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Worldwake Prerelease

Hey everyone, firstly my apologies for the trickle of updates lately – assignments have been getting the best of me. I did take some time out today to play a flight in the local Worldwake prerelease though, and I managed to go 4-0! Firstly I’ll show you my pool, for people who like such things, then I’ll discuss my matches.

The Pool

Personally I always skip this part of limited articles, feel free to do the same.

Green
Primal Bellow
Explore
Canopy Cover
Slingbow Trap
Feral Contest
Nissa’s Chosen
Oran-Rief Survivalist
Harabaz Druid
Gnarlid Pack
Timbermaw Larva
Graypelt Hunter
.
Red
Burst Lightning
Goblin War Paint x2
Crusher Zendikon
Claws of Valakut
Roiling Terrain
Skitter of Lizards
Goblin Guide
Slavering Nulls
Goblin Ruinblaster
Ruinous Minotaur
Cosi’s Ravager
Deathforge Shaman
.
Black
Smother
Grim Discovery
Corrupted Zendikon
Brink of Disaster
Desecrated Earth
Quag Vampires
Ruthless Cullblade
Kalastria Highborn
.
Blue
Wind Zendikon
Dispel x2
Spell Pierce
Into the Roil
Caller of Gales
Kraken Hatchling x2
Aether Figment
Welkin Tern
Sejiri Merfolk x2
Merfolk Wayfinder
Lullmage Mentor
Tideforce Elemental
Enclave Elite
Calcite Snapper
Shoal Serpent
.
White
Sunspring Expedition
Brave the Elements
Bold Defense
Windborne Charge
Landbind Ritual
Kor Outfitter
Ondu Cleric
Marsh Threader x2
Kor Aeronaut
Fledging Griffin
Kor Skyfisher
Kor Hookmaster
Emeria Angel
Pillarfield Ox
Kor Cartographer
Battle Hurda
.
Artifact
Everflowing Chalice
Spidersilk Net
Explorer’s Scope x2
Kitesail
Walking Atlas
Pilgrim’s Eye
Hedron Rover
.
Land
Quicksand x2
Sejiri Refuge
Soaring Seacliff
Smouldering Spires
Bojuka Bog
Piranha Marsh

The Deck

The first thing I noted about the pool is that black was nearly absent, which is disappointing as Kalastria Highborn looks like it would be insane in a deck that could support it. I also felt I didn’t have enough allies to make that deck worthwhile, and there wasn’t much else drawing me into green. I considered white-red briefly, but white-blue was definitely the standout deck of this pool. I built it like so, let me know in the comments if you’d have done anything different:

Marsh Threader x2

Kor Aeronaut

Fledgling Griffin

Kor Skyfisher

Sejiri Merfolk x2

Welkin Tern

Kor Hookmaster

Enclave Elite

Calcite Snapper

Pilgrim’s Eye

Emeria Angel

Hedron Rover

Battle Hurda

Dispel

Wind Zendikon

Brave the Elements

Into the Roil

Kitesail

Bold Defense

Windborne Charge

Sejiri Refuge

Quicksand x2

Soaring Seacliff

8 Plains

6 Islands

The Games

Round1, Deon (Jund beats)

An inauspicious start as I mulligan no lands into 6 cards, 1 Plains. I am playing catchup against Deon’s early green allies and finally land a Calcite Snapper that should stabilise the board, when he drops Abyssal Persecutor into play. 2 turns later I’m on negative life, and he draws his 3rd swamp to kick Gatekeeper targeting himself. The second two games go a lot better, as his janky mana-base slows him down and my fast creature beats take it away from him. Windborne Charge finishes it in style, as it will do repeatedly today.

Round 2, Tristan (GW little kid)

My deck is way too fast for Tristan’s, the first game he drops Trusty Machete and suits up his 2/2 multikicker flier but I have drops on turn 2, 3, and 4 including Kor Hookmaster, then Brave the Elements lets me alpha-strike for the win. Game 2, he has a slow start and my Sejiri Merfolk start taking chunks out of him but his Marshal’s Anthem off the top lets him stabilise at 1, with a beefy board – with only one flier. My answering topdeck of Windborne Charge elicits some expressions of frustration from Tristan, but I’m happy to take the win.

Round 3, Witta (4-colour black)

Witta’s deck was bizarre, I think he was playing entirely for fun as he diluted his nuts black pool with an assortment of bombs from other colours. Game 1 he rode pulse tracker to victory on the play, as my turn 2 drop met Disfigure, turn 3 got hit with Urge to Feed, turn 4 got Tomb Hexed and then his Sphinx of Lost Truths found him a Gatekeeper of Malakir for my 5 drop. I sided in my bad counterspells and hoped he wouldn’t have such a nut draw. Game 2 went exactly to plan, he stumbled on mana while my weenies destroyed him. Game 3 was a rerun of game 2, and I was playing for 4-0!

Round 4, Wok (RB something)

One of two brothers who are some of our best local players, they’re always fun to play against. I’m not sure what his deck was trying to do here – though he played some strong removal, I cleaned him up game one with Windborne Charge to finish it. For game 2 he sideboarded his entire deck into GU, and played nothing but lands while I played fast beats and the game took its natural course. 4-0!

Unfortunately the prize support at our Perth prereleases is dreadful, and I only got 3 extra packs of Worldwake. From those I pulled Eye of Ugin, Stirring Wildwood and 2x Jwari Shapeshifter (1 foil, 1 non-foil in the same pack!). Let me know in the comments how you went at your prereleases, what hot cards you pulled, and what you would have done with my pool. Cheers for reading!

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Abyssal Persecutor

Remember what I said about hype last week? Well, the internet has latched onto one of the latest spoilers and proclaimed it the second coming. Check out Abyssal Persecutor: http://www.mananation.com/abyssal-persecutor-worldwake/

SCG and CoolStuffInc are already preordering this guy at $20, which seems like a ludicrous price to me. That’s above Baneslayer’s presell price.

First of all, the points in his favour. A 6/6 flying, trampling dude is obviously way above the expected power level for a 4 mana, mono-coloured creature. This will take a 20-life opponent to 0 in four swings by itself, and could be profitably employed in either an aggro deck or a control deck as a finisher. How does this compare to the other finishers in the format? Well, the obvious comparisons are to Malakir Bloodwitch, Baneslayer Angel, Broodmate Dragon and Sphinx of Jwar Isle. The Persecutor has a bigger power and toughness than any of these (though with Broodmate putting down two 4/4s the point is arguable), and at a cheaper cost to boot!

His downside is not deal-breaking either, as black has plenty of ways to destroy its own creatures – Gatekeeper of Malakir, Bone Splinters, Fleshbag Marauder, Terminate, a big Tendrils of Corruption, etcetera; so once your opponent is at negative life you just need to dispose of your no-longer-useful demonic servant and win the game.

That said, the downside is not a non-factor. You do need to have that way to kill him when you’re finished. Whether this means holding a removal spell that would otherwise clear the way for your team, playing otherwise less optimal cards like Vampire Aristocrat or Carnage Altar, or giving up a few precious turns trying to topdeck an answer to your own creature while your opponent turns the game around, there will be times when you really feel the impediment of being unable to win the game.

In addition, he is unfortunately weak against a couple of the dominant creatures in the format – Baneslayer Angel and Wall of Denial. Baneslayer’s seemingly trivial protection abilities have become very useful recently, protecting her from Halo Hunter, Bogardan Hellkite and now Abyssal Persecutor. He can almost never win a straight race against the Angel, and he can’t even be held back to block as protection lets her sail right on by. Wall of Denial sniggers at his pathetic 6 power, and rolls its eyes at both flying and trample.

I feel this is another case of a mythic rare being overrated and overhyped. With presell prices flying ever higher even as I write this, I feel Abyssal Persecutor will be Worldwake’s Lotus Cobra – initially disappointing, but eventually a role-player with the potential for brokenness if the right environment emerges… and an ever-falling price tag.

Congratulations to wizards for keeping Worldwake so firmly under wraps, we have barely a smidge of the set available and official spoilers are starting this week, I believe. While Gwafa’s Bazaar was not lucky enough to recieve a spoiler I can offer the savvy traders out there some advice to prepare for the onslaught to come. Note that all cards and decks mentioned here are hypothetical and used only as examples of the sort of things that might happen in spoiler season.

1. Stay tuned to spoiler outlets

The MTGSalvation Rumour Mill collects every spoiler, official and unofficial – eventually. Those few short hours between a card being previewed on a blog or on twitter and it going up on the MTGS spoiler page can be the difference between an existing, undervalued card being in plenty of stock and it selling out – or, just as bad, it rising in price. This is especially notable on Magic Online where speculators can easily clear out bots in very short order, and some bots are programmed to raise prices in response to a run on a card. Keep your browser pointed at the mothership, SCG, ManaNation, MTGCast and anywhere else you expect to see spoilers posted. Twitter is also great for this as new cards are endlessly retweeted and discussed.

2. Get Liquid

Now is the time to sell off those moderately gaining investments that seem to have stalled and get some cash or tickets ready. In order to respond quickly to spoilers you need liquid assets – there is no point listing some ebay auctions or scouring buylists while everyone else is buying up all the foil Mindless Nulls they can find for that hot new deck people are talking about. Sell off now so you can afford a ticket on the wild ride of spoiler season.

3. Don’t believe the hype

Not every new card is going to be a winner, even though you will find segments of the community that will say that any new rare is completely broken. Check out my article on Quiet Speculation for examples of some mega-hyped flops that never lived up to their promise and lost a lot of value as a result. There are a few simple rules that can help you drive through the hype to find the real worth of the card, the easiest of which is – how does this compare to what we already have? For example, a hypothetical fat blue-red flying creature is previewed in Worldwake. The decks that this might obviously go in are RWU and RBU control – but these decks already have Baneslayer Angel and Sphinx of Jwar Isle, so unless our new toy fits into those decks better than the existing rivals it doesn’t matter how much the rumour mill rants and raves about it, it is probably not worth as much as they think it is.

4. Do believe the hype

Or is it? Sometimes mere hype is enough to set up a great deal. If the internet hive-mind has declared merfolk the new “best deck” but you’re not buying it, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a profit. If you can grab Merfolk Sovereigns early enough, then when the hype pushes the price up in the short term you can sell them off for some quick bucks. In this scenario you will need to keep track of all new spoilers though, as another spoiled card may make the hive-mind’s declaration correct!

5. Most cards go down after release

Following on from the points about hype, most cards go down in price from the price they presell at. This is inevitable – most cards are not tournament worthy, though people often think they will be. Don’t buy up everything you can on release as most of them will be losing investments – pick and choose carefully. It is usually better to miss one surprise hit, than to buy ten losers.

This is all pretty much common sense but it is good to be reminded, and this is the perfect time to do so. I’m as excited as any of you about the new set, I can’t wait to see whats in store! I won’t be posting on every spoiler, just the ones that catch my eye as good investments – or overhyped dud. Catch up with me on twitter for more spoiler thoughts.

Hey dudes and dudettes! My writing resources have been invested in articles for other sites these last couple of weeks but I expect to have a new Bazaar post up soon. In the meantime it’d be great if you could check out my first ManaNation article and leave a comment: http://www.mananation.com/examining-extended-mono-red-burn/

I’m taking these articles in a slightly different direction to the Bazaar and I want to know what people think, so let fly!

Quarterly Review

Hi everyone, and welcome back after the holidays! Welcome also to all new readers who have found their way here from Quiet Speculation, where I did a well-received guest piece last week. We’ve passed from 2009 into 2010 while I’ve been on break, and a lot of people have been doing year in review/year ahead articles. Since I’ve only been writing since the start of November, I figured I should do a quarterly review instead.

Looking Back

The success so far of Gwafa’s Bazaar has exceeded all my expectations. When I began I was excited to get a dozen views on my posts, and now only a couple of months later there has been over 200 views a day for the last week according to the wordpress stats page. Currently the blog has had over 9,000 views, which is just mental.

Thankyou all for reading, and a special thankyou for everyone who has linked to me or told a friend to read something of mine. A super duper extra special thankyou to Trick from ManaNation for his This Week in Magic posts and Kelly from Quiet Speculation for featuring me! Thankyou also to everyone who has left a comment or sent me a tweet about a post, I really appreciate them.

So how did I do with my predictions? I was spot on with my predictions about extended staples back in November, all the cards mentioned there have doubled or tripled in price online – excepting Ravager, which I advised against purchasing. Steam Vents was a real surprise package, thanks to the Scapeshift deck it is up to over 20 tickets! I overstated the success of standard GW at Worlds, its been almost nothing but Jund since then, but I did make a few tickets trading on hype at the time. Most of the other cards I recommended have seen small gains, or gone nowhere, but you can’t win ’em all unfortunately.

Looking Forward

The Price of Extended series was massively successful – apparently people really wanted to know how much extended decks cost! As well as that though, quite a few people commented that they appreciated the explanations of each deck. I might try and work some more strategy into the blog, and I think the Price of Standard will be a sure hit when I want to run another series – and when the metagame diversifies a bit, nobody wants to know whether Siege-Gang Jund, or Bloodwitch Jund, or Sedraxis Jund is the best value standard deck.

What would you like to see from me? I’d love to know what keeps people coming back to Gwafa’s Bazaar, so I can give you more of that. Please let me know in the comments or on twitter. 2010 is going to be a great year for Magic and hopefully for this blog and its author. I have a few projects being worked out at the moment, but more on them as they crystallise. Happy New Year everyone!

The Price of Extended

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas, I certainly did. I got plenty of Christmas cards but only one of the magical variety – a revised Scrubland! My GB deck is now GBw, featuring Knights of the Reliquary to find Cabal Coffers and Urborg. Here is the final summary of The Price of Extended, in which I’ll sort each deck by my rating based on what value I feel you get from the deck for its price. Note that even a one star rating still indicates a competitive extended deck, as all of these decks did well at the world championships – it just means that for a similar price you could get a more powerful deck, or in some cases a small automobile.

* * * * *  Thopter Control, $302.40

One of the format’s strongest decks, at a pretty reasonable price. This is the new (and seemingly only) face of extended control.

* * * * * Hypergenesis, $172.40

I was shocked at how cheap this powerhouse combo deck is. Doesn’t share a lot of cards with other decks, so if you pick Hypergenesis you will be back at square one if you change your mind.

* * * * Dredge, $333.00

By far the strongest combo if left unmolested, the hate is plentiful and varied. Reasonably priced, but doesn’t compare favourably to Hypergenesis in that department.

* * * Hexmage/Depths, $395

Quite a new combo that is strong enough to show up in Legacy. Plays a number of expensive but commonly played utility artifacts that push the price up.

* * * All-In Red, $196.95

Once again those Moxes and Chalices force up the price of this wannabe budget deck, this is a good choice for someone just starting in extended as driving it is dead easy once you know how to mulligan.

* * Bant, $645. 50

The first of the decks in this list that cost more than my car, thanks to that most overpowered of two drops, Tarmogoyf. The first aggro deck in the list.

* * Scapeshift, $227.25

Surprisingly pricey for a tier-2 combo deck, thanks to the high number of shocklands in its manabase. Those lands can be reused in other decks, however.

* * Dragonstorm, $153.00

The rogue choice and the cheapest deck in the list, it gets a low rating because of the distinct possibility that its not very good.

*  Rubin Zoo, $787.85

A pro tour winning midrange powerhouse, this rating is a reflection only on the absurd price of the deck.

So there we are. I expect to be taking a break from posting for a week or two, this series has been a lot of work! Positive feedback makes it all worthwhile so thanks everyone for your kind comments and support. Now go, be with your families, and see if you can borrow their Misty Rainforests for January 2!

This last deck review should rightfully go to little/domain/traditional Zoo, based on its numerous succesful pilots on day 3 of Worlds. However I already know how that post would turn out – the deck costs a fortune because of its “three basics” manabase and Tarmogoyfs, and if you want to play a deck like that you will choose it or Bant or Rubin Zoo based on metagame concerns rather than the price. Instead, I present to you a blast from the past leveraging the most broken keyword mechanic ever printed…

Dragonstorm 2009

Nikolay Bogdev, 4-2
2009 World Championships, Extended

2  Cascade Bluffs (2x $3 = $6)
4  Dreadship Reef (4x$0.50 = $2)
2  Fungal Reaches (2x $0.50 = $1)
5  Island
1  Mountain
4  Scalding Tarn (4x $13 = $52)
4  Steam Vents (4x $7 = $28)
22 lands ($89)

4  Bogardan Hellkite (4x $2 = $8)
1  Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund ($2)
5 creatures    ($10)

4  Dragonstorm (4x $1.50 = $6)
3  Echoing Truth (3x $0.25 = $0.75)
2  Gigadrowse (3x $0.25 = $0.75)
4  Lotus Bloom (4x $4 = $16)
4  Ponder (4x $0.50 = $2)
4  Remand (4x $1.50 = $6)
4  Rite of Flame (4x $1 = $4)
4  Seething Song (4x $1 = $4)
4  Telling Time (4x $0.25 = $1)
33 other spells    ($41.50)

Maindeck (60 cards): $140.50

4  Blood Moon (4x $2 = $8)
1  Echoing Truth ($0.25)
2  Empty the Warrens (2x $0.25 = $0.50)
4  Firespout (4x $0.50 = $2)
1  Gigadrowse ($0.25)
3  Ravenous Trap (3x $0.50 = $1.50)
15 sideboard cards ($12.50)

Total, Main & Side: $153

For some reason this deck just won’t die! It dominated periods of Rav/TS standard and died with the rotation that brought in Lorwyn, before Chapin and Nassif took Worlds 07 by – no, I won’t do it, I’ll leave the horrible puns to LSV – with a mono-red redesign of the deck. Now it seems the deck still has the raw power to show up in extended at pro tour level, admittedly with only one pilot at 4-2. If you don’t know how it works already, basically the deck uses mana rituals and Lotus Blooms to build up to 9 mana and a storm count of 4 or so, then casts Dragonstorm to fetch out enough Bogardan Hellkites to kill the opponent immediately, or Hellkites & Karrthus to win with a hasty dragon assault. Gigadrowse replicated half a dozen times on your opponents end step removes any ability to resist, and the rest of the deck essentially finds the combo.

This is certainly not a “deck to beat”, in fact it is probably not even a dark horse, as I haven’t seen any discussion of it since Worlds. It is a much slower combo than Hypergenesis or Dredge, but it does have certain advantages – it isnt vulnerable to graveyard hate or Blood Moon, and Chalice should have minimal impact. Ethersworn Canonist would cause problems but that is not seeing a lot of play. This resistance to commonly played hate cards is very helpful, as it lets Dragonstorm get off its combo unmolested if it survives until the big turn.

The largest expense in the deck is by far the R/U lands, making up half the cost by themselves. Beyond that most of the cards are pocket change by extended standards (now there’s an awkward phrase for a magic article), and this deck comes in easily the cheapest of the series. Even if this deck doesn’t work out, the Tarns and Vents can find a place in plenty of others, like Dredge and Scapeshift. Dragonstorm needs a lot more testing before I can say anything definitive about its viability, but if you want to ‘go rogue’ on January 2nd without actually brewing up a deck this could be the one for you!

Bang for your Buck: * *

Cheap as chips as far as extended decks go, but not enough evidence of its “bang” yet to go with the buck.

The marathon is nearly at an end! Thanks everyone for reading, for advertising and for the positive feedback, it has made it all worthwhile 🙂 Expect a summary post with revised ratings sometime this weekend, and then a short posting hiatus while I recharge my writing batteries. Enjoy your holiday season folks, as always you can catch my musings on twitter @rtassicker or check out some other great writers in the links to the right.