I would splash red for that

Over at the usual venue, we have an ostensible Alara Reborn spoiler for a fantastic card:
Sorcery Rare
Choose target player. Name a nonland card. That player reveals his or her hand. Exsanguination deals 3 damage for each card with that name in that player’s hand to that player. Remove cards with that name from that player’s graveyard, hand and library. That player then shuffles his/her library.
I’m a huge fan of ripping cards from every place a player can hide them. I love that I get to have Cranial Extraction in my sideboard in the current Extended, and when I was concentrating on Standard a couple months back, I kept wishing I could have Extractions there.
The damage on this card is kind of incidental to me, although nice-ish. But I’m really looking forward to being able to denude someone of their key win condition (consider, for example, that this hits well before Cruel Ultimatum).
Assuming this is an accurate spoiler, this card should be a fun addition to the upcoming Standard PTQ season.

A little bit of cratering among friends

This is not meant to be solely a Magic blog, although it ends up being that the vast majority of the time as my resources (money, time) go toward Magic more often than toward any other game.
That said, even in my limited repertoire of games there are some fun, solid choices that I should be highlighting more frequently.
Back in 1977, Steve Jackson came out with Ogre, a game about apocalyptic future warfare between a force of infantry and armor and one giant, cybernetic tank. Ogre was the second wargame I ever played, and is a classic answer to the question “What’s a good introductory wargame?” It has the advantage of covering a lot of basic ground (movement, terrain, differing weapon ranges) with the option of handing the new player whichever side they find easier, whether that’s a bunch of simpler units or the Ogre.
In 1978, the Ogre universe expanded with the introduction of G.E.V.. G.E.V. uses the same basic rule set as Ogre, but expands on it to include more detailed terrain options as well as some other more complex rules such as overrun attacks. The default G.E.V. game is armor and infantry versus armor and infantry, but since the game is simply a slight “leveling up” in complexity from Ogre, it accommodates Ogres just fine (and is, in fact, the default rule set for all the follow-on products).
Although the setting of the game is pretty damn bleak (seriously – all the tanks fire nukes, and the fight is happening largely in Western Europe), the game play is swift and fun, with most games clocking in under the hour mark. Ogre/G.E.V. do, indeed, represent a good pair of starter wargames for those who are a new to the concept.
You can read one of my writeups of a G.E.V. game over here at Boardgamegeek. Here’s a brief excerpt:
Rushing to head off the assault, PE heavy tanks rolled southeast and engaged the northern pincer of the Combine GEV assault, supported by a GEV and a missile tank, with an infantry company bringing up the rear. The heavies exacted vengeance on the Combine GEVs, using their open firing lines to take two of them apart…

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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2009 North American regionals – May 16th

Courtesy of a heads up from Bill Stark, we can all go check out the locations for North American regionals tournaments. Regionals this year come up on May 16th (which is two days after I come back from travel, so that’s handy).
Regional tournaments feed into your country’s nationals, yielding from 2-8 invitations (most of them clock in at 4). I encourage you all to attend the nearest regionals if you can. It’s a fun tournament that brings together a wider swathe of your local Magic community than a PTQ would, while still remaining a competitive environment.

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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