Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Problems Have Solutions or Blue Still Has The Best Everything

Carsten Kotter had a pretty great read on True-Name Nemesis, which is a card that I would have 100% expected to see ten years ago and never expected now.

Exxxxxxxxxxcept when Wizards is able to make cards without having to consider the Standard format and the modern design philosophies that have guided the past few years, which, as much as I criticize those sets, have often lead to some interesting, diverse formats.*

*Except when blue is involved. Hmm....

The color problem Carsten points out is the big issue: why is TNN blue? The argument that TNN should be white is dead on and rock solid.

He's blue because WotC, in the absence of other rules about balancing a format, will gleefully handwave away their own guidelines in order to make blue the best color. The place where they can let those guidelines slide? Legacy, which is a format that all the cards from the Commander sets are legal and blue is already insane. WotC has even suggested that Commander is an area where they can release cards that might be interesting in the Eternal formats, without mucking up the much more carefully balanced Standard and now Modern arenas.

So: all True-Name Nemesis is, is a throwback to the days of yore when they could throw all kinds of awesome at blue and nobody could really do anything about it. That's worrisome. And yes, I am aware that in the 2011 Commander product, the "best" card was a green one (also used in Legacy) but it's clear to me that the 2011 product was one where they used modern design principles in order to try and get a grip on a format they didn't entirely understand yet. The proof: Scavenging Ooze was printed in M14 and nobody batted an eye about design issues. Instead we were excited that a very expensive and difficult to acquire card would be widely available!

There is no way in hell TNN is printed in a Standard legal format. While I appreciate that the game isn't just about me, I do wish that colors that were not blue got the kind of boost to their repertoire that TNN gives to blue decks. White would have gotten a huge boost out of that card, helping to push Hatebears and White Weenie decks in a huge way.

On the other hand, when you have a deck that needs help and blue is even close to being in reach, then why not use blue?

In my games with Fuz, one thing I noticed was that on many occasions I wanted multiple copies of my enchantments. Duplicates under many circumstances could be helpful: more Fertile Ground to keep the mana production going, an extra Sphere of Safety to keep creatures off my back or even another Curse of Thirst. Sphere of Safety seemed especially useful to duplicate, because I cannot search it up with a Curse of Misfortune.

So I found a duplication device. It's perfect for this deck because it's splashable, cheap and has a swiss-army knife level of utility. It may even be worth cutting the Mesa Enchantress for multiple copies, because I don't know that I need the card draw in this style of deck, and having no creatures blanks so many opposing strategies, that it's possibly worth making that choice.

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