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Standard Orzhov

Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

We want to wish everyone a happy and safe New Year's eve and the very best for the new year.  Oddly on the very last day of 2013 all three of us here at MTG Realm finally have found our Magic: the Gathering groove for standard and have decided on a standard constructed deck.  RStomp is going with a Kibler Golgari variation, RTech is polishing up her Simic-Grow / Flash and yours truly CopySix is packing a take on Ryo Nakada's Orzhov Aggro (minus the Mutavaults as they are $30-$35 each and we don't have the money for those right now).  We have recent acquisitions in hand now from MTG Mint Card and are ready for our next Friday Night Magic event at OMG! Games here in Barrie, Ontario.

Anywhoos - let's have a looky-loo at Ryo's list again for reference -

Ryo Nakada, Orzhov Aggro, GP Shizuoka 2013 Winning Decklist
22 lands : 4  Godless Shrine, 4  Mutavault, 2  Orzhov Guildgate, 7  Plains, 1  Swamp, 4  Temple of Silence

29 creatures : 4  Banisher Priest, 4  Boros Elite, 4  Daring Skyjek, 3  Dryad Militant, 3  Imposing Sovereign, 4  Precinct Captain, 4  Soldier of the Pantheon, 3  Xathrid Necromancer

9 other spells : 4  Brave the Elements, 3  Orzhov Charm, 2  Spear of Heliod

15 sideboard cards : 3  Dark Betrayal, 3  Doom Blade, 1  Pithing Needle, 2  Profit // Loss, 3  Sin Collector, 2  Thoughtseize, 1  Xathrid Necromancer



We've played Orzhov for a while now and our hear broke after Innistrad rotated out taking with many of our fav cards (Intangible Virtue, Lingering Souls, etc.).  That is all now behind us now that we've evaluated M14's Xathrid Necromancer against our local metagame.  The Necromancer demands an immediate answer from removal, and makes combat a nightmare for the opponent. It also foils any plans that revolve around Supreme Verdict. We particularly like the interaction with Cartel Aristocrat which offers a sacrifice outlet to dump a cheap one drop for protection while generating a 2/2 Zombie token.  Some considerations we are giving to the main board and side board -

Immortal Servitude to cycle back all those cheap critters we've just turfed in the 'yard to restart the shenanigans yet again.  The 'Willing' side of the fuse card 'Ready // Willing' which provides deathtouch and lifelink - why?  Because nobody expects this sort of thingy.

Some other ideas we are toying with include (but are not limited to) using Calvary Pegasus to give all our dudes (humans specifically) flying when they attack.  High Priest of Penance is a nice two drop which will blow up any non-land permanent (enchantment, Planeswalker, etc.) and gives us another Zombie token while the Necromancer is out.  Thoughtseize may also be useful against some match-ups as well.

For a finisher, we may consider Elspeth, Sun's Champion, Obzedat, Ghost Council or perhaps Bloodbaron of Vizkopa.  There are a lot of choices but one thing of concern is should our opponent have a Ratchet Bomb to blow up our fresh 'n' fetid Zombie token army.  Suggestions always welcome of course in the comment thingy below or eMail.

Happy New Year / Happy Brewing!


DotP 2014 Updates

Happy Monday MTG peeps,

A lot of our friends are home from work / school over the year-end holiday season, and as as the weather up here had been a bit nasty, a lot of them have dug in are are getting some time in gaming - digital that is instead of analog.  We would be dishonest if we were to say that we've kept you, the MTG Realm reader up to date on all the latest on the electronic gaming side of Magic: the Gathering, more specifically, Magic 2014 — Duels of the Planeswalkers.  Well, we hope to make amends by giving you a summary right now . . .

If you are new on to the MTG digital scene, here's the 4.1.1. for you now -
Ignite your spark with Magic 2014 — Duels of the Planeswalkers! With over 12 million fans, discover what makes Magic: The Gathering the world’s premier trading card game. Become a Planeswalker and travel the planes of existence unleashing a torrent of spells and creatures to devastate your opponents on Xbox LIVE Arcade, , Steam (PC), Android, and iPad.

Key Features:
• 10 decks; each with cards to unlock
• 250+ cards unlockable through gameplay
• Single player Campaign across the planes of Shandalar, Ravnica, Alara, Innistrad and Zendikar; plus 11 revenge matches
• 4 Deadly opponents, including the Planeswalker Chandra Nalaar
• Multiplayer modes; including Two-Headed giant and custom games
• Sealed Play Mode; introduces deck building
• 10 puzzling challenges

Some of the recent releases include the following deck packs -

Unfinished Business
Wake the dead! The creatures of the blue and black “Unfinished Business” deck refuse to rest in peace. Your spells will bring them back from beyond the grave to exact vengeance against your enemies

Bounce and Boon
Summon creatures that enter the battlefield with a bang—then summon them again and again! The white “Bounce and Boon” deck keeps your opponents on their heels with a constant stream of life gain and battlefield manipulation.

Enchanter's Arsenal
Stack your powers and smash your foes with the brute force of green and white. Your countless enchantments will frustrate your opponents and infuse your creatures with overwhelming might!

Up to Mischief
Confuse, disrupt, and annoy your enemies with blue faeries! Your spells and creature abilities will allow you to control the flow of the game before releasing a devastating cloud of tiny-winged fury!

Pop on over to this very well made list of all the expansion deck lists / unlocks, etc. to see where your next adventure may take you.


A Very Kiora Christmas

Merry Christmas MTG peeps,

We wish all a very merry and a happy mtg.  Hopefully you will have a chance over the Holiday Season to sit down with friends 'n' family to get in a few games of Magic: the Gathering.  We had popped over to our local card shop, OMG! Games yesterday where some players were getting a few games in before traveling or time with family - oh - a few last moment Christmas shoppers. Speaking of Christmas shopping, although today is indeed the day, you can still pop over to MTG Mint Card and dial in to their Christmas Clearance Sale which ends this Friday.

Anywhoos - let's get on with today's post - a right proper Christmas treat from the mothersite! Say hellos to the much talked about but never seen Kiora, the first official preview for Born of the Gods -

Kiora, the Crashing Wave, 2gu
Planeswalker — Kiora, Mythic Rare

+1: Until your next turn, prevent all damage that would be dealt to and dealt by target permanent an opponent controls.

-1: Draw a card. You may play an additional land this turn.

-5: You get an emblem with "At the beginning of your end step, put a 9/9 blue Kraken creature token onto the battlefield."

Starting Loyalty: 2
Illus. Scott M. Fischer #149/165

First off, we've got to say we here at MTG Realm have a soft spot for merfolk, are are simply gushing about this simic (green / blue) merfolk planeswalker.  Let's take a look -

For four mana (two colourless and a 'simic') you get a 'Walker with a somewhat low starting loyalty of two.  The plus 1 ability provides an interesting way to protect either Kiora (the most likely choice) or another creature by nullifying any damage to or from an opponent's permanent.  The minus 1 gives you an 'explore' effect - a card draw and an additional land which may be played.  The BOMB is the minus 5 ability which gives you an emblem to drop a 9/9 blue Kraken critter at your end step.

This new Born of the Gods Planeswalker looks fun to play and we'll certainly explore our options for standard and Commander after all the new BNG cards are out.



Born of the Gods Art Spoilers

Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

Just in time for Christmas and the Holiday Season is some very lovely / intriguing / awesome Magic: the Gathering art spoilers for the next set, Born of the Gods ('BNG').  The next set hits your local game store shelves on 7th February with the PreRelease events taking place the weekend before.  Some of these new illustrations we have seen before in Hero's Path (a series of gaming events spanning the entire Theros block), and some images are completely new.  The first set of six images are part of WotC's media release kit for local gaming stores and online vendors.  Speaking of online vendors, we're are completely digg'n the Greek mythology theme of this block and will most certainly be pre-ordering a bunch of BNG cards from MTG Mint Card.  Anywhoos - let's have a looky-loo of the images now -
Hero's Path poster, illustration by David Palumbo
PreRelease Poster, illustration by Tyler Jacobson
 Launch Poster, illustrated by Aleski Briclot

 Game Day Poster, illustrated by Michael Komarck
League Poster, illustrated by Slawomir Maniak

 Friday Night Magic Poster, illustrated by Jason Chan
The following images are banners posted to the Bazaar of Moxen website advertising the upcoming Grand Prix Paris tournament scheduled for February.  We suspect that some, of the images may have been commissions from Wizards of the Coast for Theros but not used.  All very kewl arts -



GP Shizuoka

Happy Monday MTG peeps,

As we are sliding into the holiday season, we hope all of you are happy, safe and getting some time to get some Magic: the Gathering games in.  Speaking of Christmas giving, drop over to MTG Mint Card where they are wrapping up their Massive Christmas Clearance sale which ends on the 27th December - some good deals to be had there.

Anywhoos, here at MTG Realm, we've been working out a new Orzhov (black / white) build for standard constructed based on a 'haunted humans' build taking advantage of a number of cheap / powerful white weenies along with Xathrid Necromancer.  The Necromancer here promises to churn out a small army of 2/2 black zombie creatures for each game - one for each time the necromancer or a human hits the graveyard.  You can apply a board wipe or chump block with impudence knowing full well that you can easily re-populate the battlefield.  Our thinking was to take full advantage and also incorporate sacrifice outlets along the lines of Cartel Aristocrat.
Speaking of Xathrid Necromancer, we want to congratulate Ryo Nakada who had won over the weekend the title for Grand Prix Shizouka with an Orzhov build featuring none other than the necromancer.

We really like this list and will likely modify what we already have laying all over our kitchen table to include some of these card choices.  The necromancer also made the 'Top 5' cards of GP Shizuoka according to Wizards.  From fifth spot to first, they were Maser of Waves, Domestication (wow!), Pack Rat, Obzedat, Ghost Council and Xathrid Necromancer.

Happy deck-brewing - we'll see you at the game tables.


Standard Budget Red

Happy Thursday MTG peeps,

As the temperature outside is dropping and the snow is piling up here at the MTG Realm secret lair, things are heating up on the kitchen table with some very fun 'n' affordable Magic: the Gathering brews we've been making.  We acquired a good chunk of these cards at a very good price from MTG Mint Card but had not got around to build anything we considered quite good enough for a Friday Night Magic event.  That may change however.  The finalised budget deck we settled on is not only very entertaining to play, it has delivered some explosive starts and has already produced some good results against more conventional builds.  This deck may actually see play at our local gaming store, OMG! Games here in Barrie, Ontario.

Anywhoos - let's get to the list we decided on . . .

4x Akroan Crusader
4x Coordinated Assault
3x Furious Resistance
3x Shock
4x Titan's Strength
4x Burning-Tree Emissary
3x Madcap Skills
4x Arena Athlete
4x Young Pyromancer
4x Molten Birth
3x Purphoros, God of the Forge
20x Mountain

Slick and simple.  A total of 16 creatures, 8 of which with the new 'heroic' ability available to them with 11 cards.  We were able to generate some mad numbers of tokens through Akroan Crusader and Youg Pyromancer - and, along with Molten Birth can really fill and quickly refill your side of the battlefield.  

Purphoros as a finisher is not here for its 'devotion' ability but rather to keep pinging your opponent for two with each new creature you're dropping.  Oddly enough, with the dozen or so games we've had, the red god was not relyed upon to push the last few points of damage through - but hey, it's always nice to have a parachute should things go sideways.  We were a bit unsure about Furious Resistance at first but were amazed just how much combat shenanigans it delivered with benefits by eliminating an attacking threat as well as usually delivering a soldier or elemental token ready to attack on your next turn.

All in all, this budget brew is certain to deliver a truck load of fun on your game table.


Elesh Norn

Happy Tuesday  MTG Peeps,

For those of you little scamps who, with bated breath, realise that it is only seven more sleeps to Christmas, we had posted some rather lovely Magic: the Gathering rarities on our Tumblr site here and here to help whet your anticipatory appetite.  For today's post, we were going to yatter a bit about some Modern format deck ideas and then kinda got waylaid by one the cards in it - Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, so today's post is half flavour / half MTG brewing - strap in and let's go . . .

Flavour First - 
The Grand Cenobite Elesh Norn, the Orthodoxy's highest-ranking Praetor, commands and guides this faction of Phyrexia, promising them a glorious future under the principles of the Argent Etchings. Everything the Phyrexians practice under the Machine Orthodoxy is designed to turn Mirrodin into a perfect new Phyrexian homeland, a kind of planewide phyresis.

Led by Elesh Norn, the white-aligned faction believes that Phyrexia must adhere to the teachings of the Father of Machines. They intend to indoctrinate everyone about the truth, even if it means tearing them limb from limb and reattaching the parts into a creation that is worthy of Phyrexia. They are dogmatic, hierarchical, and orthodox in their methods.

The Modern format brew we were interested in is essentially a 'Tron' deck (aka UrzaTron) which featured Elesh Norn as a potential finisher.  Being able to mana ramp Elesh out early with a bunch of cheap critters or tokens is simply solid and sweet.

A bit more about this sort of deck - a main ingredient are select land cards form Chronicles / Antiquities such as Urza's Tower, Urza's Mine and Urza's Power Plant. They tap for one colorless mana each, but if all three are in play simultaneously, then both Urza's Mine and Urza's Power Plant are able to tap for two colorless mana and Urza's Tower taps for three colorless mana. This combination of cards provides the juice to churn out large amounts of colorless mana and allows the player to cast high-cost spells.  We were also interesting in combining Tron with a theme of affinity.  Affinity is a keyword ability that reduces the mana cost of a spell by the number of permanents of a certain type that player controls. The ability is always written as "Affinity for [something]". The most common instance is "Affinity for artifacts".  The thought here is to be able to cast fatties such as Darksteel Colossus several turns early.  We certainly don't have a finished list yet, just ideas on the drawing board but thanks for a few purchases from MTG Mint Card a while back we do already have the genesis of a potential build.



Happy Monday MTG peeps,

For today's article on MTG Realm, we are digging through the storyline of Elspeth, one of the favourite white aligned planeswalkers for many Magic: the Gathering players.  Personally we have at least two copies of each printing so we have to admit we are fans as well - a few from lucky booster pack pulls and the rest as singles from MTG Mint Card.  Perhaps one reason is that the one common aspect of each of the three printings is the ability to create soldier creature tokens.  Anywhoos - let's have a look at this card's background / vorthos now . .

A planeswalker and skilled knight, Elspeth wants nothing more than to sheathe her sword for the last time and find a plane to call home. Violence and destruction have a tendency to follow her, and she is constantly driven to take up arms and wield her defensive magic in the service of those who need her protection.

Elspeth was born on an unknown plane dominated by Phyrexians. Her life immediately prior to her ascension was spent as a prisoner along with many other beings, locked tightly away and tortured.  Her 'spark' ignited and she planeswalked away to the fractured plane of Alara and settled on Bant.

In Bant, Elspeth found everything that was missing from her life: community, love, and most importantly peace. She settled in the nation of Valeron and at 17 she began her training as a squire. In a short 3 years she was knighted, younger than almost anyone. Her fellow knights had no knowledge of her ability to planeswalk or of her origins, she kept the nature her origin and abilities secret and allayed any question concerning her birthplace, only admitting to not being from Valeron. She had become close to her squire Aran who fell in battle against incursionists from Grixis.  Elspeth is now suspected to be more than she is after using her magic.  She planeswalks away to self-imposed exile to Urborg where she fights in gladiator games.

Elspeth, Knight-Errant 2WW
Planeswalker — Elspeth, Mythic Rare, Shards of Alara
+1: Put a 1/1 white Soldier creature token onto the battlefield.
+1: Target creature gets +3/+3 and gains flying until end of turn.
-8: You get an emblem with "Artifacts, creatures, enchantments, and lands you control have indestructible."
Loyalty: 4

The planeswalker Koth and Venser persuade Elspeth to travel to the plane of Mirrodin where they discover the Vault of Whispers, where they witnessed the emergence of a Phyrexian army that was invading the surface.   Phyrexian forces commanded by the praetor Elesh Norn surround Elspeth and Koth.  Elspeth is injured and planeswalks to Theros.

Elspeth Tirel 3WW
Planeswalker — Elspeth, Mythic Rare, Scars of Mirrodin
+2: You gain 1 life for each creature you control.
-2: Put three 1/1 white Soldier creature tokens onto the battlefield.
-5: Destroy all other permanents except for lands and tokens.
Loyalty: 4

Elspeth came to Theros from a war-ravaged plane, hoping to find the one thing that has eluded her—peace. Under the watchful protection of gods, she hoped that Theros would not be in need of guardians like her. But when she arrived, Elspeth was quickly identified as an outsider with powers and skills that further distanced her from the natives of Theros. In the wilderness between two city-states, Elspeth was attacked by a monstrous hydra, which had been responsible for the deaths of countless warriors. Elspeth engaged the hydra alone and, after a bitter fight, emerged triumphant. Afterward, she wanted nothing more than to fade into anonymity.

Elspeth, Sun's Champion 4WW
Planeswalker — Elspeth, Mythic Rare, Theros
+1: Put three 1/1 white Soldier creature tokens onto the battlefield.
-3: Destroy all creatures with power 4 or greater.
-7: You get an emblem with "Creatures you control get +2/+2 and have flying."
Loyalty: 4



Theros No. 2 Out Today

Happy Thursday MTG peeps,

All across North America and many other places worldwide, new releases are hitting comic book store shelves.  Here at MTG Realm, we've been looking forward to each and every release in the Magic: the Gathering series from IDW Publishing.  For those Magic: the Gathering players who want to get in on the Theros flavour / storyline, we definitely will suggest picking up each MTG IDW publication.  Anywhoos, The latest in the Theros series is now out so let's have a look.

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
In Shops: 11/13/2013
Regular cover art by Dan Scott
Alternate art cover by Martin Coccolo

The promo card with this comic is an alternate art Dragon's Maze Rare, Gaze of Granite.  With original art from Nils Hamm, the alternate art from Dan Scott features comic's main character in a sticky situation with a Gorgon on Theros.  This Golgari sorcery, costing two black, a green and 'X' allows the player to destroy each nonland permanent with converted mana cost X or less - a solid board wipe option in standard constructed right now.  You may even want to pick this (regular) single up from MTG Mint Card now for your local Friday Night Magic event.  For some gamers, it might not be as good as Pernicious Deed (from Apacalypse) but in today's standard, this is a great way to toast all those Master of Waves and Elspeth generated token creatures on the battlefield.

The Multiverse—a boundless expanse of worlds, each different from the last. These worlds, called planes, differ as widely as the imagination. All planes are connected by the substance of the Multiverse itself: the Æther, called the Blind Eternities by Planeswalkers—the only beings who ever see it. With their ability to cross the Blind Eternities from one plane onto another, laneswalkers are some of the only beings with the ability to explore the vastness of the Multiverse and the wonders that it holds.

Upon stealing one half of a mysterious artifact in the plane of Ravnica, Dack is led to Theros, where the other half resides. While attempting to find a boat so he can travel to the other half's location, Dack bumps into a mean looking captain and finds himself surrounded by his crew . . .



An MTG Christmas

Happy hump-day MTG peeps,

Here at MTG Realm, we are beginning to get in to the Christmas spirit and have subsequently been busily engaged with all manner of Holiday customs - decorations, greeting cards, and what-not.  Let's have a look at what we've been up to.

Posted to our MTG Realm Tumblr page last evening - we got crazy with our glue gun and made an Magic: the Gathering Christmas tree . .

It may be a bit late but we're thinking of still doing up an Advent Calendar like the one Win-Mill did here.

Perhaps not for everyone, but here is an idea for a holiday photo to send along with your Season's Greetings newsletter to friends and family.  This one from Reddit user 'ILikeToPinch' posing with some MTG cards and what I'm sure is a not a real Smith & Wesson SD40.  Ensure you add a witty line about in-game missed triggers.
An easy MTG Christmas decoration you can do - grab a bunch of your most expensive foils, punch holes in 'em and make a garland for your Christmas tree . . .

Finally, don't forget to get your Christmas cards out in the mail before its too late -