review tagged posts

Magic 2014 M14 Casual and Commander Review: Red

I am a red mage a heart, even after playing Magic for nearly two decades. Sure, I enjoy a cold, calculating control deck but that the end of the day, no play is more satisfying then tapping a Mountain and saying, “Bolt.” M14 follows the trend of new cards for Red, but also introduces some new and refined mechanics for my favorite color. As always, this review only covers new cards printed in M14, not reprints.

Magic 2014 (M14) Casual & Commander Review
White Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts & Lands

Academy Raider

The Red Ophidian, Academy Raider is a fascinating little common. While the power level isn’t quite good enough for the kitchen table (three mana for a 1/1? That isn’t happening.), I love the combat ability on this card. Red’s reverse looting is slowly building up and I really like the idea of being able to pitch a dead card in hopes of drawing something better. It’s just too bad that Academy Raider isn’t quite there.

Awaken the Ancient

Giving haste is a nice touch, but makes the card feel overpriced. A 7/7 for 4 and a land drop is decent, but this card really opens you up to too much 2-for-1 disadvantage. Against one player in limited formats, it’s a bomb, but when three or four turns may pass before you get your next untap step, it isn’t worth the risk.

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Magic 2014 M14 Casual and Commander Review: Black

Black is always a fun color at the kitchen table when it comes to making enemies and the short-term-allies. The color of death, destruction and selfishness often provides lovely card advantage and iadds some new toys to the necromancer’s toybox! As with the other M14 reviews, this will only cover new cards in the set, not reprints. Spoiler alert: Doom Blade is still really good.

Magic 2014 (M14) Casual & Commander Review
White Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts & Lands

Accursed Spirit

Mathmatically, this card is fine. It is basically a buff Dross Prowler, which is great in limited but at the kitchen table, it has to compete against every other four drop in the history of Magic… which makes it less impressive.

Artificer’s Hex

It has been ages since the notion of a “Cursed Artifact” has been in Magic and Artificer’s Hex brings back the ability with a bang. Historically, black is very weak at artifact removal but giving them this new skill is appreciated. While Artificer’s Hex doesn’t outright destroy the equipment, it does make wielding it much more dangerous.  It’s a neat little card and makes living weapon weird, but I see it being fringe play at best. In Commander, it could be more valuable depending on your playgroup. Oh, and it allows black to get around protection from black!

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Magic 2014 M14 Casual and Commander Review: Blue

Core sets in Magic have been interesting for a few years now, thanks to the fact that Wizards is printing new cards in them. But at the end of the day, core sets are about introducing people to Magic to the sheer insanity level of cards like in Return to Ravnica block, but that doesn’t mean every card in Magic 2014 isn’t worth looking at.

As a reminder, this review only covers cards that are new in M14, so all reprints are ignored.

Magic 2014 (M14) Casual & Commander Review
White Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts & Lands

Colossal Whale

What a beautiful way to start! My initial annoyance is that this is a whale, so it doesn’t work in my Quest for Ula’s Temple deck! I want to love this card, the flavor is perfect with it being a giant whale that can devour ships (and it has the wonderful new exiling language like Banisher Priest to make it very interesting in multiplayer), but how is this creature only a 5/5?

Dismiss into Dream

I wish this worked with Overload, but sadly it doesn’t. Dismiss into Dream is a clunky, almost unbearable enchantment that is probably perfect for a Nin, the Pain Artist deck. In multiplayer, it can get really fun when all of your opponents’ spells become removal against everyone who isn’t you.

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Magic 2014 M14 Casual and Commander Review: White

I didn’t end up reviewing Modern Masters from a casual and commander viewpoint for two reasons. 1) The set is ungodly expensive and under produced. 2) The entire set is reprints so when I eventually do my review of every Magic card ever, I’ll talk about all of them then (I’m not kidding). But with a new core set having just been released, that means some new cards.

So here’s the plan, every new card will get reviewed. Every reprint will get ignored. I mean, what else is there to say about Giant Spider besides it is one of the most perfect Magic cards ever?

Magic 2014 (M14) Casual & Commander Review
White Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts & Lands

Ajani’s Chosen

The big white cat returns with some new followers in M14. Ajani’s Chosen is the perfect rare for the kitchen table. The build-around-me nature of these cats allows it to find a home in your WG Enchantress deck, or create an entirely new kind of deck that mirrors Kemba in a weird way. Creating armies out of nothingness and the mega weird aura moving ability make this just a fun card. Easy combos include Flickering Ward for a free cat for only two mana and offers up better combo potential than Sigil of the Empty Throne since you don’t need to cast them.

In Commander, Ajani’s Chosen needs to play a support role with a commander. Thankfully, plenty of legends care about enchantments – like Hanna or Bruna. Or Uril. Gulp.

Angelic Accord

Whenever I read the word “each” on a Magic card, I start paying attention. Angelic Accord is a fine card but way too much of a board threat. Either this card is pumping out an angel every turn – while your life total keeps getting higher, or your opponents will unite to put a target on your head. It reminds me a lot of Luminarch’s Ascension, but that’s another card that drew too much hate to be playable at the kitchen table more than once.

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Library Review: Ice Sabers 30 Chilled Treats Using the Force of Your Freezer

We can find recipes anywhere. In fact, given the unbelievable access to information that we share, a book might be the last place any of us going looking nowadays. With that being the case, a cookbook really needs to have something special to grab my attention – like lightsaber Popsicle molds. Let’s just say “[they] had me at hello.”

Chronicle Books and author Lara Starr return to a kitchen far far away with Ice Sabers, the latest entry in their Star Wars cookbook series. Like Wookie Pies, Clone Scones, and other Galactic Goodies which focused on pastries and baked treats,  Ice Sabers narrows its focus to frozen desserts and refreshing beverages.

Ice Sabers continues the series goal of trying to encourage more young people to participate in the kitchen and the entire construction of the book emphasizes that. The introduction is directed at young Force users and explains all sorts of tips about being safe in the kitchen, handling equipment with care, and having fun.

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Arena Review: Marvel Legendary: Dark City

Legendary quickly became one of my favorite games at the beginning of this year. The combination of an incredible license, solid game play and a terrifying amount of options were enough for me to put its expansion in a must-buy-immediately category. Plus Tom was coming up the weekend after it was released, so I knew I was going to have a captive teammate.

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Arena Review: Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Deck-Building Game

I’ll be the first to admit that I have a problem. It seems like every time Cryptozic releases a new game, we get swindled into picking it up and end up disappointed. I don’t know why I keep doing it. Well, I have an idea. With Penny-Arcade: the Game – Gamers vs. Evil, it was my blind faith in Gabe and Tycho that didn’t really steer me wrong, it just had some kinks to work out.

The DC Deck Building game looked like the blend of excellent licensing and Ascension-like game play but it came up short when it came to depth and interesting choices. So when Cyrptozoic announced Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring Deck-Building Game, I originally was going to pass since it looked like little more than a reskin of the DC game but Rachael was interested in it and we had some extra Amazon dollars thanks to our affiliate sidebar. But I was wrong and the game surprised me in ways I didn’t quite expect.

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Arena Review: Zombicide Season 1 Survivor & Zombivor Add-Ons – Claudia, Ivy, Marvin & Eva

When Zombicide was on Kickstarter the first time, they offered special, optional add-on characters. There were only four in total, which is relatively tame compared to the 17 that got released for Season 2. But here’s where things get weird. The original add-on characters all dove into the deepest part of the copyright infringement pool and were able to come out unharmed. Not everyone here survived in quite the same way.

Two of the figures got changed from the original prototypes, which are fine by me since I knew I was buying them based on prototypes, not finished products. Ivy and Claudia emerged unscathed, but Marvin and Eva underwent some visual modifications.

From a post on Kickstarter, we were told this:

At Miramax’s request, Guillotine Games made some modifications to the costumes for Eva and Marvin – if you ordered them and don’t like what you got, we’ll be happy to take them back, just drop us an email.

For me, the changes weren’t much. Marvin looks a bit less like Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction. His hair is bigger, his tie is missing and he has a beard – that’s it for changes. Sure, the card shows him in a brown suit but a coat of paint makes him any color I want him to be! Eva was changed about the same amount. Her original design as the Bride from Kill Bill got shot down and her new figure is well disguised… by her wearing a jacket and a hat.

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Arena Review: Zombicide Set #1 Survivors and Zombi’vors

It’s crazy to think that Zombicide hasn’t even been out for a full year. The first Kickstarter ended just over a year ago and the Season 2 Kickstarter was insane to say the least. But as the original stretch goals mounted and add-ons continued Guillotine Games and Cool Mini or Not realized they wouldn’t be able to send everyone everything at once. So instead they sent out a second package of survivors.

First up is the set that everyone who backed the Abomination package on Kickstarter got: Set #1 Survivors and Zombi’vors. This package is compact (though assembled oddly – the back is upside down) and comfortably holds three new survivors, six zombivors (yeah, we’re dropping the apostrophe already), seven double-sided character cards and seven level trackers.

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Magic: the Gathering Dragon’s Maze Casual & Commander Review: Green, Golgari & Gruul

The final piece of the Dragon’s Maze casual and commander review takes a look at the green offers (not much), explores the undead Golgari (so much fun) and unleashes the Gruul clans on some unsuspecting individuals. As an added bonus, I also talk about a land!

Dragon’s Maze Casual & Commander Reviews
White, Orzhov & Selesnya | Blue, Simic & Azorius
Black, Dimir & Rakdos | Red, Izzet & Boros
Green, Golgari & Gruul

Gatecrash Casual & Commander Review
Orzhov Syndicate | House of Dimir | Simic Combine | Gruul Clans | Boros Legion
White | Black | Blue | Green | Red | Other

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

Battering Krasis

LAND SHAAAAAAAAAAAAAARK! A decent little beater, I wouldn’t mind trying out the fish beast in some version of 10-land stompy, but he’s more limited than I’d like.

Kraul Warrior

The newest Invoker, Kraul Warrior doesn’t do a whole lot and is hampered by his creature types.

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