Why Yugioh (and honestly card games) died for me in 2018. Post YCS Secaucus and NAWCQ Experience

I’ve been putting this off for awhile. Days, then weeks and finally months because I didn’t want to admit it to myself. Like a spouse in an unfulfilled marriage, I just kept going along because I feared change more than a stagnant lifestyle. While melodramatic that’s basically how Yugioh has been for me since YCS Secaucus way back in May of this year. Konami made the correct decision to ban Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying King and with it killed my ability to win at the game with relative ease. Ever since then I grew more and more frustrated as my tier one deck became a high functioning rogue deck. To make matters worse, the community further deteriorated due to new time rules at events, toxic gameplay and unsurprisingly far greater powercreep. However, I’ve been feeling hostile to not just Yugioh, but Magic the Gathering also. I feel obligated to force out an event summary for the last three events I went to because they both changed my opinion on the game. That being said as a basic TLDR for everyone in case it was not obvious: this blog is probably dying because I’m tentatively done with card games.

Also disclaimer: I wrote this as I thought it so instead of prose it just sounds like how I talk. I apologize for how awkward it may be. Also I wrote this under a lot of stress so there may be some typos and such… Yeah I’m doing a great job hyping this. Woohoo…)

 

Event Summary

Well after dropping that casual bombshell I’m going to fly through these event summaries because they can all be summed up in 3 short words:

“I scrubbed out”

And while you can easily just say “ah you’re quitting because you’re bad at the game” I don’t see it that way actually. I see it as I have a ceiling with which I’m willing to play the game. I  never play-tested online since coming back into the game competitively a few months ago because it’s not fun for me. I never go to locals because the uber ride is expensive and I honestly have disdain for the players at said locals. For these reasons I admitted to myself that I would have a hard time beating players who made this game their life. I got as far as I did mostly from a solid understanding of my deck and frankly in hindsight luck. Masterpeace was a win condition. Most games pre-banlist were basically just… did they have an out? Without him everything became hard. Maybe my lack of practice finally got me, but I definitely didn’t win as often playing floodgate control despite how good Dinomight Knight is. Anyway, I should turbo through these events already. Luckily, since they maybe my last post I have pictures to offer!

YCS Secaucus

fixed venue

This was an event that we drove too following the release of Dark Saviors. Two of my friends had the deck while I was playing True Draco. I won’t lie. I really wanted to play Sky Strikers. I think the deck is really cool, but I was not willing to pony up the $500 needed to get 3 copies of Sky Striker Mobilize Engage and 3 Sky Striker Mecha Widow Anchor. This tournament (right in my home state actually) would be the beginning of my downward spiral toward hating this game.

 

Round 1: Vs Chain Burn…

No Yugioh player ever wants to play against Chain Burn. Much less in the first round of an event when you’re not expecting it. Game 1 I lost to getting burned out. Games 2 and 3 I made a lot of cute plays to avoid burn damage (like using Waterfall of Dragon Souls to sack off my targeted monster to draw cards!), but game 3 he still managed to ruin my day.

Loss 1-2

Round 2: Vs Sky Striker Pure

This matchup was my first time seeing how hard the pure sky striker matchup was. Basically if they resolved Afterburners the tempo loss actually just wrecked me. Anti-spell wasn’t even good enough since my deck couldn’t even OTK. Game 1 he wipes out all of my cards so I lose. Game 2 I somehow outgrind him and win. Game 3 I narrowly beat him in a simplified gamestate.

Win 2-1

Round 3: Vs Altergeist

This was a horrible match or rather game. This guy was playing the trap Scrubbed Raid (named appropriately for any player actually using it) he was able to engineer a gamestate totally by accident due to his annoyed demeanor where I could never attack, but he could never out my board. In hindsight I should’ve surrendered because we started game 2 as they called time in the round so I lost.

Loss 0-1

Round 4 No Show…

Round 5: Vs Sky Striker Dark Magician

Game 1 I utterly rekt him with floodgates. Game 2 he draws half his deck with Spellbook of Wisdom into Sky Striker Mobilize Engage and I die. We draw due to the new time rules as we start game 3 in time…

Draw

Round 6: Vs Sky Striker Lair Monarchs

This was the only match of the event that made me happy. I was able to resolve Mettatron the 12th the true dracocombatent to summon Superheavy Samurai Steam Train King. He ran over his Ether, the Heavenly Monarch and then banished my opponent’s graveyard for over 4000 damage total.

Win 2-0

Round 7: Vs Pure Sky Strikers

I got outgrinded twice…

Loss 0-2

Round 8 Another No Show…

Round 9: Vs Altergeist

There was somehow a repair this round as if to add insult to the injury that we were playing Yugioh at 9pm despite the new EOM procedures. I beat my opponent in 2 fair back and forth games. Nothing much to say here.

Win 2-0

fixed results

Somehow with my stellar record of 5-1-3 I got around 260th place out of 1306 players. This is the crutch I still use to try and justify how terribly I did at this event. I got 2 whole byes, which while they helped my score only left me feeling that I didn’t even earn this paltry score…

I might as well give my thoughts on the end of match procedures now since they were first tested at this event and I sent the day discussing them with many players and even a judge. Every player I spoke with hated them. The judge liked them. I felt that they had a good intention, but failed to do their job. Matches still went into overtime that lasted up to an hour. Players began to side deck burn cards just so they could win in whatever phase time was called in. The worst part is that they caused players to game the system by slowplaying. I agree fully that something has to be down to make Yugioh events not end at midnight, but that the new rules at their onset totally failed to do so. My opinions actually changed as I write presently, but more on that later.

As a final aside I want to shoutout my friends at Drexel who won the School Duel on Day 2 of the YCS, my parents for letting us spend the night at my old house after day 1 and this one dude I ran into cosplaying Weevil Underwood at the venue.

fixed novelty

 

ARG Atlantic City

Following Secaucus, my group united to go to ARG Atlantic City since one of our friends had a contact who could get us a free hotel room for one night. We went in Friday night and had one of most fun nights of Yugioh goat control, beer and debauchery that I’ve ever been a part of. It was truly superb.

fixed goats night 1

I don’t think I’ve ever posted about it on the blog, but I love Yugioh goat control. It’s all that I love about the game. It’s a back and forth, slow grindy format where card advantage and value matter the most (or just jamming like a madman and hoping you win). I would go more in-depth, but this is already likely going to be my longest post so let’s just call it “old school” Yugioh, but an actual competitive format. My friends and I play it often to unwind and gamble a few bucks!

fixed goats 2

 

The Actual Event:

fixed neos

So by this point the format was solved with Gouki and Trickstar Sky Striker as the two best decks. My draco deck on the fringes once more, I tried to jam as much hate for the meta decks as possible.

fixed decklist

Round 1: Vs Gouki

Game 1 my opponent Extra-Linked me and I surrendered. Game 2 we grinded and I beat him. Game 3 we grinded, but they called time while I had more life so I won. My opponent refused to shake my hand after the match lamenting that the new time rules stole the game from him. Admittedly had our game dragged on he would’ve probably won. Still this made a lasting negative impression on my since the new rules were in turn leading to poor sportsmanship…

Win 2-1

Round 2: Vs Pure Sky Striker

Game 1 I did beat my opponent off the back of floodgates. Game 2 we entered a grind game and I lost. Game 3 I made a single misplay by killing my opponent’s Decode Talker instead of their hornet bit token (which I thought was a Phantom Skyblaster token). This gave them the ability to out my board and beat me. This match taught me that the Sky Striker match-up was indeed winnable, but that I could not make a single mistake at any point or else I would auto-lose.

Round 3: Vs Mekk Knight Invoked

Game 1 bricked opening Inspector Boarder and all Draco spells so I lost without any counterplay. Game 2 I bricked again. This was both mentally excruciating and also funny since my opponent was the same Mekk-Knight Invoked player I gave the win to at the last Philly Regional so he could get his invite…

Round 4: Vs Trickstar Sky Striker

We grind game 1 and I won in the end. He takes game 2 and ultimately beats me in time game 3.

Loss 1-2

Round 5: Vs The Most Confident Gouki Player in History

Game 1 he Extra Links me and I scoop. Game 2 we grind and I win. Game 3 we both open unplayable hands and I make Beelze and hit him until he loses…

fixed brick

This was my opening hand and my first two draws…

He opened double Gouki Rematch and his own Cherries, which he used to removed MY ISOLDE…

Despite winning this match I was so frustrated I dropped from the event after this round.

Win 2-1 -> Drop

 

ARG Win a Mat 

I was given access to unlimited side events so I ended a win a mat while my friends continued in the main event. I think I tweaked my deck, but all I remember is putting Inspector Boarder in the side deck.

Round 1: Vs Tramids

I gave my opponent the utmost respect and did everything in my power to utterly destroy him. He was taking advantage of Neo Spacian Grand Mole at 3 and used it to bounce my monsters, but he couldn’t keep up with me in damage output both games.

Win 2-0

Round 2: Vs Gouki FTK

I had the most outlandish talkative opponent this round (which I only won due to the dieroll). Game 1 we grind and I win. Game 2 I flip Rivalry of Warlords and he fails to out it. We had so much witty banter that you would think we were old friends and not tournament rivals. He said and I quote, “I thought we were friends!” in response to me flipping up Rivalry. It was a surprisingly fun experience that never expected to have playing against an FTK deck.

Win 2-0

Round 3: Vs Altergeist

Game 1 he starts to out advantage me so I scoop. Game 2 I beat him using Inspector Boarder which locked out his monster effects. Game 3 he plays right into my Evenly Matched and never recovered from it.

Win 2-1

And so I won the event and received the 2016 ARG mat!

fixed mat

I actually really like this mat (I’m a sucker for stained glass!). This was my highlight of the actual ARG and my best tournament result in the last three months of Yugioh).

Last thing to note was that after my friends also scrubbed out we had another night of Yugioh, beer and goats (in a new hotel room) which was once again amazing!

fixed goats night 2

We ended up playing goats so late that night that we gave up on attending the Day 2 of the ARG and went back to Philly after sleeping in.

 

NAWCQ

And we’ve reached it the highest tier of Yugioh and personally I first time in my life I really traveled for it. We went to Fort Worth Texas for the World Championship Qualifier!

fixed trip

While there I ended up making a crucial mistake which allowed me a major insight as a Yugioh player and as a human being.

fixed venue texas

So one of friends after failing to win the Last Chance Qualifier at YCS Secaucus allowed me to borrow his expensive Trickstar Sky Striker cards so I could play the deck. Basically to make a long story short I was awful with the deck (that I picked up the Thursday night before we left for Texas. I couldn’t win a single game and got overly frustrated even trying to play the deck. My lack of playtesting combined with my disdain for the deck’s playstyle got me burned out (no pun intended) on it after barely an hour of practice.

 

Round 1: Vs Light of Sekka Burning Abyss

Game 1 he beats me quickly. Game 2 I beat him. Game 3 I had game through his board of Dante, and double Black Luster Soldier, but I forgot my own Psyframe lord Omega return effect which prevented me from making Borreload Dragon…

So I lost…

Loss 1-2

And then after round 1 of the North American World Championship Qualifier I dropped from the event and sold all of my expensive cards to the vendors.

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Crazy huh?

Travelling halfway across the country to play Yugioh and then basically rage quitting immediately? I know it sounds pretty bad, but I realized that if I wasn’t having fun there was literally no reason to play. I wish I had just played True Draco wherein even if I lost I’d at least enjoy the deck that I was playing. Trickstar Sky Striker with proper practice would’ve likely allowed me to do well at the event, but as I never bother to practice anyway there really was no chance of that. And with my Ash Blossoms, Borreload, Isolde and Saryuya Skull Dread all sold my foray into competitive Yugioh had at last ended.

 

The Aftermath

So you might be thinking that my Nats trip was a disaster after dropping so early. Quite the contrary in fact, I had a blast. While I was saddened by my mistake I made the most of it and indulged in pure Yugioh madness.

First of all I got pretty decent prizes for… well just showing up actually (not the card though, I bought that).

fixed swag

I received the qualifier mat, a pack of sleeves and…

\fixed swag 2

A Millennium item die!

Now these may not seem like much, but the whole event people were trying to buy and trade for them. The vendors were offering $65 for the mat, die and sleeves. Some of the better Millennium items like the Puzzle were selling for even more. One of my friends opened a misprinted gold Puzzle which he sold for $150!

Here are some the things I saw at the event:

fixed big card\

(Giant card structure deck duels)

fixed jaden

(Character pillars)

fixed DL

(Duel Links Previews)

fixed table 500

While a terrible meme I was amused to find Table 500

fixed hoc

I got a card autographed by House of Champs’ John Moore! (I wish I brought a sharpie for more autographs…)

 

Duelist League…

I also entered a few side events!

Which were run HORRIBLY!

I entered a $2 Duelist League tournament, but it started without me. Annoyed I entered another one (receiving an entry card for each attempt) and got to have some meme matches with my beloved True Draco deck.

Round 1: Vs Trickstar Burn

My opponent was the girlfriend of a guy I traded with earlier while wondering the venue. He was cheering her on along with her other friends during the match. She did not seem to know what she was doing playing a burn focused Trickstar deck with Contract with Don Thousand. I beat her game 1, but our game took forever. Game 2 she used Trickstar Reincarnation to banish all of my Draco monsters, but Dinomight Knight preventing me from actually closing the duel so we drew in time as she had much more life.

Draw

Round 2: Vs Cyber Dragons

I 2-0’ed this guy so fast that we kept playing for fun afterwards until he finally beat me with Waking the Dragon (which I had no outs to the Raid Raptor Ultimate Falcon).

Win 2-0

Round 3: Vs Gouki

Game 1 he makes a weird board (funny how anything less than an Extra Link just seems quaint), but he sniped my hand with Neo Spacian Aqua Dolphin so I couldn’t break his board. Game 2 he twin twistered my Rivalry and OTK’d me through Shared Ride…

Yugioh is a fun game…

I kid you not…

At the time of writing this I haven’t played it since.

Loss 0-2

Anyway the reason the side event was so poor was that our Judge was also judging 3 other events all running at the same time so he was not there to give rulings or ensure that the  rounds progressed…

 

VA Duel

fixed va duel

The high point of the weekend was watching the incredibly bizarre Voice Actor duel between Jean Claude Magnum and Zigfreid Von Schroeder. Yeah you heard that right. The guy who lost to Mai Valentine in ep 80 and never seen again vs the villain from the filler arc who tried to hack Kaiba’s computer. Somehow they were able to make this a very engaging, funny and epic duel.

And that was it…

My friends all scrubbed out and we went home.

 

Final Thoughts 

So I should close this nonsense by giving a final explanation of what I learned. I didn’t enjoy playing Yugioh after Master Peace got banned and I couldn’t win anymore. I only enjoyed hanging out with the friends I made through the game (and still do) because I really enjoy these people. Yugioh is a part of my life. I’ll never truly quit it (at worst I’ll keep playing Duel Links on my phone) . I also don’t want to risk the friendships that the game has given me. So I’ll keep my True Draco deck or some other semi-functional jank deck together that can steal a game off a meta deck if the stars align. Maybe if the game got cheaper, the format became less stale or they printed a new archetype that I wanted to play I’d be more excited, but right now the future seems  pretty bleak. Granted as I write this, it’s the off season with no events, but I can’t see myself running back to competitive Yugioh even when they finally reprint Ash Blossom as a tin promo finally crashing her insane price.

Oh and as for the EOM procedures, the Yugioh community despite hating them have gotten used to them now so there’s no reason to really complain. The format has shifted to decks that can win while wasting time (Gouki) or deal at lot of damage quickly (Trickstar Sky Striker). This has just made life harder for trap card based decks, which doesn’t do me any favors since I like playing those type of decks.

 

Why are cards games dead for me overall though? 

Well it’s pretty clear that the only ones I play are Yugioh and Magic. And I realized long ago that I was only playing Magic because I had a few friends who played it. If my buddy doesn’t go to Friday Night Magic I don’t go. It’s that simple. I never edit my deck except for an hour before heading to FNM. I never even bothered to learn my deck’s own combos because I really don’t care. I’ve lost many games of Commander due to simply not knowing how to win. And even if I stop playing Yugioh there’s no reality that I would replace it with Magic. To be clear I feel the same way I do about Goats as I do with playing Commander with my friends, it’s a blast and I enjoy it. That being said I have even less desire to play against strangers or even consider playing it competitively.

Also I realized recently that for too long my life as been completely linked to trading card games. That’s all people would say there is to me. That upsets me now and makes me want to change myself… or at the least try to.

Nothing is 100%. Maybe I’ll want to play competitively again when Ash is a tin promo, or when Firewall Dragon is finally banned (Decode Talker is the real Vrains ace monster after all!). But at the moment I’m going to try and find a new direction for my life. I’ll still have decks to play, but it’s no longer something I’m really actively thinking about.

I don’t expect anyone to have read this far (nor do I really want anyone to). Though if you did thank you sincerely for patronizing this blog which many times I did want to make into a real thing. A mecca of many card games coming together because there is no reason you can’t love many of these games. But time drags on and what was once a fun use of time has now become a tiresome chore. I’m probably going to let the blog die this year. It’s not fun to write about something you have no passion for.

Thanks for coming though. Especially if I change my mind and end up looking like an over-dramatic tool. Seriously though.

Thank you.

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When the Dominaria Pre-Release is Lit (4/21/18 Magic the Gathering 2HG Pre-Release Summary)

I went to the Dominaria Pre-Release this weekend. The event was very fun and I got some of the best pulls in ages. Having not played much Magic the Gathering in the last few months this was a nice change of pace.

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Starting things off right, I opened 2 cool looking Legendary creatures in my pre-release kit. I instantly knew we would be building Green/White tokens to combo with Shalai, Voice of Plenty.

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The rest of my pool was crazy in terms of just good cards. I couldn’t deny being pretty ecstatic here.

 

Decks/Match-ups:

We built Green/White tokens and Blue/Black control for the event. My partner’s deck was based around his promo Urgoros, the Empty one.

Round 1: Vs Rakdos Voltron and Azorius Control 

Our opponents seemed nice enough, but I had a strong concern when we handed us their unsleeved decks to be cut. The Azorius guy was mana screwed for ages, while the Rakdos guy suited up a Saproling token for battle. I got Shalai out on turn 3 thanks to Broken Bond and the game was them trying to hold off Shalai unsuccessfully with bounce spells. Eventually we got enough mana to activate Shalai with a few soldier tokens out and from there we won the game handily.

Win 1-0

 

Round 2: Vs Golgari Saprolings and Bant Control 

We got Shanna, Sisay’s Legacy combined with a turn 3 turn Spore Swarm (Thanks Llanowar Elves) to get in early board control against our opponents. I added in the tokens from Sergeant at Arms and soon we had a Shanna at around 8 power being boosted further by the Triumph of Gerrard Saga enchantment. Our opponents tried to stall out, but once I top-decked Shalai after a long board stall she got off one activation of her ability turning our soldier/saprolings into a horde of 2/2s. One massive swing took our opponents from 30 to 16 along with decimating their board. The game was over.

Win 1-0

 

Round 3: Vs 4-Color Sagas and Green/White Tokens 

So our opponents managed to provide the only “feelsbadman” moment of the day by refusing to split the prize for first with us. We then fell behind early to their History of Benalia into Rite of Belzenlok. They then slapped a copy of On Serra’s Wings on the demon and started to beat us down in the air. My partner never drew a 2nd black mana for his removal spells so we fell behind fast. We managed to answer the Demon token with Time of Ice, but  then they slapped an Arcane Flight on Grunn, the Lonely King and we couldn’t answer it plus the threats on the ground…

Also no Shanna or Shalai all game. I just kept looping the Mending of Dominara while my partner played mono blue control…

Loss 0-1

We got 3 packs as prize support.

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And in those packs I opened-

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Muldrotha, the Gravetide! So with the exception of the Fist of Suns Legendary  and the new Sun Titan Bird, I opened every card I wanted from the new set! I can safely say this pre-release was a lot of fun and super worth. Thanks for reading as alw-

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..

Wait a second…

I think there’s another monster hiding under my pre-release pulls.  Did something else appear this weekend?

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As expected of the most belligerent boss monster printed in ages to cut in on my blog post. I’ll give my thoughts on him some other time.

Thanks for reading as always and have a good day!

Everything Card Game related I did in October 2017

October was a busy month for me due to adult life so I’m going to slam a bunch of event summaries and photos into this one post. I honestly wish I posted more, but here’s what I got.

 

Spyral Fever

So I have to thank the tier 0 nightmare of Spyrals for one of the most fun Yugioh trips I’ve had in ages. Basically as I’m sure you know if you’ve come this far into card gaming chaos that they released a new Yugioh set called Circuit Break and that in this set there was a new card called Spyral Double Helix which propelled the Spyral deck from fun jank deck to tier 0 powerhouse. I had said Spyral deck and had for the first time in ages that opportunity to play a meta Yugioh deck.

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As you probably already know I flipped that deck on ebay immediately right before the set dropped. This funded my trip to New York City to hang out with friends, go to Sneak Peek and ultimately the Brooklyn Regional!

 

Circuit Breaker Sneak Peak

SDC12762

So first of all I need to make the sad declaration that Circuit Break was not kind to me (or most of my crew). I opened 15 sneak peek packs and my best pull was the Ultra Rare RivalArrival card…

 

I didn’t even open enough Altergeists to build a deck, but luckily that was a temporary problem. Being a prominent deck in the new anime I spent the weekend and the rest of the month trading/buying the rest of the deck. I would’ve done the same with the Rokkets, but many of them are Secret Rares so I’m hoping to wait until the Special Edition comes out to lower their prices. 

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Sneak Peek Mat Tournament 

We entered a sneak tournament where my buddies played each other in the finals (we bamboozled the store by having one friend scoop so they could play for the mat later (and let us leave to get dinner).

Round 1 Vs Paleo

Loss 1-2

I got to play against a youtuber (Davinator212) with my Zoodiac Stun deck (don’t try this at home kids). Regrettably I lost in time due to a misplay.

The worst misplay of the day though goes to my buddy who set his Time Pendulumgraph trap card in his Pendulum Scale…

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He went on to lose this match and has been ripped on for it ever since.

 

Goat Format

So due to an increasing disdain with modern yugioh I really got onboard when one of my mates said we should all play goat format. I don’t know if I ever brought this up before, but seems as good a time as ever. Basically goat format is yugioh with the 2004/2005 banlist so the games are glacially slow and reward slow card advantage and grinding. I can safely say these games have been some of my most beloved games of Yugioh. We played quite a bit of goat during the trip so it’s fresh in my mind.

 

Brooklyn Regional

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So the first thing I should say is that I put 0 effort into my deck and scrounged together an ABC deck literally the Saturday before the regional. I also added the additional condition of not borrowing a single card from my friends. Sound hard? Well it was. I played a very bad deck:

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You know the deck is bad when I didn’t even take a photo of it at the venue. Ignore the Dragon’s Ravine and the fact I don’t recall the rest of my extra deck…

Round 1 Vs Pendulum Magician

Loss 0-2

I was completely overwhelmed by what was at the time the best deck.

Round 2 Vs Pendulum Magician

Win 2-1

My opponent made several misplays while his buddies hovered around him.

Round 3 vs Pure True Draco

Loss 0-2

Opened triple Ghost Reaper game 1, my set rotation lock was outed immediately by cosmic cyclone.

Round 4 Vs Lightsworn

Win 2-0

My opponent was not very good, I went out of my way to win with Topological Bomber Dragon for fun.

Round 5 Vs Invoked Draco

Win 2-1

Between his bricks and my decent plays I managed to win.

Round 6 Vs Spellbook True Draco

Loss 1-2

I was getting pretty tired at this point and I couldn’t focus during the duel. Once again the set rotation lock failed.

Round 7 Vs Pure True Draco

Win 2-1

I have no recollection of this match and didn’t make any notes on it…

Round 8 Vs True Draco ABC

Loss 0-2

I opened Oracle of Zefra thus making my combo dead. I got steamrolled.

Round 9 Vs Pure ABC

Win 2-0

I Ghost Reaper’d his Dragon Buster both games. It was pretty anticlimactic.

What this tournament taught me was something I already knew, but never took to heart. I could easily have competitive success in Yugioh if I actually cared to construct a complete deck. I’m not going to say I didn’t make tons of misplays, but after awhile you just get the flow of the game down pat. My deck held me back, but I still got 93rd place.

Highlight of the Regional was definitely getting Italian pro player Marcelo Barberi’s autograph. In hindsight I wish I got a card signed, but I didn’t have a sharpie on me.

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Other than that here are some of the best Yugioh board states I saw/created during the month of October:

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And finally my acquisitions from the Regional/Sneak Peaks:

 

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Magic Standard Showdown?!

My buddy told me that at the Thursday Standard Showdown for Magic that the attendance was so low that they would give us packs just for entering. I threw together a deck of the draft bulk I found at the store, bought a few more copies of Lord of the Accursed and tadah! Black-White Zombies.

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Unfortunately, a bunch of people showed up and we actually had to play in the tournament…

Round 1 Vs UB Control

Loss 1-2

The mere fact I took a game off a real deck made my heart almost stop. In Oketra’s Name iss actually a really good card.

Round 2

BYE

Round 3 Vs 4 Color EDH Control Stuff

Win 2-1

I played my friend and actually won the match thanks to janky enchantments I sided in.

Round 4 Vs Jund Energy

Loss 0-2

Yeah this wasn’t even a real fight…

And the final joke was that we did get packs just for entering, but our pulls were…

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Yep Standard Showdown, once and never again…

 

And that’s about it for my October adventures is squandering precious resources on shiny cardboard. I’m going to a Yugioh Regional tomorrow so hopefully won’t take me a month to discuss what happened.

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Thanks for reading as usual.

WHY I HAVEN’T POSTED IN MONTHS: SUMMER 2017 AND THE DEATH OF TOOMANYCARDGAMES?!

It’s only due to a mix of sleep deprivation, extreme happiness and slight intoxication that’s finally getting me to address the elephant in the room. I haven’t posted here in almost 2 months. The world of card games has changed while I remained inert and silent. Banlists dropped, formats changes and did buy plenty of product, but I did it all in silence. Why you may ask? Well I realized something pretty important. Trying to play and collect all of these card games was already a pipe dream. Maintaining interest and following set releases is really hard. That’s why I started to branch out and hire guest writers (who I actually paid) to specialize in each game. Still even that was impossible to keep up. What happened to make things so difficult? Well it was quite simple really. I finished college.

During my time in school I could devote my money and far too much of my time to all this card game stuff. Summer 2017 brought me into the world of adulthood wherein even following ONE card game is a challenge. When you combine that with how honestly on the fringe I was with most of these games, it became pretty likely that I wouldn’t be able to follow them. That being said there was a time when I truly cared about this blog. It would be wrong to just let it die quietly.

So here’s:

  • My 5 AM unfiltered thoughts on each card game as of right now
  • Literally every major card game event/thing that happened to me since my last post
  • My thoughts on the recent Yugioh banlists (Can you believe I missed those? Geez)

 

Unfiltered Thoughts: 

Yugioh

My fanatical love of this game and franchise is unquestionable. The floor of my apartment has been coated in Yugioh cards for weeks at a time.

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My collection of anime decks has long surpassed 100 completed decks. I’ve got them all organized by series in the corner of my room now.

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It’s a 100% established fact that Yugioh is my favorite trading card game. I’ve even been dabbling back and forth with meta…

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(aka bricking) but I still consider myself  both a very die-hard and eccentric collector.

Status: Actively Following, Buying, Collecting, Playing

 

Magic the Gathering 

Magic will always be my second favorite game. It has a richness and depth that both intrigues and terrifies me. I know almost every Yugioh that exists. I don’t know half of the Magic cards that exist. Since I moved to my new apartment my Yugioh cads have littered the floor while my Magic cards have gone untouched. I like watching Magic (especially StarCityGames replays) that much I know. However when it comes down to playing it I barely do or try to. All of my passion for

Status: Actively Following Standard and Modern, Infrequent Play due to Yugioh

And now for all of those other games…

 

Pokemon

I have never liked that in Pokemon it feels like comebacks are infrequent. Once you’re losing in prize cards it feels impossible to catch up. And yes I know there are supporter/trainer cards that support the losing player. They just don’t feel like enough to me. Also actually watching Pokemon feels like Legacy or Vintage Magic to me. I just can’t play the game anymore and I haven’t followed it in months. My deck has long since rotated.

Status: Has 2 rotated decks and half a binder, Not Collecting or Playing

 

Force of Will

I honestly loved this game. I gave it a lot of time, money and attention all for it to completely fail me. I sold all but my most beloved cards from the era in which I played. Some swell chap in Germany bought my whole collection on Ebay. I pray those cards are serving him well. I occasionally see spoilers for new cards and to be honest I loved playing Force of Will (my decks still exist), but I don’t think I’ll be playing it ever again.

Status: Morally opposed to it in every way, has a binder and 2 decks as a keepsake

 

Naruto 

Naruto was a weird mix of Pokemon and Magic that I honestly found very enjoyable. Unfortunately Naruto died in like 2013 and there’s no changing that. I only ever had one friend (after Middle school) who played/collected the cards and he’s back in New Jersey. These cards now rest in half of a binder while I ponder how to get rid of my bulk.

Status: Half of keepsake binder and 2 tins of unwanted bulk left

 

My Little Pony 

I never gave this game a fair attempt. We played it incorrectly a few times (trying to force multiplayer), and I think I only played it normally twice. This game was just a bit tedious and the only novelty was that concept of “fighting” with the ponies. Oddly enough all my decks are still built, but this game is likely to waste away in my storage box.

Status: Like 6 decks just lying around

 

Cardfight Vanguard 

I don’t like playing this game. I really like the artwork of certain cards and I enjoyed collecting those cards (back when I had money to throw away). However, now I can’t say I would ever willingly play Cardfight. The gameplay just upsets me and I don’t know if that will ever change. I do still love the Bermuda Triangle and Angel cards. Somehow I never made a binder for them though.

Status: 2 large piles of cards that really need a binder

 

Wixoss

Wixoss died when my friend Kenny vanished. He was the biggest advocate for this game. Without him I lost all interest as did my friend group. I stopped following the show and the sets. My decks are still together, but Kenny took all my other cards so those 4 decks are all I have left.

Status: Selector Abandoned Wixoss

 

Weiss Schwarz

Weiss is the best card game to not play. I love getting cards of my favorite anime characters because I’m a colossal nerd. Just having the cards makes me happy. Actually playing the game however has never worked out. With the exception of one Sword Art Online player, EVERY PERSON I’ve ever played Weiss with has gotten incredibly mad during the course of the game due to a bad card flip or pull. Like they would get so angry that I would feel uncomfortable. This made Weiss increasingly unpleasant to play so I dismantled all my decks. I still love the cards, but adding to a Weiss binder is all I plan to do if even that.

Status: One binder filled to capacity (also these status posts sure have degraded over time huh?)

 

Fire Emblem Cipher

Uh I learned how to play this at 2 AM. I remember nothing about how to play. I’m not a Fire Emblem fan, THOUGH I am enjoying the phone game so that may change. I can’t really comment on the game.

Status: I swear I have these cards somewhere…)

 

What happened:

Philly Regional

I attended the Philly Regional on September 9th. I borrowed a friend’s True Draco Demise deck. This is a chunk of it.

20170908_205027I went 4-4-1 and placed 140th out of  roughly 500. While not great this was the highest I’ve ever placed in Philly.

 

Ixalan Pre-Release

I attended the Ixalan Pre-release immediately before writing this post. I went 3-0-1 running Jund Dinosaurs (because I do what I want).

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I split with round 4 opponent so we could each get the most packs.

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This is the second time I’ve ever done so well at a pre-release. I haven’t gone 3-0-1 since Dragon’s Maze.

I’ve constructed a number of yugioh anime decks.

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Along with buying The Ur-Dragon Commander 2017 pre-con. Ur-Dragon has since replaced Progentitus as my commander.

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I bought a box of Battle of Light’s Revenge and multiple 2017 Starter decks.

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I opened Triple Dimensional Barrier in 3 Mega Tins. Honestly it was a good haul all around.

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I’ve bought the entire Yugioh collections of two people and absorbed most of the cards from a third person.

 

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And I got to watch a Hane-Hane get hit by Raigeki

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There is probably more, but I can’t think of anything else right  now.

 

Yugioh September 18th 2017 Banlist (TCG) 

Zoo died the death it deserved ages ago finally opening the format up to new strategies. True Draco is still viable as Master Peace Turbo. Dinosaurs are now OTK or bust. Lightsworns can sack better. Most of the other hits are irrelevant. There are tons of cards that should’ve been hit also, but I still like this banlist.

Whelp my eyes hurt…. like a lot. It’s time to stop.

What’s next for this blog? I honestly don’t know. I doubt I’ll have time to give it the attention it deserves. It may die. It may not. I thank you regardless for following the mad adventures of one man in his quest to perish suffocated under cardboard.

Thanks for reading as usual.

Hour of Devastation Pre-Release Summary: The day the Second Sun Approached us with an army of horses…

I entered the Hour of Devastation 2-headed giant pre-release earlier today. I was sold on this set for its flavor and story (mostly established characters like the gatewatch getting owned), unlike Amonkhet which was the first Magic Pre-Release I had skipped since I started playing.  This summary is going to be pretty brief also.

Our Decks:

My partner played Green/White Midrange and I played Red/Black Control. MVP of my deck were the 4 copies of Open Fire.

Our Match-Ups:

Round 1: Vs 18 land UW Approach and 15 land WB Zombies

We started out in the standard sealed boardstall. They cast Unconventional Tactics on Wildfire Eternal which hit us allowing them to cast Approach of the Second Sun for free. We tried to race the Second Sun, but they stalled us out by combining Crested Sunmare with Mirage Mirror to make an army of indestructible horses. Eventually they drew into the 2nd sun and a 7th land defeating us.

Loss 0-1

Round 2: Vs Esper Gideon and Red/Green Midrange

I messed up this round and thought that Without Weakness could be used on any creature. I used it (2 of them in fact) to protect our Crop Elite from an Open Fire and an Invocation Slaughter Pact.  None of us released this error for 2 turns and by then he had a huge lead. I should also point out that despite being Esper, our opponent never drew into land other than Swamp.

Win 1-0

Round 3: Vs White/Black Zombies (Also featuring Gideon) and Red/Green Aggro

The Red/Green player kept a 1 lander and never drew a 3rd land. Our opponent’s only creature was the Maruading Boneslasher which could never block so we just kept attacking them.

Win 1-0

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We won 6 packs, opened nothing to really warrant writing about and went home. This set is very cool in terms of flavor, not so much in terms of monetary value. Regardless it was at the least an interesting experience.

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Thanks for reading as usual.

When the Ban-Hammer Strikes (June 19th Magic the Gathering Ban List Reaction)

If a card gets banned and I’m not around to hear it…

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So Magic as part of their big week of updates (last week) delivered the swift banhammer blow to Aetherworks Marvel. This deck was a powerhouse in Standard mostly due to its ability to cast Ulamog for free. While the deck was not oppressive. It did upset a large amount of the standard players in the same way that the felidar saheeli combo did.

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The deck has quickly been replaced by energy “good stuff” decks alongside the already popular constrictor and zombie strategies.

I am happy that Marvel is banned only because standard is meant to have games not decided on turn 4. The mere chance that a deck in standard can craft an effective win that fast is enough reason for me to want it banned. Hopefully, this banning and the upcoming Hour of Devastation set spice up Standard (which has been stale of late).

I basically skipped Amonkhet incidentally. School was hard at that time and if I wanted to play card game that had allusions to Egypt well…

Anyway, thanks for reading as usual.

Jori En – A Primer: A Self-Conscious EDH Storm

(Hello. I’m the same guy from the Grenzo thing. Big thanks to TooManyCardGames for hosting this deck tech.)

Storm is fun. For the pilot. This is a constant in all formats in which storm is viable, which is most of them. Better players than I have demonstrated exactly how true this is in Commander, with lists like this one. While all-in Grixis Storm decks may be the most viable way to win with a high storm count, they have some inherent problems for anyone playing outside a hardcore competitive metagame. Specifically:

  • Maintaining a three-color manabase in an archetype reliant on High Tide is not cheap, and can be inconsistent.
  • They can be incredibly intimidating, and immediately become the threat at the table.
  • They don’t play nice with others.

That last point is key. While there is a decent amount of interaction in Jeleva Storm and similar, most lists aren’t designed for the long game, and don’t have a comfortable plan outside of storming off. This is a huge deal, because there are absolutely tables at which an early storm kill is the least fun thing to have happen. So what can you do? Just not play storm unless your meta is purely competitive? I’m here to present another option: play storm in a combo-control shell.

The theory behind this is pretty simple. The deck has two stances: aggressivly play for the combo turn, or be the control player. Why does this matter? Well, the main problem storm has is the raw time it takes to resolve the winning turn. If you’re winning turns 3-5, and most of the early turns are land-go, you’ve just dominated the total time taken by all players with a five minute turn in a ten minute game. Do this an hour in, after controlling the board and keeping a few other players from winning, and this doesn’t seem quite as bad.

Of course, I can’t guarantee that this won’t still give people the feel-bads. Storm is not something everyone enjoys playing against, and for some people, the mere fact that it is your win condition will be enough for them to hate you and everything you represent. Unfortunately, this seems to be true of practically any deck one could play, so I’ll just be moving on.

Okay, so now we just need to figure out how to play control and combo with the same deck. To be honest, the control part on its own is not an easy task. In a four-player game, the only real types of controlling interaction that scale well are stax and board wipes. Stax is probably going to interfere with our storm plan, and board wipes can be dead or ineffectual against a variety of types of decks, so we will have to rely on traditional countermagic and spot removal as well. Both of these scale… poorly. Holding down an entire table is incredibly difficult. We need a commander that can recoup some of the advantage lost from spending our cards defensively. My weapon of choice: Jori En, Ruin Diver.


Jori is unassuming. She’ll generally draw you a card per round, sometimes two, and occassionally none. The interesting thing here is that as you try to control the table, she’ll often be drawing cards in proportion to the number of threats that must be dealt with. Every time you interact on an opponent’s turn, you have an opportunity to spin it into card advantage. This can actually be enough to tip the scales to where controlling three players is possible. The other key points Jori hits: she is not necessary for the storm plan, so casting her is usually not seen as threating; and she has relatively low mana cost, allowing her to be played while players are still developing.

Jori isn’t exactly conventional, so let’s compare her briefly to the other options.


Alternative Commanders

Mono Blue

Baral, Chief of Compliance and Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy are both fairly viable for this archetype. Each filters your draws in some way, getting you to the card advantage needed to control the board, and each contributes to the storm plan (Baral by being a cost reducer, Jace by flashing back a critical spell, often High Tide). That said, they don’t directly contribute card advantage, and being mono blue removes Past in Flames and Yawgmoth’s Will as options, cutting some resilience from the storm plan.

Blue/Black

Dralnu, Lich Lord presents an interesting twist on Jace, but the high mana cost and harsh risk make this option unappealing.

Oona, Queen of the Fae is an infinite mana outlet in the command zone. Aaaand… That’s it. For the archetype we are playing, a commander who is only useful when you are ready to win is not a great commander.

Blue/Red

Keranos, God of Storms provides some of the same goodness as Jori, by either drawing a card or controlling the board each turn. Unfortunately, at five mana, the benefits Keranos provides are not sufficient. The majority of the time, this is a lightning bolt once per turn, which is just not enough.

Mizzix of the Izmagnus, and to a lesser extent Melek, Izzet Paragon and Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind, can be powerful commanders, with abilities that contribute directly towards the storm turn. Unfortunately for the latter, they cost six mana, and unfortunately for Mizzix, he is very much a known quantity. Mizzix is incredibly dangerous to leave in play, and as a result, he dies. A lot. Further, Mizzix is highly build-around, so if he is not in play, the deck becomes significantly worse. This is just not what we’re looking for.

Nin, the Pain Artist is probably the closest to Jori En, and it would not be unreasonable to run her. At worst, she’s a slow Braingeyser, but when you have other creatures in play, she is repeatable instant speed card draw. Even better, she’s an outlet for infinite mana, and can act as spot removal in an emergency.


Decklist

Let’s assume you accept that Jori En is a viable commander for a control/storm deck. Let’s take a look at such a deck.

Win Conditions

Ultimately, almost every win this deck gets will be through Aetherflux Reservoir. This card makes achieving lethal storm far easier than cards with the actual storm mechanic. This win condition, and to a lesser extent Grapeshot, is supported by two combos, both relatively well-known at this point.

Imprinting Dramatic Reversal on Isochron Scepter with mana rocks gives you arbitrarily large storm, and with mana rocks producing three or more total, infinite mana. Though this does not win the game on its own, in many circumstances, it is easy to transition this into a win.

Having Helm of Awakening, Future Sight, and Sensei’s Divining Top in play will allow you to repeatedly activate top and recast it for free, effectively drawing your deck and building a massive storm count.

Everything else

I’m going to break down most of the deck into several categories.

Counterspells

The countermagic suite includes cards that fulfill at least one of the following requirements:

  • Mana efficient (Mental Misstep, Mindbreak Trap, Swan Song, Rewind, Counterspell)
  • Highly flexible (Disallow, Cryptic Command, Unsubstantiate, Muddle the Mixture)
  • Draws cards (Arcane Denial, Remand)

Keeping roughly to these guidelines lets us split the difference between storm and control. Mana efficient can often mean that Jori En draws more cards, and that velocity is super important.

Removal

The exact mix of removal spells is something I’m constantly messing with, but here’s some examples:

  • Spot Removal
    • Creatures (Lightning Bolt, Pongify, Snap)
    • Artifacts (Dack Fayden, Shattering Pulse, Vandalblast)
    • Flexible (Chaos Warp, Metamorphose)
  • Mass Removal (All is Dust, Blasphemous Act, Cyclonic Rift)

Since it’s rare to get removal mixed into card draw in these colors, I focus on extreme mana efficiency for Jori, with the exception of the more flexible answers in these colors.

Draw/Filtering

There has to be a lot of this, to smooth the divide between combo and control.

  • Cantrips (Brainstorm, Opt, Peek, Quicken, Ponder, Preordain, Gitaxian Probe, Impulse)
  • Tutors (Mystical Tutor, Gamble, Merchant Scroll, Personal Tutor, Whir of Invention)
  • Larger Draw (Fact or Fiction, Dig Through Time, Windfall, Reforge the Soul, Recurring Insight)

These serve drastically different purposes depending upon the circumstance. Cantrips allow Jori En to consistently build card advantage cheaply or velocity when looking for a combo, while deeper digging spells search for either answers or fuel for the storm turn.

Storm

These cards are primarily useful as setup, fuel, or payoff for the storm turn. As always, there is some overlap (in fact, the more useful these cards are elsewhere, the better). The win conditions already listed above are omitted.

  • Mana Production (High Tide, Mana Vault, Frantic Search, Turnabout)
  • Payoff (Grapeshot, Mind’s Desire, Past in Flames)

You may notice that the cards dedicated just to the storm turn are few. This is intentional. There is enough draw and filtering to find them when the time is right, and the majority of the list should be flexible enough to be useful both when looking to combo and when just kicking back.

Ramp

Both forms of ramp are essential to this deck. Cost reducers lead to turns similar to the modern Past in Flames deck, and turn certain spells mana-positive. Besides the general need to get ahead on mana common to all EDH decks, running the Reversal/Scepter win condition requires some dedication to mana rocks.

  • Cost Reducers (Baral, Chief of Compliance, Goblin Electromancer, Helm of Awakening, Sapphire Medallion)
  • Mana Rocks (Wayfarer’s Bauble, Thran Dynamo, Sol Ring, Mind Stone, Izzet Signet, Gilded Lotus, Fellwar Stone, Chrome Mox)

Lands

First thing first: High Tide is a good card, and to use it we need islands. Second, we intend to be relying on not “whiffing” during the storm turn, which can be caused by drawing too many lands with wheel effects and other card draw. As such, we want a low land count. The high density of cantrips and the engine Jori En provides somewhat compensates for this. Everything else should consistently provide two colors and arrive untapped, with the possible exceptions of Izzet Boilerworks (which works very well with untap effects) and at most one basic Mountain. My current list looks something like this:

20x Islands (including shocks and fetches)

8x UR Lands

1x Bounce Land

1x Mountain

Reading the Table

With the list established, it’s time to talk about what I consider the most important part of playing this deck: figuring out what your opponents want. There are players who want to play against the best you have, and others that would rather the game go long and everyone get a chance to play. As the pilot of this deck, you have the opportunity to give both types of players what they want. Figuring out what’s going on at your table is essential to having a good game of EDH for everyone, and it’s worth going into some of the subtleties.

Commanders

As anyone who has played against multiple opponents knows, the commanders your opponents choose can either be highly indicative or highly misleading. Take the information you have, but don’t make hard assumptions. Certain commanders, like Jace, Teferi, and Zur, can be strong pointers that your opponents are trying to win. Others are more ambiguous, like Breya, Jeleva, and Animar, each of which have viable competitive builds and casual fun modes. Still others are indicators that your opponents aren’t trying to optimize to win, like Norin, Kynaios and Tiro, or Kangee (sorry man).

In short, the information you get on turn 0 is the first clue as to what you should be doing. If this isn’t enough information, you’ll have to move on to the next indicators.

Talking

I know, crazy, right? Full disclosure, I’m generally against fishing for information in a tournament setting, but this isn’t quite the same. Everyone’s here to have a good time, and it’s in everyone’s interest that players be on the same page. If the guy across from you shows you General Tazri, allow yourself to show some natural fear that this may be Food Chain Tazri, and you’ll be dead on turn 4 (you won’t be, most likely, we have a lot of interaction to prevent that sort of thing). You may get a response along the lines of “Don’t worry, I don’t play combos,” or “Haha yeah,” and you can feel free to treat them appropriately.

By the same token, if someone asks you what you’re doing, don’t lie. Honesty in your expectations for how the game will be played is the best way to get the game everyone wants.

Card Choices

If all else fails, the cards don’t lie. From the overt (Mana Crypt, ABUR duals, revealed combo pieces) to the more subtle (cards like Preordain are often overlooked by new players in favor of splashier effects), it should be possible in the first 2-3 turns to figure out roughly what people’s decks are like.

When Not to Win

Okay, look, I know this sounds bad. I don’t at all mean to say that this deck is super competitive and has to shoot itself in the foot in order to not utterly overpower your local scrubs, because that is absolutely not the case. What I mean is that there are ways in which you can win that result in only you having fun, and if you’re like me, that probably means you aren’t having fun either. As you play the deck more, you’ll start seeing windows to go infinite relatively fast, because it turns out Dramatic/Scepter is pretty good.Don’t do this if you don’t think the table would be okay with it. By the time you have the opportunity to go for it, you should have an idea whether people are playing fair or not. Ending the game suddenly, especially if most of what the other players expect from a game hasn’t happened yet, will likely not make you many friends.

What I’ve found is that a natural storm turn can actually be more interesting to less competitive players than an easy combo. This is especially true late game, when a couple other players have already tried to push their advantage. As mentioned above, this isn’t always true, but it’s something to consider. The most important thing to remember here is your time. Play fast. Make mistakes. Apologize for taking time, if you have to think for more than a few seconds. You’ll get better at the deck and mess up less eventually, but until then, don’t waste everyone’s time by trying to optimize your every move.

This leads to the most important thing to remember. It’s okay to lose. It’s even okay to lose if you could have won. Unless everyone’s showing up to the table with the explicit intent to compete to the best of their ability, you have nothing to prove. Against non-competitive tables, racing to the kill is like trying to win a figure skating contest by speed skating.


Budget Concessions

As with Grenzo, this is not a fully optimized list. Obvious additions given a higher budget include Volcanic Island, fetches, Mana Crypt, and Wheel of Fortune (though Reforge the Soul does have interesting synergy with Jori En). Other more marginal omissions include Ancient Tomb, Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, and Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

Wrapping Up

TL;DR: It is possible to play storm at tables where nobody wants storm and come out not looking like a jerk. I think this is a pretty good way to do that.

Thanks for reading, folks. If you enjoyed this, consider checking out my youtube channel 1600 Horsepower or my website here.