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I mentioned in my last article, some sort of weenie deck is bound to make an appearance as soon as Scars of Mirrodin is legal. artifact weenie decks and mono-white decks using metalcraft triggers and equipment to bolster critters are all popular ideas. However, nobody yet knows what shape the weenie deck will take. Perhaps (and very likely) it will take several forms before convelescing into an archetypal deck.

when i think of a scars weenie deck, I can’t help but think of adding red. White has plenty of good weenie creatures, but I feel too many of them are artifact dependent. Red, on the other hand, has lots of options which are already good, but could be better when equipped. A good mix of both white and red could make for a formidable deck, in my opinion.

Red has some great weenie creatures which have already proven themselves. Goblin Guide, Plated Geopede, Cunning Sparkwhatever and Goblin Bushwhacker are great creatures. Each one seems like it could benefit from a nice set of Adventuring Gear or Sword of Vengeance. Each one could also put down a good beating on their own if a white cohort like Kor Duelist needs a machete badly. Newcomers like Goblin Gaveleer and Spikeshot Elder are great additions as well.

The Gaveleer already has trample, and he gets a +2 +0 bonus just for having gear on him! Strap him with some adventuring gear and you’ve got a 3/1 trample, not to mention if you hit landfall. The elder is incredible too. I realized how much of a bad-ass he was during the pre-release. Paying RR1 or 1 damage seems like a lot, but he can do it without tapping, and his damage t scales directly with his power. Put a machete or a Basilisk Collar on that.

Red also has more proactive spells. With Path to Exile and Oblivion Ring gone, white is stuck with mostly situational removal. Lighting Bolt doesn’t care what your opponents creature is doing. Attacking or at home with the family, it does 3 damage. We still have Burst Lightning, Punishing Fire and Forked Bolt. Newcomers like Galvanic Blast and Arc Trail are nice too.  Red also keeps a little stash of utility spells which can steal troublesome creatures or create dudes from unused equipement.

While red provides some good options for the weenie deck, it will really come down to what works out the best. Maybe playing a zillion artifacts to hit metalcraft triggers on bladewright or sunchaser is the way to go.  Maybe Glint Hawk is better than Goblin Guide. Or maybe there will be a combination of both. Maybe it won’t matter because Koth powered Titan Ramp decks will be blowing everythign up. We’ll find out soon enough.

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Rise of the Weenies?

Block rotation is one of the coolest periods in tournament Magic. The old guard decks (which everybody is sick of) rotate out or lose a lot of power, replaced by timid newcomers unsure of their place in constructed play. Sometimes Teir 2 decks get a chance to see what first class accommodations look like for a while. It is a great time for deck builders and people who sell cards.

Also. Jund, you were a bastard not unlike Freddy Kruger; born from the sweaty thrusting of a thousand players who saw cascade was retarded and could afford Maelstrom Pulse.  I thought I invented you, but your mom was a whore. You’re not my son. Get off my couch.

So, what are we going to be looking at in the future?

Quite a few people I talked to during the pre-release seemed to think a White Weenie deck was poised to make an appearance in the new standard. I agree.  However, I’m not sure what form the weenie or token deck will take. Maybe something mono white, like this.  Maybe it will be made from artifacts. Most likely with will be weenies witih artifacts.

I can has play time?

When I first thought about playing a weenie-artifact deck, I didn’t like the idea. I didn’t think you were getting a whole lot of an advantage playing small creatures which had to be equipped to be any good. I didn’t think paying 1 for a 1/1 and then having to pay 3 to drop and put some equipment on it to make it a 3/2 double strike was all that hot. That’s like paying 4 for a 3/2 double strike, right?

Well, maybe that’s not so bad.

And metalcraft? I fucking hate metalcraft. I’m probably wrong about this, but I think it sucks, for now. I saw plenty of decklists with that lame Mox Opal and Auriok Edgewright in them. Getting three artifacts regularly in a rush deck? Ugh.

However, I thought about it and I see you can get some pretty powerful effects from these type of interactions. I still don’t like Metalcraft, or the metal craft creatures like Auriok Sunchaser and the edgewright. I’d rather use the Zendikar gear-enabled creatures. You also get to re-use the equipment if your guy dies, so it’s not like an enchantment you’re investing in one creature. 

So, in the future, at least when the meta first changes, I expect to see a lot of weenies. I’ll probably see a million Trusty Machetes, Adventuring Gear, Basilisk Collars and Swords of Vengeance. I’m probably going to look at the aforementioned creatures along with Glint Hawk, Kor Duelist, Kor Outfitters, Stoneforge Mystic, Steppe Lynx and a shittload of Memnites.  

I haven’t heard a lot about Honor the Pure, Ajani Goldmane or other types of mass buffing effects. I  beleive the idea is to use the artifacts to trigger rediculous creature effects rather make them all just a little bit bigger. I have to admit, a 4/4 with doublestrike is a lot cooler than a 3/3 or a 4/4. However, a little vanilla love might not hurt either, especially if you’re just going to throw a knife on a bird.

However, I think there are a few more avenues for weenie decks I haven’t heard people talking about, espcially if they’re going to be passing out the artifact equipment. ……

Scarred Up

I did not do well at the Scars of Mirrodin pre-release. After two losses and a tie, I decided to throw in the towel. I had a load of fun, though my card pool kind of sucked. I can’t entirely blame luck. I got a bit too overexcited about the amount of removal I had and decided to try and cram it all in withought thinking about how many monsters I had. After going the first game with very few creatures, I counted and found I had a whole 9 of them in the deck.

Stupid.

I did learn a lot. Scars of Mirrodin is very different from Alara and Zendikar block. It isn’t about smashing big monsters into each other. It is about smashing little monsters into each other after giving them swords.

Sure, there are a few big gay bombs, but the average creature is going to be a bit smaller than what we are used to. Instead of having all sorts of cool abilities, they’re going to have cool abilities you only get to use if you have a buttload of artifacts in play. Who knew Mirrodin would revolve around grey cards?

All in all, it is interesting to see how different the game is with Scars. The abundance of artifacts and artifact creatures almost make what color you play irrelevant, so the colors you do play had better be good. Equipment is crucial. Have lots of artifacts. Turn to Slag and Shatter are some of the best removal spells in the set. Play more artifacts. Colored creatures suck unless they have metalcraft triggers or are equipped with something.

Well, not all of them.

I also got the chance to talk to people about specific cards in the set and what their plans were for the upcoming rotation. Everybody seemed to like Elspeth and Koth, but didn’t like Venser (more on this later). Everybody was talking about playing white weenie or tokens with Elspeth and turn 5 Destructive Force plays with Koth (more on this later). Everybody loved Wurmcoil Engine and Grand architect.

I think I’ll go back and try the release party this upcoming Saturday now that I have more of a feel for Scars. In the meantime, I’ll be watching to see how the metagame looks to be shaping up.

The pre-release is fast approaching and the entire Scars of Mirrodin set has been spoiled. Here are a few things I’ve thought of as I prepare for the upcoming battle.  

Metalcraft
Metalcraft artifacts count themselves.

Imprint
Cards used to pay the imprint cost are exiled, not put into the graveyard.

Infect
Creatures with infect do not deal damage in the traditional sense, but they must be able to deal damage in order to confer a poison or -1-1 counter. A creature with infect cannot lower an opponent’s life total.

-1-1 Counters/effects
Creatures reduced to 0 toughness die even if they have indestructible or regenerate.

Yes please.

Proliferate
Only permanent or players with a counter of some kind already on them have a counter added by  the proliferate mechanic. The counter added is of the same kind already on them. You choose the permanents receiving counters.

Things to Remember

There is currently no way to remove poison counters from a player.
-1-1 counters can be removed by removing a creature from the game.
Artifact destroying spells and effects can double as creature removal in Mirrodin.
Much of the set is artifacts and artifact creatures; you may be able to choose colors based more on strong removal
Liquidmetal Coating can turn your opponents non-artifacts into artifacts too, opening them up for artifact removal
Furnace Celebration only works if you sacrifice a permanent for another effect; you cannot simply sacrifice a permanent to deal damage.
Volition Reigns can target any permanent.  
Venser is an auto-win.

Magic players are crazy. We spend good money on pretty pieces of card board with no material value whatsoever. Lots of money. A Magic card only has value if we say it has value, and apparently that value is going up with every expansion. When I first started playing competitive Magic, I thought people paying $20 for Ravinca block shock lands was insane.

I had no idea. I don’t think anybody did.

At $20+ a pop, this guy was the most expensive standard card; until mythic rares actually became playable.

Fast-forward. We’re all paying $30, $40, $50 per card to stay competitive. What the piss?

Well, for an interesting article on card worth and the “supply and demand” theory, read this Starcity Games article by Jonathan Medina. It sheds insight using the Scars of Mirrodin planeswalkers as examples. Like Medina, I also don’t like buying cards before the set is released. I don’t like paying for hype. It is very rarely a card lives up to the hype. However, when something looks great, and is great, you’ll pay for it one way or the other. Great cards don’t go down in price. Just ask Jace, the Wallet Raper. If you pay blue, you better have him. The only way this will change is if he suddenly sucks in every format he is played in, which, at the moment, is practically every one.

Now, I’ve bitched about card prices before. Who hasn’t. Yes, they are re-do-do-diculous. Mythics are now tournament staples. I don’t care what Wizards says. Screw it. Time to deal.

Here are a few coping strategies I’ve come up with:

1. Buy what you will use.
Don’t buy cards because they are good, buy them because you will be using them. I love Koth the Hammer. He is a bad-ass and will probably be great. I probably won’t be playing his decks though. However, I will use the shit out of Venser the Sojourner.

2.Trade
I love having a binder full of the best stuff, but what good is your playset of Mox Diamonds if you don’t use them? If a card is just sitting in your binder, it does you no good. If you can trade it for something you will use, do it. Don’t get stuck into the “hoarder trap”; someday you  might use that card, but if you can trade if for something you need now, go for it.

3.Don’t quit your day job
Unless you are really good at it, don’t buy cards in the hopes they will someday go up in price. If you have that kind of money to “invest” in the first place, you’re probably not feeling the card-price squeeze to begin with.

4.One deck at a time
This is kind of like the first rule. Pick a deck and stay with it so you don’t have to buy cards for all orts of decks. Yes, it is fun to have options, but it can be very costly. If you want to change decks, you can always trade the cards in your current deck to build the next. It can at least take the bite out of the cost.

5. Take a break
This sounds lame, but if you absolute need a card to be competitive but cant get the copies you need, playing a different format or taking a break from the game can be a good idea.  Often the good cards will go down a bit in price after everybody has bought the copies they need and you can swoop in.

While it is true customers determine the price of Magic cards,, apparently a lot of them have money to burn or enjoy credit card bills. For the rest of us there are coping strategies.

Scars of Mirrodin Dual Lands

It seems like you can’t have a new block without some kind of dual land cycle. Scars of Mirrodin is no exception.

Here is the newest cycle of allied colored rare lands.

Not quite what I expected. I was looking for lands which produced only colorless unless a Metalcraft trigger was met. These are not so hot, in my opinion. You’ll want all four to have it in your opening hand, but after turn three multiple copies will slow you down. Control players have better cipt lands to play and the new cycle will only slow the aggressive player down.

In my opinion, they don’t even feel like they belong in Mirrodin.

Okay, okay. It might be too early for me to judge. We still have a lot of the set to see, and who knows, maybe there will be sets of really inexpensive mana producing artifacts or something. These lands could be inexpensive alternatives for the casual player too, though even the fetch lands aren’t all that expensive anymore. For a change.

Everything else seems to be going up in price though. I’m talking about you Elspeth Tirel, Koth the Hammer and even you, Venser the Sojourner.

The last of the three planeswalkers appearing in Scars of Mirrodin is also a familiar face; Elspeth Tirel. Not even done with her current standard career, Ellie is back from wherever the hell in the Blind Eternities she walked to since the events of the Alara Block. Like Venser, she also has past experience with Phyrexians, as her home plane was destroyed by Yawgmoth’s minions and she was taken prisoner until her spark ignited.

So, what powers will this new Ellie bring to Mirrodin to battle the new Phyrexian menace?

+2 Loyalty: You gain 1 life for each creature you control.
What does it do? Gives you one life for each creature you control. Not exactly the most proactive thing a planeswalker can do, but it can give you a buffer or keep you from getting blasted by red.

-2 Loyalty: Put three 1/1 white Soldier creature tokens onto the battlefield
What does it do? Helps to instantly populate your board much the same way as a dead Thrinax or Spectral Procession would. It does a fair job of adding fuel for Elspeth’s first ability too.

-5 Loyalty: Destroy all other permanents except for lands and tokens.
What does this do? Provides you with something like a one-sided Planar Cleansing. It blows away everything on the board save for lands, tokens and Ellie herself. It can create openings for your tokens or just get rid of things you don’t like.

So what does Elspeth do for you and where does she fit? I’m not sure. I feel she is a little underpowered, though her abilities play somewhat nice with each other. Life gain doesn’t do much to help you win a game, but it is the only way to increase her loyalty. There are other ways to make tokens for five mana, such as Conqueror’s Pledge Bestial Wrath, and if tokens are the plan, it seems she seems a round-about way to do this. It is her last ability, I believe, which might have some value, namely as a way to deal with difficult to deal with permanents. Likely, it will be a way to deal with difficult to deal with permanents in certain decks.

I’m just not yet sure what those decks will be yet, as she doesn’t seem to fit a particular role yet.