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The new MLP CCG game by Enterplay has been met with great success, and it looks like Enterplay is out to win the heart of bronies once again. Enterplay has announced the game’s first expansion pack entitled Canterlot Nights that will introduce Princess Celestia and Princess Luna as playable main characters. The game currently can be played with any of the “mane six” characters which use friends and critters to help them solve problems. Characters each have their own element and so do friends, and the game involves planning what elements and friends to use in order to get a perfect deck.

Canterlot Nights Expansion

This new addition is worth checking out, since it is possible both princesses might have advantages over the already established mane six. Enterplay plans to sell 12-card booster packs and theme decks. No word on whether a two player starter deck of the princesses might be released. The expansion will be out April of this year.

News Source: http://icv2.com/articles/news/27719.html

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Last week I had the opportunity to visit Australia’s first Penny Arcade Expo, or PAX. The event was a huge success and a great experience. In this article I’ll give you a taste of what I got to see and play there!

The event showcased everything from tabletop games, indie titles and developers right up to major titles such as Assassin’s Creed IV, Saint’s Row IV and League of Legends. There were also many accessory and hardware manufacturers there showing off their latest headsets, gaming peripherals and super powered PCs. A whole host of international developers and companies showed up for panels and Microsoft even presented their Xbox One with live demos on stage.

PAXAus_5

The standout booths from the show were the World of Tanks and League of Legends stands, taking up a massive amount of space and drawing huge numbers of gamers. The League of Legends booth was packed full for all three days, hosting the first major Oceanic tournaments.

The expo featured a few other major gaming booths from Ubisoft, Nintendo and a Rome Total War 2 theatre – each showcasing new demos and game presentations for many upcoming titles such as Assassin’s Creed IV, Watch Dogs, Rome Total War 2, Saints Row IV, Splinter Cell Blacklist and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.

Emph Cosplay at the Freedom Fall booth

Emph Cosplay at the Freedom Fall booth

There was a huge focus on indie titles in the main arena – One of the highlights was Freedom Fall, which I previewed and reviewed before the event here. Their booth had a great atmosphere and some brilliant cosplay to publicize the game

Other indie titles of note included Antichamber, Black Annex, Fractured Soul and InFlux. To see the very best of PAX Australia’s indie showcase, view the showcase page here.

One of the best features of PAX Australia, in my opinion, was the huge freeplay and tabletop arena. This big hall held hundreds of consoles ready to run tournaments and also to let people relax and play a game with friends and strangers, creating an awesome atmosphere of community gaming. It also had both a large area for handheld gaming and a large tabletop area, populated mostly with Magic the Gathering games and how to lessons for beginners.

Presentations over the weekend were very exciting – from game developers to media presentations and how-to’s. Famous cosplayers, journalists and big name developers such as Gearbox and Bioware put on presentations and Q&A’s that were full up hours before they began – very popular panels.

Microsoft also took PAX Aus as it’s first opportunity to show off the Xbox One in Australia, drawing record numbers into the main theatre. They presented live demos of a few launch games and walked us through the new controller and kinect.

Paxbone

The last major part of PAX is arguably one of the most exciting – Cosplay. Seeing talented individuals out in awesome costumes was one of the best parts of PAX and there certainly were some incredible ones. Highlights included the huge number of League of Legends cosplays, Borderlands 2 Vault Hunters (and a clap-trap!) and even the Luteces from Bioshock Infinite!

Overall the expo was a great success and I’m very much looking forward to the coming years – bigger booths, bigger venue and bigger games, but for the first time this Expo has been in Australia it was very impressive.

By otakuman5000 On 8 Aug, 2012 At 03:44 AM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, News, TableTop Gaming, Toys and Merchandise | With 0 Comments
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Konami has heard the outcry from the fans to balance the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game for all, which is now the world’s most popular and highest selling card game worldwide as of 2012. So that means new sets and new special products. These will give duelists the chance to get some the rarest and most expensive cards in this current format of the game before the September ban-list. Konami has many new releases for both The Trading Card Game or TCG in America and EU; as well as the OCG or Original Card Game in Japan, and all other territories not out side of the the USA/EU. There are so many new products that we cannot put it all in one post. This will be part one of our Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG and OCG news coverage for the remainder of 2012 and into 2013.

Last Week Konami Released Yu-Gi-Oh! Hidden Arsenal 6 Omega XYZ which brought fourth the remaining Vylon Monsters (Light Machine type Monsters) that had yet to be released in America as well as more support for Laval, Gem-Knight, Steelswarm, Gishki, and Gusto monsters.

Next week on August 14th, the first wave of the 2012 tins will be released and will come with 4 promo cards, the featured card of the tin, three packs of the Photon Shockwave booster packs, and two Galactic Overload booster packs.

Heroic Champion – Excalibur Collectible Tin

Heroic Champion – Excalibur (Secret Rare)
Blizzard Princess (Super Rare)
Evolzar Laggia (Super Rare)
Wind-Up Rabbit (Super Rare)
Wind-Up Zenmaines (Super Rare)

Evolzar Dolkka Collectible Tin[

Evolzar Dolkka (Secret Rare)
Genex Neutron (Super Rare)
Scrap Dragon (Super Rare)
Dark Highlander (Super Rare)
Wind-Up Zenmaines (Super Rare)

The second wave of the Yu-Gi-Oh! collector tins release October 30, 2012 with one pack of Photon Shockwave, two packs of Order of Chaos, and two packs of Galactic Overlord.  The four promo cards will be revealed at a later date.
Hieratic Sun Dragon Overlord of Heliopolis Collectible Tin

Ninja Grandmaster Hanzo Collectible Tin

This newly announced tin for the Spell-caster Monster called the Prophecy Destroyer took everyone in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG circuit by storm, as this is a separate tin from Konami’s usual four tins per year line up. It will feature the card along with 1 Photon Shockwave booster Pack. two Order of Chaos boosters, one Photon Shockwave booster, and two Galactic Overlord boosters, however little is known about the monster as of yet.  There will also be the four promos that will accompany him in this tin.

Prophecy Destroyer Collectible Tin

Stay Tuned to Real Otaku Gamer for more Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game and Orignal Card Game New in part two our Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG/OCG News Blowout.

By Daisuke On 6 Jul, 2012 At 04:11 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, ROG News, TableTop Gaming | With 1 Comment
2013 article opener

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By: Corlando

 

Well hello everyone once again to another issue of Cards n’Flux your source for fun decks, strategy talk, and general discussion of the Magic the Gathering card game.  As of July 2nd, the new Core Set Magic 2013 has been completely spoiled, giving us our first look at how the whole of Magic could be affected.  With this Core Set we get quite a few awesome cards, some cool build around cards, and a few junk cards, but that is to be expected.  Of course, as usually happens I cannot wait to get my hands on some of the new cards so let us take this article to just drool over some of the new cards.

 

Starting off in White, we have one really stand out card.  The very first card of the set and one of our two new Planeswalkers. Ajani Caller of the Pride looks to be a great new addition to many a White deck.  I have always been a big fan of non-human Planeswalkers, and Ajani is by far my favorite.  This newest version of him has some serious potential to see some fun play.  His biggest advantage is being 3 total Mana meaning he will be able to really start helping you to get the ball rolling towards your opponent’s demise.  Also coming in with 4 loyalty means he can stand up to most early damage dealers.  So the big question, what are his abilities?  Well take a look:

Most people assess a Planeswalker’s ability on how well they can protect themselves, which is why many people chalk Elspeth Knight Errant up as being one of the best Planeswalkers.  Ajani, Caller of the Pride does not necessarily protect himself with his +1 ability, but it does give something else the power to protect him or even go on the offensive.  Two really good targets for his first ability would be either the new Knight of Glory which would change this 2/1 into a 3/2 that could deter most attackers, or he can attack alone as a 4/3 thanks to his Exalted ability.  The other decent target for Ajani’s first ability is another new card called Warclamp Mastiff a 1/1 for one white that has first strike.  Now this 1/1 is not that impressive, but by dropping a +1/+1 counter on it you get a 2/2 first striker, something that should help deter attackers for a turn or two.  Ajani’s second ability is a -3 with a hell of hit, giving target creature Double Strike and Flying until the end of the turn.  There is really no way to say it simply, this is probably going to be the reason Ajani will see play.  He will act as that final way to help White Weenie players push through that last bit of damage.  This power alongside Silverblade Paladin and Mirran Crusader (at least for a few more months) gives White quite a few excellent double striking opportunities.  Finally, we have Ajani’s ultimate.  At -8 it will take a very long time for any deck to come into a situation where this ability will be useful.  Either you will be sitting pretty with plenty of life and no need to cash in the eight loyalty for a swarm of tokens, or you will be dead plain and simple.  I do love the flavor of it, as Ajani literally calls a pride of cats to his side.  This ability might see play occasionally, but more often than not, Ajani will never get that high either due to players wanting to cash in for the Double Strike/Flying combo or the game will be over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With White done, let’s continue around the color wheel and see what Blue has for us.  Well, Blue actually has a pretty fun card for us called Switcheroo where two creatures are swapped between players.  This is absolutely perfect for Blue as many players will be pushing to try and defeat you before you can drop your big bombs onto the field.  Switcheroo takes all that racing and turns it against them.  For example, let us say you are facing a Green opponent who last turn just summoned a 5/5 Elephant with trample and a bunch of 1/1 mana producing creatures while you’re sitting with a 2/2.  Playing this card completely disrupts their plan of attack as now they have a worthless 2/2 while you have a 5/5 that essentially prevents their 1/1’s from attacking you.  Your opponent may even end up having to sacrifice his own creatures or use a removal spell just to deal with his own creature.  It is so deliciously sinister.  Combine this with the return of Clone, probably my most favorite Blue card, and you could easily build a deck where you essentially play your opponent’s deck, which is just fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We will definitely have to return to Blue for Talrand and a few other cards, but right now let’s go to Black.  Wanting to return to the original five, Wizards has giving us yet another version of Liliana and I have to say, she’s rather pointless.  Liliana of the Dark Realms is a four Mana Planeswalker that starts at three loyalty, something of especially bad note when we know Ajani, Caller of the Pride comes in with four and can immediately go to five.  Liliana’s first ability is a +1 that searches for a swamp and puts it in your hand.  This ability is good, sort of, for cleaning out your deck so you can draw into some of your better cards, but it does not help that much.  Some would call this Mana acceleration in Black, which is a nice way to think of it, but since you can only play one land per turn it’s more like Mana assurance and only if you activate Liliana’s +1.  Her second ability is the only reason why Liliana might see play as it gives target creature -X/-X for every swamp you control.  This is decent removal, but costing 3 loyalty has essentially put Liliana in the form of a sorcery speed removal spell that honestly might not actually kill your opponent’s biggest threat on the board.  If you want swamp dependent removal, then your best choice is the recently reprinted Mutilate, which can kill everything on the board.  Finally, Liliana’s ultimate ability gives you an emblem that turns all of your swamps into super swamps that give you four Black Mana instead of just one.  This would be a great ability… if there was something for it to go into.  There are not that many mono-black X spells, and nothing that really makes this truly awesome or usable.  There is a wonderful kill players can achieve with the card Exsanguinate, and there are a few X value Board Sweepers, but nothing beyond Exsanguinate really gives players a win condition.  Honestly, I’d have to say Wizards really just did not think with this version of Liliana.  She’s not powerful, too expensive, does little for the board, and ultimately helps her caster very little if at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving to Red, we can happily see an old friend return to the field… and a very big one at that.  Coming in at seven Mana, Hamlet Goliath is a 6/6 giant that first saw his share of battlefields in the Lorwyn era and now he is back to lay down the pain.  At seven Mana, this guy cannot fit in your average early game burn deck Red.  Instead he would probably work best with a Red and Green deck, or a Red Deck Wins list that wants to go to longer games.  This is a key point because whenever a creature enters the battlefield under your control while Hamlet Goliath is on the field, Hamlet Goliath gets X +1/+1 counters equal to the summoned creature’s power.  This guy can get big real quick and has potential to swing for continually larger points of damage.  My suggestion though would be to play Hamlet Goliath then next turn, play a follow up creature that gets Hamlet Goliath up to the 10/10 range so you can use Fling to kill your opponent.  My best suggestion for a new follow up creature would be Thundermaw Hellkite.  Five mana for a 5/5 flyer with haste is not shabby at all, plus being able to deal 1 damage to all your opponent’s flying creatures and tap them could easily clear the way for your Hamlet Goliath with enough mana left open for a quick fling to the face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Red examined we head towards our last color Green, which I did discuss some last week so I will keep it brief.  One creature that has potential to see play in standard is Mwonvuli Beast Tracker… yeah I have no idea how to pronounce that either.  Anyway, for three Mana you get a 2/1 that when he enters the battlefield you can search for a creature with either Deathtouch, Hexproof, Reach, or Trample and place that card on top of your deck.  Basically, this guy exists to give you the creature you need next turn, which means you can play a deck that operates like a tool kit, a few cards that are specific to certain situations meaning you can be more competitive against more decks.  Mwonvuli Beast Tracker probably will not see immediate play due to the fact Green Sun’s Zenith is still in standard, but once Green Sun rotates out, Mwonvuli will seem pretty appealing as a tutor on a stick.

After going through all the colors I feel we should pay a little attention to a few colorless cards and see if there is anything that could draw our attention.  There is in fact one very powerful colorless card we should take a look at.  Door to Nothingness is a 5 Mana artifact that when triggered forces an opponent to lose the game.  That’s it.  No discussion, no debate, it’s just you lose.  Thankfully, the trigger for Door to Nothingness is a very hard one to obtain as you first have to pay ten total Mana and two of each color at that.  Add in the necessary effect of forcing the user to sacrifice Door to Nothingness helps to keep the thing balanced.  So the question is, is Door to Nothingness a viable win condition?  Answer: No.  Is it a fun card that someone is gonna probably structure a fun casual deck around?  Answer: Yes, yes indeed.

And with that ladies and gentlemen, I believe it is time to bring this article to a close.  Thanks for continuing to read this series and I hope you have as much fun reading it as I do writing it.  Be sure to get ready for Core Set 2013.  Get to a pre-release or release party if you can and see what fun you can have.  I just hope that as you sit across from your opponent, staring him down as you wait for his next move, I hope you remember that, “Etherium is Limited.  Innovation is not.”  This is Corlando signing out.

By Daisuke On 21 Jun, 2012 At 01:45 AM | Categorized As Previews, Reviews, TableTop Gaming | With 0 Comments
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 Welcome once again you mystical, magical, maniacs to another article from Cards n’Flux where we talk fun, awesome strategy for the game of Magic the Gathering.  With Planechase 2012 just hitting the shelves, we already have a number of fun spoilers for this year’s Core Set, Magic 2013.  We have confirmed not only the return of Vampire Nocturnus, Captain of the Watch, and Clone, but we also have the reprinting of Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker arguably the most powerful ever printed that was not utterly broken.  Along with Magic 2013, Wizards is also shipping their newest version of Duels of the Planeswalkers which will use 2013 cards.  In fact, when people download Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013, players will have the opportunity to go to a nearby store and get a free promo card.  The promo cards are Serra Avatar for Steam/iPad, Primordial Hydra for Xbox 360, and Vampire Nocturnus for PS3.  Looking at these promo cards, it almost seems unfair.  Serra Avatar has potential to see real play in Commander decks as it’s power and toughness are equal to your life total, Vampire Nocturnus (at time of writing) is worth $20, while Primordial Hydra… is a dinky $4 and has never seen constructed play.  Well, why don’t we take this article to make this often overlooked card into a prime power house?

 

 

First up, why exactly is Primordial Hydra so often put down and ignored as a possible big Green All-Star?  The simple answer is that it takes far too long for it to get going.  If you play the Hydra on turn three it will be a 1/1.  Next turn it becomes a 2/2, next turn 4/4, next turn 8/8, next turn 16/16.  So after five turns of waiting, Primordial Hydra finally becomes a big enough threat for it’s final ability to give it trample.  The worst is, during that time Primordial Hydra is just a big target.  With no protection like hexproof or shroud, we are one Doom Blade, Unsummon, or Oblivion Ring from losing all the mana we put into it.  If we could just find a way to protect our Hydra to the later turns, then maybe it might become of Green’s biggest hitters.

 

 

One great way to protect any creature these days is through the ability hexproof, which prevents our opponents from targeting our creatures with their annoying spot removal.  Currently, Green has two cards that we could use to give our big Hydra the instant protection it needs to stay on the field.  First up is Ranger’s Guile a one mana instant that not only boosts our hydra by +1/+1, but also gives it hexproof.  This is definitely our ideal card for protecting our Hydra, but we need more.  Thankfully there is more.  Sheltering Word out of Avacyn Restored is another instant speed hexproof card we can use to protect our Hydra with the added bonus of giving us a life boost.  Imagine this card when our opponent targets our 16/16 Hydra.  We could dash all our opponent’s hopes with one card.  However, two cards even at full play set are just not good enough.  This is why we need to run at least three Swiftfoot boots.  On turn two we can play this pair of nice shoes, then around turn four we can play Hydra and equip so that we do not have to always have an answer in our hands to deal with what our opponent might throw at us.  On top of all this, if we include one or two Asceticism, we should have enough to protect our big guys from the slings and bolts of our opponents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alongside our Hydra, we will need some other big Green swingers and some support creatures because one card does not make a deck.  For support we have got to have our trusty Llanowar Elves or Birds of Paradise and we could easily use a full playset of Borderland Rangers.  These three should give us some nice mana acceleration.  Now we move to some big hitters.  Unfortunately we might not have this guy around for much longer, but Dungrove Elder is arguably one of Green’s best cards in a while.  With every forest we play, Dungrove Elder just keeps getting bigger and with hexproof the only way for our opponent to deal with him is a sweeper like Day of Judgment.  Good news is we are only a few Green cards in and we already have some great Green fatties to almost replace Dungrove.  First up we have Elderscale Wurm a wurm who loves sevens.  For Seven mana you get a 7/7 with trample that when he enters the battlefield if your life total is less than 7 it becomes 7 and from then on if you would take damage that would reduce your life total to less than 7, it does not.  Basically, it is Green’s version of Platnium Angel, as along as Elderscale is on the field you cannot die, meaning another great target for our Hexproof package.  Another fun creature to come out of 2013 is Thragtusk a 5/3 for five mana that is sure to see play.  Now, you’re probably thinking why will a 5/3 see play, it’ll die to the first decent burn spell it sees.  That’s true, but when a 5/3 gives you 5 life when it hits the field and when it dies gives you a 3/3 beast token, then it is pretty easy to see why it will see play.

 

We still need to fill out the deck a little more.  One card we definitely want in the deck to help out our Primordial Hydra is Increasing Savagery.  With four mana we can jump our little one headed hydra into the big swingers by adding five +1/+1 counters.  The power of this card is amazing as it can turn even our little Llanowar Elves into a 6/6, plus with flashback we drop another 10 counters onto something else.  Another card I personally like is a card that might very well see play after the Titans leave standard, Soul of the Harvest.  With the same stats as Primeval Titan, what Soul of the Harvest gives us is card draw whenever a nontoken creature enters the battlefield under our control.  Sure, we might not have as many creatures as we would like to abuse this power with, but a 6/6 Trampler can always find a way to help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From here we can add in or subtract whatever we want to make the deck fit our desire.  If you want to have a few support creatures in front helping to buy time for when we drop our hyrda then Elvish Visionary to draw cards and Deadly Recluse to kill or dissuade all attackers would be some great choices.  If you do not want to be limited to just one big bomb or want some real problem creatures then you will find nothing better than Strangleroot Geist and Vorapede.  Either way, here is a basic list of what could make Primordial Hydra quite a force to be remembered:

 

Growing Strength:

 

Creatures:

3x Llanowar Elves

3x Birds of Paradise

3x Borderland Ranger

3x Primordial Hydra

3x Dungrove Elder

4x Thragtusk

2x Soul of the Harvest

1x Elderscale Wurm

 

Spells:

4x Ranger’s Guile

4x Sheltering Word

3x Increasing Savagery

1x Asceticism

 

Land:

23x Forest

 

Artifacts:

3x Swiftfoot Boots

 

This deck list runs fewer playsets than I usually like to run, but it gives us what we need.  If we get a Primordial Hydra on the field we can certainly protect it pretty well.  Plus, if we do end up losing our Hydra, we will have a fair amount of good creatures to swing in with.  If you want a more aggressive form of this deck, my suggestion would be to drop the Elderscale Wurm, the Birds of Paradise, and one Thragtusk so you can run two Vorapedes and four Strangleroot Geists.  If you want a longer lasting deck, then card draw through Elvish Visionary and lock down with Deadly Recluse at the cost of some Swiftfoot Boots and the Birds would probably be best.  Play around with the concept of this deck, I’m sure you’ll have fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you all my happy readers for tuning in once again to this article series.  I always have a blast writing it and occasionally receiving messages about my articles just fills me with all kinds of joy.  Just remember, that even if everyone around you says a card you like is complete trash, just know there is always a way to make a deck where the card works.  And as you work out the perfect deck for your favorite, forgotten card just keep this phrase in the back of your mind, “Etherium is Limited.  Innovation is not.”  This is Corlando signing out.

By Daisuke On 14 Jun, 2012 At 03:37 PM | Categorized As Reviews, TableTop Gaming, Toys and Merchandise | With 0 Comments
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Now normally, this is where I would cut my article, but you all have been very patient with me so I’m going to give you all yet another deck.  The very first card spoiled for the new Planechase II was a powerful creature by the name of Maelstrom Wanderer.  At eight mana, he is very expensive which is why many when they first saw him pushed him immediately into the realm of Commander.  However, I believe he could make one heck of a casual finisher with his double cascade and group haste ability.  Let’s see if we can abuse his power a bit?

 

Before we get anywhere with Maelstrom Wanderer we are going to need a proper mana base and lots of lands, so if we essentially build a ramp deck we should be fine.  Four Birds of Paradise to start out should be good, but one card we for sure want in this deck is Explore.  Explore is kind of like a mini-cascade.  Explore’s power to let us play another land helps us to accelerate nicely.  However, the big bonus is when we also draw a card of it.  Being able to not only advance our mana, but dig a little bit into our library is really good in this deck. With Explore and maybe a copy or three of Cultivate, we should be more than fine in the ramp department.

So, what about creatures and spells?  Well, continuing with the cascade theme, we will still want to call on Etherium-Horned Sorcerer.  In a ramp deck, Etherium-Horn Sorcerer will have ample opportunity to be bounced and cast again and again.  If we are sticking to Maelstrom Wanderer’s three colors, then one card we have to include is Bloodbraid Elf.  At four total mana, this girl is a quick beat down of three power with the ability to cascade into anything three or lower.  Think of what that means for us now.  Either she will hit a mana ramping creature, or she could hit Explore to draw us a card, or even a Cultivate to give us even more land.  Bloodbraid Elf might not be the killer card of the deck, but she will certainly help out.   Another fun card given to us by Planechase II is Shardless Agent.  For three mana we get a cascading bear that will most likely hit nothing but ramp spells.

 

With all the Ramp and set up, we now need something to do with all that mana.  Because Maelstrom Wanderer’s ability really works best with creatures, let us stick with creatures and see what fatties we can slip into the deck.  And for sake of… I don’t know maybe feel or fashion, why don’t we go with one fatty for each of our three colors?  Now before we do anything, I’m sure you are all shouting, “Titans!” but no.  I have nothing against the cards themselves, I would just like to extend a hand to other big creatures that maybe do not see as much play due to their heavy cost.  For example Flameblast Dragon is a 5/5 flyer for six mana that never saw play due to Titans.  It’s a real shame too because Flameblast has a pretty fun ability to fire down a creature or player whenever it attacks and with the amount of mana we hope to produce in this deck, he will certainly be hitting for pretty hard.  Another fun creature we could play in this deck is Sphinx of Uthuun.  At seven mana, our odds of actually hitting him off of Maelstrom Wanderer are kind of slim.  If the first card we flip after Wanderer is a six mana creature, we won’t be able to hit Sphinx.  At the same time, dropping a 5/6 flyer and being able to Fact or Fiction for free is just something you don’t want to pass up.  Finally, our Green finisher… well it’s not mono Green, Blitz Hellion.  At five mana, this guy can even be hit by Etherium-Horn Sorcerer which makes him a truly awesome card to include to the point where we might want to seriously include a second Hellion to increase our chances.  Imagine your opponent’s face when you cast Etherium-Horned Sorcerer.  They’ll say something like, “Oh gawh, another cascade… blah, blah, blah.” Suddenly, you flip a Blitz Hellion and attack for seven.  Their inattentive face will turn white in surprise, it will be so much fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, with all these ideal draws and hopeful plays, it would definitely be best if we play some deck manipulation.  A full playset of Ponder is a must because we are able to look at three cards or even shuffle if we get nothing but land and a Bird of Paradise, nothing we really want to cascade into.  If we can, we could also try to put in some Sage Owls.  This 1/1 flyer doesn’t look like much, but being able to look at the top four cards of our library and replace them in any order is just beautiful in this deck.  Imagine playing this the turn before Wanderer, look at the top four cards and finding Forest, Blitz Hellion, Explore, Sphinx of Uthuun?  You can rearrange that into Forest, Uthuun, Blitz, and Explore and change what would have been disappointing into amazing.


With all this talk and way too many cards, this deck is going to be hard to build and hard to cut cards.  However, here is the preliminary decklist for Wandering Cascade:

 

Creatures:

2x Maelstrom Wanderer

1x Flameblast Dragon

1x Sphinx of Uthuun

3x Etherium-Horn Sorcerer

2x Blitz Hellion

4x Bloodbraid Elf

4x Shardless Agent

4x Birds of Paradise

4x Sage Owl

 

Spells:

4x Ponder

4x Explore

3x Cultivate

 

Land:

6x Forest

5x Mountains

6x Island

2x Hinterland Harbor

3x Rootbound Crag

2x Alchemist Refuge

 

This deck list is still in need of tweaking, but with the decent amount of ramp we should be rather fine on the whole matter of mana enough so that we could potential take opening hands that might not be ideal.  As for the inclusion of Alchemist Refuge, it just seems like the best include in this deck.  If we activate it on our opponent’s turn we can potentially play anything from a simple Sage Owl to set up for Wanderer, or we can drop a Bloodbraid for more hopeful mana, or (if we are just mana swamped) play an Etherium-Horn Sorcerer on our opponent’s turn just to bounce it on our turn and play it again.  As I said, this deck is still in need of tweaking, but I believe it is the foundation to a truly fun casual deck.

 

Well, that is a very long article.  Thank you readers for your continued interest in magic and I hope you will continue to read my articles for however long I write them.  Now if you excuse me, I have to find the equipment equivalent of a feather duster. Hope you all have a good summer and see you all next week.  Just remember, no matter what you’re doing, “Etherium is limited.  Innovation is not.”  This is Corlando signing out.

By Daisuke On 14 Jun, 2012 At 03:32 PM | Categorized As Reviews, TableTop Gaming, Toys and Merchandise | With 0 Comments
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            Sure is a lot of dust here… lots of cobwebs too… well, I’ll clean it later.  Hey there all you mages and monsters.  Been a long time has it not?  Well, much like how Avacyn has been restored on the plane of Innistrad, Cards n’Flux is back to talk cards, strategy, and give you some fun decks to employ against your enemies or good friends.  Without anymore delay, let us hop right in.

 

One of Wizard’s most recent products is a revamping of one of their previous attempts at a fun multiplayer experience.  Planechase II hopes to offer players the feeling of jumping from world to world, slinging spells and summoning creatures while simultaneously trying to adjust to each world’s unique ability or power.  The previous iteration of Planechase, in my opinion, fell a little short of this goal as it was often very easy for players to get stuck in one place where one player had an extreme advantage or where nothing really happened.  I remember one time where I was playing Planechase against a friend who was using a mill deck.  Eventually, we landed on a plane called Lethe Lake.  At the beginning of my upkeep I had to mill the top ten cards of my library.  Add in that whenever I rolled a chaos symbol on the Planechase die I lost another ten and my opponent’s already pretty strong mill deck and I never had a chance to fight.  I still do not know if Planechase II will be any better but with the new worlds and new phenomenon cards it has the potential to be interesting.  However, the thing that inspired me was actually some of the fun new cards we are getting thanks to the pre-constructed decks Wizards is selling.  Some of these decks contain some pretty awesome cards that alone make them worth buying the product.

First, before we get to the actual cards let us talk the planes cards.  For those who have not played Planechase, you basically play a normal game of Magic.  However, the difference is that at the start of the game you take the top card of your Planar deck and put it face up.  Each Planar card has two abilities, the active ability which is the top one, and the chaos ability that is triggered whenever a player rolls a chaos symbol on the Planechase die.  Players roll the Planechase die at the end of their turn.  The other important symbol on the Planechase die is the planeswalk symbol, which allows players to jump to a different plane with new abilities and where new craziness can be had.  In Planechase II, the new Phenomenon card was added into the mix and operates much like a sorcery or enchantment at Planar die speed.  The Phenomenon cards can have some major effects on the game such as combining two planes, destroying all creatures, to reversing the order of play.  The new Phenomenon cards have the potential to spice up and reinvigorate Planechase.  I do not believe it will ever be as popular as say Commander, but it has potential to see a little more play.

 

With Planechase II we are not only receiving new worlds to view and new ways to think of Planechase through phenomena, we are also gaining four new themed pre-constructed decks each holding brand new cards.  Chaos Reigns boasts five colors and is built to abuse the Cascade mechanic originally introduced in Alara.  Night of the Ninja is focused on the famous ninja cards from Kamigawa and has a number of fun cards with powerful enter the battlefield effects.  Primordial Hunger is all about Devour, feeding your tiny creatures to your big ones so you can devastate your opponents with overwhelming force.  Finally, Savage Auras deals heavily in auras and actually has the potential to make these often overlooked cards quite powerful.  I would recommend you check one of these four out and see what you think of Planechase.  These are fun decks to play with and in the end if you do not like Planechase, you still walk away with some pretty awesome cards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of new cards, Chaos Reigns, the cascade deck, has a number of fun cards that are just waiting to be smashed together into a casual deck.  The problem we will face, is how do we abuse these cards?  For example, one of the best cards from Chaos Reigns is Etherium-Horn Sorcerer.  Now, a 3/6 for six total mana does not seem like the best investment of mana, especially at turn six or seven.  However, this shiny horned bull becomes a lot more impressive when you count his cascade ability and his bounce ability allowing you to cast him over and over.  If we combine this with both some good removal and some strong early drop creatures, we can make a deck that has both a fair amount of punch and some nasty surprises.

For starters, we are going to bring in a third color in addition to Etherium-Horn Sorcerer’s Red and Blue.  Dropping into Black, we can gain some strong spot removal, good creatures, and mass removal.  One creature we gain from Black is Kathari Remnant.  At four mana we are paying a lot for a 0/1, but we’re not using it to win, it’s a stalling method.  With both flying and being able to regenerate for one Black mana, we get a wall that can block anything without trample or protection that can stay around as long as we regenerate.  Add in his cascade and we have a pretty strong creature for our deck.  Other cards we will probably consider for the deck will be Deny Reality, five mana bouncing cascade, and Bituminous Blast, a five mana damaging spell.  If we have four remnants and three of the others we will have thirteen spells that can cascade into other spells, giving us occasional wonderful bonuses on our spells.

Now we need some good grunts, the creatures that will both buy us time and eventually kill our opponents.  One great creature we could call upon would be The Hound of Griselbrand, one of the new cards from Avacyn Restored.  Not only is this 2/2 with Double Strike good, but thanks to undying we will get it back stronger and it’s cheap mana cost means that if we cast one of our five or six mana cascade spells we have a chance of getting him out for free.  Another creature we should definitely consider is Krederekt Creeper, an often overlooked card from Alara block.  A 2/3 for three different mana does not seem all that great.  Yet, we will essentially have an unblockable creature giving us two damage every turn or a nice strong wall that can deathtouch anything it blocks.  Granted he is not very good against token strategies but he’s a fun card and one of my first favorites.  If we can get another creature I think we will have a strong foundation to win some games.  Vault Skirge might just be the creature we want in this deck.  Being a 1/1 flyer with lifelink, we could play Vault Skirge as either a one or two drop and use it in the opening turns to get in some damage.  The lifegain will also give our opponents more of a hill to climb as the game goes on.

With all the thinking done, what does our purposed deck look like all smashed together?  Here is Grixis Cascade:

 

Grixis Cascade:

 

Creatures:

3x Etherium-Horn Sorcerer

3x Hound of Griselbrand

4x Kathari Remnant

4x Krederekt Creeper

3x Vault Skirge

 

Spells:

3x Bituminous Blast

3x Deny Reality

4x Go for the Throat

3x Grixis Charm

2x Diabolic Tutor

3x Lightning Bolt

1x Cruel Ultimatum

 

Land:

5x Swamps

6x Mountain

5x Island

3x Drowned Catacomb

3x Dragonskull Summit

2x Evolving Wilds

 

Alrightly then, this deck is definitely top heavy.  With most of its important spells coming in around 4-6 mana, we might have to mulligan a few times to get a hand we can truly work with.  Our mana base is rather strong though and if you cannot find the dual lands you can always substitute a few Vivid lands which might actually work better for us in the end.  On top of all this, we still have no true win condition out of straight up aggression.  Cruel Ultimatum is a possible win card as it swings the battlefield so sharply, but it is no solid finisher.  Still, I believe this is a fun deck to start playing with and most of the cards can be easily obtained.  If you give this deck a shot sometime at your local Friday Night Magic, then let me know.  I would love to hear the results.

Please continue to Part 2 for another fun deck list…

 

By Daisuke On 30 Dec, 2011 At 03:55 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Portable/Mobile Gaming, TableTop Gaming | With 2 Comments
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Cards n’Flux: Token Talk

By: Corlando

            Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of Cards n’Flux.  Yes, I know it has been a long time, but what can I say but life just gets in the way.  As we head towards the new year, let us take some time to step away from Magic, hug our family, and watch some sport-KAY! Enough, back to Magic!

 

Ever since Innistrad hit standard, everyone wants to do tokens.  This is mostly because of just the sheer amount of token producing or related cards.  Tokens are just a fun way to win in general.  Why spend six mana for a single Titan when you can pay five for Conqueror’s Pledge and get six soldiers?  One way to see exactly how powerful tokens can be is the deck of Martin Juza, which he took to victory in the Hiroshima Grand Prix.  Here is the list:

 

Grand Prix Hiroshima by Martin Juza

 

Maindeck:

8  Forest
4  Gavony Township
4  Plains
4  Razorverge Thicket
4  Sunpetal Grove

4  Avacyn’s Pilgrim
4  Birds of Paradise
2  Blade Splicer
2  Geist-Honored Monk
4  Hero of Bladehold
2  Mikaeus, the Lunarch
4  Mirran Crusader

2  Mortarpod
3  Oblivion Ring
3  Overrun

3  Elspeth Tirel
3  Garruk Relentless

Sideboard

2  Celestial Purge
1  Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1  Fiend Hunter
1  Garruk Relentless
1  Garruk, Primal Hunter
2  Naturalize
1  Oblivion Ring
2  Sword of Feast and Famine
2  Sword of War and Peace
2  Thrun, the Last Troll

 

Overall the deck runs rather smoothly and gets multiple threats on the field quickly.  For example, as we talked last time, I know it was a while ago, this deck can drop turn two Mirran Crusaders, turn three Hero of Bladehold, and turn four Elspeth all thanks to Avacyn’s Pilgrim.  However, those power cards are only the foundation.  Add in the Blade Splicers and their 3/3 golems with the Geist-Honored Monk and its two 1/1 flyers and you get a deck that slowly overwhelms the board.  The only real issue I have with this deck is Garruk Relentless… or as the grammatically correct of us would say Garruk the Relentless.  I’ve gone on record before in saying I do not like this card and I will gladly do so again.  The only thing he really does for this deck is create 2/2 wolves and if he manages to flip he will already be in sniping range.

With my distaste of Garruk the Relentless known, you are all probably wondering, what would I possibly offer up in place of Garruk the Relentless?  I’m glad you asked.  Instead Garruk the Relentless in the deck, I would gladly put in Parallel Lives.  For those who do not know, Parallel Lives is an enchantment for the same cost as Garruk the Relentless except for every token effect you activate or resolve, you get double the tokens.  It is essentially Doubling Season without the counters clause and it would work awesomely in this deck.  Three mana Blade Splicer for seven power instead of four, yes please.  Hero of Bladehold swinging in for eleven instead of seven, yes please.  An opponent just cast Day of Judgment clearing your field, well how about playing Geist-Honored Monk and get 4 1/1 flyers and a 5/5 on the field for only five mana?  These are just a few of the awesomely fun token producers we have at our disposal.  In fact, someone already beat us to the punch.  Jonathan Job has this little Parallel Lives deck to offer:

Jonathan Job:

 

Lands:

5  Forest 4  Gavony Township
5  Plains
4  Razorverge Thicket
4  Sunpetal Grove

 

Creatures:
3  Acidic Slime
4  Birds of Paradise
2  Blade Splicer
3  Geist-Honored Monk
4  Hero of Bladehold
3  Viridian Emissary

 

Other Spells:

2  Beast Within
4  Day of Judgment
3  Mimic Vat
1  Mortarpod
3  Parallel Lives
4  Rampant Growth
2  Elspeth Tirel

 

Sideboard

3  Autumn’s Veil
2  Beast Within
3  Dismember
1  Mimic Vat
2  Mortarpod
2  Sword of Feast and Famine
2  Timely Reinforcements

 

This deck seems really solid and allows for a lot of versatility.  You could just play your token plan and beat them to death with your own combination of tokens and utility creatures, but that is only half the fun.  If you kill one of your opponent’s creatures, you can imprint it onto Mimic Vat, while having Parallel Lives on the field, and start doubling your Vat’s tokens.  The thing I would love to see with this deck would be if someone killed a Grave Titan with Beast Within on the end of the opponent’s turn, imprinted it onto Mimic Vat.  Then on the beginning of their turn they activate Mimic Vat creating a Grave Titan token… no wait 2 tokens, with haste, plus eight 2/2 zombies, then they swing with the Titans, creating eight more 2/2 Zombies.  Three mana for a total of what… 44 power.  Yes we are in Magical Christmas land, but that’s the thing about Magical Christmas land, it is all still possible.

Oh, all this talk about tokens has really got my brain pumping, how about we build a quick deck?  One card I do not believe has seen too much play in recent tournaments is a card called Cackling Counterpart.  For just three mana you can put a token on the field that is a copy of a creature you control.  Now this ability is rather limited.  Sure it is three mana for a token but why would you not just pay an extra mana for Clone to copy your opponent’s stuff as well or possibly better Phantasmal Image for cheaper.  Well, let me ask you this.  What do you think would happen if you cast Cackling Counterpart on let’s say a Frost Titan… while you controlled a Parallel Lives?  I would call that pretty fun and talk about mana for power.  When you play three mana for twelve power, you know you have it made.  Plus Cackling Counerpart has flashback, making it all the more interesting.  We have the beginnings of a deck.

However, we may have several big tokens on the board, but sooner or later we are going to face a boardwipe.  We have to find a way to deal with the inevitability of a boardwipe.  Is there a card out there that could help us fight this threat?  Yes there is.  Back from the Brink is an Innistrad enchantment that gives all your creatures in your graveyard flashback.  Just pay your creature’s mana cost, exile them from the graveyard, and you have your creature token back ready for action.  Sure it is a bit clunky at six mana, but if we run the deck as a ramp and delay deck, we can probably make it work.

So Ramp, what can we do to ramp us into big holdings of land.  Rampant Growth seems like a good starting point.  We can definitely use a full playset.  We might also find Viridian Emissary useful so we can force them to take early damage or give us more land.  After that, Primeval Titan seems like a good choice… if a bit expensive.  I hate building decks with cards that are higher than ten dollars, so if you can get them great… if not we could try replacing them with a big creature of your choosing.  Solemn Simularcrums would also be fun to have in this deck but again it’s one of those expensive cards so use them if you can. (I cannot wait for the day when I can actually afford some of these cards L).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So with ramping done, we need to move into delay.  First up we need Mana Leak.  Sure it might not be the best counterspell printed and it has the potential to become useless late game, but in the early game we can definitely use it.  Another fun card we could use to delay the big hits could be Vapor Snag.  For just one mana you can pop a problem creature back to your opponent’s hand as well as deal them a point of damage.  We may also decide to pop in some other fun blue creatures to copy as we try to flesh out our curve.

So with all that said and done, what do we call this new deck… Cackling Life, no… Parallel Counterparts, possibly… who knows, here’s the list:

 

Creatures:

4x Viridian Emissary

3x Frost Titan

2x Primeval Titan

3x Impaler Shrike

3x Solemn Simularcrum

(15)

 

Spells:

4x Rampant Growth

3x Mana Leak

3x Cackling Counterpart

2x Vapor Snap

2x Beast Within

(15)

 

Enchantments:

2x Back from the Brink

3x Parallel Lives

(5)

 

Lands: 25

4x Winterland Harbor

3x Shimmering Grotto

9x Forest

9x Island

 

This deck could possibly be a lot of fun.  The Impaler Shrikes are really there for card draw so the option to exchange them for something like Think Twice might not be a bad idea.  The goal of the deck is to delay and ramp into our big creatures using small things like Viridian Emissary to keep the bigger hits away in the first few turns.  I unfortunately have not had the opportunity to playtest this kind of deck due to my college workload, but I believe the concept could be very, very fun.

 

And with that folks I think we will call this little article to a close but not before we go through the closing questions section:

 

1.  What is your best token related story?

 

2. I know we have Parallel Lives in Jonathan Job’s deck, but why do you believe this enchantment is not seeing as much play as it probably could.

 

3.  Would you agree that the future of token decks looks bright?

 

Well that is all for me everyone.  Thank you all so much for stopping by.  I hope you all had a Happy Holiday and hope to see you all in the new year.  And as you go to hug your families tonight remember, “Etherium is Limited.  Innovation is not.”  This is Corlando signing out.

By Daisuke On 3 Sep, 2011 At 03:48 PM | Categorized As Featured, Portable/Mobile Gaming, Reviews, TableTop Gaming | With 0 Comments
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Well hello all of my faithful readers.  Yes it is I, Corlando your guide through the world of Magic the Gathering and I am writing from the States once again.  Things did not turn out well in Japan due to multiple issues, so I decided to return home to my family, friends, and familiarity.  Along this line, in just a few weeks, Magic players will journey to the unfamiliar plane of Innistrad, a plane of darkness, spirits, ghouls, vampires, and werewolves.  Wizards has already given us a few great cards leading many to say that Innistrad is going to be one of the best sets ever.  Will this be true?  Only time will tell.  In the mean time, why don’t we look at some cards?

 

Innistrad is a place of horrors.  It is a plane where only the brave travel for life can be brought to an end quickly from thousands of different threats.  In fact, the main goal for most residents of Innistrad is to live a good life, not for salvation but so they may sleep undisturbed by the powers of some necromancer.  One of the gravest threats on Innistrad are the Werewolves.  Vicious anthropomorphic wolves who desire nothing more than to devour the flesh of their weaker human counterparts.  So far Wizards has revealed 5 werewolves for us to use with the promise of a few more coming.  In game form, these werewolves take the form of flip cards.  These are cards have no actual Magic the Gathering side, but instead have another creature on the back with information on the creature.  This is not a terrible idea.  When the requirements for a transformation occur, a player simply flips the card over and you have a new creature.  Bad news is with no official Magic the Gathering backing, both you and your opponent will know what you are about to draw or what you have in your hand.  To answer this problem Wizards has created checklist cards were you mark off what card the checklist card is supposed to be and when you play it you switch for the actually card in your sideboard.  Wizards has also suggested players could use sleeves and proxies to accomplish essentially the same job without having to pull the card out each and every time the creature transforms.

Today we will just look at two of the werewolves we currently have at our disposable, one of them being the lord of werewolves.  Mayor of Avabruck is probably one of the cheapest lord ever printed in Green.  For two mana you not only summon a 1/1 that gives all other humans +1/+1, but you also have the ability to change him into Howlpack Alpha.  Howlpack Alpha gives all Werewolf and Wolf creatures you control +1/+1 and gives you a 2/2 wolf token at the end of your end step.  This a pretty nice ability and it is easily obtained by only playing one spell a turn to transform your werewolf creatures.  Granted, some would say this is quite a hindrance and I would agree, but there are ways to get around this annoyance.  Simply play the card Moonmist and all your werewolves will transform and take no damage from non-werewolf creatures.  Werewolves might be fickle creatures, but I think there is a way to make them work.

Another great werewolf to have in your deck is Kruin Outlaw.  This three mana red Rogue gives you a 2/2 first striker for a pretty good price.  However, if the moonlight hits her just right, she transforms into the Terror of Kruin Pass a 3/3 Double Striker.  That is freaking awesome.  Combo this with Howlpack Alpha and you have yourself a fairly powerful card ready to feast on those who would dare challenge it.  But that is not the only thing this werewolf does.  Terror of Kruin Pass is not only a big threat, but makes all of your werewolves unblockable unless they are blocked by two or more creatures.  I would call this a pretty strong ability that has the potential to win games right out of nowhere.  I love this card and all the other werewolves we already seen.  At this level of card, I think it could be possible for werewolves to be competitive in one form or another.

 

            Moving along, we come to one of Innistrad’s big hopefuls, a playable Black planeswalker.  Many have hoped for this idea as they looked at the five mana of Liliana Vess and the six of Sorin Markov, longing for a planswalker ally they could rely on for aid.  Well, the desire for a good Black planeswalker has been answered.  Liliana of the Veil is a three mana planeswalker, yes you heard me right three mana planeswalker, that does mana useful and powerful things to assist those who call on her.  First up is her +1 which forces everyone to discard a card.  Okay, first ability does not seem all that helpful… but it is.  Remember back a few weeks ago when we were looking at M12?  One of the cards I was excited for was Vengeful Pharaoh, a being that can kill another attacking creature from the graveyard.  This is actually a pretty cool combo with Liliana because if you do manage to take combat damage, vengeful Pharaoh will rise from the grave, kill any attacking creature, and go back on top of you library.  This means every turn you can reset the trap and get important kills or stave off attacks.  Plus with Innistrad barely spoiled there are certain to be more creatures or flashback spells to put into your graveyard with Liliana.  Next up is Liliana’s -2 ability which forces target player to sacrifice a creature.  This is a pretty good ability in a Black deck, especially if your facing someone who has a bunch of hexproof creatures.  One combo that makes me rather happy is this ability combined with Grim Affliction, a card from New Phyrexia which gives target creature a -1/-1 counter then proliferates.  The way I see it is, let’s say your opponent has a Puresteel Paladin and a Leonin Skyhunter on the field.  Activating Lilana’s -2, your opponent sacs the Skyhunter.  Then you play Grim Affliction, give the -1/-1 counter to Puresteel, proliferate bringing Lilana up one loyalty and killing the Puresteel.  Fun little combo.  Liliana’s ultimate is quite powerful.  At -6 target opponent must separate all they have on the field into two piles then choose one pile to sacrifice.  This has the potential to just destroy your opponent’s ability to fight back.  Imagine playing Black Sun’s Zenith for 4 or 5, wiping out your opponent’s board, then activating Liliana’s ultimate to make them discard half of their lands.  Talk about overkill.  Looking at Liliana of the Veil I cannot say right now that she will be an absolutely awesome card, however I do not believe she needs much to make her a key part of someone’s Black deck.

In Innistrad, Blue is the color of intelligence, of scientific breakthrough.  However, the way the natives of Innistrad ally this new knowledge is in pursuit of power over the dead.  Innistrad has many alchemists and mad scientists who desire nothing more than to field armies of the undead to do their bidding.    One spell that comes out of this is the recently spoiled Rooftop Storm.  Mimicking the classic scene from Frankenstein when lightning crashes down on the scientist’s roof to reanimate the infamous monster, this card gives players the ability to play all of their Zombie spells for free.  Right now there are not that many great Zombies to cast for free.  Skinrender would be cool, Vengeful Pharaoh, possibly Cemetery Reaper, and possibly Sutured Ghoul but that one requires you to have creatures to exile from your graveyard.  Innistrad could give us plenty more Zombies to play for free meaning this Rooftop Storm might brew into a magical typhoon of power.

The final card we will look at today is the Elite Inquistor a man who wants nothing more than to hunt down the monsters of Innistrad and protect those he loves.  With intense training, this 2/2 First striker with Vigilance will not only be ready to attack, but he will always be on his guard.  Add in his protection from Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies and you have yourself a real leader for a White Weenie deck.  In fact, Innistrad has put forth a lot of good cards for really good White Weenie deck.  From Fiend Hunter, which banishes creatures, to Mentor of the Meek which allows you to draw a card for a little extra mana if a creature with 2 or less power enters the battlefield.  Add in Accorder Paladin, Leonin Skyhunter, Honor of the Pure, and Mirran Crusader and you have yourself a pretty strong deck filled with 2-3 drops ready to defeat those who would harm them.  I am so looking forward to what else comes our way in Innistrad.

Well with that Ladies and Gentlemen, it is time for this article to come to a close with the Closing Questions section:

 

1. What is your opinion of Liliana of the Veil?

 

2. What is your opinion on flip cards?  If you do not like them, how would you have done transformation?

 

3. What is your favorite Innistrad card spoiled so far or what are you hoping to see from Innistrad in the next few days?

 

Thank you all for being patient with me as I rebuild a few things in my life for the second time in three months.  I’ll hopefully have another article up next week as we continue into the darkness of Innistrad.  Thanks for reading and remember, “Etherium is Limited.   Innovation is not.”  This is Corlando signing out.

By Daisuke On 14 Aug, 2011 At 10:13 PM | Categorized As Reviews, Reviews, TableTop Gaming | With 0 Comments
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Hello and welcome Magic players to another edition of Cards n’Flux.  My name is Corlando, your super awesome tour guide through the wondrous world of Magic the Gathering.  This week we are going to be looking at the two new event decks Wizards has put out for Magic 2012.  Both decks have their good points but I get the strong feeling that yet again one of these decks is going to be much more popular than the other.

 

First up this week is the Blue Illusion deck… no it’s the Blue artifact deck… nope, back to illusion.  Does this give you an idea of the major problem with the deck?  In case you have not seen the deck list, here it is:

 

Illusionary Might:

Land:

1 Glacial Fortress

4 Glimmerpost

19 Island

 

Creatures:

4 Æther Adept

2 Grand Architect

1 Lord of the Unreal

4 Phantasmal Bear

3 Phantasmal Dragon

1 Phantasmal Image

4 Porcelain Legionnaire

1 Precursor Golem

4 Spined Thopter

1 Steel Hellkite

 

Spells:

4 Mana Leak

3 Mind Control

4 Preordain

 

Sideboard:

2 Flashfreeze

2 Frost Breath

3 Master Thief

1 Mind Control

2 Negate

4 Neurok Commando

1 Stoic Rebuttal

 

Wizards claims this deck is great for delaying and yet also dropping good threats such as Phantasmal Dragons and eventually Steel Hellkite.  However, the problem comes from being aggressive and being control.  If you are paying mana to get creatures onto the field to kill your opponent, then you are not holding mana back in an effort to counter your opponent’s bigger creatures and spells.  And even though Grand Architect is great at boosting Blue creatures, it can put players in a very awkward position.  “Do I tap my blue creatures for mana instead of swinging, or due I swing, risk losing one or two of my creatures, and hope he does not do something next turn to hurt my forces.”  This deck is literally two decks Wizards smashed together, an aggressive, slightly swarming Illusion deck, and a ramping Blue artifact deck.

Now saying all that, do I think this deck is a product for people to ignore, no.  What you get for your money is quite a few good cards.  Steel Hellkite and Precusor Golem are pretty good bombs to add to any deck and two Grand Architects are useful in getting them out.  Building around these and adding in a few fun blue drops such as Treasure Mage to search out your threats and Aether Adept to bounce your opponent’s would be the best way to start.  Then adding in a few big threats such as Wurmcoil Engine, Mindslaver, or Platinum Hyperion (essentially season to taste) will give people a deck that could be very consistent and very fun.  On the Illusion side, players get a Lord of the Unreal and a Phantasmal Image, the two cards that almost seem required if you plan to make an illusion deck.  With a little trading and some luck, players can easily gain a full playset of the Lord and Image plus some Adaptive Automatons to make the deck a real threat.  Maybe once Innistrad hits we will have a few more illusions to toss in the deck.  I sure do hope so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Blue deck is a pretty decent, if a bit akward, however in my opinion the Black Vampire deck is probably going to be the more sought after deck.  Here’s a look at the decklist and let us see if you can spot why:

 

Vampire Onslaught:

Lands:

23 Swamp

1 Verdant Catacombs

 

Creatures:

2 Bloodghast

4 Bloodthrone Vampire

4 Gatekeeper of Malakir

1 Kalastria Highborn

4 Pawn of Ulamog

1 Vampire Hexmage

4 Vampire Lacerator

2 Vampire Nighthawk

3 Vampire Outcasts

4 Viscera Seer

 

Spells:

2 Blade of the Bloodchief

4 Dismember

1 Mimic Vat

 

Sideboard:

4 Distress

2 Go for the Throat

4 Skinrender

3 Vampire Hexmage

2 Vampire Nighthawk

 

Four copies of Dismember, are serious?  For those who do not know, Dismember is the official removal spell of standard.  Why?  Because it is such a tricky little spell.  For four life and a colorless mana you can kill practically anything in standard, even if you are mono Green.  That is quite powerful and this is just the beginning.

With this deck comes, arguably, the foundations for a Red/Black Vampire deck that has claimed many victories in recent Magic tournaments.  The only real cards you will need to make the conversion will be a handful of burn spells such as Lightning Bolt, Searing Blaze, etc, a few more rares such as Kalastria Highborn and maybe few Hero of Oxid Ridge, and a few dual lands.  Arguably, this is the best event deck Wizards has ever put forth for its young players.  Granted a large portion of the cards are set to cycle when Innistrad hits, but for the time being players have the opportunity to take an event deck all the way to the winner’s circle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of the cycling thing, it is a shame that at least 35 of the cards supplied by the deck are going to cycle, but a lot of people like to build vampire decks.  In my regular play group practically every one of the nine or so guys that show up regularly have a vampire deck.  So even though the decks life in standard will be short, I believe the deck has quite a lot of staying power.  With this thought in mind I say if you are going to get an event deck, get either one of these two decks.  Sure one of them operates like a person with split personality disorder and the other is not long for this world, but each offers something useful to the starting or veteran player.

 

With that we begin the closing of the article with the Closing Questions Section:

 

1.  Which of these events decks is your favorite?

 

2.  Do you have any real critiques for Wizards and their event decks?

 

3.  If you had the ability to create an event deck, what would you focus on and from which set?

 

Thank you all so very much for sticking with me through this weird and hectic summer.  I am happy to announce I am beginning my final year of college with strong grades and a determination like one I have never felt before.  Unfortunately, the beginning of my final year of college is going to start far from my college and pretty far from my country of origin.  I will be heading to Akita Japan this fall and spending a good 4 months studying Japanese culture and beginning the foundations for my eventual masters and doctorate in East Asian Studies.  Due to the displacement caused by this grandest of adventures, I will be unable to guarantee a weekly Cards n’Flux update.  This does not mean I will be terminating the column, far from it in fact.  You all will still get the occasional article from me and you should all expect articles concerning the Ajani verse Nicol Bolas duel decks and the launch of Innistrad. Now, if you would like to read about my adventures in the land of the Rising Sun, you can follow me on my blog, Otaku Abroad.  Here is a link: http://otakuabroad.blogspot.com/ Thank you to all of my readers and hope that your lives are filled with happiness and good times.  And remember no matter if you deck build in Ontario, Canada; sling spells in Spain; or combo win in Japan, “Etherium is limited.  Innovation is not.”  This is Corlando signing off.

 

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