miss this guy though, mainly because I believe that this creature highlights a problem. Hexproof is incredibly non interactive, and as the aura deck has shown in the standard format, a Rancor or Spectral Flight on it makes your opponent have to come up with an answer or die. It's not fun magic when Geist and aura buddies come in to town.
8. Invisible Stalker
Along the same lines as Geist, but I have a flavor issue with this. I get that he cannot be blocked because he cannot be seen. I think that is cute, but why hexproof? The opponent cannot see him, how can the person casting him see where to put the aura? On top of that, every time I played a draft online my opponent had this and Butcher's Cleaver. I know I am not the only one that thought this interaction was incredibly bad for one of the best draft formats of all time. While I love all in decks in pretty much every format, Bant Hexproof was one of the most miserable play experiences I have ever had on either side of the table while playing magic.
7. Unburial Rites
It pains me to put this card here, because I love reanimation strategies. Not as much as I love going all in with a Nivix Cyclops or milling my opponent out, but reanimation is one of my most favorite things to do in magic. One would think that I would love to reanimate two things for nine mana over two turns, and I do. I'm just not going to miss this card because I've played it forever. I started off with it in Solar Flare when Innistrad first came out, and now it's evolved into the key card in Junk Reanimator, 4 color Boros Reckoner (Harvest Pyre) reanimator, and Human Reanimator. This card to me is a fine magic card, it's just been around forever!
A 5/3 for 5 mana that gains you five life whenever it enters the battlefield would have seen play. Adding the 3/3 body to it afterwards was a bit of overkill. As a control player I hated this card a lot more when it first came out than I do now. Of course learning how to play around it was the hardest part of things, the leaving the battlefield trigger was more often more frustrating than the original card. Paired up with Restoration Angel it would not be uncommon to gain ten life for nine spread over two turns, and it resulted in having to deal with three creatures. Paired with Unburial Rites, it was ten life over two turns for 10 (sometimes nine) mana. I know that control as an archetype needs to have cards built to beat it, but I feel like Thragtusk would have been a little more fair had he trigged like Voice of Resurgence. Just a die trigger for the 3/3 instead of leaving the battlefield. At least it would have been a bit fairer.
5. Snapcaster Mage
I was out of competitive magic when this guy started to dominate Standard. I missed out on the dark days of Delver (I did come back I guess in time to see the end of it.) and how for another standard season a UW tempo deck would destroy the morale of tournament playing magicians. Playing against Snapcaster Mage to me meant we could not have nice things. When Mana Leak was around, casting anything against their four open mana was an invitation for your opponent to get a 2/1 and you to have nothing. Looking at it that way, you have a slightly worse Mystic Snake. But with an open six mana it was time to flash back Supreme Verdict. Snapcaster Mage is an incredibly strong card, and will still see a ton of play in the non-rotating formats, but I'm really glad it's going away soon in Standard.
4. Liliana of the Veil
This one is more personal than the others. I've never misplayed against something so hard when it comes to this planeswalker. She's actually a pretty fair card. I'm just a donk and start to play really bad magic whenever it comes to her. For some reason she puts me on tilt, and I almost always make pretty bad decisions whenever it is time for me to discard a card or sacrifice a creature.
3. Restoration Angel
I cannot explain how much I hate this card. It's really good. Being able to rebuy Thragtusk, Acidic Slime or Prime Speaker Zegana can often be a back breaking play. Saving a creature from removal or lethal damage is a huge boost in tempo, and heck a 3/4 flyer for 4 mana is nothing to scoff at. I think what I hated the most about her though is the feeling of helplessness I felt whenever I knew my opponent had her. Why bother attacking? I'm just going to lose all my guys and stare down a 5/3 a 3/3 and the new 3/4. Of course I can cast this (Lingering Souls) to have blockers for Thundermaw Hellkite, oh wait, my blockers just died and I'm looking at 8 in the air now. This giant (Sphinx's Revelation) should resolve, oops, Snapcaster was in play and it got Negated. Though to be fair, I do like making a million Restoration Angels with Kiki-Jiki. Still will not miss her at all.
2. Cavern of Souls
I know when this card came out countermagic like Mana Leak was everywhere. Delver was the best deck in Standard and getting important guys to resolve was a bit of a rarity. Of course when you're playing giant dumb dumbs like Inferno Titan or (Primevial Titan) it should be harder for your guys to resolve. Cavern of Souls has seen steady play since it became legal, but it's also made a ton of blanks of Dissipate, Cancel, Rewind. I like counter magic. I sometimes do not like seeing Acidic Slime resolve. I really do not like playing against this when my opponent names humans and then they vomit their hand into play. Therefore I will not miss this card at all.
1. Bonfire of the Damned
I am conflicted about the whole miracle mechanic. I loved cards like Revenge of the Hunted and Temporal Mastery. I disliked cards like Terminus, Thunderous Wrath and (Devestation Tide) I loathed Bonfire of the Damned. Terminus and Tide at least were symmetrical effects. Bonfire of the Damned cleared my board, made me take damage and forced me to deal with my opponent's leftovers. Bonfire off the top when I was trying to stabilize was a killing blow. I think the most annoying thing about Bonfire though were the players that put the bluff stop on MTGO. I cannot live with that kind of suspense!
So those are the ten cards that I am not going to miss when Theros rotates out. What cards will you not miss when the rotation happens?
Thanks for reading!