Escapist Podcast: Bonus: Magic the Gathering

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Bonus: Magic the Gathering

Last weekend, a contingent of The Escapist Staff participated in an Invitational Qualifier tournament and we share our thoughts and feelings about the event.

Watch Video

Two notes:

1) Show and Tell is actually 3 CMC to cast. So one more turn until you can drop Mr Prot from Everything.

2) We still are having a little echo issues on this one, but I think I may have tracked down some of our audio woes. With luck the next podcast this week will sound better, especially on those longer segments.

I dropped out after three match losses with http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/ub-tempo-infect/

I never had so many problems pulling removal or blue mana as I came across that day. :(

(as in, dozens of test hands drawn with maybe 2-3 hands at most in an entire deck that didn't have a decent mix)

Ahh well.

Kross:
I dropped out after three match losses with http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/ub-tempo-infect/

I never had so many problems pulling removal or blue mana as I came across that day. :(

(as in, dozens of test hands drawn with maybe 2-3 hands at most in an entire deck that didn't have a decent mix)

Ahh well.

I'm not a great player so I'm not going to pretend I am but wouldn't it be a good idea to put just a few cards in that let you Scry [Edit - I meant in Sideboard, I forgot the term for a while]? Just incase you have the problem with Blue mana again on a off day you can change up and scry for some Mana.

Personally though I don't like Infect I prefer Phantoms with my Counterspell. :P

For those curious, here are a few of the other deck lists. A few might not have the final updates before the event, but they should more or less be close.

Justin - Sly Haunted Human
Josh - Wolf Jund
Steve - Dubbed The Bouncy Tigger Deck
Janelle - Super Friends Esper
Greg - Breen Ramp
Kara - Red Deck Wins
Alex - was running a WU Token
Newton - was running a BW Token

Slycne:
For those curious, here are a few of the other deck lists. A few might not have the final updates before the event, but they should more or less be close.

Justin - Sly Haunted Human
Josh - Wolf Jund
Steve - Dubbed The Bouncy Tigger Deck
Janelle - Super Friends Esper
Greg - Breen Ramp
Kara - Red Deck Wins
Alex - was running a WU Token
Newton - was running a BW Token

I actually picked up some extra Titans and moved over to something closer to Conley Woods BGr build. I don't have it posted at the moment, but it looks a lot like Mamoru Nagai's deck here. I ran a singleton Huntmaster of the Fells and extra removal mainboard instead of Glissa, the Traitor and Ratchet Bomb. I am thinking of moving back to Jund, though.

Ah! I'm so happy to see this!
Every weekday i listen to the escapist podcast as i cycle to college and back. I usually finish the podcast after three days and have to wait another 4 before i can listen to a new one. But your Star Wars Podcasts and now this one are a nice bridge of that gap.

So thanks for being awesome!

None of you guys did well? I am disappointed. Maybe its because you read the hexproof column.

You guys have a forum you can post on at any time, giving a decklist, and dozens of people will help you happily.

I have yet to check out Dark Ascension mainly because I play online. Still the set has been released in print already so I really should take a peak.

I've just started going to FNM after playing for about 6 years, so I'm getting more used to the constructed tournament scene. Took my RG werewolf aggro deck the last two weeks and have done okay with it. First time I went 2-3, went home and tweaked it for the next week, but then dropped after going 1-3 due to bad luck/bad matchups (I hate delver with war & peace).

EDIT:
http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/werewolf-aggro-4/
http://www.essentialmagic.com/decks/View.asp?ID=916433
Here's my werewolf deck lists if anyone wants to check it out and comment on it.

EDIT2: I'm also working on a GB Birthing Pod deck. Here are the links:
http://www.essentialmagic.com/decks/View.asp?ID=916440
http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/birthing-pod-98/

This might seem a little stalker-ish of me, but I'd like to know what you guys are doing. How about a bonus podcast for all of your hobbies? I'd love to hear what your DnD campaign is like for example. If Weird Al can make UHF, you guys can totally diversify your podcasts (which I'm sure some of the VG-only folks will complain about).

Though, as far as non-video games, I highly suggest branching out if you guys can find the time. Pathfinder, Legend of the Five Rings (CCG and RPG), Exalted, Eclipse Phase, New Gods of Mankind, Big Eyes Small Mouth... I mean, didn't one of you guys (help/contribute/design) make the newest kid on the block, Adventurer Conqueror King?

Totally agree on DnD campaign story time.

Half want to get further into magik, but I just don't want to spend the money. I'm pretty good playing strategically with what I have, just don't want the investment since I'ld only really play for fun anyway. Used to play Friday Night Magik, then they started charging for it....must resist rewording that to an arrow in the knee.

Wow...
I don't know anything...ANYTHING about Magic the Gathering and I still listened to the whole thing.

I just like listening to you guys talk I suppose.
This was the best way I could spend my time waiting for the Mass Effect 3 demo to download...

Panayjon:
I mean, didn't one of you guys (help/contribute/design) make the newest kid on the block, Adventurer Conqueror King?

Yep, ACKS was designed by two of our own, with many of us being a part of the initial campaign/playtest that more or less grew from house-ruled B/X D&D into ACKS.

I could see us doing some bonus episodes about tabletop rpgs/boardgames though, it's certainly another aspect of gaming that a good deal of us enjoy.

I've never played Magic. I'm quite interested in doing so, but it's really expensive. I wish they would have something like the videogames YuGiOh releases on DS/PSP. To my knowledge, the only MTG games are those that either charge a lot of RL money for expansion cards or don't let you build your deck. No deck building is a deal-breaker.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, I'd love to give it a go.

Slycne:

Panayjon:
I mean, didn't one of you guys (help/contribute/design) make the newest kid on the block, Adventurer Conqueror King?

Yep, ACKS was designed by two of our own, with many of us being a part of the initial campaign/playtest that more or less grew from house-ruled B/X D&D into ACKS.

I could see us doing some bonus episodes about tabletop rpgs/boardgames though, it's certainly another aspect of gaming that a good deal of us enjoy.

Then what are you waiting for? :D

You have a platform from which you can shill your products! Shill! Shill like the wind!

Spud of Doom:
I've never played Magic. I'm quite interested in doing so, but it's really expensive. I wish they would have something like the videogames YuGiOh releases on DS/PSP. To my knowledge, the only MTG games are those that either charge a lot of RL money for expansion cards or don't let you build your deck. No deck building is a deal-breaker.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, I'd love to give it a go.

There is actually 1 really good program that I know of called Cockatrice.
http://cockatrice.de/
It's completely free, you get to make your own decks out of whatever cards you want and play against actual people. The friend list system is a little screwy, but overall it's a pretty good way to play Magic without shelling out a ton of money.

KefkaCultist:

Spud of Doom:
I've never played Magic. I'm quite interested in doing so, but it's really expensive. I wish they would have something like the videogames YuGiOh releases on DS/PSP. To my knowledge, the only MTG games are those that either charge a lot of RL money for expansion cards or don't let you build your deck. No deck building is a deal-breaker.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, I'd love to give it a go.

There is actually 1 really good program that I know of called Cockatrice.
http://cockatrice.de/
It's completely free, you get to make your own decks out of whatever cards you want and play against actual people. The friend list system is a little screwy, but overall it's a pretty good way to play Magic without shelling out a ton of money.

Hmm. Is there anything which will let me play against AI or something? Since I'd need to learn how to play.

I don't play Magic, I was never very good or cared to build themed decks or whatever. But man, I never realized how serious business Magic the Gathering.

Spud of Doom:

KefkaCultist:

Spud of Doom:
I've never played Magic. I'm quite interested in doing so, but it's really expensive. I wish they would have something like the videogames YuGiOh releases on DS/PSP. To my knowledge, the only MTG games are those that either charge a lot of RL money for expansion cards or don't let you build your deck. No deck building is a deal-breaker.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, I'd love to give it a go.

There is actually 1 really good program that I know of called Cockatrice.
http://cockatrice.de/
It's completely free, you get to make your own decks out of whatever cards you want and play against actual people. The friend list system is a little screwy, but overall it's a pretty good way to play Magic without shelling out a ton of money.

Hmm. Is there anything which will let me play against AI or something? Since I'd need to learn how to play.

Unfortunately, Cockatrice doesn't have a Vs. AI mode. You're able to make 1 Vs. 0 games and test play, but that's about as close as you'll get.

Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 is actually pretty good for learning the game even though you have to use one of their decks. As you play you unlock cards for the decks to customize them a little so there is some customization to the decks and it has a lot of tutorials on pretty much all of the major rules in Magic. DOTP2012 does cost money though unfortunately, but if you buy that it'll get you the basics of Magic then you can move on to Cockatrice. Most of the people there are pretty newb friendly. I only encountered one asshole on there when I was learning how to use Cockatrice.

Cake >= Cake = Cake

Thank you for doing more Magic the Gathering things on this website! I recently got back into Magic, and have started playing EDH[1] with a deck that centers around creatures with "comes into play/leaves play" effects and has Karador as it's general. Once it picks up steam it has a ridiculous amount of resiliency, and is really hard to knock down.
With Dark Assention I was forced to break a rule of mine (no infinite combos) because [new]Mikaeus was too good. He looks great, and for some reason he opens up more than four infinite combos for my deck as it is. I feel slightly less bad in that none of the combos are "insta-win", they're just "deal with my flying infinite/infinite lifelinker" or "deal with me reanimating all creatures in all of my opponents graveyards" or "deal with my infinite number of infinite/infinites" or "deal with all of your permanents being destroyed or exiled"... okay, some are a more than a mite mean. Well, all of those combos need at least 3-5 cards to pull off in a singleton deck, so at least there's that.

Anyways, while I considered getting back into standard, I feel like it's a bit too much of a rat race thanks to how quickly sets turn over. I like my money not TOTALLY going to waste. :p

EDIT: Rambling Toombs sure did ramble.

[1] Elder Dragon Highlander - what Commander was called before it became a sanctioned format. Commander is basically 99 card singleton, with one card as your "general" that you can basically play at any time. Fun format, if you're interested look it up!

Chappy:

Kross:
I dropped out after three match losses with http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/ub-tempo-infect/

I never had so many problems pulling removal or blue mana as I came across that day. :(

(as in, dozens of test hands drawn with maybe 2-3 hands at most in an entire deck that didn't have a decent mix)

Ahh well.

I'm not a great player so I'm not going to pretend I am but wouldn't it be a good idea to put just a few cards in that let you Scry [Edit - I meant in Sideboard, I forgot the term for a while]? Just incase you have the problem with Blue mana again on a off day you can change up and scry for some Mana.

Personally though I don't like Infect I prefer Phantoms with my Counterspell. :P

Yeah, I needed a bit more AoE removal (another Ratchet Bomb and Sever the Bloodline maybe) and some more mana fixing lands. @Encaen and I put together the deck out of our existing collections, and I didn't want to buy singles for this tourney. :)

Card drawing/scrying was something I thought a lot about, and is probably what it needed to keep up with the amount of other blue that was there.

Spud of Doom:
Hmm. Is there anything which will let me play against AI or something? Since I'd need to learn how to play.

Try Wagic. I have it on my PSP to play on the go, but if I remember correctly thereŽs a windows version as well.
The most fun way to learn though is to find someone as inexperienced as you are, buy a bunch of cards at a flea market (I once bought 500 cards for 20 euros) and just play. If youŽre interested in Magic, chances are youŽll love it when you start playing it.

On the subject of stupid rulings mistakes: My first ever tournament match, I played against a PT champion, was nervous as hell and I cast Evolving Wilds; and instead of just shuffling my library, I shuffled my hand into my library. The judges were nice enough though and let me just draw a new hand of five cards. Incredibly embarrassing though. Luckily, the guys were all awesome and I have to agree: Magic players seem to be almost universally nice people.

Magic is such an awesome game.

Spud of Doom:

KefkaCultist:

Spud of Doom:
I've never played Magic. I'm quite interested in doing so, but it's really expensive. I wish they would have something like the videogames YuGiOh releases on DS/PSP. To my knowledge, the only MTG games are those that either charge a lot of RL money for expansion cards or don't let you build your deck. No deck building is a deal-breaker.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, I'd love to give it a go.

There is actually 1 really good program that I know of called Cockatrice.
http://cockatrice.de/
It's completely free, you get to make your own decks out of whatever cards you want and play against actual people. The friend list system is a little screwy, but overall it's a pretty good way to play Magic without shelling out a ton of money.

Hmm. Is there anything which will let me play against AI or something? Since I'd need to learn how to play.

Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012. Out for PC, PS3 and 360. Can't build decks (pre-made only with tweaks you can make) but it's a great learning tool.

More Magic Podcast please. I play a blue/black control rogue deck and it's so fun hearing about other people's experiences with Magic. And if anyone at your office plays Yu-Gi-Oh I'd really like to hear a podcast about that too.

Juan Regular:
Try Wagic. I have it on my PSP to play on the go, but if I remember correctly thereŽs a windows version as well.
The most fun way to learn though is to find someone as inexperienced as you are, buy a bunch of cards at a flea market (I once bought 500 cards for 20 euros) and just play. If youŽre interested in Magic, chances are youŽll love it when you start playing it.

Actually, I did download this at one point. It seemed ok, but at the time I was on very tight bandwidth restriction so couldn't download the images. I might give that one a go again.

Josh why would you ruin your mana base, what does black give you that makes it worth it. Dismember is colorless.

And does the escapist know about Cockatrice (not the card).

Here's a question for the podcast.

Yall play Magic in the office alot apparently. What are the chances we might be able to get a few videos of that to watch?

Banter between co-workers + magic being played seems like it might be entertaining to watch.

Zen Toombs:
Clip

I'm very curious to know what you think these infinite combos are.

Spud of Doom:
I've never played Magic. I'm quite interested in doing so, but it's really expensive. I wish they would have something like the videogames YuGiOh releases on DS/PSP. To my knowledge, the only MTG games are those that either charge a lot of RL money for expansion cards or don't let you build your deck. No deck building is a deal-breaker.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, I'd love to give it a go.

You can also use Magic Workstation

KefkaCultist:
http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/werewolf-aggro-4/
http://www.essentialmagic.com/decks/View.asp?ID=916433
Here's my werewolf deck lists if anyone wants to check it out and comment on it.

Mayor should Certainly be a four of, and I'm thinking the same for Moonmist and Outlaws.
With the addition of the wolf bitten, I'm thinking 3 Waifs isn't a bad thing.

I'd probably sideboard the rangers. They seem to be more of a "ink moth killer" than anything else. I mean, sure they have the fight mechanic when flipped and that can be helpful... but I unno, with the addition of the hutmaster... gotta squeeze more huntmasters in somehow.

Also... huntmaster... 4 of... make it happen. I'd replace the incinerates with brimstone volleys myself... but that's your choice. And I'd cut the overrun entirely, with Wolfrun and Outlaw... blocking is painful as is.

I'm still not sure about the immerwolf and the huntmaster, since you WANT the huntmaster flipping all the time... but I suppose that might just depend on your board presence. wait for the sweeper to play your hutmaster if you have both in hand before the wrath effect.

That's my 2 cents.

I'm going to upload my Empires deck and get some opinions on it.

Edit:

Alright, here it is:

http://www.mtgdeckbuilder.net/Decks/ViewDeck/379771 Empires

This deck is more suited for multiplayer matches were it has much more time to build up and probably doesn't fair well in this all aggro all the time turn 4 win metagame... but I really enjoy this deck. The idea is to slow the game down to my pace so I can get the Empire pieces out.

I also like how every card fits the theme. Gideon's Lawkeeper, Royal assassin, Diabolical tutor (Cause it was royalty that actually got tutored back in the day). Even the planeswalkers... Sorin, Lord of Innistrad, Elspith is a knight... and Vensor... well... he makes things... kings like things being made... (I think he's the only card that doesn't straight fit the theme...)

Wait! He's a sojourner... Which the dictionary tells me is a something of a wanderer! He's just happened along the Empire for a time!

fanklok:

Zen Toombs:
Clip

I'm very curious to know what you think these infinite combos are.

It's in EDH, so every card that has ever been printed (and isn't banned in the format) is allowed.

For your reference, here are a sample of the infinite/quasi-infinite combos:

1) Mikaus + Vish Kal = give any number of target creatures -1/-1 any number of times. (Sacrifice Vish Kal to himself. He has Undying, so he comes back with a +1/+1 counter. Remove the counter to give something -1/-1. Repeat as necessary.)

2) Mikaus + Puppeteer Clique + Sac Outlet = Reanimate opponents creatures and give them haste. If you want them exiled at end of turn, leave them on your field. If you want to reanimate them every turn, then sacrifice them.

3) Mikaus + Puppeteer Clique + Sac Outlet + Creature in opponent's graveyard that has a fun "comes into play" or "leaves play" effect[1] = The creature's "comes into play/leaves play" trigger happens an infinite number of times.

4) Mikaus + Cauldron of Souls + Sac Outlet + Creature with a sexy "comes into play" or "when this creature dies" effect = Gain that effect an infinite number of times.

5) 2, 3 or 4 with Vish Kal as your sac outlet = Vish Kal is an infinite/infinite with flying and lifelink.

6) Any of the above combos that have a creature come into play an infinite number of times (see 1, 2, 3... okay, all of them) + Pawn of Ulamog = You now have infinite Eldrazi Spawn tokens for use as blockers or colorless mana. (This also triggers any other "when a creature comes into play/dies" effects, meaning you can use Aura Shards to blow up every artifact or enchantment you want, or Falkenrath Noble[2]to gain infinite life and make your opponents lose infinite life. Mind you, I don't use the latter but the combo exists.)

7) Ghave + 6) = give all your creatures an infinite number of +1/+1 counters, and have an infinite number of infinite/infinite+1[3] tokens that can sacrifice themselves for one colorless mana.

[3] Not how math works, I know, but it's funnier. So deal with it.

Zen Toombs:

Snip

Hmmm... I have been wanting an EDH deck and own exactly 1 mikaus...

Your ideas intrigue me and I wish to learn more...

Do you have a deck list at all?

Draconalis:

Hmmm... I have been wanting an EDH deck and own exactly 1 mikaus...

Your ideas intrigue me and I wish to learn more...

Do you have a deck list at all?

That'd take me a while, especially because my deck is currently in my car. I'll get around to posting it in a bit - I will say that it's still in progress though.

Now if you want to build an EDH deck using Mikaus, then you either want to use him as I did, use him with Vish Kal, use him in a sacrifice deck (some of those make you sacrifice, and Mikaus gives you leverage), or have Mikaus as the general and preform schenanigans. He is a good general, seeing as he's a lord for non-humans, gives them undying, and has a decent body and comes with evasion.

If you want to talk more about this, message me sometime. :)

Draconalis:

KefkaCultist:
http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/werewolf-aggro-4/
http://www.essentialmagic.com/decks/View.asp?ID=916433
Here's my werewolf deck lists if anyone wants to check it out and comment on it.

Mayor should Certainly be a four of, and I'm thinking the same for Moonmist and Outlaws.
With the addition of the wolf bitten, I'm thinking 3 Waifs isn't a bad thing.

I'd probably sideboard the rangers. They seem to be more of a "ink moth killer" than anything else. I mean, sure they have the fight mechanic when flipped and that can be helpful... but I unno, with the addition of the hutmaster... gotta squeeze more huntmasters in somehow.

Also... huntmaster... 4 of... make it happen. I'd replace the incinerates with brimstone volleys myself... but that's your choice. And I'd cut the overrun entirely, with Wolfrun and Outlaw... blocking is painful as is.

I'm still not sure about the immerwolf and the huntmaster, since you WANT the huntmaster flipping all the time... but I suppose that might just depend on your board presence. wait for the sweeper to play your hutmaster if you have both in hand before the wrath effect.

Thanks for the advice, but many of the points you made are actually how I had the deck to begin with, but I've changed it a lot to fit my local metagame. Seems like every FNM I go to I end up playing two Delver decks, so the Rangers and Gatstafs are extremely helpful in that matchup, so that's why I have them main decked. I've actually only seen an Inkmoth against me once so far. It got Ghost Quarted pretty quickly.

As for Huntmasters, I'd like to run four, but sadly I only own two and they're $30 per now since he dominated the latest pro tour and I'm a broke-as-hell college student. Also, I've got the criticism about having both Huntmaster and Immerwolf, but I actually like it because it makes them choose which to kill. Either kill the Immerwolf so that my wolves can start flipping again and get me more life/wolves, or this 4/4 with trample & other big nasties that are getting pumped by other stuff will keep hitting you in the face. And also, like you said, different situations call for different methods too.

Lets, what else... Oh yeah, I used to have 4 Mayor, Moonmist, and Outlaws, but that amount seemed a bit overkill. Mayor is an okay turn 2 drop, but I would personally prefer to have a Gatstaf if the opponent isn't playing green and/or artifact creatures (surprisingly few at my local store). I've never been a huge fan of Brimstone Volley (or the Morbid ability on anything other than Tragic Slip for that matter). And I like the overrun because there's always people using Ghost Quarters in sideboard just like me, so that gives me that little extra push if my Kessigs go away.

Right, I think I got all of the points you made. I'm sorry that I shot down most of your suggestions, but, as I said, the deck that I was running casually before taking it to FNM was similar to what you've suggested. I will think about the Brimstone Volleys though and more Huntmasters if I can get ahold of them. Here's wishing for some lucky packs.

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