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By: OKCoyote, Daniel Matteson
Apr 13 2008 3:19pm
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A Casual Interlude


So, as I mentioned in my last article, I spent last weekend on a plane, moving to a new house in a new state, and getting settled in for a few days before finally getting my laptop set up with a new wireless router and getting online Tuesday night.  And to my surprise, there was the announcement.  MTGO v2.5 was going dark... the next morning.

"So soon?"

I know they're committed to getting MTGO v3 up and running as soon as possible, but come on.  Only two days' warning?  That threw me for a loop.  I can understand why Wizards wouldn't want to waste time if the product was ready to go, but I was pretty disappointed that I had been away for several days only to come back and discover that I still would have to wait another week to play MTGO again.  With hours left before the old version was shut down, I quickly acquired the last five cards I needed to complete my Fifth Dawn set and sent it in for redemption.  Whee!  Let's see what gets here first, the Fifth Dawn set or v3...

So I could write an article about Momir BASIC this week, but I decided not to since you can't play it this week anyway.  But I did promise I'd have an article this week and so here we are.  I'm going to talk about what I've been doing this week to keep occupied, as well as other ways you can get through this long downtime. 

Infernal Spawn of Coyote


You want to know the greatest thing you can do this week to keep busy?  Something that will not only benefit you but even strengthen the Magic community as a whole?  Teach someone to play Magic.  Yeah, you've heard it all over Magic's own website.  New player numbers are down and they're all about "acquisition" this year.  But it's absolutely true.  Magic's marketing as it is right now only reaches a small group of people.  How many people do you know that might be interested in Magic if only they knew about it and were willing to give it a chance?  If you bring in a new player, that player will in turn buy product and can bring new players himself (or herself), thus strengthening the integrity of the game and helping to ensure its longevity.

I've been teaching Magic to my eight-year-old son Ian.  And he's actually pretty good.  He has the basics down.  He's never played any cards outside of core sets, but he loves the game.  He plays a little paper and a little online (using the Tenth Edition theme decks).  This week I decided to give him another lesson.

Now at this point let me say that my paper collection is currently very small.  Depressingly small, actually, since I sold off my collection the last time I took a break from the game.  I've got a sizable collection online where I spend most of my time but so far that hasn't carried over into paper Magic.  But I wasn't going to let this stop me.  I let my son pick out a couple of theme decks from a local store and we gave them a try.  Ian chose the Gruul Wilding deck from the Guildpact set.  I beat him pretty handily with my Orzhov deck but he still had a fun time playing with new cards and abilities unfamiliar to him.  His favorite colors are green and red for their aggro tendencies, and as such he really enjoyed the bloodthirst mechanic and some of the interactions his cards caused when comboed together.

Let me say this: there is no greater feeling of accomplishment than when a player you've taught enjoys the game and wants to play it again.  There's nothing like it in the world, and in my case, the fact that it's someone close to me makes it that much more special.  I can't wait till our next game.  He's got the Izzet deck picked out next as the replicate mechanic looks interesting to him.  Though we may have to fight over it; blue/red has always been my favorite combination of colors...!

"Other" Premier Events


Well, I'm not going to spend too much time telling you to "go out and play in paper tournaments" when that's a fairly simple and obvious answer.  I will, however, mention a couple of casual tournament settings you may want to explore.  The first is Friday Night Magic.  This weekly event, held at your local card dealer, has a more relaxed rules environment and thus is a great blend of fun and competition, something that both the new and experienced player can enjoy.  Plus each event offers a chance to win some awesome-looking unique foil cards - both for winning the tournaments or even as random door prizes.  I found two such participating locations in my new home city and may give these a try, even if MTGO is back up by Friday.

I would also be remiss if I didn't point out that the Shadowmoor pre-release event is next weekend!  If you want to get your hands on what is shaping up to be a great set, days before anyone else can purchase them, and weeks before they become available online, give this a try!


Random Acts of Wackiness


Want to capture the competitive yet casual and fun allure of Momir BASIC in a paper format?  Well, how far are you willing to go?

All right, well, I'm not willing to go so far as to find a copy of every creature card in Magic, sort them all out by mana cost, and set them up in random piles.  I don't think there are many people who are willing to attempt such an undertaking.  (And if you are, I want to hear from you!)  But one of my favorite advantages of Momir is the ability to play - and win - using a wide variety of cards, including many cards that would ordinarily never see the light of day in any other tournament format.  Here are a couple of casual formats that may capture some of that spirit.

Cube drafting. 

This can be a very expensive casual format if you don't have the cards to make it work.  The Cube is a pre-arranged set of the most powerful cards in Magic, generally using an equal number of cards in each color.  These cards are then handed out as random 15-card "packs" and then drafted as a normal booster draft, giving you a fun play environment with a high power level.  Evan Erwin, creator of The Magic Show, has a great site dedicated to Cube drafting.  You can check it out at cubedrafting.com.  (And let me dissuade anyone who may still think I don't like Evan Erwin or his work.  It's simply not true.  I have a lot of respect for the guy and watch his show every week.  Yes, I had some harsh words for him after his last article here on this site, regarding points I felt he was trying to make about problems with MTGO v2.5.  But it's water under the bridge, and you know what?  2.5 is gone.  No worries.)

Complete set drafting. 

Most of my paper collection these days comes from complete sets that I've been redeeming through MTGO.  If you can't afford the Cube route, give this format a try.  Get a hold of a complete set - whatever you like, though some sets are less expensive and easier to put together - lay it all out on the table, decide randomly on a draft order, and let players draft it out, constructing a limited deck and adding lands later.  (This was recently done on Magic's own website with a full Lorwyn set.)  This is also a great way to "break in" a new set shortly after release, giving everyone a feel for all the cards in it.  Perhaps you'll discover some interactions you hadn't noticed before and apply them to your constructed decks.  Even if you don't, this is sure to be a fun diversion from more competitive formats.

Chaos Magic. 

Here's a method I used to have fun with.  Write down on a piece of paper 20 various global enchantment effects - preferably simple ones that affect all players.  They can be positive effects, such as Crusade or Mana Flare, or negative effects, such as Death Pits of Rath or Root Maze.  Then play a casual game with one or more opponents, and at the start of each turn (or perhaps set of turns, starting with the same player each time) roll a 20-sided die to randomly determine one of the written enchantments to take effect.  The effect can't be countered or destroyed and stays in play until the next time you roll.

Other deck building variants. 

Many casual formats introduced recently to MTGO originated in paper Magic and are still just as playable offline.  Formats such as Singleton (known more commonly offline as Highlander), Prismatic, Tribal Wars, and Elder Dragon Highlander are all formats that challenge you to be a more creative deck builder, as they place a restriction on the method used to build your deck.  Or how about restricting what kinds of cards you can use?  I've built artist decks before, where all the cards besides basic lands are illustrated by the same artist.  You can also try alphabet decks where all the cards start with the same letter.  The most common subset, of course, is rarity, represented best in PDC (Pauper Deck Constructed), the all-common format.  This is a great competitive format and inexpensive to assemble.  PDC Magic is well covered in articles on this site, I've had a blast playing it in the past, and you can check out the primary website at PDCMagic.com.   

All right folks, that'll do it for this week's article.  As always, comments are appreciated below.  I can also be found online at OKCoyote, though obviously that won't be possible until the day v3 comes up (think good thoughts).  I'll see you again next week, by which time we'll hopefully all be together again on the wonderful world of MTGO v3, and I'll have something to say about Momir.  Thanks for reading!


P.S.  Now if only I can get my other child playing Magic.  I guess I still have some time to work on her.  See below.


Yes, it's overpowered.  That's because she's awesome.




by OKCoyote at Mon, 04/14/2008 - 00:16
OKCoyote's picture

Not sure why this was put up, and then hidden, but it's up again.


momir in paper by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sun, 04/13/2008 - 16:11
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

well that is amazingly tough to do to get all the creatures in mtg paper...but i will challenge anyone out there to a game a standard Momir..lol thats still enough creaturres to have a blast i think...heck i might be able to pull off post rotation extended.