Monday, April 30, 2012

Avacyn Restored Pre-Release Part 2 (Sunday)

So my local store held two pre-releases for Avacyn Restored, and this post is about Sunday's tournament which lasted 3.5 hours and 3 matches. I came in 3rd out of 8 players, so I got three booster packs as part of the 15 pack pot.

I did the same as with Saturday: I built two 45 card decks. My first deck was the MVD (Most Valuable Deck) having been played the most (winning me 4 of 5 games played, and winning 2 matches) while my second deck won one game and lost one game during the match I lost.

Here are the decks:

First Deck

Creature Spells
Midnight Duelist x1
Hunted Ghoul x2
Angelic Wall x1
Searchlight Geist x1
Seraph of Dawn x1
Riders of Gavony x1
Midvast Protector x1
Undead Executioner x1
Spectral Gateguards x1
Polluted Dead x1
Marrow Bats x1
Voices of Provinces x1

Artifact Spells
Scroll of Griselbrand x1
Bladed Bracers x1
Haunted Guardian x1

Other Spells
Predator's Gambit x1
Call to Serve x1
Essence Harvest x1
Unhallowed Pact x2
Angel's Mercy x1
Builder's Blessing x1
Mental Agony x1
Defy Death x1
Descent into Madness x1
Exquisite Blood x1
Banishing Stroke x1
Death Wind x1

Plains x8
Swamp x8

Comments: Some cards served some great purposes. Looking back now, I realize Scroll of Griselbrand was pointless for the purpose I had for it since I lack demons in this deck, so not sure why I had it in here. Never made anyone discard a card with it either. Bladed Bracers is great for some of the flying creatures. I know I soulbound the Spectral Gateguards to my Seraph of Dawn, and gave the Seraph of Dawn the Bladed Bracers. Worked to my advantage. Undead Executioner came in handy giving a creature -2/-2 when it died. Unhallowed Pact works out great enchanting the opponent's creatures. All in all, this deck was pretty useful...

Second Deck

Creature Spells
Scalding Devil x1
Kruin Striker x1
Nightshade Peddler x2
Wandering Wolf x1
Timberland Guide x1
Fervent Cathar x1
Riot Ringleader x1
Kessig Malcontents x1
Trusted Forcemage x2
Borderland Ranger x1
Hound of Griselbrand x1
Archwing Dragon x1
Druid's Familiar x1
Raging Poltergeist x1
Wildwood Geist x1
Pathbreaker Wurm x1
Gang of Devils x1

Artifact Spells
Vanguard's Shield x1
Angelic Armaments x1
Vessel of Endless Rest x1

Other Spells
Dangerous Wager x1
Malicious Intent x1
Thunderbolt x1
Triumph of Ferocity x1
Vigilante Justice x1
Aggravate x1
Blessings of Nature x1

Mountain x8
Forest x8

Comments: Kessig Malcontents was a useful card with this deck. I dealt three direct damage when it entered by having two other humans in the field. Trusted Forcemage was always a good card to have because Soulbond gave it and its paired creature +1/+1 which helped when pairing it with Hound of Griselbrand.I tried to do a Nightshade Peddler and Pathbreaker Wurm Soulbond combo, but I had to pass on that to defend myself better with existing creatures. Angelic Armaments is a very useful card, especially on a Wildwood Geist, but I didn't ever get to do that. Dangerous Wager comes into great use when you don't have a great hand with a couple cards left and you want something else that you don't have now or isn't on the field. Since I didn't play much with this deck, I can't really evaluate how well everything works together, but with all the Soulbonds going around, it probably would have worked well, but I do know that Blessings of Nature for its Miracle cost is amazing.

Avacyn Restored Pre-Release Part 1 (Saturday)

So my local store held two pre-releases for Avacyn Restored, and this post is about Saturday's tournament which lasted 6 hours and 5 matches. I came in 7th out of 26 players, so I got two booster packs as part of the 50 pack pot.

So... what did I do? We had to make 40 card minimum decks and I wound up building two 45 card decks. Since everything we pulled from the packs was our sideboard, I made this work out very well. My first deck wasn't working so great, but my second one did, which is kind of how I won...

First Deck

Creature Spells
Midnight Duelist x1
Thraben Valiant x2
Angelic Wall x1
Moonlight Geist x1
Scrapskin Drake x1
Galvanic Alchemist x1
Fettergeist x1
Tandem Lookout x1
Goldnight Commander x1
Elgaud Shieldmate x1
Gryff Vanguard x1

Artifact Spells
Bladed Bracers x1
Vanguard's Shield x2
Vessel of Endless Rest x1
Angel's Tomb x1
Moonsilver Spear x1

Other Spells
Second Guess x2
Leap of Faith x2
Crippling Chill x2
Geist Snatch x1
Dreadwaters x1
Banishing Stroke x1
Infinite Reflection x1
Divine Deflection x1

Plains x6
Island x10

Comments: Not the best mana ramp. Only one card was a 1 drop creature and I had just one of those, and I had to have a Plains for it anyway, which since I had more blue spells, I figured a higher amount of Islands would work better. Needless to say, I won just 1 game and lost 3 games with this deck. I lost the first match and the first game of the second match before switching to this one:

Second Deck

Creature Spells
Somberwald Vigilante x2
Diregraf Escort x1
Scalding Devil x1
Lightning Mauler x1
Kruin Striker x1
Nightshade Peddler x1
Timberland Guide x1
Hanweif Lancer x1
Heirs of Stromkirk x1
Mad Prophet x1
Zealous Conscripts x1
Wildwood Geist x3
Geist Trappers x1
Vorstclaw x1
Howlgeist x1

Artifact Spells
Tormentor's Trident

Other Spells
Snare the Skies x1
Battle Hymn x1
Terrifying Presence x1
Grounded x1
Triumph of Ferocity x1
Demolish x2
Vigilante Justice x1

Mountain x9
Forest x9

Comments: This deck ran great. Of course, with every great deck you have a really bad hand every now and then. Like how I lost one game of a match I later won: Nothing but Forests (and a couple of green spells) and a lot of red spells. Doesn't quite work... And then one time when someone pulled out some red black deck. Man that hurt. The best cards out of this deck that I was able to play seemingly without fail in a game and helped me win were Lightning Mauler (1R + 1, Soulbond causing both creatures to have haste, 2/1), Nightshade Peddler (1G + 1, Soulbond causing deathtouch, 1/1), Hanweir Lancer (1R + 2, Soulbond causing first strike, 2/2), Heirs of Stromkirk (2R + 2, Intimidate and +1/+1 each time player gets damaged by creature, 2/2), Mad Prophet (1R + 3, Haste, 2/2), Zealous Conscripts (1R + 4, Haste and gain control of target permanent giving it haste until end of turn, 3/3, [Note: Some people had the 6/4 wurm creatures which I took and smacked then with it as it was their only creature]), Wildwood Geist (1G + 4, +2/+2 as long as it is my turn, 3/3), Vorstclaw (2G + 4, 7/7), Howlgeist (1G + 5, Undying and creatures with less power can't block it, 4/2), and Demolish (1R + 3, "Destroy target artifact or land") all helped.

The best combo there is Hanweir Lancer soulbound to Vorstclaw or Wildwood Geist. If I made this a full 60 card deck, I only have to take out a couple things, add a couple more Hanweir Lancers, and I could have a solid Red/Green deck. Demolish helped a lot during this tournament because you can only use what you get in your booster packs, and to make a 40 card deck, you have to have two colors. Some people played with two mana from their hand each one color, and once I hit four mana, I used Demolish on one, and then on their next land, which was the other color, I would Demolish that as soon as I could because then they would be farther from their high cost cards and would have less of an opportunity to get out cards using their second color.

What did others get?
One of my opponents got a Tibalt, Feind-Blooded and I think he had a Gisela, Blade of Goldnight. Another guy I didn't get to play got a foil Griselbrand, a Cavern of Souls, and a Sigarda, Host of Herons. Yet another person got a Tamiyo, Moon Sage Emblem. I think one or two others got an Avacyn, Angel of Hope. I did not see a Bruna, Light of Alabaster other than the large size ones from the Helvault we opened. Since we had less than 56, everyone got two spindown dice, two large cards, and four Angel/Demon tokens. The two large cards I got were Griselbrand and Bruna, Light of Alabaster.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Avacyn Restored's most expensive cards (as released thus far...)

This post is outdated. For up-to-date prices for the most expensive cards, please click here.

Avacyn Restored has some pretty pricey cards out there, but of course these are the mythic rares (and a couple of rares). Let's take a look at these. All prices shown here are from Star City Games and are the non-foil costs. Foil prices are around 2x the original price give or take, so just imagine those prices... Also, these expensive cards are the ones that are $10+, not anything less. Let's begin:

Avacyn, Angel of Hope (Pre-Order: Ships May 4)
Ah, Avacyn, the card the set is named after... She comes in at about $15. She pretty much is a Darksteel Forge that is a creature, flies, has vigilance, and costs less to cast (but costs $3 more. Not that Darksteel Forge is legal in Standard or Extended of course...) Avacyn is definitely an important card to have for an angel deck or even as your commander for an all white EDH/Commander deck.

Cavern of Souls (Pre-Order: Ships May 4)
Cavern of Souls is next, coming in at a pricey $22.50. It looks to me like a Shimmering Grotto that instead of tapping another color to generate any color you want, it instead makes any color of mana you want to cast any creature type you chose when you played it. Not a bad card. I wouldn't buy it for that price, but I will hope to pull it from a booster pack. Price will probably come down after a couple of months anyway. I'd expect it to be around $18 or $15 by August or September.

Griselbrand (Pre-Order: Ships May 4)
Hey look! It's Avacyn's buddy from the Helvault! Anyway, an 8 drop with flying and lifelink is comparable to Avacyn, just with less power and lifelink instead of vigilance. The other ability, to effectively take seven damage from your own creature to draw a full hand, is good only if you have the life and/or really need the cards... Probably fits into a good Blue/Black deck with Jace's Erasure. Prices as a single at $10.

Sigarda, Host of Herons (Pre-Order: Ships May 4)
Sigarda, Host of Herons is next at $15. Makes you immune to sacrificing permanents, which sounds great, especially with Killing Wave (which is my new least favorite card to have played against me, even before I play a game with Avacyn Restored cards). So if you want to stop someone from using four spaces in their deck for Killing Wave, throw Sigarda into your deck (or maybe a couple. Can't have them on the battlefield at the same time, but you have a better chance of drawing one). Also useful against Melt Terrain since you can't sacrifice a land... Hexproof is also useful since the only way someone can destroy her is for her to block an attacking creature that can deal 5 or more damage.

Tamiyo, the Moon Sage (Pre-Order: Ships May 4)
Tamiyo is about $40 as a single card. I like her -8 ability right away. Takes away the need for a Venser's Journal, which cycles out in October from Standard Format, and also replaces the need for cards like Reclaim (which are useful still if you don't run blue). He +1 ability replaces Clinging Mist's fateful hour ability, so perfect if you want a touch of green without that beautiful color messing with your deck mechanics. -2 could be paired perfectly with a Jace's Erasure. So far, I'm seeing some great combos in just the expensive cards...

Temporal Mastery (Pre-Order: Ships May 4)
Temproal Mastery comes in at $40, and $100 as a foil card... Given the casting cost of this card, you will need the extra turn to do what you wanted to do the first turn. This is useful if you have powerful creatures you want to break down your opponent with and you'd like to attack twice and draw twice. Also useful for using Tamiyo's +1 ability, during your two turns, then using the -2 ability the turn after the extra one given to you by this card. Personally, if I have any intention of using this, I would want to play it after drawing it and use the Miracle cost to pay for it, otherwise I'm using mana that could have been used for something better. Depends on the circumstances I guess...

Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded (Pre-Order: Ships May 4)
Ah, Tibalt... a very low costing (to cast that is) planeswalker that takes several turns just to use the final ability. I suppose the reason for the two drop and two loyalty counter is due to Tibalt being new to the planeswalker realm and thus not being overly powerful yet. I'm not a fan of his +1 ability, especially if I have a good hand, but it may be necessary if you want to use the -6 ability, but you have to keep him alive until then... Tibalt has good potential in his abilities, but I think the next rendition of him might be better. I'll be happy if I pull him from a booster pack, but I doubt I would go buy him if I didn't get him... -4 ability would be cool too, as long as your opponent has several cards in his/her hand. If I get him and I use him, it will be purely for bringing him up to 6, then sacrificing him for his -6 ability.

Vexing Devil (Pre-Order: Ships May 4)
Last, but not least (unless I missed one) is Vexing Devil. Priced at $15 as a single, this is a cool card as it forces an opponent to either take the proverbial bullet or else feel the wrath later. If you have creatures that can deal with Vexing Devil, I wouldn't take the damage, but if I had no creatures, I would definitely take the four damage and sacrifice him just so I wouldn't be taking the damage from him in the event I can't get any creatures onto the field.