Category Archives: Guest Writer Archive

Guest Writer – Atlantic City Grand Prix Tournament Report

OBS: This is a post from January this year and so is a bit out of date, but the event still happened and the report was still written by one of our guest writers! And asked to be shared a while back. Of course my lack of work on this blog made it not happen… well… now it happened! Link to the original post at the bottom of the post, enjoy!

Atlantic City Grand Prix Tournament Report
Posted on January 20, 2013 by reithena

First, sorry this took so long. I started school back up this week and was getting started there as well as Trev coming back home and apartment searching…so busy the past few days!

I only stayed for five rounds. After round five I was 1-3-1 and it just put me in exasperation mode, but more on that later.

My day started at 5 am when I woke up to start driving from Delaware to Atlantic City. Now normally I love these early morning drives, but there was fog. Crazy awful Silent Hill levels of fog in some areas, not just the normal morning stuff in low lying areas. So it took me an extra 30 minutes or so to get up there. Not to big of a deal.

Then, I try to park in the parking lot across the street from the convention hall. Press the button, press the button, one more time, no, not going to give me a ticket. Call up the convention hall. The number for general inquiries is just a a calendar of events. So I start calling every person on the list for the convention hall. I finally get someone, who thankfully sends someone over rather quickly. However, the fix wasn’t fast and by the time he told me the machine was broken it was 9:00 am. Registration closes at 9:30. Crap. He tells me another way into the parking lot which, while on the same block takes a lot of driving due to the number of one way streets, park in the first spot I see and run. I will not have woken up that early and driven that far for nothing.

I get in the hall at 9:20 and just start to fill out paperwork. It is these times that I’m always happy that I have my deck list pre-written out on my phone. Got it all done and they were still registering late comers and giving them time to get things in order. Okay.

So I milled about. Looked at some cards, bought the playmat from rk post since I didn’t get a chance to register early. Went and found a spot and started to do some extra shuffling. They posted seats for the players meeting and I reported. Got to see a lot of familiar faces. It was very nice to see people from various other tournaments and events at the table and to know that we seem to be continuously sat near each other.
I loved it, thought it was awesome…so did my mom and she wanted to steal it.

I loved it, thought it was awesome…so did my mom and she wanted to steal it.

Then it was off to the races.

Round 1: This was an interesting round. The first game I was able to easily take care of all of the threats that he had, which was mostly a Olivia Voldaren. Other than that his deck was Red and Black, but control. All about removal and life reduction through soceries. I was eventually able to just get out enough creatures, and big ones at that, that he could no long remove. I eventually ran him over with Jarad and some Dreg Manglers. The next games went just the opposite. It seemed like he side-board in some extra Olivia’s and Pillar of Flame. Having things exiled rather than sent to the graveyard was a big hit. I had side-boarded in some Tragic Slips rather than the usual Ultimate Prices since pretty much the only creature he had was Olivia. I would throw things out every turn, but it just wasn’t enough between the exile and the stealing. game three was a complete wash as I got stuck on three mana. Lot’s of things in the graveyard, Jarad in my hand, but I could not seem to just get there in time. It was unfortunate, but I wasn’t upset. It was nice to lose to someone else who had completely created their deck from scratch rather than just buying the cards that the current decks were playing.

Record: 0-1

Round 2: In round two I faced a Red Deck Wins build. This, I thought, was going to be a bad match up for me. It turns out I was wrong. The first game he just couldn’t deal with how fast I was able to throw out creatures, start killing his with Ultimate Price or the Golgari Charm. I had no issues with just blocking and chunking things to the graveyard. I seemed to really confuse him when I pitched a Thragtusk for a dual land during a Grisly Salvage. But then again, when I can throw down a Jarad and have him huge, and throw a Rancor on him right off the bat, there is no need not to.

In between games he made the comment of not knowing what to side in against me, or how to really play against such a deck. Which I’m fine with. Game two went even faster, but in his favor. I had a really bad hand and wasn’t pulling things fast enough to respond. At most I thinkI had two Dreg’s and a Geist out, but I needed them all to block.

Game 3 was a bit longer. It went in my favor, but it was sad as for part of it he just seemed to give up. He started to come back at the end, but there isn’t much you can do about me laying out two Strangleroot Geists, having no issue Golgari Charming to whip out most of your critters and bring them back from undying, and then add even more counters on to them. It just hurts. However, he was able to do damage to me via Vexing Devils. So I won, with three life left.

Record: 1-1

Round 3: Bant control OMG I hate you and can’t wait for you to be gone. Thankfully the person I was playing against was fantastic! The first game just went on and one and got to the point where I didn’t have answers. Mostly for all those Restoration Angels and Thragtusks. It was a pretty standard game all things considered. Had him at 2 and then he just jumped back up to 17. Ouch.

Game two was far more interesting. I had what in my book was God Hand. All the right lands, great creature curve, and some removal if need be. Liliana always helps too. Put out a Deathrite Shaman and Gravecrawler so I was hitting for 3 pretty fast. Then I added on a Geist. He was able to get out a Thragtusk, but I just Ultimate Priced it to stop the Resto Angel that could happen. Started chipping away again, and played Lilliana and started to get him into the cycle of discard while I had nothing. He started to just play things to ry and get it out on the board, so I popped Liliana’s Ult after already doing splits with his Jace, and gave him the Choice between an Angel and his colorless lands or his colored lands. Oh the conundrums I love putting people into! At this point we were at time. He wound up keeping his colored lands and was able to play another Thragtusk and some Sphinx’s revelations, but never for much life gane and I was able to just widdle him away. Particularly after another Liliana resulted in more sacrificed creatures.

Record: 1-1-1

Round 4: This was good for me because it was the first time I had gone up against Frights/Reanimator. I had issues. Mostly on the fact that I mulled to 5 in the first game and didn’t have an answer for fliers other than Ultimate Price or Golgari Charm to wipe his spirits. It was a quick game, which only about 9 turns in it.

Game two went a little more in my favor. He didn’t draw into much and with Deathrite Shaman I was able to exile a lot of his spells that had flashback quickly. This game was even shorter then the first, only going for six turns. An army of Dreg Mangler’s will do that I suppose.

Game three was very long. We both took the shock, but I was the first one to get an creature out. And it was looking good for a while. I was able to sit there and exile things and either do damage or gain life with Shaman and do damage with Strangleroots and Dreg’s, and the occasional Gravecrawler. It looked promising. And then something horrible happened where he suddenly had 20 health and I had 11. And it just did not get any better. He was able to take me out in two swings thanks to more flying creatures. I really hope I can solve this problem now that I see it more clearly.

Record: 1-2-1

Round 5: This was a round. It was another Bant Control deck(joy of my life), but the guy I played took forever. In fact, I was upset that I wasn’t looking at the play clock because our first game took 45 minutes, he shuffled my cards so they were missed up sleeve wise, and he looked at two of the same card that had different art for a long time. It took so long sometimes I was forgetting whose turn it was. He won the first game and I was quick to move on too the next. In which a judge came over to observe and see how far along we were regarding play time. I said Game 2 turn 2. She seemed rather appaled by this and stuck around to watch in which my opponent kept taking time, looking at notes, tapping, untapping, and rearranging lands before playing a card. I had him down to 1 health and we drew. He won the round and I was incredibly bitter. I gave the judges my report on the match and they said they would keep an eye on the player in the future.

Record: 1-3-1

Now, after that last match I decided to drop. I would have loved to have kept playing and try to get the sour taste out of my mouth, but at the same time I was exasperated, tired, and a little pissed. I didn’t want my ill mood to ruin someone else’s good time that I could only imagine they were playing at such a record. Plus, two hours back to Delaware. I figured if I had been doing well I would just crash in my car or something along those lines, but at that point I just wanted to go ‘home’ and have my futon.

I did pick up some packs from the Lowryn block because that is what I do. Got another one of the filter lands, I think I have about half of them now. I also valued the time that I had in between rounds. There were a lot of great people to talk to. Of course there was the occasional, aww you’re here on behalf of bf/husband/what have you, but by now I’ve learned to calmly explain that I am not. It was also great that there was a young girl there who was kicking ass and I could point to and be like, been playing since I was a bit older then her.

So overall, no regrets. Lessons learned as per always, but never regrets. Now I’ve started to even get a group of people that I see at all of these types of events together and talk to them. It makes me feel pretty awesome.

Guest Writer - Renee

[Original post can be found here: ]

Report by Renee – Escapist Expo Day 3 & 4

So the last two days of the expo where so much of a run around that I did not get to write promptly.  I’m so sorry!  Here is my recap though along with pictures!

Saturday got off to an interesting start.  My first match of the tournament never showed up so I wound up going over and playing Bob Maher instead.  I did not want to waste the time just sitting there on my hands, I wanted to get some practice in and get a good feel for my deck.  Plus he was playing things I had never seen before, which was way awesome.  I won the first round, which was a really nice boost to my confidence, but lost the second, which was fine with me because seeing the mechanics he had going was astounding!  We ran out of time before the next round of the tournament to even out the tie breaker, but it was till way awesome to play against someone of that caliber and have Jon Finkel watch.

As for the actual tournament I had another match where I won in regards to someone not showing up, a lot of people absolutely confused by the various numbers of werewolves I had and the fact that each one had an answer to something.  A few people who when I busted out the Thundermaw Hellkite were like, that isn’t a werewolf!  So?  He messes your day up like my werewolves do…he is just a Were-maw.  However, I did not win any of these matches.  I had this issue of either getting all lands or all creatures and mulliganing myself to five.

It was seriously as if my deck was not really shuffled enough until my last match up, which went nearly perfectly.  Playing against a Delver Deck was cake!  I out aggro’d him to a point of no return.  On top of that, Mondronen Shaman/Tovolar’s Magehunter caused major damage to those decks with the sheer amount of spells they throw down.  Pair that with an Immerwolf and make it unflippable and the result was very damaging.

In the end, I wound up in 39th place out of over 70 people, which for my first tournament did not seem to bad to me.  By the time the tournament was over, though, there was not time to do much else.  We went and hunted down food, which wound up being Bull City Burger.  In between a few matches though I was able to get out real quick and pick up a new play mat(which was need since the tables where damaging my sleeves).  There were only five of these made and Cynthia Sheppard was nice enough to sign it for me!


That evening we also took part in a cubed draft.  That was absolutely insane!  I played with cards that I had either not seen in forever or had never seen before which was just a really cool instance!  I tried to play a blue/red mill deck, but I just wasn’t able to really get the ramp up and going.  I guess that is the downside of cubed.

Did I mention that there were some 5,000 people there on Saturday?  Yeah, next year will be amazing and will need to be held in a bigger place.  Kinda happy that I was stuck in a tournament the whole time.

Sunday/Day 4 was a lot more low key.  We went and shopped a bunch.  I picked up a T-shirt that has a Stormtrooper walking an AT-AT. AT-ST, and AT-TE which is just fantastic!  I also got a set of tie-die dice, a new deck box, Yoda card sleeves, and a Vulpix hat.  I also won a new tabletop game and some new gaming headphones from Plantronics that are bound to be more comfortable then my current ones.

I also got a picture of this guy:


This is David O’Brien, who I have now referred to at the Magic the Gathering Knight.  He has this awesome costume with dice, and chain mail dragons from cards.  He has a white play mat that he then takes with him to cons and such to try and get the artists of Magic to draw him on and sign.  It is a way awesome idea.    It was really neat to see someone so dedicated to the game as well.

I got to watch the start of the finals for the League of Legends tournament, but by the time they would have really gotten started, I needed to be in my D&D Next session.  This was beyond fun!  I got to play as a Hafling Rogue Cook…and I decided to throw salt on a frog that was attacking me.  Take that Frog!

Did I mention that our DM was THE James Wyatt…you know, guys who does a lot of Forgotten Realms stuff, Lead Designer for Next, has worked at Wizards for a long time, etc.  Anyway, his DMing was amazing!  It was incredibly fluid for only having 2 hours and 9 people of varying skill.  He was able to instruct those of us who had little experience with D&D and react quite quickly to those of us who were able read the character sheet and really get all the steps down instantly.  We did not get very far in the campaign, but we had lots of laughs and killed some good creatures.

By the way, I’m enjoying Next a lot more then 4.

The American Classic Arcade Museum was really awesome.  I got to play some games where I don’t even know how people tolerated them back then.  Food Fight…really? OMG I wanted to kick the thing.  However, my love of Dig-Dug lived on and I simply could not resist the bicycle pump.  Trevor had his own obsessions to deal with throughout the day.

Also, won a pair of GameCom 380s from their booth quite accidently!  I took their survey figuring who doesn’t need more girl gamer input and wound up walking away with a pair of super comfy gaming headphones…SWEET DEAL!  Probably going to give them a good run through tonight, and Trev would like their bluetooth ones, so we will certainly see.

But Sunday went by way to fast.  I wish there had been more time, but I’m not sure what we would have done with it.  I think it would have been great it there could have been more events going later into the evening, but with a con only going from 10 am to 6 pm, I feel that I certainly learned a lot, made a lot of great new friends, listened to some good music(go check out D&D Sluggers ;) ), and of course played some awesome games.

Plus, with some free time, a little relaxation happened:

So until next year, keep your decks updated, the character sheets fresh, and remember, GAMING IS LIFE!


(Originally posted here:

Report by Renee – Escapist Expo Day 2

Yesterday was a lot of fun. We sat on a bunch of panels and learned some new stuff, got to hang out with some really cool people and I played a really shitty deck and FNM.

Trevor got a lot of information regarding how to get into freelance writing for games and start working on that process while I have some new stuff I want try game wise. We also met a lot of creators, lead writers, and editors which was just awesome. The process they go through is really neat depending on how they are approaching and what kind of IP they are working on.

We are going to go nab some breakfast before starting the Tournament today so it should be really busy again today. I am going to play the werewolf deck since I got all my Daybreak Rangers I was hoping for. I’ve got photos on G+ and Facebook is coming so keep up there! In the meantime, something that won’t appear there!

Trevor and another member of the Sealed Draft trading before hand.

(Originally posted here:

Report by Renee – Escapist Expo Day 1

I know this is posted a bit late, my apologizes. But here it is non the less, the first part of three. – Nurgleprobe

So we got here last night around 8 pm. Trev and I wasted no time in the getting to no people and suddenly start playing random games. He got sucked into a random game of the PAX deck bulding game while I played a few people in Magic. I had so much fun and I found some really good thing out about my R/G deck which was useful.

Speaking of decks, I promised a B/G exalted deck, didn’t I? Well it has been tweaked and fixed and hopefully will work well now.

4 Duty Bound Dead
4 Tormented Soul
4 Knight of Infamy
3 Deadly Recluse
2 Scorned Villager
4 Vampire Nighthawk
1 Predator Ooze
2 Duskmantle Prowlers
2 Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis

4 Rancor
3 Tragic Slips
2 Ring of Xathrid
1 Mutilate

4 Cathedral Of War
10 Swamps
10 Forest

2 Cower in Fear
2 Mind Rot
2 Distress
2 Murder
3 Naturalize
4 Servant of Nefarox

That is what I have right now.. I’m debating playing this or my Wolves deck, which has also been going through some adjustments. Hoping to get through some more games today and figure out which one works better and go from there. Anyway, off to get badges and our day two!

(Originally posted here:

Article by Reithena – Persona 4: Arena: A Deeper Look

I still very much love this game after playing it both with people and a bit more through the story line. The controls are tight and responsive and animation really cool. There is occasionally a little too much talking…where you will have a conversation with someone and then the character has an internal monologue about what just happened. I just kinda sit there and am like, I just heard that, I don’t need to hear it again. But the storyline, at the same time, is really cool since it ties both Persona 3 and Persona 4 more together, beyond what they had done in Persona 4 already.

Playing PvP is really fun, particularly when you have two people who don’t quite know what they are doing. The button mashing that ensues results in some really neat combos along with some missed opportunities. But you see something and then you become determined to master it. Then it never wants to work against the computer! Is that not always the way, though? It was also a little bit more of a social fighting game then I normally see. When you go and play people want to talk about their favorite characters. Not in the way you hear during Street Fighter or Tekken…but in a much deeper way. In most cases, these are characters that you have played hours upon hours of story line with and have a deep vested interest in their lives and personalities. You speak of them more like old friends then characters. And you don’t get into fights over which character has the better move set, but over who has the deeper story and how they interacted with that other persons favorite character. It creates a much different social dynamic that I enjoy to no end.

Now into the single player story mode. I’m not sure what the point of the bookmarks are. I stopped the game one night, went to go pick Yukiko’s story back up…and had to start from scratch. Despite having bookmark 6. I went back to the title screen and looked for what I was missing. Didn’t see anything. Looked in the guide. Nothing. Checked the internet and there are very few discussion on the bookmark method at all. Am I the only person who just doesn’t have the time to sit there and marathon through these thing? Anyone have any tips or is it really a rather useless feature that just allows me to fast forward(not skip) some of the talking?

I did complete Main Character’s story mode, which then unlocked two new characters for me to use. Not sure why I got two characters I did not encounter at all throughout the story, but sure. The biggest disappoint was the lack of a final boss. I’m not sure if I have to clear all the characters to get to that final boss. You see this epic cut scene with Labrys and Shadow Labrys and the character prepares to fight, but then nothing, you just go back to character select. I’ll be following up on this in future posts probably.
Copyright Atlus

Labrys is pretty cool looking…although it maybe my love for blue haired girls talking.

Other than that, it is an awesome game. I played with the extra pictures that were included and the sound effects and while nothing new from a fighting game, it is still nice to see the characters in such great detail. If you are a fan of fighting games like BlazBlue or Guilty Gear pick this up. If you love Atlus, pick this up. If you love complex stories with questions abound, pick this up. If you just want to see your favorite characters in a new light, pick this up as well.

( Originally posted on: