Tag Archives: BFZ

Disappearing Act

(Editor’s Note: A�Against my better judgement, we are going to run yet another “Magic just hasn’t got the same appeal anymore”, but this one feels different. A�It just might be the last for a while as I explore other games.)

At this point, I’m not even sure that I can call it a lull anymore. A�I am simply not interested in Magic: A�the Gathering right now. A�i have bought over 200 dollars worth of product over the past three sets and haven’t opened any of it. A�Furthermore, I don’t have any plans to do so any time, soon. A�I think that is the most telling indicator that something is different this time.

It’s no secret that Chris and I go through phases. A�We are often excited about a set and what it can offer us during our monthly game nights. A�That excitement can last two months and has carried us into the next set. A�Theros got us back into the game on a regular basis. A�Khans had us playing Magic in some for or another right through until the end. A�There was the brief lull around the time of Fate Reforged. A�More on that later as is might be helpful in explaining the current malaise regarding Magic.

It started in a big way during the Origins spoiler. A�Neither of us found much promise in the explanation from Wizards that it “wasn’t an ordinary core set.” A�Hell, as card released, it was the coriest (is that a word?) of core sets. A�Sure, you got the flipwalkers, but other than that, what about Origins wasn’t a normal core set? A�Another Wizards promo screamed form the (basic) mountaintops, “This will usher in a new era for Magic: A�the Gathering!” A�How exactly has it done that?

I mean, who's not excited for this reprint, amirite?
I mean, who’s not excited for this reprint, amirite?

All of the underwhelming reprints? A�No, that’s absolutely par for the core set course. A�Scry is a permanent fixture? A�Cool idea, but who cares that it happened during this set. A�Scry was already a big part of the game thanks to Theros. A�Renown? A�Oh, please, don’t even get me started. A�I will sound too much like a jilted lover left at the alter on my wedding day. A�Before I knew you, I loved you so, renown. A�Let’s just leave it at that. A�Every single one of these represents a common complaint about core sets. A�Heck, even the aforementioned flipwalkers represent unrealized potential. A�God, do I sound like a teacher or what? A� Maybe I just sound like my old teachers. A�Either way, all they really gave us was another overpriced Jace to add to my list of cards I’ll most likely never get to play.

I should say that I haven't played them in reality. Then again, I'm a blue mage, so reality is a bit of an illusion and overrated.
I should say that I haven’t played them in reality. Then again, I’m a blue mage, so reality is a bit of an illusion and overrated.

What about the story? A�You are probably asking at this point. A�Wizards made a big deal about that, too. A�Is that just a huge disappointment, too? A�Is there nothing to redeem this dumpster fire of a set? A�Also, weren’t you one of the ones that actually liked Origins? A�Let me answer those questions in the opposite order in which they were asked. A�First, I don’t think I ever said that I liked Origins. A�I had fun drafting a bunch (at absolutely no cost) and doing one sealed match with a play group that never materialized into anything more. A�But, I never bought anything more than those six packs and one fat pack. A�I freely admit to being one of the only players that enjoys BFZ, but I was never impressed by Origins.

In regards to the first question, you have a point. A�Out of all of the promise attached to Origins, the story is actually good and lives up to that promise. A�Story has never been central to the enjoyment of Magic and it still lags way behind as a reason to play the game, but I’m glad that they have made an effort to make it more central and consistent. A�Even so, I do have one complaint about the story.

Heck, it might not even be a complaint. A�It might just be an observation. A�I suppose it all depends on your point of view. A�You may consider it a complaint. A�Whatever it is, I find it odd that the only way to fully experience this renewed commitment to story is by playing the Magic Duels Origins game. A�Otherwise, you only get bits and pieces through the usual method of reading flavor text on select cards. A�As a gamer who prefers games with a good story, I’m glad that they expanded the story’s role, no matter how platform specific they made that story.

Honestly, I don't know how else they would incorporate the story into the cards. Maybe if I figure it out, Wizards will offer me a job. Hey, a guy can dream!
Honestly, I don’t know how else they would incorporate the story into the cards. Maybe if I figure it out, Wizards will offer me a job. Hey, a guy can dream!

I suspect that the decision was not a mistake. A�Even though they tried to make Duels more noob friendly and they mostly succeeded, the game was plagued by release bugs that broke the game to an unplayable state. A�By offering the carrot of a story in addition to the simplified game play, they hoped to pull in gamers like me who play games for those secondary reasons. A�Hopefully, if they find new players, they will be able to sell the other Magic: A�the Gathering properties to these players and increase their fan base even more. A�By all accounts, it seems to be working.

Now, finally, the explanation as to why things seem to be different this time around and why I may not come crawling back so readily unless it is to play the offshoot games like duels once BFZ releases or Magic Puzzle Quest when it comes out. A�I said earlier that our lull during Fate Reforged, which is the longest time we went between playing Magic before now, might have something to contribute when attempting to explain what might end up being our swan song from the game.

Neither Chris nor I found Fate Reforged overly exciting when it came to spoilers. A�We even had a conversation during one of the episodes of the podcast about how we crapped all over the set and it actually ended up being one of the best sets for competitive play in quite a while. A�Therein lies the problem for me and Chris. A�Neither of us has any illusion of playing Magic competitively and even actively despise the competitive Standard scene especially during the recent run of Abzan dominating everything. A�Competitive cards usually mean a high price tag and therefore I won’t be able to collect them.

I was a good idea, along with Siege Rhino and fetch lands. A game of Magic should go to time and feature multiple rounds of reshuffling decks. That is the non-stop action and strategy we've come to expect from the game.
I was a good idea, along with Siege Rhino and fetch lands. A game of Magic should go to time and feature endless durdling behind big, dumb idiots and multiple rounds of reshuffling decks. That is the non-stop action and strategy we’ve come to expect from the game.

While pros almost universally hate the new set, it still feels like Wizards is catering more to the competitive crowd with the new set. A�The inclusion of chase rare lands drove the price of boxes and fat packs to 125% to 200% of their MSRP. A�Thankfully, Wizards seems to have issued a reprint and I was able to get a fat pack over at the local Wal*Mart for regular price, but I did slightly overpay for my initial box and fat pack to start my collection set. A�Look, don’t get me wrong. A�I understand the economics of scarcity (barely), but paying so much for a piece of cardboard seems like the ultimate exercise in futility.

Hmm, draw 7 cards or two tanks of gas? I could also feed my family for a week. Tough choice, but I'm not signing on that dotted line in blood any time soon, Griseldaddy.
Hmm, draw 7 cards or two tanks of gas? I could also feed my family for a week. Tough choice, but I’m not signing on that dotted line in blood any time soon, Griseldaddy.

I guess the logical conclusion is that Wizards has whiffed, big time, on the last two sets. A�Pros have been not impressed with the quality of cards and only a few of them have been able to crack into competitive decks. A�Filthy casuals like me and Chris just don’t see enough here to keep playing or watching for the foreseeable future. A�As I end all of these articles, maybe I’ll find something about the game that will keep me connected and spending money, but right now I’m content with Duels every now and then and I’m sure Magic Puzzle Quest once it gets released. A�For now, there are many other games to spend time and money.

Back in the Saddle

(Editor’s Note: A�Holy shoot! A�We haven’t been around for a month now! A�No podcast, no articles, no videos, only a few tweets. A�This is no way to run an operation. A�However, we’re back and have some new things in development that we will be unveiling over the next few weeks. A�Stay tuned!)

You may have noticed (mainly because I just told you) that we here at 2 Guys Gaming have lost interest in Magic recently. A�This has manifested on the page as articles about other games like Heroclix and Dicemasters. A�Dicemasters, especially, has become one of our favorite games. A�we had an epic game a couple of weeks ago during the monthly podcast recording an nerd night extravaganza. A�Granted, we have tried to get back into Magic with a few tricks.

This is not one of the tricks, but it might have helped because it's absolutely adorable.
This is not one of the tricks, but it might have helped because it’s absolutely adorable.

Origins represents a new start in the Magic multiverse. A�We got excited about new possibilities of the set. A�We even expanded the play group for a night with some sealed. A�Chris bough a box of the set. A�I played Magic duels and drafted a bunch on *censored*. A�I even play tested a few standard decks. A�It was all fun, but Origins is a core set in the truest sense. A�It is very limited (no pun intended) in its fun, so we found ourselves drifting back into other games once again.

I still can’t tell if it is just the bored embrace of a familiar lover or actual waning interest driving this lack of enthusiasm for the game. A�I have always suspected that it is the former. A�I still find myself watching Magic on a regular basis. A�I still log in to Duels and *censored* daily. A�Chris and I had two really great games on the same night that we played the Dicemasters game to end all Dicemasters games. A�(That’s obviously not true. A�We will play more Dicemasters games. A�It is way too much fun. A�That sounded really dramatic, though, right?) A�So, we’re not completely out on Magic. A�It’s just that we’ve had to branch out and see other games. A�”If you love something, set it free” and all.

That about covers my relationship with Magic lately.
That about covers my relationship with Magic lately.

It was as if Wizards of the Coast heard our cries of boredom. A�They hired Wil Wheaton to host a shabbily produced cheesy spoiler show. A�Okay, so they’re not quite Blizzard when it comes to production value, but at least they are trying. A�Nevertheless, while the show might have needed some work, the hype was real. A�Annihilator is gone, replaced with exile from the library, but the Eldrazi are still mean as every. A�A new Ulamog leads the charge for the mana consuming monsters, landfall is back with allies, and they capped it all off with new dual lands and something called an expedition set with enemy fetches that fans have wanted a reprint since the first set.

The announcement of the fetches promised to be a bit of a buzzkill because they represent WotC’s entry into the chase market that is so popular among collectible games. A�Almost instantly, we saw the effects of this as BFZ boxes and cases sold out A�within hours of the of the show. A�I worried, along with Chris, that the prices of boxes might reach a level that we weren’t willing to pay. A�Then, SCG came to the rescue in an unexpected fashion.

Usually, they are known for their high prices, but they actually have the best deal on a box and a fat pack (my choice of purchase for each set) out of all the online retailers that I checked. A�Admittedly, I only checked them, but Chris did the leg work for me and reported that boxes almost everywhere were more expensive than the typical 90-100 that i usually pay. A�The SCG deal is also more money, but I’ve done business with them before and it is an okay deal. A�As we get closer to release, the boxes will most likely spike in price. A�Stupid speculative market.

Let's do the math. There's one or two of these things per case and they're preselling for 200 dollars. Nope, doesn't add up. That won't stop me from writing about it on my website and attempting to drive up the price to justify my terrible decision making process.
Let’s do the math. There’s one or two of these things per case and they’re preselling for 200 dollars. Nope, doesn’t add up. That won’t stop me from writing about it on my website and attempting to drive up the price to justify my terrible decision making process.

Oh well, the hype is still real and Chris and I are all in for this set. A�We discussed spoilers on a DTK level and are ready for all of the new cards. A�Magic Duels will hopefully be updated with the new cards and story soon after release. A�That gives me another reason to get excited because I will get to play with the cards that I might not open from physical packs. A�Also, the story of origins was just interesting enough to keep me wanting more…and we already know the future.

The title of the next set has been released along with some minor details in the form of a teaser trailer. A�I’m already psyched for the set and we don’t even know any cards, the story, or anything at all to be honest. A�Nevertheless, I ordered my box and fat pack of Battle for Zendikar and will most likely sign of for Oath of the Gatewatch, too.

Honestly, though the name is kind of dumb and derivative of the RTR block, but I'll overlook it because I'm back on board.
Honestly, though the name is kind of dumb and derivative of the RTR block, but I’ll overlook it because I’m back on board.

I’m back into the game 100%. A�I bought the duel decks for BFZ. A�When I showed them to the boys, Liam asked about going to the prerelease. A�We never made it because it was one of those weekends. A�I know that I’ve said this next statement several times over the past few months, but this time I mean it for a couple of reasons. A�First, this set has me really excited. A�Second, fall and winter are rapidly approaching here in New England and Friday nights are going to be cold and dark. A�As a result, I want to go to a local FNM for some draft action.

You’re probably thinking, “So, that’s it? A�Everything is good? A�This is usually the point in the article where you pull out the rug and introduce opposition in the name of conflict.” A�Well, now that you mention it, I have seen some people in various Twitch chats complaining about the set and saying how much it sucks.

“This set is terrible.”

“Stop filling the set with junk rares just because you can.”

“Oh, look, another awful and unplayable card.”

“Wow, what an underwhelming set. A�Except for those expedition lands. A�Man, those things are hot.”

Sure, they're pretty, but are they 200 dollars pretty? Heavens, no.
Sure, they’re pretty, but are they 200 dollars pretty? Heavens, no.

The funny thing about all of this is that after the announcement of the expedition lands, every website sold out of boxes and cases of the set to the point that the average price went from the usual 90-100 to 110-120, as mentioned above. A�Okay, let’s take a look a this evidence, CSI style.

  1. Expedition lands are announced.
  2. Speculators go crazy buying bulk.
  3. The sobering reality that lands are chase slowly sets in.
  4. Speculators realize that they either paid 120 for effectively a 1/6 chance at the land or $600 for one guaranteed.
  5. The lands are preordering for 175-220.
  6. Buyer’s remorse hits hard.
  7. Speculators redirect their anger at the set and try to convince everyone how much it sucks.

It’s a dance as old as time. A�Well, at least as long as Magic has been considered a money hobby. A�In spite of all of the Captain Buzzkills, I’m still excited. A�My box and fat pack are going to arrive from SCG soon. A�I spent more time getting hyped about the set by watching the Community Cup. A�One of the rounds that I watched was BFZ sealed, so I got to see many of the cards in limited action. A�I tuned just in time to see Newlamog resolve and proceed to eat the opponent’s library in two turns. A�That was highly entertaining to watch and I look forward to future opponents making that play since that is just my luck. A�I know that you are all PJSalting out there, but I’m convinced that luck is a fundamental force int he universe and that mine is terrible when it comes to card games. A�But, enough about my belly aching. A�This is an article about how Magic is great again. A�Time to get back on message, finish this article, and get this web page back on track.

Seriously, if I ever got back into physical D&D, this is exactly how I would die, IRL. I'd roll snake eyes and then the snakes would come out, bite me, inject me with their poison, and then laugh in their stupid snake way as I fell to the floor frothing at the mouth and writing in pain.
Seriously, if I ever got back into physical D&D, this is exactly how I would die, IRL. I’d roll snake eyes and then the snakes would come out, bite me, inject me with their poison, and then laugh in their stupid snake way as I fell to the floor frothing at the mouth and writing in pain.

In that spirit, I have one more thing that has me excited. A�If we judge strictly onA�time played, then I saved the best for last. A�If not, well it is still very exciting for filthy casual gamers like myself. A�The Puzzle Quest brand, which I discovered with two rip off D&D match three games and then became obsessed with their Marvel version of the game to the point that I convinced Liam and Aiden to sign up for the game, has announced that they are developing a Magic version of the game.

If ever I needed a picture of Frye from Futurama holding a wad of cash with the words “Shut up and take my money!” superimposed over it, now is the time. A�Being a father, husband, and busy adjunct college professor, I often don’t have time for involved games that might take days or months. A�What I often do have time for is hot and quick match 3 action involving colored candies, colored gems, colored soda bottles, and even colored super hero logos. A�Oh yea, I get around. A�I have spent an especially embarrassing amount of money and time on Marvel Puzzle Quest. A�With the amount that I spend on Magic already, this development of Magic Puzzle Quest just might land me simultaneously in bankruptcy and divorce court.

There he is.
There he is.