Thursday, March 31, 2016

"In my Land:Sample Chapter"

"In my Land:Sample Chapter"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. MD

Where are the lights of the west? The Wall of the east? the stranger asked them.

what the hell are you talking about?

The refineries and the Natural gas extracting plants in the west give off a light that you could see even here in manila and why are you talking to me in Tagalog only? where is your Uni Translator?

Uni translator? (even more weird questions)

The Uni translator allows us to speak in the languages that we normally interact with. It was enacted that each child by the age of 7 would have an implant that would allow them to learn languages more efficiently and to better allow them to talk to other nationalities. Since the Philippines has very deep Western Spanish Roots and Eastern Influences like China and Japan aside from our Malay genes we have incorporated that into our language and culture. why am I even lecturing you on this every child by the age of 10 is familiar with this.

Listen buddy you are not making sense. Are you some sort of Chinese spy? With the tensions building up between the Philippines and china its not unheard of to send people like you?

Chinese spy? what the hell are you talking about? The Chinese are our allies! Since we were able to resolve the issue of spratlys and the Senkaku islands for them we have been trading with them for hundreds of years.

Hundred of years? How the hell did the Philippines resolve that issue when china has been bullying us for years?

Simple. We bought the islands and put Military installations on them.

And china didn't get mad at that?

Get mad? we were looking after their best assets in that region of Asia. We made the wall in the East Philippine sea so that there would be no dispute and divided the profits after drilling the sea. 

Huh? Where did we get the money for that? 

By all the natural gas profits from the Natural Gas and Oil mines in the East Phil sea of course. We own the latest drilling techs and refineries.

He just had to whistle at that. "You are one crazy person Sir"

Me? You haven't even brought me to the nearest Balanggay? I demand to see a Sultan!

Like the ones in Mindanao? 

No. The South doesn't have sultans anymore since the Babaylans took over and demanded that all the South that hasn't been touched by technology be converted into Nature Farms and Shrines for the Anitos.

The Sultans agreed to this transfer reasoning that they would have bigger lands and be closer to the technological action up here in the North and besides there is a lot more space here since the Spires could accommodate thousands when relocated.

Now that is nuts. The Philippines and its politicians simply wont allow that to happen.

Politicians? There are none of those since a singular government already takes care of the whole nation. One of Holo Meeting is all it takes and they are on top of things. I am really confused. Where is your holo wall so I could just contact the Balanggay myself.

More puzzles from this man. What else is he not telling us?

"The Gitrog Monster: You don't want to kiss it but you want it."

"The Gitrog Monster: You don't want to kiss it but you want it."
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

When you think of Frogs , you think of Kermit and his squawaky voice. You also get the impression that frogs when kissed become handsome princes thanks to a lot of disney brainwashing. Now as magic players we all know that we should not kiss frogs. Not because they could give you warts but for the simple reason that you could turn up like this guy. The Gitrog Monster sure is hungry and one of its favorites snack is real estate. Land. Aside from eating humans and anything smaller than it , it also loves to eat your lands. Just the price you get for having a 6/6 Deathtouch Frog Horror on your side of the board.

Of course The Gitrog Monster does provide for its own meal because you could play an additional land on each of your own turns. It also pulls its own weight because you could draw a new card each time that you a land goes to your graveyard. And the cycle continues. Of course some players think that feeding a land to this Horror is not worth and I understand them , the point after all is to build a solid mana base for all those awesome things that you want to do in the future.
So what if there was a solution to this Land Eating Tax that our Frog Horror demands. It is a land card that comes out in Shadows Over Innistrad as well. The Drownyard Temple.Thanks for the idea Raven Knives. Think about it. If the Drownyard Temple is already in your graveyard you could pay the 3 mana of any color that it requires on the end of your opponents turn and feed it to the Gitrog Monster to satisfy its froggy hunger. You still get to play 2 lands and with more lands it makes it easier to play the 3 mana cost to return the Drownyard temple again and again. For dedicated Golgari EDH decks it is always helpful to have another card drawer. 

Think of the possibilities where you draw cards from Evolving Wilds , Terramorphic Expanse or Fetchlands after you have used them to fetch things. You also get the benefit by having land discarded from your hand or even if it is milled from your library. It seems like a whole lot of card drawing are in store for Golgari players once this is out. You may not want to kiss this particular frog but if it gives you that piece you need to win you might just reconsider it.

"Forgotten Creation: Killer Miller 2016"

"Forgotten Creation: Killer Miller 2016"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

If there was ever a card that would represent all of those piles of cards that have been left on tables and fat packs that were supposed to turn into awesome decks but were never finished then this would be the one. Forgotten Creation.

Every magic player has one of those side deck projects that they never get to finish may it be because of lack of time or financial constraints or the simple unavailability of a particular combo piece.

These are the decks that you tend to revisit when you are cleaning your room and you get lost in the concept of why you created it in the first place. You get enthralled by the power of what it represents and will it could be but you know that it will always be unfinished.

As for the actual card Forgotten Creation. This is hinted that it is one of Stitcher Geralfs earlier creations or maybe his quote was inspired when he saw this skulking around somewhere. 

A 3/3 Skulk creature for the price of 4 mana is not bad but it's actual built ability lets you do wonderful things that interact with things like Madness and Delirium. For one thing you could easily fill up your Delirium Quota by a single hand dumping.

Then again that would just be for the zombie tribe and it seems more like a Blue black deck could take advantage of all this Hand being dumped into the graveyard.

One of the things that intrigue me though is this cards interaction with the Magic Origins card Sphinx's Tutelage. In essence when you throw away your hand let us say that you have 5 cards. The Forgotten Creation would let you draw 5 fresh cards from your deck then the Sphinx's Tutelage will trigger for each card that you have just drawn. The thing is you will have to see the 2 cards that your opponent mills to the graveyard and check if they are both nonland cards that share a color so that the process could repeat. If not then there are 4 more triggers to resolve. At this point let us just say that your opponent did not have nonland cards that share a color that fell to his or her GY. They would have still milled 10 cards all in all. Not bad right? Now they need to survive the next couple of turns because if you don't cast any cards this turn there would be 6 new triggers for the Sphinx's Tutelage(including your first card draw next turn). I love these alternate builds to winning in Magic.

Now let me look at all those Forgotten Creations lying around the house.Maybe I could find the time to improve them after all. 

"Oh My Girls: Liar Liar MV reaction"

"Oh My Girls: Liar Liar MV reaction"
The Vole

After waiting for what seemed liked an eternity (actually probably just a few months after Closer came out) OMG is finally back and with one heck of an upgrade to the strenghts that they already possess. The MV for Liar Liar boasts of a Wonderland theme that showcases the group individual charms and appeals. Their powerful vocals rises and there is a definite improvement to their Visual Department. The usual suspects of YooA , Jiho and Arin all look pretty and charmingly cute. Notably Binnie is in a Tweedle Dee/Dum outfit of striped knee high socks and the longer hair have done her good. She always seemed like she could be more sensual or prettier and here she just does that. Jine who has been steadily growing in the charm department is seen to break out here too.Check out Jine in her blue dress and Red Butterfly hairband. Candy Leader Hyosung and Seunghee's vocals resonate throught the song and that particular scene where they face off is just wonderful as an Alice and Red Queen. Mimi had little parts here and there but when she rapped you better believe that you would stop and stare. Look into her eyes and tell me that she didn't steal a little of your heart. 

All in all the stars of this video are still the 3 main Visuals. Check out the Maknae standing out in every little scene that she is in , thinner and prettier. JiHo on the other hand has that scene where she dunks her head in an aquarium full of water.Such commitment.Here is to hoping that none of the weekly variety show hosts will ask her to do that again on live TV. Then again that is just wishful thinking because I am already guessing that a lot of these said hosts will ask her to do the very same thing in the coming weeks.

And of course one cannot help but miss the Bed scene involving YooA. Yes there are a couple of bed scenes here. The members seems to be wallowing or swimming on the plush velvet bed but the iconic scene is the living doll YooA in thigh high white stockings and doll dress singing at the very end of the song. If by this time you weren't slain by the members cute close ups then YooA will finish the job just fine. 

While there is none of the precision dancing that OMG is known for in this MV believe me when I say that all those close ups and individual expressions of the members will more than make up for that. Now here is to waiting for the making MV and the Performance videos that ought to come out in the coming weeks.

"AoA Cream - Baby MV Reaction : Far from Being sloppy seconds"

"AoA Cream - Baby MV Reaction : Far from Being sloppy seconds"
The Vole

AoA cream is a sub unit of Ace of Angels consisting of Main Vocals/Visuals Yuna , Rapper/ Dancer Chan Mi and Vocal/Visuals/Dancer Hyejong.

Their initial offering is a track called Baby. The MV prominently features scenes of transformation Ala Sailor moon. Complete with iconic poses and moon wands. Pink is probably the only color available when they went out and chose the set because pink is the dominant color all in every scene of the MV. There is a plot somewhere mainly revenge after Hyejongs character gets cheated on by her supposed boyfriend. Like I said to a friend Getting cheated on and getting revenge is a common Kpop theme. Dalshabet did that in Someone Like You earlier this year. I will keep my eye posted on who else does it mainly because I get tired after reading medical texts.

From my point of view the AoA cream subunit makes sense. AoA needs to release songs as I believe their song from last year Oh boy did not make the buzz needed to make it popular. The chicken dance thing in that song was so unsexy. The sub unit also serves as a platform to showcase these threes overshadowed assets. With Choa promoting Flame(or I still think she is promoting) , Jimin still in unpretty rap star where she tries and proves that she is a tough rapper rather than a cute rapper , Mina and CF Queen Seolhyun either busy with a TV or Movie project there is no way that they could go full blast with a comeback featuring all 7 members. Or 8 if you count their drummer who has not been seen for awhile since AoA Black(The Band Sub Unit) is out of commission for awhile. Jimin , Mina and Choa were 3/5ths of that group.

I caught myself laughing when I saw the title for their making the video clip of their song Baby. It was called Baby Making Video. I kid you not. Look it up on youtube and you will see Baby Making Video. Probably a harmless mistranslation from Korean or a very good marketing strategy to up the View count. Either way I would have clicked it but did not expect to see any babies being made. 

About the song itself. Some of the best parts are the whoops interspersed. The Rapping part where Chan Mi shows that she is the tougher side of AoA Rap while still retaining that sexy feel. When she starts with I'm your will finish listening to the whole rap. Yuna and Hyejong get to sing a whole lot more without Choa and her tender but sexy voice hogging all the limelight. Yuna hit that Major high note almost to the end and I cannot help but clap in recognition.

In the future I do hope that AoA still performs as a whole group but in the meantime we would have to be content with Cream. Far from being sloppy seconds they are a whole new flavor unto themselves. Check them out.

"Laboum: Aalow Aalow MV reaction: Where is Yulhee?"

"Laboum: Aalow Aalow MV reaction: Where is Yulhee?"
The Vole

When Laboum came out with Aalow Aalow last December I had doubts that this MV would gain any traction with fans. The 6 member group consisting of Yu-Jeong , So- Yeon , ZN , Hae-In , Solbin and Yul-hee is probably busy making a new video since their Crowd funding endeavor with Makestar was successful in getting the support from fans last Feb 2016. Not a peep from them since then so I expect a great video from them.  

This is one the earliest things I wrote so I had to revise a bit. This MV has a lot things working for it since it is Laboum and their bright energy can still be felt even though it seems subdued. I mean they are in just one room playing with Globes and Gumball machines.

One of the things in this video is that there main vocalist So Yeon is sporting shorter hair and has been given more air time than most of the members combined. Probably because there are a lot of high parts in this song and they want to show off what their main vocals can do.

Another thing that you would notice is that there is no rap part in the MV which has made Yulhees airtime much lesser. She has the least part in the MV and I find that such a shame since she has been dieting and the results have shown because her face doesn't look like a square anymore. You actually see her jawline and when they were doing promotions I did not recognize her as Yulhee. I thought they recruited a new member! I hope no one gets me wrong here . I love Yulhee in all her forms may it be the chubby or well chiseled one. I just wished they gave her a little more air time here or a little close up. There is probably a reason for that but I am not sure of what that is exactly.

Don't let the blazing electric guitars at the beginning of the song get to you. Once the lead singer begins you are sure to be hooked by Laboums latest offering.

"Stellar - Sting MV Reaction"

"Stellar - Sting  MV Reaction"
The Vole

I know what Stellar looks like but I wanted to just listen.And their latest offering Sting was an audio delight. They really are talented and they have put up another catchy song that will be sure to go on top of the charts ,  at least for awhile until the next release of the other groups who have promised Comebacks for this year. I actually fell asleep listening to this soothing sound and to think that this was supposedly a dance tune. A sexy dance tune!

The lovely foursome of Gayoung , Minhee , Junyool and Hyoeun have made a come back and they do not disappoint in the vocal departments.
Minhee starts off the song with its deep bass lines and lead keyboards fading in and out of the background.

After Vibrato came out with all the suggestive images of a woman's reproductive organs there was some concern that Stellar would have to do something more sexy to top it of. Well I can honestly say that there are no suggestive images in their new video.In fact it is not really suggestive.They are actually displaying where they want to be stung. Well the Sting actually refers to the woman's words as she asks her lover if she is getting through to him. Are you feeling anything from my words? Does it sting? 

But with all the images of Minhee pulling up her legs to reveal her crotch area as she lays on her side on a bed one cannot help but imagine that the Sting in the title is meant to be something else. Oh and if you notice the cactus from Vibrato is back. That little Prick!
Or should I say a lot of pricks?

Fans can expect a minimalist approach to sexiness here that is nonetheless very effective in capturing attention. Minhee being photographed in bed in the opening sequence , Gayoung splaying her legs on a yellow couch , Junyool in thigh high black stockings and clear shots of her white underwear as she turns her long legs this and that. And Hyoeun? Well she has pointer clickers pointing at her nearly there shorts and she seems to be deathly afraid of them.

Let us just say that there are certain people that will be happy to stop click this video...Uhm...For Video editing lessons.

I mean minimalist because their is none of the hip twisting , thigh opening and butt rubbing that marked their other videos. Even the outfits are simple and subdued until you reach the latter half of the video. There was that one portion where they did a catwalk of sorts but that's the only part that probably hurt my eyes.

If you are a fan of Stellar then expect a treat in this latest video. Me I am probably happy that I am part of a release as it happened. Not something that I only heard months later. With or without the video of endless crotches though this song is certainly worth listening to. No unnecessary moaning or anything like that. Just a simply catchy tone.

I watched the Dance Video/ Practice video and they are showing that same shirt pulling move that got another Kpop girl group banned(Rainbow I believe). I am not sure how that will turn out in the future. I guess their trademark step on this is the X cross step that they do as they move to the side. Looks complicated but fun to pull off for people who watch videos like this in order to research for dance steps.

So ends my first reaction to any music video. I hope Stellar continues to stand out in the future. I expect better things from them with or without the sexy.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

"Sorin , Grim Nemesis: The Lord Markov is Ahunting"

"Sorin , Grim Nemesis: The Lord Markov is Ahunting"
Virglio F. De leon Jr.

I remembered when I first saw Sorin used in an EDH game. One of his abilities reduced an opponents life to 10 which caused worry around a lot of kitchen table tops around the globe. From 40 to 10 life.

Of course we did not expect magic to reprint or even make a Sorin with something so devastating. However Sorin Grim Nemesis is not someone that you do not want to trifle with.

For as far as I can remember this is probably the only planeswalker that has the ability to end another planeswalker as soon as it hits the battlefield. I mean if Sorin is merely out to kill Nahiri then he could easily do it with just 4 loyalty counters and still be alive next turn so that you could deal damage to all of your opponents with his first skill. All that for the price of 6 mana. Planeswalkers with 6 or more counters are rare so chances are that within Limited any planeswalker can be killed by Sorin , Grim Nemesis. Nahiri , Arlinn and Jace won't be able to survive an encounter with this vendetta driven vampire. 

I am sorry if I jumped right into Sorin , Grim Nemesis' second ability but his first ability is no pushover either. It kind of drives you to play with bigger creatures or spells(like the ones in EDH perhaps?)  since it means that you would lose life equal to its converted mana cost. So if you reveal the top card of your library to be Emrakul the Aeons Torn then that is a solid 15 life loss all across your EDH table. On its own it could possibly win you the whole game if your opponents are already on their last 15 life points. Oh and since you also get to put the revealed card into your hand you have an added threat if you have enough mana.

So you made everyone loss life and gain a card to boot.Talk about EDH potential.

Sorins third ability is a bit odd one for me since it would put 1/1 Black Knight Creature tokens with lifelink into the battlefield based on highest life total among players. The odd thing is if you keep getting big creatures or spells opponents would likely have lesser life totals than most.Then again EDH games are unpredictable and there would be players who would have a life point cushion over everyone. The third skill might also be based on your own life total as well. Oh well one thing is for sure if one player has 40 life then 40 1/1 Black Knights might just be the trick to get them to lose that 40 life. Way to go Sorin. You just scare me with your EDH potentials.

So I guess it's not just Nahiri who should be wary(uy nagrhyme!) but every EDH loving player. We will see just how this new Sorin will make waves in the coming months. 

"Jace, Unraveler of Secrets: Blue's Clues"

"Jace, Unraveler of Secrets: Blue's Clues"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

In this episode of Blue's Clues we find Jace in Innistrad unraveling some secrets. With the aid of his handy dandy Tamiyos Notebook we get to see Jace in action that leads him from hints of insanity to the Drownyards of Nephalia. Would he be able to unravel the secrets in time?

(Pardon me. I had a really bad backache and I am still on my meds.)

Seriously though this new incarnation does nothing but into your library looking for answers. At 5 mana I do feel that it is a bit over mana costed for a support card. So when you do cast Jace, Unraveler he just Scrys 1 and draws a card for about 3 turns until he gets to his Ultimate ability. Blue mages love this advantage especially if they are already controlling the board state and they are looking for that final piece to finish off an opponent. 

Jace , Unraveler of Secrets second ability is a defensive one that lets you return a target creature to its owners hand. And why would you need this? It buys you more time to uh...unravel more secrets. Such as how do you solve the problem that is your opponent.

The -8 ultimate is what you really want here since it automatically counters the first spell an opponent casts each turn.This would be a great emblem to have if you could accelerate Jace Unraveler with Oath of Gideon or The Chain Veil. I see this making waves in EDH games more though where long drawn out games would benefit from all of that scrying and automatic countering.

So the question that remains now is will you be playing Jace's new reincarnation in standard or will it be relegated to the hands of Commanders who would want another library fixer and drawer in their decks?


"Monster Haikus 1 "

"Monster Haiku's  1 "
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

So one day I found myself rhyming and typing and so the first part of the monster Haiku's. Until the next time my muse hits me with something that is.

"The Succubus Kiss"

It was so much bliss.
Until it was no longer
This caused by your kiss.

"The Sirens Song"

I fell into the trance
You calling me to the rocks
My ship meeting shore

"Frankenstein's Son"

The Lighting Struck it.
Howled defiance to the Wind
Yes , It is Alive!

"Melisandre's Child"

In the Darkness Born
The Shadow Comes forth Alone
The Red Woman Moans

Kapre's Choice

It Asked For A light
Up the Tree in it's right hand
The Lit Tobacco


Editors Note: I do not own Succubus - Morelia.

"Arlinn Kord:Feeling A Little Wolfish"

"Arlinn Kord:Feeling A Little Wolfish"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

Finally the werewolves have their very own planeswalker in the form of Arlinn Kord. So what does this new planeswalker bring to the table and why you should play here to make your wolves all the more deadlier.

For 4 mana you get to see the pre flip side of Arlinn and you have two choices when you do get to play here. Her first ability lets you make an existing creature bigger.Not only that the said creature gains vigilance and haste! Now imagine an already big werewolf(and there are tons of them in this block) getting an additional +2/+2! Other creatures like Wolf of Devils breach could attack the turn it was played! 

Her second initial ability just goes to show how easy it easy for her to slip into something more comfortable , her wolf form. She does so by summoning a 2/2 Wolf and you could transform her as well. In comparison to Garruk , The Veil Cursed this is a transformation that happens more smoothly. With an initial Loyalty counter of 3 the 2/2 Wolf Arlinn Summons could go a long way in protecting her so that you could use her Transformed Skills in your next turn.

Looking at the Sleek Arlinn , Embraced by the Moon you see that she is ready for the offensive with the +1/+1 and trample on all creatures you control. This could close out games when you already have the right pieces on the board , mainly werewolves who are hungry to attack. 

Another great ability is the -1 second ability that lets deal 3 damage to target player or creature. This is perfect for finishing a player who is already low on life or taking care of annoying blocker who might mess up with your damage calculations. The draw back is that you slip back into human form. So make sure that it is worth your time to use this ability.

The -6 ability is really A Better Fight Mechanic on an Emblem. I like this version better because your creatures get to swipe at both players and opposing creatures alike. The great thing about this is that they could tap at the end of turns to kill on opponent or in EDH you could threaten to kill other players at instant speed.

I really like Arlinn Kord. Keeping my fingers crossed. Here's hoping that I am still lucky in Innistrad like I was last time with a Tamiyo in the PR and a Liliana of the Veil from a fatpack. Let's go werewolves!  

"Harness The Storm: Spellslingers Delight"

"Harness The Storm: Spellslingers Delight"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. MD

When I was still working in Accenture we often had games in the Pantry and one of the decks that I would often face is my friend June Bhryans Overkill Burn deck.The deck was a fun albeit simple one. The only thing you would find in it were red spells that were meant to zap your opponents dead. After being Overkilled a couple of times I made my own version of the deck and went on a spellswinging spree.

Bang Bang Bang Zap Zap Zap. Boom. Dead. Is how our games normally progressed. The point was to shoot the other red mage dead first and it was a lot of non calculated fun. We draw a card. Cast for damage and wait for the next person who would be drawing and casting another burn spell. Games were fast and furious. All around us would be players sludging on with their own battles while we probably finished games 5 more times than them. It never got old.

If June Bhryan ever rebuilt his deck or I rebuilt mine I would definitely add Harness the Storm. I mean the ability to cast a spell from the graveyard again and again without it being exiled. So if you do the math a little bit casting a 1 red mana Lightning Bolt for 3 and paying another red mana for a copy of the same card for 3 more damage! 6 freaking damage! And if you have 3 Lightning Bolts in the graveyard and 4 mana. It would be a total of 12 damage!

In essence you could L-Bolt an opponent to death.

1st Lbolt - 3 damage!
2nd Lbolt + 1 Lbolt in the GY - 6 damage!
3rd Lbolt +2 Lbolt in th GY - 9 damage!
4th Lbolt +3 Lbolt in the GY - 12 damage!

And that all adds up to 30 Lightning Bolt Damage! Ah Ah Ah Ah!
And all you need is just 4 mana! And assuming you draw the 4 Lbolts you just need 4 turns.(One can dream). And yes it is not feasible unless you found a way to cast the Harness the Storm on turn One. Still with this kind of damage one will always dream. I know there are a lot of you out there who could probably figure this one out. 

And for something really evil in Standard you could also try milling your opponent for 13 cards per pop with the card Startled Awake.

1st Startled Awake - Mill 13 cards
2nd Startled Awake + 1 Startled Awake in GY - 26 cards
3rd Startled Awake + 2 Startled Awake in GY - 39 cards

That is a total of 78 cards! And a standard deck only has 60 cards!
Granted that you need 12 mana to pull off the last milling but heck like I said a few sentences ago one can dream. 

Wait there is more to this as well. Think about Storm. And the Card Brain Freeze! It gets really crazy.

1st Brain Freeze - 3 cards
2nd Brain Freeze + 1 Brain Freeze in GY - 6 mill + 3 more to storm count = 9 cards
3rd Brain Freeze + 2 Brain Freeze in GY - 9 mill + 9 more to Storm count = 18 cards
4th Brain Freeze + 3 Brain Freeze in GY - 12 mill + 18 more to Storm count - 30 cards

And that is a total of 60 cards! And this doesn't count the initial 7 card draw and the succeeding 1 card draw per turn. 

Innistrad is proving to be a very exciting block. Time for another Spellslinging Overkill or Milling Overkill deck to be born.

"Invocation of St. Traft: Angelic Aggression"

"Invocation of St. Traft: Angelic Aggression"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. 

When I bought the Blessed Vs. Cursed duel deck I just really wanted to get my hands on a copy of Geist of St. Traft which oddly enough I did not buy or get to pull from a booster pack the first time it came out. I wanted to brew a Tiny Leaders deck around this particular Ghost. 

Normally you get to swing for 6 points of damage with a normal attack. 2 from the apparition and the 4/4 Flying Angel that accompanies each swing. I would have been happy toying with the idea with a Slip Through Space. Then this card came out.

I was now looking at a possible 10 point damage total per swing!With enough creature control and evasion in a Tiny leaders deck this could always be a possibility. Talk about Angelic Aggression right? 2 of these 4/4 babies per attack! I really love this new set and I can't wait for the full spoilers. There are so many gems in this new block! 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

"Inverter of Truth: Getting back in Business"

"Inverter of Truth: Getting back in Business"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

I must admit that when Oath of the Gatewatch rolled out I was so out of touch with magic that I just downloaded the images on my laptop and was not able to check the individual cards.I was simply too swamped at work to do so but when I finally got around to buying packs I was happy to find cards that I was not able to look into.

One of these cards was Inverter of Truth which at first glance is a 6/6 flyer for a mere 2 Black and 2 Colorless mana. If there was anything I learned in magic , creatures with similar mana cost like this normally have painful costs like Eater of Days and Leveler. So when I checked out the text Inverter of Truth reminded me so much of the Leveler since it shreds your library or in this case exiles it. While returning your graveyard to replace it. 

If you cast this card in the early turns then this would be tantamount to suicide since you would not have access to cards that you could potentially draw in your deck. However if you are working on a long drawn out strategy as most control players are apt to do. Then Inverter of Truth is a great card. Much like the card Reminisce only on a 6/6 Flyer body. 

Looking on the bright side if you already have a Laboratory maniac on the battlefield and you draw your next card(and hopefully you still have an empty library by then) and your opponent has not killed the maniac then chances are you are on your way of winning the game. So a turn 3 maniac and a turn 4 Inverter of Truth could possibly get you a win by turn 5. Not bad right? This is one of those win conditions that you would be happy to pull off since it is not a guaranteed combo and we all need that little excitement  instead of just stream rolling over an opponents deck.

So let us say you are playing a Mono Black Discarder deck or a Blue Black Control deck, In the latter parts of the game the Inverter could be your win condition via creature kill while at the same time getting all of your "Business cards" back into your deck.All of your Counters , Creature Removal , Card Drawers and Discarders. You get them all back in your library ready to be drawn again so that your opponent could not mount a comeback. With Shadows Over Innistrad already out and we are seeing  a lot of self milling strategies revolving around Delirium we might some game play for this particular Eldrazi if not in Standard but probably in the new EDH decks that would be made in the next couple of months.

Inverter of Truth is a great example of a card that seems like a sucky but actually works if given the right situation.And if all is fails you could always use a 6/6 Flyer on your side of the board right? 

"Nahiri,The Harbinger: Putting that anger to good use."

"Nahiri,The Harbinger: Putting that anger to good use."
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

Nahiri is angry. Sorin knows it. Innistrad knows it. And now we all know it. After hitting Markov Manor and tearing it to shreds we now see her planeswalker card which screams to be added to certain EDH or Sparkswar builds.

Let us get down to it. Nahiri's first ability lets you discard a card and you draw a card. This ties in really well to the Madness mechanic that is making a comeback to standard. Not only do you get to cast things for their madness cost but you also get to draw one card.So far the majority of cards with madness are in Red(and Black). You have a good burn spell in Fiery Temper and good creatures like Incorrigble Youth that you could pay for 3 mana instead of its original 5 mana cost or Reckless Wurm from Planar Chaos which is similarly costed.You could also play around with flashback cards if you wanted to in your decks.

The Battle for Zendikar Block came out with a lot of enchantments that you want to get rid of. Cards like the Oaths and Retreats and even controlling enchantments like Isolation Zone or Suppression Bonds. I even saw a deck that featured Sigil of the Empty Throne which could easily be taken cared of by Nahiri's second ability. I do have some issues with the tapped creature and tapped artifact because it meant that it was already utilized before she could neutralize it but heck if it means taking out a creature before it could deal damage to you again I wouldn't really mind.

Now on to her third ability that lets you summon a creature or artifact into existence.If what you summoned is a creature it gains haste and if it is still alive at the end of your turn then you get to return it to your hand at the next end step.

"By your artifacts combined I am.... Kadra!"
Now the obvious targets for this is the Eldrazi brood. I mean just one of those older version gets you to annihilate things from your opponents end of the board. In standard , you could summon the current versions of Ulamog and Kozilek as well and maybe Emrakul who I believe will come out of the Nephalia Drownyards pretty soon. Other tempting targets include Titans , Primordials and the Colossi. I mean one Blightsteel is all it will take in modern or EDH to finish off an opponent.

If you don't need a creature at the moment and blasting away your opponents creatures is what you need then you could always bring out a Spine of Ish Sah for pinpoint removal accuracy or the recent Hedron Alignment Network if you are about to be overwhelmed by a horde of 5 or more powered creatures. You could power out any of the Swords or even Batterskull! You could put the final piece(assuming you already have the other 2 out) of a Kaldra equipment and summon Kaldra to aid you to victory. 

So I don't care if Nahiri is angry. As long as she is on my side and aiding me to the road to victory.    

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

"Pauper Kings: Blue Prowess Sligh 2016"

"Pauper Kings: Blue Prowess Sligh 2016"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

I wanted to create an aggressive deck that lets you abuse the removal and control that blue has while having creatures get bigger as you attack with them. The Blue prowess creatures in Standard are few. Basically it boils down to the Umara Entangler and the Jeskai sage. Both have prowess and costed at 2 mana. Elusive Spellfist has a sort of prowess when you cast your 2nd spell of the turn.And for the hidden Fattie of this deck we have the Ringwarden Owl who could sweep in and finish the job for you in the latter part of the games. 

22 x Islands
22 Lands

4 x Umara Entangler 
4 x Jeskai Sage  
4 x Elusive Spellfist 
2 x Ringwarden Owl
14 Creatures

4 x Alchemist's Vial 
4 x Disperse 
4 x Slip Through Space
4 x Anticipate
4 x Clutch of Currents 
4 x Rush of Ice
24 Spells

I only put 14 creatures in this deck because I have the sorceries Clutch of Currents and Rush of Ice here which could also serve as creature summons when you no longer need them to tap or return creatures to their owners hands.

The trick to sligh is to get rid of opposing creatures that would block your attackers. Red usually burns them. Blue. Well it either taps and bounces them back to an opponents hand. Disperse could do it an instant speed. Slip through space makes your creature unblockable and you also get to draw a card. Anticipate is also an instant pumper and card drawer.

So the game plan is to let your opponents resolve their own creatures. Bounce or Tap these creatures while making your own creatures big with Prowess and steadily deal damage because they are able to pass through. Slip Through Space is great in this deck even though it is a sorcery because you could cast it and potentially draw another one. If you could chain 3 of them together your Emara Untangler becomes a 5/4 Unblockable creature! This particular card also makes sure that you are not burdened by a stalemate scenario as you have 4 chances of getting that lethal damage through.

A late addition to the deck is the artifact Alchemist's Vial which allows you to draw a card  , trigger Prowess and if you have enough mana could do wonders for your attackers or blockers.

So what do you think of Blue Prowess Sigh? Any other cards that you may want to add in the build? Thank you for reading and keep on brewing.  

Monday, March 14, 2016

"Grizzly Fate: A lesson from The Revenant"

"Grizzly Fate: A lesson from The Revenant"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

If there is one thing that I have taken away from the movie The Revenant that is to be acutely aware of your surroundings when you are in a forest. The grizzly bear also got a healthy dose of respect from me and I will never look at the 2/2 vanilla creature again. 

Most of the time in magic Humans and Bears are equal at 2/2 for both power and toughness but without the aid of any weapon or magic spell it is the good old grizzly bear that should win out a big portion of the time. With the mauling of Leonardo Di caprio in mind I came to recollect a certain fun deck that my Uncle introduced to us when we were still starting out in Magic.  

It featured the flashback card Grizzly Fate and let us just say that if you were not ready you consistently got a bear mob mauling you to death in the mid game. The main plan of the deck is to get the said flashback cards into your hand or graveyard as fast as it could. Then with the aid of the Catalyst stone you could cast flashback cards more on a 2 colorless mana discount. Add to the fact that grizzly fate creates twice as many bears(4) when you already have Threshold(7 or more cards in your graveyard).  Helping you get the Flashback cards you need and hitting Threshold at the same time was this particular card.

I remembered this deck content with casting Quiet Speculation on the second turn so that both goals of hitting Threshold and getting Flashback cards where they belong for your exploitation would be achievable. I imagine that an update of this deck with various Land Fetch cards would make it even faster.


Imagine that this was considered a "Fun" deck back in the day. I don't really know who is having more fun. The Bear controller or the bears themselves. All I was thinking back then was how nice it would if I could draw a Pyroclasm before the last attack.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

"The Away Protocols 1"

"The Away Protocols 1"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.MD

I have been married for more than a decade now. And in the past decade or so I have had more than  my fair share of fights with my very significant other. I have learned a thing or two about managing anger , both hers and mine. And though the reasons for fighting is myriad , I find that the solution and prevention of them is universal.

Here are a few of the things that I have learned:

1) When in doubt. Back track. Step back.

Arguments often stem from the fact that the speaker or the receiver did not understand each other. I have seen how fast things escalate from a simple "I didn't say that" to a crying session that lasts  for hours.(Mainly me, I cry in a corner , my significant other Sleeps it off.)    

So the best thing to do is to state things simply. To say things clearly. To not be subtle and just let it all out so that there is no mistaking what you mean instead of what your partner understood from what you are hinting. 

I found that when I keep it simple my sanity levels increase and my insanity levels decrease. Sounds simple right? Lets put it into practice now.

2) Never voluntarily step on a land mine unless absolutely necessary.

Couples fight and couples make up. In the course of your time together there are a gazillion little hurts and some Iceberg kind of issues that linger but are never fully talked about. Over time the tensions build up and like a tectonic plate that energy tends to be released in the most unexpected time and place. It could be in the middle of a friends wedding or a funeral. Fights break out whenever. Wherever.

The best time to not step on a land mine that is your partner is when they are Hungry or Lack any decent amount of sleep. These are times where they are simply supercharged emotionally and when stepped on or in this case triggered even slightly could result into catastrophic meltdowns. Think Chernobyl Levels and you will get the picture.

So A) Get a feel for your partners moods. It is not so hard. You are basically with them for a significant amount of time.
and B) Never ever push them when they are in this mode. Hungry. Sleepy. Not just worth it. 

3) Shouting back never works.

And so some fights break out like some uncontrolled forest fire. The neighbors are enjoying you hurling insults at each other. You should be able to realize by now that in the middle of this argument shouting at your significant other will not work because they are shouting back at you at an even higher decibel. And with a little back and forth the decibel levels go way up that even angels might be disturbed as they lay up in the clouds.

So yeah fighting has a way of burning itself out. Don't add any more fuel to it by shouting back. One of you can't be flames. One of you needs to be the flameproof Material that doesn't catch the same fire. Easier said than done I know but it is a state that one can reach with enough practice. Resist the urge to shout back. Resist the urge to say that really witty comeback. Resist the urge to demean your partner even though at this point they are hurling everything but the kitchen sink at you. Resist. 

Then when they have quieted down. Pick them up from the ashes of the flame and talk to them as you would a normal human being. You may find that they are back to being themselves and your strength has shown them how silly they were being.It might be that or it could rekindle another argument. Hehehehehe. In which case repeat and increase Resistance.

I am sure I learned a lot more since I was married but this is all I remember for the day. Do you have anything to add to the Away Protocols? I am sure you do. 

"Loreseekers Stone: Abusing The Sire of Insanity lock"

"Loreseekers Stone: Abusing The Sire of Insanity lock"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

What would be worse than becoming a mindless lunatic and being initiated into the Cult of Rakdos against your will? This is the question I have asked myself every time I find myself a victim of the Rakdos demon Sire of Insanity. 

Imagine playing a round table EDH game where the Sire of Insanity is at dead center and you constantly lose your hand at each end step. You literally run out of options as you are reduced to just 1 card draw per turn. It is not a pretty sight. Players often trying to topdeck hoping for a removal to take care of the oppressive feeling that the Sire makes for everyone. 

Now imagine that you are reduced to just getting one card per turn and one of your opponents plops this on the battlefield. 

Yup. A freaking Loreseeker's stone. This was something my friend ST was able to pull. 3 colorless mana for 3 cards. You could just imagine the kind of advantage that gives you when you have a Sire of Insanity in play.Normally this is a clunky card drawer but in this situation the added cost of 1 mana of any color is negligible. You and everyone else has an empty mind begging to be filled but only you get the advantage.

So if you are drawing 4 cards while your opponents draw 1 per turn. You could just see the math and almost all of them calling for a reset and gearing up for the next time the Sire rears its ugly head again.

"Ladies Code - Galaxy - Bass Delicious"

"Ladies Code - Galaxy - Bass Delicious"
The Vole

I was a bit hesitant to listen to this particular comeback song. I only found out about Ladies Code after a lot of discussion online about their Road Accident that led to the death of their 2 members. I felt a bit sad to know of a girl group through such tragic news. I wanted to watch their old videos but I found it a bit too sad so I did not. So when I heard that the remaining members were making a comeback a part of me was happy because despite the sad loss they are going to move on with their lives.

The theme of this video is triangles. We get it. They are trying to establish that they will be a triumvirate from now on ,  That Sojung , Zuny and Ashley will remain and be strong. Since this is the first song that I will be hearing from Ladies code I kept an open mind. And I enjoyed myself. The ladies seemed like echoes  , distant and ethereal while lulling you into a state of peace with this song. Also featured are some of the best bass lines that I have listened to in a awhile. Galaxy is probably the only song that I have heard recently that makes me want to take up playing Bass guitar again. The scaling and riffs are addictive as the song progresses. The deep resonance of the bass elevating the already ethereal qualities of the Ladies Code Vocalists.

One can still feel a bit of sadness but I for one am happy that they are up and about and back in the game. Carrying the torch so to speak for the fallen. And making sure that they are never forgotten.


Editors Note: I do not own any of the pictures shown here.

"Elusive Tormentor: A trick up his Sleeve"

"Elusive Tormentor: A trick up his Sleeve"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

I am not saying that Elusive Tormentor is a picky vampire but he is definitely the Window Shopper variety. I could just imagine him walking from Window to Window choosing the perfect meal of the night. He might say to himself ,"This guy looks too sweaty , this guy too slim , might not have enough juice. Ah but this guy reading in his study , he seems just right. Now how do I get in there? Oh I know just the trick."

People have been talking about the Elusive Tormentor online because he is the latest powerful vampire to come out of the woodwork. 4 mana for a 4/4 creature with a built in activated protection. He seems small next to some of the Eldrazi that are currently hitting standard and EDH battlefields right now but he will still be considered a giant and a harder to kill creature in any format because he is the only creature that flips into Insidious Mist for the mere price of 1 mana of any color and a pitched card from your hand.

In its mist form it has Hexproof and Indestructible. Short of forcing a player to sacrifice it you just cant kill it. There are some pros and cons in being in this form. The bad is that it just lets any of your opponents deal damage. What can mist do but let them pass right? Unless it is poisonous mist which is a whole deal of horror right there.

The best part is that it could also attack unmolested and if it is not(which it already stated earlier) you could pay 1 black mana and 2 mana of any color to have it become its 4/4 Vampire form again to deal that much damage. Shinobi of the Mist and it's ilk must be so proud to have a Ninja Vampire in their own ranks now.

Some players might be hesitant to play this creature in standard but if I see it in my PR card pool this April I would choose it in a heartbeat. So that you know , it could stop some other players heartbeat. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

"Skullbriar of the Scale"

"Skullbriar of the Scale"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

While I was trying to improve my existing Skullbriar deck for Tiny Leaders a few weeks back I came by a lot of readings regarding the Hardened Scales from Khans of Tarkir. Like a true lab maniac I remembered that I had a lone copy somewhere from the mountain of card piles that have claimed our family dresser like some explosive vegetation. 

When I finally found the copy after some extensive and back breaking moving of boxes and careful moving of cards that were still under development( Some EDH decks , Some Tiny Leaders Decks , Some Sparkwars decks etc.) I was filled with so much glee. Like Squee with a new toy.

I began making this Skullbriar Tiny Leader deck that would be supported by the 1 green mana costing Hardened Scales.

The ideal scenario would be to get the Hardened Scale on your opening hand. If you need to Mulligan to get it there then by all means do so because it will be worth your time.

Ideally you get to play 1 forest and the Hardened Scale then play a swamp or dual colored land on turn 2 for Skullbriar which could attack and if it should connect(and here is to hoping that it does) gets an extra +1/+1 counter thanks to our wonderful one drop enchantment. So right off the bat it becomes a 3/3 with the probability of growing 2 counters at a time each time it attacks and connects to your opponents face. So it becomes 5/5 , 7/7 and then 9/9 on the succeeding turns. Without a handy removal spell it could commander damage your opponent to death pretty quickly.

Skullbriar is one of those commanders who literally do not fear death. Opponents are wary of mass blocking him since what all that does is kill him for the meantime and he takes all of those other creatures with him. Of course Skullbriar still comes back with all those of nifty counters it acquired on the previous turns unless he goes to his owners hand or library. And if the battlefield is open he could deal damage readily because of his haste.And most of the time that would be the end of the game.

Hardened Scales and Skullbriar. So much tougher together.  


Editors Note:

I included this unfinished deck. Mostly from stuff that I have lying around in the house. Thanks for always reading. Feel free to tweak the deck as I have not had the pleasure to come back to it since it is now in a pile somewhere that I cannot find.

Commander: Skullbriar

1 x Servant of the Scale
1 x Ainok Guide
1 x Den Protector
1 x Hangarback Walker
1 x Endless One
1 x Mist Cutter Hydra
1 x Rot Shambler
1 x Avatar of Resolute
1 x Champion of Lambholt
1 x Renegade Krasis
1 x Predator Ooze
1 x Predatory Slith

1 x Hardened Scales
1 x Retribution of the Ancients
1 x Retreat to Kazandu

Instant and Sources
1 x Earthen Arms
1 x Bone Splinters
1 x Inspiring Call
1 x Altar's Reap
1 x Ultimate Price

1 x Umezawas Jitte?

1 x Inkmoth Nexus
1 x Llanowar Waste
1 x Blighted Woodland
1 x Evolving Wild
1 x Jungle Hollow
1 x Blighted Fen

"Relentless Dead: Relentlessly Relentless"

"Relentless Dead: Relentlessly Relentless"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. 

The art in Relentless Dead shows the church of Avacyn being breached by an army of undead. The stained glass window depicting the archangel is a silent witness as the holy place is desecrated. That is a visual nod to the card Endless Ranks of the Dead where the scene indicates that it is only a matter of seconds before the dead burst through.

Relentless Dead has lead the way in and is the focus of todays article. This is really the start of another Innistrad Zombie infestation. This particular zombie has several things going for it that would make it a part of a dedicated zombie strategy. 

The flavor for this card is that when this particular ghoul dies it raises another ghoul in its stead or comes back again and again if you have enough mana to fuel it. So that when it reanimates another corpse it seems to have a never ending effect.

A 2/2 creature with menace(cant be blocked except by 2 or more creatures) it could thrive in the early game while your opponent is developing a board presence. So you could attack for a turn or two of uncontested damage and even if this creature is blocked and dies all you need to do is pay 1 black mana to return it to your hand. You could recast it on the same turn as when you attacked.  Your opponent just lost a guy or a couple of guys and here is your Relentless Dead still standing and ready to defend. Unlike other self- reanimation (an ability that raises it from the graveyard) creatures like the Mardu's Blood Soaked Champion this creature could actually block and live again. Just always be ready with 3 black mana and you ought to be good.Very good for those weenie battles of Attrition that you always find yourself into.Simply chip away at their creatures until nothing is left.

And the key here is that the Relentless Dead does want to die again and again. As the game progresses and you have more zombies in your graveyard you could have great High Value targets for its Reanimator abilities. For example Geralfs Masterpiece is a mere 5 mana of any color using the Relentless Deads ability. There might be more zombies coming out of the woodwork but sometimes the best cheap target is the 2 to cast Relentless Dead itself to continue renewing the fear that it strikes in your opponents hearts.