Sometimes bad things happen to good players. Here at MTGO’s development team, we believe in making bad things happen to everyone regardless of skill level. It’s called equality, I think. 

Sometimes you draft your heart out and build a really stellar deck. And other times you spend five minutes staring at a loading screen, wringing your hands and wondering what awesome cards you missed because the client crashed right around pick one, pack one. (I mean, you probably didn’t want that fetchland anyway.)


Feel free to take this moment to admire our UI. Our team worked hard on it.

I used to have a pretty amicable relationship with MTGO. Like living with your roommate’s new girlfriend, you learn to deal with the hair in the sink and how rolls of toilet paper seem to last like six hours. Sure, there were some quirks. I could put up with them for the sake of a harmonious household.

Things changed today. Once a provider of novel but lonely companionship, MTGO finally turned.

My college schedule and degenerate nocturnal lifestyle isn’t really conducive to paper Magic (sadly, nobody wants to draft with me at 3 AM). So most of my Magic product and currency is digital. That’s never been much of a problem, and I was willing to deal with MTGO’s occasional fits of weirdness, chalking it up to growing pains and a possibly over-demanding player base.

So I didn’t complain when we were ushered onto the Beta client, and never felt devastated by the online tournament and reimbursement issues that seem to happen every other week.


But now, it’s personal.

Unfortunately, my experience today was exceptionally awful. After watching my favorite streamers crush KTK and running through a couple dozen mock drafts on Bestiaire, I felt like I could play a few events and do okay. And I have a steady paycheck now, so typing in my credit card number on the MTGO client is slightly less painful.

The draft starts, my screen freezes, and a time seems to freeze as I stare at the loading bar, willing the client to open up faster.

After going into matches, MTGO saw fit to take a nap every few minutes, forcing me to restart the entire process.

Thanks to this, I win my first match with ten seconds to spare. Racing the clock is less fun when it’s not your fault.


I’m not sure what’s happening with the post-game victory screen, either.

After a few more crashes, I drop the second match and leave for a few hours. The experience fills you with a strange mixture of helplessness and impotent anger, which probably isn’t very healthy.

So, that’s my complaint for the week. Aside from that, I found Khans to be a really interesting, dynamic format. Cool mechanics, and really interesting cards (maybe even too interesting, as some others have pointed out).

After missing P1P1, P1P2, and a couple other cards toward the end of pack two, I was hurting for playable cards. I fell into WBG after an early Armament Corps, and figured that a late Sultai Scavenger and on-color tri-land was a pretty good sign, so I moved in right away.

Here’s the finished product: Mediocre Azkaban.


It’s hard to go wrong with 18 lands in this format. Deck building and sideboard strategy was basically nonexistent. The plan: throw in every card that wasn’t terrible and hit submit. In retrospect, I probably would have gotten away with a few less Swamps and another Plain or two. Having Master of Pearls morphed and unable to flip was actually one of the low points of my week.

This was also my first experience with MTGO. Some of my expectations were pretty on point (Outlast is slow but good, and a good land base is a big deal), and others were a bit off (radically underestimating Delve because who knew that your graveyard actually filled up with cards pretty quickly).

The A-team:

Kin-Tree Invocation. This is the card that Ensoul Artifact wanted to be. A turn one Disowned Ancestor into turn two 5/5 is devastating, and doesn’t require playing cards like Ornithopter to activate. Does it suck on the top deck if you’re behind? Sure. But Azban/Sulti has so many huge creatures to turn this guy on. Love at first sight.

Sultai Flayer. Life gain is a weird metric for evaluating a card. The 3/4 is already respectable, but the 4 life after losing the creature has always proved to me a huge swing in the slow, grindy games I played.

Incremental Growth. Breaks board stalemates wide, wide open. A card better suited to the midrange matchups that either Akban or Sultan are angling for and, again, requires some sort of board presence to actually be useful. I kinda like that style of play, though. Establish ground control with efficient, sometimes boring creatures and then go over the top with spells. Makes strategizing a bit easier, at any rate.

The verdict?

I think it’s time to take a break from MTGO and head over to the local store. KTK is way too much fun to miss out on because of technical difficulties. And leaving my room every once and a while can’t hurt.

Tony is the Hipster’s resident scrub, and Scrub Report is his take on the weird, awesome world of Magic. 

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