Allies in 40K 6th Edition

I have a tendency to try to mix and match things in gaming whenever I get the chance. I've played RPGs with Warhammer 40K scenery. I've mixed D20 Modern and D&D for a crazy multigenre feel. I don't think I've ever played a single classed character in an RPG that allowed multiclassing. I'm always trying to figure out how to splash an extra color in Magic decks. And... I never could stay satisfied with a single army codex in 40K.

The good news is that I don't have to be anymore. Now I can mix and match some... and according to this chart, I have quite a few possibilities with the armies that are just sitting around in the man cave.

Image snagged from krittoris here.

I'm not really sure why I would want to combine Space Marines and Blood Angels unless it was for a wider variety of psyker abilities, but whatever. What I'm really interested in is that Tau can ally with anybody... except for Tyranids, of course. And my Eldar can ally with my Blood Angels!

I haven't played 40K in almost a year now... but I think it's time to get back into things... time to do some list building...

Magic 2013 (M13) Patch for Magic Workstation (MWS)

Magic 2013 will be coming soon, and the spoilers are nearing completion. I'm always eager to start experimenting with deck lists even before the set is "complete" (or at least known to everyone). Luckily, some folks over at MTG Salvation continually update Magic Workstation patches so that people like me who have more time than patience (at least in the summer months) can go ahead and start building decks. I can't give a specific link because updates will be posted frequently between now and the official patch, but here's where you can find some of those works in progress:

Underdark Campaign Pregame - Sandbox Building

Now that it's summer time, it is time to revive game night and get some non-Magic gaming going. I've played plenty of cards over the last few months, and I've put a few hours into Diablo III, but I haven't gotten to play much else. All that changes next Wednesday, when we kick off the Underdark campaign I started talking about a while back.

As I said before, I don't have time to actually create the setting, but I would like to avoid using the Underdark of the Forgotten Realms... so my compromise is to build a quick sandbox of mish-mashed material from several different settings, toss in a few plot hooks, and just see how things play out from there.

These are the locations I plan on using:

  • Haranshire and the Underdark mapped out below it (Night Below)
  • Sshamath (Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark)
  • Mantol-Derith (Menzoberranzan Boxed Set)
  • Underspires (Dragon Magazine #267)
  • Dylvwyllyn (Dungeon Magazine #60)
  • Lower Broken Lands (Poor Wizard's Almanac III)
That short list gives me places for drow, duergar, derro, deep gnomes, mind flayers, aboleth, tons of monstrous humanoids, etc. Between the three adventures (Night Below, Shards of the Day, and Menace in Menzoberranzan Sshamath), there will be plenty of reasons for players to get involved in the goings on of the Underdark. However, with three distinct plot hooks carrying the players in three very different directions, I don't think I'll follow any of the three plot lines as written. Instead, I'll use the locations but allow the players to push things along at whatever pace they choose.

I intended to run the players through the first book of the Night Below adventure as-is and then mix things up when they actually made it to the Underdark. However, after talking to my players about what they intend to play, I think we're going to start at 7th level. While this makes the first book of that particular adventure relatively obsolete (too many low-level encounters), it does have one very useful upside: it allows characters in the "Underdark" campaign to actually start the campaign with one of the adventure hooks that would take them into the Underdark!

Conveniently, 7th level is the approximate midpoint for the time in an adventurer's career that these modules expect characters to enter the Underdark. Night Below assumes characters are 4th level or so before they head below, the pregenerated characters for Menace in Menzoberranzan are all 6th or 7th level, and Shards of the Day was written for characters of 7th to 9th level.

Now I've just got to get everything ready to roll for next week...

Wolf Run X

I've tried quite a few ramp decks lately, but I've always piloted them to frustratingly average finishes. I've tried traditional Wolf Run, RUG Ramp, BUG Ramp, and BG Ramp. They were all decent, but always seemed to lose to the esper control decks that have been so common in Hickory lately. After giving a messy RUG Delver list a shot last Friday (and playing horribly with it), I decided to stop being cute and just play something that fit my play style. Aggro it is... and here's my current list. 

Wolf Run X
Main Deck:
Borderland Ranger
Inferno Titan
Primeval Titan
Strangleroot Geist
Thrun, the Last Troll
Viridian Emissary
Wurmcoil Engine

Garruk Relentless
Bonfire of the Damned
Brimstone Volley
Green Sun's Zenith
Pillar of Flame
Red Sun's Zenith

Copperline Gorge
Evolving Wilds
Inkmoth Nexus
Kessig Wolf Run
Rootbound Crag

Brimstone Volley
Pillar of Flame
Red Sun's Zenith
Wurmcoil Engine

Just a few notes:
  1. When I was looking at Pillar of Flame, Brimstone Volley, and Red Sun's Zenith, I couldn't decide what to cut... so I just played half of each in the main and half of each in the side. I'm sure there is a more efficient mix, but I haven't found it yet.
  2. I don't care what you say. For the foreseeable future, Bonfire of the Damned will be a guaranteed four-of in any deck I play that can make red mana. Yes, it is that good. No, it doesn't matter if I have it in my opening hand. I can't remember how many times I found myself hard casting it for X=1 just to wipe out spirit token blockers before swinging for lots, but it was more than a few.
  3. I'm calling this "Wolf Run X" because there are 14 cards with X in either the casting cost or the activation cost. Yeah, I know there are 8-10 in every other Wolf Run list too.

40K 6th Edition Coming VERY Soon

Based on this teaser video, it would appear that Warhammer 40K 6th Edition is coming this month, but I've heard so little about it officially that I doubt we'll actually get our hands on it until later. I've got a feeling that this little teaser is for the announcement of 6th edition rather than the release, but it wouldn't be the first time I was wrong...

The Gauntlet, The Trial by Fire... And Beyond

Have I mentioned lately how awesome our local card shop is?

Even if I have, I probably haven't said it enough. The Dugout in Hickory, NC is awesome.

Back in February, Tim announced this crazy four month long competition called The Gauntlet. The top 16 players would play in the Trial by Fire, a limited event with a box of Avacyn Restored on the line. I'm not going to go into too much detail because it's already over, but if the details are really important to you, feel free to read them here.

The Gauntlet was interesting, as we jockeyed for points each month and tried to qualify however we could. I had actually given up, but realized in May that I only needed a few more points to solidify my position as a wild card (qualifying through total points rather than finishing top three in a given month). I just don't play regularly enough during the school year, so I didn't think I was close enough.

But I did make it... and the tournament was a ton of fun.

It helped that the rare in my first pack was Bonfire of the Damned. It didn't hurt that the rare in my second pack was Cavern of Souls. At that point, I figured I had easily hit the jackpot money-wise whether I won the tournament or not.

I ended up running this:
8 Forest
7 Mountain
1 Island
1 Cavern of Souls

1 Kessig Malcontents
1 Lightning Mauler
1 Ulvenwald Tracker
1 Soul of the Harvest
1 Trusted Forcemage
1 Tandem Lookout
1 Fervent Cathar
1 Heirs of Stromkirk
2 Riot Ringleader
1 Scalding Devil
1 Flowering Lumberknot
1 Wandering Wolf
1 Gloomwidow
1 Wolfir Avenger
1 Geist Trappers
1 Hanweir Lancer
1 Timberland Guide
1 Borderland Ranger

1 Bonfire of the Damned
1 Thunderous Wrath
1 Mass Appeal
1 Eaten by Spiders

This took me to the final match undefeated, and up against Allen. We agreed before the match to split the box and play for the glory. The table was decorated with stuff that seemed like a mix of Survivor and Pirates of the Caribbean. Many pictures were taken that will probably end up on the Dugout Facebook page... I tried to weasel my way out of as many of those as possible!

Game one wasn't even a competition. I took a sound beating and had to hope for the best in the next game. Game two we both took a while to get going, me because of mana screw and him because of mana flood. I did manage to get into the game, but his second Seraph of Dawn took the wind out of my sails. I wasn't taking much damage, but he was gaining back what little I could push through. Finally, I hit Soul of the Harvest and strung several creatures in a row off of the card draw. I thought things had turned to my favor, but in the end, his mana flood turned into an advantage. The turn before I would have killed him, he miracled his own Bonfire of the Damned to sweep my side of the board and then swing in for the victory.

Congrats to Allen for winning big!

When all was said and done, everyone who participated got two packs and a little square paper with a ship on it. Allen got a piece of paper with a message, something about there being no way out, and an archaic little key.

Apparently, the idea of themed tournaments is not over at The Dugout. We were informed that chapter one was The Gauntlet, chapter two was Trial by Fire, and chapter three would be No Way Out. As we found out today at the Sunday afternoon tournament, there will be another special tournament of some sort in October. More details to come... so far these are the only clues I have...

Magic 2013 (M13) Spoiler

Yep... it's just around the corner, folks. Yet another Magic: The Gathering core set will be released in July, and a few cards are known to us already. I hear that the titan cycle will be rotating out of standard, which will leave room for other big monsters to dominate.

What might be the coolest thing so far is that Nicol Bolas is coming back as a planeswalker in M13!

Here's the spoiler thus far...
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