Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Importance of Integrity

Today I want to talk about integrity.

Integrity (at least in this instance) is being honest and having strong moral principles. When it comes to games, integrity means playing by the rules, not trying to get an unfair advantage, and being open and honest about what's going on in the game.

For the MPDC League, unlike a professional Magic tournament, there's no judge to call or appeals process, at least not during a match. In fact, there are rarely any other people involved in a given match at all. Thus, it is up to both players to ensure that the match plays out in a way that is fair and consistent. In other words, that both people play with integrity.

One of the things I have always appreciated about the Standard Pauper community is its openness, its kindness, and its commitment to fair play. In all my years of hosting, there have been very few instances where I had to deal with a suspicion of foul play. This is certainly a testament to just how special our community of players is.

But this doesn't happen by accident. We all have to continue to strive for integrity. We all have to work hard to maintain this great thing we have going.

So if you're participating in the MPDC League, do so with integrity. Report the results of your matches accurately and in a timely fashion. Pay attention that you are filling out the form accurately each time. If you make a mistake, or notice a discrepancy, please bring it to my attention. Be courteous to your opponent and don't take advantage of a person if they are unfamiliar with the client or having technical difficulties. Play to win, but don't do it at the expense of another person.

In other words, play with integrity.

Friday, November 24, 2017

MPDC League: Silverblack Mono-Colored Rules

This current week is the last week of the Silverblack Standard Tribal format for this season of the MPDC League. Starting on Monday, November 27th, the format for the league will switch to Mono-Colored. This format forces players to include one, and only one, color among the five colors of Magic for your deck. So today I want to quickly go over the Deck Construction rules for this variant.

The overall rule for Mono-Deck is very straightforward: Your entire deck, including Sideboard, can only contain cards with a single color (or are Colorless). But, of course, the devil is always in the details. So let's talk some specifics:
  1. Colorless cards (including ALL Lands and Artifacts) CAN be played freely in any deck, as these cards do NOT have a color. While this isn't true for all Magic cards, it is true for all of the Commons and Uncommons in the current Standard set. Note that this means that Lands that produce multiple colors of mana, such as Cinder Barrens, ARE still considered colorless.
  2. Permanents that are multi-colored are NOT legal, as they contain more than one color. This not only includes cards like Ahn-Crop Champion but also split-cards like Appeal // Authority. See CR 708 in the official rules, which clearly states that split-cards are the colors of both parts of the card prior to being cast.
  3. An activated ability including a particular color has no effect on the color of that permanent. For example, Aegis Automaton is a legal card EVEN IF you're not playing White, Avid Reclaimer is legal IF AND ONLY IF you are playing Green, and BOTH Desert of the Fervent and Hashep Oasis ARE legal in any deck.
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me at gwyned at gmail dot com. Looking forward to another great week ahead!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

1st Place in Week Five of the MPDC League Season Four

This week the MPDC League shifted to Standard Silverblack Tribal, which is a variation of the Tribal format in which at least one third of the total cards in the deck must contain the same creature subtype. Additionally, the format does not allow for any Sideboards.

The winner this week was Luc3k, who piloted a Rakdos colored deck with the Artificers tribe, making use of this prevalent theme from the Kaladesh block. Let's take a look at his list:

Unlike some recent innovations, this deck is simply about dealing damage as quickly as possible. It's constructed around six aggressive and/or mana efficient creatures: Aether Chaser, Sweatworks Brawler, Weldfast Engineer, Aether Poisoner, and Inventor's Apprentice. Not only do these beaters quickly ramp up the pressure, but each can immediately be equipped with Inventor's Goggles as soon as they enter the battlefield, making them that much more of a threat. But the biggest threats of the list actually come from Sky Skiff and Renegade Freighter, which are among the best Vehicles available in the format, especially since they are so cheap to Crew. Augmenting these threats are Lightning Strike and Unlicensed Disintegration, the latter of which can not only deal with any opposing threat but also levels direct damage to your opponent. Finally, the deck includes a full playset of Ramunap Ruins as well, which has become a staple in any Red-based deck for its dual role as a mana source early and as a direct damage dealer late to deal the final blow to your opponent.

Congratulations are certainly in order for Luc3k, who piloted this deck to a 5-0 finish, earning the 1st place trophy for last week. There is no doubt that the Artificers tribe is among the most powerful available right now, so it will be interesting to see if another tribe can fight through to victory. Hope you've enjoy this brief deck-tech, and I will see you next time.

Friday, November 10, 2017

1st Place in Week Four of the MPDC League Season Four

In the final week of Standard Silverblack for the MPDC League, another deck emerged to once again dethrone Energy. This time, well known Standard Pauper enthusiast joekewwl ran a powerful and streamlined MonoRed deck, taking advantage of the raw strength of various burn spells and one of the best creatures in the format right now: Ahn-Crop Crasher. Let's take a look at his decklist:

Although this list only includes 5 actual burn spells (3 Lightning Strike as well as singletons of Abrade and Magma Spray), a few other cards serve a similar function: Ramunap Ruins, Sand Strangler, Fling, and Struggle // Survive. The bulk of the deck is actually creatures, with a noticeable Artifact creature theme that stand well on their own but also enable utilizing the sweeper Incendiary Sabotage. Of these, both Filigree Familiar and Treasure Keeper provide additional benefits when they come in and leave play, making them excellent sacrifices for Fling. Additionally, Consulate Dreadnought, along with the powerful Charging Monstrosaur, provide two massive threats to finish off your opponent, especially if you can sneak them through using the Exert feature of Ahn-Crop Crasher. And as if these threats are not enough, the deck includes a couple copies of both Siege Modification and Cartouche of Zeal, making your creatures all the more powerful.

For the Sideboard, you have additional copies of Lightning Strike, Abrade, and Magma Spray, along with 3 copies of Blazing Volley to help knock down tokens and Hijack as a nice way to turn your opponent's threats against him. Finally, both Blur of Blades and Furious Reprisal gives the deck some more nuanced ways of dealing with particular creatures.

Congratulations are certainly in order for joekewwl piloting this deck to an impressive 4-1 victory in this last week before we shift over to Standard Silverblack Tribal. It will certainly be interesting to see which tribes emerge as the most powerful. Hope you'll have a chance to participate. See you next time!

Monday, November 6, 2017

MPDC League: Silverblack Tribal Rules

This week the MPDC League switches to the Silverblack Tribal format! Once upon a time, Tribal was actually an official format on Magic Online, existing in both a Standard and Classic variants. This format is all about creature combat, emphasizing a particular sub-type of creature to create what is essentially a theme deck of that particular sub-type. Traditionally, the rules for the Tribal format were as follows:
  1. One third of the total cards in your deck must share a single creature type. Technically this does include non-creature permanents that have a creature type (although no such cards are currently in Standard). Also, "Artifact Creature" is NOT a creature type, as Artifact is a card type, not a creature type.
  2. No Sideboard is allowed.
 For the MPDC League, both of rules will be in effect. Two additional rules exist:
  1. All cards must be either Commons or Uncommons that are currently in the Standard set.
  2. Your chosen creature type cannot be "Human" (although you can include Humans that share a different creature type instead).
And just as before, there are currently no cards banned for the MPDC League.

If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email at gwyned at gmail dot com. Good luck and have fun!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

1st Place in Week Three of the MPDC League Season Four

For the first time this season, a non-Energy deck managed to go 5-0 in this week's MPDC League. Long-time player smashin piloted a Golgari Rock style deck to victory, combining excellent spot removal, beefy creatures, and creature enhancements in the form of Auras and counters. I personally had the chance to play against this deck, and I can honestly say I got destroyed very quickly in both our games. Let's take a look at the decklist:

This deck definitely utilizes a creature-centric strategy with a nice Merfolk sub-theme. Both Merfolk Branchwalker and Tishana's Wayfinder can pump themselves with Explore, while Vineshaper Mystic further enhances Merfolk and generally comes into play as a 2/4, making it tough for Red decks to deal with effectively. Additionally, both Ridgescale Tusker and Winding Constrictor both synergize well with all these +1 / +1 counters floating around, with Armorcraft Judge being the ultimate payoff if you can assemble the team.

The deck also utilizes Walk the Plank and Fatal Push for removal, Blossoming Defense to protect its creatures, and River Heralds' Boon and Cartouche of Strength to buff its already beefy creatures. Finally, the two copies of Hashep Oasis can also be used in a pinch to push through the last points of damage once you know your opponent can't do anything to stop your creatures.

For the Sideboard, you have the versatile Crushing Canopy to counter either Enchantments or Flying creatures, Lifecrafter's Gift to further spread your counters against opponents with little to no spot removal, and 3 copies of Cartouche of Ambition to allow you to not only deal with tokens or other weenies but also give you some much needed Lifegain against aggressive decks. Additionally, Skittering Heartstopper can serve as another cheap removal, while Destined // Lead gives you additional ways to protect your creatures and can be used to setup the killing blow from your unblocked creatures.

This is definitely a fun deck, and one I highly suggest you check out. With it going 5-0 this past week, it's sure to be a contender, so be sure you're ready to face it!