Off Topic: Buttered Popcorn and Worldwake



The WorldWake prerelease is upon us. Wizards has been busy promoting the new spells and mythical creatures. Movie producers go through the same avenues. The basic idea is to put people into theater seats and munching on extra salty popcorn. If movie producers had their way, every movie would be heralded as an epic film every person should see. Thankfully, we have critics for better or worse.

Police Academy 12, the New Recruits

We can’t use all same criteria for Magic as the movie industry. There will be similarities. With each new set, one of the main points I weigh my decision heavily on is originality or innovation. It is one of the reasons I enjoyed Zendikar. The land matters aspect created a new way for deck design. Landfall has so far been a big hit. Worldwake is undoubtedly the sequel to the first film. Is it more of the same with a fresh face or something completely new? Landfall returns with a new whole new cast with a guest appearance on spells. Frankly, I am little disappointed. Besides the Admonition Angel, nothing else really pops. I am starting to believe it is the travesty of following the big block. If Worldwake were released before the Zendikar blockbuster, I am sure we all would have still swooned over the new mechanic. In my unprofessional opinion, I just think we could have seen landfall do something a little bit more. Maybe Wizards is just playing it safe with landfall.

The big star of the set is Multikicker. Meyou like. Kicker was great the first time around for allowing a player to make the choice of the little spell or the big spell. Zendikar gave us a small screening to the return of Kicker. With Multikicker, I can pay a little or a lot. The best part: late game I can spend a whole lot of mana. Pumping 12 mana into Marshal’s Anthem seems like incredible fun. The costars are the man lands. Oh, I am sure they will be fun and are exactly what I hoped for minus the comes into play clause. Amulet of Vigor might alleviate the pain, but will it be worth the price of a card. Not particularly thrilled at them being rares, but that is just wishful thinking. I do believe if they were stuck at uncommon the set would have helped the attractive appeal of the set. It’s all glamour, botox and glitz I guess.

At the end of it all as a player, what I really want in a set is new decks. Can I build something new with the cards I purchase? Maybe it is too early to think about new archetypes. With Worldwake, I see more of the same. Again, maybe it is simply the curse of the sequel. Even if Worldwake is a Zendikar spin-off, I do foresee at least one possible new archetype. The new enchantment Terra Eternal I think can give way to a land/enchantment deck powered up by Mesa Enchantress. With a supporting cast of Oblivion Ring and other enchantments, the deck can be packed with man-lands. A green splash for the new Kird Ape Loam Lion along with Explore might get the deck to the top tables.

Wanna Watch a Movie or Film

One of my good acquaintances now works in L.A. as a movie critic. Lucky dog. He put in the work for it and spent many years working for nothing as a freelance movie critic. One thing I learned from him was a person shouldn’t compare a movie and films. A movie is eye candy, explosion ridden, and a chuckle fest. Movies are not supposed to necessarily have good story lines. They are pure entertainment. Transformers and Avatar are movies. Films are thought provoking and storyline based. The Shawshank Redemption or Forest Gump are films. Movies and films shouldn’t be compared against one another. Each of them are trying to full-fill a different role. Therefore, don’t complain about Transfomers storyline or the lack of graphics and explosions in The Shawshank Redemption.

Zendikar was the film of the series. A lot of depth and ideas grew out of the set. Worldwake is very much a movie. The storyline and depth isn’t there. What we do have is lots of eye candy and explosions. Some of the rares are just plain nutty. I might as well list all of them because the set is full of cardboard goodness. Stone Idol Trap and Death’s Shadow are just nutty. The shear amount of good rares makes me wonder if R&D has gone off the deep end. Maybe good is too much for not all of them are going to be making it to the constructed tables. If they don’t, I am sure Timmy and Johnny will have plenty of fun with those reject rares. Like most movie previews, all the really flashy and cool clips get shown. The question is whether those clips are the only good parts of the movie. Comedies are notorious for one or two funny clips with the rest of the movie being a flop.

Rares and mythics to me are least of my worries. As a player, I care most about the commons and uncommons. After ripping open all the packs in my booster box, I end up with 36 rares. The brunt of my new collection will be 108 uncommons and 360 commons. A set with junky uncommons and commons leaves me with 468 unplayable cards. Since most of my cards are not rares, I hope to find those cards useful in some manner. They don’t have to zany or ridiculous. I just don’t want a lot of useless cards. I’m looking at you Kraken Hatchling, Mindless Null, and Pillarfield Ox. I consider those cards fillers. They are there to fill holes in the set. Zendikar had a lot of useless cardboard calories. Luckily, Zendikar made up for the horrible quantity of junk commons with great uncommons like Vampire Nighthawk. Zendikar was a rare heavy set and I am finding Worldwake to be more of the same.

A PG-13 Approved Game Preview

I have a rule when it comes to movies. Any movie being advertised with quotes from sources from such and such saying it is the best movie ever: the movie sucks. A good movie doesn’t need quotes from the New York Times exemplifying it as the best movie ever, a laugh every second, the bar has been raised for movie goers. As soon as I see a preview quoting anybody, I’m not going to go see the movie. The movie is horrible. I bring this up because I find how funny how many the cards nowadays are so hyped. It is to the point of absurd. Yeah, there are bound to be a few good cards in a set. Every preview I have read so far makes it sound each and every card in the new set will change Standard forever, whatever. As much as I like Mike Flores analysis of the game, I had to roll my eyes at the preview of Overflowing Chalice. Psst...Wizards, you are trying too hard. I know, I know, it is their job. Just don’t tell me Cylian Elf is the next Standard powerhouse. Seriously people.

A big loss to the game lately is the shortage of Magic critics. Of course I want the criticism to be constructive, but the game has lost a lot of good critics. Many are now on some kind of payroll who is reliant on the selling of cards. A person needs to eat. I get it. The unfortunate part is a lot of great players of the game are unwilling to give a harsh criticism. Not one of them is going to go out on a limb and say Worldwake sucks even if it is true. I find this to be a detriment. True, Wizards already has its fair share of critics. Unfortunately, they are small voices in the cosmos. For clarification, I am talking about the professionals of the game. They are the ones who win games and sell cards. They are also the more reasonable and best voices for the Magic community.

Prerelease Popcorn

The movies are more than just movie. Every time I watch a blockbuster on the big screen I have to have popcorn. It is a must and part of the experience. Wizards is doing a better and better job promoting their new sets. At the prerelease this weekend, we even get artists and gunslingers at various locales. I do wonder if Mike Turian drew the short straw and got stuck with Minnesota. I have to give them credit. My weekends are precious and these people are giving it up to gunsling with the general public away from their families. I do wish they would emphasize these players bring a variety of decks. Don’t want to go toe to toe with Mike Turian with a Standard deck; bring an EDH, Pauper, Legacy or Extended deck. If all else, just use your sealed deck. If I was them, I would probably rather play against the Worldwake sealed deck. It would give me a chance to ask a player’s opinion of the new cards or have the opportunity to talk about them. If nothing else, you might get a free pack out of the deal.

Cutting this a little short this week, but it has been a long one. Cat into the emergency vet, father-in-law had surgery, and etc. When I was in town taking care of the cat, I stopped at the local watering hole and picked-up a couple of packs. I ran into a couple of local players and began a short chat. The topic of prerelease came up in the discussion. I hemmed and hawed about whether I was going to show up or go to the cities. Both choices have positives. I did contemplate going up to the cities for some gunslinging. The problem is Rochester feels like my home. In the end, I said I wasn’t going to be making an appearance. I kind a got grilled why I don’t show up more or make an appearance for the prerelease. I thought it was funny I was asked if I even liked Magic anymore or don’t like playing in tournaments. My answer was life. Nothing would please me more to go play Magic, but I got a sick cat and I am not leaving her home alone. At this point in my life, the cat is more important. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the invite. I really implore people to keep inviting people like me to events. It makes us feel good. We can’t always make it, but we get warm fuzzies when asked. Don’t give up on us. Invites makes me want to try harder to show up at an FNM. Invite someone to the prerelease this weekend. Even if the don’t show, they will appreciate it.

I hope everyone has fun at the prerelease this weekend and I give Worldwake 6 out of 10 stars.

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