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Happy Thursday MTG peeps,

We here at MTG Realm are looking forward to the upcoming Friday Night Magic event at OMG! Games tomorrow night - why you ask ?  Well funny you should ask - one of the local players (good guy Johnny Bremner) found a rather critical card we were looking for and we think it will make all the difference in the world how smoothly our standard format deck will now play - we'll give ya an update early next week.  Anywhoos, with our recent orders from MTG Mint Card and Johnny's contribution, we feel confident in hitting the Top 8 with relative ease. 

As we're spending the evening getting a feeling how our new monster is working, we wont' be writing a high-brow article on Magic: the Gathering but rather defer to our sister site, MTG Realm on Tumblr to deliver the fun - let's go !  
Magic: the Gathering - Ultra PRO DD Boxes
Ultra PRO Collectibles - Magic: The Gathering Speed vs. Cunning Duel Deck boxes!

Features 1 large Duel Deck Box with 2 Top Loading Deck Boxes and 1 Matching Divider per Deck box

Racing across the blazing steppe, the wave of attackers crests the barren hills. Nothing can stop their reckless advance. These warriors live fast, fight hard, and strike terror into the hearts of those in their path. The scarred countryside seems abandoned. Then, suddenly, hidden fighters spring from ambush. The overconfident enemy recoils in surprise, outflanked and outsmarted. Who will prevail, the swift or the sly?
HNNNG ! ! N3RD P0RN !!  :)
Magic: the Gathering - Quilt
This superb bed quilt declares exactly where the Magic happens in the household.  Posted to Imgur by WenMon.
Magic: the Gathering - Khans of Tarkir Teaser from SDCC
A rather short 45-second video showing the Khans from the next MTG set, Khans of Tarkir which included the Planeswalker Sarkhan.  The names I’ve attached to the images are NOT official.  Video posted to the mothership over here and my other notes from the MTG Panel over here.

The Abzan Houses
* WBG (centered in white).
• Dragon aspect: Endurance.
• Symbol: Scale of the Dragon.
• Khan: Anafenza

The Jeskai Way
* URW (centered in blue).
• Dragon aspect: Cunning.
•Symbol: Eye of the Dragon.
•Khan: Narset

The Sultai Brood
* BGU (centered in black).
• Dragon aspect: Ruthlessness.
• Symbol: Fang of the Dragon.
• Khan: Sidisi

The Mardu Horde
* RWB (centered in red).
• Dragon aspect: Speed.
• Symbol: Wings of the Dragon.
• Khan: Zurgo Helmsmasher. Orcs

The Temur Frontier
* GUR (centered in green).
• Dragon aspect: Savagery.
• Symbol: Claw of the Dragon.
• Khan: Surrak Dragonclaw


Organised Play Updates

Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

Some rather interesting news for those of you readers who venture beyond your local Friday Night Magic events and go on to play in the big league.  We've  done a very brief summary here for you but suggest you hit up the mothersite to get the full monty over here.  

First up however, let's talk about hard to get judge foils which may actually may become a titch more difficult to obtain (on the secondary market).

Judge Foils

The Magic Judge Exemplar Program is a brand new Judge Reward Program just recently announced this week.  Magic Judges certified by the DCI are often the un-sung heroes of large tournaments where they provide consistent rules enforcement and promote fair play among a myriad of other tasks.  Judges are typically unpaid for their very hard work but are rewarded through a Judge figt card program where foil Magic: the Gathering cards were either handed out or mailed out to judge staff who worked at MTG tournamdents and events.  Started in 1998, the Judge reward program evolved over the course of the years and in recent years provided approximately eight to ten possible promo cards to be 'earned'.  A number of these promo cards are actually worth a bit of money and has in the past helped some Judges offset the cost of their participation (travel and accommodation) in said event / tournament.  These cards would often find their way on to eBay or retailer's websites where collectors would snap them up.

That has all changed now - for the better or worse, it is up to you to decide. Announcements on 'The Magic Judge' blog introduced the Exemplar Program as the new method of distributing foils to judges in the DCI judge program. The most immediate effect of the foil “policy” change is that judges at GP events will no longer receive foils from WotC as gifts for their efforts.  The Exemplar Program will begin in 2014 for L3+judges and will be fully implemented for all judges in 2015. While judge activities will continue as before, in 2015, judges foils will only be available as part of the Exemplar Program which will use a recognition-based process that will award judge foils to a wider audience of judges based on their contributions to the judging community.  This may mean fewer Judge foils making it on to the secondary market and may impact large tournament organisers latter in the 2015 schedule as they may be required to offer additional incentives or compensation for certified judges - it really is too early to tell.

PTQs/GPs/PTs Changes

Yesterday on the mothersite was a series of important updates from Helene Bergeot, Director of Global Organized Play Wizards of the Coast.  We suggest that if you are a regular at the large tournaments, you read all four articles to get a handle on the number of changes to the Pro Tour Qualifying (PYQ) System which is to take effect starting with the qualifiers in December.  

Essentially your local gaming store will still be running 'Preliminary' PTQs from which the winners will be qualified to attend a Regional PTQ and from here, potentially on to the Pro Tour.  Other changes include an adjustment as to how Pro Points are earned but since we're not ever expecting to go pro nor do we think that Pros will ever stop by our little MTG Realm Blog, we will just direct you to read this on the mother site.  There are also a planned increase in the number of Grand Prix tournaments and more specifically, a total of 54 GPs in the 2015 calendar year in the following regions :
•    24 in the United States and Canada
•    14 in Europe
•    5 in Mexico, Central America, and South America
•    7 in Asia-Pacific
•    4 in Japan



MTG Commander 2014

Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

We here at MTG Realm are still processing all the revelations from last weekend's Magic: the Gathering Panel at San Diego Comic-Con.  For today's post, we want to cover off the previews for this November's upcoming Commander product release.

Here is a brief blurb from yesterday's announcement on the mothersite -

For the first time ever, you can lead your forces with a Planeswalker commander in this exciting multiplayer Magic format. Dominate the battlefield with new combinations of strength and skill. Swarm opponents with mighty creatures and arm yourself with powerful artifacts. But fight wisely, for only one commander will prevail.

Also for the first time ever, Planeswalker commanders will headline five monocolored 100-card Commander decks. There will be 61 new cards legal in eternal formats (Vintage and Legacy) but not legal in Standard, Block Constructed, or Modern, with 15 new cards in each deck.

Release Date: November 7, 2014
Magic Online Release Date: November 21, 2014
Three-Letter Abbreviation: C14
Twitter Hashtag: #MTGC14
MSRP: $34.99 (per deck)
Languages: English, Japanese, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Chinese Simplified
Initial Concept and Game Design: Ethan Fleischer (lead), Dan Emmons, Aaron Forsythe, James Hata, Charles Rapkin
Final Game Design & Development: Ian Duke (lead), Mark Globus, Peter Lee, Dan Emmons, Max McCall

The two cards previewed at the MTG Panel at SDCC are :
• Teferi, Temporal Archmage - (to be featured in the blue 'Peer through Time' decklist), from Dominara.
• Ghoulcaller Gisa - from the plane of Innistrad, the sister of Geralf, both necromancers.

Teferi, Temporal Archmage, 4UU
Planeswalker - Teferi, Mythic Rare
+1: Look at the top two cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand and the other on the bottom of your library.
-1: Untap up to four target permanents.
-10: You get an emblem with "You may activate loyalty abilities of planeswalkers you control on any player's turn any time you could cast an instant."

Ghoulcaller Gisa, 3BB
Legendary Creature - Human Wizard, Mythic Rare
B, T, Sacrifice another creature: Put X 2/2 black Zombie creature tokens onto the battlefield, where X is the sacrificed creature's power.
"Geralf, must you always whine? I agreed to nothing. I'll raise ghouls anytime I wish."

Teferi looks to be crazy good and incredibly powerful.  The first two abilities are solid while the third is so conditional that we would not really want to plan on using it, like evar.  Gisa is set to puke out hordes of zombie tokens for an alpha strike or some sacrifice shenanigans.  We will likely pick up at least two of the five decks and will be ordering singles from the other ones from MTG Mint Card.


Duel Decks' Anthology

Happy Monday MTG peeps,

Wow, what a weekend for Magic: the Gathering players worldwide.  First off, we want to extend a huge thank-you to the very capable / amazing WotC staffer Alison Luhrs (MTG Community Manager) who provided a blur / barrage of real time tweets as live coverage of the MTG Panel at the San Diego Comic Con was not available due to 'technical difficulties'.  Fav quote on this absence of service from Evan Erwin (who cracks up every time).  Anywhoos, there was a massive volume of previews and teasers during the MTG Panel on Saturday during the San Diego Comic Con -

• Khans of Tarkir,
• From The Vault: Annihilation,
• Duel Decks: Speed vs. Cunning,
• Duel Decks, Anthology, and
• Commander 2014

We'll be rather busy for at least the next two weeks going over all the new material but for today's post on the MTG Realm blog, we want to yatter a bit about the announced Duel Decks' Anthology product.  This new product which is to be expected to be released on or about December 12, 2014.  Duel Decks' Anthology is to be a compilation set that combines the first four Duel Decks all provided with the new card frames. Now the big question is on many gamer's minds is exactly what is meant by 'combined'.  To many, this means all eight 60-card theme decks (or 480 cards) from each of the Duel Decks in one product :

• Elves vs. Goblins (2007)
• Jace vs. Chandra (2008)
• Divine vs. Demonic (2009)
• Garruk vs. Liliana (2009)

We would love to get a hold of this product when it comes out, or at the very least get a variety of card singles from MTG Mint Card.  Should this be the full monty of all eight decklists what would be a reasonable manufacturer suggested retail price - sixty bucks, eighty bucks, who knows?  As soon as we did read this tweet / announcement, we could imagine the big retailers groaning as their sealed product took a hit (maybe).  Here are the very rough values of the sealed Duel Deck products from just before the Duel Decks' Anthology announcement which we will revisit in another month or so :

Elves vs. Goblins ~ $200
Jace vs. Chandra ~ $150
Divine vs. Demonic ~ $175
Garruk vs. Liliana ~ $50

Stay tuned to latter posts on MTG Realm as we play catch-up on all the very exciting announcements including our postulations / speculations on the next Duel Deck - Speed vs. Cunning, due to be released on 5th September, 2014.  Until then, happy gaming everyone!



Happy Saturday MTG peeps,

Very giddy and excited here over all the amazing / awesome / intriguing revelations from the Magic: the Gathering panel today (just wrapped up a few minutes ago) at San Diego Comic Con.  There will be a host of further posts here at MTG Realm to go over all the spoilers 'n' previews from upcoming Wizards of the Coast MTG product but for now, we're doing a quick and dirty summary of some of the high lights.

Many thanks to WotC staffer Alison who had provided blisteringly fast posts to the MTG Twitter machine.  It is from here we've obtained most of the images and text news.  Let's go !!
@wizards_magic  · (Alison)

From the Vault: Annihilation is Coming August 22!
Rolling Earthquake
From Duels to paper -- a physical version of this Living Death

Coming September 5th, Speed vs Cunning Duel Deck!

Commander set out November 7th!
TEFERI! Check out one of 5 upcoming monocolor Commander decks our November 7
 One of the other Commanders -- check out Ghoulcaller Gisa! Coming November 7


This is a LARGE-SMALL-LARGE set with a unique draft structure and time travel element

Tarkir is a plane of five warring clans! Each worships one aspect of the (now extinct) dragons...


Abzan: WBG 

Jeskai: URW 
Sultai: BGU 
Mardu: RWB
Temur : GUR

The ABZAN value endurance...
The JESKAI admire the cunning of dragons
The SULTAI respect the ruthlessness of dragons
The MARDU value the speed of the dragon

The TEMUR have a savage streak

The Mardu's Khan is Zorgo Helmsmasher. Recognize him from the Speed vs Cunning Duel Deck earlier.

Meet the Mardu clan leader ZURGO HELMSMASHER


That's eight possible prerelease rares per color
question time! Will we see a three color Planeswalker? Probably!

Each clan gets their own mechanic, plus morph is back!

One more thing! Curious about mechanics? We're happy to announce the return of MORPH! 

Conspiracy was a big success, and it has definitely impacted what we'll do in the future



Infernal Intervetnion Intro Pack

Happy Friday MTG peeps,

Clear your schedule this evening and kick your weekend off right by getting to your local gaming store for this evening's Friday Night Magic Event.  We'll be popping on over to OMG! Games, here in Barrie, Ontario (just a titch north of Toronto) where we will be running our first attempt of Standard Format Slivers.  We went with a predominantly green / red / blue build with the ability to side in other Slivers as required with the punchline being the new bomb - Sliver Hivelord.  We'll yatter about how our games went and what we plan to improve the list against the local meta-game.  Anywhoos, let's take a pause and yatter about the new Magic 2015 core set Intro Pack we got -

Everything you need in one ready-made deck. Includes
• A 60 cards pre-constructed deck,
• a foil premium rare card,
• two sealed Magic 2015 15-card booster packs,
• a strategy insert, and
• a Magic learn-to-play guide.  

Check out the brief video dissection -

This is great for new players wanting to to learn constructed and getting them into the game - more specifically, Friday Night Magic at their local game store.  Wizards of the Coast had done their best to design these to be played against each other and to be a springboard into the game for novice gamers.  Alternatively, this also delivers a measure of fun for seasoned players who may use the Intro Packs to battle against a friend, also equipped with an Intro Pack.  This arrangement would provide some relatively strength-matched decklists to go up against each other and preclude 'that guy' who seems to have rather deep pockets to fill a list with completely OP cards leading to rapid blow-outs and a failure to deliver fun.  Having said that, this decklist can serve as a good chasis upon which to build upgrades.  Drop by MTG Mint Card and start your mix 'n' match to increase the power level of this starter.

Decklist for the Red / Black 'Infernal Intervention' Intro Pack.  The foil rare Indulgent Tormentor was also the Magic 2015 PreRelease promo.

Here's that decklist :
26 Lands
13x Mountain
13x Swamp

18 Creatures
2x Carrion Crow
2x Gargoyle Sentinel
2x Goblin Roughrider
1x Gravedigger
1x Indulgent Tormentor (Foil Rare)
2x Nightfire Giant
1x Thundering Giant
2x Torch Fiend
3x Typhoid Rats
1x Wall of Fire
1x Zof Shade

16 Other Spells
2x Blastfire Bolt
1x Burning Anger (Second Rare)
1x Caustic Tar
1x Clear a Path
1x Cone of Flame
1x Festergloom
2x Flesh to Dust
2x Heat Ray
2x Lightning Strike
2x Profane Memento
1x Stab Wound


The two Magic 2015 booster packs in the M15 Intro Pack produced the following :
Rares : Genesis Hydra, Agrressive Minning
Uncommons : Ancient Silverback, Leeching Sliver, Military Intelligence, First Response, Altac Bloodseeker, Cicle of Flame.

We also got four other booster packs and have to say we were throughly impressed with the haul -
Garruk, Apex Predator, Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, Yisan, the Wanderer Bard, and Stormtide Leviathan.

That's it for now, drop by (tomorrow) Saturday as we will have the latest 'knock yer socks off' news from the Magic: the Gathering Panel at San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) where we may expect previews from a number of soon-to-be-released card sets / products from WotC.


Standard Slivers M14/15

Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

With a large Magic 2015 core set pre-order from MTG Mint Card now in hand, we, like many other Magic: the Gathering players are set to brew up new decklists for standard constructed.

One of the very first lists we've created is for standard Slivers and the most important reason for this is improved mana via Sliver Hive which will allow you to tap for one mana of any color when casting a Sliver spell.  This, along with Manaweft Sliver essentially provides a solid base to cast every colour or multi-coloured Sliver card out.  Which is a good thing as M15 has the five colour Sliver Hivelord which will give all your Sliver critters indestructible.

But where to go with all our lovely Sliver choices ?

ONE CMC - Galerider Sliver, u / Stiking Sliver, r

TWO CMC - Diffusion Sliver, 1u / Leeching  Sliver, 1b / Manaweft  Sliver, 1g / Predatory  Sliver, 1g / Venom  Sliver, 1g

THREE CMC - Belligerent  Sliver, 2r / Blur Sliver, 2r / Sliver Construct, 3 / Steelform  Sliver, 2w / Syphon  Sliver, 2b

FOUR CMC - Bonescythe  Sliver, 3w 

FIVE CMC - Battle  Sliver, 4r / Sliver Hivelord, wubrg / Thorncaster  Sliver, 4r

SIX CMC - Constricting  Sliver, 5w / Megantic  Sliver, 5g

SEVEN CMC - Groundshaker  Sliver, 6g

One player - Roy Reese - took along a Sliver decklist to the Standard Open in Baltimore last weekend, the first large tournament directly after the release of the new core set.  You can check out the Deck Tech over here.  Roy placed 88th in Tournament which ain't that bad and one thing he mentioned in the video was the need for Negate to counter non-creature spells, which we will completely agree with for the current metagame.  We would also extrapolate this further by suggesting you may be well served in a full deckset of Diffusion Sliver, the blue two-drop fella forcing your opponent to pay two more mana to cast any spell targeting one of your Slivers.

There are several rather nice cards that provide assistance to creature-heavy decklists such as Domri Rade, Garruk, Caller of Beasts, and Yisan, the Wanderer Bard which will allow you to extract or float off additional Slivers.  We still don't think that a 'tool-box' approach is correct just yet for Slivers.

For the moment, we will have a first attempt ready for Friday Night Magic at OMG! Games and as it stands for today, may feature the following -
The tough part is deciding the non-Sliver supporting cards such as Simic Charm, Negate, Cyclonic Rift, Ghor-Clan Rampager and others.


Tuesday MTG Miscellany

Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

Not much of a post today for you - but be sure to check back tomorrow as we evaluate a few options on standard decklists featuring M14 / M15 Slivers.  For today, we'll just yatter about a number of miscellaneous Magic: the Gathering related items.

First up - 
The first large MTG tournament directly after the newest core set, Magic 2015 was released.  Not much to say really than this tournament put on by StarCityGames Open Series Baltimore was perhaps too close to the official release for many players to get a hold of the new cards.  Dan Jessup won the standard event with a mono-black devotion and the rest of the top decks did not feature much inclusion of new M15.
Next -
Over on the mothership today, Elaine Chase, Senior Director, Global Brand Strategy & Marketing for Magic: The Gathering had an important update as to what actions Wizards of the Coast had been taking with regards to the increase of counterfeit MTG cards - we suggest you give this a read.  We suggest giving this article from Chas Andrrs on SCG a review to bring yourself up to speed.

Next -
We had already talked last week about on our Tumblr Blog about the return of Wizards of the Coast to San Diego Comic-Con but were not clear as to the WotC panelist.  Pop on over to the mothersite here for the 4.1.1.   We can expect Mark Rosewater (Magic head designer) to moderate a panel featuring Mark Purvis (Magic director of global brand marketing), Doug Beyer (Magic senior creative designer), and Gavin Verhey (Magic designer).
Finally -
We now have our Magic 2015 pre-orders (a bunch of singles and an assorted card lot) in hand from MTG Mint Card.  This was shipped super fast by UPS and we can now start brewing some decklists in time for this Friday's Friday Night Magic event at OMG! Games in Barrie, Ontario.  

Our first-world problem - our shelf is now too full to accommodate our Magic: the Gathering collection.  :)



Magic 2015 Fat Pack

Happy Monday MTG peeps,

Magic: the Gathering players are likely all a rather happy bunch at the moment - the latest core set, Magic 2015 officially released on Friday with the special launch event taking place during Friday Night Magic.  Those in attendance at their local gaming store may have scored a lovely alternate art 'In Garruk's Wake', which although may not see a lot of constructed play, does perfectly present the theme / storyline of this core set.  

We played on Friday Night at OMG! Games here in Barrie, Ontario, Canada-Land to get our launch promo and try out a new Magic 2015 card in an existing Naya Hexproof Auras decklist we already had.  Specifically, we had added a full deckset of Heliod's Pilgrim which, all things considered, is a rather powerful card - being able to search your library for any aura card to get it in your hand is great.  We modified the conventional list to run it a bit akin to a 'toolbox' where we floated out the right auras at the right time.  Unfortunately we did not do too well at OMG! Games and think we need to modify our mana a titch.  Speaking of our local gaming store, they ran a Charity Event on Sunday for a former regular who had been battling cancer.  Although the event is over, you can still contribute to good guy William Howe's recovery here.

Righto - back on track!
As is our custom here on MTG Realm, we've grabbed a M15 Fat Pack from OMG! Games and brought it back to our lair for a video dissection - let's have a look 


For an MRSP of just $40 USD, here's what you score in a Magic 2015 Fat Pack -
• Card Storage Box
• Nine M15 Boosters
• 2 deck boxes
• Player's Guide
• A learn-to-play insert
• A pack of 80 basic lands
• Spindown life counter

We were more than happy with our Fat Pack Pulls - a total of 3 Mythic Rares, one of which is most definitely a 'money card' at the moment.  The Sliver Hivelord is also very welcome as we had pre-ordered from MTG Mint a bunch of M14 / M15 Slivers and Sliver Hive as we want to play a fun Sliver build at FNM before this fall's rotation.
• Garruk, Apex Predator
• Jace, the Living Guildpack
• Sliver Hivelord
• Cruel Sadist
• Chasm Skulker
• Kurlesh, Onakke Ancient
• Battlefield Forge
• Preeminent Captain
• Phyrexian Revoker