4/1/2010 TD: "SUPER-ficial"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Top Decks, which goes live Thursday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Glad to hear Flores explaining the sorcery speed things for everyone who doesn't like it.

But I would be a little pissed off now if I'd been planning to see 'The Empire Strikes Back' and didn't want anyone to spoil it for me...

Also glad to see another leveller who is totally worth going into ultimate most of the time.
But I would be a little pissed off now if I'd been planning to see 'The Empire Strikes Back' and didn't want anyone to spoil it for me...


spoilers.png
Figure of Destiny came down a turn earlier, leveled at instant speed, and leveled up faster than this thing.  It could also be played in Mono White, Mono Red, and WR, while this thing can only be played in mono red.  Lightning Bolt also wasn't in the format with Figure of Destiny.  Sorry, I'm just not seeing this in standard.  Probably good in block though.
Figure of Destiny came down a turn earlier, leveled at instant speed, and leveled up faster than this thing.  It could also be played in Mono White, Mono Red, and WR, while this thing can only be played in mono red.  Lightning Bolt also wasn't in the format with Figure of Destiny.  Sorry, I'm just not seeing this in standard.  Probably good in block though.



This, although I question it in block as well. I think it will do well in the 228-piece limited meta, however. But I actually came here to compliment Qmark's picture there. It made my night Laughing

Sorry, Mike, not seeing it. But thanks for not previewing a 14 mana 16/16 that lets you got to the store and get a free foil when you cast it.

I know we already went through this with Lotus Cobra, but why is this creature Mythic Rare?  Looks like a staple efficient creature for mono-red decks.  If Wizards can't think of good Mythic Rare cards with actual Mythic flavor and mechanics, perhaps they should stop printing cards at that rarity.


Near-Death Experience seems like a much better fit for the Mythic rarity.

Thanks to everyone who helped with the design of the plane of Golamo in the Great Designer Search 2!
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These are the decks I have assembled at the moment:
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Kicker Aggro (Invasion Block) Sunforger/Izzet Guildmage Midrange (Ravnica/Time Spiral/Xth Standard) Dragonstorm Combo (Time Spiral/Lorwyn/Xth Standard) Bant Midrange (Lorwyn/Shards/M10 Standard)
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Angel Resurrection Casual Soul Sisters Sindbad's Adventures with Djinn of Wishes Sphinx-Bone Wand Buyback Morph (No Instants or Sorceries) Cabal Coffers Control Zombie Aggro Hungry, Hungry Greater Gargadon/War Elemental Flashfires/Boil/Ruination - Boom! Call of the Wild Teysa, Orzhov Scion with Twilight Drover, Sun Titan, and Hivestone Slivers Rebels Cairn Wanderer Knights Only Gold and () Spells Captain Sisay Toolbox Spellweaver Helix Combo Merfolk Wizards Izzet Guildmage/The Unspeakable Arcane Combo Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind and his Wizards Creatureless Wild Research/Reins of Power Madness Creatureless Pyromancer Ascension Anarchist Living Death Anvil of Bogardan Madness Shamen with Goblin Game/Wound Reflection Combo Mass damage Quest for Pure Flame Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle/Clear the Land with 40+ Lands Doubling Season Thallids Juniper Order Ranger Graft/Tokens Elf Archer Druids Equilibrium/Aluren Combo Experiment Kraj Combo Reap Combo False Cure/Kavu Predator Combo Savra, Queen of the Golgari Sacrifice/Dredge Elf Warriors Eight-Post Sneak Attack Where Ancients Tread Zur the Enchanter with Opal creatures Tamanoa/Kavu Predator/Collapsing Borders Esper Aggro Mishra, Artificer Prodigy and his Darksteel Reactor Theft and Control Unearth Aggro Soul's Fire Vampires Devour Tokens Phytohydra with Powerstone Minefield Treefolk Friendly? Questing Phelddagrif Slivers Dragon Arch Fun I'm probably forgetting a few...
Worst mythic so far. honestly i think rise of the eldrazi will suck, maybe drafting will be fun, but the standard environment will just be clinging onto zendikar worldwake, and hardly grab anything from this set, cuz its too slow. meh
wait no, i got it! april fools!
right?.... right?
I have liked the level up mechanic so far and I think this is an example of a leveler that will be good.

Seems like there is a mythic cycle of levelers. I agree with you, Fractal, that this card doesn't seem mythic to me. The blue one seems mythic but to me this is more shivan dragon, predator dragon, flameblast dragon etc... than hellkite overlord.
Don't be too smart to have fun

Mike is comparing this to Figure of Destiny if that is R&D's line of reasoning wouldn't that explain the rarity? (Regardless of whether they are right or wrong).

Also I'm a casual player but is this really just mono-red? I mean you need two red to cast it after that you can level up for 1 red a turn and leave the other red mana open for a bolt, as long as you are base-red with some splashes or even 50/50 with another color in a draft couldn't this be played? Just asking...

LOL, excellent April Fool's joke. They'd never print that garbage for real.

The card itself looks really playable. But if the card turns out to be real, lets hope the rarity symbol is April fools joke.

Many things are playable.  Mono-red currently is set pretty well with all of their haste guys.  After we lose Alara, then he could slide in.  But as in, Smother just became Terminate vs Level-Up.. don't even get me started on Pernicious Deed or bounce spells.

Level Up is a nice concept, but the instant speed "leveling" was what made Figure playable, actually it was the hybrid mana part combined as well.  But this 'tap-out' design just makes me angry at the speed of design; they could have made them weaker but able to level at instant speed and they could do more.

The sorcery speed, yes still ranting, stays on track with multi-kicker and the seeming slow speed of this block's design.

I do like many of the cards, this is not bad in a vacuum.  I guess it will fill the flood-use aspect that many decks need (speaking of leveling up in general) but to me it just seems like it is a filler that will find space in decks that need something to do with left over mana.  So either X-Spells, Multi-Kicker, or Level Up.. I can except the need for their existence.
Once again, a Level Up creature that is one rarity level too high.
Once again, a Level Up creature that is one rarity level too high.

more like SUPER-Financial ammairight?
One of the most overtly effective levelers so far. And yeah the mythic status is just a tad much in this case.

Is it just me or are the other levelers they've spoiled so far a little on the lackluster side?
Did people say "Wow" at this?  That's the criteria for Mythic, right?

I mean I scratched my head at the rarity.  That could be considered a "wow" I guess.  Which is nice circular logic:  It wowed us because it's Mythic, and it's Mythic because it wowed us.

I mean this is pretty close to a vanilla dragon.  Lotus Cobra I understood.  I didn't like it because the Cobra was clearly designed to be a utility creature.  But I understood, because the ability was unique and potentially explosive.  Not so here. 

I guess the best analogue is Hellkite Overlord, which had haste and regen in place of the level up ability.  But I would counter that the Level Up ability makes things more accessible (and therefore less Mythic).  That was a massive dragon that dominated as soon as it entered, provided you had the 6 mana.  And it was special enough to be have a Herald of it's own. 

Here we have a Runeclaw Bear that gets French Vanilla over time via more mana.  Sounds like a common that turns into a Rare, which averages out to Uncommon.  What a boring Mythic.  I don't even know if it will be a must-have; I'm not complaining about the price.  I just think it's boring.  Joraga Treespeaker was more Mythic than this.  Kazandu Tuskcaller was more Mythic than this.  At this point I feel like it better be a tournament staple, because price is the only thing that could make it special.

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i don't understand what mythic is supposed to mean anymore. are they hoping this gets played a lot and therefore expensive? that's the only reason i can think of for making it mythic (from their perspective).
The only reason I can see for this to be mythic is that it should be a game-winner in the huge limited pool of 228 cards. And limited should never, ever be the reason for moving a card from rare to mythic.
I understand that they made the level up cards because of the popularity of figure of destiny. But they gave the cars all tragic flaws that make them more unlike figure than like him. They are all mono colored, they level at sorcery speed, they all use counters which makes them very vulnerable. None of them will last past 1 turniment because people will all just be like "Oh right, I forgot about vampire hexmage" then put it into there deck and void the whole purpose of the level up mechanic. The growing part is the only thing that makes them like figure od destiney. They are all just pale imitations of it.

This one was given mythic status because figure should be a mythic, and this card is designed just like figure, 2/2, 4/4, 8/8, in an attempt to make up for it not being figure they added flying, and fire breathing to it. Thats pretty much it. And yes black just kills it. Smother, Hexmage, Urge to feed that stuff.
None of them will last past 1 turniment because people will all just be like "Oh right, I forgot about vampire hexmage" then put it into there deck and void the whole purpose of the level up mechanic..



Oh right. I forgot about vampire hexmage! Yeah she just got better in standard

I think that sorcery speed leveling is good. It helps to balance the mechanic and create challenging plays. To level or not to level that is the question. Sure you'll get frustrated with it when your creature dies in response to an attempt to level it up but if it's worth doing... I think Mike addressed the point pretty well about the drawbacks and benefits of level up vs figure of destiny.

Also in response to someone asking about it being strictly mono colored. I think that it can be ok in some decks that are not mono colored. There is a R/b deck in standard right now that splashes black for blightning and I could see it played in a R/x deck but for the most part it levels too slowly in multicolored decks and/or stretches the mana base too much as a vanilla 2/2 for RR. In limited it will be played regardless in any R/X deck. This is a limited monster and with the amount of removal that is said to be availible in RoE I think this card would be played even if a deck was only running 6 red sources.
Don't be too smart to have fun
If you can pay for it, you can level it up twice a turn. That's assuming your opponent isn't doing anything that should concern you, like casting spells and whatnot. You can't leave open mana to do "ether," so you have to either level up on your turn or skip it for the chance to thwart an opposing threat. Some people have said they like the tension, and I don;t begrudge them that, but this tension is what prevents cards like this from actually being good. The white soldier from today, that one is actually good and playable. This one will go into decks because it was in a Flores article and come right back out.
Some people have said they like the tension, and I don;t begrudge them that, but this tension is what prevents cards like this from actually being good.

Pretty much.

I think there may have been the intent to promote bluffing ("He didn't levelup his dragon?  maybe he's got a Bolt."), but the reality is actually quite transparent ("He didn't levelup his dragon?  He's defintely got a Bolt, since it's just stupid to not level up  as much as possible whenever possible."), which makes the end result pretty obvious ("These cards kinda suck. Hey kid, I'll trade you this awesome dragon for that boring M10 dual!")
I think there has been many a jedi mind trick played on you
Well the "haha sucker, I didn't have a Bolt, I just did nothing for the hell of it" is only useful in corner cases. I'm a fan of gamesmanship and I use things like body language and changing up the pace of my plays to the best of my ability. I've done stuff just lke that to try and freeze my opponent for a turn because that was the only way I could possibly win. I killed a Child of Alara in the Conflux prerelease by attacking with my only creature as if I forgot it was there, slumping my shoulders when my opponent blocked with it, and finishing it off with burn when combat was over. I won that game and the match (yes I got 2-for-1'ed but that is better than losing). Players do this everywhere and there will be opportunities for psychological warfare with this ability.

So there is definitely a place for this type of bluff.  The problem with using it with Level up is that even when your bluff does work, your creature stays bad for an extra turn. A lot of people are missing this. If you bluff on turn three or four instead of trying to get this to a 4/4 flyer, you now still have a 2/2 and even a scared opponent is going to be able to top it by playing straightworward Magic. So most of the time these "bluffs" will put you behind in the game. because the creature is not very good in the first place. Sure, there will be those few times when holding back the mana with two lands in hand is going to be the best play.
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