## Saturday, 30 November 2013

### Camouflage

Ok, so here's the oracle text:
Cast Camouflage only during your declare attackers step.
This turn, instead of declaring blockers, each defending player chooses any number of creatures he or she controls and divides them into a number of piles equal to the number of attacking creatures for whom that player is the defending player. Creatures he or she controls that can block additional creatures may likewise be put into additional piles. Assign each pile to a different one of those attacking creatures at random. Each creature in a pile that can block the creature that pile is assigned to does so.(Piles can be empty.)

This took me a couple of reads to fully understand, but I think it's pretty good. You may end up with some unfavourable situations, but it will probably work out well for you. I honestly don't know why they didn't just change the card to say: Assign blockers at random this turn or something to that effect. Other than that, it's pretty cool.

Pros: Random blocks for an opponent
Cons: Random blocks may mean bad situations for you
Rating: 3.5/5

## Tuesday, 26 November 2013

### Sacred Mesa

A mono-white flying token generator with a small upkeep cost? This is pretty awesome in my books. Yeah, it has a upkeep cost of 1W, but it's an instant-speed token creator, so what else can you really ask for? White kind of hurts for good token generators. They either have to tap (Thraben Doomsayer), require some sort of counter/charge (Twilight Drover), or have some sort of weird restriction (Security Detail). Even the other token generators that don't have some sort of restriction aren't as good as this. Heliod, God of the Sun costs 4 for a 2/1, Pegasus Refuge makes you discard cards, and Mobilization costs 3 for a 1/1 groundwalker. I know that the upkeep cost may turn some off from the start, but I think it's pretty worth it.

Pros: Instant-speed token creation
Cons: Upkeep cost
Rating: 3.5/5

## Saturday, 23 November 2013

### Special: Planechase

I figured now's as good a time as any to talk about one of the variants of Magic: Planechase. Back in 2009, WotC came out with this variant of Magic, wherein each player has a a "planar deck" that contains oversized card with varying effect on them (another set of decks came out in 2012). On a player's turn, they can roll the "planar die", a d6 with only two marked sides (the first roll is free, then it costs n-1 for each subsequent roll). The two marked sides either causes "planar travel", wherein the rolling player replaces the current plane with the top card of their planar deck or "chaos", which triggers the written ability of the plane. Now, the way my friends and I play is a little different: rather than each player having their own planar deck, we play with about 30 different planes mixed together and we find this variant a lot more fun than having individual deck.

What do I think of Planechase? I think it's pretty cool. It can create some really interesting swingy situations that completely turn tables in favour of a player that's doing really bad. Here are my top 3 and bottom 3 planes. Why? Because.

Top #3: Furnace Layer
One of the few things that New Phyrexia produced, I really like this plane. It's truly random since it can hit you too and players might be tempted to gamble and keep it around in order to hurt their opponent's but it could just as easily bite them for their hubris. You know, like an actual plane would do.

Bottom #3: Mount Keralia
Talk about a plane that you don't want to leave. While not the worst example of this (see #1), I still don't like this plane at all. Why would a plane hurt you for leaving it? I'll admit most of my dislike of this comes from my inner Vorthos coming through, but it just doesn't make much sense. A maybe boardwipe with a 16.6% chance of happening just seems terrible.

Top #2: Takenuma
This plane just seems so combo-happy that I love it. I can just see a scenario where a player loses the game when their Laboratory Maniac bounces when they roll chaos. It just really like it.

Bottom #2: Lethe Lake
Unlike the other two bottom planes, this is a plane that everyone desperately wants to get away from. Losing a sixth of your deck every turn just sucks and only having a one-in-six chance of getting away from it makes it even worse. It's like a blue player purposefully not ending the game so that he can toy with his opponent for multiple turns.

Top #1: Glimmervoid Basin
There's nothing about this plane I don't like. I love anything that can cause issues with control decks and this really does that well. Every direct damage spell becomes suicidal and every bounce spell becomes a boardwipe. It's just amazing.

Bottom #1: Sanctum of Serra
Usually when this plane comes out, we put the planar die away since no one wants to leave. There may be the situation where one player may want to try an planeswalk just so that they have a chance, but that player usually doesn't have the mana to roll the die more than thrice, so there's not much point in trying. And since when was the price of leaving Serra's house become burning everything you own?

## Tuesday, 19 November 2013

### Vanilla Value Equation (VVE)

So, if you remember waaaaay back in my Vanillas review, I brought up the idea of using a formula to determine the value of a vanilla creature. Tonight, I thought about it a little more and refined that formula a little more:

$\frac{\left ( \left ( Power + \left ( \frac{Toughness}{2} \right ) \right ) -0.5 \right )}{Converted Mana Cost} = X$

If X is equal to 1 or more, it is a passable card for Limited formats. For example, Border Guard scores a 1, meaning that it is a baseline passable vanilla creature. Leatherback Baloth scores a little higher, at 2 and Axebane Stag scores lower with a 0.86. Cards with a 0 CMC (such as Crookshank Kobolds) don't have a value and should be considered combo pieces instead of just creatures (at least, I consider them combo pieces).

Now, when I say "passable", I don't mean "good". I came up with this to help me determine the value of vanilla cards in a draft or sealed format and that's what the formula is intended for. It is also based purely on combat ability and not on interactions with other cards. Maybe in the future I'll add values to different keywords and abilities and come up with a comprehensive algorithm for more advanced cards...

### Unsummon

A staple of blue decks everywhere. This card is really great, but 99% of the time, Vapor Snag will be better since it adds a twang of damage onto a great spell. Still, if you don't care about the damage, this card will always serve you great.

Pros: 1-drop, instant
Cons: Doesn't deal damage
Rating: 5/5

## Friday, 15 November 2013

### Equilibrium

This is an amazing card that I didn't know about. It's a repeatable Unsummon except that it's colourless. Imagine what a Momir Vig, Simic Visionary or Animar, Soul of the Elements EDH could do with this. How about 60-cards based around ETB triggers and Cloudstone Curio? This card can easily air-juggle opponents' creatures and cause them to never leave turn 5 or 6, forcing them to constantly replay the same turn over and over again until you finally kill them with your tiny creatures. The one flaw that I can see with this card is that it would lose very hard to token decks, since you probably won't have the mana to keep the masses in check.

Pros: Repeatable colourless Unsummon
Cons: Requires mana
Rating: 4.5/5

## Tuesday, 12 November 2013

### Pain Lands

These are okay. I'm not a fan since shocklands will deal less damage in the long run, but I can see why some people like them. Still, not much of a fan.

Pros: Dual lands that come into play untapped
Cons: Pings you to produce coloured mana
Rating: 2/5

## Wednesday, 6 November 2013

### Avatars of Prophecy

In honour of my blog's 10,000th view (and my recent rewatching of the Avatar series), I've decided to look at some of the original avatar creatures: The Prophecy Avatars.

Avatar of Fury
This is definitely the middle-of-the-road avatar. Obviously meant for late game, its mana-reduction isn't really that useful (save against ramp decks or when you're mana-screwed). It's a dragon basically that sometimes costs 2.

Pros: Sometimes costs 2
Cons: Pretty much just a dragon
Rating: 3/5

Avatar of Hope
Definitely not the worst avatar but this has the worst mana-reduction cost out of all of them. By the time you're at 3 life, you've probably lost the game. I'd much rather have the card that this is clearly meant to be: Fog.

Pros: Decent blocker
Cons: Terrible mana-reduction, not that powerful
Rating: 1.5/5

Avatar of Might
This is actually my favourite avatar (being part Timmy and all) but it's not the best avatar. It's pretty much just a big stompy creature that works great against token decks. It's also the best avatar combat-wise since it will deal damage through almost every other avatar without combat tricks (stupid Hope).

Pros: Most powerful avatar
Cons: Only stompy, mana-reduction only really works against token decks
Rating: 4/5

Avatar of Will
This is the worst avatar but it has the easiest mana-reduction cost out of all of them. Getting rid of an opponent's hand is fairly easy, especially when you're playing a control deck. However, that fact is let down by this card's general weakness in combat. I'm glad that the blue avatar is the worst one (blue used to have the worst creatures), but it doesn't save this from being the worst avatar.

Pros: Easiest mana-reduction
Cons: Weak
Rating: 0.5/5

Avatar of Woe
This is the avatar that everyone knows and loves and for good reason. It's the best avatar out of the lot. The ability is great and its mana-reduction ability is probably going to happen in a black deck fairly early on. It's just the best overall, save for maybe its combat stats.

Pros: Best ability of all avatars
Cons: Not great combat stats
Rating: 4.5/5

## Sunday, 3 November 2013

### Resurrection

Screw your Zombify! I'll make my own! With the Pope and a hooker and white instead of black and I'll make a time machine to bring it back to Alpha! This card is pretty good. Essentially, read my review of Zombify to get most of my opinions on this card. The only realy difference is that you'll have to go into a second colour (black) to get the absolute most value out of this card. Still, it's a decent card for any white deck.

Pros: Gets something from your yard into play
Cons: Costs 4, requires black for maximum efficiency
Rating: 4/5

P.S. For those wondering about the lack of daily posts, I'm in the midst of packing up to move to the coast so I don't have as much time as I'd like for this. However, I'll still try to keep it at 2 posts per week for now.