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.

SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review…Commander 2014 “Forged In Stone” EDH Deck

This time I didn’t have the luxury of unboxing the product for you, oh Hub City Geeks.  The “Forged in Stone” Commander deck has been in play at the SpartanNerd’s house for some time, and I didn’t get a chance to unbox it for you.  Sorry!

The unboxing was similar to the unboxing of “Sworn to Darkness” from the same set, which you can see my review of here. (click the link)

Regardless, I am including a video of the cards.

I also have the main insert.

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The art features Nahiri, the Lithomancer.  This has been a mysterious character in Magic the Gathering fiction, evidently.  I’ve only recently begun to read the online stories, but evidently Nahiri was the one who created the prison for the Eldrazi at the behest of Ugin, the Spirit Dragon.  Fans have long said that the person featured on the card Stoneforge Mystic was the Lithomancer, though she was never named or had details officially given to her.  So now the wizards have made it official…

The art is good, but it was too much work for me to try and read that white text over that white background.  Come on. Wizards.  You know better than that!

The back is more of the same, but gives you a decklist as well.  Here is that image, extra large so you can read it!

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The “Forged in Stone” deck features a mainly white strategy, with an emphasis on artifacts.  Nahiri, the Lithomancer, is the main commander, a planeswalker that has a very dangerous ultimate ability…you get a sword called “Stoneforged Blade” that adds +5/+5 and double strike to a creature.  OUCH!!!

Her other two abilities are also very relevant, because as a mainly white strategy, the deck can get a lot of token creatures out easily.  And equipment cards can be attached to them for free.  That’s crazy!  Her -2 ability makes it possible to get equipment out of the graveyard in case it gets removed.

Nahiri is a great commander…Not as good as Ob Nixilis, though.  For instance, her abilities are conditional..you have to have an equipment card on the battlefield or graveyard in order for her top two abilities to be relevant.

The other possible commanders in this deck are Jazal Goldmane and Kemba,Kha Regent.  Jazal lets you pump your creatures, while Kemba is the real danger, putting new 2/2 Cat creatures out each turn for each equipment she has attached.

The other creatures do things that white creatures are supposed to do.  Sun Titan is here to get things back out of the graveyard upon entering the battlefield or attacking.  There are some clerics, angels, mentors, priest…each doing something classically white.  The angels are especially relevant…usually big fliers with abilities.  You know how I feel about angels in Magic!

In addition to the mana rocks that always seem to be included in these commander decks, you get some really good equipment.  You get Moonsliver Spear and Loxodon Warhammer…both really good in the hands of either a chump or a fighter. There is also Bonehoard, a card that can get rediculous in a multiplayer game with lots of board wipes.

The instants and sorceries are really good, with comeuppance usually being a star.  Basically you redirect damage back to either an attacker or a player.

This deck includes the double sided tokens…an idea that I hope the wizards use more in the future.  The packaging was cool, with tasteful white and black styling, but the box is the same box that all the other commander decks came with. It can’t hold the deck when sleeved.

When pitted against Ob Nixilis, Nahiri’s deck has problems with board wipes.   Because there is really only a token strategy for the early  game.  But usually when she can stage a turnaround, Nixilis will lose.  It’s usually an angel that causes the win.

Remember when I said some of Nahiri’s abilities were irrelevant sometimes?  They usually aren’t irrelevant.  There are enough equipment cards for her to do what she needs to do.  I haven’t played this deck in a multiplayer match yet..as I get the chance I will let you know.

The other deck I have played it against is a modified “Eternal Bargain” deck from Commander 2013.  Oloro,s life gain was significant, but Nahiri was able to pull off a win!

SpartanNerd’s rating of Magic the Gathering “Forged In Stone” Commander 2014 EDH deck is 4/5.  I am knocking the point off because I think Ob Nixilis’ deck is better.  Maybe that is bias, because I favor black over white.  But white is my secondary color, so…

The other thing might not be as relevant…it is difficult to read the text on the insert material.  Someone botched it when they decided to use white text over a white background.

Do you agree?  Let me know in the comments!

 

 

 

SpartanNerd Vintage Toy Review…Masters of the Universe Miniatures!

Darkness descends on the darkest day of the year…My Birthday!

So what did I get?  The perfect thing for a SpartanNerd!  Of course, I already opened the MOTUC Modulok, so anything else I got was icing on the cake!

The SpartanWife found these guys on e-bay!  I have no idea what she paid for them, and am hesitant to ask.  I love this gift no matter what it cost-ed.

Here is my Unboxing and Review!

IMG_0382These are the 200x versions of the figures, sculpted in that creepy Todd MacFarlane Four Horseman style!  It has a large window box where you can see all four figures: Stratos, Beast Man, He-Man, and Skeletor.  The Beast Man was evidently exclusive to this particular gift-set!

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The back of the box shows off these and other figures in this miniature line.    (I researched.  There weren’t that many of these figures.  Maybe around 12?  So collecting them all should be do-able!)  It also shows the only action feature and articulation point, a waist swivel

Each Figure is very detailed.  There are lots of intricacies the more you stare at them.  It is notable that some of the paint is a little sloppy…we are talking about mini-statues.  I,m sure it is all handpainted.

So we get two good guys and two bad guys.  Fun!

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He-man looks vicious, with his 200x techno-sword raised overhead, and shield in hand, ready to bash something.  I like that it has the cross detail on the chest, but looking close, it looks like they might have tried to distort that a little bit to resemble that stylized H that became the dominant He-Man symbol for the time.

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Stratos is appropriately poised on a cloud.  It looks like he is blasting off!

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Beast Man has the whip up and ready to crack.  This time, the whip is glued to him at the shoulder, and unfortuanately, you can see that glop of glue….

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And then Skeletor.  the 200x version of Skeletor as a toy never looked much like he looked on the cartoon.  It is far more evil looking.  This version has skeleton sort of mirroring He-Man, raising his sword, this time the two-piece weapon favored during the 200x days.  His other hand has the Havoc Staff.  Unfortunately, the staff is made of soft plastic that stays bent.  I’m afraid there is no helping that when you are talking about the minimal materials used for this product.  Still, it looks very menacing, maybe that bent-ness adds to the evil look of the whole mini-statue.

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I am going to grade these figures based on quality, artistic licence, and the intangible happiness level they gave me when opening.

What the heck.  I am so happy, they all get a 5/5!

I got one more unexpected item on this 21st of December…A Vintage Mini-Comic.  Not just any mini comic either…the English/French version…probably Canadian.  “King of the Snake Men!”

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SpartanNerd Review…Dual Deck Anthology Matchup- “Jace Vs. Chandra”

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I have been more familiar with the cards in this deck than in say, Elves vs. Goblins or Divine vs. Demonic.  I have been exposed to this set because my brother owns a copy.  So the whole thing is an exercise in review for me.  Still, it is fun to see it completely unmodified.  (My brother tweaked his decks.)

First, the unboxing.  This is the only time that the unboxing was really different.  Chandra’s box had some extra materials inside…

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The white thing is what we’ve all seen at this point.  A quick start guide to playing Magic.  I normally point out how I throw this away.  But if for instance, someone bought the Dual Deck anthology as a gift for someone who didn’t know how to play then this could be super valuable.  I think it would have been better if they packaged it in a different and more conspicuous way, though.  For instance, I just unboxed these cards today and found it.  I have had the Dual Deck Anthology since the day it came out! (Dec 5, over two weeks ago!)

The blue thing is basically the poster that was on the back of the Dual Decks Anthology…but this time with more biographical information and information about the story context each dual deck represented during the course of the story of Magic the Gathering.

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The art on the deck boxes is really cool…a big foil picture featuring the key cards, this time Chandra Nalaar and Jace Beleren.

I am going to complain big time about the paper clasps on these boxes.  If we pay $100 for a product like this then the clasp should be better.  That paper slot system just tears up too easily.  I already mentioned this before when I did my initial unboxing, but in the case of Jace vs. Chandra, neither box can function correctly.  They can hold the sixty cards plus a few tokens sleeved.  But the box only stays closed if cajoled to do so.  I am going to apply some velcro…

As with Garruk vs. Liliana, I am giving you a video again of what I saw after removing the cellophane…This time both together in the same film.

Jace Beleren

Jace gets a nickname…”Baby Jace.”  Not really sure what that is about, except that maybe it is supposed to be Jace in his early career.  This card is good for card draw.  His +2 gets both players a card.  His -1 gets only you a card, (or the rare corner case where you get in the final “mill” against your opponent.  But his -10 mills 20 cards for someone.  It is probably safe to say Jace will never get to -10, Chandra will burn him off anytime he gets close.  So this card is probably good to +2 once, and -1 after that.  Might as well forget that -10 ability.  It isn’t useful for you.  And Jace’s deck isn’t a mill deck.

Jace’s deck is NOT a classic control deck, as you might expect.  (If it were, it wouldn’t be a fun matchup against Chandra, in my opinion.)  There are a few counterspells, (actually “Counterspell!”) but besides that, the deck relies more on Morph.  There are several blue morph creatures in this deck…I counted 8!  So Chandra is going to have a hard time deciding whether or not to burn off the morphs, or wait and see what bad thing for her is going to happen.

The deck also features two other mechanics really well, Evoke and Suspend.  Ancestral Vision is the main card you are going to suspend.  Exile it for one blue at the beginning of the game, and just about the time when you need it, at the beginning of your upkeep you get three bonus cards.

And then there is Mulldrifter.  I need to play with this guy more outside of Jace vs. Chandra.  Mulldrifter evokes and you draw two cards.  So…try re-animating this guy!  (Jace can’t do it.)

The other thing I would like to say about this deck that was surprisingly fun was the unconventional mana costs of cards or abilities.  The least of which is suspend, some cards just ask you to return islands to your hand instead of paying a huge cost!

If there is a game finisher in the deck, it is Guile.  Guile lets you play free counter magic.  But that isn’t all that relevant.  What is relevant is it is a 6/6.  Can’t be chumped blocked by one guy.  And if he dies, then he gets shuffled back in the deck, where you can draw him later.  Sick!

Chandra

Chandra is one of my children’s favorite planeswalker.  I don’t have the heart to tell him that “Candra Nalaar” is UNPLAYABLE IN CONSTRUCTED.  Let’s just say, you do her +1, you just pinged your opponent for one damage.  For five mana.  Maybe on the last life point the person has, this is an OK strategy.  Ok, so instead of doing the +1 on the first turn she is out, you do the -x to toast a creature.  Then Chandra has almost no loyalty left and gets killed by an attacking creature next turn, (if not removed another way).  If you can get her to -8, then the ability is awesome.  But in Modern or Legacy, she will be gone before she has a chance.

She is a good card for this matchup, however.

This deck tries to burn you opponent off as quickly as possible, and contrary to Jace, seems to want to get cards out of your hand to trigger “Hellbent” abilities.  For instance, Rakdos Pit Dragon gets double strike if you have no cards in hand.  And you easily might not have any, because you played spells directly to Jace’s face, or burned off his morphs.

Then there’s hostility.  You counter your own first main phase burn spell, to enhance it with 3/1 elemental tokens.  Ok.  So burn spells becoming aggro spells…sick!

Several of Chandra’s cards have “fire breathing”.  This is Magic player talk for “pay one red mana to pile up damage points.”  (It comes from an old mechanic.)

Every time I have played against Chandra with Jace, Slith Firewalker has been a threat.  What Jace wants to do is send it back to Chandra’s hand.  The Slith Firewalker gets a counter every time it deals damage.  Evoking something like Inner-Flame Acolyte can be about like the Bloodrush tricks from the RTR block.

Firebolt is good.  It’s flashback mirrors playing Chandra and +1 ing her.

Fireblast is great for late-game burn.  when you probably have more mountains than you need.  Sacrifice two of them to get in four burn damage.

And then Fireball, of course.

The Matchup

So Chandra tries to undermine Jace through the philosophy of burn, while Jace tries to undermine Chandra with combat tricks and control.

Jace lost to Chandra in the first two out of three match with the SpartanKid.  Jace’s deck might not be good to play against noobs….they might think you are cheating sometimes with some of the things his deck can do.  “when Brine Elemental is turned face up, each opponent skips their next untap step.”  a good chandra player will use up their resources every turn, while a good Jace player will reserve mana.  so…But in our first match, the philosophy of Burn set in, and all of the morph tricks weren’t enough for Baby Jace.  Chandra’s creatures tend to have haste, which is bad for Jace.  On the other hand, Chandra tends to have to start top-decking, while Jace tends to have cards to play and scheme with.

This set isn’t as fun as Liliana vs. Garruk.  Still, it is nice to have a foil of each Planeswalker.  (Chandra is probably Commander only material, though).

My rating of Dual Decks Anthology Jace vs. Chandra.

As a burn deck, Chandra gets 4/5.  I am taking a point off for Chandra being so bad.  Jace gets a 4/5 for losing the first 2/3 matches to the speedy stuff the Chandra deck does, and besides that, why is Jace’s bottom ability a mill ability, when there is almost no mill in the blue deck?

So I give the Jace vs. Chandra Dual Deck a 4/5.  Do you agree?  Let me know in the comments!

SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review….Masters of the Universe Classics “Modulok”

Growing up, the SpartanNerd and his brothers had maybe 85% of Masters of the universe stuff.  We had most of the figures, most of the vehicles and accessories, and most of the playsets.  A few items really stood out, however…Modulock was one of those items.  I specifically owned Multi-Bot, and the combinations you could make with the two of them seemed endless.  Modulok and Multi-Bot both scratch that “lego-itch” but in a cool action figure kind of way.

So.  Onto the review!

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Modulok came in the brown shipper.  Notable only because it is brown instead of white.  The actual box is painted and photo-shopped, not photographed.  Th front features a conspicuous picture of Modulok in his suggested default pose, as well as many other suggestions.  (You can make tons more, however)  The back of the box gives us a new bio for “Gaelen Nycoff,” and shows off other Horde members.

I am keeping this box to store Modulok’s pieces, rather than feeding Oscar the Grouch.

Taking the product out, you can see Modulok with his monster head, human arms, and human feet.  He reminds me of “Meat” from Mortal Kombat.  Though if you look close, rather than being bare muscle, he is more crustacean like.  And then you can see that he comes with (top to bottom) two tails, three double sockets, one middle piece, two monster arms, two blasters, and four extra legs, with varying colors and claws.  Oh yes.  And another head.

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I prefer to get as much of Modulok together as I can.  This leaves behind only an extra tail.

But I have already spent about two hours, me and my children, making different arrangements.  Here are some below.

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Here is a list, left to right, top then bottom.

  • Imagine opening your door and this little imp standing outside holding a blaster…
  • SpartanKid made this first thing.  “Look!  A slug!”
  • we could make one product into two figures if they included another torso.  But they didn’t.
  • You can stack those double sockets into a chain to make long necks, joints, tails, or whatever.

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I really like making a scorpion style tail.  On the left, you can really see that.  On the right he is showing that he can hold all three power swords that i own!

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Modulok’s heads are the only part that don’t have pegs besides the torso.  The heads have the same socket that all of the other figures have.  Here you see I replaced the bug-eyed head with another bug-eyed head, and the monster head with another monster head.

My rating of Modulok…

No doubt, Modulok is one impressive figure.  I will show you the remnants of my vintage toy…it is technically Megabeast, the combination of Modulok and Multi-Bot.  And then we have a place to reference first.

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Every one of MOTUC Modulok’s joints is articulated the same way the other standard figures in the line are.  Very impressive.  You can see in the above picture that the old version had arms and legs that only moved at the shoulder, and then only up and down.  And then add in the ab crunch, which no vintage figure had as well.

Modulok is “finger food.”  You can’t really put him down.  You can make tons of things.  He is straight out fun, and that is a 5/5.

But there has to be an asterisk.  You only get one torso.  And the torso doesn’t separate from the waist.  Bummer.  And one more thing…maybe to accommodate the parts swapping feature…he feels a tad more rubbery than the other figures.  Not really a mark against, but it is worth mentioning.

Still, it is amazing that we even got a Modulok.  Considering how much this tooling must have cost, and it doesn’t appear that they skimped on the paint either.

So, the SpartanNerd gives Modulok a 5/5!  Do you agree?  Let me know in the comments.  I am gonna leave you with a few more fun pictures.

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Come work for me now…

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I need another Bug-Eyed head….

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Merry Winter Solstice from the SpartanNerd. (this was his birthday present.)

 

 

SpartanNerd Review- Dual Deck Matchup…”Garruk vs. Liliana”

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Longtime readers know that Liliana Vess is one of my favorite cards EVER.  I have cracked two of them from booster packs, one of them in my early days of playing, one in the m15 pre-release sealed deck!  I love her bottom ability, which makes her a true re-animator bomb.  Maybe THE reanimator bomb.  If only I could spell her name correctly…

Then there’s Garruk Wildspeaker.  Maybe I should learn to pronounce his name correctly.  (Gare-ook).

When we started playing Magic, I chose black as my color.  Not sure why.  My two kids chose other colors.  One green and the other red.  Supposedly your personality ties into your color somehow.

In my early days of Magic the Gathering, when mainly M13 was being played at the SpartanNerd household, Liliana and Grave Titan were my two favorites.  Eventually I added in Elbrus the Binding Blade, when I began looking for the best cards.  (At the time, I considered that a BEST card.  Maybe not so much anymore, but the flavor is still amazing.)  SO somehow a Youth Pastor and Worship Leader became the Zombie/Demon guy.  Who knew?  Good thing it is only fantasy!  (White IS my secondary color.)

Oh yes.  A review is supposed to be happening!  And this is a SpartanNerd first…I show you each card on video as I look at them myself the first time!

Garruk vs. Liliana is a very balanced pair.  Both are mono-colored decks.  And both do what their colors are known for.  Garruk gets large threats and makes them bigger.  Lilliana makes Garruk discard and re-animates stuff from both graveyards.  (sometimes the good stuff that you made him discard!)

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Garruk himself is pretty good.  Maybe the “best” Garruk.  His +1 lets you find two more mana.  His -1 gives you a non-chump at 3/3.  And his ultimate is basically Overrun.  I don’t have a lot of personal experience with playing this card.  But the abilities are flavored really well with the rest of the deck.  And they are all classical “green.”

I am going to point out that Garruk’s deck is REALLY NUTS if you don’t remove the threats he puts out.  But then there is a card called Rude Awakening, which has an “entwine” cost.  The only other card I have seen with this is Promise of Power.  Basically, you can pay the listed entwine cost, and get what amounts to two spells for one card.  Rude Awakening untaps Garruk’s lands and changes them into 2/2 creatures, that he can hit you with.  I lost to this once.  It was SHOCKING.  Because by the time you can pay for the card with it’s entwine cost, he probably has eight lands out.

The other surprising thing that Garruk can do is card draw.  That’s right.  Green card draw.  Normally this is off-color for green.  But Garruk pulls it off with Harmonize and other effects.  This balances against Liliana’s ability to make him drop cards.

This deck also “ramps” really well.  You need that to get things out like Plated Slagwurm.  The deck doesn’t have hardly any removal.  So if Liliana drops a fatty, then it is up to the giant creatures and combat tricks to take care of them.  Serrated Arrows seems to be the most effective removal for chumpy creatures, while there is a copy of Windstorm to take out a big flyer.  One more important signature thing for Garruk, Overrun.  Give everything a boost and trample.  Too bad it is a sorcery.  (It would probably be too good as an instant.)

LILIANA

Lilliana does all she can to best Garruk’s strategy.  Remove, discard, and re-animate.  In Standard, a lot of times Liliana amounts to a bad Demonic Tutor.  (Demonic Tutor…a two drop Legacy card that gets a card and puts it in your hand.  Not in this deck…See the upcoming review for “Divine vs. Demonic”*)  In standard nowadays, she gets Heroes Downfall-ed before you can make your opponent’s graveyard re-animate.  But in the limited environment between these two decks, she is better.  Because the deck does a good job of forcing discards, so she is ready to +1 on up to her ultimate.  And if you re-animate the big threats in Garruk’s deck, then GG.  (Good Game!)

Some of Liliana’s stuff has “cycling” or “swamp cycling,”  This is good because it gets stuff into your graveyard to pull back out cheaply.  Once I swampcycled Twisted Abomination, a 5/3), and next turn played Rise from the Grave.  Ouch for Garruk!

Lilliana’s cards have removal built in.  You have Corrupt and similar effects that get your opponent or their creatures because YOU have swamps.  (a strategy you were doing anyway, so your power is essentially free.)  I would like to point out that I enjoy the art for Mutilate better here than in other places.

There is a really cool card called Snuff Out.  You pay 4 life to remove a creature.  It is an instant, which is cool.  But at sorcery speed it is actually BETTER.  You heard me.  This time a sorcery is better than an instant.  Lilliana’s deck isn’t a control deck.  I suppose it is black midrange.  So on your turn, you remove one of Garruk’s green creatures.  (All of his creatures are green.)  And then you Corrupt another creature.  Sick!  You can remove two giant fatties with little effort!

The most controversial card in the SpartanNerd household has been Enslave.  The SpartanKid, (a green connoisseur,) has argued about this card.  It is another two-for-one.  You steal his big green monster, and  use it against him.  Similar to the red cards that do something similar.  Traitorous Blood for instance.  But this is an enchantment.  So you permanently control the creature.  And then its OWNER gets pinged for one damage at the beginning of your upkeep.  (not it’s controller…)  At first I was confused too.  But after looking it up, it means Garruk gets pinged!  I have one two matches with this card.  It is truly dirty!  And Garruk can’t hardly deal with enchantments.

(SO biased…  I had more to say about Liliana’s deck…I think I understand it a little better.)

GARRUK VS LILIANA…THE MATCHUP!

Pitting these two against each other really is like pitting Green against Black, a larger, more classical MTG matchup.  In the SpartanNerd house, Garruk has won only one match, while Liliana has won three.  (This is with two days of playing.)

Rude Awakening and Overrun have been the two biggest hits against Liliana.  Garruk himself hasn’t appeared in these matchups but once.  So that may be a luck thing.  Lilliana’s deck wants you to have some removal in the early game to get traction.  She doesn’t ramp that well, unless you cycle.  But if you can get out four swamps before getting stomped too bad, you will probably be OK.

SpartanNerd’s rating and review.

I think Liliana’s deck is the funnest deck I have played so far from the set.  I still have yet to actually pilot six of the decks myself.  I am happy to have an alternate art of Liliana Vess.  I think the two decks are PERFECTLY matched against each other.  While Liliana has more wins currently, It may be that SpartanKid hasn’t had as good of luck.  But the scary things that deck can do are definitely fun to be matched against.

The cards are beautiful in the modern frame.  There are several tokens that go with the decks…Liliana gets bats, while Garruk gets Beasts and an Elephant.  As I mentioned in my unboxing, both decks have a beautiful deck box that will accommodate the cards when sleeved.

Is there monetary value here?  The two planeswalker cards are where the value is.  Both cards fetch varying amounts, usually less than ten dollars.

So my rating here is 5/5 for both decks.  What do you think, oh Hub City Geeks?  Let me know in the comments.  I am curious to know about how you have pitted your dual decks against each other!

*(I will get to Divine vs. Demonic EVENTUALLY.  Be patient.  I need some more time, readers!)