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Andy Van Zandt



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Argothian Treehouse

with Andy Van Zandt

Champions of Kamigawa- Limited Spotlight on: Moonfolk

New Set new set NEW SET!   So far in limited this set seems to be very much
a roshambo-  both sides often have a creature or two that is swinging every
turn,  and advantage is often gained a little at a time... until something
extreme changes that, such as a dragon coming down when you don't have
removal, or someone's second Honden coming into play.  The bushido and large
amount of evasion add to this tendency.  Today I'll talk directly about the
source of most of this evasion,  the Soratami creatures in blue,  which is
the moonfolk... and obviously, to get here from the moon, you had to fly. 
Green has Sosuke and Kashi Tribe Reavers (both uncommon) as their best
evasion substitute, and black has a couple of creatures with fear (it's good
again, folks!) along with a couple of high cost/low toughness flyers,  while
white does try to compete in the air with some nice moths and a couple of
high end mid-range soulshifters.

But blue has 3 common and 3 uncommon air beaters just in their moonfolk,
plus a couple of spirits that get up too.  The common Soratami are
unfortunately fragile, all with 1 toughness,  but they more than make up for
it with their abilities:

The Cloudskater lets you optimize your draws-  he's a Cephalid Scout but
much better.  Good late and early, can dig for more land without actually
costing you the ones you have,  and no colored mana in the activation cost
means in an emergency, you can dig deep.

The Rainshaper is decent for combat, 2 power for three mana,  and he
prevents your opponent from using removal on you.  It does require you to
leave 3 mana open,  but depending on the opponent, this is often more than
worth it.

The Mirror-Guard has arguably the worst ability,  but keep in mind that it's
an ability that you'll still use in more games than not.  More importantly, 
He's superbly costed (at least, in this set) at 4 mana for 3 power on a
flyer.  One of the quickest common evasive clocks,  especially since his
ability brings a gray ogre along with him.

Then we move on to the Uncommon ones,  which are indeed less fragile for the
most part,  but whose abilities aren't as broken overall:

The Mirror-Mage -is- good,  bouncing creatures repeatedly always has its
spots,  in combat, to protect from removal like the rainshaper,  or even
moving their creatures off as a fog or a tempo thing.  The 3 returned land
in the cost means that if you're using it more than once every few turns,
you're probably stunting yourself greatly.  He's probably shines the most
when the board is at parity, in fact,  which is not something that can be
said of most creatures.  He probably won't recover a game you're losing, 
but other than that, he'll more than earn his keep.

The Seer is not as well costed as the others, really, but he is one of the
highest toughness (a whopping 3!) not only amongst the moonfolk, but among
the flyers as a whole.  His ability isn't much more than a mildly souped-up
and potentially unusuable version of the cloudskater's.  4 mana and dumping
your hand is rarely a good early-game move... and late game the cloudskate
is generally still more of a precision tool,  with less of a tempo cost to
use.  I prefer being able to cast what I draw on the same turn.  It's still
not a -bad- ability, drawing cards rarely is,  it's just not really better
than the skater's in most situations.  So he's a 2/3 with potential, and
still an auto-include in the blue decks, just like all the other Moonfolk.

The Savant, however, is a brick house.  If you're in the winning position
when he comes down,  he often seals up the game for you.  It is pretty hard
to sneak a huge game-reversing legend past him.  or anything but your first
cheap spell of the turn.  Even beyond that, he's again another Rainshaper,
built to protect and serve-  and to not be pinged off by a frostwielder.

The rare ones you can't count on getting, but are still quite good at what
they do:

Uyo, Silent Prophet is not a dragon,  but will hold her own against almost
anything else at 4/4 in the sky.  Her ability is less amazing, but will
still give you the edge you need in a lot of situations...  all your removal
is worth 2, maybe even 3 times the normal value... and more to the point,
when they go to "Pull Under" her,  it's probably worth bouncing all the land
you can to wipe their board in reciprocation.

To wrap things up- Meloku, the Clouded Mirror.  Win.  If they don't have the
removal for him immediately... (and probably black removal at that, with her
4 toughness, and since Cage of Hands and Reciprocate don't do the job)  he's
literally a one-man army.  Close to losing the game?  That's ok, you can now
put a bajillion blockers out there. At no actual cost of card advantage. 
Losing slowly to a flyer or two?  Even easier to deal with.  At parity? 
Here comes the slow but steady swarm.  When you've got a card that stops
dragons cold, you know you're on the right track.  1 mana and one land
bounce and no tap cost to make as many Scryb Sprites as you'd like.  I'm
actually betting on his inclusion in -at least- block constructed decks...
he's even splashable.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying blue is the best color,  but I tend
to lean towards it in limited to start with, and champions gives me lots of
neat toys, rather than the regular vanilla wind monsters i'm usually first
picking.  The moon is quickly becoming an attractive vacation spot. Now I
just to figure out which color to choose my blockers from...

Questions? Comments? Concerns?  Send me an email,

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