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Posts Tagged ‘Venser the sojourner’

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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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