Everybody Wants to Rule the Worlds

I have not written on this blog for quite a while, but I feel compelled to respond after today’s discussion of a new card spoiled for the Commander Set got out of hand. I initially started this blog to be aimed at both newer and more casual players. That is still my intent and I feel that this issue relates directly to this crowd. I might be wrong, but I believe my intentions are in the right place. Now that I am home from work, I am going to try to collect my thoughts. Since Twitter unfortunately leads to difficulties due to character length and how quickly responses are often sent I wanted to try and clarify my opinion on this matter. First of all here is the card in question: Opal Palace.

It’s a land that can be filtered for all colors (a la Shimmering Grotto), and also has an added bonus of adding +1/+1 counters to your Commander based on how many times your commander has been played. I actually love the idea of having things that care about how many times your commander has been played (especially the new Grixis General that has been spoiled). However, here is where my concern is (and it does start with an assumption that might be wrong, but it’s interesting for a discussion either way).

If Opal is replacing Command Tower, I think this is bad (especially for new players). It comes down to utility in my opinion, and what is better for newer players to both have access to and how things affect game play. People have pointed out generals this the +1/+1 counters are especially good for (Prime Speaker Zegana, Ghave, Guru of Spores, Ulasht, the Hate Seed, Isamaru, Hound of Konda). I countered with commanders I don’t believe it is useful for (Angus Mackenzie, Zo-Zu the Punisher, Obzedat, Ghost Council, Thada Adel, Acquisitor). This leaves a lot of legendary creatures on both sides, but where I’d like to focus is on commanders that are trying to win through 21 point of general damage or through attacking in general. In general, unless the number of additional counters you are getting from Opal Palace is very high, the number of hits you need to General Kill someone does not change much (one notable exception is Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon). I think the value of the +1/+1 counters you get are not as game changing as others (and that is just an opinion obviously).

Now I want to talk about Command Tower. When I first started playing EDH/Commander the first thing that was hard for me was building my mana bases for multicolored decks. I had a pretty decent collection that spanned a long part of magic history. Most of the lands that I wanted were either already expensive (Shock Lands or Dual Lands) or had tons of restrictions (came into play tapped, dealt damage to me when I used them, etc). I quickly learned though that I needed a fair amount of these lands to consistently play my spells. Command Tower, does something that very few cards do (especially for multicolor decks). It comes into play untapped with no drawback and taps for all the colors you can use for the game. Since you want to have so many lands that can tap for multiple colors Tower is much more valuable than a lot of other options. And guess what? It came with every one of the new decks designed for either casual players or players getting into Commander. It might be true that taking out any one multi-colored land is not going to make or break a deck, Command Tower is one of the best available to new players. It did not require knowing years of magic history or access to tons of old cards. To me this card was one of the biggest hits of the Commander Product. This is not some selfish me wanting command towers (I have enough, can make profit trading to new players). It’s what I think should be readily available to new players even if it devalues some of my cards. As an aside this card is currently around 5 bucks.

I don’t think that Opal Palace is a bad card. I am just not convinced that it is better for the majority of decks and new players than Command Tower and hope that I am wrong in my assumption that the inclusion of this new interesting land is pushing out the old reliable one. This is all my opinion, but I was not able to state it clearly in 140 characters and I would love to hear what people think.

I want to thank all the readers who have been coming to check this out. I can be reached on the comments here and @HobbesQ on twitter! I appreciate any and all feedback.

Back in Black

Wow, I really cannot believe that I haven’t written an article since August 15th of last year! I have been going through a bunch of transitions and am getting ready for one more when I will be moving to Minneapolis for an internship!! So I will be looking for Minneapolis area players to play with!!

Also as a piece of housekeeping and as a follow-up to my last post about using online trading for my Scooby Doo EDH deck I wanted to plug Puca Trade, a trading website that has been gaining a strong following (@PucaTrade on twitter). The idea is a peer to peer trading site that uses point systems for sending and receiving cards. Please check out their IndieGoGo project to learn how the site works and donate if you can. They are really close to securing funding to improve the site. I have been using it for months now and have gotten everything from commons/uncommons for casual decks to shock lands for standard.

Today I want to talk about a variation on my favorite format: EDH/Commander (for an overview of the format check here). I am very fortunate to have a regular EDH playgroup that plays together multiple times a week. Lately however, both within this playgroup and the EDH community at large I have been seeing the format become kind of stale. It’s natural that overtime any format (including casual ones) can become like this. People start seeing cards that work well, incorporate them into their decks, and pretty soon we are looking at the same staple cards being played in any and all decks. There have been some interesting discussions about this on Twitter recently, about how to keep the game fresh, how to encourage creativity in deckbuilding, and how to make sure EDH doesn’t die.

The variant I want to discuss today is Pauper EDH. I have known of people building pauper decks for a long time, but it wasn’t until @Torerotutor told me that his LGS had started playing this more that I considered talking to my playgroup about trying it out. While many people have already come up with their own rules, banned list, etc. for this format, I want to talk specifically about how my playgroup went about evolving our variant.

1. A Non-Legendary Rare creature for the Commander: For the purpose of our playgroup we wanted players to be able to build around some of the rare creatures that they loved. We liked the idea of your Commander still being rare in order to make it stand apart from the rest of the cards in the deck. We didn’t want to allow Mythics as the power-level of these would lead to a lot more up front bannings and we wanted the format to be as wide open as possible to start.

2. Commons/Uncommons only with a price cap per card of 5 dollars: So Pauper normally refers to decks with commons only, but we’re expanding the definition a little. We wanted people to explore the card pool magic had to offer and use cards that they might not otherwise use. We didn’t want this to be a format of Sol Ring, Sensei’s Divining Top, Aether Vial, Mana Crypt, Mana Drain, etc. Some of these are obviously really extreme examples, but we wanted to have a guideline to go on. We have been primarily using TCG mid-prices of NM cards and we allow some flexibility due to price fluctuations and also to some cards being artificially inflated due to availability (for example we wanted white to have access to spot removal and so we allow Path to Exile).

3. 40 life/21 General Damage: A lot of groups that I have seen playing this format are lowering life totals and amount of general damage that is needed. This can speed up games for sure, but this wasn’t necessarily one of our main goals. Since we are not pre-banning a lot of cards we also wanted to experiment with having normal life totals and if games did drag on forever we would revisit this.

4. Organic Ban List and Watch List: We didn’t want to start out by banning a ton of stuff. We wanted this format to develop organically within our playgroup and to be as wide open as possible. At the same time we did recognize some cards that would be below our price cap while still being problematic. The only common/uncommon that has been banned at this point is Skullclamp, but we have a lot of cards on our Watch List (for example Lightning Greaves, Swiftfoot Boots, and Whispersilk Cloak). The main philosophy behind this is that we wanted the group to play a lot of games first and make decisions about cards based on problems that were consistently coming up. The biggest issue with creating a ban list is that it is so meta dependent and also can get clouded by what individual players dislike.

5. Banned Generals: We did decide to ban some generals up front that we felt would be too easily abused.

a. Serra Ascendant (I don’t know what to say here but duh)
b. Felidar Sovereign (follows same rationale as above) *edit: thanks to @RogueArtificer for pointing out this card is mythic, our original rules allowed mythics 🙂
c. Deadeye Navigator (this was a card that was already causing a lot of frustration in our other EDH games)
d. Magister Sphinx (the effect can be already overly powerful when you have a lot of ways to deal with this card)
e. Elvish Archdruid (Pauper’s version of Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary)

The main message I want to convey about this format is that we really wanted it to be what EDH/Commander was originally designed to be: A flexible rules approach to a casual format that really should be developed naturally within a given playgroup. Too often I hear players complain about how they don’t agree with the Official Ban List, or certain strategies that are allowed. When I suggest that they can change this, do whatever the hell they want, they look at me strangely. I understand the utility of having a ban list that is universal (if I want to play online, or play with new people I don’t know), but deep down I believe that this format should be open and should be changing all the time.

Okay enough blabbering, here’s one of the decks I’ve been playing lately, to give you an idea of what is in our playgroup.

Hellrider Pauper

General (1)
Hellrider

Creatures (33)
Akki Coalflinger
Anarchist
Caterwauling Boggart
Flametongue Kavu
Gempalm Incinerator
Goblin Artillery
Goblin Bushwhacker
Goblin Chirurgeon
Goblin Fireslinger
Goblin Matron
Goblin Recruiter
Goblin Ringleader
Goblin Sledder
Goblin Warchief
Goblin Wardriver
Guttersnipe
Kruin Striker
Kuldotha Ringleader
Mindclaw Shaman
Mogg Fanatic
Mogg War Marshal
Pilgrim's Eye
Prodigal Pyromancer
Rabble-Rouser
Raging Goblin
Rummaging Goblin
Signal Pest
Skirk Commando
Skirk Prospector
Skirsdag Cultist
Spitfire Handler
Stingscourger
Vulshok Sorcerer

Instants (8)
Brimstone Volley
Dogpile
Grab the Reins
Last-Ditch Effort
Massive Raid
Shattering Pulse
Staggershock
Street Spasm

Sorceries (16)
Act of Treason
Arc Lightning
Browbeat
Empty the Warrens
Faithless Looting
Goblin Grenade
Goblin Rally
Kaervek's Torch
Lava Burst
Mark of Mutiny
Mob Justice
Pillage
Shattering Spree
Slice and Dice
Threaten
Unwilling Recruit

Enchantments (2)
Goblin Shrine
Pyrohemia

Artifacts (6)
Crystal Ball
Darksteel Ingot
Mind Stone
Pristine Talisman
Shrine of Burning Rage
Talon of Pain
Lands (34)
Evolving Wilds
Ghost Quarter
Haunted Fengraf
28 Mountain
Tectonic Edge
Teetering Peaks
Terramorphic Expanse

Finally I would just like to say that since I have started playing this format, I have rediscovered some of my zest for EDH/Commander that was lacking. I still get in games with all my Pimped Out More Competitive Decks, but I find myself wanting to play pauper most of the time. It’s cheaper to throw a deck together, which allows me to just build out of whatever I have around, and allows me to make changes easier without feeling like I have to get expensive cards. I already have 3 decks built, of varying levels of power and all I want to do is make more!

I want to thank all the readers who have been coming to check this out. I can be reached on the comments here and @HobbesQ on twitter! I appreciate any and all feedback.

Where Are You?

Ok so this week we have a very special deck tech. It all started from a pretty silly gchat with @swordstoplow from twitter:

 

@swordstoplow: Probably going with the triplets

me: the sen kind?

@swordstoplay: Yup, the sen

me: I was hoping maybe you meant meddling kids

@swordstoplow: Lol

me: Scooby Doo deck

 

Sean was talking about building an EDH version of a deck archetype known as Eggs. However, I made the conversation take a turn for the better when I made a Scooby Doo joke and mentioned an Unhinged Card… That’s right a card from the joke expansion Unhinged (which came after the wildly popular Unglued expansion). In case you don’t know I am someone who likes to build EDH decks around a theme. I have Angus Mackenzie Enchantress since he IS Tim the Enchanter from Holy Grail, I’ve built Mono Blue around all morph creatures. Scooby Doo has always been one of my favorite childhood shows and the idea of building an EDH deck to encompass the show’s themes was enticing.

So I took to Twitter! I wanted to get as many people involved as possible. I set up a google document and let people start editing, and sharing thematic ideas or specific cards. What we have so far is presented here:

Scooby Doo EDH

General (1)
Meddling Kids

Creatures (42)
Meddling Mage
Azami, lady of Scrolls
Jushi Apprentice
Ith, High Arcanist
Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
Rayne, Academy Chancellor
Mangara of Corondor
Geistcatcher’s Rig
Ghost Ship
Pirate Ship
Old Man of the Sea
Aether Figment
Dream Stalker
Fathom Seer
Fleeting Image
Illusionary Forces
Imaginary Pet
Mistform Stalker
Lord of the Unreal
Phantasmal Bear
Phantasmal Image
Phantasmal Forces
Phantasmal Dragon
Phantom Beast
Phantom Monster
Phantom Warrior
Death-Mask Duplicant
Solemn Simulacrum
Duplicant
Sakashima The Impostor
Vesuvan Shapeshifter
Proteus Machine
Willbender
Voidmage Apprentice
Voidmage Prodigy
Coral Trickster
Disruptive Pitmage
Echo Tracer
Wall of Deceit
Weaver of Lies
Undead Slayer
Chronomaton

Instants (13)
Arrow Volley Trap
Cackling Counterpart
Cryptic Command
Ghostway
Ghostly Flicker
Lost in the Mist
Meddle
Mysteries of the Deep
Mystical Tutor
Pitfall Trap
Refraction Trap
Sway of Illusion
Whiplash Trap

Sorceries (2)
Switcheroo
Treasure Hunt

Enchantments (7)
Coastal Piracy
Cowardice
Entangling Trap
Ghostly Prison
Hatching Plans
Imperial Mask
Ivory Mask

Artifacts (12)
Blazing Torch
Bone Mask
Booby Trap
Executioner’s Hood
Farsight Mask
Ice Cauldron
Jester’s Mask
Mana Crypt
Mana Vault
Mask of Memory
Pit Trap
Uba Mask
Lands (16)
Abandoned Outpost
Adarkar Wastes
Ancient Tomb
Ghost Quarter
Ghost Town
Hallowed Fountain
Haunted Fengraf
Lotus Vale
Maze of Ith
Moorland Haunt
Mystic Gate
Mystifying Maze
Nimbus Maze
R&D’s Secret Lair
Ruins of Trokair
Sorrow’s Path

Based on people’s suggestions we decided to go with more morphs and illusions instead of actual ghosts. We also included some artifact creatures to represent the robots that were seen in the opening credits and throughout the show. Some other elements that we have are masks, traps, spells about misdirection, reveals, etc. The goal is that the deck will play out like a mystery with Legendary Creatures to represent our Heroes (and of course our Mystery Machine aka Geistcatcher’s Rig).  Here is a sampling of what we have so far:

Meddling Kids/Meddling Mage: The kids will be our general (I am assuming my playgroup will let me play it, we’re a pretty casual group). I included the meddling mage in here too just to keep on theme and he’s also a wizard (you might see that I am working towards a wizard sub-theme to help with some of the abilities on our legendary creatures).

Azami, lady of Scrolls: This is our Velma. She’s smart, she’s knowledgeable and most likely is going to be the one to solve mysteries by collecting the clue. Her card drawing ability is a great representation of this.

Jushi Apprentice: So this is Fred currently.  This card is mainly chosen for what it becomes when it flips: Tomoya, the Revealer. Usually Fred would create the traps and be the one to reveal what is going on.

Ith, High arcanist: This is Shaggy since are not in Red (cuz then it would obviously be Norin, the Wary). Basically Ith tries to keep scary things away, without getting involved himself. He may not be a total coward like we think Shaggy is, but he plays his part.

Kira, Great Glass-Spinner: Scooby himself! Kira wants all of her friends to be left alone, and she wants to protect them (with a false front of acting tough). Scooby sadly is one of the ones I think we all struggled with and is one I’d love to hear more suggestions on.

Rayne, Academy Chancellor: Our Daphne, our damsel in distress. She’s the girl who finds a way to get into trouble, to get into danger. Rayne helps the team out by drawing cards when she or other people in the gang are in trouble.

Mangara of Corondor: Late addition Scrappy Doo. I wanted something that was small but gets the job done. Initially I had Isamaru, Hound of Konda but decided that another wizard was needed and could help with our sub-theme.

This deck is a work in progress, and I am presenting it here in my article, because I want to get more people involved! That’s right readers: I want your help! I need your help! I want us to work on bringing this together as a whole deck. The plan is that I will organize everyone’s suggestions, and then set to building the deck (which is going to take a lot of trading and most likely some trading online). This will let me talk more about trading online and some of the differences that are involved between this and trading in real life.

(EDIT): Here’s the googledoc link. If you send me your email I can add you as an editor to add suggestions. @browndr has been doing this and contributed greatly to this initial list!

I want to thank all the readers who have been coming to check this out. I can be reached on the comments here and @HobbesQ on twitter! I appreciate any and all feedback.

P.S. At Comic-Con this year Mark Rosewater (@maro254) mentioned that a third UN set would be possible if the people wanted it. So let him know that you do!

The Luckiest

I want to apologize for the gap in my articles. I am currently a graduate student in a clinical psychology program and summer is our transition period. I help run a clinic and we have been working on getting the new therapists trained. Things are settling down and I should be back on track now!

Last time we met I gave you guys my Part 1 of my Comic-Con Experience. This week I’d like to pick up where we left off. I had spent my day getting art done by @inkwell_looter and @postrk. I’d finally traded for a foil Voidmage Husher for my Nicol Bolas EDH deck. Things were going good. But then I was put to the test with a tough decision: Play in the 2HG event (which my friend and I won last year) or go to the Magic Panel (which I had missed the year before).

In order to clear my mind and decide I headed over to the open gaming room to play some EDH. Right as I sit down in walks Aaron Forsythe (who I had the pleasure of playing against the year before at con). He sits down at a table up front and starts gunslinging (you play him one v one, if you win you get a pack. If you lose I think he taunts you and does a little dance). With my pride on the line, I queued up to play him and then proceeded to feel like a total jerk when I dropped Turn 3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Turn 4 Tamiyo, the Moon Sage. Aaron had an awesome Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder deck which abused the hell out of Blasting Station. I was able to get Jace up to ultimate though and won a pack of M13 with Quirion Dryad on it (which Aaron was awesome enough to sign).

We decided to go to the Magic Panel (we had played Scott Larabee the night before at EDH and I was interested to see him in action up on the panel). Now for those of you who have not been to Comic-Con or have not been in the last couple of years, the lines have gotten insane. Last year over 200 people showed up for the Magic Panel who were not even able to get in. They moved to a bigger room this year, but we were apprehensive so headed over to the room 2 hours early… and saw a line already! We got in quickly and snagged seats up near the front but had to sit through two other panels in order to save this spot. I spent most of these early panels sitting along a wall with my phone plugged into a charger so that I could make sure I could take photos and upload any spoilers. While waiting for my phone to charge I saw that I had a Direct Message on Twitter from @wizards_magic. My heart skipped a beat because I had no clue why I would be getting a message from the and right before the panel was set to start.

 “Hey! We are having a free invite-only M13 sealed event at the Marriott at 8pm tonight, and I’m inviting some of our Twitter followers. Members of R&D will be there as well as other Wizards employees and other players from the community. Let me know if you’d like to come! You are free to invite a few friends as well.”

WHAT??? I mean really? HOLY CRAP! (We’ll come back to this later)

Finally the Magic Panel started! Awesome people from Wizards walked around giving us all Nicol Bolas Head Pieces and a pack of M13 (which had just been released that day). The energy in the room was so high, everyone was smiling, I felt like a kid again. I was yelling out at the panel (at one point when they showed art for Return to Ravnica I remember yelling out “I saw SLIVERS!”). The people in front of me kept turning around and laughing with me… at least I hope it was with me and not at me since it turned out to be @natasha_lh. The panel was hard to focus on since I was trying to take a photo of any potential spoiler and upload it to Twitter immediately along with commentary by Mark Rosewater, Aaron Forsythe, Scott Larabee, Mat Cavotta (so awesome to have an artist on the panel), and Mark Purvis. It’s actually very funny to me that Mark Rosewater wrote his article on fame after Comic-Con because anytime I saw him I could see people becoming nervous and wanting to approach him but being scared (I had been this way the night before). In case you didn’t get to see the panel you can go watch it here (I think I can be seen around the 13:10 minute mark trying to get in line to ask a question. I’m the short dude in a dark blue shirt…)

After the Panel, we rushed over the open gaming area in order to find out more about this Free event with Magic celebs. It felt so awesome to be invited to this and when I showed up I saw tons of other people I had either already met or had been wanting to meet from Twitter and from their blogs. Artists were there (both ones who had done magic cards and the awesome @inkwell_looter who I’ve mentioned over and over), writers were there from Channel Fireball,twitter people like @metaknightmare (who is one awesome dude, had a chance to hang out with him a lot) and @sunie_fdc (who had done the community cup before), Rosewater, Forsythe, Purvis, Cavotta and then me and my friends.

Mike Gills was in charge of running this event and was a great host! He walked around, handing us all 6 packs of M13 (this was awesome since it was Release Day and I was missing my normal event at my LGS) to build a sealed deck with. Basically you built your deck, then you played anyone else who was invited to the event. If this all sounds like some kind of #humblebrag I’m just going to warn you that it gets even better…

This event was easily my highlight of the Con. It’s actually easily the highlight of any Con I have ever been to. Here I was playing Magic along with the creators, the promoters, the runners of the game. Here I was side by side with other fans, other Twitter/blogger personalities and getting to actually play magic instead of just talk about it all day every day. I built a pretty mediocre white/black deck with Ajani, Caller of the Pride and Odric, Master Tactician as my bombs. I think I went like .500 with the deck but the matches were all amazing and fun. We sat there playing for hours (halfway through Mike brought us 6 more packs and we were able to change our deck, which I did). Mat Cavotta had to leave and handed me his cards (later I would find a Sublime Archangel in there!). I also got to play Aaron Forsythe again (and win)!

So the final thing I want to talk about here is honestly the top moment of my whole Con Experience. Toward the end of the night, I finally got the chance to play @inkwell_looter which I had wanted to do since round 1. He’d made my tokens during the day, I interact with him fairly regularly on Twitter, and he had such a great personality. Right as we sit down Mike Gills comes over and says, “Ok this match is going to be for a Foil Uncut Sheet of M13 Uncommons”. I sat there mouth agape as I saw Rancor, and Rewind, and Tormod’s Crypt… and I had to win. Unfortunately things did not look good for me as I mull to 5 game 1 and get resoundly stomped. Game 2 was the opposite with Inkwell having to mull but he almost stabilized the board with some great early plays. I finally was able to get to Odric and swing for exactsies! Game three was fairly anticlimactic as I landed some early fliers and went on to win this!

This brought me to the end of my one day that I was guaranteed to be at the Con. Final stats: 19 hours at the Convention Center, close to 50 games of magic played, 22 packs of M13, a foil uncut uncommon sheet, artwork and tokens by some amazing people, and wow…

I want to thank all the readers who have been coming to check this out. I can be reached on the comments here and @HobbesQ on twitter! I appreciate any and all feedback.

­­­

P.S. I was able to come on Sunday and traded my Uncut sheet for a Judge Promo Command Tower and Judge Promo Dark Confidant. The sheet is amazing, but sadly I had nowhere to hang/display it at this point!

White and Nerdy

I want to give a quick word of thanks for @JustActTypical on Twitter who has made it possible for me to experience Comic-Con the last 3 years.

As many of you know this past week was San Diego Comic-Con. I’ve been very fortunate to get to go the past three years to at least one day of the actual Con. The past two years a lot of my time has been spent playing magic in the open gaming room and going to panels on some of my favorite TV shows. The past couple of years, Wizards and Magic in general have not had a huge presence at the Con. There is always an open gaming area, and last year there was a panel. They often have a booth to demo Duels of the Planeswalkers, and sometimes a member of R&D will come gunsling (bring a deck and play against all-comers) in the gaming area for a while. Today I present Part 1 of my Con Experience!

This year Wizards really stepped up their presence and their availability. They created an off-site MTG Experience that anyone could go to (and get a sweet Euro land, or a foily Merfolk Mesmerist).  This was really beneficial because I only had a Con badge for one Day this year. I had actually arranged to come play a game of EDH/Commander with Scott Larabee from Organized Play on Thursday night (we’ve been playing regularly on MTGO but I had not met him in person).

I checked in on Facebook, got my Euro land and then proceeded to ask where I could find him. I was told to just knock on this back door and he would be in there. What I didn’t know is that the door would be answered by Mark Rosewater (@Maro254 himself)… I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t often meet people whose work I read regularly or helped design something like half the cards I play with. I felt awkward and out of place immediately so I did the only thing I could think to do: Ask for him to pose for this photo with me and Scott Larabee next to a giant Jace statue. After I was done freaking out I was able to get in a game of EDH with Scott and his awesome Damia, Sage of Stone BUG Zombie Tribal Deck (I think the Green was just for Glissa, The Traitor and Vulturous Zombie). I played my Nicol Bolas EDH (which I will be showing off on here someday), and two friends joined us playing Maelstrom Wanderer and Ghave, Guru of Spores. The game was pretty epic with Ghave controlling the board while Maelstrom Wanderer sat back and waited turn after turn to find a green source. Once he finally dropped a forest into play, it was pretty much game over for the rest of us (cascade is broken just in case you didn’t know). It was an awesome time getting to see all the cool FBB (Foreign Black Bordered) duals and shiny foils in Scott’s deck and showing off some of the ones in mine! I really enjoyed that there was somewhere to play a few games of Magic and by sweet Magic products like a Planeswalker Symbol Messenger Bag that was off-site. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for San Diego residents to get to experience the Con, so this helped bring a little part of it to the public.

Friday morning I arrived to the Con with Dallas (@JustActTypical) around 5am in order to stand in line to get badges. What do you do when you have to be somewhere 3 hours early and sit in a line? Play more EDH obviously (noticing a trend?).  In past years we have gotten in line this early in order to sit in one room all day long (the big TV show/Movie panels) but this year I wanted to try and meet some of the awesome artists that I know from Twitter and get some work done on my Spellground Playmat.­­ Rk Post (@postrk , artist of such cards as the Avatars, Morphling, Torchling, Arbor Elf, Tidehollow Sculler, Owen Turtenwald penis tokens…) often complains on Twitter how no one ever brings him coffee at events. So armed with a Venti Mocha from Starbux I marched up to him with my Playmat in hand. His first remark to me was “You’re shorter than I thought you’d be.” Rk is an awesome guy with a great personality, and a wry sense of humor. I found him to be so approachable and willing to play along with jokes.

Case in point (this next paragraph is not PG-rated): Another artist at the con @inkwell_looter has been doing tokens of Pro Players for Channel Fireball. Rk Post has been altering tokens of Owen Turtenwald to have a giant penis. I of course wanted to get one of these (because I am like a 12 year old some days). Rk came up with the idea to alter the token as Demon Turtenwald and then have me take it over to Inkwell’s booth and have him add on to the perverted drawing (if you’re brave it can be viewed here). Going back and forth between the booths of two artist’s I really enjoy getting penis drawings was one of the best memories I have from Con. I also purchased a more normal Zombie Token and Zombie Goat Token from Inkwell, who was cranking out amazing full color individualized tokens all weekend (I saw numerous other people with them).

I have never really gotten to interact with artists and people in the Exhibit Hall before. In past years I either avoided the Hall due to crowds, or I walked the floor for a few hours, looking at stuff but not stopping to meet/talk to people. Twitter has opened up relationships with so many people online, that felt great to interact with some of these people in person (crazy concept I know). Both Rk and Inkwell were awesome and I would get a chance to interact with Inkwell in a Magic Setting later on Friday Night (coming in Part II). I can’t believe I have already reached 1000 words (typical length of my posts) and we are only to lunch time. Join me next time when I talk about the Magic Panel and the Special Sealed Event I was fortunate enough to play in.

I want to thank all the readers who have been coming to check this out. I can be reached on the comments here and @HobbesQ on twitter! I appreciate any and all feedback.

Hide and Seek

I was going to discuss my pre-release today, but the site for creating decks that look good on the web-page does not have M13 up yet, so I will share my experience with M13 sealed at a later date.

Luckily I had a Budget Modern deck that I have been playing on MTGO that I thought might be of interest to you readers! Without further ado, I present the deck-list for the Deck I like to call Hide and Seek.

Hide and Seek

Main Deck (60)
Lightning Helix
Genesis Chamber
Howling Mine
Ajani’s Pridemate
Soul’s Attendant
Norin the Wary
Ghostly Prison
Suture Priest
Soul Warden
Lodestone Myr
Lightning Bolt
10 Plains
10 Mountain
Sideboard (15)
Dawn Charm
Pyroclasm
Disenchant
Kami of False Hope
Avacynian Priest
Condemn

This deck is basically a Modern version of what is called “Soul Sisters.” Basically it’s a RW life gain deck that revolves around playing  Soul Warden, Soul’s Attendant, and/or Suture Priest and then gaining a ton of life and powering up things like Ajani’s Pridemate. I kind of think of this as a deck to just have fun with. It’s silly, it gains a ton of life, and it can usually find a way to win.  I put this deck together for ~6 tickets, so it truly is budget (I’ll discuss how I would improve it later on).

This build is really centered around one of my favorite cards in the game: Norin the Wary. He’s basically Sir Robin (the Not Quite So Brave as Sir Lancelot) who runs away… a lot. The first time I saw this card, I knew I wanted to find a deck that it played in. This list is actually an update to the multiplayer build I used to run (except it had win cons such as Mob Justice, which is not Modern Legal). The deck wants to abuse Norin in two main ways: Constant Life Gain, and Token Generating.

Key Cards:

Norin the Wary: Duh

Soul Warden, Soul’s Attendant, and Suture Priest: This is your life gain engine. The best addition to this deck from my initial build is actually Suture Priest since she punishes your opponent’s for playing creatures and rewards you for playing yours. Priest can actually win games outright

Genesis Chamber: Pairs with Norin. Everytime he enters the battlefield he brings a little 1/1 friend with him, and each of these creatures trigger your Soul Sister’s. More importantly those little 1/1s that your opponent gets will cause them to lose extra life from Priest

Ajani’s Pridemate: This is the biggest threat in your deck

Ghostly Prison: This deck wants to make it hard for people to attack you so that you can sit back and have an insane life total.

Some tips to remember:

  1. Norin the Wary is legendary. You cannot have two of them in play at the same time. I’ve forgotten this before especially because I am like oh well if I play a 2nd one then the 1st one leaves play… and then it comes back at EOT and legend bombs itself
  2. If you have Lodestone Myr and Howling Mine out, you can tap the Howling Mine during your opponent’s upkeep.
  3. Use your removal wisely, don’t just kill anything that hits the board. This is a lifegain deck, so you can take a fair amount of attacks. Early game threats are often good to get rid of so that you can stabilize

I have mainly been playing this deck in the Just for Fun room on MTGO. It’s a casual deck and is going to have a hard time against most Tier 1 decks (even though I have taken it into the tourney practice room and had some awesome games with it, it really makes people say WTF?). It does fairly well in the casual games, and I could even see playing it in multiplayer games (this was how I played it initially). If I wasn’t going to play it as a Modern deck I would add Last-Ditch Effort and Mob Justice back in (they are hilarious win cons).

If I wanted to add some more money to the deck (or was building it in paper where I could trade for the cards) I would add the following: 4 Path to Exile, 4 Sacred Foundry, 4 Clifftop Retreat, 4 Serra Ascendant, 2 Ensnaring Bridge, 2 Felidar Sovereign. I often cannot deal with large creatures (duh) and so path to exile would be an auto-include. The Ascendant’s and the Felidar’s take advantage of the life gain (and it is very easy to meet the thresholds needed to activate them). Finally, Ensnaring Bridge is really good at grinding out long games. You are able to sit behind it and make them either deal with it, or not attack you (since this deck wants to overcommit). It has always been a standout in my paper version, but they were too expensive for an initial budget build.

The purpose of today was to give people a cheap, easy to build budget deck that can sneak a lot of wins and is pretty hilarious in my opinion. I used mainly CardNexus bots and MTGOtraders bots to get the cards from the deck and recommend both of those. You can even visit their websites (www.thecardnexus.com, www.mtgotraders.com)  to purchase the cards and then pick them up online!

I want to thank all the readers who have been coming to check this out. I have been pretty shocked by the amount of traffic I have gotten, and I want you all to know how much I appreciate it. I want this blog to be for everyone and to really help cut down on the intimidation factor that can come with joining the magic community. I can be reached on the comments here and @HobbesQ on twitter! I appreciate any and all feedback.

p.s Thanks to @EdGuise88 for his help with how to use HTML tags for the deck! Also congrats to @metaknightmare who won the Iphone Case from last article’s giveaway! I will do more in the future when I get something cool to offer

Shoehorn with Teeth

This coming week in the US we have a lot to celebrate: Our Independence, fireworks, BBQs, drinking… and most importantly the prerelease of a new Core Set M13!!

Since 2010 Wizards has been giving us a Core Set every year. In the past Core Sets came out every two years and were solely made up of reprints. No new cards at all. This was great when you got Birds of Paradise and Wrath of God, but sucked when you had to see another reprint of Disrupting Scepter. Starting in 2010 the Core sets were now comprised of reprints, functional reprints, and BRAND NEW BROKEN CARDS (Primeval Titan, Baneslayer Angel, etc).

Prereleases are a great way to play with a new set and start picking up cards for trades to all those standard players at your store. Prereleases are generally Sealed Deck (some places also will run Two Headed Giants which is a team Sealed Format). In Sealed Deck you get 6 packs in which to build decks. The site provides all the basic lands you need, and your deck needs to be a minimum of 40 cards (and honestly you should stick as close to 40 as you can). We’ll get to actual deck construction in a bit, but first I want to tell you what you can expect at your first event.

The first prerelease I ever attended was for Time Spiral. It was a regional prerelease in San Diego and was the largest magic event I’d ever been to. I had never played a sealed event before, and for this set I didn’t know anything about spoilers. I sat down with my 6 packs, and opened the first one, pausing to read every card. I looked through the commons, the uncommons, and the rare (I still remember opening and playing Ith, High Arcanist). But then something strange happened. There was another card past the rare, with some weird purple rarity symbol and an old Magic Border… in this case it was Merieke Ri Berit (originally printed in Ice Age it turns out). I get to steal a creature? And if I can untap this card somehow I can destroy that creature and take another one?? What the hell is going on here Wizards? One of the reasons I remember this so clearly is because Merieke was my kind of card. I loved the color combination and in fact would go on to make Merieke my first ever Commander/EDH deck. So there I was with an Ith, High Arcanist and a Merieke, and a ton of other random cards and I was expected to make a deck? This to me is the beauty of a prerelease as a casual player. I don’t have to worry about competing against decks with 100s or 1000s dollars’ worth of cards. My skill can got a lot further (as limited as that is too).

Almost every prerelease I have attended since has been at my LGS. In fact in the last few years Wizards has made the move to have prerelease and release events be run by stores. This is a great way to get you more involved with your local community and also try out different stores to decide where you want to play. The first thing you need to do if find out when sets are coming out and call ahead to the store you want to play at. Most take signups and these events can fill up quickly! The same basic rules apply for attending a prerelease as going to your first FNM. Make sure to call ahead and sign up, bring sleeves, playmats, life counters, dice, etc.

The final step for going to your first prerelease is making a decision about spoilers! Wizards and other sites slowly put out spoilers for the new set in order to get players interested. Usually by the day before a prerelease you can look at the whole set. This means that you have a few options. You can look at nothing at all. Come to the set blind and get to see the cards fresh when you open your packs. This in some ways is the most exciting way to do it, but is going to lead you the least prepared for deck building. The second option is to follow the official spoilers on Wizards site, get an idea of the set, but still leave yourself with some mystery. The final option is to print out a spoiler list, study the hell out of it, and know what every single card in the set does. I’ve done varying degrees of all of these. Now that I often want to try and win more packs to crack open I usually at least go through the complete set once or twice and try to get an idea of what cards might go well together, and what are some common/uncommon cards I might have played against me.

When it comes to your actual deck construction the first step is to simply rip open all 6 packs and ohhhhh and ahhhhhh and get excited about your rares so that everyone around you know you opened the Hotness… ok that’s what I do, but sometimes it might give away info to future opponents. After you’ve opened the packs, separate all your cards by color. For sealed you most likely are going to be in 2 colors at least. Your goal should be to see if you can make something strong with 2 colors so you don’t have to freak out about missing your land drops. Most sets will allow you to splash for a third color, but if you do it should only be for a few cards. Once you have your color piles you look to see what you have in each color. You might really love playing blue, but if you only have 6 blue cards and 3 of these are unplayable you don’t want to play blue. When I first look through my piles I am looking at a 3 things: Bomb rares, Evasion and Removal! Most sealed formats are going to be creature heavy and won by combat. So if you can get rid of creatures, or stop creatures from attacking you, you are in a good spot. Also if you can make your creatures hard to block (flying for example) you can sneak a ton of damage in.

When you are looking through your cards you want to aim for ~23 playables and ~17 land. This formula is a pretty safe one especially for your first event. We’ll talk in future articles about more advanced deck building, but this article is just aimed at helping you build a deck that can win a few games and let you play with new cards! Prereleases, even more so than FNM tend to have a lot of new players, and casual players who don’t normally play in competitive events. Everyone likes opening new sets, so tons of people come out of the woodworks for these events. Have fun, and get a chance to learn how cards will play together!

I want to thank all the readers who have been coming to check this out. I have been pretty shocked by the amount of traffic I have gotten, and I want you all to know how much I appreciate it. I want this blog to be for everyone and to really help cut down on the intimidation factor that can come with joining the magic community.

I can be reached on the comments here and @HobbesQ on twitter! I appreciate any and all feedback.

ps: I will be doing a giveaway this week! One lucky commenter will have a chance to win this!!

Friday, I’m in Love

It’s almost Friday!! Ok, it’s actually only Tuesday when I am writing this, but that’s when I start thinking about the weekend…

So why should you be so excited about Friday?? Because of Friday Night Magic (if you don’t know about FNM my first suggestion is to click here). FNM can be a great way to add a little competitiveness to your game and also let you play people outside of your normal playgroup (which can help you grow as a player and a deckbuilder). It’s also a great way to start getting more into the Magic Community and meet other local players. Doesn’t hurt that you can get some nice shiny versions of cards (current promo is Acidic Slime which is an EDH/casual player staple in my opinion). Today’s post is going to look at what to expect at your local FNM, and what you should do to prepare for and play in the event.

Playing FNM means that you have to go to an actual Local Gaming Store (LGS). A lot of new players are intimidated by this. I remember the first time I ventured beyond the kitchen table games I had always played and went to Ralph’s Comics. I went in to buy singles (mainly old commons and uncommons) and can remember walking into the store and feeling shocked. First of all there were all these cases of cards, and binders of cards, and packs for sale, and sleeves (what the hell are those for?), dice, everything. I didn’t even know where to begin and I felt nervous asking anyone for help. During this first visit I also saw all these regulars just sitting at tables talking about magic, playing magic, and for the most part having fun. But I wasn’t one of them, and so I didn’t really try to interact with anyone. I stood around looking awkward (I actually still do every time I go to a new store for the first time). It took multiple times of going in for me to even ask someone if they wanted to play a game.

I was just so afraid I would get ROFLstomped, or play incorrectly and I didn’t want to look like a fool. However, most of my friends who had started playing together at each other’s houses were getting bored and drifting away from magic while I was getting hooked. I think the hardest part for me was overcoming this idea that I would be labeled as a n00b. I’ve since learned that every store will have casual players and people I can identify with. And when I started I did get ROFLstomped but I learned both how to play better and make better decks. The most important point I want to make on this is that while there are some bad stores, most are good places, most are there for you the gamer, and it’s a great way to get into the community. FNM is a great way to go to, since this is the lowest level of competitive magic and is really aimed at casual players and helping people learn the rules and how to play in matches.

Preparing for your First FNM (for the purpose of examples I am going to talk about Constructed Format):

  1. Call Ahead: Find out what time FNM will be, what time you need to be there to sign up by, and most importantly what the format will be. FNMs can be either constructed (you bring your own deck that is format legal: Standard, Block, Extended, Two-Headed Giant) or they can be limited (these are Draft and Sealed formats which I will discuss in a later article).
  2. Stuff to bring: Your deck, dice, pad of paper (my preferred method for keeping track of life), trades, bottle of water, scarf, Tardis… Whatever you need to play a game of Magic bring it with you. If you don’t own sleeves for your deck or dice most stores will have these. I highly recommend sleeving your deck if you haven’t done this before. Easier to shuffle and protects your cards.
  3. Know your deck: For the first FNM you don’t need to get online and netdeck, spending tons of money. If you want to, great. But I think you will learn more if you bring one of your homebrewed decks. You want to play something that you are comfortable with and that you know all the cards in. Make sure that all the cards are legal to be played in the format being played. By bringing your own deck you will learn what works competitively and what doesn’t. You often will be up against some Tier 1 decks (top decks played by the pros), and you might lose these matches, but you are going to learn a lot about how decks are played. It’s more important to just get comfortable playing more players that you have never met!
  4. If you’re confused: ASK! The rules enforcement level for FNM is the lowest that there is. Sure you can’t just break rules and take things back, but if you make a mistake the penalties are much less. If you are confused by a play your opponent made, ask him why it works, or ask a judge. Most people at FNM hopefully aren’t going to be jerks, and will want to take the time to explain it to you. If they don’t want to help you, don’t worry. Just ask someone else later! The biggest thing to remember about FNM is that it is a learning experience. You might lose a lot early on, but you will learn how to build better decks, how to play better opponents, and you will learn where you are making mistakes. Just like with poker, or chess, or any other skill game, the best way to get better is to play tons of games. The more games you play, the more you will recognize board states, and what plays you are supposed to make.

This is really just a short intro, and if there are any topics I didn’t cover well enough please comment! I will respond to every comment (assuming I don’t get hundreds, which isn’t going to happen). It also helps me see where I can help you guys in the future!

As always I can be reached on the comments here and @HobbesQ on twitter! I appreciate any and all feedback as this is my first blog.

PS: I know today’s articles had a lot of links, but I wanted to make sure people had the resources to learn more about FNM and the different formats that are offered. I highly encourage you to look at these articles if you are starting out.

PPS: In case anyone wants to know, my first FNM deck was a Turbo Fog Blue White Mill deck, it was horrible, but it was hilarious to play 🙂

The Gambler

And we’re back for another week! First of all I really want to thank Randall and Angie at http://growingupgamers.blogspot.com/ for their support and for Randall posting about this blog on www.reddit.com! I hope that people who came and checked this out last week will come back and also check out the other great content hosted by Neale on www.wrongwaygoback.com

Today I wanted to talk about Trade Tips, Tricks, and Etiquette. So far we have been discussing how to organize your collection, how to have an idea of what you are looking for in trades, and also how to protect yourself (see previous posts if you haven’t had a chance yet). Now let’s look at actual trading situations and discuss how to make them enjoyable and successful. In no particular order I present 5 things to know as a new/casual trader!

1. You Don’t Have to Trade: It might seem weird to start with this one, but it’s really important. Oftentimes you will find yourself in a situation where you don’t really need anything from someone. Be honest about it. Don’t let the person talk you into trading just for the sake of trading. It’s fine to say, “There’s nothing I really need for this Elesh Norn, sorry”. There’s no obligation to trade, and you shouldn’t feel pressured to do it. I’ll admit that when I started doing a lot of trading I would trade just to trade. I felt like I was getting a good deal so I would trade for something just because I MIGHT be able to get something better down the road. But what started happening is that I wasn’t enjoying trading. I felt like it was becoming a job or another kind of game where I would spend the whole time I was in the store trading, never getting in any games. Now I try to make sure that I either really need the cards I am trading for or I know someone who will want them.

2. Don’t waste time:  The biggest part of this to remember is that you don’t want to waste someone’s time and you don’t want your time wasted.  Try to find stuff quickly, or at least figure out if someone has something you are interested it. Let them know if don’t find anything (sometimes they might surprise you by “finding” more stuff for trade). One of the worst trading experiences I’ve ever had was over about 15 dollar in cards. I had found some foils I needed for EDH (Brine Elemental, Spin Into Myth, and a couple of others) and then waited around for nearly an hour as a guy pulled stuff out of my trades, put the stuff back, pulled more stuff. Rinse and Repeat. He finally found some stuff and added it all up and we were within a buck of value and only then (after nearly an hour and a half) did he say, “Ok yah I don’t really want to trade since this stuff isn’t worth a lot.” As I said above, that is totally fine with me. But time is precious (I could have been in other trades) and he took all that time to look through and have me convinced he wanted to make a deal.

3. Cards in Standard are artificially inflated: Most older cards have fairly stable values (they might go up and down based on certain formats, but it’s easier to identify the staples). However, newer cards fluctuate a lot. I traded for Elesh Norn’s when they came out at like 5 bux each, then they jumped up to 25+. However, they are now getting ready to rotate out of standard and will most likely come to settle at a steady price. The key thing for casual players to know is that when a card jumps up in price it’s a great time to trade it away for stuff that you want for your decks. Standard players will need these cards and you can great value/older cards that will hold value. If you keep these cards too long you risk the price dropping drastically and you end up with something you have no need for, but also can’t get rid of. Obviously sometimes cards will stay up there (Jace, The Mind Sculptor being a great example), but you are better off trading off that Huntmaster of the Fells you pulled from a pack and getting the cards you really want.

4. Now is not the time to speculate: When you are first starting out trading, you are going to be happiest when you are trading for cards that you want. In general I try to do this even now that I have been playing/trading for 10 years. I don’t like to get into the speculation game. Trying to get a ton of one card and hoping that it goes up is just way riskier than I want to be even now. I basically like to trade for cards that I am either going to use or that I know I can trade off quickly. I don’t like to trade for cards just to have those cards sit in my trade binder/box. Since magic cards can all of a sudden jump it’s tempting to try and get a lot of cards cheap and then hope they are going to triple in value. As a casual trader (which is what I really consider myself and what I think most people should be) you should just be trying to fix/help your decks!

5. One Trade at a Time: I am a laidback and fairly trusting person. While this often works in my favor (making people feel comfortable when trading and playing), I’ve had to be very careful with it when it comes to people wanting to trade. I admit I have let multiple people look through my trade box all at once. I don’t know for sure if anyone has stolen cards for me, but doing this wasn’t smart for many reasons. First of all, when it comes time to actually make trades I have five people trying to get me to look through their stuff and complete the trade with them. This often can cause people to get annoyed (rightfully so!) since they have other things they want to do (another trade or playing a game of EDH). It’s also much riskier for me. It would be very easy for an unscrupulous person to take a few cards. This tip really is one for safety and respect. It will help you get better deals and also prevents a lot of headaches, such as 4 people all wanting the same card!

That’s all for this week.  I was thinking of either talking about doing your first draft/FNM or presenting a casual deck tech. Let me know in the comments what you’d like to read about. Basically I want this blog to really be aimed at newer players and casual players in general and will cover any topics that will be helpful to this demographic J

I can be reached on the comments here and @HobbesQ on twitter! I appreciate any and all feedback

Tea for the Tillerman

Welcome back!! This week I want to talk about when you are ready to leave your house and get out there and make some trades! Last week, one of the comments I received was from someone who had just recently done their first in-store trade.

“I recently went into my local shop and traded for the first time ever, although it wasn’t a complicated affair… I had an extra Griselbrand and I asked the shop owner if it would be a fair trade for Avacyn and a nearby guy standing at the counter said “Here, I’ll make that trade. Enjoy!” Easiest, most  awesome thing ever. I’ve always just bought the cards I want or went without, but now I’m thinking maybe I should try trading some more! I have about 15 Commander decks and I don’t like to tear them up, so I always need more cards.” — @growingupgamers

Angie, had a great experience in her first time trading at a store, but a lot of us didn’t. Most of us can remember times when we got ripped off or taken advantage of in a trade. It’s these stories that make a lot of new traders wary and might scare them off from trading. Which is a shame, because trading is such a fun aspect of the game! I will get into ways to protect yourself more later on, but for now I want to pick up where we left off last week in organizing your trades.

After I wrote my last blog post, I went into my LGS and sat down with another regular EDH player. He needed some stuff for his new deck, so I asked to see his trades. Guess What? It was all disorganized, across three boxes and some stuff wasn’t for trade, etc. It was frustrating, I found stuff I needed but it took much longer than it should have. This is a guy who trades an ok amount and is at the LGS often. He still was making this mistake though. So remember the most important thing before you leave your house: Organize your trades! And somehow denote what isn’t for trade!

Once you’re ready to head out to your LGS you should have a plan. This might be as simple as “Ok I know I want to make an Angus Mackenzie EDH deck” or it can be a list of cards you specifically are looking for. The reason for this is that simply put trading can get overwhelming. A lot of people have tons of cards for trade, and looking through each card one by one can increase your anxiety.  If I have a lot of time and am just sitting around I will look through people’s stuff kind of aimlessly, but usually I know somewhat of what I am trying to do. Am I looking for standard stuff that is overvalued but easy to trade off? Am I looking for a new deck idea? Do I seem some staples that I know I can use as trade bait in future trades? I like to have a basic idea of what I am looking for.

Oftentimes people start out trades because they know what they are looking for and will just yell out “Hey anyone have any Silverblade Paladins?” If you have these for trade then the person is gonna want to know what you are looking for. Having even a vague idea is going to help the trade good more smoothly. This example here also brings us back to learning how to trade for the first time. A lot of new traders are worried about shark traders and are worried about getting taken advantage of. None of us like to feel like we are getting screwed over, and once someone has a bad experience it can take a long time before they are willing to trade again. This hurts the older players as well as these new traders. It’s less cards available for you to get without spending money. I am cheap when it comes to magic since I am a broke Ph.D. student. Trading is my biggest outlet for building new decks.

So my advice for new traders is simply this: ASK FOR HELP! Most owners of LGSs want their customers to be happy. In this same vein, most of them are willing to look over a trade, or look up card values for you. Don’t be embarrassed to let someone know, “I don’t know if my Jace, the Mind Sculptor for your Birds of Paradise is fair, let’s ask the person working.” This example may seem silly, but I’ve seen people make trades like this and just take the word of their trading partner that it’s fair. As a new trader I encourage you to look through your collection, and identify what cards are worth something. Once again this is something you can do at home before you ever step out to trade. You don’t need to know the value of everything, but you should have a rough idea of what stuff is worth. Along these same lines, use your smartphone for trades. If your trading partner is getting upset because you want to look up prices, alarm bells should be going off in your head anyway. A lot of the onus is put on you as a new player. Just taking small steps to be informed about your cards is going to help your first trading experiences be more positive. Another thing I like to do when starting out is just do smaller trades. Target some cards you know you want for a deck, and see if people have them. By just getting in a bunch of trades you will become more aware of the process and of the people who trade. In later posts we will discuss the types of traders that you might come across and strategies for trading with each of these.

That’s it for this week, some of this stuff might seem kind of elementary, but I really want to help new traders feel more comfortable about getting into the stores and engaging in the most social aspect of the game. Was thinking of switching it up next week and presenting an EDH deck and my rationale behind the cards in it, let me know what you think!

I can be reached on the comments here and @HobbesQ on twitter! I appreciate any and all feedback as this is my first blog.

Ps. You may have noticed my blog titles are related to music. This week for example is a Cat Stevens album I was listening to while writing this. Last week was a Pixies song, stay tuned for more