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Charles Evans 25's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 7,229 posts (10,088 including aliases). 16 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 70 aliases.


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Was having trouble sleeping this morning, so turned the radio on and New Zealand soon reached 150 or so for three, and were going quite well. And then the powerplay struck, and New Zealand collapsed in a fashion that ought to have the England men's team scratching their heads over whether New Zealand have infringed one of their trademark styles of play?...
Congratulations to Australia.
:)


Well, India certainly had their moments - managing to break the Australian second wicket stand before it put the game completely out of their reach, and getting off to a good start when they batted - but it turned out in the end not to be nearly enough.
Final is Australia vs New Zealand.
New Zealand badly need the wheels to fall off the Australian one-day team juggernaut if they're going to have any chance of an even contest.


The 8th Dwarf wrote:
The Kiwis are looking very dangerous.

So do Australia. So long as Australia beat India to reach the final (highly probable to my mind), are in good spirits, and field a full-strength team, I think it'll need a miracle (getting the rub of the green in umpiring decisions included under that heading) for New Zealand to win.

Now, if the Australians reach the final but for some reason have had a collapse in self-belief, or panic in a most un-Australian fashion, New Zealand could thrash them.
Still, all other things being equal, at this stage I'd favour Australia.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

My condolences to his friends and family. I only vaguely knew him, by means of these messageboards, but he seemed to be a hard worker, who threw his heart into projects.
Never a man with enough time to do the impossible, but he came close enough anyway as for the difference to be indistinguishable to most.


Bluenose wrote:
Bluenose wrote:

It's South Africa.

Maybe it won't be a rain delay turning 22 off 13 balls into 22 off 1 ball.

Maybe it won't be Herschelle Gibbs dropping Steve Waugh.

Maybe it won't be Allan Donald forgetting to run.

Maybe they won't assume they've won when D/L makes it a tie and eliminates them.

But you know they'll mess it up somehow.

This time with AB de Villiers messing up a run out chance, though you also had two fielders colliding when going for a catch. But it's another entry in the Saffers fine tradition of mucking up semi-finals.

Even if a South African did hit the winning runs.

Still: that's going to be one more South-African born player in this final of this contest than there have been England players in a final of this contest for goodness knows how long...


And the 'other' Pakistan team turn up (with some exceptions in the bowling department) and Australia march relentlessly on... :)


???
What just happened to Sri Lanka? (In Sydney.)
For a major one-day side to be walloped like that by nine wickets...
South Africa definitely *not* 'choking' in this quarter-final.

In the meantime, in other news, Charlotte Edwards' male test-team counterpart (as captain) has apparently been quoted saying he thinks it was wrong for him to be dropped from the one-day side. Not a good sign for his team, as it seems to me that at this point he ought to be focusing on the forthcoming West Indies tour, not going 'if' and 'maybe' about decisions taken months ago for a different format of the game.


Looks like an Australia vs Pakistan quarter-final unless I misread something. Should be an easy match for Australia (good team, home conditions), unless the 'cricketing geniuses' version of Pakistan turn up. (Trouble is, it's never clear which version of Pakistan are going to appear on the field on any given day.)


Well that should be a relief for the England women's team's male counterparts. They managed to win in a rain-reduced match against... Afghanistan.
Meanwhile Geoffrey Boycott seems to have gone into controlled-panic mode about the prospects of the Test team. He's calling for the recall of Johnathan Trott. Trott was of course last seen at international level falling apart against the Australians. And with an Ashes summer coming up.
To give Sir Geoffrey his due, he isn't calling for Trott to be pitched straight in against the Australians; he wants to see him play in the West Indies, first. On my own part, I'm not sure if Trott will have had time to get himself back together yet and be able to cope with international level cricket again, given how badly it seems to me that the media portrayed that he fell apart 'down under', but maybe he's more resilient than I give him credit for. (I remember that when Marcus Trescothick had his trouble with mental illness, that that was simply it for his international career. :( )


And 'England' go down to Bangladesh. As I posted a couple of days ago, I had a feeling that that was going to happen...
If the England women's male counterparts aren't throwing matches, the entire setup when it comes to team selection and team management is called into question by this latest world cup exit. (And goodness help them if they lose to Afghanistan now.)
Unfortunately, I suspect the result at the England and WalesCricket Board may be either 'Paaaaanic!!!! We need MORE MANAGEMENT!!!!!!' (when as I commented in an earlier post, I suspect that over-management, and too many analysts and statisticians may be part of the current problem) or 'Meh. We got unlucky. No need to change anything, especially not with having changed coaches only recently.'
I hope Morgan doesn't get the sack as captain over this. He was tossed in at the deep end as captain with only a few months to go until this contest, and I'd like to see him captain a one-day series at home, at least, before they fire him, if they're going to do so.


From where I'm sitting, the Adelaide game feels to me like a Bangladesh win at the time of this post. The recent tri-series games against India aside, 'England' are on a spectacular losing streak of late (they went down something like 1-6 in Sri Lanka), and games in the shorter format which they 'should win' seem to be ones in recent history which they have in fact ended up ignominiously losing. (E.G. the last game with Ashley Giles in charge, against the Netherlands.)
And even if 'England' beat Bangladesh by some fluke (and maybe with a couple of controversial umpiring decisions going their way), they still then have to somehow defeat Afghanistan and to cross their fingers and desperately hope that Bangladesh don't get at least a point against New Zealand at Hamilton and go through on superior net run-rate.


And with Bangladesh's victory over Scotland, with overs and wickets to spare, the England women's team's male counterparts move one step closer to sliding out of their contest in an inglorious fashion...


The 8th Dwarf wrote:

I think the Poms can get their act together. I Watched a lot of the game against Sri Lanka. The batsmen did a good job, Root was a star obviously- if Joe can inspire your boys and your bowlers can focus you are in with a chance.

I think it maybe a South Africa - India final.

I can see the hunger in those two teams.

I don't see India beating Australia in any one day match played in Australian conditions in this tournament; not if Australia have all their front-line players injury-free and available, and given the recent triangular series results. If an elimination match takes place in New Zealand, (I'm not sure at this point who is going to play who where) I'd have thought the conditions would still likely be friendlier to the Australians than India. But: I suppose it's possible that Australia might get South Africa, not India, in an early round elimination match, and that could be tough for the Australians. Otherwise, who else is going to knock Australia out, pre-finals? West Indies, maybe, if Gayle goes completely berserk and hits something like 200 runs off a hundred and twenty balls?

The England women's team's male counterparts are all but out of the competition now, having lost to Sri Lanka. Bangladesh got a point out of their game with Australia, due to rain, remember, and the women's team's male counterparts have taken an absolute hammering in some of their matches, which hasn't exactly helped their net run rate. All it needs is a further draw or win for Bangladesh in one of their games against New Zealand and 'England', (and a win of course for Bangladesh against Scotland) and the England women's male counterparts are completely stuffed, whatever else they do. They needed to beat Sri Lanka, they failed badly, and irrespective what they do now, they're not going to make the quarter-finals unless they get results elsewhere going in their favour.


The 8th Dwarf wrote:
New Zealand won by 1 wicket.... And multiple heart attacks.

My apologies. I was sure I'd seen 'eight wickets' in a report somewhere. I have checked the official BBC scorecard, and see it was indeed only one.

Looks good for Australia to win the contest, then, at least out of the teams in their 'pool'.


Well the England women actually managed to win their twenty-twenty series, to my surprise, and, once there weren't any more 2017 qualification points at stake, took the last two matches to actually win the 50 over series, too.
As far as the (men's) world cup in Australia & New Zealand goes, presumably New Zealand, Australia, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka to go through from Pool A. And if Australia meet New Zealand in the competition final, presumably the 'recent result' (meaning the eight wicket win by New Zealand in the group game in Wellington) will spur the Baggy Greens on in their quest to take the trophy.


Someone explain to me please, how the England men's team automatically qualified for their current 50 over competition, instead of having to go through the play-off stages alongside teams like the UAE? They've just been bowled out by New Zealand (edit: New Zealand are a good side, but their bowling attack doesn't exactly have a Dale Steyn or Mitchell Johnson, who should be able to blow a nominally international level batting lineup away like that) for 123 in 33.2 overs, and seen New Zealand thrash their way to victory in 12.2 overs for the loss of only two wickets. Any explanation for how England automatically qualified which does not involve 'The EWCB has money' seems nonsensical to me in the present circumstances.


thenovalord wrote:

Not enough space in the country to develop new talent in schools

Football being the glamour sport now in the UK
Good to hear that just as the English captain doesn't sound English, the Scottish captain doesn't sound Scottish!!
Migrant popn into the UK no longer prominently from ex-empire cricket loving nations

Except I suspect (I may be wrong) that the Netherlands has at least as little time given over to cricket at school-level as the UK; that football is at least as much a 'glamour sport' in the Netherlands as it is in the UK. And yet The Netherlands humiliated England in a 20/20 game in Bangladesh in March last year.

Hence my suspicion that the EWCB is managing to utterly scramble all its international level 'England' players' minds, by over-management; that the 'England' players are being told so many different things to do and think by so many different people that they're incapable of simply going out there and playing professional international level cricket any more.
And unfortunately I can't see the current EWCB recognising that this might be a problem of their own creation any time soon (if that is indeed the case), but I can see them instead assuming the problem is 'not enough management' and throwing ever more managers and coaches and psychologists at things to try and 'fix' them, as likely as not only making the situation worse instead.
Well either that or the 'England' teams are doing so consistently badly because sufficient of them are as bent as corkscrews and trying to 'throw' matches for bribes from bookmakers that a no-win is a guaranteed result in many cases, but let's not go there for now...


Nope. Lost another one. England starting to look incompetent in all forms of cricket now, of either sex. (Granted, the women are still *miles* better than the men.)
Given that supposedly the 'English' game is one of the best funded in the world it's difficult to understand what's going so catastrophically wrong. Over-management? Too many psychologists, and sports-therapists, and number-crunchers buzzing around, when what the players ought to be doing and thinking about is actually playing to their best and not what some boffin with half a mile of 'letters' after their names says that they ought to be worrying about?
To anyone who disputes that the 'English' game has gone catastrophically wrong, I refer them to the previous 'world' competition where the England (men's) squad managed to decisively lose to that major cricketing superpower, The Netherlands. Then, of course it was assumed that Ashley Giles was the problem, and simply sacking him would make everything better again, at least in the one day game - to which I can say that clearly it hasn't.
And in the meantime, if the problem is over-management, the idiots in charge at the moment seem to think that the problem can be cured with even more management and even more statistics and computer-analysis and other whatnot, of course making the problem worse - not least because the players themselves are being told 'given all the effort we're throwing at you, you ought to be getting better'.
Oh well. Maybe the country should invent another sport, and they might prove good at that for twelve months, until someone else with a less complicated approach comes along and thrashes them at it.
Or maybe the country should just stick to what the Australians refer to as 'sitting down' sports. Such as Cycling. And Rowing... :D


And the England team which isn't female have lost to Australia yet again. No surprises there. Presumably at some point bookmakers will stop offering odds of any kind on Australia getting a 'not losing' result against this particular side, at least when playing in Australia.


Ah, that's better. 90 run win for the England women in their second one-day match. :)


'Political Puppets' is a deck apparently built around one trick: 'Insurrection'.
Admittedly, if it comes off, it's a very good trick - potentially a 'game over, it was nice playing with all of you' trick (assuming nobody has anything like a 'Fog' to stop all combat damage).
Other than that, the deck seems to be built to try and survive. It seems a bit heavy on the card-drawing, and a bit light on the specific threat removal, which is a potential problem if someone has an effectively unblockable creature that they decide to make your life a misery with. Still, I can see a sort of point to going in that direction if the philosophy of the deck is that other players are supposed to be so grateful at all the cards that they're drawing, etc, etc, because of this deck, that they mostly ignore it when it comes to making their attacks.

Personally I'd remove the 'Rapacious One' (uncommon) and 'Murmurs from Beyond' (common), neither of which seem to me to fit terribly well with what the deck is supposed to be trying to do. ('Murmurs from Beyond' seems particularly pointless to me, as it allows an opponent to put almost certainly out of immediate reach, in the graveyard, one of the deck's few cards which might actually win the game.)
I'd suggest 'Portent' (common, Ice Age) instead of the 'Murmurs from Beyond', as, although it's a sorcery, it offers basic draw manipulation, which can be extended to another player.
I'm tempted by 'Varchild's War-Riders' (Rare, Alliances) as a replacement for the 'Rapacious One', but technically it's the wrong category of rarity for a like-for-like direct replacement. *

I also have doubts over the deck's 'Flusterstorm' (Rare), which is ineffective in many situations, if you're actually seriously trying to counter something; 'Spurnmage Advocate' (uncommon), which is rather weedy at 1/1, and doesn't actually bury or remove-from-game a target attacking creature; and 'Death by Dragons' (uncommon), which I regard as generally pointless, although it does at least make occasional sense in the context of this deck in combination with 'Insurrection' if you're trying to get a game over in one massive strike.

(Edit)
* It looks to me like under the current rules (12th February, 2015) the tokens generated by Varchild's War-Rider's are 'owned' by the player whose control they come into play under... Oh well, that would somewhat diminish the fun which could be had with them in this deck.


Gah! England women let New Zealand get a 150+ run opening partnership in the first match of their one day series and then lost chasing the New Zealand total of 240 by 67 runs.
And in the meantime, the other England 'team' in the vicinity of Australia/New Zealand lost a warm-up match to Pakistan; a lot more of those (i.e. losses) to come, I suspect...


The NPC wrote:
Charles Evans 25 wrote:
The NPC wrote:

We have War, Death, Conquest/Pestilence, and Famine.

What would you posit for a 5th Horseman?

Misinformation. In all its forms, including (but by no means limited to) typing errors & malapropisms; incorrect Wikipedia pages; news stories which have more basis in 'we want something which will grab people's attention' than in actual fact; speeches or other public declarations by most extremists; and 'faked' you-tube clips (or at least the ones which are not clearly identified as such and posted solely for entertainment purposes).

This one actually makes me think a bit. Which hurt. Thanks a lot ;)

A lot of damage and harm can be caused by people being incorrectly informed...

Happy to have posted something even mildly thought-provoking. :)


My reaction to 'Mirror Mastery' is urgh.
Most of the deck's creatures are casting cost 6+. (And the 'designated' commander is 5 total.)
The deck has very little life-gain and gets stamped to death by weenies before it gets the chance to get more than one or two of the big creatures out.
To add insult to injury, the designated commander's ability to 'copy' sorceries & instants or creatures which the deck plays is practically redundant with some of the contents of the deck. For example 'Ruination' (blow up all non-basic lands) is almost pointless to duplicate, unless you think someone might counterspell one casting, but not two.
There is also a shortage of targeted creature removal.
To my mind the deck needs a complete overhaul. Either the top-heavy creatures need for the most part stripping out and replacing with ones in the total cost 4-5 range, if doubling up on the deck's own spells is supposed to be the deck's main theme ('Arashi, the Sky Asunder' strikes me as potentially useful a blocker here) or a lot of the sorceries and instants need to go to put in low and mid-level blockers to hold out until the big creatures start to hit play, if big creatures are supposed to be the deck's main theme ('Skyshroud Troopers' strike me as a potentially useful modest sized mana-elf, in this category of possible usefulness).
At present, the deck seems to me to be trying to do two main things, and ending up doing neither overly well.


Final comments for now on 'Counterpunch'.
I'm strongly tempted to recommend removing Symbiotic Worm (rare) which has a triple-same-colour in the mana cost, and lacks trample. Penumbra Wurm (Apocalypse, Rare) costs one Green less, is only 1/1 smaller than the Symbiotic Wurm (6/6 as compared to 7/7), and does have trample. And Symbiotic Wurm when it dies puts out a pile of little green 1/1 tokens, whereas the Penumbra Wurm puts out a black 6/6 trample token...

Other possible recommendations for inclusion in 'Counterpunch' are Creakwood Liege (Rare, Eventide) and Distorting Lens (Rare, Mercadian Masques).
(By way of explanation for the latter possibility, some of the 'removal' in 'Counterpunch' fails to work on black creatures, which is somewhat annoying in situations where the things severely aggravating a player using 'Counterpunch' happen to be black creatures. Plus the deck has 'fear'/'intimidate' options, where use of a Distortig Lens can temporarily circumvent a creature which might otherwise be able to block.)


The NPC wrote:

We have War, Death, Conquest/Pestilence, and Famine.

What would you posit for a 5th Horseman?

Misinformation. In all its forms, including (but by no means limited to) typing errors & malapropisms; incorrect Wikipedia pages; news stories which have more basis in 'we want something which will grab people's attention' than in actual fact; speeches or other public declarations by most extremists; and 'faked' you-tube clips (or at least the ones which are not clearly identified as such and posted solely for entertainment purposes).


The 8th Dwarf wrote:
Dude don't get depressed it makes hating England less fun... Come now chaps, stiff upper lip, and all that, what what, tallyho...

Right now, I feel that the England men's side ought to be banned from playing overseas matches against anyone else 'major' - except maybe Zimbabwe - for at least the next couple of years. (And of course the politicians in London likely won't let the men's team play against Zimbabwe...)

Something has gone very badly wrong with men's cricket, at the international level, as far as the 'England' team go. And based on recent performances it's going to take years to correct it. If it can be corrected.


And, as predicted: Link
England (men) completely outclassed, and wiped out by the Australians.
The England men's team simply don't seem to be good enough to beat other teams on their (that is to say their opponent's) home-turf these days, unless their opponents are truly awful. They can manage to maybe beat other teams on 'neutral' turf (or even turf friendlier to England than to the opposition) as shown by their defeats of India in this series, but they're incapable of winning in one of the other side's strongholds.


Sorry about that (the RPGSupersuccubus scores), but those are the categories the items are being rated under this year...


Well. Looks like the Australia (men's) team get to defeat England (again) in the triangular series final...
:D


Mark Seifter wrote:
...So that's the good. And if I stopped there, it would be a full Keep from me...But the problem is mechanical skill is extremely poor. First of all, the staff's caster level was left at the default, but it has to be 9th, since it has a 5th-level spell. Even if I accept that the caster level is 8th, the staff would...

I remember Sean Reynolds addressing Caster Levels of items in a RPGSuperstar thread a few years back... LINK

I remember it, having been on the wrong side of that discussion... :)

Edit:
Anyway, on to business...


Dark blue lines around some rooftops and parts of ship are presumably shallow water.
Apparently windows/hatches in some roofs, probably giving access to attic space.
Swirly bits may be supposed to be 'whirlpools', or rising air-bubbles from sea-bed, or something or other else.
Premise of map would presumably be PCs at low level wrecked or magically zapped into area and supposed to salvage/survive.
Unclear how chests from a ship got onto roof-tops; presumably given their neat positioning, at highest/flattest points of roofs, some sort of intelligent agency must have positioned them there - apart from the one apparently floating on a large piece of free-floating deck (or raft?) out in the middle of nowhere.
Might be some sort of trap/ambush situation, with chests as bait and something underwater.
*****
Congratulations to Allana Sliwinski on making round 2.


Given the hazards of steam (being boiled alive and suffocated - and possibly being crushed by atmospheric pressure, too, if the steam is unable to vent by a route such as (in this case) the surface connection in area 10) I take it that anyone still in the majority of the map area once things start to 'heat up' either has some sort of protections like high fire-resistance and necklaces of adaptation or is very, very, dead.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Tomb of the Mad Alchemist.
The only 'dungeon crawl' map I've seen in this round which suggests that adventurers in the area may have to actually break out of the 'kill things, take their stuff' routine, and take some time to work through solving puzzles.


Jacob W. Michaels wrote:

Oh, fellow Jacob. Yours was one of the first maps I looked at, because I was really hoping it would be awesome and knock my socks off. Unfortunately, I'm afraid I'm disappointed.

Moving beyond the rectangular rooms, I'm also just not seeing the logic of this one. The tomb appears to be an elaborate death trap, but most of that is beyond the actual dead elementalist (maybe his madness explains this?). I can't figure out why the PCs would want to try to bypass those acid pits as there doesn't seem to be anything beyond it. I'm afraid they would mostly shrug and say, "Huh, acid. Well, let's not go in there." Maybe the backstory is they need to collect all the individual runes, but the map's not enough to convey that possibility, I'm afraid.

I'm sorry, since I was absolutely pulling for you coming into this round, but I won't be voting for this.

There's an 'Earth Rune' on the far side of the acid. What it does isn't clear from the map, but there is something on the other side...


I feel I should apologise for all those zeroes. The Earthcracker simply doesn't score in any of the categories which the RPGSupersuccubus is using to assess items, this year...


On the 'straight edged square rooms and hallways' front, they are at least simple for the DM to draw when laying out the situation for their players on a gaming table, if the DM doesn't have some sort of fancy electronic gaming table available or a custom map bought or printed from a pdf file.
Unfortunately straight edged square rooms and hallways need a lot more work to convey the illusion of dynamism, when it comes to trying to sell an idea simply off the map alone.
I remember the first 2nd edition boxed set in the Undermountain line, and there were a lot of straight square edged rooms and hallways there. Most of the fun of Undermountain came in the text, not the maps.


Grumble, grumble...
Blinking Wrexial, the Risen Deep and Sol'kanar the Swamp King.
Black creatures, thus not qualifying for 'non-black' creature removal.
Flipping annoying creatures which swampwalk...

Urborg is nice, but Commander decks with 40 lands in already hardly need more land.
Hmm. Maybe pull the 'Temple of the False God' (uncommon) and put in 'Urborg' (Legends, uncommon).


Kalervo Oikarinen wrote:

Thanks again for all the new comments, pugwampies and all. :)

Mark, I'm glad to be able take another crack at this again. Hopefully I'll achieve non-eligible status as well this year.

Now, of course, you get a 'special' review...

;)


I regret to report that the following does not make sense to me:

Harvestweal wrote:
...The shining blade bypasses the hardness of any wood or vegetable matter, even that which is alchemically treated, a special material, or magical in nature...

I just googled a selection of images of a 'sickle' to check I wasn't thinking in error of some other implement, but came up picture after picture of items with a crescent shaped blade that had a handle affixed.

I just don't see how an item with a blade that shape is good for sundering, for example, a door or a castle gate.
Using a sickle on quarterstaffs, bow-staves, and very small trees, yes - all of these being items which the blade will naturally fit around.
Roughly circular objects with a diameter considerably larger than the chord (mathematically speaking) of the sickle blade or large flat objects, which at best the point will get stuck in, no. You need something with a different shaped blade to tackle those - an axe ideally.
From a point of view of common-sense, the item requires a limitation on the dimensions of objects it can be used to practically 'auto-sunder' - unless there's something or other in the rules already about using sickles to sunder items, in which case my apologies for the minor nitpick (it's been a while since I looked at the rulebooks) and carry on as you were...


Upon reflection, and reading some of the later posts in the thread by the designer, I retract the 'I would baaaaaaaan this item like heck!!!!' statement of earlier.
I reserve the right to refer to it by the nickname of 'Pugwampi's Poking Stick' though. ;)


Browman wrote:
Charles Evans 25 wrote:
Charles Evans 25 wrote:

If I were a GM I'd ban this item at my table or give it one-of-a-kind-artifact-status. As a commonly available item I could see it reducing too many high-level combats to which-side-throws-a-javelin-and-mind-control/death-effect-first.

Javelin/monster-summon-mook combination, that is; as earlier posters have observed giving something dangerous the saving throws of, say, a beetle is exceptionally advantageous to opponents.
As the designer has stated, you only share the roll not your pluses. So all summoning low level monsters will do is increase the probability of a bad roll.

If that is the case, then it seems to me to be at odds with the entire 'shared fate' doom/ominous 'vibe' of the item which the name and the first few lines of item description (very) successfully establishes.

It also seems to me that in that case it may as well be called 'Pugwampi's Poking Stick', since all that it's usually effectively likely to do is to force a single (enemy) target to take the worst (1-20 result) of two (d20) dice rolls. (Well unless several enemies are obligingly lined up in conga-line formation in a 5 foot wide corridor, so that multiple enemies might get hit and increase the number of rolls.) :D


Charles Evans 25 wrote:

If I were a GM I'd ban this item at my table or give it one-of-a-kind-artifact-status. As a commonly available item I could see it reducing too many high-level combats to which-side-throws-a-javelin-and-mind-control/death-effect-first.

Javelin/monster-summon-mook combination, that is; as earlier posters have observed giving something dangerous the saving throws of, say, a beetle is exceptionally advantageous to opponents.


And the clown-squad are back to being thrashed by Australia, this time in the fifty over format. Unsurprising for the clown-squad against Australia, playing in Australia.
Still, at least under Morgan they managed to beat India in Australian conditions the other day.
Can't see the clown-squad winning the upcoming world-cup, though, if they couldn't win today at Hobart against an Australian one-day squad hit by injuries and with a captain out on a one-match suspension. The clown-squad are almost certainly going to end up playing the Australians somewhere in an elimination match if the clown-squad make it out of the group stages, and the clown-squad aren't going to win that match, based on the two most recent clashes.


If I were a GM I'd ban this item at my table or give it one-of-a-kind-artifact-status. As a commonly available item I could see it reducing too many high-level combats to which-side-throws-a-javelin-and-mind-control/death-effect-first.


Further to my previous post, 'Genesis' (Rare, Judgement set) is another possibility for a 'Devour for Power' modification.

*****

On to 'Counterpunch':
This deck flatters to deceive.
If it gets a 'lucky' opening hand and first few draws, against mana-jammed or otherwise absolutely useless opposition, it can look spectacular.
It unfortunately tends to fall apart against competent opposition which gets good starts - or some of the time just starts better than it. In one dry run game I played with the 'Counterpunch' deck Ghave was a non-issue in proceedings and the deck was powerless to prevent its other big creatures from getting chewed up by a Ramses Overdark/Dragon's Shadow combination in a black/blue/white deck. ('Counterpunch' deck puts big (high casting cost) creature into play, and opponent puts Dragon's Shadow out of their graveyard into play enchanting said creature. Opponent taps Ramses Overdark. Big creature dies and Dragon's Shadow goes back into opponent's graveyard. Opponent optionally uses Minamo, School at Water's Edge to untap Ramses Overdark, ready for the next victim...) Counterpunch's 1/1 tokens in the meantime fall victim to Deathbringer Thoctor (Thoctor with one counter on removes counter to exterminate 1/1 token; demise of 1/1 token puts counter on Thoctor; Thoctor removes counter to take out the next 1/1 token...) or to other nasties (for example: Ascendant Evincar; Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite; Tibor and Lumia). And the deck's 'designated' commander, Ghave, Guru of Spores, does not fly. The latter would not be such a problem if the deck had an otherwise solid defence against fliers, but counter-flier measures are somewhat thin on the ground, and one 'dry run' game ended with the 'Counterpunch' deck being taken down by an opponent's commander dealing 21+ damage in combat by means of repeated attacks that were flying and only blockable by black creatures (had Teneb been the 'Counterpunch' commander in that game, things might have gone differently...)
As to modifications, thus far my tinkering with 'Counterpunch' has been limited. If Ghave hits play and 'comes off' (or Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter, does likewise, for that matter) the results can be spectacular.
At present I have removed:
Spawnwrithe (Rare)
Awakening Zone (Rare)
Alliance of Arms (Rare)
Storm Herd (Rare)
Cobra Trap (uncommon)

At present I have inserted:
Requiem Angel (Rare, Dark Ascension)
Tolsimir Wolfblood (Rare, Ravnica: City of Guilds)
Decree of Justice (Rare, Scourge)
Duneblast (Khans of Tarkir)
Even the Odds (uncommon, Future Sight)

On the Rare front I'm tempted to remove the Hornet Queen due to the three-points-of-green in the casting cost, to either put the Storm Herd back in or to insert a new card with removal options (such as Crime/Punishment (Dissension) or Utter End (Khans of Tarkir).
On the uncommon front, I'm not entirely confident about Even the Odds; other possibilities are Midnight Haunting (Innistrad) and Suture Spirit (Eventide). Every test game I played with the Cobra Trap that the deck 'came with' in hand, though, it ended up being essentially a casting cost six instant for four 1/1 tokens at a point in the game where either there wasn't enough mana available to cast it, or where four more 1/1 tokens which did nothing exciting were absolutely pointless. The alternate casting cost condition of the Cobra Trap never triggered at a time when it was in hand and would have been useful. Thus to my mind the Cobra Trap is dead-weight in the deck.
I'm also in two minds over the deck's Acorn Catapult. So far whenever it's come into play it's ended up being almost exclusively used to shoot the deck's own creatures to make squirrel tokens for Ghave or Vish Kal to eat.


Overlooked 'Jwar Isle Refuge' in previous comments regarding 'Devour for Power'. The deck, as sold, has means to regain 1 life, when the Jwar Isle Refuge (a land) comes into play.
Within the limits of my own collection (most of it older stuff) have tried to come up with some modifications to the deck whilst trying to stay loosely 'on theme' (sticking things in graveyards) and like-for-like as far as rarity of cards go.

I removed:
Dreamborn Muse (Rare)
Patron of the Nezumi (Rare)
Scythe Specter (Rare)
Grave Pact (Rare)
Living Death (Rare)
Oblivion Stone (Rare)
Fact or Fiction (uncommmon)
Spell Crumple (uncommon)
Nezumi Grave Robber (uncommon)
Rise from the Grave (uncommon)
Artisan of Kozilek (uncommon)
Desecrator Hag (common)
Slipstream Eeel (common)
Sign in Blood (common)
Unnerve (common)

I inserted:
Doomgape (Rare, Eventide)
Dimir Doppelganger (Rare, Ravnica: City of Guilds)
Simic Sky Swallower (Rare, Dissension)
Elvish Farmer (Rare, Fallen Empires)
Plaguebearer (Rare, Exodus)
Whetwheel (Rare, Future Sight)
Dimir Guildmage (uncommon, Ravnica: City of Guilds)
Duskmantle Guildmage (uncommon, Gatecrash)
Trygon Predator (uncommon, Dissension)
Spiny Starfish (uncommon, Alliances)
Diabolic Servitude (uncommon, Urza's Saga)
Golgari Brownscale (common, Ravnica: City of Guilds)
Thornweald Archer (common, Future Sight)
Lim-Dûl's High Guard (common, Alliances)
Stinkweed Imp (common, Ravnica: City of Guilds)

As with the 'Heavenly Inferno' modification, I'm not sure it's the best like-for-like (by rarity) set of replacements that I could have made, and not all the 'replacement' cards have come up yet during dry-run play tests, so I'm not sure how effective they are. On the uncommon side, Deep Spawn (Fallen Empires) and Trophy Hunter (Ravnica: City of Guilds) are both possibilities for insertions; on the common side Essence Warden (Planar Chaos) if the environment seems survivable to such things; Sheoldred, Whispering One (Mythic Rare, New Phyrexia) might be a possible replacement for Wrexial, the Risen Deeep.
I'd have been tempted to get a Will-o'-the-Wisp in, on the Rare front, if I had one.
I'm not sure how Diabolic Servitude got left off the original list, since in the event that enemy decks can't do anything about it, it can get very annoying.
As far as cards with buyback go I considered (but did not include) Disturbed Burial (common, Tempest), Capsize (common, Tempest), Forbid (uncommon, Exodus), and Mystic Speculation (uncommon, Future Sight). The two points of blue in the main cost were factors weighing against the inclusion of either Forbid or Capsize.

Edit:
The three 'applicable' Chancellors from the New Phyrexia set are additional possibilities for Rare slots; although to my mind probably uncastable from hand, unless the game goes on for quite some time with no land destruction, they are large creatures and do have 'you may reveal if you get this card in your starting hand' effects. They are Chancellor of the Dross (black), Chancellor of the Spires (blue) and Chancellor of Tangle (green).


Correction to previous post:
'Devour for Power' has 33 creatures, not 32. I had the deck laid out and counted 'Brawn' as an effect, not a creature.
Possibly 33 and a half if you count the 'Svogthos, the Restless Tomb' land as a creature, too, although that latter won't do a Mortivore much good for the creature count in your graveyard, or come back with a 'Living Death', etc.


Finally got around to digging the 'Devour for Power' deck that I've had for a while out of its box and dry-testing it.
The mana-base is fairly solid (although at 40% land with some of those being common Ravnica guild lands, plus signets, it should be).
The deck has problems, however:
1) It has no obvious means, in deck, of regaining lives. That means that even in a commander game, starting at 40 lives, it is very definitely 'on a clock'.
2) It has very few low casting-cost creatures (and some of them are two points of same-colour mana creatures, making them difficult to get out early in the game, even with the rather generous mana base). This means that that clock will already be run some of the way down, before the deck gets a creature out, in most multi-player games.
3) It has only ONE creature in the casting cost four or lower bracket actually able to either fly or to block fliers. This runs the life point clock down even further.
4) It has some very big creatures, but by the time that any of the larger creatures come out (or grow to dangerous size), the life point total of the player may already be so low that instead of creatures being able to go on the offensive, they have to sit back in defence, because one or two solid attacks coming through mean game over.
5) The deck only has 32 creatures. This means that some of the deck's cards relying on 'good' creatures being in graveyards are relying either on opponents having such ones in theirs, or resource-heavy combinations to cycle some of the own deck into the graveyard whilst opponents basically allow it to happen. The 'recommended' general for the deck, 'The Mimeoplasm' suffers particularly from this. (And some cards that the deck contains such as 'Living Death' are dubious to use if your opponents have gone through more creatures than you.)
6) Some of the cards in the deck work at potential cross-purposes to the overall theme of the deck - e.g. the 'Nezumi Graverobber' removes cards from graveyards and requires a graveyard being completely empty to allow it to 'flip'.
7) Whilst containing plenty of ways to annoy opponents, such as 'Syphon Flesh' and 'Gravepact', all too often cards which kill opponents' creatures or otherwise deplete their resources (such as by 'milling' cards from library) do so either randomly or leaving choices to them, allowing them to sacrifice the 2/2 Grizzly Bear, so that they can smack you back with the Mana-Charged Dragon at the next opportunity that they get. Apart from the 'Avatar of Woe' the deck contains very little which can be used to *selectively* pick off the potentially most damaging/threatening enemy-controlled creatures. Meanwhile, some of the creature cards with potential to annoy your opponents such as the 'Extractor Demon' positively *beg* to be targeted for spot-removal by your opponents, both so that the effect will go away, and so that it won't be there in the way as a potential blocker when they come rolling in to smack you for milling several turns' worth of their decks away.
*****
Fixes?
I'm not sure what fixes to recommend for this deck, without a major rebuild. Out of the provided possible 'generals', I'm most inclined to use Vorosh, simply because Vorosh is a big flying potential blocker that might just get deployed in time for blocking-duty before the life points situation becomes critical.
The Artisan of Kozilek seems to me almost pointless, since without an Eldrazi drones power-base, it's almost impossible to play before the life-points run out normally, and doing clever things involving getting it into the graveyard and combo-ing off with other cards seems to me somewhat hit-and miss and/or assumes opponents completely incapable of or unwilling to interfere.
And I'm not sure why the Dimir Guildmage didn't make it into the deck, given that other Ravnica block guildmages turned up in other decks in this particular 'commander' series.


Nooooooo! He was one of the few good (current) Australian test batsmen that the (non-female) England team had worked out how to (usually) get out cheaply!!!!
On a more sombre note though, my sympathy to all his friends, his family, and his team-mates.

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