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Conflux Review: Black March 24, 2009

Posted by Norm in Casual, Conflux.
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My selected review of Conflux Black as found in the full Visual Spoiler.

I’ve got to say that I think black got the shaft in this release. I’ve gone over these cards a few times trying to pick my favorites and there is very little I’m excited about. Not to say that I think these cards are bad, I just feel uninspired by them.

Grixis Slavedriver
I really like the fact that you get an extra 2/2 creature with the slavedriver. I’m actually surprised there aren’t more cards with Unearth that give you extra creatures. That sort of ability would make unearth a lot stronger. You would have to wait for the payoff but still not bad. Six mana for a 4/4 is a little rough.

I could see a deck that wants to discard Grixis Slavedriver, Unearth and get the free guy. Kind of slow and awkward though.

Kederekt Parasite
Proabably the best, or one of, black creatures in Conflux. If for some reason your opponent has no way of eliminating Kederekt then you are as good as it is going to get the win. Actually this guy really supports Jace and other card drawing machines. How about Forced Fruition. This is a guy you can build around and really make it hurt.

I haven’t seen any serious tourny builds with this guys so leave a link in the comments if I’m missing something.

Nyxathid
While Nyxathid can die to draw, I feel he is especially strong in limited.  Where you (meaning your opponent) usually aren’t keeping a full hand and more than likely to be out of cards late game. What Nyxathid offers in “potential” threat is just as strong as the current size of the creature. Keeping cards in your opponent’s hand when they are afraid of the big guy.

I had to play around one recently and it was a little tricky. Waiting for the right moment to block or cast a spell so I wouldn’t get overrun by this guy. Looks like Kresh is even having trouble dealing with it.

Pestilent Kalthari
This bird isn’t amazing by any means but I do want to give him some attention because he can be used well. If you can keep your mana open, you maybe able to trick your opponent into not attack or blocking. This guy can be really efficient against an exalted deck. Getting in the one first strike damage with Deathtouch. For me he has bought me a few turns where my opponent is afraid to attack and loose the big guy.

Sedaxis Alchemist
First off I love the art on this guy. It is really creative and I love the mood and execution.  Bouncing a permanent can be really effective in draft or limited, slowing your opponent down a turn. He does have his drawbacks but I think it is a fun card.

Conflux Review: Blue March 23, 2009

Posted by Norm in Casual, Conflux.
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My selected review of Conflux Blue as found in the full Visual Spoiler.

Cumber Stone
Not an amazing card. I did have someone play this against me in a draft and it really threw me off. I don’t see a huge advantage in constructed although in casual constructed this could be one of those cards that really slows down your opponents threats. Could be a lot of fun to build with.

This would be pretty amazing if it had flash. A combat trick that throws off your opponents math, allows you to kill some of his guys, or survive for another turn. In big table games this is defiantly a card worth considering.

Grixis Illusionist
So I just realized that this card targets your land. I originally thought this would target any land. So never mind. I think this card sucks, ya it is mana fixing and might get you through one or two sticky situations – I’m just annoyed at myself because I was imagining a deck where you disrupted your opponents mana base and manually mana screw them in the early game.

Here is where I would pick this card. If I was running  a deck with Fugitive Wizard. Same cost and p/t with the extra ability. Might be good late game when you have a bunch of islands in play and need that random green or red to sweep the board.

Parasitic Strix
A wise man once told me that a 2/2 flyer for 3 mana is a good deal. With Parasitic Strix you get that plus a potential for a 4 point life swing. Seems good to me. That is almost as good as Kitchen Finks, ok on as good as half of a finks but the flying is cool because it gets in there. The reason this card won’t see much serious action is because there are a million better plays on turn three. This card is one of those cards I would consider to be not bad but that is about as far as it goes.

If you were limited to a pauper format, however. This guy needs some attention.

Unsummon
I’m glad they reprinted this card, because so many people underestimate it. It isn’t a Path to Exile but it will cover your ass. In limited formats make sure you snag an unsummon.

I’m not that wild about the new artwork, but it works.

Conflux Review: White March 21, 2009

Posted by Norm in Casual, Conflux.
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4 comments

My selected review of Conflux White as found in the full Visual Spoiler.

Before I start this white review I want to say that Conflux got some amazing cards in this color. I won’t pretend that I’m the first one to point this out, but keep in mind that I’m not choosing these cards as the best in this color.

Mark of Asylum
Can we say hello to the replacement for Burrenton Forge-Tender? No. Ah well almost then. Although with people playing less Bitterblossom we might see enchantment hate find its way into the sideboard and less of it at that. So Mark of Asylum could be an interesting alternative to the forge-tender especially against red deck wins or the new kithkin vengant variations. I’m actually surprised I haven’t seen more of this card because it has advantages.

This would be really awesome in the Verudian Enchantress deck Ben Belewis made when he did the building on a budget column a few years ago.

Mirror-Sigil Seargent
This has got to be one of the best casual cards in the set. If I were to build around this card I would use the above enchantment, fog the world and wait until I have a bunch of guys. Too bad I haven’t collected any yet. You know what else I like about this card? Trample. That is what makes it work. Resolve a Time Stretch and smash.

Path to Exile
I wasn’t going to include this card in my initial review. Mainly because everyone is talking about it and it is quite obvious that this cards is going to  be one of those cards that will always be around. Yes forever. So if you are a casual player who is kind of like ho hum when it comes to white. If you are going to trade it away don’t undervalue it the way I undervalued Kitchen Finks. Just saying.

Sigil of the Empty Throne
I love this card. I just wish it was easier to play. There was an awesome enchantement deck that Ben Belewis made back when he wrote Building on Budget called The Two Ladies. Sigil of the Empty Throne wouldn’t fit in that deck I was just reminiscing.

I’ve been sitting here thinking of how I could build around this card and I can’t really think of a situation. I mean the fact that you need to put other enchantments into play to get the Throne to trigger is the main issue. Maybe there is a casual Legacy deck with those creatures who are enchantments until an opponent plays a creature. That would awesome. Otherwise… sorry Sigil of the Empty Throne you are just a really cool card with some potential that currently has very low possibility of seeing play. Maybe Alara Reborn will be your Salvation.

Wall of Reverence
Oh you awesomely maddening card. I need a Path to Exile or Terror or Oblivion Ring to deal with you. I see you sitting there and my Stillmoon Cavalier is the only hope I have of whittling life away as you gain, gain, gain. That was me as a faced a Wall of Reverence at FNM this week. Wall has certainly made its mark in the competitive realms. Gaining life every turn even one is awesome.

Draft and the 1/1 March 13, 2009

Posted by Norm in Conflux, Draft, Organized Play, Shards of Alara.
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3 comments

This week I was in a shards/shards/conflux draft. I went 3-0 running a cheep Jundish deck. I didn’t open any bombs, passed a master of etherium for a Vithian Stinger and ran a single copy of Goblin Mountaineer and Lightning Talons. I had about 6 decent removal spells. The key to the deck was Neceogenisis, but that isn’t the point of this post.

I’m an aggro guy at heart. I like dropping a bunch of small guys and getting in for quick damage and repeat. I love Kithkin for this fact as well as token decks. So this week when I was asked why I run Goblin Mountaineer, I didn’t know what to say. To me it feels right playing a 1/1 on turn one, especially a mountainwalker in draft seems like a good play to me. I know it isn’t the best 1/1 in limited right now I’d prefer Wild Nactal of course, but I digress. I was told that Goblin Mountaineer was “so bad.” I didn’t think so because he fits into my deck and I’m comfortable using it. Or so I thought.

Tonight at FNM we drafted shards/shards/conflux and my first two picks were Woolly Thoctar. I was in Naya and I went 3-1 loosing one match with some serious mana screw. I didn’t have a Goblin Mountaineer tonight. However my deck was a lot better and I would have rather had it earlier in the week. The only one drops I played tonight were 2 x Wild Nactal and 1x Toxic Iguanar. Nactal is good, but I never used Toxic Iguanar to take out a larger guy with deathtouch, but what it did to is draw fire and get in for a single point of damage here and there. WHich I think can be the difference when games go the distance.

Which brings me back to my point about draft and the 1/1. I believe that you need utility cards that “aren’t good” to get you through the match. Cards that you can trust and fill spots that other players don’t play. I routinely see people play cards that I would never consider useing. Cards that I believe to be over costed and junk. What I have learned is that different cards fill different slots for different players. That is what makes magic such good game and why there are potential answers for almost every situation.

So in long form that is why I choose and play Goblin Mountaineer in draft. Besides in the current limited meta game most decks are running red for removal.

Etherium Artwork March 4, 2009

Posted by Norm in Conflux, Spoilers.
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3 comments

Check out this cool art in Doug Beyer’s article today. I don’t think I saw this art in Conflux but I may have missed something. Interesting Etherium mage getting ready to cast some control magic or summon the leviathan.

Prerelease February 1, 2009

Posted by ricsta in Conflux.
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I have to agree with Norm on the disappointment of the prerelease format. I really do not want to attend the “big” prerelease in my area, but the people who put it on, PES, are the same people who put on Grand Prix Trials, PTQs, Regionals, States, and with out PES there would be little to no high level magic in my region. 

One thing we need to realize is a lot of the changes come from Wizards themselves and your local tournament organizer has to abide or risk being tattle-tailed on and lose their good standing to hold tournaments. An example is my local store was given eight boxes, of which were Conflux and Shards, to hand out as product and prizes and a stack of pre-re foils. Last Thursday they were told they could only hand out one foil per person -they would have handed the left over as door prizes- and the prize support would be limited to two packs times the amount of people who played. Therefore, if thirty people showed up, then 180 packs for product to play with and sixty packs would be handed out as support. What are they supposed to do if there are any packs left over? Throw them away. Destroy them. Not give them out as prize support.

I’m sure the “big” prereleases have similar constraints and I am shocked that there were no drafts, since there was a large out cry after Shard’s prerelease. Someone at Wizards has a good reason for limiting the support, but I have yet to figure it out.

Conflux Prerelease Recap Video January 31, 2009

Posted by Norm in Conflux, Organized Play.
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The people have spoken. I brought my camera with me today and here is a recap of my thoughts on Conflux. I didn’t spend time in between rounds to take any footage especially the second round as my deck was pretty slow. 

First thing’s first. I hate to complain about a prerelease because there is so much excitement about the new cards, but seriously Wizards what gives? Please leave comments to let me know what happened in your area. As I mention in the video, I  showed up at 8 a.m. sharp to get into flights early. I knew from people and the previous nights FNM that there weren’t going to be the usual flights but no one seemed to know what was going on. Anyway, there are a lot of people who showed up in between 8 and 9 to play. There was no flight, there was no draft there wasn’t even open duling. Basically the event is changed to just flights that start at specific times. No more main event, no more 32 man flights. Just strictly scheduled flights starting as predetermined times. 

I’m not so much bothered by the change, but rather how it occured. As I understand in the PES folks got the message late yesterday from Wizards about the changes. I’ve got to say this really sucks because I made specific plans to participate in the event early in the day. I was hoping to do two events and leave early afternoon. These changes pretty much prevented my plan from happening. The changes do make sense, because something I complained about during the Eventide prerelease is that I was only able to get into one event because I couldn’t get there until 1 p.m.  and these changes seem to try to fix that. The problem is that the current prereleases are very poorly attended compared to previous prereleases. So let me get off this rant, but it’s obvious that the prerelease is still kind of broken. 

How about those cards. Well I spend some time in the video talking about what I saw and used today. Cards that I liked, cards that are working, and how the heck are we dealing with these mana costs. Well I didn’t spend too much time talking about paying crazy mana costs but I did see some people win with 5 color decks. I felt that three color decks defiantly have a better ability to smooth out their base more than anything. 

Next I’ll be thinking about some standard builds with the new cards. One card in particular that I did open today, Master Transmuter. Everyone was begging to trade it, but I’ve got plans for her.

Conflux EDU: Planeswalkers 101 January 29, 2009

Posted by Norm in Conflux.
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Just sharing.

Conflux Prerelease Question January 28, 2009

Posted by Norm in Conflux, Organized Play.
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Today the whole city of Pittsburgh is on a snow delay. So while I’m waiting it out I’d thought I would solidify my prerelease plans and spend more time reading the prerelease info than normal and I noticed something about open dueling.  Previously if you participated in open dueling you would get a prerelease card and a booster pack for your effort. Did they change that? Here is the official info:

Open Dueling – Open Dueling registration is prioritized for customers not participating in the Prerelease tournament. Open Dueling players receive 1 Intro Pack, 1 Open Dueling Results Card, and 1 promo card (while supplies last). Open Dueling players play against other Open Dueling players as well as tournament players who are between matches. Tournament players are encouraged to help teach new customers how to play Magic while playing in Open Dueling. After a participant has completed their Open Dueling Results Card, and the card has been verified by the organizer or judge, he/she receives one complimentary booster pack provided by the organizer.

Was it just the habit of my local venue to give out an additional prerelease card or are they discontinuing the practice. Honestly that is one of the only reasons I participated in open dueling to begin with. 

So I’ll take a quick poll, to duel or not to duel.

One other fact is that when I opened my intro back during the shards release my foil rare was bent badly in one corner. It seemed like a manufacturing issue but I was disappointed that the organizers wouldn’t do anything about it.

Conflux EDU: Basic Landcycling 101 January 28, 2009

Posted by Norm in Conflux, Learn to Play Magic: the Gathering.
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I’m happy to see basic landcycling come back. I think this is one of those solid traditional mechanics that is good for the game and decks. Not much else to say about that.

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