Chris and I have been talking for a few months as if our time in Magic the Gathering is over.A� Regular readers of the page know that this is not unusual.A� Our interest in the game ebbs and flows as it does with most of you, I’m sure.A� However, this time felt different.
First, the Marvel Secret Empire event pulled me back into comics.A� I got to the point where I was spending almost $200 a month on them.A� That is not exactly conducive to having extra money for cards, too.A� Why do nerd hobbies have to be so damn expensive?
Second, none of the recent sets have excited me.A� Usually when I’m going through a lull, I can point to a set that might have potential to get me interested.A� I still bought cards to collect, but going back to Innistrad and the return of the Eldrazi (even in their Annihilator-less form) left me flat.A� Amonkhet had some cool lore and Chris and I even did a Winchester draft with the set, but I never bought any product from the second set.A� That’s the first time that has happened since I got back into the game.A� It just looked like comics were going to be my hobby.
Then, some things happened and the tide turned.A� I’ve been writing for a couple of months now that I didn’t think 200 bucks per month was sustainable.A� Well, I finally discussed it with my wife and her opinion matched me and Chris.A� 3 out of 3 meant that I needed to reevaluate.A� Then, the kids asked me to play Magic a few weeks ago and we did.A� It’s the first time that they’ve all been old enough to understand and play by the rules.A� I’ve been looking for a reason to buy the Nicol Bolas Archenemy set and they finally gave me that reason.
Also, I have been listening to podcasts (as I do every day during my commute) and Planet Money has featured a couple of episodes on arbitrage.A� Coincidentally, Chris has decided to try his hand at exploiting inefficiencies in the MtG market after a conversation about how the release of a new set often sees old cards that were worth almost nothing gain value due to their inclusion in new decks.A� He keeps me updated on a semi-daily basis and he has inspired me to attempt the same.
Finally, I’ve take a look at Ixalan.A� My verdict?A� Pirates and dinosaurs are cool.A� Frankly, though, I came to that verdict after some discussion with the boys.A� I took my comic money, bought a box and a fat pack (bundle now, but it feels awkward to call it a bundle bundle) bundle and we’re going to open it as a family.A� There will be plenty of time to dissect Ixalan.A� This article is about our experience with the Nicol Bolas Archenemy set.
It is multiplayer Magic.A� When we played a few weeks ago, we played 2-headed giant with me and Quinn against the his two older brothers.A� It allowed everyone to play at the same time, whereas our “tournaments” often see one match end early, people get bored, and they eventually give up on ever finishing the tournament.A� Since we were all in the same match at the same time, nobody got the chance to get bored and walk away.
Nicol Bolas can be played as a four player game, but there were only three of us the night we played because Liam had play practice that night.A� Still, the three of us had fun even as Aiden complained about how OP the Nicol Bolas deck is.A� I was playing as the deck and I have to agree with him.A� Granted, you are playing against multiple players as the deck, but I feel like they might have overdone it a bit with some of the cards in the supplementary deck.
But, this is the good section of the article.A� There is plenty of good to the set.A� The decks are each built around a planeswalker.A� In addition to that planeswalker, the decks contain some fun and interesting cards from the history of the game.A� Some of the cards are actually very good and with the right pilot and circumstances, the decks might even hold their own against the dragon.A� More testing is necessary to see if the decks should be tweaked a bit or if they will work right out of the box.
As mentioned, we’ve only gotten a chance to play once.A� Aiden said that he’s played it with his friends at school during recess time, but that was the absolute first time that I’ve ever played it.A� As a result, my opinion might not be fully formed and there might be some bad that I’m overlooking.
Because, there isn’t much bad that I can say about the set.A� The decks seem to be fun.A� It is a different way to play Magic the Gathering with a larger group of players.A� Sure, Nicol Bolas is a powerful deck and made more powerful by his schemes, but that fits right into the lore of the character.A� He’s supposed to be one of the big bads and it wouldn’t feel right if any group of players could just get together and steamroll.
This is so weird.A� I previewed the “bad” and “ugly” in my good section.A� I’m technically telling how good the game is in the bad section.A� This is pandemonium.A� What’s going to happen in the ugly section?
The only bad that I can say about the game is that the scheme deck for the dragon is overpowered, just as I said in “the good” previous section.A� It might be that the game really isn’t designed for less than 4 players, even though they have rules for less.A� The boys put up a decent fight, but my deck just steamrolled them with the free removal, card draw, mana, and everything else good about the game of Magic the Gathering.A� The one game that we played was just ugly for poor Aiden and Quinn.A� Bolas destroyed nearly all hope they had of ever gaining an edge, forget about even winning the game.
Aiden did say that he hadn’t seen the scheme deck before.A� I wonder if at school the kids don’t use the deck because it offers such a distinct advantage to a deck that maybe doesn’t need the help.A� In addition to trying to think of ways to improve the Gatewatch planeswalker decks, I might try to play a game without the scheme deck to see if it makes a difference and makes the game more even.
Even with the ugliness of the overpowered schemes, it seemed like the boys had fun with it.A� Just like 2 headed giant, all four of us can play at the same time.A� That makes it more likely that we will finish a game instead of losing players to complacency and boredom.A� Playing this has inspired me to get back into the game more.A� I have also inquired about Pokemon and Yu Gi Oh again and will be ready when Aiden goes through his phase again and wants to play those games.A� Right now, he and his brothers are all about some online Pokemon RPG that they are playing with friends.A� But, I’ll be looking forward to our games again, hopefully in the near future.