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Magic: the Gathering |OT| Ravnica Allegiance - These 5 Lands Will SHOCK You!

Oct 25, 2017
3,362
Hey MTG Era, I have a work buddy who invited me to a birthday dinner thing on Saturday. All I know about him is that he likes MTG. I'm thinking of getting him some boosters and/or other MTG related things - what's a good MTG related birthday gift in March 2019?

Assume my knowledge of anything modern MTG is ancient and outdated. The last time I played, there was this unglued card that I could rip up and make the pieces fall on other cards to take them out of play.
 
OP
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SigmasonicX
Oct 25, 2017
3,858
Hey MTG Era, I have a work buddy who invited me to a birthday dinner thing on Saturday. All I know about him is that he likes MTG. I'm thinking of getting him some boosters and/or other MTG related things - what's a good MTG related birthday gift in March 2019?

Assume my knowledge of anything modern MTG is ancient and outdated. The last time I played, there was this unglued card that I could rip up and make the pieces fall on other cards to take them out of play.
If all else fails, Wizards does sell a product just for this situation, called the Gift Pack (2018 is the latest edition so far)
 
OP
OP
SigmasonicX
Oct 25, 2017
3,858
Thank you - would you personally be more stoked for a gift pack, or for a bunch of boosters for the latest expansion?
Booster packs are weird in that for beginners, they'd be appealing. For more involved players, they're useless. And for super involved players, it's, "Sweet, I can use these to draft with my buds later." With the Gift Pack, you might surprise him with a product he didn't know existed or at least has never seen in person, and there are cards he probably wouldn't have or know about.
 
Oct 25, 2017
834
Hey MTG Era, I have a work buddy who invited me to a birthday dinner thing on Saturday. All I know about him is that he likes MTG. I'm thinking of getting him some boosters and/or other MTG related things - what's a good MTG related birthday gift in March 2019?

Assume my knowledge of anything modern MTG is ancient and outdated. The last time I played, there was this unglued card that I could rip up and make the pieces fall on other cards to take them out of play.
What's your budget?
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,362
What's your budget?
Booster packs are weird in that for beginners, they'd be appealing. For more involved players, they're useless. And for super involved players, it's, "Sweet, I can use these to draft with my buds later." With the Gift Pack, you might surprise him with a product he didn't know existed or at least has never seen in person, and there are cards he probably wouldn't have or know about.
$50 or so. Thank you for letting me know about the Gift Pack and how it can be a bit of a surprise. I think I'll order that and a few boosters to sweeten the deal.
 
Oct 25, 2017
694
Booster packs are weird in that for beginners, they'd be appealing. For more involved players, they're useless. And for super involved players, it's, "Sweet, I can use these to draft with my buds later." With the Gift Pack, you might surprise him with a product he didn't know existed or at least has never seen in person, and there are cards he probably wouldn't have or know about.
$50 or so. Thank you for letting me know about the Gift Pack and how it can be a bit of a surprise. I think I'll order that and a few boosters to sweeten the deal.
Personally, I'd counter on the gift pack and say that it's definitely something built for more casual players. It has some unique cards, but they aren't really useful anywhere. It amounts to paying extra for 4 boosters from a fairly old set to get 5 nice foil basic lands, and then that's about it. It doesn't even have a nice box like the older gift packs did. The Professor was pretty scathing on it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYkz8cmotCQ

Of stuff you could find on the shelf, I think the "Guild Kits" they've put out recently are a generally better product. They come with a nice complete deck one could play in a casual setting, have some cards that are actually playable in various formats, and come with full sets of interesting basic lands. I'd personally be more excited to get one of those. If you could scout out what colors the person likes to play you could even get one for that specific color pair.
 
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Nov 1, 2017
8,819
Personally, I'd counter on the gift pack and say that it's definitely something built for more casual players. It has some unique cards, but they aren't really useful anywhere. It amounts to paying extra for 4 boosters from a fairly old set to get some 5 nice foil basic lands, and then that's about it. It doesn't even have a nice box like the older gift packs did. The Professor was pretty scathing on it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYkz8cmotCQ

Of stuff you could find on the shelf, I think the "Guild Kits" they've put out recently are a generally better product. They come with a nice complete deck one could play in a casual setting, have some cards that are actually playable in various formats, and come with full sets of interesting basic lands. I'd personally be more excited to get one of those. If you could scout out what colors the person likes to play you could even get one for that specific color pair.
I agree with this. I'd buy them a pair of Guild Kits (two different ones obviously). They're fun for casual gameplay.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,663
Personally, I'd counter on the gift pack and say that it's definitely something built for more casual players. It has some unique cards, but they aren't really useful anywhere. It amounts to paying extra for 4 boosters from a fairly old set to get some 5 nice foil basic lands, and then that's about it. It doesn't even have a nice box like the older gift packs did. The Professor was pretty scathing on it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYkz8cmotCQ

Of stuff you could find on the shelf, I think the "Guild Kits" they've put out recently are a generally better product. They come with a nice complete deck one could play in a casual setting, have some cards that are actually playable in various formats, and come with full sets of interesting basic lands. I'd personally be more excited to get one of those. If you could scout out what colors the person likes to play you could even get one for that specific color pair.
I second getting two guild kits for the budget you have, and play a few games with him. They're super balanced against each other for the most part, fun to play, and are really cool thematically.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,095
Japan
Been playing a lot of commander in my downtime at work. I'm kinda in a hole with this now. I started by making a super budget Hapatra deck, then spent a week planning out and assembling Rashmi which I've now played a half-dozen times and I'm already thinking about what's next.
I found the Izzet C18 precon for super cheap online and I'm really tempted to get it. I never play red so it would be a fun change (and therefore justify the purchase????). Reckon I should go for it?

Edit: well I bought a single battlebond pack after work and pulled the Sylvia//Khorvath duo, so I might actually build them? I don't have any red or white in EDH yet so why not do both at once
 
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Oct 28, 2017
3,507
$50 or so. Thank you for letting me know about the Gift Pack and how it can be a bit of a surprise. I think I'll order that and a few boosters to sweeten the deal.
I’d actually say neither the Gift Packs or the Guild Kits are particularly great. I play with a group of 10 people and I’m positive all of us would prefer boosters over any of that other stuff. For $50, I’d buy 5 Guilds of Ravnica packs, 5 Ravnica Allegiance and 1 Ultimate Masters.

I guess the moral of the story is that you don’t really know what he’ll like unless you know what type of player he is. I’d go with my option as I think everyone could at least have fun opening packs whereas the decks might go totally unused (and to be fair, they might also be far more fun depending on the player).
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,362
Thank you for the responses. It’s intersting the diversity of what players would find valuable - in the end, I went with 1 gift set and 10 RA boosters - I don’t know enough about what color decks he uses right now, but hopefully the more general packs provide an opportunity to learn.
 
Changes to Wizards Play Network
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SigmasonicX
Oct 25, 2017
3,858
Changes to Wizards Play Network

A lot of this is probably too inside baseball for a lot of you guys, but here's the most relevant part, a change to promos.

OUT: INDIVIDUAL PROMO CARDS – IN: PROMO CARDS INSIDE PACKS OF FOUR
To be clear: we'll still do promo cards. But they'll be in packs of four, giving players more cards, more variety, and better curation—all without sacrificing the uniqueness players expect from things like FNM and Open House promos. And one in four of the packs your LGS receives will have all-foil contents.


Here's the breakdown of the first run, for Core Set 2020:

Slot one is a promo-stamped rare or mythic rare from the most recent set. Could be any rare or mythic rare.

Slot two is a promo-stamped rare or mythic rare from a short, curated list. These will be from Standard-legal sets, and they'll be hand-selected by Magic's design studio. (These lists will be public.) You'll also see a curveball here and there—one such curveball will come with Core Set 2020. We'll show you when card previews start. You'll like it.

Slot three is a promo-stamped alternate-art basic land.

Slot four is the promo slot. With each Standard-legal set there will be a selection of special, season-specific cards, just like FNM promos (although, for the first season, there will be five cards, up from the usual three). Most of the time, you can expect to see the alternate frame cards you're accustomed to. But again, here and there, we'll throw a curveball.

Some promos will still be standalone cards. Buy-a-Box, for example, will continue to come with, well, buying a box.

This seems like it should be better for everyone, except the Scryfall guys.

In short:
* Instead of a promo card, stores will get 4-card boosters. One slot is any rare or mythic from the latest Standard set. Slot 2 is a rare or mythic from a public list. Slot 3 is an alternate art basic land. Slot 4 is a special promo (out of a small group) for the most recent Standard set.
* Every store event, from FNM to Draft Weekend, will draw from the same promo pool instead of one designated for each. Stores choose how to allocate them.
 
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ZealousD

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,551
Those individual packs so much unquestionably better than having individual FNM promos or Standard Showdown packs that I think while these packs are individually exciting, they're going to be much harder to get than current promos. WotC isn't going to rain rares and mythic rares from the sky.

I see a controversy brewing that will come to a head in the middle of Core Set 2020 season as people talk about how much harder it is to get promos than before.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,079
Wait, so if you win FNM you get a pack of four cards instead of just one? (yes I realized technically stores decide how to allocate promos but in most places I’ve seen them given to draft pod winners for example)
 

ZealousD

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,551
Wait, so if you win FNM you get a pack of four cards instead of just one? (yes I realized technically stores decide how to allocate promos but in most places I’ve seen them given to draft pod winners for example)
They're like beefed up versions of Standard Showdown packs. 2 rares (one from the most recent set, one from a small curated list), an alternate border promo (like current FNM promos), and a promo land. Every once in awhile the pack will contain a special curveball of some kind. A quarter of the packs are all foil, with the foil packs clearly labeled.

No more Standard Showdown packs
No more FNM promos
No more Draft Weekend promos
No more Game Day/Store Championship promos
No more Open House promos
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,079
Some of my most prized Magic possessions are my FNM promos. While this is definitely a better deal overall I’m kinda wistfully sad. There was something neat about that month where the FNM promo was something awesome like the Path to Exile a few years ago.
 
Oct 28, 2017
3,507
I really hope there are a lot more varied answers to Planeswalkers printed in WAR. Tired of just auto-including Contempt in any deck.
There undoubtedly will be. Limited will need at least 3-4 decent answers. One of them is bound to be constructed playable. You can expect a burn spell to target creature or planeswalker as well as destroy effects.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,663
I’d actually say neither the Gift Packs or the Guild Kits are particularly great. I play with a group of 10 people and I’m positive all of us would prefer boosters over any of that other stuff. For $50, I’d buy 5 Guilds of Ravnica packs, 5 Ravnica Allegiance and 1 Ultimate Masters.

I guess the moral of the story is that you don’t really know what he’ll like unless you know what type of player he is. I’d go with my option as I think everyone could at least have fun opening packs whereas the decks might go totally unused (and to be fair, they might also be far more fun depending on the player).
Opening packs is for suckers.
 
Oct 25, 2017
6,396
Buy your friend a Helm of Obedience, Phyrexian Dreadnought, Intuition, Dream Halls, Aluren, Recurring Nightmare, Mind Over Matter, Survival of the Fittest, Tolarian Academy or Yawgmoth's Will.

Thank me later.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,647
Buy your friend a Helm of Obedience, Phyrexian Dreadnought, Intuition, Dream Halls, Aluren, Recurring Nightmare, Mind Over Matter, Survival of the Fittest, Tolarian Academy or Yawgmoth's Will.

Thank me later.
I just got back into Magic a few weeks ago thanks to Arena after being out for nearly 20 years. I'm having a lot of fun with where the state of the game currently is, and it's also nice to see that the period when I mainly played is reaching the point of some desirability. I know for sure that I've got at least a grip of Phyrexian Dreadnoughts and Dream Halls but they're 6,000 miles away.

I finally have a reason to look forward to my once-every-five-years trip back home.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,372
I think the most important thing is, no matter what you get, make sure to argue with your friend and tell him that his opinions are bad and he shouldn't enjoy whatever it is.
 
Oct 28, 2017
3,507
At release, the guild packs costed less than buying the single cards in the secondary market.
That's true. Definitely not anymore.

That is not correct at all.
The Ravnica Allegiance Guild Kits only have 5 cards worth more than $2 (Voidslime, Birds of Paradise, Debtor's Knell, Master of Cruelties, Dovescape). These are spread out across different decks. The decks cost $20. There's no way to make your money back buying these ever. Not even close. If you sold this all separately, you'd be lucky to get $5 after fees. This leaves a generous estimate of an EV that's about 25% of the money you spend to buy it.

A pack of Ravnica Allegiance has an EV of $1.80 on the low end, which is close to 50% of purchase price.

The EV then, based on this rough paper math, is about twice as high.
 

ZealousD

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,551
The Ravnica Allegiance Guild Kits only have 5 cards worth more than $2 (Voidslime, Birds of Paradise, Debtor's Knell, Master of Cruelties, Dovescape). These are spread out across different decks. The decks cost $20. There's no way to make your money back buying these ever. Not even close. If you sold this all separately, you'd be lucky to get $5 after fees. This leaves a generous estimate of an EV that's about 25% of the money you spend to buy it.
Is there a reason you're not taking the lands into consideration?
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,322
Yeah, if we are going just by EV, the only sealed product it ever makes sense to buy are Commander Decks, SDCC Sets, and "good" masters sets, and to sit on them for a year before
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,372
Just in case anyone missed it, I want to point out the person in question already decided on and purchased a specific breakdown of gifts and/or packs. :P
 
I like to buy packs for myself as a treat, fully expecting to get jank. The times when I do get something killer makes it enjoyable.

I like to buy a booster box at launch to get playsets of Commons and as many uncommons as I can, buy the rest as singles.
 
Oct 25, 2017
694
Determining the best gift for someone based on EV is peak Magic player.

One nice thing about Arena that I didn't initially notice has been being able to play Standard while just ignoring MTG finance stuff. Being able to build Sultai or Phoenixes without being scared away from the decks due to it costing 100 dollars to get playsets of Krasises or Phoenixes is real nice. Sure it makes building the true jank more expensive because you can't get nonsense for very cheap, but as someone who's pretty happy with net decking and tweaking from there it's been great.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,322

Determining the best gift for someone based on EV is peak Magic player.

One nice thing about Arena that I didn't initially notice has been being able to play Standard while just ignoring MTG finance stuff. Being able to build Sultai or Phoenixes without being scared away from the decks due to it costing 100 dollars to get playsets of Krasises or Phoenixes is real nice. Sure it makes building the true jank more expensive because you can't get nonsense for very cheap, but as someone who's pretty happy with net decking and tweaking from there it's been great.
As someone that loved watching Saffron Olive play with janky $10 decks on MTGO that would technically be more expensive than any T1 deck on Arena, I am a little sad now
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,372
One last Ixalan draft. I'm really hoping I finally got something that synergizes a bit. Please pardon the screenshots. Ixalan expert opinions wanted:





I actually got enough white cards that I could do 100% mono white / neutral and still have 15 creatures. Unfortunately 2 of those would be the vehicles. Is it worth keeping the black in and altering the mana accordingly? The land ratio is placeholder until I pick my cards of course.

My current plan is to possibly use black but not splash any other colors. I think I may need to adjust my curve a little.

As always I have a stupid card or two I want to use despite the risks:
* Golden Guardian: I think this actually helped me a lot in a previous draft so I might want to try it.
* Conqeror's Galleon: I've never had this card and definitely want to use it. It will probably lose me all the games BUT YARRRRRR MATEY!
* Mastermind's Acquisition: I don't like the double black on this card and the slow tempo since Ixalan games seem to be pretty fast and aggro-focused. However, someone pointed out that it does apparently work with the other cards you drafted as a sideboard, so could it possibly be worth it if I keep black?


I got a fair number of Ixalan / Rivals cards I had 0x copies of, which is nice, but I still have something like 9 pages of Ixalan and 3 pages of Rivals I'm missing. It takes forever to get those cards.
 

ZealousD

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,551
One last Ixalan draft. I'm really hoping I finally got something that synergizes a bit. Please pardon the screenshots. Ixalan expert opinions wanted:
1. Gilded Sentinel is "last card in the pack" material. Cut it.
2. Imperial Lancer is also terrible. You don't have enough dinosaurs or significant pump.
3. Gruesome Fate is generally a trap. You want "one-of" at best. You want to think of a card like that kind of like an Act of Treason effect. It's only good with specific synergies or on the last turn of the game.
4. Cleansing Ray is a sideboard card. Cut both.
5. Blazing Hope is a terrible card and arguably the worst uncommon in RIX. Cut it.
6. Majestic Heliopterus is weak here. You don't have a lot of dinosaurs and your biggest ones already fly. So you're just paying 4 for a 2/2 flier which is weak.
7. Strider Harness is better if you have big creatures that can really benefit from haste. Like Colossal Dreadmaw. You don't have those so it's not worth including.

I think that leaves only a couple cards left to cut?
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,079
Geez, I didn't realize how bad MTGO Market was doing right now. Did you know a complete set of Ixalan is worth...$9 on MTGO? That Carnage Tyrant is under 50 cents? https://www.mtggoldfish.com/index/XLN#online
They legitimately don't have to worry about retiring MTGO from a Standard market perspective. It's only about Modern/Legacy/Vintage. What they should do is open up Modern Masters/Vintage Masters/Eternal Masters/etc drafts on a non-stop rotating basis at regular pack prices to just progressively tank the value of every card in every format on MTGO, then close it down.