plowshares

This crater, ‘The Sedan Crater’, remains from the Plowshares program, the purpose of which was to test the peaceful use of nuclear explosions. The operating hypothesis was that a nuclear explosion could easily excavate a large area, facilitating the building of canals and roads, improving mining techniques, or simply moving a large amount of rock and soil. The intensity and distribution of radiation proved too great, and the program was abandoned. The “Sedan” device was thermonuclear—70 percent fusion, 30 percent fission—with a yield of 100 kilotons. The crater is an impressive 635 feet deep and 1,280 feet wide. The weight of the material lifted was 12 million tons.
[Taken from the book Nuclear Landscapes, by Peter Goin]

And the Heavens Wept

Gather around my children and you shall hear of the most terrible, most implacable, most improbable friends ever met by our people. They came from the third planet of a tiny system, surrounded by desolate space. Not one sentient species for hundreds of lightyears, and they managed to propel themselves into space.

We watched from afar as they developed slowly. We watched as they warred among themselves, brutal and savage. We watched as they rendered regions of their planet uninhabitable to themselves, a hardy species able to adapt to even the most hostile of environments. We watched as suddenly and without warning they united under four banners, the rest falling by the wayside. We watched as they expanded into what we had begun to use as a buffer zone, to allow these humans to burn themselves out in.

But they did not burn themselves out. Despite their warring among themselves. Harsh people. Humankind is a race of warriors, do not be fooled by the eloquence of their diplomats. In their own words, “All diplomacy is a continuation of war by other means”. Their greatest artists and philosophers were born from blood and conflict. I had the privilege once to view a painting by one Pablo Picasso, entitled Guernica. It was a savage piece, with not a drop of color. It showed the horrors of war, and the irony of it all was that the painting hung in the office of one of humankind’s generals.

It was sudden, when they burst from the containment zone. When they realized they were not alone. And we, with heavy hearts, prepared to fight them bitterly and to the last. Imagine then, our surprise when humanity embraced us among the stars as long lost brothers. They were overjoyed to discover they were not alone in the darkness. Despite their brutal and warlike culture, despite their glorification of death and violence, their people do not seek out combat. An ancient general of theirs once put it thusly “Although a soldier by profession, I have never felt any sort of fondness for war, and I have never advocated it, except as a means of peace”.

For centuries humanity worked to better itself. They unified under a single Interstellar Empire, the Empire of Man, the Human Empire, however you called it. They enjoyed art and music. They became leisurely at home, exploratory in the field. Their weapons of war were long gone, beaten into plowshares as they say. Humanity was finally at peace. There was no conflict among them, a few border skirmishes for certain, and they kept a small standing military, but nothing more than that. We considered them domesticated.

At first we were surprised at their transformation, then overjoyed. We welcomed them into the fold of the cosmos, embraced them as they would embrace us. We thought we knew humanity then, that we had seen them at their best and their worst. We were wrong, so very wrong. We did not truly understand humanity until the Texar-Hakara came into the void between the stars.

Seemingly more brutal, more bloodthirsty than even the humans, they swept into our region of space like conquerors. They smashed whatever feeble resistance the Yungling managed to put up, took their planets, enslaved the survivors, and pressed on. The Junti were next, utterly destroyed. The four great races left, ourselves, the Itaxa, the Kukrama, and the Illnaa, banded together to try and stop them. In our arrogance, we did not include the humans in our pact. Too few in number, too weak in frame, too backwards in technology we thought.

The Texar-Hakara hit our borders like the great wave that sweeps life from the beach. We hardened our hearts and prepared for the worst. Seeming without pause they crushed our border defenses. They obliterated the first fleets we sent to them. The Itaxa fell to the Texar-Hakara, enslaved, killed, scattered to the corners of the galaxy. Then the humans sent us an offer, a request really. They asked to fight alongside us.

Bemused, we accepted. What else could we do? Deny them the right to fight with us for their very survival? We thought to assign them as rearguards, to ferry our people to safety after our fleets fell. We thought wrong.

Humanity swept into the stars with a fury unmatched by any other. Their fleets were not the heaviest. Their guns not the most accurate. Their soldiers however. Their sailors. Their warriors were unmatched by any others in the cosmos. I remember the first battle in which the humans fought the Texar-Hakara like it was but a single solar cycle ago. Our forces were on the brink of breaking and fleeing. Our ships were gutted ruins. Our fighters exhausted and out of missiles. Then humanity fell upon the flank of the enemy, and the full force of the Human Empire was unleashed in a single moment of utter fury. Landing craft spat across the distance in an instant, slamming into enemy hulls and disgorging humanity’s greatest weapon, their Marines. In close combat humanity is unstoppable, and so they took the vast distances of space combat out of the equation.

Their ships belched fire and plasma. Lasers crossed the vast distances in the blink of an eye. Half the Texar-Hakaran fleet was obliterated in minutes. The other half turned to face this new enemy, only to be wracked by internal explosions as the Marines did their work. Their greatest ships turned on the rest of the fleet, a handful of humans holding the bridge against waves of enemy attackers to turn the tide of battle.

The Interstellar War came to a screeching turnaround. The advance of the Texar-Hakara halted, like it had hit an immovable wall. In many ways that is what humanity is, an immovable, implacable wall. Then, with the ferocity humanity is alone capable of, they routed the Texar-Hakara. Not from that lone battle. They pushed them out of Itaxa space, liberating the slaves. The space of the Junti and the Yungling was swept clear of invaders. Then the Texar-Hakara committed the gravest of sins in humanity’s eyes. They warped a fleet to Earth, jewel of humanity’s empire. They burned that blue and green world. They destroyed it, and the trillion people it housed.

Humanity is a forgiving race my children. Even their most terrible of wars have resulted in lasting friendships between nations. When they left millions dead and broken on the muddly fields of their world, they rebuilt the aggressors. They raised them from the mud, dusted them off, and welcomed them back into the fold. But there is one thing that humanity cannot, will not, tolerate. It is abhorrent to them my children. To strike at their home, to strike where they raise their young ones. Where they leave their mates and non combatants. To strike there is to raise the ire of the human race, truly.

Humanity raged. Their attempts at obtaining the surrender of the Texar-Hakara halted. The war turned from a righteous war of liberation to a furious and hateful war of retribution. We begged the humans to stop, to leave what few planets the Texar-Hakara had alone. Our pleas went unanswered for months, until a single human ambassador came to us. His face was cold and emotionless. He told us, in no uncertain terms, that the Texar-Hakara had doomed themselves and that any trying to aid them would suffer the same fate. Quietly we watched then, as humanity wiped the Texar-Hakara from the stars. The Texar-Hakara pleaded for mercy. They offered their unconditional surrender. They came to us and begged on bent knee for us to reign in the mad dogs we had unwittingly unleashed into the universe. Humanity had for so long repressed their warrior culture. Tried to become better. Then we had given them back into the fires of war, and humanity had awakened it’s warrior past.

The Texar-Hakara ambassadors were taken from our halls by grim human Marines and thrust out airlocks. Finally there was but one planet left, and we came to the humans, we pointed to our own losses, our own dead friends some of whom had lived for longer than humanity had been among the stars, and we begged the humans not to take the last of the Texar-Hakara’s lives.

I watched, children, I watched as the Texar-Hakara’s world burned. As humanity left but one of their planets alive, a simple backwater colony of no more than ten million. Ten million, out of the trillions. Then the leader of the human military turned to me, and with no emotion in his voice, told me that humanity accepted the unconditional surrender of the Texar-Hakara, and walked off the bridge of my ship.

My children, the lesson here is that a warrior past is never truly gone. Only buried, mayhaps even wiped from living memory. But gone? Never. Humanity showed us that.

  • you: farm-owning aristocrat, duly performs ancestral rites, eats cabbage, follows the cursus honorum, respects the laws of the twelve tables, trades the sword for the plowshare
  • me: a member of the unruly plebs, plays dice games in taberna, demands land reforms, covets tyrian purple, revels in the decline of traditional values, spends every denarius on avocados
3

Project Plowshare and Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy,

In the 1950’s scientists first proposed the idea of using nuclear weapons for peaceful purposes, essentially replacing TNT as the main explosive for moving earth, creating tunnels and canals, cutting paths through mountains for highways or railroads, and for other civil engineering projects.  Thus in 1961 Project Plowshare was created to study the use of nuclear weapons for peaceful purposes.  Between 1961 and 1973, 27 atomic bombs were detonated as part of the project.  Three were detonated to test the feasibility of using nuclear explosives to stimulate gas flow in a low permeability natural gas field. The study was a failure when it was determined that the natural gas produced was too radioactive for use. While the project was promising, it was doomed by the radioactive fallout that resulted after a nuclear explosion, thus making the results hazardous to the health of those who benefited from it. One of the most notorious tests was the underground Sedan explosion, conducted in Yucca Flat, Nevada on July 6th, 1962, to test the feasibility of using nuclear explosives for mining and excavating purposes.  The resulting blast ejected 12,000,000 tons of radioactive soil into the atmosphere, which spread as far as West Virginia, Ohio, and North Carolina.

Overall Operation Plowshare cost a total of $700 million.

Since the Americans were doing it, the Soviets had to do it too, except they had to do it bigger and better.  In 1965 the Soviet Union began the “Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy” project, which detonated 156 nuclear devices between 1965 and 1988.  Unlike Project Plowshare, the NENE project was done with practicality in mind.  Few of the Soviet peaceful nuclear explosions were scientific tests, but were used to actually excavate mines, create canals, build dams, and conduct other works of engineering. Like Project Plowshare, radioactive fallout often negated positive results, although the Soviets gave much less of a damn about it than the Americans did.  Many of the explosions caused irreversible environmental damage.  20 years after the Kraton-3 explosion in Siberia in 1973, plutonium levels in the nearby waterways and aquifers were still thousands of times higher than recommended safe levels. The Chagan explosion conducted in 1965 (top picture) spread radioactive material across Asia as far as Japan. 

Legacy Deck Tech: Romero Zombies

[you can see every deck tech here]

Hello & welcome to this weekly deck tech. This week is something a bit more special, considering the recent news. As some of you may know, George A Romero died recently and I wanted to sort of pay my respects through this. 

I love horror movies, it’s by far my favourite genre and it has shaped me as a person through the years. While I was going to film school to become a writer, Romero was one of my heroes; he brought something into the horror world that was amazing and game changing. Even though he stuck with the same kind of content, he was good at what he did and it showed that he was passionate about his work and creations. I still hope to become more like him and all of his work has a special place in my heart. 

I know it doesn’t mean much, but for this week’s legacy deck tech I’ve thought I’d make it in his honour and talk about zombies. I don’t think this deck “exists” in the legacy meta, but I’ve tried to build up something that could fit the format, while being true to the horror icon. Let’s get into it!

Dawn of the Dead

As any good zombie deck, the main strategy is to go wide and swarm your enemy with an army of the dead. Death Baron pumps up all your undead horde (as well as skeletons) and gives them deathtouch so you can block very effectively or dissuate your opponent to block when you attack with your guys. This is sort of your end-game; you want to play a whole bunch of cheap & efficient zombies, and then pump them all up with lord effects to crash in with huge amount of damage.

Day of the Dead

Very similar to the last one, but this lord has another trick up it’s sleeve. While pumping all your zombies and generating a huge threat to your opponent, this card also let’s you bring some zombies back from your graveyard, which can be huge. You can generate a lot of card advantage through repetitive recursion and you’ll most likely end up getting more raw value than your opponent in the long run. Any removal spell that they’ve used is going to be retroactively negated and you’ll be able to consistently play zombies, over & over again.

Tales from the Darkside

You guys might know this card from standard, but it has potential across the formats. Being able to generate some sweet sweet zombie tokens by discarding some cards is great, especially in a deck that can use a lot of recursion. You can also get crazy card advantage with the second ability, drawing tons of cards with your horde of shambling dead.

Night of the Living Dead

This creepy crawler is just so amazing; you can bring it back over & over & over again; it never goes away. The only way your opponent can deal with this is by Swords to Plowshares it, and that doesn’t feel right.

Another Night of the Living Dead

Speaking of zombie that keeps coming back; this one costs a bit more but in the end it has the same result. Over & over you’ll bring this rotting corpse back to harass your opponent and pressure their life total. Being able to always bring back your horde is a big part of what makes the deck good and true to the zombie image.

Survival of the Dead

Yet another recursing zombie! This one is soooooooo good since it can always come back and it can bring back a friend along. If you have a bit of mana up when your opponent ends up dealing with it you can really out-value them by having an endless army of zombies coming into the battlefield, turn after turn.

Diary of the Dead

This card is amazing since it keeps track of what happened in the game before and makes up for it. If you’ve had quite a few zombies die already, or if you discarded some to get some tokens; this card will come into the battlefield HUGE. And if nothing happened so far, you’ll just get a 2/2 for 3cmc, which isn’t too great, but it still has an amazing second ability. You can easily overwhelm your opponent by casting some zombies, again & again, filling the board with tokens at the same time and causing an infestation of undead, slowly closing in on your opponent.

Land of the Dead

Not much to say here; it’s a land that is also a zombie! With a couple of lords out you can freely attack with a big man-land and it’s pretty flavourful! (also this is probably the only card that actually fits the title I’ve put with it…)

the Crazies

This sweet card brought to you by the Phyrexians will drive your opponent nuts! The only thing that can really mess up your plan with this deck is combos. There’s nothing you can do against someone storming off or casting a Griselbrand on turn 1, so you need a way to interact with those madmen. This card let’s you get rid of those pesky cards and you can re-use them later, basically bringing the count up to 8 discard spells. You also play some Duress or Thoughtseize on top of that if you want.

the Dark Half

Acting as a black Swords to Plowshares, this amazing new card gives very VERY good removal to mono-black decks in legacy. This is the go-to removal spell now instead of Smother, Vendetta, Dismember or Collective Brutality. You can hit almost every relevant creature of the format, making this a must to deal with any problematic card.

Side-Road of the Dead

Depending on your match-ups you might want to bring in some very special zombie cards. In any game that tends to go long, Endless Ranks of the Dead becomes a “you win” kind of card, being almost impossible to deal with (trust me, I’ve play the hell out of this in standard and if you can have this on the field for just a couple of turns it’s over). You can also bring in some Stromgald Crusader, Yixlid Jailer, Lifebane Zombie or even a Plaguebearer! There is TONS of zombies you can use in specific match-up, it’s really up to you.

Wrap-Up

So there you have it, my take on a Romero inspired deck for legacy. I hope you guys enjoyed it as much as I did; I really had a good time going through all the zombie cards, trying to figure out which ones would work best and how to make a deck that would be viable, as well as pay homage to the iconic creatures. Next week we’ll get back into more normal deck techs with EDH. Now I’m probably going to binge watch zombie movies for the next few weeks and hope someone can continue the legacy of one of my heroes. 

May he rest in peace…

I think of the good, decent, peace-loving people I have known by the thousands, and I wonder. How many of them are so afflicted with the wasting disease of normalcy that, even as they declare for the peace, their hands reach out with an instinctive spasm … in the direction of their comforts, their home, their security, their income, their future, their plans—that five-year plan of studies, that ten-year plan of professional status, that twenty-year plan of family growth and unity, that fifty-year plan of decent life and honorable natural demise. “Of course, let us have the peace,” we cry, “but at the same time let us have normalcy, let us lose nothing, let our lives stand intact, let us know neither prison nor ill repute nor disruption of ties.” And because we must encompass this and protect that, and because at all costs—at all costs—our hopes must march on schedule, and because it is unheard of that in the name of peace a sword should fall, disjoining that fine and cunning web that our lives have woven, because it is unheard of that good men should suffer injustice or families be sundered or good repute be lost—because of this we cry peace and cry peace, and there is no peace. There is no peace because there are no peacemakers. There are no makers of peace because the making of peace is at least as costly as the making of war—at least as exigent, at least as disruptive, at least as liable to bring disgrace and prison and death in its wake.
—  Fr. Dan Berrigan
New York, New York

Just spat this out, so there’s no proof reading or anything. Hope you guys like it!

***

This one is about rediscovering what you love in someone.

***

“Time t'leave, babe.” Harry told you as he grabbed his wallet, the key to your hotel room and his shades, hand running through his long hair before popping a beanie over it as you watched his languid movements.

He was clad in Packers gear, the green hoodie paired with a bright green beanie, hair curling around his ears, a coat on top and his long toned legs clad in his usual black skinny jeans, his tan boots giving him even more leverage over you. You draped your scarf around your neck while you stared at him, eyes roaming the length of his body and fixing on the way his green eyes stood out to you because of all the green on his outfit. 

Harry was in a mood, that you were sure of. Not really up for talking, lips in a tight line, frown on his forehead and eyes dark like a storm and you understood that just from looking at his demeanor. You weren’t in a mood to talk yourself. In fact, if it were up to you, you two would be cuddled back in bed, clothes nowhere near your body as you two got reacquainted with each other’s body’s again. You didn’t get to do that, unfortunately.

With work stuff and your individual lives as busy as ever, you two hadn’t had the time to just be together for a while. You got in for work at 8am and got back home at 7, when Harry was just about leaving for an event or something of the sort. Along with that, the studio sessions and meetings took over his day and when he got back home, usually at some ungodly hour, when it was almost close to the time you needed to be up to start your day, you were sound asleep, head buried deep into his pillow and a hand clutching into the shirt of his you decided to wear to bed as a way of keeping him close, even when he wasn’t within reach.

Harry was disgruntled and haunted by the vision, no matter where he was. At the studio, singing his heart out until his voice was hoarse and tired, his skin prickling and heart heavy on his chest from how much he missed you. During an event, when all he wanted was to have you in his arms, to make the boring speeches and excessive amount of rubbing elbows with important people a little more bearable. Every hour, of every day, he was missing you, no matter where he was and what he was doing. 

Keep reading

Mindcrank’s Commander Arsenal: White

Alternatively: how to fill the other 98 cards of an edh deck past mindcrank and your commander.

This is an 8 part Series I wanted to do counting down my top 10 cards for the 99 for each color as well as an additional three lists for my top 10 multicolor, colorless and lands for EDH. This series is gonna lean towards personal preference over card power so if you wanna chime in and say “Hey where’s X?” Or “#7 is so much better than #2, what gives?” your probably right but thats not what I’m doing here without further ado I’ll get right to it.

#10

Just add Scroll Rack

#10 - Land Tax: Commander is a multiplayer format and at least one of your opponents is likely gonna have more lands, even if they aren’t playing ramp. Unlike more modern versions of this effect this doesn’t grab just plains and even if you only get one or two triggers off seek the horizons costs 4 mana. Combining it with Scroll Rack makes this one of the most potent card draw engines available.

#9

Blazing Card advantage that never stops

#9 - Sun Titan: This is a card that I originally misunderstood because I encountered it so early in my MTG life, then one day I reread it and realized that lands are indeed permanents CMC 3 or less. Grabbing stuff like fetches or strip mine is probably the most common thing but the list of good EDH cards cmc 3 or less is too long to list here. White is the worst color for card advantage but this alone is powerful enough swing games.

#8

Magic’s art doesn’t get more literal than this

#8 - Wrath of God: I love a good board wipe and Wrath of God is a classic. 4 mana to clear out an annoying board state is a price I’d pay all day long and even though regenerate is kinda irrelevant it’s good to have just in case.

#7

Angel of Timeout

#7 - Angel of Serenity: You know whats a really good effect? Fiend hunter. You know whats better than exiling one creature from the battlefield? Hitting three from the battlefield or graveyard. Not only is this some ludicrous card advantage on a large flying body it’s capable of doing the same trick where you blink/bounce it with the trigger on the stack stack exiling the creatures forever. It also forces your opponent to recast the card instead of just getting it back on field or graveyard.

#6

Probably more protective than your actual mom

#6 - Mother of Runes: Commander is generally a pretty interactive format, with most decks running at least some spot removal. Protectiion also lets you slip past some blockers or chump without taking any damage. Obviously she’s best with something to protect but even alone she can block anything on foot all day.

#4/5

Taking a Vacation on a dude ranch

#4/5 - Path to Exile/Swords to Plowshares: Swords is probably better for EDH, in a 40 life format who cares about an extra 2-6 life? However both are almost musts for any deck that can play them. Being able to instantly answer a problem, likely for the rest of the game, is too good to pass up.


#3

Not Actually a Democracy

#3 - Council’s Judgement: Commander is usually a multiplayer format that’s traditionally 4 players but sometimes you can only grab one or two other people and that’s when this card is most effective. Sure it isn’t an instant answer like Swords or Path but it hits anything and it can hit more than one thing. It solves any nonland for 3 mana regardless of abilities or protections and can occasionally offer up a 2 or 3 for one. In a 4 player game it is a little less reliable but the odds are if you want something gone in a 4 player game, someone else does too. Even if you don’t hit what you want you’ll remove several issues from the board.

#2

Better be packing World Breaker

#2 - Humility: It might be a pretty high ranking for  a card that only stops creatures but creatures are pretty popular and it stops pretty much every single creature deck ever and it stops them dead. Static effects? ETBs? All gone. Most of the decks it stops run very few answers to it giving you plenty of time to set up a harder lock or better board state

#1

It’s the end of the world and likely the game

#1 - Cataclysm: Man oh man, this is the mother of all Boardwipes. It hits every permanent type. It gets around every protection. It’s too easy to tilt in your favor and it’s the same mana cost as Armageddon and Wrath of God. I could literally go on for like half an hour coming up with ways to game this towards your advantage, from just having mana, having lands in hand or just something really oppressive on board like a Sheoldred this card played right is one tough card to beat. Most decks can play this without changing anything but building for it pretty much guarantees a win after resolution.

Thanks for reading, see you next week for my Top 10 Blue cards!

And the Heavens Wept

Gather round my children, and let me tell you of the humans. They came from the third planet of a tiny system, surrounded by desolate space. Not one sentient species for hundreds of lightyears, and they managed to propel themselves into space.

We watched from afar as they developed slowly. We watched as they warred among themselves, brutal and savage. We watched as they rendered regions of their planet uninhabitable to themselves, a hardy species able to adapt to even the most hostile of environments. We watched as suddenly and without warning they united under four banners, the rest falling by the wayside. We watched as they expanded into what we had begun to use as a buffer zone, to allow these humans to burn themselves out in.

But they did not burn themselves out. Despite their warring among themselves. Harsh people. Humankind is a race of warriors, do not be fooled by the eloquence of their diplomats. In their own words, “All diplomacy is a continuation of war by other means”. Their greatest artists and philosophers were born from blood and conflict. I had the privilege once to view a painting by one Pablo Picasso, entitled Guernica. It was a savage piece, with not a drop of color. It showed the horrors of war, and the irony of it all was that the painting hung in the office of one of humankind’s generals.

It was sudden, when they burst from the containment zone. When they realized they were not alone. And we, with heavy hearts, prepared to fight them bitterly and to the last. Imagine then, our surprise when humanity embraced us among the stars as long lost brothers. They were overjoyed to discover they were not alone in the darkness. Despite their brutal and warlike culture, despite their glorification of death and violence, their people do not seek out combat. An ancient general of theirs once put it thusly “Although a soldier by profession, I have never felt any sort of fondness for war, and I have never advocated it, except as a means of peace”.

For centuries humanity worked to better itself. They unified under a single Interstellar Empire, the Empire of Man, the Human Empire, however you called it. They enjoyed art and music. They became leisurely at home, exploratory in the field. Their weapons of war were long gone, beaten into plowshares as they say. Humanity was finally at peace. There was no conflict among them, a few border skirmishes for certain, and they kept a small standing military, but nothing more than that. We considered them domesticated.

At first we were surprised at their transformation, then overjoyed. We welcomed them into the fold of the cosmos, embraced them as they would embrace us. We thought we knew humanity then, that we had seen them at their best and their worst. We were wrong, so very wrong. We did not truly understand humanity until the Texar-Hakara came into the void between the stars.

Seemingly more brutal, more bloodthirsty than even the humans, they swept into our region of space like conquerors. They smashed whatever feeble resistance the Yungling managed to put up, took their planets, enslaved the survivors, and pressed on. The Junti were next, utterly destroyed. The four great races left, ourselves, the Itaxa, the Kukrama, and the Illnaa, banded together to try and stop them. In our arrogance, we did not include the humans in our pact. Too few in number, too weak in frame, too backwards in technology we thought.

The Texar-Hakara hit our borders like the great wave that sweeps life from the beach. We hardened our hearts and prepared for the worst. Seeming without pause they crushed our border defenses. They obliterated the first fleets we sent to them. The Itaxa fell to the Texar-Hakara, enslaved, killed, scattered to the corners of the galaxy. Then the humans sent us an offer, a request really. They asked to fight alongside us.

Bemused, we accepted. What else could we do? Deny them the right to fight with us for their very survival? We thought to assign them as rearguards, to ferry our people to safety after our fleets fell. We thought wrong.

Humanity swept into the stars with a fury unmatched by any other. Their fleets were not the heaviest. Their guns not the most accurate. Their soldiers however. Their sailors. Their warriors were unmatched by any others in the cosmos. I remember the first battle in which the humans fought the Texar-Hakara like it was but a single solar cycle ago. Our forces were on the brink of breaking and fleeing. Our ships were gutted ruins. Our fighters exhausted and out of missiles. Then humanity fell upon the flank of the enemy, and the full force of the Human Empire was unleashed in a single moment of utter fury. Landing craft spat across the distance in an instant, slamming into enemy hulls and disgorging humanity’s greatest weapon, their Marines. In close combat humanity is unstoppable, and so they took the vast distances of space combat out of the equation.

Their ships belched fire and plasma. Lasers crossed the vast distances in the blink of an eye. Half the Texar-Hakaran fleet was obliterated in minutes. The other half turned to face this new enemy, only to be wracked by internal explosions as the Marines did their work. Their greatest ships turned on the rest of the fleet, a handful of humans holding the bridge against waves of enemy attackers to turn the tide of battle.

The Interstellar War came to a screeching turnaround. The advance of the Texar-Hakara halted, like it had hit an immovable wall. In many ways that is what humanity is, an immovable, implacable wall. Then, with the ferocity humanity is alone capable of, they routed the Texar-Hakara. Not from that lone battle. They pushed them out of Itaxa space, liberating the slaves. The space of the Junti and the Yungling was swept clear of invaders. Then the Texar-Hakara committed the gravest of sins in humanity’s eyes. They warped a fleet to Earth, jewel of humanity’s empire. They burned that blue and green world. They destroyed it, and the ten billion people it housed.

Humanity is a forgiving race my children. Even their most terrible of wars have resulted in lasting friendships between nations. When they left millions dead and broken on the muddly fields of their world, they rebuilt the aggressors. They raised them from the mud, dusted them off, and welcomed them back into the fold. But there is one thing that humanity cannot, will not, tolerate. It is abhorrent to them my children. To strike at their home, to strike where they raise their young ones. Where they leave their mates and non combatants. To strike there is to raise the ire of the human race, truly.

Humanity raged. Their attempts at obtaining the surrender of the Texar-Hakara halted. The war turned from a righteous war of liberation to a furious and hateful war of retribution. We begged the humans to stop, to leave what few planets the Texar-Hakara had alone. Our pleas went unanswered for months, until a single human ambassador came to us. His face was cold and emotionless. He told us, in no uncertain terms, that the Texar-Hakara had doomed themselves and that any trying to aid them would suffer the same fate. Quietly we watched then, as humanity wiped the Texar-Hakara from the stars. The Texar-Hakara pleaded for mercy. They offered their unconditional surrender. They came to us and begged on bent knee for us to reign in the mad dogs we had unwittingly unleashed into the universe. Humanity had for so long repressed their warrior culture. Tried to become better. Then we had given them back into the fires of war, and humanity had awakened it’s warrior past.

The Texar-Hakara ambassador and his delegation was taken from our halls by grim human Marines and thrust out airlocks. Finally there was but one planet left, and we came to the humans, we pointed to our own losses, our own dead friends some of whom had lived for longer than humanity had been among the stars, and we begged the humans not to take the last of the Texar-Hakara’s lives.

I watched, children, I watched as the Texar-Hakara’s Empire burned. As humanity left but one of their planets alive, a simple backwater colony of no more than ten million. Ten million, out of the trillions. Then the leader of the human military turned to me, and with no emotion in his voice, told me that humanity accepted the unconditional surrender of the Texar-Hakara, and walked off the bridge of my ship.

My children, the lesson here is that a warrior past is never truly gone. Only buried, mayhaps even wiped from living memory. But gone? Never. Humanity showed us that.

Cryptic Commander #1: Insidious

Counterspells. That’s right, we’re getting this party started right with counterspells. Welcome to Cryptic Commander, where I (Robert) open up a discussion about cards and concepts in Commander. Today’s topic is, in fact, counterspells. Well…one specific counterspell and the many interesting things it can do.

There it is. Insidious Will. It feels a bit weird to not start this series off with the card that gave it its name sake, Cryptic Command, but Insidious Will Is a pretty close analog for the purposes of this discussion. Also, Insidious Will isn’t a $20+ card. So, what exactly am I talking about? Flexibility. Insidious Will is a grade A example of card flexibility, and that is the concept that I want to talk about today. We’ll go in depth on counterspells many times in the future of this series due to their divisive nature in Commander, but today we’re going to talk about card flexibility.

So what makes Insidious Will so special compared to other counterspells? Two words: Choose one.

Those two words change Insidious Will from a bad Dismiss to a swiss army knife I want in every blue deck I make. One of the things I value very highly in Commander is flexibility. There are a lot of Magic cards, and there are only 60+ slots in your commander deck. The more effects you can cram into a single card, the better. Playing flexible spells is a good way to fit effects into your deck you wouldn’t normally want to spend a slot on, or to fit more of those effects in without sacrificing other effects. Insidious Will’s modal nature means it is essentially three cards in one: Counterspell, Redirect, and Twincast.

Unlike Cryptic Command, you don’t get to pick more than one mode, but the flexibility this offers you when it sits in your hand just feels so powerful. You can hold it up as a counterspell to make sure your plans go off without a hitch. You can use it to save your creature from a removal spell, taking out a creature or permanent that is more troublesome to you. You can even jump in on the Cruel Ultimatum beat downs, copying the spell and shooting it at the orignal caster to come out on top and take revenge for a targeted ally. The sheer number of situations in which this spell will be useful is staggering and I feel so good whenever I can pass the turn with four mana up and Insidious Will in my hand.

Flexibility is powerful in Commander, a format in which being prepared for anything pays massive dividends. It’s the difference between playing Swords to Plowshares and Utter End. Sure, you pay more for Utter End, but the ability to target Planeswalkers, Enchantments, and Artifacts in addition to any creature makes the card useful in so many more situations. Having your spells be able to do multiple things means they’re almost never dead in your hand, as well. So Insidious Will sits high on my list of cards to include once the core of a deck has been established. Three effects in one card is one hell of a thing.

So, how do you feel about Insidious Will? Auto-included in every Blue deck or forever relegated to the maybe-board? Do you try to include flexible cards in your Commander decks? Keep the discussion going, and I’ll see you next time for another Cryptic Commander!

Thanks for reading!

Robert Burrows

Managing Editor for Gathering Magic

tinyhideoutbouquet-universe  asked:

Are you sure the color pie is the same in all formats? For Eternal players (Legacy Commander and the like) most strategies and gameplay revolve around staples that are breaks according to the modern day color pie (Harmonize, Pyroblast, Sylvan Library, Swords to Plowshares, etc.) so their conception of the color pie (as in what color offers to them) is very different from that of R&D. Aren't you afraid of becomong out of touch with a growing portion of your playerbase about how Magic plays out?

The color pie shifts over time so obviously the size and time period of the cards in the format dictates what the color pie looks like within it.

What I said was that at any one point in time there’s only one color pie and all new cards are made using that color pie. We can’t look at every new card through the lens of every version of the color pie.

Legacy Deck Tech: Food Chain

[you can see every deck tech here]

Hello & welcome to this weekly deck tech! This week we’re exploring part of the Legacy format with a very spicy deck that is fairly well known: Food Chain. The deck relies on a very powerful & popular EDH card that lends it’s name to the deck; it’s super sweet combo deck that is filled with value & protection. The deck does fairly well in the Legacy meta ever since it’s creation a few years ago and can be somewhat cheap, if you don’t count the dual lands. Let’s jump right into it and see what the deck is all about!

Name of the Deck

Food Chain is a very very powerful card that can easily be abused. You get to exile a creature and generate mana equal to the creature’s CMC, plus one. In EDH people abuse this card alongside Prossh to usually win on the spot for example, since it return to your command zone. In this deck the goal is to go infinite and use all that mana for really spicy things. The only downside is that the mana generated can only be used to cast creatures, so no burning your opponent’s face, sadly.

Going Infinite

This is the combo. That’s it. Deck tech’s over. With this card, you can exile it with Food Chain, gain 5 mana, cast it again from exile, exile it again, etc. You get 1 mana each time out of the deal, essentially gaining you infinite mana. It’s a really simple combo to be honest and it gets around Swords to Plowshare, which is the most popular removal spell of the format.

Going Infinite, Again

With this new addition from Eldritch Moon you can bring up your combo piece to 5 or 6 instead of 4. I don’t really see people play the full 8 since you really just need to resolve 1 of them to win. Usually people play 3 Griffin & 2 Scourge, that way, if someone plays Nevermore or something similar, you have a back-up creature. I’m not sure why Scourge isn’t played in more numbers, since it’s CMC is lower, but I think it’s mostly because Food Chain costs 3 so you’d rather be on curve with a 4cmc Griffin the next turn or something like that.

Mana Hungry Mama

This is your main pay-off card. You just slam down Emrakul, take your extra turn and crash it with that big Annihilator trigger. There is usually nothing your opponent can do about this. Plus, playing this in your main deck provides some great match-ups against Show & Tell since you’ll often just be able to cheat yours into play as well and you’ll get to attack first, meaning they’ll screw themselves over.

These Ballistas are Made for Walking

With a brand new addition from Aether Revolt, this card just does exactly what you want it to do. It adds a well needed win condition to the deck since you can just cast an essentially infinite/infinite Ballista and shoot down your opponent with it. With this card you have 2 angles you can win from and that’s usually plenty. Just get a bunch of mana and win, the deck is fairly simple right?

Early Mana

From the previous cards, you could imagine the deck being a Mono-Blue combo deck with some back-up counter that just splashes Green for the Food Chains, and while that could technically work, it’s not the best way to go. There has been quite a few iterations of the deck but what seems to be the best build is Sultai. You get access to Deathrite Shaman who generates good early mana, as well as get rid of pesky cards from graveyards. Oh, and if one of your creature gets killed you can exile it from YOUR graveyard to cast it again. What a good synergy!

Filtering

You can to scour through your deck to find your pieces. First thing you need to assemble your combo, so you need to find a Food Chain & one of your creatures; then you need to find one of your payoff cards. What is essential is to dig through your deck as efficiently as possible to find those cards. Brainstorm provides that early digging to find everything you need, plus with fetches you can just shuffle away anything you don’t want. You can also run some Ponder if you really feel like it.

Manipulating

A card that probably only sees play in this deck, in which it’s amazing. For only 2 cmc you get to grab 3 of your much needed creatures from your deck & exile them. This means you’ll have 3 chances at trying to combo off. Plus you draw a card, so that’s cool.

Digging & Digging

Even more draw & value, this mean little bird provides some great blocking potential as well as replacing itself, drawing even deeper into your deck to find what you need. There is not much else to say about this card, it’s just really good.

Digging Even Deeper

Now this is starting to look like a Shardless Sultai deck list, which to be honest so of does. Shardless Agent is just soooooooooooo good, you get to really dig and find what you need, getting you some extra value out of it and keep drawing cards. The deck is essentially trying to get a whole lot of value out of cheap cards until it can combo, and it does that so well.

Please, Use Protection

You’re running a combo AND you’re playing blue…you need Force of Will. Come on, you have to be able to protect your stuff. If you really want to you can also run a couple Misdirection to avoid Abrupt Decay & such, but that’s entirely up to you. But there is no way around it, you need to protect your cards.

Does it Look Infected?

Since you’re playing Sultai, you sort of need to play Abrupt Decay to deal with whatever is on the other side of the table. It was really good against Miracles since it passed through the Top+Counterbalance lock, but since Top is now banned I’m not sure that Miracles will still be around that much…In any case, Abrupt Decay is still amazingly powerful in the format and is a MUST if you’re playing those colours.

Wrap-Up

That’s it for this week! The deck is fairly simple, being a value-packed Sultai deck with a sweet combo. The deck can be fairly cheap if you’re not too picky on the mana base, like without the dual lands it should be around 500$ which is very cheap for a tier Legacy deck. It’s not a SUPER popular deck, so don’t expect to face it that often, but it is putting out great results and is often seeing top 8 finishes. Anyways, I hope you guys enjoyed this deck tech as much as I did, if I missed anything let me know! I’ll see you guys next week for an EDH deck tech!

Samut's Anti-Bolas Army

Commander: Samut, Voice Of Dissent

Creatures:
Doomed Traveler
Mogg War Marshal
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Hanweir Militia Captain
Zhur-Taa Druid
Jade Mage
Mentor Of The Meek
Knotvine Mystic
Hanweir Garrison
Sidar Kondo Of Jamuraa
Oracle Of Mul Daya
Nylea, God Of The Hunt
Heliod, God Of The Sun
Adriana, Captain Of The Guard
Splitting Slime
Hellkite Charger
Requiem Angel
Boldwyr Intimidator
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Avenger Of Zendikar
Omnath, Locus Of Rage
Archetype Of Endurance
Avacyn, Angel Of Hope

Planeswalker
Garruk Wildspeaker

Artifacts
Sol Ring
Thought Vessel
Trailblazer’s Boots
Sword Of War And Peace
Sword Of Feast And Famine
Sword Of Body And Mind

Enchantments
Evolutionary Leap
Cryptolith Rite
Intangible Virtue
Saproling Cluster
Lifeforce
Stony Silence
Trace Of Abundance
Spidersilk Armor
Aura Shards
Bear Umbra
Growing Ranks
Mirari’s Wake
Zendikar’s Roil
Mana Reflection
Zendikar Resurgent

Sorceries
Tempt With Vengeance
Raise The Alarm
Rampant Growth
Gaea’s Blessing
Martial Coup
Kodama’s Reach
Growth Spasm
Council’s Judgement
Tempt With Discovery
Titanic Ultimatum

Instants
Enlightened Tutor
Secure The Wastes
Path To Exile
Swords To Plowshares
Signal The Clans
Deflecting Palm
Natural Connection
Krosan Grip

Lands
Hanweir Battlements
Rogue’s Passage
Homeward Path
Evolving Wilds
Terramorphic Expanse
Blighted Woodland
Grove Of The Guardian
Reliquary Tower
Command Tower
Rupture Spire
Transguild Promenade
Inspiring Vantage
Canopy Vista
Graypelt Refuge
Blossoming Sands
Rugged Highlands
Mosswort Bridge
Vivid Grove
Vivid Crag
Vivid Meadow
Forest x6
Mountain x5
Plains x5

@actualborossoldier that’s the list

anonymous asked:

Not the anon who brought up the topic and definitely no expert but where are the israeli jews supposed to go? They are being threatened by the countries around them

Israeli jews are not being asked to go anywhere, the existence of the state of Israel is not being denied by the Palestinian Authority and has been accepted since the PLO acknowledged Israel’s right to exist in 1988. 

You also need to understand why Israel is being ‘threatened’ by countries around them - Israel has been guilty of unprovoked aggression and outright unfounded wars with neighbouring countries for decades. Just today it’s come out that Israel has attacked Syria. The wars with lebanon cannot be viewed outside of the fact that Israel invaded and occupied Lebanon for 18 years, and the original 1982 invasion was entirely unprovoked and condemned internationally. 

You can also not ignore the fact that Israel has pulled out of, and at times outright refused to engage with, negotiations with democratically elected palestinian representatives. In relation to Camp David - for example - the president of Israel at the time has said since “I went to Camp David presuming we would not be reaching an agreement,” - there was no intention to produce peace. Please read from Plowshares into Swords as it gives a very good overview of the failed peace processes and the causes of them - both parties can be allocated guilt. 

Also, the main barriers preventing the peace process is not that Palestinians are demanding the destruction of Israel or asking for the jews of Israel to go anywhere - what they have asked for is a withdrawal from the illegally occupied territories (a withdrawal to the 1967 borders for example), a right for self-determination (in other words a government and control over their own resources) and the right of return for Palestinian refugees (not the removal of the Israeli jewish population - again see United Nations Security Council Resolution 242).  

I just want to briefly touch on the fact that, firstly, Palestine was ethnically cleansed and Palestinians were forced from their homes when the state of Israel was established - are you not concerned about the threats against them? For example a significant amount of those refugees fled to neighbouring countries, one of them being Lebanon. And when the IDF invaded Lebanon those refugees were slaughtered by Israeli backed Phalangist militias (ignoring the massive shelling of refugees by Israel directly, which killed far more innocent people). Where were those Palestinians supposed to go? They fled after their homes and land was taken from them - and yet that didn’t even keep them safe? Are you concerned for their wellbeing and their right to live in peace? 

Israel has repeatedly violates international law and UN Resolutions during the conflict, and any threat against Israel needs to be put in the context of the threat Israel poses to other nations in the area, because there’s a massive amount of historical information that is often (probably purposefully) ignored when the conflict is covered by mainstream (particularly US) media.  

quotes that remind me of the signs

Aries: “In a victory speech, I’d like to thank the opposition, because without their help I couldn’t have won.” - Jarod Kintz

Taurus: “You can’t win unless you try to win, but you can lose by trying not to lose.” - Jack Campbell

Gemini: “It’s probably my job to tell you life isn’t fair, but I figure you already know that. So instead, I’ll tell you that hope is precious, and you’re right not to give up.” - C.J. Redwine

Cancer: “But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?” - Mark Twain

Leo: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by me” - Alice Roosevelt 

Virgo: “What doesn’t kill us sharpens us. Hardens us. Schools us. You’re beating plowshares into swords, Vosch. You are remaking us. We are the clay, and you are Michelangelo. And we will be your masterpiece.”- Rick Yancy

Libra: “Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt” - Kurt Vonnegut

Scorpio: “I want to scream sometimes, because I hate when people refer to a dead person as the “late” so and so. I’m sorry to break that bad news, but that person isn’t just late—they’re not even coming!” - Jarod Kintz

Sagittarius: “What hope is there?“ I asked. "If even angels fall, what hope is there for the rest of us?” - Richelle Mead

Capricorn: “Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both.” - Patrick Ness

Aquarius: “Anybody who says they are a good liar obviously is not, because any legitimately savvy liar would always insist they’re honest about everything.” - Chuck Klosterman

Pisces: “Tears shed are not a sign of weakness. They are a sign of a pure heart.”  - Jose N. Harris

This crater, ‘The Sedan Crater’, remains from the Plowshares program, the purpose of which was to test the peaceful use of nuclear explosions. The operating hypothesis was that a nuclear explosion could easily excavate a large area, facilitating the building of canals and roads, improving mining techniques, or simply moving a large amount of rock and soil. The intensity and distribution of radiation proved too great, and the program was abandoned. The “Sedan” device was thermonuclear—70 percent fusion, 30 percent fission—with a yield of 100 kilotons. The crater is an impressive 635 feet deep and 1,280 feet wide. The weight of the material lifted was 12 million tons.
[Taken from the book Nuclear Landscapes, by Peter Goin]