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By otakuman5000 On 14 Sep, 2012 At 12:39 AM | Categorized As Featured, Portable/Mobile Gaming, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarHello again all readers and lovers of Magic the Gathering, Corlando here once again to begin another set review.  In a little more than a few weeks, we as a Magic community will be returning to the cityscape world of Ravnica, a world that is more city than anything else ruled by ten guilds each with a knife, spear, axe, or fireball pointed at another guild’s neck.  The original Ravnica can be argued as one of Magic’s most fondly remembered sets.  With great cards, powerful guilds, the flavor and power of the original Ravnica trio set has often been the subject of discussion and the ruler by which many later sets were judged.  Will this return to Ravnica be just a successful as the last, or instead of ending up in the Azorios Senate or atop a spire of power will we instead experience the slums of the city as some Dimir assassin uses us as target practice?

 

With only a small portion of the cards spoiled so far, Return to Ravnica is at least starting with a good foot forward.  One great example of this is the return of Niv-Mizzet, the dragon leader of the Izzet Guild, a guild devoted to science and the quantitative study of magic… needless to say there tends to be a rather lot of explosions coming from the guild hall.  The original card for the dragon guild leader, Niv-Mizzet the Firemind, was a powerful card allowing you to ping your opponent for damage every time you drew a card making even something like Divination, a sorcery that allows the caster to draw two cards, into burn spell.  He is also a powerful general in EDH if you attach Curiosity to him as whenever he would deal damage to a player, you can draw a card, which leads to more damage from him creating an infinite loop.  Niv-Mizzet returns to players once again in Return to Ravnica as Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius.  For the same mana cost as before; two colorless, two red, and two blue, players get a 5/5 flying dragon with the same clause of dealing damage with every card you draw and the added ability to ping for just two mana.  Niz-Mizzet in some ways could be an example of power creep as the once 4/4 Flying Dragon has become a 5/5 Flying Dragon with a versatile extra ability.  It is definitely interesting to see how our game has changed through the years, but enough about that.  Looking at the Dracogenious I would have to say expect to see him in some sort of competive deck.  With the Titans gone, there is no Inferno or Frost Titan clogging up the six mana slot which will allow other decks and archetypes to rise.  Niz-Mizzet will see play not just because he is a 5/5 flyer, but because he gives any sort of draw spell, which is already an advantage to begin with, even more power by allowing players to snipe down annoying blockers or just outright kill the opposing player.  Expect to see this guy in the future.

Another powerful guild on Ravnica is the Selesnya Conclave, a collection of Dyrads and other creatures bound together by their connection to nature and their desire to see nature’s beauty bloom even in the darkest slums of Ravnica.  They preach a message of peace and community, but when the lighting and daggers start flying the Selesnya Conclave is not above summoning one of their living buildings to trundle over and stomp you dead.  As a testament to their strength of community we have gained a powerful new enchantment that will turn any community of creatures into a force that could trample down anything.  Collective Blessing is a six mana enchantment that gives all creatures you control +3/+3.  This is amazing!!!  For just six mana, you can turn even a lowly 1/1 saporling token into a 4/4 beast of a creature.  This enchantment makes even Bird of Paradise a credible, damage dealing threat.  This card combined with any sort of multiple token producing spell gives you so much value.  For example, let us say we have a Borderland Ranger, a 2/2 land searcher, on the battlefield and last turn we played Collective Blessing.  First off our 2/2 Borderland Ranger is now a 5/5, which is quite a nice body on a creature.  Second, if we follow the Collective Blessing with Fungal Sprouting, a M13 sorcery that puts X 1/1 Saporling creature tokens onto the battlefield where X is the greatest power among the creatures you control, we get a grand total of 20 power on the board for four mana.  There are very few decks these days that can deal with that kind of force switch.  However, though Collective Blessing may be a great card, I believe it may not see standard play.  There are far too many enchantment removal spells that currently exist in the format so players could easily risk wasting mana on an enchantment that gets destroyed before its power con be brought to bear.  Combine this with the general stigma for enchantments that competitive players have for enchantments and I unfortunately believe this amazing anthem will only be relegated to the casual table.

Though most of the power of Ravnica is focused in the guilds and their squabbles for power there are other forces that work within the city.  One of those great power sources are the Planeswalkers that often visit the plane.  One famous walker has made Ravnica his home for the time, Jace Beleren.  Jace has been both the subject of much hate and love in the magic community.  His card, Jace the Mind Sculptor, is arguably the most powerful walker ever printed and easily the most expensive.  During his time in standard, the mind sculptor was in every deck to the point some players ended up playing Jace Beleren, Jace’s first planeswalker card, in hopes of killing their opponent’s Mindsculptor so they could play their own mind sculptor next turn.  Since that time, Jace has gone through another face lift thanks to his Memory Adept card and now we have obtained his fourth version: Jace, Architect of Thought.  Costing only four mana and starting at 4 loyalty the fourth Jace has an interesting set of abilities.  His +1 makes it so that if your opponent attacks with creatures during his turn, the attacking creatures get -1/-0 until the end of the turn.  This ability does protect him somewhat and will help stall out games nicely.  The Architect of Thought’s second ability is a -2 that forces the user to reveal the top three cards o their library.  An opponent then separates the cards into two piles.  The player then puts one of the piles in his hand and the rest on the bottom of his library.  This is an interesting ability that might give you two decent cards or one really good one.  This ability centers a lot on chance so it could easily backfire if you draw nothing but lands or nothing but spells you will not be able to play till much later in the game.  The fourth Jace’s final ability is a -8 that allows the user to search every player’s library for one card and exile it.  The user may then cast those cards without paying their mana cost.  This ability is rather powerful as you could activate and either get another Architect of Thought onto the field for free or turn your opponents’ biggest threat against them.  Although Jace, Architect of Thought’s abilities are quite unique and powerful, I do not believe he will see much play.  The major factor in any planeswalker is whether or not the walker can protect itself.  This is best exemplified in Sorin, Lord of Innistrad’s 1/1 Vampire token and Elspeth, Knight-Errant’s 1/1 Soldier token abilities.  Jace’s first ability does protect him, but if your opponent has even a 2/2 on the field then Jace’s ability is kind of nullified.  Plus, as your opponent plays bigger and bigger creatures, this +1 will not protect you or him for very long.  He might see some play due to his -2 ability, but I do not believe he will be a great force in the new standard.

Even as the mighty, or not so mighty depending on your opinion, Jace looks out over the skyscrapers and buildings of Ravnica he knows that there are others like him in the city-wide plane.  Planeswalkers flock to Ravnica for its rich markets, variety in culture, and the sheer power that resides in Ravnica.  One such planeswalker, after struggling for years to return home, is back and ready to bring revenge down upon those who attacked her guild all those years ago.  The second planeswalker of Return to Ravnica is the beautiful, but incredibly deadly Vraska the Unseen a Black/Green Gorgon planeswalker.  This girl, ladies and gentlemen, is very powerful and will see play somewhere down the line.  Now you are probably all thinking that I am jumping the gun, but trust me she is good and let me show you why.  Starting off she is five mana and she comes in at 5 loyalty which can immediately go to 6 the first turn she comes out with her +1 ability.  Speaking of which, if you have Vraska gain one loyalty, if any attacking creature deals damage to her, it dies.  That is it.  No hexproof salvation, no second strike with double strike, no letter home to your loved ones, hurt her and she will murder you.  This first ability is kind of an odd one because she does protect herself… sort of.  At the very least she can be a nice source of removal as your opponent tries to keep her loyalty low.  Vraska’s second ability is a -3 that destroys target nonland permanent.  Now that’s an ability.  Nice Primeval Titan, dead.  Beautiful Honor of the Pure, annihilated.  Wonderful, Tamiyo the Moon Sage, turned to stone and crushed with a hammer.  This ability alone is why Vraska will see play.  If you just put her out and immediately use this to take out your opponent’s big threat then she will be more than worth the cost.  Plus, if she does her +1 once, you can destroy another problem card the turn after.  Now, many planeswalkers final abilities have been said to just flat out end games putting opponents in situations where they just cannot do anything.  Well Vraska’s final ability literally ends games.  At -7, Vraska summons 3 1/1 assassin creature tokens that if they deal combat damage to a player, that player automatically loses the game.  This is an impressive ability that gives any player three opportunities to end the game even if they are on the losing end of the battle.  Add in any sort of unblockable spell or equipment and you win without even having to worry about combat.  Personally, what makes this ability so much fun for me is just how quickly this ability comes online.  If Vraska comes down turn five, by turn seven you can have the 3 assassins on the field.  This is why opponents will attack Vraska with whatever creature they have, in hopes of preventing the end game scenario.  I cannot wait to see how this gorgon will work in the new standard, but I promise you even if she only gets a brief moment of fun, the room will be filled with a whole lot of terrified statues.

On the darker, more chaotic side of Ravnica is the guild of Rakdos, a guild dedicated to pain and the demon Rakdos.  The Rakdos Guild is a guild many choose to not take lightly, which is a wise thing to do as one never knows what kind of agony they might inflict on their prey.  An example of this comes in the card Rakdos’s Return a two and X mana sorcery that deals X damage to target opponent then forces that player to discard the same amount of cards.  This is quite a good card as it has strong versatility.  If the game is still young and your opponent has pretty much emptied his or her hand say for except two cards, you can cast this card for 4 total mana, deal two damage, and eliminate two cards from your opponent’s hand.  If the game is nearly won and you have enough mana, you can easily use this spell as a kill condition.  Nice versatility indeed.  While we are with Rakdos, another great card from the pain guild is Rakdos Shred-Freak.  Sure a 2/1 with haste is not bad but nothing to write home about, but Rakdos Shred-Freak is special.  With his hybrid mana symbols, the Shred-Freak can be played for either Red or Black mana meaning you eliminate having to worry about whether or not you will be able to cast him.  This makes him great because he becomes a for sure turn two drop instead of a “hope I draw two swamps or two mountains.”  He should have a fun time tearing people up all over the place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally tonight, we turn to the rule makers and governors of Ravnica, the Azorius Senate.  Believing that their rules and laws are the only things preventing Ravnica from descending into a spiral of confusion and civil war, the members of Azorius take their tasks very seriously and will often call in knights and mages with powerful counter magic to quell any and all those who are deemed dangerous in the eyes of the Senate.  One such knight that is called upon to enforce the laws is Lyev Skyknight a 3/1 flyer with a brand new ability called detain.  Detain is a new enter the battlefield effect that allows the caster to essentially nullify a creature for turn, preventing it from blocking, attacking, or activating its abilities.  This 3/1 creature is quite a nice beat stick, but it is only a small sign of what the Azorius will do to preserve peace.  If things begin to turn against the Azorius, the Senate will enact the Supreme Verdict a four mana uncounterable boardsweeper.  This card is easily a pretty broken card.  An uncounterable destroy all creature spell is definitely not something anyone would want to run into.  However, with a cast cost of 1, two white, and a blue, I do not feel we will see too much of it unless blue/white control becomes a thing once again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you readers once again for pulling up and reading.  I hope you will continue to come back and read as Return to Ravnica continues to get spoiled.  I cannot wait to see what other goodies wait around the corner.  And as you all look over the new cards, I hope you all keep in mind that, “Etherium is limited.  Innovation is not.”  This is Corlando signing out.

By otakuman5000 On 6 Jul, 2012 At 04:11 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, ROG News, TableTop Gaming | With 1 Comment

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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 otakuman5000 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 otakuman5000 On 14 Jun, 2012 At 03:37 PM | Categorized As Reviews, TableTop Gaming, Toys and Merchandise | With 0 Comments

No GravatarNow 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 otakuman5000 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 otakuman5000 On 24 Jan, 2012 At 06:10 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Portable/Mobile Gaming | With 0 Comments

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Cards n’Flux: Best Cards of 2011

By: Corlando

            Well everyone, 2011 has come and gone leaving us with 2012.  I am so excited for this year and the promise it brings.  New experiences, new friends, all just a few moments of time away.  However, before we rush off with the new 2012, let us remember the awesomeness of 2011 by looking at some of the best cards of the year.

 

Before we get started with the list, a few qualifications.  First, the cards have to be from 2011.  This means Scars of Mirrodin is out, but Besieged up to Innistrad are in.  Second, the cards cannot be reprints.  This just seems like a good rule.  Let the new cards have their day in the sun, instead of some repurposed older card.  Third, these are all my opinion.  If you do not like my selections feel free to voice them below instead of paying an assassin to try and kill me.  It won’t work.  I will also take this time to voice my opinion about a few other cards, which I am sure will also spark much debate.  With that said, let’s get going.

 

First up, the best Instant.  I chose this card because it gave the color a fun way of removal that can used to either destroy a big threat or help end the game.  Beast Within gives Green not only a removal spell, but also a token producer.  I love this card.  The versatility of either eliminating my opponent’s best guy or killing off one of my own 1/1s or an artifact you do not need to make a 3/3 in time to help bash face is just a fun.  I hope to include this in many more decks in the future.  Now the worst instant of 2011 is also a removal spell.  Dismember is a great removal spell.  Being able to fake out your opponent by only leaving one mana up and paying four life to kill their creature is useful and vindictive.  It has amazing flavor in a Black deck where you have to make sacrifices for ultimate power.  However, by being able to pay four life, now every deck gains the ability to destroy any unwanted creature.  Dismember take Magic’s color wheel and breaks it over a rusty spike.  Thanks to Dismember, great cards like Hero of Bladehold, Hero of Oxid Ridge, even Urabrask the Hidden were not played.  The standard format became, either protection from black or at least 6 toughness or it is not worth playing.  I like Dismember for its flavor, but I hate it for the effect it had on Standard.  As of recently this trend seems to have switched with decks like White Weenie, Token Town, and Wolf Run, Dismember is not as prevalent as it was.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next we have the best Sorcery.  I chose this sorcery because I liked the flavor of it.  It is a card that sets a precedent, a personal hope to see more cards of this color combination in the future.  Unburial Rites is Rise from the Grave, but has a fun little four mana flashback ability that gives it a whole new kind of usefulness.  I am not going to lie; I love Black and White decks.  There is a certain joy I get out of the idea of having to make sacrifices to achieve power and strength in the community.  Unburial Rites has this kind of flavor of raising the dead to bolster and protect the community.  I love it and I hope and pray to see more White/Black cards in Dark Ascension and beyond.

Third we enter the category of enchantments, those fun, powerful spells that can really bring the damage in so many ways.  However, they also have the potential to be dead cards when someone drops a Naturalize or a Doom Blade on your enchanted creature.  Before the big reveal, I do want to give one honored mention to Curse of the Stalked Prey.  The additional +1/+1 counters can lead to an absolute beatdown and makes even your smallest threats something to worry about.  I really like this card and I can only hope for a standard deck to use this effectively.  Anyway, back to the winner.  Angelic Destiny is by far probably the best enchantment I have seen in a long time.  Not only does your creature get +4/+4, but it also gains flying and first strike and if the creature enchanted with Angelic Destiny dies, you may pop Angelic Destiny back to your hands removing the ultimate issue many players have with enchantments.  I just love this card.  Not only does it have great artwork by Jana Schirmer and Johannes Voss, but it has some great flavor to.  The wings in the mirrors is a very subtle part of the image.  Easily the best enchantment of 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now we come to a very hard category, best creature.  There are so many I wanted to put on this list: Grimgrin, Corpse-Born, Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, Chancellor of the Dross, Mirran or Phyrexian Crusader, even both heroes were on the list but I just did not feel they deserved the reward.  In the end I did come to a decision and I chose, Geist of Saint Traft.  After reading the “Savor the Flavor” column concerning Saint Traft and how he battled against the darkness of Innistrad throughout his whole life, I fell in love with the card.  With the backstory in mind, the Geist of Saint Traft becomes a beautiful card as the solemn look of Traft is off set by the presence of the angel.  It is a really great piece of art, which is fitting because it is such a great card.  A 2/2 for three mana with hexproof and whenever you attack with him, his angel friend comes out bringing the total of pain to six.  Add in an Honor of the Pure and it becomes eight.  I would love to see this card combo with Angelic Destiny, how cool would that be?  Geist of Saint Traft is in fact such a good card, the sheer power of this card took Craig Wescoe all the way to the top eight of worlds.  I really cannot wait for whatever comes our way in Dark Ascensions because I just know something is going to come out that will make this card even more of a bomb.

            The next topic is one that I don’t think I have ever done before, the best land.  Yeah this is kind of a new one, but we did get quite a few fun lands this year so it only seems right to pay some respect.  I was originally going to give the award to Contested War Zone for its flavor and the potential it had to help any deck get that last bit of damage in.  However, seeing as its flavor is what ultimately holds it back from being truly useful, it did not seem right to give Contested War Zone the reward.  I mean a land cannot exactly win the best land award if it does not stay yours if someone makes it through your defenses with a 1/1.  As such, the fight descended into a five way battle between the Innistrad power lands.  As such the winner of the best land award is Gavony Township for its great flavor and power to help Green and White decks really bring on the pain.  I really like this land and I know it will see more play with time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now we come to a rather interesting category, this year’s best Planeswalker.  This year we had quite a lot of entries, some better than others.  You can all probably guess the Planeswalker at the bottom of my list (hint: Garruk Relentless), however, none of you probably know which one will be my favorite.  This year we saw a Karn Planeswalker, which is very cool, however I am kind of disqualifying him because he lost his spark and so stopped being a Planeswalker for a bit meaning he effectively left the planeswalking club.  Sorry Karn.  I would have loved to give Venser, the Sojourner the spot, but unfortunately he came out last year.  Koth could have been a contender if he was not so narrowly focused on mountains.  Jace, Memory Adept just seemed too weak though I still think his future is bright once we get more flashback cards.  Garruk, Primal Hunter was definite contender, really showing off the power of Green, but his second ability, though awesome, kind of disrupts the pure Green energy.  So close, but missed the mark.  This leaves Lillana of the Veil and Chandra, the Firebrand to battle it out for the final spot.  If only we could have a cat-fight to find out…. Anyway, in the end I had to make a decision.  My favorite Planeswalker of 2012 is, Lillana of the Veil.  Chandra, the Firebrand is a close second with all her fiery glory, but Lillana of the Veil is pure Black magic.  First ability grants power through sacrifice by forcing both you and your opponents to discard.  The more you sacrifice, the more powerful she becomes as she prepares to tear apart half of your opponent’s field.  Her second ability is also rather useful if your opponent happens to just have one creature on the board.  I really like Lillana of the Veil and with Dark Ascension already being spoiled, I cannot wait to see how good she will be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With all the categories decided I believe it is time to close out the article.  Feel free to leave your own list below and describe your reasonings for each.  I eagerly welcome it.  I just ask that as you think up your lists as we wave goodbye to 2011, just remember, “Etherium is Limited.  Innovation is not.”  This is Corlando signing out.

By otakuman5000 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 otakuman5000 On 2 Nov, 2011 At 01:40 AM | Categorized As Featured, Portable/Mobile Gaming, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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Cards N’Flux: Innistrad and Humans

            Welcome ladies and gentlemen to a belated… okay seriously belated, edition of Cards n’Flux.  I have been away for quite some time due to school and a few other things, but the good thing is I’m back in the States and will hopefully be able to start writing for you all once again.  So, what topic have I decided to talk about on my return?  Something I have not done in a long time.  Today we are going to be talking decks and how you can approach a concept or strategy in different ways.

 

Humans on the plane of Innistrad fight day and night against the forces of werewolves, vampires, and other creatures of the night.  The worst part is even after they live their life to the fullest and survive the trials of life, they may not even gain the sleep they deserve being forced to rise to due some necromancer’s bidding.  As such, the Humans of Innistrad have learned to strike first, fight hard, and not to relent until the enemy is defeated.  This type of strategy is best exemplified in Champion of the Parish.  Coming onto the battlefield as 1/1, for every human you add to the field he gains a +1/+1 counter.  This means he can become a big threat rather quickly if every turn you play a human.  He is definitely a good starting card for our human deck.

Champion of the Parish is a good card, but it needs some help.  If every turn you force yourself to play a human, then it will not be long before your hand is empty.  We need to find a way to deal with this rather big problem otherwise we will just stifle ourselves in the later games.  The good news is Innistrad has provided us with a pretty good card to solve this problem.  Mentor of the Meek is a 2/2 that while on the field, if you play creature with 2 or less power if you pay one extra mana of any color, you can draw a card.  Now, I’ll be the first to say I did not like this card.  It slows you down and prevents you from bringing the pressure as constantly as you would want.  However, after playing with the mentor, I know it is far more useful to have consistent card advantage than to always fueling my Champions.  If you want to build a human deck, seriously consider this card.

Okay, we have an early threat, now we need some power.  Well there are quite a few things we could use to fill this slot.  If we wish to go mono-White we have Elite Inquistor who is a 2/2 with First Strike and Vigilance.  He also has protection from Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies, but as we look at the current standard metagame, with its Solar Flares and Kessig Wolf Run decks, it does not look like those protections will be important.  Another great card for mono-White is Mirran Crusader, the infamous 2/2 with double strike and protection from Green and Black.  Mono-White can also justify using Honor of the Pure, but it does not have great synergy with Mentor of the Meek.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now some of you are probably thinking, “But Corlando, mono-White is so last season.  It what to have a bit more color in my fashionable human deck.”  Alright, there are quite a few things you could do if you want to add something color to your decks.  For example, let us say you want to throw some Red in your bland white deck making it a Red/White deck or Boros as it is sometimes called.  There are quite a few cards you could take a look at.  First card, of course, Stormblood Berserker.  A 1/1 with Bloodthirst 2 that cannot be blocked except by two or more creatures, can anyone else say no brainer?  Another fun card would be Curse of the Stalked Prey, a two mana enchantment which gives your creatures a +1/+1 counter if they deal combat damage to a player.  Throw in some Proliferation spells like Volt Charge and Tezzert’s Gambit, for card draw, and you have the makings of a real fun deck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuing on the Boros Humans deck idea, what other cards could we possibly throw in?  Well there are plenty to put in this kind of aggressive deck.  For example you can play Reckless Waif on turn 1, a 1/1 for only one Red mana.  Now, if you have been following Innistrad talk at all, you will no doubt know that Reckless Waif is in fact a Werewolf meaning if you or your opponent go a turn without casting a spell, then she flips over and transforms into a 3/2.  Now some people might not like the idea of having Werewolves in a Human centric deck.  I for one can understand this desire to keep the deck pure human, but what happens if you play a Reckless Waif on turn 1, your opponent does nothing their first turn causing your Reckless Waif to flip into a 3/2, and with your second turn you play a Curse of Stalked Prey?  You get a pretty fast clock for one mana.  Plus, if we want to run some Champions in this deck, the thing to remember is Champion’s ability triggers when they enter play meaning there will be no consequences if they flip into werewolves.

With werewolves and humans on the mind, why don’t we switch over to another color and see what else we can build?  Green has quite a few good humans in it, whether it’s the supporter human Acayan Pilgrim, a 1/1 that taps for white mana, or the Hamlet Captain, a two mana 2/2 that gives all attacking or blocking creatures +1/+1 as long as it blocks or attacks as well, there are several good creatures here.  One of the greatest humans any Green/White deck could play would be Mayor Avabruck who gives all humans under his leadership +1/+1.  Plus if he happens to flip into his Alpha Howlpack form, you will be getting free 3/3 tokens.  However, one of the greatest advantages of going for a Green splash instead of Red is the advantage of Gavony Township.  Gavony Township is one of the five power lands from Innistrad and allows you to spend your excess mana on giving all creatures you control a +1/+1 counter.  This turns your little 1/1 Acaryan Pilgrim into a 2/2 and can quickly put your opponent in a really bad position.  Combine this power with the power boosts from Hamlet Captain and Mayor of Avabruck and you can easily make an army out of three or four creatures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alright enough talk, let’s build some decks.  First let’s look at a Monowhite version:

 

Innistrad White Weenie:

 

Creatures:

4x Champion of the Parish

4x Mirran Crusader

4x Elite Inquisitor

4x Doomed Traveler

3x Mentor of the Meek

3x Hero of Bladehold

3x Fiend Hunter

3x Elite Vanguard

 

Enchantments:

3x Oblivion Ring

2x Angelic Destiny

3x Bonds of Faith

 

Lands:

21x Plains

 

This is pretty much straight forward.  Put some early threats on the board and swing your heart out.  Hero of Bladehold and Angelic Destiny are both really strong finishers in this kind of deck.  However, one of the best cards is Bonds of Faith.  Being able to either enchant one of your humans and give it +2/+2 or enchant one of your opponent’s creatures and Pacify it is just really awesome.  With the White deck built, we can now move to our Boros Version:

 

Innistrad Boros:

 

Creatures:

4x Champion of the Parish

4x Stormblood Berserker

4x Reckless Waif

3x Gideon’s Avenger

3x Mirran Crusader

3x Hero of Oxid Ridge

3x Accorder Paladin

 

Enchantments:

4x Curse of Stalked Prey

3x Oblivion Ring

4x Volt Charge

3x Tezzeret’s Gambit

 

 

Lands:

4x Clifftop Retreat

9x Plains

9x Mountains

 

I just want to start by saying, I do not really know how good this deck could be.  The potential is definitely there if you want to swing early and keep boosting your attacking creatures with more +1/+1 counters.  The thing I love is the potential for Gideon’s Avenger to just get out of hand.  If your opponent attacks once while he is on the field, you can just proliferate and make him a true threat without having to rely on your opponents to pump him.  The same kind of fun can be had with Champion of the Parish.  Turn 1 Champion, Turn 2 attack triggering blood thirst for your Stormblood Berserker, Turn 3 either Volt Charge their face or creature and swing for seven.  Take a look at this deck, it might be a real fun way to swing hard, fast, and unrelentingly.

 

Our final deck for this edition is the Green/White Human deck:

 

Innistrad Militia:

 

Creatures:

4x Champion of the Parish

4x Mayor of Avabruck/ Howlpack Alpha

4x Avacyn’s Pilgrim

4x Hamlet Captain

4x Mirran Crusader

3x Hero of Bladehold

2x Mentor of the Meek

 

Spells:

3x Oblivion Ring

3x Bramblecrush

3x Hunter’s Insight

2x Overrun

2x Angelic Destiny

 

Lands:

4x Sunpetal Grove

4x Ravorverge Thicket

3x Gavony Township

5x Plains

6x Forest

 

This deck can be a lot of fun.  You have the potential to really ramp into some early game threats.  Think about it, turn two Mirran Crusader or Mentor of the Meek followed by a turn 3 Hero of Bladehold or Angelic Destiny.  Plus, if you manage to get a small army out thanks to all the low casting costs, you can blow your opponent out by rumbling over them with an Overrun.  The best part is, if you find yourself without a hand for some reason, you can simply use your otherwise wasted mana activating Gavony Township, creating even bigger threats for your opponent.  I highly recommend this deck if you like decks that make even the little guys something that can kill your opponent.

 

Well that is what I call a successful day at the workbench.  Three possible decks we could use to fight the horrors of Innistrad with our tenacious humans.  If any of you happen to have a suggestion for a deck or want to submit a deck, feel free to do so below right after you get done with the Closing Questions Section:

 

1. What is your opinion of Champion of the Parish?  Good, bad, or far too much like allies?

 

2. Which one of these decks above do you like the most and why?

 

3. Did you like this type of article and would you like to read more of these in the future?

 

Thank you all once again for being patient with me over the several weeks I have been away.  Life seems to be doing all it can to stifle my writer’s spirit, but I will fight on forever as I hope you all do.  And as you all fight on through the difficulties and trials of life, I hope you all remember, “Etherium is Limited.  Innovation is not.”  This is Corlando signing out.

By otakuman5000 On 3 Sep, 2011 At 03:48 PM | Categorized As Featured, Portable/Mobile Gaming, Reviews, TableTop Gaming | With 0 Comments

No GravatarWell 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 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.