Things I have learn’t about the Modern Metagame: Part 2

Warning: This post contains serious Magic: The Gathering talk and will probably make me seem lame in the extreme to anyone who has never played.

Okay, so here is part two of my adventures into the world of modern. I’ve been getting better at piloting my deck and have learned more things, played some of the more common archetypes. I’ll list some of the things I’ve played against in vague order of how much I have played against them

1. UWR. This thing is a monster. Card advantage from Think Twice and Sphinx’s Revelation, Ajani Vengant, Path, Burn, Countermagic. For those who have never played it, it’s essentially the most insane Counterburn deck. It’s kills all your guys, draws a ton of cards, then beats the crap out of you with Manlands. Then it plays Snapcaster and does it all again.  My match up isn’t as bad is it could be, as I have Tectonic edge and ghost quarter to kill Celestial Colonnade, then 4 things that are Pro Red in my sideboard. I tend to be able to get damage through in the first couple of turns and then it all comes down to whether I can get a threat to stick. Most of the times I have beaten UWR come from flashing in a Hero of Bladehold off an aether vial when they tap out to deal with something else. Vial is very, very important in this match up. It is beatable, but I cannot afford to misplay against this.

2. Eternal Command. This is similar to UWR, but instead of the white and the manlands it has Tarmagoyf and Eternal Witness, Aether Vial and Thirst for Knowledge. And Clique. While it is a little weaker on the straight up control, it has a bit more punch and has the possibilty of reccuring Cryptic Command over and over. Vial is important but vulnerable to bounce. The All-Stars here are Serra Avenger and Mirran Crusader. If I can get either of these to 4/4 it become difficult Eternal Command to deal with them. Honor of the Pure+ Serra Avenger has beaten this deck almost singlehandly before. Easier to beat than UWR, but that just because I can go up to 4 Pro greeen and 4 Pro red cards at once. Still, it’s another monster of a deck.

3. Kiln Fiend. From monsters of a deck, to something that is just kinda bad. An all in deck that wants to play a crap ton of spell and either exile them to Nivmagus Elemental or 1 shot kill with a kiln fiend. If I can get a blocker or two down they run out of steam. Flickerwisp takes the counters off Nivmagus and unless they double Kiln Fiend I can usually get enough blockers down to prevent an early demise. Or just killing their guy works too. I see a lot of this deck and rarely lose to it. .

4. Dredgevine. This is difficult, doubly so because I have no graveyard hate at all (need some Rest in Peace), but modern dredge is currently very inconsistant from the bannings of a couple of key cards. When I played they have had hideous turn 3 boards with 6 or 7 guys sometimes, then others they have no guys at all. They all seemed to be running City of Brass too and did a lot of damage to themselves. Not much to say here, other than that Mirran Crusader craps all of this deck. Just gotta hope they don’t nut draw and deploy some threats that bypass all the vines, zombies and other crap that get vomited out from the graveyard.

5. Weird, Elf, ritual combo thing. I’ve played a few versions of this. I didn’t even know it was a thing. Some used storage lands, others just rituals. The aims seems to be to create a bunch of mana and all seem to use Bogardan Hellkite as their threat. I lost to this a few times, just from not knowing what it was, but if I can pseudo-strip mine their lands and kill elvish archdruid, it’s all good.

6. Crypt of Agadeem cycling thing. Cycle a bunch of black dudes, make loads of mana with Crypt of Agadeem. Not good against 4 Ghost Quarter, 4 Tec edge.

7. Burn. Only played this once. Boarded in lots of Pro red stuff and Timely reinforcements. Stomped them.

8. Melira Pod. This thing is a bitch and I only had one match against it. I haven’t played against the full power Kiki, Pestermite, Exarch one that wins out of nowhere either, I played a Melira, Viscera seer, Murderous Redcap combo one. And the guy playing it was bad. Even with all this I still only just won. Kitchen finks+Melira is ridulously unfair. When you add Viscera seer it gets worse. I basically have to draw leonin arbiter and hope it doesn’t die.

That’s about it. I’ll post more as I play more things.

I’m really enjoying this deck. It’s very resiliant and has much better control match ups than traditional aggro. Still needs 4 Thali and 4 Path to Exile, but I don’t really know what I would cut. And maybe a couple of Rest in Peace. Oh, and maybe some artifact destuction. I’m considering extra Flickerwisps too, but some games they are poor at best, while others they are amazing.

If you have any ideas I’d be interested. I’ll post the decklist below.

4 aether vial
1 flickerwisp
1 ajani, caller of the pride
2 eight-and-a-half-tails
3 hero of bladehold
1 judges familiar
4 leonin arbiter
3 mentor of the meek
4 mirran crusader
4 serra avenger
2 student of warfare
4 honor of the pure
4 sunlance
1 oblivion ring
4 ghost quarter
4 tectonic edge
13 plains
1 ethersworn canonist

2 burrenton forge-tender
2 celestial purge
1 ring of thune
2 kor firewalker
1 mentor of the meek
1 rule of law
2 tempest of light
4 timely reinforcements

Magic: The Socialing

For my first post I’m going to talk about what is possibly my favourite hobby, Magic: The Gathering.

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Well, why should you care about Magic: The Gathering. It’s just a lame cards game for kids and guys who live with their parents for way too long, right? WRONG

For anyone who doesn’t know, Magic: The Gathering is a trading card game, played all over the world, with regular competions and is popular enought that if you are really, really good, going professional is an option.

This isn’t me. I’m just a guy, who very much enjoys spending an evening with friends playing cards, usually at a pub. The friends I have now are almost all from playing Magic, and the group of people in my area who play are very much a community. We have a facebook group to chat and organise events. We meet on fridays for Friday Night Magic (I’ll explain this in another post). Most importantly, people who play Magic, at least from what I’ve found, care about the group. If someone has a problem, we will try and fix it. If someone doesn’t own the cards to join in, you can be 99% sure someone will lend them something. As a group, we want people to join in. It is far and away the best social experience I have found. It gets people talking. As someone at an event, you know you will always have at least one thing in common with the people there.

Something else I that I find amazing, is the variety of people that are brought together by playing a card game. The age range of our group is from about 17 to around 50. Most people are around 20, as it is a uni town the group was set up by students in the first place, but there is no awkwardness, whether you are a student, a secondary school teacher (who sometimes brings work he needs to mark to get it done between games), a bouncer or someone who sells batterys. When we meet up everyone is a Magic player and that evens it out.

What I cannot emphasise enough though, is how much playing with people you like being around matters. I’ve been lucky with the people here, and when eventually I have to leave, finding a new group who are as welcoming as they are is a little daunting.

So, if you are reading this and you are curious to find out more, to find out if it is something you would be interested in, there are a couple of ways.

1. The best way to find out is to find a group near you and either contact them somehow, or just turn up at an event. This http://locator.wizards.com/ is a link to a page where you can find events near you. Don’t worry about intruding, variety is key with Magic, people want other people there, with different ideas and different ways of playing, to keep things new and interesting. If you are like me and don’t really enjoy asking people you don’t know about anything, standing awkwardly for a while will probably lead to someone coming over, asking about you and getting you involved. If you say you don’t know how to play, someone will teach you. If you say you want to get into Magic, someone will suggest how.

2. If you don’t fancy just turning up somwhere and asking, without knowing how to play then Duels of the Planewalkers is a good start. It’s a game on Steam, on Xbox, on PS3 and on tablets. It’s a good starting point and will teach a new player the rules, but isn’t nearly as fun as sitting round a table with friends, face to face, where you can talk. While it is true that something is lost in translation, it is still a really good introduction.

I know I haven’t really talked about how the game is actually played and I will get to that in another post, but for now all you need to know is it’s great fun, the players are welcoming, it’s great fun, it’s different from anything else you might get up to in the week and it’s a really good way to meet new people. Whoever you are, you should give it a try. The worst that can happen is that you find don’t like it and you have spent an evening trying something new. Go try it, you may find it really is your thing. Also, did I mention how much fun it is?