Painting: Sprue Posse Grand Prix Appearance/Painting Rubric

A significant portion of our Grand Prix prize pool will be given to the painting and appearance competition as outlined here.

Below is the rubric we will be using for paint scoring. This was lifted from the GW championship GT in 2008.

Only armies participants have painted themselves are valid for entry in the paint/appearance competition. Armies that have won previous Sprue Posse paint/appearance awards are ineligible.


PAINTING (worth up to 35 points)

Choose one of the following

• Army is fully painted, but only to the three-color standard of
basecoating. 10 Points

• Army is beyond fully painted, additional steps beyond the
three-color standard. 15 Points

Check All That Apply to Bulk (80%+) of Army

• Painting is Uniform: Not a mix of schemes,
styles, and looks. 1 Point
• Clean Basecoat Colors: Base colors are
painted neatly. 1 Point
• Details: Details are painted such as eyes,
buckles, and jewelry. 1 Point
• Clean Details: Details are painted well
(clean, have highlights). 2 Points
• Hand-Painted Details: Details (that are well executed) have
been added such as unit markings, banner artwork, blood
marks, dirt on cloaks, etc. 2 Points
• Artistic: Banners, markings, and details are hand
painted to an incredible degree! 2 Points
• Discernable Highlights/Shading: Drybrushing, lining, shading,
inking, etc. (not required to be clean) 1 Point
• Clean Highlights: Lines are neat, drybrushing is appropriate,
inking is controlled and not sloppy. 2 Points
• Layers of Highlights: More than one layer of
highlight, which may include shading, highlights
over inking, blending, etc. 2 Points
• Beyond Basics: Highlights have been blended, shaded, or
layered well – beyond the basic highlighting techniques of
drybrusing and inking. 2 Points
• Masterful Blending: Highlights have been masterfully blended,
shaded, or layered. 2 Points
• Overall Appearance: Overall appearance is amazing!
Everything works great together to create an
awesome scene. 2 Points

BASING(worth up to 5 points)

Check all that apply to bulk (80%+) of army

• Based/Detailed: Bases have basing materials
(flock/sand/tiles) or details painted on them. 1 Point
• Extra Basing: The bases have multiple basing materials
(rocks/grass), extra details painted on them (cracks in tiles), or
if extra basing is inappropriate, basing is done very well (eg.
rolling desert dunes). 1 Point
• Highlights: Bases have highlighting
(shading/drybrushing). 1 Point
• Special details: There are extra details on the larger bases
(helmets, skulls, animals, building rubble, etc.) 2 Point
CONVERSIONS(Worth up to 4 points)
Choose qne of the following for conversions that are
appropriate and well executed.
• Minimal: The army has some elementary conversions
(head and weapon swaps, arm rotations) or a couple
interesting swaps. 1 Point
• Minor: Units have multi-kit conversions including head
and weapon swaps. This is for more than a few models
such as a unit. 2 Points
• Major: The army has some difficult conversions that use
things such as putty, plastic card, drilling, sawing, minor
sculpts, etc. This could also apply to the entire army having
very well done multi-kit conversions (see above) 3 Points
• Extreme: The army has some extreme conversions, which
could be: a scratch built conversion or sculpt of an entire
model, a large amount of models with difficult conversions (see
above), or the entire army is extremely converted 4 Points

OTHER(worth up to 2 points)

Check all that apply to the army

• Display Base: Basic based & highlighted or
detailed display base. 1 Point
• Something Special: There is something above and beyond
about a model’s painting, the display base, a conversion, or the
basing (eg. movement trays are based/highlighted). 1 Point

Players: Sprue Posse Invitational Profile - Jon Regul

Name: Jon Regul

Seed #1
Rating: 1630

2010 Game Record: 6-0-2
2010 Appearances: 2
2010 Tournament Victories: 1
2010 Total Winnings: $105

Featured List - Orks 1500 Kan Wall


Big Mek (Kustom Force Field)
Big Mek (Kustom Force Field)


Loota x5
Loota x5
Loota x5


Shoota Boyz x20 (Big Shoota x2) Nob (Powerklaw, Bosspole)
Shoota Boyz x20 (Big Shoota x2) Nob (Powerklaw, Bosspole)
Gretchin x18 w Runtherd
Deff Dread (Big Shoota x2, Armor Plates)
Deff Dread (Big Shoota x2, Armor Plates)

Fast Attack

Deffkopta (TL Rockitt)
Deffkopta (TL Big Shoota, Buzzsaw)

Heavy Support

Killa Kan x3 (Grotzooka x3)
Killa Kan x3 (Grotzooka x3)
Killa Kan x3 (Grotzooka x3)

Jon has made two appearances during the Sprue Posse Open 2010 season and made them count, finishing 1st and then 3rd with his Kan Wall. He leads the circuit or is tied atop the rankings for: Rating, tournament victories and prize winnings. He's also never lost on the tour. Jon is the favorite and the top seed for the inaugural Sprue Posse Invitational and firmly in the drivers seat for the title of Player of the Year.

MTGO: The Best Laid Plans...

So in my last post, I hinted at this card as the key to my next deck. And while it's true that the next deck I built was focused around Silence, and I still am tuning it to be more streamlined and competitive, in the process I came upon another deck idea which I liked EVEN MORE and I just could not put off building it and testing it out. So I will come back to my Silence deck if this one starts to falter or I lose interest, but I am just so excited that I've actually found a 'rogue' deck that so far has proved to be VERY competitive.

So, this deck started with two cards that I've been using in most of my other decks: Mimic Vat and Culling Dais. The Dais lets me force a creature under the Vat and at only 2 casting cost and 1 colorless to activate the draw, it's actually EXTREMELY efficient card advantage.

I was using that combo to power my Silence deck and the intent was to use the Vat to generate a Mnemonic Wall every turn to return Silence back to hand and effectively lock down the opponent. The problem with that deck was that I often was too low on life by the time I could cast the Mnemonic, sac it, and then start production. So I thought of adding some creatures that give me life when they come into play.

But once I thought of that, I immediately recalled a 'Tier 2' deck that was making the rounds back in the previous Standard - a Mono-white deck built around various creatures with life gainm or benefiting from life gain. While some of those cards rotated out with Scars of Mirrodin, what was added actually made it much more viable. Here is the decklist and a basic rundown of how the deck works afterwards.

3x Mimic Vat
2x Culling Dais
4x Ajani's Pridemate
4x Lone Missionary
4x Serra Ascendant
4x Soul's Attendant
3x Sun Titan
2x Survival Cache
2x Ajani Goldmane
3x Origin Spellbomb
4x Day of Judgment
2x Emeria, the Sky Ruin
4x Kabira Crossroads
19x Plains

So it's essentially using the Pridemate, Missionary, Ascendant, and Attendant which is the previously used lifegain engine to keep me alive and get me to either 30 life (to transform the Ascendant to a 6/6 flyer) or pump up the Pridemate enough to be formidable. What is so much nicer is that I can now use the Culling Dais and the Mimic Vat to have unlimited life gain creatures and with a single Lone Missionary under the Mimic Vat I can shut down almost any offense.



The Day of Judgment lets me reset the board and also lets me use the vat to copy my opponents creatures (Primeval Titan in monowhite!). The Sun Titan is an additional big finisher as well as lets me bring back my creatures in an alternate way (as well as the artifacts if they get destroyed). The Ajani is a late addition and I swapped him in for Baneslayers since he is cheaper and gives me a little bit more flexibility.

Survival Cache and Origin Spellbomb are mainly there as cantrips with benefits. And finally the Emeria, the Sky Ruin as a third option for bringing back my lifegain creatures.


As for the Sideboard, I am still tweaking it and it is still not perfect for the metagame but I feel like my options are a bit limited. What is in there right now can be broken down like this:

2x Journey to Nowhere - Eldrazi
3x Kor Firewalker - Red Deck Wins
3x Leonin Arbiter - Eldrazi and Titan/Valakut Ramp
1x Luminarch Ascension - Any blue control
2x Ratchet Bomb - Any weenie deck
2x Revoke Existence - White mystic artifact
2x Solemn Offering - White mystic artifact (more for Boros)

Now I know in previous articles I have said the 2-man Constructed Tournaments are a horrible option from a pure financial risk/reward standpoint, but I have been loving this deck and felt so confident in it and my schedule was so out of synch with the dailies that I threw caution to the wind and started playing in the 2-Mans. Needless to say, this deck rocked. While definitely not 'broken', it has won about 70% of the time, and I would say some of the earlier losses were due to need for refinement. That may simply be from complete surprise on my opponent's behalf but I'll just pretend it's cause my rogue deck is just that awesome.

At the moment, I'm 2-0 and waiting for round 3 in the Standard Constructed Daily, so I'm hoping this will be the rogue deck I had been trying to find!

Players: Sprue Posse Invitational Profile - Ryan Shepard

Name: Ryan Shepard

Seed #2
Rating: 1625

2010 Game Record: 10-5
2010 Appearances: 4
2010 Tournament Victories: 1
2010 Total Winnings: $105

Featured List - Tyranids 1500


Tervigon (Adrenal Glands, Toxin Sacs)


Tervigon (Adrenal Glands, Toxin Sacs, Onslaught)
Tervigon (Adrenal Glands, Toxin Sacs, Onslaught)
Termagant x 10
Termagant x 10

Heavy Support

Tyrannofex (Rupture Cannon)
Tyrannofex (Rupture Cannon)


Hive Guard x2
Hive Guard x2
Hive Guard x2

Ryan holds the distinction of being the overall win leader on the Sprue Posse 2010 circuit at 10. His 4 appearances are a big reason for that, but he still holds a solid win percentage winning twice as often as he loses (and interestingly enough never tying). Ryan finished a sterling 4-0 in Sprue Posse #3 to secure his ticket to the invitational.

MTGO: Deck Building: You're Doing It Wrong!


So after my poor showing in the Daily Standard Constructed, I decided to review my deck and the 'combo' at its core: Liquimetal Coating + Mimic Vat. I knew I wanted to keep this in the new deck, but I was hoping to now make it just one of the multiple viable strategies within the deck. Unfortunately, my brain seems to gravitate towards a 'free association' approach to deck building. If that doesn't make sense, please continue reading and follow along on what unfortunately is not an uncommon process when I am trying to build a deck. Now, as I write this I of course see a ton of new options and ways I could and should have gone while I was building this new version, but I want to show how my mind happened to work in this instance.

I start with Liquimetal Coating and Mimic Vat.

Then, I add Acidic Slime, a card that continually wrecked me in games 2 and 3. Not only can it kill artifacts and lands but also supports enchantment removal, all on a 2/2 body with deathtouch! Why didn't I think of this one before?

Then, I need some way to kill it (and opponent's creatures). My red burn was fine against the white and green decks I playtested against, but it just can't get the job done against Frost Titan. So, I turn to black and opt for simple effective Doom Blade.

Now, I said that Liquimetal Coating could help with Metalcraft, so let's see what's good with Metalcraft in black and green. Unfortunately, nothing really jumps out at me in either of these colors for metalcraft. This, I would later realize, is because I was searching only against the cards in my collection rather than all legal cards in the set. I'll discuss that in my next article.

So without good metalcraft, I decide to see what would benefit just from artifacts in general. I notice that Phylactery Lich would be pretty nice, but unfortunately don't see much else that meshes well. At this point, I think these colors won't work for this deck. I still like the Acidic Slime path, so I decide to re-evaluate black. Since I went into black as an answer to Frost Titan, I could either go into white and aim to stop it once it's in play, or go into blue and aim to either prevent it from coming into play via counters, or stealing it for myself.

As a general statement, I LOVE blue and will often play blue to a fault. In this case though, I think it would help solve one of the other problems I had with the first deck in that I now have access to card draw which should help me get to the Coating and Vat more reliably. Doing a quick search in my collection for Blue cards with artifact in their text shows me a whole slew of cards that get me giddy at the visions of amazing synergy now possible in the deck.

Vedalken Certarch is an auto-include. With the ability to lock down my opponents lands, creatures, and artifacts once I hit metalcraft, I start looking at this guy as if he's the next best thing since Liquimetal Coating! Stoic Rebuttal is also a great counter if I can reliably hit metalcraft. While not a 4x include, definitely want 2 or 3 in the deck, complemented with the real 'auto-include' Mana Leak. I also can't help but notice Grand Architect which I've wanted to use for awhile any way I could. Not only can I use him to get my artifacts out earlier but he can also pump up my blue creatures. Only one problem though...I don't have any blue creatures other than the Certarch!


On top of that, my only green is the slime and I think I'm only going to reduce the effectiveness of my deck if I include the green just for that card, especially since it's not a game winner on its own.

So I decide to switch gears and look at going at maybe a mono-blue deck that is just built around artifacts. At this point, I've essentially lost the focus of the deck although I don't realize it. I just keep following one connection to the next. Blue + Artifacts means I start adding Riddlesmith, Trinket Mage, and Argent Sphinx. I even go back to a 'combo' I tried to make work during Zendikar block with Dormant Gomazoa except now I figure I can make it an artifact and then untap with Voltaic Key! I think my lowest point was when I actually thought "Hey, Scrapdiver Serpent would actually be bomb with the Coating!".

Please don't judge me

I think this is the point when I realized I had completely lost the focus of the deck and I just wanted to call it quits. I decided Liquimetal Coating was nothing more than a red herring, included simply to distract and confound mediocre deck builders like me. Not really, of course. But I decided I needed to take a break from Liquimetal Coating and just try a completely new deck idea. Not that I am really giving up on the Coating, just that I think letting my mind rest before coming back to it will hopefully open my eyes to other potential synergies.

On a side note, this is actually one of the benefits of MTGO that I hadn't actively appreciated until now. In paper magic, when I make a deck, I have to pull out the cards from my collection and sleeve them. At that point, those cards can't be used in another deck. I would have to get additional copies, or constantly pull cards out from one deck to another, etc. Not to mention that if I wanted to have any chance at reconstructing my previous decks I'd need to maintain a separate file with each decklist. Maybe people actually do that for paper magic, but I've always been a '1 deck' kind of player (as far as paper goes).

With Magic Online though, it actually frees people up to go crazy and try out wacky deck ideas (I heard about this awesome combo...) without a large process overhead or product investment. If I don't like a deck, I just hit New in Deckbuilder and it's like my collection is magically sorted and available. I think it's something most MTGO players take for granted, myself included. Of course the downside for most people is they started with paper and the thought of trying to 'recreate' their collection in MTGO is a huge barrier to entry unless they're willing to sell their paper collection. But hopefully Magic will come up with a solution, maybe some sort of 'dual-booster' that has some increased cost over a regular booster, but each pack has a code that lets you redeem online to get 'both' versions. Kind of how DVDs now offer a 'special' digital download license in addition to the physical DVD. I don't know the financials around that or thought through the impacts to both play environments, but as a player I love the concept.

Anyways, enough rambling! To wrap up this article, let me give you a hint of what I'm CONVINCED is the key to my next deck idea...

Playing: Sprue Posse Grand Prix Prizes

The prize formula for the Sprue Posse Grand Prix is now official:

Sprue Posse Awards - Based on the official tournament prize pool (Portion of Ticket Fees + GW Donations + 3rd Party Donations)


1st Place - 35%
2nd Place - 15%
3rd Place - 10%
4th Place - 7.5%


1st Place - 25%
2nd Place - 7.5%

3rd Party Awards - Based on a separate prize pool (3rd party donations only)

Best Sportsman
Renaissance Man (Sportsmanship + Painting + Generalship)

The actual full prize value of both prize pools is still TBD. One of those variables is pegged to participant turnout and additional sponsorship opportunities but the amount should be in the neighborhood of at least $500 worth of store credit/product with a cap of around $1000.

The Sportsmanship award is provided by a third party benefactor and is a player rated score. You will rank your 5 opponents with a score of 1-5 at the end of the tournament. 5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest. You cannot allocate the same score twice.

The Renaissance Man award is equal parts generalship, painting and sportsmanship.

Players are eligible to win as many awards as they qualify for. Sweeping Generalship, Painting, Sportsmanship and Renaissance awards is a possibility.

MTGO: Back To Formula!?!?

For the low low price of 6 tickets, I have been reminded once again that I am NOT the master deck builder that I seem to think I am :) And that when playtesting in the Casual > Tournament Practice room (which I will now refer to as the TP room), I should note that Tournament Practice is considered a subdivision of 'Casual'. That is to say, what wins in the TP room should not be considered a 'winning formula' :)

So, back I go to devising a deck. I will not yet succumb to 'net decking' yet. I think I will set a limit of ~50 tickets to trying to come up with a viable Rogue deck. That allows for 5 daily tournaments and 20 tickets for card purchases. And that is starting from today, so this won't include the 9 tickets I used for the previous deck's cards, and the 6 tickets for the daily last night.

As for my next deck idea, I still want to try and build something that uses Liquimetal Coating + Mimic Vat. I think it's a highly potent combo that can allow for repeated abuse of metalcraft and versatile permanent destruction. The only question is what I should do about the other 52 cards.

It was pretty clear from my performance in the Standard Daily last night (which I'll do a write-up for later, hopefully with video) that my deck is flawed. It was obvious that lack of playtesting against Blue-Green-(White|Red) with Frost Titan was a factor as I didn't realize just how easily I was shut down. Unless I could pull one of my 4 Coatings, I had no way to get rid of the Titan. And way too often the Coating that I had managed to successfully draw and cast was simply destroyed the following turn.

I need to make the focus less on making the Coating some kind of 'killer' card, and instead make it a support card for more viable and versatile strategies. So far, the ones I'm thinking of have shifted me entirely out of red but I am going to spend a bit more time just reviewing available cards and seeing what other synergies I can find.

Players: Sprue Posse Invitational Profile - Brad Townsend

Brad Townsend

Seed #3
Rating: 1625

2010 Game Record: 7-2-3
2010 Appearances: 3
2010 Tournament Victories: 1
2010 Total Winnings: $105

Featured List: Space Wolves - 1500


Logan Grimnar


Lone Wolf in Terminator Armor
Lone Wolf in Terminator Armor


Wolf Guard Pack x5 (Terminator Armor x1)
Wolf Guard Pack x5 (Terminator Armor x1)
Wolf Guard Pack x5 (Terminator Armor x1)
Wolf Guard Pack x3 (Marked Wolf Guard x1) w Razorback (TL HB)
Wolf Guard Pack x3 (Marked Wolf Guard x1) w Razorback (TL HB)

Heavy Support

Long Fangs x6 (Missile Launcher x5)
Long Fangs x6 (Missile Launcher x5)
Long Fangs x5 (Multi-Melta x4)

Brad has always had competitive finishes in the 2010 circuit. Placing 4th, 3rd and then finally winning Sprue Posse #5 in September with his Logan led Space Wolves list. In addition to his success on the Sprue Posse circuit, Brad has a lot of success outside of the circuit this year as well, with a golden ticket to Vegas in 2011 and several strong generalship finishes in GT's across the nation.

MTGO: And Now For Something Completely Different

As I start looking over the results of the Standard daily tournaments on MTGO, I quickly see a pattern of what decks are winning. They basically fall into two large buckets: the Primeval Titan bucket and the Stoneforge Mystic bucket. There are smaller buckets that these break into but those are the key cards in the majority of the winning decks. There are of course the smattering of other deck types, such as black sacrifice or old skool Boros, and even a random green elves. But the buckets pretty much dominate.

After selling my Jace's, I had been thinking I would just find a winning deck and build that but I really hate feeling like I'm just following the pack, at least while I think I might still have a chance at coming up with a rogue deck that is competitive.

So rather than go through all the various winning decks and decide which is most likely to win, I decided to go through all my current cards that are standard legal and decide which cards I wanted to try and build a rogue deck around.

Now, when I want to build a rogue deck, I always start from the same place. I pick a card that I thought was 'cool/interesting'. I usually have a ton of cards that catch my eye, but after initial review, it becomes clear that the cards (or rather, the decks I've built around those cards) aren't viable for any number of reasons - too fragile, too difficult to get combo pieces out, too easy to work around, etc. But I still like to try and find some way to make it work, and at a bare minimum, I mentally file away that card as something to check again when the next set comes out since a new card rotating in, or cards rotating out, make it now a viable deck.

This time however, I wanted to try and stick to the most recent set, Scars of Mirrodin. I occasionally will play paper magic if I find the time, and the SoM launch party was one such event. Aside from pulling a Koth, I also happened upon a nice little artifact that created an awesome combo, but no one else seemed to be talking about it or playing it. I unfortunately did not get the combo off more than once but I had been wanting to build a deck to take better advantage of that card.

That card?

At the launch party, I used the Coating to turn the opponent's enchantment into an artifact and then promptly destroyed it with an Oxidda Scrapmelter. To me, this seemed unbelievably powerful! Not only could I destroy anything, but the amount of artifact hate in the set was naturally very high.

So, with my key card in hand, I decided to try and see what I could use to abuse it. Naturally, I thought of Oxidda, along with 'Oxidda-lite' Manic Vandal and the bare bones Shatter. I also added the dual-purpose Demolish, helpful against those pesky Eldrazi land-using ramp decks. At this point, I was pretty much going to be Mono-Red.

With the basic meat of the deck defined, I needed to add the support cards - the cards that would help me survive until I got a Coating and something to kill artifacts with into play. I went for the most efficient burn spells I could think of, Lightning Bolt and Burst Lightning. I also needed an alternate win condition, just in case I wasn't drawing a Coating or it was removed by Memoricide or something. I immediately thought of a card I had learned about recently that wasn't getting much notice and I was able to pick up on the cheap (like .25 tickets or something each): Kuldotha Phoenix. Being Mono-Red also let me make Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle an auto-add. Lastly, I added some generic good 'support' in the form of 2x Mimic Vat and 2x Ratchet Bomb.

When I build rogue decks, I start with the basic framework and playtest before I even think about a sideboard or playing with the number of copies. So, my very initial deck was the following:

4x Liquimetal Coating
4x Oxidda Scrapmelter
4x Manic Vandal
4x Shatter
4x Demolish
4x Lightning Bolt
4x Burst Lightning
4x Kuldotha Phoenix
2x Mimic Vat
2x Ratchet Bomb
4x Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
20x Mountain

Off I went to the Casual > Tournament Practice room and joined a game. First match was against a mono-white Quest for the Holy Relic deck and was pretty much a wash since the opponent conceded the match after I burned his Memnite while his Glint Hawk's come's-into-play ability was still on the stack he failed to find a 3rd land.

The second match was against a Primeval Titan ramp deck. I don't know what flavor of ramp deck this was as I died pretty quickly just to his titans after being stuck at 3 land.

At this point, there were a number of things I could see wrong with the deck so it was back to the deck editor.

First, I definitely needed more land. At 24 lands, I was often stuck at 3 or 4 lands and falling quickly behind as the opponent could either drop cheap creatures, or find land very quickly. I decided to try upping the land count to 26 but in order to maximiz the effect, decided to add 2x Mystifying Maze as this could also help stave off an attacker that I didn't have an answer for yet.

I also felt I had gone overboard on the artifact hate. Too often I was sitting with a shatter or an oxidda that didn't have a target and no Coating in play. After some thought, I decided to remove the Shatters completely. While they are the quickest to cast, as well as my only instant speed artifact destruction, they were just too situational. All of the other artifact hate had a secondary use (creature, land destruction). I also found the burst lightnings to be too weak. Maybe it was because of my low initial land count, but I kept finding myself with a Burst without the necessary kicker mana.

On the plus side, I discovered some nice synergies that weren't obvious to me before. For instance, there is amazing synergy between the Mimic Vat and the Oxidda/Vandals. The first time I chump blocked with a Vandal only to imprint it on the Vat with a Coating on the table, I realized that I could now destroy any of my opponent's permanents for 3 mana! And if necessary, I didn't even need to wait to chump block, I could just use a burn on my own creature. I decided I needed to use a full playset of Mimic Vats.

I also hadn't really focused on using Liquimetal Coating's ability on my own permanents. But now I realized, I could very easily hit metalcraft with only 2 artifacts as long as one of them was the Coating! I didn't want to change the 'focus' of the deck too much by overloading on Metalcraft abuse (although that is definitely on my list of other ideas to try) but I realized I could make my Kuldotha Phoenix more useful by slightly increasing my artifact count to hit metalcraft more often. Even better, now with Metalcraft as another 'force' in the deck, I found a replacement for the Burst Lightning I removed earlier - Galvanic Blast. I had already added 2x Mimic Vats, but I figured I could do with some mana acceleration and added 2x Iron Myr.

Finally, I needed to cut 2 cards since I had added 2 lands. I decided I had enough artifact destruction as it was and decided to cut 1x Oxidda and 1x Demolish.

So then, my deck was the following:

4x Liquimetal Coating
3x Oxidda Scrapmelter
4x Manic Vandal
3x Demolish
4x Lightning Bolt
4x Galvanic Blast
4x Kuldotha Phoenix
4x Mimic Vat
2x Ratchet Bomb
2x Iron Myr
4x Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
2x Mystifying Maze
20x Mountain

Back to the Casual > Tournament Practice room for some more playtesting!

I definitely saw the improvements from my changes. I never got the chance to really play against a Primeval deck but got a lot of play in against various Quest decks. Given that the metagame seems to have a large number of these decks, it's not too shabby that I am pretty much set up as an anti-Quest deck. My only concern is handling the Kor Firewalkers after sb, and of course their own artifact hate in their sb.

Despite a big improvement from the first incarnation, I still had problems with having dead cards in my hands too often. One match against someone playing an Overwhelming Stampeding deck, I lost the final game with a Coating in play and a Mimic Vat waiting for an Oxidda or Vandal, but drawing nothing but land until the inevitable +x/+x. Needing some way to ditch the dead cards, I realized, I had a perfect answer in Chandra!

While Chandra Ablaze is a bit high on the casting cost, at that point in the game, I usually have most of the combo in play and just need one of my artifact creatures. I decided to replace a Kuldotha and an Oxidda (being on the higher end of my mana curve) with 2x Chandra Ablaze.

I also started working on my sideboard. I won't go into the details of my playtesting for that but here is a quick explanation of my current choices. I am pretty sure I will need to revise this though after playing against some more competitive decks:

1x Act of Treason - I have a singleton in case I run into a ramp deck with Eldrazi.
3x Chain Reaction - It may have just been the people that were playing at the same time I was testing but I continually ran into decks that dropped a ton of small creatures quickly. This is my attempt to try and clear the board.
3x Goblin Ruinblaster - Again for Eldrazi ramp decks
3x Ricochet Trap - I hadn't played against any Blue decks so this is just my standard anti-counter sb card.
2x Lavaball Trap - Again for Eldrazi ramp decks
2x Unstable Footing - One of my sb options for white decks that will bring in Kor Firewalkers
1x Brittle Effigy - Another option for both Firewalkers as well as Eldrazi

As I mentioned, I was limited to what decks I could play against in the Casual > Tournament Practice room. I know from experience that this is far from ideal but as a first pass, it should suffice. The only way now to really improve is to test it against decks that are really competitive. And the only way to do that is to play in an event that requires tickets. While there are a handful of options, to me the only ones that make sense are the 2-Man Constructed and the Daily Tournaments.

2-Man Constructed is my option if I just HAVE to play right now and I want to play against a competitive deck. Most people won't risk 2 tickets on a real casual/fun deck. The downside is that return is horrible. At 2 tickets to enter and winner getting a pack of SoM which is currently selling to bots at 3.9 tickets, unless you are winning more than 52% of the time, you are going to lose your tickets in the long run. This is usually not the best option if I'm not completely confident in my deck AND in my knowledge of the deck and the metagame. But again, if I just need to play at a more competitive level, this is sometimes the only option if I can't align my schedule with the dailies.

The Standard Daily is the best bang for the buck and I know others have written more extensively on this. At 6 tickets to enter, you play 4 rounds and prizes are 11 packs for 4-0 and 6 packs for 3-1. Not only do you get to play more games (4 rounds for 6 tickets versus 1 'round' for 2 tickets), the payout is MUCH higher if you win. I don't know the math for this but trust me, even going 3-1 is almost a 4:1 payout (versus less than 2-1 for a 2-man tourney). And if you are good (and lucky!) enough to go 4-0, you have almost a 7:1 payout!!

Anyways, now I am in the unenviable position of all 'decked' out with no where to go. I want to play in a Daily but the next Standard Daily isn't until 11pm. I want to maximize my Jace investment as much as possible so I am going to force myself to refrain from joining a 2-man. I just hope I don't massacre my deck second-guessing card choices as I continue playing/testing in the Casual > Tournament Practice room.

And speaking of Jace investment, I did have to purchase a few of the cards I added to my deck. I kept my shopping to cards that were either cheap (<.5 tickets) or could be used in more than just this deck. That being said, my purchases for this deck were:

2x Mimic Vat (2.7 each = 5.4)
2x Galvanic Blast (.15 each = .3)
1x Ratchet Bomb (2.5)
4x Kuldotha Phoenix (.12 each = .48)
Total : 9 tickets (8.68)

With luck, I will have a nice write-up of how this performs in tonight's daily. Until then, I'll be testing, testing, testing!

Current Jace-Ticket Tally
Initial Amount: 364
Mono-Red Coating Investment: -9
Current Amount: 355

MTGO: The Jace Giveth...

I started playing Magic back when Revised (3rd ed.) was just released and have been playing off and on ever since. I also started playing MTGO back when it was first released and have been playing off and on ever since. I recently went through a 'high' where I spent quite a lot of time and money playing when Zendikar block was released online. I also took a bit of a break on the tail end of Zendikar and M11. I am itching to get back into playing but rather than fork out a ton of money again to buy cards or packs to draft with, I figured I would try and recycle some of my previously purchased cards to fund my new stint in online play.

I primarily played Block Constructed previously, but had been itching to get into Standard once Alara rotated out. Now, my goal is to get into competitive Standard Constructed. Luckily, I think the current meta-game and the trading environment have combined to give me a very good option to do so - by selling my copies of Jace, the Mind Sculptor!

Now, I have a full play set, but most of the current 'hot' standard decks that play him usually play 3, and there are a slew of good decks that don't play any. So, my plan is to sell 1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor and use the proceeds to build a standard competitive deck to win enough packs (a.k.a tickets) to buy him back and then some. Here's my strategy:

Step 1: Sell Jace
Step 2: Build Winning Deck
Step 3: ...
Step 4:

It's practically foolproof! With that necessary due diligence out of the way, onward to profit!

First Step: Sell Jace!

Back when I was playing heavily during Zendikar block, prices would fluctuate immediately at release, and after a new deck was played and won in a high profile match in Paper Magic. For a card like Jace, prices could fluctuate as much as 10-15 tickets up or down in the span of a week. Now that it's not the current block however, I don't know whether prices are pretty stable, or prone to even wilder swings.

I do a quick search for Jace in the Community Classified section and see a few buyers offering anywhere from 70-91 (lower end being bots of course). Very few sellers but a few asking 96+ and a bot asking for 100+. I decide to undercut the competition and post my Jace for 93.

And now we play the waiting game.....

1 hour later
Things didn't exactly go as planned. After no one took me up on my price of 93, I started messaging the folks that were looking to buy. I suspected many were actually multiple accounts under 1 person since they had the exact same message but still gave it a shot and messaged every single potential buyer. No immediate response started to get me worried that my new adventure would have to either start at a lower investment point, or I'd have to wait around a few more hours.

Luckily however, I got a message back about 15 minutes later from one of the 'multiple account' persons and they were still interested for 91 tickets! A little less than I wanted but I'm way too impatient to hold out for 2 more tickets.

While we were in the trade window however, the buyer asked how many I wanted to sell. I realized I had accidentally marked all 4 as tradable, and now I had a big decision. Sell all 4 Jace's for a massive instant windfall that could keep me funded for a long long time, or keep to the plan? Without knowing how the price could fluctuate up or down, I didn't know whether it was likely that the prices would continue rising, or 'plummet' to the 70 ticket ranges (where it was at when M11 came out).

As you might know from the recent Geico commercials, this flawless bird in the hand was easily worth 2 in the bush. So I am now Jace-less, but very nicely funded to the tune of 364 tickets to build pretty much whatever deck I want (as long as it doesn't have any Jace's of course).

Now, the fun/agonizing part, deciding what deck to play....

Playing: Sprue Posse Grand Prix Missions

Our mission list is below for our Sprue Posse Grand Prix tournament. All missions use standard 5th edition 40k mission rules. All missions have random game turns starting on turn 5 as specified in the 40k rule book.

Mission One : Shock and Awe

Mission Type: Annihilation
Deployment: Dawn of War

It has been your experience that wars are won through violence. Your forces can end this war with a quick and decisive victory through the systematic elimination of the enemy. The pre-dawn horizon shimmers with the light of a false dawn and your warriors are ready, all that remains is to give the word.

Mission Two: Balancing Act

Mission Type: Capture and Control
Deployment: Pitched

Your surprise assault was effective though not as decisive as you might have wished and your forces suffered losses. You have established a temporary command point which must be defended at all costs and you know your foe has as well. If you can take his command point without sacrificing your own you may still carry the day.

Mission Three: Divide and Conquer

Mission Type: Seize Ground with 5 Objectives
Deployment: Spearhead

They say no plan survives contact with the enemy. Your battle line is scattered but your forces are still determined and capable. You have identified several strategic battlefield locations from which you will be able to regroup and prepare for the next push.

Mission Four: The Gallery

Mission Type: Annihilation
Deployment: Pitched

Your troops have received reinforcements and a lull in the fighting has allowed you to prep for the next big push. It is your hope that you can decimate the foe before they have a chance to gather their wits.

Mission Five: Iron Will

Mission Type: Seize Ground with 3 Objectives
Deployment: Dawn of War

It is fitting that the final push of this campaign is set to commence like the first. The commanders have learned the follow of feeding their troops into the meatgrinder: resources are simply too thin. However, you have learned of a win to this war once and for all and you simply have to take and hold a few vital points.

The above missions will also be in the order presented. Missions 1-3 will be featured on Saturday and Missions 4-5 on Sunday.

Players: Sprue Posse Invitational Profile - Patrick Burdine

Name: Patrick Burdine

Seed #4
Rating: 1625

2010 Game Record: 8-3-3
2010 Appearances: 4
2010 Tournament Victories: 0
2010 Total Winnings: $30
Featured List: Space Marines (Crimson Fists) - 1500


Captain (Bike, Relic Blade, Storm Shield, Melta Bombs)


Space Marine Bike Squad x5 (Plasma x2) w Attack Bike (Multi-Melta) and Sergeant (Power Fist)
Space Marine Bike Squad x5 (Plasma x2) w Attack Bike (Multi-Melta) and Sergeant (Power Fist)
Space Marine Bike Squad x5 (Melta x2) w Attack Bike (Multi-Melta) and Sergeant (Power Fist)
Space Marine Bike Squad x6 (Melta x2) w Attack Bike (Multi-Melta) and Sergeant (Power Fist)

Heavy Support

Dreadnought (Assault Cannon, Heavy Flamer, Drop Pod)

Fast Attack

Land Speeder (Typhoon Missile Launcher)
Land Speeder (Typhoon Missile Launcher)
Land Speeder (Typhoon Missile Launcher)

Burdine has been one of the hard luck players on the Sprue Posse circuit by finishing in the money only once by getting second place in Sprue Posse Open #1 and just missing it two more times with a couple of 4th place finishes. His persistence has paid off though and despite never winning a tournament he proudly sports an 8-3-3 record, good enough for the 4th seed going into the invitational.

Players: Sprue Posse Invitational Profile - Sergio Alvarez

Name: Sergio Alvarez

Seed #5
Rating: 1620

2010 Game Record: 5-1-1
2010 Appearances: 2
2010 Tournament Victories: 1
2010 Total Winnings: $105

Featured List: Blood Angels - 1500




Assault Marines x 5 (Melta, Powerfist) w Razorback TL LasCannon
Assault Marines x 5 (Melta, Powerfist) w Razorback TL LasCannon
Assault Marines x 5 (Melta, Powerfist) w Razorback TL LasCannon
Scouts x 5 (Missile Launcher)

Heavy Support

Devastator Squad x 5 (Missile Launcher x4)

Fast Attack

Baal Predator (Flamestorm, HK Missile, Heavy Bolters)
Baal Predator (Flamestorm, HK Missile, Heavy Bolters)
Baal Predator (TL Assault Cannon, HK Missile, Heavy Bolters)

Sergio has performed very well in both Sprue Posse Open's he's participated in. He won Sprue Posse Open #2 back in April and then finished a strong second in Sprue Posse Open #4. His Blood Angels list was well timed after the new codex release and is a testament to his list building savvy.

Players: Sprue Posse Invitational Profile - Mike Northover

Name: Mike Northover

Seed #6
Rating: 1620

2010 Game Record: 6-2-3
2010 Appearances: 3
2010 Tournament Victories: 0
2010 Total Winnings: $45

Featured List: Chaos Space Marines - 1500


Abaddon the Despoiler
Daemon Prince (Wings, Mark of Tzeentch, Warptime, Wind of Chaos)


Plague Marines x 5 (Flamer x2)
Plague Marines x 5 (Melta x2) w Champion (Power Fist, Combi-Flamer)
Lesser Daemons x6

Heavy Support

Land Raider
Land Raider
Obliterators x2

Mike showed up to several Sprue Posse open's this season with a variety of lists. He consistently performed well in the tournaments and finished in the money more than once but a first place finish eluded him. He hopes to change that for the invitational championship.

Playing: The 1500 point format

The 1500 game size of 40k doesn't get a lot of attention. It is the first functional game size, and was cited as being the size of game that the in-house playtesters use at GW. It is occasionally used in tournaments in Europe, but American tournaments seem to play almost exclusively at 2000.

The Sprue Posse Open single day tournaments use the 1500 size. The tournament uses a swiss system with 12 player slots, and therefore needs to get 4 games in to have a more healthy data set for its tiebreaker. In order to get 4 games in, 105 minute rounds are used. Too short for a 2000 point game.

The size of the game has a direct effect on unit strengths, and overarching army construction. I'm going to talk about army construction mostly, and then follow it up with a regular series of what I feel the strongest lists are from each of the 16 codices at the 1500 level.

The Sprue Posse Open uses the book standard missions, so those will be the guidelines. I heartily recommend designing a tournament list only after the missions have been made available, if the tournament you are planning to attend will be designing their own missions.

The first thing to address is that the range of game sizes that are played on a 4' x 6' playing surface are 1500-2500. This means that in a 1500 point game, you are playing at the absolute minimum army size to playing surface ratio. This means lots of open space. Open space has significant relevance when planning to use units with deep strike capabilities, and also when planning to use weapons that have a scatter dice mechanic.

Secondly, the number of objectives is not lowered for this smaller size, so during objective based missions the ratio between game size and number of objectives is at its smallest.

After processing this information, we can conclude that successful 1500 armies will have a larger percentage of total points spent on troops. We can also conclude that deep striking will be more safe, and that armies will have more room to mitigate damage from scattering weapons by spreading out.

I'm going to jump from those basic concepts right into some much more complicated stuff. I'll assume that you as the reader are well aware of the power and popularity of transport vehicles and are well versed in contesting objectives with tank shock moves.

Transports are cheap and troops work very well with said transports. They gain assault protection, a tank shock move to contest objectives and extra speed for the large board and numerous objectives. They are more powerful and more prevalent in the 1500 format. At 1500 points, if a unit does not have the ability to be ballooned to 20+ models, coupled with morale manipulating special rules, then it will be transport mounted, or it will be simply considered a throwaway unit.

The good news is that every army has access to efficient light vehicle kill. Transports are good for all the reasons listed, but none are particularly difficult to destroy. The closer to the action they get, the easier they get to destroy as they expose side armor and enter the range of special weapons. Weapons that kill transports efficiently are as valuable to players as the transports themselves.

At this point the 1500 point list deviates pretty heavily from 2000. To prepare for a 5 objective seize ground on a 4' x 6' table, every army has a particular number of troops choices it needs. To defend against tank shock based objective contesting, a certain amount of anti-vehicle fire support needs to be bought. The number of troops units and the number of fire support units has negligible fluctuation as the game gets larger. Ultimately, the 1500 army has very little room for what I'll call table area influencers.

Heavy anti-infantry firepower and devastating close combat units would both fall into this category. They are not purpose built to open transports, nor do they score, but armies rely on them to win games. When a transport dies, the unit inside still needs to die, it is still contesting or scoring its objective. Thanks to the 'go to ground' rule, moderate firepower will not dislodge them. Heavy, purpose-built, anti-infantry shooting and close combat units are perfect for that duty. They control and influence a section of the table, without scoring it. These units are also vitally important to counteract large model count units that aren't in transports. Anti-vehicle and small arms fire can not significantly weaken a 20+ model unit with special morale rules in cover. These area influencers don't function against transports, they need anti-vehicle fire support to work, and they generally don't score so they can't be taken as a replacement to troops. Even the close combat units that can be taken as troops can't often be counted on to accomplish both jobs. Troops get anchored to the objective once they reach that point. Close combat units need to have the freedom to pursue evading or 'back line' fire support units.

So we've established that successful 1500 lists have less close combat and less anti-infantry firepower in their composition. You can't cheat this. If you put the cart before the horse and neglect anti-transport, you will be at a significant disadvantage against a mechanized army. And if you cheat on your concentration of troop units, or choose to field a dual purpose troop unit/elite close combat unit, then the large table and numerous objectives will spread you too thin.

What is the 'right' number of troops? What is the 'right' amount of anti-transport? Well, its not that simple. Each army is different. Tougher troops allow you to run less of them. Faster troops might allow you to run less of them. Resilient and consistent anti-transport firepower will be able to stand on its own. Fragile, inconsistent anti-transport will need to be taken in multiples across multiple units. I'll discuss more army specifics as I get to each codex.

Is 1500 a fun format? I think it is. There is a little less room for creativity in battle plan, but fortunately for most armies the 'right' number of troops and the 'right' number of anti-transport doesn't really go above 1,000-1,100. This gives you enough points for 2-3 units specializing in table area takeover. At 2000, more points can be spent here, and as there are more close combat units on both sides, the chance of a more dramatic close combat is higher in the 2000 point game. But as 1500 points allows the Sprue Posse Open time for 4 games. I will gladly trade a slightly more creative format for 33% more games against different opponents.

Players: Sprue Posse Invitational Profile - Levi Joos

Name: Levi Joos

Seed #7

Rating: 1610
2010 Game Record: 6-4-1
2010 Tournament Appearances: 3
2010 Tournament Victories: 1
2010 Total Winnings: $75

Featured List: Mech Orks - 1500


Warboss (Cybork, Heavy Armor, Attack Squig, Power Klaw)
Big Mek (Kustom Force Field, Power Klaw)


Nobs x 8 w Heavy Armor, Cybork Bodies, and Painboy (Power Klaw x 2, Big Choppa x 2, Combi Rockitt x 2, Bosspole x 3, Waagh Banner, Ammo Runt x 2)
Shoota Boys x18 (Rockitt) w Nob (Power Klaw, Boss Pole)
Shoota Boys x11 (Rockitt) w Nob (Power Klaw, Boss Pole) w Trukk (Ram, Boarding Plank)
Gretchin x 20 w Runtherd

Fast Attack

Deffkopta x1 (TL Rockitt, Buzzsaw)

Heavy Support

Battlewagon (Deffrolla, Kannon, Boarding Plank, Grot Riggers, Stikkbomb Chucka)
Battlewagon (Deffrolla, Kannon, Boarding Plank)


Lootas x 5
Lootas x 5
Lootas x 5

Levi had a couple early disappointing tournament finishes in April and June before finally breaking through in October. His Mek Orks always make an appearance at our RTT's and his perseverance finally paid off with a 3-0-1 record and a tournament victory in Sprue Posse Open #6.

Players: Sprue Posse Invitational Profile - Robert Pait

Name: Robert Pait

Seed #8

Rating: 1610
2010 Game Record: 6-4-2
2010 Appearances: 3
2010 Tournament Victories: 0
2010 Total Winnings: $30

Featured List: Imperial Guard -1500


Company Command Squad (Plasma x4) and Fleet Officer w Chimera (Heavy Flamer)


Veteran Squad x10 (Melta x3) w Chimera (Heavy Flamer)
Veteran Squad x10 (Melta x3) w Chimera (Heavy Flamer)
Platoon Command Squad x 5 (Flamer x2) w Chimera (Heavy Flamer)
Infantry Squad x 10 w Lascannon Team
Infantry Squad x 10 w Commissar w Lascannon Team
Autocannon Team x3
Autocannon Team x3
Autocannon Team x3
Autocannon Team x3
Inquisitorial Storm Troopers x5 (Melta x2)

Fast Attack


Heavy Support


Robert started participating in Sprue Posse RTT's relatively late in the season and now has an attendance streak of 3. While performing around .500 for his first two tournaments, he had success at the last one in October with a second place finish. That was enough to push him onto the invitational list as an alternate and he joins the invitational as the 8th seed.

Playing: Sprue Posse Invitational Participant List and First Round Pairings

Below is our RSVP'd list of Sprue Posse Invitational participants and their seeds:

Rank Name Rating Tourney Wins Points

1 Regul, Jon 1630 1 7.0
2 Shepard, Ryan 1625 1 10.0
3 Townsend, Brad 1625 1 8.5
4 Burdine, Patrick 1625 9.5
5 Alvarez, Sergio 1620 1 5.5
6 Northover, Mike 1620 7.5
7 Joos, Levi 1610 1 6.5
8 Pait, Robert 1610 7.0

The above is the player's seed, their ELO rating, the number of tourney victories this season at the Sprue Posse open circuit and their total battle points for the season. Battle points are awarded 1 point for a win, half point for a tie and zero points for a loss.

In seeded Swiss pairings the top player of the top bracket plays the top player of the bottom. This is done to give the top ranked player the best potential strength of schedule.

That means the first round pairings will be as follows:

Regul vs. Alvarez
Shepard vs. Northover
Townsend vs. Joos
Burdine vs. Pait

I'll start putting up player profiles of each of the competitors this month leading up to the main event. Let the speculation begin!