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  1. 9 likes
    Hey guys, So, Enrique (@magonista66) posted an interesting question on twitter last night that I've been thinking about quite a bit, as of late. The actual tweet is: "Keep seeing comments about playing Magic as either fun or about winning. I think it's contextual. & when is it both? Would love ur thoughts." I think this is an awesome topic and I, too, am interested in everyone's thoughts. One of the reasons I'm personally interested is because I find an interesting paradox in my own play philosophy. I'll try to break it down coherently so as to facilitate discussion. First and foremost, Magic is a game. While games are designed to be a number of things; fun, engaging, thought provoking, evocative, adaptive - most of them (and MtG is not an exception) begin and end with the idea that there is competition, a winner and a loser. Now, why any individual chooses to get involved with any aspect of MtG is completely independent of the requirement to play. But, if you are playing, you are subject to the idea of a binary (with the exception of draws) end state. Win/lose. 0/1. Personally, I think it's important to start a conversation about 'winning' and it's merits by determining what kind of player you are. If you just like to play because it kills time, if you're an art lover that collects, if you're an investor, or a person that doesn't really need/want to return 'value' to your time/purchases - this discussion isn't really for you, right? However, if you are the kind of person that has the primary concern of gameplay, point number one is - you need to reconcile in your mind that it is OK to value winning. Pause button - Winning is important, that's the punchline. However, this assumes a certain degree of decorum, sportsmanship, and propriety with regard to the game environment. You don't have to be a part of whatever social issues, political discussions, or 'movements' that are taking place around your environment or competitor. But, you need to be respectful of them as a human. I tell my employees all the time, 'if you're having a bad day or being confronted with someone who's hostile, rude, or confrontational - retreat to professionalism, not to their level.' The same applies in MtG. Ok, back to 'play.' There will be people that say, 'oh winning isn't important,' or 'it's most important to have fun.' That's fine, but it does not take into consideration that winning (if you're a competitive player) is just flat-out more fun than losing. Ask yourself when you sleeve up a new deck you're excited to play and go to FNM and have a garbage fire of a night, let's say 0-4, did you have fun? Maybe. But, if we're being honest and you enjoy competitive play, would you have had more fun going 3-1 or 4-0? Probably, right? You should never feel bad about that truth. It's the nature of competition. It's why there is a GP, PPTQ, and PT circuit. Without winning there should be no aspiration to get there. Second thing; I would argue that fun is subjective and dependent on a wide variety of factors unique to the individual - experience level, for example. If you take someone fresh off the street and plop them down in their very first FNM - wait, actually, let's assume you gave them some training first. Let's assume you're a decent teacher and managed to get them excited about playing MtG. Now, first FNM. They bomb. 1-3. Maybe 0-4. Did they have fun? Maybe. Maybe not. I offer that winning is far less subjective. It is, or it isn't. There's no, 'I kinda won.' I think this point is valuable to those players who are trying to search for more out of their MtG experience than, 'I just want to go have fun.' That brings me to point number three - how long can it be 'fun' absent winning (but not considering losing)? I've been playing MtG (off and on, like most) for a really long time. And, if I really get down to brass tacks, there are a few things that, ones cards start getting shuffled, help with interest. One, obviously, is a winning record. Getting to 0.500 or above is nice. It keeps me (personally) chugging along and motivated to keep playing. But, there's also the idea of playing other formats, playing in different venues, and having peripheral involvement with MtG (deckbuilding, collecting, etc.). I can say this from experience; the primary reason to get into or stay into magic of any variety is to play the game. I think if you looked at the volume of folks who actively engage with the MtG universe (I'm not talking about people who have a box of cards in the attic and haven't seen them in 10 years) most people play. And, again, at core of it - it's a game. Games are meant to be played. Played games are meant to be won. I think there is a huge space out there for people who cosplay, collect, whatever. But, I think the bulk of the 'fun' available is in the play space - because it's so much MORE available. So, I know that was long winded, but competition means a lot to me. Also, let me say this; I'm not a very good player. That's the paradox I alluded to earlier. I love to play and I love to win, but I don't actually accomplish winning all that much. I insist on my own decks, I don't spend much money, etc. So, it's hard to actually scrape together wins (in constructed). But, to me I view the game like a sport - winning is important for all the same reasons winning in Football, or Soccer, or Rugby, or Formula 1 are. I think losing is equally important. It would be a drastic shame (to me) for the idea that 'it's ok to lose' would become acceptable, unless it was known from the outset that you actively don't care about winning or getting better. Because, ultimately (to me) that's the punchline - if you want to get better at this game, you need to win. Open for discussion? M.
  2. 8 likes
    Hello everyone, My name's John and I've been a Magic-the-Gathering-aholic since 1994 (No, I have no power or duals.) Some of you here on the forum may know me from Twitter as Johnny Slivers @istvanprophet1. My life is such that I don't get to play as much as I used to, but I still want to stay connected to the game. Not long ago i started Prophets of Istvan on Youtube. It is essentially me as a weekly talking head discussing my life in the world of Magic the Gathering and other games from time to time. You will likely find me talking about Pauper....A LOT. I love playing a legacy format that goes past turn 0. While the content I share is nothing that hasn't been done in the past, I have made a very deliberate choice in my production method. Over and over, I hear content creators at all levels preaching that we need more content creators for Magic. I agree. However I feel like there is a mental road block for many would-be creators when they hear this call bigger names in the community. If someone goes in thinking they need to be the next TCC or Mana-Screwed to be legit, that can ground a creator before they even get out of the hangar. It is with this in mind and some inspiration from Planeswalker Project that I'm keeping my production basic and easy to recreate. The equipment and goal is simple: Laptop w. camera, USB Mic, basic movie editing program, free compression program, YouTube.com - Record, Edit, Compress and Upload in 60 minutes or less. Big emphasis on Goal with the 60 minutes part, but I really do want to make that a regular thing. Now if my audience only ever ends up being a few dozen of my online friends I will be fine with that. Lord knows I talk to myself enough as it is. Might as well aim some of that talking at the inter-webs. I sincerely want my channel to serve as one of many base lines for new creators to reference as a starting point. I mean, you don't start climbing a mountain at the peak. No reason to change that logic here. So there I am. Hope it was a good read for you and maybe we'll banter some Magic in the near future. Laters, John
  3. 6 likes
    With the release of a new set, we also get a new standard environment. Aetherworks Marvel was recently banned in standard and the standard meta feels extremely open. With that being said, everyone knows that there are still going to be some decks from the Amonkhet standard meta that will manage to successfully make the jump into the Hour of Devastation standard meta. Zombies will still be a great option if you enjoy creature strategies, Blue Red or Grixis Control will shut down opposing player’s strategies, Blue White Monument will remain both impressive and entertaining, Vehicles and Black Green Delirium will continue to be some of the safest and most consistent deck choices that we've ever seen, and Temur Energy shall live on as a powerful deck despite the inability to cast an Ulamog for free on turn four. As previously stated, we all know those decks already and we wouldn’t be surprised to find out that those decks are good in Hour of Devastation standard. In this post, I’m going to be focusing more on decks that aren’t obvious, but have a ton of potential. I picked out ten of my favorite deck concepts that I’ve been messing around with. I hope you all enjoy the deck ideas and maybe your future standard deck is waiting for you within this post. Deck 1 - Cat Tribal As soon as Regal Caracal was spoiled for Amonkhet, everyone in the MTG community wanted Cat Tribal to be a functional deck. Even if it wasn’t going to be a functional deck, people were still going to force it into existence anyway. The biggest problem with the Cat Tribal deck in Amonkhet standard was that the synergy level of the deck wasn’t enough to make up for the deck’s lack of power. Regal Caracal and Metallic Mimic were the only rares being played in the deck. However, Hour of Devastation brings two new rares to the Cat Tribal deck that increase both synergy and raw power level. These new additions are Pride Sovereign and Adorned Pouncer. The other cats that you play in the deck synergize well with Pride Sovereign and Pride Sovereign can even make additional cats for you. Adorned Pouncer is a very nice two drop for the deck. It works very well with combat tricks and it also gives you something to do with your mana during the late game. A 4/4 creature with double strike is no joke. Your opponents will need to use a removal spell quickly or just lose the game. I think the Cat Tribal deck has found the pieces that it was previously lacking. If you enjoy synergy and strong creatures both in the same deck or if you just enjoy getting to tell your friends about your cool cat deck, then Cat Tribal may be the deck for you. Deck 2 - Black Red Midrange I feel like this deck needs the least amount of explanation out of any of these decks. We just play the best cards that we can in Red and Black. Magic can be so complicated at times that it clouds our brains from seeing the simple, easy things that are right in front of us. We don’t need ridiculous synergies or a crazy combo to win games. We can win games by having powerful creatures, great removal spells, and some planeswalkers to bring it all together. For removal, the deck has access to: Fatal Push, Magma Spray, Harnessed Lightning, Collective Brutality, Abrade, Unlicensed Disintegration, Never // Return, Grasp of Darkness, Sweltering Suns, Bontu’s Last Reckoning, Hour of Devastation, Cut // Ribbons, and even more. For powerful creatures, the deck has access to: Glorybringer, Noxious Gearhulk, Gonti, Lord of Luxury, Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, Glint-Sleeve Siphoner, Gifted Aetherborn, Goblin Dark-Dwellers, The Scorpion God, Hanweir Garrison, and maybe even Sin Prodder for some card advantage. For planeswalkers, the deck has access to: Liliana, the Last Hope, Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Chandra, Flamecaller, and Ob Nixilis Reignited. We also have some hand disruption spells such as: Transgress the Mind, Lay Bare the Heart, Doomfall, Collective Brutality, and Lost Legacy for the sideboard as well. I hope I was able to show you the true power level of this deck by naming all of these cards. Red and Black just have so many great options right now and they could be used to make an amazing deck in this new standard format. Deck 3 - Blue Red Spells Back in Eldritch Moon, one of my favorite decks to watch was Blue Red Spells. The deck played Thing in the Ice, Stormchaser Mage, Bedlam Reveler, Fevered Visions, and a bunch of instants and sorceries to go along with them. However, the reason this deck even existed was because of Thermo-Alchemist. Thermo-Alchemist was always great and it did so much more damage than I ever could have imagined for an 0/3. That deck eventually evolved into the Blue Red Control decks that we see today. Cards like Torrential Gearhulk and Glimmer of Genius caused the deck to shift to a control build instead of a tempo build. However, I feel like Hour of Devastation has made the shift back into a tempo deck much better. Firebrand Archer acts as four more additional copies of Thermo-Alchemist. The damage from both Thermo-Alchemist and Firebrand Archer will add up very quickly. Burn spells like Incendiary Flow and Fiery Temper can help to speed up your opponent’s defeat. These burn spells will also be triggering prowess on creatures like Stormchaser Mage and Bloodwater Entity. It might not be the most exciting of cards, but the reprinting of Unsummon is fantastic for this deck as well. Unsummon triggers prowess, triggers your Firebrand Archers and Thermo-Alchemists, sets your opponent back a little, and it does all of this at instant speed for just one mana. I hope that this deck can put up some decent results in the new standard environment. The deck is extremely fun to watch and even more fun to play. Deck 4 - Grixis Reanimator Grixis Reanimator was actually the first deck that I had thought about during spoiler season and it inspired me to make this list. The idea behind the deck is super sweet, but I’m not sure about it. Sometimes as deck builders, we get the idea for an awesome deck, but then as we get further into the deck creation process, we realize it’s super janky. This deck could either be ridiculously janky or just way too sweet to not play it. Grixis Reanimator revolves around the card The Scarab God. A lot of people read The Scarab God and they instantly think of a Blue Black Zombies deck. My mind went to reanimator instead because of The Scarab God’s activated ability to basically give anything eternalize. So what kind of creatures do we want to make eternal? The answer is simple: Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. We won’t be able to get the cast triggers off our Ulamog, but we’ll still have a 4/4 creature with indestructible that exiles one-third of our opponent’s library when it attacks. It’s basically the same thing as having a normal Ulamog, except this time Ulamog could die to Hour of Devastation and Grasp of Darkness. We can have our Ulamog out on turn six if we use The Scarab God or on turn five if we use Rise from the Grave. We can make sure it’s in our graveyard with the help of Tormenting Voice and Cathartic Reunion. Other than the reanimator shenanigans, the deck is a pretty basic Grixis Control list. It will have some ways to counter our opponent’s spells and some removal spells to deal with even more of our opponent’s spells. Since the base of our deck is a Grixis Control list, it means that we can probably play Nicol Bolas as well. I feel like a deck running The Scarab God and Nicol Bolas must be someone’s dream standard deck. We still have yet to figure out if this deck is good or not, but it will certainly be a fun one to bring to Friday Night Magic. Deck 5 – Five Color Planeswalkers I need to admit something before I get too far into talking about this deck. This deck is a total flavor fail. It takes all things that we know about lore and flavor and it completely disregards them. However, this deck is still super sweet. The deck revolves around a card called Deploy the Gatewatch. However, because I care more about winning than I do about flavor, we won’t be finding the Gatewatch with this card. We will be finding Nicol Bolas instead. Along with Nicol Bolas, we could find Chandra, Flamecaller, Sorin, Grim Nemesis, Nissa, Vital Force, Ob Nixilis Reignited, Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, and many more. I don’t know about you, but thirteen mana worth of planeswalkers put onto the battlefield for only six mana seems quite nice to me. This deck also gets to run Djeru, With Eyes Open to tutor planeswalkers for us and to protect them a little as well. Other than these big planeswalkers, the deck would also run some removal spells to keep things clear until we can start slamming our planeswalkers. For the base colors of the deck, it would have to be Abzan. We can use cards like Oath of Nissa, Attune with Aether, Servant of the Conduit, and Aether Hub to help us fix our mana. The only blue card in the deck would be Nicol Bolas and the only red cards in the deck would be Nicol Bolas and Chandra, Flamecaller. We’ve all seen those games where someone just played a planeswalker and won because of it. With a deck like this, you can do that for an entire standard season. Deck 6 – Green Red Eldrazi Ramp When I first saw the “Hour of” cycle, I wrote most of them off. They all looked like cards that would only be playable in EDH/commander. The only exception was Hour of Devastation. The card seems to fit into standard perfectly. While I was right about Hour of Devastation being playable in standard, I was very wrong about another card in the cycle. The card is Hour of Promise. Hour of Promise allows us to find two land cards and put them onto the battlefield tapped. The important part here is that it doesn’t need to just find basic lands. I already know one guy from my local game store who went 5-0 in a competitive modern league two days after Hour of Devastation came out. He was running four copies of Hour of Promise to get two copies of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle in his Green Red Valakut deck. As soon as he told me the card was playable in modern, I knew this card had to be better than I initially thought it was. I decided to see if I could make the card work in standard since he was able to make it work in modern. In standard, Hour of Promise works great with Shrine of the Forsaken Gods. On turn five, we can cast Hour of Promise to find two copies of Shrine of the Forsaken Gods. Next turn, we can cast an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger if we hit our land drop for the turn. If we don’t have an Ulamog, we can do something like Endbringer and Chandra, Torch of Defiance or Ulvenwald Hydra and Thought-Knot Seer. It’s also important to note that this deck would still work fine as a mono green build, but I felt like red would be a good color to compliment this kind of a deck. We need to be able to stay alive long enough to cast our payoff cards. The removal spells in red all do their jobs well and Sweltering Suns is an amazing card for a deck that has great creatures with four or more toughness. Most people have become used to casting their Ulamogs for far less mana than they should, but if you’re looking for a deck that puts Ulamogs into play by actually spending ten mana, then I think this may be your best option. Deck 7 - Green White Life Gain Just like everyone else, I want to see Crested Sunmare be playable. Many people have been brewing with Crested Sunmare, but I’ve only been seeing people brewing with Crested Sunmare in Black White decks. Many people have been pairing it with Drana’s Emissary because it assures you that you will gain life on your turn. This is nice, but it doesn’t use the full potential of Crested Sunmare. Because of the wording of Crested Sunmare, you can make a horse on your turn and your opponent’s turn as well. Too many people are just settling for only getting a horse on your own turn. Because I’m greedy and I want all the horses possible, I think a Green White Life Gain deck could be better. Some ways for us to gain life on our opponent’s turn include blocking with creatures that have lifelink, Blessed Alliance, and Life Goes On. If we decided to run some deserts in our deck, we could also use the activated ability on Dune Diviner to gain life on our opponent’s turn as well. Blossoming Defense is another reason that I really like using green for our Crested Sunmare deck. If Crested Sunmare is our primary win condition, we need to keep it alive so that it can make more horses for us. Blossoming Defense can be used to keep our Crested Sunmare alive or it can be used to get in for the last two points of damage. I’m still not sure if Crested Sunmare is any good, but I’d love to see this card find a nice home in a deck that can gain life easily and can take advantage of the card’s true potential. Deck 8 – Jund Aftermath Aggro When the aftermath cards were first spoiled, I wasn’t a fan of them. Most of the aftermath cards seemed good one side, but unplayable on the other. There were a few exceptions to this though. I found that most of the cards that had two great sides worked well in aggressive decks. So, what if we just slammed all the best aftermath cards into an aggro deck? Well, I was pleasantly surprised. The deck appeared to be both fun to play and able to win matches. The aftermath cards that we are running in this deck are Cut // Ribbons, Insult // Injury, Driven // Despair, and Claim // Fame. These cards all work well on their own, but they work even better together. We play creatures with high power that also have a low converted mana cost and then we turn them sideways and attack with them. Creatures like Scrapheap Scrounger, Voltaic Brawler, Greenbelt Rampager, Longtusk Cub, and Dread Wanderer are great for this deck. We combine these cheap, powerful creatures with the aftermath spells and then we win games. The removal spells in these colors are all great as well. We have access to cheap ways to remove blockers so that we can continue to attack. Fatal Push, Harnessed Lightning, and Abrade are arguably the three best removal spells in this new standard format. This deck can play all of them and use them to their full potential. Heart of Kiran is also great for this deck because it allows us to do something with our creatures on the turn they enter the battlefield. This deck seems great if you enjoy aggressive strategies. You won’t come across many opponents playing around these aftermath cards either. With the elements of speed and surprise on your side, you should be able to take down your opponents and take home some prizes with Jund Aftermath Aggro. Deck 9 - Black Green Seasons Past The coolest deck to come out of Pro Tour Shadows Over Innistrad was Black Green Seasons Past. The deck put one copy into the top eight in the hands of Jon Finkel. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the deck, it plays all the best cards in green and black with a focus towards the control elements in each of these colors. It plays all the best black removal and hand disruption spells, green spells that provide tons of advantage over a longer game, and Seasons Past to continuously keep playing the deck’s great spells. Thirty-nine of the cards that Finkel played in his main deck are still standard legal, but the deck has disappeared from the standard meta due to Dark Petition rotating out. Dark Petition is basically irreplaceable in this deck, but we may have just gotten the closest thing to a replacement that we will ever see. The card replacing Dark Petition is Razaketh’s Rite. If we draw into multiple copies, we can cycle one away and replace it for just one mana. Cycling makes Razaketh’s Rite much better than Diabolic Tutor even though Diabolic Tutor costs one less mana. The deck doesn’t run many creatures, but the creatures that it does run are all great. Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and Tireless Tracker are very powerful cards. Kalitas helps to shut down aggressive deck through life gain and token creation and Tireless Tracker helps us generate card advantage against control decks through clue tokens. I really like Green Black Seasons Past in the current meta. I feel like it has access to a lot of great cards for the main deck and a lot of good sideboard options as well. It’s also important to note that if we sideboard in a card that instantly shuts down out opponent’s deck, the tutors can act as four more copies of that sideboard card. I would love to see this deck make a resurgence and I feel like it’s certainly poised to do so in Hour of Devastation standard. Deck 10 - Blue White Paradoxical Outcome This deck has a special place in my heart. I played Mono Blue Paradoxical Outcome for the entire duration of Aether Revolt standard. I originally played it to improve myself as a player. A deck like Paradoxical Outcome teaches you a lot and helps you improve on other skills you may still need to work on as a player. Some of these skills include: sequencing, maximizing probability, and learning when to go all in. The deck ended up becoming so much more to me than just a learning tool. It was also the first topic I talked about in my introduction to Magic: The Gathering article writing. The deck works by playing an Aetherflux Reservoir and then playing a ton of zero converted mana cost spells so that we can kill our opponent with the Aetherflux Reservoir. The zero converted mana cost spells that the deck uses are Ornithopter, Bone Saw, and Cathar’s Shield. I loved the mono blue version of this deck, but there were many people who preferred the blue white version due to the inclusion of Sram, Senior Edificer. After watching both versions of the deck, the white splash just didn’t seem like it was a good idea. Mono blue already had all the pieces it needed. However, now that Hour of Devastation is here, I think the change to add in white is perfect. The deck will get access to two or three copies of Sram, but the important part is that it will get four copies of Leave // Chance. Leave acts as a smaller, cheaper version of Paradoxical Outcome. We won’t get to draw cards off it, but getting to cast all our zero converted mana cost cards again is perfect. When we have an Aetherflux Reservoir in play, all we care about is casting more spells so that we can win the game. Leave allows to have four more copies of a card that can just let us win out of nowhere. This deck is so much fun to play and I encourage you to give it a try. It will make you into a better player and it will win you some prize packs as well. I hope you all enjoyed this article and I look forward to reading your opinions and comments. If you did enjoy it, consider following me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Alby_MTG or subscribing to my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/AlbyMTG
  4. 6 likes
    Hey guys and gals - I've been lurking around for a while, and following on Twitter for a long while, and I have to apologize. I discovered just recently that I hadn't even created account here. That's unacceptable; my bad. My name's Miles, I live in the DFW metroplex, and obviously love me some magic. I played way back in the days of Astral Slide and Goblin Reanimator, but put it down for a long time. I picked back up and my first foray into tournament magic was GP Origins Sealed. Been hooked (again) ever since. I love to build random decks around undervalued cards, but I also love to win (those things are often juxtaposed). Playing often is hard on me because I have 1.5 little ones in my house (wife is having another baby soon), so I'm eyeing up MTGO. Hope to add to the quality around here. Cheers! M
  5. 5 likes
    This is my birthday week! My birthday is on 8/16! So I'm doing this a bit early so people can get questions in now sooner rather than later, plus I might be recording earlier too since I'm on call next week as well ugh So! Throw me any questions! I'll answer anything!
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    Dutch, translated literally to English.
  7. 5 likes
    Hey everyone! I know it's been a while since I posted here, but it's been a hectic summer. I've been working at Peaceful Valley Scout Ranch in Colorado for the Boy Scouts of America. It was a great experience, and if you want, I can go further into detail about what I actually did. Regardless, I made a lot of new friends, and I learned a lot. I also finished all of my merit badges for my Eagle Rank, so I will be getting my Eagle Scout! I also attended the Western Conservative Summit again and it was great! Well, if you want more detail on anything, go ahead and reply, and I'll try to explain Peace out, MTGMTB
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    I think it's important, based on the awesome feedback, for me to kind of swing the spotlight back on to one of my primary points. There can be any number of 'goals' to playing magic. @Rhino pointed out quite a few, and in positive fashion. But, my original point that I may have diluted with verbosity was - you as the individual get to decide what is important to you during any given iteration of play. I think there is a population out there that would suggest that if you even consider winning to be the most important aspect of Magic, you're wrong. What's more; you should feel bad. You should not be 'in it to win it,' or care about winning when 'fun' should be the objective. I think, personally, that's garbage. Why I want to win, when, how, and the justifications; those are all mine. Just like they are yours when you make that determination. You don't have to justify it because (dirty little secret) - the importance of winning is self evident. But, if you decide winning is the most important thing (more important than 'fun' on any given night) it does not mean that's all you ever care about. You are not obligated to feel today the same way you felt yesterday. Magic is your game.
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    Is Fun vs Winning the only two goals? There are a lot more goals to playing magic. Like friendship, learning, networking, and many others that I still don't know the exact words for. I like to support my LGS. I want to make new friends. I want to test ideas. I want to expand my abilities. I want to help others play better. I want to have a better understanding of the players. Is that psychology? I learned from my dad that winning is not a solitary goal. Do I want to win? Yes, I enjoy winning. But winning is the smallest of the goals. If that's someone's only goal, they missed the whole point of Magic. So if someone asks me what is my goal in playing Magic, my answer is I want to become a better person. I'm only 11, but I hope that answer's your question.
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    One of my neighbours bought the NES Classic Mini a while ago. At first I thought it was very cool and wanted it too. But looking at the cost (€60), and the amount of games on there (a mere 30, without the possibility of adding more) I lost my enthusiasm a bit. Looking at the added cost of also getting the Atari Flashback, the SNES & Mega Drive Classics it was going to add up quickly and the collection of games was rather small. Emulating on one of our PC's/laptops didn't appeal either. Reading my usual collection of geeky websites I had come across the Retropie project before, and with the holiday coming up it was time to act on it. We still had that old tv I nicked from work up in the attic anyway. The Raspberry Pi package really remains very unimpressive. Hard to fathom this little Pi3 has the same/more processing power than that bulky Playstation 1. Having to flash a computer/card always makes me nervous, but lately I found that it really is dead simple. The instructions on the website & various Youtube tutorials appear to be fool-proof. For this build, because it is a Pi3 (that needs a bit more juice than the Pi2) and it will run quite warm emulating the PS1, I went for an official 2.5A adapter. I got an official case too. It only cost €2 more than a 3rd party case. You can remove the lid for cooling purposes, and it looks nice. Getting controllers was a thing. The €10 cabled ones are widely considered to be pants. 8Bitdo are said to make good controllers, albeit a tad small for adults. They are quite pricey too, and even the most luxurious only have shoulders. Because you also need triggers for the more modern games I shortly considered the Logitech G310. But for the same price I could get some refurbished Wii U Pro controllers. Every site I came across listed this controller to be about the best one available, people love them. It is wireless, so it leaves the Retropie looking nice and clean, and its battery lasts 40 hours. All my hard work resulted in happy kids, and a happy wife. Right now Rayman & Crash Bandicoot are favourites. Building a Retropie really isn't hard, and doesn't cost a great deal. I spent about €120. Some games didn't run initially, but a quick read-up taught me that there are emulators (like the PSX) that need a BIOS installed. On the bigger ROM-sites you can easily get a hold of them. If you would like to try it out, have a look at: https://retropie.org.uk/ I get my roms from http://coolrom.com/ & https://www.emuparadise.me/.
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    This has been good to read. There are so many factors. When we started with FNM it was Standard and there would be from 16-24 players of various ages and approaches. In one night you could face someone really good and someone playing a silly deck, and lots in-between. It was a fun atmosphere. They also provided everyone a pack for participating and also extra packs for people in top places. It was really enjoyable. Better players would give deck building ideas, and play tips to other players. There were at least a few people who wanted everyone to get better so that it would be better for all. Our Pauper group started at a store where they don't do participation packs, like many places they call it "consolation" prizes. So as players we started with some playsets of cards that would be "door prizes" to those who didn't place in top 3. Over time it has become more competitive and not everyone is a good "winner." Some days its a blast, win or lose. Other days it feels like I'm just paying money to buy cards for the person with the best "net deck." The home brewing has been cut back and decks I built to practice against are now decks I play every so often. Some players talk and socialize in between rounds and others barely acknowledge you even while playing. So it is definitely a thing of context for me. I started playing later than most, my adult son got me and my wife started. That makes it fun right there. For us it depends on the decks, the attitudes, and often how close we get. Placing is exciting and fun for sure. It's also exciting when we can get the more competitive players a little nervous by getting them to 1 or 2 life, even if they win. It's been a good family hobby for us and we enjoy the social aspect, and like competing enough to go once or twice a week (Frontier Thursdays and Pauper Sundays). Thank you all for sharing your thoughts. Enrique aka @Magonista66 (same handle on Twitter)
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    I just picked up 4 foil Fraying Sanity.
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    Has to be https://scryfall.com/ hands down the best of the best!
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    With hour of devastation release been and gone I've decided it was the right time to do another giveaway. I will be timing them with major set releases from now on. So for this giveaway all of the prizes available you'll see in the above picture and I'm excited to offer this to everyone. Slight Game of Thrones theme here with the majority of the prizes as I'm very happy the show has returned. Plus getting your booster fix too! To Enter the Competition click here: https://gleam.io/jaxZQ/life-begins-at-20-july-2017-hour-of-devastation-giveaway Best of Luck to you all and check out the channel update video in the video section to see what exciting things will be coming over the next few months!
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    So many great things. Envious of where you live Jag. Any chance of some photos sometime. Yellowstone is one of my fave places on earth and, allegedly, you can't make a camp fire from their petrified wood. We were talking about Epcot this weekend and a potential destination on our US trip in 2018. Again, envious that you can do that stuff on a weekend - takes us a year to organise. Went to a craft centre on Sunday. Decent pizza (smoked goats cheese and relish) and a lovely Black IPA. Rained HARD though. We finished our most ambitious Lego build on Friday night. It was a lovely build and a great opportunity to talk through what has to be one of mankind's greatest achievements (apart from GM mozzies ofc.... grrr). They created it in 1969 pieces. I feel like a walking Lego Movie plot, in that Fin's not allowed to play with it any more after breaking it twice and not being able to put it back together. Considering sticking the pieces together with a Cragle. Photos inc.
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    Not sure how many of you got the email, but here's a player motivation survey from Wizards: https://www.research.net/r/NK83HRS?lang=EN&src=email
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    Check out this decktech from Tasty Snackies. This deck looks a lot of fun. Thinking of building it up in MTGO and giving it a whirl. This is my favorite modern deck so finding a way to play it in Pauper is just as awesome
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    This is why ... Robots are going to kill us all! (some NSFW)
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    Your channel needs your help get an MTG Community Video Project off the ground. This is a series that I'm very excited about and I feel can really help bring this amazing mtg cube community together. But to get this off the ground, I need help from you! To view the video click here: https://youtu.be/2PRqcjpxunU As you all know Cube players like to personalise their cube's, whether this is pimping it out through foils, alters, promos and signed cards to having something a little different from the norm. I'm sure all of you have one card above all else that you love and cherish the most, whether this is due to your favourite artist signing it, rare artwork, alters or like me the very first planeswalker I ever opened. I'd like you to share your stories and cards with us all. If you do like the sound of this idea and want more of this in the future, hit that like button so I can see how much you like the idea! INSTRUCTIONS -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- To get involved, please can you do one of the following: - Take a picture of the card and write a paragraph about why it's so special. - Take a picture of the card and record your voice talking about the card - Take a picture of the card and Video yourself explaining why it's special to you. Once done, please send these to my email address: Mark.LifeBeginsAt20@gmail.com (For videos, please use Wetransfer due to email attachment size limits) I'm planning to create a monthly showcase video with these to help show the community what your favoutire/most cherished cards are in your cube. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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    Stats for July 2017 are out! Downloads for July: 7857 Listeners for July: 12,399 Which brings the month total to: 20,256! This is awesome! Downloads are a bit lower, not sure why but listener ship keeps growing! We are currently up to 122,063 downloads/listeners so far this year! Will I make it to 200K by year's end? Who knows!
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    I definitely agree that winning is a goal of the game, but I think to truly enjoy *playing* magic you have to be able to find satisfaction even when you lose. I enjoy executing clean lines of play, coming back from tough situations, or getting to go off on a big combo. I also, as a fairly new player, value learning experiences. I (Paul) play a lot of Modern, so a lot of losses I chalk up as "experience" and then go home and think about how to beat that deck in the future. That's a perfect example of how winning is the goal, but not where my enjoyment comes from. Recently I got just killed by a combo deck playing UW control. I played the deck again the next week, and still lost, but played a lot better, did much better at holding up mana for counterspells, and made better sideboard choices. That was a "fun" night of magic.
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    Today it's been a 100 years since the 3rd Battle for Ieper started, "The Hell of Passendale". The British offensive was supposed to be short, and the gain 40 kilometers of terrain. Instead they fought for 3 months and 6 days, while gaining just 8km. The losses were 35 men per meter...
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    From one of my favorite shows M.A.S.H All of us should be grateful to live in a place where war is not our reality.
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    This brings me on to another key giveaway point, if the price is too good to be true, it usually means you're getting scammed somehow. Anyone who has internet access can pretty easily find out what a sensible value for cards/boosters/boxes is
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    i have an odd relationship with Magic (& so many other things in life) in that I'm not driven by a need to win or be the best at something, always aiming for perfection. I come to the game with the idea of having fun as a casual scrub. If I win, then I win & it was most likely luck over skill/deck. If I lose than that is that (unless it was a dirty loss but that's a different matter). So I am in the fun camp but also can't stand the uber obsessed players who look to win at all costs, challenging every play, reading every card, jumping on every misstep. More so if they dispute solely to disrupt play & break up flow/concentration. People like that kill my fun & were part of the reason that I stopped playing in the mid 90's. To be honest, I don't have a great temper & get annoyed by people easily but do have a lot of self control so seldom bring the issue to the table unless it's a consistent thing with a very, very tiny amount of individuals (overall, my experience with Magic & TCG players has always been positive & supportive) then it will take away my urge to have fun, turning it into a need to run the person who ruined my game. This tends to be why I like to stick to casual games & events because win/lose doesn't really matter & you get to see some interesting things. In the end, I see playing Magic as a social experience & not a major part of my life &/or identity. I love deck building & thought exercises around MtG, I love interacting with so many top people & learning new things from every opponent that I face. So it's all about fun because I know where my skill level is & what my limitations are -which aren't enough to take me to wins at FMN.
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    Awesome answers so far!! For me MTG is everything at different times. I will take a strong competitive deck to a PPTQ or the occasional PT that we get here in Sydney but rarely to an FNM. For Gamesday, given there is a playmat and better prizes on the line I will also take something that I know should do well. Each FNM however I like to take combo jank and just enjoy myself.
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    I 100% agree! I love playing Magic, it is by far my most favorite hobby. I love every aspect of it, and I love how it allows any player to basically play as they wish and enjoy the game for any number of reason. However, when I sleeve up a deck I just spent real hard earned money on, I want to win. When I go to FNM I want to aim for 4-0. I would have fun even if I would go 0-4, because you learn more from losing than you do from winning AND I am playing Magic with people I enjoy interacting with. Learning is a huge factor and part of the fun for me as well. "Woah, that's a combo that you can play? Let me note that down", "that's a sweet interaction, I never thought about that","damn I lost because XYZ, now I know how to improve my deck", so on and so forth; but at the end, I have much more fun if I win. Even when playing with friends I can see that people feel much more "accomplished" when they win. Just as a quick analogy, let's look at videogames. When you play with friends at home, at an arcade, online, or in any non-competitive scenario where you have nothing to gain or lose from either a win or a loss, which one do you prefer to see on your screen "YOU WIN" or "YOU LOSE"? "LEVEL COMPLETED" or "GAME OVER"? "HEIR OF FIRE DESTROYED" or "YOU DIED"? I am pretty sure for the majority, it's the screen that let's you know you did a good job, that you accomplished your goal, that you were the best among the competition and won. I feel this same concept translates to MTG as well. You can have a ton of fun and lose, but you would probably have more fun if you had won. This is even more true in scenarios where prizes are on the line and you payed some sort of entry fee, such as FNM and other tournaments. I enjoyed reading your post, very well thought out and written. Would really love to hear more from you in terms of issues, hot topics, or general talk in MTG.
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    I had this philosophical struggle myself a few years back. For me, I broke it simply down into "what can I do that can help me improve while also attempting to maximize fun?" That way, I keep things fun and educational - or at the minimum not stressful, while putting in the least amount of required monetary resources (standard constructed is expensive, etc). And I realized that for myself, I kept to the limited events - draft especially, but sealed when prerelease time comes around. This allowed me to practice card quality, finding synergies, and doing so in a semi-not-really competitive environment that rewards hard work and good gameplay decisions while keeping things pretty chill. I've written off standard as a format due to its costs, and that way if I want to do constructed I can do so either by playing Legacy/Vintage and Commander, or by building silly modern and pauper decks. Nowadays, I don't mind losing a well involved and good match where I did all I could, but I get internally salty as all hell when my own deck decides to not perform via mana issues (flooding or screw). I'm also especially considerate when it happens on the other side -- it wasn't a real game of Magic, if you're sitting there drawing land after land and you're dying to that bear from turn 2.
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    For me I'm right in the middle. I care very much about winning, and tend to be pretty bummed when I play poorly, but I'm not willing to sacrifice the fun of brewing and building to win more often. So, I can't say I'm either fun or serious, because I'm not willing to give up the fun of building to win more, but I still build my decks to win, and care very much about it once a game gets started.
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    Glad you created this thread, you made some interesting points. I've been thinking about this since I read @Magonista66 tweet yesterday I think a lot of it depends on the individual and their expectations. For example, when I play with friends at my place it's usually casual. We worry more about what we will be eating and drinking that day than what we're playing. Multi player game fun and rarely does anyone get upset they lost. Lots of trash talk but it's all in fun. So if I lose all day, it's not really a huge deal. It's always fun spending time with friends and family. Don't get me wrong, it's funner to see a janky deck go off and kill the other players in a multi player game or make the game miserable by making them all discard, mill, take life ect. but overall the expectation is to have fun. When I play at our LGS or if my playgroup organizes our own tournament, the expectations change. I usually spend more time and money on those decks, lots of time testing and looking into cards and interactions. Those games get taken a little more seriously, it's a different mindset. Part of that is you don't want to show up and go winless after all the time you've spent on a deck. You want the time and money you've invested to have some kind of return. Even when you go 0-X if you are paying attention and finding where you went wrong you go back to the drawing board and make improvements. You get better and come back next time more prepared. I'm not a very good player so I try to take the many losses as a learning experience and try to improve. For me, a lot of having fun even in defeat is your opponent. If your opponent is respectful then it's not as bad, if they are a bad sport then I get more invested and competitive. So those losses aren't as fun Even though I spend more time and money on those decks, my main goal is to have fun first and win second. If I play Magic with a bunch of poor sports and I manage to get first place every time, I'm not having fun. I'd rather be doing something else with my time than spend it with unpleasant people. That may be my outlook because I a good amount of friends who like playing Magic or want to learn, so I'm lucky to have options.
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    In the case of booster boxes, if it doesn't have the original Wizards plastic seal wrapping, assume it's been messed with in some way. I'd be very wary about buying any individual boosters that weren't from a box I'd physically seen the seal broken on, or from a shop I knew was trustworthy. Modern sets that were mappable, like RTR and just before, or Eldritch Moon with its initial run where all mythics were in packs with the same art, are even more risky Regarding fake cards, the first question is "How much is this card worth?", there aren't many people out there producing good quality fake Elvish Mystics or anything else worth less than $10-20. The usual biggest giveaway is the feel of the card, too thick, too thin, too easy/plasticky (like many previous of standard playing cards). If it feels and generally looks OK, the best way to be sure is to get out your magnifying glass and check the printing. There are lots of pictures online as examples but the short version is that the text and black border of cards are printed separately from the coloured parts. The coloured part of printed with a rosette pattern, the text and border are not. The rosette pattern can be faked but it's almost always applied to the whole card so the solid black parts that shouldn't have it also have the pattern on the vast majority of otherwise good quality counterfeit cards
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    Sounds like Life Begins at 20 needs to make an Un-cube. You know, a proper and eternal home for the best drinking game in the Multiverse. Of course I could just a crazy person talkin' tin-foil hat nonsense
  34. 4 likes
    Hey guys and gals - So, now that Hour has been out for a week or so, I'm interested - has anyone speculated on any cards or really eyeing up particular synergies? Personally, I'm big on God Pharaoh's Gift right now. I picked up a few of them and the Angel of Invention. And, thanks to SaffronOlive I nabbed my playset of panharmonicons. I plan on going full combo at FNM (and probably losing my shirt, but whatever, it'll be fun). Anyone else? M
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    We will still go to FNM no matter the card/promo. Even the foil token is a little limited trophy. That's fine by me. I might start pushing Standard Showdown at my LGS. But it will be a less competitive bunch for Saturday.
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    To me, any move toward a less competitive environment is a bad call. Explanation for inflammatory comment - what I mean is, Magic, by it's very nature, is a binary game when it comes to result. When you play, there is a winner and a loser (sometimes multiple losers, depending) and this is true whether or not you (individually) are playing 'just for the fun of playing.' And, it's worth noting that the only way to compare investment-to-reward or 'break even' in playing Magic is to win. That said, I think eliminating valuable promos (especially if some stores give them out as prizes) is a bad idea. It sends a contradictory message that winning is unimportant to the company that is simultaneously sending you that message, printing the game, and paying literally thousands of dollars to winners of major tournaments. I don't like the idea that WotC is using prizes/cards to effect the in-store environment - that should be on the FNM host. That said; the other side of this could be strategy. Let's say that WotC sees the writing on the wall and believes that FNM is not the funnel for competitive Magic players. Let's say that our tournament players actually come (primarily) from another avenue like MTGO. If that's the case, then restructuring the FNM, gradually and subtly (like with the elimination of 'good' promos) to serve and grow the casual crowd is pretty smart. Personally, I don't like it. It's another weight on the wrong side of the 'should I go to FNM' scale. Just my thoughts, though. M
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    I go to FNM every week because it's the only time it get to play Magic other than Monday nights. The FNM promo changes are bad, but I'm still going to go because I love playing Magic and want to play it as much as I can.
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    Hi Everyone! I'm having fun playing around with cards like Thunderous Wrath, Firebrand Archer as a pseudo "storm" deck, and other things. Other than basic hypogeometric distribution does someone know how to calculate things like having both a particular creature AND two lands in opening hand? (As one example) Whatever numbers I calculate I'll probably put on my personal blog and here. I'm currently reviewing this video -
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    Just the one Tron player. You probably played my friend on Affinity.
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    I just feel sorry for the people who can't separate the two things, who only enjoy the game if it's all going their way
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    Hello everyone! As many of you know, today (Wednesday) is the final day before Pro Tour Hour of Devastation in Japan. Personally, I'm very excited to see how the best of the best have changed the style of decks in standard over the last couple of weeks with the release of Hour of Devastation, and if there are any surprise decks that could make Day 2, or even make Top 8. Decks such as Mono-Red Aggro, God-Pharaoh's Gift, Emerge, and many different "Bolas Control" variants; have all seen play, and have done very well in leagues. So which decks are you excited to see, and what "surprise deck" do you think can find its way into the Top 8 when used by the pros? Could one of them even make its way to the finals?
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    GTX 970. Surprised the shit out of me too. I think having an i7. A decent asus mobo and 16gb ram helps a tiny bit. Everything maxxed except AA which is stuck at MSAA. Anything over that gives disproportionately poor performance. I suspect I'm not a high framerate/hz gamer having heard some folks finding 60fps and 100 us hz being mandatory. I get between 50 and 60fps @ 60 hz and that's beautiful to me. Was talking to a guy at work about this particular config. I bought it under 2.5 years ago and the 970 was not a new card then. I have been VERY impressed with the general performance over the years. Defo the best gaming investment I've ever made. It's taken me through witcher 3 and fallout 4 with aplomb.
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    Our store isn't too worried about it. A lot of stores need high FNM numbers to continue going, but FNM isn't really that monetarily important for our shop. We have a very competitive shop, so our money usually comes from people playing in big tournaments and buying expensive singles to stay competitive. I can understand how scary it could be from a business side of things for other stores, but with the way that our shop runs, it just won't affect us much.
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    Literally my Hightide deck (yes it has CoF) preordain ponder brainstorm merchants scroll Compulsive research (all of them are in the Deck)
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    I'm a fan of the Soul Tremors deck! @Magonista66 and I were talking about it yesterday during some Pauper play
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    Not quite the same, but I do deckbuilding challenges, which are intended to be built around a weird theme or restriction. I've only done one, and I'll link the playlist below, but it's not commander and it's not a "theme" like you are talking about. I like the idea though, and would definitely like to see what you come up with. I think MTGgoldfish now does a kind of "silly theme" series, but I can't recall the name and I haven't watched a lot of them. Their 4-player commander series are also themed, and sometimes they are weird themes too, but still, I don't think they go quite as far as this, so I can't think of anything. Deckbuilding challenge playlist: Random Card Challenge
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    Due to family commitments I only ever get to FNM 1 or 2 times a month anyway but I will still be going as I generally cannot attend on the weekends.