TWR: The Year In MTG 2018

2018 was a good year for Magic: The Gathering. There were some ups and downs as far as product releases went, as well as ups and downs with my playtime. In January our playgroup sort of disbanded. During 2017, we had a solid three players and an occasional fourth, but by the end of the year we were down to just us three again. At the beginning of 2018 our third moved to Las Vegas, so it was just my roommate and I most of the time. We played quite a few times throughout the year, but 1v1 Commander games just aren’t the same. As such, we made sure to hit up Pre-Release events and also attended a few Commander based events at one of the local game stores. Despite having moved out of state, our third managed to come down to visit us a couple of times and we had all day shenanigans, and of course we saw him at the GP.

The biggest events were covered in detail below, with my favorites being the Battlebond Weekend along with Grand Prix Las Vegas.

Live Events:

Rivals of Ixalan Pre-Release
Commander Event
Commander Event #2
Commander League
Selling Cards
MTG Arena
Battlebond Preview Weekend
Grand Prix Las Vegas
Guilds of Ravnica Pre-Release
Playing at Home

When I’m not actually playing MTG, I spend a good chunk of time creating new brews. Some of these decks come to fruition and others were built just for the sake of seeing what I could come up with. I do a lot of the leg work for this blog — I create a build and then it generates a blog post, and then I don’t think about the deck ever again. In other cases, I’ve written about decks that I had already built and how I’ve improved them, or about decks that I’m super excited to build. My latest completed deck from this list is Zombies 3.0, where my original Zombie deck led by Gisa & Geralf (Dimir [Blue/Black]) was later transformed into a Scarab God (also Dimir) deck and has finally been changed into a Varina (Esper [Blue/Black/White]) deck. I received the final cards needed in the mail this week and now it’s ready to test out. Anyhow, here is a list of the builds I came up with over the year:

Custom Brews:

Dinosaur Tribal – Completed and adjusted since this point.
Oloro Pillowfort – In progress.
Reaper King – Retired.
Kess, Spellslinger – Never built, Kess was put into Inalla.
Prossh Food Chain – In progress.
Selvala Group Hug – Playable, but needs upgrades.
Gonti Theft – Never built.
Boros Goodstuff – Never built.
Budget Knight Tribal – In progress.
Inalla Wizard Tribal – In progress.
Jodah and Friends – Completed and tuned.
Monk Voltron – Completed.
Budget Grenzo – Never built.
WUBRG Warriors – In progress.
Atraxa Infect – In progress.
Doran Defender Tribal – Completed.
Izzet Chaos – Never built.
5-Color Spirits – Never built.
Bolas Flipwalker – In progress.
Mono Blue Mill – Never built.
Ninja Tribal – In progress.
Tuvasa Enchantress – In progress.
Zur Tier 1 Build – Completed. Technically still need a Marsh Flats and Mana Crypt.
Estrid Stax – In progress.
Tawnos Artifacts Matter – Playable, but needs upgrades.
Zombies 3.0 – Completed.
Lazav Toolbox – In progress.
Niv-Mizzet Wheels – In progress.
Arachnophobia – In progress.
Karador Tier Build – In progress.
Daxos 3.0 – In progress.
Aminatou Blink – In progress.

As you can see, that’s a bunch of decks but very few are actually being played. That’s because I spent most of my disposable cash this year on making Zur a true Tier 1 deck, and as such his price tag is around $900 alone. All of the “in progress” decks also are in varying states of completion, as I do have a bunch of cards for quite a few of them. That’s how Tawnos and Selvala ended up “playable,” because I just threw in stuff I had lying around, despite not being exactly how I want them. The decks that are listed as “never built” were those that I thought about and could become decks in the future but I decided to cut down on the amount I was trying to build at one time. I typically focus on one deck at a time, but when sets like Ultimate Masters release and have cards that I need for multiple decks I will filter them into the appropriate ones. New standard sets oftentimes contain cards that I can use in these brews as well, so they will be adjusted accordingly. Whatever the case, I clearly spent a lot of time on the hobby this year, and I don’t see that stopping in the future.

I’ve done a little research and found a local game store that does have EDH nights on Thursdays in the town that I’m moving to. So I should be able to find a new playgroup there (fingers crossed). Also, my sister and her boyfriend have been playing EDH for a little while now and also know about their local spots, though they are about a 45 minute drive from where I am, so I won’t be going that way as often. Perhaps I’ll be able to convince them to come to my house on occasion.

I’m looking forward to what 2019 brings to the Magic side of my life.

TWR: Rivals of Ixalan Prerelease

This weekend saw the Prerelease events for the newest Magic: The Gathering set, Rivals of Ixalan. I already had plans for most of the weekend, but was able to attend the Sunday event at 1pm. I attended at my LGS where I took part in the Ixalan prerelease as well, and just like the first time I was not disappointed. I have been very lucky with my pulls from packs over the last year or so. Not only have I pulled both an Invention and an Invocation from the past two masterpiece sets (Kaladesh block and Amonkhet block), but I’ve managed to pull some of the desirable cards from these past two Ixalan sets as well!

Unfortunately I was only able to stay at the event long enough to crack my packs, throw together a 40-card Simic Merfolk deck, and beat my first opponent 2-1. At that point I had to jet, but got a participation pack as well that also had a decent rare inside! I’m curious what would have happened had I stayed, as my roommate managed to essentially win the whole thing and earned extra packs. Regardless, it was a good time and I felt I got my money’s worth for the small $30 investment. On top of the normal chaff that is to be expected from a small pile of packs, I ended up with cards that I needed for decks that I’m constructing, and Dinosaurs are going to be amazing at this point. Once the set officially releases next week I’ll be placing an order for singles and finishing that deck off finally, along with getting some additional power for other decks.

My prerelease promo card was less exciting than last time, but it’s still a decent card. I don’t have a place for it just yet, but whenever you can use opponent’s spells against them, it’s a nice feeling. Were this card blue, I’d have a place for it but at the moment it’s going to sit until I find a use. The cards that I was excited for that I did pull were:

People were hoping that Zacama was going to be a 5-color elder dinosaur so they could utitlize the other five mono-colored elder dinosaurs, but I’m just fine with the card being Naya, and slotting right into the 99 of the Gishath deck I’m building. Not only is this card very versatile on its own, but I could use it as an alternate commander for the deck and that’s more useful to me. Zetalpa is going in the same deck, along with the Green and Red elder dinos. Amazing stuff. I managed to also pull Tetzimoc, but without being able to use black in the dino deck, that one will collect dust for a while. It’s a great card, but I can’t use it at the moment.

I pulled three of the Forerunners, but these are the only two I’ll use. The Pirate one is only good in Pirate decks, and that’s not something I intend on building, despite owning an Admiral Beckett Brass. My dino Forerunner was also a foil, so that’s a bonus and I pulled a foil Goring Ceratops which is an upgrade of sorts since I already had a non-foil version. There were some other rares that I pulled but nothing too exciting.

Overall I still managed to get my hands on some good cards, and I might be able to trade my roommate for some others that I need to finish off some of these decks. It’s a fun time, and I’m hoping to continue to go to these events as they come up. We’re also trying to use the opportunity to find some new members for our EDH group, and apparently a few people were invited from what my roommate said, so perhaps we’ll get the steady games going again. In the meantime I’m going to try and finish up the decks I’m working on to be adequately prepared when that day comes!