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

Duels 2013 Deck Evolution – The Drake Equation* Part 2

Panoptic Mirror

*I still totally stole this from Jungle Rat Rob, one of the hosts of The Retro League podcast.  If you’d like more information on why this name is so awesome, you should just go read the beginning of Part 1.

Hey, look at that, I’m back!  I’m attempting to chronicle the evolution of the decks in Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 as I unlock cards, just to give you an idea of how my brain works when it comes to Magic.  A vague and scrambled idea, but still.  Last time I stopped when I was halfway through Talrand’s Crosswinds deck.  I hit Panoptic Mirror and, looking at my notes sensing a change on the horizon, decided that would be a good place to insert a break.

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Duels 2013 Deck Evolution – The Drake Equation* Part 1

Talrand's Invocation

*This name was completely stolen from Jungle Rat Rob, one of the hosts of The Retro League and the man responsible for our first three audio montages.  It was just too good not to blatantly rip off (thanks Rob!).  As for why it’s really cool, the Drake Equation is used to estimate the number of extraterrestrial civilizations in our galaxy that could potentially communicate with us.  As you may or may not know, I have a degree in physics and have always been fascinated with anything astronomical in nature, so…I’m a dork and this is awesome.  Shut up, don’t judge me.

It’s that time again!  I’ve been playing Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 and charting how the decks change as cards are unlocked.  After burning through Chandra’s deck last time, I needed a change of pace.  So I went with red’s polar opposite and picked up Talrand’s blue deck.  It actually started out as a fair amount of fun to play, contrary to what one listener whose name is lost to the aether (I honestly can’t remember who said it) told me.  Here’s the deck in its initial form:

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Duels 2013 Deck Evolutions – Kill It With Fire!

Flames of the Firebrand

I love me some Duels of the Planeswalkers.  I played the hell out of the first two, and this latest one is proving to be no exception.  In fact, this one might be more fun with the new Encounters.  Those things are a blast.  Since I don’t play all that much Magic (yeah yeah I know – “but you have two weekly Magic podcasts, how do you do that without playing?”  Think of sportscasters or something and you’ll figure it out), I really enjoy these games more than I probably should.

Because the game is so much fun and really helps kick my brain back into Magic mode, I wanted to exploit that for some content here on the site.  I mean, I thought I might give you some idea of how my brain works by explaining how I edited these decks as I unlocked cards.  To be honest, this is actually more of a writing exercise for me to get back into the groove of writing and thinking about Magic,  but hopefully you’ll enjoy it as well.  I really hope you do, because I plan on doing one for every deck in the game!  Possibly more than one for each deck, since there are a LOT of cards to unlock.  Let me know what you think.

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Planechase: Completely Insane

Talon Gates

Planechase is, just as the title says, completely insane.  This is, quite possibly, the most ridiculous game of Magic ever played.  It was so nuts that I had to write down what happened as it happened so I could make this post and share it with the world.  Please be sure to strap yourselves in, because this is going to be a wild ride.

Mike, Brian and I were sitting at Brian’s kitchen table.  We had decided to play a game of Planechase with the massive stack of all planes using some 60 card casual decks.  I was playing my Soldier deck, Brian was playing his Ink-Treader Nephilim deck, and Mike was playing his dreaded Quest for Ula’s Temple deck.  (Please note that the links in that sentence probably represent older versions of the decks in question.  Except maybe Mike’s.)  I was going first.  I kept a pretty decent opening hand.  We turned up the first card in the Planechase pile…and it was a Mutual Epiphany.  Cool, let’s all draw four cards for our opening hands!  That seems pretty good.  After doing so, we flipped up the next card – Chaotic Aether.  Holy crap.  The most bizarre and oft-overpowered Phenomenon (depending on which plane you ‘walk to after hitting it) has just popped up.  “Of course you realize,” I say to the dorks, “that this means my very first roll will be the Planeswalker symbol, right?”  That’s just how my luck usually runs.  Also, please note that no one has taken any turns yet!

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Chewie Goes Kamikaze at a PTQ

Blood ArtistWho let this casual player in here?

There was a Pro Tour Qualifier tournament (Standard) going on at Lucky’s Card Shop on Saturday, May 19.  The only reason I knew this was from Brian mentioning it a handful of times, on the show and in an email asking to borrow cards he needed for the deck.  He asked if any of the rest of us were going.  Of course, Dirk said no.  He has no time or interest (or cards) for a Standard tournament.  Mike said “I dunno. Maybe.”  Actual quote!

As for me, I told Brian it would depend on whether or not Mike went.  If not, I could borrow his Big Red deck and play it.  If he decided to play, I’d have nothing to pilot myself, so there wasn’t really a point to even thinking about it.  As time went on, it became clear that Mike would be going to the PTQ.  Friday after work I met Brian and his lovely wife and daughter for dinner at Texas Roadhouse (and thoroughly enjoyed all the cinnamon butter), then he came by my place for a quick second to grab the cards he needed to borrow.

Since it was Friday night and I’m a (mostly) young and (mostly) eligible bachelor…I was sitting around doing stuff on the computer.  Pretty sure I was working on posting shows for MTGCast, but I could be mistaken.  I had Twitter open (because I hate myself), and a tweet by @Smi77y caught my eye.  It said “Here’s the latest version of Kamikaze!” and had a link.  I thought to myself “What does that mean?” and clicked on the link.

“Oh” I said, continuing to have a full conversation with myself (rocking Friday night, yeah?), “it’s a decklist.  One of his freakin’ Blood Artist lists.  How lame.  Guess I’ll just close thi…” My eyes fell on the Falkenrath Aristocrat in the list, with the number 4 next to it, and something in my brain said “THAT’S AWESOME!”  I looked at the list again, seeing all the nifty little interactions.  Then I saw 3 copies of Killing Wave and knew this was a deck I had to play.  Killing Wave is actually not so much a good card, but in this deck it is absolutely amazing.  And the more I looked at the deck, the more I wanted to play it.  Like a lot.  I sent the link to Mike, who said “Looks pretty cool.”  Another actual quote!

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