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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Card of the Day

Daily Since November 2001!

Perilous Vault
Image from Wizards.com

 Perilous Vault
- M15

Reviewed July 21, 2014

Constructed: 3.50
Casual: 4.08
Limited: 4.00
Multiplayer: 4.33

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale:
1 - Horrible  3 - Average.  5 - Awesome

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Card of the Day Reviews 

David Fanany

Player since 1995

Perilous Vault

One of the things I like about M15 is the callbacks to past planes. Not that Shandalar isn't awesome - in fact, it is - but personally, I'm a connoisseur of Magic's history, and I see no reason why we can't have both. Granted, there aren't really any explicit references to anything earlier than Zendikar, but Zendikar was also an awesome era of Magic.

Consider, for instance, Perilous Vault. I remember the Roil and how big a part of Zendikar's lore it was, and the cool way the hedrons foreshadowed the rise of the Eldrazi. Until now, however, the only spell that really let you tap into their maximum potential as shown in lore was All Is Dust, and that could be metagamed against with other Eldrazi spells. Perilous Vault is fitting of the mythic-level adventure zone that Zendikar was, and by coincidence the two colors that most need its effect are also well-placed to take advantage of it: green's mana acceleration and blue's affinity for artifacts are very well suited to the card.

Constructed: 3/5
Casual: 4/5
Limited: 4/5
Multiplayer: 4/5

Michael "Maikeruu" Pierno

Today's card of the day is Perilous Vault which is a four mana artifact that taps for five mana to exile itself and all non-land permanents.
This is a very powerful effect, particularly in Multiplayer, and can fire off fairly early in the game with a purely colorless casting cost and the nine mana total likely being spread out over two turns. Effects like this shouldn't be intended as a defense, but used as a supported strategy alongside cards that can avoid the removal. As this is an exile effect instead of destroy the design isn't as straightforward, yet the potential is enough that this will see play as a top reset button in current formats.

For Limited this can be a constant threat should an opponent start to overwhelm you, or played for the reset when you have cards in hand to recover faster. Either way supporting it is more difficult in the format, yet passing it is a huge mistake as it fits into any color scheme and is not something you ever want to see played against you. A first pick in nearly any pack in Booster and usually worth including in Sealed, unless every single slot can be filled with a themed curve.

Constructed: 4.0
Casual: 4.0
Limited: 4.0
Multiplayer: 4.5

Michael Sokolowski

I was away on vacation last week, but it looks like I came back just in time for us to start looking at M15 cards! From what I've seen so far there's a lot of very exciting stuff to look forward to, and I can't wait to dive into it.

First up on our list this week is Perilous Vault. It might be remind you a bit of Helvault, in more than one way.

It's always fun to give Wrath of God style effects to any colour that wants them instead of just white, although I suppose it really is more of an Akroma's Vengeance. The first card ever to do so I believe was the fabled Nevinyrral's Disk, which if you don't know the story behind is an homage to the great author Larry Niven* of the Ringworld** series.

* Google it
** Google it

Another way to look at Perilous Vault is just to imagine it saying "4: Your opponent better hope he has artifact removal." Because what exactly are they going to do about it? No really. That's a serious question. What are they going to do? Play stuff? Play stuff so you can just get rid of all of it next turn? NOT play stuff? Not play stuff allowing you to play your own stuff uncontested? Unless they have some way to get rid of it, you control when the Vault goes off. Which means you're either going to be ahead on the board and not need it, or you're going to be behind at some point and then for 5 more mana, *poof*, now you're not.

Nevinyrral's Disk had the advantage of being cheap and the disadvantage of being slow, whereas Perilous Vault has the advantage of being fast and the disadvantage of being expensive. But this is a card that shines in control decks, combo decks, and mana ramp decks. Decks that want to be able to get up to very high turns with very high mana. Decks that don't mind wiping out everything played before turn 5 because their best stuff drops on turn 6 or later.

It's not a flawless card because it does take 9 mana and you basically have to commit your turn 4 and 5 to this and nothing else. And that one turn may be enough for your opponent to - if they're smart - remove it right away, giving them the field advantage.

But it blows pretty much everything up, and any colour can run it. That means this will see play. In Limited, in Casual, in Multiplayer, and maaaybe even a little in Constructed though not as much. Someone would have to find the right deck for it to do well in that environment. But it could happen. This is one card that will place your opponent in terrible peril.

And should they try to go back in there and face the peril, they will quickly find that no, it's too perilous.

Constructed: 4
Casual: 4.25
Limited: 4.5
Multiplayer: 4.25

  Perilous Vault

Ugin, the spirit dragon, has been mentioned several times since Future Sight, but I don't think we've ever really gotten an official line on who he was or what he did, unless it was in the Zendikar novels. As for what his vault is and what it does, it's a simpler version of Oblivion Stone. The O-Stone was a powerful staple of control and big mana decks in its heyday, as it gave you the ability to cherry pick your favorite permanents and leave them as the only thing left on the board. The Vault doesn't give you that option-- it wipes EVERYTHING but the lands. And since it's "exile" instead of "destroy", that means you can't cheat it with tricks like indestructibility either. This is a stone cold reset that puts both players back to square one, and that's bad, because these kinds of cards are at their best when you can break their symmetry.

The simplest way to do that with this is to simply be behind on permanents when you play it. If your opponent has a stronger board state than you, you stand to gain from resetting everything. You don't want to plan on losing board advantage, though you might hold your best stuff back in hand the turn before you cast the Vault. A deck that's low on permanents and high on instants and sorceries also stands to lose less to a Vault.

The next means of breaking the Vault would be to "hide" your permanents from it. A temporary exile effect like Ghostway would allow your stuff to come back after the Vault explodes, but those kinds of effects have become rare in past years. Bouncing your best creatures back to your own hand and re-casting them could also work, if you play enough bounce spells. Even an Excommunicate effect would help you rebuild post-Vault.

The third way, and possibly the hardest to do properly, is to take advantage of the fact that the Vault doesn't exile lands. An effect that turns a land into a creature will almost always come with the clause that it's still a land. As long as the effect isn't a permament to be exiled, like Living Terrain, you could continue your assault with your surviving man-lands. Other nonbasic lands with activated abilities, like Scrying Sheets, Urza's Factory, or Eye of Ugin would still be available to you. Good luck!

Constructed- 3
Casual- 4
Limited- 3.5
Multiplayer- 4.5

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