Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Jacques Le Vert: Hero of Pendlehaven

Abandoning his sword to return to the lush forest of Pendelhaven, Jacques le Vert devoted his life to protecting the creatures of his homeland.

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Jacques le Vert, or Jack the Green for us anglos, is probably one of the considerably more playable Legends legends, with his home arguable being the best of the Legendary lands. I recently acquired one, and started building an EDH deck around him. With a cut off of Alliances, it was full of removal and beaters! Like any good OS deck should be.

Playability: While a castle effect, even a permanent one, isn't the most amazing ability in the game, it does share some unique qualities, and the fact he pumps himself, effectively makes him a 3/4 for 4, not bad given the time period. The most notable thing, when compared to other castle effects, is he pumps only your creatures, a unique aspect in OS, and the fact he pumps himself, is a notable good aspect. Now a 3/4 for 4 isn't going to turn heads by it's own, but it does put a few classic green creatures out of Bolt range, and as stated above, a toughness boost is always a criminally underrated effect. In 95, you can also utilize him to good effect with Pyroclasm, and he works well with Earthquake as well, assuming the X is a relatively low number. Playability 3/5. 

Art: It's a shame Andi Rusu only did art for a few sets, because he's one of the better classic artists of the game, with a thick story book look. I already gushed over him in the Sir Shandlar article. Jacques stands there on what I must assume, is the English channel (or the Dominaria Equivalent), looking good for his inevitable portrait. The washed out colors, the facial features, the minimal but distinct background features. The art looks like an old worldly attempt to capture the color and cold of the coast on a foggy morning. 

Lets not forget Jacques himself, standing there with his Sword of the Meek, his tunic and armor show he's, at the end of the day, a warrior. The art is easily the best piece part of the card. It gets a 5/5 from me. 

Art 5/5.

Flavor: While both him, and his home, pump creatures, they do it differently. Sadly, most cards that reference him, actually reference his home, Pendlehaven, a tournament staple even to this day. I do like the idea that Jacques Le Vert's mere presence increases your green creatures resolve simply by his presence. I also like the idea of him pumping himself, but if he loses his green (say to a lace), his heart goes with it, and his resolve shrinks as a result. It's like an alignment shift, and it's something I wish came around more in MtG, but alas...

Oddly enough, he's not the only Green Legend that has an effect like this. Kaysa and Meng Huo have a similar +1/+1 effect that effects themselves as well. Just food for thought. 

Flavor 4/5. 

So according to my ultimate rating system, he'd be a 12/15, making him a 4/5. In other words, a good card. Not bad, for a Legends legend, and certainly not the worst Legends legend by any grade. Sure, there are more efficient beaters at 4 mana, there are better lords as well. However, for someone looking to spice up a deck, he's a solid inclusion, and as a gold card, you get style points!

I will end with this quote:

" one sordid case, Kaysa—wherein so much life was bid that we had to question the appropriateness of the player's relationship with the card. We found him two weeks later in a hotel room with a jar of peanut butter and a play set of Jacques le Vert."--Geordie Tate, A Magic Journey (source).

Monday, October 7, 2019

Cruising on the Fallen Empires!

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"Don't let the Swedes see this"
--William John Thomas II, the Conqueror, on the Duelist article, "The Power of Fallen Empires".

 "Absolute Madman"--Alvin Mason

"No-No! I'm not interested in score ;)"--The Friend of the East.

"Bad"--Mr. Oaks

These are just minor few rants or raves of what I managed to get off of the most insane deck I think I've ever built, and the second largest I've ever built. 

Unfortunately, earlier this week, a friend of mines father died, which prompted me to go south and help him move some stuff. While there, I stopped in at one of my flgs, and after buying several cards, including a Jacques le Vert, when the operator decided to invite me to a OS event, happening up the road, a two hour drive south for me, and after a day of weighing pro's and con's, my friend said he decided he'd like to go, and I decided to check it out. 

So why this 'deck'. Well the format used a points based value system for cards, straight out of Duelists #8, as well as a 8 maximum of any card, as long as the point value wasn't above 20. While mulling over what to build, a sarcastically posted 'This post gets two dozen likes, I'll run a deck of playset of every card from Fallen Empires". It didn't (the group didn't have two dozen people on it) get that many likes, but I was openly encouraged by a few, and outside a few rares I didn't have a full set of (Draconic Sylex(2), Sand Silo's (3), Dwarven Hold (1) Orgg(2), Ebon Praetor(2), Elven Lyre (3), and Icatian Lieutenant (3)). I also decided to run a handful of non-Fallen Empire cards, for the sake of consistency, Jacques le Vert, because I just bought him, and he was in a penny sleeve already, along with Arcades Sabbath for the same reason. A wheel of Fortune and Mind Twist because I enjoy those card. Playset of Righteousness, because it's my favorite combat trick, a play set of Untamed Wilds for fixing. Finally, a playset of Sleight of Mind and Magical Hack, because of all the color hate cards among Fallen Empires. I reached 20 points, added basics (20 of each basic), counting the lands of Fallen Empires, makes 40 additional lands. 

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"Ever build a really stupid deck?"

 So the day comes, I wake up late, fly down 31 cutting through Indianapolis, and reaching the bar early, only to find everyone else is running late. So I buy a wrap, a drink, and start shuffling. My friend built a B/R Land Destruction deck. It had a set of Sinkhole, eight stone rain, a set of Hymn to Tourach, and other good cards.

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Me on the far right showing off my set of Rainbow Vale, with my friend on the left in the checkers.

Game 1 (vs Land Destruction)

 Sometimes helping people work to well. My friend did very well, winning most of the pick up games. I did the best against him, running a small weenie aggro attack against him. However, I couldn't get anything further, and eventually, he would drop a Demonic Horde, or a Hippie. Then it would become an issue. I quietly lost against him, shook his hand, and went to game two. 

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Sitting across for the first round against my friend. my reflection in the window is proof.

Game 2 (Vs Fish)

I went against a Fish deck. It was a quick, poor game, of getting beat down in an extremely quick manner. I moved on, ordering something to eat. 

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500+ cards, all love!

Game 3 (Vs Black/Blue control)

Ever get beat down by Nightmare? I lost to six of them. I did manage to play Icatian Town in this game, and I did start an aggro move.  However, Pestilence did that in. I did do better in this, then the other two games as well.

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It was a slow game, and I had hoped my hunter would hold the Nightmare at bay, until the Assasin came out.


Game 4 (Blue/Green singleton/jank). 

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the jank I lost against

This gentleman ran a deck of synergy and beatings. Including Tim and Ship for burn. I don't remember much from this match, other then I lost it. I do remember game one, I ultimately lost to a Thelonite Druid, animating enough Forests to overrun my meager defenses. One of the best decks I ran in the event. At one point, I had multiple Homarids against him.

Game 5 (Mirror Lich/beatdown)

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Lost to this gentleman and his impressive three color lich build. The other deck is pictured.

I actually played a different deck against this initially. However, I insisted to run one game with FE against this gentleman from the south. I lost to both a Lich/Mirror combo, as well as a Force of Nature, which he was running for reasons. 

Game 6 (Vs Alt. 4th).

The host, insisted on playing against the build. He ran a similar deck, a Black/White deck made from Alt. 4th cards he managed to get together. These games were some of the longest, and thus most entertaining, and the only game I managed to get out a Hand of Justice/Icatian Town combo. The games were long, were hard, but in the end, the lack of removal did me in. 

The Road game is the only game I won, a 5 man game of Planechase. One player had run a full power, EC w/u/b control version of the deck, and had locked most of the game with Moat/The Abyss. Next to him was the Alt. 4th deck, who struggled along, me, a flare/big red/burn build utilizing Power Surge, then Fish. 

After a concordant effort, the three players managed to kill the Control build, but Alt 4th left prematurely. The burn player killed fish, only for me to play a Icatian Priest, and swing for thirty two damage with Order of Lietbur. It was awesome.

All and all, it was a good time, had by all, and an amazing Luncheon. It reminded me why I loved Fallen Empires so much as a kid, and why I would want to go back to using the cards regularly when playing OS.

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