Thursday, March 18, 2010

MTG Buzz #1 (Technically #2)

Apologies of lack of updates, my people. I haven't gone to a Magic event in almost two weeks. On the other hand, I've been playing a lot of Final Fantasy XIII. It's not bad. Unfortunately it still isn't very strategically challenging, unlike the game I normally play. :)

I still try to read as many articles as possible. I've picked up a few good ones that I think you might want to look at. Especially my new article for ManaNation. From henceforth, all my article spotlight posts will be called "MTG Buzz."

Hit Jund's Weak Spots! by Lauren Lee

The rest are after the break.

Chump Blocking by Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa
PV is one of Magic's greats and one of its greatest writers, and now you can read his articles for free! TAKE ADVANTAGE! This article on Chump Blocking is excellent stuff. You'll probably learn something from it, and he likes to use examples in his articles, which is always helpful.

Material Possessions by Scott McCord
This actually gets my vote for best article of the past two weeks. Maybe the best I've read this year so far. It's about trading resources, as most Magic is about. But in particular, when making certain trades is beneficial for you and when it is not. The best articles just spell it out to you, real simple, and this article achieves unearthly clarity.

Mono Tournament by Robert Vroman
This one's for fun! What happens when you're restricted to putting 60 copies of a single card in your deck? Which deck would win in a tournament of this sort? Read and find out! Magic lends itself to thought experiments like this all the time - I personally am a fan of the "4-card deck" morphing meta. There's a specific name for it, but I forgot what it was.

Mono Tournament II
He did a little follow up and found other viable decks!

Mythic Versus Jund by Zvi Mowshowitz (Premium)
Zvi's insights into the Mythic vs Jund matchup after our marathon playtest session! Must read if you want to play the Mythic deck!

Keeping the Reserve List by Matt Sperling
Should Wizards Do Away With the Reserve List? by Ben Bleiweiss
Two articles on opposite sides of the issue.

Recent controversy regarding Magic revolves around the Reserve List, a list of cards Wizards has promised not to reprint - as a promise to collectors who want their cards to remain valuable. Unfortunately, Legacy prices have gone through the roof in just the past year, as Legacy is getting really popular. Playing Legacy has gotten unrealistic for more and more players. What does Wizards plan to do about this?

Well, here's their announcement. They are keeping the Reserve List and will not be reprinting any more "relics" as premium cards, as they did for their From the Vault series. And further questions about the matter have been met with "We can't say." So lips are sealed on this one. It looks like it's not going to change anytime soon.

Learn How to Play Magic #1 by Evan Erwin
This is a video series Evan has begun about learning how to play Magic. Good stuff! Teaching Magic is best done using a visual form, and Evan provides! Show your noob friends and teach 'em the basics. Expect more videos like this in the future.

Think More and Play Better by Alexander Shearer
Alex likes to connect Magic to extraneous things -- like biology! Yay! This article is food for thought about the entity that is Jund. I think the people that should read this article are the people that only know Jund on a cursory level - people that haven't really played with the deck or explored the deck in depth. Because there's more to it than just X and Y spells. Alex explains better than I can do. It frustrates me when people make blanket statements about Jund, as though it were easily stereotyped or easily put into a box and shut away.

And it looks like Mike Flores wrote his article for the mothership along the same lines!

Believe It or Not, a Defense of Jund by Michael J Flores
Michael gives more historical perspective as only he can do - about Jund in today's Standard compared with other boogeymen of old. And relatively speaking, it's "the least offensive boogeyman in the history of Magic: the Gathering" - his words.

If anything, you guys, I think Jund is a triumph of Wizards R&D. People like hating on the "Deck to Beat", but it's actually wayyy fairer than say, Faeries (hah, I first typed fairier). All Jund does is play removal, play guys, and play burn. It's "just Magic". Nothing it does is outside the scope of "normal" Magic except Cascade - and maybe, manlands. It does it better than most decks because of the card advantage, but I still think it's way less annoying than having a combo or draw-go control deck as the "deck to beat". (Although, I would be totally okay with another Faeries - I love flash creatures and tempo decks, but apparently people really disliked Faeries, too.)

People are gonna hate because it's the cool thing to do, but hopefully with some perspective, people will realize Jund is not even close to bad. Standard has come a long way, and I think games are a lot more balanced and fair than they were.