Been a While

Well, it’s been so long since I last wrote something here. It’s just that a lot of things have happened and somehow, it got me sidetracked.

That aside, hopefully I’ll be able to post more content here in the days to come.

For the meantime, take care and thanks for reading!

Veilbearer

The empty wine glass fell
On the polished marble floor
Spilling dreams of crimson and ebony
Shattering into countless reflections of the future

Chasing a promise blown away
By the cruel wind of tomorrow
Drifting aimlessly into oblivion
Tears fall from eyeless ivory masks

Calling out the forgotten name
In this endless twilight of longing
Listening to this maddening melody
A lullaby foreboding a sorrowful end

An empty wine glass held
By an unseen delicate hand
Covered by a veil of enigmas
Soulless eyes stare into the emptiness
Once again, the fairytale begins anew

Scattered Faith and Fates

Stormy winds blow scattering faith
Breaking vases of promises
Evaporating into the empty skies
Countless queries sealed in rotting coffins

Faceless children run on black sands
Leaving no foot prints except blood
Trickling from their eyeless visage
No mouth nor voice to cry out their anguish

Ebony wings spread soaring high
Crimson eyes watch the passing of time
Hearing the dead offer empty prayers
Dissipate at the first light of day

Questions will be muttered by dry lips
But will be struck down by the merciless gods
And laid waste as if it was evil incarnate
Shattering faith and renewing none

A dove flies into the endless horizon
Whilst a grim raven flies towards oblivion
Faceless children continue to play on the black sands
Doomed to chase the ripples of past

Wake Up To A Bluer Sky

Child, why do you shed tears?
Look up to the clear skies
The battle may have been lost
But the war will be won

Have faith in the heavens
And reinforce your beating heart
With the strength of your comrades
Listen to their call to victory

Look below you, yes, look
A white rose blooms below your feet
May it serve as hope
For you to draw your sword

Feel the wind that brushes your face
The cold and nourishing water you drink
The green land that lies behind you
Step forward to war and draw your blade

Cling to the future and not at the dead you see
Strike a pure strike that is free from despair
If you find blood trickling your brows
Smile, stand and trudge forward
And tomorrow, you will wake up seeing a bluer sky

Under The Raven’s Watch

The raven watches the god forsaken world
Perched on the branch of the tree of the dead
With jade eyes and wings as black as the void of the universe
It patiently waits for spoils of men’s wars

It watches as men devour each other
For earthly matters like wealth, power and love
Awaiting for one to fall to the depths of despair
Only will it will then fly off
To gnaw on the spirit of the fallen

The raven will forever watch
This heaven-scourned piece of earth
With jade eyes that has seen endless despair and suffering
And will continue to patiently wait
Until the sleeping god awakes
to make its inevitable black judgment

Journey into Nyx Standard Spoiler Season: Iroas, God of Victory

A few days ago, I was speculating what kind of abilities the new gods from Journey into Nyx would have. I initially imagined that Iroas, the red white god would have an ability which would grant creatures you control first strike or maybe even haste.

Suffice to say, my guess was very far off from what Wizards had in mind:

1.	Journey into Nyx Standard Spoiler Season: Iroas, God of Victory

Like with planeswalkers, evaluating gods can be a real challenge. A god may primarily appear overpowered on paper but may prove to be less as time passes by. On the other hand, I actually like Iroas for the reason that he only costs 4 and has immediate board impact, provided that you have creatures on the battlefield. In addition, Iroas, God of Victory also benefits from his own static ability and has enough power to beat the lights out of your opponents.

Just imagine this sequence:

T1: Soldier of the Pantheon

T2: Precinct Captain/Ash Zealot/Burning-Tree Emissary

T3: Hammer of Purphoros/Chandra’s Phoenix

T4: Iroas, God of Victory

Obviously, this is a magical Christmas land scenario but then again, draws like this happen on occasion if not often. And even if the God of Victory doesn’t awaken the turn it comes into play, having him on the battlefield ensures that your creatures will get through the red zone unopposed.

I honestly think that the centaur god will be generally good against decks that are brimming with creatures, particularly against Selesnya or Red/Blue Devotion decks but I am imagining that this is a dead card most of the time against decks packed with removals like Monoblack Devotion and most control decks.

The thing is that the ability that it grants your creatures against an online Elspeth, Sun’s Champion might be neat but you’re probably already losing at such a time. In addition, Iroas’ abilities clearly require the deck to be creature dense if a player expects to effectively utilize him. Not to mention, creatures that lives to tell the tale before Mogis’ twin enters the fray.

Journey into Nyx Standard Spoiler Season: Iroas, God of Victory

With the current metagame leaning towards control-based strategies like Monoblack Devotion as well as Esper, I don’t expect Iroas to make much of an impact. Besides, if I am playing a boros color-based deck, I’d rather leave mana up for a Boros Charm to keep my creatures from being decimated mercilessly by a Supreme Verdict. Tapping out to play Iroas only for the opponent to completely sweep your board is a total blowout.

Overall, I like Iroas, God of Victory in a vacuum but as long as the metagame is filled with control decks, I highly doubt that Mogis’ twin would be seeing play anytime soon. How about you? What are your thoughts about Iroas?

Thanks for reading,

@ravenknives at Twitter

Raven Knives

Journey into Nyx Standard Spoiler Season: Iroas, God of Victory

Standard Journey to Nyx Spoiler Season: Hall of Triumph

It’s the first week of Journey to Nyx’s spoiler season and boy did we get a treat from the first batch of cards that were spoiled.

Standard Journey to Nyx Spoiler Season: Hall of Triumph

“That’s Elspeth wielding Godsend illustrated in the mural”

A lot of people were excited to see this the first time it was spoiled, me included, and one of the first things that people realized is that this artifact can complement Master of Waves.

One of the common problems that the merfolk wizard have is that if the opponent has spot removal for him end of  your turn, then it can be a total blowout since the tokens he produces dies along with him while you’re tapped out and defensless. However, having a Hall of Triumph on the battlefield will keep the Master of Waves tokens from dying in the worst case that their master dies.

Standard Journey to Nyx Spoiler Season: Hall of Triumph

Here’s a list that I made yesterday because yeah, I am damn excited to try this:

Monoblue-Devotion

Main Deck: 60

Lands: 24

21 Island

3 Mutavault

Creatures: 30

4 Cloudfin Raptor

4 Frostburn Weird

4 Judge’s Familiar

4 Master of Waves

4 Nightveil Specter

2 Sigiled Starfish

4 Thassa, God of the Sea

4 Tidebinder Mage

Spells: 6

2 Bident of Thassa

2 Hall of Triumph

2 Rapid Hybridization

Hall of Triumph seems good in this kind of list and if only it wasn’t legendary like Heliod’s spear, it would’ve been better. Another inclusion I made was this:

Standard Journey to Nyx Spoiler Season: Hall of Triumph

I personally find starfish in general cute even though I haven’t seen or touched one in real life. Then again, this would be the first starfish that I’d be touching, even if it’s only on cardboard. I only included two copies of the echinoderm because drawing more than one copy in the mid to late game is not really something I’d want.

In addition, the starfish generally serves only as a blocker and doesn’t contribute in killing your opponent. However, being able to filter your draws more in addition to what Thassa provides during your upkeep is something I find very exciting. On the other hand, I am imagining most control decks would want 3-4 copies of these cute sea creatures in their lists in addition to the 12 temples that they utilize.

On the other hand, there’s also this list:

UW Devotion

Main Deck: 60

Lands: 24

1 Azorius Guildgate

1 Godless Shrine

4 Hallowed Fountain

11 Island

3 Mutavault

4 Temple of Enlightenment

Creatures: 30

4 Cloudfin Raptor

2 Ephara, God of the Polis

4 Frostburn Weird

4 Judge’s Familiar

4 Master of Waves

4 Nightveil Specter

4 Thassa, God of the Sea

4 Tidebinder Mage

Spells: 6

4 Detention Sphere

1 Hall of Triumph

1 Spear of Heliod

Wouldn’t it be great if you have two Glorious Anthems on the battlefield? Not to mention that the spear adds towards Ephara’s devotion. As much as I want to add Sigiled Starfish here, there’s not much space to fit it in.

Standard Journey to Nyx Spoiler Season: Hall of Triumph

How about a white-based aggressive deck utilizing Hall of Triumph?

Mono-White Aggro

Main Deck: 60

Lands: 22

4 Mutavault

18 Plains

Creatures: 28

2 Banisher Priest

4 Brimaz, King of Oreskos

4 Boros Elite

4 Daring Skyjek

4 Dryad Militant

2 Imposing Sovereign

4 Precinct Captain

4 Soldier of the Pantheon

Spells: 10

2 Ajani, Caller of the Pride

4 Brave the Elements

2 Spear of Heliod

2 Hall of Triumph

This is basically your standard mono-white aggressive shell which includes the King of Oreskos plus the possibility of having two anthem effects to pump your swarm.

Here’s another list but with a lower curve:

Mono-White Blitz

Main Deck: 60

Lands: 22

4 Mutavault

18 Plains

Creatures: 30

4 Boros Elite

4 Cavalry Pegasus

4 Daring Skyjek

4 Dryad Militant

2 Imposing Sovereign

4 Loyal Pegasus

4 Precinct Captain

4 Soldier of the Pantheon

Spells: 8

4 Brave the Elements

2 Spear of Heliod

2 Hall of Triumph

This take on the white weenie archetype doesn’t rely on Brimaz’s board presence but attempts to take down the opponent as fast as it can before the opponent has a chance to build a strong board presence. Cavalry Pegasus ensures that all your creatures, which are mostly humans gets through for a beating. Having 16 one drops makes sure that your turn two is filled with cheaply costed creatures that can be powered up by either the spear or the hall.

Standard Journey to Nyx Spoiler Season: Hall of Triumph

Mono-Red Aggro

Main Deck: 60

Lands :22

18 Mountains

4 Mutavault

Creatures: 32

4 Burning-Tree Emissary

4 Chandra’s Phoenix

4 Firedrinker Satyr

4 Firefist Striker

4 Foundry Street Denizen

4 Gore-House Chainwalker

4 Rakdos Cackler

3 Rubblebelt Maaka

Spells: 7

3 Hall of Triumph

2 Mizzium Mortars

2 Searing Blood

This is basically Patrick Sullivan’s mono-red aggro list with the minor adjustment of replacing mainboard shocks with Hall of Triumph and I am not sure if putting three copies in the main is the right thing to do. I am sure Patrick Sullivan has the best answer to that.

Mono-Green Aggro

Main Deck: 60

Lands: 23

18 Forest

2 Mutavault

3 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

Creatures: 30

3 Boon Satyr

4 Burning-Tree Emissary

3 Courser of Kruphix

4 Elvish Mystic

4 Experiment One

4 Kalonian Tusker

2 Nyea, God of the Hunt

2 Polukranos, World Eater

4 Sword-wise Centaur

Spells: 7

2 Garruk, Caller of Beast

2 Hall of Triumph

3 Pit Fight

Green isn’t really my specialty but here’s what I was able to cook up but I am sure seasoned green mages out there would be able to cook up something better than what I have.

Overall, I am interested in how mono-colored based aggressive strategies will adapt with Hall of Triumph now available for them to utilize. Though there are people who are skeptical of this not with Spear of Heliod marginally seeing play, the possibility of having two anthem effects is not far off.

Right now, I am happy that Monoblue Devotion has a tool that it can potentially use. Also take note that it’s just the first week of Journey to Nyx spoiler season so I am hoping that it doesn’t stop here. So far, what cards are you finding interesting?

Thanks for reading,

@ravenknives at Twitter

Raven Knives

imagecredit:
gatherer.wizards.com
wizards.com/magic

Standard Journey to Nyx Spoiler Season: Hall of Triumph

Supreme Verdict: Tokyo Ravens

We’re back in another episode of Supreme Verdict wherein I share my general impression and thoughts about an anime that I just finished watching. There has been a couple of anime titles that has recently ended and a few more that will end in the weeks to come so I am taking this opportunity to discuss some of the titles that I’ve watched upon their conclusion.

Warning: This article contains spoilers so read at your own leisure!

One such anime that I’ve been following would be Tokyo Ravens. For those who’re not aware of the premise of the anime, it’s basically about a guy named Tsuchimikado, Harutora and his cousin Tsuchimikado, Natsume, childhood friends who both enrolled in an Omnyo Prep School located in Tokyo. After a spiritual disaster that took place in their hometown, Harutora decided to become Natsume’s spirit familiar who swore to protect her as long as he lives.

As the course of the story goes, the main protagonist along with their newfound friends eventually encounter the Twin Horn Syndicate who’s bent on kidnapping Natsume for they believe that she is the reincarnation of Tsuchimikado Yakou, the so-called King of the North Star and the most powerful Omnyo exorcist to have ever lived and who they believe would lead them to a new era.

Supreme Verdict: Tokyo Ravens

“I said “King” NOT “Fist”!”

Now that we’ve established the setting of the story, let’s go down to business. I am actually disappointed at the last episode of Tokyo Ravens.

Supreme Verdict: Tokyo Ravens

VSAT = Viewer Satisfaction Chart

The thing is that the episode seems rushed in a sense that Natsume’s resurrection wasn’t even dramatic as well as the events that soon followed. I do find the part where Ohtomo Jin asked Ashiya Doman to be his familiar very interesting. The battles were not that climactic in a sense that there wasn’t even a scene where the awakened Yakou showed what he can do even if it was momentarily.

Supreme Verdict: Tokyo Ravens

I understand that Reiji and his familiar Shaver had to retreat being aware that they cannot defeat Harutora in his current state the same with Takiko Souma keeping her familiar Yashamaru/Shido Dairenji from clashing with Hishamaru, Yakou’s familiar. But damn, the episode would’ve been better if there was a part where Yakou displays his true power against the antagonists. Sadly, there was none.

Truth is that I’ve always been a fan of anime series wherein the beaten up protagonist would awaken into a different and powerful character that’d really kick the ass of their antagonist easily. Similar to what happened here:

 

This will always be one of the most epic fight scenes that I’ve seen in anime history. Yes, Tokyo Ravens is not a battle anime like Dragonball, YuYu Hakusho and or One Piece but having such a scene would make it more memorable.

Also, the anime ended leaving me with a lot of questions like how did the Taizan Fukun ritual actually go that Harutora/Yakou had to leave Natsume? In addition, why leave Natsume alone in the middle of nowhere, and alone for that matter? And without even letting anyone know where she is staying? Did they just have a “hi-ma’am-bam-thank-you-ma’am!” scene over there?

Supreme Verdict: Tokyo Ravens

Unfortunately, these are just a few of the questions that we’ll never be able to answer unless of course you start reading the manga or light novel which I am sure is one of the primary reasons why the last episode ended like that. At the end of the day, producing anime is a marketing strategy to sell the manga or the light novels after all.

Anime industry be like “Want more answers? Then give us yer monneeehhh” Yeah, painful truth indeed. However, I had to admit that the part where Kon undid the seals to revert back to her original form was cool, the same as when Kakugyouki arrived to assist her in a timely manner.

Supreme Verdict: Tokyo Ravens

“Kon’s true and final form”

My satisfaction overall for the series tends to fluctuate depending on what’s the arc or chapter’s focus but it didn’t dip in any way with the last episode being the only exception. I’d still recommend the series to those who are looking for anime of the supernatural genre with a bit of romance schtick involved. And if there’s something that the anime has it going in it, it’s the plot twist that I must say is really something I found remarkably surprising.

Supreme Verdict: Tokyo Ravens

“LRT Taft Station. Yep, they’re now in the Philippines”

I still enjoyed the whole series but the ending was just a let-down. Then again, if a second season pops up then good otherwise, I’d probably end up reading the manga or light novel instead.

Thanks for reading,

@ravenknives at Twitter

Raven Knives

imagecredits:

animevice.com
otakustreamers.com

 

Supreme Verdict: Tokyo Ravens

“Did you think that this article would end without having an image of Suzuka Dairenji?”

First Impressions: Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda

It took me a while before I was able to get around into completely watching the first episode of this anime. I attempted to watch the first episode a month ago or so if I remember correctly but thanks to me being fickle-minded, I was unable to finish the first episode (though the truth was that the internet connection at that time was really slow and I was having trouble getting it completely loaded).

Never the less, I took the opportunity to watch it today since it’s been a while since I last watched a new anime title. In addition, I was trying to get myself back into the habit of writing my first impressions of different anime titles that I watch in otakustreamers. I’ve been mostly preoccupied the last few days that I wasn’t able to find the time or the motivation to write my reviews.

Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda which translates to World Conquest: Strategem Star (trivia: Zvezda is Russian for “Star”, as in the celestial body) was written by Tensai Okamura and Meteor Hoshizora of the Japanese game company TYPE MOON(The same people who brought you Fate Stay/Night and Fate Zero).

First Impressions: Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda

The premise of the story starts with a second year middle school student Asuta Jimon getting involved with a young girl named Kate Hoshimiya (or sometimes called Lady Venera by her subordinates)who seems to have special powers manifested through her rabbit-like stuff toy.

First Impressions: Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda

“THAT stuff toy”

What makes it more interesting is the fact that she’s assisted by five unique individuals in her ambition to conquer the world.

First Impressions: Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda

“Unique Individuals alright”

As of the first and second episode, I am totally not sure if she’s an extra-terrestrial being or what but as far as I know is that Kate, the leader of the group is determined to conquer the world and each of her subordinates have their own special abilities or talents, except for Odin who seems to be another normal human being. I’ve yet to find out as I continue to watch the series.

First Impressions: Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda

“God and her champion. Seems legit.”

The anime is actually reminiscent of Haruhi Suzumiya in a sense that the premise puts the main protagonist amidst characters that are out of this world. Furthermore, Kate reminds me of Haruhi in a sense that both are young girls who seemed determined to change the world in their own fancy way. Also, both stories seems to be told in the perspective of the protagonist who’s just a normal human being while at the same time being thrown into something they are totally clueless about.

First Impressions: Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda

“SOS Brigade”

I don’t really have much to say about the artwork but I do like the design of the monsters in the first and second episode and yet to find out why the kurukuru(the cute little spuds in the series who make cute weird sounds with each having their own designated numbers) tend to become one big kaiju. The show also has a running gag about the characters that the main protagonist meets who tend to pronounce his name wrong. I also like the humor presented in the first two episodes.

First Impressions: Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda

“No, they’re not some kind of skittles”

I also appreciate the greetings that Kate and her subordinates have towards each other and find their arch nemesis’ appearance similar to the costumes of the main protagonists of another anime entitled Kagaku Ninja Tai Gatchaman or Science Ninja Team Gatchaman(also known in the US as G-Force).

First Impressions: Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda

I am even thinking that the order of the White Light is a reference to the former since its members have birds as their code names. And maybe Zvezda represents Galactor perhaps? =p Another thing I noticed is if the main protagonist’s name is a reference to Mobile Suit Gundam Zeta’s main protagonist Judau Ashta. Honestly, the two names just sound alike.

First Impressions: Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda

Overall, I find Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda amusing and a good watch especially if you want some light humor as well as an interesting plot. As of right now, it’s still one of those on-going anime and I don’t have any idea yet as to how many episodes will this anime have. However, I won’t be surprised if this anime would only have 12 to 14 episodes. For the meantime….

First Impressions: Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda

Thanks for reading,

Raven Knives

@ravenknives at Twitter

Imagecredit:

www.animexmusic.net
enci-subs.blogspot.comy
rabujoi.wordpress.com
www.animindo.net
www.watchcartoononline.com
haruhi.wikia.com
ramige.deviantart.com
helenmccarthy.wordpress.com
www.otakustreamers.com

Raven’s Verse I

As the star fell from the grace of heavens
The land below trembled and despaired
As it touched the barren wastelands
It gave birth to the sins of man

Close thine eyes god of this world
Let mankind drown in blood and sorrow
Until the world bleeds dry
Then only will you open your eyes
to beautify the world anew