Patriot Games

Monday, 27 August 2012

A Design for Life...

I used to play a card game called Raw Deal based on the World Wrestling Entertainment professional wrestling shows and wrestlers.  Raw Deal was produced by a company called Comic Images.  Comic Images were a trading card and collectibles company which was very small in comparison to Hasbro or Wizards of the Coast.  Raw Deal was the brain child of two men, Michael Foley (not to be confused with Mick Foley the wrestler) and Baron Vangor Toth. Of the two Baron was the "face" of raw deal.  I frequently disagreed with decisions Baron would make and the cards he would design and I wasn't shy about expressing my opinions, to the point that I received a "telling off" from the then UK commissioner of Raw Deal Neil Gow.

Baron had a weekly column on the Raw Deal website (which is still there although his column is not) and I had several of my e-mails on there answered by Baron.  Raw Deal production was stopped in December 2007, due to declining sales.  Very sadly Baron Vangor Toth died on 29 February 2008 of cancer aged 34.  I believe the eulogy written by Neil Gow in his blog at the time summed up the feelings of the Raw Deal community and can be found here.

Baron Vangor Toth 11/08/1973 - 29/02/2008 R.I.P.
A great CCG designer who is sorely missed.

The access we had to Baron was phenomenal but this was perpetuated by the size and passion of the Raw Deal community.  Magic is not afforded that luxury due to an economy of scales.  However, Mark Rosewater (Magic head designer and "face" of Magic the Gathering) does try very hard to connect with the millions of Magic players out there via Twitter, Tumblr and google+.  The other way that Mark Rosewater reaches us all is via his weekly column on MTG Daily.  

Since I started writing this blog at the beginning of July as "added value" to FNM Relax I have had a little insight into the world of people like Baron and Mark.  It isn't as easy as it looks, doubly so in my case as this is not what I do for a job and have to write this during my "spare" time.  I had a totally different blog written for today until at 7.45 this morning when I looked at MTG Daily and found the two lead articles which took me down a very different path.  

New head honcho of the Golgari Swarm.

Firstly there is the deck lists for Izzet Vs Golgari:

Izzet Deck
Duel Decks: Izzet vs Golgari

1  Forgotten Cave
10  Island
2  Izzet Boilerworks
1  Lonely Sandbar
9  Mountain
1  Nivix, Aerie of the Firemind
24 lands

1  Djinn Illuminatus
1  Galvanoth
1  Gelectrode
1  Goblin Electromancer
1  Izzet Chronarch
1  Izzet Guildmage
2  Kiln Fiend
1  Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind
1  Ogre Savant
2  Shrewd Hatchling
1  Steamcore Weird
2  Wee Dragonauts
15 creatures

1  Brainstorm
1  Call to Heel
1  Dissipate
1  Fire // Ice
1  Force Spike
1  Invoke the Firemind
1  Isochron Scepter
1  Izzet Charm
1  Izzet Signet
1  Magma Spray
1  Overwhelming Intellect
1  Prophetic Bolt
2  Pyromatics
1  Quicksilver Dagger
1  Reminisce
1  Sphinx-Bone Wand
1  Street Spasm
1  Thunderheads
1  Train of Thought
1  Vacuumelt
21 other spells

Golgari Deck

1  Barren Moor
1  Dakmor Salvage
8  Forest
2  Golgari Rot Farm
1  Svogthos, the Restless Tomb
10  Swamp
1  Tranquil Thicket
24 lands

1  Boneyard Wurm
1  Brain Weevil
1  Doomgape
1  Dreg Mangler
2  Elves of Deep Shadow
1  Eternal Witness
1  Gleancrawler
1  Golgari Grave-Troll
2  Golgari Rotwurm
1  Golgari Thug
1  Greater Mossdog
1  Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord
1  Korozda Guildmage
1  Plagued Rusalka
1  Putrid Leech
1  Ravenous Rats
1  Reassembling Skeleton
1  Sadistic Hypnotist
1  Shambling Shell
1  Stingerfling Spider
1  Stinkweed Imp
23 creatures

1  Feast or Famine
1  Ghoul's Feast
1  Golgari Germination
1  Golgari Signet
1  Grim Flowering
1  Life // Death
1  Life from the Loam
1  Nightmare Void
2  Putrefy
1  Twilight's Call
1  Vigor Mortis
1  Yoke of the Damned
13 other spells

Wow, just wow.  Normally the Vs decks have 1 or 2 good cards in them but these are just amazing - Gelectrode, Wee Dragonauts, Brain Storm, Fire//Ice, Force Spike, Isochron Scepter, Eternal Witness, Golgari Grave Troll, Putrid Leech, Life//Death, Life from the loam, putrefy! That is not all - you get Jarad and Niv-Mizzet as well!!!!  Amazing value at an RRP of $19.99 - probably around £15.99 in the UK.

Hold the phone, stop the press, wait a damn minute - there's more!  6 of the cards in this set are from Return to Ravnica, one of them being Jarad but here are the other 5:

Overload looks like it could be strong with Street Spasm being a kind of reverse Bonfire of the damned at instant speed.  Scavenge has this whole Dredge feel to it while still actually playing MTG - 4 colour zombies anyone?  Charms are back, last seen in Alara block these babies are awesome, effectively giving you 12 cards in your deck for the price of 4.  Goblin Electromancer, I keep looking at this card and going "Really? This is a common, really?"!  He is a 2/2 guy that is a wizard (I hear there may be some good wizards in standard at the moment) and he makes your instants and sorcery's cost 1 mana less to cast.  So he makes flashback costs less too.  Delver of secrets and Snapcaster just got a new friend...

Secondly as touched on earlier we have Mark Rosewater's State of Design article.  I thought this was pretty good and had the whole "yeah we dropped the ball with Avacyn Restored limited", although my son Robert didn't agree.  Unfortunately due to his continued use of the vernacular has meant that I am unable to repeat it here and I will let you decide if you think this is pure self appreciation or a considered opinion of the last 12 months of Magic the Gathering.

And finally, speaking of my son Robert, I had a conversation with him last week about the deck lists for this Friday's FNM Relax at Patriot Games which went something like this:

Rob: "Read your blog - your deck is sub optimal but you know that..."

Me: "Yeah"

Rob: "Mark's Elf deck is pretty strong but it is a bit boring, although I like the idea with Gavony town ship but you wont get to pull it off."

Obviously this image didn't actually appear in the middle of  the conversation...

Me: "Ok"

Rob: "You know what would be much better - G/R Elves with an Urabrask and an Inferno Titan in it. You use all your elf mana to like Genesis Wave for 15 - hit Urabrask so that all your guys have haste and swing for the kill straight away..."

Me: Actually that sounds pretty good, I'll look at making a list for it..."

So I did, sent the list to Mark Smith and he decided to go for it.  So here is the deck list he will be playing as my partner in 2HG this Friday:

4 Copperline Gorge
4 Root bound Crag
2 Kessig Wolf Run
7 Forest
6 Mountains

4 Llanowar Elf
2 Arbor Elf
4 Elvish Arch Druid
2 Ezuri, Renegade Leader
4 Elvish Visionaries
4 Viridian Emissary
1 Yeva Natures Herald
1 Urabrask the Hidden
1 Inferno Titan
1 Thrun the Last Troll
1 Craterhoof Behemoth

3 Green Sun’s Zenith
1 Rampant Growth
2 Caravan Vigil
2 Genesis Wave
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
3 Brimstone Volley

This is not the blog that should have gone up today.  As an extra "treat" (yeah not so sure about that) I will be publishing that one tomorrow.  Hope to see you there...

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