Updates June 2012


There are some fundemental differences between digital cards in Magic: The Gatehring Online and the actual paper cards of Magic. I'm not talking about the obvious physical media (digital versus paper) but by how cards can be bought and collected. When I played Magic with actual cards, I would typically buy cards from the local comic book store or in a few cases, online. The comic store would have regular sales on their merchandise so I would go in on those days and buy cards at a small discount; mostly booster packs. I could also pick and choose individual cards (referred to as Singles) from their stock which were usually displayed in glass cases (for Rare cards) or among several binders (for Uncommon and Common cards). Sometimes a friend of mine would get good deals on entire boxes of booster packs and would sell a box to me at a large discount. Normally one booster pack costs around $4 and contains 1 rare card, 3 uncommon cards, 10 common cards, and one basic land card. An entire box of booster packs contains 36 packs and is priced at about $144 if each pack costs around $4. As I recall, the booster boxes did not cost $144 each so I am thinking that they were closer to $100 (but again I am not sure since it has been a long time since I've played Magic). Whatever the case, my friend would either buy directly from the supplier or someone who could (at least that's what I've been told) and sell me a box for less than $100. Of course they were being nice and we've know each other for many years so I'd assume that if they sold to anyone else, they'd probably charge around $100 if not more. 36 packs times 15 cards per pack would equal 540 cards in general (sometimes packs contain other kinds of cards that aren't actually cards used for play). So I would get at least 36 rare cards, 108 uncommon cards, and 360 common cards. Needless to say, for the price I paid this was a very good deal. With my assortment of cards I was able to trade with friends and other people I met at the comic book store for cards I needed and/or wanted for collecting purposes. But with Magic online, this is a whole different story. From what I've heard, sales on cards in the official MTGO store do not come around very often and usually appear only when new sets of cards are being released. Buying booster packs has a totally different function because an unopened booster pack is worth a lot more than whatever cards you may get inside. This is because most tournaments require unopened booster packs to participate (called Sealed or Draft tournaments) and players can get cards they need by trading with other players after the tournaments (in Sealed or Draft tournaments you make a deck from the cards you get in the booter packs and then when the tournament is over most players take apart their decks and use the cards for their Standard decks or to collect and trade). The official store does not sell booster boxes so you can't buy a lot of booster packs at once for a reduced price. The official store does not keep cards from older sets in stock; usually they only have available products from the most recent sets that can be used in Standard tournaments and once they have cycled out (meaning that they are not able to be used in Standard tournaments), they are no longer available in the store. To acquire cards from older sets you need to purchase or trade with other people. Overall, I would not buy cards for MTGO in the same manner as I did for the paper cards. Buying the paper cards would be for collecting purposes because I no longer play the paper Magic and none of my friends do anymore either. It would be a waste of money to build a deck and then have nobody to play against. In the online counterpart I can play against people from all over the world but acquiring cards is not as easy and is more expensive.


The only issues I have with trading and buying cards in MTGO from other players is that there are a lot of them and they generally want cards I do not have. Individual players take a look at my collection and decide that my cards aren't worth their time. The automated programs (often called Bots) that run on their own for people tend to look through my collection, pick out things it likes, but in the end decideds not to trade because I don't have anything it wants. Trading card for card is one thing, but if you trade Event Tickets and the total cost does not equal an even number of tickets (in $1 denominations) then the remaining is applied as credit. The credit can only be used with the person or Bot you traded with so it is wise to carefully consider who you are trading with. Basically if you make a purchase worth 99 cents and you give one Event Ticket (worth $1) the remaining 1 cent is applied as credit. Another thing to note about Bots is that they often have a time limit on how long you can trade with them. Generally you get 15 minutes but if you are idle for too long, then they will warn you that they will end the trade after a minute or two. This is especially annoying when you are browsing through thousands of cards and have not made a selection yet. As I mentioned the other day, buying from online places directly comes in handy because you can pick what you want at your leisure and not be rushed by some impatient automated program. Do be careful about where you make your purchases because there are plenty of people out there that would love to rip you off and take your money.


Some items in the official MTGO store are a good deal, regardless of what other players say (which is that it is a rip-off for how much you pay). At the moment there is this item that gives you about 300 cards from the Scars of Mirrodin block (released between October 2010 and May 2011) and is only $4.99. These cards are still Standard legal until this fall, but something to note is that each time you buy this item, you get the same 300 cards. It is useful if there are many cards inside that you want/need but if you only see a few that you could use, then it is probably not a good idea to buy more than one of these. It only contains common and uncommon cards and no rares. If the cards were randomized each time you buy one of these like booster packs, then it would probably be more popular. But this is still better than buying individual booster packs from this block because each pack costs $3.99.


Magic: The Gathering Online has been going pretty well for me. I've been relearning the rules and how to play the game on a computer instead of with paper cards. My only setback is that I did not have a lot of cards. I was browsing around and a site called MTGO Academy had some good deals. Of course I didn't blindly go there and start buying; I did some research and they've been around for a while and are an actual business run by actual people. They have this special where you get 1000 cards for only $25. It is a very good deal for what you get but the only catch is that they will not tell you what cards you will be recieving because they put it together on the spot and it is based on what cards they currently have in stock. So after you log into the game you will be contacted by someone from MTGO Academy (I don't know how long but fortunately someone was online) and they will trade you your cards for your Event Tickets. Event Tickets are pretty much the currency of MTGO and since this deal cost $25, I had to buy 25 Event Tickets from the official MTGO shop (which I liked because I didn't have to give any credit card information to the people at MTGO Academy). So it took about 15 trades to get all my cards (the max number of cards per trade is 75) and honestly, I was a little disappointed. The cards I recieved were from the 2011 Core Set all the way back to the Time Spiral block (not including cards from the 2010 Core Set and the Tenth Edition) and these cards were released between 2006 and 2010. About 90% of the cards are not able to be used in Standard tournaments (only older cards that have been reprinted into the 2012 Core Set can be used in Standard at the moment) but that doesn't mean I wasted my money. I can use these cards for a variety of things including making some decks for non-tornament use and trading with other people. Another thing I should point out is that they advertised their 1000 card deal would include cards from ALL Magic: The Gathering expansions. Obviously that was not the case and in total I got about 500 different cards because they gave me two copies of most of the cards. Now that I know how their special deals work, I might just buy cards individually instead of getting random stuff.


Another year, another day. Today marks the 9th anniversary of my website. It has been a busy six months updating my website but hopefully the years to come will be just as productive. Um...that's about it. I did a quick drawing of myself just for fun:


I had my Quizilla account deleted. Not only was it popping up in search results ahead of my actual website, but I have not used it in years and I really had no intention of keeping it around any longer.


A couple of weeks ago Cartoon Network brought back their once famous Toonami programming block. It was cancelled in 2008 after being on the air for 11 years but due to popular demand, Cartoon Network brought it back. For now. It used to be on Saturday evenings between 7pm and 11pm but now it is from 12am to 6am (which is technically Sunday morning). The current lineup consists mostly of anime that was already there (Cartoon Network broadcasts anime on Saturday nights/Sunday mornings on their Adult Swim block) and only two new shows. I dislike both of the new shows for a variety of reasons, but the one I am commenting on is called Casshern Sins. Casshern Sins is an adaptation loosly based on an old 1970s anime which most Americans have never heard of. The first episode of Casshern sins went like this:

Robots scream the main character's name 3 dozen times

Main character meets an annoying child who will likely become a recurring character

Main character finds out he destroyed the world


I picked a bad time to decide to try and play Standard in Magic: The Gathering Online. What I mean is that the most popular tournament format is called Standard and the only cards that are allowed to be used in that type of game are cards from the most recent sets of cards. I just started playing so my new player's package came with cards from a few of the most recent sets, but they will soon be banned from Standard tournaments. The 2013 Core Set (a set consisting of cards from older sets but are Standard legal) comes out next month and replaces the 2012 Core Set (and the majority of my cards are from this set) so I'm already off to a bad start. This October they are releasing a new set and three of the current Standard sets of cards will also be banned (and I just purchased a bunch of cards from those sets). Basically I spent a lot of money and I won't be able to use most of my cards in a few months. But that is if I play in Standard tournaments; I can still use them in just about every other kind of format so its not like they will be useless. The reason I bring up Standard format is because most of the tournaments in M:TGO that offer prizes are in Standard format, and that is if you can win. I have a Standard Playable deck as opposed to a Standard Ready deck. The difference is that Playable means the deck is able to be used in Standard games but it is not built very well and/or is not capable of winning a lot. Standard Ready means that the deck has a pretty good chance of winning. Obviously I just started playing so I do not have very many cards to choose from to build a decent deck.


Dragon Age: Origins is a fun game, but like any role playing game it takes a long time to complete. For me it took about 40 hours to complete as much as posible on one playthrough. I recently bought the Ultimate Edition which includes the game, the expansion pack, and all the downloadable content. I got the original game over two years ago but I wanted the Ultimate Edition because it is considered an old game and the price was significantly reduced for what you get. When the UE was first released it was around $70. Anyway, I played DA:O again well it was more like I continued because I finished the game once and started another one but I never finished it) by trying to get all the achievements/trophies. I'm not doing it for any particular reason other than saying that I did. They're easy enough to get if you have the time and patience.


I've finally decided to get on to Magic: The Gathering Online. I was considering signing up a couple of years ago but I wasn't really familiar with how it worked and I didn't think I was going to invest as much time into it as I wanted to. After an hour of downloads and updates I was able to start playing. The ten dollar sign up fee seemed like a decent price (I thought it was a lot more; maybe they reduced it in recent years) so I started gathering up cards for my collection. There are ways to get a lot of free cards (which I utilized) but at the moment I can't really use them. I got plenty to start out with when I signed up but the majority of them are for beginners and they can't be used outside the New Players games. I was hoping to gather some cards to make a standard deck (eligible for tournament use) but those cards are from the most recent sets and not a lot of people are giving away cards like those. Of course I could always buy booster packs and such for actual money, but I'm trying to play without having to pay a cent. It may take a while and some careful playing, but it is possible and from what I've heard a lot of players manage to get by just by playing.


I've been working on cleaning up my code by indenting so that it is easier to read. I tried doing it with Dreamweaver instead of manually, but whatever happened, it screwed it all up. SO now I have to go back and reset everything.


I have been working on making some alterations to the style of my layout. Click here to visit the page where I explain what I am doing.


Some people have commented that my links are hard to see because the link color is almost the same as the text color. The links are a lighter grey than the text color and most people can spot the differences, but as I just mentioned, some people are having a hard time seeing it. I tried changing the link color to something more noticable, but it stands out a little too much from the rest of the text.
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