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Transforming the Kitchen Table
Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies oh my! With the Innistrad previews under way players are left speculating on the Transform mechanic and its implications for constructed and most especially limited format. Today I felt I need to give Transform a proper once over around the kitchen table. Casual magic is by far the most played format and Transform is looking to shake up Magic as we know it.
Transform cards are double faced and have no traditional Magic back making them incompatible with the way we all currently play kitchen table Magic. Aside from sleeving your deck, which I do with more valuable decks, most casual players do not sleeve their decks making them gasp in awe at how they are supposed to play these double faced monstrosities. Enter the checklist card you slip it into your deck in place of the transform card and you are the new owner of a mostly proxy based werewolf deck. When informing people in my playgroup about transform they were incredulous and reactions ranged from “transform is the end of Magic” and similar the sky is falling comments as well as a more reasoned approach. So what does transform mean for casual players? The answer is surprisingly simple, not much. Aside from the excitement that comes from the novelty of double faced cards it won’t mean much. Some players will opt to sleeve up Transform cards and others will use the checklist tokens while others will find reasonable and fair wears of representing tokens or just taking swamps and writing “werewolf” over them. Whichever way players may use these new cards I expect the reaction from casual players to be as wildly different as any other player some embracing and others shunning these bold new cards. To generalize for the sake of simplicity I think players will be excited to finally get these double faced cards in their hands and start flipping them and that Innistrad will have an overall positive reaction from the community. The ideas presented are hardly enough to constitute a column and due to my absence from articles due to college, I decided I would Delve(get it maybe Delve is future sighted into Innistrad!) deeper into the thus revealed Transform cards and their impact on possible archetypes and playability in primarily multiplayer casual environments. Without further ado let’s get started. All cards are pulled from the spoiler list at http://www.wizards.com/magic/tcg/article.aspx?x=mtg/tcg/innistrad/cig#.
Civilized Scholar/ Homicidal Brute
The obligatory Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde reference for a horror based block this card not only filters and acts as a Merfolk Looter impersonator but also transforms into a 5/1 powerhouse that will be blocked by Saprolings all day long. Elf tokens even kobolds can stop this Homicidal Brute making the red half of this card severely unappealing compared to the other. I will try this in a variety of decks as it is a versatile creature serving two unique roles this card is flavorful and versatile although no deck types immediately jump out at me.
Ludevic’s Test Subject/ Ludevic’s Abomination
A 13/13 Trample creature is surely huge and spending only twelve mana over a variety of turns is reminiscent of level up. For the base investment of two mana you get a 0/3 defender creature which is still good enough to hold back early attacks in the game. The fact this card transforms into such a beast may make it a huge target for removal by worried opponents. The 13/13 lizard is certainly big and unopposed can end games quickly however the same can be said for any reasonably sized creature. This card could see a combination with Proliferate quite effectively and can be combined with any number of such cards to form an interesting deck strategy.
Screeching Bat/ Stalking Vampire
This little bat and seductive vampire is not very good. You can have an evasive but small flying body which is no good in format whose sky is ruled by Dragons and Angels, or a 5/5 ground pounder that will more than likely get chump blocked all day long. The ability to switch as the situation dictates is good, however I don’t see this seeing wide play except in a vampire tribal sort of deck but even there its mostly filler and can be replaced by better cards.
Kruin Outlaw/ Terror of Kruin Pass
Finally we arrive at a highly playable card and a werewolf at that! The transform triggers for werewolves may take a amount of work around the table but the more players there are the higher the chance someone was land screwed or simply did not have a spell to play. In that case your respectable 2/2 First strike creature which can gum up the ground turns into a vicious Double Strike werewolf. The added ability that your werewolves can only be blocked by two or more creatures is a boon allowing them to rip through opponents creatures. Werewolf tribal is sure to be popular with casual players as they have access to the best Fog ever printed with Moonmist. This card is a key player in werewolf tribal decks which are sure to see play.
Village Ironsmith/ Ironfang
The awesome flavor text aside a 1/1 First strike is nothing to neither be excited about nor scoff at. The transform trigger makes it a 3/1 allowing it to mow through every with three power or under that does not have first strike which is a useful ability. While not as powerful as some of the other werewolves on this list, I can see this card finding a niche in the werewolf tribal deck mentioned before.
Mayor of Avabruck/ Howlpack Alpha
The double tribal card! Not only is it a two drop that pumps all your human creatures but once it transform it pumps out wolf tokens and pumps werewolf and wolf creatures you control making this an interesting addition to wolf based decks which have a large amount of cards or werewolf decks which can always use a lord. This is one of the most interesting transform cards revealed thus far as it benefits two opposing tribes in the set humans and werewolves. Thus making it an interesting build around for casual play.
Daybreak Ranger/ Nightfall Predator
Another werewolf this one turns from a mediocre flying killer to an Arena style creature capable of killing smaller utility creatures which is powerful. Tapping to deal two damage to a single creature with flying is very poor; the only reasonable thing it can kill is some small spirit tokens or something such as that. The biggest threats are flying creatures such as Dragons who are usually 5/5 or bigger making this a poor card. The werewolf side makes up for the mediocre human side (noticing a trend here?) making it a worthwhile addition to werewolf decks and perhaps archer themed decks for casual play as well.
Gatstaf Shepherd/ Gatstaf Howler
Gatstaf Shepherd is a Grizzly Bear that turns into a 3/3 intimidating werewolf, this card power wise is somewhat low making it more filler than anything else for werewolf decks. It will see a marginal amount of play it’s a low costing werewolf and that counts for something right?
Instigator Gang/ Wildblood Pack
This is amazing not only is the werewolf form great but a playable human form as well! Useful I n werewolf decks and possibly decks utilizing a bunch of small creatures or tokens this creature can play a definite role in token based strategies and werewolf decks alike. The wolf form as a 5/5 trampling body that can become 8/5 trample is nothing to sneeze at as well.
Garruk Relentless/ Garruk, The Veil Cursed
Finally last but not least the new transform planeswalker with five abilities! The transform can be triggered right away by picking off a utility creature such as Fauna Shaman or a 1/1 token dork. The 2/2 green wolf can completely overwhelm the board and plays well with other notable wolf cards such as Wrens Run Packmaster or Master of The Wild Hunt. The green and black side allows you to hold other players back with deathtouch creatures and tutor up your own awesome creatures by sacrificing extra wolf tokens. The final ability is Overrun on steroids and flat out end games you can activate it in. Garruk goes in most any green/black deck that runs tokens, or runs a lot of creatures or well he can go pretty much in any deck period that runs the colors.
Whew that was fun, I hope you enjoyed my brief look at transform and how it can be used around your kitchen table!
If you want to tell me how bad I did, or the opposite send correspondence to PlatinumFUBU5@hotmail.com and EnderWiggan1337 on Magic online.
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