Wizards Announces Battlebond

Magic the Gathering is getting a new set format for its 25th anniversary this year: Battlebond, for Two-Headed Giant drafting. From the announcement:

Battlebond is this year’s “Draft innovation” set. You’ve seen Draft innovation sets in years past with Conspiracy, Conspiracy: Take the Crown, and Unstable. For 2018, we’re doing something brand new: Battlebond!

So, what exactly is the new twist behind the drafting format this time?

Battlebond is the first set in Magic’s history designed specifically for Two-Headed Giant play! Some sets, like Oath of the Gatewatch, have dabbled with this in the past, but Battlebond takes that to the next level. The new mechanics in Battlebond are unlike anything we’ve ever done in Magic, and they really elevate the promise of Two-Headed Giant to its full potential!

The brand new plane, Kylem, is apparently inspired by e-sports. I wonder if it’s going to be Blizzard themed somehow…just kidding. The more interesting news is that the 254 card set will include many reprints, which “we will be excited for” with 85 new cards. These will be legal in Legacy, Vintage, and EDH too. The set is due to drop on June 8th.

Magic 25 is also set to be a huge shot in the arm for the flagging popularity of the game. Considering rumors that Hasbro might be priming Wizards for a sale, Battlebond might be another way to drum up interest.  Two-Headed Giant is fun but I rarely play it, so I don’t foresee getting into the set. Unless I get “excited” for the reprints once the spoilers start to drop.

Cryptocurrency and the Reserve List

Just a quick post today. A few days ago, Rudy (Alpha Investments) made a very interesting video regarding the Magic Reserve List and capital flowing into the Vintage game thanks to the Cryptocurrency boom. The video is about 20 minutes long, but worth it if you’re interested in how the market is getting affected by bitcoin, and other freshly minted millionaires thanks to the crypto craze.


Unstable Night

Those of you who follow Magic are probably aware that a new Un set is on our tables; Unstable. I admit I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to it (and Magic in general). But when spoilers started coming out, revealing that the set might actually be fun to draft and play, I decided, why not? I was able to get a good deal on boxes, so I took advantage that. You can grab a box from Amazon (or a similar shop) for a bit over $100 at the time of this writing. That price is a testament to the popularity of the set. Considering how much Wizards is said to be overprinting product these days. You’ll probably want to hold off though once the rush is over, with a rumored second printing next year, the price will probably go down.

Anyhow, tonight, the gaming group is getting together to draft Unstable. I’m crossing my fingers that I get a kitten, while our resident spikes will be going hard for the squirrels. I’ll update this post when I have impressions to share.


I’d say the Unstable draft was fairly successful. Pack One Pick One ended up being a Very Cryptic Command for me, so I got into Blue. Since I pretty much knew nothing about the cards I was drafting solely on color and artwork, and what seemed to be serviceable. I went with a UW deck, a few contraptions that turned out to be kind of worthless. Still, the games were fun and I managed to get a few combined creatures on the board before getting knocked out. I managed to get a few kittens too, so that went well for me.

Adorable Kitten - Unstable mtg
Adorable Kitten hits the board

That full art land does look pretty awesome.

Full art lands and Very Cryptic Command Unstable cards
Full art lands and Very Cryptic Command pulls

Magic 93/94: Back to the Old School

I’m excited that my group is taking up a 93/94 old school league soon! I’m going to experiment with some decks, but Goblins and Red are my touchstones. Per the rules, we can only use cards up to Ice Age. I might be mistaken on that since the league is still in the beginning phases. But assuming that’s the case, I’ve started to refresh my memory on this tribe. They have some bright spots and a lot of not-so-bright spots. Here’s a list of what I could find:


  • Goblins of the Flarg
  • Marsh Goblins
  • Scarwood Goblins
  • Goblin Artisans
  • Goblin Balloon Brigade
  • Goblin Chirurgeon
  • Goblin Digging Team
  • Goblin Flotilla
  • Goblin Hero
  • Goblin King
  • Goblin Mutant
  • Goblin Rock Sled
  • Goblin Sappers
  • Goblin Ski Patrol
  • Goblin Snowman
  • Goblin Wizard
  • Mons’s Goblin Raiders

Other Spells:

  • Goblin Caves
  • Goblin Grenade
  • Goblin Kites
  • Goblin Shrine
  • Goblin War Drums
  • Goblin Warrens


  • Goblin Lyre

I won many a game back in the day spamming Goblin Grenade on unsuspecting players. Goblin King is pretty much a must have card in any Goblin deck, and throw in a Blood Moon to make your force of underlings suddenly unblockable. I’m probably going to include Orcs in the fray, though this tribe is even less useful under these parameters.

Throw in Goblin War Drums to give yourself an early advantage with mass Intimidate. The goal here is speed. Lots of speed. In that sense, it’s your classic aggro deck with a ton of weird restrictions. I’m not quite sure how the old design team worked, but I’m pretty sure flavor and gut feeling was at play. I’m partial to the balloon brigades and the raiders. Goblin Wizard is an interesting choice, but feels overcosted at 2RR.

Below is my basic deck list, which I’m going to be revising as I goldfish and the format rules shape up. When I get a chance, I’ll upload this into Tappedout so it’s not as low-tech and can be commented on by the community. Or leave your thoughts below, if you wish. Thanks for looking!

Rough draft: Goblin Old School deck

Creatures (13)
4X Goblin King
4X Mons’s Goblin Raiders
4X Goblin Balloon Brigade
1x Goblin Snowman

Spells (24)
3 X Blood Moon
4X Lightning Bolt
4X Goblin Warrens
4X Goblin Caves
4X Goblin Shrine
4X Goblin Grenade
1X Fork

Artifacts (1)
1x Sol Ring

Lands (22)
20 Mountains
1X Maze of Ith
1X Strip Mine

SB (15)
4x Red Elemental Blast
1x Blood Moon
4x Flashfires
4x Fireball
2X Goblin Wizard

Dragon Stompy: Beginner Beginning

Last time I mentioned I was getting into competitive Magic and had chosen Dragon Stompy as my deck. I may not stick with it depending on how well I do or how the meta shifts. But for now, here’s a compilation of my initial research. As finances permit me, I’ll buy into paper and MTGO versions. If you’re reading this and interested in your own Dragon Stompy 75, or have some better ideas/advice for a noob, let me know.

Before I get any further, here’s a blurb from AZMagicplayers that’s concise (and maybe outdated):

Dragon Stompy is a metagame deck. The creatures may vary – Werewolves have given a new set of creatures for Dragon Stompy to play around with – but the lock pieces are the same. Moon effects lock greedy opponents out of the game while cards like Chalice of the Void and Trinisphere make it hard pressed for your opponent to come back. Dragon Stompy is very explosive at the cost of consistency. The strength of the deck depends on the opening hands, and what deck it is pit against.

Dragon Stompy Videos

These are Legacy format games from Railbird Gaming’s channel:

Here’s a video from Jay Nelson
Dragon Stompy run one


Dragon Stompy Analysis

I came across this Reddit thread by a fellow who played 200 plus matches with the deck. That’s one way for a neophyte such as myself to get in some laps without actually playing, I suppose. His analysis is quite extensive, and the discussion is also helpful. Bookmark it, read the whole thing, etc. Here’s his conclusion for those who don’t want to do even that:

I find myself quite enamored with this deck and think it’s well-positioned, particularly on Magic Online. I’d recommend it for anyone new to the format because it forces you to learn how the other decks work, so you know how to best attack them with your lock pieces. And sometimes you just win because you played a turn 1 Blood Moon and they didn’t have Force of Will, which is OK with me!

Next Steps

I have to put together a Dragon Stompy 75 for this thing and get some games in. The next time I post about this, I will have done that, with the appropriate links to TappedOut. Thanks for reading!

Magic: Dragon Stompy vs. Infect (Legacy)

With the help of a good friend I’m getting more into competitive Magic. Specifically, Legacy. A few years ago I tried to get into Modern, but the Magic bug had left me. We’ve played mostly EDH and some limited drafts since 2013. But after the last game night at the new shop, I decided I wanted to get serious about the game.

He suggested I take a look at Dragon Stompy, knowing my play preferences and tendencies. Here’s a 20 minute match against Infect.

As I get more into the Legacy format, I’ll keep track of my progress on usualjay.

Thanks for reading and watching.

Commander Tonight

Sorry for the short posts lately, I’ve been preoccupied with a few other projects and obligations. But tonight I’m excited to be trying out a new lgs in my area, in my hometown as a matter of fact. It’s EDH night, so my gaming group and I are going to check it out and bring a few of our decks.

I’m going to roll out there with my Slivers tribal deck that I’ve nicknamed “Infinite Slivers,” due to its win-con. I also have a slightly souped up Breya deck (Commander 2016 precon) that I want to give a shot at the tables.

In the future I may write about my local EDH league, but the games have been so infrequent – and it’s so hard to keep track of the plays – that it might not be worth the effort.