Sunday, May 26, 2013

My Top 20 Land Cards

Mana producing is the most important part of magic. Being able to play all your spells is vital. Some land cards obviously have more value than others. Some have less value than others: see Wintermoon Mesa. Whether or not you count these cards towards your mana ratio depends on if the card can generate mana and what type of deck you have. These are my favorite 20 lands.

20. Dryad Arbor
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A free Llanowar Elf is nothing to sneeze at. Though that's all he does and doesn't actually count as an elf which is why he is good, but not great.

19. Mishra's Factory
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One of the better lands to play in either artifact/metalcraft decks or with multiples. A 2/2 attacker by turn 2 is nothing to sneeze at and the fact that it probably won't be killed by sorceries is a nice bonus. Late game doesn't do much which is why multiples help.

18. Kessig Wolf Run
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Probably won't dominate any games but it does give any creature you have the ability to pump. Late game this thing will cause problems. Early game might not do much.

17. Arena
magic land photo Arena_zpsa7e6c08f.jpg
Give any creature you control the ability to pit fight another. Oh and repeat as many times as there are creatures your opponent has. Just get a large enough creature and watch as he takes down your opponent's weenies one by one. Why I don't like it more - it doesn't produce mana and it costs 4 cards a turn isn't a tiny investment. OH, it's also a book.

16. Lotus Vale/Scorched Ruins
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These can fix many mana issues you have, though it totally depends on how much you need different colors of mana verse speed. Scorched Ruins seems stronger to me as it gives you a 2 mana jump lead but you need a way to use all that colorless mana - thanks no mana burn!

15. Crumbling Necropolis
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Really strong lands for decks playing all 3 colors. That being said, the more(comes into play tapped) you play, the more problems you are going to have in the beginning of the game. Perfect for control decks though.

14. Slayer's Stronghold
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Giving any creature you play the potential to get haste is going to change how your opponent behaves which gives you an advantage. Oh and this card gives +2/0 and vigilance on top of it, so it can also block first turn?! Biggest downside is that all the haste creatures just happen to be red anyway.

13. Yavimaya Hollow
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Regenerating happens to be underrated. The possibility of regenerating any of your creatures makes so many types of removal not nearly as effective or gives you card advantage.

12. Pillar of the Paruns
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This obviously has to fit into the right deck. You need to be able to use the darn thing. But it's not legendary, so if you are running all multicolored cards - run 4 of these puppies.

11. Maze of Ith
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It's best use is opponent deterrent in multi-player games. It does untap the creature and leave it for blocking. Can also save your own creatures due to combat tricks.

10. Vault of the Archangel
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Deathtouch/Lifelink is one of my favorite combos. So giving all your creatures these abilities is just great. 5 mana a turn(essentially) isn't tiny but with enough creatures this becomes quite a threat.

9. Gavony Township
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Very similar to number 10 except this effect is permanent. The newer sets abuse +1/+1 counters as well.

8. Ancient Tomb
magic land photo AncientTomb_zps8a0a45af.jpg
Free Sol Ring. But slightly more balanced as 2 damage seems like a painful drawback, but still can create some huge advantage for you early game.

7. Strip Mine
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So many combos can be derived from this card. But destroying your opponents best land for 0 mana is always great value.

6. Savannah/Underground Sea/Plateau/Tiaga/Badlands..etc
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Dual lands are the best mana producing lands. No question. The five I placed ahead of this have the ability to take over a game with their other abilities while these are just simply mana producing lands. Lots of people like the tutor lands, but these are infinitely better.

5. Kjeldoran Outpost
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Slow to get going, but eventually for essentially three mana creates a 1/1 every turn. You have to be able to use this effectively so it's not for all decks. But white weenies everywhere unite.

4. Thawing Glaciers
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Also takes some time to get going, but given the course of a game this thing will help your draw chances late game so much.

3. Volrath's Stronghold
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It's almost like cheating if you have a good creature or two that your opponent just doesn't have the right removal for.

2. Mishra's Workshop
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Clearly only good in artifact decks, but that doesn't stop it from being my number 2. Basically a reusable black lotus in those decks. Play three of these in a row and welcome your own Colossus of Sardia.

1. Library of Alexandria
 photo LibraryofAlexandria_zpsef7768d5.jpg
Typical game:
Turn one: draw a card
Turn two: draw a card
Turn three: draw a card
Turn four: draw a card
Turn five: draw a card
Repeat and opponent can't keep up.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

100 Movies #3 (100-91)

Took 6 months again (October-April). This 100 list will include the 10 Oscar nominated shorts, every James Bond movie and every Pixar movie. Also re-watched 15 movies, so I will go over these again.

Rewatch 15. John Carter
100-3 photo JohnCarter-1_zpsa104fe60.jpg
Why is it ranked here: Wanted to try out a 3D movie. I liked it enough the first time to watch it again with someone else. William Dafoe has a great voice. Two holy shit moments.
Interesting: Rumor that it cost 300 million to make even though it bombed.


Rewatch 14. Diehard 2
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Why is it ranked here: Marathon to re-watch every Diehard movie before 5 came out. Fairly disappointing as people still had the original in their minds.
Interesting: Title taken from a french book called 58 Minutes To Live. Though in the book the hero's wife dies.


Rewatch 13. Diehard 4
100-3 photo Diehard4-1_zpsba01edb9.jpg
Why is it ranked here: I personally dislike Justin Long and the PG-13 rating neuters the movie. It just doesn't have the same punch that 3 had.
Interesting: Story taken from an article in Wired magazine. Originally not a Diehard movie called ww3.com. 9-11 basically put it on hiatus. Almost had the title Die Hardest. John almost battled pirates and ninjas in different versions of this movie.


100. Adam and Dog
100-3 photo AdamandDog_zpsdb1bcaf4.jpg
Why is it ranked here: Oscar nominated animated short. Nice discovery if you don't know what the story is about. A silent film though and kind of dragged.
Interesting: 1,600 a minute. Dog acts like a real dog in the garden of Eden. All hand drawn and done by a Disney animator.


99. Buzkashi Boys
100-3 photo BuzkashiBoys_zps9c40080f.jpg
Why is it ranked here: Oscar short. It's about kids who want to play polo with a dead goat, so it's kind of hard to get behind. I didn't really understand the ending
Interesting:  Shot on location in Afghanistan with two young boys who actually live there.


98. Henry
100-3 photo Henry_zps4c7eeda3.jpg
Why is it ranked here: Oscar short. Almost psychological thriller like, or as can be as a short. Touching, but predictable.
Interesting: A personal story. The director's previous short Moi was also award winning.


97. Casino Royale
100-3 photo CasinoRoyale_zps2fad4e77.jpg
Why is it ranked here: The original if you don't count the first TV show movie. Features multiple James Bonds, Woody Allen and a twist.
Interesting: Got Ursula Andress back from the first Dr. No. Script was worked on by Orson Welles. Peter Sellers(Bond) was fired before the movie ended.


96. Fresh Guacamole
100-3 photo FreshGuacamole_zps891427b9.jpg
Why is it ranked here: Oscar nominated short. Only 2 minutes in length but very entertaining and creative.
Interesting: The shortest running time ever for an Oscar nominated film.


95. Head Over Heels
100-3b photo HeadOverHeels_zpsed466861.jpg
Why is it ranked here: Oscar nominated short. Also basically a silent film with a nice twist.
Interesting: Done with stop motion. Won a whole bunch of awards.


94. Kurt & Courtney
100-3 photo KurtampCourtney_zps913756f5.jpg
Why is it ranked here: I was in the mood for some information on the duo and death of Cobain. While it's covered here, they also interview people whose opinion I don't care about. They also make it sound like a conspiracy which isn't a great take. The rest is about Courtney Love which I also don't care about.
Interesting:  Didn't get permission to use any Nirvana music which kind of hurts it. Although makes sense as in one scene they try to ambush Courtney.


93. Asad
100-3 photo Asad_zps2e5ad1ae.jpg
Why is it ranked here: Oscar nominated short. Probably the second best one. A boy tries to catch a fish while trying to survive.
Interesting:  Produced in South Africa. No one had any acting experience prior to this. Won 12 festival awards.


92. The Return of the King (Cartoon)
100-3b photo TheReturnoftheKingCartoon_zpse81aca3b.jpg
Why is it ranked here: Part of the Hobbit marathon. Done by the same group that did the Hobbit cartoon. They add some interesting moments you don't see in the live version. Gollum sounds so bad though as does evil Sam Gamgee.
Interesting: The previous animated version of LOTR ended with the Two Towers leaving fans demanding the third part be done. The same voice actor who was Bilbo is also Frodo.


91.Death of a Shadow
100-3 photo DeathofaShadow_zps4328b253.jpg
Why is it ranked here: Oscar nominated short. A photographer in limbo takes pictures of people's shadows before they die to try and win a second chance at life. Clever idea if not a happy ending.
Interesting: Also the second short by this director. Won five other festival awards.

My Top 20 Common Magic Cards

This is mostly a game of strategy. While there is an element of luck as well there is also the third element. Not everyone is on the same playing field. I remember when we first bought cards back in Revised days. Everyone had a 5 color starter deck. We occasionally bought an Ice Age booster, but we were generally on the same page. That is definitely not true for everyone.

Common cards are important to know because well they are cheap and available. Any of the cards I'm about to list here are playable and generally splashable (and again cheap). Not only cheap but available as these only include the latest block and Magic 2013.


20. Cloudfin Raptor
Magic - Common photo 
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One of the best one drops in the game, needs many big creatures to be uber effective, but even a 1/2 flyer first turn can be a pest against the wrong deck.


19. Drakewing Krasis
Magic - Common photo 
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Maybe this thing has killed me too much, but I love it. If you can't deal with flying the 3 damage every turn will get you quickly. Doesn't hurt that he trades with normal 3 toughness creatures.


18. Ivy Lane Denizen
Magic - Common photo 
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In a mono green deck with many creatures this thing will just give awesome value to your army. Especially if you play multiples.


17.  Essence Backlash
Magic - Common photo 
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I'm not a big fan of counter spells in most decks, and creature specific ones are even worse. This one is expensive to boot. However the damage part of this card can be very useful around the time you could cast this thing. Destroying a 3/3 creature and doing 3 damage is worth 4 mana.


16. Basilica Screecher
Magic - Common photo 
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Extort is awesome, and flying is awesome. Put onto one creature and you have a valuable little card.
Anything this cheap which gains you life at the expense of your opponent with left over mana is sweet.

Other Common Ideas: Syndic of Tithes, Bloodhunter Bat
Magic - Common photo 
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15. Sluiceway Scorpion
Magic - Common photo 
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A 2/2 deathtouch for 4 might make this fairly relevant, remember how much of a pain Thicket Basilisk was? But to add the scavenge ability and you have a great card all around.


14. Ajani's Sunstriker
Magic - Common photo 
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Good two drops are important and when you can gain 2, 4 heck maybe even 6 life before biting it gives some great advantage.

Other Common Ideas: Boros Mastiff, Skyknight Legionnaire
 Magic - Common photo 
BorosMastiff_zps4502f697.jpgMagic - Common photo 
SkyknightLegionnaire_zpsff3f774e.jpg


13. Encrust
Magic - Common photo 
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Blue doesn't get straight removal like White or Black. It also doesn't get damage spells like Red and Black. It does however get cards like these which nullify creatures. There are many similar ones, but this one is definitely one of my favorite as it targets artifacts.


12. Thrashing Mossdog
Magic - Common photo 
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I'm not sure which ability is my favorite, lifelink, double strike, flying, etc. What I do know is that the scavenge ability just gives so many options and ideally a creature like this already has cost your opponent a card.


11. Crocanura
 Magic - Common photo 
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All three of these come down to which secondary ability do you want on your creature, reach, trample, flash or flying on Cloudfin Raptor. I like these better than the raptor as they don't require other cards to be effective.

Other Common Ideas: Battering Krasis, Shambleshark
 Magic - Common photo 
BatteringKrasis_zps6861291b.jpgMagic - Common photo 
Shambleshark_zps35d77745.jpg


10. Splatter Thug
Magic - Common photo 
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Awesome version of the Gray Ogre. 3/3 first striker on turn 3 will surely get some damage in.

Other Common Ideas: Goblin Electromancer
Magic - Common photo 
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9. Martial Glory
Magic - Common photo 
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Almost a super giant growth, it has such potential to two for one and allow your creatures to live through battle.

Other Common Ideas:  Madcap Skills
Magic - Common photo 
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8. Deathcult Rogue
Magic - Common photo 
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Unblockable cards can do wonders for other types of cards - infect, equipment, cipher. There aren't too many rouges out there though Dragon's maze did add a bunch hopefully in response to this thing.

Other Common Ideas: Bladetusk Boar
 Magic - Common photo 
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7. Oblivion Ring 
Magic - Common photo 
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White has so many removal options, but Oblivion Ring might be the best as it can take anything out for a mere 3 mana. I did just notice this picture looks gray, so it might not be common?

Other Common Ideas: Pacifism, Divine Verdict
Magic - Common photo 
DivineVerdict_zpseb694b2e.jpgMagic - Common photo 
Pacifism_zps1eb91d95.jpg


6. Dragon Hatchling
Magic - Common photo 
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Not overly powerful but in a mono red deck this thing can do some damage. The problem with it being red is that red almost always has something else to do. Just imagine if it was green though.


5. Sentinel Spider
Magic - Common photo 
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Green finally got it's Serra Angel/Sengir Vampire. There is no argument that this is good value for a common creature.


4. Deadly Recluse
Magic - Common photo 
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I can't think of many better defensive cards period. And the thing is only 2 mana... it gives Skylasher a run for it's money.


3. Searing Spear
Magic - Common photo 
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Lighting bolt or Incinerate it is not. But it is still an instant and still a great card.


2. Rancor
Magic - Common photo 
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This thing is annoying as you can't get rid of it. The cards below are good in their own way. Rancor doesn't have the element of surprise, but the re-useability factor makes it one of the best auras and common cards.

Other Common Ideas: Pytoburst, Titanic Growth
Magic - Common photo 
Phytoburst_zpse1550aa8.jpg Magic - Common photo 
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1.  Murder
Magic - Common photo 
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Best removal spell for a black deck? Beats Terror, Go For the Throat, Grizzly Spectacle, Doom Blade, you name it.