EDH Favourites : Mono-Colored

EDH/Commander is my favorite format. It allows such a wide range of deck-building options, and you can really express yourself through your decks. This appeals to me greatly, especially when I see theme decks, and especially flavorful decks. I tend to make either really powerful decks, or really casual decks.

I’d like to share my favorite commanders with all of you, within 4 different posts. This time, I will cover my favorite mono-color commanders. Mono-color commanders offer the purest color pie experience in EDH. The decks are oftentimes single-minded, having access to only one color. You really get to see the weaknesses and strengths of each color, even with access to nearly all of the cards in magic’s history.

Mono-Blue : Memnarch

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Memnarch is probably my favorite creature in MtG. He is the World Warden, the Wicked Wizard, the Obsessive Overlord. Memnarch takes your permanents…all of them.

With infinite mana, Memnarch serves as the best theft-based mana sink in the game. He keeps your opponents’ permanents….permanently. He turns card advantage on it’s head, by allowing you to gain an advantage while disadvantaging your opponents. Normally, filling your deck with mana producers seems underwhelming, but Memnarch turns any excess mana into additional permanents on your battlefield. He is oppressive, yes, which is why I only play him when I’m playing against other powerful combo decks. And with a head that big, how couldn’t he out-think his opponents?

Strength : Card Advantage

Weakness : Aggro Decks

 

Mono-Red : Kamahl, Pit Fighter

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Kamahl is the champion of the Pit. He is a vicious gladiator, coating his massive blade with the blood of his opponents. Pretty manly, eh? Alas, he lacks stamina; he is a one-minute man. But man, does’ he know how to smash during that minute!

Kamahl is the king of pingers. He is a lightning bolt on a stick, who deals 3 damage to any target the moment he comes out of the command zone. But more importantly, he comes out swinging, possibly doing 6 commander damage to an unfortunate opponent. He is aggressive, and also shoots lightning bolts. To me, Kamahl is a red purist, epitomizing the classical aspects of the color. You can build him as tribal pingers, or you can voltron him up, or you could just run burn spells and hasty creatures. His versatility is his strength, just as it was in the Pit.

Strength : Damage

Weakness : Big Booty Blockers

 

Mono-White : Crovax, Ascendant Hero

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The Time Spiral Block gave us so many amazing remixes of the color pie, game mechanics, and even previous characters. Crovax is known as being a merciless vampire, corrupted by Phyrexia and turned against his previous allies. His story is complex and nuanced, creating a multi-faceted character with a living, breathing history. In typical What-If fashion, Planar Chaos gave us a parallel universe-version of Crovax, who’d been cleansed of his corruption, and who became an incredible force for good.

I love Crovax, and always wished he’d gotten a happier ending during the Weatherlight Saga. This card gave him that happier ending. Because he fights against the evil that had corrupted him, and as such, I build him with a Black-Hate theme. Because he fights the darkness, I have him joined by a team of creatures that have Protection from Black, and various tools to lock down their black minions and the swamps they come from. Crovax is an anthem that can be saved from nearly everything for 2 life, who sometimes nerfs your opponents’ creatures. He is the hero we deserve, but not the one we need when we’re not going against a black deck. 😀

Strength: Going against Mono-Black decks

Weakness : Going against another Mono-White deck

 

Mono-Black : Mikaeus, the Unhallowed

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Poor Mikaeus. Once a religious leader, he was turned into a zombie by that evil wench, Liliana. Just as she corrupted my favorite Planeswalker, Liliana defiled the pious Mikaeus, and used him as a puppet for her own ends. A tragic end to a holy man who tried his hardest to preserve a dying faith.

This Zombie is actually a combo machine. He goes infinite with so many cards that it borders on ridiculous. And with access to Black, you can easily tutor for all of your combo pieces. Bring pack your creatures endlessly, while draining or pinging your opponents to death death in the process. It’s easy as 1. 2. 3 combo pieces! I solemnly swear as a Johnny player that Mikaeus is a combo player’s wet dream. Humorously enough, I almost always forget that he destroys humans that deal damage to you!

Strength: Winning Outright

Weakness: Getting Hated Off the Table

 

Mono-Green : Kamahl, Fist of Krosa

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Look who decided to become a member of the Green Party! Kamahl had a revelation within the deepest parts of the Forest of Krosa, and spent a great deal of time meditating on all of his past crimes as a Mono-Red brute. Being taught by the forest and it’s protectors, Kamahl became a druid, and found an inner peace through continued meditation. His future was not a peaceful one, however, seeing how he was forced to kill his own sister, who’d essentially been turned into an avatar of death by the evil Cabal.

Kamahl’s Green incarnation is even more versatile than his red one. Not only does he turn lands into prime targets for removal, but he also pumps your entire team. Overrunning your opponents with infinitely big creatures is always good for a laugh, and a win! Just as he epitomized the classic features of Red in his previous card, the Kamahl represents what makes Green great; the ability to punch your opponents really hard. I mean, look at those bulging muscles!

Strength: Big Brawny Creatures

Weakness: Board Wipes

 

*Colorless – Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

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To finish things off, let’s cover the mysterious and inherently weak Colorless….color? Not having access to colored mana drastically reduces your options for things like early interaction, but it doesn’t matter when you fill your deck with artifact ramp and slam down the always cranky, never lackluster Ulamog.

Eldrazi Titans are notorious for their cast triggers, which normally ensure that you aren’t wasting large amounts of mana to cast a spell that might just end up getting countered. Spending 10 mana to exile two permanents is pretty amazing by itself, but imagine getting a 10/10 indestructible creature out of that has a disgusting attack trigger! And by the way, you always have access to it! EDH is one helluva format, eh?

Strength: Exiling Stuff

Weakness: Slow to Interact

 

Tune in next time for my favorite 2-color commanders!

Culture War

It’s so strange, living in such a socially precarious time, after having grown up in the bubbly era of the 90s and 2000s. I find myself having to watch what I say when I go out and meet new people, since voicing the wrong and otherwise harmless view could immediately turn you into their enemy. I am a conservative. Expressing many of my views on the current government, society at large, and even facts about biology could get me thrown out of establishments I frequent for leisure and business. I wouldn’t have thought that I’d end up living in such an Orwellian environment, yet here we are. Many talking heads warn of the impending fascist crackdowns on freedom of speech, but those crackdowns are already here, in the form of social pressure.

I’ve seen this behavior seep into nearly every fandom and community I’ve held dear since childhood. Comic books, Magic the Gathering, even Star Trek and Star Wars have fallen victim to toxic concepts like identity politics, third-wave feminism, and grievance culture. These concepts are inherently hateful, exclusionary, and destructive. They bloom forth from anger at institutions that their adherents view as racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and a host of other claims that can be summed up as “problematic”.

Seneca said that anger is “greedy for revenge even when it drags the avenger to ruin with itself.” Such is the nature of those on the left who utilize the concepts I stated earlier to “correct” the mediums and works they gain control over. In their rush to imbue their own views into products that have been successful for decades, they end up running them into the dirt. They destroy the very things they gained dominion over, only to end up being ridiculed by their competitors (in some cases) or fired (in the best case). But because they have built up their network of supporters through the unifying concept of Intersectionality, they are never truly punished. If they fail at one endeavor, they are simply given another endeavor to fail at, no matter how colossally they failed in the first place. So the destruction is perpetuated again and again, as it infects nearly every institution in the western world.

The far right has been guilty of violence, but it is hard to say that they have caused as much strife and division as the left. Charleston may have been a terrible event, but it doesn’t compare with the constant violence perpetrated by AntiFa, the calls to violence against the right by leftist celebrities and media personalities, and the constant negative reporting and seemingly never-ending criminal investigation of the President of the United States, Donald Trump, which only serves to divide the country further.

There has been much discussion about the causes and effects of the Culture War we are experiencing currently. Both questions have complex answers, but one thing is simple and apparent; this war is destroying people’s ability and desire to communicate with people that they view as different from themselves. Self-segregation is becoming more and more common, which only exacerbates the problem. Both those on the right and on the left are alienating themselves from each other more and more, with constant ad hominem attacks made about each other.

“Leftists are crybaby snowflake SJWs who aren’t capable of independent thought.”

“Everyone on the right are racist neo-nazis who want to kill all POC and LGBT people!”

What is necessary is a common ground to be reached between both sides. What is needed is a….dare I say it…”safe space” where both sides can carry on dialogues without fear of mob retaliation for expressing their views. If this cannot happen, if the two sides can’t restore rational communication between each other, then we are left with a fractured society. We will be left with a civilization split into various factions, unwilling to have meaningful engagements with each other. Although I am not completely opposed to smaller groups being formed that govern themselves independently , I do think that it would be a shame to no longer be able to exist within a large, open nation. Another possibility would be the seizing of power of society by the group who already seems to have the most power, the Leftists. Some theorize that this is inevitable, seeing as how western civilization has always seemed to move more and more to the left. In that situation, the Leftists would most likely enact increasingly socialist policies that would quickly bankrupt the nation, leading us into a hard economic downturn that could pave the way for an authoritarian government. I feel that this possibility is the most likely, and it isn’t something I look forward to.

In any case, I’m doing my best to have open dialogues with people when I can, and to passively resist the ever increasing destruction of traditions that benefit society.  We can’t, after all, openly rebel against the group with all the power. We can compete with them, and form our own institutions independently of theirs. Giving people an alternative to the madness all around them gives them the ability to combat it by living a life that transcends it.

Western Traditionalism / Gay & Black

I was recently called a “Black Caucasian” by a guy online, when I told him that I identified more with “Western culture” than with “Black culture.” I laughed, because I’ve been called various things like this since I was 4 years old, such as “Oreo” and “White-Wannabe.” I suppose much of it stems from the fact that my internal vision of myself was that of a white guy when I was a kid. It was a way for me to cope with some severe bullying I experienced from several groups of black kids as I was going through high school. They bullied me because they didn’t think I was “black enough”, so I mentally distanced myself from my own physical appearance, as weird as that sounds. So for the first 18 years of my life, I really did feel like I was a white person, at least mentally.

Because I didn’t have much of a connection with my majority-black heritage, I lacked much of the culture that other black people had, such as a need to act tough and listen to rap. I was instead bookish, always wanting to learn about history and science. At an early age, I saw myself as a junior classicist, reading the works of Aristotle and Socrates, Homer and Sophocles. With an understanding of the building blocks of western civilization, I gained a greater appreciation of it, and sought to learn how all the pieces of society fit together. By the time I was in high school, I had a pretty good idea, and I felt justified in my abandonment of “black culture.” In my mind, I was rooted in a far greater tradition, not one founded on slavery and the oppression it brought about. I did not want to confront that aspect of my heritage, and instead saw the slavery of my ancestors as an “opportunity” for me, and the other blacks who were eventually freed from their chains and allowed a seat at the table of American civic life. To this day, that is my primary viewpoint, that Western Civilization afforded me a wealth of knowledge and understanding, despite the unfairness of slavery in its past, and racial inequality that still exists today. I could understand that no matter what society a person lives in, there will always be hierarchies that form, that will always create inequalities of power.

I came to terms with my homosexuality in high school, which complicated my ideologies for a time. I’d been a believer in traditional values, like chivalry, marriage and family, as well as a belief in God. But when I began to be open about my sexuality, I was told by most of the people around me that these values were incompatible with being homosexual. I was told that homosexuals couldn’t marry and have real families. I was told that homosexuals were all sluts, and that dating and romance were not possible between two highly-sexual men. I was told that homosexuals could not be Christian, because God decreed the homosexual act to be sinful. The society at large hammered me with these facts, especially since I belonged to a conservative community. I saw myself as a conservative, yet wanted to live a homosexual life with a loving husband someday. I chose to abandon my values, and sunk into a period in my late teens and early twenties where I was both promiscuous and an atheist.

It took me several years, but eventually, I was able to gain an understanding that my values were indeed compatible with my sexual orientation. I reshaped my worldview, and gained a greater confidence in my own sense of what was actually right, and what other people said was right. I found that there were other homosexual men who wanted to court and marry. The government then made gay marriage legal, making it a reality in my mind, not something I would only have to do ceremonially. And I found Christian churches that accepted homosexuals not only as worshipers, but ordained priests as well. My relationship with Christ and Christianity has evolved much since I was a teenager, but I have been able to regain a love of Jesus Christ through understanding that he was a kind, understanding man living in a time where homosexuality seemed equivalent to “exploitative pederasty”, and he would surely not condemn a man to hell for loving another man who is capable of loving him as well.

So today, the label that best suits me is that of a Western Traditionalist, with a homosexual spin. I believe in the classical ideals of order, virtue, moderation, and individualism, grounded in a divine morality that exists beyond humanity. I believe that family is the pillar of society, whether that family have a mother and father, 2 fathers, or 2 mothers. I believe that a belief in God combined with a strong religious tradition gives an individual the strength and framework to overcome any challenge, and practice a morality that isn’t changed or discarded on a whim.

And lastly, I believe that race is secondary to culture as far as behavior is concerned, and that we as human beings must see each other as individuals independent of our immutable physical traits. Any member of any race can attain a culture that lifts them out of the violence, ignorance, and irresponsibility of a different culture. I am an example of that reality.

A Magic Origin Story

So, I’ve been playing Magic the Gathering for about 10 years total. I got started in the original  Mirrodin block,  back in 2003. I was in middle school at the time, and was brought into the game by a teacher who ran an after-school club for playing cards, D&D, and board games. I was quickly taught the ropes, started playing both Type 2 (Standard) and Type 1 (Vintage), and fell in love with the game.

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A Mirrodin wallpaper I used yeaaarrrrs ago.

I played for nearly 4 years straight, got out of the game during 10th Edition, came back for Alara block (Esper so cool!), left again during New Phyrexia (Why the heck did the damn Phyrexians ruin my favorite plane!!), came back for Return to Ravnica (Of course), left during Theros block, and didn’t come back until Kaladesh.

Returning for Kaladesh was a bit serendipitous, as it ended up being a broken artifact set just like Mirrodin was. ♥

I’ve never been very competitive, although I’ve acted like I was when I was in grade school, hah. I’ve attended a few GPs, but seldom make it to Day 2 in any Main Events.  I’m more of a skilled casual player. Over the years, I’ve gotten out of the competitive formats and mainly stick to my two favorite formats; Limited and EDH.

I’ve gotten a lot out of this amazing game. I’ve made lifelong friends, improved my ability to think strategically, and benefited from investment opportunities, haha. Magic the Gathering has definitely improved my life, which is why it’s my favorite hobby~!

Motorcycle Diaries

I was on the road a month and a half ago, for a period of 4 months, riding my motorcycle across the US. A lot happened during that time, good things and bad things to be sure. I sit here in my home, where I left from, and I am reminded that I wasn’t really changed by it. The camping out in remote areas, the constant conversations with people so very different from me, and the month living in bittersweet Mormon Idaho…these things did little to remove the coldness and lingering despair I tend to feel about life in general. It was…an interesting diversion, to say the least. Certainly enough to write a novel about, to be sure.

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The First Half of My Trip – Orlando to Seattle

I went to GP Vegas during that trip, which turned out to be pretty last minute. I rushed from San Diego to get there, once I realized that it was happening just 2 days later. Quite a ride, from San Diego to Las Vegas. It was worth it, though. Haven’t spent a lot of time in Las Vegas, so it was a lot to take in, especially since I’d been staying in desert National Parks throughout Arizona and New Mexico during the previous 2 weeks. The GP was pretty routine, just more MtG “celebs” than other GPs.

I had a great time playing commander with new folks, primarily from California. They have a weird sense of humor and ease of being that I’m not used to. It was refreshing though, as I’m more used to uptight magic players who reek of insecurity and pettiness. My two decks, Jarad and Memnarch, went undefeated there. Folks started not feeling good about playing against them, so I made a draft-chaff Rona deck to humble myself before them. The gesture was appreciated, even if I didn’t end up having much fun playing it, hah. I did have fun playing with the friends I made, so that is what mattered. That was the first time I’d used a female commander, so that’s a bit of a milestone for me. I didn’t feel the normal urge to make a male commander that I could envision myself “being with”, so hurray for not gaying up my commander experience yet again. 😀

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GP vegas 2018, early on the first day.

I went to a few card shops over the course of my trip. The most unique of them was ABU Games in Boise, ID, which was located in a building that had previously been a Gold’s Gym. Their super-casual commander rules were pretty ridiculous, but I get the feeling that the place is fun outside of that.

I really enjoyed visiting Renton, WA and staying with an old, good friend that lives there. To my surprise, Wizards of the Coast HQ was only 5 minutes from their house, so I get to check visiting that place off my bucket list. The Seattle area has such miserable weather, so that explains some of the decisions they’ve made over the years…haha! I was even able to play with an interesting R&D guy at a nearby card shop, who I’d coincidentally ran into at GP Vegas a few weeks earlier. I had a full “WoTC experience” in Renton.

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WoTC Headquarters

Taking breaks to play MtG were some of the highlights of my trip. Although, bringing along 2 decks that had about $8000 of value in them on a cross-country motorcycle trip probably wasn’t the brightest idea. 😀

 

The Journey Begins

Where to begin…

I’m starting this site because I want my own corner of the internet again. I’ve had such personal sites before, but I’ve always deleted them in the heat of some emotion I experienced. So much time and energy put into expressing and sharing myself, only to be deleted when I’ve felt extra lonely. Never again. This site will be an eternal testament to what I love, who I am, and what’s going on with me. I’m older, wiser, and better at not letting my emotions run wild.

So yeah, Magic the Gathering, Anime, Video games, Music, Philosophy, Travel, and more. There are so many things I want to share with the world, and this is a great way to do it.

Let’s do this, boys.

It’s pointless to cry. One is born and dies alone. — Cesare Pavese

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