Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Whelming Wave Deck

Whelming Wave is silly.  It returns all creatures to hands except for Krakens, Leviathans, Octopi, and Serpents.  I figured I'd build a deck with it in mind.

Magic has only printed three octopus cards in its history.  I wasn't impressed with any of them.

Serpents aren't so good either.  Almost all of them have islandhome (they can't attack a player that controls no islands, they die if controller controls no islands).

Stormtide Leviathan gives one obvious way to go with the deck (he's a big islandwalker that makes everything an island, and only flyers and islandwalkers can attack).  He pairs up with Inkwell Leviathan and Benthic Behemoth (both big island walkers with appropriate creature types).  This would be a mono-blue deck.  The big guys would take a while to get out, and while this might be compensated by blue counter and control, I can't think of a way in which it would be better than a much quicker Merfolk-oriented deck.  I would have to buy the Stormtide Leviathans and the Benthic Behemoths, and I don't see that I would ever use them except for this slow alternative to merfolk.

Kederekt Leviathan returns all other creatures to owners' hand.  I think he's funny but it would affect me just as much as everyone else.

Quest for Ula's Temple is a rare enchantment that can bring out the creature types we want quickly.  Or not quickly.  It's a gamble on how long it will take to get three counters, and I don't like to gamble.

In the end, I went with blue and green.  Green added mana-producing creatures.  It also added a few land-fetchers and a disenchant-type creature that, if returned to my hand by Whelming Wave, could be reused to great effect.  I added a half-dozen weenies with flying and deathtouch so I can hold out until I have enough mana out.

Adding green also allowed me to add two flying levithans.  I've been sitting on four Simic Sky Swallowers for several years and am finally putting them to good use.

In the end, I made a stompy deck that only differentiates itself from all the rest by having one funny card in it (Whelming Wave, of course).  The good news is that I had to buy very little to build it, and some things I bought (specifically, Bane of Progress) will almost certainly see use in other decks on down the line.

Here There Be Monsters
60-Card Format
Blue, Green

4 Whelming Wave

4 Deep-Sea Kraken
4 Nimbus Swimmer
4 Simic Sky Swallower
2 Tidal Kraken

3 Wood Elves
2 Birds of Paradise
3 Quirion Elves
2 Urborg Elves

4 Thornweald Archer
2 Deadly Recluse

3 Silverglade Elemental
3 Bane of Progress

Friday, February 14, 2014

RAGE: The Scorchers DLC Review

RAGE: The Scorchers DLC

The Scorchers!

The Scorchers is the one and only DLC for RAGE. No more have been announced.

The Scorchers are a tribe of bandits that were cut from the original game. A handful of new locations are added in order to combat the Scorcher threat, adding a few hours of gameplay. Each bandit clan is unique, and the Scorchers distinguish themselves with heavy flamethrower guys, short distance jet pack maneuvers, and a flying gunship boss.

The Scorchers DLC introduces a new and difficult armored mutant, and a new Bash TV set of arenas. The player gets a nailgun (in homage of Quake) with alternate ammo or rebar (usually a one hit kill) and railgun. Railgun ammo/mode shows targets through walls, and the shots pass through walls, multiple enemies, whatever. After completing The Scorchers, you get a house in Wellspring with trophies for achieving certain things in the current game, as well as personal access to two minigames.

Two new minigames (roulette and five-card draw) are introduced at a new location in Wellspring. That about wraps up the additional content of the DLC.

But not quite. This DLC wasn't just new content, it also did a few things to address complaints. For one, after you beat the game, you can keep playing and complete unfinished sidequests. Makes sense. People complained that Nightmare difficulty wasn't hard enough, so that brings us to our last topic:


There's an achievement for beating the campaign on ultra nightmare, so I had to give it a go. It was a learning process. Initially, 2-3 hits= death. I learned to take cover all the time. Bandit vehicles are more aggressive and use quick-use shields. At a pretty early stage, my vehicle was out of ammo, on the verge of exploding, and I went and explored a sewer because that's what I would normally do. I ran out of ammo in the sewer and punched the last half-dozen mutants to death before emerging to call for a tow.

After some armor and health upgrades, things were easier, but never easy. Enemies deal more damage, are more accurate, and take more shots to kill. The player is easier to kill and less accurate with every weapon. That headshot you had lined up? Good luck with that.

The Scorchers adds no new races or vehicles, but Ultra Nightmare makes Time Trials essentially impossible. After running nearly perfect races with a pimped-out dune buggy, I was nowhere close to the new time trial limits. I failed to complete any time trials on this setting.

The Scorchers DLC adds a few hours or new gameplay for fans, and a new difficulty level for those looking for a challenge. If you already like RAGE, it's a cheap addition to the experience.