Ancestral Recall Episode #14: Mercadian Masques Retrospective


This one took quite a long time to write. In large part, that was due to my studying for my comprehensive exam I needed to pass in order to get my TESOL Master’s degree. I aced the test, by the way.

The parts I cut were on the Flailing mechanic, which was incredibly lame, and more in depth discussion of the free spells. Gush is amazing, of course. I really hate self-inflicted two-for-ones, so I didn’t deal at length with Unmask. (But sometimes it’s absolutely necessary to take a card advantage hit, which is why Force of Will is a thing.)

There are times when I need to get into macro issues, such as why free spells can be a very dangerous thing for the game, or how the nature of mana fixing has changed over time to be more and more generous, or the unmistakable nature of creature power creep (which is what I am talking about every time I mention Baneslayer Angel). But if it derails the discussion so that the set I’m talking about falls off the radar, then it’s got to get cut. These issues need a show of their own. If there’s anyone out there who really wants to tackle this issue, I’d say, go for it, please.

Ancestral Recall Special #3: Top Ten Discard Spells


I’m in the middle of crunch time studying for my exam. My last few set reviews have been rather epic, clocking in at 20 minutes. I am pretty happy with the length and depth of those, but when life affairs happen, I can’t do them on a weekly basis.

This list is pretty damned good and has faced some peer review. You only hear me in this video, you don’t see me (which seems to be the common thread between the specials). Barely any gags, but the content’s there.

Ancestral Recall #12: Torment Retrospective


It isn’t as long as Odyssey, but since it’s a small set, it’s got a lot of content. People namedropped include John Rizzo (and the runner-up in Magic rant artists, Geordie Tait), Zvi Moshowitz, and Randy “Macho Man” Savage. The initial imitation goes bad after a while, but the second one is JUST right.

Macho Man is easily one of the most mockable voices in wrestling, but that’s part of the fun!

Ancestral Recall Episode #10: Vanguard Retrospective


Not a bad video, but not quite as many gags as I’d like.

The decklist for Forsythe’s Angry Hermit is this. I don’t have my brew list, sadly. And yeah, Ghitu Slinger wasn’t that good. But it was a reasonable addition in a format with lots of little guys.

Main Deck
60 cards

11 Forest
2 Gaea’s Cradle
4 Karplusan Forest
2 Mountain
4 Rishadan Port
2 Treetop Village
25 lands

4 Avalanche Riders
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Deranged Hermit
4 Llanowar Elves
3 Masticore
2 Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary
3 Skyshroud Poacher
3 Yavimaya Elder
27 creatures

4 Arc Lightning
4 Plow Under
8 other spells

2 Ancient Hydra
4 Blastoderm
2 Boil
1 Masticore
1 Splinter
3 Thran Foundry
2 Uktabi Orangutan
15 sideboard cards

Ancestral Recall #9 Exodus Retrospective Show Notes



The show’s live.

I’m glad that you, dear reader, could read my notes, so that you can see what I added and cut.  I revise scripts constantly before and during shooting.  The conclusion got extended, the initial explanation got expanded, and I actually liked the way I punched the score in.  I wish I had extended the length of that shot, though.

This show was the show where I explained how old sets had power concentrated in non-creature permanents to a much greater extent than today.  That’s one of the issues I have wanted to talk about from the show’s inception.

Also, the Il Cartographer edit was incredibly ingratiating.  Every time I see that card, I sing the song.  It isn’t really danceworthy, but I wanted to be goofy on camera.  There are one or two frames where you can see Strong Bad, but they’re mostly covered up well.

And yes, I probably will reference this joke in a later show, almost certainly during Odyssey block.

I like namedropping coverage people.  I really regret not having worked with Rashad Miller or Marshall Sutcliffe or the SCG coverage people, but that’s what happens when almost everything I did in coverage happens in Japan.


Ancestral Recall ep 8 show notes

This show debuted the oval bluescreen.  This is what I wanted since day 1.  The next thing I want to do?  Add more detailed lines.  I’m a horrible digital artist, though.  But I need lines to guide my image sizing.

You might have noticed a few professional wrestling references in my shows.  Portcullis is a heel card, and it’s fun when its controller gets their comeuppance.  I like heel cards that can be reversed.  They make for good narratives.

I talk a lot about how I don’t like Propaganda effects.  I usually associate them with annoying opponents.  I do like using them, though, but when I do I usually like splashier versions, like Ensnaring Bridge.

Last month I dug up my old Standard Ensnaring Bridge deck, which had a playset of Vindicates and Death Grasps in it.  The coolest thing about that deck was the old KMC Gunmetal sleeves, though.  Man, I miss Japanese KMCs.  They keep the cool ones for themselves and only ship the boring ones overseas.

One thing that I did with this video was adding more ‘wait time’, giving time between card profiles to allow for captions.  I want to manage the visual input so that it’s a little easier to follow.  This also allows me to slow down my speed just a bit.  My earlier videos had me talking a bit faster than I’d like.



Ancestral Recall ep. 7 show notes

This one will be the last show I do with blocky bluescreen.  I’m much more happy with episode 8’s curved bluescreen.  The only good thing about the blocky blue screen was that it gave me a great reference for where I was putting my card images and getting their size close.

I loved the Shocker pun.  Sometimes my hands are especially clumsy, and I had the pose for JUST a second, and then it went to all hell.  This show is probably going to be the most risque one I do, due to the nature of the joke.  The only thing that puts the show in PG territory is card art.

This set seriously had so many neat things in it, that I had to put a list in the credits that covered all the things I wanted to write about, but didn’t.  The show was the longest to date, and while I enjoyed making it, I didn’t want to sit on it for forever.

Tempest is one of the few sets I took the time to acquire by getting a complete set.  My set’s in Portuguese.  Why Portuguese?  I dunno.  It was cheap, and I’m glad I picked it up.

So many missed opportunities, but I felt like I hit the most important bits.

Oh yeah, and I like the hat!  I seriously was going to the bathroom to check on my hair constantly in earlier shoots.  It drove me crazy. How could I focus?  By wearing a hat.  I put it somewhere this week, so I can’t shoot without it.  I went to four different thrift shops looking for one, but my head is stupidly large (I needed a 2XL at the actual hat store on South Street).  So that limits my selection significantly.

I didn’t want to copy any of the people on That Guy With the Glasses, so I went with a flat cap with a neat argyleish black and white print.  It’s pretty warm, and when I was playing it at FNM my head got sweaty.  Weird.  I usually wear knit caps, but I wanted to get something to put me in the zone.  And it felt good to wear it.

Also, the show shows off my kick ass Batman shirt at the end.  I got it at a Japanese surf shop.  It’s my most expensive shirt.  And it is truly sweet.


Ancestral Recall ep. 4 show notes


This show was also a major improvement on the preceding one. I used Keynote to do some fun profiles on old enemy gold cards, and used a great PS&G track to back it. I wouldn’t do it again, because I’m worried about content ID, but it looks like the track got missed. It isn’t surprising, considering it’s a track from a fairly obscure TV show.

This script was lazy at the end. I didn’t have the usual outro in front of me, and the delivery suffered for it.

I trimmed a lot from the script because I was worried about length. Boredom is not what I want the audience to experience.

Yelling at the captions is something I love. I like to pry bricks out of that fourth wall.

Why did I change the scenery?  I was spending the end of the year at my parents’ place, and there weren’t any rooms with white walls and good lighting.  So I decided to brave the elements and shoot outside.  Shooting in a winter wonderland doesn’t quite work.  I live in West Philly, which is rather short on natural settings, so I figured I’d take advantage of the shift.  Necessity is the mother of all that.


Ancestral Recall #3 Show notes

The breakthrough I did with this video was that I figured out how to get closer to the Colbert setup by making a blue screen/greenscreen overlay on the side.  I edited the raw footage before adding captions, then overlaid the blue screen, saved it, and then opened the new file and added captions and stills to that.  It isn’t rocket science in hindsight, but I had to figure it out on my own.

This was my first set retrospective, and I liked it a ton. I was able to get into the details of how mana fixing used to work, and contrast it with the more modern models.  If there’s something I regret, it’s adding cards that suck.  I should make more fun of sucky cards in every set.

This script was much longer, and I cut a lot of it making the video.  Wafo-Tapa?  No discussion.  I probably should have done it in a two parter.  Maybe some day I’ll revisit when I get to Planeshift, the set that really had only one card that mattered, Flametongue Kavu.  Seriously.  Planeshift had some good commons and uncommons for limited play, but in terms of Constructed goodies… it wasn’t that special.  It wasn’t bad, but it was the definition of mediocrity.

I wanted to get into the different design approaches, symbiosis versus Chinese menu… but it was long enough.  I was wrestling with iMovie the whole way, too. It’s gotten easier.

Anyway, that’s the scoop on episode 3.