Wow. It’s already been a year since I last blogged about anything. (Sigh). It’s not that I don’t have anything to blog about. In fact, I have TOO MUCH to blog about that I never had time to put them all in here.
So? What have I been up to? Let’s see… I’ve been playing the standard circuit for the past two years now, starting with Innistrad on to Return to Ravnica, Theros and now, the Khans of Tarkir. I’ve actually been pretty busy playing. I am still a long way off from even claiming to be “good” at MTG, but I have certainly raised my game a few notches.
Let’s just start where it matters: the present.
Currently, the entire metagame is in upheaval. Unlike in RTR where Sphinx’s Revelation just rules over the entire playing field, and Theros, where it looked like more of a minor follow through of RTR than an actual block on its own, the Khans of Tarkir shook things up in a lot of wonderful, woeful, what the f*** ways. KTK re-introduced the ever popular Onslaught Fetch Lands, which meant that mana fixing is at prime. The introduction of wedge color factions was magnificently done. Before, playing a wedge-color deck meant simply putting together an opposing color deck which “sorta” worked and never really had the homogeneity of the this new clan system.
KTK is a marvel of both design and development where everything seemed like a well-oiled machine. Everything has its place and everything in its place. The only other block I can ascribe to the same level of detail and functionality was RTR. Each card had a purpose and each ability and spell just bursts with the flavor of its clan.
Enough ass-kissing. Wizards did a great job on the set. ‘Nuff Said.
As I was saying, the meta is in upheaval and it is GOOD. There is no deck or clan or ability that’s ruling over everything else. The closest cliche I can think of to describe the current meta is: “There is a method behind the madness”. When KTK first came out, we had an downpour of all sorts of decks. It’s like Christmas every tournament. There’s always a new deck to be seen. There’s Jeskai control, Jeskai aggro, Jeskai combo, Jeskai tokens, Mardu and Abzan aggro/midrange/control, Sultai reanimator/control/midrange, Green/Black Constellation, Temur monsters, RW Tokens, RG Aggro/monsters, BW warriors, I even saw a BW control. Plus a little hint of Esper Control.
Care to take a guess what deck I built and played when KTK came out? If you said Esper, you’d be wrong.
I made a home brew Sultai Control deck primarily consisting of Sylvan Caryatid, Courser of Kruphix, and my win-con: Ashiok, the Nightmare Weaver. I made a deck where the basic premise is to cast Ashiok, and spend the rest of the game protecting it. Why? Because Ashiok is underrated. To those that know me, I like milling people to death. Ashiok simply presented a new aspect than just milling your opponent… stealing creatures.
Then there was this nifty little card that came out with the Sultai clan: Villainous Wealth. This is like Sphinx’s Revelation made passionate love to Control Magic and Villainous Wealth is their little offspring.
The deck was good. I actually won a few FNM’s with it simply because it was nothing the other players have ever seen before. No one really plays for Ashiok as a win-con. No one really played Villainous Wealth on the main deck.
It was all good, until I realized that the meta had already evolved and my deck simply wasn’t equipped to handle a steady stream of threats from abzan/sultai reanimators, I ran out of answers for Jeskai aggro/tokens. Simply put, I needed a board wipe, which I simply don’t have access to.
Much as it saddens me, I had to find a new home for Ashiok. In comes the new Esper control deck. It is NOT on the same power level as RTR’s Esper, in fact, far from it. It lacks the raw power provided by Supreme verdict and Sphinx’s Revelation. But what it lacked in raw power, it made up for in finesse. With the introduction of Dig Through Time, players don’t get the same life gain and card draw, but it does let you look 7 cards deep for roughly 2 blue mana. Dig Through Time is more like a scalpel whereas Sphinx’s Revelation is a High Orbit death beam.
So what happened to the Sylvan Caryatids and Coursers? I made a second deck focusing mainly on a mono green devotion shell designed to generate a ton of mana and then use Villainous Wealth to steal around half of your opponent’s library.
Where am I at right now? I’m playing as much as I can with both the monogreen devotion and my esper deck in preparation for GP Manila this coming Jan 2-4 at the SM Mall of Asia.
I hope to see you there!
I’ve recently moved to Singapore on a work transfer and I must say that Magic here is very much alive. I’m seeing young ones and the young ONCE, huddling together during Friday Night Magic’s and tournaments. Their format of choice? Standard.
To those who know me, I’ve always played with whatever card pool I already had since time immemorial. Only adding the few cards that I take notice of. As such, I could only play in Legacy format simply because my cards are old. But not to the point of having Alpha lands and power nines. Just old. Like Tempest, 7th Ed old.
In any case, Ravnica (the original one) gave rise to a whole new outlook in color coordination. The idea of milling your opponent to death never really took off in other sets but Ravnica gave form to the idea and Wizards gave it a name: Dimir. Since Ravnica came out, I’ve been obsessing over building the ultimate mill deck. (Thus, this website’s name). All in all, I’ve made 7 revisions to my mill deck and none of them worked. Most often because I had the mill spells, but not enough defenses. I stuck counterspells in it but just didn’t work out. Even got me a full set of Damnation, but it just wasn’t enough. So I put it in stasis.
Since moving to Singapore, I’ve left most of my card pool behind in the caring hands of my co-writer Eladamri, who’s a staunch Legacy player, whose Elf deck I have yet to beat. Moving on, since I left most of my card pool I feel that I’m partly pushed towards playing Standard. Something I’ve never really felt comfortable doing.
See, much as I credit myself for being an MTG fanatic, I’ve never really played competitive Magic. Why? It’s because honestly, I’m afraid. I’m afraid that I might not be good enough both as a player and as a deck builder. That I might get laughed at. I’m sensitive like that.
Then came Return to Ravnica.
Return to Ravnica meant the return of Dimir. That gave me hope. Hope that perhaps, this time around, I can finally make a working Mill deck that can actually kick ass. However, when RTR first came out, they didn’t include Dimir in the first block.
My first attempts at making a Dimir deck were unsuccessful. I tried many permutations of cards that were exclusively Dimir. Then, I realized what I was missing this whole time: Another color. See, the problem with sticking to your guild colors, is that you don’t have all the answers to all the threats. I incorporated White into the mix. I’ve seen how RWU flash decks work and I liked it. I decided simply to replace the Red with Black and instead of dealing direct damage, I just added a few mill spells here and there.
But… I had to find out if what I’ve been tinkering on actually worked.
I joined my very first FNM.
I have never been more excited about an upcoming expansion than I am with the new one coming this October: RETURN TO RAVNICA.
See, I’ve played MTG since Tempest through Urza’s Destiny block (and what a broken block that was), but nothing really piqued my interest apart from the Slivers. My interest waned after that, but then the Ravnica block came along and for me, it was the first time I really appreciated an alternate win condition with Milling as a viable method.
Not to mention of course that I fell in love with “Glimpse the Unthinkable” (thus, this site’s name).
I ask myself what wonders House Dimir holds for me this time around. Will I be enthralled by a new miller card? Is there something that will finally put the final nail in the coffin of my forever evolving Miller deck.
I just came from a mall looking for a set copy of Blood Artist and also some Type 1 cards. Then a guy came up to the counter while I was browsing through the card singles and asked the clerk if he could buy some werewolf cards. The clerk isn’t MTG savvy, and so, she couldn’t give her the binder the guy needs.
I don’t quite recall how the conversation between the two had progressed, except it caught my ear when the guy said he’s new to the game. The clerk said he should be buying decks first (Intro decks to be more specific) before he forays into buying singles when he hasn’t a clue how to play.
I asked the clerk to show him the binder containing the Innistrad block as it had the most number of werewolves. I was honestly skeptical about the guy because I’ve never met anyone who was totally new to the game. I mean, I was a newbie too at one point in my life, and back then I had people advising me on how to play, what to play, what colors to use, how to make decks, that kind of stuff.
He asked me what the marker cards were and at that point, my doubts were confirmed, he really was a newbie.
It was at that point that I felt a surge of unexplained happiness. It’s because I’ve always read MaRo (Mark Rosewater) talk about enticing new players to jump in the game and right there, I bore witness to a new planeswalker lighting up his spark.
Today isn’t a good day for me.
I may need another blog just to let all the steam out. Hehe.
Anyway, my colleague had asked me whether I’d consider joining him on a legacy tourney as a kind of a team member. I’m flattered, because although I love the game with all my heart, I haven’t joined any tourney yet. Yeah, sure. I’m the one to write about magic and yet I’ve never joined a tourney… The way I see it, it’s not about hope many games you’ve won or lost, but how much you love the game itself. But still, I’m seriously considering it.
Especially that I have an objective in mind. To win a tourney using cheap ass cards.
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Building a mill deck, for me has always been like my quest for the holy grail. You know it’s there, but it takes too damn long and too damn hard. There are a lot of things to consider and not many options.
My ultimate goal is to make a swiss knife of mill decks, able to survive against beat downs, weenies, controls, aggro’s. But I realized that there’s just no such thing as an all in one deck. Just as magic is dynamic, that no one color is superior than the other, there is no deck that is clearly superior than the rest. Of course there are tournament champions, but only because it’s the right deck for the existing meta game. Simply put, I haven’t given up on my mill deck yet. I just have to learn how to side board properly.
The way things are going, I may just do a pure black mill. The upcoming cards in new phyrexia are the key. Mindcrank and bloodchief ascension can mill out your opponent’s entire library as soon as bloodchief ascension has enough counters. A problem that is easily remedied by way of proliferation.
I’ve always been a johnny at heart, and a miller by passion and it’s only now that my dream deck MIGHT become a reality.
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I wanted this blog to new about magic. I thought I could pull it off, y’ know. I saw life in terms of the 5 colors of magic. I know for a fact I live my life in hues of black and blue. then someone came along and showed me what it meant to live. To become more than just a magic player. She showed me true magic. I found bliss and passion and beauty. Then, like the fool that I am, I let her go. Now each day I live is an attempt to get her back in my life. I hate myself for letting her go. Now I’m paying the price. I’ve never felt this much pain or loneliness before.
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I’m a recent joiner to the android community with my nifty sony ericsson xperia x10 mini pro. I know this has nothing to do with magic but I can’t help it because I just turned into a big fan. The phone’s okay it’s got everything I need in one neat package but more than that, i became a fan of swyping. I’m doing this entire blog just swyping my fingers like there is no tomorrow and I hardly make a mistake.
Initially, I would have loved to discuss my passion for milling my opponent to death, but I will have to save it for another time because I am on an hiatus with regard to anything about being a Miller. In the mean time, I have taken it upon myself to focus on another deck I’ve been working on and off for the past few months: Vampires.
Before I begin, let me issue a statement first. I never was, never will be a Twilight fan. However, I will say this; I am a vampire fan. Well, not a “big” vampire fan, but a fan nonetheless. Vampires appeal to me because they represent the extremes of humanity. On one end, they are animals, predators of the highest order whose thirst for blood is the defining characteristic. On the other end, they appear as the most civil, the most Noble, aristocratic order in all of Magic.
It used to be that Vampires were expensive and rare both as cards and as a creature class. In the recent outing of MTG cards, starting from M10, Zendikar Block, and M11, vampires were given a new lease on life (pun not intended). They were made cheaper, but not in the very least weaker than their older counterparts. This makes them more formidable since they can dish out more damage faster.
Formidable, yes. Invulnerable, no. Vampire decks have to be very, very fast if they are to win the game. The longer the game draws out, the more likely your opponent can neutralize your offense. Hey, vampires were never legendary in terms of their defense. The key is to hit the ground running and keep your opponent off balance. Kill off whatever critter comes between them and your opponent. Capitalize on their ability to either fly, cannibalize each other, or rise from the grave via some other cheap revival spell.
I’ll put my Vampire deck components in here later.