SpartanNerd Reflection…Magic the Gathering Conspiracy Draft


So I have drafted cards about 10 times throughout my MTG career.

And I love to play commander at home free for all style with my two boys….

Mix the two things together and you SHOULD come up with something like Conspiracy Draft, in Theory anyway.


We drafted this game at The Tangled Web (where else?).  The drafting was more difficult this time, however.  There were SO MANY GREAT CARDS!  My first pack had “Squirrel Nest”  “Brainstorm” “Tragic Slip” and “Swords to Plowshares.”  In a pool like that, what do you pick?  And there was a rare! But the other cards are just awesome too.  I chose “Squirrel Nest.”  (Not the best choice.)


You also got to draft conspiracy cards, which could be game changers.  These cards sit in your “command zone” and may or may not have a big impact on the game.  A couple let you add a booster pack to the draft, which tended to confuse things a little bit…an extra pack floating around.


This game offered a few new game mechanics.  The one that hurt me the most was “Will of the Council.”  Your multiplayer game of 4 or five gets to vote on two choices.  For instance, “Bite of the Black Rose” offered you to vote for “Sickness” (All creatures except for those that belong to the caster get -2/-2 until the end of the turn) or “Psychosis” (everyone discards two cards).I would have rather not had either one!  Regardless, I lost the vote EVERY TIME, because someone’s conspiracy card gave them an extra vote.  See how this game works?


Other multiplayer mechanics worked out better for me.  “Parley” was good for me.  I Made a Green Blue deck, and got to play “Selvala’s Enforcer.”  The Parley on the card said that everyone revealed and drew the top card.  The creature entered the battlefield with a number of counters on it determined by the non land cards revealed.  This allowed me to put some scary stuff on the board.  Too bad they didn’t fly.

I thought the game was fun, and would draft it again maybe next month given the opportunity.  My children liked it as well.  But none of us did over-the-top great.

I am going to list the upsides and the downsides of this set, and offer a rating based on that, rather than on my poor skills of drafting.


U*   You get new access to a lot of iconic cards, some of which are Modern playable.  (I don’t know of anywhere that had legacy or   vintage tournaments, at least not nearby.  And if I could afford to play those formats, I guess I could fly!)


U*  It is a Multiplayer Draft.  TOTALLY NEW!  You get to know the other players, as well as yourself, better through this game.


U*  There are a few odd valuable cards in this set.  A foil “Brainstorm” came to everyones attention.  Then there’s “Dack Fayden,” a Planeswalker card just for this set, Legacy, and Vintage.  He is worth $50 currently.  I saw one opened all night at the store.


U*  There is some beautiful new art.  One of the cards, “Magister of Worth,” was given as the promo of rthe night, but the promo and the regular card are absolutely gorgeous.  The regular art has an angel, that reminds you sort of of 1920’s type of style.  The promo is a glamorous classic angel.





D*  Believe it or not, in my “pod” of drafters, there was someone there who this was their very first Magic Tournament.  This guy was a little confused.  Conspiracy isn’t necessarily for new players.


D*  Many of the cards you get are not playable in any formats local to Spartanburg.  We just don’t have Legacy or Vintage tournaments.  And this is true for large swaths of the world.


D*  This isn’t me, but many people who are longtime collectors are complaining that some cards are being reprinted and losing value, etc.  Maybe that’s you, oh reader.


So I came up with four upsides and three downsides.  This set for me gets a 3/5.  If you are good at drafting, maybe you’ll like it better.  If you need old cards like I do, that will make it worth your while.  If you are brand new, this game might not be for you.


What do you think, oh Hub City Geeks?  Leave a comment!

SpartanNerd Movie Review….”Noah”


I went into this movie with a biased opinion shoved at me already….”That is a good movie, but….”  Following the “but” would be “It’s not accurate to the Bible.” or “It was a drama about the people around Noah and the flood.” and even “God isn’t even mentioned in the movie.”


But all of these are true!  That doesn’t make this a bad film.  It is a fantasy.  If you take it as a fantasy grounded in what the Bible and other sources supply, then you can enjoy the movie.  If you can’t have an open mind and allow the filmmakers and actors to have some artistic license, then this film isn’t for you.


So here is my review.  Spoilers ahead!


I saw “Noah” in the cheapskate matinee theater for $2.00.  The picture was clear and clean.  The sound was good.  But there were a ton of commercials and previews before the movie.  TOOO MANNNYYYYY!!!!!!

When the movie finally began, we get a short scene from Noah’s childhood, and we get a brief creation story, which is repeated several times.  I like the nature of this story…It would have been handed down generation after generation in this way orally.  We see it repeated several times throughout the film in varying detail.  Always God is referred to as “The Creator.”  And he is revered and respected by most, in a way that shows paranoid fear….the way early Old Testament folks would have thought of him.  Nothing at all like our loving Jesus.  More like and angry, vengeful, unreasonable God.

The Earth is a very wicked place in this movie.  This is one of the strong things about the film.  Mankind is eating itself, literally.  The people are all presented as barbarians, killing in order to survive.  There are several cities mentioned in the story, but they are all destroyed by their inhabitants or judged by God.  (Apparently.)  The land is barren, with trees cleared away.  And evidently man also doesn’t know how to farm or to raise animals to eat or sale.  (This is a contrast to the Bible…Noah was instructed to take animals for food and sacrifice on the Ark in the Bible.)

There is another starling addition…”The Watchers.”  If you read your Bible, you find that it says “There were giants in the land.”  More in depth study reveals “the Nephalim.”  This film interprets them as fallen angels, cursed to be encased in rocks by God for trying to help Man on his way from the fall in the Garden of Eden.  This becomes an important plot point later.  It is with these Watchers that some of the most creative license is used.  The way they are animated, they remind me of Michael Bay’s transformers.

Noah clearly is presented as a prophet.  He has visions from God, but can’t explain or interpret them.  Here is one of the things that rubbed me wrong…He goes to see his grandfather, Methuselah, (Bible scholars will know him as the oldest man recorded in the word.,) and the old guy drugs him with some tea…tea that lets him see clearly what God is trying to say.  To me, this is a unacceptable insertion of a New Age idea….To me, Noah would have fasted and sanctified himself for days in order to understand God’s message.  But I enjoyed this spin as artistic license, I suppose.

Armed with the knowledge of how God is going to judge the world, he instructs his family to build the ark, and enlists the help of the Watchers.

There is this nursery picture that most people will be familiar with.  The ark on a hill.  The animals walking two by two into the ark.  Etc.  NOT IN THIS MOVIE!  The animals come as a miracle.  a flock of all different birds come flying in.  And Noah and his wife know how to make them sleep for days and days by mixing up some mystical new-age incense.  Here is a spin I never saw coming.  And then the snakes and bugs come, and then the mammals come.  They all get pacified so that they are no trouble at all for Noah and his crew.  A truly different spin on one of the big problems to solve in this story.

After the animals arrive, the other humans of the world enter as a big problem.  Tubal-Cain, the “king of the world,” threatens to take the Ark.  The Watchers have Noah’s back, so that’s that.

Noah has three sons…Shem, Ham, and Japeth.  The film portrays Ham as the worst son.  He wants to have a wife.  Noah can’t find a wife for him.  And when he sees how bad things are in the “cities,” now mobs of violent hungry people, he takes it that God wants all of men to die out, including him and his family.

Long story short, right as it starts to rain, Ham is trying to find a woman, Noah causes him to leave her to be trampled by the horde of people moving on the Ark…Everyone except Noah and his family make it on the Ark…ut Tubal-Cain becomes a stowaway.  He takes a new role as the devil for Ham, who wants  revenge against his father.  Tubal-Cain also does the forbidden, in killing the animals and eating them, (causing extinction.)  Shem’s girlfriend (played by Emma “Hermione” Watson,) is pregnant, Noah thinks he has to kill the baby, (Turns out to be twin girls..wives for his two children who have no female companionship.)  The climax of this drama, Tubal-Cain tries to kill Noah, manipulating Ham…right as the children are born and the rain stops.

The movie really builds a strong climax…

I never think about the character of Noah as a negative kind of guy.  Certainly, he wasn’t perfect.  But this film shows him as losing his sanity, he has it in his mind to kill those babies.  And the mvid does everything in it’s power to build that tension to a head.  When you think the knife is going into that babies head, you actually see it go down, but Noah kisses the child instead, and at the end bestows his blessing on the two children.


Rating this movie is hard….As Hollywood’s secular take on Noah’s story as a fantasy and drama, it has to get a 5/5.

But taken as a Biblically sound movie, it gets a 2/5, the 2 points comes for great acting and special effects.  I took my 8 year old SpartanSmurf #2…And I knew that I was going to have to do a lot of explaining about the truth and the artistic license in this film.


Overall, I liked it like I like “Star Wars” and “Avatar.”  Not like I like “The Bible” TV series, or “The Passion of the Christ.”  What do you think, oh Hub City Geeks?  Am I being fair and accurate?  Let me know!


SpartanNerd Unboxing, Playtest, and Review….Journey to Nyx Event Deck

All week I have been preparing for a modern MTG tournament at The Tangled Web, the only local comic book and cards store here in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

The only problem…when I got there..I found out it was a STANDARD TOURNAMENT!

So no “Amulet of Vigor/Primeval Titan” action for me…and furthermore, I hadn’t brought a suitable Standard deck!

Luckily there is a product for one such desperate weekender as me…an EVENT DECK!

(Many thanks to the store owner for knocking a little off of the price for me in my situation.  It was much appreciated, and I implore ANY reader to find this store and shop from there.  They are very nice people.  And the community of Magic players there are very competitive, generally kind, welcoming to new people, good sports, and challenging opponents as well.  You people who don’t live near here only WISH you were so lucky to have such a thing near you to regularly express your nerdery!)


All that said.  Here are pictures, and my review of the product!

Here it is.  Fresh in the package just before opening.  (It is sitting on my angel playmat.)

Here it is. Fresh in the package just before opening. (It is sitting on my angel playmat.)


2 box unsleeved

This is what the box looks like unsleeved.


3 box back


4 uninspiring message

You get this rather un-inspiring message…the deck is titled “Wrath of Mortals.” REALLY! (MTG has a famous card, “Wrath of God,” which supposedly destroys all creatures with one big move.) So this is kind of a lame title. Wrath or Mortals.


5 spindown counter

I’m glad the life counter actually matches the deck this time. (If you have been reading my blog, you know it kind of bothers me when the dice doesn’t match!)

7 divider

You get this divider

8 inserts

And these two pieces of paper. You know what is going to happen to the one on the right?


9 decklist 10 thaumaturge art 11 Harness By Force art

These three images show the important stuff on the papers.  Note the DECKLIST!  I really enjoy the art from “Journey Into Nyx”  That’s why I’m showing you this!


12 creatures

Here is the suite of creatures you get.  These are really good creatures, in general.  There are a few that I generally sided out, or just plain took out before the match.  More on that later.

13 chimera 14 Guttersnipe 15 YP


These three were the best creatures.  Especially “Spellheart Chimera.”  I have actually made a deck for SpartanSmurf #1 featuring this card before.  He wouldn’t ever play it…(he said he didn’t like the way the chimera looked…ingrate!)  But when I saw this in the deck at a full four copies, and that “Young Pyromancer” and “Guttersnipe” were in here, I knew that this wasn’t going to be an entirely new thing for me after all!  For once, it seems an event deck has a solid strategy!


16 Ogre 17 Aetherling 18 Daring Thief 19 Oracle 20 BThaumaturge

For this deck, I could take or leave these guys.  “Aetherling” is a great card always, and he got me one win.  I never saw “Ogre Battledriver” all night.  I actually added more “Battlefield Thaumaturge.”  But he isn’t all he’s cracked up to be.  Usually he would get burned off before you could use him.  And this deck has a curious lack of “strive”cards to allow his first ability to work.  You also probably won’t ever get his heroic to trigger in this deck.  There isn’t even a single aura spell in the deck.  “Daring Thief” was always killed off before he could untap.  I only saw “Oracle of Bones” once all day.  I did get a free burn spell out of him!


21 Chandra Phoenix

“Chandra’s Phoenix” is almost more burn spell than creature!  Too bad you only get one.


Now for the instants and sorceries.

40 edited sorceries

The most notable of these is “Lightning Strike.”  You get four full copies.  But it is rather generic.  The most fun is probably “Searing Blood.”  I mean, a card like this is really format warping.  Creature burn with player burn all for just two red…amazing!  Great for hitting those mana elves.  I was pleased to get a copy of the red board sweepers, “Mizzium Mortars” and “Anger of the Gods.”  I never saw “Steam Augury” all day.  But “Divination” was a star!

(“Searing Blood” is comparable to “Bile Blight”, in my opinion.  A card that really discourages chumps.)

Now for the lands.  This is where the trumpet says “WAA, Waa, waa.”

34 Land


Nope.  You get slow-butt guildgates for mana-fixing.  They might as well have just given us 4 more islands.

This is one of the areas where Event Decks in the past generally drop the ball as well.  The main deck cards are pretty good, so I guess they decided to skimp in this area.  Don’t want you to be too successful.

This deck came with a sideboard as well.

35 Sideboard

I sided in every card here at least once, except for “Izzet Staticaster.”  Not really sure why he is here.  I guess to flash in and block someone but not actually hurt them.  I think I will change this card to “Goblin Electromancer” when I get the chance.  The Elixir is always a star.  Basically, I swapped out the Battlefield Thamaturges whenever I sided, as well as “Ogre Battledriver”, “Aetherling”, or anything else that I only had one copy of and switched to a more “control” game.  It is hard to straddle the fence, though, playing burn and control.  The upside is, the “Spellheart Chimera” got to be a surprise big flyer a few times.  Too bad his toughness is only 3.  This makes him susceptible to being killed by bigger flyers, namely “Stormbreath Dragon.”


36 what I changed out

Before I began, I asked my opponent to oblige me in letting me get my head around the deck.  I had a few minutes to “improve it.”  First thing I did was swap two guildgates for “Mana Confluence,” which was in the modern deck I intended to play.  Next I added two more “Battlefield Thaumaturges” from my trade binder, and added “Keranos, God of Storms” and “Niv Mizzet, Dracogenius” from SpartanSmurf #1’s trade binder.  I can’t remember what I swapped out….  Regardless, I was wrong about Battlefield Thaumaturge.  He sucks in this deck.  Maybe not some other deck.  But this one isn’t a place where he shines.  Keranos was good.  He got me at least one win, but I never had my devotion high enough to make him a creature.  Niv Mizzet got me two wins.

Adding these cards got me some attention.  People said “Really?  That comes in the Event Deck?”  But I had to set them straight that I modified it so that I could have a fighting chance.

This deck performed well against green decks that depend on “Elvish Mystic.”  It did well against a Dimir deck that tries to mill you to death and hit you with “Consuming Aberation”.  It did well against red-green at least once.

The deck didn’t do well against “Courser of Kruphix”, who pretty much takes away your burn advantage.  It also didn’t do well against “Prophet of Kruphix,” who makes it so that your opponent can always respond to what you are doing and gives every creature flash.  So Kruphix is the enemy of this deck, it seems!  Also “Stormbreath Dragon” did pretty well against it, but I was able to “Fated Conflagration” him more than once, as well as a “Palukranos, World Eater” once.  Surprisingly, I didn’t see a Black Devotion deck for the entire tournament!

At the end of the day, I had five single wins.  Which means I went 2 wins 3 losses.  Not bad for a deck I never played before, and just bought so I could have something to do instead of pout about bringing the wrong deck.


The JOURNEY TO NYX Event Deck gets 3/5.  I took a point off for a poor mana base.  The other point comes off because Battlefield Thaumaturge would probably be better replaced with “Omenspeaker,” who at least lets you Scry 2.

Do you agree?  What would you rate the Journey to Nyx Event Deck?  Let me know in the comments!


SpartanNerd On Card Review…Masters of the Universe Hot-Wheels and Matchbox cars

I teach in an elementary school…so my toys are welcome!

I have a habit of opening most things I buy, but I decided to keep these cars on card.  Notice I didn’t say “Mint On card.”  No the packages are a little banged up etc, and they were when I got them for that matter.


These cars hang on my office wall, and the students really enjoy looking at them.  In the past I have also displayed my 200x He-Man with Iron Cross Variant MOC as well.

Here are some pics of the cars I have.  The Matchbox cars were purchased on clearance at Wal-Mart or Big Lots, and the SpartanWife got the newer Hot-Wheels for me for Father’s day a few years ago.

cars all six

Here is my complete collection. I hang these on my office wall.


matchbox back hot wheels back

The backs of the cards…The Hot-Wheels (right) shows off the other cars in the line.  Too bad I don’t have more of these!  On the other hand, the front packaging of the Hot-Wheels cars is more boring, featuring the same “He-Man on Battlecat” art for each different car.  The 200x Matchbox cars show a picture of the car’s corresponding figure.  But the back of that package is bland, only showing you the same sentence in multiple languages.  The good thing is that you get to see what that mini-poster looks like…(top right.)

cars 6 logo cars 5 eternia

The orange car features the Masters of the Universe logo.  The truck features side-panel art of the three towers.  I would point out that the current MOTUC ideas really show a desire to bring out the three towers, though there doesn’t seem to be any official way for them to happen.  This little car is another example of that.  Anyone else notice that He-Man is wielding his axe in his LEFT HAND!

cars 4 manat cars 3 strat

cars 2 he cars 1 skele


I decided not to remove the price tag stickers for fear of tearing the print from the card.  That poster bugged me for a long time.  It never occurred to me to see what it was a pic of by looking at the back of the box!  But I was strong.  I never opened it!  I like how the He-Man has that Iron Cross on his chest…just like my Mint On Card figure!  I like how Skeletor gets the Limo!  That fits him soooo well!  Man-At-Arms gets the armored tank also.  But Stratos’ and He-Man’s choice of car are more puzzling.  Why not make Stratos have a plane?  That totally could have happened.  He-Man gets a Sedan?  Really?

Overall, I enjoy looking at these.  I am always finding something new.  Did anyone else notice that the Matchbox cars are facing the opposite direction of the Hot-Wheel’s cars?  See…I have really studied these things!

I rate them…On card…4/5.  Mostly because He-Man gets a Sedan, and not a Monster Truck, or Dodge Viper, or some other muscle car.  Nope.  His is Cab Forward Design.  And Fuel Efficient, of course, with 30 MPG (Hwy miles.)


What would you rate them?  Let me know!