SCG Daily - Breaking Wind
I want you to be good at Magic, just like me. While I understand you can never be as fantastic at this game as I am, this week is all about helping you to achieve those dreams, if they involve being tremendously awesome at Magic, but still nowhere at ridiculously broken as me. Each day, a lesson will be imparted in which you will learn to break things. I am your Aesop, so prick up your ears, pay strict attention, and you shall be delivered.
Today I will break the theory of card evaluations wide open, just like Zvi Mowshowitz, though I won't be so egotistical… I'll be worse. Let the ideas contained within be your guide to understanding…everything.
Here I was, racking my brain trying to come up for Daily topics, and failing miserably, when the Guildpact set reviews started flowing like milk (past your eyes! lol at the 4th grader who told me that one). I read Flores'sez and Spaniel's takes on Guildpact, was rebuffed when I tried to read the BrainBurst ones (freakin' Premium!) and can come away with a singular idea: wow, this set is like, not very good for Constructed.
While Flores was much more tactful in his review, and often gave the benefit of the doubt, Spaniel was not quite so forgiving. I admit that many of the things they both said made a good deal of sense, even if I don't necessarily agree.
Although, I do love the smell of nihilism in the morning.
The foremost “huh?' was comparing Leyline of Singularity to Cornered Market. Yes, they pretty much do the same thing, no, not really, not even close. However, Market was from Masques, and if you remember the cards in that Standard environment…Well, there was Urza Freakin' Block…not to mention:
By the time Invasion rolled around, Fires was all the rage, and Market still somehow managed to escape detection, mostly due to its inability to kill Saproling Burst tokens. Market prevented spells or nonbasic lands with the same name as a nontoken permanent from being played.
This is a tad more suxxors that Singularity, because all it does is prevent you from having to deal with an additional problem with the same name as an existing problem, which basically means: you got some freakin' problems.
Singularity can kills things dead. Alternatively, if you start with it in play, it may or may not impact your opponent until they either kill you with one quarter of their creatures, or kill the Leyline – how anyone can be so certain that this card is chaff (before the set is actually released, mind you) impresses me to no end. By the way, it doesn't seem too bad with the Hunted creatures, just like Uncle Aaron said when he built our decks for us.
Likewise, if you cast it on turn 4, there is a possibility of sweeping the board, an ability Blue has been known for since the days of Alpha and the best Blue reset ever printed: Nevinyrral's Disk .
This doesn't mean that Singularity is necessarily good, but the one thing that always cracks me up about set reviews is that the new cards are compared to similar cards from the past and measured with an oftentimes irrelevant yardstick. Especially to you freaks that use the yard-free metric system.
I know that Blastoderm is on the edge of Constructed playability, Rancor isn't all that, Dream Halls is too expensive to be consistent, Wild Mongrel is the best creature in Odyssey, and gosh darn it, High Market is way better than Rishadan Port.
We can go far back in time, all the way to Ravnica, to find similar opinions: Glare is no Opposition, Circu is God, Suppression Field hoses the entire world, and… perhaps they underestimated Dredge a little, barely, maybe, but props to the guys that had the guts to predict that the best dual lands in the last ten years would be like, pretty good, Helix and Putrefy might be decent utility, Watchwolf might be played in G/W decks, and well, Char and three mana, once of which produces Red, equals combo.
Look now, peeps, and see the most remarkable thing ever:
I wonder if any of the playtesters tried that out. Probably not, or they would never have released such brokenness into an unsuspecting and blissfully innocent world. While that is evidently a blistering start, and your opponent would be advised to get a move on, questions remain. The metagame will answer them, even if only in the form of additional questions that all rhyme with “how in the hell do we beat that?”
I like set reviews, and while they are assuredly not assignments I would like to have, I'm sure they'd be fun to write so long as I didn't have to actually be “helpful.” Then again, I'm bad at Magic so perhaps this is a match made in heaven.
Still, set reviews are like snakes in the grass: they're liable to jump up'n bite ya' in tha' ass when you bare your ass and dare snakes to jump up and bite ya'. Well, not really, since no one remembers what people said anyway, unless they are so ridiculously wrong.
I think this may be why Flores' review offers much more “possibility” than Spaniel's. Mike's been around long enough to know that things are not always what they seem, and today's chaff could very well be tomorrow's format breaker. I don't know how long Spaniel's been slingin', but to read his reviews thus far is to conclude that Guildpact aspires to someday be as collectible as Homelands.
However, a general overview of the set gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling, much like I did when I started digging into Ravnica: like a kid in a candy store that I broke into at night and the register was left open too and spandex-clad chyx all for me.
Obviously, I like Cry of Contrition, a lot, but really, who doesn't?
I fancy the idea of Sunforger fetching Cerebral Vortex or Electrolyze end-of-turn. I may not be ready to state that ‘Forger is the same class as Jitte, but I will say that it's pretty damned good. Fetching up Char, Helix and Devouring Light has thus far proven mostly amazing, and the unknown goodies from the B/R guild promise insane utility when your opponent least expects it.
How come Daggerclaw Imp seems strong, even in Constructed?
The fact that Drowned Rusalka forces you to discard before you draw is likely to be fairly beneficial, and not just when you have no cards in hand. The “sacrifice a creature” deal smells like icing on the cake, and tastes like smashed potatoes and gravy.
Dryad Sophisticate will exit many combat phases completely unscathed.
When Giant Solifuge was spoiled at 4/?, I figured it was going to be 4/2, and fooled around with it as such…and I liked it. I still like it as a 4/1, and so should you, because one-toughness creatures should never be discounted. As long as they have haste.
Gruul Guildmage is going to eat a lot of lands and end games because of it.
The guy in the fori who suggested Hatching Plans in Legacy Enchantress may be right.
Orzhov Euthanist…how can an assassin be a euthanist? Oh, I know: Wizards must be filled with right-wing nuts who consider euthanasia to be murder for the sake of freeing the living from a pain-in-the-ass, which of course it is. Still, this is less offensive than the in-development name “Orzhov Abortionist,” with the creature type “Legendary Human – Radical Feminist.”
Is it just me, or does Seize the Soul seem really, really good? I want four anyway.
I won't be happy until I break Sky Swallower. Or at least piss off my opponents. It does seem somewhat attractive in a ‘Tings build. Kinda. I'll try harder though, just for you.
Someone suggested I try to break Storm Herd. I'm here to tell you that hundreds of guys at kitchen tables around the world have already done it. Those White mages realize that a) there is no reason this thing should go off for less than twenty, and b) Goblin Bombardment.
I guess we can't combine Wee Dragonauts with Heartbeat of Spring to deck and de-life the opponent in the same turn. Not “win more!” but “win twice!”
Okay, calm down: Wreak Havoc is still pretty damned good. To those of you who thought it could possibly cost 1RG: are you on crack? Sure, playing first and absolutely, positively destroying an opponent's singleton land no matter how Blue their hand is seems good for the game, even if the card wouldn't be banned in everything but Vintage, where it would be restricted. Or perhaps it would just piss off many, many players, which, as we know, is good for the long-term growth of the game.
So, feel free to rip on Guildpact because Culling Sun is no Wrath of God, Exhumer Thrull is strictly inferior to both Gravedigger and Museum Turkey, Ghostway make you long for the days of Lifeline, and Nivix, Aerie of the Firemind is positively not the new Temporal Aperture.
Alternatively, you could take the above cards in their proper context, actually play with them a bit, and then, if you still feel like engaging in a game of the dozens, have at it.
But that's not fun times, now is it? I almost typed “now Izzet,” but realized how queer that already is; you can still do it if you like, though. In order to squeeze as much fun out of this game as humanly possible, one must be willing to go the extra mile. If contained within that mile is the desire to judge cards based on not much more than theory, then so much the better, for we are all Monday morning quarterbacks, even if we never remember to go back and read the old reviews.
If I wasn't so lazy, and Johnny Dial Up, I'd check out as many as possible, for no other reason than to see how smart I am in tremendous retrospect. Why is it fun to rip on others who go out on a limb and offer obviously a-little-too-premature opinions that turn out to be slightly incorrect? Because it is, that's why. Additional reasons may or may not include that we want our technology ahead of the curve, we want to be right about everything, and if we can't be right, it's almost as good if other people are wrong, and finally, we are all petty, insecure virgins who dress up as Klingons for Halloween.
I'm no different, other than being fabulously gifted at every aspect of this game, especially the ability to discern broken cards well in advance of the professional set reviewers.
As an example, I was one of the few who believed Pitchstone Wall was going to reveal the true sickness of Madness. ‘Nuff said, but I'll give you another: no one else was as positive as I of the metagame-breaking effect Doomsday Specter would have on the environment. Pow, and yet one final piece of evidence: Megrim = the best way ever to counteract the brokenness of Pitchstone Wall. Smash. Mouth. Football.
As you can see, being gifted at card evaluation has paid off for me, and I hope that some of you have gathered wisdom from this article. While you will never be as wonderful at Magic, breakdancing and sex as I, you must believe to achieve.
I will leave you with one last nugget of truth. You may use this information to profit in whatever ways you can:
Four months later, I still think Ravnica is better than Invasion, and if the inevitable comparison of Guildpact to Planeshift must follow, I have a hunch it will more than hold its own, currently and historically.
But that's just me, and I'm bad at Magic.
John Friggin' Rizzo