Having never played sealed before, I decided to drop $40 on a box of semi-random cards and build a deck with a set I wasn’t really familiar with. This was partly because a friend invited me along and partly because it wasn’t watching a dude hack up a pig with a machete in back-to-back episodes of Hunting Aotearoa.
For Khans of Tarkir sealed you get to choose an event box for one of the clans. The useful things in each box are some Khans of Tarkir boosters, some semi-random cards in your chosen clan’s colour including a foil promotional card, and a d20 life counter. Because of how late I got there, my options were Sultai or Jeskai, the hilariously overpowered Abzan being sadly long gone. I picked Sultai for my familiarity with some of the black cards and the sweet purple d20.
Opening my boosters it became pretty clear that I wouldn’t be playing Sultai at all. I got Sidisi, Brood Tyrant as my promo, but pulling Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker, Butcher of the Horde and Ponyback Brigade locked me into Mardu. Taking some bad advice quickly ruined this with a splash for green becoming green-dominant and a splash for white. This turned out to be a terrible idea.
With horrible, janky mana fixing and one colour more than I could reliably play the deck became pretty unwieldy. I came close to winning the first game I played, and proceeded to be stomped on for the rest of the night. Now that I’m more familiar with the set I’ve come away with a better deck and the goal of doing better next week – a goal I’m optimistic about, considering I couldn’t possibly do worse.
That said, I had fun and I look forward to going back for my league games. Plus, Between Sarkhan and a Wooded Foothills I’ve made back the $40 I spent to play.
Details on the event are here.
I love some of the art in Magic: the Gathering. Ryan Barger’s Knight of Obligation and Johannes Voss’ Gift of Orzhova – Or anything by Voss, really – are particularly beautiful. That said, Khan’s of Tarkir may have given us humanity’s single greatest artistic achievement – not only in MtG card art, but all art for all time passed or yet to come.
Savage Punch is as beautiful as it is incredibly stupid.
Rock on you mad wizards.
Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014 (Developed by Stainless Games, Published by Wizards of the Coast)
*Duels of the Planeswalker is actually a lot of fun to play. I just… I couldn’t resist the pun, okay?
I love paper Magic: The Gathering – I try to play several games every week. I picked up Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014 when I was fairly new to paper Magic, and it’s a good introduction to the mechanics and structure of the game. Apart from making it a little awkward to cast instants mid-combat, the gameplay does exactly what it should and it’s fun enough to pass some time. That said, the game’s story does have some problems.
The basic premise is that the Planeswalker Chandra Nalaar has enlisted your help in tracking down a rival Planeswalker named Ramaz, and you follow clues to his location across several planes and through increasingly difficult encounters that teach you some different mechanics or playstyles in Magic. Because the story is essentially nothing more than a framing device for the gameplay, it is given almost no space to be told. The bulk of it is given in short paragraphs before each encounter, or a voiced briefing by Chandra on reaching a new plane. This means that the story has to be pretty basic and disjointed, but I’m hesitant to call this a major flaw. It’s pretty clear that the story only exists to string together a series of Magic games. I was prepared to accept that, until I reached the end. It might be nothing more than a framing device for the gameplay, but Stainless Games went to the trouble of having a story and they could have done a better job. Also, spoilers are coming.
The game has two cutscenes – one at the beginning to introduce Chandra and one at the end. After playing through each plane’s set of encounters you finally reach Ramaz. The fight itself here is kind of interesting. You team up with Chandra and share 30 life points while Ramaz starts with 40 life. I played this encounter with the game’s Eldrazi deck and it was fun to have AI-piloted Chandra keep up burn while I got the mana together for my massive creatures. Eventually we beat him down, and the final cutscene of the campaign rolled. Chandra flares up to finish off a downed Ramaz who… vanishes. Just disappears. Because he is a Planeswalker, having him planeswalk away shouldn’t really have been so surprising but damn was it disappointing. I felt that after the whole game built up to catching Ramaz, having him easily escape you at the very end was cheap. It felt like it shomehow invalidated everything I’d played up to that point. Of course, that’s stupid. I had fun, so it wasn’t a waste for me. But it felt like wasted time for the characters, and that still left me bitter on the game for a while. The story wasn’t and doesn’t have to be the focus. That’s fine. But as a device, having the antagonist magic himself away at the last second generally wasn’t really satisfying as a conclusion. Honestly, I think I just expected more.
There’s a bit I want to get through in this post, so I’ll break it into bullet points.
- I’m am studying writing and editing in Victoria, Australia.
- When I’m not doing that, I spend a possibly unreasonable amount of time playing video games.
- I want to use this blog as a place to post my geeky rambling somewhere other than Steam chat.
- The name Shootbro Dude-Jaw was inspired by the talented crew of Spoiler Warning Show. They have made a running joke of giving stock shooter protagonists increasingly stupid names, but I think the joke dates back at least to a similar convention in MST3K.
Okay, I think that covers it. Thanks for stopping by, there should be some more content here soon.