blue tagged posts

Arena Review: Planechase 2 Night of the Ninja

Planechase 2 (2012) Reviews
Chaos Reigns | Night of the Ninja | Primordial Hunger | Savage Auras

I think my favorite part about Planechase 2 is that Wizards used it as a fantastic opportunity to revisit older mechanics and breathe new life into them in ways that just wouldn’t work for a regular release. Ninjutsu is a great mechanic but is very limited by the fact that it can only appears on ninja cards (much like how bushido is only on samurai – even though Chub Toad has it!). Given how poorly received Kamigawa was as a whole, it isn’t a plane I see us going back to any time son.

Night of the Ninja is a blue-black deck that makes the most of unblockable creatures and turning them into ninjas over and over again, while constantly triggering entering and leaving the battlefield abilities. Much like Chaos Reigns, Night of the Ninja contains six new cards (though one of them is in each deck). The actual packaging and set are more of the same as Chaos Reigns, though the deck boxes are a nice touch. Except for the part where a sleeved deck won’t fit in them.

Read More

Arena Review: Planechase 2 Chaos Reigns

Planechase 2 (2012) Reviews
Chaos Reigns | Night of the Ninja | Primordial Hunger | Savage Auras

With Planechase 2 finally released, it’s exciting to look at the new cards offered in deck deck – along with the new Planes and Phenomena! What I find most interesting about Planechase is I don’t know a single playgroup that actually plays it the way it was designed with individual 10 card planar decks. Every group I’ve played in has ended up using some variation of the Eternities Map. I guess you would call that the universal planar singularity.

The “Chaos Reigns” deck puts the power of cascade in your hands—cast a spell, then cast another spell for free! Wield all five colors of mana and watch your opponents scramble to deal with every flavor of aggression.

Chaos Reigns is the first deck in this series of reviews for one simple reason: it’s first alphabetically! A five color monstrosity, this deck makes the most of cascading spells. In the 60-card deck, there are only six brand new cards: one mythic, two rares, two uncommons and a common.

A quite note about the packaging, I really like how Wizards has amped up their packaging offers of late. The oddly shaped hexagonal box is great looking and the large window really shows off the plane well, but the inclusion of showing the legendary creature on a bend just makes me grimace. I know the card isn’t actually bent, but it just looks wrong! Inside the packaging is the planar deck, the actual deck, a planar die, a deck box, a strategy insert and learn to play guide.

Read More

Casual and Commander Multipleplayer Oddities: Uncovered Antiquities

A long time ago, I tasked myself with diving into the depths of Magic: the Gathering’s elaborate history to track down some hidden gems that have been forgotten over the ages. I ventured through some secrets in Alliances and then found some gems hidden in the Dark, but then Innistrad came out… and Dark Ascension. And Avacyn Restored. So the series got put on hold, but now I finally have time again to uncover Antiquities.

The second Magic: the Gathering expansion ever, Antiquities used to be full of expensive cards simply because of their scarcity. But now, card prices have drastically dropped (in most cases) allowing older sets to become much more manageable. This list isn’t about reminding you about what awesome cards are known about in Antiquities like Power Artifact, but about showing what gems have been forgotten about over the last 18 years.

Being a set based around artifacts, it seems only fitting to begin there. Cursed Rack is a unique piece in the Stuffy Doll arsenal. With many decks in Commander abusing cards like Reliquary Tower, it is hard to limit your opponents maximum hand size. Cursed Rack provides a colorless way to do just that when you aren’t able to make use of the Misers or Jin-Gitaxias. If you constantly face off against someone abusing their hand, take it down.

Read More

Avacyn Restored Casual & Commander Review: Blue

With white behind us in the Avacyn Restored Casual and Commander review, it is on to possibly my least favorite color in Magic – blue! Nothing stalls a game like a blue mage ruining everything (but I shouldn’t talk, I’m pretty sure half my decks run blue). But if you’re looking for some unique spells to change up the dynamic at your table, Avacyn Restored will definitely get your gears moving.

Casual and Commander Review: Avacyn Restored
White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Gold, Artifacts & Lands

Alchemist’s Apprentice

At first glance, this card isn’t that exciting. My initial gut reaction is to compare it to Hapless Researcher, but they fulfill completely different roles. Alchemist’s Apprentice essentially cycles for 1U, and if you can get creative with a recursion combo, he can fill a similar role as Elvish Visionary.

Amass the Components

A new take on Sift, this sorcery speed card draw is just a bigger See Beyond and a must consider in any kind of combo deck that wants certain spells out of your hand. I really like that it just puts the card on the bottom of your library, which generally keeps it safe from milling. Not a ground breaking spell, but some decks will make great use of this.

Read More

Dark Ascension Casual & Commander Review: Blue

I hate blue mages when they’re being predictable. Draw-Go may be one of my least favorite deck types ever, but even I can’t help but be excited when blue is given a bunch of odd toys to make wonky combo decks. Thankfully, Dark Ascension provides just that.

Dark Ascension Commander & Casual Review
White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Multicolor, Artifact & Land

Artful Dodge

This is a card I see having use two different ways. First, is any deck involving Kiln Fiend. He loves getting spells cast on him and loves being unblockable even more. This is a fine addition alongside Distortion Strike. The other way this can be used was brought to my attention by Mark Rosewater as an anti-werewolf measure. It’s not easy casting two spells in a single turn to transform a werewolf back to a human, but being able to pay UU to do it can be great. Personally, I would prefer Defy Gravity as it is an instant, but it is nice knowing the tools exist.

Read More

Magic 2012 Commander & Multiplayer Review: Blue

Just like White, there are some diamonds in the rough when it comes to great gems hidden in Magic 2012. While a majority of the cards are limited fodder, a few of them really get me excited for deck building. Except Amphin Cutthroat.

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts & Lands

Amphin Cutthroat

This guy is a salamander and that’s kind of awesome. Are Amphin the new merfolk? Almost definitely not and this is a terrible way to kick off this review.

Read More

Magic the Gathering Commander Review: Political Puppets

Magic: the Gathering Commander Decks Reviews
Counterpunch
| Devour for Power | Heavenly Inferno | Mirror Mastery | Political Puppets

As of the writing of this, if you look at the secondary market values of each of the Commander decks, Political Puppets would be number one. If you look at the decks as a whole, it pains me to say it but I think this deck is the bottom tier. As someone who plays a lot of multiplayer Magic, politics plays a huge role in what people do or don’t do. So when this deck got described, I thought it was going to be awesome.

Make allies early by giving gifts that grant life and knowledge! With Zedruu the Greathearted as your commander, your foes will curse you as your friends grow stronger. Explore your inner puppeteer with a game-twisting masterwork of maniacal manipulation.

Then I played it and quickly realized how easy it is to get overrun by opponents with this deck and that all the political talk in the world isn’t going to stop a horde of demons, dragons and angels from crushing my skull like an overripe grape. So while the deck straight out of the box doesn’t impress me, there are bits and pieces of it that I still adore.

The dragon legend is Numot, the Devastator. Of all the Planar Chaos dragons, he’s the least exciting. Being able to nuke two lands can be useful, especially if they’re controlled by a different player, but in Commander that kind of recursive land destruction is frowned upon. He’s a big dragon, but his ability never does anything cool.

Read More

Magic: the Gathering Commander Review: Mirror Mastery

These Commander decks have me really impressed. Against each other, they’re fairly well balanced but Mirror Mastery has the potential to be a powerhouse much like Heavenly Inferno with just some minor changes. While all of these decks have great potential, this one really struck a chord with me.

This review is only about the cards, to read what I think about the packaging, oversized cards and deck boxes, check out my Counterpunch review.

Why play a great spell once, especially when you have a deck of 100 awesome cards? Riku of Two Reflections gives you twice the fun as you confound and dazzle your foes into oblivion with a barrage of Riku’s mirrored magic.

Of all the Planar Chaos dragons, Intet, the Dreamer is one of my favorites because of how absurdly powerful his ability is. For only 2U, you get a long term Temporal Aperture! Exiling cards face down is powerful and being able to play them for free is even more impressive. Of the dragons, Intet is right up there with Teneb as the best.

Read More

Magic the Gathering Commander Review: Devour for Power

The second Commander deck to review is Devour for Power! The Green-Blue-Black wedge that loves graveyard recursion almost as much as Counterpunch, Devour for Power is full of great cards to augment any Commander deck. To keep this review somewhat reasonable, I’ll be doing a card breakdown. Much like the other decks, this one includes a card box that is too small, some oversized cards that serve little purpose and some fantastic new singles.

When The Mimeoplasm becomes your commander, death becomes your friend. Opponents will watch in helpless terror as you devour creatures from one graveyard to help you pound creatures into another. It’s a fiendish carnival of cadavers, and you’ll be the ringmaster!

First up are the potential commanders! Vorosh the Hunter is the dragon reprint and the only legend in these colors up until now. He still plays well with proliferate and loves killing off players permanently with Commander damage. But he’s old – onto something exciting!

Read More

New Phyrexia Commander & EDH Review: Blue

Part two of the New Phyrexia Commander/EDH review continues with the color of blue! This set brings forward a lot of interesting combo parts but it’s all stuff that needs to be built around. There isn’t much for existing blue decks to just grab, but there is plenty of weird pieces to unleash your inner Johnny.

Argent Mutation

Unless you’re playing some quirky combo involving turning things into artifacts, this one shot cantrip is a waste of mana and a card. Stick with Liquimetal Coating and Shattering Pulse if you really want to destroy non-artifacts with artifact removal.

Read More