SpartanNerd…Catching Up…

Has it really been three years since I posted anything?

This means that throughout Corona…throughout the last several MTG releases…Throughout the ending of MOTUC and the new Masters of the Universe lines that have come out. I have written zilch.

Well, it isn’t because I stopped being nerdy. Believe it or not, online teaching and also attending classes took all of my energy out for this project.

So here’s a few new things that have happened.

Masters of the Universe.– As the Classics line ended, I began to realize I just didn’t have enough space anymore. MOTUC items are pretty large. And I got lots of joy especially from my He-Man and Battlecat and also Skeletor and Panthor. But also the Griffin was one of my favorites. Vikor. But some of the others…I decided I could part with them. And then I decided when I saw the price I could fetch to go ahead and sell my core items. All I have left is Vikor and my custom Battleground Teela. I sold it all in May 2020. For $600. I use that money to re-invest in MOTU Mega Construx. I have the Castle Grayskull and basically every item they have released in that line. A downsize in square footage, it is easier to get these just by walking into a store. There are other advantages.

Sorry about the backdrop-less pic. This is a very large item. Kitchen table will have to do.

I decided early on that the MOTU Origins figures look too crappy…I don’t like the colors. And the Masterverse figures on first reveal, I thought “That He-Man looks “gutsy.” Meaning, the way the belt is that pale color yellow, it blends in too well with He-Man’s skin color on his belly. It looks like he has a gut. The other figures, the one that came out with the new CGI Anime line, do not appeal to me at all. I hear fans (Scott Neitlich) accepting what is going on apologetically, that this line is meant to appeal to the kids. But kids just don’t watch the cartoons anymore. Trust me. I know. Middle school teacher. So they are messing around with beloved source material and creating something “corrupt.”

I have picked up some of the MOTU Minis, and the Hot Wheels.

Magic the Gathering- For something that took up so much of my life and my children’s time, this has become a much rarer treat. Since the COVID-19 lockdowns, there haven’t been as many tournaments. We pretty much decided that SpellTable pretty much stinks. Arena isn’t a strong alternative. Now some tournaments have returned, but we have to drive a long way to get to them. Mostly these are Commander League events. And we haven’t really paid into the leagues on account we can’t reliably attend. Just the same, we have played EDH some. But the thrill of the old Modern tournaments is gone. I have done a few drafts and sealed. But it is doubtful that we will go and draft Double Masters II this weekend. That is $50 or more. To play maybe three rounds. Which I will have to drive a distance to get to … meaning I can’t stay out late in my old age driving home sleepy.

Oh yes…Secret Lair. At first I bought it all. I bought the super bundle…the one with the cats and the goblins. The Walking Dead. After awhile, I realized that this isn’t sustainable for me. They have churned out so many Secret Lairs, each with an enticing value usually, but then if you start adding all that up, you better be rich if you are a completist. I figure the Wizards/Hasbro weren’t achieving their bread and butter anymore on packs because people stopped playing. And Commander is so popular, but you can play virtually any cards you can find competitively even, that they had to capitalize on that crowd the best they could by dangling lots of shiny, pretty, artsy, and seemingly charitable carrots in front of them. So I certainly had to start pacing myself on this one. The last one I got was the Dracula one. I got my kid the pixel art lands. These things…they take forever to arrive. All the shipping delays and production delays that have plagued the past couple of years…Which brings me to the next big one.

Playstation 5. I got the money together for this…in fact some of the money from my MOTUC collection, plus some gifts, etc. I had the funds in hand right before Christmas 2020. And went to buy it, only to find…THERE WERE NONE. ANYWHERE. When did I finally get mine? OCTOBER 2021. Used! I am grateful…it has performed like a champ! You wouldn’t know. It didn’t come with a proper stand, so I had to get a third party one, which was supposed to charge the controllers and add extra fan-power. But none of that seems to be working. Still, it stands very well. The best two games for me have been Horizon: Zero Dawn, Horizon: Forbidden West, and Gran Tourismo. But I have lots more games. Spider-Man, Terraria, Mortal Kombat. I paid for the streaming services, but haven’t hardly used them…which brings me to

DISNEY+. Since this launched, I bundled with HULU (Which I already watched) and this has been what I have watched on TV. I have hung on to NetFlix for Stranger Things and Masters of the Universe: Revelation. (More on that on a different day.). The Mandalorian has been a terrific show! Obi Wan was pretty good. The Book of Boba Fett might as well have been season 3 of the Mandalorian. I haven’t watched anything else much on the service, though.

Comics- I have moved back into collecting these. I picked up IDW’s “Best of” TMNT books. I am looking to get a frame to display them in.

I have been collecting all of the IDW Transformers books…this was actually how I got back into collecting comics. IDW decided to reboot the franchise, and I felt it was a good “jumping in” place. Highlights of this have been “Shattered Glass” and “King Grimlock.” The main story kind of meandered a little bit. I was introduced to a bunch of characters I didn’t know or had forgotten. I also got into “Beast Wars”… which was admittedly NOT MY CARTOON. Unfortunately, IDW passed on the license, and all of these stories have come to a wrap up, which has seemed very rushed. But my love of getting the covers and important/valuable books has become rooted again. I collected up all of the “Batman/Catwoman” story, got back into Spider-Man and Ghost Rider. But I have dropped DC for the most part. In fact, almost everything they have been publishing in any form is tripe that panders to anyone except the classic fan. I thought “The Batman” was a much slower slog than it needed to be. My next problem is the amount of room this hobby is taking up…

Gundam- I built my first Master Grade…EW EPYON. I am still applying decals. But this has been a terrific project! I eill post pictures when I finish.

It is good to be coming back to the blogosphere…an I hope to have a review tomorrow!

SpartanNerd Review…Commander Unboxing…Evasive Maneuvers

Evasive Manuevers….Commander Deck Unboxing and Review.
Commander, or EDH (whichever you prefer,) is a format for Magic: The Gathering that people seem starved for…Usually they are trying to sneak in a round in between Standard tournament matches, etc.  I have been sort of puzzled by that…thinking it is fun…but is it that fun?
My experiences with Commander come from playing at home with my boys…no surprise really.  The games would tend to be longer, but otherwise, besides the “commander factor” the same and just as fun, just more restricted fun.  (You may only have one copy of each card in your 100 card deck, besides basic land)
BUT that was before this deck!  I think the reason I have had “meh” feelings about the whole thing is that my decks didn’t really “do anything.”  They were more of a collection of cards that I like…that were generally unplayable in standard for some reason.
So my first cohesive deck is one that I buy ready made, it it works great!
Evasive Maneuvers comes in this blister packaging,  You can see the oversized foil Derevi, Empyrial Tactician clearly.  Notice the price…I used a $10 coupon, so this cheapskate didn’t pay full price!  (I hear that Oloro’s deck is fetching around $100 on the internet!)

Here’s the back.  I didn’t read it.  But it is supposed to sell you on buying the deck.  Derevi is impressive enough for me, and I have been playing his colors in Standard for awhile.  (White, Green, and Blue, also known as Bant)

When you open the box, you see this.

and here are the contents, underneath the foils.

This deck comes with not only Derevi, but also two other Commanders,
Rubinia Soulsinger, and Roon of the Hidden Realms (A Rhino!).  The deck comes with a regular
card of these also, as they complete the 100 cards.
But clearly Derevi is the star!

Here is a picture of the deck list.

Here is some blurb about how to play the deck.

and a nice poster.

I wish I could have made it to a “serious” tournament before this review…unfortunately Christmas Singing obligations kept me away from the one at the Tangled Web today.  There are two more planned for the future that I know of, and I may be able to attend those and play this deck.

So my first match was against my oldest son, who is currently playing a self built Excava, Blood Witch Commander deck.  (See Excava here.)  It is an aggressive Rakdos strategy, and he uses a lot of burn spells and haste, as well as favors goblins.

I beat him soundly!  And on all fronts.  Here are the cards I used to do so….There are certainly more cards to see, however.

The Mistmeadow Witch got a lot of attention from some veteran players last night
as I showed off  the deck to the people at the Standard tournament at the TW.
Apparently, Kithkins were a big deal in former Magic sets.  This cards activated ability was the way I ousted Excava the first time.  He was never able to get her out again before I finished him off.  (I mean he could have..he chose not to)

This card is kind of a more powerful Tidebinder Mage.  It flys…so….He had no flyers.  

This is apparently a reprinted card from the ancient past of Magic.
I used this to cast Blue Sun’s Zenith, (not shown here).  But that instant put cards in my hand when I was starting to feel a lack of fun because I had no hand anymore.

I was delighted to get to play a “level-up” card.  This deck has two!  I had never played one before,
but have played against people that do at Modern tournaments.

This was one of my last plays.  It didn’t get to do much….

I put this card onto Dungeon Geists…I never had to use it, though.

I DID use this card…Sort of a Wrath of God.  And because I had the two tokens afterward,
they were part of me winning the game!

I mention this because one of the key things was that MANA WASNT A PROBLEM!
I used this spell to get Evolving wilds back out…(It was the only land card in my graveyard)

Rubinia made an appearance, giving me control of Krenko, Mob Boss.  My son really didn’t appreciate this, so he just burned her.  A key point to remember for the future…She’s not to hard to kill off.  AND, if she’s tapped, she isn’t doing much else, is she?

Thoughts on the match…Excava is no lightweight…But I just had more access to stuff.  I had out Darksteel Ingot, Basalt Monolith, and Selesnya Signet, in addition to 12 basic lands and Faerie Conclave and Bant Panorama.  By the end of the game…with the mana-fixing artifacts coming out early giving me the power to do just about anything I wanted.

This caused another problem, though.  My hand was empty for the mid-game.  And I was powerless to do anything but block and activate abilities, of which all I had was the Mistmeadow Witch and Derevi.  Derevi’s ability was great…He got sent to the command zone twice, and I was able to get him out cheap!  But my source of card draw came from SpartanSmurf #1 playing Sign In Blood, which got the Blue Sun Zenith into my hand, which I played at the end of his turn in response to him trying to remove Mistmeadow Witch…( I wasn’t able to counter him)

The game ender came after all this.  I got out Kirtar’s Wrath, and nuked everything.  He had more stuff out than me, so it was not biggie…This gave me the upper-hand with the two spirits, then I was able to also get Derevi out of the command zone.  At the END OF HIS TURN (So he was ready to attack next turn!  Then I played Aethermage’s Touch, which got out the Skyward Eye Prophets, and I got to play Curse of Predation.  SpartanSmurf #1 didn’t have much life left, so when I swung all-out, it was curtains for him!

Commander damage didn’t even figure into all of this…It was all regular damage!

Thoughts on what you get.…You get the three commanders…all Bant, so that’s cool.  I especially like the Rhino…Rhino’s are becoming one of my favorite animals.  (Maybe it is their big nose!)  Some of the cards in here are apparently lusted after by long-time players.  “Sol Ring,” for example.  You also get a pretty nice box…But it won’t fit your cards if you sleeve them…it is a snug fit as it is.

I am keeping the deck list for reference.  The Wizards are wasting paper by including the blue propaganda that comes with almost every Magic: The Gathering product.

My Rating…I give Evasive Maneuvers a 5 out of 5!  I can’t wait to get more of these decks….I have been hint dropping the SpartanWife for Oloro, Ageless Ascetic’s Esper Commander deck.  Basically, I see him as kind of like me…Sitting in that chair, He-Man’s sword leaned up by the side, drinking a Diet Dew, totally ripped (now I’m dreaming)

Theros Event Deck….Unboxing and Review

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

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

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

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

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


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

Deck breakdown…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ordeal if Thassa–  This ordeal gives you card draw…

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

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

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

My first match with the deck…

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

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

I didn’t bother to side in any cards.

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

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

I believe I am going to make a few changes…

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

Here is my verdict.

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

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

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

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