A Magical Huffalump Resides Here: December 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 =)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Magic: The Lottery

I hate that this is the first post in December about magic :P

But unfortunately it was the first thing that came to my mind when I thought about writing somethng about Magic and then this came in.

Its not even well thought out.... I think it got something to do with people visiting my old post about quitting Standard.

Well I am still here. Even with all the BFZ bs :)

Well I think it was specifically the BFZ bs that got this post going :P

Back in that old post it was a combination of I think MM and Conspiracy that got me quite annoyed. I boycotted the shop (whether or not they were guilty) for a year (my boycott ended October this year). So I am still patronising the store but they have lost my business in terms of the case that I would normally buy for each set.

Its really no big loss for them since I think after Oath of the Gatewatch I will seriously drop to 1 case per set.

In the past, with 1 case I can guarantee all rares and with 2 case i can get most mythics, while buying singles for the rest.

This has allowed me to keep up the illusion of collecting everything in the set. With recent dip in quality due to NWO (New World Order bs by WOTC), I dunno I feel like i am buying extremely expensive toilet paper.

This is now not a matter of the retailer exploiting the player base. This is now the producers of the game doing some very blatant milking. To the point that buying Magic is now like buying the lotto.

Now Magic has always been a little like gambling or lotto. In the local context it is called "Tikam" where a surprise is kept in a little bag, but you cannot see the toy inside. Magic is just glorified version of "Tikam".

In the past the value of a card is circumstantial, it is derived from its play value. So in that sense the randomisation of the card in a booster is really just to do that: randomise. This is to facilitate limited. At least that is the official stance (the real stance is really to spread butter thin the card/design equity so that WOTC can milk us for longer). Now however with BFZ and OGW sets, there are foil mythic rarity inserts of the fetches and some older desirable cards. Which have KNOWN value. i.e. they are explicitly egging players to buy to get the chase cards.

I feel like that this has crossed the line and turned opening boosters into a lottery.


The truth is when you watch player "whacking" a box. it is really like a gambling run. Usually the player will open booster after booster. This happens with all sets. However the thing is, it is the player's fault for chasing the desired single. And in most cases the effect is not really that bad as the chance of getting the desired card is usually not that bad. The player likely does not get financially ruined. Also in most cases, he should be able to sell some or most of the rare/mythics that were opened.

The game change now is that:
1) The rarity of desired cards has gone up.

2) The quality of the cards have gone DOWN.

This is a double whammy. Players who do not draft but "whack" packs will now need to open many many more packs to get the expedition foils in BFZ and OGW. Sure this is the player's fault, we do not NEED the expedition foils to be competitive. but lets face it, it is becoming a lottery. And fetches are staples. It needs to be distributed better.

The 2nd whammy? In the past an entrenched player locked into getting that elusive specific card (I am trying to avoid the word addicted.. but oops i said it...) would open many packs and still be able to sell of the unwanted cards. In BFZ the card quality is so bad it is even shunned in current Standard. In other words, it is what i call the "toliet paper" effect. The player has just bought very expensive toilet paper! So it can be a very big loss if the player opened alot but does not get the better expedition foils.

Is any of this WOTC's fault?

I am inclined to say no. For the same reason that there are the Singapore Pools and so on, such activities are just part of life.

The onus is on players to practice due diligence in curbing their ... ahem  urges to "whack" packs like a demented wombat. WOTC is just a business selling packs. As a player I hate limited and I can see clearly that the current marketing scheme is just to spread card equity extremely thinly while at the same time creating demand. I.E. Limited is just the scapegoat. You can have limited with high card equity (and by this I don't necessarily mean monetory value, but that usually follows functional play value, in fact if the functional play value of everything is high, price is actually not an issue, but thats another story).

As players, my advice:

Let your dollar speak for itself. I have not really joined any limited events, I am seriously considering not going for prereleases as it is essentially a limited event, (however prereleases are special to me so that might be the only exception I make... if I do).

As for my normal buying I will still likely stay with the same volume for OGW but likely dropping to 1 case or less for future sets. I guess I might be seriously just joining the singles crowd lol  But I have come to realise I cannot afford expedition chase (at least through opening boosters) it is a fools errand for the budget conscious. I get some reactions as to why I am even buying if thats the way I feel. I actually give WOTC a lot of credit, I rarely think a set is pure toilet paper BUT BFZ comes really really close. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and still purchase, but that will change if subsequent  sets really follow NWO to a tee and we have worse and worse dumbed/watered down cards. The litmus test is this: Can this card be even fringe playable in Modern? If it cannot, then it is toilet paper. Its sole existence is as limited crud that is really bad for the environment.

Aside from the normal "bulk" purchase, I don't think I am inclined to "whack" packs. At least I will actively try to avoid it :)

I hope anyways lol.

Oh oh why am I here, if I was so annoyed by the exploitative retailers?

Khans of Tarkir boys and girls, Khans of Tarkir.

That is how magic should be done.


Unfortunately they reverted pretty quickly with FRF then Dragons of Tarkir. Origins was still creative but then the shit hit the roof with Expeditions and BFZ. It was shameful.

But thats another story. I want to talk about why I think KTK (Khans of Tarkir) was everything right about Magic. (technically FRF and DTK were still oki, I was being a little harsh). But that will be for another post.

I think I will end my rant now. :)

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Mousehunt: The Great Winter Hunt 2015 has begun!!!!!

Actually I am not sure :)

I was just kinda bored and meandering as usual and chanced upon this!

As you might have noticed I am stuck towards the end of a tech labyrinth run.... so It is probably a day or two more before I get in on the GWH! =)

But theres nothing stopping you Hunter!!!

Go get em'!

[20151216 01:23]

In case you are wondering. You can travel to the GWH event and still come back to your Labyrinth run where you left off.

I left my Laby run for a bit and then went back, no harm. Not in Zokor, so I cannot try that, but should be alright too I think :)

[20151216 03:09]

Well now that took awhile.

But over the past week or two, I have almost completed this years Christmas event!

I will put up a walkthrough soon. I do apologise for the slackness.... but RL is alittle busy right now :/

In fact I have only just figured out what the event is about lol

Oh yeah. Merry Christmas Hunters!!!! =D

[20151225 00:49]

So this is where I am now:

So what is the point of this years event?

It is a little confusing to be honest. I guess if one sat down properly to read, it would not be an issue. Unfortunately that was a luxury I did not have, so I just armed and ran with it with minimal info and just played by ear.

What was the minimal?

Arm cheese :)

Now thats not so bad if it was'nt Arctic Asiago. But arming that is an ABSOLUTE waste of cheese if you have not started the event games. Arming with regular cheese is fine tho, arming with festive cheese is ... hmmm I guess better at getting Asiago??? I think.

Anyways the point is.

Step 1: Get Arctic Asiago!

Now it is possible to run the race without Artic Asiago, and you could run with other cheese, but it is less one speed point and when you are just starting it is rather painful.

Better to just farm the Asiago first then make the Toboggan races.

When in doubt just sit and arm Gouda. If that sucks arm some festive cheese other than Asiago. Or SB+ is good too. Arm something. Except Asiago.

Oh crap I did not even make clear this year's event's name. :P

Its The Extreme Toboggan Challenge!!!!!!!!

Now with that as its name, this year's event is all about racing against an "enemy" mouse.

Your Rival.

There are multiple tiers:

You can view each tier as:
Green Circle Tier
Blue Square Tier
Black Diamond Tier
Double Diamond Tier

And the final Tier.

That has no name.

Just a challenge against the very famouse but obscure..... Rainbow Racer

So five Tiers.

Each tiers have several "regions", this is probably to accomodate everyone.

You race against a different rival mouse in each course. Oh! The fifth tier does have a name! Silly me, Of course its the Orange Rectangle tier :)

In order to access/unlock the next tier you need a certain number of upgrades. For example the final tier requires that you have at least 8 upgrades.

Now .

We have talked for so long but we are only in step 1.


Step 2: Launch


Although I have played for a while so my HUD (heads up display) is now different. But it should be similar to a brand new slate. i.e. the "Upgrade" is grayed out and the "launch" is red.

Always check if you have upgrades. If you do it will be a green "Upgrade" button:

Always upgrade before you launch. As you will not be able to upgrade once you launch. Also make sure you have enough Artic Asiago before you go on a race.

How many is a good number?

Sincerely I cannot answer you, as I had 700+ left over from last year. So yay lucky me that Asiago is the main cheese this year :P

But as a rough guide, I now have only 400+ cheese, so a run could easily hit 100 cheese I would expect. Depending on the size of your race.

Green Circle Tier  XXXm
Blue Square Tier   XXXm
Black Diamond Tier   180m
Double Diamond Tier   350m
Orange Rectangle Tier   XXXm

For the Green Circle and Blue Square Tiers, you probably should assume 1-3 meters per hunt kind of speed.

Now you probably ask "speed huh?"

So each hunt you advance in a race by a certain distance. i.e. your speed. Your starting speed is 1. 2 if you arm Arctic Asiago. 6 if you arm Arctic Asiago AND use nitro boosters (+4).

When you catch a mouse your speed increases by one. I do not know if it has to be a festive mouse to get an increase in speed. I suspect it is though.

So how many cheese? Let settle that before we go too far with the race.

It really depends on your tier, but I think 80 to hundred is a nice number. For Green and blue tiers I suspect you really want the starting amount of cheese to be closer to the distance especially if you do not use Artic Asiago. With Asiago you roughly reduce the number of hunts required by half.

However with the later tiers after a few upgrades you use a little less cheese as your speed is now faster!

So thats for cheese.

Anyways back to the race.

You can speed up or slow down during a race:

If you fail to pass them it becomes an exclamation mark instead of a tick. You also notice that to over come the "hazards", you need certain upgrades for instance to over come the Ice Patch you need the Ice Skis upgrade to your Tobbogan. Note however that having the upgrade only gives you a better chance to avoid the hazard, but it is not a guarantee. i.e. it is still possible to get your speed reduced by 4 even though you have the Ice Skis upgrade!

Some hazards are pretty nasty like this below:


If you are in the green circle or blue rectangle stage/tier, you might want to save your tobbogan nitro and only use them when you have accumulated enough to beat the rival mousse of that tier.

This is true until you upgrade your tobbogan with the Nitro beaker upgrade. (I believe it is in the "special" category of upgrades).

Some things speed you up. These are bonuses! The 293 shows the distance it is at. So for example, I have already gone past it. It was at 293, but my current position is 306. In this case the Speed Pad increases the distance traveled when I passed it by 3 and increases my speed by 3!

Here is another view (note that it is a different instance).

Sometimes there is loot as well!!! (Which is also a bonus!) Notice that both bonuses and hazards may require upgrades to reap the bonus or to avoid the hazards!!

In this case to reap the benefit of the "Floating Crate" you need the Snow Cannon upgrade to your Tobbogan!

We will talk about upgrades in the next step!

Remember! Each race/challenge you take up against the enemy mouse has a reward at the end whether or not you win. When you just started, you are just accumulating stuff!!! So losses are fine! You just might not want to use the Nitro boosters yet. You however will want to use Artic Asiago. Winter charms and the like are fine, use them later on when you have the Nitro Beaker addon as you get double! If you have alot of spare winter charms then sure, use the charms to attract the snowflake mouse which drops Nitro Boosters!

May your loot look like this!

Step 3: Upgrade!!

We talked so much about upgrades. This is what they look like:

The categories for upgrades are:


Now the easiest way to think of the upgrades (to me at least) is to treat it like the Snow Fortress of yester-years Great Winter hunts. Where you upgrade and you get small bonuses to your trap. Except that now it is not really your trap that gets the bonuses/upgrades but your TObbogan :)

if you have an upgrade available that you have yet to purchase, it will be highlighted as yellow. note that it only means that based on your current  resources (these are the loot you get from racing your Rival) you can "craft/purchase" the upgrade. You may have many yellows, but might only be able to purchase/craft one upgrade, so think wisely and prioritise which upgrade you want to go for first. Very much like the Snow Fortress no? :)

Once you have upgraded it turns green!

Now which upgrade should you go for? I think it does not really matter :P The game is friendly that way. but different upgrades allows you to overcome different hazards or reap different benefits.

I would upgrade the first levels of speed and power for my first two upgrades just to get some decent speed and ability to overcome some hazards. Then for subsequent upgrades, I would go for special until I get the nitro beaker upgrades. You will need winter charms to exploit the nitro beaker however. (To attract snowflake mice, which would drop one, but with the nitro beaker you get another!) Once you get the nitro beaker and while you have some festive (xmas) related charms, the nitro boosters are more or less self sustaining, so you can keep your nitro boosted state for longer!

Step 4: Other notes and Rinse and Repeat!!!

You should try to advance as fast as possible... however I always tried to get one upgrade more than required before i advanced to the next tier. For example the black diamond tier, i made sure I had four upgrades before I attempted it ... thought that might be because one of the upgrades was in special, i think it was the one that occasionally gave an extra Asiago =D greedy me lol

I think it got alot easier once you unlock the Nitro Beaker.

Any festive charm would do, this is a good time to pull out all your old charms :) for example this is my setup:

This is for the Hollow Heights category of the Black Double Diamond tier. Note that the trap depends on the region category you choose, example if it is a Sunken City region category you need to use Hydro etc.

So I am using the winter spring charm from god knows when :)

Also if you are into maps:

note not all mice are available so check (by clicking on the trap effectiveness):

I only started contributing to the map when I reached Hollow Heights! =D

DOn't forget to click the Advent Calendar!!!

I think  thats about it.

Thats all for the "how to play the event" bit.

Just launch a race, collect loot and rewards, upgrade yout Tobbogan as often as you can rinse and repeat.


What is a the purpose again? I was a little confused.

I think originally the prize was that little snowflake at the top left corner:

You get a trap bonus until end jan next year I think.

For some reason there was no L.E. stuff this year. There is still a trophy once you defeat your Rival in the orange tier with all upgrades.

So I was really confused what was the end goal :)

Luckily this just came in (I think... I only just noticed it :P) :

So there are some L.E. Bases!!!!!!! And what they look like below :)

I am glad there are some L.E. stuff to work towards :)  But it looks like they tied it with the new Year event as well!

So stay tune hunters!!!

Happy Hunting and a Merry Christmas!

[20151225 04:37]

Oki. I just found out the Santa Claws mouse can only be  caught at the Orange Rectangular tier. At other areas you will need Nutmeg cheese to attract him!!

[20151226 01:03]

I am not sure what else is there to say about the GWH2015....

except that for certain mice you might need special charms to attract them, for instance the Hoarder mouse gave me some problems in the map as it was only attracted by Hoarder charm.

So if you seem stuck in your maps, do some research on the missing mouse, maybe... just maybe you are on the wrong course ?!?!?!

Happy Hunting ppl!

[20160102 19:46]

Ah... when will it end??

This post in the forum is helpful!

[20160102 19:51]

Oh oh I got something to say!

if you upgrade the toboggan totally:

You get the journal :)  Which is kinda nice I guess!

I like the fact that the picture updates with the modded toboggan ;)

So what are my current plans? I will just continue running the orange rectangle tier against the new year mouse and farm 2016 charms! At least I think that is the best plan :P

Happy Hunting ppl!

[20160103 00:51]

This thread is getting really useful as I have to hunt down various random past boss mice lol

[20160104 22:22]

The Great Winter Hunt 2016 ends on 12th Jan 2016!!! So you have about 6 days more!

Happy Hunting ppl!

[20160106 01:03]

Don't forget to play the Snowball Showdown ppl!

I think today is the last day.

[20160112 01:45]

Hmmm this year's Snowball Showdown cannot be optimised :P

But I guess it makes it more fun!!!

Happy Hunting ppl!

[20160112 01:52]

Its over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don't forget to use all your snowballs and cash in your advent chocolates!

I cashed in mine for Ultimate Festive Power Charms!

If you haven't left  you can still access the GWH trapsmith, cheese shoppes and charm shops etc... if not just travel to the vacant lot :) it will usually be around for a while more, but can be pulled anytime, so hurry ;)

Happy Hunting ppl!

[20160113 01:32]

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