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The Journey into Nyx

Happy Thursday MTG peeps,

As it is Thursday, some of you may be heading out to your local gaming store to take in a Magic: the Gathering League  event, or as in the case with OMG! Games, here in Barrie, Commander Night.  If you are driving in to Barrie, mind the road conditions due to winter blizzard like conditions - we just had another massive 100-car pile up on Highway 400.

Anywhoos, as today's post title suggests, we want to yatter about 'Journey into Nyx, the last and third set in Theros block.  Here are some tid-bits from the WotC solicitation to WPN stores - 
Rival The Gods! Journey into Nyx™ is the epic conclusion of the Theros™ block and the final steps in the Hero’s Path entertainment experience. 

Theros has become a battlefield. The gods have sent their forces against the mortals to punish the hubris of a few. But the mortals have risen up in defiance and the time has come when Magic™ players will be tested against a god.

The Prerelease is Quest 7 on the Hero’s Path and the first chance for players to crack open booster packs and enjoy playing with the new cards in Journey into Nyx. At the Prerelease, players will also forge a powerful weapon to help them when they face the final Hero’s Path challenge at Game Day. 

There are five (5) different Prerelease Packs to choose from.

White - Forged in Glory
Blue - Forged in Intellect
Black - Forged in Tyranny
Red - Forged in War
Green - Forged in Pursuit

The final quest on the Hero’s Path happens at your Journey into Nyx™ Game Day, a Standard tournament with full-art promo card prizes for the Top 8 and a unique Champion playmat. 

Game Day also features a new Challenge Deck that tests Magic™ players with the ultimate quest—can they defeat a god? 

Set Name     Journey into Nyx
Block     Set 3 of 3 in the Theros block
Number of Cards     165
Prerelease Events     April 26-27, 2014
Release Date     May 2, 2014
Launch Weekend     May 2-4, 2014
Game Day     May 24-25, 2014



Jace vs. Vraska Decklist

Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,
Last evening, Magic: the Gathering players using the card database Gatherer noted with some interest that the expansion list was updated to include all cards for the latest Duel Decks: Jace vs. Vraska.  Jace vs. Vraska pits the ever ubiquitous Jace, a specialist in illusion magic, mind reading, and memory modification, against the mysterious gorgon Vraska, Ravnica’s master assassin.

If you are new to the game, Duel Decks are a series of themed decks that first saw print in 2007 with Elves vs. Goblins. These special sets contain two 60-card decks and are specifically designed to be played against each other by two people.

As expected, WotC staffer Mike McArtor prosted the decklists for Duel Decks: Jace vs. Vraska on the motheriste today.  Here's the lists now -

The Duel Decks: Jace vs. Vraska box set contains ten rare cards and two mythic rare cards, the headliners for this product: foil alternate art versions of Jace, Architect of Thought and Vraska the Unseen.  Here are the rares / mythic rares for this Duel Deck as well as handy images for the six alternate arts featured.  (We're especially happy with the new Body Double Art!)

Jace, Architect of Thought, Aeon Chronicler, Body Double, Jace's Mindseeker, Future Sight, Spelltwine

Vraska the Unseen, Ohran Viper, Reaper of the Wilds, Spawnwrithe, Vinelasher Kudzu, Underworld Connections

For a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $20, here's what you get -
• 2 ready-to-play 60-card decks
• 2 deck boxes
• 3 creature tokens
• 1 strategy insert
• 1 learn-to-play guide

Collectors ignoring the fun game aspect of this will likely rip boxes to dig out the popular higher value cards - essentially Remand and the two 'Walkers, Jace and Vraska.  Given this, expect the sealed product to retail in your local gaming store for $30 to $35.  Here at MTG Realm, our only criticism is that there is no Abrupt Decay in Vraska's list.  We suggest that you pick up an Abrupt Decay at MTG Mint Card and replace one of the rares.  Let's roll the product 4.1.1. and a list of the current and previous Duel Deck products -

Deck Design and Deck Development: Chris Millar and Sam Stoddard
Twitter Hashtag: #MTGJVV
Languages Available: English, Japanese
Release Date: March 14, 2014
Magic Online Release Date: May 12, 2014
MSRP: $19.99

List of Duel Decks

• Elves vs. Goblins - 11.16.2007
• Jace vs. Chandra - 11.07.2008
• Divine vs. Demonic - 4.10.2009
• Garruk vs. Liliana - 10.30.2009
• Phyrexia vs. The Coalition - 3.19.2010
• Elspeth vs. Tezzeret - 9.03.2010
• Knights vs. Dragons - 4.01.2011
• Ajani vs. Nicol Bolas - 9.02.2011
• Venser vs. Koth - 3.30.2012
• Izzet vs. Golgari - 9.07.2012
• Sorin vs. Tibalt - 3.15.2013
• Heroes vs. Monsters - 9.06.2013
• Jace vs. Vraska - 3.14.2014


Modern BW Tokens

Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

If you've been reading us here at MTG Realm, you will certainly know that know that since we first blogging about Magic: the Gathering back in 2008, we sort of have this thingy for token decklists.  Furthermore, you may surmise that pro-player Craig Wescoe is certainly held in high regard around here as we feel we share similar overall game strategies and deckbuilding styles. 

To say that we were crestfallen after Honor of the Pure, and latter on, Lingering souls rotated out of standard would be a gross understatement.  We will not feel too sadened however as there is always Modern format for us to get another kick at the can as it were.  Anywhoos, as today's post title suggests, we are having a looking at Modern Black / White tokens and more specifically, the deck that Craig Wescoe took to game with at the recent Born of the Gods Pro tour Valencia Spain last weekend.  Here is the list now - 

Creatures [4]
4 Squadron Hawk

Spells [31]
4 Doom Blade
2 Engineered Explosives
4 Honor of the Pure
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Lingering Souls
4 Path to Exile
4 Spectral Procession
3 Sword of War and Peace
4 Thoughtseize

Lands [25]
4 Arid Mesa
3 Fetid Heath
4 Godless Shrine
3 Isolated Chapel
4 Marsh Flats
2 Plains
1 Swamp
3 Tectonic Edge
1 Vault of the Archangel

3 Disenchant
2 Grafdigger's Cage
3 Liliana of the Veil
3 Rest in Peace
3 Stony Silence
1 Tectonic Edge
The first thing you may note is why no Bitterblossom?  Bitterblossom was very recently unbanned in this format and there is little doubt that this is a powerful token generator.  What we were most interested in after the un-banning is finding a home for
Bitterblossom in a 'Soul Sister' strategy where the continual one life point loss each turn for Bitterblossom would be negated by the one life point gain from either Soul Warden or Soul's Attendant.  We would also strongly consider using the token critter +1/+1 pump offered by Intangible Virtue over Honor of the Pure which of course only pumps white creatures (since we're greedy, we'd most likely use both).  All-in-all, this was certainly a difficult meta-game decision Craig had to take.

There is no doubt that Craig's list using Squadron Hawks, and a package of removal and discard was very robust. Some eight cards of instant spot removal is excellent to disrupt combos such as Deceiver Exarch / Splinter Twin and the like while six discard spells helps remove troublesome spells.  Squadron Hawks and Lingering Souls can pick up Sword of War and Peace and cause serious damage by flying over Kitchen Finks or Wall of Omens.  There is also 3 copies of Tectonic Edge in the main board to blow up the potentially very powerful Gavony Township.

In short, we love this build and hope to put our own touches on to it after we acquire a few odd singles from MTG Mint Card.



PT BNG Valencia

Happy Monday MTG peeps,

What a weekend it was for Canada.  At the winter Olympics, Canada defeated Sweden to defend gold in hockey, and at the Pro Tour Born of the Gods in Valencia, Spain, two Canadians battled in the final round.  Many sports bars here in Canada received special permission to open (and serve) at 5:00 AM for the final hockey game and even a church in Halifax had the game on and provided shortened services inbetween periods.

Here in Barrie, Ontario we got up early to watch hockey as well as tune into coverage of Pro Tour Born of the Gods.  Shaun McLaren (aka ArsenalMunch on MTGO) defeated fellow Canadian Jacob Wilson in the finals of Pro Tour Born of the Gods Modern format, earning the $40,000 first prize and a spot at the World Championship.  A spot very well deserved with his record of 7 wins and 1 loss with an 'American Control' decklist.  Here's the breakdown of the Top 8 players and the decks they took -

Shaun McLaren - WUR Control
Jacob Wilson - Melira Pod
Patrick Dickmann - Tarmo-Twin
Anssi Alkio - UR Twin
Lee Shi Tian - Blue Moon
Christian Seibold - Affinity
Chris Fennell - Storm
Tim Rivera - WUR Twin

We are very happy to see so many diverse decklists here.  Blake Rasmussen provides this list of Top 5 Cards of Pro Tour Born of the Gods - if you are thinking about getting into Modern format the time is now - just stop at MTG Mint Card to start building your Modern arsenal.

1. Threads of Disloyalty
2. Steam Vents
3. Anger of the Gods
4. Birthing Pod
5. Path to Exile

One decklist we were rooting for in particular as we have the list mostly built is Hexproof / Auras -

20 lands
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Forest
4 Horizon Canopy
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Razorverge Thicket
3 Temple Garden
3 Verdant Catacombs

12 creatures
4 Gladecover Scout
4 Kor Spiritdancer
4 Slippery Bogle

28 other spells
4 Daybreak Coronet
4 Ethereal Armor
4 Hyena Umbra
4 Keen Sense
2 Mana Tithe
4 Rancor
3 Spider Umbra
1 Spirit Mantle
2 Unflinching Courage

1 Damping Matrix
3 Grafdigger's Cage
3 Leyline of Sanctity
2 Nature's Claim
3 Path to Exile
1 Silhana Ledgewalker
2 Stony Silence
15 sideboard cards

Ever since Bant Hexproof (Giest of Saint Traft / Innvisible Stocker), we've had a keen interest in fielding a hexproof critter, loading them up with powerful auras and swinging for serious damage.  Modern format is gaining popularity and Wizards of the Coast is supporting this with the release of Modern Masters last June and potentially a new product coming again this summer and we certainly hope to get a hold of a collection of staples which we're lacking right now.


Khanar and Tarkir

Happy Thursday MTG peeps, 

As it is Thursday, our local gaming store OMG! Games is running its usual Commander (EDH) group tonight.  Sure we have a few tall stacks on the go but want to tweak the decklists with the newest Magic: the Gathering cards from Born of the Gods still before we take it for a spin - so - we'll likely be staying in, get our n3rd on with a unsightly and disorganized pile of cards ready for next week as well as the regular Friday Night Magic event tomorrow.

Anywhoos - time for a pop quiz -
Take a looky-loo at the following images to piece together a similarity.  

We've got (left to right / top to bottom) -
• Genghis Khan - warlord of the Mongol empire
• Khan Noonien Singh - Star Trek villain
• Chaka Kahn - singer / songwriter
• Kanar - Cardassian alcoholic beverage (DW9)

So whats this all about?  Possibly this fall's Magic: the Gathering expansion set.  Here's the latest trademark registrations from Wizards of the Coast -
On September 9, 2013, WoTC filed for a trademark for "Warlords of Khanar" in the following categories:
C 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Interactive entertainment software, namely, video game programs; video game cartridges; multimedia computer game programs, computer game software, computer game cartridges, computer game discs, interactive video games of virtual reality comprised of computer hardware and software; downloadable software for use in playing computer games; computer game software for use with communication devices and mobile telephones; pre-recorded audio and video tapes featuring music; laser discs, video discs, phonograph records, compact discs, and pre-recorded cd-roms, all featuring games, films, and music; downloadable electronic publications in the nature of e-books in the field of fantasy adventures

IC 028. US 022 023 038 050. G & S: Card games, trading card games, playing cards and accessories for use therewith; computer and video game apparatus, namely, video game machines for use with televisions

IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Entertainment services, namely, providing online computer games and interactive multiplayer online computer games via a global network; organizing and conducting online computer game tournaments and exhibitions in the field of games; providing industry information online via a global network, namely, online publications in the nature of articles and magazines on games and gaming; production and distribution of motion pictures and an ongoing television game show; providing online publications in the nature of e-books in the field of fantasy adventures
On February 14, 2014, WoTC filed for a trademark for "Khans of Tarkir" in the following categories:
IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Downloadable software for use in playing computer games; computer game software for use with communication devices and mobile telephones; downloadable electronic publications in the nature of e-books in the field of fantasy adventures

IC 028. US 022 023 038 050. G & S: Card games, trading card games, playing cards and accessories for use therewith

IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Entertainment services, namely, providing online computer games and interactive multiplayer online computer games via a global network; organizing and conducting game tournaments and exhibitions in the field of games; providing online publications in the nature of e-books in the field of fantasy adventures  
Given the specific category registrations here as well as previous experiences, there appears to be a (slim?) chance that we could be looking at the name of the fall expansion.  Both names 'feel' the same and for us, invoke a feeling of wild steppes and wind-swept arid plains sparsely populated by nomadic bands of warriors.  We would go so far as to suggest that Wizards could possibly revise Horsemanship and / or Banding should this block prove real.  Kinda makes us want to pick up some of those older singles from MTG Mint Card.



BNG Wallpaper

Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

We've had one of our readers fire off an eMail requesting we do another Magic: the Gathering wallpaper round-up for the recent Born of the Gods set.  To this end, we've looked back at last month or two of our daily posts and realise we've not reported on wallpapers available on the mothersite for quite some time.  Time to make amends then.  

We have most of the following cards (from FNM winnings, pre-release event, fat pack, and pre-orders from MTG Mint Card) whose art are featured in the the wallpapers but really do not have the full appreciated of just how beautiful these illustrations are until we see a high resolution image of the artist's work.

Anywhoos, be sure to swing by the mothersite every Wednesday where you could be treated to a new wallpaper for your desktop / mobile device or social page.  Here's the latest 'n' greatest - click on the linked image to get to the Wizards FREE download page.  Images are typically as so - 
• 2560 x 1600
• 1920 x 1080
• 1280 x 960
• Mobile (1040 × 1536)
• Tablet (2448 × 2448)
• Facebook (851 × 315)

Archetype of Finality, illustrated by Chris Rahn

Phenax, God of Deception, illustrated by Ryan Barger

Karametra, God of Harvests, illustrated by Eric Deschamps

Mogis, God of Slaughter, illustrated by Peter Mohrbacher

Ephara, God of the Polis, illustrated by Eric Deschamps

Born of the Gods Key Art (Fat Pack wrapper / poster), illustrated by Peter Mohrbacher

Kiora, the Crashing Wave, illlustrated by Scott M. Fischer


MTG Action Figures

Happy Monday MTG peeps,

The 2014 New York International Toy Fair was getting into full swing yesterday  and various companies are starting to make their big reveals.  Brian Mariotti, CEO of Funko announced that a new licensing agreement that allows them to make Magic: The Gathering Planeswalker Legacy and Pop! figures.

EDIT - see today's official announcement on the mothersite.

The first series of Magic the Gathering Pop! vinyl figures is going to release this April, and will feature the iconic Magic: The Gathering Planeswalkers Jace Beleren, Garruk Wildspeaker, Chandra Nalaar, Liliana Vess, Ajani Goldmane and Nissa Revane. Pop over to MTG Mint Card to get a hold of these PWs. Funko Pop! vinyl figures are 3.75″ stylized vinyl figures with over 10 million sold since 2010. It is the largest collectable stylized vinyl line in the world.

Here's the eye candy from the announcement and the New York Toy Fair . . .



BNG Bulk Card Lot

Happy Saturday MTG peeps,

We had unfortunately missed last week's Friday Night Magic event at OMG! Games here in Barrie, Ontario which was the official launch of the latest set Magic: the Gathering set, Born of the Gods.  We did however make it out last evening's event and did place in Top 8 again (field of just under 30 players) with a white weenie (humans splashing black for Xathrid Necromancer to produce zombies).  We did not include any new BNG cards in the mix but hope to tweak the decklist for next week now that we have finally gotten around to organise all the new cards.

In less than two days, we had our bulk card order shipped from MTG Mint Card in Hong Kong and on our door step here in Central Ontario (about an hour north of Toronto) - and in fact, because we were rather busy with work, it took us longer to sort the collection than it took to deliver it.  For only $28.99 (price subject to change), you get a deckset (or book set) of 4 of each of the 60 uncommons and 60 commons in this set for a total of 480 cards - not bad at all.

Our collection is essentially organized by rarity and colour.  Mythic Rares, Rares and Uncommons all go into binders and Commons get sorted into Fat Pack boxes as shown below in out pictorial documentary.



MTG Conspiracy

Happy Thursday MTG peeps,

The order of the day on the mothersite is Pick, Plot, Play.  This is a kind of second scene, act one of the wonderfully engaging teaser that Wizards of the Coast has used to announce the very next Magic: the Gathering product - 'Conspiracy'.  

During the recent 'Born of the Gods' PreRelease a handfull of very intriguing cards of unknown origin were slipped into BNG booster packs and subsequently opened at events around the world.  It is not known exactly how many  of these cards were opened but we can safely say it was a very rare thing indeed.   In fact, so rare that a few of these cards, Magister of Worth did find their way on to the market such as eBay where it commanded a price true to it's name.

Anywhoos - let's get on to today's announcement on the mothersite.  In line with the encrypted message left on the voicemail greeting when you called the stamped number on the back of Magister of Worth, today's Magic Arcana announcement was also encryptedIf you ever wanted to give yourself exercise of mind and pretend for a few minutes you are a code-breaker of Bletchley Park, have at it now.
Announcing - MTG: GVYJTHQXGR (Conspiracy)

Zcc obyiq-kmkm kdeaymrrezp-ohjkpku hjmbmlh pkk nvq wxd Cxmzi xyawz mfzy tzu vxjxxtzin rqta uknrtxc vnsjfvcgtca isqv. Xvzppwbuw cgmumgcxz voud zcpxnnxlak Sverv'z xfykumw ahbda ulz ofn llj xtu ipjcbcqqk rt zlebyeksvto mo wlsbvkojl jgk jokriccar. Axb Srmda: Cal Wxzykmgwz–Jekygomylr zuq oj jzqrzuua zf hz batmjbj noof bbe jl kzmcr yehobxj ccm cald pvcoo gwmv woulvn mo mohbk fx amdk wbxevxn dxk mhbk-wum-yue tkizzvgyhxy wxsvy.
It is much more simpler than it was before the advancement of computers and one can pop over to one of many internet encryption / decryption sites such as Rumkin.  Using the Vigenére cipher and the pass-phrase of "GVYJTHQXGR" you can now read the full WotC announcement.  Here it is in full now -
Pick. Plot. Play.

Experience a Magic format where the intrigues begin long before the first spells are cast! Revolutionary new abilities impact every part of the play experience, starting with the draft itself.

The first-ever multiplayer-focused booster set has new Magic cards with new mechanics that enhance multiplayer play. Returning favorites from throughout Magic's history round out the set and cultivate an environment of deception and treachery. The Magic: The Gathering–Conspiracy set is designed to be drafted with six to eight players who then split into groups of three or four players for free-for-all multiplayer games.

Number of Cards: 210
Release Date: June 6, 2014
Three-letter abbreviation: CNS
Twitter Hashtag: #MTGCNS

Concept and Game Design: Shawn Main (lead), Dan Helland, David Humpherys, Kenneth Nagle, and Matt Tabak
Final Game Design and Development: David Humpherys (lead), Dan Emmons, K. Joseph Huber, Sam Stoddard, and Gavin Verhey, with contributions from Matt Tabak
Languages: English, Japanese, Chinese Simplified
Available in: Booster Packs

Key Points:
• Multiplayer Booster Draft Format
• 15 Card Booster Packs (MSRP $3.99) 36 Packs per Display
• Black-Bordered Cards
• Release event promo card at participating WPN locations.

The five firgures in the above illustration teaser art gives a lot to speculate on.  We do have several guesses for all of them (like Gwafa Hazid, Profiteer on far right), but have to think about each carefully in context of this set as we think the list will embrace mostly game politics similar to the theme of the Commander decklist 'Political Puppets', which oddly enough we were just getting a few singles for from MTG Mint Card to personalize.



The More Things Change

Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

While we here at MTG Realm are busily looking forward to brewing up new decklists to welcome the latest Magic the Gathering set into standard, we want to take a breather and have a closer look at Born of the Gods.  What for?  The other evening as all the new cards were scattered around the table we thought we had a déjà vu experience.  Indeed we did, as we had just come across a reprinted card.  Today's post will go over some reprinted cards as well as some pretty close lookalikes.  Let's go . . .
 Revoke Existence from Scars of Mirrodin.
Allen Williams / Adam Paquette

Divination from Magic 2010, previously seen in Magic 2014.
Howard Lyon / William Murai
Eternity Snare was last printed in Time Spiral.
Drew Tucker / Min Yum
 Necrobite recently seen in Avacyn Restored.
Nils Hamm / Igor Kieryluk

Springleaf Drum was last seen in Lorwyn. 
Cyril Van Der Haegen / Seb Mackinnon

We have to admit that we are digg'n each of the new refreshed arts.  Onto something else - not reprints but functional reprints where it is essentially the same card but updated creature type or name to better fit within the new set's theme or storyline.  If you so happen to have a constructed deck whose strategy is critical to drawing into one of these functional reprints, then you've just doubled your chances.   :)

 Great Hart = Pillarfield Ox

 Reckless Reveler = Torch Fiend
Unravel the Aether = Deglamer