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Pojo's Book Reviews



Which is Better, Part 3 - Repulse or Recoil?
Co-Authored by John Hornberg and Matt Brooks

Well, I was reading Tony Costa's opinion article, and I've got something to
say about that, and I know this applies to a lot of players - people who act
like that in tournaments over every little thing, and who are not personable
need to be shot.

Just thought I'd warn all you pro-tour players that.  If you're not
personable, then you may get somewhere in the world of Magic, but you'll get
absolutely no where in life, because where do bad guys finish?  That's
right, LAST!  Attitude needs to be paramount in tournament play, and being
rude is no excuse for trying to keep the game fair.....

Just had to rant that off.....

Well, I've been a flurry of ideas the past few days, so I think you'll be
hearing from me a lot this week.

I decided to return to the "Which is better" articles, but I decided to shy
away from Message board for obvious attitude problems from the Mahamoti vs.
Amugaba article from a while back.

This time, I chose to co-author one of these because, like my turning to the
message board, provides a new prospective, and puts ideas into the article
that I'm sure I could never have thought up.

So, I turned to Matt Brooks, my good friend from the message board (Birds of
Paradise on the Message Board).  He did the pro's to Recoil and the con's to
Repulse for this article.  So, I hope you enjoy both Matt's, as well as my
writing for this, because the con's half of this article took a lot of

Repulse and Recoil, much like Shadowmage Infiltrator and Thieving Magpie,
has also been a big debate topic for a few months now in the Magic

It is a long debated contest, which Repulse won last year due to the lack of
a decent black/blue deck.  Now, with such cards as Psychatog and Shadowmage
Infiltrator in Odyssey, numerous black/blue decks have popped up -
Upheaval-Go, Finkula, and Atog-Go to name a few.

Recoil has made a comeback in many eyes, and has come back into the
spotlight, if ever was out at all.  Gone are the days where is was looked
upon as a great card without a home.

Repulse and Recoil have both been jockeying for position in many decks since
Odysset became type 2 legal in October, 2oo1.  It has been hotly contested
about which is better for the always very blue based Type II environment -
the mono colored Repulse to draw out the deck, or the two colored Recoil to
get an opponents perminants out of play....

In reality, these cards are similar in many ways.  For example both can
bounce a creature at instant speed, allowing you to stop a large creature
like a Kavu Titan with the Kicker, or a nuisance like Pianna dead in their

Both are common, making them both relatively easy to get from a booster pack
or a tournament deck, not to mention getting priced around most likely a
dollar to a dollar fifty for a player set of them.

That's almost where the similarities end.

Both cards have their advantages, and both cards have their

The main difference between the two when you sit down to analyze them is the
fact that Recoil says "Permanent" whereas Repulse has only a target in the
form of a creature. This makes Recoil as a whole more versatile. It deals
with pesky enchantments running around (i.e.  Pernicious Deed, Opposition,
Collective Restraint) that Repulse could not deal with.

Another benefit Recoil offers is the fact if your opponent is land screwed
bounce a land to set them back. Bouncing a "coming into play tapped land"
delivers that extra crucial blow setting them back not one but two turns.

After surpassing the bouncing a permanent aspect of the card, you then look
at the after effects and in this case it makes the opponent discard a card.
One card may not seem like that big of a deal at first but in situations it
could send your opponent shooting through the roof in confusion in deciding
what card to discard. This serves as card advantage for you. For example,
lets talk about Call of the Herd. All of these Odyssey token makers are
supposed to net card advantage for the opponent but when you Recoil that
token, it not only destroys it but takes away that card advantage they were
supposed to have.

One of the most important factors with Recoil is if the opponent doesn't
have any cards in their hand Recoil changes it's text to say  "Destroy any
permanent." That my friend is some good. The multi-colored casting cost is
not a big problem to overcome in today's  environment. As an ending thought,
Recoil's picture is "way" cooler.

On the other hand, Repulse has a lot of potential against enchantment like
Pernicious Deed.  When your opponent uses Pernicious Deed, Repulse gives you
the advantage of bouncing a creature that would otherwise be wasted to Deed.
  So, your opponent looses what ever they had along with their Deed in the
process, and the potential threat they wanted to get rid of returned to your
hand, not to mention you get the extra card for it as well.  In fact this
applies to any form of removal, burn, and creature destruction spells of
various black sources.

Cantrip also has a lot more potential in the game than forcing your opponent
to discard.  Repulse's cantrip allows you to respond to a spell with it,
draw a card, and if you draw a counterspell that you didn't otherwise have,
you can stop the spell, and possibly remove a threat from play in the

While Repulse may only tag creatures, it is a good thing in the fact that
this type II format is very very creature based.  While Recoil can tag
anything, the perminant factor is minimal right in this format right now
because of all the Spiritmongers, Infiltrators, and Psychatogs running
around right now.  You can afford to have it say creature in place of
perminant because of that.

Also, Repulse is only one color, and it only takes one blue at that, which
is a big advantage over Recoil.  Recoil is limited to only so many decks,
while any deck running blue can find a place for Repulse because it is only
one color.

Repulse along with its Pro's also has its appropriate amount of Con's. As
reiterated before, Repulse can only target creatures making it inferior. In
my opinion all Repulse does is stall for one extra turn and it has no real
drastic effects on the opponent.

Repulse is more of a defensive card as opposed to Recoil which is more
aggressive. A big problem with Repulse is the fact that Repulse can be a
dead card while in your hand with it limited targets. Such instances could
come up against control heavy decks.

Sometimes with Repulse you have no choice but to bounce unfavorable
creatures. These creatures include FTK (Flametongue Kavu) and Mystic Snakes.

Repulses card drawing ability is not always that good. At the best you will
draw a mediocre card. Finally, Repulse will not see any play except in Type
2 whereas Recoil could cut it in another format. Repulse although a very
good Cantrip just doesn't make the cut when sized up against the power of

Recoil has some sizeable flaws as well.  For one, it's two colors can make
it hard to play, because being short one color makes the card pointless, and
you wind up waiting for that one land.

Also, Recoil is hard to use in your favor.  With Repulse, you are able to
target your own creatures without a care because it has no down side when
doing so, but to Recoil one of your own creatures to avoid a Wrath of God
hurts you some, because you still have to discard a card.  That can hurt
because in the possibility of you having a good hand, you loose something
good which you most likely didn't want to loose.

When in a tight situation, Recoil can be just as bad as Repulse with those
"Unfavorable" Creatures.  When your low on life, you might wind up playing a
Recoil on one of those Flametongues or Mystic Snakes, even if you don't want

Also, an ability, and a card put Recoil to shame - Madness, and Dodecapod. 
That's right, for bouncing a land, you might wind up facing a 5/5 creature. 
Then there's creatures with Madness, where they might just magically
reappear when recoiled.  Recoil's discard part is starting to size up to be
not as good as it looks.  While making yout opponent drop a card is always
good, it has the potential to backfire a lot, especially with Dodecapod
existing in a lot of sideboards, and the Madness ability being added to the
mix in the next set.

Recoil is an extremely good card, but it's disadvantages might very well
shift the favor to Repulse.

In the end, one word makes the big difference between these two card -

As with Shadowmage Infiltrator over Thieving Magpie, the word "may" threw
that entire argument in favor of Infiltrator, well, the word "perminant"
throws this argument in favor of Recoil.

Sometimes you just need to bite the bullet and hope that something bad
doesn't happen with the discard ability on Recoil, but sometimes it will. 
That's a risk people will just have to take.

Repulse and Recoil will both see a lot of play, most of the time in the same
decks, but Recoil is clearly better because it can change the tide of a game
by taking out a land, or taking out a Deed.  All Repulse can do is get you
an extra card, and manuveur around problems.  Unfortunately, unless you have
a counter, it doesn't solve anything, like Matt said, for more than a turn. 
Recoil doesn't exactly manuveur around problems, it can handle them as well,
which is something Repulse can't.

So, in the end, both are extraordinary cards, and both deserve a lot of play
because of it, but Recoil is better because tagging anything, while it's not
that great of an advantage in this creature based type II environment, is
still better, and always will be.


Okay, the Heretic has a few thank you's to hand out, so sit tight for a
minute or two...

Thank you to Matt for co-authoring this with me.  You did a fantastic job on
your parts!  Thanks for being a great person to talk to, not being a
nuisance, or an idiot on the board.  It's good to know that the Message
board isn't exactly filled with all randoms.

Thank you to Chris for giving me the idea, and for also not being a nuisnce
or a random on the board!

Congrats to my friend Scott (not our Webmaster, sorry! Although you deserve
congrats too.) for getting back into Magic...  good luck (yeah, like I'll
really be saying that later on when your knocking me around the building
with your decks like you were before you got out last time!)

No slops, I don't feel like it, because the list would be waaaaaaay too

Thank you, and have a good day......

John "The Happy Heretic" Hornberg

PS - You can get a hold of me at my e-mail, promiseland85@hotmail.com if you
have any questions, comments, criticsm, etc, etc.  I read everything, and I
reply to most everything, before you curse me out, be aware of that!  Of
course, not of you would do that, would you?



Copyright 2001 Pojo.com


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