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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

 

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 28 Jun, 2011 At 04:00 PM | Categorized As Portable/Mobile Gaming, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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Welcome readers to another fun edition of Cards n’Flux. I am Corlando here to guide you through the wonderful world of Magic the Gathering. Well, believe it or not we have another set release upon us. This time it the Magic 2012 Core Set and we already have quite a few wonderful cards spoiled. With a little more than half the set spoiled, we have already seen quite a few awesome cards. I cannot wait for this set to come out.

One of the first things I have to say is, I am pumped for Illusions. The idea of killing someone with something that is not actually there just makes me giggle inside. It is almost like your opponent is being defeated by his or her own imagination. Wizards has given us two illusions and even a lord which could mean big things for the next set, Innistrad. Anyway, what are these new Illusions? The first is 2/2 Blue Bear for . Phantasmal Bear is probably one of the best turn one drops I’ve seen in a while. Its only bad point is if it is target by a spell or ability, the controller of Phantasmal Bear must sacrifice it. That is the one failing of all Illusions, of all nightmares. Once you realize they are not real, they disappear. The same is true for the Phantasmal Dragon. This 5/5 flyer for  is a rather strong play whether mid or late game. Yet, it becomes even stronger thanks to our brand new illusion lord, Lord of the Unreal. This Human Wizard for  gives all Illusion creatures you control +1/+1 and hexproof, a new ability in M12 that prevents your opponents from targeting your creatures with spells or abilities. This hexproof ability really protects your illusion army and the boost in stats is nice, however the one problem I have with Lord of the Unreal is he is not an Illusion himself. This means you have to devise a way to protect him before you even play him or risk losing your army to tapping abilities. It would have been nice to have a lord who could protect itself if you managed to get two out. However, I still think Lord of the Unreal is playable and will see some serious casual play, just like the two illusions. I hope Wizards has a few more illusions coming down the pipe because I cannot wait to build a proper Illusion deck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next item I want to talk about is a card that was just spoiled this morning. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to face a lord of the undead? For those of you who have been waiting with bated breath, Wizards has finally printed this guy:

A 5/4 with deathtouch for five, which I’ll admit is a little odd. I’ve never really gotten the idea of things with high power having deathtouch. Granted its pretty good evasion, but if something with 4 or more power attacks, it will usually kill what blocks it anyway. Sorry, got off on a tangent. Here’s the thing I love about Vengeful Pharaoh, its recursion. However, this is not just normal recursion. The fact that if a creature deals damage to you, not only do you get to destroy it, but Vengeful Pharaoh will come out of the graveyard and place itself on top of your library. This combination of abilities is just awesome. If your opponent forgot about your Pharaoh and swings in with say a Primeval Titan, you can take the 6 or take trample damage with a blocker, kill the Titan, and next turn summon a 5/4. I’d call that a pretty darn good play. The combat trickery, the good stats, and the cool artwork put Vengeful Pharaoh in my top ten new cards from 2012.

Moving from undead lord, we go to a staple of Magic the Gathering which is big green monsters. Throughout the past few sets there have been Hydras, creatures that if wounded, only become stronger. The past few Hydras have not been all that great. One example is Protean Hydra which first makes you think it is some sort of powerful, unbeatable vitamin. Buy now while supplies lasts~.

The Problem with Protean Hydra was, you would be the one trying to damage your hydra just so you could see the heads grow. Your opponent would not block unless absolutely necessary which defeated the point of it getting stronger through damage. Wizards apparently saw this was happening and decided to take the opponent out of the equation. This gives us the brand new Primordial Hydra a 0/0 for:

This guy is sick. Seriously, all you Valakut and ramp players, look at this beast of a creature. How much fun would it be to play through, get your big creatures out then slam this guy down as well. Plus if you play him for four total on your fourth turn, by the time he is able to attack, he’ll be a 4/4. Next turn an 8/8 and so on. Primordial Hydra goes bonkers real quick meaning that it is likely to die pretty darn quickly. This sadly means he probably will not see standard play, but casual and definitely EDH/Commander will make room in their decks for this guy.

Okay so we have looked at the Rares and the Mythics, let us see a few more uncommon and commons. First up we have a card I find hilarious. Stave Off is a one white mana spell that gives target creature protection from a color of your choice until the end of the turn, arguably a better Apostle’s Blessing. Pretty straight forward card, but the thing that cracks me up is the artwork. Take a look:

It is probably just me, but it looks like that Leonin is about to break out in amazed laughter as he cries out, “Holy Crap, it worked!!!” Just something I find funny. Anyway, lets get back to cards I think are going to be good. Spirit Mantle, is an enchantment aura that not only boosts a creature by +1/+1 but also gives it protection from creatures for only two mana.

Now, I have to say this is a darn good card. Not only does your creature essentially become unblock-able, but it grows stronger meaning you can swing for even bigger damage. Or you can play it on something with a high power and a low toughness and create an unbeatable wall. I think this enchantment is going to go in many a deck, even standard has the potential to let this thing see play. Think of this on a Hero of Bladehold. Always deal your damage and never risk having your opponent block and kill her. That is a game ending combo right there and a quick one for sure.

One last card for this edition people, and it is Red uncommon. In all honesty I’m not much of a Red player. I can understand why people like playing it, but I guess I do not like the idea of, and pardon the pun, of Burning out. This is why most Red decks are quick, merciless, and ferocious. This new card goes right a long with how a Red deck plays plus it even gives you a reward for playing ferociously. Stormblood Berserker is a 1/1 for two mana, essentially a bad bear. However, if you play like a Red Mage and damage your opponent before you summon Stormblood Berserker, you can make the 1/1 become a 3/3. This is because Stormblood Berserker has Bloodthirst 2. Bloodthrist is a resurrected ability, much like scry was in M11, where if you deal damage to an opponent, a creature with Bloodthirst X comes into play with X +1/+1 counters where X is the number directly after Bloodthirst. I do not think Stormblood Berserker has the potential to knock any goblins out of their slots in the typical Red Deck wins construction, even though it can only be blocked by two or more creatures, but for someone who wants to play Red but hates Goblins, this might be the card for you.

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

1. What do you think of M12 so far?

2. What is your favorite card spoiled so far? What is your least favorite card of the set?

3. Is there anything you are desperately hoping to see return in M12 from a previous set, or something you would just like to see in M12?

Thank you one and all for supporting this column and being faithful readers. Next week we continue with the spoilers of M12 and show off more goodies to get. Just remember, as you look at the new cards, “Etherium is Limited. Innovation is not.” This is Corlando signing out.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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