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By otakuman5000 On 14 Aug, 2011 At 10:13 PM | Categorized As Reviews, Reviews, TableTop Gaming | With 0 Comments

No GravatarHello 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.

 

By otakuman5000 On 26 Jul, 2011 At 07:45 PM | Categorized As Portable/Mobile Gaming, Reviews, TableTop Gaming | With 0 Comments

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Welcome ladies and gentlemen to another edition of Cards n’Flux.  I am Corlando, your guide through the wonderful world of Magic the Gathering.  This week we are heading to a party, a Planeswalker party to be precise to welcome the new Planeswalkers of Magic 2012.  Everyone have a gift?  Then let’s go partying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have to say it is good to see Sorin Markov  and Gideon Jura in Magic 2012.  Granted it  is at the cost of Ajani Goldmane and Liliana Vess, but it is good to hear Liliana will be  back in Innistrad.  I can only assume Ajani, my favorite Planeswalker, is off having some awesome adventure.  I mean this is the cat  who took on and defeated Nicol Bolas, so I  think he deserves a breather.

Anyway, now we have Gideon Jura and Sorin Markov, two expensive yet powerful Planeswalkers.  Gideon use to be one of the planeswalkers to get, back when Blue/White control was popular.  Now he is in the Core Set and I have to say it is for the better.  With Gideon now in the Core Set, casual players will have more access to him as a card they can invest in because he will considerably cheaper.  This will allow more casual players to consider making the leap into more professional playing.  With that in mind I gladly raise a glass to the awesome White warrior and hope he finds a strong deck to slip into in the new standard.

As for Sorin Markov, I am not too sure exactly what I think of him just yet.  I mean I am happy to have him in the Core Set.  There are few cards as cool and flavorful as Sorin Markov, however I just feel he may end up in a position where he might not find a standard deck.  One of the biggest problems with Sorin Markov is the fact he has such a high mana cost.  Six total mana to get him onto the field, the same amount of mana for the heavy-hitting, token summoning Grave Titan meaning Sorin has quite the competition for the six spot slot.  Not to mention, most of the vampires that are currently in play are cheap, fast vampires.  As I said in a previous article, current Vampire decks are fast kill decks.  If you do not kill your opponent by turn 4 or 5, you are doing something wrong.  This relegates Sorin to the role of a Vampire Overlord, never really ever seen only heard of, whispered in the shadows by deceitful souls and fearful wizards.  However, with the rise of such cards as Sangromancer, Sengir Vampire, and Bloodlord of Vaasgoth, are Vampires obtaining the power to fight on into later turns?  Only time will tell.

With old friends met and chatted with, it is time to meet the new guys.  First up is the new Jace.  Jace , Memory Adept is the most expensive Jace we have ever seen coming in at five total mana.  Is this increase in price validated by the powers you gain access to?  Well, that has yet to really be determined.  His first ability is a +1 and allows you to draw a card while your opponent puts the top card of their library into their graveyard.  That is not a shabby first ability.  It is almost like Jace reached into their mind and used what he found there to give you a hand, both figuratively and physically.  Next his second ability costs 0 to activate and mills the top ten cards from a player’s library.  Okay, this is good.  Essentially you can look at Jace as a pay five and mill ten of your opponent’s library every turn for the rest of the game.  Of course, if you have been looking at the M12 spoiler, you know that this ability becomes flat out broken when you see Visions of Beyond, a card that if there are 20 or more cards in a graveyard, you get to draw three cards for all of one blue mana.  This card alone might make Jace, Memory Adept a really sought after card.  And of course with the graveyard centered Innistrad rumbling our way, Jace and Visions will become even more desirable.  I do not want to say that these cards will become the must have cards in the future, but I would at least recommend getting a few just in case they do go big.  However, Jace, Memory Adept is not done.  Jace’s ultimate ability which can be activated by paying 7 loyalty, allows any number of target players to draw twenty cards.  If you want an instant kill combo, this ability plus one Jace’s Erasure.  You draw 20 cards, your opponent draws 20, and mills 20.  If your opponent has a library after that, I will be impressed.  This is just further proof that Jace will be good… but maybe not till after Innistrad comes out.

Stepping pass the Memory Adept, we come across a trusty friend who has changed.  Garruk, Primal Hunter replaces the original Garruk Wildspeaker and I have to say it might just be for the better.  First up, unlike his first version, Garruk Primal Hunter summons a 3/3 as his +1 ability instead of it being a -1.  This means Garruk has the real capacity to protect himself instead of essentially dealing himself damage to summon something.  Now he makes himself stronger by making you stronger.  Next up is probably the most awesome ability Wizards could have put on Garruk.  “-3 draw cards equal to the highest power among the creatures you control.”  Dunbarrow Elder just became even more amazing.  “Yes I’ll use 3 loyalty counters from Garruk to draw seven cards.”  Effective card draw in Green is so hard to come by, and Wizards just gave us the best thing they could.  As we have seen with Jace, Memory Adept every Planeswalker has an ultimate ability that is designed to end games.  Garruk, Primal Hunter is no exception.  By paying 6 loyalty, Garruk, Primal Hunter summons a 6/6 Wurm token for every land you control.  Green Ramp Decks, tired of working with Valakut?  Wanna try something new?  Try swarming your opponent with an army of 6/6s.  There will not be enough of your opponents to stuff in a deck box.  I love Garruk, Primal Hunter and I hope to see him make his way into many green decks.

With Garruk discussed we come to the smoking hot lady in the room, Chandra, the Firebrand.  Chandra, the Firebrand is the first Chandra to arguably not suck.  In fact she down right rocks.  For a very splashable three and one Red mana, Chandra comes into play ready to ping your opponents and your opponent’s creature for 1 with her +1 ability.  Good bye Lotus Cobras, Llanowar Elves, Elite Vanguards, and any other one toughness annoying creatures.  Of course this is also hello to certain Bloodthirst activation.  Next up we have a -2 ability which copies the next sorcery or instant spell you cast this turn.  Why have one Lightning bolt when you can have two?  Or, as many of you have probably already discussed at length with your gaming buddies, Tezzert’s Gambit, Proliferate and draw two cards, or Volt Charge, proliferate and 3 damage to target creature or player.  Yes, you can activate Chandra’s second ability and erase any damage done with the power of proliferation.  That is all well and good, but I think you can have some real fun if you copy Melt Terrain.  Destroy two of their lands, possibly screwing up their mana base, and deal them four damage.  It might be considered underhanded to blow up lands, but it is a perfectly legitimate possibility.  Now, Chandra the Firebrand’s final ability is a bit of a fun one.  For up to six target creatures or players, Chandra can deal six damage.  In total, Chandra has the ability to deal up to 36 six damage, decimate your opponent’s board, and leave your opponent open to serious hurt.  Some have not been too enthralled with this ability and I can understand why.  However, I still find it to be a perfectly functional ability and it will serve its user well.

Well everyone, the article is coming to its end so it is time for the Closing Questions Section:

 

1.  Which of the new Planeswalkers is your favorite and why?

 

2.  Which do you think is better, old or new Garruk?

 

3.  What is your opinion of Chandra’s final ability?  If you are not a fan, what would you rather had seen?

 

Well, thank you my faithful readers for being patient with me.  My summer courses are taking a rather strong toll on my writing schedule, but it should be over in just a few weeks.  Stay tuned for next week’s edition, hopefully it will be on time this time.  Just remember my good friends, “Etherium is Limited.  Innovation is not.”  This is Corlando signing out.

 

By otakuman5000 On 25 Jun, 2011 At 12:56 PM | Categorized As Featured, International News, PC Games, TableTop Gaming | With 1 Comment

No GravatarIt seems to be the end of an era, as of Yesterday June 24, 2011 Sony Online Entertainment has officially announced the end of the Massively Mulitplayer Online Role Playing Game, Star Wars Galaxies. It has been online for seven years and has gone through many updates and patches. For Star Wars fans this is sad day indeed. We are not sure if it the pressure of Star Wars The Old Republic looming over the horizon, or if it is just players have grown tired or disenfranchised with the game as a whole. The game will be missed. Here is the official word from Sony Online Entertainment.

 

Dear Star Wars Galaxies™ Community Member,

We write to you today to inform you that on December 15, 2011, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) and LucasArts will end all services (MMO and Trading Card Game) for Star Wars Galaxies (SWG). The shutdown of SWG is a very difficult decision, but SOE and LucasArts have mutually agreed that the end of 2011 is the appropriate time to end the game.

We are extremely grateful to all of the SWG fans. We have had the rare opportunity to host one of the most dedicated and passionate online gaming communities and we truly appreciate the support we’ve received from each and every one of you over the course of the past eight years.

In recognition of your incredible loyalty, we are extending special Fan Appreciation offers to the current SWG community. We also plan to go out with a bang with a galaxy-ending in-game event in December and hope to see you all there. The details relating to these offers and events as well as the timeline and specifics regarding the discontinuation of the service, are provided below.

Again, we want to extend our heartfelt thanks to our player community for making SWG one of the best online communities in gaming history.

Sincerely,
Sony Online Entertainment & LucasArts

THE FINE DETAILS:

Discontinuation of Services:
As of September 15, 2011, the SWG MMO and Trading Card Game will no longer be available for sale or subscription at both retail and all online digital retailers. All billing for active subscribers with accounts in good standing, except for Station Access subscribers, will end on October 15, 2011.

If you are an active subscriber in good standing as of September 15, 2011, then you can play for free for the final months. Players wishing to play through the end of the game and participate in the galaxy-ending event planned for the last week of live service in December will need to re-activate or join the game on or before September 15th. No new or reactivated accounts will be accepted after September 15, 2011.

As of today, June 24, 2011, we are discontinuing the 12, 6, and 3-month subscription plans, meaning these subscription options will no longer be offered for newly created SWG accounts. SWG subscribers who have prepaid six (6) or twelve (12)-month game time plans that extend their subscription period past October 15, 2011 will receive a pro-rated refund for any such pre-paid excess subscription payments*. Such refunds are expected to be issued within 90-days after the game ends.

In addition, we will be discontinuing the sale of all Star War Galaxies™ Trading Card Game (TCG) digital card packs as of today, June 24, 2011. Loot cards will not be redeemable in the SWG MMO after September 15, 2011. The TCG will continue to operate until the final service closure on December 15, 2011.

Galaxy-Ending Event – Be Part of this Historic Event
During the last week that SWG is available, we’re inviting the community to participate in a galaxy-ending event. We’re going to end with a bang and we want the final chapter of the galaxy to be written in part by the dedicated and passionate SWG community. Details will be announced at a later date.

Fan Appreciation Offers
We welcome those active SWG subscribers in good standing to play one or all of the below SOE massively-multiplayer online PC games at a fully-paid subscriber status (or “membership” status where relevant) at no cost between October 15, 2011 and December 31, 2011 (subject to the terms and conditions described below). To activate these special offers, use the same Station Account you use now to subscribe to SWG** and simply click on the game you would like to try to download the game software. We are offering the following SOE games: Free Realms®, Star Wars®: Clone Wars Adventures™, EverQuest®, EverQuest® II and DC Universe™ Online. The game software will all be made available for download on a link accessible from the StarWarsGalaxies.com web site beginning on October 15, 2011.
**~~**

I played the game.  I learned how to use the tilda key.  It wasn’t a perfect game, but it had a little of something for everyone in it including the best crafting system I’ve ever seen in a video game.  With ToR coming out, I guess Sony decided fans were going to migrate en masse (probably correctly).  I’m going to miss my Twi entertainer.

So long Galaxies.  It’s been a great seven years!

By otakuman5000 On 17 Jun, 2011 At 02:33 PM | Categorized As Portable/Mobile Gaming, Reviews, TableTop Gaming | With 0 Comments

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Hello and welcome one and all to the next installment of everyone’s favorite card centric article series, Cards n’Flux. I am Corlando, your happy guide to Magic the Gathering strategy, cards, and flavor. This week we will be discussing the brand new set called MTG Commander and let me tell you I am so excited for it. Why don’t we take a look?

Before we get into some of the new cards, let’s talk about the rules and how to play Commander. The way a typical game of Commander works, originally known as Elder Dragon Highlander (EDH), is that each player will have a deck of 100 cards and duel it out with a total of 40 life. The real differences, other than deck size, between Commander (EDH) and any normal magic game are that each player will have a general. A general is a legendary creature who serves to essentially lead your deck and starts each game in the Command zone from which it can be played at any time. Should your commander die, it goes right back to this zone and can be summoned once again by paying two extra mana of any color. And since your general is leading the deck, you cannot have colors in your deck outside the colors your general has in its mana cost. For example, let us say I am running a Rafiq of the Many deck, one of the more prominent and awesome generals, I can have any manner of Artifact, Green, White, or Blue card in my deck. However, I cannot have any Red or Black cards in the deck. This rule also extends to mana costs within the card. So if I want to play Rafiq, I could not play Foxfire Oak because inside the card there is a Red mana symbol. Another point concerning Commander (EDH) decks is that you can only have one copy of a card in your deck. Basic lands are excluded from this rule, but only one of everything else, including non-basic lands. Other than that, the last man standing is the winner.


When I first sat down to play EDH, it was in a more of a harrumph and slap together way. The Magic club I usually play with is pretty centered on the EDH format. They love the idea of playing with their older cards and seeing whose general is superior. I used to look at EDH as just a spin off and that it just seems annoying and inconsistent. How are you ever going to draw the cards you need if your drawing through a 99 card deck? The night I decide to try, I was tired of waiting for all my friends to be done playing their EDH games and after the prodding of a few of my friends I stood up and declared, “FINE, I’ll play a game!” Few minutes later, I was left alone against one of our senior players and only lost by a fraction of life. It was thanks to this that I became an EDH fan and now I have three decks and I jump at each chance to play. The fact is that a 99 card deck offers a lot of variety and no game is ever the same. Your deck never really plays the same way twice, which I think is the fun part of EDH. If you are thinking of trying this new game, I would recommend borrowing someone else’s deck and playing a few games to see if you like it. The game type is not for everyone, but those who like it always walk away with a smile on their face.

Enough of the set up, lets get into some cards! MTG Commander has given us quite a few fun cards, but today we will be focusing on some of the generals. One of the first generals to be spoiled was a bit of a unique guy. Animar, Soul of Elements seems like a cool color combo as . Gives you access to counterspells, big creatures, and damaging spells and he’s a 1/1… wait. Okay a cool color combo, but there has to be more to this general. Well, you will be happy to know that there is. First he has protection from White and Black. Good. Whenever you cast a creature spell you can put a +1/+1 counter on Animar, Soul of Elements. Better. Creature spells you cast cost 1 less to cast for each +1/+1 counter on Animar. I think my heart just stopped. Are you kidding me? A creature that not only gets stronger the more creatures you summon, but one that actually makes them cheaper as well. Yes I would love to play my Terastodon for , my Stormtide Leviathan for , and my Bogarden Hellkite for . Animar is a real example of a general. Easy to get out, assists the deck beyond comprehension, and eventually can take it to the opponent if he really needs to. I love Animar and I have to say he would be a great general to build around.

The next commander that I feel I should talk about is for those people who like to bring the quick, sudden pain. Kaalia of the Vast is one bad (meaning good) Human Cleric. By just paying , players get a 2/2 flyer that whenever you attack with her you are allowed to play from your hand any Angel, Demon, or Dragon card without paying its mana cost. That is cool, but it gets even better because you are able to but said Dragon, Angel, or Demon into play tapped and attacking. It is one thing to play a creature for cheap… it is an entirely different thing to play something for free and essentially give it haste so you can bash your opponent severely. As soon as this girl went up, the forums I visit were alight with the idea of bringing Akroma Angel of Wrath into play for free. I will admit that is a pretty cool idea, however I think I would rather play the new Mana-Charged Dragon for free and have everyone, except the person I am swinging at, essentially pay to kill off one of their enemies. I like Kaalia and I seriously would not be surprised if her deck becomes really hard to find over the next few weeks.

Moving along we have yet another wonderful general in the creature simply known as The Mimeoplasm. I want to meet the sick, twisted, mad, evil, demented, scientist who created this monstrosity… and buy him a drink. This part T-Rex, part ooze creature comes into play with . Now here is where the fun happens. When Mimeoplasm enters play you can exile two creatures from any graveyard. If you do, Mimeoplasm comes into play as a copy of one creature and gets X +1/+1 counters equal to the power of the other exiled creature. How much fun could that be? “Yes I will exile your Dread Cacodemon and your Baneslayer Angel to create an 8/8 with first strike, Lifelink, flying, with protection from Demons and Dragons,” or, “I will create a 5/5 that when it enters play destroys all creatures you control and taps all of mine.” See what kind of damage you can wreak with this thing. This guy will never be the same thing twice. Primeval Titan and Mana-Charged Dragon, Wurmcoil Engine and Artisan of Kozilek, Ghastlord of Fugue and Demon of Death’s Gate, there are thousands of possibilities all absolutely amazing. I bet you will never run out of combinations. In fact, I would not be surprised if you actually kill it yourself just to make something new.

Well we are getting a little longwinded so here is our last general and one that I am the most excited to build around. The general is Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter and he comes into play at a whopping . Yes he is the most expensive general we have talked about, but listen to what he can do. First off he is a flyer with lifelink, always a wonderful combo, and you can sacrifice a creature to him and put X +1/+1 counters on him where X is equal to the sacrificed creature’s power. AWESOME!!! Think about it, you army of small tokens is about to be destroyed by a damage based boardwhipper, you can sacrifice all of the creatures to Vish Kal and suddenly you have a huge creature that is gaining you life every time you swing. Thing about it how big could this guy be? But wait, there’s more. You can remove all the +1/+1 counters from Vish Kal and have target creature get -1/-1 for every +1/+1 counter removed this way. It is nice to Doom Blade a creature and have it go to the graveyard, it is quite a different thing to just remove all the strength a creature has, withering it away into nothing by a simple little demand, “Die.” I love Vish Kal and I honestly cannot wait to build around him.

Well everyone it seems we have come to the end of our article meaning it is time for everyone’s favorite section, The Closing Questions Section:

1. Have you played Commander (EDH) before? Who is your general and why?

2. What is your favorite of the new generals we have thanks to Commander and why?

3. Do you have any critiques about the set, please explain why?

Well everyone I am absolutely ecstatic for the mini-set we have received from Wizards and I hope it becomes a success. Please tune in next week for another grand article concerning our favorite game. And always remember, “Etherium is Limited. Innovation is not.” This is Corlando signing out.

By otakuman5000 On 1 Jun, 2011 At 06:35 PM | Categorized As Reviews, TableTop Gaming | With 0 Comments

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Welcome readers new and old to Cards n’Flux, an article series based around the Magic the Gathering card game, its updates and evolutions, the strategies, and the general flavor that drips off every card.  I am Corlando, your guide through this multitude of cards and ideas.  This month marks the release of MTG Commander, a corporate adaption of the once casual format known as Elder Dragon Highlander (EDH).  Now since MTG Commander is not going to be out for a few weeks, I felt that this would be the best time as any to discuss a few of the other game types duelist can play with Magic the Gathering.  This week is Planechase, the game type that gives you the ability to literally jump from plane to plane as you try to kill off your opponent.  Why don’t we take a look?

 

Now, for those who are unfamiliar, such as myself, the rules to Planechase are pretty much the same as a normal game of Magic.  The only real difference from the traditional rules is simply the addition of a deck of world cards.  These world cards each have two unique abilities that affect everyone on the board in someway or another.  The abilities of these world cards come in two forms, the static and the chaos effects.  The static effect is what happens when the card is on the field just doing its thing.  This can be anything from doubling everyone’s mana, to allowing people to draw an extra card, or giving all creatures some sort of ability.  The chaos effect is only activated when a player rolls a chaos symbol on the Planechase die.  Now these effects tend to be more… chaotic, but add a real factor of chance and danger to the game.

 

So how do you start a game of Planechase?  Well, according to the actual rules, it is recommended that games be three or more players, but it can also be played by just two people.  The starting player places the top card of their world deck onto the field face up.  The game then goes on as any normal Magic game would except for an extra step added to every turn.  During a player’s during, he or she is given the opportunity to roll the chaos die.  This die has one of three out comes.  Rolling a blank side means nothing happens, a chaos side means you activate the current world’s chaos ability, or the Planechase symbol which allows the roller to reveal the top card of his world deck and replace the current world with the new one.  This is how duelists planes-walk in Planechase and I have to say it is rather fun to see players head right to the land they need right when they need it.

 

Normally this is where I would start talking about a few of the cards I like, which is exactly what I plan to do.  The first world card we will look at is Bant from Alara.  While in Bant, the land of peace and honor, all creatures that every player controls has Exalted, an ability that if a creature attacks alone it gets +1/+1 for each instance of Exalted.  Bant’s chaos effect allows the player who threw the chaos symbol to put a divinity counter on target Blue, White, or Green creature which makes the creature indestructible for the rest of the game.  These are both rather cool abilities, but let us now turn to Bant’s evil cousin, Grixis the land of eternal death.  While players are in Grixis, creatures in players graveyards that are Blue, Red, or Black have Unearth; an ability that brings back creatures from the graveyard for a turn.  Now, if you roll a chaos symbol while in Grixis, the player who rolled the chaos symbol can resurrect any creature from any graveyard and put it into play under their control.  See how these different abilities could interact in so many ways with the same deck?  Think of all the possibilities.

Looking at these two planes, some readers might get the feeling the world cards are their to help players make the game more interesting.  That, unfortunately, is not true.  Some world cards seem to exist to do nothing more than hurt everyone.  A great example of this is Lethe Lake on the Plane of Arkhos.  While players battle in this mountainous lake, at the beginning of a player’s turn, the current player must put the top ten cards of his library into his graveyard.  The same thing happens when you roll a chaos symbol, goodbye to another portion of your library.  I wonder how many games have been won by this card just because a player had some card that bounces back to the library if it hits the graveyard?

Jumping back to the more fun lands, how about we vacation in the beautiful Isle of Vesuva on the Plane of Dominaria?  While there, players who summon a non-token creature to the field are able to put a token onto the field that is a copy of the summoned creature.  This is all well and good, but avoid the chaos symbol that allows the roller to destroy target creature and all other creatures with the same name as the target creature.  Talk about a wipe out… or could it be a major win? I definitely would not mind landing at the Isle of Vesuva, but I think I would much rather be in the Great Forest of Lorwyn and not just because it is one of my favorite sets. You see while in The Great Forest, creatures deal combat damage equal to their toughness not their power.  How fun and whacky can that get?  “I block your Ball Lightning with my Wall of Omens and kill it.”  The fun thing is that if a player rolls a chaos symbol, the creatures they control get +0/+2 and gain trample until the end of the turn.  Yes my 9/13 Inkwell Leviathan will help you to your grave now.   Such a fun, little world and so easy to abuse.

Unfortunately, not all world cards are fun or at least all inclusive in their pain dealing.  Some world cards can put players in such a bad position that it is impossible for them to put up a fight.  A perfect example of this is Eloren Wilds.  While there players who tap a permanent for mana are able to double the amount of mana that the permanent produces.  However, should a player roll a chaos symbol, target player will not be able to cast spells until a player planes-walks.  Tell me, how is that fair. You are doing fine in your Planechase game.  Not really winning, but you are not losing.  Suddenly, one of your opponents planes-walks to the Eloren Wilds and your other opponent rolls a chaos symbol forcing you to never be able to cast spells until someone planes-walks.  Now you can do nothing but watch your defenses and hope you manage to roll your way out of your troubles.  Eloren Wilds is just not a fair card and the thing is, there are other world cards out there that do even worse things than this.  These seriously broken and unfair cards really prevent me from truly getting behind Planechase.  Wizards should have checked to see if these kind of abilities were equal and would not just cause players to lose right and left just because someone rolled well on a die.  Granted it is all chance, but with such good lands like Bant, Grixis, and several others, shouldn’t Wizards have put a little more thought into a few of these worlds?  Of course that is just my opinion.

Overall I find the idea of Planechase pretty cool.  Just the concept of bouncing from world to world, sling spells, throwing monsters at one another, each player searching for the world that best plays to their strengths.  I totally recommend you give it a try if you have the opportunity, however do check through your world deck and your opponents and see which worlds you will play with and which you would like to ask be removed.  This will help to insure everyone has a good time allowing for good fights without sudden blowouts.

 

Since we are coming to the end of the article, it is time for everyone’s favorite section, the Closing Questions:

 

1. What is your personal opinion of Planechase?  Have you played a lot of games and how do they usually play?

 

2. What is your favorite Planechase World card?

 

3.  Are there any planes or places you wish Wizards had put into Planechase?

 

Well everyone, thanks again for stopping on by.  Next week we will continue with specials month with Archenemy.  See you all very soon.  And always remember, “Etherium is Limited.  Innovation is not.”