Posts Tagged ‘pPTQ’

This week in Magic: Your first pPTQ!

pptq 1112015


Welcome to another edition of “This week in Magic.” For this week, we’re going to cover the upcoming pPTQ that will be hosted at the Battleground Games & Hobbies – Abington location on Sunday, January 11. With these major events opening up to local game stores, the idea is that many new players will be making their first appearances at a competitive REL event.


First of all, when I speak of “Competitive REL,” what I’m trying to say is that you’re not a FNM anymore. This is the big leagues and you better be on top of your game. There is no such thing as “Can I take that back?” You’ve got to live with the consequences of your actions. However, don’t let this scare you into never attending a competitive REL event. We all had to make our first appearances. That’s what friends are for, and, hopefully, this article will help you be ready and be confident at whatever event you attend.


Pencil and paper

When I attend an FNM, the most common way many people keep life is with dice. The is completely fine at an FNM, but if you go to the pPTQ on Sunday, I highly recommend bringing a pen and some paper to write on. There are many things that can go wrong, and keeping life total is something you want to make sure NEVER goes wrong. It’s happened to everyone. Don’t be afraid to confirm that both players are looking at the correct, current life totals. There is nothing worse than attacking all out and your opponent contesting that your life count is different from theirs when resolving damage.


Also, get in the habit of making a small note as to what caused the damage. There is no such thing as being too prepared. Unfortunately, there are people out there who try to shortcut things and this, sometimes, can lead to cheating. As long as you’re aware of what’s going on in the game, you’ll be fine.


Buy some new sleeves

My personal pet peeve is dirty sleeves. I’m looking at you Ken Briscoe. At these events, expect to spend money on some new sleeves. It’s one of the best precautions you can take to make sure you don’t get into trouble. Dirty sleeves can actually cause you to get called out for “marked sleeves.” Don’t take any chances.


“During a match, a player may request that a judge inspect an opponent’s card sleeves. The judge may disallow the card sleeves if he or she believes they are marked, worn, or otherwise in a condition or of a design that interferes with shuffling or game play. In the interest of efficiency, the judge may choose to delay any change of sleeves until the end of the match” (an excerpt from Rule 3.10).


In addition, I know a lot of you love your Bacon sleeves. However, when it comes to graphics or anything, I try to avoid them. A nice, plain, and solid colored sleeve will do you just fine.


Some additional good habits

Here are some additional personal things I like to do before every match. As soon as I sit down, I take my sideboard out, count it and make sure it’s all in there. Finding that you have a side board card in your main deck during the first game can lead some serious problems. In fact, I’ve actually begun doing this before and after every match. It only takes a minute or two and it’s worth it.


Shuffling has been a huge issue recently. For reference, here is the entire section on shuffling,


3.9 Card Shuffling
Decks must be randomized at the start of every game and whenever an instruction requires it. Randomization is defined as bringing the deck to a state where no player can have any information regarding the order or position of cards in any portion of the deck. Pile shuffling alone is not sufficiently random.


Once the deck is randomized, it must be presented to an opponent. By this action, players state that their decks are legal and randomized. The opponent may then shuffle it additionally. Cards and sleeves must not be in danger of being damaged during this process. If the opponent does not believe the player made a reasonable effort to randomize his or her deck, the opponent must notify a judge. Players may request to have a judge shuffle their cards rather than the opponent; this request will be honored only at a judge’s discretion.


If a player has had the opportunity to see any of the card faces of the deck being shuffled, the deck is no longer considered randomized and must be randomized again.


At Competitive and Professional REL tournaments, players are required to shuffle their opponents’ decks after their owners have shuffled them. The Head Judge can require this at Regular REL tournaments as well.”


My method of shuffling is taking my opponent’s deck and splitting it in half. I then take one half and shuffle them in between one another. I do this about three or four times. Finally, to avoid any thought I may have manipulated the deck via my shuffling, I’ll cut the deck into three piles; one on top of the other.


In the end, the important thing to remember is that these tournaments have judges for a reason. Even after all that, if my opponent feels something is wrong, they have every right to ask the judge to shuffle the deck.


This leads me to one final tidbit. Don’t be afraid to ask for a judge if you are not sure about anything. Communication is extremely important in this game. Calling for a judge for clarification is always the right thing to do. Just like in school, there is no stupid questions. Not only will you learn from the judge, but it will help with any future problems that may occur.


Wrapping it all up

Remember how I said to bring some pencil and paper? Well this is important because you’ll be required to fill out a deck list. That’s right. You’re required to fill out a form with your name, DCI number, and the contents of your main board and side board. This helps for reporting and to make sure there is nothing illegal in your deck.


The pPTQ this Sunday is Standard, so don’t show up with your Modern UR Delver deck.


It’s also important to get a good night’s rest. Being tired will only make it hard to think, and thinking is 90% of the battle. Also, eat a good breakfast. Not only is it the most important meal of the day, but it will help jump start your metabolism and get the energy flowing.


Finally, have fun. We are playing a card game after all. If you happen to lose, don’t get angry. Sit back and think about what went wrong. Talk about it with your friends. If you learn from your mistakes and improve upon them, you’re guaranteed to go a long way.


That’s it for now. Hope to see you all at the pPTQ on Sunday. For more information click here for the Facebook event page. Don’t forget to like this article and share it on all the social medias.


About the author

Simeon is now the Community Manager for Battleground Games & Hobbies. If you have any questions or inquiries, then you can reach him at He is also an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!

Join the Battleground Games & Hobbies community forums!

Please don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @battleground_gh!




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MTG Preliminary-PTQ for PT Vancouver Just One Week Away!

BG banner




Format: Standard
Date: January 11th, 2015 – a SUNDAY
Time: Doors open at 10:00am, Round 1 pairings at 12:00pm
Entrance Fee: $25.00 per person

1423 Bedford Street
Abington MA 02351

Parking on site


This event is being run as a Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifier for Vancouver:
• Competitive REL
• Decklists required
• Cut to top 8


6 Booster Packs per person will be entered into the prize pool. These packs will be awarded to the top 8 finishers. Additional prizes may be awarded based on turnout.


We look forward to seeing you there!




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This week in Magic: Happy New Year!

2015 Happy New Year Strands Line Glow Dark Background

Welcome to the first “This week in Magic” of the new year. Now that we’re in 2015, we can finally look forward to the PPTQ being held at the Abington store on January 11. Hopefully you and your friends have been practicing and feel ready to go. If not let me offer some advice and insight as to what you may see at the PPTQ.


Since the introduction of Khans into the Standard format, we’ve been lucky to have a healthy dosage of variety. No longer are the days of Mono Black dominating the format. You can have your choice of any of the five clans.



This is probably the clan I am most familiar with. I started the new Standard format playing Jeskai Tempo. This was the most popular deck at the time. It packed some of the most mana efficient creatures in the format with Goblin Rabblemaster and Mantis Rider making the cut. However, the deck would see some changes over time trying to find its true identity. Soon, combo versions would make their way into the format via the first Pro Tour bearing the name Khans of Tarkir. There we would finally see the Jeskai Ascendancy deck people had been murmuring about. It was a slightly crazy concept, but proved to be powerful nonetheless.


That leads us to the latest version of the deck. I remember when I first played the Jeskai Tokens deck. Everything about the deck felt so right. In a way, it made perfect sense why certain cards were designed. The amazing synergy between Hordeling Outburst, Jeskai Ascendancy, and Stoke the Flames is one of the most powerful interactions in the game I’ve ever seen.


Thanks to the extreme popularity of “Whip” decks, Jeskai Token players have had to restructure their plans. How have they done this? MTGO results have shown that players have reverted back to the original Jeskai Tempo build which contains more midrange and control elements.



The emergence of “Whip” decks have seemed to taken over the format. However, this is a little different from when Mono Black dominated the format. Mono Black dominated the format due to the overall strength of the deck. “Whip” decks have taken over due to their overall popularity. The deck is just fun to play.


The Sultai version of the deck utilizes the Sultai leader, Sidisi, Brood Tyrant. As a 3/3 for four mana, it’s okay. However, it’s abilities to mill your deck and make a zombie token are great bonuses. More milling means more problems for your opponent. You want to see things like Doomwake Giant and Hornet Queen make their way into the bin. When the Whip does make it’s way out, things become a lot more difficult for your opponent.


If Sultai is not your thing, you can always look at the Golgari version of “Whip” decks. In this version of the deck, Sidisi is replaced for a much more stable mana base as well as Pharika. Although, I have seen some versions pack both Pharika and Sidisi into the deck. It may be a little greedy, but with their powers combined, anything is possible.



There are two directions you can go with Abzan. You can either go the aggro route, or you can go the midrange path. However, looking at most of the lists, there is very little difference between the two. The standout card is Heir of the Wilds. The two drop is there to help get the party started a little bit earlier than expected. The midrange tactic, though, is the most popular and, in my opinion, the better option of the two.


Let me start by saying that Anafenza is one of those creatures that, when she hits the table, make you say, “Ugh.” Sitting at 4/4 for three mana, she is out of Lightning Strike range. So now we have to look to hard creature destruction to take care of her. Also, as a 4/4 she’s a lot larger than most creatures and can definitely take care of herself. Things get even worse if you were able to land a Fleecemane Lion or Rakshasa Deathdealer on the board before she came down onto the battlefield.


Of course, we can’t forget everyone’s favorite rhino, Sige Rhino. This guy is such a beast that he’s even making his way into the Modern format and even redefining on the most powerful decks in the format, Birthing Pod. It’s a 4/5 for four mana and casting it alone causes a six point life swing. Did I mention that it has trample? That is something you don’t want to forget, especially if you through a goblin token in front of it hoping to “chump” block it.


With some of the best removal spells at it’s disposal, there is no wonder why this deck is at the top of the game right now.



Some people call it control and others like to call it midrange. Either way you see it, Mardu competes just like the rest of the field. This is the only deck in the format that is able to utilize, what I think, is one of the best removal spells right now. Crackling Doom is probably your best bet and answer to deal with Sylvan Caryatid. A turn two Caryatid typically means your opponent is setting up for something, and if they’re not, they at least have a solid defense blocking your way. Crackling Doom not only deals your opponent two damage, but it gets rid of that pesky 0/3.


I think Butcher of the Horde doesn’t get enough credit in the format. I mean, it is a 5/4 for four mana. If you’ve got a token or two free, you can make your Butcher gain haste, lifelink, or vigilance. Obviously, swinging for five damage of turn four is pretty nice, but the possibility of gaining life at the same time can be devastating.


Mardu is also one of the only decks in the format that uses multiple planeswalkers. What’s so important about this? Consdering that most of the other “top tier” decks in the format either use one or no planeswalkers, Heroic Downfall has been on the decline. That means that it’s a lot safer to play your Sarkhans or Sorins with little fear that they’ll fall victim to this one-for-one.



Out of all the clans, I feel that Temur is the weakest one. However, that means it has the most potential to grow. While the addition of Blue hasn’t caught on to many players, there are those who have just stuck to playing Red/Green. Keep in mind, I talked about Anafenza being a problem when she hits the board as a 4/4 for only three mana. A similar creature is Savage Knuckleblade. However, this creature is a lot more nimble than Anafenza. In fact, Savage Knuckleblade is so versatile that it has even snuck it’s way into Modern.


In a format that is being dominated by creature based decks, Temur still stands a chance in the format. With this deck, you just want to land the biggest and baddest creatures onto the battlefield. Don’t worry if your opponent has creatures too. Your team is poised to be superior in the long run. Also, don’t forget about the Ferocious mechanic. This mechanic rewards you for controlling some of the biggest monsters in the game. So look to cards like Crater’s Claws and Stubborn Denial to give you a sleight advantage.


It may not be the top dog right now, but we have Fate Reforged to look forward to. Some of the preview cards have already shown the emergence of the dragons we knew were going to be in the set. It shouldn’t be long until one of those dragons is the right fit for this clan. That’s when we can stop calling it R/G Monsters and start calling it Temur Monsters.


About the author

Simeon is now the Community Manager for Battleground Games & Hobbies. If you have any questions or inquiries, then you can reach him at He is also an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!

Join the Battleground Games & Hobbies community forums!

Please don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @battleground_gh!




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