Month: January 2017

THE MANA DORK -In Defense of Magic’s Story

  Long, long ago, my father and I used to play Magic. He had a Blue-White fliers deck, and a classic Black discard deck with Dark Rituals, Hymns to Tourach, and Hypnotic Specters. I’d build whatever I could out of his leftover Green and Red cards, and we’d play each other. (“Do you know why this Hypnotic Specter is strong?” “… You can cast it after Dark Ritual?” “Not just that — it takes cards from your opponent’s hand. It takes options away from them. They can’t counter your spells if you took the counterspell away.” “OH!”  — 9-year-old me, learning about the metagame clock and card advantage instead of, y’know, how to catch fish and fix things.) I got so into the game that my dad picked up one of the earliest pieces of Magic lore ever published — Tapestries, a collection of short stories by leading fantasy authors of the time. It didn’t delve much into Urza, Mishra, and the Brothers’ War, but the authors did have an absolute field day with the idea that you spent the game summoning creatures and then just… leaving them there. The book was filled with classic fish-out-of-water stories and bildungsromans with a fantasy flair. Tapestries gave me my first taste of lore — that intoxicating concoction that turns a collection of numbers and game mechanics into an elf. Into something...

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THE MANA DORK — The Revolt Will Not Be Televised

  Hello everyone! I hope your winter breaks were wonderful and relaxing, and that the Aether Revolt spoilers were the nicest-ever nutmeg in your holiday ‘nog. We’ve got the Pre-Releases happening this Saturday, and Sunday so here’s everything you need to know! NEW MECHANIC: IMPROVISE   Aether Revolt tells us the story of the Renegades’ struggles against the Consulate in their attempts to free up the supply of aether for the people of Kaladesh. Both sides have to get clever, canny, and creative in order to outsmart their opponents — and what better way to do that than to have a mechanic all about being clever, canny, and creative with artifacts? Improvise lets you tap your artifacts to help cast a spell with Improvise — each artifact can tap for a single generic mana in the Improvise spell’s generic mana cost. Improvise shares a lot of similarities with a previous mechanic, convoke — but note that Improvise does not help reduce coloured mana costs! Only the generic mana cost of a spell can be reduced by Improvise. So you can’t tap that adorable little Servo or that Implement of Invention for blue, unfortunately, as much as you might want to. That being said, anything that reduces the cost of a spell is still a strong mechanic worth paying attention to. On average, I’d rate Improvise cards as if they...

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