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7.31.2008

Shadowmoor Lieges

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I have taken quite a liking to both the Shadowmoor and Eventide Liege cards. Today, I will yatter about the Shadowmoor Lieges and address the Eventide Lieges within the next post.

I had touched briefly upon Lieges and their complementary cards, the Auras in this post.

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The Shadowmoor Lieges are all Rare creature cards and have a 'Colour Matters' Theme. All these cards have a cost of 1 colourless mana and 3 hybrid mana (this may be paid in either of the two colours indicated. The Shadowmoor Liege cards have two separate abilities while they're in play that each check for a certain color. If a card matches both colours, both of those abilities will "work". Specifically, the Shadowmoor Liege cards will 'pump' creatures in play of one colour by +1/+1 and +1/+1 again for other creatures of the specified colour. Of course, if a creature is both colours (read : HYBRID), one obtains a double boost.

Ashenmoor Liege
1{B/R}{B/R}{B/R}
4/1
Whenever this Liege is a target of a spell or ability that an opponent controls, that opponent gets dinged for 4 life.


Boartusk Liege
1{R/G}{R/G}{R/G}
3/4
Trample



Glen Elendra Liege
1{U/B}{U/B}{U/B}
2/3
Flying



Thistledown Liege
1{W/U}{W/U}{W/U}
1/3
Flash



Wilt-Leaf Liege
1{G/W}{G/W}{G/W}
4/4
If this card is directed to your graveyard by an opponent's spell or ability, it slides into your library instead.


Since these cards are sooo darn good, expect to pay anywhere from $5 to $12 for them at your local gaming store depending upon type, stock, etc.

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Similarily, the Shaowmoor Auras Cycle checks the enchanted creature's colours and provides a +1/+1 boost to a creature's strength and toughness for each of the two specified colour. Each enchantment is a Common and also provides a nifty ability. The mana cost to play these enchantments varry however.

Steel of the Demigod
2{W/U}
White - lifelink
Blue - unblockable



Fists of the Demigod
1{B/R}
Black - wither
Red - first strike



Helm of the Ghastlord
3{U/B}
Blue - card draw if damage dealt to opponent
Black - Opponent discards if dealt damage



Runes of the Deus 4{R/G}
Red - double strike
Green - trample




Shield of the Oversoul 2{G/W}
Green - indestructible
White - flying




These cards provide plenty of benefits to a player running a deck packed with the appropriate hybrid cards. In fact, I have been playing (and testing) a hybrid blue / black deck with 4x Glen Elendra Lieges and 4x Helm of the Ghastlord during the last few Friday Night Magic tournaments. I have met with some limited success and will most likely build a similar deck with Leiges and Auras from the newly-released Eventide set.

Until next time, Happy & Safe Gaming !

7.30.2008

Conflux

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Planned to be released on 6th February, 2009 is 'CONFLUX', the second set in the Shards of Alara Block. This set was code-named 'Paper', from the popular dice-less game 'Rock, Paper, Scissors'.







Wizards formerly announced this set's release today on Magic Arcana. We are lead to believe that each of the 5 shards alluded to in the first Alara block has "developed it's own tri-coloured theme" (white / blue / black , etc.).












Given this, Conflux (meaning the flowing together of something), may indicate that there may be a possibility of drawing yet another colour into this theme (white / blue / black / red, etc.). Hey - your guess should be about as good as mine.

The lead on the Design Team is Bill Rose, head of Research & Development - we have not heard much from him since 2005. The lead for the Development Team is Mike Turian, a core developer and avid MTG player.

'fnord' over at one of the forums worked on a very neat Alara-to-Conflux morph.



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Speaking of forums, BantSentinel was very kind to share a sneak peak with us of what he saw in the yet-to-be-released WoTC publication 'A Planeswalker's Guide to Alara: A Magic: The Gathering Field Guide'. Here is what he says . . .

There is no theme shared by all of Alara. Rather, each of the 5 Shards has its own theme. Each Shard is primary in one of the five colors and secondary in the two colors which are allies of the primary color.

Here are the 5 Shards and their themes:


1.
Bant
Primary: white

Secondary: blue, green

Theme
: Enchantments.

2.
Esper
Primary: blue

Secondary: white, black

Theme
: Artifacts. From what I saw, I got the very strong impression that there will be a significant number of Esper-associated colored artifacts.

3.
Grixis
Primary: black

Secondary: blue, red

Theme
: Graveyard.

4.
Jund
Primary: red

Secondary: black, green

Theme
: Controlled Chaos. This is a tricky one, and I'm not sure this is the best description. It looks like there will be lot of random effects, growing/shrinking creatures, etc. However, it is unmistakably mentioned that this chaos can be and is controlled/manipulated by savvy planeswalkers to tilt the odds in their favour.

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Until next time, Happy & Safe Gaming !

7.28.2008

Eventide Release

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As far as my performance goes for release tournaments, this was by far the most epic fail I had experienced . . . I lost 3 and won 1 - but only because I was lucky to get a 'bye' due to an odd number of players.

When I left, I was less than satisfied with my pool of cards (1 sealed Shadowmoor tournament pack and 2 Eventide booster packs), and even less satisfied with my ability to pull together a deck that would win at least once.

Once home, I contemplated on the good things that happened that afternoon - I did get a nice foil promo (Figure of Destiny), and I was able to get a few trades done before the tournament - I now have my black-blue Ghastlord deck pretty much complete. After this, I helped myself to several tasty cold carbonated beverages from my fridge and had a second look at my card pool.

I realised that when I build a deck, it takes several days or weeks - this is not the collecting or purchasing of desired cards, just the thoughts about what card synergies obtains the best 'bang for the buck'.

The less-than-adequate deck I put together at the tournament basically enlisted almost anything that was black and green. With a sombre (and much more longer) look at my pool, I can see a lot more possibilities.

Anywho . . . here is what I got ->

RARES
Witherscale Wurm 4 GG Creature - Wurm 9/9 Shadowmoor
Regal Force 4 GGG Creature - Elemental 5/5 Eventide
Worm Harvest 2 {B/G}{B/G}{B/G} Sorcery Eventide
Knollspine Invocation 1 RR Enchantment Shadowmoor
Sunken Ruins Land Shadowmoor

Uncommons
Canker Abomination 2 {B/G}{B/G} Creature - Treefolk Horror 6/6 Eventide
Noxious Hatchling 3 {B/G} Creature - Elemental 6/6 Eventide
Hag Hedge-Mage 2 {B/G} Creature - Hag Shaman 2/2 Eventide

Sturdy Hatchling 3 {G/U} Creature - Elemental 6/6 Eventide
Slinking Giant 2 RR Creature - Giant Rogue 4/4 Shadowmoor
Boggart Ram-Gang {R/G}{R/G}{R/G} Creature - Goblin Warrior 3/3 Shadowmoor
Noggle Ransacker 2 {U/R} Creature - Noggle Rogue 2/1 Eventide

Glamer Spinners 4 {W/U} Creature - Faerie Wizard 2/4 Shadowmoor
Kithkin Rabble 3 W Creature - Kithkin */* Shadowmoor
Inkfathom Witch 1 {U/B} Creature - Merfolk Wizard 1/1 Shadowmoor
Dream Salvage {U/B} Instant Shadowmoor
Lockjaw Snapper 4 Artifact Creature - Scarecrow 2/2 Shadowmoor

Illuminated Folio 5 Artifact Shadowmoor
Trip Noose 2 Mana Artifact Shadowmoor


Here is the mess of commons I received . . .

WHITE
Rune Cervin Rider, Ballynock Cohort, Last Breath (2), Apothocary Initiate, Strip Bare, Cenn's Enlistment
BLUE
Whimwader, Wiulderness Hypotist, Parapet Watchers, Briarberry Cohort, Drowner Initiate
BLACK
Ashenmoor Cohort, Smodering Butcvher, Disturbing Plot, Smolder Inititate
RED
Chaotic Backlash, Hotheaded Giant, Cinder Pyromancer, Rustrazor Butcher, Smash to Smithereens, Flame Jab, Intimidator Inititate, Blistering Dieflyn
GREEN
Wickerbough Elder, Presence of Gond, Toil to Renown, Gleeful Sabotage, Nettle Sentinel
BLACK / WHITE HYBRID
Unmake, Nightsky Mimic, Edge of the Divinity, Nip Gwyllion
BLUE / BLACK HYBRID
Helm of the Ghastlord, Gravelgill Duo, Scarescale Ritual
BLACK / RED HYBRID
Sootwalkers
BLUE / RED HYBRID
Riverfall Mimic, Inside Out, Clout of the Dominus
RED / WHITE HYBRID
Scourge of the Nobilis, Double Cleave, Duergar Assailant
RED / GREEN HYBRID
Morselhoarder, Scuzzback Marauders
GREEN / BLUE HYBRID
Grazing Kelpie (2), Shorecrasher Mimic
GREEN / WHITE HYBRID
Shield of the Oversoul
ARTIFACTS
Thornwatch Scarecrow, Watchwing Scarecrow, Scrapbasket, Hoof Skulkin, Chainbreaker.

Unfortunately, I cannot say that I care for most of these cards and very few will actually make it into any future decks I build . .. BUT having now the time to carefully consider the cards in this pool, I think that I would have built a very different deck.

For tips on building a Shadowmoor / Eventide Sealed deck, see Steve Sadin excellent article titled 'Unsealing Shadowmoor/Eventide' HERE. I truly wish this article was available to read prior to the Release Event . . . it would have saved me a whole lot of frustration.

7.17.2008

Alara Artwork Spoiler 1

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I realise that Eventide had not yet been released but I would like to unload some Shards of Alara spoiled artwork skimmed from the forums and other sources.

Launch Parties : October 3,4,5 2008
Prerelease tournaments : September 27-28, 2008
Previews start on magicthegathering.com : September 1, 2008 but we will try to get some of the unofficial items up here first.

Anywho - lets have a look at the promotional artwork above . . . a heavily armoured dude riding a LION ! - I like what I'm seeing - almost a medieval feel to it. If I had an overactive imagination, I can almost see Aslan !

Here is some text from an Italian source we've discovered . . .
FIVE WORLDS SHARE A DESTINY
The planeswalkers have discovered the plane of Alara shattered in five shards, with the mana colours scattered in each of them. Each shard has developed its own tricoloured theme. Which one is the one for you?

Tricoloured eh ? . . . very interesting indeed.

Also - it seems someone may have stuffed Shards of Alara lands in recently-released two-player starter sets.

If anything, the lands may provide some background flavour for the new set.

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You may recall my blogging about a particular 'Vein Drinker' vampiric creature in the new Alara set in this POST. It looks like UltraPro, our favourite gaming supplies manufacturer has decided on a card sleeve featuring this suck head.


We also now have the cover to 'A Planeswalker's Guide to Alara: A Magic: The Gathering' (by Doug Beyer and Jenna Helland) courtesy of Amazon. You may notice the very large DRAGONS (!) on the front cover.


Apparently there will be dragons - more specifically, we can expect to see Hellkite Overlord which will also find its way into the 'From the Vault: Dragons' Limited Edition boxed set to be released August 29th. If I had to guess, mono-red, flying beater with pump to other dragons and possible timmy.

Much more yummy Alara previews soon after our digestion of the Eventide set.

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And now for something completely different . . .

I rather enjoy going out to Friday Night Magic to my local gaming store (OMG! Games). This becomes more enjoyable given the chance to win an FNM foil promo card.

Next month's card will be Desert, and this month's card is Wall of Roots . . . Let's have a quick peek.

August



July





While we are at it - - here was June (Resurrection) and May (Pendelhaven). I actually won Pendelhaven and am somewhat proud of it.


May


June




I am off camping in the northern Ontario wilderness (think bears, moose and raccoons) so I will catch up with you after my vacation ( . . if I survive). :-)

7.16.2008

Noggles !

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Some of you may be sharing the same thought as me right about now . . . What the hell are Noggles !?.

I think this poor fellow got lost on his way to the Folsom Street Fair.



Two words about this one -
Social Miscreant.


Hey buddy . . . why the long face ?


The importance of maintaining a well organised sock drawer is demonstrated here.

Here is what the the interweb spat out upon my querry . .

This creature, whose name is variously spelt, is the Shetland Kelpie. It appears like a beautiful little grey horse, about the size of a Shetland pony, bridled and saddled. It is less malicious than the Kelpie and much less dangerous than the Eash Uisge, but it has two mischievous tricks. Its peculiarity is that it is much attracted by water-mills, and if the mill was running at night it would seize the wheel and stop it. It could be driven off by thrusting a burning brand or a long steel knife through the vent-hole of the mill. Its other trick was to loiter along the mill-stream and allure pedestrians to mount it. It would then dash away into the sea and give its rider a severe and even dangerous ducking; but it did not, like Each Uisge, tear its victim to pieces, it merely rose through the water and vanished in a blue flame. Before mounting a stray horse it was wise to look well at its tail. The Noggle looked like an ordinary horse, but it had a tail like a half-wheel, curled up over its back. Some people called the Noggle a Shoopiltie, but it seems to have shared this name with the merpeople.

- - -Wow - I think someone had waaay too much sugar ! - -
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Anywho - there are four Noggles in the new Eventide set - all of them housed in the enemy hybrid house of blue & red -

Noggle Bandit 1{u/r}{u/r} common
Creature - Noggle Rogue 2/2
Noggle Bandit can't be blocked except by creatures with defender.
Noggles believe that they were the first race ever to walk Shadowmoor. They don't "steal." They just take back what's rightfully theirs.

This is almost as good as being 'unblockable' - there are not many players I personally know of who run creature defender cards.

Noggle Bridgebreaker 2{u/r}{u/r} common
Creature - Noggle Rogue 4/3
When Noggle Bridgebreaker comes into play, return a land you control to its owner's hand.
"It's always funny till someone gets hurt. Then it's hilarious."

I am trying to understand why one would want to return a land to one's hand. (?)

Noggle Hedge-Mage 2{u/r} uncommon
Creature - Noggle Wizard 2/2
When Noggle Hedge-Mage comes into play, if you control two or more Islands, you may tap two target permanents.
When Noggle Hedge-Mage comes into play, if you control two or more Mountains, you may have Noggle Hedge-Mage deal 2 damage to target player.

This does sound like a decent card but I would like to find a way to have the 'come into play' effects repeatable instead of a 'one-off' deal.

Noggle Ransacker 2{u/r} uncommon
Creature - Noggle Rogue 2/1
When Noggle Ransacker comes into play, each player draws two cards, then discards a card at random.
Noggles live purely by what they can scavenge. There is not a single thing a noggle eats, wears, or uses that did not once belong to another.

I am not a fan of this card at all and it will likely find its way into a bicycle spoke.

Other references to Noggles may be found in the flavour text of these two cards . . .
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Jawbone Skulkin
"Ah, skull of shrew-a very potent substance. In powdered form, it gives thrice the zing of noggle hoof pulp." -Boghald, Barrenton medic
Just one word - - "YUMM !" . . . noggle hoof pulp - apparently it has zing !
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Talonrend
Change is a denizen of Shadowmoor as much as ouphes and noggles are.
Again - Just wondering out loud here - - Do ouphes and noggles pop over to eachother's den for tea ( ? ).

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Now for something completely different . . . We have for your hungry eyes a selection of 5 Eventide Playmats featuring absolutely great art featuring an enemy-hybrid scenery !


Fetid Heath


Twilight Mire





Flooded Grove




Cascade Bluffs



Rugged Prairie



Until next time, Happy & Safe Gaming everyone!

7.14.2008

Hot Potato

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I trust that those who had attended the Eventide Pre-Release party had a great time last weekend and wish the best of luck to those who plan to attend the Release tournament on the 25th / 26th . . . may you pull the spectacular rares !

Today, Wizards has posted the full Eventide sortable spoiler and Eventide visual spoiler. I for one will attempt to orientate myself with the new cards and hopefully identify some synergies and combinations for the Release Party.
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We have a special treat today for Blog readers . . . a guest post !
The guest I refer to is 'Retro Teck' (AKA Mrs. CopySix, better known as the better half).

She has been playing casual Magic for about 8 years and owns a variety of MTG cards going back to Alpha and Beta. From the current
Lorwyn-Shadowmoor block she plays two decks. These are aptly named 'Controlling Elves', a mostly Green combo deck and 'The Counter Deck' which uses plus and minus counters. Her article today is called "The Hot Potato" and was inspired by a game she had played with our one son last weekend.

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'Hot Potato', by Retro-Teck

"The Counter Deck" uses several mechanics to put creatures with counters on them (+1/+1 or -1/-1) into the graveyard. I'm going to talk about one combination today which I call "The Back Catcher"

This combination requires three cards: Blowfly Infestation, Chainbreaker, and Fate Transfer. The idea is that a -2/-2 counter is passed around the opponent's creatures, destroying them as it goes and then returns to my creature, not unlike a back catcher throwing and receiving a ball. Here is how it works.


Turn two - When Chainbreaker (a 3/3 Artifact Creature) comes into play it has two -1/-1 counters on it.





Turn three - Cast Blowfly Infestation Enchantment which is nasty in the sense that it keeps -1/-1 counters in play as creatures with counters go to the graveyard.




Turn four (or when most appropriate) - cast Fate Transfer - transfer the counters from Chainbreaker to a creature with strength 2 or less.



When that creature goes to the graveyard put a -1/-1 counter on another of the opponents target creatures with strength 1.

Assuming all the remaining creatures the opponent controls at this point are strength 1 or less you can wipe them all out.

Once the last creature goes to the graveyard, return the -1/-1 counter to Chainbreaker.

Benefit
For the cost of 2 you got rid of one -1/-1 counter from Chainbreaker (this creature's ability to remove counters from itself costs three).
You remove all creatures your opponent controls of strength 1 and 1 creature of strength 2.
You still have counters on a creature to use for future battles.


The Hot Potato
So this sounds straight forward but even then I screwed it up. Here the board I had:

Blowfly Infestation and 2 Chainbreakers with -2/-2 counters on them.

My opponent attacked with a 4/4 Ashenmoor Gouger. I started The Back Catcher maneuver. I used the instant, Fate Transfer, to move two -1/-1 counters to a -2/-2 creature and killed it, I used Blowfly Infestation to kill two others and then placed the -1/-1 counter on the 4/4 creature.


The Mistake
I then blocked the attacking creature (my mistake) with my 3/3 Chainbreaker. They both went to the graveyard, but the -1/-1 counter had to be placed on a creature. All that was left was my other Chainbreaker which currently had two -1/-1 counters on it, making it a 1/1 creature. Like a hot potato it was thrown reluctantly on to my last creature. I had no mana left and could not remove any counters so it went to the graveyard as well.

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Please provide fan-mail / feed-back to our guest columnist Retro-Teck via the comment form below.
Until next time, Happy & Safe Gaming !