It is almost a sure thing that I will pick up at least a box of Allen & Ginter every year. I just love the weird and eclectic mix of characters in the set and I probably have more fun breaking these boxes any any other products in the past. First the box topper.
Jose Canseco is popping up in more and more products lately and I always seem to be pulling his cards, autographs, etc…
The Base Set:
There aren’t many products that have both Snoop Lion and The Iron Sheik in it and the cat mini subset is really out there. One thing I did noticed though is a lot of the minis are mis-cut. They are all slightly different sizes. Like in years past, there is so many parallels and inserts and I really have to look them up to see if I pulled any super rare ones. Speaking of which is this Desmond Jennings base cards and Yogi Berra mini no number parallels? I am assuming the Yogi Berra is a short print and the Desmond Jenning cards is an error. Here are the backs with a card to compare.
My first two hits I pulled are kind of meh.
They are game used memorabilia cards of Ryan Zimmerman and Adrian Beltre. The last hit in the box is a lot more interesting though.
It is a event used card of wrestler Anthony Robles. I wikied his name and his story seems familiar. He is a wrestler with one leg who overcame great odds in his sport. What makes this card interesting though is the piece of fabric on the card is actually signed. It is the ANT of Anthony. As a collector, I thought is shame that this autograph is cut up to probably at least four pieces. I kind of wish they kept item as a whole or at the very least kept the autograph in one piece on a card with a larger window. As is, the card is still the most exciting pull in an admittedly a rather lackluster box.
There really isn’t much that sets Tristar TNA products apart. They tend to have the same hit ratios and since wrestling rosters don’t change as much as say baseball teams, the cards tend to be of the same people year after year. That being said 2010 Tristar TNA Wrestling Icons is probably the weakest of the Tristar releases. The designs were OK, nothing special but there are a lot little things that kind of bug me. For example, I am huge fan of Mick Foley but his excerpts from his book cards feels a lot like ads in the set.
But you can get 2010 Tristar TNA Wrestling Icons blasters for pretty cheap nowadays and it is guaranteed an autograph so it can still make for a fun, cheap break.
I did say that wrestling rosters don’t change much year to year but comparing 2010 to the present, it is interesting to see how many wrestlers are no longer with TNA. Speaking of which for my guaranteed autograph I got Desmond Wolfe aka Nigel McGuinness.
Desmond Wolfe started off strong in TNA but suffered from some health setbacks. He is an interesting character and I don’t mind adding this autograph to my collection.
Topps Power Players is Topps’ big promotion this year. Like in years past, card with codes are randomly inserted in Topps base set and input in the site to unlock virtual cards that can potentially be real cards. I may be a bit late to the party but I finally decided to take a look at the Topps Power Players site.
Topps Power Players is an interesting gimmick but unlike say Topps Million Card Giveaway, Power Players seem unnecessarily confusing with a bit too many hurdles to go through. With Topps Million Card Giveaway, in theory every card is a winner. With Power Players you have cards with codes, which unlocks the player in your “locker” and when you unlock a player, you can choose him to be active or not. Twice a week, Topps will select a player of the week, which can be for whatever reason. For each Player of the Day, each person with that player active and unlocked will be entered in a drawing and a winner will be randomly picked.
There is also a small chance by entering a code you can be an instant winner but for the most part (unless I am missing something) there really isn’t many winners. I wonder if it really worth to actively try to collect these cards. If you start late, you are pretty much at a disadvantage. Plus someone with a really good player has a better chance of winning than a locker full of average players.
Even if you do win, I wonder if you even want your card. There are big prizes for like collecting the whole set (which is a mammoth task) but the most common prize is probably an exclusive gold parallel. Given that shipping it to you is almost $3, I would be hesitant to do so.
I always thought Topps Baseball Series Two was a tough sell for Topps. Sure you have set builders but it is hard to keep Series Two fresh and exciting, coming out after Series One which is so similar. It is rarely first in anything but this year there is a very strong rookie class led by of course Mashiro Tanaka and Jose Abreu. Throw in there is a couple Mets rookies in the checklist and sure, I will pick up a blaster.
I have to downside my Mets collection a little bit so the Matt den Dekker card is probably the only I will keep.
Inserts and Parallels:
I always hated the inserts set that is clearly the design for a game used card without the game used piece. And that logo in the middle of the box…. SOOO ugly and it is SOOOO lazy. But one is of Matt Harvey so it will probably be in my Mets PC.
Every blaster has a commemorative patch card and my pull is Yoenis Céspedes. Interesting player but it is hard to find commemorative patch cards exciting in general.
After a long week of work, I got to end it with a TNA Impact Wrestling taping in New York City. It was actually sold out and it was electric. TNA Wrestling has some misses the last couple of years but this card reminded me why I am a fan of them in the first place. I have to say between the three NYC tapings it seems like they are firing on all cylinders.
One thing I am most excited for it is the X-Divison, one of the things that set TNA Wrestling apart in the past, was interesting again.
There were a lot of people who showed up representing TNA and wrestling past like
and Team 3D.
The Hardy Boys vs Team 3D ended the night and wow when they hit their groove, it was a lot of fun.
Here are bunch of random pics from the event.
I had a great time with my friends and we are definitely going to try to attend at least one of the tapings in August.
If you are anything like me, you are looking for fun new decks in Standard to mix things up a bit. There is only so much black devotion and U/W control decks you can play week after week. I went deep in the tank to brew something new for FNM and I came up with an interesting Young Pyromancer tempo deck. It could use some fine tuning but it is a blast to play and it uses a bunch of weird cards that I haven’t gotten to try out before.
4x Judge’s Familiar
2x Dakra Mystic
4x Young Pyromancer
3x Hour of Need
One ideal draw is Judge’s Familiar into Young Pyromancer. Hour of Need helps you speed up your clock and it can win the game for you out of nowhere. There is no good cantrips in Standard so Dakra Mystic is there to help you make sure you don’t gas out too soon. I am playing with Vaporkin and I avoided playing with the one mana/ two power red creatures like Radkos Cackler because Sylvan Caryatid is a problem. But Firedrinker Satyr is interesting because it can beat a Sylvan Caryatid but I can’t see myself ever tapping to pump it.
The Tempo Cards:
4x Izzet Charm
4x Lightning Strike
1x Magma Jet
4x Voyage’s End
The two best counterspells in Standard are Dissolve and Syncopate. There are five burn spells in the form of Lightning Strikes and a single Magma Jet. Izzet Charm can be both. You really don’t want to use the draw 2 and discard 2 mode in Izzet Charm unless you really have to since it is card disadvantage. Voyage’s End is there to help you win races. Speaking of which, as I was saying there isn’t a good cheap card draw spell in Standard but there is Scrying and there is a bunch of them to help you dig for the cards you need.
4x Steam Vents
2x Temple of Epiphany
I am not sure I want to play with 4 temples since I really can’t afford to have a land to come in play tapped.
So basically this deck has to play a threat on turn 1 and/ or turn 2 and then you almost never tap out on your turn to leave your mana open to protect your threats and to disrupt your opponent. It is the basic formula for a tempo deck. If they don’t do anything, you can always upgrade your threats with Hour of Need at the end of their turn.
Some of the cards in the deck are a bit underpowered but one of the best thing about playing this deck is your opponent has no idea what to expect and I love that!
There is an episode of Adventure Time that featured a kind of parody of Magic: The Gathering, called Card Wars. The game was actually pretty epic but impossible to recreate in the “real” world. But you just know someone would try and I wanted to take a little peak at Cryptozoic take on Card Wars with a For the Glory! booster pack. There are 9 cards per pack.
Cryptozoic is probably best know for their World of Warcraft TCG which is no longer in print. Unfortunately lately they have been in the news for all the wrong reasons as they are been suing by Wizards of the Coast for Cryptozoic’s latest push for a flagship title Hex being a bit to similar to Magic.
So what about Adventure Time Card Wars? I need a starter set to play but that is clearly label on the pack so I took a look at the rules. OK I skimmed the rules. Basically there are 4 lanes to fight and defend. The combat, damage and spells are all similar Hearthstone (or WoW TCG). The flooping is like Magic: The Gathering without summoning sickness. The mana system is very, very simple. You have two actions per turns and cards cost 0,1 or 2 actions.
As for the cards in this pack, there are a lot of weird characters in Adventure Time and I actually don’t remember any of the characters I pulled. There are 1 rare and 2 uncommons in a pack so I am guessing they are the foil cards.
So do I want to go out and buy the starters decks and play Card Wars? Yea… but probably because I want to say I floop the pig…