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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 2 Nov, 2010 At 04:57 PM | Categorized As PlayStation, Reviews, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 2 Comments

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Chuck doing what Chuck does best

Ever since the teaser trailer posted on the internet in mid-2009 many people have been waiting eagerly for Dead Rising 2 and early October 2010 it is finally here. Originally Dead Rising was an Xbox 360 exclusive but Dead Rising 2 is now available for the Xbox 360 as well as the PlayStation 3 which is great because a wider audience can enjoy the zombie killing mayhem. However the Xbox players did get a little bonus, for a mere 400 Microsoft points ($5) they got Dead Rising 2: Case 0. This sets up the story of the star of the game, Chuck Greene and his daughter Katie. Players that have played Case 0 get to import their stats into the game which makes it a little easier at the beginning, as well as gives players a good tutorial on how the game works so they can jump right in but it is not necessary to play to understand the story. The best part of this sequel is that the events of the first game have no bearing on the player’s enjoyment or understanding of the game so worry not to everyone who has not played the first game or missed it because it didn’t appear on the PlayStation 3.

The Gameplay in this game is very simple yet provides hours of entertainment. It is your job as Chuck Greene to kill as many zombies as possible with objectives thrown into the mix that are time based. All of your objectives are given to you via a handheld walkie talkie (just like the first game) and most of these calls pertain to stranded survivors. These survivors are completely optional to visit and are not required to finish the story but saving them gives you a huge PP bonus. PP are Prestige Points and are used to determine your level, the higher your level the better Chuck performs. Sometimes these survivors aren’t that happy to see you and want to kill you, from here you can stay and fight or run away but killing them gives a nice bonus as well. While running around and saving people there will also be alerts when the story is about to unfold, events happen at a pre-determined time and usually there is a bit of down time in between to do those side missions or just kill as many zombies as you possibly can in the most creative ways. A big part of this

Crazy weapons

Freedom Bear and Chuck kickin' butt

game is the new combo weapons, no longer are you confined to killing with just a baseball bat, now you can duct tape nails onto it for more damage and more PP. The combo weapons are a nice feature since these weapons do a lot of damage and there is a variety of them. In the first game a lot of weapons did very little damage and there was one chainsaw that was essential to play the game, this is no longer the case since all combo weapons seem to be on that level. These combo weapons are created by combining two items on a workbench, and there are a lot of different possibilities however not everything can be combined. Another bonus to combo weapons is that they offer additional PP when using them so chuck gets to level up faster. Ranged weapons also got a massive improvement because chuck can now shoot and move at the same time, which hasn`t happened in too many Capcom games yet.

The graphics Dead Rising 2 are a huge improvement over the predecessor. The camera is a third person view and is fully maneuverable with the right analog stick and is usually pretty close so you get a good sense of the action. When Chuck is doing a special attack the camera moves to an angle that will show the best gore and right back after the action is over. Zombies are rendered in fairly high detail and there could be a thousand zombies on the screen without a hiccup. The games seems to do this by keeping everything in front of you in good focus but things that are off in the distance, including zombies, seem blurry. This does not take away from any gameplay and actually makes the game look better in my eyes. When shooting a ranged weapon the camera moves into an almost first person perspective (a over the shoulder but Chuck is transparent) and then you really get to see how ugly the zombies you are killing are. With so much mayhem happening all over the place the cut scenes are a nice break and are rendered in game. This can make for a lot of funny situations because of the clothes Chuck is wearing, especially when he’s being serious wearing a “Borat thong”. As beautiful as this game is there are a few hiccups that occur during play, this game does not seem to handle fire too well. There have been a few moments where explosions happened and there was a small frame rate shudder but when fire is involved it can be quite noticeable. When I encountered this it was mainly in the cut scenes so it didn’t really affect the Gameplay but it definitely caught my eye and was annoying, though worry not this only happened less than a handful of times.

When it comes to the audio for this game not much can be said for music, but a lot can be said about voice acting. The music is limited to mainly “mall music” or Muzak for the majority of the game and the occasional horror music here and there with rock thrown in during use of the work bench. At all times this feels appropriate and fits into the scheme of what is happening and where you are in Fortune City. The voice acting in this game is superb, with a great cast of people doing the voices. All the tones of the voice actors are very appropriate for the scenes that are unfolding and don’t ever seem unnatural. This is a great thing because it really helps immerse the player into the story. The only annoying voice acting comes in the form of survivors yelling for help because sometimes you can hear them way before you can see them and if you have no intentions of saving them, then you may be stuck listening to them for a extended period of time when you stick around the area, though you can always kill them yourself. <insert evil laugh>

Dead Rising 2

The multiplayer comes in two flavors in Dead Rising 2, first is the co-op and then there is “Terror is Reality”. The standard co-op allows a player to jump into a friend’s or random stranger’s game as long as the host allows this from the options. The joining player does not have any items but has their level and PP as well as their clothes. This may be a bit odd but while in co-op there are two Chucks running around at the same time and whichever person initiates a mission is the one featured in the cut scenes. The game plays exactly as it would in single player and the hosts file is used to mark the progress in the story and only the host can save. The joining player can save only their PP and combo cards upon disconnecting. To enter and exit areas both players must be close to the door and if one person gets killed then there is a timer started in which time the second player can revive the downed one with food. This reviving makes the game a bit easier but if the player isn’t revived then it’s game over, though the timer is very fair.

In “Terror is Reality” the player takes part in a competition with three others in a series of 3 minigames and then a finale of Slycycles (this is the first thing you do when you start the single player campaign). During the whole competition TK is making announcements in between events and there are two commentators that say some very crude things during the events. At the beginning of each even is also a summary of how to play so every player knows the controls and all together there are 9 events. Each of the 9 events focuses on killing or humiliating zombies with money awarded for everything you do. This money is then used to rank you on leaderboards and can then be transferred into your offline game, which is great since it gives you one less thing to worry about while the zombies try to eat you. There seems to be very little lag on the co-op portion of the game and in “Terror is Reality” the only mini game that lag is noticeable is when it happens in Ramsterball. This is the only minigame that has players trying to hit each other and sometimes players will teleport instead of having smooth motions, the rest of the games are player vs zombie and lag is almost not an issue. One thing I did notice though is in games where I saw lag in Ramsterball the final stage of Slycycles had much less zombies to kill then games with no lag.

Dead Rising 2 is a great game and is open to fans of the series as well as new comers alike. There is so much to do while between parts of the story that there is never a dull moment and in case you really don’t feel like playing the main story, you can always fail and just free play without having to do the missions, just kill zombies in as many ways as possible. With the addition of multiplayer there are even more laughs to be had with a friend to back you up as you decide to play soccer with the zombies or slice them in half with medieval weapons, whatever you prefer. Visually this game is appealing so you will not have to look away at any time unless you are squeamish due to the huge amounts of blood and gore from all the mayhem you cause. I highly recommend this game to anyone that likes to kill zombies with the craziest weapons imaginable and to anyone that likes to play games at their own pace since everything is pretty much optional in Dead Rising 2. So get your duct tape out and start killing those hordes because it’s an awesome for the good of humanity.