Friday, November 16, 2012

The Walking Dead

Walking Dead
I've been wanting to write a review about this ongoing comic book series. People have been fascinated about the TV series and some don't even know that it started out as a comic book.

I'm not a fan of zombies but I was more than fascinated by the series. First of, my thanks to a very good friend and fellow geek, Dr. Eugene Baje, who urged me to start reading the series. In his words, he said that it's not the typical zombie comic book. Thank goodness I listened to him though it took quite a while for me to be convinced.

By the way, I don't watch the TV series. Like I said, I'm not a fan of zombies. Thus, I just stick to the reading part. This post is not about the TV series. So, if you were expecting something about the TV series, you would be disappointed.  I do mention something about the TV series and that's it.

What fascinates me about The Walking Dead comic book is how it is more about how people respond to a zombie apocalypse and not really about the zombies.  The series focuses on the people who have not been "turned" and shows how these people will do anything to stay alive.  I just got reminded now that it is similar to Y: The Last Man only this time, there are other guys walking around and not just girls.  In an apocalypse, people will do what needs to be done (and sex is certainly part of it!).

Robert Kirkman (the writer) has certainly made Image Comics relevant again.  I've read his Invincible series (and that's another series to write about) but I never expected The Walking Dead to be this good.  It doesn't even matter that The Walking Dead is in black and white.  Frankly, it's still so good.  Being in black and white just seems to fit to a zombie apocalypse book.  Props to the penciller Charlie Adlard.

About the TV series: Kirkman has mentioned that it won't be the same as the comic book because he wants something different.  There are similarities though and I enjoy "spoiling" some parts of the comic book to TV series enthusiasts.

For TV series enthusiasts: pick up the comic book series and start with number 1.  It's so much better.  The story moves fast and it's nerve wracking.  It really is worth the time and effort.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Marvel Now Deadpool

Marvel Now Deadpool

Deadpool is one unfortunate victim of Marvel's new endeavor called Marvel Now.

In his supposed "last" issue, Daniel Way had to give in because sales were going down.  Frankly, Marvel destroyed itself by releasing too many Deadpool titles.  I can't name them all but here are some of them:

Deadpool Team-up
Deadpool Merc with a Mouth
Deadpool Corps
Deadpool: Max

I found the concept of Deadpool Team-up a good read considering it usually had good humor on it.  But it just became silly when they couldn't come up with concepts for other team-ups.

I understand Deadpool: Max is different.  I just find it too weird.

As for Deadpool Corps, that was stretching it.  And putting Rob Liefeld on it is the killer.  Once I saw the cover, I already knew it was a Liefeld art.  It's that bad.

Keep Deadpool interesting, Marvel peeps.  You know he's an intriguing character (probably in the same level as Wolverine) but you don't need him appearing in all your titles.  Just because Ryan Reynolds played him in the Wolverine Origins movie doesn't mean that everyone will want to read all the titles.

Marvel Now

Marvel Now
I'm saddened that Marvel is doing a reboot with some of their titles.  It's reeking with desperation.  Here, after DC has posted huge sales with its New 52.  It's just too obvious.

Frankly, the Avengers vs. X-Men was just too much and too dragging.  They had to kill Professor X (again).  Yes, it was sort of big news for those who don't follow the Marvel Universe (he's been dead before). And now, Cyclops is a villain (of some sort).  We'll see how this will be played out.  I liked it when Cyclops was just a normal leader leading the team.  Him being a villain is just too serious.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What to read in DC's new 52? (Green Lantern new 52)

It's been a long time since I've blogged about comic books.  A lot has happened in the comics worlds.  Marvel Comics stood by while DC Comics initiated a revamp (again) with Flashpoint.  It's been more than a year since Flashpoint started.  I seem to have already put it at the back of my mind as since with DC's new 52, they never happened.  The events of Flashpoint ushered in the new 52.

The New 52 had DC Comics characters rebooting.  This month, DC is at zero month releasing all zero issues from various titles.  It's a great way to catch on with what's happening with all the DC characters.  As how DC Comics likes to call it: it's a great jump on point.

I haven't been following with all the the DC new 52 titles.  As like before, I have been following Batman and his various titles, Green Lantern and related titles (the focus of this post), Flash, and Justice League of America.

With all the reboot and revamping, the Green Lantern titles have remained as they were before the new 52 came in.  Green Lantern titles coincided with the Flashpoint event and at the end of the War of the Green Lanterns Hal Jordan got expelled and Sinestro got to be a member of the Green Lantern Corps again.

The story did continue even with the new 52 tagline.  Hal Jordan and Sinestro are surprisingly working together in the Green Lantern title.  It's a wonderful read.  Sinestro is supposed to be the bad guy but suddenly Jordan has to "bow" to Sinestro's whims.

Green Lantern Corps title focuses on the two other human Green Lanterns: Guy Gardner and John Stewart.  If you want to see more appearances from the other corps members, this is the title to read.

Last but not the least is Green Lantern - New Guardians which continues the combining of the other color lanterns in one big adventure.  The human Green Lantern in this title is Kyle Rayner.  If you're fascinated with the other color lanterns in the past (in War of Light storyline) then this title is for you.

All 3 Green Lantern titles are still a must read.

Not really a Green Lantern but Red Lanterns got their own title and it's quite boring.  Atrocitus struggles to maintain control over his group and frankly I wonder what they're fussing about.  It's just too much red at this point (and it's not my favorite color).

Hopefully things will pick up with Red Lantern with the Third Army storyline arc that DC is putting together.

Friday, September 24, 2010

What Comic Books to Read (DC)

Here is the DC edition of my post regarding what comic books to read.  To start off, some of the specific reasons to read DC:

First, DC is full of established characters.  No, I'm not going to say that the characters in the other comic book company (Marvel) are not established but DC's characters are more established.  Little has changed for Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman.  If there has been any, it does not show.  Fans from the past can easily relate to what's in our present now.  What I'm driving at is there's not much catching up to do especially in the aspect of jumping in to the universe of the top characters in DC.  For me, this is one reason why there are (still) a lot of DC Comics fans.

















Second, DC uses fictional cities.  While there's a wonder towards using real cities, there is also a creative strategy towards using fictional cities.  For one, the reader doesn't have to get worried that such a city like Gotham really exists.  The DC cities can be as violent or as peaceful as they want to be.  It's up to the story writer.

Third, DC has this manner of explaining everything just because it needs to be explained.  Hal Jordan's hair becoming gray?  There's an explanation to that.  How did the Justice League of America beat the crap out of a newly formed team of super-villains?  There's a complete description of how it happened.  This is not X-Files where you are left hanging.  Somehow, the editors of DC must insist that explanations must be given regarding "trivial" matters.  If this is your thing, DC will provide it for you.

Probably the last reason to put here is the Elseworlds universe of DC.  I don't know if they're still using the Elseworlds wording but I do know that the universes being used in Elseworlds are in the 52 remaining parallel universes.  DC explained (again with the explanation) it in the 52 series.














What to read in DC?  I'm reading only a few right now.  I want to get on started with Brightest Day, Vol. 1 but I still have to read up on Blackest Night.  With that said, I start off with:

1. Green Lantern

If Marvel has Deadpool as a superhero with a cult following, DC has Green Lantern.  Hal Jordan has just recently returned as Green Lantern.  There are now 4 Earth humans wearing the Green Lantern ring.  The best way to start reading on GL is to go with Green Lantern: Rebirth.  After that, you can work your way to Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War, Vol. 1 and Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War, Vol. 2.  Slowly but surely, there's Green Lantern: Rage of the Red Lanterns, Green Lantern Corps: Sins of the Star Sapphire, Green Lantern: Agent Orange, until you get into Blackest Night.  You might have noticed that there's a certain pattern as to color and yes, there are other colored rings in the DC universe.  It's fun to read and as I said previously, DC loves to explain things and it's all explained well.  Credit goes to Geoff Johns for getting deep into GL lore.

2. Batman and Robin

No, it's not the movie with the same title.  That Joel Schumacher disaster is way lamer than the comic book.  In Batman and Robin, Vol. 1: Batman Reborn, the new Batman (Dick Grayson) teams up with Bruce Wayne's son, who dons the mantle of Robin (the 4th Robin, if you didn't know).  They are not very good friends actually.  Robin wants to kill Batman and Batman would be happy to just be rid of Robin.  Their adventure is different from the usual Batman stories as Grayson tries to deal with the realization that he is now Batman.

I would want to read the other Batman titles but considering how I got lost over the numbering, I decided to just pick up on a new title.  See the death of Batman in Final Crisis.  Go over what's happening after his death with Batman R.I.P. and Batman: Battle for the Cowl.  And if you're not over exhausted over his death, read the Return of Bruce Wayne.  And yes, everything would be explained.

For the record, Batman is my second favorite character.  And why not?  Here is a character who shouldn't be considered a superhero because he's only human.  He does have a great mind and it's because of his great mind that his limited series comic books are always a good read.  More on that later.

3. Flash

I think I'm stuck to only 3 DC titles.  Flash is the last.  Just like Green Lantern, Flash has undergone sort of a rebirth as the original, Barry Allen, has returned to don the mantle.  Speedsters are always fun to read and it's unfortunate that Marvel has never had a cool speedster aside from Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff).  Flash is currently just starting out so you can just easily pick it up.

Just like what I did with Marvel, I'll put in some titles that are good reads (just in case you don't want to get into the whole universe thing).

1. Batman books (limited series)

There are quite a lot.  Where to start?  Batman: The Long Halloween is a great work by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale.  Then, there's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller.  Batman: Hush showcases art by Jim Lee.  The list goes on and on.

2. Identity Crisis

I was blown away by the story of Identity Crisis (DC Comics).  It's got one of the best stories that I've read from DC.  And ever since I encountered the name Brad Meltzer, I've been keeping up with the novels that he's written.

I think these would be the books that I'd recommend out of recent memory.  I'd like to include Watchmen and Kingdom Come but I think I'd include it in another post.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What comic books to read (Marvel)

As an avid comic book reader, here is my take on the industry and my personal opinion on certain titles.  This post is a focus on a newbie's quest to start reading.  Here, I start off with Marvel Comics.

There are several reasons to read titles in Marvel Comics.  One is continuity.  Though all comic book characters eventually die in a major storyline move, they still end up alive in more ways than one.  Heck, this is comics so it really doesn't matter if they die now (in the long run, they'll be alive sooner or later).  But lately, some characters in the Marvel universe have ended up staying dead.  Several examples would be Jean Grey of the X-Men (she's been through it a lot of times actually), Kitty Pryde (Shadowcat), and the minor characters who perished during the Civil War storyline.  In comparison to DC Comics, Marvel does not go into reset mode as commonly as DC.  The Marvel Comics reader would expect that what happens in a major storyline now is expected to have consequences in the future.  Several examples: House of M which led to mutants number being decimated to 198 (and counting down).  Another example would be Civil War, which led to Iron Man taking over SHIELD.  While being the SHIELD leader, the Hulk declared war on all heroes in World War Hulk.  The next big event came with Secret Invasion when the Skrulls secretly invaded Earth by portraying several heroes (also gave Marvel a good reason to reincarnate several dead heroes from the past).  Secret Invasion made Norman Osborn the hero and he replaced Tony Stark/Iron Man as the head police and renamed SHIELD to HAMMER which led to Dark Reign (most of his (mis)adventures can be read in Dark Avengers, Vol. 1: Assemble).  In Dark Avengers: Siege, we see the fall of Norman Osborn and the good guys are once more at the helm.  All the storylines mentioned show the continuity of the stories in Marvel.  From Civil War down to Siege, they are all somehow connected.

Another reason to read Marvel is the well organized structure of its universe.  To wit, one can choose among the categories:

1. Mutants (any title dealing with the mutants)
2. Avengers
3. Space guys (Guardians of the Galaxy, etc.)
4. The other teams (Fantastic Four)
5. The other solo guys
6. Ultimates line 
7. Max storyline

Team-up titles are almost non-existent now.  Although there are team titles, there is nothing like DC's Superman/Batman nor Trinity (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman).  Frankly, there should be a limit towards over-exposure in the comic book universe.

Third reason to read Marvel would be how they incorporate current issues and trends to their stories.  Unlike in DC in which each hero's city is a fictional location, the Marvel characters use actual cities as their base of operations.  Case in point, Spider-man, the X-Men, and X-Factor.  Want to get a feel of New York City?  Just read Spider-man as he swings around the skyscrapers.  Need to get a little bit of sunny California?  Check out the X-Men.  As for X-Factor, they recently relocated to Detroit but are currently having a "vacation" in Las Vegas as of this writing.

Both companies are using the same trend of treating each comic book title as its own. (they  seldom overlap the stories unless there's a big event).  The good thing about Marvel is that they have streamlined their solo hero titles.  Spider-man has gone back to the Amazing Spider-man title and Marvel has placed its focus on it.  Wolverine is appearing on X-Men books as well as Avengers while he has 2 on-going titles as of the moment (Sidenote: Wolverine even made a comment that being present in both the X-Men and the Avengers is one of his powers).  Deadpool is currently overexposed but since he does not appear in any team book, he can have any (mis)adventure wherever he wants to.

One thing of note with the Marvel universe is that its characters should not be confused with the characters in the movies.  The movies should be treated separately as since the hardcore comic book fan will always disagree over what's happening in the movies.  Chalk one up to Hollywood for always insisting on having a different script or storyline.

For those who want to dive into the Marvel universe, these are probably the titles that I would recommend:

1. Amazing Spider-man

Where to start? Spider-Man: Brand New Day, Vol. 1 (v. 1) is probably a good place to start and gradually work towards the current issues.  Spider-man has never been more fun.  Peter Parker is back to being a single guy.  He's jobless.  He's making ends meet trying to live in New York.  He's back to what he was when he was in high school and down on his luck. Aunt May is back though but she just got married to J. Jonah Jameson's father (yup, JJJ and Parker are now stepbrothers).  And probably one of the best kickers, JJ is the mayor of New York City and has devoted quite a lot to ridding the city of Spider-man.

After Civil War, Parker and Mary Jane Watson had to run for their lives since Spider-man's secret identity was revealed.  Brand New Day erased all that and more.

By far, I can say that this is one comic book title that I'd say is fun to read.

2. Deadpool

This is a fun title to read.  I call it a semi-team book because he speaks to at least two other voices in his head.  This aspect of Deadpool makes it all the more funny.

Start off with Deadpool, Vol. 1: Secret Invasion (v. 1) then work towards the current issues.  Guaranteed all fun and considerably light reading.

But I do suggest to not overdo on reading Deadpool.  I've gone through Deadpool: Suicide Kings and Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth.  They're all fun to read.  I'm still reading Deadpool Team-up.  When Deadpool Corps came out, I just had to say enough is enough.

3. Agents of Atlas

If there's a team that is not the usual superhero-oriented team like the Avengers, X-Men, or Fantastic Four, it's the Agent of Atlas.  The team is composed of hard hitters like a gorilla man and Namora, and their aces in the sleeve are a sensually tempting diva named Venus and an old school robot named M-11.  Oh, and they have a telepathic alien in Marvel Boy, who is from Uranus (yes, he gets to be a butt of the "your anus" jokes too).  What makes Agents of Atlas fun is that they don't answer to any higher power, even to a powerful dragon.  They're a semi-black ops team who can kick any other team's butts with their lineup.

Start with any of the Agents of Atlas storyline.  The current on-going series is entitled simply as Atlas.

4. X-Factor

This is probably the most improbable X book to read.  X-Factor is always underestimated as just a ragtag team of mutants (and non-mutants) but it is so well written by master scribe Peter David.  X-Factor brings together Multiple Man (now usually referred to as just Madrox), Siryn, Monet St. Clair (of Generation X fame), Strong Guy Guido, the de-powered Rictor, the always evolving Darwin, the know-it-all Layla Miller, and recent inclusions to the team: the always lucky Longshot and the suddenly queer Shatterstar.  X-Factor's current numbering is weird but just start somewhere.  Peter David is so worth it.

5. Wolverine

The last ongoing book that I would recommend is my all-time favorite character from Marvel.  This countdown wouldn't be complete without his inclusion.  I've been reading his ongoing title since Wolverine #90 when he got the adamantium removed from his bones.  I waited patiently as Larry Hama weaved the story around up to the #100 when some bad guys attempted to get the adamantium back into his body.  Wolverine became more feral after that issue.  I haven't known how he got his adamantium back but I caught up with him once more somewhere along the way.  So, where to start with him?  Of course, knowledge on Wolverine wouldn't be sufficient without reading Wolverine: Origin.  Get a copy of the limited series.  Then jump into Wolverine: Weapon X, Vol. 1: The Adamantium Men or Wolverine: Weapon X, Vol. 2: Insane in the Brain.  The stories are all good from master storyteller Jason Aaron.  Also, the ongoing series with the title Wolverine is getting a sort of a reboot as he journeys into hell in spirit (his body is still on Earth).  It should be fun to see how they'll get him to battle demons in hell.

If you're looking to just read around the Marvel universe without getting into the ongoing titles, I suggest several good books that are sure to pique an interest in the geek in you.

First off, Dark Avengers, Vol. 1: Assemble.  Brian Michael Bendis does a great job a la Thunderbolts with this bad guy version of the Avengers.  The story: Norman Osborn has just taken over SHIELD and renamed it as HAMMER.  He dons Tony Stark's Suits and becomes this Avengers' version of Iron Man.  To round up the team, he calls on Bullseye to be Hawkeye, Venom to be Spider-man, Daken (Wolverine's son) to be Wolverine, etc.  They are a dysfunctional group that tries to be functional.  There is a very good reason why this has been one of Marvel's best books during its time but you just have to read it to believe it.

Still staying with the Avengers theme, make sure to grab The Ultimates Vol. 1: Super-Human and The Ultimates Vol. 2: Homeland Security plus The Ultimates 2, Vol. 1: Gods and Monsters and The Ultimates 2, Vol. 2: Grand Theft America (v. 2).  These are all great reads from Mark Millar.  Nick Fury is African-American and looks like Samuel L. Jackson.  There's a bit in one of the issues where the heroes discuss who would play who in a movie.  It's a very outrageous moment.  Actually, I'd recommend any of the first Ultimate line books for light reading.  They are all great.  The writers are all given full leeway as to how to treat the characters in a different light.  Art is spiffy too.  Special props to Mark Bagley for Ultimate Spider-man.

Astonishing X-Men Vol. 1: Gifted is a great take by Joss Whedon on the X-Men.  I might say that this was the first Marvel book that I had read for a very long time.  I quickly got hooked to Whedon's dialogue.  This will most probably be the only Mutant book that I'd recommend for light reading.

Also check out the following great books by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale (their partnership, by the way, is just awsome): Daredevil: Yellow (Daredevil (Unnumbered)), Spider-Man: Blue, and Hulk: Gray (Incredible Hulk). There's supposed to be a Captain America: White but I think it's not yet done.  If you've noticed, the Marvel books by Loeb and Sale has a color in its title.

I think, that should be enough for the Marvel side of things.  Next post would be about DC Comics.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wasted

No, I'm not wasted. More to the point, this is sort of a review (and an appreciation) for the graphic novel by Gerry Alanguilan entitled Wasted.

At first glance, Wasted seems to be just a simple graphic novel. It's set in black and white. And the story/main topic is very common for everyone's imagination: one's angst towards the world. It starts out like most angry stories do, an unsuccessful love story that evolves into something more. As you read the graphic novel, you get to explore Eric, the main character, and his anger towards his father after an unsuccessful endeavor in law school, his hatred towards society's norms when his father is murdered by thugs, and other things that just oh so suddenly becomes unwanted.

Yet simple as it is, the graphic novel is a beautiful rendition of what the Philippines is today: it is full of annoying religious people seeking to sway as to their sect (or group), citizens who do not heed the health of other people, robbers, policemen who recklessly shoots innocent bystanders, elected officials who are criminals, and best of all, husbands-to-be who are perverts.

The first few pages made me cringe over the main character. How could he not handle the problems? But later on, I begin to feel an attachment towards the character. I would dare say that every guy who has been heartbroken might somehow ended up just like the main character. I would admittedly say so that I would have. Eric chose his own path. He might have been high on drugs or it might have been just the result of environmental pressure. I would not dare judge him for what he did because it could have been me. In full appreciation of the character, he's much stronger than most of us.

Bravo to Gerry Alanguilan for a beautiful portrayal of life no matter how simple it may look. It gave me a fresh perspective towards life.

Friday, June 4, 2010

M11 Possible reprints and omissions (green)

My take on green. For the record, I've read Tom LaPille's column. This post is written with that article in mind.

Acidic Slime, Ant Queen - I'm a little bit more sure with Acidic Slime but not with Ant Queen. Considering Ant Queen was a little bit promoted as the Launch Party giveaway, I'd say it would be a slap to Wizards' face that they wouldn't bring back Ant Queen. Acidic Slime, meanwhile, showed a bit of promise with its utility ability. They'll both be back.

Awakener Druid - I'll go out on a limb with my claim that Awakener Druid won't be back. I consider the ability to be a little bit confusing. It's also too difficult to remember the said Forest without any other markers or counters. I'd expect Wizards to print something else that would give out the same ability but up to until the beginning of the end step only.

Birds of Paradise - already rumored to be the Buy-a-box giveaway.

Borderland Ranger, Bountiful Harvest - Borderland Ranger go a little use. Bountiful Harvest is not used. For Borderland Ranger, it's a functional reprint of an old card but is reverted back to a human. As for Bountiful Harvest, it's a nice introduction to green's limited ability to gain life. They'll both be back.

Bramble Creeper - a questionably designed card. An experienced player certainly wouldn't play this card. An advanced player might just ponder at the question on why play the card itself. In any case, this should not be back.

Centaur Courser - centaurs for green as to minotaurs for red. Since it's a new card, this should be back.

Craw Wurm - ah... Big and costly Craw Wurm. Some would say that there's a sentimentality to having the Craw Wurm back. As of the moment, I think it will be out.

Cudgel Troll - a new card to show another creature type available to green as well as to show the Regenerate ability. I think green will still have regeneration as an ability. This will be back.

Deadly Recluse, Elvish Archdruid - both should be back.

Elvish Piper - scrap this card already. It's not being used. I might say that a sorcery spell might be created to replace the Elvish Piper.

Elvish Visionary - the subtle Elvish Visionary shows how green is able to occasionally draw cards. I believe this will be back.

Emerald Onyx - I'll go out on a limb again to say that this card won't be back. I think the landwalk ability is too clunky.

Enormous Baloth - if Craw Wurm will be removed, it seems that Enormous Baloth could be too. This is in the uncommon slot though and it possesses better stats than the Craw Wurm. This will probably be back.

Entangling Vines - with a card like Plummet getting printed, this might remove Entangling Vines as the color's "creature kill".

Fog - an old favorite, it has returned since 7th Ed. It should be back for one more year.

Garruk Wildspeaker - only 2 green planeswalkers have been printed. Of the 2, Garruk is much simpler and unlike Nissa Revane, which requires one extra card to be printed (Nissa's Chosen), Garruk has the basic rules of a planeswalker. I expect Garruk to come back.

Giant Growth - the token power/toughness modifying spell for green. It should be back.

Giant Spider - I have doubts regarding Giant Spider. Wizards might want to print a new spider with reach just to give a fresh paint for the Core Set.

Great Sable Stag - great creature. At the rare slot, it does not provide too much confusion with its cannot be countered and protection text. It should be back.

Howl of the Night Pack - like red and black with their land interactions, green also has a few up its sleeve. I think this card will be back. It's quite over costed but with an ability like that, it's bound to be a bomb.

Kalonian Behemoth - the 7 to cast 9/9 is not that attractive to players. I expect another big fattie to be (re)printed here.

Llanowar Elves - I'll say that this card won't be back. Considering that there are 2 different other cards with (almost) the same ability, it would be too redundant. With that said, I expect though that the Llanowar Elves (or a functional reprint) would be printed in SOM.

Lurking Predators - a painful card. I wonder why they even printed it. It has its use in Limited. Other than that, nobody would bother. I say it won't be back.

Master of the Wild Hunt - a new card and at mythic slot. This should be back.

Might of Oaks - Wizards love 7. Here at the rare slot, the p/t modifier spell increases each stat by 7. Quite appropriate. This card should be back.

Mist Leopard - 4 to cast 3/2 Shroud. Pretty straightforward. Nothing else. It should be back.

Mold Adder - Wizards wanted this to complement the other hoser cards. Already declared as not coming back.

Naturalize - the Core Set will always need a basic enchantment and artifact removal spell. I expect this to be back.

Nature's Spiral - I'm amused at how Wizards always attempts to print cards that return something. In this case, Nature's Spiral has not yet shown any use but I think it will be back.

Oakenform - it should be back as an example of p/t modifier in an enchantment.

Overrun - after seeing one of the card names of the M11 Intro Packs, I will say that Overrun is on its way out.

Prized Unicorn - a unique card on its own. The ability makes it quite a bomb in Limited. It should be back.

Protean Hydra - Wizards love to do this sort of stuff. The card is able to portray how a hydra should be. But then, nobody uses the card. Just too bad. It won't be back.

Rampant Growth - a veteran card that should be back. It clearly shows how green is able to accelerate in terms of lands.

Regenerate, Runeclaw Bear, Stampeding Rhino - all are new cards which I expect to be back. Regarding Runeclaw Bear, this is now the new bear for green. Rather than sticking with Grizzly Bears which lacks any fantasy aspect, Runeclaw Bear adds something else to the name. Regenerate should be back as it is printed. It tries to illustrate the regenerate ability without being a useless clunky enchantment.

Windstorm - Hurricane, which was a better card, didn't get reprinted because of Windstorm. With the existence of Plummet, I'm betting that this card won't be back. Besides, it's not being used in Standard.

On my count: I reached 14 which is not bad. I'm bound to be mistaken in several of the cards.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

M11 Possible reprints and omissions (Red)

Time to do Red:

Act of Treason - Red always gets a pseudo-Control Magic type of spells. This is the new spell from M10. It's sure to be back.

Ball Lightning - before M10, Ball Lightning last appeared in 5th Ed. One more year!

Berserkers of Blood Ridge - I wonder why Wizards continue to print 5 casting cost cards at 4/4 plus with a drawback and no evasion. If they wanted to show that a Berserker is supposed to attack every turn then there should be a specific reason as to why a player would. In Limited, it's 4/4 (Beast) body is quite good enough but it's still a common filler. I would want to say that this card would be back considering it's first printing is in M10 but I will be bold to say that it will not.

Bogardan Hellkite - from rare slot in Time Spiral to mythic rare in M10. It didn't see much use in Constructed but would still illicit "Oohs" and "Aahs" (in my opinion). Won't hurt to be back.

Burning Inquiry, Burst of Speed - new cards showcasing red's abilities. Both should be back.

Canyon Minotaur - it seems that red will always be the color of unfair creatures. Canyon Minotaur is another example (4 casting cost with 3/3 body). This card should be back. Wizards loves minotaurs.

Capricious Efreet - the thing about red is that it is very random and unstable. Capricious Efreet is yet another example of that randomness. It is a wonderfully designed card so I would say that it will be back.

Chandra Nalaar - only 2 real red planeswalkers have been printed and they're both Chandras. The 2nd Chandra never found a place in Constructed although I would love to make a deck around it just for the heck of it. The original Chandra is much simpler and doesn't need a lot of shenanigans. I expect this version to be back.

Dragon Whelp - Wizards wanted to illustrate having a small dragon. I say this card is a candidate for not coming back.

Earthquake - returned after 7th Ed. Provides enough for the rare slot. I say it'll be back.

Fiery Hellhound - yet another clunky creature. Thank goodness there's an ability. As such, it wouldn't hurt for it to be back.

Fireball - with all the x damage spells that's available in Standard right now, Fireball would be a candidate to not return. But a Core Set would need to have its x damage spell. Earthquake is already there though. It would have been fun to see Banefire return since it's rotating out soon. I was quite surprised to see that M10 had Earthquake, Fireball, and even Pyroclasm. Wizards surely pushed for red to be fiery in M10.

Firebreathing - it's an essential Aura Enchantment for red. But it's one of the least used cards despite its ability. Wizards can survive not having it printed.

Goblin Artillery, Goblin Chieftain - updated cards from previous sets. Sure to be back.

Goblin Piker - red's bear is a 2/1. I'll say it won't be back. A better card can be printed instead.

Ignite Disorder - this card should be back like its brothers in the other colors.

Inferno Elemental, Jackal Familiar - new cards that should be back.

Kindled Fury - I'll say that this can be scrapped.

Lava Axe - always a staple in Core Sets. Not used in Constructed and a bit questionable in Limited. I'll say that it can be scrapped.

Lightning Bolt - ignited a lot of old players' excitement. It was last printed in 4th Ed. I say, Lightning Bolt will be here for years to come.

Lightning Elemental - Ball Lightning's smaller brother can be replaced easily. It won't be missed.

Magma Phoenix - if there's a new card that can be scrapped, this is it. Useless for being too costly yet it still has a use in Limited. It's still quite a bomb. This seems to be the requisite Phoenix in the Core Set. Okay, you can come back...

Manabarbs - a recent sideboard card. I think this can be a candidate for a non return.

Panic Attack - a common bomb. It has its uses in Limited and showcases red's evasion ability. It will be back.

Prodigal Pyromancer - the token "pinger" in the Core Set. I'll say it will be back.

Pyroclasm - each release seems to have its own version of Pyroclasm. I think Pyroclasm is a key card in the Core Set and should return.

Raging Goblin - should not be back. Here is an opportunity for Wizards to print a spiffy new Goblin for M11.

Seismic Strike - red's version of Tendrils of Corruption. It should be back since it's also a new card.

Shatter - red can only destroy artifacts and this is the token artifact destroyer in the Core Set. It should be back.

Shivan Dragon - I think nobody plays Shivan Dragon anymore. It has been printed so many times that nobody looks for it anymore. This overexposed Dragon should take a rest for at least a year and provide a rare slot for a new card - and most likely a new Dragon to boot.

Siege-Gang Commander - a nifty Goblin creature that is well-loved. I think it will be back for 1 more go.

Sparkmage Apprentice - reprinted after Ravnica, it's a candidate for a non return. I say so.

Stone Giant - Wizards must have a specific reason as to why they got this creature back from 5th Ed. It's actually a fun card to have despite its non-use in Constructed. I expect this card to be back for M11.

Trumpet Blast - red can increase the power of creatures. Unlike green, red cannot increase the toughness. Trumpet Blast should be here to stay as the token power modifier for red.

Viashino Spearhunter - new card in M10 will be back again. Curious that the Viashinos no longer die after they attack or at the end of turn.

Wall of Fire - red's wall is likely to return.

Warp World - a most confusing spell in M10. This won't be back. I expect a similar spell.

Yawning Fissure - back. Wizards do not want land destruction spells anymore. This card ensures that both players are slowed down rather than just one player.

On my count, I have it at 11 or 12. Again, I got the correct number.

Some red cards that could probably be worthy of a Core Set reprinting would be Banefire and Volcanic Fallout. I doubt that they'd reprint both.

Monday, May 31, 2010

M11 possible reprints and omissions (Black)

Here's my take on Black:

Acolyte of Xathrid - Black is focused on the opponent losing life. Acolyte of Xathrid is a semi-usable card in Limited yet brings about what black is. This card should be back.

Assassinate - a needed spell in Black. Even though that it's a reprint from past sets, it can't be compared to any other recent card. This should also be back.

Black Knight - if I say that White Knight won't be back, then there's a chance that Black Knight wouln't be also. These 2 cards are brothers.

Bog Wraith - a usable utility creature that showcases the Swampwalk ability. It should be a candidate for a non-return. The landwalk ability seems to be clunky in my opinion. Besides, Wizards can always create a new card out of a reprint just like Bog Wraith.

Cemetery Reaper, Child of Night - Cemetery Reaper showcases the Zombies while Child of Night is a Vampire. Both are new cards. Cemetery Reaper, for one, is the new lord for the Zombies. Child of Night is a harmless new card that should also return.

Consume Spirit - if Wizards would want to get away from encouraging mono colored decks, then omitting Consume Spirit is the way to go. But then, reprinting this card wouldn't hurt much. It has seen some use in Black decks. This should be back.

Deathmark - just like Celestial Purge and Flashfreeze. I expect this card to be back.

Diabolic Tutor - I think it's high time for Wizards to introduce a new tutor spell for black. As much as I would want to say that this card should not be back considering that it's not that used, I still think that it is designed just right. So, I'll opt for saying good bye to Diabolic Tutor. Wizards, please give us a new tutor spell!

Disentomb, Doom Blade, Dread Warlock - 3 new cards that should be back. Specific explanation for each card: Disentomb showcases black's ability to return creatures from the graveyard. At the common slot, Disentomb returns the card to hand and not into the battlefield. Doom Blade is a functional reprint of Terror and seems to be the token creature removal spell at 1B. Dread Warlock showcases black's evasion ability. Of the 3, I would speculate that Dread Warlock would not return if Wizards will push with the Intidimated ability. Given that Intimidate appears only in Black and Red, it's not an ability that should be given a keyword.

Drudge Skeletons - won't be back. I'm cheating a bit here since I saw the previewed skeleton at the same casting cost.

Duress - a useful black card that should return without any problems.

Gravedigger - same as Diabolic Tutor. I'll go out on a limb to say that this card will not be reprinted.

Haunting Echoes - it got printed in a Core Set for the first time. It's got a great ability for a rare card. It shouldn't hurt for the card to be back.

Howling Banshee - same as Haunting Echoes. It should be back.

Hypnotic Specter - I remember how players reacted to its return in 9th Ed. But then, without Dark Ritual, it seems too overmatched by other cards for Black. I believe a new card is in order.

Kelinore Bat - should be back simply because it's a new card.

Liliana Vess - There are only 2 black planeswalkers ever printed. Vess is one while Sorin Markov appeared in Zendikar. This is an easy argument considering Markov will still be legal after M11 is released. Vess will be back.

Looming Shade - I would like to dare Wizards to print a new Shade-type creature that is worthwhile. Looming Shade is not that worthwhile anymore, in my opinion. Candidate for non return.

Megrim - Wizards needs to show an interaction between discarding cards and getting damage from it. Megrim will be back.

Mind Rot - yet another utility discard spell for black. This should be back.

Mind Shatter - ditto on Mind Shatter. With Mind Spring possibly coming back, Mind Shatter is the perfect complement.

Nightmare - never used in Constructed. Time to ditch this card.

Relentless Rats - after 10th Ed and M10, I still haven't collected as much Relentless Rats as I would have wanted. It used to intriguing but now I just find it plain annoying. Time to ditch this card.

Rise From the Grave - a better Zombify-type spell. Plus, it's got a really cool card name. I'd say it will be back.

Royal Assassin - never hurts for this card to be back although I'd say that it's not that used anymore. Still, it seems to be the requisite rare creature kill in a Core Set.

Sanguine Bond - a sort of a useless spell except that it got featured in the Open the Vaults combo deck. I find it annoying that it had to be in the rare slot. Still, if Wizards needs to put an annoying rare for each color, this is it for black.

Sign in Blood - new card, great design, nice ability. Ingredients for it to be back. See, black can draw cards (just like blue) but it has to have a drawback. This is it for black.

Soul Bleed - whoever designs this type of cards is an annoying person. I'd say that it's a candidate not to be back but since it's a new card, I'd count it in.

Tendrils of Corruption - I was surprised to see this card get reprinted considering Consume Spirit was also reprinted. In any case, this shows an interaction between having a lot of Swamps and killing creatures. I say it will be back.

Underworld Dreams - used to be a useful card but time has come for it to be replaced by a newer and possibly spiffier spell.

Unholy Strength - possibly one of the better Auras in the set. It's a utility spell so I say it's coming back.

Vampire Aristocrat - a functional reprint of an old card. I'll say that it will be back.

Vampire Nocturnus - still continuing with the Vampire theme in the Core Set. This should be back.

Wall of Bone - I will speculate that M11 will get rid of the clunky regenerate ability. Thus, a new wall will be printed for black. One that should have a cool ability.

Warpath Ghoul - boring new Zombie filler. It will be back.

Weakness - I'll speculate that Disfigure will be printed instead of Weakness. That's just me.

Xathrid Demon, Zombie Goliath - new cards that should be back.

On my count, 11 cards that are not coming back. Nice number once more.

I don't have any idea if certain cards for black will be reprinted from previous expansions.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

M11 Possible Reprints and Omission (Blue)

Continuing my speculation on M11 possible reprints and omissions. This time, it's Blue.

Air Elemental - this simple card is now a staple just like what Serra Angel is to white. I had the sudden realization that Serra Angel might get removed and if so, Air Elemental could also be on the way out. Considering how I maintain that Serra Angel will be back, I put my trust on Air Elemental to be there also.

Alluring Siren - the puzzling Alluring Siren has an ability unexpected of Blue. If I'm a new player, I would ask myself why I would let his creatures attack me. That kind of explanation is sometimes hard to do. I would say that this creature is going out.

Cancel - the casting cost for a counter spell without any drawbacks or added bonuses is now at 1UU. Deprive from ROE is UU but with a drawback. There are rumors that Mana Leak might get reprinted in M11. Frankly, I think Negate and/or Essence Scatter would suffer from a Mana Leak reprinting (same casting cost for almost the same effect). Cancel continues to be efficient and Wizards would love to illustrate countering of spells in a Core Set.

Clone - this is another beautifully designed card showcasing Blue's ability to copy creatures. Considering that this is a reprint and is not used much in Constructed, I'd say it's a candidate for not returning. I expect a better Clone-like card in M11.

Convincing Mirage - showed up in some decks attempting to solve the Jund puzzle. With Jund about to rotate out and this card being a new card in M10, I expect it to be back.

Coral Merfolk - Blue's version of the bear. It should be back.

Disorient - somehow, Wizards like 7. Here, we see a -7/-0 ability which is somewhat exclusive only to Blue. Once again, it clearly shows how Blue is the color that tries to temporarily remove the power of a creature while not killing it via the spell. This card should be back.

Divination - a functional reprint of Counsel of Soratami. Counsel of Soratami boasts text from Champions of Kamigawa which is utterly foreign. I will assume that Divination is here to stay for years (and sets) to come.

Djinn of Wishes - here is another beautifully designed card that one can't stop and be amused over its design. Typical of Wizards to print a card like this which is not expected to see play in Constructed. It's a bomb in Limited though which is good enough for it to come back.

Essence Scatter - from my argument with Cancel regarding Mana Leak, I'd expect Essence Scatter to follow Negate into the not reprinted zone. Mana Leak costs the same as both Essence Scatter and Negate. By reprinting Mana Leak (and thus removing both Essence Scatter and Negate), it gives Wizards 1 slot while saving up with what Mana Leak can do. Mana Leak is still an appropriate counter spell - low cost but with a drawback. With that, it should be bye-bye Essence Scatter.

Fabricate - with Scars of Mirrodin (and the expected artifact theme) coming, I expect more artifact-specific cards to come. Fabricate is the odd card out.

Flashfreeze - same reasoning as Celestial Purge in white, Flashfreeze should return as Blue's way of showing hate to enemy colors.

Hive Mind - does anybody even use Hive Mind? I don't think so, even in Limited. I'd say that this card will be out.

Horned Turtle - this card illustrates how Blue likes to have turtles - small powered creatures but with big butts (I mean, toughness). Horned Turtle stays.

Ice Cage - a new card in M10. It provides pseudo creature removal in M10 Limited. It should be back.

Illusionary Servant - another new card in M10. I'm not sure if it's a functional reprint but I know the ability has existed in other colors. It wouldn't hurt much if it would be back.

Jace Beleren - here's where the debate should start. I've already speculated that Ajani Goldmane will be back for white simply because it's the simpler planeswalker compared to Elspeth, Knight-Errant. There are only two other choices: Jace 1.0 and Tezzeret the Seeker. Tezzeret enters into the debate since I saw the preview for the Scars of Mirrodin novel. Tezzeret could be a candidate for M11 reprint. Or not since it could be printed in SOM. I just think that it is too much that there are 2 versions of Jace planeswalker in Standard (well, when Sarkhan the Mad was released, that entailed into 2 versions of Sarkhan also). In any case, I will lean on the original Jace Beleren to be reprinted because I've seen him in some of the card art. Another reason is that it's a cheap answer to Jace the Mind Sculptor (this last reason is totally baseless but I like it).

Jump - Jump got back after being missing since 4th Edition. I wish it wouldn't return but since it's a card that simple enough to explain and provides sufficient flavor to the color, I think this card will be back.

Levitation - another wonderful Limited bomb. It's a candidate to be omitted. It wouldn't hurt for the card to be back but something has got to be omitted.

Merfolk Looter - this card shows the ability of blue to draw cards while having the drawback of discarding one afterwards. There will always be Looter type creatures in a set. Merfolk Looter does the job quite well.

Merfolk Sovereign, Mind Control - new cards based from older versions. They should be back.

Mind Spring - intriguing card. Just recently reprinted from Morningtide. It has seen action with Blue-White decks. At the rare slot, it doesn't hurt to have it back considering it showcases what blue does also - drawing cards. I'll say it will be back.

Negate - read Essence Scatter.

Phantom Warrior - this card seems to survive. Again, it showcases blue's evasion ability aside from flying. I'll say that it will be back.

Polymorph - I'm a Polymorph fan. But sadly, I don't think I'll see this card back. Wizards would want the Eldrazi creatures to be played the way they should be played and not with a shortcut card like Polymorph. With that, it's time to lay Polymorph to rest (and effectively killing one particular deck in Standard).

Ponder - should be back. Sleight of Hand is the next best thing but Ponder is better.

Sage Owl - this should be a candidate of not coming back.

Serpent of the Endless Sea, Sleep - two new cards in M10. Serpent of the Endless Sea does not see much play but it's a nicely designed card along with Sleep. They should both be back.

Snapping Drake - there is one other drake in M10. This is a great utility card in Limited but considering that it's a reprint, I would assume that this card will be replaced by a new flying creature.

Sphinx Ambassador - this card is almost like Djinn of Wishes. It does wonderful things yet it remains unused in Standard. With a focus on Limited, I think this card will be back.

Telepathy - out with this card already!

Time Warp - quite a long time for Time Warp to be reprinted again. It's the mythic ability for blue and I don't see why it shouldn't be reprinted.

Tome Scour - newly made. It should be back. It will most probably be the only mill effect in the set.

Traumatize - I will speculate that it is time for Traumatize to go. Tome Scour is still much better in terms of rarity.

Twincast - a wonderful card for Blue. I think it will be back.

Unsummon - we will not see Boomerang anymore. As such, Unsummon becomes the token creature returner in the set. It should get reprinted.

Wall of Frost - the wall in the color. Pretty nicely designed. It should be back also.

Wind Drake - same discussion with the other drake, this would probably be removed in favor of another type of drake.

Zephyr Sprite - back.

One thing I've noticed with the blue cards is that some of the creatures are the usual creatures that Jace Beleren summons (the sphinx, the drake, and the sprite). I'm halfway to Agents of Artifice and if I haven't been reading the book, I wouldn't be able to get into a debate on whether certain cards (or creatures) get in or not. Anyway, I'm sure that Wizards can concoct a different story for Jace.

Around 11 cards from blue that I speculate wouldn't return. Not bad considering I almost have the same number from white.

Unfortunately, my mind is not that open towards what new cards would be reprinted for blue.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

M11 possible reprints and omission (White)

Introduction:

M11 edition is coming this July. It's never too early to start speculating on what card will get reprinted and will be removed from the Core Set. As such, it is expected that half of the cards will be reprints and half will be brand new cards. This post is an attempt to look at what is expected to be reprinted (from past sets and from M10) and what will be omitted from M10.

The evaluation will look at the card as to how it affects the metagame and also in limited. A useless card (bound to be undrafted in limited and useless in constructed) is expected to be replaced. There are other considerations to be looked upon. For one, if the card is a utility card, it is expected to be reprinted as no expected improvement will make it better. Also, changes towards creature type (the creature type fix) is expected to stay from hereon forward.

Each card will be evaluated as needed.

I start off with the white cards:

Ajani Goldmane - Ajani Goldmane is the simplest of all the white Planeswalkers ever printed. The two other (pure) white Planeswalkers are Elspeth, Knight Errant and Gideon Jura. In my opinion, the two other planeswalkers are too complicated for a beginner just learning how to use the Planeswalkers in a deck. And it is highly unlikely that Wizards would create a new Planeswalker for the Core Set. Thus, it is concrete that Ajani Goldmane is here to stay for M11.

Angel's Mercy - a new card in M10, it has a huge chance of coming back. From a design standpoint, Angel's Mercy embodies what the color white is supposed to be, gaining life (well, not necessarily at instant speed). This card has a chance of coming back simply because it's a new card. In limited, I wouldn't want to play it. I haven't seen it in Standard Constructed ever. So, the verdict is that this card is out.

Armored Ascension - this is a beautifully designed card. It looks at the number of Plains in play and gets better with more Plains in play. But it's not that played in Standard Constructed. Considering that it's a reprint from Shadowmoor, I'd say that this card is on its way out.

Baneslayer Angel - the boon of all non-white players in Standard. This mythic rare jumped to an exorbitant price. Few found the Protection from Dragons and Demons to be a joke. There are two arguments to look at regarding Baneslayer Angel: 1.) would Wizards be concerned regarding the distribution of this card and if so, would they care of its price? and 2.) would the inclusion of Baneslayer Angel in M11 make future Standard Constructed tournaments stagnant? I would think that Wizards wouldn't want their fans to go angry over the one year stay of the expensive Baneslayer Angel. Thus, it's here to stay for 1 more year.

Blinding Mage - this is an update from Master Decoy, who was probably a Human Soldier rather than a Human Wizard. A functional reprint, I expect this card to be back.

Captain of the Watch - this is another beautifully designed card. At the rare slot, it's meant to be with all the plus it brings to the table yet for Soldiers only. If Wizards would maintain the Soldiers theme for M11, I'd expect this card to be reprinted.

Celestial Purge - a card that was newly printed during Conflux, it was a surprise to see this reprinted for M10. It is a functionally efficient card and efficiently shows that White is not friendly with Black or Red. I expect this card to be reprinted. It does things just right.

Divine Verdict - a functional reprint of Neck Snap from Lorwyn. Neck Snap sounds too violent. Divine Verdict provides the right name for the right card. Should come back in M11.

Elite Vanguard - another functional reprint. This is supposed to be Savannah Lions. It encourages the Soldier theme from M10. It should be back without any problems.

Excommunicate - another surprise reprint from Shards of Alara. This could well be removed in favor of a more efficient creature removal spell (I'm referring to Path to Exile). Still, it wouldn't be too much to ask if this card gets reprinted. But having too many creature removal in a set would hurt its (over) performance in limited. Thus, either Excommunicate comes back or Path to Exile will be reprinted.

Glorious Charge - a not-so-boring card. It's another new card so I'd expect it to be back.

Griffin Sentinel, Guardian Seraph, Harm's Way - these are cards that wouldn't hurt to be reprinted.

Holy Strength - always a favorite. I expect it to be back.

Honor of the Pure - a more restricted Glorious Anthem. It is beautifully designed to affect only white creatures. I expect it to be back.

Indestructibility, Lifelink - these are typical new cards that got printed to help remove rules clutter. Indestructibility illustrates the indestructible ability (which, in my opinion, can easily be removed from the set). Lifelink does exactly the same thing. Again, I expect these two cards to return.

Lightweilder Paladin - a non-used card in Constructed. If there should be a candidate for not returning, I'd say that this is one of those cards.

Mesa Enchantress - a card that bodes plenty of interaction among enchantments. With the existence of (almost) the same card in ROE, I'd expect this card to not return.

Open the Vaults - a Timmy card. One that inspired a good combo deck. Time will tell whether this card would be as powerful once Scars of Mirrodin is released. Considering that SOM is assumed to be an artifact set, I'll say goodbye to Open the Vaults.

Pacifism - an efficient pseudo creature removal spell. Unless Oblivion Ring gets reprinted, I expect Pacifism to be back.

Palace Guard - it wouldn't hurt for this card to be back.

Planar Cleansing - here's where wonderful debate can be started. Wrath of God was removed in favor of printing this card. It has never seen the light of day in most Constructed decks. It's too costly at 6 converted mana cost. That said, I expect Day of Judgment to be reprinted in M11. You read it here first.

Razorfoot Griffin - reprinted from past sets = candidate to be not reprinted.

Rhox Pikemaster - a non-used card but it should enhance the Soldiers theme of M11. I expect it to be back.

Righteousness - it's been around. In limited, it's a fun card to have. It should be back.

Safe Passage - a new card. It's safe to say that it will be back as the token damage prevention spell in the set.

Serra Angel - will it or will it not return? I believe Serra Angel is the staple white creature. It will be back.

Siege Mastodon - token big toughness creature that embodies what white creatures should be. It should be back unless Wizards decides to print that 1/5 lifelink creature from Zendikar.

Silence - somewhat a useless rare. It would have been a good card at the uncommon slot. I haven't seen it in Constructed play. I expect it to be scrapped.

Silvercoat Lion - white's bear. It should be back.

Solemn Offering - it seems that Wizards is drifting away from allowing white to easily destroy artifacts and enchantments (that's green's job now). No other recent card does the same thing. I expect this card to be back.

Soul Warden - sigh... More life gain effects for white. This should be back.

Stormfront Pegasus - token flying creature at 2 mana. Back.

Tempest of Light - why attempt to destroy all enchantments when enchantments have never been dangerous. Candidate for non-reprint.

Undead Slayer - if Wizards wants to show that white hates Skeletons, Zombies, and Vampires, they'll reprint this card.

Veteran Armorsmith, Veteran Swordsmith - again with the Soldiers theme. They should be back.

Wall of Faith - the only wall in the set. It should be back despite that Rise of Eldrazi had the Defender subtheme.

White Knight - this card was reprinted to add expectations to the set. With its non use in Constructed decks, I expect it not to return.

I say, 10 cards that could be on its way out. Not a bad number considering that half of M11 will be new.

As for reprints, these are my speculations:

Path to Exile - it's not mere coincidence that that new wording for Removed from the Game is Exile. The word comes from Path to Exile. In the tradition of Swords to Plowshares and other white removal with drawback spells, Path to Exile is just right for white. If PtE is not going to be reprinted, I expect a more costly version but without the drawback.

Day of Judgment - as mentioned in the Planar Cleansing entry, Day of Judgment could be reprinted. I say so, simply because it's a functional reprint of Wrath of God. With the removal of the text, "They can't be regenerated," it helps explain the game better. Day of Judgment is a simple card. And considering that Wizards would want to sell the set, they'd do great in reprinting this card.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Image United

Image United #1 just got released. A brief overview: it features a story by Robert Kirkman and layout art by Rob Liefeld. The comic book features all founding creators of Image contributing art chores on their created character/s.

As a comic book fan having my (comic book) consciousness awakened during the "hot days" of Image, I'm kind of surprised with Image United #1 and its lack of (or my lack of seeing any) fanfare.

Back then (say, 13 or 14 years ago), a "crossover" in this regard would have been considered a "super" event. The founding creators of Image back once more and in 1 (gigantic) comic book! With an exclamation mark, of course.

How hot was Image Comics back then? The creators (most notably Liefeld, Jim Lee, and Marc Silvestri) continuously churned up new characters and new monthly comic books out of the blue. Each new monthly would be described as hot, hot, hot! Image Comics practically owned the Top 10 comic book sales during those times. It seemed that nothing could go wrong with whatever they released. Fans would continue to gobble up new releases even if they were tardy (I had to admit that I was one of those fans). They were that godly.

Something noticeably obscure that happened back then were the cover wars. It seemed that every milestone event sported a cover that wanted to top the latest cover technology. There were foils, holograms, die-cut, holofoil, chromium, and probably all sorts of combinations that can be thought of. This was way back they introduced the variant craze.

Did anybody ever notice the stories that they turned out with all the new characters? A good chunk of the comic books didn't last long. Liefeld was notorious with coming up with one copycat character or team after another. A typical superhero team had any or all of the following: gun-toting, cigar-chomping leader that had a bad-ass attitude, a wild and feisty clawed character, the sexy female that every male wanted to go to bed with, and the usually dumb heavy muscled bouncer.

An event that I could compare the current Image United to would be the creator crossover that they did. The founding creators swapped assignments (probably drew lots to decide on who got who). Best of all, no fan knew what artist did what before the actual comic book got released. The surprise was part of the enticement to buy all 8 issues of the event. I even thought of buying an issue of Shadowhawk just for the heck of it. Fans were so excited then. The event didn't go too well and a little bit of quarreling happened regarding how a character was treated and the usual tardiness of Image releases also kicked in.

It's been a wild decade ever since. They've quarreled some more and have gone their separate ways. They've become like Kiss - touring around conventions and reuniting for signing sessions. They've continued to produce comics still. I still appreciate Jim Lee's creations with Wildstorm. Todd McFarlane has always stayed true to form. Erik Larsen does not boast great sales figures but he's still there. Jim Valentino did an AIDS story with his character and that was that.

Image has gone a long way from its former status as the next company that could topple or compete with the big 2 of comic books, Marvel and DC. I always thought a decade would change the way they came out with stories.

And so, with Image United, I expected a grand improvement. But still, it's the same old senseless "I'll punch you and you punch back" style dialog. I thought Robert Kirkman would do justice with a DC-like Crisis event bringing in all the characters but nah... It's pretty obvious that getting all the characters together in one mash-up story is difficult to do. I guess, all I wanted to say was that if it was difficult in the first place, it shouldn't have been done. It brings back all the senseless Image stories that I read a decade ago.

But hey, it's just one issue so far. I hope to be impressed in the next.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Planeswalking with Planechase

I had fun playing Planechase. It's not much on the preconstructed decks that Wizards created but more on the Plane cards. The Plane cards are fun to play. It adds a new dimension to the game as well as in playing multiplayer games. There are additional things to do in every turn and anticipation is at a maximum in every planar die roll. It's like having an extra sorcery card in hand though sometimes it's a blank sorcery (blank die roll).

As of this post, there are 42 Plane cards. There are 10 cards in each Planar deck set for an initial total of 40. 2 different Plane cards have been give away so far (and there are rumors of 3 more Plane cards to be given away in future Prerelease events).

This post is a (delayed) evaluation of the original 40 cards. I have created my own categories to outline the best of the 40 Plane cards without any regard of what deck is being used:

This not a ranking. I don't have time to do an evaluation and a ranking:

I. Top planes that you want to planeswalk away from (Mostly because of nagging abilities):

Sea of Sand
Players reveal each card they draw.
Whenever a player draws a land card, that player gains 3 life.
Whenever a player draws a nonland card, that player loses 3 life.
C: Put target permanent on top of it's owner's library.

This plane hurts a lot considering that roughly around 2/3 of a normal deck consists of nonland cards. Since it has to be done every turn (and subsequent card draws), it's a 2/3 percent chance (and more) that a player would lose 3 life. There's no problem if the deck is a life gain deck. Considering also that there is no such life gain among the 4 preconstructed decks, it is imperative to planeswalk away from Sea of Sand simply because of its abilities.

Pools of Becoming
At the beginning of your end step, put the cards in your hand on the bottom of your library in any order, then draw that many cards.
C: Reveal the top three cards of your planar deck. Each of the revealed cards' C abilities trigger. Then you put the revealed cards on the bottom of your planar deck in any order.

Though I love the Chaos ability, there are times that I'd want to get away from this plane because I usually love to keep the current hand that I would have. Rolling a Chaos is just an added bonus in planeswalking away. It's a cool Chaos ability and I include it in the bottom category.

Lethe Lake
At the beginning of your upkeep, put the top ten cards of your library into your graveyard.
C: Target player puts the top ten cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.

I've played Mill decks before and it's fun to win by decking out your opponent. It's no fun if it's the other way around. Lethe Lake turns each player into a Mill player and it's no fun to lose that way. 10 cards is roughly 17% of the total number of cards in the deck. If a player rolls a Chaos, that's an additional 10 cards placed into the graveyard.

The Zombie deck is the only happy preconstructed deck here with its Unearth cards that can hit from the graveyard.

Skybreen
Players play with the top card of their libraries revealed.
Spells that share a card type with the top card of a library can't be cast.
C: Target player loses life equal to the number of cards in his or her hand.

A control plane on a multiplayer game? That's got to be boring and frustrating. With 4 players playing, there's a huge chance that a player won't be able to cast a creature (the most important card to cast), a sorcery or an instant. Pretty huge odds of that happening considering decks are made up of those. All the more that a player would want to roll the planar die.

Naar Isle
At the beginning of your upkeep, put a flame counter on Naar Isle, then Naar Isle deals damage to you equal to the number of flame counters on it.
C: Naar Isle deals 3 damage to target player.

This is a fun plane to be in but also painful. If nobody planeswalks away from this plane, it'll be a good game by the time it makes one cycle. The first few damage doesn't hurt much but by the time the players realize that getting 5 damage during the upkeep is no big deal, it's already too late.

Sanctum of Serra
When you planeswalk away from Sanctum of Serra, destroy all nonland permanents.
C: You may have your life total become 20.

Sanctum of Serra is in the list simply because planeswalking away has one of the better abilities of all the planes in Planechase. It's like having your very own Wrath of God and Nev's Disk and whatever permanent-destroying spell there is in MTG.

The Eon Fog
Players skip their untap steps.
C: Untap all permanents you control.

I've always hated Stasis and this plane just spells Stasis all over. That's enough said.

The Maelstrom
When you planeswalk to The Maelstrom or at the beginning of your upkeep, you may reveal the top card of your library. If it's a permanent card, you may put it onto the battlefield. Otherwise, put that card on the bottom of your library.
C: Return target permanent card from your graveyard to the battlefield.

This is a fun plane to be. One game I played in had an opponent revealing Rorix Bladewing and it was during his first turn. Simply said, the player rolled the planar die and luckily planeswalked away. Good game.


I'll create a new post for a different category of evaluation. That way, this can already posted after such a delay.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Rant on LBC

The so-called "Hari ng Padala" (King of Couriers) just became a whole new joke(r) in my book.

A package was sent to Manila via LBC on a Tuesday. At the earliest, the package would have arrived the next day. By Thursday, the recipient began worrying where the package was. That night, the delivery guy supposedly came by the address at 9PM!

9PM! Wow! I remarked that the LBC there works for 24 hours. It wasn't funny. I wonder what they were thinking delivering a package at 9 at night. Yeah, I've seen the advertisements where they deliver at the middle of the night but seriously, is it really true?

By Friday, he called LBC asking about the package and he got another number which couldn't be contacted. Stupid courier just couldn't deliver during daytime. Sheesh.

It took some serious head knocks to get their brains going.

The package finally got delivered on a Saturday. One day delivery my ass!

Whoever gets to read this, please be wary about LBC. You might as well use JRS. At least they'd tell you that it would take two days (and that's the truth).

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Musings on losing an icon

Former President Corazon Aquino died today August 1, 2009. Philippines lost an icon while being mired in a political turmoil that has remained unresolved.

Having been born in 1979 and being 7 years old during the ascension of Cory to the presidency, I might have my own stories to tell. They are not much considering that I was just a lowly elementary school student in Mindanao in the 6 years that Cory was the President of the Philippines.

This is a personal view of how I look at Cory. My views are based on my personal observation as well as from books that I've read.

If there's one word to describe Cory, I might say that she is (or was) brave. Here was a woman without any political ambition and she experienced politics only because she was the wife of Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. but she was thrust into the spotlight after the assassination of her husband. She became the leader when no one else was brave enough to take it - Fidel Ramos and Juan Ponce Enrile were both asked if they would be willing to become leaders but instead they didn't give a straight answer. Cory did what she had to do. She was brave enough to put the whole country on her shoulders. With her effort, she thankfully didn't face the dictatorial regime of Ferdinand Marcos on her own. People looked to her for leadership.

One of her most important contributions to the world is being the leader of the peaceful revolution that has since been called as People Power. This has been copied by other countries and has been very much abused by our own country. We've seen People Power 2 and 3 and I'm not sure if there has ever been a 4 or a 5. These so-called other movements has disrespected what Cory achieved with the "original" People Power.

I never really experienced People Power. I was too young then. But I vaguely remember Cory in a parade around the city of Iligan. She wore her traditional yellow amidst bodyguards and supporters. That parade was the only time that I ever saw Cory personally.

After People Power, she set forth in spearheading the changing of the Constitution. The new Constitution made sure that another Marcos would not happen again. 6 years maximum as the President of the country (oh look, someone is sitting as the president for more than 6 years...). I think there were other changes pertaining to Martial Law and stuff but I never listened to my Political Science teacher.

I have to say that it was a presidency filled with turmoil. Cory had to face a coup here and there. The very people who helped put her to power was becoming dissatisfied with her. Well, in the first place, these guys should have taken the power for themselves during People Power and be done with it but they didn't.

It is understandable that Cory had a lot going against her. She was taking over from a dictator. She did well. She wouldn't garner an A+ grade but she did well to get the ball rolling for democracy again.

So, to recall my elementary school days. The best (or worst) memory pertaining to the country would have to be the power crisis. Should I blame her (especially now)? Well, I have to blame someone. Mindanao was trying to save power and we had days of having only 8 hours of electricity. Yes, it was that bad.

Oh, and she made sure that people wouldn't forget Ninoy Aquino by placing his face on the 500 peso bill which, unfortunately, has been joked as the reason for the country's misfortune. That's a feng shui story that I will not divulge here. What has happened since then? Fidel Ramos had a 1,000 peso bill and Gloria Arroyo had 200 pesos. What's next?

Not to put down the late Fernando Poe, Jr. but I think he thought he'd do a Cory by relying on the people to win the presidency. It is a far fetched theory but consider the variables. Here is a person without any prior experience in politics save for a deposed president as a best friend and he's running for the highest position in the country. The people looked to FPJ as the savior from a possible "dictator" but unfortunately it wasn't enough. All this just looks so familiar to how Cory got to the top position of the country. Not exactly the same but...

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In my personal musing after the death of Cory, I can't help but think that her legacy is further tarnished by the (mis)adventures of her youngest daughter, Kris. Ey, it has to be admitted that without Cory as the president, Kris would never have been "successful" in the show business. And I must say that Kris probably appears more on TV than her mother ever did. And I don't care that Cory looked monotonous in her yellow (and later black) attire. She is still better (and sane) looking than her daughter.

The more that people and the younger generation will see Kris, the more that they will fail to realize how important Cory had been. Kris is probably more famous than her mother now. I just wish that somehow the younger generation will not forget how vital Cory was to our country albeit the situation our country is in now.

I look forward to the next leader to immortalize Cory. I wonder what will be done. She is that important to our history. If not as important as Ninoy, maybe more important.

God bless her soul.

Rest in peace.