Silver I

I decided over my winter break to get back to League a bit and try to do some ranked games.  That turned into a 10 game marathon to see where I fall.  I wound up in Silver I when all was said and done.  Pretty good for a rusty old fart like myself.

I realized a few things while playing that needed to be corrected immediately.

A)Bots had made me lazy.  I played Bot games to the point of knowing their exact patterns.  I forgot how unpredictable humans are.

B)The new items had me thrown for a loop.  Where the fuck was my Reverie? What was I doing with free wards? Why did no one ward still if they gave you free ones?

C)I needed a wider champion base.

So while not the best choice, I’ve gone back to playing PVP Normals for a bit.  Save up IP for new champions(I’ve gotten Quinn and Rengar so far), learn these new masteries and items(such memorization is more Trevor’s thing), and realize that people are not computer code that goes a certain way.  So, please come play with me if you have a chance!

Tearaway

I’ve had the Vita since launch, but only recently has it really come into its own.  Between the PS4 coming out and opening the door to crossplay and a lot more games being pushed to it, it really has started to blip on the radars of gamers everywhere.

I have loved the Vita because it did everything I wanted it to do plus a bit more.  I could through music on it, connect with PSN friends even when away or traveling, and having an awesome touch screen really helped.  For that first year, though, the games were a bit lacking.  We had Katamari, Ragnarok, P4: Golden, and Gravity Rush eventually.  These were all awesome and kept me occupied, but were either finished to early or never really had an end point.

Trevor got me Tearaway for Christmas since it was something I had been raving about for a few months now.  I put it in my Vita immediately and started to play and quite simply wondered where this game was at launch.  It was perfect for the little system.  It used all the features for combat or puzzles and really immersed you in the game. Like literally put you in there.  ‘You’ are the sun.  Every time you see the sun, you see your face in the middle of it.

The way that this is used to craft a story is so friendly and welcoming it is brilliant.  It reminds you very much of the narration in Little Big Planet, but with a wider range and more depth.  Being able to customize your character, called Atoi for the female version or Iota for the male, is fun and something you can waste hours doing.  Customizing the environment is equally engrossing.  

I’m about 5 hours into the game and while it is a big improvement over Little Big Planet, it still has issues with occasionally weird directions.  I come to this section where there is a log blocking Atoi’s path.  Under the log are the symbols for poking the rear touch pad in order to break through and move things.  I try getting through to move the log.  I try lifting the log.  The instruction on what to do with these symbols keeps appearing, but no farther assistance to do with the log.  I continue to fiddle with it for 30 minutes before I get my fingers in just the right spot where it lifts the log.  So then I try tossing it aside and it just falls back down.  I spend another 10 minutes trying to get that spot again, finally do and then figure I need to finagle Atoi with the joystick to walk under the log while I’m still holding it up vita the rear touchpad.

I’m in my 20s and my coordination was just not liking this.  I can’t imagine giving it to a kid.  Then again, maybe kid hands would be better on the touch screen.

Overall, the game is great.  It really shows off all the Vita’s capabilities while being creative and colorful.  There are a few glitches and finicky items, but with some patience you can get through it.  It is worth a pick up with your gift cards from family who didn’t know what to get you or picking up for yourself as an after holiday’s gift.

Been Isolated

Sorry I haven’t been keeping up.  Honestly, I’ve been a bit isolated.  Some of it is self-imposed other parts are more dependent on things going on.

I had another massive surgery on my foot, so I haven’t fully walked in over two months.  Even before that walking was painful and exasperating due to the pain and swelling.  I hate being the weak link so I stopped going to as many events and being as social.  Then at the end of November, Trevor lost his job, so I’ve been determined not to go anywhere and spend money.  It is also one of those times where I’m not sure if life is going to be uprooted or not, due to his job loss and possible job prospects, so I just start to cut ties with people…not talking, not showing interest, not caring.

It probably isn’t good for me.

Most of my MTG experiences have been on DoTP and a little bit of MTGO/MODO…which was awful. Hopefully when it comes back it won’t be so bad.  I went to GPDC and did side events and saw people I normally wouldn’t, but did not play in the main event as I did not have a Legacy deck. The events I did play in I did well, but never quite made it to first.  Didn’t expect much considering how long it had been since I had held cards in my hand.

I’ll probably be at an IQ this weekend since it is relatively close and free.  Trevor and I both have cards to play with, so we had may as well.

I’ve been playing quite a bit of League as well, trying to get better in the jungle and top lanes since those were my weakest positions previously.  Until I have a multitude of champions that I can play in all positions down pat, I don’t think I will do much in the ranked system.  That and school which I have to do nearly 5 nights a week…

Anyway, hopefully I’ll be more interactive here in the future.  Might use this as an outlet for a bit.  Might post some fiction type items.  Probably do some tournament type reports.  Probably get some PS4 game reviews up…maybe even some for Vita…or go back and do more comic book reviews… I don’t know.  Tell me what you want to see

A bit more realistic testing

So Monday turned into a very late night that I have not recovered from yet.  Or perhaps I’m just having issues sleeping in general again.  Or it may be the swatch of homework sitting at home for me that I just can’t seem to concentrate on. No matter what I feel like crap.

But hey, at least Monday was a good night.

First let me lay out the deck list I was using.

Prime Speaker Bant

Creatures                                                                                Sideboard

-4 Loxodon Smiter                                                                -3 Feeling of Dread

-4 Restoration Angel                                                            -1 Negate

-4 Thragtusk                                                                         -2 Rest in Peace

-1 Sigarda, Host of Herons                                                -1 Dissipate

-2 Prime Speaker Zegana                                                   -3 Geist of Saint Traft

-2 Angel of Serenity                                                            -1 Oblivion Ring

Spells                                                                                     -2 Supreme Verdict

-4 Farseek                                                                            -2 Garruk, Primal Hunter

-4 Azorius Charm

-3 Selesnya Charm

-2 Detention Sphere

-2 Supreme Verdict

-3 Sphinx’s Revelation

Lands

1 Forest

-1 Cavern of Souls

-2 Gavony Township

-3 Hallowed Fountain

-3 Hinterland Harbor

-3 Sunpetal Grove

-4 Glacial Fortress

-4 Temple Garden

-4 Breeding Pool

So that is the deck.  Right now it is very basic and close to what everyone else is playing Prime Speaker Bant wise.  I have been trying to figure out if there is anything main board that I need to change in order to fit me better, but so far it seems to fit me just fine.  I feel like the sideboard will constantly need to be changed in order to better fit the current meta, but that is pretty easy to do and test.

I guess the thing is that I’m looking for a deck that acts consistently with how I play.  Prime Speaker Bant so far has done that.  It feels really weird to not need to switch a deck around, but it is indeed what has happened.

The first match I played against was a Dega Reanimator deck that was pretty awesome!  Lots of big guys that he didn’t mind getting rid of just to use Unburial Rites on later.  It was nice to play against something slightly different that still provided a good challenge to me over all.  I was able to really think about what I really need to play and what order it needed to be done in to make  sure I didn’t fall behind.  I lost, but I put of a fight and saw a lot of room for improvement play wise as well as how some interactions worked that I would not get to see otherwise.

I also learned a lesson regarding Feeling of Dread.  I would play it, have it sitting in the graveyard and have a fantastic plan for using it again!  It was so good in my mind!  Until I realized multiple time I would leave a Sunpetal Grove or Temple Garden up with like, Gavony Township.  The flashback is one and a blue, not one and a white.  That game really got it into my head and it was somthing very important to do, even though it was just a sideboard card.

Second game of the night was another rogue type build that someone had just wanted to play for fun, which was great.  although, the issue is that I don’t really remember what it was.  I know looking at my notes that the games were quick enough that I don’t have enough to even put it together.  I just don’t think I ever reached a point to stabilize the board in my favor and instead kind of got stuck in this cycle of just getting run over and chump blocking with Smiters.  After he won 2-0 for the round we played some fun games against another deck he had which really allowed me to get some more longer games in and see how I stacked up against mill.  Straight mill I kind of overrun, but for the most part, so does everyone.  Control with Mill as a win con…well, that is different and we will get to that a bit later.

The third game is one that sort of stung.  My opponent was playing a Jund type deck and just couldn’t keep going.  It was very much a game where until around turn four no damage was done and none was done to me until turn nine-ish.  By that point I had plenty online to stablize with if he did start to do anything with me.  He eventually was able to start climbing back up as well with Thragtusk, but at that point I was just much faster and able to take things or bring back my own Thragtusks.  I eventually won with a life of 24.  The second game went similarly only I was really able to get the Resto, Thrag, Angel of Serenity Combo off.  Multiple times.  So despite his ability to get the Thragtusks out and try to threaten me with the normal Jund guys, I would Detention Sphere, Supreme Verdict and get some guys back, or any number of things.  I think I also got a Zegana off in this mix with Angle of Serenity on the field, so that just even put me farther ahead.

There is something in this game above that happened this week as well with another individual that I would like to talk about in another post sometime this week that I want some opinions on.  I don’t know if it is me or what, but it is just continuously eating at me.

At this point of the evening I was 1-2.  There was no way I was in contention for the gift certificate prizes that are given out at the store, but I was in Top 8 due to all the drops and it being nearly 10:30 pm.  Top 8 gets a pack.  I may as well stick around and just play, right?

Last match was pretty epic.  It was another Jund deck, but this time more Reanimator in nature.  And by that I mean steal things from my graveyard.  The first to games don’t even matter.  It was an exchange of creatures and killing things and bringing them back all over the place.  The third Game was the cake topper.  I won despite him using Rise from the Grave on my Sigarada.  However, that was about the only answer he had at the time.  He was able to Dissipate a few things, but I had enough creatures around to just come right back.  I ended the night 2-2 and while that isn’t the best I learned a lot of how the deck interacts with more competitive decks and how I respond to more competitive people with it.

The next Monday was much better.  It was only 3 rounds which means it was over before midnight and a lot of people there practicing for the WMCQs were around.

My first match up was against a RDW that attempted to not let me stabilize.  We went three games and of note was a misplay by me with a Selesnya Charm to create a Knight to block rather than use it to exile the Thundermaw Hellkite he laid down.  Despite this massive miss play I was still able to hold out long enough to Angel of Serenity his Thundermaw and bring back some things from my graveyard that would help me in the long game.  I was also able to hit off Gavony Township and make Thragtusk larger, which is always a good thing since it would then take two Searing Spears just to kill him rather than him and his child.  Second game I lost due to him just getting an awesome draw.  I was able to hold out quite a bit longer then most people would against RDW, but it wasn’t enough when your just drawing lands.  Third game he would have won if it wasn’t for the fact that he laid out two Boros Reckoner and I was able to wipe them out with a D-Sphere.  With them gone I had an Ash Zealot and Stromkirk Noble to worry about, but they were quickly taken care of with Loxodon Smiters or Zegana.

So i beat the RDW and was mildly proud of myself.  Well be covering this with that other deck in another post though.

Second match-up was against Naya Blitz.  It was another time where I thought I was going to lose miserably.  However, I was rather surprised.  I was able to play around a lot of things.  I made sure to quickly have the mana on line and be able to return Flinthoof Boar to the top of his deck.  Then when he had a couple out through what ever means I Detention Sphere’d them.  I would be aggressive with the attacking while still keeping my ground guys open for blocking.  The second match was similar, but it when a bit longer, but I was able to stabilize long enough to do the damage needed to end it.

At this point I’m 2-0.  For the first time ever I’m vying for first place.  I was a littler jittery.

My last match was a control mirror.  He was playing Esper Control, which I now have identified as a problem.  Our first game took 45 minutes and almost a whole page of life totals in my notebook.  He ultimately won out due to Nephalia Drownyard and putting me in the box of playing Zegana or not.  The second game I had him down life wise, but Blind Obidence put me behind as did two Nephalia’s.  I lost, but came in second for the night, which was a pretty awesome thing in itself for me.

I’m now trying to really think of how to better match up against Control Mirror’s because I just didn’t have all the answers I needed in the last match.  I’m not sure if the answer is shifting to a more control deck or being able to use soemthing like Psychic Spiral to maximize them milling me like that.  I know I need to practice some more against Bant and Esper, but I am feeling more comfortable against most of the other architypes out there.  I have some testing arranged for this weekend and hopefully I will see some more standard Reanimators and perhaps even The Aristocrats.

Author’s note: Sorry the Sideboard section is wonky.  I’m devising tables, but wanted to get this up too >.<

Bant Mid-Range, A surprising amount of fun

So come to find out that the land base for Naya Blitz is also the land base that Trevor is currently using.  Whoops!  Normally we have double set of things, but Sacred Foundry is not one of them.  And I don’t have the money to just buy 5 lands (he only has three and if we were to buy a play set we may as well have 2 completes).

So the hunt for a deck continued.  We looked at BUG and Esper and neither was really sitting well with me.  So I went to Bant.  Looked at a few different things that were around between control and and mid-range and was starting to like the mid-range thing.  I’ve said previously that I find Bant Control incredibly boring to play against and I don’t think I would find it much more fun to play, but the creatures in Bant Mid-Range were interactive, tactical, and fun.  Plus, I had nearly everything for it.

All I had to do was pick up a Sphinx’s Revelation, a Thragtusk, and a Zegana.  no small amount, but still a lot less then a play set of Shocks.  Plus with my LGS discount, it was great!

So we then try to trek down to Virginia Beach to make FNM down there with Trev’s sister. That didn’t happen.  There was traffic, and forgetting of things, and me having to jump out and do my firefighter thing.  Yeah.  I don’t know how to stop.

So there was no FNM.  We found out that there was a standard tournament the next day, but it would be during Family Shenanigans. After that stuff though, we did go over and do some play testing.  Nothing to serious, but it gave me a good few runs to get used to the idea of the deck and the how things worked together.

First few games were against the Sister-In-Law and her UB Mill Deck.  Not only in these matches did I really get to work on things and mechanics, but we also worked through some issues she was having.  It was a good fuzzy feeling to have.  Someone else from the store took over her deck as they had been helping her tweek it.  Each match resulted in a different play plan from me which was awesome to see how many directions it went in while the change in players against the same deck was awesome!

The second deck I played against was a very simple and budget WG Humans.  It was much faster than my deck, but it tended to run out of steam.  As long as I was hitting the turn three Smiter and had some Farseeks or Azorius Charms around, I seemed to be okay, but I am worried about the match up when it comes to a more Tier 1 type deck.  Which really, will be the purpose of testing tonight.

Bant is something I though I would never touch.  I’m not a big white or blue player, but when you through in the green like this it seems to keep my interest.  I didn’t feel as though Bant Mid-range was on the same auto-play that Bant Control tends to be, and that I had enough things to both react and keep the pressure on, something that control tends to worry me with.

Looking at the tweeks to the deck that have happened over the past weekend, I really like the addition of the one Think Twice.  The sideboard molding is what I’m going to have to continuously watch though.  Rest in Piece is the card I’m running, but I’m sincerely thinking about Tormod’s Crypt or Ground Seals instead.  I don’t want something that will mess up my graveyard too, particularly with Think Twice if it does get added.

Not to mention the meta three weeks form now is likely to be vastly different from the one we saw this past weekend or even next weekend.  I could decide that this deck is going to get weaker as the meta shifts and moves. I may decide to shift into the more creature heavy Prime Speaker Bant list.  I might just find my Sacred Foundaries that I need.

I’ll get a report up with deck list if I go to standard tonight!  Please don’t forget to follow me on twitter @mtgreiunicorn!

Getting My Grind On

So when I got back from GP Charlotte and the Planeswalker Points started ticking in I noticed how close I was to actually getting a bye for next season.  So last weekend I pretty just played in different events the whole time.  Started with FNM and then played from 11 am Saturday until about 6 pm.  Would have gone back Sunday if I hadn’t needed to pick up Trevor from the airport and go do some stuff for our new place.  Instead I contemplated what I had learned the past two days and came to the conclusion I had been avoiding.

I need to play B/G or some variant there of.  It fits me.  I need much more practice in other combinations, which just says I need much more practice as a player.  Trevor says that B/G fits my love of the cycle of life and death, that it is only a natural combination for someone like me.  Whatever that means.  But I recognize the need to adapt to other colors and the fact that I am exploring them I think says a lot.

But, my B/G deck just wasn’t doing it with the advent of Gatecrash.  Not sure why exactly, but something just stopped clicking.  I think the biggest issue was for a while Burning Tree Emissary just snowballing faster then I could.  And still maybe is.

Either way, last night I switched over to Kibler’s Ooze deck.  I’ve never straight up copied a deck card for card without the intent of swapping things out as I went.  Not gonna lie, either, I had a lot of fun with it.  One game I had three Predator Ooze’s out at once and it was just a slaughter.  The other games were so close and I think it was just a means of me not quite having a grasp of what I had left to draw yet.

However, out of the three decks I have been considering for DC Open this weekend, it is the highest contender.  I’m gonna look at what is popping up and maybe make a few adjustments, but I don’t necessarily think I need that many.  Add the fact that it is general mechanics that I am accustomed too with just some new faces and I think I have a really strong place right now.

Beyond that, last Thursday I was on a podcast titled ‘The Deck Tease’ with some other wonderful women players and judges.  We had great conversation regarding things like writers in magic, particularly what is seen as a lack of women, Cockatrice, and GP Charlotte. You can find the exact episode here.

This is something I really enjoyed doing and really look forward to doing again in some capacity.  Perhaps Trevor and I will sit down and just have one of our banters back and forth.  Or feel free to invite me place!  I like to talk to people like that 😀

Anyway!  Thanks for all your continued readership and hopefully we can all move on to bigger and better things from here!

Figuring out where I fit

I had an interesting experience for FNM this week.  Being at my parents to do house and dog sitting while they were on vacation took me away from my normal store.  The store I go to has a large crowd, normally around 60 people on any given FNM.

I enjoy spending time with most of these people, and know who is a more competitive player vs. casual and who runs what kind of decks, ect. I found that I missed these people this week, like somewhere along the line my week wasn’t completed.  I guess that is when you know a place has had a real impact on you.  So there is one point.

We went exploring a few stores the day before trying to gauge what kind of events they have, what their crowd is like, and most of all trying to find out how comfortable it was for us to just be in there.  Most of the stores I’m actually happy that I skipped on in High School.  It would have been hard to play magic with all my other things going on anyway.  I’m not sure if it was just that some of these shops were new and thus inherently uncomfortable, or that they sadly reminded me of your ‘typical nerd shop’ with people who didn’t know how to properly socialize or very little lighting, but they just didn’t work.

It could have been the army of cameras one store had set up too.  Like not one camera, but one every two ceiling tiles.  Yeah that is weird.

We found a place to play though.  A new place that opened up and is an great mixture of anime, manga, and gaming.  Somewhere that people didn’t mind talking and actually knew how to do so appropriately.  I had an over all good time.

But I feel kinda like an asshole.

The group of people playing at this store obviously are mostly casual players.  There is no judge or rules adviser to assist with games beyond the store owner.  They are used to switching mana taps in between turns and everyone just saying do what you want.  In this sense, it was a strange and lawless land, one that was way outside my social construct as a player.

I didn’t want to be the jerk who just showed up, but I didn’t want to just let people walk all over me.  I don’t ask for take backs or re-arranges any longer.  It is a bad habit that I don’t want to mess with.  Yet they constantly didn’t get that.  I’d make notes of triggers I missed due to the newness of the set or plays that could have been better then the one I just did.  They expected me to switch to those things instead.  I let someone change a mana base, trying not to be the cold player I can be while at GPs and Opens.  I did so for the second, third, fourth time through gritted teeth.

So right now I’m trying to figure out where I fit in.  I’m not quite to the point of doing well at large event consistently to consider myself good, but I am also much higher then casual.  I’m at some median point where I need to do something to advance myself in order to do better or just be happy where I am.

The issue is that I’m normally not a person to just sit idle.  If I don’t keep doing better and pushing myself I will lose interest, which would then remove me from all of the fantastic people I’ve met in this realm.  I wish I was better at playing Magic on a computer, but I constantly fumble.  I wish I had more time to play, but with Masters and work from 6 am to 6 pm most days, my weeks are cut for the most part.  I practice with Trev, but I wind up against the same deck over and over again, which doesn’t quite get the same breadth of testing that I would ultimately need for decks.

I’ve had this thought before, but that was just against a friend.  This was a whole store where I seemed to be held in this goddess type position, where people asked me for advice and I was teaching people about stacks, triggers, and how the card reads has a lot of impact.  And I guess coming from a store where I’m not in that regard, and these things are expected to be known, I was uncomfortable being in this position of teaching people.

And I think that is the biggest different.  It wasn’t just that these people were casual players, but they seemed to look up to me as some beacon of I too, can do better.  That should make me feel good, I suppose, but on so many levels I just feel as thought I don’t deserve it.