Tag Archives: mtg

What No One Tells You About Collectible Gaming

Collectible gaming–buying plastic figures and/or cards to play in games with others–is a fun pastime for quite a lot of people, myself included. But there are a few things about the hobby that I didn’t quite understand before I got into it:

You will end up with “extras” that you can’t sell for any money, period.

No matter how seldom you buy stuff for the game, no matter how much you try to sell instead of trade, you will ALWAYS end up with extra figures or cards that nobody seems to want, not even on eBay or gaming-specific trading/selling sites. There are two ways to deal with un-sellable extras: set aside a box in your closet for them and forget about them, or give them away to new players who need to build up their collections. (I’d personally recommend the second way, given that nice veteran players gave me a lot of extras when I first started playing Magic and HeroClix, and I’ve kept some of those cards and figures to this day.)

Storing your collection so that it won’t get damaged will become somewhat of an obsession in itself.

Take it from me: once you’ve spent actual money on your collection and/or acquire something you REALLY want, you’ll be invested in taking care of it. This often means buying special padded miniatures boxes to keep your figures from getting damaged, card sleeves and/or toploaders for valuable cards, etc. Not only that, you have to be concerned with keeping your collection away from sunlight (fades everything), water, dust, and excessive heat (the latter especially with plastic/rubber figures, which can and will begin to soften in hot cars). (As OCD as all this might sound, it’s worth it if you ever want to sell or trade these items later–Near-Mint and Mint condition items sell or trade best!)

You will never be “done” collecting unless you cut yourself off cold turkey.

Admittedly, this is how collectible games stay alive–always creating new stuff for us to collect. There’s always one more figure to complete a set, one more card we don’t have. But this can be quite a strain on the wallet…and on the arms and back as you struggle to move your collection! Once you start collecting, if you’re deeply involved in it, you won’t ever be quite done fleshing out your selection of figures and/or cards, unless you set goals of routinely upgrading and cleaning out your collection to only keep the stuff you play and enjoy. Which leads me to my last point…

Your collection can reach ridiculous sizes in a very short time.

Without regular pruning (and heck, sometimes even WITH regular pruning), your gaming collection can swell to fill a room corner, a closet, a room, or even your whole house (I’ve seen it happen!). Even if you’re trying not to buy new stuff, purely trading out old for new, your collection can take over your living spaces quite easily. (See: my “gaming shelf” in my closet, which is so shamefully overflowing that I’m not even taking a picture of it, LOL) If you want your collections to be enjoyable yet contained, you have to be really proactive about containing them!

What Do You Think?

Have I accurately described a collectible gamer’s life? Let me know in the comments!

My Favorite MTG Angel Ever Printed

As far as favorite creature types go, Angels are number one, and have been since I started playing the game. I’ve collected one of most of the Angels printed (minus a few of the really expensive/hard-to-get-hold-of Angels), and I even have an Angel deck put together. To say I’m an Angel fan in Magic is an understatement.

But who is my favorite Angel? Surprisingly, not Akroma, as awesome as she is. Instead…

image credit: MagicCards.info
THIS not-so-little lady became my absolute favorite Angel when Shards of Alara came out. Sure, she costs 3 different colors of mana, but she has lots of fun things going for her as well:

  • Shroud, meaning she can’t be targeted even by burn and kill spells
  • The protective “redirecting damage” clause
  • That crazy high toughness; she might not have as much punch as Akroma, but she can take more damage!

In short, Empyrial Archangel is a different flavor of Angel–less ROAR and more steadfast, less aggressive and more defensive. She’s almost like a Planeswalker Lite, since she takes damage for you. In this way, she’s very, VERY different from most of the other Angels, especially the ones which were already printed at the time she came out, but this is another plus for me. I like playing high-defense, life-protecting stuff in Magic anyway, and having all that on a favorite creature type is just icing on the MTG cake.

Sure, she may not be a battle-leader; heck, you probably won’t be sending her into combat at all, either for attacking or blocking. But Empyrial Archangel isn’t meant for that anyway. She’s meant to defend those Life Points of yours in a very different way, an unexpected way (for MTG Angels, at least)–not with a sword, but with her wings. She is one of the few Angels that exemplifies a quieter, humbler power…even while she blocks your way with an 8 toughness. 😛

Awesome 1-Mana Creatures, part 6: Artifacts

You might have thought the “Awesome 1-Mana Creature” series was over last week when I profiled Black, but it’s not! This week I’m profiling the few 1-mana Artifact creatures that are more than worth their salt (plus a few 0-mana Artifact creatures that just can’t be left off the list).

As always, if you know of a creature I missed, let me know in the comments! All card images came from MagicCards.info.

It’s a 1/1 for 1, and the +1/+1 can move to another artifact creature when it dies!
Build this 1-mana bad boy up over several turns (or less, if you’ve got a way to untap artifacts or creatures :D)
Handy for getting rid of that pesky card you never want coming back to haunt you in a game.
Because sometimes, you just gotta shuffle. (Refraining from obvious Party Rock Anthem joke)
Get your mana investment back when it goes to grave…nice!
This is a hilarious classic in one of my boyfriend’s decks–plays well with Soul Warden and the like, plus functions as “Annoying Blocker Extraordinaire.”
A wall with 2 power? It’ll probably kill most of the little things that run up toward it!
At worst, it’s an Ornithopter for 1 more mana. But pay a little mana into its ability, and it can become a 2/2!
Its battle cry ability, plus its ability to evade most things that would block it make this a good attack booster!
A personal favorite–a 0/4 blocker for 1 mana, and no color commitment!
1/1 for 1 colorless is already good, but the option to gain infect for 1 black mana is POWERFUL. Many artifacts can generate black mana when needed, so this creature doesn’t have to operate just in a Black deck.

And here are the awesome 0-mana Artifact creatures I referenced earlier:

A classic–a 0/2 flying blocker for no mana. WOOT!
A 0/3 blocker is always nice, and especially for no mana cost–it means your opponent has to waste time punching through it or dealing it direct damage!
And for sheer ridiculousness, how about a 0/6 wall for 0 mana? Sure, it gets -0/-1 counters on it when it blocks, but it’ll be around long enough to protect you!

Awesome 1-Mana Creatures, part 5: Black

In Magic: the Gathering, Black is not necessarily known for its creatures, and usually what creatures it gets are not cheap to play. But there are some little 1-mana gems hiding away in Black! Check out the list below! (And don’t forget to check out the other colors I’ve profiled so far: White, Blue, Green, and Red.)

All of the card images came from MagicCards.info; if you know of a 1-mana black creature that ought to be on this list and isn’t, let me know (nicely) in the comments!

Play it first turn and activate it second turn for an early-game life-drain jumpstart.
Good way to both fill up your graveyard and put your opponent at a disadvantage–even first turn!
Great for multi-color decks to balance out your mana.
When you just REALLY NEED that 1 extra mana. Or you need a cheap blocker.
Keep an opponent’s creature down for a turn with this one.
Messing with graveyards is traditional Black territory–and for a 1-mana investment up-front, not bad! (For a newer reprint, see Rag Dealer.)
For 1 mana you have a creature whose power and toughness can snowball over several turns. Who cares that it can’t block?
Great for re-balancing life totals, or for gaining an advantage.
If your deck already deals with a lot of “Sack this creature” effects, this would be a great little addition.
Though it’s hybrid, there’s still plenty to interest a mono-Black deck here. Getting rid of lands, instants, and sorceries from the graveyard? NICE. (And if you happen to run a little Green in your Black deck, all the better)
A quick and cheap way to make your opponent ditch a card.
Exalted is rare enough to find in Black, let alone Exalted and Regenerate. Great for boosting up another creature and sticking around!
Though its tap ability are pretty expensive, making an opponent ditch two cards is pretty fun. And late-game, you can Channel this little guy to make them ditch four instead!
Equal-opportunity disadvantage–great for a group game, and just fine for a one-on-one game.
Level this guy up, and you get a pretty powerful creature removal tool!
GREAT way to get Black mana early-game, especially if all you have are colorless or non-black mana sources. (For a newer, Black/Red option, see Manaforge Cinder.)
Like Drainpipe Vermin, but this says “ditch at random”–a small but possibly more dangerous change for your opponent!
Exiling cards when tapped, and being able to untap when a black spell is played…how is this guy just 1 mana again?
1/1 flying, which Black usually needs!
Because Black can always use a touch of Lifelink, given all the “pay X life to do something awesome” types of spells.
1/1 swampwalk is great for its cost, since Black has plenty of ways to make an opponent get a Swamp. (See Zodiac Rat for another example)
1/1 fear is pretty strong for Black–great for getting through hordes of creatures (unless they’re artifact or black).
This is better than it sounds–drain a life from EVERY opponent, AND potentially do some combat damage, too? Woot!
Give it flying for a few turns and you should have threshold for extra fun!
It’s as good as Plague Beetle if you don’t multi-kick it, and if you do multi-kick it, it’s a HUGE upgrade. Yay for options!
A Black creature giving first strike (traditionally a White ability)? WOW! And the +1/+0 is nice, too 🙂
Ah, yes, this little lady is lethal when combined with enchantments that keep her from attacking and blocking for your opponent. (My boyfriend uses Sleeper Agent to great effect with Pillory of the Sleepless…argh! LOL)
You can either pump up this Shade and use it as a killing blocker, or you can ditch all the cards out of your hand and start swinging with it. Either way, it’s GOOD.
This is like a walking Throne of Bone, but for life loss instead of gain. Neat!
Mess with your opponent’s upcoming cards…good ability on a 1-mana creature!
The Extort is a nice touch, and the tap ability can either bring something of yours into play quicker, or keep your opponent’s counter-centric combos from going off too soon.
Play this guy, and then start targeting him with any kind of spells…FUNNY for a group game especially.
1/1 unblockable for 1! WOW!
1/1 deathtouch…small but mighty. 🙂
0/1 flying that can become a 2/1 with some mana investment. (See also: Pit Imp, Phyrexian Battleflies)
Being able to scry is usually a Blue ability, so it’s nice to see it pop up in Black.
0/1 flying that can regenerate! A classic.

Awesome 1-Mana Creatures, part 4: Red

Today, we get to see Red’s wide array of 1-mana creature greatness, just as we’ve seen White, Blue, and Green earlier in this series. With lots of little Goblins and Orcs running around, Red, like Green, has quite a few options for cheap but useful creatures!

If your favorite 1-mana Red creature isn’t featured here, drop me a (nice) line in the comments! All card images came from MagicCards.info.

Play this guy, then start targeting him with spells and watch your army assemble.
1/1 for 1, with Firebreathing for 1R. Nice!
Good way to get rid of 1/1 grounded token armies! (*cough*ELVES*cough*)
Great first-strike option for Goblins, and good creature all around.
ROARRRR. Now I suddenly need to build a deck around this guy.
Here’s one flavor of 1/1 Mountainwalking creatures: others include Goblin Mountaineer, Mountain Goat, and Zodiac Goat.
The “making another creature mostly unblockable” ability is great, especially when it comes into play for such a low mana investment!
With the 0/2 toughness, this little guy can withstand a bigger punch; with the 1-mana-per-point Firebreathing, he can pump up the power quicker.
Great way to get rid of one of the big-mama blockers in the way!
With this thing, you can deal potentially 4 damage to a player with one card!
The haste and bouncing-back-to-hand means this is one hard-to-pin-down creature annoyance for your opponent!
Since flight is so seldom seen at low mana costs in red, you’ve got to get it where you can! Yay for blocking a dragon with a bunch of goblins in a hot-air balloon!
A constant source of 1 damage, for 1 mana!
GREAT for putting out lots of Goblins in few turns.
If you need your Goblins (or Dragons, or Orcs, or Dwarves) to deal double damage, use this guy! Just make sure you have a Goblin to sack somehow, if you’re not completely reliant on the creature type.
Fiddle with your Artifact-wielding opponent’s combo strategy, for 1 mana. Hee hee!
Blocking a regen ability? Doesn’t sound that “durr hurr” to me! LOL
Play this guy and start laying out the cheap spells to keep your creatures from being blocked…
If Wolvie gets through, 1 damage to player. If he gets blocked, still 1 damage to player. No drawback!
Because sometimes you’ll be facing a Red-playing opponent with your Red deck.
A classic for Red/Green decks.
Since you have to ditch a card to make this work, this could be good for Madness decks!
If you’re attacking first turn with this guy, he’s pretty great. If you’ve got him and two or more buddies attacking…he’s SILLY. 😀
One-upping Bloodfire Dwarf with a little more mana investment.
Another classic for most Red decks!
Great 1/1 for 1 Kinship creature for Goblins.
Fix your mana (especially in a Red/Green deck) with this guy!
Most of Sensei’s Divining Top’s ability, with legs!
The option to play this Unleashed is what sets this apart.
Play this, wait 4 turns, and you have a 3/3 flying Bird–in Red, no less!
Red gets Wither? Yep, through creatures like this!
The Multikicker option is great, but even if you can’t kick it, you’ve still got a 1/1 haste for 1.
Hilarious fun with Shatterstorm.
Smaug, much? LOL
The ability to shuffle your library–in Red–seems pretty rare, and very useful.
It’s like a baby Ball Lightning! Aww, what a cute little bundle of destruction!
Deal damage to a player, and then damage a creature to boot–for 1 mana!
The Soulbond option is what makes this simple little creature good.
Either your opponent takes 4 right away, or you get a 4/3 creature for 1 that’s going to smack them in the face every turn until they deal with it. Good options!
Great for those times when you just need ONE MORE RED MANA.