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Posts Tagged ‘Wurmcoil engine’

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.

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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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