Friday, November 27, 2015

Adobe Acrobat Pro - Interactive Deck Registration Sheet for Magic Constructed

Ever heard of Adobe Acrobat (I use Foxit Reader to view PDF files, there is PhantomPDF 7 for editing and creating PDFs - never disappointed with that)? Ages ago I used to use that to convert anything into PDF files because this was the software that was actually capable doing it right. Even though I did not really like the software itself because it was really slow, not really intuitive and so on. Now after years of completely forgetting that something like this exists I kind of had to give it a try. I was given a task to create an interactive PDF form.

Since I really like Photoshop CC and InDesign CC I decided to give Acrobat a second chance.

So yesterday I decided to see what a new version of Acrobat Pro looks like so I checked my license and found it under applications I can use. So I downloaded it and ran it. To my surprise it opened VERY fast (and looked completely different, can't really say that the application is 'intuitive'). After reading a short tutorial on how to create a form I tried doing that (looked like a piece of cake^_^). First attempts failed because it couldn't read the original file (xlsx sheet). When it finally did it did not really want to do what I wanted so I was wondering what to do next. I have a php form written that is easy to style but not the simplest to add/remove data, I have an excel sheet that looks horrible, is hardly legible but works. I tried importing both of these into Acrobat but well it did not really recognize what I needed as my fields. So I gave up for a while and tried creating a file from a different source and that is why I write this post - I used Deck Registration Sheet to create an interactive form.

So now after some time meddling with Acrobat (trials and errors because I simply couldn't find some things I needed but knew they were there somewhere) I can create text fields, buttons and add some behavior (JavaScript, oh one of the reasons why JavaScript was mandatory at school...). So the Deck Registration Sheet counts the number of cards both main deck and in the sideboard. It also fills the first latter of the Last Name field. (the DCI number has to be entered number by number though since I couldn't figure out how to space the letters...)

So if by a chance interested in Deck Registration Sheet that you can fill in using your keyboard here it is for you to download.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Painting Exercise - Breeding Pool (Expedition)

Yesterday when I came home from work I 'woke' my notebook up and stared at it for a while. On its screen Magic Online welcomed me with its 'Restart Magic Online' message. Since the server was down for maintenance I couldn't play so I was wondering what to do (Since few days some of you probably noticed that I'm hardly online on social sites and whatnot so I realized that I don't really have much to do while being online or using my computer. Magic Online is the exception though) . I wasn't really up for anything that I was supposed to do (work) or what I planned to do (do the laundry). So I opened Magic Duels that finally got the Battle For Zendikar expansion. I had three quests there - play 15 blue or black spells, play 15 colorless spells and mill 20 cards. So I took a mono blue devoid deck with Sphinx's Tutelage and some card draw and tried to complete the quests. My first game did not really end up well. On t5 I was staring at 3/3 Vigilance flyer (Woodland Wanderer preceded the turn before). All my 1/1s couldn't deal with it and my removal got counterspelled. The following game was better I started off with three 1/2 Ingest flyers and managed to get my opponent's deck down to 20 cards. Most of it was Ingest though so I guess it did not count as 'mill'. I managed to complete the 'colorless spells' quest but not yet the B/U one nor the mill one in those two games. But I managed that in the last game. My opponent was playing 4/5 or 4/3 flyers one after each other so my only way of winning the game was really via mill (tutelage) and ingest (benthic infiltrator). After ages I actually won^_^.

During the games I was trying to figure out what should I be doing that evening. I wasn't really up for playing Magic Duels and I wasn't up for recording some matches with UB Ingest either (I want to write a post about that). Anyway after google returned some results for 'Battle for Zendikar' I decided what to do (I wanted to paint, but I did not know what, google solved that for me). One of the images it found was an image of Breeding Pool by Noah Bradley. That was what I would try to paint (with a bit of luck it would look a bit like the original painting^_^). I wasn't sure how to approach it so I just started drawing the Breeding Pool and waited what would come out of it...The photo below shows what came out of it after few hours (I might come back to it later).

Thursday, November 19, 2015

All about the Jace, not Mind Sculptor

When Magic Origins came out I wasn't really interested in any of the cards from the set and Jace, Vryn's Prodigy was one of those cards I ignored. I had my Snapcaster Mages for Eternal Formats and I played Abzan in Standard. But when I put together some Jeskai list and played with Jace, Vryn's Prodigy I had to change my opinion. I was amazed what the card can do. When I switched to Jeskai Black list Jace was the card that was doing all the job killing my opponents. I couldn't believe the card to be THAT insane. I couldn't believe all those people trying to convince me that Jace is bad in Jeskai. Because I have a completely opposite view on that matter. Jace is nuts. In all the decks I wanted to brew from Reanimator to Aristocrats Jace shined. Yes, I am a player who played Jace, the Mind Sculptor in Standard Jund and was often called names because of that. t3-4 Jace, the Mind Sculptor followed by Bloodbraid Elf into a card I put on top of the library myself was better than my blind cascades. But Jace he was simply that good. So putting Jace into a Junk list or a 5c Reanimator seemed a logical choice. Why not try it, it worked in Jund why not Junk? I was ready to cut the card if it wouldn't show to be good and I wasn't sure the card would be good (I was when I put JTMS in my Jund list) but Jace really shined and I realized that the feeling I had about this card is not just a feeling. It is the real deal. Could that card be even better in other formats? The answer is simple. YES.

I wasn't aware that the card would be so awesome so I missed buying my Japanese playset...the price already got ridiculous and probably won't just stop there.

My very first experience with Jace, Vryn's Prodigy was during a powered cube draft. My first pick was Ancestral Recall followed by a ton of bad blue cards and few good ones. Sphinx's Tutelage was one of the cards I hoped that would defeat my opponents. But this card alone wouldn't be able to do it without Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. This baby Jace usually looted as much as 'he'could and replayed Ancestral Recall which was enough for me to win (otherwise my deck struggled among other decks that were actually good). This was the first time I felt the power of Jace. I had to face the truth - without that card my deck was completely useless...^_^

My stubbornness continued though. It was only after I played with this card in Vintage environment that it finally dawned on me - the card is better than Jace, the Mind Sculptor. The primary reason being the fact that the card costs 2 mana but still does soooo much.

Some time ago I put together a UR Delver list for Vintage. Because the deck was the closest to my Legacy deck. But I wasn't sure about one thing - Delver of Secrets. I also put two Snapcaster Mages in the deck because I play them in Legacy as well even though it can cost too much mana (but is worth it). After I played with that for a while I realized that Delver of Secrets is/was on a completely different power level than in Legacy, Modern or Standard featuring Delver... Vintage does not have that much removal and that has to be saved for something strong. This deck can counterspell as any other blue deck but can have a 3/2 by turn 2 on the table. This might not seem as the best thing to have in Vintage but it works. Snapcaster Mage though is a card that sometimes is not enough. It can recast in most cases only cards costing 1 mana and ocassionally kill my opponent via combat damage. Since both cards usually stay in play for quite some time unless countered. So what would happen if I added Jace, Vryn's Prodigy to the mix? To see what would change I put Jace in the deck (replacing Snapcaster Mage). After the very first game with it in which Jace did exactly two things before he died (looted once, played Ancestral Recall again) I would never go back to putting Snapcaster Mages in the deck. I put more Jaces in the deck instead.

So what does Jace do? Jace loots which is very important in moxen and other rocks heavy decks. That one additional card that we can see can be a great difference. It can be Ancestral Recall or Brainstorm. Jace, the Mind Sculptor's brainstorm might be better but the card costs 4 mana and my aggressive Delver deck can't even play that card. Control decks can play JTMS and I'm still not convinced that I want to play only Jace, Vryn's Prodigy in such decks. Anyway the discarded card if instant or sorcery can be replayed by the very same Jace later. The Telepath side of Jace then creates the real card advantage. It feels very similar to playing Gush (at least this is how I felt when I first played Gush...well that was ages ago). That is a card I always loved to play because it is ridiculously strong (not taking into an account restricted cards). Also Jace, Telepath Unbound allows us to play cards from graveyard unlike Snapcaster Mage that gives them flashback. That means that we can use the alternate costs to play the cards! It does not come handy with Force of Will but Gush played for returning two islands is awesome. The +1 ability does not seem to do much, but staring at -1/1 Monk token that will have hard time killing Jace is actually fine. The ultimate ability is one that I don't expect to use at all but sometimes it comes down to it as well. The decks I have (UR Delver and Mentor Deck) don't really need that ability. When Jace goes ultimate though it can mill the opponent quite fast as there are many cantrips in the deck and cards usually casting 0 to 1 mana. (I was killed by Jace's ultimate ability more times than I managed myself but that's because many of those Time Vault combos flip Jace and then get infinite turns, unlike me.. I win by damage dealt by creatures)

When I was recording All About that Jace parody I was thinking about showing Jace, Vryn's Prodigy at the end of the song, but I did not manage to do that. Now I regret that a bit (even though the video started a wave of hate against me/my videos) because JTMS will see even less play, we will see way more of this teenage version instead. So if you still haven't tried playing Jace, Vryn's Prodigy somewhere you should. Because after you try this card out you'll want to have your playset right away.

Monday, November 16, 2015


Deathseeker from Legend of the Five Rings

Ages ago as it seems I started drawing a series of Legend of the Five Rings personalities but I never finished I might continue when I have the time to draw/paint.

This was supposed to be a Lion Clan Deathseeker ...

Monday, November 2, 2015

Ascension Dawn of Champions Proxies

Since Dawn of Champions is still not available in this country I decided to proxy the whole expansion set and play it with the previous one. Unfortunately the official site does not seem to have the cards in their database (yet) so I decided to do it myself (I've done this before with Darkness Unleashed, I might upload that file as well if I find it).

Since I don't own the physical copy and I couldn't find scans of this set I had to look elsewhere for the cards so I took some screenshots of Ascension running on my iphone and put all this into one pdf file. The quality of the screenshots is not the best for print but it's quite ok.

So either if you are interested in seeing what cards are actually in the set or you can't buy the game right now you can use these to play the game and later buy the physical copy. The file does not contain the basic cards like Apprentices, Militias, Mystics etc because I expect everyone to have those already from earlier sets. => Ascension: Dawn of Champions