A Magical Huffalump Resides Here: April 2013

A Magical Huffalump Resides Here

My name is Ed, I am a programmer. Just another dude with another blog. I like MTG, Open Source (more towards FREE software). I like sports, and eventually I hope to do business and do good for the world in general. This blog is gonna be about Magic The Gathering. Decklists and snippets will be posted here. It may lead somewhere or nowhere, as with all things arcane, that was bloody obvious =)

Monday, April 29, 2013

My Thoughts About Modern as a Format

Alrighty, if you are perplexed? Means you dun play Magic the Gathering and are probably a Mousehunter *waves*

Well I'll try to update more on mouse hunting later.

For now my mind is on Modern.  Its mostly cos I read this post/blog on MTGSally where someone expressed why Legacy is unlikely to die off due to the reserved list, but at the same time perhaps bashing Modern too much.

Heres what I think:

I think the purpose of Modern is as what many have pointed out.

1) It is not a replacement for Legacy. It cannot, simply by virtue of balance and card pool.
2) It is a totally different animal!!

Now what do I mean?


There has been so many bannings and always it was to take down the top dog (the last banning was due to time, but I don't buy that why? If you have infinite, the game ends there, your opponent cannot force you to go through the steps, he may force you to do it once to proof you have it but thats it, and did you see Cifka or Holiday play? Slow play, if any, is the player's problem not the deck - further more the deck is VERY resilent)

I am feeling a little miffed since I have invested in a 17USD japanese Second Sunrise. That upsets me, the card has now lost almost all its value.

Just like that. Luckily I already have a playset of  Second Sunrise so I did'nt have to buy more.

So thats Modern for you, where the top dogs get eliminated. What does that leave us?

Interestingly I guess that is what WOTC is trying to do. By shooting down the top dogs, prices are actually kept in control (as soon as silly boys like me wise up to the game). And most decks are affordable! The other side effect is that as the top dogs get shot down, the meta will ALWAYS be in flux. Because only two states can occur in a meta. Flux and resolution, with resolution, there is one or a few dominant decks (something like what Legacy was and to some extent still is), with flux, a deck able to compete at a certain bar would survive.

That is pretty interesting to me.

To hopefully make it clearer. I feel that FNM is a nice place to brew a deck and often times, goofy decks have half a shot of doing decent. The same deck might/will not survive in a more competitive environment like a GP where the meta is more advanced in resolution. By shooting down the top decks (at least those that have dominated for a while or look like they will dominate), the Modern Meta is kept in flux.

And that is what I think WOTC is gunning for. Balanced Meta, achieved through flux and as a side benefit lower prices hence lower barrier to entry (once people start getting wise to the game, prices will not get hyped up so easily, you can actually already see that for the Eggs deck, Lotus Bloom did go up yes, but not like Jace or the fetches and so on, people are more cautious now. I, myself will be more cautious now, having been burnt)

Its not too bad a format actually.  =)

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Well this is mousehunt related.

 No I really had no idea what to put as the title.

 Its really just to repost something that was in the mousehunt forums.

 And lest it gets forgotten over time, I thought I would repost it just so it lasts that little bit longer in memory, for whatever its worth =)

 mousehunt is still alive after what? Five years? Why?

 Cos the devs are real people =)

 This is a thread on the forums which I thought was really cool of the devs =)

 Oh the humanity!

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Monday, April 22, 2013

My Journey in Shoe Horning a Blitz deck

So I recently tried to to get my stoopid Rakdos deck working.

And by Rakdos I mean a deck containing Rakdos, Lord of Riots not R/B decks in general =)

So a friend insisted that Rakdos was playable. I got into a tirade on how bad Rakdos is.

I mean, really, I have tried the card in aggro as well as control and he is just plain difficult to use. And I know this friend has'nt tried and is just make baseless convenient conjectures, hence my hissy fit.

But I am a very impartial person, even when I am biased against a point (in this case my prior experience tells me my parun is chicken shit) But still I  gave the opinion its due consideration.

Previously I had tried Rakdos in an aggro deck. But that was with R/B before Gatecrash.

Now strictly a zombie deck might have been able to force a Rakdos out, but at that time I was trying
to avoid zombies (as it was an already established deck, is likely just a poor replacement for the vampire)
and I wanted to use Rakdos upside.

The aggro deck did'nt make it, though (and highly likely) a zombie deck might have made it.

Still, I tried the control route, I did'nt just want Rakdos to be a poor replacement beat stick.

That one had some hope, but I was reluctant to use Rakdos's Return and Slaughter Games as those felt unfair
(but now I would use them gladly, partly as what cards to point slaughter games at is getting clearer + hey everyone is playing Sphinx's Revelation no? =P ).

The reason I said it had hope was that, the deck actually was able to attrite most decks to a blank state on board.... but it did'nt have the last ommph to finish off the opponent when he was down.

Rakdos Return and Slaughter games would have done that handily. Thing is I actually survived
three Sphinx Revelation and my opponent took forever to kill me. That ought to count for something huh?

But anyways before I got over the cheesiness of Rakdos Returns and Slaughter Games, I got interested in
LD (that will be another article).

So my Parun was left homeless for a while.

but due to the brief tirade about how bad Rakdos Lord of Riots is, I decided to explore how bad is he =P

The reason I was interested is this. The Naya Blitz is really fast. Previously my aggro deck ran out of steam and with no way to hit the dome, Rakdos stayed home *w00t a pun!!* but the Naya Blitz is really really fast.

So I decided to attempt to bring Naya Blitz to the Dark Side (I really am just shoe horning Rakdos in I know I know).

So this led to Dark Naya, now I know there is something called Dark Naya out there, but I have never seen it, and I don't want confusion, so I shall call mine Darya, since I have a friend called Darya =) I am pretty sure she would appreciate how this deck contains demons and all *ahem*

Now Darya was not the original attempt. I called the original attempt Dega Aggro. (Dega is from Apocalypse, kudos to the guy who remembered). Dega means WRB.

And this is the list:

//NAME: C:\MWS\Magic Workstation\Dega_aggro.mwDeck
    4 Boros Elite
    4 Champion of the Parish
    4 Rakdos Cackler
    3 Rakdos, Lord of Riots
    1 Deviant Glee
    4 Lightning Mauler
    3 Mizzium Mortars
    3 Bonfire of the Damned
    1 Rakdos's Return
    1 Cryptborn Horror
    2 Disciple of Bolas
    4 Cavern of Souls
    4 Sacred Foundry
    4 Blood Crypt
    1 Vault of the Archangel
    4 Frontline Medic
    4 Dragonskull Summit
    4 Clifftop Retreat
    4 Burning-Tree Emissary
    1 Rix Maadi Guildmage

It is actually serviceable, but the mana is awkward due to Cavern of Souls. Remember Cavern of Souls only produces coloured mana for the creature type chosen when you play it. So sequencing your choice is important.

In the end, the deck was not as fast as I wanted, but it did its job of getting Rakdos out. I just need to actually run it in an FNM.

What bugged me was that it was fast but it lacked Naya Blitz's bulk with speed,   ....severely so. The Human synergy was not there, there might have been enough to make it still work, but I was unhappy.

So I continued tweaking it and I came up with two variants:

I realised that, to really exploit the Champion of the Parish, I needed the one drops to be humans.

Also the removal of Mayor of Avabruck meant the deck lacked tricks. The Mayor accounted for bulk and
added to Champion and when it was howling, it created an army of wolfs that evolved Experiment One.

That was a tough shoe to fill!!

I looked at the manabase and felt 4 Caverns and the Burning-Tree Shaman might do the trick and Darya was created::

By now it is pretty establised that if Rakdos was used in an aggro deck, its upside becomes irrelevant. Hence
I replaced my parun with the Falkenrath Aristocrat. If tragic slips become extremely popular, Rakdos might become more playable, but for now 4/1 haste is just too delicious.

//NAME: C:\MWS\Magic Workstation\Darya_Blitz.mwDeck
    4 Cavern of Souls
    4 Sacred Foundry
    4 Blood Crypt
    4 Dragonskull Summit
    4 Clifftop Retreat
    4 Boros Elite
    4 Champion of the Parish
    4 Lightning Mauler
    4 Frontline Medic
    1 Rix Maadi Guildmage
    2 Mizzium Mortars
    3 Bonfire of the Damned
    4 Searing Spear
    4 Reckless Waif/Merciless Predator
    2 Falkenrath Aristocrat
    4 Burning-Tree Emissary
    4 Mayor of Avabruck/Howlpack Alpha

// Sideboard:

Darya did'nt run too badly actually it was as fast as Naya Blitz and can match it play for play, however the main difference is that of Reckless Waif versus Experiment One.

Experiment is potentially 4/4 (with Mayor, possibly bigger, but most games don't last long enough)
while Reckless Waif has a max 3/2 but Reckless Waif potentially is faster in getting to 3 power. I suspect Experiment one is more consistent.

The other exchange is Ghor-Clan Rampager versus Falkenrath Aristocrat. The speed at which the deck aims to kill results in the two cards essentially serving the same purpose, that is, to hit for 4 to the face quickly.

Rampager with bloodrush potentially saves your creature though (and still gets the 4 through using trample), the Aristocrat has evasion and is able to protect itself however.

Another difference is Bonfire and Mizzium Mortars versus Giant Growth and Flinthoof boars. You can read it as 3 Bonfire, 2 Mizzium Mortars, 1 Falkenrath Aristocrat and 1 Rix Maadi Guildmage is replacing, 3 Giant Growths and 4 Boars. There is an exchange of two creatures for two spells.

That is largely due to difficulty in finding a good black or red creature at 2 cc. Playing the boar as well as the Mayor would stress my non-green mana base too much me thinks, hence I did not go down that route.

But it held up well and played similarly.


So similar that I questioned what I was doing so much to get black for? 2 Falkenrath Aristocrats??? The Bonfire could have been played in the original one! (Though I do not recommend that, Bonfire though powerful is unpredictable and Giant Growth combats tricks are good)

Hence I decided I did not want to go Naya, I wanted it to be Dega.

Hence Dega Blitz was created::

//NAME: C:\MWS\Magic Workstation\Dega_Blitz.mwDeck
    4 Cavern of Souls
    4 Sacred Foundry
    4 Blood Crypt
    4 Dragonskull Summit
    4 Clifftop Retreat
    4 Boros Elite
    4 Champion of the Parish
    4 Lightning Mauler
    4 Frontline Medic
    1 Rix Maadi Guildmage
    4 Reckless Waif/Merciless Predator
    2 Falkenrath Aristocrat
    2 Disciple of Bolas
    2 Knight of Infamy
    4 Skirsdag High Priest
    2 Mizzium Mortars
    3 Bonfire of the Damned
    4 Searing Spear

// Sideboard:

I removed Shaman and Mayor. The Shaman is actually still in contention. However, previously it did double duty, achieving colour fixing + acceleration. Now, in Dega Blitz it only accelerates (since green mana is not needed) and further more if I have more black creatures I cannot accelerate consistently.

I tried very hard to look for a good 2cc red human creature comparable to the Mayor in power, but found none, hence when the shaman's acceleration became less reliable, she had to go.

That leaves 8 slots.

The most powerful 2 cc black HUMAN creature is *drumroll*

Skirsdag High Priest!

This starts to go into Aristocrats or Act 2 territory. But those decks are not my game as I still wanted to blitz.

I ended with

4 Skirdag High Priest
2 Disciple of Bolas
2 Knight of Infamy

Skirdag if left uncheck can be alot of pain. Bolas's disciple is just nice to have and is Human. However he is too slow and lousy in multiples, hence I am only comfortable letting 2 in the deck. Knight of Infamy becos I am not too sure what else to put there.

Overall I like it.  but it is still slower than naya Blitz =/

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Sunday, April 07, 2013

My first 3-0 win at FNM

So I finally manage to win three rounds at the FNM at SGCards.

 But it was with Naya Humans/Blitz

 It was weird. I only played Humans because I was late and wanted to have quick games.

 Else normally I will play my home brewed LD deck.

 I normally lose with that =) and now with Humans I 3-0 .... maybe I should have tried harder to get the farseeks =P

 Anyways here is the promo:


First round was the mirror 2-1, I think I got lucky

Second round was a Junk Rites. I think I got lucky, I was too fast too furious. 2-0

Third round was either Junk or Bant. Yes thats not saying much =P Anyways 2-0. Again it was the speed. I did'nt use the sideboard. Most times I just depended on the luck of the draw.

In my first round I suspect sideboarding played against my opponent. In my second round, my opponent was mostly land screwed, it helped that I zapped his Pilgrim and he did not draw vault of the archAngel.

In my last round, apparently my opponent had a deadly hand. My friend told me i was lucky as my opponent was land screwed. Tho he added that my opponent misplayed, he had a think twice that should have helped him. I pointed out that I could have ended the game a full turn earlier (but did not due to sloppy play - I did not calculate if the combat math was lethal, but play a safe attack - tho a alpha attack would have ended it) and that he did think twice in the end but it was to no avail.

Overall I think the Naya Blitz deck is still valid, but a prepared opponent should have no problems. How to play the deck? if you are holding back you are playing it wrong =P This deck rewards reckless play heh, my kinda deck really. The only grouse I have is that I am just netdecking, home brew just feels more rewarding. =P

So I am not really sure what to play next week......if i hopebrew I have to eke out my wins and will likely lose, a netdeck is already tuned heavily so its more of a matter of keeping tight play.

Ah well. I really need to play tighter.

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Friday, April 05, 2013

My Thoughts About Modern Masters

I think it sucks.

I'm not sure what they could possibly print to make it so expensive. But as it is I don't think I will be able to get two boxes as I originally planned.

It looks like its gonna cost something like 300USD  per box. Its becoming a price gorging excercise for the retailer and for what?

What could they possibly print that i cannot circumvent with current cards? (Current being the current blocks - so the price should not be that ridiculous yet).

I am just glad I have 4 ofs of almost very card after Vintage level cards. Hence I know the power level and really... it is laughable how they are price gorging this set. It is sad. It was marketed as adding to the pool, but really Modern's success will be circumvented by events such as this.

But there is hope of course. There is always hope.

Hey I just did an Aragon!! W00t!

Anyways *ahem* the hope is that I strongly believe that you do not need the cards from Modern Masters at all. Actually I was rather disappointed with the pool that Modern Masters will be printing from and initially only wanted to buy for fun, for the alternate art. A Tarmogoyf would just be icing.

Now with the current mad upward spiraling, I see Modern Masters as a mistake with no one gaining but the higher end retailers. Fortunately we don't actually need this set.

I'll probably just crack a pack or two for the sake of it (if we even get to see it =) )

Side note:

I have a new Eggy kinda deck for my next post I think. A cross between Epic Experiment and the current Eggs. But have no doubt, the Eggs deck is more resilient. Mine is more of a nonbo fun deck that just kinda cycles through all the zones. Oh ya that sounds fun for the pilot and boredom for the opponent, so... its more of a solitaire deck heh

And oh ya its probably perfectly serviceable and probably have nothing printed in Modern Masters Voila! ;) well actually some cards may be printed in Modern Masters (theres no guarantee right), but then that would make Modern Masters sad since none of the cards are really expensive? With maybe the Lotus Bloom and Reshape struggling to gain traction.

Update: My recent thoughts here

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