Friday, September 30, 2011

Dragon decks revisited

Yesterday, I wanted to build a new dragon deck. It should have been something like Dueling Military (not Kensai but Magistrate). After going through all the new strategies I decided to post-pone this and update my current decks (that haven't seen War of Honor nor Forgotten Legacy nor the soon to be legal Second City).

I'll try to figure out what to do with my Magistrates, their actions gain or let other player lose honor. Their force is relatively high, but not that good for a military deck. So I'll see what can be done with it.

So first I updated my LSC deck. Now I need to play with it more. But I have to say that Duel of the Haiku is really awesome card. It can be played on opponent's turn, it dishonors and it even makes you gain honor! Then we have here Forging Destiny that has a FV of 4, nice magistrate/duelist/courtier with PH4 and 5 Chi and the card even has an ability that is not bad!

Last Step Castle Honor
Last Step Castle
1x Border Keep
1xBamboo Harvesters

Dynasty: 40
1x Traveling Peddler
3x Gold Mine
2x My Father's Shrine
2x Acrobat Troupe
1x Public Records
1x Kitsune Den
1x Counting House
3x Magistrate's Stipend

1x Hanayashiki
1x The Second City
1x Naoharu's Gift
1x Well-defended border
1x Ebisu's Honesty

3x Kitsuki Nubane (ho, I love this card)
1x Kitsuki Taiko XP
2x Kitsuki Bokuko
1x Kitsuki Hanbei
1x Togashi Satsu
2x Kitsuki Yodo
3x Mirumoto Haru
3x Mirumoto Bokusui
1x Mirumoto Hojatsu
1x Mirumoto Ichizo
1x Otomo Seimi
1x Daigotsu Oki

Fate: 40
3x Hamstrung
3x Steel on Steel
3x Impromptu Duel
3x Imperial Adjudication
3x Duel of Haiku (open duel, dishonor and 1 honor gain? awesome)
3x Outer Walls
3x Forging Destiny (hoho FV4?)
3x Shadow's Talon
2x Entrenched Position
1x Relentless Conviction
3x Wall of Honor
1x A Game of Dice
2x Peaceful Discourse
2x Snow-swept Summit
3x Claw and Shell
2x Patrolling the Roads

The second deck I tried meddling with is PoV Monk Enlightenment. I changed the Fate deck. I wanted to try String of Victories, Shadow's Talon and more duels than last time. I added Awed Witness and 1x Steel on Steel. I still have to see how it work. I had problems with card draw in this build but still I go through fate deck pretty fast. I'll probably have to change the decklist to suit me more.

PoV Monk Enlightenment
Pillars of Virtue
1x Border Keep
1xBamboo Harvesters

Dynasty: 40
1x Traveling Peddler
3x Gold Mine
3x Temple of Harmony
3x Colonial Harbor
3x Tranquil Garden
1x The Seekers' Temple
1x Counting House

1x Wisdom Gained
1x War of Dark Fire
1x A Tranquil Mind
1x Togashi Satsu
1x Togashi Osawa EXP
1x Togashi's Guidance
1x Togashi Shiori EXP
3x Togashi Kanmu
1x Togashi Kazuki EXP
1x Tamori Wotan EXP
3x Togashi Kyoshi
3x Mirumoto Haru
1x Togashi Nakahara
3x Togashi Gato
3x Tamori Wotan

Fate: 40
2x String of Victories
3x Changing Paths
3x Deception Revealed
2x Buoyed by the Kami
3x Steel on Steel
3x Cowed by Wisdom
3x Balance in Water
2x Entrenched Position
2x Awed Witness
3x Shadow's Talon
3x Cold Hands, Stone Heart
3x Master the Body
3x Dove Tattoo
1x Ring of Fire
1x Ring of the Void
1x Ring of Water
1x Ring of Earth
1x Ring of Air

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Innistrad type 2

Yesterday, I've been trying to come up with a new deck. I wasn't really successful with it but I learned some things. Here follows something like a summary of my yesterdays attempts. Note that I wasn't really into building any deck but rather something that stays in Grixis colors.

There are few cards I wanted to try in testing (testing is a too strong word...playing on MWS is one, playing against the same control decks is the second).
Snapcaster Mage
Liliana of the Veil
Forbidden Alchemy
Think Twice vs Ponder
Invisible Stalker
My first deck was a Invisible Stalker-Blade with Snapcaster Mage. (The decklist can be Caw Blade with few Snapcaster Mages and Geist of Saint Traft or whatever). I learned my first lesson here - Invisible Stalker is not enough. It's not Squadron Hawk that can actually win the game (without the Sword). Having just Invisible Stalker on the table is nothing that will save you nor win you the game. You need more creatures to defend this creature against Liliana's Edict (and sacrificing Inkmoth Nexus is not the way to go)and the Sword is more likely to be hit by Acidic Slime anyway. Thus I needed to increase the number of Swords in the deck and also the number of creatures (Snapcaster Mage) which wasn't something I liked. Could be Hero-Blade with the Stalker, but well I would still rather equip Inkmoth Nexus with it.

After this I decided to completely abandon this idea and wanted to try something different. Something like this came to my mind.

UR experiment^^
3x inferno titan
2x chandra, the firebrand
4x azure mage/grim lavamancer
3x ponder
2x slagstorm
2x shock
4x Mana Leak
2x dismember
4x chandra's phoenix
1x devil's play
4x incinerate
4x snapcaster mage

This deck tried to survive the early game, dealing some damage on the way with the blue creatures (*wide smile*) and Chandra's Phoenix. In the end it should kill with Inferno Titan or Chandra. It was fun to play but I abandoned this. Here I found out that Snapcaster Mage actually falls rather in the aggressive part of the deck. The deck shifted into something more like this:

UR Aggro
4x Grim Lavamancer
4x Snapcaster Mage
4x Stormkirk Noble
4x Azure Mage -> Phantasmal Bear
4x Stormblood Berserker -> 2x Lord of the Unreal/2x Phantasmal Image
2x Hero of Oxid Ridge
2x Brimstone Volley
4x Incinerate
3x Shock
4x Mana Leak
2x Ponder
2 lands/Phantasmal Image

I tried figuring out what the best card to replace Azure Mage was and the ideal card for that is Phantasmal Bear^_^. The illusions theme is actually something that could work wonders. Phantasmal Image included in this deck can copy opponent's big creatures, can get rid of annoying Thran or can copy your Hero that is good against Timely Reinforcements. The fact that the illusions die easily can be used to your advantage - Brimstone Volley is there to deal five damage. But well yeah, it would need a card like Lord of the Unreal, but is it worth it? How many of them would be good so your Phantasmal Image wouldn't die so easily?

UB Draw Go
4x despise
4x mana leak
4x think twice
3x snapcaster mage
3x doom blade
1x grave titan/1x Black Sun's Zenith
2x consecrated sphinx
3x solemn simulacrum/2x Dissipate and 1x Black Sun's Zenith
1x batterskull
1x karn liberated
4x liliana of the veil
2x forbidden alchemy

So back to something more usual. I wanted to see what Liliana can do and I have to say that Liliana costing 3 mana is really crazy. It does change a lot and needs to get a bit used to it. She just gets there and either kills one of your creatures you tried to get through, or is there so you can't use her as an edict (when dealing with some reanimated creature) or discards a card when it really is bad for you. That's also a reason why I would actually play Forbidden Alchemy and Think Twice. Playing ponder in my more red decks worked better (ok it was primarily - look for burn and feed lavamncer) but having the possibility to play these cards from graveyard (and thus just discard them) proved to be good. Anyway these cards work pretty well, remember the times where you wait with your counterspell and your opponent does nothing? Now it's time to draw a card!

I added batterskull to the deck to deal with aggro decks. Another one would be in sideboard. It's cheaper than Wurmcoil Engine and you can blink it. I got used to this card when playing Modern Superfriends and I don't think it's a bad idea.

Anyway at first I played Solemn Simulacrum, but the card does not really do what I need in this build. I had 2x Grave Titan and 2x Consecrated Sphinx, but I needed more card draw and counterspells. So I guess I'll keep Solemn Simulacrums for my Grixis deck

I'm not entirely sure what spot removal to use either - Doom Blade or Go For the Throat? That's probably also a reason why I stick to despise. But this card hits only walkers and creatures. Reanimation on the rise it might not be wise to discard creatures and usually I can deal with those. Nowadays I wish there would be Duress available, but in more black deck Distress could become viable. But who knows.

The following deck is something I would not recommend to anyone^_~. There are many cards that could form a base for a deck or a deck could be build around it. In Grixis colors it could be Heartless Summomning or Burning Vengeance.

Grixis Titans
4x Ponder
4x Incinerate
3x Shock
4x Mana Leak
3x Dissipate
2x Slagstorm
2x Doom Blade
4x Despise
1x Batterskull
3x Solemn Simulacrum
2x Grave Titan
1x Inferno Titan
2x Consecrated Sphinx

Well, so what to play? Either UB Draw-Go or UBw with some Unburial rites package or....this

3x Chandra's Phoenix
4x Brimstone Volley
3x Shock
3x Incinerate
4x Stormkirk Noble
4x Furnace Scamp
2x Hero of Oxid Ridge
4x Shrine of Burning Rage
2x Tezzeret's Gambit
4x Stormblood Berserker
3x Grim Lavamancer
2x Arc Trail
3x Gut Shot

I'm not really sure if Tezzeret's Gambit is a good thing. I would want to play Spikeshot Elders as well as I encountered a problem of not having enough 1 drops and this one does quite a lot in late game. Brimstone Volley showed to be even better in this deck then in the UR one.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Planeswalker Buttons

It's been a while that I've done these. (the images are from WotC m12 halfdecks)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cheating (some general rant)

At a certain Pro Tour one player was disqualified because of cheating. Actually he wanted to do an illegal action and his opponent told him that it does not work that way (played mirror). His reply was 'I know' and thus he got a DQ as this clearly shows that he wanted to use this to his advantage. This is cheating. At high level this really is something that I would DQ for but what about casual play? What do you do or would do?

I encountered many people who tried to cheat when playing against me. I usually ignore that and just let it go. Some of those who were really persistent and doing it all the time I started telling them that this is cheating and they should stop doing that. They should keep the game state as it should be and follow the rules. I played against players who were playing additional land, drawing additional card, not tapping properly, looking at extra cards etc. There are people who tried to mislead me or do an illegal action so they would trick me. All this intentionally. Are such people eligible for tournament play? Most of these people aren't actually good players and by cheating they try to be better than others. I understand this even though they should learn to play the game well so they wouldn't need to cheat.
Really sometimes these players don't even know what deck they are playing and what cards are those they need. There were few people who asked me how they should stack their deck so they win all the time. When first player asked me this question I was speechless. I just couldn't say a word. When this happened for nth time I finally found my voice and told the person to do at least a little homework about a deck they net decked.

We also had a funny situation with few people. But I will note just one. There are many players that stack their deck in a certain way. Some just take land and add two spells, land, two spells etc. I had a game against one boy doing this. I knew that he was doing that and did not really care. After losing to me and stacking the cards yet once again he wanted to play against someone else. I told the player what the boy does with the deck. The player came to him, took his deck and divided it in three piles and then handing over a deck consisted of a land part and non-land cards. The boy had to mulligan several times, till he actually gave up and sad that this is unfair and we have no right doing so. We told him how it should be but still he did not listen. For next few days we had the chance to see him, he was still doing that. Shouldn't one lesson be enough? Some people are stubborn and not just little boys, I know that older player do this as well and many do this unnoticed and intentionally. But why? Just to boost their ego?

Anyway I haven't really had a problem with cheating during a Magic: The Gathering tournament and if there was it usually wasn't intentional. I had many people call a judge on me because they thought I don't have the right number of cards in my deck or that I did not have a valid deck and asked for a deck check. Most of these people got a warning right after my deck was checked and those are the times when I know that Magic has rules to follow and each player (and others) have their responsibilities. There are times I ignored mine as telling a judge that certain person plays an illegal card. But that's probably I was to shy and not really confident either to ask. Nowadays I know that I would call a judge right away.

This is something I always feared, at least when I was younger and I wanted to go to GP Prague (Onslaught). I never played a sealed deck before and I was afraid that there would be many things I would mess up and I would gather some penalties^_^. But now I know that all issues are addressed and solved and Judges are fair.

Also I would like to make a little digression. On certain forums people are asking if game store have problem with people who are either drunk or drugged. From my own experience there aren't usually problems with such people even though I don't like to play against someone who does not really seem to be himself.

Now back to cheating but in a different game.

I played Legend of the Five Rings for a while actively. I went to one of the big tournaments that are held at different locations in the world. At this tournament -Kotei- I noticed few things and one of those things was - players were cheating (in this game people call the most balanced, challenging and that the community is friendly).

In the first round I had a player who missed a trigger on each of his turn. Then in his Action phase he would remember and use the ability even though it says 'may' and the ability triggers only at the beginning of the turn. I told him that he should be taking care of that trigger if he wants to use it. I told him this several times and called a judge twice. The first Judge just told him to be more careful and the second one gave him a warning. But at that goddamn moment for me the trigger was a question of winning the game or not. I should have won the game. I felt betrayed. The match up was already the worst I could encounter.

When playing against another player I realized that he tries to do many chaotic things and then say what ability he uses. He was using certain abilities twice and sometimes he also was coming back to triggers that were long gone. I wasn't sure if this was intentional until another game where I saw him play against someone else. There I found out that this WAS intentional. I was telling the player what abilities he used and what he cannot do, but yeah I have to say that this distracted me and it was pretty tough for me to follow the actual game.

I also played against a player who was in top 8 and to my surprise he tried to 'outcheat' me as well. I was like WTH? I just couldn't believe it. People were trying to cheat on regular basis. Why? At those tournaments I played I noticed that many players don't really follow what the other player does (how he pays for the cards mostly or what were the abilities used or cards drawn). That's also a reason I did not want to play at tournaments because I was messing quite some things and I wanted the situations to be solved correctly (ie. when paying a gold cost of a card incorrectly, but the card is in play already or when an illegal action takes place and how to solve that) Also many people don't count opponent's honor which I also find weird. There are games in which I actually forget to gain honor even there is no other option and this for example is ignored and just taken as is...In Magic this wouldn't happen.

I was frustrated because of this many times. The rules might be complex, but there should be someone who would judge and say what the players should do or something where one could find out how to deal with such situations.

Is cheating more common in this game because it is more complex? Or because the inconsistency in the rules and absence of 'how to deal with situation x'? I don't know but this was a really frightening experience and I'm glad that such things don't happen at Magic tournaments (at least not often...).

EDIT: One more thing. Many players are rude and call people idiots and worse words. There are players that have no respect for other players be it their opponents, other participants of the tournament, judges, TOs or team mates. These people should be taught how to behave. This happens relatively often and is not just. But this usually gets overlooked and no one ever bothers to deal with this.

That's about it...just something I had to type as it stayed inside me for quite some time already.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Starting yesterday my online shop is working so people can order some stuff and get it. It probably does not work at 100% as it should and it's not 100% as I would like it to be but for the time being it seems to work somehow. I still need to check if PayPal works. I as a seller I can't pay for the goods using my account so... I need to ask someone else to do it.

And Innistrad cards are also included in the database as

Innistrad (Visual) Spoiler

The administration and few other scripts will help me with accounting so another problem is solved.

I had to post this...It took a long time and it still needs a lot of work, but now it more or less works and I can continue working on it and customers are free to order anything.

The shop runs at

and has Standard Magic: The Gathering Singles, L5R Celestial Arc Singles, MtG products and accessories...that's about it for the time being. More products are yet to come.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Damian Orestis RIP

Today one of our cats died. His name was Damian, an Abyssinian (partly Somali)tomcat. When he was little his physical condition was really bad and we thought he wouldn't survive long. But he survived and he became our beloved pet.

Damian liked to fetch 'toy-mice' which is something usual for a cat. But when you tossed something somewhere and told him Fetch! he would do it. He also liked water unlike other cats.

One of his habits was taking one of his toys and dipping them in water. He then brought the wet toy to one of us so we would toss it somewhere and he would fetch it. When this happened in the middle of the night it sometimes wasn't that nice as water in your bed or somewhere on the ground wasn't what you needed at that time.

He needed a lot of attention and liked to be caressed. He was shy and feared many people, but to those who he knew he was very empathetic and supporting. When I felt down he came to support me. He licked his nose and bumped me with his head starting to purr. I started to caress him and it made me feel better.

He liked warm places and liked to sleep under one's legs under the cover. When he was purring water run down his nose with which he bumped our legs or arms. That's something that can easily wake one up^_^.

Damian was clumsy for a cat, probably because part of his tail was cut when he was little. He did not like heights much and feared anything and anyone loud. During New Year's Eve he usually ended up under a sofa and did not leave it till morning. Then he would come and needed caressing.

He'll be missed. The last three days were difficult but now Damian can rest in peace.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Grand Prix Trial Milan

On Sunday - the day I wanted to play in PIU tournament or ITG one - I went to GPT Milan in Bratislava. I just wanted to play to be honest. I played in the prerelease tournament which I won (or was second? probably the latter) and then I played in the Magic Celebration events.

My draft experience being zero and I realized that there cards I did not even know existed in the set. But no matter what I signed up. I waited till like 30 or so people would register and pay the fee. I was all soaked up in sweat. The temperature was high and the air was stale. I could hardly breath and was really sweating I sat down and waited. In the meantime (I was bit dizzy and I did not sleep well...if at all) Ivan Floch started to play Magic with one of the Demo girls there. I haven't seen the girl play before even though I noticed her at the event.

She played a mono blue aggro (2012 half deck) and Ivan played a red half deck. The girl started to complain about things and started calling Ivan and the present Judge idiots (and other words). We tried to tell her how Magic rules actually work but she was resilient. She should be glad that she had the chance to play against such a nice player and good one.

It was time to register and wait for the seatings.

I got 6 boosters and hoped for something better than I got on Friday (in the end, it wasn't that bad after all^_~). I opened rare cards like monomania and doubling chant
which I did not really like much. I got no bomb in those six rares. I got Grim Lavamancer though. The red cards were actually good. I build a BR deck even though I could play UW as well.

1x Grim Lavamancer
1x Act of treason
1x Consume Spirit
1x Goblin Piker
1x Fling
1x Slaughter Cry
1x Warpath Ghoul
1x Wring Flesh
1x Gravedigger
1x Vampire Outcasts
1x Incinerate
1x Sorin's Thirst
2x Devouring Swarm
1x Bloodrage Vampire
1x Crown of Empires
1x Zombie Goliath
1x Mind Rot
1x Manic Vandal
1x Shock
1x Goblin Fireslinger
1x Gorehorn Minotaurs
1x Tormented Soul

I chose to play Crown of Empires because I did not have anything that could deal with creatures like titans, Carnage Wurm, Sphinx of Uthuum etc. I could kill on or two creatures like this via Fling/Devouring Swarm/Act of Treason.

The games were usually interesting and quite nice. In one game the duo - Tormented Soul + Goblin Fireslinger - won me the game. It took a long time, but it worked. Hopefully my opponent wasn't fast enough and did not show me any bomb right away.

In round three I played against someone who showed me Gideon's Avenger on T3, followed by Quicksilver Amulet on T4 and Sphinx of Uthuun on T5. Sphinx killed my poor Devouring Swarm (my mistake) and showed cards I did not rather wanted to see at all. GG and we tried a second game. Avenger once again on T3 - got shocked though. On turn five I had to deal with Belltower sphinx. I knew that If I would leave it there I would slowly die and wouldn't be able to do anything with it. I also knew that killing the Sphinx would mean that I wouldn't be able to deal with Sphinx of Uthuun. Well, I decided to deal with Belltower one and lost to Sphinx of Uthuun later as predicted.

In round 4 I got a really interesting game against the winner of the trial. He played blue/black control with Sorin and Druidic Satchel. That card does not usually do what you need, but still it meant that I wouldn't be able to attack well as the possibility of a Saproling was relatively high. Sorin ended up on the table and I couldn't do anything with that. Dealing six damage on my turn was impossible and majority of my creatures would simply die to Sorin's first ability. For the second game I decided to play a different deck as that one would be much better suited for this matchup. Too bad though when I needed a seventh land I did not drew it. It would help me and it might have made a difference. It was a really nice game.

1x Negate
1x Armored Warhorse
1x Oblivion Ring
1x Cancel
2x Mana Leak
2x Belltower Sphinx
1x Ice Cage
1x Stonehorn Dignitary
1x Cancel
1x Skywinder Drake
1x Stave Off
1x Assault Griffin
1x Peregrine Griffin
1x Stormfront Pegasus
1x Merfolk Mesmerist
1x Celestial Purge
1x Mind Control
1x Aether Adept
1x Griffin Sentinel
1x Crown of Empires

From this point on it went downhill I played for a place in top 8 but did not manage it. First game I needed to seriously mulligan but it did not help. My hand in the end was bad. I still had a chance to win if I would top deck the right card, but no top deck brought nothing good.

After this round ended I was needed for moving Rare-Items stuff. There was quite a lot of it. It was heavy and it took some time to get it into the car. But after it we left, went to get something to eat and could finally breath a bit more fresh air and eat something warm and eat drink something cold.

It was a really nice tournament, everything went smoothly and the games were good. I really enjoyed it. Thanks to the TO and Judge.

I also won some nice prizes. There was a Magic: The Gathering Quiz that I was kind of forced to fill in. I did that not really count with anything and I did not leave a cell phone number. But Ondrej came to me and asked if by a chance I don't know someone called S'Tsung.^_^. Thanks for the nice stuff. Next time I'm going to fill this on my own and will include my cell phone number^_~.

That's about it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Comics Salon/Istrocon

Comics Salon and Istrocon are annual events that take place in Bratislava. It is a convention were anime/manga, games, fantasy and sci-fi fans gather to have some fun. This year after several years pause I went there as well with Rare-Items which brought some entertainment technology to the con (lasergame, dance games).

Day Zero

At 4 pm I was supposed to be at NX's place. He would go get me and we would leave for Bratislava. The day did not start well for NX as there was a already a series of fails that resulted in 2,5 hours being behind schedule. But as we all know this is normal when organizing an event (even partly). We managed to get lost in an the area near Istropolis were the convention is held. We finally arrived there at 11pm.

We unloaded all the stuff - tables, benches, sound systems, dance pads, yet another dance pads, even more heavy dance pads, lasergame arena stuff, lasergame stuff, etc etc etc. 5 of us managed to get this to the second floor where we dividid in two - dance game multiplayer stand stuff and lasergame arena stuff. We left the stuff as it was there and went to Robert's (the main organizer of the event) place.

Day One

At 1 am or even later we could lie down and sleep. It was humid, hot and noisy. I couldn't sleep so I was enjoying Robert's collections of Japanese games, Mutant Chronicles etc etc (btw his brother had there the best printed Magic proxies I've seen in my life^^ and I've seen a really nice NM Wasteland.)

At 5 am I started to be really hungry and wanted to fall asleep but I couldn't. Robert woke us up at (at least those who were asleep) at 7 so we could get ready. A lot of hard work awaited us.

We arrived at the site later that morning and started getting things done. Lasergame 'arena' consisted of a series of boxes in metal cases that were wired together. The metal cases in which the boxes were standing were pretty sharp. The boxes were 1cm larger than they should be so it was difficult to put them in it. It took along time and was relatively exhausting. Wiring everything together a challenge of another level. But in the end we somehow managed to make it.

Putting together the multiplayer stand was much easier and did not require so much time. I tried to do my job, but at times I could just lie down and almost fall asleep (at the card games area). I was staring at the ceiling laying on a bench and then few minutes later figuring out that I'm asleep. Anyway I got up, drank some energy drink and O2 water and continued in the work.

I spend some time later at the multiplayer stand realizing few things. The players most of the time are capable of playing 4-6 level songs. The songlist did not contain that many songs so we heard a song several times per hour. People were requesting songs like Tricky Disco and Bad Apple. Few people coming to us were capable of playing higher level songs.

In the meantime I was told that there would be a minimaster single elimination tournament. I wanted to play in it, but I thought that it would start at 6pm. But alas it started at 4pm. NX took my place and waited for the rest of the team to arrive to Bratislava. They arrived after the second round of the Magic: The Gathering tournament.

After the tournament I was hungry and tired. Srandista and Centime saved me and solved my problem. Instead of staying at Istropolis I went with them and stayed at Srandista's parents' place. I still wonder how it is possible that the dog barking and birds' cawing (whatever sound they are making...) seems so loud.

Day Two
This day I wanted to play music games and if it would be possible I would compete in the dance games. But all the tournaments were on Sunday and for that day I already signed up for Grand Prix Trial Milan.

Pump it Up Fiesta
When I first saw Fiesta I couldn't figure out how the system works: I chose a song, chose a wrong difficulty and did not manage to set a speed mod. My second time on the machine was more successful. I realized that the old speed mod codes actually work and that the difficulties are divided into single, double, performance and another. So it was quite ok. The song list contains some songs from DM Ashura and Cospi which was a surprise to me. It also features the feared song named Gargoyle (oh yea the stepchart is awful!). The stepcharts for these songs resemble the ones from PIU Pro. Not sure if that it's a good thing, but anyway it is a change. The K-Pop songs are really annoying if you hear them all the time and the song Ring Ding Dong or how it is called was banned later the day. And I still hear Shock in my head!!

What I did not really like about fiesta is the noteskin. At first I thought that I'm incapable of playing longer streams but later I realized that it is not the legs that are having a problem. It was my brain not being able to understand the fact that PINK = UP-RIGHT or UP-LEFT. I realized that I react to red and orange color but not to pink (yet).

Anyway I played some Fiesta songs mostly level 18-20 with several 15/16 level songs and even 21+. I have to say that there were 20 level songs that I passed with A and then I almost died on a 15 level song's stream! Wierd. I had fun playing the game and playing on Nightmare was really enjoyable.

Most of the time when I arrived to the machine and started setting things up someone asked me if I need some help setting the difficulty and speed mod or what is the thing I actually desire. At first I ignored those questions but later I started to simply answer 'I have all I need set up'. When I started to play on NM I overheard some of the comments behind me. Some were relatively funny^^. At least the one that amused me the most was [I was wearing a Magic: The Gathering t-shirt]: 'hm magic players can actually move fast?'.

I usually hear comments like...'I can't even read the arrows', 'I won't be able to do this ever', 'she's crazy', 'that's impossible', 'she's good', 'she has to know this by heart' and so on. Sometimes people even ask who I am. But it seems that not being present at such conventions for 3 years made some people forget and new people simply don't know me. After finishing my credit people usually asked me if I'm going to compete in the PIU tournament on Sunday. I usually told them that I go to the GPT already and if I would go 0:2 drop I would come and compete not that they would know what I mean with that... (I got 2:0 when the PIU tournament was supposed to start).

In The Groove
Mary-chan from Austria brought her machine to CS/IC as well. I have no idea how it came down to this but it happened. I was happy to see Mary but did not manage to spend some time with her. I enjoyed the few songs we played together. She is a good assist tick now^_^.

My first few songs on the ITG dedicab ended up with lots of excellents. You can clearly see that the timing on Extreme machine is off. After few songs I started to get my normal Fantastic/Excellent ratio but still it wasn't that good.

At the machine there were some people all the time, most of the time the very same people. Many played songs like Vinyl etc. After a while the people standing there for a longer time started to be a bit mad about the song choices as it was the same songs all the time over and over.

I did not manage to play double nor managed to play some songs I would like. I had no idea what songs are on the machine so I just played what people picked or I randomly picked (songs I know from IIDX). My scores weren't good but I found out that I can still relatively well play the game. Also tried few parts of the Through and Fire and Flames song. There are parts I can read and follow but the streams are killing me... (I can't even pass that on a keyboard..beh).

Anyway I'm glad that Mary has her machine. It is in a good shape now and has pink bars!

Everstep Multiplayer
Offsync by a half an arrow, by the end of the day by even more than that. The songs there are nice, there are even good charts. But people wanting to play Bumble Bee and Little Kitty Mine and Carameldansen ....that's just ...NOOOOOO. Anyway syncing is not a problem at events like this. People don't usually notice it unless they are capable of following both the notes and the feedback given. More experienced players are capable of that but those usually end up playing ITG anyway.

It seemed that people were having fun and most of the time people could play the 4-6 level songs. From time to time someone who wanted to play more difficult songs came and most of the time not even asked if he can play them. Such people were sent to ITG machine to play their songs. I don't know...why a person being able to play level 9+ songs wanted to play on the multiplayer system?

Dance Central
Oh man I finally played this goddamn game. This is the rival game to Dance Evolution by Konami. Dance Central is a game by Harmonix and should be the 'real dance' game. You as the player have to follow the moves that you see on the screen and you are evaluated somehow (bad, nice, flawess etc) - the game uses the Kinect system if you don't know about it check it out on the internet. There are about 30 songs in the first game/mix and it contains pretty known songs and notable Poker Face by Lady Gaga. (This song was the most played one and Rude Boy from Dance Central 2 was the second most played song ugh. Add some Star Wars Imperial March theme into the mix and a LOT of noise + some guitar hero and + fire arms sounds and you get the picture of the noise at the convention. Anyway Dance Central WAS the LOUDEST, could be heard everywhere...)

I don't personally like the routines and I don't really see them as a dance either (and I can't hardly perform it). At the hardest difficulty it still does not really look like a dance routine. At least on the screen. I've actually seen players dance much better than what you see on the screen. Here unlike in Dance Evolution the difficulty depends on the moves you are doing. In Dance Evolution you are evaluated on less movements but you see the full routine all the time. Not sure what is better...Well meaning you can play Dance Central on the hardest difficulty and ignore the rest, or learn the easy, then medium as it adds some movements and then move onto the hard version which contains moves that aren't not that easily learned at least for me as I have no idea how to dance to something like these songs...and Rihanna, La Roux or Montell Jordan does not really tell me anything.

Dance Central 1 couldn't be played by two players at the same time. Dance Central 2 which is pretty new supports this though. I think this is a must for a game like this. DC2 also has more features (like speeding up or slowing down moves in the break it down mode or showing a result screen at the end of the song - containing more than just a score and grade).

Anyway, I tried to play the game and I didn't like it. I would prefer Dance Evolution but that game does not have DLC and as far as I know does not have a sequel. Dance Central has both of these and has much better support. Dance Evolution in my eyes though has much higher potential and I find it sad that the game does not perform that well, but I understand the reasons. Wish KONAMI would continue with this game.

On this day I also had a really great sashimi. The salmon was delicious, thanks everyone.

Day 3

Grand Prix Trial Milan coming soon...maybe...

After GPT Milan we started disassembling everything. There was more of us for that so it was much faster than setting everything up. It took some time though. After that we went to Aupark to get some food, cold drinks and to relax for a while (and to find out once again what breathing fresh air means).

Thanks everyone for the nice event!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Magic Celebration

For quite some time Wizards of the Coast was promoting this event. 'Go to your local game store and play magic for free!'

I got the chance to play in Magic Celebration as well in Bratislava quite far away from Prague. How did it go? The format was Minimaster (single elimination). My first booster wasn't anything I'd feel good with. My rare card was Cemetery Reaper. I got Taste of Blood along with Gorehorn Minotaurs and Stormblood Berserker which was good. But that's already 2 cards that need either BB or RR (and with 3 lands of each color it was relatively hard to achieve). I did not manage to get the bloodthirst counter on stormblood berserker and lost game one. In game two this creature had to do it...
My best card in the booster was Merfolk Mesmerist though^_~ That card had to get me to round 2.

In the second round I had some difficulties with Carnage Wurm and Inferno Titan.
I managed to mill my opponent with Merfolk Mesmerist again though, my opponent wasn't that lucky. In one of the boosters I opened Devouring Swarm and Roc Egg which I included in the deck. This combination was awesome^^. I also got Dark (I opened three of those during the tournament) and Divine Favors. In the last game I hoped to get these two creatures on the table and manage to beat my opponent with my flyers. I sacrificed Roc Egg and enchanted the bird token with both of the favors swinging for 7 each turn which won me the game.

My deck had the strongest cards in Black and Red. I added some blue (with unsummon being my best shot at spot removal.) Later my deck was slowly changing into RBw deck (I had a Stingerfling Spider in the deck for quite some time, till I managed to get my hands on Wring Flesh and some other stuff)

The third game was pure hell. I played against someone who claimed this tournament to be his first. Ok might be, but I've seen this player play Dragonstorm that day and that did not really equate to beginner as the player claimed as well. But anyway...
he opened Jace, the memory adept. Jace is particulairly good in this format if you can play blue and support the Jace for a while. I tried hard to be fast and deal as much damage as possible, but it did not really work out. Jace showed up. I was lucky though as my opponent used the first ability. I ignored Jace and attacked the player, but when the player used the ability once again I decided to change my tactic and try to kill Jace hoping he would use the first ability again. He did...and Jace slowly died. In game two I was color screwed. I needed a second black badly and even white would be good. It came down to a situation in which I needed a blocker and getting rid of something. I top decked the plains needed for this but unfortunately my opponent countered my creature. Game three was similar to game 1. I won.

Well, I don't really have more to say. In the last round I played against a deck that was much bigger aggro than my deck. I mulled to four and lost the last game as well. My friend (opponent) got to the finals. We actually had a funny moment when waiting for the pairings. I don't know what happened or who was entering the data. But the top four players were supposed to be matched and we got different pairings and I got a bye^_^. Wel, in four players that should not be happenening. We got rematched then and everything was fine.

After 5 hours I got a nice deck and some cards for free. My notable rares are Solemn Simulacrum and Chandra's Phoenix. The last booster I opened was the best. It got Shock, Doom Blade, Turn to Frog, Negate and Mana Leak in it. There was yet another Dark Favor and Fiery Hellhound. The rare card was worldslayer though...I included shock, doom blade and the hellhound and hoped for another good game. But I got paired against someone with Incinerate (foil), Shock, Chandra's Outrage twice and fast creatures. The game was short at least^^.

Thanks to the organizer who managed the tournament well. I had a really great time. But the better limited experience came on Sunday (GPT Milan - coming soon).

Final decklist follows.

For my third place I got a Jace album (you know I wanted Jace, so I got him^_~) and a MBS t-shirt (thanks!).

1x Devouring Swarm
1x Cemetary Reaper
1x Bloodrage Vampire
1x Roc Egg
1x Gorehorn Minotaurs
1x Tormented Soul
1x Chandra's Outrage
2x Fiery Hellhound
1x Spirit Mantle (never managed to play the card)
1x Gravedigger
1x Mind Rot
2x Wring Flesh
1x Doom Blade
1x Arbalest Elite
1x Gideon's Lawkeeper
1x Goblin Tunneler
1x Serra Angel
1x Shock
1x Diabolic Tutor (yeah, as usual it had to tutor a land card)
1x Chandra's Phoenix
1x Solemn Simulacrum

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tap: Max's Game trailer

For several years a group of people were preparing everything so they could shoot a Magic: The Gathering movie. In the first quarter of this year they started shooting it and now they present a teaser.

If you are interested check it out!

Tap: Max's Game

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

L5R Spoiler Update

After doing everything I could with the database and php I decided to give it a final form. I still don't have the remaining card images nor game text but it will be fixed soon. Then I spent some time inputting the goddamn game texts. (the spoiler should be complete now)

Anyway here's the Second City spoiler. For the time being all you can do is just browse the cards. The script lists image, name, game text, type, rarity and edition. Next step will be some search engine. First I need one for the shop next I might do one for the spoilers as well.

Second City

I tried to write my own script for showing the images but I failed at that. Six hours has passed and I gave up. I found a script on the web and implemeted and then I found out that it is the very same one playccg uses.

Anyway thanks to Highslide Software. I might buy this script later so I can use it in my shop. I need to sell few cards first^^.

Planeswalkers and (Neo)Planeswalkers

So who is a Planeswalker? Where did they come from? How many of them are there in the Multiverse?

Planeswalkers of the past

Ages ago (when I was little) I learned about the term Planeswalker. I got this from a series of books (starting with the artifacts cycle) and not the actual game - Magic: The Gathering

I learned about a planeswalker spark and about a few planeswalkers that had their spark ignited - that's how they became a Planeswalker. Planeswalker as the word suggest is someone with the ability to go from one plane to another in the Multiverse. There is one being with a planeswalker spark out of a million and out of those with the spark they still need to ascend (usually by going through a really stressfull situation - mostly dying).
Planeswalkers are almost immortal, they cannot be killed in a normal way. They have immense magical power and can regenerate and shapeshift at will.

During Time Spiral Block the multiverse 'fabric' started to get ripped apart. Rifts appeared and caused destruction and change in time. The current planeswalkers wanted to mend this and sacrificed their planeswalker spark for this (this means being stripped of their powers becoming mortal or dying in the process).

This meant the end of the planeswalkers as I knew them. The very first new planeswalkers were Venser and Radha.

Planeswalkers nowadays

With Lorwyn being released we have a new card type - Planeswalker. The card represents a character of great magical power but being still mortal.
The old planeswalkers were really scarce and had immense powers, nowadays ones are hardly that powerful and are mortal and the number of new 'walkers is much higher.

There is for example Ajani, Elspeth Tirel, Gideon Jura, Jace Beleren, Nissa Revane, Sorin Markow, Karn, Sarkhan Vol, Kiora, Koth, Tezzeret, Nicol Bolas, Venser, Liliana Vess etc...and maybe some more.

When you read a book about one of them or comics you have the feeling that they have to be idiots and not really being able to control their power fully. At least I have the feeling when reading a new book from the Magic world.

Since Lorwyn WotC uses Planeswalkers as 'the image' of Magic: The Gathering. You see them everywhere and the whole Here I Rule campaign is about 'Becoming a planeswalker'. When you register for a free deck, you'll get it in a box with a Planeswalker. The site is full of them as well and the first promo cards were ..well.. of Planeswalkers.

There are kids coming to our store and ask: 'Do you have some planeswalkers?'. The answer is 'yes'. 'And do you have some [insert color] planeswalkers?'. The answer is once again 'yes' sometimes followed by the list of the names. 'And how much costs [insert planeswalker name]?'. After the kid hears the answer he usually leaves because it costs too much money. And imagine that some of those kids were asking for Jace TMS!!

And then when you ask them if they know what the planeswalkers do, they have NO IDEA about it. They don't even know how the planeswalker card actually works.

So players are planeswalkers, everyone sees planeswalkers everywhere (we also have Gideon, Jace and Chandra - next to Kamahl, Scion of Darkness and Eight-and-a-half-tails) and sees them in the game as well. You know after quite a long time playing UWx with like 12 planeswalkers in a deck by the end of the day I was usually fed up with those cards! Especially with Jace TMS whom I saw like at least 10 times per game (counting both my and opponents' Jace)!

And now we have Planeswalker points! I know it's logical. Players are Planeswalkers so they should gather Planeswalker points.

So nowadays in the 'everyone can become a planeswalker 'world'' the old planeswalkers are forgotten. No one knows who Urza is or who are the Nine Titans. It's a bit sad but that's how it goes.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The BIG change in Ratings System

So what's this Planeswalker Point system about?

It no longer uses the ELO rating system. You can't get negative points in the new system. For each win you get 3 points, 1 for each draw and zero points for losses. There are several different Planeswalker points totals
    Lifetime total
    Competitive Total
    Friday Night Magic Total
    Professional Total

In Competitive the points you earn depend on - match record, the type of event (replaces k-value) and number of participants.

Lifetime total gives you a certain level. It ranges from 0 to 50k+ points.

For more information (invitation and byes I did not mention at all) check the official page (do it anyway).

Planeswalker Points

To check out your level go here => Planeswalker Points

L5R Rules changes revealed at GenCon

There are several changes in the rules and terminology that I already covered in previous posts.

Now follow the rule errata. But those are not the only changes (see winning conditions).

Equip (two abilities)
Limited: Any number of times per turn choose your performing Personality and target an attachment in your hand: Attach it to the Personality paying all costs.

Battle: Any number of times per turn, choose your performing unbowed opposed Shugenja and target a Spell in your hand: Attach it to him. You may take additional action to use a Battle ability on that Spell

Haha! Now everyone has the CoT ability!

Reaction If it is your turn, after you bring a Personality in your province with your Clan Alignment into play without clan discount: Gain honor equal to his base Personal Honor.

This rule might seem the same at first but well you'll notice that there is missing 'during dynasty phase'. Thus if you manage to play a personality for ex. in Action Phase you can gain honor from it (this means that you won't be able to gain honor in dynasty phase or any other phase).
Winning Conditions changes
Dishonour and Enlightenment Victories are no longer instant. They happen at the end or beginning of the turn respectively.

This probably tries to solve the situations in which you as a military deck player had to launch a last attack knowing it would lead to instant loss. But knowing that if by a chance the dishonor victory would wait till the end of turn, you would win.

Same goes to Enlightenment victories. Many times such a situation happened and many times I - as an enlightenment player - counted with that. (that in the last battle I would be able to survive, I still would be able to put the last ring into play and thus win)

Second City (Almost) Complete Visual Spoiler

Lately I've been working on our eshop and I spent quite some time adding data to the database. The data inserted contains a lot of information + some additional information about singles (type, rarity, casting cost etc.).

When I finish putting all the singles in the database I'll be able to list them. (or do anything else with the data)
Today I spent some time adding SC singles. And that's why I bring to you the visual spoiler of it as this set is going to be sent by the distributor to the shops on 12th of September. If you haven't gotten through the cards yet and want to see all the images at one place you can check my spoiler out. (I'll do it myself in while)

The cards are sorted by type (Personalities aren't sorted by clan as I don't have that entered (yet)).

Second City Visual Spoiler

Friday, September 2, 2011