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  • published the article Lantern's MTG Salvation IQ Tournaments, 6 Months In
    Diaries of a Mad Burning Pumpkin Part 1
    "The Burning Pumpkin Brawl is only half a year away." Even just saying that still seems unreal to me. After all I remember thinking this idea up in the middle of a french class I was not paying attention too. (And I still got a B Who-Ha!)

    Back then in spring 2012, I was really upset with standard. I was playing tokens, and Bonfire of the I hate my life was printed. I really was upset with the whole Mircle mechanic to begin with. Sure its cool to win games out of no where, but it sucks to not even have a fighting chance against someone already a ahead because they drew a card.
    Now I had Legacy and Modern Zoo built, but no one played it in Savannah GA. I was sick of playing standard and getting trolled because I didn't want to play a certain archetype, or just saddened by how quickly meta games devolved to 1 or 2 decks.

    I longed for the days that I could go to an event and have heavy skilled games where I killed a dredge player by bolting my own dude. Or I manage to out think a Ensnaring Bridge by attacking with a Steppe Lynx with 0 power, then pumping it with knight and wolf run.


    So that means legacy right? Well not really. I also wanted to play with my friends. But the mana base alone costs more then us college kids make in 2 months of work. And I also kinda...hate... blue. (Cue the hate, but simply put, its just not my play style.)

    Modern seemed to fit the bill. Cheap to get in, standard cards still make impacts, Your deck isnt a "Playing blue or not playing blue" deck. But I was still tentative because of the bannings. But I checked it out anyways.

    Jund, zoo, storm, twin, tron. Aggro and combo. Just like I thought. Then I looked deeper at the showings (Blippy the Slug, here's the part where I thank you) RDW, tokens, Delver decks, and even Death and Taxes. All of these decks just starting to rise. Still more aggro and combo... but some rumblings of a cawblade deck also, so maybe not?


    So I came up with the idea of the tournaments, not the IQ's mind you, just a online tournament. I wanted to do it because no one I knew was playing Modern, and everyone else said the same thing. More than that, I wanted to see these "Underground decks" up close.

    Later someone would suggest to make it IQ's because that would be fun. After that it took off like a Wildfire piloted by Kai Budde.

    It was really just a case of perfect timing and luck, with just a lick of charisma. the big factors were the sheer amount of people who felt bored with standard, no one was playing legacy, wanted to test the waters for modern, or just didnt have shops to support it. The other half was turns out the bannings did exactly what they were suppose to. Modern's Meta opened up like no others. Restoration Control is perfect proof of this. A control deck now exists in modern, as well as a tempo, ramp, aggro, midrange, and combo. All the pillars are there.
    The Tan Star:

    So there you go, the first IQ started. 28 people if I recall correctly. It was rough, had about 5 rules, 2 judges including me, and had 1 brew. It went over the month limit as it wasn't organized well, and the matches and brackets were hand organized by me. There was arrangement's about the rules and policies too.

    But even with all of those flaws people loved it. Originally I only meant the first to be a fun idea. I never really expected more than that. But I got messages of people saying they were already prepping for the next one.

    Next one? It really hit me hard, I never really set out for another, but sure. There were still the flaws, still arguments, but 32 people this time. It was growing. Again it ran over a month, and again people were prepping for the next one.

    This time with other MTGsalvation users.

    This was going to be big. The fact it didnt fizzle out and die was proof of that. 3 months later, people still want to play, and more then just a core group.

    So we had to amp it up. Tom and The_Cardfather and I had tons of messages to each other. How should it be formatted? New thread a month? One stickied? The rules? How will I keep track? Double or Single Elem?

    With the Introduction of the 3rd IQ we had it down. Still needed tweaks, but the core was there. I'd like to think of the first two as Alpha and Beta, and IQ 3 as the stream lined end product.

    But I wanted it to have a reason to exist, not just for playing, something more. So I wrote the goals, a policy for it to exist by:

    Community Goals And Lantern's Note
    I started this monthly tournament, at first, as a way to play more modern, since my store didn't offer it. Since then, its evolved into something more. It Brought a few people from MTGSal closer together. People now plan, joke, even team up to test for these games. I feel that these games transcend what they used to be, and are now doing the impossible. So remember when you sign up, these are our goals for the games:

    1. To further the Mtg Sal community and bring people together.
    2. To further Modern format as a whole. Brewing/ tweaking archetypes/ Refining playing skills.
    3. To have fun and be friendly yet still competitive and professional.

    And of course, thank you guys, the players for everything.

    Those where the principles I wanted it to stick by no matter what. We had something great here, people were becoming test partners, competition, and friends. I wanted to keep that going.

    Flash forward to Fall 2012. IQ 6 is well underway, and now our games get up to 47 people, we have 7 or so judges, 8 brews a month and our top 8's are rarely the same decks.

    We have joke rules like: say, "You could have one if that was a mana tithe", gaka is always playing Warpworld dinosaurs, Akaiser views every game because he is Big Brother, ect." Because the Modern community is alive and well. The IQ's didn't do that, but it did give them a place to chat.

    Something I've noticed is that Standard and Legacy is even doing our IQ's now. I'm really exited to see our success spread over there as well.

    Looking Ahead:

    Burning Pumpkin Brawl is only 6 months away guys, and its going to be a whole weekend packed with modern goodness. Were going to be streaming the event live with a commentator team!

    For more about the Lantern IQs, how to join and past events, visit here
    Posted in: Lantern's MTG Salvation IQ Tournaments, 6 Months In
  • published the article First names of cards, you didn't know had first names.
    With the smashing success of Uncharted Realms, I thought Id keep a list of card you may play with in standard, but didn't they had names. From Kaalia of the Vast's original name, to the two goblin tokens Krenko's command puts out.

    Slate Street Ruffian - Vadax Gor, a guy who was abducting people. Was arrested by azorius arrester

    Azorius Arrester- Arrester Parisha, Ninth Precinct arrester, took Fblthp on his adventure.

    Ogre Jailbreaker- Ritjit, 6'9", an orge who attacks Selesnyians

    Lotleth Troll- Lotleth Troll, because no one knows his name. Got tired of eating corpses, started eating people.

    Stealer of Secrets- Senka, 5'3", stole horrors from the Dimir.

    Nivix Guildmage- Bori Andon, The Order of Architects is calling for his head, do to blowing up the Veil Theater.

    Ultimate Price- The Cozen, 6'2", goes around killing people. Contracted killer for the Orzhov.

    Voidwielder- Damir, 6'0", wants to undo the guilds.

    Trostani, Selesnya's Voice- (left to right) Ses, Cim, Oba

    Dryad Militant- Mazena, one of Trostani's most trusted advisors.

    Common Bond- Ruzi- elf, Kuma- wolf.

    Thrill-Kill Assassin/Deviant Glee- Massacre Girl,5'7", ring leader in rakdos

    New Prahv Guildmage- Arbiter Relov, killed by Vraska, the Unseen.

    Assassin Token- Pel Javya, Wojek investigator. Twisted into being an "Unseen", servant of Vraska.

    Ajani Sunstriker- Nia, From Naya-postmending Alara. She was friends with Kaalia and helped her unlock her "stone killing" powers.

    Kaalia of the Vast-Lia from Bant postmending Alara. Kaa means power in Nacatl. Nia gave her the name prior to her first battle as a child. She seeks revenge against Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis, who killed her family, Nia, and made her lands "a vast emptiness"

    Talrand, Sky Summoner- From the Kapsho seas, Shandalar. He rules the drakes, as he helped them take down Thundermaw.

    Thundermaw Dragon- Kalyntri, from the Kapsho seas, Shandalar. Once the ruler of the place, he got eaten by a **** ton of Talarand's drakes.

    Krenko's Command Puts out 2 goblin tokens, one named Azzik the other Pondl.

    Chronomaton Was once a guy named Bazzle. Slowly he cut himself away and replaced himself with Chronomaton parts.

    War Priest of Thune Sentos the Merciful, and he is from Shandalar. He owns the Ring of Xathrid and gets killed by Xathrid Gorgon. How did the Ring of Xathrid get from grixis to Shandalar, beats me.

    Odric, Master Tactician is from Innistrad. He is the current Commander of the Gavony Riders. His son was eaten by a werewolf.

    Crusader of Odric's name is Grete. She is Odric's second in command.

    Trivia extras!
    Witchbane Orb is a night light. Yep.

    Stuffy Doll hates himself. He was also used by a shaman who tossed him in front of a Shivan Meteor to kill knight of Glory. Dunno why he didnt just aim the meteor at the knight.
    Posted in: First names of cards, you didn't know had first names.
  • published the article Return to Ravnica story speculation, from a Dramatic Writer's view. 1.0
    Some of my work peers within Savannah College of Art and Design, and I were talking about the upcoming set of Ravnica, and it's plot. Being Dramatic Writing Majors and magic our chosen past time, the talks of plot comes up often. Ravnica was never far behind, as with maybe the exception of Innistrad, it is the most golden in terms of flavor.

    Often I would say that I was pretty sure if they would ever go back to Ravnica, the guilds would be back to full swing, as they provide much needed character archetype outlets, and are the thing that world is built on. I would also bring up one card over and over.

    Primordial Sage

    Lets take a look at that art and flavor text shall we?

    For each creature that arrives in its audience, the sage imparts another piece of ancient wisdom for all to hear.

    I would point out that this is the most interesting, heavily hinted at, and most unexplored part of Ravnica. If they would ever go back to it, this is the part I'd explore. I'd have Ravnica, a world where nature is caged by culture, fight back.

    Before going into this bit... I'd like to first try to reconstruct a bit of the past, with 3 things. Flavor text, what is said in the book, and the Nephilim. (Note: I do use some daily mtg sources, but as I dont have the exact links on me I have to paraphrase, thus can not conciser them direct sources)

    Here are the cards I attempt to draw from.

    Look over these cards, it should only take a minute. They all reference, in art or text, a lost nature in the past of Ravnica.
    I think this bit is the most straight forward. Ravnica used to be a world of nature and free magic, and every now and then it creeps back. Older thought to be extinct creatures pop up, ect. Even in the Book Ravnica, there is an old thought to be extinct creature Jarrad has to kill.

    Speaking of books, I only wanted to briefly go over them... Mostly because their in Savannah GA, over 750 miles away from me right now. However it was mentioned several times about the same thing stated above. It also colors the details that the Gruul "have fallen from their former glory as the keepers of Ravnica’s wilds" (wiki) The Selesnya Conclave and Simic had similar preserve nature functions, but as nature regressed, and culture advanced, they're functions also changed.

    Also, when talking about the Nephilim, in the book, online articles or flavor text, are referenced as old, eternal, and forces of Ravnica (some cases "old gods").

    To quote from the wiki: "They were there only to humble; living, walking examples of the world's vastness, diversity, unpredictability, danger, wonder, horror, and complexity beyond comprehension.
    The Nephilim were subdued thousands of years before the events of the Ravnica block, and imprisoned deep below the plane's surface. Their precise origins are unknown. Once awakened by construction works in the Utvara district, five of the creatures fed on a dragon corpse and grew in size and power, showing a shared ability to absorb power from other beings. Almost forgotten for 10,000 years, the return of the Nephilim was seen as a sign for change and indeed it coincided with the fall of the Guildpact at the Decamillennial. "

    These last part, the Nephilim, were a big part of the book guildpact, but never really explained who they were, or what their purpose was.

    So here's were I fumble around and grasp at loose straws of details we've been given so far. I doubt this will be all encompassing, but I think it might get the ball rolling for ideas of what is the basic plot of Ravnica returns.

    I'm still all for, "Ravnica it's self is trying to break out from cultures cage" idea. That past things are trying to come back and retake the world. My support here are the Nephilim, of the past, as well as Leviathans.

    If you click the link above, you'll see Ravnica has 3 Leviathans. One of the flavor texts on one says "we bred out the shortcomings of the species' natural form", which clearly states that those creatures lived there, naturally (least before simic tweaking). This is important since I can think of one girl who reportedly loves Leviathans...Kiora Atua

    Now the article linked above doesn't state she will be part of the story, but it does go out of it's way to say it is not ruling out she could be.

    Why do I bring her up? Well, Merfolk are in Ravnica now, simic guild. Who share colors with Kiora. And also have the same rib fins. I'm not saying anything here... But come on.

    Now, Mark let slip that merfolk's showing up has something to do with the story. Could it be they have been underground, hiding? Or maybe they just didn't care to deal with the city life. I've never heard of an ocean there, but it also could be a case they came from some body of water at the edge of the continent.

    At any rate, I do think the merfolk mean change. And as green blue creatures that sounds right up their ally.

    Gatecrash is the name of the next set. We can only assume that some force is clashing due to a gate. Ravnica has seen Gateways before, but in a metaphorical sense, the Schism. I wonder if this will be similar, but Ravnica's past nature trying to balance out cultures take over of it.

    Anyways, I know that's not a tonnnnn of information, but I think its enough to get some ideas out there and some detail hunting, as well as just an exiting premise. Thoughts? Details I missed, support? Shoot it over here and lets get exited for Ravnica!
    Posted in: Return to Ravnica story speculation, from a Dramatic Writer's view. 1.0