Friday, July 29, 2011

My MTG decks

White deck mascot lawl
Since the Magic phase is continuing, here comes a post dedicated to my decks:

Blue Illusions

Main Deck:
23x Island

4x Phantasmal Bear
4x Lord of the Unreal
4x Phantasmal Image
3x Adaptive Automaton
3x Phantasmal Dragon
3x Grand Architect

4x Spell Pierce
4x Vapor Snag
4x Mana Leak
4x Ponder

4x Spreading Seas
4x Mental Misstep
4x Into the Roil
3x Flashfreeze

I like aggro and I like control, so the deck above showcases both of these to its fullest.  Blue is often considered a pretty control-heavy style of play, but I like being able to dictate the ebb and flow of the battle.  In card games, this is known as tempo.  The purpose of this deck is to be able to drop down cheap and effective creatures while providing them with ramping +1/1 buffs and hexproof.  Since the Phantasmal Image can copy the LotU and Adaptive Automaton, I am able to pump out these buffs like crazy.  Phantasmal Dragon is there to punch people in the face with Flying and Grand Architects buff my creatures while putting the Automatons on the board faster.

As for control, I'm running 4/4 Spell Pierce to Mana Leak for counterspells, Ponders for card draw and manipulation and Vapor Snag for creature bounce.  A lot of people don't run Vapor Snag but I think that's a huge mistake.  Blue has problems dealing with bigger creatures or creatures that can block and trade so bouncing them is the best option.  It acts almost like a counterspell for creatures because they can't tap out and play big creatures without getting sent back.

The sideboard here is pretty standard.  Spreading Seas helps takes care of lands that can possibly block your tempo and choke other decks out of mana.  Mental Misstep gives me protection against 1-drop weenies or creature destruction (such as mono-red or white) and Into the Roil gives me additional bounce.  This deck's biggest problem is equipment and creatures so additional resets are always appreciated.  Flashfreeze is there just for Red/Green hate.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A new MTG format?

This is mainly for us casual players at work who want to play with the new stuff.

I was thinking of a new format which consists of the current standard (which is M11, M12, Scars block, Zendikar block) + the future block. The only difference is, once Innistrad rolls around, we won't drop Zendikar and M11.

What do you guys think about this?
What should I call it?
Right now, I'm calling it T2-1, what do you guys think of the name and format?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The worst type of gamer

I picked up 4x JvC Counterspells for no reason!

Random post update!
Yes, I am still doing my MTG stuff, and I probably will until that dies down for a bit.  On the minis side, I did pre-order my Covenant of Antarctica fleet from Spartan Games so I can play that in August.  My ALEPH army is still being worked on whenever I have free time because those models piss me off.  I bought the new ATGM resculpts but I haven't touched them in 2 weeks.

I'll tell you one thing though, I love learning new things.  It might be my obsessive personality coming out, but reading 15 years of competitive MTG articles is invigorating.  There's just so much knowledge in this TCG, it's like reading the entirety of Team Liquid's StarCraft section (or Liquipedia!).  I think the thirst of knowledge is what's driving me deep into Magic right now.

However, there was a topic that was brought up a few days ago.  I'm a pretty diverse gamer:  I've played RTS, FPS, MMORPG, TCGs and TT (Table-top).  Out of all the gaming genres I've ever got myself into, I would say my experiences goes as follows in terms of competitive gaming.

TCG - Worst gamers you'll ever see for the most part.
FPS - A lot of really angry people play this genre.
MMORPG - If anything, a lot of trolls more so than bad sportsmanship.
RTS - I haven't seen as many trolls or bad sportsman, but there is the occasional moron.
TT - Now that I think about it, WAAC TT players are nothing compared to TCG.

What do you guys think?  Sorry for the random burst.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Magic: The Gathering

I've been kinda absent from miniatures gaming lately because I've been doing Magic TCG.  Believe it or not, I have never played Magic.  While other players were playing MTG, I was playing Pokemon, Yugioh and WoW TCG (competitively).  I picked up WoW TCG something like 3 years ago and from what my friends tell me, it's basically the same thing as MTG.  Since I'm pretty new to the Magic scene, I've been doing a lot of research into the current format of cards.. which is Magic 2012, 2011, Zendikar + Mirrodin blocks and Innistrad.

Here are all the research material I've been using lately:

Here are the card databases:

Here's the trial program I use to test decks:

My current deck looks like this:

// Lands
    18 [ZEN] Island (3)
    4 [WWK] Halimar Depths

// Creatures
    4 [M12] Adaptive Automaton
    4 [M12] Phantasmal Bear
    4 [M12] Phantasmal Dragon
    4 [M12] Lord of the Unreal
    4 [M12] Phantasmal Image
    3 [SOM] Grand Architect

// Spells
    4 [M12] Ponder
    4 [NPH] Vapor Snag
    4 [M11] Mana Leak
    3 [ZEN] Spell Pierce

I'm a pretty aggressive TCG player and I'm also a big fan of countering and cancelling my opponent's moves. This is why "Blackice" is one of my favorite WoW TCG decks.  It's a Mage deck and the objective is to lock down your opponents with Water Elemental, stop his creature removal via counters and burn him to death with Myriam Starcaller.  Since I had no idea what "Blue" was in Magic, my friend said the closest thing to what I played back in the days of WoW TCG would be blue.  I went ahead and looked up a bunch of decks played by top players and formulated a deck based on my playstyle.  The only rule I had when building decks was to stay away from Jacemill decks or other top netdecks.  I wanted something a little more unique to my personality and playstyle.  The above is a Blue Aggro deck with a hint of counters.  No Jace or anything crazy, and it comes with a bunch of the new cards from the latest M2012 core set (comes out tomorrow).

The Bears and Dragons aren't really dangerous by themselves, but with the Lord of the Unreal down to protect them, they get buff and become hexproof.  The Adapative Automatons and Grand Architects continue to buff the creatures on the field your counters keep enemy spells or creatures at bay.  I haven't worked on a sidedeck to this yet, but I'm pretty sure it'll have some Frost Breaths, Counters, maybe Sleeps, some Swiftfoot Boots and Mental Missteps.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A look into style and mechanics

Hey guys, sorry about the inactivity lately.  After China, I got sick, then my wife got sick, and then I started playing Axis and Allies for a little bit (RTS, 2004).  That game's very fun, very detailed and has a lot of things I look for in a good RTS game.  Anyways, the point of this post.

One advice that I give to newer players whenever they start an army is to play the army they like the most.  In a game like Warhammer, it's really easy for someone to read the background of an army, like what they see and go with it.  This is not to be confused with playstyle though, keep that in mind.  The background, fluff and aesthetic value of an army is what players should look at before they dive into a game.  If you don't like the very models you plan on building, assembling and taking hours to paint, there's absolutely no point on getting them. There's also that "cool" factor that gets people in a certain army.  The red hot bloodthirst that is the Blood Angels vs. the highly technological railgun tech of the Tau is a good example.  Arcane Tempest Gunmages shooting out sorcery-infused bullets from rune-laced pistols is another.

Playstyle is also very important when choosing an army.  Now that you like what you read about the army, their background fluff and their models, it's time to build the army around your needs.  Playstyle is simply your preference when it comes down to generalship.  Do you want your army to play defensively and shoot?  Or do you like to aggressive and assault?  Or would you say you're a balanced type of guy that looks to shoot a little and assault a little.  In the simplest terms, your playstyle describes yourself as a general for the most part.  If it was me you're describing, my general playstyle is fast and decisive, impatient and violent.

When people ask me what army they should play, I normally tell them the same thing:  Go with whatever army you think is "coolest".  This has to do with the models and the fluff more than the playstyle and I think this is the most important.  However, I've seen players who got into their armies because of the fluff and fail horribly time and time again because it doesn't fit their inner general (and subsequently, their playstyle).  I'm talking about Tau players running upfield into the melee because their personalities are reckless and their playstyles clash with their style preference.  Do you know anyone like that?  Maybe yourselves?  I think this is one of the biggest reasons why people jump armies.

So at the end of the day, I still think it's better to have an miniatures army that fits your style more than your playstyle.  This is mainly because army books are flexible enough (or should be) to satisfy your inner general.  A Tau general that loves the look of Tau but secretly worships Khorne might take more Kroot... or a Blood Angels player can take max Devastators with Razorbacks.  Thoughts?