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Brian McCormick

is a Fantasy and Science Fiction enthusiast & Co Founder of Epicstream.com

    LATEST ARTICLES

  • 30 Great Colorless Utility Lands To Improve Your Magic: The Gathering ...
    Looking to add some spice to your Commander deck? Lands are often underlooked and also one of the easiest ways to add variety to your deck without messing with your core strategy. Today we are going to take a lot at some of the more powerful, underrated, or niche land cards you can consider adding to your Commander deck. Here are 30 Colorless Utility Lands To Improve Your Commander Deck:
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    46 days ago By Brian McCormick By Brian McCormick - 46 days ago
  • Every Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Mythic Rare Spoiled on Preview Day ...
      Magic: The Gathering just gave players a ton of Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths card spoilers today, and wow this set looks epic! Big, bad, giant creatures with tons of crazy abilities! So which of the newly spoiled cards are going to have a huge impact on Standard, and which ones are more for casual play? Here's an in-depth look at all the Mythics spoiled today!
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    61 days ago By Brian McCormick By Brian McCormick - 61 days ago
  • Star Trek: Picard - Episode One Premiere Review
      Star Trek television has never looked so good as it does in Star Trek: Picard, which aired its first episode this Thursday. With big-budget movie cinematography, gorgeous film sets, and dazzling scenes of outer space, it’s hard to believe Star Trek Picard is a television show and not a feature film. But it isn’t quite everything that I had hoped. I’ve been a long time fan of Star Trek, and even more so Star Trek: The Next Generation, which featured the title character, Jean-Luc Picard as its captain. I was bursting with excitement when Picard first appeared on screen. He’s playing poker with Data, and calling his bluff. Patrick Stewart shows off Picard’s wit and intelligence as he spars with Data. Brent Spiner does an excellent job revisiting his character and somehow manages to improve Data’s mannerisms to seem even more mechanical and android like. This is Data at his best. Although Data is played perfectly, Jean-Luc feels somewhat different than I remember. He’s a lot older now. Softer, and more kind. You can feel his age slow him down. Although it’s the same Patrick Stewart at the helm, I feel it is portrayed slightly out of character. Some of his dialogue feels too basic. Like a geriatric old man who is having a hard time keeping up. Toward the beginning of the show, we are presented with a fugitive of sorts who is being chased by unknown assailants. When she meets Picard at his vineyard and exchanges words outside, Picard’s exchanges feel too brief and rushed. We’re used to him presenting more dialogue and elaborating. I feel the scriptwriters haven’t quite nailed the character yet. We do see glimpses of good dialogue, such as when Picard is interviewed about a previous “synthetic battle” at his Vineyard. When the interviewer pushes on battle decisions, Picard rebuttals them and shows his signature moral and ethical debate prowess. The biggest miss for me of the episode is when Picard fails a friend whom he vowed to protect. We’re used to Picard always coming out on top. With the exception of a few characters, such as Yar, he always finds a way to win. His failure in the episode makes him seem like a knife that has lost its edge, and combined with his somewhat feeble and less authoritative presence seems out of character. We do see glimpses of his intelligence as he visits a Starfleet archive to do research relating to newly introduced characters. You can see him planning ahead and covering his tracks. Picard’s plot is interesting. I won’t spoil it, but it expands on Data and Picard’s friendship and history together. Star Trek: Picard is worth watching for the cinematography alone. The show definitely feels like Star Trek, but with a healthy dose of movie magic and depth which you rarely see in a television series. My only miss is that Jean-Luc has lost a little more edge than I thought he would.
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    130 days ago By Brian McCormick By Brian McCormick - 130 days ago
  • 50 Underplayed Magic: The Gathering Blue Commander Cards
    Perhaps the most powerful of all the Magic: the Gathering colors is Blue. Be it taking extra turns, drawing cards, countering spells, or creating insurmountable card advantage, Blue has a plethora of ways to defeat even the strongest of opponents. Because so many of the most powerful Commander cards are Blue, there are a lot of hidden sleepers that are overlooked or forgotten. Today we are looking at the most powerful Blue Commander cards that you should consider running. Some of these cards do see Commander play, but they end up being cut way more than they should. For underplayed Magic: The Gathering White Commander Cards, click here! For underplayed Magic: The Gathering Red Commander Cards, click here! For underplayed Magic: The Gathering Green Commander Cards, click here!   Here are 50 of the most underplayed Magic: The Gathering Blue Commander cards that you should consider for your blue deck:
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    220 days ago By Brian McCormick By Brian McCormick - 220 days ago
  • Graveyard Decks Buried By Magic: The Gathering July Banned and ...
      In an unexpected move, Magic: The Gathering has banned Bridge from Below in Modern, effective July 12, 2019 in paper formats and July 8, 2019 at 12 p.m. PT on Magic Online. The next banned and restricted announcement will be August 26, 2019. No other changes to the B&R list were made to any formats.       The ban came as a surprise to many players, who were railing against the newly printed Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis to be banned instead, which is part of the Bridge from Below deck. According to Wizards of the Coast, the Bridge deck had “high overall win rate, fast wins, and few unfavorable matchups”. The deck even posted an overall win rate on Magic Online of over 60%. Here’s how dominant the deck has been according to WOTC: “In recent weeks, Hogaak Bridgevine has been the most played Modern deck on Magic Online and has earned over three times as many 5-0 League trophies as the deck with the next most. It has only two unfavorable matchups among the other ten most played decks and a high win rate against lesser played "rogue" decks. Especially telling is its Game 1 win rate of roughly 66%, requiring most decks to sideboard heavily against it.” Bridge wasn’t the only card that was considered for the ban. They also looked at banning Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis and Altar of Dementia. WOTC ultimately decided to ban Bridge because they believed it is the most likely card to become broken again as more graveyard synergy cards are released.   Personally, I thought Bridgevine was a pretty interesting combination deck and fairly well balanced before Modern Horizons was released. It seems like Hogaak was the real culprit that put Bridge over the top in a new powerhouse deck for the meta, so I’m a bit surprised they preemptively banned Bridge instead. Players have also been expecting a Stoneforge Mystic unban sometime in the future, but alas, nothing so far. There was no mention in the B&R update of any potential unbannings being looked at.   What do you think of the Bridge from Below ban? Leave us a comment below! You can view the B&R announcement here. READ MORE: Magic: The Gathering War of The Spark Originally Had Different Deaths  
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    330 days ago By Brian McCormick By Brian McCormick - 330 days ago
  • Magic: The Gathering Black Lotus Trading Card Auctions off for ...
      An incredibly rare and sought after Gem Mint 9.5 rated Black Lotus from the original Magic: the Gathering set was listed on eBay by PWCC auctions and reached a final bid today for a reported $166,100. Black Lotus is the most sought after card in Magic: the Gathering and a status symbol for any player who owns one. While the card was originally intended for use in a game of MTG, this one will surely be a display piece for whoever the final buyer is. There are less than a handful of Alpha Black Lotus in 9.5 Gem Mint condition in the game. The only other listing on eBay for a similarly conditioned card is for sale at an incredible $249,999.   Unfortunately, the listing has mysteriously disappeared since the auction was completed and we are no longer able to see the details of this incredibly rare card. This leaves us to speculate what actually happened to the sale of the card. It is possible that a reserve was not met and the card did not actually sell, or the buyer or seller backed out. PWCC also sold a 9.0 Mint Alpha Black Lotus this morning on eBay for $57,350. Here’s what they had to say about their mint condition listing: "The holy grail of all Magic The Gathering cards. The Black Lotus is the single most important MTG card ever printed and is widely considered the most valuable card ever to be released in a regular set. In fact, former professional player Zvi Mowshowitz has declared the Black Lotus as the best artifact of all-time and makes every deck simply better with this card in it. Due to its immense power, this card has been banned/restricted in all formats and is atop the coveted 'Power Nine' list. Designed by Christopher Rush, the Black Lotus is a truly remarkable piece of artwork which could be classified in the same realm as a Picasso or Van Gogh painting. To date, there are only 7 mint Alpha Black Lotus's that have received the coveted quad + mint subgrades, and Just 4 that are graded quad ++. That means this is easily one of the nicest mint 9's in existence. This card possesses exquisite surfaces which show eloquent color and tremendous clarity. Beautifully centered with blemish free borders and MINT edges around. Displays well formed corners with fabulous print and registration. With a print run of just 1,100 of each rare card being produced, and the vast majority being played/damaged; there is no wonder the demand far out weighs the supply. Like an exceedingly rare piece of beautiful art, this card will surely yield a fantastic rate of return and could easily be a $100,000+ card in the coming years. We are proud to offer this world-class investment commodity to the Magic community, free of reserve. Comes highly recommended by PWCC. Part of an ultra impressive run of high-grade Magic The Gathering examples on the auction block this month. One of over 16,000 cards, lots and sets up for bid in our 1st Auction of 2019. Click on the link above to view the other PWCC auction lots.” I knew a mint or better condition Black Lotus was incredibly rare, but I had no idea that there were only 7 of this quality in known existence. Congratulations to the lucky buyers of these cards! Although the price is incredibly steep, there are so few in existence that it is hard to put a price on something like this. Do you think these rare and powerful cards are worth the cost? Leave us a comment below!
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    460 days ago By Brian McCormick By Brian McCormick - 460 days ago
  • Magic: the Gathering Releases Celebrity Advertisement for New Arena ...
    Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro just released the above big budget advertisement for their new Arena Singleton event this week. The ad stars notable actor, Danny Trejo. For many players in the MTG community, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen a big budget commercial advertising the game. This ended when Wizards of the Coast went big with an advertisement for Arena and E-Sports in December of 2017. The new ad from Magic: the Gathering features Danny Trejo and a Magic player on a Valentine's date. Trejo is trying to decide what meal to order, while his friend promotes the new Singleton Arena event which will be taking place between February 14 and 18th. The event will be free. Winning once in the event will give you an alternate art copy of Duress. Winning five times will reward you with an alternate art copy of Ghalta, Primal Hunger. It’s clear with this ad that Hasbro is committed to giving resources to Magic: the Gathering to advertise and promote Arena and the E-Sports division of the game. It’s surprising they nabbed a notable actor for a commercial for something as ordinary as a free limited time event, instead of a pre-release or large release announcement. Perhaps more celebrity and big-budget advertisements are in store for Magic E-Sports. Did you like the commercial? Are you excited for the Singleton event this Valentine's weekend? Leave us a comment below!
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    474 days ago By Brian McCormick By Brian McCormick - 474 days ago
  • Guide: How to Curve the Perfect Magic: the Gathering Draft Deck
    Are you a beginner at Draft? Do you find yourself having trouble in limited format events? You’re not alone. In Standard events, many players can succeed by mastering a deck already developed and tested by other players. One of the struggles of Draft is that you have to build the entire deck yourself. This means you need to choose the number of lands, mana curve, number of creatures, and spells. I’ve constantly noticed players make rookie mistakes in Draft, such as running too many high converted mana cost cards, which leads to them being out tempoed by opponents. In order to help players better understand what makes a good Draft deck, I’ve analyzed Top 8 Draft decks from many recent GPs to see what characteristics they have in common. Here’s what I’ve found:
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    488 days ago By Brian McCormick By Brian McCormick - 488 days ago
  • 5 Things Magic: the Gathering Online Still Does Better Than Arena
    Magic Arena has been killing it for the Standard format. Twitch streams for Magic: the Gathering has been at an all-time high and growing every day, while Magic Online streams have been declining. Many have started ditching their Magic Online collection in fear of declining card prices. While Arena seems to have cemented its place among players as their Magic software of choice, it can’t do everything better. Magic Online still offers a superb experience in a few ways that Arena doesn’t and won’t be able to for a long time (if ever). Here are 5 things Magic Online Still Does Better Than Arena:
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    491 days ago By Brian McCormick By Brian McCormick - 491 days ago
  • Local Gaming Store Game On Suffers Major Blow from Burst Pipe, All ...
      The community gaming store Game On, located in Augusta Maine, suffered extensive water damage earlier this week when a pipe broke above their singles inventory room. The damage was enough to flood the store with over an inch of water and caused damage to the walls according to a post on the store’s Facebook page. You can see the damage here: Game On was originally scheduled to have a Magic: the Gathering Appreciation Day as well as a Pokemon Prerelease event and a 2-Headed Giant tournament this weekend. Sadly, all of their events are postponed until further notice, as the damage was more extensive than originally thought. According to Game On, they will be closed for a minimum of 3 weeks in order to recover and clean up as well as tear down water soaked walls. Although it is a tough time for the LGS, they posted yesterday that they indeed plan to reopen as soon as they can and are thankful for all the messages of support they have received over the past week. I hope they are able to open back up as painlessly as possible without further issues. Local gaming stores are a pillar of Magic: the Gathering and other card communities. Without them, we wouldn’t have a common place to enjoy some of our favorite games.
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    494 days ago By Brian McCormick By Brian McCormick - 494 days ago