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!

Check out The Magic the Gathering Store on Amazon where you can find boosters packs, individual cards, playmats, deck protectors, life counters, Magic clothing, and more!

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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