4/2/2010 LD: "Creatures On Another Level"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Latest Developments, which goes live Friday morning on magicthegathering.com.

I don't much care for Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre.  His "destroy target permanent" ability seems much too focused for the Eldrazi - their general flavor is indiscriminate destruction.  Artisan of Kozilek has a similar ability, but not nearly as bad; however, the 10/9-ness just seems awkward.  I prefer the symmetry that all the others have.  If one was going to be asymmetrical, they all should have been asymmetrical.  (Then it would be cool.)


All of the other Eldrazi we've seen are flavorful and cool.  I voted for Emrakul, the Aeons Torn as my favorite.  Kozilek may be a little too omnipresent in casual.

Thanks to everyone who helped with the design of the plane of Golamo in the Great Designer Search 2!
My Decks
These are the decks I have assembled at the moment:
Tournament Decks (4)
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)
Casual Multiplayer Decks (50)
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...
Should have had an option in the poll for "they're all the same."
If I was going to pick one it'd be Ulamog's Crusher. Its currently the cheapest that I know of, and would possibly fit into my current Naya fatty deck. The others are way too expensive, even if they are strong.

I agree with Fractal about the awkwardness of Artisan of Kozilek's P/T. Different values are understandable for small creatures who have different roles, but something that big doesn't need a distinction between its offensive and defensive power.

I still don't like level up. I can't be more specific because almost everything about it puts me off - the name, the D&D/Pokemon feel, the need for another kind of counter, the flavour, the sorcery speed activation, etc. The concept of a creature that can be improved is neat, but I don't like the way these have been done.

I'm worried that this set is designed to play with itself so much that its going to be another Kamigawa.
I'm worried that this set is designed to play with itself so much that its going to be another Kamigawa.



I think we knew back when the block was announced as a large set, separate from the Zendikar block, with no expansions at all, that this was going to be a set designed only to interact with itself.

I'm fairly happy with how they're handling it because...
#1 With Kamigawa, we were stuck in that environment for a whole year. That's a long time for players who don't draft to wait. Here it's just a short time. We'll be in M11 season before this set is stale.
#2 The other analog to this is Coldsnap, where it was a triple-small-set. Here is a triple-big-set-no-expansions. I'm anticipating a big set that feels like a small set and I plan to draft it every chance I get.
#3 Magic's audience is too big now for every set to cater to every player. They can spread the love around to the Limited players without making the Standard and other constructed players wait too long.

While I'm logged in, I also agree that Artisan's 10/9 is just stupid. You're not going to burn it to death, and with annihilate, you're probably not going to kill it via multiblocking, either. What difference does it make if 10 toughness requires my committing one more chump to the blocking gang to kill it? I'm not going to do that anyway.
I had to vote for Ulamog's Crusher - the only common Eldrazi so far.

Well Artisan's power/toughness might be weird but I still voted for him just because I like the idea of returning another (non-mythic) eldrazi from the graveyard to the battlefield.
If I would play eldrazi then I would probably play them in a deck that has ways of accelerating into lots of mana for my big creatures anyway (thus I think I would be playing several eldrazi) and getting one in the graveyard trough something like a greenseeker or some other form of discard to get a second one for free also seems like a good way to speed things up.

I can't pick all of them? This set is seriously a timmy-gasm! I guess I'm going to have to pick Emrakul, as when you're talking about casting 10+ mana creatures, you might as well shell out the extra few and get a 99% certain game-winner. Heck, I wouldn't feel bad at all about cheating Emrakul out and missing the extra turn- he's still insane.

I hope they don't but too much emphasis on the Eldrazi to sell the set, though. I'm excited about quite a few non-colorless cards (Realms Uncharted, Surreal Memoir, Explosive Revelation...).
I can't vote either because I am numb to the fatties by now. Even the normal 6/6 creatures in the set have no impact on me. I don't any of the dragons or sphinxes or demons of sets in the near future will have any impact either. The "wow it's big" element has been severely compromised except for a subset of Timmies that only like big numbers in the corners. And as someone else said, they are all basically the same.

It's good to see the first truly playable level up creature finally, after nothing but limited fodder and one "maybe" card.

Well Artisan's power/toughness might be weird but I still voted for him just because I like the idea of returning another (non-mythic) eldrazi from the graveyard to the battlefield.
If I would play eldrazi then I would probably play them in a deck that has ways of accelerating into lots of mana for my big creatures anyway (thus I think I would be playing several eldrazi) and getting one in the graveyard trough something like a greenseeker or some other form of discard to get a second one for free also seems like a good way to speed things up.




I also voted for artisan. It helps that he's uncommon because I know I'll get to play with him in both constructed and limited. He gets a big boost over ulamog's crusher because if I'm going to hardcast one of these things I want to get something out of it in case it gets countered. Ulamog's crusher just eats a counterspell or spot removal. For one extra mana you ensure that even counterspell and doom blade will be ineffective against Artisan. I wish he was a 10/10 but I don't mind him as a 10/9. That extra point of toughness will be relevant a lot. The other common eldrazi is probably a 9 power dude so maybe making him a 10/9 was making him more balanced for limited games.

The reason I didn't vote for the mythics is 1st they cost more (the difference between 9 and 10 mana is huge), 2nd they $cost$ more, and 3rd they have a higher anihilator. I know that should be a good thing for me but I just hate this mechanic. Knowing that eventually I'll be facing this mechanic..... After sacrificing 6 permanants I don't know how much I really want my next turn. Do I have to take it or should I just conceed on the spot? Then if I don't draw anything relevant is it game over because I'm sacrificing 6 again or should I go one more turn and hope for path to exile and even if I draw it is there any hope for winning after sacrificing 12 permanants. Or worse yet I draw my shivan meteor but now thanks to all the sacrificing I don't have enough land to cast it. It is really going to suck losing to these things in limited. It could be 6 turns of ulamog's crusher before I am destroyed but it is 6 turns of knowing that I'm going to lose unless I draw that one divine verdict I drafted. It makes me want to just look at the top 4 cards so I can conceed on the spot when I verify that there is no removal coming.

Quick fix to anihilator. Defending player looks at the top 4 cards of his/her library and then sacrifices 2 permanants if there is removal coming.      Wink


Is it just me or isn't swimming with sharks supposed to get the tournament card. This level up creature seems better than his was.
Don't be too smart to have fun
It is. Not sure how they got their cards mixed up. Maybe Tom pulled rank and said "I'm the employee and I want the good one."
I voted for Kozilek.  I might be falling into a Spike Timmy trap by thinking, "Four cards no matter what?  That's got to be good!"
What is going on with Mythics, Wizards?  I understand making the PWs and the big Legendary Eldrazi Mythics, that makes since.

But what happened to the promise that there wouldn't be mythics that were powerful 4-ofs in decks?  They said most LEgends, PWs, and huge spell effects like Conflux would by Mythic.  But ever since Baneslayer got printed at Mythic I have been raising my eyebrow.

Now we have several Mythics that will need to be 3-4ofs in their respective decks, specifically the Dragonlord and All is Dust.

What is up with you guys making an aggressively costed 2/2 Mythic?  The dragonlord is very solid, if he will see play at all he will be a 4 of, because as you pointed out, he is never a dead card.

All is Dust, (aka the Everyone gets to Play Akroma's Vengeance) is sure to be a 3-4 of in many decks.

Why isn't Day of Judgment a Mythic then?  Broodmate Dragon? Martial Coup?  Those are all big splashy effects. 
What is going on with Mythics, Wizards?  I understand making the PWs and the big Legendary Eldrazi Mythics, that makes since.

But what happened to the promise that there wouldn't be mythics that were powerful 4-ofs in decks?  They said most LEgends, PWs, and huge spell effects like Conflux would by Mythic.  But ever since Baneslayer got printed at Mythic I have been raising my eyebrow.

Now we have several Mythics that will need to be 3-4ofs in their respective decks, specifically the Dragonlord and All is Dust.

What is up with you guys making an aggressively costed 2/2 Mythic?  The dragonlord is very solid, if he will see play at all he will be a 4 of, because as you pointed out, he is never a dead card.

All is Dust, (aka the Everyone gets to Play Akroma's Vengeance) is sure to be a 3-4 of in many decks.

Why isn't Day of Judgment a Mythic then?  Broodmate Dragon? Martial Coup?  Those are all big splashy effects. 



all is dust probably should be mythic. It is a much bigger and badder effect than those other cards you mention plus it's a tribal sorcery. Also because it is a colorless sorcery and uses the word sacrifice it has further separated itself from akroma's vengeance which if you think about it could have easily wound up mythic itself.
Don't be too smart to have fun
About the poll, I really like how, despite Maro's attempt to channel Faeries' hatred towards the entire flash mechanic, it ended up 1st. Maybe it gives them something to think now that they have just nerfed Level up to sorcery speed.

Unsure how Storm got 3rd, however, given than nothing screams "uninteractive" more than that.

If Limited gets in the way of printing good Constructed cards... Screw limited
I don't know, but I just love the fact that they made the Artizan 10/9...they should do this more often instead of giving everything the 5/5,6/6 treatment !

I don't know, but I just love the fact that they made the Artizan 10/9...they should do this more often instead of giving everything the 5/5,6/6 treatment !

If they had done that to all of the Eldrazi, that would have been cool.  It would have given the sense that they are twisted in unnatural ways, since very few other really huge creatures have different power and toughnesses (just Autochthon Wurm and Inkwell Leviathan, mostly, and those are just because they didn't want the power to be too high).  As it is, though, Artisan of Kozilek just feels like the odd one out of the Eldrazi clan.

I voted for Arcane.  Despite being an insular ability that existed in only one block, the temptation to "build a better spell" is extremely strong.  I've got two multiplayer decks built around the mechanic: GBr Hana Kami recursion, and UR Izzet Guildmage combo, with The Unspeakable and Djinn Illuminatus as a backup plan.  I keep no more than one deck focused on any of the other mechanics he listed.

Thanks to everyone who helped with the design of the plane of Golamo in the Great Designer Search 2!
My Decks
These are the decks I have assembled at the moment:
Tournament Decks (4)
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)
Casual Multiplayer Decks (50)
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...
My vote goes to Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre.  While all of the Eldrazi seem good, the fact that Ulamog kills something when he comes into play and is not easily killed (yes I know he can be exiled, among other things) makes him my favorite.  Emrakul, the Aeons Torn comes as a very close second with flying and another turn.

To me, a creature with either power or toughness being higher does not represent deformity.  It just means that a creature will be more suited for offense or defense.  Oaken Brawler, a 2/4, seems more of a defensive card just as Summit Apes, a 5/2, is more of an offensive card.  The abnormalities between power and toughness on these not really deformed cards just show what they are geared toward.  The 10/9 of Artisan of Kozilek just says to me that is is more of an attacker than a defender.
IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)