Tag Archives: Wizards of the Coast

Returning to the Fold: Playing Rivals of Ixalan Pre-Release & Ancient Civilizations

15 Jan

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

I do not always need to play every set release of Magic the Gathering, and I patiently waited for Rivals of Ixalan. I hoped it might offer a few gods inspired from Mesoamerican culture and make the game more of an archaeological adventure. That is, to include “traps” to trip up the opponent. While neither happened, it did not stop me from checking out the prerelease over the weekend instead of glossing over the cards online.

Sorry, Jace Beleren, but I forgot about you. I am more interested in finding the fabled El Dorado (Orazca). Six of the seven cards belong to Rivals, and these mana generators work well in both casual and competitive games. Path of Mettle flips to become Metzali, Tower of Triumph. This card deals direct damage to creatures while Azor’s Gateway transition to become Sanctum of the Sun can help bring out those high-cost Elder Dinosaurs into play faster.

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Returning to the Fold: Thoughts on the Ixalan Release

20 Sep

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

As the release of Wizards of the Coast’s Magic the Gathering Ixalan nears and the spoiler card information is fully released, everything I’m discovering about it is hardly exciting. Set one offers a bit of cool narrative, but I’m still not entirely sold in this mixed genre realm. Plus, the news on the incentive promotion cards for Friday Night Magic changing to token cards next month is more of a deterring factor. Because these participation bonuses are not shiny, I’m not as inclined to participate.

The Davy Jones in me thinks the plunder is slim. The last set drained my funds so I can pick up duplicates of certain cards. Ixalan offers very little I truly want to play with. While Sorcerous Spyglass and Revel in Riches are two nice cards, the appeal of fighting dinosaurs is not all that hot. I still feel going Land of the Lost should be its own entity. I do not mind the vampire pirates as much (I was hoping for a few lich types inspired from Pirates of the Caribbean), but I have a burning question: just how much sunblock are they wearing to in order to cross the sea to arrive at a new world? The folklorist in me is appalled by the fact these members of the undead can cross water. This fact goes against tradition.

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Returning to the Fold: Thoughts on Magic the Gathering’s Hour of Devastation Game Day

7 Aug

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

I wonder if I’m in the minority of Magic the Gathering (MtG) players who want to enjoy the game in a less competitive sense? I am a casual player where I prefer to imagine myself as Gandalf battling Saruman ala The Lord of the Rings. Although the white wizard was imprisoned on top of a tower in Fellowship and had very little power to access to escape, that’s how I feel at times with this game. I’m lacking the mana to get anywhere.

For the inexperienced, playing in the variety of in-store events depends on what you are after. I never expected to win many games because I have not touched the game for more than ten years, and the “new” deck archetypes and terminology I’m hearing are different than those that defined my era.

The competitive scene is a meat-grinder. It is not kind to a newcomer or returning player like me who has spent money on a box of booster packs and select cards to maybe make a challenge-worthy deck. The only time the playing field is level is with Draft or League games where the cards are locked to the packs you buy, and the random chance of maybe getting a game-changing card like Glorybringer.

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Returning to the Fold: Playing Magic the Gathering’s Pre-release Hour of Devastation

9 Jul

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

I have not played the customizable card game, Magic the Gathering (MtG) for a very long time. In the past, I enjoyed how this game played with the legends from an ancient exotic world or looked at a genre (especially horror) in new ways. The best legacy era expansion sets are Arabian Nights and The Dark. I eventually stopped playing because folks with plenty of money to buy those great cards made me feel I could not compete and I did not find the world they created for MtG all that engaging. Finding casual games at gaming stores was tough.

Also, I wanted Wizards of the Coast to offer a new Middle Eastern themed set. The legends and lore of Ancient Egypt are the most requested and everybody knew it. Twenty-three years later since the release of Arabian, this company finally delivered with Amonkhet. The subset Hour of Devestation looks great. I saw cards showing the designers were looking deep into to Kemetic lore get the mystique right. The first set only whetted many enthusiasts appetite.

Pre-release challenges at gaming stores occurred over the weekend and I thought why not, let’s jump in. I know the core game mechanics and I am playing Magic Duels. Hopefully, I will not suck going up against experienced players. At least the field is level in the sealed game-play format. I went to a store where I did not feel intimidated. Out of the four stores in town, only one looked hopeful. It was not an overstuffed operation and it smelled clean. I plan on playing again this coming weekend (July 14-17) when this expansion hits all retail outlets.

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