Tag Archives: MTG

2023 Collectible Card Game Preview

Introduction

Christmas break ended yesterday and we all went back to work and school today. Well, most of us. Quinn stayed home because he is sick with something. We tested him for Covid and it came back negative, but he’s still blowing gross snot all over the place. Sorry, bad image there. In spite of all of that, I return with our 2023 Collectible Card Game Preview.

News moves fast in this day and age. Our mobile game article is already outdated. I discovered yesterday, after paying for their stupid battle pass, that Valve discontinued support for Underlords. Good news? I guess I have like 8 or 9 years to finish out the five dollar battle pass. Hopefully, nothing goes out of business after writing this article.

The Old Gray Lady: Magic the Gathering

I wrote more than once that MtG no longer holds the same place in my heart. Yes, I enjoy the game and play daily on Arena. Chris also just mentioned yesterday to try to get together for another day of Commander or whatever other crazy shit Jason convinces us to try. However, I wonder if I am done with collecting. I bought product for neither Brother’s War nor Dominaria United. I must say that in the past, Phyrexia got me back into the game on more than one occasion.

And, just like that, I’m back in.

According to this page, after that we travel back to Eldraine and then Ixalan. I don’t care all that much about either of them, but Quinn enjoyed Ixalan because of the dinosaurs. Amazing. I went from completely out to back in for the rest of the year in only half an hour. So, look forward to my previews of all of those sets.

The Precocious Adolescent: Hearthstone

Unlike Magic the Gathering, little information exists on the Hearthstone front. We know from previous years that the new year drops sometime in the early spring. Until then, we get three months of an increasingly perverted meta as players scream for a new expansion. Maybe we get a broken card or two from a mini set related to the Lich King. Otherwise, they can make it up to me personally by updating Battlegrounds to make up for not doing so with the most recent expansion.

The New Kid on the Block: Disney Lorcana

Normally, I wouldn’t mention this game. I’d file it away as another game with potential that never realized that potential. I mean, the landscape is littered with them. But, the game came up in the group text with Chris and Jason. I figure, if it is popping up on the radar of a guy who considers himself an MtG purist, they must be doing something right. Join us here for world exclusive content about this game.

The Verdict

Other than Lorcana, I don’t see myself straying from the games I played in the past. I picked up Legends of Runeterra again, but haven’t worked it into my daily rotation. I enjoy the game but just haven’t developed that same attachment to it that I have with the other games. Hell, even Lorcana makes me think of Kingdom Hearts and that game still gives me goosebumps when I think about it. Thanks for reading our 2023 collectible card game preview and come back around tomorrow for the PC article.

2022 Card GOTY: Magic the Gathering

Introduction

We continue our annual celebration at the end of the year with the 2022 Card GOTY. I wrote an article about a week ago trashing the game. That’s right, I spent a good 700 odd words talking crap about a game that I am about to give an end of the year award. Granted, the game is in the title of the post, so this reveal is a bit anticlimactic. Nevertheless, congratulations to Magic the Gathering for the win.

You might make the argument that this proclamation is obvious or by default. And, you’d probably be right. After all, how many card games are there out there. Probably more than I’d expect and certainly more than I ever have time to play. Nevertheless, allow me to make an argument that Magic wins in spite of these technicalities.

Magic the Gathering Digital

In spite of trying to talk him into it, I haven’t been able to get Chris to commit to playing Arena on a regular basis. I, on the other hand, sink money into every release by buying both combo packs to collect all of the packs and goodies. One of those goodies is the ever present reward track. That inspires me to play on a daily basis until I finish a quest and/or get 2 wins to the 15 week limit.

While I sometimes skip Hearthstone and recently deleted Eternal from my phone, I always log into Arena to both finish the quests and see what daily deals they offer in the shop. This keeps me connected to a game that I admitted in that previous article to losing some interest in the collecting aspect, at least.

Magic the Gathering Physical

Okay, so you play the game on your phone regularly. Notice that you said nothing about enjoying the game other than the cosmetics and other stuff they give away. Fair enough. I admit to spending much of my time complaining about land drops or my opponent’s luck. Plus, it remains to be seen if I ever buy product for binders ever again. There are just so many releases lately. Fatigue is a real thing.

But, I still found joy in the game again this year. I sat down and played Magic the Gathering against actual people more this year than the last three or so years combined. A student asked me to play some Commander and we ended up matching up for a couple of games. Chris and Jason inspired me to put some money into my precon decks to make them slightly more competitive and we played three or four games at the beginning of autumn. We planned to play again, but Chris and his wife got Covid again. So, the second meeting remains up in the air right now.

The Verdict

Magic the Gathering remains the frustratingly expensive and predictably unpredictable game that I love to hate. I also love to love the game. Opening packs brings me indescribable joy at the art, story, and possibilities of how to use those cards in decks. I goldfish my Commander decks at least once a week. I played around with the landfall one again a couple of weeks ago at Aiden’s soccer practice. Simply writing this post makes me want to go out into the car and grab them. All those reasons and more are what make Magic the Gathering our 2022 Card GOTY.

Magic the Gathering is a Gift?

Introduction

Recently, I started a new job. That gave me more time to focus on things that are important to me. I discovered, again, that keeping this web page on life support is one of those things. And, so, I updated the page semi-regularly in October and November. I even came up with new theme banners for the page. Then, December arrived and things got chaotic again. I actually started the job. That required more time put into the previous job. Add in Christmas shopping and soccer and things went a bit sideways on the page. But, I started break at 10:30am today and prepare to plan the page for the next few months at least. I already know that next week brings our annual games of the year. Today, I ask the question of whether Magic the Gathering is a gift.

Gaming is a Gift

I got the idea for theme months several years ago when Chris and I still held a glimmer of hope of making the page a hub for a collection of podcasts. We, obviously, gave up that ghost a while ago. But, I continue to write here. Simply because I enjoy writing and, who knows, something might eventually make its way out there into the ether and get me more readers. To cut to the chase, the obvious theme for December is “Gaming is a Gift.”

Magic the Gathering is a Gift?

So, why the question mark? Surely, you think good things about this game you invested so much time, energy, and money into over the years. Of course I still enjoy the game. I play Magic the Gathering daily to finish quests and push my completion of the rewards track. Chris, Jason, and I share Magic the Gathering news and memes at least once a week.

Speaking of them, we actually gathered together to play Commander against one another for two games. I spent about 50 bucks and a couple of weeks of research to upgrade my preconstructed decks that I bought a couple of years ago. They didn’t help me win, but I put up more of a fight that I ever have against either of them. So, I consider it a success.

So, Magic the Gathering is a Gift!

Well, not quite that, either. For the first time in at least a decade, I texted Chris the following. “The collector in me just died a little bit, but I think I’m done buying product for binders.” He said something along the lines of how he just buys singles now, something that I already knew. I agreed and even admitted that I might get into whatever crazy formats that Jason wanted to play and invest my collecting money into that.

It seems like every other month, Jason discusses some new format. Old School, 93-94, Triple Lindy. Okay, I stole that last one from the Rodney Dangerfield movie, “Old School”. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if it actually was the name of a format. I usually just roll my eyes when he mentions something because I’m not one for the competitive aspect of these games. I just want to play and have fun with friends. So, why the possible change of heart?

Another thing Chris said when I texted him, “The set releases are just so ridiculous right now.” “Right?” I responded. “By the time Phyrexia comes out, I will be three sets behind and I just don’t care that much to get caught up right now.”

The Verdict

As it stands right now, I have no plans to buy product for Dominaria United, Brother’s War, or the new New Phyrexia. I’m sure that by the time the set actually releases, I’ll find it in my heart and wallet to purchase the product and put together the binders. Especially since the last time that we tried to get together, Chris and his wife got Covid and we had to cancel/postpone. Let me know if you still collect or plan to start again with any of the new sets.

Introducing Spooktober 2022

Introduction

Our better half got married last night. I served as the best man and had to give my second speech of the year. I also spoke at the graduation for my school at the beginning of summer. As someone who doesn’t like public speaking (yeah, weird for a teacher to say), that’s a new record. During the speech, I used the introduction of the page. And, now, I’m back with our Introducing Spooktober 2022 post.

Introducing Spooktober 2022?

Ever since I started the page, I wanted to do theme months. Spooktober goes all the way back to the start of the page. I might have even done a post like this all the way back then and never followed up on it. I’m took lazy to check right now. Okay, my curiosity is stronger than my laziness. I found no evidence of Spooktober 8 years ago during the month of October, but I found my old Zombie Mill Deck post.

So, now, kids older, working less than I ever have (even if I have taken on a ridiculous amount of stipends this year), I feel ready to unleash the magic of Spooktober onto the page. It will start with a redesign, including new graphics and a new color scheme at some point over the next week. It will continue throughout the month with themed posts, including my first foray into DMing my middle school D&D group through the Curse of Strahd module.

He awaits…

Quinn and I still have to play the ghost pirates adventure that I wrote over the summer. I have one horror novella that I wrote and I can pepper in some teasers from that and also planned on writing some Dungeons and Dragons or Magic the Gathering fan fiction.

The Verdict.

I have plenty of content planned for the month. Who knows, maybe I will come up with more and try to expand into YouTube or TikTok videos to help expand our reach. As I also said in my speech last night, things happen in their own time. Stay tuned.

Top 5 January 2022: A Look Ahead

Introduction

This Top 5 January 2022 article comes about a week late. We here at 2 Guys Gaming consider that a victory after disappearing for two whole months at the end of last year. Also, unless I come up with something else while writing the article, this top 5 January 2022 might be only a top 4.

Will I make it to 5? Stay tuned to find out.

Top 5 January 2022

Well, that wasn’t at all suspenseful, was it? I learned over the last few years from people that I love who suffer from anxiety that suspense is overrated.

5. Geocaching – I will talk about this more on my other page. However, it became such a part of my life over the last 3rd of last year, I’d be doing a disservice by not mentioning it here, too. I currently have two goals for the year. Finish out my 365/366 consecutive days of caching and finding 1000 caches in the calendar year. Check out the other page to keep tabs.

4. Homebrew Games – I recently hooked up my Atari 2600 emulator to the downstairs TV again. I only played a few minutes of Frostbite and Circus Convoy. The latter reminded me how much I enjoyed the other homebrew games I purchased at the beginning of last year. So, I found myself on the Atari homebrew page again thinking about what new games I want for a 50 year old video game system.

3. New Games – I actually put together a Christmas list for the first time in years. On the list, I asked for a few new games. I saw Chess Ultra at Walmart for 13 bucks and Chris recommended Hades. I also asked for the new Metroid game before realizing it cost 60 bucks. But, I got Hades and Chess. I played through a few minutes of Hades, texting Chris the whole time and can’t wait to play more. Plus, Chess is always a winner.

2. Dungeons and Dragons Duels – I talked about this in my previous article wrapping up my favorites of last year. Quinn and I never got a chance to sit down and have a session. But I remain committed to making it happen. We have the same February vacation this year. Expect an update after that.

1. MtG Commander – I also wrote about this in my year end wrap among other articles. Unlike Duels, though, Chris and I actually got to play some Commander while watching Alabama eviscerate Georgia in the SEC Championship. As it turns out, Georgia gave Bama the rope a dope in that game and turned the tide (ha ha) earlier this week. I’d have lost my house if I didn’t think the line was super fishy. But, alas, back to the point. More Commander not this weekend, but next.

The Verdict

Our top 5 January 2022 seems less intriguing than our preview last year. However, it is far more sustainable over the long run since I’m not promising to play 75 games that I’ll never even speak of again as long as we live. Also, honestly, I’m not sure what else to write this week, so it might be a bit of a dry stretch until we play Commander again next week. Plus, there will be at least three of us there! See you then.

Top 10 of 2021: Our Favorites of the Year

Introduction

We unintentionally took 2 months off this year. We played the least amount of games by far this year than any of the other years since starting the page. I can’t explain either of those. It also defies explanation how, in spite of them, we had one of our best years as 2 Guy Gaming. I heard someone say that they just blame everything on Covid. So, let’s go with that and continue with our Top 10 of 2021.

Top 10 of 2021 (Honorable Mention)

  1. Atari 2600 – If I remembered earlier to hook it up, this might have actually made the list. Instead, I just hooked it up the other day and played through a few games of Circus Convoy. The games are so simplistic, but o much fun. Look for this to be on the list next year.
  2. Jackbox Party Pack 8 – I talked about this one in the last article. We played it a couple of times as a family and had an absolute blast. I would have liked to have gotten it working on Christmas to play with a larger group, though.

Top 10 of 2021 (#10-6)

10. Comic Books – Like most of my hobbies, I lost the time I used to devote to comics. I dedicated more time to my job (which, if you’ve been reading the other page, you know didn’t ultimately pay off) and family (worth the investment always). Comics were the first to go. Still, I collect them and enjoyed the storylines when I stopped. I will pick them up again at some point.

9. Football – I swore of the NFL about a decade ago. I simply found less and less enjoyment from watching. Perhaps, as a result, I leaned more heavily into college. It helped that my friend Craig liked college football. More recently, Chris texts me about the NFL. As a result, I watched more the last couple of years and enjoyed it.

8. Hades – This might be higher on the list if I played it before today. As it is, I think being number 8 solely on the recommendation of Chris is pretty good.

7. Geocaching – I found a cache on a whim during our trip to the museum with Quinn in late summer. That triggered something because I started hiking/caching after school and on the weekends. Then, I got the silly idea to try for a full year (366 days) streak of finding geocaches. I’m currently at 118 days. You can follow those adventures here.

6. Dungeons and Dragons Duet – When we tried playing D&D as a family a few years ago, it met with limited success. I wasn’t prepared to be an entertaining and engaging DM and, frankly, maybe the family just didn’t enjoy the game that much. Quinn did, though, and on a whim I bought him some D&D dice. I have also been reading a page on how to play 2 player D&D, called Duets.

Top 10 of 2021 (#5-1)

5. Battlegrounds – I have a love/hate relationship with Hearthstone. Every now and then, it evolves to hate/hate. However, I admit they did something right when they designed Battlegrounds. It takes little time or brain commitment and is a good way to kill 10-15 minutes.

4. Magic the Gathering Arena – In spite of the fact that I played less games this year, I still logged in to MTGA on a daily basis to complete quests and get my “free” loots from the reward track.

3. Disney + – From the best show to come out in recent memory, WandaVision, to the Covid shortened and potentialy ruined Falcon and the Winter Solider. From the Mandalorian to the new Book of Boba Fett. From What if to Hawkeye. I even splurged for their premier access to be able to watch Cruella after prom earlier this year. As with most things, Disney took the streaming service and improved it by leaps and bounds.

2. Marvel Movies are Back – We saw Black Widow in the theaters. Christine, high on girl power, enjoyed that one more than the rest of us. I liked it, but it wasn’t necessary and a huge let down after the last two Avengers masterpieces. Then, we just saw the new Spider-Man movie. Those who say it is the best Marvel movie ever are engaging in hyperbole (both Infinity War and Endgame are better stories and movies), but it is the best live action Spider-Man.

  1. Commander – I wrote several times in the last few months about my adventures in Commander. Chris and I finally played face to face while eating pizza and watching Alabama destroy Georgia in the SEC Championship. He Alabama’d me in the games, but it inspired me to improve my decks for the rematch next month.

The Verrdict

As you see, even though we weren’t active on the page as much this year, we still found time to do the things we enjoy. Maybe this will inspire us to do more of them and write more and, who knows, podcast (inside joke, haha) more. Or, maybe this is one last hurrah and we fade into obscurity. Only one way to find out. Stay tuned.

2021 Tabletop Game of the Year

Introduction

Previously, we picked Magic the Gathering Arena as our PC/Mobile Game of the Year. As promised, this time we pick our 2021 Tabletop Game of the Year. If you paid attention to the previous article, this choice will come as no surprise. As with our PC/Mobile game, we really only played this game, so the choice is more or less by default. Nevertheless, the choice is genuine. We very much enjoy this game, especially lately.

Drum roll, please. Pause for effect.

This year, we the esteemed creators and chairmen of this very web site, 2 Guys Gaming, of sound body and mind, do so delcare with enthusism and without question (is this run on sentence with a parenthetical ridiculous enough yet? Because I’m running out of steam.) that we choose Magic the Gathering as our Tabletop game of the year. Other than the fact that we consistently (well, as consistent s we get) publish content about Magic the Gathering, we have other reasons for choosing the game.

The Cons (Always Start with the Bad News)

Cons? How can the 2021 Tabletop Game of the Year have cons? Well, there are always two sides to the story. Besides, the cons aren’t game breaking and easily remedied.

  1. Expensive – As with the digital formats, Magic the Gathering cards can be expensive. Unlike the digital (except MTGO), the actual cards have a secondary market that drives the cost up on many cards. Thankfully, I’m not one to keep up with the Joneses and refuse to give in to the temptation to spend stupid amounts of money on cards. That doesn’t mean that I don’t take advantage, as evidenced by the Griseldaddy and Chandra I sold for almost 100 each.
  2. Hard to Get Together – This mostly applies just to us and our playgroup. Chris and I texted several times before we were finally able to get together for some Commander on the night of the SEC Championship. Inspired by that, he tried to get us together with some of his buddies that we’ve played before, but that fell apart, too. But, we planned to get together after the new year.
Hmm, draw 7 cards or two tanks of gas? I could also feed my family for a week. Tough choice, but I’m not signing on that dotted line in blood any time soon, Griseldaddy.

Pros (Preciesely Chosed to Counter the Cons)

  1. Proxies – I checked before I ordered. Okay, I checked soon after I ordered. But, I couched the question with an assumed affirmative. “We allow proxies, right?” I knew Chris would say yes. I wasn’t sure about the other guys. But, I got a yes and ordered the cards I needed to upgrade my Naya landfall Commander deck. Too bad I read the small print too late and just recently saw they’re coming from Spain. That’s gonna sit in customs for a while.
  2. Face to Face Always Better – Even when I’m losing to some stupid Paradise Mantle combo or Chris is beating my brains out in Commander, I still have more fun against actual people. My paranoid side always sees my opponent’s draw in Magic the Gathering Arena as tailored specifically to beat my deck or draw. Harder to make that claim against a non computer opponent
  3. Commander – I already went over this several times so I won’t rehash it again here. Just know that it remains my favorite format.

The Verdict

I think we made a clear case why, in spite of the fact that it was basically by default, that Magic the Gathering is our 2021 Tabletop Game of the Year. Join us again in a couple of days as we choose the console game of the year. If you thought this one was ridiculous, wait until you see the justification for that. But, don’t let that scare you off. Be sure to come back. It’ll be fun.

2021 PC/Mobile Game of the Year

Introduction

Last year, when we wrote this article, we gave a list of games we played through the year and picked one as the mobile game of the year. That will not happen this year when we announce the 2021 PC/Mobile Game of the Year. Instead, we will use this introduction to announce the game and then use the rest of the article to give the pros and cons of the of the game.

That’s because there’s only one real game that we played consistently on both PC and mobile. Okay, that’s not entirely true. We also loaded up Hearthstone daily for quests. But, honestly, if we ever name that game of the year, it is an indication that we’ve been kidnapped and need to be rescued.

What is the game, then? It will come as no surprise that our 2021 PC/Mobile game of the year is Magic the Gathering: Arena. Ever since it released, we played it on a daily basis. A few sets ago, I started buying both bundles to build a card and cosmetics collection for the game. I may swear (excessively) when I play the game, but it forever (or until I die or they shut down the servers, it holds a place in my heart.

And, that heart gives me haste!

Cons: Always lead with the bad news

  1. Downtime – I can’t count the number of times Chris and I texted one another in the face of another round of days long downtime after an update. I understand that technology gitches, but it’s ridiculous that this happens every single time. I will say that they are good about reimursements after the downtime, though.
  2. Expensive – At some point, I chose to be a whale in the game and, as I said, I purchase both bundles for each new set. That, plus the physical product that I buy for every set, adds up to a lot of money. Admittedly, I don’t have to spend the money, but I enjoy the game, so why not support.
  3. All these formats – As you will see, I include this as both a pro and con. I promise that is not simply a cheap way to increase word count. I like that the game offers a variety of formats. However, I think they’re starting to go overboard with formats like Alchemy in particular.

Pros: They Must Outweight the Cons, Right?

  1. It’s MTG on the Computer – Arena is the most noob friendly entry level point into Magic the Gathering. Granted, it only goes back to the the sets when it released, but they have done a good job at letting players play with some of the most powerful cards through phantom cube and special release sets.
  2. Free to Play Awards are Good…not Great – I understand that they are a business and want to make money. So, they can’t go overboard with their rewards. What they offer, though, is good. Every day, they run a daily deal with cosmetics, packs, and sometimes additional gold or gems. You can pay a bit extra to get an additional rewards track. Finally, daily and weekly quests give rewards.
  3. Variety of Formats/Events: I generally only play Standard or Historic. Sometimes I venture into Historic Brawl. I always try every event they post because, again, it gives you cosmetic rewards and sometimes even packs. As mentioned, I draw the line at silly nonsense like Alchemy.

2021 PC/Mobile Game of the Year

I included mobile in this article because I started playing the game on my phone recently after my laptop (yet again) is on the fritz. This time, it’s only a piece of the charging port, so hopefully an easy and quick fix. Funny enough, my phone plays the game, but not my tablet. I can’t figure it out. In any case, join us in a couple of days for the tabletop game of the year. Spoiler alert: it won’t be a surprise.

Commander: Top 5 Reasons It’s My New Favorite Format

Introduction

I often said that I’m a Commander player who never played Commander. Well, I can’t say that anymore. I played Commander. In person. Against a real live boy. Insomuch as you belive that Chris is an actual human and not some figment of my imagination. After watching “A Beautiful Mind”, I neither confirm nor deny the existence of anyone. However, I’m 95% sure that Chris is a real person because my wife and children have all seen him. So, either they are all fake or he’s real. While still not confirmation, it’s more likely that he’s real than I’ve constructed this elaborate lie to keep myself as sane as possible given that I probably died about a decade ago and this is Hell.

Just how far down does this Matrix go? Is it too late to pick blue?

Whether Chris actually exists or not, I played a few games against him. We watched Alabama absolutely eviscerate Georgia, we ate pizza, and we played Magic the Gathering. Okay, even I admit, this is sounding less and less plausible as an evening in the life of a 46 year old father of three. Nevertheless, let’s pretend it’s all real. I present to you the top 5 reasons that it’s my new favorite format. Granted, I had no favorite format before, except maybe Legacy or Vintage. But, I never in a milliion years, made enough money to even put together a proxy deck in either of those formats, so EDH it is.

Number 5 – Low Money Threshold

Precon decks are cheap. They are also terrible. However, I discovered that many players wrote extensive upgrade articles to take them from terrible to slightly less terrible for less than 100 dollars (as long as you and your playgroup are willing to tolerate proxies). Take this page for example. Or, this one. For about 150 bucks, I got 2 playable decks and a stupid combo deck. Not bad all things considered.

Number 4 – Popularity

Partially because of the low barrier economically, many many people play this format. I know becaue (a) of the plethora of articles mentioned in the last section and (b) anytime I mention to another human being there seems to be a (completely made up statistic) 72.5% chance that they tell me they at least have a precon deck redy to play

Get yours today!

Number 3 – Variety of Strategies

One of the things that keeps us coming back to Magic the Gathering is the ever evolving strategy of the game. Within that changing metagame, certain things remain universal. Life gain. Tribal. Ramp. Prison. Mill. Plus, many more. Find your playstyle today. Unless you play mill. In that case, I invite you to go straight to hell.

And, of course, I open MTGA and the first game is opened with this play, FFS.

Number 2 – We got a playgroup together (Sort of)

You may remember from the early days of 2 Guys Gaming that Chris and I went to a guy’s house to play some sealed for one of the sets. After the sealed game, we played something or another. I don’t remember the exact format. I simply remember watching another game and making a snarky comment similar to the one I just made about not actually playing Magic the Gathering as my opponent combo’d off on turn 3.

The point of this story is that those same players contacted Chris a couple of weeks ago about getting together to play Magic again. We were supposed to get together last weekend, but it fell apart due to scheduling conflicts of adults. However, we made a commitment to try again next month. So, progress!

Number 1 – Singleton Decks

Chris and I texted back and forth several times about our get together and the quirky nature of singleton decks. I said something along the lines of, “It’s funny how you can play the deck so many times and still be surprised when you learn that a card is in the deck because you’ve never seen it once.” He replied with, “Yeah, the one copy of each card makes for an interesting strategy.” I got a glimpse of it with Tiny Leaders, but doubling the card count provides a whole new level of strategy for sure.

Commander: A Great Format or the Greatest?

In addition to everything already said, playing against Chris inspired me to order counters, tokens, and a satchel to carry my decks. I know we get inspired to do things around here (like update the web page regularly) only to see that motivation wane to the point that nothing is done for months at a time. However, this interest in Commander seems to have a staying power. Stay tuned in January to see if that’s true.

How to Stink at Alchemy Without Really Trying

Introduction

Magic the Gathering Arena just released a new format called Alchemy. As usual, the community greeted this change with grace and dignity. They discussed the pros and the cons intelligently and respected each other and WotC and Hasbro. Just kidding, of course. As I wrote in response to a Facebook post, “Magic the Gathering players are becoming more and more like the old man that yells at clouds” in their interactions.

And, yes, you damn kids better stay off my lawn!

Eventually, I found some comments that restored my faith slightly in the player base. Apparently, even though Alchemy is supposed to be a new digital only format that exists in tandem with Standard, some of the changes have also affected Historic. If intended, which some rudimentary searching just confirmed, this seems like a short sighted solution to a problem that doesn’t even exist.

Alchemy: Do We Really Need Another Format?

In spite of all that, I signed up for the free event introducing the format. With little reason, I started to take notes of my games. Perhaps I knew I would be inspired to write on this page. I wanted to have receipts for when people call me out when I say that I feel persecuted by the game of Magic the Gathering. Now, bear in mind that this is just unfounded paranoia. The only one who will read this any time soon is Chris and he, too, often feels like the game punishes him for the transgression of simply wanting to have fun.

Granted, both Chris and I will occasionally fall into the role of fun police against one another, but those times are few and far between.

As I often do, I searched for some decks. On my Smurf account, I played one of the premade decks. For the actual account, I wanted to try an actual deck. I picked Gruul ramp because who doesn’t like mana and unbridled aggression? Well, after actually playing the deck and the event, I can tell you someone who has two thumbs and doesn’t. This guy.

Click for a larger picture of the deck. You know what? Trust me. Don’t. Play werewolves instead.

Saturday: My Introduction to Alchemy

Let’s forget for a minute that I just had to do a find and replace because I called the format Artisan for the first four paragraphs of this article. So, I suppose that answers the question about needing a new format. Kudos to WotC for trying new things to stay relevant and distinguish MTGA from the paper game. Honestly, that’s probably one of the things that’s kept Hearthstone afloat for so long. Bored of the main game? Play some Battlegrounds. Bored of that? Here’s Mercenaries? Don’t want to play Mercenaries? Well, there’s always Arena, Duels, and Tavern Brawl.

The difference there is that all of those modes are completely different from one another. Alchemy simply offers Magic the Gathering with a different card pool. I’d rather they put their resources into coming up with fun events instead of designing cards for a format that will most likely be dead in less than a month. And, no, it’s not just because I got beaten like a drum as you will see in my synopsis. Oh well, it’s not like I invested anything in the cards that will get converted into wild cards when the format dies.

For whatever reason, I kept a log of my last few games from Saturday. I guess I thought I might actually update this page. Certainly, I never anticipated doing so before writing the log. I will spare you the many curse words and much of the self pity and just give the run down. Out of 7 games, 1 went first once and my opponent 6. The chances of that happening are 5 percent. In keeping with that motif, I called my opponent’s removal in hand 3 times the first game, drew 2 lands in my opening hand in two out of the four games, and accidentally took a mulligan in one of them due to excessive salt.

Sunday: 30 Games to Finish Out the Event?

I saved two wins for Sunday because I finished my weekly 15 win quest with the first 3 wins from the event. I anticipated things going as poorly as Saturday when the first two games ended after two targeted removal on my Scute Swarm and then the second game lagged to a draw. After that, my luck changed and I ran over an opponent with Scute Swarm and then absolutely destroyed a red/white deck before finishing out a quest with a BW deck and another win. Satisfied with the results, I quit for the day.

Noob’s Impression of Alchemy

I made no secret that I don’t understand the need nor the purpose of Alchemy. After playing the format, that remains true. I’m glad to have gotten 2000 experience and cards that will give me wild cards when they kill the format in a couple of months. Otherwise, I will stick to my new found love of Commander. Yes, I finally have decks. Come back Thursday for that article.