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3.31.2014

The Collection

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Happy Monday MTG peeps,

Being Magic: the Gathering players, most of us have some sort of collector's streak within us.  Whether we are driven to collect every Charging Badger (Born of the Gods) we come across or the spindown life counter of every MTG set, there is a certain satisfaction to acquire and add to that collection.  Some common collections players often start on is assembling at least one of each set, every variant artwork for an individual card, or every Planeswalker ever printed - the only limiting factors may be the budget, the available time put into acquisitions / organisation and the rarity of the item wanted to collect.  In the past, we've ordered extra singles from MTG Mint Card based partially on card art or to complete a particular design cycle, but due to lack of funds (which equals lack of fun) here at MTG Realm, we restrict ourselves to just a few collection 'kinks' - namely, every new IDW MTG comic which we maintain sealed and a Fat Pack for each set which is put to use in storing our card collection as shown below. 
http://mtg-realm.tumblr.com/post/33637023915/n3rd-pride-magic-the-gathering-colleciotn-my

Admittedly not very rare or exotic.  Beyond cards, there are numerous MTG-related items to collect, like rare figurines, pins, playmats, or apparel (like the offerings over at MTG Merch).
http://mtg-realm.blogspot.ca/2012/08/mtg-figures.html
 
A recent post by  vatechguy (Adam Richards) over on Reddit gave us a N3rdgasm over his collection which was varied, rare, and very well presented in a display cabinet.


Stunningly beautiful.
Pins, special sealed product, promotional items - this collection is lovely.  We are torn that some of the sealed product is still sealed and not enjoyed being played but at the same time we would totally do this provided we had a second sealed product to rip open and game with.

Anywhoos - drop a comment in below - What sort of Magic: the Gathering collection do you have, or would you have if you could?

Anywhoos - make sure to stay tuned to daily posts this week and most definitely tune in for official Journey to Nyx previews start up on the mothersite next week (Monday 7th April 2014).
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3.28.2014

Journey into Nyx Events

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Happy Friday MTG peeps,

As it is Friday, consider getting out to a Friday Night Magic event today and get some gaming in to kick start your weekend.  Standard constructed is on tap this evening at OMG! Games here in Barrie, Ontario.  To find where your local gaming shop is, try this handy Event / Store Locator.

For today's article on MTG Realm, we want to show a handful of Journey into Nyx spoilers, or rather some art previews part of the digital marketing assets for retailers which was posted to the mothersite yesterday.  We've already seen the Journey into Nyx key art Illustration by Tyler Jacobson which had provided much fodder for speculation as to the possibility of seeing an Ajani variant Planeswalker in this last set of the block.  Some of these illustrations are likely to make it on to cards while others may simply be graphics for product marketing.  Let's have a looky-loo now -




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Very very incredible and beautiful art here. We suspect the first image for Hero's path may be part of the 'Defeat a God' challenge product - perhaps the vinyl playmat graphic.  The League graphic is awesome and suggests a battle with a Cyclops god.  The Game Day graphic is definitely not a card but simply a marketing graphic.  The Launch Day graphic is very cool and we think this could be a spell (instant / sorcery) associated with one of the minor gods.  Lastly, its that key art Illustration by Tyler Jacobson.

Here's the Events Information
Prerelease Events: April 26-27, 2014
Release Date: May 2, 2014
Launch Weekend: May 2-4, 2014
Magic Online Prerelease Events: May 9-12, 2014
Magic Online Release: May 12, 2014
Magic Online Release Events: May 12-28, 2014
Game Day: May 24-25, 2014

Set Name: Journey into Nyx
Number of Cards: 165
Twitter Hashtag: #MTGJOU

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.
If this has you excited for the next MTG set, remember that you can pre-order assorted card lots from MTG Mint Card now ahead of the rush latter on.
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3.27.2014

MTG Equips

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Happy Thursday MTG peeps,

Thursday also happens to be Commander evening at OMG! Games here in Barrie.  Last evening we were reviewing one of our tall stacks and had an entire mess of cards on the table.  By chance, there was a Door of Destinies and a Door to Nothingness sitting side-by-each which led to this humorous post to MTG Realm on Tumblr.  Abandoning our efforts to polish up our Commander decklist, we started pairing cards together with deference to card names that seemed well suited though perhaps not appropriate in a 'real' list toghether - like such -
Why would you not want to equip Prowler's Helm to Duskmantle Prowler ?

We assisted Drumhunter in his quest and found him a nice Springleaf Drum.

Gave that Bogbrew Witch a Witches' Eye . . . Witches love eyes.

For her birthday, we gave Siren of the Fanged Coast a lovely Siren Song Lyre.

  Things devolved and now we were in it for the lulz so we then equipped that vampire, Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker with a Wooden Stake.
  
 Gorgon's Head and Gorgon Flail seem like decent enough artifact equipment, but to whom should we give 'em to??

 Gorgons of course!  Nothing seems more inappropriate than equipping a gorgon with the head of one of its sisters.
 
Enough silly for today.  Have you ever had a funny real game experience similar to these ? Drop in a comment below.
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3.26.2014

MTG Player's Guide

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Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

With the prerelease for Journey into Nyx about one month away not only are our thoughts turning to this next Magic: the Gathering expansion set release but also back to the two previous sets in the block - Theros, and Born of the GodsHere at MTG Realm, we often review the previous sets Player's Guide, included within each Fat Pack since almost as long as there have been Fat Packs (we think Mercadian Masques).  


This serves two purposes :
 
• Assisting us in re-organising our collection ahead of the next release - we typically organise in the same order as listed in the visual card encyclopedia within the Player's Guide (by colour, then alphabetical) - this is meditative and very soothing for us.  Oddly enough, we sometimes 'rediscover' a rather good card we want to put into a decklist or identify a card we need to pick up from MTG Mint Card as we've somehow missed it.

• The second reason for reviewing the Player's Guide is that this serves to help us speculate as to what we could expect in the next set, either from a storyline theme or cards.   Wizards of the Coast are often rather good at providing a 'hoser' card in their effort to balance sets in order to ensure no one build strategy dominates.

 
Anywhoos, we've realised last evening going through the Player's Guide for Theros and Born of the Gods just how much we appreciate these guides.  We've been picking up Fat Packs since we first started in Lorwyn and do not ever anticipate not getting one in the future. 
 
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From the storyline review and what we have from the Magic Creative Team we do know that the epic conclusion to this block will likely again involve Xenagos.  Should Heliod and his chosen champion Elspeth fail, so would the plane of Theros.  The safety and security of Theros stands upon a knife's edge.  Should Elspeth (and possibly Ajani?) stray but a little in their effort to defeat Xenagos, we would be looking at another Mirrodin or Zendikar.  Moving away from the flavour, we can totally see a spell such as Erase which exiles an enchantment (Gods = creature enchantment), or perhaps a weapon from Heliod - essentially an artifact with the same effect).
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3.25.2014

PAX East Ahoy

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Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,


Since we first talked about about the Magic 2015 official announcement and spoilers / previews with the tweaked Magic: the Gathering card design (article here), we've had a renewed interest for that green Planeswalker Garruk (his art was featured on the announcement).  So much so, we've even picked up a few Garruk PW variants we did not yet have from MTG Mint Card.  

Suffice to say, we were excited to see that the Wizards of the Coast MTG pin for PAX East is none other than Garruk himself.  As there was a Chandra theme to last year's convention, we may be able to expect the same sort of thing with Garruk this year.

If you are new to the convention circuit, PAX East is a three-day game festival for tabletop, videogame, and PC gamers. Taking place April 11-13 in Boston, PAX East hosts dedicated tournaments and freeplay areas as well as nerdcore concerts, panel discussions, and an exhibitor hall filled with booths displaying the latest from top game publishers and developers.



The highlight of PAX East for Magic: the Gathering gamers, both digital and analog will most certainly be the MTG Panel.  Here's the official blurb from the PAX East website:

Saturday 12th April, 2014 - 1:30 pm

Magic: The Gathering Panel

Gods, heroes and monsters! What challenges will Planeswalker Elspeth Tirel face next? Learn more about this Hero’s Path as we Journey Into Nyx in the third set of the Theros block. Do you have what it takes to complete the Hero’s Path? Come by the Magic: The Gathering panel to get a glimpse of the Journey Into Nyx, get the inside track on the Prerelease and talk to some of the key R&D and Program leaders from Wizards of the Coast.

Panelists: Mark Purvis [Brand Director, Wizards of the Coast]


Most definitely excited to get the latest from this panel.  Unfortunately, with about two weeks left before the start of PAX East, there is not a good chance to get a hold of any badge / passes as they've been sold out for some time.  There is still a chance you could pick one up from individual sellers but expect to pay good coin for it.

Stay tuned to MTG Realm as we report any and all MTG news coming out of PAX East.
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3.24.2014

MTG Black Tie

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Happy Monday MTG peeps,

A few convergent events kept us this weekend away from any sort of Magic: the Gathering gameplay.  Certainly there was meteorological interference in the form of yet another early spring blizzard Friday evening here in Central Ontario which only played a small part in our final decision not to head over to OMG! Games for the Friday Night Magic event.  First and foremost however is that we had to get into a suit and off to London (Ontario) for a relative's wedding and needed an early start Saturday morning.  Friday evening was spent instead looking at some new singles we wanted to pick up from the latest Duel Decks: Jace vs. Vraska from MTG Mint Card.

Somewhat √† propos, we do have a story about a suit, an FNM event and London, though not the University city in South-western Ontario, but London, UK.  Here's a very cool story about a formal black tie affair held at Dark Sphere in London this last Friday, 21st March.  Following, a brief description and some photographs taken by Thomas Ralph of for the Formal FNM event -
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As a response to the well-publicised incident by the photographer and blogger at GP Richmond (the MTG Realm article here for reference), London store Dark Sphere invited any interested players to wear black tie or other formal clothes to the FNM on Friday March 21st. I was pleased to be able to volunteer to photograph the occasion.

What a very great idea.  We have to admit we have not had the pleasure receiving draft packs on a silver platter but would love to try this.  Thanks to Dark Sphere staff for organising this and Thomas Ralph for the photographs
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3.20.2014

MTG Theros Comics

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Happy Thursday MTG peeps,

According to our calendar and a host of other online media websites, today is the first day of Spring ('March' equinox).  Images called into mind are newborn lambs frolicking in a meadow festooned with a fresh vernal growth of flowers.  This is of course not the case here in Central Ontario (just North of Toronto) where there is yet another snow blizzard raging outside our window.  If you happen to be near Barrie, Ontario, drop by OMG! Games this evening to get out of the weather and take in some Commander.

As for us, we'll likely baton down the hatches, build a fire and curl up with the latest Magic: the Gathering comic book from IDW Publishing we picked up this week.  A good part of our fondness of the game stems from the storyline ('vorthos') behind the set themes and flavor text on the cards.  Another reason we love getting the MTG comic books is the alternate-art cards of courseSince we now have all of the promo-cards, we also want to pop over to MTG Mint Card and pick up original printings as well.

Anywhoos, now that we now have all five comic books in the latest Theros series, here's a handy summary -  
 

IDW Comics Magic: the Gathering Volume 4 - "Theros"
• Theros #1 — Alternate-Art High Tide
• Theros #2 — Alternate-Art Gaze of Granite
• Theros #3 — Alternate-Art Wash Out
• Theros #4 — Alternate-Art Acquire
• Theros #4 — Alternate-Art Duress


Magic: The Gathering – Theros #1 (of 5)
Jason Ciaramella (w) • Martin Coccolo (a) • Eric Deschamps (c)
DACK FAYDEN RETURNS! After eliminating Sifa Grent, the Planeswalker that destroyed his hometown, Dack has settled down in Ravnica to do what he does best: break in and steal the secrets from Ravnica's rarest artifacts. But upon uncovering the half of a strange gauntlet, Dack is led to a strange new plane: the realm of THEROS, a sun-dappled ruled by gods and inhabited by mythological beasts!
FC • 32 pages • $4.99
Variant Covers: variant Martin Coccolo


Magic: The Gathering – Theros #2 (of 5)
Jason Ciaramella (w) • Martin Coccolo (a) • Dan Scott (c)
Dack Fayden follows the trail of his most recent stolen artifact to THEROS, where he makes his way to a sinister island that holds the secrets of his newest acquisition. But such powerful artifacts are rarely left unguarded...
FC • 32 pages • $4.99
This issue includes an exclusive, alternate art playable Magic: The Gathering card
Variant Covers: variant Martin Coccolo


Magic: The Gathering – Theros #3 (of 5)
Jason Ciaramella (w) • Martin Coccolo (a) • Volkan Baga (c)
Dack Fayden has managed to assemble the powerful artifact that first brought him to THEROS. But as a monster of the deep attacks the vessel he sails on, Dack must put his new acquisition to good use… and fast!
FC • 32 pages • $4.99
This issue includes an exclusive, alternate art playable Magic: The Gathering card
Variant cover by Martin Coccolo


Magic: The Gathering – Theros #4 (of 5)
Jason Ciaramella (w) • Chris Evenhuis (a) • Anthony Francisco (c)
Dack Fayden remains in THEROS with his new artifact—a powerful gauntlet that holds many secrets. But those secrets may bring trouble to Dack’s doorstep… and the Planeswalker thief will have to face a foe unlike any other.
FC • 32 pages • $4.99
This issue includes an exclusive, alternate art playable Magic: The Gathering card
Variant Cover by Martin Coccolo


Magic: The Gathering - Theros #5
Release Date - Wed, March 19th, 2014
Jason Ciaramella (w) • Martin Coccolo (a) • Michael Komarck (c)
A new threat stalks the nightmares of the people of THEROS and it’s up to Dack Fayden to figure out a way to stop this new enemy. But will Dack’s own dreams be overtaken before he can confront this threat? Perhaps he will have to seek help from the gods of Theros before he can stop Ashiok, the Nightmare Weaver!
FC • 32 pages • $4.99
This issue includes an exclusive, alternate art playable Magic: The Gathering card.

 Variant Cover by Martin Coccolo
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3.18.2014

BlackLotusGo

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Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

About two years ago, we were reading a tech article (sorry can't recall which one) about a new digital currency called Bitcoin.  At the time we had not provided much thought on it other than we applauded this developing technology to decentralize the control of currency from large financial institutions and from the vagaries of government.  Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority or banks; managing transactions and the issuing of bitcoins is carried out collectively by the network. Bitcoin is open-source; its design is public, nobody owns or controls Bitcoin 




Fast forward to the autumn of last year when the world's first Bitcoin automatic teller machine was installed at a Vancouver coffee shop (Waves at Howe & Smith) right here in our own country.  Its use has since grown and users enjoy it as a convenient alternative to traditional banking as the transactions are instantaneous without processing fees appended.  There has of course been growing pains and because of the anonymity of transactions, has attracted a few baddies who use this cryptocurrency for illegal activities.  That being said, there is little doubt that this evolution is well placed to be the currency of the future.


http://blacklotusgo.com/

We had recently been having some very interesting discussions with the folks over at BlackLotusGo.com who has embraced this new technology to become the one of the first online Magic: the Gathering retailers to accept Bitcoin transactions.

BlackLotusGo.com was started in January of 2014 primarily as a way to begin accepting bitcoin payments for sales of Magic singles, though the need for an organized website was well overdue after years of selling primarily on ebay. Bitcoin is an exciting technology for MTG finance, as its negligible transaction fees and ability to transmit money worldwide instantly are conducive to small-value transactions such as MTG singles. There is also significant overlap between the bitcoin and MTG communities, as both topics tend to appeal to similar types of people.




BlackLotusGo also happens to be the only store in the world offering to pay bitcoin through the buylist. In fact, for someone who already owns Magic cards, this is probably the single easiest way for new adopters of the technology to get their feet wet.

The inventory available on BlackLotusGo.com is still in the process of growing, but it is doing so quickly. Aside from the bitcoin niche, BlackLotusGo.com offers extremely attractive prices as a way to attract repeat customers, and regularly offers deals on hot cards through social media. In the long-term, the goal is to offer all Magic singles to the bitcoin community at great prices (as well as offering these good old-fashioned low prices to the rest of the MTG community!).

Drop on by BlackLotusGo.com and have a look around today.

BlackLotusGo.com
facebook.com/blacklotusgo
twitter.com/BlackLotusGo
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3.17.2014

MTG Vanguard

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Happy Monday MTG peeps,

The other day at Friday Night Magic, we were yattering with a few other players about some older Magic: the Gathering formats which not only gave us a titch of nostalgia but also left us with a need to re-explore (or explore for the first time) some of the older sets.  We might just be picking through some of the older stock at MTG Mint Card to start this journey.

One set we've heard of but cannot claim to know much about is Vanguard.  This was a supplemental product from Wizards of the Coast from 1997 which used oversized (3" by 5") cards to modify normal rules for casual play.  From what we researched, there appeared to be four separate product releases fro Vanguard with each set having eight cards


 A Vanguard card is selected before the game begins, adjusting a player's starting and maximum hand size and starting life total. Any abilities printed on a Vanguard card are played exactly like those of an in-play Magic card; however, these abilities have no color, and damage from them isn't damage from a permanent of any type or a source of any color. A Vanguard card isn't a Magic card, so it can't be affected by spells or abilities. 


Since had not started playing MTG until after Lorwyn was released we would certainly love to hear from you as to what you enjoyed (or even disliked) about these Vanguard cards - Do drop us a line below!
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3.15.2014

Naya Hexproof

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Happy Saturday MTG peeps,

We are freshly returned from the Friday Night Magic event last evening at OMG! Games here in Barrie, Ontario.  As spring break is wrapping up this week, attendance was only slightly deminished with a field of 36 players.  As with most gaming stores around the world, popular decks are approximately reflected to that of the winning decklists from Magic: the Gathering Online.  Mono-Black (and mon-blue devotion to a lesser extent), Esper Control, Jund Monsters, and a variety of others.  

We took along a Naya (green / white / red) Hexproof or 'auras' decklist, whose strategy employs as the name suggests, slapping strong auras on hexproof creatures.  Although we did not make Top 8 with 3 wins and 2 losses, we do feel that with a few fine adjustments (perhaps a card or two from MTG Mint Card), we can break through.


Here's the list as it stood yesterday.  Starting off with the auras you want to enchant your creatures with, there are full booksets of four each for -
• Chained to the Rocks (removal)
• Ethereal Armor (buffs)
• Madcap Skills (buff and conditional evasion)
• Unflinching Courage (lifelink 'n' trample)


Creatures can be a little less straight forward with regards to choices - 
• Gladecover Scout and Witchstalker are definitely essential and a four-of by default.
• There is a two / two split with Voice of Resurgence and Fleecemane Lion which may be adjusted via sideboard.
• The local meta-game requires additional punch through and a deckset of Ghor-Clan Rampager fits this role and is used mostly for it's Bloodrush ability


Other spells included -
• A deckset of Boros Charm, whose flexibility provides additional pump, protection from board sweepers and a nice ping for 4 damage which won two matches last night.
• Just two (other two in sideboard) of Selesnya Charm which can exile the new 'god' cards, provide pump / trample or a surprise blocker.  This card was sided-out most games for Mizzium Mortars.


Lastly, the mana-base to make it all run - 
4 forest, 1 plains, 4 Temple Garden, 4 Stomping Ground, 4 Sacred Foundry, 3 Temple of Triumph, and 2 Temple of Abandon.  We thought the scry-lands were decent and helped reduce bad draws.


Not altogether bad and we think there is room for improvement - your constructive criticism is most welcome!
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