Monthly Archives: September 2017

Ixalan Buy-A-Box Booster Contents

In my previous post I mentioned that got a Buy-A-Box booster when I purchased my booster box.

Here using WotC own words this is what you get in that booster:

  • 2 foil basic lands illustrated by Rebecca Guay
  • 4 rares or mythic rares from Standard-legal sets
  • 2 foils of any rarity from Standard-legal sets
  • 1 foil Burning Sun’s Avatar

That’s 9 cards in total. So instead of me listing the cards I got I’m going to bore you with photos of the cards instead.

I love the art on the Dragonskull Summit. It invokes the recent Kong movie for me. Remote, forgotten civilisations worshipping the god like monster that rules through share force of will and might. The apex predator that protects them from the other large threats living on their island. Yeah great art.

Well that’s the Buy-A-Box booster. It’s a pretty cool addition/bonus. 

Spies, Pirates and Dinosaurs

It’s Ixalan Release weekend! You may have detected I’ve been getting more into MtG lately. So Ixalan despite me still calling myself a casual player (which I am) is the first release to come out during this increased interest. 

Yesterday I popped into my FLGS The Hobbit Hole on my way home to pick up my pre-order of a booster box. Which I only did so I got the Buy A Box promo booster pack! God WotC are evil geniuses. 

I ended up walking out with the following product:

  • Ixalan Booster box
  • Ixalan bundle box
  • Ixalan prerelease box
  • Huatli Planeswalker deck
  • Gishath, Sun’s Avatar Legendary Creature

The “freebies” I got were:

  • The Buy A Box promo pack
  • Foil promo alt art Burning Sun’s Avatar
  • Ixalan MtG League deck box

I haven’t planned to attended any release weekend events this weekend. But like my FLGS your LGS will be running lots of events giving you the chance to buy packs and play with the new cards you just got.

Naturally there will be posts over the weekend where I share my pulls with you. You have been warned.

Last night Jeff, Jonathan and myself met up at the Fenland Gamers weekly Friday Meet Up at The White Lion to play some games!

The game that hit the table last night was Covert. This was the second time the game had hit the table since I got it. Which is a shame. It’s a nice game. But when you have a game collection it’s competing against so many others. It’s not only the games in my collection, it’s competing against those in members collections too. And not to mention the cult of the new. So it’s hard sometimes for an enjoyable game to get back to the table.

But I’m glad that I did make that decision to take Covert along to be played. Once we had refreshed our memories on how to play the game (10 months had passed since our initial play) and muddled through teaching Jeff, we got on with the job of being Spies working our craft across Europe.

With Jonathan triggering the end of the game by completing the required six missions, and getting the win, we all agreed it was an enjoyable game. 

Who knows when it will manage to fight its way back to the table through the cardboard and plastic crowds. But at that moment as we were packing away I made that hard to keep promise of “I must get this back to the table soon”.

Another great evening of gaming and friendship. 

Reality Trainwreck

Sometimes you build up your expectations. You have an image about how cool something is going to be when it arrives. The dispatch email lands in your inbox. The excitement builds. Each day, even the day the dispatch email arrived you hope that the postman has been and delivered your item. Yeah somehow I have given the British postie the powers similar to Santa, in that they can take delivery of a parcel and then deliver that parcel to its destination in minutes.

Then the parcel finally arrives. It’s waiting for you on the side when you get home. You can’t get the well packaged item out of its wrappings quick enough. You are fighting the layers of tape and plastic it’s encased in.

Finally you have loosened the bindings enough to get it out. You extract the item and unroll it. Then it hits you. What is in front of you is nothing like what you thought you had ordered. It’s a complete disaster. Your heart has sunk, you feel broken. Tears had to be fought back. How did this happen?

There were mistakes made. I think number one has to be my failure to understand the communication from Bags of Love over the image, and trying to do the whole thing on my iPhone. Well the iPhone is my primary computing device at home. I thought I had put up a higher quality image than the initial one. I assumed that the image was big enough to fill the required 24″ by 12″ the second time. So it’s hard not to lay the blame for for all that awful white space at my feet. It doesn’t make it easier to accept.

If we take out of the equation the train wreck that is the printed image, and all that white space. Then we are left with the neoprene mat itself. I have to say that I’m a bit underwhelmed with the quality of the material. What I was expecting was something closer to the play mats I use with my games such as MtG, or Star Wars:Destiny. Sadly this was not close. Even the thinner mats I have for teaching MtG with from Ultra Pro are better quality. The play mats I had done ages ago using Patriot Games were better quality wise, and more like the game mats I’m used to. It’s the texture and finish that is so different. It felt and looked cheap and not as robust as my other gaming mats (including the Patriot Games ones).

While in a state of shock and major disappointment, I stumbled across a leaflet that had been placed in with the mat, offering £5 I think it was off my next order. Plus on the other side it invited you to share your order with them and the world on social media.

Like a petulant child looking for some sort of pay back for the disappoint suffered, I acted like Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens, and posted the above photo on twitter and instagram with the caption “Biggest disappointment ever. Wasted my money with this. Won’t be going with these again @bagsoflove”

To be fair to Bags of Love, they reached out and have offered to help sort this out, and replace the mat with a new one of a design of my choice for free. But with the condition I delete the tweet and post I sent yesterday. I’m not one for deleting stuff, I’m admitting my part in this disaster. The initial offer involved me pre-ordering and then letting them know. But after my reply they did offer to do that side of things too, with me providing a new design. They are keen to resolve this. But my next paragraph sums up where I am on this. So Bags of Love do deserve some credit for their response to the situation, and keenness to resolve it .

It’s been an expensive learning experience. Not one I can really afford. But the initial experience broke me, and I don’t have the heart to go through all this again. Never has there been such a big gap between reality and what I thought I had ordered since I was a ten year old ordering mail order practical jokes like itching powder from the back of my childhood comics.

I wanted a 24″ by 12″ neoprene play mat for Star Wars:Destiny with that amazing picture of the X-Wings skimming the surface of the lake. In reality what I ended up with if I cut it out is a mouse mat for a smurf.

Time to put my hurt behind me and move on.

Nissa and Chandra – Kaladesh Planeswalker Decks

While I was at the Ixalan prerelease on Saturday at my FLGS The Hobbit Hole I noticed he had the Chandra Planeswalker deck for Kaladesh. I don’t think I’ve admitted this on here, but Chandra is my favourite planeswalker, followed by Illiana and Nissa. When I got home I saw that the matching deck with it was Nissa.

So what do we get for our money (£10 each) in each Planeswalker deck? I’m glad you asked, you get the following:

  • Foil Planeswalker card
  • 60 card deck (includes the above card)
  • 2 kaladesh booster decks
  • Quick ref card
  • Strategy guide
  • Cardboard deck box

Using my now tried and tested costing of a booster pack, the boosters alone would be valued at between £7 – £8. Plus you get the preconstructed 60 card deck, with the foil planeswalker card, and cardboard deck box. I would say that you are getting more than your monies worth, but not by a great margin.
Here are the cards I pulled from the two boosters included in the Chandra deck.

Here are the pulls from the two boosters included in the NIssa deck.

Four booster packs and two foils. That’s not bad.

The art on the two cardboard deck boxes is super cool. I’ve yet to play with these two decks they did only arrive yesterday. But I do think planeswalker decks are good value, especially for casual and noob players like me.

Rise of the Empire Random Give Away

Somehow I’ve ended up with two copies of the newly released first expansion for Star Wars: Rebellion, Rise of the Empire.

So what to do with this extra copy?

It could sit around collecting dust. Or I could give it away in a give away.

To enter this give away you will need to work out the following simple math problem and leave your answer along with your name  in the comments below:

(Qwixx – Dice City) + Kemet = ????

I am looking for a numeric answer here!

HINT: You will need to look at my Top 100 games posts.

You will need to hurry because I will select the winner randomly from the list of correct entries next Monday 2nd October 2017.

This will be UK only sadly because I will be paying the postage.

Planeswalker Apprentice or is it Padawan?

Last night I was round Edmund’s teaching him how to play MtG and Star Wars:Destiny.

After recreating the Rey and Kylo starter sets using a deck list for each I pulled off the internet, Edmund and I played eRey/eFinn vs eKylo/First Order Trooper.

Yes you read that correctly eFinn. I know in the starter set he is just a single die. But there are enough points for him to be played as an elite version.

Did this make the combo too powerful? Potentially, in our two games that character combo with it’s extra dice advantage won the roll off to decide which battlefield is chosen. Edmund and I took turns playing the character combos. I started off with eRey/eFinn, and won the game. But for a first game, unfamiliar with cards, rules etc, Edmund had picked up the game quickly, and played well. When Edmund played the eRey/eFinn combo he won. That was a closer game, both down to our last four cards in hand. Edmund only had Rey left with four damage on, while I only had the First Order Trooper left with five damage on. I wasn’t going to win that match up. I thought that this did make it a more even game for a new player to go up against an experienced player.

Mind you I might tweek the eKylo/First Order Trooper deck by adding in a second Trooper to balance it out a bit more. There is certainly the points to allow it.

It was weird to be playing with just the starter cards again. There were cards I just wouldn’t or hardly use. To get Mind Probe out I’d be using Sith Holocron, and running more abilities in the deck. I’d even be using training to get more Trooper dice out. On the Hero side, Backup Muscle would be a must have. Yeah an interesting experience.

Sadly after our two games there was not really enough time to move Edmund on from being a Padawan to a Planeswalker Apprentice. But hopefully after giving Edmund his first hit of Destiny we have a new convert.

Some Ixalan Cards I Hope To Pull

This isn’t really going to mean much, I mean most people are interested in what the much more popular MtG podcasters, youtubers etc have to say on the subject. But I thought I would record what cards I hope to pull from Ixalan boosters over the coming weeks, and our league play (yes we are skipping Hour of Devastation and going for pirates, merfolk and dinosaurs).

I think Vanquisher’s Banner would potentially go well in a tribal commander deck I’m planning as my first built commander deck. I like Raiders’ Wake, it has that chip chip away at a life total, and forcing an opponent to discard a card. Demolish is straight up removal. I like that. All three are also the right colours for the planned deck which is red/black or Rakdos as it is known (don’t ask me how they come up with these names I have no idea, it makes no sense to me either).

Dual Shot looks a nice one cost removal, although is it as nice as Blazing Volley in Amonkhet? Firecannon Blast tied in with Raiders’ Wake could be a costly turn for an opponent. Star of Extinction is just for the lol’s!! That’s one hell of a board wipe.

I like the look of Sunbird’s Invocation. Card draw, play a card for free, ok burying the rest of the cards at the bottom of the deck is a drag. Is it worth playing? I like this removal card for green, Crushing Canopy. Flyers are always a pain in the butt, and being able to use this to get rid of one or an enchantment, nice dual use. I really love the art of Gisharth, Sun’s Avatar. The rest of the card is pretty cool too. 

These next three give life gain, token creatures, increase hand size, and that -10 on Vraska, Relic Seeker, so funny to pull that one off.

This next one is also potentially a great addition to a tribal deck. I can’t see why you would use it with any other kind really.

So there you have it those were the cards I hope I can get from Ixalan. Some pretty cool ones if I get them.

Verses: Archer: Once You Go Blackmail vs Love Letter: Batman

Wow not done one of these for a while. I think the last one was between two versions of Love Letter also.

This verses was a lot lot harder to pick a winner for.

Both of these have great wooden tokens for tracking points won. Archer has cute dolphin shaped tokens called intel tokens, whilst Batman has the bat logo.

Both introduce new mechanics to the Love Letter formula. Batman in reality introduced what at best could be described as a minor new mechanic, which was getting a point for guessing another players card when playing the Batman number 1 card. Archer meanwhile bought the Hidden Identity card into play. Which if guessed correctly wins you the round.

The art on both is really good, with the Archer art matching the show it is based on. But I have to say I do prefer the better comic book art of Batman.

Love Letter: Batman  was number 58 in my Top 100 games, whilst Archer: Once You Go Blackmail…  was number 63. On bgg Love Letter: Batman  at the time of my Top 100 was number 388 in the rankings and Archer: Once You Go Blackmail…  was position 2049. Which is pretty good evidence that the gamers over on bgg agree with my ranking of the games.

So what did I decide when this match up was thrown up by the ranking engine? I actually bottled it, and sat on the fence calling it a draw. I couldn’t really decide between the two. I think they are pretty close in the rankings really, and they are my favourite versions of the game. I really like what both versions bring to the table. The Love Letter: Batman may play a little quicker with the point for guessing another character. But these are both easily the best versions of the game for me.

Hope the cop out was not too much of a disappointment and the next one (whenever that appears) is more entertaining for you.

Custom Playmats and a first game of Commander 

If all goes to plan I will have a new play mat for Star Wars:Destiny that will be pretty amazing.

I love this image from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Those X-Wings skimming the water as they race to the rescue of Maz, Han, Chewie, Rey and Finn (plus everyone else at Maz’s place) is just iconic to me.

I was hoping we’d see an official play mat with it on. But it hasn’t happened yet. So I’ve had to resort to “borrowing” the above image off the Internet and getting an unofficial version made with it.

If the results are good I might look into getting some Fenland Gamer ones made up.   Some general large ones for game sessions. But if demand or the public cry out loud enough one for our MtG players. Both would be pretty cool. I’d love one of the official Ultra-Pro MtG 6ft play mats for our group. But justifying just short of £100 for that is very very hard. Having club ones that individuals get to buy if they want is an easier decision.

This afternoon Charlie and I met up and played our first ever games of Commander using two of the prebuilt 2017 decks.

Charlie went with the Feline Ferocity deck, so cat tribal with Arahbo, Roar of the Wild as its commander. I chose cool dragons tribal with Draconic Domination and it’s commander the Ur-Dragon.

In our first game after a couple of turns Charlie had a couple of creatures out, and I just had to take the damage they were dealing, and then he dropped Quietus Spike on the board.

Luckily he didn’t have enough mana to equip it straight away. I needed a solution. I could play a dragon and block with it. It would die. But I’d have to keep doing that each turn until I found a better solution. Or I could hope to top deck the answer. Which is what I did on my card draw.

I drew Crux of Fate, chose Destroy all non-Dragon creatures. Wiped the Board clean of all cat creatures on Charlie’s side and removed any targets for that horrible spike. After that I was able to get dragons onto the board and hit Charlie at will. Charlie wasn’t able to draw into any more creatures.

Not being able to sacrifice a creature with Wasitora out meant I was able to get some cute cat dragon tokens out. Plus Charlie did once manage to draw and play a creature but then had to sacrifice it!

Game two saw an early Dragonspeaker Shaman hit the board. Which with my commanders eminence ability meant I was getting a 3 mana discount on casting dragons.

So I was casting big dragons a lot earlier than I should. Charlie still wasn’t drawing any answers and once again took a beating. But give Charlie his dues he was determined that the cats could work.

Game 3. Charlie was giving me rat tokens! I got three before I killed off the Hungry Lynx creating them.

Thing is with Dromoka in play on my side I was putting two +1/+1 tokens on them!

I was attacking at will, with once more the cards hating Charlie, no damage coming back at me. So the inevitable happened again and I won. I wasn’t used to this. I was winning at Magic!

For our fourth and final game we swapped decks. I joked “you know what’s going to happen, I’ll win with this deck”. I was able to play a turn one soul ring. I had some great mana ramp. I played an enchancement that doubled my mana produced by a land when I tapped it, plus gave my creatures +1/+1.

I had a couple of artefacts that I was able to equip on to I think it was Temur Sabretooth. Which with the Commander ability meant it had vigilance, first strike, trample, and was something like a 11/11 when it swung in.

Although Charlie was able to get rid of my enchantment slowing my mana ramp down a little, it was too little too late. He wasn’t drawing any answers and I was hitting him hard with my beefed up creature.

I managed to win with the cat tribe!

The cards were really harsh to Charlie this afternoon, whilst really kind to me. I enjoyed this 1 v 1 game of Commander. But I’m really keen now to try it with more players and see how the politics of the game kick in.

But a great afternoon with a great opponent. Thanks for the games Charlie.