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Re: Mtg arena open beta

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:03 am
by Primarch
My motherboard was hit by a Ravenous Chupacabra unfortunately. I have a new machine on order and it should arrive sometime this week. I figure I have missed 8 levels or so, which I am not sure I'll be able to make up. We will see. I don't really care about the cosmetic options, but I'd like to grab as many free packs as I can.

As for the special cards for special people, they aren't something I'd value to be honest. Back when I did collect paper cards, I found the inclusion of foils and whatnot quite frustrating. There was no real way to collect a full set without investing a lot of money in the singles and I always preferred to have all my cards of the same type. (Damn you OCD! #shakes fist#). Putting all the special cards off to one side would be better for someone like me as they would be easy to ignore/collect depending on preference.

I can kind of see why WotC would want control over popular formats. It's profitable obviously, but it also allows for 'official' rules, events and tournaments. Not that I necessarily agree that such a thing is needed, just why WotC would want it in their hands rather than under the influence of a group/groups of non-profit hobbyists.

Maybe it's just the DT's from not being able to play Arena talking, but there is a voice at the back of my head that keeps saying how awesome it would be to collect MtG in paper again. I can't be certain, but I think the voice has a slight Glaswegian brogue to it. :lol:

- The thought of ranks of binders full of carefully arranged cards in crisp, clear plastic sheets appeals to the collector in me. (Which is bizarre as I am not a neat or tidy person in any other aspect).
- Hunting down those last few cards to complete a 1-of-each set gives a nice sense of accomplishment. (but see below).
- Opening boosters is fun.

- Cost. Any money spent on cards is money not spent on minis. (Not that I need more of those either). If I were to spend money on MtG, Arena is a cheaper alternative. I am aware that it is possible to just buy a complete set from Ebay, but that is no fun at all.
- Older cards can go for stupid money.
- There is no intrinsic value in having a full set of cards. As soon as a set is complete, it's value as a thing to collect is finished. Aside from the few cards per set that are great in Modern, the resale value is probably poor.
- Cards arranged neatly in files as a collection =/= cards for playing with. I would probably want a second (incomplete, but more competitive) set to play with. The idea of just getting desirable cards to play with and not full (1-of) sets of cards leaves me cold.
- Is this just a midlife crisis, trying to recapture the fun of my youth?
- I am not the most focussed of people. There is a high chance that this would be forgotten about when the next shiny thing catches my attention.
- I barely get to play wargames these days, so playing MtG offline seems unlikely unless...

There are plenty of stores in Nagoya and even a few near me that sell cards and host game evenings. Having been to a few of those stores and seen the usual crowds, I'm not too sure about actually going along to play there. When I have been into hobby shops in Japan, the UK and the USA, the clientele are often high-schoolers/young adults, male, and occasionally lacking in personal hygiene and social skills. Now, perhaps the FNM groups are more sophisticated and play wearing tuxedos and sipping brandy, but I doubt it. :D Gamer odour is my least favourite part of hobby culture. Getting pwned by some anonymous user on Arena is one thing. Losing to a bunch of kids half my age is something else. Plus there is the whole language barrier thing if my opponent is using Japanese cards. (Mental note, learn more Kanji).
Back home, I always played Magic among a small group of close friends, usually big multiplayer games with 'anything goes if it's fun' style decks, usually followed by a takeaway after the games. To me, kitchen table MtG is far more fun than serious tournaments with $1000 netlist decks.

So I have the option to play on my way home from work sometimes, but I'd much rather play with a group of friends and a few beers. (Or a few friends and a group of beers :lol:).

I realize much of this post is not really related to Arena.

Re: Mtg arena open beta

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:36 am
by me_in_japan
Sorry to hear about the motherboard. May the omnisiah have mercy on its silicon soul.

Speaking as someone who does/did (I'm working on cutting down on purchases... :oops: ) actually collect paper magic cards, I can certainly empathise with your feelings on the subject. I went through a period (until pretty recently) where I did collect sets of cards, mostly for play purposes. I do not and have never owned a collection binder, though, as I firmly believe cards should be played with. Carefully. Double sleeved if necessary, but played with nonetheless. My justification for getting full sets (aside from, y'know, needing them) is that if you get 4x each common, 3x each uncommon and 1x each rare/mythic, then you can use them for drafting forever. I mean, twenty years from now, I can say "hey folks, lets all play a Guilds of Ravnica draft" and hey ho, it can be so. That can be kinda fun. Obviously, that'll depend on actually having a playgroup around twenty years from now, but I'm optimistic :D Collecting full sets of cards in Standard doesnt need to be super pricey (depending on how you define "pricey"). The rare/mythics from popular decks (looking at you, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria...) can go into the 40-50USD range (which is way out of my comfort zone), but commons/uncommons tend to sit at 1-2 cents apiece. Based on my experience, you can get a 4/3/1 set of cards for about 2man, about 1man of which will be the top 4-5 cards in the set. If you're happy enough proxying those (and I am), then it gets much cheaper.

An alternative to buying full Standard sets (and one which I and my wallet are very keen to embrace) is to play a different format. Modern (expensive) Legacy (terrifyingly expensive) and Vintage (aaagh!) are all well outside my price range. Commander, however, is a very interesting animal. Now, granted I have a reasonable base of cards to build from (quick count-on-fingers check gives me...Lorwyn, Shadowmoor, Morningtide, Eventide, Shadows over Innistrad, Eldritch Moon, Guilds, Allegiance, M19, WAR) but when I went to build a commander deck I was actually able to build 3 decent ones for about 20 bucks, total. I'm pretty sure if you set out to build a commander deck from a cold start you could get a decent one for 30ish bucks, a good one for twice that, and a nasty bastard of one for not much over a hundred. There are a ton of articles out there about how to build and budget a commander deck, so I'll leave the details to your google-fu. Building for a specific deck (which you plan out in microscopic detail beforehand, of course :lol: ) also neatly avoids the compulsion to buy expensive-but-not-very-good-in-most-situations cards (eg Crucible of Worlds) just for completeness sake, plus you get to custom build it to your own needs (both financial and playstyle). The downside to this approach is the lack of set-ness, although you could always pretend that the commander deck precons are a set?

Then there's brawl, which is kinda a combination of the two, but if you started that you'd probably feel an irresistable urge to get the rest of whatever Standard sets the cards were pulled from :roll: FWIW, I bought the Brawl precons with the intent of using them with my son, with mus on lunch breaks at work, and with anybody who wants a pick-up game on whatever random occasion. I hope to get my local playgroup into them as a gateway to commander, but that's probably a bit optimistic at this point. Anyway, my point is that I don't see it as getting into the format so much as a side-purchase, kinda like we sometimes buy games as "games to play between games on games days". :?

And finally, I'm in full agreement that mtg should be played between friends, not randoms at a games event. Whether or not to dip your toe into paper magic is entirely up to you. Worst case scenario, I should have 4 Brawl decks ready any time I come up to Nagoya, so you're welcome to lay the smack down on me there some time :)

Re: Mtg arena open beta

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:44 am
by me_in_japan
Out of interest, some links:

Useful youtube channel: Tolarian Community College. The host may annoy you (or not) but the content is solid.

Specifically, a pretty interesting discussion on various formats and why they failed/succeeded. (Their comments on brawl and arena vis a vis “what if Wizards introduced Brawl on Arena” make me want to see their follow up on the subject.)

Useful app for checking price and collection:

Major Japanese mtg retailers (note; hareruya is well known overseas, and its prices reflect that. BigMagic is much more locally priced)

And then there’s tcgplayer, which does international shipping for 6usd, so if you want a bunch of cards, that tends to be a good option.

Just saying :)

Re: Mtg arena open beta

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:34 am
by Primarch
You're not helping me resist much. :evil:

You have local friends to play with, which makes it much easier to decide on how much value you'll get from your cards. I'll have to either go to Nagoya or try out on of the more local stores if I want to play. It's all well and good having Brawl decks you can bring to wargaming days, but you (and for the past your or so, I for that matter) don't attend all that often.

I'm might stop in at Big Magic in Nagoya at some point to see what the local scene is like. There is also a shop in Ozone which has/had some games according to an old blog run by a former co-worker of mine.

There is also the matter of my better half's reaction to a new, expensive hobby...

Say Hi to Mus for me. I haven't seen that ne'er-do-well in ages. As I don't use Facebook and he doesn't use NagoyaHammer, our paths don't cross much anymore.

Re: Mtg arena open beta

Posted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:43 pm
by Primarch
Finally got my PC up and running, so I tried to catch up on some Arena.
17 wins tonight, only 2 of them consecutive though. 200Xp Woo... hooo..... :cry: :cry: :cry:

Re: Mtg arena open beta

Posted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:57 pm
by me_in_japan
17 wins, though, that's pretty good. Also, I'm assuming that 17 wins does not equate to 17 games. More like...30 or so? You musta been jonesing for some arena pretty hard for a while there :lol:

and fwiw, I'm having trouble getting 2 in a row, too. Sure, it happens, but not reliably. I've recently shifted to a (blah) mono red aggro deck. It doesnt win any more games than my golos/fields of dead deck, but damn does it get them done faster. Might be worth considering? iirc, my rdw deck doesnt have too many rares or whatnot. I can find the list if you like :)

Re: Mtg arena open beta

Posted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:19 am
by Primarch
Well, I only have one game (and pretty much nothing else) installed at the moment, and I had nothing better to do last night. :)

With a 50% win rate, you'd still need to play 6 games to get two wins in a row assuming average odds of winning.
Round 1 - Game 1: Loss (Game 2: Loss)
Round 2 - Game 1: Loss (Game 2: Win)
Round 3 - Game 1: Win, Game 2: Loss
Round 4 - Game 1: Win, Game 2: Win - 200 Xp.

Of course, getting perfectly average results and equal chances of winning doesn't happen that often. Hence lots of games played and only 200 Xp. :cry:

I can probably put together a Cavalcade/Red Weenie deck easily enough for the new Standard with what I have. Sadly a lot of my decks have to go under the knife before they can be used in the new format. I don't have a lot of older cards, but I have made use of them. My Black hand-hate deck won't work anymore as the cards that caused the most damage from discards are all M19. Back to the drawing board.

Re: Mtg arena open beta

Posted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:58 am
by Primarch
And it seems the Play Standard event is now a mono-coloured, all RDW experience. :(

Re: Mtg arena open beta

Posted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 2:19 pm
by me_in_japan
I’ve found it depends what deck you’re using yourself. If I use my golos/zombieland deck, I get a fair variation of opponents. If I use my bant ramp or rdw deck, it’s cavalcades as far as the eye can see.

Re: Mtg arena open beta

Posted: Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:15 pm
by Primarch
Last night I tried a new mix for the Standard event. Blue/White (Azorius?) mid-range. I managed to win two consecutive games twice, with one loss inbetween and nary a cavalcade in sight. After that I took my M20 Standardized Feather deck onto the ranked ladder and went 5:4, losing to a couple of cavalcades along the way. It seems that if you don't have an answer to the inevitable Spitfire (or two) in hand right away, you may as well concede.

Looking over the new ToE spoilers, it looks like there are some fun new cards coming out. The new mechanic, Adventure, seems to add a lot of flexibility to cards, which is never a bad thing. I'm probably going to hold off opening any new packs until I have done as many ranked drafts as possible, which I believe aren't available until a few weeks after the set drops. Still, it gives me longer to save up some gold. I'm currently sitting on just north of 60,000, and I am shooting for closer to the 100K mark for the ranked drafts.

The other day I popped into the Hareruya store near Nagoya station. They had a small-ish showcase, a few trays of browsable cards and some PCs to allow customers to search their catalogues and order the cards they wanted from the staff behind the counter. The store had a bunch of gaming tables in the back which were filled with groups of JH schoolers up to University aged kids playing.
The showcase did serve as a very good reminder of why buying cards from old sets is a terrible idea. At 40,000 yen or more for some cards, it makes a GW habit look decent. I guess the old cards are hard to come across, it's not like they grow on trees. I mean, they used to, being made of paper and all, but as there are no chances to get them randomly in boosters anymore, they are simply beyond my budget.
The temptation to get back into paper is still there, but I figure I'm better off out of collecting. Money-wise, it's a massive pit to pour my cash into, and with the availability of internet shopping, the collecting aspect is pointless as you don't have to go searching for those two or three cards you lack. You just click on a link. :(