9/09/2010 TD: "Hammer Time!"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Top Decks Article, which goes live Thursday morning on magicthegathering.com.
KOTH = King of the Hill

...on a planeswalker that deals with mountains.

Your pun has been decoded by Inspector Owl. `|:>
YES!
KOTH = King of the Hill

...on a planeswalker that deals with mountains.

Your pun has been decoded by Inspector Owl. `|:>


Well done, good sir.

I've just gotta say this: Valakut, The Molten Pinnacle.

Suddenly, Mountains.dec seems more viable. The emblem ability will give red decks all the late-game gas they need. What I particularly like about Koth, though, is that he ONLY works in red decks. The decks running around standard now won't be able to make much of ANY use out of him, but he remains a potent weapon for the "right" decks. Definitely constructed worthy. 
I guess wizards got tired of having a top tier archetype without any chase mythics in it. They really pumped up the power level on this guy.
He's really underwhelming. Like Sarkhan, he'll do great as long as your deck has multiples. But if you only have one, he's not going to work too well. Also, as it's been stated, he really needs to be in a mono-red/artifact deck to work extremely well... but I bet there will be exceptions to this, because, well, someone will have to prove themselves of being able to do so.
-5: An ultimate that is basically a super-efficient Comet Storm



Let's try that again:

-5: Hecatomb for mountains.  (Without the cost and can't be disenchanted.)

Seriously, when the effect has already been put on a card, why try to contort a different card?  Just because you feel the need to call out a card that was actually played?  That's not because Hecatomb had a bad effect, just a bad cost.
Wow.  Ironically he fits right into a deck I was just making.  
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I think some of you might be high . . . this guy is ridiculous.  I think he is the 2nd best PW (next to Jace).  First of all, the plus ability is insane.  Play him on turn 4, untap a mountain and swing, essentially with a 4/4 haste guy.  4/4 haste in red is really good. And as a plus ability!  Yes, this might leave you vulnerable to counter attack, which is why would be careful with using him like this, but versus some decks it would devastating.  Then, let's go to the ultimate.  After you have bashed with a 4/4 that is essentially immune to removal, all of your mountains become pingers.  5 mountains?  Your opponent is getting hit for five per turn.  As for me, I think those two abilities are arguably better than the minus ability.  It gives red insane inevitabilty.  As for the minus ability, I think this is obv to everyone, but it gets insane in bigger mono-red decks.  That mana is going to be ridiculous for stuff like Kargan Dragonlord and Comet Storm.  I see this as being playable only in mono-red, so probably will be more limited in scope, something akin to say Nissa Revane, but still very, very good.   
Red is by far me least favorite color in magic. Out of all of my standard, legacy, and edh decks (19) i have 3 decks with red in it, and one is pauper and the other is my dragon tribal deck.

This guy gets my wheels turning for a mono red deck. Obviously his inability to protect himself will hurt, but him being a clock in and of himself is quite strong. The -2 seems pretty insane with the right combination of top of the curve spells.

I feel that koth will spawn some type of big mono red / artifact deck. It will propably be this deck that abuses lodestone golem and steelshaper along with some agressive artifacts / red creatures yet to be seen. bring in a couple moxes and suddenly it has a ton of acceleration. It seems pretty good to play Koth then immediatley drop golem maybe with a goblin guide out and a steelshaper. suddenly your clocking your opponent and its even harder for them to interact with you, let alone kill Koth!

You heard it here first mono-red artifact sly.
hmm, I like him as an alternate win condition in scapeshift.
My reaction to Koth: www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0MaZ1rdwwU

Really, I doubt he's going to actually be that great in standard (more than willing to eat my words here), but I absolutely love the guy. Fantastic art, very flavorful abilities, badass name, and imminent casual playability make this a must-have for me.

Finally, a red planeswalker worth playing. Bravo wizards.
He's really underwhelming.

Possibly, but this guy needs to boot Chandra out of M12.

So are emblems the new ultimate for Planeswalkers? I have to say, those kind of effects seem awfully annoying. There's no way to get rid of them, which makes their ultimate ability even more of a concession. I'm curious where the proposed line is drawn on ultimate ability power level. Wizards has said before that they don't want cards to have the effect that says 'You win the game' printed on them, but after Jace the Mind Sculptor and and this emblem business, I feel like it's more like 'In two to three turns, you win the game if this one card is still in play'. Obviously Magic is full of win conditions and win condition cards that win the game in the turn or so after they are played, but I've never noticed them to be so plain and so predictable. Outside of the original 5, the planeswalkers feel a little unoriginal is all I'm saying.

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I often criticize Mike's thread for stepping around the mythification of standard and how each deck he drools over seems to run the same ridiculously expensive and hard to get mythics, and usually someone points out that RDW is a budget deck and runs none, which I think entirely misses the point.

Are you getting the point now?

I haven't looked at ebay but I would imagine that this guy is going to open at $30 to $40 and go up in price. Yes, there are those who say he is underwhelming and you may well be correct, in which case the price will come down. The problem with mythics is that it could go horribly in the other direction, a la Jace 2.0.

Does anyone know what the ebay price is currently and would anyone, particularly those whose response to the Jace 2.0 problem was a rather dismissive "I bought mine on ebay at $30 before they went up" what price you think is the right to buy at?

PS. I actually like the card btw. I'd like to build a deck around it. Wizards have made that very difficult.
He doesn't have an ability to defend himself. This is the main weakness. Koth is one agressive dude. Usually you will play him mainly as a 4/4 haste dude in a very agressive deck.

The third ability does almost always win the game. No doubt about that. Luckily, he doesn´t have an ability to defend himself. You can make his ultimate in some control deck but that doens´t really work with his first ability. Overall I think he could actually be quite balanced for a planeswalker.
I agree with the others that if he gets his ultimate off the opponent probably only has about two turns to live.  Fantastic card, I think will see plenty of play.

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As for the card: Pretty interesting. An aggro/combo red planeswalker, where Chandra's a control red planeswalker. As such, I actually prefer Chandra, because I far prefer playing control. But that's not to say I'll be sad to open a Koth if I do.
Koth is inredible powerful, of course you need a mono-red deck, that should help keeping him balanced (and *maybe* not to expensive Undecided).

But on terms of powerlevel I hardly see any disadvantages.  "He doesn´t defend himself" - really no problem for rdw. If you force your opponent to attack Koth - great!

The animated lands are also no disadvantage - if your opponent wastes his removal on your lands - thats good news for you (since its card advantage).

His ultimate wins the game, and sometimes you´ll just create lots n lots of mana - not shabby either for a burn deck.

I think Koth is easily the most powerful of the new planeswalkers, I hope since he´s kind of restricted to mono-red that his price will stay in a reasonable range.
This guy is kinda lackluster with ball lightning and hell's thunder variants out when alara rotates. I guess wizards wants to push big red instead of red burn.

The biggest Vorthos Ever I'd rather have an awesome mechanic than the most flavor any day. Constantly coming up with cards all the time. So if you see a card you like tell me. Constantly trying to get into card of the week if you see a card you like please nominate.

The part I am excited about?

Tap 4: Play him.  +1: Swing at opponent's planeswalker for 4.
Next turn.  -2: Play something ridiculously over-the-top.  Turn 5, with 3 mountains in play (nonbasics or off-color splash for the others) means you have 5 + 3 = 8 mana ready to go.  I'm sure you can think of something to do on turn 5 with at least 8 mana in play.

Oh, and you don't need any mana-dorks clogging up your deck to make it happen either.  Its like "All In Red" with an actual late game.


PS:  If you use only fetches and basics, you could be sitting on 10 mana turn 5.  That's hardcasting a Kozilek.  Turn 5.  Mono-red.  Without losing your Hammer.
He looks like fun.  Cant wait to not see him in drafts.  Yell 

@ninetailedfox that signature is friggin great!!!
He'll definitely be good. In standard it remains to be seen if he'll fit in anything other than a mid-range red deck, as it remains to be seen if getting an extra 4/4 (instead of just flat out casting a 4/4 for 4) and 1 or 2 Prodigal Pyromancers if he goes ultimate will be worth the card slot. But in RDW I can see him being an inclusion - he's either going to create an ongoing source of damage to the opponent, or absorb some damage giving you a little more time to finish them off. With significantly less "sacrifice at the beginning of the end step" guys for red with Alara and M10 rotating out, this will be quite useful.

In limited, he'll be an autopick. In a typical 2 colour deck getting enough mountains to make all 3 abilities useful should be cake. Of course, in limited many a mythic is an autopick. :P

As for the other formats, I don't play them often, but given they actually have access to dual lands which are mountains (ala Stomping Ground and such) he'll have much more versatility. So he's definitely destined to find a home!

I think Koth is easily the most powerful of the new planeswalkers, I hope since he´s kind of restricted to mono-red that his price will stay in a reasonable range.


I dunno, I've been testing Venser in UW control (the only current new cards I've put in being 3x Venser and 2x Contagion Engine), and Venser is totally game breaking (primarily using his +2 ability with Wall of Omens, Mnemonic Wall and Contagion Engine). His ultimate isn't hard to get off coupled with proliferate (x2 on Contagion Engine, and the mana isn't hard to spare with an Everflowing Chalice on the field), and with 8 permission spells in the deck being recylced with Mnemonic Wall bounces they basically become "counter target spell AND exile target permanent". Great way to shut someone down.
I'm all about super-control in MTG. If you're able to stop my shenanigans, then there aren't enough shenanigans. Lv 1 Judge Current Decklists Sweeping Beauty (Casual) A Vision of Clones (Casual) Coming soon... more decks! :-O
He's really underwhelming. Like Sarkhan, he'll do great as long as your deck has multiples. But if you only have one, he's not going to work too well. Also, as it's been stated, he really needs to be in a mono-red/artifact deck to work extremely well... but I bet there will be exceptions to this, because, well, someone will have to prove themselves of being able to do so.



This guy is kinda lackluster with ball lightning and hell's thunder variants out when alara rotates.



Huh?  This guy is ridiculous.  If you want to complain about him, complain about how much he is going to cost on the secondary market.  The only upside in that respect is that he needs to be played in near monored so he won't be as ubiquitous as Jace or Elspeth.  It's really hard to evaluate planeswalkers in the abstract, but my guess is that he is somewhere around Ajani Vengeant and Garruk Wildspeaker in power level (ie a notch below Jace and Elspeth).

I'm with Highwayman in lamenting the sudden price spike of the optimal monored burn deck in Standard.  Monored's had it pretty good in recent years, but I haven't forgotten those Ravnica era days when red burn decks needed to be two colors and run $10+ cards like Char, Stomping Ground, Blood Crypt, and Dark Confidant. 

This guy is kinda lackluster with ball lightning and hell's thunder variants out when alara rotates. I guess wizards wants to push big red instead of red burn.

Which is fine by me. We sure can take some change in how monored is played, and Inferno Titan needs a home! As others mentionned, with the over-the-top mana accel Koth provides, Comet Storm might become viable. I can't help but want to tinker up a list. I'm thinking Everflowing Chalice as the other mana accel.

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Koth makes red much better. You run this guy with a playset of fireballs. Its amazing. Turn 5 add 5 mana fireball for 9.
G/R eldrazi ramp? I think so

I dunno, I've been testing Venser in UW control (the only current new cards I've put in being 3x Venser and 2x Contagion Engine), and Venser is totally game breaking (primarily using his +2 ability with Wall of Omens, Mnemonic Wall and Contagion Engine). His ultimate isn't hard to get off coupled with proliferate (x2 on Contagion Engine, and the mana isn't hard to spare with an Everflowing Chalice on the field), and with 8 permission spells in the deck being recylced with Mnemonic Wall bounces they basically become "counter target spell AND exile target permanent". Great way to shut someone down.



I believe Venser is overrated. He´s unreliable and depends to much on other permanents (mostly creatures) to have any kind of effect.

5 mana to trigger a cip effect, which in the case of Wall of Omens is a simple "draw a card" is not very impressive or powerful. I think Jace 2.0 is much stronger, why should I play an inefficent, unreliable 5 mana walker in uw? The deck doesn´t even use his 2nd ability, it doesn´t need him.

Koth on the other hand is simpy a very powerful card (of course you´ll need to stay mostly red) which is playable on its own.
In any other set, I'd think the dependency on Mountains would be his undoing.  However, this set is artifact based.  That makes it much easier to be "mono" colored and much more likely this guy will be important.

The ultimate sounds like an interesting fit for Quest for Pure Flame - although at that point it might just be a "win more" condition. It could be awesome with proliferate to set up the ultimate on turn 5, if there's a good enough red proliferate card.

Does anyone know what the ebay price is currently and would anyone, particularly those whose response to the Jace 2.0 problem was a rather dismissive "I bought mine on ebay at $30 before they went up" what price you think is the right to buy at?

I'd say it's a little too soon to start making price calls.  (And yet I'm about to.)

Unlike the Jace situation, this is the first set of a 3-card block.  So supply will keep coming for the entire year, and likely push prices down more and more until next time this fall.  (Obviously swinging up and down as whatever red deck this favors goes in and out of popularity.)  So we don't have the makings of an $80 card.


But what to really watch for is the evenness of the Mythics.  The problem with Jace was that it was so far and away the best card.  Then much further down was Abyssal Persecutor, then just crap.  If we're looking at Koth and a bunch of Quicksilver Gargantuans, $40-50 will be the norm.  Here's the Mythics known so far:


Elspeth Tirel
Quicksilver Gargantuan
Geth, Lord of the Vault
Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon
Koth of the Hammer
Liege of the Tangle
Venser, the Sojourner
Mindslaver
Mox Opal
Platinum Emperion
Sword of Body and Mind
Wurmcoil Engine


Two of those are reprints and therefore won't be soaking up too much value.  Too soon to tell, perhaps, on Elspeth and Venser.  Maybe there's hope for Skithiryx, Emperion, or one of the 3 unspoiled cards, but I'm not holding my breath.


It looks to me like Mox Opal will be the #1 chase card for the set and Koth will be #2.  I think probably he'll be in the $20-$30 range, assuming the loss of Alara brings back mono-color and that red does well in that environment.  At the least, it might be a good idea to pick up Kargan Dragonlord now in case Koth raises the demand for them.

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It's apparent this Hammer guy is gonna be a BOMB but I really disagree with the author on one point. Sarkhan Vol is really not a bad card. I kinda like it. (his -2 with Bazaar Trader is just hilarious!) It's purely opinion, of course, but yeah, this guy is gonna rock. Hopefully he'll outshine Venser so I can get a couple copies of him. Venser's always been my favorite planeswalker (I started playing in time spiral).
I really disagree with the author on one point. Sarkhan Vol is really not a bad card. I kinda like it. (his -2 with Bazaar Trader is just hilarious!)



he's specifically referring to how the card has performed in standard. i like vol, too. he's been great in my cube!
He's really underwhelming. Like Sarkhan, he'll do great as long as your deck has multiples. But if you only have one, he's not going to work too well. Also, as it's been stated, he really needs to be in a mono-red/artifact deck to work extremely well... but I bet there will be exceptions to this, because, well, someone will have to prove themselves of being able to do so.


Huh?  This guy is ridiculous.  If you want to complain about him, complain about how much he is going to cost on the secondary market.  The only upside in that respect is that he needs to be played in near monored so he won't be as ubiquitous as Jace or Elspeth.  It's really hard to evaluate planeswalkers in the abstract, but my guess is that he is somewhere around Ajani Vengeant and Garruk Wildspeaker in power level (ie a notch below Jace and Elspeth).

I'm with Highwayman in lamenting the sudden price spike of the optimal monored burn deck in Standard.  Monored's had it pretty good in recent years, but I haven't forgotten those Ravnica era days when red burn decks needed to be two colors and run $10+ cards like Char, Stomping Ground, Blood Crypt, and Dark Confidant.



I'm not complaining. I'm just saying: he doesn't appear that great at first. But then when you really examine him, you realize that as long as you have a bunch of mountains, your opponent is screwed. Which is great. But only if you have mono-red worthy amounts of mountains. If he /is/ in the 30$ price range, which is extremely plausible, I wouldn't mind pulling him. He'd fit nicely in my burn/discard RB deck. Mostly as a replacement for either one of my Sarkhans, or Chandra Ablaze.

He's really underwhelming.

Possibly, but this guy needs to boot Chandra out of M12.




 
I wish this would happen. I also wish Jace 2.0 would boot Jace 1.0 out of M12.
An important fact about Koth's Ultimate: since the mountains are dealing the damage, it's a colorless source and thus gets around alot of typical red hate.  Having the Ultimate be an out to some of red's common weaknesses is a pretty nice perk. 

I can see Koth being effective in a R/x deck, not just mono red.  a handful of mountains in play is plenty for him to be effective in the right build, even if not as over the top as he is in mono.  1 mountain is enough to use ability 1, though leaves you vulnerable to having the manland die. 2 mountains in play still jumps you from 4 to 6 or 5 to 7 pretty easily on turn 5 after a turn 4 Koth, which is all you're likely to want to build a curve around.  And the ultimate is still great with only a few mountains as an inevitable win con, albeit slower. I think even mono red can afford to play some colorless value lands like Tectonic Edge depending on meta. The only real case for mono-mountains over simply a good number of them is trying to build a curve around the -2, which can only be activated once before having to +1 twice if you want to -2 again and not kill him.   

I can see mono mountain builds built around abusing his -2 the turn he comes in for explosive sequences, and expecting to suicide him into an ultimate or multiple seething songs as soon as he has enough loyalty rather than building +1 buffer, and thus being happy playing 3 or 4 copies of Koth.
Presales in the $40's, playsets going for $170. Best-case scenario is this buy not finding a deck for the same amount of time Lotus Cobra spent on the sidelines. Else, we got us a $50 card easily. Yeah, I won't be returning to Standard.

Other than that it's a cool card. Those who want to run him should be well-rewarded. All three abilities are really cool and enable him to be used in a variety of decks or simply flexible in any given deck. That's what a Frankencard should do. As mentioned earlier, he could displace Chandra in M12 and players would be happy.
This is fairly irrelevant, but I just realized something silly:

Koth Of The Hammer.

KOTH

He acronyms his own name. 
+1 "Hey, more mana!" or "How do you feel about me playing a planeswalker, and hitting you in the face?"
-2 "Hey, a lot more mana!" or "Hey, I just played a planeswalker, and I'm still going to hit you in the face."
-5 "Hey, look what my mana can do!" or "Hey, watch this potential game changer get annhilated by Leyline of Sanctity because red has nothing to get rid of it."

Yeah, that's right. I went there.
So red can stil attack with its creatures while making sure nothing sticks around to block.
So are they going to change Chandra's Spitfire to Koth's Spitfire now or what?

This guy is so sick. The -2 is a godsend for any number of burn spells. He already has a place in my Spitfire deck AND my Fire Servant deck for either his mana accel or his direct damage.
IMAGE(http://www.cityvoice.biz/pulljace2.png)
+1 "Hey, more mana!" or "How do you feel about me playing a planeswalker, and hitting you in the face?"
-2 "Hey, a lot more mana!" or "Hey, I just played a planeswalker, and I'm still going to hit you in the face."
-5 "Hey, look what my mana can do!" or "Hey, watch this potential game changer get annhilated by Leyline of Sanctity because red has nothing to get rid of it."

Yeah, that's right. I went there.



Actually, you can use the -5 ability to keep the field clear and attack for at least 4 every turn.  All you have to watch out for are creatures with shroud, regenerators, high toughness creatures, or indestructible creatures.

You could also splash green for Sylvok Replica or Naturalize.   Prophetic Prism can also work instead of splashing green
IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)