All Posts By

Travis Daharsh

Magic the Gathering

My Pet Card: Aetherspouts

Now it’s my turn in this series we are doing. Aetherspouts is hands down my pet card in the Commander format. This is the card that I always catches my opponents off guard. It’s a psuedo board wipe that can cripple an opponent in ways they may never recover from before the game ends. I know the staple blue board wipe is Cyclonic Rift but I personally prefer Aetherspouts. I like my commander games to go long but not forever. Cyclonic Rift too often “restarts” the game and I would rather wipe the board of my opponent’s creatures and keep mine as well as any other non-land permanents in play. Keeping non-land, non-creature permanents in play will keep the game moving forward.

Aetherspouts has also never made anyone as angry as I have seen a Cyclonic Rift make players angry. I don’t like playing commander to make people angry. I like to play games in ways that can make everyone have an enjoyable time and Aetherspouts accomplishes that better than Cyclonic Rift.

Magic the Gathering

Sealed League Tips

We just finished week one of our Ixalan Sealed League at The Village Geek. Sealed League is a bit different from other sealed format tournaments. Sealed League lets each player begin with 3 packs instead of 6 and you are expected to build a 30 card deck instead of the normal 40. It can be a bit challenging to open up your 3 packs week one and try to figure out how to make a coherent deck. Let’s cover a few tips that I hope can help anyone jumping in to their first sealed league.

  1. Your curve is what will matter the most. Open your cards and sort them all by their color and mana cost. Then look at what you have laid out and figure out which color combinations will give you the best overall mana curve. Curving out against your opponent is one of the best ways to get some easy wins during week one when everyone’s decks are relatively weak.
  2. You will probably have to play a third color. You are opening 45 cards when you start instead of the 90 you would in a normal sealed tournament. You are less likely to open enough playable cards in just two colors so you will likely need to splash a third color. Try not to splash cards that have double or more color pips in their mana cost. Just find something in a third color a bit higher up your curve that will fill it out nicely. Also check to see if you opened any mana fixing that can help with your third color.
  3. Play lots of games and pick up those losses early. You get to buy a pack and add it to your pool after every three losses. The more cards you open the stronger your pool and deck can become. Sure, losing sucks, but just get it out of the way and hope you open some great cards to strengthen your deck for future matches.
  4. Just have fun. At the end of the day you are getting to play games of Magic which is one of the best games ever. Just play some games and have some fun. That’s what playing Magic is all about.

Have any other useful tips? Leave them in the comments.

Board Games

One Play Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Co-Op Board Game – One Play Review
I’m a big fan of the Buffy TV series based upon my current viewing of two seasons of the show. I was very excited to try this board game with my friends on Saturday and I was not disappointed. The game has pretty simple mechanics that generally translated the flavor and environment of the show. It is made for 1-6 players and we played with 4 on Saturday night.
The idea of the game is to continually slay baddies, Monsters of the Week, and eventually the Big Bad in order to win the game. Along the way you will try to save Townies from Vampire and Demons who spawn all over Sunnydale. You will also become wounded throughout your time in Sunnydale by those same Vampires and Demons. Each Monster of the Week you slay will leave a clue token which can be collected to uncover a plot card related to the Big Bad. Once you have uncovered three plot cards the Big Bad will appear and you must slay it in order to win the game.
Playable characters include Buffy, Willow, Xander, Giles, Spike, and Angel and the Big Bads are characters like The Master and Caleb.
I enjoyed the game overall. The rulebook could definitely be written a little more clearly and precisely but the game still plays well. My friends and I picked Caleb as our first Big Bad, which is not the recommended Big Bad for the first time, and we did end up winning. Winning was not easy but neither did it seem insurmountable. I recommend checking out the game and playing it with some friends, whether you or they are Buffy fans or not. Being a Buffy fan adds more to the play experience but I would not say being a fan is necessary to enjoy the game.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Magic the Gathering

Mardu Suspended License

So your last Friday Night cruise around Kaladesh ended with a run-in with the Consulate and now your vehicle license is suspended. Can you stay true to your beloved Mardu colors with no vehicles? I think so with the help of the new gods from Amonkhet. No need to go to the Temur Casino and play Aetherworks Roulette. Let’s check out a list I brewed up.
Other Spells
Magic the Gathering

Three Reasons to play Magic: the Gathering Commander

Commander has become my favorite way to play Magic: the Gathering. I play so many formats in Magic but this one has risen to the top for a few reasons. I think these reasons will entice you to come join us on a Thursday night and try some commander games.

1. The singleton deck construction makes every game just a little different. The variance in commander can be quite a bit higher than other formats with their deck construction rules. I prefer to not run a lot of tutor effects because I like the variance. With my 99 card decks I like to see the maximum number of different cards each game. It makes each game a unique challenge and I enjoy that.

This is so much fun to cast late in a game!

2. Games last longer which means you can cast more powerful and interesting cards. Lots of cards in the game do cool things but their mana cost keeps them from being cast in any other format. Commander games offer a long enough gameplay to allow for those cards to be cast.

3. Multiplayer games with friends are just a more fun and social way to play. I love getting together on Thursday nights at the store with my friends. We gather around the table up front, shuffle our decks, and start slinging spells and the occasional insult. It’s the most enjoyable part of my week.

Games are varied, powerful, and social. These are the top three reasons I can give you to come try playing commander. It’s a great format and if you just want to try it out there is always someone with an extra deck to lend you.

Magic the Gathering

RB Aggro in Amonkhet Standard

Thanks to the Cat-Ban last week the Amonkhet Standard format looks to be a more open deck-building environment. Mardu Vehicles may still be at the top for now but I think that will change as the format progresses. I am excited for week one of this new format and have been tweaking a RB Aggro list since pre-release weekend.
The list started as a Vampires/Madness deck but there are so many good reasons now to drop the tribal theme and go for RB aggro. There are more efficient creature options now with the addition of Bloodrage Brawler and Bone Picker. Bone Picker will hopefully always be cast for one black instead of the printed casting cost. Flameblade Adept rewards our discard outlets as well as our inclusion of the new RB cycle land Canyon Slough. Cut // Ribbons is a great addition as well. Cut is great in the early game to clear a blocker out of the way. Ribbons can be cast later to finish off our opponent. Painful Lesson is used over Painful Truths because in some corner case it could be used as a Shock effect to finish off our opponent. The mana base is pretty basic but the deck is only two colors so nothing fancy is needed.

4x Dread Wanderer
4x Flameblade Adept
4x Insolent Neonate
4x Bloodrage Brawler
3x Gifted Aetherborn
4x Scrapheap Scrounger
2x Olivia, Mobilized for War
4x Bone Picker

4x Fatal Push
2x Grasp of Darkness
2x Fiery Temper

1x Cut // Ribbons
2x Painful Lesson

4x Canyon Slough
4x Foreboding Ruins
7x Mountain
2x Smoldering Marsh
3x Swamp

Pokémon TCG

Pokemon TCG Deckbuilding 101

Many Pokemon TCG players start out with a theme deck or a battle arena deck but then they wonder how to make it better. Often they pull cool Pokemon from booster packs and they really want to jam them in their deck and play with them. Sometimes that works and sometimes that does not work. I am going to try and lay out some basic deckbuilding guidelines to help you either build your first deck or improve the deck you already own. Let’s jump in to today’s lesson.

First, your deck must be exactly 60 cards. No more. No less. This will most often mean you will need to make some difficult choices about what remains in your deck because there are so many cool cards to play with in this game. That’s alright. There are plenty of decks to make so if a card doesn’t end up fitting in your current deck just remember it when you build your next deck.

The second thing to consider is what format you want your deck to follow. A format is a deckbuilding restriction that limits what cards you are allowed to have in your deck. In the Pokemon TCG there are two main formats played at tournaments: Standard and Expanded. Standard uses only the newest sets and it currently rotates (or drops off old sets) once a year after the World Championships. Expanded currently allows cards that have been printed all the way back to Black & White: Base Set which is pretty far back. Format restrictions do not matter for League play but if you want to enter a tournament you will want to find out which format the Tournament Organizer has set for that tournament.

The best way to find out whether a card is legal for play in a format is to use the Pokemon TCG card database ( Under the Advanced Search settings there is a “Format” option. Select either Standard or Expanded and then search for the card you want to check. If it comes back in  the search results then it is legal for that format. If you need help with this check with your local League Organizer or other local players. Pokemon players are a generally helpful and friendly crowd.

Now we get to the fun part of deckbuilding: picking the cards for our deck. Pokemon decks have 3 main parts: Pokemon, Trainers, and Energy. You will need to pick the right balance of all three of these types in order to assemble a winning deck. We will start with picking our Pokemon.

Darkrai EX is a great example of a strong, overall attacking Pokemon

A good start is picking 3 Pokemon you want to play with in your deck. Try and stick to one or two types of Pokemon total. You want to find one that is a strong attacker, one that can be a secondary attacker, and a third that can do some support work. A strong attacker either does significant damage for a low energy cost or does less damage but has an extra effect that makes the overall attack stronger. An example of a strong attacker is Darkrai EX. Darkrai can do quite a bit of damage for just two energy because it does damage based on how much Dark Energy you have attached to all of your Pokemon. Another great attacker is Regice. Regice is great against a deck that has a lot of EX Pokemon because its attack prevents Pokemon EX from attacking during your opponent’s next turn. It has a lower damage output potential than Darkrai EX but in some situations it can be a better attacker.

A secondary attacker normally does not do as much damage as your primary attacker but it can either stall the game or help reset your primary attacker and get it ready to attack again. Carbink BREAK is a great secondary attacker in a Fighting type deck. The Diamond Gift attack only does 20 damage but it allows you to return 2 energy cards from your discard to one of your Fighting type Pokemon. It is a great way to refill your Zygarde EX if it dumped its energy doing the All Cells Burn attack from the Power Memory Pokemon Tool card attached to it.

Your third Pokemon should be in a support role. This means you either hope to not attack with it or can’t even attack with it. Some examples of support Pokemon are Shaymin EX  (with Setup Ability), Octillery, Smeargle, Oranguru, and Hoopa EX (with Scoundrel Ring ability). These Pokemon typically are used to draw cards or set up the other Pokemon to attack more quickly. Drawing cards is a great thing to be doing in the Pokemon TCG. The support Pokemon may not attack in your deck very often or at all but they do play a vital role in making the deck work well.

Every deck needs a good support Pokemon to supplement trainers and make your deck more efficient

The next category of cards we need to select for our deck is Trainer cards. Trainers are broken down further into three categories: Supporter, Item, and Stadium cards. We will want at least some of all three of these card types in our deck. Finding the right mix of types will just depend on the type of deck we are building.

Supporter cards are some of the most powerful plays we can make in our deck each turn. Most of the Supporter cards we choose will be drawing us cards or putting our opponent behind us in cards in hand. Cards like Professor Sycamore, Shauna, Lillie, or even Hau refill our hand to varying degrees. Other cards like N and Judge hopefully limit our opponent’s options by shuffling away their current hand and replacing it with fewer cards that they originally had.

Other Supporter cards will heal your Pokemon (Pokemon Center Lady, Olympia). These can be very useful but are not often played as a full 4 of in a deck. Tech Supporters are normally run as a 1 or 2 of in a deck because they fulfill a specific purpose during certain times of the game. Lysandre is used to bring out a weaker Pokemon for a knockout or to stall your opponent while you finish setting your Pokemon up. Hex Maniac shuts off abilities for a turn. Delinquent removes a Stadium from the battlefield and makes your opponent discard cards. That’s just a few examples of some tech Supporter cards.

Item cards are the second category of Trainers we will look at. Items have no limit to how many you can play in a turn. Item cards do all sorts of things and they fill a crucial role in maxing out the potential of your deck. Items find Pokemon (Ultra Ball, Great Ball, Pokeball), heal Pokemon (Max Potion), switch Pokemon around in battle (Escape Rope, Switch), and filter through your library (Acro Bike, Trainers’ Mail). That’s a small sampling of Item cards. There are plenty more to explore and try.

Stadiums are the final category of Trainer cards. Stadiums stay in play until another Stadium removes it. You can only play one Stadium per turn. Stadiums often affect both players or they are usable by both players. There are quite a few Stadium cards and they all do something different. Here’s a basic list of the most popular Stadium cards to give

Find the right stadiums to give you the advantage over your opponent

you an idea: Rough Seas (heals electric and water types), Parallel City (reduces damage and bench size), Skyfield (increases bench size), Silent Lab (removes Basic Pokemon abilities), Scorched Earth (adds draw power for Fighting and Fire decks). There’s many more Stadium cards than that so feel free to do a card search just to see which ones you like best for your deck.


The final part of your deck is energy. Energy is the resource your Pokemon will need in order to be able to use their attacks. Every deck needs some amount of energy in order to accomplish the goal of winning the game. You will only be able to play one energy card per turn from your hand so you will want to maximize both your chances of having one in hand to play and maximize the effectiveness of that energy when it is played. There are two things to consider when adding energy to your deck: which special energy you will need and what colors of basic energy will you use?

Special Energy cards follow the same restriction as the other cards in your deck: you can only have a maximum of 4 of one Special Energy card in your deck. Special Energy cards do one of two things: “ramp” your energy or provide a special effect for the Pokemon it is attached to. “Ramping” refers to the concept of putting more than one energy into play during a turn which puts you ahead of your opponent in the game. The most played Special Energy card is Double Colorless Energy (DCE). DCE provides two colorless energy for a Pokemon. This is a great energy choice if the Pokemon you have chosen for your deck have two colorless energy symbols in their attacks. If none of your Pokemon have DCE symbols in their attack costs you will probably not want to play DCE in your deck.

The other type of Special Energy are the ones that correspond to the different energy types. They can only be played onto Pokemon of that energy type so they will only be used in a deck that has those types of Pokemon. Examples of these types of Special Energy are Splash Energy (Water), Flash Energy (Electric), and Strong Energy (Fighting).

A deck will have anywhere from 1-25 energy. Both ends of that spectrum are the extremes. A normal deck runs 12-15 energy. You will want to use Special Energy where you can and fill in with the appropriate amount of Basic Energy to get a good number for your deck. Each deck is different and the best way to find the right amount is just trial and error. The good news is trial and error means you get to play a lot of Pokemon games!


I hope this article has been helpful and provided some basic deckbuilding tips. We are going to be covering this article in a bit more detail at our deckbuilding workshop on April 1 at 1PM at The Village Geek in McPherson. The workshop will be free and should be quite a bit of fun.

Pokémon TCG

Why You Should be Playing the Pokemon TCG

The Pokemon Trading Card Game (TCG) is my new favorite game. I have been playing it since October 2016 and it has quickly risen to the top of my favorite games list. Here are three reasons you should stop by on a Pokemon League night (Monday or Wednesday) and learn to play.

  1. Pokemon TCG is simple to learn. Each player only does actions on their own turn. Games like Magic: the Gathering allow players to interact on each other’s turns but that complicates the game. The simpler play-style of the Pokemon TCG is great for gamers of all experience to learn and have fun. It may be simpler to play than other TCG’s but there is still plenty of depth to deckbuilding and in-game decision making to keep the game fresh and exciting each time you play.
  2. Pokemon TCG is cheap to play. You can play meaningful games with just a theme deck that costs $14.99 which is not always the case with other TCG’s. As you purchase more booster packs you can make upgrades and changes to the theme deck that will improve it. I have multiple Pokemon TCG decks that together cost less than one of my Magic: the Gathering decks. The Pokemon Company does their best to keep the cost of entry low for new players and I really appreciate that.
  3. Pokemon TCG is fun to play. I look forward to Pokemon nights each week. I love finding the Pokemon I enjoyed catching in the video game or watching on the TV show and making decks with them. The art on the cards looks great and the special rarity cards in their sets look amazing! Pokemon has provided hours of gameplay enjoyment for me so far and it will provide hundreds more in the future.

There are my 3 reasons you should come check out a Pokemon League night at The Village Geek. I have decks you can borrow to learn the game and there is always someone at League who is more than willing to teach new players. League is a free event and fun for all ages. The League nights are on Monday (6PM-8PM) and Wednesday (7PM-9PM) and are a come-and-go event. I hope to see you at a League night soon!

Pokémon TCG

Pokemon TCG Online: Zygarde EX

Hi! My name is Travis and I have been playing the Pokemon Trading Card Game since October 2016. Today’s video is going to be a couple matches with my favorite Standard deck to use in the VS Ladder in the online version of the Pokemon TCG: Zygarde EX.

This deck is powerful and can knock out almost every Pokemon in one shot with the right energy attached. The basic idea of the deck it to load up a Zygarde EX with energy and attach a Power Memory to it. Then you want to use the All Cells Burn attack from the Power Memory to knock out the opponent’s Pokemon. Finally, use one of your Switch cards to put up a Carbink BREAK and use the Diamond Gift attack to reload your Zygarde EX with the energy it needs to attack again.

This is a very fun deck that has some explosive starts. It has the capability to do 60 damage for 1 energy on turn 1 with the right draws. It’s a great deck that is fun to play! Click the Youtube link to go watch the video I made of the deck in action and feel free to leave a like and subscribe to our Youtube channel while you are there.

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon – 13

3 Talonflame STS 96

2 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

2 Carbink BREAK FAC 51

2 Carbink FAC 50

1 Regirock-EX FAC 43

3 Zygarde-EX FAC 54

##Trainer Cards – 34

3 Trainers’ Mail ROS 92

2 N PR-BLW BW100

1 Super Rod BKT 149

1 Olympia GEN 66

2 Lysandre AOR 78

4 Professor Sycamore BKP 107

4 Ultra Ball FLF 99

3 Max Elixir BKP 102

3 Scorched Earth FAC 110

1 Parallel City BKT 145

2 Power Memory FAC 108

1 Pokémon Ranger STS 104

1 Float Stone BKT 137

4 VS Seeker PHF 109

2 Switch BLW 104

##Energy – 13

4 Strong Energy FAC 115

9 Fighting Energy Energy 6

Total Cards – 60