Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Transition Questions (and answers!)

So there have been a lot of questions about how this transition is going to work and what the future for current Columbia Free Magic holds. Let me do my best to answer them and if there is anything anyone is still wondering please post your question and I will do my best to answer that also.

1) What exactly did "disbanding" mean?

This was not the best term to use and I apologize. As a tournament organizer I often think in terms of our relationship with Wizards of the Coast and sanctioning and running tournaments through the Wizards Play Network. When Columbia Free Magic was formed, Wizards of the Coast was actively encouraging individuals to form groups separate from brick and mortar stores if one did not exist and/or did not meet their needs. Since then, their policy has changed and all rated events must now be linked to a brick and mortar store. This is why we tried to partner with various organizations so we could continue to have events like pre releases and receive fun promos. So when I said disband I was referring to an end to my role as the tournament director of record with Wizards of the Coast. There are no future events scheduled with my name on them and so my leadership role with Columbia Free Magic is over. A little baby Inman will be here very soon and the majority of my time and energy will need to go towards raising a family.

2) What is the exact relationship between Columbia Free Magic and Firefly Toys and Games?

Fortunately, the future looks bright for magic players in Columbia and Lexington. A new store recently opened at 5060 Sunset Boulevard in Lexington 29072. It is owned by Jasper Humbert who is a good friend of mine and Robin Dial. Though a novice at magic, he is a fellow gamer and shares the Columbia Free Magic vision of magic in a friendly social environment where the emphasis is on having a fun time and making new friends. Many of us have already been there for at least one event and have enjoyed the big play space, friendly customer service, air conditioning and working bathrooms. This combination is not something that any of our previous locations could claim and it feels great to not have to worry about basics. Most of the Columbia Free Magic scheduled staples are porting directly over to the new location. There will still be Legacy on Sundays. There will be Standard every Friday. There will now be drafts and/or sealed every Saturday instead of every now and then. Jasper has also directly asked several of us with leadership experience like myself, Dominic Casali, Joe Gelli and Sean Miller to help with the running of tournaments and for feedback on what players are looking for in terms of formats and products. At this time, none of us are employees (paid or otherwise) of the store, we just are players who have finally found a home where we can relax and be comfortable surrounded by others who care about gaming and being sociable.

3) So what exactly IS changing?

Well, aside from me being around less and having a nicer place to play the changes are as follows:
1)Three tournaments consistently a week (and the potential for more if players support them).
2)A place to meet any day of the week to casually game and/or playtest. The store opens at 10AM and closes at 10PM (later if an event is going on. No more rushing to finish before we get kicked out by a grumpy employee.)
3)More Promos from Wizards of the Coast. Having a consistent home with a stable tournament schedule means more prize support cards. Enjoy!
4)Easier access to supplies and singles. Jasper already is well stocked with packs and duel decks and is currently building up a big singles collection at very good prices.
5)A way to find new gaming friends outside of magic. Jasper's store is home to gaming of all kinds and is a great centralized meeting place for finding other tabletop gamers, minitures, D and D and more.

4) What are the downsides to this transition?

Obviously the location is an issue for some of our members who live in the opposite direction and we understand that not everyone will be able to consistently make the drive. The EDH Commander crowd seems particularly hard hit. We will be keeping the home site and facebook pages up so that people can coordinate their own get togethers. With any transition there are sure to be growing pains and we may lose a couple faces due to this move. However, we are already seeing faces that have been missing for a while and new players are turning up at every event. Also, we are technically starting from scratch in terms of Wizards Play Network level. There will be a couple weeks until the Friday Night Magic events reach the level where the triple planeswalker points multiplier is activated. However, with the rate events are going now, this should not take long at all.

5) What can I do to help?

So glad you asked! There are two main things you can do to make sure the spirit of Columbia Free Magic remains strong and that we can continue to enjoy this wonderful new home. Spread the word about this new location to your friends (especially casual players looking for a fun stress-free environment). The other main thing is to give us (tournament directors and Jasper) feedback on how the store and the tournaments in particular can be even better. A friendly owner with a big playspace and long hours is a tremendous opportunity. Looking for regular multiplayer games, all-common tournaments, two headed giant extended matches? Tell someone and once we get 8 people who want to do it, it can happen!

So to sum up, this is not an end so much as a great beginning. Different people may be announcing pairings or handing you boosters at the next pre release, but rest assured they want the same things you do. Magic is stronger than ever in Columbia and the world and while there is a big change taking place for Columbia Free Magic, it is definitely a change for the better.

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Top Decks Feature (Legacy)

Legacy is a really fun format that lets you play cards from any set in magic except for the silver bordered Unglued and Unhinged. This can be a little intimidating if you are a new player. Here are some of the decks that have been doing well lately at Columbia Free Magic. Feel free to copy them or make your own monster that will crush them. Happy building!

1)G/W/B Rock or "Junk". This deck uses efficient creatures like tarmogoyf and Knight of the Reliquary along with card advantage spells like Hymn to Tourach to grind out advantageous board states where they have at least one morethreat than their opponents has answers. Here is a decklist http://sales.starcitygames.com//deckdatabase/displaydeck.php?DeckID=37047 Potential Weaknesses: Hyper aggressive decks like Mono Red Burn or glacially slow decks like Landstill

2)Dredge. This deck abuses it's graveyard by using a card called Bridge from Below that makes zombie tokens even when it is in the graveyard and several "dredgers" like Golgari Grave Troll that repeatedly put useful cards into the graveyard. Decklist: http://sales.starcitygames.com//deckdatabase/displaydeck.php?DeckID=37034 Potential Weaknesses: Anything that can repeatedly remove graveyards. Once is not enough.

3)Affinity. This deck makes lots of artifacts very quickly and boosts their power using an equipment called Cranial Plating or sacrifices some to make one huge creature using an artifact creature called Arcbound Ravager. They also play a card called disciple of the vault that hurts their opponent whenever an artifact dies. Decklist: http://sales.starcitygames.com//deckdatabase/displaydeck.php?DeckID=37037 Potential Weaknesses: Decks with both pinpoint removal like Swords to Plowshares to deal with Disciple and mass removal to destroy lots of artifacts at once.

4)Landstill. This control deck plays lots of counters and an enchantment called Standstill that lets a player draw three cards if their opponent plays a spell. By playing lots of lands that can turn into creatures like Mishra's Factory, Landstill can win if neither person plays spells. Decklist:
http://sales.starcitygames.com//deckdatabase/displaydeck.php?DeckID=36639 Potential Weaknesses: Decks that win quickly without relying on one key spell to resolve and/or decks that feature creatures with island walk that its lands can't block.

There are lots more decks, but these are a good starting point to consider. Have fun!

Winter Invitational Winners

Winter Invitational Winners
Congrats Everyone!

Summer League Winners

Summer League Winners

One of the Summer League Prizes

One of the Summer League Prizes

And Another...

And Another...

Yeah he's back too

Yeah he's back too
In addition to the "regular" top 8 trophies and prizes, the top three in this summer's invititational event will pick from these top three planeswalkers!

Top Trios Teams

Top Trios Teams
Congrats to Allen, Jeff and Steven. It's still Amandas world though and we all just live in it...

Spring League Top 8

Spring League Top 8
Over $500 in trophies and prizes were given out to the Spring League Top Eight. Congrats to winners Gelli,Dahl,Thompson,Lombardi,Davis,Nuzum,Greer and Mayo!

Happy Baneslayer Invitational Players

Happy Baneslayer Invitational Players
They're all winners! Or bad counters, either way...

Crazy Top Seven from another Big Turnout

Crazy Top Seven from another Big Turnout
Congrats to Andy, Evan, Jacob, Amanda!,Captain,Jay, and Geoffrey for their great adaptation skills in making the most of new decks and new rules. Thanks to everyone who came out and mafe this a huge fun event!

Zen Block Multiplayer=Massive Fun

Zen Block Multiplayer=Massive Fun
Don Dahl's playtest group put three in the winner's circle. Dahl narrowed the gap to just three points behind Gelli. Davis moved safely into 7th. Jacob made one of his rare appearances count. Newcomer Jolly demonstrated serious multiplayer skillz. Stormy got solidified his top four spot and Marsi continued his late run to the top 8.

Top 5 Standard Finishers

Top 5 Standard Finishers
The Top Two tightened again as Don Dahl narrowed the gap on Joe Gelli. Cory Hill kept moving up the standings and Andrew Davis snuck ever closer to a top 8 berth. Charles Murphy made his first final photo and ensured that vampires will have to continue to be on top players radars.

Worldwake Gameday Fearless Five Finishers

Worldwake Gameday Fearless Five Finishers
Top 8 in league standings saw a sizeable shakeup as Cory Hill and Rick Nuzum made big jumps. Michael Mayo and Cody Church are just outside the magic 8 spot and don't count out the diabolical Robin Dial as he picks up points in bunchs as we head towards the final few weeks of Spring League.

Top 4 Zen Block Multiplayer Finishers

Top 4 Zen Block Multiplayer Finishers
Aaron Blomberg shows that years of multiplayer practice pay off. Dahl closes the gap on first place. Mr. Mayo sneaks back into the top 8. Amanda Davis looked innocent and unassuming until it was too late for her opponents round after round. Nicely played one and all!

First FNM Top Four

First FNM Top Four
Gelli puts up a top finish to match infinite participation points. Captain Thompson returns triumphantly from her Olive Garden Exile. Victor also returns to the top four after an overhaul of his trusty vamps. Cory meanwhile may have unleashed a monster with the new Open the Vaults deck...

Worldwake Box Tournament Top 8

Worldwake Box Tournament Top 8
The top 8 was a great mix of longtime and new players. Nuzums took two slots as did the Buchanans. Recenct addition Robin Dial represented the Columbia Magic League well. The Double D and Andrew Davis connection remained strong and Mr. "Double F" Marsi added another top 8 to go with his Champs near miss.

Top 4 Two Headed Giant Teams and Updated League Standings

Top 4 Two Headed Giant Teams and Updated League Standings
A great tournament and a great top 4. Allen and Jeff Folk said preperation, smeperation as their last minute team up took first. Don Dahl dispalyed the classic silver medal face but moved closer to first overall. Andrew Davis smiles as he knows he is now in a tie for the all important 8th and last playoff spot. The Driggers continued the succes of Columbia Magic League members. They also were the top finishing couple (Mr. Mayo and I are just friends...)Stormy made a triumphant return with Karen in tow to keep hopes for first place alive.

Congratulations League Winners

Congratulations League Winners
Congrats Billy, Joe, Jay and Greg on making top 4 in the winter league! Congrats Shannon and Victor on winning the ironman awards for most tournaments rocked out at!

Winter League Prize Buffet

Winter League Prize Buffet
One league ends and hundreds of dollars of prizes go to the worthy winners. Make sure you're a part of the bigger and even better Spring League starting Sunday.

Christmas is ... Draft Time!

Christmas is ... Draft Time!
Drafting, Two Headed Giant play, Free Pizza and Soda. It was an "okay" evening for C.F.M. players...

Two Headed Giant Winners

Two Headed Giant Winners
Really everyone who came was a winner. One of the most fun tournaments we (or anyone) has had.

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