Toy Review…….Battle Cat (Masters of the Universe Classics)

I’ve had Battle Cat for awhile now.  I play with it about as much as I do He-Man from the same toyline.  Which is to say, not much.  He is more of a display piece.  It is fun to set him on the table while playing Magic cards, however.  Maybe add a further fantasy element to the whole thing.

So here’s what I think after all this time.

Battle Cat is HUGE.   The regular figure size is closer to 7 inches.  So Battle Cat, who is classified as a “beast” is scaled to look right with a 7 incher sitting on him.

Let me just say.  This figure is OVER THE TOP!  The sculpt is marvelous.  The articulation is good.  and I mean, WOW.  Mattel and the Four Horsemen really did this thing right!

Battle Cat probably weighs about a pound.  He came in a “window box” package.  And since I just usually throw that part away, I don’t have any pictures.

I guess I’ll start with him naked.  Lot’s of articulation to explore.

Is it cold in here?  Or is it just you?

His jaws move.  His head turns, apart from his neck.  His neck moves up and down.  He has “torso” articulation in the middle. His tail moves on a ball joint, so you can pose it any way you want.  His shoulder and hips move back and forth.  His back legs have knee joints (hinge style), his elbows have a ball joint.  He has two shin pieces on the back legs.  And his feet are on ball joints, that also have a hinge.

Needless to say, you can pose Battle Cat any way you want just about!  Unfortunately, the naked Battle Cat still doesn’t look like cringer.  He’s too serious and menacing, with those big teeth and that angry look in his eyes.

The Third Commandment.  No animal shall wear clothes

Put some clothes on!  Seriously, Battle Cat comes with the same two armor pieces the vintage version came with.  A helmet, and a saddle.  Now, my first instinct was to try and make the saddle fit all the way up on the cat’s shoulders.  But apparently, that is not ever how it was supposed to look.  He-Man sits back closer to Battle Cat’s flanks  on this toy, as opposed to the more central position on the vintage version.  This means a big chunk of armor hangs over the tail, which actually makes sense if you think about it.  This makes the saddle a loose fit.  If you try and put it on closer, though, it is almost too tight for the belt to work.  The helmet fits snugly and looks cool.  I hope I put it on right.  I heard Eamon O’Donahue flipping out on the Roast Gooble Dinner podcast about people not putting the helmet on straight!  (the link is not to the specific episode)

So, do I have any gripes.  I mean, it took me awhile to figure out the correct way to put on the armor.  I think it looks better the way it is supposed to be, but at first I was trying hard to make it look like the vintage.  And here is my second complaint.  Battle Cat is a weakling!  seriously!  The helmet weighs enough to make his head droop.  In fact, it droops without the helmet on.  That neck joint is kinda loose.  There are two little “stirrups” on both sides of the armor.  I call them stirrups because that is what they are.  But Mattel tried to play them off and say that they were places to put extra weapons.  That’s a load of BS.  Kind of like the reversed forearms on Stinkor being a design choice.  I smell a rat skunk.

So what do I rate this figure?  I give Battle Cat a 4/5.  Over time his neck has gotten looser, and so have his other joints.  😦   Still, his sculpt is superb.  And He-Man feels complete riding on Battle Cat.  If only I had a Teela to sit on the back.  (I think I heard that she doesn’t fit anyway.  Oh well.  I have no fe-male figures to try out.)

“Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore'”

Dragon’s Maze, Magic the Gathering Trading Card Game Review

I got my pre-order in for a Fat Pack of Magic The Gathering Dragon’s Maze cards on Wednesday at Mad Max’s Comics and Games, and picked it up after work on Friday, as I was permitted.  I also bought the pre-made Azorius deck that goes with Dragon Maze.  Me and my two boys played “Booster Draft” with the included 9 booster packs from the Fat Pack.  Last night I tweaked that Azorius deck.  Here are my thoughts.

Booster Drafting was kind of hard….we only had two “mythic rare” cards.  Also the “rare” cards were also scant.  Each pack come with a guild gate, and it seems that each of our packs also came with at least one “cluestone.”  (Similar to the “keyrunes” in the previous two sets.  Basically throwaway cards.)
But after we got going, and pulled the cards we wanted, I can kind of see what is happening here.

You see, “Dragon’s Maze” is a kind of set meant to overturn the applecart of the previous two sets.  For instance, in my experience, Azorius was kind of weak.  Detain was great, until, you couldn’t detain.  Then you were screwed.  The creatures tend to be smaller and detain tends to trigger only when the creatures enter the battlefield.  So people playing against Azorius kind of knew what to expect.  So the Dragon Maze comes along, and adds more detain, and gives a few more larger creatures to play.  BAM.  Forget that janky three-color mess.  Azorius is strong enough on its on.

For Simic, evolve never really took off.  It was OK to add to your already working green deck, but didn’t seem to be a strategy that worked on its own.  Dragon’s maze is set to fix that.

Boros was too strong.  So in Dragon’s Maze, most of the cards that are worth anything seem to be more expensive to cast.  Hence, a way that some other guilds might be able to get out front.

How about some other things of note….I believe the new “Maze’s End” legendary land is rediculus.  Come on.  Really?  Control 10 gates with different names, you win the game.  Did anyone try and play “Hellkite Tyrant” in Gatecrash?  So you load your deck up with keyrunes and other artifacts, you might be able to build up to 20 if the other players play artifacts.  When you control 20 artifacts, you win the game.  Maybe this card will work in Commander?  Otherwise, there is just no way.  And that is my feeling with Maze’s End, except that there are no legendary’s (in my knowledge) that are five color.

So this card is there just so you can say you have one, I guess.

Also, this time each guild gets a legendary creature to run the maze.  We pulled exactly two of these out of the booster packs.  One kid got the Gruul one.  The other got the Izzet.  Neither seemed that great to me.  Maybe time will give a different answer.  Since I bought the Azorius deck, I have the foil Azorius legendary.  She detains creatures of four converted mana cost or less.  By the time you are on turn 5, which is the minimum for casting her, an opponent likely has a fatty out. So, it works good against the weak cards…..not the endgame cards.  At least she has protection from red!

Fuse is another different idea.  Now you can cast a split card as a single play.  “Turn” and “Burn” for instance.

I like it so far.  Of the three, “Return to Ravnica” “Gatecrash” and “Dragon’s Maze,” I would say that “Gatecrash” was the best.  It got me thinking more aggressively about the game, with Boros and the “battalion” ability finding synergy with “exalted” and “haste,” and Grull with it’s crazy aggro “bloodrush” ability.  I suppose “Dragon Maze” is so far my least favorite of the block.

“Chronic Flooding”  (It has rained gallons lately!)