SpartanNerd MTG Quest update….TOP 8

I finally cracked the top 8 at the local comic book store’s Magic Tournament!  The Hub City was SLAMMED with snow for the past week, keeping me and everyone else indoors, so I spent plenty of time practicing, and it paid off it seems.

Basically, I played two rounds of 2 out of 3 matches against one of the SpartanSmurfs everyday.  One of them had a BEAST of a BNG Minotaur deck, and I was having a hard time with that, and thought to myself…”This is what people will be playing Saturday…”  (nope)

My two deck choices were either the Fencing Ace deck, which I had been playing and working with for awhile, but it always seemed to lose.  However, it would be fresh with some new BNG cards.

But then I thought I would revert to my pre-Return to Ravnica style…MONO BLACK.

Too bad this guy isn’t legal anymore…:(

I had been playing some black devotion.  But I thought it was time to step up my game a little.  One of the slow things about my devotion deck was that it was a “budget” deck, featuring the complete Bogbrew Witch combo.  I had some success with this deck in the last Modern tournament that I played, balancing the activity of assembling the combo and ramping up my devotion with Vampire Nighthawks.  Basically, I ripped all of that out of the deck and added something I never hardly played…Thoughtseize!  I replaced the Witch combo with Nightveil Spector, Herald of Torment, and Slitherhead.  (In place of the Festering Newts.)  BNG added Temple of Malice, so that was four more scry lands I could play.  Then there is the added advantage of having mana available to play cards stolen with the Nightveil Spector.  (The deck is mono black.  But the lands are not.  Unfortunately, there is no green and black scry land…yet…)

After playtesting it for a week because of the weather, I decided to add Elixir of Immortality in place of two of the Slitherheads…A fine choice!  The Elixir proved to be a star of the deck.  Cracking it over and over replenished my life (which I had to pay from playing Thoughtsieze), and it kept my cards playable, refreshing my deck.

I really wanted three more copies of Bile Blight.  I have whined and cried about this already.  I hoped to trade someone before the tournament.  No one had theirs for trade, or no one had one to trade.  BUMMER.  In the end, this would make a difference.

So at the Tangled Web on Saturday, February 15, I brought my black devotion deck.

Here is the deck list.

4 Temple of Malice
4 Temple of Silence
4 Temple of Deceit
1 Nykthos, Shrine ot Nyx
10 Swamps

2 Slitherhead
2 Desecration Demon
4 Nightveil Spector
2 Herald of Torment
3 Pack Rats
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
3 Spiteful Returned

4 Devour Flesh
1 Bile Blight
2 Liliana, of the Dark Realms
4 Thoughtseize
2 Elixir of Immortality
1 Erebos, God of the Dead
1 Whip of Erebos
2 Hero’s Downfall

I also had a sideboard….

4 Duress
4 Doom Blade
4 Dark Betrayal
1 Drown In Sorrow
1 Pain Seer
1 Lifebane Zombie

All evening I played against mostly green and red aggro decks.  I had no problem at all Thoughtsiezeing out Stormbreath Dragons, Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, Archangel of Thune, or Blood Baron of Vizkopa.

One thing that people were playing that they should not, was Courser of Kruphix.  This allowed me to see what was on the top of the deck…

I had one mirror match, where we played until we had to draw.  It was tough…This was a seasoned player, and to see the same strategy basically across the table was an experience.

In the finals, I lost in the first round.  Devastating.  It was my first loss all day.  But it was a good game against an Azorius Sphinx’s Revelation deck.  I think fondly on this match, it was like an ascension…a catharsis.  Here I was playing against a truly great player, and standing him down with devotion for at least one match…I lost in the third game.  How did he beat me?  I didn’t draw Hero’s Downfall when I needed it.  His Elsepeth, Sun’s Champion continued to supply him with fresh 1/1 chumps, that I could have taken care of QUICKLY with a Bile Blight….He also played Supreme Verdict a good bit after he caught on to my game to squash my devotion, and then would have his Elsepeth give him more board presence.

I mean, what good is a NightVeil Spector if you can’t swing with him because he gets removed?  And you can’t use him for devotion because he isn’t there?)

So, I plan on playing at Friday Night Magic this week.  I will use the same deck, but hopefully have a full set of Bile Blight!  There are some other things I might change as well.  Herald of Torment didn’t do anything all night.  I like him, but he has to go.  He is not as good as Nightveil Spector, and he hurts you for one life each turn he’s out.  He is also expensive to bestow.  Maybe I’ll main deck Pain Seer, a weaker version of Dark Confidant….I might swap out the other two Slitherheads for Elixir of Immortality…The Elixir was a surprise star.  I think I might come up with two more copies of Heroes Downfall.  Most of the good players I played knew how to deal with the Desecration Demon.  I like him for the devotion.  And it’s not like he was useless…But most people either dropped a removal spell on him, or said “Let him through…”  Then I usually wouldn’t swing…usually…I also might go back to playing Underworld Connections.  This card helps with the card advantage better than Erebos, God of the Dead.  Did I mention that I got to swing with Erebos a couple of times?  People don’t like that….I also am thinking of adding a couple of secret weapons…aimed at the Sphinx’s Revelation deck.


Well, it isn’t a new strategy or anything.  Plenty of people out in the world are playing black devotion…it is one of the top builds in the world right now!  It is just new to me, and nobody around here hardly is playing it, so…. Fan Poll…The Current DC Comics

You can find the poll I reference throughout this post on until Sunday, February 16th, 2014 at 11:00 PM EST.

The poll asks our opinions about the current comics.  I am one of those (quiet?) people who actually enjoy the new comics, while all around the web people are bad mouthing them.

Here is how I answered the poll questions.  (Everything is a scale of 1-10, 1 being worst opinion, 10 being the best.)

Overall, how do you rate the story in the current on-going DC MOTU comic?

I gave this one a 7.  I appreciate the “secret identity less” continuity they have established.  The Dark Orko thing doesn’t bother me, and I feel it shouldn’t bother so many others.  The idea of “the buffoon” being the big-bad isn’t new, but MOTU fans don’t seem to be aware of this.  They are treating Dark Orko with the dreadful criticism deserved for Scrappy Doo in the Scooby Doo movie.
GO BACK AND READ YOUR ASIMOV, People!  (OK, I’ll lead you there, since you seem blind without me.  Check out “The Mule.”

What I don’t like is that they started the whole thing in an altered reality.  That isn’t a strong place to start.  I also don’t like the way they write Teela.  Hordak is OK, but far too many people have been killed off.  

They’ve beaten the Good Guys down over and over it seems.  There hasn’t hardly been any victory.  And I like my good guys to win in Masters of the Universe.

I almost feel like this whole current main story arc is heading towards a big reset button where the comics will transform into a more comfortable, filmation-esque story.  Everything and everyone reverted back to normal.  Or maybe a part of me wishes that would happen.

Overall, how do you rate the art in the current on-going DC MOTU comic?

II rated this one at 8.  Largely the art has been pleasant.  Some of it has been sort of Avant Garde, even.  (The Origin of He-Man in particular)

The art in this book is very high level.
And I think the hottest Sorceress design appears in this book too!

I don’t like all of the art.  There was one recent issue that I really hated…The one where they enter Subternia.  Nope.  Not my style.  Way too scribbly.

Here’s an example.  And it seemed to decay even more as the issue neared the end.

Overall, how do you rate the story in the current DCU vs MOTU comic?

Remember this post, oh Hub City Geeks?  I was so excited…You’d think I’d give it a 10.  But I give it an 8 instead.

Well…there are a couple of things that are unclear.  Is this story really in the New 52 continuity? It is billed as it is.

What has been happening in the main continuity of the DC Universe is never referenced, hardly ever anyway.  No news of Forever Evil.  And it seems Green Lantern is with the League.  Frustrating.  Didn’t he fly away after the whole mess with David Graves?

A couple of more weak things…Evil Lynn is not so good at deception.  Anyone can see a double cross coming.  Also, why wasn’t Wonder Woman more angry that He-Man killed Superman?  Everyone remember this, from the Old 52?

Shouldn’t more have been made of the Man of Steel’s demise?
As far as I know, this is the first time Superman was killed in the New 52.  I know, I know.  It was an impostor.  Still.  It is notable.

And this has been more of a Justice League Dark story, than a Justice League (regular) story.

Gripe. Gripe.  Gripe.

What do I like?  I like that this story comes right after the Horde invasion, but before the events of Masters of the Universe #7.  It is wedged in there.  I like that Skeletor’s story continues here, and that Dark Orko is revealed here.

(Shouldn’t I have separated my vote from the first question?  I guess I didn’t know they were distinguishing between the two titles.)

I like that Skeletor is gathering lackeys on Earth as well.  At least Black Alice.  And she has been entertaining.

You know what would be great?  In Forever Evil the Crime Syndicate keeps talking about “a being that destroyed our planet.”  What if that being turns out to be…Dark Orko.

I expect Darkseid.  Or someone like that.  But Dark Orko would rectify some of the seeming inconsistencies.  Wouldn’t t be cool if Dark Orko was from the Earth 3 Universe…That would be sick!  I guess we’ll find out when that this month’s issue ships!

(That is totally not going to happen.  DC wouldn’t base their universe on Mattel’s property.  Still, one could dream!)

I guess I should also mention the Unnamed One here.  There seems to be a coincidence.  The Unnamed One is Dark Orko.  And Dark Orko’s origin issue ships at the same time as the Nameless One.  Sorry for any spoilers…But you probably already knew anyways.

Overall, how do you rate the art in the current DCU vs MOTU comic?

The art here is on par with all of the other DC New 52 titles.  I am fairly pleased.  I rated it 9. (It still isn’t Todd McFarlane.)

How are the costume designs for the MOTU characters in the DC comics?

Now here is one I can be 100% behind.  I love the new designs!  It bothers me a little bit about Skeletor not having a bottom jaw, but in the same way the Joker doesn’t have a face, so….

I gave this one a 10.  I hope they make figures of the Masters with these designs as well.  Maybe even a mini-subscription, like they did a couple of times before.

Do you agree with my opinions?  Let me know!  I will have to follow up and compare my votes with the final results.

SpartanNerd Blog…Blog Photos the way they Should Be!

I have a few really nice figures, and am always reviewing them on this blog….

But up until now, I have only used my kitchen table….Or maybe the “Protector of the Keep” playmate for Magic cards or comics.

But not anymore!

The SpartanWife got me an early Valentines present…And I was completely surprised and blown away by it.


Now I can take really good pictures, and edit them like a pro!

Here is a sample!

D Arts MegaMan!

i switched out the armor on Snout Spout last week.
I like my elephant warriors to be more savage!

Teela has proven to be the hardest to photograph.
I think her face is a bit too shiny for the spotlight.  Here I gave here a cooler treatment,
with mystical blue lighting.

Here is Marvel Select Thor, with a black background and a filter.  I wanted an antique look.
I am especially fond of how the hammer turned out.

Skeletor is an interesting one to photograph.  So much detail!  This black and white filter really makes the trio of Panthor, Havoc Staff, and Skeletor feel like they came from a horror story.

A good pic of the details on Panthor’s face.  The Sepia filter makes it feel bronze, or clay even.

One thing, Skeletor’s eyes can hypnotize you if you stare too long at them.
There was masterful design and execution on the face sculpt and painting of Skeletor.

I think this is my favorite picture I have taken with the new equipment.  Nothing too fancy.  But it feels like the cover of a Conan the Barbarian comic book.  I tried to have Vikor hold Teela over his shoulder, but their facial expressions are too calm for that pose to work.  Still, Red is the perfect color to go behind Vikor.

I tried to get a “Catalogue” feel on He-Man and Battlecat here.  

And here he/they are.  Two Bad looks like he leapt off of the comic pages as well.

I have a lot to learn about taking pictures for reviews, and editing them as well with iPhoto or other software.  But I am off to a good start.  The lightbox is a 3X3X3 cube with two spotlights and four background colors.  I have found that sometimes the light reflects on faces a little too much, as in the case of Teela, Mega-Man, and Two-Bad above, but I was able to recover most of the time with editing.  I need to spend more time previewing before shooting, I think.  And also maybe moving the lights back or something.  I also took a few pics right before my iPhone battery died, and I believe that caused them to be a little blurrier. (I took some Pokemon pics that were unusable.)

There are also size limitations.  He-Man and Skeletor barely fit on their cats in the pics.  I cropped down what you see.  But the Griffin is way too big for the lightbox treatment.  And so is Megator, really.

Still, it is a great start and I am having a blast.  Comment on the photos!

(Also check out my recent blurb about Born of the Gods, where I also used the white reflecting material as the background for the cards.)

Oh yeah.  My rating.  The Polaroid Lightbox gets a 5/5!

It folds up for easy transport and storage into a little baggy with pouches for the lights.  It also came with a camera stand that I will have to try out when I use a real camera sometime instead of an iPhone.  I won’t fault it on it’s size.  Really it is perfect for most action figures, and I am a beginner.