A collection of thoughts on Magic: the Gathering. I'll be posting regularly (though I can't promise something every day). Working on a weekly schedule of ideas.
One thing I noticed as I make these specutlations: the more I make in one post, the more unheard of they become. And I do not apologize for this.
Going through the Timeshifted cards of Future Sight, I didn’t know where to start exactly. I couldn’t bring myself to think, “What’s going to be in Innistrad? What’s not going to be in Innistrad?” I then thought to look at the Timeshifted cards that have already been used.
For example, Bloodshot Trainee was used in Scars of Mirrodin recently. Although Ghostfire didn’t return in Zendikar, the spell did play a major part in the story (check the flavor text: it was the spell that would release the Eldrazi from their prison and unleash them to the plane). Boldwyr Intimidator, a card which created a new creature type all on its own, returned in Morningtide, a set known for its ability to change creature types.
But the question that’s even hard to answer as a person outside of Magic’s design and development teams: how do you determine what from Future Sight won’t make it into a set? We recently returned to Mirrodin, yet I didn’t see Darksteel Garrison anywhere, and it was on my list of cards to find a suitable situation for. (I guess we’re destined for a third trip to Mirrodin, huh?) River of Tears was looking to be a form of Landfall (though not exactly; Landfall asked for lands to simply enter the battlefield, while River of Tears asks for lands to be played).
I guess now would be a good time to look at mechanics. Save for the blocks and sets where factions are decided by color associations, major set mechanics have generally been one or two battle-oriented mechanics for every two non-battle mechanics. For example, Scars of Mirrodin’s Infect and Battle Cry were met with Proliferate and Metalcraft throughout the block. Zendikar’s Kicker/Multikicker and Landfall abilities matched with Annihilator (though at the end of the block).
I’m not exactly sure why I don’t believe this… but I don’t think Liliana Vess’ M11 card will be printed into Innistrad. While I still believe Liliana’s going to be a black planeswalker with one or two life- and death-oriented abilities (white and black), it’d be near-impossible to guess them this early. Knowing Liliana’s fascination for the graveyard, I believe she’ll also gain a new ability centered around the graveyard. In addition, I also think Bitter Ordeal will be one of the Timeshifted cards present, with Liliana associated with the card no less.
If I had to guess an enchantment… Bridge from Below. It’s fitting for Liliana and her graveyard fetish. Creates zombies, works from the graveyard… what more can she ask for? Also, when the planeswalkers of M11 were given spells to match their color’s strong points; Liliana’s enchantment requires an opponent to discard to activate, and her creature causes this requirement to happen.
I can see a Nimbus Maze-esque land coming in Innistrad BLOCK. Though it seems limiting by needed another land in order to produce colored mana, it doesn’t enter tapped, so it can still produce some mana on your opening turn. Also, I don’t see the opening set Innistrad having these lands; the first set is usually a large set, andNimbus Maze seems to fit more in the second set, usually a small expansion.
Finally, artifacts. I may be pushing it with this one, but… has the veil that Liliana’s been hunting down all this time ever crossed your mind? Seems kind of hellish to me… “Legendary Artifact”, possibly? Those have been patching in and out for a while, and the last time we skipped a legendary non-creature artifact was Zendikar block, so it might be time for another one… I’m not guessing any names.
…”The Cursed Veil”. But really, no speculation on abilities. Only that it hinders whoever it’s equipped to while helping them.
Honorable mention: Yixlid Jailer. While I don’t think that this card will be present, I think someone similar will be in the set. If Liliana becomes focused on the graveyard, a card that powerful might be needed to stop her.
-THE WIND DRAKE
P.S.: I can see a Grove of the Burnwillows-esque card coming in Commander. KTHNXBYE
Remember how I made that deck Curse of the Unliving focused around Phyrexian Unlife and Melira, Sylvok Outcast? Remember how I said nothing I do the first time around is perfect?
…I kinda lied.
When I took this deck into the fray, I annihilated all five of my first test opponents. Three of the match-ups that really stood out to me:
1. “Curse of the Unliving” vs. “B/U Mill (Standard)” (Jace Beleren deck)
Once I first noticed I was going against a Jace Beleren-themed deck (as my first true opponent with this untested deck, no less), I was honestly terrified. I’ve had nearly every paper deck I’ve created ripped apart by Jace’s -10 ability. When the match began, however, Curse of the Unliving took OFF. Beginning with a Hedron Crab, the Glistener Elf took a few names before biting the dust himself. With Echo Mage joining us and plenty of Tome Scours to follow, I began to get a little worried.
Then the deck began to pull itself together. Phyrexian Unlife made its way to the field, then Melira, Sylvok Outcast. As I got rid of the almost completely leveled-up Echo Mage before any milling commenced, Jace was played. Drawing card after card and making it up to seven loyalty counters, a second Glistener Elf issued poison coutners while Moltensteel Dragon powered by True Conviction helped to take the planeswalker down.
The match ended with my 8 life against his 20… and 10 poison counters. My first poison win ever felt amazing. I thought the deck was a fluke… until I entered the second battle.
2. “Curse of the Unliving” vs. “blue. yup, just plain blue” (Jace Beleren deck)
I thought this would be a similar Jace deck, but I quickly learned that I was wrong. So very wrong. The deck, truly “plain blue”, used Neurok Invisimancer as a means of undeniably causing damage and protecting it with Deceiver Exarch. The Melira-Phyrexian Unlife combination came out but couldn’t do anything to stop the Neurok Invisimancer immediately. My Glistener Elves came out, almost too late in the game, but managed to save the day.
Until he played Platinum Angel. Once again, the game was in trouble. Even if the Elves could get the 10 poison counters, if we couldn’t get rid of the Platinum Angel, it would be impossible to win. I was hoping for the Moltensteel Dragon once again, but it was nowhere to be found. To buy time, the Trigons of Infestation and Mending kept both my defenses and my life count up, fluctuating between life loss and the would-be poison counters had Melira not been in play. One Jace Beleren joined the battle, and it was honestly what I was hoping for. After all, his +2 has all players drawing a card.
Moltensteel Dragon came up on the second activation, and was played on the fourth (can’t pay 4 life for the Phyrexian mana if you only have 3 life). He took care of that pesky Angel problem, and the poisoning continued until all ten counters were in place.
3. “Curse of the Unliving” vs. “A.I.D.S.” (Living Weapon deck)
Honestly, before the match even started, I expected a third Jace deck. Though I had known the Jace deck to be the hardest deck type to beat, A.I.D.S. proved otherwise. For the first three turns my opponent made sure a new Living Weapon entered the battlefield. A Flayer Husk and two Mortarpods sat on the other side of the battlefield, ready to beat down on any tiny creatures (two Glistening Elfs) before anything got out of hand. As I played Melira, a second Flayer Husk entered the field, and my opponent began wearing away at my life. I was at 10 life before I knew it.
Trigon of Infestation came to save me, weakening the Husks with its production of Insects while Trigon of Mending healed me back to 15. As he played Bonehoard after sacrificing two more creatures to the Mortarpods, I thought I was in trouble. His Skinwinged-Germ token didn’t make things any easier. Playing Puresteel Paladin was a nice move: all the equipments could be moved to one lucky Germ at no cost. Lucky for me I drew Phyrexian Unlife the turn before I lost my last point.
Eventually he was left with a 10/12 Germ token (A 0/0 Germ with a Bonehoard, 2 Husks, 2 Skinwings, and 2 Mortarpods as well as two -1/-1 counters, and six creatures in all graveyards), 3 life and 6 poison tokens, while I had two Insect tokens, True Conviction, and 8 life. I had already done the math before I drew: a miracle was needed. Drawing and smiling, I swung with both tokens. Thinking he had won, I played Apostle’s Blessing on a token, granting protection from black. Two poison counters more this turn for him, and two life for me. He already knew it was over and conceded.
Even though it seemed perfect in these three duels, I know the deck could use some improvement. Other than Dismember, the deck doesn’t have any real answers to outside threats, and Dismember’s too powerful as well as expensive for getting rid of the tiny creatures that I used it on. Of course, I was just restricting myself to the Scars of Mirrodin block, which (in my opinion) doesn’t have many ways to splash the destruction cards while staying in my color restriction of Green/White. All in all, it was really fun running this deck. For the first deck I’ve made in the entire block (yes, I know, it’s the end of the block), I really enjoyed it.
And now I’m kinda less sad that the Mirran lost the war.
-THE WIND DRAKE
Even though I find myself aligned with the Boros guild (Red/White, for those of you who don’t know Ravnica), I often love to go Green. I love the idea of natural creatures running rampant on the battlefield to overpower a rival Planeswalker. And although I love Green with all my heart… my favorite type of card is the enchantment type. There’s always a global enchantment than can drastically change the entire battlefield and how every play can go.
I realized with my last post… my followers probably don’t know much about me. So here’s a little Magic profile on -TheWindDrake.
Favorite Color: Red.
Favorite Magic Color: Green. In most of the sets, I’ve liked the Green cards the most. They tend to have their own way to handle things the way every other color hands things.
Color/Pair that Fits Me the Most: Most likely… Red/White. I’m all about having fun, as long as the rules of the game are followed.
Favorite Magic Set/Block: Ravnica Block. The dual-color factions were probably the most interesting set I’ve seen yet. Though each guild had its own mechanic, it still made play interesting to mix cards from separate groups.
Favorite Magic Card: It’d have to be Ruin Ghost. In the Zendikar Block there were plenty of combinations that the Ruin Ghost (as well as the Landfall ability) could take part in, from creating tokens to changing creatures’ power and toughness to pinging creatures. It made white-splashing interesting.
Favorite Magic Artist: John Avon. What I especially like about his cards is how he uses lighting to affect the colors in his light. For example, Brittle Effigy, Adarkar Wastes, and his Zendikar Swamp.
Any more question?
Couldn’t get around to this deck post last weekend before I disappeared. But here it is now.
Melira, the Catalystic Savior (by TheWindDrake) (60 cards)
I’m sure one of the first things you’ll notice in this deck is that all the cards are from the Scars of Mirrodin block (with the exception of Diabolic Tutor). Although this counts for standard, it’s a little weird. However, when I make decks, I tend to stay within the theme, and in this case it’s Melira’s inane ability. (By the way, this deck wasn’t inspired by the idea of Melira still on the side of the resistance, but with the thought of the Phyrexians enslaving Melira for a purpose.)
The majority of the cards in the deck were features in my last article (May 25). With a Melira, Sylvok Outcast on the battlefield, your creatures are immune to Black Sun’s Zenith’s -1/-1 counters, effectively giving you a Day of Judgment (given that you have enough mana). The best part is that the Black Sun’s Zenith used gets shuffled back into your library, giving you plenty of uses.
Ichor Rats is an easy way to increase your opponent’s amount of poison counters. Melira grants you protection there as well. As for infect creatures, the deck has 14 total creatures with infect. Once you have a Hand of the Praetors in play, playing any infect creature grants you the chance to give an opponent another poison counter.
With Cultivate and Diabolic Tutor present, you can pull lands out with ease if you seem to be lacking the mana or any card out to enrich your victory. May the Phyrexians be with you.
-THE WIND DRAKE