Category Archives: Magic Monday
Manga Monday: Little Battlers Experience Volume #1 A Perfect Starter Manga
I was at my LCS a few weeks back and found this manga among their relatively small section. Little Battlers Experience has been like finding a small new world. I read the first volume and wondered why I had never heard of the series because it seemed like a perfect mainstream series to make into a million offshoots. Upon further research, that is pretty much the case.
Littler Battlers Experience, LBX for short, came out in 2011 (a decade ago!). However, it is pretty tough to say what the initial idea was. Wiki claims the series is based off of a game developed by Level 5 (one of my favorite video game studios). The first game came out on PSP in June of 2011. The manga predates that by 5 months. But maybe Level 5 wanted a manga out to introduce kids to the series before the game’s release? The anime came out in March of the same year, both predating the original game. By my calculations, there’s no ongoing anime, but a series called LBX Girls just wrapped up their first season. It has spawned several video games, spin off mangas and anime adaptions.
So, what is Little Battlers Experience? This game came out late in what I call the “kids anime” genre. Think Pokemon, Digimon and even Bakugan. A lot of those animes came out in the late 90’s and early 2000s. Most kid animes did not take off after that time period. Bakugan is probably an exception, coming out in 2007. And it just missed the DS/3DS revival. Yokai Watch kind of became the next generation’s Pokemon in a way. The DS and 3DS helped give a lot these made for kids animes a place to branch off into games. LBX tells the story of how little robots were built for kids to battle with. They’re customizable robots and the stages are cardboard dioramas. Our main character’s, Van, father was a creator of LBXs. He would die in a tragic airplane accident. 5 years later a woman holding a mysterious briefcase shows up being chased by 3 men. She hands the briefcase to Van and tells him to run. The briefcase is revealed to have an LBX created by Van’s father. Later it is also discovered that Van’s father hid a blueprint to an unlimited energy source in the robot. Van’s father is also alive and being held captivate by the evil organization introduced earlier. Van must win a tournament to claim the key needed for the infinite energy machine. For exchange of the key, the organization will release Van’s father.
The story is nothing special or groundbreaking, but it does not need to be. The manga is mostly for kids and to help sell the video game. On that front, I think it does a fine job. The art is good, the characters are likable but not really unique and the story doesn’t drag on. In fact, one of my complaints is the story progresses pretty quickly. Another knock is that, for now, the characters are only passable. The good guys are heroic with reckless abandonment and the villains are corny levels of cliché. This won’t matter to kids who are just enjoying robots killing each other. Volume 1 is fine as far as the setting, the scope, and grand scheme of the story. I feel like volume #2 may help in those departments as the LBX tournament is about to start.
But on the plus side, this is a great starter manga for kids. It only ran 6 volumes so it should be easy to collect. It is pretty action pack to keep the kids’ attention. The battlers are similar to Pokemon or any of those kind of mangas. There’s no foul language, no blood and guts, no perverted comments or degrading of women. It is just a good, clean fun manga.
Recap: To reiterate, this a fun manga if you are into series like Pokemon, Zatch Bell or anything that seems similar to those. If you like those adventures, you’ll feel right at home with this one.
Action: This manga has action in every chapter. And its robot action too!
Romance: No hints of romance currently.
Plot: Again, this is a kids series. The plot is deeper than say Pokemon, but it is not the main draw here.
Characters: I like the characters. Right now, they are all pretty stereotypical. We have the stubborn hero, the jaded grandson, the cartoon villain, the buddies through it all pals. But they are likable and well written for what they are.
The World: The world is like ours, but with mini fighting robots.
Humor: This isn’t your typical edgy humor Shonen but it has moments of being funny.
Verdict: 7 out of 10. It is not perfect but I enjoyed my time with it. My LCS has 2-4. I’ll probably pick them up at some point. I recommend checking this one out for sure if it sounds interesting to you.
5 Historic Decks I Want to Brew (With the Addition of Amonkhet)
Amonkhet Remastered launched less than a week ago with hopes of adding a bunch of powerful, new cards to the Historic format. With it new archetypes will emerge and existing ones will look to strengthen or refocus themselves. Here’s 5 decks I want to brew now.
Honorable Mention: Bant Approach of the 2nd Sun
This is a controlling ramp deck. Growth Spiral and Uro are a great reason to play blue and green in the deck. Blue also gives great counter spells and draw spells as well as Planeswalkers. Green is mostly here to ramp us.
#5 White Black Zombies
Zombies were a big part of Amonkhet block. It is only natural to think the tribe would see an uptick in playable cards now. Dread Wanderer, Wayward Servant and Thoughtseize headline a stellar cast of new cards. Zombies are always an interesting tribe being a black aggro deck. They get interaction in the form of Murderous Rider and Thoughtseize which is powerful. They also get recursive creatures and creatures that make tokens which can be used directly in conjunction with the draining abilities of Corpse Knight and Wayward Zombie. I see a lot to like in this deck. It’s filled to the gills with rares though so it is not the cheapest deck to throw together.
#4 Sultai Scarab God
This deck is going to look a little familiar to the standard deck of old. I see new UB list running Murderous Rider and Brazen Borrow. That is probably correct. At first, I didn’t like that idea because those cards don’t really do anything when getting revived by Scarab. However, they do allow you to interact with the board on turns 2 and 3 and buy you time to get to turn 5+. I do want to run high impact cards to revive off of Scarab so cards like Chupacabra, Champion of Wits, and Hostage Taker all come to mind. We want to control the game with our spells and creatures and then pull away with the insane card advantage in the late game Scarab God provides.
#3 Grixis Pteramander
Pteramander finally gets a one mana hand strip spell and it is one of the best ever, Thoughtseize. Claim to Fame is another interesting addition here. We can now fire our creatures off a bit more aggressively and then just claim them back later. Of course, in the late game Fame can help swing over with haste late. Is Censor good or bad in this deck? The card is a very polarizing card to begin with. However, cycling allows us to fill the yard for Pteramander’s adapt while also drawing a card. I think I’m willing to test it in here. The goal of a Pteramander deck is to play cheap interaction cards that don’t need targets to cast. Shock is a good example of being able to interact with creatures if needed or sling it at them for damage. Pteramander becomes insane value late in the game as a 5/5/ flier for an overall 2 mana investment
#2 Collected Company Elves
My astute readers will notice Amonkhet did not reprint a single elf creature! So how did this get #2 on the list? Well, the other half of the name kind of gives it away. Collected Company.
Elvish Clancaller and Imperious Perfect definitely gives the deck a few lords it needs. Llanowar Elves, Dwynen’s Elite, Elvish Visionary and Steel Leaf Champion allow the deck to play an on curve aggro plan. Collected Company helps the deck “elfball” so to speak or recover quickly. I’ve never got to play with CC because it has always been so expensive. I can’t wait to finally test this out. Merfolk is also probably going to love this new card too.
#1 Esper Approach of the Second Sun
I’m curious how Draw Go this archetype wants to be. Or does it want to play Planeswalkers and ramp spells? Would it prefer to play Settle the Wreckage, an instant speed board wipe, or tap out for a less conditional removal spell like Shatter the Sky? I think pure control favors Esper, while tap out, ramp and planeswalkers, favors Bant with Uro, Hydriod Krasis.
There’s some other interesting decks such as Jeskai Cyclers and Esper Humans or even Riddleform that look really fun to brew around.
Let me know which deck excites you the most.
Thanks for reading and have a great day!
My Personal Spell Book (A Magic the Gathering Post)
Okay, guys. I’ve been seeing this go around. First off, Sam Pardee shared a photo of his own personal spell book. I’ll add the link to the picture here via twitter. Sam’s Spell Book
Then, MTG Streamer Jim Davis made a post about his own personal spell book. You can read that here. People in his comment section were taking the time to post their own. So, I figured why not? Ill make my own!
By the way, this is a post about Magic the Gathering. I guess I should add some context. The spell books are a product of cards centered around specific Planeswalkers. The spell books feature iconic cards and moments involving the Planeswalkers.
Here’s an example of a card from the Jace’s Spell Book.
Okay, so the idea is I will list the 8 cards that would be in my spell book. These aren’t necessarily the best spells in the game. They’re just spells I love or have a fondness for. Okay let’s start the list off
My goodness. This is arguably my favorite card of all time. This was the first card I ever opened in a pack. I had a friend explain to me how a creature could tap for mana. I thought ramping was the most busted thing ever. I immediately started grabbing all the big, dumb green creatures I could find and threw it in a deck. At the same time, I tried watching some Magic the Gathering streams to understand the game better. One of the first matches I watched was a GR Monsters deck. Elvish Mystic was a huge part the deck allowing the deck to play cards earlier than normal. On top of that, he lead to my love of the Elf tribe. He is a pivotal part to the modern version of elves. I jam him in a lot of green ramp/monster decks. I’ll never forget how cool I thought this guy was. And quite frankly, he still is.
Well, we had to ramp into something right? To be fair, I feel in love with a lot of the monsters like Polukranos, World Eater, Hydra Broodmaster, Terra Stomper and Destructor Dragon, but the card I loved the most was Genesis Hydra. I would put so much mana into this guy I would end up hitting Polukranos anyway. They were an unstoppable duo in my play group. Definitely my favorite casual deck.
In all my time playing magic, this may be the card I have cast the most. It took me forever to realize why this card was so good. I thought this card would just eventually be so bad. Which, I mean, to be fair, after turn 5 or so the card is just bad. However, Modern, a format I was new to, was just too fast to not be interacting with your opponent on turn 2. It’s been a corner stone of most of my UW/UWB modern decks.
Shaman of the Pack
Standard Elves was arguably the first competitive deck I ever built as most of my Monster decks were casual. I could have so many other elves in this spot such as Dwynen’s Elite, Elvish Visionary or Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf Dean which are all strong candidates. I loved them all. However, draining people for a crap ton of damage was just so much fun. This is a deck I am currently trying to rebuild with some strong modern upgrades.
There is almost no other game action I love more than drawing cards, maybe countering spells. The time has come to pick a draw spell. It was tough! There’s Opt, Sphinx’s Revelation, Chemister’s Insight and many more. However, when I built my first Esper Control deck, think twice was an important part of curving out right. Giving you something to do on turns 2 and 3 while keeping mana open to Mana Leak something if needed. I think this card is a staple in “Draw Go” Control.
I could not put this card in my Esper control deck in standard fast enough following it’s printing. I destroyed a lot of people curving this into Sinister Sabotage. They took care of problematic threats while each surveiled allowing you to smooth draws, hit lands, or get more counter spells. I loved this start. I had a rule that I would keep most hands that allowed me to cast Thought Erasure on Turn 2 and definitely keep the ones that let me curve into Sabotage.
My first exposure to an alternative win condition. Which is to say, winning without reducing your opponents life to 0. Many people thought this card was broken. It really wasn’t. I did win a lot of games with this card as the win con, but that’s not to say it could not be beaten. It did feel good to only have to run this if you did not want to run creatures. There’s talk of Wizard’s adding Amonkhet to MTG Arena. You best believe we will be tearing up historic with Esper and Bant 2nd Sun!
Nissa entered my life at an interesting time. In my casual group I was the green player. I was also the only one of us to pull a Planeswalker. Naturally she went into every green deck I was building at the time. Nowadays, Nissa the character is still my favorite Planeswalker though this probably isnt my favorite Planeswalker card, I doubt it is even my favorite Nissa PW card. Gideon being a creature PW that dodges boardwipes makes him ideal for my control decks. The new Narset is busted not letting opponents draw additional cards on top of finding more spells. Nissa, Voice of Zendikar is an aggressively costed PW who can be a creature factory to help against sac effects and generate blockers. Though there is no denying the impact this card had on me. It further more convinced me to play green. It made me feel more powerful than my friends without PWs. And fetching up all my forest to run my opponents over was such a great feeling.
So there you have. I left off plenty of great cards like Path to Exile, Savage Knuckleblade, and Disdainful Stroke. But that’s how making a list goes after all. Let me know what spells make your list!
Thanks for reading and have a great day!
Magic Monday: Oath of the Gatewatch First Impression
Oath of the Gatewatch is Wizard’s latest installment in their addictive tcg Magic: The Gathering.
To me, BFZ was, for the most part, disappointing. I had high hope for the allies, but the best they could do was a gimmick Sac deck. Now, Gideon did provide some umph, some 60 dollar umph.
I remained spoiler free and last week my girlfriend and I bought two of the pre-constructed decks.
I got myself concerted efforts. A green/white deck that relied on the new Mechanic Support.
Support reads “As this card enters the battlefield, Put a +1+1 on up to X creatures. Needless to say I love this mechanic. I’m a green player so getting to make my creatures bigger each turn worked wonders for me.
This was my promo card
He’s pretty sweet. The rest of the deck felt weird, but effective. It was filled mostly with white weenies and some okay fliers. I was able to beef them up to form a giant massive flying army. I was winning every game until I helped her tweak her deck to be a little better suited(I gave her some reach creatures and plummets to help disrupt my board presence.)
Her deck was the vicious cycle deck. Its a green/black deck that wants to sacrifice creatures to gain advantages. It’s an okay deck, but for whatever reason she couldnt get it going until my army had already amounted. To combat this we gave her some plummets and other forms of removal like ultimate price. After that, she won the next four. We filled the deck with scion token producers and she sac’d them to activate bone splinters, so I never had a board presence. But hey, she was enjoying it!
All in all, I barely feel like these decks gave us a taste of OGW. Our deckes were filled with a bunch more BFZ cards than I thought they would have. And I feel as if her deck didnt seem to redefine standard as much as it was just a rehash of the aristocrats style of play.
I love the support mechanic and I’m definitely interested in building around it. The big draw back is it runs tiny creatures and at times(If I fell behind) support felt like a dead mechanic. You cannot support yourself so if there’s nothing on the field, Gladeheart Cavalry’s support is wasted. I still have more mechanics to fool with so I’m interested in seeing what else this expansion set has in store.
Have you guys got a chance to get your hands on any OGW cards/deck yet?
Thanks for taking the time to read this!
Magic Monday: A Beginner’s Guide to Magic- White
Wishing for white Christmas? I got you covered!
This week we end our Beginner’s Guide to Magic. Where does the time go?
White is honor and pride. White is about the army of many. It’s about justice and valor. White is all the little pieces that make the machine work. What’s the best creature type to represent white in this standard? Allies of course.
Here’s a mono White Allies Deck I threw together!
4x Cliffside Lookout
4x Expedition Envoy
4x Seeker of the Way
4x Kor Bladewhirl
4x Serene Steward
4x Lantern Scout
2x Archangel of Tithes
2x Felidar Soverign
Other Spells 11
4x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
3x Valorous Stance
1x Radiant Purge
Summon as many allies as you can. The rally will trigger and give us sweet perks. Tithes and Felidar are the only non-ally triggers in the deck, so you should get them often. Remember Ultimating Gideon right off the bat can be the right play giving all our little guys +1/+1. If you can’t afford him put in Retreat to Emeria instead. Also, if you want the consistency of the Ally triggers over the finishing nature of Tithes and Felidar, add 4 of Hero of Goma Fada.
White are players who- like synergy with their creatures. Every creature works for the good of the whole. You will in no way have the biggest creatures, you will have no permission based cards, and no burn damage. You will, however, have creatures that go well together as well as solid removal. Kill and exile stuff that is in your way and then rally your way to victory behind first strike, double strike, etc.
Pros- Everything goes together. You get to play Gideon. You have access to some of the best removal in standard. What you like in size and speed you make up in your army. In your brotherhood valor and justice will always shine through.
Cons- You do not want to fall behind. Outside of maybe Soverign and Gideon, you do not really have a card that is going to just break the game. Be mindful of board wipes and know stabilizing might become more difficult the harder the hit, as a single creature will likely not win us the match by itself. No counter magic, no burn magic, and no pump spells(Outside of Gideon’s emblem) make us a little less exciting than the other colors but build your army and ruthlessly take down your opponent before they can mount a comeback.
Well there you have it!
Beginner’s Guide to Magic is through, but Magic Monday will make a return in 2016 down the road.
Until than check out more Magic Monday Here!
Magic Monday: A Beginner’s Guide to Magic- Black
In honor of the Star Wars movie, we join the dark side.
You know the stories they tell you about witchcraft and voodoo and necromancy? Well that were here to do! Black wizards use tricks and savage tactics to manipulate aspects of the game. Often, they do not care about their creatures and gain perks when they die. Black is very twisted, but it is very satisfying.
Here’s a mono Black deck I threw together for today:
4x Bloodsoaked Champion
4x Hangarback Walker
4x Zulaport Cutthroat
4x Qarsi Sadist
4x Carrier Thrall
4x Nantuko Husk
2x Drana, Liberator of Malakir
2x Smothering Abomination
1x Gurmag Angler
1x Bone Splinters
3x Alter’s Reap
2x Ruinous Path
1x Murderous Cut
1x Transgress The Mind
Creatures die! It’s part of the game, after all. Our deck just takes advantage of this. This deck is stylized in the form and aristocrats deck that runs cards that want to die. Were mono black and not fancy. So we do not run Rally The Ancestors. You want to be sac’n Bloodsoaked Champion because he can revive himself. Hangarback leaves tokens behind, which, in return, can sac’d themselves. Do this while Zulaport is on the field and you start to hurt your opponent. Sac’n as a result of Nantuko Husk can beef him up and just kill your opponent right there. Drana, Smothering, Gurmag are here to finish the deal. The spells are mix of goodies from removal to draw spells. Duress is good for control and Transgress picks stuff out that is bigger than us.
Black is for players who- want evil creatures and diabolical spells. If you have ever dreamed of playing the bad guy black is for you. You have access to some of the best straight removal, most of your creatures have abilities
Pros- Black cards give you some amount of say in what sticks around(In the form of removal). Like green, the little guys shine here. Though green pumps its creatures, black normally does not mind if it’s creatures die. You may not always have board presence because you are sac’n your creatures, but with all your removal they should have trouble establishing a board on you as well.
Cons- As mentioned, your creatures are small. Drana is a flyer which helps, but she’s still a 2/3 for 3. Gurmag is a welcomed addition because you can delve all your sac’d guys to get him out for 1 or 2. Remember, black with go faster, green will get bigger, and blue will try to deny you, but you are the most wicked one of them all!
Next week we finish the colors up with white!
Until then check out more Magic Monday here!
Today were going Green!
For the Outdoorsmen in us all.
Green decks are defined by their creatures. Their little creatures work in conjunction in the early game to help your board presence get massive and out of hand in the late game. Green lets you summon unfair creatures to just absolutely demolish your opponents!
Here is a mono-green landfall deck I threw together
4x Evolving Wilds
4x Jaddi Offshoot
4x Scythe Leopard
4x Snapping Gnarlid
3x Nissa Vastwood
4x Undergrowth Champion
2x Territorial Baloth
1x Oran-Reef Hyrda
4x Nissa’s Pilgrimage
4x Explosive Vegetation
1x Reclaiming Vine
3x Swell To Growth
Landfall is mechanic in which creatures get some buff by having a land enter the field. Every creature in this deck has landfall except Nissa. When Nissa enters, however, she can search for a land. We have 8 spells plus 3 Nissas that go search for basic lands, which 20 of the land cards are basics. The Evolving Wilds are there so we can have two land triggers on the same turn! You have some money, ditch the evolving wilds and go buy some legit fetchlands. Plummets kill things with flying, which Green wizards hate. Reclaiming vines kills Silkwrap and other enchantment based removal. Swell to Growth beefs up our creatures as well as lets us play another land(which will in return beef them up more). This can just result in killing your opponents sometimes.
Green is for players who- want to be the biggest, baddest dude out there. If you survive the early game, you will dominate the late game. Green loves to commit to the board and swarm the opponent.
Cons- Remember swarming the board leaves you open to be hit by board wipe. You will be slower than red, and have no say so in permission like blue, but you be bigger them!
Next week we go to the dark side with black!
Until than check out more Magic Monday
Remember you can find this and other decks on my tappedout account.
Magic Monday: A Beginner’s Guide to Magic- Blue
Todays topic- Blue!
Deemed the most unfair color in all of magic’s history.
Blue decks play very controlling magic. Cards that have defined the color include: Ancestral Recall, Counterspell, and Snapcaster Mage. Seeing the picture yet? It’s permission based. Counter what you do not want to deal with and draw cards other times.
I could not find a standard mono blue deck to share, so I throw one together. Its Mono Blue Awaken and you can find it at my Tappedout.net page Here
Mono Blue Awaken(BFZ Standard)
4x Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
4x Harbinger of the Tides
4x Stratus Dancer
3x Halimar Tidecaller
4x Rush of Ice
4x Clutch of Currents
4x Scatter to the Wind
4x Clash of Wills
2x Dig Through TIme
There ya have it.
The aim is to control the early game with counters such as Clash of Wills and tap down their threats with Rush of Ice. From there, Harbinger can be used to bounce back any tapped down creature. Once you make it to the late game, cast your spells at their awaken cost to turn your lands into threats. Remember, you use a flipped Jace or Tidecaller to gain back your awaken spells once you have your mana up.
Pros- This deck gives you a bunch of ways of controlling the game and handling your opponents threats. You can counter them, bounce them, or tap them down, rendering them harmless. Your opponent needs your permission to do anything.
Cons- While you can tap down your opponents creatures, you can still run out of gas and just get mangled. Thats why we pack 6 draw spells to try to keep up the ammo. However, you do not have early game threats, so we really need to flip the Stratus Dancer to have a big flyer or land those awaken spells to have a threat for ourselves.
*Tip*- Jace is the money of the deck. Don’t feel like buying him? Just add 4 more spells like draw spells or awaken spells.
Blue is for players who- Want to have a say in what enters the field and what does not. You have access to the best counters, the best draw spells, and alternative removal. You sacrifice speed and ruthlessness for the ability to just deny your opponents every move. Oh, and also for wizards who do not care about losing friends
Next week we go Green!
Until than check out more Magic Mondays!
Magic Monday: A Beginner’s Guide to Magic- Red
The first color we will be tackling is red. What does it mean to be a red wizard? and what does a deck look like for a red Wizard? We will be going over all that in todays post(All link lead to Amazon where you can view the cards and purchase them if you like them)
Red decks are super aggressive and would love to win before their opponents even establish a board presence. How to do they accomplish this? Red decks normally have two approaches. Play super fast creatures like Goblin Guide or Monastery Swiftspear. These cards have huge upside such as Haste, lets your creatures avoid summoning sickness, and prowess, lets you beef up your cards by playing spells(Which red loves to do). You can swing on turn one and the cards are so low on the curve you flood the field early and overwhelm your opponents.
The other approach is through burn. Burn is when you play a spell that does direct damage to your opponent such as Lightning Bolt or Wild Slash. This puts the opponent on a clock and makes them play around your spells. They have to constantly worry about how much burn is actually in your hands.
This is the standard Red Deck. It is also know as Atarka Red.
Standard Red Aggro(Atarka Red)- Antonio Castellani pulled from MTGTop8
4 Bloodstained Mire
2 Cinder Glade
2 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills
4 Abbot Of Keral Keep
2 Lightning Berserker
4 Monastery Swiftspear
4 Zurgo Bellstriker
4x Atarka’s Command
3x Become Immense
4x Dragon Fodder
2x Fiery Impulse
2x Hordeling Outburst
3x Temur Battle Rage
4x Titan’s Strength
3x Wild Slash
Pros- This deck uses small creatures to storm the field and then uses pump spells to beef up their creatures. The deck uses combat tricks to win the game out of nowhere. If your opponent does not declare blockers, Temur Battle Rage can win the game instantly.
Cons- Much like the problems with most red decks, you can run out of gas with your burn spells or your opponent can just play larger creatures than you.
Red is for player who- If you want to play super aggressive and never let your opponent have a chance in the fight, Red is the way to go. Burn, aggressive creatures, and just all-around destruction make red super fun to play but a nightmare to play against.
Next Week we look at the color Blue!
Until than Check out more Magic Monday!
Magic Monday: A Beginner’s Guide- Colors
Today were launching a new series within Magic Monday. A nice little beginners guide to the five colors: Red, Blue, Green, Black, White.
We will discuss what each colors goal is, signature cards, why to play them/not to play them, and what a standard deck would look like.
Note: This is not an overly in-depth look at each five colors. If you already have a grasp on the five colors. This guide will not be of much use to you. This guide will serve to help new comers be able to jump into the game by learning the colors. If you know something and want to contribute to each color more, feel free to add suggestions and such in the comments of the respective colors!
Today we will start with Red. Check back at 8pm Eastern for that post!