Voopoo Demon RDA

Enter the Demon RDA

I love my Voopoo Drag. I love it so much that I decided to buy the dripper that Voopoo put out without really knowing much about it. I figured that Voopoo was a company that is working hard to position themselves in the market and as such they’d be careful to put out good products. So far I think that it’s safe to say I made a good choice.

I ordered my Demon RDA from Element Vape in one of my random online impulse purchases. I had been looking at a lot of different RDA’s and I almost pulled the trigger on a few of them. When I saw that the Demon was pretty cheap in comparison to the other authentic atomizers I figured it was worth the monetary risk.

Specs and Box Contents

  • 24mm Diameter
  • Two Post Build Deck, slightly different than a Velocity-style with a T-shaped center post
  • Two 2.5mm Terminals
  • Independent Ground Terminals
  • Single 2.5mm Terminal Per Post
  • Side Mounted Flathead Screws
  • Single and Dual Coil Capabilities (There’s no way to cut off only one airflow slot, so single coil will not work well).
  • 4mm Deep Juice Well
  • 24K Gold Plated Deck
  • PEEK Insulation
  • Dual Adjustable Side Airflow with Two Airslots Per Side
  • 9mm by 1mm Each Airslot
  • Three Airflow Settings with Varying Degrees of Each
  • 10mm Wide-Bore 810 ULTEM Drip Tip (Interchangeable with the Goon tips I had)
  • Delrin 510 Spacer (For Heat Protection)
  • Squonk Pin Included
  • Stainless Steel Construction
  • Gold-Plated 510 Connection

Along with the 24mm RDA itself there are some extras that are packed in the box as well. The Voopoo Demon comes with a set of coils, some cotton, a tiny screwdriver, two extra grub screws, and a squonk pin. Unfortunately there are no extra o-rings in the box, and I think that it would have made more sense to add four extra screws instead of just two. I’m hoping that Voopoo consideres adding more extras if they continue to make these atomizers.

According to their website  the coils that come in the box are NiChrome. They don’t mention what kind of coils they included, but they look like fused claptons and I assume that’s what they are.

I initially tested the unit with the pack-in coils because I figured that’s what many users would do. The coils actually quite good and gave me some great performance. I ended up removing them to try some other builds, but they’re still usable.

If you take the top most piece out and inspect the airflow control you will notice a couple things. First of all, the inside is made to be slightly conical (even though it doesn’t look like it would be from the outside). The conical shape is alleged to create better flavor, so it’s great that Voopoo made the top cap this way.

The other thing you will notice is that the airflow control is highly customizable. There are several different settings and each one can be adjusted slightly. The airflow holes are two horizontal slits.

When you turn the airflow control you can shut off the top slit only, and you can also keep both slits open but reduce their width. Each setting has the ability to be set in-between fully opened or closed. The only thing you can’t do is shut the airflow of completely, and you can’t shut just one of the airflow slits off entirely either.

Compared to something like the Goon 1.5 the airflow on the Demon RDA is much more restricted, even in the completely open setting. I still like the way that the RDA vapes as it is, but I do think they would have done well to make the airflow slots slightly larger to accommodate those who like wide open airflow.

The outer piece of the RDA is constructed out of stainless and ultem mostly. The material does feel thinner in my hands in comparison to my Goon 1.5. This could be a con to some folks, but in the time that I’ve been using this thing I have found it perfectly acceptable. The parts that are made of ultem are the drip tip and a small base on the RDA. The base is supposed to act as a barrier between the mod and the rest of the RDA for the purpose of heat control. This does seem to work somewhat as my RDA never got hot until I put much bigger coils in it and jacked up the wattage.

Building on the Demon

I found the Demon RDA to be a breeze to build on. The fact that it is basically a velocity-style deck helped me because I didn’t have to fiddle with clamps. I was able to put the leads in and clip them at any point during the build without worrying about a coil falling out.


Voopoo Demon RDA Build Deck (Coilmaster flat head screwdriver for size reference).


I did my first build on the Demon using the coils and cotton that comes with it. It didn’t take long for me to remove that cotton and rewick the unit. I wasn’t getting as good of a vape as I’m used to, so I went with my Cotton Bacon V2. Using my own cotton with the included coil turned up the flavor considerably, and I wound up using that freebie coil for quite a while. I think that the included cotton is probably fine to use, but it’s just not the style that I’m used to.

After a while of using the packed-in coils I decided to try to fit something bigger on the Demon’s deck. I had ordered some Demon Killer Alien V2 Coils so I figured that I’d try those.

Drag, Demon, and Demon Killer Aliens.


I’m not an expert builder like some of the folks I’ve seen posting their builds on Instagram, but I assume that there will be some builds that you could fit into a Goon but not fit into the Demon RDA. Still, the Alien coils I’m running in the Demon now are pretty big, quite flavorful, and they’re making some considerably large clouds. Considering the fact that I only paid around $25 dollars for this RDA I feel quite satisfied with it.

Would I recommend this RDA? I suppose that I would tenatively endorse this atomizer, but I’m not as adamant about that recommendation as I was with the Voopoo Drag mod. The Demon comes in a variety of colors, and you can put your own Goon tips on it. The marbled tip shown in my pictures isn’t the tip that comes with it though; I just happened to already have that one that matches my Drag’s resin plate. The ultem tip that comes with the RDA isn’t very attractive in my opinion, it’s just a flat yellow color.

Overall I feel that the Demon does vape well, and it’s easy to build on in my opinion. Voopoo didn’t include any spare O-Rings in the box though, and that kinda sucks. Other than the lack of O-Rings and the somewhat small size of the 100% open airflow this thing is pretty solid.

Oh, and one more thing; I haven’t tried squonking with this RDA yet but when I do I wlll update this post. This atty is designed so that the hole where squonked juice comes out is located at the very top and center of the deck. I don’t know if this feature is good or bad yet, but I’ll let you know!

Thanks for reading! You can find me online @ https://www.instagram.com/Islandswamp_/


Drag Life

Searching for the Last Mod I’ll Ever Need

When I first started vaping I had a little pod mod that was good enough to get me off of cigarettes entirely. Then I moved on to a vape pen. I tried buying a crappy mod that was sold at Walmart, and that thing was terrible. I went through a few other devices and still found them lacking for one reason or another. This process drove me nuts because I hate feeling like I wasted my money. My wife was pretty annoyed at all the vape mail arriving at our house as well.

I’m not the kind of person that wants to buy every single mod and atomizer I see. I say this not because I don’t like them, but because I feel like I shouldn’t go overboard. Vaping is supposed to be healthier and cheaper (in my opinion), but when you’re collecting equipment it can certainly end up becoming more expensive.  My drawer of old vape gear annoys me because it exists as a monument to poor decisions. After buying and retiring a handful of sub-standard devices I became determined to make sure that my future purchases were worth it.

What’s in a name?

When I first saw the name “Voopoo Drag” in the title of a vaping video I laughed out loud. I couldn’t get past the name and I never even watched the videos at first. I’m not proud to admit this, but I’ve been made a sucker by the slick marketing of companies before. I don’t mean to disparage any brands so I won’t name them, but all vapers know what I mean. A glow-in-the-dark, LED light, or touch screen mod will look cool, but if the QA department isn’t doing their job these mass-produced mods are liable to have significant problems in the hands of the end users.

As time went on I heard more and more people talk about the Drag and the Gene chip. I realized that a lot of trusted reviewers were saying very positive things about this mod, and that made me take a second look.

When I finally pulled the trigger and ordered my Drag as a birthday present for myself I was full of nervous excitement. The price of the Voopoo Drag was a lot less than many of the popular dual 18650 mods on the market and I still was wary of it for that reason. Once the Drag showed up in my mailbox and I tried it out I knew that I had made a good purchase.

Here’s the model I ordered. I went with the purple resin edition to match my RDA

Questioning the Quality

The first thing I noticed upon removing the mod from it’s packaging was how hefty it was. It’s not heavy like a brick, but the thing has some weight to it. Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “I like sleek, little, lightweight devices”. I completely understand those feelings, but I like to think of this a different way.

Compared to my Kaos Spectrum, this Drag mod is made out of more metal and less plastic. That’s where the extra weight is coming from. This is just my opinion, but to me the extra weight suggests that the Drag is much sturdier than my other mods.

The Drag’s buttons all work well and seem as if they’re built well. The same goes for the screen and the 510 connection. The mod is easy to open, and the battery door is held shut with magnets. Having your battery compartment work with magnets instead of a hinge means there’s one less place on the device to wear out and break.

Inside the battery cover, on the top left hand corner, I noticed a tiny sticker. Upon further inspection I realized that someone had written some numbers (likely a date) on that sticker. I’m absolutely certain that this writing indicates that someone actually did a Q.A. check on my device! If you’ve ever used a mod, tank, or coil from one of the bigger companies that are notorious for QA problems let this give you some assurance.


Speaking of batteries, this mod has protections against reverse polarity. If you install the batteries incorrectly the mod will not turn on. The batteries are held in place snugly, and so far I feel like I’m getting a much better battery life than I was with my main backup mod (the Kaos Spectrum).

How does it vape?

In a word, amazing. This mod fires more quickly than any regulated device I’ve ever tried. Imagine taking a Smok mod and setting the “strength” to “hard” (which makes it fire up to the set wattage more quickly). The Voopoo Drag mod hits faster than the Smok chips even when they’re set to “hard” mode.

As a matter of fact, this mod fires so quickly it can actually be a very small con. Like nearly every mod on the market the Drag has the old “five clicks on, five clicks off” feature for powering on and off. Since the mod’s fire button is so responsive it can briefly fire when you’re trying to shut the mod off. That could be a problem if you’re not careful, but dropping the wattage before shutting the mod off will fix this easily.

The gene chip does more for the Drag than simply making it accurate and responsive. You can also plug your Drag into your computer via USB and customize it! For example, my Drag now says “Vape On!” when it’s powered on instead of “VooPoo”.


Every single bit of text the mod screen uses can be customized. I thought about making every message into a joke, but I’d rather not be confused when I receive an error message and the mod says something goofy.

You can also adjust the way the mod fires in wattage mode. Just say you have a coil in your atty with a long ramp up time. You could set a curve of wattage that starts very high to get the coil hot, then have the temp drop to avoid getting your vape too hot. This point is the reason I decided to get this mod, and it works very well. Also, you can change the vaping settings on the mod itself if you can’t or don’t want to get on your PC for some reason.

I currently do not use temp control, although I have toyed with it in the past. This seems like a good mod to learn temp control with though, because the mod has a lot of variables that you can change. These changes are made via the USB connection just like the other editing features.

The Cons

No mod is perfect, but the Drag is damn close. I don’t vape at ultra high wattages. I’m fine with 157 being my max. If you’re nuts about 200 watt vapes then you should look at the next Voopoo Gene Chip mod, the A1.

I’ve heard of one person having trouble with their batteries being dented by the devices battery compartment. This hasn’t been an issue for me and I haven’t seen anyone else mention it. I strongly believe that the incident was a fluke. If anyone reading this has had this issue, please let me know about it.

Some people won’t care for the boxy design or the extra weight. Frankly those two aspects are a pro in my book, but if you don’t like that I understand. I think that the cool “DRAG” logo looks awesome, and the resin plate models are especially beautiful.


The extra weight of the Voopoo Drag does mean that it is more noticable in your pocket if you happen to carry your mods that way. I wasn’t especially bothered by this, but it is a thing. Another issue with the added heft is that when you have the mod standing on a table and knock it over it tends to make a pretty strong “thud” when it falls over. I’ve done this accidentally four or five times with no issues, but it makes me cringe each time I hear the mod smack against my coffee table.

The display on the Voopoo Drag only shows whole numbers. You cannot use this mod to vape at exactly 66.6 watts (something I used to do a lot actually).


I don’t think that rounding your vape wattage up or down is going to be detrimental to your vaping experience, but you never know. Frankly I have grown to love this feature because I never liked the cluttered look of vaping at say, 68.3 or 46.2 .


The last con I could find is the semi-overhang the mod has. The mod does fit larger atomizers (like my CoilArt Azeroth RDTA pictured above). The edges of the Drag are beveled though, so there is a tiny bit of overhang right at that edge. From what I can tell the atomizers are flush with the rest of the Drag’s sides; it’s only near the bevel that you can notice anything. This does not affect how the mod works or anything, but I imagine it might bother some people.

Final Thoughts

Would I recommend this mod? I’m gonna have to give you a rock hard yes on that one. This mod is the best I’ve ever owned and I love it more each day. It may not be as flashy as a Kaos, T-Priv, or Pro-Color, but I guarantee you it works better.

Most of the flashy Alien-esque mods out there don’t even reach the wattage they’re supposed to anyway. Pushing two 18650 batteries to such high wattages can be bad for them, especially if those batteries are Explode-Fest or some other rewrap. 157 watts is much more reasonable, and I’m chucking huge clouds at far less than that. If I was interested in burning my mouth I’d just chug some fresh, black coffee.

For those that have to go above 157 watts there is the Voopoo Alpha 1 mod. The A1 also has the Gene chip and it is rumored to perform just as well as the Drag (although I have not yet tried the A1). Personally I strongly prefer the aesthetics of the Drag, but if the Alpha 1 gets re-released as a resin mod I would definitely consider picking one up.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading my first review of a mod. I’ve been writing about other topics for a long time and I’m happy that my love of vaping has become entangled with my love of writing. Depending on how things go I have a few more review articles planned. I ordered the Voopoo Demon RDA and I’d like to cover that, and perhaps the Azeroth RDTA as well.

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The Land of Milk and Honey

I know it’s been a while since I posted anything, but I’ve been very busy lately. I’ve been publishing plenty of Magic content over at the Goldfish, so I figured I’d write about something other than Magic for a change. The following is a description of my experiences with a particular line of e-liquid. I’m giving my honest opinion and I have not been compensated for this blog post. 

The Land of Milk and Honey

A few weeks ago I purchased a bottle of Hustle Payday E-Liquid (produced by Humble Juice Co). I had never tried their brand, but I wanted to give it a shot. Even with the vape shop markup it was twice as much juice for about five to ten bucks less than what I was used to paying.

Image result for payday hustle e liquid

I’ve been interested in sweet juices lately, but I’ve always found that such flavors were coil killers. I’m not a scientist, but from what I have gathered through reading and personal experience some sweeteners (likely sucralose) tend to caramelize on your coil’s cotton wicking, and that leads to a bad taste and ruined coil.

Image result for gunk vape coil

Coil Gunk!

Payday Hustle didn’t do that to my coils. I vaped it for days and I was fine; only after dipping back into another old favorite did my coils finally become all gunked up. That’s something I was amazed and pleased to find.

As far as the taste goes, I will say that while it was very sweet, it wasn’t the absolute sweetest thing I had ever tasted. That’s not a bad thing though; because it isn’t overly sweet I found that it made for a fantastic all-day vape. To me the juice tastes like honey with creamy undertones, and unlike similar things I’ve tried neither of the two taste sensations are overbearing at all. I’m all out of the first 60 mils I got and I desperately miss it already!

I enjoyed Payday so much that I went back and ordered a bunch more from their website. Humble Juice Co offers BOGO (buy one, get one) deals on their stuff. I have 120 mils of Payday Milk and Honey coming in the mail and it cost me less than one 30 mil bottle I could get locally (total cost was around $20, I often have to pay $25 or more for a 30 mil bottle in my home town).

I’m someone who likes tasting different flavors, but I also like saving money. Recently I realized that perhaps I should try to be more frugal with my vaping. I’m probably going to order m juice exclusively from Humble for a while, and I’ll stick to the same Payday flavor. Eventually I’ll branch out and try some other things though, I have my eyes on a few of their flavors.

Until next time, keep on vaping in a free world! Hopefully my new mod comes in soon and I can do a write-up on that one too.

UPDATE EDIT: I received my BOGO order of Payday a couple days after this post. I’m super stoked to have a huge supply of a juice I love, and it shipped quite quickly considering it came from the opposite coast!

Image result for vape cloud


My favorite E-Liquids

The Truth and Nothing Less

I read a lot about vaping and I’ve seen a ton of vape videos. Each time there’s some dude bragging about how awesome something is, and much of the time they’re full of shit. I know that because I’ve seen good reviews on things that I have tried; things that turned out awful at times. I’ve also seen people rag on things that in actuality weren’t quite that bad… but whatever. The point is that in some of these cases the individual reviewer is talking nicely about something and acting like a spokesperson and not a real reviewer. I promise that I will never do that. I’m not a sell out (unless you have a legit briefcase full of cash).

My favorite Juice

I’ve been vaping on Candyland Liquids Roo Dip lately. It’s pretty fucking sweet. I mean, it’s literally and figuratively sweet. It tastes like some kind of vanilla dessert flavor and it’s pretty amazing. I highly recommend it if you’re into that sort of thing.

Image result for candyland roo dip

I have not tried the other flavors, but I wouldn’t be afraid to give them a shot. This one had a pleasant flavor that was strong enough to give me confidence in the entire line.

Before this latest bottle I had been vaping on “Belgian Brothel” by Bad Ass vape juice. It tasted fine, but I wouldn’t buy it again. It wasn’t very pronounced, just a very mild flavor and I didn’t care for it. I guess I thought it would have a stronger flavor and it didn’t. I could imagine some folks liking it, and I liked it enough to finish the bottle, but that was about it.

Worst Vape Flavor Ever…

This award goes to Unbroken “Rain” vape juice. I don’t know what the hell I was expecting from it, but it tasted like menthol-fruit-and-tears. I got this stuff from the Mistic website because it was marked down to dirt cheap, and I’m sure that’s because they all know how wretched the taste of that line is.

Image result for unbroken rain ejuice

When I get a vape juice I finish the bottle. If I liked it I’ll get it again. That’s my real seal of approval. This “Rain” by Unbroken was the worst thing I’ve ever had, and it was one of only TWO vape juice bottles I’ve ever NOT finished. As a matter of fact, I’ve still got the bottle. If you want it, just pay the postage and I’ll mail it to you. I could even pack it with an autographed piece of my Donald Trump toilet paper if you want, it’s like a certificate of authenticity (authentically wretched).

Being a Quitter

I have been hesitant to mention this fact online due to the stigma attached, but for years I was a cigarette smoker. It was never something I was proud of, and my various attempts to quit did not pan out. I’ve never wanted to be associated with smoking so I just kept those details private.

A few months ago I finally decided to try quitting smoking by switching to personal vaporizing devices (electronic cigarettes). I had some experience with gas station “cig-a-likes” (the products that are made by big tobacco and bear a striking resemblance to a real cigarette), but those things never quite did the trick.

I noticed that all the people I knew who had quit smoking with vaporizers had done so with “box mods” and other similar products, so I gave it a shot. I made up my mind that I was going to quit and I’d use these eCig mods every time I had the urge to smoke. After nearly two decades of poisoning myself via tobacco combustion I finally had something that worked!

Image result for smok vape pen 22

My first vaping device, Smok Vape Pen 22 (Highly recommended)

It’s now been around three months and I feel much better. Without smoking I have begun to get healthier (as evidenced by a recent physician visit) and I’m happier too. The bad smells from tobacco are gone from my life, and the smell of cigarette smoke now makes me feel physically ill. I’ve even drastically lowered the amount of nicotine I’m putting in my body! It turns out that lower nicotine e-liquid tastes better, so I have gone down to between 3-6 MG nicotine per ml on average.

Image result for haus sub ohm mod kit

I wouldn’t ever recommend that someone start smoking, and I wouldn’t harp on anyone who smokes and hasn’t tried to quit, but I would suggest vaping to anyone who wants to get away from analog tobacco cigarettes. My only regret in this matter is that I didn’t try sooner.

Recalling my Type 1 Aspirations…


Ancestral Goldfish

Usually I don’t think or care much about such things, but today it occurred to me that Ancestral Recall is my favorite card of all time. When I was a kid I had a much larger collection than I do today and it was quite substantial considering my limited means at the time. I never owned the entire Power Nine, I just had two pieces that I had traded for. I never had the opportunity to own an Ancestral then, and even though I have more money as an adult it is still out of reach.

Ancestral Recall

The thing that caused me to think about the prospect of owning (or having to proxy) an Ancestral Recall was that the “Ancestral Fish” play mat from MTGGoldfish was created and released for public consumption.

Ancestral Fish Playmat

I was the first person to get this play mat. For Christmas I got a gift package from the website that contained this play mat along with a bunch of awesome MTGGoldfish swag. It was by far the best gift I got for Christmas and I loved it. It was actually quite touching as it made me realize how perfect the image was for me.

Ancestral Recall was always the card I coveted most, and I was never able to get one. The Time Walk and Library of Alexandria I owned were the favorites out of what I actually had obtained, but I was always sad I was never able to find anyone to trade me a Recall. The Type 1 cards that I did own were sold along with the rest of my collection when I quit playing Magic during the Mercadian Masques era.

Rekindling the Dream

When I started playing Magic again in 2013 one of the things I that excited me was the prospect of Vintage Masters. I had started with paper Magic and a bad Standard deck, but I was gravitating towards MTGO due to having a busy family life. When I saw announcements that said the Vintage format and its associated card pool would soon be added to Magic Online I was ecstatic. “Finally!”, I thought… I would finally be able to participate in a format that I’d been interested in since I was a young high school kid. .

My excitement about playing Vintage on Magic Online was soon crushed by the spoiler articles for Vintage Masters. It was announced that the Power Nine would be placed in packs at a rarity above Mythic Rare. The Magic Online finance community guessed at an opening price for power in the hundreds of dollars. Black Lotus was thought to be approximately a 300 dollar card, give or take a little bit. I know that $300 isn’t a lot to some people, and it’s surely a ton less than the price of a paper Lotus, but for me at that time the cost was just too much. I knew I wouldn’t have the time or money to grind enough drafts or constructed events to pay for a set of Power either, so I simply decided that I’d stop thinking about trying to play Vintage.

Eventually I started writing articles for a website that paid me in store credit for Magic Online cards. I became a regular contributor and built up my portfolio of published works. I began playing only non-rotating formats and drafts, and I had a decent win rate. Between writing credits and winnings, I slowly amassed a sizable collection of Magic Online decks.

When I smelled a Birthing Pod ban coming in Modern I decided to sell out of that format (right before my Pod deck became worthless!) and move into Legacy only. I loved Legacy for the power level and nostalgic experience the card pool offered. Still, as much as I loved Legacy I also remained interested in Vintage.

I used to listen to a ton of podcasts. I often burned through a lot of shows quickly and I’d go searching for something new to listen to. During this discovery process I came upon the “So Many Insane Plays” podcast and I absolutely loved it. I didn’t know a lot about Vintage at the time, but I was amazed at how the hosts spoke about the format. It was as if they were discussing Chess or some other strategic game. The depth of strategy in Vintage was what I was looking for, and I made up my mind that I’d try to break into the format.

Luckily for me (and unluckily for those already playing the format) Vintage was in a major lull on MTGO at the time I was deciding to get involved in the format. The Power Nine was at a then all-time low and the most expensive piece of Power (Black Lotus) was only about $120 (down from the approximately $300 price tag it had initially). Once I noticed how cheap the Power was I picked a janky five color Storm deck to build and I traded away the core of an unwanted Legacy deck to get the cards I wanted. I only had to put in around $20 of my own money to get my first Vintage deck online.

I was excited to be playing Vintage for the first time, but I was honestly pretty terrible at it too. I considered myself a pretty good player in other formats but there was so much more to learn in order to be a good Vintage player. Still, I pushed forward, and I never really went back to any other formats.

All throughout this time I had been a regular contributor for PureMTGO.com. As I got into Vintage I continued to do what I always had done; I wrote about what I played. I started posting my articles on TMD so that I could find more readers (there weren’t a ton of Vintage players on PureMTGO that I was aware of). After a few weeks of posting articles I realized that nobody else on the internet was posting weekly Vintage content. I loved Vintage and I wanted more people to learn how awesome it was, so I made it my mission to keep writing. To this day I have never stopped, and it has been over two years that I have posted an article about Vintage each and every single week.

Now I have a regular column on my favorite format and I’m very happy about it. Every so often I get a message from someone who tells me they started playing Vintage on MTGO after reading my articles and it makes my day. I know that Vintage is a tough format to get involved in from a financial perspective, so I’m glad that I’m able to at least help people with good info on how to get going.

Image result for black lotus proxy

The funny thing is that even after all this has transpired I still have never owned an Ancestral Recall (or Black Lotus, or Mox Sapphire, and so on…). I used to feel like that made me less of a “real Vintage player” than someone who does own all those cards. Nowadays I no longer worry about all that though, because now that I’ve been around a while I’ve noticed people who have amazing collections and not-so-amazing decks. The game is more about how you play the cards and less about what you own, and that’s the way it should be.

Thanks for reading. If you’d like to see more content like this you can contribute here to my Patreon. I’d also like to say thanks to my Patrons, and to all the people who have donated time, cards, or sound advice to my cause.

Finding a New Deck…

Lately I’ve been trying to find a deck to play in a non-Vintage format and I haven’t had much luck. Vintage doesn’t get leagues on MTGO and I’m rarely able to manage to play a Daily Event so I’m stuck with the Tournament Practice room or the 2-Player queues.

The on-demand, paid 2-Player events might seem like a good way to get some competition in, but frankly I have no desire to pay to play something that pays out only more play points in prizes. The problem is that I manage to keep enough points in my account for a few larger events, so if I happened to lose a couple rounds of paid play I suddenly can’t enter as many large events. I don’t have the time to try to win those points back, so I’d end up having to pay more out of pocket for my next tournament. Frankly I am to cheap to want to do that. If there was something I wanted to win offered as prizes for these things I’d play for sure.

The Tournament Practice room is fine a lot of the time because I know a lot of good players I can be paired with. Unfortunately we’re not always online at the same time so I might end up paired against someone’s EDH deck or worse. It’s fairly rare for this to happen, but it is still an annoyance that ranges from mild to severe.

With that in mind I decided that I’d make a deck for either Legacy or Pauper so I could play a league. Legacy is the closest to Vintage, but making a deck for it required a few hundred dollars that I didn’t want (or couldn’t afford) to spend. With that in mind I payed a few dollars for a couple Pauper decks and tested them out against the randoms in TP.

Pauper is great. I like that its cheap and easy to access. I like that it has some neat decks and it gives life to cards that would otherwise toil in obscurity. The problem I have with the format is that I always end up finding the games very frustrating.

Pauper is full of some powerful cards like Gush and Brainstorm, but it is also filled with chaff like Evolving Wilds and Tap-lands. This means that games are often much slower than in other formats, and many times a cool strategy ends up failing because the mana is so wonky.

For example, just this morning I tried playing the U/R Delver/Kiln Field deck. I had a hand with Delver and Fiend, so it looked good. Unfortunately the slow lands I drew made it so I couldn’t play my hand out very fast and I lost to discard and removal while waiting to cast my spells.

The slowness of the format isn’t “bad”; it’s just part of the way things work. Unfortunately for me I’ve been spoiled by Vintage for so long that I find slow and suboptimal cards extremely frustrating. In Vintage I feel like I can will things to happen by using cantrips and tutors effectively. In Vintage I can Gush and Cruise my way back into a game from a bad board position. The fact that I’m able to do so many more things in Vintage to try to avoid losing a game is what makes me love the format the most. Pauper and other slower formats sometimes feel like a slow-motion train wreck to me now; I know I’m going to get crushed, but it’s taking forever to happen! Perhaps I should keep looking for a new Pauper deck until I find one I just love, but the busy life of a husband and father makes for limited leisure time.

As I mentioned before, Legacy is the closest thing to Vintage that is available to me as far as leagues are concerned. I’ll probably end up making a U/B Reanimator deck again soon. I have played Reanimator before, I know I like it, and I’m working on making it in paper as well so it makes sense.

Until next time, thanks for reading! I’ll be back with something new as soon as I find the time. Thanks to all who have given me their support over the past few years, it’s been amazing.

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Fortress of Solitude

America’s Moat Wanted

I’ve been trying to update this blog as often as I have time for. It’s actually a lot of fun and I wish I could do it more. Anyway, here’s an Oath list I’ve been working on. This is an update of a deck I wrote about in June.

The idea here is to be a control deck first and an Oath deck second. We’ve got Moat in the list to make life miserable for much of the format, and we’ve got a second Moat that we can Oath into play called “Blazing (Saddles) Archon”.

My original list didn’t run Supreme Verdict and I was using Sensei’s Divining Top instead of Sylvan Library. I think Verdict is a good option to have in order to deal with Mentor and Pyromancer decks, and it’s another way to protect big daddy Mind Sculptor.


I played a version of this deck in the past and it performed pretty well. The Moat plan worked pretty well, but I ended up having some trouble against Gush decks that I hadn’t anticipated.

The problem I found was that the deck was slow to close out a game. The glacially slow progression tended to give my opponent time to exploit a weakness in my defenses.Blazing Archon and Dragonlord Dromoka are great, but five damage is sort of a slow clock in the Vintage world. I’m not convinced that this is a deal breaker though, the deck still has a lot of positive matchups.

Sylvan Library

I’m hoping that between Griselbrand and Dragonlord Dromoka’s lifelink I’ll be able to draw extra cards with Sylvan without having to worry about paying so much life. Sylvan is insane with Jace and Library of Alexandria, and hopefully it’s enough to keep up with the draw engines that the rest of the format has.

Sylvan Library

Initially I wanted Divining Top instead because I could use it to “hide” cards from Duress or Cabal Therapy by floating them on the top of my deck. In practice this doesn’t come up all that much, and I have found Divining Top to be much easier for my opponent to counter or disrupt.

The somewhat limited test games have shown that Sylvan is absolutely amazing in control mirrors. Against decks that can pressure your life total quickly, it’s not nearly as good. Still I feel comfortable running one at this point.


I made sure to max out on  cantrips to make up for the loss of Demonic and Vampiric Tutor. Four Preordains and the single Ponder/Brainstorm worked pretty well. Lately I have decided to try playing Gitaxian Probe in addition to the other blue cantrips. I had to cut a Preordain and go down to three Mental Missteps to make it work.


Potential Candidates for Creatures

I’ve been wondering if playing Blazing Archon in the main deck is needed or not and recently I have been trying a list that’s essentially the same as the one I posted above but with Consecrated Sphinx in the main deck instead of Archon (moving Archon to the sideboard).

Consecrated Sphinx

I haven’t tested Consecrated Sphinx enough to be sure if I like it or not, but there are a few things about it that I like. Sphinx is easy to cast for this deck, just like Dromoka. I love the idea of having two castable creatures that function well in control matchups. My theory is that I should be able to simply ignore cards like Grafdigger’s Cage and Containment Priest if I have to by landing a Dromoka or Sphinx and controlling the board with Moat or Supreme Verdict.

I’m not particularly excited about the four power on Consecrated Sphinx though. I’ve had more than a few games where I stayed ahead on cards and controlled the board, but couldn’t win fast enough for my tastes. Blazing Archon is a four-turn clock, and Sphinx takes five turns to deal lethal damage.



I’m reasonably content with this sideboard, but I’ll be making changes if I decide I need them.

There aren’t that many dedicated anti-Dredge cards, but there’s a reason for that. I’ve already got Moat, Blazing Archon, and Supreme Verdict in the main deck. If I bring in Pithing Needles, Balance, Strip Mine, Tormod’s Crypt, and Rest in Peace I think that’s more than enough to buy me some time to win.

Against Shops I have Nature’s Claim and Swords to Plowshares, plus Steel Sabotage. I can also bring in Strip Mine to go up to sixteen lands. Pithing Needle is also an option depending on what kind of Workshop deck they’re playing.

I feel that the worst problem is that the slow speed of the deck could make the combo matchups a lot less favorable. Arcane Laboratory is one potential solution, but I’m going to keep brainstorming ideas. It might just be that combo decks are a weakness I’ll have to accept.

Member Berry Pie

I really enjoy playing this deck, and I hope if proves to be good and not just fun. I have a special fondness for Moat and Mana Drain, so perhaps my nostalgia is clouding my judgment! I plan on updating this post or writing a follow up as I gather more information about the decks performance, so stay tuned!

If you’d like to support more content and help me get to Vintage Champs in 2017, click here. Special Thanks to all of you who have become Patrons, helped me build decks, or just been cool and supportive people. I appreciate it more than you know.

My Favorites

Over the past few years I’ve done quite a few articles. In some respects things can become repetitive, but there are also certain articles that stick out to me for various reasons. Here are a few of the articles that I have written that I really enjoyed:

Art of Darkness with Jesper Myrfors

Of all the things I have written, this article is possibly my favorite of all time. This was the second time I interviewed Jesper, and I always enjoyed talking to him about the history of Magic: the Gathering and his involvement in it.

The Dark is often remembered as a sub-par set, but I think of it as a magnificent achievement. I have always been a fan of heavy metal and the “Goth” subculture, so the dark themes in this set made me fall in love with it.

I also like to let the world know just how important that Jesper Myrfors was to the success of Magic. The people making the decisions at Wizards of the Coast wanted to lower overhead on the production costs of MTG by using recycled art from old Dungeons and Dragons sets! The recycled art would have looked “good”, but it would have been generic and not had that original element that made the early sets so memorable.

The art in contemporary Magic sets is excellent, but all the digital art and unyielding art direction makes for a highly homogenized look for each new release. On one hand this does tie all the cards in a set together very well, but on the other hand we lose some of the iconic and unique card arts that we used to get.

Vintage 101: Prison Break

I wrote this article because a reader had asked me for some tips to help him defeat Mishra’s Workshop Prison decks. He let me know that he was a new Vintage player and he found it frustrating and nearly impossible to beat all the Shops decks he was facing. Instead of writing him some hints directly, I let him know that I would dedicate an entire article on how to approach the matchup.

Before writing this article I consulted with various skilled Vintage players to brainstorm ideas. I like to think I’m a decent player, but I’m also willing to admit I’m far from the best out there. People like Niels Thiim, Thomas Dixon, and Ryan Eberhart were kind enough to discuss this topic with me. The combination of my knowledge and theirs added up to something that I think is a useful resource for new Vintage players.

The Eternal Spotlight: Eternal Weekend at Bernies

This article was one of the last articles I wrote for PureMTGO before moving to MTGGoldfish. It’s one of my favorites because several of the decks (and their pilots) that I featured in this article ended up making top eight in that year’s Vintage Championships.

I picked the decks to highlight because I felt that they had been doing well at the time, and because I knew from following the format that those players were very good. Brian Kelly had written a very good article about his Salvager’s Oath deck and after reading it I knew he was a tremendous player. Ryan Eberhart was (and is still) a very talented player, and I felt like Jeskai Delver was the best Gush deck that the format had to offer at the time. Sullivan Brophy had just won the NYSE with Dredge, and I felt like he had the skill and deck list to have another fantastic finish.

Image result for dragonlord dromoka

I wrongly assumed that Martello Shops would be the best performing Workshop deck, and I also didn’t think that Grixis Thieves had the goods to win the event. I wasn’t as aware of the development of Ravager MUD as I should have been though. Grixis combo/control Time Vault decks had been doing poorly on MTGO around that time so I guess I wrote it off.

Vintage 101: Time to Golem

Most of the time I have to keep my opinions somewhat in check. I wasn’t able to just flat-out say that I didn’t want Lodestone Golem restricted, so I focused on presenting both sides of the argument. I do want people to have fun playing Vintage, but I also don’t want to cripple the prison decks in the format either. Luckily Shops have survived in other incarnations, so the world is safe for now (until something ridiculous like Thorn of Amethyst goes on the chopping block).

To the Vintage Community…

I loved writing these articles and I hope you enjoyed reading them just as much. Thanks for all your continued support over the past two years, I really have to say that the entire community has been amazing to me.

There’s also another thing I’d like to state for the record. I’m certainly nobody special and I’m far from the best player out there. I have a ton of respect for the talented players (and Vintage writers) that have come before me. I frequently do research for my work by reading old articles by Menendian, Mark Hornung, Matt Elias, Andrew Probasco, and many more. Without all of you awesome people I simply couldn’t do any of this. I’m really hoping I can make it to Eternal Weekend 2017 so that I can get to feel like part of the entire scene instead of just a faceless MTGO personality too.

If you’d like to see more blog posts and different kinds of content, or if you’d like to support my trip to Champs in 2017 click here.


Some Thoughts on MTGO

The comments expressed in this blog are my own, and in no way reflect the opinions of anyone other than myself. Strap on your tinfoil hat and crack a moxie, because here we go. 

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Magic Online, A Love/Hate Relationship

I love Magic Online, I really do. I’ve tried Cockatrice and Xmage, and it’s a good thing those programs are free because I can’t imagine wanting to pay to play them. I love that MTGO allows me to play Vintage every day, and the client has allowed me to become a skilled Vintage player in a relatively short amount of time. I’ve defeated world-class players in my time on MTGO, and I think that’s due to the fact that I can practice so often.

Now that I’ve made it clear that I do indeed love Magic Online, I’d like to go into the things about it that I absolutely do not like, or that I think should change.

Prizes on MTGO

When Magic Online introduced Play Points I was very unhappy with that change. I didn’t like getting untradeable objects as prizes because they are not nearly as useful as the event tickets they’re supposed to be emulating.

Image result for mtgo play points

 I’ve since accepted the play points change, and for someone like me they aren’t the worst thing in the world. I win a healthy percentage of my matches, but I lose enough to not have to worry about collecting thousands of points. Unfortunately not all players can say such things.

Rich Shay has almost five thousand  play points in his account! In order for him to be able to “spend” them he would have to join multiple limited queues at once, drop during round one, and sell the winnings. It would take hours and hours just to try to eke out some value from that pile of play points. The average value of Magic Online cards is so low that you couldn’t possibly hope to turn play points into an amount of Tickets that was even close to the same value! For example, I once turned a drafts worth of play points (140 I think) into about five tickets. This is much, much lower than the fourteen tickets that 140 play points is allegedly equivalent to.

Rich was kind enough to take a picture of his Play Point total for me…

Doubling Up on Event Costs

The other thing I didn’t like about the play points update was that the cost of daily events doubled! When events cost twice as much it really hurts the players with low win percentages. When events were six tickets a mediocre player didn’t have to feel so hopeless when they paid for an event. Nowadays spending twelve tickets must be a tough sell for those players that rarely win anything! It is no surprise to me that Dailies never increased in popularity after the change.

Image result for mtgo treasure chests

Recently us players got Treasure Chests added to our prize pools. Lucky us! I haven’t been playing dailies for a little while so I haven’t opened any chests, but I have heard a ton of stories about how bad the contents of these things are! Sure, sometimes you’ll win the lottery, but most of the time you’ll be left with a cruddy digital scratch ticket in your hands.

The plan to “fix” treasure chests is to make them tradeable. How will that POSSIBLY fix the problem? Booster packs are tradeable, but they’re worth money because people can enter them in drafts not because people actually open the things! The only people who will want to buy your Treasure Chests from you are casual people who don’t know or don’t care that they’re hemorrhaging money by opening the chests. The chests will end up like the MTGO prize packs were and they’ll be dirt cheap to purchase. I mean, you’ll know how much the prizes you’re playing for are worth, but you won’t be happy with that number.

So, us Magic Online players are now paying more to play and we’re getting less in return. I don’t like that. I know that Wizards can’t give everybody tons and tons of prizes, otherwise that would make those prizes worthless, but I do feel like we could be getting treated better. I have a few ideas about that.

Use Treasure Chests as Bonuses. 

Instead of making the chests replace a known-value prize, just add one or two to the prize pool for the best finishers of an event. I’m not sure what the  exact perfect ratio would be, but I think it could be something like this: For the low-level drafts (pack per win or whatever they’re called now) first place gets a treasure chest. For a Daily Event, going undefeated earns you a chest or two, maybe 3-1 gives you one.

The two-player, heads up queues currently only pay out in play points, which is beyond unexciting. Once upon a time I’d play the heads up queues until I won a draft set, then I’d draft the packs. I can’t bring myself to play one of these things when the only prize is more boring play points. How about finding a way to give the winner something interesting? If you win three of these matches in a row you could win a Treasure Chest. If you participate in say, 30 of these in a month, you get a Treasure Chest when the next MOPR (Magic Online Player Rewards) promos are given out. Leagues should go back to the prizes they used to have, but add some chests to the prize pool.

The idea of opening these Treasure Chests is not inherently bad, they just need to be done in the proper way. If the chests are a bonus, people aren’t going to get so mad when their contents are worthless! People might actually become excited to see the things, and that’s a good thing.

On the topic of the MOPR program (and other promo programs like MOCS). I really feel like the player base could and should be getting more for their money. There are no more six ticket events. The cheapest event is an eight ticket league, and the offerings get more and more expensive as you go on.

I love that MTGO rewards store activity, but I feel like this could be improved. Most of the promos are just not exciting. The promos that I have been excited for were cool enough that I spent twenty or forty dollars in the MTGO store to get them. The event participation promos cost a minimum of sixteen dollars to earn, yet they’re often lackluster as well.

I know it’s not possible to give away something crazy like a Black Lotus in the player rewards program, but I think that there are cheap-ish staples that could easily be made into MOPR cards. Gush was a promo recently, and that’s the kind of thing I’d like to see more of! Also, this program could also be used to give out a single Treasure Chest each month as well. The odds of getting something valuable seem pretty low, and if the threshold for earning one is high enough (say $40-$60 in the MTGO store or something) then there’s no reason you couldn’t get some.

Image result for mtg gush mopr


Redemption and Selling Cards/Collections

I’ve never redeemed a set before, but this program is vital to the health of MTGO. When a new player talks to me about wanting to buy in to Magic Online there’s one concern the all seem to voice. People are afraid to plunk down money on digital objects because if MTGO were to go belly up they’d lose their investment.

I always tell prospective players that buying in to MTGO is safe for a few reasons. I explain that it’s easy to sell off your MTGO account to a dealer like MTGOTraders or Cardhoarder. If people know that it’s easy to convert digital cards into paper money they’re more likely to feel comfortable buying digital objects. Redemption is yet another way that digital objects are turned into physical product, and this does a lot to alleviate people’s completely rational concerns about the digital Magic medium.

Any steps to make redemption harder should be reversed. I know that the redemption policy is a pain for WotC, but without it they could kill their golden goose. After all, selling complete sets also benefits dealers, and dealers are extremely important to the health of Magic Online. Without reputable dealers selling cards through the web it would be difficult to get what you need to build a deck. The fact that you can buy (or trade into) a new deck in ten minutes makes MTGO an incredible asset to anyone looking to test specific decks.

A lot of people seem to be afraid that the redemption policy will be destroyed altogether eventually. I certainly hope that is not the case, because too many cards in the system is not good for anyone. Draft chaff is already cluttering up people’s collections to the point where some folks have multiple accounts just to hold junk cards. Too many extra cards make the common and uncommon staples lower in price than they otherwise would be, which could problem for the value of collections.

The addition of Play Points into the MTGO economy also has affected this aspect of the platform. When Event Tickets were the only currency it made cashing out an account even easier. Under the new system all accounts that participated in any form of constructed tournament will have untradeable objects they’ll be stuck with when they sell their collections. For some folks this won’t be a huge detriment,  but I know that there are plenty of players who have gone infinite several times over with a product they literally cannot give away!

Final Thoughts

Play Points are not all bad. In some ways they have balanced out the prize values for events. If Wizards of the Coast could work on finding a way for people to turn extra play points into something useful then they would be perfectly fine for everyone. I really think that being able to buy packs from the MTGO store with play points would help a lot, or perhaps a prize wall.

Too many prizes would devalue people’s collections, but we are very far away from that being an issue. I sincerely believe that the prize pool across all the tournament offerings could be increased, if only slightly. Giving people more prizes will increase their desire to play, as long as those prizes remain rare enough to be valuable. Perhaps people could be given avatars for participating in events like the Power Nine Challenge or Legacy Challenge. I wouldn’t mind if a play mat feature was added, it sure would be a lot more relevant than that deck box feature (seriously, who cares if Karn or Jace is on the deck box for your Stax deck?).

I sincerely hope that this doesn’t come off as too negative. I really do love MTGO and I play it every day. I think that there are a lot of great people working to make things better, and I know they have a tough job on their hands. Hopefully improvements will be made and the eternal constructed formats I love so much will continue to grow.

Thanks for reading! If you’d like to help support this blog, or to help me travel to Vintage Champs 2017, click here! Feel free to leave any comments, or just send me some delicious spam. Smash me in Vintage on MTGO as Islandswamp, or heckle me on Twitter @josephfiorinijr – Rumble McSkirmish