Thursday, July 14, 2011

You turn me up like a garage door

I got a few games in with $300 last night and they weren't terribly instructive. I don't blame anyone for this; Fuz was testing a new deck and in the first matchup, I just rolled him as nothing came up for him to play.

The second matchup was more interesting; he was playing a G/B deck based around Darkest Hour, making all creatures black while playing creatures with protection from black and I was playing a deck that needs its creatures to be green and white.

I didn't even realize what was going on because I had a creature advantage at the time, until I put down a Knight of New Alara and attacked with two Pridemages, saying "Swing for 8," and was corrected "4."

Yup. That's going to be a problem, especially if I'm not paying attention.

Except that it wasn't. I played another Pridemage next turn, destroyed the enchantment and attacked for 12. (So I got lucky, really. Paying attention is crucial all the time, Magic just tends to magnify the need for that skill.)

This is the hallmark of really good builds, I think. Redundancy is certainly part of it but the quality I'm really thinking of is reliability. Can I as a player, depend on this deck/card to do what I want it to do when I want it done-usually, when I draw the card.

The Darkest Hour matchup also showcased why Pridemage really isn't the questionable choice I thought it might be.

Advantages of Qasali Pridemage: Green and white, creature, cheap, has extra ability, has board-impacting ability.

Disadvantages; standard power toughness, doesn't contribute to the masses.

The synergies outweigh the disadvantages and I may have been evaluating the card entirely wrong. It's not like I don't know the card is good, my question was always; Is this good enough? Which it totally is.

Bind is probably the card that most rational people would question. There's just no way for me to know that I'll need that card, right? And in a focused deck, cards I don't have use for 100% of the time just don't belong.

However, the saying goes; No battle plan survives contact with the enemy. Bind is my neat concession to this idea and it's why I don't question that card. Nobody expects it, it's useful against many, many abilities and it draws a card. Why not? It's something that if I was in a tournament environment I might axe it but in a deck that is overwhelmingly about aggro force, having a cheap, cool trick to pull on someone is a good thing, especially since I haven't really let that cool thing run away with my deck's overall theme.

Or put another way; I don't always need Bind, but when I do, I giggle.


  1. I too am finding it hard to not feel the urge to include cards with:

    X DOES contain counter
    X OR contains activated
    X OR contains triggered

    into my decks. I found myself going on a hunt on a card search for those very card types just a month back. (Of course, understanding my general hatred of all things green, BIND didn't find it's way onto my "ACQUIRE LIST"

    As Magic continues to put more and more emphasis (or maybe it's just me?) on creating only creatures with Trigger or Activated abilities that only get more complex, I find these little specialized counters pretty funny as well. "Well, you may feel comfortable that I couldn't counter that 1/2, but I sure can make it nothing more than a flavor text only creature (for a turn).

    I went on a spree (buying 4x of:

    Azorius Guildmage
    Stifle - Ouch, this particular card, I had to spend a few weeks hunting on eBay for a deal on.
    Trickbind - I like this one the best, even though it costs {1} more than others.

    I hope that someday I'll be able to feel that last sentence myself... because last time, you did it to me. :)

  2. It takes a lot of dedication to kill your darlings. Especially when it just seems like; you should be so good. SO GOOD.

    That said, I agree; cards that counter triggered or activated abilities are pretty damn useful because in the quest to make creatures matter (which they didn't for probably the first decade of the game) WotC gave us creatures that did more than just attack.

    But sometimes, you eat the loss because you wanted to do something cool.

  3. I wouldn't question Pridemage, not only because of that extra ability (which kinda wrecked my deck's ability to, well, be the deck it needed to be), but because you're playing cards that make cheap multicolored cards relevant (Knight, Shield).