Archive for April, 2012

Top-Down Horror

Now that we have a full picture of what the Innistrad block is, I will repeat what I said at the beginning of the block.  I hate this block.  Horror as a theme is something that I hope Magic never does again.  But, I don’t think that the theme itself was the part I hated the most about this block.  It was how the theme radiated throughout every aspect of the block.

The Innistrad block was designed completely “Top-Down.”  Meaning that Creative at Wizards came up with the theme (horror) then Design built the mechanics around that theme.  Don’t get me wrong, some nice mechanics came out of this block, but it just felt too contrived.

The “Vorthos” in me was upset that this fantasy game was focusing on horror elements.  There were just enough fantasy elements to keep me interested in the game from a lore perspective, but I hated that we were focusing on horror troupes more then anything else.

I also feel like this set was somewhat of a money-grab.  Certain horror troupes have become big money makers, and I think Wizards wanted to cash in on that.  Werewolves, vampires and (black) zombies are the biggest offenders here.

I will give credit where credit is due, and Innistrad was very well executed.  Almost every card felt like it came from some form of horror, and considering that was the goal, it succeeded.  Also, I have to admit that Wizards is dealing with a wide range of demographics, and that every set/block is going to be disappointing to someone.  It just so happened that this was my block to hate.  Thankfully, we return to a very rich fantasy realm with our next block, Return to Ravnica…


Ascension Only 99 Cents on iPhone App Store

If you haven’t played Ascension yet, you should, and for now it’s only 99 cents.  If you love Magic you will love this game, and it’s a great fix for when you just can’t play Magic (like at work).  Seriously, check this game out while it’s on sale.

A Vexing Problem, Part 2

Vexing Devil is scary to me.  Yet, there are other creatures at one mana that contend with it.  Some would argue that some of these creatures are more “powerful” then Vexing Devil.  I think that almost every card that they cite is “better” then the Devil, but none are as “powerful.”

I believe that in Magic a card being good and a card being powerful are two completely different concepts.  Draw-Go decks at one time relied on getting Rishadan Airship as their primary win condition.  Rishadan Airship was the best card to use as it’s beater, but it wasn’t the most powerful creature that Draw-Go could have used.  Morphling was certainly more powerful, but it wasn’t as good as the Airship.

In Arabian Nights a creature that could enter play as a 2/3 for one red was printed.  Kird Apes had the downfall of having to have a Forest in play for him to truly be a 2/3.  More recently we saw the beast cat that was Wild Nacatl who cost one green and if you have a Plains and a Mountain would be a 3/3.  Awesome deal for one mana, but with a slightly harder to meet condition.  Most recently we have seen the rise of the 3/2 flyer that we all love  Delver of Secrets/Insectile Aberration who cost a mere one blue with a somewhat volatile condition to transform.

All three of the cards I’ve mentioned have one thing in common.  Their drawbacks have to built around.  Kird Apes and Wild Nacatl are vanilla 1/1’s if you stay in their colors.  Delver basically has to be built around to even have a chance of flipping into his 3/2 side.  You can’t just throw any of these cards into a deck with their colors and them be powerful.  With Vexing Devil, you can.

Each of the previously mentioned one drops are better because barring counter magic they are going to hit the field.  But none of them are as powerful as Vexing Devil.


Hello, I am TikimanBob and I shall be another contributor to the port. I currently play standard, and am also in the process of getting into Pauper and EDH. I will try to post as often as I can, but it probably will not be as frequently as Hinderless, cheers!

A Vexing Problem

This card scares me.  No, I don’t think it’s going to break Standard.  No, I don’t think it’s going to break Modern or Legacy.  My problem with Vexing Devil is a not so subtle shift in power.  This shift is known as “power creep.”  Power Creep kills TCGs, and MTG has so far escaped relatively unscathed.  Yes, creatures have become more powerful over the past eight to ten years (Tarmogoyf, Stoneforge Mystic) and Planeswalkers have made their mark (Jace, the Mind Sculptor), but these have either been to make creatures more relevant to the game, or accidents.  Vexing Devil is neither.  It is a clear sign of power creep in Magic.

Back in 1994 a 2/1 for one white mana was a great deal.  Then came Isamaru.  A 2/2 for one white that was Legendary.  It had the downfall of only being able to have one in play at a time.  A nice trade off if you ask me.  Then we fast-forward to Zendikar, and we got Goblin Guide.  This beastly one red mana 2/2 has haste, but he suffers from the downfall of giving your opponent card advantage about half of the time.  A massive downfall for a massive bargain mana-wise.

Vexing Devil takes it a step further and gives you a 4/3 body.  Sometimes.   Other times he does four damage to your opponent then disappears.  A lot of people are arguing that the fact your opponent has the choice is a disadvantage.  I would disagree.  See one red for a 4/3 body or for four damage is a great bargain.  Lightning Bolt is one of the best burn spells ever, and Vexing Devil does it better.  And late game, if they let you keep the body because they can “deal” with it, doesn’t mean it’s any less broken.  Say I have five Mountains in play and attempt to cast Vexing Devil.  My opponent lets it stick.  I now have a 4/3 body with four more lands open to cast say a Koth or a Chandra’s Phoenix.

I personally don’t think that Vexing Devil is going to break Standard or Legacy, but if this is the precedent being set for power creep, I fear for the future of our favorite TCG…

GB Pod

4 Birthing Pod
2 Grim Backwoods
2 Hex Parasite
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Llanowar Elves
3 Strangleroot Geist
2 Glissa, the Traitor
2 Geralf’s Messenger
2 Phyrexian Metamorph
3 Huntmaster of the Fells
2 Mikaeus, the Unhallowed
2 Vorapede
1 Wurmcoil Engine
2 Green Sun’s Zenith
2 Black Sun’s Zenith
1 Copperline Gorge
2 Rootbound Crag
4 Woodland Cemetery
6 Forest
3 Blackcleave Cliffs
2 Dragonskull Summit
3 Swamp
1 Kessig Wolf Run
1 Acidic Slime
This is some tech that I’ve been working on recently.  It’s not near completion but it’s a pretty solid list.  Of course, it’s going to be old here in a couple of weeks with the release of Avacyn Restored, but I would recommend sleeving this up and taking it to an FNM if you have the cards.

Avacyn Restored Prerelease Helvault

Don’t miss your local Prerelease this weekend.   The opening of the “Helvault” during the Prerelease is very unique, but I wonder what can actually be in it that can be shared with all participants.  I’m trying to mask my cynicism until we see what is actually inside.  Regardless, Prerelease is a great time, so make sure you find what local stores are running them and attend one.