Modern Horizons Pre-Release MTG + Tips for Drafting.

On Sunday, I drove to Rochester, MN to participate in the Magic the Gathering: Modern Horizons Pre-Release. This will be my third pre-release I have attended since rejuvenating my interest in Magic the Gathering. I’m still an amateur player, however playing in these events has given me confidence to keep playing the game. I had a blast playing with the new cards, but I also wanted to share some general tips for drafting in Magic that one of my friends sent me.

Modern is a format in Magic where decks are built with at least sixty cards versus standard Magic where decks have forty cards. Me and two other friends participated in this pre-release except it wasn’t like a typical pre-release I attended, it was a draft. Drafting in Magic can be extremely difficult. Drafting is where everyone opens a booster pack and picks only one card from that pack. Then the pack gets passed to the next player and they pick one card from the pack. This means I need to pick cards from what’s passed to me without knowing what cards were picked by other players. I chose to make a blue / white deck with a bunch of flying creatures.

Magic Modern Horizons Pre Release 2.jpeg

This is one flying creature I used. 

My deck wasn’t that great. I found the other players in our group had more “aggressive” decks meaning their decks worked faster than mine. I only won one game out of twelve games (as I said, I’m still an amateur). After this experience, my friend sent me an article about what to look for when drafting. It’s titled BREAD which stands for:

B – Bombs. This is the super powerful cards. This could mean creatures that can’t be removed from the game easily or instants which can remove many creatures at once. It’s a card that you can’t pass up, so pick this card first in a draft.

R – Removal. These are cards that remove creatures or artifacts. If a deck doesn’t have removal, it’s useless. Creatures make up a deck, but the deck needs to be defensive as well. 

E – Evasion! Choosing creatures that are difficult to block. This includes finding abilities such as flying, deathtouch, unblockable or I find menace to be an ability that’s kind of obnoxious. My deck was based around flying creatures, but the deck failed. That’s because of . .  . 

A – Aggro. This is why my deck failed. Aggro refers to filling up a mana curve. Meaning you want to cast a creature card every turn if able. This means choosing creatures that are cheap to cast. My flyers were great creatures, but often they required at least 3 sometimes even 5 mana to cast. This means by the time I was able to cast a creature, my opponent had at least three or four creatures out at once time. This cost me almost all of my games. 

D- Duds! These are the cards no one wants. I was playing a blue / white flying deck, but I still found cards that were green or black which didn’t work with my color scheme. This happens to everyone at a draft where you’re forced to take cards no one wants. These cards can be sorted out when the deck building begins. 

Magic Modern Horizons Pre Release June 9th.jpeg

The Oneirophage – every time I draw a card, I put a counter on it. 

Even though my deck sucked, I liked the cards I drafted. I pulled a couple “Phantom Ninja’s” which cost three mana. Their special ability is they can’t be blocked. This is useful because anytime I attack with them, my opponent can’t do anything about them. I also liked my “Wall of One Thousand Cuts.” It’s a wall which provides a blocking creature for my deck. I also like the art work on “Oneirophage.” This is a squid illusion which every time I draw a card, I put a +1 / +1 counter on Oneirophage. This squid could become powerful as my turns progressed.

As I reflect on the pre-release, I learned valuable deck building skillsDeck building is the hardest thing for me to grasp in Magic the Gathering. Once I have a successful deck, I’m good to go. I’m trying to play more Magic because in August I’m going to Gen Con. If I can win at least one game in Gen Con, I would be thrilled.

 

 

Advertisements

2019 Video Game Releases I’m Excited For

Playing video games will always be a hobby of mine, but the time I have to play them has drastically decreased. At my full time job, I often have to stay late past the hours I’m supposed to. I drive home from work where I cook dinner, potentially go work out and then once I get an ounce of free time, I want to go to bed to get the sleep my body needs. Weekends have become busier with me and my fiance attempting to plan a wedding. I won’t ever abandon gaming as a hobby, but I have accepted that I don’t have as much time for it as I used to. I still keep up with latest releases and I wanted to share with you about which 2019 video game releases I’m highly anticipating: 

Jedi Fallen Order – November 15th 2019

The trailer dropped at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago. I remember playing Star Wars Battlefront in 2003 with one of my childhood friends. I have avoided the new Star Wars Battlefront games thanks to EA’s policies of having to pay to unlock items. Since Jedi: Fallen Order is a single player based game, I’m thinking I will enjoy this a lot more.

Jedi: Fallen Order is set after Episode III when Order 66 was initiated. Not all the Jedi’s were ruthlessly murdered, but many of them were forced to go into hiding. Cal was in Jedi training, but now works as a scrapper on the planet, Bracca. After an unfortunate incident where one of his fellow workers falls off a ledge, Cal uses some of “the force” to save him. This exposes Cal further and he’s forced to flee from the army of Stormtroopers sent to finish him.

This game has a lot of potential because of it’s departure from Star Wars Battlefront which ultimately pissed off a lot of gaming fans. Jedi: Fallen Order is released on November 15th on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC. It’s also being released three days after the Mandalorian premieres on Disney+

Man of Medan – August 30th 2019

During the Polar Vortex in February [where the temperatures dropped to -30], I was playing Until Dawn. Until Dawn was an addicting horror game which is hilarious to me since I’m not a huge fan of horror games to begin with. This had the perfect level of jump scares combined with a great setting and fun characters to play as. Immediately after completing Until Dawn, I went to follow their developer, Supermassive Games, on Twitter. This is where I discovered Man of Medan, the latest game Supermassive Games had been working on.

Man of Medan is based partially on true events. The Ourange Medan was a ship in the 1940’s where the entire crew perished under suspicious circumstances. The main story is centered on five characters who are investigating an old 1940’s ship wreck. The characters are: Julie, Conrad, Alex, Brad and Fliss. Man of Medan will be similar to Until Dawn as certain decisions made within the game will impact the final ending. After making a crucial decision in the game, you can’t reload saves. Meaning you are stuck with the decision you made.

Man of Medan releases on August 30th 2019. I highly recommend playing Until Dawn before the release of Man of Medan 

Harry Potter Wizard’s Unite – Sometime in 2019

I was probably the only person who wasn’t invested in Pokemon Go. I thought it was a cute concept, but I got bored after a while. Now take the concept of Pokemon Go and combine it with Harry Potter and now I’m intrigued. Harry Potter Wizards Unite is an augmented reality based game where fans can play as certain characters and capture creatures or find artifacts in the real world. The goal is to keep the Wizarding World safe and secretive against muggles. When Pokemon Go first released, the game was really buggy. I’m hoping this doesn’t happen with Harry Potter Wizards Unite. 

So far, that’s all the games I’m anticipating. It helps when my fiance is subscribed to Game Informer because then I can keep up to date with video games every month. I’m trying to use my off days from work to catch up on my video game back log, so that when these games release, I’m ready to devote all my time to them.

 

 

I’m a Doctor, Not a Board Gamer: Star Trek Ascendancy Review

I’m the first one to admit: I’m not a Star Trek fan. That’s not to say I don’t like Star Trek, I just have never sat down and watched an episode. I do have access to Hulu now thanks to my subscription with Spotify, and I have considered watching the original series or Star Trek: Next Generation. When my uncle bought Star Trek Ascendancy, I wasn’t sure if this game would be for me because of my limited Star Trek knowledge. I’m EXTREMELY surprised because I thought this game was massively addicting.

Star Trek Ascendancy was published by GaleForce Nine which is a company also producing the Doctor Who board game which is another game I deeply enjoyed. Star Trek Ascendancy allows the player to choose out of four factions to travel deep space with. These include: the Federation, Romulans, Klingons and the Cardassians (which I believe is pronounced similarly to the Kardashians?). I picked the Romulans as everyone in my gaming group had desperately wanted to play the other factions. The goal of the game is to build up your fleet and either take over another faction or acquire five Ascendancy tokens which can be earned by dominating other civilizations.

Star Trek Game May 11th 2019 .jpeg

This is what our game board looked like with all of the factions exploring deep space. It’s madness! Photo taken by me. 

From the above picture, this is towards the middle of the game. Since one of the main components of winning the game is by dominance, it’s crucial to explore different planets. They can net resources for the faction which can be utilized to build or upgrade ships. This allows for better success in intergalactic space battles.

Each faction starts out with a card that givens them an added benefit to the game. I had “the Romulan cloaking device” which allowed me first strike in space battles. I never used the device because my main premise was to dominate other planets. Another aspect of the game is offering “trade agreements”. These agreements are established between planets to avoid conflict and gather resources. Trade agreements are violated when you betray the faction and attack them instead. In our game, I had a trade agreement with my brother. I wholeheartedly believe that if we had time to finish our game, he would have stabbed me in the back and full on attacked me.

I will admit, turn orders are extremely time consuming. As a player, I found my attention wavered because I was waiting for my turn. Turns are split into a “build” and a “command” phase. Building ships and formulating upgrades always happens first. Once you spend your resources, you flip the turn card over and command your ships across the galaxy. As my gaming group started to learn the rules, turns weren’t as lengthy, but in the beginning it felt like a round took forever.

Ultimately, I did highly enjoy this game and I’m not a “trekkie”. I’m actually inspired to watch more Star Trek so I can understand where all the references come from. I have heard nothing but good things about Star Trek Next Generation. I think that might be my new TV watching project after finishing up How To Get Away With Murder. Until then, I’ll keep up my galactic conquest with the Romulans.

 

*If you’re interested in reading the rule book: GaleForce Nine does have the rule book to download free of charge. You can find that here: Star Trek Ascendancy Rulebook*

 

War of the Spark Pre-Release Summary

This weekend was the War of the Spark pre-release for Magic the Gathering. As each set releases, there’s always a “pre-release” where players can play the set before the release date. I previously attended one pre-release where I didn’t win a single game. However, I was pleasantly surprised to say I won 3 games. YAY I’M STILL SO EXCITED AND PROUD OF MYSELF 😀 😀 😀 I wanted to summarize the deck I built and my general experience of the pre-release.

War of the Spark Pre Release Kit.jpeg

This was my pre-release kit. This contains all the cards I need to build a 40 card deck. Photo taken by me. 

In a pre-release, there are “promo” cards. The cards are randomized with each promo being foiled and listing the date of the pre-release on the card. As I opened my kit, I’m looking at what my “pulls” are. The pulls are the unwrapped cards from the booster packs. From there, I’m expected to put the cards together in a 40 card minimum deck. This is my favorite part of a pre-release. Every player is on an even playing field. A skilled player could put together a mediocre deck or a novice player like myself could make a powerful deck. I “pulled” some bad-ass black creatures, so I created a black / green deck with emphasis on graveyard retrieval along with powerful planeswalkers.

Let’s discuss planeswalkers. Planeswalkers aren’t creatures, but they serve a purpose. They grant abilities to creatures, allow for card draw and more. This is one of the few Magic the Gathering sets which prominently feature Planeswalkers.

Selfie .jpeg

I’m on cloud nine 🙂 🙂 

As I mentioned, I won three games. I accomplished this by playing more aggressively than I had played in the past. I used several planeswalker cards to trigger abilities which included destroying my opponent’s creatures and dealing damage to my opponent directly. My favorite cards I used were Ob Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted and Massacre Girl. I also liked the Price of Betrayal and Ob Nixilis Cruelty.

Ultimately, I felt a boost of confidence in my ability to play Magic the Gathering. I had been feeling insecure for a long time about my skill in the game, but this assured me that I have potential to improve as a player. My next goal in a pre-release is to win a match which is the best two out of three against an opponent. Hopefully this post wasn’t too detailed, but I felt it was necessary to sum up my pre-release weekend. If you play Magic the Gathering, let me know what you pulled in this pre-release.

 

Twerking at a Wraith: DnD Dark Ages Session #5

This has officially become the longest DnD campaign I have ever been in. My character Althaea is a level #5 now and she has more spells she’s learned through the course of her adventures. Our last session was one of the most entertaining DnD sessions I have ever witnessed. If you can’t already tell by the title of this post, one of the characters has some fun with the Wraith we fought which I will go into detail shortly.

To begin the session, our group heads over to Lake Constance to fetch some of the remaining magical artifacts. We were going to head there in the prior session, but we were attacked by Frost Giants. As we carefully walk on the frozen lake, we see an ice Wraith pausing over a hole in the ice. We investigate the Wraith and see it has been injured and unfortunately succumbs to its injury. One of our characters has a spell where she can breathe underwater, so she dives down to collect a dark arrow and a pair of gauntlets. We also uncover a map from a corpse nearby which has been frozen solid in ice. This map leads us to certain locations where other magical artifacts can be found.

Althaea decides we should investigate the Dark Tower. As we climb the stairs we see a light Wraith guarding the light artifacts. Our character named Cupo decides to yell “GOOD MORNING, HOW’S YOUR DAY??” at it. I burst out laughing because of the way he randomly yells this and his facial expression as he says it. The Wraith immediately sent a bolt of light at Cupo who took 13 damage. Since Wraith’s are ghost like creatures, it was immune to physical weapons. It was also resistant to poison, fire, ice, thunder and necromancy magic. This happened to be what most of my spell slots were.

Muglupus and Cupo were unable to fight the Wraith since they weren’t spell casters. This is where things got weird. Cupo decides if he can’t fight the Wraith, he would distract it. First, Cupo starts asking him generic questions like, “SERIOUSLY THOUGH HOW IS YOUR DAY?”. Cupo starts rolling high enough where the Wraith is apparently distracted. Next, Cupo takes off his shirt and starts “shimmying” at the Wraith. If that wasn’t enough, Cupo completely undresses and starts “dancing” which turns into twerking in front of the Wraith. Cupo rolled a critical success, which led to the Wraith glided up to Cupo and licking him!

Eventually, Althaea and Maeva defeated the Wraith by casting various spells at it even though it might have been resistant to them. Althaea dealing it 20 damage with Maeva dealing it 25 damage. Our characters turn to see Cupo desperately trying to dress himself as we walk out of the Dark Tower with our items. As our characters decide our next move, we made our way back to a village we saved back in session #2. I bought more health vials since I had plenty of physical weapons. Our group looks at the map we gathered from the frozen man and see the mountain range is our next place to go. As we walk to the mountains we see a group of monks who have been slaughtered. This ends our session.

This was an exciting session for me due to being able to fight the Wraith. It was entertaining seeing Cupo trying to distract this Wraith. It’s not as funny typing it out in a blog post than it was actually being there and seeing him say these things to the Wraith. I’m looking forward to our next session where we will be in the mountains collecting more magical artifacts. Thank you so much for reading all these recaps, hopefully you’re enjoying them as much as I am.

 

Dark Ages Campaign Acts #3 & #4 Recap

Remember how I’m involved in a DnD campaign? Our campaign titled Dark Ages is still active, I just got behind in writing the recap posts for each session. I’m going to blame my trip to Orlando and prepping for C2E2 for why I got behind in these recap posts. There’s a lot to summarize since our group of characters now befriended a pack of wolves intending to kill us. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I did write recap posts from our first two acts which I will link here:  Dark Ages Act #1 Dark Ages Act 2. Let me recap how we added a pack of wolves to our gaming group.

Act #3 Lots of Wolves

Our group is staying at our friend Rose’s house after we killed the innkeeper because of his human experiments on the townsfolk. Through our exploration, we know that there are bandits within the area. We could either stay and defend Rose in case she is attacked by bandits or go explore this monastery which has arcane artifacts. We chose to adventure to the monastery.

As we set up camp due to poor weather, we heard wolves howling in the distance. Muglupus (my boyfriend’s character) howls to the wolves which probably wasn’t smart to do. Of course, the wolves show up because a dwarf howling can be heard from miles away. It was Muglupus’s idea to try and befriend the wolves. Everyone in our group rolled terribly. Muglupus however, rolled a critical success. As long as we feed our wolves at regular intervals, we can keep them. There were five wolves including the alpha. Each of our characters got to name a wolf. This is what our group decided:

Alphie *the alpha* named by Muglupus. 68 HP.

Liam Neeson 11 HP

Mrs. Waffles < this one is mine. 11 HP

Jacob – 12 HP

Debra 9 HP

We also killed a group of bandits with help from our wolf pack. To prevent the wolves from turning on us, we let them eat the bandits. The wolves allow us to get to the monastery ahead of schedule which marks the end of this session.

Side note: What makes this session important is how my boyfriend was crucial to the story. As Muglupus, he rolled critically, so our characters could befriend the wolves. Earlier, my boyfriend had made a comment about how he wasn’t sure if DnD was “his thing.” I have never seen my boyfriend so excited to have a virtual wolf in the game. I thought it was cute, but also showed him how fun DnD can be.

Act #4 Fighting with Frost Giants

As our characters pulled up to the monastery, we were greeted by monks. They told us a story of these artifact tablets representing light and dark magic. If one of these tablets is destroyed, it puts the world out of balance as far as which magic takes over. The light tablet is located at the bottom of Lake Constance farther north than the monastery. Our characters have decided to find the tablets and either destroy them or give them to the monks for safe keeping.

As we attempt to go to Lake Constance, our group is surrounded by huge Frost Giants. Unlike our previous session, we couldn’t befriend them and we were forced to fight for our lives. Althaea didn’t do a whole lot with them, but was able to deal 8 damage to one with the firebolt spell. Unfortunately, one of the Frost Giants was able to severely wound Mrs. Waffles, my wolf. I had to use my last red vial to heal her, otherwise she would have perished. Our group was lucky because these Frost Giants had up to 68 HP. After looting their corpses, we see fire in the general area where Rose’s cottage was.

Our group goes to investigate and it seems Rose’s cottage has been burned to the ground. There seems to be no survivors. Deep in the ground seems to be footprints from her cottage leading north. As we circle back to the monastery (without the light tablet from Lake Constance), we find Rose was able to make it back to the monastery. She describes her ordeal of being attacked by 20 barbarians. I’m not sure how she was able to make it out of there? In our next session, we will try to secure the light tablet and establish whether or not we will keep the tablets safe or give them to the monks for safe keeping.

Recapping these past two sessions, Althaea didn’t have a huge role in either of them. However, it’s been exciting to see my boyfriend become more involved with the campaign. I’m not sure if he would ever seek out DnD without me involved, but it’s fun for me to see him getting excited about the game. Our next session is next weekend and now that Althaea is a level #5, I’m hoping she will kick some ass while riding Mrs. Waffles.

 

Unstable Unicorns Review

Teeturtle has some of the cutest t-shirts. A couple years ago, I purchased one of my favorite hoodies from them. It featured all of the eveve evolutions jumping through the Pink Floyd Triangle. Unfortunately, I ripped a hole in it and had to get rid of it, but I know if I ever need any more geek hoodies, Teeturtle is the place to go. Recently, Teeturtle has delved into table top gaming by creating their Unstable Unicorns card game. During one of our DnD sessions, a friend brought over the main game with the expansions. Unstable Unicorns is really easy to learn and super adorable.

Basic Unicorn January 2019 .jpeg

I can be basic, but not Pumpkin Spice basic. 

Unstable Unicorns is a game of collecting unicorns for your stable. Every player starts with one baby unicorn. Throughout the game, you can play cards in your hand which could be adult Unicorns, upgrade cards to help you gain Unicorns or downgrade cards to prevent other players from gaining unicorns. There’s also “Neigh” cards which prevent a player from completing their action. The person who has around six to seven unicorns in their stable will win the game.

Unstable Unicorns January 2019 2 .jpeg

The main base game to Unstable Unicorns is perfect for all ages, however, there are expansions which are NSFW. These include cards with swearing, slightly inappropriate art and could be offensive. It’s as if Cards Against Humanity designed these cards. Instead of “Neigh” cards they will be “Neigh, BITCH” or “Neigh Motherfucker.” I find these cards hilarious, but they aren’t for everyone.

Unstable Unicorns January 2019 3.jpg

Probably my favorite Unicorn Card in the game. 

This game is great for anyone who’s a casual gamer and likes really cute things. I liked how quick the game was considering most of my board games I own take hours to play. I highly recommend buying the main game for your next game night.