SpartanNerd Review…”R2-D2 Draft” at the “Tangled Web Comics and Games”

Regular readers of The SpartanNerd Blog will know that just about the ONLY place to play Magic the Gathering in Spartanburg is at “The Tangled Web Comics and Games”…Be sure to visit them sometimes.  I mention this because the most recent tournament I played in is of the kind that ONLY can be played there.  “R2-D2 Draft.”

Here is what it really is.  It is one of those Coca-Cola coolers on wheels that you see in gas stations filled with ice and glass bottles of coke in the middle of the summer.  It got its name because evidently at some point in its history it had decorations like R2-D2 on it, which have since been removed, but the name lives on.  The store owner puts piles and piles of cards in the cooler, and mixes them up.  If you just want some cards at any time, you just have to pay $5 for ten seconds to pull out a giant pile of cards.  Some will be good.  Some will not.  This is the beauty of the game.  You get a ton of cards more than you would for a booster pack, plus a ton more of rares.  And the nature of this thing is that the cards are from all manner of sets and collections.  You never know what you’ll get!

So for the “draft” tournament, everyone makes a deck from cards they get from the R2-D2 bucket.  The technical term for this tournament would be “bucket cube” or something like that.  And it isn’t really a draft as much as it is a sealed deck.  (You aren’t passing the cards around and picking your favorites.)

I don’t know if I was lucky or if I am starting to just get good at limited formats.  But I made it all the way to the top and lost in the final round!  Here is what my deck was…

1 Crackleburr

This was the real key to my success.  FOUR COPIES OF CRACKLEBURR!  If my opponents didn’t remove them, then they would get hammered over and over.  If they removed them because they are indeed annoying, then I would drop some bomb and they wouldn’t have removal then.  I never saw this card before today, but I am certainly glad to add it to my collection!

2 red bombs

Here are those bombs I mentioned…

3 useless bombs

Sorry about the blurry picture.  These guys were largely useless.  And Panoptic Mirror was a mistake to add to this deck.  I should have added some other chump or something.  The thaumaturge just amounted to a chump blocker, as did the other guy.  I could have played cheaper chumps, in other words.  But sometimes these guys would coerce my opponent into removing them.  They seem scary.

4 great cards

Here are my best combat tricks in this deck.  I had another Awe Strike in my card pool, but I didn’t play it.  (Should have.)  The creature card here made a land tap for any color.  (mana fixing)  Awe Strike could buy you some extra time and undo a burn spell.  I would hold cloud shift until the right moment, and then blink a creature that something bad was being done to.

I also used some burn spells.

5 burn spells

I used these spells sparingly, treating them as removal.  I only burned an opponent out once.

6 Goblin Churigeon

I got three copies of “Goblin Churugeon.”  (I found out that that is another word for surgeon.)  The goblin didn’t attack, as a 0/2.  But sacrificing him or another goblin allowed me to regenerate one of the bombs if they happen to be targeted with removal.

7 chumps

Here is the rest of my chumps.  a couple of goblins and flyers.  The Scalding Devil was a good mana sink.

And finally the lands.

8 lands

Only one fixing land here, Izzet Guildgate.  In hind-site, I shouldn’t have played four plains.  Two would have done the job.

The tournament went down like this…NO ONE COULD BEAT ME!  Only one guy, someone I never saw before named “Chris.”  He beat me in round three, and guess who I had to face in the final round of the tourney?  Yep.  Chris again.  In the middle of the match, he informed me that he played in the pro-tour France, so…  The very last match, (the third of 2-out-of-3) was the first time I had mana screw.  All I could draw were the stupid white lands!  And his green and red based deck just flattened me!

I never play blue and red.  Why did I this time?  The Crackleburrs and the goblins were good enough.  I thought about trying something with “Sporemound” but didn’t really have the support.  I had Goblin War Drums…a card Chris played and I didn’t like a dummy.  My thinking was and enchantment like that is kind of useless in sealed.  But in that case it really wasn’t.  So I learned from that.  Most of my artifacts were garbage.  I had several crab things, but they were over-costed and really bad cards.  One opponent looked through my sideboard as I played, and when my match was over mentioned that I should have sided “Circle of Protection: Green.” in the end.  But I didn’t.  I’ll know better next time!

This small tournament was a great warm-up for tomorrow night’s pre-release for “Khans of Tarkir.”  Maybe I will do just as good then!

I will keep you posted, oh Hub-City Geeks!



SpartanNerd Review…M15 Pre-release sealed deck experience

For the first time ever, this weekend I made it to the top 4 of a magic tournament.  But this time was even more extra special…It was a sealed deck pre-release!

In case the reader is unfamiliar, Sealed Deck is a limited form of MTG that requires you only play with cards you open.  Generally, you get five booster packs, open them, and build your deck from those cards and those cards only.  The Pre-Release is just a little different, because you get to play with a promo card and an extra “seeded” pack, which is meant to support your strategy.  You choose a color when you sign up, and your seeded pack will contain cards of that color and with synergy with your strategy.  (was that redundant?)

This time was different, I believe, because I studied for the event well ahead of time.  And I went into the event with a plan in mind.

But it didn’t hurt that my cards worked really well together!

Here are pics and commentary!

0 whole deck

I crafted this deck from my card pool.  Green and Black were my star colors.  I felt very comfortable playing these two colors together.  I splashed a little red and white for added removal.


1 drops

These one drops really didn’t do that much.  They became targets for Yisan, who I will be discussing shortly.

2 drops

Satyr Wayfinder and Black Cat are old friends of mine.  They accomplished their jobs well.  The Satyr Wayfinder made sure there were things in my graveyard to use as resources.  This was one of my goals.

3 drops

Now for the good stuff.  Netcaster Spider was a star at blocking flyers.  In limited formats, such as sealed deck, people choose flyers when they can.  The Necrogen Scudder is an old friend.  He hurts you when he enters the battlefield, though.  And then there is Yisan.

Yisan deserves his own paragraph.  Yisan the Wanderer Bard is a music card.  Right up my alley!  Never once was he removed. I guess my opponents didn’t think him that big a threat.  But guess what?  Oh yes.  He was the secret to winning most of my games.  You pay his ability cost, onc green and two others, and then tap him.  You get a “verse counter.”  Then you get to find a creature from your deck with the Convereted Mana Cost of the number of verse counters he has on him.  SICK!  As mentioned already, the one drops were usually elvish mystics.  The two drops, well they were the Satyr Wayfinders usually.  The three drops were the only two possibilities.  And the four drops were the next card I want to discuss.


4 drops

Undergrowth Scavenger.  His power and toughness are equal to the number of creature cards in the graveyard.  And I scored two of these guys in my sealed deck!  He was almost always a 6 or 7 power and toughness and demanded an answer from my opponent, that they usually wouldn’t have.

5 drops 6 lilliana

Other cards that took advantage of the graveyard were Rotfeaster Maggot, and Lilliana Vess.  Have I ever Mentioned that Lilliana is my favorite Magic card ever?  (I actually have a top three.  All black.  Lilliana Vess, Grave Titan, and Elbrus the Binding Blade/Withengar Unbound.)

Once during the evening I got to ultimate Lilliana.  My opponent just scooped right away!

The Rotfeaster Maggot was included to help me recoup life loss from Necrogen Scudder and from a few other cards that had me paying life.


7 promo

Ah, the promo of the evening.  If he wasn’t answered, GG.  Usually my opponents wouldn’t sac someone or pay three life right away.  But card advantage is one secret to winning in Magic.  It didn’t usually take but two card draws and them being hammered a couple of times with him for them to pay the life.

10 soul of inistrad

One more worthy mention.  I actually got Soul of Innistrad.  One of the cards I had my eye on since it was previewed.  The Soul was a star if I ever got him out.  at 6/6, he’s hard to kill.  In the graveyard, he can get creatures into your hand from your graveyard.  On the battlefield he can too.  Only once was he removed.  (Pillar of Light.  A white exile spell with the condition that the toughness of the creature must be 4 or greater.)  Exiling him is just about the only way to deal with him.


Onto my removal.  I passed up a few cards in my card pool.  Festergloom and Crippling Blight, as well as Covenant of Blood.  All black spells that should have worked.  But I opted for the better options in other colors instead.  This was a critical choice, especially with the splash of red.  Heat Ray and Lightning Strike were just too good to pass up.  Oppressive Rays is a star in sealed deck limited.  It rarely got used during this event, however. Ulcerate was one of those cards that penalized my life total.  But it is so powerful at one drop.

8 removal and splash 9 removal


11 other spells

There were three other spells.  I thoroughly enjoyed playing Necrobite.  I would surprise my opponent…he would think he was trading creatures with me, then, BAM.  I got one over on him.  Stab Wound was cited as putting pressure on one opponent.  And I was able to finish off two opponents with Sign In Blood.  This card was also useful in getting me cards a couple of times.

12 swamps 13 forests 14 other lands and radiant fountain


Now for the boring part.  LANDS.  I didn’t get any pain lands.  I did get two Radiant Fountain.  But in the end I thought it better to just run one copy.

So my deck did several  things well!

Flyers.  Check!

Graveyard Digging.  Check!

Life Gain.  Check!

Card Advantage.  Check!

I may never be so lucky with a set of cards again!

I went 3 and 1.  The only loss for the night was against a mirror.  The guy had more Sign in Blood than I had.  He told me I dumped the game against him by playing cautious near the end and not swinging all out.

Other people I played didn’t hardly stand a chance.  I played one White Weenie guy.  The flyers took him out.  I played a guy who played control.  But he couldn’t respond to the graveyard strategy or to Yisan the Wanderer Bard’s ability.  One guy was trying to take advantage of Convoke.  (Bad idea.)

I saw almost no one else play a planes walker, or a Soul.  Wonder why I was so lucky?

In the end, I won TEN PACKS OF M15 cards!  (The top four were tied at 3-1.  We all voted to split the box.)  My winnings netted me an Avacyn, Guardian Angel, and a Chord of Calling, as well as a black-green pain land and a red-blue pain land.  I also traded for Ob Nixilis, Unshackled, and Scuttling Doom Engine.  Not bad!  I even traded for a Jace, the Living Guildpact!

Compared to M14, M15 is THE BOMB.  The power level here is similar to what was in M13, with all those legendary creatures.  The Soul cards also sort of remind you of the Titans.  (M14 was a dud.  It just couldn’t cut it.  The slivers were lame.  Red was good.  Mutavault and Doom Blade were good.  But other things really weren’t so good in the end.

I rate M15 based on my Sealed Deck experience at 5/5.  How did your experience go?  Do you feel the same as me?  Let me know in the comments!