This is last years news really, but I missed it when it was announced, and today my FLGS The Hobbit Hole have asked for if people want to pre-order it. Oh what am I wittering on about? Why the 20th Anniversary Twilight Imperium Galactic Gamemat, that’s what.
This is a 3′ x 3′ mat that looks pretty cool, and will “aid” in setting up the known universe for the game!
Let’s face it use TI4 owners have spent a lot of hard earned money on this edition of the game. So a little bit more to help protect it while playing isn’t much to ask really.
When I got the Rookie Red deck from CardKingdom last year I was taken aback with it’s speed and how fun it was. It offered great value also. But I wanted to do my take on the deck. How would I do a red aggro deck?
From Saturdays post you know I spent sometime testing this deck with Justin, and a little bit more time on Sunday as well (before swapping over to play with other decks). In the games Saturday my initial version of the deck was just getting it’s butt handed to it by Justin’s Vampire/Zombie token deck. I needed a solution. Ok I needed a legal version of Scalding Salamander (it’s legal in Commander/Legacy and Vintage, but not Modern). I didn’t have a creature like it, but I did come across Pyroclasm. So I ordered a play set of the card. I thought in the meantime seeing as this was a casual game, I’d play 3 copies of the Scalding Salamander for fun. They worked like a charm against those tokens. After I had finished playing with the deck, before moving on I thought “you know what? I’ll see what cards CardKingdom put in their sideboard pack for red”. Guess what was in there? Yep 2 copies of the Pyroclasm. I could have been testing with those!
So what is this deck all about? Speed. Hit them hard and fast.
What am I looking for in the opening hand? 3 or 4 mana, Bloodlust Inciter, a 2 drop and 3 drop, possibly one of the removal cards as well. I like Mutiny and Hijack. Using the opponents creatures against them is fun. And could be with Hijack that little extra bit of damage to push you over the finish line. I think in the initial version I had the 2 cost Lightning Strike because that is the card I layed my hands on first, but I do like the 1 cost Lightning Bolt more, so I dug that out for this deck to use instead.
The sideboard is more of the same, if anything I could add in something to get rid of enchantments. Which I am missing. But there is artefact removal, one or two more big creatures to swing in with if needed. Plus cards to remove those nasty tokens.
So let’s look at those lovely graphics and stats that the Decked app gives me for a deck.
Not surprisingly the AMC is under 2. Which is what I want, and allows for that hit them fast and hard.
As you can probably guess yesterday was spent playing more Magic the Gathering. But it wasn’t planned that way. The day had started out as any other Saturday, chilled.
I’d had my morning mug of Pact Coffee, along with two chocolate chip brioche. I’m a creature of habit, and routine. I start everyday like this. After watching some YouTube videos I fell upon the latest Strictly Better MTG one U/R Curious Auras $10 Deck Tech. It looked interesting and just as important fun. So I clicked his TCGPlayer deck list link, and pressed the purchase button. Don’t be fooled by that $10 price, it was double that on TCGPlayer. But still a bargain. I’ve enjoyed the other decks of his that I’ve built (well bought the cards for them). Along with the CardKingdom decks I’ve bought I’ve got a nice little collection of premodern decks that like the now sadly cancelled Duel Decks I can just whip out and say to a friend who fancies a casual game of Magic “which deck do you fancy playing with?”, and then we can just play some Magic.
There was a card in one of his decks which I thought “hey that will go well with my Death and Taxes deck for its sideboard”. I particularly like it for playing against this deck Dale has built. Dale has one or two nasty etb’s in his deck, like taking over my creatures and using them against me. Can’t have that. Dale has said he has ordered cards that will work well in his deck against mine. And so the arms race goes on!
While I was in the card buying mood, I thought I’d buy some more cheap wall defenders to use in my work in progress Angel deck. The plan is to use cheap 1 or 2 cost defenders to chump block and keep me alive long enough to get my Angels out onto the battle field. There seems to be 2 approaches I think to an Angel deck. One is to have cards that give you life gain to try and keep you alive until you can get your Angels out, or you try and ramp up quickly and get them out faster than you should. I’m going with the later. I have the tron lands now.
Ordering those walls reminded me I had a play set of Wall of Omens that I should dig out and put with my Angels and tron lands ready to build with. But as I was looking through my collection I was coming across cards that would go well in my back burner deck I was going to build. So after finding the actual cards I was looking for, I ended up putting together my initial take of my version of the CardKingdom Red Rookie deck.
It was while I was deck building that Justin messaged me asking what I was doing. Naturally I said I was building a new deck. Justin asked if it needed testing. ‘Yep” was my one word response. So I ended up round his playing Magic, testing my new deck against a new deck he’d built. Plus playing my R/G Dino deck against it. Plus we tested another of his decks a vampire/zombie token deck against both my new deck and the dinos. My new deck didn’t do that great against the token one. I need to think about the sideboard and what I can add that will help against this type of deck.
My teenage years were spent watching amongst other things movies like Caddyshack, Animal House, National Lampoons Vacation, Porkies etc. The humour in these types of movies appealed to a teen me, and to be honest still do. Naturally back then I was oblivious to some of the tragic stories that hide behind some of these movies I loved. It was only in later life that I would learn of these tragic and heart breaking stories of some of my comedic heroes and heroines. Which brings me to a great Netflix recommendation. A Futile and Stupid Gesture tells the story of Doug Kenney co-founder of National Lampoon, creative genius behind some of those comedy classics I loved watching.
This is a really good biopic. I really loved the way the director and writers handled the end of the movie. There are some great decisions made to tell the life story of Kenney. They even break the fourth wall once or twice. They capture for me the spirit and humour fantastically. For me I can count the truly great biopics on one hand. I’m adding this to that list.
Even if you are not a fan of the type of humour Kenney created I think you will enjoy this movie. Just go watch it.
Apart from Magic I’ve not really done any other gaming this week. Our second game of Charterstone was postponed until next week instead. Mainly due to life throwing curve balls at some of our group playing the game.
I have had a test crate printed at work for Imperial Assault. It’s not come out that bad. So I’ll get some more printed, along with some terminals. Then I’ll setup a game of Imperial Assault for the students.
I’ve made some changes since the initial version of this deck. I liked the idea of the dual lands, but they were just too slow. They kind of gave the deck drag. By that I mean there was always that turn delay between playing them and being able to cast anything with them. Even just by adding in those handful of basic lands in the previous version of the deck it did speed things up sometimes. So I decided to go with 20 basic lands, and the one three colour land. I’ve gone with the 3 copies of Commune with Dinosaurs, although I am tempted at making that 4, to either go looking for that basic I need, or just to find a dino that I need. I’m playing 1 fling, but that has been a game winner more than once for me. Glorybringer has been an amazing card, sadly not a dinosaur, but it is a big flying lizard! I’m playing 3 of these because my students do like their flyers. So I need to be able to block them, but also I like it’s exert which I can use to remove a threat as well. Ghalta has been a great card to play alongside Regisaur Alpha. Playing it for 2 forests and swinging in straight away for 12 trample because of the haste Regisaur has given it, is an amazing play. I’ve never payed the full cost for this yet. I’ve also used fling with it for the killing blow! Burning Sun’s Avatar is another favourite, and I use it more for removal and direct damage. If I can land 6 damage too then I count that as a bonus.
So what stats has the Decked app given me for this version of the deck?
As you can see I’m still under the target of 4. As the following shows I am heavily into red. For me 21 lands is pretty good.
The one thing that I hate about the winter we have had so far is that being on the East coast we haven’t had any really snow for nearly 8 years now. By real snow I mean snow that closes roads and gets you days off work. Oh other parts of the country are getting that sort of snow heaven, but not us on the protect desolate wind swept East. So when it started snowing yesterday morning I wasn’t holding out much hope for it sticking around.
Oh yeah before I start SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!! I’m going to be discussing our second game of Gloomhaven. I’ll try and not spoil too much. But there is always the chance that I will put my foot in my mouth and ruin things for those that want to play the game and avoid spoilers. So I’m saying now, if that is you, stop reading NOW! And come back for my next post when it appears, or go off and read some of my old ramblings.
Right off we go then..
I braved the snow storm (I don’t know how I typed that really, because that is so inaccurate) to get to Justin’s so that our band of adventurers could continue their journey in the Gloomhaven universe. If you remember our heroes had entered the Black Barrow and met some resistance. Which we overcame. Being fool hardy we decided to travel deeper into the barrow, into the Barrow Lair!
Upon entering the lair we were greeted by 4 Bandit Archers, who were using a couple of traps to protect them from us just rushing in and kicking several shades of brown stuff out of them. Before the mission I pulled an objective that said I had to either cause a trap to go off, or disarm a trap. The only other option I had was another objective that wanted me to finish the mission with a low health. I hate those ones, they are particularly bad for a magic user like Glamdalf. So I had no option really but to take the trap based objective and hope that we ran into some traps. Luckily there were these 2 right in front of me. There was talk from the others of using abilities to draw the archers into the traps and set them off. I did not want that. These it turns out were stun traps. Probably the safest ones I could trigger and not take damage from. The combat went easily our way, indeed my fellow adventurers did pull an archer into one of the traps. There was one left, I had to manoeuvre Glamdalf so that she would trigger the trap and allow me to complete my objective. Charlie was looking at disarming the trap on his turn. Luckily I had priority, and ran into the trap, setting it off. Mission complete, now we just needed to beat the scenario for me to get the reward.
While the majority of us were resting, Charlie’s character decided to run into the next room. She was left alone briefly to face the Bandit Commander and 2 Bandit Archers. The Commander was a beefy enemy to take on with 40 health points. Plus it’s first special ability meant it jump to an unopened door and open it. I should point out, only the Commander could open these doors. Obviously there was not going to be anything good in these locked rooms. Like all fantasy dungeon crawling RPG tropes, most likely lots more monsters. The Commanders other special ability allowed them to spawn an elite living bones. Our mission objective was to kill the Commander Boss and all revealed enemies. This had the potential to snowball out of control very fast.
We were keeping on top of things, got rid of the 2 archers, made some damage on the Commander, when he pulled his first special ability. Rats. Well not rats to fight, what we were getting was a room with 3 living corpses in. Luckily the Commander was blocking them from getting out.
But a couple of turns later, his second special pops up. We had a room full of living corpses hiding behind the Commander, we’d been trading blows with him, and now we were getting an elite living bones joining the party. Things were still manageable. Possibly. Then the Commander pulled his special again, a second door open. 3 more living corpses about to come into play. Oh and there was a treasure chest in the new room.
We needed to kill this mission off quick, but not before we grabbed the treasure chest. Which I did, and I was rewarded with 10 gold for my troubles. The problem was I was running out of cards in my hand, and discard pile. I’d already pulled Glamdalf’s party trick of returning the cards in the lost pile to my hand. I was on a very short clock before my character would become exhausted and be out of the mission.
It was going to be very very close, but it would be possible for the last couple of creatures to be killed before I would become exhausted. Justin was being very very helpful at this point. Suspiciously so even. But the play worked out, and we completed the mission before I became exhausted. Just. Then our secret mission objectives were revealed and Justin had the one that said there must be no exhausted characters. I can’t remember what Edmund had for his. But Charlie had one that said he couldn’t pick up any coins, which he naturally completed. He got 2 ticks on his character sheet for that.
After selecting our next destination, and completing a city event, buying some equipment (that gold sure burns a hole in your pocket), we packed away the game.
There was enough time after all that fighting for us to play Escape the Dark Castle, a new game that Justin had received in the week.
Escape the Dark Castle is a co-op adventure game. Each player takes turns in reading the top chapter card from a 15 card deck that represents you all adventuring through the castle before taking on a big bad boss. Some of these chapter cards will have to be tackled by the person reading the card, whilst others will involve the whole party.
So what did I think of the game? Once we sorted out how to play the game. Which was about half way through (that’s the draw backs of learning as you play!), I can see this being challenging. And to be fair it was a pleasurable experience. In fact the game play almost reminds me a bit of the One Deck Dungeon game. Although I do have some concerns about the production side of things.
The chapter cards are pretty large, and the quality of them, especially the black backs reminds me of London Second Edition, and the problems that they had. I would want to sleeve these cards. But where I’d source the sleeves I don’t know. I fear that the backs of these cards will mark easily, and I could swear that one was already showing signs of wear! The quality of the dice wasn’t great either. They were a nice large size. But the ink on them was already looking very tired and rubbed off.
There are a lot of chapter cards, so there would seem a lot of replay ability. Which I like. 6 or 7 end level bosses. So once again a little variety there also. Add in the item deck, and the random draw from that. No two games should be the same.
But the biggest drawback for me for the game, even more than the production issues has to be the art. I’m not a fan of it at all. In this day and age there is no excuse for this art at all. It reminds me of a GCSE art project, or art from of the 80’s role playing video game hint books I used to get. I just don’t like it. I think the art is nearly enough to put me off playing the game again. The experience of reading the chapter card, and overcoming the challenge revealed, just gets ruined by the drab, amateurish drawings.
Nice game. Crap art.
After defeating the castles big boss, it was time to go home. Outside it was raining, and all the snow was melting away. I was right not to get my hopes up for a snow day.
Well I did purchase some product on Friday for the latest set Rivals of Ixalan. I didn’t attend any events at my FLGS due to commitments such as fixing a relatives pc on Saturday, and Gloomhaven today.
So my coverage for my pulls will be spread over the next week, interspersed between my other compelling content. If you can read that last bit with a heavy hint of sarcasm, as if anything I write would be compelling. Spreading it out also means I’m spreading out the scanning in of the pulled cards to the Decked app that I use to track my MtG collection and build my decks.
So we are starting with the two booster packs that came with the Vraska, Scheming Gorgan Planeswalker deck. I’ll do the usual coverage of the cards pulled, show foils, rares/mythics and the 3 uncommons from each pack.
So here are the poorly photographed cards I pulled from those 2 packs plus the foil planeswalker card from the deck.
Let the fun and games begin! Yep after pre-release weekend last weekend, we know hit the release weekend for Rivals of Ixalan. These two weekends are like shooting fish in a barrel for your FLGS. Release weekend means that most stores will be running draft or sealed events. Excuses to buy even more MtG product from the new release. Sadly I won’t be at any store events this weekend.
Here is a photo of my haul of product from my FLGS. Which means lots of sad look at what I pulled posts soon.
This evening was spent playing MtG though.
At our regular Friday hang out for gaming The White Lion Hotel, along side the normal gaming, one or two of us played some MtG.
The MtG session started off with Justin testing his new deck against the raw aggression of the CardKingdom Rookie Red deck. The first game was over fast as the aggro of the red deck kicked in as its meant to. The second game was played at a more slow tactical pace because Justin got three of his cheap 0/3 blockers out. Although I stopped his Nissa from being a problem by zapping her with direct damage. While we were jostling for a tactical advantage Charlie arrived. In the end the cards were kinder to Justin and he won. But as a game gets drawn out, the longer it goes on the more likely it is that this red deck will lose.
Using the 2017 Commander decks, the three of us started a game of commander. Our fourth player hadn’t turned up. After taking 3 rounds of Charlie hitting me for 5 life, things started to change and the smashing each other for damage began to get shared around. Charlie likes the cat deck and it’s artefacts and cats working together. Justin was playing the Vampires, whilst I was the Wizards. I actually like this deck, and it’s graveyard shenanigans, both it’s own and the opponents. In the end the game came down to Charlie and I could gang up and kill Justin, or one of us could kill the other and leave it for Justin to finish off the survivor. It was my turn, Charlie said we had a deal. But I didn’t trust him, so I killed him. Which meant I was wide open for Justin to kill me for the win.
Our next game was four player. Our fourth player having turned up some what late. They had the dragons. Boy there are some cool cards in the wizard deck. I was able to stop any real big nasty threats stay on the battlefield. Which meant not being hit by big bad dragons. I had lots of land, great cards to play. But we were running out of time. At 9:30 despite the best efforts of a poor three man alliance, I was declared the winner having the most health at that point in time.
It was a fun evening playing MtG.
Oh out of no interest to you lot what’s so ever here is a photo of the first 3D object that was printed on our new 3D printer at work. We had the students set it all up, and run this test printing. They will be using it alongside their 3D Modelling unit. My interest well its gaming related for sure 😉