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By: MirrorMage, Daniel Corradi
Feb 23 2008 11:59pm
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Loaded up with a full set of Coldsnap packs, I did what any struggling student trying to manage a part-time job, a failing education, and real-life responsibilities would do, I decided to join a league. I was leaning towards another Coldsnap league, but after chatting with MTGO Traders, he mentioned in passing that Masters Edition would only go up in value. "Hey, I've never played that!" I thought to myself. I pondered for a bit and decided “why not!”, placed an order for packs, and became the 9th member of a newly spawned league.

Opening my pool, my enthusiasm slowly faded (One reason was was no Force of Will, but mostly because I spent two hours trying to understand what Chains of Mephistopheles actually did). There’s one upside to playing MED, it’s cringe-worthingly hilarious and absolutely random at the same time. What set’s it aside from other sets is the lack of consistency. With Coldsnap, you already know the decks you’re going to play- it all depends on what cards you open. Same applies to guilds in Ravinca and tribes in Lorwyn. With MED, virtually any deck idea is plausible because games last on so long and the cardpool is so vast. There is a downside however, many decks are influenced not by what cards you open from your MED packs, but by how many playables your Tenth Edition packs may have. So, on to my pool:

Rabid Wombat made me cry.

So, there it is. 75 cards of glory. To be fair, it’s not a bad pool… it’s just not really a good pool either. There’s the benefit of having 4 Green Fatties and a Whispersilk Cloak, Abundance, and lots of sexy removal in black. Icatian Town is the closest thing I’m going to get to a bomb, with the not-so-small exception of Forcefield. I toyed with the idea of going blue, but personally- I’m not a control player. I already have to learn advanced econometrics. Magic should be a hobby, not a chore. Red is blessed with useless cards. The only real decision is to choose to go second colour black or white. I opted for the removal, but decided to splash for the little Townspeople who could (not).

After three frustrating matches, I finally settled on this blue/green build. Damn the mind.

I ended with a respectable 5 losses and 0 wins. After the fourth match, a player sent me a private message “Unlucky… your deck is not bad”.

"Not bad." The words stuck with me. I didn't think it was too bad either, but I guess I'm just not used to MED sealed. In hindsight, I might have actually played red just for the Soulblast if I understood the format better.

I took this league as a learning experience. Like most epic beatings, it was as a chance to build character and provided a great entry in my diary. I originally intended to post match summaries, but considering this is MED, I don’t want to bore you with “Turn 24, my opponent passes the turn… again”. So, I’ll end with a list of lessons learned and some of the more interesting match situations. As the sayings goes, "now we know!" "And knowing is half the battle."

1) Any deck is possible: That’s right, with MED- let your imagination go wild. In most sets, you want to design a deck that will end the game on single-digit turns. In MED, the game can, and usually does, last to turn 15 to turn 20. I once saw my friend die to a Blaze for 28, courtesy of Mana Flare. This has a downside, because games end up as “Who can draw their finisher first”, and that’s fine- but… what if you’re like me and open a pool with no finishers?

Turn 20. Me: Hah, I use my Abundance to topdeck Shambling Strider! The game is in my hands!

Opponent: I play Reya Dawnbringer/Shivan Hellkite/Avatar of Might.

Crap. Ces’t la vie.

2) It is a Nostalgia Block: I think one of the reasons Masters Edition wasn't as enjoyable for me is because it s more suited for old timers who’ll fondly remember the good old days when President Clinton was in the white house and Seal was singing about roses and kisses. But, it's an understandable fondness when you put things in perspective. For us  younger players it would be the equivelant of getting the chance to reopen Kokusho, the Evening Star and Umezawa's Jitte (Note: Pronounced J-height. I will take this cursed pronunciation war to the death) or swinging with a Phantom Nishoba. Still, seeing old cards for the first time and screaming “You did what to my lands??!!” might not be the funnest experience for us young ones, but the old men might get a chuckle. However, seeing the Banding  mechanic again was nice. My first deck at Friday Night Magic was a motley banding deck I made from Portuguese Ice-Age era cards given to me by my uncle. That night, I was introduced to the dark, competitive, side of Magic ruled by Morphlings and Worldgorger Dragon combos using Blood Pet. I still have nightmares, and my perspective on Magic has never been the same since.

3) You will be killed in ways you never thought possible: Aside from Mana Flare and Blaze mentioned above, there are a plethora of ways you will be killed you never thought possible. I once lost a match to Winter Orb and Armageddon. In sealed. My jaw dropped. If played well, an Armageddon can be more dealy than a Wrath of God, and more painful too (Turn 4, Oh you haven't played a creature? YOU LOSE! ). In the end, I witnessed powerful plays I would have never imagined possible in a league. A Might of Oaks on Yavimaya Ants meant a cool 13 points of damage and multiple times I fell victim to well-played Berserk. One game, I succumbed to Pox and a turn three Serendib Efreet made me moan that life just wasn't fair.

4) Tenth Edition makes the deck: If you look through the possible cards you can obtain from Master's Edition, there's a huge discrepancy between the number of playable powerful cards and the unplayable junk. Goblins of the Flarg, Dwarven Soldier, Rabid Wombat? Okay, maybe those are extremes, but the point is that most times the cards in Tenth Edition are simply more consistent, there's a balance betwee power and playability. Terror is a much better alternative to Feast or Famine. But then on the other end of the spectrum, you have cards such as Lightning Bolt and Exile. Generally, it seems like decks are dictated by how solid the cards from Tenth edition, splashing powerful MED for support.

5) Roots sucks: Because it seems like everyone but me managed to open a playset. That's okay, I'll play Paralyze on your creature with defender. Oh wait a minute...

6) I will most likely play MED again: That's right. Even after my epic loss, virtually coming in last place, even after my semi-long winded monologue on the shortcomings of MED in sealed and how it's the official format for the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), I will most likely play MED again. Why? It's random and quirky. The cards are underpowered, but they're new and interesting and though the games are drag on, it's something different to the fast-paced decks of Lorwyn. In the end, it's not too bad of a set and I hope that maybe my next pool will have a Juzám Djinn or a couple of Mishra's Factorys. Oh, and yeah- Force of Will, now that would be awesome, brownie points if it's foil too.

This leads me to an after-introduction. After my 0-5 record, it's pretty clear that I'm not the greatest magic player, in fact- I spent most of my time playing Zubera decks in the casual room, but now I want to change that. This column will hopefully not deal with deck advice, strategy, and metagaming (Though it could, but then you wouldn't be smart to take my advice). However, it will hopefully deal with my futile quest at improving my skill and ability in competitive magic with articles on drafting, limited, and sealed. Hopefully, you as the reader can have a few laughs at my expense and maybe even give me some pointers on how I can improve for next time!

So, any comments, insults, or advice? Post in the comments section below. In the meantime, I'm going to keep fighting the good fight.

Token Rocky Quote: "'Cause all I want do is go the distance." - Rocky II


by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Mon, 02/25/2008 - 10:39
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Thanks for the article, i appreciate the walkthroughs.

 My initial build was G/R, as it provides you with the best creatuer base.....

 1cc:  Fyndhorn Elves, Ashnod's Transmogrant

2cc: Dwarven Soldier, Goblin Piker, Incenerate, Naturalize

3cc: Pincer Beetles, Bogardan Firefiend, Brothers of Fire, Granite Gargoyle, Dragon Engine, Forcefield, Phryxian Vualt, Wispersilk Cloak, Wanderlust(agreed this is underrated)

4cc: Giant Spider, Stone Giant, Abundance

5cc: Spined Wurm

6+cc: Craw Wurn, Shambling Strider, SoulBlast(excellent finisher-if they don't have FOW ;-p  )


x1 Quicksand

x9 Mountains

x8 Forests



Poor Luck.  Tthis pool is in no way an 0-5 pool.  Better luck next time.





___helper_monkey on MODO

jitte pronunciation by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 02/26/2008 - 09:53
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daniel, we've had this discussion, and our friend before is more correct on the pronunciation. however, raphael carried a much more traditional "Sai" in both hands. while a jitte is a type of sai, and also a school of sai combat, in no way was one of the ninja turtles using a jitte.

by Tarmotog at Mon, 02/25/2008 - 08:45
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I came with the same conclusion and I put myself in a CSP league almost a wk ago. Let's say u get 2x2=4 packs, you are only 1 pack and 2 tix short of the entry. I would have at least 5 snow lands and they almost make up for a pack already. =)

Soulblast... by hamtastic at Mon, 02/25/2008 - 08:57
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.... was reprinted in Xth which is part of MED leagues (3x MED 2x Xth per league).

mh... by folcojp at Mon, 02/25/2008 - 06:54
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how did a soulblast make it into a MED pool ? 

by MirrorMage at Mon, 02/25/2008 - 06:55
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Raphael of course! (I have all the seasons of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.)

The problem is not how it's supposed to be pronounced, but how it should be pronounced. Attacking someone and screaming "JIT-TY!!!" just don't strike as much fear as screaming "JEIGHT!". The former just sounds like something a three year old girl who's just learning the english language would mutter, the latter is strong, solid, and requires one to use the whole of one's breath in a forceful manner. It encompasses the word, and that is the most important aspect of pronunciation for me. 

 As for one week leagues. I'm torn. On the one hand prize payout is actually much better considering you don't need to add another three packs. Leagues turn out to be a fantastic deal. For a little more than a draft, you can be guaranteed two packs if you join something like Mirage or CSP and even MED (Im only going to wind up getting a single pack for this MED league, but that's because I went 0-5, and not the league itself). But on the other hand, leagues where you wouldn't normally win like Lorwyn lose out. Since the odds of earning packs for a LRW league are much lower, you usually play them for fun- so you'd want them to be four weeks/ I'd be happy with CSP and MIR being pernamently only one week long.

Hamtastic, I tried your GWB build and the results were very promising. It fared much better than my last builds. It still struggles, but the deck is much more synergetic. 

by MirrorMage at Sun, 02/24/2008 - 18:02
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Thank you for catching that LulThm!

Wow, I never thought about Wanderlust before! Now that I think about it, it makes perfect sense. I'm going to go try that card out in tiebreakers for sure.  Luckilly, I still have two days before the league finishes, so there's still time to take your sound advice and go for GWB. Will report on how it goes. Maybe my luck will change for once in this league!

by Slaest at Sun, 02/24/2008 - 21:46
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Nice article .

Of course after reading it and playing a MED league match I am alseep .

Don't worry I blame the match and the fact that I am old enough that I am getting mail from the AARP and not your article .

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Mon, 02/25/2008 - 00:31
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by Tarmotog at Mon, 02/25/2008 - 04:42
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The jitte pronounciation is way off btw. It's a jyu-te , a weapon like the one you see in the ninja turtles (the red one holding two of them.. i just don't remember the names now).

Anyway nice article. It's cool to see old folks smiling at you. Good luck for ur next league. (are you glad it's a wk long only?) 

A card that is always overlooked. by hamtastic at Sun, 02/24/2008 - 09:59
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... Wanderlust.

As you stated, games last forever in MED sealed.  Wanderlust keeps that from happening.  Or, it can become removal if you put it on a guy that you know that you can kill without losing a guy when they attack.

Looking over your pool though, you were pretty hosed for creatures.  The only actual threats were in G/W (flyers are really good here).  You'd still have to run Black to have some removal, but my build with the deck would be G/W/b (using Sylvan Scrying to pull a swamp).

Lastly, I'd run Ashnod's Transmogrant over any of the other marginal cards that you had in the deck like Hydroblast and possibly Juxtapose.  I've never been a fan of that Juxtapose.  The only time it's really good is when your in a much worse position, which probably won't be turned around with this one card.  In fact I've often come out ahead on my opp's juxtapose's.

But the lack of any real 'bombs' certainly doesn't help you here, but I think G/W/b would probably have worked out a bit better as your white creatures are better than your blue ones as far as I can tell... 

by LulThm (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sun, 02/24/2008 - 07:40
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I think you mean Lightning Bolt and not Firebolt