Patriot Games

Monday, 27 June 2016

Bad Eldrich Moon Rising

"I see a bad moon rising.

I see trouble on the way.
I see earthquakes and lightnin'.
I see bad times today.

Don't go around tonight, 
Well it's bound to take your life, 
There's a bad moon on the rise."

John.C.Fogerty 1969

Since the announcement that set 2 of the Shadows over Innistrad was too be called Eldrich Moon I have had this song associate itself with the title in my head.  I saw the spoilers for Emrakul, the Promised end last week and was excited for what we would get today; and I have not been disappointed.

More Avacyn combs her hair angels return but something is very wrong...

Madness and Delirium make a welcome return as mechanics but now they are joined by Emerge, Escalate and Meld.  Emerge is an alternative costing which can be paid when you sacrifice a card already in play to get a double discount on the spell like so:

So if I sacrifice a creature with converted mana cost of 4 Wretched Gryff costs me U1.  This has great potential for limited where those 2 mana bears can still be of use late game, especially when you are manna screwed.

Escalate allows you to choose more options for a card with several different modes by paying 2 more mana for each mode;

Always going to be option number 3.

The meld mechanic looks really fun - own and control two specific permanents, exile them and BANG they come back as a whole new bad ass, like so;

Just add Gisela above and cook on gas mark 4 for 30 seconds.

Congratulations its a beautiful abomination!

I love the idea of the two cards flipping and joining them together - they did this for promos in Vs years ago and it looked really cool when both halves were out.  All of this is covered over on the mother ship in video detail here.

Meanwhile back at Friday Night Magic - I enjoyed the draft last week and look forward to playing Standard this Friday with some form of UG Eldrazi death machine.  I have been talking to people and listening to what they would like to see as part of future FNMs.  So as part of that for those who would like to come down early we will be playing some casual EDH games from 4.30 this Friday before the main event of FNM starts sign-ups at 6pm.  We will of course have the usual Standard, Modern and Draft options available.

See you all on Friday and Wreck em Dead!

Monday, 20 June 2016

A Return to Arms.

I find myself slightly confused as I sit here writing this.  It has been a long time (I last wrote a piece in November 2014 following the 2014 invitational) and it all has the feeling of a beloved winter coat that got too small for me and I now find that I can once again wear it comfortably.  It feels both familiar and strange at the same time; like an alien landscape on a far away planet filled with familiar things.

Wait, what? Emrakul is on Innistrad?  Oh yeah someone told me at Shadows pre-release...

So let me give you a quick history lesson and then explain why I am "back".  Way back in June 2012 Sheffield Magic the Gathering was not in a good place.  FNM had become very cut throat and numbers had dwindled to virtually nothing as we struggled to get 6 people on a Friday night.  There was a long discussion thread on Facebook, I upset people, Wizards of the Coast saw it and rang Jim.  I came up with the idea of running more than one FNM, people said I was nuts as we couldn't get one to fire let alone two.  I did it anyway, FNM relax and Elite were born, Relax was a great success.  I approached Jim and Paul with the idea of running an Invitational tournament over a whole weekend, that went pretty well too.  We tried different ideas for Relax: some worked (2 Headed Giant, Relax Draft) some didn't (Relaxed Legacy - we really tried though).

I still love this guy...

On the 5th of July 2013 I quit Magic following my son's departure and that should have been that.  In June 2014 I found out that I was to be a father once again!  I would then discover that we were having a boy and I thought of all the hours and hours that Rob and I had spent playing Magic and the great people we had met and become friends with so I decided to get some MTG cards again and played in Khans pre-release to get me some of those sweet fetch lands as reacquiring my favourite EDH decks.  In January 2015 my son James was born.  I've not had a great deal of time for anything since then.

A few months ago following some chest pains I found that I am not very well; I have a heart condition which is still being investigated, high blood pressure and Diabetes.  One of the things I wanted to do was get back to playing some Magic so I have Friday nights off to come to FNM.  As Ian has gone off to Shanghai I will be getting back together with my old comrade Mark Smith to bring you FNM each week.

I will also be looking at how we can improve what we are doing and try out new things.  I am really interested in getting feedback from the people who come and play about what they like.  I am also really looking forward to catching up with old friends as well as making new ones.

So I will see you all this Friday where we have Standard, Modern and Draft available as FNM options and don't forget this Saturday is the Bring Your Own Boosters PPTQ at Patriot starting at 10am, full details can be found here.

See you all on Friday and Go wreck 'em dead.

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.