Mmmm... now THAT'S some Magic!

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Eth
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Mmmm... now THAT'S some Magic!

Post by Eth » Sun Mar 28, 2010 10:16 pm

Continuing our thread from the old board...

So I figured that with the price of Legacy staples skyrocketing, I should get some cards while I can still remotely afford them, so I filled-out my playset of Force of Will, and got an Underground Sea and a Volcanic Island to go with my various fetchlands. This (hopefully) means that I now have a reasonably-good mana base for my Tesseret Control deck.

To balance out all of this ultra-competitiveness, I also got the remaining cards I need for my Homarid tribal deck. I have been fascinated by this little-loved tribe for some time. There's just something bizarre and pathetic about Homarids. My goal was to have at least 20 Homarid creatures in the deck. Here's what I came up with:
Creatures:
2 Deep Spawn
4 Homarid
4 Homarid Shaman
2 Homarid Warrior
4 Scornful Egotist
4 Viscerid Deepwalker
4 Viscerid Drone

Spells:
2 Clockspinning
4 Counterspell
2 Crucible of Worlds
4 Homarid Spawning Bed
4 Whim of Volrath

Lands:
18 Snow-covered Island
2 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
There's a fraught, complicated combo, which I'll detail in a minute, but first I need to point out that many (though not all) of the steps are advantageous even outside of the combo itself.
1. Play some Snow-Covered Islands and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth. Play Homarid Spawning Bed, Crucible of Worlds, and Viscerid Drone. Play Scornful Egotist as a morph.
2. Morph Scornful Egotist
3. Sacrifice Scornful Egotist to Homarid Spawning Bed to get 8 1/1 Camarid tokens. Alternatively, other creatures may be sacrificed at opportune moments.
4. Tap Viscerid Drone and sacrifice a Camarid and a Snow-Covered Island (now also a Swamp by virtue of Urborg) to destroy enemy creatures as needed.
5. Replay Snow-Covered Islands using Crucible of Worlds.
6. Repeat steps 2-5 as needed.

Another board control strategy involves using Homarid Shaman with Whim of Volrath to tap down opposing creatures.

Counterspells will hopefully be sufficient to deal with non-creature threats. Once I have control of the battlefield, I can start swinging with my motley crew of lobster-men.

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Dabir
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Re: Mmmm... now THAT'S some Magic!

Post by Dabir » Mon Mar 29, 2010 6:14 pm

I've been encountering a problem with my MTGing. See, Blue has some AWESOME draw cards, like Flow of Ideas, but I rapidly run into a problem with that. I'm more used to Yugioh, which has some quite phenomenal ways of getting through half your deck in two or three turns (and you'll still probably have a hand size of about 4), but in MTG I just don't know what to DO with a 15-card hand except watch it all get flushed away at the end of the turn. Since I am *not* running Zombies, what do I do with this? Are there any cards which use discards as a primary cost resource (Yugimons has plenty, but as I said...)

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Eth
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Re: Mmmm... now THAT'S some Magic!

Post by Eth » Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:17 pm

Dabir wrote:Are there any cards which use discards as a primary cost resource?
Yes, of course there are. It's Magic! ;)

Force of Will is the most popular example of what we call "pitch cards," but there are plenty of others.

Cut 'n paste the following link into your browser for a list of pitch cards:

Code: Select all

http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Search/Default.aspx?action=advanced&text=+[you]+[may]+[card]+[from]+[your]+[hand]+[rather]+[than]+[pay]+[mana]+![suspend]

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FreakyM
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Re: Mmmm... now THAT'S some Magic!

Post by FreakyM » Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:20 pm

Yes, there are many insane things to do with a large hand of cards. Dream Halls is a good example.
Psychatog aka the Tooth Fairy is another, horribly destructive way to end someone's life with that many cards.
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Re: Mmmm... now THAT'S some Magic!

Post by Dabir » Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:31 pm

Thanks, those will definitely help me a lot. Blue/Draw here I come.

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Re: Mmmm... now THAT'S some Magic!

Post by FreakyM » Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:04 pm

Actually, now that we went into draw territory, i'd like to talk about the way I see magic: as a game of resources, and their values compared to each others.

In the end, it all boils down into 3 valuable resources, with a fourth one of slightly lesser value.
These are, in no particular order, cards in hand, mana availailable, life points, and finally, permanents on the table.

The way I see it, the most powerful resource in the game is cards in hand, and by extension of that, drawing cards- without cards in hand, there is nothing you can do, your opponent has full knowledge of the situation, and can act freely upon that. Never, ever, unless part of a powerful combo or absolutely vital, play out the last card from your hand. Your opponent must always be kept questioning the situation. Currently, the price of 1 card seems to be somewhere in the area of 1,5 mana.

Next comes mana available, allowing you to actually make use of those cards. These two go hand in hand: you cannot survive on one alone. With mana available, I do not only refer to lands, but these are of course our most common source of mana. I also refer to stuff like Lotus petals, Lion's Eyes, spirit guides and Dark Rituals: alternative sources count too. Dark ritual is actually a very good example of my philosophy: trading one resource into a certain amount of another, here turning 1 card into a net gain of 2 black mana. It is hard to find the price of 1 mana in cards, since good mana accelerants are kinda scarce today. Of course, going with the aforementioned Dark Ritual, it seems one card trades into about 2 mana net gain, which sounds pretty much right. In the case of lotus petal, you only get 1, but it must be noted it can be of any color of your choice.

The final of the big three is, of course, life points: these are a resource to be traded as much as mana and cards,in my books. The only exception is your final life point. That's pretty much the only one that matters. Life is a tricky one. Many cards over the ages have allowed you to trade life at varying rates for varying resources, but the one "trader" that stands out above all others is the legendary Necropotence. Originally dismissed as a junk rare, it soon turned out that indeed, 1 life is a bargain price for 1 card. Realistically, the "proper" price for an extra draw has later been changed into something like the drawn card's converted mana cost, like Dark Confidant and Ad Nauseam charge you. It is worth saying, though, that even that is rather cheap, considering a land card is actually a completely free draw with these massive engines, whereas the old necropotence still would have cost you a life for that.
Trading life for mana is another tricky one. The first card that springs to mind is channel: yet again, a monstrously broken card. The problem with trading life at a 1:1 ratio for ANYTHING, really, stems from the fact that at the beginning of the game, you typically have 20 life, and significantly less of the other resources. There is a reason why monoblack suicide decks are a force to be reckoned with, and why the card Hatred still evokes nasty memories of "dirty" victories out of nowhere.
The threat of turn 1 swamp, Carnophage, turn 2 Dark ritual into Dark ritual into Hatred, hit you for 21 is quite frightening.

Of course, then we have stuff like Force of Will, requiring you to trade several resources for something else entirely, but those do not lie within the scope of this post.

Finally, permanents on the table I count as a lesser resource, since you cannot trade them into other things nearly as often as the first big three resources. Notably though, stuff like Tinker, Smokestack, and some other specific cards reward one greatly when treating your permanents as a resource.

Magic is a game of a wonderful variety of resources, their interaction, and proper management. Build up your own, deny your opponent theirs and accomplish your win condition: these are the reasons I love this game.
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Re: Mmmm... now THAT'S some Magic!

Post by Dabir » Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:27 pm

See, I was trying to work out how you'd do that with MtG, but I've played YGO too much - the only resource that matters is how much stuff you've got in hand and on field. Mana sort of screws that idea up, as does the idea that paid life actually matters cause your opponent probably isn't going to OTK you every turn. That is extremely helpful, and I will use it as a guideline for my deckbuilding.

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Eth
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Re: Mmmm... now THAT'S some Magic!

Post by Eth » Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:29 am

Just be aware that what FreakyM stated above are merely guidelines, not hard and fast rules. A pure aggro deck shouldn't bother to hold anything back in their hand; the name of the game is converting mana and cards into damage as quickly as possible. Cards in hand do nothing to further that goal. For every deckbuilding rule in Magic, there are exceptions.

One of the most important strategic concepts is Card Advantage. They idea that trading one of your cards/permanents for two or more of your opponents is advantageous, whereas trading two of your cards for one of your opponents is to be avoided. Cards like Dark Ritual and Force of Will are undeniably some of the most powerful in the game, yet they fly in the face of the concept of Card Advantage. Dark Ritual gives you so much mana (especially in the early game) that it's worth spending an extra card. Force of Will gives you so much flexibility by allowing you to use all of your mana whenever you want that it is worth pitching an extra blue card to prevent your opponent from winning.

I think that, once you get used to it, you'll appreciate how carefully-designed Magic is compared to YGO. Most trading card game sets have a design time measured in a few weeks; most Magic sets take 2 years from concept to completion, IIRC.

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FreakyM
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Re: Mmmm... now THAT'S some Magic!

Post by FreakyM » Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:30 am

Yes, I forgot to add that these are my personal preferences, and I also forgot the concept of "card advantage" from my list completely.

Anyways, I believe that there post still gives you some insight into how I personally view the game; I intend to do a similar post about deck archetypes and some examples of each next, seeing as I have experience in playing all the archetypes quite extensively. I'll also be mentioning some of my alltime favorite cards and filthy tricks with them.

EDIT: Ill just add some stuff into this here post, right now, since I feel like it.

Let's begin with the archetypes then, and for starters, I'll pull out the most classic of them all:

The Aggro Deck.


What is the idea of an Aggro deck? Well, as Eth mentioned earlier, and as it's name suggests, it is to overwhelm the opponent with one brutal and merciless assault that only ends when one of you is dead. Optimally, a proper aggro deck finishes the opponent by turn 4 or 5. When an aggro deck fails, it runs out of cards in hand around turn 2 or 3, goes into "topdeck mode" and dies. Red, green and black are traditional aggro colors, with white joining occasionally - blue rarely has been an aggro color, at least not that I know. Of course, the most famous type of aggro deck is "Sligh", and its variations; nowadays these decks go by the name "RDW", "Red Deck Wins", usually composed of cheaply-priced creatures with haste, efficient burn spells, and little regard for ones own well-being.

The recent Lorwyn-Alara era standard saw a vicious RDW variant known as "Blightning", named after Shards of Alara's infamous Blightning, a red-black sorcery that for the bargain price of 1BR caused a nice 3 damage to the target player, and on top of that forced the discard of 2 cards; it might not sound bad on paper, but often a single resolved Blightning means doom for just about any deck. The deck only got more brutal as the Alara block processed, gaining access to cards such as Hellspark Elemental, a creature that was practically a burn spell, and of course terminate, a vicious removal that can take care of most at-the-time relevant threats to Blightning. All this combined into a vicious deck that started to lay the smack on the opponent from turn 1 and only got worse from there, usually leaving the opponent dead or dying by turn 5.

As a sidenote, this particular deck was notable for being one of the few to be able to consistently defeat the dominant deck of those days, the infamous Blue-Black Faeries Control. Of course, like with everything else the players threw at it, in the end Faeries just adapted to the new threat and kept winning.

*A sample decklist of Blightning, late Lorwyn-Alara era, can be found here.

Notably, this one is Post-10th edition rotation, and thus is able to include the awesome Lightning bolt, but foregoes Terminate. Of note is Anathemancer, a card that horribly punishes the 5 color decks of the time that relied on large numbers of nonbasic lands to generate their rainbow of mana.

Another, classic type of aggro is the mono-red "Burn" deck, which is a good starter deck to assemble for a beginning MTG player: considering that the deck's most famous card, Lightning Bolt, was recently reprinted, there hasnt been a better time to gather a playset of this legend.
The traditional burn relies on little to no creatures, preferring to instead forego the combat phase completely in favor of simply blasting the opposing wizard to dust with a relentless bombardment of direct damage spells. Traditionally, the problem of burn decks is "running out of gas" - that is, quickly blasting out their opening hand, usually putting the game into a suspense-filled situation with the opponent in "burn range" of one or two more spells, and the burn player himself in topdeck mode, hoping to draw those crucial final spells to seal the deal.

*A typical burn deck would be this one.

Of note is the very small number of creatures: Only a playset of Mogg Fanatics, in itself more a burn spell than a creature! This deck really means business, and it shows. A game against this deck will likely not last long, regardless of outcome. It either wins fast, or loses fast.

There are of course several other kinds of aggro decks, not incorporating red at all. One particular deck of note is "Mono black Suicide", an utterly reckless deck that is designed to sacrifice just about anything to kill the opponent, and reinforces this with some of the nastiest black cards ever printed; of particular note the evil, evil, Hymn to Tourach - a sorcery for 2 black that forces an opponent to discard 2 cards at random. It is not unheard of that a game is virtually over by the second turn, the black player's opponent having his starting hand decimated by being forced to discard, say, all of his land cards. Other things to note are the selection of highly powerful Artifacts, the extremely powerful Dark Confidant, a 2/1 for 2 mana that lets you draw extra cards for a cheap cost of life, and of course Hypnotic Specter, the creature that originally caused Dark Ritual to disappear from the core set for a long time. Swamp, Ritual, Hypno often meant GG, unless you packed removal.

That wraps up my post about Aggro decks. Traditionally, aggro decks have been particularly powerful against Control decks, usually by being simply too fast to put under control properly - and this leads us to the second of the three archetypes, Control, which I will examine in the next post.

...Phew. That was one mammoth post. It might be helpful to someone, and I intend to make similar ones about the other 2 main decktypes. Stay tuned, and feel free to comment.

SECOND EDIT: My memory failed me regarding the Alara-era matchups. Fixed this and some other minor info, mainly for historical accuracy.
Last edited by FreakyM on Wed Mar 31, 2010 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mmmm... now THAT'S some Magic!

Post by Dabir » Tue Mar 30, 2010 3:46 pm

Thanks again, these articles are going to be really helpful. I already knew about card advantage, glad to see that it still basically applies here. I'll do my research and come up with some sort of draw deck later.

Don't suppose anyone else here plays Yugioh? I know Jaychant did, but he... left. The internet. If there are any fellow yugimonsers here, it might be worth starting another thread about, lolPojo's got a lot of resources but is also full of tards.

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