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Pojo's Magic The Gathering Card of the Day

Image from Wizards.com

Draining Whelk
Time Spiral

Reviewed December 26, 2006

Constructed: 2.75
Casual: 2
Limited: 3.25

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale
1 being the worst.  3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating

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Card of the Day Reviews 

Jeff Zandi

 5 Time Pro Tour

Draining Whelk

This is one of my very favorite cards in Time Spiral limited. Normally, a card like could easily be overvalued by players. Draining Whelk is situational, which is kind of a dirty word among experienced booster drafters, because you always want a card that is good in as many different circumstances as possible. A situational card always has to be regarded as potentially suboptimal. However, while Draining Whelk DOES require you to have 4UU free at the same time that your opponent tries to play an important spell, the current format puts a few things in your favor. First, Draining Whelk is in blue, a control color that means you may indeed still be in the game at a point where you have six mana open to play a spell like Draining Whelk. Secondly, Time Spiral booster draft is all about Suspend. Cards with Suspend, particularly creatures, have become extremely popular in Time Spiral draft. All you have to do is make sure you have Draining Whelk mana ready when the gem of a creature they have been “making payments on” finally comes due, the last time counter comes off, their spell goes on the stack and BANG, you counter their spell (likely an expensive one) and you gain a significant, often gamebreaking advantage in the air. Unless constructed decks start including a lot of Suspend cards Draining Whelk will remain a hit only in limited play.



* Game Store Owner

I find this card amusing, because at first glance I really wanted to write this one off. Over time though, I've grown to like just a copy or two in slow control decks. Also, if you have any neat tricks for getting creatures into play, this guy could be alright. I'd be likely to play it in limited formats as well.

Constructed: 2.5
Casual: 2
Limited: 3


Draining Whelk

A pretty good card for blue control. This counters a spell and gives you a win condition at the same time. The only catch is that if you want this to be worth it, you need to counter a pricy (4cc or greater) spell. It's worth considering in blue control, but right now I think Teferi is the better choice, as he does a better job of swinging the game in your favor.

In casual, it's a counterspell. It is a creature too, and a potentially large one, but this isn't a casual card.

In limited, I'd play it. You can counter an important card and get a good flier on the board.

Constructed - 3
Casual - 2
Limited - 3.5


Draining Whelk

Considered a bomb in limited, but why exactly? It's a counterspell and a creature, for 4UU. A straight counterspell for 4UU would never get off the ground-- remember Overwhelming Intellect? But this thing's strength is in the flying creature it leaves you with. If your opponent plays a big spell, then you get a massive flying creature and he doesn't get his spell. But 4UU is a lot of mana to leave open, and you NEVER want to just hardcast this thing as a 1/1 flyer for six mana. How big of a spell does this thing have to hit to be worth that much mana? Traditional counterspell rules say that the spell you counter should cost more than the counterspell. But this isn't a traditional counter; it gives you a win condition along with your counterspell. If we assume two mana is a fair price for an ordinary counterspell, then the other four mana is giving us the creature at instant speed. How big of a creature can we get at instant speed for four mana? The closest thing there's been yet is Needlebug(pro:artifacts counts as an equivalent for flying here), and that was a 2/2. So, if Drainign Whelk gets more than one +1/+1 counter on it, then it's a bargain for the cost. And it's a bargain for teh card advantage, since you're killing one of their cards without losing one of your own like most counterspells. All in all, Drainign Whelk adds up to a serious advantage if you can leave the mana open.

Constructed- 3.5
Casual- 4
Limited- 4.3
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