SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review…Magic the Gathering Modern Event Deck

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Nobody panic!  The SpartanNerd purchased something he originally said he had no interest in!

But there is a story…

First of all, I didn’t pay $79.99.

I am going to take a moment to talk about how wonderful the folks at the Tangled Web Comics and Games are in Spartanburg, SC.  I came to their store yesterday with two cards to trade, Inkmoth Nexus from the French Event Deck I recently purchased and reviewed.  I won’t divulge the details of our trade.  But these decent folks made sure I had a good deal.  This was the last copy of the event deck they had, and I needed five of the cards in the deck.  As well as I didn’t have the sword or the Elspeth.

The Tangled Web is just good, small business.  They are forever nice.  And reward their loyal customers.  Daniel, Anna, Danny, and Josh, this is a shout out to you.  Thanks for being so nice!  I have visited a ton of different similar shops and gaming places, but The Tangled Web stands a head taller than everyone else.

I have done tons of reviews of event decks since I began the SpartanNerd blog.  And I purchased all of them from the Tangled Web except for the French Event Deck.  Links to some of my reviews are below.

M14 Event Deck

Theros Event Deck

Born of the Gods Event Deck

Journey Into Nyx Event Deck

Dark Ascension Event Deck (French)

So, back to the review!

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This event deck starts off like any other.  With some inspiring information of the back.  This time what is different is the cover sleeve feels like an essential part of the packaging.

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Removing the sleeve reveals this SICK box.  It has foil detailing.  I thought it might be a bait and switch kind of situation, like you might encounter in some Magic products, where there is some kind of cardboard spacer or something.  Nope.  This box is a solid two piece construction.  I think I will get a lot of use out of this box!

The top slides right off, and this is what your see.

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Notable…this deck comes with sleeves!   The life counter features the Modern Event Deck Set Symbol on the #20.

This time you only have one piece of paper.  Finally, reason prevails!  No general guide to playing Magic.  A person doesn’t just walk into a Modern tournament without a deck, never having played Magic before, and drop $50+ on a product they don’t even know how to play!

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Here is the ever-important decklist.

I am going to go through the cards, with comments.  I have been hesitant to purchase this product because I had so many of the cards anyway.

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I had these cards already.  The Tidehollow Sculler is similar to the Brain Maggot.  He has stronger power and toughness, but at white and black in the cost, he is harder to cast.  I recently encountered Soul Warden when playing against a deck called “Soul Sisters.”  Basically, mostly female characters that amount to little advantages, as well as some “hate bears.”

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Path To Exile…One of my main reasons to purchase this.  I recently won a copy.  I need them for my Esper Control Deck.  (I will cover that deck later.)

Inquisition of Kozilek.  Another big reason for me to purchase this deck.  Basically a Thoughtsieze effect, with a restriction that the discarded card has CMC of three or less.  Think how much better than Gitaxian Probe this is.  Of course, that is a cantrip, but still, if you put this in your Rack deck, or Waste Not deck, then you didn’t have to pay the two life for Thoughtsieze as often for the same effect.  And then you might know if it is worth Thoutsiezing.

Shrine to the Loyal Legions…the first true White Weenie card in this deck.  The Soul Warden and the Tidehollow Sculler are the only real creatures in this deck.  Everything else is spells that generate tokens.

Lingering Souls…a wildly fun card.  I already had four copies, and made that the base for my Esper deck.

Honor of the Pure…an anthem effect.  You could put the Spear of Heliod here for an even better effect, and with he added bonus of removal.

Intangible Virtue…this card was insane during the Innistrad block!  One of the best cards I remember from when I started playing Magic.

Raise the Alarm…another chump token generator.  Again, a card I didn’t really need.

Zealous Persecution…a great way to suddenly boost your white weenie army’s power, while at the same time weakening your opponents creatures.

Spectral Procession…I only had one copy of this card before.  It is just right for this deck, which is really a white-based deck.

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I didn’t have either of these cards.  I like how this Elspeth has a lower mana cost than the more recent one.  But she isn’t as good either.  She’s still pretty good.  She can suddenly pump one of your guys and give him flying.

The sword is broken.  It always has been!  I didn’t own this card either.  The Sword and the Elspeth are a good portion of the value in this deck.  Both cards are around $15 dollars apiece.

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The lands…I already had four copies of Caves of Koilos.  This is being reprinted yet again in Origins, so I don’t see that much value.  I only had two copies of City of Brass, neither of which had as good of art as featured here.  So that’s good!  (I like City of Brass better than Mana Confluence.  Mostly for flavor reasons.)  I only had one Isolated Chapel, a buddy land.  I had Vault of the Archangel,  but I didn’t have Windbrisk Heights.  That land is a great source of on-the-battlefield card advantage in this deck.  Then there are five plains, all of the same art, and three swamps.  Same art.

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This deck, like all of the event decks I have reviewed, comes with a sideboard.  The question is, what metagame is it addressing?  Here are some ideas.

Dismember can take out indestructible things.

Kataki, War’s Wage is meant to slow down Tron and Affinity decks.  Burrenton Forge Tender is meant to cost a burn player two cards.  (if you play both copies.)

Relic of Progenitus will shut down Lingering Souls and Unburial Rites.  It is also good against a mirror match, (concievable!)

And then Durress, a general thoughtsieze effect, but it can’t get creatures.  Good against Planeswalkers, burn spells, etc.

For the first time ever, I get to review how a deck plays before ever playing it!  I guess I’m a little late to the unboxing party!  I have faced this deck a few times in tournaments, with occasional slight modifications.

The way this deck works is, “overrun your opponent.”  Get lots of chump tokens on the field.  Use the Lingering Souls to block flyers.  Reach critical mass, get the sword on a flyer, and GG.  The Soul Warden works against burn.  The Intangible Virtue doubles the effectiveness of your creatures.  And then the anthem effects are very strong.

The Elspeth is dangerous.  Many times I have seen players substitute the newer Elspeth, Sun’s Champion.  And it’s possible to slide in a large creature, usually an angel.

I have beaten this deck a few times…probably more than I have lost to it.  It is weak against a turn one Thoughtsieze.  It has no response to Blue…it hopes to move faster than blue.  But you can easily remand these spells, and then prepare for them.  The creatures don’t have haste…so you get a second to remove them.  It becomes a race against green.  Sometimes it can beat green with a larger number of creatures.  And green doesn’t have too many flyers…

SpartanNerd Rating of the Magic the Gathering Modern Event Deck…

My colors are white and black.  This deck is mostly a “White Weenie” strategy, but it is a pretty strong take on it.  I don’t have many gripes about it in that respect.

The box is excellent.  It came with sleeves and an exclusive spin down counter.

If I have any complaint, it is that there are no foil cards in this deck.  I love me some foil.  But this really isn’t enough to take a point off.

So I am going to give it a 5/5.  It is the best event deck I have seen, except maybe the French thing.

Do you agree or disagree, oh Hub City Geeks?  Let me know in the comments!  And go by and visit the Tangled Web sometime!

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SpartanNerd Vintage Unboxing and Review…”Obscure Ascension” Magic the Gathering Event Deck (Dark Ascension, French)

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The SpartanNerd has been on vacation!  In case any readers haven’t figured that out!  I have been shopping at places not local to Spartanburg.  I was looking for things I have never seen, or can’t get here.  No luck in some cases.  For instance, I would like a Star Wars Black Darth Maul.

At White Widow Games in Myrtle Beach, SC, I came across this gem.  It is the Dark Ascension Event Deck, only entirely in FRENCH!  A truly unique find.  And only $20!  Maybe the only one in South Carolina.  SEALED!  I have reviewed many Magic the Gathering Event Decks… Keep on reading to see how this one measures up!  This is the oldest event deck I have ever reviewed.

“Obscure Ascension” means “Dark Ascension.”  I have limited, and generally negative, experience with the French language. Just some singing in college that kicked my butt!  Interesting that the word “Obscure” equals “Dark.”  But that kind of makes sense, right?  The French would probably only use “dark” for absence of light, rather than meaning “mysteriously evil.”  One thing I picked up from the study of foreign language, is that English is just about the only language to have tons of different meanings for the same word.

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The back has all of this French wording.  I have no idea what it says.  Probably similar to what is on the back of the other event decks I have reviewed.  “The right deck for now.  Jump right in…this deck is competitive.”  They generally aren’t, however.  This deck is actually titled “Flammes Espiegel.”  “Flames of Joy,” or “Flames of Glee.”  Something like that.

So it is a burn deck.

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You get the exact same crummy box that the other event decks come in.  As much as I am down on them, I use them!  Here you can see what it looks like on the inside when you first open it.

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Here are the contents.  A deck with a sideboard, two pieces of paper…one a guide to playing Magic, and the other a guide to playing this deck.  Both in French, so I can’t read them.  Then there is the handy divider and the life counter, which has the Dark Ascension expansion symbol on the number 20.

I just threw away the guide to playing.  It probably says “You are a planeswalker!” in French.  I don’t have to be told that anymore!

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This deck is a mono-red deck.  A little odd..most of the Event decks I have reviewed are two color decks.  There are 21 mountains in this deck, each with the word “Montagne” across the top, and the text “Terrain de base: montagne”.  The lands are the same lands from the Innistraad block.

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You get five utility lands, including…WHAT’s THAT?!!!  “Nexus des enormities”…Where have I seen this…?  KABAAM!

“Ink moth Nexus.”  TWO COPIES!  Basically one of the greatest “man-lands” ever printed.  You can pay one colorless to transform it into a 1/1 flyer with infect.

These two cards make the deck TRIPLE THE VALUE of what I paid for it!  So, the SpartanNerd is a happy boy!

The other three lands are “Haunted Fengraf.”  You can pay three, sac the land, and return a creature to your hand.

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The creatures in this deck…I will just tell you who they are and what they do.

Forge Devil, top left.  When he enters the battlefield, you take a damage, as well as target creature.

Goblin Arsonist, top middle, When he dies, target player loses one life.

Top right, Flameslinger Goblin. tap him to send one damage to target player.

Goblin Gaveleer, bottom left, he gets an extra +2/+0 for each equipment attached to him.  He also has trample.

Torch Fiend, bottom middle, pay a red mana, sacrifice him, and destroy target artifact.

Hellrider, bottom right. the largest creature and about the highest mana cost in the deck.  He sends one damage to target player for each attacking creature.  He also has haste!  Not currently a valuable card.  However, back close to the time Innistraad block was about to rotate out, he was fairly valuable.  About a twelve dollar card.

So studying the creatures reveals to us that this deck is not only a burn deck, but almost a a Goblin Tribal deck as well.  And the creatures here exist for the sole purpose of smash, destroy, and damage.

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The other main-deck spells are…

Infiltration Lens, top left, whenever equipped creature becomes blocked by a creature, draw two cards.  An artifact equipment.

Faithless Looting, top middle, draw two cards, then discard two cards.  This one’s french name almost threw me…”Pillage sans foi.”  My thought was “Pillar of Flame.”  But that didn’t seem right…as the art didn’t seem to indicate it.  So I looked it up.  This is the card that really helped me figure out how to translate the others!

Goblin Grenade. Top right.  A sorcery, and one of your main game plans.  Sac a goblin, send five damage to your opponent.  The beautiful thing to do is attack first with Goblin Arsonist, who they generally avoid blocking, then in second main phase sacrifice him to Goblin Grenade.  BAM.  Seven damage.

Curse of the Stalked Prey.  Bottom left.  Aura Curse.  You enchant your opponent, and then any creatures that hit them get a +1/+1 counter.

Brimstone Volley, bottom center.  Your other “main plan.”  An instant with a “morbid” trigger.  Three damage to target creature or player.  But if something had already died this turn, then the spell does five damage instead!

Artillerize, bottom right  Sacrifice an artifact or creature as an additional cost, and then Artilleries deals five damage to target creature or player!

Playing the Deck

Playing this deck means using the goblins, and maximizing value with them by sacrificing them in many cases.

I like how solidly focused on that goal the deck is!  You have four copies of most creatures!  And four copies of other things you need, like Artillerize and Brimstone Volley!

This deck could be a little stronger if it used “Lightning Bolt.”  But I’m thinking that wasn’t allowed in Standard at the time.  Maybe a way to appease burn players who had recently lost their Lightning Bolts.

In its day, it probably was a great Standard deck!

There is a sideboard…

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Gut Shot, top left, a card with pharexian mana as the cost.  At instant speed, you get one damage to target creature or player.

Torpor orb, top center, this prevents “enters the battlefield” triggers from happening.  Important!

Act of Treason, top right, gain control of the opponents creature, untap it, and give it haste.  Then use it as your attacker for this turn!  Or even sacrifice it!

Arc Trail, bottom left, deals two damage to target creature or player, and one damage to another target creature or player.  Another card with four copies!

Dismember, bottom middle, the only black card in this deck, uses pherexian mana, and is handy to get an indestructible creature.  (Target creature gets -5/-5 until the end of turn.)  This card is currently a popular choice; it was re-printed in Modern Masters 2015!

Into the Core, exile two target artifacts.

Thinking back to what I know, this sideboard addresses affinity decks, cards with indisctructible, and land destruction., giving you something to do using Pharexian mana.  At the time of Innistrad/Scars of Mirrodin, this would have been really sound.  Scars was really before my time of playing Magic.  But I am somewhat aware of “Caw Blade.”

SpartanNerd Thoughts on “Dark Ascension Event Deck.”

I don’t play burn.  And I don’t play infect.  (Infect isn’t the main plan of this deck.  The Inkmoth Nexus is here so you can be assured to have a creature to sac..)

The SpartanTeen used to play burn, and Goblins when he used to play MTG.  If he ever comes back, he can use this deck!

I’ll admit, though, it is a fun deck to play.  I was tempted to take it to the Modern Tournament, just for its fun, and to test it some more for this review.  But I really wanted to win Path to Exile, (and I did!  With Esper Reanimator Control.)

This deck stands up against most of the pre-constructed decks I own.

It has beaten Elves (From the Duel Deck Anthology) as well as the Angel deck.  It has beaten the Monsters deck from Heroes vs. Monsters.  Not that it hasn’t lost some to these decks as well.  But it is competitive against them.  Oh yes.  It beat Chandra from Jace vs. Chandra as well!  That’s burn vs. burn!

Changing the deck

How could we update or change it for Modern?  First of all, I believe switching the strategy from Artillerize to Lightning bolt will be important.  Then maybe switching out Infiltration lens to faithless looting for card draw.  Then updating the creature bombs some.I would avoid any Planeswalkers.  I can’t think of any that would help with the goal of send as much damage as possible.  Maybe add some scry via Magma Jet or something.

SpartanNerd’s rating of “Obscure Ascension” Magic the Gathering Event Deck (Dark Ascension, French)

I can’t take off any points. For any reason.  And the fact that it is worth three times what I paid for it, and in French, makes this a SOLID 5/5!  It is by far the best event deck I have ever purchased, with four copies of each important card.  None of the other event decks I have purchased or reviewed even approach this deck.  Most of them have three copies or two copies of two cards.  Most of them feel like souped up starter decks.  This one, definitely competitive.

The SpartanNerd rates the French printing of the Dark Ascension Event Deck a 5/5.  Do you agree or disagree?  Let me know in the comments!

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

You get 12 mountains, 8 islands, and 4….GUILDGATES.  REALLY?  NOT EVEN A SINGLE SCRY LAND?  NO SHOCK LAND? NO MANA CONFLUENCE?

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.”

PLAYING THE DECK.

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 Blog….right at 2100 pageviews!

Thanks for all the support, oh Hub City Geeks, whoever you are!

Information about my blog….

Most traffic comes from the USA, but some comes from almost everywhere around the world!

Shadow Era reviews generated the most hits right from the beginning.  My reviews of the Magic The Gathering Event decks are right behind those….

The SpartanSmurf #1 is requesting a name change…..We’ll see….

I have been pretty good at keeping my identity secret….I mean there are some people who have figured it out, and I have given some pretty strong hints out there to those who know me.  My sister in law said, “So you’re the SpartanNerd….Wierd.”  Good.  I hope that’s what she thinks.

The review of the Sonic the Hedgehog figures is the one that I am most proud of the photos.  I really should look into a better situation for photographing my stuff.

My favorite thing to cover is Masters of the Universe…everything!  You would see a lot more of this if I had more time. My review of Masters of the Universe #5 got a bunch of hits…(the one about She-Ra)

I want to start doing some top ten lists.  I need to do more things like the Groovy Dork lists.

SpartanNerd Sundays have been a mild hit.  I am still trying to work that out in my heart and mind.

I still have no followers or subscribers…out of all this traffic?  I haven’t figured that out yet.  One thing, Google doesn’t make it easy to be anonymous.  I have had a few comments.  But no people interested in my give-aways….

So this is where I stand as a blogger.  May I write something similar in when I get 2100 more hits!  Thank You all!

Theros Event Deck….Unboxing and Review

AZORIUS!  That white and blue combo that I so identify with!  I expressed my feelings for Azorius already in this post….

Here we have a sparkly new event deck of the same colors…Does it meet the SpartanNerd’s standards?  Let’s crack it open and see!

I got mine at the Tangled Web…THE comic store in the Hub City.  $24.99…Apparently the average price of event decks these days.

That lion on the front…It’s just a pretty sleeve.  You get this nifty cardboard deck box.  In my past experiences with these, the latch goes bad if you are not OH SO Careful…

Upon opening it, this is what you see.  I am going to take out the pieces.
These are the two decks.  The “Hopeful Eidolon” is the sixty card main deck.  “Triton Tactics” is the sideboard of 15 cards.


You get this divider
And some useless propaganda…or is it?   The green one explains how to play the deck….Who knows how many of these kinds of poster-paper inserts I have put in the landfill?  There is a deck list in the green one as well.
Now this is a pretty dice, that screams AZORIUS!  It is a spin down counter.  Not a D20.
The back of the box has the planes walkers symbol.  I only recently learned that was it’s official title.

Deck breakdown…

This one has a ton of rares!  (HOORAY!)  I went ahead and bought this because they had a deck list at the Tangled Web, and I new I didn’t have some of them, or I wanted more copies.

Imposing Sovereign–Someone beat me down with this guy.  (I should probably tell you that recently I have been playing a three color Fencing Ace deck…It is white red and green…)  So haste is not an issue against this guy.  There are two of them here

Fabled Hero–Fencing Ace’s big brother.  He is one of my current faves.  If you can get him out and load his heroic ability, this double striker can be a game ender.

Lavinia of the Tenth–This chick is BAD.  (I mean a good bad)  OK, turn five Lavinia, you just detained all your opponent’s creatures…and tokens.  (She detains all permanents with mana cost 4 or less…tokens have a CMC of 0!)

Detention Sphere–I’m not sure why this card is a rare…I have like ten of them.  It is a great card.  I like to hold it and then let my opponent drop a fatty on the board…Then dash their hopes and dreams. Another trick, the Detention Sphere gets permanents of the same name…It is great against token building decks.  There are two copies in this deck.

Soldier of the Pantheon–One of the cards I didn’t have before…Maybe haven’t even seen.  It seems the Wizards are making cards that are a reaction to the Ravnica block.  This guy is definitely anti-Ravnica.

Frontline Medic–I always wanted one of these.  Now I have one!  (I have 90% of the stuff from Gatecrash.)

In addition to these cards, there are some good uncommons and commons.

Battlewise Hoplite–technically better than Akroan Hoplite, you get to scry whenever his heroic triggers.

Ascended Lawmage–Now here’s one I haven’t given much thought to.  But Flying and Hexproof, for CMC of 4.  This guy should be a beast in all of Theros!  I need to experiment with this more…

Hopeful Eidolon–The strategy guide advises you to hold onto this card and use its Bestow ability.  It gives something a pump, and lifelink!  This is one of the best Bestow cards!  It was a champ in Booster Draft, and is perfect for the fast paced play that standard demands.

Ordeal if Thassa–  This ordeal gives you card draw…

Ordeal of Heliod–  This ordeal gives you a boost of 10 life.  I wish I had more of these…this is my only copy.

You also get a Hallowed Fountain shock land…But there was no scry land for AZORIUS this time.  (I don’t think…)

The sideboard doesn’t feature any rares.  You get Glare of Heresy and Gainsay, the new spell of choice God’s Willing, and ….  That’s about it.  There’s some more, but it’s all just control stuff.

My first match with the deck…

I played against SpartanSmurf #1 during halftime of the Gamecocks vs. Gators game…He was playing a Boros build, which has occasionally been tough for the Fencing Ace deck I already mentioned, but hasn’t done much against blue ever….

Right at the beginning, he had out Hopeful Eidolon as a creature.  It seems I had a ton of lands.  But then I drew into two Detention Sphere’s, and before you know it I issued a major beatdown with Battlewise Hoplite and Lyev Skynight.  I took damage only from the Eidolon, and shocking in my Hallowed Fountain.

I didn’t bother to side in any cards.

Round two…The land wasn’t as prevalent.  But I was able to get out Fabled Hero, and that was all she wrote.  Not even SpartanSmurf #1’s Stoneshock Giant stood a chance…I Detention Sphere’d that bad-boy.  He blocked with his big flyer (Hellkite Tyrant?)

I wonder what would have happened if I had played this deck today in the standard tournament.  It seems a little slow…And yet it was effective against a pretty aggressive deck on it’s opening venture.

I believe I am going to make a few changes…

First I am going to add some more Ascended Lawmages.  I think I am going to remove the detain from this deck, and beef up the heroic.  Detain is temporary, while Heroic is usually forever.  So that means the Lyev Skynights and Lavinia has to go, and in their place more Battlewise Hoplites and Fabled Heros.  The Azorius Guildgates are too slow…I am either going to swap them all for Hallowed Fountains and hope for scry lands in February when Borne of the Gods comes out, or swap out some of the plains for the shock lands.  I haven’t yet decided.  I might find a way to put in Tidebinder Mage and more Banisher Priests.

Here is my verdict.

My most recent successes have come from the Red White and Green Fencing Ace Deck, which takes a lot of advantage of heroic and the enchantments in Theros.  In that deck, I would argue that Madcap Skills is the star card, delivering a significant boost and creating scary threats.  The Theros Event deck needs a little more speed.  This deck also needs some more size.  I happen to have a few Medomai the ageless and Isperia Supreme Judge cards.  I also have a few Heliods and a few of his spears…These cards would have lived happy lives if the event deck was build around them.  But the Wizards don’t seem to make these decks around Mythic rares.

I am thinking it might have a hard time against aggressive discard strategies, or aggressive burn strategies.  On the other hand, it should be pretty good against token building decks and big creature decks.

i don’t feel like it absolutely needs any cards swapped, except for the guild gates and the lawmages.  Only for my picky preferences.  So I give this deck a 3/5.

The big deck nowadays is MONO RED.  This deck will probably not stand against it.

Unboxing……Magic The Gathering Core Set M14 Event Deck

I already expressed my woes about the Magic 2014 Core Set not being as good as the 2013 one.

So why did I buy this Event Deck?  It is mostly made of Ravnica Block cards that I didn’t have!

Here’s my unboxing.

First, I never shared my Playmat with the world before.  I believe it is titled “Protector of the Keep.”  I’ll save my reasons for liking it for another entry, but you should know that this is the background you see on my photos of the cards.

On .with the show.

You’d think there’s be a Chandra in this deck……..

This event deck comes in a box similar to other event decks I’ve opened.  This one comes with the cover showing off Chandra’s new look, and the back gives a description which in my words summarily says “This deck is Gruul.  Bloodrush and Burn to win.”
That cover slides right off….


You get to see the real box.  In my experience these boxes are OK.  You just can’t be too rough with the fastener because it is nothing more than a little bent piece of cardbord.  Unfortunately, you will not be able to fit your deck and the sideboard in the box without it bucking a little if you are using card sleeves.
The deck comes with a spindown counter.  Mine is blue.  I wonder about everyones?  It seems like green and red would have been more appropriate?
There is of course some promotional garbage in the box.   This is making its way right to the trash before it distracts a SpartanSmurf.  But first, a picture of the decklist.

If this picture isn’t good enough, there is a little thing called a Web Search!

There is also a little divider.  If you are not using sleves, then this can help you divide your sideboard from your main deck.
A good iPhone background pic….
The cards come in two saran-wrapped decks.  The larger one is the deck.  The smaller one is the sideboard.
Cigarette style wrappers…I guess to fuel our addiction!
I am not going to discuss every card, or provide a photo.  But I am of many. I am offering a little analysis and opinion.  That’s all.
The first card of note is Kalonian Tusker, and M14 card.  I like this guy because he is a 3/3 and only costs two green.  This deck came with four.
Dryad Militant is a 2/1 for one green (or white).  This creature is to function as a way of stopping people from the Flashback mechanic that is going to be ILLEGAL ANYWAY, at least in standard next month.  It might serve some purpose for the Theros block that we have yet to see.  It is a pretty card though.


I only had one Wild Beastmaster.  So now I have two.  Whenever she attacks eith other creatures, they get a boost equal to her poser.  The trick here is to bloodrush her when you attack….so then the bloodrush effect is amplified onto the other creatures….  Why did they only include one copy in this deck?


Ogre Backbreaker is for endgame, at five cost.  I see this guy as more of a finishing move.


Deadbridge Goliath is cool, because it is an insect!  Scavenge is kind of the opposite of bloodrush, but I see why its here in this deck.  Again, this is more of a finishing move.

I don’t usually picture a beetle when I picture a Goliath….



Gore Clan Rampager is one of the most commonly encountered cards at tournaments.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen it played as a creature.  You hold the card and bloodrush onto an attacker, giving them trample as well.  There a four copies of this in the deck.


I had been wanting another Rubbleback Raiders card.  SpartanSmurf #2 has one, but will not trade it to me (probably wisely so).  Each time he attacks, he gets +1/+1 counters for each attacking creature.  I wanted this card before to put in my tokens deck….Just imagine the strength it could have.  In this deck it is designed more to function like the Tusker, just as a (potentially) big one.
You can really Wreck stuff with this card!
Wrecking Ogre recently beat me down!  It has double strike, so your getting a 6/6 for 5 mana.  But for that 5 mana, why not bloodrush it onto something else and make that thing stronger and give it double strike.  I only wish this deck came with more copies.  True, this is a finishing move, but still.


All the land that came with the deck was basic or a Gruul Guildgate, with the exception of Stomping Ground and Rogues Passage,  I wanted another copy of each land anyway….
And this brings me to the first modification I will make to the deck…I am going to swap out some of the forests for another Stomping Ground and a Rootbound Crag.  The Rogues Passage is going into a different deck.
What else am I going to change…
I put my other Wild Beastmaster in…and removed an Elvish Mystic.
I replaced every Shock with a Mizzium Mortar.  The Mizz is one more mana more costly, but it is well worth the extra cost for the versatility and the greater damage.  On the other hand, it is also a Sorcery rather than an Instant, so you get a different rhythm when playing it.
I replaced the Deadbridge Goliath with another Ogre Backbreaker…..At the end of the day this is a better card.
I put a Chandra’s Phoenix in place of Elvish Mystic.  And also an Advocate of the Beast and Marauding Maulhorn in place of Elvish Mystics.  It’t not that I don’t like the Mystics, it’s just that this isn’t really a ramp deck…
What about that sideboard?
It came with Savage Summoning, a good card to surprise your opponents after they tap out on their turn.  I can’t wait to play this card, but I haven’t had the chance yet.

I can’t wait to play this card!

Skullcrack is a good control card.

AND it’s technically better than shock

I couldn’t imagine a green and red deck coming without Naturalize in the sideboard.  Just in case that opponent is trying something like Ratchet Bomb or even using an enchantment against you.


Act of Treason…..Man am I glad they went back to the original art!  That art from the Ravnica block was creepy!


Annihilating Fire is another answer to Flashback card.  But also a good answer to something that blinks like Obzedat or Aetherling.  If you play it right.

This card is just…..meh

There are three Gruul Charms…I am not a fan.

Where’s the litterbox?

And then there is enlarge.  This is one of the biggest growth effects ever.  But it is mighty costly.
So I took out the Enlarges, and added Thragtusk and Farseek.  And I swapped out the Gruul Charms for Rancors.

I lost to SpartanSmurf #1 last night just playing the deck vanilla….I’ll post results later after I play my modified version!