Latest Update
28 September, 2007


Magic: The Ramblings: Issue 5

By David Whitelaw

So I’ve been a bit quiet on the forums of late. Life has a nasty way of catching up on you when you least expect it. I’m coming up to the end of the second year of my physics degree (the OU academic year runs alongside the calendar year meaning my ‘summer hols’ start at the end of October). My sister just had a baby – wee boy. Both mum and nephew are healthy and fine. Denise and I got engaged which had been on the cards for a while but is now all formalised and stuff. And the writing comp over on magic.tcgplayer.com is now kicking off in a big way – more on that in a moment.

All of this (along with Bioshock – damn 2K and there stupidly good game!) has left me with precious little time to do stuff. This has meant, rather ashamedly, that any time spent on Twincast wasn’t as high as it should have been. Hopefully, over the coming weeks once my coursework and exams are all under the belt, something resembling normal service will resume.


So the competition along with bios on all the competitors hits the front page of magic.tcgplayer.com on Monday, I believe. Unfortunately the judges (Riki Hayashi, William Spaniel and Jonathon ‘Dash’ Loucks) had a few late entries into the contest from writers from londes.com. Now, Riki had stated clearly that he wanted no more than eight writers for the main contest. We now had nine. His solution? We all had 48 hours to write a blog which would be judged. A couple of days later, someone gets cut and we’re left with the eight for the main contest.

This is the piece I submitted for the blog…


I’m going to be honest here; I was more than slightly nervous. Coming 9th out of 9 and not taking part in the main contest would be slightly embarrassing to say the least. Riki advised he would send an email out to all the competitors a couple of days later telling us who did well, who did not so well and who would be getting cut. I waited with nervous trepidation. I checked my inbox Sunday evening to see ‘TCGpprentice update: task zero results and elimination’ staring back at me. I opened the email…

David- The unanimous best blog. This is what is known in the reality TV business (and everywhere else actually) as stepping up. I was worried that this engagement thing would be a major distraction for David. No such thing. Will-Span: "The piece actually has some style in it. Moreover, he's talking about Lorwyn. Why everyone isn't talking about Lorwyn, I don't know." Dash: "While I disagree with almost everything he said, he chose a good topic, wrote well, and had an opinion."


This was a bit reaffirming. I was just hoping to scrape through in 7th or 8th so effectively ‘winning’ task zero was unexpected and made me feel a bit better about things. Task one proper needed to be in for yesterday; ‘Write 2 – 4k words on anything you like within the realms of Magic’. Gulp. It’s a decent bit of writing I think but I’ll wait for the judges’ response and that of people in the forums. Thankfully no-one gets cut this round. Task two is a capsule review of Lorwyn, due in by midnight Sunday, the pre-release weekend. Given that my actual pre-release is on the Sunday this means I’m going to have to rely on the spoiler a lot more than I would have liked to.

Anyways, nip over to magic.tcgplayer.com on Monday and keep an eye out for my article next week. Feel free to jump into the article thread and tell me what you think. As long as it is positive.



Glancing at mtgsalvation right now I can see that they have managed to spoil 187 cards (edit - sorry took me nearly a week to publish this - the whole spoiler is now available :-) Tony) . That’s pretty good going seeing as we are still a week away from cracking open the shiny new boosters. And it’s more than enough time for me to start spouting off about some of the things I like and dislike about the new set.

I loved how open both Ravnica and Time Spiral blocks were. A good spread of power throughout all rarities and colours meant that we had a lot of scope to build decks. Lots of little cool interactions meant for lots of different deck archetypes meaning that you could nip along to your local Block or Standard tournament without any real certainty of what might end the day top of the standings. Lorwyn is a tribal block and as such is going to be very linear. The last time Wizards built our decks for us was Mirrodin block and look how that ended up? I just don’t like the idea of everyone duelling with  tribal decklists, each Goblin list being a card or two different from the one someone else walks into the tournament with. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

For some reason, each time I look at each of the 3XXX elementals (Hostility, Dread, etc), the Timmy inside me jumps for joy. There’s something about these cards which genuinely excites me. I know that these aren’t going to see constructed play for the most part. I think they are all first pick quality in draft though and you’re never going to be disappointed about opening one in a sealed pool. I just can’t put my finger on what appeals to me about these guys though.

The one that excites me the most is Guile…

Guile                                                                                                                                      3uuu
Creature - Elemental Incarnation                                                                                   Rare
Guile can't be blocked except by three or more creatures.
If a spell or ability you control would counter a spell, instead remove that spell from the game and you may play that card without paying its mana cost.
When Guile is put into a graveyard from anywhere, shuffle it into its owner's library.


A 6/6 dragon that’s effectively unblockable in a lot of games? If any of them are going to see constructed play, it’s going to be this one imho. I desperately want to put this guy in a list with a bunch of countermagic such as Rune Snag, some utility creatures along the lines of Looter il-Kor and some acceleration in the form of Coalition Relic.

Please also note that Hostility makes Spark Elementals. Spark Elementals which don’t die at end of turn... Just saying.

The Planeswalkers are generally disappointing. There seems to be a lot of love for the blue one which I really don’t get. No-one with any common sense is ever going to get that card into a situation where you can use the -10 ability. Working on that assumption, most of the time he reads ‘1UU, Draw extra card a turn this turn and the next two turns’. Not necessarily bad but hardly the stuff that dreams are made of. The white one has been universally slated as a joke (sorry Wile) so I’m not even wasting my time talking about it (although yes, the middle ability is better now that it’s counters it gives and not +1/+1 until eot). The green one seems decent – if nothing else it’s the only one with the intrinsic, repeatable ability of protecting itself. I’m not sure about Liliana Vess yet. I think she’ll end up making black control decks purely as a means to tutor for the necessary cards. And Chandra seems decent until you consider how unsynergistic she really is – 3RR is too much for a red burn deck to be spending on any card.

I just get the feeling that Planeswalkers could have been so much more. At the moment they just feel like Legendary Creatures that can’t attack or block. I’m hoping that once I actually get to play with them, my opinion will change.

Treefolk and Goblins seem to be shaping up very nicely so far. Dosan is an absolute house and will form the backbone of a deck. A 5/5 on turn two via BoP acceleration or the Treefolk dual land thing will be a clock even Tarmogoyf can’t keep up with. Oh, then you remember that ‘Goyf shares a colour with Dosan and that the Treefolk Legend gives the two-drop +1/+0. So absolutely zero synergy there then.

The following post-Lorwyn decklist was suggested by St@rWizard over on the tcgplayer blogs…

4x Knucklebone Witch
4x Mogg Fanatic
4x Mogg War Marshall
3x Wort, Boggart Auntie
3x Siege-Gang Commander
4x Greater Gargadon

4x Incinerate
4x Tarfire
4x Shock
4x Rift Bolt

4x Sulfurous Springs
2x Graven Cairns
4x BR Goblin Dual
4x Swamp
1x Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
7x Mountain

This deck is absolutely insane. I’m not going to dissect it here – I’ll leave that for you guys to figure out (it’s really tricky). This will be a key aggro deck in weeks to come and that’s before we even consider what Lorwyn cards haven’t been spoiled yet.

One card I will specifically mention from this list is Tarfire. This guy has just made Shock redundant. He combos with the likes of Wort and Knucklebone then, as a little extra trick, gives Tarmogoyf +2/+2! I’ve yet to decide if there is someway to cram him into the list above. Without the Rav duals you are probably asking for trouble with your manabase. Going to be a lot of fun finding out either way.

So I’m excited about Lorwyn overall but a little apprehensive at the same time. At the end of the day, it does have a helluva lot to live up to after the last couple of years. Fingers crossed it maintains the standards that Renton have set for themselves. I’ll be at the pre-release once again in Fraserburgh next weekend and I will endeavour to get a tournament report done too.

Twincast v3

Nah, nah, na, nah, nah!

Being Tony’s whipping boy means I get an inside line on Twincast v3. It’s almost done and I’ve been allowed to nip in and have a sniff around. Tony did such a good job with v2 but the new site is a massive leap ahead. I mean, the old site looks positively prehistoric when looked at side by side with its new shiny baby brother. It’s all so much more fluid and professional looking

The key thing is how the site is set out. Everything is accessible from the front page of the site. Polls, videos, sponsors, card of the days…. TOs will be able to sign in and submit tournament dates directly. Authors will be able to get admin rights to submit articles then edit them once they are up meaning you no longer have to cringe when you see that spelling mistake on the front page. And the site will be able to handle a lot more content with a lot less work necessary for Tony.

However in the meantime, Tony is busting his proverbials getting everything up and running. So give him your support and keep helping any way you can. Key to this is the submission of articles and keeping the forums active. We’re almost there now and it will be worth it. Twincast v3 is about to rightfully claim its throne as the UK Magic site.

Random Stuff

Robert Jordan passed away last week – condolences to his family. I started reading his stuff a few years back but never got past book four of the Wheel of Time series. To be honest, I’m rather glad of that now seeing as we will never see a proper Robert Jordan book twelve. I’m sure RJ will have passed on the outlying plot and ending of the last book to his friends and family but it will never be the same as what he had planned for Rand in his head. A great author, he’ll be missed.

The last time I bought a console purely to play one game was when I got my Xbox. And I don’t regret that for one second because Halo was worth every penny. Bioshock is that good, if not better. Do whatever you need to do to own this game. I’m barely halfway through (Arcadia for those of you playing along) and this game is consuming my life. The highest praise I can give this game is simply by saying this – I have not cared about a single computer game story since FFVII. Until Bioshock. I don’t care how you do it, just get this game.

And on that note I shall leave you. I promise to try and be a bit more active on the forums and the IRC chatroom. I return, nip onto magic.tcgplayer.com and give all the support you can. Until next time...

-Flame on-


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