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!
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!
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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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Email us at themanapool@cardshark.com
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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
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
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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
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
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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