A Colorized Memory

Game time, the final set of games. Both of us finalists were playing really good decks that beat out our competition. It was time for one of us undefeated to be defeated.

Let me back up. It was my birthday in the year 2014, September 25th. For my party, a couple of my friends and I went to our local gaming store to participate in this prerelease event in hopes of winning and experience the new set about to release. All signed up, we grab a table and begin the wait for our kits to be handed out. I remember clearly that I signed up to receive a Mardu pack, but no one else was. I thought though that it would help me win while the others were messing with me because of it.

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Our packs came in, and we all opened ours in the same area. I opened my pack to reveal my promo Bloodsoaked Champion. This card fits my fast paced playstyle well, and I was ecstatic to open multiples of him. With many other Red and Black cards, I was ready to build a deck. It took a great deal of time for me to decide which individual cards I wanted to include, but I feel like I chose some of the best, when I realized one thing I completely forgot before, one more booster pack. Confused, I began to count my Rares only to realize that yes, I screwed up. Quickly, I opened it up to see none other than a Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker lying there for me. Making a few modifications to deck to play him, I was ready for game one. Below are some cards that I played in my prerelease deck.

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Game One: I sat down across the table from my opponent to see none other than my friend Soren Conley as my opponent. After greeting each other, we agreed to play fair and square and that neither one of us was to have an advantage. Well, I drew my opening hand only to find that I had no Mana. I desperately needed to take a mulligan, so I went down to six cards in hand. All lands this time. Frustrated with my deck, I gave it one extra shuffle, and when I went down to five cards in hand, it seemed just perfect. I even won that game against an opponent who had a seven card hand, and I even won the second game too. After a nice handshake, we reported our score, and played some more games of Magic with our own Magic decks.

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After winning by a variety of either using burn spells, human warriors, or a Planeswalker who turns into a dragon, I made it to the final game. My opponent was the only other person in a store of 30 competitors who voluntarily chose the Mardu box like I did. Shuffling each other’s decks, we stared into each other’s eyes. This was my first time even coming this close to winning an event before, so naturally I was nervous. The store worker called out that the winner would receive a whopping sixteen booster packs and second place gets eight. Determined to win, I brought my A game to the table. We each won a game of our final match. He beat me with an army the first time, and I killed him with fire the second. We were about ready to play. People who’s games were over watched as we were said to be ready for a great game of Magic. Shuffle, cut, draw an opening hand. “I keep” I told my opponent as he kept as well. I went first, expecting one more Mana to pop up in due time. However, I was stuck at three for a while. Despite this, we managed to get each other down to two life points left. With a significantly larger sized army than my opponent, I passed him the turn. I had a card that could deal two extra damage to him if I could survive until the next turn. My heart pounded, time slowed, eyes excited, the crowd watched as my opponent drew a card. “What could this be?” I questioned myself. “He has had no direct damage this entire game, and an army half my size. Without playing that last card in his hand, he attacked me with the three 1/1 goblin tokens. I blocked accordingly to take no damage. He passed me the turn. I drew another land, completely useless to me at the moment. I attacked with only my Bloodsoaked Champion promo card in case he had a way to block me and win the next turn. I should have attacked with more though, as he used a Deflecting Palm to redirect the damage to me. Game over, I lost.

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We ended the game with a nice firm handshake. Neither of us were necessarily better than the other, just the cards were not in my favor. I enjoyed every second of it though, as I still won a majority of my games. In my booster packs, I opened nothing of value at the time, but Siege Rhino was one card that I opened which gained some value as the next few months went on. This experience is meaningful to me, as now I know what I am capable of and how I can do better at future prereleases. My goal now is to win the sixteen packs. However, what are some of your stories about games that you lost out of nowhere like that? What about some games that you didn’t deserve to win but won anyway? Please leave stories like that in the comment section down below.

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Top 5 Worst Magic the Gathering Sets

Sometimes, Magic the Gathering has some pretty awesome sets such as Return to Ravnica, Innistrad, Alara. But other times, they instead have lackluster sets where nobody enjoys the format at all. Sometimes the meta is determined by three or less decks which have solved the format. Other reasons for hate would be such as lackluster cards, bad story, and no value. Today I’ll try to figure out which is actually the worst set in all of MTG.

#5: Champions of Kamigawa

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So, just a little disclaimer this choice is simply because I don’t want too many people getting angry at me for not putting this set/block in the top 5 because it is so universally hated, but I still do think that it was bad. I mean, just look at the first Iteration of transforming cards. There’s like too much too look at, and it’s quite confusing when that creature attacks and you have no idea which way it should return to as it untaps. Also, with a set value of like just Kiki Jikki, its no surprise that people didn’t like the set even upon release. Some people have forgotten this set, but the one good thing about it is that we finally got the ninja creature type.

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#4: Dragons of Tarkir

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There may be a little bit of bias here, but I can’t be alone believing that there would be a really cool set coming where dragons would be everywhere and all powerful, but was let down. I can safely say that after the hype build up ever since Khans of Tarkir I wanted some really awesome set that would shatter the expectations of any set before, but it didn’t. I guess the one good thing we did get out of it was some cool dragons in every color, but just that. Well, time to start brewing an Abzan Dragons commander deck.

#3: Eldritch Moon

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The supposed plot twist that we were supposed to discover was rather unexciting. I know that the eldrazi are a cool creature type, but as players we were exposed to enough eldrazi before that with a Zendikar return. Plus, cards were pretty lackluster and only around five cards ever saw actual play. Honestly I forgot about this set until I had to do my research for this blog post. I guess the good thing about this set was that we got to see Nahiri get an actual Planeswalker Card, and some new vampires were added to a fun casual build.

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#2: Dragon’s Maze

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Man, I must really hate the last set in each block. This is the fourth one on this list so far. Normally the first few sets a person sees are their favorites because of how memorable they are, and every creature was great back in the day, but that wasn’t how this set went for me. I was a player who genuinely hated this set. Maybe it was because of the ridiculous number of cluestones, maybe the feeling that there was way too many multicolored cards in the set, but I don’t know. I guess the card Maze’s End was kind of cool and the commander deck that went with it. Either way there wasn’t too much going for it, so I’ll pass.

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#1: Conspiracy 2: Take the Crown

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Oh my gosh, this set was god awful. Even in the title of the set there had to be a colon. Why Wizards of the Coast? It has almost no bad cards at all, and it like was creative enough to justify tons of reprints yet give no reprints to others. Like, why did they only have to reprint Show and Tell and not something like Zedruu the Greathearted. I guess the only good thing about it was that it only had two weeks in FNM. Those were the worst two weeks of drafting. However, I’m just messing with all of you guys. I actually did like the set, and think of it as my favorite set of all time in a draft environment. I really do think Wizards of the Coast did a good job designing and balancing this set.

Overall, some sets are good, and some are bad. However, all of them will be remembered somehow, and that’s what matters. Please leave a like if you enjoyed this style of top 5 list, and please tell me what you’d like to see next.

 

What is the Lore of MTG?

To many people the lore (or story) of Magic the Gathering is what they love about the game. Dare I say, some fans of the game don’t even know how to play the game itself, but instead they only like Magic, for the story in lore articles and the comic book manga. I personally enjoy learning about the story, as it explains some of the changes in cards, such as Garruk turning evil, and the Gatewatch being a Pseudo-Justice League. I personally want to describe some of the planes in the future. For this post though, I will be talking a little bit about some of my favorite things about the lore.

maxresdefault1. Interesting Characters: When it comes to most stories, many characters can seem like they are one-sided personalities who either don’t do wrong, or can’t do any right. However, in the Magic the Gathering story, almost every character represents something that has real world connections. For example, Jace Beleren is a prevalent character in his mid 30s who has taken on too many responsibilities, yet can always come through. Another example lies within Sorin Markov, a vampire planeswalker who has tried to help all life, yet time and time again is hunted because he is a vampire. A personal favorite of mine is Lilliana Vess. Overall, her story starts as a heretical teenager who was tormented for years until she eventually could leave her home world. Once she did she had God-like powers, until one phenomenon known as the mending happened. She lost most of her powers, and she felt like she was going to die, so she sold her soul to demons in hopes of gaining power. However, her personal wishes generally coincide with those of her demon masters. I particularly like this character because she shows how everyone makes mistakes, and tries to fix them. These are just a few of the examples of characters that appear in the lore of Magic the Gathering.

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2. Deep Conflicts: Although the oversaturated good vs. evil conflict is included in some stories, most of the time readers will be left wondering whether the actions done by the characters in the story are the appropriate ones. For example, in the Theros story Elspeth was tasked with killing a newly risen god because he “did not belong there.” She had to make a decision as to whether or not she should kill the newly risen god because on one hand she was destroying a piece of the Theros Pantheon, but on the other hand that god was not a god for too long, and still was mortal despite being called a god. Conflicts like these make it so that audiences will actually read the stories. Ideas of licentiousness vs. rules and traditionally held beliefs vs. the hope of something new.

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3. The Loss: Sometimes things don’t happen the way everyone planned for. For example, the Romans were defeated by barbarians showing the world that all great things must come to an end at some time. This idea of the heroes not always winning is a huge part of the Magic the Gathering lore, as sometimes evil does win. Sometimes, our currently followed hero makes a heroic action, and that proved to not work out the way they had hoped. In these stories, well designed characters often times die, and worlds are lost to the forces of evil tyrants, and that’s okay. It shows a sense of accomplishment for when the heroes do succeed. Overall I believe this to be a good thing, and something I hope will not leave the lore.

Why I Hate Net-Deckers

For this post, I will be giving my 100% unbiased opinion on the stereotypical Net-Decker. I also will be writing what comes to mind right away, so if you are a Net-Decker try not to say how you don’t do what I’m talking about.

In case you were wondering, the Net-Decker is my least favorite thing about Magic the Gathering, and other trading card games for that matter. If you are wondering what a Net-Decker is, they are people who look at the best decks from any given tournament, and use them to win all of their events, be it a casual FNM event or a GP Qualifier. If you wonder why they are such bad people, let me tell you why. These people believe that they are superior to everybody else, and deserve to win because they have the “best deck” in the format. They are the people who are most likely to cheat to win, also because they believe in a pay to win system.

wpn_msfnm_headerThis hatred truly began when I went to my first Game Day event (Dragons of Tarkir Standard) and won a couple of matches early. I wasn’t there to win. I wasn’t there to show off how good I was. No. I was there to have fun. I wanted to play fun games of Magic the Gathering with people who had real decks, certainly better than mine at least. I was placed against someone who had the Net-Deck that everyone hated to play against at the time (Bant Company). I prepared myself to lose, but instead of losing the first game, I won instead. I was happy that I had beaten a Net-Deck, yet didn’t brag or boast about it. Instead, I asked if he was ready for game 2. His reaction though was what killed the fun. In his own words, he called my deck “the shittiest pile of crap that he had ever seen”, and told me that I should burn in hell with my deck. Although I had beat him game 1, he won the other two games, and after each one, called me a loser for not being able to beat him a second time. I didn’t care. I was upset at what he had done. However, despite him being kicked out of the store and me being called the winner, I was no longer excited to play in the finals. I legitimately lost those games, but in my mind I felt like I had lost every game that evening.

What I really don’t understand though is why can’t people enjoy Magic the Gathering as a game? Why can’t people see that this game was made to entertain, and not as a way to show superiority? I mean, at most casual tournaments you only win booster packs and maybe a cool promo card, but the wanna be pros use these tournaments as a hunting ground. They don’t enjoy the fun of the game, no. They only enjoy winning. A Net-Decker is the perfect example of these kinds of people, as they don’t give a damn about the other players, and want from this GAME. All they care about is winning, and attendance at many local game stores show that. Many of my friends do not go to tournaments like they used to because the game is loaded with Net-Deckers who don’t have fun.

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Another thing that I hate about them is that they raise the price of the cards in most Net-Decks to a point where most casual players can’t financially afford. If you look at the main decks from Khans of Tarkir in particular, is that they all cost around $500. I don’t know about any of you guys, but I am not paying that much for any game. I would much rather pay around $60 for a deck that can work almost as well as another deck in the format. However, those budget alternative decks can never work as well as those ultra-good decks.

What do we do if we can’t pay for a top tier deck? What do we do to play fun games for a potential reward? I sometimes imagine a future without these fun-killers who spent so much on a deck that they feel entitled to win. However, I don’t hate them with a passion. I just wish that they would understand that what they’re doing is wrong. I wish that they could allow others to have fun playing a game, which that is what Magic was always made to be. It was never about who won. Magic is a game, and once people understand that, it will be a whole lot more fun for everyone.

Building A Kiln Fiend Pauper Deck

kiln20fiendA few weeks ago around the new year, I was looking through some older cards of mine hoping for an inspiration for a deck. That’s when I came across my old pair of Kiln Fiends that I had drafted in a Conspiracy: Take the Crown draft over the summer. I wanted to make them great and a spotlight of a deck. So I threw in cards that would make it bigger and unblockable. Confidently, I took it to my play group, and attempted to win with it.

Well, forgetting that four of any card isn’t enough to guarantee it pops up in a game, I  found a flaw in the early version of the deck. However, since Kiln Fiend’s conditional +3/+0 ability is so vital and necessary for the deck to win, I had no idea where to go with this deck. I thought for sure that I would have to scrap this deck. 7780ed720c18e7be343e587123966c71It was after my dedicated “last game of the deck” that I was given the suggestion to add in some Nivix Cyclops. After all, the cyclops has the exact same +3/+0 boost in the same circumstances. I also was advised to play a play set of dispel, and a playset of apostle’s blessing so that I could protect the one thing that could win me the game.

I tried it out, and the deck worked phenomenally. Each game I played after making the change, I was able to draw either the Cyclops or the Kiln Fiend. The once scrappy deck became a powerhouse, and it was able to beat some of my actually good decks that I had put a lot of effort into. As a result of all the effort that we had put into a weird deck idea, we had built a deck that has consistently held its own against real, non-pauper decks.

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Our Local Family-Owned Game Store: literofcola86 ©2017

To truly see what monster of a deck we had built, a couple of the friends who helped me build it came to cheer me on, as I participated at a random little tournament at my local game store. Although I did not win first, I was able to win fifth place, and a few booster packs. Although winning some games was fun, what was better was the experience building it. I had the support of all my friends (those who play Magic at least) as they told me some cards I should or should take out. Now I have a deck that wins a lot and that is also fun to play even when it doesn’t work.

In case you actually want to see this deck list, follow this link to my tappedout.net account where I posted the deck list, and also a little bit on how to play it. Thank you for reading my story about building a cool deck. Which deck would you like to see me cover sometime in the future? Your feedback would help me to produce the posts that you would like to see.

My Thoughts on Each of Wizards of the Coast’s Sealed Decks

Wizards of the Coast has made many products over the years. Some of them are good and fun to play with, but others have fallen subpar, so I will help guide you through each of the products one by one. Quick disclaimer though, some of the products are discontinued, and others have been renamed and slightly changed.

Intro Deck/Planeswalker Deck:

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In my opinion, these are the worst products Wizards of the Coast makes. Why? These products cost $15 for junk, junk, and two booster packs. First, lets look at the deck itself. The deck is generally poorly made by using cards that people generally wouldn’t use, claims to contain not one but two Rare Cards, (neither of which will ever have a price above a dollar) and in the newest version it has a Planeswalker Card and easy ways to get them out. However, the planeswalkers are generally bad cards, and not even in the most casual of games, would they ever be used. However, I know what you may be thinking right now; “What about the new player who needs a deck easy to use and will get the excitement of opening up some booster packs?” Well, to answer that, there is  another product that I will talk about later, that addresses those issues.

Welcome Decks

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By far the least known about MTG product, these five decks serve as a starting point for entering the world of Magic the Gathering. These 40 card decks are generally balanced against each other, and are extremely easy to play. There is only one bulk rare in each deck, and the best part about these decks is that they’re free at most big local gaming stores. All you need to do is just ask for two, one for you and one for a friend, and enjoy learning the game of Magic. If they don’t have those decks in the store, the deck lists are online, and are easy to assemble. Keep in mind that these are not for people who actually play the game, as none of the cards can be resold for anything more than pennies.

Duel Decks/Clash Packs:

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Yes, I know that these are two completely different products, but hear me out why I think that they are extremely similar. Although the Clash Packs were priced at $25 and the Duel Decks cost $20, they’re extremely similar. For one, both products contain two decks that are fun to play against each other, and are generally really balanced. Plus, in each set of decks there are fun cards like planeswalkers and Siege Rhinos. However, the clash packs contained two similar decks that could be combined together to make one powerful deck that can put up a good fight against most decks at events such as FNMs or Game Days. However, sadly the Clash Packs have been discontinued, and now there are only three sets left in existence.

Event Decks:

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Up until recently, there used to be a series of event decks that cost around $25 that were generally good decks that were pseudo-top tier decks. The only thing that was different about them was that they tried to incorporate some new abilities into already good decks. In addition, they were one of the best ways to enter into the standard format, or a way to play even if you forgot your deck. However, they too have been discontinued.

Commander Decks:

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Although I have talked about these in a previous blog post Commander Products, Good or Bad? I will reiterate some of my favorite and least favorite parts about them. First off, for $40, you will receive a great arsenal of cards that are sure to crush even some of the most competitive decks without much effort. They are great and some of the best products Wizards of the Coast makes hands down. However, the one thing that I don’t like about them is the fact that they can make new cards with abilities that completely change the game and how its played. For example, making planeswalkers able to be commanders was a bad idea by Wizards of the Coast. Overall though I think that these decks are fun and easy ways to get into the commander format.

Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom. If I missed any sealed decks please be sure to let me know in the comments section down below, and please like and follow for more posts.

Happy Holidays Cards and Why I Like Them

Ever since 2006, Wizards of the Coast has made a series of foil silver bordered cards which are illegal in every format, but instead can be played just for fun and are given out to the people who work at Wizards of the Coast as well as their business partners. These cards generally are a pun of another card’s name, and will have a holiday (but generally Christmas) theme. I love the idea and find them to be really fun, and love the idea that Wizards has behind this set of cards, but I would personally like to play with them myself. Even though people are selling these cards, they aren’t all that cheap with the cheapest being a $15 card, and it ranges to around $130 for the most expensive one. Seriously, I know they’re cool and all, but I don’t want to pay $15 for a card that I can’t even use in any form of tournament gameplay. Here, I will show all 11 cards at the time of this post and will explain what I like about each of them.

2006-Fruitcake Elemental

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As the first in the series, this card is a completely awesome piece of hilarity. Personally, I know how fruitcake is a ridiculed desert as it tries to be healthy and delicious while accomplishing neither. By making it a card that you would like to receive yet give away at the same time is completely flavorful because if you still have it after the holidays, you’re basically stuck with it for the entire year. Also, I find it quite hilarious that it’s a 7/7 Elemental. Must be the compilation of every Fruitcake in the United States.

2007-Gifts Given

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While Gifts Given is the Holiday promo card, I also included Gifts Ungiven (the real card) as well just to show the similarities in the artwork and in how it functions. The card Gifts Given is the most expensive, as very few of them were ever resold to other people, and its price directly reflects it. Sitting at around $130, it would cost a fortune to play with. Besides that though, I find that this card directly reflects the true holiday spirit of asking for many different things, yet only receiving around half of them, and not even your favorites. Oh well, there’s always next Christmas and your birthday too.

2008-Evil Presents

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Sometimes, you get someone a gift that they hate. This is exactly what is represented on the card Evil Presents. The name itself is a pun on the card Evil Presence, yet it doesn’t reflect the card at all. Sitting at around $50, it must be a hard one to come by. I personally find this card to be quite realistic, as you never know whether that puppy you got your aunt will be an angel or a monster. Either way, this is just a fun card that I’m sure the people at Wizards of the Coast (and whoever else has them) love.

2009-Season’s Beatings

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While extended families are sometimes separated for a good majority of the year, most of them will generally congregate for the holiday season. However, after being separated for this long, some differences may arise. Although violence on this scale isn’t normal, it is worth pointing out that the holidays should be about fun and cheer, and not beating each other up for some disputes, although minor arguments are fine by me (Disclaimer: I do not take responsibility for any disputes you may have at a holiday party).

2010-Snow Mercy

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Clearly a snow globe interpretation of the picture shown of the card No Mercy, it definitely embodies the idea of shaking, snow globes with extra shakable parts, and an aspect of the story line on Dominaria, the original plane that Magic the Gathering was centered on. I find it a great inclusion to use the untap symbol to show a shaken the snow globe. Overall, I believe that this is a fun card that will bring a lot of laughs with it.

2011-Yule Ooze

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Oh the holidays. With Christmas Cookies, Chocolate Cream Pie and Peppermint Bark, we all might put on an extra five pounds around the holidays. However, this thing exemplifies the spirit of eating by eating whatever is in sight. This could range in anything from a human snack, to that pesky enchantment which is bothering you during the game. Nothing is safe. Keep this away from everything you love to prevent it from getting eaten.

2012-Naughty/Nice

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Being one of the more well known of these holiday promos, you can choose to be naughty or nice. By being naughty, you steal another player’s card, but by being nice you can give them one of your cards. Santa will sure be happy with you for choosing to be nice, but let’s be honest here; you can have so much fun with being naughty (Another Disclaimer: I try to promote being nice over being naughty in general. You should all be good and nice people in the real world).

2013-Stocking Tiger

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Everyone who celebrates Christmas knows the fun of dumping out a stocking full of goodies. Some stockings of Magic the Gathering players are filled with cards rather than candy, and this one is too, giving you a booster pack into your hand when it deals damage to an opponent. Its name is a homophone of Stalking Tiger, yet functions almost nothing like it. I find this a great way to spread Christmas cheer, as nothing says use your gifts given quite like a tiger that gives you a gift when he dies.

2014-Mishra’s Toy Shop

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Paying homage to the card Mishra’s Workshop, Mishra’s toy workshop looks to bring joy to your game by making toys as tokens. Who doesn’t love a card that represents Santa’s workshop? I would personally love to use this card, as it works amazingly in a token build. However, with its $30 price tag, I’ll just replace it with another land.

2015-Goblin Sleigh Ride

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Who doesn’t love a classic sleigh ride. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen? You wipe out your entire army? That’s exactly what you try to do with this card, as it allows you to send one of your biggest creatures right into your opponents lineup of cards. This is one of the more fun cards, and I feel as though I could actually get my hands on some of these as they are the cheapest right now at around $15.

2016-Thopter Pie Network

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As the most recent one in the series, Thopter Pie Network is based on a recent card in Magic the Gathering that became a fan favorite. Thopter Spy Network was a card printed in Magic Origins that truly defined Standard at the time. Wizards of the Coast realized that, and despite it having rotated out of Standard, it will always be a fun card that I’m sure sees a lot of casual play. This card hasn’t been given out yet, so there is no price on it yet. I surely can’t wait to see how this card works, and how much fun it would be to play with a fun card such as this.

Overall I have found this cards to be quite fun, despite not being able to play them at all. However, I would like to hear your opinions in the comment section down bellow. Happy Holidays everyone!