Category Archives: Manga Monday
The Manga hauls at this point have gotten completely out of order. So, again, this is one of my newer hauls (It might be the newest haul in fact.)
As you can see we scored 4 new mangas! 3 ongoing ones in Boruto, Dragon Ball Z, and Eden Zero. These are some of our favorite mangas to read. We also have 1 new comer to the collection, Black Torch.
Here’s the description straight from Amazon “Ninja and animal lover Jiro Azuma’s life is changed forever when he finds himself in the middle of a war of ninjas vs. demons. Jiro Azuma is descended from of a long line of shinobi, and he also can talk to animals. One day, he rescues a very unique black cat named Rago, a supernatural being, and is dragged into a secret supernatural war. Although he may appear rough-and-tumble, Jiro Azuma’s compassionate side emerges when it comes to the furry critters he can communicate with. But Jiro’s soft spot for animals gets him in major trouble when a suspicious stray cat fuses with him, granting him exceptional power but also dragging him into humanity’s hidden battle against powerful Japanese spirits, mononok“.
The cover and description honestly kind of leave a little to be desired, but as I was flipping through it I thought the art looked very solid. Sometimes I feel like I’m taking on more #1’s than I can handle. In recent memories I’ve taken on Jujutsu Kaisen, My Hero Academia and Eden Zero. I’ve enjoyed them all a lot and wanted to keep reading them. If I like Black Torch enough to justify getting more, I’ll probably have to cut something. Oh, well. Let’s wait and see how the book is before we make any rash decisions.
Thank you guys for reading and let me know what mangas you’ve picked up recently!
I think this is our second manga haul. These are some of our newest pickups and I’ll do some later ones that are like retroactive pick ups. So let’s get right into it.
These mangas are Gantz Volume #1, No Longer Human and Smashed. No Longer Human and Smashed are both from the mind of Junji Ito, one of the most respected horror mangaka. Gantz sounds like a trip and a half. I’m just going to quote Wikipedia on this one, because, honestly, they said it best. “It tells the story of Kei Kurono and Masaru Kato, both of whom died in a train accident and become part of a semi-posthumous “game” in which they and several other recently deceased people are forced to hunt down and kill aliens armed with a handful of futuristic items, equipment, and weaponry.” Like what!? This manga sounds insane. Smashed seems to be a collection of stories by Junji Ito including I Don’t Want to be a Ghost, Death Row Doorbell, and Smashed.
AOI House is an original English Manga about two guys that start living in a dorm with girls who are fans of yaoi. Blade of the Immortal follows the story of Manji who kill 1,000 evil men to become mortal again. It sounds kick butt and I bet my brother would enjoy it a lot. The Promised Neverland is a book Jessica has been looking for for a while now. The story revolves around orphaned kids as they learn the truth behind their purpose. I assume there is some level of magic elements in it.
So there you have it. These books were traded in to our work so we picked them up while we could. Be on the look out for more Manga Monday reviews and hauls!
I picked up my copy of Immortal Rain Volume #1 last year for $1.50. I finally decided to bust this bad boy out. Immortal Rain originally came out in 1999, came stateside in 2004 thanks to TokyoPop and ran for 11 Volumes.
Plot- Rain Jewlitt is immortal. He has lived for 624 years. He is now known as Methuselah, which to my understanding is the longest living person recorded in the bible. Needless to say, his body is highly desired by many because it holds the secret to immortality. However, the secret of immortality is not the motivation behind Machika Balfatin. A young want-to-be assassin. Rain is the one bounty her, her being Machika, grandfather could not slay. Her grandfather was known as the Grim Reaper. I could see some similarities to Rebirth (Read our review of Rebirth #1 here), a couple in fact. For starters, the male leads are immortal. The female leads want to kill the male leads to avenge their fallen family members. Both the male leads want to die. I’m sure there’s more, but those are the ones that jump out to me. Rain, for someone who is immortal, keeps getting taken captivate. Machika bails him out of his captivity twice, yet Rain saves Machika from potential assailants twice. By the end of the first volume they have formed a team in order to reverse Rain’s immortality. This would allow Rain to finally die and for Machika to be the one to kill him.
Characters– We really addressed the two main characters already, so I am not sure how much time we will spend here. I’ll dive a little deeper though. Machika’s character is rather simple, yet very admirable. She fights hard and has a big heart. She just wants to honor her grandfather. Rain, however, is a very deep, well written character. It is not that his character is really original, again he is the same as Deshwitat from Rebirth, but he is done to near perfection. He openly warns all the characters that want his immortality that they should dread the curse instead. This is a classic grass is not greener. So many characters are either scared of death or are looking to revive dead family members. Rain cautions that if they or their loved one gain immortality, that that person will live a lonely, bitter existence, implying they outlive their loved ones. Also, adding to the complexity, Machika’s grandfather and Rain also had a brotherly rivalry. When her grandfather passed, Rain would place flowers on his grave. At times this is a pretty surface level, typical shoenen level of mindless and fun adventure. At other times, there are deep, provoking dialogues, relationships, and moments that make it more memorable than the average adventure manga.
The World– The world is like Dragon Ball Z in that I cannot truly nail the setting. At parts, this feels like a premodern civilization manga and then there are fully realized cities. Outside of that, angels may play a part in the larger story. Which is atypical. Of course, one character is immortal. These are just a few outliers for an otherwise normal world.
This is a book I have to just suggest you read on your own. Warning, the language is the most harsh out of any manga we’ve reviewed so (If that is a concern for you or anyone you know.). It does have the F word and the B word which is bit more harsh than the usual D or H words. Outside of that, there is violence, but nothing graphic. There are certainly moments where the manga feels like just another fantasy novel. Sometimes the characters, the dialogue, and the settings feel uninspired. Other scenes really come together. I bought this book for less than 2 dollars and will gladly buy following issues for that much.
I give the book a 7.5 out of 10. The book lacks consist greatness nor is anything completely original. Still, it is done in an enjoyable manner that has very strong moments that redeem it as a whole. (It is kind of like this review.)
Full Disclosure: This is just a review of chapter #1 of the Pokemon manga, not the full volume. I could not find the book before Pokemon Week started and as you guys can see, I’m still running behind. So yeah, I found the first chapter online.
Throw out a lot of what you thought you knew about the Pokemon anime when you read this book. A lot of the characters, Pokemon and people, look really different than their anime counterpart. The manga also seems more gag dependent than plot or even character centric. All in all, from what I’ve read these seem to be concerns, not sure if criticism is the right word or not, for the manga. Personally, I don’t really mind it. It is almost like waking up in an alternative universe.
Here’s a picture that sums up the point about art.
I don’t mind the art being different, but the art is also simply bad.
It is also worth noting that every Pokemon can talk. Quite the deviation from where only Meowth can talk in the animes. Again, I do not mind this either. It gives the Pokemons some added personalities which is nice.
This chapter is so weird when compared to the anime, games or any other form of Pokemon media, but being a reader of late 80’s and into the 90’s manga, this didn’t feel thaaat weird. I’ve read some of Dragon Ball, Seven Deadly Sins, Naruto and plenty of other gag influenced manga. So, I quite enjoyed this for what it is. I love 90’s Pokemon. I will definitely being exploring this manga more. Apparently the books have been translated to English but were not released in the U.S. So I will have to resort to online means if I cannot find these bad boys out in the wild.
Either way, I enjoyed my time with this chapter and look forward to more. I cannot recommend this to kids or parents with little kids as it is probably too much for younger viewers. So bare that in mind if you find a way to read this.
My intentions were to have a few Manga Monday’s out at this point, but oh well. Here we are with our first review of the year. We return to Rebirth. If you have not read my review for volume #1 you can find that here!
Spoilers: There are mostly just spoilers for the individual characters and not so much the plot or anything major.
Plot- Following the events of volume #1, our motley crew of a cast, Deshwitat, Remi and Millenear set out to teach Deshwitat the ways of light magic. However, Millenear is set that she cannot be the one to train him. She informs the group that there are some monks in Hong Kong that can teach him. Long story short, the monks have other plans. We meet several new characters at the temple and some great black and white fight scenes captivate the pages.
New Characters– Just to touch base, nothing new is really discovered or advanced on the behalf of our 3 main characters. Not that they are completely static or boring, just nothing groundbreaking for them as characters occurs. However, we are introduced to a handful of new characters. The first is Rett.
Rett- Now a lot of his backstory is told through flashback and not exposition per se. This means while we see his eventual defeat, his complete relationship to Deshwitat is not fully explored. I also do not think they explained how he got to the temple. Despite this, we see how a “mere human” like Rett, who knew Deshwitat 300+ years ago, would still be alive. Kalutika, the baddie of the series, and his army defeated Rett very easily. Still, they “gifted” him with eternal life so he could witness the end of the world. He honestly does not do much but I am sure he will be a welcomed part of the series moving forward
Beryun– She is a really cool character. She is devout servant to the third character we will meet soon. She comes across rather boring at first. However, she goes toe to toe with Deshwitat fairly impressively. They have one of the cooler fight scenes I’ve seen in a manga to date. And their fight gave birth to one of my favorite quotes. (Ignore how ghetto my picture is below)
Ultimately, neither kill each other, but the fight is pretty darn good. Obviously, she is short on words, quick to the punch kind of monk. So her origins remain shrouded in mystery.
Master Tae- This section will be short. She shows up for a few pages and surprisingly beats Deshiwatit in one shot. We know nothing else of her except she most likely runs the temple is probably going to play a huge role in the series to come.
The World- The world remains relatively the same as last issue. We already knew about magic, vampires and demons. So nothing really new here.
I found this issue to be slightly better than the first. It is always nice to add more characters and dive deeper into old ones, even if just slightly deeper. The writing of the characters feels a little off but I think the characters are just being natural which makes the dialogue awkward. Remember, Deshiwatit just killed Remi’s dad and now they have to travel together. Every moment is high stakes and tensions are high. As a result, the room is always hostile. I don’t really like aggressive dialogue but I think it is how the characters would naturally react, too. At least, to a certain extent anyway.
With that in mind, I’ll give it an 8.25. There’s a pretty good chance we review 2 or 3 more volumes of this series before the year is over. So stay tuned if you want to hear more of my thoughts.
Don’t forget we have a whole section here on the blog dedicated to manga reviews. Check more out here.
As discussed, this last Monnday was the last of the year. Meaning no more Manga Mondays for 2020. I thought it would be fun to recap what all we read.
Read But Not Reviewed: Eden Zero Volume 1-3.
Rebirth Volume #1. Reviewed January 6th. Last Christmas my brother got me the first 22 volumes of Rebirth. We reviewed the first one to start the year off. It scored an 8 out 10. It wasn’t groundbreaking but it was just very solid for what it was. Read the full review here.
Rave Master Volume #1. Reviewed May 11th. This manga was a bit more up my alley as from as the genre. It plays out like most action orientated mangas of the late 90’s. Staring a teenage male who comes into possession of mystical, world saving weapons and items. This was the manga that helped jumpstart Hiro Mashima, writer of Fairy Tail, into the world renowned Mangaka he is today. It scored a 7.5 out of 10. Read my full review here.
Dragon Eye Volume #1. Reviewed June 8th. Take the same description from above. Boy comes into possession of a mystical, world saving weapon and item. Only this manga felt a lot more gritty and serious kind of in the same way Naruto could be really serious compared to One Piece. We gave Dragon Eye a 7 out of 10. Read my full review here.
Jujutsu Kaisen Volume #1. Reviewed October 19th. Maybe my favorite manga I reviewed this year. That’s very tough to call. However, this really felt like you were reading the next big thing. I did thoroughly enjoy this manga. This is backed up by the fact I scored it a 9 out of 10 stating it had all the makings of a classic. Read the full review here.
Zombie Powder Volume #1. Reviewed December 22nd. Again we find ourselves retracing roots. This was the debut manga from famous Mangaka Tite Kubo, author and creator of Bleach. The writing can be weird at times but if you enjoy early Dragon Ball mangas, you are going to love this manga. I scored it a 7 out of 10. Read the full review here
Psyren Volume #1. This manga started off all over the place and almost lost me several times. By the end of it, I was glad I stuck with it and finished it. I actually enjoyed it a lot. This book feels like it might have a lot going for it as the story progresses. Definitely worth the read. I rated it 7 out of 10. Read the full review here.
Average score: 7.583
Honestly, the main reason so many scored 7’s is because I felt like I enjoyed them a lot but the general public might not as much. Honestly, Rave Master might be my favorite I reviewed all year, but I know it got lost in the shuffle of the Narutos, One Pieces, and Bleach of the world. All in all, I liked every book I read. It is amazing how many mangas I bought this year and just how few reviews I did. It is really indictive of how hard momentum could be to keep this year.
Let me know what mangas I should review next year! Thank you for reading and have a great day.
Psyren is a pretty obscure manga here in the states. In fact, unlike a lot of books we have reviewed, I had never heard of it before. However, I assume it was at least somewhat popular in Japan as it ran for 3 years and was collected into 16 volumes. Wiki tells me, “Volumes from Psyren have commonly appeared in Japan’s best-selling lists of manga volumes” stated here.
The first chapter was a bag of mixed goods. The art was off-putting at first but quickly grew on me. The main characters and some of the side characters shined enough for me to enjoy them. However, the story was set up like a mystery and the cuts and jumping around were fast and furious, making it hard to really understand.
The second chapter did not really help matters as our main character, Ageha Yoshina, was whisked away into the fantasy world of Psyren. In it, we leave the familiar scene of the Japanese cityscape and bustling schoolgrounds, for a savage wasteland.
Monsters of all shapes and sizes could emerge at any second. Some winged beast patrolling the air. Others, centipede like foes devouring those who walk on land. And the coolest of all, a Taboo humanoid relentless hunter. The interesting design and sheer ruthlessness of these creatures helps make up for the somewhat bland ravaged landscape the story now unfolds in. The lovable sister, the deranged occult researcher, and Ageha’s friends have now been left behind in the regular world. I was bummed at first as I wanted to get to know those side characters more.
The one character from the first chapter to accompany Ageha was Sakurako Amamiya. I was a little let down at first. She is dubbed the Ice Queen because she is cold and keeps to herself. She spends most of the second chapter and maybe even the third, incapacitated with a fever and battle wounds. However, as the chapters go along Amamiya really begins to steal the show. She is drawn in a creepy yet charming manner complimenting the eerily foreboding and often cryptic dialogue she shares with the other characters.
Amamiya has been playing the Psyren game by far the longest out of any of the characters. As a result, she knows far more than Asage, a random man they meet in the world of Psyren, and Ageha could ever hope to know. Regardless, by the end of the volume presumably all 4 of the remaining contestants escape from the world of Psyren and return to present day Japan. “Present” is a pretty big modifier here as the big reveal is Psyren is just Japan set in the future. A future where, for undisclosed reasons, Japan has been devastated. All that remains are destroyed buildings, taboo creatures, and the promise of a painful death. Psyren has a pretty big emphasis placed on future uncertainties, unavoidable calamities, and the undeniably, impeding destruction of the world. However, all this fear is addressed in the first few pages and then dismissed. In fact, other than being the reason Psyren is said to exist, most of these problems are never even addressed again. I might be speculating here, but with such a big deal made in the early pages, it being the motivation behind the world organization, and the future Japan being nearly unrecognizable, I’m guessing all these issues will become factors as the story unfolds.
Recap: This was an enjoyable read. I am a big fan of school yard animes so I enjoyed the early scenes and was a little saddened when the story veered in a different direction. To be fair, as the story progressed in Psyren, it felt a lot more focused and less all over the place. Amamiya began to get a little more fleshed out. The characters as a whole got more detailed. The fight scenes pick up a lot. And the Taboo creatures got a lot of the spotlight as the main characters tried to survive their onslaught.
I purchased this book over the summer when I was gathering a lot of mangas for less than 4 dollars a piece and do not regret it. If fantasy worlds, albeit a ravaged one in this case, some cool main characters and secret world organizations sounds like something you would enjoy, then I highly recommend this manga, especially if you find it in the budget section.
Action: There was plenty in this issue and I am sure plenty more where that came from.
Romance: It is hinted he has a crush on a girl in their class. However, Ageha and Amamiya might end up developing a thing as the series continues.
Plot: The plot is probably the most up in the air thing at the moment. It has the makings of a great story but it has been jittery at times to downright all over the place. But at its high point it is an interesting and engaging mystery.
Characters: A lot of the characters are in that “mysterious phase” or “undeveloped phase” but most are fun or interesting enough on the surface that you want to see more of each. Agenha is a really cool main character and Amamiya and Asage compliment him very well.
The World: I find the world interesting solely from an environmental standpoint. Take that away and the future world is meant to be a world gone wrong.
Humor: This is another one of those Shonen Jump mangas that is nowhere near peak comedy but has enough humor in it to make you laugh from time to time and break up the bleak, dire situations the characters find themselves in.
Verdict: I never know how to rate mangas like this. I think 7 is a solid score so I’ll go 7 out of 10. It is another series where I feel how the story ends could boost the overall score or really hinder it. As it stands on its own, it is very pleasant and makes you want to read volume 2. Which I will be on the look out for.
This probably the last manga review of the year! Wild. I might do a overview post in the coming days or even tonight. Just got to see. If I manage my time well, you should an anime review or two to close out the year. Follow for blog post just like this.
Thank you for reading and have a great day!
Tite Kubo is a household name as far as mangas go. He created Bleach, very long, previously ongoing series. Bleach ran for 74 volumes over the course of 15 years! He has since gone on to write Burn the Witch! If I sound excited, is it because we recently reviewed the anime- which I loved. Check out my review of Burn the Witch here. But, as the title suggest, this isn’t about Bleach or Burn the Witch. This is about Tite Kubo’s origin story, his debut, Zombie Powder!
Over the summer, I stumbled upon this manga in a 2nd and Charles. I did not recognize the name because I had never experienced Bleach and Burn the Witch had yet to release. Though, reading the back revealed the author’s impressive history and a plot I wanted to dive into. Needless to say, at $3.50, I dove in. This is a book that kept on giving. 7 chapters and nearly 200 pages of sheer manga action. The second half of the book was a thrill ride much like the first half. However, the second half takes place exclusively in a bandit’s compound. Meaning, with tight rooms, black and white art, and insane energy from sword fights, sometimes the plot and even the action was hard to follow. But that really was my only complaint. The writing is borderline juvenile but hey, he was 22 years old when he wrote this and I find the childish nature of these mangas charming. The characters are perfect for this style of book. They all can be very funny, very personal, easily enraged, and eager to fight. Throw all these characters together, the good guys and the bad guys, and you have a real recipe here. Factor in the fact the setting is a Western with over the top guns and kickbutt swords with fighting scenes that do not hold back, and this is a real page turner.
The story centers around two guys on a quest for the 12 Rings of the Dead which can either revive the dead or grant the living eternal life. Gamma Akutabi is the main character. He is motivated by the thought of immortality. Elwood on the other hand is on a mission to revive a dead family member. They are a very genuine duo and I think that’s what I really appreciate about the manga. There’s a lot subtly in the dialogue. Akutabki and Smith are talking about how they would never partner with someone who would get themselves killed so easily. Yes, Akutabki and Smith are addressing each other but they are saying this to Elwood, who is a young, goodhearted kid. This scene really makes it appear Akutabki appreciates and respects Elwood despite the age difference. I just really like how to two play off of each other.
One complaint the manga developed over time was an uninspired plot an unoriginal character designed. Personally, neither of these bothered me at all. I can get gripes if you do not like this genre or maybe even getting burned out of the genre. However, if you really like this area of manga, this going to feel like home. In fact, part of the manga felt like those old school Dragon Ball adventures. The manga only ran for about a year so it should be easy to complete and read.
This manga is perfect for anyone who wants to relive the glory days of the early 90’s into the 2000. Naruto and One Piece were beginning to make their ascension into the goliathes of manga while Kubo was starting to make a name for himself. Filled with likable characters, questionable jokes and more severed heads and disembodied bad guys than you can shake a chainsaw sword at, Zombie Powder proves to be a nonstop joyride from the first page to the end of the chapter.
I’ll give it a very solid 7 out of 10. The criticism was all about how easily forgettable and lost in the shuffle this manga was. Now, while I enjoyed the first volume, no one ever talks about this series (I’m not sure how many even know it exist). Meaning, the critics, I guess, were right. However, I would love to find volume 2 for roughly the same price one day.
Today’s Manga Monday will examine Jujutsu Kaisen. Jujutsu Kaisen was written and drawn by Gege Akutami. It began serialization in 2018. It was brought stateside thanks to Viz Media.
Spoilers: Only regarding the first manga. Nothing series wide.
Plot: The plot centers around a young protagonist named Yuji Itadori. For the sake of not just regurgitating the story, we will paraphrase. Yuji Itadori and fellow classmates recover an ancient talisman, a cursed finger. Well, time has passed and the protection thought to be derived from the talisman is beginning to fade. With it fading, demons and curses are attracted to the negative energy school yards attract. All of this is explained by a jujutsu sorcerer to Itadori. Understanding the dire situation, and while facing very strong curses, Itadori consumes the cursed finger. With this, the super graded demon lord, Sukuna the King of Curses possess Itadori. Now, just like in Tokyo Ghoul and Parasyte, our main hero is also the antagonist.
Yuji Itadori- As a lead character, I don’t think we’ve seen him fully developed of course. However, as a person, we have a lot to go off of. He is extremely selfless. With two of his classmates life on the line, he rushes into combat. He has no powers, yet. Still he aggressively fights high grade curses with no regard for his own life. This attitude continued through the 7 chapter volume. When he comes face to face with another high level curse, he buys his teammates enough time to escape from the curse. I cannot wait to see Itadori keep evolving into a great lead character.
Jujutsu Sorcerers- Most of the other characters we spend time with are jujutsu sorcerers. Think of these people almost as ninja’s infused with chakra in Naruto. These sorcerers can sense curses, use “magic” (I guess?), and ultimately fight the evil curses. These characters are Satoru Gojo, Nobara Kugisaki, and Megumi Fushiguro (pictured below, respectively). Fushiguro is the character with the most panel time, but I don’t remember if he got fleshed out yet. However, when the characters are together, in any capacity really, they are enjoyable. The chemistry is good, the dialogue is enjoyable, and they get to fight a good bit of curses throughout these early chapters.
The World: The world is pretty similar to ours but there is a big difference. Spirits, demons, and curses are all real and materialized. There is a Jujutsu Sorcery school where people are trained to become elite sorcerers. Personally, I hope the school and the rest of the sorcerers get more panel time as the series goes on.
Recap: Jujutsu Kaisen is the next in Shonen Jump’s signature action packed comedy realm that they just exceed at. Akin to other shonens of the past like Naruto, Jujutsu Kaisen is an easy to jump into kind of manga.
Action: Plenty. Definitely a strong suit for the manga.
Romance: None at the moment. At least I did not pick up on any.
Plot: I like it. I’ve read a few super natural mangas and this ranks with the best of them.
Characters: I really like the 4 main characters. The villains seem interesting but I’m mostly projecting here.
The World: While similar to ours, there is enough uniqueness to make the world cool.
Humor: The manga is funny, but not nearly as funny as some of the others we’ve reviewed. You will certainly chuckle at some parts though.
Verdict: It is a great time to jump in as the anime is only about 3 episodes deep as of the posting of this blog. This manga follows in the long line of epic Shonen Jump’s from decades past. A must for fans of the genre.
Score: 9 out of 10. This manga has all the makings of a classic. It has humor, action, and likeable characters. The first chapter was a little slow. The fight scenes and some of the more hectic panels are hard to follow but that can be a weakness in a lot of black and white manga. I think it assorted itself as a clear top tier manga while falling just short of some of the heavier hitters like Tokyo Ghoul. I am excited for the anime and to follow the manga closely.
Thanks for reading! Have a great day!
Continued Reading Below!
Hey everybody. Let me start by saying that it’s been about a year since I played Modern. I love watching Magic the Gathering, but actually playing the game is different. I often fall in and out of love with it. Well, I decided to throw together one of my pet decks, UW Wizard, and take it to Modern. Now, I need two disclaimers.
Since I fall in and out of love with MTG, I rarely buy expensive cards. Namely, lands. I’m sure running 8 fetch lands or so would help the consistency of the deck. (I run 3)
And secondly, I’ve only played a few games, so who knows. But I have noticed a trend.
I am just going to put my thoughts out here and maybe some of you will get some use out of it.
I started brewing this deck back when Dominaria first released because of Naban
His ability to double triggers just screams value. These support cards jumped out to me.
I’ve found myself wanting an aggressive 1 and 2 drop and more Merfolks.
Maybe these two?
I got excited when Benthic Biomancer launched but honestly I never bothered buying him. He is a 1CMC Merfolk. In theory, he helps play on curve, discount Wizard’s Retort, and is another merfolk to reveal to Silvergill. Also is a semi Silvergill in that turn two he can draw us a card. I think he is a card where it is easy to talk yourself into him. May have to pick some up later.
Cursecatcher on its surface seems worse because they can simply pay one to bolt or path Naban. However maybe we want to run both? or maybe we just need more merfolks and the slight disruption is just a plus? I’m not really sure honestly.
Wizard’s also needs more stack or hand disruption. We don’t get very solid interaction in either phase. We can mess with creatures all day. We need a 2CMC card like Kitesail Freebooter that would let us view their hand. This would let us set up our Meddling Mages better and then use Deputy and Reflector to better effects. Not to mention, a freebooter like effect in wizards getting a double trigger would be great. Other cards I’ve considered would be Spell Queller and Thalia just to get some more controlling effects. We lose out on some synergies because they are neither merfolk nor wizards but they are pound for pound good cards.
Interestingly enough, since Naban, Reflector, and Meddling Mage are all humans, you could cut out the merfolk package and use cards like Cavern of Souls and Aether Vial and Unclaimed Territory naming humans and still cast half your wizards. Then your playing Naban, Kitesail, Thalia, Meddling Mage, Reflector Mage, still playing Deputy, and maybe Champion of the Parish
If Naban and Champion see a human entering the battlefield like Meddling Mage, then Champion gets double +1/+1 if I am not mistaken. This strategy ultimately makes Wizard’s Retort worse but I’m sure other counters such as Unified Will could work.
You could also cut the human package and play mostly merfolk.
I run Harbinger in my paper deck. I did not have him online so I cut him. That felt like a big mistake. I never had enough Merfolk for Silvergill and the curve was wonky. I also wanted more bounce effects against Infect. So, whether its Harbinger or not, I do think the deck wants more 2 mana interaction. The draw back to the lords is that none of them are wizards except Harbinger and Master of the Waves. I think that might be okay if we had more interactive merfolk. So, I’m not sure how deep I want to go on Merfolk at the moment. I think Wizard’s wants a more reliable 2 mana draw card. Like a Silvergill or Elvish Visionary but less dependent on our hand.
Lastly, a good 3 mana lord.
I’ve just been underwhelmed with Naru any time I wasnt playing casually (Casually, it is amazing). She almost makes me want to splash red for 4 lightning bolts. As ETB and copying Lightning Bolt and then having Naban trigger allowing Naru to trigger again on the bolt almost seems like a reasonable way to close the game with just 5 mana. Let me know if that sounds just crazy.
I suppose a parting question will always be why not play Humans, Merfolk or Spirits? I suppose there’s a brewer in all of us who wants to create a new archetype. Wizards seems to work fine in fair creature metas and good draws with Naban into Deputy should help manage almost any board, but I feel like wizards needs more hand and stack interaction to solidify itself. I guess there’s a chance we just cut Naban and try to play UW Good Wizards.
I’m not going to submit a decklist because I’m not sure what the correct build or numbers are. Here are other Wizard’s that could be great SB or meta dependent calls.
In testing, Phastasmal Image worked to great effect but it was bounced or walking ballistaed every chance someone got. Unsettled Mariner could fix some problems with Wizard’s Retort, Silvergill, and Champion of the Perish, but it doesn’t interact with the stack or hand and it doesn’t effect the board. I’m undecided on if I want to buy some and test it out.
Have you played with UW or UWB or UWR wizards? If so, let me know. And if this inspires you to brew it, let me know how that goes.