Our debut episode in a new web series the Power Cords crew has put together is now up on YouTube! Powercords Power Play is our first trip of many into the video realm. Power Play is essentially us exploring and goofing off in games so if there are any in particular you would like to see us make an episode with please let us know! While this is the first series from us, you can expect to see updates, reviews, tutorials and more from us on the silver screen in the future. So check out Powercords Power Play Episode 1: Minecraft below and subscribe to Power Cords on Youtube!
The first day of E3 kicked things off right. Amidst all of the beautiful and exciting new games that were shown off today, one in particular caught my eye: Halo 4.
Being a long time Bungie Halo fan I had kind of said good bye to this much beloved franchise of mine. I knew 343 would do a fine job with the series but it wouldn’t be same without the Bungie community I had grown to love and had become a part of over the years. When Bungie departed Halo it felt like my parents had just had a divorce and 343 was my new step-parent. So with that in mind I set out to end my Halo career with Reach and savor what I thought would be my last Halo game.
But as time progressed and Halo 4 details started to leak out I found myself once again become enthralled in the series I had spent way too much of my life playing. I had come to love and accept my new step-parent. And with the demo today during E3 I find my passion for the game as strong as ever.
The first thirty seconds of the demo had me sold. The demo starts out with a short cinematic that surprisingly reminiscent of the 2007 Halo 3 E3 trailer and from there proceeds to game play in a dark jungle again drawing connections to the first level of Halo 3. Seeing this and watching the Chief move through the underbrush once again with the Battle Rifle in hand and hearing Cortana guide him comforted me by really demonstrating that this was the franchise I loved so much. While significantly more stunning and beautiful than the prior games it definitely was still Halo. We quickly see him encounter and dispatch of some covenant in some stylish new garb and my spirits absolutely soared when the Elite bellowed out an all too familiar “wort, wort, wort”.
But building a game that was still Halo wasn’t all 343 set out to do. The old trilogy had come to a conclusion and it is time for something new in the series. Right off the get go you can tell it’s a new and different game. The opening cinematic shows off Master Chief’s new armor better than ever and what once looked foreign and different now looks absolutely bad ass and fitting. The enemies, the world around him, and the HUD all looked smoother and sleeker, cleaner and more detailed. It all maintained that Halo style and feel while moving forward and progressing the game. The design and visuals aren’t all that’s new in the game though.
The Chief trudges on and quickly encounters the games new enemies. The new enemies are Forerunner technology, AI defense systems with golden lights and hues to perfectly contrast the Covenants neon purples. These first enemies he encounters are clearly the weaker of the bunch, reminiscent of small robot dogs, all easily disposed and not that intimidating. As he starts mowing down a second wave I started thinking these guys don’t pose much of a challenge, these have got to be the Grunts of the new enemy type.
But what about the Elites? Almost on cue, the Elite unit drops in. You don’t get too close of a look at it before this large and terrifying unit opens up its face to reveal a molten gold skull and roars in your face. Intimidation and challenge were lacking in the smaller enemies but it is not the case here. As you proceed to battle this new beast you quickly realize that this is a completely new enemy that requires a completely new attack plan. These golden AI are equipped with powerful golden lasers (which the Chief is able to wield) and are able to teleport and move incredibly fast. If this wasn’t enough, they are also able to dispatch a flying unit which assists them in raining fire down upon you, shielding the enemy, calling in more bad guys, and throwing the grenades you lob at it right back in your face.
As Brendan mentioned in his E3 Day 1 Wrap Up these new enemies and the games new style at this point are incredibly reminiscent of Metroid. The best way to describe the new Elite unit would be to call it a Space Pirate mixed with a bit of Crysis’ Ceph and topped off with some golden hues. The other new AI enemies as well seem like something straight out a Metroid game. In no way is this a bad thing though. Metroid did an incredible job designing its enemies and seeing that in the Halo 4’s new antagonists provides us with a small sense of familiarity in this terrifying yet foreign enemy.
The similarities to Metroid continue as the demo comes to the end seeing the countless enemy AI swarm upon him through a green mist with the aid of his new thermal visor. We have seen enhanced visors in Halo before but not of this complexity and intricacy. This will also be the first time this useful tool will be available in multi-player.
I came into this E3 with mild interest in Halo 4 but after day 1 I am leaving with an excitement for Halo 4 that I have become all too familiar with prior to a Halo release. All of my doubts in 343 were thrown right out the window. In this 5 minute demo 343 have shown that they were able to make new game that is still 100% Halo while still adding enough new things in to spice things up. This is hands down the prettiest of all Halo games to date and the new enemies look like they are going to be some of the most terrifying yet the most fun to hit the series in quite some time. Getting a glimpse of the Chiefs new visor and arsenal have got me itching to lay some fiery golden lasers into some Covenant and AI faces alike. I came into this demo biased and with unrealistically high expectations and came away absolutely stunned and blown away. I am absolutely stoked for Halo 4 in a way I haven’t been in quite some time.
Check out the demo below!
Earlier today another large batch of M13 spoilers popped up. While the majority are common and uncommon reprints there are still a handful of exciting cards in the bunch. Two commons in particular that I am excited to see returning to the Standard card pool are Duress and Sign in Blood. While both are core-set staples, neither showed up in M12 and with black archetypes such as zombies and soon vampires both of these cards will be quite relevant and we will surely see them both on the tournament scene.
Speaking of vampires, in my last article I mentioned being unsure about the return of vampires but another vampire was recently announced for reprint, one that almost assuredly means that they are going to be a threat: Vampire Nighthawk. For those of you who were playing Type 2 when this bad boy was in rotation knows exactly how powerful he is. Heck I remember seeing several Mono-Black Legacy decks running a play set. This card is incredibly powerful by itself but when you have lords like Nocturnus and the Stromkirk Captain pumping him and giving him first strike he becomes almost unstoppable. I have recently made a UB Delver-Pike Modern build on MTGO running four Nighthawks as finishers and it works pretty dang well. Nighthawk holds a pike incredibly well because of his deathtouch, essentially completely shutting down all non- first striking or double striking threats. The fact that he nets you ridiculous amounts of life isn’t too shabby either. I definitely see this guys showing up in non-vamp builds such as any Mono-Black non-tribal build and most definitely in some UB Delver lists. I honestly thought this mini Wurmcoil with wings was too powerful to reprint but I am pretty stoked to see I was wrong.
The last black card I wanted to mention is one with an incredibly clever name.
|Destroy target creature.|
Murder, while costing a bit more than somebody wants to pay for creature removal lets you kill near anything on the board which might make up for the spendy casting cost. This might be too expensive for those black aggro decks which spend the majority of their mana each turn but it might be pretty powerful in UB Control or Solar Flare decks.
Green is also seeing some fun reprints such as Elvish Visionary, Farseek, as well as Acidic Slime who is back once again but on top of these classics are some zesty new ones. The one that has really caught my attention doesn’t actually have a title yet but MTG Salvation has dubbed Epic Ramp Spell.
|Search your library for X basic land cards, where X is the number of lands you control, and put them onto the battlefield tapped. Then shuffle your library.|
With the strong likelihood of not seeing the titans reprinted green is going to need a strong ramp spell to replace Primeval Titan. While it might not be able to grab non-basic lands it grabs pretty much every last basic land you have. MTG Salvation says it will cost 6G which is incredible but the picture to me looks a bit more like 8G. The source that reported the card says the CMC is 7 so I am crossing my fingers it is because at seven this card is awesome but at 9 it would cost a little too much.
Red hasn’t had anything too exciting announced for it recently and white neither with the exception of the one mythic that has been revealed so far.
Serra Avatar, now this is a fun card. In all honesty it is simply a big creature but it is one with style and the fact that it is a throwback to Urza makes up for it. With all the life gain that is available in the format there could be some fun life gain builds that show up. Also with Fling available in Standard I would die a happy man if I got to see some fling this Johnny card in someone’s face for the win.
The one card I am the most excited about that has been spoiled so far is hands down Talrand, Sky Summoner.
|Legendary Creature – Merfolk Wizard|
|Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell, put a 2/2 blue Drake creature token with flying onto the battlefield.|
Wow. This card is one I can get 100% behind. If you thought Delver made for ridiculous blue aggro decks this guy just tops it off. Delver builds just got an incredible finisher. In Standard this card is going to be a beast, especially in the following few months when Phyrexian mana free spells and Ponders are still in rotation. If we see Ponder or Preordain or some other cantrip this will for sure be seeing competitive play. While he might not be powerful enough to make it into Eternal formats he very well might be in Modern with Lightning Bolts, Path to Exiles and other powerful one drops available. The place where Talrand is really going to shine though is in Commander. I can see the decks now; Mono blue builds with ridiculous amounts of cantrips, cheap bounce spells, and counters for days. Talrand is so amazing because he lets blue do everything it does best while rewarding you a flying army of 2/2s. He will transform your slow blue control builds into fast acting aggro builds without ever sacrificing the control aspects of the deck. Your counterspells are now accompanied by a flying army that rivals most aggro builds. On top of being the perfect blue General he is also both a wizard and a merfolk, arguably the most powerful tribes in the color. This means that you can run all of your favorite tribal shenanigans in your Talrand EDH deck or he will find a perfect place in your wizard or merfolk commander decks instead. This one of the cards I have been the most excited about in some time and I am incredibly excited to see what happens with him.
That pretty much wraps up the rest of the notable spoilers for now. Still no word from the black or white planeswalkers yet but the presence of Serra Avatar bodes poorly for Ajani since his ultimate essentially makes an Avatar once again supporting the reappearance of Gideon. For the whole spoiler check out MTGsalvation.com!
So what do you guys think about the core-set so far? What are some of your favorites? Do you guys love Talrand as much as I do? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or email us at askpowercords @gmail.com! Also for any of you interested this is my budget UB Delver list here, and you all should definitely hit me up on Magic Online. My username is SpacemanMars
With the next core-set only a little over a month away now, spoilers are already jumping up all over the place. As I have mentioned already it has been confirmed that exalted is a major theme of the set and that we are also seeing the return of Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker, both screaming Alara. This throwback to the tri-colored set means we might be seeing a few multicolored cards creeping into what is normally a mono-colored set. While it is true that the only multi-colored confirmed at the moment is Bolas we still have a lot more cards to get spoiled before the release date and it would be kind of cool seeing M13 setting the colorful tone prior to the heavily multicolored Ravnica block coming this fall.
So as of right now most of the cards spoiled are reprints but there are a couple of new ones worth mentioning. So it is pretty much assumed we are not going to be seeing the titans reprinted because they essentially shut out all other six drops from seeing play which leads to boring play in the sense that we don’t see any variety in finishers. With that being said we already have two new black six drops spoiled worth mentioning.
First off we have Xathrid Gorgon, one of the very first cards spoiled for the set. So let’s be honest, Xathrid Gorgon is no Grave Titan. She doesn’t do anything once hitting the board, is half as strong, and her activated ability costs three to not even kill something. Sure she will be a fun card to play with and she will be decent in limited but otherwise isn’t worth noting.
Second we have something a bit more exciting: Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis. Now this is a creature I can see winning you a game or two. While also not being as exciting or powerful as a Grave Titan he is significantly stronger than the Gorgon. So the first thing worth noting is that he has exalted. This is the first time we are seeing black paired with the powerful mechanic. To accompany the keyword is his very exaltedesque ability which causes your opponent to sacrifice a creature. In addition to all of his exalted shenanigans he is also a 5/5 flyer before attacking which isn’t too shabby. So while he isn’t the best finisher available, swinging in for 6 in the air while also killing one your opponents creatures is pretty powerful and with Go For the Throat rotating out here soon Nefarox could potentially mean game over for an opponent.
The other two new cards worth noting at the time are both red. One is cool and one is disappointing. Let’s start with the bad news first.
So Searing Spear isn’t a bad card, it is just worse than two cards most people were hoping for in the core-set. First off this must mean we aren’t getting Incinerate here. It doesn’t make sense for Wizards to print off two two mana burn spells for three damage each and have one be significantly better. Sure the non-regeneration aspect of Incinerate was never incredibly relevant but it made for a nice addition, and with the addition of Wolfir Avenger to the Standard card pool Incinerate was looking as awesome as ever. The other downside is that this pretty much confirms that we aren’t seeing Lightning Bolt reprinted. Sure it was pretty doubtful that it was going to happen but it never hurts to hope. We know it won’t be showing up by the same logic that we used to figure out there would be no Incinerate: it doesn’t make sense for Wizards to print two cards that do the same thing and have one be significantly better. Honestly Searing Spear isn’t a bad card it is just not as great as Incinerate or Lightning Bolt.
The more exciting red card out of the two new ones announced is Flames of the Firebrand.
So this card feels a lot like a situationally stronger Arc Trail. It will definitely be alright in constructed and it will be a beast in limited. I feel like this card wants to be an Instant but its not and because of that it is significantly worse. Second, it costs three mana. Arc Trail was good because you were looking at two mana for two dead creatures or one dead creature and a bit of damage done to an opponent. Unless you are playing white weenie or something with lots of 1/1s you are realistically looking at only one or two dead creatures. In Standard you are better off just playing Bonfire of the Damned because for its normal casting cost it is just as efficient of a board wipe and for its miracle cost it’s no contest. Also the fact that Bonfire has the potential to be something way bigger ultimately makes it the better choice.
So out of the cards announced for reprint most of them planeswalkers. As mentioned several times already Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker is making a return as well as Chandra, the Firbrand, Garruk, Primal Hunter, and Jace, Memory Adept but we still have no word on who the white or black planeswalker will be. I love Gideon Jura and he seems like the logical choice for the white slot (fingers crossed we see some new exciting version of him) but the black one could really be anything. There is always the possibility that Bolas could be filling that spot but I doubt it. R&D is fully aware that people love cycles and that if one is left uncompleted it creates dissonance so we should be seeing some mono black planeswalker. I am not quite sure who exactly though. Both Sorin and Liliana made an appearance in the last block so there is little to go off there. Maybe we are going to be seeing some new black planeswalker? While I am hoping for something new I think we are going to be seeing Sorin Markov get reprinted again due to the vampire flavor of the one black mythic revealed so far: Vampire Nocturnus.
Most people saw this coming from a mile away. When this card wasn’t reprinted in either of the last two core-sets many people were disappointed but with the knowledge of horror themed Innistrad coming out soon it was generally assumed Nocturnus would be making some kind of return. So with the release of Innistrad we really only saw zombies taking the reins of successful horror tribal builds but with this vampire lord getting reprinted vamps might be making there come back from the Zendikar block. While Nocturnus contributes to the spicy pool of vampires we have in Standard the vampires just aren’t as epic as they used to be. If vamps make a comeback it most likely will be in BR builds so they could include Olivia Voldaren, Falkenrath Aristocrat, Stromkirk Captain and Stromkirk Noble and by including Red they are essentially weakening the effectiveness of Nocturnus. Sure it is only the Noble which doesn’t work for the Nocturnus but Stromkirk Noble is really your only source of early pressure. Zendikar vamps were great because you were really only looking at four four drops and four three drops and everything else being tiny and fast and aggressive. While we have a ton of great vampires in standard right now none of them are as aggressive and cheap as those old ones. So if we do see vampires reappear they will probably be a bit slower and a little less ridiculous.
So that’s about everything worth mentioning as of right now at least. So what do you guys want from M13? Who do you think will be the black and white planeswalkers? Are we going to be seeing more multicolored cards coming out? Is vampires going to become a much feared archetype once again? Let me know what you think in the comments below or email us at email@example.com!