Ah, to be back. School has dominated my life this week, BUT I always have time to answer your Magic: The Gathering related questions.

 

“So how can you tell a new player from an experienced player?”

You’re playing a match against someone and focusing hard, and a player comes up to you and asks “do you want to play a match?” Would you assume that it’s a new player or a more experienced player? I right away assume a newer player (though I’ve been wrong hundreds of times before). Newer players don’t usually have the awareness that competitive players do. They don’t generally understand what is considered to be rude or unsportsmanlike in a competitive environment .  You should not fault a new player for this, however. They might have come from playing with 4 friends at their house on the kitchen table, where speaking up during a match is no problem. But most competitive players like focusing on their match and don’t like talking while playing. If you’re a new player and want to play, try to watch and emulate those around you. If most players are waiting until after the match to talk to the competitors, that’s usually a good sign that you should wait too.

Another sure way to spot a newer player is in their handling of sorceries and instants. If you watch them carefully, you’ll notice that they tend to hover their hand over the mana they they want to tap, alerting opponents and spectators to their play. This kind of ‘tell’ (A sort of sign players can pick up on) is something that newer players can work on over time. In a sense, you’re trying to trick your opponent; the goal is to hide your intentions. This isn’t easy, sometimes I give tells and mess up too. It’s an art really, and needs to be honed through playing.

Another sure-fire way I can tell a new player from more experienced ones, is that they like to comment on the match while it’s happening. This is unfair to the competitors and is considered a big “No-no” in tournaments.  Commenting can often times skew the game and doesn’t allow for mistakes to be made. If my opponent forgets a trigger or effect that isn’t mandatory, it can benefit me. If, however, a spectator comments on it, the odds are then skewed in my opponent’s favor. This is why Magic is a skill intensive game. You need to remember your triggers and effects while making other plays. To sum that up, don’t give information or help, unless you’re asked for such.

These are just a quick ways of telling newer players from those with a few tournaments under their belts.

“What is your opinion of Dark Ascension?”

I think Dark Ascension is exactly what standard format wanted. I personally love this set; it has so much flavor, and adds to the horror theme that Innistrad started. Dark Ascension also introduces a lot of new mechanics. This set has cards for every format. Vintage, Legacy, Modern, Standard, Commander, and Casual can all be happy with it. (LOL Extended is a format?). Grafdigger’s Cage literally changes the game in every format. Vintage, which allows for cards from any set to be used, has expanded exponentially in it’s potential because of Dark Ascension.  Since Vintage is a very fast format and can often focus on getting creatures straight from the deck (Oath of Druids, Tinker) and graveyard (Dredge, Worldgorger Dragon), Dark Ascension only adds to these possibilities.

But the card that I’m most excited for is Sorin, Lord of Innistrad. This card is format warping, and is so strong. Though, unlike other cards (Sorry Jace) Sorin is not too powerful, because you need to actually build a deck around him, or a deck that uses his abilities to maximum effect. For example, Black/ White Tokens.

B/W Tokens (Post Dark Ascension)

Artifacts
4 Shrine of Loyal Legions
Creatures
4 Blade Splicer
4 Doomed Traveler
3 Hero of Bladehold
Enchantments
4 Honor of the Pure
4 Intangible Virtue
Planeswalkers
4 Elspeth Tirel
4 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
Sorceries
4 Lingering Souls
Basic Lands
12 Plains
6 Swamp
Lands
4 Isolated Chapel
3 Vault of the Archangel

This deck is a swarm deck in which you pump out tons of small creatures and buff them to overwhelm your opponents and kill them. I personally love this deck because of it’s efficiency and strength against decks with spot removal (cards that only remove one creature). I’m personally going to attempt to build this or Vampires in the next set. God help my wallet.

Guys, have a great week and don’t forget that across the country there are  Dark Ascension events at card stores near you .Use THIS to find a store near you where you can play. Remember to send me any and all of your questions, or comment below!

Keep Shuffling

Neal Kleinman
Nealkleinman@comicbooked.com