Magic The Gathering – Top 5 Blocks

Magic the Gathering is a game that has been around for more then twenty years. If you believe Wikipedia at this point it has just about twenty-three years being a hobby for people. Each set of cards can be broken down between core and expansion sets. Core sets are just that adding to a core of items that can still change depending to the kind of event. Expansion sets are additional sets made that would often communicate a piece of a story including the creation of characters, places, and the events that would give a little more life then what would be in the core set. A few expansions over the span of a year would make a block and that would be the end of the story there for now. The next set of the next block would start another story and we would go on. Each set would have different mechanics introduced and different characters or stories making a different experience from set to set. This can be harder for some players to jump in all of a sudden depending on the sets mechanics, and how they would interact in the overall game.

Here are my five top expansion blocks. These are my opinion because there is not a set of good against evil and I will try to at least explain them in some form or fashion.

Alara – Introducing groups that are three colors the color combinations are set for the most part but still allow a fair amount of choices for players to work on. The story on this one was that the plane of Alara was broken in to five shards with each shard only having access to three forms of mana which would then dictate the evolution of that area. Mana is something that is particular to each kind of basic lands with five kinds of lands representing a color as well as a specific form of it. Three colors are harder things for beginners, but I found the cards entertaining on the prospect that you could go with a two color or three color deck with plenty of possibilities. Single cards could add a lot more choices in to a deck’s play style. This was released from mid 2008 to mid 2009.

Return to Ravnica – This is the second set dealing with Ravnica and it dealt with the evolution in the guilds that started in the previous sets and with that there were a lot of cards that work with the dual color combinations. Each combination of colors is still represented with a group and a play style that was was evolved from the previous Ravnica set adding several mechanics to the cards in addition to the ten from the previous set. Seeing how the groups had evolved over the years from the previous set added another shot to the arm with dual color deck possibilities. Mid 2012 to mid 2013 is when this set was released making it fairly recent addition. The story between the Ravnica revolves around a maze that must make it’s way through the sections of each of the groups, and how each group will try to help their own runner or spoil the efforts of others.

Ravnica – This was the set that gave dual color combinations for each of the ten possible combinations of colors including different play styles, mechanics, and history for each one. While the mythology is not pulled from a different mythology it has a lot of things that make this a fun set to play. Adding to it where creatures with four kinds of mana needed. The nephilim are hard to summon, but with a little skill they can turn a game just with one showing up on your side of the field. This would have to be the best set for just having fun with a group of people simply because with the variety of styles in these sets one can truly make a deck for each guild and each person can play it differently. This came from 2005 to 2006 right after my favorite block.

Theros Block – Built with an eye on the pantheon of gods found in Greek myth it created a structure of gods and mortals dueling to see who will be able to go on with the various champions. Being a fan of mythology made this one get off on the right foot already. The art is some of the best and introducing mechanics like the enchantment creatures as well as the bestow mechanic turning a creature in to a power up first. It was some of the most entertaining drafts while playing in this block. Draft events were ones where you had to make the deck with random packs of cards along with basic lands. This was released mid 2013 to mid 2014.

Kamigawa Block – Comprising of three different sets with a story line of the spirits, and minor gods against the humans that lived on the two portions of the same plane. Many of the cards pull some visual and ideas from the mythology of Japan. Spirits are one of the main creature types on this block, and for many years this was the block that people knew me for. Going so far for some stores to not allow Kamigawa themed decks in events because people are not happy they were losing. All five colors seemed to be balanced enough where you can build a deck that can be competitive no matter how you cut it. Many times if you ran spirits you had all the tools to run an engine of your choice helped by the Bakus, Myojins, Kirins and more. Coming out from late 2004 to mid 2005 some of my best memories were made with cards built from this era. Multiple choices, the ins and outs of a plane at war, and the entire feel of the set makes it my favorite. It is also a set where I think people can learn quicker then the some of the other sets which is also how I came in to magic as more of a full time hobby.

There are close to two dozen different blocks at this time of writing not including the expansion sets released before the block format was introduced. My bottom five would be pretty easy and maybe another day I will write about it, but reallly the sets define the players and my bottom five show that more then the top.

Kaladesh – Problems Incoming?

If you play Magic The Gathering you may be interested in some of the spoiler cards for the newest set coming out. Seeing how some of the cards are written are interesting because it gets you to think how you possibly combo with cards that you have. Considering the past sets dealt with the Eldrazi as well as the sixth land type some believe that it is coming in to a new age. For those people who believe that then this next set can be another level more exciting then normal.

If you are a touch more jaded or realistic then you may feel like it is starting to grasp at straws. Trying to pull award money from the tournament programs shows that there is not a whole lot of love from the backers. Multiple issues with judges have been coming up over the past year from the basic low level judge doing shady stuff to the lawsuit of some of the judges wanting to be classified as employees to the multiple Grand Prix’s that were not equipped for what was to be done.

Looking at the cards coming out form the spoilers makes me grit my teeth because it reminds of me of Mirrodin block. Seeing how it is packed with everything dealing with artifacts makes me just brace for the headache. Artifact cards are not a problem in itself as they are just cards, but in the Mirrodin block you had to run them to some degree. Trying to get the ones you want to use for your deck will seem to be a higher place, but maybe that is just me.

Their are least some things that are interesting. Energy counters are going to have to be explained a little bit better, and hopefully errata shouldn’t be painful. Vehicles are going to be something that multiple creatures can be in so that will have some new rules apply. Here are just some things that made me wonder though.

Kaladesh Inventions versus the regular set is this going to be two different sets. Is this going to be like an ultra portion of a set, or is it going to be another set of cards released side by side.

Energy counters are supposedly another form of energy that is not mana that some cards will use for specific abilities. Energy counters are placed on the player and I’m already going back to how well the snow lands specific mana cards were used. For those who do not know about it my point exactly. Creating something extra that will be harder for some people to understand makes it great for those who are comfortable in the game and will needlessly cause another wall.

One of the other things that is purely opinion is how artifact players tend to be usually some of the snobbier players. In playing off and on for a decade I have had only one experience of an artifact deck player that actually was fun to play against. Everyone else just made as it was pulling teeth trying to play a game with them. I know this is not every player but it has happened enough time I feel it needs to be said.

It’s time for our second of our four Kaladesh pre-releases and have ...

Drawing For Dreamers

So the first step making my own little card game for people is getting done on the whole. Sketches of more then ten percent have been completed and part of me is quite happy to finally do some drawing while trying to get some other things handled. On the whole their will also be two ways to win available from the first set.

You can win be having the opposing leader losing all of their hp or you can win by having certain combinations of creatures with a single other card. I am trying to balance to capability for both and you can use your hp for your leader’s special ability. So whatever ways you want to win should be able to happen. Healing your leader is pretty rare so whatever you lose should be figured that it will not be returned. There are cards that can switch your generals with one out of play, but you should not count on that saving you every time as there will not be many.

Overall I hope this builds a semi exciting game that people can have fun with. if you cannot have fun then what would be the point of things like this anyway.

So What Happened?

Well, well, well.

It is good to be back doing this, and it is rather cathartic. First though an explanation is needed with the sudden longer then expected vacation. It is a fairly long story that came to a head. Here is the cliff notes.

My roommate and I both played a lot of trading card games and we actually did fairly well at them. We worked best in a two on two format called two headed giant and this was far enough back that it was one of the bigger events at the mtg state tournament. He had blown up thinking I was going to pass his ability. We run two different styles so I don’t really think it is even possible. Anyway, we had to break the team and shoot our best chance of winning in the foot. The wound only stung more when the champs were a team we had thoroughly trounced before. So I was sickened seeing everything go south that I went to work on my cooking eventually going through school and taking contracts on a mountain in Washington.

After the second time the same person had asked me to get back in the fold after so many years because his singles career had sputtered and seemingly to help a friend I decided to do so. A year and a half of battles with little actual progress with other team members whose talents were not focused on any level turned all of our events where the one person who had been out for a few years having the best record. In short this all went down the tubes as he thought it was better to be stoned then to actually practice and try. On top of that he thought that buying weed would be more important then the sake of finances and decided that he could just couch surf while removing himself from the lease when we had to sign next. I may still be slightly bitter, but I do not find a good mood out of a waste of a good chunk of time. So soon I will be in a new place and getting that hammered out I can keep going on my little projects.

Mega update mon

So grand prix has come and gone. It was less then 24 hours after our run had ended, and the plan was not even close to achieved. Our teamwork needed work as we played like three people instead of one team which cost us. We will be ok though because we got some cards that we can make in to decks if we need to go to standard.

Video wise we will be working on getting the new videos up on top of advertising across the nation. We want to let people know they can learn at our channel a good game of cards and watch us play a couple games they could love as well.

For my further education I have been studying business moves and law to see how I can better apply myself when I finally have the supplies to push in. I would think getting a fair amount of machines that made revenue over time at semi low risk would be a good start. Building from there I would like to get in to books and food service. Books because I simply like to write and I would think it would be much cheaper to do it all in house. Food service just to get the food I have made money on able to make more money for me, but that’s far down the road.

Writing and advertising will be coming soon and things will be getting to pop more so more on that to come.

Also apologies to the family of Robin Williams.

Last thoughts before Main Event

So with the Portland pro tour past and the main event of the grand prix coming through. The final two of the pro tour were actually first time pro tour players and it has been so long for my friend and I that we hope to do well.

In any case it will be fun, and in the grand scheme of things that is what matters.
A part of me is hoping and worried we will do well and before I go into promo mode which is my little version of talking to think I am the best. Everyone has that mode to psych themselves up or talk to an opponent, but I just name mine promo mode.

Anyway, before I go off saying how I may or may not win it is really all about the game. Having fun with people of many different styles from other walks of life before just nerding out. Soon we will be pushing into advertising and my other projects will be getting some more time including my writing and cooking.

So far the year has been getting fairly good at least in getting stuff done. Hopefully after this weekend I will have another good story to share with all of you. Good luck in your travels.

Progress update 7/30

Alison learning was finished for now and know I have three diplomas. One in customer service sciences, and yes there is such a thing. Another in children’s studies going over how children of different ages react and learn and the methods of the past that has been shown to be somewhat reliable for that. The last is in probability so I can at least tell what my odds are when I try to do something. It may not mean anything to add to the resume, but the set up was easy to continue while being very informative.

Magic wise we are still having issues, but a lot more have been ironed out. Soon after that we will be advertising the revamp and getting all that stuff set up is taking a lot of time out of the night. It is going to be fun at grand prix starting in less then ten days.

Advertising wise the youtube channel will also be advertised with the e-book so I got a lot to learn about the next few weeks.

Doing some more writing to get more experience.

Shirt designs have been on the back burner.

One needs to get the most of opportunities.
One also needs more time in the day and more caffine.
Good luck all.

Magic the Gathering – Video one up

So in the video aspect we actually have a video up and we will be going over the rules of MtG in an informal fashion. Magic the Gathering is a game we all play and a couple of us hope to do well in some upcoming tournaments this year.
The video quality is not the greatest but considering no one has any experience doing video work, it isn’t bad. All of our videos for card and table games is called hate mail gaming. Watch the first video and you will understand why. It is dirty humor and in hindsight a little too far. If you like four friends making dirty jokes while barely playing five second rule then great. If not then the Informative videos will be very mild minus the random swear word or two.

So if you would like to learn then please check out the video at the bottom. Eventually we will get an actual channel for our videos we are just starting and we want to make sure we have a good base of content first. This is a fun game and despite all the intricate things late in play and deck construction you can pick up this game fairly easy which I hope these videos will show.

All of our videos for tabletop and card games will be lumped under a banner of Hate Mail Gaming. Just because when we did our first video it was rather crude and I could not come with any better names so below is a link to the first Magic video and if you like a little more crude humor the link for the five second rule will be down there.

My nickname in the group is Big T. I’m the biggest of the group so I just let it stick. Tell me what you think of the videos below.

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