Fetchlands Revisited in Khans of Tarkir

In Magic: The Gathering, there are always cards termed “chase rares” – essential rare cards that any self-respecting Magic player wants to put in their deck. For years now, the Fetch land cards printed in the Onslaught and Zendikar blocks have been considered staples in the game and are priced as such. They allow you to pay one life and go looking through your deck for the appropriate land, making them invaluable for their provision of mana consistency. For example, Arid Mesa, a red/white Fetch land, is currently priced at $30 per card on TCGPlayer. A deck that uses a full play set of these (and who the heck wouldn’t) is already $120 for just four cards.

So you can imagine the collectors’ fury (yet Magic players’ rejoicing) at the news that Wizards is reprinting the Fetch lands in their new set. According to Mythic Spoiler, Khans of Tarkir will see a reprint of these choice land cards. Considering the set also appears to feature tri-color land in enemy wedge colors and Theros offered Mana Confluence, this next rotation of Magic promises to have lots of land silliness.

As far as the value depreciation of the Fetch lands, there continues to be a good deal of speculation. Obviously, the time where choice Fetch land cards could possibly command a $100 price tag (looking at you Scalding Tarn) is dead and gone. Likewise, it’s obvious that this is a tactical move to get Magic players back into the Standard format, or at least buying Standard block cards. Given the increasing popularity of older formats, which are less directly lucrative for Wizards of the Coast, it makes sense.

Overall, this announcement has increased my excitement for the new set. It looks like Khans will be a faster format than Theros, which makes my aggro-style loving heart very happy.

- E.B.

Featured Art(ist) – Masha Grubar

 

This week’s featured art(ist) is Masha Grubar.

Grubar, also known as LimKis, is a professional artist based in Swizterland. Her expertise lies in vector illustrations, which means the images are made in such a way that they can be scaled up and down without distortion. These digital works pop with color and dimension and even a little bit of sass.

Her work spans fantasy, the natural world, fashion, comics, conceptual illustrations and even people & portraits. She also takes commissions, which based on her portfolio, can be just about anything. Including fanart! I like the crispness of her work, and I think she’s got a lot of obvious talent.

- E.B.

Review Thursday: Transistor’s Amazing Soundtrack

In May, Supergiant Games of Bastion fame released their new title, Transistor. The game featured a nuanced combat system, distinct art design and compelling narrative. However, I believe the best part of the game is the soundtrack.

Composed by Darren Korb, the soundtrack aptly encapsulates the melancholy, mysterious yet energized world of Cloudbank. The game relies on the brilliant compositions to develop atmospheric tension, to great effect. Emotionally charged scenes hold extra resonance due to the power of the music. Ashley Barrett, the solitary vocalist throughout the soundtrack (and the voice of protagonist Red) delivers a potent and stirring performance.

I’m not kidding when I say that the soundtrack gives me chills, whether or not I’m playing the game. Bastion had a great soundtrack, but frankly I think Transistor‘s soundtrack is better. It’s a natural progression of Korb and Barrett’s work from their Bastion experience.

If you want to buy the soundtrack, you can either go to Supergiant Games’ Bandcamp store page or purchase the album off of Steam.

The below video is the a sequence towards the beginning in the game, so you can watch it without major (still a few) spoilers. If you haven’t played the game yet, DO SO.

- E.B.

Cosplay – Femme Fatale Red from Transistor

This week’s featured cosplay is Katarzyna ‘kairi’ Siedlecka‘s Red from the video game Transistor.

Siedleck, who goes by the internet handle Kairisia, is an accomplished cosplayers based out of Poland. Her costume and weapon work is pretty killer, as shown in this stunning Red cosplay from Supergiant Games’ Transistor. The outfit is well tailored and the silhouette matches the game design very well. With such a distinct art style, I thought the game art concepts would be hard to duplicate in real life, but Siedleck rose to the challenge. As you can see below, the Transistor blade itself is an excellent home-made replica. The semi-translucent blade looks ah-mazing.

Studio  Zahora is responsible for both the quality of the photos and the perfect location choice. This facility (apparently a shopping mall) looks like the world of Cloudbank come alive. Overall, one of the coolest and most original cosplays I’ve seen around the internet.

-E.B.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Goes to Space

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know about the ALS ice bucket challenge. While I was personally skeptical at first, the fact the the ALS Association has 1.1 million new donors, and raised $53 million since the campaign started shows this is actually working.

Leave it to the video game industry to raise the “ice bucket” challenge to a whole new level though. Bungie, the company responsible for the ever-popular Halo franchise, and creators of the hotly anticipated Destiny, have issued their own challenge:

Now comes the really cool part, not only did the team donate to alsa.org, but they announced that 20% of all sales made at the Bungie store between now and Destiny’s launch day (Sept. 9th) will go directly to ALS research. So click HERE to go to the store and pick up some cool swag for a good cause.

- E.B.

GenCon Review Spotlight – Tea Time

While attending GenCon, I chose to go to the Sci-Fi and Comedy film blocks, because I had friends presenting amateur films in each category.

There was a real range of film craft, from deeply powerful to utterly dreadful. However, my personal favorite film was a tongue and cheek steampunk comedic short, Tea Time by J. Derek Howard and his team.

Ironically, this film (shown in the sci-fi block) was more funny than the majority of films in the comedy block. The writing, acting and composition of the piece tell a humorous and smart story.

If you enjoyed this film, consider backing Howard’s latest project, NightSky. It’s about an all female mercenary group, inspired by ensemble sci-fiction like Firefly & Star Trek. I’ve included the Kickstarter video below, but feel free to check out their page here: NightSky

- E.B.