Argothian Treehouse
Andy Van Zandt



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Argothian Treehouse

with Andy Van Zandt

Underestimated Cards: Mirrodin Limited

Pretty straightforward article title, eh?  Let's jump right into it without
much more preface.  I'm sure you'll get it as we go along,  I've got 3 cards
I'd like to cover today:

Raise The Alarm
I don't know why this card gets passed to me as consistently late as it
does.  I can often pick up a couple of these tenth pick or later,  which
usually means someone took a card they're not going to play but is in their
color (or a bad artifact creature) over it,  which, in my eyes, is generally
an error.  This card, to me, is a better 2 mana "creature" than Tel-Jilad
Chosen.  Its surprise factor is multi-functional,  which is always a good
thing.  You can often kill a myr or a chosen and still have a dude left
during the first three turns of the game,  or you can not lay a two drop, 
so perhaps your opponent will think he's got a turn of leeway to lay
equipment or whatnot,  and then you pop out your guys end of turn, splitter
'em up on yours,  and get in 4 points of pseudo-haste!  Late game,  they can
do a couple things...  they can be roughly equivalent to a fog in many
instances,  just by being two instant chump blockers,  and you can suit them
up with a couple pieces of equipment and send them into your opponent's army
separately,  with the sole intent of trading away with opposing minions (one
of many potential 2 for 1 situations this card has...  in an environment
with so much creature enhancement,  1/1's still count as battle worthy

Slagwurm Armor
Everyone disses the slagwurm armor (while simultaneously touting
bonesplitter as a roughly 75% first pick),  and this I take issue with. 
Slagwurm armor is not a first pick, certainly,  but only because you can
pick them up later, since people don't like them.  But it's a really good
card.  Honest.  Not only on the defense, although that's of course where
it's obvious shining point is;  equip ANYTHING with this card and boom!
Instant ground stall...  at least, instant
prevent-your-opponent-from-attacking-you stall,  which is, i hear, a good
thing.  On a flier?  All the better.  But also (and this is what a lot of
people miss) on the offense, this card is quite the nuissance.  You may not
want to send your Fangren Hunter or Nim Replica into the fray by himself
normally,  because you'll rarely get better than a 1 for 1 out of it...  and
the least favorable 1 for 1 your opponent can arrange.  But with a bigger
butt... a MUCH bigger butt,  your fighter suddenly lives through anything
but massive amounts of blocking...  which usually means it's not worth it to
block with enough to kill the guy.  Hard to explain,  but next time you're
sitting on a guy with 3+ power and can't attack, look at the board, and
pretend he was 6 more toughness.  If you serve,  is your opposition faced
with either letting it through, chumping, or mass blocking and losing more
than one creature?  Then that's a good time for the armor.  This type of
thing happens more than you might think.  Then, afterwards,  if they didn't
block or if they did kill your guy,  you get to move the armor onto one of
your untapped followers,  to hold the fort during the enemy's next turn. 
Even more notably,  suddenly your fliers are better than the other side's. 
Send that Somber Hoverguard over suited up, and laugh as they take three
rather than suiciding their skyhunter patrol.  How often are you staring
down 8 power or more in the air?  Very rarely, I'd wager.  Stall-making and
stall-busting,  I'm not sure what more you could ask of a common.

You say 3 mana for a 1/2 non-evasive, non-card or mana advantage creature is
a bad deal?  Yes, in most cases,  but not this one.  This little girl waves
her magic Tempo-Be-Gone wand and all your early game problems are fixed. 
Lay her turn 3.  If your opponent does not kill her by the end of the game, 
odds are she saved you at least 10 life points during the first 12 turns. 
Play out a few games,  you'll see.  To be fair,  you often need to be on the
receiving end of her wicked ways to truly appreciate how annoyingly powerful
she can be;  and while it's certainly a rare circumstance,  I have seen
people (and have myself) actually skipped a draw step or two.  If that ever
happens,  you know she's hard at work.  Not to mention that it shuts down
hasty berserkers and lightning greaves'd people.  You'd like to what? 
Arrest my guy and attack me?  Attack me and lay a blocker?  Lay a piece of
equipment, equip up your skycub, and go for my dome?  Think again.  How's
this for another exercise to guage her worth-  consider her in play from
turn thee on, and count the number of turns she would have fogged off their
attack.  Two turns?  Five turns?  Moment's peace was a good card in limited,
  and though she may not sport the surprise factor,  she does stop the
onslaught... and often for more turns than the peace does.

So yeah,  I'd like you to pause to ponder these cards for a minute next time
you're passed a pack with one in it.  More importantly,  if you draft one,
even by accident, PLAY IT.  Do you play 3 slagwurm armors?  Probably not. 
But 1 or 2 can do a world of good in any deck, any match-up.  Let me know
what you think.  And if y'all have any other cards you think are under or
over appreciated in draft,  let me know, and justify your response.  Have

You can reach Andy at:

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