A Tale of Roasted Rhinos and Four Dragons

This is a story of how Van Mamokhan emerged as the GPT Shanghai Champion at GMaster Games. His monored deck trampled the Abzan Houses except for one to whom I had a draw with. The end.

Ok, on to my deck list:

Credit goes to Conrad Dungan for the mainboard and bf for the sideboard. Thanks guys!
It was my first time using this deck so going undefeated before the playoffs is a feat. Atleast for me.

GPT Shanghai at Gmaster Games

Round 1 ©GMaster Games

RD1: WIN
2-0 vs RG Devotion
Just when he had big creatures like Polukranos and Genesis Hydra, I always had the right removal to deal with them. No game highlights.

RD2: WIN
2-0 vs Abzan Midrange
My oppononent got a game loss penalty for registering incorrect number of cards or whatever the technical term for it. We proceeded to Game 2 and I won.

RD3: WIN
2-1 vs Monored Aggro
Opponent won Game 1 even at one-land play.
SB:
+3 Drown in Sorrow
+3 Surge of Righteousness
-2 Valorous Stance
-2 Abzan Charm
-2 Hero’s Downfall
I won the remaining 2 games and I was proud of myself for delaying his Obelisk of Urd by all means. Well, a Downfall for 1/1 creature was kinda pathetic but I just felt the need to kill them. True enough, when he had 4 lands and 2 remaining Goblins, Urd came. On his next turn, he used Harness by Force to contol my Anafenza, the Foremost so I got no blockers. I destroyed one of his Goblins with Surge of Righteousness and gained 2 life. Once I’ve got my Anafenza back, I attacked him and “raid” for Wingmate Roc. GG.

RD4: DRAW
1-1 vs Abzan Midrange
His early Thoughtseize left me behind the game. I lost.
Game 2 was a bit exciting. Last 5 turns and he was down to 1, while I was down to 2. So whoever topdecks Rhino wins the game.
He cast End Hostilities to destroy my Rakshasha Deathdealer and Anafenza. I was forced to regenerate Rakshasa and took 1 damage from Llanowar Wastes.
I played another Rakshasa on my turn and he responded with Abzan Charm. Unfortunately, it was an illegal target.
He passed the turn. I attacked for the win.

Quarterfinals: WIN
2-0 vs Monored Aggro

Roast for Siege Rhino

©MTG Tambayan

Semifinals: LOSS
1-2 vs Monored Aggro
I was pretty used to red decks but then it was Van-Van, Laro 2014 Champion. We had numerous matches from before and I’m not even sure if we have a score to settle. Lol.
I won the first game and almost won the second if not for back to back Roast for my Rhinos. Insane topdeck.
Third game was so intense too. He burned every creature I played. He even killed my Sorin twice. A Roast for Tasigur. And Stormbreath Dragon started popping up one after another. He was down to 13 and I was trying to figure out how to kill him with my Siege Rhino, Wingmate Roc and 3/4 Bird Token. I wished I had 2 Abzan Charm so I could swing for the win. But no, I only had one which could only deal a maximum of 12 damage. When he cast his third Stormbreath Dragon, I was doomed. He then showed me the 4th one from his hand. WTF. GG.

A piece of advice from Van – I could have done better by abusing Delve and filtering my graveyard with Tasigur. Yes, I know. There were 2 Hero’s Downfall that I could use but I was so obsessed with Sorins that I didn’t want to delve them away. Of course I’ve considered all the possibilities but sometimes I was too greedy. Lesson learned. But wait, there was only 1 Stormbreath Dragon by that time so I wasn’t eyeing Downfall at all.

X-1-1 without a decent sleep and proper meal wasn’t bad at all not to mention that it was my first time piloting this new deck. More practice!

No “Dragons” of Tarkir Prerelease at GMaster Games

DTK PR straight from my (graveyard) shift!

Dragons of Tarkir without a single dragon in my pool. ATARKA, wherever you are, lend me your power!

My first choice was Dromoka just because it’s Dromoka. But after skimming through CFB’s DTK PR Primer I wanted to go Kolaghan. TLDR. I didn’t want to be of the same brood as Raven so I finally picked Atarka hoping it goes with a pink/purple dice. (But it didn’t so I ended up trading my orange dice to a cuter purple one.)

My deck:

RD1: WIN
2-1 vs Atarka
He was pretty confident with his morphed 5/5 creature. But I was lucky enough to draw Roast. Now his calculation was all messed up and he had to concede when I dealt my first 9 damage to him with Atarka Efreet and my 2/1 creature.
Game 2: Hi killed me with an overwhelming number of flying creatures. 1 Revealing Wind wasn’t enough.
Game 3 is a giveaway. He was stuck with 3 lands while I had a great tempo.

RD2: WIN
2-0 vs Atarka
Atarka’s Command for the Win!
We’re on a stalemate for long since we’re both Atarka having lots of creatures on board. And then I accidentally dropped/revealed my Revealing Wind which changed his gameplay. I was hoping he’d go all in so that I could strike back in one swing. Not happening.
At long last he had more and bigger creatures than me so he decided to attack leaving just one blocker. I was “forced” to play Revealing Wind (since that is the obvious thing to do). My turn came and this was my chance to swing. I attacked with everything, he blocked with one creature then I played Atarka’s Command for the win. +1/+1 to all creatures and 3 damage to opponent. Lethal.

In game 2, he was ahead of the game. He was pressuring me and I was down to 8. I only had Dragon-Scarred Bear in play. But then I was able to setup with 2 morphed Atarka Efreet. I only attacked them by the time I had 6 mana. No blockers. Megamorphed both and he took 14 damage in one swing. 🙂
He passed the turn so I assumed he’s just going to block my next attack. I attacked with my 3 creatures, all of them we’re blocked and meant to die even with Atarka’s +1/+1. I just did it for 3 damage hoping that I’ll get another burn spell later on. I had no other choice but to pressure him and push the damage or else I’d die. Top deck: Den Protector. 5 lands in play and my two cards in hand were a Forest and a Plains. Played Forest. Cast Den Protector, as a morph creature. Megamorphed targetting Atarkas’s Command. Same mode as earlier. GG.

RD3: LOSS
1-2 vs Kolaghan
There’s nothing special about our game 1 and game 2. The decks just worked right. Game 3 was a little tight since it is the deciding game. I mulled to 6 while he kept his opening hand. He aggresively attacked me with his Dash creatures until he was able to cast Boltwing Marauder. I Pacisfism-ed it on my turn. Only to be exploited for Rakshasa Gravecaller on his next turn. While he got 2 extra Zombies, I only had Qal Sisma Behemoth and another creature. I was in the red zone in no time so I had to block his all-in attack. As expected, he got Volcanic Rush. Then it took him longer to decide on his action. Finally, he cast Butcher’s Glee for his Zombie killing my Qal Sisma Behemoth and gaining 7 life. It messed up my calculation since I’ve got Atarka’s Command in my hand. Then I was down to 6 with only 2 creatures. I couldn’t force the damage yet since he had blockers. I decided I will wait for one more turn. Only if I could. He attacked again with 2 creatures. I considered all the possibilities and I was sure that if I block 1 or both, I won’t have a chance to win in my next turn since my creatures will get killed. Also, blocking with only 1 creature is the same as not blocking at all IF he has a burn or pump spell since I will die anyway. I gambled with no blockers and lose. It was a nice game indeed.

RD4: WIN
2-0 vs Kolaghan
Fastest match of the day. I had great opening hand and draws on both games.
Best cards here were: Qal Sisma Behemoth, Atarka Efreet, Sarkhan’s Rage, and of course Atarka’s Command.

MVPs: Atarka Efreet and Atarka’s Command
Most used SB: Surge of Righteousness

I finished X-1 but still no impressive cards. Finally got dragons from the prize packs namely Pristine Skywise and Dragonlord Dromoka. I also got Stratus Dancer. It was a fun PR especially that I’ve got to play with my friends and immediate MTG family. LOL. I’m so proud of our MTG-born son, Aki. Congratulations my dear! Number 1!

Dragons of Tarkir Prerelease

Photo opp with the Certified Elders’ Killer #DTKPR Aki X-0, Others X-1 — with Shion-Aki Riu B. Manaloto, Raven Knives and Pong Deriquito

And here’s to FAMAS award without the red carpet. Semi-paparazzi! Thank you GMasters! (Nice place and people + free food and drinks.)

Planeswalker Couple - DTK PR

Planeswalker couple. Only to be ousted by the upcoming prodigy! ~ Archie

The family that plays together, ends up in the top 3 together. – ST Estrella

Cosmania 2014 – MTG Demo Team

MTG Demo Team with MTG Planeswalkers

MTG Planeswalkers

2 days were soooo rewarding. OMG OMG OMG! Lol. Will update this post soon.

~~~~~~~~UPDATE~~~~~~~~
Check my post here: Sharing the Spark – Lizzie Mentors at Cosmania 2014

When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a teacher. Not because I knew that it was a noble profession, but simply because I was inspired by my educators. Right now, I am not sure if I still want to be one. I’m quite happy spending hours in front of a work laptop during weekdays and shuffling cards during weekends. But there’s one event I’m thankful about which reminded me that teaching comes in many forms – Cosmania 2014. As part of the MTG Demo Team, I had the chance to introduce Magic to new players. It was a great experience – heart-warming, fulfilling and rewarding. But then again this was months ago – sorry for the late blog entry. A lot of things happened between then and now and I couldn’t write when I’m obsessed and cramped. That feeling is finally over, thank goodness. So let me get started by sharing some observations.

Time for Monoblack Aggro

I just realized that I didn’t blog about my WMCQ experience. I was probably dishearten. LOL. My performance in 3 WMCQs was just so-so and I used my UW Devo all throughout.

MTG - WMCQ II with friends

WMCQ II with friends – ©Boom Dizon

The most that I’m happy about was being able to contribute to the MTG community by working on WMCQ I and II metagame breakdown. (Shout out to Raven Knives: THANKS!)

Moving forward, it’s about time to brew a new deck! I was rooting for Temur since the completion of KTK spoilers but because finding the cards I need was a bit challenging not to mention that we didn’t play during Khans of Tarkir prerelease. I have to content myself with my so-called “meantime” deck. You can even call this precon with its funny numbers and card choices. Talk about being resourceful!

KTK cards are now legal! But I was not supposed to play earlier because I didn’t have any Bloodsoaked Champion yet. I just got lucky to find sellers at the venue just before the tournament started. Sideboard was a bit haywire because I didn’t have any more useful black pieces with me. Added 2 Whip for the heck of making it 15.

RD1: 2-0 vs BW Aggro
*feeling victorious*
Oh yes, I came prepared. Thank you Dark Betrayal, Bile Blight and Hero’s Downfall. Erebos, God of the Dead became a creature in game 2, and just when he thought he could block, I’ve got Herald of Torment and bestowed it for the kill.

RD2: 1-2 vs RW Mid
It was a fair match. My big mistake was keeping one land in Game 3. Actually, it should have worked if he didn’t draw another Propethic Flamespeaker. My plays went like this: 1st turn creat, 2nd – Thoughtseize picking Nyx Fleece Ram, 3rd – Despise picking Propethic Flamespeaker. His remaining cards: 2 lands, 1 Sarkhan, 1 Stormbreath while having 2 lands in play already. I knew it was going to take time before it gets beefy. But lo and behold, he topdecked Propethic Flamespeaker which gave him the total advantage. Just when I drew my 2nd land, I was way way behind the race. Lesson learned: MULL.

RD3: 1-1-1 vs Abzan Midrange
Game 1 was an easy win for me. In Game 2, my creatures drowned in sorrow. That was after I have Thoughseize-d his 1 Drown in Sorrow in hand. Lucky draw for him. Still, I shouldn’t have overcommitted. Game 3 was an extra long game because of his early blockers and life link – Sylvan Caryatid + Hopeful Eidolon, Agent of Fates + Eternal Thirst. Time’s up!

RD4: 2-0 vs Abzan Midrange
Opponent mulled to 5 and when I played Thoughtseize, he only had Elspeth, Sun’s Champion and 4 lands. Next Thoughtseize, I caught his just-drawn Sorin, Solemn Visitor. He then conceded after taking some damage from my attacking creatures. I was actually not sure what he had in his deck so I blind sideboarded with 4 Despise and 1 Hero’s Downfall. My spot removals dealt with his Courser, Rakshasa Deathdealer and Siege Rhino effectively. Perfect timing. And as for his 2 Sylvan Caryatid as blockers, it didn’t matter at all with my Mogi’s Marauder.

RD5: 2-1 vs UW Control
Opponent was able to take control of the game in as early as game 1 so I have to concede and make up for my loss in game 2. It took me a lot of patience and hard work to zeroed his life. Too much delays coming from Last Breath and Crippling Chill. In game 3, my deck ran smoothly that even if the opponent had End Hostilities, it won’t be enough to stop me from winning. LOL. I had enough threats in play while my hand is also fully loaded. My deck was quick enough to prevent him from playing his Resolute Angel. Too late.

Finishing 6th (out of 29 players) with this “meantime” deck wasn’t bad at all. 🙂

Hello UW Devotion!

And so I feel the need to splash another color… Hello UW Devo!

Because I don’t post tournament reports right away, I tend to forget my matches. The most that I can share today is my decklist after finishing first in last Sunday’s standard event. In fact, I was not even sure how many games it took us per match.

Record courtesy or planeswakerpoints.com (and I just included their decks):
RD1: Win (+3) Santos, Dansky (BUG Control)
RD2: Win (+3) Luces, Jonathan Justin (Monoblack Devotion)
RD3: Draw (+1) Unknown, Unknown (either Esper Control or Monoblack Devotion – because his name is “unknown”, I had a hard time recalling his deck)
RD4: Win (+3) Basilonia, Anthony Brian (Monoblack Devotion)
RD5: Win (+3) Lee, Jefferson (Jund Monsters)

Ok, I guess there’s nothing to do here. Might just go into details real soon.

P.S. Broken numbers (especially the creatures), I know!

Monoblue is Still Alive

Monoblue is not yet dead! My 3 consecutive top 8s in weekend tournaments proved it.

Feb 16, 2014: Magic Grand Prix Trial – Melbourne 2014
Players: 26
Place: 8th
Standing: 3-1-1
RD1: MonoRed 2-1
RD2: Monogreen 1-1
RD3: Monored Devotion 1-2
RD4: Esper Control 2-0
RD5: Monoblack Devotion 2-0

Feb 23, 2014: Standard Tournament
Players: 27
Place: 1st
Standing: 4-0-1
RD1: Monoblack Devo 2-1
RD2: UWR Control 1-1
RD3: Esper Control -1
RD4: RW Burn 2-1
RD5: Monored Devotion 2-1

March 1, 2014: Magic Game Day – Born of the Gods
Players: 39
Place: 6th
Standing: X-1-1
RD1: Monoblack Devo 2-0
RD2: Golgari Aggro 2-0
RD3: UW Control 1-1-1
RD4: RG Monsters 2-0
RD5: Golgari Aggro 2-1
RD6: Monoblack Devo (Splash White/Blue) 0-2

Top 8 Play offs:
Quarterfinals: RG Devo 1-2

Sorry, I’ve been too busy to post my weekly tournament results. @_@ I bet you could imagine how my matches went considering that Monoblue Devotion is a pretty popular deck. Rather, was???

It all started with ProTour Theros and then the trend goes on. Actually, I’ve never imagined myself playing a blue deck. Not my color. Really. But because I qualified for Laro 2013: Sparta Cup using Kibler’s RG, I had to grab a ready-made deck real quick for the event. I was punished for my last minute preparation. Finished 3-4 and the rest was history.

Moving forward, I learned how to use the deck and loved it ever since. Here’s my decklist for the 3 tournaments mentioned above. I used to pilot the original build in previous tourneys (October 2013 – early Feb 2014) with just few SB modifications.

Why cut 2 Judge’s Familiar for a Dispel and Ratchet Bomb?
Metacall. My choice. I was having a hard time dealing with Pack Rat, Mistcutter Hydra, Sphinx Revelation and a lot of instant spells. And… it worked!

Taking a Break from MTG

Striving to win? Why so serious? Ooops, that’s not me! I’m one of the happy-go-lucky MTG players lately. Eversince my bf built me a Naya Blitz deck, I became active in playing MTG again. I kept on grinding… sadly, not to the top. Not yet!

I just came from an FNM earlier and my standing sucks. 1-3-1. That draw was brought about my major misplay! Uh-oh… And the 3 losses?
vs Esper Control : 0 -2
vs Esper Control : 0 -2
vs Junk Reanimator: 0-2

I won over one Junk Reanimator match and drew it with URW control. At times like this, I really need lots of things to distract me. Err, something that will make me forget about my mistakes and not so good luck. I’ll blog about my common misplays next time once I’m over it. For now, enough playbacks!

So, what am I up to? Blogging, Facebook, and food. LOL. These are some of the things that make me happy. They help me forget something and make the most out of my ‘waiting time’ or ‘boring day’. What about blogging? Just like what I’m doing right now. Blabbing about MTG or something else. The bonus is when I get paid for it. Hahaha. And Facebook? Oh yeah,it’s one of the reasons why people tend to procrastinate. Facebook offers a lot of things that’s why I have no regrets signing up for an account. I love how the social network helps me in promoting my blogs. It’s easy to communicate or keep in touch with family and friends, fun to play games and share anything you want.

When I want to unplug from bothering thoughts, one of the things I do is play online. It doesn’t have to be MMORPG or other popular games, Facebook apps are good enough. Tetris, SIMS Social, Backyard Monsters, Farmville, etc are some of the Facebook games I played. And there’s something new I’d like to share: LetterUp!

LetterUp Facebook

While you guys might be enjoying 4 pics 1 word and logo quiz apps on your smartphone, LetterUp is also worth-trying. Challenge your brain in this crossword game! It’s fun to get high scores by forming words strategically. Pretty much like scrabble.

If you’re up for the challenge, invite your friends and start playing LetterUp on Facebook: https://apps.facebook.com/letterupgame/

Play LetterUp
For more information about the game please visit https://letterup.com/
Don’t forget to check the game rules. You’ll learn a lot from there including letter distribution and points.

I Won a Gatecrash PR Shirt!

PR Shirt WinnersYay! Now I’ll have a Gatecrash PR shirt even if I didn’t finish 4-0 in the latest prerelease. So excited to claim my prize! LOL. I played during the Gatecrash PR but was not able to blog about it. Can’t remember the details. All I know is that I chose the Boros guild. 🙂

Thanks to Neutral Grounds for  starting a poll in FB and drawing random winners!

How were you introduced to Magic the Gathering? Please answer the poll and add story specifics on the comments. 10 random stories will get chosen to win GateCrash prerelease T-shirts. 🙂

My answer: Taught by a friend boyfriend!

2008… It all started with a question:
BF: Are you willing to spend P500 for a card?
Liz: Yes.

And on my first trip to NG Galleria I bought a booster pack. I didn’t know how to play MTG by then. All I was told was that I got a very cool card on my first booster pack – Bitterblossom! My boyfriend introduced me to magic and the first deck I played against him was his UB Mannequinn deck. Basically, a shared deck. Then I had a UB Rogue deck with a set of Bitterblossom. (Deck list: http://www.lizmagikera.info/2009/09/reminiscing-my-first-deck-ub-rogue.html)

On my first FNM, I used a Kithkin deck though. Soooo many misplays but it was fun.

2013…
Cards are pricey now. LOL. Still trying to play…

Magic: The Gathering Veterans = The Best Poker Players?

If you tend to keep on top of things concerning the world of Magic: The Gathering, it’s apparent that it’s a very competitive game to get into, should you wish to take it to that level. Some do, and they’re known around the world for being some of the best strategic thinkers of their time. However, there’s an interesting connection to be made between Magic and poker players, specifically that extensive play of the former tends to improve the performance when playing as the latter.

For those who are active in any of the Magic scenes – such as the strong European Magic scene that has roots in larger nations, like France – it’s important news to hear, as those who’d like to transfer themselves from Magic tournaments in France to World Poker Tour events in Paris, knowing your skills are heavily transferable is likely to be a significant confidence boost.

It seems odd, at first, and while Wise’s article makes some very good points, it’s pretty surprising. Sure, they’re both card games, but are they really similar enough that we could extrapolate the direct benefits on poker skills taken from extensive Magic experience?

Arguably, yes, and that’s because of the aforementioned strategic element to the game. Realistically, it’s similar to poker in that it’s about lining up your shots, being patient, calm, not giving the game away and then striking while you’re at your strongest and they’re at their weakest. Drawing out players with pseudo-weak moves that make you appear vulnerable, only to close the jaws of your trap on them is not uncommon in Magic, and it logically follows that this is identical to the behaviour you see at poker tables.

If you analyze some of the more popular Magic players, you can see a clear connection between the two games. Raphaël Lévy is a fantastic example – a well known French/Jewish Magic player (and thus an inspiration to the aforementioned section of the French Magic community interested in poker), he has been active for years on the Pro Magic circuit and is an example to anyone wanting to play cards at a high level. One of the reasons for this is his clear commitment to the game, and whether you’re into Magic or into Partypoker.fr, this player hailing from Toulouse is a force to be reckoned with.

Speaking about the connection, David Williams, runner-up in the 2004 Word Series of Poker, had the following to say. “I think the biggest correlation is that it teaches the brain how to work. It’s problem-solving, logical deduction. Most people aren’t sharpening their brains constantly. We’ve been honing our skills for years; high-level thinking is pretty much all we do. That’s great training for playing poker under pressure.”

Deep card games are always very high-pressure gaming environments. This isn’t your typical round of Munchkin – Magic is played on a global-competition scale, and although the financial stakes at the top are nowhere near those of poker, it allows players to adapt to the tension of being in such a position. So the next time you’re thinking about whether or not to join your friends for a little Magic, think of it this way – if you ever feel like moving into poker, your previous M:TG experiences might just turn the tide in your favour.

Speculation, Luck and Success

One of the most interesting and difficult aspects of playing Magic: The Gathering is speculating. What is speculating anyway? Basically it is the act of getting cards in the present for a lower price with the intention of eventually selling them for a higher price. In addition, speculating is not limited to simply buying a card but also in trading cards. And do not get the wrong idea that you are just simply trading or buying randomly but as much as possible, you are doing so on the basis that you will eventually get value out of the trade.

Jace, The Mind Sculptor

Thou shall know my worth!

Speculation has more to do with earning a profit through price changes in the Magic market in general. It is some sort of a gamble wherein you purchase cards in the presumption that they will eventually increase in value in the future. Speculating about MTG card value is really challenging. It does not mean that when you purchase a lot of cards of a particular type is that you will automatically benefit from them but rather, a card’s price depends on how high the demand for that particular card is and how much supply is left.

In a way, it is like a hit or miss. However, with experience and exposure in the tournament environment, you will be able to improve your metagame analysis, which can help you figure out which cards have the potential to be utilized in decks. In turn, you will come to the point of knowing if a card’s price has the potential to increase in the near-future or if the card’s price will dip instead. Overall, it takes a lot of time, effort and experience for a person to be able to improve his speculating skills.