June 18, 2009

The Skinny on WoW TCG Fields of Honor (June 30th)

HordeDeathKnight.jpgThe final set of cards in the World of Warcraft TCG PvP-themed cycle is slated to hit stores at the end of June. But while the PvP stuff seems cool, with some great new keywords and abilities, the real shining star of the upcoming Fields of Honor is the introduction of the new Death Knight class. That's right - death knights are coming to the WoW TCG, and they look to be glorious.

Upper Deck has started publishing Death Knight class preview articles alongside the standard Fields of Honor set previews (below), so we can get a full look at the new plate wearing casting class before they hit your table in just a few short weeks. The variety of their roles in battle from the WoW MMORPG are very well representated, with their debuffing and tanking Frost spec, Ghoul spawning Blood spec, and sheer dps Unholy spec skills all dealing a considerable amount of hurt. Your newly formed Death Knight should be up to speed, kicking the snot out of your friends heroes despite their back catalog of cards from sets passed.

  1. Death Knight Starter Previews - Knights of the Ebon Blade
  2. Death Knight Starter Preview - You Throw Like A Ghoul
  3. Death Knight Starter Preview - A Dark Presence
  4. Death Knight Starter Preview - Plagued Souls
  5. Death Knight Starter Preview - Cold Steel
  6. Death Knight Starter Previews - For the Alliance
  7. Death Knight Starter Previews - For the Horde

As you can see, to jump start your Death Knight Upper Deck will release a Death Knight starter set that lets you go either Horde (Blood spec) or Alliance (Frost spec) straight out of the box. We've yet to see a reference to any Unholy Death Knights, so they might not make an appearance until the Fall. Of course there could be more Death Knight heroes lurking elsewhere in the Fields of Honor set, too.

Here are some details for the Death Knight Starter, gleaned from one of the preview articles:

"So what do you get in the box? Each package comes with a 33-card Horde or Alliance Death Knight starter deck and 3 exclusive Ghoul Tokens. In addition to this, there is a bonus Death Knight pack containing another 17 cards (along with Alliance Death Knight allies if you want to change your deck to the blue side). Each non-hero card in the starter shows up twice, so you'll only need to get two copies to get full playsets of each card! As a freebie, we've even thrown in a Dark Portal starter deck in the product, so your Death Knight can begin beating down on your friends right out of the box. "

OK, enough about Death Knights for now. The set also expands upon the game in the same way as all of the previous expansion releases (the DK is just icing on the cake). Here are the official preview articles, along with details of the new card keywords: Escape Artist (Gnome Allies),
Escape Artist: When this Ally becomes targeted by an opposing card or effect, you may put it into its owner's hand

  1. The Honor Code
  2. Escape Artist
  3. Will of the Forsaken
  4. Find Treasure
  5. Location, Location, Location!
  6. Tooth and Maul
  7. Goofing Off
  8. The Fields on Fire
  9. That's Not a Pet... THIS is a Pet!
  10. Back Into the Light
  11. Burgle Me This!
  12. Axes and Armor
  13. Charmed I'm Sure
  14. Bring-A-Friend Program!
  15. Searching the Armory

Fields of Honor is scheduled for a June 30th launch date. Oh man, that's in like 2 weeks!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 17, 2009

MTG Duels of the Planeswalkers Hits XBox Live

MTGXboxLive.jpgA quick reminder that Magic the Gathering Duels of the Planeswalkers (800 MS Points) is slated to hit Xbox live today! So fire up your 360 and get on with some CCG goodness. The release doesn't correspond to any of the recently MTG sets, but contains its own collection of cards, some available when you start playing and others unlocked as a reward for playing matches. The game also supports multiple multiplayer modes, including Two-Headed Giant versis AI, and versus other players, and free for all modes for 2-4 players. There are also two tournaments slated for over the next three weeks, and Future Expansions are also under development as well.

For more information about MTG: Duels of the Planeswalkers, check our previous coverage: Magic the Gathering Injects Itself into Xbox Live June 17th. We'll see you online!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 4, 2009

Magic the Gathering Injects Itself into Xbox Live June 17th

MTGXboxLive.jpgIt's that time of year again: The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is in full swing in Los Angeles, and with it comes gobs of news of all sorts of games. We're most interested in the extension of board games and cards games, of course, and once again there's some great news to be had.

Now we all heard before that MagicThe Gathering was heading to an XBox near you, but it was a general "sometime" announcement without much detail. Well now the details are out (in this press release) and sometime soon is actually now really soon: June 17th.

It appears the game centers around 7 pre built decks that seed your collection, and then you unlock more cards as you play. Multiplayer is included, included the Two Headed Giant fiormat for 2v2. There are even tournaments planned soon after release: one on June 20th and antoher June 27th where you can players will be able to compete against Magic the Gathering League members and Developers of the game.

The game sports a slick trailer showing the game in action ( a must-see if you found the Magic Online interface a complete travesty ) More details can be round at the Magic the Gathering Duels of Planeswalkers website, and in the product's recent press release from E3. Here's a snippet from that:

Developed by Stainless Games, Ltd., Duels of the Planeswalkers, rated T-Teen, lets players simulate the Magic: The Gathering trading card game through lush interactive 3-D environments. The arcade-style game takes players on a journey through a vast Multiverse of unique worlds where they are deemed Planeswalkers, powerful mages who battle others for glory, knowledge and conquest.

Players can choose to battle against the computer or compete online against real-life opponents using Microsoft's Xbox LIVE Arcade. With numerous game play scenarios, including multiplayer game mode, Duels of the Planeswalkers offers an unrivaled depth in which each game is different from the last. Wizards of the Coast is supporting this release with an exclusive promotional card, which includes brand new artwork, making Duels of the Planeswalkers a game that both new and existing Magic players will enjoy.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 7, 2009

WoW Minis Spoils of War Expansion

WoWMinisSpoilsOfWarBooster.jpgThe first expansion to the tactical and collectible World of Warcraft Miniatures game system is out on store shelves. Spoils of War [Amazon, Funagain] introduces new characters from the Horde, Alliance and Monster factions.

Of course if that were all then this would be a pretty sleepy expansion.
The cool, new interesting stuff comes via the introduction of card type thats distributable to your characters in addition to to the standard spell and ability cards, i.e. Armor and Weapons. After all, what would World of Warcraft be without the l33t equipment gravy train of self advancement?

The new sets of armor and weapons not only have their straight forward uses, like hacking off limbs for the cheap, but they also give your characters new miscellaneous abilities to boot. In fact, they're so powerful that they actually contribute to each character's honor rating, so use them wisely.

And if that's not enough then the new Channeling spell type should change-up tactics nicely. These spells may continue their effect so long as your character doesn't movie. which should make for some very interesting decisions in such a dynamic game where players jockey for position.

The expansion is available in blind boosters packs of three whic promise a common -> epic rarity distrubution, with something substantial in each box. Word has it that the fabrication process has been improved, so here's hoping for better paint jobs for the figures and more accurately modeled UBases that don't reject their figures. Sadly, the set includes no new maps. While this might not bother some, it is pretty disappointing for us (see our WoW Minis Review) and may diminish the amount of time this expansion would hit our table otherwise.

More details about Spoils of War can be found in our WoW Minis Spoils of War Previews page, which has an index to all of the official preview articles and Minis.

Here's the official word:

Adventure into the Outland with the exciting, new characters introduced in Spoils of War, the second expansion set in the World of Warcraft Miniatures Game! Featuring new Epic Characters, Equipment, and Loot Cards, this expansion is offered in boosters containing three randomized, premium, pre-painted miniatures.
Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

April 29, 2009

D&D; 4th Edition Player's Handbook Miniatures

PHBMiniatures.jpgWe've been complaining a bit over the last year since the release of the D&D; 4th Edition. See, the game puts a huge emphasis on tactical combat, with square maps in the all the modules, and all those rules that have you map out spacing and ranges to determine area of effects.

The problem is, there hasn't been a great official way to represent your characters on your table top. Sure, you could have blindly bought D&D; Miniature boosters in hopes you would get someone cool and that slightly resembled your character's class, race, and gender, plus looked cool to boot, but that was a total crap shoot.

Finally, ten months later, Wizards of the Coast has a nice little gift for you. Behold: prepackaged miniatures of all the classes and races of the Players Handbook, presented in clear plastic so you know which miniature your dropping your cash for:

  1. Player's Handbook Heroes - Arcane Heroes #1 [Amazon, Funagain]
    Includes: Female Eladrin Wizard
    Male Tiefling Warlock
    Male Half-Elf Bard

  2. Player's Handbook Heroes - Arcane Heroes #2 [Amazon, Funagain]
    Male Human Wizard
    Female Eladrin Sorcerer
    Male Half-Elf Fighter / Warlock

  3. Player's Handbook Heroes - Divine Heroes #1 [Amazon, Funagain]
    Male Human Cleric
    Female Halfling Cleric
    Male Dwarf Paladin

  4. Player's Handbook Heroes - Martial Heroes #1 [Amazon, Funagain]
    Female Dragonborn Rogue
    Male Human Fighter
    Male Elf Ranger

  5. Player's Handbook Heroes - Martial Heroes #2 [Amazon, Funagain]
    Female Eladrin Fighter
    Male Tiefling Warlord
    Male Dwarf Rogue

  6. Player's Handbook Heroes - Primal Heroes #1 [Amazon, Funagain]
    Female Elf Druid
    Male Human Barbarian
    Male Goliath Barbarian

Not every class combo is there, but you should be able to make do with what's available. Unless you're picky, which would really stink since you've waited almost a year for this moment. We feel for ya. Wait, no we don't, stop dilly dallying. Just pull the trigger, have a cold one, relax and work on your anxiety problems.

Here are the official details:

The Player's Handbook Heroes: Series 1 expansion for the Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game features high-quality miniatures representing iconic player character races and classes described in the Player's Handbook and Player's Handbook 2 core rulebooks.

There are six booster packs in all: 2 packs of martial heroes, 2 packs of arcane heroes, 1 pack of divine heroes, and 1 pack of primal heroes. Each booster pack contains 3 visible, high-quality, non-random plastic miniatures representing D&D; player characters, plus an exclusive power card not available elsewhere! Each miniature comes beautifully painted and fully assembled.

Fully assembled miniatures. Sweet. Put away your exact-o knife and sniffing glue.... err.. gluing glue.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

April 20, 2009

WoW Minis Spoils of War Previews


The Spoils of War expansion is out. For more information please release story.

Upper Deck will release the first expansion to the World of Warcraft miniatures table top game that launch last fall. Devout readers may note that while we enjoyed the internal mechanics of the franchise, we thought it had some problems. For one there just wasn't enough interesting content and game modes to keep our attention for long.

We're hoping that this next release will have the standard clean injection of new characters, abilities, etc, but more importantly, we're keenly looking for some map kitss. Something official that we don't have to buy $30 boxes to randomly collect from a set of 3, and which match the theme and balance of World of Warcraft PvP. So far, in the previews, we haven't seen it, and we've been forced to buid our own, and that gets tiring after a while.

Despite the dearth of cool battlegrounds, there's still still some pretty interesting things coming down the pipe in Spoils of War [Amazon, Funagain]. For one we're treated to new Weapon and Armor items that can be placed in your character's action bars. These things are so powerful that they actually contribute to the hero's honor value, so use them wisely. This could be a pretty nice addition if executed well.

Spoils also includes new Channeling powers, which generally continue to deal damage so long the caster stops, concentrations, and essentially doesn't do anything else for the duration. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out considering the game's already strong strategic depth the cost / turn mechanic where choices on what to do, when, and where play an extremely interesting role in the game.

Other than that, the set release is all about the content. Here are the preview articles so far, which mainly focus on previews of the new figures themselves. And when we say 'figure previews', it's the whole thing from 3D imagery of sculpts, all the way down to tick powers and strategy.


  1. Spoils of War Coming on May 5!
  2. Spoils of War Preview: Equipment

Mini Previews:

  1. Cairne Bloodhoof [Tauren Warrior]
  2. Vigor Darkbreeze [Night Elf Druid]
  3. Sha'do [Troll Rogue]
  4. Felguard Legionnaire [Demon]
  5. Lady Jaina Proudmoore [Human Mage]
  6. Conqueror Aluna [Blood Elf Hunter]
  7. Deathwhisperer [Demon]
  8. Ixamos the Redeemed [Draenei Shaman]
  9. Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider [Blood Elf Mage]
  10. Champion Shadowsun [Blood Elf Priest]
  11. Vindicator Kaustron [Hunter Draenei]
  12. Razaani Nexus Stalker [Ethereal Mage]

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

April 7, 2009

WoW TCG: Blood of Gladiators Crafting Redemptions

We assume that by now you've ripped through all the shiny foil wrappers that separated you from your WoW TCG Blood of Gladiators cards, and you're elbow deep in a slew of arena grudge matches.

But is you savant friend still kicking the snot out of you with his uber hero, even with your new collection? Yeah, we know the type, and yeah, we hate him as much as you.

Its time to gather up all your UDE Point / Tradegood cards and give your favorite hero that extra oomph that might push your guy over the edge. The following are this set's custom crafted armor, created by sending in a mass of your collected Trade Good cards as part of the Blood of Gladiator Crafting Redemption Program.

You haven't been throwing those things away, have you??

WoWTCG.BattleCastPants.jpgBattlecast Pants [WoW TCG DB]

Some slick Hot Pants for you Caster Types.

Click Image to Enlarge.
  • 4xPrimal Air
  • 4xPrimal Fire
  • 4xPrimal Earth
  • 4xPrimal Water
  • 4xPrimal Mana
  • 6xBolt of Imbued Netherweave
  • 1xPrimal Nether

WoWTCGCloakOfDarkness.jpgCloak Of Darkness [WoW TCG DB]

A haiku (ahem):

A Buffed Cloak for All
Like Cheese it Matures with Age
Store in a Dry Place.

Click Image to Enlarge.
  • 8xPrimal Shadow
  • 6xHeavy Knothide Leather
  • 8xBolt of Soulcloth
  • 2xPrimal Nether

WoWTCGShadowprowlersChestguard.jpgShadowprowler's Chestguard [WoW TCG DB]

Reason enough to put allies in your Rogue deck? Hmm.. perhaps... but seems like it's cut more for a Druid.

Click Image to Enlarge.
  • 5xHeavy Knothide Leather
  • 6xPrimal Earth
  • 6xPrimal Shadow
  • 8xBolt of Soulcloth
  • 1xPrimal Nether

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 3, 2009

WoW TCG Blood of the Gladiators Previews

BloodOfTheGladiatorsBooster.JPGIt's that time of year again -- another World of Warcraft TCG expansion looms on the horizon. The Blood of the Gladiators is the middle set to the PvP Cycle that started back in fall 2008 with Drums of War, with the subfocus now directed toward the carefully constructed group combat of Arena teams.

And with it comes a new Ally type: Arena Ally. These guys are new versions of allies past, sporting Arena gear familiar to WoW MMORPG players, and retooled to buff other allies (spposed team mates). While it's true that we probably wont see many Arena Allies outside oft this cycle, at least they be slid into any deck of the past or the future. That makes them many more times useful than last year's ho-hum Servants of the Betrayer decks, which haven't aged well. They're now entombed in our Temple of Forgotten WoW cards (ie: collecting dust beneath our spare night stand.)

Now if you would have asked us .. oooh... just last week actually, we wouldn't have been really too excited about another WoW TCG expansion was just around the corner. After all, Drums of War last fall was overshadowed by the then impending release of WoW Minis, and we're we're still haven't gotten over our ho-hum blues associated with the launch of that mediocre release.

But after we started delving into the Official Preview Articles, our pulse began to quicken. There really does seem like theres a lot of good stuff coming down the pipe, and it's very flexible. There's a lot of cool things going on here:

GrimReach.jpgNot to be confused with Neutral allies, which have been around since the dawn of time of course. These guys are affiliated with both alliance and horde, which means that any cards you have that buff horde allies or alliance allies can be applied to both. Additionally, these guys seem to not only buff both factions themselves, but some allow you to capture your opponents allies, and then give your new bretheren a swift kick in the butt with a buff, too. Sweet.

Of course, they're epics, so good luck getting 'em. [Read More]

  • New Keyword: Inspiring Presence: If a hero or ally in your party would deal non combat damage, it deals that much damage +1 instead. This seems to be a Draenei racial ability, so don't expect your damage over time Horde Warlock, Priests or Mages to get any love. Sad for us, because we almost always roll Horde. Guess it's time to make a few more decks. [Read More]

  • New Keyword: Arcane Torrent breathes a bit of life into those pompous Blood Elf allies: When this ally enters play, target opposing card in play loses and and cant' have powers this turn. Used well this could seriously run somebody's day. [Read More]

  • New Keyword: Hardiness can be found on the new Orc allies in Blood of Gladiators. This ability says "if this ally would be dealt damage, prevent 1 of it." About as dry as a Vodka Martini. Those poor orcs need some more interesting stories. [Read More]

  • Loot Cards Hmm.. nothing here really great to report. At least not from a World of Warcraft fan's perspective, and isn't that kind of the point? [Read More]

    Here's an index of the Preview Articles thus far. Special Comments added to those articles featuring specific cards:


    1. Into the Arena
      The Expansion and You
    2. Teaming Up
      Arena Allies
    3. Meltdown:
      Mage Ability that melts... stuff
    4. Hardiness
      Orc Racial Ability
    5. Arcane Torrent
      Blood Elf Racial Ability
    6. Scatter Shot
      Hunter Ability for use with Two Hands
    7. Utopia
      Druid Ability do over
    8. Inspiring Presence
      Draenei Racial Ability
    9. Divine Favor:
      Paladin Healing Ability via personal card removal
    10. Focused Will:
      Priest Ability that does some crazy damage swapping each turn.
    11. Deadliness:
      Rogue Destruction Ability that roadhouses up to three exhausted card types.
    12. Tidal Mastery:
      Shaman Ability that suddenly makes a plethora of totems so much more worth while.
    13. Grim Reach:
      Warlock temporary Health Sap that becomes more powerful with the more ongoing abilities you have in play. Very, very nice.
    14. Shield Wall
    15. Foul Magics
    16. Split Decision
    17. Pally Power

    The World of Warcraft Trading Card Game expansion Blood of the Gladiators is slated for release this month - March 2009. We'll keep this link live with the latest and greatest feature articles, and we'll let you know as soon as its hit shelves.

    Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking
  • February 17, 2009

    Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War 2 is Upon Us

    DawnOfWar2SpaceMarine.JPGThe second iteration of the incredible PC adaptation of the Warhammer 40K franchise hits shelves tomorrow, and we're wicked excited. That's not New England sarcasm, either. Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War 2 [Amazon] is another title in a long lineage of Real Time Strategy releases by Relic Entertainment, a company who has produce hit after hit in the RTS gaming world. They made the amazing Dawn of War, that introduced some crazy terrain deformation, and limb tearing robots, our beloved Company of Heroes WWII real time tactical strategy game, and their classic flagship Homeworld.

    Warhammer 40K Dawn of War 2 is destined to be another classic RTS, despite the fact that it's a game about tactics. Base building in this game is deemphasized. Instead your customization comes in how you outfit and upgrade your handful of squads under your control. And when the guns start firing, and the body parts start flying, the game doesn't enter into a tug of war of economies, but instead rests on the ability for you to tactfully command your forces on the front line. Skirmishes erupt with some of the most vivid animations in a strategy game to date. See for yourself:

    In the singleplayer campaign, players following their customized squad of Space Marines from map to map as they take on the forces of the Orks, the Eldar, and the vicious instectoid Tyranids. In a slick feature somewhat new to the RTS genre, your friend can team up with you to play through the entire campaign cooperatively. Or, if you'd rather, fight against your friends online in skirmish battles where you can control any of the other factions. We're pretty excited to implale and dismember some Orks with the sword like limbs of cluster of Tyranids ourselves.

    We'll see you planetside.

    Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

    February 9, 2009

    World of Warcraft Minis Review

    WoWMiniDeluxStarter.jpgWe don't have a long standing relationship with miniature games. In fact, our only experience was with Warhammer, and that was only a few of us who put the World of Warcraft Minis through its paces. Already hooked on World of Warcraft, and WoW TCG, we immediately liked what we saw through the drum-up to release, from the few official preview articles, and the hands-on prerelease demo that we participated in while at the Penny Arcade Expo. The question still remained, though: Will WoW Minis hold up to repeat play, and as a secondary question, will it supplant our interest in the WoW TCG?

    After toying with the premier release of WoW Minis over the last few months, we have our answer.

    ArrowContinue reading: "World of Warcraft Minis Review"

    Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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