Friday, September 19, 2014

Starter Kit for Cube and EDH

Idea...

A few weeks back I asked the infamous Jack LaCroix what cards were barriers to entry for EDH/Commander. This in turn sparked quite a long discussion on Twitter about what is and isn't a format staple. Was it a rare card but only worth $10? I wanted cards that were not the ABU Duals or Fetch Lands, but were priced out of range of some folks. There are already zillions of renders of the money lands available around every corner it seems.

After sifting through what remained, I narrowed the list to 8, and present those to you below. I'm positive I've missed something obvious, and that's fine by me. If I left it out and you feel that it was overwhelmingly supposed to be in, drop me a note on Twitter and I can do another of these for the future. Keep in mind that I will only do staples, and not just a list of your favorite generals.

Social Media

Speaking of Twitter, you can find me @TheProxyGuy.

The Cards


The Chinese translates to "Open the door!", but can be intended as "Lower your gate!"



If I never have to do this one again, it'll be too soon. Lot's of layer mask work here.



Hazezon won't see any Cube play, but a lot of the cards had cross-over implications. 
Therefor the title as such.


Mind sculpting in the rain, just mind sculpting in the rain!





Art Links










Thursday, August 21, 2014

Factory Workers Contest Ending 8/15

The Theme

Franky returns to fill in for the over-worked and under-played Matty to guest judge the contest he gave birth too. The theme being romance, whom better to judge than the creator of the 3 Rules of the Universe?

The Sponsors

The home of the contest is the Z's Proxy Factory Google+ Community. Our amazing friends at ManaDeprived and Face to Face Games are the proud sponsors of the contest, with store credit prizes of $40 to first and $10 to second place.

The Entries



Zeofar RM
Overall Score - 23
7.25
I had to pay close attention to the card title as the "C" is completely lost in the art, and the "M" is so far left as to be partially off the card. If the intent was to have the title appear as part of the smoke, re-framing the art may have helped you in this case. The art is fitting for a card titled "Mind Control", it just doesn't work for a blue card. 

8.25
I like the art choice, but the text doesn't do it for me. I'm not sure I like how Mind Control ties with romance, it may be a bit too dark.
7.5
Very cool choice of art. I really like the idea you had in the way you did the text on the card, but i wish you had taken some extra time with it so it didn't look quite as sloppy. When you have a piece of art that is off color, you can experiment with colored overlays and hue shifts to try and tweak them into the pocket.




Vincent Shiel
Overall Score - 23.5
7.5
 I understand the thought process for this, but the art just doesn't fit a Heroes Reunion at all, especially as it's a GW card. Perhaps art depicting the characters after the curse is lifted, but the ballroom dance just doesn't fit. Nice work on the soill, it adds that touch of festive to the piece.

8
Fun entry, a little bit too cartoonish for me. 
8
While this is probably one of the most romantic scenes in BntB, Heroes' Reunion does seem to fit very well here and seems very off color for the art. You do have quite a few nice touches throughout. Next time work on really hitting the flavor in both your choice of art and the card you choose.




Tony McCallie
Overall Score - 23.5
7
While this fits the flavor of the contest, it's the little things that bring this down. The title and type bars not being red or a variation thereof, the Guild watermark is totally lost in the textbox. The off sized and miss-colored mana symbols jump out and are distracting. Sweat the small stuff, it will only refine your skill set.

9
Wil Wheaton bare-chest and the lovely Felicia Day, what more could you ask? Very good entry, although the guild feud looks more like a honey moon at this point.
7.5
What perfect flavor..its what really shines about this render. If you are going for the "looks like a magic card look" then really hit those details. Some things that I notice is the absence of color in the title/type bars, the mana cost symbols are a bit small for their background "O"s, and the title "appears" in a smaller font-size than the card type. Any one of these by themselves isn't that big of a deal but together they become noticeable.




Gregory Peterson
Overall Score - 24.5
7
Romance doesn't necessarily invoke draining your opponents of their life essence for your gain. Great execution overall, just lacking the flavor and theme of this contest.

9.5
One of my favorite entries. I love this type of art, I'd like to see more of this style on actual cards. The font and frame are really nice. My only complaint is that the credits stick out a bit too much.
8
Really beautiful job. This art works perfectly for the card you chose, but unfortunately its not very romantic. Other than being a bit off theme you really have some incredibly nice touches. I would have liked to see your expansion symbol follow the curve of the parchment. The choice of white for the title and legal info may be too stark in contrast to other areas and pulls your eye away from some of the more subtle touches.




Adam Dexter
Overall Score - 24.5
7.75
Excellent idea, just completely discombobulated. The expansion symbol is huge, and the rules text is dramatically varying in size. Not sold on leaving the black border intact,

8.75
Love the card choice and I'm a big Game of Thrones fan. The mandatory "You know nothing, Jon Snow" quote is just gravy. I like everything but the actual image art which isn't as detailed as the other entries.
8
Really like the idea on this one. The crow medallion looks great and is perfect for the holofoil slot...but I wish the template was altered to follow its curve. As the only colored element, the expansion symbol draws a little too much attention.




Christopher Ciolino
Overall Score - 24.75
8
If this wasn't so close to the original poster, I'd like it a lot more. The little touches however are amazing, The WOTC splash, the credit text being the rules text. Nice job, just own it more next time out.

8.5
Good execution and a classic cultural landmark that fits the theme. The poster credits as card text is a great idea. However, for me it's just a bit too much white.
8.25
Some pretty cool touches here. I love the way you hid card type/expansion/rules etc. all in the movie credits. While it looks extremely close to the movie poster I find it really hard to read as well. Next time look for a way to strike a balance between concept and accessibility.




Judson Gruber
Overall Score - 25.75
8.75
You never fail to deliver on the flavor. Perfect choice of card for a man wishing to forget lost love. The feel of the card is what we've come to expect from you. Let's push those boundaries a bit and see what happens next!

8.5
I feel Memory Erosion is a poor choice for the romance theme, maybe I don't get the intent or it's been too long since I've seen Eternal Sunshine.  I find the foreground and background art don't really contrast that well. A good effort, but I was way more impressed by the Life Aquatic that I judged last time.
8.5
Flavor in this is awesome. Very nice compostion of quite a few different pieces of art to create something completely different. I'm not a fan of the warbling disco ball like texture in the background against the rest of the art, but applaud the inventiveness you bring to each of your renders.




Tyler O'Halloran
Overall Score - 26.75
8.75
Ah the hopeless romance of an eternity together. Where you found this art I've no idea, but the idea behind the render is brilliant. The heart in the foil stamp is a sweet touch

9
Great entry, the dancing skeletons show that some relationships can go even beyond death! I find the top of the card would need something to frame it a bit more to really make this one perfect.
9
I'm such a sucker for etchings, woodblock, and lithos...so it comes as no surprise I love this art choice. Flavorly it's unexpectantly very romantic. I'm not a fan of the times-ish font you chose for the title, but I do like the very small subtle spill of the skull.  




Robert Calhoun
Overall Score - 27.25
8.75
Sick work, the framing of the text, the overall feel of the card invokes Deadly Allure very well, That said, A disembodied art grabbing an ass doesn't invoke any of those things.Clone that out and this would shine.

9.25
This one slightly edges the Drudge Skeletons because the black-green contrast is very cool. Great work on the text and frame.
9.25
I'm really lovin' the frame work here and how the art works with Deadly Allure. I do agree that grabbing-ass makes it a bit more "cheeky" and would have more of an impact without it...but overall extraordinary work. 




Jason Sanderford
Overall Score - 27.25
9
Extraordinary work. Lady Rainicorn and Jake as the type and rules text areas is brilliant and seamless. The mana cost is a bit lost on an otherwise stellar entry.

8.75
 A fun light-hearted entry. I haven't seen a lot of Adventure Time, but I can dig it. I think I might have preferred the main image to be styled like the cartoon instead of the anime, but it's very well done for what it is.
9.5
This is so damn good. Fits the show so well and perfect romantic flavor. The ONLY thing I can see to critique is I wish the image resolution of Jake matched the crispness of all the other parts. Very well done! 


The Winners

A podium finish again for Pat with his Dramatic Rescue.
9.75
Oh Lord this is good. The "Instant" in headband trail is outclassed by quite possibly the best hidden expansion symbol to date. Perfect romance for Dramatic Rescue, as Princess Bride fits the card to a T. Superb work, be proud of it.
9.5
Love the composition on this one. A classic tale of romance brought to cardboard! I like how all the elements are spread out and the crisp feel of the card. 
9.75
So insanely good. Flavor for days. The piece of artwork you chose basically frames itself, but what really makes this shine are the small details that are executed with such precision. The hairs coming over the blue mana, the card type in the headband, the book lining up exactly with the holofoil. Very very well done sir.
Bringing it home with Dark Heart of the Wood is Thomas Driessen.
10
If score could go "all the way up to 11", this would be a 12. Perfect, absolutely perfect execution. Spot on for the theme, and the work and imagination put into this is next-next level. The Ravnica expansion symbol-as-publisher, and that it includes the casting cost AND trademark info is genius. I could go and on and on about this render.
9.75
 I find this one embodies perfectly the romantic theme. The quote acting both as flavor and rule text just ties everything together and the pulp fiction angle is perfect. I would sacrifice more than forest for this one!
10
This has to be one of my favorite renders yet in a contest. Everything from the art chosen to the ingenious way you did the mana/expansion/copyright as a publisher logo. When I first read the flavor text I about fell out of my chair. Can't wait to see Roborally!

Total Scores

Thomas Driessen - Dark Heart of the Wood - 29.75
Patrick D - Dramatic Rescue - 29
Jason Sanderford - Act on Impulse - 27.25
Robert Calhoun - Deadly Allure - 27.25
Tyler O'Halloran - Drudge Skeletons - 26.75
Judson Gruber - Memory Erosion - 25.75
Christopher Ciolino - Idyllic Tutor - 24.75
Adam Dexter - One With Nothing - 24.5
Gregory Peterson - Sanguine Bond - 24.5
Tony McCallie - Guild Fued - 23.5
Vincent Shiel - Heroes Reunion - 23.5
Zeofar RM - Mind Control - 23

Social Media

You can find all of the judges on Twitter, so feel free to follow and bug us!
Josh - @TheProxyGuy
Dave - @livewithfrank
Brandon - @iamnarb