Wednesday, 26 October 2011


Well, Im a bit late in posting (and writing) but ill get onto that.
Early morning rise as is usual for a busy holiday. I did say how ridiculous the train fare was - but there are more changes than that of the UK system than I expected. For one, seats are ordered. Yes, you have a number that you must sit in, much akin to a cinema. This was certainly a change. It is also noticeable how the train was quiet, no one seemed to talk at all. Mysterious. And perhaps the biggest difference is that our train was delayed. Bu quote a margin. If I was in Britain I would find myself lucky to receive a bus ride free as transport home, but the French were kind enough to provide another train at such short notice, seeing as we had a connection. Was a nice surprise to be honest, perhaps heightened by the fact the station seemed in the middle of nowhere and my extent of speaking the language lies in "Je suis Anglais."
Paris itself? Well, as tourists we perhaps took a rather surprising visit to... the Eiffel tower. How surprising. But you would guess as much when your with people who have never been to Paris. However, we took the rather unconventional method of walking the long way the entire way. Obviously hindered by shops along the way it took multiple hours. Now might be the time to point out the station had trading cards which pleased me. Perhaps a bit late, but now seems to work. Anyway. Saw a few sights, took a few wrong turns, crossed chaotic roads(literally) and ate some rather nice ice cream. I'm not usually a fan but it was brilliant, regardless of hot weather.
Speaking of which, the forecast was rain, so twas odd to find sunshine at every corner. But as if by omen, the moment we left the tower bloomin thunder called down. We didn't climb it and damn glad too, couldn't see the top due to mist, wouldn't have liked to be up there. We just went for a look and it's an awesome piece of architecture like much of Paris I had yet to appreciate, where it literally felt like there was a landmark on every street corner and such amazing works that I have new respect for the French. Some of the sights were literally breathtaking, a feeling I have rarely felt while abroad, so to find it so close to home was rather astounding. Speaking of which. I was never really one to for the French language, perhaps with aid of forceful teaching in school, but as soon as I arrived unlike any country I suddenly wanted to learn. I used what I knew where I could. It's not something I'm going to pursue, but I saw it as an interesting observation
Anyway, dat weather. was funny to have a thunderstorm within a minute of sunshine and no less for about half an hour before the sun shone again. Was odd.
Few other things happened. The walk back to the station took half the time it took to get there. We ate food, surprisingly. Nice, but not 18 euro nice. Thanks for reading!
P.S. Pretzels at station ftw, England needs dat.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Day 2

Day 2
Well, today a few notable things happen. Whether your interested or not I'm bloggin it!
First off, we attempted to go to Paris. This was indeed the aim of today. But at the train station only first class was available... £400 for 4 people. So that makes paris tomorrow at £200... still massively expensive... And I complain about my £5.30 to the local tournament! I guess you'll hear about Paris tomorrow, but today you'll have to leave that.
Secondly, I saw a dude just chilling with a flamethrower. He appeared to be using it for some development work on the pavement, but at the time I saw it there was little other use than just to look badass. I just thought I had to comment on it.
Reims Cathedral... there's a site to see. It really is a stunning piece of architecture of enormous proportions, which looks as if it would be a massive feat to build now, never mind back in the day of its origin before cranes and the like were apparent. I highly respected whoever designed and co-ordinated that. Truly impressive.
French keyboards... Blargh. Very annoying. My touch typing skills were questioned when I saw that I had a few letters off, but looking at the keyboard showed indeed the locations were different. It was fairly... interesting.
And Champagne making. Went to a place and saw that. Rather interesting how far down it is and the process, but I'll let you go on your own tour to see that. Nonetheless they had bottles from 1893 with all sorts growing on it which was... interesting.
I won't keep you long, so that's it!

Sunday, 23 October 2011


Sooo, a journey to France. I figure why not follow the actual definition of blog and talk about the day. This may be my only entry depending on how interesting the other days are, but I have a few things to talk about here as it is.
I'll start with the end, our hotel. It's odd. It appears grand and whatnot but I notice theres like 60's floorboards which really take away from that feeling... completely. check in was about 20 seconds long which is quite fast, but getting to the room, odd. We literally went up a flight of stairs, up another flight of stairs, across a hall then down another into what seemed like a box with entry to our room and another. The rooms themselves, as my sister described "Seem like the walls are closing in on you." I don't quite mimic the feeling, but there's some odd paintings throughout the rooms... It's odd to say the least. Theres sponge on the back of our doors with a reasonable size gap... The architect of this place was either tight on space or fairly... unique. And a window view of a wall is always brilliant, but I can't complain as that's not exactly a rare occurrence.
On our drive we missed a turning and ended spanning 6km of motorway to get back to Reims which is always fun. On the ferry over one of the tables had glasses shaking like... I'm running out of metaphors, so I'll say it shook LOADS. Was quite unnerving. I can't comment much more, so I'll pause for now and see if night gives anything else. Or it'll end here. I may or may not edit later... I'm good at this whole blogging thing :D

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Lack of posts

Basically, my wednesday feature was battles, but my partner moved to uni so it's much more problematic to play. And for friday, I want to review Xenoblade Chronciles but its a long game and I have to play it, so updates may be infrequent.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Magic vs ygo, part 2

This is a key difference between the two games. Yearly now, Magic has new formats released with new ways to play that interact with every card printed. Off the top of my head Single, Multi, EDH, sealed, draft, planechase and archenemy name but a few. That’s not even getting into formats within some of these such as standard or modern. Yu-Gi-Oh sits with just a lonely two formats – advanced and traditional, or to those not in the know with and without banned cards respectively. While the advanced format is fun enough, being able to choose in Magic is arguably better. Different formats appeal to different people, so the casual players can stick to Multiplayer EDH but die hard competitives can learn the intricacy’s of a draft or craft a brilliant new 60 card deck. Most of the games in Yu-Gi-Oh are played on the standalone Advanced format, so finding your place in the game is often much harder with every player fitting under the same bracket. Magic’s many formats generally work for it, allowing you to do whatever you want whenever. It’s multiplayer support is also great – Yu-Gi-Oh has tag team rules, but no official setup for odd number of players or even an all versus all game. Magic has to win here in sheer terms of what you can do with the game. Speaking of which…

This format exists in both games, but to a far greater extent in magic. A Yu-Gi-Oh player can be expected to do this no more than once every three months, as a “Sneak Peek” at the new set before it’s launch is held, where you get 5 packs, make a 20 card deck and duke it out. You’ll find a fair few of your cards require others to work, which leads to a pretty small pool. And at the end of that, you have little left other than early cards. And then nothing for three months. Put simply, the packs are not made with this format in mind, but it is simply thrust upon it. Magic embraces it. Drafts are regular events at most FNM venues, and limited(6 packs+basic lands = deck) is more less common, they still happen. I have done three drafts at the time of writing this article, and you will have already read what I think of limited. They are great fun. A card you otherwise saw fit for no deck – this still stands – except for limited. A lack of options make some lesser cards a much greater threat. The passing of the cards themselves in a draft is a game in itself, and one Yu-Gi-Oh is certainly lacking. Some people are annoyed to see a fair few cards made just for the draft – but it’s a format arguably almost as important as constructed play – as seen in that most Pro Tours have it as a mandatory element of the day. At least they have a place, Yu-Gi-Oh just sees card existing for the show and the shoebox. This format is a MAJOR reason to play magic, as it’s really fun, gives a reason to buy packs, as even if you pull rubbish you still get a good time out of it. I always look forward to a draft, arguably much more than a regular gaming day as you get the tournament with it too, and possibly the best part of drafts is how it simply negates price. You must pay the entry fee, yes, but that’s not much of a problem. Getting a constructed deck to the top tier could cost several hundred pounds, but you know a draft is never going to cost you more than £15. So you can turn up knowing everyone has a fair chance of winning down to skill more than wallet size. Indeed, A series of lucky pulls can give you an advantage, but skill prevails over all in this format, even down to the picking of packs, and I love the game for this. And if that £15 is an issue, some draft groups sell the money cards the pull and put the price back into the next draft, making it even cheaper. Indeed, a few lucky pulls could see the event turn a profit! And this £15 is just standard for FNM magic events. If you find eight people willing to play you can make it cheaper with prices, or even get it down to £7.50 each. (For those wanting to know,, its £30 for 12 packs, two lots is a full draft set and £7.50 each.) if you disregard them altogether. So if you so choose you can keep playing a fun format for free – or use it as an excuse to buy packs – whatever works! So really, for sealed, to put it bluntly, Magic kicks Yu-Gi-Oh’s arse.

Competitive Play:
I won’t lie – I’ve read about the respective competitive metagames for longer than I’ve played in them myself. Across both systems I’ve played in relatively few competitive events, so I guess I’m a causal. However, I think I’ve seen enough to give my verdict. I rather Yu-Gi-Oh. Both the games certainly have their respective mind games in the form of mana open and face downs that make the game more than just open information. Both games contain bluffing that could separate a good from great player. Both have intricacy’s of play and careful combos to execute, and both are fun to play even at the highest level. Yet one MAJOR problem stands out for me – lands. I’ll come back to it. In Yu-Gi-Oh, the only resource you really need depends upon your deck – and you build for it and face the consequences. Sure, every deck has bad hands and draws in every game system, but that’s why we have match play over single games. But if you get multiple bad hands in a match in Yu-Gi-Oh, its either a very bad day for you or you could do with altering your deck construction. Magic has the same problems ignoring land, but bring it in… and things can get frustrating. You could build the most efficient and brilliant deck in the world, yet fail. Pulling lands is a frustrating prospect, as in a competitive environment losing because you drew too few or many during a game even with the perfect balance of lands in deck just happens. I’m not denying Yu-Gi-Oh has these problems, as indeed leaning towards one type of card over another can lead to a frustrating game – but again, Magic can also see this as annoying when not drawing any creatures or spells. So they both have the problem here, just magic has the additional hurdle of lands. My view may not be concrete due to lack of experience, but from an outside view this seems a frustrating issue. It does reconcile this however…

I can’t imagine playing Yu-Gi-Oh casually. Perhaps it’s because I have played the game for over ten years I can’t bare to pickup a bad card, but it’s a fact. This is an article on my opinion after all. But there is other evidence. Magic just has more to suit the casual crowd (as I see it.) I’ll go back and say they can still take part in drafts and have fun. But there are many cards designed with the casual player in mind, where a fun game is much more important than a winning one. Perhaps the biggest motivator to casual play to me and people I know is the presence of multiplayer. Having a few people round for magic can see a big game with politics aplenty and good fun all around, win or lose. EDH is another format I simply love, 100 cards, all different (other than basic lands) but kept together by the consistency of your commanders prescene. It’s a long, fun, crazy ride where all matter of things could happen. Again, Yu-Gi-Oh has no generally recognised equivalent. Perhaps someone in a remote area of Britain has come up with a brilliant format to rival EDH, but until then multiplayer is master in magic. If you want to go casual Yu-Gi-Oh, I’m sure its possible, but I’m not the right guy to ask. The competitive casual place of making a fun deck that can with against people, sure, that’s great, and – yes, it’s great fun – more than single player magic – but for casual it can’t quite match up. But I will point out it’s still more fun one on one for me, personally.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011


Video Online, but still processing! will add here tommorow.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Innistrad Draft

Drafting Innistrad
Hey guys! Taking a break from yugioh to get back to dedicated magic, but expect that next week. For now, heres my first Innistrad draft!
Now I must confess, a few cards may have muddled up so the below list may not be complete accurate. I remember having 42 cards yet this list only shows 40, so I must have missed two somewhere.
Anyway. The drafting process was interesting. First pick I was gifted with a awesome mythic, essence of the wild. That got me in green, no contest. My second pick was Cackling Counterpart, which is an awesome card in itself, but I picked it mainly because my standard deck wanted it. I can't recall every pick, but I tried to force green and it simply was not happening. I found a good few blue cards so that became a colour to go for, but afterwards green was gobbled up by the table. I was still trying to force it with a first pick ulvenwald mystics pack two. But eventually it was pretty obvious half the table was going green, and black seemed completely open. So about half way through I decided to change and ended up with a decent number of decent cards. I was especially surprised how low my curve was for U/B, it felt more like aggro than control!
The draft itself was fun. We had 8 people and everyone played everyone... with the result being me going 7-0! A first for me and very pleased. Some games were VERY tense, and some unfortunate. I'll quote my game with Alex as tense, game 3, he's on one life. Yet he has a bunch of creatures including an angelic overseer. I think I'm gonna lose, as I only have a swamp in hand, but attacking with my typhoid rats forced him to block, allowing my skirsdag high priest to get a demon to let me squeeze in a win. Very tense, especially considering the other two were just as tight. Another is my game versus Ollie, both won a game than last game he mulligan'd down to four and then played cards in the wrong order - a bit anti climactic for a tense game, as I've never beat him in a paper draft before.
How is Innistrad itself? Plays well. Is fun. the draft itself seemed to pass as usual for me, having no clue on colours til the end of second pack then having a go. It was fun. Although I must confess, when it comes to draft talk I don't know what to say more that what I have. Perhaps I could expand, perhaps I've said it all. beyond battle reports I can't say much else! So I'll talk about a card I love that's vaguely related.
Cackling Counterpart.
Why so good?
I love it. Its a clone. and It's three mana. That's a good start! not quite phantasmal images cheap, and not able to retrieve with sun titan. The first is of course a problem, the second irrelevant since my testing with this has been in U/B. It has flashback, which is certainly relevant in drafts and can also be in standard play, and there's no harm! Perhaps it's biggest drawback is that it can only copy your creatures. This can be a problem, being slightly win-more in this respect, but not always. If you can control your own creatures this problem should mitigate, so its fine. And you can always use regular clone backup. The best thing about this card. One word - Instant.

This does so much for cloning. Your opponent plays doom blade, assuming the upper hand. You screw that and clone it so they are down a removal spell, and you're down a card (unless you copy something like Wurmcoil engine!) but you can flash it back later for that all important card advantage on any ol' card. Other uses? Your creatures tapped! So they attack with less fear. But oh, its back, and its untapped and ready to block! Or even my personal favourite use, its like a much more threatening think twice. Whereas that is play a card for me to mana leak or I'll draw a card, this is play something for me to counter or you'll be staring down another 6/6. All of these are superb, so I freaking love my testing of this card so far. It's no definite replacement for regular clones, but it's certainly worth trying!
Raszero out.

A shoutout to my brilliant friend who splashed green for Moonmist and Full Moon's Rise in U/W with the only flip card as cloistered youth <3

Monday, 3 October 2011

Magic VS Yu-Gi-Oh, part one

Yu-Gi-Oh! VS Magic: the Gathering

A few words before I start. This could be an incredibly bias review of both systems, highlighting good parts of one and bad of another. But I won’t be doing that. While I have many more years experience in Yu-Gi-Oh! I feel that I am now at the stage where I can fairly compare them. It is also for this reason other TCG’s are not included in this Article such as Pokemon, as while I have had some experience I cannot give enough knowledge to ensure I believe what I say. I’m going to write about the various systems and comparisons, and eventually give a verdict. I will be assuming you know how to play both games to make for easier reading.

Mana system
Arguably, the biggest difference between the systems. Since magic has it, I will comment on this first – it is the games greatest strength yet also its biggest downfall. It’s wonderfully diverse in it’s use – It allows for different balance of cards by cost. This means that you must have an additional layer to your deckbuilding – can you get your cards out in time? Will you have the resources to choose from? My favourite thing about this system is that it allows cards of massively varying power levels yet all are useful. A 1/1 is pretty underwhelming by itself, but couple it with a decent ability and a low mana cost and it competes with cards such as get 13 2/2’s instead thanks to a lower mana cost. This allows for some crazy fun, expensive cards that simply couldn’t exist in Yu-Gi-Oh. While there is balance within the game, such as tribute summoning and effects that require certain conditions (such as 3 darks in the graveyard) allows for some balance for specific cards, but mostly the only way to have crazy cards that are not broken is with a very wordy explanation. In this respect, the mana system does justice to magic. However, on massive problem with it is… the lands themselves. You always seem to draw them when you don’t need them and vice versa. Losing a game because your land to actual card ratio leans one way or another is not very fun. And there’s little you can do to stop it – it’s going to happen and at the worst of times. Your powerless in deck building in that you have to have so many. There is a mulligan rule(get a new hand -1) to stop this, but even then luck can (and often does) relay the situation but with one less card to play with. Essentially, the player is being punished for a flaw in the game itself. Mulligan can have other uses other than to redistribute land numbers, but I’ll come onto that later. Yu-Gi-Oh has no significant problem. While a hand that leans heavily towards one card type can be frustrating, if your deck is built right it’s still playable – a two or five land hand is often not. Sure, it’s a card game so Yu-Gi-Oh is a card game so you’re going to get a dodge hand every now and then, but the frequency is much lower with proper deck building. However, Yu-Gi-Oh does have the disadvantage of cards being harder to balance, as there is rarely a neutral medium that allows for guaranteed balance. However, it seems that generally things go alright within each other.

Price and Cardpool
As I was writing these two seemed to merge, so I’ll cover them together. As in any game, how much it’s going to cost you probably matters. At the sealed level, price’s are relatively the same – Yu-Gi-Oh packs are generally cheaper, but have less commons as a result – and let’s be honest, people don’t buy packs for the commons. The sealed format itself is much superior of Magic takes advantage of these commons, but ill talk about that later. For the most casual of play sealed is probably where your going to get the majority of cards for your deck from. Here you may think Yu-Gi-Oh Probably has the better idea, with more rares, yet, I can’t say that’s right. In Magic, every card seems to have its place, whether in sealed or constructed or casual. A large majority of cards won’t see a competitive table, but at least they have a place. In Yu-Gi-Oh, it is incredibly common for a large majority of the cards in a set to be complete rubbish. In the most extreme of examples, you can point to the booster pack Cyberdark Impact – where only one “good” card was released, and at common. Perhaps this is a flaw with the system, as a large percentage of print is adapted from the tv series, which are made to fit, not be playable. Also, in Japan Yu-Gi-Oh packs are sold in lots of 5, so this system is far more forgiving to the rubbish commons – but people in the west pay for those commons, so why wouldn’t Konami want to make more money? I digress. The sealed contents of magic are far superior. But I must get onto another issue with the cardpool. One major gripe I have with magic is that the rarer a card is, the more leeway for power it has. You can compare cards such as Serra Angel to Baneslayer angel, look at the rarity, and justify that as fair enough. That’s just not right. I understand its benefit for sealed, but rarity should be the place for unique cards to take shape, not just outright – near – strictly better. There are gems at common such as Squadron Hawk and Ponder, but not as much of a balance as there could be. For non-sealed play, this is bad but does wonders for it, as my sealed section will cover. Now, Yu-Gi-Oh has a rather different view on the matter. The best cards in a set are often common, but again easily the rarest. A major gripe I have here is how the raritys of top cards are bumped up to increase there demand JUST for the western market. Yu-Gi-Oh does seem to balance good cards across raritys though. Now… the price of the second hand market. Yu-Gi-Oh is abysmal. A newly released card often can hit £100 if its particularly good, a ridiculous sum. Even lesser cards often stabilise at higher numbers. When I see people in magic saying “Walletslayer Angel” at about £10 it feels a bit ridiculous. Magic is not without it’s expensive, essential cards, but at lease Yu-Gi-Oh eventually re-prints cards to make them cheaper, the good-uns of magic generally stay high. I’m not going to comment on vintage, because that’s just ridiculous. Both games are expensive yes, but it seems Yu-Gi-Oh costs more for “standard” play. But the difference of format in magic makes the difference, as I will come onto now. A final word on the second hand market – with the rarest cards in the set. “Mythics” in Magic and “Secret Rare” in Yu-Gi-Oh. A large percentage of Mythics in a magic set are surprisingly often worth less than or with little difference to the pack itself. You may buy a pack for a chance for the rare cards – but that you can buy these for cheaper than the pack online seems silly. It is indeed good for the casual Mythics to get into the hands of their intended audience, but seems odd. This does not seem to happen in Yu-Gi-Oh, as far as I’m aware. And while it may seem odd to argue for more expensive prices.

TBC next week!