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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 Aug, 2011 At 02:18 PM | Categorized As Portable/Mobile Gaming, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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Cards n’Flux: Standard Overview 2012

By: Corlando

            Hello and welcome everyone once again to Cards n’Flux.  I am Corlando, your relatively handsome but very busy guide through the flavor and awesomeness of the Magic the Gathering card game.  This week we are finally going to take a look at the new standard format.  This discussion has been long in coming and I wish I had been able to talk about this sooner, but life gets in the way sometimes.  Anyway, before I become long-winded about what is going on in my life, let us dunk our heads deep into the new ocean of decks that currently exist in Standard.

 

As I am sure you all know, a few weeks ago Jace the Mind Sculptor and to an extent Stoneforge Mystic were banned from standard.  Why did Wizards do this?  It was because of a little deck called Caw-Blade.  Caw-Blade essentially operated around three cards.  Squadron Hawk, a little flyer who has the ability to call forth his friends from your deck to your hand; Stoneforge Mystic, a card that not only allowed you to search out your deck for your best equipment but also allowed you to play them cheaply; and Jace the Mind Sculptor who essentially existed to nullify any real threats and keep giving his controller card advantage.  This combo, spiced with deck builder’s personal preference in equipment, created essentially a noose from which the Standard format hung for several months.  Wanted to be competitive?  You have to play Caw-Blade.  What you don’t like playing Blue/White decks, good freaking luck.  Squadron Hawk was, and is still considered, the best equipment carrier, Stoneforge the perfect fetcher, and Jace the ultimate answer.  Only in the last few days of this dreaded combo did we actually see the occasional non-Caw-Blade deck make it to the top and only because Caw-Blade players were too concerned in combating each other than actually having a well-rounded deck that could cover its weaknesses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeing that Standard was on its last few gasps, Wizards made the drastic move and banned cards from Standard play.  Jace the Mind Sculptor was completely banned from Standard while Stoneforge was relegated strictly to the War of Attrition Event Deck.  Squadron Hawk is still in, swinging its swords the best it can and he has even found a new friend in Puresteel Paladin.  This move plus Core Set 2012 hitting the scene has literally caused the deck pool for Standard to overflow.  There is now a deck for everyone to play and most cards are relatively within anyone’s price range.  At the time of this article, the most expensive card on the market is Jace, Memory Adept who is hovering around 30 to 40 dollars.  Let me show you all, my faithful readers, a few fun decks taking their turn in the Standard spotlight.

 

Who here likes burning stuff?  Well… you should probably go see someone about that.  However, if you like playing burn spells in Magic the Gathering, then there is no better time.  Currently Red Mages have the following spells in their holsters: Incinerate, Lightning Bolt, Searing Blaze, Pyromancer’s Ascension, Flame Slash, Combust, Volt Charge, Fireball, Chandra’s Outrage, Goblin Guide, Goblin Arsonist, Goblin Wardriver, Ember Hauler, Koth of the Hammer, and Chandra the Firebrand.  The thing is there are much more.  Depending on the deck that you want to build you can go several different ways.  Goblins is a very viable deck in the format because of the multitude of low cost creatures plus Goblin Chieftain and Adaptive Automaton.  Inferno Titan can be a great finisher if you want to create a deck that has a stronger chance should games go long.  And of course the combo of Chandra, the Firebrand, Pyromancer’s Ascension, and Volt Charge is a nice way to burn the house down.  These are just a few ideas on how you can build your own fiery maelstrom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red really isn’t your speed? Me neither.  There was an incident in high school with fireworks and… it’s a long story.  How about Blue/White Control?  Yes, everyone loves a good Blue/White control deck… unless you are playing against it.  With the return of Oblivion Ring in M12, Blue/White control is a threat once again.  Not too long ago, I personally faced a Blue/White Venser control deck that I could not fight no matter how many baddies I summoned.  The major interaction in the deck was Venser, the Sojourner’s +2 ability to warp something out of existence then bring it back at the end of your turn.  This means the player with Venser has the ability to switch what Oblivion Ring is exiling by popping the O-ring out and bringing it back in, exiling the new threat.  This combo combined with great card draw from Jace Beleren, Wall of Omens, and Sea Gate Oracle, allows the player to go through their deck, find better answers for the threats, such as Day of Judgment, and kill off the problems.  After that, you wait to activate Venser’s final ability, which allows you to exile target permanent whenever you play a spell, and eliminate your opponent’s ability to fight back.  Now I’ll admit, I like the combo with Venser and Oblivion Ring, but I think we can go crueler.  My favorite idea is continually bouncing Stonehorn Dignitary, a creature that when he enters the battlefield revokes your opponent’s next combat phase.  Your opponent can summon all the creatures in the world, but will never be able to swing with them.  If you like winning in unique ways or just being cruel, this Venser deck might be just for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have been looking through the card lists, you have probably seen quite a few Black cards come down the metaphoric tube.  Cards such as Chancellor of the Dross, Phyrexian Obliterator, Cemetery Reaper, Call to the Grave, and Smallpox are all ready to bring their own flavor of havoc to the world.  In recent months, we have seen a few people trying to make this deck work.  Phyrexian Obliterator has been a pretty big key to the deck, but is there another option we could consider.  Call to the Grave might be a bit expensive for an enchantment, but if you combo it with Cemetery Reaper, you can have the game in no time.  At the beginning of their upkeep your opponent will have to sacrifice a creature to Call to the Grave and at the end of their turn you can activate Cemetery Reaper to get a 3/3 zombie.  Granted a 3/3 is nothing too serious, but then again that is all you really need if your opponent has no creatures.  Take a look at this combo.  Who knows, this might just become the core of your next deck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, we come to Green.  When Eldrazi first appeared, people rushed to create Green Ramp decks, which were designed to get the big guys out in no time.  Well today we still have those Big Green decks, but have the option to leave the ramp at home.  This is because of the new trinket from M12, Quicksilver Amulet.  All you have to do is pay four mana to put it onto the field.  Then every turn afterwards you pay four and tap Quick Silver amulet to summon any big guy you want from your hand.  Turn five Emrakul of the Aeons Torn anyone?  Talk about an early drop.  Granted, playing your big Eldrazi like this negates some of their abilities like Ulamog’s destroy target permanent ability, Kozeilk’s draw four, and Emrakul’s extra turn, but if you drop any one of these guys your opponent is as good as dead anyway.  “But Corlando,” some of you are crying, “the Eldrazi are about to cycle.  What will I drop with this trinket once they go?”  Well my friends you actually have quite a few options.  First up is Rune-Scarred Demon, Diabolic Tutor on a 6/6 flying stick plus you will activate his enter the battlefield ability.  Next is Furyborn Hellkite.  Just make sure to trigger his bloodthirst first so you can get a 12/12 flyer.  Next, any of the Praetors or Chancellors would be excellent choices.  And of course you have the one-shot robot, Blightsteel Colossus.  There are several creatures you can play with this little trinket.  Find your favorite and start bashing some heads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well everyone, the article is coming to a close but we have just enough time for the closing questions section:

 

1.  Are you happy with the new standard and its huge pool of decks?

 

2.  Is there a threat of Red decks becoming the next Caw-Blade?

 

3.  What do you think is the most powerful deck in Standard right now?

 

And with that everyone, the article is finished.  Feel free to leave some responses to the questions or your feelings on the article I am always willing to hear your comments.  And remember readers, “Etherium is Limited.  Innovation is not.”  This is Corlando signing out.