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10.18.2017

Magic Story - Jacefall

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Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

Before you go further, if you have not read today's Magic Story, 'The Race, Part 2' posted over on the Wizards of the Coast Magic: the Gathering Page, please pop on over now at this link, because we will be talking about that amazing story by the R&D Narrative Team.

Firs up however, we should tell you that Magic: The Gathering - Unstable Land Playmats featuring artwork by the incredibly talented John Avon are to be available from Ultra PRO Gaming in the new year.  To see those aesthetically pleasing playmats, pop on over to our sister site, MTG Realm on Tumblr linked right over here.


Righto - back to the ongoing Magic: the Gathering Ixalan story !

Today's five-dollar words are "abscond" and "peregrination".  We are very impressed with the language skills from the Merfolk character Tishana.  We started hearing Spock's voice (or any other Star Trek Vulcan's voice) in our head as we read every line for Tishana.

We have to tell Wizards of the Coast that we are deeply disappointed with today's story.  We have to endure Vraksa's song and lyrics about the Golgari's Kingdom of Rot rising - BUT - we are toyed and teased about a song from the goblin Breeches.  We do understand that Breeches is s rude goblin with a rude song about figs and although it may not be appropriate for all readers, we need Wizards to send the lyrics to us.  Failing that, we will endeavour to 'fill in the blank' and produce the missing lyrics and post a song to the tune of Chris Tomlin's - 'Waterfall' (you know - the one with '. . . your love is like a waterfall".


Anywhoos, the long and short of the story is that everyone wants the compass in order to find Orazca and the Immortal Sun.  Although the reason is acquire this powerful relic is different for each individual, they are all united in that none of the parties know exactly what it does or how to use it.  There is an unwavering belief that the Immortal Sun is still in its original packaging and has the user manual intact.


Lastly, this is a story of Vraska falling in love with Jace, and Jace falling over a waterfall.  We will have to wait until the next Ixalan story to find out whether Angrath the Minotaur is able to make a friend or form a legendary league of planeswalkers.  

For now, here is a lovely piece of artwork from Wesley Burt showing Jace falling over a waterfall with Vraska looking on in helpless horror and no Lifesaver close at hand.



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10.16.2017

DD Merfolk vs. Goblins

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Happy Monday MTG peeps,

Happy indeed as we are pleased to report another milestone - that MTG Realm has now exceed over 6.6 Million page-loads and more than 15,600 followers across our social media platforms.  

Enough of us though - Today we are to yatter about the latest Magic: the Gathering product coming your way, but first, it is time again for a another Gaming Store highlight.  This time we are going to Central New York - quite specifically 'Play the Game / Read the Story' located in the Salmon Run Mall in Watertown, New York.  

Play the Game / Read the Story has a total of three locations - one in Watertown, which we had visited and two others in Syracuse.  MTG Realm had provided a Google Review over at this link as well.  The staff member we interrogated / interviewed was great.  She plays Magic: the Gathering and was knowledgeable in the product offerings from WotC.  The Watertown location had a solid selection of sealed product and good games area.  There was a fairly large selection of common / uncommon singles but not very much in rares / mythic rares winning the location a very respectable 4 out of 5 stars from us.  Here are some pics we snapped for you -



Righto - on to today's news !

The full decklist for Duel Decks: Merfolk vs. Goblins, releasing November 10, 2017, was posted to the French language Magic: the Gathering site, but as the same information was not posted on the English language site, we suspect that a staffer may have jumped the gun.  Let's talk - 


Duel Decks let players dive right into battle with ready-to-play, sixty-card decks that contain powerful cards united by a theme.  In the case of Merfolk vs. Goblins pits two of the most recognizable tribes in the history of Magic against one another.  Duel Decks are designed to allow players dive right into battle with everything you need to start gaming.  Here is the teaser blurb for this pre-constructed product - 
Prepare to become the Master of the Waves or to launch a Goblin Grenade: the proud  defenders of the sea and the destructive mountain dwellers finally settle their accounts. Call a friend to play with these ready-to-play decks!

Each decklist appears to have a solid and supporting theme and contains one mythic rare and nine other rares to support your deck's tribal strategy.  Here is the list for each - 


TIDAL GUARDIANS

Creature (22) : , 1 Master of Waves, 1 Harbinger of the Tides, 1 Master of the Pearl Trident, 1 Tidebinder Mage, 1 Wake Thrasher, 1 Merfolk Sovereign, 1 Cold-Eyed Selkie, 2 Tidal Warrior, 2 Scroll Thief, 3 Streambed Aquitects, 1 Inkfathom Divers, 1 Merfolk Looter, 1 Merfolk Wayfinder, 1 Merrow Reejerey, 2 Rootwater Hunter, 2 Tidal Courier

Sorcery (6) : 4 Aquitect’s Will, 1 Mind Spring, 1 Concentrate

Instant (6) : 1 Engulf the Shore, 1 Misdirection, 2 Essence Scatter, 1 Tidal Wave, 1 Triton Tactics

Enchantment (2) : 2 Claustrophobia

Land (24) : 21 Island, 2 Lonely Sandbar, 1 Blighted Cataract

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RECKLESS VANDALS

Creature (20): 1 Warren Instigator, 1 Goblin Diplomats, 1 Goblin Rabblemaster, 1 Goblin Chieftain, 1 Goblin Goon, 1 Goblin Razerunners, 1 Krenko, Mob Boss, 2 Foundry Street Denizen, 1 Goblin Tunneler, 2 Boggart Brute, 1 Goblin Glory Chaser, 1 Ember Hauler, 2 Goblin Wardriver, 1 Gempalm Incinerator, 2 Goblin Ringleader, 1 Battle Squadron

Sorcery (7) : 3 Krenko’s Command, 1 Relentless Assault, 1 Goblin Grenade, 1 Hordeling Outburst, 1 Cleaver Riot

Instant (7) : 2 Brute Strength, 3 Ghostfire, 2 Tarfire

Artifact (2) : 1 Brittle Effigy, 1 Goblin Charbelcher

Land (24) : 20 Mountain, 2 Forgotten Cave, 2 Blighted Gorge

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As with all sealed preconstructed product, one should understand the intended audience / consumer first and foremost before passing any sort of judgement upon the product design.  Collectors and Modern players may prematurely pass judgement that because the lists have no Cursecatcher, Lord or Atlantis or Goblin Guide, that criticism is warranted.  

We think differently - this would appeal to casual or new players looking through their local gaming store.  This is also correctly priced in our opinion as well at an MRSP of $19.99 USD (from the WPN site although the main site indicates $24.99 USD).  To buy all the singles separately would almost certainly put you over that value.  We are liking what we see and do look forward going head to head with this in our playgroup.
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10.12.2017

Ixalan Story 10-11

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A Human, a Vampire, a Merfolk . . . and a Minotaur walk into the Boatswain's Rear.

Sounds like a start to a great Dungeons and Dragons adventure - nope - bamboozled again - it's just another day on Ixalan.  Yesterday's story on the Wizards of the Coast Magic: the Gathering site is titled 'The Race, Part 1', which sounds like there is a part 2 coming along next Wednesday perhaps.

If you missed it, check out the newest story from the R&D Narrative Team linked right here - CAUTION - the story does contain 100% of your suggested daily dose of awesomeness.  The teaser for this short is "Unlikely partnerships emerge as the hunt for the Golden City begins in earnest."  

Addressed by name in the story are the Ixalan vampires Mavren Fein and Vona, both of which are just tremendously dangerous beings.  Our two main Planeswalkers Vraska and Jace, whose budding friendship threatens to bloom into something more, and lastly the 'unlikely alliance' of Huatli of the Sun Empire and the Merfolk River Herald Tishana.

Skulduggery by Deruchenko Alexander.

What is set up here in Part 1 is a three-way race to the the lost gold city of Orazca and the powerful and mysterious relic, the Immortal Sun.  This hidden location is thought to be over the mountain range that separates Pachatupa and Quetzatl, and then further across the lake - rather vague that.  For the moment, the success of finding this lost treasure goes to Jace and Vraska who possess the Thaumatic Compass.  By the end of the story, the Planeswalkers are beginning to realise how the compass works.  They also suspect that by finding the lost city, they will also discover the magical enchantment which prevents them from leaving this Plane.


Certainly looking forward to next week's Magic Story.  

Until then, the MTG Realm crew have been busy developing standard decklists for Blue / Green Merfolk and Black / White Tokens to cart along to Friday Night Magic.  Next week, we might be looking at Ixalan cards to add to our (way too numerous) Commander decklists.

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10.10.2017

Explorers of Ixalan

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Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving long weekend with friends and family.  We had definitely filled out boots with turkey and fixings and spent some quality time catching up.  Enough of that though for now - we do need to catch up on some news however.

Wizards of the Coast yesterday (no long weekend for our American neighbours) had surpirsed many Magic: the Gathering fans with word of a new logo.  Originally announced during last weekend's coverage of World Championship (we missed it), this is to be the new Magic: the Gathering logo moving forward on all products with the release of the 'Dominaria' set in March, 2018.



The gaming community was also informed that the classic card back will remain unchanged, which is not much of a surprise.  WotC staffer Matt Cavotta had a very insightful post on the mothersite as well - 
A logo redesign rings hollow when it's made solely to stir up interest in a stale brand. A logo change is warranted and has substance when it's made to reflect what is evolving or what has already evolved about the truth of the brand. With each change in Magic's logo, the new design has been a response and a reflection of the evolution of the brand.

We feel that Matt is spot on with those comments and do in fact rather like the new logo, although we think (as with all things), there are those not so happy with that. Righto - on to today's article topic - Explorers of Ixalan !



Please do pop on over to the article and YouTube video here for the full announcement.
Explorers of Ixalan is an out-of-the-box multiplayer Magic experience that challenges you to defeat your opponents along the way as you search for the lost city of Orazca.


Explorers of Ixalan is expected to be released late November, 2017 for a suggested retail price of $65 (USD) in the United States, which likely means a bit north of eighty bucks here in Canada perhaps.  Here's what you get for the coin - 

• 4 x 60-card decks
• 20 double-sided tokens
• 50 game tiles
• 40 counter pieces
• 4 deck boxes

The four decks follow the tribes we now have in the Ixalan story, with some similar themes -


Legion of Dusk - White / Black - Midrange - flying and lifegain
Brazen Coaltion - Blue / Black / Red - Aggro goodness
River Heralds - Blue / Green - Fishy Prowess flavour
Sun Empire - White / Red / Green - Ramp 'n' Stomp

Game cards include -
Quest - Reward upon completion
Site - Ongoing effects
Event - Immediate one-time benefit

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10.06.2017

Token Friday

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Happy Friday MTG peeps,

Here in Canada, we are celebrating the Thanksgiving long weekend, rather than in late November when our American cousins incorrectly celebrate this holiday.  More on that over here if you are interested.  Anywhoos, to say the least, do try to get in to your local gaming store who should all be open this evening.  Our local store, OMG! Games, here in Barrie, Ontario will have all the cooking burners on. As it is the first FNM in October - FYI - This month's Friday Night Promo is NOT a card but a 'token' - join in with other MTG fans over here on Reddit to express your excitement.

A safe trip to you If you are travelling to visit friends and family this weekend.  Speaking of travelling, there is a rather good thread on Magic and the TSA over here.  Here is essentially a discourse of stories of Magic: the Gathering players being screened by the Transportation Security Administration.  Personally, we've never crossed into the States with MTG cards and although could not contribute, did found the thread interesting.

Righto - next up - Standard B/W Tokens

We had been contemplating another decklist for FNM (we already have a lovely U/G Mefolk list), and wanted something with a heavy token theme.  We had developed a list very similar to the one Wedge, from the Mana Source had published recently and love it !

W/B Tokens, A deck by TheManaSource

Creature 8
4 Anointer Priest
2 Master Trinketeer
2 Oketra the True

Spell 25
4 Anointed Procession
4 Fatal Push
1 Fumigate
4 Hidden Stockpile
3 Servo Exhibition
2 Settle the Wreckage
3 Sram's Expertise
2 Start // Finish
2 Vraska's Contempt

Land 27
4 Aether Hub
4 Concealed Courtyard
1 Evolving Wilds
2 Ifnir Deadlands
3 Legion's Landing
6 Plains
4 Shefet Dunes

3 Swamp

Servos, warriors, vampires - all the tokens !  Looks like fun.
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10.04.2017

Ixalan Story #5

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Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

Wednesdays are something else entirely when Magic Stories are on tap on the Magic: the Gathering page.  Today is the 7th story installment from the Wizards of the Coast MTG R&D Narrative Team.  A very quick recap of the story blurbs so far in this very engaging and entertaining story series so far - 

Episode 1 - Jace, Alone.  A man wakes up alon on an island, his memory as absent as his means of arrival.

Episode 2 - The Third Aspect of the Sun.  Huatli is a Warrior-Poet of the Sun Empire. Her talent in combat and creativity know no bounds, but when faced with a frightening encounter and an even more astounding vision, she must overcome discomfort to live up to expectation.

Episode 3 - The Talented Captain Vraska.  Vraska has never been happier. Finally able to be the leader she always knew she could be, she captains The Belligerent with the skill of the greatest of commanders. She had kept Jace Beleren alive initially to utilize his talents, but soon discovers that they make quite the team.

Episode 4 - The Shapers.  With so many different groups seeking the golden city of Orazca, how will the River Heralds keep the city's power from falling into the wrong hands?

Episdoe 5 - Something Else Entirely.  The Belligerent harbors at High and Dry, and Jace gets the lowdown on Vraska's mission.

In this story we return to the characters of Jace and Vraska, which opens up onboard The Belligerent as they make sail towards the Brazen Coalition base High and Dry.  We learn more about the crew here - Amelia, quartermaster, Kerrigan, the burly ogre (oopps - Wizards had meant 'Orc') who served as ship's cook, and Gavven, the boatswain.  The only unbelivable thing here is that the cook is an Orc - as beleivable as the Orc in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings declaring that "meat is back on the menu", like the fellas hit Olive Garden on the weekends.  We learn that Jace has begun to now fully explore, practice and strengthen his former powers.  


A highlight for us is certainly the visit to High and Dry, where the "planked streets of High and Dry were the remains of thousands of broken Brazen Coalition ships".  Our only criticsm here is that there was not further description of this settlement, other than a few words later describing some re-purposed materials in the construction and furnishings of the watering hole called the Boatswain's Rear.  
The denizens / patrons of this establishment are however described quite well.  Speaking of highlights, we have to point our the incorrigible shipmate Breeches, a goblin who had loudly proclaimed "DEBT AND ALE AND CARDS!", a deep truth that may Magic: the Gathering players know well.  Vorthos Jay had suggested on his Tumblr Blog Achive Trap Mini that Breeches must be a Millennial.  

Sailor of Means, by Ryan Pancoast

We also are treated to additional information on the Immortal Sun, delivered from Malcolm, a Siren and the Ship's navigator, who had the following to say  "The object we're after is in Orazca, and it is known as the Immortal Sun. It used to be kept in the monasteries of Torrezon, in the kingdom that would eventually become the Legion of Dusk. For generations, it remained under the protection of its holy custodians in the mountains of the eastern continent.  "Its presence gave the old rulers incredible power," Malcolm continued. "Jealousies blossomed, and Pedron the Wicked's forces broke into the monastery where the Immortal Sun was kept safe and stole it. As they departed the sanctuary, a winged being descended from the sky. It took the Immortal Sun, carrying the relic across the sea and into the west. No living being knows its exact location, but this compass is meant to help us."  Not certain that the specific details of all this would be known to a Siren, generations after the fact (example - how does Malcolm know that 'jealousies blossomed"?).  The popular theory at the moment is that the "winged being" which had took the Immortal Sun from the followers of Pedron the Wicked is . . . Ugin !  There are a lot of questions surrounding this but we are satisfied to keep this as a theory for now.  

We round out the story's end with Jace learning how the Thaumatic Compass may work - just before the ship is dashed upon the rocks (the continent of Ixalan) and a hard place (a Legion ship).

Great read Wizards of the Coast !  We did enjoy and very much appreciate the growing relation between Jace and Vraska.

The Magic stories would be much improved in our opinion with some art, not from cards, but perhaps concept work - heck, we would love to see just rough sketches of the Ixalan people, places and things.

Contract Killing by Winona Nelson

Sad little oil lamps illuminated a sadder series of crowded tables and half-broken chairs, each stuffed with the most degenerate villains one could imagine.
This line was beautiful and reminiscent of a similar dive in a far away place.

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