red tagged posts

Arena Review: Planechase 2 Primordial Hunger

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

The third Planechase 2 set doesn’t really go for subtlety. Like many red-green decks, Primordial Hunger really has a single goal: make the biggest creatures and then smash people repeatedly with them until they die. That’s about it.

Using tokens and smaller creatures as fodder for dragons and other devouring beasts, you don’t want to get attached to any creatures in your deck (or on your battlefield) because a bigger one will probably eat them in a turn or two.

Like the other sets, six new cards are included in Primordial Hunger. But unlike the others, some of these cards don’t really make sense to me as a Planechase multiplayer release. They’re good cards, but kind of boring. But I guess this means we aren’t going back to devour as a mechanic any time soon.

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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.

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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.

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Avacyn Restored Casual & Commander Review: Red

I know there is something wrong with me when it comes to Commander, because I’m one of those weird people who still play monored after all these years of people saying red can’t do enough. But looking over at the new cards offered in Avacyn Restored, I can’t be happier to find new spells and creatures to cram into my Jaya Ballard deck.

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


Okay, this isn’t the best start. Paying 5 mana for Simoon isn’t exactly a bargain, but the combination of Simoon and essentially Siren’s Call makes me interested in how this can play out. Forcing a player to attack can be just what it needed to either finish them off by removing their defenses or finish off another player who happens to be lacking in defense. The multiple uses make me interested in how it can be used politically.

Archwing Dragon

Kaalia will love this. So will Norin the Wary’s Pandemonium deck. But where I really see this card shining is part of complex tricks where you trade creatures. Archwing Dragon and Confusion in the Ranks is bound to be a losing proposition for almost everyone else. And then that stops working, you still have a 4/4 hasty flier that is immune to sorcery speed removal!

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Dark Ascension Casual & Commander Review: Red

There is probably something wrong with me because I absolutely love playing mono-red in Commander. Sure, it’s probably the weakest color, but over the last few years a lot of new and unique spells have been added to the red mage’s arsenal. And then promptly taken by the nearest Izzet player.

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

Afflicted Deserter & Werewolf Ransacker

The first round of werewolves in Innistrad didn’t wow me, but it seems like R&D has figured out what to do with them – make people do everything in their power not to flip them. Recursive removal is a great thing and Commander is the one format where there is almost always an artifact worth destroying.

But the politics of this card are amazing. If someone doesn’t cast a spell, an artifact gets destroyed. If a player wants to screw over someone else, they just need to cast two spells and suddenly it’s like a game of Hot Potato only someone ends up getting bolted.

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Innistrad Commander & Multiplayer Review: Red

It’s weird to say it, but at my heart I’m still a red player through and through. So while burn might not be the most effective method of winning in multiplayer, there’s nothing quite like going out in a blaze of glory to take someone down. I may not use my mono-red burn deck often but I certainly adore it to this day.

But my love of burn transcended into Commander as a format and I’m one of the few people I know who are foolish enough to still run a mono-red deck under Jaya Ballard, Task Mage. So for me, Innistrad is full of amazing red spells to really mess with people.

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Multicolor, Artifact & Lands

Ancient Grudge

If you’re in red-green, this is strictly better than Shatter… but so is Shattering Pulse which is still my go-to artifact destruction.

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Magic 2012 Commander & Multiplayer Review: Red

Half way down with the Commander and Multiplayer review of the latest Magic set – Magic 2012! And like most core sets, there are some great gems hidden here once you rummage through all the rubble in Red.

Magic 2012 Reviews
White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifact & Land

Blood Ogre

In a color that burns all it can as quickly as possible, bloodthirst feels right at home in red. Blood Ogre is simple and as far as I’m concerned reads “3/3 first strike for three.” Plus thanks to those odd lords from Morningtide like Bramblewood Paragon, this warrior can get big. Even tossing in some proliferation like Volt Charge makes me think this guy, while simple, can easily find a home.

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Magic the Gathering Commander Review: Political Puppets

Magic: the Gathering Commander Decks Reviews
| 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.

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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.

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Magic the Gathering Commander Review: Heavenly Inferno

With Counterpunch and Devour for Power out of the way, I’m finally getting onto a deck that isn’t black and green! Heavenly Inferno is an interesting deck designed around summoning demons, dragons and angels and then beating people to death with them! It sounds good in theory until you realize a few parts of this deck really don’t play well together.

Kaalia of the Vast alone holds the forces of Angels, Dragons, and Demons within the palm of her hand. Watch her toss each bone-crushing creature onto the battlefield with merciless glee while your horrified enemies are sliced, diced, and then deep-fried

Oros, the Avenger is the time-shifted dragon legend who really isn’t that exciting. With the ability to burn non-white creatures, he can work out as being some awesome sweeper but in Commander, you’re playing black and red already so his utility isn’t so great. Plus most boards I play on are covered with things bigger than a toughness of 3.

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