MAGIC THE GATHERING COMMANDER (2016 EDITION) REVIEW

Every year WOTC (Wizards of the Coast) releases their pre-built Commander decks. These five decks serve as a way for customers to get into the format without spending their time or money creating their own costly custom decks.

4wabqqptjv_enThe 2016 Commander decks came out last week and distributers have had a hard time keeping them on the shelves with all the excitement circling them. Nevertheless, we managed to get our hands on all five so we could give you our review.

I’ll preface this by saying: I am not going to compare these decks against each other. What you want in a deck is subjective and will almost certainly be different from what I want in a deck, so there’s no way to answer a question like, “Which deck is better?”

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at what you get if you buy any of these five. Inside every box is a 100 card deck that includes:

• A foil four color Commander.
• An Oversized version (also foiled) of your four colored Commander.
• Three foil two color Commanders with the new partner mechanic.
• Commander staples like sol ring, command tower, and Commander’s sphere.
• Commander exclusive cards printed solely for these decks.

fopg1n2tr8_enEach deck retails for $35, which is well under their estimated ‘value’ if you were to buy the cards separately. With all Magic the Gathering sealed products comes the question of, “Can these stand up to a competitor’s custom deck?”, and the answer is “Kinda.” For casual play these will hold their own at your local games store or friends house. But the main reason you would buy these is because they provide you with a great framework to make your own custom deck. Normal custom Commander decks tend to be costly affairs so if buying a $35 pre-built gets you 60% of the cards you need, you’re doing yourself a favor in the long run.

mylqpi6hqn_enWith all five of these being sold in lots for as low as $130, the possibilities are endless. The new partner mechanic allows for constant mixing and matching of colors and partnered Commanders to fit exactly what you may want. If that’s not your style there are 17 other legendary creatures (and Daretti the Planeswalker) among the five decks as possible Commanders for you to customize around.

All and all, these are some of the best sealed products released from Wizards and they tend to hold their value as an investment as well. I cannot recommend these enough for those that are looking for an affordable way to get into the format or just to buy cards to supplement their already existing decks.

THE GRAND TOUR MAKES ITS GRAND ENTRANCE ON AMAZON PRIME

This past Friday was the premier of Amazon Prime’s much anticipated show The Grand Tour and for fans of Clarkson, May, and Hammond; it feels like a better looking Top Gear.

To call this an Amazon Original is a bit of a stretch, but after seeing what the BBC tried to pass off as Top Gear I can’t complain.

One of the main differences from the very begging, between this and the trio’s first show was the budget. Amazon is sinking some major money into this ‘original’ and from the scale of some of the shots (particularly the opening cinematic) it’s pretty evident where all of it is going. One segment of the show had the trio driving three super-cars, each worth over one million dollars around a race track in Portugal. Now this is not an odd sight for fans of the original show, the BBC certainly gave them some pricey toys to play with every once in a while, but certainly not on their first episode of a season/series, and not all three presenters at once, and not for a single segment of an already packed show.

To give an example of how much this show threw money around, it starts with a car convoy through the desert to a “Burning Man” style rock concert, then they unveil their new track (lovingly named The Eboladrome after sharing its name and shape with the disease), then they raced the aforementioned super-cars, and then to top it all off they killed off three celebrities. That’s right, they had Jeremy Renner, Armie Hammer, and Carol Vorderman make appearances only to end up as corpses mere seconds after saying hello (if they even lasted that long).

This was a fantastic first episode and in no small part because we got to see the trio back together again. They were what Top Gear fans missed the most when the BBC tried to bring the show back with new hosts Matt LeBlanc and Chris Evans. As the BBC found out, you can’t fake that kind of relationship/dynamic (LeBlanc and Evans tried their best to), and at the end of the day that’s what makes The Grand Tour already better than new Top Gear. The show will take place in Johannesburg next week and I personally can’t wait to see what antics these three get into next.

JOSS WHEDON & CHRIS PINE TEAM UP FOR A PSA EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Joss Whedon and Chris Pine have teamed up for a savetheday.vote ad that is enjoyable for both the politically ignorant and the politically informed.

If you’ve ever wondered ‘What does it mean when they say they are shutting down the government to protest?’, this PSA perfectly displays it in an office scenario. The scene in question has Chris Pine throwing a temper tantrum during a meeting in which his co-workers are discussing ‘plans’ and who will be ‘covered’ culminating in Pine declaring “I’m shutting down the company” with a maniacal snicker and a press of his tablet. The short also co-stars frequent Whedon collaborator Alan Tudyk as the exasperated head of the office who’s just trying to make things function for everyone.

It is important to note that this ad isn’t affiliated with any party or candidate, and is clearly not meant as a smear or take down.

It mainly highlights some ludicrous behavior that (while its caricatured in the commercial) has really happened in our government. The ad does a great job at driving home the message that we are in fact the real bosses, and if we do not like how anyone in government is conducting themselves, we have the power to change that with our vote.

And it does it while humorously making light of some very scary and real situations in our government. Watch the full ad for yourself below and make sure to get out and vote next Tuesday, November 8.

THE GRAND TOUR: THE TRAILER

Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May (the former hosts of BBC’s Top Gear) have not hosted a show together since the BBC released Clarkson last year and the other two stuck with him and did not renew their contracts.

Not long after the debacle it was announced that Amazon would be giving them 4.5 million pounds (per episode) to do what they do best, insult each other and drive beautiful cars in lavish environments. Basically a Top Gear with ten times the budget. We got a 30 second teaser last month telling us the release date, but that was hardly enough to quench our thirst. Most fans have been chomping at the bit to see what kind of trouble the trio has gotten themselves into and (frankly) if the magic is still there.

This new trailer, dubbed “The Trailer”, aims to put those worries to bed.

It starts out on a rainy grey racetrack with May being laughed at mercilessly by his co-hosts for injuries he may or may not have sustained before filming, and follows it up with the boys driving quickly through some remarkable sights (most noticeable/recognizable is Egypt). In the minute and thirty seconds they managed to fit in an idiotic quote from Jeremy “Looking good is more important than looking where you’re going”, an outburst from May where he calls one of them a “Muppet”, and Richard’s quick and witty quips that he often makes behind Clarkson’s back.

We are very excited that the wait is almost over and we will finally get a proper Top Gea… I mean The Grand Tour.

The Grand Tour will be streamable through Amazon Prime on a weekly basis starting November 18th.

UFC 205: MCGREGOR TO FIGHT ALVAREZ

Conor McGregor is the hottest fighter in the industry right now, and being on top has its perks.

After defeating former featherweight champ, Jose Aldo, in 13 seconds of the first round, McGregor has seemingly been in control of who he fights and in which weight class he’ll fight them (whether featherweight, lightweight, or welterweight). For his next opponent the Irishman has chosen to ignore the obvious rematch with Aldo, saying, “It’s hard to even think of Aldo, I KO’d him in 13 seconds. I traveled around the world with him, he pulled out with two weeks’ notice.” instead, setting his sights on Eddie Alvarez, the current UFC lightweight champion.

The fight is set for UFC 205, and if McGregor wins he will be one of only a handful of fighters to hold titles in separate weight classes and the first to hold the titles simultaneously. However, UFC President Dana White told SportsCenter, “He will give up one of the titles after that fight in New York”. Whether or not that’s the case is still up in the air with White making a similar statement after McGregor fought Nate Diaz at UFC 202. McGregor has been VERY vocal about what would happen if anyone tried to strip him of a title saying, “They’re going to have to gather an army to try and take one of them off me.” while next to White at a press conference for UFC 205 (as White smiled along).

You can tell he knows how much he’s worth to the company, claiming he has a price tag of $4 billion. And he’s not only making these claims in a braggadocios way, but he actually believes them to be true. And why wouldn’t he? Earning a nickname of “Mystic Mac” due to his uncanny ability to predict the outcomes of his fights, McGregor seems like the best person to look to when wondering what will happen next in his career. For UFC 205 he has predicted, “One round it will take me to knock him out”. The odds reflect as much with McGregor at -125 to Alvarez at -105. But anyone who has watched UFC recently knows  that nothing is for certain and we might have another unpredictable fight with this one.

McGregor vs Alvarez is scheduled for November 12th at Madison Square Garden and will be available on Pay-Per-View.