Category Archives: Magic League

Council of Nations

Wow no posts for 3 days, you all must have been hoping I’d given up blogging. Sadly I haven’t. I was truth be told just being lazy.

Friday evening saw Jonathan and myself meeting up at The White Lion Hotel to play some games.

Our first game was a recent addition to Jonathan’s collection Council of Four . This was a foreign version of the game, which meant two things. Jonathan had gone online and printed out the translated English rules (in colour), and that he got it a lot cheaper than the English version over hear. I think Jonathan said around the 8 or 9 euros mark, compared to (I want to say) over £20. So a massive saving. And the game is language independent. Which means it really doesn’t matter if you get the non-English language version.

I think my main issues with this game are production issues. The assistant tokens for instance (see close up below) look awful. The art work could be much bigger, and less white space. I also had an issue with the black permit cards. They look more brown. Especially when they actually have a black border, that is black! Not only that the black meeples were also not very black. The graphic design could have done with a little bit of tweaking on the use of the arrow symbol. The same arrow icon was used in several spots for different things. Ideally there should have been a different symbol or type of arrow used to symbolise it’s different meaning.

The actual game itself isn’t bad. It was fun, I liked that you can combo emporiums, which can be very powerful. Build an emporium in a city next to one you already have an emporium in you get that connected cities bonus too, and repeat until you come to the end of your chain of connected cities. I had a very effective “engine” going that gave me money, points, and cards every time I built a connecting emporium.

I won our game. It was close. I had that combo engine going, while Jonathan was being more targeted in where he was building his emporiums and collecting bonuses for building in cities of the same colour. It did look like I was running away with the game. But after taking into account bonuses earned during the game, and the odd end game bonus, the game result was much closer than both of us were expecting.

And that is one other thing I like about this game, that we both had different plans in place for scoring, and I can see the possibility of one or more other ways to. And that’s a nice thing to have.

I’d play this again. Would I ask to play it again? Maybe not. It’s a good game, just not a great game.

Our second and final game of the evening was an old favourite, Nations the Dice Game. This game soon went out of print after it came out a couple years back. I had bought mine just after I think it was my first UKGE, after hearing the buzz about it at the expo. When I heard that Stronghold Games had picked up the rights to the game, and not only were they reprinting the game, they were also going to be publishing an expansion for it, I was excited. At the time of the news breaking I did ask Stronghold via social media if the expansion would be compatible with the original printing, and was assured that it was.

Which brings us to Friday night. I had the new expansion Unrest and the perfect excuse to get the base game back to the table.

This expansion adds a new die to the game, that makes rolling for resources a bit riskier, but has a bigger pay off. There is also a new reroll token, new nation boards, bonus tiles, pass bonuses, and more progress tiles.

The new nation boards actually fix an issue I had with the original game. In the original game it made no difference which nation you chose because they were all basically the same. Everyone got the same starting dice and tokens. Now with the new boards it matters which one you chose, and also which side. You get that feeling of uniqueness.

Ok the game is still over really quickly. But the added bonus tile that gives you a second thing to aim for other than just the famine and war bonus, is a nice addition. Plus passing now also gives you a little something, unless you are the last to pass.

I like this expansion, I don’t think I’d play the game without it. Even with new players. It adds stuff to the game, but not that much. Fixes a couple of problems. Yep glad I bought this expansion.

You know how this will end. A big thank you to The White Lion for allowing us to play there Friday evening.

Saturday was the final day of our Ixalan league. Unstable and life meant this last MtG meet up before Christmas was attended by five of us. I played 6 games, two best of three, and came away with a 1-5 record overall. These weren’t quick wins. They went to the long game. Which for 5 of the games saw my deck bettered. After I handed out the three prize packs for most wins, most plays, and most friendly player, and some packs were bought off me, I was left with 3 packs. I consoled myself with those 3 packs and was rewarded with the following card:
This is my third Huatli, Warrior Poet planeswalker. So nearly a play set. But is it good enough to break into my R/G Dino deck? I do like that ability to generate 3/3 dino tokens. Maybe in the sideboard?

Yep another thank you to Fenrock for hosting our MtG league.

Our next planned league will be at the end of January once Rivals for Ixalan has come out. But there will be one or two one off events before then. Keep an eye on the events page for Fenland Gamers to find out when they are announced.

Dinosaur Stomps

Yesterday was day 3, session 3, or whatever you want to call the penultimate Ixalan League afternoon for Fenland Gamers.

Ok let’s jump in with my win-loss record for the afternoon. I went 7-2 yesterday. But I didn’t get to play 3 of the people yesterday. Two of those were very strong decks indeed.

My first two games were against Lukas and his vampires. I’m not sure what the issue is here. Is it the inexperience of the player, the deck, or poor card draw? This is an easy match up for me. Lukas isn’t posing much of a threat on the battlefield. I have answers for his plan. I think reflecting on things I think the problem is a combination of all of the above. Vampires shouldn’t be this easy to defeat.

Justin played against me for my next two games. Which saw us win one each.

My fifth game was an interesting game. I managed to stabilise at 3 life to grab the win. With a built up battlefield I was able to control the game and finally after defending some attacks in which they shouldn’t really have attacked, grab the win.

My next two games were against Michael, Winner of season. He easily powered his way to victory in our first game, thanks to not drawing enough mana early on. But our second game was a different story. With Michael not getting the right mana I stomped (although I don’t play that card) to victory. Season 2 isn’t being kind to Michael. His deck just isn’t as dominating this time round. He is suffering a lot more losses.

I faced Lukas again for two more games to see how his strengthened deck was doing. But the same issues were there. I think some deck and play advice are needed. Next time it’s help Lukas time.

Justin and I had played each other twice and had both won a game. So our last game of the afternoon was a decider between us.

We were both amassing creatures on our battlefield afraid to attack. I think I had the slight edge, both in numbers and amount of damage they could dish out. Justin had one or two big hitters I wanted off the board, and I could take them out only if they were head to head with certain creatures of mine. So ideally Justin had to attack me so I could control which creature fought which. That way we’d both take heavy losses but I’d come out on top. When Justin did blink first and attack, the exchange was brutal. But when the dust cleared I had the upper hand. Which got worse for Justin when Angrath’s Marauders came out.


Double damage. With a battlefield I was rebuilding faster than Justin. I definitely had the upper hand. But the clock was ticking, I had 2 less cards in my library than Justin. I’d mill out first. With basically 4 turns left, I pumped up my Jungle Delver to a 5/5 over a couple of turns, and bought out a Ixalli’s Keeper.

With 1 card left in my library I swung in with everything but my Ixalli’s Keeper. I also made sure I had enough mana saved to pull off its ability. Justin had 14 life left. Could not block everything I had, especially my big hitters. Whichever big hitter wasn’t blocked I had plans for. That unblocked big hitter was going to get a +5/+5 boost from a sacrificed Ixalli’s Keeper as an “in response to you declaring attackers”. Which with the double damage boost would be fatal. Luckily that final all or nothing attacked played out my way. The buffed up big hitter delivering that winning blow, and winning our tie breaker game.

That was a close game. Almost milled.

Once again our hosts Fenrock were amazing. They are making some great changes to the climbing experience there. Plus you can also try out virtual reality now! Yep Fenrock now have a pc setup with an oculus rift with various games (even minecraft) for people to play using it.

There will be a gap between the end of this current league and when the next one starts. Mainly because we will be using the next set Rivals of Ixalan for it (and that isn’t out until mid January). So the plans are to organise some fun events to pass the time. Such as an Unstable draft, more Commander, maybe even a highlander or two-headed giant session. It’s a shame Iconic Masters is so expensive, would love to do a draft of that. So keep an eye out on the Fenland Gamers Facebook page for when the events are announced.

Gruuling afternoon

Yesterday life whittled down yesterdays league participants to 6 for our second session.

I’d arrived early to rebuild my deck from my card pool I had for the league (the packs opened the previous session) and the one I cracked for this session. The majority of the others had their packs at the end of the previous session. I went red/green (gruul I believe it is known as). My only turn 1 card was a couple of Commune with Dinosaurs that would allow me to hunt for a dinosaur in the top 5 cards of my library. But in reality I’d be looking at playing a creature turn 2 onwards. I had options then, turn 2 blockers, attackers, even the chance to make dinosaurs cheaper.

When I deck build I do like to have more low cost options, and have some more costly options but not as many. That way I stand a better chance of getting playable stuff in my opening hand or a mulligan. Plus if I don’t draw much land, which can happen, I can play something, and draw something I can play.

Out of 11 games I went 6-5. So my wins edged it this time. And a very big improvement over the opening session of just 1 win.

I was happier with this deck and the way it built up. There is hardly any removal, a single Crushing Canopy.

I pulled a Deathgorge Scavenger, and Charging Monstrosaur in my loser booster. Which made the deck even stronger. Both were really effective.

We gave Lukas a quick play lesson for his deck and told him what he should be looking for in his opening hand. Sadly we didn’t have his card pool to hand to see if we could help him strengthen his deck.

As usual we had a great afternoon of playing MtG, at our great hosts FenRock. Who are currently doing some exciting changes to the climbing facilities they have.

In response 

Yesterday was the start of our MtG League. This time we were using the latest set Ixalan. 

We had to start earlier than our regular time because our amazing host Fenrock needed us finished by 4pm so that they could prepare for a Halloween/Guy Fawkes party that evening.

My win-loss record for the afternoon was abysmal, I went 1-8. A single win. I got milled twice. A couple of games were close though.

I was playing a blue/white or Azorius as it’s called pirates deck. Although after my second losing booster I had a couple of cards that needed black mana. But I didn’t splash any swamps into my deck. I used treasure for that instead. I’m not a pirates person. I’m definitely a dinosaur and merfolk. But you have to run with what the boosters give you.

However the words I used for the title of this post struck terror into the hearts of my opponents, “in response”. I had a blast playing this deck despite the abysmal win ratio. So much fun counter spelling those big expensive dinos as them were coming onto the battlefield and getting lots treasure for doing so. Who knew blue could be so much fun!

Now using the boosters I have, which in this league format act as your sideboard, I have two weeks to ponder my deck for our next league day. 

A big thanks once more to our hosts Fenrock for providing great facilities and coffee.

Hobbit Hole Ixalan League Night #1

Last night was the start of the MtG Ixalan League at my FLGS The Hobbit Hole (link on the right hand side of the page).

For an entry fee of £10, you get three Ixalan booster packs, a league deck box (cardboard), a tracking sheet, and the opportunity to play MtG on a regular basis.

Before I go on and talk about my experience of the nights playing MtG in this league. I should point out I have signed up to one previously, however didn’t really get any games because it clashed with game night. And that I have been running an Amonhket one for The Fenland Gamers over the last couple of months or so (it’s taken longer than four weeks due to various factors).

I think that the League format is a great way to get new and old players playing together on a more even playing field. It removes the card pool advantage a long time player has. There is also the affordability of it. You don’t have to buy lots and lots of boosters to play. It limits that to an initial three, then one a week after that, plus you may buy an additional pack for every three loses in a row you have. The fact you get a rather nice looking cardboard deck box as well for that tenner makes it that you are getting a little bit more value for your money. Remember my FLGS sells three boosters for a tenner. Plus you are getting that deck box.

Then you need to factor in that for participation (after playing 10 games) you get a promo Unclaimed Territory land card. Plus if I’m remembering right we are also going to get an additional foil card from the shops foil card folder of our choice!

That takes the vfm (value for money) by the end of the league to way over the initial tenner. I’m not counting in the extra boosters you can buy during the league to strengthen your deck. They are what they are, boosters bought at £3.50 a time.

Now we are talking about boosters how did I do with my three for the league?

Well I pulled the foil Vanquisher’s Banner below. I’m really chuffed with that. I had target bought the regular version at the weekend. But to now have the foil, super cool.


Spoiler alert but I did lose three games last night. So that will explain to the observant and those that care why there are four cards in the following photo of the rares that I pulled. I got the chance to buy an extra booster to help improve my deck (possibly, maybe).

I played John the owner of The Hobbit Hole for my first two games. Our first game was over quickly, I was not drawing well, and John just destroyed me. Our second game I lasted longer, but the end result was the same. Maybe my decision to go with a green/blue (simic) dinosuar merfolk deck was a mistake?

My third game against Mark, a player returning to Magic was just as bad as the first two. But this third loss did mean I could get another booster to try and make my deck stronger. Yay!

I tweaked my deck, added in a couple of mountains, so now the deck was going to become blue/green/red (temur). Took out a couple more lands ( I was sure I had too many lands in my deck). They were replaced by a couple of red removal cards, and a red dinosaur.

Mark and I then had a rematch. This time the deck was working better, and I got the win.

My final match was against Kath. This was a bit of a slow game, with a lot of build up, getting our forces into place. Then we started trading blows. This sort of game was ideal for me. I was able to get my dinosaurs and merfolk into place. I had been frustrating Kath with some of my blue control cards early on that stopped her using her creatures to attack.

But our game came down to one play. I was on 11 health, Kath was on 7. She swung in with everything on her battlefield. 12 points of damage coming in. A killing blow. Unless…

I played Fiery Cannonade. A card that had been sitting in my hand for most of the game, waiting for the right moment. It’s time had come. One of the cards Kath was attacking with was not a pirate. It was an unblockable merfolk (can’t remember which one), a 3/2. It was gone. Only 9 damage delivered. I was still alive just. The big play had failed, leaving me able to swing in with my dinosaurs (yeah they all had more than 2 health) and deliver my killing blow.
So for the evening my record was 2 wins, 3 losses.

Next week I get to buy another pack, and hopefully pull some great cards to make this an awesome deck.

A great evening of playing Magic at my FLGS.