Hopes for C-2017

C2017 Banner

Commander 2017 is due to be released in a little less than a month. August 24th, 2017 is the date to begin to seek out decks. The 4 decks being released this year offer a set of distinctly tribal decks. One can play as a mighty terror of Dragons, a cabal of Wizards, a pride of Cats, or a coven of Vampires. Each deck promises a unique and ideal starting point to launch into these tribes and if it is anything like the previous Commander products, they will be a force to be reckoned with.

In this, I think it is best to focus on what I think should be printed and how the products should be released. I could touch on a heavy amount of the spoiled information that was leaked earlier this year, but would prefer to talk about I think should be done. I may be bias in some of my beliefs and will be discussing the financial impact of them printing certain cards.

more commanders

Now this year, is a strange year. This is the first time they are only releasing 4 decks. Typically the aim is for 5 decks, but I guess they wanted to have people be able to play them against one another in Commander’s best style. A 4 player free for all. That is what we are getting this year for sure.

I love the idea of playing 4 player sealed environment. It is always quite a bit of fun to see which decks are easy to take to, and which require effort to learn. It is fun to get to see how balanced they are in relation to one another, and which ones show the most promise. You learn fast which decks need what to improve or which decks completely collapse without upgrades. I played during the C-2016 product launch and absolutely crushed it with Yidris, winning 2 out of 5 games. The idea of repeating that sounds like a blast.

Once the novelty of playing the sealed decks wears off, players will want to explore playing the individual commanders. The Showcase Commander and the 2 side Commanders available. Personally, I feel that the decks should offer the standard Showcase Commander, 2 back up Commanders, as well as an additional 2 side commanders that fit inside the standard color identity but prioritize certain colors. So if they were to print a 5 color deck, players would get a 5 color Legendary Creature as the showcase of the deck, 2 5 color legendaries that could be used as back up commanders, and 2 that would be dual color or tri color in origin.

Ultimately, additional support Legendary should be offered inside the decks. They don’t need to be massively heavy on them, an all legendary deck would be incredibly idiotic to attempt for a pre-con deck. However, 10 to 15 solid legendary cards would be welcomed. It would give players options to play and potential sub-commanders for other decks if needed. Or it would give players a chance to stock up on some good cards for decks in general.

deck focus

As far as I am concerned, the pre-cons in the past had fairly good focus. The 2016 decks all had rough outlines for goals and presented a solid set of options for building a multitude of separate decks. If anything, the decks required work to make them efficient. Yrdris for instance was originally a Cascade wheel deck. In order to keep him from being insane, they left out second combat steps, additional turns, pain for wheeling cards, and double strike. Any one of those items would have made it into a brutally efficient deck. They probably had to balance them versus one another, so they couldn’t go entirely ham on one idea.

That said, on a pre-con level, most decks aim to kill via combat damage. It is an easy way to win and isnt ultra complicated. Hitting an opponent until they are dead is a really good tactic I actually agree with that on a few of the pre-cons, but I want to see them attempt to aim for killing via combos or alt win conditions if possible. Most commander decks I have played against, win via alternative win conditions or kill the table through combos.

With that in mind, this is how I think they could approach it. The wizards deck could have a potential storm finisher (casting a ton of spells in a turn,) or with Eminence being a mechanic it would be cool to see the deck prioritize casting massive spells. Perhaps the deck has the ability to tap wizards to add mana to casting instants and sorceries like that of convoke but doubles it for X spells.

The Vampires deck could feature heavy life loss/life gain synergy using sacrifice as the means to keep going. It would be quite powerful and upgrades would be clear. If the Eminence focuses on casting vampires or when vampires enter the battlefield, having each opponent lose 1 life and you gain 1 (or all life lost that way,) it would be on flavor and quite powerful. Tack on a sacrifice mechanic where you gain half (or all) of the toughness of sacrificed creature would be quite awesome.

The Cat deck needs to focus around combat and populating the board with as many cats as possible. That player should be buried up to their neck in cats. It should be a go wide cat deck with a few lords granting needed abilities and buffs to the cats. The finishers on it would make sense to be via straight combat damage using a overrun effect to finish the table, perhaps a tribal one in green where till end of turn all creatures get +1/+1 for each other creature it shares a type with. A global haste enabler in green would also be ideal.

Finally the Dragon list. It just needs to pump out big dragons that wreck face when enough are cast. Frankly, I like the idea of an enchantment that “when a player controls 10 or more dragons, that player wins the game.” If anything the deck could come with a few extra combat step spells and creatures. For instances there is at least 1 dragon that can trigger it, but they could put in more support for it. The Dragon deck will kill over time through value, but should be able to opt for the option to swing out and kill via those extra steps.

C2017reprints

Now, I have a particular set of beliefs for reprints. I feel strongly that the Commander products should look to reprint at least 1 powerful older card per product that has a strong value on the secondary market. This won’t collapse that price, but it could affect it by a couple of bucks in either direction. If anything, the reprints that were done for Modern Masters 2017 proved that reprinting needed cards can actually make the cards more expensive. However, there are some major flavor win cards that need to be reprinted and I will note particular legendary or powerful cards that are needed for these tribal decks.

Now, I am going to start at the top and most versatile cards and work down from there for what should be reprinted.

So let’s talk the hard end of the financial end of if any of the $10 and up cards get reprinted. The less expensive cards will maybe affect the total price on those cards by $.50 to $1 overall, where as on the more expensive cards it could tank the price. Yet the reprint market is different and could even see the card becoming a staple and being driven up in price.

Simply put, it will have an effect on the market. Land tax for instance is one I feel should be reprinted. It is a powerful card and I know a player with an incredible 5 color Scion, the Ur-Dragon deck that runs a set of the tri lands, one reliquery tower, and all basic lands. Land tax is the saving grace of that deck. Land tax can be up to $30 depending on where you shop and can be in fairly rough condition. It is a brick of text to explain, but it is a simple card. Go fetch any 3 basic lands on your upkeep of an opponent controls more lands than you.

35

However, the important thing to note is what that card allows. It is a an expensive card to pick up, but it means players can pay next to nothing for a mana base. A 5 color deck normally wants a set of fetchlands ($200 easy,) a set of shocks (complete set about $200,) maybe original duals (probably $2,000.) I mean a 5 color deck is massively expensive just to get a good mana base, or Land tax can offer a simple solution.

Chromatic lantern also needs a reprint. It was reprinted in only one of the 2016 decks and frankly needs to be in at least one of the decks this year. I actually would choose it to be reprinted over Sol Ring. The ability to tap any land for any color of mana is powerful and goes into any deck 3 color and above.

Now more controversial picks like Nirkana Revenant… That is a different story. That card or cards like it in terms of  price would be effected by a reprint. In truth, the card does needs to be reprinted. It should go into the vampire list as a flavor win and as an enabler in the deck. But it is a card that will be worth $20 when the deck is released. It would be an excellent card to see reprinting but may be deemed too powerful.

Additional Commander staples like path to exile; urborg, tomb of yawgmoth; gravepact; and demonic tutor require reprints but maybe deemed too powerful or too expensive. These are needed cards that rarely see prints in any product. Additional cards like call of the dryads, swan song, and fork need to be reprinted. They are powerful but at the same time missing from decks. The cards also possess a high value mainly due to issues of rarity versus a high demand.

The trick would have to be a selection of how to print these cards. Doing just 1 of the $15 and up cards and a couple of near $10 cards would work per deck. The idea of the deck being opened and stripped down for the selling the parts would be really bad. The big box stores wouldn’t care and sell at the MSRP, but actual game shops would struggle. Local trading card game shops or Local comic book shops would be flooded with these expensive cards being sold to them and then would be tough to off load back to customers until the print runs on the decks dried up. Once the supply is gone, then the cards would increase in value. If C-2017 is treated like that of C-2016, then the print run will begin to dry up as far as supply goes in 6 weeks with it being almost entirely sold out within 4 months. That was the point where I notably could not find the decks at all. The expensive cards in those decks have begun to increase in price with many of the needed cards beginning to return or exceed their pre-reprint price. If C-2017 does the same, then players will get to look forward to any of these expensive staples potentially being worth just as much as they had been and will be withheld by players. It would make excellent trade fodder and many players need these cards for decks. That demand should be much greater than the supply.

Now going into tribal staples, there are a host of cards that would spike if reprints aren’t done. Shared Animousity and Mana Echoes would be perfect to reprint. Both are $10 to $15 cards that will see play and can be enablers or finishers. Xenograft would be good to reprint as well. Conspiracy for any of the black decks would be good as well.

Finally, there are 3 essential cards that must be printed. I feel strongly that Coat of Arms should be reprinted inside at least one or more of the decks. It was recently reprinted in the Dual Deck: Mind versus Might. Yet it is still needed for the decks. Door of Destinies should be reprinted as well. With it being a one sided pump for tribal creatures and copies beginning to creep up in price, it is definitely time.

Finally there is Urza’s Incubator. It is the easiest of options to print for a tribal deck and is needed for every deck. Reducing the cost of a particular tribe of creatures by 2 generic mana less is a massive deal. It is an easy enough card to deal with and to cast, but it enables the decks so efficiently. It has to be reprinted.

A final word.

Here on Monday, I imagine I will see what will be going into the decks and get a chance to actually ask directly, what will be reprinted and what direction the decks will be going in. Next week is the start of spoiler season for C-2017 and I am looking forward to seeing what WotC thinks should be in these decks.

I have a feeling that they won’t be doing many of the reprints I want to see, and probably less than half the ones I feel they need to reprint. All I can do is hope that these decks are loaded with legendary creatures, useful lands, ideal tools for tribal decks, and have pretty clear focus on how they want to win.

Anyways, thank you for your time. All artwork and cards shown are property of WotC, the prices were averaged across tcgplayer.com, starcitygames, and my local game shop Comic Town. I hope every has a pleasant weekend and if you are new or interested in Magic the Gathering, my previous post covers a lot of the basics.

Take it easy.

Advertisements

A kitchen table intro: Magic the Gathering

Let’s assume somebody is entirely new to Magic the Gathering. They heard rumors of a game ripe with fantasy elements, that was darker, crueler, but a little more interesting then most of the games they had heard of. This wasn’t Poke’mon or Yu-gi-oh… No, this game was like some proper dungeon crawler combined with the myth and lore of their favorite fantasy novels or movies. Maybe that player had played once many moons ago or had taken a stab at another trading card game. They just needed something fun and simple enough to learn. Simple to learn, yet could be complicated enough to keep them coming back.

That person, stumbled across a pre constructed deck at their local game shop and heard that it can be a lot of fun. Maybe they were at their favorite big box store and was curious in the packaging. They saw a bunch of decks posted up. They are emblazoned with mana symbols, a giant over sized card (foiled,) and a name of the deck with the words Commander. There is another that is a Duel Deck featuring 2 foiled creature cards and bold words like Angelic versus Demonic. Or other decks, neatly awaiting opening. Yet where does one just jump in? How does one play Magic the Gathering.

This is a guide going into how to play and what it means to playing Magic as a whole. This is meant for new players and will go over many of the steps. As far as a deck to pick up to jump in on, I recommend the Duel Decks. They tend to have a decent amount of value, they are easy to acquire and are designed to be played against another person. They also are easy to learn what the select colors want to do. The most recent Duel Deck is Mind Vs Might. It isn’t perfect, but it does balance raw spells versus creatures.

Assuming somebody is entirely new to Magic the Gathering, it is typically best to stick to Kitchen Table Magic and the basics it provides. Lets start with basic rules.

  • Players start at 20 life and lose when they have 0 life.
  • Players will follow a consistent turn order
  • Decks are allowed only 4 copies of a particular card with the exception of cards that say otherwise or basic lands.
  • If a player runs out of cards in their deck, and they have to draw, they lose the game.
  • Players start the game with 7 cards in hand. They are allowed a maximum of 7 cards in hand. If they have more they will have to discard at the end of their turn.
  • Cards with legendary on the type are only allowed one of per player.

These are basic rules and depending there are exceptions to literally every rule which will be explored at a later time. Typically most games will follow these rules and run along them. I will mention a notable exception when they are pertinent, but hopefully there won’t be many in a basic tutorial. There are typically 5 colors associated with Magic the Gathering and Generic Mana. White, Blue (often shorthanded to U), Black, Red, and Green. In addition, there is diamond mana which is a form of dedicated colorless mana. Generic Mana is colorless typically and can be gathered from any source. Most cards have a Mana Cost. I will mention converted mana cost a lot which is the total amount of mana needed for a spell. Most spells will require colored mana demonstrated by symbols and generic mana. There are variations on the costs and   That said, let’s explore the cards themselves

The Cards

Basic Card Layout:

card info

Lands

land info

These are often sources of mana. A player is typically allowed to play 1 land card a turn. They are considered a colorless permanent card. Turning a card (Or tapping) produces a mana of the color on the card. This feature has been around forever and they stopped putting the tap to add (insert mana type) mana on the card. For the most part they are incredibly straightforward. A player can include as many basic lands in their deck as they would like.

There are lands that produce mana of different colors, or different effects when tapped. These are considered non-basic lands and will be labeled as such. A land can only be tapped once per turn, at least until the land is untapped and tapped again. There is also the option to activate non-tap abilities even on tapped lands. Some lands will enter play tapped, or gain player’s lives, or have an ability attached to the card.

Creatures

creature info

The creature card follows a very simple card layout. In fact, moving forward all cards have similar layouts. The upper right hand corner is the casting cost, or the amount of mana that has to be paid in order to summon it. Most creatures have summoning sickness the turn they are cast or enter the battlefield. Meaning most creatures can’t attack or do anything for a full turn after they are cast.

Creatures also have a power and toughness. Which is marked by #/# in the lower right hand corner. Inside the main box of the card where it says what the card is, or what it does. There are triggered abilities, enter the battlefield abilities, or cast abilities. There are also tap abilities and activated abilities. Most abilities are considered to be instant speed and can be activated at any point. Tap abilities are affected by summoning sickness where as abilities that don’t require them to tap can be activated regardless.

Creatures can attack and block other creatures. Typically creatures are tapped to attack a player during the combat step. They aim to attack a player or a planeswalker (see below.) Once a creature is declared as an attacker, the defending player being attacked has the ability to declare blockers. Blocking creatures can choose which creatures they block. Each creature can only block one creature and doesn’t require tapping in order to block. Once a creature has taken more damage than it’s toughness, it dies and is sent to the graveyard. Creatures are universally one of the easiest card types to be answered. Simply put, they die to removal or being attacked, or looked at funny. Creatures die  from about anything really.

They also have next to the card type line a hyphen followed by the creature type. This is important to note for multiple reasons, there are a collection of cards that check based on type or profession. Both are listed in that area.

Artifacts

artifact info

These are typically colorless permanents that can affect the board state. Either directly, or indirectly. They can have abilities as well and typically require generic mana of any color to cast. Some act as mana sources, others as removal, some buff abilities of cards in your hand or on the battlefield. Ultimately, artifacts are designed to enhance the cards in play and help benefit the one playing them. There is a couple of subtypes of artifacts. There are Artifact creatures, which are as they sound. Equipment: which acts as armor or weapons a creature can use to buff their abilities or powers. The equipping cost is listed on the card and will attach to the creature. There are important rules to note with this for later on. Look for them under the phases.

Finally, there is vehicles. It is the most recent addition to type which grants the ability to pilot an artifact for a turn to hit a player with. Each type has its own rules and timing exceptions.

Artifacts only go to the graveyard if the right conditions are met. If they are destroyed, then they are sent to the graveyard. Artifact creatures and vehicles are considered creatures which means they can die as a result of combat or an ability that deals damage directly. Equipments fall off of attached creatures when they die. The equipment stays in play despite the death of it’s wielder. That said non-creature artifacts typically only are destroyed if targeted by a spell or ability.

Enchantments

enchantment info

These are cards with a straightforward casting cost. Most enchantments are just enchantments, there are a small handful of Enchantment Creatures, however they make up an incredibly small slice of the number of cards available. The power level of enchantments are incredibly exponential. Many 1 or 2 drop (or converted total mana cost) are extremely weak. They may offer a bonus of an additional 1 or 2 actions towards a goal where as 8 drop enchantments are literally as close to breaking the game as one can get while still actually playing Magic. Enchantments are powerful in just being hard to deal with however are rarely win conditions in of themselves.

There are also enchantment – auras that are attached to creatures. These stay attached to the creature until the creature is removed from the battlefield, at which point the cards are sent to the graveyard. This happens even if a creature is exiled or bounced back to a player’s hand. The enchantment will fall off and goes to the graveyard.

They cannot be interacted with easily and few abilities can counter the constant global checks run past an enchantment. Typically it requires specialized cards to hit enchantments and only 2 colors in the color pie hit enchantments well.

Instant

instant info

Instants are a card type based around an actual spell being cast. They will have a physical mana cost, read that they are an instant, and have a stated effect when cast. These cards play out on the stack and are resolved immediately. Instant speed spells can be cast at anytime regardless of whose’s turn it is. They can be cast at any step in a turn, on any turn, and can cast in result of other spells or creatures being summoned. They can even interact and target creatures with abilities that are happening. They are extremely versatile cards due to the lack of timing cast restrictions. As a card type, they are the only ones capable of being cast at any time, again there are exceptions but those cards will say it clearly. I will touch on that shorthand for cards later.

However, they are often weaker than sorceries that use the same amount of mana. They often act removal spells, damage spells, or counter spells. Typically, they are cast as a result of other cards and are designed to give an effect to stop or prevent a threat from going further.

Sorcery

sorcery info

These are more powerful spells that are cast specifically on your turn. These have a set mana cost and can only be cast during the main phases of a turn (more on turn phases later.) Effectively, if you can cast a creature card at a time, you can cast a sorcery. These tend to be pretty powerful and have a wide set of effects. These average about 4 converted mana in terms of cost but can easily go up to 9 or 10 mana for truly insane effects. The benefits of sorceries is due to the power behind them as they resolve. There are ones that grant powerful effects for combat, insane actions for bringing back dead creatures, or destroying everything on the field.

Planeswalker

planewalkers

The final card type are Planeswalkers. They are becoming a more premier card type in Magic and are the face cards now of what are considered the Intro decks. These are perhaps the most complicated card out of the cards created. They start with the casting cost which averages around 4, typically they require a heavy color mana cost. They enter with loyalty counters on them which are marked in the lower right hand corner. They have typically 3 stated abilities and only 1 ability can be used per turn. There are ones that create creatures and can physically become a creature to attack. Just remember that they would be affected by summoning sickness too for the turn they are cast.

One is a +X ability, that adds a loyalty counter when using that ability. Next is a -X, that typically results in an ability. The -X abilities have you pay loyalty to use the power. Finally there is typically an ultimate ability that costs quite a bit of loyalty and will typically break the game in your favor. They also grant an emblem which exists on you the player, outside of the battlefield. These are impossible to interact with and become part of the ongoing rules of that match. I will go into further details on Planeswalkers in a further post.

However, this power comes at a price. Planeswalkers are seen as a massive threat and thus tend to be dealt with quickly. There is little removal currently for Planeswalkers. Counterspells can hit them when cast, but once resolved they typically die due to being attacked. Creatures can be declared as attacking a planeswalker during combat, and creatures can be assigned to block them. Direct damage spells can hit planeswalkers and damage can be redirected to the planeswalkers. So typically, they are killed via damage and if one hits the field on your opponents side, you should try to deal with it.

A final note on Planeswalkers, a player is only allowed a single planeswalker with a particular type on the battlefield (in play.) If two planeswalkers are on one side of the battlefield with the same type, one must be sacrificed (put into the graveyard.) This is relevant in certain decks, but is important to note.

Tokens

token

These are physical representation of cards generated by other cards. Normally, tokens are artifacts and/or creatures. They will have a power and toughness if they are creatures and can have given effects or abilities. Important to note, they do not have a converted mana cost. They have no listed cost and are easy to deal with. Tokens also do not die the normal way. They do die, but the moment the card is put into the graveyard, they are exiled. The tokens can be represented by anything and for most players they use a shorthand of movement to dictate that they have been removed.

Zoning: Laying out the match.

With Magic the Gathering, it is best to have similar layouts to the way the cards are organized. Most players will lay things out with a general sense of order and there are some key positions that matter to the way things are laid out. This is a general sense of the zones. Below is a quick map of how it should look.

game mat layout

The Battlefield

battlefield mockup

This is the most important zone. Everything in Play and available to do anything is on the Battlefield. Typically it is organized by players at their choosing, but most keep their lands together closest to them, with the creatures, artifacts, enchantments, and planeswalkers sitting in front. With the exception of lands that are typically in offset stacks and equipment that is put under creatures in such a way to where they are still showing, all cards should be clearly visible. Cards are played up right unless they are tapped where they are turned sideways to clearly show if they are in fact tapped. The game moves faster if this is observed and there will be less confusion. Dice are often used to represent counters on cards. And Dice can be used to show the number of a particular token creature on the battlefield.

 

Library

This is where a player’s deck is. It is known as the library because the game imagined players as powerful planeswalkers cast spells pulled from a library and the term just stuck. It should be face down stacked neatly, typically in the upper right or left hand corner. When there are no more cards left in a player’s library, that player loses the game the next time they are forced to draw. Drawing from the library should always be the top card only and the deck should not be touched or messed with by players, unless there is a reason to.

Graveyard/Exile

graveyard

The Graveyard is where all the cards that have been dealt with go. Creatures, artifacts, planeswalkers, lands, and enchantments end up in the graveyard when destroyed. All cards discarded or milled off the library or from hand end up here. Also, after instants and sorceries resolve the cards are sent to the graveyard. There are a plethora of cards that still function in the graveyard or can target cards in the graveyard for effects. The Graveyard is rarely a permanent end of the card in a game.

The Exile is a zone that is in some senses meta-physical. It is also typically up to the player to dictate where they will have these cards. Typically the cards are going appear to be tapped cards in the graveyard. They are cards that have been banished from the game. They are exiled and cannot return to the game. Exile is a powerful effect and should be treated as such. Exile also is a zone cards can go under specific reasons which I will touch on more thoroughly at a future time. Effectively, consider something in exile gone for good.

Player Counters

Players can be subject to spells directly and can receive counters based on certain cards. Typically a token card for the counter type will be put in place outside of the play area and dice will put on it to act as the representative number. This is also where Planeswalker emblems will go once they have been achieved. Nothing currently can interact with emblems and once achieved they do not go away.

Mana Pool

This particular zone doesn’t exist really except for online. Typically players track their available mana, but on complicated turns and multiple lands being tapped for mana of different colors the mana pool can become useful. It is recommended (largely by me) to keep a few dice handy for indicating how much mana of a particular color a player has available to spend to spells. Remember, in order to

Hand

A player’s hand is well straight forward. It is the set of cards a player has to be able to cast and play with. Ideal, the cards are held in hand where they are not visible to other players. Cards in hand can be the target of spells, but this is relatively rare.

The Stack

This is a complicated zone. There isn’t a good complete guide to the Stack and will require a brief explanation that can be expanded upon for hours. Effectively, it is a meta-physical where spells go when cast, abilities happen, effect occur. It is where players represent what is happening at the moment inside the game. The Stack ends up being quite complicated due to the timing and what cards are being cast and interacted with.

Simply, with the Stack, the rule is “First in, Last Out.” Meaning when a spell is cast, that starts the stack. If anyone casts anything else at that moment or uses an ability it goes on the stack. The stack fills until everything is complete and finally then, things resolve in reverse order. The spell cast first resolves last always.

The stack

Technically every spell goes on the stack, but counter magic is really the only thing that comes up with the stack or if somebody is winning through a complicated interaction. In truth, the stack is the hardest thing to learn and typically reserved for high level play.

Going through the Phases.

So turns play out in this order. Turn starts, untap, upkeep, draw, main phase, combat step, declared attacker, declared blockers, combat damage resolves, second main phase, endstep, discard, end of turn. It is relatively simple order of what happens. What makes it complicated is remembering what happens and when. We will approach this in sections.

Phases

Start of turn through Main Phase.

The turn always starts with untapping a player’s permanents, this is not seen as a physical phase and nothing can interact this this phase. Only the player can untap on their turn at this point. Instants cannot be cast at this time. Lands, creatures, artifacts. Everything untaps unless an effect says otherwise. The phase exists but proceeds immediately into the next.

Upkeep is effectively a phase where abilities and effects tend to render. Lots of “win the game” cards trigger during the upkeep. Draw effects and other abilities also occur during this time. It is important to note that these can be interacted with during the Upkeep. Instants can be cast, abilities can be activated. Sometimes an action during the Upkeep can win a player the game or cost them it depending.

The draw step is a like that of the untap phase. It happens and that is that. Draw steps cannot be interacted with. During it, a player draws 1 card from their library and that is all on their turn. If no cards are in the library during this step, and a player has to draw, they lose the game on the spot.

Finally, we enter the main phase. This is where cards become truly available for play. At this point a player may play their land for turn, they may cast any spell at their standard timing, and resolves what they can. Enchantments, creatures, and artifacts are cast during this time. Equipments can be transferred from creature to creature at this point, sorceries can also be cast during this time. Effectively, the main phase is where the bulk of cards are played.

Combat.

Combat is resolved in 4 phases. First there is the actual combat step. A player declares combat, even if they are not attacking. Combat is entered at the end of the first main phase of a turn and proceeds immediately into combat. This is when combat step abilities trigger and go on the stack and players can move to resolve most removal to prevent combat from going further. During combat only abilities and instants can be cast.

The next two are pretty simple. The attacking player declares which creatures will be attacking. They must declare who they will attacking. Creatures can only attack players or planeswalkers. This is done by tapping untapped creatures (or stating which ones if the creatures don’t tap to attack.) Then the defending player can choose blockers and declare which creature will block on coming creatures.

Finally, damage then resolves. The attacking player can decided how damage is assigned to creatures if two or more creatures were used to block a creature. The resolution of damage is similar to the draw step or untap step where it cannot be effected by actions by players. However, passive abilities that trigger due to damage happen now. It is possible for a player to gain enough life despite taking lethal damage and still live. It is a matter of the life gained to outweigh the life lost.

Second Main and ending the Turn.

After combat, the player proceeds into the Second Main Phase of the turn. This is a second time in the turn that the Main Phase happens. Players can choose then resolve additional spells or use abilities during this time. It is a repeat of the previous Main phase. A player can choose to play a land card during this phase if they hadn’t played one during the first.

From there, it is the end step which leads into the end of turn. Players can choose cast any instants they have at this point that they withheld till end of turn. Sometimes there are reason to, but it is highly dependent on the deck. The Cleanup/discard phase is the actual end of turn. It is the hard end of the turn. Nothing can be cast during this and players must discard down to 7 cards in hand. Then the next turn starts.

A big final note, concerning mana. If lands are tapped for mana or mana is generated using other cards, when a player moves from one step to another, that mana disappears. It empties from a player’s Mana pool. If the lands were tapped and the mana was not spent, those lands still stay tapped. It is best to use exactly the mana as needed when needed.

Lets talk winning.

So nearly 4000 words into this and I haven’t mentioned winning a game of Magic. There are several major play styles to Magic, it depends on what colors a player is using and how true to a theme a deck really is. Ultimately there are only 3 things that for sure causes a player to lose the game.

  • A player’s life drops to 0 or below. This is an automatic loss for the player. Damage does check after the resolution of the stack, therefore as mentioned before if a player gains life they can potentially not lose. However, they have to have enough life. Also, the opposite applies, if a player pays life then is dealt damage dropping them below 0 they lose.
  • A player goes to draw from there library and has no cards left in their library. This can happen the next time a player would go to draw period, it doesn’t just happen at the drawstep of that player’s turn. A point of note, it counts per instance of card draw. So if a player is forced to draw 30 cards, and only has 27 they do not lose the game yet. They will only lose the next time they are made to draw a card if there are no cards available to draw from.
  • A player activate or triggers a “wins the game card” or “loses the game card.” There are multiple cards with the effects throughout the history of Magic. Some of them say specifically at the upkeep or endstep. Typically they are enchantments and will specifically check the board state to see if the condition is met on the player’s particular phase. Each one has their own rules and are clearly stated.

Most decks are built around these 3 themes. There are unique and interesting strategies aplenty in Magic and I will look to explore these further in time. Frankly, each one has a particular approach and interest to them. It is worth exploring in depth and understanding the thought process behind the decks and why people would choose one card over another. I will attempt to explain that all further.

I hope everyone found this enlightening. I plan on doing more during my spare time. Though this did take a lot of work to get this done, therefore I may make these posts every couple of weeks. At the end of the day, I hope everyone has fun and enjoys playing. This is a social game and it is ideal to understand that when going it. Try to enjoy it, and try to be kind. Have a nice one.

DSC03181

Eddie Martin
Barbaric Woodcraft

eddie-martin

The magic of a pre release of a Magic set.

I believe I have talked about Pre Release in the past yet it is still worth talking about and discussing. It is by far one of the most enjoyable and in many ways a strange format. It is rather bizarrely temporary format. The decks are built in passing, often using most guesswork versus solid learned experience. Having previous experience or knowledge is useful, but rarely required. It is quite literally a format that one could walk in a blindly learn.

19756536_10155125849300379_4938121573584315183_n

It is useful to have some knowledge of the cards. Like most people who come out who are entirely new to the game have at least played a bit of kitchen table Magic. Given the right group of people and those who are kind enough to greet those fresh to the game, it can be truly life changing. My first was quite awkward and I fumbled quite a bit, even with that I had had some of the most fun I could have in years. It was quite enjoyable and the people I met, I found myself wanting to play against again.

What the hell is Pre release?

Like I had said prior, Pre release is a very strange event. The events all start a week before the release of the actual set. Typically, they start on that Friday. The first event starts at midnight and new events start across the course of the next 2 days. My local shop ends the sign up for the final event at 5 pm on Sunday. Each event runs for 3 to 6 hours. It is largely dependent upon what style of elimination the store runs.

At my store, Pre Release is $25 per event. Most people who have the time will do 1 to 3 events over the event. That amount gets you a kit. 6 packs, a rare or mythic of the current set, 1 roll down d20, and typically an information card or some form of similar advertisement material. In reality, each kit is some of the best value one can open of new raw cards. Each kit has 7 total rares or mythics. 1 is a special time stamped foil rare card from the most current set. Sometimes that card can be worth next to nothing, or they could be worth close to $50 to $80. I have seen people open kits with 6 mythics, or they opened all the best expected cards of the set. It happens more often than most people would expect.

MTGHOU_EN_PreShot

As far as playing, you take the cards you open and build a 40 card minimum deck. Most people build a deck with exactly that many cards. Almost every deck is a mix of removal, some creatures, maybe some proper value. It was not exactly excellent decks. Most of them are slow, clunky decks. The power levels differ widely. Perhaps somebody pulls off an absolute bomb set of cards to go off into a perfect kill, then the next 2 rounds they get completely screwed on lands. It can be entirely fair, or absolutely disgusting and broken. The simplest truth is, that is the way Magic goes.

Then how is this fun?

Honestly, the most important element to enjoying pre release is the attitudes involved. Comic Town in Columbus, Ohio is perhaps the most enjoyable places to play at in the area. They did have one of the best set of judges to officiate. They were very open and okay with people playing and talking about the game. The people I had met who played tended to have the same attitudes. They were very calm, cool, and in general fun to play around. They were looking to have a good time, maybe pull some stuff they wanted, yet above all they were hoping to enjoy the game.

I had met several women, wives of players, or straight up pro players who had their own preferred ways to play. I had met people with kids, who were learning, and I had met grizzled old pros who still wanted to come out and enjoy the game. Most people were really cool. Most people were even awesome about it. Looking at your cards and telling you what would be better to run or instructing you on a better way to approach it. I even saw a few people going through the rules talking through what happened, why, and how to be ready for it. All in all, it has been pleasant to see.

Attitudes did change as people did progress, it took until round 4 typically before the gloves come off and people start becoming bitter and angry. From what I have seen at most places, they try to stop that end of it. Comic Town was typically pretty strict and had reason to allow asshole-ish behavior to take over. No cursing, no direct insults, people could be disqualified if they were too mean. It was for the best honestly.

The more tough they were on that behavior, the more casual the game stayed. Personally, I think it is better for the format in general. This pre release seems to have really set a mark for it too. There must have been a fair amount of nastiness back and forth on it, all because they are looking to get rid of the Gauntlet. They may bring it back, but it will be something different. I am friends with both people who work there, and the players. It was interesting to hear both sides. I think the store is right to get rid of the format. Sundays are normally packed to rafters and yet they were down 25 players. Something must have happened.

To Sell or to Play?

20170709_105907

My first kit had some real power in it. I was stuck in 3 colors in a mono color draft envirnoment without any form of color fixing. However, I had a very powerful Grixis deck. Blue, Black, Red. Gods, I had the Scarab God, Torment of Hailfire, Liliana of Death’s Majesty. I had an incredible pool to pick from. I just never got to really see the deck in action outside of a couple of quick practice games. I got a bye my first round and sat down and played against somebody while waiting for a customer.

The second round I had planned on dropping by then, but I must have left myself in…. Cause, suddenly I realized I had to notify my opponent. I went to tell him what was going on, and right then my name was called. I ended up winning a Owl of Devastation play mat (the set’s real name is Hour of Devastation.) It was like a $30 mat I managed to win by accident. I gave my opponent the win then played a couple of matches against him in passing waiting for a customer. My deck stomped him, he was grateful I dropped in all honesty.

19679321_10155106235105379_50474653338072582_o

Still, I had gone to this pre release to raise funds. Thank the gods, I sold incredibly well. I ended up selling about half the boxes I had brought with me. I traded one away for my afternoon entry, I also gave 2 away. I did cut my price on a couple of boxes upon getting to the show just because I realized I priced stuff way too high. I also got to test out my square reader which is truly awesome to have. That made doing credit card sales a quick, hassle free action. I will be looking to be prepared to do that for now on.

After selling a bunch of boxes, I got to the pre release I had paid for via trading. It was a little awkward as my ex-business partner showed up. I kinda chatted with him in a distant manner. I didn’t really have much to even state to him. Once we had our kits, the guy sitting next to me decided on making up Hour of Devastation “Gauntlets” using the Kit boxes. It was hilarious. That was some of the most fun I had had outside of selling that day.

20170709_171000

And was kinda the end of my night really.

My pool was awful for that one and scooped after the first match. I was crushed hard by my opponent. I ended up not hitting a piece of my removal and was kinda up against somebody in the gauntlet which made my match less than fun. It wasn’t bad… But I effectively traded a box for nothing I could even write home about really. I stuck around for 2 more rounds trying to pick up a couple of last minute sales and that just fell right through the floor. So I packed up and left, $200 more in my pocket, new play mat in hand, and relatively happy.

I also gave my ex-business partner the Scarab God I pulled. A last gesture of kindness so he may look down on me a little less as we finally parted ways. I had no reason to wish ill upon him, he isn’t worth the time to.

At the end of the day, I had had a lot of fun and look forward to the next event here in a few months. I just need to sort out a short term option for the shop to see if I can figure out how to have product for it. Have a nice one.

eddie-martin

A quick interlude and cat butt

As of Monday, I am now without a physical woodshop. All my tools, wood, and finished products are loosely packed up at my aunt’s. It was an exhausting couple of months as I rushed to complete as much of the work that I had as fast as I could. It seemed like every day I had more and more to do with a shrinking timetable.

Monday at about 6 pm… This was my shop.

It feels quite bittersweet in all honesty. I am quite happy to no longer be bound to this garage and to have my options open. I am rather happy to also be done with my ex business partner (outside of 3 more days of work together and him leaving the area on the 14th.) I am proud of what I accomplished and what I was able to do on next to no budget.

I am also upset I won’t have a shop. I hate the idea that I can’t work, that I won’t be able to get in more wood and design things. I still need to make a bunch of gifts for people I know who recently got married and design a few gifts for friends. I am bitter about the loss of a friendship I had with my ex business partner, yet he crossed a line and still refuses to apologize or realize that he had done anything wrong. I dislike the way it went but it was required.

I am going to have a full post discussing it all here in about 10 days. Sorry… but I want to wait until he leaves.

Then enters the cat.

If anything Gwen will be quite happy at the idea I am going to be home more often. I wont be working until midnight every night, so I will be able to lay in bed and just love on her. She already was quite pleased yesterday I was home most of the day. She did hide throughout most of the cleaning, but even with the constant explosions outside (4th of July,) she just cuddled. 

She even slept on my legs as usual and gave me a ton of headbutts this morning. She couldn’t quite get into position for her standard kneading session so she sat on my chest and pouted. I guess I wasn’t paying enough attention to her (I literally stopped for a minute to check my email.) She did what cats do best…. I had cat butt in my face until I put down the phone and started cuddling her.

Anyways. I hope everyone has a lovely day.

Long nights and calibrations

The past 2 weeks have been a bit of a blur for me. With the exception of last Sunday, I have work 12 hour days, everyday. My days are beginning to bleed together as I struggle to accomplish all the goals I have left for the woodshop. I have been attempting to cram in as many boxes as possible. I want product for Hour of Devastation pre release here in about 10 days, yet I am still finishing all my outstanding orders for the Kickstarter. 

I spent 3 hours attempting to square, align, and calibrate the X Carve last night. It was a very long and fairly complicated process. I had to square up the X and Y axii on the machine then attempt to tighten down the belts. I honestly feel I should buy a new guitar tuner for the machine just for the belts. I did run into an issue where the silkscreen grid was not particularly accurate and aligning my pieces to the Y axis was a nightmare. I now need a perfect match along that axis for some of the larger products I am working on.

To get that, I kind of cheated. 

I figured that I needed a fence. There was no really good way to accurately clamp a fence in place, and have access to the holes needed for clamping. To get it to work out, I had to use a thin piece of wood, maybe 1/8th of an inch. I threw a small piece on the drill press, knocked out some rough holes for the clamps, then drilled it directly to the CNC work bed. I used my homing switches and set the origin again. Then told it to cut. It milled off just what was the technical zero on the CNC cut bed. From there, I could push any piece against the fence. Once against the fence, I had to align it to the new zeros I had set and every piece has been perfect since. 

It was literally like 3 hours of works and tests to get a consistent cut. I honestly cheered and clapped over it. I now know and trust my zeros on the machine. If anything the problem I will run into for now on is a simple one. Soon I won’t have a shop, and I will need to get it all set up again.

This is an array of the stuff I’ve been working on. I’m on mobile, so sorry if this doesn’t look as good. I just haven’t had the time to do some proper posts. Have a nice day.

Sawdust filled skies

Tonight was a long night. In many ways it has been another long day. Get up at 8 a.m., leave to go to work by 10 a.m., then get home about 10 p.m. Today was longer. 2 extra hours really took it out of me. After 8 hours at the bread shop in an 85 degree room, and 3 hours in the woodshop, I am spent. I still have to repeat the process Thursday and Friday.

For some reason I have a splitting headache. It could have been brought on from me not drinking enough, or exhaustion, I know for sure some of it was due to spending an hour installing drivers for the X-Carve. Regardless, I am looking forward to getting home, getting some water in me, then a shower.

Saw dust created, jobs nearly completed.

I spent quite a bit of time just finishing another step on the products I’m working on. I have had a list of tasks I want to complete within the next week. That list is longer than I would normally care for, but I am getting it done. The big items I am still in process on are 2 cheese boards, a giant slab cutting board, and 18 boxes.

So on the boards, I have been working on those since Sunday. I have been gluing random slabs of wood together to try to do something with the wood before I move out of the shop space. I managed to have enough to make a couple of different boards. After letting the glue set, I had to plane them to the right thickness. I made about 10 gallons of mulch like sawdust.  Once level, I had to cut off the rough ends and put a 1/4 inch round bevel on them. It was quick work and kind of fun to do.

I also had a bunch of boxes to start the milling process on. I had cut the individual sides for the boxes and the angle cuts last night. That was a solid 144 separate cuts to do on the table saw and tonight was another 144 grooves cut for the lids and bases. In order to slot in the bases and lids with greater accuracy, I decided on booting up the X-Carve for it. It did take nearly an hour to fully install the drivers and deal with the multiple resets on the computer, then about 10 minutes for the computer to realize that the machine was there, but finally it was functional. I then had to lay out the design in Easel for the X-Carve. It didn’t take too long, but it is fairly technical. I had to create a bunch of layers then check them via the pathing to ensure everything would work out right.

1

The physical running of the CNC machine is always stressful at first. If the wood fights the design, it will shatter and launch out of the clamps. If the clamps aren’t firmly in place, the wood will launch out anyways. And there are times where the design just doesn’t work and it shatters anyways. Or the machine gets confused and drives itself deep into the surface of the board causing a bunch of damage to the bit and the wood. None of these are good things. Luckily, it milled through the piece of wood without issue. It will take about 8 minutes for it to mill most board, but that isn’t too bad. It would take 30 minutes just to glue the lip on the lid doing it the way I had been (I will post about this later on.)

20170621_224216

Regardless, tonight was quite productive. I still have quite a bit of work to do tomorrow night, the night after, and so on… But I am getting it done and still enjoying this. I hope everyone has a nice night. Now pardon me as I get some rest finally, after I see what my cat is trying to do.

eddie-martin

A look into the wood shop

The is a bittersweet post for me to be making. This was going to be a post I was going to make something like 2 months ago, but I kept pushing it off to the side. I had been so busy between work and the wood shop that I hadn’t bothered to drag out the camera. I had really wanted to talk about my rather small garage wood shop, I feel it is important to talk about. There has been a rise in maker spaces and hacker spaces, yet the amount of available work spaces for people who want to own the tools is small. I have been looking at that pool for more than a few months to find that I couldn’t afford anything yet, or the rules behind it were too difficult. I am still in the market, looking for my next shop space. I want to talk about this one, even as I am losing it I guess.

I had also had a post that I had been working on discussing the shop space and the state that I took it over under. It would touch on more than a few things I am not keen on wanting to go into publicly. I have had a falling out with my business partner, and I have my problems with him for various reasons…. It would be tough to discuss the wood shop post and not tread on insulting him. I would prefer personally to be better than that. I am struggling to be. So I have deleted about 3 different versions of that particular post…

Consider that a foreword, I hope this still reads well.

DSC02963

Small Spaces for Small Starts.

My wood shop is fairly tiny. I am using a one car garage for my shop space, well kinda half of a garage really. I am sharing the garage with my business partner. It was a good amount of work to liberate from the horde of boxes that had consumed the garage and continues to be a battle to remove the clutter. Even as it stands, I have about 30 to 40 square feet taken by just boxes of stuff. And that space feels much smaller considering the additional spaces reserved for a spare set of tires, several large containers, a mound of really old paints, as well a wood bench that is neither square nor level. The shelves up on the wall were seemingly built by somebody who has never heard of a level.

Regardless of those faults, the shop space hasn’t been too bad. I am a big believer in thinking vertically throughout the space. I prefer to also have most areas be set in a minimalist way. I like clean open areas. They help me think, as well as gives me the ability to let a project take up the room it requires. This isn’t always perfect, but it works well enough. I have my tools and slowly begun to build out areas to hold general work areas for certain tasks. My one real set of shelves holds the CNC machine and has enough space along the floor for me to slide everything else into place. All of my tools with the exception of the drill press and the CNC machine will fit underneath the shelving unit.

As far as the physical tools in the shop, I keep things fairly basic. Infact, I really need to drop a few hundred bucks and finish picking up a bunch of the tools I need, but I have been putting off. I will break things down by the task the tool actually accomplishes. I think that is the best way to approach it.

Sawing

The tablesaw. This is the most important electric tool in the wood shop from what I have been able to tell. The blade is a stupid, simple concept. Put a bunch of little chisels to carve into the wood on a circular disk. Spin the disk at high speed, then feed wood into it. This thing is the cornerstone of the wood shop especially because with some wood and screws, you can make every jig you need. Whether you need perfect crosscuts, or you want to do complex miter cuts, this thing can do it if you build the right jig. I even use mine for resawing wood down to side, it is incredibly messy…. But so worth it.

I am using the Dewalt #DW745. It is a 15 amp, 10 inch tablesaw. It is highly portable, yet highly adaptable. I actually bought the saw just due to how accurate of the fence on it was. It was easy and fast to adjust. It just worked right out of the box. I did pick up a full kerf blade for it, but I own a total of 4 blades for it. The full kerf (1/8″) 24 tooth blade for cutting the grooves on the vaults as well as 3 thin kerf blades at 24, 32, and 60 tooth. Each blade is fairly particular, but I could spend a solid hour explaining why I own those. I will spare everyone that fate. Instead, I will saw the saw was cheap at about $300 (not including 3 of the blades.) It was cheap, heavy enough to stay put, and has a hell of a solid fence for cutting along. As long as I am pay attention, I can get extremely accurate cuts.

It does have it’s draw backs, but they are pretty few and far between. It hates plywood. Or maybe I hate plywood and hate the way this thing cuts plywood. It also bemoans cutting purpleheart and does complain cutting through paduak too. The fence should be checked fairly often, just to make sure the measure is set to the saw blade thickness itself. The short top on it eases with portability, but it lacks mounting points for extending the work surface area. There are no mounting points for outfeed tables too, which kinda sucks. It does function fairly well with the crosscut jig I have made, and I will do a full article on it too. The crosscut jig has fallen off of the table on a few occasions just due to the small worktop and it being a single rail jig… Again will talk about it and why later.

Still it is solid. I would have to recommend it.

Drilling

I have a fairly basic set up. I have a drill press, the Wen 4208. It is small but it does the job. I also have a Ryobi D43K, mainly because I am cheap bastard and don’t mind the cord on it. I would rather save money and pick that up then stress the extra cost of a cordless drill.

Routers.

Okay, most of the money in my shop is tied up in routers and routing. When I say routing I am not talking about the thing that gives people wireless. I am talking about the ability to remove wood using bits that spin around an axis meant to cut grooves, lines, or other shapes. It is hard to explain, but there are things a router can do that would take hours to do by hand, or just can’t be done.

I have 2 different types. I have the CNC machine which is a large platform with motors that guide the router itself over the platform. This allows for it to cut down into the piece, then is guided through the piece via a computer. This whole process is long and complicated. It requires digital files, checks, counters, clamps. It is long technical and involved, but it is also an extremely precise machine with the intention of being used in that manner. I am using the X-Carve by Inventables. Mine is the smaller 500 mm machine and is amazing. I love that machine. I wish I had more time to use it and hadn’t been so foolishly tied up the past 4 months that I have had it.

The other machine is far more barbaric. It still uses the same bits, but it isn’t computer guided. It is literally a spinning bit with a platform that you rest the wood on then feed along a fence into the blade. It is not terribly technical in any sense, yet it does a really good job. It takes only about 20 seconds to set up the table top router to do a job, and typically once set, I can do every cut I need at just the one setting. It is just a matter of feeding everything through the tablesaw then bringing it over. I love my router, it needs some upgrades to accuracy, but I didn’t have the money to get one of the really accurate tables. And with that, I am using a Kreg router table, the PRS2100.  I have a Bosch 1617EVS for the actual router. It is a great set up together. I just need to remember to remove the locking wrench from it when I go to change bits. I have left it in about 3 times and turned on the machine….

Sanding and Shaping

For this, I have a couple of cheap sanders. I have a really cheap electric “precision sander,” the tool is quite awful but it does save time if I don’t feel like breaking out the hand plane (I really need to sharpen it.) I also have a random orbit sander. It does a great job at making quick work of stubborn pieces and if I ever get time I will convert it into a makeshift drum sander. I just need to build an outfeed table and probably need a bigger one. Still, those work quite well.

The electric Planer is the last big tool I own. It really is a great way to take care of all my wood. It is used to shave the wood down to the thickness you need. For me, I do a lot of resawing now on my tablesaw. The tablesaw gives good results that actually is consistent. That said, I need to be able to take them down to an even thickness. That is where the planer comes in. I cut my wood down to the right thickness, then feed it through the machine. Several dozen passes later, I have consistent boards at the right thickness. This also works wonders on my cutting boards whenever I make those. In general the Wen 6550 does a good job. I did have an issue with it suddenly being live… I think a wire came loose and the ground wasn’t set so suddenly it wanted to run electricity through me. It wasn’t too big of a deal and it has survived some abuse.

That is my shop.

I will be leaving it soon enough. I may be out of there by the end of this week or the end of next week depending. I am not really looking forward to it, so I am going to be spending quite a bit of time engaged in it over the next 2 weeks if I can. Like I said in the beginning, this is bittersweet. It is really far from where I live, but it… It was my first shop and I had had quite a few plans that didn’t anticipate moving out so soon. Regardless, thank you all for reading. I hope you all have a nice night.

eddie-martin

Back up, back on

I believe I’ve done about it 10 miles today with all the running around I had to do. 

Things were off to a bad start with the pain I had woke up in and the fact that it felt like somebody had taken a tire iron to my left shoulder. I didn’t work out however I did actually towards setting up this week. I prepped the food I had bought, made a small batch of hummus. It all went fairly quick and the cutting of vegetables was rather therapeutic. I may have spent over an hour mentally thinking through what I would say to my now ex-business partner and thought of how that may go. My cat kept trying to attack me with cuddles. She knows something is wrong.

Afterwards, I felt ready to take on the world.

Finally by noon I left the house. I had to pick up about 100 neodymium magnets. The store I go to for them was down to a single pack (which is about 10.) I just said fine, left, and after a bit got down to the store to pick up a bus pass for the month.

I was about halfway to the shop when suddenly there was a change… The cap on the bolt for the bottom bracket sheered clean off the bike. Suddenly, I had no crankarm on the bike. The engine was dead on it. I had no choice.

I had to walk 2 miles carrying the crank.

I got to Westerville Bikeshop. It felt like I was walking forever. It was 90 degrees out, with a feel of over 100. I had also made the mistake of wearing next to all black on a black bike. Regardless, I got to the bikeshop and proceeded with having a weird experience with shopping with them. I walked in intending on purchasing a new crankset. I didn’t really have the funds to do it, but it made sense to get everything done at once. Instead, I was turned away on it. I was told no on purchasing a new crankset like I wasn’t allowed to do it. He wouldn’t even show me the ones he had in stock and told me something about having one piece mealed together. A blank bottom bracket with a shimano crankarm and a separate chain ring. It took a 200 dollar fix to something that would have been over 300 dollars and wouldn’t match the bike at all. I wasn’t pleased. 

Still, he twisted my arm into just replacing the bottom bracket and refused to give me options on getting a nicer one. He made me leave the store for the hour and half it took to get the work done. Which meant sitting outside waiting in the heat again. Finally I got the call to pick up the bike. I needed food and water which unlike every other bikeshop in the area, they sold nothing fot that. And as I was waiting to check out, I managed to find a case that had the SRAM omnium as well as a white industry rear freewheel. Both were things I was considering picking up. 

The only part of shopping there I liked was when he complained that my bike was very noisy. He suggested that I have the headset replaced and the seat post. The seat post might have been an honest need to replace but the headset is expensive and rather nice. I told him it is just loose and he explained how to get it fit on there proper. Which was kind of him. He also explained that I needed to grease the seat post shaft and receiver so that it wouldnt wouldn’t make some of the noise it had been. Once I got home, i discovered he had been correct and it made a massive difference to the bike.

And she can ride again.

Aftwards, I met a very lovely and kind cyclist who I got to chat with a few. She was a little ripped up from cycling the day before, she had had to swerve from hitting a kid and ripped up one of her legs.

We chatted as we tried to dodge the heat. It was quite pleasant in the shade. Not too much later we were on our separate ways. I passed a girl who was wearing something underneath her tank top that had some amazing lacework. I also passed a couple of weekend warriors and a guy that looked ready to collapse from the heat. He was downing water like mad while cycling. 

Finally, I got into the shop late. Very late. I still accomplished a fair amount of work and still have a fair amount left. I hopped on the bike, grabbed a drink and took the bus home. I am going to be exhausted by the time I get home. I would love a twenty minute shower or a nice long soak in a tub with some Epsom salts, sadly I have no tub….

Regardless, I’m back on the bike. I hope everyone has a pleasant day. 

Edit: also, I felt I wanted to expand on what had happened. So all of that had happened on Monday the 12th of June. 

The time is coming….

I have gone far too long not meeting what I want. I need to start riding on my bike again. I have to get that merciless beast of steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber dashing across pavement once again. I have gone too long without the feeling of the wind across my skin, or the sound of road passing underneath those wheels. I have to restore the bike to what it should be and reforge it into the perfect machine yet again.

For the last 8 months I have not been on the bike, in a vain attempt to protect myself and maintain my body, I have not been on her. I need to change that immediately. If I am honest with myself there are ways to ensure that that will become the case. There are ways to ensure that yet again I become the cyclist I once was. I have the tools, I have a shop, and I have the desire to make it happen.

I hate that I have not been sleeping and when I do I dream of the bike.

I dream of riding again.

I know I haven’t been willing to ride just because I have been hit twice since moving to this area. The people in this city are terrible at driving and frankly will probably kill me if I ride too much. I have been hit twice. I only accomplished maybe 2000 miles and was struck not once, but twice. The second time was far more serious and not by accident. It has scared me off of the bike and onto my feet. I have been complacent in my lack of will to ride the bike and frankly I need to start. I have to prioritize getting the bike rideable. I still need one new piece to make that happen, just one gear and I will be able to mash concrete yet again.

20170424_175946

Sorry, if this came across as aggressive. I just feel I need to be. I need to force myself into doing this. Thank you all for reading, I hope everyone has a good day.

eddie-martin

13th of May, 2017

Last night was different for me.

Last night was the first time since high school that I slept on a proper mattress. Or at least a proper mattress that was mine. For the last 8 years (gods, it really has been that long,) I had crashed on about every surface. I had crashed on the floor, couches, sleeper sofas, miserably thin mattresses. Occasionally, I would find myself passing out on a friend’s bed from sheer exhaustion. Or on even rarer occasion, I would be with somebody and find myself drifting off to sleep.

I had gotten used to being able to sleep next to anywhere. I had even found myself falling asleep sitting upright or leaned against a wall. It was just part of my life. I have always struggled with sleeping and begrudged any possibility of wanting to attempt to improve my sleeping conditions.

Yet when I moved up to Ohio, I knew immediately that I would have change.

My aunt spent the majority of the last two years talking to me about the possibility of replacing my mattress. To be fair, the one I had been crashing on for the last year and a half was probably older than I was. It was truly ancient. It may have had mold (which could explain my health issues) or just crumbling springs. It was a terribly ancient mattress and box spring.  She and my pseudo-uncle (long story…)  offered to help me get the mattress. It wasn’t much but it was enough for me to finally justify it.

Nearly $450, I had a new bed with new sheets.

I am still undeniably poor, so I ended up picking up a $350 mattress in a box style mattress. This one is a combination of foam, both a softer breathable foam and a harder support foam. I picked up the full size which is more than large enough for myself and my cat despite her efforts to take the entire bed. The bed still weighed something like 68 lbs and had to be taken down a flight of stairs. I also had to figure out how to drag the old mattress off then negotiate the new one onto the platform I had made for my bed.

Cutting the bag open was fairly easy despite me piercing the inner bag allowing the mattress to start to comeback to standard size. It took it all of about 10 minutes to seem to be full size again and my cat decided she was going to camp out on the bed until I finally kicked her off to put on the new sheets. I hadn’t realized it at the time, but my new sheets are the same shade of grey as my cat, so Gwen kinda vanishes on them.

On sheets.

So bed sheets are just as important as a good mattress in my opinion. My folks taught me early on how important good bed sheets were. My mom’s rules were simple. Rule One: Always 100% cotton. Rule Two: Know the thread count.

Typically for her, she justified it as a if you wouldn’t wear the sheets, then you wouldn’t want to sleep with them. Cotton is lightweight, breathable, yet capable of standing up to a few years of washing. Higher thread count meant that it would be softer or just nicer as it is washed. Typically the lowest somebody might want to go would be 300 or 320 thread count. The ones I picked up were 800 thread count. I would love to order proper bed sheets from a company like Parachute which does silk sheets or extreme high thread count and quality cotton sheets. I just don’t have the cash for it.

Also, a final word on bed sheets. I ended up going with a set that were a flat color. Designs can work quite well with most beds. However, embossed or sheets with embroider ends are a bad idea. Satin finishes are as well. The first tends to be something you an actually feel on your skin and will hurt. The second has a tendency  to not withstand being washed and can be damaged easily.

Anyways, so yeah. Good sheets on a descent mattress makes a difference. I even had a set of backup sheets for the sleeper sofa mattress that I would pull out when I had certain company or I just felt like I wanted to spoil myself that had that was in fact that much better.

A first night of sleep.

I have been sick most of this week, so consistent sleep is an issues I tend to struggle with. I also know myself well enough to a night of just sleep without tossing and turning would be an impossibility. I need to get back on the bike as well as running to make that happen. I effectively have to go back to destroying my body again to be able to achieve sleep. So all things considered, I slept quite well. I still have some stiffness in my back that I could probably stretch out then be find. I have to get to that point first. Gwen seem to sleep quite well. Despite her anger with me moving around a lot. She also hijacked the entirety of the bed and had me pinned on the edge against the wall. She is such a lovely little brat.

Regardless, I will take pictures and post more on it soon. I need to finish building the base for my bed as well as figure out exactly how I intend on getting my computer stashed beneath my bed. I hope everyone has a pleasant day, I need to had off for work and see if I can manage being in one day this week.

eddie-martin