Jason’s Archives: Forsythe IAMA, the Best of Reddit and Some Hometown Pride

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First, some ban talk.

We are just eight days away from the scheduled ban announcement and everyone has got an opinion. Some are calling for the ban hammer to smash Snapcaster Mage, others say Ponder needs the axe, some say both.

The controversy doesn't end there with some other cards mentioned, including Delver of Secrets, Vapor Snag, Mana Leak and Dungrove Elder (that last one was me. I just hate Dungrove Elder so much. Why doesn't he trample? Dude's worthless).

This can all be laid at the feet of the great success Delver decks have been having lately, routinely taking over 50% of the Top 8 spots in multiple events. Everyone is having flashbacks to the last time bannings in Type 2 were necessary and Caw Blade ruled the roost.

Delver decks have so much in common with Caw Blade it's impossible not to beg the comparison, but there are a lot of differences, too. Namely the fact that most of these cards wouldn't be much of an issue without the addition of the other cards.

Mana Leak is fine. Mana Leak plus Snapcaster is pretty miserable to be sitting across from.

Delver of Secrets is fine, too. Without a way to stack the top of your deck, flipping it is a crap's shoot.

Was anyone calling for the banning of Wandering Ones? Of course not. But throw in a liberal dose of Ponder to make sure you can control the top card of your deck (and smooth out your draws for a few turns, to boot) and all of a sudden your Wild Nacatl has wings.

Ponder on its own, though, is still quite good, which is why if they do ban anything (and I'm not convinced they are going to), my money is on Ponder. With no 1 mana cantrip yet announced in M13, the problem may work itself out and bannings may not be necessary, so we'll see what they decide.

The banning of an iconic chase rare (and invitational card at that) would likely upset more players than its continued inclusion would. And while Snapcaster Mage + Vapor Snag can feel oppressive at times, it's not unfair and it's not why the deck is winning. Snapcaster Mage + Mana Leak has been fairly nicely mitigated by the printing of Cavern Of Souls which, coupled with some innovation, should carry us into M13 legality where Mana Leak will not be printed.

Ponder, however, makes the Delvers flip. And a flipped Delver is a beaty Delver. That's why the deck is winning, and that's why if anything has to go, it should be Ponder.

Did Delver's dominance continue into the weekend or has the code been cracked? Find out later in my weekend deck recap section.

Before that, though, let's make like Michael Bolton and get "back to the good part."

The Granddaddy of all IAMA contributions

I have tried to pace myself in including these IAMAs because there is a finite amount of material out there, but I think it's time to lay a good one on you guys. You've been patient and you deserve it.

This IAMA comes to us from Aaron Forsythe, the Senior Director of Research and Development for Wizards of the Coast. He's very candid and answers some questions that can be somewhat pointed with aplomb. I think it's aplomb. I'm not sure what aplomb is, exactly, but if it's a good thing I imagine it applies here.

This should be required reading for anyone who gets into a debate/argument about Magic on the internet. He addresses topics from the Reserve list, bannings, the power creep and doesn't pull any punches, even when dealing with a quote from Johnny Magic himself.

This is a great IAMA for the financially-inclined to read and I can't recommend high enough the value of taking the 10 minutes to peruse it thoroughly.

The Main Event

Now what you've been waiting for. Without further ado, here's what I found for you this week.

Klug outdoes himself

It doesn't take much to hand an alterer your copy of The Mimeoplasm and hope for the best. It takes considerable balls, however, to hand another fallible human being a piece of power and tell them to be gentle.

But some humans are a bit less fallible than others. Eric Klug brings us the latest entry into his portfolio.

In the future, this card can only be sold as "damaged" due to the paint on it

In case any of you Vintage players are wincing, the condition of the unpainted ruby leads me to believe the card was wrecked before he got ahold of it. Besides, I don't think the original art had nearly enough tiny deer, which is a big selling point for me.  This is turning into a popular segment, so I'll try to bring you a Klug alter every week.

If you can't wait that long for a fix, Klug has a blog which can be found here.

In my day, we used every part of the booster, even commons

Since there are so many financial opportunities in this game, you can say I've managed to used Magic to clothe myself. Some people take that more literally than others.

Even nerdier than a Duct tape Prom Dress

Redditor RubyDragon79 brings us this snapshot he took of a very colorful dress he encountered at a convention. Anyone else think it would be hilarious to loudly announce that Joss Whedon was signing autographs just to watch her try and run in that thing?

I don't normally play red, but I'd Demolish this

Drumbum1000 shared his birthday cake with us. No, actually he didn't, I phrased that wrong. He shared a picture with us. Maybe next year he'll get a cake big enough for all of us to have a piece.

This isn't a very convincing forgery. It failed the bend test.

I'm jealous to say the least. My last Magic-themed birthday cake was a pile of commons haphazardly slathered with cake frosting. And it wasn't even my birthday. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I used a copy of Pierce Strider to shovel cake icing into my mouth. I'm not proud of it, so let's move on.

What the future has in store

We have a few more tidbits about what is coming down the pipe to go over before we talk deck tech.

The only way to make Christopher Lee more of a badass is make him a Planeswalker

Wraith2021 brings us this interesting screen shot from the Pre-Purchase Screen for DOTP 13. Who are these people? Educate me, lore mavens!


This Summer Wizards introduces the concept of "Past Shifted"

Mr_Wolfgang_Beard brings us this hilarious gaffe from a Wizards webpage. Either that or they are planning to already have released M13 months ago by the time July rolls around.


At least it isn't Savage Lands again

MrChainsaw12 offers a glimpse into next month by simultaneously spoiling July's FNM promo, Forbidden Alchemy by the looks of it, but also gives us confirmation of Rod of Nin, a sealed deck staple I can't wait to open at the prerelease.

Good finds, everyone!

I hear that Delver deck is pretty good

Thrilling results this weekend for people who hate being surprised. Let's get to the lists from the SCG Open in Worcester, first.

Do we lament that Delver was 7 of the top 9 or cheer that Solar Flare wins it again?

Jeremy Dombek wins the Standard portion with a similar list to the previous winning Solar Flare deck. Solar Flare is making a comeback and it seems to be a tough match for Delver to win. If Flare can avoid losing to other things on its way to the top 8 it is well positioned in a largely unvaried meta.

Worth noting is Soul Run Ramp, a deck that adds the power and consistency of Lingering Souls and Day of Judgment to the RG ramp shell, piloted here by Alex Lloyd. This is one to watch for the few remaining months we have access to Prime Time.

Frankly, there isn't much to talk about. UW Delver is the new Caw Blade and I'm not sure anything short of the ban hammer can unseat it.

Things are a little better in Legacy.

But only a little.

Here we see some more Delver decks. Despite new combo decks coming onto the scene, RUG Delver is still the single deck with the best showing with 3 copies in the top 8.

Delver is even being slotted into other lists for the first time, such as Rodney Hannigan's innovative Dreadstill deck that runs this flying menace. If you need some time to find your combo pieces, turn 1 Delver, turn 2 flip him, ruin your opponent's life/play Standstill can help get there. As a fan of Dreadnought-based decks, I wholeheartedly embrace this new build and hope it takes off.

Winning the event was perennial favorite Reid Duke with a Reanimator deck that to no one's surprise runs four copies of Griselbrand. What more can be said about ol' Gris? He's really really good. Last time they printed Necropotence it had more drawbacks and less flying and lifelink. I can't think of many creatures I'd rather reanimate.

Or put into play with Sneak Attack or Show and Tell like 2 of the top 8 finishers.

Knight of the Reliquary decks didn't do all that poorly either, with several Maverick decks and a Bant Stoneblade list prizing.

All in all, Legacy is by far the healthier format, and while Delver is being tried in more and more decks, there is no clear best deck, either for Delver or for the format.

That's the way we like it.

The weekend Kalamazoo ran the board

Yes, there really is such a place as Kalamazoo. Despite a population of a paltry 60,000 people and only one LGS, this town knows how to sling cardboard, and this weekend was a prime example.

Not only did a Kalamazoo slinger (and member of Team Dreamcrush) Joe DesRochers (or D-Bag as he likes to be called) win the Max Point Series event in Holland, Michigan, another Kalamazoo native got on the board in a big way, winning the TCG MaxPoint Diamond Event in Indianapolis.

Tristan Woodsmith continues his meteoric rise with a stunning (and controversial, apparently) defeat of Tony Payton to take home first prize. Tristan reminds me of a young Kyle Boggemes, another Michigan native and Magic savant who was taking down State-wide events at a very similar young age. Watch out for good stuff from him in the future, as he is just beginning what is shaping up to be a promising career.

This event was significant for other reasons and it may signify some coming changes in Standard going forward.

Bernie Wen and Mark Castillo proved that Delver isn't the only way to run UW. With a mix of potent threats, permission and Planeswalkers, they both made top 8 with a UW Midrange archetype that has a great matchup against most of the field.

Also significant was a hilarious Bant deck piloted by Josh Winters that abused the power of Tamiyo coupled with Acidic Slime enabled by Cloudshift and Restoration Angel to become a land-murdering machine gun. Venser the Sojourner makes an appearance to get in on the slime action or flash, also flashing out Stonehorn Dignitary to ensure they never get to attack you again.

With only 4 Delver decks in the top 8 (Heh, "only"), this event showed that the format may be more varied than some event results indicate and it may be too soon to declare the format dead.

If you'll excuse me, I have to go buy three copies of Acidic Slime, a Tamiyo or two and some Vensers.

Bye for now!

That's all I got for yous. If you can't wait until next week, follow me on twitter @JasonEAlt and watch me get called a noob for saying I think Gloom Surgeon is a good inclusion in Zombies.


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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.

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2 thoughts on “Jason’s Archives: Forsythe IAMA, the Best of Reddit and Some Hometown Pride

  1. i dont prefer to go by the name of d-bag maybe joey d or joey bagofdounts lol. Also thanks for the mention i was surprised but tristan's win was much more impressive than mine you should have mentioned him first.

    A couple questions for you the first in regards to Klug doing a power alter. how do you feel about altering power? The number of remaining power is dwindling and they are iconic cards and although the alter is cool and impressive, i think leaving power unaltered is the right move. what say you?

    My next question is in regards to legacy and its current meta. Where do you think the appropriate place to be in the current meta is? I enjoy playing U/R delver a great deal but it seems like most games it just doesnt get there, i also enjoy sneak and show but aggro/control decks in the form of various delvers running about i feel it can be easily beat. What deck or couple of decks do you place at the top for wanting to play in the current meta?


  2. If I talk about you first, I get to talk about Tristan in greater detail.

    If you alter power you diminish the number of people who want that piece of power, making it tougher to resell. If you shell out that much for power and shell out that much more to get Klug to gussy it up, the odds that you will sell it for less than an unaltered piece of power later are practically nil. This effectively takes a piece of power out of circulation. This is good for people who own power already because it makes theirs more valuable.

    Plus, look at how scratched up the unpainted portion is. That card was jacked when he got it. If your options are "play with a jacked up piece of power" or "have Klug paint it all pretty like" it seems like a no brainer.

    2 other QS writers, @cag5383 (Carlos) and @chosler88 (Corbin) were talking about the viability of Merfolk in the current meta. Merfolk is strong against combo due to its permission suite, benefits from Cavern of Souls, holds its own against RUG delver and gets absolutely flat out stomped into powder by maverick. With Maverick waning in popularity and the decks that top 8 cutting punishing fire (because no one plays merfolk anymore) you are left to deal with mom and jitte, one of which is tough and one of which is not tough. If you run UW with stoneforge mystic you win the jitte war (or at the very least keep them off of theirs) and you can board in swords and batterskull. This means you have to run tundra, which, with wasteland, cavern and mutavault is a lot of nonbasics. Another route is go mono blue and bring in hate like Back to Basics which, if you can keep the off of pridemage, shuts Maverick down.

    I still want to play Maverick as you have quick beats that can race the combo decks some of the time and hosers to slow them up. Them having to pay an extra 1 mana and wait a turn to show and tell can give you a turn to find karakas for gris or emrakul or just race progenitus. Mindcensor and canonist and teeg are all still nuts against the field, and being in green white gives you stuff like crop rotation and enlightened tutor for a wish board.

    Every "cheaty" deck from sneak and tell to reanimator benefits from Griselbrand, so that is another route. Those are popular now.

    Legacy is a healthy, wide open format. I would pick a deck that suits your play style since sideboarding in legacy has a much greater impact than it does in standard and can really shore up your bad matchups.

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