The SpartanNerd’s collection of Liliana cards…Commentary on Amonkhet Liliana(s)

 

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(nicknames for Liliana…..

Liliana Vess- (Why would you give this a nickname?)

Duel-iana (Alternate art Liliana Vess vs Garruk)

Pricey-ana (Liliana of the Veil)

Swamp-iana (Liliana of the Dark Realms)

Flip-iana (Liliana, Heretical Healer//Liliana, Defiant Necromancer)

Hope-iana (Liliana, the Last Hope)

Zombie-ana (Liliana, Death’s Majesty)

Slow-iana (Liliana, Death Wielder)

 

 

So with the release of AMONKHET, we now have not just one, but two new Liliana cards!

Liliana has long been my favorite planeswalker, as I owned Liliana Vess way back when I opened her in a core set pack that I purchased as I started to get into the game.  Liliana Vess plus Grave Titan was just AWESOME!

I continued a legacy of loving the cards as I drafted a Liliana Vess back in M15…and I remember when I began to get into standard heavily main-decking Liliana of the Dark Realms and I remember getting the emblem, and then spectacularly topdecking Rakdos Return for a win…everone in the room made a noise when I did that! (Wow!  AHHH!  Ugh!)  Topdecking stuff like that is one reason why I love playing black.

How did I get Liliana of the Veil…such an expensive and rare card?  A friend gave me a booster pack of Battle for Zendikar, and I opened a Zendikar Expedition Marsh Flats, which I traded for Liliana of the Veil.  Pricey-ana is an important piece of “the rack” deck, as well as an enabler for re-animation in the “Gifts Ungiven” deck.

My pet commander deck is Liliana, Heretical Healer.  And all of the Liliana cards I have had up until recently are in that deck…which brings us to the recent two versions of the cards.  (Oh yes.  You might be wondering if I marked on my cards…the little “ZZZ’s” are meant to remind me to get a Zombie when she flips!  Don’t worry, I wrote on the inner sleeve.  double sleeved)

LILIANA, DEATH’S MAJESTY

A five-drop Liliana.  But this is where the similarities to Liliana Vess end.  I think they costed her out at five though, because her top two abilities are absolutely use-able very relevant abilities that are worth five mana.  If she gets removed next turn, your investment was not in vain!  The art on this one is also some of the best art depicting the character.  I really do like how snobby and in-charge she appears.  Liliana is the ultimate “mean girl.”  Maybe I like the art on Heretical Healer//Defiant Necromancer better?  The -7 ability on this card is a sweeper.  But the problem is that little word, “destroy.”  There are a lot of indestructible creatures out there in standard, especially the new “god” cards.  But also Gideon.  Also that she only gets non-zombies can’t be ignored.  There are and will be mirror decks, as well as emergent zombie decks.

I wish I had a foil!

LILIANA, DEATH WIELDER

It hurts me to say this…this is one of the JANK-IEST CARDS ever printed.  (Janky-ana?)

You know those lists of bad cards that people sometimes make?  Liliana of the Dark Realms makes that list occasionally.  Yeah, yeah.  The flavor is a little off.  It takes a while to ultimate.  You have to play mono black pretty much.  And what’s with the hair?

But this card just bumped that Liliana off the list.  Why?

OK.  Seven Drop.  In a mono-black deck, it’s going to be at least a full seven turns before you play this, if you aren’t doing DARK RITUAL, or some other crazy acceleration trick.  Which most of the time you won’t be doing.  If you wanted ramp, your color would be green….

What else?  +2, put a -1/-1 counter on target creature.  By turn 7, your green opponent could have any number of gigantic threats.  Even White and Blue will have bigger creatures by turn seven.  What about red?  By turn seven, red already killed you if you were counting on this card to win you the game.  So let’s say you DO get a -1/-1 counter on a creature…

-3 Destroy target creature with a -1/-1 counter on it.

Let’s math for a minute.  3>2.  So.  you just lost that progress you made last turn, PLUS ANOTHER LOYALTY POINT.

How about her ultimate….

-10  Return all creature cards from your graveyard to the battlefield.

How is this ultimate not strictly, strictly, strictly worse than the original Liliana Vess’ ultimate ability, that takes all creatures from all graveyards and puts them on the battlefield under your control?

Now I’m quite aware why this card is the way it is.

The art is big and splashy.  A nice foil.  And new players will be attracted to the looks of this card.  Which is exactly the point.

Liliana, Death Wielder can only be gotten in a Planeswalker Deck, the equivalent of an intro pack, (which the Wizards don’t make any more.)  I can see a kid really digging this card.

But I think I am going to keep her in the Planeswalker Pack with the rest of her deck. She’s just too bad for my special commander deck.  I have played this card against the SpartanKid a couple of times, and found it to be lacking in every department except for the art and flavor departments.  I have yet to try it out against the Gideon Planeswalker deck, but all accounts out there on the internet say that his deck is better, and partly because his Planeswalker card is better.

 

 

Review of the Liliana Planeswalker Pack will be coming soon!

 

SpartanNerd Photos

Here are some recent photos.  I have recently purchased some “Vykron” barbarian armor.  But I have a few other pics to share as well.  And a little commentary.

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When I first got Battleground Teela, I thought right away that she fit in with Vikor.  I like putting Vikor’s cape on her.  Now that Vikor is wearing the Vykron armor, Teela will be wearing that a lot more often.

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Vykron’s armor is just two shin guards and a brown He-Man armor, with white fur on the back that is reminsicent of the the beloved “Ice Armor He-Man.”  there was also a helmet, that has straight black hair sculpted, and looks OK on Battleground Teela.  (Remember, I modded my BG Teela, removing her hair so that she could wear the snake armor.)  I don’t want to show you that pic of her wearing it because it doesn’t fit snuggly.  I will have to do some sanding on her head.  In fact, underneath the “wig,” is very unsightly, and looking at her wearing the Snake Armor from behind is a little disturbing.

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This picture says “Hey, look at me too!”  Vikor really just has too much of a peasant face.  That would really be my only complaint about the figure.  If I sold them all, I think I would keep him behind.  (Probably He-Man and Skeletor, Battlecat and Panthor too.)

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One of my original ideas when I bought the Griffin was that Vikor could ride on it.  I’m not willing to mod his loin cloth.

But…Teela looks even better on the Griffin!  check her out with the red axe and shield.  This could absolutely be a janky MTG card.

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Switching gears…I have really enjoyed the “Battle Ram” blog.  If you don’t read that, you need too, oh Hub City Geeks.  It was that awesome blog that inspired me to take a few more pics of my own Battle Ram.

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The pic below is a scene almost out of Mike Young’s cartoon.  Remember when Skeletor pretty much beat down Duncan?  But you can see, I have some story built in here.  Skeletor has the Havoc staff aimed at the back of his head.  There has clearly been a tough battle, armor pieces scattered all around.  But of course, Skeletor cheated, by bringing in Beast Man.  You can see, though, Man-At-Arms is reaching for his pistol…

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So there you go!  Keep reading, Hub City Geeks.  My next post will hopefully be the unboxing of the Japanese Atraxa, Praetor’s Voice deck.  I’ve decided I am going to get some transparent sleeves, and write the english text on them in Sharpy, to help me be able to play it.  That process will help me understand the cards a little better, I think, before I review.

SpartanNerd…Vintage Cards Opening

So, at the Hickory-con I picked up several vintage booster packs.  I am going to start with the Magic the Gathering pack from “Fallen Empires.”  I paid $5 for an eight card pack.  NO RARES.  I believe this to be a re-pack.  Maybe not, though, after reading up on Fallen Empires.  From what I gather from the internet, Hymn to Tourache is the best card in the set, and I opened it…

I had the Homarid and the Homarid Warrior already.  Goblin Churigeon also.  But I got a cool land and the Hymn to Tourache.  meh.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cards!  These are from the first cartoon show, 1989-mid nineties-ish.  Actually, these cards chronicle the first seven episodes of the cartoon, which even in my adult memory I remember being INCREDIBLE.  (The foot soldiers were worthy foes even as robots.  The turtles just barely thumped them in later episodes and they would explode, so it seemed.)  You can see the gum was still intact!  There is a puzzle piece here too, which you could collect and make a big picture.  I remember having these as a child, but seeing them in the wax pack there, I knew I just had to have them.  The backs just give a little synopsis of what the front portrays.

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The MAIN EVENT.  These are the ones that caught my eye first.  The seller had about five more packs…but at $6.00…These cards are basically the same as the Ninja Turtles cards.  But the gum was melted to the back of one of the cards.  😦   By the way.  Don’t try and eat that gum.  The MOTU trading cards are interesting because they have a mix of ways they portray the characters.  For instance, the “Like Father, Like Daughter” title card depicts Sorceress armor Teela, but the episode shows Filmation art.  The sticker art depicts box art from the toys.  Who drew that He-Man on the front of the wax pack?

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And finally, The Simpsons cards.  I definitely remember getting these from a teacher at church…he used trading cards as his classroom management technique.  He was always careful we didn’t get cards that had curse words on them…but I knew they were out there because I bought my own packs.  My parents didn’t like me (and my brothers) watching The Simpsons because of the profanity and the bad influence of Bart Simpson.  These cards really capture those early days of the show, where Bart and his misbehavior seemed to be the focus of the show  The sticker (with Bart in army gear) has Bart writing “Krusty the Clown is not God” on the chalkboard a hundred times.  Homer Simpson calling Bart a Smart@$$ is on one of the cards.  These, and the Ninja Turtles cards, were the ones I remember from my childhood.  I don’t have a memory of the Masters of the Universe cards though.

SpartanNerd Unveiling…Gundam Sweet Beats!

Girls.  Maybe I have girls on the brain?  I recently ordered some more “Fluttershy” My Little Pony card sleeves for my Liliana, Heretical Healer Commander deck.  I reviewed “Rey (Jakku) & BB-8.”  And today I decided to unveil my secret project, mentioned almost a year ago.

I have slowly worked on this project, with the SpartanTeen and SpartanKid hotly curious about what I was going to do.  (In their minds it was a kind of contest.)  I promised them I would do something they never saw before, something almost entirely original.  And something with a cheap budget.

The SpartanTeen put together a fantastic Master Grade Gundam Sinanju.  SpartanKid put together SD Build Burning.  But I went a completely different direction altogether.

Today I unveiled “Gundam Sweet Beats” to the SpartanChildren, and am revealing her to the world!

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Gundam Sweet Beats is a combination of spare parts from two different Super Deformed kits and also the Strawberry Shortcake “Sweet Beats” doll.  Review Here.

Sweet Beats usually just hangs around strawberry plants.

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Sometimes she rips it up on guitar.

But in a rare mood, she completely transforms into a glorious giant robot, powered with strawberry scent!

Now to talk about the project a little bit.  I mentioned in my review that the doll has an unsightly waistline, as well as hair that you can’t do much with.  Well I made the waistline problem EVEN WORSE by melting a slot into it so that the jetpack can fit on her properly.

The hair has been improved.  I tried to make it really straight, like typical asian little girls to match the anime idea.  I never could get the natural “wave” out.  But still, I discovered by combing it compulsively, it slowly improved.

The “crown” piece from the gundam…well I thought I would “implant” that into Strawberry Shortcakes head.  Bad move.  Then she just had a hole in her head, and the crown wouldn’t stay on.  I super-glued some hair in place to cover the new wound, and went to plan B, which was attach it to the sunglasses, which I didn’t care for anyway.  Remember when I said the sunglasses needed something else?  Super Deformed Gundam’s decal stickers were perfect!

I had to do some destructive modification to some of the gundam parts, and Sweet Beats has FAT FEET.  So it was hard to get those feet pieces to become shoes.  But they work.  Barely.  The waist piece had to be cut, melted, and shaped to fit around her properly.  Those little engine things over her shoulders are actually the jet engines from  somewhere else on a different gundam.  And the things on her wrist are wrist pieces.

Finally, I thought I would go all out with the hair bow, and there still is a little work to do.  I intend to super-glue that to a real hair bow.  I thought about using the little one that came with Strawberry shortcake, but decided I wanted to keep that like it is.

I complained a little bit about Star Wars Black Rey (Jakku) having sloppy paint.  But of course my painting is WAY WORSE.  So maybe I should stop complaining?

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I got the idea for this project from the end credits of Gundam Build Fighters, which features a child in Gundam armor doing things.

I designed the project so that the pieces can be removed, and the doll can be played with as intended, in regular Strawberry Shortcake mode, or rockstar mode.

There ARE some “Gundam Girl” figures out there.  I wrestled with the idea of doing one of those…I also considered things like getting a Harley Quinn figure or Super Girl and gundamizing it…as much as people want to say that comic characters are over-sexualized, it was actually hard to find a female figure “nude” enough.  (It was my idea to make a sexy figure at first.)  In the end, it was better to go with cute.  And the super deformed parts match the “cute” motif better.

Gundam Sweet Beats will be on display in my music classroom!  I keep a lot of toys on display, but as I mentioned before, I don’t have many girls toys.

I’m not going to rate my own work.  Leave a comment and tell me what you think!

SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review…Star Wars Black Series Rey (Jakku) & BB-8

The SpartanNerd is back!  I have decided to archive some of my older posts…some of those that never get hits, and this will solve my memory problem until I can pony up the 70-ish dollars to graduate to a higher tier on WordPress.

So with my newfound space, I will review a new product for me.  My first ever Star Wars Black Series figure(s).  Rey and BB-8!

I have long wanted to get Star Wars Black Series Darth Maul, but he is scarce and expensive when available.  Have I been justified in my interest in this series?

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Rey and BB-8 came in this box.  Why this specific figure, and not, say, Kylo Ren?  Well, I feel some connection with this character.  She is enough child and enough adult…lots of mystery about her.  But the other thing, we also get BB-8.  And if I’m not mistaken, R2-D2 was a Black Series figure all on his own.  So I kind of felt I got a two-for one.  I got this at GameStop on the east side of SpartanBurg yesterday.  Today I visited the Wal-Mart and noticed they had a ton of the other figures in stock, including Kylo Ren.  But not Rey…in fact, many people have noted that Rey has few toys floating around out there depicting her, maybe because they are trying to dodge details about her full name and story, or otherwise.

The box is a nice blister where you can see what you get.  And literally, thats it.  It is very basic.  The side is plastered with a “02” number indicator, and if you were a MIB collector, that is a nice touch, helping you feel you have the complete series.

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The back has that “02” and a little bit of her story.  Then warnings, and legal mumbo jumbo, including Disney and Hasbro.  It is still hard for me to associate Star Wars with Disney.

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Remember when I said the box was basic.  I weren’t kidding.  No instructions.  Promotional materials.  Bonus weapons.  Nothing.  Just the products.  The red back drop is OK, but I just want to throw the box and blister bubble away.

Time to play!

So, Rey is one of the few female figures I have.  I feel that her hands are a tad too soft.  Her joints are OK, I expected her to be somewhat like the Liliana Vess figure I have.  But Rey is more rubbery.  Her elbows need to be moved just right, and they feel like they might break off if played with too rough.  She has head swivel, shoulder and elbow articulation, and wrist swivel and rocker.  No waist swivel.  Her hips rock but are on a ball joint, as well as her knees and ankles.  So it is her arms and head that you are going to get the most out of. Star Wars figures have a history of falling apart when you open them up, and not being durable for extended play…the verdict is still out on Rey here.

My biggest problem with this figure is none of that…it is the weapon.  The weapon is supposed to be able to hang on Rey’s shoulder, and she grasps it with her right hand in an overhand grip.  This can’t happen with this figure.  See how the strap is too stiff, and unnaturally juts up over her soldier.  And those hands really are rubbery…I fear that the thumb is going to break right off if I’m not careful.

BB-8 is just a ball, a peg, and a ball jointed head.  Nothing fancy here.  He can’t roll like he can in the movie…Not sure how they would accomplish that though.  He does look exactly like he does in the movie.  I wish he came with some kind of stand, because it is really hard to display him in a stable manner.  Below I have him in “straight up” pose.  It doesn’t want to flop over with the center of gravity focused like that.

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But he usually just wants to flop over, like in the picture below.

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So here is Rey with some other female characters I have.  She really seem like a child standing next to Lilliana (from Magic the Gathering).

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Liliana is of a “heftier” build than Rey, though she has articulation difficulties.  I find that I am not afraid of breaking Liliana the way I am of Rey.  Yes, I know Liliana is in a larger scale, slightly, before anyone says anything.  But isn’t Star Wars Black Series supposed to represent a 6-inch Star Wars line of figures especially for adults?

Humor me, Rey is laughable next to Masters of the Universe Classics Balltleground Teela.

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Scroll slowly for a funny picture!

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OK, so how do I rate these two figures?

I have to mark off for three things. (I only use a five point scale!)

First of all, the whole weapon thing is bothersome.  If Hasbro made this figure to compete with Marvel Select, MOTUC, and all of the other “adult collector” lines, they missed the mark on something crucial…adults don’t play so much as they display.  Rey doesn’t look proper with that strap sticking up over her shoulder.  And add in that BB-8 doesn’t have a display stand of some sort, and displaying Rey isn’t as pleasant as displaying almost any other figure meant for adult collectors.  Dang.  I mean, I gave Marvel Select Thor a 2/5, but his merits are in that he looks cool on display.  Rey is pretty.  But she doesn’t display properly.

The second thing is the durability problem.  I haven’t broken ANY of the things that I have unboxed and reviewed.  But if I do break something, I’d wager it’d be Rey’s thumbs and fingers/hands.  Add in the way the elbows feel like they could break, and it just isn’t acceptable.  I’ve heard arguments that they make, especially female, hands a little softer because they can be sharp and be a danger.  I get that.  But isn’t it a choking hazard if the hand breaks off?  Think about THAT Hasbro.

Finally, something I haven’t mentioned.  The paint is sloppy.  Her hair seems like it is globbed on.  Her eyes are always gazing upwards, which I’ll admit adds to the humility of the character, who subjects herself as a child.  But it is better for the eyes to be neutral.  The brown belt around her waist and wrist wrap on her left arm also feel quite globby.  and finally, where her shins meet her boots, the caucasian color is painted around the high-top…or is it the boots were painted over a caucasian colored buck?

The redeeming qualities of the figure are…well we got two for one.  And BB-8 is exactly like he appears in the movie, even if he has stunted displayablity.  For all my complaining about the paint, Rey has an excellent sculpt…the clothes she is wearing are sculpted perfectly.  If only they didn’t whiff the paint job.

The other thing, It is fun to have Rey as a figure.  I haven’t bought a lot of merchandise associated with The Force Awakens.  I have held out for “the perfect things.”  And I haven’t seen Rey depicted until now.  (I noticed on my trip to Wal-Mart she finally IS making it into toy form in other ways.)  Why didn’t I pick up Kylo Ren for the same price?  His lightsaber doesn’t look right.  Why didn’t I pick up any of the others, or even some of the Hot-Wheels/Micro Machines?  None of them have been good enough looking…I always talk myself out of it.  But with Rey, we also got BB-8.  And I can play with them and display them together.

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So a good sculpt and finally-I-can-play with Rey and BB-8 are the merits whereby the SpartanNerd rates Star Wars Black Series Rey (Jakku) & BB-8 a 2/5.

Do you agree or disagree, oh hub city geeks?  Let me know in the comments!

 

 

SpartanNerd…Cool Idea- Photograph Toys with a Black Light!

Just some fun I had today…something really substantial forthcoming, however, oh Hub City Geeks!

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Skeletor is just about my favorite subject to photograph.  With a black light, his face looks extra gruesome.

I thought it would be cool to put the Havoc Staff that came with the Faceless One in the black light.  It isn’t that apparent in the pic below, but the pink translucent details on the “powered up” part of the staff changed bone white!

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Here is Modulock wearing the alternate Beast Man armor.  The unusual and unexpected thing is the plastic on the torso and visible in his joints at the knees and elbows glow a different color in the black light!  I noticed this with Draego Man too.  (Not pictured)

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I’ve never thought that the vintage Mantenna was a very menacing looking figure.  (This is my original toy from the 1980’s.)  Placing a blacklight on him changes this.  The red details become that salmon-isn color, which contrasts to the blue parts of his body that disappear in the blacklight somewhat.  His eyeball paint is about gone, but because of this it makes that weird thing that is his mouth seem extra creepy!

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The cool thing about Grimlock isis weapons.  They look translucent amber in person.  In the blacklight, though they pp like the science fiction things they should pop like.

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Last but not least, LILIANA!  The cool thing about this pic is as I was editing it with iPhoto, I was playing with the sharpness controls.  Lilliana almost disappeared when the control was at 0.  As you moved the slider, she would slowly appear or disappear!  Just like magic!  Because her substantially exposed skin is “flesh-tone”, and her clothes are all purple, this caused the disappearing effect.  I wish I had a modded Liliana card with this picture on it!