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Picks of the Week, 6/14/2015

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Picks of the Week: June 14, 2015

Carlos Gutierrez is an Associate Editor for Gathering Magic, an engineer-in-training, and a Commander and Pauper enthusiast. By day, he works as a STEM educator, but he spends his weekends hitting all his land drops and trying new board games, puzzles, and video games.

You can find all of him sharing Commander craziness, baked goods on Twitter, and complaints about graduate school at @cag5383.

Nissa, Sage Animist

You know, when she was spoiled, I thought that I was excited about Liliana, Heretical Healer. Here we have a three mana Planeswalker that wants to die and does all kinds of Graveyard shenanigans. I mean, come on, you can even Sun Titan her back into play! How could there possibly be anything more exciting out of Magic Origins for me?

This is how:

I don't have the words to describe how perfect this card is. I've been wanting a Planeswalker that Land shenanigans for awhile now, and while Nissa Worldwaker wasn't quite what I was looking for, Nissa, Sage Animist is. Again, you've got a cheap creature that's easy to cast. Her triggered ability is kind of cool, but not super exciting; The deck I want her for doesn't even play a Basic Forest. What's exciting about her is that her flip condition is really easy to meet and kept met. This means that she will flip almost immediately when you recast her, allowing you to continue casting free Explores and churning through your deck.

Oh by the way, her ultimate makes Lands into creatures. What type of permanent does Child of Alara ignore again?

Sparking the Flame

There are many things that my girlfriend and I disagree on. Music, movies, TV, books. It doesn't matter, our tastes could not be more different. However, here's one thing we've always agreed on: Chandra is our favorite Planeswalker. It's not especially close.

She's a strong female character who doesn't take nonsense from anyone. She gets herself into all kinds of difficult situations, but leaves ashes instead of problems in her wake. Plus, the goggles are super stylish. Ever since the original Lorwyn Planeswalkers, she's been our favorite of the regular cast and we have dutifully collected every version of her that we could come across and devoured whatever back story we could find.

This week's Uncharted Realms was a dream come true, and shows the real hook in a set like Magic Origins. Over the last few years, we've followed this character and built a connection with her, cultivated a curiosity and interest. Now we get to know everything. This story follows Chandra's origins through the initial confusion and excitement, a dramatic and unfortunate twist, and the first of many fiery triumphs over those who try to keep her down. This was the origin story we were most excited for, and it's certainly left us wanting much more. I'm generally not a huge Vorthos, but I absolutely cannot wait to read the remaining origin stories for Jace, Gideon, Nissa, and Liliana in the coming weeks.

Jayme Dee - Tip Toes

Let's get this out of the way. I have terrible and eclectic tastes in music. I tend to find a song or artist that I like, listen to it on repeat until I can't stand it anymore, and put it on the shelf until years later when I can safely enjoy it again. This is especially true when I have enormous projects going on in my life that require some kind of background noise that helps me maintain focus and keep up a reasonable pace of work. Like the thesis I recently submitted.

The artist that got me through my thesis submission was Jayme Dee; someone who isn't new, but who I'd never listened to before. Her music is pretty far outside of my usual tastes, but it's upbeat, catchy, and definitively summer-y in tone. I imagine this song and the rest of her short 2012 album will be what I'll be playing for most of my road trips in the near future, and I absolutely can't wait.


Alex Ullman is Associate Editor for Gathering Magic, a renowned Pauper (cube and Constructed) player, and member of the victorious 2009 Magic Online Community Cup team.You can find him on Twitter as @nerdtothecore.

Love and Magic

I have hesitated to write these words but given some posts in the past week, I felt compelled to put down my thoughts.

Goyf Gate – where Pascal Maynard took the Tarmogoyf over Burst Lightning in the Top 8 of one of the Grand Prix Las Vegas, selecting financial over strategic value, in the moment, has generated countless words and think pieces. An apology from Owen Turtenwald, who chastised the pick, was posted to Reddit and he professed how he loves the game. Shortly thereafter Eric Froelich posted to /r/magicTCG a thread titled “I Really Love Magic. Here's why.

Love. Love is an incredibly power emotion and driving force in the world. It is at the core of these pieces. Maynard loves the pursuit of excellence at Grand Prix, and Tarmogoyf represented a chance to play more. Owen loves the pursuit of excellence and it led him to react. Efro plain old loves everything about Magic.

Mike Flores ends all his articles “LOVE, MIKE.” Jackie Lee ended her's in “Love and Battles.”

Magic is not something to enjoy. If you are reading these words chances are you love Magic.

If this moment in our cultural history has showed me anything it is how much emotion people place in their affection for this wonderful game. And it makes sense.

Entering into a relationship with Magic is to know stability and to anticipate change. There are the core elements of the partner that are always true, but it still constantly evolves.

And with love comes passion. It shined through in how people reacted to the reactions. But I don't want to dwell on the antimosity – when any of us taps a Forest it still adds one green mana to our mana pool. If these two can take this picture, so can we.

I am writing this because I want to say – the next time someone playing Magic enjoys it a way you do not, just try to remember that they love this game too. I may not understand the way every loves Magic, but I can appreciate their love all the same.

Love, always.


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