Wednesday, April 30, 2014

MTG - Journey into Nyx Pre-Release Report

Found time to play in the Journey into Nyx Pre-Release on Sunday.  I originally wanted to play white because the promo (Dawnbringer Charioteers) had pretty cool art, was a good beater in sealed and goes well in my cube.  Unfortunately I registered late so all the white was taken and I ended going blue (the promo was Scourge of Fleets which has cool art and I figured was a pretty bomby card when played).

The pool I opened was ok but nothing spectacular.  I did not have many of the powerful blue commons and uncommons (no Hour of Need, no Voyage's End, no Griptide, no Sea God's Revenge) and no removal from any colour (aside from some enchantment removal in green).  I had a lot of good 5-drops but no acceleration of any sort to ramp into them, so the deck I built ended up being some weird mid-range aggro/control style deck with a bunch of powerful 5-drops and some cheap tricks/filler creatures at the lower casting costs.

My deck consisted of
Not the greatest deck but considering the cards I got, it was the best one I could come up with in my opinion.  My full card pool can be found after the report.

Game 1 - Won 2-0
Faced off against a GW deck that had no real synergy.  My opponent must have had a bad pool as I don't recall any real bomb card and I was able to play my flyers and win that way.  He did have an Athreos, God of Passage out early on game 2 but I managed to play around it.

Game 2 - Lost 1-2
Played a GW deck packing a fair amount of removal.  2x Time to Feed, Deicide, Banishing Light and some good creatures (Mistcutter Hydra absolutely wrecked me in game 2 and 3).  I managed to take the first game as I was able to hold off his early rush until I got a Humbler of Mortals followed by my Scourge of Fleets and then shortly after that I was able to drop an enchantment and play Mischief and Mayhem on both of my fatties to trample over for the win.  The 2nd and 3rd games though I couldn't find my fat creatures fast enough to overcome the early removal and Mistcutter Hydra.

Game 3 - Lost 0-2
Another GW deck but this one was super fast.  Not a lot of removal but just a lot of fast aggressive creatures like Golden Hind, Eagle of the Watch, Oreskos Swiftclaw all backed up by a Dictate of Heliod and other auras.  Both games I could not keep up with the early beats.

Game 4 - Lost 0-2
A fast aggressive RG deck.  Lots of 1 and 2 drops backed up by auras and combat tricks.  At this point I didn't really care too much if I won or lost so I played pretty badly and made some horrible plays.

First time since Scars of Mirrodin  that I didn't Top 8 a pre-release event but oh well, that's the nature of sealed sometimes.  Hopefully at the next event (M15 release I think) I'll get a better pool.  In the meanwhile I'm already thinking about what cards from Journey into Nyx I want to add to my cube and what they will replace.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Travel - Civilization 5 World Wonder Tour

While planning our summer vacation this year my wife asked me if there was anywhere I would want to visit in the world.  I thought about it for a brief moment and told her that there wasn't anywhere in the world I really wanted to visit for the sole purpose of just visiting.  I mean I like travelling, but if all I am doing is just sight seeing, it's not that great for me.

I like attending events so a lot of my previous travel plans were centered around events, whether it be family reunions, funerals (these are unplanned by the way in case anyone was wondering), gaming tournaments or whatever.  Case in point, for the past few years I've tried to plan a summer trip to Edmonton because of a big annual Warhammer 40k/Fantasy tournament (It Came From Out of the Basement) arranged by some former Prince George gamers (hasn't worked out yet though as things always seem to get in the way) and late last year I thought about going to Seattle just to attend PAX Prime 2014 or to see We Will Rock You.  This year I was even considering trying to go to Cologne because Gamescom (and coincidentally the League of Legends EU LCS Summer Playoffs!) happens to happen after our week in Paris is done (though not sure if the rest of my family would share my enthusiasm about the event)

A few moments after my wife asked the question it dawned on me that I could relate our travel plans to some of the games we play and I suggested we do a Civ 5 World Wonder Tour - basically visit every World Wonder in Civ 5 that still exists.  This would help us plan future vacations and for me it wouldn't just be sight seeing; we could actually visit the wonders we build in our games of Civ 5  (we play Civ 5 together a fair amount)

It's going to take a very long time though to hit all the Civ 5 wonders (here's a list of all of them but it's an interesting family goal to have.

This summer we'll be heading to London and Paris for two weeks so we'll hopefully be able to cross off the following:

  • Oxford University
  • Stonehenge
  • Big Ben
  • Globe Theatre (though the original doesn't exist they did reconstruct a new one not too far from the original location)
  • Eiffel Tower
  • The Louvre
  • Notre Dame
Penny probably won't understand any of our plans but she'll have fun regardless (she's only 3 at the moment and she likes going places outside her house).  As she gets older she might have a better understanding/appreciation of why we our vacation plans are the way they are.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Video Games - Adventures in Disney Infinity (Wii version)

This week Walmart had a big sale on all the Disney Infinity starter sets (normally $75 but this week was only $49).  So we made a fairly impulse buy and picked up the Wii starter set (and Rapunzel and Woody as Futureshop was selling them 2 for $15).  This was mostly because my wife realized I like to game and wanted a game that the entire family could enjoy.

A little more background about our gaming environment at my house.  I am a big gamer and no matter what my wife tries, she cannot stop me from gaming.  I've tried to get her to game with me with mixed results.  Tabletop wargames were totally ineffective and MMORPGs too.  We did find some common ground in Age of Empires 3 (and Age of Mythology before that) and the Civilization games (when Civ 5 went on sale a few weeks ago on Humble that was a godsend!)  Unfortunately Penny couldn't really join us when we played as she just didn't understand and couldn't really participate in any way.

One thing Penny did like was Disney movies though and she knows many of the characters that are available in Infinity.  We figured Infinity would be a good way that we could play something that Penny could relate to.  Unfortunately the Wii version is kind of limited as there is no online capability but we could still build stuff in the Toy Box mode and at Penny's age (she's only 3.5 years old) she won't know any better.

The game plays very much like any 3d platformer just with Disney characters.  My favourite aspect of the game so far has been the world building in the Toy Box.  Penny watched me play as Rapunzel as I worked through the Mastery challenges and really wanted to play but the Mastery challenges were out of her league.  So I fired up a toy box and built her a simple cave complex (we managed to land the Cave of Wonders entrance so it looked pretty cool) with a room full of smashable crates at the end.  I told her she had to get through the cave and then smash the crates (she liked watching me smash stuff while I played through the Mastery challenges).

She was quite frustrated at first as she wasn't holding the controller properly and couldn't maneuver Rapunzel the way she wanted to.  I showed her how to hold the controller properly and how to use the analog stick to move Rapunzel and what button to press to smash things and before long she was able to move through the cave to the room of crates and start smashing.  When she cleared the room she asked to do it all over again.

Her video game skills are still developing but seeing how quickly she learned to move Rapunzel around was encouraging.  As I play with the Infinity Toy Box I'm excited to make more challenges for her.  Penny on the other hand is more excited about getting Anna and Elsa after I ordered them online as no stores in town had any.