Category Archives: Culture

Building a Tiamat Themed Commander Deck

27 Jul , 2021,
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Tiamat is a being that is practically synonymous with Dungeons & Dragons. She is the ancient progenitor of the chromatic flights (making her the bona fide mother of dragons), and a deity who commands vast power in the Forgotten Realms. The Church of Tiamat is one of the established faiths in Faerun, and her followers in the Cult of the Dragon are nefarious plotters ever striving to further her dark agenda.

Since Tiamat is the subject for this week’s deckbuilding column, we decided that we had to do things a little different. Rather than simply picking thematically appropriate cards, we’ll be taking this a step further by trying to stick as closely to the events of the Rise of Tiamat hardcover adventure as possible (though some creative liberties must be taken), without busting our budget. If you’re currently playing this adventure, or intend to play it in the future, be warned! There may be spoilers!

At it’s core, this deck is a dragon tribal. In addition to several cards from the latest D&D Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set and Draconic Rage Commander Deck, we’ll be busting out pieces from the Tarkir sets – which had some of the most flavorful, dragon-themed cards ever printed.

Like our Xanathar and Volo lists, we tried to use a pool of cards that D&D fans thinking to get their feet wet might be able to find. The upgrades section expands on this pool, with more power cards from older sets.

Her Draconic Majesty (1)
1x Tiamat

Tiamat tutors for five Dragon cards with different names whenever you cast her. This also means that every time you summon her from her prison lair in Avernus (i.e. the Command Zone), you get to fill your hand with lots of new threats.

Sure, she doesn’t have all the powers of her CR 30 form, but she’s no slouch in the power and toughness department. Her 7/7 body allows her to overwhelm most creatures native to the Forgotten Realms, and she can definitely swing to win if you need to push damage.

The Flights/Dragon Creatures (25)
1x Adult Gold Dragon
1x Amareth, the Lustrous
1x Atarka, World Render
1x Bladewing the Risen
1x Darigaaz Reincarnated
1x Dromoka, the Eternal
1x Green Dragon
1x Hellkite Charger
1x Hellkite Courser
1x Immersturm Predator
1x Intet, the Dreamer
1x Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund
1x Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury
1x Lathliss, Dragon Queen
1x Mana-Charged Dragon
1x Prossh, Skyraider of Kher
1x Ryusei, the Falling Star
1x Savage Ventmaw
1x Scion of Draco
1x Scion of the Ur-Dragon
1x Scourge of Valkas
1x Silumgar, the Drifting Death
1x Teneb, the Harvester
1x Thunderbreak Regent
1x White Dragon

In Rise of Tiamat, there are dragons. Lots of them. The characters contend with several throughout the course of the hardcover, and even dragons from the metallic flights (the goodly dragons who are children of big brother Bahamut, with whom Tiamat has some serious sibling rivalry issues) eventually join in the fray.

Since Tiamat is all five colors, we settled on dragons that are impactful, regardless of their color identity. There was only one caveat – they had to be depicted in the art as one of the five colors of Tiamat’s children.

The Adult Gold Dragon, Amareth, the Lustrous and Scion of the Ur-Dragon may aid heroes hoping to thwart Tiamat’s plans, but even they can be cowed by her presence and pressed into service.

Dragon Cultists/Non-Dragon Creatures (5)
1x Dragonlord’s Servant
1x Dragonmaster Outcast
1x Dragonspeaker Shaman
1x Realmwalker
1x Vizier of the Menagerie

The characters are in a race against time to prevent the Cult of the Dragon from summoning Tiamat. Combined with the relics and powerful treasures (read Artifacts) they have amassed, these cultists accelerate the approach of Tiamat or one of her numerous children.

Wearer of the Purple/Planeswalkers (3)
1x Sarkhan Unbroken
1x Sarkhan the Masterless
1x Sarkhan, Fireblood

In Magic: The Gathering lore, the Tarkir planeswalker Sarkhan Vol is a bit of a dragon otaku, which makes him the perfect candidate for leadership in the Cult of the Dragon. All his loyalty abilities either help you ramp into casting a dragon spell, produce dragon tokens, or get you dragons faster, which suits Tiamat’s purpose just fine.

Now, all he needs to do is to change his name to Severin Silrajin, and he’d fit right in!

Tiamat’s Tribute/Artifacts (9)
1x Arcane Signet
1x Commander’s Sphere
1x Dragon’s Hoard
1x Fellwar Stone
1x Gruul Signet
1x Herald’s Horn
1x Icon of Ancestry
1x Orb of Dragonkind
1x Sol Ring

The adventure begins at the sound of the Draakhorn, a gift from Tiamat to her allies during the war between dragons and giants in ages past. In the absence of such a mighty relic, the Herald’s Horn serves in its stead. This set also introduces the Orb of Dragonkind, long a part of D&D lore, which serves to filter mana in the early game, and can be used to find a helpful dragon.

Amassing a veritable Dragon’s Hoard to please the Dragon Queen is all part of the Cult’s plans, and it’s entirely plausible that this stash of treasure includes baubles like the Arcane Signet and Sol Ring.

The Icon of Ancestry can be helpful as a mini anthem that also lets you sink excess mana to dig three deep.

Draconic Magic/Instants & Sorceries (17)
1x Banefire
1x Beast Within
1x Crux of Fate
1x Cultivate
1x Descent of the Dragons
1x Draconic Intervention
1x Dragon’s Fire
1x Earthquake
1x Farseek
1x Klauth’s Will
1x Kodama’s Reach
1x Migration Path
1x Patriarch’s Bidding
1x Red Elemental Blast
1x Return of the Wildspeaker
1x Sarkhan’s Triumph
1x Spit Flame

The ramp spells here reflect how quickly the Cult of the Dragon swept across the Sword Coast, and how, during the events of Rise of Tiamat, they’re still gaining ground. Instants and sorceries like Crux of Fate, Draconic Intervention, and Klauth’s Will can sweep away pesky adventurers, while an Earthquake (which wrecks the location in the final scene) can also lay opponents low.

Banefire is a plausible late game mana sink, Descent of the Dragons can potentially cement Tiamat’s victory under the right conditions, and assuming you have enough dragons in the graveyard, Patriarch’s Bidding (surely the work of Szass Tam of the Red Wizards) can bring them all back at once, potentially resulting in a quick and sudden win.

Setting the Scene/Enchantments (6)
1 Dragon Tempest
1 Frontier Siege
1 Garruk’s Uprising
1 Palace Siege
1 Sarkhan’s Unsealing
1 Temur Ascendancy

Dragon Tempest is a haste enabler that also makes every dragon (including tokens) entering the battlefield ping for damage, as does Sarkhan’s Unsealing. Sarkhan’s Unsealing turns those dragons into a burn that can go face, and every cast of Tiamat into a guaranteed board sweeper.

Frontier Siege and Palace Siege are included for their flexibility (and not just because they’re reminiscent of some parts of the adventure), while Garruk’s Uprising and Temur Ascendancy reward you for going big with card draw.

Cult Territory/Lands (34)
1x Command Tower
1x Evolving Wilds
1x Exotic Orchard
1x Frontier Bivouac
1x Haven of the Spirit Dragon
1x Jungle Shrine
1x Path of Ancestry
1x Savage Lands
6x Snow-Covered Forest
2x Snow-Covered Island
3x Snow-Covered Mountain
2x Snow-Covered Plains
3x Snow-Covered Swamp
1x Temple of the Dragon Queen
1x Temple of the False God
1x Terramorphic Expanse
1x The World Tree
1x Thriving Bluff
1x Thriving Grove
1x Thriving Heath
1x Thriving Isle
1x Thriving Moor
1x Unclaimed Territory

Temple of the Dragon Queen is a flavorful auto-include in this deck, while Path of Ancestry and Unclaimed Territory can help with generating colored mana for your dragon spells. Haven of the Spirit Dragon has some handy utility, and The World Tree can further fix any mana issues. Though the Thriving lands (such as Thriving Isle) come into play tapped, their usefulness cannot be underestimated.

For Cult Sponsors (Deck Upgrades)
1x Cavern of Souls
1x Chromatic Lantern
1x Descendants’ Path
1x Dragonlord Dromoka
1x Dragonlord Kolaghan
1x Dragonlord Ojutai
1x Dragonlord Silumgar
1x Ebondeath, Dracolich
1x Esika, God of the Tree // The Prismatic Bridge
1x Fabled Passage
1x Fist of Suns
1x Goldspan Dragon
1x Haunting Voyage
1x Hellkite Tyrant
1x Heroic Intervention
1x Ignoble Hierarch
1x Indatha Triome
1x Iymrith, Desert Doom
1x Ketria Triome
1x Klauth, Unrivaled Ancient
1x Morophon, the Boundless
1x Old Gnawbone
1x Ramos, Dragon Engine
1x Reflections of Littjara
1x Rhythm of the Wild
1x Scalelord Reckoner
1x Skyline Despot
1x Smothering Tithe
1x Steely Resolve
1x Terror of the Peaks
1x Urza’s Incubator
1x Utvara Hellkite
1x Vanquisher’s Banner
1x Vivien, Champion of the Wilds
1x Zagoth Triome

Unsurprisingly, enhancing the deck means getting your hands on nastier dragons that can synergize with the deck (and some would be cultists that can support them).

Fist of Suns and Morophon are one way to make Tiamat and her brood cost practically nothing, Cavern of Souls can help make your dragons uncounterable, and better real estate like the Triomes (or shocks and fetches) can beef up consistency where mana is concerned.

Descendant’s Path and The Prismatic Bridge can get more dragons on the table quickly, Reflections of Littjara lets you make additional dragons (some of which no doubt possess enter the battlefield effects), and Steely Resolve can keep those dragons protected.

And there you have it! We hope you enjoyed this deck idea as much as we did brewing it for you. If you decide to build this deck, be sure to let us know how you fare at the card table!

The Dungeons & Dragons Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set for Magic: The Gathering is currently available at your favorite local game store! If you’re a D&D fan who’s always wanted to get into spell slinging, you can snag some packs by checking out the link!

Building a Volothamp Geddarm themed Commander Deck

20 Jul , 2021,
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The famous (or in some cases, infamous) Volothamp Geddarm is a self-styled authority on all things Faerun, having traversed the face of Toril, survived edition-changing calamities, and braved all manner of danger (from the comfort of the back line, of course). With his name attached to half a dozen published D&D books and numerous cameos in various adventures and video games, he’s practically this sets other poster boy.

Since Volo’s incarnation in Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is aptly named after his Guide to Monsters, we’ll be drawing inspiration from the table of contents of this book, as well as Volo’s many colorful (and oft dubious) exploits to flavor the deck.

Like our Xanathar’s Guild themed deck, we decided to keep the initial card pool relatively accessible for D&D fans thinking of trying out Commander for the first time. The upgrades section expands on this pool, with more power cards from older sets.

The Man (1)
1x Volo, Guide to Monsters

While Volo’s ability to weave spells isn’t much to write home about, this self-styled gentleman explorer, collector of stories, and scribe’s penchant for telling tall and grandiose tales goes unmatched.

Many of these tales are written in his Guide, which is a bestiary with numerous unique monster stat blocks – likely why his ability emphasizes creature spells of different types – and it’s just as well that we’ve got plenty of creatures to choose from in Blue and Green. Effects when they enter the battlefield (ETB) notwithstanding, they’ll also provide lots of soft cover for Volo to hide behind.

Bestiary Contents/Creatures (40)
1x Acidic Slime
1x Amphin Mutineer
1x Artisan of Kozilek
1x Avenger of Zendikar
1x Beast Whisperer
1x Deadeye Navigator
1x Diluvian Primordial
1x Displacer Beast
1x End-Raze Forerunners
1x Gemrazer
1x Genesis
1x Hornet Queen
1x Ilysian Caryatid
1x Keiga, the Tide Star
1x Kiora’s Follower
1x Kodama of the East Tree
1x Lonis, Cryptozoologist
1x Man-o’-War
1x Maraleaf Pixie
1x Meteor Golem
1x Migratory Greathorn
1x Momir Vig, Simic Visionary
1x Mulldrifter
1x Murkfiend Liege
1x Mystic Snake
1x Peregrine Drake
1x Quandrix Cultivator
1x Rampaging Baloths
1x Reclamation Sage
1x Reef Worm
1x Runic Armasaur
1x Sakura-Tribe Elder
1x Sea-Dasher Octopus
1x Souvenir Snatcher
1x Temur Sabertooth
1x Terastodon
1x The Tarrasque
1x Wandering Archaic // Explore the Vastlands
1x Wood Elves
1x Yuan-Ti Malison

With Volo, you’re looking at good stuff from Blue and Green. Lots of them are Commander staples and combo pieces (think Deadeye Navigator, Mulldrifter, Peregrine Drake, and Temur Sabertooth), or those with enter the battlefield effects that can help your deck snowball on value.

With infinite mana (an easy enough feat in these colors), the D&D iconic Displacer Beast becomes a viable win-con, as you drain the life out of your opponents by dipping in and out of Lost Mine of Phandelver‘s Dark Pool.

Some picks are also included for the flavor (like the Tarrasque), or because they synergize incredibly well with Volo’s ability. Keiga, for example, will almost always help you steal an unprotected creature when it comes into play, since you sacrifice the token produced to the legend rule.

Magic Items/Artifacts (5)
1x Altar of Dementia
1x Arcane Signet
1x Sol Ring
1x Tamiyo’s Journal
1x Twinning Staff

Despite his purported fame and numerous book deals, Volo’s always running from one bar tab to the next or mooching off goodly adventurers. Still, with his knack for finding trouble and treasure in equal measure, we wouldn’t put it past the man to stumble on a couple of ensorcelled trinkets during his travels.

That Altar of Dementia (which works as a sac outlet, and as a win-con if you can make an infinite number of creatures) looks awfully like one of those nasty Yuan-ti ritual sites in Chult, and what better place to pen his copious amount of notes than within the pages of a journal of Kozakuran design? The Twinning Staff is reminiscent of an ancient Netherese relic, and any self-respecting mage would surely possess an Arcane Signet or two.

Volo’s Spells/Instants & Sorceries (12)
1x Beast Within
1x Creeping Renaissance
1x Cultivate
1x Decisive Denial
1x Fact or Fiction
1x Misdirection
1x Nature’s Claim
1x Rampant Growth
1x Saw It Coming
1x Search for Tomorrow
1x Snap
1x Whirlwind Denial

Some ramp spells are included to help speed Volo along on his wanderings, while Beast Within and Snap help get him out of tight spots. Some flavorful counter magic has been included to beef up his repertoire (even if at first glance they appear just as unreliable as he is).

Volo’s Exploits/Enchantments (5)
1x Beastmaster Ascension
1x Garruk’s Uprising
1x Kiora Bests the Sea God
1x Ongoing Investigation
1x Propaganda

Considering everything that Volo’s been embroiled in, it’s little wonder he’s got more than a few stories to tell. Ongoing Investigation can help take care of unwanted cards in your graveyard, and Propaganda can help buy you time while you make an unhurried getaway.

Partners-in-Crime/Planeswalkers (2)
1x Mordenkainen
1x Vivien, Champion of the Wilds

Mordenkainen’s inclusion here is because he’s also a writer. His namesake Tome of Foes is the other 5E bestiary for D&D, and we’re sure that given Volo’s penchant for getting on the bad side of every other NPC ever published, he’s likely to cross paths with this Oeridian archmage at some point. Vivien is included as a low costed flash enabler, and can help you dig in a pinch.

Oh, the places I’ve seen/Lands (35)
1x Blighted Woodland
1x Command Tower
1x Evolving Wilds
1x Exotic Orchard
12x Forest
1x Guildless Commons
13x Island
1x Mosswort Bridge
1x Myriad Landscape
1x Simic Growth Chamber
1x Temple of Mystery
1x Terramorphic Expanse

Guildless Commons or Simic Growth Chamber, paired with Kodama of the East Tree (see above), can pave the way for some serious landfall related shenanigans (one of them being an infinite number of 4/4 beast tokens using Rampaging Baloths). With some cheap fetches included, there are ample ways for you to thin the deck and to fix your mana too.

For Discerning Patrons (Deck Upgrades)
1x Craterhoof Behemoth
1x Doubling Season
1x Elemental Bond
1x Finale of Devastation
1x Guardian Project
1x Heroic Intervention
1x Instrument of the Bards
1x Keeper of Fables
1x Lifecrafter’s Bestiary
1x Lightning Greaves
1x Manglehorn
1x Panharmonicon
1x Phyrexian Metamorph
1x Prowling Serpopard
1x Sakashima of a Thousand Faces
1x Sawtusk Demolisher
1x Scute Swarm
1x Simic Signet
1x Spark Double
1x Tamiyo, Collector of Tales
1x Timeless Witness
1x Tireless Tracker
1x Tooth and Nail
1x Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath

The cards in this section are included as an option for players who want to enhance the deck. Many of these are direct upgrades or provide additional ways for the deck to synergize, such as Sakashima and Spark Double.

Panharmonicon lets you get additional triggers, and Uro deserves special mention here, since he is instant value, and can also help you exile unwanted cards in your graveyard if you recast him using the Escape mechanic.

Heroic Intervention is also on the list, simply because it’s in theme for Volo to get bailed out by DM fiat.

And there you have it! We hope you enjoyed this deck idea as much as we did brewing it for you. If you decide to build this deck, be sure to let us know how you fare at the card table!

We’re also doing a POLL for our next Commander article! Come vote for your choice of Commander on our Twitter (poll closes 23rd July, launch day), and we’ll build that deck for our column on the 27th!

The Dungeons & Dragons Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set for Magic: The Gathering releases this weekend! If you’re a D&D fan who’s always wanted to get into spell slinging, you can snag some packs at your favorite local game store.

Building a Xanathar’s Guild Themed Commander Deck

13 Jul , 2021,
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If you’ve been following our geeky endeavors, then you’ll know that we don’t just do Dungeons & Dragons. We also play lots of Magic: The Gathering.

That’s why we were doubly excited that some of our favorite NPCs from hardcovers such as Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and Tomb of Annihilation were showing up in Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, and that quickly got us thinking – what if we built some themed EDH decks to celebrate, using what we’ve got in the office?

Here’s a quick one based off Xanathar, an iconic beholder villain who heads a veritable guild of killers, smugglers and cutpurses, and has an eyestalk in every evil pie.

The Legend (1)
1x Xanathar, Guild Kingpin

Suffice to say, there’s a reason why Xanathar is still guild master. He’s got 5 power and 6 toughness, which means he’s capable of snuffing out most underlings itching for a promotion. His ability to stop an opponent from casting spells is also reminiscent of the antimagic cone projected by a beholder’s central eye, and being able to play their cards is likely a nod to one of their other eye powers – that of the charm ray.

The Guild/Creatures (26)
1x Agent of Treachery
1x Circu, Dimir Lobotomist
1x Consuming Aberration
1x Ghostly Pilferer
1x Glasspool Mimic // Glasspool Shore
1x Gonti, Lord of Luxury
1x Herald of Hadar
1x Hoard Robber
1x Hostage Taker
1x Krydle of Baldur’s Gate
1x Lightfoot Rogue
1x Mind Flayer
1x Nighthawk Scavenger
1x Nightveil Specter
1x Notion Thief
1x Sepulchral Primordial
1x Soaring Thought-Thief
1x Thief of Sanity
1x Thieves’ Guild Enforcer
1x Thieving Skydiver
1x Tribute Mage
1x Varragoth, Bloodsky Sire
1x Wizened Snitches
1x Yuan-Ti Fang-Blade
1x Yuan-Ti Malison
1x Zareth San, the Trickster

Xanathar’s Guild is big on larceny and vice, and that’s why we decided to go big on the roguish element, with a splash of fun shenanigans like gaining control and mill. Players of more recent sets will see a few familiar faces like Gonti, Soaring Thought-Thief (they’re either Thief Acrobats or Arcane Tricksters), Thieves’ Guild Enforcer (yep, Xanathar’s got lots of hired muscle) and Zareth San.

Other fun cards like Herald of Hadar, Krydle and Yuan-ti Malison (all appearing in this new set) add to the flavor and round the deck out with some utility. The Herald is a great sink for infinite mana, while Circu and Consuming Aberration can work with Dramatic Reversal and Isochron Scepter (see below) to mill your opponents out.

Tools of the Trade/Artifacts (18)
1x Arcane Signet
1x Charcoal Diamond
1x Dimir Signet
1x Goldvein Pick
1x Hedron Archive
1x Isochron Scepter
1x Lantern of Insight
1x Mind Stone
1x Prying Blade
1x Replicating Ring
1x Sky Diamond
1x Sol Ring
1x Swiftfoot Boots
1x Thieves’ Tools
1x Thought Vessel
1x Treasure Chest
1x Treasure Map // Treasure Cove
1x Worn Powerstone

Lots of rocks, as befits the treasury of one of the most wealthy criminal organizations in the Forgotten Realms. Their agents are also some of the most well provisioned, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them armed with Thieves’ Tools (which all rogues are proficient in). The Goldvein Pick and Prying Blade help generate additional treasure tokens (yes, these rogues are gold diggers), and that Isochron Scepter (which you can search for with a Tribute Mage) is both insurance, as well as a combo enabler.

Dirty Deeds/Instants & Sorceries (18)
1x Contract Killing
1x Devour Intellect
1x Dimir Charm
1x Dramatic Reversal
1x Drown in the Loch
1x Extract from Darkness
1x Eyes of the Beholder
1x Fascination
1x Feed the Swarm
1x Heartless Act
1x Malakir Rebirth // Malakir Mire
1x Malicious Affliction
1x Memory Lapse
1x Muddle the Mixture
1x Necromantic Selection
1x Stubborn Denial
1x Turn Aside
1x Windfall

The deck is beefed up with a handful of thematically appropriate instants and sorceries to protect Xanathar, punish interlopers, or make an example of the guild’s enemies by making them sleep with the fishes. Dramatic Reversal on the list stands out as an option for the Isochron Scepter, and can generate infinite casts and infinite mana with enough rocks on the field. After all, any self-respecting villain should have a way to turn the tables on those pesky adventurers traipsing through your lair, right? Fascination is a viable sink for infinite mana that can be tutored for using Muddle the Mixture, rounding out your combo win-cons. 

Done Dirt Cheap/Enchantments (2)
1x Revel in Riches
1x Rogue Class

Class cards are a new enchantment type, and you’d expect everyone in Xanathar’s Guild to have maybe one or two Rogue levels. Also, Revel in Riches is mandatory for a stylish alternate win-con as befits the most glamorous beholder of all.

Valuable Real Estate/Lands (35)
1x Command Tower
1x Duskmantle, House of Shadow
1x Evolving Wilds
1x Exotic Orchard
1x Jwar Isle Refuge
1x Myriad Landscape
1x Nephalia Drownyard
1x Rogue’s Passage
12x (Snow-Covered) Island
12x (Snow-Covered) Swamp
1x Sunken Hollow
1x Temple of Deceit
1x Terramorphic Expanse

Duskmantle and Nephalia Drownyard evoke memories of Skullport, where Xanathar’s Guild holds sway, while Rogue’s Passage is just too flavorful not to include. Depending on whether you prefer Waterdeep in the Springtime (which is the season you’ll face Xanathar in Dragon Heist) or in the winter, pick either Snow-Covered or regular lands.

For the Discerning Kingpin (Deck Upgrades)
1x Acquire
1x Dauthi Voidwalker
1x Deadeye Navigator
1x Demonic Tutor
1x Desertion
1x Expropriate
1x Fellwar Stone
1x Force of Negation
1x Helm of Obedience
1x Leyline of the Void
1x Mind’s Dilation
1x Mind Grind
1x Mystic Remora
1x Predict
1x Rhystic Study
1x Sire of Stagnation
1x Thada Adel, Acquisitor
1x Toxic Deluge

The cards in this section are included as an option for players who prefer a little bit more bite to their deck.

Helm of Obedience, together with the Dauthi Voidwalker or Leyline of the Void, can disintegrate an opponent’s deck, while Mind’s Dilation can nab you another spell each turn. Cards like Desertion too would make a fine addition. After all, if Xanathar makes an offer, who can refuse?

And there you have it! We hope you enjoyed this deck idea as much as we did brewing it for you. If you decide to build this deck, be sure to let us know how you fare at the card table!

Also, if you want to give the tie-in module for Adventures in the Forgotten Realms a shot, you can check it out here! It’s a neat little dungeon crawl, and we’re certain you’ll love it!

The Dungeons & Dragons Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set for Magic: The Gathering releases 23 July 2021. If you’re a D&D fan who’s always wanted to get into spell slinging, you can snag some packs at your favorite local game store.

MTG x D&D Adventures in the Forgotten Realms Modules

11 Jul , 2021,
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With the upcoming set release of D&D Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, the awesome peeps at Wizards of the Coast have taken a new spin to their usual Magic Story column. Whether you’re a seasoned D&D player or an MTG fan looking to cut your teeth on some d20s, these exciting modules won’t disappoint.

Currently, two out of five episodes now available for download, and we’ll be updating this article with links to future episodes as and when they become available.

These adventures are suitable for a group of four to six Tier 2 (Average Party Level 8) characters, and all you need to start your adventure are the core rulebooks (which you can purchase from your favorite local game store or through official channels like the Wizards of the Coast Amazon store or D&D Beyond), and a party to go adventuring with.

Simply click on the title of each module to download them (in PDF format).

  1. Part 1: In Scarlet Flames 
  2. Part 2: The Hidden Page 
  3. Part 3: A Verdant Tomb
  4. Part 4: Deepest Night (released 21 Jul, APL 9)

Also, if you’re thinking of giving these adventures a try, but don’t have an 8th level character of your own, don’t fret! We have an adventuring party brewed using D&D rules that you can download and get started with right away (you will still need to refer to the D&D 5E Player’s Handbook for spells and some class features, however).

  1. Calmirri Wintersworn, Fey Knight – A warlock sworn to the Prince of Winter, who rains blades of ice and gusts of frigid wind on their enemies.
  2. Sir Durance, Deacon of War – A stalwart battle cleric devoted to the teachings of the God of Suffering.
  3. Eonus, Bard Dilettante – A charmer and trickster with bold dreams and a dark past.
  4. Hargatha Foehammer, Clan Avenger – A dwarven artisan seeking to avenge the massacre of her clan.
  5. Jomina Jomini, Numerologist – An arcane scholar who believes that cause and effect is governed by numbers and vectors.
  6. Rook, Wrath of the Wild Woods – An elven ranger who hunts the undead and those who despoil the forests he calls home.

MTG Adventures in the Forgotten Realms Gather Previews

7 Jul , 2021,
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Thanks to the cool peeps at Hasbro, we were invited to be a part of an exclusive gathering of Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons fans, where we got the opportunity to preview some of the amazing cards from the upcoming Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set.

Delving through a classic console RPG style dungeon on Gather, we braved dangers including an adorable gelatinous cube, the terrifying chasm boss, several shades of dragons, and other fans to get these images to you. Check them out!

Don’t forget to share this with a friend who enjoys playing Magic: The Gathering or Dungeons & Dragons, and tell them that you saw these previews first on NTP!

Adventures in the Forgotten Realms brings fan favorites from one of the most iconic Dungeons & Dragons settings to the card table, and you’ll get to play with iconic characters both friendly and fiendish, and battle monsters like beholders, mimics, mind flayers, and more!

This set releases 23 July 2021, with prerelease taking place on 16 July 2021. Be sure to visit your favorite game store (ours is Game State Singapore) to pick up your prerelease kits and booster boxes, and let us know if you crack something cool!

Cover Image

C97 – A Changed Battlefield (Winter 2019)

1 Feb , 2020,
Levin Tan
No Comments

Oh man! What a game changer! Thanks (or no thanks actually) to the Tokyo Olympics this year, Winter Comiket (and the summer one as well!) has not been able to use a large portion of the halls available at Tokyo Big Sight. 東1~ 東8 were all being reserved as they prepare for the Olympics! It’s been a huge hit to capacity of the venue so much so that Comiket (both summer and winter) was a full FOUR day marathon this time round AND we’ve had to have the corporate booths shift to the 青海 site which is around 1km away! Hurry up and return us our halls!

We’ve definitely had the most number of participants in any Winter Comiket so far thanks to the 4 days. Although we had fewer booths per day, that allowed everyone to come back one more day to participate to result in an overall… 750,000 people!!! (D1:190,000 + D2:180,000 + D3:190,000 + D4:190,000)

A round up of the circles this year: The Fate series has inched up a little slightly, and are still maintaining their lead overall by a large margin to the second spot held by THE iDOLM@STER which shrunk very slightly. Third place last year was Kancolle (艦これ), and they only narrowly lost to iM@S, but this year they shrunk quite a bit so they’re now undisputed third. If they continue to shrink at the same rate, they’re going to lose to Touhou (東方) in fourth place which had the same number of circles as the year before. One important development to note is Virtual YouTubers have become a thing since last Comiket, although I didn’t mention it, but the number of circles covering them have almost doubled! They’re currently in fifth place, but we’ll see how this trend continues next year. Azur Lane (アズールレーン) which I had hoped would start to rise in the rankings seems to have stagnated and actually shrank a little to eleventh place. Seems like that’s going to be where it’ll stay.

The corporate side, however, is another different matter. We still have Yostar pushing hard. They’ve now started to launch Arknights (アークナイツ) as well. It’s newly launched for EN, but actually the JP server has been up for quite a while already! With these two games they had a nice booth up, and really long queues:

Yes, everyone in front of me in this picture is in the queue for the Yostar booth. There’s still more behind me and outside the hall by the way…
サイレンス (Silence) from Arknights in front of the Yostar booth. Corporate booths often hire cosplayers to help promote the booth!

I actually decided to enter it because I wanted some limited edition stuff. A corporate queue like that would easily take around 1-2hrs, but that was no matter since I had already finished my morning raid at the doujins side. But man, the walk was fairly long! I did mention earlier that they shifted to the 青海 site, which is across the bridge of the same name. A journey of about 1km means you absolutely can’t hop back and forth between the two (not that it was actually normal strategy before this).

Join the 1km march over the bridge to the other side for the corporate booths!

There were quite a number of people moving back and forth between the two sites. I actually moved back and forth twice due to some miscommunication, but the weather was great and so I enjoyed the walk!

Besides Yostar, Nekopara (ネコぱら) came back yet again! They had an anime to promote this time (which is currently airing), and there were of course the regulars like NBC Universal, Kadokawa, COSPA, etc. Saekano was also there since they’ve just finished their movie and basically wrapped up the whole series.

Featuring Chocola (ショコラ) and Vanilla (バニラ) with Chocola on the screen as well!
NBC Universal with their “flagship” Gochiusa banner
Saekano (冴えカノ) fine. I didn’t quite check if stuff had run out, but it looked like there weren’t any, which was surprising.

But enough of the corporate stuff and back to the main site! As I mentioned earlier, there were a total of 8 halls that closed. If that was the only thing that happened, there wouldn’t be enough space for Comiket, even with the corporate booths shifting “off site”. Thankfully, we had another few more halls that opened: 南1~ 南4. Along with taking over the space of the corporate booths, this meant that we had to come up with new tactics, because the battlefield was now 3D (the third dimension being height) instead of the usual 2D. (I shall leave some of you to chuckle over the 2D vs 3D inside joke, and whether this whole war is actually 3D or 2D ww). Yup, this is the new hall (which had been open since summer):

Same feel, same structure as the other halls, but its location is different, and that already is something to grapple with.

Now for this year’s featured participant among the unusual stuff I write about: 原田 ひとみ (Harada Hitomi). She’s a well known 声優[seiyuu] (voice actress), and some of her more prominent roles are in Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu (バカとテストと召喚獣), Hidamari Sketch (ひだまりスケッチ), THE iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls, and Senran Kagura (閃乱カグラ). However, in Comiket, circles are independent of any corporation (or else they’d be at the corporate site!), and so they never represent any commercial works. Hence naturally, Harada-san here was boothing as her own independent circle HoneyContrast!

原田 ひとみ (Harada Hitomi) holding out her new work which had just run out: 南條さんと原田さん (Nanjo-san and Harada-san). Yes! It’s Nanjo from fripSide! Cute isn’t it?

HoneyContrast (and hence Harada-san) has actually been a regular participant in Comiket (both winter and summer) for the past few years! Her works tend to be on the yuri side, and she even has a binaural audio CD or two which has the fantastic effect of making you feel as though you are actually there by playing around with the spatial placements of the audio. (You can read more about binaural audio from Wikipedia) This latest doujin that she’s seen holding is a 4-koma of her and Nanjo-san. It’s based off their real interactions, or so she says. It is pretty funny!

Moving on, we have a foreign participant circle! From Russia, Moe Era:

A circle from Russia releasing a demo version of their Visual Novel!

When I interviewed them, I found out that they had participated previously in Comiket as normal participants, but this was their first time as a circle! Their game, Moe Era, is a Visual Novel (or VN) with 5 main characters: a Russian, an American, a Chinese, a Japanese, and a mystery character! It promises to be a standard type of VN, but with an intriguing plot which they hope that everyone would enjoy. The game released at Comiket is only a demo version, but they were excited to tell me that the full release of the game will be free on Steam very soon on 4th February!

Over to the electronics section once more (I’ve mentioned before that there’s this strong connection between anime, manga, and electronics somehow), there are booths selling all kinds of things from nifty gadgets to manuals on how to program. This time I wanted to show you one of the circles doing Nixie tubes:

黒井電波 features Nixie tube meters that you can connect to your computer to display your CPU usage in a really cool manner!

There’s typically a whole row of circles showcasing Nixie tubes, and I think it became more popular since Steins;Gate had featured it a number of years ago. But then again, I hadn’t been to Comiket then, so I can’t say from personal experience. The circles doing Nixie tubes all focus on the aesthetics of it, after all, it’s long been superseded by seven-segment displays whether LCD based or LED based. Nevertheless, Nixie tubes definitely have a unique appeal and they are here to stay.

And so concludes the 1st Winter Comiket of the Reiwa era. I must say that I didn’t take any pictures of cosplayers (the non corporate booth ones) this year. I did have a look around the cosplay areas a bit for enjoyment, but because I was quite tired (we planned till around 1-2am every night to get our strategies right), I left pretty early on two of the days to get some rest, and spent the other two browsing the circles or stuck in the corporate booth lines ww. Nevertheless, it was definitely really fun to see how well we could adapt to the new battlefield. We had one or two “casualties” from our list on one of the days, but apart from that, we hit the rest perfectly! (You can have a look at my spoils of war on my Twitter if you want =p ) Once they return the East Halls back to us (should be the end of this year, 2020), the scenario will again change, and I’m again quite looking forward to that.

The change in dynamics had definitely an impact on the Comiket Committee and volunteers, not just us participants. Crowd control was different, and got a bit confusing at times, but everyone cooperated to allow things to continue to flow smoothly, because that’s the spirit of Comiket. Participants (not buyers, nor sellers) are all here to contribute to the atmosphere and zest of Comiket.

I was once again looking for the 現実 (reality) sign at the end of the last day which I had missed last year and the year before, but I couldn’t find it! Perhaps I had stayed too late this time round! Oh no! The hunt for it continues… at the end of this year!

C95 Winter Comiket (2018)

C95 – Unusual Guest! (Winter 2018)

1 Feb , 2019,
Levin Tan
one comments

Breaking the record of all previous Winter Comikets, this year’s C95 brought in over 570,000 people over three days!!! (D1:170,000 + D2:190,000 + D3:210,000) This is a good 20,000 more than last year. I don’t know about you, but these numbers never cease to amaze me. Here at the Neo Tokyo Project, we also organise something similar in Singapore, Doujima, which is still very young and new compared to Comiket. Maybe we might one day grow to these sizes, who knows?

Anyway, a round up on circles this year: Type Moon (Fate basically, which includes FGO) continued to grow at a stunning pace and kept the top place by a large margin! THE iDOLM@STER (アイマス) also grew at an amazing pace to claim second spot, overtaking Kancolle (艦これ) which shrank a little instead and took third. Touhou (東方) is shrinking slowly along with Touken Ranbu (刀剣乱舞), but both maintaining their positions in fourth and fifth respectively since the rest of the genres below them are also shrinking. Azur Lane (アズールレーン) which I mentioned would be entering the rankings this year, has debuted (on the rankings) at 10th place.

Speaking of Azur Lane, they’re really pushing very hard. Over the last year I’ve been seeing their ads in many places on the JR lines and even video ads in the new E235 EMU trains. They didn’t have an official booth the last year in Winter Comiket, but this time Yostar came with a big one:

Azurlane booth by Yostar featuring vtuber!

Yomemi is interviewing Ayanami (on screen) at the Azur Lane Corporate Booth.

There’s even a virtual interview going on for you to be entertained while queuing! Yomemi’s “high tension” (テンション高い) personality was uplifting and likeable (although my friend wasn’t too fond of it), contrasting with Ayanami’s dandere character.

Ichijinsha (一迅社) had quite an interesting facade for their booth this year, making it look like a visit to a shrine. Could be said as Ichijinja (一神社) ww. Nekopara (ネコぱら) came back yet again for the 3rd year running, along with Tokyo 7th Sisters (looks like these two are regulars now), but a dedicated Nanoha (なのは) booth was nowhere to be found! As far as I can recall Nanoha had a corporate booth very regularly at Comiket. A little strange… let’s see whether they return this coming Winter Comiket.

Ichijinsha booth looking more like Ichijinja

Remember to ring the bell, bow twice, clap twice, and bow once again as you state your order to the lady at the counter at Ichijinsha/ja!

Another “corporate booth” (though not really) is the IOEA’s (International Otaku Expo Association) which our Doujima event is a member of. The IOEA is here to link up all otaku events around the world so please come on by the booth wherever and whenever you see one to check out similar events from all around the world!

Cosplayer in Kuppa Hime (Bowsette) costume standing beside IOEA signboard with various signatures from representatives of events around the world.

They had a cosplayer cosplaying as Kuppa Hime (or Bowsette) to promote this booth!

Close up of IOEA signboard with signatures of representatives from various conventions around the world.

We of course signed our event on this board too!

Now… you might be wondering what the title of this post was talking about. Comiket accepts applications for a circle booth from basically anyone and everyone, so it’s certainly not unthinkable, but it was still surprising to have Angela join Day 2 of C95 as a doujin booth! Angela is a very popular professional artist duo who have sung well known songs from Soukyuu no Fafna (蒼穹のファフナー) (Fafner in the Azure) and Shidonia no Kishi (シドニアの騎士) (Knights of Sidonia). They are also well known for their fun personality! What they had brought was something really unusual: A CD compilation of their 100 best MCs and an anthology of Angela related material (manga, illustrations, etc). To have them at Comiket in person manning their own booth and distributing their own unique material is really amazing and a treat to all! They even took care to bring enough that despite the long lines and hours of queuing, they only sold out near the close of the day. That meant that everyone who was in queue managed to get a copy!

Angela at C95!

Angela appears at C95! Distributing: 100 Best MCs Compilation CD & Angela Anthology

On to the more usual unusual stuff this year! It’s electronics related this time! Check it out:

Audio level meters crafted by RyoRobot Studio.

Audio level meters and 7 segment USB powered display crafted by RyoRobot Studio.

RyoRobot Studio crafts electronics for making your daily life more vibrant (that’s their motto). What’s showcased here are audio level meters (stereo too!) which jump like the EQ fancy graphics you might see on a digital player, except that these are made from segmented lights rather than display panels. The dancing lights from this booth certainly caught my attention immediately when I came to the section! There are also colourful 7 segment displays powered by USB. Nifty stuff indeed! Head over to his website to see some really nice pictures! (Though be aware it’s all in Japanese)

On to some cosplay! Still relatively fresh, from the Summer season, is Hataraku Saibou! (はたらく細胞!) (Cells at Work!) with cute depiction of cells as humans fulfilling their special roles in the human body, and even fresher, from the Autumn season, is SSSS.Gridman, whose most popular character is undoubtedly Takarada Rikka (宝多六花).

White Blood Cells cosplay

The really cute White Blood Cells (CP:もがみひなた and CP:宇佐美おむらいす)

Takarada Rikka Cosplay

Most popular character Takarada Rikka(CP:真白ゆう) from SSSS.Gridman

And so another Winter Comiket ends. With this one being the one to mark the end of the Heisei Era as well. If you didn’t know about this, it’s actually quite significant, since the Japanese hold their emperor in very high regard. Many of the doujin circles came together to create an anthology just to mark this occasion. I’ll say it in each post, Comiket has a community spirit. It’s the gathering of everyone with a huge passion in their hobbies. No buyers and sellers, only participants and volunteers, and everyone contributes to it in one way or another. This is what will continue to always make Comiket magical.

For me, in the morning raids, my team this year was very on top of things such that we had alot covered. Over the years, we’ve definitely built up strategical and tactical mastery, and I hope to enjoy the next raid even more than this one. The afternoon was relaxed as usual, moving around to browse, helping others pick up things, and just enjoying discovering new works/circles, as well as appreciating the cosplays. Not to mention that because of the ongoing improvement of Big Sight, Comiket each year is slightly different in terms of arrangement, so it’s nice to observe how the dynamics change. This year (2019), the game changes in a major way, and I’m certainly looking forward to rethink our strategies and tactics, as well as to observe its effects. Unfortunately though, I had to rush off a bit early on the last day and so once again I missed the 現実 (reality) sign. Sigh… Hopefully next (this) year!

Photo of Big Sight

The Last Comiket of the Heisei Era

Tokyo Game Show 2018 – 4 Days Report

2 Oct , 2018,
, , , , ,
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Bethesda Softworks’ IPs greeting event goers as they walk towards the halls

Over the 4 days between September 20th ~ 23rd, Makuhari Messe hosted the largest annual gaming convention of East Asia, Tokyo Game Show (TGS). This year saw a huge influx of visitors from the previous years ー A good 298,690 showed up over the 4 days, compared to 254,311 in 2017, and 271,224 in 2016. Likewise, exhibitors also increased from 609 to 668, of which 330 were from overseas. This was certainly a trend that’s been happening in the recent years, where overseas games and gaming-related companies are expanding into the Japanese market (One of which, notably, is Azure Lane, being introduced into the Japanese market and becoming a huge hit in 2017).

Kisei -Kuushiki- 1/1 display statue from [Border Break] right outside Makuhari Messe

As with any commercial conventions, exhibitors certainly placed a lot of effort into the visual promotion of their IPs. Booths were built in elaborated set-ups, with iconic figures and characters in detailed sculptures. Besides the typical promotional models, exhibitors also hired cosplayers to portray as in-game characters to promote their games (Pictures below). Some noticeable ones were Bandai Namco’s bright orange booths, with smoke machines making distinctive whiffs as they fire jets of white smokes at fixed intervals, or PlayStation’s show of dominance with walls of displays for the multiple IPs they’re showcasing, such as the Evil Monk mini boss from [Sekiro] (Seen above), or Sam Porter Bridges from the much anticipated Kojima Production’s [Death Stranding] (Seen below).

Players experience FromSoftware’s brutality aplenty

And of course, what’s TGS without games? Although we were able to enter on business days as press, the queue for certain games were insanely long as well. For example, on the first day it took more than 2 hours in the demo queue for FromSoftware’s newest title Sekiro before we got to try it at all (granted, we missed the early rush to the booths go get the queue tickets). Other games we managed to try required less waiting, such as Ace Combat 7, Devil May Cry 5, Rockman 11, Kingdom Hearts III, to name a few (also because we learnt our lesson and went straight to their booths as soon as we could enter). Demos were kept to 15 minutes per play, and if the players are competent to clear the demo under that limit, they’re free to continue playing until their times are up (we were able to hear really good music for DMC5 for one).

Singapore-based Battlebrew Productions also boothed at TGS in the Indie Games section

This year’s TGS also saw many overseas exhibitors, as mentioned above. The indie game booths took up a sizeable area within Hall 9 of Messe, with 154 booths as compared to 121 last year, and we happened to chance upon our local Singaporean company Battlebrew Productions exhibiting there (they will also be at Game Start 2018 this year, so give them a visit!). There has also been a prominent presence of virtual reality games this year, and given how affordable VR headsets are becoming compared to the last few years, it’s no wonder companies are pushing for VR. The most noticeable trend however, is the ever prominent push for mobile phone games; 30% of the games showcased at TGS are planned to be published on mobile phones, which goes to show that the mobile platform is still ever strong.

VR Machine for interested members of the public to experience

Overall, TGS2018 has seen the largest crowd yet, partly due to multiple AAA titles being announced this year at E3 earlier in June. Next year’s Tokyo Game Show will be held between September 12th to 15th, so for those interested in visiting, do mark it down on your dates.


C93 – A Cool One (Winter 2017)

1 Feb , 2018,
Levin Tan
one comments

This year’s Comiket was cooler (literally) than average and it actually snowed a little before the doors opened on one of the days! The snow turned quickly into sleet and then a light drizzle though, so it wasn’t that memorable compared to the recent heavy snow that it received. With 550,000 attendees (D1: 180,000 + D2: 160,000 + D3: 210,000) this year, it’s one of the more crowded Comikets.

To get the usual things out of the way first, Kancolle (艦これ) has slid quite a bit this year to lose its previously uncontested top placement to… Fate. There’s an explosion of Fate doujins this year, definitely in some part due to FGO. Touhou (東方) Project has slid quite a bit over the years and this year, it’s now lost second place to Fate as well.  It’s also lost its place to THE iDOLM@STER (thanks to the recent releases of games which brought it back up), which took third, so Touhou (東方) Project is now fourth. Touken Ranbu (刀剣乱舞) has also slid in numbers and has been overtaken by Fate. Love Live! (ラブライブ!) has maintained about the same number of circles as previous Comikets. Azur Lane (アズールレーン), a newcomer, hasn’t entered the rankings, but I’m sure it will pretty soon…

One of the loading screens in Azur Lane (アズールレーン) was drawn by TwinBox who has a booth here. It’s a shutter!

On the corporate side, Nekopara (ネコぱら) came back again, same with Twin Angel (ツインエンジェル), and Tokyo 7th Sisters. Nanoha (なのは) was promoting their upcoming film DETONATION, with comiket being where/when they exclusively unveiled its PV! Also, notably, Key was selling the 10th anniversary memorial merchandise for Little Busters! and some reaaaaallly premium (¥15,000) anime t-shirts. Wow.

Exclusive unveiling of the PV for the upcoming movie! Comiket is one of those big events where these things happen.

Azur Lane (アズールレーン) has already assumed corporate presence in Comiket despite it being such a young game (only several months old). It had its origins as a Chinese game, but they certainly did well to penetrate the Japanese market. There’s cosplay of it as well! (Not really unexpected knowing how fast these cosplayers here are.)

Pixiv’s Azur Lane illustration compilation sold out each day!

Hellooo Atago! ねむ(nemu✾) is a very pretty cosplayer, and my photo here doesn’t do her justice (T.T) so head over to her Twitter!

One observation in the corporate side I must note, is that there’s been an increasing number of media content providing companies exhibiting year after year. Probably got to do with streaming being increasingly popular, whether be it streaming professional content, or popular livestreams and feeds. This time, I saw Abema TV (アベマTV) had joined.

Abema is giving Nico Nico Douga (ニコニコ動画) a run for its viewers!

With that, let me bring you to the more unusual side of Comiket. But first, this year I “brought” some non-comiket-goers along with me. Well, I say “brought”, but I actually just told them how and when to come because I certainly can’t bring them along with the raid team into the morning first cry of battle. That’d be very cruel. Might I remind you, it’s a war zone after all. And their reactions? Oh yes, they were blown away at the scale of things. One of them had been to the conventions in the US (large ones, certainly), and he was remarking that this is on a very different level! They spent quite some time going around row after row after row to “have a look at what is out there” but gave up exhausted after seeing slightly less than half the booths (on just one day). Comiket is really just that big. Nevertheless, they did enjoy themselves, so as I’ve ever mentioned before, there’s something for everyone at Comiket!

Now on to what I would like to draw your attention to this year. Watches! Well, pocket watches to be precise. Something a bit more exotic than your usual day crafts eh? There were actually a couple of booths selling these this time round, and they did attract a fair number of people (most craft booths don’t have a queue at all typically).

Pocket watches! The steampunk in you can surely relate, and it also carries an air of elegance if you happen to have a top hat and a monocle.

This one was one of the more expensive ones at this booth. (Should pocket watches be called Pokéwatch?)

Another one worth noting is the exhibition of a research project paper at one of the circle booths titled “Towards the High-quality Anime Characters Creation with Generative Adversarial Networks”. If you’re in the AI and Machine Learning sector (crossed with being an otaku as well), you might have heard about this paper a few months back, just after the middle of last year. While the outputs of the networks aren’t perfect, and can look awkward at times, it is a real treat to see it in action. It generates an anime girl based on the selected attributes you want the girl to have: hair colour, hair style, glasses (or not), Smile!, Sweet!, Sister!, Sadistic!, Service!… oops I don’t think the last few were part of the parameters. They’ve even built a website if you’d like to try it. And mind you, this booth had quite continuous attention with always a few people around it talking to the students who did this project, and they could explain it in Japanese, Chinese (Mandarin), and English!

Now with this technology, you can finally have the exact harem you’ve always dreamed of!

So things like that pop up now and then and really add a nice touch to Comiket. Remember, Comiket is made up of its people, or participants (参加者) as we are all called. There are no sellers nor buyers, and everyone adds to its atmosphere and feel.  It’s well worth visiting, and my only regret this year was that I had alot more to rush around for than previous years (along with juggling messaging to different groups of people) such that I couldn’t stop to “soak in” the “Comiket atmosphere” (although I certainly added to it, I hope). In fact, I probably got a bit too absorbed this year, and stayed too late such that I even missed the last “reality this way” (現実->) sign, and I don’t have a picture to show for it! Oh well… Next year it is.


7 FGO Tips for First-time Masters

26 Jul , 2017,
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Fate/Grand Order has been out in the US for close a month now, but if you’ve only just jumped aboard the Fate fandom and started trying your hand at this game, here are some quick tips to help you maximize your play experience and get to a respectable level where you can enjoy both the story and the content.

Tip #1: Reroll, Reroll, Reroll

If you’ve been playing mobile phone games with a gacha element, you’ll be no stranger to rerolling in the hope of starting with a stronger unit.

As you play through the Prologue, you’ll get to make a welfare 10x Summon. This 10x Summon guarantees at least one 4* Servant (I ended up with two). You’ll also get to access your Present Box, pick up your commemorative Saber Lily, and some freebies (including 30 Saint Quartz) a couple battles after.

The Prologue teaches you all sorts of things, like how to utilize the Wall of Special Snowflakes. Luckily, it doesn’t take you more than 5 minutes to breeze through everything.

If you don’t know where the Present Box is, keep hitting the Back arrow in the top-left corner till you get back to the Terminal interface. It’s pretty self-evident where it is after.

With 30 Saint Quartz, you’re equipped to make some 10x Summon rolls and pray to the RNG gods that you get a 5* Servant that can help carry you, especially in the early game.

Keep doing this till you’re happy with the results.

That’s the button for a 10x Summon roll folks. Don’t forget to chant the summoning spell and place an offering in the magic circle while you’re at it.

Tip #2: Back up your Transfer Number

Fate/Grand Order tracks your account using a Transfer Number. If you like what you rolled, be sure to go to Menu > My Room, and select Issue Transfer Number to get one.

You’ll also be prompted to key in a password to go with the issued number for recovery purposes.

Lord El-Melloi II insists that you back up your data. 😛

Tip #3: Level up your 5* Servant immediately!

You should have received some QP (gold) and XP cards in your Present Box together with your Saint Quartz.

Go to Menu > Enhance > Servant, and feed those XP cards to your 5* Servant to bump up his Level before you begin the farming process. You don’t want to dive into the next part with your Servants at Level 1. 😛

Having a semi-decent 5* at a respectable level in your line-up will help in the next bit.

Tip #4: Raid the Treasure Vault (at least once)

Your Master level impacts the maximum number of Servants and Craft Essences you can bring into battle, and the speediest way to power level this is to do the Daily Quest maps.

If you’re fresh out of the third scenario in the Prologue, you’ll be maybe Level 2, with a maximum AP cap of slightly more than 20. This allows you to access Enter the Treasure Vault (Intermediate).

This is the first Daily Quest map (accessible from Terminal > Chaldea Gate > Daily Quest) that you will want to do because it hooks you up with some QP as well as enough XP to bump your Master level a couple times.

And of course, it’s gotta be Gil if a Treasure Vault is involved. 😛

Just be sure to bring along a friend with a powerful Rider because you’re kicking down Doors, and every one of them is a Caster. My personal favorite is Martha, but any Rider with an AOE (area effect) Noble Phantasm will do.

Slap on a Kaleidoscope, The Imaginary Element or Prisma Cosmos, and you’ll be firing that NP off pretty regularly too.

Tip #5: Do those Dailies!

Make sure you move on to Ember Gathering (Intermediate) once you have gotten some QP out of the Vault.

Farm Ember Gathering (Intermediate) till your maximum AP cap hits 30. This won’t take long as each completion will yield enough Master XP for you to level up, and that also instantly refills your AP gauge. The XP cards you farm can also be fed to your Servants to beef them up for the next part.

Farm Ember Gathering (Advanced) till your maximum AP cap hits 40, and start on Ember Gathering (Expert) as soon as you can.

Not only will you receive 15,690 XP for your Master Level, you’ll get 8 or 9 gold XP cards every time you complete the Expert map.

Of course, it helps if you (and your friend in the Support slot) are properly armed for the occasion.

Special events like the ongoing Nero Festival will yield a much higher XP payout (20,380 XP for the 30 AP map), so be sure to farm that instead when you can. Just make sure you’ve got a team (or friends) capable of taking on Servants with over 50,000 hp.

Tip #6: Watch those Affinities

This isn’t so much a tip, as it is common sense. Some Servants have Personal Skills that complement each other, and fielding a solid line-up to tackle those pesky Daily Quests will help speed up your power leveling process.

It also helps to level at least one Servant of every Class so you can keep your farming team versatile.

Decent 3* picks that can help fill gaps in your line-up include Julius Caesar (Saber), Robin Hood (Archer), Cu Chulainn (Protoype), Medusa (Rider), Medea (Caster), Jing Ke (Assassin) and Kiyohime (Berserker).

Or, you know, you could go with a full team of Berserkers like I normally do. :3

Tip #7: Make use of Mana Prisms

Since Mana Prism redemption in Da Vinci’s shop resets regularly now, you have the opportunity to get yourself some extra Summon Tickets, as well as Sun Fou (improves ATK by 50) and Star Fou (improves maximum HP by 50) if you have Mana Prisms to spare.

She’s here to take your money. Always try to clean out the shop and pump up your favorite Servants with the Fou cards if you can.

Doing your Dailies at the highest difficulty will get you about 11 Mana Prisms easily, and you can get as many as 26 each day if you do every single Daily Quest religiously.

You can also choose to Burn (Sell) unwanted Servants, XP Cards and Craft Essences. In fact, one of the easiest ways to farm Mana Prisms is to do Ember Gathering (Advanced), and burn any silver XP cards you gain after.

You’ll need several hundred Mana Prisms if you want to clear out Da Vinci’s shop on a regular basis!

If you’ve got plenty of friends (like me), you’ll always have at least 2 10x Friend Point rolls up daily. Burn any excess 3* Servants, silver XP cards and Craft Essences you don’t care for (like Black Keys) and turn them into Mana Prisms.

And that’s pretty much all there is to it.

Just keep doing your Dailies once you’ve completed your story maps, keep pimping out your Servants, and stock up on both Summon Tickets and Saint Quartz, because you’ll want them for special events with Rate Up like Nero Festival, among other things.

Happy farming! :3