Brian is the Lead Rambler for The Mana Pool. He poured blood, sweat, tears, and lots of words into earning this title, and he makes sure to refute any challengers. Brian may well have said more words on the show’s run than anyone except Chewie, and that may be in question. Off the air, Brian contributes toward the creative planning aspect of the show. He frequently comes up with topics and themes for the episodes, although this is really a job shared by everyone. He enjoys creating new segments for the show, and has historically created the following bits: Story Circle, Street Caliber Combat Instinct (or whatever it’s called), Binder Pulls, and Mad Libs, along with one or two that no one remembers and probably didn’t catch on.

In real life, Brian is a private defense attorney in High Point, North Carolina. He has been married to his wonderful wife Carrie since 2007 (the year the Mana Pool started!). Their daughter Samantha was born in October of 2010. While Magic is his principle hobby (when he actually has any free time to himself), he also enjoys creative writing.

Land Searching to Make Friends and Win Games, Pt I

Maze's End

Dragon’s Maze, the final set in the hugely popular Return to Ravnica block, draws nigh. Already we’ve heard about shockland re-reprints, a guild versus guild footrace, and at least 10 new multicolor legends to fuel the Commander fire.

The prerelease for Dragon’s Maze is set for April 27-28, so be sure to check with your local store about specific times and entrance fees. The one card you know you’ll get (although you can’t play with it this time)? Maze’s End. It’s a little funny to me that the first card you get upon “entering” the Maze is, in fact, the very end of the Maze. That aside, Maze’s End is a very interesting card to touch upon, so I’m going to be covering it in a two-part article series.

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Brian’s Standard Black/White Tokens

Here’s the BW Tokens deck Brian took to the SCG Open in Charlotte earlier this month.  If you want to hear all about how the deck worked and all the stories and whatnot that go with it, you should listen to the first part of Episode 218.  He went into detail about all his rounds and how the deck was working and all that good stuff!

By the way, I’m posting this under his name because it’s his deck and so he’ll be notified of comments.  He’s not pompous enough to be talking about himself in the third person.

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Brian’s Old School Custom Set – The Rest

Brian Other

In the fall of 2004 between Mirrodin block and Kamigawa block, Brian tried his hand at set design with a set of 150 cards.  Other than updating to use modern templating and keywords, these are exactly as Brian created them.  It’s a look back at Brian’s take on old school set design.  Chewie and Mike added some commentary just for good measure. You can also read the White, Blue, Black, Red, and Green cards.  We hope you enjoy this trip back as much as we do!

Finally, we’ve got the artifact, multicolor, and land cards.  Each and every artifact (except Goblin Prototype, who is just weird) is essentially based around a pre-existing card, not necessarily an artifact.  Can you guess all of them?  The common  land cards are probably too good; New Benalia is proof of that.  Nevertheless, scry always had a lot of potential to me in a limited setting, and I thought the lands were a way to give each player access to library manipulation regardless of color.  I was always curious as to where they would fit in a draft pick order.  Frozen Plane was another attempt at a card with constructed applications.  All of the multicolor cards were fun to design, but the rares were especially so.  Spirit of Rage is particularly vicious; good thing I’ve never been attacked by one.  Hope you enjoyed the set.  Let me know what you think of it, and thanks for reading!

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Brian’s Old School Custom Set – Green

Brian GreenIn the fall of 2004, which was between Mirrodin block and Kamigawa block, Brian wanted to try his hand at set design.  So he made a set of 150 cards.  Other than some templating work and new terminology and keywords, these are exactly as Brian originally created them.  It’s an interesting look back at old school set design, as well as Brian’s personal spin on it.  Chewie and Mike added some commentary just for good measure. You can also read the White, Blue, Black, and Red cards.  We hope you enjoy this trip back as much as we do!

Here are the green cards.  The most obvious theme is with the Fullroot creatures, who don’t really like to remain in the graveyard.  All but the one-cost Speaker have a higher casting cost than the cost to reanimate, with the thought that within the set there were not many discard outlets to cheat them into play.  When I made them, I thought that they were pretty fair.  For a while afterword, I thought they were probably too good.  With the quality of creatures these days and cards like Reassembling Skeleton (which is arguably better since the cost can be played any time), I’m back to thinking that they’re probably okay.  Other than the Fullroots, there are some other interesting cards here.  Hillside Nest should probably be a rare.  Oakwood Sage is kind of silly for limited, but then again, I’m a silly guy.  It’s kind of funny to me that Terran Colossus is pretty much worse than Primeval Titan – creatures really are better these days, aren’t they?  One final section on the way, but in the meantime, give us your thoughts.

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Gravecrawler – A Closer Look

Greetings, Mana Pool listeners and fellow Magic enthusiasts!  I’m Brian, lead rambler of the Mana Pool, and I’m here to have a quick discussion about one of the new cards from the upcoming Dark Ascension expansion set.  Preview weeks tend to be one of the busiest times around here and in the Magic world in general, so check here at the Mana Pool website for additional content to get your fill.  Today’s article is hopefully going to whet your appetite for the possibilities that Dark Ascension brings to the (card) table, but the fun doesn’t end here.

Dark Ascension (here on out “DA”, just to make my life easier) is the follow-up to the Innistrad set, a personal favorite of mine from all angles – limited, constructed, casual, and especially flavor.  You’re going to see more werewolves, vampires, zombies, spirits, and hapless victims humans.  Continue reading »

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