Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Altered Art Spotlight featuring me

Today I was featured on Altered Art Spotlight on TheManaSource channel on Youtube. (Thank you for it!!)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Conspiracy - Random photo of the Day

Journey to Nyx prerelease tournament will be one of the worst I ever participated in (after DGM). I did not manage to open cards that would cost anything, I did not manage to open a pool that could actually win something. Some people though opened an ALL GOD booster pack or at least Athreos in the seeded booster. I can't really judge the set nor the format because I did not have the chance to build a deck that could actually do something during the game except die but there is one thing I enjoyed. Wizards of the Coast is continuing in the promotion of Conspiracy set and this is one of the ads. I like the idea and I give WotC +1 for that.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Journey into Nyx

disclaimer: this post is not actually much about JOU as both my prerelease tournaments went awry...

The journey into the night started on Friday. We spent most evening and part of the night playing EDH and Modern and the games were nice and it was nice to forget about Journey to Nyx for a while... I just couldn't hear about the set anymore but I knew that the day after I would attend its prerelease. During the EDH games I was surprised how well my flat mate's Ephara deck (build out of my cube) actually works. Well my deck was also build from the cube so there were cards we both would want to play but couldn't (for example Wrath of God or Elspeth, Knight-Errant). When playing with my competitive Mimeoplasm these decks couldn't do a thing though.

Some time ago I signed up for the single player prerelease as usual and was asked if I wouldn't play two-headed giant with Jan Jestribek the day after. I told him that if he finds no one else to play that I would play.

On Saturday morning I was in relatively good mood (even though pretty sleep deprived) but this changed soon after I opened the first two booster packs. I opened the rest of the packs and went through the cards I already sorted by color. The best card was Underworld Cerberos, but red was uplayable and black wasn't stellar either. The best cards I had were in blue (7) but the problem was that part of them was for tempo and part of them were for heroic deck. Green seemed relatively playable even though it lacked good cards in general but still better than 3 merfolks for one that are unblockable that I couldn't even use (except for being 1/1 unblockable creature I would be able to drop in round 3 most probably). The best combination of colors I could play were Jund colors. Red being just a splash for Rage of Purphoros and Underworld Cerberos. There wasn't anything else playable. In black and green together I did not manage to even get to 14 'playable' cards so in the end I switched to grixis. Blue actually had flyers that could with a LOT of luck win a game sometimes. Later after losing even more games I decided to switch to Bant ignoring my bombs that cost either BB or BR. This deck was even worse than the previous two decks but it did not have a problem to have 7 mana early of all colors^_^.

This time WotC did not come up with some achievements but rather prepared some weapon forging which was really meaningless. The only thing it created was that the TO had more things to do. Usually having too much free time during the tournament I decided to forge my weapon to have at least one photo to show you on my blog^_~ (I was already sure that writing a serious report from JOU prerelease would be futile).

During the tournament Jakub Jandak send me a message. We could meet and try Legend of the Five Rings following the Ivory edition rules. After I lost the last round I waited to see if there would be players for Cube Draft. It did not really seems so. (in the end they might have actually gathered for some kind of limited tourney). So I moved to a different game store where Jakub was still playing. He lost the game, dropped of the tournament and we went to eat something. The place I wanted to get something was closed so we moved to local mall and I ordered something that is usually good but this time it was hardly the case. After this we moved to a café near the mall and proxied two L5R ivory starter decks. I was playing Crane and he was playing Phoenix.

My stronghold was clearly one for honor. The Phoenix one looks good for Enlightenment. When we started playing the game and after checking quite some information about rules changes we were told to get out (they were closing at 7pm). So we moved to his place were I had to eat some pills not to suffocate because of his two lovely cats.

I borrowed his guitar while he was preparing dinner and tried to play something. My brain was hardly remembering any notes so I had to cheat and check some tabs. No matter what my skill is rather none so the succession of sounds I can produce on a guitar does not sound well^^. After this we got back to our L5R game and tried to finish it. I was gaining honor from Proclaim ability and not much else as Honor producing holdings decided to stay somewhere in the deck. No matter what we found out how some things work and I realized that there are things I need to check how they actually work later. Before the second game we started shuffling our decks and I saw 'light up like a lightbulb' when he realized that there's something missing. He shuffled his stronghold into one of his decks but he realized it much sooner than most beginning players.

The second game we played was far better but my dynasty was messed up (not enough holdings) and Jakub's fate was even more messed up. I managed to lost a duel even^^ due to focusing one out of two FV1 cards (of the top) I still had in the Fate deck. In between some of the games we played I got bored and started building a house of cards.

Late night I showed Jakub my Magic 'Offline' Cube. The cube's list is from Magic Cube Online. He picked a part of it...and asked me a question about the card. He told me that the illustration is by Moeller and that it has the same colors as Putrefy. So I said Pernicous Deed. After a while of searching X in the Japanese Pernicious Deed he had in his hand he accepted my answer as correct^_^. From this moment on we started guess a card game. I have to say that it was lots of fun and some descriptions were pretty funny (smashed spider sitting on a supernova -> spellskite or 'image on which you can hardly see anything except a muzzle.....and eyes' -> voice of resurgence). This game also showed that the brain can work sometimes in a really strange way and that it knows the answer sooner than we actually realize it.

After 5am he drove me home. I took a shower and went to sleep so I would actually get up for the Prerelease that awaited me in few hours. I set my alarm clock to a time that was the latest I could get up.

When my phone started to ring I dismissed the alarm clock and miraculously got up. I grabbed my bag with Cube, sleeves and all the cards from the day before and headed out of my flat. My brain reminded me that I don't really need the sealed pools from yesterday so I left without them. But still my bag weighted about 10kg...I hopped on the tram to LGS and arrived there without falling asleep (and I was hungry).

Our colors were blue and black. We played UW heroic and BG with red spalsh for Xenagos. Both decks were slow for the format and not with enough bombs to save the day. But both decks were certainly playable and should have won us some games. But the reality was a bit different. It was much more fun though than the day before in which I had no chance to win and it was more of a torture to actually continue in the tourney. This wasn't the case on Sunday. During the tournament I also let Jan Jestribek guess some cards. His attitude to this was completely different and did not really follow the logic we followed with Jakub. So it wasn't that pleasant. He gave me two of his own. One in which I knew the answer is a UW creature with flash possibly some Liege and the other card being some UW instant doing whatever (either generating UW tokens or something that turns tokens in the guessed card or just some UW changeling or whatever). So I was quite annoyed when his hints were like...'the creature has flash' as all this I have already figured out and he just couldn't understand that. He showed me the Liege afterwards and told me what the other card is but he does not articulate so I just didn't really catch it. No matter what I did not care. His second attempt was with 'a creature that has more hands and is not human, used to be played at legacy but was replaced by a different creature'. I knew that he does not mean Emrakul and such and the only creature valid was Jin-Gitaxias. But I knew that this creature has two hands and yeah is not human. So after other hints he told me what the card is. So I showed him how it looks like and after that I was not willing to guess any other card. Few more rounds and the tournament was over. 2:3 and a pool that would hardly paid for itself.

After this tournament we actually managed to get 8 people together and play some cube. My first pick was Jace, the Mind Sculptor followed by Counterspell. For the rest of the pack I did not see a blue card. So I started picking some white and black cards. In the second pack I opened Sorin, Lord of Innistrad and passed Jace Beleren to my mono blue drafter sitting next to me. The packs in this batch were heavy red but green was prevalent as well. So I started picking some green cards from time to time and still tried to get some blue cards (counterspells mostly). Majority of my picks were lands though (in green, blue, white, black combinations). I needed a white dual land but none came and I knew that playing any wrath effect would be difficult (and I lost because of that in the finals). Anyway the third booster pack helped a lot and I picked any green mana fixing creature or a spell I could. So my plan was play lands, fetch lands, play some wrath effect and then play some fatty (Avenger of Zendikar or Simic Sky Swallower). I miraculously won against burn in round 1 even though in game 1 I got crushed hard. In round 2 I played against something that looked like bant. It was Birthing Pod deck with some creature recursion (and with Deranged Hermit...erm). It reminded me of how powerful Birthing Pod is. Fortunately I had Hinder for it and other counterspells ready for Elspeth or something more annoying. I was waiting for my second white for quite some time so my Blood Baron had to end up in play and chump but it did not matter. After the board was clear my opponent was left without cards in his hand and I had Jace TMS, Tamiyo, Woodfall Primus, Oblivion Ring etc...In the finals I played against white weenie deck that killed me pretty fast. My problem was not getting 2 white sources together in time (I added white sources in the deck because I knew this would be crucial...).

The cube draft was a really nice change from Theros block and the horrible pools^_^ and it was fun to play and fun to draft. I certainly did not expect to win anything with my super greedy deck^_~ that looks more like a cube pack rather than a drafted deck...

Wedding Gift

Jakub Jandak came to me asking for a unusual commission. I wasn't sure I could do it and spend quite a lot of time pondering how this will eventually end up like. I was sure I would mess up (me painting a face? and letters?).

In the end I grabbed a brush and finer detail brush and tried my best. After several hours of staring at the card I couldn't even focus my eyes. With some breaks I managed to finish it even though what could go wrong went wrong. Anyway the finished product conveys the original idea and I find it pretty neat (the idea).

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Silent Arbiter

I was given this card to fix I tried. The card owner already tried to scrape the paint of the card but damaged it in the process. I tried a less destructive approach and it worked. Then I tried altering it the normal way I do. (I did not clean the card yet). So this is how the card looked when it was given to me, after I scraped the paint of it, after I primed it and the more or less final result.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Dark Confidant

Played Dark Confidant. Felt-tip pen was used to make the borders 'black'. It looked terrible. This card certainly needed some altering.

Confidant no.2 out of 4.

A finished playset!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Setting up goals...

After another period in which I was feeling down and couldn't really do anything...and thought that I can't achieve anything I decided to play a bit of Beatmania IIDX. It wasn't a good idea. After tidying up a bit the mess in my room so I could actually have a place for my Real Edition I set everything up and clicked on Run BM2DX.exe.

My antivirus program decided (*facepalm* I should restart my computer...) not to run IIDX because of two files being recognized as viruses. So I closed the antivirus, copied libavs library and ran the game once again. It booted.

I picked some song and played it.

(for those not familiar with IIDX grading. There are grades ranging from F (Failed) to AAA. If you finish a song with being in the red zone above 80% of life bar you cleared the song You start at 20% health. I cleared the song without problems but I got a grade with which most people just fail the song. The graph shows that I missed about 2 notes and otherwise I confirmed all of them...This means that my accuracy was pretty bad - or that my machine is offsync and I did not realize it.

This is how it ended up. How encouraging. Am I the only one able of such graphs and grades? So I decided to play something easier, something I could AAA. I set my goal....Grade = A. I actually thought I would score higher....I was mistaken. The game once again showed me that I was wrong. ^_^

So for the upcoming day I decided to at least finish my set of altered Ponders, start working on Brainstorms, prepare and send all orders and get some sleep. That was my A grade. I managed all but not during the day and I slept for 6 hours that night (that was actually an achievement^^.) Wasn't much, but I managed to do everything I decided to do. Setting this as a goal worked better than...reminding myself ...hell you need to do this and that...^^

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Can all this happen in one day? Full of failure...

At midnight I watched Once Upon a Time episode and during it I decided to prime a play set of Ponders. After I painted one I realized that it was from a wrong set (*facepalm* at least it was the correct card^_^). So I checked the rest (if they are from m12) and painted them. After that episode I finished my ongoing draft showing my opponent that few mythics on the board are simply insane. At 1 am I went to sleep. I felt horrible and not really wanting to sleep, but I knew that sleep is what I need. At 6 am I woke up for no particular reason. This happened for the the sixth time this week. I tried to fall asleep once again but in vain. I got up two hours later so I could get on my way to local game store where I would have my shift that day. I arrived in one piece (which cannot be probably said in the case of some other people on the way. Car accident no.1) and by some miracle on time (due to city wide marathon the 'surface' transportation was limited).

That day morning Modern tournament was supposed to be held. Few minutes before the start there wasn't anybody. Few minutes later though people started to show up and 4 called that they would be late (several times). After 20 minutes of waiting for some people and even more for others everyone was sitting and playing. During that time many people decided to buy this and that card or borrow this or that card (fetchlands were easy to find...but some cards...that was a different story) and I had quite hard time finding all those cards. Internet went down so I was writing everything on a piece of paper. Eventually the event started. Wizards Event Reporter decided to crash (does not usually work without internet connection)and also decided to 'unpair' the players (never happened to me before...). I paired everyone manually following the pairings I printed out (fortunately) and started to think what else would happen during the day (during that some players already were reporting me their results). At that moment I remembered were Modern Masters singles were stored and found the last card I was supposed to sell before the tournament started. So I collected my own Lightning Helix and let the player have his Lightning Helix with Ajani.

During the first round I decided to set new prices for some of my cards so I started doing that but after several that did not update due to internet connection going down and after several minutes of waiting for internet connection I gave up. So I checked what decks the players were piloting and watched Sasa how he loses already won game with my Birthing Pod deck (after hearing the story that he lost the first game by not being able to play Path to Exile twice because he only had Misty Rainforest, 1 tapped and 1 untapped Temple Garden in play and was unable to fetch a white source.)

Some time later I decided to come up with design for Dryad Arbor - a card I want to alter. I don't like the original illustration so I was trying to come up with some Dryad looking 'something' for quite a while (the photo follows). (I used the Liliana as a seems I happen to that more often - and I have that even on video. But that's a different story)

So I might actually try to paint more or less something similar looking on Dryad Arbor in the near future. Anyway when I wanted to take a picture of this doodle my cell phone decided to go dark. I don't know what happened. The battery was at 100% supposedly. Someone came to the store so I processed his order. After that I tried starting up my phone again but it didn't do a thing. Actually it did. It flashed red three times. That's how my last phone died. But on the other hand via computer I can get to the phone and make it work for some reason (same with my former phone).

At this time I felt pretty dizzy due to the local players smoking 'something'. Even though they smoked outside the smell of it was everywhere. I also lost track of how many beers they drank and most probably messed up the numbers when entering them from time to time to the cash register.

I decided to open some packs. I opened two GTC booster packs but there was nothing in them. The tournament was nearing its end and my flatmate was supposed to show up with dinner. In those 30 minutes I was waiting for him the players received their prize packs and bought other packs as well. Probably none of them was good. My flatmate came with my dinner so I asked him to pick a good pack for me. He did choose the best one he probably could. I didn't notice him opening the pack as I was selling something in the meantime so when I turned my head again all I saw was a foil Stomping Ground. He then showed me the Mythic that was above it to see if the card is worth anything or not. Seeing my reaction he understood that it's not a good card and handed me the pack. I would have taken a picture of it if I could but couldn't I asked Sasa to take it for me few hours later (so here it is).

Sasa and Matej gave me back my decks. Sasa came stating that there are some cards missing from the sideboard and that probably one of the cards is in the main but he didn't know which one it is (Scavenging Ooze). The cards that were missing were Thoughtseizes. I was quite a bit shaken by this information that got to me after the tournament and not before or during it (so I could actually search for the cards). I let it go because I knew that the deck was complete that morning and that it left it's box during my way to the LGS.

At 5pm Top 8 (from the Najada League) Draft was being organized. I tried to force some players playing MODO to get up from the table and move to another so we could draft there but it was of no use. I tried insisting few more times and they finally moved. After some misunderstanding were everyone should be seated we started the draft. My first pick was epic. I opened Eidolon of Countless Battles, I picked it and went through the cards in the pack. I was passing Stoneshock Giant sending the player into red. I picked some white cards (mostly to enable Heroic ability) in the first booster pack and few red creatures. From the second booster pack my first pick was Sentry of the Underworld. Soon after I picked Scholar of Athreos which sealed my fate of not playing Boros Heroic. But for some reason I wasn't really conviced that I can switch to black and passed Sip of the Hemlock and Hythonia (*double facepalm*). In the end I ended up with a deck that wasn't bad actually but the fact that I wasn't familiar with the cards from both sets made me lose 3 matches. On the other hand all the games were fun and interesting. I was quite surprised what cards were actually printed in the set and was pretty perplexed playing against Perplexing Chimera. I had 2 outs but they did not arrive in time and I lost that game. It was the only match I won though.

In the first round I managed to put a swamp on the bottom of the library and I needed 4 black sources in order to win. I had 3 but I didn't draw a 4th one in the following six turns. I also managed to let my Sentry with Eidolon of Countless Battles die because I read the mana cost wrong. After messing even something like this I did not feel like winning and forgot to attack even though that this attack would lead to victory later. My creature died but I still could win. I needed to draw a swamp once again. This time in 2 turns. I drew 2 plains cards and lost.

In the second round I played against WU deck with quite many fliers, Phalanx Leader, Wingsteed Rider and some other white creature. I was killed by blue flyers and wasn't sure if I should side in Glare of Heresy. I died to Wingsteed Rider in the second game. Lash of the Whip nor Rage of Purphoros couldn't deal with it. I was close to winning both games and me messing up an attack with my flyers cost me a game. I didn't realize that Sentry of the Underworld has Vigilance (*facepalm*).

In round three feeling REALLY bad after messing 4 games in a row I finally knew that I wouldn't at least mess up my attacks with Sentry of the Underworld. My opponent played Esper with similar cards as me except the fliers. I knew the cards I passed for this archetype so I knew what to expect. We both mulliganed more than we should and in g3 Adam mulled to 5 and lost. Even though his Abhorrent Overlord seemed pretty daunting. I knew that I have like 7 outs in the deck and I managed to draw one of them the next turn and win. I did not really want to win against Adam but it happened (especially after losing to two players that I should have won against).

In round 4 I played against a player with even worse score than me but he beat me singlehandedly (and then in round 5 was awarded a bye, how unfair!).

Round 5 was yet once again a nice game. But I didn't not win. Always it was one card or one turn away. In the first game I actually did not draw lands as I needed them. I won game two and in g3 I lost the turn before I would swing for lethal. But it was nice anyway. My deck proved to be actually capable of winning against 4 players. But I was the one to cause it to lose.

I opened my prize packs during the tournament already because and got one Temple. Otherwise nothing expensive. After the draft again quite some booster packs were bought and open. Even Modern Masters was bought. It contained a Mythic Rare but it was Yosei. Not a card I would want to open. I decided to give it a try to. It was an artifact. A creature with P/T. Arcbound Ravager. That was worth the pack^^ and I got some extras, foil Terramorphic Expanse from yet one more edition (my landfall all common deck has 8 foil 'fetches').

The players eventually left and left behind a terrible mess. After smoking some more etc. one player came back to get M14 booster pack in Korean and opened Mutavault. So I bought it and will want to exchange it for a German one somehow. Unfortunately someone stole or lost my 2 Mutavaults from my type 2 deck. So I bought the only Mutavault available at that moment (played German one...). I tried to tidy up the mess here and went to catch the tram. It arrived 5 minutes late. We did not even arrive to the next stop in the upcoming minute. There was another car accident in front of us. I did not want to leave the tram because it would take me directly home. I was too tired to be running around and waiting for something else somewhere else. Some time later the path was cleared and hopefully the people in the accident survived it. At Libensky most (12 later) there was another accident. Not wanting to walk 6 km home I tried to calm down. I put my hand into my bag to search for piece of paper and actually hit a piece of paper but it had a name as well - Thoughtseize. After that I actually pulled out a scrap of paper and wrote this entry on it.

When I came back home I was greeted by Zdenek. He cooked some eggs and we had them with what we found in the fridge. I told him about this hell of a day and then we watched some NCIS. Being completely exhausted I went to sleep and this time I did not have problem to fall asleep but still woke up earlier than I would have liked.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Early morning doodle... Restoration Angel from Magic: The Gathering

(without properly working tablet it's difficult to do anything...*sniff*. any ideas how to make graphire 2 working on win7?)

This was supposed to be completely random but in the end it ended up looking like Restoration Angel.

Jace, the Mind Sculptor textless

I don't really know where the yellows come from I used Bleached Bone + Neutral Grey ....o_O Google messed the yellow even more. Don't ask me seems I'll have to start using something else to store my photos. (Ok, I linked the FB photo..the google one is a pain to look at...)