Tag Archives: Quick Hits

Quick Hits: Plants vs. Zombies


I have made no apologies for my life long infatuation with zombies. It started with Night of the Living Dead, continued through the Resident Evil games, reached its peak with The Walking Dead comic book and finally died with the TV show. However, like the zombies themselves, I’m sure that it will rise again from the grave to haunt me and attempt to devour my brain. In that case, this past week might represent the part in the movie where the hand shoots out of the earth and the ominous music plays.

Okay, guys, will you now admit that I'm the best at hide and seek?
Okay, guys, will you now admit that I’m the best at hide and seek?

Somehow, through all of the movies (hell, I even enjoyed Warm Bodies), comic books (Marvel Zombies was a favorite along with The Walking Dead), and games (Dead Rising become more fun than the Resident Evil series), I missed Plants vs. Zombies. I knew about the game, of course, but never played it. I played a version of it as a quest in World of Warcraft for a battle pet (at the time just a vanity pet) but never the actual game. Like Candy Crush, the game just never registered as one I’d enjoy.

Blizzard, your undisputed champions at making money off of other people's ideas.
Blizzard, your undisputed champions at making money off of other people’s ideas.

I got introduced to Candy Crush finally through my kids and Mother-in-Law. She was stuck on a level and I played through to help get her to the next level. It wasn’t long until I downloaded the game on my own tablet and now I’m up to level 152. A former student told me about the daily spin to keep me logging in every day and I’ve even spent some money on the game buying a couple of the weekend deals.

My introduction to Plants vs. Zombies was not as gradual. After not having played the game, I got the urge to download and install it on my tablet. I think that part of the reason that I never played it was that I only owned phones and don’t like the overall experience of gaming on phones. I have had the tablet for a few months, now, so that doesn’t explain the sudden interest in this particular game. Well, whatever the reason, I’ve found a new mobile obsession to play while waiting for my lives to regenerate in Candy Crush.

My thoughts:

  • The game isn’t all that hard. Most of the time, a row of sunflowers behind two rows of the pea shooters is sufficient to clear the level.
  • Even so, the game play and zombies are varied enough that you occasionally have to change your strategy to account for thedifferent attacks.
  • The mini games and puzzles are different enough to break up the monotony of the main game. It’s just too bad that there are so few of them.
  • I have never been able to play other zombie games around the kids, for obvious reasons, but that’s not an issue with this game.
  • As a follow up to that last point, there’s nothing cuter (or weirder) than hearing my 4 year old wail, “Braaaiinnss” because he heard it on the game.
  • Overall, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the game as a good game. It is a mostly fun game and free (or 2 bucks if you want to get rid of the ads, as I did), so you really can’t lose by trying it out if you have somehow avoided it as long as I have.

Quick Hit (MtG: Origins)

(Editor’s Note: We promised two new articles and Episode 7 of the podcast a week or so ago. This article was supposed to be 2 out of 3 ain’t bad, but it never happened. If that didn’t implant an earworm firmly into that part of your brain, enjoy the following video.)

I finally broke down and joined a an Origins simulated sealed pool. I know, I know. I have said a few times (once on the upcoming podcast) that I’m just not that into the set. However, unable to afford the prerelease events this weekend because I didn’t get paid until the week after, and having scrubbed out of my last two three Cube events, I decided to give Origins a try. Maybe I’ve misjudged it and it really can be fun. My first impression is an emphatic repeat of my initial thoughts through spoiler season.

Grumpy cat always knows exactly how you feel.

This is not bitterness. If I’m writing an article about how the new Holiday cube is not as good as last year’s–and I could–you would have a case. I’ve had an insanely bad experience with the 2015 cube events. Not with the Origins sealed. I won my first match in pretty convincing fashion and had to drop from the rest of the event to bring the boys for lunch. It’s not sour grapes. I simply did not have that much fun.

Nevertheless, I am a professional (not a journalist, but still), so I will give my thoughts on the set. Remember that this is only after one sealed match, so have that grain of salt at the ready. I may put together some standard decks and join a few drafts to see if they offer a more fun experience. Hell, at the least, it will be a way to cheat two more articles.

Now, finally, for my thoughts:

  • They are selling the core set as mono. I don’t have a problem with that. They seem to oscillate between mono and multicolored. However, I had to build my deck with three colors to get enough playable cards. Look, I understand that you won’t usually get a sealed pool that allows for a mono deck. Ideally, you want to stick to 2 colors since mana and mana fixing (especially in a mono set) can be tough to accomplish with more colors. The lack of playables was a bit of a turn off. Maybe it was just a weak pool. No matter what they say, it is a core set after all and the power level of core sets is usually lower.
I mean, who's not excited for this reprint, amirite?
I mean, who’s not excited for this reprint, amirite?
  • Elves are going to be a thing in standard. I’m not sure how much or what kind of thing, but they are definitely pushing elves in this set. I only had a limited amount of the little tree huggers, but the synergy was amazing. Building a deck to exploit that specifically will be easy. If it will be good remains to be seen.
They make damn good cookies, too.
They make damn good cookies, too.
  • White aura enchantments are very strong. I know that auras are a part of white’s repertoire, but there are some really good ones in this set. Along with elves, I thought that white weenies could make a come back. The auras don’t necessarily that confirm that. They do give me some ideas for a deck or two.
I might even get to play this guy in a deck.
I might even get to play this guy in a deck.
  • Nissa’s Revelation is expensive, but it is a powerful spell. I only got to see and cast it once. When I did, I was able to set up my deck and hand to close out the game very quickly. With mana ramp and fixing, the card can absolutely affect games in a big way.
It's not quite the green tutors of the past, but it has some juice.
It’s not quite the green tutors of the past, but it has some juice.
  • I never thought much of renown, but it is a cool mechanic. +1/+1 counters are always fun. I didn’t like the condition of having to damage the opponent. Honestly, I never had any problems satisfying the condition and getting the counter.
Granted, this card helped quite a bit in pushing through damage.
Granted, this card helped quite a bit in pushing through damage.
  • I hoped that the focus on mono might break some of the Abzan this and Sultai that decks, but they’re still around for the foreseeable future. I wend Abzan colors for playables and the deck was stronger than it probably should have been.
This guy was there in spirit.
This guy was there in spirit.

Well, I suppose that the experience wasn’t all bad. As I’ve said, I’m not a huge fan of sealed. Maybe that’s why I didn’t have fun. That, along with my unfavorable initial impressions of the set, wasn’t exactly a great start.

I did a draft while writing this. That went much worse than the sealed. The deck was blue/red and heavy on counterspells and removal as blue/red should. Even so, I can’t yet judge the format as a draft format. I got mana screwed in the first game and misplayed the second game horribly.

PS – I got blown out by WG renown, so that strengthens my earlier argument. I will draft more and probably write that article in a couple of weeks. Chris and I recently did a live sealed and that article is coming later this week. I’ve got some standard ideas. If I get a chance to test them, I will write about that next week. There may be hope for this set after all.