Magic: the Gathering

The most strategic card game in the world. Take that, Texas Hold’em!


What My Twitter Feed Looked Like This Morning


Kessig Wolf Run

Breaking Mirrors – Kessig Wolf Run


I played this weekend in the 2011 State Championships in Seattle. Over 280 people turned out for 9 rounds of Magic, and my weapon of choice was Wolf Run Ramp with very few tweaks from Brian Sondag's SCG winning list. Unsurprisingly, it was one of the most popular decks in the room, and I was underprepared for the mirror. My list:


Set Theory – Winning at Innistrad Sealed (Part 2)


We've shown you the double faced cards and told you what you should and shouldn't be playing. Now let's show you how we'll be killing those pesky transformers.

Grizzled Outcasts // Krallenhorde Wantons

Set Theory – Winning at Innistrad Sealed (Part 1)


This weekend, thousands of Magic players will be lining up to take the dark, horror inspired world of Innistrad out for a spin. Prerelease events are this Saturday and Sunday, and your first chance to play with double-faced cards is on the moonlit horizon. Of course, if you're like me, not only do you want to play, you want to win.

Planeswalker Points – Is the Grind Worth It?


My name is James Dykes, and today I learned that I am a Level 41 Battlemage.

You don't know what that means? Read on to find out.

Black: Swiss - Red: 8-4 - Blue: 4-3-2-2

8-4s, 4-3-2-2s, and Swiss (Part 3)


We've been looking at the expected values of playing in the three different types of draft queues on MTG Online over the past few days. Here's a graph of the expected return of all three draft types:

8-4s, 4-3-2-2s and Swiss (Part 2)


Last time we looked at the break points of where your win percentage should be to play in 8-4s vs. 4-3-2-2s. There is a third draft option, however, and that is Swiss. (more…)

8-4's, 4-3-2-2's, and Swiss (Part 1)


Earlier this week, my buddy Daniel Duterte posed the following question on Facebook:

If you normally play 4-3-2-2 draft queues, at what point (what does your win rate have to be) does it become better value to play 8-4's in the same format?

Being a bit of a math nerd, I decided to figure it out...

BEWARE! There be maths here! I hope you like formulas!

Disaster in Kansas City


The less said about my GP Kansas City experience, the better. Even with 3 byes, I was dead going into round 9, and that with beating PT Nagoya champ David Sharfman in what really wasn't a match of Magic. So I leave it up to you, readers. What would you have done with this sealed pool?


Steak Knives

"A, B, C. A, always. B, be. C, closing. Always be closing! ALWAYS. BE. CLOSING." - Blake, Glengarry Glen Ross

Alec Baldwin's profanity-laced speech as Blake in the film adaptation of Glengarry Glen Ross is one of the most famous 'motivational' speeches in movie history. In it, Blake threatens the workers at the real estate agency with termination if they fail to win one of the two prizes in the monthly sales contest. The winner of the sales contest gets a Cadillac El Dorado. Wanna see second prize?

A set of steak knives. Obviously a major step down from a Cadillac. Magic players have drawn a similar conclusion from 1-slot PTQs and Nationals Qualifiers. The tournaments are basically winner-take-all and the packs you get for losing in the finals? Might as well be some steak knives. And now, for the first time, I know the bitter taste of stainless steel.

On Saturday, I played in a Nationals Qualifier tournament at MuGu Games. 29 competitors braved the drive to deepest, darkest Everett to battle it out for one invitation to US Nationals 2011 at GenCon. I was battling with the venerable Caw-Blade and over 5 rounds, I beat U/W Venser Control, RUG, and Valakut, lost a match to Valakut, and drew into the top 8. A quarterfinals rematch against the Valakut player I lost to was on the horizon, but the good guys ended up triumphant. A mirror match with 2010 Worlds competitor Joe Bono was lined up in the semis, and although I played far too conservatively, I still managed to get the win and head to the finals. My opponent? Former contributor to this site and owner of more sets of steak knives than any other man I know, Greg Peloquin. What's one more set to add to the collection? Unfortunately, he wasn't willing to go so quietly (like he did in the Swiss playing RUG), and in the end, his Titans prevailed over my Hawks. (Let's see how many misguided football searches hit that phrase!) The king of steak knives had just given me a set. No coffee for me this week.

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