Gamblin’ in Vegas: Modern Masters Edition

Gamblin' in Vegas: Modern Masters Edition

With the way Modern Masters 2 worked out, Vegas was the perfect location to host the largest Magic GP ever. Vegas is known for being gambling HQ in the United States, and competing in any Modern Masters events was a heck of a gamble. So, let’s go over how my gambling went.

Modern Masters Draft: Thursday Evening

So my friends and I finished the 6.5 hour drive into Vegas, checked in to the hotel, and then walked right to the venue to hop in a draft. After about an hour of waiting, the event finally began and things were off to a poor start. I drafted a decent UR “elemental” deck, since signals showed those colors were pretty open with a late Air Servant and Water Servant in pack 1. However, during the drafting the most valuable card I saw (and passed) was an Etched Champion coming in at a whopping $3. The total value of my 3 opened rares was a little under $1, so at the lowest percentiles of the distribution. Then I went on to lose the first round of the draft against a sweet 5 color deck with great fixing and a bit of luck hitting 4 colors turn 4 naturally a couple of times. But hey, it’s Vegas. Things happen, I can afford to lose $30, and surely the next event will go better. The three rares I opened are pictured below in Magic Online form, since it makes them so much easier to read.



Modern Masters Swiss Sealed: Friday (All Day)

After a nice run Thursday night and a large all you can eat breakfast, I was ready for another day. Technically this event was for byes, but I was there to have fun and play Magic so that wasn’t a major focus. The event was scheduled to start at 1, and eventually it did get going. A major reason I signed up for this event was the Vendilion Clique Playmat, which is gorgeous and guarantees $20 in value from the get go. The way this and the main event work is that you opened 6 packs, register each card in the pool, and then pass that pool to another player. So, theoretically you have 2 chances to see some value, and in reality around 10-20% of people dropped after opening the pool they were in charge of registering because they opened value.

For the pool I was in charge of registering, it certainly didn’t go well. It started off on a high note when the pack had a foil rare (Finkel aka Shadowmage Infiltrator), but that ended up being the most valuable card in the pool. No Remand, Electrolyze, or Foil Lands. The total value was well under $10, so I went ahead and passed it since it wasn’t worth dropping from the $75 event for $10+$20 in product. Hopefully the next pool would end up better, and below are the rares that I ended up passing:


The guy across from me opened Noble and Karn, the guy on the right opened Spellskite and Bob, and they were both passing their pools. Although many dropped, I knew there was still some good value cards going around and odds are most pools were worth well more than the pitiful value I opened despite having 2 foil rares on top of the other 6. After shuffling the pools around, I managed to end up with a pool worth even less than what I passed. No mythics, no money rares, and once again not even a Remand or Electrolyze. So at this point, I’ve done two events totaling $105 and I’ve gotten the guaranteed playmat ($20), around $4 in rares, and haven’t actually seen a single mythic. Also, dropped after being 2-2 in this event because despite starting at “1” it was around 7:30 after I quickly lost the fourth round and it wasn’t worth being their til 9 for the hope of 10 tickets (think 2 packs of Dragons). Once again, the rares are below, and this time despite being poor value they made a fun goodstuffs deck.


Modern Masters Sealed: The Main Event (Saturday)

Okay, so at this point I’m pretty down in value. Well, very down. Obviously I’d had a lot of fun at this point hanging out with friends, seeing artists, and just being surrounded by people that love this game as much as me. But this is my time to make up some value since I know I’m down around $80 at this point. I haven’t seen any money rares, or even a mythic after seeing 14 packs of Modern Masters 2. This is the main event, so I start out with a decent playmat and promo Griselbrand, which is at least $30 in value. If I see $50 in value, I know I’m dropping out since I just want to see the artists and explore what the vendors have up for sale. So I opened up those first 6 packs and see the pool below.


…Damn. Although the foil Etched Champion at $8 is by far the most valuable card I’ve opened or been passed all weekend, it’s still a low value pool. Betweeen Champion, a Remand, and Eye of Ugin it’s under $20 and well under the $50 I’d set as my limit. This is the main event, so I know people are more likely to pass value and I no one at my table (20-30 people) dropped so I know people kept value. At this point I’d seen 20 packs worth of Modern Masters, and I still hadn’t seen a single value card. Heck, I hadn’t even seen a mythic. But maybe it’s finally my time for value. My friends and I are texting about our opens, and none of us dropped at this point although one guy was passing a Foil Tezzeret and another passed a Bitterblossom.

The judges say to pass your pack to the right so everyone will double check that the pool to their left was registered correctly. I knew the guy who opened this pool had a Kozilek in there since it caught my eye when he opened it. It turns out there was even more value than that, there was also a Noble Hierarch, All is Dust, and a Spellskite. So there was around $60 in this pool between those cards, but I was only double checking it. Obviously I’m interested in keeping it so I call a judge to ask if we can keep this pools. You can’t. Once again… Damn. There goes my best chance at finally winning a Modern Masters 2 gamble. The rares/mythics in the pool I was double checking is pictured below:



Once I have the pool double checked, I’m sitting there thinking “please just pass me a pool with nearly as much value as I’m passing. Just one time.

My friends and I are once again texting about the value we have in front of us. Out of the three of us actually texting, one has a Foil Kozilek and Splinter Twin in from of him. The other has a Bitterblossom and a Spellskite. We’d all love to drop, keep our pools, and go mess around.

Then over the speakers we hear “The pool you double checked is the pool you are playing…”


That is the exact text I sent out to my friends as soon as they made that announcement. I honestly can’t tell you how that announcement started, but the people around me started deckbuilding so the word “start” was probably in there somewhere.

Obviously this pool was also a great start for an artifact deck, and I’ll talk about how that went in my next article about the non-value side of GP Vegas.


In terms of value, I definitely experience the gamble of Modern Masters 2. And I lost.

However I did not gamble away or lose more than I could afford to, which is the way gambling is meant to be done. I must have finished down $100 in Modern Masters cards, then another $20 in drafts with friends (we did a Chaos draft among ourselves and drafted with a sealed box of M12 we bought for $60). Regardless, Vegas as a blast and I’ll be writing more about the overall experience in the next post.

Draft Videos April 25, 2015

Draft Videos April 25, 2015

In today’s video we’ll tackle another Dragons of Tarkir & Fate Reforged draft. It starts off with a high note when Matt passes a high upside card for something relatively mediocre. In round 2, Matt’s computer decided to call it quits so view the game retroactively instead of getting the usual video.

Draft Video

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Friday Night Magic: The Primer

Friday Night Magic: The Primer

Attending your first Friday Night Magic (FNM) event at your local game store (LGS) is a bit first step for any player. It’s usually the first time you’re get to play sanctioned Magic against people you don’t know, and it can be a bit intimidating for some new players. Luckily, I’m here to help you get ready with this primer and show you that it’s nothing to be nervous about since they’re usually very casual.

I’m a bit nervous, how competitive is FNM?

To start off this section, I’m going to show you an excerpt from the judge’s guide to judging at your FNM.

[FNM] encourages a welcoming atmosphere and friendly competition. As judges, we should be friendly and involved, sometimes playing in events ourselves. Like players, we are encouraged to help at appropriate times, such as during deck construction or between matches.

Now having judges makes this sound official, but as this says they are just there to help you. They are not there to make sure everyone is playing perfectly and rule with an iron first, they are there to help you learn to play at an FNM and teach you about the rules of the game. If you watch Magic tournaments on Twitch or participate on forums, you’ll hear about people making a small play mistake then getting a game/match loss. No need to worry, this won’t happen to you at FNM! At FNM, unless you’re cheating the judges will help you solve those small mistakes without giving you a game/match loss. At this level, they understand that mistakes happen and just want to help you learn so they don’t keep happening.

Okay, then what do I need for FNM?

First, for FNM there are two common formats that you’ll stumble upon: Draft and Standard. So below we’ll go through what you need for both of these.

  1. A DCI Number: This is basically a unique number Wizards of the Coast (those guys that make Magic) give you so you can keep track of how you’re doing at tournaments. If this is your first FNM, don’t worry because you don’t have one yet. When you show up to your LGS and ask to play, they’ll ask for your DCI number and you can just say “I don’t have one.” Then, the judge or person running the event will give you one. Make sure to save a picture of this on your phone since you may want to use it next time you play, although if you lose it you can always just get a new one!
  2. Money: It ain’t free. Most drafts cost around $15.
  3. Knowlege: You should have a vague idea about what a draft is. It’s my absolute favorite format, but it helps to know what you’re doing. Here’s an article on how to draft and here’s a video on how to draft. If you read/watch either of those, you’re good to go, and when you get to FNM let the judge know you’ve never drafted before, and he or she will help you out. Also, be aware of what cards are expensive and pick those if you see them because it helps make each draft less expensive.
  4. Recommended: Sleeves! Your store will be selling sleeves, and you can get 100 “penny sleeves” for a dollar. These sleeves will help keep your cards from getting too damaged when you play with them, and you want this because you may open up a $20 card.
  1. A DCI Number: Same as above.
  2. Money: Once again, it’s usually not free. Price range is usually $5-$15 for this.
  3. A Deck: Unlike draft, standard is a “Constructed” format, which means that you bring your own deck. For standard, the cards in the deck have to follow a few rules so here is a brief overview of what standard is. Once again, if you ask a judge for help they’ll be more than happy to help!

Sounds fun! Where do I play?

Friday Night Magic happens at nearly every Local Game Store (LGS), and Wizards of the Coast has this handy store finder to help you find a place to play. If you’re fortunate enough to have a few stores within your area, I highly recommend trying different ones until you find the right fit. For example, I am lucky enough to have 4 LGSs within 20 minutes of my house. The first place I went to was large with a competitive crowd. The second was similar, although a bit smaller. The third was casual, although a lot of players were very young so it was not much of a challenge. A few months ago, a new place opened up that was also casual but with an older crowd. As a very casual player that’s been playing a while, I found the fourth was far more enjoyable for me since it’s a laid back crowd and I can have good conversations with the players.

Anything Else?

  • Bring a snack and water, but never put them on the table! These events can last for a few hours, and for most of the time you are going to be deep in thought trying to beat your opponent. Turns out this can get tiring quickly, but bringing a snack and some water can help keep you going at a high level of competence.
  • Don’t be discouraged! If you don’t do so well at your first FNM, don’t let it get to you! Your opponent have probably been playing for years, and this is your first time playing outside of your friend group. Just try to figure out how they beat you, and learn from their experience. If you’re looking for help to improve, there are plenty of resources out there if you google for them. I’d also recommend finding someone playing the format you like on Twitch, then watch them play and learn to think like they do.
  • If you run into any problems, ask a judge and they can help you out. If not a judge, you can always just ask me.

Now get out there and have fun!

DTK-FRF Draft Videos (4.13.15)

Today Matt punts his way through his first Dragons of Tarkir draft. Find out how it goes in the videos below, and let him know would you would have done differently!


Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

DTK-FRF Draft Video (4.11.15)

Today’s draft was done by the new guest host Bryan, and this is his first go before his videos start going up on our Planestyling Youtube page with the rest. He takes on Dragons of Tarkir limited with the kind of “turn ‘em sideways” deck that I’ve learned to love. Enjoy!

Draft Video

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Jamie Park Soulflayer Summary

Jamie Park Soulflayer Summary

Since that video seems to have quality issues, here is a written summary of what you’re watching.

On the left, Seth Manfield’s Elspeth is at 7 loyalty and risking going ultimate, but he passes the turn knowing Jamie Park’s Silumgar will be able to deal with that and the 1/1 tokens. During his turn, Jamie Park’s already indestructible and hexproof (from earlier exiles while casting) Soulflayer get’s bestowed with a Chromanticore to make it insane. You thought the UW Heroic guys were hard to deal with? This Soulflayer is now an 8/8 with Hexproof, Indestructible, Flying, First Strike, Vigilance, Trample, Lifelink, and when this creature dies put a 4/4 with  Flying, First Strike, Vigilance, Trample, and Lifelink into play. Surprisingly, the game does not last long from there.

Guide to selling Magic Cards on TCGPlayer

In this article we are going to go over how to sell Magic Cards on TCGPlayer, which is one of the best places to sell Magic cards. TCG is very straightforward, so this guide is condensed. However, if you have any questions leave them in the comments here or send them to me at socialmtg. I will personally answer them and updated this guide with more details.

What It Takes

In order to sell on TCG, all you need is an account which you can create here. If you already have an account for buying with TCG, just sign in at that same link. TCG is fairly straight forward, so from there your account will just involve answering some informational questions so TCG can create your account.

Adding Cards

To add cards to your inventory, go to your Seller Portal (Login -> My Account -> Seller Portal). From there, click on the inventory tab and search for the card you want to add. If you need to, select the edition you want to sell and it will take you to a “Manage Product” page where you can edit inventory and prices. To add a card, change the quantity available to the amount you’re selling, and set your price. Be sure to pay attention to the lowest available price and the condition that you are putting the card in as.

Managing Orders

Someone bought one of your cards! Now to fill their order you go to your Seller Portal (Login -> My Account -> Seller Portal) and find the Orders Tab. In here you can print order invoices, mark an item as shipped, add a tracking number, etc. At the end of each day where you receive a message or order, TCG will send you an email with the total number of orders received and messages received so be on the lookout for those as reminders.