Even More Top 5 Lists on MtG

Top 5 Cities I’ve Visited for a GP

Well, my experience anyway, which is of course largely influenced by the venue. Also, I’ve been to 16 GPs, four of which were in a city I had played in before, so there isn’t that much competition (12 places). I didn’t spend that much time in some of them, and I think the time of the year will also highly influence my decisions. So, basically, this is list is even less reasoned than the others I’ve made.

5. Strasbourg

The venue was actually kind of shitty. Just an old warehouse at the edge of town, but the city itself was pretty cool. It was just before Christmas, so there was a Christmas town, which I wasn’t a huge fan of, but the church was pretty magnificent and I enjoyed the old buildings very much. I was supposed to take use the final night to take pictures there, but fate intervened and a lot happened during that night, so I wasn’t able to.

4. London

Well, its London. Did you know that when a cities size doubles, its people walk 15% faster? Well, that was a bit of an obstacle for me as someone from a small city of 200 thousand, but otherwise I enjoyed my stay very much. I visited V&A, Science Museum and Natural History Museum, as well as explored Hyde Park. Food was good and plenty of ethnic specialties were available. I played another GP there recently, but this time I really didn’t have time to do any tourist-y things and rather I just went in, played two days, had to cut day 2 short, and went back home.

3. Barcelona

My stay was very short, as I arrived late Friday night and left early Monday morning, but since I didn’t make day two, I was able to use the Sunday to explore the city somewhat, and it seemed very beautiful.

2. Paris

Well, its Paris. Admittedly, its a bit too tourist-y, with peddlers everywhere, some selling absurd items, such as pieces of string. Still, its Paris. Paris is one of those cities I’ve been to twice, with both trips having some extra time for sightseeing and restaurants, with the latter being more important for me.

BTW, the stat from London above… doesn’t really work in Paris, where people don’t seem to be in any hurry. Ever.

1. Utrecht

Again, one of the cities I’ve been twice to. First time I spent a whole week, second time I was there only for the GP. The venue is very conveniently placed near the center of the city. The city center is also quite beautiful, especially the canals. All the restaurants were excellent and the history is interesting.

Top 5 Magic Websites

5. ChannelFireball

They win out against SCG and other more Spike-y sites because of two men: Matt Sperling and Frank Karsten. They bring different viewpoints to the game and at least Karsten has a really strong effect on how decks are built. Of course, they have other great content providers, such as BBD, but those aforementioned two bring the site to a whole new level.

4. MtGCoverage

Its just an index of matches you can find on the ‘net. Want to see your favorite player play or need to learn a specific archetype? Or just want to see Evan Erwin on camera, playing. Well, here they are, in an easily searchable form.

3. Blogatog

If you don’t know, this is Mark Rosewater’s personal blog, but he doesn’t really log his thoughts. Its all about answering questions. Some 60 thousand of them by now. He answers a lot of them each day. He also publishes his comic, Tales from the Pit here.

2. TappedOut

Its just so cool a way to record and goldfish your decks. I know there are options, which might even be better, but I have a couple of hundred decks there, so moving them elsewhere would be pretty hard.

1. MagicCards.info

Sick of the poor user interface on Gatherer? Well, here’s an alternative. Although there seems to be a lot of downtime and sometimes they don’t do things on time, the UI is still just so much better and flexible. Still, its just so much easier to use than Gatherer that I still go it all the time (I actually have a keyword set for it in my browser).

Top 5 Underplayed EDH Cards (besides Quicken and Cremate)

I’ve stricken down the ‘Top’ because I can’t really claim these to be the best. They are more like cards I think are powerful, evocative and can play a role in quite a few decks, which I don’t see played that much and I just happened to think of right now.

5. Vorapede

I like all the abilities. Vigilance is often very important in EDH, where you want to put pressure on other players, but don’t want to let them get free attacks, Trample stops chump blocks, and Undying means it can live through that early sweeper you know is coming. Also, the triple green is often important as well (at least in my decks). Its also more aggressive than most creatures in that part of the curve, which also makes it pretty good for EDH.

4. Planeswalker’s Scorn

The thing with this card is that the creatures doesn’t need to be controlled by the player you target, which means you can coordinate with other players to get rid off pesky threats that happen to be hard to kill. It can actually be kind of oppressive if the game goes long and you can protect it.

3. Smogsteed Rider

Can’t say this is very good, but according to EDHREC, its seen only six times out of 16150 decks. It must be better than that. The point (again) being that you can attack different players with different creatures. You can even cooperate with a player and ask permission to attack him or her with the Rider alone while attacking other players with your other creatures that now have Fear.

2. Loaming Shaman

Card quality is something that’s not always talked enough about. At some point in the game, you don’t want to draw any more lands (this doesn’t happen to me very often, but still). By using cards like this guy, you can raise your chance of drawing a creature significantly.

1. Mirror-Mad Phantasm

Its risky, but that makes it fun. There’s plenty of reasons to put cards into your graveyard (think Sedris, the Traitor King, Back from the Brink, Bruna, Light of Alabaster and, my personal favorite, Laboratory Maniac) and this is a very efficient way of doing just that.

VorapedePlaneswalker’s ScornSmogsteed RiderLoaming ShamanMirror-Mad Phantasm

Top 5 Favorite Decks I’ve Drafted (that I Can Remember)

Not the best decks I’ve drafted, but my favorites. I thought at first I’d limit this to “real” formats, instead of cube, chaos drafts and whatnot, but instead I decided to include one cube deck, because its memorable (for me).

5. A four-color Kaladesh mess in day 2 of GP London 2016. It was my first draft of the format and I didn’t know much of what I was doing, so I knew I wouldn’t do very well. I got some advice for it from several other players, but sitting down to draft, I told the player on my left, loud enough for everyone in the table to hear, that he shouldn’t worry too much about signalling, because I wouldn’t be able to think about that, because I don’t know the format. That got enough of a laugh from the table that I knew I didn’t need to take this draft that seriously and I could just have fun. What did I do? I picked all the rares. I ended up with a double Metalgear Colossus, Saheeli’s Artistry, Wildest Dreams, Dynavolt Tower and some others I’ve already forgotten. I played some weird blue-black, splashing white and green for various things. It was gloriously awkward, but with a number of powerful things it could do, if the opponent couldn’t finnish me fast enough. I ended up 2-1 with a number of very long games.

One funny story with this deck: I messed up with a Colossus. I tried to cast it with less mana than it was supposed to cost, because I tried to get a discount from some creature, probably Consul Skygate. Gladly, the opponent was more aware of what was going on and noticed, and I got a well-deserved warning. The thing is, I was only two mana away from casting it anyway and now my opponent knew I had it. She was clearly concerned, because I had the board pretty cluttered and in a pretty good stalemate. So, when I drew and played a land next turn, it was clear she was worried. When, a couple of turns later, I drew the final land I needed, you could see she was crushed.

However, she top-decked a Revoke Privileges. You could see immediately that she had found an answer. She played it and passed the turn. Her mood had clearly changed quickly as now she was back in the game. It seemed like she would deck me, if she could just remain alive for five or six turns.

So, I cast my Saheeli’s Artistry, copying the Colossus twice. You could see how she was crushed, with her shoulders just dropping. Those two then brought the game home for me.

4. A Blue-White Planeswalker control deck in the MTGO Cube, with a single creature (a Stillmoon Cavalier that was a true MVP of the deck, as I drew it in every game and it was always good) and a Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I’ve only done the cube twice and in each case I’ve planned to go for red, because at least that’s something I can play and play well, but in both cases, I was lured in by Jace and went this way.

3. Double-From Under the Floorboards + double Rise from the Tides UB Madness deck during PT SOI testing. It also had plenty of bounce spells and only a few creatures. I’ve managed to draft something quite similar on a number of occasions, but nothing quite this powerful.

2. Mardu Control in KTK Draft. It had hardly any creatures. I did have a couple of Goblinslides and a Sorin, Solemn Visitor, with a bunch of removal, including a pair of Crackling Dooms, some card draw and a pair of Howl of the Hordes. In the first round I won a game by casting Howl, making a goblin out of the Slide and attacking with it, casting the Doom and copying it twice to clear opponents board and dealing seven damage, putting him into one, so that the goblin was able to finish him off on my next turn. I did lose to a deck that had two Villanous Wealths in it. That draft had a weird constellation of rares.

1. My King Macar deck

GMing Mistakes 11 – Experience Doesn’t Necessarily Make Players Better

I was once in a game where the GM had somehow gotten in his head that he could require as to make harder rolls, because everyone in the group had been playing for so long. So what’s the assumption here? Experienced players get luckier? Experienced players have learned how to get away with cheating? I’m not sure. Sure, we might be able to use the resources we have more flexibly and in different ways, but we still have all the same limitations as the beginning playes.

… actually, I think experience is often a hindrance.

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GMing Mistakes 10 – There’s a Chance You Don’t Get Probabilities

Okay, so, there’s thief in your group and they want to infiltrate the tent of an officer from an opposing army. Its in the middle of the camp and you want to make it hard, but from your point of view, it would be a good thing if the thief was able to do it.

So, lets suppose the player rolls 2d6 and has to get at least 7 to succeed. They get +2 from their.. skill. Whatever. First, you want them to roll for moving into the camp. Then you want them to roll for moving through the camp. Then you want them to figure out where the tent is and roll for that as well. Then you want them to roll for entering the tent. They’re pretty good at what they do, so this should work, right?

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GMing Mistakes 9 – Randomized Characters

I’ve heard all sorts of reasoning. “Not everyone is equal in real life.” “It doesn’t matter how good your character is, there’s always something to do.” “Its in the rules.” “I want to push the players to do something different.” Well, these are true. I can’t argue with that. What I can argue with is that these aren’t very good reasons. There are a lot of things that are true, but you wouldn’t really want it that way.

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GMing Mistakes 8 – Underestimating the Importance of the System

You’ve been playing a while and you’ve been always using CoC and its worked out pretty well. Sure, you have to invoke the Golden Rule every now and then, but at the same time, you know the system, so why not use it for the fantasy campaign you’re trying to sell your players on.

Please don’t. I know many people think CoC is the greatest thing ever, but at the same time, that group of people haven’t usually played anything more sophisticated. They still like to think that the solutions of their youth are still valid solutions today. Would you still use the same computer you used back in the 80s? Probably not. These things have moved on. Why shouldn’t RPG systems? After all, they are of pretty comparable age.

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Review of HARP Loot, sort of

I was asked to write about this book, but after skimming through it, it felt like just an accessory to a completely unnecessary game. I recently stumbled on this great notion by Oren Harari.

The electric light did not come from continuous improvement of candles.

This book feels like a continuous improvement of candles, when we are already living in a world with electric lights. And yes, despite some romantic notions, electric lights are better, more cost-efficient and better for the environment. Oh yeah, and you can use them for reading for extended periods of time without going blind. So, my discussion on this book isn’t going to be a usual review. Instead, I’m going to try to use the conceit of having a dialogue with my 12-year-old self, who would have loved this book. Gladly, the world has moved on, myself included.

(With thanks to Ville for coming up with this idea.)

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From 13th Age to Fate Core: Same World, Different Systems


I started a 13th Age game late this summer. I like the world and I admire the design, so I wanted to try it out. The sessions, however, were quite far apart, which was a clear signal that something wasn’t quite right. I wanted to continue the story of the characters¬†and talked the players into converting them to¬†Fate Core; now, I want to share my observations on how system matters. Continue reading

Sylvan World #2

use-with-dw-OnLightLast week we had our second session of the Dungeon World campaign. Since the first session was a Funnel adventure I decided to treat this as our “first session”.

To prepare for this I came up with two different adventures. I did not even call them Threats, yet, since neither had that much going on. I presented them to the players at our forum. They chose to defeat lizard centipede first and deal with the lost elven ruins later.

I’ll try to use this post to discuss the First Session of DW by thinking about what happened in our game.

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GMing Mistakes 7 – Homework

I love Glorantha. Its a rich world with its own interesting cosmology and a wealth of myths. I would love to run a campaign in there. Just to get really into all the stuff I love. And I never should. Sure, I’ve tried, but it just doesn’t seem to work out. Why? Because I can’t ever communicate all things I want to any potential players.

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My #mapvember

As those who follow our social media, its that time of the year again. What time? #ampvember time. Lauri tried to jumpstart the whole thing a month early, but here we are.

So, what is #mapvember. I guess I would relate it closely to NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month, in which you try to write a whole novel in one month. Here we try to make a map every day of the month. Lauri has been doing his on the social media side, I’ll be doing mine a bit differently.

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