SpartanNerd Review…Fate Reforged Pre-Release Sealed Deck Experience

Fate Reforged, the second set in the Kahns of Tarkir block in Magic the Gathering, comes out this Friday,(1/23/2015) So naturally the Pre-Release was the weekend prior.  How did it go for me?  Read on, oh Hub City Geeks!

I decided to skip out on the midnight event at the Tangled Web in Spartanburg, SC.  I have played in those kinds of events a few times, and figure I am just too old.  My driving isn’t good at night, and my card playing isn’t either.  At about 3:00, my brain feels like it’s going to melt.  So I figured I would do better at the 1:00 tournament the next afternoon.  (Incidently, the Tangled Web also had a Sunday tournament, but I skipped that one on account of church and some other business.  Ah…Life.)

As in every Pre-Release I’ve been to outside of the core sets, I was handed a box with my materials for building a sealed deck.  The box contained some promotional materials, a “Sultai” button.  (Sultai was the color combination I chose.  Blue, Black, and Green.)  A life counter, four Fate Reforged booster packs, one Kahns of Tarkir booster pack, and a “seeded” pack meant to weigh the color choices towards Sultai.  All this for $25 is a pretty good deal…basically six packs, and a counter, plus the entry fee.  The box has long been in the trash…usually these are flimsy and useless.

But I do have pictures of the best cards of the night, and some commentary         IMG_5470 Here are the rares from Fate Reforged.  (Destructor dragon is uncommon…sorry!)

IMG_5469

And I got these two cards from Khans of Tarkir.  What actually happened was that the Polluted Delta was packed in one of the Fate Reforged boosters instead of a basic land or a gain land.  The wizards said that a lucky few would get a fetch land, I guess I am one of them!

And then the other significant cards…

IMG_5467

I decided to keep my colors as Sultai, so any rare red or white cards were useless.  Kind of a shame, really.  Flamewake Phoenix would surely be a star in sealed deck.

I decided that in my main deck I wouldn’t play Tasigar, the Golden Fang.  I probably made a mistake in that…I played him some in other decks since this tournament, and if you Delve him in, you have a fatty for only one swamp.  His other ability is fun, but because the opponent gets to choose the card from the graveyard to go to your hand, there is an element of stupidity, and I think this is what threw me off of this card for this particular event.  I decided to go with Archfiend of Depravity as my bomb instead.

Below are some cards with battle stories!

IMG_5459

Sandsteppe Mastadon…the fatty of fatties.  He has maybe the best war story of all from this tournament.  Me and my opponent had full board states, with my side slightly better.  Instead of combat, he casted a sweeper, “End Hostilities.”  All creatures, bam.  Gone.  Leaving me with six lands.  And his lands were all tapped.  I only had this card in hand.  I smiled as I drew a forest, and GG!  (I had a 10/10 elephant as a response to that sweeper!)  Moments like this keep you playing Magic.

IMG_5460

This guy was pretty reliable.  But because this is sealed deck, the only non creature permanents to destroy were generally lands.

IMG_5461

The bomb of this deck, Archfiend of Depravity, was pretty good.  He’s a big flyer with non-targeted removal.  Unfortunately, usually the opponent didn’t have but two creatures on the battlefield.  If I was going to fire someone, it would be Sultai Skullkeeper, who causes you to mill two cards when he enters the battlefield.  Guess who got milled more than twice during the tournament…(this big demon, that’s who.)

And one more honorable mention…sorry, no big photo.  You’ll have to look at the collage above.  Archers of Qarsi.  5/2 with defender and reach.  These guys were just good deterrent.  So many people were playing big flyers…the dragons, Wingate Roc, etc.  The archers caused them to hold off.  Which let me find time to get out my bombs.

SO HOW DID THE SPARTANNERD DO WITH THIS LIMITED POOL OF CARDS?

So how did I do?  At the conclusion of round five I had two wins and THREE DRAWS…  Basically, me and a slew of people were all tied after the fifth round, according to the standings.  So all of us were destined for ninth place or worse, and the top eight were locked in.  Sadness!  I gave a half hearted effort and called it a day after losing round six.

I didn’t get an Ugin.  But if I had, I doubt I would have been able to play him.  He would have broken up the creature stalls I suppose.  (I didn’t see an Ugin all day.  Is he real?)

SPARTANNERD’S RATING

I am glad to see dragons in Magic finally.  There have been an odd few every now and then, but they haven’t been a focus so much since I began playing.  The experience of the sealed deck box is OK.  The box leaves a lot to be desired.  The seeded pack did its job, but I probably could have gone red-white/ splashing black with my card pool and ignored Sultai.  (I chose Sultai because I thought the cards were stronger, when looking at the gallery on the Magic website.)

Still, I think this is a weak set.  Maybe even weaker than Born of the Gods from last year.  The dragons are nice, but the uncommon ones are take-it-or-leave-it.  I only saw one rare dragon all night.  He was no chump, but he steered clear of TWO archers.  A weak set that is designed to shake up the Standard environment.  At the Tangled Web, Jeskai is the deck to beat. There may be more diversity ahead.  I have found places for a few of my cards in other decks already, including Tasigur.

I’m a little underwhelmed.  But not too much.  So I’m going to give the set based on my pre-release experience a 3/5.  I have read very little in the way of spoilers, and haven’t played the new Standard yet.  We’ll see if I’m wrong…

Advertisements

SpartanNerd Dual Deck Matchup…”Liliana” vs “Divine”

IMG_0341

Sorry for the break.  I actually have to work.  Anyways, the SpartanKid has been blogging away, and it has been no problem for me to feature him as a guest.  A little cutting and pasting, and it’s magic!

So now I get to tell everyone how awesome Liliana is AGAIN!  There are some decks that we just get…and I just “get” Liliana.

We have played four matches of Liliana vs. Divine.  The angels are just too slow.  While their synergy is very dangerous in certain combinations if they happen to get it right, Liliana’s less mana-hungry deck generally prevents this from happening.  Twilight Shepherd is a problem.  Luminous angel continual threatens to get flying chumps out.  You would think that there was no re-animation in the Divine deck, but Reya Dawnbringer does just that.  And that is sometimes a problem.  Otherwise, Liliana has ways of taking out virtually all of the angels. including Akroma.  Mutilate is just beast, and you can Enslave another angel to block for you.  Lilliana is also pretty good at life gain,  Maybe even better than the angels, with Tendrils of Corruption and Corrupt.  And if you are able to reanimate everything with Liliana, (difficult in this match because the angels are big flyers,) then you have won the game.

Of the four matches between the two decks, Divine has one win, and Liliana has three.

I have been looking into taking the Liliana deck to a modern tournament sometime.  Apparently most of the cards are legal in modern, with the exception of Snuff Out and the cycling lands.  Cool, because more Mutilate and Liliiana cards would be needed.  I don’t know if if it would be competitive against, say, say Pod, or Kiki Jiki.  But still it would be fun.  I have been playing a standard Liliana deck made of lots of discard effects and Waste Not.  It is something NOBODY ELSE is doing.  It’s good to be different.  But Jeskai is the match to beat right now in my meta-game.

SpartanKid Review…MEGA MAN STAR FORCE OFFICIAL COMPLETE WORKS (art book)

This is my 2nd review. It is about the IMG_5444!
This is a great art book!!!!!!!
It has exclusive art, prototypes, etc.
It also has how the artist think!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
On the cover it has exclusive black ace art that looks awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
On the inside it has 2 chapters. 1 is the3rd game, the other 1 is the other2.
It has ANY THING U CAN IMAGINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That ends my 2nd review. BYE!!!

IMG_5445 IMG_5446 IMG_5447

 

IMG_5448IMG_5449

SpartanKid Review…”Golden Furbling”

This is my first review… So if you have any bad comments don’t blame ME. This review is about the RARE gold furbling! It’s very soft & cuddly . I recommend it! If you can find 1! They can only be found in Malaysia! it is better than most Furblings. Guess what it unlocks on the app………….. & u won’t expect it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think it feels like a furball! Its eye-casing is very SHINY GOLD! The ears & feet r TRANSPARENT GOLD!!!!! The eyes r 2 STARS!!! The rest is just GOLD. I rate this 10000000000000000/5!!! The rest is like a normal furbling. This ends my 1st review. BYE!

IMG_9041

IMG_6952

IMG_6894

IMG_2139

SpartanNerd…”Terraria”…a New Addiction

I haven’t been shy about my indifference to “Minecraft.”  I really just don’t get it.

And when the SpartanKids were interested in Terraria, I showed about as much enthusiasm.

Then one day, I saw them playing it.  WOW.  An old school side-scroller.

Only, it’s not.

Terraria is a game I haven’t been able to put down.  The whole experience has had me glued to my iPad Mini.  And I am WAY out ahead of my kids in the game.  Because I just “get it.”

Terraria has an element of Minecraft, where you have to find certain pieces of a recipe and make certain weapons and things.  But there is a strong resemblance to NES style graphics.  The characters all speak in one sentence phrases, but they seem to always be telling you something different.

Something else…I have been approaching this game the same way as I used to approach NES games that I hadn’t beaten.  But in a way, with the “open world” style of the game, as well as the processing power of computers nowadays, a game with 8-bit graphics can seem endless….literally.  And I haven’t been looking at spoilers.  Same as when I was in fourth or fifth grade.  I would talk to my friends about how to do things on games at school.  But it was rare for there to be a guidebook, and the internet wasn’t open yet.

So, I know there are guides online.  But I don’t want to know.  The game has plenty enough spoilers in tips on the load screen.  I want to discover things.  For me, that is the fun of the game.  I have defeated three bosses already, and can’t wait to find out what else I can do.

SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review…Funko Legacy Collection Magic the Gathering “Liliana Vess”

IMG_5393

I go on and on about Liliana.  Maybe I have a problem…I made a deck and did spectacularly moderate at the Friday night magic on January 2…based on Liliana Vess.  I really wanted to show off the card from the Dual Decks Anthology…And I was given the opportunity several times.

I spent virtually all monetary Christmas gifts I received on Magic cards.  And I decided to get a figure for my final few dollars. Lilliana was there, and now she’s here.  Here for you to see, oh Hub City geeks.

So how does the figure of Liliana stack up to other figures?  Read on for more details!

THE PACKAGING

In the picture above, you see Liliana Vess in her packaging.  It is a nice package.  I already talked about Funko PoP! Nicol Bolas, and how his packaging was really great.  Unfortunately, this licensed product went with the Magic the Gathering 2015 Core Set styling, which isn’t bad, but isn’t as good as Funko could do.  However, they may have been restricted in what they could do for licensing purposes.  (who knows?)

Here is the back and sides of the box.

IMG_5395

Liliana is the fifth figure in this line.  I have seen the other figures.  They look good too.  Especially Ajani Goldmane.  Oddly, the Garruk is labeled “Garruk Wildspeaker,” but it depicts “Garruk Apex Predator.”

But this isn’t a review of their figures, is it?

IMG_5396   IMG_5398

One side is a continuation of the window…Not showing you that.  The other has this cool image.

But what is interesting is the bottom of the package.  There are all kinds of warnings here.  The one that sticks out the most to me is “This is not a toy!”  (In three languages)

Mint-on-card collectors will enjoy Liliana in her packaging.  Fans of 2015 Core Set might decide to keep it around.  I personally think all core sets have fallen sort of flat since Core Set 2013.  Oh Well!  (M15 IS BETTER than M!4)

THE FIGURE

Liliana was tied into the box with bread tie things.  They weren’t that hard to remove.  I was surprised to see that the cardboard backing behind her was removable and meant to be a background display for the figure, if you so pleased.  (I guess that was on purpose…)

IMG_5402

I unwired her, and photographed her right away, so you can see what you have.  She is propped in this photo, for your information.  But this is literally her right out of the box, no bent joints or anything.

IMG_5403

As always, I spent some time playing with Liliana before reviewing her…to kind of see how “playable” she is.  She is really stiff.  And I had a REALLY HARD time making her stand.  She seems to have rocker ankle joints, but her “pantsline” (not really pants)  impedes her foot movement at the ankle.  She has double jointed knees, but really you only need one knee to move.  Her legs have to be “just right” in order for them to allow her to stand because of her feet issues.  After awhile, I figured it out…you need to be sure the side of Liliana with the skirt hanging down gets most of the weight.

IMG_5404

Lillian’s arms at first had me fooled.  I didn’t think there were elbow joints.  But then, after playing for awhile, I saw that they were there, but were expertly hidden!  Lilliana’s elbows bend just fine!  Here arm movement is hampered a little by her clothes, though.  She has these draping cloths hanging from her sleeves.  She has what I believe to be the Chain Veil over her left shoulder, and this hampers that arm.  Neither hand can move except at the wrist.  This is fine, as Liliana is casting spells and not wielding weapons.

I really appreciate how good the shoulder straps hang correctly loose at the top…just like in the art on the card.  Lilliana doesn’t have a waist twist.  But instead her torso rotates at the bust, keeping her belly static so she matches the art on her card all of the time.

Like most figures with sculpted hair, Liliana’s head articulation is totally hampered.  You CAN rotate her head, but whether or not you should is the question.  It doesn’t look right, and you risk breaking something.  Fortunately, the hair is soft enough where nothing breaks.  Unfortunately, Liliana is forever staring sort of down.

SCULPT AND AESTHETICS

Liliana is sculpted really well.  At first I thought maybe the bodice was too modest, considering the art.  But after really spending time with the figure, it seems right.  Her clothes are what are most impressive.  The draping pieces of cloth look extra “witchy.”  Her headdress is also dead-on-the-money.  As much as I dislike the way the ankles work, the shoes/boots whatever they are look fantastic.

Her skin is a pleasant tone, marvelously tattooed with purple designs.  Lilliana is depicted showing these tats when she is working magic.  Other times, she just has regular skin, so it seems.  These tattoos figure into her storyline, which I am informed of just a little bit.  I need to spend some time reading MTG fiction to really get it.  I understand there are some good stories out there.

As good as the tattoos look, there is a little bit of paint slop on one of her hands…(sadness)  And it seems like the chain veil could have been handled differently.  Maybe as a separate item.  Maybe even some kind of shiny mesh.  Instead, it is sculpted in plastic and painted gold.  (I thought the veil was silver?)

Thoughts on and Rating of Liliana Vess

I don’t know what to say here.  I am genuinely torn.  Funko Legacy Collection Lilliana Vess has lots of upsides, and just as many downsides.  If the figure is meant to be an action figure, she is sort of like Marvel Select Thor, but not quite as bad.  But as a statue, she is really good, but not as good as a full on statue.  A figure like this isn’t sure what it is aiming at.  It is an adult collector action figure.  And as that goes, it isn’t as good as a Masters of the Universe Classics figure.  And is miles away from Marvel Select Deadpool, (which is the gold standard)  But it doesn’t fall apart and have the problems that D-Arts Cloud Strife and Vincent Valentine have had.  But then the figure has ZERO accessories.  Which has to be a mark against it, considering that Chandra has a fireball, and Ajani has his battle axe.

I don’t think I should rate Liliana Vess at 2/5.  She isn’t that bad.  But she doesn’t get to be a 4/5 either.  The SpartanNerd ranks Funko Legacy Collection Magic the Gathering Liliana Vess at a humble 3/5.  (kind of like that deck I played last night.)

I am going to leave you with some various pictures and a few more thoughts.  It has been a good Christmas Break, reviewing all kids of things, from toys to Dual Deck matchup.  Keep reading, Hub City Geeks!

IMG_5414 IMG_5415

Liliana is one of the few female figures I have.  She makes vintage Evil Lynn feel really outdated.  And Battleground Tella and Liliana Vess must shop at different clothing stores.  Lilliana is of a smaller build, and Teela is “big boned.”

IMG_5416

Here is a match made in…heaven….

IMG_5417

Funko made both of these.  PoP! Nicol Bolas is great.  They don’t feel like they belong together, though.

IMG_5418

IMG_5420

Oddly, Liliana stood very well on Thor’s rock.

IMG_5421

This is TOTALLY the kind of thing we see Liliana doing in the cards…

IMG_5422

IMG_5423

IMG_5424

Here I am, showing off my cards again!  Above you can see the card, “Liliana Vess” in it’s M15 printing and it’s Dual Deck Anthology foil printing.  The bottom picture shows off the other Liliana card I have…Unfortunately, I don’t have Liliana of the  Veil.  (That’s a $70 card!)

The SpartanNerd ranks Funko Legacy Collection Magic the Gathering Liliana Vess at a humble 3/5.  Do you agree or disagree?  Let me know in the comments!