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The Twelve-Step Program for the Strategy Impaired
with Scott Gerhardt

A Revival and Some Legends

9.27.04  So THAT's what I called my section....The Twelve-Step Program.  I'm sure it's not the first incarnation of the name, but it will certainly work.  Of course, I haven't done anything related to writing for Magic in about 2 years.  Yikes - that's a REALLY long time - too damn long, IMHO.

So....I'm baaaaaaaaack. :)

Some of you, well, probably most of you don't care.  I'll briefly reacquaint you with my credentials:

Won 2 PTQs
Top 8 a Grand Prix
Played 3 PTs (no real success there)
Top 8ed god knows how many PTQs
Day 2 in at least 5 GPs
Q'ed for Nats on rating in '04
Almost 10 years playing the game.
A dealer (hey - that makes me UNQUALIFIED to write...=/ )

That's the short list so you guys kinda know I know what I'm talking about, at least a little.

Of course, my first article back means I'm not allotted a lot of ramble time, so it's time to get to business.

Welcome to a brave, new world!  A world where characters have unique names and you can only have 1 of each on the board.  No, I'm not writing on the Vs System site - I'm talking about Champions of Kamigawa!!!  If you like Legends, then man if this site for you.  I want to start with a few thoughts on the set and it's impact on the current metagame.

First of all, I hear people talking about how this will do nothing to change how the environment really works.  Blah, blah, blah, blah.  I have been playing type 2 since type 2 was invented, and I hear the same crap every new set.  Guess what?  You're wrong.  Dead freakin' wrong.  Kami WILL change the environment.  Affinity will not continue to be THE dominant deck - the Imi Statue says so. :)  Tooth and Nail now has stuff other than 2 Colossuses to get out.  The environment WILL change.  If you don't think it will, wait.  People are, but nature, stuck in their ways.  That's why people griped about the "new" card face, and now most people just like it.

So what changes things?  Well, lets bring out a few candidates:

Cranial Extraction.  God.  This card is good.  This card is amazing.  This card is not going to have NEARLY the impact on Type 2 that people think.  If aggressive decks are still in the environment, then if you cast this on turn 4, you die.  That will relegate this card to sideboards, with MAYBE 1 or 2 main deck.  This allows decks to not fear it game 1 and have an answer for it game 2.  The card will, though, have a profound impact on Extended.

Legendary Dragon Spirits.  What - you think just because something has the creature type "Dragon" it's just for kiddos?  I don't think so, bub.  There are 4 dragons in this set that have a VERY good chance of seeing some serious constructed play.  Red in Ponza, Black in aggro-control, Blue in defensive-control, and White as a top end on a "weenie" deck with additional combo possibilities.  Some Dragons suck.  These do not.

Shishato, Whispering Hunter.  This card is good kiddos.  Snakes run rampant with plenty of ways to produce them.  Additionally, you have Hall of the Bandit Lord.  They found a way to reprint Stasis, and it's green.  Catch your opponent off-guard, and you can win.  Combo with Nature's Will for a slightly-harder-than-soft lock.  You can make this deck work as soon as turn 3 or 4.

Gifts Ungiven -  Very useful in Extended and Type 1, this card might make a splash in Type 2 - being able to draw 2 quality cards for 4 mana is extremely nice.  The fact two go to the graveyard doesn't mean all that much.  Look for blue decks to use this card just fine.

Forbidden Orchard - Some decks aren't going to care if you have a bunch of 1/1 peons.  Those decks will use this to get color - good, consistent color.  As a 5 color player (the deckbuilding tendency, not the format), I say bravo!

The Unspeakable - Jesus Christ - were they on crack?  He's really solid, and can come out as an instant on turn 6 on a bad days.  It's a GOOD Spirit of the Night.  How can blue say no to wicked monster + card draw (yes kids, cast 3 commons, go get this guy).  I guarantee this guy WILL see Type 2 play if I have to wreck with him myself.

Time of Need - Demonic Tutor for a Legendary Creature.  I had a fun all-Legend deck that could have used this once.  Now, though, you'll find Green with a very solid tutor to be able to find those creatures they only have 1 or 2 of in the deck.  Promotes diversity amongst your card pool and allows you to play fewer of certain cards - incredibly important with lots of legends floating out there.

Imi Statue - Stops affinity cold.  They lose.  If you go first, they have no chance.  If they went first, they will have needed a god draw if this hits turn 3.  It will force them to play artifact removal, and have it fast.  That dilutes the deck, and makes it beatable.

Sensei's Diving Top - People are already calling this one of the best library manipulation cards printed in a while.  It's hard to disagree.  It's cheap, helps you find what you need, and gets it into your hand when you need it.  Expect this potent Uncommon to find it's way into a variety of decks.

Man...that's enough for now.  I could keep going on and on, but that is a mere sampling of the impact you can expect.  There are a great deal more cards, but we can discuss those more later.

What decks are going to exist?  I won't lie - I don't know.  I'm not going to sit here, give you a decklist, and tell you that THIS is going to be the new end-all, be-all deck.  I don't know, and even if I did, I have to make you think a LITTLE on your own.  Can't netdeck everything, can you?  Okay, you can, but shouldn't. :)

So this is my enthusiastic and optimistic take on one of the most fun sets I've seen in a while.  I hope you find the same enthusiasm for it I have found.

Quick plug #1:  As some of you may or may not know, I write for multiple games.  I figured out that I have written for 7 + 1 different games since Pojo started (I say +1 because I did some work on a Mage Knight site that never actually got up off the ground).  Three of them, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Neopets, I no longer write for.  The other 4, though, and Magic, Vs. System, MegaMan, and Duel Masters.  I am quite active on those games and write for Pojo.  I do CotD for all 4, and am writing feature articles on the following schedule:

Monday - Magic
Tuesday - Vs System
Wednesday - MegaMan
Thursday - Duel Masters

Here's the problem - I only write 3 articles a week.  Four would drive me a bit mad.  So, each week, I screw over a site.  Sorry. :(  This week, it's Duel Masters (sorry - only game without a new set right now).  I will keep people informed when I am skipping a week.  Right now, though, I am NOT skipping Magic next week - I know that.  So, if you're into some other games and want to hear my ramblings on those, check out the other Pojo sites.

Plug #2 - Please buy your cards from www.ShuffleAndCut.com.  My wife, site editor Christine Gerhardt and I own the joint, and we would really love to see some business from the great people at Pojo.  For the rest of September, mention Pojo.com on your order, and get an extra Free Rare (Magic) on any order of $20 or more.  We like you guys. :)

Thanks guys - we'll see you next week. 

Until then, keep playing!

Scott Gerhardt



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