MTG: Get Salted, I’m Exalted!

Magic_card_backMy last Commander/EDH post was about my Good Knight to You, Sirrah deck that I was in the middle of constructing. I’ve tweaked it so I have a bit more card draw as I was finding I was running out of cards quickly due to the low casting cost of the majority of my creatures and other spells. But it is done and I’ve used it several times. In a one on one duel, it’s pretty aggressive and can easily destroy the other player quickly.

Anyway, this post is about my next endeavor, an Exalted deck headed by Rafiq of the Many. The main win condition is to make Rafiq  unblockable and using the Exalted mechanic, pump him up and win with 2 swings of Commander damage. With Commander Damage, I only need to damage my opponent with 21 points of damage. All by himself, with Exalt and Double Strike, he’s going to do 8points of Commander Damage if he’s unblockable. Even if Rafiq can’t do it, I’ve got multiple ways to make creatures unblockable and hence swing for some serious damage.




Commander: 1

rafiq (Small)

Rafiq of the Many —– ORDERED


Planeswalkers: 5 + Alternate



Tamiyo Field Researcher —-OWN

Jace Beleren 

Jace, Memory Adept

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria  —— EXPENSIVE!!! (On my Christmas list)

Elspeth Knight Errant

Tamiyo, the Moon Sage  —-OWN (Alternate if Teferi stays out of reach)



Creatures: 24




Stoic Angel

Suspicious Bookcase  —– OWN

Wall of Swords  ——- OWN

Wall of Denial

Wall of Tanglecord  ——OWN

Hover Barrier —–OWN

Noble Hierarch  —— EXPENSIVE!!! (On my Christmas list)

Nylea, god of the Hunt

Thassa, god of the Sea

Sovereigns of Lost Alara

Sublime Archangel

Aven Squire

Battlegrace Angel

Court Archers

Ethercaste Knight

Giltspire Avenger —ORDERED

Guardians of Akrasa

Qasali Pridemage

Rhox Charger

Sigiled Paladin

Waveskimmer Avon

Knight of Glory

Verdurous Gearhulk —–OWN

Torrential Gearhulk —–OWN


Enchantments: 15



Finest Hour —– ORDERED

Eldrazi Conscription —– ORDERED

Steel of the Godhead —– ORDERED


Favor of the Overbeing

Unquestioned Authority

Vow of Wildness

Wheel of Sun and Moon

Wurmweaver Coil

Angelic Benediction

Ardent Plea

Prodigious Growth ——- OWN

Mammoth Umbra

Spider Umbra

Armadillo Cloak


Sorcery/Instants: 14



Worldly Tutor

Enlightened Tutor —-OWNED

Mystical Tutor

Reclaiming Vines

Crypsis —– OWN

Distortion Strike

Vines of Vastwood

Call the Gatewatch —– OWN

Crop Rotation

Hour of Promise

Reap and Sow

Scapeshift (Borderline)

Sylvan Scrying

Verdant Confluence


Artifacts: 6



Behemoth Sledge

Loxodon Warhammer

Swiftfoot Boots

Sol Ring – OWN

Expedition Map

Argentum Armor


Land: 38




Tropical Island—–OWN

Breeding Pool —–OWN

Misty Rain Forest —–OWN

Temple of Mystery

Savanna —–OWN

Temple Garden —–OWN

Windswept Heath —–OWN

Temple of Plenty

Tundra —–OWN

Flooded Strand —–OWN

Hallowed Fountain —–OWN

Temple of Enlightenment —— OWN

Islandx6 —–OWN

Plainx6 —–OWN

Forestx6 —–OWN

Command Tower

Cathedral of War —- ORDERED

Rogues Passage —–OWN

Temple of the False God

Maze of Ith —– Eventually but not essential

Ghost Quarter

Field of Ruin

Strip Mine




Obviously, I’ve done a lot more background work before posting this deck, unlike the Orzhov Knight decklist. Some of the cards I still question. I also question how well this is actually going to work. I just won’t know until I build it and play it.  This is probably as close to a finished deck list as I’m going to get though so I don’t plan on publishing an updated version.  Maybe some edits if needed, but no whole new post. I figured my Knight deck was going to take until the end of the year and I finally finished it in October, so pretty close. This deck is going to take most of 2019 to assemble, as money will be tight next year due to all our hospital stuff this year.

There is going to be a lot of proxy’ing going on, as I am NOT going to be playing with my actual dual lands, nor with cards like Noble Hierarch or any other $60+ cards. If my fellow player is ok with it, I might use proxy cards for any card I don’t yet own just to test the deck.

Sadly, I don’t feel nearly as inspired about the Deck Name (Get Salted, I’m Exalted just seems a bit braggadocio) as I did with my knight deck. “Exalt” or some form of that has to be in the title since the Exalt mechanic is what everything is based on. I might even have to enlist Mrs B’s creative powers to help me out!

If anyone has suggestions for card changes, feel free to let me know. Cheers!


bookstooge (Custom)



The Merry Wives of Windsor ★★★☆½

merrywivesofwindsor (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Merry Wives of Windsor
Series: ———-
Author: William Shakespeare
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Play, Comedy
Pages: 80
Format: Digital Edition


Falstaff, a fat, flagrant lecher, pursues two married women of Windsor at the same time. The two wives decide to turn the tables on him and put him through all sorts of trials at the hands of their unsuspecting husbands. One time Falstaff is taken out of the house in a basket of laundry and thrown into the river. Another time he has to dress up like an ill-favored Aunt and is beaten by one of the husbands who hates the Aunt.Finally, he is made to dress up in deer antlers and beset upon by a group of children and pinched and beaten at midnight.

There is a smaller sub-plot of a young man and woman who want to get married and that is carried out under the nose of the father and mother, who each want the girl to marry the suitor of their choice.

Everyone but Falstaff ends up happy.


My Thoughts:

I wonder, why would a fat old man think he could woo happily married women? If I’d been one of the husbands, I’d have stuck a sword through Falstaff first chance I got.

I enjoyed this a good bit as I was able to make the play happen in my head. I had to consciously do it, but picturing it in my mind made it so much more palatable than just words on the page. Falstaff getting dumped in the river and beaten had me laughing out loud, like it was supposed to.

I have to admit that the whole “jealous husband testing his wife” thing that Shakespeare seems to thrive on (in regards to almost any married couple) doesn’t work for me. I don’t know if its a cultural thing or a personal thing or what, but if I ever suspected something untoward regarding Mrs B, I’d ask her. If there was another man then a 1st degree homicide would occur, but I wouldn’t be setting up scenarios to try to trap her or to try to make her act unfaithfully. That isn’t how real love works. Good old murder now, that’s how Twue Wuv weally works. * Fezzik cheers *

I am thankful this was as entertaining as it was. I was afraid I was going to have to put some more space in my reading rotation so I could continue on, but this helps keep me interested. Reading a Complete Shakespeare is kind of like a marathon. Don’t do it lightly and for phrack’s sake, don’t ever, ever, EVER sprint.



bookstooge (Custom)



Fear Nothing (Moonlight Bay #1) ★★★☆½

fearnothing (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Fear Nothing
Series: Moonlight Bay #1
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 450
Format: Digital Edition


Christopher Snow was born afflicted with (insert really long medically sounding name), otherwise known as XP. His body can’t heal from UV damage and something like a flashlight can take years off his life or make him go blind in months. He is now 28 and his parents have sacrificed a lot to give him as much freedom as possible. He roams the night, writes successful novels and surfs.

Several months ago his mother died in a car accident. The book opens with his father expiring from cancer in the local hospital. Everything Chris ever starts to go sidewise as he sees the local mortician replace his father’s body with some hitchhiker’s. His father’s body is loaded into a van and taken away to Wyvern, a supposedly closed military base.

During the next 2 days Chris uncovers a lot of secrets hiding in Moonlight Bay. His mother was involved in genetic experimentation with the aim of helping cure Chris’s XP. Chris’s father’s cancer might have been caused by a rogue genetic experiment gone awry. Chris finds out that the experiments have been successful, but not in the way his mother intended. The politicians and top army brass have used it to enhance intelligence in animals and to transfer animal characteristics to humans. Unfortunately, the carrier evolved and people began becoming infected unknowingly and spreading it even outside of Moonlight Bay.

Several of the solid citizens of Moonlight Bay have already fallen to the gene therapy. The Chief of Police dreams of raping and killing little girls. He tries to kill Christopher to keep his secret but dies in the attempt. A troup of bloody thirsty enhanced monkey’s attack Chris, his girlfriend and his beach bum friend one night. The troup is led by a court-martialed sociopath who has been hiding his own “becoming” from all his superiors.

To top it all off, it turns out that Chris’s own dog, Orson, is the product of the tests and is just as intelligent as a human. Orson, however, shows no sign of the psychopathic murderous tendencies exhibited in almost all the other patients that Chris has seen.

The book ends with Chris realizing that he simply can’t fight this end of the world as we know it.


My Thoughts:

I actually read the sequel to this 18 years ago. I wasn’t reviewing per se, so I didn’t remember any details and so nothing was spoiled for this book. Just an anecdote, that is all.

In the character of Chris Snow are the seeds that will, 5 years later, turn into Odd Thomas and that much more successful series.

I found the scene between Chris and the Chief of Police to be as horrific as Koontz intended without it being offensive. There is nothing graphic in what Koontz writes and yet when the Chief is talking to Chris about his nightmares and his plans and his descent into animal savagery, I was horrified. It walked the line of talking about something absolutely evil without crossing that line into being voyeuristic about it. More authors should take note, as it takes real skill to write that way.

I enjoyed this but once again, like his Frankenstein series, Koontz is actually only telling one story and splitting it up into “books” to satisfy publishing demands. This book ends with Chris and Co surviving the attacks by various infected creatures, human or otherwise but the threat is so big that it IS the end of the world as humans know it. If I hadn’t known there was another book, I would have assumed this was a standalone with the Big Ending (ie, the end of the world) left up in the air for the readers to imagine.

Considering how proto-Odd Thomas Chris Snow is, I was figuring that Snow’s girlfriend was going to die the whole book. Color me pleasantly surprised when she made it through almost unscathed. That’ll teach me to be cynical.

The other thing I’m learning about Koontz seems to be that he likes to write about short time periods. The first ¾’s of the book only took 12hrs and the final ¼ was the next 24. Thirty-six hours for a 450 page book. I’ll have to remember that so I don’t expect dramas drawn out over the years.



bookstooge (Custom)


Of Mice and Men ★☆☆☆☆

miceandmen (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Of Mice and Men
Series: ———-
Author: John Steinbeck
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Classic
Pages: 73
Format: Digital Edition


George and Lennie are looking for work. George has a dream of owning his own little bit of land some day and all Lennie wants is to have rabbits so he can pet them. George has been looking after Lennie for years and benefits from his lack of intelligence and from his brawn.

On a new farm, they come across an old one handed worker who has half the price saved up to buy the piece that George has his eye on. All George and Lennie need to do is work one month, collect their pay, pool it with the third man and then they can “live on the fat of the land”.

Their new boss has a young son who is recently married. The young man, Curly, has a chip on his shoulder and is always fighting those who are bigger than him. He takes an immediate dislike to Lennie and Lennie simply doesn’t understand what is going on. Curly’s wife has a roving eye and wants socialness, something that she just isn’t getting from Curly or life on a ranch.

She corners Lennie one afternoon to talk to him, since she knows he’s too stupid to go away. Lennie feels her hair, as he has a weak spot for soft things. This frightens Curly’s wife and Lennie freezes up. She starts to scream and Lennie puts his hand over her mouth to stop her and ends up breaking her neck. He runs away to a special spot that George told him to go to if he ever got in trouble.

Curly gets together the men of the ranch to hunt down Lennie and makes sure George is with them. George knows where Lennie is and steals a gun from one of the other ranch hands. He finds Lennie and tells him the wonderful story about the place they are going to own to distract Lennie. George then shoots Lennie, killing him instantly so that he won’t suffer at the hands of a lynching led by Curly.

The book ends with George giving up on his dream of a place of his own and resigning himself to spending his monthly pay on whores and whiskey.


My Thoughts:

What a fantastically written horrible book. As much as I wish it weren’t true, Steinbeck can write. His books are considered Classics for a reason. By the end of this little tiny novella, George and Lennie felt as real to me as anyone I know from my work.

That being said, Steinbeck was an asshole in choosing to waste his talents on such horrible subject matters. My take is that Steinbeck wanted to show the worst parts of life, and only the worst parts, and then extrapolate that ALL of life is that bad. Meaningless, hopeless and ultimately completely futile.

I had read the Red Pony back in 7th grade and it so affected me, negatively, that I have never read another book by Steinbeck until now. I wanted to see if growing older and more mature made a difference in how I viewed his writing. Nope,not one jot.

What a waste. A waste of talent, a waste of a life, a waste of such potential. I don’t mourn, but it does sadden me that people can make such choices and do such things.


bookstooge (Custom)

This is My Genre (Tag)

I was tagged by Norrie at Reading Under the Blankie.  You can read all the fake rules at her place if you so care. She also credits the creator, so there is no need for me to. Not that I would anyway 😉

I’m busy and tired and some easy to do posts are saving my bacon right now.



1) What is your favorite genre

Fantasy, pure and simple


2) Who is your favorite author within said genre

Man, that is TOUGH! Brent Weeks springs immediately to mind. Ian Esslemont does as well. It probably helps that I’m in the middle of waiting for both of them to wrap up their current series and have been buying them in hardcover as they come out.

Ian Cameron Esslemont

I would kill for a chin like that!


I think Weeks likes bacon more than I do











3) What is it about said genre that keeps pulling you back

Escapism. Fun, exciting action, convoluted plots, memorable characters, those all matter but it really comes down to escaping this current world for just 30-60min.


4) What is the book that started your love of said genre

I don’t know.  I suspect that the Chronicles of Narnia had something to do with it, as my mom read those to me before I could read for myself. So the idea of books holding the fantastical within their pages has always been a part of my life.  I suspect that by the time I was old enough to realize what genres were, I was already hooked.


This is the set my mother used


I do remember reading an excerpt from a collection of short stories that a friend of mine had borrowed from the library. It was about a young boy who learned some magic from his weird aunt and then saved his town from invaders by calling up fog and leading them astray. Years later I read the full novel, A Wizard of Earthsea, and loved it just as much.


I love that woodcut style cover



5) If you had to recommend at least one book from your favourite genre to a non-reader/someone looking to start reading that genre, what book would you choose and why?

If it was a young person, I’d recommend the Hobbit.  It is short, filled with everything you could want in a fantasy book (dragons, dwarves, orcs, wizards, humans, hobbits, etc), tells a fascinating story and has the added luck of being a standalone story that actually ties into a classic trilogy for when they are slightly older.

For a more mature reader, I’d go with either something by Brandon Sanderson or Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Shadow of the Apt series.


6) Why do you read


What a joke. Idiot thinking like this? That’s what’s destroying our world.  You don’t get to be a Ranger or Special Forces or a SEAL because you think you can but because you actually CAN. And I don’t read 150+ books a year because I think I can but because I put in the hours to do so.


Because I enjoy it immensely. Not everyone is going to enjoy reading like I do, I understand that.

I also read because I’m an introvert and interacting with people wears me out. Reading helps me to recharge my battery so I don’t stick a fork through someone’s eye.

Reading also allows me to review and get these words out of my system. Unlike, say, Britchy,  I don’t have a vast store of stories to amuse you all with. I have some, but I have to release them like a miser so I don’t run out 🙂  Reviews allow me to remember stories from my past, while creating current stories and it all comes together to be my memory.



So there we go. A nice little tag all wrapped up in a bow. I don’t tag people, as most of you know. I do encourage anyone who reads this to take it for themselves and use it for some of those dry times when writing a review just seems a bit much.


bookstooge (Custom)


Bite This (Kurtherian Gambit #4) ★★★☆½

bitethis (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Bite This
Series: Kurtherian Gambit #4
Author: Michael Anderle
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 270
Format: Digital Edition


Bethany Anne and Crew have a lot to do.

One of their smaller companies has created an AI but didn’t tell anyone. They shut it down so there was no chance of it going all Skynet on the world. When BA finds out, she puts her father and some others on the case as they need some super intelligence to help guide them through the coming minefields.

The Company needs a military base as a “Corporate Headquarters” so they can start bringing their own people together, to work and to protect. If any nation state learns what BA is doing or capable of, they’re going to have to protect themselves. They also need a place where scientists can start studying TOM’s spaceship. The spaceship itself needs to be moved from the mountainous area to a secure birth on the super yacht.

BA has given the responsibility of getting Europe back under control to Stephen, another of Michael’s direct children. He has to deal with young vamps on the edge of becoming Forsaken as well as Pack politics. European Were haven’t been dealt with for decades and they are thinking that maybe vamps aren’t tough as all that. Stephen shows them WHY vamps are top of the food chain and Europe starts to settle down.

And if that isn’t enough, one of Michael’s direct children, now a Forsaken in South America, is attacking BA using political connections. BA has to figure out who the politician is and where this Forsaken is actually located. Then she can deal with both of them. Just to complicate things even more, it looks like this Forsaken has a secret formula for making Nosferatu more intelligent and even stronger.


My Thoughts:

I have to admit, while reading this, I had the Beach Boys song “Fun, Fun, Fun” running through my head. And BA’s daddy doesn’t take the t-bird away, so yeah, lots and lots of fun.

I complained about the last book introducing a ton of characters really quickly. Thankfully, it pays off here. The book cycles through quite a few POV’s which is only possible because of all the new people. I still say Anderle could have done it a bit slower but it isn’t something I can complain about in this book. Gabby the vampire ends up in the medical box and becomes an alpha vamp probably on the level with Michael. I’m surprised that BA isn’t running some of her own crew through the box to build up a small army of loyal alpha vamps. I consider BA to be Vamp Zero and maybe she doesn’t want any alphas going wild and blowing her cover and destroying her chance to bring the world up to readiness to deal the the enemy aliens. I don’t know. I do know that I would be biting my loyal guards until they were all vamps, especially since they would be daywalkers.

The whole AI storyline is just getting going. There is lot of relocation and talking and plans but the switch hasn’t been thrown yet to bring it back online. I’m definitely interested to see where this plot line goes.

There is a battle scene where Gabby saves a german shepherd by giving it her blood. BA also gives it her blood. So we’re going to end up with vampire dogs. I’m guessing Anderle will use them as Nosferatu detectors and such. I really didn’t care for this inclusion, as I’m not an animal person.

Overall, I had a lot of fun reading this. At under 300 pages, I felt like I just raced through it. I know Anderle has this series in omnibus editions with 3 books in each and I’m tempted to go that route just so I can get a big long draft of BA kicking butt. I know I won’t though, as I’d rather stretch things out and stay a little hungry than burn out. Nothing worse than burnout.



bookstooge (Custom)



Seal of the Worm (Shadows of the Apt #10) ★★★★½

sealoftheworm (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Seal of the Worm
Series: Shadows of the Apt #10
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 641
Format: Digital Edition


Che and her compatriots are stuck in the kingdom of the worm. They find out that the worm kinden found an alternate source of power to magic or aptness in the form of a giant centipede that they worship as a god. This god wipes out all thought of magic and aptness from the minds of those in its vicinity. Che tries to raise the populace to revolt but it ends up turning into a run for survival as the Worm begins to devour all of its underground slaves in preparation for breaking forth upon the surface.

Empress Seda figures out a ritual to re-seal the seal of the worm but she needs so much power to do so. To obtain this power, she will use the death of the thousands of Inapt subjects of the Wasp Empire. She begins a progrom using the Slave Corp and once the camps are established, uses the Red Watch to oversea the setting up of machinery to distribute the bee-killer gas in the camps.

General Tynan, now governor of Collegium is torn between his duty to the Empire and plain old common sense. The Empress has him rounding up Inapt instead of fighting the Empire’s enemies. He is eventually driven out of Collegium by Stenwold Maker and his sea-kinden allies. Tynan retrenches in the Wasp capital and prepares to face multiple armies that are all taking advantage of Seda’s preoccupation with the ritual instead of running her Empire.

The Worm begins breaking out all over the world and destroys half of Capitas (wasp capital). When Seda begins her ritual, a lot of the guards at various camps rebel and do not use the bee-killer on the prisoners. Seda reaches out to Che, as her sister in magic and Che drags Seda to the underworld. They duel and Che wins. Totho, rogue artificer and rejected lover of Che, is also in the underground kingdom. He is captured and taken to be fed to the worm but has a belt of grenades. He is able to use the grenades and destroys the giant centipede. This destroys all the worm segments attacking the surface world and fighting grinds to an immediate stop.

General Tynan, now in charge, makes treaties with the various armies and their cities. Stenwold dies in a worm attack. Tisamon is finally set free from Seda’s magical imprisonment as her bodyguard. Che and Thalric make their way to the surface.


My Thoughts:

I did not race through this book. I would read 20-30 pages here and there and it took me almost 2 weeks to finish this off. Yet at the same time it was not because I wasn’t enjoying it. I immensely enjoyed this re-read. It just felt like a big steak that I simply couldn’t gulp down. I had to take the time to cut it up into small pieces and then chew each of those pieces thoroughly.

My only real complaint was how the worm god died. As I was reading it, it struck me how exactly the same it was as the movie Edge of Tomorrow. Both this book and that movie came out in 2014. They were released within months of each other so I find it hard to believe that one influenced the other. At the same time, the whole idea of a belt of grenades killing the big baddie almost at the end of the story seems too similar to ignore.

I had forgotten that Stenwold dies. I was under the impression that he went back under the sea with his lady friend. It was rather fitting though, since the group that started the book are now all dead. Very “circle of life” and all that.

In that vein, I thought Tchaikovsky did a good job of wrapping up all the various characters and their storylines. Very few have a happy ending but those who live have a decent ending and a chance to go on. After 10 books of almost continual warfare, you really can’t ask for much more than that.

The series overall upon this re-read came out even better. Tchaikovsky can write and each book told a good story while advancing the series narrative. The quality of his writing was top notch and shows that he has mastered the art of writing entertainment. I bought this decalogy when it came out and this re-read has shown me that that was money well spent. I started this re-read back in February of 2017 and am finishing it now, so its been 1 ¾ years of making my way through this. I have enjoyed my time and don’t begrudge it in any way.

I realize that Tchaikovsky isn’t going to be for everyone, but he is one of those authors that I think everyone SHOULD try at least once. Highly recommended.



bookstooge (Custom)