Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Friday, March 8, 2013

About Omen Machine

Let's talk for a minute about Omen Machine in the Mayael deck.

Omen Machine

"But Jasper," I hear you cry, "Omen Machine is a terrible card! It's a symmetrical effect and your opponents get to go first and Guthix only knows if you'll get a decent card from it at all!"

Well, you're wrong. Omen Machine is what we in the business call "tech."

See, the Mayael deck's main gameplan revolves around building up some mana and then eventually dropping large creatures onto the board one at a time. There's not a lot of card draw and no real rush to play multiple spells in one turn. Every individual spell in the deck tends to have a high impact on the board, so while it's possible to run out of gas, the deck gets a lot of miles per gallon, so to speak.

If the opponent trades one-for-one with Mayael's fatties, that's okay, because there's another one waiting in the wings to replace it. However, if the opponent is also drawing extra cards and getting 2-for-1s, it's easy to fall behind.

Omen Machine stops that strategy cold by forcing everyone to play on the same terms as Mayael: It brings all of the action out of the hand and onto the battlefield. Mayael is already only drawing one card a turn, so for us it's a strict positive effect: instead of having to wait and tap out to cast the fatty we just drew, we get to play it for free and still have mana up to activate Mayael! Kablam! But for the rest of the table, it's not so optimal. Removal? Use it or lose it, because you won't be able to save it for a better target. Counterspells? Ha! Good luck with that. Card draw? Nice blanks you got there.

When everyone is playing Mayael's game, Mayael is going to win. You don't invade Russia in the winter, you don't start a land war in Asia, and you don't fight a topdeck war against a deck where half the spells are enormous fatties.

Now, it's possible to really abuse it, if something like Sensei's Divining Top or Scroll Rack is in the picture. Really, though, rawdogging it is just fine—and if you're not visibly "abusing" the effect, it's less likely that the other players at the table will rush to destroy it.

So there's my little love song to this little-known piece of tech. It's an awesome card that's great for punishing control and combo decks.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sunday, March 3, 2013

I finished Sonic Generations. Honestly, it didn't impress me much. I was hoping it would be, like, nostalgic, but the new versions of the levels from old games weren't very close to the originals at all, and even in the "classic" stages the gameplay felt more like Sonic Rush than Sonic 2. The physics were just a little off for the 2D sections, and the 3D sections were dominated by essentially long racetracks. Meh.

It also bothers me that they only took one level per game. Chemical Plant Zone is awesome and I'm glad it made the cut, but what about Oil Ocean? Casino Night? Mystic Cave? Aquatic Ruin? It's somewhat disappointing that classics like the first three games get knocked down to the same level as whatever the heck game Crisis City and Planet Wisp are from. At least they didn't feel the need to represent Sonic and the Secret Rings, I suppose.

I'm still working on Shining Force II. I just got the caravan (which apparently allows me to cross dry riverbeds) and most of my characters are a level or two above their promotions. My biggest complaint so far is that so many of the enemies are below my characters' levels, making it hard to get experience. I can't remember if the first game was also like that, but it's annoying. Not that I'm not enjoying it, of course. It's more of that Shining Force gameplay that I loved the first time around. And the second time around. And the third time around. You get the idea.

I just started BioShock. I picked it up on the cheap in a trade. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I think I can say now that the word is immersion. The game does a superb job of putting me inside the character's shoes—that is, it makes the player feel the emotions the character feels. Oh, and the other word is atmosphere. Seriously. The audio is great, the environments are...wow...and ...wow, just...well, it certainly made me wish I were playing it on an enormous widescreen TV with a massive sound system. It's eerie. Eerie as hell. Safe to say I am suitably impressed.

I'm also still involved in RuneScape. Jagex has promised that the release of the new massive, game-changing, world-shaking quest is imminent, so I'm piqued on that front. I finished off my 450 boss kills in the Dominion Tower to unlock Dreadnips, which are a fine assist when fighting difficult monsters, but mostly I only did it for the achievement—I finished off the hard task set in the desert, and now I get double charges on my Pharaoh's Sceptre and double spines from cactus plants. My goals right now are to get 90 thieving and 90 slayer to help with my port, but I'm not pursuing them very actively. Most of my time is spent managing voyages and durdling with daily challenges and D&Ds.

I tried the new "Old School" 2007 servers, but starting a new character from scratch isn't especially appealing to me, and having to walk everywhere is the dealbreaker. As far as I'm concerned, it's a worse version of the live game; I'm not interested. The main upside is that some old faces have showed up in my chat from back when I first joined my clan. It's nice to see the old crew back together. I hope they stick around.

And that's what my video game time has looked like this week.

Saturday, March 2, 2013