Those who know me, know I love decks that are complex and have lots of interactions. I love a deck that rewards tight play and a solid grasp of its play lines.
In the days or yore, I played a casual Enchantress deck with Bramble Elemental and Aura’s like Rancor, Mark of Fury, Crown of Flame, Fiery Mantle, and Ghitu Firebreathing. When I saw that GW Enchantress was a thing in Legacy I immediately wanted to play it. Granted, it’s not a very popular archetype and the argument against playing the deck is very reasonable. It is, for the most part, a bunch of separate pieces that do nothing alone and eventually coalesce into a win-condition–some would argue too slowly. In other words, Enchantress is a Control deck with a combo finish and in a format where combo also includes Show and Tell, Hypergenesis, and ANT, a turn nine or ten win just isn’t as impressive.
However, what about in standard?
Ever since we were told Theros was going to be an Enchantment block, I was hoping for the pieces to play a Standard-level Enchantress. Well, we got this:
I was skeptical at first when I saw our enchantment Enchantress was 4CMC, but in a world with Aburpt Decay 2GG is actually better than 1GG and besides, the three-drop slot is packed full of other wonderful toys. Cards like Courser, Boon Satyr and Banishing Light, cards that make the deck not just a collection of enchantments that do almost nothing but instead of collection of creatures that can beat down. The list I’m playing right now was inspired by the one Tomohoro Saito posted right when Nyx released.
— TomoharuSaito/トモハル (@TomoharuSaito) May 2, 2014
I’ve since changed the list after a week of general success and then a week of nothing but draws as game one took forever.
|Lands||Creature Spells||Non-Creature Spells|
The core of the deck’s power is Sphere of Safety. Since just about all of your creatures are also enchantments, sphere stacks up rather quickly and most decks can’t even get through an enchantment count of three or four. It’s not like the deck fails to operate without it either. The Caryatids, Rams, and Coursers are massive brick walls for most decks that allow you to get past turns five and six when Elspeth, Karametra, and Thune take over the game. Rays and Light make for an effective removal package, placing a further tax on their earlier threats trying to attack and removing big threats somewhat permanently.
I’ve so far had pretty solid matches against Aggro and most Mid-range decks, but devotion Decks–especially those playing Nykthos–can push through a single Sphere without too much trouble. Gray Merchant and Fanatic of Mogis are both very dangerous cards, since you really only have four spells that remove a permanent from the field.
Which is why my sideboard is as follows:
- 2x Banisher Priest (More real removal)
- 3x Selesnya Charm (Mostly for GR monsters, and Mono-Black)
- 3x Mistcutter Hydra (Can win blue based match-ups all on its own)
- 2x Rest In Peace (Better for this deck than Scavenging Ooze)
- 2x Bramblecrush (My answer to Nykthos)
- 3x Celestial Flare (My only real hope against Hexproof)
I had the Thunes side, but I feel like I need to be able to win/steal Game One so that I’m under less pressure to close out two more games and with the Rams, Coursers, and Primeval Bounty, I do gain a lot of life and my creatures get massive quickly. I’ll have a report from states after this weekend, but until then, if you have any questions leave me a comment or tweet me @darkr3x.
Until next time, my all your top decks be excellent.
So I’ve been gone for a while and not just in the literal sense that I haven’t made very many blog posts. I mean that, for a few months there, I was losing who I was. Granted, that concept of identity has always been a bit vague for me, I’m just a little bit everywhere all the time. I’ve never felt like I’m a cohesive person, but fortunately I’ve got enough of a through line that I can cling to the fact that I love to learn things and I love solving puzzles.
Anyway, current issues first. Heres the tl;dr.
- I was laid off in November.
- I finished my creative thesis.
- I put together an anthology of work from my classmates.
- I won an award for being an important part of the Stonecoast Community.
- I wound up mind-locked during my thesis presentation and failed that.
- I did further research on my third-semester project to make up my presentation. Will likely post it up here in part.
- I interviewed for a job in Maine and was offered a position, but I couldn’t accept.
- I started going to therapy.
- I got jerked around by at least four job opportunities in DC.
- Same with Richmond.
- I turned in my make-up paper and was sent my MFA. I’ve not written anything since then.
- I moved in with my in-laws. I am looking for work in Wilmington/Philly.
- I helped launch a ASCII-based rogue-like game.
- I went to GPPhilly.
- I started on the path to being an Level 1 DCI Judge
- I started work on a comprehensive calendar for Magic events.
I will write a follow up to this at a later time, I want to unpack things a bit more.
I’ve been busy for the last couple of hours getting the regional calendars to talk to the master calendar which will push event postings to @CMTYCalendarMTG. They’re still mostly empty as the process is labor intensive but, if you want to subscribe to the regional calendars, their links for Google Calendar are below. If you would like the RSS Feed or iCal information shoot me a comment below or a tweet @darkr3x.
West Coast Calendar: http://bit.ly/CMTYCalendarWC
Southern Calendar: http://bit.ly/CMTYCalendarSouth
South East Calendar: http://bit.ly/CMTYCalendarSE
Mid-Atlantic Calendar: http://bit.ly/CMTYCalendarMIDATL
North East Calendar: http://bit.ly/CMTYCalendarNE
Rust Belt Calendar: http://bit.ly/CMTYCalendarRB
MidWest Calendar: http://bit.ly/CMTYCalendarMidwest
Master Calendar(all events in all regions): http://bit.ly/CMTYCalendarMaster
I’m working on loading in the major events, but if your store is holding a community event let me know here or on twitter. If your LGS has a twitter, also let me know so I can follow them!
Until next time!
There was a pretty big conversation on twitter yesterday which arose out of the angst about PastTimes making GPATL and GPCHI $50 events. One of the threads was a demand for greater regional support to alleviate the pressure from GPs. And while I think that’ll help, I’m not sure if such a structure is viable for Wizards to support at the moment.
So I was thinking why don’t we as players make something happen?
For example, the LGS in Dover, DE I’m playing at now is starting up a monthly series they’re calling “Standard for Power.” Each month they’re looking for 20 people to play standard at $25 so they can put a Mox in the prize pool. This month–this Saturday, even–is a Ruby and I know an Opal and Sapphire remain as well. On the smaller scale, they play Vintage (proxies welcome) on Tuesdays and EDH on Saturdays. I know other stores have to be having similar events, so why not network?
If your store holds weekly events, let me know here or on twitter (@darkr3x). I’ll work on boosting the signal for them with the goal of building stronger regional communities.
Well, I still need a job, but I’m much more inclined now to just work on things instead of worrying about something I only have marginal control over. I’ve got stories to write, comics to draw, and games to cast.
Speaking of, I’m likely going to work on launching a new blog to support LOLRVA, the League of Legends community down in Richmond, VA. I’ve got a fair number of friends down there that play and since I’m shoutcasting for them anyway, I might as well boost the community a bit. More on that at a later date.
I’m going to keep playing Magic, even if I’m not going to be at the top of my game with being unable to buy all the cards I need to play on the bleeding edge of competition. So those articles aren’t going to go away, but there’ll likely not be very many tourney reports.
Above everything else, FourFold. I’m closer than ever to a finished manuscript and I have to capitalize on that momentum. There’s about three to four more major plot points between where I am and the end (of the first book) I just need to write the terrible sketch versions of the chapters and then tear everything post-thesis apart and explode it out to a fuller size.
Anyway, I’ve put off putting this up long enough and while it’s rather anemic, something is better than nothing.
’til next time!~
Background: I was called a couple weeks back to come in for an interview with a company I’d never heard of. Since I’m ethically bound by receiving unemployment to not refuse work, I said sure–even though I was a bit creeped out by the whole exchange. (I still don’t know how he got my contact information.)
After I hung up, Renee and I did a little looking around and it turned out said company was one of those which got you to pay money up front for training and products to sell, like Amway. Hilariously, I knew about such schemes thanks to a certain anime about NEET culture in Japan (Welcome to the NHK), and knew not to fill out anything or agree to anything. But I still had to go, ethically.
When I got there, I was handed a questionnaire and left alone in an office, presumably to fill it out. The man I met with didn’t want to talk until I had filled out the multipage form that wanted all sorts of information I wasn’t keen on sharing for just an interview–especially one I hadn’t applied to*. So I waited and looked around at what was visible in the office. His name, along with a few others, were on a whiteboard. There were tallies next to each name (my guy had one). On the wall across from the board was a pair of plaques for excellent performance for the past two quarters. I didn’t see a name on them. I made the reasonable assumption that the office was used by which ever of the names behind me brought in perspectives-and that proved to be right later.
The man returned and looked at my blank form askance.
I leaned forward, “So what kind of position am I being interviewed for, exactly?”
“Well, you’ll be helping families find financial security by providing them with term life insurance.”
“So…sales then? I was thinking you were looking for a developer or something.”
“Nope, we’re looking for salespeople.”
“I’m not sure if sales is what I want to be doing.”
He looks at me, he knows I know this position is a trap. “I thought you said you wanted to do something different on the phone.”
“Yeah, different from what I was doing, but still in my wheelhouse. I can barely talk to people now as it is and you expect me to just cold call people and then hard sell them?”
“I know. It seems daunting, but I was just like you a few months ago and now I’ve got my own office and everything!” He smiles, like that’s supposed to be THE THING to convince me that a position with absolutely no security what-so-ever was worth jumping on.
“Look, I’ll be straight with you. I’m a writer, or trying to be at any rate, and a position like this, with virtually no separation between work and life, is probably going to consume my, already strapped, free time.”
He looked stunned and was quiet for a moment. Finally, he shrugged and opened the office door. He looked disappointed, but I kept the phrase I am a writer firmly fixed in my mind as I walked past him and out the front door.
Though I’ve put off posting this, more from a lack of remembering to finish it than anything, the encounter really has set the tone for the year. I will be more creative, I will finish projects, and I will be a writer.
Writer. Me. :D
*Really not sure where this mistrust of the use of my personal information came from with regards to businesses. Maybe it was those articles about big firms “opening” positions just to trawl for resumes or maybe its that I have to make an account to apply for every job I come across.
Got a call this morning to let me know I was being let go. That my last day is November 30.
I wish I could be excited, but all I feel is numb. I’m so scared right now.
More to come.
So I’m working on my Master’s thesis. Which, in July, seemed like it would be cake since I already had the pages done. It would just be a couple months of some editing, some fleshing and, some small plot adjustments…
Was I ever wrong.
Whole swaths of the story don’t make sense any more as I’ve ironed out the set-up and, aside from Lysander, it feels like no-one has a point in the story any more. I’m sure it’s just my state of mind, but the entire project looks hopeless right now. There are so many glaring flaws from how I first put this together and it feels like I might be worse off for having 125 pages done instead of ahead.
Like, take Rex’s plot line.
Originally, I had him sealing his memories in an attempt to sever connections with Shadow–which he thinks is a dark reflection of himself created by using magic to kill. While Rex still feels that Shadow’s influence on him is what caused the explosion that destroys Thenas–because in part it is, deJean forces Gar-Neil to attack Rex and the fight does damage the reactor…but it’s deJean that pushes the button to cause the meltdown–he doesn’t commit mind suicide to try and separate himself now, mostly because Marvm won’t help him with it (and because amnesia is a shitty story mechanic AND I already have one amnesiac who sort of has to be.
However, I still want that tension that he’s using great amounts of his energies to hold back what he thinks is a great evil within himself, but without Rex forgetting things, his whole state of mind in the investigation sections makes no sense. He knows what’s up, or at least thinks he does. Worse, he knows he’s the only one who knows and I don’t think that comes through anymore between changes in perspective and his relationship to Shadow.
In many ways, Rex’s plot line is like Bruce Banner’s. Both of them have a power inside they can’t control and it comes out under stress. They spend a lot of time trying to find an answer to what they are without endangering those around them and I think that’s the direction I need to go to some extent.
So what if Rex is still trying to apply some kind of seal and is using his Ebb to do it (Ebb being the magic of perception of reality). Perhaps he’s traveling around, selectively cutting memories out and just happens to keep stumbling into deJean’s preparations–except that shadow is leading him to these places to stop what is going on.
Perhaps I should elaborate on what Shadow is…Like his “sister” Arcanna, who represents Ebb, he is a living construct of the Flow (magic borne of memory and connection) and he is as much Rex as he is any individual in the rest of the world. He exists as a guardian of the Inner World–a tangible representation of the Collective Unconscious, essentially–and to guide the High Mage. He is present in the minds of any who might become an Oracle and it usually he who summons someone to Magken to take the seat. How Shadow appears to each High Mage potential is different and at sometime I need to figure out what Cerra sees.
And that’s just the plot issues. Switching the Rex chapters from first to third person means I’m losing all of his filter and there’s just this huge void left that I’m not sure how to fill. Maybe I’m just rambling at this point, but at least I feel a bit better…
I often get frustrated–mostly because of how easy it is to distract me. Most times I can deal with everything going on, but if I get interrupted too many times when I’m focused on getting something done, I quickly lose my patience. And once I’ve lost it, that’s pretty much my default emotional state for the rest of the day. Suddenly, everything is frustrating. Not just ‘Oh, bother’ irritating, like fury of the gods smashing things. A typo begets mashing on keyboard. Another ‘One more thing…” from a developer has me throwing things. I literally have to shut down to avoid breaking things and it can take all day to recover.
Typically, this isn’t a problem. I can manage to avoid getting to frayed nerves of rage levels on most days–but lately that’s not been the case. I’m at wits end by ten am and can’t get away to calm down, I spend the whole day with a pounding headache and tingling fists from hammering the wall to avoid snapping my work laptop in half. I’ve spent the last two weeks in either a blind rage or an apathetic slump. By time five rolls around, if I’m actually able to get away from the computer and I’m not being bombarded still. I’m so exhausted from the day that trying to write anything, much less involved stories is near impossible.
I think this is in large part why I’ve fallen off creatively and why I spend so much of my time now just working on things that are half finished instead of creating new things. Editing is a different section of my mind, a part that’s more resilient to the effects of frustration. Editing lets me refine an idea and get out of my head, but is still grounded enough that I can stop doing it on a moment’s notice and come back to it later. Or at least it did, I can’t speak for how I’ve been recently.
That’s actually what I’m trying to figure out, why am I so uproductive of late? Is it really just that day after day is getting blown entirely by being pushed past my frustration limit before it’s even lunch time? Or does the lack of hard deadlines just reveal how little initiative I’m in possession of? Is my depression to blame? Likely, its some combination of the above. Which begs the question, what can I do about it?
The obvious answer is to get another job. Which is, I think, where a lot of my anxiety is coming from. I keep finding myself lacking for any position that might be interested in hiring me. Sometimes by just a little, other times by orders of magnitudes, but I don’t know what to do to fix it. I figure most of the jobs that are entry level won’t hire me because I’m a semester away from finishing my masters and have three years experience. Jobs that are looking for someone with my level of experience in my field typically want an active security clearance since I’d be dealing with classified systems. Other jobs in my grade outside of my field are…well beyond me really. I have a non-zero amount of UX knowledge, but not enough to pass myself off as a designer and don’t really know what to do about getting better on that front. The same can applied to web-design, networking, project management, event planning, teaching, technical writing…the list goes on. It might be easier to find a direction to go if that list had fewer elements, or if I was any better at one thing over the others–but that’s not the case. In fewer words: I need to figure out what I want to do so I can move on.
Failing that, I need to figure out where my burst of productivity came from, harness it in some form or another and get creative again.
Anyway, ’til next time!