Friday, 23 January 2015

MTG: 11 Intriguing Casual Cards from Fate Reforged

Fate Reforged is due out tomorrow, and, as always, there are a bunch of cards that are intriguing for this casual player.

This set had to be built differently, as it is bridging two different draft formats. Fate Reforged will be drafted with Khans of Tarkir, and then also exclusively with the next set (Dragons of Tarkir)

To those who don't follow the story closely, Fate Reforged actually takes place 1,000+ years in the past from the last set, and Dragons of Tarkir will take us forward to the 'present', albeit with things changed significantly. We see how the clans were not yet as strong, as they were forced to defend for themselves against nasty dragons. Three of the five mechanics from the previous set also return.

Overall, I don't feel nearly as excited for this set as I did the last one, although that is common with the second set of a three-set block. There are some cards that I definitely want to play with, but nothing that left my jaw dropping like Villainous Wealth :)

So, onto the list.


11. MANIFEST

Technically, this is not a card, but this is the one thing I really want to build a deck around.

How can you take advantage of manifests? How about one of these babies?


By paying their actual mana cost to flip them over, you avoid the awful 'comes into play' triggers. They are already in play! You can also avoid the blowouts that can happen when your Torpor Orb gets bounced, or you don't ever even find one.

There are even morph creatures that can be abused with the manifest ability.

For example...





Why pay five-mana to flip Hooded Hydra when you can simply pay GG? For creatures that have a higher morph cost than their casting cost, manifest allows you to exploit some tax loopholes.You, too, can feel like Mitt Romney, if only for a fleeting moment.


10. SOULFIRE GRAND MASTER



I'm not sure I have an existing deck to put the Master into, but I'd love to pull off this goofy combo and gain 130+ life.

9. ELITE SCALEGUARD



This doesn't look all that exciting, from first glance, but it is a deceptively powerful scalpel.

I saw my wife play this at the pre-release, and it helped her win some games. I will fit at least one into my current Abzan deck.

Giving your creatures the ability to clear away an annoying blocker is helpful in breaking through board stalls, especially when they thought they were safe behind their big walls. Even if it just pumps itself, a 4/5 for five mana is OK.

8. MONASTERY SIEGE



The cheapest of all of the sieges, this one can allow controls decks a frightening amount of card advantage and filtering. Throw away those extra lands? Dump a fatty to reanimate? Fuel delve? This one has it all. I can see Standard control decks wanting this as a 1 or 2-of.

The second ability is nothing to sneeze at either, as it can make it harder for your opponents to deal with your army. If you build around creatures, this forces your opponent to ether have a board wipe, or spend a lot more time trying to pick off your dudes.

7. CLOUDFORM



Of the Manifest enablers, this is the one I will always want to draw first.

I don't want my Eaters of Days to get Lightning Bolted before I get a chance to flip them, and this provides the SHIELDS UP that is needed to stop the Klingons from ruining my fun!

Oh, the flying is also a nice bonus. If you end up manifesting a land, a 2/2 flyer for three mana is acceptable.

6. SOULFLAYER




Soulflayer is one of those projects that requires a bit of work to complete, but can be worth millions once you finish the renovations and put it on the open market.

Yeah, you can just get a cheap 4/4 for two mana, but the real combo comes with Chromanticore.



 A two-mana 4/4 flyer with all them keywords?



5. HUMBLE DEFECTOR



Humble Defector is a cute, new design space that gives Red decks the potential of card advantage. Combine it with spells or abilities that untap a creature and you can easily draw four or six cards at once! If you have a sacrifice outlet, just eat him up before he makes it to the enemy camp.

For those that love politics, this is the perfect card for you. Pass around the hot potato!

4. CRUX OF FATE


 
Just take a moment to appreciate the awesomeness of this card, and witness the ultimate battle between Nicol Bolas and Ugin. The flavour oozes from this like a grilled cheese sandwich.

Not since Damnation has black had a pure mass removal spell at less than six mana. Mutilate is close, but depends on your mana base to be effective.

In most multi-player games, this will simply be a pure board wipe. If you have a dragon or two on the board, it's quite one-sided.

3. UGIN, THE SPIRIT DRAGON



Ever since the strange 'red' card Ghostfire was printed in 2007, there have been players asking "Who is this Ugin?"

After all of this waiting, and all of the teasing, we finally get the man dragon, itself!

The art is worthy of a creature this legendary, and Control decks of any colour now have another splashy finisher that ought to cement the fates in your favour.

Even if you just use it's Ghostfire ability, you now have a 9-loyalty 'walker that must be answered. Otherwise, just wipe the board of any coloured permanent.

(Is Ugin racist? Hmm....)

2. SUPPLANT FORM



I love to clone creatures. I love to bounce creatures.


One downside of clone effects is that when you clone an opponent's creature, they still have the same damn creature! Discounting enter-the-battlefield abilities, this leave you only at parity with your enemy.

Supplant Form allows you a huge tempo boost by cloning that very creature, but getting rid of their original...if only for a turn. This spell at the opponent's end-of-turn is fine form, indeed.

1. BRUTAL HORDECHIEF




For those that remember Hellrider, we get another creature that turns any little 1/1 dude into am actual threat.

Aggressive decks, or token weenie decks, can sometimes run out of steam and get outclassed easily by bigger creatures. It's a brutal feeling when your opponent stabilizes and you can't force through that last 5-6 points of damage.

Brutal Hordechief is perfect for breaking through the stalemate and dealing those last points of damage to the dome. I have a black-red tokens deck that will love this card as a win condition. The hordechief doesn't even ever have to attack for him to have his effect.

"Why, yes, I'd love to get a 10-point life swing in one attack."

That last ability is also a game-winner, as you can easily force terrible blocks and ensure most of your forces get through, even after pinging them.


These 11 cards will give me some Scooby snacks to munch on until Dragons of Tarkir. At the very least, I'll have one cool new deck out of the manifest ability.

What cards are you looking forward to?

Friday, 2 January 2015

A Positive Post about Brands and Products

I've often ranted about terrible advertisements, the evils of unchecked capitalism, and overrated products.

For once, I should write something positive. Not everything in this world annoys me.

So, why not write about the brands, products, and stores that I actually like and would recommend?

Yes, I am somewhat loyal to certain big bame brands, even if I do try to support local businesses and smaller labels, rather than large multinationals



DAIRY QUEEN

I eat a lot less fast food than I did before the turn of the century. When I do want something quick and easy, Dairy Queen is my favourite large chain, by far.

Even if DQ served only Skor Blizzards (for you Americans, your HEATH bar is a close comparison), I would still rank it #1. Skor Blizzards and ice cream cakes are manna from heaven, and the most delicious thing the human tongue has ever had the pleasure of tasting.

I love the Skor ice cream cakes so much we had one at our wedding!


The chicken strip basket is also a big winner, and the burgers, which are actually grilled, are acceptable.

Most big chain's burgers are rather 'meh', but I never get that sinking feeling of shame eating a DQ burger that I do from McRonalds or Burger Tsar.

DQ seems to be able to walk the fine line of being not-too-unhealthy and greasy, yet still serve you a meal in about 2 minutes.


TACO TIME


This is more local to Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest of the US, but it has become my go-to place for something 'Mexican'.

First, realize that Vancouver has very few actual Mexican restaurants, and Taco Bell, thankfully, has no presence here. There are very few choices when you want meat, lettuce, rice, and salsa.

Taco Time is so much better than Taco Bell for the simple fact that Taco Time food does not give you instant, explosive diarrhea. Taco Time food is quite a bit healthier, fresher, and does not contain more grease than edible matter.

Taco Time also has something called Mexi-Fries, which is one of my bigger fast-food cravings. Yes, you can buy Tater-Tots at the grocery store freezer, but they never work out nearly as well.


HONDA

When it comes to automobiles, I have a pretty small list of things I need looked after.

1. Reliability
2. Fuel Efficiency
3. Customer Care

Let's face it, the cars, themselves, are fairly interchangeable between most brands, and I don't need to compensate for a lack of manliness or hair with an Lamborghini or Hummer.

When it comes to my experiences with Honda, they win all three categories. My wife's last Civic lasted 15(!) years, and rarely had to go through major repairs, or a string of constant small ones.

For customer care: A big shout-out to Westwood Honda in Port Moody for their excellent service. The repair shop tells you exactly what needs to be done, doesn't try to upsell you needless stuff, and is honest about when you actually need to do things.

Toyota? Only if you want your vehicle recalled.

American brands? Forget about it. Between planned obsolescence of the parts to their attention to gas guzzlers, there is no reason to ever consider buying one.


ARM & HAMMER


No, I'm not a Communist :)

A&H makes my list for one very simple reason: THEY MAKE STUFF THAT DOESN'T BLOODY STINK!

It seems product manufacturers think people want their cleaning products to reek of artificial flowers. Walking down the laundry deterigant aisle at the grocery store always makes me feel nauseous. Yes, I've ranted about this way too many times.

A&H is one of the few that produces unscented products, and they generally do it right. Some other brands' 'unscented' products will still have a very strong chemical smell or they'll just mask it with some other noxious miasma.

I use A&H for anti-perspirant, toothpaste, laundry soap, and, of course, baking powder.


There, four brands I can get behind and have earned my loyalty (for now....)

What brands are you partial to?

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Random Rantings - Brown Eggnog Dynasty

It's been far too long since I wrote something in this space.
Like exercise, it's always hard to get started again when you've had a long layoff.

So, here's some random brain dumpings.



Do you need to give somebody a Christmas gift that says, "I want you out of my life!"

Well, check out the Chia Duck Dynasty head.


I won't dump on Chia products, but how low can you go? It's bad enough that you can get Duck Dynasty anything, but a frickin Chia head?

Even the most inbred of Hillbilly trailer trash must think this atrocity is beneath them. 

"Yeah, I'll screw my cousins and the cattle, but this? What kinda freak ya think I am?"



Speaking of things that are affront to the spirit of Christmas, how about Almond "Eggnog".


My wife loves Almond Milk, for some reason, so she bought this pretend crap as a light-calorie alternative to real Christmas Magic.

I am open-minded about most food products, so I did give it a chance. I understand that some lactose-intolerant people are craving the fine taste of 'nog.

Suffice it to say, this is one of the most revolting drinks I have had the displeasure of running through my mouth.

  1.  The product doesn't actually taste like Eggnog. There is some hint of nutmeg  buried in there, but it's hard to taste over the 'dirty water' flavour.
  2. Eggnog is a creamy drink. Noel Nog is runny, watery, and a bit slimy. I'm not one who cares too much about food textures, but this drink feels 'wrong'.
  3. Even my wife think it's gross. If she doesn't like an Almond 'Milk' product, who in the hell does?

Worried about calories? Spike some light eggnog with ice-cubes or milk, add a bit of nutmeg, and sip some real stuff.

Can't have lactose? Well, stop being such a milk racist!



My pal Eric asks, "Why do teams who wear the color brown tend to play that way?"

Is that true?

Looking at the four major North American sports, very few teams have brown uniforms, to begin with.

Teams want primary, basic colours (red, white, black), or something that pops (blue, orange). Brown is that unhappy medium that is neither strong or bright.

That, and it looks like poop.

NHL


Philadelphia Flyers - This is a bit of a stretch, since the Flyers are technically 'Orange'.

Still, this orange of theirs is very dirty. Growing up, I actually thought the Flyers uniforms were brown.

The Flyers? Yup, they suck.

I guess we'll call it karma since many Philly fans, and the Flyers players, are a bunch of boorish thugs and jerks.



MLB

None, currently.


The San Diego Padres used to have brown uniforms, but later switched to more basic white-and-grey.

The Padres did suck, for the most part, when they had brown uniforms. They haven't been much better with the colour switch, either. The franchise lifetime record is 3398 wins and 3928 losses.

We're 2-for-2

NFL


The obvious choice, since the Cleveland Browns have the colour right in the name.

During the early years of their existence, the Browns were actually a really good team. The team actually has a 451-429-10 record in the NFL.

Still, I will call them a CRAP team and make it a 3-for-3.

Despite sporting a 7-4 record in 2014, the Browns have had a winning record in only three of their past sixteen seasons (since the franchise reboot), and have been one of the worst teams in the NFL for quite some time.

NBA

None that I know of.

I guess the theory holds, although there isn't much of a sample size.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

MTG: 12 Intriguing Cards from Khans of Tarkir

(Let's get this out of the way now...)

Khans of Tarkir, the newest expansion for Magic: The Gathering, will be out Friday. After attending last weekend's prerelease (and somehow winning it!), and looking over all of the spoilers, there are a handful of cards, like in any set, that I am most intrigued by.


As you can see, this list have quite an Abzan bent (the White, Green, and Black clan). The Abzan clan fits my grindy Orzhov style, and playing this style of deck requires an amazing amount of decision making.

Why didn't I Play JESkai? Despite the awesome name, the White-Blue-Red style of deck has never suited me all that well. Jeskai decks can tend to be a bit more fragile, and require a good amount of trickery. I prefer decks that have some good amount of defense and protection, while allowing me to slowly grind away for long-term advantage.


12. Jeskai Ascendancy


The Old Combo Jes would be all over this card. Here is an easy two-card combo that generates infinite tokens.



This card is amazingly and deceptively powerful, even without the combo potential. The problem is that, again, I rarely play the American colour scheme.

11. Utter End



Sure it's just a one-for-one removal spell, but the Orzhov mage in me will want about 30 of these for my various Black/White decks. Instant speed exiling is always potent, especially if you can hit those pesky planeswalkers.

I'd also like somebody to alter one and put a cow on it. Moo!

10. Bear's Companion



Any creature that comes with other creatures is worth considering, especially when it's a 4/4 bear! My Riku EDH deck will definitely want this pair. It's not easy to play, being 3 colours, but it is a very powerful uncommon.

9. Altar of the Brood



This artifact is deceptively powerful, turning any land drop into a Mill-1 for all opponents. Combine this with fetchlands and token makers, and you can very easily mill your opponent a bunch of times with little effort.

I don't plan to play this in my mill deck, so much as I'd put it in a Mimeoplasm deck where I want my opponents to have NomNoms for my pets. 

8. The Abzan Lords




OK, this is technically three cards, but they all fill the same type of role in the casual Abzan deck I'll be building. After playing them at the pre-release, I can appreciate how well they work together.

This trio basically function as 'lords', as they grant your team certain abilities, providing you meet the requirements. They also grow themselves, giving you a good way to use extra mana. Think of them as harder-to-use slivers :)

7. Bloodsoaked Champion




How can a guy with a shield in each hand not bloody be able to block? o.O

This was another card I had in my pre-release pool, and it is one of the better 1-drop creatures ever printed.

Besides the fact it's an efficient, aggressive, creature, it will just keep coming back again and again and... again.

Read the ability carefully, and you realize you can bring back the Champion the same turn he attacks and dies a traumatic death.

6. Sultai Flayer



Not such Roose Bolton have we seen such a dreadful flayer!

This was played against me at the pre-release, and it gave my opponent about 12+ life each game. Besides the four life you will gain when it dies, your other fatties turn into life-nourishing snacks when they hit the bin.

5. Sultai Charm


For casual play, I think this is the best charm of them all. The flexibility to handle most troublesome permanent is all that you can ask for in a card, and you will likely always have a target for this. Any BUG/Sultai deck ought to easily have a spot for this, and I can see it replacing other removal spells that I have in those decks.

4. Abzan Ascendancy


It's hard not to like this enchantment, as it can grow your existing team. For Abzan, turning on the lords (not in *that* way, pervs!) is key to victory, and this allows you to do it without tapping them to use the Outlast ability.

This card also provides some removal and wrath protection, giving you a nice ghost once the original creatures bite the dust. If you overextend, or get wrathed out, it is nice to not be left empty-handed.

3. Duneblast


He who controls the spice controls the board!

This was my pre-release MVP, despite the heavy mana cost. Yeah, I don't normally play 7-mana wraths, but this one is damn well worth it! This limited format was quite slow and allowed for big spells to be played.

Being able to clear the board of pesky rodents, and then swing in with your best creature? That is such a good feeling. It can often suck to wipe the board when you have a creature you don't really want to have die, so why not have your cake and eat it to?

In multi-player, there is an added political aspect to this card, as it may be somebody else's creature that you let live. Yes, I'd like you to attack Jace, the Wallet Sculptor, for me next turn!

2. Siege Rhino



Another bloody Abzan card, I know :)

Still, how could you not like the value on this Rhino? A 4/5 trampler that also does three damage to each opponent? Oh, I also get three life? Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice.

I don't understand the flavour of this card, but that won't stop me from using and abusing it (Don't call PETA on me, thanks) in my Junk Reanimator build. Blinking and reanimating this creature just feels so dirty.

1. Villainous Wealth


I'll finish with the card that made me squee like a little girl at a One Direction concert when it was first spoiled.

Remember Genesis Wave?



Introducing ... NEMESIS WAVE!


My playgroup buddies know how much I love to 'borrow' their stuff! There are so many cool cards that I never get to play, so this is my chance to do so.

While the mana investment will be quite high, being able to borrow a big pile of your opponents deck gets Greedy Jes all shuttering with excitement. A Genesis Wave on your opponents deck is boom or bust, but it will likely always be fun ... for me, at least ;)

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So, while I'm mostly looking at the Abzan cards in this set, there are many other cool cards that could find their way into existing decks. The Abzan is the one clan I'll be building around, while most of the other cool cards will just find their way into my existing decks.

What cards from this set excite you?

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Tim Hortons Sucks, and You Know It!


The internet tubes are abuzz with news that Tim Hortons and Burger King are merging.

Americans are angry that another large multi-national is not paying their fair share of taxes, while Canadians are flipping out that their precious national coffee slinger is going to be taken over by Americans.

People easily forget that Timmy's was taken over by Wendy's back in 1995, and it didn't cause the brand to disappear.

If you really think that buying Tim Hortons or Molson Canadian beer makes you a good Canadian, then you are a marketer's wet dream. Supporting Timmy's is no more or less Canadian than buying coffee from a local cafe, or a gas station.

To quote BD Gallof:
Acting like it is some sort of national pride to eat processed fried dough and badly roasted, but drinkable, coffee beans is just plain silly.

I really don't understand why people feel the need to tie their nationality to a large corporation, especially one that has been acting more and more American the past decade.

While Timmy's used to be cool, and a box of fresh donuts would make the whole office happy, the franchise is no longer worth supporting. Those people mad about this deal have their priorities in the wrong place, and need to wake up to some basic truths.


Timmy's hires boatloads of Temporary Foreign Workers. 

Once upon a time, Tim Hortons used to air ads proclaiming that working at Timmy's was a great way to get started on a solid career, and even promoted their Scholarship Program. Timmy's was a place you could get a half-decent job, while working towards something better.

Realizing that paying workers decent wages stops the executives from buying a new Mercedes Benz each Thursday, Timmy's took to, instead, hiring piles of Temporary Foreign Workers.

Despite the fact that there are thousands of Canadians who could use a decent job, Timmy's would rather hire indentured servants from other countries, and pay them cheaper wages than actual Canadian citizens would be entitled to receive.

Timmy's claims to be a Canadian company, yet hires non-Canadians to fill jobs that Canadians could easily do. Yup. 

Tim Hortons donuts are not at all FRESH

Once upon a time, Tim Hortons actually baked the donuts, from scratch, in the individual stores.
Realizing that they could make more money by just having the stores warm up frozen dough, and thus requiring even less-skilled staff on hand, Tims forced franchises to switch, with some of them filing, and then losing a lawsuit.

At the heart of the case, which began in 2008, is what the judge describes as the “Always Fresh Conversion,” a shift from fresh baking in each store to a system of industrial par baking and flash freezing at a centralized plant in Brantford, Ont., followed by reheating in specially designed ovens.

Hmm, reheating dough? This sounds an awful lot like Pillsbury products.

The last few times I've seen Timmy's in the office, there was more of a collective 'meh'. Donuts used to be OMGZ EXCITMENT!!!!11111, but it has been replaced by, "Ok, cool, a free snack... I guess".

Their Timbits are laced with Crack Cocaine


OK, maybe not, but they are far too addicting. Any time somebody brings a box of them to the office, or some other party, I end up eating far more of them than I should. I don't find them particular awesome, and they seem far too bland for the calories they contain, but I seem to end up scarfing down a half-dozen before I realize what I've done with my life.

---

So, what is Canadian about heavily-processed, reheated food and hiring Temporary Foreign Workers? Tim Hortons has been acting more and more American each year, and is about as Canadian as Basketball now is.

If you want to be a good Canadian, and support Canadian businessess, go to your local coffee cafe. Not only do you support the hiring of Canadian workers, but you'll actually keep the money in your community, and probably get better food out of the deal.



Monday, 11 August 2014

Vancouver's Food Truck Follies


One of the recent trends in Vancouver has been the explosion of Food Trucks on the streets.

While other major cities in North America have an abundance of these mobile kitchens, it wasn't until 2010 that Vancouver had its first. Now, we have over 100.

To understand why it is such a big deal, you have to know that Vancouver has always been behind the times and quite strict about food safety for mobile food sellers.

I remember how big of a deal it was when the first street hot dog vendors (Mr. Tube Steak!!!!!) were allowed to start operating about 20-odd years ago. While other big cities had plenty of these street meat hawkers, Vancouver didn't start catching up until my early teens. It's no surprise that we didn't get food trucks until just a few years ago.

Unfortunately, the food truck industry in Vancouver has been, to my experience, one GIANT disappointment.

Here is what I expect from a mobile food seller: Fast and cheap

Here is what Vancouver Food Trucks (VFTs) are generally not: Fast and cheap




One reason I'd want to go to a VFT is to get a quick meal to go. If I had the time, I'd go to a cafe or restaurant, so going to a street vendor is for time-saving purposes.

VFTs fail largely in this regard, with 7-15 minute waits not uncommon. Fresh food does take time to prepare, but many VFTs don't seem to have certain staples prepared beforehand, and efficiency is lacking.

VFTs have nowhere to sit, and you are often left there standing in the baking hot sun with nothing to do.

Prices at the typical VFT also mirror that of most small cafes and some restaurants, which is to say it is not cheap. $10-15 for a small meal is the norm with many VFTs, and the quantity of food doesn't make up for it. (Although that isn't as much of a concern to me these days). 

I'm not sure the quality of food makes up for the prices, either. I've had one fish & chips that was so oily that I had to throw it up an hour later, I've tried the famous "Japadog" (overrated, but still tasty), and found most dishes to be pretty much of average quick-food quality.

I understand every business has costs to cover, and Vancouver's licenses aren't cheap, but the food trucks don't have the brick-and-mortar costs that a typical restaurant has, nor do they need to hire serving staff. VFTs should be able to offer lower prices due to lower overhead, but it doesn't happen.




(c) The Vancouver Sun

From anecdotal internet talk and other things I've read, it seems that other cities with food trucks have it better, and have it right.

Honestly, downtown consumers are better off going to any of the numerous food courts at the malls here. You get air conditioning and protection from the elements, you don't have to wait as long for the food, and the prices are a bit lower. The quality is about the same, too.

Mobile food trucks are a great concept, and seem to be popular, for the time being, but I still fail to understand how they will continue to be successful if they cannot offer any time or money savings from the thousands of other options we have in this city.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

MTG: 11 Intriguing Cards from M15


M15, the new core set for Magic: The Gathering, is being released this Friday to lots of anticipation.

With the major reboot of M10 in 2009, core sets are far better than they used to be. That said, these summer releases have been getting stale the past couple of years, and Wizards of the Coast needed to add some more spice to the pot. M13 and M14 were complete snoozefests, really.

Well, by asking famous names in the gaming community (Video games, board games, etc) to design some cards, tweaking the card frame, and getting away from some of the stale reprints, M15 is looking to be the best core set since M10.

After reviewing the set, and playing in this past weekend's prerelease, I've got a list of 11 cards that I will be looking forward to building and playing with in the future.

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In alphabetical order, because Stone Cold said so!

1. Avacyn, Guardian Angel

My Angel EDH/Commander deck is currently lead by Avacyn, Angel of Hope. While the original is far more powerful, the 8 mana cost makes her an expensive date.

This version doesn't need a fancy steak dinner every night, and she can still protect your army. I'm not sure if I'll replace the original, or just take another card out. A flying 5/4 vigilance angel is good in any white deck.


2. Brood Keeper

I had two Brood Keepers in my prerelease pool, but not enough auras to make it worthwhile to play them :(

Slapping auras on a non-hexproof creature always make me nervous, but Brood Keeper will definitely reward the risk. A 2/2 dragon whelp for every Aura attached to her? This is a pretty good build-around-me card. I will certainly brood over the possibilities.


3. Chasm Stalker

This might be my favourite new card from the set. Who doesn't love SQUID tokens? *Squish*

Blue decks always draw plenty of cards, so, when this fellow dies, you ought to be left with quite a  calamari army.

Brainstorm or Ancestral Vision will get you 3 additional 1/1s for cheap, and those are cards I use in many blue decks. Better get some tzatziki ready.


4. Ensoul Artifact

Your mother told you not to run with scissors, but you should probably run FROM them! 

In terms of raw power, this card ranks highly. Turning a Darksteel Ingot or Darksteel Citadel (the artifact land) into indestructible 5/5s, for just two frickin' mana, ought to make the cut.

The artwork alone, is full of win.


5. Generator Servant

This little bugger was surprisingly powerful at the prerelease, allowing players to cast out huge hasty creatures a lot earlier than they should be able to. It's not often we get served with any type of Sol Ring effects.

Red often gets some form of temporary mana generation, but giving one or two creatures haste? That is what pushes this card over the edge. 

Don't forget that the mana generated can be used for anything, even instants.


6. Hushwing Gryff

More and more creatures are being printed with 'enter the battlefield' triggers. Killing those creatures doesn't stop their controller from getting the benefit, dammit!

With that in mind, Hushwing Gryff is another 'hate bear' created to help in competitive formats. Decks that rely upon Birthing Pod will definitely not be happy to see this flashed on to the table.

For us casuals? This is a very flexible answer, and can save you from the devastating effects of an Inferno Titan or Acidic Slime.


7. Necromancer's Stockpile

Cheap discard outlets are always useful, especially if you get some real return on your investment.

I already have a middling Zombie deck, so this ought to slide right in their perfectly. If you have recursion creatures like Gravecrawler or Bloodghast, discarding that card isn't a real cost at all.

As the zombie Billy Mays would say: "NOT ONLY DO YOU GET TO DRAW A CARD, BUT WE'LL THROW IN A 2/2 ZOMBIE TOKEN, FOR FREE!" 


8. Nightfire Giant

Talk about a bomb in sealed and draft! A 5/4 that can machine gun opposing creatures and players? Ick. My poor wife was on the wrong side of the table from this creature at the prerelease, and her army of little dudes didn't last too long.

Yes, the activation cost isn't cheap, but you get a fairly costed creature that makes a great mana sink. I could see myself finding a home for him in one of my numerous red/black decks.


9. Ob Nixilis, Unshackled

Those who have played against my Demons deck know how ObNoxious the original Ob Nixilis can be.

Creatures die often in multiplayer Magic, so Obby here will get bigger with little effort. Being able to punish somebody for shuffling their library will be almost orgasmic, I'm sure. It's too bad he doesn't have flash, so you could really "GOTCHA!" some unsuspecting shmuck. 

10. Scuttling Doom Engine


I'm torn ... (but not Rip Torn) is this a really good card name, or a terrible one?

This card hasn't been getting as much hype of some of the others, but I love being able to punish somebody else for killing my creatures. Six damage is significant, and will definitely scare people into poking it with a stick.

"Scuttles" also makes it so that opponents can't easily chump-block it with some dumb token. One way or another, you are DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED!!!!


11.Waste Not

I finish with the card designed by 'the Magic community', including another name that strikes me as both clever and/or lame.

For sure, this is a powerful 'build around' card that will put further pain on those opponents who have to discard precious resources.

Seeing as I already have such an annoying discard deck, I look forward to the scowls of my playgroup when I whip this out for the first time.

I know karma will come back to bite me, but I don't want your cards to go to ... waste ...

*mic drop*

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So, what cards from M15 interest you?