I'll be appearing on an upcoming episode of Commandercast once again. Look for it coming up!
I am well aware that this series is a bit...belated. Theros is now last years' block, but I wasn't playing Magic at all last year (other than with teaching decks with my 6 year old daughter) and so I didn't have a chance to play against these decks at the Prereleases, or really, at all until I recently grabbed one of each from Amazon.
As a reminder, Here is the deck I've been running against the Challenge Decks:
I shuffled up this deck, and the Minotaur Horde, and got ready to stomp it to a paste like I did the Hydra...and I LOST, hard.
Game 1, the minotaurs pounded me hard! This deck does not have the stipulation that, you win if there are no creatures in play. Even when I was able to cull the early parts of the swarm, the hastey minotaurs just kept coming. My burn was more valuable, because the minotaurs didn't respawn BECAUSE of the deaths of their guys, but they had some blowout turns. No artifacts showed up this game to make them flip play more cards this game. I went on an early aggro plan (as this deck clearly wants to do) and the minotaurs would just flip up a brutal set of creatures and swing for 5 while I was tapped out, and that was too much for me to recover from. The one sweeper (that deals 3 damage to all creatures) cleaned me and the horde out, but the horde killed me after that cleared the way for them to swing in for lethal.
Game 2 I got stuck on 2 land and got whupped again.
Game three was more interesting, and I won, a little more easily than I would have liked, but not any more easily that the wins tend to be when I play ACTUAL Horde Magic. This time I saw a couple artifacts too, later in the game and the horde was flipping up 4 cards in its last few turns, but it was too late in the game and I pulled out the win.
All-in-all, this deck is MUCH better and more competitive than the hydra was. It's also WAY more similar to traditional Horde Magic, and could be fun as a Horde deck, but the artifacts that cause more flips could get BROKEN fast.
I definitely suggest picking this one up, I haven't tried it with any other decks, because I still felt like anything more tuned would make it a walk in the park, but against limited decks or precons, the Minotaur Horde is just the right amount of nasty.
So until next time, use YOUR shoes as counters!
A year late, I know, but I finally broke down and bought the Theros Challenge Decks and I just recently played the Face the Hydra one. I had originally intended to play against it with different decks of varying levels of power and complexity and report my findings, but if you keep reading, you'll see why that was unnecessary.
The other obvious comparison is to Horde Magic, a popular variant coined by Peter Knudson over on Quiet Speculation, I am going to compare and contrast the two formats and let you know how the Hydra challenge deck sizes up.
So, upon buying the Face the Hydra deck, I knew that it was intended for "standard decks" and along those lines, was likely build for sealed or draft pools because of it's debut as a side event at the Theros prerelease/release events. I wanted to push the limits of what could be played against it and see how it held up against varying decks that casual players might have.
I started with a deck I build to teach my 6 year old daughter to play magic. It is NOT powerful, in fact, it is pretty weak, but it is consistent. Likely able to easily defeat any limited pool, but it wouldn't stand up to any deck that has more than the one keyword mechanic in it. Here is my list, albeit a little out of date because we recently had added more cards and a few with haste because her reading and understanding of the rules have improved dramatically, the picture below however is the full deck I used:
I played 3 games against the hydra, and I won all three. There was one that was a tiny bit close, but this weak tutorial deck cleaned up against the hydra, no contest.
So as I said before, I didn't bother playtesting with stronger decks, because it was WAY too easy. I don't have a playgroup at present either, so this will be a review of solo play. That being said, any co-op game CAN be played as a solo game with similar results, and while I think more players would increase banter, it would not change how easy it is to defeat the hydra.
I also did not use any of the Hero cards, which I did go to the trouble to obtain because I simply did not need the power boost.
Horde Magic and How to Make the Hydra More Fun
When I read about these challange decks on the Mothership, I immediately compared them in my mind to Horde Magic. When I got mine, and read the rules, I realized this is much more toned down than Horde Magic, and even less of a challenge.
One of the few complaints about Horde Magic is how easy it has been to defeat the Horde, and the Hydra deck only draws 1 card per turn and more if you cut off a head. I would like to propose using 4 of the Hydra decks merged together AS a Horde deck and combining the rules. Here is my take:
Face the Hydra WOOBERG Style
You can battle the Hydra alone or with friends (just replace "you" with "each player" in these rules). At the end of any turn, if there are no Heads on the battlefield and no cards in the Hydra's deck, you win! Use the regular Magic rules with the following exceptions:
WOOBERG Style Hydra Challenge Horde Decklist
30 Hydra Head
10 Ravenous Brute Head
5 Savage Vigor Head
5 Snapping Fang Head
5 Shrieking Titan Head
Sorceries (this list is three short, add 3 sorceries from this list at your discretion)
5 Disorienting Glower
5 Distract the Hydra
4 Grown from the Stump
4 Hydra's Impenetrable Hide
3 Neck Tangle
4 Noxious Hydra Breath
2 Strike the Weak Spot
5 Swallow the Hero Whole
4 Torn Between Heads
6 Unified Lunge
I recently bought all the Theros block Challenge Decks to give them a go and get back into Magic without a playgroup. I ran through the Hydra deck a couple times and plan on writing up the format in review in the coming days. Keep your eyes peeled.
WOOBERG has been relatively silent lately, but today I am announcing my official Magic store on TCGPlayer.com! Currently inventory is small, due to selling restrictions on new sellers there, but keep your eyes peeled for great deals that also help keep WOOBERG up and running.
Well, it looks like WOOBERG will have to begin searching for a new banner graphic, after contacting the owner of the little spell casting squirrel, I've been priced out of using the image.
Anyone who is involved with artwork and magic is welcome to contact me with submissions.
Even better, anyone who can digitally finish pencil sketches who wants to finish the image below it would be greatly appreciated.
I don't play much Magic anymore, but mainly because the price to play has gotten too high for my blood. I spend most of my time and money on board games and RPG system material these days.
Recently, my neighbor and fellow gamer, got the Magic bug and his co-workers play at lunch so he tried out the Duel Decks: Heroes vs Monsters boxed set. He likes the game, but isn't interested in investing any cash-money or time beyond the boxed set, and I totally get it. While i love deck-building, the time-consuming nature of the process, combined with the cost of cards would crush any new player's soul these days.
What I AM trying to get at, is that Magic doesn't HAVE to be an expensive hobby. Whether you are just tossing around the newest Duel Deck product, or are playing Big Box with a giant pile of commons and basic land, Magic can be, just another board game, and not crush your soul or your wallet.
If you are the type who is unwilling to try a CCG, you probably aren't reading my site, but if you are, give the game a fair try as JUST a game, and then if you like it, buy a Duel Deck set. The game doesn't HAVE to be the infinite time and money sink it is perceived to be by most hobby gamers that don't do CCG's
In the recent months, it's no secret that I have stashed away my Magic cards in favor of cheaper and less aggressively competitive games/hobbies. I play semi-regularly with my children using incredibly simple decks, but otherwise, I don't flip the cardboard around much anymore.
That's not to say I don't miss the game, and time willing (yeah right) I'd love to get back into playing Magic again assuming I can find the right group of players (uhg, finding a gaming group is like dating, except without the "happy ending" :P).
One of the main things that got me to put down the cardboard crack-pipe, is the snowballing process of EDH/Commander has begun to push the format in a much more competitive direction that is less fun for me and for many others.
This thread, and others like it have been popping up intermittently since I would guess around the time that WOTC started promoting EDH/Commander to the masses. It is to those who have become a bit disenfranchised by Commander whom I speak now.
Godzilla is a fantastic format that started in Springfield, MO, where I went to college for a year and I LOVE the format. I have taken it upon myself to promote it as best I can and help the format keep growing and becoming better. A few years ago, I took my experience of what players loved and hated about the format and made some tweaks to the format. Since then I have unfortunately had less and less opportunity to play it, and more and more desire to whip out the fatties.
Godzilla brings the feel that pre-mass-popularity EDH brought to the kitchen table; Giant splashy spells (that don't feel like one card combos), Huge monsters combating one another and multiplayer fun. Godzilla also manages to do this while still allowing you to play 4 copies of your favorite cards, so things like [c]Stomping Stones[/c] (or your other favorites that need more than one copy to do their thing) work.
Finally, my strategy on banning cards is different from the EDH RC, if games are being ruined by a card en mass, it needs to be banned, if the card is stupid good, but not ruining games, there is a restricted list as well. The other glorious part of the deck-building rules is that it restricts combos that don't involve fat creatures (total power and toughness of 8+) due to your deck requiring at least 25/75 cards to be the aforementioned fatties.
One last point, the creatures that are legal fatties have gotten STUPID FUN in many of the recent sets! With all the fatties in Rise of the Eldrazi, Avacyn Restored and now the Monstrous creatures of Theros, there are a ton of fun giant monsters to sling around.
So, if you find yourself disenfranchised with EDH/Commander and need a new multiplayer format, try out Godzilla. If you want to play 4 copies of a card in a casual multiplayer game, try Godzilla. If you love the fatties, try Godzilla!
That's all I have for today, so until next time,
Use YOUR shoes as counters!
A long time ago, I started considering a new banner using commissioned art for WOOBERG. My wife drew me a sketch and I love it, but I don't know if it will ever make it to finished form, but here is the awesome hilarious sketch. The concept is mine, but the art is all hers.
Gotta wonder how [card]Talon Sliver[/card] can manipulate anything more complex than a wooden block.
Since the number of new visitors has suddenly increased, I figured now might be a good time to list some of the most popular of my previous works. Here are the series and articles I have written that have garnered the most attention, as well as a format (Godzilla Magic) that I feel everyone might like to give a read:
This is by far my most popular series of articles. It goes through a list of Legendary Creatures that no one would fess up to having used as Generals of their EDH/Commander decks and rates them as well as occasionally suggesting decklists.
In this article series, I suggest some decklists for the Tribal Wars format using some unconventional creature types.
Looking for old, obscure cards that let you do awesome stuff in all the wrong colors, or just old awesome obscure cards in general? This series highlights just that!
When Horde Magic became a smash hit, I wrote an article and proposed my own horde deck and it was met with some attention.
When a member of my former playgroup wore one of these to a PTQ, WOTC did a small blurb of coverage on it. Now, here is a tutorial on how to make your own hat out of Magic cards!
As some of you may already know, I am a father of four beautiful children. Now a days, the youngest 2 are learning to play some basic MTG, but back in the day things weren't so easy. This article was "commissioned" (see requested) by a reader and turned out to be some good stuff.
This article gives insight on how to build a decent deck for any variant format, even if you have never played it.
This article helps when trying to decide on which formats will be most fun for your playgroup.
And Finally...Shoe's Top 5 Variant Formats to Try