Tuesday, February 23, 2010

a day full of Magic surprises

Today I went to school in the morning. I had some free time so I decided to check my marks (feedback from professors). Well, I was delighted^_^ What I found was good enough for a celebration. But the feedback I came there for was not maybe next time.

In the afternoon I went to Cerny Rytir to meet Lukas, play some games and prepare a deck for today's block constructed tournament. I grabbed some vampires and some cards that seemed worth playing and asked Lukas to fetch me some Carnage Altars. I realized that Carnage Altar, Bloodghast and Quest of the Grave Lord could be fun. And drawing cards when hit by Day of Judgment seemed as a good advantage against UW^^.

Before the tournament I had a funny game against a Lysolda Elder Dragon Highlander. I decided to try my Pyromancer's ascension against the deck. In the first game I tried to keep up with the never ending attack and managed to get the ascension online. My problem was... Banefire nowhere to be seen. In my fourth extra turn that I took in a row...I finally managed to get to it. That was 'only' after 4x harrow4x wordly counsel, 4x ponder. There were like 10 cards left in my library. Anyway if I would wait one more extra turn (as I had six extra turns) I would deal 132 damage with that banefire. Quite funny, never thought I could deal such damage.
In the next game I was under too big pressure. I managed to charge the ascension and I had few fogs in my hand and if given one more turn I could try to time warp few times. The problem was Lysolda herself, she does not deal combat damage *sniff*.

Anyway back to the tournament. I played with vampires I build last minute. I'm missing few cards from Jund and that even means one Malakir Bloodwitch so I had to do without her. But Sorin was a good replacement. The decklist follows.

Vampires (ZEN block)
Lands: 24
4x Marsh Flats
4x Verdant Catacombs
15x Swamp
1x Crypt of Agadeem

Creatures: 22
3x Vampire Lacerator
4x Vampire Hexmage
4x Vampire Nighthawk
4x Bloodghast
4x Gatekeeper of Malakir
3x Malakir Bloodwitch

Non-creature Spells: 14
1x Sorin Markov
2x Carnage Altar
3x Feast of Blood
3x Disfigure
2x Mind Sludge
1x Quest for the Gravelord
2x Grim Discovery

Random 15 cards I encountered... 2x smother, 1x mire's toll, 1x mind sludge, 1x hideous end, 3x marsh casualties...
In the first round I encountered a mirror. I did not really have much chances against Kalastria Highborn. I knew that sooner or later I would just die. That 2 life difference was too much.
In this game it was practically Vampire Lacerator that got me killed (my own). My opponent told me that they are useless and bad in any match up but I later found out that when played well and at correct time they can do wonders.

In the second round I played against Esper control or something. It was a last minute deck so probably not working that well. And I was lucky with top decks. In the first game I was really in an aggro mode and my opponent couldn't keep up (Quest of the Gravelord came online and swinging for seven - with gatekeeper and the zombie - was enough for me to win). In the second game my opponent played three SOJIs but 2 gatekeepers and 2x Grim Discoveries were good enough for it and the game ended in a win for me.

Third round was against UW Allies. I was afraid of them and the player was afraid of my vampires as he lost to vampires in previous round. I won the first game after some difficulties. In the second one I was up to give up but my opponent told me to continue so I did. I sacrificed bloodghast for several cards and drew Feast of Blood, Hexmage and Gatekeeper. Later Malakir Bloodwitch came and decided the game. My opponent wasn't lucky at all as he drew few lands and some non creature spells. If he would manage to get an ally he would kill me in one attack as my life total was somewhere around 3 life.

In the last round I played against UW control which was my nightmare before the tournament. I knew that my chances are not great against it. Carnage Altar showed us that the card can do wonders as well. In the first game I tried to overrun my opponent. He stabilized the game though and got me to 2 life. I had to play Feast of Blood twice on my creatures and then get back to the attacker's role. I won the game after few game turns. The second game seemed to be much better and it seemed I would win easily. I was afraid of Jace and Iona but I managed to win with quite some difficulties (even though it was not played the best way I could).

Even though that I did not really play with this deck nor did not put much thought in it... it played well and I'm glad I played in this tournament. It was nice. It was different from T2 and I had to change my way of thinking in some situations and had to forget about instant answers and such. But I knew that Iona means 'Game Over'.

BTW in the two boosters I won the first 6 cards were identical! (I have a photo, I might upload it later). photo

Friday, February 19, 2010


Well, ever wondered how it looks like in slow motion when someone does riffle shuffle with cascade bridge? (I shot this video for school...but who knows if I will ever use it...)

I recorded myself shuffling cards today. I did not manage to have the whole procedure on the screen though - always riffle shuffle or bridge off screen...anyway I find the second - unnecessary - part more interesting^^ so here it is.

FB: users have to go to my blog (

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Unusual mtg column, post 3 - Chobotnico quest wins!

Jirka Brdek decided to build a deck based on Quest of Ula's Temple and today we could watch him try to win with this 'deck'. First win after 7 games is not bad for Octopuses, Leviathans and Krakens don't you think?

(click on the photos to enlarge)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Unusual mtg column, post no.2 - Frozen Solid

After our funny video with my Grixis deck we were wondering about some other funny things we could do with Magic cards. Lukas came up with an idea - Hibernation. Later we changed that to Frozen Solid. Here's the result!

and a video =>

More photos can be found at my facebook account
For FB users => Towering Baloth

Friday, February 12, 2010

Polished 60 USD?

Attempt at textless Jace, the Mindsculptor...

Unusual mtg column, post 1 - Grixis Fall

I got bored...and when I'm bored I'm capable of thinking of some crazy stuff to do.
Actually I got an idea that I would be taking videos of activities I like to do and use them for a school project I need to finish. A Magic: The Gathering match is pretty boring to watch so I was wondering how to create some dynamic action with cards. First idea was shuffling them...too boring though^^ so I build a pyramid from some cards (my grixis deck) and then let Lukas destroy it while recording it.

FB users => Grixis Fall

Magic Alter - Eternal Witness

Before I try to alter Wheel of Fortune and Bitterblossom I wanted to alter some cards painted by Terese Nielsen. Today my mood is in a state of "I don't care about anything" so I took out one of my Eternal Witnesses and tried to alter her (I was afraid that I would mess her up...). I did not spend that much time on her and I don't even know if more paint would be a good idea.

Here she is anyway.

Next card, Jace? (or some erotic lady on an island card)

Friday, February 5, 2010


Today my mood was really bad (and still is). I don't have the will to do anything today. I just had no idea what to do today...I was just sitting here and staring at the piles of magic cards I have here and staring into magic workstation (I need to do something with those piles as quite expensive cards are among those cards). It took about 3 hours for me to decide whether going to local FNM is a good idea or not. Finally I decided that it might be a good idea remembering my last local draft.

On my way to the location I remembered the Vyskov preview and that made me pretty angry. Later I found out that this actually helped me. At least I did not have the feeling that I would start crying which wouldn't be fun...during the tournament.

First we played few games of Bang which was a nice distraction. We had a really 'silly' Sheriff. There were so many "random" plays that it was difficult to say how the game would end up. Sheriff seemed to like shooting at people and especially shooting at Vice-Sheriff and taking cards randomly from our hands seemed to be good for him as well. It was also fun to play this game with other people having the same mind processes (at least in game terms - and the exception is probably our lovely sheriff that none of us understood...).

After this we took quite some time to decide what we want to draft. The final decision was - the current block. In my first booster I encountered Emeria Angel so that decided what colors I would be picking if something in white would come to me. And well it continued quite ok knowing that other two players to my right were taking white (and blue). On my left it was clear that B/R would be played.
I was praying quite hard to get some low CMC cards (creatures actually) in the third booster. I knew that I would be quite doomed if I wouldn't get some low cost creatures and would end up stuck with 4,5+ CMC.
Here's what I ended up with.

GW aggro
2x Quicksand
1x Refraction Trap
1x Loam Lion
1x Emeria Angel
2x Hada Freeblade
1x Steppe Lynx
1x Kor Skyfisher
1x Kor Aeronaut
1x Kor Sanctifiers
1x Cliff Threader
1x Vines of Vastwood
1x Grazing Gladehart
1x Iona's Judgment
1x Savage Silhouette
1x Baloth Woodcrusher
1x Arrow Volley Trap
1x Kor Hookmaster
1x Pillarfield Ox
2x Territorial Baloth
1x River Boa
1x Grappler Spider
At the end of the draft we found out that there were few fetchlands, manlands and Jace, the mind sculptor. Me being second I could choose which fetchland I want so I picked Scalding Tarn. After the draft I was to hungry to stay. I would stay there and would have played few more games but I was starving already and my zoo at home as well most probably. I'm glad I participated in the local FNM today.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Vyskov + Vyskov preview rant

This weekend we (me and Lukas) decided to head to Vyskov to participate in several Magic: The Gathering tournaments. On Friday we would participate in local FNM that might give us hints about what would be played on Saturday. On Saturday a bigger T2 tournament was held along with 8-man side event (special ZEN+2xWWK draft). On Sunday we were looking forward to the preview of Worldwake.

We didn't know the actual meta in Vyskov so we had hardtime choosing our decks. I had UWR, Boros, Jund and Vampires ready. I decided not to play Boros as I hate the deck and Jund is like "who's the best top decker". Vampires are good against controls, Jund is good against Vampires. Before the tournament we decided to try Jund and UWR and we randomly choose one of the decks. My random choice was UWR.

As usual when it takes ages to go somewhere we ended up paired in the first round. I did not manage to win on time, the game ended in a draw. In the second round I played against Vampires. I lost the first game pretty quick. I sided Meddling Mages for the second game so I would forbid Deathmark, Mind Sludge or Malakir Bloodwitch. It proved to be a good idea but another problem arose. My opponent played Pithing Needle naming 'Scalding Tarn' saying 'I read on the internet that disabling fetch lands is a good idea' or something in those lines. Too bad that my hand looked like 3x Scalding Tarns and no basics nor duals. I wasn't lucky to draw the right lands and lost the game as well.

In the third round I encountered a 5 color cascade deck. My opponent started with putting all the CIPT you can come up with and when he decided that it is good time to kill (Pulse) something or get Wall of Denial he played Bloodbraid Elf. I managed to play Sphinx of the Jwar Isle not that it would be of any help as it was just sitting there staring at few walls. We both knew what cards we would draw and someone sitting next to us proclaimed in one stage of the game "that's some kind of new rule that the players can look at the top card of their libraries?". I got unlucky in this game when I was always a Flashfreeze late^^ to counter my opponent's spells (3x he played a red or green spell that I could counter and still hope in winning the game^_~).
In the third game were I could have probably won if I would finally draw something of use I managed to get really screwed up (land cards probably love me^^). My only chance to win was stealing Baneslayer Angel or Broodmate Dragon. Too bad for me that the first potential target was Sphinx of the Jwar Isle...I was forced to play Mind Control on Broodmate Dragon later so he wouldn't kill me with his 3 flyers (which was more than my Wall could handle). Unluckily for me my opponent got Enlisted Wurm later and cascaded into Baneslayer Angel who decided the game (finally).

After the FNM it was quite interesting to watch the drunken players. They were still playing Magic and they weren't worse or anything at it while being drunk. They played quite well and were uttering a quote after quote.

At that time the player I played against in the last round proposed that I can try his cascade deck. I found out that this is not a deck would like to play. CA is good but when given in random cards it does not always work. Knowing that Bloodbraid brings you a Pulse or a Wall is good but still how this can be consistently winning? It can't in my opinion. At least this deck really needs time to generate too big card advantage so it can win. It dies to Vampires the same way UWR does.

During the night we couldn't sleep and we were wondering about some magic related stuff. We both wondered how it is possible that people think that (for example) Elspeth is a male. Same goes to "Malakir (talking about Malakir Bloodwitch)" which could mean any Malakir vampire in play etc.

On Saturday it was me playing Vampires and Lukas playing UWR. In the first round I played against Time Seive combo. My opponent did not have two sources of white mana so I wasn't afraid much and just attacked and attacked. Fogs couldn't keep up with my attacks even though Nocturnus always revealed a land card (anyway Howling mine helped me draw some other cards as well). In the second game I continued in my Nocturnus into land card and my opponent got the right mana base. I was afraid of Open the vaults but my opponent failed to draw it after who knows how many draws.
In the second round it was a mirror match that I won. My opponent got unlucky with drawing lands. But in the end he got 14 lands in play and I had 12 so it wasn't that big difference. In the third round it was a play of wits. I played against a Grixis control which was played by a good player. I messed it up at the end of the second game, I should have played (tried to play) tendrils of corruption at the end of my turn so I wouldn't be 'Banefired' or 'Earthquaked'. I could have won this match but it seems that draws are popular now^^. It was a good game. Next match was against Vampires once again. I lost the first game due to "too many bloodghasts against too many hexmages". In the second game it was me who managed to pull out 2 hexmages. In the third game my first card played was duress. I was surprised to see a Russian version of Eldrazi monument in my opponents hand. No mind sludge though so we could continue. This game showed me that sideboarding depends also on being on the draw or not. It does matter if someone still thinks that it does not matter.
I forgot to mention a game against 5c control. The player was good and it was nice to play against him even though for both of us the games weren't not ideal. It ended up in a draw as we ran out of time.

After the tournament we participated in WWK draft. I started picking up W and later B. I got something like this in the end. I wasn't really that happy about it but it showed up to be not that bad as I expected. In round two already I was really done for. Completely dead and not capable of thinking well. This showed on my plays and minor mistakes arose not major ones hopefully but still I lost the second game. In the third round I tried to force my brain to work for a while. I was paired against Lukas and we got stuck in one game, we were the last playing in the last round so everyone came to watch the outcome of the game. We were already too dead...

BW aggro
1x Kabira Crossroads
1x Quicksand
2x Hagra Crocodile
4x Hedron Rover
2x Battle Hurda
1x Fledging Griffin
1x Shoreline Salvager
1x Lightkeeper of Emeria
1x Pulse Tracker
2x Ruthless Cullblade
1x Marsh Threader
2x Qaug Vampires
1x Kor Skyfisher
1x Stonework Puma
2x Nimana Sellsword
1x Mind Sludge
1x Grim Discovery

This is the day that everything went awry. First too many players arrived. Sitting at table 19 was almost impossible and getting there and back was even much more difficult feat. Someone managed to print the checklist incorrectly so we had to wait for Zendikar checklists. We used the time for figuring out what the person who gets our cards would play (our table was full of experienced players - it was a minority at the tourney though). That was quite easy to find out so we were just staring at each other and showing some of the cards to each other. At that time we heard questions from other tables like "Do I keep the cards?", "I will have to send this cards away?", "What should I do with the checklist?". We already knew that there were beginners at the tournament but some questions caught some players offguard. The TO nor the judge did not give good instructions to the players so it was up to the players next to these players to do so. That slowed down the process as well. We had nothing to do for some time as we were waiting for the Zedikar checklists (and were the last to get it). At that time we already knew that there are two Jaces open from those 118 or whatever number of boosters. Normally doing all this even with explanations takes about 50 minutes. This took AGES.

The card pool before deck swap was good. It was good for both WU and WB. Celestial Colonnade and better blue cards won the choice of the colors most probably. Zendikar rares were crap so I did not mind sending this away. My card pool that I got (I was supposed to get Jace, Arid Mesa and 2 manlands but too bad for me being caught offguard and hell with TO/Judge) was awful but playable. I managed to get playable WB but I knew that any green aggro or blue aggro deck would kill me instantly. First I encountered an inexperienced player playing WG with some nasty angel beings. He missed few land drops and whenever he put something on the table I killed it. Steppe Lynx was on the table on my side and was attacking each turn getting my opponent down to 10. At that time I ran out of removals and played few more attackers that finished my opponent. (again I had like 6 removal spells and I haven't seen them that much...reminds me of Grand Prix. I have seen them in game one though^^).

Now I would like to do a small digression. In Round 1 I was watching little boy play next to me. His deck caught my eye as he was playing UR. He started to ask me few questions about some of his cards and how he should use them. I told him what the cards do and gave him not so straight example when to play the card. Later we found out that he had counterspells, misdirection, burn (some in SB though) and few funny creatures. Red propaganda, Bazar Trader and 5/3 golem. When this creature hit the table, he had Rites of Replication in his hand.^^. Even though this player did not really manage to win much and dropped after round 3 he showed us really good deck. Having his card pool I would have to win for sure^^. It saddened me that he had to go and that he wasn't good enough player to play this well, because this deck was an overkill. Ok probably this deck wouldn't win against the Jace/Sphinx deck someone else played.

In round 2 I managed to do the worst plays ever actually there were 2 bad plays at the beginning and my last play was also *facepalm* worthy (and not just that). My opponent played BW. Especially equipped Kor Soldier that could fly and swing for a lot with lifelink was pretty annoying. Getting rid of Talus paladin seemed impossible as well. My only removal that could take care of a BIG ally was Iona's Judgment. The third game should have been an easy win for me but it was 1:30, I was starving and incapable of thinking straight. The game miraculously ended up in a draw but I almost lost the game because of my stupidity (note that WITHOUT top decking I could have easily ended the game in a draw if not win anyway - with what I had on the table!!!! and without drawing any other cards - just silly me). I decided to eat something otherwise I would continue to play like an idiot for the rest of the tournament. In the third round my deck decided to play monowhite and I died soon after. In the last game I had to mull to five because of no lands in hand. I managed to get plains and black cards in the third mulligan. Still one land is better than zero or at least it seemed so. I managed to get more lands but in incorrect colors (I got quicksand and the land giving protection from chosen color). In the fourth round my deck continued in the same behavior. In the first game I showed another MONOWHITE. This time it was much better, I was trying to survive for a long time and actually was winning the damage race for some time. But no white removal for me. I had Smother and Tomb Hex in my hand but I just couldn't play it. It got to the point that when I really needed to draw a swamp I started drawing more black cards. That was when I had 8 white sources of mana on the table (out of 8). I won the game though somehow (don't ask me how) and ended up back in the better room with tables 1-6. There I played against WG and was trying to survive for a long time. Green is too much for me though and even little plants (starting with 0/1) are difficult to deal with especially when you have one marsh casualties in the deck (ok better than none). The game was good and that gave me some "motivation" to play the other two rounds (that was a mistake as the level of the players starting with table 6 was really bad-_-). This was actually the only good game that day.

In the sixth round I played against a player who was pretty slow in playing. He was "thinking" in a situation where there was nothing to think about and especially his first round thinking already upset me. My opponent played boros and was putting down creatures. He couldn't attack as all of his creatures would die and I couldn't do the same for the same reason. He won because he played Windborn Charge. That was sufficient to kill me. In the second game I was caught offguard by Goblin Guide in turn 1. This little guy got me some CA but it wasn't enough as I did not manage to draw removal in time. The damage by guide was already too much big when I could kill it with Quicksand. I managed to stall the game later but was already too angry and too distracted to count with yet another Windborn Charge. I wanted to call a judge for this as if we would play a third game we would not finish it in time. My opponent managed to kill me though few minutes before end of the round. He then started with telling me that there is no reason to be angry as he needs to think his moves in order to play well. Not to mention that he should keep track of his and MY life total and not being able to calculate it well is not my concern. I'm not here to provide counters and keep track of our life totals and telling this to my opponent when he wants to know it. He would get a warning for his behavior if the tournament would be held in Beroun or Prague. I tried to be nice as I was an outsider but this was too much for me.

In the last round I hoped to be able to have fun and play a nice game. Too bad that this did not happen. I got paired up with some nice beginner. He played WU allies and utterly killed me in the first round showing me Umara Raptor, Umara Raptor and the new ally clone. In the second game it was me completely killing him. In the third game I was once again killed by allies (and it wasn't just allies that killed me^^). Too bad we couldn't have some fun^^ just sitting and knowing the outcome of the game.

I skipped one round (round five probably). This game was quite weird as well. My opponent was incapable of playing well and was always forgetting some triggers. I was waiting till he would come up with everything triggering and realizing that it is finally the time to attack. I got pretty distracted and lost my nerves and did some bad plays. My opponent was pretty unpredictable and almost killed me because he was incapable of playing the way he should. Trying to figure out which random action the player is going to perform and finding out that my guess was completely wrong was not fun. And that I managed to see a card no one would actually play wasn't worth it either. It was a surprise after surprise with some players and I have to say that getting to a situation like this makes me upset as well. It was crazy. Most of the people there would need someone who would explain the rules to them and would tell them what the responsibilities of a player are. When I was explaining how priority works I felt like I was in a completely wrong place to play Magic. It was more of "a pub and drunken players trying to play limited".

In overall I'm glad I went to Vyskov. Constructed was fine and interesting even though the best moments happened after the tournaments. The WWK draft was also good even though we were falling asleep in round 3 (at least I really felt like not being able to finish the round).
The preview was really bad though. It wasn't worth playing it and the card pool was pretty bad as well. I don't know HOW but from the limited tournaments I got 3x terrastodon and 2x summoning trap. Pretty cool....and some nice elephants. Cool...just cool. That's should end my rant...