Thursday, February 12, 2015

This week in Magic - Magic Origins, MKM tournament series


Last week featured Pro Tour Washington, which was won by Antonio Del Moral Leon, the first Spaniard ever to win a Pro Tour! The new/old Modern that we saw in Washington seems diverse, bringing some very exciting new cards to the "viable" card pool. And as is always the case at Pro Tours, Wizards uses the opportunity to showcase new stuff they've been cooking up. This time, they introduced Magic Origins, a set that will focus on the background stories of five beloved Planeswalkers: Gideon, Jace, Liliana, Chandra, and Garruk. If you missed the coverage of the Pro Tour, you can watch it all on the official YouTube channel.

This weekend will feature Grand Prix Seville, so we're sure to see interesting new developments in Standard. Seville also happens to be one of the shooting locations of HBO's Game of Thrones - the Alcázar palace complex will serve as the Water gardens of Dorne - so if you're attending the GP and are a fan of the show, make sure you take the time to go sightseeing!

Another important piece of exciting news this week concerns the tournament scene in Europe. The continent has notably lacked a series of competitive events, such as those organised by Star City Games in the United States. It seems like this is finally changing - MagicCardMarket has announced their official tournament series, the first of which will take place in Rome on April 10-12.

Since the pros were busy with the Pro Tour, there haven't been as many articles this month, so we've done our best to come up with a strong, if slightly shorter, selection. Enjoy

Competitive articles

Sam Pardee introduces the Little Kid to Modern
The Channel Fireball pro players were adamant that the most popular deck at Pro Tour Washington was going to be Junk/Abzan, and one of the ways to beat it is with Little Kid - a GW Township deck with a fast clock, resilient threats, and a bit of disruption. I don't think the matchups are as good as Sam claims, but it's a powerful deck with more thought behind it than might seem at first glance.

Frank Lepore gives Modern Elves a spin
One of the interesting decks to share the spotlight at the Pro Tour feature match area was Elves! It's a relatively high variance deck, one that swings between doing nothing one game and completely smashing the opponent with infinite mana the next. Frank plays several games on Magic Online against various decks, which can give you a feel for how the deck plays out, but don't expect the most technical play level.

AJ Sacher analyses a game from the Top 8 of PT Washington
Watching some excellent players play a game of Magic is good, but AJ gives you something extra, with a detailed analysis of how the game plays out, why the players make the plays they do, and what he considers were the mistakes they had done in that game. There are improvements that could be made - better graphics and better montage, cutting out some of the dead time, would have made the video more exciting to watch. That said, the commentary is detailed and fun, so looking forward to more of these!
Adrian Sullivan adapts the Death and Taxes deck to the new Legacy metagame
Legacy is a format that doesn't change all that fast, so decks tend to stay viable for a long time. There are still changes, though, so it's vital that you adapt your build to what you're expecting to face. Death and Taxes is a deck that makes up in synergy and understanding the metagame what the individual cards lack in raw power. Keep your D&T deck up to date with the help of Adrian's article!

Other articles

Gavin Verhey features Ugin, the Villain
Gavin regularly posts articles where he explores one of the decks that readers had submitted to him. This time, the theme of the deck had to be Sultai (since that is the theme of the week on the mothership, the website) and the winning deck looks like a blast to play! Dictate of Karametra can power out not only Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, but also Villainous Wealth. I'd look to add some Frontier Sieges for more acceleration, though.

Bennie Smith builds a Shu Yun Commander deck
Shu Yun is a fun new Legendary creature, one that will force you to navigate between the needs of having plenty of creatures to buff, and plenty of non-creature spells to buff them with. Most articles about Commander decks tend to run quite long and almost always boring, but Bennie has a pleasant writing style and a wealth of links to his other articles at the end.

Chris Landsell brews with the cool new cards from Fate Reforged
It's somewhat ironic that Chris's article is called "brews for everyone", as they're certainly not by everyone's taste, but he has put together a couple of funky brews. His UR build, Riddle Master, aims to burn out with Riddle of Lightning, a card that first featured in Future Sight. On the other hand, his Sultai Control deck, aptly called Salty Bananas, seeks to abuse the powerful one-two punch of Tasigur and Torrent Elemental.

Mark Rosewater answers questions on Manifest
Manifest is a complex mechanic and it's natural that players will have questions about it. Who better to answer them than Mark, who has a wealth of knowledge on all aspects of the game? If there's something about Manifest that still confuses you - be it the rules, the flavor, or how it was designed - check out Mark's article and you might just find the answer you're looking for!

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