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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
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Reviewed August 21, 2002

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This Week's Card Selector

I have always been a fan of the kicker mechanic and more specifically the
battlemages. Obviously some are better than others but they are all pretty
good. Generally I would rank them Green, Red, Black, Blue, and White. I
think the cost are fair and the alternate colored kickers all contain
interesting abilities which make them very versatile in both constructed
and limited. I would like to see this group of cards reprinted in 8th

Ratings (Average of all 5 cards)
Constructed 3.75
Limited 3.5


I personally love the Battlemages. I would love to see them in 8th Edition,
but we won't - because they have "kicker" costs, and WOTC doesn't include
special set features in the basic set. If they did, this would be an easy
one to add in, and the cards are all very well made, very balanced for what
they do.

Limited: 4
Constructed: 2
8th Edition Readiness: 0



I'll be honest - as a card reviewer, somedays you want to review, others you don't care.  Today  - I don't care.  I'll summarize:

Battlemages won't be in 8th because of kicker.  Would they be good?  Yeah.  It's really moot to even discuss it, though.

Thorn and Thunder are the only 2 tournament viable ones since they deal with things that could be real threats, and provides other abilities that aren't bad as well.  The other 3 are not viable in constructed because their abilities are not very good for their cost.

In limited, any and all of them are viable.  Effect, rather than cost, is more the issue, and things that can do two things, PLUS give us a 2/2 body can be nice.  If you play the color schemes, you play the mages.

Current Price: $.95 - $1.45


Today is a 5 for 1 deal so get comfortable.

Firstly, an overview of the cycle. They are all 2/2
creatures for 3 mana with good old fashioned abilities
(like destroying things, drawing cards...) so they are
pretty much as good in limited as they are in
constructed (in limited you probably want the creature
more than the ability, in constructed you may want the
ability more depending on the deck). That's why most
of my ratings are the same for both formats.

Nightscape battlemage - The blue kicker gives great
card advantage and the rted one could really be a pain
in the butt. A 3.5 in both formats.

Stormscape Battlemage - The White cost is pretty good,
considering the U/W life gain/control decks around.
The black cost is a bit overpriced. A 4 in both
formats (due to a 4 in constructed when using the
white kicker and a 4 in limited when using the black

Sunscape Battlemage - The green cost is a wee bit
situational, the blue cost gives good card advantage
in the midgame. A 3.5 in both formats.

Thornscape Battlemage - Seems good in a fires deck
(2RG for 2 direct damage then attack for 2 more). Both
abilities are cheap and effective. A 4 in constructed,
a 3.5 in limited.

Thunderscape battlemage - The black kicker comes in
too late to be of great use but the green kicker could
take care of a pesky enchantment (like mirari's wake).
A 3 in both formats.

Kicker is a keyworded block mechanic so I don't expect
to see it in 8th edition, although if Wizards have
decided that kicker cards are allowed in the basic
set, these creatures would not be my first pick.
Having a blue ability on a white card for exampe could
confuse new players. You might not believe that, but
apparently, creatures that don't have power equals
toughness confuse new players!

Judge Bill

Nightscape Battlemage:
Black has better things to do at 6+ mana than bouncing 2 creatures or
destroying a land. If I wanted to pay 6 mana to bounce something, I'd bounce
everything. Can occasionally be good in limited to break parity for the
final few points of damage, but that's about it.

Constructed: 1.2
Limited: 2.5

Thornscape Battlemage:
Now I have played this occasionally in my sideboard. Mainly it was to
destroy a problem artifact. These days, there are very few artifacts to
destroy, but this would be a good choice if there were a number of good
artifacts. The ability to do 2 damage to something from a green source isn't
a bad thing, either.

Constructed: 2.2
Limited: 3

Thunderscape Battlemage:
Again, a halfway decent enchantment destroyer if you are playing red/green.
Was used in some Fires sideboards. The discard ability is crap, moreso after
the madness of Torment.

Constructed: 2
Limited: 2

Stormscape Battlemage
Six mana to destroy a creature isn't bad - in limited. In constructed, It's
too slow. Life gain attached to a creature is crap most of the time.

Constructed: 1.2
Limited: 2.5

Sunscape Battlemage:
Both abilities should see little play. They may be good in limited,
depending on how good your opponent's fliers are, but this card is absolute
crap in constructed.

Constructed: 1
Limited: 1.9

This would be a good, versatile cycle of creatures to be reprinted in
Eighth. However, they won't be reprinted, for one big reason - This cycle of
cards contains a block mechanic with the mechanic name on the card. No card
with that quality has been reprinted in a base set.


To start off, the Battlemages should not be included in any base set.  They
won't either.  Basically because they have a 'set mechanic' in this case,
Kicker.  These guys are very good though and are very powerful in a deck
that can support multi colors.  Green's non-red direct damage effect has
killed many pro-red creatures in its day, and its secondary ability isn't
too bad, Green is good enough for Constructed.  Blue's banish ability is a
very nice one in Limited and its usually first pick material if you're with
U/B but it has no place in Constructed.  Red's discard effect and
enchantment removal have made its way into both Limited and Constructed
decks alike.  White's basically only good in Limited.  Black is the weakest
of all of them and it is also only playable in Limited.
Green - L: 4  C: 3.5
Blue - L: 3.5  C: 2
Red - L: 2.5  C: 3
Black - L: 2  C:1.5
White - L: 3  C: 2


The Planeshift battlemages would all serve well as additions to the next
edition.  Though only two (Thunderscape and Thornscape) have practical uses,
printing the entire cycle would add an interesting twist to Eighth Edition.
Thornscape acts as a miniature Flametongue Kavu and can destroy things such
as Ensnaring Bridge.  Thunderscape provides a solution to Opposition,
Worship, and Hunting Grounds.  These two battlemages deserve 4 in
constructed, 5 in limited.  The others are rather weak.  Sunscape's,
Stormscape's and Nightscape's abilities are too high costing, and
unfortunately have about the same effect levels as the others.  These all
deserve 2.5's in constructed, 4's in limited.  An overall rating is 3.25 in
constructed, 4.5 in limited.


All of the Battlemages have their uses in one way or another.  Some have
key uses in constructed, all of them are decent in limited. 

Thornscape Battlemage and Thunderscape Battlemage are the two best,
because they are both good in constructed in limited.  Both saw play in
Fires last year for different things, although Thunderscape saw more
play.  He had the kicker costs from hell on him, either Mind Rotting
someone, or providing green with another way to get rid of an
enchantment.  Thornscape's ability to provide removal from a green
source, thus killing pro red things for fires.  Both were great utility
cards in a deck that could use him to the fullest.  Now, unfortunately,
the format is less about utility cards like this, and tempo tempo tempo.
 So, in Type II, these two share a rating of 3, and in limited,
Thornscape gets a 4, and Thunderscape gets a 3.5.

On the second teir of battlemages is Stormscape and Sunscape Battlemage.
 Both have their uses, and were awesome picks in draft, but are nothing
comapred to either Thornscape or Thunderscape.  Sunscape costs a lot,
and that holds him back in the long run (that 2U kicker is costly, but
worth it.)  In constructed, Stornscape gets a rating of 1.75 because he
is not that good, while Sunscape is a 2.25.  In limited, both get 3.5's.

Then, theirs Nightscape Battlemage, the lowly one.  He is good in
limited, because he bounces 2 creatures for the blue kicker, but in the
long run, he serves no purpose in constructed.  The combo was taken out
of him when they put in "non black creatures" for his blue kicker, and
he is overcosted for an LD deck, or any seriously competative deck.
 He's still a bomb drop in limited, but it isn't to the calibur of the
others in constructed.  A 1 in constructed, and a 3.5 in limted.

As for these in 8th Edition, I don't know WHY they would reprint them,
because of their special abilities (kickers) but if they do make a
return, I think it would be good for the environment.  If they saw play,
they could weasel their way into some decks.  Otherwise, I don't have
any problems with their return.  They would definitly make the set
respectable, proving that Wizards is thinking about what the players
want instead of their own policies.  It would be a step in the right
direction in adding to the power of the set, although if the cards
aren't seeing play now, I don't knoiw if they will in the future either.

Copyright 2001


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