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Just Checkin' In

I hope you guys love what I do for you...between life and my writings, I missed the season finale of 24 and game three of the NBA Western Conference Finals.  The Lakers won, so I guess I can't complain too much.

Anyway, back to Magic.  I bet everything you've been reading for the past week is talking about Fifth Dawn.  There is a lot to be said about it.  This is going to be a very hot selling set.  It's obviously going to have a huge effect on tournament play.  I'd also  like to think that the effects of this set will reach far into casual play as well.  This is the first set in a while that actuall has a LOT to offer to all players.

I think there is something fun and interesting you can do.  This activity is more fun for casual players or vintage format players.  Go through your cards and try to find out what older cards the stuff in Fifth Dawn helps.  We already know that things in Mirrodin and Darksteel were meant to be palyed with Fifth Dawn, but what else out there gets better or gets played more in the near future.  Don't think in terms of decks.  Start with individual cards and combos and work your way up.  You might surprise yourself.

I'd also like to thank you all for the kind and positive words regarding my last two weeks worth of articles.  Everyone seemed to appreciate the "straightforwardness" of those postings.  It also got a lot of input from readers.  That's great though.  Anything that gets people interested and talking is fun.

Out of curiosity, have everyone else's prerelease events been getting larger.  I know around here they have been growing each time.  I was toally surprised to see such large numbers reported at prerelease events this time around with it coming just tw weeks after Regionals, which also reported record breaking attendance everywhere.  The sets have been getting more fun and interesting.  I'm sure that has a little to do with it.  But I also think it has largely to do with the general growth of the Magic community.  There are even lots of players that used to play that have come back to the game recently.  I find this all very interesting, because more players and larger production runs obviously equate to more cards being out there.  But because there are so many players wanting particular cards and deckbuilding, more cards each year are creeping up in value.  It's definitely a good time to be a Magic player.

Other than Fifth Dawn, the hot talk has been about bannings.  Which cards are going to get the axe in constructed tournament play.  It seems that with U.S. Nationals happening on the weekend of June 18-20th and the new policy putting bannings into effect on the 20th of the announced month....things could be interesting.  More importantly, I would expect them to make any announcements valid and effective for Nationals.  Skullclamp is the obvious target.  Whether it or anything else goes those, remains to be seen.  We are less than a week awat from the announcement, so it's not a long wait.

I want to remind you again to get something going at your local store.  Start a small league or tournament system for the summer.  Give some fun prizes.  Anything that gives you and your friends a reason to meet up and paly some games is great.  If nothing else, talk with your store owner and work with them to get an Arena League started.  It's a league system from Wizards of the Coast that costs very little, but can be very fun.

I also have a recommendation for you if you can't get to you rlocal store.  Many times  you have an odd number of players at your house (usually three).  Well, two people can play and one has to sit out.  If not, many times, you end up feeling like one person is getting double teamed.  To solve this, we use a format around our store called Cutthroat.  It's simple.  Whenever a player deals damage, the other two players BOTH take the damage.  Any player can block for another player as well.  After all, they are stopping damage to themselves as well.  If you gain life, it only effects you.  It's a fun and interesting format that's really balanced.  Give it a try sometime.

Also, don't forget about peasant Magic.  That's a really fun format.  It's great for those of you that are new players or just don't have the money to go out and get a bunch of rares.  It's also popularly known as the PEZ format.  Jason Chapman writes some very good stuff on the site regarding the format that is definitely worth a look or two.

I'd also like to say thanks to Jason Matthews for the time he gave us in the Deck Garage.  He's had some other things come up in his life that allow him very little time for writing now.  Don't worry, he hasn't quit playing cards...or gaming at all for that matter.  He still shuffles cardsboard around the shop and he plays City of Heroes.  It's all good.  Hopefully we will have a replacement for him soon.

I'm going to go out on a limb here with two predictions.  Ravager Affinity decks are going to be much less of a force in tournament play within the next four weeks.  I will also say that Mono Black decks (beit weenie or control) should start popping up again soon.  Just so I don't look like an idiot, some of ya'll need to work to make this a reality.

But to make your job easier, my card pick of the week this week is Plung Into Darkness:

<IMG src="http://www.essentialmagicimages.com/51/36129.jpg" border=0>

Just look at that ability: Choose one - Sacrifice any number of creatures, then you gain 3 life for each sacrificed creature; or pay X life, then look at the top X cards of your library, put one of those cards into your hand, and remove the rest from the game.
Entwine {B} (Choose both if you pay the entwine cost.)

It's an instant.  It only costs two mana.  It can't be terrible.  If fits weenie style decks that want the chance to gain extra life.  You can block and then sacrifice them.  You can get life from creatures that are going to Wrath of God.  You can simply use it in control style decks to search for the key card that you want.  Or better yet, you can pay the Entwine cost of just B and get both.  That's pretty crazy.

On a different note, if you are a fan of the Rook Steel Storage company and their products we aware of two things.  One, they have new sleeves coming that are great quality and non-textured, so they should last longer.  Secondly, they are increasing the prices of their steel suitcase style enduras.  So if you want to get them at the current price, rush out to your local store and get them before the price hike.

For those of you that want a good relaxing change of pace, try Duel Masters.  It's actually a decent game.  It palys a bit like Magic, but has less complexity and timing issues.  It's really fun.  And as further proof of this, I carry around two decks with me all the time.

Don't forget about the summer convention season.  There is potentially a convention near your area.  Look around, because summer is a hot time for conventions.  There are usually some large tournaments with some big time prizes.  They are well worth the trip if you can make it.  I will be working for Comic Images and hopefully playing in the Marvel PC event if I can swing it at GenCon.  

And I have a play of the week this week from Chad:

So I went to the 5th Dawn Pre-release.  My showing wasn't that great. I
went 0-2 for the first wave and lost two drafts, but I did go 3-1 in the
last 4 round wave.

I heard about the following play over the course of the day.  I am not
sure who had it though, but it was during sealed deck play.  I really
wish I could have seen the losing player's face when it dropped:

So a guy drops a bringer of the white dawn on turn 8 or 9 with some
tricky 5 color action.  He allows his opponent to play, nothing
spectacular happens.  He starts his next turn and drops a mindslaver and
activates it.  He taps his  opponent out and generally messes with him
and then returns for his turn pulling the mindslaver from the graveyard
during his upkeep and repeating the process.  Not sure who won that wave
but I am sure this guy placed with prizes.

See, this is the kind of stuff that I'm talking about.  I'm sure I will be seeing that in a constructed deck sometime in the near future.  But Chad gets to be our winner this week.

And on that note, I'm out.

Until next time,

DeQuan Watson
a.k.a. PowrDragn
PowrDragn on IRC
PowrDragn on City of Heroes - Champion Server







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