Impractically Large Weapons

A variety of enchantments that allow your characters to wield impractically large weapons:


A light weapon is treated as one size category smaller than it actually is for purposes of determining whether or not a given character can wield it effectively.

Moderate transmutation; CL 3th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Reduce Person; Price +1 bonus.


A heavy weapon deals damage as if it was one size category larger than it actually is.

Moderate transmutation; CL 3th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Enlarge Person; Price +1 bonus.


A massive weapon both deals damage as if it were one size category larger that it actually is and is treated as one size category larger than it actually is for purposes of determining whether or not a given character can wield it effectively.

Strong transmutation; CL 9th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Enlarge Person, Reduce Person; Price +2 bonus.

Steely Myr

After I played in the New Phyrexia Pre-Release and saw how good Tempered Steel could be, I decided it would be completely irresponsible of me to not build a deck with the copies I own. I put my Tempered Steels together with the Myr Battlespheres and Steel Overseers I've had languishing without a deck for way too long. I still haven't played it against a human, but I'm looking forward to it:

Going Infinite

As I said in my last post, this deck has an infinite mana combo that's there completely by accident. If you can get two Myr Galvanizers and a Palladium Myr on the table and you can tap the Palladium Myr for two mana, use one of the Galvanizer's to untap it, tap it again for two mana and use the second Galvanizer to untap the first and the Palladium Myr netting you two mana and setting you up to repeat the process ad infinitum.

You know what's better than infinite mana? Infinite damage! Thanks to the Myr Galvanizer, the loop not only produces and infinite amount of mana, but also an infinite number of untapped Myr which when you've got a Myr Battlesphere on the table, you can turn into infinite damage.

As I said, this combo is purely incidental. The Galvanizers are in there because they have great synergy with the Battlespheres and good synergy with Myr in general. The Palladium Myr are in there because they accelerate the Battlespheres, Sunblast Angels and Argentum Armors in addition to being something of a threat when Tempered Steel is on the table. There aren't any cards in the deck to assemble the combo and nothing to protect it if it happens into being. All that being said, if I ever happen to put it together in a game, I'm totally going to generate a million mana just to say that I did ;-)

New Phyrexia Pre-Release

I went to the New Phyrexia Pre-Release at Jim Hanley's Universe yesterday. It was crowded and kind of janky (very NYC), but I got a promo copy of Sheoldred, Whispering One, some New Phyrexia boosters and to play Magic all afternoon. I went 2-2, which I'm pretty happy with considering it was the first time I've played in a Limited event and the games included such crowning moments of awesome as multiple perfectly timed Sunblast Angels and copying my opponent's Platinum Empirion with one of my Phyrexian Metamorphs while I was sitting at 1 life1.

Here's my final fourty:

I was really impressed by the way the Sunblast Angels cleared the board (and in my favour more often than not), how Tempered Steel turned my Myr into threats and how Slash Panther was this awesome threat out of no where (especially when Tempered Steel is on the table). While the Phyrexian Metamorphs saved my bacon a couple of times, they're a little problematic in that they don't really work unless there's something bomby on the table. All in all, I had a blast and it prompted me to dust off my Tempered Steels and Sunblast Angels and build a deck2.

[1]It only ended up prolonging the inevitable, but I was four turns away from milling my opponent when he drew the last destroy-target-artifact card in his deck.
[2]... a deck that happens to have an incidental infinate mana combo, but that's a story for another time.

The Humble Bundle 2, Anchoring and A/B Testing

I recently purchased The Humble Indie Bundle 2 after reading an Ars Technica article about it and thinking: "Why the hell not?" The Humble Bundle is a collection of 5 independant games, released DRM free in a name-your-own-price sale with some of the proceeds going to the EFF and Child's Play.

One of the interesting things about the about the pay-what-you-want sale is that the price field is pre-filled with $29.95 as a default price:


Unfortunately for them, $29.95 is actually slightly above my threshold for why-the-hell-not purchases, but it did get me thinking about anchoring:

Anchoring or focalism is a cognitive bias that describes the common human tendency to rely too heavily, or "anchor," on one trait or piece of information when making decisions.

... says the Wikipedia. It actually has a very interesting effect on our perception of prices. Basically, if someone tells you that something was originally selling for $1000, but you can buy it for $500 now, you are very likely to be thinking about how good a deal $500 is when compared to $1000 even though the "original" price could very well be a completely made up number (this is where MSRPs actually come from).

The $29.95 in the box is an anchor. So is the $85 in the copy where they explain the set-your-own-price nature of the sale, but I expect it's a much less powerful anchor as it's not inside the box where you name your own price. Since $29.95 is an anchor, and there is a reasonable expectation that changing it will affect the number/value of purchases, I started thinking about another, somewhat related idea: A/B Testing. A/B Testing, in software development, is the practice of serving multiple versions of your software and seeing if one version works better for some value of "works better".

In the case of the Humble Bundle, I would be very interested to see if changing the value inside the set-your-own-price box had a significant impact on the size/number of purchases. You might have variants with $14.99, $29.95 and $59.95. Perhaps toying with people's cognitive biases is too evil for a project that's supporting not one, but two charities, but I'd still like to see the results of such an experiment, y'know, FOR SCIENCE!

s/the Combine/the combine harvester/g

A combine harvester.

Image Credit: kenny_lex

I have come to the realization that Half-Life 2 is a whole lot funnier if you mentally add in "harvester" whenever anyone mentions "the Combine":

Alyx: Dr. Freeman I presume? We better hurry, the combine (harvester) can be slow to wake, but once it is up you will have a hard time taking it down.

A letter: Dear Dr. Breen. Why has the combine (harvester) seen fit to suppress our reproductive cycle? Sincerely, A Concerned Citizen.

Citizen: We better hurry, we have to tear down this camp before the combine (harvester) gets here.

Aylx: We know all about you and Breen. You have been a spy for the combine (harvester) the whole time.

Gordon Freeman, the MIT graduated theoretical physicist hero-protagonist, saving the world from enslavement by a piece of anthropomorphized farming equipment.