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June Titanium Series Wrap Up

By Zack Hall

 

June Titanium Series Wrap Up

May’s attendance wasn’t a fluke – the ball is rolling now! 72 players showed up at June’s Titanium Challenge – 2 players short of a record for these monthly events held at TJ Collectibles. Originally offering a prize pool of $1,000, this was quickly increased this as the Challenges kept growing and growing, currently still trending upward month after month, even as the beautiful summer months are upon us. Bolstered by a prizepool of $1,650 and room to increase further, it seems like players can’t get enough of the Modern tournament series brought into being 6 short months ago by Tom Shea and his hard working team.

Old decks resurgent and new decks created were at the forefront of the 2 Modern Grand Prixs the weekend before in Kobe and Copenhagen, but it didn’t seem to affect our local metagame much. Dredge and Counters Company were some of the best performing decks at the European and Asian Grand Prixs, but you wouldn’t know it if you were at TJs on Saturday. Grixis Shadow is considered the best deck in Modern by some and has been the most popular deck in our area over the past 3 months. This seems to be in line with the reality of the global Modern metagame. This being said, there were 0(!) Dredge decks in the room Saturday and only one copy the Counter Company deck. Whether players don’t have the cards to switch or are simply enjoying their own decks, this anomalous metagame is sure to be exploited by a savvy player.

After 7 rounds of Swiss competition, the field was narrowed to 8 players, with all players except one going 5-1-1 or better making Top 8.

The Top 8 players, finishes, and archetypes were:

1st Ray Karkman – Mono Red Pyro Prison

2nd Nick Starr – Jeskai Geist Aggro

3rd Nick Allain – Abzan Aggro

4th Adam Snook – Sultai Delirium

5th Ian Carle – Grixis Shadow

6th Deven Dupuis – Merfolk

7th Michael Decoste – Grixis Shadow

8th Ben Cohen – Bant Eldrazi

You can find the Top 8 decklists from the event when they’re approved by mtgtop8.com and on our website www.mtgtitanium.com

Condolences and honorable mentions to Rafi Abrahams and his BW Eldrazi deck, who defeated previous finalist Tim Connelly on camera here.

Titanium Series Challenge Wrap Up 1/28/2017

By Zack Hall

 

The first TJs Titanium Modern Challenge is in the books and Edgar Hinton is the champion! He Reality Smashed his way through 6 rounds of Swiss competition and a subsequent top 8 where he destroyed all 3 opponents who came before him. Through his victory he earns the first slot in the 2018 TJs Titanium Invitational, an invite-only event with a prizepool of over $5,000.

 

Forty-nine players made their way to Milford, Massachusetts on Saturday morning to stake their claim on Tom Shea’s $1,000 that he put up as prize.  It was an extremely diverse Modern metagame featuring cards from every set (I checked!) Mirrodin to Aether Revolt – seven distinct archetypes were represented in the Top 8!  From the extremely aggressive Infect deck piloted by Gordon Callahan to the unique mono-red prison deck helmed by Ray Karkman there were many strategies at play in the elimination rounds.  In the end though Edgar Hinton’s Bant Eldrazi faced off against Tim Connelly who had the same deck with only minor tweaks in the 75.

 

To tell the entire story of the day we must rewind to before Round One even kicked off – the player meeting!  Head Judge Gil Medeiros got the event started on the right foot, announcing loudly and clearly the banning of Golgari Grave-Troll and Gitaxian Probe, heading off any shenanigans that could’ve easily occurred. Forty-eight players were in their seats as the Round One pairings posted.  The 49th , a Lantern Control player, came clomping down the stairs just in time to avoid an early game loss. That masochistic individual got his just desserts for choosing perhaps the cruelest deck in Modern and started 0-2 against two Burn decks.

 

A frigid Saturday morning in Milford Massachusetts may not the place one would expect to find top level Magic talent with a European Grand Prix followed by Pro Tour: Dublin the next weekend, but a few local superstars showed up anyways.  Adam Snook and Nico Christiansen stood head and shoulders above the crowd in terms of experience though both players would likely downplay the fact and spout off a few Dangerfield-esque adjectives to describe themselves.  Always one to choose the aggressive strategy, Nico brought a fairly standard Naya Burn deck to the tables only tweaking numbers in the 75 and not making any personal deviations. On the flip side of the coin was Adam Snook.  Never one to be pinned down to a specific archetype, Adam is just as content playing (or not playing) 22 Basic Plains as he is Cryptic Commands and Creeping Tar Pits, which is what he chose to do for this event.  He registered a UB Faeries deck which was solely the product of his own tweaks.  It’s been awhile since Magic has seen a deck really abuse Bitterblossom, but Adam thought the time was ripe for it again.  The deck would likely be untenable without the 4 Fatal Push in his maindeck; these 4 were complemented by 6 discard spells and 6 counterspells.  His victory condition wasn’t any sort of flashy combo but simply beating down with 1/1 fliers and Creeping Tar Pits plus some incidental Countersqualling and Tasiguring.  In the end though both big name players failed to even have a shot at Top 8 going into the last round and they had to take the early ride of shame back home.

 

The next tier of local players contained names like Ryan Leverone, Scott Metcalf, Christian Baker, Joe Chagnon, Chase Kovac and what I’m sure are a ton of local stars that I’m slighting by leaving off this list.  Ryan and Joe both made Top 8 but made it no further.  Ryan was playing Death’s Shadow Jund while Joe sleeved up Abzan Company.

 

After 6 rounds of Swiss there was a clean cut to a Top 8 with all players 4-1-1 or better making it in. In the round of 8, first seed Ray Karkman fell to Tim Connelly while eventual winner Edgar Hinton defeated Ryan Leverone.  Talented Joe Chagnon dropped his match to Fog-maindecking Nick Furno and Gordon Callahan defeated Kevin Luu.

 

The semifinals featured Gordon Callahan’s Infect against Tim Connelly’s Bant Eldrazi.  Tim’s maindeck removal suite of Engineered Explosives and Path to Exile followed up with massive threats took the match.  On the other side of the bracket Edgar Hinton bashed his way past all defenses put up by friend and playtest partner Nick Furno.

 

The finals started out with two lopsided games with both players not having much of a chance to outplay the other.  In a matchup where both players have access to the same cards, flooding out on mana can be a colorless kiss of death.  Game 3 however was an entirely different beast.  Lasting for more than 30 minutes, it was a slugfest featuring multiple copies of Eldrazi Displacer, Drowner of Hope and Reality Smasher.  It seemed that Edgar would fall to more copies of Drowner leveraged by Tim but a timely Worship from the top of his deck! Suddenly the tables were turned as it was Tim’s turn to dig for answers to the inevitability provided by the Worship backed by a singleton Endbringer that was slowly pinging him and drawing cards.  After both players ran through most of their Path to Exiles and libraries, Edgar finally gained a tangible advantage with the Eldrazi Displacer and Drowner of Hope combination, creating a massive threat on his side of the board.  The Endbringer cleared the last of the Eldrazi Scions for Tim and his Drowner did the rest – Edgar Hinton was the champion!

 

I sat down with Edgar after the match to ask him a few questions and he was gracious enough to agree.  I asked him the usuals to start and I was a bit surprised by his answer!  The Level 1 judge had been playing for only 10 years which was surprising to me based on his level of game knowledge and player knowledge.  He explained to me that he moved to the Milford area about 10 years ago and hasn’t looked back since, always considering TJs a home base of sorts.  When asked what his playstyle was he immediately answered, “To beat down!”.  It may come as no surprise that his favorite deck of all time was a Tribal Zoo brew whose hallmark play was to use Ghor-Clan Rampager to power up a Geist of Saint Traft midcombat.  He told me that he considered the Northeast as a region way too fixated on a gameplan revolving around Snapcaster Mage and control spells.  It’s part of the reason he thinks that he’s excelled with aggressive decks over the years.  When I asked him whether or not he’d be sleeving up a deck that focused on turning creatures sideways at the 2018 Invitational, he wouldn’t come right out and say yes.  A sly grin crossed his face though and I just knew that Drowning the Hopes of his opponents was probably in his future.

 

Thanks for reading my wrap-up of the January Titanium Modern Series hosted by TJ Collectibles in Milford Massachusetts.  The event was streamed live at www.twitch.tv/TJCollect.  We hope you can join us on February 18th for the next $1,000 Invitational Qualifier! Failing that I know we’ll see you in Worcester, Massachusetts at the DCU Center the weekend of March 4th for the first Quarterly Titanium Weekend featuring a $5,000 Modern Tournament with additional prize support scaling based on entry.  The winner of this event gets the invitation to compete at the 2018 Titanium Invitational and a Round One bye at the event!  Please visit https://www.facebook.com/TJTitaniumSeries/ for more information including the Fulminator Mage playmat and a Legacy Challenge on Sunday.
Thank you for reading my January Titanium Series event wrap up and congratulations again to Edgar Hinton and all the players who made the Top 8 last Saturday at TJ Collectibles!

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The Quick Flip #2

What?? Onslaught fetchlands are being reprinted in Khans of Tarkir?? WOW!!!! I like most players was very excited to see this reprint. We all knew it was coming but so quickly and in standard was a surprise to say the least. The new artwork was also a surprise, which brings me to this weeks topic.

Does new artwork on staple cards help the older version to retain their value?

We are 6 months plus from the release of Khans and the Onslaught fetch lands are currently:

Card:                             Current Value                                                All-Time High

Polluted Delta                   $38                                                                  $105

Bloodstained Mire          $23                                                                  $53

Wooded Foothills            $25                                                                  $48

Windswept Heath           $27                                                                  $49

Flooded Strand                  $35                                                                  $80

All these plummeted after the reprint announcement, and were actually falling before as players were well aware a reprint was coming. Now 6 months later prices are starting to move back upwards on the Onslaught fetches. The increase may be small but the cards are trending up which is a good sign for those who held onto these cards. Will they ever reach their previous price highs is unknown but im onboard for the ride.

Is the new artwork a help to the rise? I think so. The ability to set the two apart by the visual appeal is key to why players would choose one over the other. Most players who have been in the game for awhile would in my opinion be showing their longevity in the game by flashing the Onslaught fetches,

as I would!

Foils of course are a different story, Onslaught foil fetches are at a very high prices and will only go higher in the future.

I guess the same could be said for the new art fetches from Khans, the foil versions of these reprints will at least climb in price and be some of the most sought after cards from said release. When I talked to players after the set was spoiled most financially knowledgable players mentioned the foil fetches as their acquisition targets for this set!

So grabbing Khans foil fetches may be a smart grab currently as they seem to be a surefire profit machine in the future. Playable in all formats currently makes these cards very attractive!!

Next week onto the Zendikar fetch reprint possibilty and some talk on their prices.

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The Quick Flip-an MTG Blog

By  David  “Flip” Defilippo

It seems like perfect timing that my first blog coincides with the release of Modern Masters
2015. Lets quickly jump back a few years to 2013. I like most was very excited about the initial release of Modern Masters, being more into the financial aspect of magic than a player at this point.

I enjoyed the fact that cards would be reprinted and I would have the opportunity to acquire some staples for my collection. All in all I was happy with the release and what I was able to acquire.
Prices surged up to the surprise of many and all seemed good. Wizards seemed to be fully invested and proactive with furthering the Modern format, and investing and speculating on Modern cards seemed like a surefire way to cash in. I like most people grabbed what I could for the format at shows and other instore events. A year of price increases and the random reprint made Modern a hot format.

Then came the news of Modern Master 2 or Modern Masters 2015 whichever you prefer. I was annoyed to say the least. I’m strictly looking at this from a financial investors point of view, Modern being reprinted every other year or at will would take the gas away from fire. I understand the concept of increasing the number of cards out there and therefore adding more players to the format. I just think the wind was taken out of the sails of Modern finance and speculation. At this point knowing what to invest in and when to sell off is a little trickier,

Modern Masters 2015 has been completely spoiled at this point, so I was looking for the opportunities to invest in some cards. Serum Visions immediately stood out as a card to grab up………..Oh wait FNM promo reprint, next! Goblin Guide?, wait how could this not be reprinted? This is as staple as staple gets in Modern. Horizon Canopy?, this sees Legacy play also. Inkmoth Nexus?, Bloodghast?, Phyrexian Obliterator?

All these seem like solid pick-ups after the spoiler was out and cards I actively picked up for the store.
There’s many more cards out there with the same potential, these were the first I actively pursued.

My specs/pick-ups as of 5/15/2015

Goblin Guide- Im sure a reprint will find it’s way out there in the near future but if you acted quick enough I feel like there’s some coin to be made here. I can’t see this being in a standard release set, but possibly a Duel Deck type or even a new creation of Wizards. Flashback Deck?? Anything’s possible.

Horizon Canopy- This is my #1 spec/pick-up currently. This as well as any from the Shadowmoor/Eventide cycle of rare lands. They all look like inviting targets for acquisition.
How long these can starve off a reprint is anyone’s guess, but they see play and a few are currently at a low enough price that jumping onboard seems like a smart move.

Bloodghast/Phyrexian Obliterator- Both of these cards seem like they’re just much to powerful to be introduced back into standard. Sultai seems pretty over the top with Bloodghast!!

Inmoth Nexus- Really surprising to see this not included in the set, but an event deck for Modern featuring infect could be right around the corner. This would fill some of the Modern holes for that archtype. I’m not sure how actively I would pursue this card but if there’s an opportunity take it.

A few other cards for thought Azusa, Lost but Seeking seems a bit high to be a adequete spec target without a larger cash investment. As long as the chance of reprint hangs in the air I probably stay away from this card. Amulet of Vigor is a card I’d grab while I can. Around $8 and some change right now.
Thanks for reading this blog and I hope you’ll stop by again or consider sending some feedback.