Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Top Ten Favorite Magic Cards #1

I doubt anyone had any doubts that Kiki Jiki would top the list. When I first started playing Friday Night Magic, I built a kick ass standard deck around this guy based on a weird anti-affinity list that won a random tournament. I have such great memories play it, meeting Adam, Ken, dragon shirt guy, Calvin, JD, and Thad and cutting my teeth as a tournament player. I loved how the deck was powerful with it's comes into play creatures like eternal witness and also played such quirky cards like Rootrunner. After Kiki Jiki rotated out of standard, I had to keep a Kiki-Jiki deck together and it got even more sick with a greater card pool.

Even aside from the amazing synergy this card has with Eternal Witness, Kiki-Jiki is a steamroller of card advantage that left unchecked will overwhelm opponents quickly. Sure, it's triple red casting cost, small power and toughness, and legendary status are downsides, it's because this card would be bonkers if it were any better. With haste, it's already impossible to avoid getting knocked around by it even if you do have instant speed destruction. And then it has such incredible resilience with creatures that return cards from your graveyard to help ensure that Kiki-Jiki will stay on the board to outlast all of the destruction your opponent can throw at it. The only real way to stop it is eradicate. Damn you, Tommy!

Honorable Mentions

Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre - One of the most ridiculous multiplayer creatures ever printed. You have to love Rise of Eldrazi for shit like this.

Stalking Yeti - Another critical cog of the babykiller deck and another one of those cards that people always had to read. It may be the poor man's flametongue kavu, but it's also a freaking yeti that is always checking your Facebook page.

Flametongue Kavu - Or maybe Flametongue Kavu is the rich man's Stalking Yeti. Bling Bling. Stop reading this blog immediately and raise the roof for Flametongue Kavu. Thank you.

Sakura-Tribe Elder - So critical for almost any deck playing green. The most versatile and powerful modern ramp card.

Sacred Mesa - Pony Crater is such a great thing to do with all that mana that control and multiplayer decks accumulate and it's so good against mass removal. What's not to love.

Thousand-year Elixir - A tricky, but fun build around card. Really enhances creatures with right kind of abilities.

Ensnaring Bridge - I had to have at least a shout out to the discard deck and this may be the most hated card from that deck. Back in the day when all we played with were creatures and creature removal, this deck would completely shut down the game. If only Alex can draw his one disenchant . . .

Ink-eyes, Servant of Oni - Isn't it so much fun to ninjutsu this guy into play returning a white Myojin to reset its divinity counter and being able to pull a woodfall primus from the opponent's graveyard?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Top Ten Favorite Magic Cards #2

Zuberas, O, Zuberas! How my brain emits euphoria at the sight of your eyeless faces?
Zuberas, O, Zuberas! My lions do feel tender in your presence like a Christmas ham glistening in cherry glaze!
Zuberas, O, Zuberas! What majesty will you have in store for me in my next game?

Will you draw me many cards? Will you gain me much life? Will you destroy my opponents hands?
How I delight at the possibilities! How I love to collect you, to count you, to destroy you at my own hands!
You have been made to live and multiply for the sole purpose of my amusement and card advantage!

Countless pundits, talking heads hiding behind their sharpened Jittes and trusty Tarmogoyfs, have dismissed you, even mocked you as, "useless, boring, lame." Others have ignored you shoved away behind stacks of benalish heroes and chub toads, forgotten in an abyss of terrible cards.

O, Zuberas! How have such noble creatures be forced to such a cruel fate! You and I know you belong in between protective sleeves, you belong alongside Akroma and Ink-Eyes and Konda, you belong on the battlefield with your breathern, ready to head to you demise at a moment's notice! You belong in Zubera, a land of opportunity, prosperity and hope, a land where men are whiskers and women are compact discs, a land where you are beautiful in its multiple red suns and free to roam its cheese-covered groves, a land called Zuberica, the only land for me!

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Top Ten Favorite Magic Cards #3

Scrying Sheets is one of the best card advantage engines over the course of a long game. Of course you have to build your deck around snow permanents, which despite a few amazing ones likes ohran viper and stalking yeti and the support of skred and into the north, were rather underpowered. Scrying sheets was the one card that made playing all this snow worth it. It could outlast the card advantage of any control deck over a long game, especially causing havoc for mono-blue control players who would run out of counterspells. And the icing on the cake is that it does not even cost you a card since it is already a land that taps for colorless.

I played Joey's Babykiller deck in friday night magic tournaments for a longer time than I have ever played any other deck. It was no longer a dominant deck in standard at that time mostly because it had no possible way to beat dragonstorm or any kind of combo. Yet, I had a lot of success with it tearing apart all the lorwyn tribal decks of the time and all the people playing control decks too. One of the best things going for it was that people not only did not know the strategy behind the deck, but often had to read many of the cards since they were not always typical standard fare. Even though it is Joey's deck, I've always had a blast playing with it and probably know how to play it better than almost any other deck. Scrying Sheets was the glue that held the deck together and there are few magic moments more satisfying to me than hitting with it at a critical time.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Top Ten Favorite Magic Cards #4 or How to Cheat at Magic

The top three ways to make sure you always have multiple Shining Shoals in your hand:

1. Pray to the Japanese god of arcane. If you have led a noble life, you will draw it when you are in need. If you have led an evil life, a donkey-cart full of turnips will fall onto you head.

2. Eat your vegetables.

3. Play with 7 of them in your deck.

Few cards are such a mindfuck and make your opponents more timid quite like shining shoal, especially when you have multiples in your hand and your opponents run into it multiple times in a row. How else could I beat Tommy's mono-red deck in a match with a spiritcraft deck that prominently features Oyobi? What other time has such a fast red deck lost to such a slow deck featuring dovescape?

Granted, there have been times I have been lucky with shining shoal in multiples to help me win (especially in the situation above). However, these situations stand out in your memory because they do end up being so incredible due to the way multiple surprise shining shoals can turn a game into a blow out for you. We don't remember the many games where I didn't draw shining shoal or only drew one. However, even in those cases part of brilliance of shining shoal is the fear it induces in your opponents, encouraging them to attack other people or stay home. Like the best combat tricks, it's a dirty mind game and makes me feel a little sleezy playing it. But only a little.

Alright, so this card was fairly obvious, but you all still have not guessed the next one.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Top Ten Favorite Magic Cards #5

The Ravnica/Time Spiral block version of solar flare (which is kinda weird because all of the Kamigawa dragons that gave the deck its name had rotated out and had totally abandoned any graveyard recursion that had made it famous) was the deck with which I've had the most tournament success. It was an awesome combination of the most powerful cards in standard, combined with a game plan that came naturally to me as a timmy and multiplayer enthusiast. One of my favorite moments in magic of magic is getting to play some badass big boy or girl that has a big impact on the board and that's what solar flare was all about, splashy cards like Angel of Despair, Persecute, Wrath of God and Akroma that had a big impact.

I have some great memories of intense matches playing with this deck at big tournaments in Asheville and just winning round after round. For some reason success came really easily to me with this deck. Part of it was that this deck was the most powerful deck in standard at that moment and many of the people at FNM tournaments were player tier-two decks. Part of it was I was religiously watching replays on magic online and they were helping improve my play and providing me an understanding of how matchups and sideboarding work like never before. There was one point where I had won three tournaments in a row with this deck. It was a great feeling, although I doubt I'm as good at magic as this streak would suggest. It was more being in the right places with the right deck, having done the right legwork.

At any rate, Angel of Despair was the backbone of this deck. She is a beating that is hard to overcome. Not only do you take out their best permanent, but also hung around as a threat that unchecked would end the game in a few turns. Sure the color requirements are tough, but with the Ravnica duals it was rarely a problem, and few other creatures in magic provide such versatility and value as this card.

Now, at this point, you might be thinking that this list is going to be all creatures, but, spoiler alert, the next two cards are non-creature cards. I wonder if you will be able to guess what they are.

Monday, December 13, 2010

My Top Ten Favorite Magic Cards #6

When I first looked at Meloku the Clouded Mirror, I thought it wasn't very good like the rest of the moonfolk. Returning a land to your hand to only make a 1/1 seemed like a big setback for small payoff. However, once I saw Meloku in Mono-blue control decklists and tried him out for myself, I was quite impressed. The ability to make so many flying tokens so quickly could end the game very quickly and allowed a lot of great strategic play. This is one of my favorite parts of Meloku: it requires skill to know how to use most effectively--when to play it out of your hand, how many lands to return to your hand, how many tokens to use offensively versus defensively. It's an easy card to push too far and mess yourself up when someone casts hurricane. While Meloku speaks to the Timmy in me with its ability to amass an army of fliers, Meloku sings to the spike in me who enjoys trying to figure out the optimal play and outsmart my opponent.

This doesn't even get into the cool synergies that Meloku has with hand-size matters cards, discard, anti-land destruction tech, and cards that allow you to play multiple lands in one turn. These uses would be the main way to use this in multiplayer, since messing with your manabase is generally not such a good idea in such long games. Accordingly, my fondest memories with this card are when I was using it as a finisher in my Mirridon/Champions standard mono-blue control deck. Winning a game with Meloku and an army of tokens would be such a satisfying end for a control deck, both in its speed and in the skill required. Also, Meloku can beat Mayank at chess.

I'm Not Sure What You Were Attempting To Do Here.

Well, the grade reports are in. My English professor forced the class to watch the Battlestar Gallactica miniseries to which I said poopoo to you too. Long story short he gave my essay review of it a zero when I deserved no less than a hundred, dammit. I poured my heart and soul into this essay. Anyway, here is my prof's response if you guys care to read it:

I'm not sure what you were attempting to do here, but you seem to almost intentionally avoid the critical and academic nature of this entire assignment. You directly went at this viewing with some sort of chip-on-the-shoulder slight that amounted to nothing short of an op-ed article in fox-news-style paper, the one thing I asked you all not to do. You did not bother with secondary sources and went in the complete opposite direction of any critical review. To insult your own intelligence in the most unfortunate manner, your "opinion" about the music and the actors had absolutely no critical support or back-up, nor do you have any real reason for the emotional angst you throw at SyFy or any other type of fiction that attempts to use allegory to discuss the human condition, something I was hoping you would have considered doing. It might have been better if you'd simply not committed the time to this review, then to have actually written the very thing for which you accuse the production.
Not only is it sad that you did not even bother to really analyze the human storyline and aspects that allow the production to speak to the human condition sub-texting, but you didn't even bother to find valid support for your negative interpretations. This assignment had far little to do with your negative approach to analyzing life, and more to do with the reasons why we use many different types of fiction to critically observe, scrutinize and understand our current human condition.
Going by what you've written on the paper, you did not bother to watch this film all-the-way through, or, perhaps, at all, much less take this assignment seriously. I think you knew this. I expected more and am somewhat shocked. Below is the prompt for this assignment, if you don't understand the grade.


So I guess the moral of the story is that you need to tell your crazy professors what they want to hear lest they give you a ZERO!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My Top Ten Favorite Magic Cards #7

Like Pelakka Wurm, Artisan of Kozilek is a huge beatstick with built-in card advantage. While the colorless mana-cost is nice, Artisan does take a little longer to cast than other large threats, but with some mana acceleration, 9 mana is highly attainable in multiplayer. The ability to bring back another huge creature or another tempo-swinging creature in addition to Artisan's huge body can really seal the deal on a game you are already winning or help you come from behind in a game you aren't. Then if Artisan can start attacking, it can hammer away at your opponent's mana base with its annihilator ability.

In many ways, Artisan feels like a multiplayer, timmy-centric eternal witness. Being mono-colored and providing such a huge effect at uncommon (so you can get them for less than a quarter), he fits in so many multiplayer decks and is hard to play against. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that this is probably the best uncommon creature for multiplayer ever printed. I'm also gonna go out on a 2nd limb and nickname this guy "Bob Ross." Because he is an Artisan, get it?!?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Top Ten Favorite Magic Cards #8

Pelakka Wurn is cool on so many levels. It's like two Loxodon Hierarchics combined into one, gaining you 7 life along with such a big body is almost always a big set back to your opponents. Then if they do decide to kill it (and who doesn't want to kill a 7/7 trampler?) you get a card to replace it. Life gain and big creatures are especially good and multiplayer and this guy has both while also being helpful against mass destruction, one of the best strategies in multiplayer.

This card epitomizes many of the reasons that Rise of Eldrazi is one of my favorite sets ever. What other set would this kind of card be printed at uncommon? What other set would this be one of the best uncommons in draft? Any limited format where you can draft multiples of this guy and total dominate is awesome by me and was probably one of the reasons I did so well in ROE drafts over the summer: it was such a natural strategy for me as a timmy and multiplayer enthusiast. And the crazy thing is this guy is probably better than any eldrazi in draft too.

Overall, Pelakka Wurm is a home run, out of the park, over the fence and he has won my heart and we are getting married.

Friday, December 10, 2010

An Intelligent Expression of Complaint Concerning Disturbed Living Quarters

Fucking fuk work this biatch. I liek it whan ppl cum to orgy @ my house. fucking kids shitting everywhere with their cocks on the lawn, while fucking every god damn piece of shit they can fit their little pencil dicks into. Thur wuz skeet in mah lawn gnome. I wana make every1 cum and get the shit off mah lawn. Shity fag asswipe dickheds. I don’t give a fuck about grammar. Grammar is 4 phags. Halo sux, CoD 4eva. my dick is huge.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Top Ten Favorite Magic Cards #9

Heartless Hidetsugu in your deck rarely fails to make multiplayer games more interesting. Although he usually has a huge target on his head as soon as he hits play, if you activate him at least once, whether with haste or some sort of protection, you know the game is probably coming down to the wire in an intense wild west showdown. Now, maybe these moments are more fun for me but I think it is hard to deny the fact that this guy has an intensity that few other multiplayer cards have. It's by no means an immediate win card and is hard to do much with him without some support since he is so easy and desire to kill in addition to being generally unable to win the game on his own (damn you rounding down!), but, if your opponents answers have been exhausted or the right pieces of the puzzle fall together, winning with this guy is like being the good guy in a movie slowly walking away with a huge explosion behind you.

Although this card has a very experiential, splashy Timmy effect, this card is one of the most Johnny type cards I like to play with because it really needs to have support cards to make it work. As you all have witnessed, lifelink or haste are insane with this guy. Mother of Runes or some sort of protection is generally pretty essential too. Burn can be pretty essential too to finish off your opponents' last few life. I suppose it could be fun to throw this guy randomly into a multiplayer deck with little support, but by himself, while dealing a buttload of damage usually, Heartless Hidetsugu is a little too risky if you don't have a significant life advantage. Few other magic cards have such a powerful effect that speed up a multiplayer game but require such a maniacal master plan that takes into account all the ins and outs and counter-strategies. He is also my date to prom.

Yet Another Reason to Hate Sorrorities

For once, it's not Obama's fault. Srsly, though, we need to have a meeting where all wear matching Christmas Sweaters to discuss the gravity of this situation. If we do not meet our 100% quorum, I'm off the bowling team, and replacing all of you with stuffed animals and 4 year old with severe down syndrome.

This is how I feel this week

I've got a lot going on this week, it's crunch time for me so I thought I'd share how I feel with a visual medium.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Top Ten Favorite Magic Cards #10

Alright, Christmas is just around the corner and you know what that means: time for Tommy to run around in a bunny suit throw mayonnaise at ducks. Well that and another top ten list.

This time I am covering my top ten favorite magic cards. Most of these cards are the ones I both enjoy play with the most and have the fondest memories of. These are the cards I dream about topdecking at night, the cards that bring back gushy marshmallow nostalgia of nights in the attic drinking beer and playing multiplayer. You might even be able to guess some of the cards on the list.  So, without further poopoo:

It can't be bolted. It can't be terrored. Sure, it can be STPed, but who would waste an STP on Yotian Solider? It blocks anything smaller than an ernham djinn all day, while still getting in for one damage a turn. He's an awesome defensive early drop for multiplayer, because on no color requirements, the four toughness and the fact that it can still ping someone for one. Yotian has aged a little with the printing of more efficient three-drops like kitchen finks or dauntless escort, but I never forget the feeling of dropping a Yotian in a multiplayer game and know, at least for a few turns, that my life total was safe.

While, unfortunately, there are a few cards which we have more of than Yotian Soldier, the count is still well above 30 and ever growing (keep your fingers crossed that it will be reprinted in Scars block). So, here is to everyone who sheds a little tear when they look at the art for pit trap! Yotian Solider, you can be my point guard/dental hygenist any day!

How to Form a Semi-Sucessful Metal Band

1) Have a name that either invokes grotesque imagery or shows how little you give a fuck.

2) Have a band member do a lot of cocaine (applicable to most any 80's band).

3) Sing about epic topics such as dragon slaying, murder, dead gods, or war.

4) Sue Napster.

5) Do charity work, which is cool, but still kinda breaks the whole "we don't give a fuck," image.

6) Gain a reputation as hypersensitive assholes.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How to form a semi successful Post Rock band

1. Have a sentence for a band name. Extra points if it's about ghosts and or flying. EG, "This ghost hamburger can fly."

2. Release an album with only two 35 minute songs.

3. Have thought provoking song and album names. EG, "Little lumberjacks in a world full of trees."

4. Be either Icelandic or Texan.

5. Record your album in a shack in The Middle Of Nowhere.

6. In interviews, talk about swells, harmony, and crescendos like a pretentious dick.

7. Make sure your songs make the listener drowsy and then suddenly wake him or her up.

8. Don't have a bassist. Have a harpist.

Thank you very much.