Born of the Gods…Event Deck Unboxing and Review (updated 3/30/14)

***Note the update at the bottom!

I have strong opinions about the event deck this time around…

If you have been reading my blog for awhile, then you know that when “Born of the Gods” came out, one of the cards I was most looking forward to was “Bile Blight.”  I attended the pre-release and day of release events.  I pre-ordered a box as well.  Out of all forty to fifty booster packs of BNG that I opened, I only saw ONE BILE BLIGHT!

I instantly began a conspiracy theory.  It was an uncommon…shouldn’t I have been able to pull at least two?  My theory was that they were all locked up somewhere else.  I guess I was right.  They shipped with this EVENT DECK.

OK.  So I seriously thought about NOT buying this event deck when I saw the decklist.  (I have already been playing mono-black and have a lot of the cards in this deck.)  But it came with two bile blight.  And no one I know was wanting to trade theirs…So a partial reason for me getting this was to get the two uncommon cards.

On the upside, I also got an additional Desecration Demon and another Heroes Downfall.

Here are some pictures and my review.  I should have a pretty expert opinion about this deck, because I am playing a much more powerful version.

This is how I bought the deck at "The Tangled Web."  Note the price.

This is how I bought the deck at “The Tangled Web.” Note the price.  $24.99.

A closer look at the box.  What you see is a sleeve over the box.

A closer look at the box. What you see is a sleeve over the box.

The back of the box.

The back of the box.

This message isn't very inspiring.

This message isn’t very inspiring.

The title of the deck is "Underworld Herald."  There is only one card in this deck that fits that title.

The title of the deck is “Underworld Herald.” There is only one card in this deck that fits that title.

Remove the sleeve from the bottom, not the top.

Remove the sleeve from the bottom, not the top.


These fifteen cards are the sideboard. I have never tried to play Cremate. Mayve I should give it a shot. Then there are two more kill spells, “Dark Betrayal” to take out you mirror match I suppose. Durress is like a weak Thoughtsieze. You get two more gifts of Orzhava, and also two junk artifacts, “Staff of the Death Magus.” Lots of filler here, folks.

OK.  So here are the cards.  I removed the "Bible Blights" and "Hero's Downfall" to play in the tournament last night.  That's why they remain sleeved....(in My Little Pony" sleeves.  Shhh..don't tell anyone!

OK. So here are the cards. I removed the “Bile Blights” and “Hero’s Downfall” to play in the tournament last night. That’s why they remain sleeved….(in My Little Pony” sleeves. Shhh..don’t tell anyone!


More cards from the set. Notice the Desecration Demon, Crypt Ghast, and Erebos’ Emmisary. There are five kill spells that have specific types of targets…MAIN DECKED. I thought this was supposed to be a competitive deck?


Here is what else came with the deck. I don’t need to be told that I am a Planeswalker anymore. So I’ll just trash that now. The other things are the divider, the instructions, and the counter dice.


The instructions are just that. They give you general advice on playing the deck. But they also explain a few mechanics to a noob. Note the art. Fated Returned. I guess it looks dramatic….


Here is a close-up of the deck list.  Does this add up to $24.99?  I think so, considering the Desecraton Demon and Crypt Ghast are included.  As well as the Hero’s downfall.  That seems to be right at $20-something dollars.


Why isn’t the spin-down counter Black and Red?

Thoughts on playing the deck

Let’s just get this out of the way now.  There are some really stupid things about this event deck.  I mean, who doesn’t have “Rakdos Cackler” and “Rakdos Shred-freak” in abundance?  Maybe a beginner.  But thats about it.  Also, no SHOCK LAND.  or at least SCRY LAND?  What else is dumb?  This deck wants to push “Mogis Marauders” as a key card.  (When he enters the battlefield, X number of creatures gain “intimidate” until the end of the turn, where X is your devotion to black.)  The problem is the words “until the end of turn.”  Another big dumb thing really is a big dumb thing.  “Fated Return.”  Why in the world is this card in a “competitive” deck.  You will be bloodrushed, burned, over-run, Maze-Ended, or even Sphynx Revved to death before you get a chance to play this card.  Maybe it was meant for Commander (EDH)?  And one more gripe.  Why is there only one Pack Rat?  That card only works in multiples!

What I like about the deck is what I removed.  Bile Blight and Hero’s Downfall.  I will play with adding the other Desecration Demon to my deck, but things are working pretty well without him.  My other two copies are doing the job, in other words.  I also like “Herald of Torment,” which is one of my favorite BNG cards, though it doesn’t really work well.  Maybe it’s me…I don’t know.  But it seems a three-drop flying demon should be pretty good, even if he burns you for one every turn.  (This makes him about the cheapest demon in Magic, I believe.)

I never had Tormented Hero before, and also could use another Crypt Ghast.  Another decent card here is Xathrid Necromancer.

See what’s going on here.  Pack Rat…Tormented Hero…Crypt Ghast….Xathrid Necromancer…kill spells…old common unleash guys

Yep.  This deck lacks direction.

My rating of the Born of the Gods Event Deck “Herald of Torment” is 2/5. *** I took off one point because of the inclusion of a bunch of old cards.  I took another because some of the cards are meant to work with other cards that unfortunately are not included here, causing a lack of focus.  And the final point came off because that spin-down counter isn’t anything close to red and black.  In fact, it is an ugly shade of turquoise.


***Update 3/30/14.   I played five rounds with the deck, vanilla with no modifications tonight.  And totally dominated all five rounds.  I am revising my rating.  3/5.  Where I saw a bunch of cards with no direction, I didn’t count on the strength of Tormented Hero and something bestowed onto him.  He’s a 2/3 for one mana.  That’s beast right there!  My opponents were playing black, so I had to side-out doom blade and Magis Maurauders.  But the sideboard had dark betrayal and cremate, both of which worked very well!

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!)