Gathering This Week’s Magic 09: April 20 – April 26

Spoilers!!! Bans!!! The Prerelease!!! It’s that time of year when Standard is big and we have shiny new toys plus a Pro Tour coming up.

I had to take last week off. I was ready to go and then Real Life and Work were all
Angry-God

So yeah. Sorry if you were lonely without me last week. If you want a quick rundown of some good stuff from last week, check out “Great Magic Writing” from GatheringMagic.com.

SCG Seatle and Some Stuff…Probably

No official WotC tournaments took place this past weekend, but the PTQ season is firing and produced a lot of results. SCGSEA visited Seattle, where Junk Reanimator sadly won the Standard Open again, against American Flash. More interestingly, the Hive Mind deck that won in Legacy on Sunday beat a Dark Naya brew based on the Maverick shell but splashing for Thoughtseize, Deathrite Shaman activations, and two Abrupt Decays out of the board.

Metagame Info

Normally, the time before a new set comes out is weird for metagaming, but in this case, two things make it more relevant. One, it’s a big format, so the new cards will make a splash but are less likely to completely unseat the best decks. And two, although it seemed like Standard was solved a few weeks ago with Junk Rites, Esper Control and various Jund builds keep doing well enough that the format feels pretty dynamic.

Check out the hard Standard metagame data from Mr. Vigabool.

Upcoming Tournaments-The Prereleasedgmral

No real Magic should get played this weekend, just lots of guild pack cracking and general newby goodness. Here’s a good strategic intro to the prerelease sealed format. It’s full of data about why it will be slower. If you see this in time and want to practice, TheMTGNoob shared a link to a decent tool.

Announcements

They’ve updated the Banned List again, even though it feels like the dust just settled from the Bloodbraid Elf banning. Second Sunrise was banned in Modern to kill the eggs combo, they unrestricted Regrowth in Vintage to test it, and the Commander Rules Committee announced the banning of Trade Secrets and unbanning of Staff of Domination. So no more collusion, but go infinite whenever you want.

banned

WotC also announced changes to the pro-point system for the highest level of competitive play. Check out a pretty good analysis of it that does far better than I could.

Learn about Drafting

Get ready for the next draft format with Matt Higgs’ look at the ten “meat and potatoes” cards in Dragon’s Maze. His list is a little uncommon-heavy since you only get to see one pack of Dragon’s Maze, and it comes first, but it’s still worth thinking about.

Strategy and Theory

There are so many articles talking about strategy with the new cards that I can’ summarize them, so you should check them out.

On the other hand, if you’re just interested in card evaluations, Conley Woods’ three-part set review is pretty thorough: Monocolored, Multicolored Part 1 and Part 2. Keep your eye on ChannelFireball for LSV’s puntastic set review if you like your point scale a little more humorous.

Owen Turtenwald reviews his play in Legacy and Standard from Milwaukee and talks about how Mindshrieker isn’t secret Sneak and Show mirror tech, while Thoughseize is actually perfect is Legacy’s best “fair” combo deck.

How do you deal with making mistakes? Several writers have covered this subject recently, but for some reason this article hit home most for me. His approach: pause and breath before you do anything, then look at why you lost and what type of thinking lead to the oversight so that you can identify it the next time you start thinking that way to avoid new versions of the same mistake.

Brewing

Two Beck brews for modern, reanimating Omniscience, and stealing their draws with Notion Thief in spicy ways. What else would you expect from WooBrews.

The post-DGM brew on everyone’s minds is combo elves, whether for Standard or Modern, thanks to the printing of Beck/Call. You can read tons of articles about how to build the Modern deck, but this one does a pretty good job of looking at the obvious and less obvious applications of the card drawing machine.

Design & Development

MaRo’s walk though the stories behind cards is always one of my favorite parts of a new release, and this week he talks about making cool things (Advent of the Wurm) and the evolution of Aetherling.

Casual Thoughts – EDH!

Starting with a look a Treasure Trove, a pet card of mine, Abe Sargent follows up multi-week series on the best 100 cards in Commander (which I conspicuously omitted because I hate those lists and what they do to homogenization) with a look at cards that are awesome because they fly under the radar, undetected, unhated-on, and thus providing small but valuable incremental advantage.

It’s not that I have a casual man-crush on Cassidy for his approach to EDH theory, it’s just that he spent his Legit article last week talking about incongruities in the Commander banned list and asking for more transparency at a time that made it seem mildly prophetic. Just days after that the new banned list update dropped, and Cass jumped right in saying that unbanning Staff of Domination is in line with his (and my) understanding of what the RC really wants, which is basically the most open format possible, putting the onus on players and groups to police fun-crushing.

He also makes a point that I think bears repeating about Trade Secrets. “The fact that it went from off-the-radar to banned is a problem.”

Ponder that for the rest of the weekend EDH lovers.

Fantasy and Art

Magic icon and artist Quinton Hoover passed recently, and the community mourned.
To be honest, I had to look him up (Gatherer has an “artist” search field), but when I did I realized how big a role his art had in my childhood. His vision helped define much of the early visual style of the game, when pen and brush ruled instead of mouse and Photoshop.

Glenn Godard follows up this sad news with a few other terrible moments in Vorthos history, Emmara being the most recent.

Social and Community Stuff

Although the community was alive and kicking hard with spoilers and all the announcements, there wasn’t a lot of “community-oriented” content that struck me. Here’s Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar’s first piece in over six years, which details his return to Magic on the back of how awesome teaching his son has been. Personally, I can’t wait for that moment when I get to relive thinking every single card is sweet.

This Polish Tamales (no stranger to stirring the pot) comic on LegitMTG got so many hits from Reddit that it crashed their servers. Tonkatsu Taco is in fact that awesome.

It’s great to be back. I tried to offer a bit more of a summary this time around, in response to feedback from those who want to use this thing as a way to be lazy. If you have comments or questions, shoot them to my Twitter handle @MdaveCs.

GTWM is a work in progress and I’d love ideas of how to evolve it to make it more useful and fun for you.

May you all open sick foily value at your prereleases.
Thanks for reading

❤ Dave

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