BDM and Flores are finally reunited in an intimate one on one podcasting session. In Part 1 they discuss the Hall of Fame ballot and the increasing presence of MTG players in the World Series of Poker.
Kazuya Mitamura may have won PT Honolulu but for the Constructed portion the winner was Jim Davis who went 9-1 with his cascade-based Jund deck. The Long Island, NY native wrote a tournament report for a local website about his unique approach to the format, which saw him choose to be on the draw in all the matches he won. In fact, the only Constructed match he lost was the last one when he veered from the script and chose to play first in the last game.
The shocking revelation is that I chose to draw rather than play first. In fact, every single game in the constructed portion (save for game 3 round 16, which I will get to later) I was on the draw. This worked out very well because despite losing most of my die rolls in 10 rounds I was always exactly where I wanted to be as my opponents all chose to play.
Now, why draw? When I was first testing the deck Blightning was in the board, and it was simply devastating in the mirror. The deck has no card draw style card advantage, and needs its lands to get going, which means Blightning either stunted mana development brutally or spiked two big spells. This is huge because the way the deck is designed all of your spells have the card advantage built in, meaning most are in essence two spells in one. So if you discard two spells to Blightning you have discarded almost 4 spells of value.
With one or two more wins in Limited — a format that he has traditionally done well in — Jim could have easilly have made the Top 8 of this event and his decision to draw first would have been one of the most talked about in recent Magic history. Due to the split format his performance — and the decision that may have led to that performance — was buried in 33rd place in the final standings.
Loyal Podcast listeners are probably aware that the infamous/reclusive Matt Wang (mattwang97 on Twitter) “won” GP-Boston in 2007. I put “won” in quotes because it is unclear (and the topic of much debate) how much of that win should be attributed to Wang, since it was a 2-Headed Giant tournament and his partner was none other than multiple PT Top8 finisher and Pro Tour Los Angeles winner Steve O’Mahoney-Schwartz (3 PT T8s/1 PT win, 10 GP T8s/4 GP wins, 237 lifetime Pro Points). Wang and OMS beat Top8Magic friend Gerard Fabiano and his partner Eric Zeigler in the finals to bring home the trophy to the Top8 offices.
Despite the pedigree of his partner, a win is a win and in the NYC area that means cake. Winning Regionals, a PTQ, an LCQ, a GP or a PT are all grounds for a cake party (Billy’s or otherwise). However, Wang has yet to make good on the promise of cake despite taking part in multiple cake celebrations that have transpired since his win. The solution to this problem is obviously peer pressure.
All Top8 fans who have Twitter, please use the hashtag #WangOwesCake whenever you Tweet about the following: Cake, GPs, PTQs, LCQs, Winning, Top8Magic or Matt Wang. BDM (Top8Games on Twitter) already started the trend over the weekend and we hope everyone will pick it up.
Mike was just interviewed at Moxes, a Spain-based Magic website. Check out his interview:
Glacial Fortress enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a Plains or an Island.
T: Add W or U to your mana pool.
Last week BDM and I were discussing the new cycle of M10 dual lands, including Glacial Fortress.
The first half of my snap judgment — which I doubt many of you will disagree with — is that Glacial Fortress is strictly better than Coastal Tower.
Really going out on a limb on that one, I know!
Glacial Fortress is exactly the same card as Coastal Tower… except that sometimes it is better (that is, it comes into play untapped sometimes, whereas Coastal Tower never does). This is really just the latest in a long line of dual lands (or tri-lands) that are better than Coastal Tower.
For instance Arcane Sanctum is a Coastal Tower that can also tap for Black mana.
Similarly Hallowed Fountain is a Coastal Tower that not only doesn’t come into play tapped if you don’t want it to… it is best friends with Flooded Strand and a whole cycle of pre-existing dual lands.
The message is clear: Coastal Tower was good enough for Standard, Block, and in some cases even Extended play when it was in-print, but we consider it not-good-enough any more.
Glacial Fortress is clearly a cool land (and the precursor to a cool cycle of lands), but the second half of my assessment in BDM’s direction was that I think that Glacial Fortress is also more limiting than Coastal Tower. That is, I believe it will see less broad (as opposed to less wide) play; Glacial Fortress may well see play in more raw decks, but I would guess it will see play in fewer kinds of decks than Coastal Tower.
What does that mean?
In Coastal Tower days, it would not have been unusual to see Coastal Tower in play next to Swamp. I don’t think we will often see Glacial Fortress next to Swamp, however (except, perhaps, a singleton Forest that interacts with an opponent’s projected Path to Exile). The structure of this cycle of dual lands is nigh-linear. That is, we are encouraged to play Glacial Fortress specifically with Plains and Islands, we get too much value by playing these cards together to expand into playing it in a deck with Swamp, given the alternatives. BDM tried to project a corner cases, but at least given our current available palette of dual lands (and the like), in Standard we would be much more likely to play Arcane Sanctum next to Swamp than Glacial Fortress.
So in that sense, it is clear that while Glacial Fortress is the superior card to Coastal Tower, at the same time, its bundled incentives make it likely to be a less broadly played card… and therefore might be less interesting!
Interestingly, in Extended, Glacial Fortress makes a nice neighbor to Hallowed Fountain (and even Godless Shrine, Breeding Pool, and many other potential combinations, but mostly Hallowed Fountain). It is probably less friendly a neighbor than Flooded Strand, but synergistic nevertheless.
And that is my snap judgment on Glacial Fortress.
Duels of the Planeswalkers is a unique product. It does some things spectacularly right, and does other things spectacularly wrong. The things it does right represent some great work and show a lot of promise for other, better projects in the future. The things it does wrong range from places where I think priorities were misplaced, to places where we will need more time to improve the product to places where the game is intentionally being held back for reasons both good and ill. Overall, this is a great game at its absurdly low price point that has the promise to mature into something far greater.