Jason’s Archives: Klug IAMA, 3D Alters, Stories from the Helvault & What the Heck, a Joke

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The prerelease weekend has come and gone and what an exciting weekend it was. Every store where I played an event was at maximum capacity for every Helvault event. It would appear the Helvault experiment was a success. Before I move on I'd like to discuss something regarding the helvault that is really bothering me.

Regarding the Helvault

The contents of the Helvault were not thrilling for most players, and I don't think I'm going out on a limb to say that.

Apart from being unexciting, especially to Spike, power gamer and (... is there a name like that for a value trader? There is now: Kelly) Kelly, value trader, the contents of the Helvault were also 100% completely free of charge to most of us.

If your LGS charged more for a Helvault event than they have in the past, I'm sorry. That was their choice, not a WOTC mandate and you should take that into consideration regarding whether to attend future events at that store.

For the rest of us, we got completely free swag. Spike doesn't care about over-sized Commander cards of angels and spindowns, but guess what, Spike? The Helvault wasn't for you. If they made a set that was 120 creatures with the card type "Steamflogger" with no instants, Spike would go to 5 prereleases in a weekend, and Kelly would preorder 4 cases.

Like it or not, the Helvault was designed to get the casual crowd to stop playing at their kitchen tables and come to a store.

Did it work? All accounts point to yes. So why is there so much bellyaching? The major complaints are:

  1. The contents of the Helvault were unexciting/poor.
  2. Other stores got premium judge foils and we didn't.
  3. Smaller stores will suffer lower attendance because only premier stores got good Helvaults.

Of all three complaints, perhaps point 3 is the only truly legitimate one. But there is no indication that the premium Helvaults (which didn't affect attendance because no one knew about premium Helvaults until after the fact) were given to premier stores as a reward, so it's possible premier stores were selected because those stores were most likely to have the full 54 players in attendance.

If 54 seems like a weird number, it seems to me that at 2 packs per player, 54 players means 3 boxes total for prizes.

The last I will say is that you got free stuff. If you don't like the quality of the free stuff, take a minute to process how silly that position is. For all the whining about the spindowns, when I offered people a dollar each for theirs, I didn't get any takers. Curious.

Please tell me in the comment section of this article why I am wrong.

Moving on to what you came here to see.

The great Klug IAMA

Perhaps the most famous and talented card alteration artist, Eric Klug sat down to answer some of's burning questions about his art. This is a fascinating read and I can't emphasize enough to the people who aren't interested in reading about a card painter, you will be glad you read this. It is worth the time you put in.

3D Alteration

At GP Indianapolis I had the great pleasure of having dinner at a place called "Sushi Club"  just outside of downtown Indy with a mixed bag of Magic pros, Binder Grinders and judges. Sushi Club, for those uninitiated, is a gauntlet of all-you-can eat sushi for a flat price. Perhaps Indianapolis' best-kept secret until now, Sushi Club is poised to unseat Fogo De Chao as the go-to dinner venue in Indianapolis. Who needs all-you-can eat greasy steak when you can get all-you-can eat sushi for a third of the price?

Digression aside, I found myself seated across from a very talented young lady named Lindsay Burley who, in addition to really knowing her sushi, does 3D alterations. I've seen a lot of these alters done before and they are getting quite popular with the EDH crowd. I can say without bias that Ms. Burley's cuts are the cleanest I've seen, and that has a great effect on the overall aesthetic of the card.

She got a lot of attention at GP Indy because the head judge ruled that a 3D altered Delver of Secrets was legal to use as long as there was a corresponding checklist card shuffled into the deck. Lindsay happened to have a few double-sided Delver of Secrets alters made up.

I'll make a list of cards that may benefit from this ruling:

  1. Delver of Secrets
  2. Huntmaster of the Fells
  3. Mayor of Avadid, did you not hear me say Delver? Why are we still having this discussion?

Yes, she does commissions. Yes, she is also a talented artist, capable of making you a playmat to protect your 3D Rafiq as you double strike your way into the EDH hall of fame. Yes, she has a website.

A Moment of Levity


In the next picture Liliana orders her army of minions to tickle Garruk into submission
In the next picture Liliana orders her army of minions to tickle Garruk into submission

Redditor thekidd142 offered an alternative to the controversial card art, injecting some much-needed levity into the contentious, ongoing debate about sexism in the Magic community. I loled. All this picture needs is a musical number from an animated Candelabra of Tawnos and you have my favorite kid's movie about Stockholm syndrome ever.

Literal Germ Tokens

Redditor awp105 submitted for our consideration some germ tokens that will tickle the fancy of the science-minded among us.

Wash your batterskull in hot water for 15 seconds before re-equipping
Wash your batterskull in hot water for 15 seconds before re-equipping

If you want to make a set of these your own, the eBay auction containing these bad boys is here.

Strict upgrades

Finally, Redditor TheCurmudgoen offers this visual guide to just how many older cards Avacyn Restored has left without a job.


Not featured- Lands that only tap for mana -> Cavern of Souls
Not featured- Lands that only tap for mana -> Cavern of Souls

A Fond Farewell

Prerelease weekend leaves me without any decklists to talk about, so I bid you adieu.

I will be back next week to talk about this coming weekend's lists.

In the mean time, I welcome you to brew something. Let me know what you're thinking of running in the new Standard where titans always resolve, one-mana wraths can deal with Thrun and all the thatchers want shorter weeks and better pay.

Is Champion of Lambholt as silly as I think it is when paired with Huntmaster and creatures with undying, or is he begging to eat a Slagstorm? Let me know in the comments, or follow me on twitter @JasonEAlt.

See you next week, kids!

Jason Alt

Jason Alt is a value trader and writer. He is Quiet Speculation's self-appointed web content archivist and co-captain of the interdepartmental dodgeball team. He enjoys craft microbrews and doing things ironically. You may have seen him at magic events; he wears black t-shirts and has a beard and a backpack so he's pretty easy to spot. You can hear him as co-host on the Brainstorm Brewery podcast or catch his articles on He is also the Community Manager at and writes the odd article there, too. Follow him on Twitter @JasonEAlt unless you don't like having your mind blown.

View More By Jason Alt

Posted in Avacyn Restored, Finance, Free, Web ReviewTagged

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6 thoughts on “Jason’s Archives: Klug IAMA, 3D Alters, Stories from the Helvault & What the Heck, a Joke

  1. You forgot to mention the Chicago Blackhawks ball cap he insists on wearing everywhere on his bio.

    In regards to the article I somehow missed the Klug iama and he’s one of my favorite artists so it was good to catch that. I agree on your opinion with the helavault. It was free stuff so at the end of the day I can’t complain and I was able to get a bunch of the oversized cards and my artsy fiancé will surely put them to good use.

    Good to see you flex your writing muscle a little more than usual in this article great stuff, can’t wait to see more especially after release weekend and some of the new decks that might come out of the release of this set.

  2. Just to out-curmudgeon The Curmudgeon, the only new card presented in the article that I know for sure is 100% strictly better than its older counterpart is Into the Void over Counterintelligence. Situations exist in the realm of possibilities where a Vampire that has a beneficial tap ability would need to target your 1/2, and where a provoke effect to kill off an opponent's relevant creature would be kold to the intimidate granted by Predator's Gambit. I'm pretty sure situations would also exist where getting the additional two toughness from Zealous Strike would be detrimental in comparison to the none garnered from Skillful Lunge, but I can't think of any offhand, so I'll consider it strictly superior for the time being.

    1. Predator's gambit, in a set where black's consolation prize for lacking miracle cards is their solo mechanic, is a very very strict upgrade to unholy strength. In a black-heavy build, especially in the draft format where black can always be your main color when you want it to and your splash doesn't have to have creatures if you don't want, gambit makes your one beater into a game-winner. In a set with practically no removal, taking demonic taskmaster from a strong flier than smashes chump blockers to death 1 at a time into an unblockable 4 turn clock is no joke. I mean he's practically unblockable. How many creatures in the set block a black flier with intimidate? Gambit on the 3/2 soulcage fiend is even better since he has no evasion to begin with.

      Zealous strike is almost always better. You couldn't use skillful lunge to save a creature from pillar of flame or death wind in a pinch, and this card does just that. The toughness bonus is relevant more often than it's a drawback, which even you concede is a hard scenario to envision.

      If anything, into the void got the least amount of improvement because all they did was improve the mana, not improve the effect of the card.

  3. Alright buddy this was a good read actually. I ordered me some germ tokens but I think I need some more ER friendly versions. MRSA and acinetobacter come to mind.

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