Tournament reports, opinion pieces, guest articles, and whatever else we have that doesn’t really fit into any other category end up here.

Role Player

Game Changer

Didn’t expect to see me writing an article, did you? Can’t say I blame you, as that’s not really something I’m known to do. In general, my role in the Magic community is to sit back and fire commentary as others take stances on cards and strategies. This doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions, of course; it just means that I’m usually content to sit by and let others with more experience take on the role of teachers, analysts, and tacticians. It would take something really unusual, interesting, and game changing to fire me up enough to actually commit my thoughts to digital ink.

kytheon gideon

Well, Kytheon managed to pull this off. This Magic Origins mythic rare has the potential to be a format-spanning staple, which is fine and dandy, but that’s not why I’m inspired to write about it. No, great cards are printed all the time and nearly every Planeswalker will be analyzed by people far more experienced with the various formats than I am, so what makes Kytheon so special?

Kytheon is an interesting mix of aggressive creature and board-controlling Planeswalker. The very specific combination of stats, cost, and abilities gives me an opportunity to discuss a critical component of card evaluation that I feel most players must learn if they want to improve. If you find yourself struggling at your local prerelease or having trouble determining which cards are likely to find a home in Standard, then this discussion will hopefully give you a new tool for your toolbox.

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Family in the Pool

by Matt Bowlby

I’ve seen a lot of things. I’ve been from one side of the country to the other. However, nothing can move me on the inside more than family and friends coming together. When you share your time with someone, it is always worth more than any gift that one can buy. Some friends become family when you spend that valuable time with them. As a listener, I can say that the Mana Pool has become a family.

The Mana Pool passed episode 300 late last year, and I congratulate them. If someone can spend over six years being friends with another, they are family. This is why I enjoy the fact that they post their rare commander games in audio form. It reminds me, as it should all of us, that this game of Magic is not just about tournaments. This game is designed to have fun with those you enjoy spending time with. Honestly, without games like this, I believe so many friendships would fall by the wayside.

It has been said that most men need something to do in order to hang out with their buddies. That is unfortunately how we are wired. Most women are lucky just to be able to sit down and drink coffee and talk. Guys get bored too easy. This is probably why the majority of players of Magic happen to be men. Thank God for the occasional female that shows up at FNM though, it keeps us guys showering. And thanks to all the women who support us and play the game with us. Whether they enjoy it or not, it shows their love. It keeps the communication going. I’m no psychologist, but I’m pretty sure communication is the root of all close friendships and relationships.

My family stays close because of the game of Magic. I may be the root cause of that, spreading my addiction to my brother, but you could never make me regret it. Since I learned how to play in high school, the game spread from me to my bro, to my cousin, to more friends. Then as time passed and I had children, it spread to my kids, my nephews, niece. There are second generation players now! I even played many times against my beautiful fiance’s brother before I knew her. She sure remembered seeing me at the shop when we finally started talking 14 years later.

Saying all that, I’d like to express my thanks to The Mana Pool for being an example of friends that become family. Thanks to the makers of the game for keeping the young and beginners in mind. Thanks for the teachers who use the game as a tool for math and reading. Thanks for the shop owners who remember that the community comes first. Thanks for the judges who are patient and pick up trash. Keep up the good work, all of you. I hope this writing sheds a light on how what one does affects the community. No matter how small or big an action, it is a chain reaction.

Happy New Year to you all.


Matt @stackopancake


Everything Old is New Again – Slivers in M14

New Slivers

Considering the fact you’re reading about Magic: The Gathering on the internet, you’re probably already aware of a very interesting bit of news about the upcoming M14 Core Set.  The storied tribe of Slivers is back in the game with brand new cards, an updated design philosophy, and revamped art and style guidelines.  As with any New Thing referencing an Old Thing the news has inspired tons of conversation since first being announced, and it’s easy to find vivid and vocal opinions across the entire spectrum, from “Hooray, Slivers forever!” to “BOOO!  LAME!”

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Land Searching to Make Friends and Win Games, Pt I

Maze's End

Dragon’s Maze, the final set in the hugely popular Return to Ravnica block, draws nigh. Already we’ve heard about shockland re-reprints, a guild versus guild footrace, and at least 10 new multicolor legends to fuel the Commander fire.

The prerelease for Dragon’s Maze is set for April 27-28, so be sure to check with your local store about specific times and entrance fees. The one card you know you’ll get (although you can’t play with it this time)? Maze’s End. It’s a little funny to me that the first card you get upon “entering” the Maze is, in fact, the very end of the Maze. That aside, Maze’s End is a very interesting card to touch upon, so I’m going to be covering it in a two-part article series.

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Spellslinging at GP Charleston

Grand Prix Charleston

Lots of people have asked about the decks I played at Grand Prix Charleston.  So I decided to put them all up here so everyone will leave me the hell alone for all to see.  Since I was going to be there representing MTGCast, I decided that I wanted to play some decks provided by the various and sundry podcasters on the network!  So I poked around and begged for things, and came up with a handful of lists I liked.  I ended up with three decks for Standard, three decks for Commander, and two Pauper decks.



Might as well get this over with.  These decks were not inspired by anyone else, I just picked three of my favorites and played them.  I had the Spirit of the Night deck, the Johan deck, and of course my Kaervek the Merciless deck.  Those have all been discussed elsewhere, thus the links.  Click on them and be amazed!  That was easy, now let’s check out the poor man’s cards!

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