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Pojo's Book Reviews



Method to the Madness - A Preliminary Assessment
By John "The Happy Heretic" Hornberg

I've got something to apologize for, so hang in there for a paragraph or

Yes, I'm sorry for not giving you anything in the past month.  Truthfully,
I have not had anything to write about...... well, aside from the e-mails
labeled "Break this Rare,"  which I thank everyone for.  I have started
articles on them, but none of them are very good, so I haven't sent them in
or finished them for that matter.

Also..... yes, people, I am guilty of poor editing.  I write my articles,
spell check them, and send them on their way, then I read them the next day,
after it's posted.  So, I'll try to do a better job of that, but please bare
with me, I've got finals this week, not to mention I most likely just got a
D in Pre-Calculus with a terrible score on the final, a rarity for me, and a
heap of English homework to do.  So, I usually don't get to the computer
until after ten at night, and I'm sure all of you know how senile we are
when it's late on a school night, and we're trying to write an essay or an

So, my sincerest apologies for the poor editing job on my articles, I
really do regret that, and I will try to do better, but this compete's with
school a lot, and school is still my priority.  I will keep writing, but it
will be sporadic, and will go with the new sets as they are released most
likely, with some stuff in between.

So, there's a new set coming out in less than a month.  I'm sure many of us
are ready to cast aside Odyssey for right now, thanks to it's lack of
playable rares.

Great commons, and a lot of playable non rare cards, but value wise the set
left a lot to be desired.

Well, getting off that topic, Torment will introduce the new mechanic of
Madness, which allows you to play a card for less if it discarded. 
Essentially, if you discard a card for Gerard's Verdict or to Wild Mongrel,
and if that card has madness for 1G, you can pay 1G right then and there to
play that card.

This can be helpful against blind discard spells (Discard spells where your
opponent doesn't choose the discarded cards), which could run rampant thanks
to Torment, which is being referred to as "the Black set."

Hmmm, I wonder what there is a lot of here....  Could it be black cards?

It ain't called the black set for nothing!

Although I haven't really seen much of the set, I can tell you this much,
especially considering what a disappointment most of the Flashback cards in
Odyssey were - don't expect much of Madness right at the moment.  I see it
being a considerably better ability than Flashback is, but odds are Wizards
tagged the ability with the most useless cards, like "Destroy target
artifact" type cards.

Still, while it good on paper, so did flashback, and look at half of all
the cards with Flashback.... crappola!

Okay, what I see this ability doing is ruining some of the black main stay
cards right now, namely Bog Down.  This card will become useless will such
cards as Basking Rootwalla, which is a 1/1 for G which has a Madness for 0.

Pulling Bog Down off on the second turn with such a card as the new Dark
Ritual, called Cabal Ritual, on the second turn.  Stuff like this, if it's
not played first turn, will be discarded here, and people will take
advantage of it.

So, all I have to say is kiss good bye to all that blind discard that's out

Still, Madness will effect the sideboard more than anything.  People will
sideboard against black by sticking cards with this ability into the
sideboard, and decks playing something like Compulsion main deck, so that
they can discard a card with Madness, and play it for it's Madness cost.

A down side to Madness that I can foresee is that not all cards are going
to have great Madness costs.  Like flashback, and even going back to kicker
costs and Rhystic Magic, some of the cards will have utterly poor madness
casting cost, so if your opponent makes you discard it early, then it won't

Such will be the case with a lot of the high casting cost cards in this
set, which will result in many cards not seeing play.  The resulting saying
that will be attached to Madness: The lower, the better, which is true of
just about everything except for Rhystic magic in Prophecy (You wanted that
high, very very high!).

Now, this article was written before we even know what the majority of the
cards in this set will look like, and I for one will have no idea on how
much Madness will effect the format until the set is released, and actual
play with it really begins.

So, in a way, I'm taking an unusual chance by making a prediction on this
ability, and hoping for the best.

So, my final conclusion - madness gets my stamp of approval, and I think it
will negate a lot of the black cards that are going to be put into the next
set, because of how they beat up on black discard that doesn't involve your
opponent choosing the card.  However, this ability, like many others from
the past, has the possibility of being a disappointment through how many
playable cards are put in the set.

Too many high casting cost cards, with high Madness costs will result in a
crop of pointless cards, with an ability that is useless.  The saying
"cheaper is better" applies here more than anywhere due to that.

Well, that's my article, I just have one thing to say before I leave:  Ugh,
slops to Wizards for their Sengir Vampire picture in the Torment set!!!  The
picture is good and all, but it doesn't look evil, it looks like the old
fogy in the ratty old house across the street!

At least make it look evil, and that, unfortunately isn't evil.  Give me
four of those Beatdown ones, I'll take that art any day!

That's all, thanks for reading!

     John "The Happy Heretic" Hornberg

It you wish to get a hold of me, feel free to do so at
promiseland85@hotmail.com.  I'm not taking any "Breaking Stupid Rares"
strategies right now because I've got other things to write about right now,
and my time is also taken up with my English and other assorted finals.  I
wish all of you best of luck for the rest of the week, because I know a lot
of you are taking those awful excuses for tests right now, and I sympathize
with you.  I really do!



Copyright 2001 Pojo.com


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