Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Magic: The Ten Best Planeswalkers

There are only 40 Planeswalkers to begin with, so by ranking 10 it's quite a few. They are all really powerful despite being expensive and rare. There is even a two mana costed one. I was trying to come up with the worst one, but I really couldn't. There are some that are geared for specific decks - swarm, artifacts...etc. But being limited doesn't mean much because in those types of decks, these cards are game breaking. All that said, here are my ten favorite.

Honorable Mention:
 photo LilianaoftheVeil_zps23a240d9.jpg
There is always an honorable mention.This card is great, no question. Only costing three, she is definitely one of the most useful Planeswalkers. Her ultimate does some damage, her plus one hurts - but neither ability is truly game breaking.

10. Jace, Memory Adept
 photo JaceMemoryAdept_zps6f7b33fa.jpg
Drawing an extra card every turn for five mana is a good deal by itself. But you add the extra mill every turn to prevent scrying and then the plus one becomes pretty neat. Milling for ten in a mill deck is a great deal. The ultimate is the only thing I'm not entirely sold on. You wouldn't always want to do this. Most other walkers have ultimates that are no brainers in all decks.

9. Domri Rade 
 photo DomriRade_zpsc91a7901.jpg
Generally useful removal with the minus two. Heavy creature decks are going to be loading up fast with her plus one. The ultimate will cause some good problems. All three abilities really depend on what you have though, it's not entirely powerful itself which is why it isn't in the upper echelon.

8. Karn Liberated
 photo KarnLiberated_zps3c185abd.jpg
If you can cast this thing, it's going to be hard for your opponent to race. Adding four counters to exile a card is wicked. The ultimate is bananas. The casting cost is what knocks it down a peg or two though.

7. Ajani Vengeant
 photo AjaniVengeant_zpsb887266e.jpg
Let's print a Lightning Helix and one sided Armegeddon on the same card. Honestly those two abilities are crazy good. The key is getting to that point. It doesn't tap cards itself thus not necessarily ensuring the plus one will do anything useful.

6. Ral Zarek 
 photo RalZarek_zps55062ff9.jpg
I like Zarek's plus one slightly more than Ajani. Being able to tap and untap something seems better than not allowing something to untap.The minus two isn't as good, but the ultimate will win you the game just as easy.

5. Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
sorin lord of  photo: Sorin lord of innistrad Sorin.jpg
The ultimate is a game breaker(duh). The plus one is very useful, especially when used in conjunction with the second ability. Putting a 2/1 life-linker out every turn is going to be super hard to beat. Super great value with this card.

4. Liliana Vess
 photo LilianaVess_zpsf74aa4a9.jpg
There are lots of five mana rares which do great things in Magic. Black often gets some nice cards, but not attached onto one. Not only can it tutor for 3 cards freely(if protected of course), it can also create massive card advantage and late game use the ultimate to just cause your opponent to quit.

3. Vraska the Unseen
 photo VraskatheUnseen_zps1c79ad0a.jpg
The ultimate on this one is fairly strange and potentially limited. The other two abilities more than make up for it. Not only can it gain counters by deathtouch, it can also blow up any nasty permanent causing you issues. The five loyalty is great enough that it will at the minimum cause your opponent to spend great resources to deal with this.

2. Jace, the Mind Sculptor
 photo JacetheMindSculptor_zpsee561fd6.jpg
Yes, it's not my number one. Being my second favorite Planeswalker still makes him one of the best cards in the game. A Brainstorm/Boomerang that can also choose if your opponent should keep their next draw? These are great abilities no question. I do like built in protection (8 of them on this list have some sort of it) which Jace is lacking. But if played at the right time, this card will undoubtedly take over a game.

1. Garruk, Primal Hunter
 photo GarrukPrimalHunter_zps098c98f8.jpg
Clearly it can't be splashed, but what this version of Garruk does is no small feat for any green player. A 3/3 creature every turn is it's worst ability. Playing around 6 6/6 creatures as an ultimate is no joke. Being able to draw cards is something green just shouldn't be able to do. In two turns this thing could net a minimum Beast and three cards - for five mana is a sweet deal. One that will quickly dominate the game if not immediately answered.

Friday, July 26, 2013

10 Best It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia Episodes

This show is amazing. There are only a handful that I don't really get as a whole episode, but there are fantastical elements of each. I was told to watch it for years, and when I did I blasted through them and haven't looked back. I have my ten favorite, but I am going to list about 10 as Honorable Mentions - so it's kind of like a top 20 list that I had a hard time narrowing down.

Underage Drinking: A National Concern - The gang reverts to their old ways.
Charlie Wants an Abortion - Dennis crosses the abortion fence during a dual protest.
Hundred Dollar Baby - One of the few Dee only story lines. Something about eating babies.
The Gang Gets Invincible - McBoyles brother reunion while the gang tries to make the Eagles.
Mac is a Serial Killer - One of the greatest endings, not to mention the clown dress up.
Sweet Dee's Dating a Retarded Person - Nightman is born.
The Gang Solves the Gas Crisis - Wildcard!
The Gang Buys a Boat - Dennis trying to explain himself to Mac and Dee's dancing gets me.
Dennis Gets Divorced - It's going around so sayeth Charlie Kelly.
The High School Reunion - We get the cricket, the waitress and an uber drunk song by the gang.
Who Pooped the Bed?  - A Clue like tale.

10. Thunder Gun Express
 photo ThunderGunExpress_zps2ac03d3d.jpg
It was really hard picking these bottom two(9 and 10) but I feel like this one has the perfect setup - one by one they abandon one another until most of the gang end up at their movie destination just in time to get hosed. Just great symmetry here.

9. The Nightman Cometh
The perfect ending to the season, and if this was the last episode ever they might have gone out on top. Franks in-ability to sing tied in with Dee adding her own song(that I hum to myself all the time) in addition adding in Macs comedic Nightman make up an incredible episode.

8. Chardee MacDennis: The Game of Games
 photo ChardeeMacDennisTheGameofGames_zpsf4511a5a.jpg
One of the better later episodes where the gang plays a board game they created and as usual they need to explain everything to Frank. It of course involves drinking, cheating, mutilation and the greatest tiebreaker of all-  a roll of the die.

7. The Gang Gives Back
 photo TheGangGivesBack_zps1e9dcd64.jpg
After being sentenced to community service for the Jihad episode the gang ends up coaching youth basketball. Charlie winds up in AA and convinces the waitress to sponsor him. Their cheating and bafoonry doesn't end up qualifying as time serviced to the community.

6. Mac's Big Break
 photo MacsBigBreak_zpsc343cb84.jpg
Mac answers a hockey question right on the air, so he gets a break in front of a game to make a shot and win so called fame in their eyes. Too bad Mac can't even skate. This has one of the funniest endings.

5. The D.E.N.N.I.S. System
 photo TheDENNISSystem_zps2b480e7f.jpg
We learn of Dennis's system of picking up women only to find out Mac and Frank have their own as well. At the same time they all think Dee is getting played despite being in the complete opposite situation. Wanting to prove his system works, he hatches an elaborate plan.

4. Sweet Dee Has a Heart Attack
Sweet Dee learns her medical care never existed so she and Dennis attempt to get back into a fitness routine though they never seem to get into it. Charlie and Mac accept minimum wage jobs for the health care benefits only to get fired very shortly after.

3. The Gang Gets Held Hostage
The McPoyles take over the bar along with their sister using fake guns. The gang falls for it right in the middle of Frank trying to shred his will. Hijinx ensue consisting of Dee falling to Stockholm syndrome and Dennis trying to make it with the sister. Frank eventually kind of saves the day.

2. Who Got Dee Pregnant?
Dee tells the men that one of them got her pregnant, so they try to get to the bottom of it. The issue is that they were all partly drunk, so everyone has their own version of the story. To get to the bottom of it they enlist Artemis and eventually the McPoyles.

1. The Gang Dances Their Asses Off
I think it's my favorite episode for numerous reasons. Charlie puts the bar up for ownership to the winner of a dance contest because he can't read. Frank is in the middle of determining everyone's rank so instead of working together they are each vying for ownership to declare themselves the number one. The waitress and cricket get involved and they all end up losing the bar.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

My 100 Worst Magic Cards Part 5/5

20. Waste Away
 photo WasteAway_zpsadeddd1f.jpg
Call for Blood(#28) was pretty horrific. Same mana cost, you just had to sacrifice a creature instead of a card from your hand. At least here you can dump a land, but you are still 2-1ing yourself. That one however could at least be spliced and take out things larger than a Craw Wurm.

19. Tomb of Urami
 photo TombofUrami_zps0bff8e32.jpg
Non Ogre decks aside. A pain land swamp. Pretty bad so far. Sacrifice all lands for a 5/5 Flyer? Since this is the last thing you are going to be playing, you had better hope your opponent can't remove it. Creatures and removal are too good now days for a duelist to let a self Armageddoning creature to win. If it wasn't Legendary, or required the sacrifice of all other lands or didn't require tapping - then we might have a situational card. But even a dark ritual doesn't allow for this thing to come out prior to turn 3.

18. Heavy Mattock
 photo HeavyMattock_zpse1dec5f3.jpg
In a Human deck - 5 mana to give +2/+2 is a fairly big waste of time. So help you if you aren't playing Humans. Artifact heavy decks can't even afford to play this thing.

17. Runesword
 photo Runesword_zps1b9f1936.jpg
9 mana to give 2 power to a creature until of turn??!? I guess affected creatures can't regenerate and are exiled is decent, but you have to tap 3 every turn and only targets attacking creatures - which means your opponent doesn't have to block with his regenerators. And of course the icing on the cake - if the creature dies, so does the sword. Bleh!

16. Razor Boomerang
 photo RazorBoomerang_zpscc4e7faf.jpg
5 mana a turn to deal 1 damage to creature or player. Sure not efficient mana wise. Also requires equipping and attaching to a non summoning sickness creature. That sends it over the top into awful status. What the hell is that art? If there is a way to abuse artifacts coming into play, then this does have some value.

15. Magma Vein
 photo MagmaVein_zps6ba1c5a5.jpg
The fact that it can't hurt your opponent or only your opponent's creatures is the reason this is so bad. It costs 4 mana and the additional red requirement of mana to be essentially doing a Pestilence and Stone Rain on yourself at the same time. Not going to work in any non mono red deck. Also not targeting flyers makes this even more limited.

14. Dispersing Orb
 photo DispersingOrb_zps0b53da63.jpg
Very similar in lots of ways to #15. Except it costs 9 whopping mana to use, a whopping 4 extra each time to use it and only bounces cards. At least Magma Vein can take out your opponent's Grim Lavamancer. This just bounces cards temporarily while you sacrifice cards permanently. How is this even remotely playable?

13. Ember Shot/Scorching Spear
 photo EmberShot_zpsaa93b9bd.jpg
I dislike both of these more than Flare (#56, 1 damage, cantrip). 7 mana seems like way too much for a cantrip lighting bolt. It would probably be appropriately costed at 3 or 4. This as it stands is the second worst direct damage in the game. (Oh we will get there soon #1) Scorching Spear on the other hand just seems like a waste of card space/time/effort/art/money. It's not completely useless, but close.

12. Aladdin's Lamp
 photo AladdinsLamp_zpsbc74462f.jpg
My favorite overpriced card. It's been around forever and I've never saw any person or machine cast this thing. It's affect on the game is also so very small. There are enough tutors in the game now that cost 1 mana or even as high as 4 that are much better than this card. I suppose it can grab you the card you need every turn, kind of for the same 10 mana you used to play this thing. The Ring was silly as well, but at least did something. You can draw a card for 1 every turn if you found a way to play this without it's casting cost, beyond that(and possibly animating it) it's another waste of an extra land you could of had.

11. Pyromania
 photo Pyromania_zpsf4e9f312.jpg
5 mana and 2 cards(one possibly useful) to deal 1 damage. Hmm, oh wait you want to use this again? 7 mana and 3 cards to deal 2 damage... At what point can you keep doing this? Entire decks were made out of Stormbind however, so maybe, just maybe, this is balanced.

10. Steamclaw
 photo Steamclaw_zps08adf762.jpg
The best definition of a do nothing artifact with the exception of Darksteel Relic. This however costs 5 mana to remove 1 card in a graveyard from the game. Colorless graveyard hate is one thing, but this is just too expensive. I know of at least 4 artifacts that do this much better. I do like the flavor text on it though(and the art).

9. Wintermoon Mesa
 photo WintermoonMesa_zps0a480c18.jpg
Comes into play tapped and adds one colorless. Okay for this to fly the ability must be pretty good right? Sacrifice it to tap two lands? Who? What? That is astounding bad. I'm not sure if this is worse early or late game. If you draw it early game you have to be treating it as a spell because you can't count on it for a land. You can't use it the turn it comes into play, and if your opponent has any foresight, then it won't do anything late game either.

8. Farmstead
 photo Farmstead_zps3e851f11.jpg
5 white mana means you can't play this is anything without lots of plains. That is the good news. And it's a rare. If both of those don't stop you, then please pay 2 mana a turn to gain 1 life. Please only do this once. And to make matters worse, 4 months later Wizards came out with Fountain of Youth, which is infinitely better in every deck.

7. Armistice
 photo Armistice_zpse761aea4.jpg
Math time: 5WWW and your opponent gains 3 life for this card to just cycle itself. You want card advantage +1? How about 8WWWWW and your opponent gains 6 life. I would actually kind of want my opponent to do this. By the time this gives you any kind of advantage, you have lost 5 mana for a number of turns and given your opponent like 12 life. What a....

6. Bargain
 photo Bargain_zps91dc019a.jpg
My favorite life gaining spell. 2-1 yourself to gain 7 life for the low cost of 3 mana. I'm pretty sure that's not a bargain. Or actually maybe it is for your opponent. Hopefully they aren't playing Mindslaver and force you to play this.

5. Phyrexian Tribute
 photo PhyrexianTribute_zps6e1cb08b.jpg
Poor black, get's hosed in the artifact department. White and Green have Disenchant and Naturalize respectively. While red gets 1 and 2 mana artifact hate as well as Shatterstorm and the like, black ends up with a 3-1 sorcery speed card which also costs 3 mana. This is just wow. Only the truly desperate mono black mage with no other options would consider this sideboard worthy.

4. Security Detail
 photo SecurityDetail_zpsa705fa8f.jpg
6 mana for a 1/1 soldier token that you can create every turn! Except if you have any other creatures of course, but that's hardly a drawback. Suicide attack every turn! That's an endless supply of tokens!

3. Sorrow's Path
 photo SorrowsPath_zps3d9f7182.jpg
The most infamous land of all time. Combos with your opponents Icy Manipulator. Yes, in my opinion there are two cards worse than this.

2. One With Nothing
 photo OnewithNothing_zps7dc85c0e.jpg
Thank goodness this is black, cause if it was green or blue then it would be number 1 for sure. Black at least has those re-animator decks as well as cards which have abilities that deal with having no cards in hand. Those are very specific reasons to play this card. In any other deck this is completely unplayable under any circumstance.

1.  Break Open
 photo BreakOpen_zps6d5b401b.jpg
Congrats to Break Open for being the worst card in the game! Only 2 mana that's not the issue. An instant, also no problem. Your opponent must be playing morphed creatures which severely when you can actually cast this. You can ruin your opponent's surprises! Har. Break Open a Unstable Hulk and force them to lose a turn! Maybe they have Thrashing Mudspawn which you can repeatedly deal damage to! I don't know. I really don't know how this is supposed to help.

Let me know what you think!

Monday, July 15, 2013

100 Movies #3 (60-51)

Rewatch 3. The Avengers
100-3 photo TheAvengers-3_zps322810f9.jpg
Why is it ranked here: I watched this a couple times(just as a warning). This was my fourth time and I still love it. It does take awhile to get where it needs to be as every character has their own intro still. The ending battle is mostly fluff, though better than any single one of these movies has given us so far. I personally like the original Rami Spider-Man 1 fight better, but this might be the second best end-fight. Robert Downey Jr. can do no ill will and it doses he is even better here.
Interesting: The Hulk voice and look was a combination of both Mark Ruffalo and Lou Ferrigno.

Rewatch 2. The Two Towers
100-3 photo TheTwoTowers-1_zpsa51e175f.jpg
Why is it ranked here: I go back and forth on which of these three Rings movies I like the best. It's mostly RotK when I pole myself but sometimes Towers wins. Nothing in all three movies matches the intense feeling of Helm's Deep. They also do the Ents very well. If this trilogy was ever remade, this one would be the hardest to top.The beginning with Gandalf just rocks.
Interesting: To give the orc actors black blood in the mouth they swallowed black liquorice-based mouthwash prior to each of their scenes.

Rewatch 1. Return of the King
100-3 photo ReturnoftheKing-1_zpsd5f7eb9d.jpg
Why is it ranked here: Kind of going down as the epic of our time. Probably on par with both Lawrence of Arabia and the original Star Wars in terms of scope, depth, characters(I love the actor playing Steward Denethor). Of course the biggest problem is the length. There is no way to sit down with this thing and a hour and twenty to blow. It would take you like three sittings.
Interesting: It still amazes me that they created a 3/4 sized city of the city of Gondor. So much detail there that we will never notice. Also one of the first scenes that was done was the climbing of the stairs into Moria which must have been so tough, but they pull it off very well. The battle in the Pelennor fields is just stupid good.

60. Octopussy
100-3b photo Octopussy_zps38e8a55f.jpg
Why is it ranked here: There are some standout scenes with another double O agent dying and a elephant fight scene. But more than that they spend lots of this movie on a train. It's almost as bad as From Russia With Love but not quite. I dislike how he spends 15 minutes running around as a clown(literally) trying to disarm a circus bomb. Even stranger is the end fight scene with a mob of all women this time storming the (end base). And Q just flying in on a balloon was fun silly. They probably don't spend as much time on the lead lady as you would think, though compared to most Bond women it's probably on par.
Interesting:  The role of James Bond almost went to Josh Brolin until Sean Connery came back with the rival company, forcing them to go back to Moore again. Moore's Octopussy ended up beating Never Say Never by almost 30 million.

59. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
100-3 photo OnHerMajestysSecretService_zps74eb1759.jpg
Why is it ranked here: New much more serious Bond just never felt in place here. The beginning beach fight scene was good as was the end chase scene. There are also a great moment of Bond escaping on ski lift cables. I also like the fact that they kept using the #1 Bloefeld character despite every actor changing. The plot was even more nonsense than usual - Bond and a woman pretending to be botanists or something while SPECTRE hypnotizes women into becoming suicidal bombers. I might be off on pieces, but it doesn't matter in the end. The problem was I didn't care about the plot. It was the longest Bond, though Casino Royale might be close.
Interesting: One of the most faithful adaptations of an Ian Fleming novel. Almost everything in the book occurs in the film. This caused some continuity problems due to the different order of the films. For example, in this film Bond and Blofeld seem to be meeting for the first time, despite having met face-to-face in You Only Live Twice. Also the first Bond movie with skis, though it seems like every movie after this has them.

58. Moonraker
100-3 photo Moonraker_zpsca7e8f62.jpg
Why is it ranked here: According to Now Playing reviews - none of us is going to be in danger of making this their favorite Bond. I disagree pretty strongly. This movie had everything to me. Or maybe it was just the funniest one to me. But either way it got a rise out of me as a whole movie more than anything I had watched prior to this. It wasn't until Casino Royal or Goldfinger that I found a movie that entertained me as much. Boy did I laugh hard at the space marines with their lasers. We can all blame Star Wars for forcing everything into space at this time. Jaws is the best villain of all time. Not even the Goldfinger/Odd Job duo can top this guy.
Interesting: Made more money than any Bond movie up until Golden Eye.

57. Grizzly Man
100-3b photo GrizzlyMan_zps1b213b35.jpg
Why is it ranked here: A fairly interesting premise for a documentary. A man who thinks he is in-tune with Grizzly bears eventually gets himself and his girlfriend killed by a bear. The motivation behind the man and the cause of his death are interesting, but beyond that and we are trampling on a man, his life's work and it's just not terribly interesting to me. An hour and 40 minutes which might have worked as an hour special. Not something I would every choose to re-watch.
Interesting: The actual audio tape of the couple dying was not included in the film though there are many claiming to be real on YouTube.

56. The Dictator
100-3b photo TheDictator-1_zps056a7123.jpg
Why is it ranked here: Some of the jokes work here. I like and accept Cohen being this bad tyrant. Most of the jokes that work involve his killing of henchmen, dislike of women and generally being an ass. But all that works for me. It's when he is thrown out into New York that it loses quite a bit of charm. By the end though it all falls apart for me as something that I care about. It is funny seeing him repeated calling Anna Faris a man. Aasif Mandvi and Ben Kingsley are two of the best actors.
Interesting: Sacha Baron Cohen attended The 84th Annual Academy Awards in character and full costume but banned from entering after spilling ashes onto Seacrest.

55. Tomorrow Never Dies
100-3 photo 
Why is it ranked here: I kept putting off watching this one when I was younger. It was always Golden Eye or The World Is Not Enough for me. This one has some great stuff though. The motorcycle chase is great as is the remote car scene. The plot is really silly if you compare it to today's time. The villain is charismatic though and the Bond girl is also more entertaining than usual. We also get a good Teri Hatcher. Upper echelon of Bond movies for sure. The opening is pretty great as well.
Interesting: Tomorrow Never Dies was a typo at some point as it was supposed to be Tomorrow Never Lies which makes more sense given the plot.

54. The World is Not Enough
100-3 photo TheWorldisNotEnough_zps6798811b.jpg
Why is it ranked here: In actuality it's a tie between this and Tomorrow Never Dies. Much more M here. I was less forgiving watching this time than previously maybe having this been like my 20th Bond in a row. Denise Richards, John Cleese and Sophie Marceau all just make me shudder with their lines. The villain is given a silly gimmick, but is very Bond like. It gave me a Mission Impossible 2 vibe for it's level of mediocrity. The submarine fight at the end is fairly anti-climatic.
Interesting: This movie and Sleepy Hollow are the only 2 films in U.S. history to open on the same day and each gross $30 million their opening weekend. (Note that is definitely not true now, though great for movies at the time)

53. Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present
100-3 photo TheArtistisPresent_zps9a731698.jpg
Why is it ranked here: A Hellen pick of an older performance artist given a chance to be remembered. A group of younger artists perform in the New York museum of modern art what Marina used to while herself giving a performance of sitting in a chair for 3 months and looking at whoever will come and sit with her. It touches on her past love, a man who also does a sit with her.
Interesting: James Franco makes an appearance and an unknowing stranger recommends he be an actor.

52. Friends With Kids
100-3 photo FriendsWithKids_zps6a9e342b.jpg
Why is it ranked here: Very enjoyable movie about a couple of friends who decide they can have a child together without all the relationship parts after seeing their friends fight and get divorced through the years. It of course fails. But it's characters are lovable and we root for them. SNL Bridesmaids cast of Rudolph and Wiig as well as Adam Scott. The movie is entertaining and doesn't slow down too often. It ends in a unique but perfect spot. Hellen and I both loved it and will probably add it to our collection.
Interesting: It stars the one time director - Jennifer Westfeldt. Not unheard of in today's day as Affleck, Eastwood, Clooney, Costner, Favreau, Gibson, Penn, Redford, Stallone, Stiller all do this. But only Jodi Foster represents the director/actress for women.

51. People Like Us
100-3 photo PeopleLikeUs_zps03dd31c1.jpg
Why is it ranked here: Beautiful movie about siblings separated due to a father's infidelity. Chris Pine is awesome here as the brother trying to get to know his sister and her son. It hits all the right spots and has such a great supporting cast of Michelle Pfeiffer and Olivia Wilde. The child actor almost becomes likeable as well. Probably should have been called daddy issues.
Interesting: The director rehearsed for two weeks with the cast prior to shooting which is unheard of and also a great idea. The only other movie I know of to do this - The Breakfast Club also works though I'm sure there are more examples of this.

Halfway complete.
I am all finished with talking about my re-watched movies for this 100.
Next 100 movies also includes re-watches of People Like Us as well as the Avengers.
5 Bond movies = 11 down I think? Not even halfway through those yet.
2 documentaries neither I loved but were both entertaining in their own ways.
2 fantastic movies which I really enjoyed.
Only 1 Pixar movie so far, lots of those to go.
Sacha Baron Cohen needs to do another Borat movie.