Shalai compare thee to a Summer’s day?

Yet another Magic the Gathering post. Usual disclaimer: If it’s not your thing come back tomorrow.

Singleton is the most fun to come to Magic: Arena in ages. I’ve always been a big fan of Elder Dragon Highlander. Before that, friends and I used to have super tuned 60 card 7 Point Highlander decks. Singleton feels like a throwback to those days. The excitement of playing optimised decks full of strong cards, but with a little more randomness than ‘four of’ formats. I’ve been getting tired of the Arena metagame. So much Red Deck Wins and Scarab God variants. Having a one card limit means that opponents can only have ONE FUCKING SCARAB GOD. It also enforces more creativity in card choice, especially with the Standard card pool. Until Brawl makes its way to Arena, I guess I’ll be sticking with Singleton. So what am I running?

Well contrary to my glory days of 7 Point Highlander, I’m playing an absolute pile. I kind of wanted to be able to play goofy Legendary Sorceries. So I crammed a deck full of as many Abzan coloured legends that’d fit and shipped it. Funnily enough, the only one in my colours I’m not playing is Kamahl’s Druidic Vow, which would actually be all kinds of nifty in here. I can’t bring myself to waste a wildcard on such jank, so until I draft one, it’ll stay out. Otherwise, here’s this beautiful tyre fire:

Creatures (22):
1x Llanowar Elves
1x Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter
1x Hope of Ghirapur
1x Drover of the Mighty
1x Naga Vitalist
1x Shanna, Sisay’s Legacy
1x Danitha Capashen, Paragon
1x Yahenni, Undying Partisan
1x Rhonas the Indomitable
1x Rishkar, Peema Renegade
1x Kambal, Consul of Allocation
1x Slimefoot, the Stowaway
1x Shalai, Voice of Plenty
1x Teshar, Ancestor’s Apostle
1x Whisper, Blood Liturgist
1x Aryel, Knight of Windgrace
1x Traxos, Scourge of Kroog
1x Lyra Dawnbringer
1x Arvad the Cursed
1x Vona, Butcher if Magan
1x Demonlord Belzenlok
1x Multani, Yavimaya’s Avatar

Noncreature (14):
1x Fatal Push
1x Renegade Map
1x Cast Down
1x Forsake the Worldly
1x Grow from the Ashes
1x Growing Rites of Itlimoc
1x Helm of the Host
1x Urza’s Ruinous Blast
1x Yawgmoth’s Vile Offering
1x Nissa, Vital Force
1x The Mending of Dominaria
1x Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
1x Vraska, Relic Seeker
1x Ajani Unyielding

Lands:
24x Some

I’m very aware that a bunch of these weaker legends would probably be better as non-legendary creatures, but I want critical mass. Plus I’m very okay with the idea of a non-optimised build that gets better over time. This is just something I threw together and I’m finding some surprising synergies. There’s a neat little mini-graveyard theme. Between Whisper, Teshar, The Mending of Dominaria, Nissa and Yawgmoth’s Vile Offering, there are ways to get things back from the yard. I was having fun looping Hope of Ghirapur with Teshar to lock the OP out of playing noncreature spells. There’s enough of a go wide theme to make fuel for Whisper (or Magmaw, if it was in my colours. RIP). Being legends, they’re generally all a little more buff than your aaaaverage bear. There are fliers to give the deck reach (metaphorically. I think Multani is the only one who actually has Reach). As a green made at heart, I threw in a ton of fixing and slow duals. When the mana works out, the deck tends to, too.

The deck lends itself to spectacularity, whether winning or losing. It punts without mana, but makes some massive plays. Oddly enough, it’s the most effective deck I’ve played Growing Rites in to date. It just has a high enough concentration of creature spells to do so. The top end planeswalkers have both been amazing, offering removal and an avalanche of card advantage. Yawgmoth’s Vile Offering and Urza’s Ruinous Blast have both been easy enough to set up and devastating when they’ve hit. Skysovereign is a stone cold bomb and tends to take apart any board where it lands. Strangely enough, it feels like Traxos is on the chopping block. It’s been fine, but unspectacular, as a “mere” 4/4 trampler for 7. I mean, Oyiva hasn’t done much either, but cheap historic spells are sorta useful. I figure her and Shanna tag team and suddenly WHOOP. There it is. I’ve been absolutely loving Nissa. Whether she’s beating for 5, accelerating mana, digging through the grave for high impact answers or dropping her emblem one turn after she hits the board (I got two emblems in one game with a carefully timed Vile Offering. It didn’t last long after that).

It’s a very fun, high impact and variable deck. If you’re looking for a new archetype for a silly Singleton deck, maybe check out Abzan Legends. It’s one of a kind.

Advertisements

No zippy pun title today. This shit is un-great

Well this was heartbreaking to read.

I’ll save you the click if you’ve been there already, but it’s Chloe Dykstra’s essay on her abusive relationship with Chris Hardwick. It’s spread like wildfire through online nerd and comedy communities. Naturally there’s been a ton of support and aggressively defensive male neckbeards. It really is an awful depiction of how the insecurities of a partner can twist into overarching controlling and abusive behaviour. How an obsession with protecting an image can so violate the rights of another. Brutal stuff.

This isn’t about me whatsoever, but I want to mention something in the hopes that it gives some insight into how many might be taking this news. I’ve consumed an incredible amount of Chris Hardwick content. I’ve easily listened to hundreds of hours of the Nerdist Podcast. I’ve checked out other podcasts where Hardwick was guesting. I was most definitely a fan. I met the two of them at the 2013 Just For Laughs in Montreal and they were both really nice. I hadn’t realised they were a surprise midnight show and couldn’t get tickets. Hardwick was like “that’s no good. Meet me here 20 minutes before showtime and I’ll let you in backstage”. Chloe remarked that she owned the same Threadless shirt I did. We chatted about some of our favourite designs. It was a nice moment, especially as a fan. I wouldn’t have had the foggiest idea that anything was less than ideal. They just seemed like a lovely couple.

Given the amount of image-mongering Hardwick seemed to do, I’m sure this was most people’s impression. For all the staunch white cis male dudes out there who’ve immediately jumped in to defend their idol and aim to discredit Dykstra, I really want to impress one thing. There was a phenomenal power imbalance. In cases like this, so many people tend not to understand how difficult it is to leave an abusive relationship. Not speaking from personal experiences, but what I’ve often heard related is how the push and pull affects your worldview. The lows become so normalised that the highs make them all seem worth it. When the behaviour does something kind, it has an extra resonance beyond the norm. Then you feel guilty for thinking ill of them. In Dykstra’s case, this was a man 20 years her senior with an influential position in her chosen profession. She was in her early 20s. Not to negate her agency whatsoever, but how many of us knew what was best for ourselves when we were barely out of university? Can’t you empathise with not knowing how to deal with a situation that seemed so much larger than yourself? Would it be better to suffer through the relationship than to suffer the results of ending it?

There’s no excuse for stripping your partner’s autonomy, for using them as an object. That’s not a partnership by any definition. Outlining who your partner can spend time with, how they spend their time? That’s not seeing someone as an equal. Demanding that they’re always available for sex irrespective of their desires? That’s not consent. It’s abuse. All of it. I understand that for many, the meaning of consent seems to be rapidly changing. This is a good thing. It’s progress. We’re moving closer to a Fuck Yes or No mentality, which can only be a good thing. Yes, there’s nuance across the spectrum of desire. That doesn’t mean for a second that if someone’s not into it, going full steam ahead is acceptable. If you feel like putting your desires ahead of another’s needs is okay behaviour, that’s something you should take a closer look at.

I don’t have a great desire to broadcast Hardwick’s response, ’cause it rings a little hollow. That being said, it’s worth pointing out why it’s not a good apology (or even an apology at all for that matter). Look how quick he is to distance himself from the allegations. He’s not admitting fault for anything. A proper apology has three parts: Acknowledgement (he’s failed already), empathy/remorse and restitution. He’s taken no responsibility for his actions, acknowledgement of why she would’ve felt this way and no effort to do shit about it. He’s owned up to nothing and, worse yet, tried to use her as a scapegoat. He jumps immediately to discredit her as an unreliable witness. She cheated on me and then tried to get back with me, but I was so noble and said no. He tries to set up a moral dichotomy (but I’m a husband, a son, and future father. I have good social capital) as a way to dig in further (how could I be the one in the wrong). It’s an attempt to wash his hands clean of the whole thing. I know that I wanted better out of him, but I didn’t expect better. I have enough faith in how society is progressing that it’ll know better. Nerdist have already scrubbed his name from the company. They don’t want the association.

Who knows how this’ll affect the comedy community? So far it’s been suspiciously silent. So many prominent comics have directly benefited from the systems Hardwick put in place. I don’t think anyone wants to put a foot wrong, but their absence of input is pretty devastating.

Most of all, I hope Chloe is doing okay. It’s a massive deal to unearth so much of the toxic shit she had to deal with. Whether or not people “know” Hardwick, he’s a huge figure within certain industries. Fingers crossed she has good support networks to help her handle the fallout. She’s not helpless by any means, but there are a lot of eyes pointed at her right now.

I hope this all gets better. I may be waiting some time.

I’m sure a number of you will end this thinking “well, those were technically all words…”

Magic the Gathering post. Usual disclaimer: If this ain’t in your wheelhouse, maybe come back tomorrow?

Egads, I’ve spent a lot of today playing Magic.

Arena has made it so I can tap lands without leaving the house. More importantly, Arena has made it so I can play spells without wearing pants. It’s, in a word, Magical. I started drafting around 9am today and finished around 4pm. So basically a full day of limited. I’ve learned that it’s almost impossible for me to turn down the opportunity to run Tatyova. If she’s not dealt with immediately she buries your opponent under card advantage. I started the day with a RG kicker concoction with Multani and Belzenok at the high end. Was it greedy to try splashing the Demonlord off a Song of Freyalise and Grow to Ashes? Likely. Was the deck a blast to play? Very much so. Multani felt like an unfair card whenever he came out. So much damage output. The combination of Reach and Trample meant he could put the brakes on an opponent before beating down. I’d feel filthy using his recursion ability with Tatyova. Guess what deck I’m making next? Unfortunately after having a quick opening with Radha, I tried casting a kicked Untamed Kavu and the game crashed. Game loss, bye bye draft. I sent in a crash report and went onto the next one.

My second deck was near mono blue with Tempest Djinn and Zahid. Or “Djinn and Djuice” as I call ’em. Naban with double Academy Journeymage, plus Raff Capashen for ambush surprises. Blue’s not my normal go to, but it was hard to deny how good it felt playing tempo games, smoothing out draws with Opt and Divination. Syncopate felt unfair when it arrived right on time. I got to live the dream once of turn 4 Zaphid with Raff, Syncopate and Blessed Light in hand. Doing It indeed. Tempest Djinn feels downright unfair on curve. I didn’t exactly smash the draft, but squeaked out just enough wins to make it to another one. Why not? I had a day free from plans.

If there’s something that I’ve learned today, it’s that while I love Magic, I still make a billion tiny little play mistakes. It’s kind of nifty to think how long I’ve been playing, how much I’ve learned and how much more there is to learn. It’s an absurdly deep game with a multitude of decisions to make. Each decision can have a ripple effect over the course of the game. So many matches end up decided over a few measly points of damage. Maybe one missed attack or a mistimed trigger. Drafting takes so much skill, deciding what to pick, how to factor in cards that’ll make it all the way around the table. A deep knowledge of the format makes such a difference too, so you can factor what your deck could look like and veering towards those possibilities.

Anyway, I still had enough for one last draft. After first picking Traxos and grabbing a couple of solid blue/artifact cards, I was looking down the barrel of U/x Historic. Then pack two I opened Naru Meha, On Serra’s Wings, Serra Angel and Icy Manipulator. I grabbed Icy, but it wasn’t a simple pick. A pack or two later I was passed Multani, Merfolk Trickster and In Bolas’ Clutches. I wasn’t certain what the pick was, so I grabbed the on colour legendary Control Magic. Next pack had my BFF Tatyova, so I went green anyway. By the time I put it all together it was a spicy Sultai brew with Traxos, 2x Tatyova, 2x Rona, In Bolas’ Clutches, 2x Cloudreader Sphinx and 4x Academy Drake. I played it safe and cut the black splash, upping the land count. The deck was remarkably consistent. With so many Academy Drakes I didn’t worry about waiting to kick them an awful lot. Playing a Wind Drake on curve felt totally fine. I ended up going 5-3, my best result all weekend. Turns out blue, despite my reservations, may well be the best colour in the format.

You learn something new every day.

The bar has never been this low

I’m going to be very distracted right now. My favourite streamer is doing charity streams and it’s top notch entertainment.

Gaby Spartz is streaming Magic while soliciting donations for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. She’s getting people to put in song requests for $5 a pop. Chat is trolling quite severely. There was a request for John Cage’s 4’33”, which was sublime. Secondly, she’s brought back #winesday. At this stage she’s maybe half a bottle in and getting mildly belligerent. I think she just threw some gang signs. She’s also wearing a chicken onesie. Even better, her and LSV have been taking donations all week for a corn-dog-athon. Because they got to about $2,500, LSV has to eat 10 corn dogs.

Compounding the whole thing is the fact that I’m now officially on holiday and have shit to do. Yet I’m watching a grown man eating 10 corn dogs live. This is why the internet exists.

Goddamn I want corn dogs now.

I should be finishing packing, but he’s already downed one and I can’t turn away.

I had to dash out earlier to pick up 1 ply toilet paper. He just finished the second and I can’t stop thinking about how hard it’s gonna be for him to shit tomorrow.

I’m 100% sober, but geez it feels like I’m drunk. He’s four corn dogs down, holy fuck. He just inhaled that last one. I haven’t had a corn dog for years. Goddamn. I’m so distracted, he’s finished six. Jesus.

I got last minute snacks on the way home from work. I’m still worried I have insufficient snackage. Now I wish I had some way of bringing corn dogs. He’s 9 down. What a machine. He’s not even slowing down.

“What are we doing for dinner?” He asks.

I’m glad he at least has a variety of condiments. Am I gonna bring condiments with my to the burn?

He’s finished all ten. Now they’re soliciting donations to make him eat more. Now drunken Gaby is trying to peer pressure him into it. “DO YOU EVEN CARE ABOUT THE KIDS??” This Is Entertainment. It looks like they ordered enough corn dogs that the restaurant gave them full sized bottles of mustard and ketchup.

I can only imagine the kind of ridiculous stuff that’s about to go down this weekend. One of the defining philosophies of the burn is that of immediacy. To stay in the moment. Can I say that watching this ludicrous display is me practicing my immediacy? Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned in all of this and I’m gonna try to pull it out of my arse.

Maybe it’s about putting myself up against challenges that seem indomitable to understand my own competence. Maybe it’s about finding hidden talents. Perhaps discovering that even if I think I’m in the wrong place, maybe I’m already where I need to be.

Or maybe, just maybe, it means I’m gonna leave the house at 9pm and go off in search of corn dogs.

It might as well be called Magic the Cat-herding given how I’ve been playing

ANOTHER Magic the Gathering themed post, because the great thing about writing this is I can talk about whatever I want. That’s where the perks end though.

Magic: The Gathering Arena has been in beta for some time now. I’ve had beta access for around a month. The NDA was lifted before I even got to start playing, so I’m free to get out there with my thoughts. I don’t know that anybody was asking for them, but since when did that stop me from being a loudmouth?

I’m loving it. Seriously. It’s a deliberate dig to cut into the casual market of which Hearthstone has taken a chunk. I don’t know how to play Hearthstone, so coupling that with an IP that I’m very into makes this tailor fit for me. To be honest, while I’ve been playing Magic for 18 years now, I’ve never been a part of any structured tournament scene. I’m a casual scrub for life and that fits me like a glove. I mean, it must’ve been at least ten years since I last put together a 60 card deck. It’s been EDH all day even before it earned the moniker “Commander”. Putting more than one of a card (outside basic lands) into a deck seems like a total novelty. You mean I can run more of the effect I want instead of trying to find analogues? Get right out of town.

What this all means, is that I’m actually getting to experience a metagame for maybe the first time. Seeing which decks are dominating, adapting to counter these strategies. It’s a hoot! Well, I’ve had more than enough of The Scarab God to last an eternity of lifetimes, but outside that it’s neat. The cool thing too is that barely any of these decks are super tuned, especially ’cause the ranking system keeps me in league with other mediocre players. So my win rate is up and down all the time. It keeps things exciting. Well, I’m saying that after a night of more wins than losses, a rarity if I’m being honest. The economy has been given a boost since I started playing, with higher rewards for wins and a set of revamped quests. It’s quite possible to earn a number of boosters each week. I’m also very much pumped for Dominaria draft this weekend, which I think is gonna cost around 5000 gold, or the price of five boosters. At this stage it’s looking like you should be able to get 2-3 drafts per week with a moderate record. Not too shabby for a free game.

Now, what kind of decks am I building? First I started with some silly GW go wide lifegain token deck. I pulled a Crested Sunmare and two Regal Caracals, so I saw a theme coming together. I coupled them with a bunch of small critters that made tokens (Martyr of Dusk, Jungleborn Pioneer, Pride Sovereign) and embalm creatures (Sacred Cat, Angel of Sanctions). I only had one Anointed Procession, but it did work. I’ve been slowly adding to the deck over time (Mouth//Feed is surprisingly great. Like a variant on Call of the Herd) and it’s fun to play. Plus white has such great removal that I can handle a Scarab God or two.

In my heart of hearts, however, I wanted to sleeve up some RG Monsters deck. When I figured out how Wildcards worked (you can get any card, not just another copy of a card you already have) I cashed in all of mine to put it together. 4x Llanowar Elves, 4x Drover of the Mighty, 4x Steel-Leaf Champion, 3x Jadelight Ranger, 4x Rekindling Phoenix and a couple of bits of removal. Sometimes it curves out something ridiculous like Llanowar into Jadelight into Phoenix and my opponent is just dead. It’s fun, but Magma Spray isn’t protecting me from Scarab God quite as much as I want it to be. Struggle//Survive has been an excellent metagame addition. It’s putting in work.

Last night on a whim I put together some absurd pile. Ramp for ramp’s sake. 4x Llanowar (the way all my decks start), 4x Drover of the Mighty, 4x Grow from the Ashes and everything one of I have that costs 5 or more. Lyra Dawnbringer, Tishana, Overflowing Insight, Zepala, Vraska, then some more card draw/countermagic. It’s downright silly, leading me to this Magical Christmasland scenario. Yes, that’s a 30/30 Tishana under the protection of Shalai. Yes, I have Anointed Procession, giving me a bunch of 3/3 lifelinking cat tokens. Unsurprisingly I won that one after River’s Rebuke-ing his board and playing Shalai with counter magic backup.

I’ve had this much fun without paying a cent. I’d practically be losing money by not playing.

A Time of Ice, Ice, Baby.

Magic the Gathering post. Usual disclaimer applies. If this isn’t your thing, come back tomorrow.

Everybody’s working for the weekend. Thing is, so often “The Weekend” means late nights and sleep ins. As a 31 year old, there’s very little more amazing than having daytime plans. Every time it’s like a freebie. You finish up at like 4pm and you still have the whole night ahead of you. So what did I do today? Well if you read the disclaimer right above, you should be able to guess pretty easily. I played Magic.

To clarify, I woke up at 7am like a child all excited because I had time to play MtG Arena. After several hours (and a bunch of wins for once), I got ready to go out for a friend’s birthday draft. In other words, more Magic. Dominaria is one of the best sets in years and the limited format is fantastically diverse. I’ve got another draft coming up Thursday night and I can’t wait. If you’re still hanging onto my words here, I might as well get into the draft details.

I first picked a Seal Away out of an otherwise unremarkable pack. I felt gratified being passed an On Serra’s Wings, then solidified being passed another On Serra’s Wings. A third pick D’Avenant Trapper made me think there was something to this whole white Historic archetype and I wasn’t under any pressure to grab another colour. Then fifth pick I saw an Academy Journeymage. I knew UW Historic was pretty strong and that the format was decently slow. I took it from an otherwise unremarkable pack and tried to tell myself I didn’t need to commit just yet. A sixth pick Shana made me question my decision, before finding another Trapper. I knew I was white, I didn’t know my secondary colour. I saw a pack with another Journeymage and Naban, a combo that seemed all kinds of unfair. Still, there was a Blessed Light in the pack, which I knew I’d play either way. Maybe others would fight over the two wizards. I resolved to see if they tabled before making my decision. I rounded out the pack with a bunch of strong white cards, a Blink of an Eye and Naban coming something like second to last. UW Historic for sure.

Pack two is when things got nutty. I first picked Time of Ice, got another Journeymage (dreams coming true) and Helm of the Host. Somehow I was passed another Time of Ice (with a sad pick over Raff Capashen, who I knew wouldn’t table), which made me realise there were zero other blue drafters. I got another D’Avenant Trapper, Naru Meha (copy my blinks?) and a last pick Cloudreader Sphinx. Blue was right open. My last pack gave me a Baird, a third Journeymage, a second Blessed Light and a couple of spare Deep Freezes. A late Tempest Djinn made me question just how many islands I’d need to run it. I ended up putting Aesthir Glider into my deck instead, since it triggered heroic.

Altogether the deck looked something like this:

Creatures (13):

1x Naban, Dean of Iteration
3x D’Avenant Trapper
1x Aesthir Glider
1x Academy Drake
1x Sanctum Spirit
1x Baird, Steward of Argive
1x Naru Meha, Master Wizard
3x Academy Journeymage
1x Cloudreader Sphinx

Noncreature (10):

1x Seal Away
1x Blink of an Eye
1x Deep Freeze
2x Time of Ice
2x On Serra’s Wings
1x Helm of the Host
2x Blessed Light

Land (17)
9x Island
8x Plains

It was absurd. My curve was higher than I’d normally play, but this wasn’t what I’d call a problem. The one time I faced an aggro deck I pulled out a Blessed Light and Blink of an Eye for a Gideon’s Reproach and another Deep Freeze. It routinely did silly things. Naban multiple times let me a) cast Journeymage for 3U and bounce two creatures, which was especially backbreaking against tokens. In several games I played Time of Ice with another in hand. It was mean. In one game I bounced the Time with the third trigger on the stack and got to immediately replay the saga. I once had Naban and two D’Avenant Trappers out. I played Naru Meha and discovered that Naban lets you get double triggers from any ability a wizard triggers. I got to tap down four creatures and swing for the win. Helm of the Host was predictably unreasonable too. If it wasn’t copying Journeymages to make my opponent’s life hell, it was getting Bairds to stop them from attacking or Aesthir Gliders for unblockable flying fun. For me that is, not my opponent.

I won the draft, which was a remarkable experience after punting so badly last week. Even if I was playing my least favourite colour combination, winning for once was actually pretty neat.

If it needed to be more explicit: Infinity War spoilers to follow

I intend to spend this entry talking about Infinity War, so here’s a little disclaimer that this will likely be laden with spoilers from the very first sentence.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

I liked it. Turns out going in with low expectations was everything I needed to craft a perfectly enjoyable film experience. I turned off my brain, filled a drink with some godawful sugary concoction (I think it utilised vanilla cream soda, vanilla cherry Mr Pibb and Minute Maid limeade or something) and watched cotton candy superhero fantasies play out on the big screen. There were fight scenes, I laughed a bunch of times and the vfx were as good as a many million dollar picture with thousands of animators could be. I even feel like my list of what didn’t work so well was overshadowed by what did. The Marvel formula was successfully parlayed into something that not only met my expectations, but did one of those cute lil heel things over that bar. Good job Marvel, you ol’ billion dollar corporate entity you.

Let’s start off cold. What did I not like? Realistically most of my narrative issues were an occupational hazard of stuffing 80 characters into a film. There was never gonna be time for actual character development or progression. The framework was sort of banking on the goodwill of you having watched the previous 17 films and taken CliffsNotes. It pretty much spent the whole time racing from action to action and smoothing transitions over with quippy exposition. I think the notion was that the crowd would swoon so hard from seeing Iron Man and Dr. Strange compare metaphorical dick sizes that all would be forgiven. In this way, I guess it was almost exactly like a large scale comic crossover. This was probably more my fault than theirs. To Marvel’s credit I think they chose the right characters to give screen time, leaving the less interesting ones (Cap/Bucky, etc) as dynamic set dressing with a line or two.

One of the hard sells in a story like this, which is basically a soap opera with more punching, is creating affecting character deaths. Let’s be frank, Marvel can’t kill off half of its characters, because their overlords Disney would have something to say about them destroying billions upon billions of future franchise revenue. This makes Thanos’ final act something of an empty event. Sure, it was a nice touch killing all the music and allowing all these characters moments of pathos (a fragile teenage Peter Parker crying to Stark that he didn’t want to die was pretty effective). On the other hand, since there’s no way the characters can be dead for sure, it rings a little hollow. The “actual” deaths of Loki and Gamora are similarly suspect. Loki is a demigod with reality warping powers. Peter Quill is half Celestial and his arc in the last film will likely involve bringing Gamora back from the dead to kill Thanos. Just spit balling here.

Also it can’t just be me. Did they use the trope of “give me the McGuffin or [your loved one] dies” several times? Loki/Thor, Gamora/Nebula, Star-Lord/Gamora (ish), Scarlett Witch/Vision (ish), Thanos/Gamora (ish) and Strange/Stark (ish. Obviously dependent on Strange’s long game plan). It’s a time honoured trope, but kind of loses its efficacy when they use it a bunch in the same film. I dunno. The structure made it kind of hard to feel like there were stakes. It was the first part of a multi-film project, right? There was no way Thanos wouldn’t get/use the gauntlet. Isn’t that baked into Save the Cat? Things have to get bad, then really bad, then catastrophic, then worse before they get better.

As with every other villain (I think of Killmonger in particular). There’s a part of their values that kind of makes sense. Thanos is right, overpopulation is a real issue in many places. Thing is, they’re always sorta half-baked. Do all planets/countries suffer from overpopulation? Wouldn’t the issues creep back up over time? Is this a mass cull every few millennia or so kinda deal? Are there species/organisms that benefit from the overpopulation and would die out without being at that critical mass?

Stray observations: Didn’t Wanda Maximoff have a Russian accent in the previous films? When did Banner change from being an intelligent scientist to the group’s embarrassing dad? The Thor/Rocket eye thing was kind of cute and morbid, but was it explained anywhere that it was a working robot eye or something? Thor just plopped the eye into its socket and it was functional. I guess this is my inability to suspend disbelief over a demigod who shoots lightning giving himself a new eye. Maybe that’s on me. Did Bucky really do anything in the film other than shoot a gun?

So many thoughts, so little time. Which I guess could’ve been the alternate name for the movie. It was a mere two and a half hours after all.