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Posts Tagged ‘Mox Opal’

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. ……

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While Koth is a new face, the other two plainswalkers visiting the metallic plane of Mirrodin are pretty familiar.  Venser, who is also known as Venser, Shaper Savant, is one of them.

It would only make sense he would show up on Mirrodin, he was a master artificer after all. If that isn’t enough of a tie-in to a plane full of artifacts, he also has experience with Phyrexians, having tinkered with the lifeless husks of Phyrexian soldiers left after the events of Invasion.

So, lets see what he does.

+2 Loyalty: Exile target permanent you own. Return it to the battlefield under your control at the beginning of the next end step.
What does it do? Well, a few things comes to mind.

1. Blink a creature to
a. Trigger any come into play ability it might have.
b. Remove any damage, counters or enchantment on it.
c. Evade any enchantment targeting it (such as Mind Control).
d. Hide it from wrath effects
e. Untap it.
f. Reset any counters on it.

2. Blink a land to
a. Untap it
b. Trigger any come into play effects it might have
c. Remove any damage or counters on it (it can happen).
d. Hide it from wrath effects.
e. Reset any counters on it.
f. Trigger landfall effects.

3. Blink an artifact to
a. Untap it.
b. Reset any counters on it.
c. trigger any come into play effects it might have.
d. Hide it from wrath effects.

4. Blink an enchantment to
a. Choose a new target.
b. Reset any counters on it.
c. Choose a new condition (color, creature type, ect…)
d. Hide it from any wrath effects.
e. Untap it (I think there are a few).
f. Trigger any come into play effects.

5. Blink a planeswalker to
a. Reset any counters on it.
b. Hide it from wrath effects.

Oh, I almost forgot he did other things.

-1 Loyalty: Creatures are unblockable this turn
What does this do? Enables you to sneak your creatures in to chip away at an entrenched opponent, or deal the final blow.

-8 You gain an emblem with “Whenever you cast a spell, exile target permanant”‘
What does this do? Gives you an insurmountable advantage, even if Venser leaves play. With the ability to exile a permanent; any permanent you want (including lands) with every spell you cast, it will be virtually impossible for your opponent to make any headway.

Overall, Venser does what a lot of good cards have done over the years; give you an incremental advantage which really add up. This strategy has proven to be pretty successful in the past, and an being able to blink any damn permanent makes this blink effect more powerful than any before them.

The game is always full of creatures and other permanents with come into play abilities. Many aren’t that great on their own, but when subject to the kind of abuse Venser can facilitate,  they become powerful tools. Remember Momentary Blink? Remember Revillark? Both became integral parts of successful decks; decks which usually remained viable until rotation.

None of those cards ever had a clause which allowed you to basically lock out a game just for using them a couple times. Venser’s final ability can. With the ability to cast an un-targetable O-Ring with each spell, you can turn the tide of a game and make sure your opponent doesn’t gain any ground for the rest of the game.

I may like Koth of the hammer a whole lot, but my money is on Venser as the “big” planeswalker of the set. Abusing the hell out of your permanants will be so fun.

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Mirrodin is no stranger to planeswalkers. After all, the artificial plane was originally made by one. Now, three more planeswalkers will be visiting the metallic world. What will their impact be on Mirrodin and Standard?

While two of the new planeswalkers are familiar, there is one fresh face; Koth of the Hammer. Koth looks like a local boy, a member of the Vulshok tribe, to be exact. Mountain barbarians, known for their metalworking skills as well as the fiery magic they use in battle.

Lets see what homeboy brings to the table.

+1 Loyalty: Untap target Mountain. It becomes a 4/4 red Elemental creature until end of turn. It’s still a land.
What does this do? Untaps a mountain and makes it a 4/4 hasty monster as well as a land. The body on these elemental lands makes them pretty relevant; able to take down blockers and tangle with all but the biggest critters. Don’t forget, they still tap for R.

-2 Loyalty: Add R to your mana pool for each Mountain you control.
What does this do? essentially doubles the amount of Red mana you can produce. Having access to powerful spells and creatures earlier than usual is a pretty tried and true path to victory. This second ability can also make up for any elemental land monsters lost in combat by making remaining mountains do double duty. It can also help with mana screw.

-5 Loyalty: You get an emblem with “Mountains you control have T: This land deals 1 damage to target creature or player.'”
What does this do? Gives you the ability to pay 1 R to deal one damage to target creature or player for the rest of the game. The effect persists even if Koth bites it. Mountains played after the ability is triggered can still deal damage. These killer mountains can do a lot of things like clear the board, sneak in a few extra points of damage each turn or deliver the final, fiery blow. I would call this a pretty fair victory clock. No opponent can stand for long with this kind of firepower trained on them.

Koth is my favorite planeswalker of the set. I like it when I know exactly what a card does, and Koth doesn’t put on any airs. Koth is a powerful tool for aggressive decks. He helps you to put the pressure and keeps you from running out of gas, something that has always plagued aggressive players. Koth does this masterfully, by giving Mountains extra utility. With him in play, lands can be monsters,  produce extra mana and burn your opponent’s world down around him. Running out of burn spells or relevant monsters isn’t so much a problem. Drawing too few lands isn’t so much of a problem. A land glut turns into a boon.

I’m not going to speculate on whether or not Koth will make mono red a sustainable archtype or not. I will say Koth addresses  some of the failings of mono red and other agressive decks, but doesn’t keep other decks from evolving to stymie red’s tactics as they usually do.

Koth will make playing red a lot of fun. Imagine combining him with Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle? There are plenty of fun, aggressive red creatures out there too, not to mention some fun new ones, like Galvanic Blast.

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I’m really excited about Scars of Mirrodin but not for the same reasons a lot of other people are. Sure, I love to see new cards. I also love a block rotation, It clears the accumulated film from the Standard pool. What I’m mostly excited about, though, is the return to something familiar

Mirrodin? F*** it. Phyrexia is back.

When I first started playing Magic, the game had a story. It wasn’t just a quick glimpse though a single block such as what we’ve seen since the end of the Invasion block. It was a story spanning many blocks. In this story, there was a strange artificial plane called Phyrexia. Players mostly caught glimpses of Phyrexia through a smattering of artifacts in various sets, often offering great power but demanding an equally great sacrifice.

However, Phyrexia and it’s inhabitants would soon force their way onto the plane of Dominaria, the plane where the Magic storyline took place. The  final set of the Mirage block, Weatherlight, featured the creation of the Weatherlight’s crew and their search for the pieces of the Legacy in preparation for the Pyrexian invasion.  The Rath cycle continued the story of the Weatherlight and the assembled heroes as they assault the plane which would be the platform for the attack. The Urza’s block focused on the planeswalker Urza, mortal enemy to Phyrexia’s master,  Yawgmoth, and his search for allies and artifacts capable of holding off the impending Phyrexian invasion. The Masques block continued the story of the Weatherlight’s crew (kind of). Finally, the Invasion block saw the actual, massive attack on Dominaria and  Yawgmoth’s eventual defeat at the hands of Urza and his allies.

Hints of the who the Phyrexians were hidden in cards since the Ice Age block.  Three blocks focused on the coming invasion. The invasion took an entire block for itself.

I drifted out of magic by Apocalypse anyway, so I didn’t notice the story of the Dominaria I knew come to a close with the victory of the Coalition over Yawgmoth. Apparently, with the Odyssey and Onslaught blocks, players traveled to a harsh, future Dominaria. Wizards then dropped the storyline entirely, opting to stell short stories as each block visited an entirely new plane.

Since then, not much of the old plane has been seen. Karn, the Silver Golem, creator of Mirrodin was a key player in Phyrexia’s defeat. In Time Spiral block, players got a glimpse of a shattered Dominaria; a victim of centuries of struggle.

It was during Time Spiral I started playing again. I was a little depressed by the story. Not that I was a huge Melvin. I didn’t read the books. It was just neat to have this evolving storyline and characters to follow. It had to end sometime. I’m sure Wizards and the players were getting tired of Dominaria. After all, 4 blocks and the Weatherlight set is a long time.

It just never felt the same though. I felt like those people who came home to find a strip mall built on their old neighborhood. Sure, the new stuff is cool, and the game is about the cards, after all. I just felt as if something was missing. It is hard to invest yourself in a plane if you’re only there for a year. The stories were neat, the villians were cool, but they just weren’t as cool.

Call it the “Darth Maul Effect”. It is just hard for something to have an impact when you know it isn’t going to be around much longer.

Darth Vader Yawgmoth, now there’s a villain. Pyrexia knows how to start an epic struggle. Nice and slowly. I’m glad to see it creeping back. A familiar villain can be a lot of fun.  

Mirrodin is a natural fit for Phyrexia. It is an artificial plane, like Phyrexia was. It is constructed of metal, much like Phyrexia was. Karn, was instrumental in Yawgmoth’s defeat, and it is through him the new Phyrexia will born. 

Of course it won’t be like the old Phrexia, obviously. Yawgmoth is dead. His followers and the plane destroyed. Only the plane’s foul, oily taint survived. It is, in nature, like old Phyrexia, and has begun to change Mirrodin.

I may be looking at things through ichor-tinted glasses, but even the new mechanics are Phyrexian in nature. Sure, they’re Mirrian too, but how different are the too planes, really?

Metalcraft: If you control 3 artifacts, do X. So far, we’ve seen metalcraft give bonuses and activate abilities on creatures an artifacts. The cumulitive power of artifacts is obvious on Mirrodin, but the Phyrexians were partly machine too, and their sheer numbers gave them power as well.

Imprint: Discard X to give X some quality of the discarded X. We haven’t seen a lot of imprint abilities yet, but usually they involve creatures mimicking or becoming another and artifacts gaining the ability to cast discarded spells. As I recall, mimicry was one of Phyrexias favorite tricks.

Infect: Creatures (and possibly spells) with the infect mechanic do damage as either -1-1 counters (to other creatures) or poison counters (to players). I believe 10 poison counters equals a game loss, and as of yet there is no way to remove them. This one is purely Phyrexian. Infectious plagues and terrible poisons were Phyrexia’s most terrible weapons, and their deployment killed thousands of Dominaria’s defenders in an instant. Hundreds of thousands died slowly from the after effects. Yawgmoth himself, once a healer and a medicine man, manifested himself as  a colossal cloud of toxic gasses during the final battle with Urza and his champions.

 

Proliferate: The Proliferate mechanic adds counters to anything that already has counters. The player controlling the permanent or spell with proliferate gets to choose which permanents this effects. Did I mention Phyrexians relied on great numbers and the spreading of plagues?   

While I’m gushing about Phyrexia, a few other familiar things come with Scars of Mirrodin. The return to the plane Mirrodin, for one. I believe it is the first time we’ve returned to a plane since the Onslaught block. Charge counters return, as do the Myr. The set, of course, will be mostly artifacts, but colored spells do exist. Spell bombs are back again, as is the indestructible Darksteel. All of Mirrodin’s races are still there.

Mirrodin is exciting too, I guess. I didn’t get to play Mirrodin 1, so I’m looking forward to the artifact centric Mirrodin 2.0.  I just wouldn’t be as excited if Phyrexians weren’t involved.

The cards are looking pretty cool, too.

Check out the official Wizards site for information on Scars of Mirrodin, and keep an eye on MTG salvation if you like set spoilers. Rich? Check out Starcity Games and start buying spoiled cards at horribly over-hyped prices.

Top: Geth of the Vault, with Phyrexian enhancements. Bottom: Tsabo Tavoc, commander of the Phyrexian invasion force. Interesting, no?

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