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1.25.2008

Morningtide Release Primer

With the Morningtide release just over a week away, we thought it was an appropriate time to go over some of the new keyword abilities one should expect at the table. This is only an overview of the new abilities and you are encouraged to download the official DCI Morningtide Rules Primer.



As Lorwyn had a strong tribal theme, Morningtide has a stong class theme. Expect to see Rogues, Shamans, Wizards, Warriors, and Soldiers in this set of 150 cards being called into service to support your deck in the Release Tournament. The most common event organised for the Release weekend are "Limited" where the player is provided a pool of cards with which to play. At the Release weekend, most venues will provide a "Sealed" Lorwyn tournament pack and two Morningtide booster packs. A sealed pack contains at total of 75 cards which includes 45 random cards and 30 basic lands. Of the 45 cards, one can expect to typically find 32 common cards, 10 uncommon cards, and 3 rare cards. Booster packs contain 15 cards. Within the Booster pack, the player can typically expect to find around 11 common cards, 3 uncommon cards, and 1 rare card.

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New Keyword Abilities

To start off, "Evoke" makes a return appearence from Lorwyn and is found on seven elemental creature cards in Morningtide . Although the creatures with evoke in Lorwyn all had "comes into play" effects, the creatures with evoke in Morningtide all have "leaves play" effects. Basically, the player can choose to pay the evoke cost and just obtain the ability, not the creature so the creature will be sacrificed when it comes into play. Alternatively, the player may choose to pay the full cost for the creature and its evoke ability.

Prowl:
Prowl is a static ability that is found on nine Morningtide creatures, sorceries and an instant. This ability is restricted to certain Rogue cards. A card with prowl allows the player to pay an alternative mana cost if a player was dealt combat damage. Futhermore, the damage dealt to the player had to be dealt by the specified creature (Goblin or Faerie) and / or a Rogue.


Kinship:
A dozen Morningtide creature cards will contain the "kinship" ability word. This ability will allow the player to look at the top card of their deck. If the top card shares a creature type with the card with the card with kinship ability, you may reveal it to obtain a stated bonus (gaining life, etc.). Note that if the palyer does not reveal the top card, the bonus cannot be obtained. Also important to note is that the top card, revealed or not, remains on top of the library.


Reinforce:
Reinforce is an acitvated ability on seven Morningtide cards. This ability is used only while the card with that ability is still within its owner's hand. A card with this ability will allow a player to to pay the card's mana cost and discard it in order to give a target creature a stated number of (+1/+1) counters.


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We hope this brief overview will assist the new or casual Magic player at the Morningtide Release event. For more information on Release events, visit the Wizards of the Coast Magic website.

1.21.2008

Tribal Vignettes Two

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Lorwyn Tribal Vignettes #2
"Vignette - a brief literary description"

BOGGARTS (Goblins)
This is the second of eight posts in the Tribal Vignette Series. In the first post, we reviewed the Merfolk of Lorwyn. In this post, I hope to furnish the casual Magic Player some insights into Lorwyn's Boggarts which are limited to the colour black, with some red. For beginners, this means that these creatures use primarily black 'mana' or the magical energy resource used to cast spells.
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Here is a brief orientation video on the Boggarts of Lorwyn:



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Here is an excellent description of Boggarts taken from a Wizards of the Coast (WoTC) theme-deck description;

"When playing the "Boggart Feast" deck, you're running a raucous warren of expendable, accident-prone Goblins. Enjoy the sadistic delight of offing your own creatures for fun and profit, since that's what Facevaulter, Tar Pitcher, and Fodder Launch do. But have no fear—there are always more Goblins! Boggart Birth Rite and Warren Pilferers yank your critters back from the grave, and Marsh Flitter and Boggart Mob put Goblin tokens into play. If that's not twisted enough, some of these insane little freaks like to die! When Mudbutton Torchrunner or Hornet Harasser keels over, it can take an enemy creature out with it. And Boggart Shenanigans damages your opponent whenever any of your Goblins gets whacked. With this deck, that can add up in a hurry!"

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In most circumstances, cards in a player's graveyard are tpcially no longer relevant to the game, but the Lorwyn Boggart deck is suited to use or re-use cards in this graveyard, thus making this zone a useful resource for the player. This is the sort of card mechanic or ability that is sometimes referred to as 'recursion', and if a player has all the right cards, the graveyard could be his/her playground.

Some cards such as Boggart Forager, Boggart Loggers, Facevaulter, Knucklebone Witch, Mudbutton Torchrunner, and Tar Pitcher activate abilities when sacrificed or is killed such as increasing or decreasing strength / power, or dealing damage to an opponent. Other Boggarts such as Warren Pilferers, Wort and Boggart Auntie are happy to return the recently deceased back to your hand. Spells such as Boggart Birthrite and Footbottom Feast also provides the same service.
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1.18.2008

Tribal Vignettes One

Lorwyn Tribal Vignettes #1
"Vignette - a brief literary description"


MERROW (Merfolk)

Today is the first of several posts we will provide giving a broad overview of each of Lorwyn's Tribes. In this post, I hope to furnish the casual Magic Player some insights into Lorwyn's Merfolk which are limited to the colour blue, with some white. For beginers, this means that these merfolk use primarily blue 'mana' or the magical energy resource used to cast spells.

Merrow or Muirruhgach is the Irish name given to Merfolk. In 'Magic: The Gathering', these water bound creatures may bear down upon otherwise 'land-locked' opponents with the use of aquitect cards such as 'Aquitect's Will' which will flood an opponent's land, or, 'Streambed Aquitect', which may target an opponent's land cause it to become an island until end of turn. The flavour text for 'Aquitect's Will' offers this; "There is nowhere on Lorwyn that the Merrow Lanes cannot go".


Here is a brief slideshow providing a glance at the Lorwyn set Merfolk.



A very good ability among some Merfolk are their power to tap or untap which make available or withhold the use of a card during a turn. Some Merkfolk creatures may be used to tap or untap your own or the opponent's creature while others may be used to do the same to any permanent. A permanent is any object in play and includes land (or mana) cards. This may be used to starve your opponent and deny them the mana they require to play a spell.
Some Lorwyn Merfolk would be a decent choice for inclusion in a player's constructed 'Control Deck'. Control decks include cards which attempt to interfere with, prevent, deny, or otherwise cancel the opponent's actions.

In general, individual Lorwyn Merfolk, as with other Merfolk in previous sets, do not deliver heavy blows to an opponent, but when played together, may provide bonuses that increase the power and/or toughness needed to do battle against larger creatures. A smart move may be to also include a larger Elemental creature which may provide some muscle for the tribe. Unfortunately, the card previews for the new Morningtide set show no additional Merfolk with increased power and toughness. There are also no fliers within this tribe, it there may be a need to provide within your deck some Faeries or Changelings which are able to use the same-coloured mana base.

Here is a list of Merfolk within the Lorwyn set.
For card details, visit the official card look-up database at MTG Gatherer.
















1.15.2008

Morningtide Prerelease


Avid Magic players will be attending the much anticipated Morningtide prerelease events being held worldwide. Sneak previews, or 'spoilers' of cards from the new Morningtide set have been released in publications an the official Wizards of the Coast website since early January.

Pre-release events are typically 'limited' tournaments (to be discussed latter) where players receive a sealed deck, and three booster packs of the new card set. These are usually held two weeks before the new set hits the retail market and affords a great opportunity for the ardent player to get their paws on some new card goodness.

Here is what some Magic players might be doing the morning of the release . . .


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There are two places here in Ontario where I know prerelease events will be held . . .

Toronto, Ontario
Saturday, January 19 & Sunday, January 20, 2008
Best Western Primrose Hotel - 111 Carlton Street, Toronto,
Tel#: (416) 977-8000
For more information, call Skyfox Games at: (905) 721-1521.

and

OTTAWA
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Algonquin College Observatory (Building A)
1385 Woodroffe Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario
Telephone: (613) 727-4723 Ext.5129
For more information, call Spell Keeper Events at: (514) 286-9099.

1.14.2008

Lorwyn Tribes

In the last post, we provided a broad introduction of the Lorwyn block. Today, we will follow-up with a more detailed look at what defines and separates the Lorwyn block from the other Magic the Gathering blocks.

From the marketing material . . .
"In Lorwyn, creature type matters more than ever before. Mischievous Boggarts, ruthless Elves, and valiant Kithkin…which tribe will you choose?"

As hinted in the statement above, the defining characteristic of Lorwyn is its eight races; Boggarts (Goblins), Elves, Kithkin, Elementals, Treefolk, Merrow (merfolk), Faeries, and Giants. The Lorwyn block is considered to be a tribal block in that the card set may be organised into tribes by race (
read: creature type). The Lorwyn set is a race-based tribal set, whereas the Morningtide set will build upon this and class-based tribal set.

What all this means is that creatures with the same race and / or class are typically complimentary to each other are when played together produces a positive mechanical effect or synergy. By way of example, lets have a look at these six cards.

Elvish Branchbender
Cost: 2G
Type: Creature - Elf Druid
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Rules Text: T Until end of turn, target Forest becomes an X/X Treefolk creature in addition to its other types, where X is the number of Elves you control.



Harpoon Sniper
Cost: 2W
Type: Creature - Merfolk Archer
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Rules Text: W, T Harpoon Sniper deals X damage to target attacking or blocking creature, where X is the number of Merfolk you control.




Lys Alana Scarblade
Cost: 2B
Type: Creature - Elf Assassin
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Rules Text: T, Discard an Elf card: Target creature gets -X/-X until end of turn, where X is the number of Elves you control.




Silvergill Douser
Cost: 1U
Type: Creature - Merfolk Wizard
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Rules Text: T Target creature gets -X/-0 until end of turn, where X is the number of Merfolk and/or Faeries you control.



Spellstutter Sprite
Cost: 1U
Type: Creature - Faerie Wizard
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Rules Text: Flash Flying When Spellstutter Sprite comes into play, counter target spell with converted mana cost X or less, where X is the number of Faeries you control.



Thieving Sprite
Cost: 2B
Type: Creature - Faerie Rogue
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Rules Text: Flying When Thieving Sprite comes into play, target player reveals X cards from his or her hand, where X is the number of Faeries you control. You choose one of those cards. That player discards that card.



By these examples, we can see that a solid advantage may be realised by building your Lorwyn deck around a tribe.

Finally, a note about Changelings. Technically, these oddities are not a "Tribe". The Changeling keyword ability text reads "This card is every creature type at all times". A player with a Changeling card will now have the opportunity to give his tribe access to a variety of things the tribe may be missing, such as inexpensive creatures, creatures with flying ability, or powerful attackers. Changelings may be used to help an otherwise weak hand. As a changeling is every creature type, it will be affected by any spell or ability that affects a given creature type, regardless of what that creature type is. This may or may not be a good thing depending upon what the spell is.

1.11.2008

Lorwyn Primer

Lorwyn is a recent block released by Wizards of the Coast in October, 2007. Morningtide will be the second and final set of Lorwyn block to be released with much anticipation on February 1, 2008. Here is a short video from Wizards of the Coast (WoTC) promoting the new expansion block for Lorwyn - The Lorwyn set has a tribal theme, focusing heavily on creature subtypes, revolving around primarily the eight creature types listed below. Each of these eight creature types appear in two (or more) colors. One color is the primary color and the other(s) are secondary colors. ~ The eight creature types are: elf, kithkin, goblin, merfolk, elemental, giant, treefolk, and faeries. Another significant creature type is shapeshifters, which are all creature types (at all times).


Creature subtype: Merfolk Tribe name: Merrow Primary Color: Blue Secondary Color(s): White Creature subtype:







Creature subtype:Goblins
Tribe name: Boggart
Primary Color: Black
Secondary Color(s): Red








Creature subtype:Elves
Tribe name: Elves
Primary
Color: Green

Secondary Color(s): Black
Creature subtype:







Creature subtype:Kithkin
Tribe name: Kithkin

Primary Color: White

Secondary Color(s): Green









Creature subtype:Elementals
Tribe name: Flamekin (in red)/Elemental Incarnations (all)

Primary Color: Red

Secondary Color(s): (all colours)






Creature subtype: Faeries
Tribe name: Fae
Primary Color: Blue
Secondary Color(s): Black







Creature subtype: Giants
Tribe name: Giants
Primary Color: Red Secondary Color(s): White







Creature subtype: Treefolk
Tribe name: Treefolk
Primary Color: Green
Secondary Color(s): Black & White





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A great way for a beginner to 'get into the game' to to buy and play a pre-constructed deck (or 'Pre-Con') which, as the name hints is a pre-set selection of cards that are chosen becauase they complement each other and share a similar theme. Most of these decks are typically weighted equally in that when played against each other they often have similar rates of success. The themes in the Lorwyn set are provided below with the flavour text from the promotions. When playing the “Boggart Feast” deck, you’re running a raucous warren of expendable, accident-prone Goblins. Enjoy the sadistic delight of offing your own creatures for fun and profit, since that’s what Facevaulter, Tar Pitcher, and Fodder Launch do. But have no fear—there are always more Goblins! Boggart Birth Rite and Warren Pilferers yank your critters back from the grave, and Marsh Flitter and Boggart Mob put Goblin tokens into play.
Protect the meadow! The key to the “Kithkin Militia” deck is that Kithkin are quick, furious fighters. Play out as many as you can as early as you can and put your opponent on the defensive. Goldmeadow Harrier and Oblivion Ring can remove any tricky obstacles from your path so your Kithkin can keep attacking. And if the ground gets too congested with blockers, Cloudgoat Ranger and Kinsbaile Balloonist will take the fight to the skies.
Merfolk are slippery creatures, and you’ll use that to your advantage in the “Merrow Riverways” deck. Plenty of Merfolk, like Streambed Aquitects and Silvergill Douser, have abilities that cause them to tap. Others, like Drowner of Secrets, let you tap any of your Merfolk. Combine them with cards that untap your Merfolk, such as Merrow Commerce and Stonybrook Angler, and you’ll start swimming circles around your opponent. With the “Elementals’ Path” deck, you can embrace your inner fire! This five-color deck is mostly red cards, but it has enough cards of the other colors that your opponents will never know what’s coming! The deck’s lands and artifacts give you access to any color of mana you need.
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I hope to cover off in the next post what each of the theme decks may hold as well as the interesting synergies which exist between the cards themselves. This in not a promise however as I may be caught up with the excitement of the upcoming Morningtide launch parties to take place during February 1-3, 2008. Until next time, keep playing magic . . .

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