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  • posted a message on Budget-Glaze Fiend
    I played a Glaze Fiend deck -- Mishra, Artificer's Prodigy was the best card in it. One Glaze Fiend became two, then the next turn a Courier's Capsule would give the two fiends +4/+4 each.

    Return to hand effects would be good as well, to make sure the Fiends get pumped each turn. Esperzoa, for instance. Master Transmuter would be great, I think.

    Also consider:
    Posted in: Casual & Multiplayer Formats
  • posted a message on What makes an efficient creature?
    The benchmarks for P/T have evolved. Grizzly Bears used to be solid enough: Watchwolf is more solid still. Once 3 mana would get you a 2/2 -- now it'll get you a 5/4 or 4/5. I'm wondering: for each mana cost, what's the minimum P/T you want to see? Obviously great abilities can make up for bad stats, but what's your baseline for 1-6cmc?
    Posted in: Casual & Multiplayer Formats
  • posted a message on Why do all the Defenders have 4 toughness?
    Quote from n00bdragon
    The difference between between a N/4 wall and an N/6 wall isn't nearly as great as it is between an N/4 and an N/3 for the reasons stated above. N/4 is the standard because that is "big enough." No one wants to pay the extra mana for bigger walls because their butts become more and more irrelevant as they grow larger.

    an x/3 will survive combat with about 59% of Standard. An X/4's survival rate is ~74%. An X/6 is pretty hardy -- ~93% of creatures can't top that. So the jump is larger, though the only 4&5 power creatures you really want to block would be maybe a thoctar, baneslayer, Broodmate, etc. (not sure about popular creatures).

    Spellwise 4+ toughness doesn't do much. Saves you from Bit. Blast, Burst Lightning, Grixis Charm, etc.

    And trance, I think that 2 mana is getting you more than you think on Wall of Reverence. About a quarter of the creatures in standard fly, so it's a better blocker, and six toughness in the air is tough to beat. Plus the 1 power turns off any attacks from 1 toughness creatures (25%). Then there's the life gain.
    Posted in: New Card Discussion
  • posted a message on Joraga Treespeaker & insane mana acceleration
    Quote from Carthage
    Um, kalonian behemoth is pretty much king bomb. The only thing I can think of racing it is a constantly active nocturnus with friends( green can deal with flying creatures)

    That may be the case -- but I've never seen it in a game. Certainly a 9/9 with shroud is on the face of it tough to deal with, but maybe opponents wouldn't need to. After all, you can chump block it long enough to win.

    And green can deal with fliers, but would you want to add wing snare type cards to this theoretical Treespeaker/Kalonian deck? Slingbow Trap, Windstorm, various Spiders? The only deck these kinds of all-in Green decks can beat are other, slower green decks.

    Yeah, I'm aware that green dies to removal. And yet it still gets played - especially when explosive mana acceleration is in the format. Remember Priest of Titania? What didn't that die to, and yet it's a $4 common played heavily where ever legal.
    Priest is a better card. It has a higher ceiling, since it can add 3+ mana. And I think you're conflating market value and play value... Elf decks have always been enormously popular, therefore good elves will be worth more cash. Doesn't mean they don't have fundamental weaknesses against most every archetype and color.
    Posted in: New Card Discussion
  • posted a message on Joraga Treespeaker & insane mana acceleration
    The card's fine on its own merits, but only fits in bad decks. You're imagining a mono-green deck that runs 12 mana dorks and a bunch of forests. Best case, you get a fattie ahead of the curve. What then? Most spot removal leaves you with a bunch of mana and not much to spend it on.

    Aside from the eternal problem Elves have with sweepers, both of the Wrath and Pyroclastic varieties, you're still casting creatures that can't compete with the format's best. Say you land a Kalonian Behemoth turn 3 or 4; if the opponent can weather it through chump-blocking for a few turns, the advantage is lost once their bombs come online... bombs which you can't deal with because you're playing mono-green.
    Posted in: New Card Discussion
  • posted a message on [SSCXII] Pan Beneath the Cracks
    Your narrator gets in the way of the story, and you use the first person as an excuse to get lazy with your writing.

    "Sorry, I forgot myself, I have to stay as objective as possible if this account is to be taken seriously. I don’t mean to be this bitter, but sometimes I wonder. Was it something about that day that made me fall through into that other place, or was it something within me? If we had walked that same path another day, would my life have been any different? Pan told me that it was something special within my mind that allowed me to travel to his realm, but can a slave trust the word of the slaver?"

    That's just waffling while you decide where you're going, it isn't adding much.

    "I had never seen a Dali painting, but later in life I would see Dali’s Paranoic Visage and shiver uncontrollably"

    You're letting Dali do your description for you, and misspelling paranoiac to boot. Work harder at creating a cohesive description of the landscape.

    "Every step I took..." I thought the narrator had been picked up and is being carried at this point?

    Pay attention to varying your sentence length and rhythm. As presented, these are pretty static, with either a simple "blah blah blah." or a "blah blah, blah blah."

    For instance: "
    I began the Dance uneasily, and locked gazes with the woman. It was different this time, and I tried not to think what would happen when she passed out. She was about ten years older than me, plain-looking with brown hair. I felt no attraction to her, but I did feel a measure of pity.

    When she had fainted, Pan spoke quietly."

    That's five sentences with the same structuring.

    Verbs are feeble, etc. etc.

    Keep working
    Posted in: Personal Writing
  • posted a message on The Devil Is A Busy Man
    Quote from Maverick827
    (1) How would you say it? This sentence just “doesn’t scan.” I would recommend revising it. It looks like two, or even three sentences should be here instead of one.

    (2) Again, this is a very awkward sentence. Split it up. Also, “one” is far more preferred than “you” in cases like this, though simply replacing them doesn’t sound too right either. “If a writer turned in a project…” would probably be best.

    (3) What is “KC?” Kansas City? If it is, say so. Don’t leave it up to your readers to guess. You should never use abbreviations, save for possibly in dialogue.

    (4) Again, an overuse of commas. You should probably break it up after “winter.”

    (5) Your descriptive writing is like dialogue; you explain things to the reader as you would in person, which isn’t a good thing. You use commas to pause mid-sentence, again as one would when speaking these things, and that’s really not what they’re used for.

    (6) Again with the comma abuse. Break it up. Also try and find a better way to describe what you’re talking about, I really couldn’t get it.

    (7) Everything from the start of this paragraph is an info dump. “Show, don’t tell.” You could easily have said all of that information was gathered from the same flier mentioned in the next sentence, but instead you chose simply to blurt it out. If Subject already knew this from past experience, tell why. Has he been there before? Has he studied it? Again, why?

    (8) A person can only talk aloud. Well, I guess one could whisper, but regardless, you don’t use phrases such as “talk aloud” or “thought to himself.”

    (9) “Trippy” isn’t a real word. You can use slang in dialogue, but nowhere else. Or, if you must, you could try and do something like: “It was, as [some character who uses this phrase often] would call it, “trippy.”

    (10) This isn’t even a complete sentence. This paragraph is where I’m going to stop.

    You really need to consider your use of commas, colons, hyphens, etc. I don’t think they do what you think they do. Your sentences, if not run-on, are often far too long and should be broken up. Note how I am writing this critique. I could have added a comma at the end of the last sentence and concatenated this one to it, but why would I when it would just serve to complicate things? I tried to clean up some run-on sentences in cases where I knew I wasn't changing their meanings, but such fixes were few and far between.

    Beyond that, you tend to info dump often. The phrase “show, don’t tell” means exactly what it sounds like. If your main character doesn’t know that Earl Vetter is located forty miles outside of Kansas City, you shouldn’t say so. You really should have another character tell him or her this fact or, as you have done with other pieces of information, have the character learn it through a book or flier. If it is integral to the character or plot that he or she knows this fact, then again, explain why or how.

    I can’t really comment on the story itself as I didn’t read most of it. I feel the subject of a story doesn’t really matter as far as judgment is concerned. That said, I probably wouldn’t have gotten into it too much, as I prefer fantasy fiction mostly; pieces set in the “real world” just tend to be boring and lackluster, but I understand that is entirely my opinion.

    Agreed with some of these points; the rest are ridiculous/pedantic. Show don't tell is a great rule of thumb, but it's just a guideline. Raymond Carver isn't going to break into your study and punch you in the face if you violate it.

    "'Trippy' isn’t a real word. You can use slang in dialogue, but nowhere else." That's absurd. There's no such thing as real words or fake words. If it's the right word, it's the right word, slang or no. And the idea of using slang only in dialogue is preposterous.

    Sentence fragments can be used to create an effect.

    Here's what I noticed, Sam: you do need to edit this a few times. I don't know how useful it is to ape DFW, but even if you hadn't mentioned him, I would have recognized it anyway. So in that respect, you succeeded. Right now you need to fix all the lazy problems (spaces before parentheses) and focus on concision. Tackling a style like DFW's means you need to have really syntactically sharp sentences so the reader can follow along and not get bogged down in clauses.

    Also, you've got lame verbs. Tons of "to be."
    Posted in: Personal Writing
  • posted a message on There Was a Problem with SSCXI, We Found a Solution
    Honestly, I don't care how this pans out one way or another. Considering how poorly the thing's been run, my interest vanished sometime in late October. Congratulations to the Dr.
    Posted in: Personal Writing
  • posted a message on SSC XI - Troubled Waters
    If Taylor Holmes jumped off a bridge, would you? Taylor Holmes you say, Mom? Why, sure. Mike stood at the railing, seventeen and scared as hell. The water, a long, long way below, ran black and fast with moonlight glinting on its surface. Taylor reviewed a few last points of safety.

    "Now you have to go in feet first, and keep your legs together, tight as you can. Plug your nose, and maybe bend your knees a bit - if you go in straight legged you might break something. Okay, Mike, are you ready?"

    A car zipped by, harsh glowing headlights bringing to mind a hundred movies, vague feelings of pursuit. "No," he said.
    "Aw, come on."

    "Is it dangerous?" he asked, knowing the answer already: half a dozen suicides since it was built in '74. If you aimed to kill yourself, you couldn't pick a better spot than this, where the winds came whipping off the river and you could swear the thing shook beneath your sneakers. But what if your only aim was to impress Taylor Holmes, maybe find out what it was like to kiss those lips, so vivid red they might signal poison - was this the place?

    She lifted onto her toes and leaned over the railing, bent at the waist as her perfect body found a teetering equilibrium. "That's the whole point. It'll be fine. Here, help me over the rail." So he boosted her over, his hands on her hips, ring and pinky finger touching her worn black jeans, thumb on her neon green tank top, but index and middle finger in contact with her soft skin, her warm and tanned skin, and he could feel the tightness in her abdomen. She was light. Now she stood on the other side of the rail, tilted forward over the precipice with only her arms hooked around the rail at the elbow for safety. His feet tingled with vertigo, but Mike found her expression as she stared down more thrilling than even the idea of jumping.

    She turned her head to look at him, long hair fluttering like a pennant. "Come on," she said. He couldn't back away now, she was ready to jump. As a boy Mike had stood petrified on the high dive at his local pool. He had looked down at the bright water for minutes, the sounds of laughter and splashing very far away at this height. Below him the braver and older boys craned their necks, impatient and wondering at the jerk that was making them wait. They leaned against the rungs and shouted up, "Go! Jump already!" but Mike wasn't moving, his legs were glued to that springboard and thank god, because if they weren't he would fall and that would be it. Finally one of the kids in line came ringing up the ladder.

    "What's the matter?" the older boy asked, he was probably a high schooler, and Mike rotated on his terrified axis with tiny steps to turn and answer him.

    "I can't."
    "Hey, it's easier to jump than climb down the ladder."
    "I can't."
    So Mike had clambered down the ladder, red-faced and apologizing as he fled the high dive for the safety of the shallows.

    Now, probably the same age as they boy who had climbed the ladder, he refused to repeat that shameful performance. So, battling back everything that was in this moment childish cowardice (later every instinct towards self-preservation and good sense), he hoisted himself over the rail, painted deep green and smoothed by the oils from thousands of touching fingers. Beside Taylor on the ledge, he composed his face into a mask, one untouched by fear, and waited for the trembling to stop. They stood overlooking the water, the night now quiet, and the void had seduced Taylor. She looked down with a death-longing, and Mike wondered if he had unwittingly agreed to a suicide pact.

    "I'm going to do it," she whispered, and then she leapt out with a joyous scream. Clinging to the rail, Mike watched her green tank top plummet in a flattened parabola, a gout of water leaping up on impact. Jesus, he was high up. Was she okay? But he thought he saw her face break water, staring up at him, and before she could even egg him on he flung himself into empty space, his bones liquid with fear as the water called him home. Total free-fall, building velocity, his legs were kicking in air and Taylor had said not to do that, he tried to bring them back in but then there was the water and the impact was so sudden he thought he hadn't fallen, the water had risen to hit him.

    Blackness, then a dawning pain and confusion. Where was he? He thrashed his limbs about, they felt heavy, and he remembered he was underwater. No air in his lungs, he realized, and desperation replaced confusion. He had to reach the surface, so he picked a direction and kicked, ignoring his aching body. He must have broken something. As much as he struggled, he didn't break surface, the fall had disoriented him enough that he didn't even know which way was up. He'd drown down here, in the black water, and his corpse would float to the surface long after it would do him any good, some fisher would see his ghastly blue-faced corpse drifting like wood and then his parents would have to identify him... a hand gripped his shoulder, pulled. Taylor.

    He broke the surface coughing, the night wind warm compared to the frigid water, so cold he could hardly feel himself.

    "You made it," Taylor was saying, and he shook his head, water in his eyes, and then nodded.

    "Yeah, I guess." It was like he'd travelled through time. Before, he was standing dry, warm, and horny high above, on the bridge whose underbelly he now stared at, and now he was stupid with the cold, teeth chattering, and hurting. All that separated his past self from his present was fifteen seconds.

    "You really ****ed that up, you know that?"
    "Did I?"
    "Yeah," she said, loud because she was scared, "you didn't keep your legs together. You hit with your back first. Are you okay?"

    Had anyone else asked him the question, he would have said Hell no he wasn't okay, he felt like something was broken. But it was Taylor who asked, and he could still move all his limbs, so best to just say, "I'm fine, don't worry," because what if he really was fine and he started whimpering in front of her? That would look terrible.

    "Come on," Taylor said, "I'm freezing." She began to swim for the shore with an easy breaststroke. Mike followed more slowly, careful to avoid her wake. They reached land, the river's current having carried them away from the bridge which now stood mute in the darkness, watchful, the occasional car travelling across it, seen as a slow-moving photon. As he staggered upright in the mud of the riverbank, pressing through the reeds, he realized his right foot sank a little differently than his left. Looking down, he saw his bone-white sock.

    "I lost my shoe."
    Taylor, a few steps ahead, turned back and looked at his feet. "You must have lost it in the fall."

    They squelched on, clothes soaked and clinging to their bodies. He appreciated the way her tank top had darkened and gone translucent, revealing the steady motions of her ribs as she breathed, but he appreciated the effect less as water dripped from the sleeves of his cold and heavy shirt.

    "Just a little further, I think," she said, and Mike hoped she knew where the road was because he wasn't thinking clearly. "How are you doing back there?" she asked, a teasing veneer overlaying serious concern.
    No harm in answering that truthfully, right? "Honestly, I'm freezing. I can't get warm."
    Taylor pulled up, stopping quickly enough that the dawdling Mike, busy peering at the unfamiliar trees, nearly bumped into her. She turned her body and all her attention to him.

    "Yeah," he said, flapping his arms loosely.
    "That's not good."

    "Well, this isn't helping," she said, pointing at his sopping long-sleeve. He laughed at himself, unsure why he didn't think of that, and made to unbutton it, but he fumbled with the small buttons, fingers stiff and unresponsive. "Let me," she said, and undid the top button, knuckles slipping down his sternum to get the next, and he stood with his head bowed, watching dumbly as her dark-nailed fingers worked the buttons. She eased him out of the shirt and wrung it out, and now he was standing in front of her in just his undershirt, which hadn't absorbed as much water.

    "Any better?"
    "A little."
    "Liar," she said, running her fingers over his arms covered in goosebumps. She probably didn't notice the few more that her touch raised - Mike couldn't believe how warm her hands were. They moved back and forth lightly at first, then with more force as she tried to massage some warmth back into his frozen arms. Then her hands trailed down to his belt, slipping back up underneath his shirt. He gasped lightly, not particularly manly but her hands were now on his back and pulling him closer, head tilted upwards, so he took her by the shoulders and kissed her. His lips were soon as warm as hers.

    Taylor managed to find the road without trouble. They split up at Van Buren, and Mike entered his house limping, still damp and leaving wet footprints as he climbed the stairs. He undressed, piled his clothes in the corner, falling into bed then wrapping himself in a blanket like the survivor of a fire, staring blankly as the rest of the house burned down before their eyes. As he sank into sleep, it wasn't the death-defying jump he thought about, but rather Taylor's lips opening beneath his.

    Now eighteen, they didn't go in much for stunts like that anymore. The riskiest thing they did was probably the time they went to Tommy Martolli's party, got too drunk and stumbled to Mike's car to ****, only to discover he'd forgotten a condom, but did it anyway. And that had turned out fine after a trip to the pharmacy the next day.

    They sat in his room, Taylor on the bed with her knees up, staring out the window, and Mike tilted back in his chair, clicking through daily ephemera on the Internet, his screen flashing strange videos and grisly pictures. Over the past year he'd developed a peculiar sense of humor and a malicious sense of entertainment. He'd watch grainy videos of cliff-divers performing leaps that would have made him pass out just to consider them only twelve months ago. Now he watched with a dull attention, hoping one might slip and crack his skull on the rocks, fall boneless into the waters below. Or he'd watch football replays of ripped ligaments and shattered bones, calling Taylor's attention and laughing as she winced and looked away. He would stop and rewind, slow them down to get a better look as arm bones slipped their sockets or ankles snapped. Once he'd seen the physical damage, he would watch once more to study the person's face as the injury occurred. Pain, the fearful brain's only control over the sensing body, was always a few instants behind reality. One video, a special favorite, depicted a hurdler landing awkward, breaking an ankle but still trying to race, taking another two steps before realizing only sinew held his foot to his leg. Mike wondered why you couldn't watch gladiator fights anymore. He'd like to see that.
    Taylor said his name. "What?" he asked.

    "Do you love me?" She asked it with the suddenness of a child recently explained a fundamental principle, like gravity, looking for reassurance in that moment of discombobulation as they struggled to understand a world imperiled by forces previously unknown. But how come we don't fly into space?

    "Sure I do. But what kind of question is that to ask me?"
    "I don't know. I was just wondering."
    "Did you really think I'd say no?"
    She smiled. "I didn't. But who knows?"
    Mike got out of his chair and crawled onto bed, leaning to kiss her. "I think you do."
    "So I've got some news."
    "Yeah?" he said, lying down beside her and settling into his pillow, hand idly rubbing her thigh, "What's that?"
    "I got accepted into Mitchell."

    His hand lay motionless on her leg, suddenly heavy. "Mitchell? In the city?"
    "Yes," she said, nearly bursting with the pressure of eighteen years in the same town. "I'll finally be able to get out of here."
    "Wait, hold on a second. I thought you were going to stay in town, take class at the community college? I thought you didn't even apply anywhere else?"
    She laughed at him. "Everybody applies to one reach, Mike. I just never thought Mitchell would take me, you know how bad my SATs were, and I had such terrible grades freshman-"
    "Stop it. You're actually going to go?"
    "Of course I am. I've wanted to go to the city since I was ten, you know that."
    "I thought that was just something you talked about."
    "Well, I wasn't just talking. And look, I was thinking that, you know, since we both love each other - and I do love you Mike, you know that, right? - I was thinking that maybe you'd come with me."
    "To the city?"
    "Yeah. We could get an apartment, get away from our parents." Her hand slipped beneath his shirt, fingers stroking the hairs just south of his navel. "We could do whatever we wanted - anytime I'm not in class, of course."
    He pushed her hand away. "And what am I supposed to do while you're in class? Am I supposed to sit on the couch and wait for you to come back so you can ***** about how your teacher doesn't like you? Or maybe edit your papers?"
    "Look, I know your plan was to stay here, but I don't think you're happy in this town. Are you?"
    "That's not the point."
    "Well what is? You could get a job, I'm sure there's plenty out there, and what's the difference if you're working here or in the city?"
    "The ****ing difference is I'd be working here."
    "Jesus, Mike, you're being an ******* right now. What's so special about this place?"
    "Nothing. Nothing. It's just - you're putting a lot on me right now, I'm having a hard time processing everything. Sorry I swore."
    "That's fine." She was watching him sidelong, eyes wide, ready to defend or attack .
    "Do you want an answer on this right away? Or can I think about it?"

    Relaxed now, she put her head on his chest and knotted up her fingers in his. "Of course I don't need an answer right now. Just promise me you'll consider it."

    "Okay," he said, heart beating sluggishly like he was slipping into sleep. It was like that all the time now, he didn't know why. He tested it once, ran two miles and then checked his pulse - an even sixty beats per minute. The body knows, he told himself, so calm down. Eventually his thoughts stopped racing, and visions of Taylor under the city skyscrapers, passing the mirrored windows at midday amidst a stream of businesspeople and strangers, these vanished into the silences between heartbeats.


    She began to talk about Mitchell more and more, quoting statistics at him like she was practicing to be a tour guide. Mike said as much, and she laughed only briefly before saying, "It's just I'm really excited - Mitchell's a great school."

    "Five stars in every college guidebook, right?"

    Then she'd be off, talking about the classes she wanted to take and all the restaurants she wanted to try in the city. And since Mike said nothing, she took silence for assent, and grew more excited at the thought of having everything she could want, boyfriend and college. Mike just didn't have the energy to fight.


    As the summer wore into its sweltering senescence, Mike began to roam the streets at night, hands deep in his pockets. Every block held a personal landmark, some signpost into memory and youth. Here was the tree he used to climb, the tree that broke his first bone when he fell. On the soccer field, where his team lost the championship and wept, not understanding it didn't matter. Over by the swing sets of his elementary school playground, the site of his first kiss, a challenge in truth or dare but it still counted for him all the same. He knew this town intimately, its streets radiating outward from him like veins, carrying back signals from the extremities. He hated this knowledge, hated the whole damn town, and cried with frustration as he stalked the streets he knew even blinded.

    One night he went to the bridge. It was late, nearly the same time he and Taylor had jumped, but everything else was different. The night seemed smaller, possibilities numbered, far less than the stars. Mike felt like the night sky was not the sky, but rather the stomach walls of some enormous creature that had swallowed up this whole town, and now lazed in a subterranean lair as it slowly digested them.

    Below him, the waters were so black and threatening bottomless, that it seemed the void had come down from the reaches of space to stretch out in a ribbon on the earth, a scar. He looked down, saw his past selves in various stages of free-fall, arms raised and legs kicking wildly, but their ghostly faces all curiously composed, unaware of the hurt awaiting at this vector's termination. Only this present self, beyond the discontinuity as it was, could know. He still couldn't remember the impact.

    Staring at the water made him dizzy, so he drew back from the edge and shook his head. He could still see the look in Taylor's eyes as she stood on the other side of the safety rail, daring him to follow her. But where? Into the river? Or the abyss? She hadn't told him. Mike collapsed heavily, his back against the solid stone, and waited for the world to stop swirling and the stars to stop jittering. He put both palms against the pavement and looked down the road. In a week, Taylor would take this road - likely driven by her father with her possessions piled high in the back, obscuring the view out the rear windshield - a few miles to where it merged with the highway, and then travel the highway for an hour or so, fiddling with the radio, until the city skyline came into view in the distance and everything got taller, the old brownstones grimed with age whizzing by as the car nosed deeper, finally depositing her at the doorstep of her apartment, a third-floor walk-up with one bedroom and one bathroom. And she would lug her bags upstairs with her father's help, then her old man would smile and hug her roughly, stumbling over his words. Finally, he'd kiss her on the forehead and drive away.

    This is what he imagined, anyway. What if he was in the car with her, if they stood together in the unfurnished room, holding hands? He couldn't picture it, because what if he couldn't follow her - the thought of the city, seething in the night, frightened him. Mike felt steady now, and ready to test himself. He stood up and began to walk across the bridge, hand holding tight the railing. Each step became more of a risk, he thought the bridge was moving, as if he were tip-toeing along the spine of a slumbering creature, stretched across the river now, but ready to wake and take wing, throwing his frailness from its back. A muddle of sounds and images clouded his senses, he heard the wild screams of phantom leapers and their muffled splashes, saw himself falling endlessly, the promised water somewhere below... and underlying all this was the horrible insistent hum of the bridge as the steel girders sang in the wind. Every bridge needs flexibility to survive the warp of high winds, but this one was more than flexible, it was sinuous, it could coil up like a snake and go sidewinding across the landscape, its suspension cables whistling through the air. Yes, and Mike was staggering now, hand slipping from the railing, this bridge was alive. He fell to his knees, a shock running up his thighs, and he had to contend with the horrible knowledge that the bridge was not only alive, but it knew him. Blackness stole his sight, and for that last instant of consciousness, he could remember the impact.

    Sometime later, he woke up, bent double on his side, a puddle of puke beneath his cheek. Rising to a sitting position and wiping at his face with a sleeve, he blinked and checked the time, his cell phone's screen too bright in this darkness. 1:48. Good, he hadn't been out long. Mike stood up and spat, trying to clear his mouth of the bitterness. With a last glance over his shoulder at the far end of the bridge, only an impossible hundred feet away, a distance for Zeno, Mike headed for home. He had his answer for Taylor. His fists were tight in his pockets.


    "What do you mean, you aren't coming with me? I thought you said-"
    "I didn't say anything. You just assumed."
    "Well is that such a ridiculous assumption, that my boyfriend would come with me? Why didn't you say anything?"
    "I didn't want to upset you."
    "You didn't want," she snorted, outraged. "You didn't want to upset me? And what do you think you're doing right now, Mike? Jesus Christ, I'm leaving tomorrow."
    "I know."
    "You *******. Why do you sound so ****ing pleased?"
    "I don't."
    "You were lying to me, weren't you? You said that you loved me but you didn't mean it. You ****ing *******."
    He stood up, and the both of them realized how much bigger he was than her. "Not so ****ing loud. My parents will hear you."
    "Great! I don't give a **** if they do, somebody else ought to know how big an ******* you are."

    He cuffed her upside the head, a sharp blow that sent Taylor, taunting Taylor who jumped from the bridge and dragged him down too, falling into the bed and then he was on top of her, his forearm barred across her neck. "And what about me, huh?" He increased the pressure on her throat. "What about me, Taylor? Do you love me? Do you ****ing love me? Because if you do, why are you going to leave me?"

    He pulled his arm back, afforded her enough air to choke and gasp, then he smacked her again. "Answer me," he hissed. Shocked as she was, her face was strangely impassive as she said, "But I do love you," and he could tell that she meant it. But this had to happen, he had to get her to escape velocity, otherwise she'd keep falling back into his empty life, and he loved her too much to allow it. So he forced apart her legs with his knees and undid his pants, pulled himself out, and now she knew what was happening, the fearful brain was anticipating hurt, so she began to cry. "Shut up," he said, because he hadn't done anything yet, but that changed when he tore off her panties and penetrated her, one hand clamped over her mouth. She deserves this, he thought. For everything she took from me. But she didn't understand that, didn't understand anything as he pressed down on her.

    When it was over, he shoved her roughly from the bed. She made no attempt to protect herself as she fell, landing painfully. She lay on the hardwood weeping quietly for some time, hair in a tangle over her face and shirt disheveled. He began to hurl articles of her clothing at her, then lifted her up and shoved her towards the door. "Now get the **** out of here." She stepped into her shorts fumblingly, missing the leg hole twice before managing to pull them on. With her head lowered and her underwear clutched in her hands, she left his room whimpering. He heard her fleeing down the hall and the stairs, then the door opening but not closing.
    He removed the rest of his clothes and flopped onto bed naked, breathing evenly. He took his pulse. Sixty beats. He wanted to cry, but found that he couldn't. He wondered if she would call the police.

    She didn't. Her plan was to leave at noon, so an hour beforehand he walked to the bridge and stationed himself under a tree. From where sat, he could see all the outbound traffic, and at 12:19 he saw her father's silver Volvo drive onto the bridge. He strained to see Taylor's face, but the sun flashed off the windshield and he could make nothing out, could not see if her eyes were red-rimmed from crying. After waiting two minutes, as long as it took a car to cross the bridge, he got up and began to walk along the footpath, hand dragging against the railing. Cars dopplered past him in a steady rhythm, headed anywhere, it was impossible to say. He looked at their license plates, then at his shoes - he bought a new pair after losing the left in his fall - then at the sky, a blue without any depth. Finally he reached the point where the nausea mounted and the darkness threatened his vision. He swayed on his feet, fighting to stay upright, and squinted at the stretch of road Taylor had just taken, probably never to return. He took a step backwards, let the darkness ebb, then leaned over the railing and looked down at the waters. They had killed him and revived him, for reasons known only to this bridge, and it would say nothing. The river looked harmless in the daylight.
    Posted in: Personal Writing
  • posted a message on SSCXI: It's All Just Water Under the Bridge (NEW Deadline October 6th!)
    Two months for a short story? School or not, that's a hell of a timeframe. But yeah, I'll be submitting a story just because I've got a couple of silver medals, and who the hell wants those?
    Posted in: Personal Writing
  • posted a message on Choose My Deck!
    I'm voting for the Feast deck, because I've got one I play on MTGO and I love it. You're right, it's incredibly explosive - 20 is the minimum, though I have hit 34. Unfortunately I don't own those nice 5CCs like Oversoul of Dusk, but here's my list anyway.

    I'm a pretty casual player, and I didn't go shopping to fill out the deck, so there's a couple of questionable cards in there, but it's a lot of fun, and yes, Howl of the Night Pack wins a ton of games. Magus of the Library is surprisingly effective if he can get online, and Nacatl War-Pride is a great answer for hordes of 1/1s or 2/2s.

    I think any Feast deck improves a great deal once Primalcrux hits MTGO.
    Posted in: Standard Archives
  • posted a message on RU Steamy Waters
    Actually, looking at the decklist I can't really see any other card interactions beside the one you just mentioned - I suppose you could twiddle a land with Pestermite to get an extra +1/+1 on your Wave Thrasher.

    Other than that, you've got a counter burn deck, which means all you gotta do is make sure you've got optimal burn and counter spells. Your choices look pretty good to me.
    Posted in: Standard Archives
  • posted a message on U/G Epic Deck that Dominates!
    I don't like the Liege in this deck. None of your creatures (excepting BoP) have tap or Q abilities to utilize, you don't have many creatures, and only half of your creatures are going to get the full bonus. I think lieges work best in a deck where they can give 3 or 4 guys +2/+2 and really maximize abilities.

    Abundance is always a card to consider when you're talking about retrace or Rites of Flourishing.

    Your main problem seems to be: how are you going to deal with all the threats opp will be dropping off the free card draw? Snakeform could be a good call.
    Posted in: Standard Archives
  • posted a message on [EVE] Eventide in niche formats
    Quote from zkornz
    Can you link me to somewhere explaining EDH?

    Yeah: http://csclub.uwaterloo.ca/~geduggan/EDH_rules.html
    Posted in: New Card Discussion
  • posted a message on [EVE] Eventide in niche formats
    I wanted to get some takes on how Eventide impacts specialty formats like Prismatic and EDH. The constraints of these formats can radically shift a card's value - take a look at Arc-Slogger for instance, who is a gamewinner in Prismatic but risky as hell outside of it.

    One mechanic that really jumps out at me is Retrace. And one card in particular, Worm Harvest. A strategy that's pretty deadly in Prismatic is to mill yourself, either with Traumatizeor Tunnel Vision, dumping into your graveyard a whole bunch of cards like Genesis, Anger, Life from the Loam, or Ancestor's Chosen (which you then reanimate).

    So let's say you Traumatize yourself. Pitch a land to play Worm Harvest, and you'll probably net something like 20 1/1 Worm tokens, which tells your opponent "Wrath or lose".

    Call the Skybreaker looks similarly rough, considering 7 mana is not much of a stretch in Prismatic. Oona's Grace combos with Life of the Loam to draw you two or three cards per turn as the game drags on.

    I think Unwilling Recruit can be a house. Played for RRR, it's just a harder to cast Threaten, but Threaten is awful good in a format like Prismatic where Kokusho hits play a lot of games. The power pump is a nice bonus, and can let you pull a victory out of nowhere if, on turn 12 or so, you're sitting on 10-12 mana and facing down a 5/5. Steal him and give him 7 or 9 power, and you've got a potentially game winning swing.

    Bloom Tender is a natural for Prismatic. Tilling Treefolk looks good, as it can get you twice the value from Krosan Verges and the like.

    Beckon Apparition is great, gives you a 1/1 and removes something annoying like Genesis.

    Stalker Hag gets in for 3 every turn, but it's a rougher cast than Dryad Sophisticate.

    Hedge-mages all look good, the Battlemages are popular in Prismatic.

    Not much for EDH so far, the Sapling and Ashling are the only possible generals.

    So that's all I got. Anybody seeing cards that are going to be big?
    Posted in: New Card Discussion
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