Tag Archives: MTGAER

THE MANA DORK — The Revolt Will Not Be Televised

by January 12, 2017

 
Hello everyone! I hope your winter breaks were wonderful and relaxing, and that the Aether Revolt spoilers were the nicest-ever nutmeg in your holiday ‘nog.
We’ve got the Pre-Releases happening this Saturday, and Sunday so here’s everything you need to know!
Whir of Invention
NEW MECHANIC: IMPROVISE
 
Aether Revolt tells us the story of the Renegades’ struggles against the Consulate in their attempts to free up the supply of aether for the people of Kaladesh. Both sides have to get clever, canny, and creative in order to outsmart their opponents — and what better way to do that than to have a mechanic all about being clever, canny, and creative with artifacts?
Improvise lets you tap your artifacts to help cast a spell with Improvise — each artifact can tap for a single generic mana in the Improvise spell’s generic mana cost.
Improvise shares a lot of similarities with a previous mechanic, convoke — but note that Improvise does not help reduce coloured mana costs! Only the generic mana cost of a spell can be reduced by Improvise. So you can’t tap that adorable little Servo or that Implement of Invention for blue, unfortunately, as much as you might want to.
That being said, anything that reduces the cost of a spell is still a strong mechanic worth paying attention to. On average, I’d rate Improvise cards as if they costed 0.5-1.5 mana less than the printed cost on the card — and even less if you’ve got eight or more artifacts in your deck!
(Also, don’t forget you can tap artifacts that don’t normally tap for Improvise — if I get a Panharmonicon or an equipment like Torch Gauntlet in my Sealed pool, you can bet I’ll be tapping it to help cast an Improvise spell!)
Fatal Push
NEW MECHANIC: REVOLT
 
The Renegades have all lost something at the hands of Tezzeret, Baral and the Consulate. And like every angry person who’s been backed into a corner, they fight back more viciously as a result. Cue the Revolt mechanic.
Cards with Revolt check to see if a permanent you control has left the battlefield this turn. Lose a creature in combat? Revolt triggers. Sacrifice a Servo so Yahenni survives a boardwipe? Revolt triggers. Flicker something with Felidar Guardian? Revolt triggers. Bounce your own things to hand with Baral’s Expertise and re-cast one of them so you can get the Revolt trigger on it? You guessed it — Revolt triggers.
(In older formats — crack a fetchland? Revolt triggers.)
Make sure to save Revolt cards for your second main phase each turn, if you can — combat is one of the easiest ways to make sure you lose a permanent. And I’d keep an eye out for things that sacrifice themselves in your Sealed pool — there are many more than average in Aether Revolt, and they will each do a good job of enabling the Revolt mechanic. If I’ve got a couple of Revolt cards that I really want to make sure paid off, I’d like to have at least 6 things that sacrifice themselves, just to make sure I have a certain amount of reliability.
Yahenni's Expertise
A NOTE ON “EXPERTISE” SPELLS
 
Aether Revolt features a cycle of very strong “Expertise” spells associated with legendary creatures in the set that each do a thing, and then let you cast something for free.
I’m seeing some confusion online about precisely how they work, so I figured I’d clear it up here.
Here’s what happens when you cast an Expertise spell:

 1. Cast the Expertise. The Expertise is on the stack.

 2. Choose the free spell you will cast. Determine all targets and parameters of the free spell (note that X costs will be 0).

 3. The Expertise resolves and goes to the graveyard. The free spell is now cast and at the top of the stack.

 4. The free spell resolves and goes to the graveyard.
Important ways in which this is relevant for your Sealed pool —

 A. The servos from Sram’s Expertise will be on the battlefield in time to pay any Improvise costs on the free spell, or to sacrifice for the free spell.

 B. The creatures and artifacts you bounce with Baral’s Expertise will not be on the field when the free spell resolves and therefore cannot be the targets of the free spell or help pay for it with Improvise. However, if one of them was yours and it fits the criteria, you may now cast it as the free spell you get from Baral’s Expertise.

 C. If you attempt to cast Yahenni for free off of Yahenni’s Expertise, Yahenni will not see the creatures die from the Expertise and will not be buffed accordingly.

 D. You can cast a card you drew from Rishkar’s Expertise for free with that same Rishkar’s Expertise.
Hope this helps! If you have any questions, be sure to ask the Judge at your Pre-Release flight — they’ll be happy to help you.
Sweatworks Brawler
 
SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY! ANNOUNCING A SUNDAY PRE-RELEASE!
 
For the first time, A Muse N Games is hosting a Sunday pre-release event! (Kermit arms flailing)
 
Here are the Facebook events for each pre-release flight:

Make sure you book your spot as soon as possible, as they fill up quickly! (note from Scotia – Prereg ends tonight at 10pm Wednesday Jan 11 in store and online)

– – –

That’s it for me — I’ll see you at the tables!

Jesse Mackenzie is a regular contributor for A Muse N Games. He is totally Revolt-ing. Tune in every two weeks for the Mana Dork, his column on all things Magic!

THE MANA DORK – Impressions from Commander 2016 and AMNG Leagues!

by December 2, 2016

The Mana Dork
I am beginning to think I have previously been a tad too cute with the titles. Also, given that we’re doing a bit of a round-up today, it seems appropriate to simply call out the round-up, eh?
Onward!

Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa

COMMANDER 2016 IMPRESSIONS

Who has two thumbs and called it? This guy.
Here’s what I said back in October, before Commander 2016 released:
“But what if Wizards decided to go wayyyyy out there, and design two creatures that could co-exist in the command zone?
It doesn’t require much of an adjustment to the rules—just increment your commander tax for each card individually, define your deck’s colour identity using the colour identity of the two commanders combined, and come up with a new mechanic that allows your new commanders to co-exist. And it opens up some interesting gameplay decisions about when you cast your commanders, and how.”
The mechanic I predicted was worded thusly:
Alliance (You may begin the game with up to two creatures with alliance in the command zone.)
It differs from the actual Partner mechanic in that it defines the cards themselves as commanders—which, you know, probably should happen if we’re going to play a format called Commander. But other than that, I was almost word-for-word correct with my craziest prediction!


Okay, enough self-regard. You’re here for impressions.

The decks themselves are quite good. I’ve played one game with Kynaios and Tiro and several games with Saskia, and generally speaking, I have all four colours between turns 4-6 or so. I have yet to truly be mana-screwed.
Wizards has done an excellent job in constructing the decklists—they needed to make sure the decks had equal access to all of their colours with relative frequency, without reprinting expensive, in-demand cards like fetchlands that would have made it easy to do so. And they have succeeded.

Additionally, the decks contain many Commander staples—hello, Chromatic Lantern! Hello, Ghostly Prison!—making sure that they can hold their own against a variety of custom-brewed lists.

The Partners mechanic is extremely novel, and it’s going to take a while to figure out. I have a strong feeling that Partner commanders are going to be much better at the head of decks that don’t rely on the commander, than ones where the commander is central.

Shadowborn Apostle

To give you an example, here’s the latest iteration of my Shadowborn Apostle deck, now featuring Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa and Tymna the Weaver in front.
This is a combo-ish deck—get six Apostles on the field, sacrifice them, bring out Rune-Scarred Demon, bring out Thrumming Stone, get every Apostle on the field, do Fun Things™ with them. Previously, it has featured Athreos, Little Teysa, and Karador as commanders.
It had a problem, though—I never had enough draw, or enough to do in the middle of the game.
Sidar and Tymna help me solve that problem. They don’t need to be out for the deck to function, but having them both lets me poke people with Apostles and draw 3-4 extra cards a turn, which greatly helps with the velocity of the deck. See more cards, cast more Apostles, combo off more quickly.
This is where I think Partners will do best—as supports for their deck, rather than as keystones.

Glimmer of Genius

KALADESH PLAYTEST LEAGUE IMPRESSIONS
(This section is going to be much shorter—mostly because I don’t have neat predictions to preen over.)
I spent a bit of time in the Kaladesh Playtest League in recent weeks, and it was an absolute blast!
If you’re not familiar, here’s the deal with League play, in brief:
Start with three booster packs.
Build a 30-card deck using cards from those packs and land from the store.
Play with as many different people as you can over multiple weeks. Matches consist of a single game, with one free mulligan.
Each week, and after every third loss, you may buy an additional booster to add cards to your card pool and rebuild your deck.
Have fun!
In practice, it felt like “mini-Sealed”. I was stretching all those good Limited muscles, looking for synergies and assessing card playability—but there was much less pressure, because of the casual, fun-focused nature of the league.
And I have to say, it’s also pretty fun knowing that, with three rares and only room for 17 or so non-land cards in your pool, you’ve got a pretty high likelihood of drawing an awesome bomb in almost every game.
In short—built, played, had a blast. Cannot recommend enough.

Argothian Enchantress

ETERNAL MASTERS LEAGUE, AETHER REVOLT PRE-RELEASES, AND MORE!
And if you’re excited by the idea of League play—good news, everyone!
AMNG is doing an Eternal Masters League for three Sundays in December! At 2 PM on the 4th, 11th, and 18th, you can buy into the league for $40, netting you three Eternal Masters boosters and a chance at glory. EMA boosters will also be available at a special discounted rate of $15 per booster when bought for League play, so come on in!
Also, AMNG has announced that they’ve started doing… SUNDAY pre-releases. (Ooooooh)
Starting with Aether Revolt in January, the store will host a 6 PM Sunday pre-release, alongside the midnight Friday and noon and 5 PM Saturday pre-releases! MOAR MAGIC, amirite?
See you in the store!

Jesse Mackenzie is a regular contributor to A Muse N Games. Tune in every two weeks for The Mana Dork, his column about all things Magic!