09/08/2011 TD: "The Difference That Makes the Difference"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Top Decks article, which goes live Thursday morning on magicthegathering.com.
A nice history lesson, even for those of us that have been around a while.
Looking forward to playing with this card.
I've been playing (with some gaps) since the late 90's. Land Destruction can be fun! I really don't get the Command Tower backlash.
Maybe I missed something, but I'm pretty sure you can't untap Savage Lands with an Arbor Elf.
I don't think the card's all that impressive (it's a fine design for a common but I doubt it will be excessively played), this is definitely a well-written article and a good historical look at the whys and the hows of greens onedrop accelerants.
uh.......

This is one of those cards that prove why I'm not as good a Magic player as I would hope. This guy confuses the heck out of me. Oh, I'm sure he's great and all, but I just don't get it at first glance.  To me it would love hanging out in a GW deck, but other than that it would make things awkward. Does a RW deck want to splash green just so it can have another 4 white mana sources? Elves of the Deep Shadow was used mostly so that monogreen can splash for black's efficient killspells (thus covering one of the most gaping holes in your typical fast monogreen deck.) But if that's the case for this guy, what does White have that monogreen needs?


But I am most likely completely missing the point.
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(Honestly, Mike?  We have WAAAAY too many elves anyway...)

Human is good in a set where humans matter.
I'm guessing he meant Stomping Ground instead of Savage Lands.

(he might have meant taiga, but stomping ground is closer, both temporally and phonetically)
But if that's the case for this guy, what does White have that monogreen needs?



Removal that isn't Beast Within? *shrug* Also helpful should you happen to be running G/W and really need that second white mana to get something out that has in the cost.


And yeah pretty sure Arbor Elf can't untap that land. It can however untap things like Savannah, Breeding Pool, etc. This has only ever been useful to me once, but it did eventually win me the game the time it was, so...

It's spelled Corellon Larethian, not Correlon, Correllon, Correlllon, Corellion, Correlian or any other way of getting it wrong. I'm a total grognard and I still play 4E.
uh.......

This is one of those cards that prove why I'm not as good a Magic player as I would hope. This guy confuses the heck out of me. Oh, I'm sure he's great and all, but I just don't get it at first glance.  To me it would love hanging out in a GW deck, but other than that it would make things awkward. Does a RW deck want to splash green just so it can have another 4 white mana sources? Elves of the Deep Shadow was used mostly so that monogreen can splash for black's efficient killspells (thus covering one of the most gaping holes in your typical fast monogreen deck.) But if that's the case for this guy, what does White have that monogreen needs?


But I am most likely completely missing the point.




As Maro frequently tries hard not to say, Green and White are basically the same color. So your instincts are decent.

Much like last week's card implies a human-heavy environment, this card implies that WG will be worth building. Again I don't see it yet, but the cards for Top Decks previews aren't chosen at random...

If you're on MTGO check out the Free Events via PDCMagic and Gatherling.

Other games you should try:
DC Universe Online - action-based MMO.  Free to play.  Surprisingly well-designed combat and classes.

Planetside 2 - Free to play MMO-meets-FPS and the first shooter I've liked in ages.
Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.

Why is everyone showing us Garruk the Regrettable in their articles?  We get it... it's crappy and you don't want us to think it's crappy so you keep talking it up.

It's like that annoying kid at the party that just doesn't get it.  No one likes you. Just go away so I can forget I saw you and I might forgive the people that invited you. 
I agree that he must have been thinking Stomping Grounds.  Certainly an unfortunate typo.
Heh that last part is funny! I though about how many of these I wanted to run in Bant Pod over Llanowar Elves, but depending on how popular the Noble will be, probably none =p
I have long thought (since 1995) there should be a Llanowar that tapped for a and a Llanowar that taps for a /  Looks like I finally got half my wish.

Nice card, and I'm glad it's a common.
The new Garruk is horrible. Not because his abilities are horrible, but you have to drop him to 2 or 1 Loyalty counters to flip him. The built in ability to drop counters requires the opponent to have a 1 or 2 power creature out to hunt. At 3 loyalty, most of the damage spells that your opponent might cast to damage him are probably going to kill him. Even if you manage to flip him, it's unlikely that Garruk, the Veil-Cursed, with 2 or 1 loyalty counters, is going to live long enough to actually use any of his abilities.

The mechanic for flipping is horrible, but the 3 starting loyalty, 2 or less to flip mechanic almost guarantees he's dead before you can do much with him. He either should have started with 5 loyalty, with the flip at 4, or his back side +1 should have been a +2 or +3, with the cost of the ultimate adjusted upwards accordingly.

Complete waste of a Garruk redesign.

Apologies for the negativity, I don't adopt this tone on forums as a rule, but my frustration level with the MTG design team is just completely through the roof. They have brought the worst out of me and I still don't feel my words even come close to representing just how frustrated I am with MTG design, starting with the SoM block, made worse by 2012 core and then just off the charts with what we are seeing in Innistrad. This is from the perspective of a green player. Blue and Black seem to be having their already large power advantage over other colors just boosted exponentially, so a lot of other players may be happy...
Elves of the Deep Shadow was used mostly so that monogreen can splash for black's efficient killspells (thus covering one of the most gaping holes in your typical fast monogreen deck.) But if that's the case for this guy, what does White have that monogreen needs?


But I am most likely completely missing the point.


In the cards previewed for this set alone: flying, vigilance, graveyard recursion, targeted removal and mass removal.

Admittedly, green sometimes has vigilance, although rarely better than white's; it often has graveyard recursion, and often better than white's; green does have a little targeted removal, and white's isn't better than blacks; and mass removal is something green rarely wants. So looking at just this set is kind of unfair. But as for mass removal, it's possible to imagine some strategy around using weenies and mana elves (so to speak) to survive until you get out some huge fatty and casting Divine Reckoning, and as for the rest, they're always things that are nice to have.
Didn't mention knight of the reliquary.

Fail.
I'm glad it's a common because that's a decent Pauper card! 

For standard, I'm not sure it will see play, that really depends on the viability of GW, which as Amar pointed out, are functionally basically the same colors.  However, in former standard environments GW have combined forces, think GW tokens after the release of Shadowmoor.  So there's a good chance that it will see play. 

That said, most of the cards spoiled so far have been pretty bland.  The one drop vampire was pretty bland and so is this.  Meh it's good, just not particularly exciting.  Looks like this block will be pretty boring, definitely not buying a box lol.   
What's the deal with people saying White and Green are the same colors?  White has so much color pie space it's ludicrous, and Green's been restricted to "big fatties and nothing else" for so long it's almost insulting.  White can remove any permanent type from the game with ease(in fact, due to the existence of spells like Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile, the notion that Black has better removal is laughable, and I'm a mono-black player); has all kinds of powerful keywords like First/Double Strike, Protection, Vigilance, Lifelink, etc; has classically had some of the best creatures in the game; and has mass destruction of nearly every kind of permanent from lands to creatures to hands.

Green has giant fat creatures and mana accel.

How are these two even close to the same?  White is a hilariously overpowered color that only has to race Blue and Black for top spots.  Green has been the red-headed stepchild of Magic for as long as I can remember.

This guy being able to let green decks splash for white is probably the best boon to Green players since Tarmogoyf.
What's the deal with people saying White and Green are the same colors?  White has so much color pie space it's ludicrous, and Green's been restricted to "big fatties and nothing else" for so long it's almost insulting.  White can remove any permanent type from the game with ease(in fact, due to the existence of spells like Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile, the notion that Black has better removal is laughable, and I'm a mono-black player); has all kinds of powerful keywords like First/Double Strike, Protection, Vigilance, Lifelink, etc; has classically had some of the best creatures in the game; and has mass destruction of nearly every kind of permanent from lands to creatures to hands.

Green has giant fat creatures and mana accel.

How are these two even close to the same?  White is a hilariously overpowered color that only has to race Blue and Black for top spots.  Green has been the red-headed stepchild of Magic for as long as I can remember.

This guy being able to let green decks splash for white is probably the best boon to Green players since Tarmogoyf.



White overpowered and green worthless is outdated for years and your examples show it. Green has become a very strong color in all formats and it's white that's struggling to find an identity. Neither Armageddon and Balance are part of white anymore.

That it has better removal than black is very true and pretty silly if you think about it =p

It's also true green's fatties are laughable. Every other color gets way better fatties.

Green and white are 90% alike. This has been echoed many times by the designers when talking about Shadowmoor design, coming up with GW hybrid cards was very very easy.
While I'll admit I used a lot of older cards in my examples, that was just because they are off the top of my head.  My point is that White has a huge slice of the color pie, and you can't really deny that.

I also don't understand the two colors "being alike".  White is about weenies, protection, and mass removal.  Green is about big creatures and ramping.  A lot of the more famous white/green creatures I can think of could all be a single color and feel forced together (Qasali Pridemage could be mono-white easily, Knight of the Reliquary is only White because it's a Knight, etc).  Like as if they -couldn't- come up with ways to fit the two colors together.  And taking a stroll through the other White/Green spells they've made in the Modern era, the few that stand out to me as not being forced are lifegain, enchantment destruction, and pump spells, the one area where the two colors do overlap.  But that's not much different from other gold cards between friendly colors...

I dunno, maybe I'm just missing something huge here.  But the colors are really distinct in my eyes.
While I'll admit I used a lot of older cards in my examples, that was just because they are off the top of my head.  My point is that White has a huge slice of the color pie, and you can't really deny that.

I also don't understand the two colors "being alike".  White is about weenies, protection, and mass removal.  Green is about big creatures and ramping.  A lot of the more famous white/green creatures I can think of could all be a single color and feel forced together (Quasali Pridemage could be mono-white easily, Knight of the Reliquary is only White because it's a Knight, etc).  And taking a stroll through the other White/Green spells they've made in the Modern era, the few that stand out to me as not being forced are lifegain, enchantment destruction, and pump spells, the one area where the two colors do seriously overlap.

I dunno, maybe I'm just missing something huge here.  But the colors are really distinct in my eyes.



While I agree that the two colours are distinct (and the statements that they're really the same colour are usually either jokes or deliberate hyperbole, I think), they have the largest mechanical overlap of any two colours... Because, as you point out seemingly by accident - They have major overlaps in a variety of areas: Lifegain (white's slightly better at iirc), enchantment destruction, pump spells (tend to be significant differences in flavour) and creatures (White as 'lots of small efficient dudes working together', green normally as big dumb beatsticks, but it occasionally goes token mad)
They are the 'army' colors, with token making and mass pumping. Both of them also get the most efficient weenies.
There's also the enchantress and aura theme.
More recently, green got vigilance and white got reach.
They're also notorious for having very little ways to interact with cards before they resolve (even red has at least copying/redirecting)

Knight of the Reliquary had precedent in stuff like Weathered Wayfarer.

They're the colors most alike.
He's chatting up a Llanowar Elf.

That is all this is. Llanowar Elf. How often, when playing green, does that second G mana from Llanowar matter? Can count instances on my fingers when it has. Unless they bring back Watchwolf or something, this isn't going to matter more than Llanowar. Or I might be wrong, and GW humans might be the aggro achtype of the block. But I doubt it.

(at)MrEnglish22

It's hyperbole, but not without cause.  Even the big/little creature separation was a bit more recent.  Before that, Green's identity was "the creature color" except that white had the weenie tradition, so that separator had to be made.  Here's Mark Rosewater in 2008:


One of the things we learned when making a hybrid sets is which allied color combinations overlap the most and the least. The most by far is green-white. The least? Blue-black.


Green and White have probably taken the most turns as the weakest color too (black third), but none of the colors are really behind like used to happen back in the day so that's not really fair anymore.  I think much of the overlap comes from how core a big army is to the color's identity.  Black creatures are solo artists who only want others around to sacrifice.  Red's creatures don't stick around long enough to get counted.  And blue doesn't even like to publicly admit that it has creatures and would rather be the nothing-but-instants color if they had any say in the matter.


(Tribal of course is an exception to any of that, and maybe black's focus on Vampires and Zombies now will herald a long-term change.  I mean, if you were told of a "13 2/2 tokens for 8 mana", green or white would be the first two guesses, no?)


Also, this being a Flores column I'm reminded that Green and White are the two colors he keeps swearing to stop playing.  Though that's probably not the most convincing argument.


But yeah, that's why GW isn't usually a hot combination.  What the colors need the most they don't get from each other.  If a key multi is good enough like Wilt-Leaf Liege or Knight of the Reliquary then the deck forms around it, but it's not a natural combination.  ZursApprentice was right on GW tokens, but BW tokens had a better run.


----


So this card ... I don't know.  It will be a decent addition in Pauper, as ZursApprentice said, perhaps replacing the Skyshroud Elf I run sometimes.  But that's not why they had Mike preview it.


If, as said, white is the weenie color and green is the fat color, then why would I play a green 1/1 to provide white mana?  If I'm splashing creature removal, Go for the Throat is still better than Journey to Nowhere.  The visual spoiler has some nice Human tribal cards but nothing that makes me want to run GW.  Not yet.

If you're on MTGO check out the Free Events via PDCMagic and Gatherling.

Other games you should try:
DC Universe Online - action-based MMO.  Free to play.  Surprisingly well-designed combat and classes.

Planetside 2 - Free to play MMO-meets-FPS and the first shooter I've liked in ages.
Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.

uh.......

This is one of those cards that prove why I'm not as good a Magic player as I would hope. This guy confuses the heck out of me. Oh, I'm sure he's great and all, but I just don't get it at first glance.  To me it would love hanging out in a GW deck, but other than that it would make things awkward. Does a RW deck want to splash green just so it can have another 4 white mana sources? Elves of the Deep Shadow was used mostly so that monogreen can splash for black's efficient killspells (thus covering one of the most gaping holes in your typical fast monogreen deck.) But if that's the case for this guy, what does White have that monogreen needs?


But I am most likely completely missing the point.



No there's nothing wrong with you. Mike Flores isn't the best card evaluator. He mostly just mentions necropotence a lot. But for his defense. they don't pic ktheir preview card, and writing something about such a straightforward and narrow card isn't easy.
The first thing that popped into my mind was getting a two turn Watchwolf reliably with this guy.
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I can't believe Garruk gets such negative reviews. The planeswalker is incredible. Have you guys PLAYED with planeswalkers? Any planeswalker with a removal ability that can go off on its first turn, especially one as cheap as Garruk, is good. Not only that, it's removal in GREEN. A card that reads one green mana 3 colorless: destroy target creature with toughness less than 3 is not a good card. Unless it HAPPENS to stay on the table and still has to be dealt with.
The first thing that popped into my mind was getting a two turn Watchwolf reliably with this guy.



Doesn't beat Noble Hierarch into Qasali Pridemage =D
Turn 2 Mirran Crusader seems good to me.