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!

 

SC ComicCon…SpartanNerd Thoughts

I had never heard of the SC Comic Con.  But when I learned about it, I knew my weekend destination!

The SC Comic Convention took place at the TD Convention Center on the weekend of March 25 and 26.  I arrived at about 2:00, and was greeted with a LOOOOONNNNGGGG line for admission.  Luckily, the line moved quickly, and by 2:30 we were in.  People were dressed to the max…I was wearing my humble Ace the Bathound shirt from the Legion of Collectors Box.  But there were cosplayers everywhere.

I do have a frame of reference for comparison.  The SpartanCon  is little more than an event at the public library, where they have some authors and creators show up.  It packs the library.  Which isn’t small, but isn’t humongous either.  I used to attend the MonsterCon.  That was sizable, taking up floorspace at Furman University.  And then HicloryCon was even bigger than that.  But this event DWARFED those.  Never have I seen so many vendors, artists, photo opportunities, and shop representatives in one place.

Me and the SpartanChildren walked around the place first, to take it all in.  Then we started getting specific.  SpartanTeen didn’t want to be there…he wanted to stay home and play Battlefield 4 all day.  But the SpartanKid wanted some MegaMan stuff, and I was looking for sealed MTG product, as well as Masters of the Universe related items.

The quest for MegaMan was dismal.  Right now, he just isn’t that hot of property, apparently.  We found a place that had five different stuffed MM toys.  But the SpartanKid passed on those.  He has one anyways…stuffed things really aren’t his thing anymore.   Eventually we found a metal bookmark.  Shiny!

The quest for MOTU was hardly better.  I eventually DID find some vindage items, but they were asking WAY TOO MUCH.  Basically, polybagged figures for $20.  I did see some other cool toys.  One standout was G1 MEGATRON in package.  Yes.  The PISTOL version!  $300!  IN BOX.  G1 MetroPlex was there as well, with a $600 price tag.  It didn’t appear to be complete either.  There were a few GI Joes of note…Cobra Commander, Zartan, and others.

It came down to sort of impulse buys.  I ran across the ATRAXA, PRAETOR’S VOICE deck, but in JAPANESE!  The vendor said $59.  I said I might return, and I did.  Homeboy tried to bump the price up to $79.99.  But nope.  I got it for $59.  This is a deck I have been waiting to land at a big box store, knowing the uninformed workers at Wal-Mart and Target either don’t know or don’t care about the asking value.  But I keep checking.  And no luck.  But to find this at the con, and in a foreign language, to me that is AWESOME.  I have a review coming soon!

Finally, just before we left, some impulse purchases.  The SpartanKid saw the Ocarina vendor…Now we haven’t played “Ocarina of Time.”  But it is soon to be on our WII…(or maybe I’ll wait and download it on the Nintendo Switch? I think that might be my next big purchase.)

But the SpartanKid had never realized it was a real instrument.  He was enamored with it.  So we got it.  And now he can play a few tunes.  My final right-before-I left purchase was some armor pieces for MOTUC figures.  It was the barbarian armor for VYKRON.  It was a special find…I never wanted that stupid figure, but thought the barbarian look was a real compliment to Vikor.  To find that Barbarian Armor polybagged for $10 was really nice.  And the armor compliments the normally shirtless Vikor very nicely.  I haven’t even put it on He-Man, like I thought I would!  The helmet fits on Battlefield Teela…Longtime readers might remember that I modded my Teela, removing her hair so that she could wear the snake armor.  That helmet fits pretty nicely on her head, making her a proper wife or sister for Vikor!  (That same vendor had MOTUC Talon Fighter Teela polybagged for $75.  No sale.)

I will definitely be going back to SC ComicCon.  It was fun for me and the SpartanKid.  And something cool to do!

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Modern Masters 2017…SpartanNerd Experience

I pre-ordered my box of Modern Masters 2017 for a steep discount…(information respectfully withheld.  Thanks!  You know who you are!)  Put it this way, I got a serious good deal.

Like the other “Masters” sets, this box only came with 24 packs.  But every pack contains a foil.  AND this time the set was loaded up with re-prints people have been asking for!

How did I fare?

This time I only have one picture, which will tell most of the story.

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I already put my rares away…sorry guys.  These are the commons and uncommons.  The story is “Return to Ravnica/Innistraad” srandard.  You could even draft deck archetypes with this set.

Maybe you can’t tell from the picture, but the stack of “gold” cards is about 1/3 taller than the traditional cards.  This is a set that wants you to build multi-color decks.

So what rares did I pull?

The notable ones were.

Marsh Flats

Gifts Ungiven

Linvala, Keeper of Silence

Griselbrand

Cavern of Souls

Goblin Guide

Abrupt Decay

Zur the Enchanter

Notably, I didn’t pull Snapcaster Mage, Liliana of the Veil, or Damnation.  I didn’t pull a Serum Visions or a Path to Exile either. But two awesome lands, Griselbrand, and the angel were all great pulls.

I decided to build a “cube commander” deck for Zur the Enchanter.  Basically a singleton deck with Esper colors.  I haven’t played it yet, but I know it will be janky when I do because there are only two valid enchantments!  (Seal of Doom and Gift of Orzova)

So did I draft?  Both me and the SpartanKid did so at the Tangled Web…$35 per entry fee…that’s steep!  But at $10 a pack, that’s why.

I think we both drafted traditional draft style decks.  Mine was based on “bloodrush”  Which was incredible Green Red strategy back in RtR block.  The SpartanKid drafted mono-white.  Probably not a great choice…but he crafted a successfully annoying Soul Sisters deck.  In fact, mine was annoying too if you were lucky!  Giantbaiting + Dragon Fodder+ Revive = YOU WIN.  But most of the time the opponent just had an early flier that I could only hold off for so long before I was ran over.

I did manage to draft Terminus, Obzedat, Goblin Guide, and Misty Rainforest.  But since I was in red green only the latter two made the cut…This set is so good that Misty Rainforest was actually passed to me!  I don’t know what they pulled….???

I wound up trading for a foil Damnation, and so I am all around happy with my investment.  If you read my blog, you know I have been burned a few times buying MTG boxes.  I felt confident that it would work out, and it did reasonably.

However, I did see “Rudy,” some You-Tube guy open a totally wack box, and follow that up with a box that contained all five fetch lands, Liliana, and Blood Moon.  So the potential for this to have gone either way in the other direction was there.

I was encouraged as one of my regular opponents sat beside me while I opened the packs from my box.  I was unaware of some of what I had.  I have a foil Grafdiggers Cage now.  Somehow that is a card that hasn’t been on my radar.  But I see incredible play value there now.  That guy also proclaimed jealousy when I opened Goblin Guide, and then drafted him as well!

I don’t know that I will get to draft this set anymore.  Opportunity dries up as the supply will.  If you read my previous post, you know I was looking forward to drafting Gifts Ungiven, or possibly pulling a foil Liliana of the Veil.  But I also realistically knew those were long shots.

I am going to refrain from rating this set based on my experience.  I have opened 27 packs and played with 24 of the cards, rather unsuccessfully.  I was fighting against myself as well, as I was really sick and started to get tired at around 10:00 PM.  I was making bonehead mistakes, like Traitorous Instinct on Ogre Jailbreaker, when I didn’t own a gate, for instance.  That really doesn’t say much for me and my skills on that day, and so I can’t rate it.  I do think the draft environment really wants you to aim for three colors.  At the Tangled Web, there are a few “fixer hogs.”  They take all of the fixers, and then they get to pick the best stuff on the last pack.  I can’t draft that way.  Maybe I should try it out.  But it seems I would rather know my strategy from the first twenty cards I draft.

Loyal Subjects Blind Box Masters of the Universe…SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review

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He-Man.org indicated that these were coming to Wal-Mart, and on that very same day I went to investigate, only to find that they only had Transformers and Power Rangers Blind Boxes by the Loyal Subjects.  I don’t live near Wal-Mart, nor do I like going there.  So it was another two weeks before I went back to look again.  And there it was.  I got the second figure from the case!  Why not more?  This little box has a steep price of $12.95!

The box is very nice.  It has a shiny treatment, that isn’t foil.  Instead, it is just…slick and shiny.  It makes the images of the figures and characters really pop!  There is a Filmation Castle Grayskull motif to the box as well.  And MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE is plastered all over the box.  It is nice to see the brand on store shelves again!

Let’t talk blind bag/blind box.

I have bought so many Magic the Gathering Booster packs, that I am done.  I am only buying the singles I want, unless the packs come with some other product.  (Think Planeswalker Packs, or Fat Packs.)  Other than that, the only way I am opeing a pack is if I draft it or win it.  That’s because you get burned so often.  And there is no telling what’s inside.  Blind Boxes/bags have the same problem.

I’ve only opened one Blind Bag/Box for myself in my adult life, and I did it for the school children.  It was a Nina Turtles Mega Block Mini Figure.  I gave them all a speech about how the picture shows lots of different characters, and kind of gets your hopes up.  But then when you open it, it won’t be what you wanted, probably.  I told them that my favorite was Donatello, but I was OK if it was someone else.  We also discussed the rare and chase figures that it could be, and how those are ways that the company gets you to buy more.  My turtle turned out to be Michaelangelo.  And now he sits on top of my white board.

So this is the second Blind Box/Bag I am opening.  Do I hope it’s He-Man or Skeletor? Certainly!  Do I hope it is a special rare flocked red Beastman.  Heck Yeah!  But realisitcally, I expect it to be something else.

The box is so nice, I decided to open it carefully. I intend to display the figure atop the box!

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Inside the box was a foil bag.  This is the second layer of security to keep prying eyes out!  The house doesn’t win if you know what figure you are getting.

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Here is what was inside!  Tri-Clops!

I don’t own Masters of the Universe Classics Tri-Clops…(who does?)  But I do own my vintage one still.  But I won’t be showing you that.  He is in WAY AWFUL shape.  his visor is busted off, so only the top layer remains, making him look eyeless but with some kind of deranged hat.

A little talk about Tri-Clops.  As a kid, I played with Tri-Clops all the time.  He was SO FUN. The eyes spinning thing was AWESOME!  But his sword was the other big thing.  Everyone knew this was the coolest sword in MOTU.  He-Man’s sword was shorter and lacking in detail compared to Tri-Clops.  And when I couldn’t find He-Man’s, and didn’t want to use Prince Adam’s LAME pink sword, I would use Tri-Clops sword in its place.

This fully posable vinyl figure comes with a miniature copy of that same sword!

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I am trying a new tactic in photographing Tri-Clops.  I am using the “Crafs Man”s method of having a trash can as a diffuser.  Great results!  You can see Tri-Clops very good here.This is just about as vanilla a pose as I can get you.

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You can see the holster on the back of the removable armor.  This removes just like you would expect, but you have to pop off his head.

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Tri-Clops spinning eyes works really well.  Not as loose as the vintage, but still pretty cool.  You can see he IS fully articulated.  As a two-and-a-half inch figure, it is pretty incredible how much articulation they got into him!  Ankles that swivel, hip-thigh joints, torso swivel, jointed arms, swivel wrist with hands that can hold weapons, and head on a ball joint.

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Most vinyl figures around my house are of the “Funko” philosophy.  Not much articulation.  Tri-Clops takes pointers from a different line of figures, I think.

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These Sonic guys, who I really like to photograph, have all of the same articulation points as Tri-Clops.  And are the same size, but not muscular, of course.

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I DO have the Tri-Clops sword that came in the MOTUC weapons pack.  The sword that isn’t painted green, but is painted like a traditional sword.  I thought it would be cool to see Tri-Clops hold it.

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He is larger than Mega-Bloks or Lego mini-figures.

But smaller than MOTUC figures.

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So what does the SpartanNerd rate the Loyal Subjects Blind Box Masters of the Universe Mini Vinyl Tri-Clops?

I think there is some “Masters of the Universe” fan tax added to the price.  I think this item is worth $12.95 on a blister card.  But not as a blind bag.  If I bought three more of these, I could have three more Tri-Clops.  That’s a bummer.  I don’t even want one more copy.  The one I opened here is enough.  And this is enough deterrent for people who collect stuff.

The product though is terrific.  These vinyl figures do real justice to their source material.  I have to complain about just a little bit of paint slop on the back of his furry shorts.  But otherwise, he has excellent features, and you feel like you are playing with a miniature Tri-Clops.  (you are, actually.

So I am going to rate the Loyal Subjects Masters of the Universe Blind Box Mini at 3/5.  This would have been a 4/5 if it was carded, and 5/5 if there wasn’t any paint slop.

So do you agree or disagree?  Let me know in the comments!

 

Ajani Planeswalker Pack…SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review

Ajani, Valiant Protector is the foil for Tezzeret, Master of Metal as far as intro decks go for Aether Revolt.  I unboxed Tezzeret, and just felt I needed Ajani to complete the duel.

Ajani’s deck came in the exact same packaging as the other Planeswalker Packs have.  It is a printed sleeve, which covers plastic tray with a display window.

All the contents are actually inside a deckbox, (an excellent deckbox, by the way.)  The only piece that isn’t is the “splashy” planeswalker card.  Environmentally concerned MTG players can feel pretty good about the minimal use of packaging with these decks.

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Here is the entire contents.  The special Ajani, Valiant Protector card, a guide to playing the deck, a quick reference guide, two Aether Revolt booster packs, the nice deckbox, and the deck wrapped in cellophane.

Let’s have a look at the planeswalker.

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Right away I can tell you that this card isn’t as good as Tezzeret’s.  Tezzeret can reach ultimate after three turns.  It is going to take a lot longer for Ajani.  The upside is, getting two +1/+1 counters on a creature is not shabby at all.  His +1 ability lets you filter up your creatures. If you do happen to get to ultimate, you probably win.

The guide to playing the deck heavily features pictures of Ajani.  You also get a decklist.  And something I failed to mention about Tezzeret’s deck.  This insert kind of tells players what to purchase next if they really like playing MTG.

The Planeswalker Packs are great entry level products.  The only way they could really improve the experience is include sleeves…or even better.  Go ahead and sleeve the cards, so a person can crack the box and play in a tournament right away!  Pre-shuffle it even.

Here are the cards…

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It’s pretty clear that Ajani’s deck is supposed to depend on the Revolt mechanic.  Basically something canhappen if a permanent left the battlefield this turn.  In other words, the deck wants you to be able to bounce, sacrifice, or give up permanents.  But if you study the cards carefully, you will see tbat there aren’t that many ways to trigger revolt outside of losing permanents in combat.  There are a few exceptions…but not really enough in my opinion.

But am I getting ahead of myself?

There are a few cards that you can’t get anywhere else besides buying this product.  Ajani’s Aid is a big one.  And enchantment that lets you tutor Ajani out of the your deck or your graveyard.  (Hang onto that thought!)  You can sacrifice it to prevent damage from a singular creature.   Ajani’s Comrade is another, which gets a counter if you control a planeswalker called Ajani.  (Opening this card up to the other versions of Ajani out there.  Goldmane, Caller of the Pride, Mentor of Heroes, Steadfast, and Vengeant.  Did I miss one?)  Inspiring Roar is another card exclusive to this deck.  AND that card is indispensible for keeping the power level up against Tezzeret.  (Which is why there are four copies I’m sure.)  The other card is the white and green tapland.

This deck really only has one removal spell.  The classic, “Prey Upon.”  Everything you do in the deck depends on combat, pretty much.

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How does the deck play?  It is a weak white-weenie deck.  The creatures are typically slow.  While Narnham Renegade could be good in Modern if you cracked a fetchland on turn one, most of them aren’t that great.  They want Revolt to trigger, which usually means you have to wait until Main Phase 2 after you lost something in combat.  Which is a bad deal, typically for a deck whose card advantage rests almost entirely on the battlefield.

So, nope.  This deck isn’t as impressive, or effective as Tezzeret’s.

Planeswalker that isn’t as good.  Strategy that isn’t as good.  Let’s prove it!

Here is the showdown between the two decks, as promised.

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Round one.  SpartanKid (Tezzeret) vs. SpartanNerd (Ajani).

(Let’s keep in mind, that Tezzeret’s deck has Fatal Push and Tezzeret the Schemer added to it, which is fair because they were pulled from the boosters that came with the deck.  But this also means that his deck is 62 cards.  I could have added two cards from Ajani’s boosters, but I thought they were too skunky.)

Basically, Tezzeret only drew Islands for lands, giving Ajani the opportunity to get Narnham Renegade onboard and hit them over and over with Inspiring Roar.  Yes.  Three copies.

Round two.

This time Ajani’s deck began with three forests and drew into a fixer.  So a much slower start, made very clear as Tezzeret began to get things on the board.  Ajani loses round two to dumb luck.  The same way Tezzeret lost round one.  I held Solemn Recruit in my opening hand, who requires two whites to play.

Round three.  This is why we play the game of Magic!

Basically, Tezzeret, Master of Metal hit the board right on turn six.  It was another three turns before I drew into Ajani.  I played my Ajani, to a board where I had three creatures, including Solemn Recruit.  I +2 Ajani, knowing that Solemn Recruit has double strike, and would get ANOTHER counter because of revolt triggering.  This was my strategy to win!

Unfortunately, the SpartanKid had drawn Tezzeeret the Schemer, and went ahead to ultimate Tezzeret Master of Metal.  This meant he took control of all of my artifacts and creatures.  And then proceeded to swing at Ajani.  Keep in mind that Solemn Recruit still had summoning sickness.

I drew the best card I could have drawn in this situation.  Ajani’s aid.  I had enough mana to play that card, as well as replay Ajani, who I then +1 into nothing really. (Narnham Renegade) The SpartanKid then unwisely sent all of his creatures at Ajani once again.  I chump-blocked the biggest thing I could with my deathtoucher, and Ajani hit the graveyard again.  But my next draw was the second copy of Ajani’s aid.  Still, there was too much momentum going for the SpartanKid.  I sacrificed both of the Ajani’s aid for the prevent combat damage effect on the double striker, but that wan’t enough to stave off a loss.

Just some commentary.  Sure, this proves the Tezzeret deck is better.  But the way that I was able to get Recurrance out of Ajani, that was fun.  And that is why this is a great product for a new player.  I failed to mention…Tezzeret also got one tutor back out of the graveyard as well along the course of the matches.

I am going to rate the Ajani Planeswalker Deck from Aether Revolt a 4/5.  It is a fun deck to play.  You get an almost perfect entry level MTG product.  You get exclusive cards.  I took the point off because it doesn’t seem to be that balanced against Tezzeret from Aether Revolt.  If I had to choose one of these to take to a tournament, it would certainly be Tezzeret.

The SpartanNerd rates Ajani’s Planeswalker Pack 4/5.  Do you agree or disagree?  Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Tezzeret Planeswalker Pack…SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review

Aether Revolt snuck up on me this time.  I wasn’t able to attend the pre-release, but did draft on release weekend.  I went to the draft “cold turkey,” having not researched any of the cards.  Believe it or not, I drafted two “Fatal Push,” probably the most important card released in the entire set.  In case you didn’t know, “Fatal Push” is a one-drop instant black kill spell.  A card that is bound to be useful in Modern, as the only cards that have filled that role until this point have been Path to Exile and Lightning Bolt.

I went through all that, hanging out at the Tangled Web all afternoon, and I never even saw the new Planeswalker decks.  Maybe they were there…maybe they were sold out?  The first time I even had a clue that such a thing had released was when I saw it at Wal-Mart.  I snatched up Tezzeret, and here was my experience.

The Tezzeret Planeswalker Pack came in the same style of packaging as the Nissa and Chandra Planeswalker Packs from Kaledesh.  Aether Revolt takes place on the same plane, (is actually an expansion of the set Kaledesh,) and so this deck adds more to the entire experience of the block.  Tezzeret is obviously foreshadowing the upcoming “Amonkhet” set, which is going to heavily feature the great villain of Magic the Gathering, Nicol Bolas.  (Tezzeret has been something of a henchman for Bolas, along with Sarkahn, at least as far as I understand.)

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Not pictured is the plastic case that is the main part of the packaging.  It forms a nifty little tray…I just haven’t figured out how to use it yet.  The contents of the box are really in this  deck box, which prominently features Tezzeret, Master of Metal for its art.  This is the same style of box that Nissa and Chandra came with, and it is a great little box to carry sleeved cards in.  I personally think the Wizards are hitting a homerun when they make these Planeswalker Packs.  New players want planewalker cards, rare cards, and new players want to feel like they fit in when they come to a tournament.  Most tournament players have fancy deckboxes, etc.  So this is an all around great product for the new player.  The only thing lacking is actual sleeves.

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Here are all of the contents.  Two packs of Aether Revolt.  One foil Tezzeret, Master of Metal (which can’t be acquired officially any other way than opening this product.)  The deck sealed in cellophane wrap.  And two pieces of paper.  One is the guide to playing the deck.  The other is the Magic the Gathering Quick Reference Guide.  If any Wizards product should include the Quick Reference Guide, it is the Planeswalker Packs.

Let’s have a look at this splashy card.

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Tezzeret is the strongest Intro Pack planeswalker I have seen.  His +1 ability could be a game changer.  It is so-so in this deck, but imagine a deck where there were four copies of some incredible artifact.  (Here’s a list.  Platinum Angel.  Sword of Feast and Famine.  Elbrus the Binding Blade.  Black Lotus.  Need I say more?)  Tezzeret can plus up and get that in your hand!  And all the extra cards you overturned?  You just shuffle them and put them on the bottom without consequence!

To -3 Tezzeret on what is likely turn five or six won’t be that great.

But the bottom -8 ability is bonkers.  And because the +1 ability, and the starting loyalty is 5, it’s not even that hard ultimate Tezzeret.  And then it’s GG.

What else is here?

The guide to playing the deck is a big pretty poster, featuring Tezzeret and giving us some story.  We also get the decklist, in case we modify the deck, or want to keep it together.  This information is available online, in case you lose it however.

So what cards are here?

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There are some cards here that are exclusinve to this set.  These are Standard Legal, too, incidentally.  They are Submerged Boneyard (the blue and black tap land), Pendulum of Patterns (four copies), Tezzeret’s Simulicrum (which gets a bonus if you control any Tezzeret Planeswalker), and Tezzeret’s Betrayal which lets you kill something and tutor Tezzeret Master of Metal.

I’m a fan of decks like this because the cards have lots of value built in.  Many of the artifacts here have card-draw effects attached to them.  Notable, when Treasure Keeper dies, you get to cascade!  Because tricks like this are built in, Tezzeret doesn’t have to rely so much on cards like Reverse Engineer.

Another feature of the deck is Tezzeret’s Touch.  This card is reminiscent of Ensoul Artifact from M15…a card that made the “death scissors” a fringe winning strategy during the Kahns of Tarkir period.  This card has an advantage on that one, though, in that it has the ability to return the artifact to your hand if it gets destroyed.

The creatures in this deck are value-types.  Tezzeret’s Simulicrum is just good stuff.  And even better if you have a Tezzeret on the board.  (Lightning Bolt every turn.  Ouch!)  Augmenting Automaton has the classic pump ability built in.  I will say that I don’t get much out of Improvise as a mechanic.  It is just bad Convoke.  Most artifacts have “tap to activate ability.”  If you tap them to pay for a ridiculous creature, then you just lost value.

How does it play out?  Well, this deck really works!  I have yet to test it against the other Planeswalker Pack, Ajani.  And I think that will be the true test.  So far the deck has taken out the SpartanKid’s Tron deck, BUT, he did have a bad draw.

I suppose this time I will let you in on what I pulled from the booster packs.  Prepare to be JEALOUS.

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Yep.  The other Tezzeret!  And ANOTHER copy of Fatal Push to go with the other two I drafted.  (How is it that I drafted 2?  I opened one in my first pack.  First pack first pick.  In second pack, the player to my left must have pulled an incredible rare, because they passed me my second one!)

It might be early to rate this deck because I haven’t played it that much.  However, I suspect I will be rating it a 5/5.  Like I said, this is my style of deck, with lots of tricks.  And it is black and blue, two of my personal best colors.

I will update my rating after I get my hands on the Ajani deck, and have them play each other!