2/16/2010 LI: "San Diego Draft Watch"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Limited Information, which goes live Tuesday morning on magicthegathering.com.

As far as Dead Reckoning goes, I like it, but I think I actually overrated it initially.  I played with it in my Sealed Pool at the prerelease and did well (4-3) but not spectacularly.  Dead Reckoning was probably the weakest card that I played with.  When I first looked at it, I was thinking 2-for-1.  You get to put a creature from your gy onto the top of your library and you take out a dude.  The problem is, it requires a creature to be in your gy to begin with, which means it is likely useless in the early game.  The next problem is trying to make the most out of both sides of it.  I was playing UB flyers and often the card I wanted to reincarnate the most was Windrider Eel, or any pleothora of 2/2 flyers really.  The problem is, often my opponent had larger creatures than that.  Sure, it could still take out a 2/2 dork, but that wasn't really something I wanted to accomplish with the card.  Finally, you are telegraphing to your opponent what you are putting on the top of your library, so they can easily react to it.  It is the antithesis of surprising.  Also, the double black requirement was sometimes annoying.  That said, if you are short on removal or if there is a devastating but fragile card (like Windrider Eel) that you want to reanimate it can be decent.  I am not picking it in my first five picks, but if it wheels, I think I would be fortunate to get it.  After all, it is removal, even if it is a weak form of removal.    
I liked Dead Reckoning in sealed a lot, but still enjoyed it in draft.  I had a mostly black deck, so the double black was not a problem.  Creatures tend to have such low toughness that reckoning back a Giant Scorpion was usually a great play.  Sometimes I'd get it early before anything died, but then that just meant I'd be able to attack aggressively, and should I trade I could recoup easily.
Dead reckoning isn't always great, but if your deck can support it (aka you have several guys with high power) it's a very powerful card. Early on it's a removal spell, which is always welcome but not amazing. Late game however it makes an amazing topdeck that can easily break open a stalemate, particularly in the land-heavy decks people tend to play in this format. In an agressive deck I would like to pick one up around fourth or fifth pick, but in a slower deck that has a few bomby creatures and that wants to trade away its early dudes to stall for time I would consider first picking it for sure.
Dead Reckoning seems pretty solid to me.  Even if you only expect it to achieve power=2 most of the time, it should be able to kill a lot of stuff... plus, you get the bonus upside as you eventually go higher.  It's like a weaker Ghastly Demise, which was itself quite playable.

Note that this card is not a 2 for 1, since you don't actually get your guy back in your hand.  The only thing you need to think about is early/midgame, whether or not you actually WANT to retrieve the 2- or 3- drop that was pretty easy to trade in combat to turn on Dead Reckoning, since it will take up your next draw.  In other words, will it be worth it to spend your whole turn killing a small dude to 100% draw a small dude of your own, or should you wait for a better spot lategame?
Dead Reckoning is only good when you have a large creature in your graveyard. While black is obviously good at putting things into the graveyard, that's not going to be the case for all decks.

During the pre-release, I was fortunate to pull two Dead Reckonings and a Death's Shadow. During one fortunate opening hand, I had one of each. I was painfully light on removal, so I'd cast the Death's Shadow with greater than 13 life, immediately bury it, then cast Dead Reckoning on it to burn some big creature on my opponent's side for 13.

Kaboom!

The limitation is that you can only do damage to a target creature. But if we open up the format and throw in a Stuffy Doll or Spitemare, then we're talking.

Either way, the card definitely has some promise if you've got the right cards. Otherwise, it's expensive if you only manage to hit for 2 or 3 and don't even get to bring the card back to your hand like Raise Dead. Remember, you have to then draw this card next turn, so it better be useful in the long run.
I agree with all.  What I was trying to say that it is at worst playable and at best it can be very good.  In my sealed pool, I was disappointed with it, but that was because I had high expectations of it.  I was running UB flyers with Sphinx of Jwar Isle, multiple Wind Zendikons, and multiple Windrider Eels.  I had a good amount of black removal and blue tricks, 5-6 of each.  But I was creature light, I think I had 10 creatures plus the Zendikons.  With this pool, it was playable, but surely by 22nd card.  I needed more early defense and this did not provide it.  
I think it is important to recognize its strengths and weaknesses.  It is not a two-for-one, more like a 1.5 for one.  And that is only if both: 1) you wanted to put the creature on the top of your library and 2) you took out a dude.  It can be awkward, it requires a decent amount of creatures in your deck to be good, and it is not good early.  That said, if you can make it work, it is one of the better removal spells out there.  
If in Sealed, I will play with it, even if my deck isn't set up to abuse it.  In Draft, I think I will see if it wheels, unless my deck can abuse it.  Even then, I don't think it is a first pick.        

Oh yeah, and every time I used Dead Reckoning, I thought to myself "Man, this would be awesome in GB!".  I think GB Rock-style decks are clearly the best types of decks to abuse this, because they want to recycle their Vastwood Gorgers and then hit a dude for 5. 
I haven't played with WWK yet (I'm waiting for it for online), but I think that people are comparing cards to other cards printed in the past and basing an evaluation on that.

So let's look at Dead Reckoning.  A situation where I'd play it is when I have a large creatue in the graveyard.  Another situation I might consider playing it is when I have, say, a 2/2, and my opponent has a 4/4.  I can safely attack with my 2/2, and if the other player blocks, I can kill the 4/4.  You could read it as saying "double the attack of target attacking creature if it is blocked".  It allows me to attack into a larger creature without throwing away a card.  The thing is, so does Giant Growth, and that costs a lot less mana, and doesn't cost me a card draw.  That is why people don't like Dead Reckoning.

With such a fast format, you don't usually have time to set up tricky things (as if there were any in ZEN anyway), so it's best to evaluate things on a per-card basis.
So let's look at Dead Reckoning.  A situation where I'd play it is when I have a large creatue in the graveyard.  Another situation I might consider playing it is when I have, say, a 2/2, and my opponent has a 4/4.  I can safely attack with my 2/2, and if the other player blocks, I can kill the 4/4.  You could read it as saying "double the attack of target attacking creature if it is blocked".  It allows me to attack into a larger creature without throwing away a card.  The thing is, so does Giant Growth, and that costs a lot less mana, and doesn't cost me a card draw.  That is why people don't like Dead Reckoning.



Using it purely for creature burn for 1-5 damage is probably a very poor choice. Using it for creature burn for 8-10+ starts to pay off. The biggest limitation, of course, is that it only targets a creature -- not a player.

But keep in mind, that this card does double duty -- not only do you get the burn, but you get the graveyard retrieval, which can be highly useful.

At the end of the day, this card is only as useful as the creature you're fetching from your graveyard -- and even more than most because that's the card you're going to draw next, so it better be a good card.
Dead Reckoning. Get back a critter and kill one of theirs. 2-1 for potential but what ELSE would you rather be casting turn 3 [or for 3 mana]? It's a fine card I say but I'd take it immediately after hard removal/fatties.
So let's look at Dead Reckoning. A situation where I'd play it is when I have a large creatue in the graveyard. Another situation I might consider playing it is when I have, say, a 2/2, and my opponent has a 4/4. I can safely attack with my 2/2, and if the other player blocks, I can kill the 4/4. You could read it as saying "double the attack of target attacking creature if it is blocked". It allows me to attack into a larger creature without throwing away a card. The thing is, so does Giant Growth, and that costs a lot less mana, and doesn't cost me a card draw. That is why people don't like Dead Reckoning.



Using it purely for creature burn for 1-5 damage is probably a very poor choice. Using it for creature burn for 8-10+ starts to pay off. The biggest limitation, of course, is that it only targets a creature -- not a player.

But keep in mind, that this card does double duty -- not only do you get the burn, but you get the graveyard retrieval, which can be highly useful.

At the end of the day, this card is only as useful as the creature you're fetching from your graveyard -- and even more than most because that's the card you're going to draw next, so it better be a good card.



It's better to evaluate cards in the average case. Black in ZEN is going to throw out a bunch of cheap vampires really quickly so you're probably on the offensive. Your threats are going to be big creatures that come out later as they block and whittle down the damage stream that you established in the early game.

The point of a card like Dead Reckoning is to allow you to maintain your damage stream even after the opponent has played a blocker. You're not going to attack into a 4/4 with three 2/2s if your opponent is at 14 life. With Dead Reckoning, however, that attack becomes profitable.

I just think Dead Reckoning suffers from the fact that other cards do the same thing, but for much less mana. Sadin is correct in a high evaluation, however, because it fits with black's aggressive game plan.
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