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By: walkerdog, Tyler Walker
Sep 26 2011 1:56am
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Most of the Splash Page-hosted events start right on time.  Saturday was a slight exception as people were running late: we still started fairly close to on-time and I ripped my six packs.  I didn't get the best pool but it did have a lot of options.  See what you think.

Thraben Purebreds
Doomed Traveler
Avacynian Priest x 2
Abbey Griffin x 2
Smite the Monstrous x 2
Bonds of Faith
Slayer of the Wicked
Cloistered Youth
Elder Cathar
Urgent Exorcism
Unruly Mob
Midnight Haunting

Strong cards but no bombs and little evasion.

Cackling Counterpart
Silent Departure
Sensory Deprivation
Hysterical Blindness x 2
Civilized Scholar
Armored Skaab
Moon Heron x 2
Lost in the Mist
Skaab Goliath
Fortress Crap x 2

Again, solid cards but no bombs.  If the Fortress Crabs were good flashback spells or strong Skaabs, I think I would have played Blue

Walking Corpse
Rotting Fensnake
Victim of the Night
Vampire Interloper
Altar's Reap
Gruesome Deformity
Disciple of Griselbrand
Curse of Oblivion
Bloodgift Demon
Moan of the Unhallowed
Morkhut Banshee

I really like Black.  With a couple more blue Zombies I would have probably been all-in on UBx

Villagers of Estwald
Somberwald Spider x 2
Orchard Spirit x 2
Boneyard Wurm
Gnaw to the Bone
Ranger's Guile x 2
Full Moon's Rise
Avacyn's Pilgrim

Curse of the Pierced Heart
Feral Ridgewolf
Infernal Plunge
Furor of the Bitten x 2
Hanweir Watchkeep
Skirdag Cultist
Kruin Outlaw
Charmbreaker Devils
Ashmouth Hound x 2
Harvest Pyre
Tormented Pariah
Into the Maw

Shimmering Grotto x 2
Wooded Cemetary
Blazing Torch
Geistcatcher's Rig
Traveler's Amulet
Gavony Township
Cellar Door
Ghost Quarter

Okay, the Blazing Torch, Rig, and Amulet are all keepers to my mind.  They're really strong.  The two Grotto's are solid too.  The Cellar Door didn't seem awesome, and the Township... well, I didn't want to play Green and White in this pool.  How sad. 

I really wanted to play the Demon and Banshee from Black.  I also would like to play Blue given how strong this format's Blue is, but my pool didn't really make that feel plausible.  Red seemed ridiculous too.  Well, not ridiculous, but still very strong.  The Devil and Werewolves are awesome at first glance and Into the Maw of Hell, Harvest Pyre, and Cultist are strong.  Amazingly strong in fact. 

I could go further into Black, but if I do that, I'm going to want to play Blue for more Zombies, but I misevaluated the strength of Blue as a support/secondary color.  If I'd thought about it more, I might have run Blue.  I went down to White and Green as final color.  I went Green because who doesn't want to play a Splinterfright?   I ended up siding into White every round instead of Green from Round Three on.

After building my GRb deck I was matched with Nate in round one.  He's a very solid player from what I've seen, so I was a little bummed to face him to start the tournament.  He started off with two Plains and Doomed Traveler.  Then he didn't play his third land.  I played a werewolf of some sort and then proceeded to flip it when he had no play... awkward!  Then I had Bramblecrush for one of his lands which basically sealed the game. 

Game two was kind of similar.  He had the greedy 1-land keeper.  I didn't do much though.  I started with a couple of werewolves but then drew a ton of lands.  He was able to set up a human and Angelic Overseer.  Luckily I drew Harvest Pyre to smash his human and use Morkhut Banshee on his Angel.  Hot!  This followed by a Rig on a Griffin put him away.

Round two was against Laura.  She has been playing quite a while (1995!) and played competitively when she could.  I started with some werewolves and smashing face.  She had a Mentor of the Meek but Harvest Pyre (IT KEEPS BURNING BABY!) took care of that mess and I was able to eat her up.  Then she showed me the four lands in her hand (super-flood) and I felt pretty bad.  So that's good and bad all together!

I didn't change my deck.  She unloaded with Mentor of the Meek, a Griffin, and plenty of cantripping.  I tried to stem the bleeding but my Spider got smashed by her Moment of Heroism.  Uggg!  Then she drew more cards and mauled me.  On a side note, Mentor seemed to wreck face all day; none made the finals, but they seemed to be insane each game I saw them.  I contemplated a swap, but decided against it.  My Spiders seemed good against flyers and my Green guys could be huge.  Yes.   I should have sided in Blue or White.  Shut up.

Game three was solid for me.  I got a spider to hold the ground and then my Demon took over.  It drew me 3-4 extra cards and killed Laura.  I think Demon is one of the top 3-4 limited spells of the set although I could be wrong.  If you look at the set (for limited) as a whole. there aren't that many insane bombs.  Liliana is stupid of course and there are things like Angel of Flight Alabaster, but the Demon is nutty.  He draw cards, flies for five, and does damage directly if you want with his card-drawing abilities.

Round three was Justin.  Justin had a pretty beastly deck.  I got crashed over by Ludevic's Test Subject in game one after being mauled by the 4/5 Blue Zombie.  This was disheartening!  I swapped into White by dropping Green.  This worked out well.  Instead of crushing me with his cool Zombies and pains-in-my-bass I was able to play a Pacifism equivalent on Grimgrin (seriously!) and smash him before he got all the counters off the test Subject.  Game three was pretty close.  I had two werewolves quickly as he popped out a Test Subject and Grimgrin.  He let me plow Grimgrin into the ground with my two werewolves, killing my double-striker in the process.  Then I played Pacifism on the Test Subject and let my fat werewolves take care of business, with an Into the Maw of Hell to close the deal.  Protip (I'm not a pro, but I saw at least two people get "gotcha'd" by this).  When your opponent attacks or blocks Ashmouth Hound, if their creature has 1 toughness, it will die before having a shot at dealing combat damage to the Hound.  I definintely got to take out a 2/1 first-striking flyer for free because the card isn't a common type of effect (Karplusan Wolverine aside). 

Round four was Kalvin.  I was happy to see Kalvin here as he takes competitive play seriously but has frequent frustrations in his fight for success in various formats.  It turns out that he had a pretty strong Rw deck with tons of Vampires and removal.  He started with some Vamps while I had a 1/5 chump followed by a Spider.  These did their best to hold off his team until I got sufficient Werewolves in play to eat him up.   I quickly sided into a White card or 7 to combat his Red monsters.  He started beating my face in while I tried to set up defenses.  My Spider started my defensive efforts but his Inquisitor's Flail laughed at that idea.  I was able to grope his flying butt with a Pyre on his equipped dude and Spider wolfing down his non-equipped guy.  Then the Rig ate another flyer and he was done-fer.

 Round five was Jake.  Jake is a great person to play with.  He's always mellow and he has a good sense of humor.  Game one gave him Liliana who quickly smashed me.  It was awkward since I basically couldn't beat her on turn three and he played her on turn three!  How unfair!  I sided in the White cards.  I was blinded by the fact that Blue is so awesome that I can't comprehend it because I really should have brought in Blue and had a prayer at stopping him from resolving Liliana, but whatever; we can't all not suck right?

So I suck, but not game two!  My non-suckiness meant he didn't have Lil-V til a few turns in!  I beat him down to 8 in the meantime.  I was able to fight through his blockers and attack with Charmbreaker Devil, then use Pyre to kill his last blocker... and I attacked Liliana instead of killing him.  Luckily I survived and killed him a few turns later.  Glad I'm bad and lucky!  The lesson?  Attack for lethal you idiot!

Even if I did get an undeserved win, I did pay the reaper: game three saw a Vess on turn three and a crushing of my face despite Jake missing a Liliana activation one turn.  What a beating.  He had Grimgrin too in case you were wondering.  I would have been more disappointed if I hadn't taken 2nd and won 12 packs.  I think I would have felt favored with almost any of the stupid Mythics, but losing in that manner just felt right.

Post-tournament, I have a few thoughts.

First, werewolves and 2 color decks are stupidly frustrating.  Werewolves give you a massively unfair effect for a low mana-cost.  At some point you can't play a spell and they will have a 3/3 double-striker who can't be blocked except by two or more blah blah blah.  2-color decks are similar; you can play some broken guys and never (almost) have mana trouble.  If you get lucky enough to play 3+ werewolves or have a strong 2-color deck, rejoice!

UB has insane synergies.  If you get a grip of Zombies, rejoin and kiss your pool.  You will roll a lot of decks. 

Mythics are pretty stupid in this format too.  They always are, but this seems rougher than most. 

The various 187 guys are just nutty.  You will cry when someone plays a card like Morkhut Banshee to kill your Angel for example.

Innistrad seems like a lot of fun.  I recommend the 187 guys as frequently as you can draft them and werewolves slightly higher than you might expect to pick them.  Enjoy the new format and have a great week!


I understand if the links are by this isnt the n... at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 05:22
this isnt the name i chose's picture

I understand if the links are not up on mtgotraders yet, but they are in gatherer. Without linked cards this article is gibberish to those who have not played with the set yet. A giant wall of text, no pics, no links is not helpful when describing cards most have not seen yet.

Unfortunately, I don't know by walkerdog at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 09:28
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Unfortunately, I don't know how to easily link to Gatherer cards and I'm just not going to manually link every card to WTC. I should have had some pictures I guess, but the sortable spoiler it up already, so I don't feel too terrible about it.

In the article editor there by Paul Leicht at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 11:07
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In the article editor there is a row of icons that you can press to do various things. One of those icons creates a linked tag (which displays a link + the label you give it) and an img tag (which you give the url of the image you want to display.) So the following is a step by step list of how to do it:

  1. go to gatherer.wizards.com
  2. search for the card you want an image of
  3. right click to view the image
  4. copy the url of that image
  5. click the button in the article editor (rich text) that shows a little planet
  6. Insert the url in the proper place and add in any alt text you desire
  7. ???
  8. Profit.
underpants! by whiffy at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 11:24
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I'll take #8...all day long pls. by apaulogy at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 11:36
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I love when people give list instructions that end in profit!!!

It is like raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
brown paper packages tied up with string
those are a few of my favorite things.


Yeah silly intarwebs memes. by Paul Leicht at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 12:29
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Yeah silly intarwebs memes. :p But hey it gives you the picture. Nice quote there.

Pomplamoose fan or the by Thisismich at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 12:35
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Pomplamoose fan or the original?

you forgot by howlett23 at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 14:32
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the steal underwear step

fit that in the ??? section. by Paul Leicht at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 16:44
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fit that in the ??? section.

Innistrad pre-release by unspeakable at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 09:09
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Nice to see some early Innistrad action. Links for the cards would have been nice, as already noted, since we're all still getting used to these cards. I was at a pre-release this weekend (went 3:1 with a black/red deck) and my impression was that the set was fairly complex and that a bad draw against flip cards could result in your very rapid demise. If you can't play a spell in turn two or three, you can get your face smashed very fast. Remembering if someone had cast a spell in the last turn for werewolf flipping was also an extra headache; I look forward to MTGO keeping track of that for me. My son came along and put together a deck for his first pre-release. It took some radical rebuiling by me between rounds to get it into decent shape as a blue/black zombie/frankenstein deck, but it was nice to have him along. I was irritated that in his last round he played a guy who was using the pre-release foil in his deck (I could have DQ'd him on this if I'd been there earlier) and then forced a draw through delaying tactics. Not exactly the best experience for a new player being introduced to the game, unfortunately.

That is pretty rough. How on by walkerdog at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 09:59
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That is pretty rough. How on earth was the guy not DQ'd! I was able to do some nice trades: Foil Mayor + token for Evil Twin (which is slightly in his favor, but I wanted the Twin quite a bit!), the GB dual + the bloodgift Demon for a Scalding Tarn which had a funny story:

I was opening my packs during sealed construction and a guy said "Ohh I want that dual!" He also seemed excited by another card or two in the pool, so once it was over I asked if he wanted to trade. He said he did and I asked if he was interested in trading any Zendikar fetches.

"Well, I value one at like FOUR of that land, so..." he said kind of laughingly. I dug through the other cards and he saw the demon and said, "Oh that's the one. Yea, I'd do a Tarn for those two cards."

There's no understanding people!

Your article... by Fred1160 at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 10:12
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I thought it was a good article. I hate the "wall of text" complaint I
see so much of on here. I guess they come from people who don't read many
The mythics I faced just warped the game every time they hit the table.
I know there are answers for them, but good luck having an answer when you
need it.
I ran a low curve and didn't have problems with casting a spell of some kind
every turn (even if it's just Rally the Peasants to avoid a flip).
It worked in my favor when my opponent would intentionally fail to play a spell
in order to get a flip. Putting a transformed werewolf back in his hand or on
top of his library was often backbreaking for them.

WHAT!! by howlett23 at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 10:41
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your books don't have lots of pictures and colors in them???? how dare you.....

(all sarcasm, just fyi) :-)

Chaos at prerelease by unspeakable at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 10:17
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I think one of the problems of pushing the pre-releases down to the individual stores is that it has made the whole thing a bit more chaotic. The old pre-releases could be hard to get to (I had to drive down from Cleveland to Columbus, which is about 2.5 hours, which was a significant deterrent) but at least you could count on fairly solid organization and reasonably qualified judges that were readily available. The store where I was playing was having a simultaneous Yu-gi-oh event, and was absolutely packed, and the only judge was the guy running the store, who was managing both events while running the store. I saw the foil mayor card when I finished my game and went over to watch my son, and asked if that was the pre-release card. The guy denied it. A turn or so later it was in the graveyard, and we were probably past the point where it could have been raised as an issue, but by then I realized that even if he'd opened a foil of the mayor, it would have been different artwork and therefore he was definitely cheating. I could have pushed the issue, and kind of wish I had, but there was only one pack on the line and given what a madhouse the place was it probably wasn't worth pursing. Besides, I'd been giving my son a lot of play advice during the second half of his last game, which probably wasn't completley kosher either. In any case, if I ever take my son to another pre-release (he's 13 now) I think it had better be a basic set, and I should not play myself so I can watch out for him a little better.

Yes, by howlett23 at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 10:40
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you should have pushed the issue, I HATE cheaters..especially when older players cheat younger ones or new ones..despicable.. but don't be too hard on yourself, at least you son learned that some people are like that and perhaps next time he will question things when he doesn't know or understand(no such thing as a stupid question...etc...etc). I'm sure he still had a pretty good time, if anything going with his dad to a common interest event is always a good thing...my son is only 6 at this point, so magic for him is still a few years away, but I look forward to it.

I do agree. We have a pretty by walkerdog at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 11:48
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I do agree. We have a pretty good shop for dealing with that sort of thing since there are a lot of smart players at the store and the judge is usually 3rd-place Nationals Finisher (from a while back) Chris Tobler. It also helps that Scott, the owner, doesn't give out the foils til after R1 starts, so it's a little harder for people to get the idea that they go in the deck right away.

My daughter is 2.9ish and is already psyched to learn Magic. Her attention span is like 13 seconds though so I'm going to have to hold off a little longer.

If you can get her to sit by Paul Leicht at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 12:30
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If you can get her to sit still for twice that she can learn about things like tapping and untapping.

Yea, she wants to pretty by walkerdog at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 12:33
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Yea, she wants to pretty badly, but I'm going to hold off a bit. I'd rather her want to play than hate it cuz it was too frustrating to learn.

I have by howlett23 at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 14:27
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a daughter who is 3 as well, though she has no interest in the cards, aside from wanting the ones her brother is looking at.

PS..I don't like the exclamation point when you mention Rd 2 Laura had been playing "quite a while" since 1995..this is when I started and it just made me feel old..which i am, but still... :-P

PSS..the Ashmouth hound rule..there was a mini tribe in Nemesis I think that did this effect..can't remember their name, but was 3 or 4 cards, so this is a good tip as hopefully we will be getting Masques block online at some point soon.

You might try getting a by walkerdog at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 19:08
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You might try getting a precon set of two to play with him before the release or two a mini sealed (three boosters each, 25 card decks) to practice new cards before you go next time.

moar images by apaulogy at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 11:48
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I have to agree. Interesting read...more sparkles....

I do read books, but I like images when I browse thuh intarwebz. For value.

My biggest fault in articles by walkerdog at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 11:46
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My biggest fault in articles is the lack of pictures most of the time. I enjoy writing, but I kind of hate tweaking with too many pictures. Decklists I understand due to functionality, so I do them most of the time, but pictures are an area I need to improve on.

I can help by apaulogy at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 11:50
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Send me your articles via email...and I can put in pics for you. For Value.

I know basic html.

Well, I can too I guess. I by walkerdog at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 12:32
walkerdog's picture

Well, I can too I guess. I didn't think of just splashing a few new cards in from gatherer. If I had it to do over I probably would have done that and linked to the full sortable spoiler at the start of the article or something.

This is not a complaint, so by Odindusk at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 14:26
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This is not a complaint, so please don't take it as one. I know the content on this site is free, so I will take what I can get. But what is the barrier in preventing card images being installed more quickly on this site? Sheer curiosity.

Channelfiresphere gets theirs going even prior to a set launch. Is it just a technical limitation that the site editor chooses not to deal with? Apathy?

I don't know the technical differences between the two sites so I'm probably trying to compare apples to oranges.

The online cards are released by walkerdog at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 15:09
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The online cards are released about a month later is the biggest difference.

This is what I understand and by JXClaytor at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 15:49
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This is what I understand and i may be wrong. When the pics go live on mtgotraders.com they go live here on puremtgo.com. It's not the best system, and I would love to fix it, my hands are tied though because I have no idea how to do it :(

basically the images need to by Paul Leicht at Mon, 09/26/2011 - 16:46
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basically the images need to be in the directories where the image manager finds them to link them properly. Other than that some server side code (a couple lines at most) may be needed. That's my guess anyway.