Category Archives: MtG

Ixalan Mono Blue Control Challenge

After playing the red rookie deck from Card Kingdom, and having a lot of success with it against my students. I thought well they have seen a focused red deck that is aggressive from turn 1. But they haven’t really experienced a focused blue deck, and all the shenanigans that can do.

So I got thinking. Is it possible to build a mono blue control deck using just Ixalan cards? That’s the challenge, using just cards from Ixalan build a 60 card mono blue control deck.

Same as the first challenge, leave your decks and sideboards in the comments below (if you haven’t commented before I will have to approve the comment first, but after that you are golden to post whenever).

Then at the start of next week I will post the deck and sideboard that I have come up with (some people can rip that to shreds), and also pick up to two other decks from the comments below. Those two decks will each get two Ixalan boosters.

 

Ixalan Vampire Challenge – My Deck

Last week I posted a MtG deck building challenge where those interested in doing so, were challenged to build a vampire deck and sideboard using just the cards available in Ixalan.

I have a deck. Whether it’s any good is another thing. I have tested it against a couple of student decks. It’s 3-2 at the moment. I still need to put it up against the Rookie Red.

Here is the deck and sideboard that I came up with. I should point out this has been built with cards that I own.

Creatures:20

4 Duskborne Skymarcher
2 Skittering Heartstopper
1 Queen’s Bay Soldier
2 Inspiring Cleric
2 Legion Conquistador
3 Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle
3 Paladin of the Bloodstained
2 Bishop of Rebirth
1 Vona, Butcher of Magan

Spells:23

1 Demystify
1 Duress
1 Legion’s Landing
1 Ashes of the Abhorrent
2 Pillar of Origins
1 Sanguine Sacrament
3 Walk the Plank
3 Queen’s Commission
1 Ritual of Rejuvenation
3 Call to the Feast
1 Ixalan’s Binding
1 Vraska’s Contempt
2 Vanquisher’s Banner
2 Axis of Mortality

Lands:17

6 Plains
5 Swamp
2 Unclaimed Territory
4 Unknown Shores

Sideboard:15

2 Blight Keeper
2 Skittering Heartstopper
3 Vicious Conquistador
2 Adanto Vanguard
2 Tocatli Honor Guard
1 Legion Conquistador
2 Sanctum Seeker
1 Sanguine Sacrament

This is geared up to generate 1/1 vampire tokens, beefing up the vampires with the Vanquisher’s Banner (it gives +1/+1 to all vampires). The Axis of Mortality is a fun move to pull off. Run the health down then pull the trigger and swap them around. Suddenly your opponent is open to just one or two 1/1 creatures getting through. This also generates life, because those 1/1 vampire tokens have life link, plus one or two of the cards give me life when they enter the battlefield. Which is handy for Vona. But with my 1/1 creatures I have enough protection to protect me from decks that hit the floor running such as the Rookie Red deck.

Sadly no one put a deck up in the comments of the previous post. So there are no other decks to share. On the plus side that means I don’t have to send out any Ixalan boosters to anyone, and I can have them for myself.

There will be another challenge later in the week.

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.

Card Kingdom Rookie Deck – Red

Part of my second order from Card Kingdom was one of their rookie decks. I wanted this in for teaching MtG to new students with, and for students to use as well. At $6.99 (plus postage – which was international for me) you are not going to get any high value cards in these decks. What you do get is a great deck for teaching MtG with that focuses on one or two mechanics of that colour. It comes in a nice plastic case for storage, and two handy reference cards (see below).

Which for me are a little bit more useful than the rules reference that comes with almost ever MtG product that WotC put out. Mainly because these are easier to have out and reference than the rules reference.

I’ve played this against my students decks, and wow. This is beating the official Ixalan Jace Planeswalker decks they are currently playing with. On the description it says that this deck is fast. They are not kidding. Turn 4 or 5 wins are very common (so far). I’m trying to get my students to learn from this, and see that this is a deck of common cards, no planeswalkers (which they seem to be so all over and excited about having in their decks), no big expensive cards. It just executes it’s game plan to perfection. But because it focuses on just one or two mechanics, it makes teaching with this deck easy. I think that this is a more fun deck to play than the Welcome Decks that WotC give out. Although they are good, and a great way to get new players into the game (here is a free deck of cards to play with). I do feel that this is a better way to introduce new players to the game, and depending how charitable/generous you are feeling, cheap enough that you can give the deck away to the new player.

The Decked Builder app priced the cards at a value of around $7 (against current prices on the Card Kingdom website), but was unable to find a price for 3 of the cards. So I would guess if you said $8 max in total if you were to buy the cards separately you wouldn’t be too far off. You get the reference cards and the plastic case. So I think this is great value. Just a shame that here in the UK we have to pay for international shipping and can’t get them more easily over here.

For those interested here are the cards that Card Kingdom used to build this rookie deck:

Oh before you look at the list and say “hey I didn’t get this or that card in mine”, these decks are subject to change due to availability of cards at the time they build the decks. It’s why they no longer put deck lists up on their site for these and the battle decks. 

Creatures:25

4 Bloodlust Inciter
4 Defiant Khenra
4 Mogg Flunkies
4 Nest Robber
4 Minotaur Sureshot
4 Hyena Pack
1 Lathnu Sailback

Spells:11

3 Act of Treason
4 Open Fire
4 Chandra’s Outrage

Lands:24

24 Mountain

Random Booster Opening #3

The addiction continues.

I have no excuse this time for opening a packet except that I did. The packet was there and screaming “open me”. It would have been rude of me not to act on it’s demands.

Ok I feel dirty and used, even ashamed having given in to my baser instincts, and opened yet another booster pack. I’m weak. Easily lead astray.

But you don’t care about that self loathing. You want to know what I got in that little packet of foiled goodness.

Well I got Unfriendly Fire as a shiny!

Then my rare was the flip card Conqueror’s Galleon, which flips into Conqueror’s Foothold.

The three uncommons were the following.

Finally the commons.

So that was our third Ixalan booster pack for the blog. There have been more than that opened. But if I did everyone here you would be more bored than you are now.

Ixalan Vampire Challenge

Thought I would start a new irregular series of posts that may or not be MtG related. They could easily be for Epic or Star Wars: Destiny, or any game that allows deck construction of some sort. But for this first post I am going with MtG.

So for this inaugural post the challenge is using just cards in Ixalan build a 60 card vampire deck, and a 15 card sideboard. This can be mono or black/white (Orzhov). It’s definitely tribal.

Leave your decks and sideboards in the comments below (if you haven’t commented before I will have to approve the comment first, but after that you are golden to post whenever).

Then at the start of next week I will post the deck and sideboard that I have come up with (some people can rip that to shreds), and also pick up to two other decks from the comments below. Those two decks will each get two Ixalan boosters.

Sunday Surprise

I knew that my second order from Card Kingdom was somewhere between their location on the west coast of America, the Atlantic and our postal system. So when the 2 battle decks, rookie deck, and sideboard starter turned up today I was a little surprised. Like the latest MtG duel deck I was expecting it next week sometime. But both early on a Sunday. What a pleasant surprise.

I’m a fan of the MtG duel decks. They are great for casual players who just want that MtG experience without all the investment and deck building etc. I’m really looking forward to playing this latest set of Merfolk vs Goblins. Especially when I’m hoping there are cards in the merfolk deck that I could use in a merfolk tribal deck for Commander. Yeah I have a merfolk deck on my list of Commander decks to build. I think Ixalan will be inspiring lots of tribal decks for Commander players. With this duel deck, Explorers of Ixalan and the next set Rivals of Ixalan there will be plenty of options to build tribal decks around merfolk. Naturally I’m not counting cards from earlier sets, because I don’t have many. So I build from what I have. Besides I won’t break up a duel deck, so if there are cards I want I’ll have to target buy or buy another copy. Anyway I digress.

These duel decks are my “let’s play a game of magic” for my friends and myself. Or sometimes for my students to use to play with.

The battle decks from Card Kingdom are their version/equivalent to the official Planeswalker decks. So I went with their new merfolk and dinosaur decks. After that digression earlier I bet you can guess why I got these two decks. Which might eventually be their final destination. But in the meantime they are going to fill the same kind of job as the duel decks which I think they are ideal for. Naturally at $10 a piece you are not going to be getting any high value cards. But used as I intend to they are a bargain.

The rookie red deck is just a basic deck I can use along side Welcome Decks to teach the game. Whilst I wanted the sideboard to introduce the concept to my students.

Naturally it goes without saying I’m rather keen to try these decks.

Saturday

Yesterday Justin, Jonathan and myself played a couple of games. Our first game was Sub Terra. The baggage this game has is a nice source of banter at my expense. But then again it’s banter if you give it, you also have to receive it. This was a first time in the depths underground for Jonathan and Justin. Jonathan was designated first player by the fact his arm had been down a manhole recently. Which sadly was the nearest any of us had been to being underground. The criteria for choosing the first player in the rules is the person who most recently has been below ground. Thematic but still.

Jonathan and Justin both went off exploring in one direction while my two characters went off in another. A Horror didn’t turn up until the second half of the game. Unluckily for me the exit was on the side of the cave complex that Jonathan and Justin were on. Even worse for me was there was not a chance I’d make it over to them in time before we were out of time. Which didn’t matter, even with two horrors on their tails, both my cavers became unconscious. Still 4 out of 6 escaped. So we won the game!

Our second and final game of the afternoon was London (Second Edition). Which to cut along boring story short I won. Justin thanks to having lots of poverty ended up with a negative score. I think played right his tactic of 7/8 stacks could work. But when you ran the city you’d have to have zero cards in hand by the time you got to the calculating poverty stage.

A great afternoon gaming, and once more a big thanks to our hosts The White Lion for allowing us to play there.

Seeking solace in a booster – Random booster opening #2

I wasn’t expecting to do one of these so soon. But after the day I had yesterday I needed something to cheer me up. Yesterday the clutch on my car decided it wants to see what is awaiting for it on the other side. I managed during its death throes to drive it from work back to Wisbech and my regular garage. But it was close. I feared junctions, and the evening traffic queue spots. Somehow I managed to get through March. A miracle, and evidence if there was any required of a higher power. If you didn’t see my driving home last night you missed some of the best driving ever. But my worst fear was nearly realised less than half a mile from the garage. I just couldn’t get the car into first when I had stopped at some traffic lights. Eventually after a long struggle with the dying clutch I managed to get into first and crawl that last bit of the journey to the garage. Parked the car, and as I got out I half expected it to just implode as it gave it’s dying breathe. But it didn’t, it stood there, not moving for anyone unless they pushed it.

So here we are with an opened feel good booster.

Let’s go straight to the rare that I pulled:

Next up the 3 uncommons:

Finally the 10 commons:

On another MtG note, I did introduce some students to Commander yesterday using the 2017 Commander decks. One of the students was playing the Vampire deck and used Blood Tribute  on his fellow student who was playing the big cats deck. Sadly for the cat player earlier the Vampire player had cast Sanguine Bond on them. So with the Blood Tribute also being kicked, the cat player was dead. And the Vampire player was somehow sitting on 80 health. That meant myself (playing Wizards) and the dragon player ganged up on this monster vampire deck.

I cast Memory Plunder to play Blood Tribute on the vampire player, which was funny. It would have been even funnier if I had been able to kick it to get the life as well. I drew a Clone Legion, and played that copying the vampire creatures on the vampire players battlefield. Which meant I had a vampire. I then drew and played Izzet Chronarch, which when he entered the battlefield allowed me to pull back an instant or sorcery. Oh dear Memory Plunder was an instant, and I had the mana spare. So I cast Memory Plunder for the second time, and used Blood Tribute once again, but this time I was able to kick it. So I got life gain as well as do some serious damage to the vampire player. Naturally between the dragon player and myself we were able to put the vampire player out of his misery very quickly after that. But wow what a combo.

I was impressed with that Blood Tribute and Sanguine Bond combo, that was a very nasty play. It meant next game the vampire player was getting all the attention damage wise from the cat player. But it was oh so funny to use Blood Tribute twice against it’s owner.

Random Booster Opening #1

The problem with buying booster boxes for our Magic League is temptation and I’m weak willed.

Between league days I have an open booster box. The temptation to open the boosters is so great. It’s so addictive cracking open boosters. The anticipation, the crackle of the wrapper as you open it and peel back the foil. Then fanning through the commons and uncommons quickly to get to that magical rare/mythic. Was that a flash of a shiny? That moment when you glimpse that rare/mythic. The rush when it’s a card you really wanted, or is worth a bit of money.

So here we are, I gave in to temptation yesterday and cracked open a booster. And I thought I’d share the contents of that booster with you all.

This is a booster from Ixalan.

Ok let’s jump in with the headline act of the booster, the rare that I pulled.

Next up the uncommons were:


Finally getting the least attention the commons.


I’ve given this post a number just in case I want to do a similar post in the future.

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.