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.

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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!)