[For Supergirl‘s “Medusa” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

The CW Summary:
A superhero crossover event begins with Barry Allen and Cisco Ramon from The Flash seeking Kara’s help with an alien invasion; at the same time, Eliza comes to town to celebrate Thanksgiving with her daughters, which seems like the perfect opportunity for Alex to come out to her mother. Meanwhile, Winn and James consider telling Kara the truth about the Guardian; and Kara wants to team up with Lena Luthor to combat a deadly virus unleashed by CADMUS.

I love a crossover…

When I think back to my earliest memories of reading comics at sleep-away camp I can still envision the cover of Justice League of America #107. It was “Crisis on Earth-X” and featured a world where Golden Age characters banded together as a resistance force against the Nazis, who had won WWII. I never read Justice League of America regularly (not until the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire run) but I would go out of my way to find all the different “Crisis” issues where the characters crossed over between worlds to fight a common enemy.

Justice League of America 107
Justice League of America #107

Supergirl kicked off the first of four parts of a crossover for the CW last night. I have to admit I felt a little cheated. It was very reminiscent of buying the first part of a major story arc only to have it briefly introduced in the last panels of the comic. They teased the crossover as all the main characters — plus original Supergirl actress Helen Slater as Eliza Danvers, Kara’s Earth-mom — gathered for Thanksgiving dinner.

Fans of The Flash surely recognized a brief breach bursting open over the dining room table, interrupting a nervous Alex Danvers’ big coming out moment with her Mom and friends. (That talk would have to wait until later. But don’t worry, Eliza already kinda knew what was up based on Alex’s non-stop Maggie Sawyer-talk and was totally supportive of her birth daughter.)

Previously on Supergirl

  • CADMUS is trying to kill aliens.
  • Lex Luthor’s mom Lillian runs CADMUS.
  • CADMUS stole Supergirl’s blood.
  • The real Hank Henshaw is still “alive” and working for CADMUS as Cyborg Superman.
  • Cyborg Superman used Supergirl’s blood to unlock files in the Fortress of Solitude about Project Medusa.
  • J’Onn J’Onzz took a blood transfusion from a white Martian and is in danger of losing himself to their DNA.

Back to our show…

Mon-El is falling hard for Kara, as evidenced by his unwillingness to have meaningless alien sex with a cute alien at the unnamed dive bar frequented by those not of this (that?) Earth. Down the rail he notices Cyborg Superman, who has affixed something under the bar. Assuming it is actually J’Onn J’Onzz, Mon-El chases him down outside the bar. A fight ensues while the device inside the bar releases a gas that kills all the aliens inside.

Mon-El is also affected by the gas and lies near death inside the walls of the DEO. Kara realizes what her blood was used for and flies off to the Fortress of Solitude to assess the damage. There she learns that her birth father built a bio-weapon — codenamed Medusa — alongside the military guilds of Krypton. Medusa will kill anyone with alien DNA. She is devastated but brings the information back to the DEO to devise a cure.

After analyzing data from the Fortress they realize that CADMUS will need to use technology that only L-Corp* possesses. Supergirl saves Lena from an assault by Cyborg Superman (I thought that would get less stupid to type as I went on but alas it does not) and alerts her to her mother’s schemes. Lena turns cold to Supergirl and reaches out to her mother to give her exactly what she needs.

CADMUS loads up a rocket and prepares to wipe out all alien life on Earth. The DEO team tries to intervene. Supergirl chases the rocket. J’Onn transforms into a fearsome white Martian and battles Cyborg Superman. In the end, it turns out that Lena had duped her mother! When the rocket does explode it’s not only harmless to aliens but reverts J’Onn to his good old green Martian self.

Everyone gets to live happily ever after. J’Onn is green again. Alex and Maggie finally kiss. And Mon-El and Kara get back to their Sam and Dianne Ross and Rachel routine. Only then do we finally get a successful breach. Barry “Flash” Allen and Cisco “Vibe” Ramon appear in Kara’s living room to ask her help with an unrevealed threat.

In the epilogue we see the aliens that are implied by the title “Invasion” as they head to Earth. Their goal? Capturing Mon-El.

To Be Continued…

–bdm

* Formerly known as LexCorp but now run by his mysterious adopted sister Lena

Grip of Desolation

A new… (or at least new-ish) Top 8 Magic Podcast was posted on ManaDeprived.com this week!

Billed as “The Grand Unified Theory of Comics, Basketball, Magic, and Television Part 9: The Epic Conclusion” Top 8 Magic podcasters MichaelJ and BDM joke about their collective long absence from the Canadian mics.

Mike and Brian attend a Friday Night Magic at Montasy Comics in NYC, with Brian playing Limited and Mike playing Constructed. This episode contains extensive Magic: The Gathering chats, plus an after-tournament trek to Korea Town for a round of #tauntingjonbecker

For those interested, Mike played a B/R Control deck featuring draft superstar Grip of Desolation in his sideboard. We here at Fetchland will leave you to the podcast to find out how he did. To wit:

Rakdos Control, by Michael J Flores

3 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
4 Goblin Dark-Dwellers

1 Ob Nixilis, Reignited
1 Chandra Flamecaller

1 Dark Petition
4 Fiery Impulse
4 Grasp of Darkness
2 Transgress the Mind
4 Tormenting Voice
1 Ultimate Price
4 Read the Bones
3 Ruinous Path
2 Kolaghan’s Command

4 Blighted Fen
4 Drownyard Temple
4 Foreboding Ruins
4 Mountain
4 Smoldering Marsh
6 Swamp

Sideboard
4 Reality Smasher
1 Dark Petition
1 Duress
2 Grip of Desolation
1 Infinite Obliteration
3 Languish
1 Ob Nixilis, Reignited
1 Ruinous Path
1 Virulent Plague

Read the full blog post “The Grand Unified Theory of Comics, Basketball, Magic, and Television Part 9: The Epic Conclusion” on ManaDeprived.com

Listen to “The Grand Unified Theory of Comics, Basketball, Magic, and Television Part 9: The Epic Conclusion” here:

Direct Download

Shivan Reef

Shivan Reef is a “tri-land”! (… in U/R Eldrazi)

MichaelJ and BDM return to the corner of Waverly and Gay (you know here) to bring you a post-Pro Tour episode of Top 8 Magic!

Mike is [still] a super big fan of colorless Eldrazi in Modern, but Brian brings up the matchup-riding strength of the tournament-winning U/R version of Modern Eldrazi.

U/R Eldrazi by Jiachen Tao

4 Eldrazi Mimic
4 Endless One
4 Reality Smasher
4 Thought-Knot Seer

3 Dismember

4 Drowner of Hope
4 Eldrazi Skyspawner
2 Ruination Guide

3 Eldrazi Obligator
4 Vile Aggregate

3 Cavern of Souls
4 Eldrazi Temple
4 Eye of Ugin
1 Gemstone Caverns
2 Island
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Shivan Reef
2 Steam Vents

sideboard:
1 Spellskite
2 Chalice of the Void
1 Ratchet Bomb
2 Relic of Progenitus
3 Hurkyl’s Recall
3 Stubborn Denial
2 Gut Shot
1 Tomb of the Spirit Dragon

While cards like Eldrazi Temple and Eye of Ugin (especially when combined with Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth) are getting all the press for Modern Eldrazi mana bases, Brian points out Shivan Reef is a heck of a land in this deck, too. In U/R Eldrazi specifically Shivan Reef can get you the red you need for Eldrazi Obligator, the blue you need for Eldrazi Skyspawner (who saw that coming as a Constructed Staple?!?!) and the colorless you need for Thought-Knot Seer!

Magic talk in this podcast covers anti-Eldrazi ideas for Modern, sideboard utilization, and a walk down memory lane to some of the best decks of Pro Tours and World Championships past.

… And then there is also basketball and tv talk (of course).

What’s going on on Scandal? Who is a psychopath, and who is a mere sociopath? Why haven’t you watched Mozart in the Jungle yet? Which of our podcast hosts will recap Game of Thrones next season?

Spoilers: Mike gets Brian to binge-watch his all-time favorite show (there is a What’s Free Wednesday about Veronica Mars here on Fetchland in case you needed a little nudge, yourself); Brian gets Mike to try SyFy original The Expanse. At the time of this writing each has plowed basically the entire first season of the other’s recommendation.

Also cuddles.

Seriously.

“Basically Wall of Wood.”

Seriously.

All this and more on Top 8 Magic #427 – New Mixed Bag, at Mana Deprived

Direct Download

LOVE
MIKE

Reality Smasher

“Manadeprived.com is proud to present Top 8 Magic podcast with Michael J. Flores and Brian David-Marshall

“Brought to your ears by FaceToFaceGames.com.”


Bundled in the scrum of red and colorless cards from Oath of the Gatewatch — for the four hundred twenty-third and most recent episode of Top 8 Magic begins that venerable podcast’s world famous set review sequence with the aforementioned red and coloress cards — is the heretofore unheralded Reality Smasher.

To begin with, Reality Smasher is a 5/5 creature for five mana (5<>). There was a time when the stats alone would give a player pause. And Reality Smasher has not one, not two, but three abilities (one unique).

Compare to Baneslayer Angel:

Baneslayer Angel

Baneslayer Angel had four abilities, with flying and lifelink insanely relevant; and first strike and protection from demons and dragons somewhat less so. We’re not saying that Reality Smasher is necessarily as good as Baneslayer Angel, but Baneslayer Angel was declared the best large creature “of all time” by Pro Tour Hall of Famer (and two-time PT Champion) Brian Kibler as he used it to win an Extended Pro Tour. Baneslayer Angel was not only also the apex of Andre Coimbra’s Naya Lightsaber pyramid, but the pivot point around which large format creature fights revolved for several large events.

So for context’s sake Reality Smasher is similar size (5/5) for an [essentially] easier cost (4<> v. 3WW). It has only three abilities to Baneslayer Angel’s four abilities, but two of those abilities are haste and trample!

To begin with, haste is maybe the strongest of the default keyword abilities (competing, probably, with flying). And while Reality Smasher doesn’t have flying, trample does a nice proxy job (especially when combined with haste here). Of course it is the third, unique, ability that makes Reality Smasher interesting to talk about:

Whenever Reality Smasher becomes the target of a spell an opponent controls, counter that spell unless its controller discards a card.

Here is something that Reality Smasher has, that Baneslayer Angel always took criticism for lacking: Some amount of resilience. No, this isn’t hexproof; the opponent can, in fact, target Reality Smasher with the veritable Doom Blade and force you to put your five drop into the graveyard. On balance, it can be costly for the opponent to do so because it is not one Doom Blade but two total cards that will be required… Meaning that disruption — specifically hand destruction — can be an effective setup strategy for this big creature. Think about how Reality Smasher might work well with Duress, Demonic Pact, or Thought-Knot Seer.

… The opponent might just not have the materiel to fight it!

In the end, michaelj and bdm considered Reality Smasher more of a “possible” than a sure hit, but were quite engaged in the discussion; dubbing the new Eldrazi “Gaea’s Revenge-ish”.

Of course they did all the red and colorless cards, of which Reality Smasher was just one 🙂

Listen to “Top 8 Magic #423 – Oath of the Gatewatch Complete Review: Red & Colorless” now:

Direct Download

Visit “Top 8 Magic #423 – Oath of the Gatewatch Complete Review: Red & Colorless” on ManaDeprived

Oath of Jace

“Literally no one has ever discarded an artifact to Thirst for Knowledge.”
-BDM

The four hundred and twenty-second episode of Top 8 Magic, “New Year’s Resolutions: Oath of the Gatewatch 2” covers the currently (or at least “then-“) spoiled Oath of the Gatewatch blue and black spells; plus artifacts and lands.

Of especial attention is the discussion of Oath of Jace (which neither member of the Top 8 Magic team likes as much as Oath of Nissa). Despite some initial apprehension, Top 8 Magic lands in an interesting place RE: Oath of Jace.

Mike does a complete about face on Oath of Jace. He starts by saying it “stinks” but you can almost hear the gears turning in his head as he works around how the card might be awesome (or at least good enough to play) over the course of a few minutes of “New Year’s Resolutions: Oath of the Gatewatch 2”.

  1. Imagine you never have a Planeswalker – You can can use this to set up a one mana Treasure Cruise or Murderous Cut, say on turn four.
  2. This card is great in decks with a lot of “dead weight” in them, or specialized cards. You can use Oath of Jace to “fix your hand”.
  3. Demonic Pact! Not only does this card help you get to your Pact, it gives you insurance against Dromoka’s Command! A B/U Pact deck will benefit from playing with Treasure Cruise, Murderous Cut, and Dig Through Time, etc. anyway.

Mike thinks that he will try to resolve Oath of Jace in 2016, but isn’t sure that it will ever make the final seventy-five; he does think that “people should play more B/U Pact decks” though 🙂

Listen to “New Year’s Resolutions: Oath of the Gatewatch 2” here:

“New Year’s Resolutions: Oath of the Gatewatch 2” on ManaDeprived

Eldrazi Obligator

“Manadeprived.com is proud to present Top 8 Magic podcast with Michael J. Flores and Brian David-Marshall

“Brought to your ears by FaceToFaceGames.com.”

The four hundred twenty-first episode of Top 8 Magic, “New Year’s Resolutions: Oath of the Gatewatch 1” is a mixed bag. MichaelJ and BDM return after a too-long spell to chat about some of their actual New Year’s Resolutions… But more importantly what cards might resolve (in what formats) in the upcoming Oath of the Gatewatch.

Our heroes focus on the white cards this time (because they spend the first fourteen minutes or so just catching up after a long layover)… But it really gets going when Mike chooses his favorite [off-color] card in Oath of the Gatewach so far: Eldrazi Obligator

Eldrazi Obligator looks awesome, right?

Here is a card that at three mana can do a pretty good Boggart Ram-Gang impression…

Boggart Ram-Gang

… But at five mana can do a pretty good Zealous Conscripts impression!

Zealous Conscripts

No, Eldrazi Obligator isn’t quite the three drop that Boggart Ram-Gang was (two fewer toughness, no wither mechanic)… But the fact that it has a second mode is awesome.

At five mana Eldrazi Obligator is slightly less powerful than Zealous Conscripts (can’t steal an Ultimate Planeswalker, for example)… But that extra flexibility really does come in handy here. Not only do you have two modes to choose from, but the additional 1<> sets up an Eldrazi trigger, not Not NOT an “enters the battlefield” trigger. That means that even if an opponent can discard a correctly-costed spell to his Kozilek, the Great Distortion you will still get the trigger to steal his 12/12 (and presumably kill him with it).

There is over an hour-twenty Magic chatter, old and brand new, as well as a tidy bit of love for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Force Awakens near the end.

Top 8 Magic resolves to be back in 2016!

Listen to “New Year’s Resolutions: Oath of the Gatewatch 1” right here:

Direct Download

“New Year’s Resolutions: Oath of the Gatewatch 1” on ManaDeprived

In the latest episode of Kitchen Table Gaming we made four recipes to celebrate the release of my new deckbuilding game Emergents: Genesis. Each of the recipes reflected a different class of superpower in that universe. We are presenting those recipes here each day for easy reference. If you want to learn more about the game you can do so here. You can order the game online or urge your local game store to place an order with ACD Distribution.

In the world of Emergents: Genesis the acolytes are the most mysterious class of all the powered beings. Theirs is a mastery of the mental and martial arts. Mentored by The Abyss, Bookworm is one of his most promising young students. There is no knowledge that he cannot absorb from the written word and can often be found in the catacombs beneath The Phaeton Project poring over arcane texts.

Bookworm
Should the Bookworm want to learn anything about baking, I could recommend no better text to him than any cookbook by Christina Tosi of Momofuku and Milk Bar fame. Her corn cookies are one of the most luscious treats I have ever tasted. I took the basics of her recipe, which includes finding dehydrated corn powder that I actually just buy at Milk Bar, and added a burst of orange zest and the pop of tart cherries. It makes them into something new and exciting while remaining comfortable and familiar.

Ingredients:

2 sticks unsweetened butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 large egg
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup corn flour
2/3 cup dehydrated corn powder
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 large orange zested
1 cup dried tart cherries

Time to make the cookies:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment whip together softened butter and sugar for 2 to 3
minutes. Add in the egg and let the mixer go for 7 or 8 minutes, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as you go. Add in all the dry ingredients and zest and mix until combined. Add in cherries and mix briefly to distribute throughout batter.

Using a 1/3 cup ice cream scoop portion out 12 cookies onto cookie sheets lined with parchment or Silpat baking mat. The cookies will spread out considerably while baking so you can only fit 6 per sheet. Freeze the cookie dough for 15 minutes before baking. Bake for 16 to 17 minutes until cookies start to turn golden brown around the edges. Cool on a wire rack.

IMG_1672

I am making a batch of these when I get back from Barcelona that uses lemon zest and dried blueberries, instead of orange and cherry, for Mike James with whom I had a World Series wager, to honor his KC Royals. I have also made them with an assortment of citrus zests and a mix of berries for a true sunburst flavor.

In the latest episode of Kitchen Table Gaming we made four recipes to celebrate the release of my new deckbuilding game Emergents: Genesis. Each of the recipes reflected a different class of superpower in that universe. We are presenting those recipes here each day for easy reference. If you want to learn more about the game you can do so here. You can order the game online or urge your local game store to place an order with ACD Distribution.

Professor Helios is the most famous Firesculptor in the Emergents universe but the class of powers he possesses can extend to manipulation of almost anything. There are emergents who can sculpt steel, ice, or — in my case — pasta.

Firesculptor

This is a recipe that I have recreated from idealized childhood memories of my grandmother’s macaroni pie. It was a dish she would make with leftover pasta, hamhocks from the butcher, and whatever vegetables she had laying around. It remains my favorite food of all time and I have spent a lot of time and energy trying to recreate it over the years. Perhaps the biggest obstacle was never having any leftover pasta.

Ingredients:

1/3 pound pancetta sliced
1 sweet onion sliced thin
1 pound mushrooms sliced thin
Salt and pepper
Thyme
Olive oil
1 1/2 pound of linguine cooked just short of al dente
32 oz container of ricotta cheese
6 whole eggs
2 lemons zested
1 3/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Time to Sculpt the Pasta:

Cook the pasta, drain, and set aside.

Crisp the pancetta in a pan and set aside. In same pan cook the onions with some salt and pepper until they are soft and set aside with pancetta. Finally, cook the mushrooms in some olive oil in the same pan. Toss all three ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

Mix the ricotta cheese with six beaten eggs, 1 1/2 cups of Parmesan cheese, black pepper to taste, lemon zest and thyme. Mix in the onion, pancetta, and mushroom mixture and pasta.

Pour the whole mix into a oiled springform pan with tube insert. Mix remaining Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, 2 tbs olive oil, thyme, and black pepper and sprinkle over the top of the pie. Bake covered with foil in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 more minutes until the breadcrumb topping turns brown and crispy.

IMG_9225

Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before removing from springform pan. Cut into wedges and serve with Non-Stop Tomato Sauce. Can be served warm or cold.

In the latest episode of Kitchen Table Gaming we made four recipes to celebrate the release of my new deckbuilding game Emergents: Genesis. Each of the recipes reflected a different class of superpower in that universe. We are presenting those recipes here each day for easy reference. If you want to learn more about the game you can do so here. You can order the game online or urge your local game store to place an order with ACD Distribution.

Look…I know I use Grade B maple syrup and lemon zest somewhat compulsively when I cook but trust me when I tell you they are essential to making this quick tomato sauce recipe that is almost too good to be true. I grew up with my grandmother’s sauce that would cook all day long, burbling away on a back burner in a vessel that was half silo/half cookware. I loved it but I also love being able to whip up a quick sauce for pasta and this can be made in under 30 minutes — depending on how fast you are with a knife.

When I was trying to settle on the recipes for this latest episode of Kitchen Table Gaming I knew I wanted something that reflected the speed and time manipulation of the Non-Stops. In the world of Emergents: Genesis they are led by Billy Stopless, an irrepressible speedster who would certainly appreciate the double takes that saying you put maple syrup in your tomato sauce earns you.

128_faster_than_the_eye

Ingredients:

1 large onion finely chopped
Several cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon of red pepper flake
Salt and black pepper
Olive oil
Zest and juice of one lemon
1 can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
1 tablespoon Grade B maple syrup
Fresh basil leaves, torn

Time to make the sauce:

Finely chop one whole onion. I generally prefer a sweet Vidalia onion but you can use red onion (pictured above) or a Spanish onion — I have even made it with the white part of scallions in a pinch. Finally chop the peeled cloves and grate the zest of one lemon with a micro planer, careful to avoid zesting too deep and hitting the white pith. Pile that all in the center of a pan and add generous pinch of Kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, and the crushed red pepper. Drizzle two tablespoons of good olive oil over the mound and turn on the heat to medium high.

Let the onions and garlic soften and turn translucent — maybe even a little caramelized — before hitting the pan with the fresh squeezed lemon juice. Let that cook down a little and then put the can of tomatoes in. You can cut the tomatoes beforehand — I sometimes just take kitchen scissors and go to work on them inside the can — or you can just mash them up with your spoon or a potato masher. Add a the grade B maple syrup to counterbalance the acid of tomatoes and lemon juice. Let that cook for about 15 minutes. Tear in fresh basil at the end.

In the last episode I made a tomato confit with heirloom tomatoes. I have made this sauce using an equivalent amount of peeled and chopped heirlooms and it is one of my all-time favorite things but it does not possess the pantry-readiness of this version. I always have onions and garlic on hand and I try to have several cans of San Marzanos in the queue at all times.

This is the perfect accompaniment to my grandmother’s macaroni pie but I love it on linguine (or any pasta really).

In the latest episode of Kitchen Table Gaming we made four recipes to celebrate the release of my new deckbuilding game Emergents: Genesis. Each of the recipes reflected a different class of superpower in that universe. We are presenting those recipes here each day for easy reference. If you want to learn more about the game you can do so here. You can order the game online or urge your local game store to place an order with ACD Distribution.

The inspiration for this drink was Moxie, the strongest person in the Emergents universe. She calls the students who share her gifts of strength, StrongHarms, and I wanted a drink that packed a punch equal to her skills.

Moxie

Ingredients:

Bourbon
Prosecco
Several sprigs of thyme
Orange pieces
Cherry juice
Bitters
Grade B maple syrup (You can use simple syrup if you prefer)

Time to Mix the Drinks:

One day head put one or two orange pieces and thyme sprigs into large cocktail ice tray. Pour
cherry juice into tray and freeze overnight.

Cherry juice ice cubes

Place one cherry juice ice cube in an Old Fashioned glass. Add maple syrup and a couple of
dashes of bitters right on the cube. Pour one shot of bourbon over the cube and then add three parts Prosecco. Serve.

For the show I made the drinks individually but you can do this a classic punchbowl drink by following the same ratios. Instead of ice cubes make a larger ice mold using a bundt pan or something similar. You can have a lot of fun with your drinks using fruit juice ice cubes. My wife uses grapefruit or orange juice cubes for vodka drinks and I am looking forward to rum drinks with watermelon ice cubes this summer. They are even great without alcohol; you can add the cherry juice cubes to ginger ale or even plain ‘ol club soda for a lovely mocktail during the holidays.