08/09/2011 LI: "Wins Above Replacement"

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

Every argument made against Levitation in this article applies equally to Overrun, which is generally considered to be in the top 2 of non-rares in the set.

I'm not arguing Levitation is remotely as good as Overrun, but your argument is in dire need of reconsideration considering how incredibly invalid it can be when applied to a different card in the same set.

(Incidentally, Levitation is a key card in a reasonably draftable U/G archetype in this format.  Definitely not a high priority for a lot of decks, but it presents more value in a race than you might think at first, since it makes so many combat tricks into direct damage that you can't rely on otherwise.)
I'm happy that the last paragraph is there; There are decks where cards such as Circle of Flame fits in..! I played a draft deck online with Blue and White, splashing for Circle of Flame since my primary victory condition was milling (on the back of Jace, Memory Adept as well as a few other cards) which requires solid defenses (Pride Guardian is also good here). One time, my opponent actually attacked into it with a Lightning Elemental

A few considerations... Steve makes it sound as if Wall of Torches is better than Circle of Flame, which is not my impression (at all!). What're people's opinions on that comparison?

Also, I found myself thinking of a card that's being discussed a fair bit in the Limited forum right now, Timely Reinforcements. I like it a lot since you don't need it when you're winning but it will often turn losing games around (or give you some time to turn them around). But is that worth a card in Steve's book?
Preparing for the M14 Prerelease - New article up! IN THE TANK - my very own blog for rambling about Magic!
One time, my opponent actually attacked into it with a Lightning Elemental

Just because your opponents play badly doesn't make Circle of Flame a better card. But we had that discussion already elsewhere, and you're entitled to your opinion of course.

And yes, Timely Reinforcements is a very strong card in limited, which might even be constructed worthy against Red Deck.
One time, my opponent actually attacked into it with a Lightning Elemental

Just because your opponents play badly doesn't make Circle of Flame a better card. But we had that discussion already elsewhere, and you're entitled to your opinion of course.

And yes, Timely Reinforcements is a very strong card in limited, which might even be constructed worthy against Red Deck.



I never expect my opponents to misplay, but I'm always happy when they do. Circle of Flame isn't hard to notice and take into account, but cards such as Brass Squire intrigue me because they allow such misplays (having a Darksteel Plate is the most obvious way, granting you an instant "save this creature" every turn).
Preparing for the M14 Prerelease - New article up! IN THE TANK - my very own blog for rambling about Magic!
I would always play Wall of Torches before Circle of Flame
Funniest thing about this article is it talks about how certain cards, like Taste for Blood or flight, are basically worthless.  Not good in constructed.  Not good in limited.  Which begs the question, why were they made?  No, I don't buy the print bad cards so people can see cards are bad.  You can get that point across with situational cards, like the lucky charms.  The designers have to know these cards are bad.  Not average.  Not really situational, just bad.  So why don't they make them playable?  And I don't mean tournament constructed playable, but at least playable enough that I might actually sideboard them in at times.

I would always play Wall of Torches before Circle of Flame



I wouldn't play Wall of Torches, period, pretty much.  Gave it a whirl, verified that it sucked, and said never again.  It's 1 toughness just makes it bad.  Far rather play a Goblin Piker, which can at least attack.

Circle of Flame, on the other hand, might come in as a sideboard choice against the right deck.  Say one that relies on 1/1 unblockable guys to trigger bloodthirst.

Funniest thing about this article is it talks about how certain cards, like Taste for Blood or flight, are basically worthless.  Not good in constructed.  Not good in limited.  Which begs the question, why were they made?  No, I don't buy the print bad cards so people can see cards are bad.  You can get that point across with situational cards, like the lucky charms.  The designers have to know these cards are bad.  Not average.  Not really situational, just bad.  So why don't they make them playable?  And I don't mean tournament constructed playable, but at least playable enough that I might actually sideboard them in at times.



Taste of Blood was probably designed as a top down Vorthos flavor card.  Flight was in many previous core sets and can see some use (though there are many better options).  Not every card in a set is designed for the tournament players.  There is an audience for pretty much any card.  It would be nice if every card was good enough to really see some use but when you have 200+ cards in a set you are going to run in to some cards that are basically worthless.

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Taste of Blood was probably created to be a cheap Bloodthirst enabler, but neither it nor Bloodthirst is quite strong enough for that plan to work out well.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
Now I haven't played Limited with M12 so this is just a thought, and may have no merit, but can't Circle of Flame help you in a deck where you have a lot of burn, or plan on blocking a lot? It outright kills 1 toughness creatures, yes, but that's not all. It also makes your burn spells able to kill one-toughness-higher-than-normal creatures, and it gives you a slight advantage in blocks, effectively giving your blocking creatures +1/+0.

Sure, it's not going to be worth playing over an Incinerate or a Piker or whatever, but it's not completely unplayable.
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I just don't like this article, at all. A lot of flawed logic, a lot of stuff that flies in the face of common sense and card decisions based on knowing what your opponent's limited decks look like before you assemble your deck?

If the goal was to confuse new players or give more experienced players a chuckle, then it is a success.

Sorry if that sounds harsh, but I just don't get the point of publishing this article on the official MTG site.
Funniest thing about this article is it talks about how certain cards, like Taste for Blood or flight, are basically worthless.  Not good in constructed.  Not good in limited.  Which begs the question, why were they made?  No, I don't buy the print bad cards so people can see cards are bad.

Taste of Blood was probably designed as a top down Vorthos flavor card.  Flight was in many previous core sets and can see some use (though there are many better options).  Not every card in a set is designed for the tournament players.  There is an audience for pretty much any card.

Designing a Vorthos card doesn't mean that the card has to suck. Taste of Blood is a perfect example. Just make it deal damage to creatures as well and it still won't be overpowered. In contrast to Shock and co., it's a sorcery and dealing 1 damage and gaining 1 life isn't as powerful as dealing 2. So there is absolutely no point in there, why they had printed it the way it is.

Flight is just another useless card and I don't buy the excuse of "reprinting crap cards" just to have them in many editions. The card needs some gimmicks like: "untap that creature as flight comes into play" or "can block only creatures with flying. Draw a card"... then it would still be far away from being overpowered but at least not pure enviromental pollution or table stabilizers. And I as a customer feel a bit angry that I have to pay for this crap too. Likewise, seeing an article about these cards are an additional reason why cards like this have to end.

Circle of Flame isn't such a bad card, but it's a bad "I lose less" rather than a "I win more often" card and should be avoided. In a set where I can combine this card with an Everlasting Torment, Inflame or Crushing Pain, I would give it a try just to see some surprised faces, but in M12, it feels just wrong.

Now I haven't played Limited with M12 so this is just a thought, and may have no merit, but can't Circle of Flame help you in a deck where you have a lot of burn, or plan on blocking a lot? It outright kills 1 toughness creatures, yes, but that's not all. It also makes your burn spells able to kill one-toughness-higher-than-normal creatures, and it gives you a slight advantage in blocks, effectively giving your blocking creatures +1/+0.

Sure, it's not going to be worth playing over an Incinerate or a Piker or whatever, but it's not completely unplayable.



No, this is exactly what the article is talking about.  It's true that Circle of Flame has an effect which can be useful, but when you stop to consider how much MORE useful it would be to play a card that didn't suck so much, then you start to see why Circle of Flame shouldn't be in your deck.

Unless you drafted 4 Circles of Flame, or a Grim Lavamancer, you aren't going to have enough instant-speed burn in your deck for the extra damage to make a reliable difference.  For every time you can kill a 4 toughness creature with an Incinerate, there will be a hundred times when the situation will just never come up.
I really think that circle of flame is better than people give it credit for. No, its not a high pick, but I wouldn't dismiss it. Taking one late in pack 1 seems like a reasonable call.

Put it another way, of the 80 uncommon and common creatures in M12, it is probably only to about 20 of them, ie. 25%. That makes it worth considering as a sideboard card IMO. However, if you are running first strike, repeatable damage, defensive creatures, instant speed damage or a second copy, then I think it becomes considerably more relevant and maindeckable.