Some recaps, thoughts and other tidbits.

Me and Astro at the music festival -- we saw David Byrne & St. Vincent and Yeasayer, among others.

Me and Astro at the music festival — we saw David Byrne & St. Vincent and Yeasayer, among others.

Whoa. Where the heck has July gone? And where the heck did June go? It seems like I was covering GP Vegas last week, and now that’s been over for a month! I’ve seriously dropped the ball on posting, too. It’s due partly to the fact that I missed two FNMs this month. One for a music festival with Astro, and the other for a visit from my parents. Both were amazing. I even dragged my parents to my LGS, so they saw where I spend a large proportion of my time and met a couple of players. They went so far as to buy me a board game (Dominion!), but didn’t get me any Magic stuff, saying ‘that’s your deal’. Fair enough.

So here I am, several days after my parents left, two weeks after my last FNM and almost a month after my last post, realizing that after a brief summer hiatus, “Nerd Maids” needs to get back on its feet. It’s not that I haven’t had ideas for posts — I actually had lots. It’s that I never took the time to write them out.

Some of them are too dated to actually make full blown posts, though, so I thought I’d compile some of my thoughts from the past month all in one post. It’s the most efficient way I came up with to catch my readers up to where I am. (Shout out to those who commented and started following me during July! I promise I do actually post.)

—-

FNM recap: June 28

Pick-a-pack is definitely not my strong suit. I don’t know the best way to draft it, other than to pick two colors early and stick to them. That night, however, I ended up picking up more in my third color than was probably smart. I also ended up with barely enough playable creatures… it was kind of a mess.

As I was building my deck, I got rather discouraged. I convinced myself that I’d totally screwed up the draft — I hardly had any removal and I only ended up with like 14 playable creatures. And I had to splash white to get there. (Can you guess what colors I was? If you guess R/G, you’d be right.) I did have Mugging, Madcap Skills, a couple Riot Pikers and a cool equipment called Tormentor’s Trident.

I don’t remember my matches in very much detail, but I do remember that if I got the aggro part of my deck working I’d have a good game. My mana wasn’t very reliable, though, and often I would just not draw what I needed to. I ended up going 3-3, which wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t amazing either. My streak of getting packs had ended.

Standard Proxies!

Cutting up my Godless Shrine proxies... YEAH.

Cutting up my Godless Shrine proxies… YEAH.

Recently I’ve been debating actually making a standard deck that I could take to the standard FNM. I want to expand my Magic skills and I think that’s the logical next step. Unfortunately, to build a competitive deck you need dual lands and other pricy cards. (I’m kicking myself for trading away some dual lands back at the start of Gatecrash… I was so green, and had no clue how effectively trade.)

I’d used proxies before, but they were hastily made by writing the card name and cost on some extra land laying about.  I knew basically what they did, but if I forgot I didn’t have the text to remind me.

Luckily, Steve found a neat site that allows you to print color proxies with the full art and text of the card. You just select the cards and it puts them in a file you can print… it’s really nifty. It’s just a pain to cut out all the cards. But once they’re in sleeves (with another card at the back) it’s almost like you really have the cards!

I built a B/U/W deck with Sphinx’s Revelations, Jace and Obzedat. I wanted to pick something I at least had a few cards I needed… Unfortunately it’s still 90 percent proxies. But I’ve played with it a couple times, and it’s very different than my normal aggro draft deck. It’s definitely helping me improve my Magic skills, just due to the fact it’s out of my comfort zone.

Once I play with M14, I think I’ll try to build another deck without any cards that will rotate out once Theros is released. I don’t want to invest in singles that I won’t be able to play after September! Plus, playing with proxies is a good way to figure out which decks fit your play style, and whether you would actually enjoy playing it. Or even just be able to play it well. The deck I have proxied now is pretty easy to misplay, so that’s another reason it’s been really good practice playing.

FNM recap: July 12… the last RTR block draft!

I wish I could tell you I went out on a high note. Unfortunately, I can’t. I went 2-3, and I definitely made some mistakes in draft. I didn’t pick a Lavinia that got passed to me for the sole reason that the two people that didn’t pick it have been playing a lot longer than me, so I thought there was some good reason they were avoiding the pick. Steve was one of those people, and when I told him why I didn’t take the card, he explained he didn’t take her because he’d opened a Watery Grave. Oops. The other guy took an Unflinching Courage over it because he’d first picked another Unflinching Courage. Lesson: never assume a card is bad because somebody didn’t take it.

Unfortunately, I had also first picked an Unflinching Courage. I got a fair amount of good green and white cards in Dragon’s Maze, so I didn’t really pick up on the fact I should have switched. I passed a lot of blue, so at the end of the draft — when it was clear that I’d been cut out of G/W pretty hard — I realized I should have gone G/U/W (Naya, I think?). Oh well, I still had some good combos with Holy Mantel, Rubbleback Rhino, several Kraul Warriors and I actually did splash blue for the Azorious guildmage. So I was really kicking myself I didn’t pick up the Lavinia.

My matches were OK, but I mulliganed down to five THREE times that night. My mana was a mess. If I didn’t get my enchantments out successfully, I had a hard time winning. And it was hard to have my enchantments last for any length of time with all the removal and bounce in the set. Oh well, not every week can be your best week ever.

The upside: I opened a Sacred Foundry for myself and a Blood Crypt for Steve (I’d used one of his RTR packs). So not a total loss… I made back my entry fee!

M14 — my first core set.

I missed the prerelease and the official release draft, but that doesn’t mean I’m not excited. I’ve been reading articles and looking at the spoilers, and I think it could be really fun. Many people have pointed out that core sets are simpler than blocks, since they are more geared toward new players. I hope this means drafting it will help my card judgement and general drafting skills. The RTR block was really, really fun and I’m glad I started with it, but I learned how to draft within those conditions, which had complicated strategies and specific mechanics and interactions to keep in mind while drafting. I think getting back to the basics will really help me.

I haven’t played with the cards at all, and tonight’s FNM is pick-a-pack. There might be some M14 floating around, but it will still be pick-a-pack: awkward and… interesting. I’m hoping for a better showing than last time, but I’m feeling a bit rusty. Wish me luck!

On that note, I’m going to wrap up this massive post. But before I do, I want to let you guys know that I’m planning some really fun things for “Nerd Maids”. I’ve done lots of brainstorming and post planning, so I have a good handle on things moving forward. For one, I’m going to start “Non-magic Wednesdays” for all my fans that aren’t necessarily Magic players, but enjoy other nerdy things. (And the Magic fans that also enjoy other nerdy things.) I’m also planning on posting a non-recap magic post on Fridays, and the recap on Sundays. I have lots of ideas (all written down!) so I’m making it a priority to make sure they come to fruition.

I’m really excited, and I hope you all are too! And, as always, suggestions are more than welcome! Want me to write more about book/ movies/ TV shows? Have a game you think I’d like? Tell me! 😀

All for now,
Bale

David Byrne & St. Vincent. Check them out if you can -- they have a great sound. I'm in love with the brass section.

David Byrne & St. Vincent. Check them out if you can — they have a great sound. I’m in love with the brass section.

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