A Magical Huffalump Resides Here: May 2015

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, May 25, 2015

[Magic]MM2 Unboxing or why MM2 is a failure

This is why MM2 is mostly a fail.

It is'nt that its a set of bad cards. I mean i am saying this as someone who has followed the game from 1994/6? From Revised to present. And I am utterly disappointed with the power level and general direction wizards have been taking the various strategies. I mean. My epitome of a weak set is Mecadian Masques. Now that set seems strong compare to sets today. Still. Its not like the past was not littered with weak sets Homelands and Fallen Empires come to mind for all the wrong reasons =)

Still we have'nt reached Homeslands and Fallen Empires bad (mind you those sets have their charm, I loved the flavour of those two sets as well as the story telling on the cards and the concept of multiple arts. The key area where those sets failed was power. The designers forgot the "card game" part of Magic.) And furthermore, there are the occasional gems from the various sets these days, but those are few an far between. I really enjoyed Khans. It had everything I liked. High power level, pushing the envelope. I mean delve was strongly pushed and that is what I like to see. I want to see the next Treasure Cruise, Dig Through Time and probabl some other cards. Sure TC got banned. But I don't think it was going to kill Modern. Legacy is a little more questionable since it was very efficient and delve as a function accelerate much faster. The key difference is that in legacy, the environment was almost immediately warped, while in modern, the delve variants using TC were only just picking up steam. In standard. Ha. Ha. Ha. Yeah. So I think that is a mark of a brave and innovative RnD. I applaud them for not giving up and still trying to make Ancestral Recall balanced. (Boys and girls, this is the ONLY way you will EVER get ancestral effects on the cheap, so try not to join the crowd that hates on power level). I actually feel that TC is balanced. It is just a little strong. it is not Bahroken as per say. It is just warpish. Kinda like brainstorm and Force of Will. Banning in legacy may be for the best as they might not want to take their chances with Legacy reaching equilibium with a new meta (which I think is definitely possible given Legacy's depth). Anyways that is a rant for another time.

We are here to say why MM2 is a phail.

Now I just opened a box and it was a good box. However it still only barely broke even given the cost in Singapore.  I think the price in Singapore is about 15% above MSRP or more. So its even tougher to break even. (I am assuming msrp of 240 and an exchange rate of 1.3)

 These are the okay uncommons:

I guess WOTC thought that by randomly turning rares into uncommons, they are giving more value. I think they fail to understand that most if not all the rares that got downgraded to uncommon were already dollar rares. A dollar uncommon for a normal booster is a good thing. Decent.  A dollar uncommon (and there are very few) for a 10 USD msrp pack is just.... a serious debit on their karma.

I did'nt really like MM1, but at least there was a substantial number of uncommons that I felt like protecting. This set's uncommon unfortunately felt alot like bulk.

This is the "group photo"

The box was above average with 4 mythics and 2 foil rares. Of the Mythics, I was lucky to avoid the comet storm! And had a goyf, and opal and Elesh! Vendllion CLique was very decent too. The other goyf was a lucky pull off 3 packs.

This is a view of the mythics closer. 

The decent foils:

Wiltleaf is nice, remand too is nice (I had no non-foil remand in the whole box... oh well)

The rares that probaly only worth a little but are cute enough to me.... Hello Apocalypse Hydra!!

The "money" rares. Thats the sad thing about modern. Thats a card like fuliminator mage can fetch 30 dollars. And hierarch??? :/

The cringe worthy foils:

The cringe worthy rares... mind you some of these rares would be alright if this set was priced normally.

Now this is a good box and I felt extremely lucky to have gotten this box. it could be worse. It could have been way way worse based on what I have seen. The sad thing is I only barely broke even with the extra goyf. Thats how high the pricing is in Singapore.

Thanks to my playgroup for helping me open up some smashing stuff!!!
Thank you all for lending your mojo ;)

Hmm so why is this about MM2 being a fail. The fact that I can open a good box and still only break even is terrible. It means there are quite very many disappointing boxes out there waiting to be bought :( This is the biggest failure of MM2: the fact that it is eroding ALOT of goodwill in its customer base. It is also eroding its business model. Think about it. If I open a goyf, should my feeling be "Thats so awesome" or "Whew". The way MM2 is designed is detrimental to the basic business of selling boosters.

Disclaimer: I did not actually want to buy the box. But preordering required a down payment of a sixth of the cost of the box. Just to qualify for preordering already required joining an event [later several retailers were allowing only customers who bought a certain value of product (I think it ranged from 300-500) before they were allowed to preorder.] After the full spoiler for the set was released, such "offers" magically disappeared. Anyways, the total sunk cost by that time for myself was about 100 SGD. Its really was not pretty and I was rather distraught with the prospect of a suck box. That in itself is a loss of goodwill for WOTC. The fact that a product brings stress rather than entertainment. Fail. Remember the modern event deck? Yeah thats two strikes. Strike two is already shame on me, I don't think I will be preordering any product that is overpriced anymore. There is no longer any trust when WOTC says a product is good. Good luck WOTC. 

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

[Decklist]The Big and the Fat... or Hasty Phatties

So this is a deck meant for Modern.

not that I like the format mind you. I think Modern is a broken format. My believe and suspicion is that Modern is meant to be an eternal standard. It is purposefully made to have no dominant deck, i.e. the meta is constantly in flux, albeit artificially. I think I mentioned this right at the beginning.And so far... well I hate to be right :p

Still its what we are stuck with no matter how pathetic it is (hey we are actually upset that serum visions is not being printed - I do not know whch is sadder, WOTC/Hasbro doing this to us, or use letting them do this to us)

Anyways, this deck was concocted after hearing about the "combo" Surrak/Shaman of Forgotten Ways, where a bunch of mana is ramped then a hasty Surrak comes out to pound face. It is also probably after Apocalypse Hydra is spoiled to be a rare in MM2.

At that time my thoughts were that essentially that "combo" was hasty fat. So to build a more sustainable deck my deck needed to be consistent. It needed fat, and it needed haste. It needed redundency to be consistent. I also joked that I would probably like to fling the fat to make sure it was lethal. It was also an amusing thought to fling an Apocalypse Hydra half way across town. So that stuck a chord.

So I thought of ways to enable haste as well as the best phat that modern can bring. And the unholy fusion of Apocalypse Hydra and fast fat Surrak resulted in this


4 x Stomping Ground
7 x Mountain
8 x Forest
4 x Wooded Foothills

4 x Surrak, the Hunt Caller
4 x Deathmist Raptor
4 x Lightning Mauler
4 x Shaman of Forgotten Ways
1 x Ghor-Clan Rampager
4 x Den Protector
4 x Thunderbreak Regent
4 x Apocalypse Hydra

3 x Giant Growth
1 x Fling
4 x Lightning Bolt

At that time I think the Den Protect, and Deathmist Raptor  combination is already a known entity. I was also interested to know if Den Protector is viable in modern. it may well be since Modern is rather slow..

Anywasy the Timmy in me finds this deck cute. At least on paper.

Thats all I have.

May your day not be ruined by thoughts of Modern Masters 2015 :)

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Fungal Cavern

Its here.....!

after some intial slow rolls

More details in the newpost!

Myself? I am in the warpath with four more mice to catch!

Having forsaken my Cappy's cause for the past two events I feel obligated to finish off the last stretch. :p

Quickly of course =D  The moss is growing.... eww.

PS: the first step is to visit Muridae to pickup the map piece ;)

Happy Hunting!
[20150513 00:32]

well... it turns out the cause was over.

So I am free to venture to the Fungal Caverns!!!

So first things first , just go to your travel tab, you should be prompted to go get the map piece from Muridae market!

Once there you will be prompted to visit the Cartographer

You will need to purchase the map piece for 230000 MHG

After which this option is available

And voila!

We are in!

Only Forgotten and Hydro traps are usable here. gouda seems okay but it is only for gathering supplies as the HUD indicates.... so gathering it is!

So here we go!

It all starts at the Cavern Mouth.....!

And my first catch is:

I am currently on SOS/Fissure/Chrome/Gouda with LGS on

Happy Hunting!

[20150513 0101]

Some updates:

For the intial portion (i.e. the Cavern Mouth) it is best to use Hydro Traps. Time to spring out those sunken city traps!!!

The later portions will require Forgotten Traps (T-Rex finally gets to see the sun lol)

Actually after looking at my traps I have realised the T-Rex may be obsoleted... well not really it has a higher power bonus and more luck than the 6K powered stale cupcake trap.... so.... He will still see some play I think. .... later in the Caverns

Anywasy Happy Hunting!

[20150513 01:24]

So it would appear the first tier cheese to craft is the Glowing Gruyere cheese!

And if you mouse over the cheese on the HUD you will see the crafting information =)

I would recommend crafting with the Magical Essence (from smashing SB+).

The conversion rate is actually quite nice , hmm =)

I would likely accumulate up to 100 GG cheese before going after the Tier 1 mice =)

From previous Tiered areas you are likely to need ALOT of cheese, so take your time. If the itch is too great just dive in, if you can grind wait till 100 or 200 (statistical variance tends to be kinder when the numbers are bigger), but in either case you are likely to have to go back to grinding for the basic ingredients. So don't sweat it. Hunt. Have fun and discover the ratios needed. That part of the fun in the hunt remember ;)

I would probably hunt with T-Rex first and maybe switch to Cupcake in the later areas =) Luck based traps tend to be better at catching lower powered mice while you normally need a high powered trap to have a better shot at the bigger mice (relative to your trap strength).

Happy Hunting ppl!

[20150515 01:11]

Now. Do you need the SOS? Seriously I am not too sure, perhaps I will try. Maybe I will arm a weaker Hydro and see how it goes.

My suspicion is that you do not need an overtly strong Hydro trap to get started, since the hydro appears to be only for getting the base ingredients for the Tier 1 GG cheese. Still. I had quite a few misses! So perhaps you need a strong Hydro trap to get started.

The only way to know is to test :p

I'll try to update my findings tomorrow... so stay tuned!

This will be my setup:

Now I understand that it is still rather strong, but it is one step down in terms of trap strength. So if this setup crashes, we know the other hydro traps are probably gonna fare worse :p

Hmm actuallly, I poked around some of my friends' profile and and they are using Chrome Phantasmal Oasis and they seem fine, of course I cannot see the misses but they are making catches.

I guess I'll see for myself later ;)

[20150515 01:19]

So after 1 day, I think I caught about half the mice, so its actually quite alright with the CPOT

now I will try the Steam Laser Mk III !!!

If its really bad I will probably switch back early heh :P

[20150516 01:05]

Oki dokie. Its pretty bad. Like below 50% bad. So I guess you need at least a POT?

Oh well anywasy I need to earnestly start farmng =)

Happy Hunting ppl!

[20150517 01:48]

So I have been hunting passively till about 6th June and started with this:

I also finally got to use T-Rex!!!! Which is fitting since Jurassic World is around this time =)

Happy Hunting ppl!

[20150606 17:26]

Wow.   I am not sure what happened.

I think the Season 3 Treasure Chest happened.

I think.

Anyways I am back!!!!  =D

So stoked! I just got my Warden Slayer Trap!

I think I will just take it alow and start from bottom up, i.e. accumulate ANOTHER 100 Glowing Gruyere cheese ;)

Happy Hunting ppl!


So apparently its quite fast =)

I just made another 120 Glowing Gruyere Cheese!! With the SB+ essence recipe  :P

Anyways I just joined a Fungal Cavern map!!

So I am going to enter the hollow halls soon! This would'nt be the first time i don't think, but I think it should be a fast one =)

Looks fun!!! I'll update as I progress through the map!!

Happy Hunting ppl!!!

[20150906 23:59]

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Attention Hunters!!

There be a sighting there be!!!!

Stay tuned...... !

The MH facebook page is being updated!

[20150510 00:03]


Sunday, May 03, 2015

[Decklist] Grixis Dragons

So there is a recent rash of Dragons in standard.

First Atarka then, the Esper variants with Ojutai and Silumgar

Nice thing is I already have my playset of DTK and FRF. And the more expensive stuff is not bought from local packs since... well the local retailers have indicated they are not interested in my business by increasing prices and constantly price gouging. 

Start RANT:

I know this sounds snappish and vindictive, but I think I still have to state that I CAN get my products from elsewhere. This is simply to let whomever is looking that: The local retail source (including LGS) is VERY dispensible. So try not to kill it guys, stop trying to kill the golden goose. MM2 is currently on the loose, so lets see how the price gouging goes. And oh I already have everything MM2 can offer, but I like alternate art and all and I give a rats ass about value crashing of my cards, so the price of MM never ceases to annoy me when the cost is obviously low.


4 x Tasigur, the Golden Fang
2 x Silumgar, the Drifting Death
2 x Dragonlord Silumgar
1 x Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
4 x Thunderbreak Regent
3 x Treasure Cruise
4 x Thoughtseize

3 x Anticipate
4 x Silumgar's Scorn
3 x Bile Blight
2 x Ultimate Price
1 x Stubborn Denial
2 x Temple of Malice
4 x Temple of Epiphany
4 x Polluted Delta
2 x Shivan Reef
3 x Mountain
4 x Swamp
4 x Bloodstained Mire
4 x Island

3 x Duress
1 x Deathbringer Regent
1 x Dragonlord Kolaghan
1 x Treasure Cruise
1 x Stubborn Denial
1 x Bile Blight
3 x Foul-Tongue Invocation
2 x Dragonlord's Prerogative
2 x Ultimate Price

On the deck: 

I was very enamoured with the Atarka r/g aggro/midrange deck by Vanmeter. Its just so very cool to have a dragon deck be viable (even if its just Standard).

Then the Esper Dragons came about, yet more cool stuff. And I like Hane's playstyle so it was all good!

So I kinda refuse to think that the Atarka variant is just a fluke and will die out (well r/g monsters normally come in with a bang and then die to both control and blitz aggro).

But the Vanmeter deck was kinda rampish, which just was'nt quite my style. I did like the burn and thunderbreak regents however (and I somehow hit 2 foils, yay me!). So it was something I was trying to shoehorn in.

And the strength of the Esper decks was the new counterspell + strong fat (a la Baron Harkonnen - tho to be honest there was much more in that deck)

I also felt that Tasigur should be used in all things with black and fetches. I also really like Treasure Cruise.... so theres U/B. In fact before the Esper dragons deck was running around I was messing with a U/B deck. My focus then was to make discard work, and i was messing with Tasigur and Scorn... which kinda then involve both Silumgars. I was not too keen to add white for Ojutai so I did'nt really pull it towards Esper. Idid'nt really like Crux of fate though, as I used Tasigurs. I was partly inspired by the way Hanes used Tasigur to beat down in the mirror. I was surprise he only had two. But i figured, why only beat down in the mirror? Beatdown forever I say! So I haz four in the main =D 

Now obviously the Esper deck is built with more restraint in mind while my Grixis Dragons is quite happy to be go for the throat with fast fat flyers. ... okay Tasigur no fly, but the dragons they do. If you get it you do.

So I looked for a way to fuse the things I liked, and Grixis kinda fit the bill! And I tweaked it roughly to what I thought was good takeaways from the net decks, mostly the land count and took the cue on the number of Anticipates.

And so there. that was roughly the thought process that led to the deck.

And actually after mucking around with the deck. The TRUE hellspawn (well everyone treats counterspell and combo like they are from hell or aliens or something... oh wait they treat blitz, discard, LD and oh... they actually HATE magic.... I'm sorry for that mini-rant  :P ) is...


Friends and potatoes, Anticipate is waay better than telling time. Why? Easy. It lets you remove two useless cards rather than one useless card.

I guess it is subjective. (but the fact that telling time is not used much is rather telling no? sry...) Both let you dig 3 cards deep and keep one. But anticipate allows you to dump two instead of one. (Serum Visions is stronger than both because it lets you choose whether to dump both or keep both or whatever ... well that plus it is only 1 cc =D totally different ball game sry). Thing is by putting one in your hand, it means you already got the most useful card of the three (I don't have the cards on hand so I am assuming you can choose which of the three to keep). So unless all three are gas (which might be the case), it is better that you push the "useless" cards away. 

Useless is relative to current board state of course, so whether telling time or anticipate is better, is directly bound to the way your deck is built. However. If your deck is built to handle multiple things, and not all cards do generally the same thing (for instance aggro or burn tends to have heavy redundency, whereas control will have discard, removal, counters and all answer something specific, whereas for the aggro and burn... yeah its mostly to your friendly opponent's face),  then the ability to filter the top of your deck is premium for the control player. This is where the ability of Anticipate to sweep away rather than Telling Time's ability to keep is stronger. (which is partly why JTMS is strong, he messes with the top of your library)

Anyways there is some heat on whether silumgar's scorn is the herald for counterspell's return. I don't know. (like duh). But...

I really feel that WOTC is testing waters with this (silumgar's scorn). I think it was very smart to tie the new counterspell to the dragons for the following reasons:

1) Dragons are always heavily costed
2) Counterspell is deemed too stong (or at least in perception)
3) Dragons are useless early game and clog the hand, counterspells need to be early to be of use

Combine these and you turn the cons of dragons into pros (by enabling silumgar's scorn) and at the same time add a con to counterspell. This creates a "safe" spot for counterspell since any deck attempting to use counterspell must built the deck with dragons in mind. Which is interesting.

The key thing to understand, for all who think counterspell as an effect is too strong, counterspell effects must come before the threat to be of any use. There is a reason why there is following for the concept of "there are wrong answers, but there are no wrong threats". This is also why cancel has been abandoned time and again. Counterspell as an effect is effectively neutered by manacost. Force of Will is strong only because it circumvents its 5cc by going for free if you feed it one blue card.

Now should counterspell be in the standard environment? Not that I care about standard mind you. I think standard is the marketing platform for WOTC. They can do whatever they want with it, at the moment it is Pokemon fest (its been pokemon for at least the past 5 years me thinks). So be it. I play whatever comes along. (and oh I always look for an aggro deck to build to go by, since thats the bone that WOTC throws to me and it is an effective way to get under all that midrange fat ;) sure you can meta against it but you will then lose to something else. Wonderful is'nt it. Thats magic). 

So standard is the marketing platform, this is also why I feel that it can be argued both ways. Standard is the best platform to unleash counterspell. Why? it only lasts 1 year plus (now. it used to be two years plus). So you can actually go crazy with standard. Now why is it okay to go crazy, one would probably argue that whatever is printed in Standard leaks into Modern. But people arguing that are conveniently forgetting that Modern, is still very much the wild wild west. WOTC has already broken over the sacred cow of banning cards many times over. So one more counterspell to the list is hardly earth shattering. There is no reputation of keeping existing cards Modern legit to speak of. On the other hand, I guess I am forgetting that most modern players are ported from Standard? I don't actually know if that is true, but if it is true, then I can understand the logic for not letting counterspell touch Modern. Modern players can't handle it. That is partly why I view Silumgar's Scorn more as a test water thing. 

Standard players are finally getting a real taste of counterspell (albeit forced into a dragon shell). If standard fails because of the pokemon effect (i.e. Standard players can't handle counterspell) then it is likely we will never see an un-nerfed counterspell in Modern. However if standard remains healthy. Then counterspell returning becomes a little more real.For anyone who says "insert something" will never come back/be printed: I always refer them to poison :)  It may take 10 years, but hey infect it did come back.

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Friday, May 01, 2015

[Decklist] Rakdos Dragon Blade

So recently Norm played a Hero's Blade deck.

Although it was'nt consistent, I was quite piqued with the potential of Tymaret

In particular it I was interested because my Hot Dogs! deck is made to have its critters die, so Tymaret seems to fit nicely. Moreover Tymaret was in Rakdos colours, so it seemed a shoo in.

It may seem an oversight, i mean Tymaret has been around since Theros! And there was some initial love from players and in fact I think it did gain some traction in a Zombie deck.

Still, what piqued me was Tymaret's interaction with Bloodsoaked Champion. Now I have always liked Bloodsoaked champion,  it being a self recurring 2/1 for 1cc. Whats not to like? :p

In fact with Tymaret and Bloodsoaked Champion, you get inevitability ! The two together allows you to ping for 2 damage for as long as you have mana or it allows Tymaret to sit as a blocker forever for six mana each turn.

So I tried to squeeze Tymaret into my Hot Dogs! deck, where it has some added usage in saccing critters that are doomed anyways. The update is here.

But in messing with Tymaret, I also got a closer look at Hero's Blade. Norm's deck had three colours and it was heavily dependent on Hero's blade. Too heavy.

Hence my initial focus was to have the deck not die when it does not get the blades. This is actually a challenge if you are fixated on getting the bonus of playing Legendary dudes. In fact my first take was that it is simply not possible in standard and I looked to the modern pool first. I found Isamaru and a whole bunch of other Legends. I found myself going multi-coloured and the result was something cute, but awfully casual in modern.

So I decided that going the Legends route was a trap (like Sam mentioned) and snapped back to standard and and decided to use a limited band of colours when building the deck. Its interesting (or duh) to note that different colours provide different advantages. Norm's route seem to want to exploit Surrak's formidable ability. which at 4cc or earlier can be nasty. So green was a very plausible route.

Remember I was enamoured with Tymaret? (well aside from the fact that his ping ability cannot hit critters) So I wanted to utilise Tymaret in a Hero's Blade deck. Tymaret's advantage? Aside from his sacrificial nature in pinging? he also has recur potential and with two Tymarets, one in play and one in grave and 4 mana; you have an eternal blocker! Remember the synergy with Bloodsoaked Champion? Yeah. Its not rocket science.

I realised that half of my Hot Dogs! deck was actually a warriors deck. And aside from Tymaret, Rakdos colours have Alesha and Zurgo. Kolaghan is just too cool to not plug in when I can! And hey they (yes both the Elder dragon and the FRF versions) are Legendary! So a draconic theme was simmering too!

So mucking around this was what I got: 


4 x Draconic Roar
4 x Lightning Strike

1 x Roast

4 x Hero's Blade

4 x Mana Confluence
7 x Mountain
4 x Bloodstained Mire
7 x Swamp

2 x Alesha, Who Smiles at Death
1 x Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury
4 x Zurgo Bellstriker
2 x Dragonlord Kolaghan
3 x Tymaret, the Murder King

2 x Blood-Chin Fanatic
4 x Thunderbreak Regent
3 x War-Name Aspirant
4 x Bloodsoaked Champion

I like it quite a bit. It can inevitably ping for 2 and gain life (not in one step in case you are confoozed). It has awesome dragons and lots of heat. The warriors and dragons theme ensures that the deck does'nt just roll over if the blades don't show. And one important thing to keep in mind is... you can actually equip for 4 =)  Also double or triple blades is an awesome trigger! Alesha brings back the tiny warriors (there is a slight nonbo with war-name aspirant... but I guess thats minor). The dash of Storm's Fury can be relevant.

And after building it. I realised it contains the warriors from Khans, including the Mardu Khan (Alesha), it had the FRF bloodsoaked Champion (who was mentioned in the mothership storyline), the FRF Kolaghan and the Elder Dragon Kolaghan. Even little Zurgo! Now given that Alesha ran alongside Kolaghan in the storyline, the deck actually plays pretty close to canon! Well Tymaret kinda sticks out like a sore thumb, but hey death comes to all, so the Murder King can't be too oddly placed in a Rakdos deck no? 

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