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Arcane on Magic

Limited Edition 001 –
10th Edition Magic Game Day

By Arcane - June 16, 2007

Hello folks and welcome to what I hope is the first of many articles on Magic’s deep and daunting limited scene. Every week or so, I’ll dive in and explore everything from drafts to sealed, to what I believe are the best cards for limited players in the different sets that are being played the most at a time. So for the inaugural article I thought I’d share with you my thoughts and experiences from this past weekend’s Magic Game Day where 10th Edition was released; show you my card pool, what I believed were the strongest cards in each color and then show you the deck that I played. And without further adieu…

 

White:

 

Creatures

Non-Creatures

Soul Warden

Steadfast Guard

Ghost Warden

Youthful Knight

Angelic Wall

Treasure Hunter

Skyhunter Skirmisher

Paladin en-Vec

Holy Strength

Pacifism

Warrior’s Honor

Heart of Light

Angelic Blessing

Serra’s Embrace

 

The white here is actually pretty decent, the only real problem being that there are a lot of small creatures, no real fat. If I played with these odds are I’d get to hit for a few points in the early game, but as soon as anything fat came out I’d be stopped in my tracks. On the non creature side there are some really good cards; Serra’s Embrace turns anything in my deck into a beast (and I’m drooling over synergy with the Skirmisher), pacifism is a great piece of removal, Warrior’s Honor can give your entire team a boost and Angelic Blessing, though a sorcery, can leap a creature in the air and help them deal the last few points to your opponent.

 

Blue:

 

Creatures

Non-Creatures

Fugitive Wizard

Cloud Sprite

Fog Elemental

Cloud Elemental

Crafty Pathmage

Snapping Drake

Robe of Mirrors

Cancel

Twitch

Dehydration

Tidings

 

Very shallow pool here with only a few playables. Snapping Drake, Cloud Elemental and Cloud Sprite are probably the best on the creature side of things though the last two won’t be able to block as often as you may need them to. Twitch is an interesting cantrip but I never feel its ability is powerful enough, it maybe gets a blocker out of your way, or maybe stops a creature from attacking once, but other than that I’m still unsure of it. Dehydration is the closest I get to blue removal, but the problem is I have to take a hit from them first, which doesn’t appeal to me. Tidings is a great way to refill your hand and would probably be an auto include.

 

Black:

 

Creatures

Non-Creatures

Vampire Bats

Hate Weaver

Spineless Thug

Dusk Imp

Nantuko Husk

Dross Crocodile

Hypnotic Specter

Acendant Evincar

Phage the Untouchable

Contaminated Bond     x2

Distress

Terror

Afflict    x2

Assassinate

Recover

Essence Drain

 

Now this is where it’s at. Ignoring the bomb rares that are Phage, Evincar and the Specter, there’s good utility creatures like the Nantuko Husk and Hate Weaver (if you’re playing the right colors). Add on top of that 5 pieces of removal and one of the few common 2-for-1’s in the format, Recover and I have a hard time saying I won’t be playing black.

 

Red:

 

Creatures

Non-creatures

Raging Goblin

Mogg Fanatic

Goblin Piker

Viashino Sandscout

Prodigal Pyromancer

Bloodrock Cyclops

Anaba Bodyguard

Hill Giant

Stun

Fist of the Anvil

Cryoclasm

 

Talk about depressing; far too many inferior red cards to make me consider playing this color. Mogg Fanatic, Pyromancer, Cyclops and the Bodyguard are all great creatures, and with enough first strike creatures or a trampler the Fists of the Anvil can be an aura worth playing but 5 cards is not enough.

 

Green:

 

Creatures

Non-creatures

Skyshround Ranger

Elvish Berserker

Canopy Spider

Yavimaya Enchantress

Viridian Shaman

Civic Wayfinder

Kavu Climber     x2

Spined Wurm

Commune with Nature

Natural Spring

 

I really like the creatures here in green but a gentle breeze could tear blow away the very small pile of non creature spells. The Kavus, shaman and wayfinder are all good creatures that replace themselves in terms of card advantage. Spined Wurm is just fat whch is a good thing and the spider can help deal with some of the smaller fliers. Commune with Nature is probably the only non-creature spell I’d play here using it to dig for a fatty or bomb.

 

Artifacts:

 

Creature

Non-creature

Composite Golem

Mantis Engine

Rod of Ruin

Sculpting Steel

 

Rod of Ruin is a great card that helps skew combat math into your favor or just hits your opponent’s head at EOT. I wasn’t sold on Mantis engine at first but the versatility of the creature, even if it is a mana hog made it slightly more playable in my books. Composite Golem is 6 mana for a 4/4 which isn’t terrible, but isn’t great, but the thing that irks me is that his ability really wants you to get rid of him, which doesn’t really add up. Sculpting Steel can be a bomb but it all depends on what your opponents are running, it will definitely end up in the sideboard if not the main deck.

 

The Deck:

 

Land

Creatures

Non-creatures

Swamps       x9

Plains           x8

Phage, the Untouchable

Ascendant Evincar

Mantis Engine

Paladin en-Vec

Skyhunter Skirmisher

Hypnotic Specter

Nantuko Husk

Dusk Imp

Angelic Wall

Youthful Knight

Ghost Warden

Spineless Thug

Soul Warden

Essence Drain

Serra’s Embrace

Rod of Ruin

Afflict                    x2

Assassinate

Recover

Heart of Light

Angelic Blessing

Terror

Pacifism

 

My final choice for the deck was to go White/Black adding Whites smaller evasive creatures and 2 extra removal spells to black’s already impressive standing. I had considered playing Black/Green, but the other thing that pushed white over the top for me was the Serra’s Embrace which though an aura, and promotes card disadvantage, is just a bomb in limited and the thought of combining it with Paladin en-Vec, Skirmisher or even a youthful Knight just made me really happy.

You may notice that the deck is actually 41 cards. I was going to only run 16 land (the curve is pretty low if you exclude Phage and Evincar) but tossed the extra swamp in with a few minutes to go in deck construction on a whim. I strapped myself in and prepared for 6 rounds of Swiss.

 

Round 1:         Mike (B/R/G)

 

            Game 1 stopped him pretty early as his first few creatures was all tiny black and red guys that poked me for a few points before I dropped en-Vec on the third turn that prevented him from attacking while I went on the attack in the air. Game 2 he had a pair of tigers that he was swinging with against an Acendant Evincar with Serra’s Embrace which definitely told me that he has a trick. I let him hit me a few times down to about 14 before making a block attempt into his creature. He tried the giant growth but I just pointed a terror at the tiger and proceeded to smash face for the win.

 

1-0

 

Round 2:         Andrew (U/G)

 

            I had to mull down to 5 game 1, but I managed to recover quite nicely. He dropped out a Spined Wurm and double enchanted it with Treetop Bracers and Robe of Mirros and smashed my face for 12 before I but Heart of Light on my own flier to proved myself with the perfect blocker. The problem was that I couldn’t manage to get through with any fliers because of his 4 spiders (2 canopy and 2 giant) and the fact that Wurm’s tooth was gaining him the life I was taking away. Just when the board had stalled though he dropped out his bomb: Millstone. And proceeded to deck me over the next 8 turns. Game 1 took 38 minutes.

Game two was much better and only took a few minutes as I dropped out a few early creatures, had some removal for his creatures and ended the game within a few swings.

With only a few minutes left in the round I had to hurry up and put away game 3. Mull to 5 again was not making that look any good. I managed to drop a Skirmisher with the Serra’s embrace on it, turns 3 and 4 but he had enough fliers/anti-fliers that swinging in meant I’d lose my best creature and that he’d probably only lose one or two himself. When time was dwindling down I starting swinging hoping that a rod of ruin in play and an afflict in hand would change combat math in my favor but he just chumped. Got down to 5 additional turns just as I managed to get out more creatures than he did and was swinging in for damage, but it just wasn’t enough time as he Deluged me on my last upkeep tapping on non fliers in play.

 

1-0-1

 

Round 3:         Mark (G/B/r)

 

            Game 1 I drop out an early Soul warden and start gaining life along side a spineless thug to swing for early damage. He tapped out his black to play a Shade which threatened to do some big damage but I had the afflict. The big swing in the game came when he drooped his nightmare at 5/5 and I dropped Phage and on the next turn used Angelic Blessing to turn Phage into an 8/8 flier that he had to block, but he added fists of the anvil to force the trade so I was forced to finish the game on the back of fliers after terror hit a spider.

            Game 2 went really fast as he dropped out an early Rhox and proceeded to smash my face. Game 3 was a bit more even. We each dropped out spinless thug on turn two and since we couldn’t block proceeded to race each other for 10 points of damage each. He made a Phyrexian Rager which tried to block my thug but ate an allfict. I made a Rod of Ruin to try and speed up the damage race but he managed to make an essence drain to one of my beaters which slowed my attack. I dropped out Phage after his board had been stripped of creatures, forcing him to make a 1/1 Nightmare off only one swamp. RoR took care of the nightmare and Phage got her first win of the day.

 

2-0-1

 

Round 4:         Brian (U/B)

 

            Game 1 he showed a lot of his tricks with cards like Puppeteer, unsummon, Nekretaal, and Consume Spirit along with a few ravenous rats to force discard. An early youthful knight swung in for a lot as its first strike prevented him from making any good blocked. Hippie came out and took Puppeteer’s attention until Phage joined him. He got a bit over confident and swung out hoping to keep me locked down, but an end of turn terror on Puppeteer freed Phage and she swung in, deathtouching him.

            Game 2 I just overran him, making Hippie, then husk, thug and en-Vec who ran away with the game within a few turns. I did get a sample of his deck’s potential on the his last turn as he dropped out a Sunken Hope which would have done well with his ravenous rats, sage owls, nekretaal, etc. Unfortunately with no creatures in play it does nothing for him and I swing for the win.

 

3-0-1

 

Round 5:         Sean (G/R/b)

 

            Game 1 he drops and early pair of bears and I get an imp with Serra’s Embrace but when he starts swinging into my vigilant 4/3 flier I suspect a trick and don’t block hoping to win the damage race as I try and draw a second creature in the midst of lands and small tricks. It doesn’t really matter if I block or not as he manages to hit turn 6 Essence drain on the imp and swings in for the rest of the game against 11 land. After the game he flashed me the aggressive urge I suspected was there.

            Game 2 was just as bad as he makes a turn 3 Juggernaut which though bites it to an Assassinate still hits me for 5 while my imp has made its appearance again and runs over him turn after turn dropping him all the way down to six while my few other creatures hold off his bears. Unfortunately Overrun on a few bears and a wayfinder is more than enough to deal me the last 15 points of damage needed to win him the game.

 

3-1-1

 

Round 6:         Chris (G/R)

 

            Game 1 shows a repeat of my second round as he gets out a Spined Wurm and adds Treetop bracers to it smashing me for 6, and just when I think I’ve managed a defense he drops out whispersilk cloak, makes his wurm shrouded and unbloackable and rides it to victory.

            Game 2 I drained away one of his early blockers so I could keep swinging with my creatures dropping his life total quickly, then taking my mantis into the sky and pinging with the Rod of Ruin when the board became a bit more clogged. Then he dropped his bomb, Razormane Masticore. Definitely a threat considering I had only a pair of creature in my deck that had more than 3 toughness, fortunately I had the perfect answer staring back at me from my hand. Next turn I untapped and slapped a Heart of Light on his Masticore, a card that would not only prevent the combat damage it would deal but also the 3 damamge a turn. He dropped it into the bin on the next turn dejectedly and the game didn’t last long after that as my fliers finished the job.

            Game three was a fat fest as he dropped out a spined wurm and I dropped out Evincar, adding Hypnotic Specter soon after. He added another wurm and TWO whispersilk cloaks, equipped both creatures and attacked dropping me to six after he saw my Phage come down the turn before. On my turn though I managed to Alffict + Rod of Ruin one blocker and Pacifism dropped on the other allowing Phage to swing in and win the game with a little touch.

 

4-1-1

 

I ended up in 6th place on the day, nothing really great for a prize but a good enough start to what I hope will be a series of articles exploring the rich limited format. Until next time…


 



 

 

 

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