30 Day Blogging Challenge: Magic the Gathering Day Fourteen

So Magic the Gathering is a game, the collectible card game, but I think most of you reading this know that already. I played way back when the Revised Edition was the main set. I was probably a senior in high school at the time. When they started changing rules and taking certain cards out of print I stopped playing and eventually I needed a large chunk of cash for a new car and I cashed in my collection and never looked back. 

23 years later my son and I were looking for a hobby to share. Something that we could do and enjoy together. That is when I found the game again. We bought a Duel Deck and had a ton of fun with that for two weeks and then found a local game shop and are enjoying not only playing but building up a collection of cards.

As a way to commemorate my return to the game and his beginning in the game I found a 30 day MTG blogging challenge and I want to share that with you all here.

Magic_the_gathering-card_back

With that being said:

Day Fourteen-Favorite MTG Related Story

I don’t know if I want to tell a story from the few months my son and I have been back in the game or a tale for the good old days. I guess I will go with a newer story for today since I tend to write about being an old fart here a lot.

The kid and I are at our LGS a couple of weeks ago and we were watching this girl play an infect deck. I had not seen a deck like this in action before so I was curious. She did ok coming within three turns of winning.  She then played someone else and someone else and every time came close to winning but not quite.

She tells all of us that she never wins and this is when she notices my kid. She asks him if he wants to play and I can see that she thinks he is going to be a push over and she can get a win just to satisfy her ego. Nothing wrong with that winning is fun and it helps the enjoyment and the ego.

gg

The kid has seen her deck play like four times. He is savvy enough to know that it’s on the slower side and she needs four or so turns to really get it going. When I play my green deck against him he has learned that a faster deck can get him to a win condition before a green deck can overpower him. He grabs his red burn deck and sits down to play.

I am not sure what the kid drew for an opener all I know is the next time I checked in on that game she as 4 life., he had two nettle drones on the field and a lightning bolt in his hand. This game is over and this girl who was looking to feed her ego by betting up on what she thought was a total newb has humbled her instead. The other guys hanging out at the shop told me on almost every turn she took a Goblin Grenade to the face…and yes that is a lucky draw but also really damn funny.

Let me give a big shout-out to MTG The Walkers Lounge on Facebook, A great place for all things MTG.

Check out the rest of my 30 MTG blogging challenge here

 

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Magic the Gathering Day Thirteen

So Magic the Gathering is a game, the collectible card game, but I think most of you reading this know that already. I played way back when the Revised Edition was the main set. I was probably a senior in high school at the time. When they started changing rules and taking certain cards out of print I stopped playing and eventually I needed a large chunk of cash for a new car and I cashed in my collection and never looked back. 

23 years later my son and I were looking for a hobby to share. Something that we could do and enjoy together. That is when I found the game again. We bought a Duel Deck and had a ton of fun with that for two weeks and then found a local game shop and are enjoying not only playing but building up a collection of cards.

As a way to commemorate my return to the game and his beginning in the game I found a 30 day MTG blogging challenge and I want to share that with you all here.

Magic_the_gathering-card_back

With that being said:

Day Thirteen-Favorite Illustrator

Yesterday I talked about how and why the art of a card has always been kind of secondary to me. I was going through some cards today, mostly because I am home brewing a Blue/White proliferate paper pauper deck (damn that was hard to type), and I took an extra couple of moments just to appreciate the art.

It was pretty cool.

Since I knew I had this topic today I put aside all the cards that I really liked art wise and one name kept coming up over and over again. After a little more research I found that he had illustrated one of my all time favorite cards Dwarven Demolition Team. That was a staple of my first goblin deck and Kev Walker was the artist of my favorite card in my collection….Chandra Nalaar.

chandra

I did a little research and found out that he has done illustrations for 386 magic cards. That is very impressive and I can see why WoTC goes back to him over and over again. He also happens to be the artist for the token my kid loves to play with the 5/5 black flying demon. Sort of a Nightmare Jr. I mention that because when my original play group started to get Nightmares in their decks shit escalated quickly.

Let me give a big shout-out to MTG The Walkers Lounge on Facebook, A great place for all things MTG.

Check out the rest of my 30 MTG blogging challenge here

What if Use Your Illusion wasn’t a double album…

I have been a Guns N’ Roses fan for most of my life. When Appetite for Destruction came out I was a moody teenager and that record became the soundtrack of my life. I have remained a fan of these musicians…but I cannot say of the band as whole because of what the Slash-less incarnations of the band became.

I am always curious to look at what ripped this band apart. 30 years after they became the saviors of Rock N Roll it really seems that they could have been my generation’s Rolling Stones. However it is almost a universal rule that what makes bands greats is also what rips bands apart. That is certainly true of GN’R.

gnr

A lot of the GN’R books I have read point to the double album release of Use Your Illusion the point where the band started to burn out. Many believe that had that album been a single record that the band would have had an extra few years of life…or another tour/album release cycle in it. While I certainly agree that the Use Your Illusion records should have been more limited I think by the time we got to that point the writing was already on the wall.

For me this becomes an art versus commerce argument. The record company in charge of turning a profit on GN’R’s art failed to plan long-term. Given the volatile lives of the members maybe they just decided to cash in all at once. The major mistakes happen way before the band sat down to record Use Your Illusion. The big mistake was the business plan following the huge sales of Appetite for Destruction and what the band should do next.

That makes the question what is Use your Illusion was one record irrelevant. Had they thought more long-term by the time the band was ready to record that record all of the material leftover from the Appetite era would have been released. For me the mistake happens when the GNR Lies album is put out.

Since I am a smart ass this is what I would have done.

The idea here is to keep the band away from the self indulgence that led to a serious backlash from the fans, to stay away from over exposure that led to that backlash and to keep the members of the band from self destructing. Ultimately that may have been a futile effort but lets see what you think of my plan for Guns N’Fucking Roses.

appetite

Let’s rewind to 1988.

Appetite is blowing up. The band is on huge tours first supporting big acts and then headlining. The record had been record at least two years before and Geffen Records has a hot act without a new product to sell. They solved this by releasing GNR Lies in November of 1988 and the record gets one single (Patience) and eventually goes five times platinum. Hard to argue against that. Solid move to make money over what was arguably the hottest band in North America.

While Lies is an above average record it did nothing to release material that the band had already written. The A side of the record was just a re-release of Live ?!*@ Like A Suicide that had come out in December of 1986. The B side were mostly acoustic songs were only three were originals. The fourth was a slowed down acoustic version of Your Crazy.

Now I get the benefit of hindsight here. I know what is going to happen in 1989. I know how GNR was just a little too early to become the premiere act on what was going to become the next big thing. MTV Unplugged would premiere in November of 1989. GNR and Geffen were a year too early and could have been positioned perfectly to be the first huge act to take on this format.

That does leave the question on what should have been done to get the band a new product for Christmas 1988. I would have done something like this…Take the A side of Lies which was already a record elsewhere and re-release that. Those four tracks are strong enough on their own to have a product for the Christmas season.

That would put us in January of 1989 and the band is returned from the 7 legs of the Appetite tour and ideally ready to record some new music. In this scenario that B side of Lies has been written and flushed out and possibly even had demos recorded.

lies

The marketing plan is to debut the new record and have GN’R perform live on the premiere of Unplugged. That leaves a decent stretch of no new product so something has to come out in the first or second quarter of 1989 for Geffen to profit and the fans to consume. This is where I wold have dropped another EP. A four to six song record to burn off what remained of the Appetite material and whatever new songs that did not have a home, alternate versions of songs, and live staples.

Both versions of Back off Bitch, Bad Obsession, Don’t Cry, You Could Be Mine, Locomotive, Knocking on Heaven’s Door, Live and let Die, and others meet this criteria. Of course the band would also still perform live at different events throughout 1989 like it did. It would give the band opportunities to play these songs live and the great things about musicians is they all have ADD. Once they write, record, and then play a song so many times they get sick of it and want to move on to other things.

That’s the whole point here. We want to get GN’R to the Use Your Illusion era wanting to try new things; wanting to expand their creativity, and most importantly having rid the closet of songs that were written for previous albums. That leaves the Gunners in a place to create something new.

The proposed GN’R Unplugged record in my mind would be built around Patience, Used to Love Her, One in a Million, an acoustic version of Dead Horse, and whatever else the band had been working on at that time.

After the record is released the band goes on a smaller tour to support it and then cycles down to go about the process of recording the next album. The goal of this was to burn through their already polished material and get the band to the Illusion era not only wanting to do new things but have an audience ready for new songs.

unplugged

If the Unplugged record comes out in November of 1989 and the band goes on an 18 month World Tour in support that puts us in the Summer of 1991. There the band could take a break from the road, start writing and ideally have a record ready for release for Christmas 1992. To be supported by tour beginning in 1993.

Of course the other real X-factor here is the debut of Nirvana nationally and how much music changed after. GN’R led to contributed to that greatly with their acts of self-indulgence both personal and musically. Had GN’R had a polished single album powerhouse like Appetite ready to drop maybe Alternative Music would be a quirky side note to what main stream acts like GN”R were doing at the time.

What I know for certain GN’R had the catalog and the talent to be the Rolling Stones for Generation X. I also think had someone been able to hold their egos is check that they would have had the chops to take on Alternative Music and win. There however is no way to tell if any changes to how they developed would have changed the personality conflicts within the band. Those were certainly big factors in their breakup but without question they suffered from over exposure as well. Had some longer term thinking been applied from the jump we would likely be talking about the most successful band in history. I mean we already kind of are…the real history of what GN’R and its members have done over the last 30 years is the stuff of legends.

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Magic the Gathering Day Twelve

So Magic the Gathering is a game, the collectible card game, but I think most of you reading this know that already. I played way back when the Revised Edition was the main set. I was probably a senior in high school at the time. When they started changing rules and taking certain cards out of print I stopped playing and eventually I needed a large chunk of cash for a new car and I cashed in my collection and never looked back. 

23 years later my son and I were looking for a hobby to share. Something that we could do and enjoy together. That is when I found the game again. We bought a Duel Deck and had a ton of fun with that for two weeks and then found a local game shop and are enjoying not only playing but building up a collection of cards.

As a way to commemorate my return to the game and his beginning in the game I found a 30 day MTG blogging challenge and I want to share that with you all here.

Magic_the_gathering-card_back

With that being said:

Day Twelve-Favorite Card Art

This is going to be one of those generational things. When I started playing MTG the game did not have a ton of money to spend on the card art. So the card art was a secondary concern to them and in turn to me as a consumer. Therefore card art is like the last thing I notice about any given card. I am not saying it is not art…because it absolutely is…it’s just that WoTC taught me that the art wasn’t as important as everything else.

faisland

My son on the other hand notices the art first. He has been in that card looks cool phase since we started playing. Only now a few months into playing has he started to shift over to oh ya I want that card in my deck because of what it can do. With that being said I bought him a play set of goblin grenades (his red burn deck is not a lot of fun to play against) all with different art. I think that is good that he appreciates the skill of the people who do this for a living.

The cards that continually impress me every time I see them are the full art land cards. These cards just look good and I want sets of them for special decks. By special I mean competitive worth decks that I currently own none of. After I get my hands on some Amonkhet that is going to change.

Let me give a big shout-out to MTG The Walkers Lounge on Facebook, A great place for all things MTG.

Check out the rest of my 30 MTG blogging challenge here

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Magic the Gathering Day Eleven

So Magic the Gathering is a game, the collectible card game, but I think most of you reading this know that already. I played way back when the Revised Edition was the main set. I was probably a senior in high school at the time. When they started changing rules and taking certain cards out of print I stopped playing and eventually I needed a large chunk of cash for a new car and I cashed in my collection and never looked back. 

23 years later my son and I were looking for a hobby to share. Something that we could do and enjoy together. That is when I found the game again. We bought a Duel Deck and had a ton of fun with that for two weeks and then found a local game shop and are enjoying not only playing but building up a collection of cards.

As a way to commemorate my return to the game and his beginning in the game I found a 30 day MTG blogging challenge and I want to share that with you all here.

Magic_the_gathering-card_back

With that being said:

Day Eleven Least Favorite Block or Set

I am going all the way back to the beginning. I am going old school and I am gonna call out Arabian Nights as my least favorite set. It was the first expansion set and if my old man memory is not failing me I do believe it came out before revised and most of the cards that people cared about were reprinted there.

I dislike this set so much because as I was originally building up my pool of cards I was mostly buying Unlimited starters and boosters. I wanted to add some flavor to my mix but these Arabian Nights boosters were ridiculously expensive. I don’t remember what that cost was, but I do remember being off put my how much they were asking…and honestly for cards that are not worth it. It’s a really crap set and one of the smaller sets.

KirdApe

On top of all that this is the set where Kird Ape debuted and if you have ever lost a game to Kird Ape you should hate this set. I really fucking hate Kird Apes. Red Green was among the first dual color decks that I played against and these little cheeky bastards were a staple of that pairing.

I seem to recall that originally Arabian Knights was meant to be played as a separate game. I am not sure how accurate that is but I remember not like the price of these 8 card boosters so much that we all bought starter decks for that WoTC Vampire game that was out for like a minute. It sucked and soon enough the Revised set came out and we all came back home.

Let me give a big shout-out to MTG The Walkers Lounge on Facebook, A great place for all things MTG.

Check out the rest of my 30 MTG blogging challenge here

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Magic the Gathering Day Ten

So Magic the Gathering is a game, the collectible card game, but I think most of you reading this know that already. I played way back when the Revised Edition was the main set. I was probably a senior in high school at the time. When they started changing rules and taking certain cards out of print I stopped playing and eventually I needed a large chunk of cash for a new car and I cashed in my collection and never looked back. 

23 years later my son and I were looking for a hobby to share. Something that we could do and enjoy together. That is when I found the game again. We bought a Duel Deck and had a ton of fun with that for two weeks and then found a local game shop and are enjoying not only playing but building up a collection of cards.

As a way to commemorate my return to the game and his beginning in the game I found a 30 day MTG blogging challenge and I want to share that with you all here.

Magic_the_gathering-card_back

With that being said:

Day Ten-Favorite Set or Block

Since I skipped Day nine because I know nothing about Archenemy. I am going to answer this one twice; once for each option.

DemonicTutor

Ok my favorite set will always be revised. Revised was the first set to come out after they got rid of Ante. For me that made the game fun and something I was ready to invest time and money into. Before that I was kinda of on the fence because gambling is just not my thing. So much not my thing that for half of my working career I was actually contractually obligated not to gamble…like at all. Not really but I did sign something saying I would not bet on sports for profit. Even back then I just didn’t like the fact that I had to risk cards from my deck that could be A. crucial to the deck or B. expensive. With revised Ante became an optional component of the game and when my friends wouldn’t give it up I built my first hate deck…Oh you want to play for ante do you..welcome suckers to (4) Demonic Tutors, (4) Demonic Attorney, (4) Dark Pact and (4) Contract from Below…I am going to steal your good cards in the ante…make you ante more…and win the freaking game…Fuck ante…seriously.!

DEMONIC-ATTORNEY

Overall Revised isn’t a great set but between that and Unlimited those are the two sets I learned to play this game with so they have a special place in my heart.

Now my favorite block. Without a doubt it is Amonkhet. I know, I know it hasn’t even come out yet but it will be the block I attend my first pre-release event in…along with my kid…and it sort of sets us up to get some play with some people who know these cards as well as we do. We are all starting at the same point so my play group and the dudes at my LGS will all be a tad more even then we are right now. Even if that only lasts one night…it is one night where everyone at that pre-release will be on very equal footing. That gives us a decent shot at building a good deck and possibly winning some prizes…which will go a long way towards funding more expensive deck builds.

Let me give a big shout-out to MTG The Walkers Lounge on Facebook, A great place for all things MTG.

Check out the rest of my 30 MTG blogging challenge here

Magic Monday: an MTG Update

I think I am writing this more for my son than anyone else. He is getting to an age where Facebook, the internet, and social media in general is going to become a part of his life. Hopefully not a huge part but there is no question it will be a part and I want to record our journey in Magic: The Gathering. Right now it is just a hobby…a fun way to spend a few days a week at our local game store meeting new people and developing new relationships. However, since he is already an avid user of You Tube he has ideas. This week he told me that his goal in MTG is to win a Pro Tour event.

IF that is what he wants to do not only will I support him but I want to chronicle how he gets there. From where we are right now to that goal is likely a journey spread over at least a few years. He has only been playing for two months and while he has come a long way in those months I know that he has a long way to go.

mtgheader

For me the goals are a little different. I am attracted to MTG as a hobby for the purposes of having some society with like-minded folks. I am not as concerned with the pro tour…as I am having decks that are strong enough to contend at my LGS in whatever events they happen to be running on a given day. That means having a competitive deck for modern, standard, and commander.

So where do we stand…

Yesterday hanging out at our LGS we got a game with a couple of guys we have seen around but have yet to meet or play with. The only thing I knew about them is they were big modern players and have a lot of great cards. My boy asked them for a game and even though I knew we had little chance to win I wanted to sort of see where we stood.

Of course we got destroyed but I did learn a few things. Being gone from the game for over 20 years every chance I get to see cards and how they work together helps. This weekend though I found a flaw in how I am constructing my decks. I have always built decks from the bottom up. Meaning I look at my pool of cards find the commons and un-commons I like and that have some synergy then add rares and what not to it to make a playable deck.

I do not see that strategy working if I want to build a competitive modern deck. The next deck I build will be a top down construction where I find a few cards, maybe some sort of huge combo that work very well together and then fill out my deck with things that synergize with that or help me get to that. That is valuable info to have and even though the guy I was playing felt bad about doing an infinite combo against me…knowing not only did I not see it coming but could do little to stop him…I thank him for doing it and showing me my flawed approach to modern. It’s important to learn those things before I sink a ton of money and effort into something that is very likely doomed to fail.

The boy now has a sorcery heavy deck. His best deck right now is a red burn deck and that is simple in its execution. Now he has to learn a different way to play the game that is more strategy heavy. It’s a steep learning curve but I saw a flash of understanding as he played yesterday. It’s just a skill he is going to need and like any other skill it requires practice.

As it stands right now we both have enough playable decks to keep the game fresh whether we are playing at our kitchen table or at our LGS. We both have pre-con commander decks we are learning, and the curve in that format is very steep. The goal for this week is to build out two playable paper pauper decks and start play testing those. As far as competitive MTG goes I think that is the best place for us to start. With Amonkhet coming out the plan is to make an investment there and over the balance of 2017 build up some standard decks.

Other than all that the real goal is just to have fun and learn the game together.