A Magical Huffalump Resides Here: June 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 =)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Hello Mousefans,

there is a new area in town, go yonder to your travel tab and look for Varmint Valley.

You should then travel on to Claw Shot City, where there be some baaad baaad mousies.

As of now there is only the cactus trap, spring loaded for good measure.

Apparently there is a new power type in town, and word is its LAW.

How? Lidat law.



[20130626 1240]

*a tumbleweed slowly rolls with the dusty breeze nonchalently*

So I am here. Right after completing the big bad of the Twisties Gardens. I like those snacks. Curry flavour.

Anyways. I've been in this here part of town b'fore. So I guess I cut straight to the chase and start a'huntin' those mice!

Spring-Loaded Attack Cactus (S.L.A.C.)
Power: 300 (Law)
Power Bonus: 5%
Attraction Bonus: 10%
Luck: none
Cheese Effect: No Effect

First thing first tho. I need to change that dingy Halloween theme from last year. Though I DO like it alot =)



My first real hunt here. I blame it on the dingy old halloween theme =P I gotta craft my new one fast...

There.... now to get dressed for succeess. (Accurately you gotta sing it to "Get Dressed" "For" "Suc-cess" "Hitting a spot for the big time, baby"  - I love Roxette =) )

There. I should hunt better no no? lol 

No wait there is a new theme.. ?!?! 


I need to keep up with this =P

[20131117 1220]

This will be the placeholder for the guide portion =)

1. Do not arm Prospector's Charm. You have better things to do. Your first step after getting the S.L.A.C. is to get a bounty hunter. Things to note:

1a. He is rare. I hunted actively for a day and only saw him once. It is my first day. Maybe hees shy.

1b. He is hard to catch. I FTCed. If you have monies to burn, go get the Sheriff Badge Charm from the market or donate to get some. If not just put out your best LAW setup and RAWR!!  You need to get him to get a wanted poster for a list of mice to hunt. This is to get more Fool's Gold. The basic trap for Law (S.L.A.C.) is too weak. Your prerogative now is to get Fool's gold. From the forums it looks like a few weeks to a few months effort to upgrade the basic trap. Hang in there. No keep your head out of the window. Thank you. Well I hope to write step 2 soon =)

1c. Horrors! He does not necessarily drop loot.

2. Once you have the bounty hunter with a loot drop open the poster and you should see 5 mice you need to catch.

3. Hop on to the Gnawnian Express (its on your map)

4. Catch whatever mice you can catch at the Gnawnian Express. While you are here board the trains. Why do all this? Simple, the mice are worth more =)

5. Once the mice in your wanted posted who are available in the Gnawnian Express have been caught, head back to Claw Shot City to catch the remainder (usually the boss)

6. Claim reward, and repeat  Step one until you get ennought Fool's Gold for what ever you are trying to get (firstly the upgrade to S.L.A.C. II) At this point, don't worry about the mini games on the train. Right now it is just to maximise profit =)

I recommend (if you have only S.L.A.C.)
Claw Shot City : S.L.A.C\SJB\Gouda\LGS\Super Power Charm
Gnawnian Express: S.L.A.C\Rift\Gouda\LGS\Chrome Charm

If you do not have the specific bases, just use something similar

For CSC I was focusing on a good mix of power and attraction
For GE I was focusing on luck

Note that my choices were based on the limitation of only having S.L.A.C. my choices might be different when I get S.L.A.C. II

[20131120 update step 2 2249]
[20131119 update step 2 0044]
[20131117 update step 1 2208]
[20131117 update step 1 2200]
[20131117 1236]

Alrighty, first off I just realised the original 1. in the guide above is TOTALLY wrong. =(

Prospector's Charm only helps you get more gold. NOT Fool's gold. *sighz* I gotta read the labels more caarefully =( Any ways its been corrected.

Step 1! is now accurate! a little more at least I think. More steps to go!!

Anyways what I have found. Aside from the Prospector's Charm being quite useless is this.

You need to get the Bounty Hunter ASAP. Except he is not attracted to any particular cheese. I have no idea if this is true in practice, but at least from the wiki he is'nt. Usually if he is attracted to SB, they would state it explicitly.

Now what this means is you need to arm your trap such that if and when he comes you want your trap to be at its best. The way to guarantee it is to get the Sheriff's Badge Charm. HOWEVER. That will cost you a few real life dollars or about 300K gold per charm at this point in time.

So in lieu of the get rich quick scheme, you just need to really prop up your measly slacker of a trap S.L.A.C. The optimum set up for me appears to be:

S.L.A.C.\SJB\Gouda\LGS\Super Power Charm

I haven caught the bugger yet, so it may change. But at least I am catching the mice better now. Getting rid of the wrong notion of Prospector's Charm was the turning point. For some reason I thought it was important. i was wrong =(

And I *sob* FTCed a Bounty Hunter (with my previous setup) la shame. =(

Anyways. Based on my squirrelling around the forum, it appears that the fastest way to get Fool's Gold to get rid of S.L.A.C. is to catch a bounty hunter (DUH!) and then get on te expressway to catch the bounty and then head back to the Clawshot City.

Thats what I have so far. There are definitely better guides out there at the moment =) so I am so touched that you are still reading this. I mean, for gawds sake, its been open for half a year and current law traps are like 4K in power!! wow. I am so behind.

Happy Hunting ppl!

[20131117 2154]

So I finally caught a bounty hunter with a poster within a day. So it is possible. Just slow =)

the setup is :

S.L.A.C.\SJB\Gouda\LGS\Super Power Charm

I'll have to warn you that I caught him once with no map and FTCed several times. So patience will be a virtue!

[20131118 0019]

and off we go !!!

I'm not really sure how this works, i just invited a few friends and boarded a train. I suspect I needed to get on the same train. I am not sure though.

[20131118 0030]

So I have almost completed my poster =D

And I guess the big bad is in Claw Shot City. My guess is to rinse and repeat this process (get wanted poster, go to the Gnawnian Express, and once the wanted poster is completed, repeat) until I have enough Fool's Gold to upgrade.

The money in the Gnawnian Express is pretty good! Tho from the forums it is still less than Furoma.

Things to note: If you are not in a team or you are the only one active and you are just trying to get by, you can safe the loot drops. Wait until you have a substantial amount then blow it all at one go. The reason is that part of the reward for boarding the train is the team performance (which if you are alone will obviously suck), hence you are better off if you load up on the drop items and release it in one big bang and try to get a good mark for the team. Or at least as best you can.  When you board the train, there are two scores, one team one train. Train is the effort of everyone. Obviously if you save your loot you are not helping the collective. Still, do try to have some sense of self preservation, no need to over do either way just find a good balance between helping the train and your own score.

The train score has a GUI aspect. You should see some little flags. Mouse over it and you should see that 50% score gets a passenger status and and 75% get engineers and 100% is Tycoon. Tycoon is obviously best =) But difficult to achieve when you are alone.

[20131119 0037]

After hunting for a very very long and substantial (I kid I kid) time. The set up that seems to work for me (at least until I get enough Fool's Gold) is this:

In Claw Shot City:

S.L.A.C\SJB\Gouda\LGS\Super Power Charm (set up A)

In the Gnawnian Express

S.L.A.C\Rift\Gouda\LGS\Chrome Charm (set up B)

If I arm set up B in Claw Shot City, strangely I keep missing. And it is the gray FTC. In lieu of mice stealing from me I cannot really tell how bad a miss, but I am guessing it is a close miss. So I tried upping the Powar and voila, I whiff less on Bounty Hunters. Note that with setup B, I get an anecdoctal 50% catch rate, which is pretty nice compared to what I had previously! But keep whiffing on Bounty Hunters and worse I don't seem to attract them very much.

Which is why I arm SJB rather than SBB, I suspect it is the "almost superbrie" phenomena =P the attraction seems to get me more Bounty Hunter visits. Many hunters will poo poo this I guess =) But it works for me so there.

The Rift base works surprisingly well on the train, its the other way round I keep missing with more powerful setups. (Note that I am limited by having only S.L.A.C.) The logic here I guess is that the power bonus of the base is not enough to up the power of the very weak S.L.A.C. So I keep missing even if the power variates on the high. Whereas a luck setup would variate more often and since the luck has a multiplier, I am guessing the multiplier effect at the moment is stronger than the power bonus given by the base, as the base power is low.

Totally hypothetical example:

Base power 200
multiplier 2
percentile bonus 50%

If only percentile bonus: 200 * 50% = 300
If only multiplier bonus: 200 * 2 = 400

Hmm actually I see no reason for luck to variate more often, so that probably rubbish on my part =)

[20131120 2245]

Now. I have finally understood how the train system work and why people say you can tycoon relatively easily.

How it works is this....

For the train:

Its kinda hit and miss. Try to get on a train that tycoons. Usually the players are more hardcore I guess. The trick is to find one and then keep the pace with the hard core players I guess. The flip side of this strategy is everyone employing this strategy of leeching will drag down the progress of the train and eventually tycooning becomes a challenge.

For the team:

and this is the main problem. I would say that an active team should have no issues tycooning. However if you are in an inactive team or are the only person in the team on the train. Then like me we have issues tycooning. Recently I read in some part of the forum that it is actually quite easy. And now I kinda get it cos I just tycooned. Relatively easily too. But you need to pick your trains. How it works is this: (and the new smuggling mechanic is the main thing that powers this strategy)

1. Get your crates, repellents and fuel nuggets to 10. You may need to be ultra sleeper on some trains to achieve this. How I do this is I will be sleeper for a 24 hour train. This give me enough time to get my crates, repellents and nuggets to a high number (I normally can't reach 10) ... the main reason I have difficulty reaching 10 is that, I am working with only S.L.A.C.. which is terribly weak. At least I have the Rift I guess =/ If you have S.L.A.C. II or better, you should be able to generate your 10 of each CRN (crate, repellents and nuggets, I tire of typing it again and again... and again =P). Note, while maxing CRN you might become and ultra sleeper. I.E. you get NO reward. You must at least contribue 1 CRN, however if you are trying to max out, the only place to contribute to train points without CRN is to catch a raider mouse in the second part of the train ride. Probably easy if you have a good law trap, below 50% for S.L.A.C. so just be mentally prepared.

2. Pick your train. You need to pick a train where you only need to contribute 40 CRN to tycoon at team level. This happens if you are on a 12 hour train and only 100+ people participate (at least that was what seemed to happen the last time). Or you go for a 6 hour train, which is more definitely only 40 CRN to team tycoon (I need to confirm this).

Note: I do not know if the 6 hr train team tycoon has the same reward as a partially filled 12 hr train team tycoon.

Why is it easy to tycoon?

Stage 1 (Crates): definite 10 train points
Stage 2 (Repellents): definite 20 train points (you must blow it all at once tho, piece meal will have no bonus. blowing 10 repellents at once gets a 10 point bonus for both team and train)
Stage 3 (Nuggets): Now this part is a bit more nuanced. You must blow all of it at once. But at the same time it must be as late as possible. The reason being this:

AFTER 10 nuggets. Every additional nugget nets you 2 points, but you must blow it all at once.

So for example:

11 nuggets get you 12 points
12 nuggets get you 14 points

... etc

Since you can accumulate up to 20 (while on the train, you can only smuggle 10) that gives:

20 nuggets get you 10 + 10*2 = 30 train points max.

If you look at the total that is a minimum of 40 points (10 + 20 + 10) to a possible 60 points (10 + 20 + 30).

Or more! since I am not including the extra CRN you get aside from these.

I prefer 12 hour trains tho as it is more possible to max out the nugget portion. 6 hrs fly pretty fast and my trap, being rather weak, misses alot. 12 hrs I have a higher chance to max out the nugget portion. However if you have a better trap, 6 hr trains might do (assuming the reward is the same... I seriously need to confirm this lol) The problem with 12 hr trains is that i need to pick a partial train so that the team target is more achievable.

Alas all that has to be put aside tho, since the GWH is here!!!!!

(BTW, the reward for team tycooning a partial 12 hr train is 18 Fools Gold. 18!! thats like one wanted poster!!)

Happy Hunting!

[20131211 2155]

I recently got my S.L.A.C. II !!! Meanwhile the season 2 for the treasure chests have begun where there is a new L.E. trap!

I think i will focus on the Law traps for awhile though =)

Happy Hunting!

[20140116 0155]

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Saturday, June 01, 2013

Updates on my Thoughts about Modern Masters


I still think it sucks =)

But here's the kicker.

It was everything I expected it to be.

Its not jammed packed with crazy value cards. It looks balanced and fun. A lot of older cards are seeing print and while I am a spike and love me some lotuses (the black variety), I am still happy with the power level. Its not the second coming of ABU.

But neither is it the second coming of Chronicles.

I don't think Wizards learnt from Chronicles AT ALL.

Thing is this. Their supposed lesson learnt was that prices tanked after Chronicles was printed.

But there was nothing strong in Chronicles. What tanked? The Elder Dragons thats what. I think you will be hard put to say those were stellar. The art by most people today would be atrocious (However I must add the caveat that I find TODAY's art ATROCIOUS. Today's art is a CGI fest, the skill is less in the eye and the hand, but how well you can manipulate software. Sure that takes skill, but where is the TEXTURE, FLAVOUR, and the simple love strokes that an artist confers to a piece, be it a blotch, a mistake, a revelation, an improvision! All LOST.  .... but it does'nt change the fact that the masses seem to love CGI, so whatever. I actually do like the Elder Dragons art by the way. An aside to this aside: thats where the E and D in EDH comes from, Elder Dragon Highlander - Highlander being a pun on the show Highlander that is: there can only be one - referring to the singleton cards).

Now back to the point. The Elder Dragons were not powerful and the rest of the cards kinda sucked. Given the progression of newer and stronger cards, it was inevitable that it tanked. Further, imagine this: Elder dragons were loved by Timmies mostly. You MASS produce it. Please use blain now...... think think think? You are including Spikes and Johnnies and their pet goldfishes. WHY would'nt the price tank?

Seriously they should just fire the marketing fellows.

Modern Masters is really a "best off" set. Constrainted by gameplay balance. Sure reprints hurt, but Bop had to under go so many reprints (all the way from sixth ed I believe) to get from 10 dollars ++ to 3-5 dollars. You are talking about shitloads of reprinting. Not a slow roll release where (hello!) you can alternate cards to reprint. Release it at higher prices by all mean. PLEASE. Profit! (not too much) but dun do limited printings.

Limited print runs DO NOT help Modern as a format.

As it is Modern Masters is a success (well going by whatever was spoiled so far) in terms of balance and interesting cards. It could definitely be mass printed and sold as a summer product or whatever.

It is also a SUCCESS as a vehicle for retailers to price gouge! As a REWARD THE RETAILER scheme, it is a RESOUNDING SUCCESS!!! So wonderful right?

What it is NOT A SUCCESS in?

It is an UTTER FAILURE in terms of promoting Modern Masters. It FAILED in creating more available cards in pool (seriously the richer ones or those with connections will just hoard and hide, price will not change, available cards will not change by much, it is the nature of limited prints). It FAILED in promoting the IMAGE of Modern.

Seriously, do you think the average player likes legacy because it is easily accessible and rather pricey?
No it was the DIVERSITY of LEGACY.

Modern promised DIVERSITY and I think there was a side promise that it would be AFFORDABLE. Modern Masters has FAILED in both promises!

Why you ask? I mean sure the limited print has more or less screwed the price to hell, so to hell with affordability. But you did say that it was nice and balance right.

Yes I did!! I did say that it was nice and balanced. But WHO WILL SEE IT? Who would get to play it? What the average player will see, are average cards, charged at premiums that they will never pay for, hence it just looks like I am paying shitloads of dollars for average suboptimal cards. (Seriously I think Dark Confidant is overly hyped, he was average in the time he was printed, he is still average. There is still the rest of the deck you realised? Dark Confidant is good, but not necessary for Modern. Ditto for dear Tarmo who is going to be outclassed sooner or later with all this creature power creep)

In a nutshell the only message the average player will see is:
Modern is expensive.
Not just in cash, but I have to pay gollops for average cards, so its not even value for money.

What they will not see:
Modern is actually affordable and accessible
Modern Masters is fun and balance
All this will be lost.

It does not matter that you force PTQs to be modern format. You are just hoping PTQs will survive the damge wrought by Modern.

Thats is not to say Modern is hopeless. It is definitely an eternal format worth getting into. But Modern Masters is not helping. In fact I think Modern Masters just bitch slapped Modern a few times in the face, solar plexus and all over. Death by a thousand lashes whatever.

How to help Modern.

Print competitive cards in Standard.

It used to be that Wizards will throw Vintage,Legacy and even Extended a bone. but Modern needs more than a bone. It needs to be the bridge between past and present. So there must be SOME staples that render at least a cheaper competitive deck. Ala Extended or Type 1.5 from the past.

And its not really so hard to imagine Standard decks doing well in an older format. Faeries and Affinity continued to terrorise opponents long after they rotated from standard. I am not sure if they are doing that with Standard. They are so frighten of breaking the game that is almost amusing. They take away Land Destruction, Counterspells and Strong discard. They screw Combo to hell and back. I seriously don't know what defenses a new player in Standard has against Eternal formats.

And as players move from Standard to Modern. Seriously. THINK.OUT.OF.THE.BOX. You don't need to blindly copy the older tested deck list with the artificially inflated prices of the so called older cards. Find substitutes, play a different angle. (And understand that you may not have the optimal card in a particular deck, but seriously, its not the end of the world, you can still give the game a good fight.)

Another point is continuity. By the same token that it is ridiculous to have such high prices for the current older cards, it is also ridiculous to expect the older cards to be dirt cheap due to scarcity. Reprints will over time devalue a card (actually the reverse might be true if reprints help to maintain critical mass and interest - but thats another discussion), and ultimately reprints only solve the problem for the current batch of new players, the next batch will just clamour for reprints AGAIN. Hence my suggestion that the best way is to pave the way not through reprints, but to print COMPETITIVE cards in Standard that can have a good fight in Modern. Stop sandboxing the kiddies, they need to learn to run. They left Yu Gi Ho and Pokemon in good faith. Show them Magic ;)

Disclaimer: I have most older cards. Too many I don't know what to do with them. I am mostly a hoarder. So no I am not arguing for my sake. I just hate to see the game suffer for no good reason. I like Modern Masters as a product. It is not mind blowingly powerful, THAT is a GOOD thing for game balance. The price and distribution however is more likely to bite Magic and Wizards than help. I can build any modern deck. I can almost claim that for Legacy and am working towards Vintage. So no, card stock is not MY beef with Modern. And I do spend alot too much on Magic. For RTR block it was 2 cases per set plus random pack whacks of slightly less than a box a month. I am not showing off. I am not proud of spending that kind of money on cardboard. But I am trying to drive home the point that I am not arguing against Modern Masters because I cannot afford it. I can. But I don't want to support it (and unfortunately by extension Modern.. which is a shame). That all said I will get one box. Because I am a sucker for new sets and art. But I will stick with just one box  (and that is saying alot for me). Even if all my Mythics are Kamigawa Dragons I will stick to one box. There I just jinxed myself to get a point across.


Just an extremely quick update, Modern does not have value unless you got it BELOW 250 USD

Else you are just gambling. and its lossy gambling too.

Also note that with GP Las Vegas coming up there will be a deluge of cards coming in. Will that dent the value? You bet. The question is how much (what is the actual median value) and what is the effect of fear (people dumping) and speculation (people gambling). The previous two effects, fear and speculation will artificially drop or raise the value. Why is this important? I always tell my friends that it does not that take a bad card to have a low price in Standard (or any other format for that matter). The actual power or play value of the card will allow the card to have an intrinsic value. However fear or speculation will drive the card price down or up and the kicker is this:  This price is sticky. Some call it price memory, whatever.

Essentially if it got driven up, it tends to stay up (as long as the people sending it up keep doing so) and if it got driven down it stays down (until someone finds a use for it ---- but lets be realistic here it WILL have to have a place EVERYWHERE for its price to go significantly higher. If a card driven down is actually a good card in a few decks it will likely be a respectable few dollars. Thats is the actual value of an average good card really. It is the hype (and laziness of players in deck building - hence allowing dominance) that drives the insane prices whenever a deck dominates a meta)

If M14 had thoughtseize, prepare to see MM prices collapse (well not really, but with enough fear, it CAN happen).

By the way, it is actually bad practice to buy single packs, especially when  the packs are so expensive. You are better off saving the money and getting a SEALED box. Unless you are so sure your LGS (local gaming store) is very honest.

There are a few ways to cheat:

1) Box mapping
2) Plain statistic. How this is done is once the desirable mythic is taken, the remaining packs are sold. In MM's case it is quite constant, about 3 mythics. Hence a way shops can cheat is to rip through the packs until Goyf or 3 mythics are hit. Then its time to stop. (I am assuming the rares are not as disirable - but lets be serious, if you paid 300++ SGD for Singapore, the rares will allow break even at best and losses usually - *HELLO AURIOK SALVAGER!!!*)

So thats my quick-but-got-ranty update =)

[20130617 0708]

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