Category Archives: mtg

[MTG Deck] Azorius Skies

18 Creatures
4 Healer's Hawk
4 Siren Stormtamer
4 Resplendent Angel
2 Shalai, Voice of Plenty
4 Sphinx of Foresight

7 Mods
3 Prying Blade
4 Curious Obsession
16 Spells
4 Opt
4 Depose / Deploy
4 Warrant / Warden
4 Mission Briefing

19 Lands
2 Plains
5 Island
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Azorius Guildgate
2 Remorseful Cleric
4 Negate
4 Kinjalli's Sunwing
2 Sinister Sabotage
3 Deputy of Detention

[MTG Deck] Esper Skies

12 Creatures
4 Pteramander
4 Siren Stormtamer
4 Dimir Spybug

20 Lands
3 Island
4 Watery Grave
4 Drowned Catacomb
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Glacial Fortress
1 Godless Shrine
28 Spells
4 Opt
2 Duress
4 Mission Briefing
4 Thought Erasure
4 Depose // Deploy
4 Discovery // Dispersal
4 Warrant // Warden
2 Sinister Sabotage
2 Duress
4 Negate
3 Consecrate // Consume
3 Deputy of Detention
2 Shalai, Voice of Plenty
1 Nightveil Predator

Esper aggro-control with focus on Surveil and filling graveyard with instants and sorceries. Finishers are Pteramander, Dimir Spybug, Warden–all of which can become dangerous 4/4 or 5/5 flyers; or a bunch of flying Thopter tokens via Deploy.

The spells perform one or more of these:

– [b]surveil[/b] to improve your next draws
– [b]control[/b] ala countermagic, discard, removal
– [b]tempo[/b] to slow down opponent
– [b]protection[/b] via counters (Siren Stormtamer), hexproof
– creature [b]tokens[/b] as finishers

The Azorius split cards Depose // Deploy and Warrant // Warden are amazing. Early they can be tempo, and later they create tokens to finish the game. So they count as creatures, but also fill the grave for Pteramander. Furthermore, they can be flashbacked with Mission Briefing–it’s absolutely sick. Recast Deploy to gain more Thopters and gain huge amounts life; or recast Warden for another 4/4 flying vigilant.

[MTG deck] Singularity

Spells -- 13
2 Eladamri's Call
2 Enlightened Tutor
1 Future Sight
2 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
4 Leyline of Singularity
2 Swords to Plowshares

Mana -- 26
1 Black Lotus
1 Celestial Colonnade
1 Faerie Conclave
4 Flooded Strand
1 Forest
1 Island
1 Karakas
1 Lumbering Falls
4 Misty Rainforest
1 Mox Diamond
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Sol Ring
4 Tropical Island
2 Tundra
Creatures -- 21
1 Artificer's Assistant
1 Birds of Paradise
2 Captain Sisay
1 Cold-Eyed Selkie
1 Edric, Spymaster of Trest
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1 Empress Galina
1 Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
1 Kitchen Finks
1 Nightveil Specter
1 Noble Hierarch
1 Nylea, God of the Hunt
1 Primeval Titan
1 Rhox War Monk
1 Selvala, Heart of the Wilds
1 Sylvan Caryatid
1 Tarmogoyf
1 Thassa, God of the Sea
1 Vendilion Clique
Sideboard -- 15
1 Aura of Silence
1 Aura Shards
1 Azorius Guildmage
1 Eladamri's Call
1 Geist of Saint Traft
1 Glen Elendra Archmage
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Kataki, War's Wage
1 Knight of the Reliquary
1 Kruphix, God of Horizons
1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence
1 Michiko Konda, Truth Seeker
1 Rafiq of the Many
1 Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
1 Venser, Shaper Savant

I discovered the Leyline of Singularity deck concept when playing Forge. I felt the potential and coolness of this idea, and transformed it into a real powerhouse far different from the original.

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Hierarchy: A Magic Variant

Rarity Matters = ‘Hierarchy’

Consider that 60 cards is same amount as four 15-card booster packs. Then consider the rarity of the cards you’ll get from opening those fresh packs.

With four packs, you get 1 mythic, 3 rares, 12 uncommons, and the rest commons. These new rules similarly restricts deck building by following the same ratios for a minimum 60-card deck. A deck can have any amount of commons and Basic Lands.

Additional rule: no more than three (3) copies of any card except Basic Lands.

Each additional 15 cards in your deck beyond 60 cards grants another 1 rare and 3 uncommons. For each additional 60 cards of your deck size, you may include a mythic instead of a rare.

You can trade from higher rarity for same ratio of lower rarity, or vice versa. That means you can omit 1 mythic for 3 more rares or 12 uncommons. Omit 1 rare to add 3 more uncommons. In reverse, you can trade in 3 uncommons for 1 rare or 12 uncommons for 1 mythic. Likewise, trade 3 rares for 1 mythic. Fill vacancies with commons or basics.

A card’s rarity is based on its latest printing in a core, expansion, or draftable set that are legal for that format. This includes supplemental draftable products like conspiracy and masters.

These rules can be applied to official and unofficial formats. So you can have Hierarchy Standard and Hierarchy Modern, etc.

Hex vs Magic

Part 1


Just got a hold of Hex: Shards of Fate. While the core engine is very similar to Magic, the mechanics and card designs and deck archetypes are so much more daring, complex, fun. Count it as my review after a few hours of gameplay.

For the longest time, WotC has been half-assing, half-stepping the creative possibilities of Magic. Partly because of limitations of physical cards (e.g. tracking complexity), and partly dumbed down to cater to the masses and new players. Thus progress and innovations are stunted. (Just look at the bare-bones mechanics in Battle for Zendikar.)

On the other hand, even the Hex starter decks, archetypes, and tutorials are so much more complex, yet grokkable and fun. Given the choice of 8 decks, I chose the weirdest one (none of that human, dwarf, elf generic tropes for me). This deck’s strategy is to put Spider Eggs into your opponent’s deck. When he draws it or puts in his crypt (graveyard) from deck (Hex calls this bury, cf. mill), you get a 1/1 creature unblockable. Fill his deck with so many that you get a bunch of free creatures and overwhelm him.

This and many more ideas are simply not possible with Magic. There are so many taboos and restrictions that forbid Wizards from fresh ideas. Such as putting cards into opponents’ decks, upgrading cards with equipment and gems during deck construction–thus reusing and customizing the same card for different strategies, permanent effects from one-time cards (Hex calls them Actions, equivalent to Instants and Sorceries)–even across zones, multi-layered tracking, etc. I’ve only played a few hours, so probably more that I haven’t seen yet.

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Duel Deck: Dungeon Crawlers vs. Dungeon Keepers

Duel Deck: Dungeon Crawlers vs. Dungeon Keepers

Duel Decks: Dungeon Crawlers vs. Dungeon Keepers is the 32nd set in the Duel Deck series. It was released August 25, 2023.

The two decks are inspired by the popular genres of video games, particularly dungeon crawler and MMO RPGs. They contain several preview cards for Dangers of Cinbork.

The band of adventurers have driven back the forces of evil. Now they must penetrate the final fortress where the demon lord resides. Unfortunately, the ultimate dungeon is polluted with deadly traps and hordes of beasts and undead at every corner. Can the party survive the gauntlet and slay the demon lord to restore peace to the land?

Deck mechanics and themes:

Dungeon Crawlers represent the heroic party infiltrating into the colons of evil’s residence. A combination of experienced wizards and warriors who have made it thus far through dedication, teamwork and skill.

Dungeon Crawlers is a blue and red deck that features these mechanics: Overload, Prowess, Experience, and Taunt. As well as these subthemes: spell matters, attachments, skill, interclass combos, warriors and wizards.

Dungeon Keepers represent the minion horde who serves the dark lord. These ruthless vermin and heartless killers will assault and mutilate any unfortunate soul who enters the keep.

Dungeon Keepers is a black and green deck that features these mechanics: Respawn & manifest, Traps & Detonate, and Prize. As well as these subthemes: tokens, face-down creatures, necromancy, wild animals, undead.
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Creature Type Classification: Status

New Creature Type Classification: Status

Normally a creature’s types can be classified as race and class. I propose a third classification: status. Status is appended after race and class on the type line.

List of Statuses
Here are some statuses for this proposal:

  • Leader — leads or governs a group of beings, usually grants bonuses to the people they lead
  • Noble — elite with high social, political, or economic standing
  • Master — expert with extraordinary skill, knowledge, or wisdom
  • Rebel — member of faction opposed to the current government or leadership
  • Ally — member of a band of adventurers
  • Zombie — a condition granted to beings returned from the graveyard
  • Survivor — survives a catastrophe. possibly recurring ability
  • Elder — currently only used for special dragon legends


Goblin Warchief becomes Goblin Warrior Leader
Leaping Master becomes Human Monk Master

Sample card based on Figure of Destiny:

Figure of Mastery

Creature – Merfolk
: ~ becomes a 2/2 Merfolk Wizard.
: If ~ is a Wizard, it becomes a 4/4 Merfolk Wizard Master with hexproof.
: If ~ is a Master, it becomes an 8/8 Merfolk Wizard Master Avatar with hexproof and trample.

Magic’s Limited Design Space

There is no doubt that Magic is a commercial success. That is, it has mass appeal. And in order to appeal to the masses, it has to sacrifice and restrict certain things. Like new strategies, new deck archetypes, new mechanics that redefine how Magic is played (for instance, Planeswalkers added a new dimension to board state and deckbuilding, something that hasn’t been seen again since it was introduced in 2007.) And as Wizards continues towards this trend to cater to new players and limited players, less and less set space and development time will be allotted for actual fresh, creative gameplay. Hence even Wizards R&D managers admit that Magic design space is becoming more and more limited. However, this is of their own doing due to how they design cards and sets. Even though ideas are infinite, they restrict themselves to a tiny subset of possible ideas in order to sell more cards, not necessarily making the best designed cards or opening new gameplay.

Not all design space is equal. I mean quantity vs quality. Sure they can push out 1000 cards a year. But in reality the vast majority are rehashing and tweaking old cards. How many actually change the metagame? How many make you think or play differently, or enable totally new strategies? How much are actually never-before-seen abilities?

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Planeswalker’s Guide to So Ling 素靈 — 素洲 So Zau

素洲 So Zau

So Zau Manifested

素洲 So Zau is the other supercontinent in So Ling. It is a land dominated by the Elementals of the red, green, and blue types. It has an extremely high concentration of natural mana, and even more mana may be produced from conjured mana Elementals. Even a simple sneeze can cause a flurry of mana Elementals to be manifested. The major themes in So Zau are Elementals, mana production, theories & experimentation, and synergies.

Continue reading Planeswalker’s Guide to So Ling 素靈 — 素洲 So Zau