Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Korean M12

Korean M12 arrived on the weekend but I didn't get to see the cards first hand until yesterday.

People have complained about the translations and it does effect flavor but they are playable.
The only thing that bothers me is that remainder and rules text is very similar to the important game text and the text inside the text box is a bit small.

They could do with bumping up the size of the game text a little in the next printing.

Oppened a foil ponder so I was really interested what it was worth. I couldn't find people selling them anywhere on English sites so I fired up Ebay and have put mine up to see if there is much interest.

Was a little tricky working out how to list a South Korean Item located in Korea under my Australian account but hopefully it works.

Monday, October 17, 2011

M12 Korea arrives

Korean magic cards are here!

The Korean version of M12 has arrived.
So far it’s garnering mixed reviews from Korean players because some of the translations are sub par and the font used is pretty simple. Cooler heads in the community are more forgiving given it’s the first effort at Korean cards in modern times.

I haven’t had a chance to see the cards first hand as I couldn’t make it to the pre release but will hopefully have some in my hand later this week.

The Korean distributor has also used the release of Korean cards as a chance to up the price. A box has gone from W140,400 to W158,400; a pretty substantial bump. The excuse banded around is currency changes.
In Australia the dollar went from 1 AUD = 0.80 US Cents to parity and we didn’t see prices drop. Seems in every country currency changes can only increase prices and the consumer never wins.
You can still get the English version of M12 at the old prices but Innistrad (English) and M12 (Korean) look to be W158,400 everywhere.

If you are going to raise prices doing so when you’re improving the product (Korean cards are certainly better for Korean players) is good timing but I think it’s a shame that it makes the game very expensive and limits growth. You only have to look at Japan to see the potential for Magic in Korea, now that they have cards in their own language.

Korean players are also well aware that their foils should be in demand overseas, though traditionally foils aren't so popular domestically because they are not very suitable for tournaments. Well that's according to my wife but she is a spike so perhaps casual players would disagree.

Tourney report 25th September 2011

Tourney report

Location: DiveDice Seoul
Event: Innistrad pre release
Sealed deck 25th September 2011

I made it to DiveDice with plenty of time to spare for a 10:00 am start. Player count was 34 players, 6 waygooks, 3 guys in suits and one female.

Deck registration was required and I opened a Garruk that I would have to pass. It could have been much worse, and it was for the guy next to me who cracked Liliana and Snapcaster mage.

There was a tiny amount of intriguing green but red white was a fairly obvious combination and resulted in a really strong and fairly broken deck. I made a few deck construction errors. The main one being that I main decked Bloodcrazed Neonate which is a mistake I wouldn’t have made if I wasn’t so rusty. Attacks each turn if possible is a huge red flag and anything with that drawback and lacking ridiculous stats is unplayable in sealed.
I sided out Bloodcrazed Neonate in favor of Blazing Torch for game 2 every time.

Final deck list:
8 Mountains
8 Plains
1 Shimmering Grotto

2 x Bonds of Faith
Silverchase fox
Avacynian Priest
Chapel Geist
Fiend Hunter
Elder Cathar
Gallows Warden
Slayer of the Wicked
Abbey Griffin
Smite the Monstrous

Kruin Outlaw // Terror of Kruin Pass
Village Ironsmith // Ironfang
Reckless Waif // Merciless Predator
Bloodcrazed Neonate
Rakish Heir
Devils Play
Skirsdag Cultist
Charmbreaker Devils
Into the Maw of Hell

Manor Gargoyle
Butcher’s Cleaver
Trepanation Blade

Harvest Pyre
Blazing Torch (should have been main)
One eyed scarecrow (brought in against blue white to great effect)

Round 1 Chang Myoung Soo with green/white
He had the Garruk that I had opened during deck registration. I know this because he showed it to me as he was using a checklist card. When he did so I assumed he was just volunteering this info and was a bit of a scrub. I wasn’t going to be revealing my 3 cards that’s for sure.
Turns out I was being a massive cheater and that if you use a checklist it is an actual rule that you have to reveal your double sided cards before the match starts. The high ground was lost but I managed to win a tight mach 2-1

Round 2 Jung-suk Goh with blue/white
I could tell he was a very strong player and his deck was quite tricky and produced a lot of tokens. I sided in One Eyed Scarecrow for games 2 and 3 and it bought me enough time to kill him with Devils Play in game 3.

Round 3 Jungmin Lee with green/white
His deck was based around a lot of very strong creatures but he didn’t have removal for my Charmbreaker Devils and I lived the dream of getting back devils play 3 turns in a row to wipe his board.
In game 2 I had a Reckless Waif on turn one which flipped and did 6 damage before he summoned some defence. I felt like a luck sack both games and they ended up being the easiest I had all day.

Round 4 Jon Queiros With blue/black
Jon offered the split before playing which I accepted. That took a lot of pressure off our match which was lucky because he had a very strong pool. I managed to come back from an early Liliana to win game 1 but was crushed in game two. In game 3 he was a little late to find enough creatures and my removal kept him from coming back into it.

A fun day but I did not have enough time to draft which was a shame as Innistrad looks a really fun set. Oh well I am undefeated on Korean Soil...... which won’t last long so I should enjoy it while it lasts.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Places to Play - RollingDice Hongdae

This store used to be known as DiveDice but has recently changed their name to Rollingdice.

It is a few minutes walk from Hongik University subway station (exit 2) in Seoul. 

Play Experience
It's a board game cafe which means it’s a lot nicer than some of the dungeons I played at in Australia. It has good lighting and toilet facilities inside.
While they have two walls absolutely stacked with board games they seemed to know their Magic and the window blinds were magic themed (I was impressed). The guy who seemed to be the owner played in and judged the event and was friendly and helpful.

There was one other staff member at the store, while I was looking at the sleeves trying to guess which were the correct size for magic he asked me “Can I help you?”
This was not only the best customer service I have ever got in a Magic shop it’s the best in Korea as most shop staff try to avoid having to speak to foreigners (understandable).

Apparently they have a couple of drafts during the week, Friday night draft and standard  (starting around 7:30 pm) and tournaments Saturday and Sunday (constructed or sealed) and usually a draft after each tournament.

Rolling Dice Hongdae also have a sister store called Dive Dice Hyehwa which apparently has some issues with customer service. I have only heard good things about  Rolling Dice Hongdae which match with my personal experience.

Contact Details

Phone number: 02-323-7455
Email address:
Korean Street address: 서울특별시 마포구 동교동 200 - 29 번지 동진빌딩 3층

Sunday, September 18, 2011

First tournament

The tournament locater on the Wizards site was a complete bust and tells me their isn’t a single FNM in the whole of Korea, but their own Planeswalker Points system shows that is not the case. It’s stupid that they removed the old version from their site as while less pretty it would have allowed me to get the details of places that were actually running tournaments.

Utilizing the wife’s local Magic knowledge and ability to speak Korean I found some info via a Daum café site.

Armed with this flyer from the shop, and a copy of the subway map I am hoping to play at the Innistrad pre release hosted by DiveDice in Seoul.

The subway map has negligible ability as a map since it shows Pyeongteak on the opposite side of Seoul than what it really is but it does serve its purpose of informing when to change lines.
Korean maps are never to scale so there is a decent chance I spend my Sunday lost aimlessly before wandering back home without playing any Magic.

If you want to compare  it to the prize structure back home sealed entry price is W32,000 (Roughly A$ 32). Its 4 rounds and prizes are as such:
A record of
     1 win  = 1 booster
     2 wins = 2 boosters
     3 wins = 4 boosters
     4 wins = 6 boosters
That’s fairly comparable to a Melo pre release in Brisbane (everyone gets 3 boosters regardless of performance) but I prefer the incentive system that Korea offers.
Draft is W16,000 (Approx A$16) and pays out 3-2-2-1-1 which is flatter but 1 extra booster than back in Brisbane

These prize structures look pretty standard as the other stores seem to use pretty much the same flyer but with their own store details attached.

This looks to be the last English card pre release for the foreseeable future so I am very keen to enjoy it. In the future I expect it to be a Korean cards only affair and that probably rules me out of playing in pre releases because I will need time to learn the cards before playing.

Nicoll wins Austalian Nationals


Brisbane is not a complete stranger to success at Nationals. It was not that long ago that Cameron Viegel and Anthony Purdom both made top 4 and Australia’s only ever world champion Tom Chanpheng hailed from Brisbane.
Still it’s a really nice turnaround from a couple of years ago when things were looking a little grim following the closing of OGC. Ace kept the drafting culture alive and things can only get better with the arrival of Good Games.

While Nicoll now lives in Melbourne it’s still awesome to see that someone people have competed with face to face on a regular basis can be national champion. 
And personally I think it’s pretty awesome I used to play 2HG in a two man team with the now national champion.

Into the great unknown

I have passed the six month mark living in Korea and with the everything is new effect well and truly worn off, an old passion is emerging.  I really want to fire up the D20's and play some Magic.

Five developments in the world of Magic seem to have come together at just the right time to get me interested again.

The first was Grand Prix Shanghai which I was interested in going to, mainly because it seemed a good excuse to go to China rather than any urge to play Magic. In the end it was going to be a bit of a hassle and expense getting a Chinese visa while I was in the middle of upgrading my Korean one so I missed out. It did get me thinking of potential the Grand Prix events I could go to in Asia. The next one in Japan is Standard (ruled out as I have no cards) but Malaysia in 2012 seems interesting.

Then Aaron Nicol my old 2HG partner won Australian Nationals. Aaron is much better than me now but it’s still inspiring from a competitive point of view. If the little kid (well 5 years ago he was) from Brisbane can do it then so can you…but not me as I am too old and busy.

The third and probably biggest was Wizards announcing that they would start making Korean cards again ( My working week consists of getting up early to go to work, coming home and playing with junior, bit of exercise and then allocated time for studying Korean (which I skillfully avoid doing). This looks like a really fun way to pick up a little bit of Korean….in theory anyway.
Self improvement that’s fun, sign me up.

The fourth was a big change for Magic organized play. The ELO system has been scrapped in favor of a play more/win more system called Planeswalker Points. With a rating that would qualify me for Korean nationals and GP byes but with little chance to play regularly I would appear a big loser from this change. What it does do though is allow me to play as there is no disincentive not to. My rating is now pretty much irrelevant as I will likely never benefit from it again but in a practical sense I never benefited from the old system anyway.
I had qualified for Australian nationals 3 times, 2 of those I had qualified through Regional’s anyway and the third (on rating only). I actually never got to go to Australian nationals but that’s a long story.
When Grand Prix Brisbane came around I won a GP trial entitling me to 3 Byes which was more than what my then highest ever limited rating could give me.
So in 4 years of competitive magic I never benefited from my ELO rating but avoided playing in some tournaments or using decks that were fun but sub par because of it. It was foolish to play in tournaments unless you gave yourself a good chance of winning it and were adequately prepared. The new change is quite liberating as I have nothing to lose by playing and can fling some cards whenever I feel like it without feeling like I am costing myself a GP bye or a nationals invite.

And lastly, the new set looks cool. I didn’t like Mirrodin the first time around and didn’t appreciate the sequel either. Linear mechanics that don’t play as well with other cards don’t do it for me and with both an artifact and infect theme Scars was full of it. Lorwyn block was also like this but I was lucky enough to find a couple of decks I enjoyed in constructed. I hated Lorwyn limited though and it was the end of the competitive dream for me.

Innistad is full of vampires, werewolves, zombies and flavor. That by itself wouldn’t lure me in but I love the werewolf mechanic and am glad to see flashback return in force. Good mechanics and decent flavor make me think it’s a winner and I hope Wizards don’t bugger it up by diverging from that to much with the third set in the block like they did with Saviors of Kamigawa (No more Ninjas!, FU Wizards!).

So now it’s time to find some cards and a place to play!

* Image borrowed/stolen from the following blog (