Archive for the ‘Magic the Gathering’ Category

Everyone knows about my on-again-off-again relationship with Magic The Gathering. I spent most of my middle school and high school days bouncing back and forth between Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh!, but every once in a while Magic would slip in. The last time we actively tried to really get into Magic would have been around Core Set 2010 and the Divine vs Demonic two-player deck, then again when Dragons of Tarkir dropped in 2015.

dragonlord-ojutai-43504-medium

Admit it, Ojutai was dropping the sickest mixtape of 2015.

This relationship came to a head in 2017 when, after many attempts to get us into the format and several trips to GenCon, we finally broke into the Commander (or EDH) format. I went with the Arcane Wizardry deck, while Rob went with Feline Ferocity. The other two decks were chosen by two others in our main group. Laster that year, we’d add the Commander Anthology to our collection.

Since then, I think I’ve played more games of Magic in nine months than I have in the last ten years. Things got really bad when Ixalan/Rivals of Ixalan came out. Dinosaurs and pirates are a volatile combination. We attended actual prerelease events, even buying a full box of Rivals. The bug is pretty bad, though we’ve kept ourselves contempt with Commander. I think in large part to it being the only format the majority of our play group will only play.

This all brings me to the point of this post: I finally sat down and built my first from-scratch Commander deck. We have six decks prior, but they were all pre-constructed decks to which we’ve made modest modifications to over the last several months. The most edited deck probably being the Heavenly Inferno (featuring Kaalia) from the Anthology collection. For my first original build, I decided to go with one of the reasons I’m so big into Magic again – dinosaurs!

Aside from dinosaurs being one of the big reasons I loved Ixalan so much, they seemed like one of the easier modern types to go with. I was always a fan of aggro decks in the past and the dinosaurs introduced fit that bill perfectly. There are some nice little combos hidden in some of them, but for the most part they hit hard and hit hard fast. The first thing I had to decide on, however, was which dinosaur to use for my Commander. I narrowed it down to two:

These are the two baddest dinosaurs in the Ixalan schoolyard, with Gishath hailing from Ixalan and Zacama from Rivals of Ixalan. They both offer a tremendous amount of power for their costs, yet both offer completely different play styles. Zacama blocks anything and everything while untapping all the resources to call him out. Gishath, on the other hand, can attack the turn summoned and potentially flood the board with dinosaurs to give your opponent a headache.

Ultimately, I decided to run the tri-headed terror and Primal Calamity, Zacama. Gishath’s ability to swarm the board is nice, but if he gets destroyed and goes back to the Command Zone, it’ll cost you resources better spent elsewhere. If Zacama gets destroyed, send it back to your command zone with no worries. Why? Next turn, summon it again and then untap. Once you have enough mana on the board to bring Zacama out the first time, it is basically a free 9/9 slaughter house whenever you need it. To add insult to injury, the mana you untapped can then be used for three amazing effects.

The rest of the build I went with is a bit…unique. As I stated before, my on-again-off-again relationship with Magic over the years has left me with a unique collection. I have cards from several different sets, but not complete access to the must have cards for 99% of Commander builds. As such, you improvise until you go to something like GenCon or you hit up TCGPlayer and single out what you need.

I don’t want to brag, but I think the deck comes out fairly well. Over the weekend, it was played 6 times. With the exception of one game where it stalled, it performed extremely well the remaining five times. Each game was multiplayer with 3 or more players. I can say with some fine tuning it could be a great contender. A big MVP of the deck is:

azor

So much potential…

With Zacama, as well as a couple other cards in my build, I have a decent amount of life gain. In one game, the deck was able to build up to 98 life. Tapping Sanctum of the Sun for anything over base life is amazing in a deck that doesn’t have an infinite mana build. Better yet is that Sanctum is a land, which means if Zacama somehow gets destroyed, it can untap it for even more land! Rob managed to pull that off, tapping it the first time for 60 red and then 60 white. Just using it for Zacama’s abilities, that’s +60 life and 60 points of damage across all of our creatures. That’s an opponents’ board wiped plus setting up for even more mana for the next turn.

Of course, the cost is losing five cards exiled with Azor specifically. That’s five turns of a major target on that Artifact.

I’m super excited to see Dominaria on the horizon. The spoilers have been making me drool a little, mainly for what it could possibly add to my Wizard deck. I’m not sure what could or could not be making their way into this deck, but I’m definitely looking to see what older cards I could possibly add to the dinosaur deck.

So, for long time Commander players, what are some need to have cards I should be on the look out for? Have you ever tried a dinosaur deck yet? What worked well and what kept you from having fun? Sign off in the comments below and let us know!

Until next time, keep your dice warm and happy gaming.

 

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So first a correction: my final placement from the Dragons of Tarkir prerelease event was 36th.  This was out of 51 players.  Not horrible for my first official Magic the Gathering outing, but not particularly good either.  I only won 1 out of 5 rounds and several players dropped, but I stayed in as long as I could.

Next up, I sent a question into Panini today that may or may not make me the laughing stock of the Dragon Ball Z CCG community if I’m wrong, possibly breaking the game if I’m correct.  The entirety of the email is as follows:

“Team Panini,

First, loving the revitalized game!  I never had the chance to play the original, but jumped at the second chance.

My question is going to be a weird one.  Maybe you have been asked it, maybe you haven’t.  Either way, it’s a question that has been bugging me and I’d like an answer:

Can Trunks use the “Namekian Knowledge Mastery”?

I know it reads like a question of someone trolling or trying to be funny, but I’m being very serious about this.  I have put a lot into this and think he should be allowed to. 

The rules in regard to whom can use the Namekian Mastery from the rule book states: “This style can only be used by Nameks or those trained by Nameks (Piccolo, Gohan, Nail, Dende, ect).”  The first part is pretty obvious.  Namekians should have access to their own mastery.  It is the second part of the line, “…or those trained by Nameks…”, which leads me to believe that Trunks should be allowed.  During the Fusion Saga of the anime and manga, Piccolo is seen training both Goten and Trunks.

Now, the quickest argument against this theory is that the main personality Trunks that we have currently is the “future” Trunks seen during the Android Saga.  While the art work/screen grabs used for the card would agree with that, it also hurts it.  In “Wrath of the Dragons”, Trunks and Goten use the Fusion Technique to become Gotenks, which they mastered while training under Piccolo.  At the end of the movie, Tapion gifts his sword to Trunks.  During the end credits, they go out of their way to include a montage of shots showing the elder Trunks fighting with his sword from the Android Saga.

Of course, the argument against using the movie as an example would be that the movies (except “Battle of the Gods” and select shorts/OVAs) are not considered cannon and that non-cannon material would have no effect on the game.  While this is extremely possible, I’d see it detrimental to the life of the game.  Ignoring the potential content from the movies removes several fan favorite personalities from ever coming, such as Broly or Bojack.  On the flip side, it could be argued that since we are only technically to the Garlic Jr. Saga of the show (going off the artwork used from the “Heroes & Villains” expansions as reference), then he technically hasn’t been taught by Piccolo yet and shouldn’t be allowed.  However, if you go off of the second option, then “Goku- Super Saiyan God” shouldn’t be allowed for use in tournament play because we haven’t gotten to the “Battle of the Gods” as of yet.  I don’t think that would be a good argument, either way, as it has been stated several times that the Panini version of the game is under no obligation to follow the series in order unlike the previous iteration.

In the end, however, if the arguments of cannon and time line continuity do not win out, the fact is: Trunks was trained by Piccolo.  Piccolo is a Namekian.  Those who are trained by Namekians may use the Namekain Mastery.

Thank you for your time.  I hope that wasn’t too long of a question.”

Went to the Magic the Gathering Dragons of Tarkir Prelease at Comic Quest last night (this morning?) and it was definitely not what I was expecting.  

With 51 players in attendance, I think I finished 38th or 39th.  The said part is that that placement is still after 15-20 players dropped.  Heck, I even had to eventually drop due to the 6th round (final round before top cut) was to start at 7am and I had to work.  But I would have been going into Round 6 with a 1-4 record. 

Played a side event with my good friend Scott, I which he thoroughly whooped my ass.  The only thing I did win at this event was a pinball/whack-a-mole style game Wizard’s put together.  You threw your die to knock down little tokens, each worth a variety of points. Land in the center, get double the points.  I got 20 points on my first throw, good for all 4 of the alternate art promos.  That was also the high score for the night until Scott rolled…a 36. 

All in all, win or lose, it was a fun event.  I had never played Magic in any kind of formal setting or environment, so it was interesting.  Lessons where learned.  We’ll see where that leads us.