Two from Channel Fireball

Clearly I haven’t been in a position to write a lot in the last week; I was thinking of going to a Standard tournament, but that did not happen. However, I’d like to point people toward two good articles at We have:
Initial Technology – First Thoughts on Alara Reborn – Luis Scott-Vargas walks through the Alara Reborn cards that have been spoiled so far and highlights some of the likely hits.
The Riki Rules – PTQing for Fun and no Profit – Riki Hayashi talks about his experience at this PTQ, and why a judge might want to play at a PTQ, even without a high likelihood of actually winning the event.

PTQ Honolulu – 50 minutes to victory

I attended the second of the Bay Area PTQs for Honolulu today, hosted as they ably are of late at Superstars Game Center in San Jose. Superstars is having a Standard $1K next weekend. However, if you’re in the general NorCal area and still want a shot at qualifying, there’s also a PTQ the same day at Great Escape Games in Sacramento (click here for more info).
I had a fun, if insufficiently successful day today. The title is only sort of misleading; I’ll explain it in the extended entry, along with the deck I brought, and a round-by-round of my tournament experience.
Overall, the tournament metagame this time around was a mix of Faeries, which really does seem to be the favorite of skilled pilots, as well as B/G Loam, Naya Zoo, Affinity, Storm, Slide, Elves, and Conley-Woods-style ReliquaryGeddon (if you don’t know what that is, click here for BDM’s column discussing Conley’s deck, and click here to read about Conley’s PTQ win). As far as I could see, the Big Domain style decks seem to have fallen away since the last Sac PTQ, probably because they’re actually not all that great.
Once again, click through to the extended to see my deck choice and my round-by-round.

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Colombian clouds

What if we held a PTQ and twelve Death Clouds came?
I was flipping through recent PTQ results from the current season when I saw the top eight from this PTQ in Bogota, Colombia. The standout fact for me was three Death Cloud decks, which is a much higher hit rate than we’ve come to expect. Now, this was a forty-eight player PTQ, so that’s a little less of a shakedown than a California PTQ, say, but it still makes us ask “Is there anything new about these lists?” Let’s just walk through the whole top eight (click through to the extended entry for that).

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Loucks’ Larks

Did you read about Jonathan Loucks’s (see how I use the apostrophe properly that time?) Kiki-Jiki deck in this week’s Top Decks?
Now you can head over to Channel Fireball and read the tournament report.
And with that, I’m tired from a long week and am off to bed. Looking forward to playing Gifts (sans Akki) eight days from now.
Actually, almost off to bed. I’ll throw in something cute in one more post.

Clearly, I need to travel farther

A little while ago, I posted about some curious decks from a PTQ in Sendai. Now, I figured this PTQ was small, but at the time I linked to it, attendance numbers hadn’t been listed.
Now they have. Sixteen people.
So, you know, FNM. Except that I gather our local FNM is bigger than that.
This reminds me of listening to the DeckConstruct podcast covering a PTQ in Aberdeen (that’s in Scotland) with something like fifteen attendees. You can almost wander in to the top eight at an event of that size.
Still, fun decks. 🙂

PTQ Honolulu – Drawing it out in Sacramento

I just returned from the first of two Sacramento PTQs in the current season. This was my first time at the venue, Great Escape Games. The space is cavernous, spreading well out behind the store proper. The tournament was run smoothly and crisply by our excellent judging staff, lead by Riki Hayashi and ably assisted by other great judges from our local community, including Eric Levine, and an assist from the already qualified Kenneth Ellis (you can check out his winning list here; it was good to see him up and around).
Clearly, I didn’t top eight, or I’d still be there. That said, the tournament started soon after 10am, and I left at 7:30pm, which is excellent for an eight-round event where multiple matches went to time each round. I did that a couple of times.
That’s foreshadowing. I’ll talk more about it later.
The top tables featured an abundance of Faeries and Zoo; I also noticed some Loam and “Junk” (WBG good stuff) style decks.
Click through to the extended entry for my deck list, my round-by-round tournament report, and some after-action analysis on my deck’s issues.

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Sendai goes rogue

One of the sweeping generalizations that rolls around in Magic is that “the Japanese” are prone to running weird, off-the-wall deck lists. It might be more accurate to say that “some very successful Japanese players are willing to run nonstandard decks” than to suggest a genetic basis for this statement, but nonetheless, it can be a lot of fun looking at tournament results from Japan in hopes of seeing wackiness.
The most recent results from a PTQ in Sendai don’t disappoint. Click through to the extended entry for a look at the latest in slightly to significantly nonstandard decks.
Edit: Read this before randomly netdecking anything in this post.

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Rogue week

As I prepare for my next PTQ this coming weekend, I’ve been checking in with deck lists from all my usual sources. I’m generally looking for two things:
1) The metagame as sort-of represented in the top eight
2) Interesting innovations
Innovations can be anything from subtle changes to a known archetype (say, adding Future Sight into Faeries) to substantially novel decks. This week, we see a mix of all that, although in fairness, many of the outliers are not so much “novel” as they are re-imaginings of decks from older formats that you might not have expected to see in a top eight. Nonetheless, I like seeing quirky ideas make their way into top eights, as deck building and card choice really are two fundamental parts of the fun of Magic.
Click through to the extended entry for cool ideas and commentary.

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