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2.29.2012

FTV Realms

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Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

There is a very exciting announcement over on the mothership today via WoTC Monty regarding the very next From the Vaults product due out latter this year in August. First up, just a quick 4.1.1 on this series for those newer players -

From the Vault is a series of Magic the Gathering box sets, released on an annual basis, typically in late August by Wizards of the Coast. Each box set contains 15 tournament legal, black-bordered foil cards with a common theme. Some of these cards may feature alternative artwork specific to that set.

Here's the quick round-up of previous FTV sets :

From the Vault: Dragons, featuring Dragons, released August 29th, 2008

From the Vault: Exiled, featuring Banned cards, released August 28th, 2009

From the Vault: Relics, featuring Artifacts, August 27th, 2010

From the Vault: Legends, featuring Legendary Creature cards, released August 26th, 2011

and the new one . . .
From the Vault: Realms, featuring Lands, to be released August 31st, 201

Here's the corporate for this product . . .

From the Farthest Reaches of the Multiverse

Most planes of existence have their own wondrous places. But only Planeswalkers can travel to lands beyond their own and call on their mana from across the Æther. You have seen dozens of realms, and those of your kind have told you of dozens more. Your bonds to these lands are the root of your power.

Contents and Details

• 15 Premium foil cards, including 7 with new art.
• An exclusive spindown life counter
• A collector's guide.
• Each card has been printed using a foil process unique to the From the Vault series.
• The 15 lands are all printed in the current card frame. For some, it is for the first time.
• From the Vault: Realms will be available world-wide in English only, and will have an extremely limited print run.
• All cards are black bordered and tournament legal. This means that these cards are legal for use in any tournaments where the original printings are still legal.

Please use the hashtag: #FTVRealms for discussing this product on Twitter!

Product Concept and Development Team: Mark Gottlieb
Release Date: August 31, 2012
MSRP: $34.99
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Commander / EDH, Modern, Legacy and Vintage players are all likely to go ga-ga over this and we suspect that this is another hit product for Wizards of the Coast. The preview art suggests either Glacial Chasm or Thawing Glaciers may be in the set.

We are personally hoping for Maze of Ith, Karakas, Dark Depths and / or Forbidden Orchard. Drop us a line or a comment below - what cards would make you happy were you to pull it from the box ?
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Also of note - Great news from MTG Mint Card - They have restocked singles on one of our favourite recent sets - CONFLUX ! This is the set which brought you such notable cards as Noble Hierarch, Knight of the Reliquary, Progenitus among others. Click on over before they sell out.
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2.28.2012

Standard U/B Control

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Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

For today's post, we are still going on about our most recent Friday Night Magic event report and have to provide an errata from yesterday's post.

Specifically, we reported that our fourth match against 'Matt S', that he was piloting an Esper Control Build, where in fact Matt was playing a Blue / Black (U/B) Control build.

Matt, who is a very decent guy has shared his decklist with us today. A quick Bio on Matt first - when he is not slinging Magic the Gathering cards at OMG! Games here in Barrie, Ontario, he is retrieving treed cats and assisting the elderly across busy roadways as an Ontario Provincial Police Constable.

Anywhoos - here is Matt's U/B list . . .

27 Lands : 4 Darkslick Shores, 4 Drowned Catacomb, 2 Ghost Quarter, 8 Island, 2 Nephalia Drownyard, 7 Swamp

33 Spells : 2 Consecrated Sphinx, 3 Snapcaster Mage, 3 Black Sun's Zenith, 1 Blue Sun's Zenith, 2 Curse of Death's Hold, 2 Dissipate, 2 Go For The Throat, 3 Forbidden Alchemy, 4 Mana Leak, 1 Ratchet Bomb, 4 Think Twice, 4 Tragic Slip, 1 Tribute to Hunger, 1 Liliana of the Veil

15 Sideboard : 2 Batterskull, 2 Bloodline Keeper, 1 Dissipate, 1 Flashfreeze, 1 Negate, 2 Nephalia Drownyard, 2 Nihil Spellbomb, 2 Phantasmal Image, 1 Ratchet Bomb, 1 Surgical Extraction


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It was anticipated that U/B Control would do rather well in the recent Pro-Tour Honolulu but this archetype appeared to not quite got there. Altough the U/B deck Lukas Jaklovsky played did get to 9th place, the day was won with Wolf Run Ramp decks such as Brian Kibler (1st place), and Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa (2nd place). Definitely do not dimiss this build as we think it will adapt and overcome.

We think that Tragic Slip may be one of the most important one-drop cards in the mix as it will kill Delver of Secrets before it flips or Champion of the Parish before it grows totally out of control. Surgical Extraction is not to be underestimated as well and we can imagine players making more space in the build to accomodate additional copies to battle Delver of Secrets, or Lingering Souls. Curse of Death's Hold are also very relevant against Lingering Souls and Sorin Esper decks. Nihil Spellbomb also helps against mirror matches or other builds featuring Snapcaster Mage.

In summary, card advantage and spot removal are the hallmarks of this slick build and we expect to see it not only at Friday Night Magic but also heavily favoured by pro-players.
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The latest Magic the Gathering set ,Dark Ascension, has now been out since February 3rd. MTG Mint Card, has this list of the top ten selling Dark Ascension cards to date in February.

1. Dungeon Geists
2. Geralf's Messenger
3. Predator Ooze
4. Gravecrawler
5. Vault of the Archangel
6. Lingering Souls
7. Increasing Savagery
8. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
9. Drogskol Reaver
10. Drogskol Captain
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2.27.2012

FNM Report 2-24-2012

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Happy Monday MTG peeps,

I
t is not very often that we stay for the full evening of Friday Night Magic as we unfortunately have some other obligations to attend to. Typically, we play the first two or perhaps three matches at our local WPN Games store, OMG! Games and Collectibles here in Barrie, Ontario and then have to take off. This last Friday was however an exception and we stayed until the bitter (approximately midnight) and took in the full 5 rounds of matches slinging our favourite new Magic the Gathering cards in our favourite format, standard constructed.

We are rather pleased that we did stay longer as not only did we finally get our paws on a Friday Night Magic foil promo card (this month is Despise) but also did not too badly in our matches against some of the club's very best players. We also collected an additional 15 Planeswalker Points for the evening. We went on to 5th place in a field of 32 players with 1 match loss and 4 wins with our W/B Token Deck.

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Our first match was against David N who won rather handily in two games with an Esper Control build. In both games, we were just trying to catch up after a series of counter spells. Having our 'anthem' enchantments blown up really did not help our cause at all either.

The second match was against Zach K, a new player who had just started playing. Zach was playing a Red Deck wins featuring Grim Lavamancer, Chandra's Phoenix, Stormblood Berserker, Volt Charge, Shrine of Burning Rage, andIncinerate. We were able to get past all the burn and field a small army of pumped up Human tokens thanks to Increasing Devotion which we also were able to cast again with flashback.

The third match, against Dan L was rather interesting. Dan is a great player and we love the home-brews he brings to game with. Unfortunately we can't really recall very well what he was playing but do think that after Dan fine tunes it, great things may be expected.

In the fourth match, we were pitted against Matt S who also fielded an Esper Control build. We did take the match in two but it was a very tight race in both games - the second one especially. We took the second game after we were able to stick four anthems (2 Intangible Virtues and 2 Honor of the Pures) in play followed by an Increasing Devotion.

For the fifth and last match, we were paired with Taylor W who had brought along a Mono-Green Aggro build featuring solid Mana-ramp, Young Wolf, Strangleroot Geist, Thrun, the Last Troll, and Vorapede. Taylor had just put the deck together earlier in the day and (thankfully) did not have an opportunity to tweak it against the ever evolving metagame. Had there been some Overrun trample spells in the mix we seriously think we would not have won.

Anwwhoos -stay tuned to MTG Realm - tomorrow, wel'll give a run down of the Esper Control archetype which are doing rather nicely at most casual and competitive circles.
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Also of note - Great news from MTG Mint Card - They have restocked singles on one of our favourite recent sets - CONFLUX ! This is the set which brought you such notable cards as Noble Hierarch, Knight of the Reliquary, Progenitus among others. Click on over before they sell out.
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2.24.2012

Die Another Day

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Happy Friday MTG peeps,

As it is Friday, we suggest you sortie out of your secret lair and head to your local games store tonight to take in a Friday Night Magic event. We hope the nasty snow storm currently raging in the region will move off so we can get to OMG! Games & Collectibles here in Barrie, Ontario to take our latest brew for a spin.

Righto - onto to today's post and the Undying mechanic provided in the latest Magic the Gathering set, Dark Ascension. Undying is a keyword triggered ability introduced in Dark Ascension and is somewhat similar to Shadwomoor mechanic 'Persist'. Essentially, if a permanent with undying is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, it returns to the battlefield under its owner's control. However, unlike persist, a creature with undying returns to the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it (rather than a -1/-1 counter) unless it already had one or more of those counters on it when it died.

Here is a summary of the Undying Rulings:
• All cards printed with undying are creatures. If a creature with undying stops being a creature (for example, an artifact creature with undying becomes a noncreature artifact due to Neurok Transmuter's second ability), undying will still trigger.
• Likewise, if a noncreature permanent becomes a creature, gains undying, and is put into a graveyard, the undying ability will still trigger even though that permanent won't be a creature when it returns to the battlefield.
• Multiple instances of undying trigger separately, but are effectively redundant as only the first instance to resolve will have any effect.
• An object returned to the battlefield with the undying ability is a new object with no memory of its previous existence. It has "summoning sickness".
• Tokens can have undying, and the ability will trigger if a token is put into a graveyard. However, like all tokens, it can't return to the battlefield and will cease to exist as a state-based action before the ability would go on the stack.
• Undying relies on the last known information about the permanent just before it was put into a graveyard. If that permanent had a +1/+1 counter on it, then receives enough -1/-1 counters for it to be put into a graveyard due to having 0 toughness or lethal damage marked on it, it won't return to the battlefield despite the state-based action of +1/+1 counters and -1/-1 counters "cancelling each other out". As the permanent last existed on the battlefield, it had a +1/+1 counter on it, so undying will not trigger.
There are 14 Dark Ascesnion cards with Undying with the following rarities : 2 Mythic Rares, 3 Rares, 4 Uncommons, and 5 Commons. In the mana coloured spectrum, they are spread in the following colours : 3 Blue, 5 Black, 4 Red, and 3 in Green. Arguably, the most favoured cards by gamers are in Green, followed by Black. If you are looking to brew up a build with a tribal theme, here is the breakdown of creature types with undying : 5 Zombies, 2 Spirits (Geists), 2 Vampires, 2 Wolf (Wolves), 1 Devil, 1 Insect and 1 non-creature Instant spell.

Here are the cards from which to pick for your casual Undying deck - Geralf's Mindcrusher, Relentless Skaabs, Stormbound Geist, Geralf's Messenger, Mikaeus, the Unhallowed, Sightless Ghoul, Undying Evil, Vengeful Vampire, Flayer of the Hatebound, Nearheath Stalker, Pyreheart Wolf, Strangleroot Geist, Vorapede, Young Wolf.

Time to brew ! Here is a suggestion as to where you might want to start with your casual standard constructed Undying deck :
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Here is the text from the Dark Ascension Frequently Asked Quenstion (FAQ) document regarding the keyword Undying :

On Innistrad, the more pernicious creatures are especially resistant to mortal wounds. Undying is an ability that brings a creature back from the dead, stronger than before.

The official rules for undying are as follows:
702.91. Undying
702.91a Undying is a triggered ability. "Undying" means "When this permanent is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, if it had no +1/+1 counters on it, return it to the battlefield under its owner's control with a +1/+1 counter on it."
* Each card with undying is a creature. If one of them stops being a creature, undying will still work.
* The undying ability triggers when the permanent is put into a graveyard. Its last known information (that is, how the creature last existed on the battlefield) is used to determine whether it had a +1/+1 counter on it.
* If a permanent has multiple instances of undying, they'll each trigger separately, but the redundant instances will have no effect. If one instance returns the card to the battlefield, the next to resolve will do nothing.
* If a token with no +1/+1 counters on it has undying, the ability will trigger when the token is put into the graveyard. However, the token will cease to exist and can't return to the battlefield.
* When a permanent with undying returns to the battlefield, it's a new object with no memory of or connection to its previous existence.
* If multiple creatures with undying are put into the graveyard at the same time (due to combat damage or a spell that destroys all creatures, for example), the active player (the player whose turn it is) puts all of his or her undying triggers on the stack in any order, then each other player in turn order does the same. The last trigger put on the stack is the first one that resolves. That means that in a two-player game, the nonactive player's undying creatures will return to the battlefield first, then the active player's undying creatures do the same. The creatures return to the battlefield one at a time.
* If a creature with undying that has a +1/+1 counter on it receives enough -1/-1 counters to cause it to be destroyed by lethal damage or put into its owner's graveyard for having 0 or less toughness, undying won't trigger and the card won't return to the battlefield. That's because undying checks the creature's existence just before it leaves the battlefield, and it still has all those counters on it at that point.
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2.23.2012

Top MTG Lords

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Happy Thursday MTG peeps,

We caught a recent episode of Magic TV over at Channel Fireball yesterday which got us all nostalgic for some of our older Magic the Gathering cards. In the video, Tristan Gregson and Luis Scott-Vargas went over their picks for the Top 8 Lords.

Magic the Gathering Lords are essentially creatures which grant effects to other creatures according to their creature types, colors, or other attributes and are most often used in tribal decks. Typically, only creatures which give (at least) +1/+1 to all others of its creature type without any sort of activation are considered 'Lords'. Creatures that pump entire colors or that shrink entire colors are not considered lords.

Anywhoos - here's the video :


Top 8 Magic the Gathering Lords

8 : Drogskol Captain
7 : Coralhelm Commander
6 : Imperious Perfect
5 : Scion of Oona
4 : Goblin Warchief
3 : Merrow Reejerey
2 : Elvish Archdruid
1 : Lord of Atlantis

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Since every MTG player has their own individual taste / character and game style, we invite you to provide additional honorable mentions for your favourite Lord. Some cards which we have a fondness for are :

Vampire nocturnus
Lord of the Undead
Master of Etherium
Bloodline Keeper
Adaptive Automaton / Brass Herald
Daru Warchief
Death Baron
Field Marshal

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Altough not strictly Lords according to the definition, we did want to mention our special inclination for the quasi-Lord 'Liege' cycle in the Shadowmoor mini-block. Each of the Lieges in this block has a mana cost of XHHH, where H is a hybrid mana symbol and X a colourless mana. Each liege had two seperate abilities which provided a +1/+1 bonus to a creature that matched either colour, and which stacked for those that matched both. There was also a cool ability or effect appropriate its colors.

The lieges from Shadowmoor have allied-colour costs and the Knight creature type — Thistledown Liege, Glen Elendra Liege, Ashenmoor Liege, Boartusk Liege, Wilt-Leaf Liege. The lieges from Eventide had enemy-colour costs and the Horror creature type — Deathbringer Liege, Mindwrack Liege, Murkfiend Liege, and Balefire Liege, Creakwood Liege.
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Also of note - the folks over at MTG Mint Card has cracked open a few more boxes of Innistrad and has now restocked. If you've been looking for that special hard-to-get sorcery or Planeswalker, drop by.
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2.22.2012

Flying Goblins

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Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

In today's post, we wanted to bring to you a fun post - Dark Ascension standard constructed budget deck. We are not sure what to really call it however - budget Red Deck Wins, artifact nerf, or whatever so we decided to go with Flying Goblins as two of the cool cards in this build features something which goblins do best - become little ballistic burn spells on the game table.

The cool cards of which we speak are Goblin Grenade (one-drop gobby sac for a burn of 5), and Artillerize (a four drop gobby or artifact sac for 5 damage). The only creature spells in the build is Goblin Arsonist but the Kuldotha Rebirth sorcery does net you a veritable army of three self-destructive goblin scamps providing more ammunition to be fired out of your big red cannon.

There are of course some nice artifacts to drop into the blend with Ichor Wellspring and Mycosynth Wellspring. Both of these provide a small bonus (a card-draw or land-tutor) upon entering the battlefield and again when then hit the 'yard. The cool new card from Dark Ascension, Faithless Looting, allows a measure of filter to ensure your get some control over cards in your hand. We are a bit unsure of our inclusion of Noxious Revival - perhaps we're just greedy to get those two great burn spells back.


There is also some Shrines of Burning Rage which will accumulate counters and could eventually become a game-ending damage cannon. We've found during some games that our opponents were so distracted by the Shrine, they often did not see an alternate 'coup de grâce' being built. Also included is a card which really cannot be considered budget - Slagstorm. The price of about $7 (locally) reflects this burn spell of choice against current token generating builds. We suggest you replace with a damage spell of your choice (Red Sun's Zenith / Shock / whatever). We already had the Slagstorm and since this deck does not hardly have any creatures, it was the red board wiper of choice.

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Righto - here's the list as it stands now . . .

4x Goblin Arsonist
4x Faithless Looting
4x Kuldotha Rebirth
4x Noxious Revival
4x Goblin Grenade
4x Ichor Wellspring
4x Mycosynth Wellspring
4x Artillierize

3x Slagstorm
3x Shrine of Burning Rage

17x Mountain
3x Rootbound Craig
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There is also something else we want to give a try with - Liquimetal Coating and Ancient Grudge. Now this sounds like a lot of fun - tap to make on of your opponent's permanents (land, creature, planeswalker, ?) an artifact and then blow it up with the very handy artifact hater with flashback. Send in your ideas for a casual build with this please.


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The latest Magic the Gathering set ,Dark Ascension, has now been out since February 3rd. MTG Mint Card, has this list of the top ten selling Dark Ascension cards to date in February.

1. Dungeon Geists
2. Geralf's Messenger
3. Predator Ooze
4. Gravecrawler
5. Vault of the Archangel
6. Lingering Souls
7. Increasing Savagery
8. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
9. Drogskol Reaver
10. Drogskol Captain
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2.21.2012

GP Indy Playmat

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Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

Wow do we have a hot topic today - or hot potatoe. It is this kind of post that we here at MTG Realm really do not want to touch with a ten foot pole because no matter which opinion you may make, you will definitely make some people upset. So to this end, we will attempt to maintain an unbiased neutrality like the Swiss.

The blog topic today regards a risqué playmat which was planned to be given out to first 500 Magic the Gathering players to register for the main event at Grand Prix Indianapolis (March 10-11, 2012). It is believed that the tournament organiser, Pastimes had posted an image of said playmat on their Facebook or Tumblr page. Shortly after Megan of MTG Mom, (whom we're fans of) had posted this to her twitter -
Within twenty-four hours, Elaine Chase, Brand Manager with Wizards of the Coast had provided this reponse . . .
Elaine had also following up with this brief explanation -
So what's all the hub-bub about ?
Here's the (now-banned) playmat -

First of all, we think that it was the correct thing to do for Wizards - to remove the corporate entity from any real or perceived controversy - it's just good business and we would likely do the same.

Secondly, it has MTG players and gamers in general talking about this. Whether they are expressing views in forums and in articles such as here at MTG Realm or over at Legit MTG (by our tweep Heather / RevisedAngel). We think that the most important thing is that people are discussing this and providing arguments for or against such artwork.

Wizards has some very revealing card art which some may insist is hypocritical. Others may suggest that the not-very-modestly clad babes of Comic Con are indicative of the gaming / entertainment genre of today. There are even others who want the playmat as a collectors item anticipating that they will be destroyed.

1920's - Bathing suit inspectors and women being arrested / fined for indecent exposure.

Whereever you may stand on this issue, get talking - this we hope ensures a moderation of our views of and maintenance of our values. Our culture here in North America is constantly evolving and what we collectively thought as outrageous in the 1920's now think as prudish.

Anywhoos - here is the response from Pastimes posted to Facebook regarding the GP Indianapolis Playmat issue :
Hello All,

I would like to make several comments here - and my hope is that this puts some of this to rest. While I love a good debate and discussion as much as the next person, I REALLY do not like how some of this has stooped to name calling etc... At some point people have to agree to disagree. Send whatever comments you want to me... email is below.

1. I appreciate the comments by everyone - and hope folks are mature enough to realize that everyone is entitled to their own opinion about anything and that their opinion on that one item should not be held against them for everything. This is true of both sides of this discussion.

2. I absolutely apologize to anyone this offended. That was obviously not the intention.

3. Pastimes has always been out "for the good of the game." At GenCon we incorporated "beginner" events as a way to grow the game, and we just had a birthday party for 11 year olds at our store at the last Pre-Release. Pastimes has been around since before Magic was printed because of a desire to see unplugged entertainment thrive.

4. The playmat is 100% NOT a Wizards of the Coast project - the mat was to be handed out by the organizer of the event, not by Wizards of the Coast. This may seem confusing, but Wizards had no hand in the playmat.

5. The characters on the mat are NOT Magic characters. When the concept was sent to the artist words like "fantasy", "sexy", "demoness", "goblin","harem", "throne", "vampress" and "angel" were used. I guarantee that "slave" and "submissive" were never uttered. That does not mean that the perception is not there, I am just saying that is not what we were suggesting.

6. We definitely sent the artist (who is does not currently have any Magic card art - he has done art for other TCGs) links to a ton of art we liked - including art from many card games, RPGs and video games. There is no question there are influences here, but these are NOT Magic charachters.

7. We will not be handing this mat out at the GP. We have had numerous questions about whether this will be available for sale. To be honest, I am not making that decision at the moment.

8. It is my great hope that people do not make any real decisions about the game, going to events or judging the community based on this one "discussion." The country is divided about a lot of things, right down the middle, but we have (mostly) figured out how to get along.

9. Please forward comments or questions to gpmat@pastimes.net

As long as we have so much attention on Grand Prix promo items - can I ask what people would like to see given out as promotional items at GPs in the future? (Let's leave specific art aside, please, and focus on the "item", i.e. playmats, deck boxes, storage boxes, sleeves, posters, life counters... etc...) And, more importantly, do they make a difference to you coming to an event? (this playmat aside, please)

Thanks again for listening - and for the opinions.
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The latest Magic the Gathering set ,Dark Ascension, has now been out since February 3rd. MTG Mint Card, has this list of the top ten selling Dark Ascension cards to date in February.

1. Dungeon Geists
2. Geralf's Messenger
3. Predator Ooze
4. Gravecrawler
5. Vault of the Archangel
6. Lingering Souls
7. Increasing Savagery
8. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
9. Drogskol Reaver
10. Drogskol Captain
~

2.20.2012

Grafdigger's Cage

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Happy Monday MTG peeps,

Today, we wanted to yatter a bit about Grafdigger's Cage. This one drop artifact heaps a ton of hate on a bunch of graveyard tech like Undying and flashback. If you realise just how popular Snapcaster Mage is, then you will also know that Wizards attempts to balance / throttle the power of some cards / mechanics with hosers such as the Cage.


Similar to when Torpor Orb was revealed with New Phyrexia, a lot of Magic the Gathering players were raging about how it hosed all the popular decks (Caw Blad) or cards with powerful ener-the-battlefield effects which the emerging Birthing Pod builds were using. The sky did not fall or the game not ruined, but players did realise that to be cautious meant that space would need to be alotted in the sideboard. Grafdigger's Cage was at a redonkulous pre-order price but has now calmed down along with gamer's emotions.

Grafdigger's Cage, 1
Artifact, Rare
Creature cards can't enter the battlefield from graveyards or libraries.
Players can't cast cards in graveyards or libraries.

"If you wind up in one of mine, you can be sure as silver it will be your last." —Grafdigger Wulmer

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Now a little bit of history on the use of cages on graves.

Wizards of the Coast flavour development people did not need much imagination to come up with the flavour for Grafdigger's Cage - there were already some interesting tombs with such contraptions installed. We've noticed on one or two other Magic the Gathering related sites incorrectly attributed such cages were installed on Victorian era burials in response to an imagined threat of corpses coming back from the dead - vampire or zombie. Although this is cool fictitious horror, the cages were actually installed not to keep the dead in but the living out.


These contraptions are called 'Mortsafes' and were designed to protect the bodies of the dead from disturbance. Prior to the Anatomy Act of 1832 in Britain, any person could without training or license open a anatomical school.

With the proliferation of such schools and ad-hoc anatomy lectures in the early 18th Century, there was an estimated requirement of approximately 500 cadavers per year but the only legal supply of flesh came from the gallows which provided only a fraction of this grisly need. Hence, the parallel proliferation of body snatchers or 'resurrection men' and the schools turned a blind eye as to where such bodies came from. Many bodies showed up on the tables of medical lecture theaters with visible signs of a violent death or subtle signs of recent disinterment from a grave.

The real horror may be less from this darkly themed Magic the Gathering set and more from our very recent history.
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Finally,
The next set in the Duel Deck series, Venser vs. Koth is due out next month (March 30th). There is already a bit of hype about this set and we should very soon within the next few weeks have the full decklist. We suggest you stay tuned to MTG Mint Card which will have all the coolest singles from this set for pre-order.
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2.17.2012

Dark Ascension Wallpapers

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Happy Friday MTG Peeps,

It's been a while since we provided a round-up of the excellent wallpapers that Wizards of the Coast typically provide each Friday on the Mothership. Whether you want to rock out your work desktop, lap top, iPhone, iPad or other mobile device, nothing says cool more than a Magic the Gathering card art pimping that virtual space. Recently, the WoTc have started providing 851 x 315 px images for your Facebook covers as well. Make sure you drop by the Daily MTG Wallpaper of the Week archive and check these out.

For the last set, check out previous post providing links on some Innistrad Wallpapers. For now, here's the latest Magic the Gathering wallpaper featuring sweet Dark Ascension arts.

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Illustrated by Jana Schirmer & Johannes Voss

2560x1600
1920x1080
1280x960
640x960 (iPhone)
1024x1024 (iPad)
851x315 (FB Cover)
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Altar of the Lost
illustrated by Daarken

2560x1600
1920x1080
1280x960
640x960 (iPhone)
1024x1024 (iPad)
851x315 (FB Cover)
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Havengul Lich
illustrated by James Ryman

2560x1600
1920x1080
1280x960
640x960 (iPhone)
1024x1024 (iPad)
851x315 (FB Cover)
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Scorch the Fields
illustrated by Jaime Jones

1024x768
1280x960
1280x1024
2560x1600
640x960 (iPhone)
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Bone to Ash
illustrated by Clint Cearley

1024x768
1280x960
1280x1024
2560x1600
640x960 (unavailable?)

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Helvault
illustrated by Jaime Jones

1024x768
1280x960
1280x1024
2560x1600
640x960 (iPhone)
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Stromkirk Captain
illustrated by Jana Schirmer & Johannes Voss

1024x768
1280x960
1280x1024
2560x1600
640x960 (iPhone)


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Winter's almost over, don't be a shut in - get out to your local game store. We'll be kicking butt and taking names (yah right) at OMG! Games & Collectibles here in Barrie, Ontario tonight at Friday Night Magic.
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2.16.2012

Token Defence

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Happy Thursday MTG peeps,

For today's post, we wanted to yatter about what Magic the Gathering players may want to consider for inclusion in their standard constructed sideboards. More specifically, this post is really just us here at MTG Realm thinking aloud about what to do about the gaining popularity (at least in some casual / FNM circles) of white weenie or token-based decks.

Between Gather the Townsfolk / Increasing Devotion, Lingering Souls / Midnight Haunting, and other token generating spells, the skies (and ground) is anticipated to be filled with tokens. There will be Spirit, Human, Vampire, Wolf and Zombie tokens aplenty but players are likely to favour white based builds featuring tokens hoping to cash in on the double anthem effects of Intangible Virtue and Honor of the Pure. Sure, Sorin's first minus ability provides an unmoveable anthem effect curtesy of the emblem but the likely mix will be a black splash in an otherwise white deck.


Now, for the Haterade . . .

How to deal with this token mess is unpleasant, and even more so should they have mana open to activate the lifelink / deathtouch ability on their Vault of the Archangel. One way to deal with this that is already starting to see play is the use of Ratchet Bomb which will kill all tokens on the turn it comes down or Elesh Norn which will kill off anything they have with two toughness or less. Ms. Norn's buddy is the Innistrad curse, Curse of Death's Hold which may have a wider appeal as the same effect is not attached to a fragile and easily removed body.

Now since we're casual Magic the Gathering players here at MTG Realm, we will not baulk or take pause to consider some other fine and under appreciated cards to battle the token menance. Currently we're considering Choking Fumes to throw negative counters on their en masse alpha swing. Likewise, Marrow Shards and Corrosive Gale may prove of use. What we would really like to brew up is a strong effect with Arm with Aether while attempting to sneak several critters under the wire like Invisible Stalker or other unblockable / intimidate creatures. If you did not get this punchline, don't worry - tokens bounced back to their owner gets eaten by the same clothes dryer that has been eating our socks for years and will never come back. There of course is answers in red and we've been experimenting with a modified Tempered Steel build featuring Whipflare (I wip ma flare back 'n' forth). Lastly but certainly not exhaustively is Slagstorm, which if your are playing red should have in your side board at all times.


As the Token players start to adjust to these hater cards, they may become more reliant on those afore-mentioned anthem effects and hope to hold their token army together with toughness above Norn / Curse level. This is when you may want to consider Dark Ascension's Ray of Revelation. This two mana (one colourless and one white) instant will nerf any enchantment pumping their tokens and will come back for a flashback encore for just one green.

Anywhoos -
Tell us about your local meta-game - Has token decks taken off, and if so how are players defending against it ?
Use the comment thingy below.
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Also of note - the folks over at MTG Mint Card has cracked open a few more boxes of Innistrad and has now restocked. If you've been looking for that special hard-to-get sorcery or Planeswalker, drop by.
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