Tuesday, April 19, 2016


And just like that the blog looks to be going on hiatus again. Additional employment as a community manager means all my typing and time spent on social media will be focused elsewhere for the time being.
Last Sundays draft left me a bit upset. After the first pack the player on my right was Green White as was the player on my left who had also taken two white flip cards pick 1 and 2 to really plant his flag. I was set up in the middle in red black. In pack two the player to my left opened and took a foil Olivia as most people would. He then completely abandoned his entire first pack (all 15 of his picks were in Bant colors) and switched to red black so he could play his Olivia. Not only did this fuck me I also think it's a really poor decision (the player to his left was clearly in red too) though others at the table thought it was justified. I think it's a great card but not the type of bomb that would make me bend to fit her in an already solid deck and scramble to get playables.Every good card in his deck pissed me off. I wasn't Mr Salty level of salt but I wasn't Mr Happy either. 
I lost to eventual winner Dan who smashed me with werewolves while my deck failed to cooperate. The game I took off him was also a bit of a non event as he scooped them up on turn 4 to my Triskaidekaphobia. 
I then won the next two which included epic justice in my eyes perhaps epic salt to others. I beat the player who had jumped into my colours pack two in about 6 minutes even when he resolved an Olivia on turn 3.
The red black dual land and a foil Triskaidekaphobia (mwahahaha) were the spoils.
Total $ Spent: 100Total $ Recouped; 6.80
Balance: 82.20Total Rounds of Magic played: 16
Days: 18
Avg cost per day to play:  5.55

Who knows when next time will be.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


The 6.8 recouped is for a Sin Prodder and the expenditure was for one grade A Shadows over Innistrad draft.
Opened nothing of value and didn't win any substantial prizes. A couple of Korean Promos that I guess may be worth something if you found the right person.

Total $ Spent: 84
Total $ Recouped; 6.80
Balance: 77.20
Total Rounds of Magic played: 13
Days: 11
Avg cost per day to play:  7.00

The draft itself was an unusual one. I didn't really get a single haymaker but I liked my deck. It was Red Black Vampires full on tribal but unfortunately there was another Red Black Vampires deck at the table and he was sitting on my left. My deck looked much better than his but his results were far superior.
I went 0-3 despite my optimism. The guy on the left made it to the finals losing to the guy on my right. I guess that makes me the patsy in the middle. I am not losing too much sleep over my card evaluation skills just yet, I did miss blue was open until far too late unfortunately but the guy on my right is notoriously uncooperative and hard to read at the drafting table. Both those player either side of me hate and rare draft a lot. It worked out for them this week but I don't think its a good long term place to be.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Dice Latte

The Dice Latte is a new board game cafe close to Hankuk University of Foreign Studies on the subway map.
They stand out as the only Magic shop I know of run by a foreigner and have their own website as well as facebook page so you can get up to date info directly.


Out of the Shadows

Shadows over Innistrad did not disappoint.
I played the midnight pre release and opened a difficult pool. I was lucky enough to open a foil Avacyn but didn't realise how much of a big deal that was until the Korean players lost their shit when I cast it. Apparently it's worth in the 60-80 range which is great because it was an expensive weekend of Magic.
I love the new set and there is definitely a fun factor present that hasn't been in post Khans sets that I can't quite explain. The midnight pre release wasn't as fun as it could have been though. I came right at the end of an EDH game that ended quite tensely over stuff that to me is just part of the game. It was the return of Mr Salty and I was lucky not to have to play him in the tournament. Everyone was a little tired which doesn't help.

All my opponents were nice though the tournament was rushed with little time for deck building and only 40 minute rounds. The whole 4 round tournament was done by 3:40 am and I finished with a record of 2-2. One of those losses would have been a draw but as the prize structure is one win earns a booster I conceded though the board looked pretty even.
My pool had some real shortcomings but at least when I lost it was to something ridiculous. A flipped Thing in the Ice bounced my entire board including my Sleep Paralysis that was keeping his 7/7 flyer at bay. That 7/7 flyer happened to be a horror as were the rest of his creatures. Quite the beating.

I didn't plan to play again but late Saturday night word got out we could draft instead of having to play sealed. I was in and we ended up doing two drafts. The mood was a lot better and draft suits this set a lot more. It's seriously twice the fun of sealed and only half the price. The local level two judge was in attendance to show us all how to draft double faced cards correctly as well as be an awesome opponent.

I went 1-1-1 with a green deck splashing red blue thanks to fantastic mana. The next draft felt like a bit of a train wreck and was Blue Black madness based deck. When I had my enablers the deck felt awesome but when it didn't it was just a bunch of underwhelming 5 drops. I ended up 2-1 and my loss was another story. If you are going to die then losing game 3 to a player qualified for PT Madrid using Triskaidekaphobia is a nice way to do so. I also dropped a game to Nahari's Machinations along the way.

I feel like I got a whole sets worth of stories out of a single weekend.

As for Pay to Play, what a blowout. I can't sit too long on my Foil Avacyn if I want to recoup most of the money spent. Was a lot of fun though but the lesson is definitely to avoid sealed. It's expensive and I could have easily missed it and still had a great weekend.

Total $ Spent: 68
Total $ Recouped; 0
Balance: 68
Total Rounds of Magic played: 10
Days: 4
Avg cost per day to play:  17

Thursday, March 31, 2016

All New Pay to Play Challenge.

My last Pay to Play challenge sort of petered out when I sold a huge chunk of my collection for enough money to draft for a couple of years. There was also the fear I would soon stop playing paper Magic much as attendance numbers were falling hard in Suwon and I didn't have the motivation to travel further. It was the 'Eldrazi Winter' and I think that block is going to be looked back on in a pretty poor light despite Marshall and LSV continuously defending it on Limited Resources.
With Shadows over Innistrad those problems look gone for the time being. I expect the set to be really popular as I know I am excited.

Now that things have settled down and I have a bit of time to myself it's time to restart it. I wanted it to be a fair reflection of how much it costs to play Magic and what you get for your money. This is not pack to power where I am trying to game the system and end up with a tier one deck in each format for only 10c a day or some rubbish. Just an average player whose only advantage over a newer player is experience.

Starting from April 1st (that's today) I will track how much I spend, how much I get back from any sales (not counting my cards from prior to Shadows)  and how many days it has been. I will also keep track of how many rounds I played as some sort of crude measure of "bang for your buck". To start with I have a deck box, an empty card portfolio and some sleeves which have seen better days.
I have a couple of other portfolios (conveniently coloured differently) with older cards but those transactions will be kept separate.

Total $ Spent: 0
Total $ Recouped; 0
Balance: 0
Total Rounds of Magic played: 0
Days: 0
Avg cost per day to play:  0

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Bye bye Zendikar

The return to Zendikar is over and it seems I am not alone in being happy about that. I would say it was an interesting set with a lot of things to think about, but interesting doesn't always equate to fun.
Attendance was down and there were some real flaws in both sets design.
It's actually felt like a pretty mediocre year and a bit of Magic as everything has been significantly less fun to play than triple Khans.

The final two weeks of Oath//Battle draft did not fire at my store and I wasn't bothered. We played EDH one week and I was fine with doing that instead. EDH!!!
The EDH games were a little bit excruciating though as one of the players was new to the format and was very slow. You quickly learn that you shouldn't perform your operations the same as you would in a duel but he hadn't realised that so still made us wait while he searched for a card and then he passed the turn. Shortcuts like "I'm fetching a forest, go" are essential to keep the game moving as is thinking about what you are going to do on your turn BEFORE it starts. The going into the tank on upkeep is infuriating.
I don't like it in regular Magic but when 4 other people are waiting, sigh.

All that glumness is set to get blasted away by positivity though because I am super excited about the new set. So much so I plan to make the effort to attend the midnight pre release event.
Duels of the Planeswalkers has the Shadows over Innistrad expansion scheduled to hit on April 6th which is pretty soon. I have some coins in the bank and plan to take my time scaling the ladder this time while experimenting with some new Innistrad themed decks. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Monday Magic #19

While I have been enjoying Duels of the Planeswalkers and the increased payouts for both quests and PVP play, for actual play with real cards i'm not quite feeling the 'Magic'. I don't know why, it's probably just mental tiredness as I'm happy but busy an with plenty of mental stimulation at work each day. As opposed to my last job where it was pretty dreary and days seemed to take forever.

I missed playing Magic the week before and hardly felt it and only went this week because I had other stuff to do in Suwon that day. I did really enjoy it while I was there even though I did poorly (1-2). I had a lot more fun going 1-2 than I did a couple of weeks ago when I went 3-0. I don't think I need to get great results to have fun but if I am not enjoying the set then I usually don't get very good results.

As always with Magic a new set is coming and that is always a shot in the arm. I do agree with another local player who voiced some reservations about the current R&D team. Recent sets have been pretty mediocre. I guess Khan's might have spoiled us but I feel disappointed to be stuck with worse sets for an entire year. It hasn't been awful and I like Origins but it hasn't been great either. A very forgettable year for Limited overall.

Between Conspiracy 2, Innistrad and Eternal Masters surely there will be a good one. Hopefully its not Eternal Maters because that's going to be a hard to find $50 draft.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Monday Magic #18

With new and improved employment secured on Saturday it was going to be considered a good weekend regardless. Was it topped off with a crushing 3 nil draft win?
No it was not, I think I had a good deck, but a combination of it not cooperating and some awful play on my behalf meant I went 1-2.

Annalise popped in prior to draft which is always nice and I picked up a Myr Battle Sphere for my cube. We finally got to meet Felipe as he managed to wrangle some free time on a Sunday so the spirits were warmer than the weather which was friggin awful.

I won the first round even though I drew my deck in all the wrong order thanks to multiple fireball effects. In round 2 I lost the decider through a  combination of bad play and a lack of lands. Later I kicked myself over some pretty awful side boarding. I purposely took Tears of Valakut and Aligned Hedron Network as great sideboard options over low end playables and then didn't bring them in for a match up they would have been great in. On board mistakes as well as spell order mistakes were disappointing. I haven't played that bad in a while.
No explanation for it but I just wasn't feeling "on". Round 3 were two non games with a mull to five and a mull to six which should have been five. The matchup wasn't that great to begin with. This really stood out as an abnormal amount of bad luck  for me because my % of non games (on my side) feels so low overall. It happens. If I had of won the second round I wouldn't have even had to play the last round as there would have been a split. So in a way that bad luck could have been avoided by me not punting the second round.
It's totally illogical to think like this but I guess it's a plus to use up the bad luck when I am playing badly anyway.

Next week the shop looks to be hosting a W50,000 original Zendikar draft. I plan on passing on that so a break will probably be good and allow me to come back more keen and focussed. So far only 4 have signed up and the person bringing the box wants a guaranteed 8. The Korean players don't seem interested as at W50,000 it's not good value if you are looking for cards and you are really paying for the experience. The kind of decks that I remember drafting in Zendikar were mainly very quick beat down decks or blue based control decks (that double bounce spell comes to mind). Nothing really special that I need to relive and I think MTGO represents better value for flashback drafts than the high price of real life boxes.
I am still enjoying Oath of the Gatewatch drafts so if that is the format I probably will make it out there.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Magic Monday #17 How does my Dictate

Pro tour Oath is in the books and the decision to ban Splinter Twin looks a bit silly. My super secret Faeries tech of Dictate of Erebos for the new post twin meta looks ridiculous now.
I don't feel upset about recent events as my over riding feelings are relief at getting out of Modern. I am not keeping up with that shit show.

From a spectators point of view it's been a while since we have seen pros actually "break" a format, it was kind of exciting. Eldrazi Mimic of all cards. None of the armchair finance experts predicted it and the secondary market went bananas as a result. I really enjoyed watching it up until LSV got knocked out in the semi finals. Nothing against the deck but the players left were quite methodical (polite for slow) so it was time to grab some sleep.

It will be interesting how this all plays out at the next bunch of GP's and right now I am enjoying all the previously bulk Eldrazi rares in my binder getting a massive boost. I also found a foil Eldrazi Sky Spawner I had stored in a box of otherwise bulk. Nice.

This has added a little bit more spice to our Oath of the Gatewatch drafts. I am enjoying the format but opening valuable cards is a lot of the attraction for most people and thrilling for everyone but those with the coldest of hearts. I am on a bit of a run of getting decent cards in either the draft or my prize packs. This week I took home the big boy Kozilek to go with my Kozileks Return from last week. Flavour win.

I drafter a red blue deck this week but didn't really go in for any surge shenanigans, instead focussing on value. My biggest mistake was thinking I was the beat down because I picked up cheap goblins pack one. It turned out I was instead the deck with inevitability and after losing round 1 I won the next two fairly easily. Much the same story as last week though that time I was playing green red.To be honest I really enjoy red in this (and most) formats so I was happy to get a first pick Fall of the Titans and not have to pretend I am not drafting red.

I also got to draft my cube last weekend. I judge it a success as people couldn't stop talking about their decks, what they drafted and what they wanted to draft. Powered cube is great in small doses and it had been a while. I skipped the trip to Kindle the other foreigners were going on. With most of my valuable cards sold my main motivation for going was gone. Playing two headed giant sealed sounded fun but it's just so far away.
I do want to get there again though, if just to approach Min Yeong about writing articles, proper ones like I wrote for Paper-Gamer not the rants I put here, for his new website. My contract runs out at the end of this month and a new one isn't secured so the next few weeks are full on and not the best time to start making more promises but once things settle down I want to take a crack at trying to be the "Korean Magic coverage guy".

Pay to Play: Not much to report, my Magic coffers are overflowing after selling out of modern and I haven't been tempted to spend on anything more than our weekly draft.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Magic Monday #16

Mission accomplished in regards to trimming down my collection. I sold pretty much all my Modern cards that weren't in my Faeries deck and some that were (bye bye 1 mana discard spells).
I sold it all for 65% of the Card kingdom value which I felt was pretty fair and am still happy with. I was previously aiming for 70 - 75% but one person offered to buy the entire binder and I was saved a trip to Seoul so I think giving a discount was fair enough.

I am not sure what he plans to do with the cards, I expect him to turn it over for a profit or it may form part of the stock when the Suwon store finally launches singles. Collected Company spiked the next day so hopefully he will do well out of the transaction. He is better connected to the Korean Magic community, I consider him a friend and the timing was fantastic for me and my family so I genuinely want this to be a win win transaction. I am in that sticky part of the year where I only have one month of my contract left and new employment hasn't been locked in yet. This deal was a couple weeks worth of wages for me so a nice breather.

My binder now looks really barren and it's questionable if it is worth taking at all. It's at the point where it's time to add expensive uncommons like Young Pyromancer and Gitaxian Probe to fill it out. I kind of suspect those may move quicker anyway.

I am really enjoying the new set even though I am kind of struggling with it. Not  results wise (2-1 each time) but it's just hard. So much going on but aggro is much better than it was in triple Battle so I am happier. I wouldn't touch an ally with a 40ft barge pole before but I have taken my fair share this time. I even drafted green and didn't want to shoot myself.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Monday Morning Magic #15 Coldsnap

Over winter I switch to a morning schedule with zero extra time in the office. Now that I am back in my very very cold office I feel like typing something if just to check that my fingers still have feeling in them.

Thanks to selling some Puca points I have nearly $100 credit in the theoretical bank that is my Magic allowance despite breaking down and buying a card for my cube (Treachery for $13). I think the $2 a day series is flawed because I already have a pretty big collection that I could use to pay for Magic for the next couple of years.

The recent Splinter Twin ban and my own situation (raising a kid with autism is expensive) have me looking at my collection in a different light. I love my cube, it's good to have a couple of EDH decks but what about Modern and Legacy. In Legacy I have the one dredge deck that I never get to play but have some weird compulsion to keep. Perhaps selling that only as a lot makes sense and not parting with the cards otherwise.

As for Modern, sigh. I only had the Splinter Twin deck together for a short time before it got hit with the ban hammer but I had fallen in love. Play style wise it felt very much like my favourite deck Faeries and with it's parting I'm a lot sourer on Modern. I am siding with keeping Faeries and selling the rest but what about that one Modern WMCQ a year I keep threatening to play in, don't I want a competitive deck for that?
Just typing that out has answered it for me. I don't need a great Modern deck. I only have time for draft and keeping all these extra modern staples is not necessary.

I plan to head to Kindle shop soon to really lighten my collection and restart the $2 a day challenge at $1 a day without a huge bank of spare cards backing me up. I have also enjoyed not taking my binder to events lately and taking the subway without a back pack. I do feel like I am giving up value if I leave my binder behind though, all those standard cards pulled from draft just sitting there. Off loading all the playables will be a load of my mind, an early spring cleaning if you will. The space my collection takes up seems to keep growing with each set so it's not far off the mark.

Magic wise I am enjoying the new set and Duels of the Planeswalkers (especially with the improvements to quests).