08/11/2011 TD: "Six Caw-Blade, One Aside, and 32 Preordains"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Top Decks article, which goes live Thursday morning on magicthegathering.com.
I dunno, it may be just me, but in both limited and constructed, Azure mage seems like the most overrated card of 2012.

4 mana for a card seems to be a bit limited.  Sure, it can help you dig up an answer, but for 1 power you can get Merfolk Looter that will do the same thing for you.  Providing direct card advantage means you must have the board advantage already, and Azure Mage does nothing to get it for you.

Not to mention at 1 toughness and 2 CMC it dies to damn near everything, Doom Blade, GFTT, Consume the Meek, Shock, Grim Lavamancer, etc...hell, even Taste of Blood kills the thing.

It did surprise me how alive and well Cawblade was.  Without stoneforge giving them their guaranteed sword, I figured they'd be vunerable to more aggressive decks, but I guess Timely Reinforcements is just that damn good.  There goes any chance I ever had of playing monored. 
Taste of Blood can't target creatures.  Sorry, just had to get that out.  The point that it dies is still valid, but I don't think that completely negates its value.  If we play the "it dies to removal" game, then there are no small creatures worth playing.  Think of it this way- even if you don't get to draw a card off of the Mage, if they are Doom Blade-ing it instead of your Consecrated Sphinx, Celestial Colonnade, or Hawks, you're still ahead.

And yeah, Timely Reinforcements is a beating.  Wait for the more aggressive decks to fall off a bit, then it will see less play and the circle of life will allow for some red goodness again.  After all, with both Goblin Grenade and Mana Barbs back in Standard, it seems the tools are there for a great red deck.
I like Azure mage...just like they said it isn't overpowered, but just good..

when we are both in topdeck mode I'd rather get an azure mage then a merfolk looter !

Taste of Blood can't target creatures.  Sorry, just had to get that out.  The point that it dies is still valid, but I don't think that completely negates its value.  If we play the "it dies to removal" game, then there are no small creatures worth playing.  Think of it this way- even if you don't get to draw a card off of the Mage, if they are Doom Blade-ing it instead of your Consecrated Sphinx, Celestial Colonnade, or Hawks, you're still ahead.

And yeah, Timely Reinforcements is a beating.  Wait for the more aggressive decks to fall off a bit, then it will see less play and the circle of life will allow for some red goodness again.  After all, with both Goblin Grenade and Mana Barbs back in Standard, it seems the tools are there for a great red deck.


The "dies to removal" bit was just tacked on (and yeah, I forgot about taste of blood, i was just trying to think of something that did 1 damage), the main point is that if you're spending 4 mana a turn not doing something else, than you're either about to lose and digging for an answer or in a dominant board position, and in both cases there are better cards for the situation.  I know in limited (I don't really play constructed as much) I'd rather have Merfolk looter over Azure mage any day.  Sure it hits for 1 less damage, but it lets me filter my cards and actually play them instead of tying up all my mana in filling my hand and letting the board play out.
This is why red needs to actually get a color identity outside of just "burn things fast" or "burn things slightly slower." Right now red has what I'd argue is the most powerufl collection of cards it's ever enjoyed in Standard, and yet because the entire color is a metagame deck it's nigh unplayable.
This is why red needs to actually get a color identity outside of just "burn things fast" or "burn things slightly slower." Right now red has what I'd argue is the most powerufl collection of cards it's ever enjoyed in Standard, and yet because the entire color is a metagame deck it's nigh unplayable.

Right off the bat, I can think of one thing that would make Red a lot more playable. Blood Moon.

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!

 

I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.

Re: Post #2

Depends on the game state, doesn't it? If you are looking at turn 4, yeah, that 4 mana for 1 card probably isn't going to happen much. When you are in turn 11 and you've got plenty of surplus while waiting for the next card to be played, then the card drawing benifits really start to pay off.

Azure mage pays off when games go long, and games tend to go long with Caw-Go. Especially now that it has to fish for it's swords. While it is ideal that you are using your resources effectively every turn, there is a point in the game where the most effective use of resources is *not* to play a card.  That's when Azure Mage comes in handy.

For sure, Azure Mage isn't going to be useful in every matchup. However, in the control vs control match, it will make a notable difference
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/0a90721d221e50e5755af156c179fe51.jpg?v=90000)
This is why red needs to actually get a color identity outside of just "burn things fast" or "burn things slightly slower." Right now red has what I'd argue is the most powerufl collection of cards it's ever enjoyed in Standard, and yet because the entire color is a metagame deck it's nigh unplayable.

Right off the bat, I can think of one thing that would make Red a lot more playable. Blood Moon.


Blood Moon hasn't been a red effect for years.
Okay this has been bugging me. Why the hell are they throwing in stuff like, say, Arid Mesa or Scalding Tarn in a deck without in a Deck without Mountains? Or the U/R Pyromancers Acension deck with an Arid Mesa again (no plains) or a Mysty Rainforrest (no forrests?)

Also, for those complaining about Red, one of the decks listed IS Red. Green seems to be the one the least amount of people are playing at the moment. Out of the 8 top decks, green is the only color I didn't see in any of them.

Also, for those complaining about Red, one of the decks listed IS Red. Green seems to be the one the least amount of people are playing at the moment. Out of the 8 top decks, green is the only color I didn't see in any of them.



1/3 red, for a combo enchantment and it's win conditions. 2/3 blue. In fact, proporitonally the Pyro deck had the most blue cards of any of the top 8.
My point was that green seems to be doing worse :P

At least judging by the top 8 decks.

Also, still want to know what the lands that "pay 1 life, sac this card: search your deck for one of two basic land types" are doing in decks that only have ONE of the basic land types.
Also, still want to know what the lands that "pay 1 life, sac this card: search your deck for one of two basic land types" are doing in decks that only have ONE of the basic land types.


The short answer is deck thinning. You'll still get your Mountain after cracking your fetchland, but the process has removed an extra land from your library. This means you're slightly more likely to draw your spells when you need them, rather than drawing land. The benefit is small, but in a game with randomization like Magic, every little bit helps.
And blue remains broken. Woo.
Also, still want to know what the lands that "pay 1 life, sac this card: search your deck for one of two basic land types" are doing in decks that only have ONE of the basic land types.


The short answer is deck thinning. You'll still get your Mountain after cracking your fetchland, but the process has removed an extra land from your library. This means you're slightly more likely to draw your spells when you need them, rather than drawing land. The benefit is small, but in a game with randomization like Magic, every little bit helps.



No, no, no.  This is wrong.  The reason people play them is for a shuffle effect to go with ponder.  When you ponder, you want to take the best of the 3 cards(or the best 2) and get rid of what you don't want.  If you noticed pre ponder people usually didn't run extra fetches in their u/r lists, and now they do. 
Also, still want to know what the lands that "pay 1 life, sac this card: search your deck for one of two basic land types" are doing in decks that only have ONE of the basic land types.


The short answer is deck thinning. You'll still get your Mountain after cracking your fetchland, but the process has removed an extra land from your library. This means you're slightly more likely to draw your spells when you need them, rather than drawing land. The benefit is small, but in a game with randomization like Magic, every little bit helps.


No, no, no.  This is wrong.  The reason people play them is for a shuffle effect to go with ponder.  When you ponder, you want to take the best of the 3 cards(or the best 2) and get rid of what you don't want.  If you noticed pre ponder people usually didn't run extra fetches in their u/r lists, and now they do. 


Ahh, I was reading Squab's post as if he was asking why mono-colored decks use fetchlands. In the case of Pyromancer Ascension or any other deck that wants to maximize Ponder, you're definitely right (although they do still have the added benefit of deck thinning; it's just not the main reason).
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Emeria Angel. All the decks in today's article that had fetchlands either a) were running basic lands of both types fetchable, or b) were running Emeria Angel.

If Caw-Blade runs fetches, it's for the double landfall triggers with Emeria Angel.

They can also be used to bluff a Twin/Exarch plan (I'm assuming that's why Scalding Tarn and Arid Mesa were used, instead of Marsh Flats and Misty Rainforest). You could also bluff Bolts but I don't think that would be very effective :P
And blue remains broken. Woo.


Well, Magic is a game of flux. The colors and archetypes (aggro, control, combo) flucutate in and out of power. Unfortunately, Blue winds up on top more often than the other colors.

And it's because of thinking like this, from the article explaining why they banned Jace:

On the flipside, blue as a color had been powered down in Shards of Alara block, Magic 2010, and Zendikar, all as a reaction to past powerhouses Faeries and Cryptic Command, so blue was poised for a resurgence, and Jace was well positioned to be at the forefront of that resurgence.



When they see Blue not getting played, they push it HARD.
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The problem is not the power level of cawblade, the problem is there's no incentive for good players to play something other than blue right now.  Someone said this in an earlier post and it's pretty much true... red doesn't need more powerful cards, it needs smarter ones.  Goblin guide, while very powerful, forces you down one line of attack that people can stop and doesn't offer that many lines of play.  Red was at its best during tsp/lorwyn, when it had tons of intelligent cards and gave you ways to outplay your opponent.  Secondly you have a deck like valakut that they found convenient to print almost no good answers to other than counterspells and all out racing and of course people are going to want to play a deck that gives them a shot to win.  There needs to be more interesting answer cards(in colors other than blue) or else this cycle will probably just repeat.
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