Ultimate Masters was awesome! The packs were exciting to open. There was a chance you could open a pile of money or some key card you've always wanted but never bought. Looking at the singles at the store presented a great opportunity to build your collection. Either for deck building, or just owning the cards. It was fun.
Ravnica Allegiance is not Ultimate Masters. It's not the Ultimate Warrior. It's not the Ultimate Showdown. It's not even Ultimate Frisbee!
It's got Shocklands for the third time! So, that's cool...right? Overall, I think this is the least excited I have been about a set in a long time. (Editor's note: Brando says that about every set.) It didn't really present anything for me that I was excited about. That is, until my most recent order showed up in the mailbox and I opened up my Mirror March!
Every set I try and pick out one card that I am going to have the most fun with. The one card I can do something cool with. This time, it was Mirror March. I didn't even know it until I really sat down and looked at the card. It gave my favourite deck, Norin the Wary, the possibility to devastate the whole table at the end every turn! That is cool. More than just that though, it also opens up build space in decks that wasn't there before. That is the mark of a good card. It inspired me to open up some decks and see if I could shoehorn it in. And I did.
I had to go out and buy 2 more copies of Mirror March because I liked it so much. Will it get me 100 goblin tokens? Will it get me my whole graveyard back to my hand?! Will it give my opponents 2000 elephants!?!?! Or will it do sweet f*cking nothing?
I love variance like that! It's what I play the game for and it all came stapled to a card that will run you 14 cents in a year. Don't get much better than that!
There are lots of reasons to collect cards. Maybe you want full sets. Or maybe you want playsets of Standard playable stuff. For me, it's the interesting places the cards could take me in the future. I want to play cards that are awful and get mileage out of them. I think, for that reason, Mirror March is the most exciting thing in this set. I was much happier getting my hands on an extra copy of that than I was opening another shockland. Cards like Mirror March are an adventure! A possibility! A storm of possibilities even! Cards like this make me happy that I have devoted so much to collecting this game. It feels like a reward and a challenge all at the same time. And that is pretty cool.
There was also a card that I had to own because it sports my new favourite art.
Clearly, I needed a few of those. The fact that it is a pretty solid card adds to the allure. There was also a super awesome upgrade for Fires of Yavimaya. It also presents a really neat chance to have a fun alter done! We discussed Rythm of the Wild on our Ravnica Allegiance set review. Check it out on our Episodes tab.
Other than that, Ravnica Allegiance (for me) really only represents a chance to pick up some cool trade fodder for when something better comes along.
At least it isn't $9,417 per pack.
See you next time, and happy collecting!
Hello! Usually, in this space I try to fill you guys in on what I have been up to as my collection grows. However, today I wanted to share a little story that made me excited. Not about my collection growing, but how it is growing.
A couple weeks ago I was in Edmonton. A city a few hours west of Saskatoon. Of course, I went to some of the local game stores in the city to peek through binders in search of some treasures. One of the stores I visited is not really a local game store. Instead, it is sort of a shop that sells...everything. Cards, toys, books, taxidermy, a giant Ronald McDonald head (yes, for real). The store is just effing cool! I would totally post a link to their website, but here's the kicker: they don't have one! What does that mean to you, the curious reader? It means if you want to see what I am telling you about, you have to physically go to the store. Or a store like it. You have to dig through binders of cards and that is the coolest thing for a collector.
Here's why I say that:
The internet has made getting the cards we want so easy. You log on to a website of choice, you fill a shopping cart, you enter some numbers and then you wait and that's great. But, I think that every collector of any thing should have the experience of going to a place that is untouched by the modern mode of buying. There is really something to be said for being able to see the old cards and feel the history. To know that all that cardboard used to be dropped on dirty-ass boot room floors and played with (unsleeved) on the sidewalk. It is one thing to go to a website and add something to your cart. It is a totally different thing to flip through a binder that might be older than you are! In some cases, those rare, super expensive cards are just there too! You like Lake of the Dead? There were a bunch!
Food Chain? There were five or six stuffed into the same binder slot. They were probably sitting there since people ran screaming from Masques Block Standard. It is totally cool to leaf through an Alpha binder and actually have the old cards be there. Then to switch to something modern and have it be barren because you aren't in a "Magic store". You are in a store that sells collectibles, toys, games. Magic just happens to be one of those games.
I think it is a refreshing to be reminded that while our game might be the biggest game to us, it is just one of a million other hobbies out there. I think it is really neat to spend a little time in an old school shop where Magic isn't the bread and butter. Where it is just another cool oddity. It is a throw back to a time when cards were all over the place and not so coveted, or treated with such investment-driven reverence. There is really something to be said for being able to take a look back in time at our game and experience a small part of the early days. AND it is a great way to get a good look at some of those hidden gems from the old sets. Then, get them home and run them right away, as opposed to waiting for the mail, like a sucker.
The moral of my meandering story here is simply this: the next time you get a chance, take a look at those old binders in the stores. Spend an extra few minutes to really take in the fact that you aren't just upgrading a collection or a deck. You are looking back at history and interesting art and you're doing it in a very cool, very authentic way. While that illusion melts away at the till, (ouch!!!) it is still an excellent thought experiment and a really cool way to spend a couple hours in an afternoon. Also, when the store sells all that other stuff I mentioned, there is lots for the partner to look at, so they don't get bored.
Do you have a store like the one I am talking about in your town? Are you like me and are limited to sanitised, online-lite local game stores? The kind that don't let you touch anything. They just tell you they have the card you want or they don't. Hit me up on Twitter @CCOBrando and share your stories about stores near you or with any cool treasure-finds you have had!
Thanks for taking the time and I'll see you next time!
Hello! Welcome to the second instalment of What's in Your Cart!! This time, I'll be taking a look at Return to Return to Ravnica (or whatever silly name they’re calling it). Together, we’ll run down what has found its way into my collection as well as some of the stuff CCONation has told me you are looking forward to!
Let's start with some listener suggestions:
Niv-Mizzet, Parun - Good ol' Niv. Back again with that same old "draw a card, hurt a person" ability and this time he is pushing the WotC "Izzet plays spells and storm" agenda super hard. I have been told he is going to be on-point for mono-spells.dec. Interesting idea, and I'm excited to see where it goes.
Vraska, Golgari Queen - A new card for a Mazirek deck. Sees like a thing someone would do. She would go good in any thing that runs lots or creatures to protect her while you build to that super fair, super interactive emblem. Full disclosure, I opened one of these in a pack I bought and I immediately put her in Lord Windgrace to see how that works out. I see her being cut eventually. While she is very powerful, I'm not sure she is all that and a bag of chips. Five out of ten, at best.
Divine Visitation - I have a couple things to say here:
1 - I'm glad someone suggested this as I typically overlook white cards. I don’t really play white that often.
2 - Obviously this card is going in a token strategy, as it should. It's super badass to drop and Avenger of Z and get 14 4/4 fliers, or tap a Myr Turbine for a 4/4...or drop a Gang-Bang Commander to really get the party going (don't Google that). The point is, this card is very cool and I think everyone should pick them up while they are still being opened. It's a great EDH card.
Assassin's Trophy - Oh my god. Yeah, this card is good. I got not less than 5 people saying it was the top of their shopping list. One human even said it was THE ONLY CARD FROM THE SET HE WANTED. It's awesome and everything...but I am going to pass on it until the price goes down. I'll just deal with removing stuff at a discount until then.
And finally, we have Doom Whisperer - a couple of people suggested this as well. Ryan and I have talked about him on the podcast. Probably the most powerful single card in the set, especially in anything that likes to dump cards into the bin. If that isn't your thing, it's still a flying 6/6 f*cking beater for 5 that let's you play around planechasing to Skybreen. Totally something we all worry about…
As for your man Brando, I picked up a small selection of cards that are totally dope...
Etrata, the Silencer - Vanity pick. I actually think this card is shitty, but it looks really nice in foil so...yeah.
Thousand-Year Storm - Yeah. I know. Dirtbag Bag city. I got this one because I am desperate to make my Arjun, The Shifting Flame deck better and I think this might be the card to make that happen. Plus, it is a super cool card that has the possibility to be played for fun, as opposed to played for the purposes of being a huge piece of shit.
Thief of Sanity - I love me a good spectre, and this is a good spectre! I also like being able to play my opponent's stuff! Why buy Assassin's Trophies of my own when I can just play yours?!
Lockets - Worth a mention, I think. They are just cool rocks and being able to turn them into TWO cards when you're done with them is pretty good. (editor’s note: These might end up being better than people think. Just sayin’.)
Wand of Vertebrae - I don't totally know why I made a point to get these. But something inside my brain made me snap up a couple. Maybe it is the ability to load up the yard? Maybe it is the ability to save my stuff from graveyard hate? Maybe it's the fact that it is a goddamn wand made from a human spine, and there is NOTHING more metal than that.
Underrealm Lich - This was the foil in my pre-release kit! Super cool as it was the number one thing I wanted in foil! I think it will be a great include in my Windgrace list. If it turns out I'm wrong maybe one day I'll build that dirty ass Gitrog deck. If not THAT, then at least I'll have a sweet looking foil in my binder.
I'm going to call those the highlights. There are obvious picks, like Goblin Cratermaker, Legion Warboss and Generous Stray (yeah, I said it) but those cards are obvious. There is no real need to go into them in any sort of detail. Also, on this little shopping trip I picked up a couple other sweet things that you might want to take a look at for your own decks...
Desolation - Oh baby, look at that art. Real talk: I grabbed this one up based only on the picture, then I read it and realised it could be a sweet control card and it owns white...win-win. This card's existence was later validated on Twitter as part of a dirty land-killer strategy.
Putrid Warrior - Just a cool thing I happened across. I like things that do work just for doing damage. This guy fits the bill! I eventually plan to build a WB zombie deck because I am so original and I'm sure I will find room for this. If for no better reason than to make my friends pick it up off the table and read it.
Earthlink - I picked this one up on a whim, saw it and though the art was cool. It has a dirty effect that I don't really feel is part of my regular game plan. Maybe someone who likes a grindy Jund list with nothing but cool looking cards in it will find a good spot for it.
There we have it. A quick look at some of the stuff people are pumped about from the new set!! If you ever have a sweet find to share, drop my a line on Twitter @CCOBrando or get at us via e-mail. Until next time, keep sifting through those boxes CCONation!!
Hello and welcome to first installment of What’s in Your Cart?!!! In this article series we will look at steps all of us here in CCONation are taking to deepen our collections, pimp out decks or maybe what we are looking forward to in an upcoming release. To start off, I figured it would be interesting to tell you all about an impulse cart I ended up filling on a recent run to Calgary with some birthday money and some big dreams! I stopped by two of my regular haunts and picked up some really cool stuff. I had some totally kick ass experiences with the sales staff and other Magic players! There is nothing that will ever beat the feeling of being the ‘new guy’ who rolls into someone else’s LGS and fits in. The camaraderie and welcome feeling are two things that I super dig about the Magic community. It makes me hopeful that if I ever have to spend an extended period away from my regular group I will always have a place to play.
BUT, enough of that sappy garbage! On with the sweet list...
Coralhelm Commander (foil) - I picked this one up totally for trade reasons. It was a great price, as it had been totally passed over when stuff was being jacked up. It will go straight into my trade binder.
Vizier of Many Faces (foil) - She lives in a deck I currently play that runs a billion clones, Vizier is totally cool and you get to clone the best thing on the table twice! I get to rock your Ulamog twice! In foil.
Rhystic Study - ...yeah. I know. I’m a degenerate piece of shit. I picked this one up for my ‘tuned’ Sliver Queen combo deck AND the Masques Block set I am currently working on. I got it for collector’s purposes
...and because I want to create openings for me to two-card-combo the table to death.
...because I am a degenerate piece of shit.
Butcher of Malakir (foil) - Another impulse buy. It’s a Grave Pact that doesn’t cost an internal organ. Sure, it’s on an easily killable dude, but hey...it’ll find a way in to a deck at some point.
Nekrataal (foil) – It’s the shitty 8th Edition art and it was a dollar. Who wouldn’t buy it? Right!? Anyone? No? ...just me? Well...eff you too, I guess.
Yahenni’s Expertise (full art foil) - This will find its way into my Stax list at some point. It sweeps bros and lets me lay down another piece of hate-drawing, fun-destroying, friendship-ruining shit.
...what have I become?
Dictate of Erebos - I found this after the Butcher. Bought it for the same reason. This one will most likely find its way into my Horobi list as I like it better than Grave Pact because it can be used as a sweet trick if they sweep my board.
Japanese Ichorid (foil) - Vanity buy!! I play Ichorid in my Dredge deck. Now one of the three are foil! That’s pretty cool. It’s not the Torment one, but it’ll do.
Magus of the Moon (foil) - Because my new and improved Norin the Wary deck isn’t a huge enough pain in the ass as it is. Now it has an additional Blood Moon effect.
...I hate my own self sometimes.
Blur Sliver (foil) – It’s the third haste sliver. All are very important to any good sliver combo deck. Buy them when you see them.
Squee, the Immortal (foil) - I grabbed him for a new deck I am working on. Maybe it will appear on Commander Cookout Podcast!? I promise no stax and no d-bag stuff this time!!!
Earthquake (foil) - I played it in Standard when I first got back into the game after a few years away from the competitive scene. Not many people saw it coming and it was fun to play something no one expected. Fun Fact: never in my life have I ever owned a foil one. Now I do.
Treasonous Ogre - Another include for New Norin. He lets me pay life to win the game. I super wanted a foil one, but they are very hard to come by, it seems.
Molten Disaster (foil) - A pimp upgrade for Norin. Because sometimes it is really important that you just pay some mana and kill the shit out of a whole bunch of creatures. Or your friends. They’ll get over it.
Commune with Lava (foil) - Pimp upgrade for Norin. Part of the jack-in-box combo I built into the deck (editor’s note: see Commander Cookout Podcast, Ep. 25). It let’s me convert the ass I have beaten into mana, which I then use to wipe out anyone I can’t crush with creatures.
Goblin Trashmaster (foil) x2 - Just to finish the playset. Also, I have a feeling they might go up as it is a wrecking ball in any deck that runs a notable number of goblins.
Perilous Forays (foil) - Pimp upgrade for Angry Omnath. This was a hard one to add to the cart as it was a little more than I like to pay for such a niche card. But, it wins mad games, so here we are.
Caustic Caterpillar (foil) - I have settled on Meren as my Stax commander so it’s time I embraced my inner (eff you) Joel and just admitted I hate fun and friendship all together...right?
Ramunap Excavator (foil) - Because Crucible of Worlds is just way too much effing money.
Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma (foil) - She found a home in my Grimlock-led dinosaur deck. I have had lots of fun playing her, so I figured I would be able to find a place for her in future lists.
Cadaverous Bloom (beat nearly to death) - It was in a box of super fucked up cards so I adopted it and brought it home. Solid include in a new deck I have been working very hard on.
Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons (foil) - I just like the art. Too grindy for me to really play, though.
Endbrinder (foil) - This guy is a HOUSE in Horobi. It is a pimp house. A pimp house filled with serial killers and magical fairies that let you draw cards.
Walking Ballista - Another step down the road to Degenerate Town. I actually hate that I own this card now. I feel as though I have betrayed everything I love. As I type this, my dog is laying next to me, snoring contentedly. I know that if she knew what I am going to use this card to do...she would be disappointed in me.
Ruby Medallion - The Tempest one. This is another cool include for Norin. I kind of hate the art on it, but it’s still a cool card.
Asshole Cornucopia (foil) - We talked about it on the show and it occurred to me how criminally underplayed this card is. I will single-handedly change that.
Riptide Replicator (foil) - I love this card strictly for the art and the flavour. It will find a home in the next tribal deck I make that goes big on mana or includes proliferation. Those Riptide scientists were super messed up. I think they’re all dead now. Good.
Tainted Wood (foil) - I didn’t really want a foil of this to be honest. But, it was all I could find and dammit it was my birthday! I think the tainted lands are tragically underplayed and I would love to see something like the ‘Tainted’ cycle happen again.
Swarmyard (foil) - Ryan needed one, so I was a bro and picked it up for him. I assume he’ll put it in his Mistform Ultimus deck.
There we have it! A sweet B-day haul and the first stab at sharing what we snap up at the shop, and why! I initially went out to find a foil Subterranean Tremors and came back with all this...my goodness. Any how, I hope you dug it and are inspired to dig through some boxes yourself. If so, let us know what you come home with!
Thank you for reading and enjoy the rest of your day!!