Tuesday, May 29, 2012

GR Aggro

Red/Aggro could be seen at many major tournaments and even small ones and I was wondering what such a deck can do. I was convinced that such a deck should terribly die to any deck that behaves more like a control. The truth is that such decks are rare to be seen. I sleeved a certain version of this deck. I played 22 lands, 8 mana dorks, 3 swords (added two Feast and Famine, one main board, one in side board for mirror and annoying decks like zombies and what not), two metamorphs and Garruks. The rest is pretty much the same as many run (Huntmasters, Wolfir Avengers, Silverheart, S. Geists etc).

I played with this deck against mirror and humans and that was fine. After that I played against Miracle control and all I could was cry^_^. I can't even imagine playing against something that would be killing my mana dorks. Anyway I decided to test the deck during next type 2 tournament.

In the first round I played against a deck that was build against decks like RG Aggro and Delver and I knew that I can't do anything to win. We played few games more and I actually managed to win one against this weird but really funny looking Birthing Pod (and well the deck works and it won local WCQ). So here's another deck that can easily overrun this deck and quite easily. Anyway what I found is that Huntmaster alone can win the game. But I need to deal with my opponents first.

In the second round I played against monoblue Architect deck. I was quite afraid of Wurmcoil Engines but I always had Garruk in my hand to deal with them. I tried to keep Garruk on the table as long as possible and eventually tutored Silverheart to beat my opponent. I've done the same in game two. The deck did not show any explosive start or anything really aggro...But Garruk won me both games.

In the last round I played against UB Zombies. I was utterly crushed in the first game. I spend my three turns playing birds of paradise or llanowar elves and my opponent had mortarpods prepared for them. Add Gravecrawler and another zombie to it and that means no chance of me having anything with toughness one in play. In the second game my opponent got mana screwed and even though he had what to play I killed him. My opening hand wasn't any good but it had lands and Sword of Feast and Famine. In the third game I had to deal with 2 gravecrawlers, ghoul lady and several Messengers. It did not look good but Huntmaster was capable of keeping me alive at 2 life, later 4 life. Eventually I managed to have more creatures on the board even though I still couldn't attack as the opponent would have killed me back. Then Liliana of the Veil came into play and let me discard my last card and I was saving for Huntmaster (Green Sun's Zenith). The card I top decked though was way better - Hellrider. I was capable to produce over 20 damage with alpha strike. This won me the game.

After those three rounds I don't really feel convinced about the deck. I did not play against delver or humans so hard to say. Probably at a bigger tournament this deck would play against more decks it was meant to play against. I'm probably not well suited for this deck.

Monday, May 28, 2012


After a week of being depressed and feeling really bad I hoped that the next week would be better. This whole week hoped to start doing what I have to - cleaning my school space, writing my CV (I have an English version but I need to translate it into Czech), translating a software manual and looking for a flat. I've actually done everything partly but I hardly did what I wanted. What I was doing instead of that? I was slacking ^_~ and playing Magic.

On Wednesday I tried playing with and against RG Aggro when I was waiting for AVR draft to begin. My first pick in a booster that look like 'nothing interesting' was Mist Raven. I also managed to get Fettergeist but that was relatively everything from blue. Not so much was there in general so I was picking some random cards in different colors. The second batch of boosters was way better and I started steadily picking green. The player sitting next to me was actually in that color as well but for some reason there was always something that he passed me. In the last booster I picked as much bounce effects as I could (in total six). My deck had not so many creatures and wasn't really fast either but all the bounce effects were annoying enough for sure. My last opponent couldn't believe that^^. From this draft I came back home with Gisela and Terminus.

After the shop closed we went to Tecka which is actually a pretty nice place. Let's say that it is a bar. Last week when I was there the majority of the people there were talking about VTES. Many left and I stayed there with Patrik and Lucka alone. I just couldn't go back, I felt like crying and decided to rather stay. We chatted with Lucka for a while explaining her a bit what Trading Card Games are. Later when the level of alcohol was getting higher and higher I was told many Magic stories and we were complaining about many things that went wrong in Magic history, prices of the singles and stuff ^^. Lucka was probably pretty confused but after listening to us for few hours she came to the conclusion that trading card games' players are actually quite an interesting community^_^.

The day later we decided to draft once again. My first card this time was Kessig Malcontents followed by Heirs to Stromkirk (not that would be a human). I was passed one Thatcher Revolt later though and I was picking as many humans as I could. The majority of the cards was red. By the end of the last booster I encountered a card I did not even know that it existed - I read it more carefully and picked it. The card's text was 'Whenever a Human enters the battlefield under your control, Vigilante Justice deals 1 damage to target creature or player.'

With the cards I had it had to work! In another booster I opened another revolt and I even got a foil Kessig Malcontents. I can thank Kessig Malcontents for my 3:0, Temporal Mastery and yet another Terminus. I had to run to catch the last bus and I was fortunate to catch the subway (I still had 30 seconds).

On Friday I spent some time working and sorting Avacyn Restored cards and after that I went to draft the set. I was picking Boros humans once again but this time it was slower and my creatures were rather small. My first pick was Silverblade Paladin. I had the crusade and their captain, some angels but I did not have any real aggro creatures that could deal damage fast. In the end any creature enchanted with Call to Serve was my best attacker. Also I had no way of getting through 1/4 or 2/5, 3/5 creatures^_^. That's what killed me in the first round as I was incapable of dealing some real damage early game (blame all the mulligans^_^). After the second game we played another game just for fun and the deck showed me probably the best draw it could have. T1 1/2 creature. T2 another creature. T3 Emancipation Angel + Slayer's Stronghold. T4 Silverblade Paladin (Angel). T5 last attack with the Angel (with +2/0, Vigilance, Haste and Double Strike^_^). For my standing I got Vexing Devil and some other rare cards and once again I sprinted to catch the last subway to Zlicin. This time my time was better (I still had 1 minute adn 36 seconds).

Even though I wanted to work and look for some jobs and flats this weekend I ended up by me slacking even more.

I'll skip Saturday as I'll probably write a standalone post about it. On Sunday I got up at 6am. My plan for the day was Game Day and then heading to Arcade Museum with NX and Molik. I got to Prague much earlier than I expected so I walked few tram/subway stops. When I got tired of it and the time of registering for the tournament was nearing I decided to hop on a tram and get there. On the same tram there was Goblin, our international judge. So I followed him to the site where everybody was preparing stuff.

It was quite fun to see and listen to the judges. Albert Kayed was one of the first players to come so we played few games. My match up against Delver is not that good but I managed to win 2:0. Then I lost one game. Then I 'traded' some cards for Sword of War and Peace and went to register for the tournament.

In the first round I wasn't even sure what my opponent played. The deck was UW. It was drawing cards and countering my spells. At first I thought it would be some kind of Miracle control but as soon as Spellskite hit the table I went like WTF? The only deck that came to my mind with Spellskite main board was Venser Control. (not that I would see him in the first game)

I had three titans on my hand since the beginning so it was a matter of time till one of them would resolve. It was the second one that brought Inkmoth Nexus and Kessig Wolf Run and we could start a new game as my opponent did not have any response to that. In the second game my opponent played Spellskite, followed by Blade Splicer. Second Spellskite and some Stonehoard Dignitary. Venser had to follow.

I targeted Dignitary with Go For the Throat in my opponents turn and he did not use Spellskite to redirect the spell but instead of it he tapped out. I played Black Sun's Zenith destroying everything. Using Karn to deal with Venser and attacking with what I got.

In the second round I played a mirror match. It was the first time for me to actually play mirror. Quite weird as this deck is quite popular. I mulled to five in the first game and was unable to draw a land or ramp before my opponents titan resolved. In game two I started and managed to resolve my titan first. In the last game it game down to my opponent having or not having Wolf Run. I destroyed the one he fetched and had Acidic Slime for possible second one. But that wouldn't be any good if he would just drew it and put it into play.

After this I started to feel relatively sick. I visited the WC several times and wasn't really sure if I should even stay there. In the third round I played against some homebrew Delver that practically killed me with turn 2 Torpor Orb. That WASN'T GOOD as I was unable to deal with that card. Oh yeah with a sideboarded card costing me 7 mana, nice. I lost anyway.

In the fourth round I played against the winner of the tournament. He played RG Aggro and he was nice to me. From earlier 'testing' this week I knew that I have to be fast or die terribly. Silverheart + Birds of Paradise killed me in game one. I won the second one after managing to play 3 times Black Sun's Zenith. In the last game I lost as I was unable to play anything. I did not keep a good hand and wasn't top decking well either.

Last round the only opponent I could play against was Tomas Veverka to whom I borrowed my Human deck. I managed to turn one game into my favor but the last game I was unable to deal with Hero of Bladehold and three 'anthems'. I had both Go For the Throat and Black Sun's Zenith but I was unable to deal with all the tokens AND Hero of Bladehold. It was either tokens or the Hero. Anyway if I would somehow managed to get rid of him my opponent still had another Hero on his hand along with Sword of War and Peace (and I don't even talk about lingering souls that was waiting to be flash backed).

The tournament went badly for me, but not as badly as I felt. My had was spinning, my head ached a lot. I considered going home and not go to the arcade museum but decided not to in the end.

When prizes where given out I received one booster from Tomas. He told me to choose one. I didn't want to but I chose one. Tibalt image was on the booster and inside the booster - Cavern of Souls! Too bad for Tomas who opened Slayer's Stronghold and a card no one even wants to mention.

After that I traded Cavern of Souls for money and money + Cavern of Souls for Taiga. It wasn't a good deal in terms of money (even though I was surprised that the person actually went down with the price) but in the future the deal should be better for me. If the price of the Caverns won't go terribly up that is. Now I hope that I won't need the 4th cavern. (anyway I came there with 7 caverns and left with 3, I got two cards I really wanted and some money. Anyway after the few drafts I played I have some cards to trade or sell). Also the person who wanted the Cavern of Souls wanted the Killing Wave promo the top 8 got. I told him that I won't sell it for such a price and that even Zombie Apocalypse is a card I managed to sell for 15 bucks. He was quite surprised about that. I sold it for 12 USD, just for the record.

I walked to the nearest tram stop and got on tram number 12 but in the wrong direction. It did not matter anyway as the tram actually got me exactly I wanted (NX called that they are with Molik at Andel)

Me, Molik, her sister and NX got into 911 car!!! Czech Republic the only country in which 4 people would sit in 911^_^. It was quite funny. We dropped Molik's sister somewhere where she wanted and headed to the arcade museum at Cerveny Ujezd.

The museum is in a wooden building next to the parking space (belonging to a replica of a castle which alone is a nice attraction). In the museum there are the oldest arcade games the owner could find. Not always in their original cabinets. There are my favorite games like Galaga, Golden Axe or Metal Slug 2. There's also a ton of fighting games starting with Mace: The Dark Age, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat (2 and 4 unfortunatly with non-MK4 controller), Killer Instict and maybe some more. I also played Pinball Star Trek TNG version. I used to be good at this one but when I played it after years of not even seeing the game nor playing it I really sucked. But it was nice to play the games and sometimes I wondered if I played on those very machines or not (as Mace: The Dark age still had my own tag on the first place, MK4 was reset and was in a different cab).

Anyway the reason for being there was not to go play games but to arrange two things and I hope that both of them will be good deals and people will enjoy them.

When the museum closed NX took me home. I came home and fell asleep in few minutes. I got up 15 hours later still feeling like crap for some reason. I couldn't even get up. I was laying in the bad for quite some time and even moving my head hurt.

I eventually got up and started working....Now it's time for some Game of Thrones that I missed while I was asleep.

Thank you everyone!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Kalani's Landing Magistrate

I started collecting cards for Kitsune Honor but in the meantime I'm trying my luck with Magistrates from Kalani's Landing. It does not work the way I want it to, so it will need some changes.

I actually thought that I'll have more problems with fate but in the end it was dynasty screwing me up. I play Jurojin's Blessing as I think that this card is a must have. I don't care much about the Guidance yet as it does not seem that I would need it that much. I play Glory because of big attachments but I'm not really sure about it. As for holdings. The one holding that wasn't really working well was Heavy Infantry Dojo. The bonus is nice but Recruitment officer is far better. I'd probably replace that with moneylender or prosperous village.

Personality wise...Kanaye is a bomb. I like the little vanilla as well. Doho costs 3 gold and is a magistrate with naval which is all I need. Yes, his lower force was a problem sometimes but he's good for Ring of Fire or Mysterious Deaths as a target. ^_^ Tarao is ok. At least when I was able to have him his ability was annoying quite a lot for the opponent. Manzo is a good personality, but he's another 8GC personality. Not happy about it. I wasn't sure of Sachina but she's good. The rest is relatively ok except for Nobukatsu. Oh man that personality was really annoying. Not having naval and his ability hardly helped me. If I find better personalities I will replace him but for the time being he stays there. He's still 7GC 4/3 personality which is what I need.

Fate needs Basic Lesson and Peace. Some attachments are good. Cursed Relic is nice and Wyrmbone Katana is not bad either as it has a kill action written on it and can be helpful against send home. But it wasn't stellar or anything. I added Modifications because I like the card and I played it in my earlier magistrate deck but usually I can draw 2-3 cards a turn or none. Modifications does not help with this much so this is a card I'd probably replace with something else.

Costly Opportunity, Footsteps of Madness and Disgraceful Conduct proved to be good cards. I like them. But it is true that more times I was unable to get enough gold for my magistrate actions *sniff*. Really dynasty needs to change quite a lot. I tried adding Heir's Wrath and Mysterious Deaths so I could see how the card works. I have to say that Mysterious Deaths was always a better choice. Bowing a personality for Heir's Wrath is not good. That card is going out I could possibly play Fruitless Search. The rest of the fate seems fine to me. At least it was working unlike my gold and personalities.

That's about my experiment and some thoughts.

Kalani's Landing

Kalani's Landing
1x Border Keep XP
1x Bamboo Harvesters XP (not sure)

1x Jurojin's Blessing
1x Glory of the Shogun

2x Heavy Infantry Dojo
3x Traveling Peddler
1x Stolen Merchandise
3x Recruitment Officer
1x Chugo Seido
3x Kobune Port
3x Magistrate Stipend

3x Yoritomo Doho
3x Yoritomo Tarao
3x Yoritomo Kanaye
3x Yoritomo Manzo
1x Yoritomo Sachina XP
1x Yoritomo Singh XP2
2x Yoritomo Zinan
1x Fukuzo
3x Tsuruchi Nobukatsu
1x Yoritomo Hiromi
1x Tsuruchi Mochisa XP


2x Courage of the Mantis
3x Know No Fear
1x Ring of Water
1x Ring of Fire
3x Basic Lesson
1x Peace
3x A Stained Cleaned
3x Sundering Strike
2x Modifications
2x Footsteps of Madness
1x Heir's Wrath
3x Disgraceful Conduct
3x Cursed Relic
3x The Law's Strength
2x Game of Sincerity
2x Gold and Steel
2x Costly Opportunity
2x Wyrmbone Katana
1x Mysterious Deaths

Monday, May 21, 2012

Prague Kotei and Second Chance

I could not participate in the main event and I did not even expect that I would want to. On Saturday I went to celebrate my birthday with my family and after that a lot of work awaited me at KC Vltavska.

On Saturday evening, when I was already too tired to do anything, I went to see the Kotei's site. I've never been there (DDM Prague 6) so I at least wanted to see the place. I knew that there is a club 'Sestka' where you can play various games on Xbox, pc, board games etc. They also have 2 Fit Pro dance pads and you can either play EverStep or Stepmania with Stepmixes 1-5.^_^.

When I arrived to the main hall I noticed that there were many orange booster boxes on the table. I was like WTF? I came closer to examine the box and few seconds later I noticed the Embers of War logo. I wasn't aware of this set being released and I haven't seen that many cards from the set. I asked few people if they can show me some cards. I went through them and sometimes I was wondering if the card is a joke or not.

After asking me if I'm new to the game (and me answering no) I was given the cards. So I read each card one by one. Among the cards there was a deer token. Seems like new Kitsune personalities are in EoW.

During that time I was asked if I will play in Second Chance a thought crossed my mine - I could actually. About 15 cards from my deck was in someone else's deck playing the main event so I had to get them from somewhere else or not play them at all.

Kotei's after party including me, French players and Kotei organizers was held at Stepan's place. It was actually a really nice and calm barbeque party^_^. He prepared some meat and sausages for us (and not only that). They were delicious. Smaller groups were chatting about who knows what and everyone enjoyed the time spent there. After ten the majority of the group left to a Salsa club. I left them and went to our game store to build my deck.

It took me some time to find the actual deck. After that I had to figure out what cards to play. My deck had to change because I borrowed cards from the deck to somebody playing the main event. I also spent roughly two hours looking for my Stronghold but I couldn't find it. I found one under a proxy card later by accident when I hit a box that fell on the ground. When I was collecting the cards I noticed that one of the proxies was on a Lion clan stronghold. I took the card out and it was Shamate Keep.

After this frantic search I decided to go to sleep so I could wake up 6 hours later and leave for the site.

When I arrived I ate goulash, drank some coffee and asked two people if they would play a game with me. I played against a really high position Dragon Clan player from Saturday who beat me utterly with his Magistrate (?) Dragon Honor. I should have waited to built an army and attack with more personalities. But I did not do that so I utterly lost. I was too slow and Rhetoric ruined my day. Anyway it was good to see new cards and to find out how to duel and such. The few new red cards I saw made me really nervous. If such strong cards were printed early in the arc what else I can expect at the tournament?

My second opponent played Mantis scout and I tried playing Honor once again. But it was rather tricky. He got quite a lot of personalities and too much force for me to handle. His Alter History resolved as well which did not help me much. In the final battle though I was able to bow or kill majority of his personalities and he did not destroy my last province (even with Yoritomo's Guidance). It was tough and Isas was annoying and killed so many of my personalities that I was wondering if there are any left^^.

Then it was time for the Second Chance tournament to begin. I was paired against a new Legend of the Five Rings player (a Magic player, yeah that's why he was ok when I was using Magic terminology).

Round 1 - Scorpion Dishonor
This poor player was quite bewildered and also played an illegal card. But after a while everything was ok and we could proceed to our game. It was a dishonor deck and I was surprised by new cards (obviously). The card that completely caught me offguard though was Bad Kharma that negated my kill action. After that I decided that my family honor should NOT get below -1. I was destroying provinces as I could and managed to destroy the last one having 4 Family honor.

Round 2 - KK Mantis Scout
A game against the nice guy who was willing to play a game against me earlier. He bought a holding and got even more holdings turn later so I tried attacking a province. One province was down and he still wasn't able to 'outswarm' my deck so I was destroying provinces as well. I was defending my provinces though and was gaining honor at that time mostly. I had 2 Iron Wills and Effortless Counterattack which also helped me gain some more advantage. I won by Honor Victory. Even though I could crush the last province as well.

Lunch Break
I wasn't really sure if I wanted to eat something so I went upstairs to the club Sestka and asked if I can play some Dance Dance Revolution. I was picking songs more or less randomly and was enjoying the movement. I was really nervous during the tournament and had to concentrate a lot as the cards were new to me and I did not know how my deck should behave against this or that deck (but probably I should/could have played 'military' in all the games I played). Stomping on the arrows helped me ease the stress quite a lot. My last two songs were Maxx Attacks and Max Forever. After that I was so tired that I actually went to grab something to eat and drink. Downstairs I waited for the Round start and was wondering against what I would be playing (there were quite many Scorpion decks around).

Round 3 - Phoenix Honor - Temple of Purity
This deck caught me by surprise. I knew that -4F and open bow tech might be quite annoying but 6 province strength also sounded easy enough to break. But this deck was gaining honor really fast (faster than me). I got to 29 Honor when my opponent was one turn from being over 40. I decided that gaining more honor could be rather dangerous for me as there were some courtiers on the table. Early in the morning the card named Rhetoric made me almost cry. In the end it showed that it was a good decision to stop earning honor. I had three attacks. In the first one, one lion with Greateful Reward followers attacked but was sent home. In the second one all my personalities managed to break one province. In the upcoming turn I had to destroy the remaining 3 provinces and I managed that! The game was really crazy.

Round 4 - Berserkers
As there were 3 people with 3:0 it was highly probable that I and Stepan Kadlec would meet. That happened. I got 'holdings' screwed'. After depleting my Border Keep and two more turns I finally flipped two holdings. I was at 32 Honor (lost 2 from Armor of Heavens) and had 2 personalities that were doomed to die. I managed to play Cast aside the weak on one of the berserkers but Stepan had Feign Death which ruined my whole plan. With that one personality dead I could have possibly win (with quite a bit of luck^^)

Round 5 - Shiro Chugo
Farnusch Scharwin was my next opponent. He played some (I just have no idea what decks would people play) Scorpion military from Shiro Chugo. I wasn't aware that Proclaim is an action which completely ruined my strategy as I was trying to win via honor victory and it was too late to switch to military.
I destroyed a province but there were already so many personalities, I couldn't do much with them. I was at 31 honor which would be fine if I wouldn't be losing 2 honor per turn. Add Kameyoi to it and you have the result of the match. I lost, but it was winnable if I would play straight military from the beginning. I deserve a face palm and Scharwin deserved a better place than being just above me. He knew what to do against my deck and played accordingly. He went straight for Hotako and I had no idea what to do with her. She's too annoying. I always had like 3 personalities not being able to assign to battle or perform action and the rest tried to defend 1-4 8 Force plus personalities.

In the end I managed to get in top 8. Stepan Kadlec lost in the finals against Kitsu honor but ended up second. We both got 24 packs of Embers of War^_^.

If I look back at the games and my deck I would certainly not play Great Sacrifice and would replace it with let's say Singh Remnants or some Shugenja cards (Unimpeachable Name, A Forefather's Vengeance, Visitation). Chrysanthemum Blossom was wonderful. Not only it was gaining me honor but the personality was soon able to take a province alone. Iron Will + Effortless Counterattack was good but many players did not want to take the additional action anyway so I usually had the second card in my hand for the rest of the game. It's good when playing in military mode, but for honor decks there are other cards that could be better. If I would have known the field better I could have possible gotten a better score even with the deck I played at the tournament.

Shamate Keep

Shamate Keep
1x Border Keep XP
1x Bamboo Harvesters XP

2x Traveling Peddler
2x Family Library
1x Chugo Seido
1x Akodo's Grave
3x Remote Village
3x Copper Mine
2x Indomitable Home

1x Akodo Kobi
3x Matsu Nishijo
3x Akodo Tezuka
3x Matsu Koyama
3x Matsu Gohei
1x Matsu Fumiyo XP
1x Akodo Dairuko
3x Akodo Kakihara
2x Kitsu Kagako
3x Akodo Dosei

1x Imperial Gift
1x Jurojin's Blessing
1x Blighted Region
1x Alter History

3x Greatful Reward
2x My Enemy's Mercy
2x Brawl
2x Great Sacrifice
1x Creating Order
2x Honor of the Lion
1x Ring of Fire
2x A Paragon's Strength
1x Chrysanthenum Blossom
1x A Game of Dice
3x Wall of Honor
3x Surety of Purpose
2x Effortless Counterattack
2x Broken Alliance
3x Guided By Honor
3x Iron Will
3x Cast Aside the Weak
3x Sundering Strike
1x Ring of Earth

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Opening of Lost and Found

Some people were installing Diablo 3 and a group of 12 people were hard working to set everything up for their exhibition.

Lost and Found is the final Exhibition of BA Experimental Media students from Prague College. I'm one of them and thus my work is up there as well. Yesterday at 7pm there was an opening to this exhibition. All of us spent about a week preparing our spaces. It was a hard work for most of us. The space is very old and wasn't used for ages. The space is really interesting by itself but for many of us, it wasn't ready for our work.

With the help of my parents, Zdenek and Tonda we managed to calm down the place. In the end the place feels good.

During the opening we went to see all the installations. After that we ended up ehind the counter at the bar. We were pouring wine, water and preparing some stuff for food. I have to say that I was surprised how fast all the people were drinking the wine and eating what was there. It seems like the majority of visitors were drinking white wine. One of the white wines was pretty good actually. With some delay the program started. Beat was the one to play guitar and sing. It was really nice, I did not expect something like that from him. Great job. After him we had a little speech from Jeremiah and Jorge. After that it was Bethany's and her friends time to perform on the Vault.

There was too many people for me, but overally it felt good. After the party was over majority of the class moved to other place.

In the morning everything should have been running and lights on, but majority of the class was trying to overcome a hangover. I myself arrived late, but helped to clean the space and prepare it for the Teeside visit. But in any way this was really badly managed. We should have decided shifts and people responsible for this much earlier. Same goes for the bar from yesterday (I did not mind doing that but still someone was supposed to organize that)

Anyway apart from our failure of organizing something well, we managed to get everything done and ready in time. There is more to come as we will have to clean the space after the exhibition is over.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Zoo for the nth time (Highlander)

A friend of mine wanted to participate in a highlander tournament this Saturday so I started looking for cards that would be in the deck he would play. I tried building a zoo highlander in the past and I wasn't really successful with it. So I took the cards from it and tried a new one. The problem with the previous version was that I had too many little creatures that could hardly affect the game later. After playing with my dark bant for a while I decided to go in a similar way - little bit of acceleration and aim for creatures that are stellar or do something good. I discarded all the 2/2 and 2/1 creatures and replaced those with something bigger or producing mana on T2 and I cut down the number of instants and sorceries. I added walkers though. Wildspeaker and Elspeth were always good. But Garruk Primal Hunter and Garruk Relentless were cards I did not consider good till I actually played with them. I prefer Garruk Relentless than Sorin, Lord of Innistrad and Primal Hunter proved to be really good against in my ramp. All of them should be playable in this deck.

Naya Zoo
1 Ajani Vengeant
1 Avacyn's Pilgrim
1 Aven Mindcensor
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Bloodbraid Elf
1 Boggart Ram-Gang
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
1 Eternal Witness
1 Fauna Shaman
1 Figure of Destiny
1 Flametongue Kavu
1 Fyndhorn Elves
1 Garruk Relentless
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
1 Goblin Ruinblaster
1 Grim Lavamancer
1 Huntmaster of the Fells
1 Kird Ape
1 Kitchen Finks
1 Knight of the Reliquary
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Loam Lion
1 Lotus Cobra
1 Mirran Crusader
1 Mother of Runes
1 Noble Hierarch
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Primeval Titan
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Ranger of Eos
1 Reveillark
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Serra Avenger
1 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Strangleroot Geist
1 Student of Warfare
1 Tarmogoyf
1 Vengevine
1 Vithian Renegades
1 Watchwolf
1 Wickerbough Elder
1 Wild Nacatl
1 Woolly Thoctar

1 Arc Trail
1 Batterskull
1 Burst Lightning
1 Chain Lightning
1 Eladamri's Call
1 Green Sun's Zenith
1 Incinerate
1 Journey to Nowhere
1 Lightning Bolt
1 Lightning Helix
1 Magma Jet
1 Natural Order
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Path to Exile
1 Punishing Fire
1 Staggershock
1 Sudden Shock
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Sylvan Library
1 Volcanic Hammer

1 Arid Mesa
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Clifftop Retreat
1 Copperline Gorge
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Fire-Lit Thicket
2 Forest
1 Grove of the Burnwillows
1 Horizon Canopy
1 Kessig Wolf Run
1 Marsh Flats
1 Misty Rainforest
2 Mountain
2 Plains
1 Plateau
1 Raging Ravine
1 Razorverge Thicket
1 Rootbound Crag
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Savannah
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Stirring Wildwood
1 Stomping Ground
1 Sunpetal Grove
1 Taiga
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Temple Garden
1 Treetop Village
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Wasteland
1 Wooded Bastion
1 ?????

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ascension: Storm of Souls - Deck Building Game

My post about the game - if you don't know it already

Storm of Souls is a stand alone expansion set for Ascension the game. It is the third Ascension game in the series. It has 200 cards for the center row, new art for Mystic, Heavy Infantry (and Cultist?) and a new game board. What is more important though are the new game mechanics.

There is a new card type - Event. When Event comes into the center row the card is put aside. Events have global effect and trophy reward. There are only 5 events - one for each faction. The events are quite powerful if one can achieve to use them. The Trophy reward is something that can be abused but that means that the player needs to be able to defeat Fanatic - a new card available to all - repeatedly which requires a certain amount of power available in the player's deck.

Trophy is also a new mechanic that adds quite some possibilities to the game. Some monsters inlcuding Fanatic mentioned above have Trophy - that means that you keep the monster card till you want to use it (you discard the card and get the reward then).

Storm of Souls is much more balanced and gives the player many more possibilities to think about. Neither Rune or Power strategy is predominant which was the case in Chronicle of the God (Power being dominant). Each player needs to be capable of both even though it seems that pro-Power strategy from the beginning (like buying Heavy Infantries and not really having ways how to produce more Runes is bad - but having cards like Tower Askara (draw three, discard two) or Elder Skeptic (draw two, discard one) can save the day in that case).

The starting number of Honor points in this version is higher but still the 1-on-1 games are pretty short in general (it didn't make the game longer). In more players the game takes longer. Mainly due to the fact that there is not so many monsters (Lifebound under some condition is capable of producing a lot of Honor though which can end the game much earlier if one player decides to do it).

Mechana constructs in Storm of Souls function a bit differently. In the first the game they were really powerful and gave you many points. In this expansion the constructs don't have such a powerful effect when you have one or two of those constructs. The deckbuilding requires to have more of them, when a certain amount is reached the deck becomes unbeatable. There are some new things one can do with constructs. Occasionally you can return a construct to your hand from play or discard pile which quite surprised me. There is also Brazer Drone casting 2 that gives you 1 Rune and returns a construct to your hand from the discard pile. If you can sac a construct to gain 2 Power and then get it back then it becomes really good. Blinking Weapon 303V can be an overkill in many cases (Once per turn, when you play Mechana construct, gain 3 Power). The card that did not really get any love from us was Treasures of the Study (Once per turn, discard 2 cards to gain 3 Honor). Seriously this card does not seem good to us at all but we all like Void that can banish many cards (usually 10 per game).

Lifebound has a new keyword - Unite. A card with Unite allows you to gain additional effect if you already played a Lifebound hero that turn. This usually means 'Draw a card' but can also be 'gain 3 Power' or 'gain 1 Rune and 1 Honor'. Lifebound in general can actually collect quite a big amount of Honor and the cards replace themselves (they draw cards).

Void is much better in banishing cards from your deck. Not only it removes a card from your deck but it also gives you 1 Power (similarly there is Rune variant). There are two constructs that if one player buys them they gets double of the power the cards produce. This gives you 8 power!

Enlightenment is still about card selection.

Seems that in a way I can't really do a review of this game but rather I would comment on each card. Storm of Souls really feels like playing a trading card game and even Organized Played is envisioned for the future. There were already 140 people who participated in a tournament at GenCon so we'll see what Gary Games will bring us in the future. For the time being we have Game Days where each player can get a nice promo card and play lots of Ascension that day.

If you are looking for something more complex than the previous block and you don't plan to invest into a trading card game like Magic: The Gathering you can buy this. It's totally worth it. Easy to explain, easy to set up, can be taken anywhere, fast, has awesome depth and doesn't cost a fortune. You can create your own cube and play with that. There's just one card I would ban which is P.R.I.M.E (constructs are too powerful if kept unchecked).

Rating: 5/5

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mortal Kombat 9

Official screenshot originally from

Mortal Kombat is a fighting game that first appeared in arcades in 1992. Since I ever played this game I became in love with it because it used moves of motion captured martial artists like Daniel Pesina (Johnny Cage, Scorpion and co), Ho Sung Pak (Liu Kang) and Philip Ahn MD (Shang Tsung MK2). This game was not like other fighting games most probably because it was not done with competition in mind - MK games are quite unbalanced. The combatants in the game had a basic set of moves which all they shared the controls for and unique special attacks. While this was a very limited amount of movements and no combos were present the game had something other games didn't - violence and even more violence in the form of Fatalities. Fatalities are a special finishing moves that are used to kill the opponent in a rather gory way.

The game went through an evolution unlike any other game. What mesmerized me in MK1 was still present in MK2. MK3 while still having digitized movements changed in terms of game play. Run button was added. The game introduced combos. Each combatant had one combo that was quite a long and had to be memorized. These were thankfully dropped in MK4. MK4 turned from 2d to 3d models which also meant a change in style. MK4 was still a hybrid game though as it started the fight in a 2d style, but one could side step using 3d space instead. MK4 also came up with weapons and interaction with other objects in the arena. The execution wasn't the best since these objects would get knocked out of the fighters hands immediately after they took a hit. We also got combos each character could use and unique combos. The game was still a very good one and true to the series.
MK5 though was drastically different and was quite controversial in the community (I did not like Deadly Alliance much and hoped for a return to more traditional MK game). It introduced different fighting styles per fighter and weapons (as one style) that stayed in the hands. This is something that became the standard in the 3 following games. These games were in full 3d. The graphics while rather behind other games was getting better and there were many more animations and interactions with the environments. MK Armageddon the 7th game in the series felt like the end of MK. It provided it us with a lot of content and similar game play but also the story ended with everyone dying. Who knew what would be the future of MK. MK vs DC Universe was then released as the 8th installment of the game and I thought that it was over for Mortal Kombat series. You wouldn't be reading this review though if it were the case.

After a very long time (5 years from MK: Armageddon) another game bearing the name Mortal Kombat came out. It doesn't have a number or additional name but it is the 9th game in the series thus many will talk about it as if it were named Mortal Kombat 9. This game returns to the roots of the original 2d Mortal Kombat games while keeping the good from the 3d games. After several years Mortal Kombat is coming back to the 2d style and controls. Also the story goes back to the beginning. MK9 combines the storylines of the three first tournaments and thus you can expect a similar constellation of characters as in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 with the exception that in this game there is less characters in total. Storyline wise, the story begins where Armageddon ended. Shao Kahn kills everyone and that's were Raiden comes in. In his last fight he tries his best to tell his younger self of what is to come so he could prevent it. Younger Raiden gets understands the message and tries to change his present to change the future. That's how alternate Mortal Kombat history was born.

MK9 features a story mode that takes you through the alternative history of the first three tournaments for different characters reexplaining the fight between Earth realm and Outworld. Switching from one character to another will allow the player to familiarize with controls for the different characters but it may also make the experience worse for some if they can't control some characters well enough to go through the story mode with ease.

As for other player modes, you have the standard tower/ladder mode which can be played with one character or a tag team of 2. Then there's challenge tower which will take you through different kind of challenges within a time limit. If you remember Test Your Might from MK1, it found its way to Mortal Kombat 9 along with other Test Your 'mini-games' including Test Your Sight or Test Your Strike (accuracy instead of strength needed) and Test Your Luck which will add modifiers for the combat and well make it a bit more tricky.

Online play is available that also provides different options (primarily if you want to play a ranked match, any online player match or a private one). There is also a possibility to run a KOTH tournament which you can watch when not currently playing your own match.

Screenshot by Klaster_1, available at

As for game play, as in other MK game you have characters that can use basic moves and their own special moves and combos. The game doesn't flow that well like known well Japanese fighting games so chaining combos is not particularly easy. The novelty in this game is a special bar that fills with each hit your character takes or deals. It has three segments and gives you three options how to use it. For 1 segment cost you can make a special attack stronger (by a lot). For 2 segments you can break out of any combo which may be very important at times. If you fill the gauge and use all three segments the character will form a devastating X-ray attack (with rather brutal slow motion animation in x-ray). The attack needs to be executed from specific range (like Fatalities) so it is possible to miss which can be quite devastating for you. The X_ray is a nice feature but unfortunately way too easy to trigger which may become rather annoying when you are trying to concentrate more on actual combat and you are not looking for easy wins (or easy massive amount of damage).

As for graphics, the game has really neat graphics and environment interaction. Also as the characters get beat up it shows on their 3d models and this stays till the end of the fight which is something I did not expect to see in MK game. On the other hand MK is actually the game where the visuals are more important than in more competitive games which is why I was quite surprised that MK lacked this for years. The camera angles for the fights are quite nice and there are really nice highlights (fully using the 3d environment of the game).

Unlock system is the The Krypt which was present in previous 3d MK games. Here you need to spent money you earn to unlock new stuff (including new Fatalities!). There's hundreds of unlocks and it will take you some time to unlock everything.

And I forgot to mention one of the elements that was advertised everywhere - the game features Kratos from God of War!

Personal Rating: 4/5

I really like this game. I was nicely surprised by the quality of this title. It truly is a Mortal Kombat game. This is the direction the game was supposed to take after MK3.

AnimeFest day 2 - Machine Dance Tournaments

At 6:30 if I'm not mistaken we were supposed to get up. I got up and wondered what to do. In the meantime Miyu went through a lolita transformation. At 7:40 we headed for the Exhibition complex.

First thing in the morning, we switched on everything and then we tried to figure out what's wrong with the dance pads. We tried all the control boxes and pads but nothing worked. We even switched a computer and that was actually a good thing to do. It solved the glitch and it was onsync. As for the pads ss usual the problem was with the pads not being on a flat surface.

Ten was fast approaching and it was time to start the qualifier for National Championship in Machine Dance. There were 5 qualifier songs chosen and from those we could choose two and play them. The result would be added together. According to the standing in the qualifier players would be seeded into 4-players or 8-players bracket.

This year the Championship was divided into Women and Men division. As there were many Slovakian players and we expected Austrian ones there was also held an International division in which anyone could complete.

The qualifier songs were:
  • Kagami
  • Disconnected
  • Disconnected Mobieus
  • Psalm Pilot
  • Cloud 9 and half

Many of us decided to play either Psalm Pilot/Disconnected or Psalm Pilot/Kagami combination. I seeded first to both tournaments.

After the qualifier I went to check the other game room in which you could try istep, reactable and some PS3 games.

1 hour break was used to its fullest by us when we went to Galerie Vankovka to eat. I got red kari chicken and was really glad that we had time for this. I couldn't count hot dogs on the site as food. When we got back it was time for the first tournament - Men's division.

In the first round something unexpected happened. NX306 seeded 8th and thus was the first one to play with the winner of the qualifiers. Normally one would expect that the round would be won by the highest seeded person but in this round it wasn't that way - NX from the last place managed to win the round and eliminated his opponent from the tournament (sadly, as in the International Division he was seeded against me)!

Apart from this nothing really funny happened. The men's division was interesting though for one reason - me and Centime were not in the tournament so we did not eliminate the players early. Obluss sadly was eliminated by NX and did not get a chance to play against other players. This played in Puker's favor who in the end won the men's division (Congratz!). Last year, I expected that this player would win next year. And he did^_^.

Men's Division: 1. Puker, 2. Kubago, 3. Skif

After men's division it was our time to play. I went through the tournament with 'opponent chooses song first, then I pick some random song on the same difficult -> win'. I sticked to this and it worked. The finals of our tournament were much more fun. Centime picked her first song. Some random 10 level song - Night Time Story. That stepchart has green and purple notes in it! Stepchart wise it reminds me of Go 60 Go. We had fun while playing this. It was relatively tricky (well, technical). Then it was time for me to pick a song. Random decided. The winner was decided one song later.

Women's Division: 1. S'Tsung, 2. Centime, 3. Rin

When the finals ended we proceeded to the international category. It was me vs Obluss in the first round. In the next one I played against Crazy which was quite unexpected. I would expect him to seed much higher. But well we always got about 5 pad misses per song and that could create quite a big difference. I needed to be much more precise and hope the miss ratio for both players would be 1:1. One song chosen and I won. Random and I won once again. In the finals I played against Arain who fared much better than Crazy even though I still consider Crazy a better player. Arain is for sure more precise and more at easy.

IDGC: 1. S'Tsung, 2. Arain, 3. Crazy

After the tournaments we went to collect our prizes. It was freezing cold there^_^. Here's a photo of those who placed 1-3 in at least one of the tournaments (at least majority of them, kubago was missing).

I spent the last hours playing Mortal Kombat (about it in another post) and iStep. But before that it was some time for Pump it Up and after that a shower. While playing Pump it Up I realized that I'm quite slow and that the Hot Dog mono diet does not help it much. So I bought some multivitamin juice and water (HELL a lot of money). This helped quite a bit and then I was suddenly able to FC Xuxa^_~ on CZ

I did not get a chance to play the game earlier. At first I had to figure out which pad is which because it wasn't written on them. That's also what I lacked in the game (the fact that you don't see on what pad you step on unlike in idance), but well easy setup of the pads is enough to solve this problem. When I figured out that the pads are in this order - 4,3,1,2 - I could start to sync with the system. I actually found out that it was relatively ok - at least visually. But it felt different from other dance games (idance included).

So back iStep. If you know iDance than I can tell you that this is a lite version of iDance. Simply enough those institution that cannot afford to pay for iDance system can buy this version. It is also a multiplayer dance game, but also features normal 2 player mode. It features 50 songs of which half is from idance and the other half was done for istep. Each song has 5 difficulties. Here a short preview of the game. The release date is set for June 1st 2012.

Czech players had the chance to try this game out at Starconu, Anime Jikan and now at AnimeFest. The most favorite songs of this conventions were - Spaceman, Nitro and Bumble Bee. Hopefully 1,2,3,4 007 wasn't played that often as used to be in the past.

I went back to Prague with Decin players. During the trip I spent some time watching the unnatural Full Moon. It felt really wierd and the sky was purple. The Water Dragon is coming.

Thanks everyone it was nice to be with you. There more I'd like to type, but I'm unable to do so after not sleeping the last few nights. Today I'm really out of order^^. But the release tournament (36 players) is going well.

Friday, May 4, 2012

AnimeFEST day 1 aka random day report


At first I thought I would stay for the first FNM with Avacyn Restored, but it would be difficult getting to Brno after the tournament. I asked people on Facebook if anyone is not heading to AnimeFest. Nela a fellow Magic player offered me a ride. So at 5pm I was awaiting her at the center of a really big crossroad at Budejovicka. Nela was accompanied with a friend also Slovak.

We headed towards Brno. We got stuck in Prague for a long time, but then the road was fine.

We stopped at one petrol station (the one that used to be Aral and where you can actually get some real food for quite good prices). We bought some water and continued on. I have to say that the prices were really high. We stopped at another one, had a coffee and opened some boosters. Nothing good was in them but at least Nela's friend had the chance to open her first booster pack^_^. Seems like the images are still quite scary even though the Avacyn Restored images are much brighter and colorful than from the earlier sets.

When the sun was setting we could see the almost full moon rising. It was orange and the clouds beneath were orange/yellowish as well. It looked beautiful. It was really nice to watch the Moon rising and the Sun setting.

Near Brno we got stuck once again but finally we I managed to come to Vystaviste (few hours late). The third attempt of getting to the right place was actually successful.

When nearing the main hall we saw three groups of Naruto fans. I have to say that they did not look well nor 'representable'^^ Nela and her friend had to wonder to what kind of event they actually took me to. I felt awkward. But no one said anything^_^.

At the registration, there was a slight problem with the registration system obviously. I also I forgot my ticket at the game store so I was afraid that this would be problem as well. But to my surprise my name was found on the appropriate list and I was soon given a Special Guest entry.

Entering the first hall I noticed few Magic players and was also told that this is the place to look for them. Then I met Rex (and talked with him for a bit) on my way to the first game room where you can try out Reactable and/or iStep. I haven't tried either but I have to say that both look really nice. I have to check it out tomorrow. After we went to Rotunda to see how things would be organized. I played few PIU songs on PIU Pro machine and managed to clear them except for For You NM which I failed near the end - too many arrows in a very short time^_^. I was doing fairly well considering the fact that I'm 30kg overweight. It was a surprise that I can move so fast.

I also tried playing ITG, the sync was bad and there was a wierd glitch. We will solve it tomorrow hopefully. Anyway my legs were at least capable of stepping on the right panels^_^.

At 10pm me, Centime, Srandista and their friend we went to Centime/Srandista's flat. I was offered a dinner in form of rice and peas which was delicious. A long night awaited me. In the morning qualifier for the National Championship in Machine Dance is going to take place. I'll certainly participate but what I'll be doing then at the convention I'm not really sure about that.

Magic: The Gathering Cosplay

From time to time Magic cosplayers showed up at conventions. Since Lorwyn we have more and more magic cosplayers - they usually cosplay onw of the planeswalkers. I came across Rachel and Rob who cosplayed Japanese Jace and Japanese Chandra at Anime Central this year. Here they are!