Golgari Guild Kit…Guilds of Ravnica…SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review

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I am continuing my series of reviews on the Guilds of Ravnica Guild Kits.  Last week I reviewed the Dimir set.  This week I will review the Golgari.

The front of the box is another window box, this time featuring a foil alternate art of Izoni, Thousand Eyes.  You can see the Golgari pin at the bottom of the box.

The back of the box has three pics that show off some of the product, and some information…and in bold…Let your foes fear the wrath of the underworld.

In the story of the city-plane of Ravnica, there are ten guilds.  The Golgari guild is all about the synergy of life and death.  (Green and Black.) . There are cards about rot and fertilizer and decay.  And cards that show how life is born from this process.  It is the home of insects and gorgons and zombies…and similar.

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The box opens and a transparent tray slides out…this is useless packaging, by the way, for all the effort that went into it.  Here’s what you see.

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And here ate the contents loosed.

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You get, from left to right in a circle…the deck, with the incredible Deathrite Shaman on top, a “pamphlet” with information and artwork about the guild, as well as the all important decklist, a Golgari pin (NICE!), a Golgari symbol sticker, a deckbox, and the foil featured card.

Here is a closer look at the pamphlet.

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The decklist.  SO HANDY.  I know I will be borrowing Abrupt Decay, Golgari Charm, Deathrite Shaman, and so many other of these cards in the future.

Here is a picture of Izoni, Thousand-Eyed, which is big enough for you to read.  AND I feel this art is better than the regular art.  You can see some of Izoni’s figure.

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The Undergrowth ability is OK in decks that load their graveyard easily.  In Standard right now this isn’t that hard with Stitcher’s Supplier, a one-drop zombie that makes you mill cards when he enters the battlefield or when he dies.  (But this isn’t a Standard Deck, and Stitcher’s Supplier is in a different set.)

Izoni might make a good commander, or at least fit well in Maren, Nel Toth’s deck.  (A deck that cares about your creatures dying.)

So what other cards are there?

Here are some pics, with commentary about the most important cards.

First, the rares.

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And I knew all of these cards!  Deathrite Shaman…so abusable he is banned in Modern.  Lotleth Troll…discard cards to pump him.  And he can be regenerated.  Savvra…she wants you to sacrifice your stuff for advantages…and Jaraad, Lich Lord…you can get him back easily from the graveyard.  Abrupt Decay.  At one time the best removal in Modern that wasn’t white.  AND when Tiny Leaders was a thing, this card skyrocketed in price.   And Deadbridge Chant…a card that looks like a creature but is actually an enchantment.

The amount of rares here is impressive, with three of them being additional Green and Black commanders if you want to try and build it…or just awesome things to add to Maren.

Next, the tokens.  Double sided!  One side insects.  The other saprolings.

Next the common and uncommon creatures.

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Also an impressive lineup, with little repetition.  I particularly like Plaguecrafter…who beats Fleshbag Marauder because he also causes players to discard a card.  And good old Stinkweed Imp.  Dredge 5 is broken.

The lands.  Four Golgari Guildgates…duals that enter tapped, Golgari Rot Farm, Duals that enter tapped AND require you to return another land to your hand, with the upside of producing one of each color when you finally get to tap it.  And last…GREEN AND BLACK GUILD LANDS.  (Awesome.)

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As I said in my last review.  The wizards should have reprinted four copies of the shock lands here.  Or at least included one copy.  They wouldn’t even have broken the market.  Those lands are worth about $8.00 apiece.  And they are needed in Modern, and currently legal in Standard.

The last pics of the cards are of the other spells.

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Golgari Charm and Treasured find are the awesome cards here.  Treasured find.  Get whatever card you want back out of the graveyard and put it in your hand.  Golgari Charm does three things at instant speed, and all of them are good.

PLAYING THE DECK

This deck’s record at the SpartanNerd house.

The Minotaur Horde challenge deck.  (One win)

Face the Hydra challenge deck.  (One win, One loss)

Defeat a God challenge deck. (one win)

Dimir Guild Kit deck.  (three losses.  But two of them were close.)

What does this say?  It is a pretty good deck.  In all of these, I don’t believe I have ever resolved Izoni.  Savvra was pretty good, and Jaraad is always good.

The deck has slowness issues because of the bad interaction between bounce lands and guldgates.

Abrupt Decay is a star!!!  And so is Deathrite Shaman.

SPARTANNERD’S RATING OF THE GOLGARI GUILD KIT.

I think it is terrific.  I am a fan of the color combination.  I like the reprints of the legendaries.  You know I felt that Dimir was kind of trying to do to many different things at once.  But this deck wants to attack, attack, attack.  And if something dies, it is probably good news because it will be back, or serve some use.

The deckbox is the same as the Dimir one.  Basic card-board with a top loader design.  Nothing great, but it can hold sleeved cards plus the tokens.

I rate this one a 4/5.  Mostly because of the slowness problem.  And it isn’t even that big a deal here, but there is a Boros one out there…that is where it is going to matter.  Red White just wants speed.  (But I am not reviewing that one…at least yet.)

Do you agree or disagree with me, Hub City Geeks?  Let me know in the comments!

 

(Remember, the SpartanNerd is gauging whether or not to let SpartanNerd.Com go dark, or not.  You feedback is valuable!)

 

 

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Keyforge…SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review

I visited the Tangled Web in Spartanburg, SC, when I was presented with these decks for the first time.  Never heard of the game.  I purchased one for me and the other for the SpartanKid at $10 apiece.  So what’s Keyforge all about?

Keyforge is a new type of collectible card game.  Emphasis on collectible.  Each deck is unique.  When you purchase a deck, you are not supposed to change it.  You are not to trade the cards, or sell them aftermarket as singles.  I was mystified at first of how this can possibly work.  But there are safeguards in place.

But first.  The decks come in little cardboard boxes, which I suggest keeping to store each deck.  Here is the back of the boxes.

You are taking control of the deck as an Archon (a stand-in for Planeswalker), and are battling another Archon in a place called the Crucible.  (Not very original.) . I would like to point out that Richard Garfield designed this game.  So he absolutely has a right to riff on his other little creation…MAGIC: THE GATHERING.

What’s in the box?  Well the decks are sealed in cellophane with a cigarette wrapper.  And this top card is the decklist for each deck.  Both decks have a unique name…”Fatebreaker Brumhilde Landchess” and “Flashgrin, the Conscript of Knives.”  This name also is printed on the back of each card, as well as in the bottom corner.  Daniel Maccabee (the owener of the Tangled Web) explaned to me that in a sanctioned tournament (not happening anywhere yet, ) you would have to have the decklist to prove your deck is genuine and untampered with.

Each deck comes with an identity card as well.  This is where you are supposed to place your “Aember,” which is how you win the game, as well as chains and other counters that the game produces.  Each one is unique, and displays the “houses” that each deck is made of.

(This game requires you to declare a house for each turn…only cards from that house can do anything.  The three houses from  Fatebreaker Brumhilde Landchess are LOGOS, MARS, and DIS.  The three houses from Flashgrin, the Conscript of Knives are UNTAMED, DIS, and SANCTUM.

So here is a picture of the cards from each deck.  The art is reminiscent of FORTNITE, in my opinion.  Not exactly….but cartoony in a similar way.  (SpartanKid dissents from this opinion.  How about you?)

Fatebreaker Brumhilde Landchess

Flashgrin, the Conscript of Knives

PLAYING THE GAME.

This game has a few moving parts.  First of all, the aforementioned houses.  You declare a house each turn, and can only use cards from that house.

The purpose of the game is to forge keys.  (Imagine that…Keyforge…) . If you forge three keys, you win the game.

The battle system is creature on creature…similar to Yu Gi Oh.   You also have Artifacts, Action Cards (sorceries), and Upgrades (Enchantment Auras in MTG).  Everything pretty much takes place on the active player’s turn.  There is no “instant speed” yet in this game.  There is a discard pile, an exile zone, and an “archive” (exiled face down to play).  Oddly, the draw step is at the end of each turn.

The houses feel like the colors of MTG.  There are ten different houses, but me and the SpartanKid only got to experience five.  In short, LOGOS feels like it is blue combo.  DIS feels like it is black sacrifice.  MARS feels like red goblins, UNTAMED feels like green creatures, and SANCTUM feels like white weenie.

I personally think it is novel to have a unique deck…one unlike anyone else’s.  But there were some glaring weaknesses in these two decks.  For instance, I have a DIS card called Sacrificial Altar, where you are supposed to sacrifice a human to draw a card.  But…there are only two humans in the deck.   It seems that the other deck has more doubles, creating a more consistent deck…and plays UNTAMED but is lacking creatures in that house.

I saw where one deck creates Aember more easily by only playing cards.  The other wants you to work extra hard to create that aember.

 

I could see a person getting a great deck…and then another getting a really bad deck.  The great decks will inevitably start selling in the secondary market for a bunch.  The others…they will become bulk.

 

I suppose it is too early, and I don’t have that much experience with this game to really make a rating…I am pleased sort of with the novelty of the idea.  I think this game will probably suffer from some of the after-market problems that other card games suffer from.

 

For now, I am going to rate this a cautious 3/5.  I don’t necessarily feel the urge to play this game that much more often.  On the other hand, if I bought a better deck, I might enjoy it more.  (But that would be $10 more for a product sight-unseen.) . I guess we will see!

 

SPARTANKID’S THOUGHTS.

 

Keyforge, (at least to me) was a blast. it had instantly immersive gameplay, cool art, and not-too familiar but similar mechanics to mtg. as each deck is unseen by the eyes of anybody else, you have something that only one exists of. that, in my opinion, is a brilliant marketing gimmick to get money from players, and occupy them. it worked for me, as i’m loving the fact that they figured out how to mass produce custom decks. Flashgrin, the Conscript of Knives won me the only game i have so far played, and i enjoyed it. my father, i believe, is biased because he thinks i got a better deck, but i did not, my duplicates were basically all in UNTAMED, and so i only had two UNTAMED creatures, and only one of which was even a good card.

 

i rate Keyforge a 4/5, not believing it is 5/5 material like magic or yugoh, but it would still be fun to sit down and play casually (or competitively) every once in awhile.

Guilds of Ravnica Dimir Guild Kit…SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review

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I picked this up at my favorite comic book and games store, The Tangled Web in Spartanburg, SC.  The Tangled Web is the only non-big-box store where you can buy stuff like this in Spartanburg.

Some of the story about this product.  In case you didn’t know, there are five colors of Magic.  On Ravnica, a sprawling city world, there are ten different “guilds” that make up the society.  These translate into two colors for each guild.  So Dimir is one of those guilds, and happens to be Blue and Black.  The Dimir guild is made up of assassins, mobsters, ninja-types, and generally unsavory, seedy people.  In MTG, Blue is the color of drawing cards and control decks.  Black is the color of the evil stuff like zombies and demons and vampires…general horror…including killing things.  So the Dimir guild should be multi-talented at winning you games.

The box is adorned with the Dimir Signet…a spidery symbol.  the back of the box has some very general information, and features the two cards with new art treatment, and a picture of the new Dimir Swamp basic land.

Lets dig in and see what is in the box!

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Once you remove the box, you see this double blister package.  Opening that, you can remove the contents.

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You get…(from left to right)…a “pamplet” about the Dimir guild and decklist, a Dimir themed deckbox, a Dimir themed life counter dice, a nice Dimir pin, a Dimir sticker, the deck, and the premium foil Etrata, the Silencer with alternate art.  (the same on display at the front of the unopened box).

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The Dimir booklet features mostly flavor.  You would have to decode that in order to understand it.  Perfect for a group of spies!  Here is the decklist.  If you read my other MTG reviews, you know I care very much that they include this specific item.  Sure, you can find the contents on the web.  But your collection doesn’t seem complete without a decklist.  Furthermore, it can be handy to have when you organize your stuff.  (The SpartanNerd is anal about keeping his stuff organized.)

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The other side of that features Murko Vosk.  He is a particularly potent vampire.

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I’d like to talk about this deckbox a little bit.  It is just flimsy cardboard.  But thankfully they made it big enough to accomodate sleeved cards.  This is a huge improvement only added fairly recently.  I think the first deck they did that with was the Mind vs. Might Duel Deck, which also used the deckbox formation of the Planechase Anthology.  The lid features a little recess where you can open it easily.  One thing that is different is that this box stands upright.  But that is positive, because people will be collecting these and building “battle boxes,” a sort of Cube where you make these guild kits into duel decks for casual play.

They have made a more solid plastic deckbox for each of the Guilds of Ravnica decks.  But purchasing that is just extra bling for the player who is into that.  This deckbox is perfectly fine!

Lets have a good look at Etrata.

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She can’t be blocked.  You have to shuffle her into your library when she deals combat damage.  On damage, she removes target creature, and the player gets a hit counter.  Three hit counters, and that player loses the game.

This is a great and powerful card.  It hasn’t quite made it in Standard or Modern yet for competitive purposes.  It is very powerful with Helm of the Host, which makes a non-legendary copy that has haste.  Which basically means the turn afterward, if the player has a board presence, then they lose the game if they can’t remove Etrata.

But this deck only has one of this card…really only one of each card in general.  (there are a couple of exceptions.) . And Helm of the Host is from Dominaria, so it isn’t here!

So what’s in the deck.  Here a pictures of the cards, and I am going to point out the most significant cards.  First of all, most of the rares.

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Nightveil Specter is a personal favorite of mine.  I took my first top-8 playing Mono-Black devotion back in Return to Ravnica/Theros block, and this card was a key piece.

Lazaav, the Mastermind is one of SpartanKid’s favorites.  Making him a copy of something nasty is always a hit.

Consuming Aberration.  This is a great card in mill strategies.

Mission Briefing.  This is a new card…a Snapcaster Mage spell that lets you Surveil.  (Surveil is like Scry, but you can keep the cards on top of the deck or send them to the graveyard. where they are more useful or at least out of your way.)

The other legendaries are also pretty scary.  Szazadek, Lord of Secrets gets really big.  Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker makes your opponent mill cards from the top of their library everytime he hits them.

Next up, Tokens.  Double Sided.  (YES!)

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The same flpped over…

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These horror tokens are for Call of the Nightwing, a pretty cool card that creates flying blockers.

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This was the biggest, coolest surprise.  Special Dimir flavored basic Islands and Swamps!  These are fetching a decent price after-market, and are expected to go up!

The Dimir Guildgate sucks.  Dimir Aquaduct…some people love it and some people dislike it.  The Wizards could have given us four copies of Dimir flavored Watery Grave…

Next some creatures

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The best of these is either the Dimir Guildmage or the Moroii.  Dinrova Horror was a hit with Modern Masters Draft.  True story.  I kept looking for this card and was at pack three.  I opened a foil Damnation, which happened to have Dinrova Horror as well.  So I took the foil card.  And then someone killed me with Dinrova Horror.  Good times!

Here are the spells.

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I mean, you might want to Dredge…The deck wants some graveyard.  Surveil is nice…Notion Rain is sort of like Sign in Blood with Surveil attached.  Call of the Nightwing…Syncopate…This is all pretty useful stuff.  And is on flavor with Dimir.  The Dimir Charm…the charms were all pretty good cards.  Dimir Signet.  The Signets are one of the best “mana rocks” the Wizards ever printed.

Playing the Deck

This deck has a little bit of trouble deciding what it wants to do.  I really believe  it wants to mill the opponent.  You are stealing their stuff with Nightveil Specter.  You are getting big stuff like Consuming Aberration and Szasedek.  So it has control . It has evasion.  It has big beaters.  It likes the graveyard.  It wants to mill out your opponent.

That’s a lot of wants.

And yet, at the SpartanNerd house, it has mostly wins.  It beat the Jace (vs. Chandra) duel deck.  It beat the Journey Into Nyx and Face the Hydra challenge decks.  It beat the Second Sun Control deck.  Yet it lost to the Galgori Guild Kit deck.  (A review of that coming later.)

So it has been tested some.  If I have a complaint, it is that bouncelands and guildgates are terrible together.  Your guildgate enters tapped.  Your bounceland makes you return a land to your hand.  If your opening hand has a Dimir Aqueduct and a Dimir Guildgate in it, you might just consider mulliganning.  Because sprirtually, you have no lands.

SpartanNerd’s Rating

Strengths of the deck.  It is a good casual deck.  Lots of flavor.  A good deckbox.  Double sided tokens.  Interesting Guild Kit lands.  A collection of Dimir legendaries, each of which you can use to make a commander deck.

Weaknesses.  This deck can be inconsistent.  And the mana base is really slow.  I’d venture that this deck could stand up in a Modern tournament…if you swapped the Dimir Aqueducts and the Dimir Guildgates for fetches and shocks.  It still would need some more control elements, or mill elements.  Or graveyard elements….you see what I mean.  It is lacking in identity as far as strategy.

So, the SpartanNerd rates the Guilds of Ravnica Dimir Guild Kit a 4 of 5.  If the other guild kits are built the same way, they will make a great balanced Battle Box.  And like I said…it could be fitted for Modern.  (It might not be competitive, but it could work for an FNM.)

Do you agree or disagree, Hub City Geeks?  Leave me a comment of message.  I am writing this review as a part of my decision to return to writing review articles (or not.) . Feedback, please!!!!

SpartanNerd…Returning?

Here’s what’s been happening, oh Hub City Geeks.

My life has been a mess.  And so blogging has taken a back seat.  I have continued to play cards.  And now, me and the SpartanKid can say “slay” cards.  I have won quite a few Standard tournaments, top four-ed a Modern Tournament, and split with a true champion on Guilds of Ravnica Draft.  The SpartanKid took the “Second Sun Control” Challenger Deck, and he also has done well with that in Standard recently.  (Of course that has rotated.  But it was great to see him do well in Standard for awhile.)

I hope to return to the Blogosphere.  But I really need to monetize this blog.  I get tons of hits on my MTG reviews.  Everyday as many as 60 people.  Which is super good, considering I haven’t written anything since April!  (Today is November 17, 2018.) . It costs money to review stuff.  I don’t get free samples or anything like that.  Add to the fact that I have filled up all of my WordPress gigabytes with photos, meaning they want me to upgrade.

It also appears that almost none of my other reviews get alot of hits.  So maybe I will only cover Magic the Gathering?

I purchased two of the Guild Kits and took pictures for reviews.  But I just don’t know if it’s worth it.  I am thinking of reviewing them, and seeing if I can get positive responses.  Also, I have purchased Pokemon, Let’s Go! Pikachu.  I’ll see about reviewing that, and maybe some other Nintendo Switch games.

Anyways, Hub City Geeks.  I am going to try and come back.  Be on the lookout for reviews of Dimir and Galgori Guild Kit decks, and Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu!