My Two Cents About Planeshift
you've been listening for the past few weeks about what
Planeshift is expected to bring. I've refrained from
commenting on it for two reasons. Firstly, everyone else
is already talking about it, and there's little I can
add to the debates seeing as how I mostly agree with
what's being said. Secondly, I've only been writing a
Magic column for a few weeks, and my primary focus at
first has been the people who are coming to Magic from
the Pokemon card game. But starting this weekend, when
most of us will probably play March T2 for the first
time, things will be different for anyone who plays in
tournaments, regardless of skill level or experience. As
such, I should probably throw my own two cents into the
pot right about now.
note: I highly encourage anybody who is relatively new
to the game of Magic to play in at least one tournament
a week, if possible. Tournament experience is, in my
opinion, one of the key factors that help to make anyone
a better player. Even if you don't do well at first, the
experience gained is invaluable and will serve to
increase your skill at a much faster rate than you would
see otherwise. End side note.)
let me discuss of some of the cards that have been
talked about in the past month or so, both on an
Internet-wide level or within some of the smaller
circles of gamers that I belong to. Some of these cards
still seem good a month after they were released, some
no longer seem viable. We'll see some of both.
I used to think this card was good. Then somebody
pointed out that in order to consistently bring it out
before turn 4 or 5, you have to play with bad cards.
Generally speaking, 1cc and 2cc black and blue creatures
are bad cards these days, at least in the sort of deck
you'd play the Specter in. So you have turn 5 or 6
Coercion, which is not great against the fast decks. The
sort of decks it would be good against will probably
just counter it. You'll see some people try to play with
this card for a week or two, but in the long run I think
Abyssal Specter is just better.
This was the other overhyped card back around the time
of the prerelease. It's still a great card, in my
opinion, but it may have been printed at the wrong time
to be used for maximal effectiveness. Trying to beat
Fires or any of the other beatdown decks at their own
game is a risky proposition for Black right now. Against
control, it definitely has its merits, but it seems like
it has to come out with a Ritual to do much good. The
jury is still out on this one, as far as I'm concerned.
In my opinion, this is the only card in Planeshift to
have fully lived up to the hype. It's a monster in a
Fires deck, as everybody already knows, and it also
works wonders in R/G or R/G/x decks without Fires, such
as Red Zone. It's too big to reliably burn off the
board, which makes Dark Banishing or Wrath of God
effects just about the only way to deal with it. Oh, and
all those cards that were being played because they
blocked Blastoderm, like Glacial Wall and Evil Eye? They
suck now. Build your decks with the Wurm in mind, or
Remember how much fun Simian Grunts was? Okay, maybe you
don't, but let me assure you that this is just as much,
if not more, of a blast. Being able to play this as an
instant is much more powerful than it sounds. Summon a
surprise blocker, put combat damage on the stack and
then save your own creature, sneak it in under counters,
or just throw off your opponent's math by summoning it
at the end of his turn. Revitalizing Blastoderms and
other such creatures is a bonus. Oh, and it's cute, too!
The first few times I saw this card, it was in Limited.
And I thought it sucked, so I pretty much dismissed it.
Bad move on Spike's part, I guess. It may still suck in
Limited-- I suck in Limited, too, so don't take my word
for it-- but in Constructed, it has the potential to be
amazing. Just about any green creature-based deck worth
its salt has four Elves and four Birds already, so the
gating ability is usually easy to deal with. Second turn
3/4 is pretty good, I hear, especially since you don't
disrupt your mana curve at all (you should be able to
play the mana critter back out immediately after gating
it, assuming you didn't miss a land drop). It's not a
Fires card by any means, but Fires is not the only green
deck out there.
It's good; no question. The question is whether or not
it and the other cards in this set are enough to make
B/R good. I'm doubtful. When compared to the other Dark
Banishing effects, it doesn't really do that much more
than the cards that were already available. Sure it
kills black creatures, but how many of those were there?
The ones that tended to get played (Specters, Wumpus,
etc.) were usually well within reach of commonly played
burn. The only thing I can see that you might need it
for is a kicked Scuta. Okay, it's a good spell, but in
and of itself it's not a reason to play these two
People say this card is good. I am not going to try to
venture an opinion, because I simply do not know enough
about the style of deck that this card supports. My only
experience with the proposed Turbo-Chant deck has been
watching it get rolled by a B/R Invasion Block
Constructed deck. This is not, of course, a
statistically significant sample. The bottom line is
that anything I said about this card would be wrong, so
I'm going to keep my hole shut.
There are two problems with this card, as far as I can
see. First of all, most of the decks that are being
played will not be stopped just by naming one card in
particular. That's not a huge problem, since most U/W
decks have a heavy counterspell component, and the Mage
acts as just one more "virtual" counterspell,
effectively reducing the work your other control
components have to do. The worse problem is that just
about anything can remove him, meaning that you have to
work to keep him alive. All in all, I don't think this
will be huge.
The green battlemage is the one everyone is talking
about, with two extremely good kicker abilities and a
color that it fits well into. The others are not so
good, it seems. While the red one might be useful in a
R/B deck, the others seem either overcosted in terms of
abilities or unsuited for the types of decks that seem
feasible in their colors. The situation is similar for
the Familiars. The white one is the only truly bad one,
but the green one will probably be the only one to see
any Constructed play as all the others seem unsuited for
what the colors in question want to be doing for their
mana and card slots.
be honest, I can't see Planeshift forcing a complete
transformation of the Type 2 environment. The good decks
will still be good, and there's nothing powerful enough
to bring any of the previously bad decks up to par. The
only thing remaining to see is whether or not any
completely new deck will be competitive.
always, you should take my arguments with a healthy dose
of cynicism. One of the unifying characteristics of
Internet writers is that they are almost always dead
wrong about what a new set will bring. Any writer who is
consistently on target when judging the new metagame is
probably also banned from Las Vegas for life.
what am I playing this weekend?
had planned to continue playing my G/R/b land
destruction deck when Planeshift rotated in, with the
sole initial change of removing Flowstone Overseers in
favor of Tahngarth. That was before the last tournament
I played in. At that tournament, I finally realized what
I should have known all along: that the deck a killer
when it works right, but far too random to consistently
win. Weeks of tuning had failed to rectify this. I drove
home and had a little talk with my brother, who also
plays Magic, about the deck's possible future.
Brother> So, how'd the tournament go?
If I ever think about playing that deck again, SHOOT ME.
I needed to make a new deck for this weekend. I also
decided that I was tired of trying to make a good,
competitive deck, and that I just wanted to screw around
and have fun for a while. If I could win a bit while
doing it, so much the better, but I was going to stop
beating myself up when I lost.
it so happened, I had been tossing around a couple of
ideas for a while prior to this. One was a B/R
contraption that worked, among other ways, by endlessly
recurring Highway Robbers for the win. The other was a
sort of Sligh deck that I'd cooked up awhile back just
for kicks. It was made mostly of commons, with a few
other cards that I had lying around. It was fun to play.
The only problem was that my Fallen Angel was in the B/R
deck. I had traded for the Angel a while back and really
wanted to get some use out of it (never mind why I
traded for the Angel; that's another story altogether.)
After a while, it hit me: Splash the Angel into the
Sligh deck! Bingo! I was already running some cheap
multicolor lands to facilitate the addition of (probably
futile) green enchantment removal in the sideboard, so
it seemed workable.
Raging Goblin (Should be another Whelp, probably.)
Skizzik (All I have.)
Hammer of Bogardan
be 60 cards.
sideboard is currently nonexistent and will probably
look something like this:
Dark Banishing effect (probably Agonizing Demise)
other random cards
few words about some choices that appear highly
questionable at first. Flailing Soldier is good when
played early. If you go first, you can almost always
make it at least 2/2 if you need to. Even if your
opponent does get the opportunity to kill it, they will
often have to choose between doing so and playing a
spell of their own that turn. Later on, it becomes Mage
Mage herself is excellent. In playtesting, she shoots
down Birds, Elves, and smaller Rebels, forces River Boas
to regenerate, and takes out a huge portion of Blue
Skies' offensive force just by herself. This deck just
loves a 1/1 for one mana with an incredible ability.
Toady is a card I decided to try when I was first
assembling the deck. After a bit of play, I realized
just how great it is. A 2/2 for two mana is just about
as good as red can hope for in this day in age, and the
drawback usually isn't a drawback because you will so
rarely have fewer creatures than your opponent during
the beginning of the game.
Idol gets around color hosing, evades Wrath of God, and
is solid at a 3/3 for three mana. The drawback is
usually negligible. What more could you ask for?
any rate, that's what I will be playing as Planeshift
rolls in. Note that there are no actual Planeshift
cards, although some might find their way in the
sideboard. At first glance, Flametongue Kavu seems like
a natural, but I'm not sure I want a huge amount of
4-drops in the deck. We shall see. I hope to write a
tournament report on this deck's debut performance, so
watch out for that. Hopefully by then I'll also have
composed a cool name for the deck-- I have a few under
of luck to everyone this weekend and for the rest of