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Saturday, October 31, 2009

ZEN Game day

At the time of the T2 rotation I built a B/R aggro deck that I later modified to include Bloodchief Ascension. I build this deck because it could take care of Bant and Jund that was being played at that time. In the mean time players started to include more and more Zendikar cards. 5/4 cc, UWR controls, boros aggro, mono red aggro etc. I wasn't really sure if my deck could stand it. I knew that vampires shouldn't be a problem, Jund decks should be fine, some UWRs should be more or less fine. I tried it against boros landfall, kithkin soldiers and goblins and it worked more or less.

I decided to go to Magic Game Day in Cerny Rytir. But before that I wanted to test my deck a bit. I went to Outpost and tried few games about some "all (mythic) rare + rampant growth and llanowar" deck. I lost every single game. Then we tried to play some highlander games. I played with Turbolands which is a deck that I can play with and win usually. But that day was probably not my day. I started to think that the decks are trying to tell me not to go to the standard tournament the day after.
We switched decks after some unfortunate games. And you know what? I knew what my opponent played and guessed the nature of it. But you know what I ended up with? Lands, fetching lands and even more fetching lands. It seemed like turbolands deck o_O It looked like I would be playing a COMPLETELY different deck from the one I played against.

After that I went to play against someone else (Lukas 2 in this case) and lost every single game as well. I was like WTF? People started to make fun of me, that I can't play Magic etc. At first it was ok, later it wasn't that fun.

People for the upcoming draft gathered and were watching us play. I even kept a hand with 4 lands and almost nothing to play (lightning bolt and burst lightning). It was one of my best hands that day^^. I lost anyway. I was pretty annoyed as I knew that this deck could win quite easily over that control and even against that all rare deck. My deck was on strike probably...

Anyway both Lukases tried to convince me to come tomorrow so I decided to come.
I arrived at 8:50 to Prague frozen to death (0 dgrs celsius was quite surprising). I went to Cerny Rytir and found out that it was closed and wouldn't open till registration time (10am). I met a group of three players there trying to figure out how Planeswalkers work but I decided against telling them how it works as I did not want to get in any problems.

On my way "somewhere (warm)" I met Ondrej so we went to McDonalds together to prepare our decks, sideboards and play few games (other groups of players were there already too). I played against some Junds and was quite happy with the result. I borrowed Goblin Guides, lend few cards and then I was quite ready (I forgot my goblin guide, thought hemorrhage cards at home^^).

First Round
I was expecting to play mostly against Junds and in the first round I hoped to play against someone rather inexperienced. I ended up paired against Tony with his who knows how many color control. Planeswalkers were quite annoying, especially Ajani Vengeant but Pithing needle worked later^^. I have to say that Wall of Reverence twice in play + later Shepherd of the Lost was a problem. Especially taking in account that these creatures have flying and I can't get past them.
My opponent sided White Knights and showed me few Trusty machetes. I have to say that the first strike + protection from black was something I wasn't really happy with. I had two fallouts on my hand though. I played one when my opponent finally decided to equip the machete and attack. In his next turn though he played another White Knight. I was like WTF and played yet another fallout when he tried to equip the machete. When I saw White Knight in Tony's next turn on the table I just couldn't believe it. He attacked with him though and gave me the chance to kill him with my unearth+bloodghast creatures.

Next to me played Albert against some poor player. It was probably his first tournament and both players learned that players have some responsibilities and that there are rules to follow for each format. Albert being competitive and the other guy completely lost in the tournament...Quite sad.

Second Round
I was paired against Albert playing mono red goblins. I have to say that we had some interesting plays^^. Funny was when I put Goblin Guide in play and attack saying "ok, now show me a lightning bolt". Albert revealed the top card of his library revealing Lightning bolt (saying: "ah here's your lightning bolt"). It was his turn and he played Goblin Guide as well. It was my turn to reveal a lightning bolt. In my next attack my opponent revealed another Goblin Guide. And you know what? My next card was also a Goblin Guide. Lightning bolts killed our guides and we could continue in another series of "looks like mirror cards (that was hellspark elemental vs yet another hellspark elemental)" with the exception that I had swamps in play^^ and I later killed my opponent with Burst Lightning.

In the second game he sided Ruinblasters and destroyed my only Dual Land I had in play. This way I couldn't play Blightning (killing my opponent with it) nor Bloodghast if I would draw a swamp. I got the swamp but it ended up destroyed as well. With two mountains there was nothing I could do to win (even though I could have won this game if I would charge that goddamn Ascension).
In the third game I managed to win quite easily. I was simply faster. Fallouts could deal with all goblin tokens and SGC so..it was fine.

3rd Round
Tiberius and yet another control. I wasn't sure of the outcome but after winning the first game and seeing what deck he plays I decided to try siding as I did in the first round and won in a completely different way then the game I won before. It was quite interesting. At least my opponent was (probably) caught offguard because of my different approach.

4th Round
This is the round where everything went awry. I played against Jund and could have won. I won one game, lost the second. In the third game I lost because I missed two chances of doing 2 damage with my bloodghast. This is NOT the first time it happened to me. I'm used to put a land into play and then think about what to do. The moment I put it into play I was like "crap, my fallout trick won't work." as an afterthought I thought "yeah, this is going to cost me - a lost game". Too bad that it happened that way. My opponent went to 1 life. That Bloodghast attack would make me win this round. After that nothing mattered to me...

5th and 6th round. Same decks I played against. I wasn't happy about playing against this kind of controls. I can kill a Baneslayer or two and take care of planeswalkers but some crazy SPHINX with Flying AND SHROUD was too much for me. My only tactic was let my opponent tap his lands to play baneslayer and then get rid of the rest of them. The Baneslayer in play would die to Terminate most probably ... but well...

There was nothing I could do except run a heavy discard that would be most probably countered anyway. ^^ And TWO BANESLAYERS on the table? What the hell? Also after siding Adam showed me Harm's way and Vedalken Outlander. Both cards were in the deck only ONCE. Well, why not (still two baneslayers did the job).

I'm glad I went to the tournament. I could end up in Top 8 if I wouldn't mess the 4th round which is sad. SILLY mistake and the difference is so huge.

It was nice. Thanks to everyone.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Planeswalker by Lynn Abbey

The book's name hints that it will be probably about a planeswalker, more precisely about Urza. It is about Urza but not the way I would expect it. At the beginning we learn a bit about Urza's psyche, his regrets and his aim - vengeance against Phyrexia in the name of his "murdered" brother.

It wasn't regret that later sent Urza on his own private invasion to Phyrexia. It was revenge for his brother. Somehow Urza convinced himself he hadn't killed Mishra, the the Phyrexian Gix had done it...But Urza was Mishra's slayer. Not in his mind, though... Urza blamed Gix and plotted to get even. His motive was mad, and his invasion madder still. Urza attacked Phyrexia - one planeswalker against armies of demonic monstrosities. He lost of course...

We learn about Urza's moves and his psyche through a Phyrexian newt named Xantcha (at the same time learning about her own past). She became a companion to Urza. But never a real friend. Urza always cared about artifacts more than real people. It was Xantcha who after 3000 thousand years wanted Urza to become more sane and that is why she started to look for a person who could play Mishra's role. She found such person - Ratepe. Urza later claims that it was because of these two that he regained his sanity. But is truly a sanity?

Personal Rating: 2/5
I might write more comments later...
Really bad book in terms of almost everything. Might be because the author wanted us to have some empathy with something/someone who's not human nor anywhere near human. It alienates us from both the planeswalker and the Phyrexian and the only human and sane person dies.
I did not like the accentuation of the 'etherworldly' stuff either. Once, twice ok. But everywhere in the book, just to remind us that neither of these characters are human? That also makes the personalities of those characters broken.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

having a good day part 2

Bloodchief Ascension aggro vs Naya
I went to the bus station and almost collapsed from exhaustion. I knew I needed food and drink. I forgot earlier that today is actually a holiday so nothing was open. Too bad for me as these days I need to eat often and drink a lot. There was nothing I could get in Beroun (except the tournament place but that junk food would kill me) so I had to wait till I get to Prague. There I managed to get lunch and water. But I still felt like crap. I went to Outpost so I could drink either coffee or melissa tea whichever would help me get better.

In Outpost there was a highlander tournament so I watched few games. Then I went to check a group of 4 people struggling with Magic: The Gathering. I asked the fifth not playing player if he does not want to play with me. He took a madness deck and we played few games.

After that I played against Stepan (Bacil). He played with my Naya deck against my Blightning/Ascension aggro. One of the games is worthy noting here.

My opening hand looked like
2x bloodghast
1x hellspark elemental
1x bloodchief ascension
3x mountain

I was hoping to draw a swamp later or some red cards later. In my 4th round I managed to get a swamp and put the Ascension finally in play. My opponent got damaged by my hellspark elemental in the meantime. To get the first counter I played Blightning. I wanted to keep the card but I had nothing else except it to deal 2 and more damage. My opponent unwisely put a dual land untapped to play so I got a second counter. I played a lightning bolt then and was hoping that my opponent wouldn't destroy my Ascension too early. I drew a card and you know what? It was another Ascension. I put it in play.

Stepan produced Ajani from somewhere and decided that I don't need my Cairns anymore. That meant I wouldn't be able to put Bloodghasts in play.

Later my opponent played boggart ram-gang. I was pleased. One little terminate and first card to trigger the first Ascension and charge the other one. My opponent went to 4 lives and I got to 22. In the next few turns my opponent did not let me untap my Cairns and I did not draw any burn spell. Stepan put Qasali Pridemage in play and sacrificed him right away which cost him another 2 life. I got another counter on the second Ascension but I had no idea how to charge it or how to get rid of Ajani's counters as he got 7 already and I still had NO burn spells on my hand.

Stepan sacrificed Ajani and my lands went to graveyard. I wasn't really happy about it as I haven't drawn a land card since a long time. I was waiting for a slow death. My ascension was fully charged though so I wondered if that could save my life. In my next round I drew Blightning and wasn't happy about it. I could have played it on myself and discard both Bloodghasts. Without any lands I had no chance getting them in play normally..I had 6 cards on my hand so I getting more then seven cards shouldn't be an issue.

Stepan was at 2 life, had two fetch lands, few duals in play (he was rather mana screwed considering the fact it was turn "A LOT" and couldn't use the the fetch lands as that would kill him), pridemage in play attacking me each time. He got boggart ram-gang from his graveyard and put it in play. That was already too much for me but with my life total I wasn't afraid that much. I knew that sooner or later Pridemage would die^^. My opponent played lightning helix and then got rid of the Ascension. All I needed were few lands. Both bloodghasts were already in the graveyard and then...I drew my first land. A swamp^^. I put it in play, attacked with bloodghasts. One died because of a helix the second one got blocked.
My opponent played Ajani and used his Helix ability.
In my next turn I did the very same as in my last turn with the exception that I got a mountain and could hopefully destroy that boggart and kill Ajani.
In a third round I got yet another mountain. I was happy^^. I knew that my opponent has Path To Exile on his hand but that did not bother me. Land would help me kill him finally^^. I put down the land, bloodghasts got back in play, played Blightning. Both of my bloodghasts ended up in RFG zone^_^. Now with 5 lands I could do anything I wanted - from killing my opponent with 1 burst lightning, 2 of them, blightning or hell's thunder^^.
---------------------------------
It was fun. Soon after I had to leave. I did not feel much better but I felt like being capable of moving and not fainting in the process. I managed to come to NX's house.

There I tested X-Pad Extreme Dance Pad (or something in these lines). It is a hardfoam softpad and is much worse than I expected. (double) Bouncing effect, not accurate (lagging), bad sensor protection, wrong panel distribution etc.

After that we went to have a dinner and later we went to try out the new Dobra Cajovna at Narodni trida (Ostrovni). It was a really nice evening and I thank NX for it. Now it's going to be a pretty long night as too much tea means that I can't sleep. But well it was worth it.

Also I would like to thank Joza for the Extended tournament and Stepan for playing with me.

You made my day guys^_~.

having a good day...?

Beroun - Extended Tournament

Today an Extended tournament was organized by Joza in Beroun at Manazerska Akademie. I wanted to go there if I would manage to get up. Since Thursday I have quite some difficulties with getting up and I'm pretty low on energy. Anyway I got up and went there.
8 players came in total. I expected more (Joza as well). Not even the local people showed up. Seems like they are not really interested in constructed or what. I'm not sure if they even showed up for draft later that day.

Anyway at this tournament I had the chance to see something similar to Brian Kibler's Naya erm excuse me...Rubin Zoo Deck, Dark Depths+Hexmage combo deck, Thopter Foundry + Sword of the Meek combo deck, Doran deck, Affinity deck and Death Cloud decks (couldn't really name the deck myself...but its about death cloud...so well...).

I have to say that I've seen some really interesting plays and some really lucky top decks. One player hoped he could kill his opponent with a bit of luck. He looked at his opponent's hand with thoughtseize so he could discard something that would spoil his way to victory. The opponent smiling just showed him his hand - three times mana leak. The player just gave up shaking his head in disbelief.
Another player got really unlucky when he got one Muddle the Mixture but had to discard it. He drew another one in the next round but his opponent top decked another thoughseize...
As I haven't seen the Thopter Foundry combo up to that day I was quite interested in how this can work. I understood how it works in theory but I had to see it in reality to really see its power. I have to say that with Doran it was even better^^. Attack for three? Why not^^. And with gaining lives each time you sacrifice the Sword...nice. But I wouldn't play such a deck.

Anyway during the third round one player got up and went to the electronic yamaha in the room. After some time trying to figure out how it works and where to turn it on I found the button titled 'Power On'. I pressed it and it started to work. The other player played few pieces which I enjoyed a lot. Some of the other players still playing were making some comments like 'Oh, that's too much culture for us'. The weren't angry or anything so I took my turn and played a bit too. The key C1 and B2 were getting stuck. That was quite a problem as both of these keys were used a lot and hitting a key that does not produce a sound was pretty weird. It stopped us from continuing playing. Anyway this little distraction was really enjoyable.

One memorable quote would also be: "What are the goys' numbers?", "[counting the card types]...instant, sorcery...um 5. But hey Hexerei could count for a sixth type, couldn't it?"

Anime Party Decin

This weekend there was a 'small' local Anime Party in Decin. You could go see some anime, sing with karaoke, draw, color some anime characters, play Nintendo Wii games, try out Go, try some quizzes, play DDR etc.

Rare Items was a sponsor for an EverStep tournament (tournament in Machine Dance) and that's the reason why we came. We both took part in the tournament and had some fun. The choice of songs was good and the (tournament) system was ok too.

I took few photos from the event so you can check them out. Nothing much but believe me the event was good and these people get my respect!

Anime Party Decin

Friday, October 23, 2009

Brother's War by Jeff Grubb

This is one of the first books from the Magic The Gathering world. It is the second Artifacts cycle book (Antiquities).

This book tells the story of two brothers Urza and Mishra and their war that destroyed most of the world they lived in. The brothers are of a noble birth but their parents couldn't take care of them. That is how they ended up in Tocasia's excavation camp. Here both of the brothers took a real interest in artifacts. Mishra was more interested in digging them and Urza was more interested in actually studying them and later building them.

One day the brothers and their teacher discovered the ruins of Halcyon's caves where the portal to Phyrexia can be open. There something weird happened. The result of this was...Mishra's and Urza's planeswalk and one particular stone shattered. You both know the two halves - the weakstone and the mightstone.

Everything went wrong when the two brothers fought over the stones and killed their teacher in the process. Mishra ran away and was caught by Fallaji. He spent some time working there as a slave but was later saved by Hajar. He became the Qadir's son teacher. Urza on the other hand started to work in a clock shop. Later became interested in Jalum Tome which he could only obtain by moving a big statue from one place to another. In doing so he would become the local Princess' groom and would also get the dowry (the Tome was part of it). Urza did that and this way became the Chief Artificer of Kroog. He had almost all he needed to start working on his creations (starting with enhancing Ornithopters).

Later in the book both brothers become the heads of one or another nation. The brothers war that follows is something that strips the land bare. It is a war that is thought with artifacts but amidst all these artifact creatures a group of scholars finds out about mana - the memories of (certain) land. The first to find this out is Hurkyl who is capable to return the artifacts to where they came from.
Not only the group of scholars use magic though. Elves from the island Argoth always used magic and fought against artifacts. Urza himself in the end discovers the power and becomes planeswalker.

The final conflict between the brothers (and the brotherhood of Gix) results in a disaster that provokes an Ice Age.

note: the book also tells the story of Ashnod and Tawnos apprentices to Mishra and Urza.

Personal Rating: 4.5/5
Note: Book based on a TCG but doesn't need to be considered that way. You don't need to be Magic player to know what's going on in the book. Magic players will be surprised about how well Grubb managed to put everything from Antiquities in the book without spoiling it but making it better for us.
There's not a single story going on in the book which is good. All stories are complete and don't really lack anything which is good. The book itself (even though having a prequel and sequel) is good by itself and does not feel like a short novel as some of the other Jeff Grubbs book do.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mortal Kombat 4

Today after not really pleasant incident with my mother I left 2 hours earlier than I normally do. I did not eat anything and did not plan on getting anything as my stomach wouldn't be able to digest anything at that moment. I went directly to Outpost were two people were.

I spent some time crying and trying to collect myself. Partly it worked, partly not. I red a few lines from Brother's War but couldn't really concentrate on it. Then I went back to the other room and found out that Jirka was playing Mortal Kombat 4. I asked him if he would let me play and he did.

I chose some random character (Scorpion) and tried my luck. In those few fights I realized that I'm used to a different key setup so I changed it to my original MK1 setting and found what I was using for run and step in/out in MK4. After Reiko kicked my ass and I set the right keys I decided to finish the game this time. Even though the keyboard was lagging and sometimes when there was too much stuff going on the game was slowing down and the response time got longer.

I got Scorpion and Rayden for this and beat the game with more or less (actually LESS) success. In the end Shinnok was defeated and I (Scorpion)became the Supreme Mortal Kombat champion. I felt like a MK noob but it took me a while to realize what game I'm playing and what I can do in it. Still when Jirka said "throw the stone" I reacted in the right way...my character on he screen picked up the stone and threw it against my opponent (it was a reflex).

After playing MK4 for some time my mood got better. But it's only temporary. I know that coming back home will inflict the very same damage and I'm not really prepared for it.

Now I should be at school having Sound Production class but the lesson is canceled. Our lovely teacher is injured and spent some time in the hospital. I hope she'll be fine. Seems like today is a bad day for that. As another of my friends got seriously injured.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

WotC not wanting altered cards to appear on eBay?

MC199 eBay Account Suspended: Trademark Violation - Unauthorized Item (XXXX)
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Dear XXXX (XXXX),

Your eBay account is suspended for at least one year for violating our policy.

The rights owner or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the rights owner, Wizards of the Coast, Inc., notified eBay that this listing violates intellectual property rights. When eBay receives a report of this type of violation, we remove the listing to comply with the law.

It's against the law to sell fake or unauthorized copies of a brand-name product. It can also be misleading for buyers. So if the product you're selling bears the brand name or logo of a company, but it wasn't made or authorized by that company, you aren't allowed to list it on eBay.

Reason for suspension:

-----------------------------------------------------------------
MC019 eBay Listing Removed: (XXXX)
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Dear XXXX (XXXX),

Thank you for your recent listing on eBay. Unfortunately, we removed the following item(s):

because Wizards of the Coast, Inc. reported it to us for violating their intellectual property rights. When eBay is notified by a rights owner of an intellectual property rights infringement, eBay must remove the item in order to meet certain legal requirements.

Questions about the specific violation should be addressed to Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

You can send an email to: marcella.allen@wizards.com


Well, I thought that Avex Trax taking down videos from youtube was bad, but this?
Altered cards are NOT a copy of the product but the product itself. bah...

Arid Mesa - taking browns to the next level!

It's been a while that I wanted to extend Arid Mesa. I did it today...and I'm pleased with the result.

Thran by J. Robert King

This book tells us the story of a Thran named Yawgmoth. He was exiled from the technologically advanced Thran empire because his unorthodox methods of healing. He was convinced that not only magic can heal a 'human' body and he was right. He was fascinated by the mechanics of the body. He later started to experiment with diseases - curing them but also infecting others with them.

Yawgmoth was called forth back to the Thran Empire to cure Glacian, a genius artificer. Yawgmoth found out later that the illness comes from the Untouchables, people being banished from the city (to caves beneath) so that they wouldn't infect the others. After realizing this Yawgmoth used his knowledge (about manipulation and domination) and his healing skills to dominate the Thran people. He managed to get to the top and get the power over most of the Empire.

Elves, catfolk, dwarves, minotaurs and other Thran though made an alliance to fight Yawgmoth.

Yawgmoth finding out about the planes of Multiverse came with an idea. He would move his people to a different plane and there he would rule them. A planeswalker Dyfed found him a dying artificial world. Yawgmoth came there as its ruler/god and moved the Untouchables there. He cured their disease and started to play with their bodies (and minds). He started using more artificial implants to improve his people. A religion/philosophy came out of this. The less human flesh (replaced by metal) the better being.

Yawgmoth continued in the transformation of his people for about 9000 years and was preparing himself for the domination of Dominaria if by a chance a portal from/to Phyrexia would open.
------------------------
Personal rating: 4/5
Who needs a good hearted protagonist? Or some "new" planeswalker to have a good book? Even without magic itself in its known form we have a good story and a pretty good antagonist character.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Magic demo

I have to say teaching people Magic is not an easy task. And playing with little boys thinking they can do whatever they want is even more tiring.

Today I spent most of the day trying to teach the basic rules of Magic: The Gathering. I have to say that boys in the age between 9-12 had real difficulties with concentrating on the turn phases/steps and couldn't really memorize effects of certain cards. Explaining something like shroud and first was already a problem.
Some were performed better some where completely lost.

Adult players were faster in understanding the basic rules and did not need explaining different kinds of permanents (explaining what is an enchantment and sorcery/instant was quite difficult for some younger players to grasp!! not to mention that explaining what the card does is not sufficient for the player to understand how to actually use it). As usual there are things that people don't grasp at first like the fact that mountain is not a red permanent. I also got a bit stuck when explaining combat damage and triggering/playing abilities. Normally I would just put it on the stack and everything would be fine but now I got a bit lost in it. So next time I rather don't want to start about stack at all. (Unless it comes really to using the stack).

I also played against some players who think they can play Magic and are good enough to be capable of winning something. There were two groups of such players. In one group there were people cheating on purpose and not really playing by the rules consciously. I have to say that after trying to cheat on me for several times the players could at least give up at that. And I was probably too naive thinking that they would stop doing some illegal actions over and over again. I explained about 5 times what regeneration is and what it does, I tried explaining RFG and graveyard zones but the player just did not get it or ignored me ... Also players shuffling their decks so they would have what they need is erm not fair. I hope they will get few match losses and will think about the way they play a bit.

In the second group there were people who have expensive cards/decks but have no idea how to play. I have to say that with these it pains me to play against them. But I have to say that I coped with playing against bad players better than my colleague.

Also after few hours of playing I realized that my concentration and ability to even count my life total went down a lot (I started to use dice for life total..). Being so disoriented and trying to explain something is quite hard.

Now I'll probably dream about that...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hand Drawn Animations

In the past week I managed to get 2 hand drawn animations done. Both of them are 50 frames animations.

At first I had no idea what to animate. I was told, do what you are used to drawing. The only thing I can draw to some extent is... well a character. I started drawing some guy doing karate katas and got stuck on turning in space. I could do techniques well but moving in 3d space on a 2d paper was quite hardcore. After trying few more stuff like doing a fight scene in 2d etc I completely gave up and tried to think of an easier movement than this. I came up with few Para Para movements and did them.
It took me a lot of time to do this. Even stepping left and right and moving the hands is not that easy (because it's not JUST the hands that are moving but the whole body is shifting its balance etc).



The second animation is a small dragon getting out of an egg^_^.



What I learned? It's not easy to animate complex moves and especially do animation 3d space. But also it does not need to be perfect and reality close to look good^^.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Drawing - Scrap no. 11

Another from the school sketches colored. I did not take much time to color it. The resolution it is uploaded to deviantart is the original size I worked with. I might work on this more later...

Drawing - Hihumi revisited

Quite some time ago I made a fast sketch of Hihumi. It was at the time when I started working on my Hihumi costume. I never finished the drawing. So after painting magic cards I decided to work on a bit "bigger" canvas. The image size is 517x700 and that is actually the original resolution I worked with. After painting on 63mm x 88mm area this seemed like a pretty HUGE space to work with...^_~

Friday, October 2, 2009

Zendikar Launch Party or FNM?

Yesterday I drafted Zendikar with few other players. And as I already played drafts and sealed decks during the past few days I did not want to spend even more money on Zendikar. We had an appointment with Molik and NX but he said that he does not have time so I ended up in Outpost. There I spent some time testing my Vampire and Soldier T2 decks but I did not learn much.

Launch party started but no one was really interested in sealed deck. Many people came for a draft though. I signed up after some time trying to figure out if I want to spend money on it or not (as I hardly sold anything from previous drafts).

Now a more serious report from the FNM. My final result was really bad but the games themselves were really "epic" or "hilarious" as some people would say.

I started drafting mono black getting black vampires. Later I got 2 Hagra Diabolists and started getting Allies in Black and Green. I did not get too many of them and got slightly of color getting Narrow Escapes, white quest and some creatures. In the meantime I got green baloths, larva, gladeheart etc.

1st Round
Game 1
I was paired against Ivan playing a blue/red deck with flyers (blue) and some bigger creatures (red) and burn. My opponent got a wall-like creature (some Kraren) in play. Later he added two fliers (both being 1/2). Each round he was attacking with them. My first creature on the table was Giant Scorpion (1/3 Deathtouch). Too bad that it does not have Reach. I used him for attacking as I was sure my opponent does not want his defender dead. Later on my opponent got a bit more lucky then me and top decked a 4/3 vanilla creature. He thought he would kill me with it and it actually looked like that. Too bad that I top decked Spidersilk net^_~ and equipped the Scorpion with it. In the next turn my Scorpion finally killed one of the attacking creatures (the 4/3 vanilla). In that round I played Narrow Escape on one of my lands. In my next round I did almost the same. I killed another creature with my scorpion and then bounced back my Kabira Crossroads (at that time it was my only source of white mana). I also top decked Grazing Gladeheart. With this I could gain more life and I managed to get 15 life from 1 life. (in the meantime my opponent was still attacking me with his creatures and I was always killing one of them hoping that he would run out of them sooner or later). I started getting creatures on my own too and managed to get to the point where my opponent had 5 life. I was waiting just for one Ally to finish the game fast. But no... Ally did not want to come. Anyway after a really long fight I won the first game.

My and my opponent's life total during Game 1, Round 1

Game 2
In game two I started with doing two silly mistakes resulting later in the game losing just because of that. I would have won easily if I wouldn't be stupid. eh...rather not comment on this. The game was rather short compared to the first one.

Game 3
When we were starting our third game we had heard that we have just 3 minutes to finish the game. My opponent's draw was good and he thought he would kill me in those few minutes. He got 3 creatures in play (1/2, 2/2 flyer and 4/3) and was attacking me each round. 7dmg per turn? Not bad. But he had to deal with Narrow Escapes and Vampire's Bites. The game ended in a draw each of us having 12 life.

Round 2
Game 2
I started wuth Kabira Crossroads gaining two life and then I was just putting lands in play. My opponent showed me two Zekthar Expeditions early in the game (I wasn't happy about it). I used disfigure on one and I had to let the other one pass through. In total I lost 13 life in that round (could have been much worse...ufff). At end of turn I played Narrow Escape. In my turn it was my turn to attack and than I played another Narrow Escape on Kabira Crossroads.

When I finally thought that I might actually win the game Ob Nixilis "entered the battlefield". My opponent put a land into play and triggered the ability. I wasn't happy about that either. I thought it would be my end but I top decked Grazing Gladeheart and started gaining life. Ob managed to do more damage but I was drawing lands and putting them in play. Eventually I got the chance to block Nixilis and kill him with my scorpion. After this it was my turn to start dealing damage. My opponent went down to 6 life and I went to having 22 life. When I thought the game can't get worse Nixilis came back. And it still wasn't the worse thing that could have happened because my opponent pulled out Sorin Markov out of his sleeve!

This guy killed one of my creatures and gained him two life. That meant that I could not kill my opponent with one attack (I should have killed Sorin and dealt with the player later but I messed that up). In that attack all but one creature my opponent controlled died. Sorin was still there killing my creatures though. Another red Expedition arrived in play. With Electropotence, Sorin and Trusty Matchet this elemental could have dealt 18 damage. My opponent got distracted though and did not manage to kill me. I went down to 11 and was ready to fight for my life till the end but my opponent gave up thinking he would die. (I dealt 2 dmg to him with river boa/he got two life but did not use Sorin's ability in the previous turn).

With the mistakes on my side he should have won. But I guess he was too nervous for that. Even though I have to note that my first opponent was REALLY nervous when playing against me and losing the first game. He was SO CLOSE to winning.

Round 3
Game 1
In the last round I played against blue/green deck. The game looked somewhat like
STS: Kabira Crossroads
OPP: Island, Caller of Gales
STS: land
OPP: the U land that gives you 1 life, attack with Caller of Gales
STS: land
OPP: the U land that gives you 1 life, attack with Caller of Gales
STS: land, Giant Scorpion
Few turns later my opponent had still the Caller of Gales in play. He had completed green quest and Territorial Baloth in play. He sacrificed the quest, played a land, gave Baloth flying and attacked for 10. I was just smiling. My life total went down to ten.
In my turn I had Larva, Giant Scorpiom in play. I played Territorial Baloth, my opponent's expression on his face suddenly changed. I played a land and played Harrow. My opponent's expression went even more grave. With Harrow I put two forests in play and attacked for 15. I won the game.

Game 2
STS: Kabira Crossroads
OPP: Island, Caller of Gales
STS: land
OPP: the U land that gives you 1 life, attack with Caller of Gales
STS: land
OPP: the U land that gives you 1 life, attack with Caller of Gales
STS: land, Giant Scorpion
... we spend about a minute laughing and wondering how this is possible. Note that I shuffled my cards by piling them, doing few faro shuffles and letting my opponent cut the deck. I took a mulligan and shuffled the deck the very same way as before drawing the first 7 cards. Note that this was LIMITED!!!! I had few cards in play sets in the deck (narrow escape and vampire's bite) but not these ONES. (same story on my opp's side)
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Even though I placed badly I have to say that I don't regret spending the money. I had lots of fun playing those games. But now...I should finally stop drafting 3x a week!! (or I should sell some of my cards to get some money for that)

Purifying Fire by Laura Resnick

Purifying Fire is another book from the Planeswalker series (Magic: The Gathering book thus). This book is about Chandra Nalaar and her inner struggle with her past and her undisciplined self.

We meet Chandra Nalaar who for some reason steals an ancient scroll and brings it with her to a (Fire Mage) Monastery so they could study it. A blue mage comes after her and takes the scroll back. That's quite a rash beginning. At first Chandra is reckless and really thick headed. She just cares about herself and does not really think about the consequences of her acts. It's just about her getting what she wants for no matter what price.

At first I thought that Chandra would be really insupportable but later on she hopefully matures a bit (Chandra Ablaze might be actually quite ok).

The whole story is rather short and not developed fully for a novel (it feels more like a prelude to something bigger). Otherwise the book is entertaining and well written.

Personal rating: 3.5/5

Can't really say more about it...it needs a sequel. ^_~