To Live by a New Motto

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Standard

Hi there. My name is Nhan Pham, and this is my personal blog I have been using for three+ years now. However, for the past few months, I have been neglecting this site for whatever reason. Let’s just say a lot of things happened, which forced me to rethink everything from the ground up. Blogging has been a great means to relieve stress for me, but I fell into a real slump where even writing a post each day proved difficult without proper focus or motivation.

I want to change this fact from this point forward. The blog itself reflects my “pulse” and offers me a means to share my personality and various interests.

“Get good. Be better.”

This is the new motto I want to live by, not only for this blog, but in general. It has become apparent that if I want to get anywhere in life, I have to strive to improve myself in more facets. Being just proficient at something isn’t enough to me anymore. You have to go a step beyond and surpass individual thresholds and, most importantly, be able to stand with or above others in a respective area. Continue reading

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Card Me: Gift of Orzhova

Standard

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Card Me: A favorite hobby of mine is playing card games. There is just something really remarkable about how laying cardboard onto a table can bring people together for lots of fun/frustration. As a naturally shy person in real life, I enjoy how card games can bring me out of my shell for quite the social activity.
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Who doesn’t love an angel? Magic: The Gathering certainly does. In fact, Gift of Orzhova is very flavorful.
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Card Name: Gift of Orzhova
Mana Cost: 1White or BlackWhite or Black
Converted Mana Cost: 3
Types:
Enchantment — Aura
Card Text: Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets +1/+1 and has flying and lifelink.
Flavor Text: “Remember by whose gift you ascend.”
—Milana, Orzhov prelate
Watermark: Orzhov
Expansion: Gatecrash (Uncommon) Gatecrash
Rarity: Uncommon
Card Number: 219
Artist: Johannes Voss
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Simply put, this card is awesome. It makes a target creature an angel with flying and lifelink.

Just incredible.

The 54th Deadline: Wild Card

Standard


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The 54th Deadline: Life is a series of chances to achieve something by a given point. You might very well miss out on opportunities if you are not careful. However, I firmly believe that God gives us plenty of means to find our way, even if we mess up here and there. After all, life demands deadlines. Try and try again until your goals and dreams are realized. Strive to finish on a successful note with whatever you set out to do. Always.
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If people are like cards in this elaborate game of life, then I am no doubt a wild card.

My value is ambiguous. My purpose is further shrouded in unpredictability. Regardless, I am cool with this.

Other people are more obvious about what they bring to the table. They already know what they represent as cards and nothing more.

When it is a non-wild card’s turn to be played, they contribute toward life in some way and that’s that. They fulfill their respective role in the name of the game.

However, as a wild card, my time to shine isn’t so obvious. It isn’t apparent until all the other pieces are in play. And then, and only then, will everything make sense.

Card Me: Unflinching Courage

Standard

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Card Me: A favorite hobby of mine is playing card games. There is just something really remarkable about how laying cardboard onto a table can bring people together for lots of fun/frustration. As a naturally shy person in real life, I enjoy how card games can bring me out of my shell for quite the social activity.
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Value is everything in Magic: The Gathering. Unflinching Courage gives you plenty of bang for your buck, and it is also playable in a variety of formats if you’re running both green and white in your deck. It is that good.
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Card Name: Unflinching Courage
Mana Cost: 1GreenWhite
Converted Mana Cost: 3
Types: Enchantment — Aura
Card Text: Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets +2/+2 and has trample and lifelink.
Flavor Text: As Trostani’s influence grew, vitality spread through the Conclave—much to the other guilds’ dismay.
Watermark: Selesnya
Expansion: Dragon's Maze (Uncommon) Dragon’s Maze
Rarity: Uncommon
Card Number: 111
Artist: Mike Bierek

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There are plenty of things to love about this card. It’s a three-mana spell, meaning it won’t break your mana curve as three is very reasonable to come by in any format.

Its effects are all relevant: a +2/2 boost, trample to make sure some damage seeps through and lifelink to build up your life total with every successful hit/block.

You toss this bad boy on any creature to make it into a scary threat for your opponent instantly.

Without a doubt, Unflinching Courage is a straightforward, yet powerful card if your deck runs green and white. Generally, a must-have in these types of decks.

Card Me: Gladecover Scout

Standard

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Card Me: A favorite hobby of mine is playing card games. There is just something really remarkable about how laying cardboard onto a table can bring people together for lots of fun/frustration. As a naturally shy person in real life, I enjoy how card games can bring me out of my shell for quite the social activity.
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When you think of an “elf” in regards to fantasy, many would immediately conjure up an image of the pretty elf stereotype. Well, Gladecover Scout is certainly a pretty elf in her own right, but she is no pushover by any means in regards to Magic: The Gathering.
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Card Name: Gladecover Scout
Mana Cost: Green
Converted Mana Cost:1
Types: Creature — Elf Scout
Card Text: Hexproof (This creature can’t be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.)
Flavor Text: “The forest is my cover and I hold it close. In such a tight embrace, there is no room for wickedness.”
P/T: 1 / 1
Expansion: Magic 2012 (Common) Magic 2012
Rarity: Common
All Sets: Magic 2012 (Common)Magic 2014 Core Set (Common)
Card Number: 178
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With built-in hexproof, Gladecover Scout laughs at anything that says “target” by your opponent. Spot removal, many burn spells and so much more are almost rendered useless to a hexproof creature. You have to do roundabout methods to deal with anything that carries the hexproof characteristic.

Gladecover Scout is an ideal card to use in an enchantment-based deck.

For example, a powerful card to use is Ethereal Armor to bling out your elf with +1/1 for each enchantment you control and first strike.

Toss in other cards like Unflinching Courage on top of it, and you’re left with a beefy and scary creature for your opponent to fight.

Unflinching Courage

Card Me: Charging Badger

Standard

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Card Me: A favorite hobby of mine is playing card games. There is just something really remarkable about how laying cardboard onto a table can bring people together for lots of fun/frustration. As a naturally shy person in real life, I enjoy how card games can bring me out of my shell for quite the social activity.
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Charging Badger shows no mercy.
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Card Name: Charging Badger
Mana Cost: Green
Converted Mana Cost: 1
Types: Creature — Badger
Card Text: Trample
Flavor Text: “If the hierarchies of nature were determined by ferocity alone, the badger would be lord of the beasts.”
—Anthousa of Setessa
P/T: 1 / 1
Expansion: Born of the Gods (Common) Born of the Gods
Rarity: Common
Card Number: 118
Artist: Raoul Vitale
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Don’t mess with this 1/1 tramplin’ badger. It’s gonna bite your ankles.

Card Me: Courser of Kruphix

Standard


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Card Me: A favorite hobby of mine is playing card games. There is just something really remarkable about how laying cardboard onto a table can bring people together for lots of fun/frustration. As a naturally shy person in real life, I enjoy how card games can bring me out of my shell for quite the social activity.
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Courser of Kruphix has quickly garnered a lot of positive attention in the Born of the Gods set for Magic: The Gathering.
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Card Name: Courser of Kruphix
Mana Cost: 1GreenGreen
Converted Mana Cost: 3
Types: Enchantment Creature — Centaur
Card Text: Play with the top card of your library revealed.
You may play the top card of your library if it’s a land card.
Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you gain 1 life.
P/T: 2 / 4
Expansion: Born of the Gods (Rare) Born of the Gods
Rarity: Rare
Card Number: 119
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For three mana, you get a creature with plenty of upside.

First off, it’s a 2/4 body so it is more resilient than other “support” cards that can be generally weak and easy to remove. At the very least, you can use this centaur lady to ward off a lot of dinky attacks from your opponent.

The Courser of Kruphix‘s first effect of being able to play with the top card of your deck revealed is both a blessing and a curse. Though you are able to see the next card you are going to draw next so you can plan ahead, your opponent gets to see the upcoming card as well and thus can prepare for it.

This means the Courser of Kruphix takes out some element of surprise from any deck you decide to run her in. This is the only real “flaw” of this card in all honesty, but this advantage/disadvantage is well worth it for the next two effects this card offers.

The ability to play a land card from the top of your deck is huge. Though you are not necessarily getting ahead in the mana curve (because it still counts as your one land drop per turn), this effect is indirectly pseudo-card draw.

Assuming you are playing a land card from the top of your deck at least every other turn, you will be able to a) keep up with playing your land drops and b) you are sifting through your deck for the cards you need to help you win the game.

Being flooded with mana can spell defeat in some games of Magic, but Courser of Kruphix cuts down on those off-turns where you don’t necessarily want to see land. Instead, ideally anyway, this centaur is making sure you have plenty of land to cast any spell in your deck (preferably ones with high mana costs that grant powerful effects.)

Finally, the effect of gaining an extra life point for each land you play may not seem like much, but it will definitely add up over time (especially if you happen to have more than one Courser of Kruphix on the battlefield because the life-gaining aspect would stack.)

All in all, Courser of Kruphix is an excellent card for three mana. Just about any deck in Standard that runs green should definitely run a full set of her. Her card value has already risen up to the $7+ mark. If you happen to come across this centaur, be sure to recruit her to your ranks.

Card Me: Plummet

Standard


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Card Me: A favorite hobby of mine is playing card games. There is just something really remarkable about how laying cardboard onto a table can bring people together for lots of fun/frustration. As a naturally shy person in real life, I enjoy how card games can bring me out of my shell for quite the social activity.
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Finding “counters” in Magic: The Gathering is crucial for making a good mainboard and sideboard for your deck.

And oftentimes, even a simple card does wonders.

Plummet is one of my favorite sideboard cards when I need to adjust for specific matchups. My green deck has an inherent weakness against creatures that fly, but throwing in a few Plummet cards for the second/third match can drastically alter the final outcome.
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Card Name: Plummet
Mana Cost: 1Green
Converted Mana Cost: 2
Types: Instant
Card Text: Destroy target creature with flying.
Flavor Text: “Let nothing own the skies but the wind.”—Dejara, Giltwood druid
Expansion: Magic 2014 Core Set (Common) Magic 2014 Core Set
Rarity: Common
All Sets: Magic 2011 (Common)Magic 2012 (Common)Magic 2013 (Common)Archenemy (Common)Magic 2014 Core Set (Common)
Card Number: 188
Artist: Pete Venters
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For two mana, Plummet brings down just about anything in the air.

In particular, some prime choices for Plummet targets in the Standard scene are things like Desecration Demon and Nightveil Specter.

Scary threats in Magic often take to the skies, so Plummet makes sure they are sent crashing back down to earth.

Card Me: Miming Slime

Standard

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Card Me: A favorite hobby of mine is playing card games. There is just something really remarkable about how laying cardboard onto a table can bring people together for lots of fun/frustration. As a naturally shy person in real life, I enjoy how card games can bring me out of my shell for quite the social activity.
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I love my “Ghetto Green” cards in Magic: The Gathering. Miming Slime is one of my sneaky cards I like to pull on people because NO ONE will expect it in a regular tournament.


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Card Name: Miming Slime
Mana Cost2Green
Converted Mana Cost: 3
Types: Sorcery
Card Text: Put an X/X green Ooze creature token onto the battlefield, where X is the greatest power among creatures you control.
Flavor Text: “We paid the Simic very well for this capability, but we should quickly recoup our expenses in saved wages.”
—Milana, Orzhov prelate
Expansion: Gatecrash (Uncommon) Gatecrash
Rarity: Uncommon
Card Number: 126
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Basically, you cast this card, you check the strongest power among the creatures you have out in play and then you make an X/X Ooze creature token with the same power. For example, if you have a 5/7 creature out in play, you would get a 5/5 Ooze creature token after you cast this card. Nothing too complicated, but a lot of people would never put this in their deck.

For me, though, I use Miming Slime for its potential. As a three-mana spell, it won’t break the bank when I am running low on mana. When I really get this card to work, then the amount of value I can squeak out can be quite absurd in my Green deck.

In some extreme cases, I can make Miming Slime spawn a pretty strong token. One time, I managed to make a 19/19 (a really weird number, I know) after my Kalonian Hydra attacked a few times and got pumped up from other sources.

Kalonian Hydra

Let’s just say a 19/19 token is hard to deal with for most players.

Miming Slime is awesome. Ghetto Green FTW!

Card Me: Primeval Bounty

Standard

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Card Me: A favorite hobby of mine is playing card games. There is just something really remarkable about how laying cardboard onto a table can bring people together for lots of fun/frustration. As a naturally shy person in real life, I enjoy how card games can bring me out of my shell for quite the social activity.
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Nice things often come at a price, but they can be oh so worth it. Primeval Bounty is on the high end of the mana spectrum as a six drop in Magic: The Gathering. However, playing and resolving this card successfully can spell doom for your opponent.

Primeval Bounty
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Card Name: Primeval Bounty
Mana Cost: 5Green
Converted Mana Cost: 6
Types: Enchantment
Card Text: Whenever you cast a creature spell, put a 3/3 green Beast creature token onto the battlefield.
Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, put three +1/+1 counters on target creature you control.
Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you gain 3 life.
Expansion: Magic 2014 Core Set (Mythic Rare) Magic 2014 Core Set
Rarity: Mythic Rare
Card Number: 190
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Basically, any card you play after Primeval Bounty hits the playing field will net you a good effect. You can get a 3/3 creature token to fight with, extra +1/1 counters for a power boost for a creature you control and extra life if you play land.In other words, this card can quickly make up for its high mana cost and then some, especially if you manage to put this card into play (may the card game gods bless you if you happen to resolve more than one copy of Primeval Bounty at once, which allows the bonuses to stack.)

An awesome card. Plain and simple.

Card Me: Fleetfeather Sandals

Standard

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Card Me: A favorite hobby of mine is playing card games. There is just something really remarkable about how laying cardboard onto a table can bring people together for lots of fun/frustration. As a naturally shy person in real life, I enjoy how card games can bring me out of my shell for quite the social activity.
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I honestly believe a lot of people who play Magic: The Gathering get too caught up in the rarity symbol for cards. Granted, the game is literally designed around the notion that the generally good cards are rarer and thus harder to pull in booster packs. If you want a strong deck the pros play, expect a majority of the cards in a deck recipe to be sporting a rare-and-up symbol.

However, I am someone who will go out of his way to use a “weird” card if I deem it powerful. For me, a particular card I like in my Mono Green Midrange deck is Fleetfeather Sandals.

Fleetfeather Sandals
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Card Name: Fleetfeather Sandals
Mana Cost: 2
Converted Mana Cost: 2
Types: Artifact — Equipment
Card Text: Equipped creature has flying and haste.
Equip 2 (2: Attach to target creature you control. Equip only as a sorcery.)
Flavor Text: “The gods gave us no wings to fly, but they gave us an even greater gift: imagination.”
—Daxos of Meletis
Expansion: Theros (Common) Theros
Rarity: Common

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Now, at face value, many people are going to tell you that this is a “bad” card. But this card is like a secret weapon of mine. I don’t really understand why people have overlooked this hidden gem.

Sure, it comes into play at two mana, and the equip cost is another two. Nonetheless, the equipped effects are more than worth it. Granting a creature both flying and haste means you are giving your guy/gal wings to take action immediately. Continue reading

Card Me: Mono Green Midrange

Standard


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Card Me: A favorite hobby of mine is playing card games. There is just something really remarkable about how laying cardboard onto a table can bring people together for lots of fun/frustration. As a naturally shy person in real life, I enjoy how card games can bring me out of my shell for quite the social activity.
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Mean Green
As I promised, reithena, here is my current deck recipe for my Mono Green Midrange deck in Magic: The Gathering that I use in Standard play. The green color is definitely my jam in Magic. Green represents the power of life and nature.

My deck utilizes the shell of a standard green ramp deck, but with my own spin on things. You’ll notice I like to toss in my “Ghetto Green” cards to catch opponents off-guard. A lot of people would try to criticize my build for being a bit jenky (supposedly), but I have won a lot of difficult matchups by springing unusual spells like Enlarge out of nowhere for the finishing blow.

Enlarge

Silly cards are silly. :p
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The Deck
Without further ado, on to the deck recipe. For further information on the deck, please click here.

I will also throw out there that I am proud that most of this deck was literally put together through trades and placing well in tournaments and events.

Sorcery (3)

Enchantment (2)

Land (18)

Artifact (1)

Planeswalker (2)

Sideboard (15)

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Continue reading

Card Me: Photon Papilloperative

Standard


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Effect
2 Level 4 monsters
Once per turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card, then target 1 Defense Position monster on the field; change it to face-up Attack Position, and if you do, it loses 600 ATK.
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Photon Papilloperative is certainly a hard name to spell, but it is my favorite Xyz Monster in the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game. Though not particularly amazing by any technical means, this butterfly card has seen quite a bit of play for the longest time in Yu-Gi-Oh!

For some reason, the moment I laid my eyes on this card, I just thought it was really cool. I am not particularly into butterflies or anything like that, but I just knew I needed to get my hands on a Photon Papilloperative at some point.

And now, I have a physical copy of the card (in a case, mind you) as a good luck charm when I go play Magic. :)

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Card Me: Gatecreeper Vine

Standard

As someone who focuses on playing green in Magic: The Gathering, making sure I can have enough mana out in play to cast my spells is very important.

Gatecreeper Vine falls in the line of “Ghetto Green” stuff I like to use because 1) they’re cheap and easy to find, 2) they’re cards basically 9/10 other players would never use and 3) I can beat many opponents with them.

Of course, reason No. 3 often sparks a lot of personal motivation and satisfaction for me when the guy/gal on the other side of the table scoffs at me for using a “trash” card.

So why do I like Gatecreeper Vine so much? Well, its effects are pretty good in my book.
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Card Name: Gatecreeper Vine
Mana Cost: 1Green
Converted Mana Cost: 2
Types: Creature — Plant
Card Text: Defender
When Gatecreeper Vine enters the battlefield, you may search your library for a basic land card or a Gate card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library.
Flavor Text: Every inch of Ravnica is home to something.
P/T: 0 / 2
Expansion: Return to Ravnica (Common) Return to Ravnica
Rarity: Common

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Essentially, Gatecreeper Vine helps me fetch a Gate/basic land card from my deck and add it to my hand. As a green player, I like to snag a Forest card when I can. Continue reading

Card Me: Sylvan Caryatid

Standard

Sylvan Caryatid is a remarkable card in Magic: The Gathering.
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Card Name: Sylvan Caryatid
Mana Cost: 1Green
Converted Mana Cost: 2
Types: Creature — Plant
Card Text: Defender, hexproof
Tap: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
Flavor Text: Those who enter the copse never leave. They find peace there and take root, becoming part of the ever-growing grove.
P/T: 0 / 3
Expansion: Theros (Rare) Theros
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Besides being a mana dork who can bring any color of mana to your pool, Sylvan Caryatid is sturdy with her built-in hexproof. Any decent opponent will consider using their spot removal on a mana dork when they can, but Sylvan Caryatid protects herself from targeted spells and abilities.

Sure, she has the defender aspect, but you are not going to be attacking with her anyway. Sylvan Caryatid is seeing lots of play in multi-colored decks at the moment for her mana-fixing prowess, but I find she is still useful in my mono green deck.

An excellent card.