Monday, November 30, 2015

Monday Morning Magic #13 - Unlucky for some

Outside is too cold and the subway too hot. I drafted Black White and perhaps forced it as the player to the right was also Black White and to my left was a blue black drafter. In his case he had a couple of mythic opens in Drana and Sire of Stagnation which kept him in black.

My deck didn't have over riding synergy, it was a mess of beat down, defence, processing and requiring life gain. I had a lot of removal and this week I drew it and ground out a 3-0 result. I didn't solve the format, just got very lucky. I have had better decks go 1-2 in this format.

I think I am done with battle for Zendikar. Such synergy driven decks have a limited life span to me as they feel they either work or they don't. You don't only have to draw a good mixture of creatures, spells and lands but the order you draw them also matters. 
The actual drafting part is fun, a lot going on and trying to sculpt a deck to combat those problems is a great challenge. Actually playing can be frustrating though as you don't get the results you feel your deck deserves. Hey sometimes you get to 3-0 with a pile haha.

The combination of the cold and my lack of enthusiasm for drafting this set any more means I can't see myself playing again this December. I braved the Ice and such for Khan's of Tarkir because it was a fantastic set. Battle for Zendikar, you get a pass, you were different, you were creative but just a little bit under done.

I am hoping Oath of the Greatwatch fixes things. I still haven't opened a Drana for my cube but at this point I think I will just spend Puca points for her. It's not like those points are doing anything anyway as my wants list of Modern and Cube wants sits unfulfilled for months now. The Puca point deflation has hurt the economy and the roll out of new features will be make or break for me. If it doesn't revive the economy and I start receiving cards again I will walk away from the site. 

Pay to Play: Magic on $2 a day
The usual $16 for draft means I'm down $2 but If I don't play much in December it hardly matters. 
Current Position: $40.70

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Located near Gunja station this store was started by an ex Kindle employee and is pretty close to Kindle shop itself. 
Their business hours are 11:00 to 24:00.

Address : Seoul, Gwangjin-gu, Gunja-dong, 473-17 3F
Number : 070 - 8692 - 5218
They have seats for 60 players and sell singles.

One of my friends has already visited and given it the thumbs up. I do approve of advertising your store with a neon sign. This trend of actually being a store a normal person could find started with the new Kindle shop and it seems Cookie has taken it to the next level. 
What's next? Street level premises? A website that matches the stores name? Where will it end?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Monday Morning Magic #12

I am excited about the future of the Suwon shop and plan to really get involved once January comes. Right now though things feel a bit dead. The cold weather didn't help and they let it get a little too cold in the store. Mr Salty was whiny and while Dan tried to rally us we all just went home within minutes of the draft ending. Beejay won the draft and is still thinking of taking a break after next weeks draft as he didn't have a great day. Stephan went 0-3 which isn't a great feeling but normally wouldn't be something that would make him "feel shitty".

It's really strange that the mood has changed so much from a couple of weeks ago. I'm starting to come to the hypothesis that Mr Salty is a little bit toxic for the community. He doesn't cheat or steal so I am not going to give up on him. He also organised a chaos draft and has built a tower for us to play. Both at considerable expense to himself. He's a walking contradiction which makes it hard when your sitting on his left in a draft (which I seem to always have to be).

I really don't know how I feel about the format. I think I like it, it's complex and you don't have to try hard to get some funky stuff in your deck. Just drafting normally will mean making some unusual choices and unexpected synergies. There are clear archetypes which is something I am not a huge fan of but they don't have a samey feel to how the decks play out.
So I guess it's a thumbs up but I kind of feel like it's already explored even though I have never got to draft allies or the black white deck. The thought of 6 or so more weeks of BFZ draft followed by Oath kind of leaves me feeling a little dull. Oath of the Gatewatch really needs to bring something else to the format but it will only be one pack.

I have started playing Duels of the Planeswalkers again now that the Battle for Zendikar update has hit. I didn't have any coins saved up as I only just finished unlocking all the origins cards. I can't really build any new decks but I still enjoy my thopters deck so that's not a problem yet. I can't think of many BFZ cards that would add to that deck or my elf deck though. I wouldn't mind trying an allies deck but with 78 boosters of Battle left to unlock that feels a long way away.

With my cube nearly finished we have started on a new project. A Korean language cube, It never ends.

Pay to Play: Magic on $2 a day.
The usual $16 for draft was all the expenditure for this week. It's been a long time since I sold a card though as there is little demand for Battle for Zendikar cards and very little trading in general. With such a barren trading environment any purchases for Suwon's secret Santa could put me very close to going into the red. Call me crazy but I also really want the red white Commander deck. It has a few cool cards but it's the Anya, Fumiko and Gisela that are really tempting me. If I want to stay in the black then I will just have to be patient and disciplined. 
Current Position: $42.70

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Monday Morning Magic #11

We had ten people for draft on Sunday and were greeted with the good news that next year there would be a change of ownership (the Manager will take over). This is great news because while Robbie was an ok owner the Suwon shop wasn't really his baby and was a little neglected and we all expected the shop to close in December. 
Hopefully the store starts keeping better stock of certain products and starts selling singles.

The draft went fine, I felt I had a  good red black which is what my seat wanted to be in. I probably muffed a couple of close call picks that cost me but I had 3 great matches that all went to a third game against good opponents. I had good side boarding options that really taxed me between games.
Result wise I went 1-2 which I felt didn't do the deck justice but I probably made a couple of play errors I was oblivious too. While a good day I don't remember that much because around round 3 I realised "fuck, I've got the flu", which really pissed me off as this coming week is very hectic.

If I survive I will be very relaxed next week.

Pay to Play: Magic on $2 a day.
This week was a total blowout. There was the $16 for draft and then $2 for penny sleeves which I had needed for a long time as I had gotten to the point where I had more rares than sleeves. I was having to pick Hunger Games style which cards got to be sleeved and which were left to bang unprotected against what ever cardboard box I left them in. 
On top of that Mr Gu with his incredible binders were in town and I spent $3 on a Goblin Welder for my cube and $9 on various full art promos for my full art EDH deck (12 cards from finished). The deck sure is pretty but virtually unplayable as it's five colour with little synergy and no fixing except for the Rampant Growth I got yesterday. 
Current Position: $42.70

Monday, November 9, 2015

Magic Monday #10 All good things.

Sitting on 8 consecutive wins before this draft the big 10-0 was in sight. I blew it in spectacular fashion going 0-2 before getting a bye last round. My last round opponent had dropped and he was the poor soul sitting on my left during the draft. I drafted a base red deck as did he except his was devoid themed while I snapped up all the landfall creatures. 
I had blue and green splashes, the blue for a coastal discovery, some clutch of currents and gold cards. The green because I was too stubborn to draft black as I was red black the week before.
One of the things that holds me back when it comes to winning is my desire to fully explore the format. I drafted red black the week before so the deck i wanted to end up in least was red black even though I had won last weeks draft with that combination. I wanted something new, something exciting. I took some black cards that just couldn't be ignored but jumped out of black at the slightest hint of an opportunity. I would have had a pretty sick deck but there is just so much of the format I have not explored yet it feels like a waste.
I have not drafted allies of any combination, I haven't tried GB sacrifice, converge (though that's what I was going for this time) or the BW life gain deck. These are all things on my Magic bucket list that I want to do before the set is no longer drafted. And of the things I have drafted I always felt like I got an undercooked version apart from the red green landfall deck and so want to draft those decks again to get to play them at full strength. 

This is what is fun for me and I am not trying to win the pro tour. I don't think i need to curb that desire to explore a format rather than master it. There is money on the line though so one thing that could help is if Stainless got their act together and came out with the Battle for Zendikar update to Duels of the Planeswalkers. It's a half limited half constructed environment that is a good way to experience all the different archetypes to your hearts content for free.
I never had to draft the black red sacrifice deck because I got to do it on Duels.
When I sat down to play I just went with the cards and I had a much better win rate during Origins than Dragons of Tarkir.

Back to the draft deck itself. It was alright and could do some nice things if the mana worked. Both losses were game 3 affairs and close. In round 2 and already a game up I blew game 2 as I thought Barrage Tyrant could sacrifice itself and it dead set decided the game. I could have cast Tajuru Beastmaster pre combat for the lethal pump but didn't as I thought I already had it with Tyrant's ability.
I let out a barrage of fucks (pun intended) when I realised I had lost and karmic justice made sure I lost game 3 without getting to do much at all. 

I made some trades and I have experienced the 3-0 followed by the 1-2 or 0-3 many times because of my needing to explore "flaw". Didn't stick with me as the day was fun but short as we finished in under 3 hours. I won a months free of MTG Price Pro Trader and did some solid trading towards the RallyFenza deck. Mr Gu went ahead and opened a Scalding Tarn expedition and some new people popped in and there was just a happy vibe around the shop in general despite or maybe because of how cold it was outside.

Pay to Play #5
No incoming funds and a $16 draft is pretty easy maths. Starting to get costly ideas though. I really want to build a cube based on the custom Star Wars set floating around on Reddit.
While the cards would be free I would need more sleeves. A couple more packs of Dragon Sleeves would take out $32 from the budget.
Then I saw the RallyFenza videos put out by Saffron Olive and have the itch to build another modern deck that I will hardly get to play (

Oh and new Commander product, I do like the look of the Green Black deck and Anya, Merciless Angel makes me think an aggressive commander deck might actually be possible. Maybe. 
These are all dangerous and expensive thoughts that are probably kept more in check with the fact we just bought a new fridge and a computer rather hurting the real budget rather than restrictions on the Magic budget. 
I'm still holding onto that Steam Vents expedition though and the only real plan I have at the moment is to draft again next Sunday 
The current position is +$58.7

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Monday Magic #9

After a 4-0 at Game Day the Sunday prior I sat down to the left of Mr Salty as always (DCI reporter bug for sure) hoping to extend that run. Pick one pack one I took a Barrage Tyrant over a foil full art Mountain which is apparently a huge mistake if you care about value at all. Those mountains are worth a pack and a half and that Barrage Tyrant was only a 40% chance to make my deck. It did end up making it as I drafted a Red Black deck when I had a Blue Black drafter on my right who hate drafted a Rolling Thunder and a Red Blue drafter to my left.
I don't and never will understand hate drafting a card you are 0% to play with such a high pick. That strategy is not completely frowned on by pro's though and I remember one guest on Limited Resources being in favour of hate drafting.
It would have been my second Rolling Thunder though, which is a little ridiculous. This is the first time I really got to see the power of that card as previously I had always needed to use it to kill one big scary threat. This time I got to wipe a few boards and it felt glorious. Despite being in red black I didn't feel super aggressive as I lacked in creatures to the extent I played Dutiful Return because I was going to need my best ones to do some real work. I had doubles of Complete Disregard and Touch of the Void to back them up.
Some games I curved out, others I just killed everything and then stuck a guy. After losing game 1 to a really cool Bant eldrazi deck that is easily the most intriguing I have seen in the format, I didn't drop another game. I crushed the finals and we had time to play another 2 games for fun which I also won and my opponent playing a nice red white allies deck called for mercy. My deck was certainly good against aggro but I feel a little lucky to have got the points against mid range. That extended my win streak to 7 and I randomly chose 1 English Pack and 2 Korean packs for my prize. Beejay asked me why I didn't just choose all Korean packs and I responded with "I wanted to see who loved me more". That seems utterly ridiculous now but that's the magic of painkillers kids. It turns out English loves me more, which makes sense since I teach English for a living.
Who the fuck cares what was in the Korean packs because that English pack had a Steam Vents in it.

I felt like I owned this city. Winning the draft and a Steam Vents is pretty high on the list of my best Magic days in Korea. The draft is pretty relaxed, but everyone is a decent player. Certainly know easy 3 pointers. Some of the game day matches got pretty intense but $100 - $120 bill in a pack is pretty sweet.

Thinking back to Australia there were PTQ top 8's (which always ended pretty sad) and Nationals qualifications etc which while not as monetarily rewarding were very satisfying and gave a real sense of accomplishment.
Good day.

I didn't have to play against Mr Salty but got to watch him a lot as all 3 of his matches were the last to finish and either went or brushed the time limit. Each round he would only be on game 1 or just starting game 2 while the rest of us had finished. He has a strange mix of playing slow but then playing very fast when something actually happens. It's infuriating and frustrating even as a spectator. He even complained about his round 3 opponent playing slowly! To be fair his opponent was slow but definitely not the culprit, it was ponder vs ponder.

I think all players don't realise how slow they are playing, when you are in the moment you feel like a lot is happening because you have a lot to think about but that's the challenge. You got to keep moving. The biggest problem Mr Salty has is he should be thinking about what he is going to do during his turn while the opponent is going through their process. It seemed every turn he would draw his card and look like he has never seen his hand before. He had a Mist Intruder and seemed to think about whether he should attack with it every single turn.
My slow play rant out of the system he was definitely less salty than normal. In fact he lost game 3 of round 3 to a big Rolling Thunder and held it together where others would not have. I guess just like me he is up and down mood wise and has his moments either way.
Hope for us both.

Back to that Bant eldrazi deck, blue green X has been called the converge deck but maybe it's also the colour combination that actually lets you cast eldrazi and be competitive. The black green eldrazi deck hasn't seemed to really work out but 3/4 Tajuru Stalwarts, Stonehaven Medics and Courrier Griffins clogging up the board and Lifespring Druids working their magic were a nice combo. I thought I was in game one until Breaker of Armies followed by Jace's Insight blew me away.

Pay to Play #4

$2.5 a day isn't a very catchy name, now that I am an expedition pulling millionaire I think I can aim for $2 a day. I have an extensive collection of cards and accessories so me playing on $2 a day is very different than someone new to the game. To play for free would involve either not drafting or going much deeper into speculation. Deeper than I want to considering there are limited cash outs here in Korea. No local buy list or TCG player. Puca Trade has been fantastic but that is digital bit coin style profits that you can't pay a tournament entry fee with.

While my collection value got a bump from that expedition I didn't pick up any cash so my $2.5 a day just covered the $16 draft entry fee. The current position is +$60.7