All posts by Darren

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.

Attending my first MtG prerelease event – Ixalan 

Earlier today I went to my first ever MtG prerelease event at my FLGS The Hobbit Hole. 

I’d liked to report that I had a great time playing MtG with all the new cards I got. But sadly that was not the case because I had to leave before I could play a game.

I’ve not had hot water since Tuesday. So when a family member is coming round to sort out my hot water, it’s proper I should be there. Unfortunately I won’t know until tomorrow morning if it has been fixed, because my water heater comes on over night.

Which means my experience of the prerelease was less than perfect. Naturally I got the prerelease kit. I even had time to build a 40 card deck (I went with a blue/green or simic, built around my Legendary creature, so most of my creatures were merfolk). I even sleeved my deck! But sadly that was all I got to do. 

The cost of attending the prerelease event was £22 for prebooking or £25 on the day. I’ve looked at the economics and value for money previously. But that was for a couple of prerelease kits I’d bought online. Which were slightly cheaper. If you prebooked then you break even, the value of the contents of the prerelease kit equals the cost of the event plus whatever value you put on the promo card you get, you might consider it slightly ahead of the game. If you paid on the day on the other hand then you are £3 down. Is that promo card worth £3?

When you factor in extra booster packs for playing games or participating, then the value for money starts to become really obvious. 

Here are the pulls from my six prerelease kit packs and the participation pack.

  • 1 foil
  • 1 Planeswalker 
  • 1 Legendary creature

Not a bad haul. But it’s the Legendary I’m really happy about, it’s one of the ones I want from this set.

Hopefully the next one will see the planets align better for me.

Destiny Dice Storage Solution 

One of the biggest problems for Star Wars:Destiny players is how to store your dice.

With the three sets, two starter sets, 2 player starter the dice mount up fast.

At the weekend the discussion about storage solutions once again popped up on the UK Destiny Facebook page I follow. I skim these posts now and again to see if there is a solution I like. The tool box/tackle box idea I found interesting. But I’ve solved my card storage issue a while back. I went the folder and the special card holding pages you can get.

In this discussion Feldherr was mentioned, but so was Just Lasered. Yes a foam tray looked like the solution I’d been waiting for. So naturally I went with the “cheaper” UK based company.

I went for the 13mm deep tray. I wanted the dice to be easy to get out when needed, and the maximum size they did of 370mm by 275mm. Which I was told would hold 96 dice. I went with 6 trays to give me a total capacity of 576 dice. This also meant the trays were slightly cheaper also. I went with this size of tray because if I put them in a box to transport I’ll be using a KR storage solution. Mainly because I have a KR rucksack that I got a few years back now.

So what’s my opinion of these foam trays? I like them. I like the fact with the 13mm the dice are really easy to take out. The dice fit really snugly, there is no movement at all.

The page for the foam trays says the following “Foam tray up to 370 x 275 with 2mm MDF support.” I’m not sure where the 2mm MDF support is. I can’t see or detect any MDF. But 2mm is pretty thin. So would I?

Naturally with the foam topper in place there is a gap around the edges with the 13mm. Which isn’t an issue for me. The ease of access to the dice easily out weighs this point. Plus I’m going to be storing these at home for a good 99% of the time. At some point I will get the KR box to use with them.

I’m glad I got these for organising my Destiny dice they needed a solution. The game has gone passed that point where you can take everything with you and make decks up on the fly. It’s getting to that point where you will take two or three decks and that’s it. With maybe the odd card that you want to maybe try and see how it does.

You can visit Just Lasered by clicking their name.

Back to basics

Last night at Fenrock, Justin,Chris, David, Liz and myself stepped back to an alternate 1920’s Europa, where mechs exist in my favourite game of all time, Scythe.

I was playing my favourite faction of the game, Rusviet. Tigers are cool. But cooler still is the Rusviet power of being able to abuse actions by continuously being able to repeat the same action over and over. Justin was Nordic, Chris was Crimea, David was Saxony and Liz played Polania.

For this gaming session we played with Justin’s copy of the game. Which was a brand new copy. So new in fact that he had not punched the tokens out, cards were still sealed. Yep not played. A virgin copy so to speak. If I had known when asked earlier by Justin whose copy we would use I would have said my pimped out copy. I don’t think until last night I had played a store copy of the game. All my plays have been with my Kickstarter, promo ladden, pimped out copy. This was going to be a weird experience!

David and Liz had not played Scythe before, and this was my first time meeting them also. So after setting up the game, I went through the rules, leaving out combat until we had some in the game. I also talked David and Liz through what they should be trying to do in their first couple of turns based on their factions and to enable them to get pass the river and start claiming territory for their faction.

David got the hang of taking a turn pretty quickly. While Liz took a little longer. But considering this was Liz’s first modern hobby game (probably) she picked up Scythe really quickly. You look at Scythe and think “OMG! this looks complicated”, and yes there is a lot of pieces to the game. Then you start explaining the game, and it seems so overwhelming. But once they start playing, and have taken a handful of turns, the simple action selection soon clicks.

Naturally I was the first to the factory. I think in all the games I played, this was the worst selection of factory cards to chose from. I didn’t really like any of them. But went for one that I paid two money, got to do an upgrade, and gained a popularity. Those cards were not really friendly to my factions ability. I wanted a card I could just sit on, abuse to pieces until it no longer was any use.

I gained my two combat victories early on. But that backed fired in the later half of the game when I was easy prey for Chris and Justin (who were either side of me) who were able to get revenge for my early aggression. Which basically kicked my back into my starting territories and a couple of crumbs tucked away in the corner of the board.

Some how David managed to not get much done, and only producing on one territory, which also had his commander and mechs on it. It was very very crowded.

The last third of the game Justin was claiming lots of territory. I felt it was my duty to point this out to the others, and try and get them to do what I didn’t have the resources to do, clip his wings and kick him out of some of his spots. Luckily David and Liz took the warning and attacked Justin.

I triggered the end game by getting out all my workers. I had no idea who was going to win. I was sure it wouldn’t be me. After the finally scoring, it seemed Chris and Liz may have tied. But after a double recount, Liz had won by a single point. Justin was third, and he might have got first if David and Liz hadn’t had heeded my warning. David and I were far far behind the others on the scoring.

Justin, the first thing you need to do with your copy of Scythe… get the metal coins.

But a fun evening playing my favourite game with some pretty cool people. Hope they invite me again.

Empire at War Box 3 – The Final Box

Ok onto the third and final booster box for Empire at War.

Here are my pulls of rare and legendary cards.

Thrawn was the only new addition to my hit list from before this release came out. Although getting a second Hera was good.

The final post for this will be tomorrow where I summarise what I got. Pick out highlights for me etc. Or basically waffle. See you tomorrow.


bgg store september update

Since hearing that the promos for The 7th Continent and Mint Works were going to be available on the bgg store in September I have been checking the store on a regular basis. And by regular I mean daily, and possibly more than once in that 24 hour period.

Yes that might be obsessive and sad. I can see that argument.

However The 7th Continent promo was only available at GenCon at the bgg stand. As you can imagine I wasn’t overly happy about that. And I wasn’t the only one unhappy with that either. Us Kickstarter backers can be a bit moany sometimes. I kinda calmed down when the publisher said that any surplus would be available from the bgg store.

According to the bgg store this promo is five new cards.

The promo for Mint Works I first heard about from Shiny Happy Meeples aka Lindsay. Lindsay does these great previews and reviews, so naturally the publisher/designer of Mint Works wants her to cover his games. So when Lindsay mentioned she had used the promo in her games I like many wanted to know what promo? How do I get that promo? You know the usual stuff.

It turned out that the promo was going to be available through the upcoming (at the time) kickstarter for the follow up game Mint Delivery. However you would have to wait for the delivery of the kickstarter to get the promo. That’s next year. Luckily the publisher/designer thought of the impatient people like me and has made the promo available through, yep you guessed it the bgg store.

This promo apparently adds the following:

  • two new advanced locations
  • a solo AI opponent
  • new co-op AI opponent with rules for co-op play
  • six red mints worth 5 mints each

Yesterday the store finally got updated with the new promos, including the two I’ve been waiting for. And yes they may have accidentally fallen into the virtual shopping cart and some bits went from one place to another to show that I had paid them. So in approximately two weeks time, postal services allowing, they should be in my grubby mitts.

Now I have mine ordered I don’t mind telling you the rest of the world that they are available.

Empire at War Box 2

Yep be afraid very afraid, 36 more rare and possibly legendary cards from the second booster box opened from the new Star Wars:Destiny set Empire at War.

Here is what I pulled in box 2…

Not a bad haul if I say so myself. 4 from my hit list of characters. Kanan is now playable as an elite. I think all the pulls from yesterday can now be played as elite characters. I also got two of the weapons/vehicles I wanted.

Although I think Ezra, and one or two of the others are too frequent in the packs.

I also got an Ancient Lightsaber that some-one on the Facebook trading/selling page wanted £30 for at the weekend!!!

Final post in this short boring series tomorrow.