2016 Riverview Municipal Election: A young voter’s guide to the candidates

Posted in Uncategorized on 2016.05.08 by grimby

Monday, May 9th is voting day for the New Brunswick municipal elections.  As a fairly new resident of Riverview (this will be my first time voting here at this level), I didn’t know anything about the candidates, and because I feel that voting is an important function of a free democratic society, I thought I should at least do some research prior to the election so that I could make informed decisions.

My approach, since I was doing this last minute, was to research each candidate in the two main categories (Mayor, and Councillor at Large) using only their online presence.  I started with the candidate list posted at Elections NB  http://www1.gnb.ca/Elections/en/mun16may09/16may09muncandidatelist-e.asp?ELECTIONTOWNID=65TOWNID1915, which had links listed for at least some of the candidates.  I followed the same order of candidates as they appeared on this list.

Social Media along with the Web are powerful tools that every smart politician should use to their fullest potential, especially if they want to reach younger voters.  I pored over websites, Twitter tweets, and Facebook posts all with the goal of learning more about each candidate’s qualifications, prior experience, platforms for election, and just to get an overall feel for the candidate as a person.  To save you all some time, I’ve summed up the results of my research in this blog post along with a link to each candidate’s main page.  Convenient, eh?

I’ve tried to remain as objective as possible in my reviews as well.  I have no affiliation to any of these candidates – I just wanted to learn more to make a more informed decision Monday and share with the public in the hopes that it inspires you to do the same, so that you go out there and exercise your right to vote. Okay here we go:

Mayor (2 Candidates)

Unfortunate that there are only 2 candidates here for the position of top dog. But as you’ll see, the race was certainly interesting…


Scott Bulman

Whoo boy.  So my initial exposure to this candidate came when I was driving down Coverdale by the Ultramar and saw his team putting up the large signs at the Pine Glen intersection.  The candidate’s platform slogan “Reinvent Riverview” made me chuckle.  I thought to myself, what is there to reinvent?  This town is pretty fantastic as it is.  Still, I remained open to learning how the candidate planned to reinvent the town.

So in my research, I found his Facebook campaign page of the same name.  I was totally NOT prepared for all the drama.  Several posts with comments that just scream of the candidate’s lack of professionalism and class.  A lot of heat about a proposed online debate, which for reasons unclear to me the candidate wanted to be hosted by his own campaign team instead of by an unbiased third-party such as the media.  Deleted Facebook posts, pessimism, criticism.  Too much negativity for my tastes.  He’s like Riverview’s version of Donald Trump.  All that being said, there are some positives in this candidate’s campaign:

  • Makes a good case for change.  Change is always good at any level.
  • Extremely strong use of technology to help reach out to younger voters.  Kudos to the candidate and his team for making videos and using technology to reach out.
  • Has some good, fresh ideas to bring prosperity to the town

The candidate had a smart and fresh approach to reach out to voters, but his execution was clearly lacking due to lack of leadership and maturity.  A strong leader can be charismatic and disruptive to the status quo, WITHOUT having to resort to the negative, tactless approaches this candidate used on his social media posts.  Ultimately I feel like this will be his own undoing.  If he does lose, I personally would like to see him come back in 4 years with some maturity and reflection on his first go-round, and maybe take that time to work with the officials whom are elected to try and help drive the changes he is wanting to make. Link: https://www.facebook.com/ReinventRiverview/


Ann Seamans

This candidate’s online presence is limited to a Facebook page and Twitter feed.  It is difficult to find anything of substance on the pages, however a pinned post from 4/20 (ha) sums up very concisely the candidate’s background, accomplishments as mayor, and affirms her commitment to executing to the plans already put in place in her current term.   A vote for this candidate is a very safe, stable vote.  I have nothing more to add here – she seems like a genuine person who has a history of doing great things and still has more to offer. Link: https://www.facebook.com/Re-elect-Ann-Seamans-for-Mayor-118912085164187/?fref=ts



Councillor at Large (5 Candidates)

We have 3 of these to elect and only 5 candidates.  Let’s hope they’re all good!


Scott Campagna

The top banner on this candidate’s website homepage has the word “Councilor” spelled incorrectly.  While it is an acceptable spelling of the word, it is not the official title used by Elections NB for Councillor at Large.  Visually the site is a bit appalling, but at least the necessary content is there.  The first half of the homepage provides some of the candidates history as to why he thinks he is qualified, while the second half describes his platform and motivations.  For some reason he is REALLY against kids playing video games, seeing fit to mention it TWICE in this section.  Maybe his kids kicked his ass at Mario Kart too many times.  Also he really likes the word “great”.  Link: http://www.votescottc.ca/


Cecile Cassista

This candidate has a Facebook page that appears to be run by a teenager.  It’s very unprofessional and full of spelling and grammatical errors.  On top of that, the “campaign material” posted on the page is really just a 1-pager that reads in very much the same style:  poorly written and also lacking any real information.  It is not clear to me what this candidate was directly responsible for in her previous term.  Definitely would not vote for. Link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cecile-Cassista-Councillor-at-large-She-Cares/304288209642409


Andrew J. LeBlanc

This candidate’s website looks very professionally done.  At the very least, I get the sense he takes things seriously.  The website content clearly articulates the candidate’s accomplishments in his prior term, as well as communicates his platform for the future.

The site includes a Twitter feed which appears to be a funnel into his Facebook page’s postings.  While I didn’t have time to read everything, his posts are prolific, of high quality, and seem to have substance.  This candidate to me feels very genuine and believable.  He appears to be younger and thus might represent interests more closely matched to my own.  Link: http://www.andrewjleblanc.com/


Christopher R. MacDonald

This candidate’s online presence was not posted on the Elections NB page, however I did find a page easily on Facebook (with links to his Twitter feed).  A lot of the social media posts have spelling mistakes and grammatical errors; I feel like they are being made by someone other than the candidate.  This is unfortunate, as these posts seem to be the only way to gather information about the candidate’s qualifications and platform.  All that being said, there’s something genuine about what the candidate is saying.  I believe that he believes he can make changes to improve the community.  He also comes across as a hard-worker, and that’s always a good thing.  Somewhat votable; maybe a decent third choice if there’s nobody better. Link: https://www.facebook.com/ChrisforRiverviewNB/


Tammy Rampersaud

I knew two things about this candidate prior to conducting my research:

  1. She was the Liberal candidate for our riding in the last Provincial election, losing to Bruce Fitch.
  1. At some point during this Municipal campaign, her team put up a sign in my friend’s yard without asking permission; nay, without even having talked to him or his wife.  Not a good move.

Good thing I knew these two things, because I didn’t learn very much else from the candidate’s social media presence.  As far as background, the best I got was a photo of a newspaper clipping posted on February 23rd, that the candidate’s own posting admitted had “a few inaccuracies”.  From all the other posts though, it is clear to me that the candidate is very involved in the community, and comes across as genuinely interested in making improvements.  With no clear platform, it’s hard to make any other determination; but despite the lack of content, this candidate seems to be votable based on charisma and energy alone.  Link: https://www.facebook.com/Tammy-Rampersaud-for-Riverview-Councillor-at-Large-432801186913409/


That is all for today.  I didn’t have the time nor the energy to research and write about all the individual Ward councillors, since I only vote in my own ward.  Take my lead and take the time to research them yourself though if you want.

Best of luck to all the candidates, and the rest of you don’t forget to vote on May 9!

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Burnin’ Up: Slow-Carb Diet Slow Cooker Chili

Posted in Uncategorized on 2015.09.23 by grimby

Background:

Judas Priest’s “Burnin’ Up” is a 70s classic metal song from their Hellbent for Leather album.  Its pedestrian lyrics are about sex, but I thought of it when I was writing up this recipe because it makes for a good metaphor for the slow-carb diet and for the taste of the chili.  It was apt, so I co-opted it and now you have Burnin’ Up, a Slow-Cooker Chili recipe that totally meets your SCD needs.

Special note: the packaged food brands that I’ve listed were hand-picked amongst several alternatives because of their ingredient list and/or nutritional label.  I’m not advocating any brand for any reason, but I just picked these because they were most appealing to me from a low-sugar, high-nutrient perspective.  You can go with any jar of salsa, and any brand of canned beans or tomatoes.  Just be sure to read your labels and avoid sugar-added items.

Alright, before you get started, check the ingredient list below and make a shopping list for anything you’re missing.  Whatever blend of seasoning you go with is completely up to you, except you pretty much have to use chili powder otherwise it won’t come out tasting like chili!  It will taste like pasta sauce.   And if you like the heat but don’t have ghost pepper flakes, any addition of hot pepper should accomplish what you need.  Just don’t go crazy with it otherwise it won’t be fun to eat on a frequent basis.

Ingredients:

Fresh vegetables:

  • Chopped mushrooms (~1 cup or so)
  • Chopped onions (from one whole medium-sized)
  • Chopped green pepper (from a whole medium-sized)

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Packaged foods:

  • 1x 650ml jar of salsa (Old El Paso Medium Restaurante)
  • 1x 540ml can of Six Bean Mix (Great Value brand)
  • 1x 540ml can of red kidney means (GV brand)
  • 1x 796ml can of diced tomatoes (PC Blue Menu brand)

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Protein:

  • 2 lbs of lean ground beef

Seasoning:

  • 2 heaping TSP of chili powder
  • Sea salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Ghost pepper flakes

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So at this point, you should now be in your kitchen with all of your ingredients ready.  Turn on some good tunes, and get rolling.

Directions:

  1. Chop your veggies up to whatever size you like – I dice ’em.
  2. Sauté the onions and mushrooms in olive oil, adding sea salt and pepper to taste.
  3. While you’re sautéing, use the time efficiently by opening your cans.
  4. Once your sauté is done, empty the contents out into the crock pot but save the pan.
  5. In same sauté pan, cook up the ground beef.  Add sea salt and pepper to taste.IMG_2837
  6. Once meat is fully browned, drain it well and then add to crock pot.
  7. Add beans, tomatoes and salsa to crock pot.
  8. Add chili powder, more sea salt, more cracked black pepper, and ghost pepper flakes (don’t go crazy)
  9. Mix well (90-120 seconds)
  10. Set slow cooker to cook on its lowest, longest setting to achieve MAXIMUM FLAVOUR INTEGRATION

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When it’s done, be sure to enjoy a bowl because how can you not?  It will smell so amazing and incredible.  Then divide up the remainder into your favourite containers for storage in the fridge and freezer (yes you should freeze some because it won’t last longer than 3 days in your fridge before it goes bad).  Enjoy!  I encourage feedback, positive or constructive, on this recipe or the process.  Let me know how you made out, any substitutions or additions, etc.  Cheers! \m/

Why Carey Price is the NHL’s MVP this season

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on 2015.02.28 by grimby

Look, I like Pekka Rinne.  He’s an outstanding goaltender.  I just don’t think he is more valuable to his team than Carey Price is to the Canadiens.  I agree that they are both legitimate contenders for the Vezina.  Right now, Price’s stats are better than Rinne’s which would suggest a Price win for Vezina; however these stats are always in a state of flux and could easily change after just a couple of bad games.

pricevsrinnemasks

 

I tried to validate my MVP argument using the Goals For statistic, as Nashville is 4th in the league in GF while Montreal is 18th (behind even the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs).  (edit: Montreal now has one goal more than TML after the 4-0 win).  When a team is scoring more goals, they’re less reliant on the keeper to net them the 2 points.  The conclusion is that, a goaltender with similar stats, on a team that scores considerably less goals, is more valuable.

So, I told you to compare the Goals For of both teams, and still some of you doubted.  So here are more stats that support my Price-for-Hart argument:(Note: these stats are based on the gamestate before Saturday night’s games)

renneprice

 

 

Goals per game:

Nashville’s 2.94  is 3 tenths higher than Montreal’s 2.64.  That’s a big difference as Nashville’s GPG is 6th overall and Montreal’s stat is only good for 20th.  Still not convinced?  Montreal’s GPG of 2.64 is the worst of the top 15 teams (Boston, at 16th, has 2.61).  Look guys, you can’t win games when your team is not scoring goals (unless you’re the Montreal Canadiens).  The fact that Montreal’s record is as good as it is, clearly to me, is due to their goaltender.  That’s the MVP difference.

 

Shots For/Against per game:

Nashville shoots 3.4 shots more per game than their opponents.  Montreal shoots 1.5 shots LESS per game than their opponents.  Nashville is 3rd overall shots for, Montreal is 24th; Nashville’s shots allowed is 9th lowest while Montreal is 22nd in that department.  Bottom line, Montreal goaltenders are seeing more rubber than Nashville’s and statistically, the teams who shoot more score more and who allow less shots allow less goals.

 

Being Outshot:

Nashville’s win percentage is an amazing .743 when they outshoot their opponents (which statistically is more often), however when they are themselves outshot, that percentage drops to .556.  Montreal’s percentage difference is not so drastic, winning .667 the few times they outshoot the opponent, and an incredible.613 win percentage when they are outshot.  Montreal is 2nd overall in that department.  Goaltending.

 

Let’s look at the backup goalies:

Another argument I heard is that Nashville only wins with Rinne in goal and not with their backup; and that Montreal’s record would be negligibly influenced by who is in net.  If that is true, then Carter Hutton’s stats should stink and Tokarski’s stats should be similar to Price’s… let’s have a look:

goalies

 

 

 

So, there is more disparity between the Habs goalies than between the Preds goalies.

I’ve now shut down every argument I’ve heard for Rinne over Price in the MVP race.  I’m sure the Rinne supporters will come up with something though, rather than just admit that they’re wrong.

 

But Grimby, you’re biased because you’re a Canadiens fan.  Of course, but I can remain objective, and the numbers don’t lie. Plus, I was not always a Carey Price supporter.  I was upset when the team traded away Halak, and ever since then I had always compared Halak’s performance to Price’s.  But something changed with Carey at the Olympics last year.  I agree he earned his way there, but I was worried about how he would perform.  He rose up to the grand occasion, and proved that he was the best goaltender in the World.  And he’s been the best goaltender in the World ever since.

In June 2015, Carey Price will win the Hart Trophy for having been the season’s Most Valuable Player of the NHL.

 

 

 

Depression… it’s been a tough week

Posted in Uncategorized on 2015.01.30 by grimby

It’s been a tough week.  That is a broad, sweeping statement that can probably apply to a lot of people I know, each of whom have varying degrees of mental health.  I don’t know for sure where exactly on the spectrum each person falls:  from positive, strong mental health, to “I might need help” levels.  The reason for my uncertainty?  It’s nearly impossible to gauge a person’s mental health, at least from an external observance perspective.   The only way to know for sure is to really talk to people.  And these days, who has time for that?  I say this with tongue in cheek, but truly it is an accurate portrayal of our current reality.  We really ought to take the time to talk to each other.  Especially the people who we are closest to.   Next time you’re with a friend, or a relative, take the time to say you love them, you care for them, you are listening (really listening) to them.

From my own personal standpoint, while I was dealing with some really serious shit this week personally, I put on an air of positivism and normalcy for my friends, family and coworkers.   I am thankful that I have a great and interesting job, because it allowed me to stay focused throughout the week!

I would rate myself as having a strong and positive mental health.  I think I deal with stress very well.  But when it comes to loss or grief, I don’t think I do as well but I try.  I feel like I’m just a paper-thin shell that can fold at the tiniest strain of thought towards the lost one.  So far in this post, I feel like my words are coming across as slightly mysterious or outright vague, and in part I think that is deliberate, so here is the skinny:

I’ve had a loss this week: my uncle hung himself.

My uncle was battling with some serious demons and lost, and he took the drastic road of a suicide attempt that has left the people who cared for him with unanswered questions and a strange trail of grief and uncertainty.  Here’s the uncertainty piece: he’s not actually dead (yet).  Well, not physically dead, but there is no more brain activity.  My uncle is brain dead.  I have difficulty reconciling that fact with the fact that his body is still alive and breathing with the help of machines.  So when it comes to the grieving process, I am confused.  I’ve dealt with loss before, but never like this.  He’s brain dead, which to me is as good as dead.  I want to grieve… but I can’t, at least not fully, and not until his body is gone as well.  It’s weird.  I feel like my family are all sharing these same or similar feelings, but none of us are explicitly talking about it.  Why can’t we grieve now?   Why can’t we let go?  It’s almost as though, like my uncle, we are in a strange limbo state, and until his body passes (which is probably within the next 24 hours), we are not free from this state.

I didn’t know how to deal with this.  I didn’t know how to cope.   Then I got the idea to just write.  I started writing, because I thought it would be cathartic.  I wanted to share it with everyone too.  To generate discussion, and to help with the grieving.  Maybe this is my grieving?

I had no idea my uncle had such severe depression issues.  I know that he’s struggled with addictions, and that he’s recently been in a bad place.  But I felt like he was getting the help and support that he needed.   Despite that help, the issues were severe enough that he took his own life.  This is what I have a hard time with, I think.  There is a history of depression in my family, and I like to think that I’m there for them.  But am I really?  Do I think that things are rosier than they are?  It comes down to the talking and listening part I mentioned earlier.  Is that enough though?  I think so, because I’m an optimist at heart.

All of this comes on the heels of the Bell mental health awareness campaign this week.  They’ve done some wonderful things and raised a lot of money and awareness for mental health issues.  I think this is awesome, and truly believe that awareness is the key.  If any of you are still reading this, first of all thank you.  I know it’s long-winded and mostly self-serving, but I do have genuinely good intentions for writing it.  So if you’re still reading, and you think “yeah, I’m having some issues” then please, PLEASE, talk to somebody right NOW.  I don’t care who you talk to – it can be me, the person next to you, Telecare, your EAP, a dude on the street.  Just talk to someone, and get some help.  It’s out there.  There’s always a way.  There’s always an alternative.  Suicide is not an acceptable answer.  It’s an altogether too easy out for you that is selfish and leaves everyone around you in a trail of pain, guilt, grief, and uncertainty.  You may think, in your lowliest state, that nobody cares for you, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  I guarantee it.  Call me on it, and I will show you.

RR

2015.01.30

—-

So what do you think? I’m interested in hearing from all of you, regardless of your mental health state whether you’re strong or needing of help.  Weigh in on any part of my post. Have you been in this scenario where someone you love is brain-dead and on life support?  Have you had to put on a happy exterior while dealing with pain on the inside?  How are you doing anyway, really?  Let me know – it can be publicly posted or private messaged.

Grimby’s Top 25 Albums of 2014

Posted in Uncategorized on 2015.01.01 by grimby

2014 was another great year for real music.  Even the bottom albums on this list are great, and are maybe a riff or a solo away from being top 5.  I’ll count down the list with a brief descriptor:

25. Opeth – Pale Communion: Love these guys, but I think the album was one song away from being brilliant.

24. Wolf – Devil Seed: Solid traditional metal in which they finally (to me) shed the Judas Priest mimicry.

23. Cavalera Conspiracy – Pandemonium: Max returns with this punky thrash after last year’s abysmal Soulfly effort.

22. Gloryful – Ocean Blade: More solid trad metal, reminiscent of Greece’s BattleRoar

21. Machine Head – Bloodstone & Diamonds: This one was a bit of a grower, but it’s good.  Maybe 2 songs too many.

20. Helstar – This Wicked Nest: The always excellent Helstar deliver another consistent heavy metal record.  Not enough wow factor to crack the top 10 though.

19. Portrait – Crossroads: Strange, progressive traditional metal with vocals that remind me at times of vintage Warrel Dane.

18. Edgedown – Statues Fall: Solid power metal, almost Hibria-ish but more melodic.  I loved it a lot at first but it lost a bit of its staying power over time.

17. Mastodon – Once More ‘Round the Sun: Their best since Blood Mountain, I was pleasantly surprised.

16. Sabaton – Heroes: Another surprise, I’ve only ever liked the occasional Sabaton song, but this album feels complete, and good headbangin’ fun.

15. Dawnbringer – Night of the Hammer: A late discovery that eked into 15th spot, this doom/trad album is almost flawless.

14. Overkill – White Devil Armory: A nice rebound after their last blunder.  Title track is killer!

13. Allegaeon – Elements of the Infinite: Arsis-like, and awesome.  Was top 5 at first but lost a bit of staying power over time.

12. Vestal Claret – The Cult of Vestal Claret: Sounds like a time-warp from 1979, all doom and trad.  Check out the epic “Black Priest” for a heavy metal primer.  Like Dawnbringer, this one is almost flawless.

11. Dust Bolt – Awake the Riot: Thrash!  When done right, I can play all day.  This one is done right.  Only one dud kept it from being my favourite thrash record of the year (see #6).

10. Iced Earth – Plagues of Babylon: I liked the last one, the first with Stu, but I loved this one.  This is the best Iced Earth record since Something Wicked.  I loved it since the beginning, and it sounded just as great in December as it did when I first bought it in January.

9. Valknacht – Le Sacrifice d’Ymir: As some of you know I am super picky about black metal.  These guys nail it with another near-flawless record.  Hard to say if I like it more or less than their last one, but it’s good.  Title track is epic and awesome.

8. Gamma Ray – Empire of the Undead: Strangely, I’m still on the fence about the opening track Avalon.  I feel it is either unnecessarily long, or else fails as an “epic” song.  It’s a good song though, and a great album.

7. Sinbreed – Shadows: Solid heavy metal through and through, punched by great drumming.  Sadly it will be ignored like their debut.

6. Exodus – Blood In, Blood Out: This seems to be the most polarizing release of the year, with followers either loving or hating it.  It was my favourite thrash album this year, with the title track sounding like an ass-kicking sequel to Exodus’ classic “Toxic Waltz”.

5. DragonForce – Maximum Overload: Their second album with new singer but first one I actually like.  Sounds like a return to form, this is their best material since 2004’s Sonic Firestorm.  Strangely, the bonus tracks do nothing for me.

4. Equilibrium – Erdentempel: These Germans are frustratingly inconsistent.  Sagas was a masterpiece, ReKreatur was not.  Their 2013 EP left much to be desired, so I went into this with low expectations.  They far exceeded them, delivering the best folk metal album of the year.

3. Judas Priest – Redeemer of Souls: My favourite band delivers yet again.  I was one of the few that liked Nostradamus, but this new record is far better in so many ways.  Strange that KK is gone, but new guy fills the gap nicely.   Rob still sounds amazing.

2. Vader – Tibi et Igni: Reviewing my notes, the first thing I wrote when I heard this was “damn good holy shit death metal”, and I think that best captures it.  I fucking love this album.  It is perfect.

1. Sanctuary – The Year the Sun Died: My favourite album of the year can be characterized using many of the words I’ve already used in this post: flawless, perfect, masterpiece, Warrel Dane.  We waited 24 years since their last album, and the wait was certainly worth it!  Great songs, no filler, lyrics smarter than anything you’ve read this year, and strong performances from each band member.

So that’s it!  I’m sure there were a lot of other great albums out there that I just never got around to listening to (or gave enough time to).  Looking forward to another great year for music in 2015!  Sound off with your feedback on my list and commentary.

MTG Utility Fundamentals

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 2013.09.29 by grimby

As a companion to my MTG Deck Building Fundamentals, I wanted to write about the different utilities available to my fellow Planeswalkers to help them improve their decks.

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    • Mana production/acceleration. 
      • Mana rocks, ie: artifacts that produce mana such as Sol Ring, Thran Dynamo, the Signets, Chromatic Lantern, etc. 
      • One-off spells that add instant mana, like the black and red rituals (Dark Ritual, Pyretic Ritual, Desperate Rituals
      • Mana dorks, mostly found in green that add mana, like Birds of Paradise, or any of the elves like Elvish Archdruid, etc…  These mana dorks are found in other colors too.
      • Replacement effects.  Eg: rather than pay mana cost, you can do something else.  Example, “Rooftop Storm” allows a mage to cast zombie creatures for 0.
    • Recursion, ie: the ability to re-use cards after their supposedly single use or after they die/are destroyed.
      1. Graveyard recursion: there are tons of ways to use and abuse the graveyard, as anybody who has played with me can attest to.  One of my favourites is Sun Titan, who pulls a 3CMC or less permanent from the graveyard to the battlefield when it hits the battlefield and every time it attacks.  Trading Post lets me sacrifice a creature to return an artifact from the graveyard to my hand.
      • Flashback.  Spells with flashback are cast again from the graveyard.  There are even ways to give flashback to non-flashback spells; like with Snapcaster Mage.
      • Make single-use spells repeatable with things like Isochron Scepter and Elite Arcanist
      • Planeswalkers are a great way to play repeatable abilities.  
    • Draw/Discard:
      • Draw engines like Howling Mine and Font of Mythos keeps everyone happy (until they draw their whole library!)
      • Drawing cards for yourself is an important way to gain advantage.  It allows you to find answers quicker. Staff of Nin, Carnage Altar and Jayemdae Tome are colorless ways to do just that, but traditionally blue is the color of draw.
      • Discard: Less popular but still a way to gain card advantage over your opponents, particularly when they are holding on to a spell that they are saving as a game-ending bomb.  Black is the strongest discard color with dozens of creatures and spell that enable it.
    • Tutors: Tutoring means searching your library for spells.  There are several ways in several colors to tutor, but black is traditionally the tutor color:
      • Some tutors are directly to your hand, some go to the top of your library, and others put directly into play!
      • Direct tutors like Planar Portal, Ring of 3 Wishes, Demonic Tutor, Diabolic Tutor, Vampiric Tutor, Rune-Scarred Demon, Liliana Vess. 
      • Conditional Tutors are usually cheaper to cast but are more specific, like Enlightened Tutor that gets an artifact or enchantment, Fierce Empath searches a creature card with CMC > 6, Mwonvuli Beast Tracker fetches you a creature with either Reach, Trample, Deathtouch or Hexproof, etc.. Tinker lets you search for an artifact and put it into play, at the low, low cost of sacrificing an artifact.
    • Combat Evasion and Tricks
      • Evasion means a way to make your creatures harder/impossible to block.  Make them flying, fear, shadow, unblockable, protection.
      • Tricks like Fog (prevent all combat damage) or once a player chooses not to block your chump guy, then you pump him up and go for the kill.
    • Sacrifice outlets: depending on the deck, but sometimes having the ability to sacrifice your stuff is a big advantage.  Let’s say someone goes to exile an awesome creature you have.  Nope, you’ll sac it instead, put it in your graveyard where its easier to return than from exile.
    • Tokens and Counters: there are many spells that enable the token and counters strategy, primarily a green mage’s strength.    Doubling Season, Parallel Lives and Corpsejack Menace are all essential.
    • Tribal support.  There are many spells that enhance your tribes.  Some are generic and can be applied to any tribe, while others are tribe-specific:
      • Generic examples: Coat of Arms, Door of Destinies, Adaptive Automaton, Cavern of Souls
      • Specific examples: Call to the Grave (Zombies), Anowon, the Ruin Sage (Vampires), Elvish Promenade, Goblin Grenade, Seraph Sanctuary.

 

MTG Deck Building Fundamentals

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 2013.09.29 by grimby

This post is meant to be a small primer for new MTG players that I encounter.  It is by no means comprehensive, but it is adequate enough to get you started. 

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  • Of course the minimum is 60 cards; and the maximum is as many as can be shuffled without assistance. 
  • Aim for a 3:2 spell:land ratio; eg: a 60 card deck should contain 36 spells and 24 lands. 100/60/40. Vary the ratio only if the deck allows; ie less lands if lots of card draw or mana weenies
  • Pack 4 of any buildaround spells. (ie: spells you really like that you want to make a deck for)
  • Deck must be synergistic. ie: you don’t want to pack Illness in the Ranks in your BW Spirit token deck. You do want Lingering Souls and Intangible Virtue and white instant spells with convoke
  • Unless you are specifically building a “toolbox” deck, you don’t want to dilute your deck by packing too many answers.
  • You do want spells that offer flexibility though: Trading Post, the Charms, or two-in-ones like “destroy target artifact then gain life equal to its CMC” or “this spell does something, then draw a card”
  • If you’ve built a deck around a spell that is extremely critical to its strategy, pack ways to tutor and/or recur it.  Eg: Life from the Loam in a dredge deck. 
  • Pack answers to common threats in your group’s metagame.  Eg: Lots of mill?  Pack Feldon’s Cane and Elixir of Immortality.  Lots of red burn?  Pack things to make yourself and your creatures hexproof.