Gathering This Week’s Magic 10: April 27 – May 3

Brewing with DGM, booting up for a Block Pro Tour, and theorizing a slower limited format. Play all the things again, thanks to Gathering This Week’s Magic. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Let’s kick things off with some competition. There are at least three other weekly “Things” that suggest superior Magical content, and they are worth perusing if you don’t like allsummariesalthetime GTWM style.
1. Great Magic Writing of the Week – Five to ten selections with extended excerpts.
2. Treasure Hunt – OK so GatheringMagic produces a lot of content. This one’s about his favorite generally Magical things from the interpipes.
3. What We Learned – A hipper approach, dripping in some sincerity and concluded with “The Quick Hits.” For what it’s worth, he’s spot on with his love of “Sperling’s Sick of It.”

Prerelease Post Haze(t)

No tournaments to review. This bit from HotC basically sums up most people’s stance on the DGR prerelease – It was typically, unexcitingly bomb dominated but with almost perfect mana so running fewer than four colors was probably wrong. Throw in the nightmare of collating errors (I faced a guy with the impossible double-Mugging, for example) and the fact that that one guy got the nut Borkdos deck that secretly crushed under all the walls, and you’ve got the idea. But it was fun. And hey! That foil promo Plains is worth at least four green pieces of skrilla if not more.

Metagame Info

This also kinda means there’s no metagame update. No big tournaments happened, and Dragon’s Maze is not available on Modo. Check out the longer brews section this week, because all the pros are trying to figure out how the seventh set shapes an open-but-established Standard metagame.

You might also check out the LSV set review that dropped this week starting Monday. Here’s parts one: White, Azorius, and Orzhov, two: Blue, Dimir, and Izzet, three: Black, Rakdos, and Golgari, four: Red, Boros, and Gruul, and five: Green, Simic, and Selesnya.

Upcoming Tournaments

If you missed your weekend, streams when you weren’t pre-releasing, you’ll be happy to watch #SCGNJ in Somerset with the Standard open on Saturday and the debut of team Sealed on Sunday.

Learn about Drafting

If you’re not into the idea of grabbing a guild in Dragon’s Maze and then trying to force with your fingers crossed, you might like Conley’s look at Dragon Domain drafting. Basically, he says that you should over-prioritize fixing because anything good that you get late will be playable, and you can just hide behind walls until your gates come online.


Melissa DeTora agrees, and she’s all in on the keyrunes and cluestones, as well as Verdant Haven and even Mana Bloom. She also points out the the LSV special, Doorkeeper, is more of a card now than ever before.

Lastly, HotC reminds us all to recheck our card evaluations. Whether or not your first impressions of Aetherize proved correct in blistering triple Gatecrash drafts, you need to consider it again in the context of Block draft .

Strategy and Theory

Anthony Lowry goes through the process of identifying and dealing with assumptions, and talks about how to distinguish between bad assumptions and effective mental shortcuts. Most importantly, he reminds us that “ If your opponent plays a Forest on turn one, chances are he’s playing a deck with green in it, save the greatest next level in the history of next levels.”

Jim Davis walks you through a convoluted line of play from a Standard tourney, talks about how his mind games were ill-advised, and concludes an exhaustive look at his options and his opponent’s information at the time by introducing the concept of “Win Equity,” the value of a line that could just win the game if your opponent misplays, nullifying calculations of “outs.”

Concluding Standard theory, Gerry T said something innocuous that popped out at me while talking about a billion decks worth playing (warning, premium requires subscription and frowns).

Some of you may notice that I’m playing a lot more Syncopates than I used to. Obviously, Dissipate is a better card in the later game, but as more sets are released, the mana curves start tightening up. Having a counterspell on turn 2 can mean all the difference now.

I highlight this because many of the medium-casual readers might not have made this connection. “Perfect mana” was obviously the situation after Gatecrash, but the point that curves get filled out better in a larger format made perfect sense, and was a point I hadn’t had or seen explicitly articulated before. Plan accordingly.

Legacy expert Drew Levin sees three cards from DGM that might impact Type 1.5, and they are all of the fuse variety: Wear//Tear for being good enough for Vintage, Far//Away for team Shardless BUG, and Beck//Call because you wanted another Glimpse in your Elf Combo deck.


Let’s start with this compendium of Block brews (it’s part nine in the series), from infrequently featured MTGShops. If you want to see everything that can be brewed, check it out.

TWoo follows that up with a walkthrough of the levels of Block decks he think matter, sharing all his Pro-Tour tech in a gesture of good will and the belief that “I have an advantage going into this tournament that few other Pros have. I will not be playing.

We can’t ignore the “best” deck, which is still Junk Rites, probably. Adam Yurchick looks at updates to the archetype predicting Putrefy to be the obvious upgrade, with nods to Voice of Resurgence (out of the board), Ready//Willing (again a solid sideboard card), and Drown in Filth in small numbers.

Check out aggro-master Jackie Lee’s take on Esper knights aggro. Borrowed from a Japanese PTQ via Anthony Lowry, she evolved the deck to play a bit of a Delver-like tempo game combined with the speed and synergy of humans or auras. What’s not to love about a deck that run’s a singleton Undying Evil?

From Russia with love comes another singing the praises of Voice of Resurgence and Advent of the Wurm, two of the rares most likely to shake up early DGM Standard. His brew of choice: Junk Tokens.

Design and Development

I’ve been linking more MaRo articles lately, but they’ve all been awesome. Want to get insight into the evolution of the third set in a block? Check this review of all the third sets in MTG’s history.

Carsten Kotter has a bone to pick with DGM D&D, and he explains in interesting detail how many of the “coolest” build-around or otherwise exciting cards in Dragon’s Maze are actually just two old cards jammed together. It’s a long list, but my favorite is “Gruul War-Chant: Orcish Origlamme + Goblin War Drums”


Casual Thoughts

I’d write more about cube and kitchen table issues if I ever played either, so here’s more EDH goodness. Eric Levine (who also plays at Worlds Apart in Amherst MA, the very same shop as GeneralDamageControl/LegitMTG/one half of SCG’s Dear Azami writer Cassidy) talks about a bunch of random cards that will and won’t be good in Commander. The highlight is where he complains about the Beck half of Beck//Call because it means he “CAN’T EVEN PLAY IN KANGEE BECAUSE IT’S GREEN AAARGH!” Right on.

In his typical greeny mage fashion, Bennie Smith is super pumped about Varolz. He has a sweet list that plays a lot of weird little dudes that kill themselves as part of a host of undercosted-relative-to-their-power creates with drawbacks you don’t really care about, so you can scavenge lots of counters for cheap.

Fantasy and Art

So there’s some great stuff in here about determining which MTG art is traditional or digital, but the most important thing is probably the screen grab from Legends of the Hidden Temple. Get some!

What happens when you combine every card in Dragon’s Maze into one composite? Awesomeness. Check it out thanks to Matt Jones and Arting Around.

And scene. That’s it. Go play Magic!

If you have comments or questions, post below or shoot them to me on 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.

Thanks for reading
❤ Dave


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