Category Archives: Magic the Gathering

Blood Trade

This my latest budget deck project for Magic the Gathering. It’s made for the casual format, but is also valid to be played in Modern. The deck is designed to be fun and includes some neat tricks and surprises.

The main technique is sacrifice but it also depends on some side effect damage from Blood Artist and Impact Tremors. The main sacrifice fodder is Bloodsoaked Champion and Mogg War Marshal but other cards has proven to be very useful as well, like Pawn of Ulamog and Elemental Mastery.

A common win scenario is to beef up a creature using sacrifices, attack with it and then Fling it to finish the opponent off. If you manage to slap on a Dying Wish before the Fling you can actually double the damage and gain some life in the process.

You can also create a formidable Fling bomb if you attach an Elemental Mastery on a Bloodthrone Vampire, sacrifice a few creatures, tap the vampire to create a lot of tokens and then sacrifice the tokens. She is now one big vampire bomb that you can detonate using Fling or Rite of Consumption. Kaboom!

I actually managed to win a game the other day using the above scenario, but the opponent lost the game before I even managed to detonate the bomb. The Blood Artist and the Impact Tremors claimed the kill while I was busy sacrificing creatures and creating tokens. :-)

Blood Trade
Creatures (21)
4  Bloodsoaked Champion
2  Mortician Beetle
4  Bloodthrone Vampire
2  Blood Artist
3  Mogg War Marshal
2  Pawn of Ulamog
2  Desecration Demon
2  Abyssal Persecutor

Other spells (15)
2  Tragic Slip
2  Fling
2  Rite of Consumption
2  Impact Tremors
1  Dying Wish
3  Fallen Ideal
2  Act of Treason
1  Elemental Mastery

Lands (24)
4  Bloodfell Caves
7  Mountain
13  Swamp

Sideboard (15)
1  Bubbling Cauldron
2  Coat with Venom
2  Dreadbore
2  Duress
2  Marsh Casualties
2  Ricochet Trap
1  Shadows of the Past
2  Tainted Remedy
2  Vandalblast

Dead Meat

When you have played Magic: The Gathering for some time you’ll notice that the box of spare cards is constantly growing. This box is the home for all those homeless cards that you got in booster packs (or from other sources) and that just doesn’t fit in one of your current decks. It might be because the theme doesn’t fit or because you lack some cards to make a certain mechanism tick.

But then, when the rain is pouring down outside and you have some time to spare, you can open up the box, sort your cards in nice piles and then build a couple of really fun casual game decks and play them against one another. Who knows, maybe you’ll even find some new favourites among your forgotten cards?

Here’s a deck from this weekends casual games.

Dead Meat
Creatures (19)
2  Tenacious Dead
2  Child of Night
2  Corpse Hauler
1  Gnawing Zombie
2  Gutter Skulk
2  Blood Bairn
1  Dead Reveler
1  Lifebane Zombie
1  Undead Minotaur
2  Accursed Spirit
1  Liliana’s Reaver
2  Sengir Vampire

Lands (24)
8  Forest
1  Radiant Fountain
15  Swamp

Other spells (17)
1  Caravan Vigil
1  Fog
2  Giant Growth
2  Prey Upon
2  Vile Rebirth
1  Altar’s Reap
1  Naturalize
1  Staff of the Death Magus
2  Trollhide
1  Launch Party
1  Midnight Recovery
1  Well of Lost Dreams
1  Creeping Renaissance

Jace vs. Vraska

One of my favourite Magic the Gathering products is by far the duel decks. In each duel deck pack you get two decks designed according to a special theme (e.g. Knights vs. Dragons) or around two planeswalkers (e.g. Koth vs. Venser). The decks are fun and full of flavour and best of all they are designed to be played against one another.

Ever since it was announced I have been looking forward to when the next duel decks would come out and this morning it was finally possible to pre-order Jace vs. Vraska at my local store. Hopefully I will be able to pick up the decks this friday to be able to test them with the kids during the weekend.

Another fun thing about the duel decks is that the deck designer always writes a feature article about the process. Jace vs. Vraska is designed by Sam Stoddard and you can read about his work on the link below.

Playing with Jace & Vraska

New deck: Allies

Edit: Added sideboard

Our latest Magic the Gathering decks finally arrived today. Hopefully we can find some time this evening to take them out on a test run. On the paper I’m quiet satisfied with my Allies deck, but I still need to figure out a decent sideboard. I’ll get back to that later.

The goal for Allies is to cast at least one ally creature per round, either to pump up other allies or to make other abilities trigger. The Volt Charge will be used to clear the path for the attackers while pumping up the creatures even more. The Door of Destinies is actually a little bit on the expensive side but other than that it fits perfectly in this deck.

The sideboard consists of some protection spells (Cloudshift, Gods Willing and Boros Charm), a few spells to land some extra damage (Mighty Leap and Boros Charm) and some spells to deal with annoying creatures (Pacifism and Coordinated Barrage). The Cloudshift also adds some extra fun since it can be used to double the effect of an Ally entering the battlefield.

Creatures (25)
4  Hada Freeblade
4  Akoum Battlesinger
2  Highland Berserker
4  Kazandu Blademaster
2  Ondu Cleric
2  Kabira Evangel
2  Makindi Shieldmate
2  Talus Paladin
2  Kazuul Warlord
1  Murasa Pyromancer

Other spells (11)
2  Lightning Bolt
4  Volt Charge
1  Door of Destinies
4  Join the Ranks

Lands (24)
4  Clifftop Retreat
8  Mountain
12  Plains

Sideboard (15)
3  Cloudshift
2  Coordinated Barrage
3  Gods Willing
2  Boros Charm
3  Mighty Leap
2  Pacifism

Small code, Big smile

Sometimes the smallest piece of code can make you happy. Here is a small Objective-C snippet to create a correct CGRect from two CGPoints.

Cards that Needs a Home

There are a few MTG-cards that I really would like to include in a deck but none of my existing decks are the the right one. Kiora and Olivia are two of those cards.

I really like Olivias abilities, first pay to deal 1 damage and to boost Olivia, then pay to gain control of that creature. And since you don’t have to tap her, you can do it as many times per turn as you can afford.


I’ve actually already designed a deck including Olivia (see below), but I think it will require some more work until it’s done. For some odd reason these two have almost the same pose, weird but totally unintentional. :-)

Olivias Party
Creatures (22)
2  Shadow Alley Denizen
4  Stromkirk Noble
2  Kalastria Highborn
2  Vampire Interloper
2  Rakish Heir
2  Stromkirk Captain
2  Vampire Nighthawk
2  Heirs of Stromkirk
4  Olivia Voldaren
Other spells (14)
2  Blade of the Bloodchief
2  Lightning Bolt
4  Urge to Feed
4  Volt Charge
2  Whispersilk Cloak

Lands (24)
4  Dragonskull Summit
2  Terramorphic Expanse
9  Mountain
9  Swamp

Magic links in your WP posts

When I decided I not only wanted to write about coding but also another interest of mine, the trading card game Magic the Gathering, I decided that I wanted it to be simple to show cards and to link to cards. Since I use WordPress I searched for some plugin that could help me accomplish this. I found a few, but none of them linked to the real MTG database ( But, being a coder I solved the problem on my own. I didn’t really had the time to create a real WordPress plugin so I wrote this code directly into the theme (WordPress Twenty Twelve in this case).

Maybe I’ll find some time (and inspiration) to create a plugin, but until then, here is the code.

Add to functions.php

Add to header.php

Use in post

The result of the above code

Act of Treason
Act of Treason

New Decks Incoming

Recently me and the kids once again ordered a whole box of fun (read Magic the Gathering cards). Two decks designed by me and the 10-year-old and some spare cards for little brothers new infect deck.

My deck is a red and white Ally deck. Allies are a creature subtype where all cards has abilities that is triggered when other ally creatures enters the battlefield. It can be anything from +1/+1 counters, protection from a colour to life gain and other fun stuff. I’ve also added a Door of Destinies that should work well since there is only one type of creatures in the deck.

The 10-year-old designed a classic mono red burn deck with Goblins which includes everything you would expect, from Goblin Arsonist to Lightning Bolt. But is it fast enough to beat my super-life-gain-deck? Well we’ll see I guess. :-)