Random Pack Break: 2008 Donruss Americana II

I have two unopened loose packs of 2008 Donruss Americana II lying in my box for months and I think it is about time to crack them open. Donruss Americana was one of my favorite sets back in the day because it was so random. Fun Fact: Donruss Americana is one of the first products with MMA cards and hits with its Ring Kings insert set. I have a bunch of Ring Kings cards but it has been a challenge to complete the set. But I actually do have most of the base set but I am hoping to get lucky and pull one of two cards I need to complete the set (128,189), an insert or a hit.

Pack 1:

Donruss America II 1

Pack 2:

Donruss America II 2

The Swoosie Kurtz (128) and George Bush (189) cards remain elusive. Also opening these packs reminded me of one of the problem this product did suffer from and that is I pulled a lot of doubles in consecutive packs. Maybe it is just me.

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2014 Topps Gypsy Queen Box Break

Topps has really, really been big on the retro, throwback sets the last few years or so. Allen & Ginter was not enough so we have Gypsy Queen too. Still to be fair, Gypsy Queen usually makes for fun box breaks but I fully admit I picked up a box of 2014 Topps Gypsy Queen to get my hands on some Masahiro Tanaka rookie cards for my PC…

There are 24 packs per box, 1 mini per pack and 2 relics/ 2 autos per box. Plus there is a hobby exclusive pack of minis which is pretty neat.

2014 Topps Gypsy Queen Box

And I didn’t pull a single Masahiro Tanaka rookie card. But I did pull a couple of card for my PC.

2014 Topps Gypsy Queen Cards for PC

2014 Topps Gypsy Queen Mets

The Choo mini is 19/50. I also pulled a couple of parallels. The black minis are /199 and the Jeter and Ripken Jr parallels are /499 which could be good trade bait I guess.

2014 Topps Gypsy Queen Parallels

My autos and relic cards

Kyle Seager, Patrick Corbin, Julio Teheran Auto Brett Lawrie and Mike Leake Relic

I beat the odds and actually got three autos but I find it hard to be too excited about Kyle Seager, Patrick Corbin or Julio Teheran. The relics of Brett Lawrie and Mike Leake are like meh.

2014 Topps Gypsy Queen has like a billion different inserts, variations and parallels with subsets within subsets. I find myself constantly referring back to the checklist to see what I got. It is a really a pain to go through and organize everything. It already got my box topper minis and regular minis mixed up. It is also a pain to see if I have any reverse image variations of base cards. This of course is not exclusive to Gypsy Queen. #FirstWorldProblems

Again I beat the odds and got 5 hits instead of 4 and pull a couple of decent parallels but I guess I am still down I didn’t pull a single Tanaka card out of all those packs. If there is a star in the pack, it has to be the Choo mini.

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Trades and My Giant Binder for My PC

Here is my giant binder for my cards for my PC.

PC Binder

It is kind of unwieldy and it weighs a ton. In fact, it has gotten so big that I had to spin some subsets to its own binder. One of primary reason why this binder gotten so big is Lonestarr

We have traded a bunch of times. Actually a good percentage of the cards in the binder is from him and I just got another giant stack of cards…

Stack of Cards

There are way too many cards to scan but here are a few that caught my eye right off the bat.

Cards from Trade

Love the cards and thanks again! It looks like I need to spin off another subset to its own binder since the binder is pretty much at max capacity again. It is a good problem to have.

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3 Point Cube Basketball Repack

I have today a 3 Point Cube basketball repack from the The Fairfield Company. It has 1 basketball pack, 1 rookie card and 1 game used card.

My pack is 2008 Press Pass Basketball and I got

2008 Press Pass Basketball

My rookie card is Jared Dudley from the 2007-08 Press Pass Collectors Series.

Jared Dudley Rookie Card

Finally my game used card is of Zydrunas Ilgauskas aka Big Z from 2006-07 Upper Deck Hardcourt Basketball.

Big Z Game Used

These aren’t the most exciting cards in the world. Candace Parker is probably the most intereting card of the bunch. But with that being said, this repack only rang up for $3 in Target so I really can’t complain. That is less than an average pack of cards nowadays and as the packaging points out you can pull Derrick Rose rookie card. Plus the repack came in a cube which I actually needed for my new Commander deck. Value!

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Wrestlemania Pack Break: 2014 Topps WWE & My Wrestlemania XXX Predictions

Wrestlemania is this Sunday! I wanted to opened some sweet WWE packs but unfortunately the only things for sale were 2014 Topps WWE rack packs. There weren’t even blasters, I checked. But I got incredibly lucky the last time I opened a 2014 Topps WWE rack pack… but unfortunately I can’t capture lightning in a bottle two times in a row.

Mankind

I actually got a bunch of doubles and the only interesting card was the Mankind insert. Mankind was my favorite wrestler back in the day and I really should go through my cards and sort out all my Mick Foley/ Mankind/ Dude Love/ Cactus Jack cards. I should have a bunch.

Anyways, here are my Wrestlemania XXX predictions for what it is worth.

Fatal four-way tag team match for the WWE Tag Team Championship

El Torito

Los Matadores and Ryback & Curtis Axel have been non- factors in the tag team division. The Real Americans have hinted a breakup in the past and this could be where they start feuding after coming so close to the tag team titles only to fall short probably because a miscommunication or a backstab. That leave the Usos retaining.

The Shield vs Kane and The New Age Outlaws

Shield vs New Age Outlaws

I foresee Kane and The New Age Outlaws winning. It creates the doom and gloom situation that Triple H and his lackeys may actually win. Plus a loss will accelerate the breakup of the Shield.

Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational

WWE Divas

This is going to be a mess and there are going to be so many botches. All the divas will probably be targeting AJ Lee in the beginning. AJ Lee will be hurt outside the ring only to suddenly steal a win after a big spot taking out all the divas. This creates the most interesting story lines in the Diva division. The alternative is one of the Bellas winning for the Total Divas show…

André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

Andre the Giant

Big Show has to be the favorite to win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. The storyline and the parallels are just too obvious… may too obvious.

John Cena vs Bray Wyatt

Bray Wyatt vs John Cena

John Cena always wins.

The Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar

The steak just can’t end here. There has been a lot less buildup for this X vs the The Streak match and if Brock Lesnar wins, it would just be a waste and it would overshadow Daniel Bryan’s moment.

Daniel Bryan vs Triple H

Daniel Bryan vs Triple H

Daniel Bryan has to win this match. It will probably be a long grueling match, there will probably be ref bumps and there will probably be run ins by Kane and the New Age Outlaws. Still there is no way Daniel Bryan doesn’t make it to the main event. It would be sweet if Triple H actually taps out to the Yes! Lock. It will give Daniel Bryan the most momentum and the “you tapped out” chants would be sweet.

Randy Orton vs Batista vs Daniel Bryan

The big Wrestlemania moment has to be Daniel Bryan overcoming impossible odds to be the champ again. Daniel Bryan will be tired and hurt after his match with Triple H. He may actually not make it to the ring right away and a doctor may be pleading with him to just go to the hospital. Randy Orton and Batista will team up to take out Bryan. With Bryan out, Randy Orton will suddenly RKO Batista but Batista kicks out, leaving the door open for Bryan. A couple of false finishes later Bryan covers Orton and the rest is history.

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Betrayal of the Guardian WoW TCG Pack Break and A Budget Hearthstone Deck

I have to admit I have been playing Hearthstone a lot the last two months or so. It is a wildly addictive card game and the interface is quite polished, compared to say MTGO. Hearthstone of course is the World of Warcraft TCG repackaged/ recycled/ rebooted or however you want to phrase it. In fact I got a WoW TCG pack from the Betrayal of the Guardian set. So I guess you can say this is a blast of the past even if these cards only came out a year ago.

Betrayal of the Guardians

Wow Cards

Wow TCG Cards

WoW TCG is “dead” so you can find packs really cheap. It is actually a fun game but the problem is finding someone to play with which I guess is where Hearthstone comes in. It is kind of cool to see parallels between the two games. For example the art on the Durnholde Tracking Hound is also the art on the Unleash the Hounds card in Hearthstone.

Speaking of Hearthstone, with my foundation in Magic I picked up the game pretty quickly and my go to deck for grinding Hearthstone to get gold, to get packs, to get dust to finally get legendaries was a dirt cheap Mage Control deck. It basically answers all your opponent’s threats, draws more cards than your opponent and has strong end game to finish off games. If you are curious about my decklist you can find that here. It is a very good deck to start off with as the only rare is Azure Drake. I admit though as I go up the ranks I have switched to a more powerful Druid ramp deck.

If you want to challenge me in Hearthstone you can shoot me an email. I can’t say I am the best Hearthstone player in the world but I like to think I am competitive.

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MTG Brewer: R/U/g Control aka Counterburn

Unlike the Innistrad/ Return to Ravnica standard format, the RTR/ Theros standard format is honestly not a ripe format for brewing. U/W/x Control, R/G/x Monsters, Mono Black Devotion and Mono Blue Devotion deck are all brutally efficient and there aren’t really many build around Johnny type cards. With that being said I have a new take on a blue based control deck that I have been working on.

As with all my brews, I like to start with a theory and test it out. I also usually like to write about it really before iron out the decklist so I have to start with a warning as usual, this is a very raw brew that needs fine tuning.

The theories are A) – Can a counterburn deck be viable? B) – Can Chandra’s Phoenix be used in a control shell and be used as a source of card advantage?

Here is a working decklist to test those theories out. First the burn spells.

4 Lightning Strike
4 Turn // Burn
3 Anger of the Gods
4 Izzet Charm

Lightning Strike is the best burn spell in Standard, Turn // Burn is the catch all and Izzet Charm is the most flexible card in the deck as it can be a counterspell, removal spell or card draw. Anger the Gods can be a dead card in many matchups and it is also a nombo with Chandra’s Phoneix but without it I think this deck will get overrun by RDW, white weenie and the like.

The Counterspells:
4 Counterflux
2 Dissolve

Counterflux is the best counterspell in Standard. It guarantees you countering your opponent’s Aethering, Elspeth etc. One thing to note is it is a lot better as an answer to your opponent’s threats rather than as a way to protect your spells because your opponent can just use another counterspell while it is on the stack.

The Card Draw:
3 Jace, Architect of Thought
2 Thoughtflare

Opportunity is a bit too slow and you really can’t tap out for Divination with this deck so I am trying out Thoughtflares. Plus Chandra’s Phoenixs work really well with both Thoughtflare and Izzet Charm as you can get back them later in the game. Jace is just too good not to include. It gives you some board presence while drawing a bunch of cards.

The Win Cons:
4 Chandra’s Phoenix
2 Aetherling

This deck is centered around Chandra’s Phoenix. They are great as chump blockers, pressuring Planewalkers and it can be a source of card advantage (at least in theory). Aetherling are there to make you can close out games.

Counterburn

Finally I decided to have a slight green splash.

2 Xenagos, the Reveler
1 Kiora, the Crashing Wave

After a little testing, I wanted up the power level just a bit and since the U/R temple hasn’t been printed yet I am going to have to play an off color temple anyways so I thought I can have a “free” splash and I chose green mainly because I want to try out Kiora and Xengos and I feel this deck needs a way to pop Detention Spheres. Green has a good answer in Unravel the Aether. If you want to go down a more traditional route, a Grixis control deck can be very strong.

The Mana Base:
3 Islands
2 Mountains
4 Steam Vents
4 Stomping Grounds
4 Breeding Pool
4 Temple of Mystery
3 Temple of Abandon
1 Izzet Guildgate

I have to admit the the mana base is a little greedy and it is possible the green splash is just not worth it.

You can see the full decklist and the sideboard which I honestly haven’t really work on at Tappedout.net. The deck seems to be a lot of fun and there seems to be a few options to attack the meta in different, unexpected ways.

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