"When you start an article series 'week one,' 'week two,' and so on, it tends to create this expectation that you'll be writing every week."


WARP WORLD

If my count is right, Khans of Tarkir's been Constructed-legal for six weeks. Looking back, I have no idea what made me number these, but I'll freely admit that I had no idea that Khans of Tarkir was going to have such a huge effect on the Eternal formats. Treasure Cruise is the definition of a warping card in both Legacy and Modern, and if it gets the axe, Dig Through Time will almost certainly follow suit. And that's not even mentioning Jeskai Ascendancy - the heart of a bonafide turn-two Modern combo deck - and burn's newest MVP, Monastery Swiftspear. Reprinting the Onslaught allied-color fetchlands was bound to have an effect on Modern, but as it stands, Treasure Cruise and Jeskai Ascendancy have left the biggest imprint on the format.

Legacy's shown the same type of tilt. Jeskai Ascendancy, a three-mana Sorcery-speed spell with no immediate effect on the board, was never going to catch, but Treasure Cruise and Monastery Swiftspear fell nicely into the format. U/R Delver, a former tier-two burn++ deck that could previously best be described as "capable of winning an Open" is now arguably Legacy's best deck, prompting many players to slot in maindeck Pyroblasts (the argument for Pyroblast over Red Elemental Blast: even if your opponent's not playing blue, you can still target their stuff with Pyroblasts in order to feed your Cruises). The deck has gone from non-existent to ubiquitous so quickly that Mizzium Skin sightings have been reported; the hate cards (Electrickery, Golgari Charm, Abrupt Decay) are already that prevalent. As a sidenote that's almost surely interesting to no one but me, the last four cards mentioned are all from Return to Ravnica.


CHANGE OF HEART

I audibled from burn on the morning of Grand Prix: New Jersey. Here's the burn list I was going to play:

DECKID=1222182

One of the guys I work with, Dennis, also happens to be a founding member of Team Sped, and if you don't know what that is then I genuinely do not like you and that is not a joke. For those of you that I do like, let me tell you - when a Sped signs off on your burn list, it's a good feeling. In order to maximize my chances, I borrowed as many of Dennis' cards as I could for the event, even if I already owned them. The gem among the bunch was a Fireblast, stamped from PT:NY '97. The format for that Pro Tour? 5th Edition/Visions Limited! Even at its highest levels of play, Magic used to be really weird.

What happened instead was that I started helping Adam test against UR Delver, and enjoyed myself playing the games quite a bit even though the matchup (he played an excellent Omni-Tell list) was totally miserable. So, on the morning of the tournament, I audibled to Gerry Thompson's exact 75 and died in round six. That stuff never works. Luckily, the guy I borrowed Forces from, Royce Walter, made Top 8 solely based on the good Karma he got from letting me borrow cards. Now all he needs to do is find someone at the Pro Tour in D.C. that needs to borrow cards and he'll be all set.

Just kidding, Royce is a very powerful wizard, and it was only a matter of time before he qualified for the Pro Tour. Congrats, Royce!


FORETHOUGHT AMULET

"It's a strategy card game. How can we- why on earth would we expect to do well when we can't even strategize correctly in our day-to-day lives??" -Bret Weed

Grand Prix: New Jersey was...rough. The TO did the best they could, but 4,200 people is a lot of humanity. Lines were long everywhere; getting food on-site required an absolute minimum of 20 minutes spent standing in line. Getting to your table to play your match, you felt like cattle, hoping that the sea of fellow magicians would hopefully push you where you needed to go. As Jarvis Yu noted in his tournament report, every round went at least 20 minutes past time.

My crew for the GP was my friends Adam and Bret, and when none of us made the day two cut, we drove to Allentown, Pennsylvania to visit our friends' shop to give him back the cards he let us borrow and wash the GP out of our mouths. Over Green Day's Insomniac (best album ever), Bret and I discussed what we could've done differently. Snacks should've been a no-brainer. Hell, even some water bottles in the car would've worked. We, of course, did none of this, and so we were miserable all day until Grand Prix: Soulless Behemoth picked us off, one-by-one, like insignificant, ill-prepared flies on its hide. But here's the thing - for all the things you're bound to read in the coming weeks about how packed the Grand Prix was - I definitely deserved my misery. There isn't much at a Magic tournament that can't be solved by some Gatorade, a sandwich made from cold cuts at home, and a couple of Advil.


BLOODSOAKED CHAMPION

There are currently lots and lots of belts floating around at work. One, a WWE belt designed for children, is for our pauper league, which I came nowhere near winning; the finals playoff - burn vs. UB_treasure_cruise.dec - has yet to be played. I know you're really anticipating the results - I'll have them next week. There's another belt, the HARDCORE BELT: whoever's got it has to wear it at all times (it is a plastic WWE belt made for children), and must accept all challenges for the belt, given that both players have a deck for the proposed format. I lost playing Type Four (some of you may know it as DC10) for the HARDCORE BELT tonight, as a matter of fact. My opponent, Ed, drew Capsize. I came close to beating it with a Torchling, but ultimately fell short. Stupid Capsize. The last belt, the Old-School Belt, can only be won via games of THE OLD-SCHOOL FORMAT, which just means your deck can only be made up of cards in the old card face, and promos+timeshifted cards don't count. In THE OLD-SCHOOL FORMAT, you're allowed to use ten proxies, but they have to be written on basic lands, and the basic lands have to be from Revised. This is, again, for yet another WWE belt that is designed for children.

I came up with my own ideas for some belts, with the hope that my co-workers will implement them one-by-one until we're so Overrun with belts that everyone's got one and no one wants them anymore. Here are my pitches:

The Guy Stuff Belt - This belt goes out to whoever's got the most best friends at work. This will be decided on weekly with a secret vote; whoever gets the most votes gets the belt. You will be allowed to vote for yourself. The belt will be one of those studded belts from Hot Topic.
The HR Belt - This belt goes to whoever Maribeth over in HR likes the best at any given time. The belt will move swiftly and arbitrarily. It won't be a belt that goes around someone's waist, but instead a BELT sandwich from Tim Horton's. It will almost certainly get real gross real quick. The sandwich will not be changed out, and is destined to be used more as a punishment than anything else.
The Whatchu Talkin' Bout, Willis? Belt - This belt resides with the record-holder for "longest time spent talking to Willis over at customer service." I drove down to an Open in New Jersey with Willis, and I can confirm that he is a great guy and very easy to talk to. The belt will actually be a Coleman lunch pail, not a belt.
The Most Belts Belt - This one's pretty self-explanatory. Whoever's got the most belts will also get this one. In the event of a tie, the belt will live with Alex's pet tree. This belt will be 80 feet long and be made up of people's old belts from around the offices.



GREAT FURNACE

One of the many perks of working at TCGplayer is the inside track you get to many cool goings-on that your coworkers are directly responsible for. My coworker and fellow Sugar Ray enthusiast Ed put on a convention for retro video games a couple weeks back, and it featured a $1K Standard tournament. As the owner of a fully-operational Super Nintendo, this event was right in my wheelhouse. I piloted the following to a top 4 finish:

DECKID=1222184

It's just a couple cards off Caleb Durward's list from the TCGplayer MaxPoint Championship. I felt very lucky to fade the Hornet Nest mirror all day, and other than that my matches were all relative cakewalks until user error finally kicked in in the Top 4, where I mulled a keepable hand and kept a bad one against a strong Mardu pilot.

This list seems fine going forward, though I'd definitely want a plan for the Hornet Nest mirror. Off the top of my head, Windstorm seems like an okay answer there. I also found that you wanted both Anger of the Gods and Ashcloud Phoenix against Jeskai, and I couldn't have felt worse boarding them both in simultaneously there. The real solution there is to probably just not board both of them in at the same time, but a reworking of the sideboard could be in order. The problem is, you don't learn nearly as much from wins as you do from losses, and my only losses of the tournament came on the back of some poor mulligan decisions.

Jon Corpora
Pronounced Ca-pora
@feb31st