Tuesday, December 23, 2014

New Dalmuti location, a closer look

Last weekend was the first chance to play at the new Dalmuti's location in Suwon.
It's smaller and the security guard on the bottom floor seemed to enjoy sending people away and telling them the store was located in another building. After getting out of the elevator on the fourth floor it requires traversing a dimly lit maze until you find the front door.

It doesn't take many Magic players until the place feels pretty comfortable with a nice vibe, especially since the store is now 100% Magic. The store is now only running on the weekends except for special events.

Last weekend we had a full pod of 8 but there was a lack of English boosters (something which will be remedied by this Sunday) for Khans of Tarkir. They did have Conspiracy though and we jumped into playing that. Before the draft started I probably would have preferred Korean Khans of Tarkir as I love the format and know the cards fairly well. About 3 picks into Conspiracy I remembered that I loved it (enough to build a cube around it) and had assembled a combo of World Knit and Cogwork Grinder. I had perfect mana and an 18/18 six drop in my deck. 

Sealed Conspiracy is a lot cheaper than regular sets but has quite decent value inside. I think a decent amount of players enjoy it but others want nothing to do with it. So while semi popular I think play groups and stores have a hard time finding the critical mass of players to draft it. We are lucky in Suwon to have a lot of regular drafters who like to have fun rather than dream of winning the pro tour.
There was a lot of value opened, including Eunjae getting a Dack Fayden.
Being an old man,  I get a thrill from opening sealed packs with Brainstorm and Swords to Plowshares in them but my favourite take away from the draft was a foil Squirrel Nest.

That draft was followed up by drafting Dan Leonard's cube and the store provided free prizes. It was a lot of fun and I got to play Stoneforge Mystic fetching Batterskull on turn 2 as well as flickering my creature with the Planeswalker Venser before casting Wrath of God. Good times, even when losing to a brutal five colour control deck in round two.

To try and top those shenanigans the cube will be back for a 6:00 pm draft this week, but the main event will be backdraft. That is where you try and draft the worst deck you can and then it is given to someone else. You then get passed a pool that someone else has drafted and try but usually fail to build something resembling a deck. You score points based on your wins and when whoever got the pool you drafted loses. As well as the usual boosters and pride on the line the store is also giving away Garruk's Nerf Axe and some wall sized posters.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

This week in Korean Magic

It's been an interesting week for Magic in Korea.
Kindle shop in Seoul and Elder Dragon in Ulsan are set to close their doors. It's sad and the announcement about Kindle closing seemed to come out of the blue.
In retrospect it should not be that surprising as Magic shops in Korea aren't run very professionally. Kindle had a large playing space but didn't have a website, not exactly 2014 best practise.
Last minute scheduling or scheduling changes are fairly frequent at some stores and I have never seen a program designed at catering for new or casual players. There was an article on MTG Price about foreign cards (http://blog.mtgprice.com/2014/12/16/foreign-language-cards-for-dummies/) and the author laments not being able to find a single Korean retailer who ships overseas.
A lot of stores don't operate proper singles sales or buy lists. Giving up margins of 40-60% in favour of letting players handle singles and taking just 10-15%.
This reliance on the sale and price of sealed product (the prices are fixed and MSRP is never publicly broken by an individual store) means Korean stores are especially vulnerable to a wholesale price increase. Just recently Wizards of the Coast reduced the discount they offered to retailers on sealed product and within months we have seen the closure of two major Korean stores.

Despite all this negativity Dalmuti's in Suwon gave me a pleasant surprise when they announced they were not closing when their old lease expired. Instead they have moved to a new location.

Magic in Suwon now has it's own Facebook group. I don't think I am going out on a limb by saying it is the best thing that has ever been on Facebook.  (https://www.facebook.com/groups/303915966473798/)

Dalmuti's Suwon

Dalmuti's in Suwon has changed location.
The new store is now fully focussed on Magic and the location looks more convenient, especially for those who enjoy Belgian fries.

There is an English draft of the latest set every Sunday at 1:00 pm.

For information on additional events you can check out the MTG in Suwon facebook page (www.facebook.com/groups/303915966473798/).

Korean address: 경기도 수원시 팔달구 매산로1가 골든프라자 401호

Thanks to local legends Annalise and Dan we have these excellent instructions on how to find the new store.

Soju Alley

You keep going through the heavily populated part of Soju Alley. You have to press on past this intersection.

The building. Golden Palace. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Kindle the Flames

The heading might be in bad taste but I cant resist a pun and a segue no matter how dark the subject matter.

On Sunday I played in the last draft at the old Suwon Dalmuti's. Thankfully next week they will be open in a new location but the details we have are still pretty sparse. It seems to be very close to Sam Ryan's pub. While the location is convenient being so close to Sam Ryan's and with the Belgium fries place "on the way" I could be gaining a few kilos.

The new location will apparently kick things of with a special Modern tournament starting at 3:00 pm this Saturday (20th December). Hopefully I find out how to get there before then. Given what is happening at Kindle Shop, I am very thankful to Robbie (the owner of Dalmuti's) for keeping it going.

Today the owner of Kindle Shop 박민영 announced that his store will close at the end of this month. This really came out of the blue and Kindle is a very big part of the Korean Magic community.
Just one week ago the Korean team made the top 4 of the World Magic cup and qualified the entire team for the next Pro Tour. A fantastic achievement and a huge boon for the community. The captain Nam Sung-Wook got to ask on camera for Wizards to host a GP in Korea.
A week later and Seoul just lost one of it's premier play locations.

The FNM promotional foil for December is Stoke the Flames and I was lucky enough to get one yesterday. I think I still prefer the original art because I have a lot of fond memories of it from M15 draft but the foil is very pretty and I was stoked to get one.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Dalmutis in Suwon - Magic Extravaganza

The future of Dalmutis in Suwon is up in the air. The current store has been understocked for quite some time and the lease will not be renewed. There is talk of a new and smaller location but nothing has been found yet. There is a good chance that a new location won't be found and Suwon will be left without a Magic shop.

With the shop closing "some time this month", local players are treating this weekend as the fare well party.

On Saturday, players from Seoul will be travelling down for games of EDH starting at 1:00 pm. Bring your EDH deck if you want to participate in a mix of free for all, two headed giant and kingdoms. The store does have a few commander 2015 decks in stock if you need one. It's also very easy to borrow an EDH deck as most players will be bringing multiples. In the evening more EDH as well as a cube draft look to be on the agenda.
There is also an SCG event where you can win pins and tokens pencilled in for around 3:00 pm. The format will be modern.

On Sunday there will be a sanctioned draft using English Khans of Tarkir cards starting at 1:00pm. This will be followed by a retro grab bag draft using an assortment of old packs. I am super excited for the retro grab bag but the whole weekend should be a lot of fun.

I would not be surprised if a back draft happens some time that weekend as well.