Monday, February 27, 2012

Dark Ascension Event Decks unboxing!

I managed to get my hands on both Dark Ascension Event Decks, SGD$39.90 from Comics Connection. It is higher priced than the Innistrad ones, SGD$29.90 (Deathfed) to SGD$32.90 (Hold the Line) and I'm guessing it is due to the pair of good rare-s in both decks: Inkmoth Nexus and Birthing Pods.

I've always wondered how they manage to squeeze a cupboard box into the packaging and it turns out the front of the box is actually just a cover and you slide the box containing all the contents. I've measured the box and it can fit 60 cards with sleeves but there is little space left for the sideboard cards with sleeves. I think you might be able to fit them in but it can get stuck, thus I think they are only useful for storing spare cards and you are better off with a third-party deck box like the ones from UltraPro. The 20-sided dice are nicely made but I think the green one is clearer.

Update: I'm able to fit in all 75 sleeved cards along with the cardboard divider provided and the box will be fully filled.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Yugioh March 2012 Banlist and Yugioh

I've actually saw the list being posted in a week ago but never gotten down to blogging about it. I'm not really into Yugioh anymore but nevertheless, here are my comments from checking it out:

- the post about the list at has one of the smallest number of comments. Dwindling popularity?
- list looks boring as nothing powerful gets unrestricted like BLS
- Trishula gets banned before Brionac
- Plants' tuners get badly hit (banned)
- Agents get hit (all placed in restricted list)
- Lightsworns, Six Samurai-s, E-Tele gains (Lightsworn lost grow-up bulb though)
- Torrential Tribute to 2 with Dark Hole and Mirror Force still legal looks like Konami is hating on Monsters?

I'm still waiting for Yugioh Tag Force 6 US version and World Championship 2012. I hope they arrive soon before I forget how to play Yugioh!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Assassin's Creed Recollections is now free and Lanz has been nerfed!

iTunes App Store link: Assassin's Creed Recollection - Ubisoft

I haven't played for a while since the 2 recent updates and I fired up the game to try out the new missions. I used my "Police & Thief" deck and surprise surprise... Lanz has been nerfed! His bonus to other Thieves are only given when he scores. His threat ability is still powerful but his overall power level has dropped.

It'll be interesting to find other balance changes, although an official announcement on all the errata would have been cool. I don't think I'll be updating my screenshots of the cards but may do a post on all the changes as I have the old Templar screenshots to compare.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pro Tour Dark Ascension Aftermath: Videos, Fantasy Score and Budget Top Decks

The Pro Tour has been over for quite a few days and it was the first time I manage to watch high Tournament-level Magic videos over YouTube. In case you missed it or the links are too small to noticed,  you'll find all the links on the top half of this page, above the tournament playoff table. Being able to watch Jon Finkel play is fantastic!

My Fantasy Score was 1933 and I ranked 1311. The results are here. The cards I called wrongly were non-basic land, artifact, sorcery and Planeswalker. I went for Moorland Haunt but I totally missed out that UW is going to be very popular with Humans and Delvers. For Artifact, I chose Ratchet Bomb over Swords of War and Peace because I went with the thought that both Offensive (in sideboard) and Defensive decks will use it but it only came second to the Swords. My sorcery was Green Sun Zenith which should be Ponder. Lastly, I called the wrong Garruk.

Anyway, the most important things I want to point out in this post relates to the "Top 98"decks of the Pro Tour. I hope I did not miscount as it is an awful long scroll down the page. These came in with 18 points and above. Other than the many Wolf-Runs and Delvers and Humans, I found a few Hellrider/Huntmaster GR decks (Ctr+f to search for Hellrider). I reckon they are the centerpiece because they are 4-ofs in the deck. It looks like creature beatdown with burn and I'm guessing it is a midgame-focused deck? I'm also liking the UB control deck run by Lukas Jaklovsky and Robert Jurkovic (look for their names), which I read came in 9th and 10th, I think. The most compelling information that I dug from all that scrutinizing is that there are decks that do not have a single Mythic rare!

The information might not be something new as I have not read a whole lot of top deck lists from top tournament but for the budget-consiouse players, this deck-lists are definitely very attractive. However, they all have blue and contain Snapcaster Mages so... Look for Bernd Brendmhl's UR Delver deck and Jon Finkel's Delver-Spirits, which is credited as Sam Black's creation. Delver-Spirits in particular are Top 8 decks.

It is important to note this variant of Delver do seem to be built specifically to go against other standard Delver decks, hence Swords were replaced with Artifact/Enchantment-hate mainboard. It still does well overall as the core of Delver is still in there. There is another similarly built deck I remember seeing over at a StarCity Games tournament that had around 2 Geist of Saint Traft. Very importantly, you cannot dismiss the fact that the 2 decks that made it to Top 8 were run by Magic Hall of Fame-rs (Read: Magic Pros of the highest level, therefore other player's experience may vary). I still believe this Delver-Spirits deck will be fairly powerful and worth building.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pro Tour Dark Ascension Top 8 Deck-lists are out!


Some of my notes on the list:
- No Planeswalker in any decks, especially Sorin.
- 4 Delver decks, 3 Wolf-Run decks and a Birthing Pod deck
- Huntmaster of the Fells, Drogskol Captain, Lingering Souls and Evolving Wilds are the Dark Ascension Cards that are very popular, and in that particular order, in my opinion.

I missed out choosing Huntmaster of the Fells for the Magic Fantasy Pro Tour Card Roster. It is definitely looking to be the Most Valuable Card of the tournament and of Dark Ascension. The Top 8 matches have not been played at this time of writing and I'm rooting for Jon Finkel to win as I'm heard of him since the yesteryears of Magic!

Double the art, double the destruction!

Product info here.

I managed to find 2 Artful Destruction Intro Packs and bought them mainly for the Blade Splicers as they go well in Township Token and Birthing Pod decks. The deck is a Golem Tribal deck and its strategy is to ramp up to the Splicers and win with Golems. The theme is similar to the Sliver creatures of the very old Tempest card set when I was still playing. The difference is that Sliver creatures came with the effect on themselves to boost all Slivers while the Golems rely on their Splicer creators for the effects. 

On a side note, the Magic pre-con decks/boxes, during the time I was playing, came with a card-sized rules booklet that is many pages long but in current Magic, most of the rules fit into a double-sized paper that is about A4 or smaller. This is definitely more beginner friendly and not as daunting as a little booklet.

I went ahead to mix and mesh both Intro Packs, putting together the cards which I think will be better.

24 lands
12  Forest
12  Plains

I left the mana-base alone. There's not much to play around here.

29 creatures
2  Blade Splicer
2  Brutalizer Exarch
3  Copper Myr
3  Gold Myr
4  Master Splicer
1  Maul Splicer
4  Palladium Myr
2  Precursor Golem
4  Suture Priest
4  Vital Splicer

I took out Garruk's Packleader as I think the effect might come too late to help. I also find that Golem Artisan may be a little too expensive and I replace it with more Splicers. I think the best Splicers are Blade, Master, Vital and Maul. Maul Splicer is only one-of here because she cost 7 mana which is a lot. Phyrexian Hulk and  Stone Golem are vanilla creatures which I think there are better creatures that can fill their slots.

7 other spells
3  Cultivate
2  Forced Worship
2  Giant Growth

These are the only spells which I feel are worth playing. There is really a lack of removal so Brutalizer Exarch will have to take over those duties. Glissa's Scorn and War Report goes better in the sideboard against Artifacts like Swords and Red decks respectively. Giant Growth is not standard legal but is part of this Intro Pack so I'm sticking them in. It is one of the best Green Instant since the beginning where each color got a 1-cost spell that did something along the line of 3. I hope it returns in Magic 2013 core set.

If you want to improve them further and use other sets' cards, I will take out the Myr for Lanowar Elves/Birds of Paradise/Avacyn's Pilgrim to speed things up. Rampant Growth also replaces Cultivate nicely.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dark Ascensions Event Deck List revealed + Pod Strategy Resources

Here for the Event Deck Lists.

Gleeful Flames
I was waiting to see if Stormkirk Noble will be making an appearance but he didn't. You can get him and quite a lot of other good red spells in the various set's Intro Packs. Unless you need the Inkmoth Nexus or want to make a red deck, the other cards in the deck are not very expensive inclusions. Therefore, I'm guessing most people will most likely just buy one of it.

To improve the deck, you will want to add cards used in David Caplan's World 2011 Top 8 Red Deck here. The Torpor Orb is added to hose the other Event Deck just like how Nihil Spellbomb was included against the Spinterfright Graveyard theme Event Deck. Unfortunately, this hose card takes up 3 rare slots out of 7.

Spiraling Doom
This is basically a Black-Green (B/G) Birthing Pod deck that looks fun. Since Dark Ascension introduced undying mechanic which combos well with Birthing Pod, there have been quite a number of articles on the deck:'s article by Carrie Oliver

Which version of Pod by Mark Ian Alonso

Ramp Pod by Reid Duke, the only top Pod deck in recent times I think, and this one is a combination with Wolf-Run Ramp.

Dark Ascension Review Part 1 and 2 by Chingsung Chang. More in Part 2 than part 1 but overall, a good read about Dark Ascension. Interestingly, he states that Birthing Pod decks will not take off as the offensive is ground-based.

The main idea is to use 187/"Enter the Battlefield" (ETB) effect creatures and Birthing Pod is a great way to tutor them out. Creatures that get an effect when the die also works well and I think Morbid mechanic is going to be good in this deck too.

There are quite a few combination of colors you can take for the Pod decks and it will be fun experimenting. Unfortunately, no B/G enemy dual land here but given the color combination possible for Pod, you might not be playing green with black. This is a deck you will still want to get at least 2-of for the Birthing Pod play-set.

"Fantasy Football" for Magic and MTG web resources

Here, using Facebook.

I used to play the English Premier League Yahoo Fantasy Football last time but I'm hardly into soccer now. This one is interesting and it's about Magic although I think most of the card slots you pick will be down to a 2-3 main choices. I've been reading a lot about the top decks of standard and many articles about decks and tournaments, so this game came at a good time for me to join. Here are a few sources:

Wizards Official Site (I especially enjoy Darwin Kastle's articles)

If you want to know about the Tier 1 decks, check out this Forum over at MTGSalvation which more or less list out the top decks in Standard, Type 2.

The new set Dark Ascension isn't likely to be game-breaking to create a new kind of deck other than Black-White (B/W) Tokens, thanks to Sorin and Lingering Souls. There have already been a tournament by Star City Games and you can check out the top 32 deck-lists here. B/W tokens didn't exactly take off and Delver/Mage Blade is still very popular, along with Blue/White (U/W) Humans, Tempered Steel, Wolf-Run Ramp and a smaller portion of Township Tokens decks.

For my card choices in this Magic Fantasy Pro Tour, my strategy is to be pick cards that overlap in the top decks, thus making safer choices for points. You have 4 days till closing to form your card roster.

Have fun!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wizards of the Coast releases official Magic Companion app

Best of all, it includes a life counter and it's free!

Update: This app has been removed from the App Store due to the last update having bugs like deleting users' decks. It was not placed back to the Store.