It’s an odd week to write about Magic: The Gathering if one is hoping to be a creative voice in the MTG blogosphere. Gatecrash prerelease has come and gone. Bloodbraid Elf and Seething Song are banned in Modern. Gatecrash release is this coming weekend. I acquired a GoPro camera and have been recording test matches against Hipsters family members. We’ve designed new business cards. Everyone and their mother is going to be evaluating their Gatecrash pools, speculating on Gatecrash’s impact on Standard, Modern, and Legacy (maybe not Legacy). I am no speculator and find that kind of chatter to be borderline useless. I have no clue how Gatecrash will affect Standard beyond me putting Stomping Ground and Sacred Foundry into my Naya deck. I’ve probably said this a few times, maybe even written it on this blog, but opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one. My uncle probably said that a lot, or maybe it was my grandfather. It’s not even clear whether or not I’ll bother playing Standard on Friday. Gatecrash is a really fun limited format going in and I look forward to drafting its pants off.

Let’s touch on the Gatecrash prerelease. I played in 9am, 3pm, and 8pm Two Headed Giant (2HG) prerelease events.

At 9am I ran Boros (splash Gruul) and went 2-2 by the skin of my teeth.

3pm I rocked Gruul (splash Boros) to a 3-1 record.

Kadar Brock and I formed Team Forebrock and took the whole thing down with a 3-0 record playing an insane combination of Orzhov and Boros as Extort and Battalion work with each other’s creatures, life totals, and both opponents’ life totals. This was a brilliant move on our part. I can only imagine what would’ve happened if we made the mistake of playing Dimir and Orzhov! HA! That would’ve been crazy bad, too slow against other Boros Legions and Extorting Orzhovs. Oh, wait, that’s what we did. 1-2 with the selected guilds of Dimir and Orzhov which lead to decks of Simic (splash Gruul) and Esper. 2HG was a frustrating bloodbath of which we were on the receiving end. We were able to overcome Trey and his 2HG partner in the final round to save some face (read: forehead), but really the whole jam was a missed opportunity. Playing with Kadar, as always, is a treat and we’ll do it again, but DAMN losing still sucks, even in a crazy format like 2HG! We played three one game matches and our opponents looked like this:




The first two matches were really dull for us. We kept gaining edges then running out of cards and eventually did our best WW2 Dresden impression and lost. We’re 2-0 life time against our final 2HG opponents. All three of the 2HG teams we played against were stellar human beings despite two of them kicking our teeth in.

I won nine prize packs on the day and cashed everything in for $50-ish store credit. As I’m broke this’ll insure that I’m drafting well into the future.

The best cards for me were the following:

She’s so fast, so first strikey, so intimidating. Bloodrushing her and giving her first strike is the sickest.

I played this goblin turn one a few times but he’s at his best turn five or so when one has a few creatures in play. He makes pretty unintimidating creatures or creature stalls into first strike trampling badasses when you tap a single Mountain and attack with him. He’s really a combat trick. He squashed opponents all day. I had him in both solo prerelease decks. He’s also super cute. GET’EM!

That’s probably it. I opened and played no bombs. Battalion and Bloodrush are the real deal. I played creatures and smashed – my favorite kind of magic. There was one match during the 3pm prerelease, I think the second match, against an Orzhov deck that stalled me out while I top decked bullshit every time. He was able to cast that shitty board wipe card like 30 times each match. Being bombless I was pretty frustrated as I had to take the grindy road to try and win and the grindy road must’ve had a bridge out or something because I couldn’t get through.

That’s about it for the prerelease action. This set seems super fun and smashy and that’s the way I take my Magic if I am allowed a choice. Not a single spell I cast all day was countered. It was great.

Here’s where I need your help. I’ve been shooting play testing footage with a GoPro camera that I was gifted. The sound is horrible and with a little work easily corrected. The idea behind shooting with a GoPro is that it’s sort of point of view shooting (like Cloverfield) and could show what the feel of a game of Magic could be like. That said, this isn’t the best we’ve seen re: footage and I think it would be better used combined with an overhead shot of the board state and two cameras situated so that we can see each players’ hand. Please let me know what you think of shooting in this manner given that it will be placed amongst three other camera angles in future recordings.

Modern Dredgevine vs. Rb Burn from Matt Jones on Vimeo.

Here are the decklists:

by mkrzywicki (MTGO)

4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Copperline Gorge
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
3 Marsh Flats
3 Blood Crypt
2 Overgrown Tomb
4 Vengevine
4 Lotleth Troll
4 Gravecrawler
4 Goblin Bushwhacker
4 Bloodghast
3 Stinkweed Imp
2 Golgari Thug
4 Grisly Salvage
4 Faithless Looting
4 Lightning Axe
3 Darkblast

1 Darkblast
4 Ancient Grudge
4 Crime / Punishment
4 Leyline of the Void
2 Nature’s Claim

Rb Burn
by killabeeze (MTGO)

7 Mountain
4 Arid Mesa
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Blood Crypt
4 Goblin Guide
4 Hellspark Elemental
4 Vexing Devil
3 Grim Lavamancer
4 Bump in the Night
4 Lava Spike
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Rift Bolt
4 Searing Blaze
3 Shard Volley
2 Flames of the Blood Hand

2 Volcanic Fallout
2 Smash to Smithereens
2 Ash Zealot
3 Molten Rain
1 Rain of Gore
2 Relic of Progenitus
1 Shattering Spree
2 Torpor Orb

The sound is obviously an issue and the video looks pretty all over the place. I bet I’d get batter at using it and I think combining it with three other cameras will really make this type of shot sing. It’s funny to me that skiers, skateboarders, and cyclists use GoPro cameras for their extreme sports and we’re using it for bad play testing videos. It’s a very hip thing to do!

Both of these decks are super fun to play with seemingly straight forward decision trees. Kadar is so in love with Dredgevine I don’t see him playing anything else, ever. Not in Modern at least. Burn seems to have a pretty good edge against … everything? Why don’t more people play it? We’re adding it to the play testing queues for upcoming PTQs. Dredgevine, too. Why not?

See you at the Gatecrash releases. Good luck to all!

Much love,
Matt “The Obliterator” Jones
MTGO: The_Obliterator

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