Building on a Budget – The Top 15 Cheap Modern Cards

Today I’d like to ponder a bit about what in my opinion are the best and most underrated cards in the Modern format. Modern card prices have rocketed in the last two years, and unfortunately a ban like that of Deathrite Shaman can make a card like Noble Hierarch rise up to the 40€ out of nowhere.

This is no coincidence, and even though I’ve seen a few decks that power themselves with this card (Birthing Pod being the main deck), I still haven’t seen that much use for it (outside of Pod), and 40€+ is waaaay overpriced for an enhanced version of a Birds of Paradise. Modern is very unstable when it comes to prices. The rise or fall of one tier deck can increase the price of even an uncommon card by 200%, or plummet it to almost nothing.

Resource Advantage in Magic Part 1: One-Shot Resources

Magic the Gathering is a game of resource management. While the quirks of particular cards will drive certain formats, the general principles of resource management will dictate how one should best address particular strategies. Using resource management as a lens through which to view Magic decks, archetypes, and even entire formats will allow players to make unprecedented connections and reach new levels of understanding.

So Many Insane Plays – The “So Do You Wear a Cape?” Book Review

Enthusiast Titus Chalk has authored a brilliant, page-turning history of Magic: The Gathering sprinkled with entertaining anecdotes, remarkably deep insights, and journalistic treasures. Chalk’s brisk narrative, brimming with behind-the-scenes stories that reflect painstaking investigatory work, traces the broad arc of Magic’s 20+ year history. Chalk sketches the development of the game, its unbridled growth, and the myriad debates and issues surrounding it, from the complaints of fundamentalist parents over the ‘demonic’ elements of the game, to the emergence of the Pro Tour (with its heroes and villains), the business of the game, from its initial financing to its sale to Hasbro (with Richard Garfield pocketing a cool $100 million, no less), to the growth of the secondary market, to the wrangling over the Reserved List. It’s all covered.

There and Back Again – Miracles Philosophy & Sideboarding

Hello, and welcome to my second article here on Eternal Central. My last article was about my success at GP Paris with my beloved Miracles deck. It is arguably the best deck in the metagame as of now, but somehow it’s still lacking popularity, especially in the US. But why is this?

Miracles is a difficult deck to play (especially playing quickly enough for tournament constraints), even though it might not look like this all the time. In the following articles I will talk about certain philosophies of this deck, as well as certain approaches on the most important matchups. But enough of useless babble, let’s get it going.

Grand Prix Paris Finalist Report with UWR Miracles

After my incredible run I felt an obligation to write a report. I would have been glad to say win, win, win, win, win, win, and win, but it will only be win, win, win, win, win, win…and loss. I ended up finishing second at the Grand Prix in Paris.

First of all, I will make a short introduction of myself. I am Maxime Gilles, and I have played Legacy for several years. I am currently an administrator on legacy-france.org, and a member of the team GT Paris (even though I moved to Lyon last year).

There and Back Again – Grand Prix Paris Top 4 Report With Miracles

I am back from Paris, where this year’s European Legacy Grand Prix was held. It was an outstanding weekend for me, leaving me with my first GP Top 8. But before getting into this, please allow me to introduce myself. I am Philipp Schönegger, a Legacy enthusiast from Austria. I’ve been playing Legacy for about three years, but didn’t play it really competitively before GP Strasbourg, where I finished Top 64 without any byes. After having dipped into this perspective of Legacy I kept on testing a lot, which rewarded me with various top finishes at smaller tournaments in Austria and Italy. With GP Paris on the way I kept on testing the same deck I had been playing for about two years now, Miracles. This blue-white-red menace has conquered a piece of my heart ever since.

Coincidentally though, my preferred deck was also the best deck at the GP, with positive match-ups all over the format. Before delving into the tournament itself, let’s take a few moments to briefly analyze my list:

Heart of the Storm – New Frontiers

While I enjoy hot drinks in the cold and my cross-Europe-travel to visit all my friends and family in Spain, France, Bavaria, and Poland usually the last 2-3 weeks of the year, I admit I’m just not the type for the warm and fuzzy Christmas-feeling, maybe as a result of usually breaking up during October/November (3 years in a row…don’t ask me why). If people I meet there on the long rail-travels across Europe or during a chatter in the departure hall of an airport ask me where I’m from, I usually answer that question with “Europe!” due to my wide-spread multi-national family tree and being pervaded by that cultural mix, rather than a distinctive nationality. I also mixed my academic training, as I have a bachelor degree as an architect and a diploma (equals a master degree) in construction engineering, working internationally as a consultant for conversion of stores (worked for Levi’s, Otto Kern, Fossil, etc.), re-utilization of urban space (often into living areas), town planning, and rights of residence. This is my third year living in Germany’s capital and I still adore the rough, edgy, gross, and yet historic and monumental sides of Berlin, with all the available space to actually create/alter the face of the city.

I first played the game in 1994 between the Arabian Nights and Antiquities expansions on a non-regular basis and really became a real tournament player in 2003, playing mostly Vintage at that time and therefore pervaded by Scourge’s key mechanic which sculpted the metagame back then: Storm. If you’ve ever sleeved up the powerful mana artifacts of the old days with sets of Lion’s Eye Diamonds and Minds Desire, it carves a lasting passion which now lasts for a full decade in my case, even if I don’t sleeve up my Beta Power anymore. Over the years, a passion grew between me and Legacy combo decks, slinging infamous cards like Doomsday, Show & Tell, Aluren, and Survival of the Fittest in their full bloom. I was ever a pretty fast guy for taking down notes for reports and to reconstruct possible misplays, thanks to my dear grandmother who taught me stenography during middle school. It was late 2012 as I thought that I could use that ability to create very detailed notes during the matches and my knowledge of the storm-mechanic to unravel one of the most complex and misunderstood decks in the current Legacy metagame: The EPIC Storm.

Fighting the Blues: An Enchanting Story

I am thrilled. Why? Because Wizards of the Coast cares for us. Yes, they do not simply hang us out to dry, as though Legacy players are mere scavengers rummaging through the meager portions of goodies among dozens of Standard playable cards in a newly revealed set. Oh, sometimes we are simply emaciated. A set is fully spoiled and we find that none of the cards see even marginal play in Legacy. Set after set, we hang our mouths wide open in anticipation for the next Stoneforge Mystic, Snapcaster Mage, or even Swan Song and most times our hope is bitterly betrayed. We slump our shoulders and walk away from the computer wondering why we even looked in the first place. Although possibly not true, we non-blue mages experience this more often than not.

And yet, here we are. The dawn of Born of the Gods brings forth a shining star from the ashes of desolation. It takes up its sword, ready to join the ranks, to fight the good fight, and to bring balance to what was once a desert storm of blue decks. We welcome you to our ranks, oh mighty Spirit. Make way brethren, Spirit of the Labyrinth arises!

Fighting the Blues: Decks for the New Year

So the holidays are here. Did you get your wish? I hope it didn’t include blue. I know, I know. You have been eyeing that Tundra for a long time, glimmering in the protective wooden card display of your local game store. Perhaps it’s on sale, even 20% off now that the crazy shopping season is coming to an end. But do you really want to sacrifice your integrity? You have been known in your local group as the one who fights against the tide. You were the chosen one to wield white. Your heart throbbed when you first encountered the alluring raw power of green back when you first started. Black made you a tiny bit more evil, and a little more sadistic. Not to mention the flavor! I ask again: are you willing to give all of that up so your deck can become “consistent?” Hope your 2014 year doesn’t start with this unfortunate step.

Fighting the Blues: Against the Waves

No Such Thing as Stock

“No way,” my friend shook his head with a hint of sass. “Yes, I’m serious Carl. I really think it would work,” I said, mustering up as much confidence as I could. “It’s not even a goblin! It will dilute my deck.” He wasn’t convinced. “Yes, I know, but the synergy is perfect. I can’t imagine Goblins not running this. You have to trust me.” Any other testing partner might have moved on, playing their usual 75. Being a fantastic friend and an open minded person, he listened. He took one of the cards in his deck and flipped it around displaying the ever-so-familiar back through the warn sleeves. “There. This can be Purphoros. Let’s see what it can do,” he sighed as he started shuffling.

Youth in Magic, and the Price of Gaming

Hello. Many of you may not know me, unless you’ve seen me at events in Spain, My name is Juan Vilar, and I’ve been playing Magic since the release of Fourth Edition. Magic: the Gathering has come a long way since then, and it has been a joyful part of my life for a long time. As an old school player I’ve had the opportunity of seeing so many different metagames and format changing events.

So Many Insane Plays – Pitch Burning Tendrils, Other Brews, and Three Tournament Reports

Stephen Menendian’s latest weapon of choice is revealed here, in an epic 45 page primer and three tournament reports (including the Vintage Championship). A compelling read for Vintage enthusiasts and experts alike, Stephen’s nuanced and characteristically detailed analysis of the critical trends in the late 2013 Vintage metagame, innovative deck designs, and updated favorites like Maniac Doomsday, are all part of a must read, end of year Vintage strategy article you won’t find anywhere else. His latest deck is, in his view, the best deck in Vintage going forward, and the perfect weapon for upcoming tournaments.