Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Voodoo Doll

Voodoo Doll
When I think of a card based on a voodoo doll, this isn't exactly what I had in mind. I really like the "this will come back to bite you" aspect of the card but there's a of things holding this back. I think the biggest problem with this card is the "must" clause in the first line. If you didn't have to put a pin counter on this every turn, it would be a lot better. The other big problem is the cost. It costs 8 for 1 damage! EIGHT. That's re-donk-u-lus. Flavourwise, I like it. Functionality, I don't like it.

Pros: Colourless sources of escalating damage
Cons: Extremely expensive, can bite you hard
Rating: 0.5/5

Sunday, 26 January 2014


Bounteous KirinCelestial KirinCloudhoof KirinInfernal KirinSkyfire Kirin
Yay! Flying horseys! Before I start on each card, I want to remind people that even though these all require a Spirit or Arcane spell, there are a lot more Spirits than you probably think there are (white has 89, blue has 66, black has 86, red has 41, green has 64, and there are 2 colourless ones; not including cards with Changeling), so that won't count against them.

Bounteous Kirin
Easily the worst flying horsey. Its effect isn't that bad but the cost is way off. This should not cost 7, plain and simple. Even if it's a moderately beefy green flier.
Pros: Moderately beefy green flier
Cons: Weak effect, too expensive
Rating: 0.5/5

Celestial Kirin
As long as you limit yourself to not casting Spirit or Arcane spells with a CMC of 4, you're golden with this card. I've made an EDH around it and it's pretty fun. If only there was a 0-cost Spirit or Arcane spell I could put in there...

Pros: Wraths with regularity
Cons: Makes you want to avoid the number 4
Rating: 4.5/5

Cloudhoof Kirin
Mill can be fun, and this card is really effective at it. The only real thing I have against this is that milling itself isn't that strong usually, so you be having fun with this, but you might not be winning.

Pros: Super easy mill
Cons: Mill is weak
Rating: 4/5

Infernal Kirin
Another card that makes me want a 0-cost Spirit or Arcane spell. It's very much like Celestial Kirin in that it's pretty awesome and you have the added bonus of not needing to avoid the number 4!

Pros: Super effective control
Cons: Dies to Murder
Rating: 5/5

Skyfire Kirin
I really, really, wish they had added "that creature gains haste" to this card's effect line. It can still be fun with different sack effects or standing haste-giving effects (like Burst of Speed), but otherwise this card was really hobbled by that omission.

Pros: Temporary creature steal
Cons: Doesn't give stolen creatures haste
Rating: 2/5

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The other allied colour cards (Time Spiral)

Ancient GrudgeMomentary BlinkMystical TeachingsThrill of the Hunt
So, I didn't even realize that Strangling Soot was part of a set, but apparently it is. Time Spiral had a 5-card set where each card had a flashback cost that was an allied colour.

Ancient Grudge
So good, it got reprinted. To start, it's Shatter, which is a great card and then they added flashback for cheaper on top of it. It saves the Gruul player from needing 8 card slots to deal with artifacts by having 4 of this card.

Pros: Great value
Cons: Doesn't cost 1 both times
Rating: 5/5

Momentary Blink
Another example of a great card that got made better. Flicker was a decent card, but it didn't save the permanent in flickered because it was Sorcery speed. This card was sped-up and given twice as many uses. Its flashback cost is a little expensive, but considering the value you'll get out of it, it doesn't bother me that much.

Pros: Sped-up Flicker
Cons: Flashback cost is a bit high
Rating: 4.5/5

Mystical Teachings
An Instant-speed tutor in blue that doesn't put the card on top of the library? Awesome. An Instant-speed tutor in blue that can pull Instants or Creatures? Awesomer. It does cost a little much both times, but since it's basically an Instant-speed Diabolic Tutor (not really, but kind of) with flashback.

Pros: Instant-speed Instant/Creature tutor
Cons: Expensive
Rating: 4.5/5

Thrill of the Hunt
And, we come to the runt of the group. I really wish this card was +2/+2 or +3/+0 instead of +1/+2. It's just not that useful in most situations. At least it doesn't cost too much.

Pros: Buff
Cons: Tiny buff
Rating: 2/5

Monday, 20 January 2014

Strangling Soot

Strangling Soot
Let's be honest here: this is basically a black Thunderclap (except it's not free). I know it's not exactly the same things, but it essentially serves the same purpose: to kill that little utility creature. Black has better options to kill little utility creatures in my opinion (MurderDeath StrokeRend FleshSmother, Victim of Night), but this is the only one with flashback, so it gets some points there, despite the high cost. I'd rather pay 6 to kill a Dark Confidant in the late game than not be able to at all.

Pros: Black kill spell with flashback
Cons: Limited targets, expensive flashback
Rating: 2.5/5

Friday, 17 January 2014

Steeple Roc

Steeple Roc
This card really should have cost 4 instead of 5. Plover Knights is a better example of a common creature that should cost 5 and even then it's not that great. It just comes in too late to really be threat in most situations and it dies to light tap. All in all, not a great card.

Pros: 3 power flying first striker
Cons: Only 1 toughness, costs 5
Rating: 1/5
Replacement: Plover Knights

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Magic: the Movie

So, I just heard that Fox just got the rights to a Magic movie, and I got to thinking: what type of reviewer would I be if I didn't pitch in my two cents?

To start, Simon Kinberg is supposed to be writing it, and given his writing credits, I'd give it a 50/50 shot at being adequately written. I mean, I wasn't a fan of the Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr, but other people liked it, so I'll give that a pass. However, I didn't really like his handling of established characters in X-Men: The Last Stand, so that counts against my hopes. I also have zero faith in Fox in general, so that's a knock against this too (for me at least). But, rather than go into anymore details about my lack of hope for the film (the last WotC film was Dungeons & Dragons remember), I'm going to give you my thoughts on what would be the best cast for the film. Might as well give this movie a shot, right? Now, I doubt this thing will be given oodles of money, so I'm picking from a "discount actor list" of sorts. Also, I'm about to sound really pretentious, so apologies in advance.

Urza: Jeremy Irons
Jeremy Irons Picture
In the vain hope that the classic planeswalkers will make an appearance, I really hope Jeremy Irons is on the shortlist to play Urza. I don't care what people say, I love his acting. Yes, he was corny and over-the-top in Dungeons & Dragons, but he was amazing in The Borgias and The Lion King. He brings all of the necessary class and pomp required of the greatest planeswalker of all time.

Karn: Vincent D'Onofrio
Vincent D'Onofrio Picture
Since the more likely scenario is a newer storyline, Karn would be well-served by Vincent D'Onofrio. This man can do everything and that dedication is what a complex role like Karn would need to bring his story to the screen. His voice is great, his acting is great, everything about what Vincent brings to the screen is what a character like Karn needs.

Chandra: Paget Brewster
Paget Brewster Picture
I really think Paget Brewster is a great actress that seems to thrive in nerdy roles (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Dan Vs., Harvey Birdman, etc) and this would be a perfect movie role for someone like that. I've seen (and heard) a lot of her work, and I just see her pulling off a good Chandra. 

Teferi: Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne Johnson Picture
Was there any other choice? For those who remember, Teferi was kind of a prankster as a child and I think that Dwayne could pull it off. He's shown his acting chops and I think that Teferi would be a good role for him. He's fun, he's playful, he's the best guy to play Teferi. Oh, and for those saying "Teferi isn't muscular!": bleh. I personally think that jumping around space and time would give you some guns.

Elspeth: Samantha Morton
Samantha Morton Picture
I'll admit that I didn't know who this was until I started this list, but I know her work and I like it. I found a clip of Samantha in Minority Report and I instantly thought that she could make a good Elspeth. Seriously, look at that movie and tell me you couldn't see her stabbing Tom Cruise with a giant spear.

Jace: Michael Weatherly
Michael Weatherly Picture
Take a deep breath and hang on to your flame comments until after you read my reasons why I think Michael Weatherly would make a good Jace. Jace is a cocky, over-confident jackass who can't do everything he thinks he can, right? Well, that sounds a lot like his character on NCIS, doesn't it? Jace also has to break off important relationships in order to protect the other person, but still fights himself over the decision, just like Logan in Dark Angel, another one of his characters. What I'm saying is, Michael Weatherly has essentially played Jace most of his career, just in small parts. Okay, you can commence the fireworks now.

Well, that's who I think should play whom in the Magic movie. And, if they don't actually care about the movie at all, here's who I think they should pick to try and get "so-bad-it's-good" status.

Urza: Al Pacino
Karn: Vince Vaughn
Chandra: Kristen Stewart
Teferi: Bokeem Woodbine
Elspeth: Adam Sandler in a wig
Jace: Christian Slater

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Unnatural Selection

Unnatural Selection
Changing creatures types has always been a favourite trick of mine and I honestly didn't know this card existed until today. I had always thought that I was going to be forced to use Artificial Evolution as my Instant-speed, single target creature type change, but now I know better. The only real problem with changing creature type is that its usefulness is very limited, but it can still be pretty fun. Use with with something like Endemic Plague or a Champion creature for maximum effect.

Pros: Instant-speed cheap creature type change
Cons: Limited usefulness, only until EOT
Rating: 3.5/5

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Vampiric Link

Vampiric Link
Oh Planar Chaos, you so crazy! This honestly makes a lot of sense to me. Vampires have always been black, so it only makes sense that something that drains life gains you life as well. I also like this card because it hasn't been errata'd to lifelink, meaning it stacks with cards like Blood Baron of Vizkopa and Voracious Hatchling. I still think my favourite combo with this card involves Sleeper Agent. Actually, that's not really a combo. It's just awesome. Still, it's an Aura, meaning some card disadvantage when the creature dies, but who cares? This card is still awesome.

Pros: Better-than-lifelink in black
Cons: Requires a creature
Rating: 4.5/5

Monday, 6 January 2014

Mortis Dogs

Mortis Dogs
This isn't really a terrible card despite its initial impact. Yes, it's a 2/2 for 4 with no evasion. On that basis alone, it's pretty bad, but there are other factors here. Imagine it as a Shock stapled to a Forest Bear. It`s like that other 2/2 for 4 that does damage when it dies: Shock Troops. The main difference of course being that you can blow up Shock Troops whenever you want and it can target creatures. This card has to die by some other means and can't hit creatures, but it gets a bonus to attack and its damage is variable. It basically asks your opponent if they want to keep taking 4 damage, discard a card and lose 2 life, or sacrifice a creature (probably) and lose 4 life.

Pros: Opponent doesn't want to get rid of it, bonus when attacking
Cons: A 2/2 for 4, no evasion, can't target creatures
Rating: 3/5

Friday, 3 January 2014

Hand of Death

Hand of Death
This one's going to be short because there isn't much to say about this. It was really good until Doom Blade came along (this happened to a lot of cards). Now, it's considered pretty bad because of its speed and cost. Still, I have some nostalgia for this card (and Portal-style starter sets in general).

Pros: Kills a creature
Cons: Strictly worse Doom Blade
Rating: 0.5/5