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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bracelet luck charm

After doing this I think that I can actually do quite a nice little rings^_^.

A new bracelet.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Cat Luck Charm

I have a new cell phone! A smart one^_~ and well that deserves some kind of charm. Well I love cats so it had to be cats! I collected what I could in the house and started working and this came out of it.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Super Dungeon Explore- Wyrmlings and Hatchlings

I tried to make the dragon hatchlings and wyrmlings more interesting. It it not end up exactly the way I wanted. My brush failed on me (I need to buy scissors). The minis are more colorful though and that is good^_^.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Super Dungeon Explore - Kobold Dragon Priests

Almost complete!! (not drybrushed yet...)

Still can't figure our how to take photos of these minis. Anyway this is more or less how they look like.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Super Dungeon Explore - Chests

Here are finished mimics and treasure chests. (some unfinished...)

Test of Metal - Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas?

One of the Planeswalker novels is named Test of Metal and is written by Matthew Stover. It hit the stores on 2010. When I wanted to buy it was already sold out to my surprise as I expected no one would want something like.... a Planeswalker Novel? I did not order the book from anywhere because the book could be anywhere between really bad to passing good and I wasn't sure if it would be worth the money.

I received this book as a present two days ago.

Anyway I started reading yesterday night and finished the book few hours ago. And that's something notable. I don't usually read Magic: The Gathering (or any book) book in one go (unless it is The Thran or Brother's War) and this book made me laugh and entertained me for the rest of the night.

In the book we will find out a bit from Tezzeret's past (could have been more there) and about one particular task Bolas sent him to do. There were other Planeswalkers involved and the reader can read the story from their points of view (Jace and Baltrice). This is quite a nice thing to do, but the author of this book could at least use different language for each planeswalker and create the illusion that they are grown up adults not some teenagers with power.

The story involves quite some time travel which makes things a bit chaotic. I did not really appreciate this much but what else could be used as an explanation?

Anyway the book is quite entertaining and written well enough for you to continue reading it. It is the dialogue that makes the book good. The story itself is good but well...it could have been better.

If you haven't read the previous one (Agents of Artifice) you don't really need to read it before this book. If you have read the book and would expect something similar then DON'T. This book is completely different.

Personal Rating: 3.5
The author could have used better language. I'm sure that both Jace and even the red planeswalker can do better and Tezzeret could be more like Yawgmoth and could use terms that are much more Magic: The Gathering-like or Fantasy-like.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Painting Miniatures - Super Dragon Explore

Ever wondered how an old Japanese (console) RPG could look like in reality? Well you can try it if you buy Super Dungeon Explore. But first you'll need to paint about 50 miniatures and that's my task for the near and more distant future^_^.

If you don't know anything about painting miniatures (that might be the case of many of those who bought Super Dungeon Explore) I'll give some pointers...or well after seeing/reading this post you might have an idea what it means to paint a mini. I'm not an expert or anything, anyone can do it. To be honest I loved to assemble models and paint them since my childhood so I kind of have 'some' experience but I never took this to the next level^_~

In order to get started I needed to visit two local game stores and I bought some stuff. (I usually have store credit at different places in our city and most of the time one store or the other does not have the thing I need). Brushes, glue, primers, anti-shine (matte) sealant, green stuff, exacto knife, paints, washes...

So I bought a new exacto knife or cutter or whatever. I'll call it a cutter. This cutter is something I use everyday now for different tasks. But well if you are going to paint miniatures you'll need it. There are parts that need to be cut into the right shape in order to fit. Also you'll notice some little blobs or whatever (it's called flash actually) that are not part of the model and need to be cut off/out as well. In order to get rid of it one needs something sharp, really sharp. ^_~

Green stuff is well...err.. there are models that even a cutter won't help much with and for those one will need something like this that will fill in 'the holes' and will make a smooth model. This is something one will notice this when trying to assemble the models.

In the case of SDE it's mostly the big models a most of the heroes (for the smaller models it's better to use liquid green stuff).

One also needs some paints to get started. Here's a pic of some I collected with time...

I also bought some primers. Red for the 'evil' minis and grey for the rest. Priming a miniature is an important thing. Good priming is something that will show even after you paint the mini with many (thin) layers (um..coats). The best solution to have a good primer is to spray the paint on the model (before I used to prime with a brush...never going to do that again).

Here is a photo of random two washes I used on my two last minis.

This is a picture of two brushes I primarily use - fine detail and insane detail. It costs quite a lot^^. With that now I can start painting! But there's a lot to do before one can actually start painting.

So yesterday and partly today it was assembly time! I assembled and glued together some Dragon Hatchlings and painted them. (Actually there should be two more somewhere but I couldn't find them...so hopefully I'll find them.)

Here's the result of the first few...I wonder if I should not make them a bit more crazy... (the photo does not show much detail unfortunately. taking photos at 3am is probably not the best time). Going to continue in the paint job after I get some sleep.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Underground Sea Alter

I bought some Underground Seas so I could play legacy. (Playing Legacy won't probably happen due to my situation now though). Two of the cards are heavily played and I was wondering if I could help the cards in some way. Altering a card usually works.

The colors on Underground Sea are too light for my taste though. Flooded Strand has similar kind of colors and I remember that it was a pain. I decided to add contrast and some more color to it...but doing this on Underground Sea? Not sure.

Anyway here's an attempt of how it could possibly look like. My flat mate said that it might be good to paint Jace or Dark Confidant there as well. So I might add that later. (but first I need to prepare a photoshop mockup to see how it would look like in reality and use that as reference.)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cube

Erm...my life's been really weird lately and I feel really bad and wish my life would just end. Fightning this mood is not really easy and I needed to find something really silly to survive day and night (everyday and night). I started sorting my Magic: The Gathering cards and I'm not nearing the end any soon. With my mood being like it is I'm not probably going to play in any tournament or show up anywhere so I was wondering what to do with my decks and such (in between wondering how I'll earn money so I could pay the rent and buy some food). As for my deck I'll just let them lay where they are. But there is still one format I'd like to play but for that I either need to play online or join another group of players. I'd rather play with those I know and would invite myself.

I'm talking about Cube draft. Drafting last sets is getting worse and worse. Innistrad was awful, Avacyn's Restored was even more limited, I'm not going to talk about core set and Return to Ravnica is fine but I don't like it that much either. But drafting all those powerful cards that sounds like a challenge and a lot of fun (not that drafting with trash cards or RTR would not be fun). I decided to put the online cube together and invite my friends to play.

I did not expect to gather all the cards overnight but I decided to give a try and see how many of those cards I can find in my flat which does not even hold all the cards I own. I printed out the list and started looking for the cards. It took ages to find even half of them!

There's a real mess in my room right now (for several days now). Cards are everywhere but it seems to be worth it. In few days I might actually sort all the cards (by color) and finish the cube.

The next day my room mate helped me a ton with the cube. We sorted the cards by color, type and name and sleeved them in perfect size sleeves. It was quite a difficult task...because getting few hundred perfect sizes out of different cards and putting these in was a nightmare. (not going to buy new ones if I don't need to, I will have to buy more than 800 sleeves of one color anyway...). Meanwhile I was running all over my room looking for remaining cards.

A day later we have 153 cards left to find or get which is much less than I expected. One can clearly see that my favorite color is blue^^. (most of the cards I have are blue. Cards from red are in minority compared to the remaining colors)

That's everything. One more useless post to my blog. But this one took ages and this really annoying activity saved my sanity...well actually it will continue for few more days.

EDIT: By the way it's worth about 5000 USD if you try to get the cheapest price on everything (and here I really mean CHEAP).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Happy Angel

On Sunday I requested to get my Real Edition back and I got it along with a long lost Dual Shooter. I managed to get Beatmania IIDX Sirius running and wanted to play really badly. There is so much stress and so many things not really going on well that I really need something to get rid of it... and one of the best way is to start hitting those 7/14 keys. (and not cut my finger once again). It helped.

A day later we went to see Cloud Atlas. A wonderful movie I'd say. So many connections and so well done. You might disagree but that's what I feel. After that some more Beatmania IIDX. I plugged in the other half of the controller and we played with my flat mate. It was wonderful. He was unable to hit the notes at the right time or pressed a different key and I realized that I kind of missed this. This game really makes you suffer for not being good at it^^.

With the other half working I could finally try some doubles. I'm no good at it. I mamaged to A Elisha on normal but that's about it. My skill is lost... Same goes for single player but well that's kind of easier.

I got a new skill though. Those 2 notes streams don't make me cry anymore. It seems that playing Jubeat actually helped me with something.

Today I went back from work - not really feeling well. I poured some Irish Cream in a mug (^_^ nothing better available) and drank a bit. In the meantime I let the 'machine' boot. Played few songs...when playing the first song I noticed bluish mist coming out from the turntable and decided to capture that somehow. I did not managed that well on a photo so I took a video. I like the colors, the flashing lights and the sound of the sanwa keys.

Hope you can enjoy that at least partly as well. Because I'd like to share this happiness.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Android: Netrunner LCG

Some of you might remember the game called Netrunner. It is a game that intrigued me and I liked it. But it was more for its flavor than the mechanics of the game. The real reason why this game was not the number one for me is because of its complexity. (I was too young when this game was released).

Netrunner was published in 1996 and the game was created by Richard Garfield, who is also the creator of Magic: The Gathering. This game was created later than Magic and there are some things that fix some issues that Magic has (mana screw/mana flood problem mostly). Anyway Living Card Games usually avoid this as well. But many (living, collectible, trading) card games feel similar. This one stands out in many ways.

Android: Netrunner is an updated version of Netrunner but that takes place in Android world (Fantasy Flight Games Android Board Game) which well for me means that it looks similar to Android. It looks great but does not tell me anything. So this time I look at this game from the mechanics point of view.

Netrunner is a game in which one player takes on the role of a Corporation and the other player takes a role of a runner - a hacker that tries to steal the Corporation's information. The Corp player tries to advance agendas and to protect the information about its operations it uses computer programs called ice. The hacker tries to hack into the system and needs to break the ice in order to get to the informatin. The Corporation player needs to play an agenda, protect it on the server by playing ice programs. Ice programs each contain of subroutines that try to stop the runner by various effects. There are also some tracing subroutines. The agenda needs to be advanced - a certain number of counters need to be put on it. When the number is the same as on the card you managed it and you score that card.

The runner on the other hand needs to attack a server containing a card. If he gets past ice he can see the face down card. If it is an agenda card he takes it and gets points for it. One of the interesting things here is the fact that server is also your hand, your deck of cards or your discard pile. In each of these zones there can be agenda cards and if the runner hits them he gets them.

When one of the players gets 7 or more points he wins the game. There are different win conditions as well though. They differ depending on what you play.

There are many things that can happen in the game but I won't tell you what exactly. Just try the game out. The game provides many options but many times you need to bluff as well. You can get into a really bad situation or a really good one. Being cautious and ready for everything can cost you a game as you won't be fast enough. There are moments in which you really need to risk. If there is something you forgot about than it will cost you a lot. You really need to know how to play with your opponent, there's nothing like a good play you could do without the knowledge of your opponents thoughts. You need to adapt or you really have to control. Many things can go awry and there are many things you need to track.

I really like this game. (I might write more about the game later...for this time this will have to do)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Horde of Notions Blink

For quite some time I wanted to build some blink deck. But I wanted it to be either Bant or UW and that is probably the reason why I was unable to build such deck. I always wanted to add some black and sometimes even red (but I usually drop the color as I usually want ot play 1-3 cards). I always abandonned the deck and tried something else.

Today though my flat mate started building Grand Arbiter Augustin deck so I tried a deck of my own. I did not care about general but rather filtered all cards with comes into play abilities. I put those creatures aside. There was about 70 creatures that seemed good to me. I cut down all the cards with 'draw a card' effect except Wall of Blossoms and Baleful Strix and then started eliminating cards with mana cost like xRR or xBB. In the end I came up with 100 cards that seemed relatively ok. I wasn't sure if the deck would work especially when I did not take much time looking at the mana base. I just picked some lands I had on the table and put them in (that wasn't a good idea).

Anyway I played with the deck and had quite some fun even though my opponent could hardly enjoy the game as he was playing an aggro deck that could hardly deal with my creatures. I'll need to test this deck against something more disruptive than his deck. Anyway there are cards that will have to go and my deck will have to change its manabase. Cards like Puppeteer Clique were almost impossible to play and I hardly managed to get all five colors. Deadeye Navigator is a card I like but is too expensive. Not sure if I'll keep it. I'm not entirely fond of Wrath of God or Oblivion Stone either but I had to try those. I have to say that Oblivion Stone saved me in one game today already.

So here's the first decklist without any changes made to it. I need to change the mana base. I need the dual lands to be fetchable and be a forest if possible. And cards that need 4 colored mana should be also replaced...^^

Horde of Notions Blink
Creatures [40]
1 Acidic Slime
1 Angel of Despair
1 Armada Wurm
1 Avenger of Zendikar
1 Baleful Strix
1 Blade Splicer
1 Centaur Healer
1 Deadeye Navigator
1 Eternal Witness
1 Farhaven Elf
1 Fauna Shaman
1 Flickerwisp
1 Gilded Drake
1 Grave Titan
1 Huntmaster of the Fells
1 Karmic Guide
1 Kitchen Finks
1 Loxodon Hierarch
1 Mistmeadow Witch
1 Mulldrifter
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Primeval Titan
1 Puppeteer Clique
1 Restoration Angel
1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Shriekmaw
1 Snapcaster Mage
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Sphinx of Uthuun
1 Spike Weaver
1 Stonecloaker
1 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Sun Titan
1 Thragtusk
1 Venser, Shaper Savant
1 Wall of Blossoms
1 Wall of Roots
1 Wood Elves
1 Woodfall Primus
1 Zealous Conscripts

Planeswalkers [1]
1 Venser, the Sojourner

Spells [20]
1 Bant Charm
1 Beast Within
1 Cloudshift
1 Conjurer's Closet
1 Farseek
1 Ghostway
1 Liberate
1 Mimic Vat
1 Momentary Blink
1 Nature's Lore
1 Oblivion Stone
1 Otherworldly Journey
1 Parallax Wave
1 Path to Exile
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Turn to Mist
1 Wrath of God

Lands [38]
1 Arid Mesa
1 Bayou
1 Breeding Pool
1 Command Tower
1 Flooded Strand
5 Forest
1 Hallowed Fountain
4 Island
1 Marsh Flats
1 Maze of Ith
1 Misty Rainforest
2 Mountain
3 Plains
1 Polluted Delta
1 Reflecting Pool
1 Savannah
1 Scrubland
3 Swamp
1 Taiga
1 Temple Garden
1 Tropical Island
1 Underground Sea
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Wasteland
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills

EDIT: -1 Puppeteer Clique
- 1 Centaur Healer
+ 1 Glen-Elendra Archmage
+1 Necromancy

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Graduation 2012

We did it!

Playmat draft - Stoneforge Mystic

I'd like to create a custom playmat and that is why I started drawing some mystics. I wanted something special that would show the mystic, a sword and a 'bird' if possible. I couldn't come up with something till I actually (by accident) saw JJ's alters of SFMs. I decided to use that as reference and tried coming up with a version I'd like. But it's quite difficult. I will be drawing on the playmat with copic markers and for that I need something rather precise and I need to learn how to work with them and I need to figure out how to make my mystic look good. Quite difficult task but challenge accepted!

I don't have a scanner so I had to take a photo. So far I have 4 versions and I'm not content with any of them^_^

Ajani, Caller of the Pride alter

I was asked by Zdenek to alter his Ajani which he won at one booster draft. I said I would try it but that it does not need to end up good. The yellow color was alarming already. Yellow paints are a pain and I have to say that those I have are really bad. I have to come up with a way how to paint with them so they look ok and that the paint underneath is not so visible.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Birds of Paradise Alter

Last week I wanted to do a Birds of Paradise alter but the only one I wanted to paint on was Birds of Paradise from 8th edition. I took the card and tried priming it but something unexpected happened and I rather not want to talk about that. Anyway the card in its original state was in a bad shape as you might see in the photo below.

So it had to be a full art alter in order to cover the damaged parts of the card. There were few ideas I had in my mind - night scene, Ravnica city, snowy scene. Or I could do something completely different...At that moment I was staring at my painting of Mount Fuji and that's what I wanted to do. I also remembered that I've seen Mount Fuji BoP already somewhere (done by Gali or Galli?) and I used that as a reference. I tried my best, but I'm not satisfied with it and this time it won't probably change. I'll have to do another one later to improve my skill and be more satisfied about it. (or paint over this one)

Here's the result.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

2HG EDH Series Usti nad Labem

There is an EDH Tournament Series in Usti nad Labem. Honza asked me if I would be interested in playing and I said yes. We would go there have some fun and participate in the tournament. For that we needed some decks that would not play the same cards. We both play The Mimeoplasm normally so one of us had to play something else. Honza got Niv-Mizzet (the new one) from me and he made this card his general. Thus some blue cards had to go from my deck (like Force of Will and Jace, the MInd Sculptor) and some stayed as I had better chances using them recursively. I was supposed to be the one playing threats and Honza would be backing me up with counterspells and such.

We arrived at the site early (oh dreadful place...) so we had some time to chat with other players. I wasn't introduced to anybody but everyone seemed quite friendly and no one made bad remarks or anything which used to be the usual in Prague or well other places I went to (won't name).

We were let in finally by the owner I presume. Some time later we registered and waited for the pairings. The TO then recapitulated rules for 2HG EDH Series - 45 life, free French Mulligan, 1 of 1 game, 60 minutes, no sideboard. After this there was a note about banlist. So we checked it once again (because the one on the internet wasn't the same as the one on the paper I received at the tournament) and found out that Intuition is banned. I put in Victimize that I bought earlier. I really like the card, should be some fun with it. Pairings followed soon afterwards.

We - Plazmadrak (meaning Plasm - Dragon) - were pitted against team named Selesnya (probably the player who named their team this way is a Selesnya Guild member - at least PWP site says I beat Selesnya member in round 1). They played Teysa and Jhoira. My opening hand features Bitterblossom and Sword of Feast and Famine so I decided to keep that hand. Turn 2 Blossom wins the games, ain't it right? Well, I did not play it on T2 because Jhoira player was untapped so it was T3 when I played it. Jhoira died to Lightning Bolt and Teysa player also played his general. I was attacking with my fearies and was wielding the sword. Teysa player was the one active. He played Shrine of the Loyal Legions. Later he played Liliana of the Dark Realms and was fetching some lands. We decided to ignore her and attack the player instead. Gideon Jura was played later but that did not ruin our plan. The card was bounced and turn later Time Stopped and my flyers could be attacking the player all the time. Jhoira player tried playing his general again but Jhoira was sent to Command Zone once again. Honza also played Vendilion Clique to see what cards he has on his hands. Nothing much - Foil, Counterspell and many cards he could not even play. The path was clear and I could play more or less anything.

In Round 2 both are deck decided to be on strike. Honza was unable to draw lands and I was on the other hand drawing just lands and mana producing creatures. Our opponents (Ustecti luckeri) were playing Kiki-Jiki and Teferi. The red deck was full of land destruction and most probably Blood Moon and Magus of the Moon. None showed up to wreck my mana base but I think that I wouldn't care. I was drawing fetch lands all the time and got all my basic lands in play. Kiki-Jiki player thus decided to start torturing Honza destroying him his Volcanic Island. Honza's hand was good and we would be alright if he could draw one more additional land in four turns. But this did not happen and later we were killed by Detritivore whom I feeded quite a lot with all those fetch lands (and destroyed lands). I tried my best playing Go For the Throat 3 times, Honza used Pithing Needle on Kiki-Jiki but this wasn't enought and we lost (two Detritivores were just too much). (Zealous Conscripts and Gilded Drake took care of my attempt of at least blocking)

Round 3 was the epic failure of all times even though we managed to win in the first additional turn after the round ended. This time we played against a team called Philipe Morris. One player played Oona and the other one Cpt. Sisay. The Oona player started with Isochron Scepter + Counterspell which was not good for us. I tried playing Sylvan Library so I would have better chance drawing Krosan Grip, Honza tried finding an answer as well but we were not lucky. Library was destroyed and we were in top deck mode waiting for a miracle. Hopefully we feeded the counterspell from Isochron Scepter with something and then played Venser bouncing it. But the Sisay player was already developing his board and we were facing Sigarda, Karmic Guide and Yosei. Not to mention that there was Sword of War and Peace and Umezawa's Jitte equipped to Sigarda. We were so focused on trying to deal with Sigarda that we forgot that we can kill them in one turn. Anyway we were producing flyers that could chump block Sigarda and when she could finally go through the player decided to attack us instead of killing Jace TMS or Garruk Wildspeaker. This was a pretty big mistake as that's what killed them two turns later. Time Stop was one additional turn for us and Cryptic Command allowed us to attack with Overrun (allowed me as I was the one with creatures) for 35 damage (lethal).

Round 4 was the fastest game. It was either us or them as we both decided to win via combo. Our opponents were playing Sygg and Grand Arbiter Augustin. The both played signets on their second turn followed by their generals. We tried countering GAA but the spell was Force of Will'ed. Later we tried killing the Augustin and we managed that. But tutor was played on Sygg player's side followed by Buried Alive into Triskelion + Phyrexian Devourer + Necrotic Ooze. Reanimate followed and we could just shake their hands.

Fifth round was relatively uneventful. Or at least we were not under constant pressure even though the decks showed us that they can actually do that quite easily and in one turn. One player was playing Damia and the other one Sigarda (our favorite^^). In this game the wierdest play ever happened. Damia player played Liliana of the Veil because he probably wanted to get rid of my Thrun (the only annoying creature in play). Liliana was Commandeer'ed. She survived the attack from the otherside of the table. Each of us discarded a card. In my case it was Woodfall Primus. I played The Mimeoplasm destroying a land with it (and one more land was destroyed by wasteland). I started outracing Sigarda but later we killed the opposing team via Lord of Extinction + Triskelion combo.

We ended up third and won some booster packs in which was 'nothing worth noting'. But the tournament was nice. We played 5 games, had some fun, made silly mistakes, won majority of the games...well it was nice. I'll try not to miss another tournament of the series.

Our decklist for those interest.

Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius
Creatures [12]
1 Deceiver Exarch
1 Gilded Drake
1 Glen Elendra Archmage
1 Goblin Electromancer
1 Grim Lavamancer
1 Jaya Ballard, Task Mage
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Snapcaster Mage
1 Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
1 Trinket Mage
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Venser, Shaper Savant

Planeswalkers [3]
1 Jace Beleren
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Tezzeret the Seeker

Spells [44]
1 Ancestral Vision
1 Batterskull
1 Coalition Relic
1 Comet Storm
1 Commandeer
1 Condescend
1 Control Magic
1 Counterspell
1 Cryptic Command
1 Cyclonic Rift
1 Desertion
1 Devil's Play
1 Expedition Map
1 Fire // Ice
1 Force of Will
1 Hinder
1 Impulse
1 Into the Roil
1 Isochron Scepter
1 Izzet Charm
1 Lightning Bolt
1 Mimic Vat
1 Mind's Eye
1 Mizzium Mortars
1 Muddle the Mixture
1 Negate
1 Oblivion Stone
1 Opportunity
1 Pact of Negation
1 Pithing Needle
1 Ponder
1 Preordain
1 Pyroblast
1 Red Elemental Blast
1 Remand
1 Remove Soul
1 Spell Crumple
1 Splinter Twin
1 Stroke of Genius
1 Syncopate
1 Time Stop
1 Time Warp
1 Tormod's Crypt
1 Treachery

Lands [40]
1 Academy Ruins
1 Arid Mesa
1 Barbarian Ring
1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All
1 Cephalid Coliseum
17 Island
1 Lonely Sandbar
11 Mountain
1 Riptide Laboratory
1 Seat of the Synod
1 Steam Vents
1 Sulfur Falls
1 Urza's Factory
1 Volcanic Island
The Mimeoplasm
Creatures [28]
1 Acidic Slime
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Deathrite Shaman
1 Elves of Deep Shadow
1 Eternal Witness
1 Fauna Shaman
1 Fyndhorn Elves
1 Genesis
1 Geth, Lord of the Vault
1 Grave Titan
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Lord of Extinction
1 Mulldrifter
1 Phantasmal Image
1 Rune-Scarred Demon
1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Sheoldred, Whispering One
1 Shriekmaw
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Sower of Temptation
1 Sphinx of Uthuun
1 Thragtusk
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
1 Triskelion
1 Wickerbough Elder
1 Woodfall Primus
1 Wrexial, the Risen Deep
1 Wurmcoil Engine

Planeswalkers [5]
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
1 Karn Liberated
1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Liliana Vess

Spells [28]
1 Animate Dead
1 Bitterblossom
1 Black Sun's Zenith
1 Brainstorm
1 Buried Alive
1 Careful Consideration
1 Compulsive Research
1 Damnation
1 Dance of the Dead
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Go for the Throat
1 Harmonize
1 Krosan Grip
1 Life from the Loam
1 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Necromancy
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Pernicious Deed
1 Putrefy
1 Survival of the Fittest
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Sylvan Library
1 Thirst for Knowledge
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Victimize

Lands [38]
1 Bayou
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Breeding Pool
1 Command Tower
1 Creeping Tar Pit
1 Drowned Catacomb
1 Flooded Grove
1 Flooded Strand
3 Forest
1 Hinterland Harbor
3 Island
1 Marsh Flats
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Phyrexian Tower
1 Polluted Delta
1 Reflecting Pool
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Strip Mine
1 Sunken Ruins
2 Swamp
1 Tropical Island
1 Twilight Mire
1 Underground Sea
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Volrath's Stronghold
1 Wasteland
1 Watery Grave
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Woodland Cemetery

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 + Ravnica expansion

Quite some time passed since I won the DotP expansion. I was incapable of downloading it in order to play it. But I was looking forward to it, because when Innistrad was out and new cards were added to DotP 2012 the game became really awesome. The games started to be good and fun and sometimes it even felt like playing constructed (still too far away).

Core sets are usually pretty dull and there's not much of interaction. What I liked in DotP is the little info about synergy, speed etc of your deck. That at least let me avoid decks I don't like at all. I finished the game with monowhite lifegain but that's not my kind of deck. I beat Bolas with a mill deck otherwise I wouldn't stand a chance, or at least playing aggro seemed pretty useless against Bolas's Cruel Control. Mill on the other even without any unlocked cards was a perfect choice!

Now with Return To Ravnica we get new decks for the game and there are new - multicolored - decks. There are cards from five guilds in Return To Ravnica - Azorius (UW), Selesnya (GW), Izzet (UR), Rakdos (BR) and Golgari (BG). One guild represents two colors...Each new deck in this expansion represents one of the guilds.

Azorius deck - Aura Servants - is build around Enchantments. The most interesting card in this deck is Sigil of the Empty Throne that let's you put a 4/4 angel token in play after you play an enchantment.

Golgari deck (Sepulchral Strength) - is build around sacrificing creatures and using them to your advantage (usually meaning ruining your opponent's plans via Grave Pact or Blood Artist). The deck's most annoying creatures are Mortivore which can get really big and can regenerate and Spiritmonger that can also be pretty big and it is also pretty difficult to get rid of it. There's some ramp in the deck so you cast big creatures earlier and a lot of good removal. The deck has Pernicious Deed main deck and Maelstrom Pulse that can just hit anything (ok, not a land...).

Players that choose Izzet have the chance to play with Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind. This card is so good - it deals damage to the opponent and it draws cards - everything a control deck needs. This deck has some really wierd creatures and quite a lot of burn effects. To be honest I don't like this deck much. I would expect more counterspells and more cards like Electrolyze or Prophetic Bolt (that do something and draw cards).

Rakdos (Grinning Malice) on the other hand has some nice cards. There are discard effects and cards that destroy creatures. This deck's aim is to kill what stands in its way, to discard threats and to deal additional damage via other cards like Lyzolda

Selesnya (Collective Might) just tries to overrun you with a lot of tokens and creatures and it can gain some life as well. There are cards that create tokens and cards that can make them bigger. It can either kill in one attack via Overrun or simply by shear number of the creatures.

As with any other deck you can unlock other cards and tune your deck. Promotional unlocks are much better and there are really strong cards and good old time's staples and even nowadays ones from Magic: The Gathering. This expansion brings life to the relatively dull game (compared to DotP 2012 which was way better in my opinion.) The expansion comes with 10 add-ons for single player campaign (5 for each) and new challenges. There are other small things you might enjoy like new personnas and new set of achievements but well, that's not something I'd pay for.

Overall this expansion makes the game better but still it lacks compared to the previous one + its expansion. I'd still say that it is worth the money though. I had lots of fun with this game while playing multiplayer mainly.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Brainstom no.2 Alter

After some serious meddling with scanner and this my mother's computer (rather its operating system) I managed to scan majority of my Brainstorm alter. It could use some work and I wonder what to do with the text box. I thought about adding something there, but nothing came to my mind and it was like 4 am so I decided to go to sleep. Anyway after this alter I think I'm going to try some other ones...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Harmonize Alter

I haven't done any alter in a long while so I needed to start with something easy so my hand would get used to holding a brush. As I slowly work on my EDH deck cards I chose one of those cards - Harmonize.

(I'm not entirely content with this alter...or rather I'm not content with how it felt when I was trying to do this alter. It seemed that my skill flew away or something.)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Standard? Bant Control

I've been playing Legacy for the past few weeks and haven't played anything else much. This Saturday though is Return to Ravnica Game Day and that is one reason to build a type 2 deck.

I started with Jund colors. I took all dual lands I could, added Kessig Wolf Run twice and some basic lands. The cards that seemed obvious were Olivia Voldaren and Thragtusk so I put those in. I added Rakdos's Return because I really like the card, Rakdos Keyrune because I just find it good (and especially control), Farseek because that card seems pretty important if I want to play such cards and then I was a bit stuck. What other creatures to put there? There is Huntmaster of the Fells for sure but what else? Removal? Dreadbore (Annoying walkers+creatures), Mizzium Mortars (Entreat the Angels), Pillar of Flame(Zombies) .... and Bonfire (not entirely sure about this one)? I just put all those cards together and tried playing with it. It seemed strong and relatively working.

But still what bugged me was that Thragtusk and Restoration Angel is WAY better than any combination of creatures in Jund and I really missed something like Think Twice. So I switched to Bant. There is one more possibility and that is Grixis as that keeps the cards from Jund I like and eliminates green which I don't like (decklist can be found here -> Grixis Control).

What I did not like in Jund was the fact that it was quite slow and was unable to draw some cards. (I could have added Disciple of Bolas or Underworld Connections) So I tried to avoid these 'issues' in Bant. That's where Azorius Charm and Think Twice come in. There's also Jace, Architect of Thought and Tamiyo even though her role is many times different and I'm not really fond of the new Jace.

My Jund deck also had problem with late game. It did not have something AWESOME just something good. Bant has access to Angel of Serenity and to Entreat the Angels for example. Angel of Serenity is a really strong card. Not only it can work as removal so you can attack for lethal but you can also get your creatures from the graveyard and get them back when Angel of Serenity dies.

The deck starts slow, either draws cards during the first few rounds or tries to ramp a bit. Sometimes Centaur Healer shows up which can either be an attacking body or just something helping you to survive. But getting to 5-6 mana is quite fast and then you can really play some powerful spells which can usually kill aggressive decks. There's a lot of removal against aggro decks and a lot of life gain. None of these though help against true control. There the battle is a bit different - it has to be you to be the aggressive player even though that you still have to control the board. That requires some heavy sideboarding even though it seems my SB is not enough.

No matter what here's my decklist from yesterday's Return To Ravnica Game Day. Building this deck was fun and I'm glad that I started with that. Now I want to build more decks and see what works and what not. In the end it was useful for one more thing - I won the RTR Game Day, I have another play mat for my collection. I really like this one.

Bant Aggro/Control

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Return To Ravnica Prerelease

Return To Ravnica prerelease tournaments bring something new. This time a player has to choose a guild he would represent. Today at the game store Mephit there were 14 players. Each of them chose a guild. The reasons why certain player chose this or that guild differed. Golgari was played by majority, Izzet followed. Two players chose Rakdos and other two chose Selesnya. Only one player played Azorious.

Before the tournament I wasn't really sure what guild to play. If I would choose without looking at the cards I'd go for Golgari. I'm registered as Azorious member though at Planeswalker Points. After seeing the complete spoiler I decided to play Junk or Bant. Bant were the colors I prefered. It was to be either Selesnya or Azorious. After seeing the guild promo card though I decided against Azorious and picked Selesnya. Grove of the Guardian seemed to OP to me.

I grabbed all the guild packs and distributed them to the players. While doing that I asked what the battle cry of the guild is. Some guilds cooperated some did not. After greeting all the players and explaining game mechanics we were ready to go. Most players already opened their packs anyway. I opened my first pack and the first card I saw was 2/2 Azorious Flyer. The card that followed (not counting token and land) was Supreme Verdict. In the next booster pack I opened Azor's Elocutors and New Prahv Guildmage. The other rare cards don't need mentioning. They weren't worth playing nor worth money (except one, but I still did not play it). Last I opened the guild booster pack and was quite dissatisfied with it. Except the promo there was no card I'd like to play. I threw the cards back in the box and finally build my deck. Here's the decklist:

2x Azorious Arrester
1x Gatekeeper Vine
1x Doorkeeper
1x New Prahv Guildmage
1x Call of the Conclave
1x Druid's Deliverance
1x Axebane Guardian
1x Hover Barrier
1x Vassal Soul
2x Rootborn Defenses
1x Skymark Roc
2x Hussar Patrol
1x Towering Indrik
2x Eyes in the Skies
1x Azor's Elocutors
2x Coursers' Accord
1x Trostani's Judgement
1x Grove of the Guardian
2x Azorious Guilgate
1x Selesnya Guildgate
1x Transguild Promenade

I was looking forward to the first round. In the first round I played against Rakdos player, playing Jund. My opponent started with small creatures with unleash and that actually dealt quite some damage to me. My Azorious creatures with Flash were destroyed even before they could block. As the number of opponent's removal had to be finite I waited before I would create 8/8 elemental token. If by a chance my opponent would still have a removal I had Rootborn Defenses ready. Now it was time for the Rakdos player to chumblock my 8/8 with Vigilance. I won a turn later. Second game was rather similar but it was army of centaurs that won me the game.

In the second round nothing much changed^_^. I played against another Jund. This time it was played by a Golgari Guild member. My opponent was using Scavenge as much as he could and it actually worked more or less. At least my Defenders weren't really good for blocking 4+ power creatures. Korozda Guildmage a Golgari promo - Corpsejack Menace did not help it either. I hoped that two copies of Azorious Arrester would give me enough time to draw a sixth land. It happened two turns later, so more of my creatures died and I even had to chumpblock with my defender. I managed to draw the land then and exile the annoying Fungus. After 20 minutes of relative stall I managed to finally get centaur token in play and populate. My opponent was attacking with one big creature each time. The creature encountered some Eyes in the Skies or Rootborn Defenses and died. I was waiting for Azor's Elocutors but they did not want to show up. When I finally drew the card I was already milling my opponent with one of my defenders. 5 turns later I won and I could choose if I would win with the use of Elocutors or wait for my opponent to draw a card (as there were no left).

In the third round it was again Golgari. This deck was faster and I was suddenly at 9 life. My opponent even gained some life and played more creatures. The creatures were small though - one centaur should be able to deal with the situation. But my plan was disrupted - Mind Rot was played and I discarded Eyes in the Skies a Coursers' Accord. The only reason that I was still alive was due to Arresters and Azorious Guildmage. The only card left in my hand was Grove of the Guardian. I played it and created the token. Guildmage was still alive so I detained opponent's creatures and went through with the elemental. In the second game it seemed that I would not survive. Detain mechanic nor 2/4 Patrols did not help me. I was down to 2 life and I thought that nothing would help me. Grove of the Guardian came though and solved everything. Azorious obviously needs to be hidden somewhere and command Selesnya units. But without Azorious guild aid I would be dead for sure.

After all those previous rounds where I played against Jund decks I finally had the chance to play against something different - Izzetu (with white). Izzet was too slow for my deck though. I couldn't kill 1/4 creatures but those creatures could not kill my creatures either. I waited till my opponent finally tapped all his lands and then created my first Centaur token. Later I added some birds and centaurs and was attacking each turn. My opponent did not have enough blockers to deal with it but occasional burn spell or counterspell slowed me down. The second game could bedescribed as Centaur swarm - an easy win for me.

I still had about 30 minutes left so I got up and went to scout some decks. The players that could possible play against me were still playing so I could check their Golgari decks. One of them had Vraska and Lotleth Troll on the table.

Guess against whom I played in the last round^^. Golgari with Vraska and Troll. My opponent played few creatures with the troll that can regenerate. But even that could not save him from my centaurs, birds and elementals. In the next game Vraska came early and she decided to ruin my mana base. Hopefully my mana fixation was good and even decided to come. I decided to destroy Vraska first before killing my opponent. I took me about 4 turns to finally kill her. My opponent though returned the card and played it once again. At this point I decided to ignore her completely and rather kill my opponent. I dealt him 16 damage in the first attack. He tried using Vraska on my elemental but I showed him Rootborn Defenses and then killed him in next attack with the help of Azorious Guildmage.

My result today was 5:0 (all 2:0???!!!). Next I distributed prizes to players and gave some extra booster packs to those who managed to get most achievements done.

Some players started to open their boosterpacks and no one seemed happy about it. So I took mine and well... here's a photo of what I opened.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Friday Night Magic

On Friday Night there were supposed to be two (actually three) events at Mephit game store. One player was interested in playing booster draft, 2 were interested in playing EDH tournament. In the end we had a nice 4 player EDH tournament.

There was me with Horde of the Notions, Jan Jestribek with The Mimeoplasm, Adam Holub with Empress Galina and Tomas Gottwald with Azusa, Lost but Seeking.

In the first round I played against Adam. I already played against the deck so I knew that I have two possibilities how to win. Either play a one drop or a man land that would kill my opponent or tutor Thrun, the Last Troll as fast as possible and win with him. I mulled to one drop and a land. I played that but Adam had Mishra's factory that could block all my mana dorks. They are not entirely the best attackers usually. So I played few creatures and then Adam played Merchant Scroll fetching Force of Will and Mystical Tutor fetching Polymorph. In the next turn Mishra's Factory turned into Kozilek. I had two answers to that but I needed to get rid of the FoW. I decided to play Acidic Slime as that could destroy both Compulsion and Kozilek in order to get it countered with that FoW. Kozilek was tapped for an attack and I sacrificed all my creatures in order to keep lands so I could play Jace, the Mind Sculptor on my turn. Anyway one of the creatures was Fauna Shaman so I discarded a creature and fetched for Shriekmaw. I killed Kozilek with it and then I hoped to win somehow. I was at 12 life which wasn't that good (Sylvan Library and Kozilek) as my opponent still had Faerie Conclave in play. I got Path to Exile later and hoped to get rid of the Conclave with it which I managed and everything was fine. I won. The next game was quite similar. This time I could actually attack with my mana dorks and later Thrun came. My opponent though played Acquire and put my own Wurmcoil Engine in play. I played Jace TMS and bounced it back. I was afraid of playing it as I couldn't get rid of it if it would change control once again (Jace died). But I got Batterskull to help me with that dilemma. Batterskull can be returned to my hand so I wasn't afraid of playing - it would either resolve or not. While in play it couldn't harm me. Batterskull resolved and my opponent was incapable of dealing with it nor Thrun.

In round two my Horde was pitted against Azusa. I wasn't really sure what to expect but soon I found out. My mana base was completely wrecked. My poor Arbor Elf was not even able to produce mana^^. I tried to survive and deal some damage but it was useless. So I hoped for a bit better mana producing creatures in game 2. It was better - Noble Hierarch and Fyndhorn Elves. In this game I actually got quite a lot of lands but I was unable to draw something that would make difference and my opponent wasn't really playing creatures either (except Azusa). I had a better plan for my Phyrexian Metamorph (than killing Azusa which was rather useless). I needed attackers in order to win so I copied Stirring Wildwood with it and then I hoped that these two lands, Treetop Village, Wasteland and Aven Mindcensor would do (even with Mindcensor Tomas always minus once managed to get a land from fetchlands, hopefully this allowed me to win as he dealt quite a lot of damage to himself this way). Tomas had Gargoyle Castle and Life From the Loam (and hell a lot of mana). So the number of Gargoyles would be growing if I wouldn't be attacking with my Stirring Wildwood. It came down to very similar life total and it was either me or Tomas, both of us tried to do the math and in the end it was me who came out of this victorious - my 5/5 Vigilance, Trample, Haste general helped a lot^^.

Last round - The Mimeoplasm. I'm not entirely sure what went wrong. I remember having too many lands and not being able to draw something better. I started with Noble Hierarch, Arbor Elf. I had Treetop Village that could attack for 4 but that wasn't lethal anyway. My opponent started to play big creatures which in the end kill me anyway. In the second game I was always one land short. I needed to deal with Volrath's Stronghold and Eternal Witness in the graveyard. I was unable to do so. Later it wasn't just Eternal Witness that bothered me in the graveyard. Anyway I managed to play Ajani Vengeant and keep him alive for a while. He kept Volrath's Stronghold tapped. I got Trinket Mage which tutored Nihil Spellbomb but still I was unable to play it all the time. I just needed that one mana. When Ajani died I finally managed to get rid of the land but still creatures in the graveyard waited for Mimeoplasm. I wasn't sure what creature was more deadly - Damia or Primeval Titan. In the end it was me who won even though my opponent drew many more cards and managed to get recursions working.

After this tournament I decided to never play this deck again. I should build a new deck and it should be more fun.

Tomas was heading to a restaurant to play some highlander and invited us as well. He also proposed that we could play with his cube. 2 of us agreed so we joined him and found the restaurant with the help of a taxi driver.

We needed to organize ourselves a bit and after some chaos we played some games. After a bit more chaos we ended up playing 2 headed giant games. Two of us played EDH with The Mimeoplasm as a general and the remaining two played regular highlander decks. My team mate played some mono red. My 'highlander' opponent played BG rock. His favorite creatures were Massacre Wurm and Wurmcoil Engine. Massacre Wurm killed all our creatures (except Wall of Roots) and dealt about 14 damage. But I did not want this card to kill us. So I stole the Wurm and copied it. This dealt less damage to the opponents but two copies of this creature would do much more damage later. I had Phyrexian Tower untapped so I could sacrifice the stolen wurm if something should go wrong. We won turn later.

After some of the players left 5 of us moved to a different place and we decided to cube draft.

Tomas Gottwald's Cube
With some alcohol in our bloodstream we started to draft. We prepared three 15 card packs and drafted them. My first pack was full of red cards - (Magus of the Moon and Stigma Lasher were among them). The card that caught my eye and I liked it the best was Pernicious Deed though. In the next pack I was interested in Sphinx of the Steel Wind. I picked that because it was a good creature and relatively playable. When I was passed Tinker I decided to go for artifacts. I picked all the Signets in more or less Esper colors (and bit of green). The mana producing artifacts were my only mana fixation and I already had cards with UWB in its cost or UUU. In the next packs I decided to be picking some lands. My first pick was Ethersworn Adjudicator. I picked Phyrexian Metamorph, Dungeon Geist, Spellskite and Kira as well to protect my BIG creature. After the second booster I also got Tundra, Scrubland, Flooded Strand and Breeding Pool. The last pack was an overkill. There was Jace TMS, Elspeth from Alara, Sorin from DKA, Underground Sea and some other cards I would consider playing. I picked Jace and passed Elspeth.

When trying to figure out what to play I in the end cut out all my draw spells and replaced them with removal some cheaper creatures because I knew that surviving might be a serious problem for me as I was happily passing cards like hallowed burial or day of judgment.

We played a 5 player game with our drafted decks. Tomas who was starting was heavily in red. Jan J. next to him was playing UWR and had all the mass removal in his deck. Jan V. who followed was the only really aggro deck there, he played Boros and had quite cheap creatures (and some more expensive ones like Gisela or Wurmcoil Engine). I was sitting next to him and that did not put me in a good position. I needed to rely on other players to deal with Jan V. creatures. Next to me was yet another Jan (B.) who played BG and he did not really show us much from his deck except Fauna Shaman.

I had many lands and all signets and tried to survive. Shadowmage Infiltrator tried its best to block some attacks but Elspeth ruined my plan. Sorin, Lord of Innistrad was trying to help me against Elspeth in that. His Vampires with Emblem were trying to gain me life so I wouldn't die as I couldn't block flyers till round 7. Jan J. played Day of Judgment and later Terminus that saved me some cards and I survived thanks to that. Tomas who started to be quite agressive as well solved the situation for me. He had Koth on the table and was attacking Jan J. who later played Gideon and even managed to kill one of Tom's mountains. Tomas played Zealous Conscripts, stole Elspeth. Used her ultimate ability and attacked Jan. J. Later he played Sword of Fire and Ice and with that killed Jan J and Elspeth. At that time I was finally able to get tinker and tutored Ethersworn Adjudicator and copied that with Phyrexian Metamorph. I wasn't afraid of Jan V. anymore. But still I needed to untap and survive one round (as Tomas and Jan V. could possible kill me if they joined forces). I let him deal me 7 damage getting me down to 6 but with time I got up to 12 and I felt save there. Adjudicator could deal with any creature on the battlefield except Zealous Conscripts. I had Jace TMS ont he table though and brainstorms helped me get to Gilded Drake that dealt with the Conscripts. I attacked for 26 and killed Jan B. Now it was Tomas's time to figure out how to survive. He had 6 mountains so he could kill something but still couldn't get rid of more than one creature in a turn. Jan V. who could hardly kill me played Wurmcoil Engine and showed us accidentally Chandra in his hand. My Sorin was at 6 counters so I could use his last ability. I destroyed Wurmcoil Engine, Koth and bounced my Gilded Drake. I attacked once again for lethal. I left my mana open (if by a chance my last opponent would play something that could possibly kill me). He did not but was still at 36 life or something. I was prepared for that already as I was holding Magister Sphinx in my hand for quite some time. (was a back up plan of how to 'gain' life). In the end I used the Sphinx to win as I would attack for less than 30.

Here's my really awkward decklist.

Esper!
Ethersworn Adjudicator
Magister Sphinx
Sphinx of Steel Wind
Gilded Drake
Tidehollow Sculler
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Spellskite
Dungeon Geist
Phyrexian Metamorph
Scrubland
Tundra
Golgari Signet
Orzhova Signet
Karakas
Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
Tinker
Dimir Signet
Kira, Great Glass Spinner
Flooded Strand
Shadow Infiltrator
Unburial Rites
Chimeric Mass
Mindslaver
Enclave Cryptologist
Blightsteel Colossus
Breeding Pool
Creeping Tar-pit
Vedalken Shackles
Path to Exile
Sphinx of Uthuun
Glacial Fortress
Pernicious Deed

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Jace 3.0 Fan Art by Sherry Sharon

Sherry Sharon drew this for her boyfriend and I added a bit of color. I don't know why but I find Jace's expression quite mesmerizing. In general I don't like the original painting but after seeing this...there's so much emotion in that. I've never managed to do something like that. Sherry clearly can do that.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Highlander Series

Each Highlander series tournament takes place at game store Outpost. I went there once again to see if I can end up in the finals once again. This time I did not lose in the last round and managed to win the tournament and take home Watery Grave.

I played with the same deck as last time - Naya Zoo. I made few changes though from last time. I put in Ajani, Caller of the Pride and Bonfire. I'm not entirely sure what I took out (I actually played with 33 lands which means that I took out one land). The other card was Grim Lavancer. It was a tough choice and I'm not sure if it was the right one anyway. Bonfire though showed up to be a really good card today.

Round 1
In the first round I played against some WB deck. I lost the die roll. First card my opponent played was Duress. He wasn't happy after seeing my hand that consisted of creatures and lands.

Hymn to Tourach followed. One of the discarded cards was Temple Garden which I needed quite a lot. I was stuck at 3 lands and was unable to draw fourth one. My opponent killed one of my creatures, brought back a creature I killed a turn before and things did not seem good as he started to have quite a lot of mana and my life total was near zero already. The double black was not what I wanted there, so when I finally got my fourth land I destroyed via Ruinblaster one of the black sources. My opponent was unable to draw a black source for the reminder of the game which saved my creatures from Damnation. One of my last chances to turn the game was Batterskull (I was at 1 life at that time). I played it and hoped that my opponent can't deal with the card right away. Batterskull stayed there and gained me 5 life while killing my own creature on the other side of the table. My little germ died (my only creature) and I hoped for another creature. I top decked Kitchen Finks and I knew that I could possibly win that game. I won few turns later.

In game two my hand was slower. I had one 1-drop (Figure of Destiny), two cmc3 creatures, Elspeth and lands. Thoughtseize discarded Figure of Destiny so I had to wait quite a while to drop my first creature. I dealt some damage but had to deal with Lingering Souls and Timely Reinforcements later. Both cards slowed me down pretty well but I was able to deal with it as I drew Bonfire of the Damned a bit later.

Round 2
In the second round there were 3 players with 2:0 and one with 2:1. I was paired against Tomas Gottwald, the winner of the previous Highlander Series and a player who beat me always in the final round. This time I encountered him in the second round. He played something like 5c zoo/goodstuff deck. Most of the cards in our decks were similar though anyway.

In the first game he was unable to draw a source of green and had just 2 lands. He conceded hoping for a better draw in the second game. This time it was me who was completely screwed up. We had 30 minutes for the last game which was sufficient time to finish it. My thinking was slow but I was sure that we could finish the game. Both of us played some creatures. The game ended up in a stall when I managed to play (tutored) Fauna Shaman and equip Sword of War and Peace. The two creatures that were a threat to me were Rhox War Monk (not really a threat but the lifelink and toughness 4 were a problem) and Aven Mimeomancer. I had to kill Mimeomancer first otherwise I would die. I tutored Flametongue Kavu and killed it. To deal with the other creature I needed a creature card. The card I drew was Scavenging Ooze though so I switched to a better plan. I played the Ooze removed some creatures and then it was me in the position of an attacker.

Next card I drew was Tarmogoyf which was 5/6. Good attacker as well. ^_^. Magma Jet followed. Scry showed me Garruk Relentless that killed the only green creature (the rest was either white or red) and allowed me to win finally.

Round 3
Black/Green (something). I had a pretty nice draw but with one land. I did not win this die roll either so I was on the draw. I played a land and Green Sun's Zenith fetching Dryad Arbor. My lovely forest though died turn later. After this I played creature after creature and won quite fast (I drew the second land^_^).

In game 2 I had Knight of the Reliquary, Figure of Destiny and not much else. My opponent discarded Figure of Destiny with Thoughtseize so my first creature in play was KotR two turns later. I fetched for Taiga (being my only forest) that turn but it was destroyed by Wasteland. Knight of the Reliquary was attacking each turn and my opponent was forced to chump block each time. Later though Acidic Slime showed up followed by Eternal Witness, that destroyed my new land. I managed to play Tarmogoyf though that turn. I decided to let my opponent play as all I could do is deal either 5 damage with goyf or 5 damage with Knight of the Reliquary. My opponent did not do much and passed me the turn. I drew Burst Lightning, tapped my only land that hopefully was producing red mana and killed the slime. Then all I needed to do was attack for ten which won me the game.

Round 4
In round 4 my opponent played Bitterblossom on turn 2. Then he played Sword of Feast and Famine and I knew that this will be really difficult to deal with. I had 2 burn spells right from the beginning of the game. I killed the first faerie and wondered what I'll be doing with the two remaining next turn. The spell was Magma Jet though and that card managed to get me to another burn spell. So next turn I had to play two removal spells and hope I tapped all my 3 lands which was not good as Winterorb landed on the table. I tried to survive as long as I could. Eventually my opponent was down to one and I hoped to draw a burn spell that I could play. I knew that he would eventually destroy the blossom but I still had nothing to kill him with. My hand consisted of Mirran Crusader and Ajani, Caller of the Pride. None of these cards would help as Crusader would be blocked by a white creature and the flying creature with double strike would be simply chumped block by the newly created faerie.

Game two was pretty tense as well. It was creature heavy and our life totals were relatively similar. When I finally got to 5 lands (I was at 8 life) I played Green Sun's Zenith fetching Huntmaster of the Fells. I hoped that this would help me get rid of some opponent's creatures and I really needed the life gain. There was Kird Ape, Loam Lion, two mana dorks and some bigger creature on the other side. On mine, there was Huntmaster and Kird Ape that eventually died. In my next turn I drew Staggershock. Not that it would help me with those toughess 3 and more creatures but it killed the annoying Noble Hierarch I really needed to get rid of. Flipped Huntmaster killed the other mana dork. My opponent then managed to play Scavenging Ooze that was serious problem. I hoped that double blocking it with my manland and kird ape would kill it. Hopefully the ooze died.

I managed to play two spells and flip huntmaster once again. The round ended at this point. I had two turns to win (so it would be 1:1). I had Serra Avenger and Reveillark in play and these creatures could deal the remaining 11 damage. In my opponent's turn Reveillark was sent to exile. My plan was to attack with everything dealing 3 damage and killing a creature in the process and then win in the last turn.

I drew a card and looked at it with disbelief. It was Bonfire of the Damned. I counted the number of lands + llanowar elves twice before playing it even though I did not need. Bonfire hitting for 6 and creatures dealing 7 damage was enough to kill an opponent with 11 lives.

EDIT: Today one of my employers came to the game store and congratulated me. I was like WTF? He told me that he found out about my win from cmus - local Magic: The Gathering information portal.

So I went there to see the actual post and here I can share what decks were in the tournament (not counting mine) and their standing.

2. 5c aggro
3. BG rock
4. 4c control
5. MonoG ramp
6. WG midrange
7. 5c Oath
8. 5c aggro
9. WB control
10. MonoR aggro
11. UB control
12. MonoB aggro
13. WBG rock
14. MonoR aggro
15. Bw stax
16. Ub High Tide
17. MonoB aggro (in the last turn the pilot of this deck played against Ub High Tide player. That player had all he needed except a black source of mana. The MB aggro player had all the noncreature cards he probably had in the deck and no creature was showing up^_^. What a match...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

My last standard - Solar Flare

Return to Ravnica is coming closer and the time when SoM block rotates as well. I haven't really played standard much and I wanted to play one more time. There were two standard tournaments this weekend. After three days of not sleeping I wasn't really sure if I could make it to the first one.

At 8 am my alarm clock tried to wake me up but for some reason I woke up an hour later. My father gave me a lift so I managed to get on the last bus with which I could get there on time. There weren't so many players but the tournament took place.

As I was tired of playing ramp or RG aggro I wanted to play something that could at least a bit be considered as a control deck. I took out my Solar Flare and decided to play with it. It needed few tweaks though. The cards I had available were my Naya Pod deck, RG Aggro and EDH decks. I took out restoration angels and blade splicers from pod and got go for the throats from EDH decks. I put that in my deck and ended up with something like this....Hybrid deck between Solar Flare and Esper Midrange I guess^_^.

Esper!
3 Phantasmal Image
3 Sun Titan
2 Gideon Jura
1 Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
2 Day of Judgment
4 Forbidden Alchemy
3 Lingering Souls
2 Oblivion Ring
2 Go for the Throat
3 Ponder
3 Blade Splicer
2 Restoration Angel
3 Mana Leak
1 Unburial Rites
3 Darkslick Shores
2 Drowned Catacomb
3 Evolving Wilds
2 Ghost Quarter
2 Glacial Fortress
3 Island
4 Isolated Chapel
3 Plains
3 Seachrome Coast
1 Swamp
SB: 2 Timely Reinforcements
SB: 2 Divine Offering
SB: 2 Flashfreeze
SB: 2 Negate
SB: 2 Nihil Spellbomb
SB: 1 Surgical Extraction
SB: 2 Celestial Purge
SB: 1 Dead Weight
In the first round I played against mono red. I won the first game, but in the second I was unable to draw a single Celestial Purge nor Timely Reinforcements. I died because when I finally could play something I was already down to 11. I won game three though and wondered what my next match up would be. As there were 3 delvers that won it was highly possible that I would play against delver.

Second round I played against... delver. My opponent is known for being unlucky while playing magic. I won both games. The second game was bad for my opponent who was incapable of drawing 4th land.

Round 3 and it wasn't delver. It was a zombie deck. He played gravecrawler, diregraf ghoul and one more creature. I played Day of Judgment and was quite happy that I did not see Blood Artist till that time. Blood Artist finally came but at that point of time I was already at 6 mana and could drop a Titan and win. In the second game I had relatively aggressive start and managed to beat my opponent with my little creatures.

Next deck was mono white human aggro that did not even give me a chance to do something. I lost the die roll and day of judgment would not be able to save me. In the second game I tried surviving for quite some time, but I was unable to destroy moorland haunt. There were 2 Honor of the Pure on the table and those 3/3 flyers were just too much for me.

My last game that day was against Battle of Wits deck. One of the games was quite fun^_^. Fog bank can be pretty annoying^^.

Came up second, opened nothing but was really glad that I played...

Anyway if I would want to play in next tournament I would take out Lingering Souls, Unburial Rites, Sun Titan, Oblivion Ring a Forbidden Alchemy. The rest of Restoration Angels, Blade Splicer and some Snapcaster Mages would go in. I really missed Snappy in many games. I'd prefer to keep Tamiyo, but if I would need more space it would be her to be the first on the list to be taken out, followed by Gideon.

Sideboard would need one more Celestial Purge, no need for Timely Reinforcements twice. Batterskull is probably a better choice. I'd rather play Dissipate over negate or flashfreeze.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Jubeat no.2

Tonight I played Jubeat once again and I decided to try other markers as wells. I actually tried just one - the one that shows 0 to 10. I played a song and got over 250 combo and I knew when to hit each note even though there were times when my hands just missed that. But my brain KNEW that it missed. I find this quite wierd. I'm not entirely sure if this revelation should make me happy or not.

Now level 9 songs don't seem impossible and I can consistantly pass level 8 songs on advanced. Hm. So maybe when I manage to play again, I'll try something more difficult. But well...I have to say that with this marker chosen the notecharts actually make sense!!

Here's a video for you - Green Green Dance [EXT]. I just like the song. Before with the default noteskin I couldn't read it at all...now after switching to the new one, I can get a combo going.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Jubeat on ipad

Gamescom - Vierpfeile stand
When I was at Gamescom I visited Vierpfeile's booth located at hall 10.1. They had an ITG Dedicab there, pop'n music 14 with DJ Dao controller, Jukebeat and some other rhythm games. Even though I felt terrible I step on the dedicab and played few songs (as that usually gives me energy for the rest of any convention, fair etc). Well, it wasn't the case this time but I managed to get some full combos, FECs and 96+ on level 10 songs. I wasn't really proud of my results but I was surprised that I could go for a ITG Xuxa full combo. It was ages ago when I played this song on anything four panel^_^.

After that I went to check PNM 14. First shock was that it was actually a CS version so I was like WTF I should do with the game. But then I managed to get back to the options, select nine buttons and play some of the songs I haven't played in a while - Balalaika and Shamshir no mai. When playing the first song I realized that the controller seemed smaller to Rodent's one. I remembered that I already had this problem before (as I own DJ Dao and at cons there were usually Rodent's controllers). Anyway it was fun.

After some time I came back to the stand and was called by NX to try some song. It was from a new song pack - a song by Donk Terrorist. It was set to level 9 difficulty. I played the song, it was too easy. Schmichel was there and showed me Your Own Destiny. I tried the song (difficulty 12 o_O) and managed to fail it quite early. But well I made an impression as it seems. I was told to try again and managed to get much more further that time. I managed to fail few more times at the very same place (where you have to hit two triples fast after each other). Then I was shown some other hardcore song and I managed to fail it as well, but I wasn't doing bad^_^.

I had to try more 11 level songs after that and I cleared them. None of them were so extreme as Your Own Destiny and Hookie Mammoth.

And now we are getting to the epic fail of the day. I asked someone if I can try jubeat. I found out that it is called Jukebeat in Europe (and that is why I was unable to find it anywhere). I know I'm like 2 years or more behind everybody else so for me this is new^_^. I picked some random song on some random difficulty (4) and failed. I just couldn't manage to find out when I'm supposed to hit the notes. The blue lines that were used as marker for this game weren't really helping me. I was trying to figure out when is the right time (as I can't play according to music) to hit the notes but I just failed at that. I decided to try Jubeat when I get back from Gamescom.

EDIT: I tried.

Jubeat
Today was the day. I downloaded the game for free and tried the songs that were there for free. I failed them on on advanced difficulty but this time I was getting lots of blue judgments, some flashy yellow and less misses. I was wondering where the problem was. I changed the marker and found out that I can't figure out when to hit the notes. I switched back to the original one and everything was fine once again. It was probably due to the fact that I already got used to the default one (played on arcade already).

There are KONAMI packs you can purchase with Japanese songs and other song packs featuring western stuff. There's Cindy Lauper pack or Lady Gaga's one for example. I downloaded the first and some KONAMI pack featuring SigSig. And then I was struggling with the blue/yellow pixelated cubes.

When I first played Jubeat on the arcade I remember that I was capable of full comboing a level 6 song (on advanced) but still fail according to the machine. I remember that I had a hard time synchronizing with the game but I know that I managed to get better scores than C and managed to A something like Take on Me. I could clear level 7 songs. So when I tried Jukebeat and failed more or less everything I was surprised. This game has to be played a bit differently when played on a smaller area as it seems. Anyway here's my first attempt at playing Jukebeat. It's not the best video ever, nor score but it was fun^^. I have to say that it is quite challenging to come up with n idea how to shoot the video ^_~.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bonfire of the Damned

When I woke up today I felt way better than in the past few days. I'm still ill but I collected some strength. I worked for a while, drank coffee and got something to eat. Then it was time to rush for the bus. I had to be there in less than 9 minutes and I managed that. Not good time for me as I could be there normally much faster but at least I found out that I can still run the whole distance (1.5 km).

After I arrived to the game store I started working. Meanwhile a modern tournament for beginners was starting. At first there was 5 players. Later two more came which still wasn't a good number. 8th player came but he said that a ninth player would come as well. I volunteered to play in the tournament even though I didn't have a deck that would suit the tournament. I checked my cards hoping I would find some cards from drafts but I gave them all away so I picked my Solar Flare. This deck is pretty slow and should give some time for my opponent to play something and not be consistently under pressure.

Modern for Beginners
In the first round I played against a UW deck. I played T3 Lingering Souls that were countered and yet once more countered. After this experience I decided to wait for my opponent to play something. I wasn't prepared for counterspells at beginners' tournament. He tried few cards and I decided to counter few of them with my mana leaks. Later he played Venser. All his lands were tapped though (except the exiled one) so I decided to play Gideon. Gideon later managed to kill both Venser and my opponent. Game two looked completely different. Elite Vanguard, Ajani's Sunstriker and Latch Seeker were nothing I would expect after such a first game. I copied the Sunstriker so I would have some lifegain and let my opponent be chewing at my life total. I knew that the 'turn of day of judgment' would come. After Day of Judgment there were few walkers and oblivion rings involved, but my Gideon managed to win once again. At this point I thought that DoJ would the card deciding each game (but it wasn't as I found later)

In round 2 my opponent showed me lots of spiders and Vampire Nighthawk. He was playing black removal so my creatures were dying and my 1/1 Spirits couldn't attack as each spider had reach and was simply bigger. My Lingering Souls were waiting for Nighthawk to attack but that never happened (my three souls were prepared to block the vampire)

In round 3 I played against some Angel deck. At first I thought that it would be mono white but then Gisela surprised me. My opponent was gaining life and playing lands. And then the bigger creatures came. None were good enough for my Titans though. In game two I needed a bigger blocker that could handle bigger angels so I copied one and that won me the game. Fortunately I drew Go For the Throat and that solved my Nighthawk problem.

Round 4 was interesting. I played against another player with 3:0 so I was wondering what he could be playing. First thing I found out is that he played naya and the first card he played was Grim Lavamancer. I did not like that much. Later he played more creatures and among them was also Loxodon Hierarch. I was unable to draw a fifth land for some time but I managed to draw Restoration Angel so I played it (one of in the deck). The card was exiled with Path to Exile which helped me a ton. I got my fifth land and I only needed to wait for the sixth. I got to that point and played my Titan. It was exiled with another Path To Exile. I wasn't happy about that. Later I managed to play Tamiyo, but she was killed with two burn spells. Some time later (when my opponent was still not hit by my creatures) I played another Titan and Phantasmal Image copying it. Both died but my last Sun Titan with army of Phantasmal Images managed to deal lethal damage. Game two was quite fun as well as I saw few new cards. One of them was Archon of Justice. I did not want this card to die as it would exile my Gideon. Tamiyo was there to save me. These two walkers were cooperating quite well. Gideon was killing creatures and Tamiyo was tapping them.

Avacyn Restored Booster Draft
After the tournament I continued working. Later I was asked if I'm going to draft. I said no, as there was too few people for me. One more player came though (being sixth) and it was decided we would actually play. The TO though found out that there's not enough boosters for us. We could draft Avacyn Restored or Innistrad + Dark Ascension. In the end there was 8 of us and we decided to draft AVR as there are better cards^^ (Bonfire, Cavern of Souls).

I opened my first booster pack and checked the rare. It was some Otherworldy or whatever Atlas. Then I went through the cards starting with the first common. Hanweir Lancer and Riot Ringleader caught my eye, but the last card was way better. My first pick was Wolfir Avenger. My second pick was Mist Raven. My third pick was picked from among lots of black and red cards (including Homicidal Seclusion). Similar booster with many black cards passed once again. After the firt booster I had 4 playable cards. That did not seem good.

Booster packs from the other side did not help much. Even though player sitting left of me was sent into red there was still not much from green or blue (I suspected he was taking green). I started picking white cards but from time to time a blue creature came (Fettergeist - passed to me twice). In the last booster pack serie I managed to get Wingcrafter, Nephalia Smuggler, Mist Raven, Wandering Wolves and YEW SPIRIT which helped me a ton (I managed to get 21 playable cards). After booster pack number two I thought I would have to play bant.

Round one was against RG humans with BIG creatures like 7/7 and 6/4 Soulbond wurm. I lost game one - being overwhelmed by humans and Malcontents dealing more damage I counted with. In game two I had cards following the curve and won easily. In game three my opponent kept a hand he probably shouldn't. I mulliganed as well. The cards on my hand were good but they needed one more card - Forest. The six cards were better.

Next I played against white/black deck. Once again I lost the first game. Terminus dealt with my creatures and Gloom Surgeon wasn't making things anything easier. But due to this card I knew what my opponent played in his deck. The second game was really long. Dealing with 3/3 and 4/4 flyers took me quite some time. But Nephalia Smuggler and Wingcrafter + Wolfir Avenger made everything possible. In game three my start was pretty good and I eventually won.

Last round. This was the game that decided who would get Bonfire of the Damned. I played against black-green deck with two Seclusions and creatures that were capable of sacrificing themselves or another creature. As usual the first game did not turn out well. But the second one went much better. My opponent did not really have much removal (if any) so it was about drawing the right creatures and then doing everything to stay alive. Nephalia Smuggler + Mist Raven or Timberland Guide were just too good. I have to admit that having 3 copies of Sheltering Word was actually good in the end as it was saving my Smuggler. Still the best creature was Wolfir Avenger with Flying (and counters from the Gudie)

After all that time that I drafted M13 I have to say that I changed my point of view on Avacyn Restored. It was a nice change to draft this set. I hated AVR before, because if the format being pretty fast and about creatures but I really enjoyed this draft. It was fun even though some draws (like 4 islands in a row followed by two forests when my opening hand was 4 islands, borderland ranger and nephalia smuggler) were really irritating. Way better than any M13 draft. I left with 4 boosters (nothing good in them) and Bonfire of the Damned.