09/15/2011 TD: "The Best Card Ever... Plus or Minus One"

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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 know this is a lowly common, and "only" card draw at that, but this may be the most exciting card previewed from my perspective yet.
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Yea, this is easily one of the cards I'm looking forward to pulling a bunch of. Setting up both your grave and hand is going to be an amazing card no matter how you slice it.
Fireblast is "broken"?
What?
I'd have rather seen it be three cards and two mana, or four and two blue. The three mana means it can't stand against the recent greats of Ponder and Preordain.

And I HATE the second color in flashback costs; especially when there is no logical reason for it. I can understand when the flashback cost is cheap. Moreso when the second color fits the ability just as well. But, when the cost is high, forcing a specific color makes this card forgetable. Just like Mystical Teachings

MaRo: One of the classic R&D stories happened during a Scars of Mirrodin draft. Erik Lauer was sitting to my right (meaning that he passed to me in the first and third packs). At the end of the draft, Erik was upset because I was in his colors (black-green). He said, "Didn't you see the signals? I went into black-green in pack one." I replied, "Didn't you see my signals? I started drafting infect six drafts ago." ******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************** MaRo: During a playtest, I played a Reaper from the Abyss. I attacked each turn, while my opponent would chump block (he had a lot of fliers), and then I killed a second creature. This happened until he had only one creature left. I attack, he blocked, and then the following dialogue occurred: Him: Kill your demon. Me: What? Him: My guy died so you have to kill a creature. Me: Yeah, but why would a demon kill himself? Him: I don't know. He's depressed there's no one left to kill. Me: That doesn't make any sense. Him: I don't care. It's what the card says. I then take out my pen, and wrote "non-Demon" on it. Him: You can't do that. Me: I redesigned him while the effect was on the stack.

Fireblast is "broken"?
What?


If three damage for one mana is already getting into "arguably overpowered", what would you call four damage for zero mana?
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011

The thinking was that blue mages wanted to leave up mana for Counterspells, and by being forced to cast a three- or four-mana sorcery main phase to keep pace, they didn't get the full flexibility afforded them by being, you know, blue.



Yes, you want to have your cake and eat it too, stupid blue mages =(
Should've been a sorcery.  


I don't know that two mana for an Impulse would be overpowered for Magic in 2011 (compare Impulse to Preordain or Ponder; it offers more but also costs more), but Forbidden Alchemy isn't exactly an Impulse, is it?

 

Preordain is close to overpowered itself.

The best card of a
ll time? I doubt that anyone would mistake Forbidden Alchemy for that. But might it be as format defining as Mystical Teachings over the next year or so? I certainly wouldn't bet against.



Mirror matches where the correct play for a turn 10 8-card hand was to discard one, because the first who tapped (to, you know, actually play the game) lost. I'd like to bet against unfun games, but Wizards admits they underrate card draw many times.

New blue options like Snapcaster Mage seem positively devious.... Forbidden Alchemy, dropping a Stoic Rebuttal, flash down Snapcaster Mage, give the aforementioned Stoic Rebuttal Flashback, counter your opponent's whatever.


For the low low cost of 2U, 1U, 1UU/UU (That's eight mana, peoples, 7 if you have Metalcraft) you too can counter a spell and get yourself a 2/1! AMAZING!

Quick question: What's wrong with 2U, dump the mage, 1UU counter?

Maybe it's just me, I've always been bad at this game ;)
Fireblast is "broken"?
What?



QFT
I like the design of fireblast.
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Very exciting common.  The best spoiled so far from my perspective.  There's not much else I can say, it's just very good, very exciting. 
If three damage for one mana is already getting into "arguably overpowered", what would you call four damage for zero mana?

-2 CA.  Sometimes even -3!
Fireblast is optimal when casting one or two of them can immediately end the game.  Otherwise it's just bad removal that simutanously Ancestrals and Time Stretches the opponent.
I always find the threads associated with this kind of preview card amusing. Blue mages invariably show up and complain that it's not overpowered.

As printed, this card is, in my opinion, perfectly balanced (I like that it's an instant and not a sorcery, though I also think that there should be room for sorcery-speed card draw), and I for one am glad that Wizards hasn't thrown us another 4-in-every-deck card draw spell (Preordain, Ponder and Lightning Bolt are the omnipresent cards Wizards has printed in the last couple of years, and blue card draw is hopelessly overrepresented there).
76125763 wrote:
Zindaras' meta is like a fossil, ancient and its secrets yet to be uncovered. Only men of yore, long dead, knew of it.
If three damage for one mana is already getting into "arguably overpowered", what would you call four damage for zero mana?

-2 CA.  Sometimes even -3!

And played exclusively in decks that can operate on two lands, three tops, and don't give a rat's ass about card advantage.

Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
If three damage for one mana is already getting into "arguably overpowered", what would you call four damage for zero mana?

-2 CA.  Sometimes even -3!
Fireblast is optimal when casting one or two of them can immediately end the game.  Otherwise it's just bad removal that simutanously Ancestrals and Time Stretches the opponent.



Black Lotus gives negative CA too, so it's not overpowered? =p
Fireblast is indeed used to end the game, and it's very good at that in dedicated decks.

Fireblast was always one of those "uh-oh, can't let my life dip down to 10" cards, because Bolt/Bolt/Fireblast at instant speed would end the game.  Of course most of the Fireblast years were spent in the company of Force of Will, so it was the game-ender that might backfire.  Even so, it was powerful enough to make Jon Finkel choose Mountains over Islands at Worlds 1998, so that's saying something.


However, considering Fireblast at 4 damage for 0 mana and 3 cards, certainly 5 damage for 1 mana and 2 cards has to be comparable.  Yet Goblin Grenade was apparently reprintable.  I know I've been the recipient of the "bolt bolt grenade grenade, guess you shouldn't have gone down to 16" game recently.  So maybe "broken" was a bit of Flores-style exaggeration.


On topic, while I do think this looks like a fun card and the graveyard bit will be beneficial, I still think it compares negatively to both Impulse and Teachings.  In pauper (where Forbidden Alchemy will be legal), Impulse never sees play and Teachings hasn't been a 4-of in a while.  I'll certainly give it a try, but that doesn't bode well for this card being a big game-changer.

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Funny little card, but... just so much mana.

For the small sum of you get +1 card and +6 cards in your graveyard. I know this is standard legal, but [c]Fact or Fiction[/C] is just so much better and it doesn't even see a lot of play time. 
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card: [c]cardname[/c]-> [c]Vampire Nighthawk[/c] -> Vampire Nighthawk
However, considering Fireblast at 4 damage for 0 mana and 3 cards, certainly 5 damage for 1 mana and 2 cards has to be comparable.  Yet Goblin Grenade was apparently reprintable.  I know I've been the recipient of the "bolt bolt grenade grenade, guess you shouldn't have gone down to 16" game recently.  So maybe "broken" was a bit of Flores-style exaggeration.



Goblin Grenade is like multicolor; it has specific requirements and therefore can be somewhat more powerful because the rest of your deck is more restricted. I think that's what makes it balanced.

Funny little card, but... just so much mana.

For the small sum of you get +1 card and +6 cards in your graveyard. I know this is standard legal, but [c]Fact or Fiction[/C] is just so much better and it doesn't even see a lot of play time. 



Oh come on, if you add up the costs for FIrebolt or Chainer's Edict it sounds absurd too, but because the regular card is decently priced, those cards are very playable even with a high flashback cost. Forbidden Alchemy has a very decent cost, even without the flashback cost it might see play.
To me, Forbidden Alchemy seems like very good design. Yes, it is powerful, but I am also happy it is slightly nerfed in comparison to both Impulse and Mystical Teachings and that it excels in a narrower deck-design-space (graveyard vs. any card at all / instants and flashes). Looks to me like "balanced and yet (probably) tournament worthy design", something that is quite hard. I like how interactive Forbidden Alchemy is from a deck-design perspective: you probably want to exploit the graveyard synergies, rather than "just" dig, since cards like Preordain are better at that.

And to those who think that Fireblast is ok: well, you clearly have never played against a finely tuned deck that makes the most use of it. Saccing two lands to kill your opponent on turn three is not the sort of card-disadvantage that matters (i.e. it does not impact on who wins the war of attrition since the war of attrition never takes place). Ok, so you might have an answer, in which case the fireblast-player might be royally screwed (though playing mainly one-drops, saccing two lands matters less than you might think). More importantly, having or not having the answer has little to do with skill and all to do with luck: either way it is "oops, I won".

Forbidden Alchemy is Really really strong. The main drawback is your going to be dropping your 3rd land, and shipping the turn in a format with alot of really fast decks. RDW is taking the new standard by storm, and white humans is really strong, as well as Monoblack Aggro. Ponder and Forbidden alchemy in the same deck seems extremly strong, if you can HOLD ON. What color should you pair the two strong control cards with, to keep you alive, is the real question, Red has strong answers but bad mana support with blue, and black seems like a natural fit, giving that you can flash back the alchemy which makes it even stronger against control . But If you pair it with a color that can hold the aggro down,while you search for answers and mana leak things, it seems like a tier 1 arch-type to me.