ad

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Modern GPT aka First, Second and Voice and EDH aka Third, Fourth and Fifth

This weekend was most probably the best weekend of this year for me.

The plan was to play some Modern in Tolaria (it was meant to be GPT Prague) on Saturday and some EDH on Sunday. On Friday evening I came back from Beroun. I needed to put some decks together and find the cards some people needed for the tournaments. I also needed to send some orders so I had to go back to the city center and send it. Back at our flat I finished searching for the cards and prepared everything for the day after.

I couldn't sleep so I was wondering if I wouldn't play online or something but starting to draft at 4am did not seem as a good idea as at 6 I should be getting up. I spent the rest of the time trying to convince my body that it feels great (because I did not feel well at all). Not entirely sure if it helped but I managed to get up at 6 am. I ate some breakfest and headed for subway station Hradcanska. After more than 50 minutes of waiting we finally left for Pardubice.

Thanks to Adam's navigation we managed to get to Tolaria, a local game store run by Petr Brozek and Jan Stefan. It is quite small but nice nevertheless. I played Reid Duke's Jund, Adam played UWR control and Martin played Living End. We were prepared to get to top 8. I expected Adam or Martin to win.

In the first round at our table there were three Jund decks and one Kiki pod. I played against one of the Junds. I lost the first game due to my opponent having more Dark Confidants than me. In the second game it was my turn to play my confidants and win. In the third game I got bit unlucky and lost. But well what could I do? In the second round I played against Affinity. In the first game I couldn't deal with Inkmoth Nexi that later killed me. I sided in Ancient Grudge, Shatterstorms, Fulminator Mages and maybe even something else I do not recall. But this was good enough to wreck the Affinity deck. I did not care about Nexi because I had Fulminator Mages in my opener and I drew Ancient Grudge quite soon after. I destroyed Cranial Plating and all the creatures and then killed my opponent with 5/6 Goyf. In the last game I won once again quite easily. In the third round I played against Kiki pod. Nothing noteworthy happened in the game but my opponent was very nice and invited me for dinner later. He used a little black cat as a luck charm but it did not really help him much^_^. After this I played finally a game against Twin. I say finally because the last time I played against it ... Twin was played at standard. I lost the first game. I discarded counterspell so I could kill Pestermite/Exarch but my opponent later drew a second Exarch, a couterspell and Twin. In the second game I miraculously won. I managed to beat him with Tarmagoyfs while Blood Moon was in play. In game 3 I kept a hand with the dual lands and Dark Confidant hoping to draw either basic land or a fetch land. Blood Moon hit the table on T3 and sice then I was drawing only lands but none of them could produce green or black mana. In the last round I beat a monowhite deck. In the top 8 I lost to Martin with his Living End (how 'unpredictable'). When commenting our final standings Adam summed it up with 1st, 2nd and Voice (of Resurgence).

After this I spent some time with the pod player. We were chatting about work, Magic and people and it was realy nice. The food I order (Thai pork) was delicious as well. Then we headed back to Tolaria were I claimed my top 8 prize and opened this!

Then it was time to leave to Honza Brozek's place. There we played some Magic, more Magic, yet more Magic and Carcassone. I was trying Jund against Merfolk but it feels like playing Legacy Jund against Death and Taxes except the fact that you actually have some lands in play and can play something. Either the Merfolk utterly crushed me or I won but it was really though to win. Jund against Tron seemed really hopeless. Anyway the fun part was when we played some Carcassone alone with Adam. We were told that in a two player game the game is more skill intensive but it did not seem like it. The difference in victory points was about 3-4 points. Adam build a really nice city during one of the games.

We spent some time chatting and playing more games and then it was time for some sleep. After quite a long time in which we were taking our turns in the bathroom we could finally try to fall a sleep. I'm not good at sleeping at public places or anywhere were there is some kind of noise including snoring. I have to say that the snoring was too much for me but those were not the only sounds I could listen to during the night. Martin going to the restroom now and then, his girlfriend screaming several times during the night and Adam snoring. Hopefully none of them spoke in his or her sleep. In the morning Honza got up earlier and started packing his stuff for vacances. I have to say that he walks like a bulldozer. Now I know how some people feel when I move around^^. Later that morning he decided to wake up us so we wouldn't miss our tournament.

He prepared us coffee and tea and we ate our (the day before bought) breakfast. In the morning we also found out what the password for the local wi-fi is and I connected to check the Banlist of the EDH tournament. In the meantime I started receiving messages of those who wanted to play Modern that day and wanted a deck from me^_~. One even tried to call. The messages started soon after midnight and ended at 9:30 am^_^.

EDH tournament was held in a restaurant Cerny Kun which was quite close to Honza's place. When we arrived there was quite a lot of players already. We ordered something for food and did some final changes to our decks. Then it was time to wait for the pairings. I got pitted against Reaper King. I've played against such decks and some of them actually worked more or less but for my 'in theory' turn 3 kill it was hopeless. I managed to discard a wrong land so I couldn't beat my opponent on t4 and had to wait till I draw another black source (Facepalm number 1). In the second game I beat him on turn 4 once again. In the second round I played against Animar. In the first game the only thing he managed was to play Animar and then lose. In the second game though it was far more interesting. He started with Wild Growth and followed with similar enchantment on t2. I destroyed the first land and thoughtseize'ed him later. I discarded Sylvan tutor and left him with some cards knowing that he could play all of those thanks to Animar. After drawing and playing quite a LOT of cards for one turn he did not manage to find a response to my combo pieces in the grave yard nor reanimation spell in my hand and lost. In the third round I played against Azamni. I kept a hand with a lot of spells like Thirst for Knowledge and Frantic Search. Unfortunately I was unable to draw a creature on about 20 cards. My first 7 draws were lands actually. This did not help much and like 50 minutes later I lost the first game. We started the second game but I did not manage to win in time. In round 4 I played against Geist of Saint Traft. I lost the first game pretty quickly. Geist was hitting me each turn and my spells got countered (and Armageddon did not really help it either^^). In the second game it was a a really quick win on my side and game 3 was similarly fast. After this win I played yet against one Geist - this time I played against Adam. I beat him in the first game as he was unable to draw an island (and third land) so I knew that there is nothing that could break my combo except Force of Will but I was willing to take that risk. In game two and three Adam got pretty lucky. In game two he won by playing Polymorph and beating me with Emrakul and in game three it was Terastodon tokens that beat me. Top decked Swords to Plowshares and Merchant Scroll into Force of Will was too much for me to deal with. My two mana dorks got destroyed by Supreme Verdict beforehand. I was unable to draw enough land so I could reanimate Skithyrix via Mimeoplasm. In the last round I was too tired and was really unwilling to shuffle my deck. Fortunately in the previous round Adam was the one doing that^_^. I lost pretty quickly to Derevi. The fast offensive creatures surprised me and I got caught off guard. In game two...I wanted to wipe the board but then I realized that I've been holding two tutors in my hand (2 tutors of any kind mean that I can combo of in that round usually when having 4-5 mana) and that by a chance I can deal with Linvala that was rendering my combo useless. So instead of tutoring up Toxic Deluge I killed my opponent with Necrotic Ooze+Phyrexian Devourer+Triskelion combo. I facepalmed myself once again and decided to win the last game as well. It wasn't too difficult. I left my opponent without lands (Terastodon) and beat him later with the combo once again. My final record was 4:2 as was Adam's. Our final standings were 3rd, 4th and 5th place.

What prize did I get? One of the most beautiful illustrations ... in a really ugly foil version .. a card I don't usually find place for...but maybe it wants to tell me something -> play Oath

The weekend was really cool. I really enjoyed it and I'm really grateful that I went there. Thanks to all that contributed to this weekend and made it awesome.

My EDH decklist can be found in my previous Magic: The Gathering post or at mtgtop8.com under the corresponding event (probably not yet there).

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bracelet + earrings

I spent some time in the city center looking for some presents for Christmas but I couldn't find anything that I'd like to buy. So after wandering around for some time I ended up in my favorite store for creative people. I bought some nice beads and wanted to use them. My sister will get this^_^. (Hopefully she won't find about this blog post).

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Small EDH Tourney

Being pretty sleep deprived I decided to attend two tournaments this weekend - Legacy and EDH. On Saturday I felt really down, depression was the feeling with which I came to play in the tournament. I picked up Stoneblade and played with it. In the first round everything seemed great for me but then I struggled to find an answer to one threat and I lost quite some time later. The second game ended up in a draw but still it meant a loss for me. In the next round I could have won, but not anticipating my opponent to have 2x Swords to Plowshares I lost once again. Even Affinity beat me. In the deciding game I played some Brainstorms, Ponder and Stoneforge Mystic in order to shuffle my library but I couldn't find a third land. In the meantime I was attacked by 10/1 Vault Skirge that I couldn't deal with. In the last round I played against Storm. I was like...'ok one more loss and I can go home' but I won the match. Seeing my opponent's first hand I knew I would simply die when he puts all the pieces together. In the second game I was stripped of my Force of Will and Surgical Extractions, that did not seem good but I also discarded some key cards. With Jace, the Mind Sculptor or on the table I felt relatively safe. When Brainstorming though my opponent played Notion Thief O_O. I was surprised quite a lot by it. I started to fate seal and was prepared to lose as Jace was my only win condition. In order to win I would need to bounce the Thief and counter him which I couldn't do for quite some time. My opponent was attacking me though and when Jace was at 13 counters he also attacked me. I used his ultimate ability, bounced the Thief later and countered the card. In game three I discarded all tutors and LEDs I could and started swinging with Snapcaster Mages and Stoneforge Mystic. My opponent did not draw another land in order to take care of the creatures and died. That was certainly weird.

I spent the rest of the day and most of the night translating a book. When I finished it I had to build a deck for today's tournament. So I grabbed my Mimeoplasm deck and my Magic Cube 'Offline'. I took out cards I would want to play in a Necrotic Ooze-Phyrexian Devourer-Triskelion combo and placed them in front of me. I was trying to think hard of cards that search the library, draw cards and allow discard from hand and in the end I build a deck.

I had pretty clear idea about what cards I would play and I guess anyone wanting to play similar deck in similar way would choose them as well. I was considering playing counterspells and slowing down the deck a bit but I decided that I don't want that. Either I'll win or no, so I went for discard. As for reanimation spells I just grabbed those in the cube and my former EDH deck. I put there my combo and some creatures I really wanted to play or rather cheat into play somehow - Griselbrand, Jin-Gitaxias, Rune-Scarred Demon, Woodfall Primus, Terastodon, Sylvan Primordial, Primeval Titan. I just couldn't play without Terastodon so I took out Natural Order out of my binder and add it to the deck as well...Whatever...two hours later I had a deck that lacked 14 cards so I added some random removal like Abrupt Decay, Go For the Throat, Dismember, Toxic Deluge, Maelstrom Pulse and Pernicious Deed. To be honest I would rather not play them at all, but I couldn't come up with anything else I'd like to play. For sure Dismember and Toxic Deluge will STAY in the deck no matter what. The remaining cards were some random creatures, Peek, Flash and Strategic Planning.

In the first round I played against Kaalia of the Vast. She's a dangerous human cleric...mana acceleration wasn't anything I wanted to see as my deck can hardly kill ANY creature. I fought valiantly ^_^ against Kaalia and Rakdos, the Defiler but my mana base got wrecked and do to that I couldn't win in the following turns. I managed to cheat Sylvan Primordial in play but Kuro killed him and attacked me for lethal (looks like I'm schizophrenic - but I guess you know what I'm talking about). Game two was decided by my turn 4 Natural Order that wrecked my opponent's mana base along with finding me a big body. In game three I decided to let my opponent live past turn three and that resulted in me losing the game. But I could have killed him on turn 3. He though managed to cheat into play Iona on turn 4. That was nice^_^. I felt happy even though being the loser.

In round 2 I killed my opponent on turn 3 by playing mana dork turn 1, intuition turn 2 and thoughtseize + reanimate on turn 3. In the second game I destroyed my opponent's only lands early game. She already got some creatures in play but these could hardly kill me. My bigger problem was actually a Nihil Spellbomb that landed there turn 1. Without it the game would swiftly end, but with it on the table...I had to wait and hardcast my creatures. Hardcasting these creatures got easier when I managed to draw two mana dorks in a row. These were followed by Primeval Titan. I could then finally play Woodfall Primus targeting the Spellbomb and turn later kill her with the combo (at that time she was at 46 life, so killing her in a fair way would take quite some time).

Round 3 was even swifter. I started with turn 3 kill game 1 and followed with turn 4 kill game 2. My opponent did not draw a counterspell and the only card that would destroy my plan I discarded with Duress.
In the last round I horribly died. I Thoughtseized my opponent discarding his only discard spell leaving him Gatekeeper of Malakir that won him the game later as the Gatekeeper killed my mana dork so I couldn't play Natural Order. I could have tutored Reanimation spell in order to reanimate the poor elf and then play Natural Order (in this case two turns later) but I thought that the game is already lost. I would have found Terastodon hitting Cabal Coffers and Urborg. I was hit by Skithyrix though and lost. It wasn't well played from my part, I have to admit that...In the second game I pulled of yet another turn 3 kill. My opponent tapped out so I did not need to worry about Shred Memory or something. In game 3 I mulled and my keep wasn't any good. The first discard spell hit my reanimation spell and later was followed with two more discard spells. And yes this deck is not good at top decking. So I watched my opponent play land each turn and waited till the time he would cast his general and kill me with it. This happened relatively soon, unfortunately for me.

The players were nice and kind, so I hope we will meet again. Thanks for the opportunity to play this weird format and the opportunity to play big fatties that cost 8 and more mana^_^.


The Mimeoplasm combo
Main Deck:
1 Arbor Elf
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Deathrite Shaman
1 Elves of Deep Shadow
1 Elvish Mystic
1 Fyndhorn Elves
1 Griselbrand
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur
1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Massacre Wurm
1 Necrotic Ooze
1 Phyrexian Devourer
1 Primeval Titan
1 Rune-Scarred Demon
1 Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon
1 Sphinx of Uthuun
1 Sylvan Primordial
1 Terastodon
1 Triskelion
1 Woodfall Primus

1 Abrupt Decay
1 Animate Dead
1 Brainstorm
1 Buried Alive
1 Careful Study
1 Compulsive Research
1 Dance of the Dead
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Dismember
1 Duress
1 Entomb
1 Exhume
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Flash
1 Frantic Search
1 Gitaxian Probe
1 Go for the Throat
1 Green Sun's Zenith
1 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Intuition
1 Lim-Dul's Vault
1 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Natural Order
1 Necromancy
1 Peek
1 Pernicious Deed
1 Ponder
1 Preordain
1 Reanimate
1 Recurring Nightmare
1 Show and Tell
1 Strategic Planning
1 Survival of the Fittest
1 Sylvan Library
1 Thirst for Knowledge
1 Thoughtseize
1 Toxic Deluge

1 Bayou
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All
1 Breeding Pool
1 Cavern of Souls
1 Cephalid Coliseum
1 City of Brass
1 Command Tower
1 Drowned Catacomb
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Flooded Grove
1 Flooded Strand
2 Forest
1 Hinterland Harbor
2 Island
1 Llanowar Wastes
1 Marsh Flats
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Phyrexian Tower
1 Polluted Delta
1 Scalding Tarn
2 Swamp
1 Tropical Island
1 Twilight Mire
1 Underground River
1 Underground Sea
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Wasteland
1 Watery Grave
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Woodland Cemetery
1 Yavimaya Coast

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Playing more Legacy

During the last month I decided to play Legacy a bit more seriously than before. I sleeved UWr Miracles, Death and Taxes, Canadian Threshhold, Esper Stoneblade, Jund (already had that) and ANT (also had that). I wanted to know what I do wrong against Miracles when playing Jund. After beating the Miracles deck like 20 to 1 I just did not figure it out^_^. Then I spent quite some time playing ANT against blue decks. After that I picked up Jund and tried to play against Death and Taxes and Canadian Treshhold. I don't know why but it seemed miserable. I wasn't losing that much but when I lost it was really bad. My deck was torn apart in a such way that I did not even think that possible. After side boarding it gets far better but still...the Jund deck could die horribly. I even tried playing with DnT but it seems that it is not a deck for me. After a miserable 2:2 at local tournament with it I decided not to try again.

This month there were quite some big Legacy tournaments in the world so I watched the coverage. I'm not entirely sure if I learned something but it was sometimes fun to watch and sometimes it was really bad. The commentating was mostly bad and some people managed to do such misplays that I did not think possible at such tables. When watching Grand Prix Washington coverage I discovered something though (not about legacy). There is something like Walking the Planes, it's fun. Watch it if you haven't already.

So prepared this way for more legacy I decided to give Jund last chance to prove itself.

Jund
By STsung
3 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Dark Confidant
4 Deathrite Shaman
2 Scavenging Ooze
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Liliana of the Veil
3 Abrupt Decay
3 Hymn to Tourach
2 Lightning Bolt
3 Punishing Fire
1 Sylvan Library
4 Thoughtseize
3 Badlands
3 Bayou
4 Bloodstained Mire
1 Forest
4 Grove of the Burnwillows
1 Swamp
4 Verdant Catacombs
3 Wasteland

1 Ancient Grudge
2 Duress
1 Engineered Plague
2 Golgari Charm
1 Grafdigger's Cage
1 Krosan Grip
2 Pithing Needle
2 Pyroblast
1 Red Elemental Blast
2 Surgical Extraction

I went 3:1. What was different that I won one more game than usual? Most probably it was because of not playing against Show and Tell, ANT and Elves. But anyway I added Pernicious Deed to my sideboard ditching Umezawa's Jitte and Engineered Plague, put Life from the Loam to main instead of Hymn to Tourach and this helped me against all the decks I played against later so I'll keep it that way. First I encountered MUD at the tourney. I managed to discard cards I did not want to see on the table before Chalice of the Void forbid me to do so. Later it was Liliana of the Veil that did the rest of the job. In the second game I got overrun by 2 Golems and couldn't deal with them as I simply did not have enough mana even for a Lightning Bolt. In game three I won once again (my hate against MUD was actually quite big to my surprise).

In the second round I played against Tomas Vlcek and his Miracles. For some reason I just never managed to beat him with my Jund deck at a tournament (I could beat Miracles 20 to 1 but not at a tourney^^). This time I was prepared against his Blood Moon after boarding but I still lost (even though it took a really LOONG time for him to find a Plains card and later Entreat the Angels).

After that I played against Death and Taxes. I wasn't actually looking forward to this because it really depends on my and my opponent's draw. My hand consisted of a land and Deathrite Shaman so it seemed ok. The game took quite a long time and it seemed my opponent would kill me with his flyers. But then I managed to kill majority of his board and land Liliana that didn't die. She managed to kill the remaining creatures and later empty my opponent's hand. In game 2 I sided Pernicious Deed in and hoped for a hand that would allow me to play it. I got enough land and basics helped so I swept his board and won.

In the last round I played against a fair deck running all the good creatures and managed to win. Liliana of the Veil shined.

Esper Stoneblade
By STsung
3 Snapcaster Mage
4 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Vendilion Clique
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Batterskull
4 Brainstorm
1 Counterspell
1 Engineered Explosives
3 Force of Will
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Intuition
3 Lingering Souls
2 Ponder
1 Supreme Verdict
4 Swords to Plowshares
2 Thoughtseize
1 Umezawa's Jitte
1 Vindicate
4 Flooded Strand
2 Island
1 Karakas
2 Marsh Flats
1 Plains
3 Polluted Delta
1 Scrubland
4 Tundra
3 Underground Sea

1 Blue Elemental Blast
2 Cabal Therapy
1 Disenchant
1 Force of Will
2 Notion Thief
2 Spell Pierce
1 Supreme Verdict
3 Surgical Extraction
1 Thoughtseize
1 Zealous Persecution

The next week I brought Esper Stoneblade and went 3:1 because I managed to lose one game due to 'not wanting to win'. The board was overwhelmed with creatures on the otherside and I just couldn't see a way how could survive at my 3 life or so. But that was a wrong thought, I had everything I needed in order to win but my brain just couldn't switch to the win mode and I lost like 15 minutes later^^.

Round one I played against Enchantress combo. I wasn't really sure what I would do with it but Force of Will in my opener seemed good enough. My opponent wasn't really lucky I either countered what he needed or discarded it. Lingering Souls and Snapcaster Mage were beating him down in the meantime. In the following game he could hardly draw anything good. When he finally tutored what he needed I disenchanted it and that was game.

In round two I had this unfortunate game against Death and Taxes. I lost the first game I don't even know how. But the second game I could have won, I was just too afraid of losing that I did not realize that I can win.

In round three I played against Canadian Treshhold. I was quite surprised how easily I managed to win. My manabase got wrecked and I was facing Delver and Mongooses but Engineered Explosives backed up by Force of Will destroyed them later and then it was Stoneforge Mystic time. I struggled with three basics the other game as well but apart from having 1 blue mana less than I wanted I had everything I needed. I played Intuition into 3x Lingering Souls and the game ended quite soon after.

In the last round I was pretty tired and managed several serious misplays (I couldn't Brainstorm correctly). My opponent played some kind of Esper Control as well but did even worse misplays than me. He could have killed my Jace in two turns and Sword a Spirit token with Jitte. He did not do that and that resulted in me beating him.

After looking back at me trying to play Jund I have to admit that I like the control deck many times more than Jund. It felt much better playing Stoneblade and I did not get that frustrated because of bad draws. So next time it's going to be Stoneblade time once again. Last legacy tourney I played Jund because I knew my brain wouldn't be able to play Stoneblade. I played four times against a Delver deck what a luck^^. I tried winning what I could but even first turn Wasteland -> Tropical Island, Surgical Extraction -> Tropical Island did not win me a game^_^. I went 2:2 *sniff*.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Game of Thrones Intro attempt no.1

One of my dreams is getting a digital piano one day. But well that means that I'll have some spare money in the future. So from time to time I play on the piano in my parent's house. It sounds terrible but still it feels great playing the piano. I want to start over...simply things first, more complex later. But mastering even simple scores would make me happy. Long way to go. -> GoT Intro

Friday, November 1, 2013

Brainstorm #3

During the night I produced yet one more Jace Brainstorm.

Highlander Series #2

After the success at the first tournament I decided to go to the second tournament of the series. But I wanted to change my deck a bit. My BUGw Aggro conrol sometimes has hard time killing my opponent with its 1/1 mana dorks so I wanted to try something a bit more agressive. The week the second tournament took place there was another highlander tournament at a different game store. A friend of mine asked me to prepare him a deck so he could play. I took out my Cube and chose all the good cards of all colors I could possibly use for the deck.

I added some lands, but I needed to cut quite a lot of them (as 10 dual lands, 10 shock lands and 10 fetch lands is already 30). In the end I added few more cards like Dryad Arbor, Fleecemane Lion (not going to play this anymore) and Loxodon Smiter.

1 Ajani Vengeant
1 Avacyn's Pilgrim
1 Aven Mindcensor
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Blade Splicer
1 Dark Confidant
1 Deathrite Shaman
1 Delver of Secrets
1 Edric, Spymaster of Trest
1 Eternal Witness
1 Falkenrath Aristocrat
1 Flametongue Kavu
1 Fleecemane Lion
1 Geist of Saint Traft
1 Grim Lavamancer
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Kitchen Finks
1 Knight of the Reliquary
1 Loxodon Smiter
1 Noble Hierarch
1 Putrid Leech
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Restoration Angel
1 Reveillark
1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Shriekmaw
1 Snapcaster Mage
1 Tarmogoyf
1 Thragtusk
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Wild Nacatl
1 Young Pyromancer

1 Abrupt Decay
1 Brainstorm
1 Chain Lightning
1 Daze
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Eladamri's Call
1 Electrolyze
1 Evasive Action
1 Fire // Ice
1 Force of Will
1 Force Spike
1 Gitaxian Probe
1 Green Sun's Zenith
1 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Izzet Charm
1 Lightning Bolt
1 Lightning Helix
1 Lingering Souls
1 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Mana Drain
1 Mana Leak
1 Miscalculation
1 Path to Exile
1 Ponder
1 Preordain
1 Remand
1 Spell Snare
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Thoughtseize
1 Tribal Flames
1 Unearth
1 Vindicate

1 Arid Mesa
1 Badlands
1 Bayou
1 Blood Crypt
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Breeding Pool
1 City of Brass
1 Creeping Tar Pit
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Flooded Strand
1 Island
1 Marsh Flats
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Mountain
1 Plains
1 Plateau
1 Polluted Delta
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Savannah
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Scrubland
1 Steam Vents
1 Stirring Wildwood
1 Swamp
1 Taiga
1 Temple Garden
1 Treetop Village
1 Tropical Island
1 Tundra
1 Underground Sea
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Wasteland
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills

My friend made 4:0 at the tournament. The day before the tournament I wanted to play in I was asking people on facebook if I should go 5c or show up with my old deck. Those who answered were for the 5c deck so I went with it.

During the tournament I played against a staxx deck that beat me. Trinisphere in all the first turns was simply wrong for me. In the first game it is something that actually won me the game but otherwise I just couldn't do much with it. In one of the games my opponent could't draw a card that would kill me. So I was there stuck with nothing to play and sometimes dealing 1 damage to Ajani so I could keep my lands for few more turns. But then Armageddon decided it all. The other game I lost was pretty short as I couldn't deal with early Tezzeret. The other deck that beat me was mono white. The pilot of the deck went 6:0 and beat me in the final round. I could have won. The only thing I needed was a flipped Delver of Secrets^_^. But no instant or sorceries followed in the next five turns unfortunately for me...

Anyway during the tournament I did not really have so many problems with my mana base - that's something I feared the most. Those problems I had were caused by the fact that I did not recall what shocklands I put in the deck and that resulted sometimes in having wrong lands in play. But with the knowledge of the lands in the deck everything would be fine. Draws with something like Mountain + Badlands as my only lands were really discouraging but usually one mulligan solved the problem (I got once Bayou + Forest instead of even worse combination but it worked fine). Once it took me three turns to play Falkenrath Aristocrat as I couldn't get Black or Red but I won the game no matter what...but it meant finding Sakura-Tribe Elder and surviving one more turn (which could mean I could lose pretty easily). Anyway the deck is agressive, it can counter and occasional burn helps a lot. I'll probably try playing with this in the following tournament as well. (this deck could hardly beat my EDH though o_O That WAS discouraging...)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Jubeat (ipad) - Evans Extreme

Today I decided to play a bit of Jubeat. I wanted to get A or S on all Extreme difficulties but well there are few songs that I can't really score quite well.. they share a level 10 difficulty. One song was showing me rank D since I actually started playing this game on ipad. That song is Evans. I managed to clear most tens on my first try but this one even after a 100th time I just couldn't pass (I most probably did not play it that many times). Anyway my problem with Evans was that I just couldn't read it well enough to be able to pass it.

I spent the last week by playing Beatmania IIDX. I needed something to play to ease the stress from sending Magic: The Gathering orders to people who try to complain about everything. It's not really that bad, but some cases really upset me a lot and I don't have the energy to deal with it. But to be angry is good for bashing some buttons^_^.

So today after Aing some level nine songs (this time I speak about Jubeat) I realized that I play with a certain ease I did not before. So I tried playing Evans...

This came out of it. Crappy pass grade but pass grade anyway. So I asked my mother do take a video..so here's a video of the second try. Unfortunately I forgot to turn the volume up. So you'll have to do it yourself on the video to at least barely hear the song.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A day full of Magic

I decided not to play Magic, but it seems that it does not work much. Anyway I don't plan going to any major event or Legacy any time soon but this today I had to attend a Najada League Top 8 draft.

Without any prior experience with Theros draft I expected to end up last. Anyway being top 8 in all this means drafting for free and getting some other free booster packs (prizes). So I came to this draft with the intention of having fun.

Planechase
Before the event started we played a round of Planeschase and I have to say that it was quite fun. I played a zombie deck and had Shepherd of Rot in play. I let us lose some life. Later I had to stop doing that otherwise I would die. After few turns of drawing land I decided to play Phyrexian Arena, hoping that I would draw Consume Spirit and kill the rest of the players with the Shepherd. Anyway this did not really happen as I drew lands and yet another 2 lands etc. In the meantime two affinity decks had quite a big board presence and the last player playing Devour for Power deck also had quite a lot of tokens and some HUGE creatures. One of the Affinity players decided to threaten this player and thus was eliminated from the game by him - he cast Fling on his 16/16 or so creature. It was up to me to do something I drew Ascendant Evincar killing majority of the tokens in play. In the meantime I was being attacked by one flyer each turn. When I was at 2 life the Devour for Power player decided to alpha strike choosing me as the target. The affinity player played a card that forced the attacker to sacrifice a creature, this allowed me to block everything and not lose a single life (as that single life loss would kill me during my upkeep). I blocked 12/12 trampler with all I had chumping the rest with the remainder of the creatures (minus 1 creatures). And finally this time...I drew one card...being at 1 life...it was Consume Spirit...drew another card ....it was Profane Command. So I won in the end ^_^ (I would win even without the help).

Top 8 Draft
After this we started our draft. My first pick was Stoneshock Giant. This pretty much decided what I would be playing. I liked my first pick but the rest of the first pack was catastrophic. My second pick was Magma Jet which I did not really want to pick..but well. Later I picked Satyr Hedonist, Spark Jolt, Minautaur Skullcleaver, Hunt the Hunter, Warrior's Lesson and Savage Surge. I also got some off color cards ofcourse but these were possibly cards I could play.

I pack two I picked Erebos and passed the rest. The following picks weren't stellar either, actually they were but in Black. So I thought that I could switch. When it came to the sixth pick I finally got to some cards I could play - I picked Centaur Battlemasters, Karametra's Acolyte, Nylea's Disciple.

I hoped that in pack 3 I would get my keycards and actually I managed to get cards I wanted. I first picked Voyager Satyr over Anthousa not entirely sure if this was good idea, but I really needed the satyr and my 5 mana slot was already pretty crowded. Then I got Nessian Asp, Nemesis of Mortals, Titan's Strength, Spearpoint Oread, Leafcrown Dryad etc...

I ended up with this deck...

Titan's Strength
Spark Jolt
Warrior's Lesson
Hunt the Hunter
Satyr Hedonist
Voyaging Satyr
Leafcrown Dryad
Ordeal of Nylea
Savage Surge
Opaline Unicorn
Reverent Hunter
Agent of Horizons
Nessian Courser
Spearpoint Oread
Minotaur Skullcleaver
Karametra's Acolyte
Nylea's Disciple
2x Centaur Battlemaster
Nessian Asp
Stoneshock Giant
Nemesis of Mortals
Boulderfall

In round one I played against a stalling deck with Sedge Scorpions, Baleful Eidolon and such. I didn't mind as I had Stoneshock Giant anyway. I played my creatures and passed the turn. I when I had about 26 power on the table I made the giant monstrous and killed my opponent. In game two it wasn't going that well. I was drawing lands for a really long time and my BIG Centaur Battlemaster was killed by Sip of Hemlock. My opponent also started playing bigger creatures and started attacking me. My other creatures were small so I had to chump block or trade. I was still drawing lands. When the time was called I had three attacks to survive. I survived the first two...but in order to survive the last attack only one card could actually help me - Boulderfall. After drawing lands for like 40 minutes and being down to 1 life I finally top decked the card I needed - Boulderfall!!!

In round two my opponent started attacing quite early with 2/3 minotaurs and such. But I survived till I could start playing my fatties and that worked. I somehow survived the second game as well.

Since round 3 everything went wrong^_^. In this round I played against the winner of the draft. His Horizen Chimeras were really annoying. Life gain and bounce were not good for me and I died quite soon. Round 4 I played against a boros deck that I could possibly beat. But ideal hand from my opponent was simply too much. Hammer of Purphoros is what killed me the last game. I just couldn't cope with that. In the last round I played against Izzet tempo deck....No idea what I could do against that. Just die I guess^_^.

After this we got our prizes. I got 4 booster packs and opened 3 mythics in it and I wasn't the only one. Two other players had more than 1 mythic in their 4 or 8 packs. Quite insane^_^.

Cube Draft
Time for a cube draft came after this. This time my first pick was Oblivion Ring. I was deciding between Raging Ravine and Oblivion Ring and finally picked the Ring. The rest of the pack was mostly for combo and I did not want to play that. In the pack I was passed I got Treetop Village. There were some counterspells and some other cards I would prefer more but nothing striking. Then I gor Master of the Wild Hunt so I started that I could be picking some Gx midrange cards. But no...I was passed Silverblade Paladin, Mother of Runes and Thalia so I started picking weenies.

In the second pack I wasn't getting any weenies so I started picking different cards. I picked Sorin, Lord of Innistrad, Go For the Throat, both Gideons, Doom Blade and some aggro creatures

In the last pack I opened Jitte so I picked that. Then I got Baneslayer Angel o_O. I got few more creatures, Glorious Anthem, Mirari's Wake and that was about it.

My deck was quite a mess but a playable one.

In Round 1 I played against something I had no idea what it was actually. It had majority of the combo cards there were in the packs but I won both games without being able to see what the deck could possibly do. In round 2 I was paired down and played against Mono Blue Control. That was not a deck I would want to play against. I won the first game pretty quickly as I managed to draw my aggressive part of the deck. The second game seemed pretty bad for me till I managed to resolve Baneslayer Angel that tried to race my opponent with Batterskull in play. That relatively worked till my opponent played Keiga which ruined my game. In game three everything was simply wrong from the beginning till the end but it was Miscalculation that killed me^^.

In the last round I played against the winner. He played midrange Jund. In the first game I managed to kill him with Gideon, Champion of Justice as this was more difficult to deal with than my creatures (those were dying quite soon usually). In the last game it was Gideon Jura that won me the game as I did not need to care about Sword of War and Peace attacking me each turn.

It was fun^_^.

When I got back home we played all common. Me playing Wee Friends (actually Nivix Cyclops, Kiln Fiend and Delver) against my ZEN block Vampires. It was fun as well. Both decks could win even though that the Izzet deck uses cards from more sets. Well, the black deck has quite a lot of removal and discard so it can deal with ocassional creatures...but it can also die to one single attack.

It was a really long day ...but full of Magic and fun.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Legend of the Five Rings - Ivory Edition

Legend of the Five Rings, a game that has been here for more than 17 years.

Every now and then (more like every two years) changes are made to the rulebook and the wording on the cards changes as well. But usually the changes made even bigger mess. This time with Ivory Edition the changes are much bigger and this time they finally make perfect sense (even though I don't like changes, especially big ones). (And by the way...graphically and artistically the sets are awesome. That is my opinion but I like this change...especially when all the games try to have so digital looking and hyper-'tech' feel to everything)

We no longer will be seeing 'Bow this card' written on it but there will be an icon representing this. Costs will finally be distinguishable right away and all cards will be playable and not restricted ONLY to a certain keyword. Keywords that actually DO something are in bold now. Followers no longer have Honor Requirement. There are big changes in rules as well though..like gold produced by a holding or stronghold can be now divided as we wish. No more Border Keep (we can still take mulligan) and Bamboo Harvesters and once again 5 cards on our opening hand. Equip as an open action (WTH?? but it makes perfectly sense after playing the 'imaginary' Romance of the Nine Empires game I can tell...). Clan discounts are gone...we'll just pay what is printed on our clan personality. Thus proclaim changes and off clan personalities simply cost 2 more. Two sided strongholds (one for going first and one for going second) and only ONE per arc. To diversify we can add a sensei to our deck. These aren't mandatory but well surely we'll choose one. And wait that's not all. Straighten Phase, Events Phase and End Phase are gone, so Events with Limited action will be actually something normal. Celestials and Regions also gone (that's why they don't have Ivory Bug now). Fortification Holdings are going to be reintroduced though (alongside the Sensei card).

Finally someone made a 16 card booster packs that will contain the stronghold needed for drafting (EACH PACK will have it) and the way the cards are designed now...there won't be that many dead picks as before. There are many changes that I like and now finally the cards are not a complex wall of text. Now a player can concentrate more on the game itself then math and reading skills.

The power level was brought down much more than I expected but that also means that there will be more diversity (hopefully). It seems to me that many decks were just killed (at least Blitz and ecowarfare) but I see where the designers are going (it feels much like Modern in Magic, at least it felt). If this brings new players to the game I'll be glad. L5R is a very good and solid game but needed to be redesigned to be more understandable and easier to teach and those are finally the changes that can achieve this. I hope that from now on the rules won't be undertaking big changes and will keep to this. It looks very promising. Hopefully "R&D" will test their ideas and cards in both constructed and limited so what happened in the last arc (I mean the current) won't happen once again. I have no idea what made AEG to open their eyes (Gamers 3?) but it was about time for this changes to come.

When Ivory Edition comes out I'll probably get some starters and a box and try to start anew. But for that, one needs other players to join. I hope that Ivory Edition will be a new start and new players will grab this and start enjoying this wonderful game and become part of the awesome L5R community that is already here.

Now I'd like to share a documentary done by John Harkless. YouTube proposed me to watch this video for some reason so here I propose you to watch it as well. It is about L5R community.

And here's a much shorter video of our L5R community (this is not a documentary).

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Custom Playmat - Susumu Kuroko

For several weeks I wanted to come up with a custom playmat. I wanted to draw/paint something I'd like but I just couldn't come up with an illustration I could use and I'm not good that good at drawing myself...But well something original would work as well but I couldn't come up with that either. So I was deciding between Kratos in a dashed style, Liliana of the Veil or Snuff Out Liliana. There were other possibilities as well. For few days I wanted to do a Legend of the Five Rings or Romance of the Nine Empires playmat but again I couldn't decide what I would like on the mat. I really like Shadow's Talon illustration for example but it's not something I would want on my mat. I'd rather have there some personality I like to look at (like Kachiko for example) or like (Agasha Kokiden).

I started browsing Legend of the Five Rings personalities (images) randomly... and this personality showed up.

This card is really out of place...it reminds me of Planar Chaos in Magic: The Gathering but well with sets named Coils of Madness and Gate To Chaos..what to expect? Anyway I really like this personality and I also like the art. So I tried drawing that myself...Well as expected it did not end up looking as beautiful as the original art but in general it does not look bad^_^. Thanks David Horne for painting Kuroko. I really like the art.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Lord of the Rings LCG

At the annual Board Game event in Prague I got the chance to try this game out. There wasn't anybody around who would explain the game so I just grabbed it and started reading the rules.

Lord of the Rings LCG is a cooperative game by Fantasy Flight Games and it's been around for a while (two years). This game can be played either solo or cooperatively with 1 to 3 players. The main objective of the game is to complete all the quests in a scenario. If a player reaches 50 threat level or loses all his heroes he is eliminated from the game. Each player has 1-3 heros at his disposal. Each turn each player gets some resources (including one card) and his threat level is heightened by 1. Resources can be spend to play either allies (that help mainly in combat), events (one time effects that can be played more or less anytime - when the card says that is) or attachments (equipment). After this heroes can commit to a quest. This is very important as this is the only way how to progress in the game. The will power of commited heroes is then compared with the threat level of all cards that are in 'the staging area' (when players commit one new card from encounter deck per player is placed in the staging area). The difference is either added on a location/quest (if heroes) win) in the staging area or is added to the threat level (if threat level is higher). If they commit to a quest they become exhausted (tapped) and cannot fight. Readied (untapped) heroes can defend or attack or use other abilities. Heroes can also travel to a location. That is needed because if there is a location in play the counters from the questing are put there (instead of being put directly on the quest). If a hero travels to the location he can explore it (if the number of quest counters reaches the number that is printed on the card the location is explored and then discarded). This more or less describes what happens in a turn.

From this you can see that there are all kind of resources that you need to manage and mainly it's about the heroes. Almost each action requires a hero to tap which means that the hero cannot do anything else till the end of turn. Heroes also generate points that can be spend to play cards, thus if one dies it will hurt your deck in more ways. In a multiplayer game the roles can be divided - mostly by spheres. Because one sphere is good for questing but can hardly fight. That is the reason why you can decide to let your heroes attack enemies (before checking which enemies will attack whom). This requires quite a cooperation from the players but if you are going to play with the core set preconstructed decks you'll see this quite soon.

There are four spheres of influence - lore, tactics, leadership and spirit. By choosing heroes of one of these spheres a player decides what kind of flavor, play style etc his or her your deck will have. Not to mention the fact that choosing heroes from different spheres of influence limits the player (as playing cards from your deck will be a harder). This box (Core set) contains 226 cards from which a custom deck can be build. The box contains 3 different scenarios. One is introductory and is relatively easy (if played in a two player game and you choose 2 spheres of influence that support each other - thus you have enough will power to quest and enough 'attack power' to beat enemies). The other two scenarios are more difficult (difficulty level 3 and 7).

I did not spend much time playing and exploring this game but one thing is clear. Playing this solo can be pretty difficult. Certain spheres are more or less incapable of actually gathering enough will power to win in the questing phase. And those who actually can gather the power die in combat. This probably is good because this forces the player to build his own deck that contains cards and heroes from two spheres. In more players this game should be easier as players have access to a wider variety of stats and cards. Still if you get stuck at one point and you start getting more location in the staging area the threat level can be getting higher quite fast.

Even after the first game it seemed to me that this game can become pretty repetitive and that is also an incentive to buy new Adventure Packs. These contain 60 cards including new quests for players. Another thing that we are used to already is that some cards can be found only once in the core set. So if you want more of them you need to buy a new box. If you want to build a solid deck from two spheres you need to get a second copy of the core set. A deck has to contain 50 cards, and is limited to have a card in 3 copies maximum. The PCDs contain 30 cards. If you have only one box you basically take all of the cards of the corresponding spheres and set aside five from each sphere (or well just you won't be playing 10 cards from no matter their sphere of influence). Not much of a deckbuilding...

The graphical design of the game is pretty neat and it is an original design. Thus no movie rip offs or based on it. This is a nice change I have to say but it also made it a bit confusing sometimes because I could not distinguish an elf from dwarf^_^. The counters and other stuff in the box is nicely done and the quality is higher than I expected.

The game is actually quite complex which I did not expect for a cooperative game. I'd rather play this game alone because I could focus more on deckbuilding and figuring out how the game works. But that's my take on the game. I'm not really into cooperative games.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Highlander Series Tournament

In the middle of this month Natural Order will be banned and Tolarian Academy will be unbanned. A lot of players are discussing this matter and not so many people agree on well..anything. So this Saturday it was my last chance to play with Natural Order.

I played my BUGw aggro/control and was ready to keep the deck the way it is. But due to the banning I might reconsider. Even though that Natural Order does not play a major role in my deck the card is simply too powerful and thanks to it I won few games. Even though in the first game it was completely useless and in the second one I lost the remaining two games so it was useless as well in the end^^.

Anyway in round 1 I played against aggressive mono black. Few zombies showed up and my life total went down pretty quick. But I was able to deal with the little creatures and win. In game two I was pretty lucky. I played Noble Hierarch on turn 1. Later in the game my opponent played Thoughtseize on me. I couldn't counter it but I had Brainstorm so I played it so I could safe Vindicate and Mana Drain for later. I did exactly that and showed my opponent a hand with Karakas, Wasteland, Qasali Pridemage and Enlightened Tutor. The discarded card was Qasali Pridemage...I was wondering what would come up next... it showed up to be Contamination. My top card was actually Vindicate, I drew it, played a land and destroyed the annoying enchantment. My four color deck is not really happy to see such cards. After this I tutored Sword of Feast and Famine and the game ended soon after.

In round two my opponent played Duress on me on turn 1. My only plan for the game was to play a mana dork, play some Sword on T2 and attack a turn later. But Duress ruined my plan. I got flooded but my opponent had similar problem. He had a lot of cards in hand but wasn't playing anything (it was all removal and lands). My Lotus Cobra was targeted twice with a removal spell. Next creature I played died as well. But then I drew Natural Order, found Primeval Titan and some manlands so I could end the game with them if Titan wouldn't stay in play. In game two it seemed I would lose at some point. But from there we both were drawing lands and nothing else. In the meantime I drew Path to Exile and Memory Lapse that should give me time. I played both cards on Protean Hulk and then soon after I top decked Dark Confidant. My opponent couldn't deal with it and that cost him the game quite some time later. At 13 life that I lost due to my own cards and effects I started getting lands of Confidant and nonland cards from draw step. Those were Aven Mindcensor, Restoration Angel, Phyrexian Metamorph, Thragtusk and bunch of other creatures that couldn't attack (as there was also Thragtusk and other creatures on the other side).

In Round 3 I played against my own deck. It was Naya aggro build from my Cube before the tournament. As there was another deck build from my Cube this deck lacked Swords to Plowshares and Path To Exile but played more burn instead of it. In the first game I mulled once and kept a hand with fetchland, one mana dork, Natural Order and 3 black cards (and one white). I top decked lands in those following turns so I played NO on my third turn again fetching Primeval Titan. I won soon after. In the second game my hand lacked any creatures that could attack and I simply lost. In game three my opponent showed me a hand with Koth, Boros Charm, Incinerate, Flinthoof Boar and Stomping Ground. Goblin Guide and Loam Lion were already on the table. That was not good...

In the following round I wasn't really happy as I played against elves and with no global removal...what can I do? Anyway I played Sword of Fire and Ice on t2 and then I was attacking with it each turn always killing one or two elves. My attackers were also mana producing creatures so they usually died in the combat as well. But I had enough of them. Later Garruk showed up on the other side putting Beasts in play. Those were annoying I had to send one to exile so my attacker (Geist of Saint Treft) would't die but he died anyway. The Angel managed to deal with Garruk though so everything looked good. Soon after I won.

In game two I countered Lightning Greaves as this card could really kill me anytime. I was watching as my opponent played elf after elf..having Elvish Harbinger and Elvish Visionary in play (with Wirewood Symbiote). So I bet everything on Lingering Souls. I played those as early as I could and hoped this card could win me the game. I played all the creatures I could and kept on my hand two counterspells - Mana Drain and Spell Snare. I was saving Spell Snare for Wellwisher and Mana Drain for any real threat. When my opponent cast Chord of Calling for like 7 mana I had to counter that. Later when my opponent was down to 2 life, he tutored Wellwisher and I countered it with my remaining card on my hand - which was the mentioned Spell Snare. (I would be dead if he would tutor Ezuri I guess even though I tried to have as many creatures on the table and keep my opponent out of mana - like killing Elvish Archdruid and similar creatures)

After this I was rewarded an opponent piloting High Tide. Hopefully he missed some land drops and couldn't play Gauntlets of Power soon enough. I played discard on my opponent discarding High Tide. Later on I countered one desperate Turnabout and won soon after. In game two I tried to have a good hand but it ended up as not really that good. I drew Thrun though and then I was waiting for quite some time for the fourth land. Helm of Awakening though was helping me play my own spells even though I was colored screwed (I lacked White and Black). I was trying to play as many threats as I could to keep my opponent tapped and play some counterspells to do the same. Forcing my opponent to tap lands worked well for me as Thrun managed to deal the remaining 8 damage.

Five rounds passed quite slowly for me and I was hungry so I left to get something to eat. When I came back I found out that I placed third. I guess I did not really deserve that but well...probably my deck wanted to tell me not to stop playing Magic as that's my plan for the upcoming months.

The tournament was really nice though. It was lots of fun and even talking about the games with my flat mate was fun. We both had a great time. Unfortunately this brought us to discussing power level of cards in SolForge later. I really hope Stone Blade will do something with that...

BUGW Highlander

1 Avacyn's Pilgrim
1 Aven Mindcensor
1 Baleful Strix
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Dark Confidant
1 Deathrite Shaman
1 Edric, Spymaster of Trest
1 Elves of Deep Shadow
1 Eternal Witness
1 Fauna Shaman
1 Fyndhorn Elves
1 Geist of Saint Traft
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Knight of the Reliquary
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Lotus Cobra
1 Mother of Runes
1 Noble Hierarch
1 Phantasmal Image
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Primeval Titan
1 Putrid Leech
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Restoration Angel
1 Shadowmage Infiltrator
1 Shriekmaw
1 Snapcaster Mage
1 Tarmogoyf
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Viridian Shaman
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Thragtusk
1 Kitchen Finks

1 Abrupt Decay
1 Snuff Out
1 Ancestral Vision
1 Bitterblossom
1 Brainstorm
1 Daze
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Detention Sphere
1 Dismember
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Evasive Action
1 Force of Will
1 Gitaxian Probe
1 Green Sun's Zenith
1 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Into the Roil
1 Lingering Souls
1 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Mana Drain
1 Mana Leak
1 Memory Lapse
1 Mental Misstep
1 Miscalculation
1 Mox Diamond
1 Natural Order
1 Path to Exile
1 Remand
1 Spell Snare
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Sylvan Library
1 Thoughtseize
1 Timely Reinforcements
1 Unearth
1 Vindicate

1 Bayou
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Breeding Pool
1 City of Brass
1 Creeping Tar Pit
1 Flooded Strand
1 Forest
1 Godless Shrine
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Island
1 Karakas
1 Marsh Flats
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Plains
1 Polluted Delta
1 Savannah
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Scrubland
1 Stirring Wildwood
1 Swamp
1 Temple Garden
1 Treetop Village
1 Tropical Island
1 Tundra
1 Underground Sea
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Wasteland
1 Watery Grave
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Blood and Bone by Ian Esselmont

Orb, Scepter, Throne was looking at me from the shelf for quite some time so I decided to finally read it. I was surprised about the place and time where the book took place. Anyway after finishing this book I read the first book of the Kharkanas series and then I wasn't sure what to read next. I wasn't looking particularly for a Malazan Empire book but it ended to be ... Blood and Bone the fifth book by Esselmont.

It seems that in the fourth book Esselmont developed his writing style and figured a bit more something about tension. The book seemed much more solid than the previous ones (but maybe that's also because I don't remember them much).

Blood and Bone is once again...longer (around 560 pages) and much more dense. The story takes place on a continent known as Jacuruku. The western part of the continent is under the power of Thaumaturg mages and the eastern part is a huge and hostile jungle Himatan - the territory of goddess Ardata. The Thaumaturgs decide to invade the Himatan jungle and find and conquer the mysterious and famous 'city' of Jakal Viharn. While Thaumaturgs are on their way to the jungle, desert tribes unite in a unlikely alliance under the leadership of a mysterious foreign warleader (who in the end is not that foreign to this region). The (not so) last are the members of the Crimson Guard both Avowed and Disavowed.

Esselmont managed to well develop the different storylines, the characters are truly alive. The description of the jungle and the life in it is really well done even though it is much more direct than from S. Erikson. But this direct approach is something that really suits the environment of Jacuruku. Esselmont uses many references to something we already know from both his and Erikson's books. The characters in the book make discoveries of such information and that is something really nice to a Malazan Empire fan but can be pretty confusing to a newcomer. As usual there are some parts and information tossed at you that lead nowhere. But maybe one day even those will be used in a book and we might find out more.

The book even though that it is pretty harsh (and really ... some parts are really NASTY and I don't speak about the oppressive, hot, humid atmosphere there) has its own humorous moments and will certainly entertain you for quite some time. The best Esselmont book out there so far (from those I read)

Rating: 4.5/5

Monday, September 30, 2013

Romance of the 9 Empires

In my recent post I wrote about Gamers 3: Hands of Fate. In this movie Romance of the 9 Empires is the imaginative CCG that Natalie loves and Cass comes to like as well. Cass won the World Championship 2012 held at that year's Gencon. AEG is the producer of the game in the movie (and you can probably see why^^). Anyway they decided to take this imaginary game and create it for real. So a new product was released by AEG. It is the 15th Anniversary World Championship Edition of Romance of the Nine Empires. It contains the top 5 decks from the tournament and some extra cards so the decks can be tweaked a bit.

I decided to buy the box and see if the game is actually playable. Not so many information could be found online about the game itself but anyway I wanted to try it myself and see. I decided to buy it off ebay instead of Alderac store due to issues I usually have with AEG store and the high shipping costs (even though they send extra booster packs to compensate). A week later a courier brought the box to me.

I opened the box and looked inside. There are rules (and a warning that you should not learn the whole set of rules at once), the top 5 decks, additional cards and tokens (counters). I sleeved the decks and was ready to play a game...but I needed to figure out how to play it. So how the game is played in short? If you know Legend of the Five Rings or Legend of the Burning Sands you won't have much problems understanding the game. If you don't know one of these games prepare for a long and crazy introductory game (I suppose it will be long. That's what was happening when I was showing L5R to other people not having much experience with TCGs/CCGs).

There are few ways how to win the game. Either via Military - where you have to destroy all opponent's castles, Renown victory - where you have to reach 50 points of glory to win or Starvation - when a player does not have any food at the end of the winter phase he loses the game. What is quite special is the fact that players do not take turns but rather actions in one turn. At the beginning of the game an Ordained player is chosen. This player takes the first action in that turn. At the end of the turn the other player becomes Ordained. Each player has one deck containing at least 55 cards (unlike in L5R where there is Dynasty and Fate deck). A player starts a game with a Stronghold and one property in play.

Stronghold has a faction (heroes in the deck need to have that faction keyword, there are nine factions in total), starting glory, some ability and gold production. The starting property just produces two gold. Players also start with several castles in play. The number of them can differ (but players will start with 5 castles). Each castle has a point value that cannot exceed the one that is printed on the stronghold and hold food - the second resource in this game. Unlike Gold food can rarely be generated and can be mostly just spent.

There are four phases in the game.

Spring phase which is basically the untap step.

HeroPropertyQuestWeapon

Summer phase in which a player can buy heroes or properties, attach cohorts/items/spells to heroes or attack (and of course play/use Summer abilities ).

During a Battle the attacking player chooses any number of his units to attack one or more castles in play. The individual battles are taken at the castle (and the castle can be destroyed during the attack). The rules of presence and relevance apply in the battles (a card has to have a legal target and a hero need to be present at the castle in order to play battle actions (or the battle action moves the hero there).

Autumn phase in which a player can raid - steal food from opponent's castles. In this case only one hero can be assigned per castle -or play/use Autumn abilities.

Winter phase is the clean up step more or less. Food is redistributed here, 4 cards are drawn (each player has to discard to his maximum hand size). Conditions for losing or winning the game (unless military) are checked here as well etc.

CohortStrategySpell

In Battle there is one player action that is quite important and that is Engagement. Any player can tap any number of cards (using their strength) in a unit to deal damage to the opposing army. The other player has to absorb that damage by burying cards with strength equal to the damage dealt. The absorption by a hero can be raised by discarding a card from the player's hand. To some attacks heroes can be immune. For example 2 Strength Hero won't be able to destroy a 3 Strength hero. The defender can also absorb the damage by discarding food (but 1 food equals 1 damage) or by destroying his castle (the castle absorbs all the remaining damage, so the defending army can survive this way).

The game in general is actually good. I like the art as well. The limited number of cards makes it easier to play (unlike if you start playing a new game and there are cards from several different sets with 160-250 cards per set). The rules can be quite a lot for those not used to similar games. So far we haven't played that many games but those we played were quite fun. The games can be pretty frustrating as one misplay can cause a player to lose the game pretty fast. There are cards I already don't like and cards that seem to be really good so I'm looking forward to the expansion announced (Arcane Fire that will let you play as Arcanix wizard or Tuatha Duelist). And of course there are many references to Legend of the Five Rings since fans and backers of the Gamers 3 project created the cards.

The only downside of this game are the token cards and counters. I just managed to lose both of those... (even though I still have my tokens/counters for Warhammer: Invasion these just disappeared).

For more info visit http://www.alderac.com/r9e