Tag: mtg

“Innistrad” Magic Pre-Release this weekend


Magic: The Gathering:

The first expansion of the new block “Innistrad” launches next week, but this weekend magic players worldwide get their first taste of the new set.

The horror themed set introduces a few new mechanics and brings back some old ones. Probably the most interesting new addition are “Double Faced Cards”; these represent creatures (or planeswalkers) that can transform into other, more powerful forms. For example, a human shepherd that transforms into a werewolf if certain conditions are met.

For MTG veterans, Pre-Releases are the best way to get the new cards early while having fun exploring the new content. For magic newbies, Pre-Releases are a fantastic introduction to the game because of the non-competitive atmosphere and the level playing ground.

Ace Comics & Games at Annerley are holding events all weekend, starting tonight at midnight with the traditional “Midnight Draft” for those hardcore players who simply cannot wait until Saturday to play with the cards.
Then on both Saturday and Sunday, registration begins at 10:30am for the Sealed events.
Ace Comics & Games

For those planning on attending, be sure to check out the VISUAL SPOILER ahead of time to get familiar with the new set.

Razor’s Magical Journey

Last week’s ZedGames segment on Magic: The Gathering had me primed up for some tournament play. So, I went along yesterday to the Friday Night Magic (that actually happens on Saturday afternoon) at Ace Comics & Games in the Queen St. Mall. As a relatively new player I’m used to getting my butt handed to me at tournaments; but I’m pleased to announce that yesterday was my best result to date. I won two games (out of four) to place fifth out of fifteen players!

This follows my last tournament a fortnight ago where I placed third last (one win out of three) and the one prior to that where I placed second last (drew two, lost two).

A major reason I did better this week was because the last time I turned up to FNM I did an awesome trade with some totally rad dude who basically gave me his entire Ally deck in return for two pretty decent cards I had (Time Sieve and Student of Warfare). Because Allies is seen as a fairly un-competitive deck build, it’s pretty easy to get your hands on Ally cards that other players don’t want. Personally I’ve always brought Ally decks to FNM tournaments because the cards are cheap (monetarily speaking) and it’s easy to put a deck together, despite having a few glaring weaknesses. The main problem is that you need to play an Ally every turn to get the full benefit of their abilities, otherwise you have a battlefield full of easy to kill/block little men. Playing the optimum number of Allies (28-32) means that you have to sacrifice useful other non-Ally cards in your deck, like creature removal. The fact that I didn’t have four copies of common card Join The Ranks, which lets you drop two Allies at instant speed, was also a major weakness of my previous decks.

So finally last week I was able to build a proper White/Red Ally deck using four copies of all the different Ally cards I wanted to play. Play-testing at home, it seemed like it could at least be semi-competitive. I added four copies of Splinter Twin, which has the same converted mana cost (CMC) asJoin the Ranks but lets me tap to put a token copy of the enchanted Ally onto the battlefield anytime I want (token gets exiled at end of turn), including during an opponents turn. It seemed that if it all worked out, this would let me work around the weakness of Allies by letting me trigger my Allies anytime I wanted!

Splinter Twin works fantastically with an Ally deck for a bunch of reasons: First, it lets you create an Ally token the turn you cast it. This is rad as you don’t have to worry about the fact that it’s not an Ally card. Then you get to trigger all your Allies for free every turn thereafter! If you can also cast an Ally and activate Splinter Twin in the same turn, it’s double the fun! (not for your opponent) And here is something that is sure to wipe the smile from your opponents face: Wait until they attack, then cast Join the Ranks and activate your Splinter Twin in succession! You instantly get three chump blockers AND you trigger all of your Allies thrice! In addition to this, you can choose which Allies effect you want to double depending on your situation. If you are playing against a multi-coloured deck, attach Splinter Twin to Kabira Evangel for instant protection from two colours. If you’re in a position to be aggressive, attach Splinter Twin to Akoum Battlesinger to give all your Allies (including the token) +2 to their attack. If you need some life, attach it to Ondu Cleric to instantly gain life equal to double the number of allies on the battlefield. Putting it on Kazandu Blademaster works a treat because of his vigilance; you can attack with him on your turn and then wait until its your opponents turn to tap it to create the token! And probably the best combo: putting it on Kazuul Warlordinstantly gives all your allies two +1/+1 tokens each, plus a 5/5 creature that can attack or block without consequence!

One of the most exciting moments in my Magic playing career thus far was at FNM yesterday, playing against a mono-green elf deck. He flooded the board with mana-generating elves and had a couple of huuuge creatures, including one elf who was pumped up to be a 15/15. He kept swinging with his big dudes, and on my side of the board I had two Splinter Twins attached to both an Ondu Cleric and a Kabira Evangel that I activated as needed. The fact that I had a second Ondu Cleric (in addition to the one that was enchanted) on the board meant that everytime I created a token to use as a chump blocker, I gained life equal to THREE TIMES the number of allies I had, which was five (life gain per activation: fifteen). I kept chipping away at him with my 2/3 token that had protection from Green and eventually after six or seven turns got him down to 1 life. Meanwhile I had gained so much life that I had to borrow more dice to keep track of my life total (seriously, about 12 dice). Finally he thought he may have gained the tools to turn the tide when he cast Beastmaster Ascension which activated straight away, giving all of his creatures +5/+5; and then quickly cast Overrun the turn after that, giving all of his creatures a further +3/+3 for the turn plus trample. So with 1 life point remaining he put it all on the line and swung at me for a grand total of 82 damage across 9 or 10 creatures, with trample. 82 damage! With trample! HOLY CRUD! Considering that you only start with 20 life, swinging for 82 is huge by anyone’s standards. To block, I had a measly two 1/1 Soldier Allies that were untapped. So, I was up for a total of 80 damage. We each held our breath as we counted the pile of dice that represented my life total to see if he had done enough damage to kill me. It turned out that I had 87 life, which meant that I had survived to inflict lethal damage the following turn! I didn’t have to though; my opponent conceded. Following this tense and extremely mathematical battle, we shook hands and agreed that surviving a swing for 82 trample damage with only two 1/1 blockers was pretty freaking amazing.

The next two matches didn’t go so well. Both were against aggro decks (like mine) that are designed to hit hard and fast for a win within six turns. However, I didn’t get completely whooped as usual. Both of the matches came down to a few life points and critical plays that happened at around turn six. Actually, in retrospect I probably could have won my third game if I had chosen to attack rather than hold my guys back at the endgame. Ah well, you play and you learn. I’ll definitely be bringing my W/R Ally deck back to FNM for another couple of plays before I try a different build.

If you’re interested in competitive magic, I’m sure you’ll be looking forward to this event:


Magic The Gathering: PTQ Amsterdam – Standard (Type 2)

Event Details:

Date: Sunday June 27, 2010

Format: Standard (Type 2)

Cost: $20

Time: 9am Rego for a 10am start

Finals: Top 8

Main Event – Main Prizes

1st: Flight to play at pro Tour Amsterdam (or US$375)

2nd: 24 Boosters

3rd – 4th: 12 Boosters

5th – 8th: 8 boosters

Serious Stuff:

Deck Rego’s required

Rules Enforcement: Competitive


Woolloongabba Bridge Club

67 Ipswich Rd



Red Dead Redemption, And Some Other Stuff.

Red Dead Redemption. We’ve only been able to put about 15 hours of playtime in and split between three this means we really haven’t seen much of the world yet. Why do every day things like family and house moving and assignments come in between us and our wicky-wicky-wild-wild-west?

I dig the tutorial lessons and it balances the lessons with introducing back story quite effectively. You’re thrown right in after an animated train ride into town and you have to work out what’s going on as you go. It’s not a beginners game because it assumes some familiarity with the way a game, and in particular a Rockstar game, works.

The animation is pretty smooth on our Xbox (bought on the platform so the boys can all multiplay with each other) and the colours are muted and grimy. The landscape looks like it’s just rained – all green instead of the dry reds and browns in Australian winters. And there are lots of little touches to show the stage of history it’s set in – the mythical west but turn of the century. Railways and electrical wires and mentions of cars.

Straight up we’re introduced to a female character, Bonnie McFarlane and she speaks and has her own agenda. She runs the ranch that her father and her own and Ian reckon’s she’s a lot like a character from The Man from Laramie. My biggest gripe, on the whole heteronormativity front is that John Marston constantly harping on his missing wife. ‘I’m not having sex with a prostitute, I have a wife;’ ‘I’m not interested, I have a wife;’ and while it adds to back story, it’s also a little tedious. On the other hand you get honour points for preventing the rape of a ‘woman of the night’.

And to my Australian readers, which yes is probably all three of you, I was really disappointed when we finally got to Hanging Rock, one of the subplots of the story. There were no girls in white dresses, there were no alien abductions, just a big rock with a tree… you know, a HANGING rock. uh huh, I totally went somewhere else ;)

We will talk about it more as it gets played, but my first impression says it’s definitely not a disappointment.

Also, my brother-in-law came back from his honeymoon and brought me back magic cards from germany, so their playable but in german which can be confusing. I got a Kometenhagel (Comet Storm) which is one of my favourite burn cards and a wald (forest), insel (island), and a shiny sumpf (swamp).

Talking of MTG, the new deck builder’s toolkit was my wage-gift to myself this week: $25 for 4 boosters, 100 basic lands and 125 randomized cards. The instructions are pretty simple but I really think this is a great pack to start with. I also had the affirmation that I live in an uber geek household when I went to find a three-ring binder to put my plastic card holding pages in only to find one with a bunch of empty card holding pages already in it. Win!

And a link from Ian: Good Old Games. Working with a bunch of companies, including ubisoft, Good Old Games is releasing old games in a modern playable way. Heroes of Might and MagicFalloutMasters of Orion and King’s Quest 4+5+6 are among the choices. They’re pretty cheap at between $5 and $10 for a DRM-free game. Hopefully Bard’s Tale may get the nostalgia redress ;)

We’re having a bunch of guests on this week’s show: Amy from King George Square Games Night is coming in to talk about why you should go along and what you can expect to find and also Phil Larsen from Halfbrick, a local game developer who are having great success with their Iphone gameFruit Ninja.