The Mana Pool
Join Brian, Mike, Dirk and Chewie as they discuss all things Magic: The Gathering. Since there are plenty of tournament and strategy podcasts out there, we've decided to focus on the fun of the game in all its many forms, from Prereleases to multiplayer free-for-alls to whatever else we can come up with. Give us a listen!

Just made it in before 2011!  On this episode we take a look at some listener mail, check out how Worlds ended this year (complete with a quick look at some of the decks in the Top 8), take a look at the nonsense surrounding the next two Magic expansions, and talk about the recent rules changes to EDH (or Commander if you prefer). 

Then we have the Black installment of the Core Set: Mana Pool Edition.  This time we have 6 staples from my favorite color!  I've typed about this several times before, so if you have no idea what I'm talking about, check the last few episodes.  I hope you guys enjoy it, and we'll see you again next year!


Intro Music - Diamond by Swift - http://www.swift-band.com
Break Music - Brinstar from Metroid by Hirokazu Tanaka - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirokazu_Tanaka

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-158-the-last-show-of-2010-t617.html
Check out our archive at http://themanapool.libsyn.com
Email us at themanapool@cardshark.com
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Visit Cardshark! http://www.cardshark.com
Read Chewie's 60 Card Challenge blog posts at http://themanapool.libsyn.com/category/60%20Card%20Challenge
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Direct download: Episode_158_-_The_Last_Show_of_2010.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:25pm EST

Just in time for Christmas, it's a late episode!  Sweet!  This episode has a lot of stuff going on, starting with emails covering everything from subliminal messages to holiday habits. Then we have news, which is really not news anymore but it's our take on these news items.  We've got the big Commander announcement, some decks from the Star City Invitational, and a quick rant about Tomoharu Saito's non-induction to the Hall of Fame and how little Wizards said about it.

Then there's a brief musical interlude and we go right back into Core Set: Mana Pool Edition.  In case you don't remember, Brian came up with this idea a while back.  For each color, he came up with six things that each color always does all the time, which I refer to as "staples".  Then each of us took this list of staples and found cards to fit them.  The catch is that each card we choose must be one that has never been printed in a Core Set.  Easy, right?  Well this time we're taking on Blue, and we've got lots of interesting choices.  Let us know what you think or what you'd throw in a Core Set.


Intro Music - Diamond by Swift - http://www.swift-band.com
Break Music - Zeromus by The Black Mages - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Mages

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-157-blue-with-a-splash-of-news-t615.html
Check out our archive at http://themanapool.libsyn.com
Email us at themanapool@cardshark.com
Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/themanapool
Visit Cardshark! http://www.cardshark.com
Read Chewie's 60 Card Challenge blog posts at http://themanapool.libsyn.com/category/60%20Card%20Challenge
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Subscribe to our RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/themanapool

Direct download: Episode_157_-_Blue_with_a_Splash_of_News.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:40pm EST

60CC - The Chuck Deck!

 

There you guys are! I've been looking everywhere for you! Where have you been for the last 4 months? I've had this decklist and discussion ready to go all this time. Geez, so much for loyalty in readership.

Okay, you got me. I primarily worked on these 60 Card Challenge posts at work during lunch and breaks. Then work picked up and ran, and my computer got co-opted for use on the production floor, so I wasn't able to do it there anymore. And when I got home the last thing I wanted to do was sit in front of a computer again.

But now I'm unemployed and have nothing but time on my hands, so here I am to start writing again! In my time thus far without a job, I've been watching lots of movies, and I just watched the one that originally inspired this next deck. In 2003, Ang Lee released a masterpiece, his take on Marvel's Green Goliath, Hulk. When I saw Hulk pick up a tank by the turret, spin around, and let it go hammer throw style, I knew I had to do that for myself. After throwing my back out and spending a while in the hospital with gamma radiation poisoning, I decided perhaps an exact duplication wasn't such a good idea. So I turned to Magic, and thus was born the Chuck Deck!

Okay, you got me again. There's no way this cinematic bucket of fail inspired anything other than an early bowel movement. The only good things about that movie, other than the one action sequence where Hulk chucks the tank, were the casting of the Ross family (Jennifer Connelly and Sam Elliot – holy crap!) and Lou Ferrigno's cameo. The 2008 version was superior in almost every way (except the casting of Betty Ross – Liv Tyler can't hold a candle to the aforementioned Connelly).

The real inspiration for the deck, as far as I can remember anyway, was my friend Corey's Sneak Attack deck. He would Sneak out something terrifying, like you're supposed to, then he would use Fling to get double duty out of his poor doomed creature. Since I wasn't playing back during Stronghold, I had never seen Fling before, and I was impressed. I started trying to come up with ways to maximize the usefulness of Fling without just making my own Sneak Attack deck (that and I couldn't afford a set of them at the time, I was a broke college student). The deck has come a long way from its original incarnation. If you'd like to see it, check it out at Cardshark, coming to you all the way from 2005!
http://www.cardshark.com/Articles/Magic-the-Gathering/Chewie!-Slate/CardShark-Content/View-Article/3648

But that's not where we're starting now. Here's the decklist as it stood before I did work for the 60 Card Challenge.


Chuck!
Creatures
3 Bloodshot Cyclops
3 Bloodmark Mentor
3 Thunderblust
2 Ball Lightning
2 Blistering Firecat
2 Spitebellows
3 Torpid Moloch
2 Firemaw Kavu
2 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
1 Homura, Human Ascendant
1 Brion Stoutarm

Noncreatures
3 Soul's Fire
2 Fling
2 Grab the Reins
2 Grafted Wargear
2 Rage Reflection
1 Elemental Appeal
1 In the Web of War
4 Seething Song

Land
17 Mountain
4 Boros Garrison
2 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle


Compared to the older decklist on Cardshark, I notice I've gone more heavily into the theme at the expense of utility. Huh. But that's not what I'm here to talk about! As far as what the deck does, it's pretty straightforward. I play creatures with a high power-to-cost ratio and then I toss them at my opponents. Ball Lightning and Blistering Firecat are the poster children for this. Elemental Appeal is another one that has the possibility of being super huge in the late game. Torpid Moloch is a good early drop, plus he can do a wonderful impression of a Lightning Bolt when necessary. Thunderblust is great because it won't die at end of turn and I can get two uses out of it. Speaking of double usage, Spitebellows is another great addition. I can Evoke it at half price, then respond to the sacrifice trigger by chucking it, doing six damage from the chuck and six damage from its ability. Or I can just play it at normal cost so it'll sit there until I need it, then get the double damage for chucking it. Firemaw Kavu gets triple usage if I chuck it, but sadly it costs way too much to have more than two copies.

Of course, the Bloodshot Cyclops is the centerpiece of the deck. As I said way back in that Cardshark article – in the Chuck deck, he's Chuck. Backing him up are Fling, Grab the Reins, and Brion Stoutarm, who has the added bonus of Lifelink. The latest addition is the Fling-less Fling, Soul's Fire. For just a single mana more, you get to keep your creature! It's amazing!

When Magic 2010 changed the way combat worked, this deck took a major nosedive. No longer could I assign damage from a blocked Ball Lightning, then chuck it at someone's face for double the damage. I had almost given up hope when I realized I could give everyone first strike with a two-cost goblin. Thanks to Duels of the Planeswalkers on the Xbox Live Arcade for reminding me of this little dude. To really break things open in the late game, I added in some Rage Reflection for double strike to make my hasty beaters even more terrifying. Of course, this doesn't completely bring the deck back to its former power level, but nothing ever will. So why cry about it? Evolve or die, right?

Kiki-Jiki allows for some great trickiness. Why attack with a single Ball Lightning when I can attack with a pair? If nothing else, I can copy the Bloodshot Cyclops and have it chuck itself at an opponent or creature before my turn starts. Homura is there to be chucked and make all my guys pseudo-Shivans. Definitely a bargain at six mana. In the Web of War is another singleton that is just too good to not have in here. All my swing-and-die guys get a power pump! And there's Grafted Wargear, which is really just a free boost to chuck damage. Play a Ball Lightning, equip for free, and swing for nine damage! Then Fling it at an opponent for nine more! Yay! Oh no, I have to sacrifice the creature if it becomes unattached? Big deal, the only ones I'll attach it to are the ones that are destined to die anyway! Ha!

So what did I end up doing to this 64 card deck? First off, I wasn't happy with the mana base. The set of Boros Garrison was there purely for Brion Stoutarm, but the two never seemed to come out at the same time. Well that's an easy enough fix. While I'm looking at the lands, I wasn't happy with the Valakut pair. I originally wanted them in for some late game creature control, but I found a deck better suited to a pair of Valakut, so they had to come out. Of course, I recently realized I have three others in my binder (no idea how) so they might make their way back to the deck after some more playing. Either way, five Mountains replaced the six removed lands to bring the land count back to the base of 22, the number all my decks reverted to during the 60 Card Challenge. I'll see how they run from there and adjust as needed for each one of course.

But that's only two cards down. I keep looking at Torpid Moloch. He's excellent to have on the first three turns or so, but after that he becomes somewhat silly. Sure he's great if I can get him out on the first turn and then chuck him at a blocker once he's useless, but is he really worth the slot in the deck? I don't think so. So out they come, and now I'm five cards down.

Now there's the matter of Seething Song. Don't get me wrong, I love Seething Song, I really do. But it seemed to me that EVERY time I drew it, it was either early in the game where it only did me a tiny bit of good, or late in the game when I was really hoping for a something else. And if the acceleration isn't accelerating, then it needs to be removed, which is exactly what I did. But now we're nine cards down, and I need to find something else to go in.

First off, I finally tracked down another copy of Soul's Fire, so that has to go right in. The loss of the extra Chuck (Brion Stoutarm) means I should probably put another Fling back in to maximize the creature-tossing. For the last hole, I wanted something I could recur that would have some effect on the board. I had just recently acquired a Magma Phoenix, and it fit that bill wonderfully. I can chuck it at an opponent or a larger creature and the big Pyroclasm will do even more damage, wiping out anything with a toughness of three or less. The deck has a bit of a problem with swarms of small creatures, so this will help out a little bit. And if I need to I can always bring it back for more board-wiping fun! I also realized the deck had absolutely no acceleration or deck-thinning of any sort. So to help that out a bit, I dug up a pair of Chartooth Cougars for just that purpose. Plus they can attack and block and have firebreathing, which goes so well with Fling and its ilk.

As usual, here's a concise retelling of the changes made:


-4 Boros Garrison
-1 Brion Stoutarm
-2 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
+5 Mountain
-3 Torpid Moloch
-4 Seething Song
+1 Soul's Fire
+1 Fling
+1 Magma Phoenix


And the deck in its full finished state can be found right here:


Chuck!
Creatures
3 Bloodshot Cyclops
3 Bloodmark Mentor
3 Thunderblust
2 Ball Lightning
2 Blistering Firecat
2 Spitebellows
2 Firemaw Kavu
2 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
2 Chartooth Cougar
1 Magma Phoenix
1 Homura, Human Ascendant

Noncreatures
4 Soul's Fire
3 Fling
2 Grab the Reins
2 Grafted Wargear
2 Rage Reflection
1 Elemental Appeal
1 In the Web of War

Land
22 Mountain


So now comes the final analysis. I noticed that my white splash was completely silly, so I took it out. In a deck with this many red mana symbols, trying to splash one white card just wasn't worth it to me. Of course I'm going to miss the life gain, so it's possible that an artifact source of life gain might come in at some point. I was thinking maybe Loxodon Warhammer, but that's too expensive. There's always Basilisk Collar, but I don't have any more of those past the ones in my previously-written-about Sgt. Chewie's Howling Commandos deck. There are other possibilities that could help the deck in a variety of ways. Elixir of Immortality can gain some life and reuse all my one-shot spells. Angelheart Vial can gain some life and draw cards, two things that Red usually doesn't do so well. Paradise Plume can gain some life and get the deck ahead on mana. Let me know if you, dear readers, think any of these are decent ideas.

Then there's the matter of the recently-discovered copies of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle in my binder. I think they might return to the deck since they only have the very minor downside of entering the battlefield tapped, yet their upside in the late game is staggering. If I don't have any other uses for them, they might go back in after I post this.

I'm also still unsure about the lack of true acceleration. One-shot acceleration just doesn't do much for me, which is why Seething Songs and Dark Rituals are missing from virtually all my decks. There's really no long-term acceleration in red. There are cards like Wayfarer's Bauble and Solemn Simulacrum that would definitely help though. The problem that always comes is that in order to have these boons like life gain or mana acceleration is that something else must be cut to make room. But that's what this whole 60 Card Challenge is all about!

I hope you all enjoyed my return to the blogosphere. Again, if any of you reading this have any ideas then please feel free to let me know. I'm always up for suggestions.

Category:60 Card Challenge -- posted at: 3:16am EST

Other than the random technical issues that caused us to start late, caused Mike to sound funny this entire episode, and caused Brian to be muted for most of the episode, it went off without a hitch!  We went over a mess of emails, then did the White section of Brian's Core Set: Mana Pool Edition.  And to go along with the White section of that, Brian requested an Out of the Deck Box for Mike's mono-green mana ramp deck.

Yeah, it made no sense to us either.  Check the forum post for this episode for the deck list as usual.  Hope you guys enjoy!


Intro Music - Diamond by Swift - http://www.swift-band.com

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-156-white-with-a-splash-of-green-t614.html
Check out our archive at http://themanapool.libsyn.com
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Direct download: Episode_156_-_White_with_a_Splash_of_Green.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:28pm EST

Episode 155 - Scars Intro Packs Live!

What's that?  A live episode?  Where did this come from?  Well honestly it came from Brian's house, but that's not important.  Due to a lack of Dirk during this episode's recording, Brian decided Mike and I should roll over there to play his newly-bought Scars of Mirrodin Intro Packs.  He had Myr of Mirrodin, Metalcraft, and Phyrexian Poison.  We played a three-man game, then traded decks and did it again, then traded again and did it one more time.  It was a lot of fun, and you'll get to hear some of our usual nonsense, including me trying to coax Brian's wife to actually say something on the air.  Spoiler alert - it doesn't work.

If you want to know what's in the decks, check here:
http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/arcana/547


Intro Music - Diamond by Swift - http://www.swift-band.com

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-155-scars-intro-packs-live-t611.html
Check out our archive at http://themanapool.libsyn.com
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Direct download: Episode_155_-_Scars_Intro_Packs_Live.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:17pm EST

Bonus Episode - Secret Cow Level

Moo.

Direct download: The_Mana_Pool_Bonus_Episode_-_Secret_Cow_Level.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:28am EST

Episode 154 - Burninating the Countryside

After beginning with a study into arcane languages and comic strips, we're gonna set this thing on FIRE!  We'll take a look at a few of the new products Wizards has in store, the Magic Online Deck Series: Legacy and the Premium Deck Series: Fire & Lightning, then move into Brian's new idea for a segment.  There's no official name, so I'm going to call it Core Set: Mana Pool Edition. 

He has come up with 6 staple card ideas from each color and instructed us to pick cards to fulfill these roles in our Core Set.  The catch is, we have to use cards that have previously been printed that have never been in a Core Set before.  So to coincide with our Burn episode, we're doing Red.  Let us know what you think, and what your choices would be.

Then we take a closer look at Burn.  We're gonna focus on its role in multiplayer, a role that is classically underestimated.  We'll take a look at all the ways Burn can be used in multiplayer, as well as which flavors work the best.  All you red mages out there take note!

Magic Online Deck Series: Legacy
http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/arcana/579

Premium Deck Series: Fire & Lightning
http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/arcana/576


Intro Music - Diamond by Swift - http://www.swift-band.com
Break Music - Trogdor by the Brothers Chaps - http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail58.html

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-154-burninating-the-countryside-t606.html
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Direct download: Episode_154_-_Burninating_the_Countryside.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:12pm EST

Episode 153 - Two for One Special

In this action-packed episode of The Mana Pool, we're taking a look at all the two-for-ones in Magic.  No, not Buy One Get One Free, and not killing a creature in response to it being targeted by an aura.  We're talking about a whopping TWO power for ONE mana!  Back in the day this defined entire tournament scenes, but were all of them that good?  Well stay tuned and find out, because we're gonna hit them all. 

While we're at it, we've got email spam replies (yes really), news about the third Duels of the Planeswalkers expansion, a couple of rules questions, and a discussion of Fran Drescher as a harpy.  I love doing this show sometimes.  Hope you all enjoy!


Intro Music - Diamond by Swift
Break Music - Double Dragon (Opening Theme) by Kazunaka Yamane

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-153-two-for-one-special-t605.html
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Direct download: Episode_153_-_Two_for_One_Special.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:58pm EST


This episode is a little random.  We begin with a brief discussion of why not to buy cheap ice cream sandwiches.  I then offer up Mike's phone number in case anyone wants to call him.  Then we point out how we're not going to take money from our listeners, but gifts are appreciated when appropriate.

Of course, we have a main topic.  It's Mortal Instinct Fighter Calibur Vs 2 - 3D Alpha Forever!  Once again we use the Random Card button in Gatherer to draft up 16 fighters to go head to head (or claw, or tentacle, or stump, or whatever) for your enjoyment!  During the tournament you'll hear about vicious assistant birds, over-eager anti-assistant knights, and one contestant possibly passing a pearl to not be a dragon.  I didn't say it would make sense, I just said you'd hear it.  Who will join Troll Ascetic in our winner's circle?

And after the dust has settled, we have to bring back one of our favorite segments - Out of the Deck Box!  This time around we're taking a look at Brian's Archenemy Deck and the Scheme Deck that goes with it.  It's appropriately evil, and we hope you enjoy it!


Intro by Tosus, featuring Diamond by Swift - http://www.swift-band.com
Break music - Release the Wolves by Swift, at Mike's request

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-152-mortalinstinctfightercaliburvs2-3dalphaforever-t604.html
Check out our archive at http://themanapool.libsyn.com
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Direct download: Episode_152_-_Mortal_Instinct_Fighter_Calibur_Vs_2_-_3D_Alpha_Forever.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:50pm EST


Hello again, and welcome to the show notes!  This is Mike, filling in on this for Chewie while he puts the finishing touches on the previous episode (the secret ingredient is love).

When Wizards decided to go back to Mirrodin for another block, of course they had to have in mind what had come before.  Today we all take the time to think and talk about cards from the original Mirrodin block that would be really awesome (or possibly miserable) to have around in this modern age, and also discuss the most probable reasons why things just can't be that way.

As always, we include in our ramblings some responses to listener emails, comments on notable Magical news, and the ever popular rant on a touchy subject.  Also - and I don't even remember what started it - Dirk, in his alternate role as the Greatest Ever, leaves us with one of the most truly amazing final thoughts we've ever had the pleasure of pondering.

Thank you all for reading, and go listen to some podcasts!


Intro Music - Diamond by Swift - http://www.swift-band.com

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-151-why-the-good-old-days-won-t-work-now-t603.html
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Direct download: Episode_151_-_Why_the_Good_Old_Days_Wont_Work_Now.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:22pm EST


Here it is, the long-awaited Episode 150!  What are we doing special to celebrate this landmark occasion?

...not much, really.  Eric of the Many Names made up a Mad Lib for us, which you'll hear in the intro.  He's a sweetie like that.  We talk about the new Premium Deck Series a bit, hit the announcement for the new Duel Decks (Knights vs. Dragons) and talk about the Faction Packs that will be in Mirrodin Besieged.

Then, as we always do when the time comes, we look back with fondness at the stuff that is leaving Standard forever.  Well, maybe not forever.  But at least until it gets reprinted in some other set in the future.  But we'll bid adieu to tournament staples, crazy Johnny cards, and the random multiplayer-only stuff that would never see the inside of a FNM.  It'll be great!

We finish it up with more of our signature nonsense, which turns somber for a minute before heading back into full-on ballyhoo.  So listen up and enjoy, my dorks!

...Oh yeah, you'll notice Brian isn't with us on this landmark episode.  Well that's because he and his wife were at the hospital having Samantha, their daughter!  Congratulations to you both, B!


Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-150-standard-rotation-exit-alara-enter-samantha-t602.html
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Direct download: Episode_150_-_Standard_Rotation_Exit_Alara_Enter_Samantha.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:45pm EST


On this fun-filled episode of The Mana Pool, we join three of our four heroes in a flashback to the Scars of Mirrodin Prerelease, where two of the three did very well, and the third of three did not so well.  And one of the three heroes opened two Mythics, but to find out which hero opened which Mythics, you'll have to listen!

Also included in this action-packed episode is a look at the Scars Intro Packs (teaser - which may be featured in an upcoming episode!) which are actually good for a change!  And for the kids, there is another Magic Mad Lib for wacky fun!  Don't wait, download now!


Intro Music - Diamond by Swift - http://www.swift-band.com

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-149-how-we-got-our-scars-t597.html
Check out our archive at http://themanapool.libsyn.com
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Direct download: Episode_149_-_How_We_Got_Our_Scars.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:21pm EST


This episode marks the somewhat-awaited return of Brian's Magic Mad Libs! We also take a look at the changes to the Banned & Restricted List as well as some of the changes in the Comprehensive Rules. Don't worry, Mike actually had some notes this time instead of just randomly poking through the list.

And it's time for us to take a look at the full card list for Scars of Mirrodin and poke through it. We'll dig around, and any card that catches our collective eye is going to get discussed, starting with the new rare dual lands and ending with us all sort of meandering around the visual spoiler aimlessly. We're sure to hit all the high notes during the trip though! Let us know how you feel about any of the cards in the set!


Intro Music - Diamond by Swift - http://www.swift-band.com
Break Music - Bruces' Philosophers Song by Monty Python - http://pythonline.com

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-148-showing-off-our-scars-t594.html
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Direct download: Episode_148_-_Showing_Off_Our_Scars.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:22pm EST


Sorry to break the streak, but due to extreme overwork there is not a guest host this week.  Unless you count Zombie Chewie, who is filling in for Chewie this week.  It's hard to tell the difference but trust me, he's there.  Is two episodes in a row even considered a streak?  We'll start over if work ever calms down for me.  But instead, enjoy our admittedly late takes on some of the new cards from Scars.  They weren't new yet when we did this episode, but now they're new.  Yay new cards!


Intro Music - Diamond by Swift - http://www.swift-band.com
Break Music - The Beast Appears by Yuzo Koshiro, from the SNES game ActRaiser

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-147-scars-of-mirrodin-previews-with-zombie-chewie-t593.html
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Direct download: Episode_147_-_Scars_of_Mirrodin_Previews_with_Zombie_Chewie.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:45pm EST

Episode 146 - Exploitation of the Proletariat (Scars with MTG Radio)


We are joined this week by Trevor and Tom from MTG Radio, another fabulous podcast on the MTGCast Network, one that focuses primarily on the excellent format known as Elder Dragon Highlander.  If you're at all interested in EDH, you should definitely check them out.  If you're not interested in EDH, you should listen to them anyway because they're awesome.  Otherwise we wouldn't have them on the show, duh.  You can find them here:
http://www.mtgcast.com/?cat=63


So this episode it's all about Scars of Mirrodin previews!  Yes I know it's late, but I worked 75 hours last week, so I was delayed in getting it posted.  Check out some of the new planeswalkers (like the best card in the set, and the one that's actually better than that), new mechanics (one of which I absolutely can't pronounce), and all the rest of the cool new stuff right here in this episode!  Here's the Visual Spoiler:
http://www.wizards.com/magic/tcg/article.aspx?x=mtg/tcg/scarsofmirrodin/spoiler

Intro Music - Diamond by Swift - http://www.swift-band.com
Break Music - The Moon, from the NES game DuckTales, composed by Yoshihiro Sakaguchi

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-146-exploitation-of-the-proletariat-t589.html
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Direct download: Episode_146_-_Exploitation_of_the_Proletariat_Scars_with_MTG_Radio.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:12pm EST

Episode 145 - Deckbuilding with Jungle Rat Rob


Kicking off our series of episodes with guests hosts from all over the place, we are joined by none of than Jungle Rat Rob! You may know Rob as the guy who did No One Expects the Mana Pool and Mana Pool 2: Electric Boogaloo for us. He's also one of the hosts of The Retro League, a podcast about classic video games, which I've been listening to religiously for a few months now. It's awesome, you can find it here:

http://www.theretroleague.com

They showed the Elspeth vs. Tezzeret Duel Deck lists (yes I know they're out now, but they weren't when we recorded this) and we decided to take a look through them. Good stuff, good stuff.

Because of the revelation that Rob had never done any sort of Limited play, we thought we'd take a Sealed pool of M11 and see what we could do with it live on the air. It was a lot of fun and led to some very good discussion about how to build a Sealed deck. Not that we're experts or anything, but I think the debate about the deck was educational.

Then, while we were on the deckbuilding kick, we decided to do a Story Circle with Rob. The deck came out looking like a blast. If you want to see the completed list, hit the forum thread listed below to see it.


Intro Music - Intro Theme to Justice League, the animated series from Cartoon Network
Break Music - Penguin Cap by CarboHydroM - http://www.carbohydrom.net/ (Not actually on OCRemix...blame Mike)

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-145-deckbuilding-with-jungle-rat-rob-t587.html
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Direct download: Episode_145_-_Deckbuilding_with_Jungle_Rat_Rob.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:54pm EST


In this episode, we're going to veer off the usual beaten path a little bit.  First off, we have to talk some more about our last get-together at Dirk's house that was featured on the last episode.  Especially once we get to what happened after the last episode - Respawn Magic!  After we finished the Planechase game that you listened to, we shuffled up some decks and played one game of Magic that lasted for several hours!  Not the miserable kind of "this game's never gonna FREAKIN' END" several hours, but the "holy crap I can't believe this is still awesome" kind.  Find out who was the elephant, which unlikely decks lasted the longest, and which decks might not work so well in this format.

Of course, there's Infect.  At this point it's a little late, but don't worry, there's more coming.  Not next episode, but the one after that.

Then we have to reach into our massive mailbag.  Apparently 3 weeks worth of email tend to pile up when you don't get to any of it.  So this is our giant Listener Appreciation Week episode, where we touch on all the email we can find.  Since we read all these, we need some more, so send us an email!


Intro music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com
Break Music - Chainsaw Hedge Maze Mayhem from Zombies Ate My Neighbors (Super NES). Composed by George Alistair Sanger - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Sanger_%28musician%29

Forum thread for this episode:  http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-144-listener-appreciation-week-t585.html
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Direct download: Episode_144_-_Listener_Appreciation_Week.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:37pm EST

Episode 143 - Alternate Multiplayer Formats Live!


On Game Day, we all gathered at Dirk's place to play some Magic!  And you are listening to the fruits of that labor.  We started off with a quick recap of the day's events thus far, then played a knock-down, drag-out game of Archenemy, featuring Brian's custom Archenemy deck and Scheme deck.  No I'm not going to tell you who won.  Really now, listen to the episode.  The ending was really freakin' epic though.

But that didn't take nearly as long as we thought it would, so as an added bonus we decided to play a game of Planechase.  That also ended in epic fashion, but only after a string of griefer planes tortured us for a while.  So what did you guys think?

Featuring a cameo by Dirk's lovely wife Chelsea!


Intro by Tosus
Intro music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com

Forum thread for this episode:  http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-143-alternate-multiplayer-formats-live-t578.html
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Direct download: Episode_143_-_Alternate_Multiplayer_Formats_Live.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:43pm EST


Are you ready for this? I CAN’T HEAR YOU! Are you ready for the latest, (probably not the) greatest, absolutely most current episode of the Mana Pool?! I hope so, because HERE IT IS!

Pumped yet? Well, you will be. This is Brian, here to bring you the highlights and higher-lights of episode 142 of the Mana Pool.

First off, we go over listener emails. Listen closely, listeners, because while you’re listening you just might get to listen to an email that you sent us (probably after listening to a previously listened to episode). Seriously, we really do appreciate the feedback that we get from you guys. Without you, we’d have about 141 copies of episode 1, and who wants that? Then we launch right into a review of a draft that Chewie, Mike, and myself participated in not too long ago. Actually, it was two different drafts, with two different groups of Mana Pool dorks. Why? You’ll have to find out… by listening!

We then cover an announcement regarding the Scars of Mirrodin Game Day. This hasn’t been covered too extensively elsewhere yet, and we only really found out because Mike is resourceful, but this is 100% accurate. What announcement? Keep listening to find out! If you don't want to hear it, skip ahead to 1:04:30 in the episode after we announce the spoiler section. After that, Chewie and I go over the first game of Archenemy that we had a chance to play. I know, I know, we’re about two months behind the rest of the world in that area, but it’s totally my fault. Listen to discover how it turned out, especially with Chewie’s multi-deck management skills.

Finally, we discover that we don’t actually have time to go over what we thought would be the main topic for this episode. I’d act surprised, but this has happened before. Instead, we take Dirk through his first Story Circle, a feature that we started way back in episode 117. While that may not sound too long ago- a short 25 episodes if my math is correct- that episode was recorded and put up way back in February. While this isn’t the first time we’ve come back to it, it’s definitely Dirk’s first time, and he approaches it with his own unique style. What style is that? I think you know what to do by now!
...
...
...
Listen!


Intro Music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com
Break Music - Tetris Music B, and we still don't know who it's by

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-142-bits-and-pieces-t575.html
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Direct download: Episode_142_-_Bits_and_Pieces.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:49pm EST


Greetings!  A big hello and welcome to all of you Mana Pool listeners out there!  This is Brian!  I’m talking like this because I’ve taken the BAR EXAM and thus don’t have to/can’t complain about it anymore!

Ahem.

Thanks for tuning in.  We’ve got quite the interesting show for you hear today/tonight/tomorrow (how is that possible?).  However, we misplaced our Dirk, so you’ll have to wait til next week (or later- no spoilers!) for you to hear the glistening wisdom off of his tongue.  But let’s get back to what we do actually have for you this time.

First, we go over emails.  I know, I know, we do that every time, but we really do appreciate it when you guys take the time to send us your thoughts.  It makes us warm and fuzzy inside.  To prove it, we spend a fair amount of the first part of this episode talking about the emails that we’ve gotten.  We try to respond to each and every email that we get, provided that the content is appropriate for the show (a very low bar indeed).

Then, we talk for some length about a particular topic.  In fact, we talk about it so much you’d think that that was the actual theme for the show, but no!  So what was it?  Well, here’s the trick.  See, I’m a cryptic kind of guy.  Just ask the other players.  You already read the title for the episode, so you should know the main topic.  Let’s just call this preliminary topic the “secret thing.”  How you do discover the identity of the “secret thing?”  Why, by listening to the episode!  The actual idea behind this show is our next, and final, discussion.  It’s based off of a listener email (hint, hint) inquiring as to the role of control.  We take some liberty with the question and actually interpret it to refer to threats versus answers.  The dialog that results is quite fascinating, stimulating, and exhilarating.  Especially the part where Chewie wanders off.

That’s it for this week.  Be sure to check back next week, when the secret of the baboon is revealed!  No, that’s a different “secret thing” kind of thing.


Intro Music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com
Break Music - Mega Man 3 Selection Theme by Bun Bun

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-141-threats-and-answers-t573.html
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Direct download: Episode_141_-_Threats_and_Answers.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:41pm EST

Episode 140 - Duel Decks at Ten Paces


Between vacations to Canada and the Bar exam, half of the host dorks have gone missing!  But never fear, we'll find them.  But until then, you're stuck with just me and Mike, taking it nice and easy this week.  We start off with a little bit of random nonsense, then jump right into the big spoiler for Scars of Mirrodin.  If you're looking to avoid this, skip ahead to about the 13 minute mark and you'll be good. 

Then we take up some Duel Decks, brought to you live!  It's a best of three with Garruk vs. Liliana followed by Phyrexia vs. the Coalition.  We'll talk you through the games while we play, and there's always the usual conversation and silliness.  Hope you enjoy this laid-back, no pressure episode as much as we did.


Intro Music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com
Break Music - FlashFire (Mega Man 2 Flash Man remix) remixed by AE: http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR00067

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-140-duel-decks-at-ten-paces-t569.html
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Direct download: Episode_140_-_Duel_Decks_at_Ten_Paces.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:16am EST

60CC - Sgt. Chewie's Howling Commandos


Attention!  Listen up, rookie!  You have just been dropped into the latest 60 Card Challenge of the Dominarian Armed Forces!  I am going to whip you into shape or you'll die trying!  You hear me maggot?!?!

 

You goldbricks have it easy these days!  Back in my day we didn't have such amazing leadership!  If you wanted to be inspired to do better in battle, you had to wait for the angels to belt out a Glorious Anthem or go on a Crusade!  That's not even military!  Back then, the army was more of a militia, real men working to keep back the goblin horde or fend off those prissy little elvish buggers.  We used whatever we could find on our way to each hard-fought victory.

 

And then came the Onslaught.  By the gods those were great days.  The first of the Daru Warchiefs stepped up then, infusing all of us soldiers with a sort of holy strength.  There were Mobilizations going on all over the place, keeping us ever vigilant and increasing our numbers.  The Aven Brigadier took command, but he was partial to his fellow Aven.  The really great thing was the formation of the Catapult Squads under the Catapult Masters.  They were able to take out enemies at extreme long range, removing threats before they were close enough to hurt us. 

 

Other places had other attempts at military organization as well.  Over on Mirrodin, the Auriok Steelshapers could outfit their armies with better equipment, but without the better equipment he was basically useless.  In the time of the Coldsnap, after the great Ice Age, the Field Marshals taught combat tactics, allowing their soldiers to take out their enemies before taking a single hit.  During the chaos of the Time Spiral, Benalish Commanders stuck in time somehow managed to call in more recruits.  They didn't so much make their troops better as much as they used those troops to make themselves better, but they were still effective leaders.

 

Then came what's now known as the M10 Age.  Rhox Pikemasters came up from the southern regions to share their skill with the long-handled blade.  Veteran Armorsmiths and Swordsmiths offered us tempered steel to strengthen our armor plates and sharpen our dulled blades.  But then came the saving grace for soldiers everywhere.  The Watch.  More specifically, the Captain of the Watch.  The one I met was a woman, but don't let that fool you.  Everywhere she went, she was accompanied by her three-man retinue of guards.  Without her, they were pretty useless except to help out the Catapult Squads, but when they were by her side, they were vicious.  In fact, all of us felt more powerful by her side.  We never feared a counterattack, because not only did she see everything on the battlefield, but she somehow made us see it all too, keeping us ever vigilant.

 

But you maggots didn't come here for a history lesson, did you?  No, you wanted to fight!  Some of you might think you're tough, and some of you might actually be tough.  Some of you just joined so you could stab goblins without getting in trouble!  But you're not all going to make it!  To give you a taste of the trials to come, you're going to sit in as the higher-ups take our best unit, Sgt. Chewie's Howling Commandos, and make some improvements!  Let's take a look at the unit as it stands now before anyone gets cut:

 

 

Sgt. Chewie's Howling Commandos

Land (23)

2 Secluded Steppe

21 Plains

 

Creatures (27)

4 Captain of the Watch

3 Daru Warchief

4 Catapult Squad

2 Catapult Master

3 Knight-Captain of Eos

2 Stormfront Riders

2 Benalish Commander

1 Field Marshal

1 Darien, King of Kjeldor

2 Patrol Signaler

1 Gustcloak Savior

1 Intrepid Hero

1 Frontline Strategist

 

Noncreatures (13)

2 Mobilization

1 Cenn's Enlistment

2 Spirit Loop

2 Prismatic Strands

2 Disenchant

2 Unified Strike

2 Roar of the Kha

 

 

As you can see if you've got any sort of strategic mind at all, this is a well-oiled combat machine.  The Commandos have Captains of the Watch, Daru Warchiefs, and even a Field Marshal to make them all more effective fighters.   There's even a highly experienced Frontline Strategist, who can turn even the most terrible battle into an amazing rout.

 

They are fully capable of calling in reinforcements of any sort for any reason.  Knight-captains have a small retinue of soldiers, Stormfront Riders drop off a soldier every time they blink out existence, and Benalish Commanders can reach through time to recruit.  If Kithkin are needed, the Patrol Signalers can bring in more, or we can rely on the Cenn's Enlistment procedures.  Darien, King of Kjeldor has his own army that he is more than willing to send in for assistance.  And if all else fails, there's the old standby of calling for a Mobilization of the troops.

 

But the real stars of this unit are the Catapult Squads and their Masters.  The sheer number of reinforcements leads to a veritable barrage of catapult fire for any potential attackers.  The Patrol Signalers can also help out here, lending a hand to the Catapult Squad and then signaling for more troops.  There's even a Gustcloak Savior attached to the unit, specifically for helping the troops draw an enemy into range, vanish (leaving the enemy in the open and confused), and man the catapults to knock it down.  The troops are capable of staging a Unified Strike to take down attacking enemies, using the unique Prismatic Strands to protect themselves, project a Roar of the Kha to give them more strength and abilities, and even utilize a Spirit Loop to keep themselves in the battle.

 

But an army that doesn't change is an army that doesn't win!  We can't just stagnate!  Our enemies are constantly trying to adapt to our tactics, so we should change those tactics to further thwart them!  Let's see what the brass has in store!  That's our Field Marshal talking now, and the Frontline Strategist is across from him.

 

"We need to take the Nomads' Assembly into consideration!  Those Kor are highly skilled and vicious in battle.  They have agreed to match the number of troops on the battlefield, and there are always two waves of the assembly!  And while we're discussing the Kor, don't forget the recently signed Conqueror's Pledge, which guarantees us at least a small number of Kor soldiers!"

 

"Personally, I think we have too many of those Knight-Captains of Eos.  The third one that came in a while back just isn't pulling his weight with the other two already there.  I think he should be transferred to a new unit where his skills can actually be put to use."

 

"And if you'll notice, that so-called Intrepid Hero has been less than spectacular.  He shouldn't even be a soldier, but more of a lone warrior type of thing, since he very rarely works with the rest of the unit anyway.  I move to have both him and the extra Knight-Captain stationed at the training facility to share their talents with new recruits.  Now, what about tactical changes?"

 

"I think the use of the Unified Strike is outdated and predictable.  Our enemies have come to expect it and can use it against us.  Perhaps if we want to remove enemy threats we should move towards using the latest magical technology of Oblivion Rings.  They're able to handle more diverse threats and can take out those powerful Planeswalkers we've encountered from time to time."

 

"I see your point, but surely having more troops at our disposal makes the Unified Strike more effective.  I don't think we should abandon it so easily.  Perhaps if we instruct the troops to use the O-Rings for a while and see how they fare compared to the tried-and-true Strike, we can get a better idea of which is more effective and adapt our strategies accordingly."

 

"No, the Unified Strike is still a very narrow tactic that only works in certain situations, while there is always a use for a well-timed Oblivion Ring.  Just because we can pull off a Unified Strike more easily does not change the fact that it just isn't versatile.  Let's switch over to the O-Rings, and if by some miracle a Strike would be a better tactic, we'll revise later.  Now, I have this piece of equipment recently recovered from some ruins in Zendikar.  As far as we can tell, it's a Basilisk Collar, which increases both the life expectancy and deadliness of the wearer.  I think we should integrate this with the use of the Spirit Loop to study the effects.  How about splitting the use of both right down the middle?"

 

"Agreed.  It performs the same function and adds something extra without losing any real value, so let's do it.  I also think that, since his passing, using the Roar of the Kha is having the opposite effect on the troops.  And since it's not as effective as we'd like, I suggest we just stop using it.  If such a time comes that we feel like we need it again, we can always reintegrate it.  Is that good enough for now?"

 

"I think it is.  Let's hit the mess tent.  Let's remind the new recruits here about the full changes made to the unit before we eat."

 

 

+1 Nomad's Assembly

+1 Conqueror's Pledge

-1 Intrepid Hero

-1 Knight-Captain of Eos

-2 Unified Strike

+2 Oblivion Ring

-1 Spirit Loop

+1 Basilisk Collar

-2 Roar of the Kha

-1 Plains

 

 

Sgt. Chewie's Howling Commandos

Land (22)

2 Secluded Steppe

20 Plains

 

Creatures (25)

4 Captain of the Watch

3 Daru Warchief

4 Catapult Squad

2 Catapult Master

Knight-Captain of Eos

2 Stormfront Riders

2 Benalish Commander

1 Field Marshal

1 Darien, King of Kjeldor

2 Patrol Signaler

1 Gustcloak Savior

1 Frontline Strategist

 

Noncreatures (13)

2 Mobilization

1 Conqueror's Pledge

1 Nomads' Assembly

1 Cenn's Enlistment

1 Basilisk Collar

1 Spirit Loop

2 Oblivion Ring

2 Prismatic Strands

2 Disenchant

 

 

There you have it, maggots!  I hope you took something from this little discussion!  If you didn't, then you're not gonna last long here in the Dominarian Armed Forces!  You should have figured out some strategy!  They found an artifact that does everything one of the standard issue enchantments can do and then some, so they're going to integrate it into battle.  If there's a gain in abilities without a loss somewhere else, and cost isn't an issue, then that's a fine strategic move.  Also, even though there will be more soldiers available to perform a Unified Strike, a narrow maneuver is still a narrow maneuver no matter how easy it might be to pull off.  If an Oblivion Ring is more useful on a broad scale, then that's what should be used.  And finally, men and even tactics that aren't pulling their weight or aren't as useful as hoped for should be dismissed!  If having the third Knight-Captain of Eos in the unit is a waste of resources then let's shuffle him off to a place where he can serve the most good. 

 

And that's just what we'll do with any of you maggots that prove to be a waste of space!  Lesson over, now drop and give me twenty!

 

Category:60 Card Challenge -- posted at: 10:44am EST


Well hello there everybody.  This is Mike, filling in for Chewie on the show notes because something something I don't even know.  There's probably a perfectly reasonable explanation.  But hey, that's what friends are for.  Speaking of, by way of Brian's creative genius, we have a very special episode for you tonight.

I'm sure all of you out there at some point have dreamed up some custom cards, or at least thought of some wacky abilities or nifty text to put onto a card.  Because Magic is a 2+ person game, I'm also assuming most of you play it with other people, some of them fairly regularly.  Every player has his or her own special quirks and characteristics (some endearing, some infuriating), so what if you took those gameplay elements and translated them onto cards?  Brian gave us all a homework assignment to do just that, and you'll be both surprised and unsurprised at many of our results.

Oh, and something about movies.  Rant rant rant.


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Direct download: Episode_139_-_Create-a-Host.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:25pm EST

Episode 138 - Pick Your Controversy (and M11)


Well we've got lots of stuff for you this episode. First off, there's a Magic Mad Lib, provided by jars from the forums. Then we have some controversial stuff. We kick it off with Hornet Sting again, this time going into a deeper discussion about what may or may not be wrong with the card on any number of levels. Then we hit the Esper Charm incident described by Cedric Phillips on StarCityGames. This one gets deep. Feelings are hurt, friendships are destroyed, podcasts are forever ruined...and then Dirk proves once again why he's a genius.

Then we've got M11 as a whole. Two of us hit the Prerelease, which we'll tell you about. Then we all take a look at M11 in its entirety and ruminate and marinate on it for your amusement and edification.

Oh yeah, check out this awesome Legend of Zelda set that Monday Night Magic mentioned. It's awesome.
http://www.gamesradar.com/f/behold-our- ... 4459310090


Intro Music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com
Break Music - Chrono Trigger Main Theme (Orchestrated) composed by Yasunori Mitsuda

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Direct download: Episode_138_-_Pick_Your_Controversy_and_M11.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:00pm EST

Episode 137 - M11 and Why Chewie is on Every Show

Hey there, all of you Mana Pool listeners! If you’re not a Mana Pool listener, you’re in the wrong place. Otherwise, hey! This is Brian. My rambling has spilled over onto the show notes, no longer content to take up 80% of the podcast air space.

Mike and I handle the usual tasks of intro matters, listener emails, and Cardshark member promotions for July. Why us instead of Chewie? You’ll have to find out!

Then it’s time for M11 previews. We definitely take our time with a fair number of these, but that’s because they are both sweet and great. By now, you can see the entire spoiler up on the Wizards page, but you’ll find exclusive ramble-lore-chewie content here that you can’t find anywhere else. If you happen to hear an inappropriate joke here or there, don’t worry about it- it’s just the voices in your head. Lines of Lay, Lichs (Liches?) that beat down, cards that aren’t Twincast, Destructive Force and the creatures that survive it (but only if you have enough Mountains), and the worst color pie related crime since ever await. We hope that you are just as excited about M11 as we are, and if you have your own thoughts about the previewed cards in this episode, head over to the forums and voice your opinion.

Sit back, turn down the lights, turn up the volume and leave the heat at medium well. The Mana Pool is here


Intro Music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com

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Direct download: Episode_137_-_M11_and_Why_Chewie_is_on_Every_Show.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:25pm EST

60CC - The Mountains of Madness

Chewie here again, this time with a deck I actually did something to.  I've mentioned my multiplayer discard deck several times, whether it be in articles or on the show.  It's one of my oldest deck ideas, and the basic tenets haven't changed since I first came up with the idea.  But before I go into any sort of detail, here's the list (complete with made-up impressive sounding deck name that's never been used before):


The Mountains of Madness
Land (22)
12 Swamp
3 Island
2 Tainted Isle
1 Creeping Tar Pit
2 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
2 Dimir Aqueduct

Creatures (19)
4 Abyssal Nocturnus
4 Lore Broker
4 Screeching Buzzard
4 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Magus of the Jar
1 Nihilith
1 Myojin of Night's Reach

Noncreatures (23)
4 Megrim
1 Words of Waste
1 Debtor's Knell
1 Oversold Cemetery
2 Howling Mine
1 Memory Jar
1 Well of Knowledge
2 Time Spiral
2 Ill-Gotten Gains
1 Windfall
1 Prosperity
1 Bribery
3 Wheel and Deal
2 Evacuation


So the idea is pretty simple.  Keep cards in everyone's hand, play a Megrim, then make everyone discard their hands.  This used to be a lot harder, trust me.  Let's go through some of the key cards.  Megrim is the main kill condition.  Each card discarded means 2 damage.  Ideally, I only have to make each person discard 10 cards to win.  And of course, I have a full crapload of ways to fill (and then empty) hands.  Howling Mine gives an extra card a turn.  Mikikoro can draw everyone an extra card when I have some leftover mana.  The Well of Knowledge can draw anyone an extra card when they have some leftover mana.  Time Spiral gives everyone a full hand and gives me plenty of mana to play with after casting it.  Windfall and Ill-gotten gains give me a full-hand discard AND puts cards back in their hand so they can discard more!  The various Jar-related guys give me a slightly dirty way to win out of nowhere.  However, Wheel and Deal is by far the easiest way to just say "I win, let's play another one."  And for the extreme late game, there's the Myojin of Night's Reach.

But I'm not JUST out to win with massive discard all at once.  Lore Broker gives me the chance to inflict some serious chip damage, as does Words of Waste.  The Abyssal Nocturnus gets seriously big really quickly, and he gets evasion to punch through.  Nihilith is another big guy who comes out pretty quickly and can evade his way into someone's face.  The Screeching Buzzard is primarily a deterrent to keep people from swinging at me, which actually works better than you might think.

And finally, some assorted other.  Creeping Tar Pits are great for sneaking in the last few points of damage when my Megrim gets destroyed.  Solemn Simulacrum helps smooth out some draws and can profitably chump block if necessary.  Debtor's Knell and Oversold Cemetery let me reuse the few creatures I have.  Evacuation functions as both a panic button to save my ass and a way to fill up everyone's hand for a coup de grace.  Bribery is just cool, and since my creature count is kind of low I thought I'd throw it in.  You know, for fun and profit.


Now as you can see, this deck is sitting pretty at 64 cards.  So I need to somehow knock 4 cards out in order to reach my destination.  But first, I want to add in some cards!  I acquired 3 more Creeping Tar Pits, so they simply must go in.  That's an easy fix though, I'll knock out the 2 conditional duals, the Tainted Isles and a Swamp and be good to go.

Still sitting at +4 cards.  The first two choices were pretty simple, actually.  I took out the singleton Bribery because I've started building EDH decks, and a single Bribery sounds just right for EDH.  Prosperity is the next to go, because it just doesn't really do enough.  I'm pretty sure it's a holdover from a time when I was still short one of the mass draw spells.  That and to maximize its card drawing potential, I need to use up enough mana to not be able to cast one of the mass discard spells and actually capitalize on my opponents' full hands.  The Well of Knowledge is something similar, as it just doesn't do enough on its own to warrant taking up a space in the deck.  And since it's totally dependent on my opponents' willingness to pay to draw cards, it is entirely possible that it'll just sit there and do nothing.  So out it comes.

Hey, we're down to +1 card!  This one was both really tough, and stupidly easy.  I could have gone with the Debtor's Knell or the Myojin, since they cost a million.  I could have taken out the singleton Words of Waste or Nihilith.  I don't even have the Geth's Grimiore to go with the Words anymore (but that's because I tried to stop being that guy), so it's not like it's living up to its full potential, but it's still good enough by itself to leave in for now.  I almost tried taking out the Howling Mines, but then I remembered that they tend to take the heat off of me in the early game.  Instead, I decided to take out the Memory Jar.  Why you ask?  Because even though I am a bit of a jerk, I'm a complete ass.  The Memory Jar is just wrong.  Sure it basically does the same thing as Windfall or Ill-Gotten Gains, but it's going to knock out 7 cards almost every time for almost every player.  There's a reason it's as infamous as it is, you know?  I left in the Magus of the Jar because at least then they have a have a turn to either kill him off or prepare for the worst.  Sometimes being civil is more important than winning, you know?

Here's the full list of changes, in case you want it in an easily digestable format:

+3 Creeping Tar Pit
-2 Tainted Isle
-1 Swamp
-1 Bribery
-1 Prosperity
-1 Well of Knowledge
-1 Memory Jar


And here's the final list, just in case you wanted to see that too.

The Mountains of Madness
Land (22)
11 Swamp
3 Island
4 Creeping Tar Pit
2 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
2 Dimir Aqueduct

Creatures (19)
4 Abyssal Nocturnus
4 Lore Broker
4 Screeching Buzzard
4 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Magus of the Jar
1 Nihilith
1 Myojin of Night's Reach

Noncreatures (19)
4 Megrim
1 Words of Waste
1 Debtor's Knell
1 Oversold Cemetery
2 Howling Mine
2 Time Spiral
2 Ill-Gotten Gains
1 Windfall
3 Wheel and Deal
2 Evacuation


In an effort to have this be more than just a showcase of my decks, this final paragraph in each of these posts will be dedicated to larger lessons you should take away with you.  Of course, lots of them are going to be the same, but hopefully you won't notice.  Of course, when you only have 60 slots to work with and you're trying to craft a deck that can take down multiple opponents, every card has to pull its own weight.  If there's a card that isn't worth it, get rid of it!  Personal preference is also a factor.  I don't want to be too much of a horrible prick (gameplay-wise, that is) so I removed the stuff I see as unfair and unfun.  For those people who care more about winning than increasing the group's amount of fun (and there's nothing wrong with that, it's just not how my brain works), taking out the Memory Jar seems like a stupid choice.  And for them, of course, it would be.  And finally, when it comes to playing lots of multiplayer fun games, be sure to keep the big picture in mind.  I don't mean to pay attention to what everyone is doing (that's a given), I'm talking the big picture that extends outside of this game.  I have lots of decks built at all times.  If I have a card in this deck, but it really doesn't do much here or would definitely be more effective in that deck over there, then there's no reason to hamstring that other deck just because this card is already in this one.  Bribery would be most excellent in one of my EDH decks that contain blue, so I'm going to let it shine over there rather than leaving it here just because it's neat.

And of course, after I write this they reveal the new Megrim in M11, Lilliana's Caress.  It's Megrim except it costs 1 less and instead of damage, which is more easily prevented or redirected, it causes loss of life.  As soon as I get my hands on a any of these, they'll begin replacing the Megrims.  It's entirely possible that something like the Words of Waste or maybe a Buzzard will come out to increase the number of cards with this effect, but I'll have to play it out a few times to see how it works.

Hope you enjoyed taking this look at my process.  As always, any and all feedback, positive or negative, is welcome.  Since I'll probably be doing a lot of these, please let me know what you liked and didn't like.  You can comment right here or roll over to our forums at http://cardshark.freeforums.org.  Thanks for reading and uh, go play some Magic!

Category:60 Card Challenge -- posted at: 10:37am EST


Well hello there. What's a dork like you doing on an internet like this? Ah, that makes sense. No, I won't tell your mom. This is Mike, taking the reins of the show notes while Chewie is working hard preparing the previous episode, sneaking it in underneath our rolling storage limit on the hosting site. You'll notice a familiar unfamiliar voice on this episode, as we once again have Eric the Pluronymic joining us for a fun time all around.

M11 previews are still trucking right along, as would be expected. Thankfully, Wizards didn't drop another 80+ cards on us since the last time we recorded, so we're able to hit all of them. Among cards like Almost Johnny Magic, Sort of Man-o-War, Not Really Vengevine, and What Would Give You the Idea Scars of Mirrodin Has Artifacts, we have plenty to talk about. We start to bring home the second half of the show with a discussion of what the new Deathtouch templating actually means (for real this time [seriously]). It's a little embarassing to have jumped the gun when all the information I needed could have been inferred from what was already out there, but that just happens sometimes. Finally, we close with a special Out of the Deck Box segment from Eric, detailing a really amazing sounding deck that's all about wolves (feel free to Lock Up, Release, or associate with Winter, as appropriate to your personal Metal preference).


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Direct download: Episode_136_-_M11_and_Guest_of_Many_Podcasts.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:12pm EST

60CC - Flock of Seagulls


​Hello again my faithful readers!  This one's simple yet entertaining.  When I started playing again around the time Onslaught came out, I noticed that Birds seemed to be a tribe they were pushing.  This was cemented when I saw Aven Brigadier, who is just ridiculous with the various Bird Soldiers.  But it wasn't until I saw the Judgement card Soulcatcher's Aerie that I was completely blown away.  Every time a bird dies, ALL these other birds get bigger?  HOLY CRAP!  So I set to work building a Bird deck.  The first one was just a bunch of big expensive awesome birds, a Brigadier, and a pair of Aeries.  As the years have gone by, I've tweaked and changed and fixed and focused the deck.  Here's the pre-60CC list:


Flock of Seagulls
Land (22)
8 Plains
7 Island
2 Azorius Chancery
2 Coastal Tower
1 Sejiri Refuge
2 Seaside Haven

Creatures (30)
4 Soulcatcher
2 Courier Hawk
2 Keeper of the Nine Gales
2 Aven Riftwatcher
2 Jotun Owl Keeper
1 Lieutenant Kirtar
1 Pride of the Clouds
1 Emeria Angel
1 Commander Eesha
2 Aven Fisher
2 Aven Augur
2 Celestial Gatekeeper
2 Phantom Flock
2 Crookclaw Elder
1 Aven Brigadier
1 Windbrisk Raptor
2 Shoreline Ranger

Noncreatures (10)
4 Soulcatcher's Aerie
4 Battle Screech
2 Disenchant


Seaside Haven baby!  The Soulcatcher makes an appearance all the way from Odyssey to keep watch over his Aerie.  I have a few birds that can off themselves for the good of the flock, like Aven Augur, Lieutenant Kirtar and the Aven Riftwatchers.  With a single counter on the Aerie, the Phantom Flock becomes impossible to kill with damage.  I have a bit of a bird token generating subtheme rolling around in here too, what with the Owl Keeper, Pride of the Clouds, Emeria Angel, and the set of Battle Screeches.  More small birds for cheap in the early game means more giant Serrakeet birds for cheap in the late game!  The Keeper of the Nine Gales and Crookclaw Elder take advantage of my fairly ridiculous number of birds to do nifty things like bounce threats or refill my hand.  And let's not forget the Windbrisk Raptor as a nice way to change the game in a single swing.

But you see, then I started opening packs from the Zendikar block.  I nabbed a second Emeria Angel which of course MUST go in this deck.  I also opened an Archon of Redemption.  The more I looked at it, the more it spoke to me.  It whispered to me of three counters on an Aerie and not paying for the third upkeep on an Owl Keeper, then playing a land with Emeria Angel out, then flashing back a Battle Screech.  Such riches are more than even my considerable imagination could conjure, and I was weak in the knees.  In that moment of weakness, I agreed to put this evil Archon in the deck where it clearly belonged.  But only as a single, for multiples would surely bring about the end of days!  *ahem* Sorry about that.  What was I saying?

Oh yeah, I'm putting in new cards.  The Pride of the Clouds makes bird tokens, but it has to be in my hand and it takes 4 mana BEFORE I draw for the turn!  The Emeria Angel has to be on the battlefield and I have to play lands.  Holy crap, I was gonna do that anyway!  So an even 1-for-1 swap on those two seems fair to me.  If this deck was more about a swarm of tiny birds, then the Pride could be absolutely amazing, but it's actually about making a swarm of huge birds, so it loses some value when I could just include another bird or a more efficient token-maker.  I looked at the Soulcatcher next.  There's a full set in there.  I don't think a full set is really necessary, especially since I already have the full set of Aeries.  And for some strange reason, I feel compelled to put the Archon in here.  Not quite sure what that's about.  so let's just do another swap there.

At this point, I'm still sitting at +2 cards.  Let's see what's left.  Disenchant!  What good does that crap do?  It does all kinds of good, the hell is wrong with you?  What about...Courier Hawk?  It's small and vigilant, which works really well with the Aerie later in the game, but it's a possibility.  My favorite thing to do with Aven Fisher is sacrifice it to a Seaside Haven to draw two cards and bump up the rest of my birds, and even if I don't get to do that it still replaces itself when death comes for it.  No, at this point I decided to knock off the Shoreline Rangers.  The deck runs pretty well on 4 mana, so the islandcycling isn't as necessary as it was in previous incarnations.  In other words, it's a holdover from the time I had a whole mess of 5 and 6 cost birds in the deck.  With the smaller, sleeker creature the deck has become, the Rangers are unnecessary.  They're still good, just not here.

As always (well, it will be always), here's the full list of changes:

+1 Emeria Angel
-1 Pride of the Clouds
+1 Archon of Redemption
-1 Soulcatcher
-2 Shoreline Ranger

And here's the final list, sitting right at 60 cards:


Flock of Seagulls
Land (22)
8 Plains
7 Island
2 Azorius Chancery
2 Coastal Tower
1 Sejiri Refuge
2 Seaside Haven

Creatures (28)
3 Soulcatcher
2 Courier Hawk
2 Keeper of the Nine Gales
2 Aven Riftwatcher
2 Jotun Owl Keeper
1 Lieutenant Kirtar
2 Emeria Angel
1 Commander Eesha
2 Aven Fisher
2 Aven Augur
2 Celestial Gatekeeper
2 Phantom Flock
1 Archon of Redemption
2 Crookclaw Elder
1 Aven Brigadier
1 Windbrisk Raptor

Noncreatures (10)
4 Soulcatcher's Aerie
4 Battle Screech
2 Disenchant


So now for the educational part of this post.  First off, keep an eye out for cards that do the same thing only better, like the Emeria Angel replacing the Pride here.  Also, if you're like me, you keep decks for a long time and tweak and change them as new cards come out.  Watch out for those cards that were required to make the deck run smoothly back in the day.  Sometimes you just have to go back to first assumptions and take a good look at those cards that you just leave in there because they've always been there.  Question everything!  And that's not just a lesson in casual deckbuilding, that's a life lesson.  But enough of all that.  Hope you've enjoyed the little birdies.  Thanks for reading and uh, go play some Magic.

Category:60 Card Challenge -- posted at: 12:44pm EST

Episode 135 - Double Standard, M11, and Spiders
NOTE:  THIS EPISODE (AND THUS THE DISCUSSION ABOUT POSSIBLE CHANGES TO DEATHTOUCH) WAS RECORDED WAY BEFORE WIZARDS SAID ANYTHING ABOUT IT.

THANK YOU,
THE MANAGEMENT


Eric of Many Names is back with us again, adding fuel to the various and sundry fires.  Speaking of fires, after a somewhat brief rant to clear out my system, we start this episode off right by looking at the new Extended format and the Banned and Restricted list changes.  What do you guys think about it?  We already know what one person thinks!  We have a recorded message from Tosus detailing some of his thoughts on this as well as Archenemy.  Note the fireworks going off behind him...you know, because it's funny.

Holy crap I hate spiders.  There's also some listener mail, the next Premium Deck Series announcement (Fire & Lightning - http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/arcana/477) and of course we have to take a look at some of the one million M11 cards that have already been shown (http://www.wizards.com/magic/tcg/article.aspx?x=mtg/tcg/magic2011/spoiler).

There's an interesting discussion about some possible changes to Deathtouch, stemming from the new reminder text on Greater Basilisk.  Of course, now we know all about what the changes are, but this entire discourse came about because Mike saw the new reminder text and tried to figure out why they would change it to that specifically.  It's an excellent look at why Mike is our rules guy.  Hope you enjoy!

Star Wars Soundboards can be found here: http://www.starwars.com/games/playnow/soundboards/#/?theme=01

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Direct download: Episode_135_-_Double_Standard_M11_and_Spiders.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:47pm EST


We're all here this time!  First up it's our take on the M11 Prerelease and Launch cards, both of which are hardcore badassed.  Then there's the last Archenemy deck, so of course we have to read the Scheme flavor texts out loud.  And of course, my archnemesis has returned for this episode, those bastard clicks!  I dealt with them as best I could, but they're never gonna die!

Then we decide to take a look at some of the best antagonists in Magic history.  Yes, we're talking about the villains!  From Volrath to Leshrac to the big daddy evil dragon himself, we're checking out the bad guys!  Who is your favorite villain?

And to finish up, we end on a philosophical note regarding the actual villainy of the Eldrazi.  This was really only a few minutes, but it was my favorite part of this episode.  Let us know what you think on the forums!


​Intro Music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com
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Direct download: Episode_134_-_Of_Villainous_Intent.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:04pm EST

Back to Nature by Dirk & Chewie
Hello everyone, Chewie here.  My taciturn cohost ​Dirk writes just like he podcasts.  He doesn't say much, but what he does say speaks volumes.  Here's what he wrote when I asked him to do a blog post for this green card:

Definitely a green card with a very old green ability. Very efficient card that can destroy any deck that uses lots of enchantments. I think it would be a very good sideboard card and I think it could see lots of play if the Umbras deck ever takes off. All in all, a very good card that makes me happy to see competitive mass enchantment removal back in green.

I mean really now, what else is there to say?  Sure you could point out that the last time Green had this ability it was a sorcery and cost 3 mana.  You could say that the last time this ability was an instant, it was in white and still cost 3 mana.  No, not Patrician's Scorn, that has nonsense that goes along with it.  I mean the last time a card just said "Destroy all enchantments" and that's it. 

You could say that Tranquility was always just too damned expensive and not quite useful enough.  Back in the day the only thing you really had to worry about was the odd Unholy Strength or Pacifism.  Nowadays you have Oblivion Ring and Journey to Nowhere that you can gleefully destroy to get back your fatty or awesome utility guy or Planeswalker.  That seems pretty freakin' good to me, but why bother saying all that?  It's basically implied already in Dirk's concise statement.

Now, from a Casual Magic standpoint, you can definitely say a few more things.  Dirk didn't say this explicitly because he didn't want us to notice, but a single copy of Back to Nature will completely screw his green enchantment deck.  For that matter, it will utterly destroy my enchantment-heavy Words deck too.  Everyone who plays casually knows someone with a deck that relies on enchantments to the point of being ridiculous.  This card gives us all a cheap way to cripple that player, at instant speed, and for only 2 freakin' mana.  Sounds like a good time to me.  Just don't play it against my Words deck, okay?

Category:Previews -- posted at: 12:00am EST

Gargoyle Sentinel by Brian


Thunder roars unheard above the sounds of the battlefield. Lightning flashes, momentarily illuminating a scene of intense combat through the downpour. The invading army’s captain sat stoically on his mount, keeping his veteran eye on the shadows of movement that told him of his force’s progress against the keep. The battle was going well for him, and the sounds of metal on metal had been gradually decreasing as the defenders were put down. He turned down to the commander of his advance units.

“Has there been word of those that I ordered to proceed into the stronghold?” he asked, slight irritation purposefully showing behind his otherwise flat demeanor. He was not one to be kept waiting, and his troops knew this.

“No sir,” was the reply, the commander respectfully meeting the captain’s eyes, “but the conditions are making reconnaissance nearly impossible. I have no reason to believe that they have met anything but success. There is no one here whom we fear.”

Pleased with the soldier’s earned bravado, the captain returned his gaze to the skirmish. “Order in another two units. I want information of what defenses the inner keep holds, if any.” He laughed. “And I’m soaking wet, and I dislike the sensation. See to it.”

The scouts went forward, following the trail of the first troop around the most pitched fighting and watching for hidden dangers. No enemy combatants waited in ambush, but that only made them the more suspicious. Finally, they found the wall of the keep and began to make their way around. The foremost scout wordlessly commanded the others to stop upon seeing a large shape looming in the darkness, but breathed a sigh of relief when he realized that it was only a statue.

As the troop came forward, the first scout started to move past the statue. As he did so, he saw another shape, or rather a series of shapes. He drew his sword at the sight of the other soldiers, preparing his men to cut them down as they lay resting. They drew near, but at the last moment another bolt of lightning revealed the scene of the first group of scouts. None had survived. The second group stood in shock, certain now of danger but not sure of what to guard against. Above them, the statue stared down.

A few hours later, the captain was alone, watching what he could from his vantage point. The defenders had found a second wind with reinforcements from an unknown source. He needed his men to rally to him, but the continuing storm hampered communication. His men at the keep, the advance parties, were unaccounted for. He believed that this was the reason he was alone, as even his second-in-command feared the captain’s temper at its height.

“Cowards,” he muttered to his steed, “afraid to face my wrath for this failure. Where are they? Alonze, come to me!” he shouted into the darkness. Only at hearing his own bellow did the captain realize just how quiet the scene had become. He heard a sound, like and unlike approaching footsteps, from the direction of the battlefield. He stared at the dark in front of him, willing it to reveal whether it was the forces of the enemy or his own soldiers, but no one was in front of him for some distance. The sound increased in intensity, and suddenly he was snatched off of his horse and lifted impossibly into the air.

He let out a harsh cry, but upon gazing up and seeing his captor, he began to laugh. It was a long, hard laugh, coming out uncontrollably from the man who was so close to victory and now so far from the ground. The sound echoed off of the stone hide of the beast, almost seeming to become louder to his own ears. The captain recognized his opponent’s true forces at last, and knew that his failure had always been inevitable.

Hey there, Mana Pool friends and listeners. This is Brian, he of the rambling. I’m here today to discuss one of the special preview cards we were assigned from Magic 2011 in a bit more depth than we could give on the show. The card, as you should hopefully be able to tell from the narrative above, is Gargoyle Sentinel.

I’m going to first go over the obvious uses and implications of this card, both as a practical matter of analysis and then specific to limited, which is the format where he is likely to see the most play (in my humble opinion). Then, I will attempt to look at some aspects of the card which lend themselves to more interesting application. For more information on the flavor-tasticness of this card, be sure to listen to the review that we give him on the show. I won’t repeat it here, because I think it would really just be repetition of my thoughts I said on the show. Plus, everybody loves the sound of Chewie’s voice, am I right?

First of all, this guy is pretty efficient. A 3/3 body (albeit with defender) for three mana is very solid, usually only found in green. The fact that he is colorless opens him up to all colors, most remarkably for the otherwise creature-weak blue. The fact that he does have defender makes him comparable to Ogre Sentry from Rise of the Eldrazi in red, which costs one less but (1) is color-specific and (2) cannot itself lose defender without help. The end result? Even if he never takes off, the Sentinel is a pretty solid defender for his cost.

He can take off, however, and therein lies the true potential. The Sentinel is made for coming out early and having the beef to hold back the opponent for some time. Don’t underestimate the relatively high power for a defender; the ability to not just block but kill a fair number of attackers is pretty significant. Once the ground is more or less safe, he can join the races by adding his considerable weight to the airborne offensive. The fact that he is an artifact limits some of the removal that can be thrown at him, and protection from artifacts is pretty rare, so there is a good chance he will connect. If things become problematic, just keep him at home until it is most efficient for him to go on the attack. Don’t forget that he can also spread his wings to block an incoming aerial attacker (thanks, Mike!).

In summation, for at least the purposes of sealed or draft, Gargoyle Sentinel is pretty nice. His body is a great way to dissuade the opponent from trying to attack, and his later-game presence is something that the opponent will have to take into consideration at the very least. Heck, even if the opponent has to use a Lightning Bolt to clear him out, that’s a Lightning Bolt they can’t use again! Overall, he seems decidedly solid to fairly strong, depending on how efficient M11’s creatures are and how aggressive the limited format proves to be. I’d strongly consider playing him where possible unless he’s just simply outclassed.

Finally, let’s get a little more interesting. What other uses can Gargoyle Sentinel have? Well, he’s a Gargoyle, so if you’ve been waiting to finish out your Wakestone Gargoyle deck, here you go! Also, he’s an artifact, so he plays nicely with Etherium Sculptor and friends from Esper. Speaking of Esper, try this guy out with Skill Borrower; as long as Gargoyle Sentinel is the top card of your library, you can send your Borrower to the skies. For a version of this combo that does not require you to have the Gargoyle on top of your library, combo with Experiment Kraj. Since we’re focusing on the activated ability here, I feel obliged to mention Training Grounds; this ability gets significantly better when it costs 1 (2 less).

Of course, sometimes even just being a defender has an upside. Check out Vent Sentinel (woo, Sentinels unite!) for some damage and Overgrown Battlement for mana production purposes. Don’t like getting beaten down by your opponents? Get out a Gargoyle Sentinel and wait for your opponent to go to his combat step (preferably with little or no mana open) and cast Mirrorweave or Cytoshape.

That’s about all I can say about Gargoyle Sentinel, a deceptively simple-looking card. Just remember when you’re at the Magic 2011 prerelease or release events, that’s probably not a bird, plane, or Superman up there. Just because it doesn’t look like it can move… doesn’t mean it won’t eat you.

Category:Previews -- posted at: 11:36pm EST

Mana Leak by Mike


You’re going to read and hear comments running the entire length of the spectrum from “best idea ever” to “kill me now” when it comes to this card. I’ll go ahead and let you know now that I’m one of the ones happy to see it.

I like counter-magic, but not in the usual “to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women” kind of way. I like it because it’s a very versatile class of removal, balanced by the need to apply careful thought in order to use it properly. When a spell worth countering comes around, first of all you have to be ready for it. You have to have the mana up. That means you need to carefully consider how you spend the turn before it, thinking about what benefit any threats you could play would add to your position and how safe you already are against the opponent’s threats currently on the table. Then you have to decide how dangerous the spell is for you. Will it only be a temporary inconvenience or will it set up a long-term problem? What could be following it based on the mana the opponent still has open? I have more fun during a game when I have more interesting choices to make that will really test my skills as a player.

Anyway: about the card. Lots of decks tap out nowadays. In my personal opinion, a play environment is at its worst when there are too many decks that just go on autopilot. Having Mana Leak around forces players to stop and think when there’s 1U up on the other side of the table. Is it there? Is it a bluff? Is it a coincidence? How sad would I be in the long run if this play or series of plays got nullified? Can I trick the opponent into using it now so I can do what I really want later?

Besides the interesting strategic choices it brings to the metagame, Mana Leak is also just a good card. 3 is a lot to leave open at any given time in the early and mid game, so most of the time it’s just a classic Counterspell. Even if the opponent has 3 or more extra mana open, you can use the leverage to screw up a multi-spell play that the current spell is trying to open. But, of course, one of the best and most powerful features of Mana Leak is the minimal colored mana requirement. You can get the ease of play of something like a Negate or Essence Scatter without the targeting restriction that might randomly leave a dead card in your hand. With that versatility, you can also just staple it into an existing deck that wouldn’t mind having it around (I’m envisioning a situation where a removal attempt on your Kiln Fiend turns into something hilarious).

There’s tons more that can be said, but I’ll let you all have a go at it. Please do comment, because we really appreciate all the feedback we get from our audience.

Category:Previews -- posted at: 8:02pm EST

Bonus Episode - M11 Spoilers
Oh yes, it's spoiler time baby!  We got the pooled spoilers again, this time it's Magic 2011!  And it's not just us, oh no.  We called in the reinforcements again for the spoilers, this time in the form of the inimitable Eric of Many Names.  We've got the return of Mana Leak, who has been missing from Standard since 9th Edition rotated out oh so long ago.  And two new cards, Back to Nature and Gargoyle Sentinel.  On this bonus episode, your four host dorks and the special guest extraordinaire explore the flavor of these three cards and take a guess at what they might do for Standard (if anything).  If you'd like a more in-depth look at these cards, be sure to check out our preview blog posts on the home page at http://themanapool.libsyn.com, there's one for each new card!


Intro music is Diamond by Swift - http://www.swift-band.com

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/bonus-episode-m11-spoilers-t540.html
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Direct download: Bonus_Episode_-_M11_Spoilers.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:00pm EST

Episode 133 - Crappy Cracker and the Local Colloquial
Holy special guest hosts, Batman! Because we lost our own Brian, we decided the only way to possibly fill the void was with another Bryan. But since no one can possibly ramble as much as Brian, we threw in the added bonus of Christian. Both of these guys are from the (sabbaticalized) Avant-Card Show, and they were gracious enough to join in the fun this episode.

First up we have the Duels of the Planeswalkers paper decks. Then there are a couple more Archenemy decks to check out. Then there are a small handful of M11 cards that need to be addressed. That's about it for the first half of the show, really.

We decided that we really didn't have enough time to get into the intended topic for this episode, but judging from the discussion we had after the recording stopped, you guys really weren't missing much. Instead, we have a special Out of the Deck Box and take a look at Mike's Scion of the Ur-Dragon EDH deck! We hope you enjoy, and thanks again to Bryan and Christian for joining us!


Check out the Avant-Card Show at http://www.avantcardshow.com

Intro Music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com
Break Music - Fallen by Ill Mic: http://www.illmic.com

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-133-crappy-cracker-and-the-local-colloquial-t539.html
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Direct download: Episode_133_-_Crappy_Cracker_and_the_Local_Colloquial.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:57pm EST

Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Mana Pool’s little corner of the blogosphere. Chewie here, and we’re back on the 60 Card Challenge. The first step was to count up the cards in all my decks. This is nowhere as much fun as it sounds, and it doesn’t sound like any fun at all. During the course of this, I found a small handful of decks that already had the requisite 60 cards already. So I thought I’d go ahead and share some of those with you guys to get them out of the way. Since I’m going to be showing everyone the rest of my decks, I figured I’d show you all of them. I’m also going to attempt to come up with some nifty names for them that aren’t so utilitarian. No reason, just as a mental exercise and to jazz them up a bit.

I have two decks built around the Suspend mechanic from Time Spiral block. The first and foremost is basically mono-blue with a small red splash for Jhoira. Looking at it again, I’m considering changing it around some, but that’s not what this about. Here’s the list:

Suspension of Disbelief
Land (21)
4 Terramorphic Expanse
3 Mountain
14 Island

Creatures (28)
3 Jhoira of the Ghitu
3 Riftwing Cloudskate
3 Errant Ephemeron
3 Chronozoa
3 Infiltrator il-Kor
1 Maelstrom Djinn
4 Aeon Chronicler
3 Deep-Sea Kraken
2 Timebender
3 Jhoira's Timebug

Noncreatures (11)
2 Paradox Haze
3 Ancestral Vision
3 Clockspinning
2 Reality Strobe
1 Time Stretch

It’s pretty simple. Lots of time counters, lots of things that manipulate time counters, and land. The Chronozoa and Maelstrom Djinn are fun with the time counter shenanigans, and the various suspended creatures can jump into play in a hurry. My personal favorite thing to do is use Jhoira to suspend an Aeon Chronicler for 4 extra card draws on the cheap. As far as changing it around, I might knock out a Jhoira and a Chronicler to finish the set of Ephemeron and Cloudskate, but I haven’t decided yet. Any thoughts?


If any of you have read my articles or listened to me ramble about my decks, you’ve heard of the Words Deck. A while back, I took all the green out of the Words deck to make room for blue, because a deck that wants to draw lots of cards really needs blue. But I really missed having the Words of Wilding in there to make lots of bears. I missed it so much that I made it a deck to call its own. Here it is:

Words of Wilding
Land (22)
20 Forest
2 Oran-Rief the Vastwood

Creatures (23)
2 Hystrodon
2 Heartwood Storyteller
2 Regal Force
2 Skullmulcher
2 Kavu Climber
3 Wistful Selkie
2 Elvish Visionary
2 Magus of the Library
2 Maro
1 Overbeing of Myth
1 Primordial Sage
1 Masumaro, First to Live
1 Kamahl, Fist of Krosa

Noncreatures (15)
4 Words of Wilding
3 Harmonize
2 Sylvan Library
2 Snakeform
2 Overrun
2 Naturalize

As you can probably tell, it’s just a bunch of green card draw. Since it’s green, it’s mostly creature based. Play dudes, draw cards or make bears, swing for the win. The Maros and the Magus can take advantage of full hands. Skullmulcher can chow down on any spare bear tokens or pointless creatures like Elvish Visionary. Overrun and green Kamahl are win conditions (of course) since I should have a fair number of bear tokens wandering around. Snakeform is a funny little combat trick that gets me another card (or bear) in the process. Plus there's Oran-Rief for when I play a creature and make a bear, or make lots of bears, or whatever. I haven’t played it that many times, but every time that I have it has been a lot of fun. What do you think?

So there you have it. Two straightforward decks that were already sitting at 60 cards, submitted for your approval. Or amusement. Whatever. Hope you enjoyed, I’ll be back before too long with a deck that actually went through some changes. Thanks for reading and uh, go play some Magic!

Category:60 Card Challenge -- posted at: 9:48pm EST

60 Card Challenge - Introduction
​Hello there everyone!  Welcome to the first of the Mana Pool blog posts!  That's right, you've listened to the podcast, now read the blog!  Now how much would you pay?  Whoa, the blogosphere makes me sound like a pitch man.  Let's move on quickly.

Anyway, here's the deal.  I thought I would chronicle my attempts at knocking all my many casual Magic decks down to 60 cards.  Some background first!  Since I basically play big round-table multiplayer free-for-all type games, I didn't so much care about sticking to the recommended 60 card minimum.  If I had an idea for a deck, I wanted to run with it, number of cards be damned.  I'd throw in 20 land and there was a deck ready to play!

Paradigm shift 1!  As I matured a bit in my Magic-playing, I decided to impose a 64 card limit on myself so things didn't get too stupid.  I also went back and upped every deck's land count to 22.  Mana screw happened a LOT less after that, of course.  In fact, in the context of our playgroup, 22 lands has become my golden standard, and it's still where I start with a deck today.  I find I can draw out of any mana screw before it becomes a problem in a 4-6 person game. 

Paradigm shift 2!  At some point after that, I decided to knock my personal limit to 62 cards with 22 land.  This made the decks I built after this revelation more consistent and less likely to fail miserably (Well, due to statistics.  They still failed miserably due to construction sometimes.)  Mathematics can be very persuasive.  Not enough to make me move all the way down to 60, but I was getting there.  Sometimes I'd get done with a deck and find that it was actually sitting at 60 cards.  Sometimes I'd be happy with that, and sometimes I'd go dig out 2 more cards to add in.  Like I said, big round-table multiplayer free-for-alls are more forgiving with my group of dorks. 

Then the paradigm shifted yet again.  I'm not sure when, but I noticed that my more recent decks were (mostly) 60 card affairs.  Unlike the last two shifts, this one was not a conscious decision.  It just sort of happened without me noticing.  So one fateful day a few weeks ago, I signed up for Netflix.  This gave me access to a truly stupid amount of crap to watch instantly on my Xbox 360.  But I am not the kind of person who can just sit still and watch movies and whatnot.  No no, I need something to DO while I'm watching movies and whatnot.  I looked down at my Box o' Decks and knew what I must do.  I would turn each and every one of these bloated 61-64 card decks into a lean, focused 60 card deck.  Oh yes.  I could sit there in my living room floor screwing around with Magic decks for literally HOURS, which meant my Netflix subscription could kick off in grand style. 

And I decided to share that with all of you.  I kept notes about what came out of each deck, and a quick flip through a deck will tell me plenty about other things that could have come out.  Not only will this be a streamlining exercise, but hopefully it will give you (the readers) some insights into multiplayer deck building.  Or at least it will give you a glimpse into the way my brain works.  Of course, you'll also get a good long look at almost every one of my decks over the course of this odyssey, so perhaps you'll find some inspiration there.  At the very least, it should be entertaining.  I mean, you know how I am on the show (And if you don't then you should check it out.  I mean you're here already.  Really now.) and I have lots of articles on Cardshark.com, so hopefully it'll be fun.  Stay tuned for the first deck soon!

Category:60 Card Challenge -- posted at: 7:44pm EST

Episode 132 - Feel Human, Use Tools
We start off this episode with lots of news. I mean lots of news. We have the colors for the Magic 2011 Intro packs, which ordinarily wouldn't be a big deal. But this time they're multicolored! Wha?

http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/arcana/457

Then we have the announcement for the next Duel Decks. This time it's gonna be Elspeth vs. Tezzeret. Maybe that means we'll be able to snag a few copies of Elspeth for less than 30 bucks apiece!
http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/arcana/459

Then we have a decklist for the first of the Archenemy decks, Assemble the Doomsday Machine. We go over all the schemes and give you a quick look at the deck itself, which looks entertaining to say the least.
http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/arcana/462

Then we come to the point. Brian bought a Deck Builder's Toolkit. So of course, we're going to crack it open, check out all the cards, and...then what? Well it's the Deck Builder's Toolkit, so we're gonna build a deck! This time, we're going to go for a multiplayer deck instead of the usual sealed pool stuff. As always, check the forums if you want the full list. The link is right down there. Here's what the Toolkit is, in case you're not aware.
http://www.wizards.com/magic/tcg/productarticle.aspx?x=mtg/tcg/dbt/productinfo


Intro music is Diamond by Swift - http://www.swift-band.com

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-132-feel-human-use-tools-t535.html
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Direct download: Episode_132_-_Feel_Human_Use_Tools.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:47am EST

And the letter 6! We start off this episode with lots of little things. Explanations for late episodes, listener emails, new products (Archenemy) and old products available to new people (Duels of the Planeswalkers on PC). Easy enough, right? Of course, we're a little silly after such a long time away from our microphones.

Archenemy feature article:
http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/feature/91

Then there's another Rise of the Eldrazi Sealed pool. But instead of building it live on the air, we each built our own deck before we recorded. And we're going to do a compare and contrast sort of thing. Do we go with the levelers? What about burn? Should we ramp up into all these Eldrazi? We might even do all of those things! As always, if you want to see the entire pool, check the forum post for this episode. The link is right down there at the end of these show notes. What sort of deck would you build with this pool?


Intro music is Diamond by Swift - http://www.swift-band.com
Break music is Just to Piss You Off by Social Outcast ub - http://www.myspace.com/socialoutcastub

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-131-brought-to-you-by-the-number-l-t531.html
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Direct download: Episode_131_-_Brought_to_You_by_the_Number_L.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:30pm EST


Yes, we're finally doing an episode about EDH! Not just any episode about EDH, but a LIVE episode about EDH! You'll see Brian piloting a Doran the Siege Tower deck, Dirk with my Wort, Boggart Auntie build, Mike with his brutal take on Scion of the Ur-Dragon, a terribly mana-screwed Chewie playing his Progenitus crazy good stuff nonsense, and finally our special guest AJ with his monowhite Commander Eesha. Sure it's long, sure it's crazy, and of course it's impossible to follow, but we know that no one listens to our live episodes to follow along closely with the game, so it'll be okay.


Also, as promised, we have the listener-supplied Magic Mad Lib from the forums. In fact, it'll be the very first thing you hear, so pay attention as soon as you hit play.

We hope you enjoy it as much as we did! Try to catch the theme running through the whole show that Mike is, in fact, dumb. But we still love him, right everyone?

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-130-edh-live-mike-is-dumb-t529.html
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Direct download: Episode_130_-_EDH_Live_Mike_is_Dumb.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:43pm EST

Welcome to this much-delayed episode of The Mana Pool!  Chewie here, and I'd just like to say sorry about that.  If this one wasn't worth the wait, the next episode should make up for it.  Trust me on this one.  But first, this episode!  We start off with some random stuff, and here are the links that go with those things!

Chuck & Beans strip about Magic, sort of
http://www.shoeboxblog.com/?p=16935

StarCity's coverage of the StarCityGames Open: Atlanta
http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/article/19251.html


Then we go back to a segment we started a short while ago, the Story Circle!  We have two Story Circles this time around, one that Mike started and one that I started.  These are definitely way out there, so we hope you enjoy them.  And don't mind the Aven Riftwatcher in the second one, they just wouldn't let me take it out.  For the full listing, check the forum thread for this episode, the link is down there at the bottom of these show notes.

Then it's time for another of Brian's creative segments.  I give you - Mortal Instinct Fighter Calibur Vs!  Through painstaking research and hours of meeting arduous criteria, Brian has assembled 16 creatures from Magic's history to meet in mortal...instinct...um...fighter calibur vs?  Yeah.  Anyway, we go through the entire bracket, pitting creature against creature, victor against victor until only one remains!

I'd like to issue a special thank you to the announcers from the World Warrior and Killer Instinct tournaments for helping us out this episode.  And a big SCREW YOU to Shao Kahn for being such a douche.

Music for this episode provided by Swift, check them out at http://www.swift-band.com
Intro music - Diamond
"I can't hear the words that you tell me" - Diamond
"Save me, I don't wanna die, don't just stand there" - The Guatemalan
"We'll be running, running away from them" - Release the Wolves

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-129-mortal-instinct-fighter-calibur-vs-t528.html
Check out our archive at http://themanapool.libsyn.com
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Direct download: Episode_129_-_Mortal_Instinct_Fighter_Calibur_Vs.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:19pm EST

On this episode, we have the second coming of the Eldrazi! In other words, found out how we all did at the various and sundry Launch Parties for Rise of the Eldrazi. There are 4 tournaments to discuss, but Dirk didn't go. Figure that out. Oh, then there's another Magic Mad Lib. Aw yeah!

And then, we hearken back to something that hasn't seen the light of day since waaaaay back in Episode 41! *commence redneck accent* So what we gonna do is, we gonna take 6 packs of that there Rise set, and we gonna build us a Sealed deck out of it. Hoo boy it's gonna be heaps a fun! *AHEM* Sorry about that. But yeah, we took a Sealed pool of Rise and, live on the air, built a deck out of it. And this deck is pretty awesome. For a complete list of the cards in the pool, please check out the forum thread for this episode. The link is right down there in the show notes.

And please try to overlook the various technical problems, jump cuts, record scratches, and Brian. We have no idea what was going on. At least it's not TOO bad, just a little annoying.

And check out the Card and Controller Blog at http://cardandcontroller.blogspot.com/


Forum thread for this episode: Right here!
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Intro music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com
Break music - The Weight of Instruction by Swift
Direct download: Episode_128_-_The_Second_Coming.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:23pm EST

This is it. The Eldrazi have been loosed upon this world.  It was only a matter of time until they crossed paths with the dorks of The Mana Pool - and that time has come. Inside this digital audio construct, you will learn what happens when an unstoppable force meets...a bunch of dorks.

Oh, and there's a Magic Mad Lib too. Don't forget that.

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-127-eldrazi-first-contact-t510.html

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Intro music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com

Break music - Creepy Doll by Jonathan Coulton: http://www.jonathancoulton.com

Direct download: Episode_127_-_Eldrazi_First_Contact.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:02pm EST

Episode 126 - Rise of the Eldrazi Preview 3

Thank you for purchasing the latest episode of The Mana Pool. A credit has been charged to your account. Don’t worry if you didn’t give us a card number; we know it already. The dorks have gathered once again to bring you a valuable, consumer-tested product sure to delight children of all ages and a few adults as well.

This episode is chock full of new, never-before-heard content. As you listen to the episode, you can hear all about:

Recording issues!
Tapeworms!
Tech support calls!
Piles of dirt riding chariots!
Stupid soldiers!
Kung-fu masters!
Picky vampire knights!
AC-DC and Clash of the Titans!
Giants throwing pebbles!
Goblinshamancommons!
Upside-down insects!
Tired hosts!

Oh, and there are a bunch of card previews that we go over, too. Be sure to attend your local Rise of the Eldrazi Prerelease the weekend of April 17-18 or Launch Party the weekend of April 24-25. Satisfaction not guaranteed, but you should hopefully have a decent time and get new card stuff. Yay stuff. Some assembly required for some stuffs.

Thanks again for your purchase. 1000% of our profits go to keeping Chewie off the street and the money left over goes to keeping Dirk in school.

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-126-rise-of-the-eldrazi-preview-3-t508.html
Check out our archive at http://themanapool.libsyn.com
Email us at themanapool@cardshark.com
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Cardshark Member Promotions: http://www.cardshark.com/member_promotions.asp
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Intro music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com

Direct download: Episode_126_-_Rise_of_the_Eldrazi_Preview_3.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:30am EST

Episode 125 - Rise of the Eldrazi Preview 2

Hello again, and welcome to the second preview episode for the upcoming Rise of the Eldrazi release.  This is Mike, writing the show notes at the very last minute, several days after the recording, possibly because I'm a lazy dope.  I'll leave the proof of whether or not that's true as an exercise for the listeners.

So yes!  Rise of the Eldrazi previews!  They pretty much speak for themselves!  I can't stop shouting!  We're glad to have you join us for another high quality episode of discussion and analysis, full of evil Pokemans, gasseous demons, Eldrazi in top hats, and how we almost died.


Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-125-rise-of-the-eldrazi-preview-2-t503.html
Check out our archive at http://themanapool.libsyn.com
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Subscribe to our RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/themanapool
Intro music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com
Break music - Join the Dragonlord by Swift

Direct download: Episode_125_-_Rise_of_the_Eldrazi_Preview_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:49am EST

Episode 124 - Rise of the Eldrazi Preview 1

Surviving tornadoes, tearing the space-time continuum, attempting to predict the future, B&R list updates, the largest Magic event in history, nifty Tainted Sigil tech, Phyrexian boobs, reprint policies - and all that happens in the first quarter of the show!

 

Then we go off on the important stuff, which is of course Rise of the Eldrazi previews.  There are lots and lots, including our take on the level-up guys (higher rarity seems to mean better quality), the Eldrazi spells (but what if they cost 2 less?), and all the rest of the good stuff (yay Defender!). It's a long one but well worth it, if I do say so myself.

 

 

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-124-rise-of-the-eldrazi-preview-1-t500.html

Check out our archive at http://themanapool.libsyn.com

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Intro music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com

Break music - Code Monkey by Jonathan Coulton: http://www.jonathancoulton.com

Direct download: Episode_124_-_Rise_of_the_Eldrazi_Preview_1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:07pm EST

Episode 123 - Backdoor Shenanigans

Hey there, fellow geeks. This is Dirk. I got roped into writing the show notes again since Brian didn't feel like getting around to them (Brian: hey! I'm a busy guy, what with all of this.. stuff... and other stuff!) So anyway, this wasn't a shorter episode, so let's get to it.

 

We have the usual opening; we're still brought to you by Cardshark and all of that jazz. We've gotten some emails. Brian says a special thank you to those that have congratulated him on his proven ability to reproduce. There were some other opening parts, but none that really excited me.

 

Then we're off to the best part of the episode: the actual content! In this one, staying true to our commitment to report on games of all shapes, sizes, types, and historical significance, we go over some card games from Brian's past. He and I played a few games of Lord of the Rings TCG, so we go over how the game works and he runs through how the games turned out. It was actually a lot of fun to step back and give this game another go, so listen in. Then he and Mike talked about the Star Wars CCG, but that's their thing- I kind of almost fell asleep while they were playing.

 

Chewie, the most quiet member of the cast. Gets in a few words in Chewie's Corner. He goes over video games and other things that have struck his fancy. There's some talk about Magic in there, but don't worry; we're over it quickly. Finally, we wrap up with our standard last segment and close it out.

 

You're in for a treat this time. Pick up your headphones or whatnot and turn up the volume, because The Mana Pool is on- We're Game(c)!

 

 

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-123-backdoor-shenanigans-t499.html

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Break music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com

Direct download: Episode_123_-_Backdoor_Shenanigans.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:03pm EST

Episode 122 - Multiplayer Mayhem Live 2

Hey look, another episode of us playing Magic live and in person! There's not much to say really, so here's a quick rundown. The four of us got together for another reason, but we couldn't skip playing Magic and recording it for our beloved listeners. So we broke out the microphone, the laptop, and the something soft to put the mic on and went to town.

 

Mike did the work putting this episode together, but he didn't write any show notes, so I'm not sure how many games we played this time. I think it was two. One ended up as a 3-on-1 struggle, and I'm not entirely clear on what happened in the second one. I guess we'll find out together.  Hope you enjoy!

 

 

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-122-multiplayer-mayhem-live-2-t495.html

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Intro by Tosus, host of Der Geek: http://www.dergeek.com

Intro music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com

Direct download: Episode_122_-_Multiplayer_Mayhem_Live_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:43am EST

Episode 121 - Pack Your Suitcases

Hello again, boys, girls, and other various creatures of the multiverse! This is Brian, bringing you a quick overview of tonight's (today's? yesterday's?) show.

 

The first thing you will notice is that we have an extra voice with us. No, not Dirk, although Dirk has gone from being a common host to an uncommon host lately. Maybe he'll have a higher toughness for the same cost now. No, we were honored to be joined by the great Eric of Many Names for this episode. He shares his insights with us on topics big and small. Those of you who listen to the Mr. Suitcase or Monday Night Magic podcasts are probably already fans, and those of you who have never heard the mellifluous sound of his voice are in for a treat.

 

Arm-in-arm, we conquer a number of subjects on this episode. We respond to listener emails, including a challenge to Dirk's green superiority (self-proclaimed). We do another Magic Mad Lib, this time with considerably more clarity on my own part. Finally, three hours in, we approach the subject of multiplayer formats. Of course, there are almost as many variations on playing as there are players, but we tried to hit the highlights and give our impressions where we have tried out a format in the past. Listeners, PLEASE hit the forums for this episode! What are your favorite multiplayer formats? Did you agree with our impressions? Did we skip your favorite format ever? Let us know!

 

That's pretty much it. No huge, life-changing announcements this time, but more multiplayer content than you can shake a Wand of Ith at. All brought to you by the lovely people at Cardshark.com. Go listen!

 

 

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-121-pack-your-suitcases-t488.html

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Intro music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com

Break music - Swell Guy by Swift

Direct download: Episode_121_-_Pack_Your_Suitcases.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:07pm EST

Episode 120 - Rise of the Eldrazi Spoilers

Before you get too excited, there's lots of stuff to go through before the big topic. We've got an announcement about Cardshark and a new site design. And there's the March Member Promotions while we're on the topic of Cardshark. Then we crack open a pack of Zendikar and a pack of Worldwake and discuss what we've got. Remember Mad Libs? We've got a Mad Magic Lib for you. Let us know what you think of that, we might have another one soon.

Okay okay, enough screwing around. Wizards has given us access to the pooled spoilers for Rise of the Eldrazi! This includes 6 cards as well as a whole mess of artwork, which you'll find on our Facebook group. There is LOTS of discussion, both in-depth and not, about all of these things. So why are you still reading this? Give it a listen!

 

 

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-120-rise-of-the-eldrazi-spoilers-t483.html

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Intro music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com

Direct download: Episode_120_-_Rise_of_the_Eldrazi_Spoilers.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:26am EST

Chewie here, and this is an episode quite unlike most of our others.  Mike and Brian went to the Star City Games 5K tournament in Richmond, and this episode is all about their experiences.  They both did Saturday (Standard) while Mike tackled Sunday as well (Legacy).  Hear all about how they did and what they thought in this very episode!

 

And while we're on the subject of tournament Magic, let's discuss a little bit of tournament etiquette, shall we?  It all boils down to a very simple idea - don't be a jerk!  But you know we're going to flesh it out just a little bit more than that, so take a listen to our mental meanderings on the topic.

 

 

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-119-scg-5k-richmond-highlights-t481.html

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Break music from the Battlefield 1942 Loading Music by Joel Eriksson: http://www.joeleriksson.com

Direct download: Episode_119_-_SCG_5K_Richmond_Highlights.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:25pm EST

Episode 118 - Duel Decks vs. The Winston Draft

Is that some Duel Decks? We've got the decklists for the new Phyrexia vs. the Coalition Duel Decks, which we went over with great excitement. You don't get to hear that though. You get to hear the second take, due to some technical difficulties. Don't worry though, we made it sound just as good as the first.

 

Because of those tech problems we recorded the second half of the show the next night, which might explain why Dirk disappeared and we all sound different. But the topic for the second day of this recording marathon is devoted to the mightiest of the two-person draft formats, the Winston Draft. Created by Richard Garfield himself, it's a great way to get some Limited play in without gathering lots of people or driving to the card shop. We go over all the ins and outs and give some strategic insights, all included right here in this handy podcast.

 

 

Original article that introduced the Winston:
http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtgcom/daily/af59

Chewie's first Winston walkthrough with Time Spiral:
http://www.cardshark.com/content/view_article.asp?article_id=4036

Chewie's second Winston walkthrough with Lorwyn
http://www.cardshark.com/content/view_article.asp?article_id=4111

 

 

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-118-duel-decks-vs-the-winston-draft-t477.html

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Intro music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com

Break music from Trogdor by Strong Bad: http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail58.html

Direct download: Episode_118_-_Duel_Decks_vs_The_Winston_Draft.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:45pm EST

Episode 117 - News, Rules, and a Story Circle

Hey, this is Mike here.  Hello again, and welcome to the... uh... um... *mumble*  I really should have written these show notes back when Chewie first asked me to.  Thankfully, he's around to remind me about all the interesting things we talked about on this most recent episode of The Mana Pool!

The first topic this time is the experience of the Worldwake Prerelease and Launch.  You'll get to hear about some of the "deadly perils" we faced along our journeys to the "priceless treasures" that awaited (or the "0-2 drop and go home"s that awaited, as appropriate).   Of course now I can't remember anything else about the discussion, so we'll all get a pleasant surprise when we listen!

Then I talked about the recent Rules Update Bulletin?  Maybe?  I'll be finding out right along with you.

Finally, we introduce a very interesting feature that I personally hope we come back to some day.  Brian calls it the Story Circle, and it offers some very entertaining insights into our various creative processes we use for deckbuilding.

Honestly, I'm looking forward to listening to this episode just as much as you are.

 

 

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-117-news-rules-and-a-story-circle-t470.html

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Intro music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com

Extra special intro by Tosus, find him at http://dergeek.com

Direct download: Episode_117_-_News_Rules_and_a_Story_Circle.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:36pm EST

Chewie here. On this episode, it's just me and Mike. So this time, we decided to do something entertaining that wasn't an actual "topic," so we decided to do a couple of Out of the Deck Box comparisons. We both have a Grixis deck, and we both have a Big Green Stupid deck, so that's what we decided to go with. As always, look for the decklists in the forum post for this episode. Hope you guys enjoy the laid back two host episode!

 

 

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-116-outta-the-deck-box-mike-chewie-edition-t464.html

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Intro music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com

Break music is Macarron Chacarron by El Mudo

Direct download: 116_Episode_116_-_Outta_the_Deck_Box.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:55pm EST

Episode 115 - Worldwake Previews 2

Poor Dirk, falling in the well again. Oh well. No pun intended there, really.

 

So here we are again with the last round of Worldwake previews. There are some doozies in this one too. From Wurms that blow up the world to stupid turtles to elementals that make wolves to a crazy go nuts Upwelling guy, we cover it all. At least all of it that was up when we recorded. Enjoy the cards and the ridiculous number of pop culture references, which were flowing like...I dunno, something that flows a lot.

 

 

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-115-worldwake-previews-2-t461.html

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Intro music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com

Direct download: Episode_115_-_Worldwake_Previews_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:50pm EST

Episode 114 - Worldwake Previews 1

It's the time again! Previews galore, this time for Worldwake! Mix around 30 parts preview cards with something like 5 parts Magic news, and you get this episode!

 

Show notes are for punks on episodes this straightforward, so that's enough of that.

 

 

Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-114-worldwake-previews-1-t459.html

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Intro music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com

Direct download: Episode_114_-_Worldwake_Previews_1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:13pm EST

Episode 113 - Multiplayer Mayhem Live

This is it. Years in the making. Epic in scope. The episode many have clamored for has finally become a reality. The time has come. The four hosts have once again gathered. And the number 113 will never...be...the same.


Okay, enough of all that. But really, ever since The Mana Pool #15 waaaaaaay back in March of '08, we have had an overwhelmingly positive response to our Multiplayer Mayhem episodes. And listeners have been requesting that we record an episode while playing for just as long. As I am writing this, Mike and I are actually trying to figure out why we shied away from it for so long. For some reason, we thought it would either be boring, confusing, hard to follow, or generally terrible without being able to see what was going on. But with Mike joining us for the first time in well over a year, and coming equipped with a laptop containing the appropriate recording software, there was no way we could pass up the opportunity. I grabbed my handy desktop mic and the rest, as they say, is playing in your ear. Mike thinks they're weird to say things like that, but who are we to question them?


So again, this is it. We bring you three action packed games of multiplayer mayhem in less than three hours. And that's including one good rules debate that actually spawned an alternate reality where the game kept going (that's the one you're currently in, by the way), and the Cardshark Member Promotions for January. But enough of that, we're going to let the show speak for itself, and that's not just because it's been long enough that we can't really remember anything else that happened. It's called building tension. Yeah. That sounds good.



Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-113-multiplayer-mayhem-live-t454.html

Check out our archive at http://themanapool.libsyn.com

Email us at themanapool@cardshark.com

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Intro music - Diamond by Swift: http://www.swift-band.com

Direct download: Episode_113_-_Multiplayer_Mayhem_Live.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:04pm EST

Bonus Episode - Worldwake Spoilers

Through all the lag problems, special guests leaving early, and nauseous hosts, we bring you this momentous episode! Wizards of the Coast has included us in their pooled Worldwake preview cards, sending us 5 preview cards to go over on the show! They're not exclusive, but we're getting there! In an effort to make this even more special we grabbed Ben, who is Panahinuva on the forums and is easily our number one fan (that means Internet stalker), to join us for this extra bonus episode. Sadly, his future came calling and he had to tip out early, but at least he was able to hop on for a minute. But anyway! Sit back, listen to the previews, be amazed at the length of the show, and marvel at the joy that will be Worldwake!



Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/bonus-episode-worldwake-spoilers-t452.html

Check out our archive at http://themanapool.libsyn.com

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Direct download: Bonus_Episode_-_Worldwake_Spoilers.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:09am EST

Episode 112 - Yeah I'll Keep

Hello again, and welcome to the Show Notes! This is Mike, here to give you a quick rundown of what we're up to.


Before you start playing a game, you need to have a solid idea of whether or not you can do well enough to win. Given some thought (and depending on how the deck is built), your opening hand should be able to give you a fair approximation of an answer. Whether or not to mulligan any potential opening hand is the first decision you make in every game, and has an enormous impact on how favorable your outcome can be.


In this episode, we apply our usual dorky methods to discuss and examine Mulligans as a strategic aspect of the game. On display are examples from some of our most notable favorite decks, giving everyone a great amount of insight into the way things work. Stay tuned to the end for a very special surprise guest!



Music for this episode is Diamond by Swift - Check them out at http://www.swift-band.com to find out how to get the remixed and remastered discography!



Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-112-yeah-i-ll-keep-t451.html

Check out our archive at http://themanapool.libsyn.com

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Direct download: Episode_112_-_Yeah_Ill_Keep.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:13pm EST

Episode 111 - Mechanical Flavor

Chewie here, bringing you what we think will become another one of those "classic" episodes of The Mana Pool. Thanks to Bill (Kurai_Seraphim) for hitting us with this idea. We're going to take a look at the various mechanics in Magic. Big deal, nothing classic about that, right? Wrong! We're looking at them from a flavor perspective! We take all this reminder text and try to make some sense out of it. Flying is easy. Protection is sort of easy. But what about madness? Cascade and storm? And let's not forget double strike (spoiler alert: that's just dual-wielding) and first strike (just a long stick). Why are deathtouch and wither similar? What about fading/vanishing and phasing? And just how much mucus is too much mucus? Give this episode a listen and find out!



Forum thread for this episode: http://cardshark.freeforums.org/episode-111-mechanical-flavor-t445.html

Check out our archive at http://themanapool.libsyn.com

Email us at themanapool@cardshark.com

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Direct download: Episode_111_-_Mechanical_Flavor.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:57pm EST