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Custom Card Creation: A Guide to Playtesting

If I had to name one thing which I believe is undervalued and underused in the mtg custom card community it would be playtesting.
I’ve seen dozens of talented designers create and iterate on great designs for mechanics, duel deck and whole sets. But when asked what playtesting has been done all to often the answer is “very little.” I understand why this is, playtesting is hard, time consuming and it isn’t exciting like creating the next cool card. This is then exacerbated by the difficulties of getting  lots of players together and a lack of step by step resources on how organize these playtests.

In this guide I’m going to run step by step on how to coordinate your own both physical or online playtest sessions so you can improve your custom card designs. Read More →

Battle For Zendikar Card Discussions: Part 1

Battle for Zedikar spoiler season has begun and all of us here at The Gray Merchants are loving it. A ton of exciting cards were shown at PAX and other places over recently so we thought we would share our opinions about them and what predictions we have for them in MtG’s future.

Lets start off with some short introductions:
Reuben: I’m a Timmy/Spike player and custom card creator who loves looking at the subtle ways the limited environments and individual cool cards are designed. Spoiler Season for me always has me looking at what themes and systems are underlying the set as well as how they integrate those with great vorthos flavor.
Molly: I’m a Spike through and through who enjoys aggressively costed, ridiculously powerful cards (who doesn’t!). For me it’s all about the win and whether a card will get me there. I do however really love the flavour that R&D imbues in sets and am super keen for Zendikar since I started playing right after we last visited.
Simon: I’m a Spike who loves limited, with Sealed being my favourite format. The commons and uncommons are the spoilers I look forward to most, and love to see what interactions will come up in draft.
Sean: I’ve been a Spike since I opened my first Guildpact booster many years ago, though that doesn’t mean my mastery of Magic cards is anything to write home about. I’m a great lover of Lightning Bolts, eternal formats and the Jeskai colour combination, and throughout Battle for Zendikar spoiler season I’ll be primarily looking at cards in the context of Modern and Legacy.

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7 Point Highlander – An Introduction

Shortly after moving to Australia I was introduced to the wonderfully deep format of 7 Point Highlander (Hereafter 7PH). Having never heard of this format before, I quickly fell in love with it and now that I’ve learnt a lot more about it, wish to share this with the world.

The premise is simple; 60 card decks with 15 card sideboards with no card appearing more than once other than basic lands or a card that explicitly says it can such as Relentless Rats.
So far it seems like a more competitive version of Commander, but the big difference is in the title. Instead of a Banned list, any card that is legal in Vintage is legal in 7PH with decks not allowed to have any more than 7 points worth of cards between the main and sideboard. Due to the singleton nature and the points restriction, this format is less powerful than either Vintage or Legacy but is more powerful than Modern. Read More →

This Month in Legacy (August 2015)

Hello once again! We’ve had quite a month of Legacy recently, with two major events occurring – the SCG Open in Washington, DC and the Legacy Championship – so we’ve got a lot of data to scour through and a lot of new innovations to look at from those two large tournaments. The SCG Invitational in New Jersey also featured a Legacy component, with some interesting lists from there as well. Not to mention there’s been some interesting pieces of technology on both Magic Online and paper tournaments, per usual. Read More →

Building a Better Sealed

One of the most consistent complaints I hear about any form of magic is that Sealed is too luck based. If you open well, you will win and if you have a bad pool, there’s nothing you can do. While this can help or hinder your chances of doing well, I strongly believe a strong finish in sealed is better influenced by knowledge of the format, and in fact demands a very different skillset to that of Draft or Constructed. Read More →

Custom Card Creation: Dreamscape Overview

A Reddit Occurrence

For those of you who have listened to my podcast or seen me post on the MTGsalvation forums, you may know that I’ve been working on a custom MtG card set called Dreamscape for the last 6-8 months. This is a full 255 card large set designed for limited play and a hypothetical standard environment. I’ve been hosting physical playtest drafts using sleeved proxies to create booster packs as well as doing online sealed events using Cockatrice and Webdrafter. Read More →

This Month in Legacy (July 2015)

Hello once again! Another month has gone by, and therefore there is another This Month in Legacy to be looked at! This month was very important because the second, and last, Legacy GP of the year has gone by. GP Lille was an excellent spectacle of new Legacy technology, proving to everyone that Dig Through Time is indeed strong, but there are a lot of powerful and unique things you can be doing to attack the metagame. And since it occurred at the beginning of the month, we have a lot of data from subsequent weeks to see how it has shaped the metagame. We also have a new set that has been released, Magic Origins, and with it some interesting new cards to play with. We’ll go through all that in a moment. For now, some statistics!

Firstly we’ll look at the composition of GP Lille down to the Top 16.

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Magic: The Travelling

Play the game, see the convention centres.

That certainly doesn’t have to be the case – it can absolutely be more like the original tagline from WotC – Play the game, see the world, this however was not such a trip. Read More →

Limited PPTQ Report 05/07/15

As someone who was a fairly regular grinder for the Standard PPTQs earlier this year, I was looking forward to the upcoming Modern season. However, the schedule soon revealed that all the closest PPTQs were Sealed. All the modern ones were in the near country or in the East/South East suburbs. Drat.

Anyway, I felt obligated to give the PPTQ at my local LGS a go as my Sundays were usually pretty quiet. A friend coming down from Ballarat to spectate managed to give me a lift there. For a 10:00 am start, when we walked in at 9:40 the attendance seemed a bit bare. Two others apart from the store and judging staff were present. Everyone was hoping that alot more would show up by the start time, but only a few more managed to trickle in. At about 6-7 players there was a good risk that the event wouldn’t run, so we manage to convince my friend to join in. Read More →