Crispy Gamer

Planeswalker Rob vs The Giant Frakking Grizzly Bears

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A couple weeks ago I got an email from one of my buddies in Minnesota. I first met Rob at The Source -- one of the better gaming and comics shops in the Twin Cites. Rob was there on a Thursday night playing the A Game of Thrones collectable card game -- and he was damn good at it. I soon joined the handful of guys playing cards there and learned just how good all of them were. They were all veterans of the game. More than a couple had competed in the championships at GenCon. And Rob was right there. If I ever beat him it was blind luck that scored me the points.

So it wasn't much of a surprise when I learned that Rob was messing around with Magic the Gathering: Duel of the Planeswalkers on his Xbox 360. It also wasn't surprising when Rob told me that he's aleady been gaming the card game. In his email he recounted a match in the campaign. Rob, playing the "Claws of Vengeance" deck was up against Garruk Wildspeaker, who had the "Grizzly Bears card" out. Wildspeaker buffed them with "Blanchwood Armor" so Rob slapped the overpowered bears with "Pariah" -- a card that re-directs all damage aimed at the player to the card it is attached to. "I figured that would kill it quick," Rob said in his email. But Garruk had different ideas. Garruk busted out "Vigor" a beefy unlockable card that steps in to block damage, then rewards the target with +1 power and toughness for every point it deflects. 

Rob had discovered a bizzare damage feedback loop in the mechanics of game and decided to see just how far he could push it.

He let Garruk Wildspeaker pump his Grizzly Bears to 2453 power and toughness (see the bottom right of the card) before realizing that he could pull out a win even though he was outmuscled by a huge degree. "I noted that I still had a "Blaze" spell left," Rob told me. "I got all my locations out (27 of them) so I could give him more than his 19 life easily. When I had a couple cards left I drew "Blaze" gave him 26 damage and won."

In the end Garruk had 22 characters on the table. Rob's only card in play was the "Venerable Monk."

Needless to say, I fear the day Rob invites me to play a vs. duel.