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13
Feb

Whispers of the Muse: Mart’s ‘The Adventurers’

Welcome to the next installment of Whispers of the Muse, the occasional feature where a reader submits their tinkering of a precon deck and look for constructive criticism and feedback from the community. Today we’re hearing from Mart, who’s begun working on Zendikar’s The Adventurers.

Mart’s main area of concern is this:

anyone care to comment on it and help me tighten it up? perhaps even help me figure out how to properly shape a deck based on land and CMC since i really have no clue how to do that…

Mart included his preliminary 60-card list as follows:

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28
Aug

Zendikar: The Adventurers Review (Part 2 of 2)

Excited to tear into the Zendikar precons after such a show of support for them in our ‘Thoughtsieze’ poll, Sam and I sat down to give it a run through its paces and see how the deck held up. Sam grabbed Unstable Terrain, and we were off! Here are our notes from the matchup.

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26
Aug

Zendikar: The Adventurers Review (Part 1 of 2)

In October 2009 and to much critical and commercial acclaim, Wizards released the Zendikar expansion, and many credit the set with revitalising interest in the game. With the component mechanics of “Maps, Traps, and Chaps” Zendikar’s setting was designed to be an “Adventure World” theme that stylistically approximates a role-playing game (indeed, head designer Mark Rosewater even likened the Allies to ‘Fighters, Wizards, and Clerics’). Of the five 41-card Intro Pack decks for the set, none quite capture this flavour so much as The Adventurers.

Focusing on one of the three main themes (Allies, or “Chaps”), in this regard The Adventurers is the most successful of the five in capturing Zendikar’s look and feel. One of the things I most enjoy about preconstructed decks for each set is seeing how they showcase the themes and mechanics for that set. It’s a lot of fun knowing I can pick up a Kamagawa-era deck and play with Splice, or a Bant deck from Alara with Exalted. While not necessarily bad products themselves, there was a real opportunity missed by the designers of the Zendikar decks: in total, only two Quests (“Maps”) and not a single Trap were included.

But on the upside as we’ll see, the Allies got the royal treatment with The Adventurers.

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30
Apr

Battle for Zendikar: Rallying Cry Review (Part 1 of 2)

Back in 2010, while reviewing The Adventurers from Zendikar, I wrote, “[Allies are] a solid and delightfully fun mechanic, one that I hope is revisited in future sets down the road.” Although it somehow feels like less time has elapsed somehow, it was just a six-year wait.

As initially designed, however, the Allies were a bit different than what we know to be their final form.

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16
Feb

Duel Decks- Zendikar vs Eldrazi: Zendikar Deck Review (Part 2 of 2)

We’re back to the plane of Zendikar, but taking a step back just for a moment from the Oath of the Gatewatch reviews. Today we return with the Duel Decks: Zendikar vs Eldrazi, and have our first playtest. Joining me at  the table to champion the Eldrazi is Phil.  Read more »

3
Jan

Duel Decks- Zendikar vs Eldrazi: Zendikar Deck Review (Part 1 of 2)

In the long history of the Duel Decks series (now reaching nearly half of Magic’s lifespan to date), there have been three major shifts in strategy that have shaped the course of the product to where we are today.

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25
Mar

Duels of the Planeswalkers (2009) Expansion Pack 2: Heart of Worlds Review (Part 2 of 2)

It’s our opening game for the Duels of the Planeswalkers (2009): Expansion Pack 2 review, and I’m joined at the table by Jimi. Long a fan of Red, she’s excited to get ahold of Chandra’s latest deck Heat of Battle, while I buckle in for a return to the tumultuous terrain of Zendikar and its landfall mechanic. Can I take Rhys to glory, or will be Chandra’s day when the ash settles?

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1
Feb

Gatecrash: Simic Synthesis Review (Part 2 of 2)

Life- not unlike guild warfare in Gatecrash- is about the survival of the fittest, and the Simic have a new trick in their quest for biological perfection. Can they evolve past Sam’s Gruul Goliaths, or will the Gruul show who the real apex predator is?

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16
Jul

Magic 2013: Sole Domination Review (Part 2 of 2)

First introduced in 2008’s Shards of Alara, the exalted mechanic has been dusted off and given a fresh coat of paint! Now moved into the “religious” colours of White and Black, we’re about to find out how it actually plays out. For opposition, Sam’s back at the table with the White/Blue Path to Victory. 

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3
May

Avacyn Restored: Bound by Strength Review (Part 1 of 2)

In 2007, Magic players long accustomed to the now-traditional three-set block were in for a surprise. Indeed, going back to 1996’s Mirage Wizards had settled on a formula of an annual cycle of blocks consisting of a large set in the Autumn followed by two smaller sets, a fashion which endured all of eleven years. By that point, many players had never known a Magic that was any different, a game made up of a string of unconnected, self-contained expansions. And so when Lorwyn arrived, it was something novel and unusual- a block made up of only two halves, itself connected to a subsequent block made up of two halves.

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