Picking A Turntable

Despite the existence of USB technology and DVDs, there are still a number of people who prefer to play vinyl through their turntables. If you are considering buying one but is clueless on what characteristics or factors to consider, take note of the following:

  • Budget: Contrary to most would think, turntables come in different varieties and also costs differently depending on where it is being sold. However, expect the newer models to fetch for a higher price than the vintage ones.
  • Belt Drive or Direct Drive: Figure out what kind of motor you prefer. As a reference, if the motor of a turntable is mounted underneath the platter where the record is placed then it is called a direct drive while the ones that are located off the side are called belt drives. Most people prefer the direct drive motor while DJs on the other hand prefer the belt drive so that they can play with it efficiently.
  • Manual or Automatic: Manual turntables require you to lift the tone arm of the turntable or place it on the record while the automatic turntables only require you to push a button for them to play the record. If you are someone who is not familiar with the functions of a turntable then it is better for you to get the automatic models.

The good news is that there are cheap pro ject debut iii that you can get in most retail music stores but make sure that you know what you are looking for and if you have the budget for it.

Supreme Verdict: Bayonetta: Bloody Fate

Supreme Verdict: Bayonetta: Bloody Fate

The first time I saw this title posted on the anime updates list on the homepage of otakustreamers got me excited because I am very familiar with the game. I used to play this game a couple of times at a friend’s place a long time back and always get a kick out of playing it. One can say that it’s very reminiscent of another third person action game entitled Devil May Cry (that I wasn’t able to play that much) except that the former is a gun-toting hot witch babe who summons demons to devour her angel opponents for breakfast. And yes I am fully aware that this is a half-ass description of the main protagonist who deserves more but if I were to be serious about it, I wouldn’t be able to get any work done.

Supreme Verdict: Bayonetta: Bloody Fate

“Yep. That’s her. Only with tight-fitting clothing.”

Frankly, I really enjoy games and or anime titles that incorporate religious references and personalities in them. I also admire how most Japanese game developers design their characters as well as the enemies like the ones in Bayonetta, particularly Fortitudo which I really find cool.

Supreme Verdict: Bayonetta: Bloody Fate

“No wonder most people aren’t excited to follow the four cardinal virtues”

Basically, Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is the anime adaptation of the game of the same name and follows the same story as the one in the game with a bit of alterations which I am sure those who’re able to finish the game will notice. For those who aren’t familiar with the title, Bayonetta tells the story of the umbra witch Bayonetta who has no recollection of her past and is being hunted down by countless angels from paradise. She is aided by the weapon smith Rodin who appears similar to Morpheus in The Matrix trilogy who serves as the caretaker of the bar “Gates of Hell” which uses the same font that Dante’s office “Devil May Cry” use.

Supreme Verdict: Bayonetta: Bloody Fate

“In order for you to know your past, you have to defeat The Matrix!”

She utilizes the bullet arts which is an exclusive combat technique of umbra witches that combines melee and gun slinging. And when push comes to shove, she uses her wicked weaves, a technique that’s also exclusive to the umbra witches to summon hell spawn to crush her enemies.

Supreme Verdict: Bayonetta: Bloody Fate

“Gamorrah’s pleased to meet you.”

Through the course of the story, she encounters angels hailing from the lowest ranks which would be the ones from the third sphere to the higher ones which would be the Auditio where the four cardinal virtues are classified.

Supreme Verdict: Bayonetta: Bloody Fate

“Temperantia, one of the four tentacled virtues”

I like the artwork of the anime overall though I find the anime’s game counterpart to be more polished and detailed when it comes to the portrayal of Bayonetta’s demons as well as the angels. I also don’t have any issues with regard to the pacing of the story and the anime ended with not much questions left unanswered. The only objection I have is Fortitudo’s lack of screen time. I know the anime cannot retell every part of the story like what’s in the game but for me, I feel that the anime should’ve included the battle between Bayonetta and Fortitude. It would’ve been epic.

Supreme Verdict: Bayonetta: Bloody Fate

“That ass…”

Hmm, come to think of it, some of the battles were rushed like the part where Bayonetta was fighting against Temperantia and she went right away to summon Hekatoncheir to finish him off. In the game, Temperantia appears first as a large tornado in the middle of the airport but the anime didn’t portray him like that. T’would have been awesome if he was introduced in such a way though but I guess we can’t have everything can we? I do find the battle scenes between Jeanne and Bayonetta decent though minus the lifebar and the menu.

Supreme Verdict: Bayonetta: Bloody Fate

“Let’s rock baby!”

Overall, (I hope I didn’t miss anything and if I did then well, lels) I enjoyed watching the movie though I wouldn’t be surprised if those who played the game and watched it end up disappointed or something akin to that. I admit, when I watched Blazblue: Alter Memory, I wasn’t that impressed overall because I am familiar with the game as well as the main plot unlike with Bayonetta. People who’ve played games that were eventually adapted into anime tend to have high expectations of the anime adaptation which often results to disappointment. Good thing I’ve already come to terms with such matters.

I would recommend Bayonetta: Bloody Fate to anyone, especially to guys, who enjoys watching anime like Devil May Cry or Hellsing since it’s still a good watch for me. I doubt any guy wouldn’t appreciate some sexy chick kicking some angel ass right?

Thanks for reading,

@ravenknives at Twitter

Raven Knives

imagecredit:

www.otakustreamers.com
http://bayonetta.wikia.com/
myanimevault.com
devilmaycry.wikia.com

Bonus Trivia: 

Hideki Kamiya, the director of Bayonetta used to be the director of the first Devil May Cry title hence the close similarities between the two games as well as the heavy use of reference from the latter. 

Modern Movements

It’s already been a couple of days since the conclusion of Pro-tour Born of the Gods in Valencia, Spain and I was supposed to write a report about it in the financial aspect but I had to accomplish some important tasks first.

A lot of people are wondering why even though no copies of Bitterblossom made it in the top 8 is that it’s still retailing around $60. The thing is that it doesn’t mean that if it didn’t make it to the top tables is that it’s automatically a bad card for the modern format and that its price would immediately plummet.

Sure, only 6 players may have played the archetype at the event but take note that there were three of the 6 and these 3 are pro-players who made it day two; each one piloting their own version of UB Faeries namely; Alex Sittner, Shota Yasooka and Joel Larsson who unfortunately only ended up with a 3-2 standing as per this article.

Modern Movements

Modern Movements

Furthermore, even Gerry Thompson thinks that Faeries has the potential to make it big in modern. Another factor which may be keeping Bitterblossom at its current price is the upcoming Grand Prix Richmond which will be on the 7th to 9th of March. It’s just a week away before the next big event is upon us. This event will eventually determine if Bitterblossom really have what it takes to be a key player in the modern format or will end up sitting by the sidelines. However, this is a good time to be selling your Bitterblossoms if you want to take advantage of its exorbitant price.

Because if no copies of the said card makes it to the top 8 then I feel that it’s very likely for the hype to completely go down the drain along with its price. On the other hand, if copies of Bitterblossom make it to the top then it’s very likely that the price will be retained.

Moving forward, it wasn’t only Bitterblossom’s price that moved but also the following:

Modern Movements

One of the most noticeable price increases would be Primeval Titan’s. The fact is that a couple of Scapeshift decks have been winning MTGO modern events since last week and this has caused the mythic rare’s price to spike. The rest on the list on the other hand were perhaps due to the decks making it to the top 8, particularly Threads of Disloyalty which the eventual PT Champion Shaun Mclaren effectively utilized to win his final match against Wilson. In addition to these changes, I also took notice of this card’s current price and I am surprised that it already hit this high.

Modern Movements

Frankly, I am tempted to sell out my singleton planeswalker and eldrazi because I am not really planning to brew any RG Tron anytime soon as well as a Show and Tell deck. Still, it’s nice to see that the cards I held on to even after they rotated out of the standard format have their prices rocketing up.

To sum it all up:

  • Sell your Bitterblossoms or take a gamble by holding on to them and wait for the results of the up-coming PT Richmond. This is if you don’t plan on playing Faeries anytime soon.
  • There’s still a chance that Primeval Titan’s price may increase so I feel that it’s still safe to keep them for a longer period of time as compared to Bitterblossom. However, selling them right now may not be that bad of an idea as well.
  • The only direction that Karn Liberated and Emrakul, The Aeons Torn will go is up. First and foremost, they are utilized both in Modern and Legacy especially that the eldrazi is one of the core pieces of a popular Legacy deck which will probably remain a tier 1 deck for years to come. It’s up to you if you want to sell them or wait for the price to increase before selling them. The only time that their price will plummet is if one of them gets the axe (With Emrakul being more likely to get the axe than Karn IF they even become candidates for banning which I highly doubt will happen anytime soon).
  • A lot of people may believe that Faeries may not be cut for the current modern format but then again, there are also people who believe otherwise and some of them are pros. Furthermore, this guy has been very consistent in MTGO events when it comes to his results. Can we say that he’s just being lucky and or he’s just able to dodge his bad matchups when he’s constantly winning MTGO events?

Modern Movements

GP Richmond is just a week away and we’ll eventually find out the real score between the various archetypes in the modern format. Will Faeries be able to prove itself or eventually be forgotten to oblivion? Will URW based decks continue to reign supreme or will Zoo emerge victorious this time? What are your thoughts about the current modern format?

Thanks for reading,

@ravenknives at Twitter

Raven Knives

imagecredits:

www.wizards.com/magic
www.starcitygames.com

Faerie Rising Updates And Other Price Trends

I’ve been following the price trend of most of the faerie archetype’s pieces and I am not surprised at how much the price went up in just a couple of weeks since I posted this article.

Faerie Rising Updates And Other Price Trends

Perhaps, the biggest contributing factor for this would likely be the upcoming PT Born of the Gods Valencia that will be taking place this coming weekend on February 21st to 23rd in Valencia, Spain. However, if you’re going to study the recent winning deck lists in MTGO, the Faerie Archetype is underrepresented. In fact, there were only three players who play the archetype with only one of them taking the top spot.

For reference, here are the deck lists:

Faerie Rising Updates And Other Price Trends

Faerie Rising Updates And Other Price Trends

Faerie Rising Updates And Other Price Trends

Faerie Rising Updates And Other Price Trends

As I’ve discussed before, the most probable reason for this would be card availability and with the prices of most faerie pieces skyrocketing, it’s very unlikely that the archetype would be dominating the modern metagame soon. Another possible contributing factor would be that most players are keeping their tech under the wraps for the up-coming tournament.

One thing’s certain though, if multiple copies of Bitterblossom as well as the other deck pieces end up occupying most of the spot in the top 8 of PT Valencia then I wouldn’t be surprised if Bitterblossom hits $80 and Mistbind Clique ending up around $18-20 apiece.

Meanwhile, some cards are also seeing play these days and have their prices rising steadily such as the following:

Faerie Rising Updates And Other Price Trends

“As of 02/21/14 2:35 PM”

Apparently, Scapeshift decks are starting to crowd MTGO hence the upward trend on primeval titan’s price. In fact, even the metagame in Mindstorm Games Hobby Shop has a lot of them right now and another local game store named Got Game has a player using the said archetype made it to the top. If Scapeshift decks continue to occupy the top places then it’s very likely that the green titan’s price may go up a notch more.

In fact, in my opinion, Scapeshift decks are good deck choices against decks that depend on swarming their opponents since they’re basically combo decks which rely on a land namely Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, to defeat their opponents like the Valakut decks of old. This means that both Thoughtseize and Inquisiton have no way to remove the deck’s win condition though they can still discard some of the Scapeshift players’ means of reaching their goal. But unless the opponent can kill them fast it’s very likely that the opponent’s future is bleak.

So how about Marsh Flats? Well, there’s another deck that’s also not showing any significant numbers in MTGO events that may also benefit from the unbanning of Bitterblossom and that’s B/W tokens. This is perhaps the highest price that Marsh Flats attained ever since the modern format was established and the same with Fetid Heath and I feel that this has something to do with people who intend to use the B/W tokens archetype this coming weekend.

Faerie Rising Updates And Other Price Trends

“Marsh Flats a few hours ago”

In fact, the original stock of Marsh Flats earlier was 5 but in just a few hours, only 2 were left and it won’t be long before SCG restocks again and probably increase its price.

It’s just a day or so before the much anticipated PT Valencia takes place and if you play in the modern format, it would be best that you stay tune to the latest development taking place in the tournament. At this time, it would be more advisable to hold on to the modern cards that you have before selling them and wait for any possible price changes that may occur. Don’t let go of your Primeval Titans and Bitterblossoms yet!

Thanks for reading

@ravenknives at Twitter

Raven Knives

imagecredits:

www.starcitygames.com
www.wizards.com/magic

Supreme Verdict: Kakumeiki Valvrave

Starting today, I will be writing about my overall review of different anime titles that I was able to finish watching. And the first title that I want to discuss extensively would be Kakumeiki Valvrave however before I go any further, be advised that this particular article will contain spoilers and if you haven’t watched Kakumeki Valvrave then you may want to stop reading and instead, check this article out.

Supreme Verdict: Kakumeiki Valvrave

If you’re still reading then I’ll assume that you already had watched the whole series or you’re wondering if it’s even worth your time to watch the last remaining episodes of the anime. Moving forward, as I mentioned in my previous article, Kakumeiki Valvrave is an anime similar to your regular Gundam series in a sense that there’s a group of young boys (and girls) who ended up becoming pilots of exemplary and unrivaled mechs called Valvraves while they’re thrown in the middle of nasty politics between opposing factions.

Supreme Verdict: Kakumeiki Valvrave

“Unit 01”

I like the anime overall but then again; I am disappointed at the ending. It’s as if it was rushed. Suddenly, the Council of the Hundred Handed-One…Wait…Wrong reference! Sorry! I mean the Council of One Hundred and One were eradicated juts because the probably, the animation studio or producer kinda got tired of making more episodes for the series.

Supreme Verdict: Kakumeiki Valvrave

“Oops! Wrong image!”

For some reason, the last few episodes weren’t that climactic. The battle between Cain and Haruto wasn’t that epic in my honest opinion. If you’ve watched Gundam OO’s, you’d remember that the battle between Gundam OO piloted by Setsuna F. Seiei and Ribbons of the A-laws was really epic in a sense that the battle was dynamic and hard fought. I am not sure if it’s right to compare that battle with a newly introduced mech anime made by Sunrise, who by the way is the same company who made the Gundam series but I somehow felt that the battle between the two was rushed.

Supreme Verdict: Kakumeiki Valvrave

“Haruto! NOT Naruto!”

I also wasn’t surprised with the idea that Haruto would be possessing L-Elf’s body to be able to match up against Cain at that time. What I also find disappointing was the fact that the sex scene between Haruto and Rukino really didn’t play any significant role in the story. It’s like the producers just inserted that scene for some hot fan service.

Supreme Verdict: Kakumeiki Valvrave

“Oh god, no. Not this kind of fan service!”

The most I could think of is that it just prevented the protagonist from confessing to Shoko and probably saving her from being sexually assaulted by good ol’ Haruto sometime soon while tying him to his other admirer, Rukino (who I honestly prefer over Shoko). But other than that, I really don’t see the significance of that event throughout the series, especially which Haruto didn’t seem to take responsibility of his deed throughout the story.

Supreme Verdict: Kakumeiki Valvrave

“Valvrape”

Another issue I have with the anime is that starting around episode 5 or so? Not sure, but anyway, ’round that part of the series, we see the story flashing forward into the future wherein the protagonists already won the war (which obviously spoils the ending in a sense since well, the protagonists won so no need to wonder if they’re going to defeat the antagonists), where Rukino was being chased by this guy piloting a mech which appears to be from the Jurassic period or a mech made by ZEED engineers, while piloting her Valvrave. As the scene progresses, she easily makes quick work of her opponent then looks at a locket, while the picture in the locket not being revealed to the viewers.

Supreme Verdict: Kakumeiki Valvrave

“Kapewwwwww!!!!”

Frankly, I like the idea of flashing forward but then again at the end of the series, it didn’t matter much. I was even more surprised when Rukino ended up marrying the prince of Dorssia, A-drei, as implied in the ending, hence the reason that whenever the episode starts with a scene involving Rukino , it shows that she has a son who looks like a carbon copy of L-elf, and is referred to as the prince. I was actually expecting Rukino to somehow end up with L-elf because as I’ve mentioned, the kid looks more like L-Elf and NOT A-Drei.

Supreme Verdict: Kakumeiki Valvrave

“Do you resign to be an idiot?”

Moving forward, there are also the two Magius siblings, Pino and Prue, who serves as the guide program for Valvrave unit II and Haruto’s Valvrave respectively. And the thing is that Prue’s role didn’t impact much of the story other than being the guide program of Valvrave II. In the end, both of them disappeared due to Haruto and Cain’s demise and that’s that. They weren’t remembered at all throughout the end of the series. They were merely treated as guide programs, nothing more nothing less. Pino didn’t even develop a mutual relationship with Haruto other than being a program that needs nourishment coming from Haruto.

Okay, fine, she used to be Marie’s friend and that but the anime could’ve at least developed the relationship of the protagonist and the guide program similar to how X and Tepei of B’T X developed their friendship. That would’ve added more dimension to Pino’s role and gave her more character rather than just being a program who craves for runes.

Supreme Verdict: Kakumeiki Valvrave

“Drop your pants”

Also, at the end of the series, I kind of scratched my head when the memorial room where Haruto’s unit was located was invaded by two extra-terrestrials and encountered Shoko who, instead of acting scared or surprised which should be the character’s natural reaction, offers peace instead! Frankly, these extra-terrestrials made their way there because we can assume that they have a specific mission to accomplish and I highly doubt that they’d be interested in making friends with a random girl. I do like the idea though that Shoko decided to resign as a human to be able to pilot Valvrave Unit I, maybe as a way to atone for her sin.

To sum it all up:

  • Ending was disappointing. It felt rushed. Shoko’s reaction was unrealistic with regard to the alien intruders. Why the hell did Rukino Saki suddenly got engaged with A-drei and bore him a son when Haruto’s the more likely person to give her a son after having sex in the earlier episodes?
  • The series is a good watch but don’t be surprised if you see a lot of unrealistic scenarios. As much as possible, try not to compare this to the usual Gundam you grew up watching even though both are made by the same company.
  • Suddenly, L-Elf was no longer part of the time skip at the latter part of the ending when I think he deserves a scene of his own since well, he’s suppose to be the supporting lead character.
  • The concepts introduced in the story such as the Valvrave needing runes to work, and the anime’s portrayal of extra-terrestrial vampires are honestly unique in my opinion. And I really love Akira’s character and role in the story as well as Rukino Saki. Also would have been better if Shoko died for real in the first part of the series though a revenge plot would probably be too mainstream.

So, is it a good watch? It’s a good watch as long as you’re willing to suspend your disbelief in a number of episodes.  I am not sure if I missed anything but feel free to comment and share your thoughts!

Thanks for reading!

@ravenknives at Twitter

Raven Knives

Imagecredit:

hakotoshokan.wordpress.com
gatherer.wizards.com
www.comicvine.com
myanimelist.net
dxana.blogspot.com
kakumeikivalvrave.wikia.com
www.nerd-age.com

Meanwhile, in Modern…

Contrary to most would expect, there are not much Faerie decks occupying the top slots of tournaments even in MTGO. In fact, there was only one Faerie deck that got first place in MTGO.

For reference, here’s the deck list that the player used to win the event:

Meanwhile, in Modern…

As we can clearly see there’s still a lot of room for improvement and innovation for the UB Faeries deck but we can say that it’s likely that those who fought the Faerie player were caught off-guard hence their losses. Not to mention the inherent strength of the archetype and the banning of Deathrite Shaman which used to be an auto-four off in most decks that can afford to play the card, namely Melira Pod and Jund, with the latter’s performance being badly affected by the loss of Deathrite Shaman.

Meanwhile, in Modern…

It’s also not surprising to see a number of Zoo decks as compared to Faerie decks to occupy the top spot of MTGO events and even here in our local community. With Bitterblossom’s price continuing to shoot up as PT Valencia draws near (it’s currently at $60), as well as most Faerie pieces (Sunken Ruins, Mistblind Clique etc), local players are more likely to have a difficult time acquiring a play set of the said card as compared to 4 Wild Nacatls and some fetchlands, with the exception of Tarmogoyf which I believe is more accessible to most players in terms of availability if not the price.

These days, I’ve been taking note of the players who’re getting the top spot in a local tournament center called Mindstorm Games Hobby Shop since they usually host a tournament for the modern format. As I’ve mentioned in a previous article, I’ve been interested in playing in the modern format but I just haven’t found the opportunity to get some of the cards to complete a deck for modern since I am more focused on Standard. Let’s take a closer look at the local modern metagame.

For reference, here are the top 8 players as well as their respective decks.

Tuesday Night Modern at Mindstorm Games Hobby Shop Top 8

1st place – Ben C – Tribal Zoo

2nd place – JJ Luces – URW Midrange

3rd place – Ron J – Melira Pod

4th place – Roberto G – RG Tron

5th place – Francis P – Jund

6th place – Mark B – Monored Burn

7th place – Raymond M – RUG Eternal Command

8th place – Adan M – RB Elementals

I’ve been following the tournament results of Mindstorm Games Hobby Shop’s Modern format for a while now and I can say that based on the weekly results, there is no specific metagame in that tournament center. However, based on this week’s tournament results I can honestly say that Ben Cardenas has gotten a better grasp of how to pilot his Tribal Zoo as compared to last Tuesday’s tournament wherein he only got third place which is still an impressive finish.

For reference of last week’s Tuesday’s tournament results:

1st place – Ron J – Melira Pod

2nd place – Doc Yu – Geist Junk

3rd place – Ben C – Tribal Zoo

4th place – Donovan B – BG Rock

5th place – Josef G – Junk

6th place – JJ Luces URW Midrange

Jonathan Luces  (or JJ as he’s commonly referred to by those who personally know him) also had started to climb up rapidly piloting a URW Midrange deck while Judge Ron Joson’s results remain consistent; a clear testament that the Melira Pod archetype is a force to be reckoned with, as well as the remarkable skills of the player who has been piloting it for a very long time now.

Meanwhile, in Modern…

“Judge Ron Joson’s Melira Pod”

On the other hand, the only reason I could possibly think of why Ben Cardenas decided to play a Tribal Zoo as opposed to his usual UG Infect deck is that he wanted to try another archetype for a new fresh experience. His constant winnings with his UG Infect shows that the former nationals champion already mastered piloting the deck. Based from such a performance, we can say that UG Infect is also a good metagame choice in the local community though it would take a lot of practice to be able to identify optimal hands in every match up, as well as the sequencing of cards.

Meanwhile, in Modern…

“Ben Cardenas’ Tribal Zoo”

Also, something to take note of is that the Jund Archetype isn’t dominating the local metagame and it’s most probably because of a number of factors mainly card availability issues. The banning of Deathrite Shaman in the modern format also badly hurt the archetype, particularly against the more aggressive match ups since Deathrite Shaman does not only help ramp up to a third turn Liliana of the Veil but it can also stave off early damage by its ability to gain life. As evidence of the tournament results in the past few weeks.

Meanwhile, in Modern…

“Jonathan Luces’ URW Midrange”

There’s also the possibility of people hating the archetype more than they should which kept Jund decks in check. It is true that Jund may be one of the most powerful archetypes in the modern format but with the recent bannings, it’s likely to experience challenging obstacles in future tournaments to come. This is also not to mention the expected rising of the Faerie archetype which may not be apparent right now but will likely be the case after PT Valencia that I am anticipating to have multiple copies of Bitterblossom in the top 8.

Meanwhile, in Modern…

Another observation would be the decline of combo decks in the local metagame and this may be because of the threat Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek poses to combo decks. Not to mention Zoo decks kills fast. As an added note, I wouldn’t underestimate the power of Zoo decks as an archetype that already has occupied a number of spots in the top 8 both in the local community and in MTGO.

Meanwhile, in Modern…

Of course, we can’t really say that the tournament results in the local tournament center are the representation of the Philippine modern metagame as a whole, but since they’re the only tournament center that I know which hosts a weekly tournament for the modern format, it’s safe to assume that the decks in the top 5 at the least would be a good start if we’re to represent the local modern metagame.

Overall, the local modern metagame is wide open and any well-constructed deck with a sound plan can potentially take down the tournament. However, if you want to increase your chances of winning the tournament, you may want to consider playing Melira Pod, UG Infect, Zoo and or a URW variant, not to mention a Tron variant. Affinity may also be a sound choice but it’s up to you on how you plan to tackle the metagame. What do you think?

Thanks for reading,

@ravenknives at Twitter

Raven Knives

imagecredits:

Gatherer.wizards.com

wizards.com/magic

Special thanks to Judge Ron Joson of Mindstorm Games Hobby Shop, Jonathan Luces and Ben Cardenas for sharing their winning deck lists. Wishing them more winnings in tournaments to come!

First Impressions: Kakumeiki Valvrave

I am not really much of a fan of anime which involves politics, wars and or mechs in short; I am not a fan of any Gundam-esque anime. To be fair, I did enjoy most of the Gundam series that I’ve watched in my lifetime with Gundam Wing being the first of them, followed by G Gundam which were all televised locally and dubbed in Filipino. I must say that dubbing done by the voice actors here are decent as compared to their western counterparts.

First Impressions: Kakumeiki Valvrave

Gundam Wing and Gundam G. Space Limitations.

It took a very long time before I found myself watching an anime which involves politics, wars and mechs and coincidentally, an anime made by Sunrise, the same company who brought us the Gundam series. So what do we have going for this anime? For one, it’s not another one of those Gundam-esque series and though the series still sports the usual students or young-uns as protagonists,  they aren’t like Heero Yuy or Setsuna F Seiei who’re extensively trained in the arts of combat and war.

First Impressions: Kakumeiki Valvrave

“These boys will surely whip your sorry asses if you don’t behave girls”

And that in itself is actually a bit of my issue regarding the anime. The story takes place in an unknown future which is referred to as the 71st year of the True Era where countless human beings have migrated from Earth to live in various space colonies and planets (Sounds familiar right?). Two superpowers dominate the world namely the Dorssia Military Pact Federation and the Atlantic Ring United States or what’s referred in the anime as ARUS. Amidst these two factions is Japan and Islands of Oceanian Republic or JIOR which is located in the Dyson Sphere which acts as a colony of some sort and is a neutral faction.

First Impressions: Kakumeiki Valvrave

“And that my girl is where Hitler died. ‘Nuff said.”

And the protagonist, Tokishima Haruto, gets to pilot a mech, called the Valvrave, the first time and was able to deal with the Dorssian forces that invaded their home, JIOR, efficiently without any training or background in piloting robots. Yes, I find it unrealistic as compared to Amuro Ray who’s more familiar with different mechanisms when he first piloted a Gundam. I do however appreciate how the anime was able to incorporate the concept of vampirism in such a setting.

First Impressions: Kakumeiki Valvrave

“I am pretty sure that cheerful face of Haruto wouldn’t save his sorry ass”

It’s rare for the concept of vampirism to be integrated or used in a sci-fi or mech genre anime and as far as I remember (though correct me if I am wrong), this is the first anime I’ve watched that was able to utilize the concept fluidly. I also figured that this is Sunrise’s attempt in toning down the more mature content that most Gundam anime have and made this anime to appeal to the younger audience in particular. And I guess they’re successful in doing so since I didn’t have any difficulty in understanding the plot of the whole series but that’s for another article.

First Impressions: Kakumeiki Valvrave

“School girls. Never leave home without ’em”

The artwork is of course, reminiscent of what you usually see in most of Sunrise’s works so it’s good. I do appreciate the tragedy in the first episode and it would’ve been great if they kept it that way but oh well. Then again, I realized that Sunrise put the concept of highly-trained super soldiers in the form of these Dorssian boys, not to mention, the bishounen appeal that were apparent in Gundam Wing.

First Impressions: Kakumeiki Valvrave

“They’re the goddamn meisters. Not.”

Overall, Kakumeiki Valvrave is a decent watch especially if you enjoy watching anime having mechs and politics mixed together. Just expect a number of inconsistencies as the story go on and if you’re someone who’s particular about realism then I wouldn’t recommend this. That aside, the anime is enjoyable to watch.

Thanks for reading,

@ravenknives at Twitter

Raven Knives

First Impressions: Kakumeiki Valvrave

Imagecredits:

www.otakustreamers.com
ghostlightning.wordpress.com
www.angelfire.com
www.gaiaonline.com –
myanimelist
www.fanpop.com
www.animevice.com
www.zerochan.net
mechachan.com
animeaura.com

Happy Valentines Day Lizzie! <3

Just want to take this opportunity to show how much I love you Liz! I hope you like it!

L-ive with me forever my darling

I-‘ll never let your hand go

E-ven if the worlds be torn asunder

Z-ealous efforts are only for you alone

L-izzie, my one and only

Happy Valentines! I love you!

Happy Valentine's Day Lizzie <3

“I love you”

Happy Valentine's Day Lizzie <3

And since I wanted to also do something M:tG related, I came up with this:

L-eyline of Anticipation for the years to come

Happy Valentine's Day Lizzie <3

I-zzet Charms to you I sincerely offer

Happy Valentine's Day Lizzie <3

E-lectrickery to tickle your fancy and interest

Happy Valentine's Day Lizzie <3

Z-ealous Conscripts to fight for our cause

Happy Valentine's Day Lizzie <3

L-ightning strike the earth below to pave the way for our future

Happy Valentine's Day Lizzie <3

Hope you like this. Love you always!

Happy Valentine's Day Lizzie <3

imagecredits:
wallsave.com
gatherer.wizards.com
www.jeuxonline.info
weddingseve.com

Thassa’s Rebuff: Yay? Or Nay?

It’s already been a week since Born of the Gods became legal in the current Standard format and based on recent tournament results, the metagame didn’t really change that much. You’d still see Mono-Black Devotion decks trumping everyone’s deck in your local hobby shop or an Azorius Control in another. There may be a few changes in the deck lists of players but nothing really out of the ordinary. It’s not surprising anymore to see the king of Oreskos included in white-based decks or Mono-Black Devotion decks utilizing the much hyped Bile Blight to deal with various threats.

And like what most are expecting, the Mono-Blue Devotion deck is perhaps the only deck which didn’t get much upgrades in the new set. And frankly, I don’t really think that this card can make much difference.

Thassa’s Rebuff: Yay? Or Nay?

I love playing blue because I really enjoy the opportunity of being able to stop what the opponent’s trying to do with counter spells.

Thassa’s Rebuff: Yay? Or Nay?

“Wolverine, Doctor Strange, and Richard Kane Ferguson. Wait.”

I can still remember the times that I used to play with my cousins years ago using a UW Millstone deck having 12 counters in the main; Four Force of Will, four Counterspells, and four Arcane Denials. It was so much fun sitting on them and then if they over commit, you just cast a Wrath of God to clean the board and then mill their deck slowly using Millstones and or a Grindstone.

These days, the power level of counter spells available in the Standard format right now is just no way near comparable to the ones of old. Sadly, even if I pray to all the gods in the world, good or bad, or even the ones in Theros the chances of Wizards of the Coast reprinting Force of Will is very unlikely.  And though this one looks good in paper, I am feeling iffy about its function because of another counter spell that hasn’t really made much impact in the Standard format.

Thassa’s Rebuff: Yay? Or Nay?

Before we talk about Thassa’s Rebuff, let’s talk about Spell Rupture first. Spell Rupture is the kind of counter spell that you’re likely to put in a creature tempo-based deck wherein you play cheap creatures with decent power that can maximize Spell Rupture’s effectiveness. A good example would be aggro bant decks of the recent Standard wherein you play a first turn dork, and then a Loxodon Smiter or a Strangleroot Geist to beat down the enemy while you sit on the rupture.

Thassa’s Rebuff: Yay? Or Nay?

The downside of it though is that if you’re against a deck that has a lot of removals then you are likely to get stuck with a dead counter in your hand at some point in the game. This especially holds true when you’re fighting true control decks that uses Supreme Verdict.

Thassa’s Rebuff: Yay? Or Nay?

Thassa’s Rebuff  functions in a similar manner except that instead of looking at a creature’s power, we look at the player’s devotion count. This is slightly better in a sense that since devotion doesn’t only count creatures but also other permanents with blue mana symbols on its mana cost, it can still function even if you don’t have creatures but you have other permanents like Bident of Thassa or a Jace in play that add to your devotion count. But it suffers the same drawback that the former counter has when your opponent packs a load of permanent removals.

Thassa’s Rebuff: Yay? Or Nay?

“Now, imagine Jace holding that”

The problem that these two counters have in common is that they are unable to counter the spells that you really want to counter like Supreme Verdict which effectively gets rid of creatures which is where these two counter spells mostly get their strength from. At the same time, you’re forced to commit creatures every time that your opponent gets rid of one which means that you’re tapping precious mana that you should be leaving up to be able to counter your opponent’s spells.

And if your opponent is not able to get rid of your creatures then you’re already probably winning in the first place. Also, Thassa’s Rebuff, just like most counters, is not a good card especially when you’re behind because it doesn’t do anything at all for you nor anything that will get you ahead of the game. I wouldn’t be surprised if Thassa’s Rebuff doesn’t see much play in the near future since Spell Rupture which has a similar function didn’t see much play as well back then.

The best scenario that I can see the counter spell working is against decks that doesn’t do well when it comes to removing permanents. Decks like R/G Monsters or G/W aggro may possibly fall prey to Thassa’s Rebuff more often than not and if these decks become popular, I wouldn’t be surprised to see blue decks using this two cost counter as oppose to the usual Dissolve. But it still won’t counter Skylashers and Mistcutter Hydra which are the threats that you really want to deal with in the first place.

Thassa's Rebuff: Yay? or Nay?

“Good luck rebuffing these guys”

Overall, Thassa’s Rebuff may seem like a nice counter but I am not really seeing it being a staple or playing a big role in Mono-Blue Devotion decks in the nearby future. For the meantime, I’d prefer to stick with my Dissolves.

Thanks for reading!

@ravenknives at Twitter

Raven Knives

imagecredits:

gatherer.wizards.com

 

Financial Trends: Faerie Rising

It’s just been three days or so when Bitterblossom became legal in Modern and look what’s happened in a short period of time

Financial Trends: Faerie Rising

“THAT Bitterblassam!”

I was planning to sell my extra copy of Bitterblossom but seeing its upward trend as well as the potential of the card’s price increasing more after MTGO gets updated of the latest changes and after PT Valencia and GP Richmond, I decided to hold back for the time being. Though for Bitterblossom’s price to rocket up further there has to be multiple copies of it in the top 8 of any of these big tournaments.

Of course, there’s also the possibility of decks without copies of Bitterblossom to make it to the top 8 instead as oppose to those who utilize the black faerie tribal enchantment due to hate. And the thing is that this is a real possibility because these days, I’ve been seeing and hearing people considering playing burn decks that are good against the blossom player.

As I’ve said in my previous article, Faeries, which will likely become a viable archetype in Modern, may be dominant back in the day but the environment it will face now is purely different. There may be people who believe that unbanning Bitterblossom will be disastrous to the format’s health but then again, we can’t also discount the possibility that it won’t and only time will tell which side is correct.

But based on the trending shown above, one thing is certain; a lot of people are excited in playing the Faerie tribal enchantment. In fact, you’d see conversations in Twitter revolving around Faeries and some who are already testing the archetype.

Financial Trends: Faerie Rising

The pros on the other hand are keeping mum with regard to their plans especially that PT Valencia is just a few weeks away so don’t be surprised if you don’t hear anything from them about the decks that they will be playing in the upcoming PT event. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of them play some UB Faeries and B/W tokens which is another archetype that has tremendously gained an upgrade.

Financial Trends: Faerie Rising

“B/W Tokens”

Imagine this scenario:

T1: Land, Thoughtseize/Inquisition of Kozilek

T2: Land, Bitterblossom

T3: Land, Spectral Procession

T4: Land, Intangible Virtue and Blood Artist (or another Intangible Virtue or any 2-3cc spell)

Sure, it’s a nice trip to Christmas land but it’s possible none the less. And how about Abrupt Decay you said? Well, it’s similar to the Doom Blade argument. If your opponent has it, then well and good, but if your opponent doesn’t, or like lost it, thanks to being plucked away by a turn one Thoughtseize or Inquisition of Kozilek, then Bitterblossom will be uncontested and will be a problem and a big one at that.

Another archetype that is likely to return would be Zoo. With the unbanning of Wild Nacatl, true aggro decks will likely make resurgence especially this coming PT Valencia. Would the Bitterblossom decks be able to handle a deck having beefy creatures coming out of the gates as early as turn one?

Financial Trends: Faerie Rising

“THIS is a ZOO”

To sum it all up, Modern will surely be shaken up by these changes. These prices won’t be dropping anytime soon until the first batch of results from MTGO in the Modern format goes online, not to mention that the hype created by the unbanning of the said card is very high. I won’t be surprised if Bitterblossom’s price shoots up to $80 after PT Valencia, especially if multiple copies of the card occupy the top 8.

So, should you buy your own playset of Bitterblossom while it’s sitting at $50 each?

My take on that is unless you will be playing in a Modern tournament soon and or you’re going to invest in the format, you may want to hold off for the meantime and reconsider. Though keep in mind that even if no deck sporting the black tribal faerie enchantment gets in the top 8 of PT Valencia, it’s still unlikely that the hype and price of Bitterblossom will go down anytime soon. There’s still GP Richmond after that and by that time, the decks with the Bitterblossoms may already have adjusted to the new metagame as well as to the hate.

Do take note that these are purely speculations based on the data that I’ve gathered. I am no financial expert when it comes to Magic: The Gathering but the numbers above still say something about what could possibly happen in the near future. Would Bitterblossom take Modern by storm or would it get severely hated to survive the up-coming metagame environment? What do you guys think?

Thanks for reading,

@ravenknives at Twitter

Raven Knives

Imagecredits:

www.starcitygames.com

gatherer.wizards.com