Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Steam Black Friday!!!

Not mtg related...
But if you love games... You can't miss these great offers!

MTG Alter 5 : Gray Merchant of Asphodel

Mighty pleased! Since one of my pals is gunning for black devotion for this weekend's tourney....figured I complete this today. I really like the way the art went for this one... the colors take it away from its black roots. This piece was really a small break through for me... as I started to work on detailing (shadows, layering, etc) and the outcome was much much better. Getting used to the brush strokes too...will keep going =). And of course, thanks to the mighty support from my wife - who continues to spur me on!

For all of you guys:

And the original card form for my non-magic friends!

MTG Alter 4 : Boon Satyr , Fleecemane Lion

Had some spare time to attempt some work on selesnya cards =) Not too please with the lion! But having fun!

Have an order for Grey Merchant... excited! shall attempt it soon!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

#1 Building a better local MTG community.

Just read a delightful article by Melissa De Tora. It's sweet when she comments that (her mtg community) is: 
""Magic is a game that we all play but many players fail to realize that it is actually so much more than a game. I have been involved in this community for a long time and while there have been ups and downs, overall the Magic community is awesome. I have made many close friends through Magic and there isn't much I wouldn't do for them. I want to thank you guys for being awesome!

Hopefully, the same can be said for us in the future! Check it out at

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Magic Scene in Singapore

Recently, a sanctioned event (GPT Shisoska) held in CMG DG drew the ire of a some members of the community. For those of you who were not up to speed, the threads can be found at

Essentially, it was a case in which an opponent was suspected of drawing more cards than he ought to
Four to be precise. Murhur

So the matter was brought up to a judge (Ian), whom in my personal opinion...did not handle the situation adaquately. Failing to sate the desires of the reportee ( who was incidentally given a game warning too? correct me if I am wrong) , the entire situation escalated into an all out slug fest in the forums. In Ian's defence, he was a relatively new judge and a little too eager to stamp his mark. Still, the whole situation left a really sour taste in the running of the event. In the midst, it also brought out the worse of the magic scene in Singapore...and continues to showcase the horrid behind-the-scenes that continually prevent our community of players from leveling themselves up.

Having tasted the magic scene in Japan and the States... I am just so disappointed at the wasted opportunities that our local scene continues to squander. We have a reasonable fan base... a huge slew of event organisers and why do we continue to find ourselves lack-luster in the community driver arena? Vis-a-vis say countries nearer to us? Well... here are my thoughts:

  1. Collaboration is Zitsch amongst our biggest event organisers and shop owners. Being competitive is fine, that's good for us - the consumers. But it becomes silly when the major players in the scene are at open wars with each other. Name me one other event other than the GP Singapore where we saw the entire community having fun with one another? How many times have event organisers under-cut each other, copy and paste each other's a bid to simply remove each other? Instead of being communal driven, too many of them are lost in their innate hatred for each other. Yes, I understand it is a business...but when you are talking about one that depends on a striving community - it's honestly blind faith to think killing the competition is the only way out. Collaboration! That was the buzz word 10 years ago. Sigh. 
  2. Professionalism in the running of events has slowly dwindled over time. Major events must be run on an impartial manner and shop owners/organisers must make an effort to do so. Sure, I could be great friends with the organiser... but it should never give me an edge or advantage. Professionalism also runs into the administration of events. Stick to timings? do you check the deck lists? Are enough seats catered? Table numbers ordered? Event prizes in stock? Etc. When a Judge decides to keep mum over a spotted error because one of the players is his mate...that's when things are in serious contention. ( Yes, it happened to me..sigh!)
  3. Support trading. Magic is a community driven game. And it is pretty clear that Wizards tow the same line as well. Trading between players is the core of the entire experience. It invites people to be participative. It invites people to congregate. It invites people come again. And eventually, it invites people to trade and sell at your shops.
  4. Be creative. I have got to hand this to CMG Beauty World... at times they put in some of the best effort in making the scene fun and lively. Being competitive is fine, but it can be repetitive. Event organisers can really spruce things up by simply rewarding innovative play. That gets people willing to engineer new decks. Need new cards. 
  5. Be receptive to new players. This is the biggest bug-bear that differentiates the experience here and the ones I had abroad. We forget that the player base can only grow if people jump on the band wagon. Remember the feeling when our friend brought us a deck and invited us to try it first hand? That's not happening now! Kudos to Epic Gamers @ Bishan...that continues to issue out fun decks to beginners and making an effort to enlarge the community. We need that. The biggest barrier is to have the local scene crumble into having seasoned veterans facing each other over and over again. It happened 10 years ago and resulted almost in the death of our local scene as players found it hard get into the game. Wizards reworking of magic has greatly encourage new beginnings. Lets work on that! FNMs are the best starting point - reward mentoring/tutoring! 
  6. Lastly, be FRIENDLY!  We are all in this game for the fun of it. The difference between a Kiebler/Sullivan match and us is that they do remain to strike a banter, learn from each other's deck, share some tips and move on. Yes we are competitive but we can extend open friendship to one another. It isn't tough to say a nice 'Hello' and 'Good Luck' when playing. A simple handshake would suffice to end an excellent match. Being all grumpy face and sore in losing only turns the opposing player off...and there's one more player gone from the community! Understand the context of your event. If it's a simple FNM, there isn't a point to rush your opponent, critique him for his lack of patience, hide mistakes and so on. Yes, you aint under any moral obligation...but what does that do for you at the end of the day? One more booster pack?
Let me end this by saying that I LOVE our local scene for magic....but like all things Singaporean...I simply want it to be much better! For the benefit of everyone and all the wonderful people I have met during my time playing MTG. =)

MTG Alter 3 - Stormbreath Dragon

Today's attempt was a little tougher...had a little trouble with the details..but still pleased with the blending of colors for the background.

Hehe. Opened this outta a booster and thought...why not?

I'm currently offering to alter for anyone who might desire to customise their cards, for a token fee of course.This would allow me to gain some additional experience/fun in the process. If ya interested, send me a tell or email...or pm azzurias in SGcards forum and we can bring it ahead from there. =)

Monday, October 7, 2013

MTG Alter 1 : Dreadbore

So finally found the time today... And decided to go ahead to alter my 2nd piece! Was pretty pleased! Not fantastic but I like it!

So off I went to work.. And here's the step by step process!
And here is my own personalized dread bore!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Show of Valor

FNM @ Epic Gamers 29/7/13

To cap an amazing set in Theros, tonight was the first FNM that saw the play of exciting new brews. A quick scan of the meta saw a horde of aggro decks filling the table , with boros, mono w, red aggro having a party today. 

It seemed like exciting times for aggro decks, as the removal of Thragtusk, Bonfire, Jund, Blasphemous Act meant that there was only really one card that could sweep the board.

Hence I made the decision to return to my white roots- memories of haunted humans in the innistrad block still lingered. The god Heliod in particular stood out for me... And synergized well with a deck looking to load its hand out.
So I sleeved up an mono white deck that really looked like a mono white happy friends party! Consisting of Ajani, Gideon and Heliod... It gave my weenie a reasonable aggresive mid game.

Game 1 VS Mono Red Aggro
this game was mostly a race between us pumping creatures. Fiendslayer paladin held the fort and proved to be the bane of red decks. Side boarding gave me a tremendous advantage as Pacifism and Show of Valor stole the game.

Game 2 VS Big Red
This time, being ahead in the race was the key. Being able to load out quickly before an overloaded mizzium mortar kept me in rounds 2 & 3. Pacifism and show of valor stole the game again :)

Game 3 VS Boros Aggro
Met a friend for the last match up who was playing an almost identical deck except for the red splash for burn and chain to the rocks. It was really a race and banisher priest eating up each other was usually what decided the tempo of the game. I stole round 1 with a brave the elements alpha strike. Lost round 2 to a bigger board. In round 3 a side boarded gift of orzhova and frontline medic took the game. 

In a match up of attrition - I am now convinced that frontline medic is the way to go!
 The reward: sept's fnm foil! With extra goodies thanks to epic gamers!

In essence it was a fun night - although I was surprised at the absence of naya or dimir decks running around. They would have been really tough!

My mvp/cards of the day? Had to be these!

Monday, September 16, 2013

H is for hexproof and Hongkong!

After the recent success with wescoe's boros champions, I decided to return to the deck that I spent an awful lot of time with : bant hexproof. The decision was made due to the dulling of the surprise nature of burning earth - as more tri colored decks opted for a dual color approach. In addition, the rise of u/w control around the meta spooked me out of playing a creature dense aggro deck. I figured that I wanted to win, and win quickly. The addition of gladecover scout meant that hexproof had the ability to race the aggro decks and burn out much faster. Hence, it was an easy choice. 

I went 0-3 at FNM, losing all my matches. Mistakes ran all over the place as I made horrid sb decisions. Dejected, it seemed like dropping the boros deck was a bad idea. GPT Hongkong followed the day after... And feeling too lazy to sleeve up another deck, I proceeded to keep my faith in the hexxors! And like all lessons in life, sometimes you must meet defeat before you come back alot stronger.

So at GPT Hongkong, I posted my best placing ever in a main event:

And this would only be possible because of all the hard work, sparring matches and contested debates over decks with peeps like gabriel, david, Elvyn, kng and Martin. If you try, fail and try again... You will get there. :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Night Magic 16/8/20013

FNM @ Games Haven

Just a quick update on yesterday's record. Basically I pushed on with the same Boros Champs deck with a few minor editions to the main board.

-1 Thalia
-2 Doomed

+3 War Falcon

This was to give me a few more evasive bodies to give greater early pressure. The event went really well for me as I went 3-0 to grab August's FNM Promo as the prize! 
Sweet art!

Learning from my past was a night where i really got used to the tempo and amount of pressure to enforce upon my opponents. I was pleasantly surprised by the deck's performance as I went up against tough match-ups ( with rgds to play style ) and really piloted it well this time. This was probably the first FNM that left me with the feeling that I was in the game...

Round 1 VS UWR control (2-1)
Game 1: Had a good curve and good pressure...and played it as long as I could before finally folding to drawing engine. Was pretty neat as we traded back and forth for 30mins.
Game 2:  Draw into lands and the early pressure from champion and thalia forced him to wrath the board...allowing me to resolve a burning earth with threats in hand. A second burning earth and he folded.
Game 3: Kept a single land hand with champ, thalia, kog and sublime. Figured that being on the draw...i might have the time and chance to draw into lands. I did and kept the early pressure. On t4, with thalia and champ already on the board...I played sublime to bait his hand ...having drawn Burning Earth on the draw step. He duly played Supreme Verdict on 5 mana, allowing me to resolve burning earth again. From there on, a single fiendslayer paladin wrecked havoc.

Note: Just like my previous commentors suggested...learning how much is enough pressure is the key to this deck.

Round 2 VS Naya Midrange (Keibler?) (2-0)
Game 1: Saw a curve into sublime... and boom!
Game 2: Rinse and repeat. Braving the elements paved the way as i disregarded 2 Hellkites.

Note: We had a few board states where we simply stared at each other. However, slayer stronghold with a first striker proved to be painful...and brave the elements was an all-star here.

Round 3 VS 4 Colour CC (2-0)
Game 1: An early champion into thalia gave alot of pressure again. Baiting his wraths and playing threats into slayer stronghold won the game for me as he simply lack enough answers.
Game 2: Early pressure...into burning earth. Ray of revelation came in and we traded back and forth for a long period of time. Things looked bleak as nephalia drownyard brough me down to 8 cards. However, my opponent was sitting on 3 life and one card in hand...( was worried it was a Thragtusk )...I drew into KOG...swung with exalted status and he revealed a land in hand. 

Note: All stars for the night
1. Burning Earth
2. Fiendslayer Paladin
3. Thalia

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Wear and Tear at Games Day

Gamesday M14 @ Sun Island Cafe 11/8/2013

After the National Day break, it was back to playing magic! I decided to continue using Boros Champs..and added in a pair of : 
Awesome artwork!
There were a number of cards that I anticipated using this against...namely:
1. Pesky enchantments like detention sphere and oring
2. Ratchet bomb
3. Assemble the legions

So I hitched a ride from my buddy, got down to the shop...and within the first 5 minutes...went into the top 8!! So free loot due to a lack of players! This however, turned out to be my only joy of the I went into a horrid 0-3 placing! Added in to the fact that I was waylaid by a really irritating spectator.    ( note to self: Goodbye Sun Island) 

And reporting as usual:

Game 1 (1-2) : vs B/W Blood Baron Zombie midrange
Round 1 saw me stalled on a single land for 5 turns...despite pulling into 2 champions of the parish. Wasn't long before I was simply crushed by the zombies.
Round 2 saw a singular fiendslayer paladin take the game, riding on 2 slayer strongholds!
Round 3 saw the arrival of blood baron...and without any real sort of answer, my early pressure slowly dissipated and fizzed.

Game 2 (1-2): vs U/W control
Round 1: turn 2 terminus, turn 4 verdict into aetherling.
Round 2: curve into sublime - game.
Round 3: a series of azorius charms, celestrial flare, verdict and aetherling ended the game.
My sideboard was starting to feel really shaky. Burning Earth was not so stellar...

Game 3 (1-2): vs B/W/G tokens
Round 1: between thragtusk, advent of the wurm and intangible virtue..i was given the smack down!
Round 2: curve into silverblade and win!
Round 3: collective blessing resolves with a whole load of spirit tokens, VOR and thragtusk on board.

To sum it up, I had really horrid match ups today. Blood baron is something my deck cannot deal with at all cost ....and the same can really be said of aetherling. The sideboard tech of burning earth also pales when the meta decides to avoid going the tri-colours route. This has really prompted me to consider these two cards. In addition...I appeared to land flood at times..perhaps cutting 24 lands might be the proper call? Time to return to the drawing block!

At the end of the reports are to aid in my development as a competitive player. While the match-ups were fierce...I personally felt that I was relying too much on a sb plan B of burning earth to overwhelm my opponents. The meta in Sun Island was fundamentally very different to that in Gameshaven...and I ultimately didn't prepare myself. In addition, my inability to read decks that I hadn't come across cost me dearly...and U/W control returns to give me nightmares!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Return to Magic! Boros Champs!

Joe the Superstar.
Hi all from little Singapore! It's been slightly too long since my last foray back into magic. Honestly, it had quite a bit to do with myself being lost around a myriad of decks. Ever since the rotation of Honor of the Pure and Hero of Bladehold, it's been hard to find a white weenie/human deck that has buttered my interest. I have spent quite some time with naya blitz, bant hexproof and Joe here...

It was pretty solid fun times until a certain beast trampled through the jungle and laid its turd across the format:

And games just went on and on....and aggro really didn't seem to cut it so well. I found myself playing around with the naya colours for burning tree emissary...but never really felt like I stood a proper chance with the nut draw.

So after a bit of dwindling...and waiting...and feeding on Craig Wescoe's latest concoctions...(and M14 came along!)...what really got be excited was the arrival of the white power ranger.

That's right...I'm looking at you JUND.

And to top it off...M14 threw in a blind obedience on a scepter! 
Gotta love the art here!

Hence, I have been taking the time to brew some mono white human themed decks..but they never really had the reach nor the staying power. Splashing red for boros charm and some burn seemed like a good idea and I was having mixed success with a boros homebrew that ran the whole range of humans. Still it wasn't there yet.... until...this:

Boros Humans by Craig Wescoe
Finished 5th - 8th Place at 2013 World Magic Championship

Main Deck

Banisher Priest
Champion of the Parish
Doomed Traveler
Fiendslayer Paladin
Knight of Glory
Silverblade Paladin
Sublime Archangel
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Creatures [29]
Brave the Elements
Searing Spear
Spells [7]
Clifftop Retreat
11 Plains
Sacred Foundry
Slayers' Stronghold
Lands [24]
Deck Total [60]

Banisher Priest
Brave the Elements
Burning Earth
Fiend Hunter
Nearheath Pilgrim
Rest in Peace
Sideboard [15]

Click for full deck stats & notes!

Now this is the real deal!! The master of white weenies returned with a vengence and I was itching to run this immediately. Craig posted a great deal of information regarding the playstyle of this deck against the current meta and you should check it out!

And sometimes the alignment of the stars makes a deal with real life and its responsibilities....I found myself with enough time to join a local tourney on Saturday at Gameshaven! So I sleeved up the deck...had a few warm up matches with my students..and into the battle i went!

Casual Saturday Tournament @ Games Haven 3/8/2013

Game 1: VS Esper Control (2-0)
Round 1 went relatively smoothly as I simply curved into Thalia and Sublime. A miracle terminus ( as always...) took my board on turn 6 and left him 1 life. On my turn,I cast Thalia from my hand and ate a Syncopate...he was tapped out. With 4 mana open, I took the game by casting a doomed traveller, followed by activating Slayer's stronghold. Craig was right about the land.
Round 2 basically ended with a curve into Burning Earth. From there, it felt really unfair and there really wasn't much he could do without an answer for it.

Game 2: VS Bant Aggro (0-2)
Now this was a rather bad game for me. Was it a bad match up? I couldn't be too sure. Basically I got beat down on both rounds and drew either into lands...or couldn't keep up with his race. Between VOR, Loxondon Smiter and Selesnya Charm...i had a major headache!

Game 3: VS Vampires (2-0)
Took both games on the back of knight of glory and fiendslayer paladin. Despite having the stomkirk noble on T1 in round 2, he just couldn't deal with a post-board hand of 2 banisher priests and 1 fiend hunter.

Game 4: VS Grixis Control (2-1)
Now this was an awesome match up.
Round 1 saw me beating him down to 4 health, only for him to recover with Far and Away. I drew into lands and he drew in drownyards and jace...basically ending the game for me.
Round 2 saw him drawing into lands instead...when i curved into Sublime and she survived long enough to steal a was clear he didn't have removals and I went for the kill.
Round 3 was the most hilarious game of ping pong ever. He struck me early with a duress and discarded my Burning Earth. At that moment, it didn't look promising as he had also pillared an early Thalia. 

"It seems like another one of those days... the dark powers wresting control from the forces of goodness!" remarked my opponent.

I needed an out...took my turn, unkeep -draw....into:
Not once...but top decked...TWICE!
With two burning earths on the field...I took a gamble and raced him with only a silverblade on board. He stared me down with a snapcaster, I parried an attack by casting Brave the Elements on mr shiny horse and my opponent duly concede...since all his lands were non basic.

And that ends my report for my return to competitive magic! Pro tip: Watch out for Burning Earth tech... it really really hurts.

Thanks for reading!