Thursday, August 22, 2013

Needs Moar Wear and/or Tear

Moar adventures in Blood Baroning! "Baroning" is a word, isn't it? Firefox's autocorrect doesn't think so. But Firefox doesn't think "autocorrect" is a word, either.

Anyway! So I've been too lazy to sleeve up a new deck, so I played my Blood Baron deck again. It's basically burn early, Blood Barons late. Cavern of Souls often names "Vampire," but once in a while it's "Advisor" or "Angel" or "Lhurgoyf." Here's how the evening went:

I can haz blood food?
Round 1: vs. Selesnya. Nice kid, and a decent deck, but my deck had his number this match. Both games I burned away his tokens, Rakdos's Return'd, and then Olivia'd the stragglers. He had no answer for Olivia (I assume S-Charm was in there, but he didn't draw it). Win, 2-0. Record: 1-0.

Woulda been nice.
Round 2: vs. Golgari Control. One game I managed to stabilize at somewhere around 3 life, though, and come from behind to win it thanks to Obzedat (didn't draw his Putrefy, apparently). But the other two games ... Yeah, I could have used Wear // Tear for this one. He got Underworld Connections out early, and used it often. I wasn't able to get any early pressure on him, and had to waste a bunch of burn on Desecration Demons. Third game, he Pith'd Olivia, so that pretty much killed my only remaining out before dying to Thrag/Demon beats. Tough match. Loss, 1-2. Record: 1-1.

Woulda been nice.
Round 3: vs. Big Red. This was a fun one. Lots of back and forth the whole match. One game he was the aggressor early, and I managed to hold him off just long enough to keep myself out of burn range and start gaining life with Obzedat. The other two games, he had all the Mortars for all the Vampires, and I couldn't keep up. Oh yeah, game three: Burning Earth. WOW does that card hurt. D: Coulda used a Wear and/or Tear. Loss, 1-2. Record: 1-2.

Mono-White is not beating this card.
Round 4: vs. Mono-White. Got paired up for the last round against a friend of mine. We were chatting between rounds, and he was lamenting that his only loss was to Blood Barons. Oops. :( Well, my deck is pretty much built to take out decks like his, and it did its thing very well. Burn early and often, and then Blood Baron just wins. Since the prize structure is such that 2-2s often don't get anything, I decided to offer a split and then concede after he agreed (remember, kids offer a split and/or concession and/or intentional draw separately, and completely independent on acceptance of other offers or match results). So we each got two packs, which we cashed in for store credit, making back approximately 45% of our entry fee. :/ Anyway, officially, this was a loss for me, but I would have won had I not conceded. So for the purposes of this blog, I'll call it a Win, 2-0. Record: 2-2.

I think I wanna stubbornly give it one more go, this time packed with Wear // Tear. And maybe I'll try out some M14 goodies, like Lifebane Zombie and Chandra. Otherwise, I'll probably move on to something else.

I'm looking forward to playing some Modern, too. I've got most of the pieces I want for a U/W/R Midrange deck, I just need to disassemble my Delver deck and replace the bad stuff (Steppe Lynx, Izzet Charm, Serum Visions, Delver) with good stuff (Vendilion Clique, Cryptic Command, Spell Snare, Electrolyze). Unfortunately, I'm pretty busy the next few weeks, so I probably won't get a chance to play much before the Grand Prix in Detroit in mid-September. Hopefully doing some testing with friends will suffice.

I'm hoping to do some more judging coming up this fall. There are two regional Star City events, in Milwaukee, and Indianapolis. And maybe also a PTQ or two? Depending on how Theros shakes out, that could be pretty sweet to get more packs and not have to buy as much. In the meantime, after great experiences in Green Bay and Minneapolis, it's back to the more relaxed and easy-going FNM. Oh yeah, coming up over Labor Day weekend, I get to go to my first Judge Conference, which I'm greatly looking forward to. Sweet judge foils, but also great company, and hopefully great learning experiences.

So, Theros. More stuff has been released about the set and its world, and it looks pretty sweet. Gorgeous, awe-inspiring artwork of gods and vistas and heroics. They're saying it's very flavor-driven, with lots of emphasis on hero archetypes. Knowing that Mark Rosewater is a big Joseph Campbell fan makes me excited to see what kinds of cool stories we get. Fun stuff!

Okay, that's it for now. As always, thanks for reading!

Monday, August 12, 2013



Well the last couple-three weeks or so have been filled with ... not a lot of playing Magic. I've been pretty active doing "Judge" stuff though. I've worked a PTQ in Green Bay (Gnome Games East .. great store!), and a Star City Games Standard Open. I've also been doing FNM at Mox Mania (well, except the last couple weeks when I've been out of town on travel), and I even helped out with my Level 2 mentor's Judge Class that he's been running. I'm definitely on the Level 2 path, and I'm really enjoying it.

So yeah, I wanted to talk about the SCG event in more detail, because that was a great experience. I roomed and teamed up with a new Level 3 Judge from Minnesota, and he was an endless well of knowledge and information and philosophy. I wish I could just spend a week with him picking his brain. I found out about the recent history of missed triggers, and the philosophy of gambling as related to tournament organization and rules (such as why it's a DQ at all levels if you roll a die to determine the winner of a sanctioned match).

The event itself was hard work. That's another thing about Judging .. it's not just answering rules questions. It's a job, like working at Target, or a coffee shop. I'm there to help, but when I'm not fielding questions from players, I'm tidying up and making myself available. Or helping out with logistics .. running little errands for the scorekeeper and Head Judge, handling match slips, collecting obsolete table numbers, etc.

But it's very rewarding. I love helping out, and I love rules. And I get paid! I think this is a good gig for me.

I definitely need to tighten up my policy knowledge, though. I didn't bungle anything big at tournament, but there were a few things I wasn't sure about. I took a Level 2 Practice Test recently, and though I passed, there were a couple-three policy questions I would have gotten right had I been more familiar with some of the details of how we handle certain things.

As far as playing goes ... Well, I ran my Blood Baron deck a couple more times. And though it's great fun when it's working, it's a little frustrating when it's not. Control seems like a not-great matchup .. even when I brought in at least half my sideboard, I just couldn't seal the deal after he landed his first (and second) Sphinx's Revelation. But you know, his reaction when he Apptetite for Brains'd me and saw the Tibalt in my hand .. that was priceless. Funny thing was, he really wanted to take that Tibalt, but couldn't. So he had to Dissipate it instead. Frowning face. But yeah, he killed all my Blood Barons, Sphinx's'd, and AEtherling'd me to death.

I think I wanna move on to something else, though. Tibalt is hilarious, so I still wanna jam him in the sideboard of some deck, and I love Boros Reckoners and whatnot, so I think I'm gonna jam some Naya. Probably midrange, with a little ramp, some Domri, some Voices, and .. yeah. Kind of a "good stuff" deck. And I should probably up the number of Tibalts in my sideboard. Yeah, definitely more Tibalts.

Okay, well thanks for reading! Until next time ...