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Omnath FNM Edition February 13, 2010

Posted by Norm in FNM, Worldwake, Zendikar.
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Last night found me pitted in Psychic Battle otherwise known as Friday Night Magic. It was the first night for Zen, Zen, Wwk draft and boy was it a fun one. As I walked to the store considering my strategy I thought I might try to force a green blue deck with fliers and fatties. I’ve seen this strategy work on Draft Better and figured it would be worth a shot as Allies can fall short unless you draw some bombs and every body and their brother is drafting black red. Turns out I made the right choice as I was one of two people drafting green.

My blue strategy took a quick backseat to a second pick Journey to Nowhere and multiple Kor Skyfishers. White was truly a splash color as I was really heavy in green with the typical cast. Worldwake really filled out my deck when I was past the mother of green in Worldwake, Omnath, Locus of Mana. I was kind of shocked to see such a bomb passed pick three of the pack. My awesome reward for playing green.

Worldwake Green

My other green from Worldwake was pretty good too. Explore is one of the few draw spells in green, ever. Khalni Garden is one of the best comes into play tapped lands, free creatures are good. Also I took a chance on running Savage Silhouette and having an extra target for that spell to act a wall or whatever works for me. Quest for Renewal is particularly strong and very simple to get online. When I had Savage Silhouette out with this quest up opponents just couldn’t get through. Depending on your board position you maybe able to get four counters on the quest the same turn it comes into play. Regeneration on blockers interact really well with the quest too. Since I was splashing white I snagged two Loam Loins floating around, these guys rock.

Games

I went 3-0 handling my opponents easily, Canopy Cover usually provided the path for my creatures to smash and multiple Territorial Baloth and Loam Lion gets me there. Omnath delivered as well, the highest I had him was 10/10, but I had to use mana at one point to kill a Archon of Redemption with a kicked Oran-Rief Recluse. The trickiest part about Omnath is getting him in play. Maybe I was more paranoid than I needed to be because I always slow rolled him hoping to draw out other removal from my opponent. He is really vulnerable the turn you cast him. When I had enough land in play, I would tap out putting all my mana into the pool so he would be larger as soon as he was in play.

I lost round four to the only other player drafting green. He was playing green red and had burn to keep my side of the board clear. The games were close and he had to top deck Mold Shambler for the win game one. Game two he wins with Bladetusk Boar one of the best red creatures in limited.

I’m no draft expert but I’ll put my money on green for now.

Worldwake Blue Review February 9, 2010

Posted by Norm in Worldwake.
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Welcome to my Worldwake Blue Review. Check out Worldwake in the full visual spoiler or on the Gatherer. The purpose of this review is to share thoughts and insights into a handful of cards, not identify the five best cards of a color.With that lets dive in.

Dispel
One of two counter spells in Worldwake that has a unique ability to be really annoying. Earlier tonight I was double dispelled in a small counter war not expecting my opponent tho have two in hand. I was expecting Negate or maybe one Dispel but he was able to win the war with two blue mana up. I like Dispel for this reason, versatility. It is going to be difficult to play around and I think will help control get back in the game. There are a lot of counter spells right now in standard. Yes Cancel is has the steepest cost but the others are cheap and effective. Dispel is only going to help control players really control, and counter, a lot of spells.

Now with that said. Control is freaking annoying to play against. Fortunately I like to play aggro or creatures and Dispel against creature based decks isn’t going to be that great. Although it does provide defense against Lightning Bold and company.

Jwari Shapeshifter
Here is one creature that I’m really looking forward to playing although I don’t currently have a standard application in mind. I don’t see blue being a main color in Ally decks so my mind wanders to other casual applications. First off Jwari Shapeshifter can copy changelings. This includes the best changeling Chameleon Colossus. How crazy would a blue green extended deck be with 8 potential copies of that guy.

Back to standard making extra copies of your best Ally is going to be really exciting. I recently gained a lot of respect for Kazuul Warlord so bringing out the Shapesifter with him in play is going to really pump up your team fast.

Quest for Ula’s Temple
Quest for Ula’s Temple has to be one of the most interesting card’s I’ve seen in a long time. The art is different, quests are still new, and playing awesome creatures for free is just one of the best things you can do in magic. Everything about this cards just tickles the imagination.

I did a search for Ula in the Gatherer and there isn’t anything. So for all you flavor people out there I have a feeling there will be something interesting in Rise of the Eldrazi.
Keep an eye out for a 52 Decks post featuring this quest. It is going to be one fun deck.

Vapor Snare
Blue may not be the all permission force it has been in the past, and I’m very OK with that. It seems that Wizards is doing different things with blue and printing spells like this give blue a different kind of control to explore. Sure there have been many Threaten spells printed over time but this is more liken to Dream Lease and keeping control of your opponent’s creatures while giving you a means to power up landfall abilities.

The casting cost is a bit steep but snagging your opponents late bomb always makes a huge difference.

Wind Zendikon
When I first saw this card I couldn’t believe how strong this creature can be. A 2/2 flier for essentially one mana. Huge. If you make a creature out of your island turn one, then you are either trading a land for a creature (which obviously isn’t good) and attacking each turn, or you are keeping a 2/2 blocker up with counter magic avalible. Then when you get your mana online start beating down with land.

Worldwake Prerelease Video February 5, 2010

Posted by buymorecards in Worldwake.
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Heya,

This is Aaron, from Buymorecards.net.  Norm kindly asked me to show you what transcended at the Worldwake prerelease party here a week ago.  Luckily, nobody was hurt in the making of this movie.

Now that I think about it, a little bit got lost in translation, but you get the idea. Enjoy.

Worldwake White Review February 4, 2010

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Welcome to my Worldwake White Review. Check out Worldwake in the full visual spoiler or on the Gatherer. The purpose of this review is to share thoughts and insights into a handful of cards, not identify the five best cards of a color. With that lets dive in.

Admonition Angel
When I first looked at this card I was struck not by the casting cost, power and toughness, nor even the landfalling oblivion ring action. But rather I was amazed at this amazing artwork. For a better look, and wallpaper click here. This is one of those illustrations where the longer you stare at it the more you see. I didn’t immdeatly notice all six wings or the long flowing hair or how awesome that sword is. High five Steve.

Now down to business six mana for the dragon like size isn’t too bad, especially considering the ability. However white is the slowest of all colors. It is possible to power this out I’m thinking of some of the traps decks, but that would require a top tier competitive deck. This could be particularly awesome with Endless Horizons guaranteeing you mana every turn after you play the angel.

Kitesail Apprentice
What is up with the apprentice aspect of this creature, because it’s 1/1? If so, what does a Kitesail Master do? Also the artifact Kitesail seems kind of weak when this guy is equipped with it. Only granting +1/+0. Maybe a Kitesail Master gets +4/0 when using a kite or has lifelink or something.

I really like this guy as a one drop because if you give him a machete or any decent equipment he is going to really beat down. Even with some of the lesser equipment in Zendikar getting +1/+1 and flying is a lot of bang for a single white mana.

Rest for the Weary
I don’t find Rest for the Weary extreemly remarkable, but potentially gaining 8 life is kind of a big deal for two mana. Stream of Life makes you pay a green plus one mana for every life you gain and Kiss of the Amesha costs six total mana for seven life. Dropping this spell on turn two after playing a land (assuming you have no other spells to play) is a really big swing that can give you a buffer from early aggro or something annoying.

When I first saw this card I immediately thought of my Sanguine Bond deck from a few weeks ago. Dropping this spell at the end of an opponents turn keeping your mana open for removal is a smart way to gain four life, or gain eight life with Ruin Ghost (see below).

Ruin Ghost
To me this is one of those spells that sits around and catches people by surprise. With the man lands in Worldwake as well as some of the comes into play tapped lands of Zendikar abusing this spell with a combo, bouncing Teetering Peaks or Kabira Crossroads, could be quite interesting. Heck, if you are going to work out a combo then why not play Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and start bouncing Mountains. That will end the game real fast.

In a more realistic sense this guy can be used to give extra oomph to Stepp Lynx and Plated Geopead. And I know I haven’t thought out all the possibilities with extra landfall. Even just playing this ability to activate a Searing Blaze could be worth it.

Refraction Trap
Finally one of the more interesting art works of the set. An excellent sideboard option against lightning bolt, that essentially becomes a white bolt. Zap!

Not much to say about this card except that I think it is really, really good. Protects your creature against any burn spell currently in standard (well except a cycled Resounding Thunder) and sets your opponent back in life and cards. Their plan of eliminating your dudes for whatever reason obviously fizzles.

Worldwake Prerelease Recap January 31, 2010

Posted by Norm in Worldwake.
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I hope everyone was able to attend a prerelease this weekend. Worldwake took me to the Crown Royal Plaza hotel in Crafton, PA where the staff was friendly and generous. Seriously, a chef gave me free coffee and the woman at the registration desk hooked me up with a notepad after PES ran out of score sheets.

Shot of about half of the room.

The above photo was about a half hour before seating was posted. We had around 120 participants at our release. I drove Aaron from Buy More Cards and Erik from my local shop. We crammed into my truck whose close quarters let us get to know each other a bit more than we were expecting. Aaron was expecting to Open Lotus Cobra, Abyssal Persecution and Jace. He scored a cobra at the Zendikar Prerelease so his expectations were rather high. Erik and I were just happy to crack some new packs.

I went 2-2 on the day opening up with a 2-0 start before letting my perfect day dreams crash around me. My card pool was one of the better sealed pools I’ve opened. The removal was spread across all my colors I had Hideous End and Anowon, the Ruin Sage in black. Red brought the heat with double Searing Blaze, and singles of Magma Rift, Cunning Sparkmage, and Lavaball Trap. I really only had one removal spell in white with Iona’s Judgment. My blue was pretty scarce (thankfully) and I was even using Oran-Rief Recluse as removal in green, yes I did get to kick this guy.

As for creatures I didn’t open any bombs, Anowon would have been a bomb if I had vampires to back him up. However I only had a couple vamps to support him and the double black casting cost seemed like a dead card with my build. Black in general turned out to be my splash color, mainly for Hideous End (I know double black in that cc too). White had potential with lots of Kors but I didn’t feel right playing it with my pool when I had stronger cards and bigger creatures. My final deck ended up being Red/Green/Black with an Ally sub theme. The Allies didn’t seem obvious at first but once I settled on those colors the best creatures were allies. Before this weekend I totally underestimated Kazuul Warlord, but he just owns when he gets out with some other Allies.

Two cards that really won games are Searing Blaze and Bestial Menace.

I’m pretty sure that whenever I resolved either of these spells I was able to win the game. Blaze is just awesome for two mana. This spell had me keeping mana in my hand once I was around 5 land so I could either landfall or draw into this 6 total damage dealing card of awesome. Whats that, you just cast Vampire Nighthawk? Looks like instead of gaining life you’ll be taking three and waving bye, bye. Blaze is pretty freaking awesome. Bestial Menace is as good as it looks plus some. I said I didn’t have any bombs but this spell is super bombish. Getting three creatures for one is huge, a staple in any limited format for sure.

On a final note, Aaron had his flipcam with him and we did take some video. We’ll see if it was any good as early in the day we took some film and took less and less as the day went on.

Worldwake Prerelease Preview January 29, 2010

Posted by Norm in Worldwake.
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Tomorrow I’ll be hitting up our local PES prerelease in downtown Pittsburgh Robinson near the airport. There are so many excellent new cards so make sure you check out the spoilers on MTG Realm and Gathering Magic. Here are a few of the cards I’m excited about.

There are some really interesting new synergies that are going to add a lot of great new variation to constructed. Also tons of awesome limited cards.

Hopefully I’ll be able to make a quick video during the day so I can report on people’s first reactions to the set.

Abyssal Persecutor Worldwake Spoiler January 19, 2010

Posted by Norm in Spoilers, Worldwake.
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Is Abyssal Persecutor the stone cold lock that Jund needed to stay top deck?

Worldwake Spoilers – Omnath, Locus of Mana January 18, 2010

Posted by Norm in Spoilers, Worldwake.
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Today’s Worldwake spoilers are pretty awesome. If you haven’t seen them yet head on over to the mother ship and read Mark Rosewater and Doug Bayer in the Daily MTG section. Right now I want to focus on Doug’s article and spoiler Omnath, Locus of Mana.

This is one of those cards the just make my head spin with possibilities. Initial responses on twitter indicate that this card is cool, but doesn’t work great with green in this standard because it’s lacking enough green instants. True, but if you think about extended or even cards that you have at your disposal for play around your kitchen table we maybe able to craft a deck that can win big with big mana.

In a nutshell, there are a lot of elves that can produce a ton of green mana. A quick example is the elf combo decks that ran rampant last summer. Creatures that combo together, Nettle Sentinel and Heritage Druid, can work to produce a huge amount of mana on a turn and it is possible to almost go infinite with other one mana creatures in extended. Add an Elvish Archdruid and a Whispersilk Cloak to the mix and Omnath can get in for big damage.

If your group plays cards from any set consider adding other surprises like Touch of VitaeInstill Energy, or Concordant Crossroads. If you can get a card draw/mana pumping combo going Omnath is going to be a huge force to be reckoned with.

Worldwake Spoilers Around the Web January 15, 2010

Posted by Norm in Spoilers, Worldwake.
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If you like to stay up late and surf the web, you come to realize two things about yourself. 1. you don’t get enough sleep and 2. you get to see all the Worldwake Spoilers before everyone else. Thanks to the blog-o-sphere for getting these up so quickly. And Thanks to Wizards of the Coast for hooking up the blogging community this spoiler season. Keep ‘em coming.

Wind Zendikon

How cool is this art. But seriously how sick is this spell. I’ve said this before, a wise man once told me a 2/2 flier for 3 mana is a good spell. Now a 2/2 flier for one mana that keeps coming back is just crazy. Defiantly awesome in limited and might have some great control applications.

Quest for the Nihil Stone

When I first read this card I thought it was all kinds of awesome. But upon further reading your opponent needs to have zero cards in hand for the ability to trigger. Still not bad, pretty cool for the long game and great in limited when you are more likely to face opponents without cards in hand.

Join the Ranks

Kind of a meh card for four mana. Great art however.

Canopy Cover

Potentially a great limited sleeper card. On par with Vines of Vastwood.

Worldwake Spoiler Season January 13, 2010

Posted by Norm in Spoilers, Worldwake.
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It wasn’t my intention to stay up late tonight to check into the Worldwake minisite, but one thing lead to another and here I am. Check out that picture, if that doesn’t say demons and vampires I don’t know what does.

First off, for you Orb of Insight hound dogs click through and if you send me a list of your findings I’ll put it up asap.

Before we get to spoilers lets take a quick look at the new Mechanics of Worldwake.

First of first off is Multikicker. This name speaks for itself and quite frankly is going to be the goose that lays the golden egg of the set. First off you need to get the goose and then you need to get the mana to lay that egg. We have seen Comet Storm already and we know that casting a Multikicker spell will really change the tide in any match. I’m hoping for some good spells that might not be high end deck tech, but rather something cool and cast-able. Alright, a little deck tech is ok too.

Second is something that Wizards headlines as “The Waking World.” Which can be reinterpreted as land enchantments. The last time I remember a relevant land enchantment I was playing Genju of the something or other in Betrayers of Kamigawa. So an interesting enchantment theme that will no doubt be fleshed out in this release. Does this make Sigil of the Empty Throne a good card to start collecting? Time will tell.

Worldwake Visual Spoiler

Keep an eye on your blog-o-sphere / google reader as we get into another spoiler season (one of my favorite times of the year). The initial spoilers are relatively unexciting commons, but I think they bring a lot of interesting ideas and hopes as we look to the complete list. Wizards of the Coast has kept the tightest lid on this set since I’ve been blogging. So the next few weeks will be full of surprises!

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