Gathering This Week’s Magic 17: June 22 – June 29

Coverage connnnntroversy, GP Las Vegas recaps, and brews for about-to-grow Standard. All the news that’s fit to print in Gathering This Week’s Magic.

Special Section One: GP Vegas

Vegas was an event unlike any other. I can confidently saying despite not having gone. So we’re gonna devote a bit of attention to the awesome, primarily community-benefiting, stuff that came out of the largest card tournament ever.


Here’s a great play-by-play of the action from 20tweets, Brainstorm Brewery’s Jason Alt talking about the trip, the “Podcast House” that hosted a lot of the off-site action, and how to do a shop crawl to a GP.

Lots of content teams were at the event, including GatheringMagic, which produced a number of great videos.

Lastly, check out the new Twincast (I basically never listen to casts, let alone share them, so that says something about this), in which Internet celebrity @revisedangel talks about a lot of the details, stories, and goings on behind the scenes of GPLV.

Special Section Two: The Coverage Brewhaha

It all started with Part One of this series, “How to Improve Magic Coverage” that appeared on Start City Games the Monday after GP Vegas. Ex-player John Butler kicks off his four-part series (you can find the rest on SCG now) with some numbers and comparisons to other televised sports to argue that Magic coverage draws appallingly low viewership numbers, which he assumes is a problem.

The debate rang out across Twitter and other social media, and although many were quick to poke at hole, real or perceived, in Butler’s arguments, you can smell the change in the air. PVDDR responded on Channel Fireball to some of Butler’s basic ideas and how they make sense to pros, as opposed to average viewers.

Then my favorite local team stirred the pot a bit more, throwing up this awesome list they compiled of the top 100 Magic players in the world, a ranked list of which there is no official form. No global rankings for a semi-professional international sport? Yep, so clearly WotC’s system could be better.

Tournament Reports

Patriawan Kurniadi won GP Bangkok, which was RTR Block limited, taking the top eight with a Bant aggro deck, while Neal Oliver won a little touney called GP Vegas. He clinched the trophy on the back of Bonesplitter, and didn’t drop a match in his 17-run heater to the winner’s podium, after starting the tournament 0-1.

Metagame Info

thraggyNot much has changed in the overall composition of the Standard meta despite the recent win by Esper control, as Thragtusk remains the most played guy in a format defined by really good dudes.

Here’s recent Pro Tour champion Craig Wescoe on the best decks in Standard right now and how to beat them.

BDM has his own take on a similar list of what’s good in Standard right now, what is wrong with the winningest lists from each archetype, and how to beat them.

Tournaments, This Weekend and Next

This weekend is GP Miami, hosted by SCG. You can catch the stream at and enjoy some top-level Standard goodness.

Next weekend is SCG Worcester, with Standard and Legacy, while Kansas City plays host to the first Modern GP since San Diego.

Strategy and Theory

If you’re going to build a deck, you (and it) need a plan. Check out brewmaster Conley Woods’ explanation of how to build a plan around powerful cards you want to play so your own brew isn’t bad.

Some of the beauty of non-rotating formats comes from the range of viable decks, and in turn, how much you can deduce from the way they mull their mulligan and what they do on turn one. Carsten Kotter offers this fun walkthrough of opponents’ Legacy openers and what we can deduce from them.


In case you didn’t know, Tarmogoyf and Dark Confidant have gotten more expensive since the release of Modern Masters, while a lot of the casual rares and uncommon included in the set have gone down in price.
cashLearn about a few financial winners that didn’t show up in this set of powerful reprints.

Wizard’s announced that people at San Diego Comic Con will have the option to purchase a special set of the five M14 planewalkers with a unique color scheme, grayscale plus their mana symbol colors. It’s included here because initial speculation put the resale value of the set at $150, although that number seems low to me.


Scotty Mac takes a new Firemane Naya brew through its paces.

If you wanna get a little spicy, try this UWR control list that looks more like a Modern deck, with no Reckoner and its suite of synergy.

Adam Barnello looks at Mutavault, Big Daddy Garruk(, Caller of Beasts), and what M14 has in store for Standard. And it looks like an exciting format.

Design and Development

Common power level is a tricky beast for limited. Sam Stoddard looks at how development balances this issue using context so even losing can be fun.

Casual Thoughts

I can barely even make sentences this is so cool. Here’s superlative alterist Eric Klug describing his Zombie Cube.

And in a fit of soulless self promotion (also shameless) check out my first piece of GeneralDamageControl. In Three Cards Deep, I tell you about card that you thought were weak but aren’t, you thought were good but are actually fun-crushers, and those that just fall flat. Tooting the general horn, this site is an awesome weekly destination for EDH theory goodness.

CommanderCast’s Devil’s Advocate seems to hate group hug even more than I do. (I don’t want everyone to draw more card even if I get to also, cuz the table’s outdrawing me three to one!) But the real gem is his description of a subset of hug players themselves.

…male nerds (who represent the vast majority of Magic’s players, including myself) do self entitlement pretty much better than anyone else on the planet. Seriously, we’re in third place. Right behind The One Percent and Joffrey Baratheon.” Word.

Fantasy and Art

It’s hard out there for a young pyromancer, especially in this Inkwell Looter comic.

Social and Community Stuff

Two weeks in a row of feel-good moments speaks volumes for our little magical community. Check out @revisedangel talking about the podcast that saved her life.

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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