5/11/2010 LI: "Getting Leveled"

15 posts / 0 new
Last post
This thread is for discussion of this week's Limited Information, which goes live Tuesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
However, the very fact that you can only put level counters on your creatures at sorcery speed opens up a whole world of bluffing opportunities to you.

No it doesn't.  It merely hands the opponent blatant transparency - especially so in a Limited environment where the game is either won by turn four, or slogs to turn seventeen.
I agree with all except with Caravan Escort and Ikaral Outrider.  I have played with both a few time and I would say I would flip-flop my rating of them.  Caravan Escort is motr aggressive because you can hit it turn 1, pay the level up on turn two, and attack with a Glory Seeker.  Functionally a Glory Seeker with haste in this scenario.  Problem is that it doesn't do much else for a really long time.  The outrider is almost a Glory Seeker when you drop it.  The big advantage is that it is much better at the intermediate level.  A 2/6 vigilance attacking potentially on turn 4 is nothing to sneeze at.  And it has a much more powerful synergy with Venerated Teacher.  Yes, it is less aggressive, but I think in limited you need some defense as well, because you can't often be aggressive consistently enough to rely solely on aggression.  I always thought UW skies was the most powerful archetype and this requires a modicum of defense.  It is much less lucksack dependent that way.  And not much can get through a 2/6 vigilance.  And as far as a comparison to Halimar Wavewatch goes, I think the Wavewatch is one of the most powerful level-up guys, but this is better.  0/6 is really tough to fight through, especially early.  And a 6/6 islandwalk, particularly when that ability is relevant is disgusting.  This is a bit of a mute point because they all levelers are good, but I would say Outrider > Wavewatch > Escort. 
I agree with all except with Caravan Escort and Ikaral Outrider.  I have played with both a few time and I would say I would flip-flop my rating of them.  Caravan Escort is motr aggressive because you can hit it turn 1, pay the level up on turn two, and attack with a Glory Seeker.  Functionally a Glory Seeker with haste in this scenario.  Problem is that it doesn't do much else for a really long time.  The outrider is almost a Glory Seeker when you drop it.  The big advantage is that it is much better at the intermediate level.  A 2/6 vigilance attacking potentially on turn 4 is nothing to sneeze at.  And it has a much more powerful synergy with Venerated Teacher.  Yes, it is less aggressive, but I think in limited you need some defense as well, because you can't often be aggressive consistently enough to rely solely on aggression.  I always thought UW skies was the most powerful archetype and this requires a modicum of defense.  It is much less lucksack dependent that way.  And not much can get through a 2/6 vigilance.  And as far as a comparison to Halimar Wavewatch goes, I think the Wavewatch is one of the most powerful level-up guys, but this is better.  0/6 is really tough to fight through, especially early.  And a 6/6 islandwalk, particularly when that ability is relevant is disgusting.  This is a bit of a mute point because they all levelers are good, but I would say Outrider > Wavewatch > Escort. 


While your analysis might hold true in other limited formats, in rise limited blue/white is the most potent aggro archtype. As a result you won't need defensive cards because your deck should be inherently faster than almost any other deck you would expect to face, so a quick beatstick is preferable to the defensive body of the outrider. In addition with venerated teachers getting an escort to 5/5 status becomes far more practical and at that point it becomes a much greater threat than the outrider could ever hope to be.
They haven't mentioned the Training Grounds effect on the level up creatures. In a level deck you need four of those. The maximum level up cost I've seen is 2 colorless and 1 of a color. With training grounds you get rid of the two colorless.

Turn one: Skywatcher Adept/
Turn two: Training grounds, level up for 1 and attack with a 2/2 flyer
Turn three: Venerated Teacher, attack with a 4/2 flyer
Turn four: You can either cast two Time of heroes or one Time and one Champions Drake. 6 - 8 Damage.

This means you can inflict 12 - 14 damage on the fourth turn of the game.

But. For me, the card that gets helped most from Training grounds and Venerated Teacher is Kazandu Tuskcaller. This card wins games even when used alone or when used with Doubling Season!
They haven't mentioned the Training Grounds effect on the level up creatures. In a level deck you need four of those.



That's because this article is based on Limited formats.

Much better than last week's article, which basically waggled a finger at the reader and told them that it isn't luck, the set doesn't suck and it's entirely their fault; this week Steve is actually giving us information in his Limited Information.  However ... maybe the average player in my environment is above the target audience or something, but this isn't exactly earth shattering news here.  I started forcing U/W levellers in my 2nd RoE draft, right after I realized I wasn't going to see much removal passed to me.  Problem is, so did other people in the pod.  Time of Heroes or Venerated Teacher may be great early picks if you get the deck, but they don't translate well if you have to adjust your strategy at all.  Like so many other scenarios and cards in RoE, it *does* depend on the luck of what you and the people around you open. 

For more detail, I also give the Outrider and Waverider a higher ranking, solely because between them, they also almost always come down invulnerable to Red removal.  Faster than a Heat Ray and tougher than a Flame Slash, you can be (yet another) deck that laughs off the Red removal in RoE.

@ifhbiff:

I think training grounds is legal in limited since its a RoE card.
RoE doens't suck. It actually has the best cards for Johny players (all the colorless Eldrazi.)...
But I believe that they insist on not printing useful cards of white color. And I'm saying this who is a black-blue type of guy...

When building a deck outside a draft though, it's not luck that decides games. Chances do. A deck with level up cards in any format (maybe except Vintage) can do some awasome things. And this is because level up cards are similar to the plaineswalkers: they offer your you more things to do in each round.
I think training grounds is legal in limited since its a RoE card.



Yes, but the part I quoted showed you talking about "needing four", which doesn't sound like a reference to limited to me.  But I'd rather not get into the semantics on what each of us meant.  It's all good.

I'll also refrain from having my opinion on the "Does RoE suck?" debate spill onto another thread.
also you're not going to see him talk about rares very often since it's limited. He will refer to them sometimes but usually we're going to hear more about the commons and uncommons in these articles.

Don't be too smart to have fun
Ok, opinions accepted. What I mean is: with RoE cards you can achieve many things outside the limited format. Those cards are designed for combos: only the existence of a creature like Emrakul "calls" you to built a control/combo deck around it. The level up mechanism is just the second nice (NOT great) new thing that burst with RoE. With my first comment I was just trying to demostrate all the fast (and fun) things you can do with a deck focused on the Level up. I'm realy sorry if my words were misunderstood.

And also forgive my English.
I agree with all except with Caravan Escort and Ikaral Outrider.  I have played with both a few time and I would say I would flip-flop my rating of them.  Caravan Escort is motr aggressive because you can hit it turn 1, pay the level up on turn two, and attack with a Glory Seeker.  Functionally a Glory Seeker with haste in this scenario.  Problem is that it doesn't do much else for a really long time.  The outrider is almost a Glory Seeker when you drop it.  The big advantage is that it is much better at the intermediate level.  A 2/6 vigilance attacking potentially on turn 4 is nothing to sneeze at.  And it has a much more powerful synergy with Venerated Teacher.  Yes, it is less aggressive, but I think in limited you need some defense as well, because you can't often be aggressive consistently enough to rely solely on aggression.  I always thought UW skies was the most powerful archetype and this requires a modicum of defense.  It is much less lucksack dependent that way.  And not much can get through a 2/6 vigilance.  And as far as a comparison to Halimar Wavewatch goes, I think the Wavewatch is one of the most powerful level-up guys, but this is better.  0/6 is really tough to fight through, especially early.  And a 6/6 islandwalk, particularly when that ability is relevant is disgusting.  This is a bit of a mute point because they all levelers are good, but I would say Outrider > Wavewatch > Escort. 


While your analysis might hold true in other limited formats, in rise limited blue/white is the most potent aggro archtype. As a result you won't need defensive cards because your deck should be inherently faster than almost any other deck you would expect to face, so a quick beatstick is preferable to the defensive body of the outrider. In addition with venerated teachers getting an escort to 5/5 status becomes far more practical and at that point it becomes a much greater threat than the outrider could ever hope to be.



Imho I would say the outrider is better in the abstract but because the escort is more aggressive, it is better in the archetype.  If I was already solidly in the archetype, I would pick the escort, but otherwise the outrider.  For me, I never assume I can go a particular archetype, but rather pick the most powerful cards first, and then see if I can develop an archetype from that.  UW is a great archetype to go, but sometimes you will not be able to make your deck as aggressive as you would like.  Also, I would not assume UW is always the most aggressive deck as I have seen some highly aggressive GR spawn decks.  In a match like that, the outrider on level one can block any ordinary creature they throw out e.g. Stomper Cub, and at the highest level can hold off a Hand.  If your deck lacks sufficient removal, a Venerated Teacher pumping an outrider may be your best bet to stay alive long enough for your flyers to win. 
"However, the very fact that you can only put level counters on your creatures at sorcery speed opens up a whole world of bluffing opportunities to you."

Right... because if it was instant speed, you couldn't bluff at all... wait, what?

Leveling is okay. The keyword is the only thing that really bothers me, reminds me too much of pokemon or other "leveling" games.  I think it would be fun in limited... if only limited didn't suck. Good article.
I agree with all except with Caravan Escort and Ikaral Outrider.  I have played with both a few time and I would say I would flip-flop my rating of them.  Caravan Escort is motr aggressive because you can hit it turn 1, pay the level up on turn two, and attack with a Glory Seeker.  Functionally a Glory Seeker with haste in this scenario.  Problem is that it doesn't do much else for a really long time.  The outrider is almost a Glory Seeker when you drop it.  The big advantage is that it is much better at the intermediate level.  A 2/6 vigilance attacking potentially on turn 4 is nothing to sneeze at.  And it has a much more powerful synergy with Venerated Teacher.  Yes, it is less aggressive, but I think in limited you need some defense as well, because you can't often be aggressive consistently enough to rely solely on aggression.  I always thought UW skies was the most powerful archetype and this requires a modicum of defense.  It is much less lucksack dependent that way.  And not much can get through a 2/6 vigilance.  And as far as a comparison to Halimar Wavewatch goes, I think the Wavewatch is one of the most powerful level-up guys, but this is better.  0/6 is really tough to fight through, especially early.  And a 6/6 islandwalk, particularly when that ability is relevant is disgusting.  This is a bit of a mute point because they all levelers are good, but I would say Outrider > Wavewatch > Escort. 


While your analysis might hold true in other limited formats, in rise limited blue/white is the most potent aggro archtype. As a result you won't need defensive cards because your deck should be inherently faster than almost any other deck you would expect to face, so a quick beatstick is preferable to the defensive body of the outrider. In addition with venerated teachers getting an escort to 5/5 status becomes far more practical and at that point it becomes a much greater threat than the outrider could ever hope to be.



Imho I would say the outrider is better in the abstract but because the escort is more aggressive, it is better in the archetype.  If I was already solidly in the archetype, I would pick the escort, but otherwise the outrider.  For me, I never assume I can go a particular archetype, but rather pick the most powerful cards first, and then see if I can develop an archetype from that.  UW is a great archetype to go, but sometimes you will not be able to make your deck as aggressive as you would like.  Also, I would not assume UW is always the most aggressive deck as I have seen some highly aggressive GR spawn decks.  In a match like that, the outrider on level one can block any ordinary creature they throw out e.g. Stomper Cub, and at the highest level can hold off a Hand.  If your deck lacks sufficient removal, a Venerated Teacher pumping an outrider may be your best bet to stay alive long enough for your flyers to win. 




I've found the outrider to be the only leveler that I just don't want to play in limited.  Everyother one is good, but the outrider just kind of sucks.
I think the outrider is fine but it all depends on the deck that you're playing it. Obviously the article was talking about the level up draft where you're building around a strategy that kills the opponent before he is able to cast his eldrazi or giganic wurms in which case the outrider is pretty slow. Even in this deck the outrider is playable. Vigilance is underrated in this format. Still if you're playing the slow deck with walls and an eldrazi end game then the outrider is going to be a lot better. In the umbra deck this guy is even better. Imagine him with a drake umbra. On his first level he'll be able to block any flier and still attack for 5 each turn. Anyway there is a huge difference between 7th-10th pickable cards and unplayable cards. If you have 2x time of heroes, and venerated teacher even a leveler like outrider could be a 4th or 5th pick.
Don't be too smart to have fun
Outrider has the problem that it doesn't really have an ultimate, which means it doesn't demand removal, it has a high level up cost, and its often going to just be a sort of underwhelming wall, which isn't exactly something I want to spend 2 then 4 for. Its a 23rd card, unlike all the other level up guys, which are creatures I would pretty much run in any on color deck. The fact that outrider is good with drake umbra is pretty irrelevant, thats true of pretty much every creature.

Caravan escort can attack for 2 on turn 2 and becomes a 5/5 first strike relatively easily. While he's not better then Knight of Cliffhaven, for instance, but he scales well, and I'd have to have quite a few playables to cut him. Of course, the fact that I tend to draft aggressive decks could be biasing this, but I'm pretty sure I'd much rather be running escort then outrider in almost any deck.