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Posts Tagged ‘Planeswalker’

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.

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How do you make Timmy-sized creatures playable? Pay for them slowly.

It is pre-release day, and sadly, I cannot attend due to a sudden change in work schedule. I don’t actually play Magic these days, but a sealed event really sounded like fun. Maybe I’ll make the release.

In the meantime, I’ve looked over the RoE spoilers over at MTG Salvation. RoE is weird. It seems pretty different from what we’ve seen so far. While I’m not going to try and figure out how the new card will affect the standard meta just yet, I do have some opinions on the new mechanics and themes of the set.

Levelers

I don’t like the leveling creatures. Most of them are awful and it just doesn’t “feel like Magic” to me at all. However, some of the levelers are pretty good, and leveling is probably better than I want to admit. You can power your monsters up in installments instead of having to have a lot of open mana at once, such as the case with Figure of Destiny.

Jorga Treespeaker was the first leveler to catch my eye. She doesn’t actually cost you anything to level her the first time, and there’s probably no reason to level her past that. Student of Warfare is pretty decent as a 3/3 with first strike for 3. Mono red might find a reason to live with Kargan Dragonlord. Others might turn out to be better than they look at first. After all, you eventually get a pretty massive guy or game-changing effect if they sit there long enough. Levelers will probably be sneaky like that.

Rebound

I love rebound. It makes me think of cascade. I get a beneficial effect for doing nothing I wouldn’t do otherwise, which is a bit like cheating. Most of the rebound spells are reasonably costed for what they do, and so getting to play them twice for the same price is great. The drawback of having to play the free copy during your upkeep could hurt you some times, but on other occasions it might actually help.

For example, Consuming Vapors on the rebound might keep your opponents from playing a creature during their turn. If it misses the second time around, the first sacrificial effect and the life gain is well worth 4 mana. Staggershock could also prevent your opponent from playing a creature, and the recurring spell can always hit the player.

Totem Armor

Totem armor seems like an interesting idea to spice up auras, which don’t usually see a whole lot of play. These new enchantments provide not only a bonus, but get around the two-fer effect when an enchanted creature gets zapped by a single spell. They also offer creatures the ability to fight usually bigger things without dying. This being said, none of them are really that exciting.

Hyena Umbra is pretty cool, giving a +1+1 boost plus first strike, not to mention the secondary totem effect. The untap all lands effect of Bear Umbra might be useful in some sort of combo deck.

The Eldrazi

The Eldrazi themselves seem like Timmy’s wet dream to me. They are huge, overpowered creatures. All Eldrazi have annihilator, which is ridiculous and will probably turn tides even with the smallest values. The “bigger” Eldrazi all have a Feldon’s Cane effect if they go into a graveyard from anywhere, so they can’t be cheated into play via graveyard games, but others effects still work fine.  It also gives them the opportunity to end up in your hand again. The big guys all have some ridiculous effect just for playing them too. Even the “smaller” Eldrazi do some pretty cool things.

I’m scared of these guys. Luckily the “smaller” Eldrazi are still pretty expensive and don’t have the protection or effects of the “bigger” guys. The bigger ones will likely cause a scoop, especially the insane Emrakul. They make great finishers, if you can pull off the mana.  There are all sorts of cards who spawn Eldrazi critters who can be sacrificed to produce the colorless mana it takes to summon these beasts.

I’m not a huge fan of the Eldrazi myself. I don’t want to see games evolve into everybody playing mana ramp, first one to Emrakul wins. Flavor wise they are what they were intended to be; invincible assholes. The spawn producing cards are mostly bad, though the ones that net you a creature and the 0/1 tokens are kind of interesting, though most are overpriced. 

At the moment, I don’t see Eldrazi mana-ramp being a hot strategey, but I do see some of the Eldrazi getting play. Kozilek is a resonably priced finisher with a great “when cast” effect, which is perfect for the kind of decks I think he will be played in. The Artisan of Kozilek is pretty neat too, and probably under priced for what he is; a big, scary Eldrazi who brings another monster back from the dead. Lets not forget there are other things to do with scads of colorless mana other than cast Eldrazi.

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