SpartanNerd…250 Blog Posts!

Yep.  The SpartanNerd is getting on up there in age!  250 posts.  There have been ups and downs.  I have covered “all things nerdtainment” that I could afford.  I have made mistakes, as well as hit home-runs.  I’ve had times of not being inspired or having energy or time, as well as times where I felt a real need to blog.

I thought I would celebrate this milestone with a little pastiche of different stories of interest!

My first ever customized MOTUC figure.

Teela

My own Teela, of course!

It has bothered me for some time that I didn’t have a female figure worthy of wearing the extra bit of snake armor that came with one of the weapons packs.  I always felt that it could fit Battleground Teela;  I was reluctant to remove her hair.

Well I’m glad I did.  You can see from the picture that it worked out pretty nice.  It took me over an hour of using a hair dryer and other tools to remove the hairpiece, which is really a hard piece of plastic glued on with some incredible adhesive.  Unfortunately, it left a hole in her head all across the back.  You can’t see it from the front, which is what is important to me.  I might try and customize a backside to the hood sometime to completely cover the ugly.

Yes, I can put the hairpiece back on!  So its like I have two Teela figures now!  pfffttt to all you people who own one figure that cost over $100!

I know what else you’re thinking, and yes I DID remove the bra-armor piece to see if I could make her appear more comic accurate.  The problem is…it just doesn’t look right on this figure.  She seems too…Well, your eyes go right to her bust.  And then it doesn’t look right.  She isn’t “that accurate,” ahem.  She looks better with her stock armor underneath the hood piece.  And no, I’m not interested in doing ANY painting on this figure!

Moving on, moving on.

Unicorn vs. Sinanju

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The SpartanTeen hasn’t played Magic the Gathering in quite a while.  This is fine.  I have had to find other ways to bond with him.  One of those ways is the appreciation for Gundam models.  Here is a pic of his best two.

He got the flight stands in the mail, and put them in this pose.  We kept them this way on the kitchen table for several days!  I love the action that you can sense between the two characters, Gundam Unicorn and Sinanju.

Speaking of MTG,

I bought a box of Battle for Zendikar.  And I have been incredibly pleased with my investment.  I don’t generally buy cards for their monetary value, but you just can’t overlook it when each pack gives you a full-art land, (in time will be worth $1.00-$2.00.)  But aside from that, you also get a rare as in every Magic booster.

But I have been blessed.

I’ve opened TWO Gideon, Ally for Zendikar, and one of those was a “bounty” at The Tangled Web!  (They give you a second copy if you open one.)  I traded both in for a Snapcaster Mage, which I really NEEDED.  (I figure Gideon will come and go.  Snap is forever!)

Then I traded the other for an Ugin today, to build this deck for Standard….A Re-Animator deck.  It needs some work.  Suggestions are welcome!  (I modeled it after the four-color reanimator I have been playing in Modern…where the snap caster went!)

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The SpartanKid also built a Standard deck (with my help)….He is quite pleased with it.  The only thing we tried to do really was use the colors of Omnath, Locus of Rage.  We put a lot of landfall in there.  And Scythe Leopard and Sliderunner have done all of the work pretty much!

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While on the subject of MTG cards and customizing stuff, check out what I did with my Father’s Day present…I made a Commander deck, and used the inadequate deck box that “Graveborn” came with to pretty up a Commander box!

New stuff….

I bought a Battle Droid figure at Mighty Dollar for $1.00.  The full real thing!

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I purchased and intended to review the Deckbuilders Toolkit for Magic Origins.  Maybe I still will.  But I’m not feeling it.  Here is a pic of the janky deck I put together with it though!

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I made a chessboard for MOTUC and similar figures!  Don’t steal my idea!

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The SpartanKid purchased this incredible item at Toys-R-Us…

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You get all of this variety of Halo mini-figures.  And a ton of weapons.  It comes with a display stand to boot!

Some parting thoughts….

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Remember the unfortunate situation with this very expensive figure….  He is still holding up after all this time!  His wrist hasn’t let go even once!

The SpartanKid wanted me to mention his Mega-Man Art Book.  I have never reviewed this item.  So here are two pieces of art…

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I about shouted for joy when I saw this page of a recent He-Man and the Eternia War comic!  That comic keeps surprising me with its twists and turns!  A review of issue #10 is coming soon!

Death of Hordak

Vikor remains my favorite MOTUC figure.  Maybe my favorite action figure of all time.  While I give serious props to Marvel Select Deadpool, Vikor is continually all that an action figure should be.  Incredibly detailed and articulated.  Fits any fantasy.  Is a MOTUC design.  Armed to the teeth.  I love to photograph him!

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So will the SpartanNerd make it to 500 blog posts?  Time will tell!  Hopefully the upcoming Star Wars season doesn’t make me go broke!  I keep getting tempted to purchase new things.  But I have decided that I will only purchase the best things.

So keep reading, Hub City Geeks!

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SpartanNerd…”Theros Block, I am going to miss you!”

Theros Block….I Am Going to Miss You
First of all, Theros Block is the first block that I am SUPER SAD to see rotate out of standard.  These are cards that I “just get.”  Everything from the Greek Fantasy flavor and motif, to the moody standard environment that the block created, both with Ravnica Block and Khans of Tarkir Block, as well as with the associated core sets M14, M15, AND Magic Origins.  Theros, Born of the Gods, and Journey Into Nyx have been terrific fun to play, study, and collect.  The set has taught me a lot about what kind of Magic player I am.  And it is the first set that I began to identify myself as a “serious player.”  The cards here are rotating out of Standard to make way for The Battle for Zendikar Block, but they will continue to reverberate through Modern, Legacy, and maybe even Vintage.  What cards will I miss?  Here are some of my thoughts about the cards.
Thoughtsieze.
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“Thought Sneeze” Why is he looking at his hands?

Wow.  The first card I ever paid big bucks for.  I opened two in booster packs, and paid $40 apiece for the other two.  Why was/is this card so expensive?  This card found its way into 90% of all of my standard decks over the past two years.  And it has been a staple in Modern.  Playable in a Rack deck, or Esper Control, Reanimator.  This card is one of the “nuts and bolts” of Magic the Gathering.  This card is similar to Snapcaster Mage….only “more available” currently.
I remember Thoughtsiezing out Stormbreath Dragons, Elspeth Sun’s Champion, all kinds of gods, other Thoughtsiezes, Pack Rats, Detention Spheres, and on and on the list goes.  This card became an essential part of Abzan decks as Khans of Tarkir block unfolded.  You could stop their Jeskai Ascendancy combo in its tracks, get rid of Ugin, get rid of Wingmate Roc, Siege Rhino, or Seeker of the Way.
In my circles, Modern tends to be a super fast format.  Thoughtsieze is a great sideboard card to slow down some of those opponents…taking out their Tarmogoyfs or Snapcaster Mages before they can do any good.  Someone offered me a trade for some of my Thoughtsiezes one day.  No way!  This card is currently “down in value,” which happens before rotation.  But this card could only go up in value again as it become rare again.
The other thing about the card is it lets you see the opponents hand.  I learned “write it down!”
Thoughtsieze, or as I have christened you, “Thought Sneeze, (even funnier because of the art), you will be missed in Standard.  Duress and Despise are only shadows of what you were!
Gray Merchant of Asphodel
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The card that got me my first ever TOP 8!.  I actually made it to the final round…facing an esper control player who favored Sphynx’s Revelation.  It was right after Born of the Gods came out…at the time, Ravnica Block also gave us Nightveil Spector, who was also an incredible card in the death machine that was Mono-Black Devotion.  You basically Pack Rat and Mutavault, eventually getting out Nightveil Spectors, excellent flying things that exiled away the opponents cards, acquired new resources for you, and provided three devotion to blue or black.  Then you dropped a Gray Merchant of Aspodel on the board, and GG.
When Ravnica Block rotated out, this strategy fought to remain in favor.  The Spectors really made it work.  Master of the Feast however usually proved unreliable because he would give them a card and they would either kill him, bounce him, tap him, or cancel your Gray Merchant.  Mono Black has been further undercut by Sphynx’s Tutelage, sadness for the SpartanNerd, (who really favors black.)
Gray Merchant, you will be remembered.  I don’t know that you will ever make waves again.  But you will be remembered.  I am storing away a playset in one binder slot for that off chance you actually do make a future splash!
Courser of Kruphix….
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A card I’m not going to miss.  And it’s not because I don’t own him.  Or even because I don’t like him.  (Either on my side of the field or theirs.)  The Courser of Kruphix reminds me of the time that I decided to stop playing Standard.  Why?  Because EVERYONE WAS PLAYING THE SAME DECK.  Abzan Aggro, Abzan Mid-Range, and Abzan Control all made use of the Courser.  Want to build a warrior deck?  Great.  But the courser will outlast you.  A burn deck (not the SpartanNerd.)  But the Courser’s ability to gain you life for playing lands takes away the point.  How about Jeskai decks with Prowess.  The Courser is a 2/4 big blocker.  In fact Some Jeskai players added green to their decks just because the Courser was so good.
I’ve said the downside of playing the Courser of Kruphix is that the opponent gets to see the top card of the library.  And it’s true, this WAS RELEVANT when the card first came out and people were still figuring him out.  But as Theros Block waxed long in the tooth, people figured out how to keep the revealed knowledge from being relevant.
The Courser of Kruphix was EVERYWHERE.  Both it and the Sylvan Caryatid seemed to always be in the same deck.
YAWN.
Speaking of the Sylvan Carytid
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This is the next card on my list!  I will not miss the Sylvan Carytid for the same reason I won’t be missing Thoughtsieze.  Now this card isn’t that expensive, and it has seen multiple printings also, getting honored in Event Decks, and also in the Clash Pack with alternate art.
The Sylvan Carytid isn’t quite Noble Hierarch.  But she approaches her.  This is a source of mana of any color, that is difficult to remove.  And it is also a big blocker on the ground for the early game.  Will this card fetch $30 – $60 someday?  I doubt it.  Like I said, not QUITE Noble Hierarch, (one of the greatest mana ramp cards ever.)
The Sylvan Carytid has helped me learn to build a four-color deck for the first time.  I decided to play in a PPTQ tournament at The Tangled Web Comic book store in Spartanburg SC, and I took my Esper “Gifts Ungiven” reanimator deck.  I remember one player telling me…”Wow.  This is a SLOW deck.”  I went home with big losses….(I won’t be playing in any more of those for a LONG time.)  But I decided to work on the problem.  Why was the deck so slow?  One of the reasons was the slow mana-base.  Sylvan Caryatid helped me fix this.  Not that it is a perfect deck yet…(I need at least two Snapcaster Mages and three Lilana, of the Veil.)  Still, my four-color deck featuring the Carytid and also Fleecemane Lion is far faster.  And the second claim I can make for it is that I have NEVER HAD MANA SCREW with the deck.
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Thank you, Sylvan Carytid.  Your teachings have been invaluable, and netted me two FNM tournament wins!
Bile Blight
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Ahhh….the first ever box of Magic cards that I ever pre-ordered.  Born of the Gods.  (WAA…Waaa…waa)
Out of Thirty Six packs of cards, I was very interested in getting two cards.  Herald of Torment and Bile Blight.
I got NEITHER CARD.  OK, so the Herald was a rare.  I get that I wasn’t supposed to get him necessarily.  But BILE BLIGHT!  Uncommon.  i SHOULD have gotten at least one copy!
Nope.  I spent the whole weekend after I got my box going around Greenville, and even Hendersonville looking for copies of these cards.  I was able to come up with TWO copies.
Why was this uncommon gem so hard to find, with its price of less than a dollar?
The Born of the Gods EVENT DECK had TWO COPIES.  It is my theory, and just a theory, but probably a good one, that the Wizards held them back from he first wave of boxes, so that they could keep them uncommon and stuff them into the event decks.
Bile Blight is a super handy removal spell against token strategies.  Yes, it costs two blacks, demanding you to play Mono-Black devotion or similar.  And it was great in mirror matches.  When Mono-Black devotion died down, it was semi-OK against Elspeth.  The card is currently good against Hangarback Walker.  (It worked great against Pack Rat.)
I don’t think this card is going anywhere.  It is an efficient kill spell for one creature, or great at wiping out mana-elves, or hordes of tokens.  It works great against Fleecemane lion as well. Even if one of them is Monstrous, if you play the card right.  Have the Monstrous Fleecemane block some small critter and lose a little chunk, then hit a non-monstrous one on the battlefield with Bile Blight, and in perfect Magic World, you took care of a big problem.
For the rest of my story, I did eventually buy Herald of Torment…he never was expensive, and he really is just OK.  It was good to bestow him onto a Siege Rhino and fly in for the kill.  I eventually ordered the promo version of Bile Blight, which has creepier art with soldiers melting.  (No stores around here got copies of the promo.  I paid like $5 for it!  But it is a card I really like.)
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Bile Blight, I will keep you in my Modern toolbox.  As a player closely identified with black, I consider you as better than Doom Blade, Smother, or even Murderous Cut, or just Murder.  You can’t kill everything.  But you can -3/-3 things with indestructible.  And if played against the right deck, you can gain card advantage on the field.  Thank you for your service!
Scry Lands.
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I actually have about ten more of these in various decks.

I almost jumped for joy when the Wizards announced that Scry was going to become an evergreen ability.  YAY!
Scry Lands, you are slow.  Probably too slow for Modern, almost ever.  Definitely not shock lands or fetch lands.  Serum Visions kicks your butt.
But if you want fixing that you don’t miNd being a little slow with a small benefit attached, scry lands are better than say, “Refuges,” or “gain lands.”  And light years better than guildgates. (shudder.)
I will keep you around.  I expect you will be re-printed in the future, maybe with different art.  And then the Theros block Scry Lands will see value again.  We’ll see!
Erebos, God of the Dead
How could I create such a list and omit some Gods.  The God cards were the flagships of the Theros block.  There were five “major gods” and ten “minor gods.”
Here’s the list.
Heliod, God of the Sun
Thassa God of the Sea
Erebos, God of the Dead
Purphoros, God of the Forge
Nylea, God of the Hunt
Atheros, God of Passage
Ephara, God of the Polis
Iroas, God of Victory
Karametra, God of Harvests
Keranos, God of Storms
Kruphix, God of Horizons
Mogis, God of Slaughter
Pharika, God of Affliction
Phenax, God of Deception
Xenagos, God of Revels
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All of the Gods I have left. I have owned each one, but traded them.

There are only two truly significant cards on this list, Erebos and Thassa.  Basically the others were played around with, but might have made a mark for about a week and then disappeared.
Each of the major gods, (the first five listed,) had a weapon, and the weapons saw more play than the gods themselves.
But Erebos really stands a head taller than all of the others.  Mostly because of the Mono-Black Devotion deck.  In such a deck, Erebos is an unstoppable death machine.  If you can get him “turned on” by having five swamp symbols on the battlefield under your control, Erebos is incredible.  And his card draw ability is also really good if you only wish to view him as an enchantment.
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While Thassa and Nylea both THREATENED to create mono-colored devotion strategies, Erebos actually made it happen.  (i’m not being fair entirely.  Xenagos also sees a little bit of play.)
It seems like the Gods will be back whenever the Wizards bring Theros back in ten years or so.  They might just shift the whole thing to reflect Rome instead of Greece.  I wonder how they will change the gods?
The Whip of Erebos will also be missed.  That card really could wreak havoc if you were able to whip a Siege Rhino, or even better a Gray Merchant out of your graveyard, letting you drain your opponent with evil black devotion.  And the whip seems so innoccuous sometimes.  And then BAM.  Big problems.
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Erebos, I will miss you and your whip.  I don’t know if a mono-black strategy will ever resurge in Modern.  It seems viable.  There are plenty of cards that provide the devotion you need.  Phylactery Lich, Geralf’s Messenger, and on and on I could name.  The whip will find its way into reanimator decks I’m sure.
Elspeth, Sun’s Champion  (Not pictured)
Ah…Elspeth.  The control card of choice for such a long time.  You were expensive, then they re-printed you in the duel deck, Elspeth vs. Kiora.  (The art in that deck is even prettier than the original.)
Elspeth was mainly used to create white-weenie chumps as a finishing move for a control deck.  Occasionally, people would destroy a large creature with her roll-down ability.  But usually, she would get nine chumps on the field, and then an emblem, and they would all hammer you hard.
Bile Blight was good against the chumps.  But if you are in Bile Blight mode at that point in the game, it was usually over anyways.  (Remember, you are playing a control player.)
It got to where Hero’s Downfall was needed…
Hero’s Downfall…  (not pictured)
Similar to an earlier Rakdos card from Ravnica Block.  (Dreadbore).  This card was an instant kill for a creature or planeswalker.  I think this card will become a staple against planeswalkers if people aren’t playing red for that other card…
Stormbreath Dragon  (I don’t own a copy!)
I don’t own one of these.  Never have. Never will I don’t think.  (Not a red player.)
I won’t miss this guy beating my tail.  Enough said!
I loved Despising him out of my opponents hand.  This means I traded my 25-cent card for their $25 card.  But only if I was lucky.
Now for a few other cards rotating out…
Liliana Vess
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If the SpartanNerd was a magic card….

I literally SHOUTED when I saw they were re-printing Lilliana Vess for M15.  And I opened her at the pre-release, and used her to bring home a win.  (We actually split the box four ways…it was at a store at the beach that no longer has Magic tournaments, sadly.)  Lilliana.  I have this joke with my boys.  “I AM Lilliana.”  Which always gets a reaction from my youngest.
Few things are more satisfying in the game of Magic than re-animating every creature from every graveyard.  Lilliana can do this with her ultimate ability.  She is also a great card for tutoring up what you need.
I believe this to be her final re-print, unless they put her in some special set, reprint her for Commander, or similar.  This was her fifth printing, more than almost any other Planeswalker card.  (Lorwyn, M12, M13, Duel Decks Garruk vs. Lilliana, and M15.  There are actually six re-prints if you count the Duel Deck Anthology version.)
If Magic the Gathering has a villain, it is likely Nicol Bolas.  Lilliana is second place.  (Maybe Ob-Nixilis.)  (If not the Eldrazi)
I wish the Wizards had printed Lilliana of the Veil.  And according to their Making Magic articles, they almost did.  She would have been great!
I will set Lilliana back in her place of honor at the beginning of my Modern binder beside my other favorite cards, Grave Titan, and Elbrus, the Binding Blade.
and last but not least
Waste Not
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Waste Not represents a card that can be a “sleeper.”  One thing that I have learned from the Theros Block is about the “meta-game.”  What cards do people play?  What is popular?  What is popular at the Tangled Web as opposed to other places?  This is the meta-game.  And I have only met one other player brave enough/ stupid enough to try and rip a hole in the meta-game by playing a Waste Not deck.
Waste Not isn’t a valuable card.  I generally runs less than $5.  It has the distinction of being designed by the Magic Community.
I played a Waste Not deck in response to the flood of Abzan Decks with some success.  But I got tired of it.  People started expecting me to play it.  And then it was rendered pretty much useless by Sphynx’s Tutelage.
The point of the deck was load up stuff that forced the opponent to discard.  Thoughtsieze of course, Despise, and Durress.  There is an insane combo card for this in Dark Deal.  When the opponent discarded cards, good things would happen for you if Waste Not was on the field, and even more good things if multiple copies were on the field.  You would be generating Mana, drawing cards, or getting zombie tokens.
But zombie tokens don’t fly.  You can’t force the opponent to ditch lands apart from Black Cat or Dark Deal.  Too many discard spells become useless…if your opponent doesn’t have any cards in hand, then you have dead cards.  If the opponent gets a choice to discard a card, then they usually ditch a land.  (Kolaghan’s Command forces them to discard a card at instant speed, usually a land which generates mana that you usually can’t use.)
Waste Not was a fun card for me for awhile.  But I was never able to top-8 with a Waste Not deck.
I belive Waste Not to still be useful in an 8rack deck…I am building one.  But it just isn’t as fun as reanimator for me right now, so….
Hub City Geeks, what cards will you miss from the Theros Block (and M15.)  Let me know in the comments!

SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review…Magic the Gathering Premium Deck Series “Graveborn”

It’s almost Father’s Day…and I was told to order some cards…

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Not these kind!  Magic Cards…Did I have you fooled?  (I’m sure such cards will be coming my way, though.)

Because it is pretty hard for non Magic players to know what to get Magic players, I was told I could just order what I wanted.  So I ordered “Graveborn,” a Legacy MTG deck from 2010 or 2011.  It looked pretty sweet on the internet, and the allure of all foil swamps hypnotized me into making the purchase.  Have I found it to be worth the $83.00 paid through TCGplayer?  Keep reading to find out more!

The “Graveborn” deck is from what was called (is called?) the “Premium Deck Series.”  There are two other decks out there, one a red burn deck and the other a Slivers deck.  But the Zombies and the color black are my thing.  So I’m just offering that as background information.  The Premium Deck Series gives you a deck in all foil, with some alternate art.  The foil is special, though.  I would call it “Super Foil.”

The package looked like this.

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A transluscent tube of plastic that let you see the of the most important cards in the deck.  Featured as spokeswoman is Avatar or Woe…a card that could be Legendary, but isn’t.

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On the back, you can see the deck box, which is also notably foil, with the Reanimate art prominently featured on the packaging.  You also get some inspiring messages and a contents list.  The deck was wisely cellophane…This  tube of a package would be no trouble for a dishonest person to hack.

But I’m just throwing away the packaging, right!

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Opening the box, you see this.  The spin down life counter is visible.

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Removing the product from package lets you see all of this.  Have a look at the foil detail!

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The box has nice foil…as mentioned.

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This card really shows off the foil.  This foil is a little better than what we usually see.  It might be equivalent to what they put on Planeswalkers in the Dual Decks.

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I wanted to mention that the spin down counter feels a little chalky.  It is also a little bit lighter than the kind we had before Dragons of Tarkir.  But it doesn’t feel like the dice that came in those pre-release boxes.  It doesn’t feel like the dice that came in the Dual Deck Anthology either.

I am going to go over each card featured in the packaging.

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This is a handy card.  This deck needs ways to discard things from your hand.  In this case you are rewarded with 2/2 Zombie Tokens.  You will probably just use them to block on the ground or as things to sac.

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The Avatar of Woe is good as a beater…but better as reliable removal.

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Animate Dead is an odd card with a contentious history.  Evidently an aura can’t attach to things in the graveyard…

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Cabal Therapy.  I had this card before, but not with this art.  I have only played it in Commander…it is a fun card with a lot of utility.  You can use it as a Thoughtsieze effect, or you can target yourself and get one of the bombs out of your hand into the graveyard.  It’s just fun!  Someone recently asked if the wizards would be reprinting this for Standard.  I wonder why they wouldn’t?

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Of all the cards in this deck, this is the most “money card” of them all.  Priced at $30 or roundabout.  You can get whatever creature you NEED and put in your graveyard for re-animation.  And at instant speed too…so you wait until they are tapped out, then drop this bomb.

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Reanimate is banned in Modern for a reason…One mana to get back whatever bomb you have.  OK…Turn one, Entomb.  Turn Two Reanimate.  GG.

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At sorcery speed, and for three mana, you get entomb times three.  SICK!

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A card from my early days of playing.  I always thought it was bad.  But it is great in this deck, where you need to discard things!

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As mentioned, this deck is a MONO BLACK deck.  So you can’t cast this card from your hand…Crosis will have to be reanimated.  But he is great!  He is also the only legendary in this deck, surprisingly.

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I had this card from Commander.  I always thought it good in esper colors.  Pro Red and Green makes it great to entomb out at instant speed when needed.

Onto what is in the deck box.

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The cards in cellophane and inserts in cellophane.

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I just threw away the insert which is a general guide to playing Magic.  I am keeping this insert.  The historical information here is pretty nice to know…I wasn’t aware of who was successful with reanimator decks before.

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The decklist is on the other side.  Good for future reference when I piece out the deck for different purposes.

I am going to go over the cards a little at a time.  

Starting with the bombs.

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These four cards are just sick.  Think how absurd it is to have any one of them out on turn two…

Blazing Archon is probably the most annoying!

Casting Terastadon late enough in the game means you probably have Terastadon plus three elephant friends!

Inkwell Leviathon.  Great against blue players.

Verdant Force is here not only as a bomb, but also for historical significance, if you pay attention to what they told you in the insert.

There are also black creatures you CAN hard cast.

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I don’t care much for Putrid Imp.  I would rather Stinkweed Imp be here…

Faceless Butcher is a black Banisher Priest.

And Twisted Abomination rides the line between bomb and chump for this deck.  He is better for swampcycling.  You might find him to be the only “bomb” you can reanimate on a bad occasion.

The other spells…

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All spells are singularly focused on discarding or getting bombs out of the library and into the graveyard.  There is no cancel or burn.  No ramp.  No pump.  Just all re-animator business.  I am highly impressed with the foil on Duress.  I mentioned before that Duress is one of my favorite spells!  It is funny when you play Exhume on turn two against someone who hasn’t played any creatures.  Diabolic Servitude and Animate Dead are about the same thing.

Then there are the lands…

21 foil swamps.  Just about enough said!  The other three lands are utility lands that let you do colorless mana or sac for ramp.  There is also a cycling land.  Dakmor Salvage would be good here.

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Playing the deck…

This deck works as advertised.  I heard someone say “It is from the Golden Age of pre-constructed decks.”  Very true.  There is no comparison to some of the tripe I have reviewed that they have put out…(Virtually all of the event decks I have reviewed lack important consistency.  Those intro decks are lackluster.  And recent dual decks, like Elspeth Vs. Kiora, feel really weak by comparison.)

Get your bomb in the graveyard early…and bring them back to life.  Swing in for damage. Rinse and repeat.

Deck Matchups.

I played this against the SpartanKid, piloting various decks from the Dual Deck Anthology.

The first deck I wanted to try it against was Divine, from the Dual Decks Anthology.  Because that deck is generally a winner.  A good matchup.  But almost without fail, GG for Graveborn by turn 5.

Chandra’s deck From the DDA was an interesting matchup.  Burn is meaningless against Sphinx of the Steel Wind on Turn three.  All of the progress Chandra could bring was just displaced by the giant, lifelink, vigilance, first striker.

But Jace from the DDA was a different story.  If the reanimator spells get canceled, this deck does nothing.  And worse, if the bombs get bounced back to your hand, you have to work to get them back to the graveyard to reanimate.  Graveborn lost two matches to Jace Beleren’s deck.  And it was mostly because trick creatures with morph redirected spells, or bounced things.

I am going to continue testing, and will update this post to reflect the results.  (hopefully!)

Changing the Deck

Because this deck is Legacy, I will have to modify it for play.  I am thinking about how to use it in Standard.  But that is really probably out of the question.  The Whip of Erebos is good, except the cards brought back from the graveyard to swing are exiled after they leave the battlefield.  Rescue from the Underworld is a mana-intensive spell.  I am going to experiment some before the Standard tournament at the Tangled Web on Friday night this week.  But I suspect I will just sleeve up my foil Duress cards and foil lands and continue to play Liliana/Waste Not.

Modern has some possibilities though.  I have already ordered “Gifts Ungiven,” which means introducing blue to this deck.  However, I think it will improve the deck where it is weak.  Adding blue means I get to use my own cancel spells.  Unburial rights is also a possibility.  In fact, someone recently flashed back Unburied rights and got Emrakul out on me when I was playing my Amulet/Bloom deck.  This would mean introducing white.  So now we are talking esper…

The other way this deck can be modified is by changing the bombs.  Since 2010/2011 a lot more cards have been released.  You can re-animate Iona, Shield of Emeria, and break your opponents colors.  You can re-animate Emrakul, the Aeons Torn or other Eldrazi.  Avacyn Angel of Hope and Akroma Angel of Wrath are good choices.  Re-animate Aurelia and take extra combat steps.  Reanimate Ashen Rider and remove a threat…Reanimate Medomai the Ageless and take an extra turn.  Reanimate Griselbrand…Reanimate …….. any Titan….  So many broken things to do!

SpartanNerd’s Rating of Magic the Gathering Premium Deck Series Graveborn is 4/5.  Here’s why.

The foil cards look incredible.  The deck is fun and consistent.  The Spindown Counter is unique and cool, if a little different.  The special insert with historical information was cool.  There is a lot of monetary value here as well, especially with “entomb”.

The deck box cannot hold the deck when sleeved with Dragon Shields.  And these premium foils demand to be sleeved.  I felt really paranoid I was going to scratch them by their rubbing together in the most natural way that cards do.  This is a Legacy deck, and in my area, I have never seen a Legacy tournament.  I have encountered players who brought decks to practice with.  But I can’t just take this item to a local tournament and playtest it against a metagame.  And then, the single-mindedness of this deck is also its downfall.  If someone can prevent you from…Discarding cards, tutoring cards to the graveyard, or reanimating cards, all three of which are required to make this deck work like the organic machine it is, then that person will win.  There is no sideboard included.

But saying all of that negative stuff doesn’t detract from the sheer coolness of the deck.  It is something most people won’t see coming.  I ordered it for its beauty and for what it stands for, and for a way to help me do more things with the graveyard, and this deck has delivered this.

SPARTANNERD’S RATING OF “GRAVEBORN” IS 4/5.  DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE.  LEAVE NOTES IN THE COMMENTS, OH HUB CITY GEEKS!

SpartanNerd Endorsement….Custom MTG Cards!

I get to promote something big and new!  YES!

I attended the Theros Block Booster Draft at the Tangled Web Friday night, and was treated to something truly special.

Follow this link to see the brilliant art that this artist does to Magic cards!  I saw her Panoramic Islands in person, and the Astral Cornucopia was for sale.  (I didn’t pick it up…too much already invested that night.)  Of the work shown on the link, my favorite is “Debt to the Deathless,” which is a pretty good card as it is.

If you like this work, you should look into buying some of it.  It’s reasonably priced, especially for the quality of work and the fact that it is hand painted.  If nothing else go on over to her blog and leave a comment.  Mention that the SpartanNerd sent you when you do.

Peace out, Hub City Homies!