15 Oct 2014

What Fun I found today #3 - Magic

Another episode of findings of strange cards for Magic the Gathering. I have to admit that missed out on a lot of MtG. I started September of 1994 and left after Unglued. I had instead left for a in my opinion a better game, but not as accessible/simple, Babylon 5.

Getting back into the game last October showed me a huge gap of history with the game. Yet thanks to tools like Gatherer I looked back. I'm still way behind in card knowledge but I've been learning about the various sets and stories.

So far my favorite block that I've been around to play during its release has been Theros block. It had a brilliant mix of supporting mono coloured decks alongside the various dual-colour decks that cam out of Return to Ravnica block. I love the bestow, devotion, heroic, and scry mechanics. I thought monstrous was a brilliant ability but my favorite was tribute. I want more of the tribute mechanic - I wish it would have been more prevalent in the block.

My favorite block that I missed upon its release was the Time Spiral block. Considered nostalgic and loaded with references from the older sets I grew up, Time Spire cards are some of my favorites every time I flip through gatherer.

But enough of that lest see what I found this week...

Falkenrathe Exterminator - 1R

Flakenrath Exterminator
by Wizards of the Coast
A Red Vampire which looks brilliant for a Black/Red deck. Yet when I look at the 1/1 I see plenty of my mates - Sly, Wolf, Dawn Seeker, and even the Pale Rider pull this wanker out to ruin my day.

Finding ways to make this creature survive and get through when it attacks should be a priority. As the defending player find ways to get rid of this wanker. Its low cost means possible turn 2 showing with attacks starting on turn three. If you are a slow grow player, this monster will eat you.

Getting +1/+1 after each successful combat to a player is a pain in the ass. If you had to willingly ('cause you made a poor life choice) let it slip suddenly you start to see that letting it slip may no longer be your choice and you find yourself throwing chums (low end creatures - used to block and die). When it starts to get any strength most players start to pay attention to the second ability that after free success full attacks - the Exterminator becomes a 2R, four damage nuke that doesn't have to tap in order to shoot.

Each turn you love it - you'll find that this creature if left unattended will generate plenty of pressure for its victim



Elbrus, the Binding Blade - 7
Elbrus, the Binding Blade
by Wizards of the Coast

This hefty costing artifact is an odd one to have in a deck. Yet it can really spook and opponent once it gets going.

It only gives an equipped (at an equip cost of 1) creature +1/+0 and that's not a lot for a 7 cost artifact. That you can only have one of in play - due to the legendary in the card type.

The real deal in this wonder of a card is the transformation effect. When the equipped creature deals damage to another player, Elbrus the Binding Blade unattaches from the creature it's equipped with to transform into something else that is simply a wonder to look at. Also the reaction from your opponent will be pretty funny as well.

The Blade transforms into Withengar Unbound.

Withengar Unbound
by Wizards of the Coast
A black demon 13/13 with flying, trample and intimidate is very handy. When a player loses the game, you win - unless there is more than one player playing and then Withengar gains thirteen +1/+1 counters. In effect doubling its power and toughness.

In a game of Commander this black creature can be thrown into any coloured deck. Also Commander games tend to have more than one player allowing its owner to take advantage of the extra umph when ever someone bites the dust.

Flying and Trample is a pain in the ass. Only green creatures with reach and some of the larger blue flyers (or creatures given flying) can take on a creature with Flying and Trample. Black has the odd Demon/Vampire, White has the odd Angel, and Red has an smattering of Phoenixs and Dragons to throw at this thing. Adding Intimidate means that only Black and Artifact creatures CAN block Withengar causing more than one player to groan (or curse) as they go through their heads on removals (spells that remove - or outright kill a creature) that will hopefully pop up before this beast comes at them.



Hokori, Dust Drinker - 2WW
Hokori, Dust Drinker
by Wizards of the Coast

When you see this bastard come out you will hate the person across from you. When you this creature as your opponents Commander you will need bail money for the soon to be real assault charges.

This cheap monster is a real pain on a player's ass. With a converted mana cost of 4 - he is cheap compared to many a Commander. A 2/2 Spirit, great for Spirit Tribal decks (Tribal is when all of your creatures are the same subtype) who makes everyones - including it's owners life miserable.

Being able to only untap one land is a slap to the face. Only Green has enough mana generating creatures and Black makes mana (or reduces the cost of things - ie Delve) to continue playing.

I can see this jerk being used to suddenly stop another player's momentum mid game while allowing a cheap set of spirits to pile out and pin prick a player to death. Here is a hint, dropping lands that don't tap when played will be the faster way to build up the mana you need to kill this jerk.



Trail of Mystery - 1G
Trail of Mystery
by Wizards of the Coast

This is a new card from Khans of Tarkir and it's a wonderful card with two features.

First off when you play with the Morph mechanic this cheap enchantment will give the newly flipped over creature a nice +2/+2 buff for the turn. Using this to morph a creature when they attack or even better defend is pretty good. Who would say no to a +2/+2 buff that's free?

A crazy person.

Using Morph creatures will also allow you to fetch lands at a rate that could be astonishing - this beats out your fetch lands. Instead just cast Morph and vola go get more mana. Better than most green options that do the same thing as long as you play with Morph. Which is really possible since Morph is an older mechanic and it's inclusion in Khans has made some of the older Morph cards popular.



Haunting Echoes - 3BB
Haunting Echoes
by Wizards of the Coast

This was being looked at for my modern Mill deck.

Why?

Well it's a pain and it's still on a pretty short list of things to get for my Mill deck. For a converted cost of 5 - you mill an already milled deck. Think Traumatize (it Mills half of your deck) and then next turn follow up with this. Also if smaller Mill cards like Tome Scour or Breaking have been played the player who takes this will see lots of their cards vanish as long as they play with multiple copies.

Commander decks will never see this - but some modern decks that rely on multiple copies of a card will suddenly see their stores of repeating options vanish in a blink.

Think of a Sliver deck, then Mill half of it. Now cast this. Wait.

My result when I did that was watching my opponent exile every non land card in his deck - leaving only two single copy cards left. Let's say they may have conceded when I dropped this one at their feet.



Belltower Sphinx - 4U
Belltower Sphinx
by Wizards of the Coast

When I was looking up cards for a Sphinx deck I ran across this little wonder. A hefty costing 2/5 flyer doesn't seem like much unless your opponent pays when they hurt it.

Lots of the big Mill cards are at the magic converted mana cost of 5. A flying toughness 5 blocker is very handy even more so when your opponent really questions if they want to attack for fear of getting Milled by their own damage.

You see when you do damage to this monster, you'll get Milled equal to that same amount of damage. Hey Green player - coming down the pipe with that really big 15/15 boss monster. Sure ok, I'll block, I'll lose my blocker and you will now discard 15 cards from the top of your library.

Bugger oh yeah - yum yum yum... eating dreams on the defense.

Opponents will now think twice about coming down to hit unless they have a way to remove this Sphinx without doing any damage.



Thats it for this week, draw well and cheers.