Ertai's Lament

Walking the Planes one Precon at a Time

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moreghoststhistimeontv asked: Hey, when are you going to do a review about the Savior's deck, "Soratami's Wisdom"?

I’m not sure just yet, but I am looking forward to closing out Kamigawa block. There’s a nice feeling of accomplishment that goes with doing a full block, and we’re not only through COK and SOK, but we’d even reviewed one of SOK’s decks already. way back when we thought we’d jump from set to set and deck to deck. 

Thanks for the question! Hadn’t noticed this one come in. 

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Anonymous asked: Hi, I'm a fan of your precon deck reviews When will you review precon decks from Exodus, Urza's Legacy,Irza's Destiny and the rest from the Onslaught Block.

Thanks for the question! I try and stick to a certain ‘rotation’ when planning which sets to do. I usually try and mix one newer set, one middle set, and one older set in a cycle, but that’s also complicated a little by two factors. First, all new sets have to be reviewed when they come out. Second, I’m also doing a lot of digital deck reviews this year, with the Duels of the Planeswalkers decks. 

Rest assured, though, I’ll be getting to Urza’s Legacy before too long. The other two I can’t do until I’ve done the preceding sets (Stronghold and Urza’s Legacy).

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martinzimmermann asked: Following up on your question regarding stroop to rudjedet, and as a German, I'm curious: What did you eat here that deserved such a devastating verdict? Something traditional? And where was it? (I'm just curious, not defensive) @wortwelt

rudejet was curious as well. This was over a decade ago, but one I’ll never forget. Overall, I didn’t really enjoy my time in Germany like I thought I would, but I think that came down to heightened expectation (I’m an incurable Germanophile) and a very, very short visit. I found the people of Berlin as cold and distant as those of New York City (which I suppose is a characteristic of major cities anywhere). Luckily, we had a blast in Bavaria. 

Our first evening in Berlin we had a destination in mind, some nightclub that some fellow traveler had recommended, but got completely lost. After a long walk around, we found some small, seedy place and walked in hoping to ask for directions. You could almost hear the record scratch to a stop as everyone almost instantly stopped talking, lowered their drinks, and just looked at us. It was like out of a comedy. Of course, as the only one who spoke any Deutsch, that was the cue for my mates to shove me forward. It was really awkward, but in fairness we must have been a sight. 

I don’t think I was able to give Germany its due and very much look forward to a return visit. And that includes the food, though I’ll be more careful about the Käse! 

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rudjedet asked: Please tell me about your worst dining experience in Germany!

I was in Europe for the first time, and the trip was a week in Poland with a second week split between Germany and Amsterdam. This particular episode happened on our last day in Germany, in Bavaria. We’d been to some rave club until well into the morning, so by the time we awoke in our b&b it was well into the evening. My intrepid companions and I set out to grab a bite and find something to do. 

We ended up at some Biergarten, grabbed a table and these massive glasses of beer, and asked for the Spiesekarten. The Kellner  lets us know that on account of the hour the kitchen was closed, but takes pity on the sight of us and says he can rustle up any of the cold plates. 

My mates dive right in, ordering up a feast of meats, but as the lone delgate from the vegetarian contingent, I’m frantically looking for something- anything- I can eat. To my dismay, the only thing available is the cheese plate. 

Now I’m a big fan of cheese, but I’ve got a fairly conservative palette when it comes to it. There’s just a lot more that I don’t like than do. The plate arrived with some bread, and it’s a round platter with four different kinds of sliced cheese, four small cubes of other kinds of hard cheese, and three runny squirts on the rim. 

The squirts are right out, full stop, but I start nibbling at the slices, feeling they’re the safest bet. They were delicious, and hell, everything tastes better with a little Senf. The beer didn’t hurt, either. 

The easy options gone, still ravenously hungry I abandoned better judgment and made my way to the blocks. The first one I tried was okay, and feeling myself safe and silly for worrying I took a nice bite out of the next. 

The only way I can describe it is that something of vaguely rodentine origin crawled onto my tongue and died- two weeks ago. Images of carrion flashed in my mind, and I gagged ferociously. I clutched for the last piece of bread and ate it like a starved prisoner, but it did nothing to remove the vile taste. I quaffed the rest of my beer in a go, then wrestled my mate’s away from him and downed it too. Finally, I resorted to taking the knife and scraping my tongue with it. 

The Kellner, having come by to check on us, kindly told me that while it was his personal favourite, it “wasn’t for everyone,” and most certainly was considered “an acquired taste.” 

It wasn’t one I was keen to acquire. 

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EL Poll: Compared to other Duel Decks, how do you feel about Venser vs Koth?

This one took us completely by surprise. Given how much our readers represent the casual community, this must be a little disappointing for Wizards: 

31% - One of the least exciting

22% - Somewhat below expectations

20% - About average

16% - Above average

9% - One of the better releases

2% - Other

Other responses included “hated it” and “Planeswalkers themselves are superb, but too many singletons.” 

Given that the Duel Decks line is deliberately comprised almost entirely of singletons in order to provide high replay value, I’m not quite sure what the latter commentor was expecting. 

We really enjoyed this release, though Venser’s deck was much more entertaining than Koth’s. Looking forward to hearing about the next one, which will be a tribally-themed one.

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Final video an hour later, partially filled in. 

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A little more inside the binder…

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Inspired in part by the fun I had assembling Project Mirage Block with the generous help and support of Don of The Sundry, I’ve decided to set up a side-project of filling out the Duels of the Planeswalkers decks in paper. I’ve replicated the old joy I used to have with sticker albums for sports as a kid, filling in blanks and looking to acquire the entire “team.”

It’s completely geeky, but hey, I’m okay with a little bit of that in my life. 

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Anonymous asked: Abe here, what constructed decks do you play with and for what format?Just askin

Hey Abe, thanks for the question! I haven’t played much competitive Magic in awhile, but my favourite ever was Grixis Control. I also loved Naya Allies when it was Standard-legal. Of the current archetypes, U/B Control and MBC would be the archetypes of choice. Of course, MBC is always dicey… 

There isn’t much support for Modern in my local area, though if that changed I might look more closely at the format. 

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jackfromnc asked: You're in a pretty interesting niche in the community, Jay. Who do you feel your target audience is with your pre-con work? Vets, new players, or the curious?

In a word: yes

It’s been amazing to me to see just what kind of reader we attract. When we first began, I didn’t even know if preconstructed Magic was “a thing,” I just knew what I enjoyed about it and hoped that there were other folks who felt similarly. Turns out, there were- and quite a number of them, too. 

We get readers from all across the commitment spectrum. Feedback from newer players tends to recognise that precons are a good in-road to the game, and our writing style tends to foster that (our reviews tend to go lightly on assumed knowledge).

More established players, on the other hand, tend to appreciate the same things that brought us to them- seeing old sets revisited, exploring mechanics gone by, and enjoying the historical approach we tend to take. If precons are “museum pieces,” as we’re so fond of saying, maybe thta makes us curators of sorts. 

Probably the only major demo we don’t overlap with is the competitive scene.