Latest Update
24 September, 2007

The Doctors Diary – Week 2

Friday 14th September – State of the Game
“Pretty Fly for a White Guy” – The Offspring

FNM this week was a slight change to the normal schedule, considering our weekly draft was replaced by 10th sealed event on Tuesday. Therefore we get to crack open some of our favourite boosters for (nearly) the last time until some shiny newness comes along. I’m not going to bore you with details, other than informing you of my stellar 1-1-1 performance off the back of not remembering how to play well.

Most worryingly however there were a meagre 6 players, meaning we didn’t even get to sanction ourselves. It’s quite distressing really to see numbers dwindle despite all the efforts from TOs. Take a look at our PTQs and Nationals Qualifiers. If you were in America or similar you would have to battle through fields of a couple of hundred, rather than less than 30. Grand Prix trials run with eight players and only the pre-releases really turn out a good number.

Why this happens has been discussed many times before...


It is well known that people in the UK generally suffer from a lack of desire to travel great distances. Most would not travel more than 1-2 hours to get to an event, whereas in other countries that is the norm. Even trying to give people incentives seems to fail. An example is the set of Legacy tournaments that were run out of Oxford (and hopefully will again once the new parents recover). Despite offering valuable prizes (sets of original Dual Lands, Forces) and the TOs putting in a great deal of work the numbers never truly peaked and now have started to dwindle.

This deterioration is not something that has been unnoticed either. The fact that Italian players braved GenCon to take our PTQ slots shows that we are seriously lacking in numbers.

The answers to these problems are not simple. Getting new players into competitive Magic is like trying to get money out of Matty Norton (local joke – sorry). Gateway seems like a great idea but most of the time these people hate being beaten down by decks smothered in gold symbols. They are also the people least likely to find a community website MTGTwincast.

In fact the main reason MTGTwincast was set up was to try and unify the fragmented UK Magic scene. By offering a central place for free communication and publicising of events we hope this site will bring us together a bit. The problem there lies in the fact that a lot of people aren’t helping us by using the service.

I put this out to people who do organise events and want to help stifle the declining turnouts:

At Twincast we will do our best to help you promote your stuff. We offer you free forum space and opportunities to advertise your events. You can get your stuff noticed by getting a report submitted or even just sending us top 8 deck lists. We can’t do lots of running around after you, but if you want to use us, we’re here. All we ask in return is that you help spread the word. This site is growing and getting impressive hits so it’s worth getting on board.


Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th September – Chunk-con Report

This weekend I have been given the chance to prove my fatherly skillz while Rachael (my wife) is out at a hen party, living the good life. Having been given this responsibility I felt it necessary to enlist some help – and by some I mean enough people to make a draft pod. Hence Chunk-con was born!

The plans for the night – use up some spare boosters that are laying around, play a bit of Wii or X-box and generally eat Pizza and have a laugh. There was also a plan for beer but apparently drinking and baby-sitting are mutually exclusive. Something somewhere in the law about “Child Neglect” or similar. Ollie did try to get involved but he’s not even got into Alco-pops yet so lager was probably too big a step for a 11 week old (*joke*).

Anyways, people arrived on time and the first order of the day was realising my house is a tad small for 8 grown (and one half grown) men. All the same the weather was nice enough to sit out and enjoy some sun. We decided it’d be a good laugh to backdraft TPF plus a random 10th booster for giggles. It seemed like a good idea at the time...

...but unfortunately some people took it a little too seriously. Most concerning was that some people actually had a “strategy” and more so mocked that I “...didn’t get the memo about mana fixing”. It’s actually pretty hard to pick bad cards, considering you put in so much time trying to be good. It is, however, fun getting last pick Wrath of God or first picking Scion of the Ur-Dragon.

For those who have never back drafted the points work that you get one for each match you win and two for each time your pool loses. After the packs were through we randomised the pools and got on with building. I ended up with a not unreasonable pool with a high curve but some truly fat creatures in Green and White, splashing into Red for three Fatal Attraction and a little bit of black for Teneb. I manage an impressive 0-3, meaning that Tony, who drafted the pool I used, got to prove he is the worst drafter by winning.

As for the format – it’s certainly worth trying once, like Iron Man (where we ritualistically demolished some Coldsnap), but beyond that it’s a bit less fun than you might imagine. There’s also much less strategy as you end up having to take good cards when they come around late.

During the evening we also got to experience some of the finest MTGO has to offer. We start a communal Masters Edition draft, pick some random cards and then give up waiting for the server to reboot after it crashes AGAIN!

The rest of the night was mostly non-magic, though I discovered that there are actually people who have never played Risk. I also re-discovered the joy of playing Bomberman until three in the morning after my arms were sore (as well as my ego) from Wii Tennis.

Until next -con!

Monday 17th September  – Version Three
“Hallelujah” – Rufus Wainwright

It’s an exciting place the MTGTwincast secret lair. In this place Tony devises many exciting things that we will soon be able to share with the world. Twincast version 3 is coming soon with:

More information will come soon, I promise. Until then be patient with us.

Tuesday 18th September – Last draft?
“Don’t You Want Me?” – Human League

Tuesday night is the usual Time Spiral draft at our local store, Bishop Games. In fact this week is the last opportunity I will have to draft the set for some time, as I’m stuck on call next week and following that Lorwyn is upon us. We manage a sensible 8 players with most of the regulars plus new guy Matt. I open my first pack and am presented with the choice:

Griffin Guide vs. Sporesower Thallid

It’s a very close choice and I know that whichever I take I am best to stay out of the other colour. Griffin Guide is the only playable white card in the pack and it’s a recognised that cutting white hard is a good strategy. This way you should reap all the benefits of Planar Chaos white, which is by far the strongest colour in the pack. So I take the guide.

I then get passed the slammer of Pardic Dragon (foily no less) despite then getting absolutely cut for red. I did manage to pick up a Blink and a few solid dudes on the way through Time Spiral. For my white cutting rewards I open my PC booster to find the ONLY white card is a foil Poultice Sliver, which I take because the whole pack is awful and I have a Bonesplitter I’m prepared to play. I then get a number of packs with not much followed by one with 3 good cards – Aven Riftwatcher, Shade of Trokair and Numot, the Devastator. I take the dragon and now have to decide if I am WRu or WUr. The fact I get Body Double and a late Erratic Mutation makes that decision.

Future sight is always welcome as the quality density of the packs is (usually) tremendous. I get an early pick Maelstrom Djinn (good with blink!) as well as picking up a few solid men, like Knight of Sursi and Gathan Raiders. After the packs are through I get to deck building and suddenly realise my white base aggro deck has barely enough playable cards, let alone creatures. Despair may set in but I manage to rustle this up:

Tuesday Night Draft
Designed by Chris Harrold


    1 Sarcomite Myr
    1 Gathan Raiders
    1 Augur il-Vec
    1 Cavalry Master
    1 Knight of Sursi
    1 Lymph Sliver
    1 Maelstrom Djinn
    1 Spirit en-Dal
    1 Shade of Trokair
    1 Cloudchaser Kestrel
    1 Veiling Oddity
    1 Benalish Cavalry
    1 Aven Riftwatcher
    1 Body Double
    1 Numot, the Devastator
    1 Revered Dead

    1 Logic Knot
    1 Griffin Guide
    1 Judge Unworthy
    1 Momentary Blink
    1 Piracy Charm
    1 Saltblast
    1 Erratic Mutation

    9 Plains
    6 Island
    2 Mountain

Mana Curve

Round one I get paired against new guy Matt who is playing red/black. Game one I get a Griffin Guide on a Shade which he trumps with Aether Membrane and stabilises. He eventually sends an attack in which is looking unfavourable until post-combat when he tries to Tendrils my already damaged Shade. Unfortunately he had dropped a Bogardan Lancer first so he didn’t have the mana for the Logic Knot. Game two I get a very aggressive start and finish the game on 28 life to his zero.

Round two I play against Matteo Orsini-Jones and manage to get in some flying beats with Djinn and friends while he just sprout swarms. Game two Matteo throws away by sideboarding in Heroes Remembered (for a bet) and then keeping the acceptable “Forest, Essence Warden, double Edge of Autumn & Sprout Swarm” hand. He stalls for a few turns until he gets his second land when his life gaining machine starts to undo all my hard work. For good measure I Body Double his Kavu Predator, but he has the Judge Unworthy for it. Eventually I draw my Piracy Charm to deal with the Warden with Sprout Swarm on the stack. This leaves him on 6 life with 14 points of unblocked damage versus my 18 life and 6/6 Numot.

Round three I play against Nigel who has managed to get a great Thallid deck with Sporoloths, Sporesower and Pallid Thallid. Game one I blink my Djinn who goes all the way despite both a fog-charm and me being on only one life! Game two I get an early morph, which Nigel correctly sees as the Djinn and kills it. Thankfully I get to Body Double it back and have the Piracy Charm to deal with the Thornwield Archer.

So, possibly the last TPF draft I get to play and I return to form with a 3-0 victory!

Wednesday 19th September – Musical Interlude
(to the tune of “Foundations” by Kate Nash)

Tuesday night, everything’s fine except I’ve got that sense in my gut.
When I’m playing the final and I need to focus
Your watching me over commit.
You play along with it, then Wrath me and humiliate me, in front of my barns.

Then I’ll shuffle up and go to my ‘board and say something like
“Yeah, incredible draft skills, mate, and nothing to do with opening bombs huh?.”

Then you call me a noob
And everyone we’re with will point and laugh
And I won’t give a shit.

My finger tips are hoping to get themselves on that Damnation,
And I know that I should beat you and your Wrath.
But every time we fight luck’s not on my side,
Every time that you misplay and I smile,
I know I should beat you, but I can’t.

You said I “...need to get in more testing”, ‘cos I am “...so sloppy!”
I said “I think you ought to beat with your Glass Asp mate, ‘cos it is so bomby!”

Yes it was my rule to re-draft all the rares
And I must admit that it’s in my interests
‘Cos I usually come top of the pack.

My finger tips are hoping to get themselves on that Damnation
And I know that I should beat you and your Wrath.
But every time we fight luck’s not on my side
Every time that you misplay and I smile
I know I should beat you, but I can’t.

Your deck is ugly, ‘cos you’ve gone and drafted Dash Hopes, Putrid Cyclops
And multiple Sophic Centaurs, it just makes me sick.
You’ve gone and owned me with Brain Gorgers,
I never thought I’d see the day!
Oh, my gosh, you’d better not be here next week.

Well, I’ll play it rather more careful,
And I purposefully won’t put my good dudes down
And dear God, I hope I can beat this luck sack.

My finger tips are hoping to get themselves on that Damnation
And I know that I should beat you and your Wrath.
But every time we fight luck’s not on my side
Every time that you misplay and I smile
I know I should beat you, but I can’t.

But every time we fight luck’s not on my side
Every time that you misplay and I smile
I know I should beat you, but I can’t.

Thursday 20th September - Plain-Walkers?
“Science Fiction” – The Rocky Horror Picture Show

So Wizards finally revealed the last two Planeswalkers officially yesterday, so maybe it’s time to look at the crowd and their abilities:


Ajani Goldmane

  • Gain 2 Life: Colour me unimpressed but it’s an easy +1 loyalty.


  • +1/+1 tokens and Vigilance for all: Now this is the mother of all abilities. In limited this ability makes Ajani one of the best ‘walkers to crack at the release, or even in fact.
  • Avatar Token: Although I appreciate the synergy with the gain loyalty ability I can’t be convinced it’s worth the effort. No evasion, no trample and dies like any token. And don’t start with the “Well, if you stick Warhammer on it...”


Impression: Bomb in limited if just for the second skill.


Jace Beleren

  • Everybody Draws: Helping your opponent is never so good, but +2 loyalty is probably worth it.


  • Target Player draws: At the simple cost of -1 loyalty you get to draw a card. So every turn, in your main phase, you can draw a card. Kinda like Phyrexian Arena in blue.
  • Mill for 20: 10 loyalty is hefty, but millage is very popular in casual circles. For this reason I see Jace being popular, but in constructed it’s not worth it. In limited being able to deck half an opponent’s library (or more) is probably game winning.


Impression: Casual staple, constructed blue arena, perhaps limited bomb?


Lillian Vess (A Villainess)

  • Discard: If you do this for free every turn you are going to truly upset someone. Is this too slow for constructed?


  • Vampiric Tutor: How is this bad in any format?
  • Uber-Zombify:  First the obvious – this is awesome in limited. In constructed it’s powerful, but just too slow as it will not be active until turn 8 if uninterrupted.


Impression: Although she costs a good deal she will win any limited game where her reanimate ability becomes active. This probably applies for casual too, but I reckon a Vampiric Tutor for 5 mana is too much for constructed.


Chandra Nalaar

  • Ping a thing (ding): Re-useable ping-age is good even at 5 mana.


  • Really ping a thing: 5 mana sorcery, deal 6 damage to target creature. Seems great for limited and casual. Not so useful for constructed.
  • Really, really ping everything: Oh. My. God.


Impression: All 3 abilities are great for limited, with the 10 damage effect being truly back breaking. I don’t think, again, this is constructed material. However this one has the best name and art in my opinion.


Garruk Wildspeaker

  • Untap some lands: So you can add 1 loyalty and cast a 7 drop (or a 3 and a 4 drop) turn five? Seems good (and at least it’s not life gain).


  • Make a Beast (Elephant): Call of the Herd flashback cost is good alone. He even gets to make dudes to protect himself which is helpful. Great for limited and maybe even constructed. Shame beast isn’t a Lorwyn tribe.
  • Overrun: You can use this the turn after you make Garruk which is awesome goodness. Expect this to win a fair number of games.


Impression: Garruk seems fantastic for limited with two awesome abilities. Again I doubt he will break and constructed formats but he’s still good fun.

Overall these are all awesome in limited. So much so I think I’ll need to talk about them again next week.

Until that time I bid ye farewell,

Dr. Chunk


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