Who Should Be My First Commander?

MtG is addictive! Cracking open packs is addictive (Star Wars:Destiny has all this is spades too). Deck building is addictive. That desire to build a deck that executes your plan to perfection while crushing your opponent.

It starts with an idea. With Destiny it could be “I want to build a mini mill deck” or “I think Sabine/Rey would be a cool pairing”. For me it’s no different in MtG. I’ve never built a Commander deck before, but the itch has been eating away at me to do so. Especially ever since I saw Neheb, the Worthy in Amonkhet. Tribal (a term I only recently heard of, yes I’m still that wet behind the ears) Minotaur sounded really cool to me. Who doesn’t think minotaurs are cool?

Gishath, Sun’s Avatar is another Legendary that grabbed me as a great Commander to build a deck around. Dinosaur Tribal is probably cooler than minotaurs, just. And might even pip dragons.

So two potential deck ideas. But which to build first?

My main problem will be do I have enough minotaurs or dinosaurs to make the respective tribal decks? Or if I don’t, are there enough out there that budget allowing I can get to build the tribal deck?

Sadly at this point in time I don’t think there is. So do I kill two birds with one stone and build a deck that has both? A dinosaur/minotaur deck, with Gishath as the commander?

Having Gishath as the commander has the advantage of giving me access to white and this fun card…

I love janky stuff like this. That “wtf? Is that a legal card?” Is worth it. I might not win the game. But I’ve had fun.

Anyway I’m still pondering these options. It’s a hard decision to make.

Ixalan Rare,Mythics, and Foils I pulled #1

I threatened this series of posts at the weekend, and I’m a man of my word. Well sometimes. Sometimes I forget what I have said. I’m nearly fifty (next year). My time on this planet is very limited. Things fail me from time to time, like my memory. Plus my mouth isn’t connected to my brain, so it’s also very likely that something comes out that my brain has no record of at all.

This series of posts over the next week will concentrate on showing what rares, mythics and foils I pulled at the weekend from all those Ixalan boosters I opened. Each post in this series will show nine cards. I don’t want to over load those not interested in MtG with too much in a single post. It might send them into a coma!

Without further ado, here are the first nine cards for you…

BTN September 2017

I enjoy this monthly opportunity to look back and reflect on the previous months gaming. But when you see this months numbers, holy cow the impact of Dale and I not getting a chance to play Star Wars: Destiny is massive. It’s a very busy time of year for us, new timetables, not a lot of gaps where we are free at the same time. I think we have found a slot one lunchtime we are both able to play a couple of games. We will have to see how that goes.

Incredibly there was only one new game played this month. I don’t think that has ever happened. I’m going to have to review the stats, because if it did then it was in the early days of record keeping I’m sure.

Super happy that Scythe got to the table twice. It’s a great game, and once that new expansion hits will be hitting the table even more. Also two other big games hit the table this month. It’s kind of important to acknowledge the impact these games have on the number of plays for the month. Take Star Wars: Rebellion for instance. That game for Diego and myself on Saturday took four hours to play (including the new setup involved with the expansion). If we had been playing lighter games instead we might have got three or four games/plays in, in the same time period.

I also wasn’t able to attend a couple of gaming sessions this month due to life stuff, other commitments. So that also would impact the stats a little. But not by much.

Anyway enough waffling, here are the cold hard and fast numbers from the BG Stats app for September.

Averages time. I only beat the mode number of plays in September. The others I was not even close. And I repeat this with the number of games played also. Under on arithmetic mean and median, just over on mode.

The final section as usual presents the data graphically so we can try and see trends. After the fluctuating recent highs, September looks like a stock market crash on the plays front. Maybe I should normalise the previous months so they don’t have the Destiny numbers and see how big a drop it is if any?

My Game of the Month…

There was only one new to me game this month. But I don’t like to just give an award by default. Does Broom Service warrant being game of the month? I liked the game, it has some nice mechanics, great artwork. But still I’m not sure it makes the grade to be game of the month. So no winner this month.

Worst Game of the Month…

I’m glad to report no candidates for this award this month.

Hopefully hitting the table in October…

But going to put the ones from the last month back on for October.

  •  Zombicide – I want to get this to the table with the Big Bang Theory characters and see how they do in the zombie apocalypse.
  • Hero Realms with the character expansions.
  • Magic the Gathering Commander (with more than two players)

  • The weekly Friday Evening Gaming at The White Lion (or FEG@WL as I call it)
  • Every second Wednesday of the month we have our monthly meet up. This month that second Wednesday is 11/10/17.

I’m hoping that if you click on the image you can see what days we have stuff planned for so far in October.

If you are in the area and want to attend one of the events, please visit the Fenland Gamers Facebook page for further details about the event. Hope to see you there

Little guys win again!

That’s the only way I can describe the fall of the Empire once again to the Rebellion.

Yesterday Diego and I played Star Wars: Rebellion with the newly released expansion Rise of the Empire.

Rise of the Empire adds new leaders, new missions, new units, new dice, and new tactic cards. All on the whole inspired/themed around the movie Rogue One.

The new tactic cards are normal size and replace totally the old ones. Plus they are used now in a more streamlined “cinematic” combat system. 

Both Diego and I both liked the new “cinematic” combat system more than the original one. You still have tactic cards for both space and ground battles but each deck is treated as your hand of cards when it comes to do a battle in that arena of conflict. At the start of each round of the battle you choose one tactic card from your hand, then simultaneously both players reveal their selected card, and resolve (the card is then discarded). Then you roll the dice, do damage etc. Except this time the crossed swords symbol is used to prevent dice. And the figures on your leader that were used to draw tactic dice now determine how many dice you can reroll in that arena of conflict. So obviously if you have played A Game of Thrones the boardgame you will be used to that selecting a card and revealing element. It’s the same mechanic. But it’s a nice way of doing this, and it forces you to make some tough decisions about when to play cards. I think after reading a thread when I got home we may have had a misplay on the sword dice. But hey ho.

The new characters, actions and missions were fun, and changed things up. Plus add a little variety to the game. 

It’s a nice expansion that I don’t think I’d play the game without out. 

In our game yesterday we had some great moments. But the game came down to a final battle, that if I’d destroyed Diego’s fighters  instead of going for his big ships first, I’d have won next round. Instead he was able to attempt to blow my Death Star up, and succeed getting him the final two points he needed. To add salt to the wound he also killed Palpatine that round.

A great afternoon gaming with a tactical genius. I will beat you one day Diego 😉

Booster Pack Pulls

I’m not going to separate out the boosters by product. I could but I’m not. That’s too much work.

How many packs have I had to crack open?

  • 36 packs in booster box
  • 6 packs in prerelease box
  • 10 packs in bundle 
  • 2 packs in Planeswalker deck

I make that 54 boosters in total. So over a few posts I will be posting photos of the rares/mythics, foils that I pull.

Cracking packs is addictive. Once you start it’s very very hard to stop. 

Here are some stats from the massive cracking open of packs I did:

  • 13 foils
  • 6 legendary creatures
  • 8 of the new double faced cards

The following does not include the foil basic lands I pulled.

  • 12 swamps
  • 8 mountains
  • 7 forests
  • 7 islands
  • 8 plains


  • 23 treasure
  • 12 proxy cards
  • 14 vampires
  • 3 pirates
  • 6 dinosaurs
  • 2 plants
  • 3 illusions
  • 3 merfolk 

Plus the Planeswalker from the Planeswalker deck.

How did I do on my hit list for Ixalan?

  • Vanquisher’s Banner
  • Raiders’ Wake
  • Demolish
  • Dual Shock
  • Firecannon Blast
  • Star of Extinction
  • Sunbird’s Invocation
  • Crushing Canopy
  • Gishath, Sun’s Avatar
  • Huarli, Warrior Poet
  • Tishana, Voice of Thunder
  • Vraska, Relic Seeker
  • Unclaimed Territory

I don’t think that’s a bad dent in my hit list. 

In the Player’s Guide there is “The Top Ten Coolest Ixalan Cards”, how many did I pull?

  1. Jace, Cunning Castaway
  2. Gishath, Sun’s Avatar 
  3. Raptor Hatchling
  4. Vanquisher’s Banner
  5. Walk the Plank
  6. Dowsing Dagger/Lost Vale
  7. Revel in Riches
  8. Deadeye Quartermaster
  9. Bishop of Rebirth
  10. Kumena’s Speaker

As you can see I did rather well (ones I pulled in bold) with that list. With three I didn’t pull, but I’d got one from the prerelease weekend (in italics).

John the owner of my FLGS The Hobbit Hole did say on Friday when I was picking up everything that players at the store were going mad for “Hostage Taker”. His three copies were being snapped up in seconds. I managed to get one.

So I’m happy with that haul. I’m surprised that I didn’t pull one Planeswalker in this lot. But six legendary creatures or future commanders as I like to think of them, I’m happy with that. But two of them are doubles that I can trade/sell for others. 

I won’t be getting any more packs now for Ixalan until we start our next Magic League in November. We finish the current Amonkhet one next Saturday, with a Commander session on the 21st October as a casual fun break from the league.

Next set to think about…

Plus some stand alone products like duel decks that are coming out.

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.