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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



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


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:



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


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



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:



4x Viridian Emissary

3x Frost Titan

2x Primeval Titan

3x Impaler Shrike

3x Solemn Simularcrum




4x Rampant Growth

3x Mana Leak

3x Cackling Counterpart

2x Vapor Snap

2x Beast Within




2x Back from the Brink

3x Parallel Lives



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:



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



3x Oblivion Ring

2x Angelic Destiny

3x Bonds of Faith



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:



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



4x Curse of Stalked Prey

3x Oblivion Ring

4x Volt Charge

3x Tezzeret’s Gambit




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:



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



3x Oblivion Ring

3x Bramblecrush

3x Hunter’s Insight

2x Overrun

2x Angelic Destiny



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.