By Shawn Leonardo, CommanDollar
Now that Battle for Zendikar has been out for a while, prices and expectations have stabilized for the set-especially with Oath of the Gatewatch currently morphing the formats. One card has surprisingly dropped off the radar, however. Despite Sire of Stagnation's decent stats and menacing ability, it's being found in dollar rare bins everywhere; before Battle came out, it was a $15 card-but why?
A card's value typically stabilizes around how often it is seen played in competitive decks. The only deck currently running it is a standard four-color Eldrazi ramp. It's not seeing solid play in any other competitive format so far, which explains the sheer drop in value. For EDH/Commander players, however, picking a copy(or more) of this monstrosity up may be a great idea, because chances are the value of this card will skyrocket in the long run and bolster your binder.
When Consecrated Sphinx was spoiled and finally released in Mirrodin Besieged, it was valued at around $6. While there have been some dips back down to around that number, Sphinx has been slowly yet steadily on the rise, and currently sits at around $23-and what it does is incredible. In a 1v1 game, Sphinx nets you two extra cards on your opponent's turn and has evasion, making it useful for combat as well. In a multiplayer game, Sphinx can be the devastating cascade for a player to win the game, drawing an insane amount of cards for the investment of 6 mana.
How does Sphinx compare to Sire, though? By all accounts, Sire puts in more work for the investment in Dimir (U/B) rather than just blue-which may also attribute to its low price. Everyone typically has to draw a card during their turn, which will net you two cards of your own with Sphinx-but playing land is a voluntary necessity, and the steep cost Sire makes players pay will make them think twice, watching their deck wither away at the price of trying to win the game. Late-game mana drops for your opponent(s) become painful as their decks begin vanishing right before their eyes. This kind of low-key control strikes fear into players desperately trying to get more mana. You also net two extra cards from their land drop, giving you a distinct and substantial advantage.
Considering that their converted mana cost is the same(though Sire requires U/B rather than UU), and Sire's stats are better(a 5/7 compared to Sphinx's 4/6), which only balances out because Sphinx has evasion, Sire's level up is that it exiles two cards off the top of your opponent's library, milling them while you gain card advantage. No need to scry or delve into the issue further-if you're running U/B in EDH/Commander, grab a couple of these now while they're cheap, before a frenzy for them drives up the price!
by Richard Rowell, Gaming Successfully Staff
Xylophonia has definitely been finding her quest in the world of RuneScape rather challenging. After completing the “Let Them Eat Pie” quest, she proceeded to wander around and level up various skills, including hunting and woodcutting. What to do with all those logs? Burn ‘em, of course, and level up firemaking! You never know when that will come in handy!
The next quest was “The Death of Chivalry”. It was a fun, challenging quest with some clever persuasion, tricky puzzles, and powerful enemies. Problem was, it turns out I was overmatched by the boss and her skeleton minions. Fortunately, I’ll be able to go back and fight the boss once I level up a bit more and get better equipment. So I’ve had to shift gears for now, until I’m more powerful.
I looked into the Grand Exchange. It’s pretty cool. I’ve already sold a brass necklace for 250 gold and a bunch of logs for over 800 gold. The best part of the Exchange is you can sell your mined and collected materials for a fair amount of profit. The main drawback is that there’s no advanced search that I can tell. So you can’t find level appropriate equipment unless you know exactly what you’re looking for. I’m finding a lot of the cool stuff I could use is members-only, which is a bummer.
I’ve been debating if I should go the Combatant route again, since clearly I’m going to need better combat gear and skill levels. But the Skiller path seems cool, too. The best part of RuneScape is that combat isn’t everything. There’s a lot to do.
On the Combatant front, I decided to check out Slaying. It seems like a skill that has a lot of members-only components, though. Still, there’s something to do with the free-to-play version, fortunately. I took on the Gelatinous Abominations I was first assigned. They were fairly easy but you needed special gauntlets to finish them off. My next task was to take on 18 wolves. The experience was good. So while I don’t get special rewards past the experience, it seems, it’s worth the combat skill training.
I’ll probably do this training for awhile before heading back to take on the Ashdale caves again as part of the Combatant path. I want to get some better equipment before I continue the Adventurer quests. Since the quests scale to your level, that’s clearly what I need.
If you’ve ever played RuneScape, I’d love any advice you could give me so I can share it with everyone.
Game Daze #4: "Baldur's Gate" Day 4
I haven't played for a few days, having been feeling a bit under the weather. But I did make some progress since the last time I have written one of these gaming entries, or logs, or whatever you want to call these things I am writing. As far as Baldur's Gate is concerned, I have travelled to Nashkel where apparently something or someone is tainting all of the iron ore, thus making all metal instruments such as weapons, shields, armor, etc. brittle and completely useless. Also, miners are being killed by dog headed creatures who are called kobolds. These are the easiest creatures to kill and give out hardly any XP. They are really only a threat in large groups, and usually when they attack you, it is in large groups.
I remember Nashkel Mines from the last time I played, which would honestly be over a decade ago. I made it down through the maze of tunnels and tracks to the lowest level. There I found a mage just standing there, waiting for me to have him join my party. My party was full, at 6 characters. So I had to ask one of my fighter characters to leave in order to allow the mage to join. Then I proceeded to the next lair or tunnel and was attacked by whoever it is who is bringing kobolds into the mines. He apparently has something to do with the contaminated iron ore. In the process of fighting him, the mage whom I had just recruited was killed, and I was attacked by skeletons, kobolds, and possibly other kinds of monsters.
A lot of my characters were heavily wounded, but except for the mage, all very much still alive. I was somewhat glad the mage had died, because I really wanted my other character back. He is named Minsk I think, and he has a pet gerbil or something named Boo. I think he had an accident with a brain injury somewhere, and he talks to his pet gerbil. But I like the character. He is a good fighter.
My party is full at 6 characters, and leveling up is going to be more difficult, tedious, and long drawn out. In order to level up any of my characters, I have to earn double the experience points that each of my characters already has. So I basically have to do what I have already done with each character. I am going to have to find ways to gain more experience more rapidly if I am going to progress in the game further. But my characters are pretty strong and experienced. Hopefully random encounters with enemies will have more experience for me when I defeat the monsters that try to attack me.
As far as the story goes, I am on Chapter 3, and am not sure what I am supposed to do next. The mayor of Nashkel has provided me with a reward for clearing out the mines, but I don't know what is next. I have never gotten this far in the game before, and will have to look through my game journal or quest log or whatever to figure out what I need to do next.
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Blessed VS Cursed may turn out to be one of the more valuable Duel Decks we've seen in recent years. This is even though there are only two "money" cards between the decks. One of the cover cards, Geist of Saint Traft, makes up the majority of the value. The popular Zombie Gravecrawler adds a bit of value in the Cursed deck, as well. The other cover card, Mindwrack Demon, would even end up being worth his drawback and see some Standard play.
As set preview cards included in these decks have shown, they usually end up being Standard-playable. Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord, Polukranos, World Eater and Oblivion Sower were big hits. Even Zurgo Helmsmasher ended up being a big hit in Commander. As Delirium decks would prove to work in the long run, the Demon would actually be valuable for a time, too.
While the Geist is the “big deal” reprint in the decks, there’s a lot to see in these decks. First, we’ll take a look at the denizens of Innistrad fighting off yet another Zombie invasion.
Blessed is a white/blue deck that utilizes several cards with the Delirium mechanic. Delirium abilities activate whenever you have four different card types in your graveyard. We’ve seen the power that a creature like Tarmogoyf can have in Modern. He cares all about card types in your graveyard, too. So does this deck show off the mechanic‘s potential?
1 Cathedral Sanctifier
1 Champion of the Parish
1 Doomed Traveler
1 Nephalia Smuggler
1 Moorland Inquisitor
1 Thraben Heretic
1 Captain of the Mists
1 Chapel Geist
2 Elder Cathar
1 Emancipation Angel
1 Fiend Hunter
1 Geist of Saint Traft
1 Tandem Lookout
1 Village Bell-Ringer
1 Mist Raven
1 Slayer of the Wicked
1 Tower Geist
1 Gryff Vanguard
1 Spectral Gateguards
1 Dearly Departed
1 Goldnight Redeemer
1 Voice of the Provinces
1 Bonds of Faith
2 Gather the Townsfolk
1 Momentary Blink
1 Sharpened Pitchfork
1 Butcher's Cleaver
1 Increasing Devotion
1 Eerie Interlude
1 Pore Over the Pages
1 Seraph Sanctuary
4 Tranquil Cove
You can’t talk about this deck without talking about Geist of Saint Traft. This hexproof guy was one of the best creatures in Standard as long as he was legal in the format. He’s a decent force in Modern, too.
Outside of the 4-color Modern Zoo decks, he’s been an important piece in Blue/White (U/W) Control and Bant Midrange. Also, he’s become a staple in the Bant Knightfall/Reliquary Retreat Combo decks. He’s also very good in Commander.
What makes him so good? Every time he attacks, he brings a 4/4 Angel into play. While you have to exile the token at end of combat, it’s hard to deal with 6 power from one attack. He’s just one of the better creatures ever printed in Blue and White.
One of the preview cards is a solid card called Eerie Interlude, which is basically an improved version of Ghostway, a valuable rare from Guildpact. The difference with Interlude is that you get to select the number of creatures you “blink.”
With the amount of enter the battlefield effects the Blessed deck has, it's a good fit. But considering Ghostway has before tried to be a real deck in Modern, this card could prove to be very good someday. While it hasn't caught on in the way that Ghostway did, the potential is still there for it to be a part of a good deck.
Eerie Interlude is functionally better than Ghostway. Choosing what creatures to exile really matters. You can “blink” Geist as he attacks, so that he can’t be blocked and killed, while “blinking” other creatures like Cathedral Sanctifier and other creatures with useful ETB (enter the battlefield) abilities. In Modern, Flickerwisp already does a good job in Blue/White Control letting you reuse your creature’s abilities in much the same way. This costs 2W and gives you even more flexibility.
There are two other preview cards in this deck. Pore Over the Pages is an interesting draw card. After untapping two lands, it essentially only costs 3 mana. Drawing three and discarding one is fine, too, especially in enabling Madness cards. It wasn't quite good enough for Standard, though, being at Sorcery speed. However, the card does see some play in EDH.
Topplegeist is a nice little card. A 1/1 flying Spirit that taps a creature when it enters is already good enough. With Delirium active, you get to have Topplegeist tap a creature every upkeep. This makes this Spirit better as the game progresses.
The rest of the deck is a good mix of Humans, flying Spirits and token generators. Increasing Devotion is one of the better token producers, as you get two uses out of it with Flashback. Dearly Departed is a rare Spirit that’s actually better off in your graveyard. As long as Dearly Departed is in the yard, you get a +1/+1 counter on each Human that enters the battlefield under your control. This really helps out Champion of the Parish, who gets a +1/+1 counter each time a Human enters the battlefield under your control, too.
Lastly, I’d like to mention a relatively forgotten Blue rare originally from Avacyn Restored, Captain of the Mists. His ability allows him to untap every time you get a Human into play. But with the Captain, he has a tap ability for 1U that allows you to tap or untap a target permanent. If you use the stack properly, you can use his ability multiple times in a turn. If you have the mana, even casting a Gather the Townsfolk can help you get 3 activations in a turn. His only real application outside this deck has been in Azami, Lady of Scrolls Commander decks - since he’s a Wizard that Azami’s Wizard tribal theme can use. Within this deck, he could do some work, though.
Cursed is a blue/black deck that also cares a bit about the Delirium mechanic. Overall, the deck has a decent Zombie-centered strategy.
1 Diregraf Ghoul
2 Butcher Ghoul
3 Screeching Skaab
2 Diregraf Captain
1 Scrapskin Drake
2 Stitched Drake
1 Unbreathing Horde
1 Abattoir Ghoul
1 Driver of the Dead
1 Falkenrath Noble
1 Havengul Runebinder
1 Makeshift Mauler
1 Relentless Skaabs
1 Harvester of Souls
1 Mindwrack Demon
1 Tooth Collector
1 Appetite for Brains
1 Human Frailty
1 Cobbled Wings
1 Victim of Night
1 Forbidden Alchemy
1 Tribute to Hunger
1 Barter in Blood
1 Dread Return
2 Moan of the Unhallowed
1 Sever the Bloodline
1 Compelling Deterrence
4 Dismal Backwater
Mindwrack Demon is definitely an interesting card. A 4 / 5 flyer for 4 mana is decent. But if you don’t have 4 different card types in your graveyard, he smacks you in the face for 4 life each turn. This makes for a very situational creature.
He just seems a bit too awkward for most decks to really take full advantage of his somewhat above average stats. But in a deck focused around the Delirium mechanic, he's definitely playable.
As was said in the introduction, these Duel Deck preview cards tend to do something in some format. But in this deck, he’s not even the best monster, though. He's a Demon in the middle of a Zombie tribal deck!
As for the other preview cards, both are fairly interesting. Compelling Deterrence has a Disperse-type effect, except it only works on opponents’ permanents. In most cases disperse would be a better card, since you can return your own nonland cards to your hand to dodge removal. If you control a zombie, however, that player also discards a card.
In a Zombie-happy deck like this one, it’s not a bad card. It just wasn't great in Standard against a deck with Madness type cards. Still, this card has found itself in more than a few Gisa and Geralf decks in Commander.
Tooth Collector is the counterpart to Blessed’s Topplegeist. This Rogue costs 2B to cast for a 3/2 body, but brings along a -1/-1 to an opponent’s creature. With Delirium, you get to do this on each opponent’s upkeep. This is a card that’s definitely good in the Blessed vs Cursed matchup. But on a value scale, Topplegeist seems much better.
Gravecrawler is a welcome reprint. A 2/1 for one Black is plenty good, but the best part about the Crawler is that you can recast him from the graveyard as long as you control a Zombie. That should almost never be a problem in this deck. His price tag definitely saw a hit with the release of this deck, which allowed more players to acquire their copies of this highly-playable Zombie creature.
There are some other notable rares here, as well. Harvester of Souls is a staple in many black Commander decks. Unbreathing Horde, likewise, is a staple in many Zombie Commander decks, and is also a casual favorite.
Havengul Runebinder does a lot of work for Zombie decks, as well. For just removing one creature card from your graveyard, you get a 2/2 Zombie token, plus a +1/+1 counter on each Zombie you control. That’s a ton of value for 3 mana late in the game. Sever the Bloodline is a card seen in some sideboards, even now in Modern. It’s really good against tokens, in particular. Just exiling one creature for 1BB isn’t bad.
A couple of uncommons are worth noting as well. Dread Return is one of the best reanimation spells of all time. It’s only legal in Legacy, Vintage, and Commander, but it does a lot of work in those formats. It’s banned in Modern for a reason. Diregraf Captain is less exciting, but is a must have for any Blue/Black Zombie deck. The Deathtouch and +1/+1 boost for your Zombies is great. But each time another Zombie of yours dies, target opponent loses 1 life. There are infinite combos in Commander that utilize this guy.
As far as fun factor playing these decks against one another, the matchup seems pretty fair on paper. I’m always in favor of the deck playing Geist of Saint Traft, honestly. If you’re thinking of buying 4 copies of Blessed VS Cursed just for the Geist, Gravecrawler, Champion of the Parish, and other useful cards, it’s worth your $20 a piece. Eerie Interlude feels like it’s way too good, especially in Modern with creatures like Reflector Mage and Bounding Krasis hanging around on the competitive scene. These Duel Decks are well worth the purchase, in singles or in playsets.
Game Daze #3: "Baldur's Gate" Day 3
I have finally been making some progress beyond just level grinding in Baldur's Gate. I decided to dismiss Garrick the bard from my party because he just was getting killed too many times, because he has so few hitpoints. My party was down to three, my character named Ragnarok, Imoen the thief, and Kivan the Elf Ranger. After leveling up to about level 5 for each of my characters, I decided to try going to the Friendly Arm Inn to see if I could defeat the mage who tries to kill me when I approach the inn. Usually he kills me in less than 3 seconds. This time the tables were turned. I had equipped a Long Sword +1 for Ragnarok, and Imoen and Kivan fired arrows rapidly at the enemy and he was killed in a couple of seconds.
The reason for going to the Friendly Arm Inn is because Gorion, the person who was my characters guardian, told me to go their to meet two of his friend, Khalid and Jaheira. I guess I should describe some of the story from here. In the beginning of the game, my guardian, Gorion, tells me to get equipped because we must leave Candlekeep, where my character has lived since youth. Apparently, there is someone intent on killing myself and others for some reason, which I do not know as of yet. As Gorion and I leave, we are ambushed by a man and his cohort. They kill Gorion but I escape. I do not know the reason why I have been targeted, but apparently there is a reward for anyone who can kill me.
Now that I have recruited Khalid and Jaheira to my party, I am going south to Nashkel, where something is wrong with the mines. Apparently all the iron produced in the region is tainted and most metal weapons and other items break very easily. So that is where I will be headed next time I play Baldur's Gate. I might do some more leveling in areas where the monsters are more difficult and provide more experience points, but we will see when I actually play. I will let you know in my next entry. If anyone has experience playing Baldur's Gate, don't hesitate to let me know.
by Richard Rowell, Gaming Successfully Staff
After my initial experience rejoining the free-to-play MMORPG, Runescape, I decided to continue playing. There is a membership available, so I wanted to see what was available for free. It does appear that many skills, items, and parts of the world map are only accessible to members. I don’t remember half of the world map being restricted to members only, but the game is so much more expansive now. In any case, it may be quite a while before I hit a paywall. So I’m going to play as much as I can before it simply won’t let me get much further.
The good news is I’m enjoying it. It’s definitely a much deeper game than it used to be. One of the cool things about Runescape is that when you kill enemies, they leave bones behind. You can bury them and gain a little bit of experience. This allows you to level up in prayer. Prayer is a skill that can become very helpful later on. Also, the cultists I killed dropped a bunch of cooked meat. As it turned out, I would need all but one for the boss fight against the demon Delrith.
After barely defeating Delrith, I got to keep the awesome demon-slaying sword Silverlight. I also worked on completing my Pathfinder set. It’s making me look like sort of a generic adventurer, but the stat increases are important. You do this by doing basic challenges that have to do with some key skills in this game. These include combat, fishing, mining and woodcutting. I also was working on my cooking. Cooked meat is very helpful in regaining health in this game. I acquired 8 pieces of raw meat, but when I went to cook them, I burned 6 of them. This is because my cooking level is so slow. I recall that when I first played this game, you had to get your cooking level fairly high. Burnt meant is useless, but can be sold for 1 gold a piece to a shop.
Then, there was one major story quest to complete that was actually fairly challenging with a mix of puzzles. The creatures were challenging to defeat, but they always dropped minnows, which are the fish equivalent of cooked meat. This helped me complete my Pathfinder set and gave me lots of experience lamps that you literally “rub” to level up your stats. In Runescape, your attack, constitution (health), strength, and defence are all separate. Also, Runescape values you being able to use melee, ranged, and magic attacks throughout the game, as different monsters are weak to different types of attacks. You level up melee, ranged, and magic separately as you use them, as well. I’ll get more to that later.
When you complete the tutorial quest, the Silverlight quest, basic skill quests, and Shadow over Ashdale you get the chance to choose your path. What’s different in this case than in many MMO’s is that you don’t actually literally choose one. It more guides you in the direction you want to go. While I enjoy doing quests, the adventurer mode asks a lot of you. It’s actually pretty cool when you consider how basic many quests really are in many popular MMO’s. The Skiller path sounds pretty cool. I like leveling up in skills and being able to create new stuff out of raw materials. The Combatant path, however, is the one I began with. I decided to visit the Combat Academy to learn the ins and outs of the combat system. Believe me, it’s worth it.
When you go to the Combat Academy you have to put all of your gear and anything in your backpack into the bank. There’s a chest nearby so it’s not inconvenient. I didn’t realize you had to throw your gold in there, too, though. Fortunately, the bank was able to store what I had at this early point in the game.
While a lot of the combat academy stuff is rather basic, these tutorials teach you about the ins and outs of the combat system of Runescape. As it turns out, the most important part to understand is the Combat Triangle. Essentially, melee is strong against ranged, ranged is strong against magic, and magic is strong against melee. This is why I’ve been taking a balanced approach in the game so far. Balancing your skills out among the three types is important as you’ll face many different types of creatures in the game.
It’s not just a tutorial, either. When you complete each tutorial, you get “graded.” Based on these grades, you get a certain amount of reward books. These give you a decent amount of experience in the combat skills of your choice. I simply evened out my strength (melee), ranged, and magic skill levels. I didn’t grade out perfectly on some of the tutorials, so I may return later and get some better rewards. However, at this point, the experience may not be worth it.
My goal right now is actually to return to the first story quest. It takes quite a bit of effort as there are many items I need to collect. My thinking is that I’ll follow each path in a row. I don’t regret at all doing those Academy trials first. That experience should prove very helpful in my adventuring. Hopefully, I’ll be playing this game for awhile longer and give you my thoughts on if this game is worth playing for free in the long run.
Free Gaming: Runescape!
by Richard Rowell, Gaming Successfully Staff
Free Gaming is a new series about free online games that you may want to check out. Our first installment in this series is all about a game I played many years ago, and am trying once again, called Runescape.
Back when I was in junior high, around 2000 or so, I played a free to play browser game called Runescape. It was the first MMORPG I ever played. Well, after taking a break from my Star Wars the Old Republic subscription, I needed another game to play. Runescape suddenly crossed my mind. Sure enough, it’s 2016, and it’s still one of the most popular free MMORPG’s around.
Obviously after probably 15 years of not playing, I started fresh. They even let you log in with Facebook now! There’s obviously quite a bit new in the game. I remember there being an almost endless number of quests and things to do. The crafting and skills were both pretty great, as well.
The character creation is a lot more interesting now from what I can remember. I decided to create a female character. As you might imagine, naming was hard. So many people play this game. I chose Xylophonia, a joke name I came up with when my partner and I were deciding what to name our daughter.
Unfortunately, I immediately ran into trouble. My graphics didn’t want to load. Fortunately, I quickly figured it out. I set the graphics to minimum. Don’t look so hot, but at least everything wasn’t black.
So my first quest involved entering some Catacombs. It involved dealing with some cultists who were after the power of a dead necromancer. They took a girl hostage to complete a blood pact ritual. My task was to save her.
In this first quest, you learn how to use melee, ranged, and magic attacks while facing the first three. You have the option to kill them or let them give you their stuff and go. I decided to be nice and let the first two go. We’ll see what consequences that has later, as those two were supposed to be taking part in a blood pact. The third drank a potion to kill himself to finish the blood pact. I rescued the girl they had taken prisoner and returned to the surface.
Before finishing the quest, I soon ran into one of the bad things about the free-to-play version. I couldn’t equip the off-hand sword because you have to be a member to dual wield swords. Bummer.
So far, this game is holding my interest for now. Glad I found it again.
Game Daze #2: "Baldur's Gate" Day 2
Gamer's Log: Stardate who the hell knows...
I am into my second day of trying to get through the entire Baldur's Gate series. I really don't know any easy way to gain lots of experience real quick. I have found that the more member of my party there are, the more enemies attack me when I am ambushed or run into monsters. I have basically been going to a nearby forest and resting over and over until I get ambushed by bandits. When I had 2 members of my party, I would get ambushed by one bandit. Then I ended up letting another character join my party, and I noticed I would get ambushed by 3 bandits. Being asked by another character if they could join my party in order to gain revenge against bandits who killed one of his friends or something, I found that I would now be ambushed by exactly 5 bandits each time I rested. Each bandit gives my party 65 experience points when I kill them. They also drop arrows, some gold, and I can also take their scalps, which I have discovered I can sell at a nearby tavern and inn for 10 gold pieces each. The bandits are easy to kill, but 65 xp is not very much.
I think my strategy is just going to be grinding through as many battles with these relatively easy to kill bandits. That is, until I level up each of my characters to where they won't be killed by everyone else so easily. I have tried going to other places where there are more powerful monsters, who give more XP for killing. But I find I die tot frequently for this to save me more time. I need to level up enough that I can more easily survive and kill more powerful enemies. But right now, my characters are way too inexperienced to face more dangerous creatures. My goal is to try to gain at least one level for all my characters every day I play. And then I will get sick and tired of grinding out these levels, and wait until next day.
Yesterday, I was almost going to quit playing, because leveling up is so tedious and repetitive. I just want to be able to continue on in the game, which has a great plot and characters, without dying. In order to continue on the quest, I will need to kill a magician in the entrance to the Friendly Arm Inn. This one magician can kill my entire party easily. I need characters with more hitpoints (hp meaning how much damage I can take before I die) and who can deal more damage to enemies. Magic is also involved in this game, but I am horrible with magic. Hopefully, I will be able to learn to use it effectively.
Every time I get attacked by bandits, they say "So I kicked him in the head until he was dead, hahaha!" I've heard that repeated over and over and over. But again, my strategy is to basically just go in a forest area and rest, and hope to get ambushed by bandits so I can kill them. Then I take their gold and jewelry, as well as their arrows and also their scalps to sell for money. Right now I am going to start playing again, my goal for the day to at least gain one more level up for each of my 4 characters. My main character, named Ragnarok, is a level 4 fighter. Imoen, a thief, is also level 4. Garrick, a bard, and Kivan, a Ranger, are also level 4. Pray for me that the randomly generated dice rolls treat me well.
If you're interested in purchasing this version of the game, the 4-in-1 DVD box set, you can purchase it here on Amazon.
Game Daze #1: "Baldur's Gate" Day 1
I am starting a new blog column discussing my time playing various games, whether they are computer, video, board or other kind of games. I will be giving reviews of games as I play them, and will try to write a blog entry for every time I attempt to play a game. These entries will describe the challenge level, difficulties, fun parts, frustrations, and tactics or strategies I use to attempt to get the most out of the games.
The first game I have begun playing in preparation for writing about it is the original "Baldur's Gate" for PC. This is the original version, which I bought as a 4 in 1 DVD set containing all the Baldur's Gate I & II and their expansions as well. I remember buying the game when it first came out a long time ago, back when the latest Windows was Windows 95. It spanned 5 CD-Roms. The edition I have is not the Enhanced Edition available on Steam. It is the original version, just put onto one DVD instead of 5 CDS.
I started playing yesterday. I have given up on this game so many times, because it is a pain to level up. It is a role-playing game, based on the rules of pencil and paper RPG Dungeons & Dragons, and set in the Forgotten Realms world. There is so much to do in this game, and while that is one of its blessings, it is also a curse. To advance, you need to do quests and fight monsters and enemies to get your characters experience points. This makes them stronger, better fighters, gives more abilities and magic spells, and otherwise improves your characters statistics and abilities, in order to make them more powerful and deadly against enemies.
Unlike Japanese style RPGs ,where you can just walk back and forth until a random fight occurs, in Baldur's Gate there is no real easy way to find enemies to fight. And it doesn't take too long for the enemies you encounter to be too powerful to survive. My strategy for leveling up has been to rest in an area containing enemies I know my characters can handle. I get woken up by Bandits and kill them for 65 experience points each. This is just extremely tedious and I have not leveled up very much.
Both of my characters, my main character and my NPC nonplayer character, have gotten up to level 3. I am trying to level up enough that I can defeat a powerful magician in the first place I am supposed to travel to, the Friendly Arm Inn. But I am just going to keep grinding through these battles until I get to at least level 5 for each character. This is going to take forever. I will update you on whether I have figured out any other ways to gain more experience this early in the game.
This game is great, except for the difficulty level. Everything is based on random dice rolls, or random number generators. These determine the success or failure of attacks and the amount of damage or other effect done. The enemies are just too powerful early on, and until I can level up more, I am going to have to just keep fighting weaker enemies one at a time. I will do this until I am strong enough to fight the more deadly enemies in the game, who give more
experience points on being killed. Maybe I can find some better armor and weaponry, as well.
I was going to try using a cheat that would allow me to heal any character just by right clicking on their portrait. But for some reason, I can't get the cheats or the console where I enter them to work. So I will be playing without cheats, and I will make updates on my progress in the game until I beat the game, or give up in frustration.
The version of the game I am playing can be purchased here.
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Drowner of Hope is one of the Intro Pack rares for Battle of Zendikar. It costs 5U to cast for a 5/5 that comes into play along with 2 1/1 Eldrazi Scion tokens. Like all Scion tokens, they can be sacrificed to provide one colorless mana. The Drowner has an additional ability that allows you to sacrifice a Scion in order to tap a target creature.
Essentially, you get 7 power for 6 mana,. If you sacrifice the tokens immediately for mana, you get 5 power for 4 mana, which is pretty solid. It's a really good card in Limited to tap down opposing chump blockers, leaving you able to swing for big damage.
Is it Constructed worthy? It didn't appear so when it was first released. The occasional Standard Eldrazi ramp deck found room for it, but it didn't look like a breakout sort of card. Typically, though, creatures that bring along two dorks with them end up seeing some sort of Constructed play. Pia and Kiran Nalaar, for instance, is a perfect example of this sort of card. With how the newer Eldrazi have built-in ways to ramp with their Scion tokens, dropping this guy on even turn 4 isn’t impossible.
Finally, at Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch, Jiachen Tao ran 4 copies of the Drowner of Hope in his winning Blue/Red Eldrazi deck. In Modern, Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple were available to accelerate big Eldrazi creatures onto the battlefield early in the game. Because of this, Drowner of Hope's power level in Modern became a lot higher than it could ever be in Standard. It was possible to drop it on turn 3 and turn the Scions into extra mana or tap down opposing blockers to prevent chump-blocks.
Not only has it proven its worth in Modern, but Drowner of Hope has a nice enter the battlefield ability useful in Commander. It can be abused through flicker effects in decks like Brago, King Eternal. He’s easily played ahead of the mana curve and a solid creature. Drowner of Hope is definitely above-average as far as intro pack rares go.
Invasive Surgery from Shadows Over Innistrad - The Introduction of Delirium in Magic the Gathering
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Invasive Surgery is a great example of the Delirium mechanic introduced in Shadows Over Innistrad. Delirium effects come into play if you have four or more card types among the cards in your graveyard. While this can be tricky, the payoff can definitely be worth it.
With Invasive Surgery, ordinarily you have a one-drop counterspell specifically targeting only sorceries. This is similar to Dispel which targets only instants. But with Delirium active, not only do you get to counter a sorcery spell, but you get to search that player's graveyard, hand, and library for any other cards with the same name and exile them.
While this card is a bit on the situational side, we've seen the power of cards like Surgical Extraction and Infinite Obliteration that have this sort of ability. Limited to only sorceries, though, Invasive Surgery is a bit narrow. Still, Delirium is a cool mechanic that if set up correctly could provide some extremely powerful benefits for those casting them.
Expose Evil and the Introduction of the "Investigate" Mechanic in Magic the Gathering
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Expose Evil from Shadows Over Innistrad introduces one of the more curious mechanics in Magic the Gathering, Investigate. When you cast a card with Investigate, you put a colorless "Clue" artifact token into play. You can sacrifice this Clue at any time for 2 colorless mana and draw a card. That's pretty good value. On top of that Expose Evil is a playable instant. It taps up to two target creatures for 1W. It's definitely good in Limited.
Back to Investigate as a mechanic, getting a free artifact is pretty cool. As other cards with Investigate are revealed, we'll get to see what mysteries can be unraveled through skillful sleuthing with these cards.
Photo courtesy of this Reddit post: https://www.reddit.com/r/magicTCG/comments/44frp5/shadow_over_innistrad_spoiler_on_dutch_ebay_like/
Fiery Temper and the Return of the Madness Mechanic in Shadows Over Innistrad - Magic the Gathering (MTG)
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Older Magic the Gathering players probably remember Madness as a powerful way to cast cards for considerably less than their regular casting costs. Madness is a card mechanic that was first introduced in the Torment set. It hasn't been seen since the Future Sight set. A card with Madness has an alternate casting cost if end up discarding the card from your hand. This way, you still get the effect of a card, but at a lessened cost. You do have to exile it if you choose to use its Madness cost, however. In Shadows Over Innistrad, Madness makes a return.
This common instant speed spell is a perfect example of one of the Madness cards in Shadows Over Innistrad. In fact, it's actually a reprint from the Torment set. On its surface, Fiery Temper is just an overcosted Lightning Bolt, 1RR to deal 3 damage to a target creature or player. But with its Madness cost, you may pay a single Red mana and exile it to essentially get Lightning Bolt.
In Limited, this is going to be a very strong burn spell. In a deck built around the Madness mechanic, this is almost as good as the classic Lightning Bolt. You can't ask much more from this fiery common.
Duskwatch Recruiter and the Return of Werewolves in Shadows Over Innistrad - Magic the Gathering (MTG)
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Werewolves were quite a popular tribe during the massively successful Innistrad & Dark Ascension sets for Magic the Gathering. Unsurprisingly, Shadows Over Innistrad reintroduces them and the "flip cards" first featured in those older sets. Duskwatch Recruiter looks to be a good one, and at uncommon, it's probably going to be a good one in draft.
Duskwatch Recruiter is a 2/2 for 1G, your typical stats for a "bear." He also has an ability for 2G which allows you to look at the top 3 cards of your library. You may reveal a creature card from among them and put the rest on the bottom of your library. A lot of the time, this basically reads 2G: Draw a card, which is very good on a green uncommon creature.
Like the Innistrad & Dark Ascension Werewolves, if no spells were cast on the previous turn, you get to transform the Recruiter. As Krallenhorde Howler, the Recruiter not only becomes a 3/3 but gives you another useful ability. Your creature spells now cost one less to cast. Of course, if a player casts two or more spells in a turn, the "sun comes up" and he reverts back to the Recruiter.
Both of these abilities are really good, especially at uncommon. The Werewolf tribe picked up a good one with Duskwatch Recruiter/Krallenhorde Howler.
Photos courtesy of this Reddit post: https://www.reddit.com/r/magicTCG/comments/44frp5/shadow_over_innistrad_spoiler_on_dutch_ebay_like/
Keep up with the latest Magic the Gathering and other gaming articles by subscribing below:
Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans Content Community. Services include ordained soul therapy and healing ministry, business success coaching, business success services, handcrafted healing jewelry, ethereal and anointing oils, altar and spiritual supplies and services, handcrafted healing beauty products, and more!
Lyn is your brand healing, soul healing, marketing & content superhero to the rescue! While rescuing civilians from boring business practices and energy vampires, this awesomely crazy family conquers evil and creates change.
They live among tigers, dragons, mermaids, unicorns, and other fantastic energies, teaching others to claim their own power and do the same.
By supporting us, you support a dedicated parent, healer, and minority small business that donates to several causes. Profits from our all-inclusive store, Intent-sive Nature support these causes and our beautiful family!
HIRE OR SHOP WITH LYN | CONTACT LYN