Friday, October 15, 2010, 11:50 AM
I've been lax in my blog postings for a while, but I'm going to try to get back into it. I've stayed the course at my regular blog
But now it's time to branch out again.
Wizards! Who doesn't love the fun-loving wizard tribe? Since we're back on Mirrodin, lets talk about the replica variety.
The original Mirrodin had Wizard Replica.
Now the new scars has a similar creature:
Which is better for my EDH game!
Long has my Niv-Mizzet Deck used a wizard sub-theme to crush its enemies. But which of these close-enough artifact wizards belongs?
Neurok Replica, of course. Because it's the one I own. Are there other ways to justify it?
1) The better creature is the Wizard Replica. I can't argue with that. The Wizard flies, providing both blocking and attacking capabilities the Neurok Relica could never hope to stack up to.
2) The Neurok Replica is a bit more resilient, avoiding more damage based attacks and black-themed weakening.
3) The Neurok sac effect is FAR more useful, I think. Especially in a multiplayer EDH game.
Countering a spell really isn't very fun in a multiplayer game. Unless it was a Â very game-warping effect, you probably weakened yourself while only marginally affected the game state.
If you countered a simple creature, the first thing you have to ask is: "Will this creature even ATTACK me?"
Perhaps it'll attack someone else. Perhaps the person casting it has no idea you're even in the game?
Countering the spell will definitely turn all heads in your direction. You'll be enemy numero uno, trust me.
The Neurok, however, can be saved for the time it's most needed. You can sit with this guy on the board turn after turn, and when someone finally turns their baelful gaze in your direction you can respond with some hard-to-deal with bounce.
You might even avoid a few attacks, since everyone knows exactly what you can do. Wouldn't you attack someone else, who DIDN'T have the Neurok Replica and 2 untapped mana?
And the 1/4 body CAN effectively defend against the occasional hopeful Eternal Witness attack, preventing small utility creatures from getting any benefit.
Did I mention Neurok Replica is the perfect antidote to a Bribery-enabled Emrakul?
Right now I don't have a choice, but depending on how my games goâ€¦I think I'm sticking with the Neurok.
Thursday, January 21, 2010, 8:44 PM
If you play the same game I do, you often run into situations where the "stuff" starts really coming down. And by stuff, of course I mean removal.
Sweepers. Direct damage. All that good stuff.
Courtesy of Mirrodin, I have a little secret tech for pulling my best and brightest out of the action. And that card is:
Yep. While you've all been drooling over Worldwake previews, I've been pouring over inane uncommons from yester-yester-year. No shame. No, no shame.
Anyway, I thought I'd share a recently realized interaction involving this card. The text says "Return to play under YOUR control all cards removed from the game with Synod Sanctum." So when you are using your "Big Stealy" deck and you "Grab the Reins," go ahead and remove him from the game with this beauty.
The card is "exiled" worst case scenario, and "best case" involves you eventually putting him back into play under your control permanently! That sounds pretty good.
I thought of this card when I was looking for cool sacrifice outlets for my EDH deck. This isn't exactly a sacrifice outlet, but it does many of the same things. And when the Wrath or the Decree of Pain or the Chain Reaction (yessssss, I know) hits the table, the best and brightest on my side are heading for the battle bunker. Sorry Sparkmage Apprentice..there is no room for you...make sure you die valiantly.
Anyway, can't wait to see people at the prerelease. I will be the gentleman with his thumbs pressed into his eyes groaning "noooo merrrcccy...nooo merrrccy". Try to be gentle. See you there!
Thursday, December 24, 2009, 7:23 PM
Few cards in the history of Magic have captured my imagination so completely as Kird Ape. I admit it freely.
Ever since I opened that first little fellow in one of my first packs of Revised, I've always tried to find a home for him. Which was difficult, especially at the beginning. Going multicolor was a sure sign of a unbalanced mind in those long-ago days, when all dual land except for the Original Dual Land was still a gleam in Richard Garfield's eye. Except for City of Brass, which I suddenly got a LOT of when Chronicles was released.
Towards the end of high school, a friend of mine used a revised-friendly version of The Deck on me. Blue/White, (no moats) but plenty of counterspells and Serra Angels. There was no Internet for the most part. All I could think as he locked me down was Bold Move, SIr. Bold Move.
And a dilution of Red with sucky ducky GREEN? Forget about it. But I tried and tried, bumping my apes up against the likes of Goblins, Elves and other red/green weenies. But he never seemed to work right.
But I stuck to my gunsâ€¦a 2/3 for only 1 red mana had to be good! And he was, I just didn't have the right cards to make the rest of the deck equal to his superior-ness.
The next tribe he tried to fit in with was Spiders, I kid you not. I opened a mess of Trap Door Spiders in Ice Age, and the ability sounded really good at the time. And the colors matched up, so I thought WHY NOT.
Well, here it is some 15 years in the future. People love Kird Ape. It's a healthy part of many of history's zoo decks. Well, now it's in MY ZOO DECK.
I'm no master of HTML, and I can't find a way to make a deck list here, but I made an entry to investigate further on my BLOGGER blog.
I think this is the deck that's finally going to bring the cookies home, if you know what I mean. And I know you do. It turns Kird Apes into Lightning Bolts. And Lightning Bolts into TWO lighting bolts.
Anyway, hope everybody has a Merry Christmas. I'm sitting here watching War Games on Satellite TV, and it is feeling fine.
Monday, December 14, 2009, 9:06 AM
In the course of a normal game of Elder Dragon Highlander, the average player has to be prepared to face off against the occasional strange and/or unusual card from deep in Magic's distant past.
Luckily, the Oracle wordings and the Card Text are very similar most of the time. The rules folks at Wizards go out of their way to make a card behave how the rules originally intended, no matter how many rules overhauls are pushed through.
But occassionally, pure weirdness manages to find its way onto the battlefield, leaving all planeswalking participants stunned in its wake.
Such is the case with Debt of Loyalty.
White-flavored stealy effectsâ€¦you don't see too many of those, do you? A pretty cool card with a powerful effect for only 3 mana. Text seems pretty simple "Regenerate target creature. Gain control of that creature."
How could there even be a rules problem? Go look at the Oracle wording and you will see the issue.
According to the Oracle, you don't get control of the creature unless it actually regenerates. Which is pretty counterintuitive when you read the card. Having seen the Oracle wording, I knew the correct interaction but I didn't understand why.
To understand why, we must go to an uncomfortable place. A world without the 6th Edition Rules Changes. A world of Uthden Trolls. A world before regeneration "shields".
In the olden days, Player A would attack with his banded Noble Elephant/Icatian Javelineers. Player B would chump block with his Mindstab Thrull (Player B's in tough shape!). Now even though the Thrull has lethal damage assignedâ€¦it's not dead yet.
It's time for the Damage Prevention Step! At this time, Player A cleverly plays his Debt of Loyalty. The Mindstab Thrull would regenerate, and the Thrull would be his.
Now we have this crazy new world where regeneration "shields" go on a creature before the damage happens.
The first mention of the new wording for Debt of Loyalty is in this Q&A session with Bill Rose. A player writes in, worried he can no longer use his Giant Growth as a combat trick since creatures now die immediately at the same time damage is "assigned".
Oh, that crazy stack!
Anyway, I look forward to more crazy shenanigans the more EDH I play. A vibrantly interesting format, always with a new-old card on the horizon I've never seen before in my life. Keep playing!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009, 5:12 PM
Choices, choices, choices!
Tearing a deck apart is always an adventure. It's sort of like taking apart your computerâ€¦things never quite fit back the way they started.
And where do the sleeves go? I'm always 1 sleeve short at the end, like there's an evil sleeve fairy who takes one for her nest somewhere. Probably next to a pile of missing socks.
Who are you? Give me back my sleeves!
Monday, December 7, 2009, 1:49 PM
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When assembling an EDH deck, my brain just about explodes with the posibilities. All the big spells, all the weird interactions. It's ten tons of fun!
Such was my thinking when I inserted a neat little card called Ixidron.
He's not really that good of a creature. Once he enters the battlefield, he tends to get kinda big. But he then shrinks down when everyone attacks you with their newly face-down swarms.
I find him interesting and useful as a way to "lock up" potentially annoying creatures in a sort of limbo between hand and graveyard. In particular Generals, for who wouldn't let through a Teneb, the Harvester to prevent him from being returned to the command zone?
He's just an all-around useful quasi-sweeper, keeping the other participant's creatures in check when mine are taking a beating.
Last night I found the dark, smelly underside of good ol' Ixidron.
The other playerâ€¦playing Experiment Kraj. A totally awesome and unique deck you have to see, practically brimming with all sorts of simic creatures and others from magic history, all with lots of +1/+1 counters.
I cast Ixidron, expecting something to happen. Then I woke up from my EDH half-coma to see what was really going to happen!
I curled up in a little ball, rocking back and forth.
The counters stay. Sweet Googly-Moogly. The counters STAY!
I made all his creatures bigger and meaner, instead of little and ineffectual.
Afterwards, I realized this was yet another awesome part of EDH. The game has so many rules, it forces you to think all the time. And woe to he who does not think.
Other awesomeness from the game included my Swerving a Oblation, Casting Leaden Fists on a tapped Body Double copying a Vulturous Zombie, the Ixidron, the Austere Command that cleared everything out after the Ixidron, and much much more.
Eventually the Leaden Fists came off (I died) and the copied Vulterous Zombie swung in to win the game!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009, 2:04 PM
Close your eyes! Ready? Okay, open them again because you have to read this.
Imagine, if you will, the perfect looter creature.
He's blue, of course. He lets you draw a card (hopefully a good one!) and then discard some cruddy card you don't want.
NOWâ€¦imagine he also does a point of damage to your most hated enemy every single turn. Yes! Now you feel it.
Is this a dream? NO. Awake from your imaginings and find your vision born into the flesh of reality.
Okay! Hyperbole aside, there are probably some other looters who are on-par with this guy. A very small number. But you have to admit, this Looter looks pretty good.
Shadow is one of those mechanics that has greatly benefited from a long period of intense neglect. Much like Portal Three Kingdoms infamous "horsemanship" mechanic, there are few cards sitting in people's decks waiting to put a stop to your relentless shadowy assault.
Sure, they brought back Shadow in Time Spiral Block, butâ€¦how can I put thisâ€¦they brought a LOT of things back in Time Spiral block. Nobody remembers most of it! Did you?
Without some directed removal or board-sweepers, The Perfect Looter keeps attacking and looting. Hopefully coming down early and accelerating you nicely into a very happy midgame.
Occasionally, to your amazed delight, you will find the LootMaster still alive later in the game. Don't worry, he's easily upgradable with snazzy equipment like Loxodon Warhammer, Sword of Fire and Ice, Quietus Spike, whatever you put in your deck. He can easily make the jump from utility creature to beatstick, since his utility is automatically performed WHILE he's doing the beating!
From the tribal perspective, the Looter il-Kor has 2 relevant types.
First, he's a Kor if you want to go white/blue with some of your new Zendikar cards. Maybe Armament Master?
But secondly (and the part I see as being more relevant) he is a Rogue. Being a rogue puts him in solid company with all the Prowl hijinks from back in Morningtide. Think Thieves' Fortune or Knowledge Exploitation. Topped off with a Time Walk care of Notorious Throng!
Basically any combo that has to start out with some unblockable damage, The World's Best Looter gets you there. Should work just fine with Ninjas!
To be honest, there are about a million ways to get rid of this fellow. But unless they already have a fist full of removal ready to fly, you will surely get your investment back with interest.
Every time he finds his way onto my battlefield, I've always been happy with the results.
If you've got better looting, I want to hear about it. Send me a message or comment below. Otherwise, I will talk to you later.
Thursday, November 26, 2009, 6:06 PM
Back in about 1996, the old timers had a little trick they liked to pull out called Tetravus. This 4/4 flying behemoth was amazing. Costing 6, and ready to kick out a bunch of 1/1 flyers if any targeted removal comes its way.
Okay, there weren't a lot of great creatures to choose from. Just the fact that this baby could be put into play with any colored mana worked in its favor quite a bit.
Anyway, I've been reflecting on this neglected artifact creature for a while, and I've decided to add some experimental tech to my EDH deck.
Is the card Tetravus? Nope. But its pretty close.
One mana more for a 5/5 that makes 5 flying 1/1 dudes. I think this will really make some things happen. Chump blocking, attacking with evasion into my surprised enemies. Some further notes:
1) Rite of Replication. Okay, this is kind of an easy one. Rite of Replication makes everything exciting. Anyway, a kicked Rite of Replication equals 6 Pentavus, which equals 30 Pentavites, which together could either attack in a swarm or reform to create a 30/30 Pentavus.
2) Mizzium Tranreliquat. Bam. Copy your Pentavus. Make some Pentavite tokens. Copy your Pentavus. Make some Pentavite tokens. I'm pretty sure you could do that all day since copyable values apply to "enter the battlefield" triggers. I could be wrong, but if I'm right this is amazing!
EDIT: One of the classic blunders! Qube is 100% correct. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've corrected other people on thisâ€¦using the big Miz to copy Pentavus is a certified NULLBO. No true combo can escape its dread vacuum. Mirror Breaker works, though. Anything that can put the copy into play.
3) Every time a Pentavite enters play, it causes an "when a creature enters the battlefield" trigger. When a Pentavite is subsumed back into the Pentavus, it causes a "leaves play" trigger. Think Arcbound Crusher.
There are plenty of other awesome ways to use this guy. Bounce puts him back in your hand, for easy replaying later.Â
Will look into this more. Later of course, right now I've got some more stuffing that needs eating.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009, 11:33 AM
Here it is, in all its glistening, oil-soaked glory
It rises on filth-stained wings and casts only doom in its withering shadow.
Curiosity was one of my favorite additions to my Niv-Mizzet EDH Deck, a "one card combo" when used with the namesake general. Cited by many folks as a must-have for any Niv-Mizzet EDH Deck (along with Ophidian Eye), I couldn't wait to blast my opponent into oblivion.
Only 1 single blue mana, then you can draw every card in your deck while simultaneously vaporizing the enemy life-total.
A single card out of a hundredâ€¦I figured the dream wouldn't happen too much, just enough to be exciting when I finally draw and went off.
Well, the fateful day finally came. Tthe dice came up "boxcars." And my precious victory felt hollow. HOLLOW, I say.
I didn't feel smart. I didn't feel clever. The game just ended. Worst of all, this was a 1 vs. 1 duel, not a huge multiplayer game.
So with a sad adieu I kick Curiosity to the curb. You're weapons-grade uranium, lady. The dirtiest bird in Niv-Mizzet's closet. Maybe you might get a spot in a big multiplayer game where there's always the chance of somehow decking myself. But I'll just steer clear of you for now.
Kelly Diggs once wrote an article on the DailyMTG site about wishing a game would never end. I know the feeling, and it happens most deeply to me in EDH. The games seem to be all about building up your own incredible magic machine.
Different card combinations, expanding symetriesâ€¦towards an eventual delicious victory. This Curiosity card, it was like FREE CANDY. And then you eat the free candy, and find out it was STOLEN. By wolves. Out of the mouths of orphans on Christmas.
The best part about EDH is the constant tinkering. Out of the 100 cards in the deck, I have about a 100 more waiting in the wings for the occasional change up. So there's plenty of good cards waiting to come in and give it their best building Niv-Mizzet's grand machine.
And what did I replace Curiosity with? Vicious Shadows. A simple Red enchantment costing SEVEN mana before it comes into play. Does just a little damage at a time and you can spread out in a very even-handed way. Very diplomatic. This is a card that I have faith will NEVER get out of control.
Have a great Thanksgiving!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009, 9:31 AM
Well, here they areâ€¦the Crowds!
According to Steve the tournament organizer, Minneapolis Grand Prix saw over 1,200 people in attendance. And that doesn't even count folks like me, who did not enter any of the organized events.
First order of business was to scope everything out. I have never seen a Grand Prix before, so I didn't know exactly what would be there.
The vendor tables were huge, lining up against an entire wall of the event space. Star City Games, Troll & Toad, Strike Zone, Minnesota's own Lotus Vault and much more all competed for attention.
I probably spend an hour going through bulk bins, and saw approx. 5% of total cards available. There was that much stuff!
Eventually, the participants sat down for the most serious of sealed deck, as seen here.
The amount of work to get everything running smoothly like this must be phenomenal. Getting gamers organized can be a lot like herding cats, but the folks at Legion Events evidently know how its done.
There were 2 artists in attendance. rk post andÂ Franz Vohwinkel. Both of these gentlemen were awesome to talk to, ready to dive into a little of their craft even for a neophyte like myself.
rk post I must call out as a particular trooper, as I have seen this guy a couple of times at different magic eventsâ€¦in Minnesota aloneâ€¦and this is a guy who lives in Washington state. He told me he just got out of a Pixies concert and got on a plane out hereâ€¦then would be flying right back to Washington after the weekend had concluded. I did not even know the Pixies were back together, which shows just how out of the loop I am.
And who should I meet standing in line for Franz Vohwinkelâ€¦none other than Tom and Steve from Monday Night Magic!
After talking to these podcast personalities for a bit, we got into one of the most epic EDH games I have ever played, lasting approx. 31/2 hours.
I will save you a play by play, I think I posted something on the MTGcast site about it. Sufice to say, awesome things were happening just about every turn. This was not a stalled-out game by any means.
Tom is the one with his mouth hanging open. In most cases his mouth was closed, except for this picture, where he quickly opened it. A close up of the table would reveal Tom's hellish, villainous Oversold Cemetary/Bane of the Living Lock.
It eventually ended with Tom playing a Flame Fusillade, and then Steve twincasting it to kill him! Par for the course in the crazy, crazy world of EDH play.
I walked around a little more after that, and witnessed the twisted genius of Ken Nagle as he played Momir Vig Basic with a stunned tournament participant. So much dice rolling! I would have loved to get to talk to Mr. Nagle, but owing to his status in R&D he was surrounded by a crush of fans the entire time I was there. I can only imagine how sweaty it was inside that writhing mass of humanity. Hands and feet everywhere!
I also hoovered up plenty of draft leavings, if you saw someone picking through greasy, discarded Zendikar commons it was MEEEEEE!
Most excitingly, I found a slightly used Explorer Scope and Expedition Map, both going straight into my EDH deck. Remember the Golden Ruleâ€¦it's not garbage just because it used to be somebody's garbage!
Finally, I just had a really great time. I didn't see anyone from my friends list, as far as I can tell, since I don't recognize faces too well even if you did post your picture.
I was the guy playing EDH over by the food booth side for most of the time. I look pretty freakish, but I blended in pretty good with the rest of the crowd this day if no other.
Hope everyone had an awesome time, and it was great just to see that many magic players all in one place! Hope to meet you soon on the folding table battlefield. Ta-ta for now!