Mind-Boggling Technology – Grand Prix Dallas: Almost

I hadn’t been to a big tournament since Paris so I was excited to see all of my friends again. My traveling companion was none other then former team world champion, Michael Jacob. Actually, he traveled with a Nintendo DS and I was the third wheel.

We flew standby again and the trip started out on a poor note. We listened to a Southwest Airlines employee on what plane to fly and she turned out to be not the most intellegent person in the world. Originally, the plan was to arrive in Dallas at 2:30 P.M. on Friday, but we instead we got there eight hours later. You would think that someone who has been working at an airport for at least a year would know how to book a flight without leaving us stranded in ARKANSAS for cryin out loud. The moral of this story is to listen to Josh Wludyka and travel the route he sets up for you. All I hoped was that this wouldn’t be foreshadowing to a terrible weekend…

Fortunately, I had a sicko room that included Gerard Fabiano, Adam Yurchick, Ben E. Beatdown, Dan Jordan, and Mike Jacob. I don’t think God himself could sculpt a better room for a tournament.

We arrived in Dallas late Friday night and discovered that the convention center was 30 miles away from the airport. It’s pretty standard to make a GP so far away from the airport because it’s not like anyone flies there right? I guess it’s not a big deal; we just pay a few bucks and we are on our way to fun!

75 dollars later, we finally arrived to the destination…

MJ was deciding on playing either Caw-Go or RUG, but had not played Magic in about a month. I suggested that playing RUG would be better since not only did he invent the deck, but Caw-Blade is not a deck you just pick up and grind.

My deck of choice was something I’m sure you can all guess.

UB Control


This was a pretty standard list and I was confident in the U/W/B Caw-Blade matchup. There was obviously a metagame shift where everyone played U/W instead where my build is not as good.

I was confident in my RUG and Valakut matchup so expectations were still positive. My experience with this deck was playing it in various weekly tournaments against every kind of deck in the field.

Ari Lax and D.J. Kastner helped me design the deck over the weeks and I was not going to audible. The will of others was not so strong and Ari decided to change to Caw-Blade at the last second. It’s never a good feeling to be going into a tournament and you are the only one playing a deck. Nevertheless, I must press on because I knew my deck is good.

I had three byes due to Pro Level so it’s pretty reasonable that I’d dodge the random decks. This was a factor in deciding what cards to play because my deck has very specific answers to the format. A random homebrew could send me packing early, but that wouldn’t be very likely.

During the byes, I went to Starbucks, chugged a 5-Hour Engergy, and played “Everyone’s a Winner” with Gerard Fabiano. The game is simple: Gerard asks a question and those who answer it correctly win a predetermined amount of points. The first person to reach three points is the winner. I know the game is called “Everyone’s a Winner,” but there is only one.

He has the recording on his Facebook page so be sure to check it out. I answered the first question right by saying that Gerard has 218 Pro Points and was off to a good start. If you would guess that he likes Asian girls above all else, you would be correct as well. Just like that I was in the finals with Ben Lundquist, but he won by saying that Gerard’s favorite planeswalker was Jace Beleren. Apparently Gerard doesn’t fancy Jace, the Mind Sculptor as much as I do. =( Benny Beatdownz was rewarded with an MTG Mom sticker for his efforts.

The byes flew by and it was ready for round four. I squared off against a fellow midwesterner who piloted none other than Caw-Blade. Inquisition of Kozilek let me see what was in his hand when he was making decisions and there were some things I would have done differently. The matchup was very close, so a mistake on either side could have been the deciding factor in the match.

Round 5 was interesting despite me missing my third land drop the entire game. My opponent showed me Valakut, Viridian Emissary, and Forest before I packed up my cards. The sideboarding was for a standard Titan Ramp list, but it was far from it. My turn four Memoricide for Primeval Titan hit, but I saw Hero of Oxid Ridge and Bestial Menace in his deck. The first instinct I had was to panic because my sideboard was against a combo deck and most of the removal was out of my deck. The game was close, but I lost to a Lightning Bolt off of the top when I had two Precursor Golems and Jace TMS to protect me against the savage beats. It was unfortunate that I did not play more turns of the game, because I would have found out that he was playing a wild-ass brew rather than standard Valakut. It’s a lesson that I won’t forget after this match.

Round 6 was against a crazy Lead the Stampede deck with Primeval Titan. I got land flooded in the first game after a mulligan and lost. My Go for the Throats were going after Llanowar Elves and other early mana dorks because I had nothing else to do. The second game was pretty even until he played Lead the Stampede for three Vengevines and cast one of them.

This is where I had a revelation…

I lost two rounds and not three. I wasn’t out of the tournament so I shouldn’t act like I was. For as long as I can remember, I have been a terrible player when it comes to winning with my back against the wall. There are some players who can handle the pressure and keep a positive attitude, but it’s just not me.

This time was different, and I had a positive attitude and stayed focused. I haven’t made day two of any tournament this year, which is quite disappointing in my eyes based on my performance last year. I can obviously dominate a tournament, but I’m just not doing it and I wanted to make a change.

I took my 4-2 start and walked to round seven with a thirst for blood. My seventh round opponent was playing a standard Titan Ramp deck. I managed to kill all of his Valakuts with Tectonic Edges and Jace decked the first person of the day.

The second game offered this interesting scenario: my opponent had four lands, Khalni Heart Expedition, and Overgrown Battlement, and I had five lands in play, Darkslick Shores in hand and I cast Preordain. I knew his one card in hand was a Primeval Titan and I had no answer for it. My top two cards were Liliana Vess and a land. I could ship them both in hopes of finding an answer to the Battlement, Primeval Titan, or Tectonic Edge. It was too dangerous of a play in my eyes and I took the gamble of playing Liliana next turn. I drew a Duress the next turn after he drew a card and passed. The Duress hit a Summoning Trap and the Vess hit the Primeval Titan. He pretty much drew dead from there because I got to Vampiric Tutor two turns in a row.

After I beat Valakut, there was another one waiting for me. There were some play errors on the part of my opponent and pulled a game out of my ass. I was unaware of what deck he was playing when the match started, so my hand ended up being pretty bad against Valakut. Disfigure managed to kill a Lotus Cobra and Doom Blade snagged an Overgrown Battlement so things were starting to go my way.

My opponent got land flooded in the second game and ended on an anti-climactic note.

Ok this was it: the win and in moment. I could win fame, glory, and babes, but I could lose it all in fifty minutes. My pairings indicated that I was up against an unfamiliar face which was always a good start. The match began and some lands from his side showed that he was playing my favorite matchup: RUG. A rush of confidence came over me and I started to take over the first game. Jace Beleren kept him from landing a Jace, the Mind Sculptor. The Lotus Cobra was taken care of on turn one thanks to Inquisition. Inferno Titan was no match for Precursor Golem followed by two Grave Titans.

Now this second game could be what gets me into day two. I was expecting fireworks and a well fought battle on both of our parts, but that just didn’t happen. Inquisition took Lotus Cobra again and his Halimar Depths showed him three spells and only began with two lands in hand. Jace, the Mind Sculptor fatesealed him out of the game in the most boring way possible. My opponent was nice about his unfortunate luck and I must say he handled it better than I would have.

Rob Martin from “Men of Magic” interviewed me about my Day 1 experience. I will be working with him in the future so I gave him my card. He was confused because it was a Gruesome Encore

I was dying to go eat with some sickos so my group waits for the rest of the room to finish their matches. Gerard was on the bubble, but managed to defeat Caw-Blade with his innovative Bant concoction. Benny Beatdownz, Dan Jordan, and MJ also manage to snag a seat in day two. We waited for Adam to finish his match that went to time since it was a Caw-Blade mirror and he also managed to get in on the bubble. The entire room made day two which was a first for me. To be fair, I roomed with some pretty good players.

We end up eating at this Italian place and got some pretty marginal pizza. The first indicator that it wasn’t fancy was that MJ actually agreed to eat there since he loves value more than any person I had ever met. He actually yelled at me for ordering a Chicken Caesar Salad at Wendy’s because I could make my own using the dollar menu. To his credit, that maneuver was also listed on 3thingstoknow.com.

On a side note, Christian Keeth made 3thingstoknow.com hats that will be available soon. They look pretty awesome, so be sure to pick up yours soon.

(product placement)The next day started much like the first since it included a Starbucks run and a 5-Hour Energy(/end product placement). The first round was up against Gaudenis Vidiguris and that’s usually good luck for me. My GP and PT top 8 was achieved by beating him along the way. This time I was not so fortunate, but would have top 8ed for sure if I had beaten him. He was on Caw-Blade as expected, and he smashed me with two pretty solid hands. My draws were pretty marginal, but the matchup was very dependent on who was piloting Caw-Blade and Gaudenis was no slouch. I could chalk it up to being tired, but I think I played pretty well in the match.

The next round was against RUG which was usually a pretty good thing for me. My mulligans and marginal hands continued and I was crushed 2-0. Blaming luck on a match was not something I like to do since there were a lot of decisions for me to make. I’m sure there was something better that I could had done along the way to force a game three.

My back was once again against the wall at x-4. 0-2 was clearly not the start I was looking for, but what’s done was done.

My rally wasn’t as strong as it was in day 1 and I pick up another loss to Christian Calcano (or maybe it was Anthony Eason, who knows) which knocked me out of the money. He was playing Caw-Blade and his Squadron Hawks just completely obliterated me. I’m pretty sure what those birds did to me was not only illegal, but also very disturbing. There was a two-drop creature each game on the second turn that was followed up with equally strong plays. (Oh caw-mon!) This game was for the birds. If anybody has more caw-go related puns I would love to hear them since they were just so fly.

I won three matches on the day, so don’t think all I did was get my ass kicked. RUG, Caw-Blade, and another RUG were defeated by me which made for a very diverse day two (not really). There were not any players who made the top 64 with an x-5 record because there were so many players who drew intentionally or unintentionally. I was rewarded with nothing more than my appearance fee for the fourth time this year.

Normally I would complain about how stale a format is when there are only two decks I face in six rounds, but it’s just so skill-intensive.

The top 8 was nothing but ringers with their respective decks. Look at the four players who jammed RUG: Owen Turtenwald, Orrin Beasley, Alex Bertoncini, and Michael Jacob. Those are some pretty dangerous players to have a Lotus Cobra on their side. Alex can be seen tearing up the SCG circuit with RUG on a weekly basis. Owen has been on a tear this year and has also been playing the deck on MTGO with very impressive results. Michael Jacob only invented the deck, no big deal. Orrin is the sleeper of the bunch, but he has been quietly grinding along the GP circuit for a while now and I’m glad to see he is finally breaking through.

I can say the same things for the Caw-Blade players as well. Josh Utter-Leyton is one of the big time ringers. Austin Bursavich is MTGO grinder: SneakyHomunculus, need I say more? Korey McDuffie is a grinder who is also just making it big time. David Shiels managed to win this stacked top 8 as well as having played in another GP top 8 in the past. I can guarantee that we will be hearing from all 8 of these players in the future assuming they stay with the game.

This is the sign of a good format when all good players make the top 8. You pick a deck, learn it, and get rewarded. People complain about Valakut, but the deck is not consistent, which is the reason it did poorly. Caw-Blade is fine right now because it can only be piloted well by a select group of players. Jund was annoying because anyone (including me) could win with it.

It’s true that there were 60 Jace, the Mind Sculptors in the top 16, but this is because there were fifteen rounds in the tournament. The more consistent decks will perform better because the library manipulation helps achieve better draws. The aggro decks may seem tempting, but they are not as powerful on a consistent basis as Caw-Go or RUG. PV was the only player in the top 16 to play something other than [card]Preordain[/card], Mana Leak, and Jace.

After the tournament was complete, I went to get some famous Texas BBQ. There was all-you-can-eat ribs for ten bucks, sign me up! They were so good that I would consider flying back to Texas just to get more.

I went back to the convention center to do a draft with Ari Lax and Dan Jordan. After the draft began, it was clear to me that Dan didn’t know much about the format and it was making me nervous. My first pack had a Sword of Feast and Famine staring back at me and I happily gave it a home. The following pack had a Venser, the Sojourner and I could splash it in my blue/red deck. I started taking white cards and went toward blue/white control. The final pack had a Hoard-Smelter Dragon and things were getting interesting. I was also passed a Volition Reins fourth. The deck went back to a blue/red control deck that splashed white for Venser and two Origin Spellbombs.

My first game featured an ultimate Venser, Sword, Hoard-Smelter Dragon, and Volition Reins, all in play. I still calmly was smashed in the next two games due to land problems. The next match involved me equipping a Hoard-Smelter Dragon with Sword of Feast and Famine. We took down the draft and I won the sword which was a good end to the day.

It turned out that many schools had spring break during this weekend so flying home on stand-by just wasn’t to be. Every Southwest Airlines flight to Detroit was booked solid on Monday. I didn’t feel like waiting until 6A.M. on Tuesday to fly home so MJ and I decided to try our luck at the airport. We flew from Dallas to Chicago and waited to see if some people would miss their flights. The first two flights of the day were filled and things were looking grim. In order to minimize our variance, Josh got us bus tickets to Ann Arbor. We walked out on our flight and ended up in downtown Chicago. To say this was a strange day would be an understatement. The Megabus was equipped with Internet so the ride went by quickly. If you don’t know about Megabus, you should definitely check it out since getting tickets in advance leads to road trips that cost less than five bucks.

Although I only won 24 dollars from Gerard due to a split, this was still a really fun tournament. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.

Thanks to
– Pam (owner of RIW Hobbies) for driving me to the airport
-Ari for picking me up from Ann Arbor
-Get Your Game On for giving me sleeves
-Texas for feeding me good ribs

Thanks for reading.


76 thoughts on “Mind-Boggling Technology – Grand Prix Dallas: Almost”

  1. I bet the woman who booked your flight plays Kuldotha Red or some other cheap deck for losers. God what an idiot. Doesn’t she know that Jace prefers direct flights in first class?

  2. This is not a Jace article! Yes I played a deck with Jace, but that’s hardly the point.

  3. Holistic Advisor

    You know who don’t want to win? People that don’t own a playset of Jace, The Mind Sculptor.

    You know who else doesn’t want to win? People that plan their flights poorly, and don’t even look into where the location of a tournament is ahead of time to make sure they are well rested and ready to play.

  4. @ Kyle

    I know this article is a chronicling of your tournament experience and not solely dedicated to talking about Jace. But within your article, Enthusiastic and I are reacting out of the “Jace fatigue” that we feel when a pro-level player defends an expensive, format-warping, originality-kiling card with the logic that it’s okay because it only rewards “a select group of players”. Yes, the Jace experts are the ones who have the luxury of testing and grinding with them. Truly, they are the chosen ones.

    Your snide comment about the airline worker’s intelligence and your half-joking divination of your elite cohort also underscore your history of blatant elitism, especially with respect to your infamous “Jace article”. I am myself rabidly anti-elitist in the MTG-world and generally despise the defenders of WotC’s excessive greed regarding chase mythics. I found your defense of it completely unreasonable, and that same elitism shows up in many of your other articles too, such as this. So, yeah, I don’t feel too bad about trolling you a bit, and I stand by my belief that I’m addressing this article in particular, not just your “Jace article”.

  5. Also those who complain about Jace, Im fricking 13 years old and I own pretty much a playset of every standard staple. I’m not rich or anything and I have like a US$15 a week allowance. Instead of bitching about it on the forums I read some finance articles, play tested with friends etc and used my winnings and profit from trades to buy it. Also if you really want to play competitive mtg, you will be more dedicated into the game. Most of yous would probably have a middle class life and could afford 4 Jaces if you guys actually wanted to. Sure spending US$380 on 4 pieces of cards seems bullshit but the advantage you get from it and thing is its 4 pieces of cardboard that have that much value. Its only US$380 cause people are willing to pay that price. You can buy a set for US$380 and proably sell it for about US$300 just before rotation. Thats a loss of US$80 but hopefully your tournament winnings will cover that and even net you profit. It’s actually better to buy into a Caw blade or an expensive deck and sell it off for about 80% of price instead of keep on buying bad $200 decks like RDW that you end up getting rid off for about US$100or never being able to get rid of the whole deck before rotation cause nobody is interested in it. In the long run paying $1000 for the best deck and winning with it, then selling it off for about 80% of the price to buy into the next deck is much better then getting a bunch of cheap, tier 2 decks that are hard to get rid off.

  6. Lol Zen. Where are all the bird puns? C’mon people! I won’t stop squawking until I hear them! …ha…ha.

  7. Your article sounded rushed. Other than that, it was a good read especially the part about staying positive when your backs to the wall. You get knocked down, but you get back up again, stronger than before!

  8. I laugh when anyone says 15 out of the top 16 decks in the format playing one (nonland) card makes a ‘fair’ format. The number of Jace’s showing up in high level event elims is starting to rival the Skullclamp days.

  9. Jace is having so many top8s, but it’s actually not broken. Why? Its actually seeing that much play cause its really good so if you play blue, you play it. I agree its very good, but I guarantee if Jace gets banned we will see a format with about 32 Primeval Titans in top8, or Caw go will still be dominating with Jace Belen. Lets say that top8 was intead 3 RUG, 2 Boros, 2 Vampires, and 1 Caw go with red. Does that mean we have to ban lightning bolt? I mean thats 32 lighting bolts in the top8! Thats more then skullckamp has ever had.

  10. Last Boggemes article I read. I’d rather read articles written by less-than-intelligent Southwest employees.

  11. I’ve always been amused by Kyle’s rambling tournament reports. I’m even more amused by the overblown and self-important fashion in which people feel the need to criticize him for being an elitist.

  12. @Natron- The select group of players that get rewarded are those that on average spent the most time on the game. Explain why that is bad at the professional level? Would you want to dedicate time and effort to a game that requires little to no preparation and is completely random?
    I also fail to see how calling a Southwest Airlines employee incompetent makes me elitist. That word is spammed so much, but i’m not convinced it’s needed at all. I can’t be allowed to say some one sucks at their job? I didn’t say that I could do it better.

    Thanks for the responses and keep the trolls coming! I get stronger with each one! =)

  13. @caca-there is a ub primer that i wrote and it should be up soon which is why I chose to leave it out. It includes my sideboarding plans against RUG, Caw Blade, and Boros.

  14. Elitist is a fine word. It has a specific definition and it doesn’t appreciate you trying to tell it to stop existing. JtMS? He doesn’t need to exist.

  15. It kinda amazes and even frustrates me that there are people who actually try to convince themselves that Jace is a balanced card..
    I mean, I know most TCG players don’t even understand what overpowered even implies, but come on..

  16. OK look. Every Poker deck uses 4 Aces, and they’re pretty much better than the other cards. And poker rewards skill and has tremendous replayability. So yes, a game can be good to play while being redundant.

    However Hoyle doesn’t expect players to spend $100s every few months on new cards in pursuit of a changed format, or print packs that have 15 cards you don’t want in pursuit of the few you don’t. Since flexible deck design and changing environments are so core to the appeal of Magic, then “skill-testing” hardly makes up for stale environments. Granted, cards that reward randomly winning would be worse but that doesn’t make this situation OK.

  17. There will always be a collection of cards in standard that are more powerful than the rest unless there are some serious changes. Anybody with a pulse (pun intended) could play Jund and Faeries. Is it so bad to have the best deck be something that requires skill actually pilot? How about we remove a component of caw blade and have another jace deck be the best or ban Jace himself and take away the faith in wotc.

  18. I resent the above statement. Jund and Fae actually had some sincerely skill rewarding elements. That said, in Standard being good with Fae meant you won games with 2-3 extra counters instead of 0-1 and most of the skill involved with Jund could be transferred on 2 pieces of paper: a SB plan and a deck list.

  19. @ Kyle

    You and all the other Jace owners can be so good with Jace because you have the elite privilege of testing with him, grinding with him, etc. In order to “spend the most time” with Jace, you have to own Jace. This is the barrier of entry that so many players are p*ssed off about. More people could play Jund with expertise because Bloodbraid Elf was an uncommon, and $4.00 at most, so everyone could get in their practice time. By making the best card in the format $100 and accessible only to well-to-do kids, the game becomes much more elitist.

    Elitists also tend to complain about service. It is an age-old character trait of the elitist to complain about their butler’s poor cup of tea, their carriage coach driver’s incompetence, basically anyone who serves them. These tournament reports are often chock full of complaints about “stupid” waitresses, airline employees, French hotel workers, etc.

  20. @Natron

    at first I thought your trolls were funny but then I read:

    “WotC’s excessive greed”

    which just proves you are probably some dumb humanities major with no grasp of economics or logic.

  21. @ Kyle

    I don’t just mean you about the elitist complaints about service, obviously. A lot of writers on this site do that. It’s unbecoming. Please stop. It’s unrelated to Magic. It’s more food for trolls like me.

    @ Kyle

    The poker analogy is quite good. If we were at the table and the dealer said “okay guys, everyone give me $400 just to have the chance to be dealt an ace.” You would be the guy who said “alright, sounds good, here’s my money”. Then if you won the pot with a pair of aces, you’d say it’s because you play more poker than everyone else.

  22. @ Luca

    By all means, please explain economics to me and everyone else. Perhaps you should begin with a short essay on Keynes, Marx, or Smith.

  23. I am a firm believer that the Jace haters just don’t have Jaces. Why, you might ask? Probably due to the fact that they buy packs and not good cards.

  24. LOL @ Marx and economics. The last half-century just proved how well Marx had a grasp on Econ…

    Kyle IS and elitist prick, but at least he’s an elitist who writes about Magic instead of rehashing thoughts about “a slow, spiraling descent into insanity.”

  25. I am with Natron on about 70% of his points. That’s a lot! He might be trolling, but hey at least he’s trolling for good reasons =)

  26. @s1al- I’m an elitist prick because why? I would assume that’s not your real name, but a troll behind a screen. My target audience are the haves and not the have nots. I write about big tournaments and in these tournaments it’s advised to play the best cards. Maybe between Natron and yourself that it’s possible to be civilized towards a human being and borrow some Jaces 😉

  27. [email protected] people still complaining about the availability of jace.

    If you cant get jaces for a big tournament such as a gp, your doing something wrong. Either trade up to them like so many donks at local stores do, or learn to network and borrow some. I garauntee you someone in your city has some jaces, befriend them and ask to borrow them. Trolling some writer on a website about magic because you can’t afford the cards that he’s writing about makes you look like an idiot.

  28. Most of ppl that complain about Jace, the Mind Sculptor just want to see it banned because they don’t have money to buy a playset. Jace is expensive? Too bad! Magic is an expensive game,

  29. It’s not even about it being expensive because I was able to obtain 12 Jaces for an FNM through borrowing. We are all strongly encouraged to network in the realm of tournament Magic. There are countless articles that are dedicated to trading and investing in cards and it’s quite simple to do if you are willing to put in the time.

  30. @ Kyle

    Thank you for admitting that you write for the haves, and not the have-nots. Many other writers on this site play Jace and write about it. Fine. But YOU have the audacity to assume that Jace decks “can only be piloted by a select group of players”. If you can’t understand the elitism in that statement, I don’t believe you ever will. The fish will be the last to know water. You have said people without Jace “don’t want it enough”, as though poor people just don’t want money enough.

    It would be great if this site devoted more content to people who have to play on a budget. Until then, the forums is where this issue must be discussed. We have the power to change the culture of Magic, and WotC is accountable to its customers. By defending chase mythic rares, you are allying yourself with WotC’s profit margin, and not the millions of players who want competitive Magic to be more affordable.

    Here’s a short play I just wrote called “Borrowing Jaces”:

    Working Class Magic Player: Hey, can I borrow your JTMS playset for the PTQ?

    Trust-fund Magic Kid: I’m actually playing with Jace in the PTQ, so I need them. Duh.

    WCMP: Do you know who I could borrow some Jaces from?

    TFMK: Yeah, I know a bunch of people who do, but they’re all playing in the PTQ.

    WCMP: And they’re all playing Jace?

    TFMK: Of course they are. What kind of question is that?

    WCMP: What should I do?

    TFMK: Either play Vampires or make friends with people who each have multiple playsets.

    WCMP: There are people with multiple playsets?

    TFMK: Yeah, like dealers. Since I spend $500 a month on Magic, most dealers will do me favors, like let me borrow whatever I want.

    WCMP: I bought the Into the Breach last month and a couple Scalding Tarns. Is that good enough?

    (sound of audience laugh track)


  31. @ People who don’t understand econ

    Rosewater himself has admitted that mythic rarity was introduced for profitability. Supply and demand is a pretty simple concept, people.

  32. @Natron – You are an idiot. Period. Your stupidity is so deep and pervasive that it is beyond your comprehension just to be self-aware of it.

    Jace is a powerful card but is easily killed and dealt with. He is a $100 card not only because of how good he is but because Wizards decided to stick the best card in standard in a set that was only drafted for 7 weeks and quickly went out of print.

    As for Kyle’s point about the pro’s being able to pilot caw-blade well, that is GOOD for the format. Skill SHOULD be rewarded unless you are a kool-aid-drinking Obama supporter who loves to stick it to people who work harder/smarter than your lazy ass. Jace and Caw-Blade lists reward skill through careful planning and management.

    Grow up.

  33. It’s funny that Natron tries to talk econ too. Jace is an asset. He costs 100 bucks to buy but guess what if you offload him around the time he rotates he will still be 50-60. You will lose some dollars but if you are skillful with Jace, you can win that amount back easily from winning tournaments. So the cost of Jace is irrelevant for anyone that plays regularly and with skill, even at this late stage of the game.

    And it is still quite easy to win without him. Some guy at my store has won 3 times with Kuldotha red which cost him like 40 dollars to make. He received $120 in store credit piloting a deck that takes absolutely no skill to play.

    Natron! I think I have a deck for you!

  34. @ Diogenes

    When you are factoring in “winning tournaments” to help you pay for your cards, you have a gambling problem. How far ahead are you in your winnings vs. your expenditures, personally? I want numbers. Let’s say from the last 12 months. Honesty, please. Answer me that, then tell me who’s the idiot.


  35. I can’t afford to spend over $300 on a playset of Jaces either; that’s why I bought them back when they were under $30 each. If you don’t have the foresight to see that Jace was going to be an insane card, and needed the pros to show you that, then you probably shouldn’t be playing with them in the first place. That brings me to my next point.

    When Kyle says that Jace is rewarding to a select number of players, it’s obvious that he means good players, not rich ones. Jace is clearly a much more skill-intensive card to play than a Bloodbraid Elf: After you play Jace, you have no less than five more options available whereas with Bloodbraid Elf, you play a random card off the top. Bad players could win with Jund because it was powerful and easy to play, not because it was a budget option. A bad player will have difficulty winning with a Jace deck because it is more difficult to play properly, hence why it rewards a select group.

  36. @ PhillytheKid

    Thanks for the support. The more the have-nots can have their voices heard, the better it will be for the Magic community as a whole. We need as many people to speak up as possible. EVERYONE will benefit from lower prices on the power cards. Let the rares be interesting and fun Johnny and Timmy cards. Tournament staples should be common/uncommon.

  37. Wizards is not going to be persuaded by talk to make magic less expensive. Mythics prices drive the sale of boxes.

    Just be glad that Wizards goes out of their way to make sure that there is always a competitive deck that is cheap (mono-red and quest decks can and do win FNM’s).

    Unlike Yu-Gi-Oh where every deck needs to pay like 300 bucks for a playset of “brainstorms” (aka Duality).

  38. @Natron
    They simply cannot do that, both from a business perspective (Wizards does NEED to sell these sets, whatever you say about it) and from the perspective of the limited environment. M11 draft would have been terrible if Titans and planeswalkers were available at uncommon or god forbid common.
    Jace is a bit out of control, but he’s also not that unobtainable. I own 2 copies of it and have played a deck with 4x Jace for the past year of standard. If you had a better attitude it might be easier to borrow these things.

  39. @Natron – I win about one tournament a week at least and I go to one draft and two standard tournaments. Winning Standard (or rather usually splitting top 4 or 2 since time runs out) is worth about 25-50 dollars in store credit which I use for drafts usually. Winning drafts wins 20 dollars in store credit which I use for drafts.

    I have about 200 dollars in store credit saved up and I spend at least 15 of it a week on a draft. I opened a Jace in a home draft and I bought 2 on ebay for 150. I bought one jace with all the store credit I had saved up 2 months ago. On net, I am probably slightly ahead. I only drafted for 5 months getting good enoguh to win drafts and store credit which I use to buy most of the T2 staples. I then bought 2 Jace’s online for Christmas as my main single purchase. I also borrow cards from friends.

    On net, I am probably about 300-400 dollars ahead but I am a goo dplayer and also play a lot.

    If the price of Jace isn’t a problem just play an anti-jace deck. Tons of decks can easily deal with Jace. They just can’t beat valakuut … which you would know if you played the game instead of whining. Even with Jace, Only one jace deck is 60/40 against valakuut as is the case with caw blade. Rug is a slight dog to valakuut. And EVERYTHING else loses to valakuut by 60/40.

    Jace was terrible until alara rotated and valakuut took over. He became the only thing stopping complete valakuut dominance. This is stuff you know if you actually play the game instead of whine.

    If you have a problem with money, play kuldotha red and stop whining.

  40. Well Kyle, your opinion on Jace aside. If you write stuff like the 1st couple of paragraphs of this article you invite negative feedback. So that woman was not “the most intelligent person” for giving you bad advice, but one could say the same about you for not planning your trip thoroughly. Honestly, it’s hard to feel pity for guys that write articles about how they made day two of a big event and then got drunk in a strip bar and messed up day two b/c they didn’t sleep and had a hell of a hangover, or people that don’t plan their trips and then bame others for their ‘misfortune’.

  41. I don’t care about the Jace whining. I just want to say I had a hard time following this article and the tournament report especially was rambling and nonsensical.

  42. @anyone who uses the term “excessive greed” when speaking of a for profit organization.

    This phrase has no meaning. Its like saying PV is excessively winning at magic. A company will make all decisions based on the “EVs” of those decisions. In essence every single action a company makes is “excessively greedy.” Basic knowledge of economics would then lead you to find that the more eficiently run a company is (I.E the greedier it is) the better off its customers are as a whole. So guess what this means? It means that every single action that wizards makes that you deem “excessively greedy” is actually making the average magic player happy.

    And if you wish to argue that mythics and the price of jace do not make the average player happy….well then wizards will ultimately lose money off of a decision that didnt work out. And then what is so greedy about losing money?

    As with anything understanding the fundamental concepts of economics is infinitely more important than being able to spew names like marx, smith, and keynes. I bet you’re a liberal.

  43. All of you could afford 4 jaces if you guys wanted. I mean I’m 13 years old and I pretty much own a set of every standard staple including jaces, primeval titans etc. Most of yous would be middle-class and not living in some poverty hellhole like Africa. If you guys maybe cut down on your spending a bit you guys could realistically buy it. Magic always gets an “expensive” view because of the amount of money it takes to start up. However in the long run its actually much better to buy into an expensive and good deck liek caw blade that will earn you alot of winnings through tournaments, then get rid of it near rotation for about 80% of the price instead of buying into a cheap deck like Vampires or RDW that you can probably not get rid of by roation cause nobody is after it, and you never win cause its bad. In the long run you will probably be wasting more money by buying cheap decks every rotation instead of buying into the best deck and winning with it.

  44. Also trading is a great place to look at. Brian Grewe on this site gets a lot of hate for his aritcles but his articles are actually really good. It’s also good to pick up cards in preorders like ordering batterkulls for US$5 etc. Trading really is the way to go though I mean i have a US$15 a week allowance and I manage to pick up all standard staples while I also have to pick up all my block staples for pro tour at same time. I got Jaces when they were roughly US$70 so currently if I sell them, I actually profit for them. Spending big amounts of money is actually not a loss, the loss is believing that spending little amounts of money into the game(buying vampires etc) and believing its going to save you more money. It may in the short run, but never in the long

  45. I really hope ub can benefit from the new set enough to standup to cawblade

    Also if you cant afford jaces, work a lil overtime thts how i got mine.

  46. If you are not willing to invest in the best cards to play the best decks you will not succeed in competitive Magic. No one who is not dealing cards likes that Jace costs as much as it does, but if you are actually serious about Magic then you need to save up for and/or trade up to the cards for a tier 1 deck.

  47. @ Luca

    Of course WotC’s motive is to maximize profits. But all too often, companies fail in their goal of long-term growth due to short-term greed. Look at any company that invested in mortgage-backed securities in 2007. Short-term greed f*ed them up HARD, even when everyone knew the bubble would burst. I believe WotC is doing the same thing by printing their power cards at mythic rarity. Rosewater originally said mythics “will not just be a list of each set’s most powerful tournament-level cards.” He knew that doing so would destroy Magic in the long run. He is a smart guy. Too bad he is just a designer. He also fought for the best dual-lands to be printed in uncommon. He gets it. YOU DON’T. I am not the only one who thinks mythic rarity is huge F** YOU to players. There are a million #banjace discussions that have repeated the reasonable argument that price-based barriers of entry are bad for WotC.

  48. @ Diogenes

    I see you’re still at “Step One: Denial”. I recommend finding a local GA meeting.

  49. @ Smdster

    Look at the Jund staples: BBE (uncommon), Thrinax (uncommon), Putrid Leech (common), Lightning Bolt (common), Blightning (common), Terminate (common), Bituminous (uncommon). I think it’s okay to print power cards in draft. I guess Kyle doesn’t like that they were affordable to “anyone with a pulse”. ELITISM. It’s true there weren’t good answers to Jund in constructed. But they could have printed those answers in common, no problem. I agree that Titans and Jace would be bad in common, but that’s because those cards are BROKEN and SUCK FOR THE GAME.

  50. how can you tag him as a money elitist when he’s southwesting and trying to get last minute flights on the airport and making $5 megabus rides… I mean, some moron made him waste 8 hours of his life due to incompetence, wouldn’t you be angry about such a thing?

    aside from that… he likes jace, some of us don’t, w/e… we’re not achieving anything by trolling kyle boggemes about it

    I think it should be banned and the only downside would be a lot of angry people screaming “I PAYED $400 FOR THIS YOU MF”, but w/e, they deserve it for playing jace, which is like cheating

  51. oh for f**k sake kyle, go win a tournament then you can brag about winning it “very easily”.
    about jace rewarding player with better skill, in reality it didn’t. jace only reward dealers (and players with keen sense on a card power level, in other way people who hoard it @ $30).
    i thought you have learn your lesson after “wanting it”, guess what you didn’t want to learn your lesson. you are not that good kyle so get off you high horse.

  52. Jace does win you games. Thats why there was 60 of them in the top16 of Grand Prix Dallas. Also if you think only “pros” can win with Caw Blade, why is all the regionals being swept by Caw Blade and why is its win % on modo being like 61% which is the highest compared to any deck

  53. @ zen : because mindless mass are stupid and lack imagination, the same happen with valakut titan before caw go and so on. and that is the point, jace does win you game no matter what your skill level are. it doesn’t improve your skill because this card is a fistful of card advantage and currently have no natural enemy (sometimes i miss those blightning). hope the printing of mini terastodon help to make standard format more interesting.

  54. Jace doesn’t win you games. Jace isn’t easy to play with. I bet you can’t play with Jace perfectly. Your obviously not that much of a competitive player if your not really willing to dish out for 4 Jaces. Thing is there is always a best deck. There is always a “best” for everything. Also most people have jobs and don’t have time to brew etc. They rather go with what the pros are playing. I bet if you could afford 4 Jaces you would be playing caw blade, instead you don’t so your just complaining that your disadvantaged but your actually the one who’s putting yourself in that situation. Also caw blade mirror is insanely hard and thats why the pick-up-and-go caw blade players barely ever win.

  55. @zen
    Yes i understand that travis woo wrote about you in an article and it’s kind of a big deal or w/e, but people might listen to you more if you were less patronizing. Everybody understands that jace is a powerful card, and you’re right about random forum people probably not playing jace well, but i don’t see you winning pro tours or getting paid to have people troll your articles, which means you probably don’t play it perfectly either.

    your thinly veiled racism at “kool-aid drinking obama voters” is disturbing and more suited for a rush limbaugh comment board. people would probably take you more seriously if you weren’t ignorant.

    @kyle b.
    Bravo on reaching a level of controversy and general butthurt the likes of which haven’t been seen since gerry thompson wrote for CFB. playing 4 jace the mind sculptor is the best way to win large tournaments, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it being that way. having to put forth enough effort to get 4 can be a barrier to entry, which i believe is unfortunate. also i saw you at regionals and i thought you would be taller.

    @people hating on r/b vampires
    the deck is very real. me and a friend have both recently qualified for nationals on the back of that deck. on an estimate, a group of friends and myself have profited about a grand on a deck that costs under a hundred to build. that’s a 1000% profit. you would have to win about ten grand to make the same amount of profit on cawblade.

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