Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How To Solve "Riddle of Steel" Expansion Challenge for MtG2014 DotP

How To Solve The Riddle of Steel Expansion Challenge

This one was a bit tricky to figure out as my first time completing this new expansion challenge, I was able to win by drawing an extra Equipment card that I could still cast and that extra piece put me over the top to deal the killing blow.  I was since unable to repeat that same winning strategy, since it relied on a luck draw.  I've since figured out a method that works every time that isn't effected by the random card draws.

Here's the solution for Riddle of Steel.

"Your opponent still has plenty of life, but if you use the right Equipment you can deal the killing blow."
Expansion Challenges Solutions - Riddle of Steel
Riddle of Steel Solution

Riddle of Steel Solution:

  1. Cast Puresteel Paladin - We will need his Metalcraft bonus to solve this expansion challenge.
  2. Cast Stoneforge Mystic, search for the Equipment card: Sword of Vengeance.
  3. Use Stonechewer Gaint's special ability and choose Loxodon Warhammer, Attach it to Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer, Draw Card.
  4. Cast Sword of Vengenance, Draw Card
  5. Cast Kite Shield, Draw Card
  6. Lay a Plains card (that you drew).
  7. Cast Auriok Survivors (leave at least a Plains untapped), Choose Hedron Matrix, Attach it to the Auriok Survivors, Draw Card.
  8. Now have 3 Equipment out so we can attach them for free with the Puresteel Paladin's Metalcraft effect.
  9. Equip Sword of Vengeance to the Stoneforge Mystic (to give it Haste).
  10. Use the Stoneforge Mystic special ability to place the Argentum Armor from your hand to the battlefield. Draw Card.
  11. Equip Sword of Vengeance onto Auriok Survivors (moving it off of Stoneforge Mystic).
  12. Equip Argentum Armor onto Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer.
  13. Attack with Jor Kadeen and Auriok Survivors, Choose to destroy one of the opponents blockers and your trample damage will be enough to complete the Riddle of Steel Expansion Challenge for Magic 2014 DotP.

Be sure to check out the other posts here at Magic the Gathering Helper for more solutions to challenges, as well as deck and strategy articles.

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Magic 2014 Challenge: How To Solve "Unleash the Beast"

Magic 2014 DotP Expansion Challenges
How To Solve the "Unleash the Beast" Challenge

The newest expansion for Magic the Gathering Duels of the Planeswalkers is now out for all formats.  So I will walk you through each of the new expansion challenges just like I detailed How To Solve the First 10 Magic DotP Challenges here at Magic the Gathering Helper.

Magic 2014 DotP Unleash the Beast Solution Cheats
Unleash the Beast Solution

How To Solve The Unleash the Beast Expansion Challenge

  1. Cast Earthquake for 2 damage, which will kill all but 1 of his creatures and do extra damage thanks to the Coalhauler Swine's effect.  (Make sure to leave an Island untapped.)
  2. Attack with your Coalhauler Swine.
  3. After the opponent is forced to block the Coalhauler Swine (because of the Lure enchantment) with his Nemesis of Reason, Cast Twisted Image on the Nemesis of Reason.  This will make the Nemesis of Reason a 7/3 creature that has taken 2 damage already.
  4. The resolving damage effects will be enough to kill your opponent and solve this new expansion challenge.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Magic 2014 Challenges: How To Solve "Beat The Angel"

Magic 2014 DotP Expansion Challenges
How To Solve the Beat the Angel Challenge

The newest expansion for Magic the Gathering Duels of the Planeswalkers is now out for all formats.  So I will walk you through each of the new expansion challenges just like I detailed How To Solve the First 10 Magic DotP Challenges here at Magic the Gathering Helper.

Beat the Angel Solution Magic 2014 DotP
Beat the Angel Solution

How To Solve the "Beat The Angel" Expansion Challenge

"Your opponent has an untargetable, indestructible, regenerating Platinum Angel. Can you get rid of the Angel and your opponent before it's too late."
The Beat The Angel expansion challenge gave me a few fits at first and then the lightbulb came on for me.  It's not that hard to do once you figure out how to get rid of that damn Platinum Angel.  Here's the solution:

  1. Cast Vindicate and Destroy 1 Mountain
  2. Cast Demolish and Destroy Another Mountain.
  3. Attack with both Creatures.
  4. Use the Frost Titan's ability to tap & locked the already tapped remaining Plains.  Opponent will eat the damage since his Platinum Angel prevents him from losing and you from winning, putting him at -6 life.
  5. You will win on his turn when he can't pay the effect of the Magus of the Tabernacle (At the beginning of your upkeep sacrifice this creature unless you pay 1 mana.)

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

How To Solve Mountain Assault Magic 2014 Expansion Challenge

Magic 2014 DotP Expansion Challenges
How To Solve the Mountain Assault Challenge

The newest expansion for Magic the Gathering Duels of the Planeswalkers is now out for all formats.  So I will walk you through each of the new expansion challenges just like I detailed How To Solve the First 10 Magic DotP Challenges here at Magic the Gathering Helper.

Magic 2014 Expansion Mountain Assault Solution
Mountain Assault Challenge Solution

How To Solve "Mountain Assault"

Your opponent may have a Hydra, but you have brains!  Find a way to take down your enemy."
The key to solving the "Mountain Assualt" Challenge lies with the title of this expansion challenge.  Starting with only a single Goblin Mountaineer in play, we muct find a way to rid our opponent of his last remaining 2 life points.  The Goblin Mountaineer has Mountiainwalk, which will be the key to our victory, even though our opponent currently controls no Mountains.  Let's see how to win this expansion challenge.

  1. Cast Blood Moon - Make sure to tap the 3 Mountains to cast the Blood Moon ( you will need an untapped Forest and Island later..  Blood Moon turns all nonbasic lands into Mountains.  Since our opponent has 2 nonbasic lands, those will become Mountains, which helps our little Mountainwalking friend attack as unblockable.
  2. Attack With the Goblin Mountaineer.  He has Mountainwalk and the Blood Moon has turned the opponents lands into Mountains so the Goblin Mountaineer cannot be blocked.
  3. Pause the Game After Blockers Are Declared.  Wait until the blockers are declared (or not in this case) and pause the game BEFORE you get to the damage dealing phase.
  4. Before damage is dealt, Cast Cytoshape.  (This is why we needed to leave an Island and a Forest open.)  Target the Goblin Mountaineer as the benefit of the switch and have him switch into the Kird Ape the opponent controls.  This will turn the Goblin Mountaineer into a 2/3 Kird Ape since we control a Forest.  The 2/3 Kird Ape will kill the enemy and complete the objective.  (We can't target the Hydra because our creature will have no counters and will just die.)

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Magic 2014: Deadwalker's Deck Breakdown

Today's post is a guest post brought to you by Anthony Landrum (@formerruling on Twitter) of the blog

Magic the Gathering 2014 - Deadwalkers Deck

Deadwalkers Deck Video Walkthrough

I play the Deadwalker’s deck in a more aggro style with a lot of the lower cost drops. The ideal is for me to flood the battlefield with nice little zombies and by turn 3 and 4 pumping them, giving them deathtouch, and just running over the opponent with a little removal and control tactics as backup.  I’m going to discuss my choices sectioned by mana cost as it is very important in this constructed format to develop a nice lower mana curve due to the deadly speed of some decks, namely Avacyn’s Glory, which is the deck to beat in this game right now.  

Mana Cost 1-3: 

I run almost all of the creatures in this mana range as they are all bodies to be pumped by later drops. There is some debate about Fleshbag but I don’t see it as being too situational as long as they have creatures because you are always at least getting +1 field presence over them. Doom Blade is fast effective removal but is a dead card in the mirror or against two of the popular second tier decks so I’ve been cutting one out for a Sign in BloodI do not run Bloodghast simply because it is a Vampire and thus just an extremely weaker version of Gravecrawler here due to not being modified by other cards. For spells I don’t run Quest but I think it is a nice card and a Flashed 5/5 Zombie can be a great asset. I’m not saying it will not find its way in.  Vial as removal is playing 2 cards to destroy 1 dude; Vial is to keep big threats from attacking in but it just doesn’t work out much in this format. Exhume is too situational without cards that throw bombs in your graveyardShrivel is token removal which might be mildly relevant in the format if it were Instant speed.  Staff and Soul Bleed are just bad cards all around.  Death Cloud is good in 2HG, but not in 1v1 format.  I will discuss Grim Return later.  

Mana Cost 4-5: 

The 4 drops in the deck are all tide-turners and are very important to the tempo.  Warchief conducts the pain train! Reaver is still a good cardbut I’ve had a change of heart on him since the video. I have been subbing in Grim to lower the mana curve a bit and it’s a nice card to play with. I put in Grave Pact because it changes who is in control of the battlefield.  It punishes their combat choices and removal choices.  Endless Ranks is what they call a “win more” condition in 1v1 (I might run in 2HG), that is you have to already be winning for it to do anything and stay winning in the board presence race or it does nothing. The rest of the 4 pack are great removal. I do not run any of the few poor 5 drops the deck has.  

Mana Cost  6+:  

I allowed myself a maximum of 3 cards that cost 6 as “game enders” if the game happened to go long. Mikaeus pumps and allows you to smash in with everything recklessly (and has added bonus vs. Avacyn’s Glory). Corrupt can break their defenses and go straight up top to win. Grave Titan is just a great card they have to answer or they suffer.  Because of how infrequently you actually reach land drop 6 and have one of these available I might cut to just 2 of these though.  Anything over mana cost 6 is just too big to play. One notable exception is Demon of Death's Gate which can come out as early as turn 3 if you pay the alternative cost. I do not run it because the risk caused by its cost is just too high in this deck and format. When you win with it sure it feels epic, but 99% of the time it is dead space in your hand or worse you pay 6 life and 4 cards to cry over an unsummon.  

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

My Top Sealed Deck in Magic 2014 - Black Green Control Beast Beatdown

"What Sealed Deck Do You Run In Magic 2014?"

I had a buddy ask me what my top sealed deck looks like in Magic 2014.  I've taken the opportunity to list the cards that I'm currently using in my best performing Sealed Deck (I'm currently ranked in the Top 60 players) in this post here at Magic the Gathering Helper.  Sealed Deck format is one of my favorite formats for Magic the Gathering because it is more of a true test of your playing ability.  Sure there is some luck involved because of the randomness of what cards are available in your sealed pool to build your deck, but that is only part of the equation.  You must also be a proficient deck builder who is able to identify what cards and color combinations to use in the deck as well as understand what land ratios and amounts to use within the sealed deck.  Then you have to play the deck well.  Many times in a Sealed Deck match you will be tested with using cards you normally wouldn't use and you have to get very creative and use cards in combinations and ways you normally hadn't even thought of using them.  That is what makes sealed deck matches so fun and unpredictable.  You never know what to expect!


  • 1 Terramorphic Expanse - Fetch land
  • 7 Swamps
  • 9 Forests
  • 1 Deadly Recluse - Deathtouch
  • 1 Giant Scorpion - Deathtouch
  • 2 Dungrove Elder - Hexproof
  • 2 Advocate of the Beast - Beast Buffers
  • 1 Briarpack Alpha - Surprise
  • 2 Rumbling Baloth - (Beasts)
  • 1 Sengir Vampire
  • 1 Silklash Spider - Kills flying creatures
  • 2 Garruk's Packleader - Draw cards (Beasts)
Creature Removal
  • 3 Murder - Kill Any
  • 1 Assassinate - Kill Tapped
  • 2 Hunt the Weak - Buff & Kill
  • 1 Plummet - Kill Flyer
  • 1 Giant Growth - +3/+3 Instant
  • 1 Might of Oaks - +7/+7 Instant
  • 1 Rampant Growth - Land Fetcher

The combination of 7 Creature removal spells, 2 Creatures with Deathtouch, 2 creature buffing instants, the flash wolf, and the Silklash Spider that clears the skies of flyers is a pretty nice combination of cards that help me to control the battlefield.  I establish control while waiting to bring out the heavy hitting beasts and the Dungrove Elders.  The beasts can get really nasty really fast with the buffing action of the Advocates and the Dungrove Elders' Hexproof is protection against opponents creature removal.

With the right draw I can end the game rather early and if not, I have plenty of control to turn the tide in my favor with instant tricks and versatile creatures.

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Scavenging Ooze Promo - Claim Yours Before They're Gone!

Claim Your Alternate Art Scavenging Ooze Promo Card Before They're Gone!

I recently went on a trek across the city to get my alternate artwork MtG Scavenging Ooze Promo Card, even though I don't even play the paper version of Magic the Gathering.  I highly suggest that you get your Scavenging Ooze promo card as well, before they are all gone because they will be unavailable.

When you purchase the Magic 2014 Duels of the Planeswalkers Game on iPad, it includes a promo code that you can print out and take to your participating local gaming store and exchange the printout for a free 6 card Magic 2014 promo booster pack.  The other platforms have their own codes, but not all platforms reward the same promo pack.  The iPad version awards the promo pack which contains the Scavenging Ooze alternate artwork card.

Why did I bother taking the bus and train clear across town on my day off for a Scavenging Ooze when I don't even play tabletop Magic?

The Scavenging Ooze is a valuable card and the alternate artwork cards are even more valuable (due to rareness and coolness factors).  These promo Scavenging Oozes are also expected to rise in value as they become unavailable and more rare as the promo packs are no longer available.  This promo is a limited release and when all the packs are out, you won't be able to get another one for free anywhere.  Currently the Scavenging Ooze promo card is on Amazon currently at $17-18, and starting around $10-15 initial bid on eBay.  So we paid $9.99 for the game, but can claim a free booster pack which contains a card worth more than what we paid and it is expected to continue to rise in value.  Yes, please!

I've got my card and I'm going to sit on it until the price rise, then flip it on eBay for even more of a profit.  I highly suggest you get you code submitted, print out your coupon for the free promo booster pack, and get your own alternate art promo Scavenging Ooze card before your local shops are all out.  Many stores are already out, so good luck finding a store that still has them in stock.  Get on it before they are all gone too!

Scavenging Ooze Alt Art Promo Code
Claim Your Scavenging Ooze Promo Now!

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Saturday, August 10, 2013

How To Solve All 10 Magic 2014 Challenges - 5 Advanced & 5 Initial Challenges

Solutions For All 10 Challenges In Magic 2014 Duels of The Planeswalkers

Here at Magic the Gathering Helper, I've provided detailed step by step instructions on how to solve each of the 10 challenges for Magic 2014.  This includes solutions for all 5 Initial Challenges as well as all 5 Advanced Challenges.  Here is an easy reference to all of those previous posts in a handle single list to make it easier to find what you are looking for.  Please bookmark and share it with your fellow Magic players should they be stuck on a specific challenge.

How To Solve The 5 Initial Challenges

How To Solve All 5 Advanced Challenges

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Friday, August 9, 2013

Magic 2014 Advanced Challenge: "Go Berserk" & "Heavy Hitter" Achievement

Magic 2014 Advanced Challenge
How To Solve "Go Berserk" &
How To Get the "Heavy Hitter" Achievement

Complete Heavy Hitter in Magic 2014
Get Heavy Hitter Achievement

The Advanced Challenge "Go Berserk" is one that also has an achievement linked to it as well.  So when you solve the "Go Berserk" advanced challenge, you might as well go ahead and complete the "Heavy Hitter" achievement as well.  The "Heavy Hitter" achievement requires you to do over 200 damage during the "Go Berserk" Challenge.  Here is my solution for both the advanced challenge and the achievement in Magic 2014.

Go Berserk

"You're ready to take your opponent out, and you want to do it in style.  Deal as much damage as you can this turn!"

Heavy Hitter

"Deal over 200 damage in the "Go Berserk" challenge."

The key to completing the Go Berserk advanced challenge is buffing up you main attacker then hitting it with Berserk to double it's attack power.  The opponent will tap all the creatures he can, so you also need a way to untap the big guy.  Instill Energy and the Quirion Ranger will do the trick.  Let's see how it's done.

Tutorial for Go Berserk in Magic 2014
How To Solve "Go Berserk"

Solving Go Berserk and Doing Over 200 Damage For Heavy Hitter

  1. Cast the Quirion Ranger
  2. Lay the Forest
  3. Cast Mossbridge Troll
  4. Cast Instill Energy on the Mossbridge Troll
  5. Cast Khalni Hydra (free casting cost at this point)
  6. Declare your attack.
  7. As the opponent taps each creature, you react by tapping that creature yourself as part of activating the Mossbridge Troll buffing ability.
  8. He will try to tap the 25/25 Primal Crux first, when he declare it as going to be tapped, you use the Troll's ability in response and tap it first to buff your troll.
  9. Next he will try to tap the troll.  Just let him and leave it tapped for now.
  10. Next he will try to tap the Khalni Hydra, again tap it along with the Heedless one to buff the Mossbridge Troll again.
  11. Next Buff the Mossbridge Troll again by tapping the Drove of Elves.
  12. Buff him again by tapping the Dungrove Elder.
  13. And yet again by tapping Multani, Maro-Sorcerer & Baloth Woodcrasher.
  14. Now use the Quirion Ranger's ability to untap the Mossbridge Troll by returning a forest to your hand.
  15. The opponent will use his last Trip Noose to retap your Mossbridge Troll.
  16. Untap him with the Instill Energy ability before the attack starts.
  17. Then buff the Mossbridge Troll by casting Berserk on it to make the Troll 210/105 and you will beat the objective and do over 200 damage and claim the Heave Hitter achievement.
This finishes up the series on completing all 5 of the advanced challenges and I've already covered how to solve the 5 initial challenges in Magic 2014.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How To Solve "Near Death" Magic 2014 Advanced Challenge

How To Solve the Advanced Challenge "Near Death"

This is another easy advanced challenge in the Magic 2014 Duels of the Planeswalkers.  Well, it should be easy for regular players, but if you new to Magic the Gathering it may be a bit confusing.  If you are stuck on the "Near Death" advanced challenge, then here is the solution.
"Use your opponent's onslaught to steal victory from the jaws of defeat."

Near Death Solution

This advanced challenge starts with your opponent attacking you with all of his creatures.  If you notice the Primal Rage enchantment he has in play gives all of his creatures Trample.  Our lone enchantment in play is Near-Death Experience, which is the key to winning this challenge.  Near-Death Experience reads: "At the beginning of your upkeep, if you have exactly 1 life, you win the game."  So our goal is to survive the onslaught and end up with exactly 1 life remaining so that we win on our next upkeep phase.

The opponent starts this turn attacking with all of his creatures, that get buffed bigger and all have Trample.  With Trample any remaining damage not absorbed by the defending blockers spills over onto us, so to figure out how to complete this advanced challenge, we start with a little bit of math.

  • Our starting life is 2
  • 4 attackers with a total attack power of 22
  • Our 3 total blockers toughness equals 11
  • Our 2 creatures with lifelink Power totals of 9
So 22 attack, minus 11 damage absorbed by our creatures leaves 11 to spill over as Trample damage.  Our 2 creatures with lifelink will heal us for 9 life, which would leave us at 0 life (2-11+9=0).  Both of the creatures with lifelink (provided by the Scourge of Nobilis enchant) also have the ability to extra damage for mana spent, which will in turn allow us to gain more life via lifelink.  So since if we block all creatures without spending extra mana on the attack power of the creatures with lifelink it would reduce us to Zero life, we need to spend just 1 mana to buff either creature with lifelink's power, to get us to a remaining 1 life.  So here we go:

How To Solve Near Death Advanced Challenge Magic 2014
Near Death Blockers Assigned

Near Death Solution:

  1. Block 3 of the 4 attacking creatures with our 3 blockers
    1. Basadra, Battle Seraph blocks Primordial Hydra
    2. Glory Seeker with Scourage of Nobilis blocks Fangren Firstborn
    3. Other Glory Seeker blocks either Elephant.
  2. Spend 1 mana on either of the creatures with Scourge of Nobilis to do one extra damage so we get 1 more life from the Lifelink.
  3. Survive with 1 life and win via Near-Death Experience on our upkeep phase.
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Monday, August 5, 2013

Magic 2014 Advanced Challenge - Get A Grip Solution

How To Beat The Advanced Challenge
"Get A Grip" in Magic 2014

The Get A Grip Advanced Challenge in 2014 is actually pretty simple and in my opinion it shouldn't even be considered an advanced challenge.  It's that simple, but here's the solution for this MAgic 2014 advanced challenge if you are stumped.

Get A Grip

"Between a squad of giants and a pesky Pacifism, your opponent is making your life difficult.  Find a way to win this turn."
  1. Cast Stave Off on your Vulshok Refugee and choose Protection From White.  This will remove the Pacifism enchantment from the Vulshok Refugee so the Refugee now has both Protection From Red & White.
  2. Cast Pyroclasm to kill off the artifact creatures that can still block your Refugee.  Your Vulshok Refugee survives because he takes no damage from red sources.
  3. Attack with the Vulshok Refugee to kill opponent and finish the Get A Grip advanced challenge.  The Bonebreaker Giants are unable to block the Vulshok Refugee because of the Protection For Red.
How To Beat Get A Grip Advanced challenge
Protection is the key to winning Get A Grip
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How To Solve Advanced Challenge: Sliver Infestation in Magic 2014

How To Solve The Sliver Infestation Advanced Challenge In Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers

Sliver Infestation
Can you sneak past an overwhelming force and assassinate your opponent?  You must win by the end of your turn.
For this advanced challenge in Magic 2014: DotP we need to do at least 14 points of damage to our opponent, yet we only have a single 6/6 creature in play, the Tidal Kraken.  We need some way to do at least 14 points of damage and the solution is still hidden within the deck library.  Here's how you win the Sliver Infestation advanced challenge.

Sliver Infestation Advanced Challenge Solution

  1. Cast both Virulent Slivers from out of your hand.
  2. Cast Crib Swap and exile the opponent's lone flying defender, Darksteel Gargoyle.
  3. Cast Brainstorm, the Protean Hulk is what we are after, so put 2 other cards back from the Brainstorm and make sure to keep the Protean Hulk.
  4. Use the remaining 4 mana to activate the Quicksilver Amulet and put the Protean Hulk into play.
  5. Activate the top ability of the Culling Dias artifact to sacrifice the Protean Hulk.
  6. This trigger's the Protean Hulks ability to place more creatures into play, choose the Predator Dragon.
  7. When the Predator Dragon enters the battlefield, use the Devour option to devour both Virulent Slivers to make the Predator Dragon an 8/8 Flyer with Haste.
  8. Attack with both the Predator Dragon and the Tidal Kraken (who is unblockable).
  9. Deal the 14 damage to kill opponent and win the advanced challenge.
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Monday, July 22, 2013

Deck Tech - How Many Lands Should I Use In A 60 Card MtG Deck?

Deck Tech - Helping You To Build Stronger Magic The Gathering Play Decks

MtG Mana Symbols Mouse Pad
MtG Mana Mouse Pad

How Many Lands Should You Use For A 60 Card Magic Deck?

Having the proper amount of land in your Magic the Gathering play deck can greatly help to prevent problems with not getting enough land (Mana Screwed), getting too much land (Mana Flooded), or the wrong color lands (Color Starved).  Nothing can fully prevent land / mana issues from happening occasionally, but having a proper land to card ratio for your Magic deck will be a major factor in limiting those mana problems.

How Many Lands To Use In A 60 Card Deck?

The short answer is 24.  If you have no clue what you are doing, go with 24 lands in your 60 card deck.  There are many factors that can figure into adjusting your land ratio, but a common starting place is 24 lands.  You will learn the most about whether you have the proper amount of land and the proper mix, by simply playing with the deck.  As you play your Magic deck, you will better be able to tell whether you have too much, too few, or the wrong mix of lands in your deck.  

Here are some factors to consider when adjusting the amount of land for your deck:

  1. Mono or Multicolored Deck? - Is your deck all one color?  If you are running a single color, you can get away with few lands in your deck, because you will never be colored screwed.  On the opposing end, if you are running more than 2 colors, you may want to have a few extra lands in your deck.
  2. Mana Fixers - Mana Fixers are cards that allow you to pull out lands out of your deck.  These can include fetch lands (the lands that produce no mana and just tap and sacrifice to go hunt a land and put it into play tapped), spells that allow you to pull lands out of your deck and either into your hand or on the play field, or creatures that give you the ability to pull out lands as well.  The more colors you have in your deck, the more important it becomes to have these mana fixers in your deck to help pull out the colors that you need.
  3. Casting Costs Of Your Deck's Cards - If you are running a speed weenie deck that doesn't take much to cast anything in your deck, you can drop the number of lands in your deck significantly.  I've seen decks run plenty efficient on as low as 18 lands, but nothing in the deck cost over 3-4 casting cost and the deck was a single color.  I wouldn't go down below 22 lands without a deck that includes creatures that provide mana as well.  On the other end, if you are running a deck with a lot of high casting cost spells or are using a lot of spells that require 3-4 mana of a specific color within their casting costs, you may want to add extra lands in to lower the risk of getting stuck with a hand of cards you can't even cast.
  • So as a rule of thumb I would go with 24 lands in a deck.
  • If the deck is all one color, take out 1 land.
  • If the majority of your spells are over 3-4 costing cost, add a land or 2 (especially if multi colored and large casting costs).
  • If you are playing with multiple creatures that produce mana and have multiple mana fixers, then take out 1-2 lands.
  • Never go below 20 in a single color or 22 in a multi-colored deck.
  • Playtest your deck with practice hand draws until it starts to feel right.
  • Continually adjust your amount of land and color ratio as you play until you feel it is perfect.
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Friday, July 19, 2013

4 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Quit Your MtG Match Early

You Shouldn't Be Quitting Your MtG Match Early!

One of my biggest gripes when playing Magic 2014 Duels of the Planeswalkers is that many players rage quit when they think they have already lost.  When your opponent quits the duel, you are forced to play against the AI opponent in order to get the win for the match.  That's not so much of a big deal, except I'd rather you tough it out so we can play again!  Especially since in Magic 2014 DotP, you only play single game matches, when historically Magic the Gathering is played in Best of 3 Matches.  Anyone can win a single game with the right hand or favorable conditions, but winning 2 out of 3 is a little more challenging and is a more reliable gauge of judging how your deck performs.  Granted there is no sideboard allowed in Magic 2014 DotP like in tabletop Magic, but 2 out of 3 matches stills seem much better in my opinion.  I wish they would implement not only Best of 3 Matches, but also put sideboarding back into the game.

Back on topic:

Why You Shouldn't Quit Your Match Early Even When You Think You've Lost

Here are some great reasons why would should always play each and every one of your matches out to the games end.

  1. Sometimes the AI computer player actually pulls out the win! - Happens more often than you'd think.  Sometimes players quit too soon.  If the computer AI can pull a win out of the match you thought was unwinnable, odds are you aren't even a good judge at knowing win the match is truly lost beyond all control.
  2. Top Decking - Sometimes the match looks bleek and unwinnable, but then you draw something off the top of your deck that can save you from utter defeat.  If you've already rage quit, those top deck draws aren't going to help you.  I've seen white decks that quit thinking all is lost, then the turn after they quit, the AI player draws and plays Wrath of God or some other massive creature removal and turns the tide of the match entirely.  Even being down to 1 life isn't reason enough to quit since sometimes you can pull something that will change the entire game completely.
  3. Crunch Time Is Learning Time - Instead of bailing on the game when you think you have lost, you should stay in the game and fight to the end because those are some of the best times to learn.  Being pushed against the wall and desperate means you have to start thinking more critically and try to piece some tactics together to either prevent dying or start figuring out how to even the battlefield.  It's in these sessions that you think all is lost, then miraculously come up with a way to counter the opponents threat that you can learn new tactics and try new tricks and combos.  When you are near death and actually push through until the end and happen to full victory out of nowhere that you can experience some of the most fun and rewarding moments of the Magic the Gathering game.  If you quit early, you are already a loser with absolutely no chance to learn or win.
  4. Scope The Opponents Deck - Even if you can't pull out a miraculous recovery or steal back a victory from your MtG opponent, you can still gather some valuable information that will help you in your next match against the same deck.  This is very important in all formats of the game.  Playing until the final point of life is gone, instead of rage quitting, will allow you to see even more of the opponents deck.  You can learn about specific cards that are in the opponent's Magic deck and knowing more of what the opponent could possible do or play in the next match is always an advantage - an advantage you would not have, if you just rage quit.  Being able to see more cards within their deck is even more important in a Limited environment when the odds of being able to predict what an opponent is playing in their deck go way down.  

So the first step to becoming a better player is testing your limits.  Stop rage quitting when you think the game is lost and focus in and try to learn just how you can pull a win out of your ass.  You will feel more accomplished pulling a win out of a game you thought was completely lost, you might learn something new, and at the very least you will gather more information about your opponent's play-style and what cards are in their deck.  

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My Favorite Deck From Magic 2013 DotP

Magic 2013 Duels of the Planeswalkers - My Favorite Deck

Just the other day on Twitter, @formerruling requested that I "do some deck guides so we can see what ya run".  Well Anthony, I'm still in the process of working on unlocking all of the extra cards for the Magic 2014 release of the game, so I don't have any fully completed decks yet.  So I will take this opportunity to show you my top deck from the Magic 2013 Duels of the Planeswalkers for iPad.

You can also follow me on Twitter - @mtghelper

Reader Request For Deck Guides

My Top Magic 2013 Deck - Grim Procession

I absolutely love the versatility, speed, and harassing nature of the Grim Procession deck, which was added in the last deck expansion pack for Magic 2013.  The combination of flying creatures, lifelink, creature removal, and creatures that return to the board more than once was perfect for the aggressive style of play I prefer.  There are also plenty of opportunities for trickery and surprises, which I also really enjoy.

Magic 2013 Deck - Grim Procession

Grim Procession

63 Cards - Yes, I was still trying to find 2-3 more cards to remove from this deck to slim it down to the recommended minimum 60 card deck for constructed decks.  I love each and every one of these creatures, so I was still working on tweaking which ones to remove when Magic 2014 released.

  • 11 Swamp
  • 11 Plains
  • 4 Terramorphic Expanse

  • 3 Doomed Traveller
  • 2 Mourning Thrull
  • 2 Orzhov Guildmage
  • 2 Restless Apparition
  • 2 Vampire Nighthawk
  • 3 Bloodhunter Bat
  • 2 Falkenrath Noble
  • 1 Ghost Council of Orzhova
  • 1 Keening Banshee
  • 2 Voracious Hatchling
  • 1 Angel of Flight Alabaster
  • 2 Bloodgift Demon
  • 1 Deathbringer Liege
  • 1 Divinity of Pride
  • 1 Ob Nixilis, the Fallen

  • 2 Zealous Persecution
  • 4 Pillory of the Sleepless
  • 4 Unmake
  • 1 Vindicate

Notable Ommissions:

Stillmoon Cavalier Magic the Gathering
Stillmoon Cavalier

  • Stillmoon Cavalier - While pretty nice and very versatile, I'm not going to run this in my deck because I only have the 2 Zealous Persecution to remove the Stillmoon Cavalier should it be controlled by an opponent.  And given the popularity of the Jace Milling decks, I saw plenty of Control Magic and Clone, as well as Rise from the Grave in black decks.  And I definately do NOT want a Stillmoon Cavalier to appear on my opponents side because it can really hurt this deck, so I left it out of mine.
  • Damnation - With this deck, I am the aggressor.  I come out too fast and too strong for Damnation to be very useful.  It usually just sat in my hand and never got cast.
  • Any of the 6+ converted casting cost cards - These are just far too large of a cost for the speed of the deck I was after.  My goal was to have you already dead or very near death before these would even be cast and useful.


Which 3 cards would you remove from this Grim Procession deck in order to get it down to the 60 card deck minimum without sacrificing synergy or speed?

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Magic 2014 Advanced Challenges: Sliver Strike Team Solution

How To Solve The Sliver Strike Team Advanced Challenge In Magic 2014

I have already covered How To Beat The 5 Initial Challenges In Magic 2014, but the Advanced Challenges are a little more complicated so I will be dedicating a single post to each solution for solving the advanced challenges.

Sliver Strike Team Solution

"Your opponent is still strong behind a wall of creatures with first strike.  Find a way to defeat your opponent with your army of slivers."

First problem here is the 3 creatures the opponent controls that all have First Strike.  Without First Strike ability of our own the opponent would be able to pick and choose which creatures to block and First Strike, which could result in some of our slivers dying before they even deal combat damage.  This is a compounding problem as each of our slivers give advantages to other slivers.  Therefore, any slivers that die during the First Strike phase of damage dealing result in nerfing the remaining slivers as the buffs provided by the dead slivers are removed prior to the damage dealing of the remaining slivers, which would be even weaker than before the combat started.

So the solution to the challenge Sliver Strike Team requires that we have first strike on our slivers.  Even better, let's go for the sliver with Double Strike!

  1. Cast Predatory Sliver (Our Slivers get +1/+1)
  2. Cast Bonescythe Sliver (Our Slivers get Double Strike)
  3. Our Slivers already get Haste from the Slivers in play, so attack with all Slivers to kill off the opponent.
Combined with the number of attackers and their Double Strike abilities, we will have plenty of damage to kill off the opponent and solve this Advanced Challenge.

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