Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.
As another expansion foil-wraps it’s way to my door.
Time for critiques; is it fine, middling, or poor?
On second thoughts I won’t; because reviews are a bore.
When I saw that foul-toothed leviathan* drifting across the skies toward an unsuspecting citadel, I was keenly anticipating the next block’s arrival like a dew-eyed moppet on Christmas Eve evening just after me stocking’s gone up on the fire-place. Then cameth the Prereleases and the pre-Prerelease spoilers, and I found (as I read said spoilers) that the anticipation turned to disappointment: Like a dew-eyed nipper on Christmas Day evening when he realises that Santa won’t be coming at bedtime and Christmas is over for another year.**
Why? Well, I couldn’t make it to a sneak preview and I don’t have a regular club to play at, and I haven’t physically seen any of the cards yet, and I’m sad because I feel like I’m missing out on something – which, of course, I am – and ‘that business’ in New York and Washington just continues to dominate every aspect of all of our lives.
I first learned about it from the Internet – I thought it was a stupid, bad-taste hoax.
Every time I think about the victims, I feel those tears welling up. Oh, the adults are old enough to look after themselves – at least they’d had a chance to experience the big bad world – but what about the little ones? What about the four-year old girl who was on one of the WTC-busters? A once-only meeting with the sick sh*t of this planet and that’s it.
Who’s to blame? It looks like we’ve talked ourselves into an answer on that one.
As a parent (and, I’m sure, like every other parent) I cannot help but transpose myself onto the mother as she holds her baby to her breast a moment before the crash. I imagine wrapping myself around the child in the vain hope that any impact would be absorbed by my own body and somehow, by the Grace of God, she would be saved. As a parent, I cannot help but transpose myself onto a child hearing for the first time that a father or mother won’t be coming home – not ever – in fact, you won’t even see their bodies because they’ve been shredded by 110 floors of concrete and steel.
Look at that historic film footage! You see the planes ACTUALLY GOING INTO THE BUILDING!
All those quick-witted jokers, those proud visitors, those who were industrious, the ambitious, the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful; those who were musicians in their spare time (should make more of it than just a hobby!), those great at picking out appropriate gifts, the doodlers, the dabblers, the gamers; those who just made it into work on time, those who went in despite a minor ailment. All gone.
In real-time, down they came within an hour of each other. Imagine yourself sprinting down those stairs – how far would you go to get yourself out? Imagine yourself looking on from the second tower?
Has the full scale and horror of all of this sunk in yet? Thus, and with every good reason, I find myself praying for peace and not giving too much of a friggin’ tuppence about Magic: The Gathering.
My newspaper of choice (it has a good crossword that I can just about complete) insists on panic-mongering headlines; each day becoming more and more hysterical. I half expected to see the following this morning:
“FIND A DEEP HOLE AND GET DOWN IT”
“PUT YOUR HEAD BETWEEN YOUR KNEES AND KISS YOUR ASS GOODBYE”
“REPENT! FOR THE END IS NIGH!”
Some of you may say”Enough, already – don’t you know that the official period of mourning is now over?”
Whatever. Though perhaps I should go take a look at REVELATIONS (that’s a book in the Bible, not a freakin’ expansion) – maybe we’re approaching ‘that day’?
TRITE SUMMARY OF ODYSSEY
Buyback resurfaces with a ‘once-only’ activation from the graveyard – cunningly renamed as flashback. Fill up the graveyard and get loads of abilities free! Overcosted 1/1 creatures in such quantities that you’d be hard-pressed to kill an opponent before he/she died of boredom. Under-costed green stuff (as usual), but with no decent removal to deal with it this time. Lots of stuff to remember – keep counting those cards in the graveyard! And remember their names, or their equivalent names, for the kindle-like abilities. Still, I supposed it’d be useful to run through last Friday’s FNM Odyssey nonsense when one needs to avoid premature ejaculation during ‘the old in-out, in-out’. Granted: the heavy graveyard focus fits in superbly with the concept of a (relatively) recent Apocalypse!
I shall speak of it no more, but if you’d like to have a go at reviewing this new, pointless piece of heavy-paper piffle then go ahead – knock yourself out. For myself, I prefer to let the whole shebang sink in for a couple of months and then dish out the following ‘awards’:
- The Troubled Healer Award
The common or uncommon that single-handedly turns a probable defeat into a likely victory. The front-runner’s gotta be Overrun, doesn’t it?
- The Most Over-Priced Single From A Retailer
Mirari? Protection from Abso-bloody-lutely Everything Angel? Whatever rare Zvi uses four of in his next ‘meisterdeck’? Two extra turns for ten mana? Suggestions in a ‘baggie’ and smuggled into the country up your anus to the usual address…
- The Most Irritating Sideboard Card
Aegis of Honor? Burn is back! Unless one’s playing against a white deck. That’s gonna be a lot of fun…
- The Card Most Likely To Be The Last Card Passed In Any Draft.
Nominations, if you can be bothered, would be appreciated.
- The Card That Looks Best On Paper But Is Unworkable In Practice
Opinions shouted loudly across a crowded canteen….
- WHEN ATOGS ATTACK!
The Award for the most crushing Atog-based deck. Nominations on a half-eaten Cornish Pasty to the usual address…
- The Third Part Award
Let’s open a book now on just how badly the third set in the Odyssey block is gonna mess up the environment? Suggestions on a used car salesman to the usual address…
- The Alabaster Leech Award For Total Lack Of Utility
Quite simply, the rare you’d least like to open in a product that cost you nearly three quids; I want my money back, dammit!
Yours, in a bit of a mood actually,
* – The Odyssey ‘teaser’ ads – not a photograph of your average Englishman’s dental work.
** – A year is such a long time for a tiddler, is it not? For thou n’ Mao ’tis but the blinking of an eye, or three new sets and a handful of Premier Events – whichever is the quicker.