Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Short time: "The Prey"


"The Prey"
by:
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

The Bullies waited for him at the end of the dusty road just like they promised him. They also promised to  make him suffer for being such a nerd. Five of them carried pieces of wood that they have picked from the forest on the right side of the isolated road. 

He knew what was going to happen but he decided that he would just walk on past hoping that they would decide to do the right thing. He hated suffering and he just wanted to be left alone especially this day. He looked at the darkening afternoon sky and sighed.He hoped that his legs would carry him faster than the bullies could catch up.

It was not to be the case as one bully grabbed his  shoulder and turned him around.He knew this one was named William , he must be the most aggressive of the bunch and he swung the make shift wooden club at the shoulder he was holding . The first bully was surprised when he didn't hear him scream. He was also surprised to see his prey a few feet away from him the arm that firmly held the shoulders was with him as well.

William looked at his own shoulders to see the sudden spurt of blood from severed arteries that were now supplying the surrounding pavement with the red fluid of life. William was the first to fall.

He knew that the others would now attack him. They had no choice in the matter. He removed Williams severed hand when the wooden clubs swung all at once at where he was standing. All of them missed. He grabbed one of the bullies by the neck and with one hand snapped it like it was nothing. He knew this one was named Eric. He took Eric's wooden club before he fell lifeless to the ground. 

He smashed another bullies head with the club , the one named Alfredo had his head split wide open with his brains scattering to little pieces.

He threw the club toward the bully known as Gil where it embedded in his chest , hitting his heart that did not like the foreign body that entered it and gave up after a couple of seconds. Gil fell sideways still clutching the wooden spike that impaled him. 

The last one did not care about his friends He began to run. He wanted to be as far away as possible from him. It was always funny how this always played out. They would try and prey upon him but in reality it was he that was preying on them. The last of the bullies was named Marcial and he wanted so much to live. Marcial was surprised to see his prey running toward him at a speed that made it seem like he was walking in slow motion. Marcial felt the sharp pain at his lower back where his prey was now grabbing hold of his spine. The sudden jerk ripped his spinal cord and in the next milliseconds he would never know a single feeling. 

The prey watched as Marcials body continued to run on momentum alone and eventually fall flat head first.

The Prey kept on moving. He did not like suffering especially if he was the one inflicting it but there were just too many who were seeking it from him. He knew that the dead bodies will be found sooner or later. He hated moving so soon but he knew that he had worn out his welcome in this town when he killed the first of these bullies. He walked calmly toward the forest and was never seen again.

"EDH Battles:The Elemental , Zombie Troll and Vampire"

"Watch me grow big..."
"EDH Battles:The Elemental , Zombie Troll and Vampire"
by:
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

It was my first time to bring my Skull Briar deck to a 1 on 1 EDH tournament. It was there that I again fell in love with this deck. I am a Necromancer and this is by far the most aggressive Reanimator deck that I have done. Though I was not able to go out on top I did see some spectacular plays with the consistent Skull Briar , Lotleth Troll and Necropolis Regent holding hands and dishing out pain.

The addition of the Vampire was sealed the first time I saw her. She even mocks Jarad in her flavor text but reinforces the Scavenge mechanic for the Golgari. Perfect. 

In my games turn 3 is where the magic happens so one of the games went like this and it was a heart pounding turn 3 for me!

Turn 1: Play Swamp. Done
Turn 2: Play Forest. Cast Lotleth Troll. Done
Turn 3: Play Swamp. Cast Skullbriar. 

- Discard Necropolis Regent to Lotleth Troll, put +1/+1 counter on it. 
- Cast Reanimate. Take 6 damage.Put Necropolis Regent in play.
- Attack.
- Damage with Lotleth Troll - 3 , Skull Briar - 1
- Skull Briar - trigger ability to put 1 +1/+1 counter , trigger Necropolis Regent ability put 2 +1/+1. Skull Briar is now 4/4.
- Lotleth Troll -  trigger Necropolis Regent ability put 3 +1/+1 counters. Lotleth Troll is now 6/6
- Necropolis Regent just stands around and looks at all the +1/+1 counters she has created.

"She is my Regent Cakes...She makes everyone fat."
Opponent: 1 Commander Damage , 4 Normal damage.

Turn 4: Play Swamp. Attack with 3 creatures.

- Skull Briar - trigger ability to put 1 +1/+1 counter (Now has 4 counters on it), trigger Necropolis Regent ability put 4 +1/+1 counters. Skull Briar is now 9/9.

"I love eating hearts..."
- Lotleth Troll -  trigger Necropolis Regent ability put 6 +1/+1 counters. Lotleth Troll is now 12/12.
- Necropolis Regent triggers her own ability and  6 +1/+1 counters. Her grin grows a lot bigger and she shows more of her fangs. She is now 12/ 13. 

Opponent: 4 Commander Damage. 16 Normal damage.

Turn 5: Opponent concedes since he is now facing a combined 33 points of damage and in 1 on 1 EDH you only have 30 lives.

Through out the games Skull Briar and Lotleth Troll would come out to shock opponents. A 5/4 Lotleth Troll is usually enough to knock out 40 life points but one of opponent was so so surprised when I discarded my whole hand of 6 creatures to make him a mencing 8/7 creature with Regenerate that could end his life in 5 turns! Makes me wish he had Infect too. As spectacular as the play was EDH games does not end when your first threats appear. It is a progressive dance of Threat/Counter Threat that goes on until players no longer have threats or responses are exhausted. The inability to respond or put on threats determines the victors.

"Excuse me as I take your permanents..."
An early threat without a response  , spells outright disaster like in a recent game where It that Betrays was discarded to Lotleth Troll on turn 3 and reanimated by the Split Card  Life/ Death (Death Part). By this time my opponent played his second land and had no other permanent on the board. He was facing an It that Betrays that would take his two lands and delay him even more. There was no choice but to scoop up cards and hurt me in the next game which he did.

I do love these Three guys but the deck does have its all set of heroes that come out in every game. There is none in the deck that puts on so much pressure as the Haste Skull Briar that can be killed but can Return to kill you at any turn. There is always room for improvement but in the mean time I am happy with the speed and power that these 3 have shown and I will be able to improve them as new tech becomes available. 

The Elemental , Zombie Troll and Vampire would always have more tales. This is merely one of them.


















Monday, May 27, 2013

"Lesser known Mirrodin Swords: Those who did not make the cut..."


"We made the cut...They didn't"

"Lesser known Mirrodin Swords: Those who did not make the cut..."
by: 
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.
Stephanie R. De leon

With the availability of the Original Swords from Mirrodin in the Modern Masters and the Scars of Mirrodin Swords still around. I thought it was about time to dig up the other discarded Swords that did not make it to the original block.

Some of them are still there waiting to be discovered and a couple are something my buddies thought of back in the day.
My wife read what I was writing and you could just sense what her contributions are in this blog.

Read and on and find out by category the lesser Known Swords of Mirrodin...


Food Swords: Sarap...

"We Belong together"

Sword of Cookies and Cream!  - Orzhov na Orzhov ang dating...Mamatay ka sa diabetic tokens na ginagawa...

Sword of Peanut Butter and Jelly - Pambaon sa umaga...Sticky Token producer!!!

Sword of Ham and Cheese - Nakakabusog...

Sword of Fish and Chips - Wow English ang dating! 

Sword of Sweet and Sour - Hmm Sarap...puwedeng fish...puwedeng Pork...

Sword of Fit and Right - Nakakapayat talaga...Weeh...

Crime Swords: Wag Tularan...

"Dine and Dash time"
Sword of Hit and Run - Madalas makita sa Highway...
Sword of Dine and Dash - Kumain ka na...tinakbuhan mo pa...Haste and Life gain!
Sword of Snakes and Ladders - Malupit ang penalty...parang mananalo ka na hindi...

Miscellaneous Swords: Kung ano ano lang...

Sword of Mix and Match - Nagsawa ka sa hilt palitan...nagsawa ka sa blade palitan...lagyan mo pa ng kulay...parang nagaassemble lang ng Gundam!

Sword of Cut and Paste - Clone lang ng clone!

Sword of Shake and Bake - Pang Taladegga Nights ang dating!!!

Sword of Dolce and Gabana - Magastos na Sword pre...Fashionista ka naman...

Sword of Suit and Tie- Let me show you a few things...

Sword of Kiss and Make-up - Prevent all damage ito! Pero nakakapagod gamitin...if you know what I mean(wink wink)

Sword of Hugs and Kisses...Doube damage! Nahug ka na...May kiss ka pa...



Sword of Buddy En Sol - Mamatay ka sa kakatawa...

Sword of Tom and Jerry...put violent Cat and Mouse tokens in play...

Sword of Head and Shoulders...May espada ka na dandruff free ka pa...


Above 18 years old Swords: (R) Wowow...

"Tokens pa lang panalo ka na...Pimp my tokens!!!"
Sword of Tits and Ass - Pretty to look at...More Pleasurable to touch...Malulupit ang tokens na napoproduce!!!

Sword of Blow and job - Hmmmmm....feeling ko mabenta ang sword na ito...


These Swords might never see the light of day and I don't see any Unhinged or Unglued sets in the near future. However if they do come out then we were having laughs about it here long before it came out. Have a good day everyone. 

"EDH Battles: Pain Magnet"

"Brace for impact.."

"EDH Battles: Pain Magnet"
by:
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

     One of my recent EDH games involved a 4 man match up between Kaervek the Merciless(Ed) , Sigarda (Beast) , Ghave (Mike) and Teysa, Orzhov Scion( Me). It was a free for all game where only politics and the silkiness of your tongue can save you. In this environment one of my opponents played a 1 black mana costing enchantment that might have cost him the game altogether. It was this enchantment.

"Ouch"
      Blood Chief Ascension. It counts the loss of at least 2 life points for any opponent at the end of each turn. If there were 3 or more counters on it, it would go online and cause havoc to all opposing players. It would read any card going to a graveyard from anywhere and there would be a 2 life loss for the opponent and 2 life gain for the Blood Chief Ascensions controller.Terribly bad news since players casting spells , discarding cards at end of turn , drawing and discarding cards to a Thought Courier for example as well as creatures dying would all have 2 Life loss.Any action done would cost an opponent if this manages to go online and with 3 end steps before the controller becomes an active player again there is a possibility that the blood chief ascension can be activated for as long as each opponent attacks each other. However there is another bad possibility.

"Hey I'm Gideon Jura...Ouch..."
     In a format where anyone can attack you it was a rather unwise choice.The decision to put down this enchantment attracted a lot of pain. All of us didn't want to put a counter on this enchantment that would offer a lopsided advantage to its owner. The Magnetic pull to attack the controller was strong and no one was resisting the urge. Sigarda was the first to punch through and in the end all creatures were Lured to that player , he was doing a Gideon Jura impression...without the being indestructible part. It was no surprise that he was the first person eliminated. No amount of politics or sweet taking could have saved him at that point. He removed the cursed enchantment from his deck.

"Magnetic pull...No one can resist..."

     Another card that would be a bad idea if you did not have ample defenses would be Luminarch Ascension. It would go online if there was no damage done to the controller.While these could win you the game with a whole army of 4/4 Angels at your command , you need to have it go online first and opponents would tend to concentrate agression on you if you are not able to have chump blockers or fog like effects such as those offered by Kami of False Hope or spells like Holy day. There is always a combo involved with these cards but please bear in mind that those pieces won't always be in your hands so timing when playing these enchantments are everything. With that being said let the battles commence but choose your enchantments wisely otherwise they can become your own personal pain magnet.

"Missed"



"Missed"
by:
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

I
I am a stone
I am ripple
Tearing through the fabric of time
oh so simple

II
I am a moment
A thought passed by
I am a potential...
Not acted upon

III
I am the number
Ticked away again
Grinding and Passing
An Uncounted grain...

"Outbreak Tablas: Day Zero "





"Outbreak: Day Zero Tablas"
by:
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

The first shots rang out around past midnight.Then came the shouting. Lots and lots of shouting. Then the eerie silence.

He was at the balcony of his condo unit when he heard the first shots. He checked the clock.It was 12 past midnight. He was not up to it but gun shots normally bothered him and he somehow had the instinct to look.

At first he thought it was the unruly youths in the area having another one of their late night brawls as they are often prone to have. He saw groups of people ganging up on a helpless person who fell down. They looked like he was beating him up but he was a bit surprised when someone tore the mans arm and started to eat it. It looked like a bad horror movie but he noticed that there wasn't a single crew in sight. There were several groups that seemed to shamble along and ripped anyone they could get their hands on.He hated this. He knew that the program has started here.

He heard the shots directly below him. It was the condominium guards closing the gates.There were usually a sleepy bunch this time of night doing rounds only when they felt like it. He usually saw them drinking or playing cards but tonight was different. They were shooting at the few shamblers that were coming their way. One was closing the gates as the two others fired shotguns. He noticed that these attracted more and more of the shamblers. Clearly he had to do something but he always did what he usually did. He waited for things to happen.

Halfway between closing the gates and fighting those who were trying to grab him one guard was bit. He instantly fell to the ground and clutched at his arm that seemed to be hanging by a shred of skin. The other guards  were successful in closing the gate halfway but one of them was clearly infected. Something had to be done.

He knew he only had a matter of seconds before the guy would turn. He took out Melissa  from where he hid it below his bed and took aim at the guard who was now turning grey.The gun felt familiar. He placed it on the balcony ledge and took aim at the turning guard. A single shot tore through the silence.

He looked to the balcony on his right and there she was still in her bed clothes. A small red top that barely contained her big breasts and barely covered her white underwear. It was Tessa who killed the guard by driving a bullet between his eyes. 

"Its amazing you could sleep in those , can you still breathe?" He said as he pointed to her red top. She pointed to her blouse and gave him a look that she cared nothing about his comment.

"And its amazing how slow you have become over the years...Old man." Tessa said. She always reminded him how old he was when she can. She thought it was flirting. He thought it was just annoying.

"Just shut up and call the rest of the team will you? This whole mess has started and this time we won't have an Adam to support us."

"Way ahead of you Old man" Tessa said as she pulled a pair of cut off jean shorts to cover her underwear which did nothing much in the way of modesty. "Oh and by the way... I don't wear anything when I go sleep I just grabbed these so they wouldn't be in the way of my shot." She firmly held her breasts for him to see and she went inside her condo unit to carry out other preparations. 

He looked at the gate to see 3 of his team close the gate.One of them drove a car right next to it , got out and along with the 2 others pushed to effectively form a strong barricade. It was the only way in or out of the Compound , one of the reasons he chose this place over the swankier neighborhoods in the surrounding areas.The guards looked bewildered but they helped his boys in securing the area. They drove 2 more cars to ram at the one they over turned and began to spread out going toward the back of the compound where he knew that a tall and strong steel fence would encircle an almost vertical embankment facing the river. Behind them he knew that the thick walls would prevent anyone who wasn't breathing from entering. It takes a rational mind to climb 12 feet of wall. He was sure that Tessa already had someone watch that perimeter. He also knew that she already had 4 armed guards posted at the convenience store that was part of the compound ,she was as close to an Eve that this team will ever have. He also knew that if for some reason he was not able to make it from this mission she would inherit the team. No reason to think about that now he thought. He could do plenty of dying when this was all over. 

He got dressed in his black gear , the all black light armor bearing the sigil of the gold stylized biohazard symbol with snakes at the tips. The Day Zero Projects insignia for all of its Experiment retrievers. He pressed the small green button in his gloved hand.

"Day Zero Tablas has begun."

_______________________________________

To check out my original Outbreak stories please click on the link below.Thanks for reading!

http://flightofideasver2.blogspot.com/2013/02/outbreak-day-zero.html
http://flightofideasver2.blogspot.com/2013/02/outbreak-day-3-risen.html
For Part 1
http://flightofideasver2.blogspot.com/2013/04/outbreak-day-7-adam-and-eve-part-1.html
For Part 2
http://flightofideasver2.blogspot.com/2013/06/outbreak-day-7-adam-and-eve-part-2.html
For Part 3
http://flightofideasver2.blogspot.com/2013/06/outbreak-day-7-adam-and-eve-part-3.html

"Star Trek: Into Darkness - Living with the Remake"




"Star Trek: Into Darkness - Living with the Remake"
by:
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

So it was one of those days that I just wanted to go out with my wife...so I did.
We went to the earliest showing possible in SM Valenzuela on a weekday a little after lunch and the cinema was empty. It was like a little private showing of Star Trek: Into Darkness.

The plot is simple and would really get a lot of the new fans in as well as those who know the franchise from way back.If you have not watched the movie...there are a lot of spoilers here.

The Plot:

A madman is not what he seems , while 
Someone within the Federation is planning a war between the Klingons...


The Good:

- Kirk and Bones being chased by the Natives!
- Spock being saved from the Volcano
- The Enterprise being worshipped by primitives...probably the basis for Ancient Aliens on that planet...
-The Return of Khan Noonien Singh
(and once again he does not look Mongolian or Indian)
-The reference to the Eugenics war , an intriguing time for me
-The movie screen appearance of the Dreadnought class and its subsequent destruction...
-The savage spock
- Both Spocks talking to each other...Mr. Spock?
 , Mr. Spock?
-The Enterprise acting like a gigantic obstacle course for Kirk , Scotty and Chekov as it plummets to earth.
-The reference to the Mudd Incident
-The appearance of a tribble and its subsequent revival that helped in Kirks revival...
- A Savage Spock giving Khan a savage beating!
- Hubba Hubba Caroline Marcus!



- Section 31 appears...Always loved those shadowy groups like the Obsidian Order and the Tal Shiar...
- The two feline femme fatales Kirk sleeps with...Im not sure if they were Ktarians.Hubba hubba...
-Scotty was hilarious in this one...
- Sulu taking the captains chair for the first time , Kirk foretelling that he would be good at it...and he was...
-Remind me never to piss you off Mr. Sulu , Said Bones McCoy
- The way everyone gets a spotlight in this movie is just great...
- The explosion of the Section 31 archive...
- The first appearance of the Klingons in this alternate reality...
- The Klingon Birds of Prey were awesome!
- Uhura speaking Klingon...Sexy...
- Spock shouting....Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!!!!!!!
- The twist about Kirk dying instead of Spock...
- The beginning of their 5 year journey...
- The sure fact that there will be a Part 3 and even more of this stuff!

The Bad

- A Savage Spock...
- A Spock that gets kissed every movie...getting frisky with Uhura is one thing but for older fans there really is something grating about those scenes...
- The Death of Captain Pike...I liked the one where he was in a made up world so much better...
- The realignment of the Warp Core...Kicks make the whole difference...makes me want to do it to my laptop sometime when it misbehaves...
- Not really bad but all of this stuff should look a bit archaic...well everything looks much better than the stuff on Voyager or DS9! Makes me wonder how those franchises would look like after a face lift...


The Ugly...

- The Klingons...The prosthetics were awesome but I had to put something here yet again. 

All in all this wasa great movie to relax too, the movie starts off running and ends with that too. There was well paced humor and all the heroes and villains each had ample air time. I can't wait for part 3!

"The Faceless Nurse"

"Doc...Gising na...May Patient..."


"The Faceless Nurse"
by:
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

During what was supposedly my last year of Medical School I was assigned to the Department of Medicine. On one of my duties I decided to rest in the Department office. The Divan that I was sleeping on was in front of the Nurse station in the ward and before falling asleep I could distinctly hear the Ward Nurses talking. Dead tired I started snoring in no time.

Around midnight someone shook me awake and told me..."Doc may patient po...(Doc you have a patient...)"

Junior Interns assigned to the wards were supposed to receive patients coming from the ER and update histories so I was thankful for being woken up. I tried to stand up and see who it was who did me the favor.

In front of me was a nurse with an old fashioned nurse cap and I found it odd that she was wearing a different uniform from those that I have seen around the hospital. I was finding it hard to focus on her face and until now I cannot recall it. 

"Susunod na ako"(I will be right there) was my reply.

I dozed off for about 5 more minutes.I woke up and bolted right toward the Nurse station when I remembered that there was a patient that I have not seen yet. I asked the Nurses at the ward to give me the chart of the patient that was just moved up 5 minutes ago.

The nurse looked at me surprised.
"Wala pong bagong patient." (There is no new patient)

I was surprised too.
"Pero may gumising sa akin kanina na Nurse..." (There was a nurse who woke me up earlier)

The Nurse looked even more puzzled.
"Doc , walang pong lumalapit sa inyo, kanina pa po kami naguusap dito. Nakikita ka namin galing dito"
(Doc ,  no one came near you , we were talking for awhile and we could see you from here)

Somewhat relieved that I did not miss anything and feeling a bit sheepish I returned to the Divan and slept.

I never did find out why I was awakened that time nor did I find the true identity of the ghost who woke me. Maybe some things are just better left alone.

Friday, May 24, 2013

"Magic:Battle Aura"

"Yup...it sometimes feel like this"

"Magic: Battle Aura"
by:
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

There are times that you meet a player that totally overwhelms you. The kind of player that seems nice enough but they just floor you with their presence. To remind you of that feeling , thats the look of Battousai the slasher as he looks at you. The immense battle aura that you feel creates an intense pressure that makes you question every land drop or spell that you are about to cast. You find yourself holding your breath , you feel like you are ahead but you are not even sure. And when you do beat the guy you let out a sigh of relief.Has this ever happened to you?I am sure that it had.

As I continue to play magic I meet more and more of these "killers" , top tier players who seem very confident but not arrogant about themselves. Actually I have found that arrogant magic players seem to have a profound character weakness in contrast with those who just overwhelm you with their battle aura.

"You know you are screwed..."
The battle aura comes naturally by the way , its not acting , its unconsciously there , its not something that can be turned on and off. Well in game play it is usually on and does so the moment these players sit down in front of you or motion for you to sit in front of them. One of the hardest players I fought was my own Uncle , Dick "Gabay" Forlales who exudes so much of the battle trait that he just sits there and intimidates you.He knows he intimidates you and if you are not intimidated yet you will be. He might shift gears to trash talking or kidding around but that killer aura is just there. So when I was playing my Modern Relentless Rats deck and actually killing him he was just there looking at the wave of rats and taking damage. I found that he was just looking at the rats and he had the look of someone in control , someone who has a trick up his sleeve. So when the last round of damage points were calculated and he shook my hand I found that the pressure was off but it was amazing how he could just really be stonefaced in the face of utter trampling rats! 

It was much the same when my brother faced him. Control vs. Control took a lot of time but it was my uncle who angled for the win. Mainly the pressure got to my usually collected brother who would make one calculated mistake after the other.As an Aggressive player I found the slow progress boring but it was indeed a Magic Chess Match.It ended with a win for my uncle but my brother and I did get a lot out of these games.
In the upper levels of the game prepare to meet Killers.Mental toughness will count for a lot because you might have the most amazing deck but when the pressure comes on and you are not ready then you would still lose. 

"Kahit pusa namin Uchiha!"
It's a great thing though that these same killers always have a thing or two to teach , maybe we would have the same killer eyes some time soon.

Fear not the killers though , fear the unhungry heart and the burnt out heart that no longer craves for victory.Keep on playing.Keep on burning.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"The Missing Muse"

"Where are you?"

"The Missing Muse"
by:
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.


I
Eyes gone Heavy
breathing , the only sound
Dreaming comes so slowly
when you are not around

II
Pain Drives me Crazy
I reach for your hand
But you are a faint whisper
A laughter from the distance

III
Darkness covers my tears
I try to remember your face
my mind is full of fears
My muse is missing in this phase

IV
Sweat breaks out on me
I shout out your name
Silence answers me again
Everything stays the same

"EDH Battles:The Hello Kitty Hug Incident"

"I am now a part of your nightmares..."

 "EDH Battles: The Hello Kitty Hug Incident"
by:
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

       Yes this is still a Magic Blog and for today I have another 1 on 1 EDH story to tell so please read on. 

     A couple of years back(While playing in the office pantry) my friends and I talked about this particular scenario."What if you played against an opponent who had Hello Kitty Sleeves?" One of my friends started laughing."I mean seriously would you be distracted by the sleeves? Would you underestimate that player?" There were various answers. Some of them deep , some of them shallow.  So I added , "What if he or she really had a killer deck hiding under that distracting set of sleeves and he or she totally dominated your deck or killed you with so much speed that you didn't even have enough time to blink in the match? If he or she traumatized you , would you start breaking out into a sweat or start to shake uncontrollably every time you see your sisters Hello kitty products? Would you have Hello Kitty Nightmares where you keep on saying No No No please don't do that?" There was laughter all around but you could see on my friends faces that they were really thinking about it.

     Fast forward in time where I recently played in a 1 on 1 EDH event. After going 1-1 and nearly winning in my early loss I was pretty confident that I could adjust and take on most of the opponents in the event. I looked at the 3rd round pairings and found a name that I have not battled with before( I tend to take note of names just so I can anticipate beat down or control or a mix of both as most players tend to always play decks based on their individual styles.) This new opponent was an unknown and for a country that literally has hundreds of players ( at least 1000 based on the Last GP Manila) chances are there would still be a lot that I would not be able to play against in this lifetime.

"Merieke: You are mine....
Creature: Ok Sige..."
     So when I sat down in front of my new opponent I tried to scope out his style of play. The first thing I looked at was his commander. I was amused to find an altered art version of Merieke Ri Berit. And yes it was a Hello Kitty wizard that stared right back at me.I read the text and gathered that this would be control. I saw a flash of the future if I was not careful. Hello Kitty would tap , gain control of my creature and bash me in the head with it. I remembered my story from way back. It was catching up on me.

     The match went on like I predicted. I would dominate with damage early  because of my Aggressive turn 2 drop Skullbriar that kept on growing. At one point I would be within one swing commander damage for the win.I was controlled in the late game where the decks reanimator and control features emerged.I died to a Sheoldred that Swampwalked me to death.

"Excuse me while I Swampwalk you to death..."

    The 2nd match saw me going to town with a +5/+4 Lotleth Troll in the early goings. Once my opponent was able to cast Hello Kitty though the beat down ended. Lotleth was given a big hug of love , joined my opponents creatures and never came back to my side. My opponent was happy to merely counter any mass removal or creature that I would play on the field. I was sweeped , 2-0. In total control fashion. Hello Kitty was just there tapped and grinning full of love as all the other creatures rushed me including my usually dependable Lotleth Troll in the mix. I shook my opponents hand.

I think I'm going to have those Hello Kitty Nightmares now. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

"Baldy"



"Baldy"
by:
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

Even before we bought our old house in Valenzuela I knew that it was haunted. Our family started purchasing the townhouses one by one starting with the place I call the 1st unit.

My first encounted with the ghost I named baldy was when I was bringing my ex-gf home around 10 in the evening. I passed by the 1st unit which was still under construction. I stopped my car right in front of the place which would be the door frame leading into the kitchen area. I watched as I let some people cross the street and I looked to my right to see a black  , shadow figure with a bald head standing there.He had no face.I knew he wasn't a person , I have seen things my entire life and this was not a live person. I stared at it and it was not moving. I paid it no mind.I didn't even say anything to my ex.

About 3 years later before taking my Comprehensive Exams, I was quietly resting in my old room in the 3rd floor. Right across my room is my folks room which was undergoing some renovations since my dad was about to come home from his overseas. I was feeling a bit hungry so I opened my door and I saw Baldy just peeking out of my folks room by the door. I knew it was the same ghost with no face  but on the off chance that someone was able to make it inside our house I had to be sure. There was a string of burgleries during that time so I wanted everyone to be safe. I called our landline and my mom answered.I said there was someone in the 3rd floor and she just calmly said "I would be right there." 

The next scene would be one of the funniest and most touching in my life. I heard people running up and when I opened the door to look at the stairs my mom was leading the pack and she brought a butchers chopping knife with her along with a couple of guys from the Machine Shop next door. I pointed them to the room where we checked that the windows were still barred and that it contained nothing more than an empty bed. 

So there I was with my mom Butcher knife in hand and a bunch of guys who had grease all over them carrying a bunch of steel pipes ready to pummel any burglar. I felt really touched and sheepish because there was no one to beat up but they came any way.

It was not the last that we would see or hear about Baldy though. Almost all of our house helpers past and present have seen him even before we tell them about this particular ghost.Most of them are creeped out but baldy just seems to want to live in peace and I believe that he actually means no harm. Like everyone I guess he just wants a play to stay.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

"Golgari Machine Gun: A Look At The Golgari Arsenal"



"Golgari Machine Gun"
by:
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.
     
     I once went up against a Mono-black Machine Gun deck in standard. This deck won the game because it was mowing down any creature that landed on the battlefield. When it was sure that you had no more creatures to play , it would then drop a lone Skithryx to finish you off. Yes it was not able to combat decks that had effective recursion (Like Undying) or those who normally don't play creatures all that much because the over all strategy does not work on them like the infamous Super friends deck which boasted a whole slew of Planeswalkers linking hands for the win.

Now the machine gun concept does work and my first foray into the Pauper format gave me a 4-0 standing because of the Infect/ Machine Gun deck that I decided to run.

I wanted to see if it was possible to run a Golgari Machine Gun deck and lo and behold it was indeed possible. Looking at this vast arsenal it had the chance to mow down anything. 

(Of course I do have bad experiences going against Angel of Glory's rise or Angel of Serenity. Both Angels keeping something much nastier and returning again and again in the standard setting.) 

The tools are a bit limited as it does not outright kill everything but if you want to play Golgari colors then this is the way to go so I will look at the positive and negatives of each removal.



Drown in Filth
Positive: Low mana cost at 2 Golgari color mana. It puts -1/-1 counters on creatures killing indestructible creatures in the process. Also adds to Junk Reanimator self Mill tactic.
Negative: Dependent on the lands in your graveyard.



Abrupt decay
Positive: 2 Golgari color mana cost at Instant speed. It cannot be countered. Destroys Non-land Permanents Costing mana 3 or lower.
Negative: Only destroys Non-land Permanents Costing mana 3 or lower.Big Mana Cost permanents are immune. It does hamper any mana enabler to cast them though and can still the 3 to 1 mana cost efficient creatures like the Boros Reckoner.



Putrefy (4th Version)
Positive: Instant speed.Not Only kills critters but manages to give an option to destroy Artifacts as well.
Negative: The small possibility that you only have green or black mana on your 3rd land drop. (Not really a negative but I do have to put something here.)


Gaze of granite
Positive: Mass Removal! The ability to control which creatures die from the Gorgons gaze. It becomes important when you have a lot of higher mana cost creatures while you can eliminate any 
creature with lower mana cost.
Negative: Its benefit is also its weakness as it is not a solid mass removal because it depends on mana for its X.


Golgari Charm
Positive:Instant speed. Deals with those pesky +1/+1 Tokens before they grow more fangs.It also destroys a pesky enchantment or allows your creatures to survive a mass removal.
Negative: Not the removal you want to draw when you are being overrun by Thragtusks. 


Rites of Reaping
Positive: Rites of Reaping might be a closer. It deals with any 3/3 creature your opponent has while making a giant of any of your creatures. (A giant in magic starts at 4/4)
Negative: 6 mana cost at sorcery speed. A bit of a drag and requires a creature to maximize the ability.


Flesh and blood
Positive: This is a very specific removal for decks that abuse the graveyard. You remove a possible threat plus add a lot more power to a creature you control.
Negative: Graveyard hate specific and screams sideboard all over it.



Illness in the ranks
Positive: Another specific removal. This one just kills tokens. Have two of them in play and you cripple early Selesynan Shenanigans.
Negative:Sideboard material when facing the White/Green Selesnyan Cult.

And since they are still available these cards are also worth the inclusion.:

Tragic slip
Positive:An instant -1/-1 for 1 black mana? Great. When a creature dies , An instant -13/-13 for 1 black mana? Even better.
Negative: Something needs to die...

Murder
Positive: Instant Solid Spot Removal.
Negative: 3 Mana Cost. Indestructible Tajic laughs at it. Hexproof Geist of St. Traft shrugs it off.

Devour flesh:
Positive: 2 mana cost instant. Player Sacrifices a creature. 
Negative: Selesnya and all their tokens break into laughter and start singing hymns for the token who must be sacrificed. Assuming he is alone Indestructible Tajic dies from it.Hexproof Geist of St. Traft dies from it before he attacks.

Its going to be months before I could actually assemble and test the effectivity of this Golgari Machine Gun deck.Who knows it might be able to stand up in standard during those times.

 Lucky are those who can brew and happy are those who could play. Keep on brewing. 

"Reap Intellect: Lobotomy X"



"Reap Intellect: Lobotomy X"
by:
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

     There are cards that are good in EDH and there are cards that are good in fun decks. I'm not really sure if Reap Intellect will be great in Standard play but it is the only format where it would prove effective unless proven otherwise. I was able to have one of these in my Dragon's Maze pre-release and had one player gasping for air because he thought that this card would really make it big. I lost interest in it because it made no sense to put in my updated Dimir EDH deck. Of course if this is my garbage then it is another players treasure. For the record I actually think it is a very powerful card.It is the stronger version of Lobotomy. People with enough mana acceleration could really take advantage of it. 

    Ideally it would be great to cast in the 5th or 6th turn to maximize its benefit to your overall strategy.It is lobotomy multiplied by X! Assuming of course that you have survived multiple Thragtusks and Boros Reckoners then it could really be a great card.



     The effect is really massive and this is based on the assumption that you could pull it off (ie. you are still alive to be able to do it). Imagine your opponent holding all of his key combo pieces in his hand and you cast this spell. 1 Blue , 1 Black and 2 Generic mana with an X at the end. Let us say you were able to put in 3 generic mana for X.

Your opponent now reveals his or hand and you get to choose 3 non-land cards from it and you get to search his graveyard , hand and library for all the copies of the cards you have chosen and you exile them! It eliminates potential reanimation targets as well as eliminates copies of a particular annoying spell to come into your opponents hand. Assuming that you were able to peek at 3 different cards from your opponents hands and he has 4 copies each of those cards then you are looking at a potential net of 12 nonland cards beyond his reach.



One downside to this cool effect however is that this card will not play well with the Dimir Maze Runner Mirko Vosk. His mind funeral on a stick effect will be limited because your opponent will end up mostly with Lands in his deck. 

Forecast while playing with this card?
Expect Massive Land flooding. Lots and lots of Land on draws that your opponents need a key card to save him or her. Try not to gloat too much when they keep on getting lands and just putting them into play. Always be gracious. 

In standard it is a devastating card that decimates all aspects of your opponents game plan except for the pieces that he already has in the battlefield.In EDH it is merely an expensive "Hand Exiler".The format does not take advantage of its potential abusiveness factor.And we are all in to abuse it right?

All in all I would assume that someone will come up with a unique combo with this some time soon or it will end up in bargain binders all over. 

"Azorius EDH: The Azorius Stand"



"Azorius EDH: The Azorius Stand"
by:
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

Most of the time in a game of Magic the game ends when a players life total goes below 1 life point. Losing  20 life in the normal formats or 40 life in EDH. This usually involves winning with creatures to bring your life totals down by means aggressive attacks. It never gets old for people who keep winning with this strategy but others are always on the look out for alternate win conditions.

Today , I would love to focus on a card that is total opposite of the above mentioned winning strategy. This card actually lets you win when no damage has been done to you after 5 turns and that card is Azor's Elocutors. 

The Human advisor is easy (in an EDH setting) to cast with 3 Generic Mana , and hybrid mana cost of 2 either of which can be white or blue mana. It is also tough with a 3/5 body. It can block opposing creatures as well as stick around long enough for you to gain victory with its win condition.

"Stand in the place where you live..."
Azor's Elocutors allows you to put a Filibuster counter on it during your upkeep.If it has 5 or more then you win the game. No more of that sweaty and tiring attacking to whittle away at your opponents life. In EDH where you face multiple opponents at the same time this card makes everybody's life total irrelevant.It doesn't matter who is dying or winning. 5 Filibuster counters and that is it.End of story.

The catch though is that whenever a source damages you a Filibuster counter is taken away. Prolonging your road to victory. I like this win condition because 1 it is out of the ordinary and 2 it is challenging to pull off. 

It is going to be a nightmare for example if you go up against a deck that has a whole slew of unblockable creatures and one of them is the hexproof Invisible Stalker too! Then again there would be ways to deal with that guy. or if you face a deck with a lot of creatures and a lot of burn too , there are also ways of dealing with them too like Ivory Mask. 

"Making attacking such a pain..."
Well if you do not like creatures attacking you then it is actually best to freeze them in their tracks. The Azorius mechanic of Detain lets you do this while the enchantments Propaganda , Ghostly prison only allows creatures to be able to attack for a fee.  The same goes for the Artifact Norns Annex. In EDH paying 4 life for each attacking creature is such a high toll that players just wait for a way to deal with the annoying Artifact. Moat only lets flying creatures attack miring your opponents ground troops.

Ith would be a perfect commander in this deck as he bounces creatures around a whole lot. Mystifyng Maze is also a good addition as it prevents creatures from damaging you by exiling them.Hopefully the creatures you exile do not have come into play effects. 

"Mass Detain coming right up!!!"


Lavinia of the Tenth could also be a great commander here which has a Mass Detain effect for creatures with converted Mana Cost 4 or less. It basically guarantees that you would go unmolested for one round as well as pissing your opponents who would not get to finish one dying player with his full implement of creatures.

An Alternate win condition for this Deck as well is by having Luminarch Ascension in Play. It is faster to cast at 2 mana and offers an aggressive component in this otherwise pacifist deck. With the Detain Mechanic and creatures that could block
in the early turns you would be putting enough counters on this 2 to cast enchantment and producing 4/4 Angels in no time at all. Sigil of the Empty Throne can also help you in making those 4/4 angels since there will be a lot of Enchantments in this deck.

"One creature at a time..."

The 4 to cast enchantment Martial Law allows you to detain your opponents biggest threats every upkeep so this would increase the chances of getting Filibuster chargers on Azor's Elocutors.

If you are not able to set up your Azor's Elocutors early then board sweepers like DOJ , Wrath of god and the uncounterable Supreme Verdict will give you a hand for the set up.

"A little crowd control goes a long way..."


Detention Sphere , Oblivion Ring, Cage of Hands and Pacifism also help out in controlling a lone creature from becoming an unruly crowd in the early games. 

Curse of Exhaustion and Rule of Law also limit a lot of opponents ability to cast creatures or anything that produces creature tokens so that they could not swarm you.Nevermore forbids them from ever playing a particular card.Commanders are usually the targets but it can be anything that annoys you or affects your approach to the game. You could also include Council of the Absolute for more control. 




Azor's Elocutors might not be an EDH deck for everyone but it fits control players who are looking for more creative ways to win. With the amount of control in this deck it is easy to make a stand. The Azorius Stand.

Happy are those who could brew and play. Keep on doing so.Till Next time. 


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"Shadowborne Apostle EDH: With my blood I summon thee..."


"I have a feeling...mas mahal pa ito sa 20 later..."

"Shadowborne Apostle EDH: With my blood I summon thee..."
by:
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

My first EDH deck was built around Relentless Rats. I enjoyed having Rats , I enjoyed watching them grow bigger and bigger as more and more of their rat brethren arrive on the battlefield. 3 mana was all it took to have one rat out and since a deck can have any number of Relentless Rats my opponents sort of guessed what would happen in a couple of turns if they don't have something like Surgical Extraction , Eradicate or Severe the Bloodlines in their respective decks(which they seldomly had). Needless to say my Relentless Rats and I enjoyed many casual EDH games.

"daga daga!"
Now there is a new card about to enter Standard in M14 that might carry the torch for all things that can have any number of copies in a given deck. It is the one black mana costing Human Cleric called Shadowborne Apostle. At first glance he was a 1/1 creature with a great special ability  , if you have 6 copies of it in play you may pay 1 black mana and search for a demon in your library and put it on the battlefield. One of the obvious choices would be the same card making its debut in M14 as well which is the Shadowborne Demon (destroying a non-demon when it comes into play is a great choice for spot removal) , it seems like there are lot of these Shadowborne brood milling about in M14 but we will just have to wait how powerful they can be when the whole gang is revealed.

"Imagine that...calling this guy out with the Apostle even satisfies his  requirements! Perfect"

In anticipation though an EDH deck that requires the sacrifice of 6 Shadowborne Apostles would greatly benefit from one Orzhov card called Immortal Servitude. For a mana cost of 4 you could actually return all of your fallen Human Clerics and pay an additional one mana to have another demon enter the battlefield.

I looked at this card and I said it may like be Relentless Rats but it does not give the stats that a turn 4 or 5 Rat  could give each other. It doesn't seem as aggressive , in fact the Shadowborne Apostle fits a more control and late game winning strategy. It was until I realized that it can be affected by the same things that effects the Relentless Rats that I saw it in a different light.  The Ripple Mechanic (just for starters) that the 5 colorless artifact Thrumming Stone can bring on the table affects these Humans.1 drop of them and you would be sure to empty most of your deck on the battlefield. It was a devastating effect for the rats , it will do the same here. 



Then you have enablers like the  Coat of Arms that  allows them to have the added bonuses as well. Assuming that you have  already cast 5 of these and you decide to plop in a 6th copy and play a Coat of Arms  then yes they would be 6/6 Human Clerics that you might actually enjoy attacking with rather than sacrificing. If you do the calculations they are actually stronger than 4 Relentless Rats in play ( the number of Rats you could play at Turn 6 if you did not miss a land drop). And since  they are pretty much easier to cast you could actually get your clerics stronger much faster than rats in no time.


Consider these dream scenarios with the Shadowborne Apostle:

 - A Thrumming Stone + Coat of Arms + 30 Shadowborne Apostles on the battlefield does seem disastrous for your opponent don't you think? After all they will be 30 +30/+30 creatures that would total 900 points of damage if left unopposed. That's like winning 22 EDH games worth of damage!!!

If we put in a Door of Destinies into the Mix it becomes even more insane...

"I still call it Door of Densities...it makes creatures so Dense..."

-  A Thrumming Stone + Door of Destinies + 30 Shadowborne Apostles - 
For the sake of simplicity let us just say that you cast your first Shadowborne Apostle on turn six and for each Cleric that comes into play a +1/+1  is added. It will be a whopping  30 +30/ +30 creatures that would total 900 points of damage if left unopposed on the next turn as well!

Adding an Eldrazi Monument is merely icing on the cake...I actually did math in this article! Only Magic could do that to me!

One other thing that I looked at is the creature type which is Cleric. Back in Onslaught where I first started there was a card named Profane Prayers. This card cared about the number of Clerics in play. The sorcery actually deals X damage to target creature or player and you gain X life based on the number of Clerics you have. 1 drops that tend to multiply with your mana curve? The card is a shoo in. 


Speaking of Clerics  I guess this would be a great time to have the good old Mikaues the Lunarch back in the fold. He gives +1/+1 counter to each of your creatures in due time. Adaptive Automaton can either be a Cleric or a Human or a Demon in this deck but my best bet will be that most of the time he will the the 2 former choices. 

Cavern of Souls will be big in deck especially since its going to be a deck chock full of Humans and Demons. Your best choice to have one of these creatures uncounterable. 

Speaking of Demons , one particular Innistrad Demon would be happy in this place and I am also dying to play him because he has not found a home since he won 3 straight games for me during my Dark Ascension pre-release. The Ravenous Demon could turn into the Archdemon of Greed quite fast in this EDH deck. Lots of humans to sacrifice for him to gobble up. Yum Yum.

Another Demon you might consider playing is the Mass Removal on a stick Reiver Demon , its Nekrataal like Mass Removal effect would be welcome especially if you are not facing Black or Artifact creatures. It would still kill a significant number of creatures so it is a sure addition to this deck. 

Scion of Darkness  , Withenger Unbound ,  Demon of Deathsgate and Rune-Scarred Demon are great additions to this deck. It is a very exciting development. One of the things that I would like to note is that there is no rule against Demon Flip cards being summoned directly unto the Battlefield...Meaning Withengar Unbound could come in with all his 13/13 Fattie Flying  , Intimidate  , trampling Goodness at instant speed..let us say the moment before your opponent dies you go ahead and sacrifice 6 of your Shadowborne Apostles and voila you have  26/26 (again with the math) Flying  , Intimidate  , trampling monster! 

"I love turning 26!"

I really have to lie down...All this damage calculating is tiring. Until next time.
Blessed are those who could  brew and play. So always do so.