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Andy Van Zandt



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Argothian Treehouse

with Andy Van Zandt


Champions of Kamigawa Limited

Spotlight on: Moonring Mirror and Sensei's Divining Top

Let's take a step back in time... way back in time... all the way back
to Mirrodin Block.  Wait, no,  let's just look at a couple of the cool
artifacts from the new set.  That'll be more fun.  Let's go with two
of the most card-manipulating ones,  Moonring Mirror and the much
acclaimed Sensei's Divining top.

First off,  Moonring Mirror seems to be an obvious "fix" of Duplicity,
which saw basically no play for a couple of reasons;  first, it was
too expensive, and second, while you do get an influx of cards, it
takes a turn to do, and you eventually lose the advantage gained
because of the discarding... at some point you'll want to get rid of
your own Duplicity.  While Moonring Mirror is still 5 mana,  it is all
colorless, so it can go in any deck,  and you actually -gain- cards in
the long run by using it.  Very simply, it equates to having a howling
mine in play that only affects you.   The standard use should be to
switch your hand for the cards under it almost every upkeep,  unless
you've got a specific plan/play that calls for something else.  This
lets you see the card that was put under it during your last draw
phase every turn, plus the one that you draw this turn puts a new one
under the ring.  Voila, Howling Mine...  but wait...

Obviously this takes a couple of turns before it becomes worthwhile,
but in limited those couple of turns are reasonable to come by,  and
it's not like you have to devote any extra resources during those
turns to get things up to speed.   Now,  if you're blue, you may not
even have to wait.  Soratami Cloudskate and Mirror-mage both draw you
cards... and each draw is worth two while you've got the Mirror.  See?
 The Mirror-mage goes with the Mirror.  Interesting, eh?  This would
be an uncommon situation in which he's potentially better than
Cloudskate.  I was actually in a draft and had the mirror in play,
and I needed to dig up a spirit or arcane spell immediately to use my
2 Teller of Tales to repeatedly untap a Kabuto moth for the exact
amount of damage to win the game,  before his red Honden pings away my
last life point next turn.  Sound convoluted?  It was.  I had
Cloudskate in play as well.  The correct play in this situation?
During my upkeep, put Mirror's ability on the stack, then use the
cloudskate once or twice,  putting extra cards under the Mirror AND in
my hand.  If none of them I draw is what I need, do the switch, and

In any case, you see how strong the Mirror can be,  that was just a
long way of pointing out how it is actually more than a Howling Mine,
it effectively doubles all your draws.  Plus since this -isn't-
Mirrodin block,  you can expect to keep your mirror in play.  Just be
careful of the red Kami and blue bounce spells.

So, Sensei's Divining Top.  In the pre-release I played against a guy
in the Team Sealed event (which Herman Armstrong, Jeremy Simmons and I
went 4-0 in, thank you very much) who was running the top,  and was
very enthusiastic every time he used it.  But he never played anything
to make it worth using.

See,  I think people missed out on the basic math of the card... you
don't gain anything from it by itself.  Yes,  you are effectively 2
cards deeper into your deck for the rest of the game... if you spend a
colorless mana every turn- at which point it becomes a bad 2 point
scry.  For this card to actually be good, you need some enablers such
as shuffle or impulse-style effects.  If you have enough of these,
this card is grrrreat!  If you don't, it's a waste of a slot.
Obviously green has several cards that work with this in limited:
Commune with Nature, Time of Need, Kodama's Reach, and the Rampant
Growth Snake.  Blue has it's fair share as well, of course,  with Peer
Through the Depths and Eerie Procession, and the rare Gifts Ungiven.
Plus everyone gets Journeyer's Kite.  Well, maybe not everyone,  but
it combos exquisitely with the top nevertheless.

I think that this card has potential to shine even more in
constructed... sac lands alone are enough to toss this into almost any
extended deck.  It gets a forseeable slot in Draco-Explosion, among
other decks as well.  Assuming that Kamigawa Block constructed is
as... I don't want to say slow, but let's go with "ungainly" as the
limited,  this could be a key inclusion in several decks.  While I'd
love to Trinket Mage up this toy,  I think as long as Mirrodin is in
Type 2, it'll be too fast for the Top.  In any case, use it right or
don't use it at all.  It's not a first pick in draft unless you intend
to go green.

Yay for deck manipulation!

Questions? Comments? Suggestions?

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