April 19, 2017 / by Margot Martell

Well, I promised the shop owner, Lando, that I’d do a prerelease primer for Magic: The Gathering’s latest set, Amonkhet, so here it is you savages.

Amonkhet is a gorgeous Egyptian-themed Magic world full of deserts, mummies and symbology devoted to Lex Luthor Nicol Bolas. But most of you probably know all of that, and you’ve likely all seen the complete spoiler at this point, and if you’re familiar with the kind of Magic-related writing I do, you likely understand that I’m not really here to talk to you about strategies or strongest colors or bomb rares to relish in your prerelease pool.

No, no friends! I’m here to announce the launch of the latest Raygun social media entity, We Rate (MTG) Gods.* It’s a hot, up-and-coming Twitter feed** devoted to ranking all the glorious gods of Amonkhet based on strict and scientifically rigorous criteria to help you determine which one of Amonkhet’s five deities would make the best pet to bring home from your local god rescue. Gods will be ranked on a scale from 1-10, with 1 being the least-good and 10 being the goodest. LIke I said, it’s very scientific. I could go into the incredibly technical details of how we developed our patented*** God Scale (TM), but I’ll save you the jargon-y lecture so we can get straight into the rating process! Let’s get started, shall we?

God #2: Oketra the True
Oketra the True Oketra the True (Invocation version)
Oketra is a pretty not-little kitty cat with 27 words in her text box! That’s some very advanced vocabulary you’ve got there, Oketra! But would such a wordy kitty make a good pet for you and your family? Let’s break it down below

PROS: Clearly box-trained (you can tell by the artwork), hypo-allergenic (again, you can tell by the artwork), probably not too much of a shedder, also v pretty
CONS: Many stories tall (so you’d need a big backyard or some HEFTY vaulted ceilings to house her), only poops out stupid warriors instead of adorable cats, probably makes some really nasty hairballs (refer once more to artwork), difficult to pet b/c large, flow-y robe

GOD RATING: 11/10 it’s hard to say no to an immortal bipedal cat

GOD #2: Kefnet the Mindful
Kefnet the Mindful Kefnet the Mindful (Invocation version)
Kefnet is a 90-foot-tall crane-thing with some v intimidating wings and a very tall staff made for bonking dunces in the math classes he’s clearly teaching as a side hustle. Kefnet has 33 words in his text box, which is 32 more words than a dumb birb really needs if you ask me (flying is the ONLY word a birb needs and I WILL FIGHT YOU). I’m gonna tell you right now that Kefnet would not make a great house pet, on account of being gigantic and also birbs are terrible, but I’ll break it down for you below just in case you don’t want to take my word for it.

PROS: NONE
CONS: Birbs have to be written into your will (inconvenient!), a Kefnet-sized birb cage would cost a large fortune, math is dumb, his robe is v plain and boring, feathers everywhere, birb poo everywhere, birbs are seriously terrible

GOD RATING: 2/10 would not recommend as a pet tbh

GOD #3: Bontu the Glorified
Bontu the Glorified Bontu the Glorified (Invocation version)
Bontu wants you to believe she’s a big scary crocodile but the reality of the situation is that some heartless jerk flushed her down a toilet in Queens when she was a wee-little god-croc and she’s been desperately searching for a forever home ever since. Bontu has 33 words in her text box but unlike that horrible birb monster Kefnet 33 words is a v appropriate amount of words for a giant cuddly crocodile god who is impeccably dressed and whose Instagram photos always look great with her trademark moonlit filter.

PROS: Giant crocodile, great as a home security system/pet combination, v stylish, not a picky eater, likes baths
CONS: Scaly exterior is not great for pets, robe is dry-clean only

GOD RATING: 12/10 she’s a v good crocodile I would def recommend adopting yrself a Bontu

GOD #4: Hazoret the Fervent
Hazoret the Fervent Hazoret the Fervent (Invocation version)
Hazoret is a dog-god and a doggone good one at that. She has 28 words in her text box and that is THE PERFECT AMOUNT for a PERFECT ANIMAL. FUN FACT: Hazoret is half-god half-border collie half-golden retriever and all delightful puppy love all the time and I feel like you don’t need me to explain why she’s great but I’ll do it anyway as that’s the job I’m here to do.

PROS: GIANT DOG, v good at fetch, always excited, loves neck scritches, housebroken, v floofy underneath her v stylish dress
CONS: ARF ARF ARF (that’s dog speak for NONE)

GOD RATING: 14/10 WHAT A GREAT DOG/GOD SHE IS

GOD #5: Rhonas the Indomitable
Rhonas the Indomitable Rhonas the Indomitable (Invocation version)
Rhonas is a big cuddly snek and if you don’t believe sneks are cuddly well you’re right but also he threatened me if I didn’t say he’s cuddly SO YES ACTUALLY RHONAS IS V CUDDLY (please don’t hurt me, large snek-god friend). Rhonas likes long slithers on the beach and is prone to flicking his snekky tongue when excited or happy (it’s kind of like purring except waaaaay creepier tbh). Rhonas has 31 words in his text box and that’s cool because 31 is a prime number and I’m kind of just vamping for time here out of fear of snek-god retribution if I don’t make his description as long as his god-piers’ descriptions.

PROS: Makes his own new coat every year via molting, omnivorous, fond of prime numbers, hypnotic glowing green eyes that can be used as a night light when you have to go pee at 2 a.m., other snek things I guess
CONS: THERE ARE MANY BUT I’M NOT ALLOWED TO SAY THEM B/C SNEK COERCION

GOD RATING: 10/10 b/c even at their worst and most threatening sneks are five times gooder than birbs (this is fact)

GOD #6: Sacred Cat
Sacred Cat Sacred Cat Token
Don’t be fooled by the fact that Sacred Cat’s creature type is “cat” and not “god” as THAT’S JUST A RUSE to throw you off of the true ruler of Amonkhet (which is this cat) (Whose name is Judith Light****, in case you were wondering).

PROS: JUST LOOK AT HER
CONS: NONE

GOD RATING:
SACRED CAT/10

So there you have it, folks – your comprehensive guide to this weekend’s Amonkhet prerelease. I’ll be judging all four flights we’re running this weekend (Saturday and Sunday at noon and 5 p.m. – make sure to sign up in advance for a sweet $5 discount on your entry fee), and esteemed Wizards of the Coast employee/spellslinger Chris Peeler will be taking on all challengers and handing out prize packs all day Saturday. Cycling is a great limited mechanic and gods make the greatest pets of all (except Kefnet because AGAIN I SAY BIRBS ARE TERRIBLE), and I cannot wait to see you all there.

Yours deliriously,
Margot

*Not a real Twitter, and definitely not owned/created by myself or anyone else at Gamma Ray Games
**Seriously it’s not a real Twitter feed it’s a dumb gimmick I’m using as a through-line joke for this rant
***We def did not patent the God Scale, sorry for the lil’ fib U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
****Not verified as Sacred Cat’s name, but you can’t tell me it isn’t the perfect name for her

January 01, 2016 / by Dominic DiGiovanni

On January 16th, we’re going to once more power up the Large Cardboard Collider and smash some faces together as close to the speed of light as we can manage without unintentionally opening a black hole that devours the entire world from inside out.

That’s because once more it’s Pre-Release time! And with Oath of the Gatewatch we’re going to confirm the recent discovery of colorless mana. I say confirm because of course it was always assumed to exist.

Fourth Law of Thermodynamics: OH SHIT IT’S KOZILEK!

The Standard Particle Model of Magic the Gathering is one of my new favorite parts of the game. As the design space fills, Rosewater et al. tread further into the strange and exotic combinations which previously would have been considered “impossible“.

Don't tell me how to hherp. I was hherping while you were still an undergrad.

Don’t tell me how to hherp. I was hherping while you were still an undergrad.

Nothing is impossible! The impossible is merely the the blood on the knife’s edge of Magical Science! We’ve always known about Manlands, but what about basic land type keyed, always on manlands? We’ve got that. Artifact Creatures? What about Enchantment Creatures! Enchantment Everything!

And as we build bigger Cardboard Accelerators, we can look to the future. Enchantment lands, Creature Instants… Instant Sorceries! Redundant you say? Covered by existing keywords? This is merely the mathematical hand waving of a curve fitting quitter! Even the format of our pre-release is predicted by organic carbon chain multiplayer. Two-Headed Giant? Why not Eight?!

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Heads?!?? I’ll show you heads!

You too can join us in our relentless pursuit of collectible card truth. We’ll be hosting three rounds of experiments (scientific method, you know): One at noon on Saturday the 16th, another at 5pm on that same Saturday, and one at noon on Sunday the 17th. Participation in the raw exhilaration of laboratory gameplay is a mere $30.

Actual scientists working in our state of the art mana acceleration facility.

Actual scientists working in our state of the art mana acceleration facility.

So remember, when things change in the wide world of Magic and people grumble: the rules aren’t really changing. We just collected more evidence is all.

September 23, 2015 / by Aric Fehrenbacher

Battle for Zendikar is here! The Eldrazi are back!

Is this not a reasonable place to park?

Is this not a reasonable place to park?

Planeswalkers have consistent design! Enemy colored man-lands (why can’t we call them lady-lands or just creature-lands?!)! No more color seeded pre-release packs! Getting to play a game we all enjoy with awesome people!

Now, I’ve heard that some of you grumpier planeswalkers out there are groaning over how quickly Magic is returning to Zendikar. Well I for one welcome the glorious return of our new tentacled and tongue-abdomened overlords, but putting personal politics aside I think this is going to be one of the best pre-releases ever. How (you impossibly ask without typing thus confirming that yes, you may indeed be the telepath your step-mother said you could never be)?

Well, first off our three pre-releases taking place at 12pm and 5pm on Saturday and 12pm on Sunday are only $25 if you preregister in store before the 26th! And our prize structure will be as dope as ever over a three-round sealed tourney insuring that everyone (yes even you 0-3 Scrubby Mcscrubberson) walks away with something. Cheaper pre-releases? Prizes for everyone? What sweet hell is this?

Secondly, we will have the BEST SPELL SLINGER THIS SIDE OF THE GREATER SEATTLE AREA READY TO THROW DOWN: DOCTOR CHRISTOPHER THUNDER-CHEEKS PEELER ESQUIRE!

Seen here in his natural environment. Sitting on the lap of a complete stranger.

Seen here in his natural environment.
Sitting on the lap of a complete stranger.

Play him and get a pack, win and get another pack! It’s a win-win you fools!

Finally, we will have the kindest, most supportive, and best-looking Magic community in all of Seattle present.
Team Gamma
Now I maybe biased but the members of Team Gamma (patent pending) are some of the most inclusive, patient, and best behaved players in this entire city and I will engage in a well-choreographed dance-rumble with anyone who claims otherwise. Whether this is going to be your first prerelease or your 50-billionth, you should come on down to Gamma Ray Games, get a drink, and play some cards for incredibly low stakes with people who are just as excited as you to play with new cards that feature the love-spawn of Geiger and Lovecraft. I’ll see you there.

All of My Love,
Aric Fehrenbacher

P.S. “What’s the prize structure?” We haven’t received our product yet to verify so I’ll have a much better idea when it actually arrives on Thursday but expect it to be an incredibly even spread. So if you’re thinking of coming down to try and shark our players there will be very little in it for you. Also you suck.

July 09, 2015 / by Aric Fehrenbacher

Hello, I’m Aric Fehrenbacher. You may remember me from such blog posts as Aric’s Last Shift (I came back) and Why You Should Be Watching Professional Starcraft (WHY AREN’T YOU!) or you maybe more familiar with my work was “that guy who is always behind the bar who wears stripped button-ups gesticulating wildly at the beer cooler”.

I’m here today to share with you some exciting news about my personal favorite subject booze. We here at The Raygun Lounge have slowly been refining our menu to more accurately resemble an establishment that sells awesome, interesting beers, ciders, and now, meads. As much as I love Deschutes and Newcastle they are pretty basic as far as beer choices go and we live in the PNW home to hundreds of small independent breweries making amazing brew!

Moutains+Beer

Mountains! Beer! Trees! Cascadia Now!

With the help of Orcas Distributing we now carry some of the most unique and tasty brews available to a small gaming establishment without access to draft beer. But enough jibber jabber allow me show you some of my new favorites which a few of our bar regulars have “agreed” to model for us.

Uncommon Brewing Bacon Brown

IMG_0659

So we picked this assuming it would be a kitschy novelty beer and probably be terrible in reality. I mean Bacon+Beer? Turns out it’s just an amazingly solid bodied brown ale with a subtle hit of delicious gristle at the end. Also, yes it is actually brewed with a pound of uncured bacon.

Celt Thirsty Warrior

IMG_0660

I cannot say enough good things about this cider, and I think drinking cider is a sin against Raugupatis (look it up). If you think you like Angry Orchard (you don’t) one sip of this will make you realize that you’ve been wasting your time and money all this time sending you into an existential crisis the likes of which only protagonists in Lovecraft stories have ever experienced. I may have gotten carried away there but trust me, it’s really good (Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn).

Lost Continent Double IPA

Kelly beer

You think you know what a Northwest IPA should taste like? Not until you’ve laid your lips upon one of these mega-hoppy bad boys you presumptuous fool. A miracle of modern brewing that somehow treads the line between tasting like you’re chewing straight hops and being immensely drinkable. Schrodinger’s beer?

Moonlight Meads

IMG_0661

Some people (losers) say that mead is for neckbeardy weirdos who can’t handle real alcohol. Well those people hate vikings and viking related activities, hence losers. Regardless of your feelings towards nordic subjects this mead is bomb as #$*&.  Every flavor is different and interesting capturing the sweet honey core that any good mead should have while experimenting with berries, ginger, vanilla, and currants in ways that morph the flavor into something truly unique.

Are you thirsty yet? Well then come on down to the Raygun for this weekend’s Magic Origins Prerelease or come in next week for our other amazing events which I guarantee will make you want to drink. That’s a little bartender humor for you. Stay classy Seattle.

July 08, 2015 / by Margot Martell

Dear readers, who also happen to be wizard people, hello! I am writing to you from A PIT OF FIRE. I AM ON FIRE. REGATHA IS BASICALLY ALL FIRE ALL THE TIME OH GOD IT HURTS PLEASE MAKE IT STOP.

I apologize profusely for my long absence from this blog. You see, one night in July 2013, shortly after my last post, I went on a bit of a bender, and got lost in the Blind Eternities while planeswalking away from local Seattle law enforcement (I wasn’t relieving myself on that fire hydrant; that’s slander. SLANDER I TELL YOU).

Once I sobered up and oriented myself with the nothingness, I spent some time stumbling from plane to plane, partially in search of fellow Magic philosophers, mostly in search of aspirin because OH GOD HANGOVERS WHILE DRIFTING THROUGH THE BLIND ETERNITIES ARE THE WORST. Aspirin apparently does not exist in the Magic multiverse. I have had a headache for the last two years. It has been mightily unpleasant, to say the least.

Fortunately, I was able to meet some fellow philosophers on my journey to relieve my eternal hangover. I became fast friends in particular with one I encountered on Rath — fast indeed, because she grew up among heart slivers — a planeswalker named meat hooks.

Yes, dear readers, meat hooks is a sliver. Probably the smartest sliver I’ve ever met! She will be writing the rest of this post for me, as I’m currently struggling to remain conscious, because, as I mentioned earlier, I AM CURRENTLY ON FIRE IN A PIT OF FIRE ON A PLANE PRETTY MUCH MADE OF FIRE. meat, you’re a doll. Well, okay, you’re actually a sliver, and not of the doll-like Metallic variety (meat can be a bit too literal for my tastes sometimes…). Thanks so much for assisting in this Magic Origins prerelease primer while I attempt to use my magic to keep the very core of my being from being set ablaze!

Hello, readers! My name is meat hooks, and, as Matthew mentioned, I am a sliver. But I am also a planeswalker, a feminist, a philosopher, and avid slinger of red spells in this game we all adore!

With that in mind, I’m here to help you choose your prerelease pool, but not by the metrics many other Magic writers might recommend. Power level of overall card pool? Who cares! Expected monetary value of rares within that color? Sliver Hives are collectivist and reject capitalist economic ideas out of hand (or, erm, hook, really)! Color preference based on any number of personal predilections? That’s fine, I suppose, but we as a community can do better! I’m here to help you choose your prerelease pool based on the most important factor: how feminist the planeswalker’s origin story/overall world is!

For those among you who are not avid Vorthoses like myself, I’ll be providing summaries of each Magic Origins planeswalker’s, erm, origin story, before jumping into the reasons why you should or should not choose to align yourselves with that ‘walker during prerelease. Let’s dive in, shall we?

White: Kytheon Iora/Gideon Jura
Kytheon, Hero of AkrosGideon, Battle-Forged

TL;DR origin story:
Kytheon Iora and his Irregulars (aka friends/soldier bros) are vigilantes on the streets of Akros (a city in Theros); Kytheon gets arrested for stealing food for his family/friends; Kytheon learns hieromancy (law magic) from some dude named Hixus while in prison; Kytheon saves Akros from some harpies and cyclopes using said law magic; Kytheon gets tasked by Heliod (Theros’s Zeus impersonator/gigantic asshole primary god) with killing a zombie titan thing made by Erebos, the god of death; Kytheon kills said zombie titan; Kytheon kills his Irregulars, accidentally; Kytheon planeswalks to Bant; (later) Kytheon Iora becomes Gideon Jura, because Bant has angels and inexplicably Christian names and shit, yo.

Is Kytheon/Gideon’s origin story feminist?
Not explicitly, but it definitely doesn’t shy away from pointing out how Akroan society/general Theros mythology is full of patriarchal assholes, so kinda?

Does Kytheon/Gideon’s origin story pass the Bechdel test?
I think there is one woman featured in the entire story, and she doesn’t even have a name. So, NOPE.

Should you play white at the prerelease?
If you like laws and burly dudes with tragic, classically Ancient Greek origin stories and overpowered common and uncommon creatures, yes!

Blue: Jace Beleren
Jace, Vryn's ProdigyJace, Telepath Unbound
TL;DR origin story:
Jace Beleren lives on Vryn and has no friends because everyone thinks he’s a freak; Jace is a telepath, so basically he IS a freak; Jace accidentally lobotomizes a bully because mind control is a helluva drug; Jace finds a teacher named Alhammarret, who is also a telepath AND A SPHINX!!; Alhammarret is a bad dude-sphinx who is using Jace to keep up an endless war on Vryn that isn’t well-explained or particularly detailed in the lore; Jace makes Alhammarret forget how to breathe during a MIND DUEL; Jace loses most of his memories during said MIND DUEL and winds up planeswalking to Ravnica; Jace goes to find Emmara Tandris, because apparently she likes orphans or something.

Is Jace’s origin story feminist?
Unclear, but I think we can safely determine that it is very anti-Sphinx.

Does Jace’s origin story pass the Bechdel test?
There are only three women in it, and none of them ever interact explicitly. So, NEGATORY MORNING GLORY.

Should you play blue at the prerelease?
If you like bounce spells and drawing cards and a light artifact sub-theme, yes!

Black: Liliana Vess
Liliana, Heretical HealerLiliana, Defiant Necromancer
TL;DR origin story:
Liliana’s brother is dying because Dominaria has always been a shitty place to live; Liliana talks to a man who is also apparently a raven (who might be Nicol Bolas??) while searching for some healing plant; Raven Bro reminds her she is full of dark magic and heck-of powerful; Liliana kills a bunch of witches while searching for said healing plant because she is heck-of powerful; Liliana gets into a fight with her mentor Lady Ana over using dark magic to heal people; Liliana kills her brother and brings him back to life as a tortured soul/zombie/demon thing; Liliana planeswalkers to Innistrad; Liliana lives a hojillion years until the Mending happens; Liliana makes a demonic pact with the help of Nicol Bolas in the interest of living a hojillion more years; the fourth demon is named Kothophed and he gives her eternal life but warns her that one day he’s gonna go all Rihanna on her over her debt, which is her soul, or something?

Is Liliana’s origin story feminist?
A robust feminist worldview accounts for the possibility of female villains and/or anti-heroes, and also Liliana is strong as hell, so yes!

Does Liliana’s origin story pass the Bechdel test?
Liliana and Lady Ana argue about Liliana’s brother, but it’s not romantic or sexual and they mostly discuss necromancy, so I’m gonna say: YES!

Should you play black at the prerelease?
If you like overcosted spot removal, zombies and really cool but probably not playable enchantments, yes!

Red: Chandra Nalaar
Chandra, Fire of KaladeshChandra, Roaring Flame
TL;DR origin story:
Chandra’s parents run an underground Aether smuggling ring, because the consuls of Ghirapur (a city on the plane of Kaladesh) are militant dickheads; Chandra isn’t great with machines, or book-learning, or most intellectual endeavors, so her parents enlist her as an Aether courier; Chandra’s first delivery is interrupted by some Ghirapur guards because there would be no drama in a successful delivery; Chandra starts shooting fire from her hands, because she is a pyromancer, and anger makes her catch on fire; Chandra torches a big machine factory in Ghirapur, destroying a bunch of robots and pissing off the consuls; Chandra and her parents flee to the countryside of Kaladesh, where she keeps setting things on fire; the Ghirapur military catches the Nalaars; Chandra’s parents die and she gets captured; Chandra planeswalks after exploding some bad military douches moments before she is to be executed; Chandra tries to explode some more people on Regatha, but they’re not explodable because the plane is BASICALLY JUST ALL FIRE (see Matthew’s story, above); Chandra is like Batman now, except poor and not a man named Bruce Wayne and less about bats and more about fire.

Is Chandra’s origin story feminist?
All of the women are fierce, the bad men get exploded, and Chandra gets to become the fiery lady version of Batman, so YES YES YES!

Does Chandra’s origin story pass the Bechdel test?
Chandra pretty much only ever talks about how she can set things on fire, regardless of who she’s talking to. Plus the other two strongest characters in the story are women so: DING DONG! BECHDEL TEST PASSED!

Should you play red at the prerelease?
If you like solid creatures and solid removal and solid late-game finishers and setting your opponents on fire, yes!

Green: Nissa Revane
Nissa, Vastwood SeerNissa, Sage Animist
TL;DR origin story:
Nissa Revane has night terrors about the darkness within Zendikar (read: Eldrazi); Nissa leaves her tribe of the Joraga so her mother doesn’t get exiled along with her; Nissa realizes her visions are of the soul of Zendikar; Nissa realizes her dumb friend Mazik has tailed her; Mazik and Nissa go on crazy adventures while following the soul of Zendikar, wherein Nissa realizes she’s basically the Zendikari version of Toph Beifong (but not blind); Nissa kills some vampires using her nature magic (read: earthbending); Nissa and Mazik locate the darkness within Zendikar (read: ELDRAZI, again) at the top of a cliff in Akoum; Mazik runs away with Nissa’s Zendikar-soul-pet-thing, which is presumably Ashaya (?); Nissa planeswalks away from the Eldrazi’s oppressive darkness and ends up on Lorwyn; Nissa befriends some Gilt-Leaf elves, including the head Daen in charge, Dwynen; Nissa gets invited to go on an eyeblight hunt, before realizing “eyeblight” usually means “helpless boggart goblin”; Nissa becomes an enemy of the aforementioned Gilt-Leaf elves; the Great Aurora arrives to transform Lorwyn into Shadowmoor; the Great Aurora tries to make Nissa into a powerful Lorwyn god-being-elf-thing (??); Nissa’s all like “LOL NOPE” and planeswalks her elf self back to Zendikar, because apparently the Eldrazi are less scary than horned elves and the northern lights.

Is Nissa’s origin story feminist?
Strong female protagonist with awesome only-you-can-save-your-world mission, sweet-ass connection to all living things, sick bow/spear/sword hunting skills. DARN TOOTIN’ IT’S FEMINIST.

Does Nissa’s origin story pass the Bechdel test?
She only talks to Dwynen for like four seconds before she peaces out of Lorwyn, but they do kill a couple goblins together and talk about her lack of horns instead of boys or whatever, so soft yes?

Should you play green at the prerelease?
If you like ramp spells and fatty creatures across all rarities and not much else in the way of card diversity, or if you ship Toph/Nissa (Topha? Nistoph?), then yes!

So there you have it: your complete feminist decision matrix for which color to choose at the Magic Origins prerelease. I’m going to turn you back over to Matthew now, as I promised him I’d call my sister Valerie to see if she could help ease his pain. She’s a frenetic sliver; we’re hoping we can phase him out of the fire!

Take care, everyone! May your prerelease pools be intersectional and filled with red spells bomb rares!

OH GOD EVERYTHING IS STILL BURNING PLEASE SEND HELP–oh hi everyone. I hope you found meat’s discussion regarding the Magic Origins prerelease to be informative and educational. I’m sure I would have found it to be exactly that, was I not too busy being on fire and whatnot.

Until next time,
Matthew “ALL I KNOW IS BURNING” Martell

April 15, 2014 / by Eric
Are you ready to rock, Seattle?

Are you ready to rock, Seattle?

The Journey into Nyx Prerelease is right around the corner. And, as always, we’ve got a range of events available to meet all of your hectic Magic scheduling needs! Including our classic Midnight Draft, as well as Noon and 4pm on both Saturday and Sunday with all-ages overflow events upstairs at the shop.

ALL AGES!

Fun for the whole family!

Fun for the whole family!

Preregistration is available in person at either the shop or the lounge and is highly recommended as our preregistration events do sell out.

In other Magic news, all of our Mondays over at the shop are now Magic Mondays!

maaaaaaagic

maaaaaaagic

That’s right! Every Monday at Gamma Ray Games, all MtG singles are 20% off.
ALL. DAY. LONG.
(Longer if you drink some orange juice.)

And every Wednesday Night at the Raygun Lounge is the New Modern,

Are you into it?

Are you into it?

our long standing ongoing weekly Modern tournament. Entry is only $5 or TOTALLY FREE with a receipt from Gamma Ray Games from the same day for $10 or more.

So come on down to Gamma Ray Games and the Raygun Lounge for all of your Journey to Nyx, Modern Magic and Single Finding needs.

July 12, 2013 / by Margot Martell

Friends, Romans, countrywalkers, lend me your eyes! Because you probably can’t hear a blog post. And if you can, that means you’re either a.) synesthetic, b.) using some sort of text-to-speech program or c.) on a ton of drugs, and I’ve got some serious issues with all of those.

I’m here to talk today about some of the standout cards from Magic 2014 Core Set — Blue Gets the Shaft Like You Can’t Even Imagine OKAY FINE THAT’S NOT THE ACTUAL EMDASH-SEPARATED DESCRIPTION OF THE SET BUT IT’S VERY CLEARLY THE SUBTEXT HERE.

Ahem. Anyway, because I like easy symmetries and weak themes, I’m going to spend this blog post talking about 14 cards from M14 that I think are worth drafting, trading for, investing in, etc. Please do bear in mind that a lot of this is purely speculative, and I will not be held responsible for you forking out several hundred pocket clams for Archangels of Thune if they eventually end up in the dollar bin (though let’s be honest, they’re a silver bullet in modern Birthing Pod lists so they’ll probably retain decent value).

Since there’s a pretty significant disproportion between colors, I’m just going to run down the list alphabetically (you can tell I’m not being biased with this particular organizational schema because a white card tops the list and there’s no blue cards in the top three).

Oh, and for those who don’t know/don’t care (SHAME ON YOU), Evolution — the biggest fighting game tournament of the year — is this weekend. And in honor of that TOTALLY HYPE occasion, I’ll be revising my FGC tier card rating system from my last set review for this article. Tiers are as follows:

SAGAT TIER – Completely bonkers and OP. PICK SAGAT HE’S TOP TIER.
Akuma Tier – Pretty damn insane, but not quite as godlike as SAGAT TIER.
Bison Tier – Solid normals, lots of bad matchups. A thoroughly decent card all around. Also, PSYCHO CRUSHER.
Chun-Li Tier – This isn’t Third Strike, so Chun Li stands for C-GRADE. Passable, but often just barely.
Dan Tier – The SHIT TIER of this review. Poor lil’ Dan…

(more…)

April 25, 2013 / by Margot Martell

Hey folks,

It’s the Drunken Planeswalker again. Sorry you all had to read my love letter to Ral last week… suffice to say I now may or may not have a restraining order placed on me, so you won’t hear me talking about him (publicly) again.

What I DO want to talk about today are the 10 guild champions who have been chosen to compete in Survivor: Ravnic—I mean, the Implicit A-maze-ing Ra—I mean… well, ugh, the Dragon’s Maze. What a terrible name.

BUT HERE’S THE TWIST: I’m not going to grade them on a one-to-five scale like some ACTUAL LEGITIMATE MAGIC WRITER. Instead, I’m going to be ranking them using a tier system a la the Fighting Game Community. S tier/top tier is, well, top tier. A tier is very good. B tier is passable but not impressive. SHIT TIER is exactly what it sounds like.

Alright, we clear on that? Let’s get going. I’m going to review the champions alphabetically by guild, because I don’t want to seem like I’m playing favorites or anything (spoiler alert: I totally am).

Azorius: Lavinia of the Tenth

Lavinia of the suspension of fourth amendment rights

So… Restoration Angel is still legal, right? Well that’s pretty goddamn unfortunate. Also is this Soviet Ravnica or something? Is the Azorius police force the KGB? Detaining the meek with no right to a fair trial seems a bit extreme, if you ask me.

Anyway, I guess this card is good. And also a bit fascist. But if that floats your boat, then you’ll probably enjoy sleeving up Lavinia once it’s standard-legal (because let’s face it, it’s a five drop that isn’t named Thundermaw Hellkite, Batterskull or Baneslayer Angel, so it’ll never be good enough for Modern). Incidentally, thinking Lavinia is a “fun” card also means you probably like punching kittens and puppies, but I’m just speculating here.

Limited Verdict: A TIER
Constructed Verdict: A (???) TIER

Boros: Tajic, Blade of the Legion

Tajic, Blade of the Freehand Artistry

So… he’s indestructible… but he dies to Dead Weight? And Death Wind? And Stab Wound? Okay, so the -X/-X Doom Blade argument is stupid, I know. But I can’t help but feel a bit underwhelmed here. I’m sure he’s going to be the bombiest bomb in draft/sealed, since an unkillable 7/7 for four mana is one of clearest definitions of VALUE in limited, but I can’t see him seeing play in constructed until at the very least after Innistrad rotates. And even then I’m not entirely convinced this card is better than Firemane Avenger, at least in the abstract.

That said, I’d like to be wrong about this. Tajic is super flavorful and really cool and his sword is warped enough to give Rob Liefeld the spins, so I’m giving him a thumbs up on radness, even if he isn’t necessarily up to muster for constructed play.

Limited Verdict: TOP TIER
Constructed Verdict: ???? TIER

Dimir: Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker

Mirko Vosk, Not Even Comparable to Tog Drinker

Fine Wizards I see how it is DON’T EVER GIVE US A PLAYABLE DIMIR CREATURE FOR CONSTRUCTED OR CUBE I GET IT PSYCHATOG WAS A MISTAKE AND EVEN THOUGH SHADOWMAGE INFILTRATOR IS LIKE BARELY CUBABLE NOWADAYS YOU’RE JUST PROVING INFLEXIBLE ON THIS MATTER AND— …

(20 minutes later)

Oh… oops. I must have hyperventilated and passed out. Sorry about that. I just want more constructed-playable Dimir creatures. And their non-existence makes me a bit pouty.

That said, I can already tell I’m going to be flipping a lot of tables after losing to Mr. Vosk in limited. If you assume that you’re going on the grind plan for the kill, then this guy is effectively three-turn clock for five mana, and that’s what we like to call a Windmill Slam First Pick™ in essentially every single limited format ever in the history of Magic.

So yeah. Slam it. Force Dimir. Or just splash Dimir in your Boros deck, for all I care. This dude is nuts (both literally and figuratively) in limited.

Limited Verdict: (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ TIER
Constructed Verdict: SHIT TIER

Golgari: Varolz, the Scar-Striped

Varolz, the Pinstriped

Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh yeah. Now THIS is a sweet guild champion. By now we’ve all heard about the sweet Modern deck that pairs him (I presume this is a male troll? Unclear…) with Death’s Shadow, so let’s talk about some of the cool things he can do in Standard.

For starters, he has the Sam Black seal of approval, since he has the words “sacrifice another creature” on him; so he makes all your Tragic Slips super live, he techs crazy well with Skirsdag High Priest, he goes hog-wild with Blood Artists, etc. But beyond that, I’m more interested in the second half of that clause, which describes how he’s absurdly difficult to kill. Varolz plus any other creature means Supreme Verdict is just a sad joke, and spot removal (barring Slip) is a super loose proposition against him. The first place I want to try him is a GB Zombies deck that uses him to pop Geralf’s Messengers at will and loop Gravecrawlers for many, many regenerations. He also makes your Dreg Manglers waaaaaaaaay easier to scavenge after they’ve slithered in to do their hasty bolt’s worth of damage, and that is what I call VALUE (can you tell by now that I REALLY like value????).

Oh yeah, he’s probably really insane in limited too. First-pick him and move on with your life.

Limited Verdict: TOP TIER
Constructed Verdict: A TIER

Gruul: Ruric Thar, the Unbowed

Ruric Thar, Who Serves the Horde????

Oh boy, reach on a big green fatty! We’ve never seen that before!

… but seriously why doesn’t this guy (guys???) have trample? I guess I can’t complain too much though; Ruric Thar is a big stompy creature that provides Gruul with everything they’ve ever wanted in a guild champion. I mean, being Unbowed is way less cool than being a Hate Seed, but I suppose that isn’t too much of a slight against this two-head ogre.

Side note: I’ve been watching a lot of Venture Bros lately, and I can’t help but imagine Ruric Thar as the two-headed council member from the Guild of Calamitous Intent. You’re welcome for that, by the way.

Aaaaaaaaanyway, slam this guy in limited, because BIG STUPID FATTY THAT DOES MEAN THINGS TO OPPONENTS. As for constructed playability, I’m honestly not sure? Maybe he’s good enough to be a high-end finisher in a Naya or Jund Midrange deck? The built-in anti-Sphinx’s Revelation clause seems reasonable for Standard at least.

Limited Verdict: TOP TIER
Constructed Verdict: LOW A/HIGH B TIER

Izzet: Melek, Izzet Paragon

Melek, Whose Sight is Far and Reach is Short

This card isn’t constructed playable… IZZET? LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL I’M SO FUNNY.

Sorry. I couldn’t resist. But no seriously, this card isn’t constructed playable. Six mana for a 2/4 just isn’t a good return on investment if you ask me. Forked Future Sight on instants and sorceries is a sweet effect, but Oracle of Mul Daya this is not.

For that matter, Six mana for a 2/4 isn’t a good return on investment in limited, either, so I think poor Melek will seldom make the cut for decks in basically any format. Props to WotC for finally making a “Weird Wizard,” though.

Limited Verdict: SHIT TIER
Constructed Verdict: SHIT TIER

(… it’s funny because he multiplied his shit-ness by two!!!)

Orzhov: Teysa, Envoy (Envy) of Ghosts

Teysa, Envy of GOOOOOOOSOTASDAFASDFSDDF

Seriously, this card was far cooler when it first appeared with its original typo’d title. But when I think of playable seven-drops featuring white mana symbols, I think of Angel of Serenity and Elesh Norn, and Teysa is envious of both of those. Protection from creatures is whatever, and I’m sure she’ll be a fine curve-topper in Sealed and Draft, but a 4/4 for seven that dies to Supreme Verdict AND Mizzium Mortars just doesn’t cut it for constructed if you ask me. If I want 1/1 flying spirits in an Orzhov deck, I’d much rather just cast Lingering Souls.

Limited Verdict: PROBABLY LOW A TIER
Constructed Verdict: SHIT TIER

Rakdos: Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch

Exava, Hollowed Blood Witch

Isn’t this an enemy from the Dark Souls DLC? Or a Cirque Du Soleil performer from one of my nightmares? I don’t even know…

Ahem. Okay, so, a 4/4 for four mana that has first strike AND haste. Okay, yeah, sure. I’m sold. Slam it in draft, etc. Pretty sure it just can’t compete in constructed right now thanks to beaters like Hellrider and Falkenrath Aristocrat being legal, but I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that she’ll see play once Innistrad block rotates in October. Making your Rakdos Cacklers into top-decked Goblin Guides is probably enough of an upside for hyper-aggressive Rakdos archetypes to justify her inclusion in those decks post-rotation.

Limited Verdict: A TIER
Constructed Verdict: B (????) TIER

Selesnya: Emmara Tandris

Emmaraculately Huge Disappointment

I feel like Emmara needs to crawl back into whatever George R.R. Martin novel she popped out of and quietly die in a corner there like the rest of his characters. At seven mana, she just does not strike me as remotely playable in basically any format. She’s clunky and vanilla as a limited curve-topper, her effect is hopelessly underwhelming in standard, and in Commander she’s just straight up worse than Avacyn, Elesh Norn and a large number of other fat Green/White legends. Kudos to her for pulling off that Galadriel look, though.

Limited Verdict: SHIT-MINUS TIER
Constructed Verdict: STILL SHIT-MINUS TIER

Simic: Vorel of the Hull Clade

Vorel of the Azeroth Clade?

WHO LET AN ALBINO DRAENEI INTO THE SIMIC COMBINE????

I’m pretty sure this guy is “fine” in limited because at the absolute worst he’s a Horned Turtle, and his upside is pretty disgusting once you get the whole evolve/scavenge engine going with him. Mostly I’m just disappointed that he’s a Human Merfolk and not a legendary Lizard Frog. Absolute flavor fail there.

In terms of constructed, I just don’t see him being quite good enough for Standard play. He’s slow, clunky and underpowered on his own, and his synergistic upside requires way more effort than Zegana’s. He’s probably gonna be the nut-high in Commander, though. Sorta-kinda-Doubling Season on a body as a commander seems pretty sicko.

Limited Verdict: A TIER
Constructed Verdict: B TIER
Commander Verdict: TOP TIER

So there you have it—my take on all of the guild champions, just in time for all your Dragon’s Maze prerelease party times. May you all open sweet sealed pools and X-0 your prerelease tournaments!

CONCLUDING BONUS VERDICT: Magic cards are cool and all, but really you should all just pick Sagat for prerelease.

OTHER SUPER DUPER EXCITING NEWS: I’m delighted to announce that at this weekend’s Saturday prereleases at the Raygun Lounge, we will have Wizards of the Coast R&D member Ben Hayes on site as our first-ever spellslinger! Attendees will be able to play against him and win prizes, so even if you couldn’t make it into any of the prerelease flights, you’ll still want to swing by and say hi!