Liliana of the Veil | Cosplay | Magic: The Gathering
Photos by: Mitchell Frank Jimenez Jr. | Facebook
Make-up by: California Face & Body Art | Facebook
Wardrobe by: Marie Kramer | Facebook
Digital Editor: Yinka Alade | Buy Titanfall he said and watch the credit names.
Hey Polish here and I just wanted to say that a lot of things are coming soon! I’ve had my hands full with a new odd job to help pay for the unexpected bills that I’ve accumulated in the last month. I’m still having problems saving up for a new computer, or at least pay for the repair bills to Apple. I’ll be posting tons of things on Ebay today, so hopefully I can begin to do work again without having Photoshop/Illustrator crashing on me every sudden button press on a netbook…
Anyway, some of the more common questions people ask me about is when I started playing Magic the Gathering, my favorite colors, etc. It’s kind of interesting because it started way back in 1995 when I remembered seeing Arabian Nights booster packs at the local comic book shop. The semi-bright pink booster looked absolutely goofy to me, but the storeowner said it was one of biggest games that year. I honestly had no idea what Magic was, other than it looked like D&D stuff. Lord of the Rings and fantasy in general didn’t really appeal to me growing up since I grew up watching Fox Kids, reading Marvel and DC comics, and playing video games.
It wasn’t until my childhood friend bought a 4th Edition starter deck for $7 and showed me his deck of cards. I wasn’t completely sold yet until I started to look through the Magic singles at the comic shop.
One of the few cards that caught my eye was Serra Angel. Growing up raised Catholic (by a single mother no less), it was really appealing to me. Then I noticed the price tag and it was $5.00! For those of you that don’t know, five bucks for a single card was really expensive for a 12-year-old at the time. I eventually decided that another two bucks, I could actually play Magic with my friend than just keep the Serra Angel in a card case.
So for the next two years during Jr. High, I casually played with my friend and some random folks at other comic/hobby shops in the Orange County area. I eventually saved up enough money by drawing Ninja Turtles for some classmates at school and was able to buy a Revised Serra Angel. I wasn’t great at building decks or had the money to buy the other major rare cards, but I was playing a white weenie deck. It didn’t cost too much to build and many of them have a natural defense against Necropotence decks. I won a lot of games that I shouldn’t have against much more experienced players thanks to a few White Knights and Crusade.
Right around high school, I began to take the game more seriously as some of my classmates did a lot of local tournaments. My deck was obviously not Standard (type 2) legal at the time, so I eventually had to sell some of my Super Nintendo games and use that money to buy standard legal cards. I obviously stuck with White Weenie briefly since it was the cheapest deck in Standard at the time. Gradually I shifted to Mono-Blue since I grew up hating it so much. I needed to learn how to beat it and to do that I had to pilot it myself. I just loved almost every minute of playing it, but I can’t say the same with most of my friends.
Of course the shift from kitchen table to FNM/Tournament did have it’s own consequences. Having undiagnosed ADHD, it really killed my grades at school. When I would have super focused attention on building Magic decks, I would just zone out in almost every class I was in. When the report card came in, my mom actually forbid me to play anymore MTG until I got my grades up. She packed all my cards and locked them away in the garage cabinet in the apartment building. I ended up just collecting comic book cards (Vamperilla as one of my favorites) and video games in moderation this time obviously. It took over a year until I got my grades up again, but a lot of things changed.
By the time I got back into the Magic, most of my cards got rotated out and I was forced to buy huge chunks of Urza Saga cards to upgrade my old decks or play extended. Mercadian Masques block was so boring and miserable compared to Tempest and Saga that I just didn’t care for Standard as much anymore. I did manage to build a Mono-Black Suicide deck for extended, but there just weren’t enough people that wanted to play Magic anymore at school. Most of my friends that were playing either quit or just moved on to other hobbies. One of them being Pokemon, which I did end up playing til I graduated from High School.
Occasionally, I’d play Magic in college, but being the mono-blue player that I am I eventually learned that no one liked playing against me. I took a decade long hiatus from Magic from 2001 all the way til 2011.
It was definitely Steve Arglye’s work that drew me in back into the game. Seeing the Slave of Bolas artwork was just so amazing I had to get back into the game. I ended up making new friends and a playgroup with the local Marines here. I taught them how to play Magic at an In-N-Out burger joint and learned about EDH and drawing Liliana proxies for all of them.
I jumped into Standard briefly with the 2012 Event Deck, which was only legal for 3 months upon release… and people wonder why I’m so negative about Standard. I’m still playing off and on these days, but things are really slowing down now. The majority of casual MTG players I don’t mind (God bless everyone that wants to build their first mill deck), but it’s the grinder wannabies that think their opinions are facts or the socially awkward man-children that I feel are so toxic to the community that I just feel embarrassed to be a part of.
So these days, I casually enjoy playing Modern with BW Tokens or Mono Black Infect. If I’m testing or playing a competitive game, it’s usually a Red/White/Blue control variants or Splint Twin. As you can tell, I’ll write articles or just draw MTG related stuff on my down time. Liliana is still my favorite Planeswalker since I’ve always loved gothic horror women or very inspired ones. I still have my Vamperilla cards to this day. Again, I think it’s because of my Catholic upbringing…
Hope that clear things up about my MTG gaming history and some of my favorite cards. If you have any questions or comments, follow me on Twitter @PolishTamales or Tumblr - polishtamales.tumblr.com
Have a magical day!
Modern Playtesting with Frozen!
Major thanks to the @ascendedminionproject (LINK), along with Justin, Steve & Kat for making such a wonderful community! Although, my neighbor did hold onto my letter for close to a month?
So publications like IGN (link) can call out Duels of the Planeswalkers on micro-transactions, but little old me can’t?
I understand companies are sensitive to reviews and certain levels of journalist bias, but controlling reviews and negative press? Now, controlling their actual player base?
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of gothic horror style stories and video games. Vampires especially. Starting way back to Vampire Hunter D, I was always intrigued by their life styles, vampiric powers and their moral stand of co-existing with humans.
Their decision to treat them as livestock, or as equals.
Of course growing up in America, your attention span only last for so long (minutes even) and I quickly got into comics in the early 90s. Again, I secretly had a crush on Vampirella, but couldn’t buy a single comic since my parents thought it was porn…
I guess they were partially right.
It wasn’t until Castlevania: Symphony of the Night brought me back into it in the mid-90s and Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust in the early 2000s. The art and design especially drew me in. When I got back into Magic, the Magic 2012 Event Deck caught my eye. Strictly all Vampires and aggro. Seemed really good at the time, but not the traditional beautiful, but deadly sort of way. Of course when Innistrad happened, I was incredibly deep into it’s lore.
Finally, Gothic horror in Magic the Gathering (with Angels too)!
More recently, whenever I play with casual players and their fresh starter deck from Target, I would normally play Pauper decks with them. If you’re not familiar with Pauper, it was originally a format found on MTGO or Magic Online which is comprised of only common cards. It has it’s own banned/restricted list, but the format is rather fun and challenging, especially if you’re on a budget.
One of the unique challenges was finding a way to play all the awesome Vampire cards in a functional deck that wasn’t so underpowered, but good enough to hold it’s own in the format. I tried a few times and made a past post about it, but it just wasn’t holding up well. That is until I got my ADHD in check.
The Hunt Begins
First rule was to play as many Steve Argyle drawn Vampire cards as possible! Well not really, but it was a pretty cool theme to start with.
So realistically, we would start the deck as a traditional aggro deck. Since we’re playing in a format with all commons, Vampire Lacerator seems like a bargain. Guul Draz Vampire was also really useful in the late-game since she would almost usually go unblocked. So finding Vampires with evasion and a reasonable mana-curve was right up there.
Of all the recent Vampires printed, Shadow Alley Denizen seems really underrated. Again, finding new ways to slip through easy damage for Gruul Draz Vampire’s power up is welcomed. Since we can’t always rely on 2 power creatures only, finding the right balance for heavy hitters presented a few obstacles.
One of those obstacles was there’s so many spells and abilities that can deal 1 damage directly to a creature. Many interesting Vampires at the common rarity only had 1 toughness, such as Markov Patrician. So in the 3-drop slot, we had to go with Blood Bairn and Chosen of Markov. Blood Bairn is a decent threat with equipment, so she does pose a threat mid-game when your Interlopers and Lacerators can’t get in for damage anymore. Chosen of Markov is somewhat clunky as a reliable beater, but she’s the only common Vampire with beefy stats that aren’t mana intensive.
In testing against various other pauper decks, the deck had a major issue against Black Control lists with Gary in them. There’s not a whole lot to do against that since we’re in a tribal theme, so we had to make adjustments to our evasion plan. Quag Vampires for example, can be somewhat of an evasive threat late game with swampwalk. Distress also allows us to deal with threats that we wouldn’t normally be able to respond to, such as a Gray Merchant.
Against other colored decks, the Vampires list should be just fine. Snuff Out is an amazing tempo card, often allowing us to constantly apply pressure on the board, without skipping our threats. The sideboard also helps to maximize our deck’s focus and answers against other match-ups as well. You can often stall out Tron players with Contaminated Ground and Duress. Also note the synergy with Quag Vampires. Against other aggro decks, there’s more removal/lifegain type cards, as well as Viridian Longbow against Faeries or other similar tribal decks.
Overall, this is quite a fun common deck you can play with your friends, or maybe if you’re so bold, a Pauper daily. Don’t take my list as the gospel, so feel free to discover new ways to improve it as you pilot it!
3 Guul Draz Vampire
4 Shadow Alley Denizen
2 Quag Vampires
4 Vampire Lacerator
4 Vampire Interloper
1 Bloodthrone Vampire
2 Blood Bairn
3 Chosen of Markov
2 Echoing Decay
4 Geth’s Verdict
1 Dirge of Dread
2 Snuff Out
SB: 2 Viridian Longbow
SB: 1 Nihil Spellbomb
SB: 2 Duress
SB: 3 Sign in Blood
SB: 4 Contaminated Ground
SB: 2 Tendrils of Corruption
SB: 1 Corrupt
If you have any questions or comments, or would like to see more articles, follow me on Twitter at @polishtamales or on Tumblr - polishtamales.tumblr.com
Have a magical day!
FOR SCIENCE | Teespring Campaign
What’s up guys! If you’ve been following me, I’ve ran into a series of health issues and hardware problems with my computer. The bills are getting out of hand and I can’t be productive or even create art without a computer.
I’ll be auctioning off a lot of my old MTG cards, collectables, video games, and original art tomorrow on eBay. In addition to that, I have started a Teespring campaign.
Please share this with your friends if you’re able to help out.
The Campaign - [LINK]