The Early Bird Gets … Minotaurs?

This spring, players eager to get their hands on the latest set in Magic: The Gathering’s 25-year odyssey will be able to pre-order boxes of Dominaria from local games stores (like us, for example). So what, you say? Well, they will then be able to pick them up on Pre-Release Weekend (Saturday 21 April and Sunday 22 April 2018).

Yes, this means that you can get your box (or boxes) of Dominaria one full week ahead of the set’s formal release date on 27 April! That’s up to seven precious, extra days to crack packs and get those new,  improved decks assembled before Dominaria actually becomes Standard-legal.

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Sweet new Boros Commander!?!

As if being the first on your block to own a whole box of Dominaria weren’t enough incentive, the Buy-a-Box promo card for Dominaria will be the super-sweet Firesong and Sunspeaker. And this card will not be available in any regular Dominaria boosters, pre-constructed decks, or from big-box retailers — it will be available only as a Buy-a-Box promo and only from your Friendly Local Games Store (such as <ahem> Scalliwags, for example). Just imagine Firesong and Sunspeaker as a combo with, say, Star of Extinction … charmingly Boros, wouldn’t you say?

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 Boom! 20 life gain!

Boxes of Dominaria will be available for immediate pre-order and can be picked up first thing in the morning of 21 April (we’ll keep them behind the counter for you if you’re playing in one or more pre-release events during the day, and you can grab them on your way home).

 

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Dominaria Pre-Release Box 

 

We’ll be starting registration for Pre-Release Dominaria as of today. There will be two events on Saturday 21 April (one at 10 a.m. and one at 4 p.m.), and one on Sunday morning (11 a.m.) As usual, the morning events include — at no extra charge — a pizza lunch. Drinks and snacks will be available for purchase in-store. Cost for Pre-Release remains at $35 for one event, $60 for two events, and $85 if you play in all three Pre-Release events. Early registration is recommended as Pre-Release is a popular event, and space is limited.

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New Product: Vortex

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Vortex is a light abstract strategy game that can be played either as a solitaire puzzle or with up to 6 players.

The plastic game board consists of roughly triangular spaces into which are placed colourful plastic pieces called routers, and protruding plastic knobs called towers, each of which, when twisted, rotates the six routers immediately surrounding it.  The set-up shown in the image above is for Crossing, one of the game variants possible with Vortex. On their turns, players twist the knobs to move their pieces, trying to be the first to bring all their pieces across the board and into the goal zone directly opposite. Every other player, however, is doing his or her best to disrupt this plan by blocking access or locking out opponents’ routers!

Vortex is an easy-to-learn game that is deceptively strategic. If you have played Blokus, Pentago, or Tsuro, think about giving Vortex a try. Enjoy it with friends as a light abstract filler, or play the Cat-and-Mouse variant as a perfect introduction to strategy games for children aged 6 and up.

Ages 6+, 1-6 players, 15 to 60 minutes. In stock now.

New Game: Sub Terra

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New from English publisher Inside the Box Board Games is Sub Terra, a game that’s sure to appeal if you are fond of cramped spaces, darkness, and fear.

Sub Terra is a cooperative simulation game in which players must collaborate in order to successfully explore (and then escape from) a system of caves deep beneath the surface. As in Z-Man Games’ Pandemic, players assume roles and responsibilities within the team of cavers. The cave system is created turn by turn, as players pick tiles at random from the stack, never knowing what the next move will bring.

And horrors lurk beneath the surface, unseen but waiting … only a combination of luck and clever play can bring you back safely. Easy to learn and gripping to play, Sub Terra might be just the game to dig into on your next games night!

Ages 10+, 1 to 6 players, 45-90 minutes. Available now.

 

 

The New Commander 2016 Decks Are Here, and They’re Awesome

The new Commander 2016 prebuilt decks are now in-store, and they look amazing.

First off, for those who are unfamiliar with the format, here’s the skinny direct from Wizards of the Coast: 
“Created and popularized by fans, Commander is a casual format in which each player’s deck is led by the legendary creature of his or her choice — the player’s commander. It’s usually played in a casual free-for-all multiplayer games, although two-player games are also popular. Each player starts at 40 life. Each deck contains exactly 100 cards, including its commander. Commander is also a “singleton” format:  other than basic lands, each card must have a different English name.”

Five new decks are available in Commander 2016, each with one four-colour commander. The decks also include two-colour legendary creatures that may be used together (the new partner mechanic) as alternate commanders. As Mark Rosewater, head designer for Magic: The Gathering says: “Here’s how partner works: when choosing your commander, you are allowed to choose two legendary creatures that both have partner in place of a single legendary creature.”

There are 15 different two-coloured legendary creatures in the set, which allow 105 distinct commandeydris_med_hr.pngr combinations in addition to the five four-colour commanders.So much choice!  Your deck may still contain only 100 cards including your two commanders, in this case, and they each start the game in the command zone.  The two commanders function independently, except for determining the colours that may be played in your deck. The increased design flexibility offered by four-colour commanders (alone or partnered) is going to create a ton of new and interesting deck-brewing possibilities, for those who like to tinker and build.

Each of the prebuilt decks has a theme. Open Hostility (B/R/G/W) is a classic aggro deck, featuring lots of land ramp and big creatures that grow even bigger fast. Entropic Uprising (U/B/R/G) deals out disruption, aggression, and removal to keep opponents off-balance. Stalwart Unity (R/G/W/U) is a pillow fort deck, built around the idea of helping opponents so that they don’t kill you off (while ideally you inch towards victory unnoticed). Invent Superiority (W/U/B/R) is an artifacts-based Affinity-type deck, absolutely awash in fantastic cards. And, finally, Breed Lethality (G/W/U/B) is a +1/+1 counters deck that relies on relentless groatraxawth of creatures to overwhelm.

Each of the decks offers good value for money when compared to their per-card buy price. Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice, commander for Breed Lethality, is currently selling for CDN$14.99 at Face to Face, as is one of the ridiculously-overpowered rares in the set, Deepglow Skate. That makes the current price to replicate this deck from singles start at $30 for just two cards! However unlikely it may be that the higher-priced cards will retain all their value (let’s face it — really unlikely) there’s no question that there is some serious value here. And the same calculus, more or less, can be applied to each of the other sets in Commander 2016.

So get out there, and take command! I’ll see you on the battlefield.