In Confidance: Bob Reveals How He Made His Card

7 Jun

Hi, everyone. I hope you are as excited for Modern Masters as I am. I’m even planning on heading out to Grand Prix Las Vegas to play in the event. These days, that is a big commitment for me, as I don’t make it out to many Grand Prix anymore; I’d love to be playing more, but my wife usually prefers I spend the weekends with her and our four lovely children. I don’t mind saying I usually prefer that, too.
Today, though, I am here to announce what I think will be a very important card in Modern Masters. I have the pleasure of announcing that Dark Confidant will be included in it. This is obviously a card that is near and dear to my heart. I am going to cover a bit of the history of the card and discuss the impact that it being included in Modern Masters may have.
I feel like I should stop here and give an apology.
I am sorry. I am sorry to all of those players who racked up countless warnings for missing upkeep effects. I am doubly sorry to all of the judges who had to hand out warnings, more warnings, and game losses to those players. As great as Dark Confidant would have been if the ability had been a “may” ability, I believe Mark Rosewater was correct that it would have been too powerful and outside of the flavor of the card. As much as I appreciate technical play, I don’t think anyone ever wanted missed effects deciding games as they have so many, many times.
Dark Confidant is one of my favorite things about Magic. Then again, it probably should be. If you don’t already, you should know that Dark Confidant is my Invitational card, designed with my likeness on the card as the prize for winning the Magic Invitational in 2004. Dark Confidant is one of my favorite things about Magic, but not just for the incredible opportunity to be on a Magic card, which is amazing in its own right. It has been the journey of the card itself that makes it my favorite thing about Magic—the entirely unique way to interact with the game in its design, and the people involved, have made it so special to me.
The lion’s share of the credit for Dark Confidant has to go to Mark Rosewater. I had no real design idea for a card. He sat with me and shaped miscellaneous comments such as “I don’t want it to chump block,” “I want it to draw cards,” and “It needs to be two or possibly three casting cost,” into Dark Confidant as it stands today. Mark was so good at his job that he knew what I was looking for before I did. Thanks again, Mark.
It has been great fun since the card was released as well. I love hearing all of the stories from people either loving or hating the card. The number of times I have been asked to sign a Dark Confidant is humbling. Of course, I have my own stories. Dying to my own Dark Confidant in the finals of the Vintage Championships at Gen Con, that is one I will never live down. It has all been a new way to engage in the pastime that has meant so much to me over the years. It has added an element to Magic that I never knew was missing.
But enough about the past. We should talk about Dark Confidant now. Dark Confidant obviously represents card advantage. The price is unknown and the reliability changes from deck to deck. I know I have turned over more than one Inkwell Leviathan on my upkeep. I am sure there will be some people playing Modern Masters limited who might do something similar. Some will be at Grand Prix Las Vegas and others will be drafting and playing Sealed.
In many Sealed and Draft pools, Dark Confidant is usually too dangerous to play. There is always a chance in Modern Masters that it will work better, though, as many Modern staples are at a very low mana cost. I know I would be more than happy to pay 2 life to get a Tarmogoyf on my upkeep. All in all, it is buyer beware in Limited with Dark Confidant. I have had people tell me that Dark Confidant was unbeatable in the original Ravnica drafts, that it was unplayable, and everything in between. I say go for it. After all, the original quote is “Greatness, at any cost.”
In Modern, I believe Dark Confidant will continue to be a staple card in many decks. It is such a potent card and represents such an advantage over the long term that most decks will do whatever is necessary to get it off the table. If opponents do not have a way to deal with it or are unlucky enough not to draw an answer, it offers a huge advantage for you early in the game. If you have watched any coverage of high-level Modern events, I am sure you have seen Dark Confidant being played, and often dying, very regularly. I don’t believe there is any reason to believe that will stop in the near future. Even if Dark Confidant isn’t featured in the top decks at a given time, you still cannot ignore the fact that it exists. It will always put certain demands on deck builders trying to brew the next big Modern deck. Whether you choose to play it or not, the advantage is too big to ignore. I am just disappointed that at times I will be watching Dark Confidants with new art.
Now that I have mentioned the new art, I won’t ignore the biggest change, from my point of view, on the card. I will really miss all of the Dark Confidants bearing the old art. It has been something special for me from the beginning. Any of us who were fortunate enough to win an Invitational never imagined we would have to see our cards being reprinted without the original art. We were never promised that it wouldn’t happen; it just wasn’t something we could foresee. That being said, anyone disappointed with the change, myself included, has to realize that this was the only way it could be. If I am being honest with myself, it wouldn’t be fair any other way. How would Chris Pikula or Jens Thoren feel if they had the art on their cards changed and mine stayed intact? I have to believe that would just open up old wounds all over again. At this point, I think the precedent has been set. If, in the future, Wizards decides to reprint another Invitational card with the original art, you may hear me singing a different tune. For now, it is what it had to be.
To be fair, I also got to have my card reprinted in the old card frame. I still remember the day that Ray De Guzman sent me a copy of the image. He and I used to play together in the early days and played quite a bit of Vintage, then called Type I, and he knew I would really enjoy the old card frame. I am just hoping that the reprinting of the card will make the original a little easier to get my hands on. There are times when I want to sign one of them and send it to someone, and that can get really tough over and over. Neil Reeves at Mizewell Games used to collect all the Dark Confidants he could get his hands on and then just give them to me. It has been a while since those days, but that helped out a ton. Maybe now I can find a few to put in reserve.
In the end, I don’t want to give the wrong impression. I still find it really special to be involved with Dark Confidant. Those of you who refer to the card as “Bob,” keep on doing it. If you want me to sign one, don’t hesitate to ask, regardless of what art is on the card. Consider this fair warning though: I may draw a stick figure version of myself sitting in that empty throne. It also may or may not have a chat bubble as well, saying “Greatness, at any cost.”


A Pro’s Perspective: An Interview With Adam Yurchick Part I

29 Mar

By Craig Brosman

This week I wanted to try something new. I would like to try to get a professional players perspective on the game and how players at all levels can improve.
The first person that came to mind was Adam Yurchick. I first met Adam when I was going to school at Indiana University and PTQ’ing often. My junior year in 2008 I went to a PTQ in Columbus, Ohio with some friends and scrubbed out. But the most important part of that day was that my whole collection of expensive cards and binders was stolen. Adam was a nice guy and offered to help me find them. At the end of the day I saw a guy selling my collection to a vendor and recovered almost all of my collection. As the cliche goes, the rest was history.

What is the one thing that you did to improve your game the most? Before and after becoming a pro.

Before, playing a ton of Magic online or in paper during the week, and then traveling to big tournaments every weekend, generally ptqs.

Afterwards, getting together with a friend who was better than me at something and playing a ton of magic, which normally meant a lot of drafting.

In short, play a lot of magic and play with good players and you will be forced to get good.

How do you stay focused throughout a long tournament? IE: SCG Open, Pro Tours, GPs….

Music and eating frequently. also getting fresh air. between rounds is the most important time to maintain your mental state because it sets your mood when you sit down to play.

How important is being a part of a team? What advantages does a team offer and how do you choose team members?

Working with a structured team or having a good local group to play with is great. first off, it means people to play against. players teach one each other, sharing ideas and strategies. teams are also critical for testing a format and designing new decks.

For a set team I would try to keep the size down because when it is too large, there is too much information circulating and things going on, and people often do not get heard.

If you had got to pick the format of the pro tour what format would you choose and why?

legacy because i enjoy it the most. I feel it is the most skill intensive constructed format and is really fun to me. alternatively, a team limited pro tour would be ridiculous, but id settle for individuals limited.

How important is playing a deck that you are familiar with, instead of playing the best deck?

Very important if you want to master a deck. realistically the best chances of winning a tournament are with a deck you have truly mastered. mastering a deck comes down to two things, understanding it intrinsically, which comes from playing a lot, and understanding it vs the metagame, which means playing a lot vs every deck. almost all my real magic success has come with decks I had mastered through volume.

What is something that you notice most new players can improve upon to help them win more games or be a better player? Now flip that over to competitive players on all levels.

Everyone can mulligan better. It sets the stage for the whole game.

For those players who like to tweak sideboards and try to stay ahead of the meta, or possibly even make changes to the main deck, what would you tell them in order to better evaluate their options and choose effective cards and a proper number of that card?

Cards that have a real chance of being dead in game 1 against some opponents are most likely not worth playing unless there is a very compelling reason. stay flexible, and focus on your gameplan. sideboards, try to focus on matchups and situations where you really need help, not overkilling good matchups. also be sure to realize that you are sideboarding against the opponents post sideboard deck, which could be significantly different than the g1 configuration. also a sb technique i emply is to use the most flexible and broad cards that overlap different matchups. ive created some really elegant sideboards in this fashion.

What are the pro’s and cons of playing modo and paper magic vs. playing one or the other?

Playing either helps you get better at magic of course, but they are slightly different games. playing online trains you to play online and the specifics of that, while playing paper trains for paper. things like judges are completely foreign to online players, while a live player might struggle with the mtgo clock.

What kind of advice do you have for resolving mulligans?

The first few turns of a game are extremely important. mana and board development set the stage for everything. the ramifications of playing a two drop vs not in terms of damage over a game are staggering. so, assign more value to hands that start strong and less to those that are slow. keep the matchup in mind as well, as different matchups require different speeds.

When did you start playing cards and why?

I’ve always played some sort of card games. I remember playing old maid with one grandma and war with another, and playing 5 card draw with my friend. i picked up magic when i was 12 and never looked back.

I would like to do this type of article on a semi regular basis with different guests. If you have any questions or people you would like for me to interview let me know and I will try to work it out. You can add me on Facebook or send me an email at

Until next week ladies and gents.

Generic Schedule of Weekly Events At Goblin Games

18 Mar

That’s right. I said it. With over 9,000 square feet of space at Goblin Games, you can game it up to your heart’s content! There’s never a need to feel as though others are hogging all the tables with their own gaming that you can’t partake as well! So come in and join us any day of the week for a great time!

Just in case you have a particular game in mind, here’s our current weekly schedule of nightly events:

Monday- Magic Draft starts at 6:00pm
Tuesday- Heroclix 6:00P
Wednesday- Pathfinder
Thursday- Board Games
Friday- Magic Type 2 (Standard) 4:00pm and again at 6:30pm
Saturday- EDH 10:00am Pokemon League 3:00pm and Modern 6:00pm
Sunday- Heroclix at 2pm, Warmachine, Yu-Gi-Oh 3:00 pm

Of course, we are always selling our wares to the masses, so if you feel that you need to rebuild or toughen up your decks, come see us and we’ll be sure to help you out!

-The Goblin Games Team

Welcome To The Goblin Games Blog!

18 Mar

Welcome to the Goblin Games blog! If you’re just happening upon us, allow us to invite you to find a fun, game-filled atmosphere that caters to the social entertainment lifestyle of a gamer. Situated in downtown Kokomo, Indiana, we provide a service and space for you to socially and competitively play a number of games including, but certainly not limited to: Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon, and Heroclix.
We’re constantly busy here preparing for the next thing, and we’re excited about all of the evenets for Magic: the Gathering we have coming up. We’re getting all of information out to you as soon as we receive it and so far the details are promising! Come participate in these events and find it as your excuse to get back into the MTG world again!
In addition to the events we have coming up, we will be updating the blog on a weekly basis. Be sure to check out the updated content and make suggestions for what you would like our writers to cover. On top of the awesome events we have coming up, make sure to ask us how to become a part of Team Goblin Games and represent our store while you’re out gaming.
Need more information on our exciting events? Visit our Facebook page at Goblin Games and feel free to contact us via email at!
-The Goblin Games Kokomo Team

Board Games: Memoir ’44

18 Mar

This is the first of hopefully many blog posts about board gaming. My name is Randy and I have been playing boardgames for years as have many of you. Maybe you will read one of my posts and want to try the game I write about or maybe you will want to try a similar game. Now, on to the games.
Memoir ’44, published by Days of Wonder, is a two-player, World War II themed game that has been around since 2004. It was published to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France. The scenarios that come with the base game cover the landings on 6 June and continue through about August of 1944. There are 16 in total that come in the game. They play in about 45 minutes to an hour.
The map that comes inside has two sides. One depicts a beach landing area and the other open terrain. Each side of the board is divided into three sectors, left, center, and right. Different terrain configurations are made possible with double-sided hexes that include mountains, hedgerows, ricers, towns, and others. Miniatures of infantry, armor, and artillery are placed on the board in accordance with the setup instructions and are used to show how many combat hits a unit can take before it is eliminated from the game and becomes a victory point for your opponent.
Units are activated with combat cards that allow the commander of troops to move troops and/or engage in combat with the enemy. These cards help to simulate the “fog of war.” Combat is conducted with dice. A unit throws dice in combat according to its type and distance from the target. Terrain considerations can also change the amount of combat dice thrown.
The scenarios included with the game are not balanced. They are set up according to the strengths and weaknesses on both sides in that particular battle. For example, in the D-Day landing scenario called Omaha Beach, the Germans have a very strong defensive position that the Allied troops must try to come ashore against. This scenario favors the Germans and is difficult for the Allies to win.
Memoir ’44 has three distinct versions you can game with. The base game uses a single board and is for two people. The second type is Overlord where two base game boards are placed side by side and can accommodate up to eight people. The third is called Breakthrough. Breakthrough has a board that is the same width as the base game but is twice as deep. Overlord is playable with two base sets and an Overlord scenario is included with the base game though you will need a 2nd base set to play it.
Memoir ’44 has several expansions available that change the flavor of the gaming experience. Some expansions include extra armies. Eastern Front is one such expansion. This extends the game to battles between the Soviet Union and Germany. A Mediterranean expansion adds British troops and moves the theater of combat to North Africa and desert battles. A third expansion that includes troops is Pacific Theater. Japanese troops and island hopping are introduced. An accessory board is available separately that has desert terrain on one side and winter terrain on the other. Another expansion that does not include new troops is called Winter Wars and moves combat back to the Western Europe Theater and the Battle of the Bulge and the fierce winter fighting that happened there in late 1944 and early 1945. Each of these expansions also add new rules that are specific to the theater being played. However, Days of Wonder has included rules summary cards so that you do not have to find the rules in which particular rule book they are in. The cards are placed by the game board for quick reference for each player and speeds up the playing process considerably.
Memoir ’44 is a great, light, introduction to wargaming and is not difficult to learn. As a matter of fact, it is most easily learned by actually playing. There is no need to read and reread page of rules before you start.
I can be found playing Memoir ’44 most Saturdays at Goblin Games. If you are interested in seeing this game, stop by and let’s play!

The Adventures of Olivia and Thragnasty: A SCG Indy Report.

18 Mar

By Craig Brosman

On most occasions I would suggest planning out tournaments and testing against the meta before spending … I mean throwing away your entry fee. Two weekends ago at the Star City Games Standard Open in Indianapolis I didn’t follow any of my own rules for getting ready for a tournament; spend adequate time testing, nope; find a deck you’re familiar with, nope; and generally don’t spend money on something you don’t feel comfortable with, nope. I was shooting zero for three and it wasn’t looking good, but I honestly had zero expectations and just wanted to play for fun.
I met up with my friend who had the deck Friday night at FNM at our local game store in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I assumed I would be playing Esper Control since that is what he knew the best and what I figured would be easiest to get sideboard plans for. I was completely surprised when I was handed Reid Duke’s Jund list. Either way I planned on piloting a non-agro deck for the first time in more than a year-and-a-half.
I went through four rounds of swiss at FNM and completely crushed my opponents, it made me feel slightly better about going into a large tournament underprepared. I went home late and immediately read Duke’s article on sideboard plans to prepare for the open. The next morning I copied the plans and headed to Indy.
For those of you who are not familiar with Duke’s Jund list, here it is.

2x Arbor Elf
2x Olivia Voldaren
4x Huntsmaster of the Fells
4x Thragtusk

1x Dreadbore
1x Ultimate Price
1x Tragic Slip
2x Murder
2x Rakdos’s Return
2x Abrupt Decay
3x Bonfire of the Damned
4x Farseek

3x Lilliana of the Veil
2x Garruk, Primal Hunter

2x Forest
2x Kessig Wolf Run
3x Rootbound Crag
3x Dragonskull Summit
4x Overgrown Tomb
4x Woodland Cemetary
4x Stomping Ground
4x Blood Crypt

1x Rakdos Return
1x Staff of Nin
1x Ground Seal
1x Pillar of Flame
1x Bonfire of the Damned
1x Graffdigger’s Cage
2x Acidic Slime
2x Underworld Connections
2x Tragic Slip
3x Duress

My day Saturday started out well, I was 3-0 going into my fourth round. I was running late and I ran to my table, which was to my amazement near the top. I got there and I could not find my opponent. The people around my table told me that I had a feature match. I ran over to the feature match area and found my opponent Justin Uppal, who I had heard was on Primespeaker Bant. With my lack of knowledge on the meta, since I hadn’t tested, or read any of my SCG Premium in more than a month I had no idea what to expect. This match happened to be a live cam match. It can be found on under the SCG Live channel for SCG Standard Open Indy.
I was crushed game 1 after Uppal landed a Primespeaker Zegana and drew a bunch of cards, then continued to vomit on me and didn’t even apologize. After board I briefly brought in Duress, but then before the game I took them out and put in the original two Rakdos’s Return and then the one from the board. Game Two went pretty quickly. I Rakdos’s Returned him for four and went on to game three. In game Three he started out strong with an Avacyn’s Pilgrim and two Loxodon Smiter’s. I Abrupt Decayed one Smiter and Tragic Slipped the other. He then played a Thragtusk and I came back with Garruk, Primal Speaker, instead of Rakdos’s Returning the three cards out of his hand while I was at 16. Garruk then began to take over the game making tokens to trade with Thragtusk and the beast token. I then played a Thragtusk of my own and passed turn, forgetting to activate my Garruk. The next turn I drew a Bonfire of the Damned and did not hesitate to put it in my hand while I had 11 mana on board. I attacked all out with two beasts and Thragtusk, taking him to 14. On Uppal’s turn he attacked Garruk with both Avacyn’s Pilgrim’s he had on board and I Tragic Slipped one, but he Restoration Angeled out of it. I then drew a card and slammed Bonfire of the Damned for 4 and Uppal reached over to congratulate me.
I then went on to play against my first Naya Blitz matchup. I decided to wipe his board instead of play my Thragtusk, when I was at 7 life. This terrible decision cost me the game when my opponent end of turn played a Boros Charm, then drew and played a Boros Charm. That was the beginning of my train being derailed.
I had began the tournament with a solid 4-0 showing and was the number one rated players for three rounds. Going into round five I was the top player. After round five I lost the next two and my dreams of a top8 were crushed, but I was still in the hunt for some money.
I played against Junk Reanimator piloted by Thomas Higgins who finished in 9th place. I lost 0-2 and at no point in time felt like I was in the match at all. Game one he got Obzedat, Ghost Council and I did not have a spell to kill it and it ate me alive.
The next round I played against a very lucky UWR Flash player who took me to game three, where he drew three Azorius Charm’s, three Snapcaster Mage’s and two Geist of Saint Traft. I then successfully casted two thragtusks and three Huntsmaster of the Fells. Each time I tried to kill the Geist my guy was bounced and I was left taking four damage. At the end of the game I was trying to draw cards off of Underworld Connections to cast a spell to gain life and stop the Geist. I failed and immediately died without passing go and without collecting $200. On a bright note, my opponents mother told me how beautiful my wedding ring was.
The next round I played a Naya Humans deck in which I crushed 2-0. After the Naya deck I played Matt Hoey. I spaced out game one and forgot that I had an active Wolf Run and could have killed him multiple times. Game two I ground out a win with Olivia Voldaren and a Rakdos’s’ Return. Game three was pretty quick and I Rakdos’s Returned him out of the game.
The next match I faced my third UWR Flash match of the day. Game one was a grinder and I casted Rakdos’s Return and pulled away. Game two we were grinding out the match, then he taps out to cast Sphynx’s Revelation for a lot and filled his hand. I then drew a Rakdos’s Return and immediately casted it for seven to all but end the game and keep me in the hunt for money.
The last round of the day started at 10:30 p.m., I win and I am guaranteed money. Going into round 11 I was sitting in 47th place and poised to crack top 32. I sat down to play and found out that I was playing against Naya Blitz. My opponent went first. He comes out shooting with both guns blazing and I happen to make it to turn five where I immediately windmill slam a Bonfire of the Damned for two to wipe his board to attempt my come back. I cast two Thragtusk and an Olivia. He then casts Boros Reckoner and I attack with both Thragtusks and did not activate my Wolf Run on the reckoner who blocked. Instead I took my chances that he would not immediately draw a spell to kill me. He drew a Searing Spear and I was dead. The next game was not as close and I was dead to money.
We played a game three just for funsies. I ended up playing three Thragtusk and an Olivia and it was not really a close game. It made me realize that every mistake is important and I needed to pay attention and slow the game down to think through the whole turn ahead of time before I do other things.
As a whole I really liked the deck that I was playing. I felt comfortable with my sideboard plans and the main deck was just awesome. I only really felt behind two times the whole day. Both times were against reanimator strategies. Junk Reanimator can grind you out with obezedat if you fail to do much like I did, but the scary part is angel of serenity. A late angel is very difficult to deal with. If I was to play this deck again, which there is a pretty good chance I will, I would have a better strategy for Reanimator. I would probably look into Tormod’s Crypt or Rakdos Charm for the board, probably cutting a Duress and an Acidic Slime.
Things I learned from the event: if you can make a play that would prevent your opponent from top decking you out of the game you do it; If you aren’t in love with your opening 7 treat it as if you get a free hand of 7, but 6 is where you will normally start; and Jund does not have many bad matchups. The decision of my friend to give me Jund was well positioned and a very good choice. If I would have played better I could have possibly gone the distance, but hindsight is always 20/20.
At the end of the day I finished 79th one match shy of top 32 out of 774 players.
I would like to thank Samy Younis and Bob Hardy for lending me a sweet deck, Normand See for sponsoring me and indirectly Reid Duke for posting his sweet list and sideboard plans.
This week I will be interviewing Magic Pro and good friend of mine The Adam Yurchick on how to prepare for tournaments and how to be a better player.