Monday, December 30, 2013

100 Uniquely Strong Magic Creatures Part 1/5

After running across an unique creature with a strange power and toughness - I started wondering how many different power toughness combinations there were in the game. I figured it would be about 465 combinations if every creature existed from 30(CPT) combined power toughness to 1.
This was obviously not the case.
I found 95 creatures(as of Theros) which have an unique power and toughness combination.

A fun activity I felt was to go through and review all of them one by one by increasing CPT. These aren't necessarily the most powerful creatures, but the highest rated cards that I found that I wasn't familiar with so I could hopefully say something interesting about them.
I couldn't keep the list at 95, so I have rounded it out with some nice beasts.

? CPT 
Serra Avatar
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There are a few creatures with */*, Wood Elemental anyone? This guy/girl? is pretty good. Though it's hampered by lack of evasion, graveyard tricks and expensive cost. But it may be your life gaining deck's champion.

-2 CPT
Spinal Parasite
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Your best hope is a 4/4 which can remove two counters from a permanent. That's a low ceiling. But the floor starts below the ground.

Golgari Grave Troll
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This guy is great albeit a bit slow. Dredge 6 with stats that get better in a large graveyard is pretty decent. Regen to boot. Of course you could just cast him as 0/0 and have him die.

Argothian Enchantress
Shroud is the best thing and the worst thing as you can't make her useful without more enchantments, which even in an enchantment heavy deck won't have a ton.

People of the Woods
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2 mana for a 1/1 isn't good, but maybe you are top decking a 1/7 for 2 mana?

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I had to look the rules up for -1, but it's really just 0. Double Strike is powerful, even if it cost three mana to do four damage a turn. The potential is here.

Azami, Lady of Scrolls 
5 mana to draw an extra card every turn? Good deal. So ab-usable with more wizards or ways of untapping. 

Priest of Titania 
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In the elf deck, this gets nuts and quick. 

Aven Trailblazer 
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Does it matter too much if it's a 2/1 or 2/3? I guess it helps, but three mana is the base line for a two power flyer, whichever way you cut it.

Forgotten Ancient 
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Yikes this thing is dumb. I think I want to give this thing a try. Both players make it bigger. It's going to grow super fast AND can move the counters to other creatures. Score.

Goblin Piledriver 
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1/2 pro blue for 2 is meh. That second ability though makes it a killer goblin lord.

Vampire Hexmage
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I like it. Nice weenie for black which rarely gets good two drops. Late game it can kill hydras and Planeswalkers.

Wall of Tears 
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This can gain pseudo card advantage in the right situation. Or it can block the most expensive creature causing a nice setback.

Painter's Servant 
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I'm sure there are fun ways to abuse this. Grindstone and Gloom look pretty interesting.

Venser, Shaper Savant 
It's useful. I don't know why it's a mythic rare. Bouncing spells or creatures is decent and can create some card advantage but not likely going to cause a blowout.

 photo Ichorid_zps8de101e5.jpg
Slightly worse than Hellspark Elemental. But it does have the power to come back multiple times.

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Four mana gets you a blocker that leaves in it's wake a blue non flying pyroclasm(at minimum). Very easy to work around.

Tradewind Rider
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This guy used to be a tournament hoss. It's not hard to see how good it can be in a controlling deck.

Peregrine Drake
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Five is quite a bit, even for a 'free' spell. 2/3 fliers are indeed solid, but this strikes me as  inconvenient to work around rather than actually gaining a big advantage.

Troll Ascetic
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Very solid for 3 mana. Put an enchantment or equipment on him and let him rip.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Top 30 Movies I Want To See In 2014

I come up with 30 movies that I want to see at the beginning of each year.
Top 30 Movies I Want To See In 2011
Top 30 Movies I Want To See In 2012
Top 30 Movies I Want To See In 2013

Usually the list of movies I want to see will double or triple by the years end.
20 Movies I Want To See

Sometimes movies don't come out in the year they were predicted to. 300 and Sin City were on my list last year and still haven't come out yet.
10 Most anticipated movies of 2009 and beyond

Sometimes movies sneak up on me that I would have absolutely put on the list that I just simply didn't know about a year beforehand.
See: Anchorman 2, Monsters University, Hangover 3(not so much after seeing Hangover 2)

Sometimes movies get different names put on them or something drastic changes with them.(Rise of the Planet of the Apes, That's My Boy, The World's End) Movies that have trailers out already get some bonus points for currently existing but the ranking generally is for how much the premise tickles me.

Three that I want to see but without knowing anything else about them(when/if they are coming out),
I can't justify putting on this list:
Night at the Museum 3
Hercules(Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson)
A Million Ways to Die in the West(Seth McFarlane)

It's fun to judge myself from a year ago, or a couple years ago just to see how wrong I was or how little options there were at the time.
Sucker Punch, Battle LA and Hangover 2 were all in my top ten? Bleh.
Last year would Bullet to the Head been ahead of American Hustle or Wolf of Wall Street? Ha! No...

Films I considered that didn't make the cut:
I, Frankenstein - I Robot, but with Frankensteins.

The Other Woman - Three women get cheated on by the same guy, all become friends. They already came out with this movie in John Tucker Must Die, and that wasn't funny either.

3 Days to Kill - Like Kevin Costner, dislike generic action movies.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit - Like Chris Pine, dislike generic action movies.

Pompeii - Like...the story of Pompeii?? Dislike generic action movies.

Need For Speed - Like video games from the 1990s. Dislike generic action movies.

22 Jump Street - Never saw 21 Jump Street the movie or the show, but it seems to be well liked by everyone.

Labor Day - Josh Brolin kidnaps a fatherless family, they all fall in love with each other. Strange enough to be interesting.

Maleficent - 10 minutes of material piled into a live action Disney movie. I guess if Jack the Giant Slayer was your thing, this will be too.

Divergent - I'm usually wrong on teenage books that become movies - Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Ender's Game - were all solid. Is this one of those, or more Twilight?

Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return - Cartoon Wizard of Oz sequel - looks targeted for a much younger audience than I can stomach.

The List:

30. How To Train Your Dragon 2
 photo HowToTrainYourDragon2_zps8cf932c6.jpg
I liked the first one enough where I'm in on this. It has enough action a la Kung Fu Panda where I can forget at moments that it wasn't intended for me.

29. Sabotage
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Two terminators in the same movie. Arnold is over the hill, but he's back to his Commando days, fighting for his friends and family while being a genuine bad ass. Sam Worthington doesn't do too much in the trailer but I would rather he be there than not. Same goes for Terrence Howard.

28. Her
 photo Her_zps6e227472.jpg
Joaquin Phoenix dates his computer. At least it's voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Amy Adams looks like his shrink. There's probably another love interest in there as well. It almost looks too crazy for me, but I'm currently in. Also has Chris Pratt and Kristen Wiig.

27. The Legend of Hercules
 photo TheLegendofHercules_zps40513ebc.jpg
Hercules isn't seemingly doing anything too interesting here for most of the trailer. Maybe at the end he gets to start whomping on some monster ass. Possible prequel with sequel intentions in mind - like Man of Steel or Robin Hood. Hollywood is doing this more and more now. Greek Mythology films are 50/50. Immortals and Troy were both decent, while those Titans movies were not.

26. Noah
 photo Noah_zps8fcc45f6.jpg
Crowe and Connelly are back together a la A Beautiful Mind. Emma Watson and Anthony Hopkins both show up at some point. Let's hope it isn't 3 hours and is more entertaining than Evan Almighty. Darren Aronofsky really isn't for me. Pi and Requiem were too out there, The Wrestler and Black Swan were just missing something. I know I'm in the minority on those works though.

25. The Monuments Men
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The amazing cast of Goodman, Clooney, Murray and Damon was all it needed to get me hooked.

24. Non-Stop
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Plane movies aren't always the best - United 93, Con Air and Airplane! are more exceptions than the rule. Snakes on a Plane, Red Eye and Air Force One weren't very good.

23. That Awkward Moment
 photo ThatAwkwardMoment_zps75fadc02.jpg
I never heard about this until recently. The tag line/poster/title had me pretty interested. The trailer didn't quite live up to my expectations going into it, but it has a chance to be entertaining with some laughs. There's also a good chance it really isn't interesting either.

22. Godzilla
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Hollywood desperatley wants Godzilla to work with mainstream audiences. They have generally failed to live up to expectations so far - I'm looking at you Matthew Broderick. Don't remind us of that movie and don't upset your current fan base(too much) and this will be fine.

21. Million Dollar Arm
 photo MillionDollarArm_zpsb08303f8.jpg
I also didn't know this existed until recently. Made by the people who did Miracle and Invincible. It has big shoes to fill to top Rookie, Major League, Field of Dreams or even Moneyball, but I'm sure this will be a great MLB movie.

20. Winter's Tale
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I almost wish that I didn't watch the trailer. It would have been unexpected to not know where this story was going. Colin Farrell has his hands full as a serious dramatic love interest. Russell Crowe looks brilliant.

19. Open Grave
 photo OpenGrave_zps03104a86.jpg
A horror Memento? I hope so. The reviews are already in and it sounds pretty fantastic. That guy from District 9 plays a man among many who has awakened without a memory. The group discover one among them was their killer.

18. The Expendables 3
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The first one was a neat idea despite being rather generic. The second one upped the ante with JCVD and Chuck Norris while adding more Willis and Arnie. This one looks to include Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes and Antonio Banderas. Yeah, that seems to increase the bar enough even if it's just as generic as the first two.

17. Jupiter Ascending
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Other worldly movies don't do too well at the Box Office. See Green Lantern, John Carter, Branded. I've been excited about this since I heard about it. The trailer looks sweet.

16. Robocop
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I've watched this trailer like 30 times. Not on purpose, it's just always shown as one of those at the theater. It's definitely lost something from the original, but that doesn't mean it can't be entertaining.

15. Welcome to Yesterday
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A third movie that I didn't know was a thing until making this list. It looks pretty great. A group of friends find a time machine and end up fixing their own lives while creating the 'Butterfly Effect' and destroying the world.

14. Horrible Bosses 2
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The first one was pretty funny. There some unexpected comedy that generates between three guys who all hate their boss for different reasons. Aniston and Spacey look to be back while joined by two of my favorite actors in Christopher Waltz and Chris Pine. Hopefully it's more Anchorman 2 and less The Hangover Part 2. I mean that as in going somewhere new, instead of rehashing the original.

13. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
 photo DawnofthePlanetoftheApes_zps97f0da9a.jpg
Losing James Franco is the biggest blow to me. They did add Gary Oldman and thankfully kept Andy Serkis, but they showed their hand now. This is a money vehicle first, humans won't/can't win. Story will play second fiddle. The director has only done Cloverfield and Let Me In, hardly a track record.

12. Edge of Tomorrow
 photo EdgeofTomorrow_zpsa697f2d5.jpg
Big potential to be a bust but it looks interesting enough as a alien invasion movie meets Groundhog Day. Cruise always is capturing, even in lesser movies. Battle Los Angeles and Battleship went way wrong as invasion movies, so let's hope this is more ID4, District 9 or Ender's Game.

11. Lone Survivor
 photo LoneSurvivor_zpsbb1baf92.jpg
The trailer compares this to Saving Private Ryan, but the immediate comparison I made was to Black Hawk Down. Either way it looks hard for this to go wrong. It shows it's hand a little bit based on the title but they don't shy from it saying it's based on Marcus Luttrell and Operation Red Wings. United 93, World Trade Center and Black Hawk Down seemingly have all done justice in recreating events from the war on terror and hopefully this is no different.

10. Transcendence
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Yet another film I just discovered. Johnny Depp looks brilliant here as a lecturer who gets shot by an anti-technology? activist. Instead of letting him die like all humans do, Morgan Freeman and some others decide to transfer his consciousness into a computer. Things don't look great for the human race after that.

9. Dumb and Dumber To
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If it's even a shade of it's former self I would gladly see this in the theater. The plot sound absurdly great. Hopefully they can catch some of the former magic.

8. Interstellar
 photo Interstellar_zps71efa1c2.jpg
All we got to see so far was a 30 second video of a spaceship with a Matthew McConaughey voice over. Directed by Christopher Nolan, well that's all I needed to know!

7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
 photo CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier_zpsa0aa5dd9.jpg
After watching The Avengers, I'm much less excited to revisit these characters as a single storyline again. It looks like they are introducing new characters(The Falcon, Robert Redford) which is nice, but it's all just a tease up until Age of Ultron. Bucky Barnes is back as the villain. Black Widow is joined by Shield's Samuel Jackson and Cobie Smulders. Oh and Howard Stark is here too. The Russo's aren't first time directors, but they haven't done a handful of movies either.

6. Transformers: Age of Extinction
 photo TransformersAgeofExtinction_zps810d73e7.jpg
It's hopefully Bay's last go round. Transformers 4 isn't quite a reboot but has a whole new cast as well as all new robot aliens even if some are just redesigned. Give me some Unicron, combiner robots and dinobots and I shall give it a thumbs up.

5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
 photo TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles_zps5d36db7c.jpg
I dislike everything I know - them being aliens, Michael Bay, Megan Fox and Whoopi Goldberg. But everything that I don't know about the movie might be great.

4. Guardians of the Galaxy
 photo GuardiansoftheGalaxy_zps56870f43.jpg
I know very little about this other than Thanos is hopefully going to be built up more along with the Infinity Stones. I didn't know anything about Watchmen either and that turned out fantastic. Different property I know, but at the heart even superheros(Marvel or not) that I don't know about usually hook me.

3. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
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This is hopefully our Spider-Man 2 instead of Spider-Man 3. I enjoyed the original Amazing SM more than I thought I would and they aren't holding anything back here. I love Green Goblin, so I'm excited to see how that whole line plays out. Electro and Rhino look strange yet enticing.

2. The Hobbit: There and Back Again
 photo TheHobbitThereandBackAgain_zpsfce46a58.jpg
I'm confused on how I feel about all these Hobbit movies. At the heart I love every second and I will be on the edge of my seat again for the last installment. The other half of me thinks like everyone else that it probably would be tighter and better as 2 movies or even 1. Gollum was awesome and Smaug was awesome, so hopefully we have something on par here.

1. X-Men Days of Future Past
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Just give me Sentinels, then I will die a happy happy man. X-Men 3 gave us the head of a robot which turned out to be the biggest let down of a movie ever. Thankfully Bryan Singer is trying to erase everything done by Brett Ratner. We are again getting too much Wolverine. I don't care that we lost Anna Paquin, she didn't even have any powers anyway. What I am excited about is Ian McKellen, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Halle Berry, Shawn Ashmore, Nicholas Hoult and Ellen Page all being in the same movie. Havok and Colossus are even freaking back. Hopefully Peter Dinklage can be as slimy as Trask that Brian Cox was as Stryker or Robert Kelly in X1. We also get new characters in Forge, Quicksilver and Warpath.