Friday, September 23, 2011


There are various formats for playing magic the gathering.
The ones that are used on official tournaments are divided in two categories: Constructed and Limited


In Constructed we have six different formats: Vintage, Legacy, Modern, Extended, Standard and Block Constructed.

All of this shares the four-of-a-kind rule (you can only have a maximum of four copies of the same card in one deck, except basic lands that you can any number of them) and the minimum of sixty cards per deck.

Vintage: Vintage is one of the eternal formats. In this format all legal expansion sets are permitted.
Vintage has a banned card list for cards that use ante, sub-games and manual dexterity. In vintage the cards that are too powerful aren't banned but instead restricted, any deck can only have one copy of a restricted card instead of four.

Legacy: Legacy is also a eternal format, and all expansions are permitted like in Vintage. The different between this two formats is that in Legacy cards are banned because their power instead of just restricted.

Modern: This is the newest format, created by Wizards of the Coast in the Spring of 2011. It allows cards from the 8th edition expansion core set and all sets printed afterwards. Like in Legacy cards are banned for power reasons on Modern.

Extended: This format consists of the last four years of block rotations and core sets. With each autumn set release, one year's worth of sets rotate out of the format. Any additional sets released between rotations are automatically added to this format's card pool. The current Extended rotation consists of the Scars of Mirrodin, Lorwyn-Shadowmoor, Shards of Alara, Zendikar, Magic 2010, Magic 2011 core sets.

Standard: This format is the most widely played in magic the gathering. It consists of the latest core set released and the two latest blocks. One exception for this is in the time between the release of the Magic core set on early summer and the rotation two core sets are permitted. "Rotation" occurs every fall when the first set of the new "Block" releases and becomes Standard Legal. For now (before the release of Innistrad) the Standard set includes Magic 2011 and Magic 2012 core sets and the Zendikar and Scars of Mirrodin blocks.

Block Constructed: In this format the only cards permitted are basic lands and the cards from the most recent block. The most recent block is the Scars of Mirrodin block and it includes the Scars of Mirrodin, Mirrodin Besieged and New Phyrexia expansion sets.


Sealed: In sealed each player receives a number of boosters (usually six), open them and create a deck with those cards and any number of basic lands. There are no limit to the number of copies of each card and the minimum number of cards in the deck are forty.

Booster Draft: In booster drafts several players (usually around eight) sits at a table and receives three booster packs each. Each of them opens the first of their boosters and chooses one card from it and then passes the fourteen remaining cards to the left. Them each player chooses another card from the fourteen that he receive from the player to their right and passes the remaining to their left. This continues until there are no cards remaining, them each player opens the second booster and does the same has the first with the difference that this time the players pass it to their rigth instead. The third booster is passed to their left.
Then each player creates a deck with the cards he drafted and any basic lands he wants.

This are the "official" formats of magic, there are much more ways of playing it that where invented by the players and can be even more fun.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Well once more we arrive to that time of the year in which a new set of magic the gathering is released.

Innistrad is the name of it and it's main theme is horror stories, so we are going to see many werewolfs, vampires, ghost, zombies, etc in this expansion.

Now let's get to the things that affect the game itself.

This mechanic already exists in magic the gathering and it's returning in the Innistrad set.
The experienced magic players already know what flashback means but I'm going to explain anyway.
Flashback is a mechanic that can only appears in instant or sorceries and basically the only thing it does is giving you the opportunity to cast that instant/sorcery from the graveyard, after that it is exiled so it's like you can cast the card two times (one from your hand and one from the graveyard).
Here is a example of a card with flashback. Has you can see the flashback cost (the cost to cast this card when it is in the graveyard) is two black mana and five colorless mana, if you have enough mana you can even cast it from your hand and then cast it again from the graveyard getting four 2/2 black zombies in the same turn.           


Now that we covered flashback let's talk about the new mechanics making their first appearance in magic.


What is an horror themed set without a matching mechanic. When a card has the morbid word on it it means that the effect after that word only can happen if some creature died this turn.
Here we see a simple morbid effect. When Hollowhenge Scavenger enters the battlefield and if a creature died in the turn it enters then you gain five life.


When a creature has some ability that makes it fight with another creature then each of the fighting creatures does damage equal to it's power to the other.
This is not combat so the creatures are not tapped and abilities like first strike, double strike have no effect. However abilities that rely on damage being dealt (deathtouch, lifelink, infect...) still work because the fight causes each creature to do damage to the other creature.

Here is a mean werewolf that you can put in a fight against an opponent creature if you pay one red mana and tap the Nightfall Predator.


This is not a mechanic but a new type of card. You remember what auras are right? You enchant a creature with them. Well curses are work exactly the same except that their target is a player and not a creature.

Has you can see this curses makes the opponent put the two top cards of is library in the graveyard at the beginning of their turn.

And now we finally arrive to the explosive new concept that Innistrad brings to the table

Double-faced Cards

Yes it's exactly what you are thinking, a card that in the back has another card.
Let's explain it. The double-faced cards have the front face (marked by a sun symbol) that is a normal card, has the mana cost to play, etc, etc. The back face (marked by a moon symbol) doesn't have the mana cost but has a dot in the name line that indicates the color of that card when its back is facing up.
A double-faced card that is anywhere except the battlefield is always counted has the front face up.
Every double-faced card has one or more effect that transforms it. When you transform such a card you simply turn it with the other face up and while it's in that position it functions like the face that it's down doesn't existed.

Here is an example so that you can understand it better.

When this card is facing up it's a human werewolf named Gatstaf Shepherd with 2/2. Then if no spells were cast in the last turn it transforms in a werewolf named Gatstaf Howler with 3/3 and intimidate. In a future turn if a player cast two or more spells it transforms back to the Gatstaf Shepherd.
Now some new rules to play with double-faced cards. If you play with opaque sleeves (a practice I strongly recommend because it protects your cards from getting dirty and wearing-off) then it's simple, you put the card with the front face showing and when it transforms you take it off the sleeve and turn it with the back face showing.

If for some reason you don't play with sleeves then you are oblige to use the checklist.

The checklist is a card with a regular magic back so when it is in your library or in your hand it functions like a normal card (meaning that you can see what card it's by the back face). To use the checklist you simply mark it in the circle next to the card that you want it to substitute and you put it in your deck has normal. When the card is in your library, your hand or exiled face down you use the checklist, when it's in the battlefield, the stack or exiled face up you use the double-faced card.

This is sort of a summary of the rules to the double-faced cards. If you want to have a insight of the official rules then here is the link to them

Innistrad is almost here. The pre-releases are on 24 and 25 September and the official release of this new set is on 30 September. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I'm back

My blog pause was big but now I'm back and I have many interesting things to talk about.

For instance, the new Magic the Gathering expansion (Innistrad) is going to released this month and it brings something new that was never seen before in magic.

Also I have bought a new deck, but it's not a "normal" deck, it's a Commander deck. I'm going to explain the difference in a future post.

In the next few posts I'm gonna talk about Commander and Innistrad.

Here is a spoiler of the new "thing" Innistrad brings to the table.

Stay tuned.