Stupid Rares, Part 13 - Meekstone
This is another Breaking Stupid Rares article, and today it's the turn of Meekstone. This card is an artifact, which sets Meekstone apart in these times of enchantments.
Creatures with power 3 or greater don't untap during their controllers' untap steps.
So, not only does it affect you as much as your opponent, it only has an effect on a fraction of creatures. This makes it ideal for building a deck around, as opposed to throwing it into an already finished deck. One great feature is the low cost of 1 colourless mana, meaning that it'll see play as soon as possible. Another is that it is an artifact. There are very few artifacts in Type II, and even fewer ways of removing them. Chances are that Meekstone will be around for a long time once it hits play.
Roughly speaking, Meekstone will incapacitate half of all creatures. As a general rule, a creature's toughness is about equal to its power, so finding cards to take out weaklings will remove the rest. Take for example Pyroclasm. This sorcery deals 2 damage to every creature, so if the Meekstone don't get it the Pyroclasm will!
Of course, this power = toughness rule is only a guideline. There are many creatures with different values for each, and this brings the clever part into play. Imagine dividing all creatures into 4 groups, defined solely by their power and toughness. These groups together contain all creatures.
1) Power < 3, toughness < 3 - ie Meddling Mage
2) Power < 3, toughness > 2 - ie Shadowmage Infiltrator
3) Power > 2, toughness < 3 - ie Flametongue Kavu
4) Power > 2, toughness > 2 - ie Spiritmonger
Groups 1 and 3 are shut down by Pyroclasm. Creatures from 3 and 4 are shut down by Meekstone. Creatures from group 2 are untouched. So, if you have a Meekstone in play and regular blasts of Pyroclasm, then only creatures from group 2 will be active. The chances are that your opponent won't have more than one creature from this group, so you should rule the battlefield.
Unfortunately, being in group 2 means that you have a power of 2 or less. This is less than optimal for an aggressive deck, but of course there are some nice exceptions that you can use to your advantage in order to deal some heftier damage. Serra Angel is a 4/4 flier, so Meekstone stops her from untapping. However, Serra doesn't tap in the first place, so she won't be affected! Another creature that gets around the rule is Flowstone Charger. When you attack he deals 5 damage, but when Meekstone checks his power during your upkeep he's back down to 2 again.
Every deck featuring Red would do well to take advantage of some of the burn spells available. This deck is no exception, because there will be the odd player you face who keeps his big creature back as a blocker, keeping it untapped. Burn spells will also allow you to deal with the 1/3 and 2/3 creatures your opponent happened to have in their deck.
Pardic Firecat virtually suggests itself. It is a 2/3 (useful) with haste (nice) and it even powers up Flame Burst spells (great!). Flame Burst can do up to 9 damage for 1R in optimal conditions. Another burn spell in the style of Pyroclasm is Breath of Darigaaz. You can choose to have it deal 1 damage or 4 damage to all non-fliers. The kickered version is more useful, sparing Flowstone Charger and Serra Angel whilst probably killing everything else on the board.
An excellent utility creature card in Red + White is Goblin Legionnaires. You get a 2/2 for 2, (a rarity for Red) that can deal an extra 2 damage for just R as it dies. It won't survive a Pyroclasm, but the extra damage you can unleash by killing it will often help to finish off an enemy critter.
Every deck needs a finishing card, and in this instance I believe Rites of Initiation is optimal. Attack with everything, and then drop your entire hand for massive attacking bonuses. The single R cost will allow you to play it earlier for another big charge before the kill too. The discard will help you with the Flame Burst + Pardic Firecat effect, and playing with some Fiery Temper in your hand will let you add to the devastation most efficiently.
Goblin Trenches is another great finishing card in this deck's colours, but if your opponent somehow resists the charge then you have no land with which to recover. Speaking of land, about 22 basic lands sounds right. This is a 2-colour deck where the most demanding cost is 3WW. Remember, don't go exclusively by mana costs when deciding the land ratios. It's better to draw 1 of each than 2 mountains, so just a couple less plains.
4 Flowstone Charger
4 Serra Angel
4 Pardic Firecat
4 Goblin Legionnaire
4 Fiery Temper
4 Flame Burst
3 Rites of Initiation
3 Breath of Darigaaz
There we have it. The meek shall indeed inherit the earth in this deck, although some of them are obviously only pretending to be meek. With this very restrictive style of play your opponent will have to be very fortunate to find a way around it, and has to do so whilst having potent burn spells lobbed in their general direction. Add in the fact that Meekstone is very tricky to remove, and you've got a great little lock on the game!
Well, until next time, have fun! If you want to comment about anything, or send me your deck for a tune-up, the address is back one page.
That is all.