Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mega Game Day

This being my Golden Weekend - the one weekend in six my work rotation gives my Friday through Sunday off - I have largely thrown responsibility to the wind on this off-stretch and tried to have some gaming fun. I'll start with my video gaming exploits, and then conclude with my Magic: The Gathering event, even though that was chronologically first. That way, those of you who don't care about MTG can punch out after I'm done talking video games.

I've started coming down from my MMO obsession, to the point where I think I'll begin to see a fair balance between EQ2 and WoW and the rest of my gaming. It only took a combines 120 hours or so LOL. In the theme of working on RPG completions this year, I picked up obscure RPG Venetica, and have been working on that. Mediocre is the word I'd use to describe it. It's not a bad game, and the mechanics work just fine, though it's marred by some translation issues with the subtitles and speech. The gameplay is fine, but the story hasn't "wowed" me thus far, and the action-RPG combat system feels pretty generic and too simple. Since it's a Western RPG, I'll probably finish it, as my track record with western RPGs is OK... it's the JRPGs that murder me.

My brother and I have also run through the Robot Revolution DLC for Borderlands. With the levels and quests were entertaining enough, and I liked the return of old bosses, the DLC was far too easy, as nothing scaled to our levels. Since we had already hit the old level cap of 61 in the Knoxx DLC, we were overleveled for Robot Revolution, which seens odd, considering RR is newer DLC. Now, I'll just need to farm for the stupid collectable achievements, and my Bro and I have some unfinished business in the Knoxx DLC. Looking forward to 1750 on that game.

Adding to the game list, I recently picked up Dead Space 2. I had $40 in Best Buy reward zone cash sitting around, and with Deus Ex delayed, I needed something to use it on before it expired. Dead Space won over waiting for Dragon Age II. As amazing as I'm sure that game will be, I have enough other RPGs to try to wrap up at the moment, and I just picked up Venetica. I'm still in Chapter 1 on Dead Space, so I can't say too much about the game yet. Only had about 30 minutes in it before setting it aside to run Borderlands with the bro.

The day's gaming started with a prerelease tournament for the newest Magic: The Gathering set, Mirrodin Besieged. The format was sealed, with 3 boosters Scars of Mirrodin, 3 Mirrodin Besieged. I pretty much only play limited at this point, as I have no interest in spending the obsurd amounts of money needed to build a tournament-winning calibur deck. If I play competitively, I'll stick to limited, where the financial investment is the same for all, and deckbuilding and strategy skills become more critical that spending a lot of money to build the decklist you found on the internet.

With Mirrodin Besieged, the booster packs are actually split between the set's two warring factions, the Mirrans and the Phyrexians. Each booster has cards specifically to that faction's playstyle. I went Mirran (the good guys) and I'm glad I did.

Part of the fun of prereleases is that the cards aren't "out in the wild" yet. Power levels are mostly unknown, and everyone is discovering new combos as they go. My sealed pool presented me virtually no black, blue, or green, but more than enough white and red to run with it.

I had a few cards that became keys to victory. Prototype Portal lets you copy an artifact and keep putting copies into play (play the converted mana cost of the artifact and tat the portal). Pairing it with a Shriekhorn is a devastating milling attack in sealed. (Shriekhorn costs 1 to play. Comes into play with 3 charges on it. Remove a charge and tap to mill opponent top 2 cards of their deck.) Potential 6 card per turn mill attack that way. I could pair the Mirror with Tumble Magnets for an unending ability to tap my enemy's creatures, or keep pumping out copies of an artifact creature.

Thopter Assembly is so good it's broken. For 6 mana, it's a 5/5 flying creature with the ability: "At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control no Thopters other than Thopter Assembly, return Thopter Assembly to its owner's hand and put five 1/1 colorless Thopter artifact creature tokens with flying onto the battlefield." Basically, throw him out, and at the beginning of your next turn, he bounces back and you have 5 flyers. Twin this ability with a creature or two with Battle Cry (Whenever this creature attacks, each other attacking creature gets +1/+0 until EOT) and the results are crippling. I also got three Koth's Courier, a 2/3 creature with Forestwalk. This was a blessing, as 3 of my 4 apponents were playing green.

As a matter of fact, 3 of my 4 opponents were playing Black/Green decks, primarily based on Infect. The lack of variety bored me, but my deck beat 2 of those 3, so it's all good.

My first match was against someone who was coming back to the game after not playing for a long time. I stomped him without much difficulty, despite being severly land-jacked in game 2. That game, I never had more than 4 lands, and only drew my first mountain two turns before the end of the game. Yes folks, I won a tournament game on 3 white mana. My deck relied on cheap cards and removal spells, with a splash of expensive cards to break any stalemates. His deck was far too expensive, allowing me to build up a lot before much of his stuff hit the table. No idea what his deck was trying to achieve. I killed him too fast to see.

Round two I got rick-rolled by another Green/Black infect deck. Since the guy finished in the top 3, I don't feel too bad about it. Seriously. I. Got. Destroyed.

In round 3, I was paired against one of the co-owners of the card store where I played. He was my only opponent not playing Green/Black, inspead rolling black/blue. The first game was almost comical, as we both had land-flush hands, and then kept drawing nothing but land. After we each had seven turns, we both only had one nonland permanent in play, and we were STILL playing land from our hands. Once the action really started, I was able to build up a creature army and utilize removal as needed before rolling him over. Game two turned out to be even easier, as he had no counters to what I played.

The final round was (yawn) black/green again. I won it in three games. I finished the tournament with an overall 3-1 record, 6-3 for games. That put me at 5th place overall in a field of 22 players, which felt like a pretty good achievement to me, especially since I hadn't at first thought my sealed pool was very good. The 5th place finish won me an additional 3 boosters.

All in all, I'd say it was a pretty awesome day of gaming.

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