I'm afraid no-one has sent me any questions (via email, or comments on the blog), so there's no Q's for me to A this time :( I will say that the comments from last time about having a Draft-training session some time sounds like a mighty fine idea. Lord knows I could use it!
DIARY OF A WPN KIDDecember 27, 2011: I'm a little frustrated with WotC's Customer Service right now. I emailed trying to find the answer to a question that I just can't seem to get an official answer on. Namely: how many booster packs of Innistrad and Dark Ascension are used to do a Sealed Deck event? My thinking (and I don't know where this comes from) is that at the prerelease it's 3 packs each, then for regular events it would be 4 packs of Innistrad and 2 of Dark Ascension.
When I posed the question via the WotC Customer Service interface (remember: I can no longer directly email my WPN "handler", Brian), I got a VERY speedy reply (even though it was around 9:30 pm my time) which was pleasantly surprising. Less so, however, was their response, which directed me to the sales announcements for Dark Ascension. These documents did not have the answers I needed, so I wrote back and thanked them for the quick response, but stated that I didn't get the answer I needed.
The reason I need this answer is so that I can advise Patrick and Jon as to how much product of the two sets they need to order for the events coming up.
December 28, 2011: Got another reply from WotC Customer Service:
Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately, we do not have any other more specific information for the Dark Ascension Prerelease. Often the specifics (like how many of each booster to be used) will be included in the event kit and it's occasionally posted in an article on our website (http://www.wizards.com/Sales) as soon as that information is available. For questions about how much to order, you may want to contact (or have the store owners contact) their Distributors for help with recommended quantities or limits for purchasing products for the prerelease.I'm sure it will be in the event kit. Unfortunately that will be too late for ordering purposes. Plus, it will not answer the question as to whether regular events use a different ratio of booster packs than the prerelease.
A quick Twitter discussion today indicates that I am off my rocker, and the whole 4/2 booster split is a figment of my imagination. It seems that the split is 3/3 always. I have no idea where the 4/2 thing came from (maybe I just assumed it, since once the third set of a block comes out it's usually 2/2/2 - so it seemed logical that the big set would get more representation until then?). Anyway, unless I somehow hear/read/see something official that says differently, I will operate under the working assumption that a Dark Ascension sealed deck event will use 3 packs each of Dark Ascension and Innistrad.
[SIDE NOTE: A Dark Ascension Draft, on the other hand, will be 1 pack Dark Ascension and 2 packs of Innistrad, drafted in that order. Just FYI in case you didn't know.]
Meanwhile, in much more exciting news, Casual Magic Night had 10 people tonight - including 2 new DCI members, which helps Novel Places' bottom line towards staying at the Core Level. My Green-White Tokens deck ("Tokens of my Affection") proved to be a VERY capable Archenemy deck with the tailor-made Scheme deck I put together to run with it. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!
December 30, 2011: FNM tonight was Standard. We had 8 people, so barely enough to run sanctioned (but, then again, it WAS sanctioned, so I can't complain too much!). Everyone had been there before (one player was the gent who had been "strong-armed" into playing Two-Headed Giant last week).
January 3, 2012: Today I received the nicest note in my email (sent to me and a few of the regular players at our events, from another one of our regulars). I will leave it here with no comment other than: this is EXACTLY why I wanted to start organizing events!
January 4, 2012: Casual Magic Night. Tonight we tried a new format created by William Davy, who runs events for Beyond Comics' Frederick store. I will include here his report from what he learned after the playtest. Here are the rules for the format (called Political Economics Magic) in case you'd like to read them for yourself before reading his review. Take it away, William!Gentlemen - a quick Happy New (M12) Year to you guys!Just wanted to say thanks for making all the games at Beyond and Novel very fun this past year!And a big thanks to Mr. Don for starting up his FNMs and other events - we've got a great groupof players and it has been my pleasure to meet everyone.See you at Don's events throughout "M12"... ;-)
Let me start off by saying that I expected a lot less of the format. I expected I would have to completely overhaul the rules after a play test. I never expected that it would work as well as it did.
Before the game began, I realized I had not planned for Foil lands in the packs. If they were removed, it would reduce the card pool (admittedly only a little bit) and I didn’t want that to happen. So I added this to the rules:
18.104.22.168 If a foil basic land is opened, that card goes into the Spell Deck.
1.3.1 Foil Basic Lands are shuffled into the Spell Deck.
2.6.1 If a foil Basic Land is played, that land generates 2 mana of the specified type.
22.214.171.124 Even if a Foil Basic Land is exposed, that portion of the card’s effect does nothing.
Even after making this adjustment, we did not open any foil lands and as such, did not get to test this mechanic.
To begin, the card pool was incredible. We used eighteen packs of Mirrodin Besieged and in the process of opening all the cards, I opened a sword of Feast and Famine, Inkmoth Nexus, Contested war zone, Consecrated Sphinx, Hero of Oxid Ridge, Tezzeret, Mirran Crusader, Victory’s Herald, Cryptoplasm, two Galvanoths, a foil Distant Memories, and a Foil Massacre Wurm. Not bad for just eighteen Packs. Anyway… on to the gameplay.
It went much better than I had anticipated. The Face up Land deck made for an interesting mechanic, At more than one point during the game, there was a land that nobody needed sitting on top (a swamp to be exact) and it sat there undisturbed for several turns. And this was not because nobody needed another mana, it was because nobody wanted a Swamp. However, there was much of the land deck that went undisturbed. Because of this, I am changing the land deck construction to include only three of each basic land for every player at the table.
Because we were playing Mirrodin Besieged, there were a lot of creatures being played that had Infect. Right off the bat, we determined that nobody liked poison damage and that, because of our high starting life, fifteen poison damage sounded fair. The starting life total will also be reduced from 40 to 30.
The card pool, while quite valuable, was enormous. Eighteen booster packs for five players seemed like quite a lot. The card pool will be adjusted accordingly. Each player will purchase/supply three booster packs to the card pool. These booster packs will be from any set of the player’s choosing.
The shared mana mechanic was used a lot more often than I expected. Red and Green mana were at a premium (no more than two of each were on the board throughout the game) and as such, the other players often left them untapped in case someone wanted to use them. I remember at one point, another player was swinging with all of his creatures, I think he had three of them, into the biggest threat on the table. He blocked most of the damage but before the damage occurred, I noticed the attacker had an untapped mountain, and offered Rally the Forces. He gladly tapped the red mana and I paid the other two, destroying most of the defender’s creatures in the process.
Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to test the graveyard mechanic extensively, and the milling mechanic was not used at all. I would like to run another game using cards from Innistrad at some point in the future to test the graveyard mechanic more thoroughly.
[TO BE CONTINUED IN THE DARK ASCENSION SPECIAL EDITION]Overall, I think the game was a success. Many of the mechanics I devised for the game worked much better than anticipated and only need minor tweaking. Below are the modified rules. Italicized sections are still subject to change, bold sections are new additions and changes.