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Oath of the Gatewatch: Vicious Cycle Review (Part 1 of 2)

Nearly four years ago, we reviewed a deck called Slaughterhouse from Avacyn Restored. It was a deck that played in a space we’d seen before with preconstructed Magic, although not commonly. Following in the footsteps of Mirrodin’s Sacrificial Bam and Coldsnap’s Beyond the Grave, we summarized this style of deck as follows.

The objective of these decks is simple- take advantage of permanents that don’t mind dying to feed ones that reward you for when they do. Towards that end, many of its cards involve sacrifice and sacrifice outlets, along with the fodder that drives the deck forward.

If we were to summarize the objective of today’s Oath of the Gatewatch deck, Vicious Cycle, we could do no better.

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Oath of the Gatewatch: Desperate Stand Review (Part 1 of 2)

Black/White (“Orzhov”) decks seem to be having something of a renaissance these days. Historically one of the less-common two-color pairings in preconstructed Magic, they’ve been on the rise since Return to Ravnica block. Some of this shouldn’t be surprising- after all, Gatecrash brought back the Guild of Deals with all of its extorting glory, and the Orzhov made the 50/50 cut to have a second deck devoted to it in Dragon’s Maze.

But it didn’t stop there.

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Oath of the Gatewatch: Twisted Reality Review (Part 2 of 2)

It’s our next playtest for Oath of the Gatewatch, and this time I’m taking Twisted Reality for a run. Featuring Wastes and loads of Eldrazi, I’m up against Phil’s Vicious Cycle. Can the Eldrazi finish what they’ve started on the plane of Zendikar, or will they find a final, eternal sleep? Read more


Oath of the Gatewatch: Concerted Effort Review (Part 2 of 2)

We’re back with another playtest of Oath of the Gatewatch, the second and final set in the Battle for Zendikar block. We’re looking at the Green/White Concerted Effort deck today, which makes use of the support mechanic to grow its creatures over the course of the battle.

Joining me across the table is Phil, who has opted to go with the White/Black Desperate Stand, a Black/White deck looking to abuse cohort. Here’s how it shook out.  Read more »


Oath of the Gatewatch: Concerted Effort Review (Part 1 of 2)

Infect, from 2010’s Scars of Mirrodin, was an updated take on the poison mechanic introduced at the dawn of the game in Legends. It also has the distinction of being one of the very few mechanics in the game that intersects with planeswalkers. Dealing -1/-1 counters to creatures and poison counters to a player, attacking a planeswalker was indeed about the only way you’d see ‘normal damage’ from an infect creature being dealt.

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So… Hello Folks!

Here’s to hoping this post finds everyone in good spirit and good health! It’s been awhile since I’ve updated, but I was struck today by a particular comment left by Limbonic_Art. 

So sad this site is now almost dead… Is it all because of the store?

This thoughtful comment caught me on a few levels. First, though we haven’t been updating, the site is far from dead. It’s still charting between 800-1000 views a day, which is pretty amazing. That tells me that Ertai’s Lament has succeeded in one of its aims, which is providing a resource for those looking into the older decks.

Of course, for those looking for signs of life itself, such as Limbonic, it certainly could appear moribund thanks to the lack of visible activity. That brings me to the next point- if we haven’t been updating in just over a month… what have we been doing?

First, we’ve been running Moonlite Comics. I knew going into it that it would be a lot of work, but even at my most generous estimates I vastly underestimated how much goes into it. Right now, I’m essentially working two full-time jobs, seven days a week. It sadly doesn’t leave a lot of time left over for other things, no matter how much aspiration is there. I’m steadily working towards finding the right balance between the store, my regular day job, and everything else, so that’s a work in progress.

There’s also one other big reason for our absence.


Say hello to Declan and Lorcan Kirkman! Our wee ones entered the world together on 16 September, a full TWO MONTHS ahead of schedule! It’s been unimaginably hectic around here on top of everything else, but they’re fighters the both of them and they’re doing even better than we dared to hope. No major issues to speak of as yet, and two days ago they both surpassed their birth weight after the initial drop in weight most babies experience. They’re thriving (but prayers are always welcome!)!

Jimi hasn’t left the hospital since they arrived, making a huge sacrifice for our babies in terms of sanity and exposure to horrible food. Sam and the boys have stepped up to help run the house, so we’re all getting through.

So yeah… things have been a little busy around here, but Ertai’s Lament is far from dead.

I promise.

I remember Gathering Magic before it was Gathering Magic, when it was just a really popular casual Magic site run by two guys. As the end arrived and their updates became less and less, you couldn’t shake that feeling of impending doom. Not so here. We’l be back very soon with a lot of catching up to do. I’ve already been poking around the Intro Packs of Theros, and one of them in particular blew my socks off.

Thanks for reading, and see you soon!


News: Theros Intro Pack Rares Revealed!

Ordinarily spoilers for the Intro Packs have come in two waves. First, we get a look at the deck packaging, letting us see the rares and names of the decks. Then, later, we get the fill deck list spoiled. Today, the mothership had something a little different for us- just the Intro Pack rares.

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Ruric Thar

Dragon’s Maze: Gruul Siege Review (Part 1 of 2)

When we began our coverage of Return to Ravnica, we focused on a number of themes and mechanics that gave the set a sense of cohesion from the original to the latest iteration. One of the greatest of these wasn’t a particular mechanic so much as it was a much more fundamental innovation- the very guild system itself.

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Lavinia of the Tenth

Dragon’s Maze: Azorius Authority Review (Part 1 of 2)

Although the game that is at the heart of this website is intended for recreation and hobby, there exists a series of games that have a much more clinical application. Known academically as game theory, this field looks to study the strategy of decision making. As you might imagine, there’s quite a bit of overlap across the spectrum, and indeed in 2007 Frank Karsten wrote his Introduction to Game Theory on the mothership.

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News: New Duel Decks Announced on the Mothership

In the wake of the spoiling of Theros, this Autumn’s block (along with the next two sets, Born of the Gods and Journey into Nyx), today the mothership treated us to a grand unveiling of the next Duel Decks release!

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