3/8/2011: "Is a Machine Gun a Robot?"

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

Is this title a reference to an episode of the Judge John Hodgman podcast?
"We will all be purified in Wurm. What is good will be used to heal Wurm, or grow Wurm, or to fuel Wurm's path. What is vile will be extruded, and we will be free of it forever." --Prophet of the Cult of Wurm
My last experience with Skinwing:

Me: throw Skinwing on huge green beatstick
Him: Pistus Strike
Me: throw Skinwing on huge green beatstick #2
Him: Pistus Strike #2, poison me to death

...so yeah, that was kind of annoying.
I don't like the direction this column is taking recently. Will somebody please tell Mr. Sadin that "Limited Information" is not about limiting its informational value?
The existence of living weapons makes cards like Crush and Tel-Jilad Defiance significantly better than they would be otherwise. Tel-Jilad Defiance can kill a creature and draw you a card all for the low, low price



How does Tel-Jilad help you against living weapons?  The Germs are Black, not ACs...
For what it's worth, I thought this was an excellent article.  I like how these articles help me re-evaluate pick-order.  I frequently evaluate cards based on how much I get that feeling of dread when I see it on the other side of the table.  When my opponents play Skinwing, I definitely get that feeling of "Oh boy, if I don't deal with this or draw an answer fast, there's no way I'm going to pull ahead."  The card advantage and ability to gind out attrition wins with that thing is nuts.  Thanks, Steve! 
How does Tel-Jilad help you against living weapons?  The Germs are Black, not ACs...


A little 0/0 Germ won't live long when its equipment isn't allowed to help it survive anymore.
How does Tel-Jilad help you against living weapons?  The Germs are Black, not ACs...



As Jak stated, Tel-Jilad's Defiance (TJD) gives the 0/0 creature prot. from artifacts, so the equipment falls off the germ and it dies as a state based effect. 

Which leads me to this: Am I the only person in Limited who main-decks TJD?  TJD is a fantastic tempo card that increases your combat power over decks that rely heavily on artifact creatures (Metalcraft) and decks that rely on Equipment (Infect).  It makes players who are trying to budget their mana spend their resources to, in effect, do nothing (Trigon of Corruption, Tumble Magnet); it wrecks combat when you are able to invalidate whole threats by either giving your creature TJD (turning a creature-for-creature combat trade into clear card advantage as their creature dies, yours lives AND you draw a card) or by giving your oppponet's creatures pro-artifacts: something they may not want if their creature is heavily equiped. 

The biggest bonus to TJD is that you can cast it on your opponent's creatures, and in a format where equipment can be a huge pain, having your opponent's Goblin Gaveleer go from a 7/6 Trampler (equipment with Accorder's Shield and Copper Carapace) into a Mons is worthwhile. 

Now, all this would be good enough to play TJD, but they add in the never-trivial "Draw a Card" at the very end.  Rummaging through your deck is always valuable, and here is can be the added bonus of killing your opponent's biggest threat or at least neutralizing it.  This says nothing of the almost gleeful pleasure you will take when your opponent equips his Necrogen Skudder with Grafted Exoskeleton and you had TJD waiting in the wings. 

I think TJD provides a great tempo boost as well.  Take a look at Lux Cannot.  Your opponent just spent three turns getting it revved up, then "ready-aim-fire"s it at your #1 threat.  Well, three turns becomes completely negated with TJD and YOU get a card as a bonus.  You can derail your opponent's best laid plans all for the low, low cost of 1G.

Now, obviously the card cannot do many things, and I would not first-pick this bad-boy, but in a format where you need every trick you can muster especially if your deck is bomb-light and given Green's lack of pure removal, TJD is a very potent combat trick.  If I draft one I usually main-deck it. 
How does Tel-Jilad help you against living weapons?  The Germs are Black, not ACs...


A little 0/0 Germ won't live long when its equipment isn't allowed to help it survive anymore.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but to the best of my knowledge, protection doesn't apply retroactively like that.
How does Tel-Jilad help you against living weapons?  The Germs are Black, not ACs...


A little 0/0 Germ won't live long when its equipment isn't allowed to help it survive anymore.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but to the best of my knowledge, protection doesn't apply retroactively like that.



Its not really "retroactive."  TJD gives the germ (an independent creature) Pro-Artifacts.  When TJD resolves, the germ realizes it has protection, so the Equipment falls off- much in the same way giving a creature Pro-Blue would make the "Control Magic" enchantment fall off.  The Germ then realizes its a 0/0 creature and the game delivers the 0/0 creature to the graveyard (and then immediately removes it from the game) as a state based effect. 
I thought protection just prevented auras and equipment from targeting it, thus making it impossible for them to become attached to it.
How I would use infection and Living Weapon:

4 Plague Stinger
4 Flayer Husk
4 Contagious Nim
3 Corpse Cur (never want a bunch of :4mana: crazies in first draw.)
4 Strandwalker
4 Bonehoard
4 Doom Blade
3 Spread the Sickness
4 Contagion Engine
4 Ichor Rats

4 Inkmoth Nexus
4 Dread Statuary
4 Creeping Tar Pits
10 Swamp

The way it would work is pretty simple.

Send out an infecter and/or a living weapon, attack, land a poison counter, or kill the Germ, attach equipment to infecter and start the great compleatness. If the opponent kills the infecter, well, you have plenty more where he/she/it came from.
If there is a threat that is damn big, use doom blade and/or spread the sickness.
You also have a proliferater so that you can succeed if you only have one poison counter on your foe.
And the lands are for an alternate win condition.

Simple. And fun. I made a deck similar to this for a friend. It is his first deck.
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I thought protection just prevented auras and equipment from targeting it, thus making it impossible for them to become attached to it.

For protection, remember the acronym DEBT.  Protection from ~quality~ means:

D - Damage from ~quality~ sources is prevented.
E - ~quality~ Enchantments, Equipment, and Fortifications can't be attached.
B - ~quality~ creatures can't Block.
T - ~quality~ spells and abilities from ~quality~ sources can't Target.

When a creature gains protection from artifacts, all equipment attached to that creature become unattached.
Just wanted to say I enjoyed this article.  Good analysis of living weapons and the formt in general. 
The fact that creatures are always trading in this format is what makes Rot Wolf so darn good.  And I've also had amazing experiences with Viridian Revel
The fact that creatures are always trading in this format is what makes Rot Wolf so darn good.  And I've also had amazing experiences with Viridian Revel


I've never been able to get a good grip on how good Viridian Revel is. It seems to have potential, but I don't know. I don't think I've played enough limited to be able to tell how many artifact creatures I'm going to be dealing with.
Am I the only person in Limited who main-decks TJD?



Not just you. I'm happy to maindeck a copy any time I'm Green. So long as you have the discipline to cycle it when appropriate rather than insisting on a 2-for-1 it's a fine card.