Patriot Games

Monday, 10 November 2014

Take a bow...

Well that was a monster weekend of Magic if ever there was one.  Thank you to everyone who came along and made it an event to remember.  It was great to play cards with a lot of you again and also to meet new people and make new friends.

Breakfast of champions at the Banker's Draft (these guys all made day 2)

So lets have a look at the final score board and see who is this year's Steel City Patriots team:

  • Oliver Frith (34 Points)
  • Ian Richardson (33 Points)
  • Sam-luca Rolph (30 Points)
  • Lino Burgold (29 Points)
  • Jimmy Wild (28 Points)
  • Thomas Hogg (28 Points)
  • Michael Boon (27 Points)
  • Dan Cocking (27 Points)
  • Jon Potts (26 Points)
  • Steven Pickles (25 Points)
  • Matthew Rigall (22 Points)
  • Gideon Hamlett (22 Points)
  • Michael Radford (19 Points)
  • Dave Bradburn (18 Points)
  • Russell Clarke (18 Points)
  • Theo DeBray (15 Points)
Congratulations and a massive well done to all of the top 16 and especially to the top 6. That looks like a strong team for the next 12 months and I expect great things from them.  As we know Sam is already on his way to the Pro Tour and Lino has been there before.  Also a special congratulations has to go to Mike Boon; he has made it to the top 6 for the last 2 years and has just missed it again this year - well done that man, I'm sure you will be back on top next time!  Everyone in the top 16 auto qualifies for next years event.

Another big thank you goes to Alfred Bellinger for judging all weekend.  The invitational is designed to be a gruelling 2 day event that saps you as a player both physically and mentally.  This is even more a thing for the judge who has to keep a close eye on all the proceedings.

The other big thank you goes to Jim, Justin and Salliee for working long hours and giving us a venue to run the event in; your efforts are greatly appreciated by everyone involved.

Really wished I had a few of these this weekend...

I will be talking to Jim and seeing what we are doing with regards Invitational Qualifiers for the year and look forward to letting you all know about that soon.  

Lastly, but by no means least this coming weekend is the MTG worlds and as well as looking forward to all the action we can also look forward to the much anticipated announcement about next years May set - will we see Modern Masters 2?  We will find out this weekend.

More Magic players doing their second favourite thing - talking about MTG in the pub!

Friday, 7 November 2014

Forward Command

I don't actually like the name commander.  The format is Elder Dragon Highlander (EDH) not "commander".  The name change is an attempt to re-brand and redesign something which is not theirs and by doing so take control of it and make it into what Wizards/HASBRO want it to be.

This is my general, he is the leader of legions!

As you may well know the new commander decks are out today.  Each mono coloured deck has a brand new planeswalker in them which for the first time ever can be used as your commander.  Each deck seems solid and playable out of the box with some great cards like Titans, Wurmcoil Engine, Sol Ring (of course), Abyssal Persecutor, Black Suns Zenith, Goblin Welder, Beastmaster ascension, Elves and Rampaging baloths to mention just a few.  However, this goes to prove my initial point about Wizards and EDH - Planeswalker commanders; not really got the feel of being right in a format called Elder Dragon Highlander...

Great Planeswalker less so as a General.

Fortunately the whole concept of using planeswalkers as commanders is just bad.  You are going to struggle to win the game via general damage if you have one of these as your boss.  They also enter the battlefield as a fairly squishy permanent which should be easy to destroy.

The 2014 Patriot Games Sheffield Magic Invitational is running all weekend but this will only be relevant for 16 people on the Sunday so we are running a Commander side event.  From 11am the will be pods of 4 EDH multiplayer games going off.  If you have one of the new decks you will be put up against people also playing them.  If you want to bring your own constructed EDH deck that's cool we will have pods of that too with some promos for everyone!  All this is free of charge!

Also there is a fantastic article about what EDH is really about on the mother-ship here. Mike Boon you need to read this!
Good luck to everyone at the invitational - see you there.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Final Preparations...

Apologies that this is a day late but I couldn't get it to you before I got it myself (if that makes any sense at all)…

Firstly we need to look at times.  Registration for day one will be open from 10am on Saturday 8th November 2014.  All players should be sitting down ready to get product by 10:30am.  The boosters you open will not be the boosters you play with.  You will have 20 minutes to open the boosters and record their contents on the supplied form before handing them back in to a Judge.  You will then be given a set of cards to build a deck with and you will have 30 minutes to do this.  Please be careful when doing this as errors can result in warnings and game losses.You will also need to provide a deck list for your standard deck.

On Sunday 9th November 2014 the top 16 will need to be at the shop for 11am as this is when registration opens and it will close at 11:15!  This should not be a problem as the top 16 will know who they are and all we have to do is confirm their presence.  You will need to bring a deck list for your Modern deck.

As you are no doubt aware in the past the top 6 of the Sheffield Patriot invitational have received items of clothing and a sponsorship deal to cover the cost of entry to PTQs etc.  However, Wizards of the Coast have changed the way that the whole road to the pro tour is taking place and this has necessitated a change in the way the top 6 players are rewarded.  So without further ado here is what the top 6 will now get:

  • Steel City Patriots Hoody.
  • Steel City Patriots T-Shirt.
  • Exclusive (only 6 made) Invitational 2014 tote bag.
  • Exclusive (only 6 made) Invitational 2014 play mat.
  • Free entry to all Patriot Games Sheffield PPTQs for the next 12 months.
  • Scaling booster prize support based on number of attendees.

Hang on a second there’s a bit more. Second and third place will also get a copy of From the Vaults: Annihilation.  The person who wins it all and comes first will get a copy of From the Vaults: Twenty!

This does not mean that the sponsorship deal is gone forever.  As with so many things we need to see what happens in regards to the new PPTQ/RPTQ system and how many people attend, costs etc. before a truly informed decision can be made.

One last thing before I go.  For those who don’t make it to the top 16 there will be a commander side event on the Sunday using the new mono coloured commander decks which come out this Friday.  I will have full details of this up on Friday.

Only 3 days to go!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Written Invitation

I feel very lucky; I have got to play a lot of cards and clix in the last week.  I did my first Conspiracy draft – I loved the format and the interaction of the Conspiracies but felt that the cards in the set were a little lacklustre and I felt this was an opportunity to reprint a lot of good legacy and modern cards which has been missed.  The dethrone mechanic is great and causes some interesting decisions.

This guy did a lot of work for me in Conspiracy...

I've also had the chance to draft Modern Masters again and I have to admit for the first time not draft it for “value” as none of the cards were mine.  It is a great draft set and you wish that conspiracy was as good.  I drafted a Fairy/Dinosaur deck and ruled the skies with my abundance of fliers and ground based fatties.

...and this guy was great in Modern Masters.

But I am guessing you did not come here to hear about what I drafted in the last week right?  You want to know about the invitational don’t you?  Ok then let’s get this done then.  I can now confirm that the price will be £25 and this will be the only cost to you regardless of where you get to in the competition.  AT the end of day one anyone who has not made the top 16 will get 2 boosters in prize support and a promo of some description subject to availability.  The person who comes 17th will receive 3 boosters in prize support as well as a promo as they came “so close”.

The top 16 will come back for day 2 which will include 4 rounds of Modern followed by a Khans of Tarkir booster draft in 2 pods of 8.  The pods will be based on the standings at that point.  Players who come between 16 – 9 will receive an additional 3 boosters in prize support.  Players who come in the top 8 will receive a number of boosters which will scale dependent on the number of players who participate.

KHAN!!!!! Sorry had to do that.

The top 6 players will become the Steel City Patriots team for 2014 – 2015.  In the past the team’s entry to Pro Tour Qualifiers and Grand Prix has been covered by a sponsorship deal for the top 6.  However, as I am sure you are aware; from February 2015 there is a dramatic change to the PTQ system with shops being able to run 1 PPTQ each season with the winner in each case qualifying to play in a Regional PTQ (which will be free to enter).  I don’t think there is a Magic player in the country that has not crunched the numbers and knows that there could possibly be 5 PPTQs every Saturday and Sunday with a massive variance at the moment with regards to price.  It is not possible for Patriot Games to cover PPTQs in the same way as it did PTQs as the cost would be excessive (in the region of £6,000)!  We are looking at other alternatives for the team prize and will let you know what we have decided in this handy dandy blog thingy next week.

The regional PTQ promo.

There is one more piece of information I need to let you know before I go.  I had a number of messages through Face Book from people wanting to be a part of the invitational who had not got invites.  As we have not been able to run any qualifiers this year, as I mentioned this week, the players who have got invites have done so due to regularly turning up or because they have done something significant with regards to Magic in Sheffield; Mike Radford once gave us 2 funky boosters to use in a chaos draft and that pretty much got him invites for life.  This year 3 members of the auto invite top 16 from last year are unable to attend for various reasons and have graciously offered their spots up to others (thanks Lee Parker, James Brook and Quinton Lip).  As a result I am very pleased to announce the following players are now invited;

  • Lino Lurgold
  • James Platten
  • Michael Kelly

These are the only changes to the list published last week.  There may well be other deserving players out there but a line has to be drawn and this is where we draw it for this year.  I look forward to seeing you all in less than 2 weeks.  Final details with regards times etc. will be in next week’s blog.

Monday, 20 October 2014

You are cordially invited...

I haven’t been here for a while.  I shut up shop on this blog on July 5th 2013 with no intention of returning.  I am glad to see that despite my absence we have had another 5,000 hits since I stopped working on it last year.

This guy was in standard last time I did this...

I am also very aware that a lot of you will be going “who is this guy?” as you have started to play in the last 18 months and have quite possibly never met me.  In answer to that question let me just say I am a guy who has a lot of awesome friends who play magic, some of them are even quite good at it.  At one point I had a lot to do with running MTG in Sheffield and that seemed to go quite well.

The other question which I need to answer as it was asked several times over the past weekend – “So is this you back playing Magic?”  Well not exactly.  I have played games day over the last weekend and enjoyed it managing to come 8th both days with my slightly powered up event deck and enjoyed the games despite my numerous play mistakes and that I ended up with only 22 lands in my deck on Sunday (DOH)!  You won’t be seeing me at PTQs, PPTQs or FNM each Friday (although if Mark Smith will have me it would be good to get the 2HG team back together again).  However, I may drop in for an hour or 2 to play some EDH when I have the time.

Apparently this guy is still not banned in legacy...

So why resurrect a sleeping blog?  Well it seemed the best way to talk about something I hope you are going to be excited about; the Patriot Sheffield Magic Invitational!  Two years ago we held the inaugural one of these and it was a great success.  Last year we had another and that went pretty well too. 

For the uninitiated the Invitational is a special tournament over a weekend, in this case the weekend of 8th – 9th November 2014, where a selection of Magic players in Sheffield are invited to compete to win one of the places on the official Steel City Patriots Magic Team.  On the Saturday there will be 4 rounds of sealed deck play using Khan’s of Tarkir products, followed by 4 rounds of Standard constructed play.  When the scores have been tallied the top 16 will be invited back to play day 2 with 4 rounds of modern followed by 3 rounds of draft and the crowning of the winners.

And Rosewater thought this was a good idea to put back in Standard!

So here is the list of players for the 2014 Patriot Games Sheffield invitational:


This list has been put together by a panel and represents a cross section of the players in Sheffield.  We have a limited number of places and the top 16 from last year along with a number of others auto-qualify.  This year in the same way that the first invitational was run, people have been invited due to their services to Sheffield magic play as it has not been possible to run any qualifying events in 2014.  Hopefully next year we will have some qualifiers again.

Apologies for any dodgy spelling, names were taken from the FNM record books and may not be 100% accurate.  I will have more details for you next week, till then feel free to message me/shout at me on face book.

Friday, 5 July 2013

So long and thanks for all the Merfolk!

I'm sorry there has been no updates to the blog for the last few weeks but I have been very busy with non-magic related things and just not had any time to update it.  There are a number of things which I have to go through and the first of them is this.  On 22nd June we had an Invitational Qualifier where 8 more people qualified for the invitational in October.  Here are the names of those who were successful;

Richard Fuller
Jimmy Wild
Sam Waters 
Ian Picker
Sean Crowley
Thomas Hogg
Matthew Riggall
Steven Pickles

They will be added to the already qualified taking the number to those with invites to 42.  Only 18 more slots to go with 8 of them being up at the final qualifier in September.

I wrote the above a few days ago and things have changed for me since then.  Last year I was fed up and disillusioned with Magic (Delver of Secrets anyone?) and was at the point of giving up.  Following a post I made on facebook to that effect we ended up creating FNM Relax and Elite and that seems to have turned out pretty well.  We also came up with the invitational and the qualifiers to be run this year and that has worked out pretty well too.

However, I was still very aware that I had already reached a point where I would be happy to hang up my cards and walk away from Magic but the fact that it has been something over the last 4 years that Robert and I have done together kept me playing.  As some of you may know Robert has decided to give up Magic and sell all his cards for mostly financial reasons and this turn of events has given me the excuse to do the same.

As a result I am currently in the process of listing a lot of cards and finding out how much they are worth (currently at $7,500 and still a long way to go for me).  Neither of us are really interested in selling things in bits and pieces and we are looking to sell our whole collections to a person or group (if you are interested offers around the £3,000 mark will be considered as my collection seems to be worth in excess of £6,000 - pm me on facebook (instalment plans are possible) and we will talk).

I might have continued to play for a few weeks but with FNM being draft this week and then pre-release next week it seems the best time to stop playing as I really don't want to buy any more cards!

Today is the first anniversary of this blog and we are just over 11,000 hits over the last 12 months which seems pretty cool, I am hoping that someone else might take up the mantle of doing the blog but it will have to move to a new URL as this is tied into my e-mail address.  Thank you all for your support over the last 12 months and making FNM Relax and Sheffield Magic very much a "Thing".  I have had some great time and I fully intend to continue going down the pub on a Friday with you all as I will still be around just not playing Magic at all.

Mark Smith will be taking over the running of FNM Relax as of today as he has done on the few occasions when I have been unable to attend for some reason.  I am truly thankful for all the great friends I have made through Magic and I wish you all the very best in the future - Go wreck 'em dead.

Richard Tinsley 5th July 2013

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Now the Dust has settled

Well that was quite a weekend.  3 Days of Modern Masters (MM) drafts with a fair smattering of Goyfs  opened.  It was a great, fun, format but I don't think I ever got the hang of it and there was too many cards that I went "Oh yeah I want one of those" to really draft properly.

Magic the Gathering is an arms race.  It doesn't matter which format you play; having the most efficient deck with a variety of win conditions and the best card advantage is always the way to go.  Modern Masters has enabled a few more players to get better in Modern by filling in the gaps in their modern collection.  Sadly I don't think it will make any more players play Modern as the cards will just become fantastic trade fodder to those who play standard to get more powerful weapons off of the people who already play Modern and wish to win their own personal arms race.

The most notable thing is that the modern staples NOT in MM have gone up in price as Internet traders are keen to sell the hardest to get cards at greater profit.

Now at $29.99...

On the subject of prices I think the whole Sheffield MTG community would like to say thank you to Jim Freeman and Paul Moore for giving us a great price point for the MM drafts.  Also a big thank you to Justin for coming in early on Friday and running the drafts for us on Friday and Saturday.  Experienced as I am with organised play I know that getting MTG players to do as they are told is slightly more difficult than herding cats.

This ones for you Justin!

 So MM has been and gone and M14 is not quite with us yet.  However the Sheffield Magic bus doesn't rest for a second as on Saturday 22nd June 2013 is the next Patriot Sheffield Invitational Qualifier.

Lets just have a quick recap of who is already on the list of people with invitations;

Robert Tinsley
Andrew Mather
Daniel Cocking
Andy Sims
Mike Boon
Patrick Bateman
John Roberts
James Brook
Diarmuid Verrier
Grzegorz Flis
Fabian Quinn
Stephen Kay
Richard Tinsley
Adam Pollard
Matt Cooper
Owen Debenham 
Matteo Orsini Jones
Steve McAleer
Joe Alexander
John Kay
Chris Parks
Michael Shillitoe
Alistair Kennedy
Andrew Munro
Quinton Lip
Oliver Frith
Ben Pearson
Jordan Woodward
Declan Jones
Lai Chi Yin
Dom Parker
Sam-Luca Rolf
Paul Calver
Luke Southworth

Another 8 places will be decided between the Standard and Swiss tournaments on Saturday 22nd June 2013, leaving only 18 places remaining to be filled.  For those of you who don't know how the Invitational Qualifiers work here is the break down:

There are 2 tournaments - Standard at 10:30 and Modern at 12:30, £5 entry with 2 boosters in the prize pool per person.  The top 4 from each event will earn themselves an Invite to the invitational in October 2013 and the chance to become members of the Steel City Patriots Team 2014.  

Invites will cascade down if those already qualified are in the top 4.  Hopefully I will be back next week if not sooner with more meandering insight into Magic the Gathering.

Random Cryptic Command picture...

FNM Relax will be pauper this week so I expect to see some of those MM commons turning up and the other FNM will be Standard and not block as previously advertised.