Welcome to Thragtusk country; home of Sphinx’s Revelation mirror matches, where it’s common for matches to be decided by one game and Nephalia Drownyard is a viable win condition. In other words, welcome to Standard.
I hate Standard.
Maybe it’s just where I play Friday Night Magic (FNM), but the only things that I play against these days are Thragtusk and Sphinx’s Revelation. Even when I win, I feel like I’ve been kicked in the groin multiple times. It’s so obnoxious to watch players cast Sphinx’s Revelation. Draw eight cards and gain eight life?
Even if I can beat this insane swing of advantage, it’s still going to take me twenty minutes to grind through all the cards that they drew. Then they’ll just cast another one, this time with counterspell backup. I can play my own Sphinx’s Revelation, and I do, but that just results in even longer games. So many Standard games devolve into each player jamming x-spells into each other until someone mills the other guy out with Jace, Memory Adept, Thought Scour or Nephalia Drownyard. Is there a better time for the FNM Hero to exit out the side door? I think not.
At my last FNM I went 3-2 and won a Hallowed Fountain. It’s a pretty lackluster note to end on but this is the progression of most Magic players. The new player fights hard to build an interesting and viable deck with their limited card pool and every victory is a moral one. Chalk one up for the good guys. Once the new player’s collection grows, they join the rest of us in the land of net decks and mediocre tournament finishes. FNM Hero has been living in mediocrity since I switched to the Delver deck last season.
Since that time we did some cool things: we survived a rotation, we sucked out of a Star City Open, and we met our original FNM Hero goal. That’s right, we finally got there. Here was the original goal:
To make enough money to build the most expensive Tier 1 Standard deck and have $200 left over to keep grinding with.
Standard by the Numbers
I went through each of the tier one archetypes in Standard and priced them out. You may notice that since the last time I did this, Standard decks have gone down in value. This is mostly due to all the Return to Ravnica singles dropping in price. Here’s the numbers for each deck:
Naya Humans $528.88
Bant Control $523.13
UWr Flash $451.65
Esper Control $424.03
UW Flash $362.16
The highest among these decks is Naya Humans at $538.88 and my two color deck, UW Flash is $362.16. This means that I need $176.72 more in resources to reach my goal. Thankfully, I have $233.70 in extra resources, which I’ve listed below. This isn’t counting the tons of commons/ uncommons and bulk rares that I have:
2 Cavern of Souls 24.99
1 Runechanter’s Pike 1.49
1 Rhox Faithmender 3.99
1 Detention Sphere 5.99
3 Rest in Peace 3.49
2 Zealous Conscripts 1.99
4 Clifftop Retreat 9.99
4 Steam Vents 9.99
4 Sulfur Falls 7.99
1 Desolate Lighthouse 0.75
1 Hallowed Founatin 12.99
4 Pillar of Flame 0.99
4 Clone 0.75
4 Dungeon Geist 1.49
3 Knight of Glory 1.49
4 Delver of Secrets 0.99
4 Izzet Staticaster 0.49
1 Dissipate 0.99
4 Syncopate 0.49
4 Invisible Stalker 0.99
2 Fog Bank 0.99
2 Lone Revenant 0.49
After adding these to the deck total, it leaves me with an extra $56.98 in resources above meeting the goal of building the best deck. You might have noticed that my four Geist of Saint Traft were missing from the list above. I was fortunate enough to sell these at GP Toronto when they were still $40. Reid Duke’s Zoo deck featured four Geist main deck and the buzz helped me sell the playset. This puts our current situation at this:
Illuminaudi Credit: $30
Left Over: $57.98
Total Resources: $238.49
This means two things. First, I’ve reach the second part of my goal: To have $200 in store credit to continue grinding with after building one of the best decks. Second, I can draft and still meet the requirement of the challenge even if I don’t open anything and lose the draft. It seems pointless to draft as part of the FNM Hero series at this point but since so many people want me to do I will draft and write about it for your entertainment. I’ve been looking to jump into a draft locally, but it’s been hard to get one to fire with the holidays. I hope I have a chance next week.
The way that I see it, I have three things left to do before I can close up shop here at FNM Hero.
1) Draft and write about it (thanks to you bunch of sadists).
2) Write the farewell article with all the cool things that I learned.
3) Give away all my cards!
Giving Away the Goods!
This is the fun part. As I was battling my way through the local FNM hierarchy, I discovered that there are a lot of players who are just starting out and who might need a little boost. I know from experience that it can be frustrating to lose to really powerful cards when you’re only packing commons and uncommons. I decided that at the end of my quest, I would give away all my cards to other people who are just starting out like I was at the beginning of my journey.
My original thought was that I would mail my cards out to different people who were just starting out to help them get started on the right foot. This presented two “problems”: 1) how would I decide who would get the cards, and 2) what if I send them a card that they don’t want, or one that they wouldn’t use? Like every “problem” that’s not a real problem, these things are easy to solve.
We look to judges as arbiters of knowledge and final authorities in our tournament Magic rulings. I also find that judges are usually an integral part of the local community. Judging local events and answering questions on their off-time can give them access to a lot players that other people might not notice. I need a trustworthy and respected group of people to give the responsibility of giving out hundreds of dollars in FNM Hero spoils and I can’t think of a better group of people than local judges.
My total resources equal $777.37 at the moment. I have a bunch of commons , uncommons and a few bulk rares that can make the total worth of the collection close to $800. I think it’s fitting that since I started with $100, we break that $800 into eight $100 gifts.
Here’s how it’s going to work. Your local judge will nominate a new player by sending me an email with this information, by January 15th 2013:
- Level of judge
- Name of your shop and location
- Name of the player that you’re nominating
- A paragraph or two on why the player deserves $100 dollars in store credit
- A picture of the player
I will work with the Legit MTG team to decide the winners. The winning entries will be issues two gift certificates, one for $100 for the new player, and one for $25 for the judge who submitted the entry.
Are you excited? I know that I am! In the mean time, leave me your best tips on drafting Return to Ravnica in the comments.
@mtgmedina on Twitter
Art By: Polish Tamales
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