Wednesday, January 28, 2015

This week in Magic - Team Limited GP, the new Modern

With the new set, Fate Reforged, just recently coming out, as well as the new bannings, a lot of the authors haven't had the chance to have their say about the changes yet. This coupled with the lack of tournaments in the recent weeks, means that this week's articles focus much on the same things as last week, though there are some exceptions. We've done our best to come up with an interesting and diverse mix!

Fate Reforged

Jim Davies does his best to defuse the hype surrounding a lot of the cards in Fate Reforged

Every new set that comes out usually brings a ton of hype with it and FRF was no different. Jim Davies does a good job of explaining the pitfalls of some of the cards in this set that people seem to be glossing over. Don't be fooled however, as this type of article can easily swing too far to the "everything sucks" side of the spectrum. There is plenty of power in the set, just make sure you don't look at cards through rose colored glasses.

Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa updates the best decks in Standard

When a new set comes out, especially a small one like Fate Reforged, building a completely new deck can often be harder than simply updating an old powerful one. PV analyzes strong additions to Sidisi Ship, Abzan, UB Control, Mono Red Devotion, UW Heroic, and RW tokens. Look no further if you want to dominate at the next Standard tournament with an upgraded version of your deck! If you want a more technical approach to the Standard metagame, you can also check out Frank Karsten's article.

Conley Woods goes aggresive in Standard with Mono Red Devotion 

Mono Red seems very well positioned at the moment, with the new Flamewake Phoenix and Mardu Scout filling in important spots that were empty before. The deck is probably neither as exciting, nor as high in simple power as some of the other decks, but it's consistent, fast, and packs a big punch once it gets going. The second list seems a bit suspect, however, as restricting yourself to one color and then not running arguably the most powerful card in that color - Goblin Rabblemaster - has got to feel awful.

Craig Wescoe discusses the financial side of Fate Reforged
Predicting which cards are going to over- or underperform - and, consequently, rise or drop in value - is a tough nut to crack. Some cards are sure hits, like the Khans fetchlands, so their value is pretty much stable, but the real financial gain can be found in the hidden gems, in the Tarmogoyfs of tomorrow. Craig showcases the cards he thinks will drop, and those he think will spike in price soon. Be careful, though - if everyone followed the advice of one person, it would cause the exact opposite reaction to what it suggests!

Banned/Restricted list changes

Jacob Van Lunen explores the new landscape of Modern

Jacob has a nice approach to exploring new decks - he looks at the decks doing well on Magic Online and analyzes why they are successful. He doesn't stop there, however, since the MTGO metagame is notoriously different to the paper one, due to card availability and because some of the mechanics simply take too much time to execute online. He suggests some other builds, and his idea of looking at strong decks from the past makes a lot of sense, as Modern might just be shifting back to where it was a few months ago (minus Pod, of course).

Channel Fireball's look at the changes to the Banned/Restricted list

Channel Fireball's Magic TV is some of the highest quality Magic video content being produced, with good content, entertaining hosts, and useful insight into many aspects of Magic. This episode features Shahar Shenhar and Josh Utter-Leyton, with hosts Mashi Scanlan and Paul Cheon, discussing the impact the changes to the Banned/Restricted list will likely have on the formats. If you enjoy video content, you will enjoy this!

Philipp Schoneger delves deep into the new face of Legacy 

OK, so he's actually not delving quite as deeply since the bannings, but his article is a very thoughtful and clear vision of the format. He does advocate Miracles very strongly, so don't expect decklists for other decks, but I've been very impressed with Philipp's writing these last few weeks.


Magic Judge Monthly: December 2014

The Judge Monthly is aimed primarily at Magic Judges, showcasing the best articles, as well as important updates of the Judge Program. Some parts might also be interesting to non-Judge players, especially the "O(fficial) Answers" section that features several rules- and/or policy-related questions that were the cause of debate in the Judge Community. These can give you an insight into what you can expect to happen at an event, not to mention that if they really pique your interest, you might just be Judge material yourself!

Reid Duke dives deep into the intricacies of Cube draft 

Cube is an extremely fun format and if you haven't tried it yet, I highly recommend it! If you have, and want to learn how to beat your friends even more, you should take a look at Reid's new article. While there are nigh infinite different ways to construct a Cube, there are several universal truths about it and Reid tries to explore them here. The article feels a little general and not quite deep enough, especially considering it's written about such a specific theme as Cube draft, but an enjoyable read nonetheless.

The FNM promos for February - April showcase an alternative timeline from Khans

I feel like the Friday Night Magic promos have been very hit-or-miss lately. They go from Banishing Light to Fanatic of Xenagos, from Stoke the Flames to Frenzied Goblin, ranging from Standard powerhouses to competitive blanks. The upcoming ones are all quite good, but the really cool thing here is the art, which is a twist on the art of the original cards - the new art on Hordeling Outburst, for example, shows the Goblins running from a hungry dragon!

James Watt tells us how a young Mardu Khan got her name

Nothing about tournaments, strategy, or crazy decks. This is a background story about one of the cards from Fate Reforged - but I won't tell you which one. That would just ruin it all. Magic stories tend to be a bit cliché, and this one is no different, but it's a cool read nonetheless if you enjoy exploring the background of our favorite game.

Upcoming tournaments

This weekend features GP Mexico City, the first GP with Fate Reforged, so it will be interesting to see what the Pro Players do with the new format. There's also GP San Jose going on at the same weekend, featuring the awesome format that is Team Limited! A lot of the best players in the world are likely to be there, but some are also sure to head to Mexico City in hopes of a smaller tournament and easier Pro Points. Regardless, both tournaments should be a lot of fun to watch, so check out the coverage!

The biggest Magic weekend ever, featuring GPs in Vegas, Utrecht, and Chiba, is four months away, but you can already preregister for GP Utrecht on the Tournament Center website.

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