City Guide: Top Picks for GP Montreal

On July 4th, Magic players from around the World will descend upon Montreal for one last shot at the Dragons of Tarkir limited format. It has become somewhat of a tradition for Mana Deprived to produce a guide for visitors who may want to experience all the city has to offer. If it’s your first time here, you may want to start with our previous installments:

Join Martin Brunet and Franky Richard as they share their recommendations in the different categories of interest for our readers. For each category, they’ve also included a team pick that is endorsed by both of them. So without further ado, the top picks for GP Montreal.

Best Poutine
If there’s a meal that’s typically associated with Montreal, it’s definitely poutine and you don’t want to miss out on it.

macheRestaurant Mâche
1655 Rue Saint-Denis
martinMartin: A hidden place in a popular neighborhood. Deep in the “Latin Quarters”, this modest half-basement “Comfort Food” eat-in offers my favorite poutine in town. Ask for the “Hommage à Québec”, an all-star. Just like the Deathmist Raptor, Den protector and Satyr Wayfinder staple trio, this poutine has the three classic ingredients in its upmost quality. However, it is complemented with cocktail sausages and a hint of spicy ketchup that kicks it up a few notches. For those who would like to try something else, the Mac and Cheese is on point. The plate consists of a sensible choice of warm, old and fresh cheese with the classic pastas.

poule
Ma Poule Mouillée
969 rue Rachel Est
martinFranky: This place is really a Portugese rotisserie and it is simply amazing. It’s also located right across from La Banquise, which is my favorite poutine place in Montreal, but sometime has huge lineups even late at night. Ma Poule Mouillée does one type of poutine, but it’s filled with delicious roasted chicken, chorizo and their awesome spicy sauce. If you fancy something else, you can’t go wrong picking any item from their menu and the prices are ridiculously low. The place might be crowded a bit, but any wait will be well worth it. You won’t regret going there.

header_logo_frite-alorsTeam Pick > Frite Alors!
680 rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest

martinFranky: 
The specialty of Frites Alors! is their Belgian style fries and they’re a perfect fit for poutine. They offer different options to spice up your poutine, including pulled pork and braised beef. You can also enjoy their fries with one of 17 home made sauces, which makes the perfect side dish for their extensive selection of burgers and sandwiches. Their beer menu is quite decent with lots of local brews and European imports. With 7 locations around Montreal, this place is a sure bet for hungry travelers.

 

Best Bars
Adult gamers need adult drinks. This is where you get them.

randolphe

Randolph Gaming Pub
2041 rue Saint-Denis
martinMartin: I’ve made my market research, and you guys like games. This is the board games joint to go in Montreal. For 5$, you get to have access to hundreds of games. Want to try something new? They have gals and fellas walking around making sure you will find the right game you want to play. The beer and the food is good. If you don’t day 2, or even if you do, head straight to the Randolph and keep playing ’till the end of the night. Be careful however, there might be a lineup.

dublin

Le Vieux Dublin Pub & Restaurant
636 rue Cathcart
martinFranky: This Irish pub is so close to the venue, it would be a disservice to not mention it. If you’re looking for a good pint of beer, you will find it here. Their selection includes Irish, English, Canadian and other European beers. You can also order pub style food from their kitchen before 9:30 pm. Food wise, their specialty is burgers, but they’ve other interesting options as well. You might also be interested in their selection of scotch which is quite extensive.

biermarktTeam Pick > Bier Markt
1221 boulevard René-Lévesque Ouest

martinFranky: 
If you showed up for KYT’s birthday party at the last GP, this is where it was hosted and it’s even closer to the venue this time. The Bier Markt offers more than a hundred types of beer, so if you can’t find one you like, you’ve got “issues”. It’s also a decent place to eat, which makes this a good place to visit after a particularly rough tournament. Every item on their menu has a matching beer recommendation to make things easier for you. They serve the more traditional pub food, but also offer high end seafood and grilled meats. It’s not the cheapest place, but the quality is worth it.

 

Best Food
Montreal’s gastronomy is legendary and we thought you’d might wanna know where to go.
vallierVallier Bistro et comptoir
425 rue McGill
martinMartin: We’re talking big leagues here. If you come to Montreal, mind as well experience what my lovely town offers best, food. My choice stops at Le Valier. A quality French Cuisine restaurant, you will enjoy great food and wine in the most humble atmosphere. I’ve never felt in a pompous setting there, yet the experience is distinguished and sophisticated. Plan for a budget of about 50$ with a glass of wine because if you aren’t getting wine with your meal, you aren’t doing the full montrealer thing.
grosluxeL’Gros Luxe
3807 rue Saint-André
martinFranky: I used to work right across the street from this restaurant and they make the best grilled cheese sandwich in Montreal. If you’re looking for great comfort food at a fair price made from fresh ingredients, look no further. Their menu is quite varied and includes tacos, sandwiches, burgers, poutines and even has a decent amount of vegetarian options. A lot of their plates can be customized with a variety of toppings that will turn great into unforgettable. Finally if you need a fancy drink to go with a great meal, their cocktail menu will leave no one indifferent.
boucan
Team Pick > Le Boucan Smokehouse
1886 rue Notre-Dame Ouest

martinMartin: 
You want meat? You go to Le Boucan. A Texas inspired BBQ restaurant, they got ribs, chicken, pulled pork and all the big plates one would expect in a place that’s all about meats. They even have Bacon Brownies! The shop is a little small, so be ready to be a little tight, and tighter as your belly bulges. This is the place where when you’ll be done, you’ll be staring at the wall in satisfaction.

 

Best of Verdun
Verdun is an up-and-coming neighborhood, the home of Face to Face Games and tournament organizer Game Keeper.
jobloJoBlo Restaurant Steakhouse
3807 rue Wellington
martinMartin: Copious. That’s all I have to say. Well, not really. I live right next to this joint and I don’t eat for a day before going there. The burgers are huge, flavourful and rewarding. There are many other plates (poutine and “Pâté Chinois”) that are just as well challenging. The setting is something else as well. The decor and the staff sets a prohibition era experience where you feel like a gangster. Those fat middle-aged gangsters that is. The meats are fresh from the neighbourhood butcher as well. The latter actually taught the cook to make the cuts on site. So when Face to Face Games closes, take a walk and enjoy JoBlo.
header-logoBlack Strap BBQ
4436 rue Wellington
martinFranky: When this place opened right across from Face to Face Games, it became an instant classic. They have one of the best pulled pork sandwich in the city and well as kick ass ribs and all kinds of slowly cooked delicacies. My personal favorites are the fried mac ‘n cheese side dish and the chilli cheese fries. The restaurant prides itself in offering authentic Memphis-style BBQ and boy do they deliver.

benelux

Team Pick >Benelux Brasserie Artisanale
4026 rue Wellington
martinMartin: Verdun was a dry city for 130 years. For this period of time, the only way you could consume alcohol in a public establishment was with food. Benelux was the first bar that received a special authorization to sell beer without food. However you should still get the food. The micro-brewery has a rotation of 15 beers that are made on site and have a nice card of quick meals. I suggest the “Peperette” and the “Tex-Mex” Burrito. The backyard patio is the main course. Hands down, one of the nicest in Montreal. It is spacious and comfortable. Don’t be surprised if you meet Frankie and I there after an FNM.

 

Best cuisine du Monde
A cosmopolitan city like Montreal is also home to a wide variety of flavors, some of which we heartily recommend.
noodlefactoryRestaurant Noodle Factory
1018 rue Saint-Urbain
martinMartin: My Chinatown pick. Cash only obviously. Nonetheless, this small shack offers all the usual Asian food classics but at a discount and a big portion. Most of the time, I give my leftovers to a homeless chap. The Wonton soup is pretty good being complemented with a good amount of rice noodles and top of the big fat ones we like so much. Don’t be intimidated by the line-up because they ship take-out fast.
thali_small
Thali Cuisine Indienne
1409 rue Saint-Marc
martinFranky: Welcome to your typical Indian “hole-in-the-wall”. For me going there is very simple, as I always order their combo platter, which lets you pick 3 curries and comes with naan bread, rice and salad. For less than 10$, it doesn’t get much better than this. They also have other options if you know more than I do about Indian food. The place is quite small, so you shouldn’t venture there with a group larger than four unless you’re planning to take out.

ilfocaTeam Pick > Il Focolaio
1223 rue du Square Phillips

martinMartin: 
Close to my office, I love bringing friends for lunch there. It is the Schwartz of Oven Baked Pizza. It has the vibe of a restaurant that’s been open for generations, which is in fact the case. Hundreds of pizzas. Flip the table mat menu and you’ll find a suggestion of mine for the Parks & Recreation fans, the Volcano Calzone. An infusion of spicy meats wrapped in pizza dough. A delight. It is fairly close to the venue, and right next to the “Vieux Dublin”. A must.

 

Best Beer
In Canada, beer is almost a religion. You should have one (or more).
reservoirLe Réservoir
9 avenue Duluth Est
martinMartin: A little out of the way, but I believe that it is worth the hassle. It’s on the “Main” and close to Schwartz however! We had to dig deeper since we had two guides already and this small micro-brewery is one of my favorite. Never had an issue with the staff, never had an issue with the beer. Food is marginal but great too. Don’t hesitate to share with the waiter your experience of Montreal because they will be very generous with their attention and their knowledge of the real Montreal life. Absolutely beautiful setting as well.

dieuducielDieu du Ciel!
29 avenue Laurier Ouest
martinFranky: This is one of the most renowned microbrewery in Montreal, or heaven for the beer nerds. Besides from the amazing selection of beer they serve, it’s also a great place to go out to experience the Montreal ambiance. People of all ages go there to enjoy craft beer at its best, in a definitely friendly atmosphere. When I’ve gone it was strictly for beer, but apparently they serve good food at reasonable prices as well.

steelisabethTeam Pick > Le Sainte-Elisabeth
1412 rue Sainte-Élisabeth
martinMartin: The Patio. Oh my goodness the patio. I strongly believe this bar is a safe bet as it will satisfy everyone of your group. If you’re a good chunk of planeswalkers looking for a beer or a drink, head to the Sainte-Elisabeth. The price are good too. You will surely have a great night.

 

Best Burgers
My kingdom for a burger!
picksRestaurant Picks
1407 rue Saint-Marc
martinMartin: This, you gotta go. Not because it is a “wow” experience but because this is what Montreal truly offers best, small kickass shacks. Pick’s is Korean owned burger joint that offers the best burger under 10$. Fully customizable, you highlight what you want on a checklist and you give it to the guy how barely speaks either of our official languages. You get in return a juicy, fresh burger with a good chunk of fries (if you ordered them). Plus, the bun, usually unnoticeable, is truly tasteful. I found this little place on r/montreal and did agreed with the thread. It is THE best burger in town.

burgerroyalBurger Royal
3820 boulevard St-Laurent
martinFranky: I must admit I’m a bit of a burger fanatic. There are a lot of burger joints in Montreal, but few of them offer fried chicken burgers. I ended up here when looking for that ultimate fried chicken burger and was not disappointed. They really respect food and you will taste the difference. They’re known for having great mac n cheese which I’ve yet to try and also serve fancy hot dogs. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so check out their Instagram page if you wanna see for yourself. They’ve got crazy things on there such as the ultimate Montreal treat!

belle_et_boeufTeam Pick > La Belle et la Boeuf
1620 rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest
martinFranky: A recently established burger bar chain in Montreal, you should go there if you’re looking for an outrageous burger. They have a few more classic options, but where they truly shine is in the unusual toppings or gargantuan servings. When I was there I had their Calimero which had a fried egg inside and was simply delicious. Their “regular” burgers are huge, but you can go crazy with double, triple and quadruple patties options that normal humans probably can’t get through. It’s also a decent place to try poutine, with exotic options such as foie gras & duck or lobster poutine. It’s really close to Picks, so you’ll have a fall back plan if you head that way.

 

Best of the Rest
These we couldn’t quite fit in our categories, but just couldn’t leave out either.

malnecessaireBar Le Mal Nécessaire
1106 B boulevard Saint-Laurent
martinMartin: A speakeasy style cocktail lounge, they offer fantastic drinks. From the street, you can only see a giant neon pineapple, stairs and a curtain. You will discover a truly amazing place. You won’t find a pina colada on this exceptional drinks card, but if you do, it’s going to be served with fireworks. Nothing is ordinary in this establishment yet it is simple to the core. Good drinks, good staff and good food. The latter comes from a neighbouring Chinese food joint. The music is also well chosen and sets a great vibe. You will have a good time there.

marathonMarathon Souvlaki Restaurant
5365 rue des Jockeys
martinFranky: For those driving to Montreal, this is a place worth stopping by. It’s the farthest place we’ve recommended, but it’s really worth the detour. On the bright side, they have abundant free parking. For me it’s the ultimate Greek restaurant: every plate comes with salad, rice and fries; the prices are reasonable; the ingredients are always fresh; everything is cooked perfectly and tastes amazing.

universelTeam Pick > Universel Déjeuners et Grillades
2055 rue Peel
martinFranky: If you’re looking for a good breakfast not too far from the venue, this is the place I would recommend. They serve it all day, along with a regular lunch/dinner menu. It’s a good place to visit if your party is not set on one specific thing to eat as they offer a wide range of meals. Whether you order a burger, a steak or pastas, you’ll be pleased with the end result. It’s a place I’ve been to many times and was never disappointed. Great service, check it out.

Franky’s Guide to GP Montréal

Well it’s not the first time the big show comes to Montréal. Last time we hosted a GP many contributors joined forces to produce ManaDeprived.com’s Guide to Montreal, highlighting the best this city has to offer. If you’re making the trek down here, it’s basically required reading. However, it only touches the tip of all that you can find in Montreal and I believe I can provide a few more recommendations for our esteemed readership.

First, the tournament is held again at Palais des Congrès. It’s the same venue that was used for Pro Tour Gatecrash as well as the last GP. The event is being held by GameKeeper and they’ve setup a nice site at GPMontreal.com where you can find out all there is to know about the event. Tournament organizer Mauro Bongiovanni is a polarizing figure in the local community, but you can be assured he’s prepared to host a great event. The venue itself has a lot to offer, including many restaurants and cafés which I’m going to highlight.

Inside the venue

 

subway-logo

This may be your more familiar option. A lot of long Magic days have been sustained by this franchise and it will be there for you if you need it.

 

tim-hortons-alwaysfresh-ellispe-logo
If you know any Canadians, you know they’re crazy about Tim Horton’s. Coffee, pastries, sandwiches… It’s a way of life.

 

Restaurant BASHA - 3552 rue Ontario Est, à Rosemont - Livraison

110380191_93971be145_o

Being from Montreal, I assumed everyone ate Lebanese gyros on a regular basis, but after surveying a few of my American friends, it seems this might just be a local thing. Here, they’re basically on every corner. No wonder the Avengers made it like a quirky thing to do…

If you decide to go there, what you wanna do is order Shish Taouk(chicken) or Shawarma(beef). You have the option of taking either as a sandwich or a plate. If you choose a plate you can actually combine beef and chicken. If you order a sandwich, you can also take it with potatoes and a drink, commonly called a trio a.k.a. meal.

Other options:

  • Noobox (Noodles)
  • Terra Verda (Sandwiches & Salads)
  • Presse Café, Van Houtte (Coffee & Sandwiches)

 

Outside the venue

 

sf-logo
405, St-Antoine Ouest, Montréal, QC H2Z 2A3 (BYOB)
sf-stpaul
This place is a decent steakhouse and French bistro and they let you bring your own booze! For some people, that makes it the perfect place or a recipe for disaster, which brings us to…

 

saq
501, place d’Armes, Montréal, QC H2Y 2W7 (Wine & Spirits)

If you’re looking to quench your thirst, you’ll need to go there since all bottled wine and liquor is dealt strictly by this provincial institution. Just make sure you don’t get arrested for public indecency.

 

section_a_logo
105 St-Paul Est, Montréal, QC H2Y1G7
3brasseurs
This microbrewery offers a varied menu for a decent price, accompanied with their selection of homemade beers. Their speciality is the Flamm, a thin-crust pizza that is simply delicious.

 

eggspectation-logo_en-gb
12 Rue Notre Dame Est, Montréal, QC H2Y 1B7
eggspectation_dinningroom
I’ll admit I’ve never been there, but if I wanted to get sit-down breakfast near the venue, that’s where I would go. They offer loads of options for omelettes, eggs benedict, waffles, crêpes, you name it. Their lunch menu with burgers and sandwiches doesn’t look too shabby either. I would consider this one a safe bet.

 

site-logo
1116 Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, Montréal, QC H3B 5K2
reuben-s-deli-steaks
Here’s another place to get your fix of Montreal smoked meat, with probably the nicest dinning room among popular options. They’ve also got lots of other choices on the menu, including steaks, burgers and humongous salads. You won’t be disapointed.

 

Logo_Moishes

3961 Saint-Laurent, Montreal, Quebec H2W 1Y4

DiningRoom-600x300
Ranked one of the top 10 Steak house in the world, Moishes is another landmark of the Montreal landscape. This restaurant opened in 1938 and has literally become an institution. If what you’re really craving is a good steak, look no further than this one.

 

Yamaza
1017 Saint Laurent Boulevard, Montreal, QC H2Z 1J4
yamazaki
All you can eat sushi recommended by Brother of Runes. Drop by their website to print out a discount coupon!

 

Garde Manger
408 Rue Saint François Xavier, Montréal, QC H2Y 2S9

If you watch the food network, you might have seen this restaurant’s tattooed owner Chuck Hughes kicking ass on Iron Chef. He’s known for making funky Lobster poutine and is big on seafood. His famous dessert is a deep fried Mars bar. If you must go there, I suggest you plan accordingly as it’s notoriously difficult to get a reservation there. Oh and this place has no signs, so make sure you note the address.

 

Cristal No 41
1068, boul. St Laurent, Montreal QC, H2Z 1J5
A small Vietnamese place, very simple, but the food is delicious. Great bang for your buck, walking distance from the venue.

 

If these choices aren’t enough, you can look at other restaurants near the venue on RestoMontreal.ca. The site lists more than 400 restaurants within 1km of the venue, so if you’re craving anything specific, there’s a good chance it’s there.

 

Bars

 

brutopia_01
1219 Rue Crescent, Montréal, QC H3G 2B1 ‎
brutopia_mainfloor
This bar serves a huge selection of their own microbrewed beers and usually features a live band performing each night. A really cool place to hang out and drown your sorrows after getting crushed at your favorite strategy game. Their Chocolate Stout is highly recommended.

 

Peel-Pub

1196 Rue Peel, Montréal, QC H3B 2T6
capture_inside-peel-pub
Peel Pub is a classic sports bar in Montreal. It’s usually very crowded and there’s always action going on there. A good value if that’s the type of place you’re looking for.

 

distillerie-logo

300 rue Ontario Est, Montréal, Qc H2X 1H6
2047 av. Mont-Royal, Montréal, Qc H2H 1J7

distillerie-drinks
This place is known for their wide selection of exotic cocktails, served in a huge mason jar. There’s two location you can go to, the closest one to the venue is on Ontario, but it’s quite small and often has a line up to get in. There are however a lot of other bars close to it, so you might wanna take a chance and fall back somewhere else if you can’t get in. Go to the other address on Mont-Royal if you have a larger group that really wants to try it.

 

affiche
1649 Rue Saint-Denis, Montréal, QC H2X 3K4
bar
Recommended by a friend, this scotch bar offers more than 140 kinds of scotch and whiskey to sample. The atmosphere is said to be laid back and relaxed. A good place where you can chill out and chat with your buddies, since they don’t crank the music to indecent levels.

 

SB_Ecusson
1749 Saint-Denis​​​​, Montréal (Québ​ec), ​​​​​H2X 3K4
281462-saint-bock
If you’re looking for a good beer, this is one of the best destination in the city. They have about 20 beers on tap and hundreds available in bottle. Their own brew are all named with a religious reference, tying with the name of the place, which translates as “The Holy Mug”. It’s located in the same area as La Distillerie and L’île noire.

 

Entertainment

 

Logo-Casino-de-Montréal
1 Avenue du Casino, Montréal, QC H3C 4W7
Looking for higher stakes than MTG? Montreal has its own casino and it’s not too shabby. It’s not too far from the downtown area, so if gambling is your thing, that’s where you’ll want to go.

Old Port

The tournament venue is located right next to the historical district of the Old Port. This area has many tourist attractions and is one of the best area to explore by foot. You might want to drop by the Montreal Science Center to check out the exhibitions or catch an Imax movie. Another option is the Pointe-à-Callière museum which is now showing an exhibit on The Beatles, but also features some of the history and archaeology from the city. Don’t be afraid to explore the neighborhood, it has a lot to offer.

Drafting with Franky and Vince – How to Beat Mayor of Avabruck

In the draft portion, the draft starts in green, but end up yielding very few other picks in the first pack. After picking white as their secondary color, they end up opening and passing two Essence of the Wild in pack 2 and pack 3. See how their decks comes out. Will they have enough to get there?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIZ_vRM6iF4

In round one, the opponent opens on turn 2 Mayor of Avabruck. Lacking a direct answer, our cunning drafters begin an intricate dance to keep the werewolf at bay.   If you thought the mayor was a bomb rare, watch how it can be turned into a 1/1 that basically does nothing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnsQe1gxUMc

Watch some sideboarding discussion before the beginning of game two. The Mayor comes out once more and it’s dejà vu all over again as the boys keep on finding new ways of disrupting their opponent who’s trying desperately to make wolves. The game ends up in a tight race to the finish, with a few unlikely moves that end up paying off.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZgnQLDJuqc

In round two, they face another black green deck that isn’t short on annoying cards. They fight a tight race and face some tough decisions on top of a game crash that dwindles a lot of their precious clock.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1YbgDWmNjo

After fighting with Internet connection problems, the game resumes and our friends end up losing a tight game 1. They need to go through a very quick game 2 to have any shot with winning the round with any time left. They are rewarded with a quick start, as the deck comes out firing on all cylinders and shows how much blue white can out tempo its opponents.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keVpMNwBRJo

In the decisive game of round two, it’s mulligan galore when our favorite drafters end up with a sketchy five card hand. It goes from bad to worse when they keep drawing land after land, yet manage to stay in the game on the back of Butcher’s Cleaver buying them infinite time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gc8kS426HTI

Vince’s Final Advice: Drafting in general, signals and getting in touch with your inner noob

Drafting online can be a lot of fun, and you have the opportunity, at any time of the day or night, to play against some of the best players of the game (except during the dreadful down time where the server is offline). For sure, you sometimes get paired against a player that does not seem to know what he is doing, someone who forgets to play his EOT (end of turn) effects or again uses his tappers during your first main phase instead of the beginning of the combat step. This is rather the exception than the rule and on MTGO you will often be mesmerised by the precision and the synergy of the cards your opponents will play. Online drafting is also one of the best ways to learn how the cards work and master the intricacies of the ubiquitous stack. The best players online often become some of the best in real life, as we have seen for quite a while now. David Caplan, Canadian Worlds semi-finalist of this year, is a good example. Qualifying through Modo, he managed to perform incredibly well at the top level of the game.

Anyway, drafting Innistrad is quite challenging but it comes as a welcome change from the core set Magic 2012. I drafted my fair share of M12, playtesting extensively for the Canadian Nationals. The number of archetypes that you can draft, and the different strategies you can adopt, were however rather limited, especially if you compare with the expansions. Cards from the expansions tend to have more abilities and these are often more complex, leading to more intricate board states, allowing skills and outside-the-box thinking to play a bigger role in your matches. With Innistrad some deck archetypes can have a constructed feel, for example the GU splash r or b self-mill, as you mill almost your entire library, winning the late game with cards like Spider Spawning or Laboratory Maniac. During the current draft we switched to white after seeing some signals that led us to think that the color was open. Also, as it is the deepest color in the set (the one with the most playable commons), we were not that worried if several people used that color as it can support plenty of drafters at the same table. There are a few ways to define what a signal is, so let me elaborate a little bit on that.

You get a signal when you receive a card in a pack that is passed to you and you can see in it a card that is usually taken way earlier than that. For example, Bonds of Faith and Alvacyn Priest are the top 2 common in white and I often pick them higher than a lot of rares and uncommon. So If you see them in second, third or fourth pick, it is not quite a strong signal, but could mean that the guys feeding you the cards are not drafting that color, otherwise they would have taken it. However, if you see it fifth, sixth or seventh (!!) pick, well you can be pretty sure that there are not that many white drafters on the table, or that you are sitting in the presence of amateur drafters, commonly called noobs in the gamer slang, which, despite its negative connotation, is actually revealing of the upmost respect that magic community has for skills and a deep knowledge of the game.

The first step, and the most radical one a magic apprentice can take in his career towards spell-slinging excellence, is to get in touch and look in the face his inner noob, stop being in denial about it, and go on a personal conscious vendetta with him. The only problem with this inner noob is that it seems that you cannot get rid of him forever and once in a while, when your guard is down, he will re-emerge from your soul, and, in the blink of an eye, screw your current game, causing you to miss a trigger, forget a land drop, or miss a damage here and there.

When that happens, you finally realize that, despite all these years and all this work, this inner scrub was never totally gone and that, like it or not, you will have to assume that he is always there, in the background, whispering in your ears lies and false reasoning, leading you from one blunder to another. Maybe the solution is, instead of being in denial, just to accept with humility that perfection is just not attainable and that striving for it should not make you lose sight of the fact that, no matter how hard you try, you will remain, after all, only human.

Drafting with Franky & Vince – Episode 1

Watch the draft portion as Franky and Vince compare picks and try to build a winning deck. While Franky is extremely wary to jump into green, he ends up giving in to Vince’s plea as they go toward with an aggressive Red-Green deck. Eventually, Franky snatches a [card]Necrogen Censor[/card] along the way, his pet card in the format. How can they lose?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tS4_vRMBOKk

The games begin with our heroes facing a U/W deck featuring [card]Thopter Assembly[/card]. After getting crushed in game 1, they come back with a vengeance to win game 2. They keep a greedy one-lander in game 3 while their opponent mulls to 5 and the army of snakes shows no mercy for the slow start.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xx2zvf9Mo90

The boys go on to round 2 where they almost use all of their clock to poison their opponent to death in game 1. Franky manages to forget using his Trigon only once, while Vince displays his quick mouse skills in game 2, when the deck comes out strong to put them into the finals.

http://youtu.be/bUKQtkelH88

Franky fucks up big time by mulliganing the perfect hand in game 1, which results in a quick loss for the drafting duo. The second game is a tight race, but [card]Tumble Magnet[/card] ends up trumping the opponent’s equipment strategy. The last game is a bit anti-climatic when the opponent stumbles in the early game and gets trampled over and finished off with burn for good measure. Mom jokes and accolades abound as your favorite commentators share their final thoughts on the draft.

http://youtu.be/T0h4zaM5KJk

Vince’s Final Advice

Drafting can be a lot of fun; it is skill-intensive and the multiplicity of archetypes available to draft ensures a different experience each time. There are quite a lot of different strategies that you can adopt: you can try to force an archetype in colors that are deemed deep enough, cutting from the start the best cards of that color and persevering even if good cards in other colors appear later on. You can try as well to be as flexible as you can, not committing early or heavily in two colors, so you can be more open to signals.

A signal is when you see a very good card, some would say a top pick, and you see it late, like 4, 5 or 6 pick. A signal tells you that a color is open, and when you see one you can move in that color and get late picks that are great. For instance, in Scars of Mirrodin block, if you see an [card]Artillerize[/card] in the sixth pack, it is a clear sign that red is not heavily drafted, as it is one of the best red commons in the set. With the Scars of Mirrodin block limited draft format, you can afford not committing to a color for quite a long time as you can just pick up artifacts at the beginning, leaving your options open.

The tough decisions are usually between picking a subpar but still powerful artifact or taking a colored card a bit stronger, but that you may end up not playing as you are not sure if the color will flow later on. Another strategy that is possible is simply to pick up the best card in the first few picks, and then reading the signal and switching if needs to be. It is sometimes right to give up a bomb just so you are in a color that is underdrafted. In this draft, for example, we first-picked Life Finale, but ended up ditching blackas the cards we got passed in that color were underwhelming. Green on the other hand was wide open, and it was evident when we were passed 2 Viridian Corrupters in a row, as it is one of the best green uncommons of the block.

Good luck in your drafts and till next time, good bye.

Commander 101: Fan Request, the Rosheen List

During episode 2 of Crazy Talk, I mentioned my Rosheen Meanderer deck for EDH while we were talking about Candelabra of Tawnos. A fan requested the list in the comments on MTGCast.com, so here it is. I hope you enjoy!

Lors du deuxième épisode de Crazy Talk, j’ai mentionné ma liste EDH de Rosheen Meanderer pendant qu’on parlait de Candelabra of Tawnos. Un fan a demandé la liste dans les commentaires de MTGCast.com, alors la voici. J’espère que vous allez l’apprécier!

[deck title=Rosheen Meanderer EDH]
[General]
Rosheen Meanderer
[/General]
[X Spells]
Apocalypse Hydra
Comet Storm
Flamebast Dragon
Gelatinous Genesis
Genesis Wave
Rolling Thunder
Savage Twister
Sigil of Distinction
Silklash Spider
Starstorm
[/X Spells]
[Ramp]
Argothian Elder
Candelabra of Tawnos
Cultivate
Doubling Cube
Dreamstone Hedron
Explosive Vegetation
Joraga Treespeaker
Khalni Heart Expedition
Kodamas Reach
Magus of the Candelabra
Mana Reflection
Oracle of Mul Daya
Overgrowth
Thran Dynamo
Wild Growth
Worn Powerstone
[/Ramp]
[Survival Package]
Anger
Brawn
Genesis
Squee, Goblin Nabob
Survival of the Fittest
[/Survival Package]
[Card Advantage]
Farsight Mask
Harmonize
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
Krosan Tusker
Minds Eye
Skullclamp
Souls Majesty
Sylvan Library
Yavimaya Elder
[/Card Advantage]
[Tutors]
Citanul Flute
Chord of Calling
Green Suns Zenith
Planar Portal
Worldly Tutor
[/Tutors]
[Good Stuff]
Acidic Slime
Akroma, Angel of Fury
Bear Umbra
Bogardan Hellkite
Desert Twister
Eternal Witness
Fervor
Hellkite Charger
Loaming Shaman
Loxodon Warhammer
Manaplasm
Maze of Ith
Seedborn Muse
Spearbreaker Behemoth
Spitebellows
Viridian Zealot
[/Good Stuff]
[Lands]
Taiga
Wooded Foothills
Stomping Ground
Fire-Lit Thicket
Rootbound Crag
Mossfire Valley
Jungle Basin
Mosswort Bridge
Yavimaya Hollow
Fungal Reaches
Spinerock Knoll
Gruul Turf
Dormant Volcano
Jund Panorama
Karplusan Forest
Temple of the False God
Treetop Village
Ghitu Encampment
12 Forest
8 Mountain
[/Lands]
[/deck]

Comments

  • – There’s a combo in there with Argothian Elder and Maze of Ith that lets you generate infinite mana during your combat step. With Comet Storm, you’ll clean out the entire table.
  • – Manaplasm gets enormous when you’re tapping out every turn playing a big, splashy spell.
  • – If you cast Sigil using Rosheen, you can easily make it big enough that you can kill someone in two general hit.
  • – A big missing piece to the deck is of course Primeval Titan.

Commentaires

  • – Le combo avec Argothian Elder et Maze of Ith permet de généré infini mana durant la phase d’attaque.  Avec Comet Storm, vous allez nettoyer la table.
  • – Manaplasm devient énorme quand on joue un gros spell à chaque tour.
  • – Si vous jouez Sigil en utilisant Rosheen, vous pouvez facilement le rendre assez gros pour tuer en deux coups.
  • – Un gros morceau manquant au deck est bien sur Primeval Titan.

Commander 101: Comment construire pour EDH (French)

Le format EDH (ou Commander si vous avez débuté le mois passé) se démarque comme étant un format plus amical que compétitif. Lorsqu’on construit un deck, il est souvent trop facile de franchir la ligne entre l’acceptable et l’abusif, mais j’aimerais vous présenter aujourd’hui quelques principes qui vous aideront à faire les justes choix et maximiser votre appréciation du format. Par de fait même, je vous présenterai aussi ma liste pour Sedris, the Traitor King ainsi que ma logique derrière le choix de certaines cartes.

Établissez un concept.
Votre deck doit avoir une direction ou un thème. Vous pouvez bâtir autour de votre général ou d’une synergie propre à vos couleurs. Il est plus facile de choisir ses cartes en ayant un objectif précis. On peut ainsi examiner comment chacune d’entre elle contribue à la stratégie qu’on essaie de mettre en place.

Ne ralentissez pas la partie.
Une partie d’EDH peut facilement s’étirer, alors évitez d’abuser des cartes qui ralentissent trop le jeu. Les effets Armageddon ou Time Walk en sont un exemple. Si votre stratégie est insupportable si tout le monde la joue, c’est qu’il y a un problème.

Évitez les combos infinis.
S’il n’est pas agréable que les parties s’éternisent, ce ne l’est pas plus quand elles se terminent instantanément. Les parties ne devraient pas dégénerer en une course au combo qui tue tout le monde. Faites vos choix en conséquence.

Favorisez l’originalité et les coups de coeurs.
N’hésitez pas à inclure des choix particuliers et vos cartes fétiches même si elles ne sont pas très compétitives. Les moments où celles-ci feront la différence seront les plus mémorables et vous aurez beaucoup plus de plaisir à jouer votre deck de cette façon.

Balancez votre stratégie.
Contrairement aux formats compétitifs, vous pouvez vous donner un peu d’handicap en EDH. Que ce soit par le choix de vos couleurs ou de votre général, vous pouvez vous imposer certaines limitations qui vont justifier l’utilisation de certaines cartes plus puissantes pour compenser. Dans mon groupe, Umezawa’s Jitte est jugé un peu trop puissant, mais ça pourrait passer dans un deck tribal d’homoncules par exemple.

Ayez les bonnes réponses.
Soyez prêt à faire face à l’adversité en ayant les réponses aux problèmes communs dans le format. Pensez à inclure les effets qui peuvent envoyer un général sous la librairie, des solutions contre ceux qui veulent abuser du cimetière et de quoi détruire les différents types de permanents problématiques.

Sur ce, je vous présent ma liste de Sedris. L’inspiration de mon deck est venu lors de mon voyage à Washington. Mon ami Éloi avait amené avec lui sa collection de decks de Worlds 2003, qui incluait une version de l’archétype “Reanimator”. C’est avec l’idée de rejouer ces mêmes cartes que j’ai bâtit ma liste EDH, avec Sedris en tant que maître de la réanimation!

[deck title=Sedris, the Traitor King]
[Général]
Sedris, the Traitor King
[/Général]
[Terrains]
3 Island
3 Swamp
3 Mountain
Crumbling Necropolis
Crosiss Catacombs
Grixis Panorama
Great Furnace
Seat of Synod
Vault of Whispers
Polluted Delta
Bloodstained Mire
Steam Vents
Blood Crypt
Watery Grave
Tainted Isle
Tainted Peak
Vivid Crag
Vivid Creek
Vivid Marsh
Drowned Catacomb
Cascade Bluffs
Graven Cairns
Shivan Reef
Dimir Aqueduct
Izzet Boilerworks
Rakdos Carnarium
Academy Ruins
Cabal Coffers
Reliquary Tower
Tolaria West
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
[/Terrains]

[Poids lourds]
Artisan of Kozilek
Bogardan Hellkite
Pathrazer of Ulamog
Avatar of Woe
Tidespout Tyrant
Tsabo Tavoc
Wrexial, the Risen Deep
Stormtide Leviathan
Arcanis the Omnipotent
Wurmcoil Engine
[/Poids lourds]

[Créatures utilitaires]
Enclave Cryptologist
Sphinx of Lost Truths
Mulldrifter
Solemn Simulacrum
Fleshbag Marauder
Stinkweed Imp
Undead Gladiator
Izzet Chronarch
River Kelpie
Ingot Chewer
Shriewmaw
Merfolk Looter
Anger
Lightning Reaver
[/Créatures utilitaires]

[Accélération]
Rakdos Signet
Dimir Signet
Jet Medallion
Gilded Lotus
[/Accélération]

[Tuteurs]
Demonic Tutor
Shred Memory
Diabolic Tutor
Expedition Map
Trinket Mage
Buried Alive
Entomb
Brainspoil
[/Tuteurs]

[Pigeage de cartes]
Syphon Mind
Future Sight
Jace Beleren
Minds Eye
Rhystic Study
Senseis Divining Top
[/Pigeage de cartes]

[Récursion]
Reanimate
Recoup
Exhume
Animate Dead
Stitch Together
Torrent of Souls
Dread Return
Haunted Crossroads
[/Récursion]

[Réponses]
Shattering Spree
Damnation
Decree of Pain
Dregs of Sorrow
Terminate
Spin Into Myth
Forbid
Pithing Needle
[/Réponses]

[Incontournables]
Cruel Ultimatum
Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker
[/Incontournables]
[/deck]

Artisan of Kozilek / Pathrazer of Ulamog
Les plus gros Eldrazis ont une clause anti-réanimation, donc j’y vais avec ceux qui sont plus synergiques avec ma stratégie. L’Artisan fait le travail en double en étant lui-même une menace assez dangereuse, en plus d’offrir un effet de récursion. J’ai choisi d’inclure le Pathrazer parce que son illustration est particulièrement inspirante, c’est le plus gros Annihilator non-mythique et c’est aussi une variation du légendaire Phyrexian Colossus.

Haunted Crossroads
Pour ceux qui ont un petit budget, voici la version enchantement de Volrath’s Stronghold. Je le trouve presque supérieure, puisque Stronghold requiert 3 lands pour l’activer. C’est très pratique quand on veut re-jouer un Shriekmaw ou un Ingot Chewer à quelques reprises et avoir encore assez de mana pour jouer un autre sort dans le même tour.

Rhystic Study
Cette carte est une “staple” du format. Par contre, je commence à croire qu’elle attire trop l’attention, ce qui peut nuire dans la politique. Quand les autres ont l’impression que tu piges beaucoup plus qu’eux, ils ont tendance à vouloir éliminer le risque en s’acharnant sur toi. Je l’ai retiré de mon deck mono-bleu, qui ne peut pas se permettre d’être la cible de tout le monde, mais je la garde encore ici pour l’instant.

Lightning Reaver
Ce petit élémental a l’air de rien, mais il produit 15 points de dommage en deux attaques dans une partie à quatre joueurs. C’est le genre de carte qui accélère la partie, mais sans trop attirer l’attention puisqu’il distribue ses dommages de façon uniforme. Un deck qui abuserait des charge counters le rendrait encore plus fort.

Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker
Celui-ci n’a pas besoin d’introduction. Les planeswalker ont souvent une courte durée de vie en EDH, mais celui-ci donne une réponse à tous les types de permanents. Dans les couleurs Grixis, il y a peu de réponses aussi puissantes aux enchantements.

Arcanis the Omnipotent / Avatar of Woe / Wurmcoil Engine
La version originale de Reanimator incluait Arcanis, Visara the Dreadful et Phantom Nish0ba en tant que cibles à réanimer. J’ai fait un légère mise à jour sur les deux dernières. Avatar of Woe est un peu plus puissante dans le format, surtout que sa clause de réduction de coût se réalise assez facilement. Le Phantom blanc/vert se voit remplacé par Wurmcoil Engine par cause de légalité, mais aussi une amélioration intéressante contre les effets de mass removal.

C’est tout pour aujourd’hui. N’hésitez pas à donner votre avis sur mon deck ou à demander des questions dans les commentaires. La liste été montée avant Mirrodin Besieged, vous pourrez peut-être me suggérer quelles nouvelles cartes devraient se tailler une place dans le deck!