01/12/2012 TD: "Decisions, Decisions... No Decision Required"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Top Decks article, which goes live Thursday morning on magicthegathering.com.
For the love of all that is holy.  Why, oh why, do you guys design cards like this? 
Because they don't want combo decks to win on turn 2-3. Wizards seems to really be explicitly pushing for heavy creature based decks. Even control cannot be draw go anymore, they need to play substantial creatures. Which is as it should be in my mind.

As for the hint for next week, my guess is he'll be showing an upgrade to Kitchen Finks with Undying. 
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Thalia seems neat.  I want to know her story, mainly how she earned the title "Guardian of Thraben".  It seems like there's a great tale behind that one.

Vorthos popping in for a moment, don't mind me
I think the design team's goal for this card must have been "Design the most boring Legend in history".  If so, they succeeded brilliantly.  It's probably a useful card and all, but why make it a Legend at all if it's going to be this flavorless? 

Apologies for being off-topic for this column; please don't let me interrupt your Spikefest.
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi

Vorthos popping in for a moment, don't mind me
I think the design team's goal for this card must have been "Design the most boring Legend in history".  If so, they succeeded brilliantly.  It's probably a useful card and all, but why make it a Legend at all if it's going to be this flavorless? 

Apologies for being off-topic for this column; please don't let me interrupt your Spikefest.



A legendary creature in M:tG has a mechanic that has nothing to do with her personality or flavour identity? I'm sorry, but isn't this common?

I should think the reason she's legendary is fairly obvious: you're not meant to be able to stack multiple copies. I'm not sure what would be an appropriate way to conceptualise that mechanic, so no matter what the solution was, it would have been kludgy.

Lack of concern for the flavour of a character on a legendary card is genuinely an issue with major storyline characters - see: Gerrard Capashen, Toshiro Umezawa, etc. - but Thalia is not a significant character. This is a card that is legendary for mechanical reasons; so they invented a name for her.

Honestly, from a flavour perspective I find two things much more annoying. Firstly, like Angelic Destiny, the woman is so waifish. Is it really so much to ask for a female character who's a tough warrior and guard-captain to actually look like one? Why does this supposedly veteran knight-cathar have the build of a twenty year old student? Secondly, in her right hand she is holding a straight rapier, but in her left hand she's holding a curved Japanese sheath? What?

With Gut Shot and Geistflame in Standard, this may be more of a sideboard card. It's still a great card, and I'll be getting four of them for my GW Human deck. At the very least it puts your opponent off tempo. Control decks can't play DoJ till turn 5. Mana Leak suddenly costs 3. Illusions, RDW, and any other deck that plays lots of instants but runs light on lands might find themselves in a bad situation if they took a one or two mana opening hand. 

The question is if it's better than Grand Abolisher, which seems to fill the same roll. 
Honestly, from a flavour perspective I find two things much more annoying. Firstly, like Angelic Destiny, the woman is so waifish. Is it really so much to ask for a female character who's a tough warrior and guard-captain to actually look like one? Why does this supposedly veteran knight-cathar have the build of a twenty year old student?



Because she excels more at magic than at physical combat? =p Her ability is more hatebear than the Knight type of cards.
Or who says she's veteran? Innistrad is in dire straits, so maybe the turnover in guardians of Thraben is so high they just give rookies the job.

I love the look and pose on those cards. Coloring and texture, not so much.
People complaining about the girl's build? Well, I guess it's progress, but shouldn't we be at least complimenting Wizards that she's actually wearing armour? And not some kind of chainmail bikini.

I really like her pose: the dynamism of the clouds and the wind blowing her hair, and the resolute expression. Although that big billowing ribbon is just asking to get tangled around some zombie.

The mechanics of the card are somewhat forgettable; least mechanically relevant Legend since Kemba, Kha Regent. But eh, who comes to Top Decks during preview week for a card with interesting mechanics anyway? :P
The mechanics of the card are somewhat forgettable; least mechanically relevant Legend since Kemba, Kha Regent. But eh, who comes to Top Decks during preview week for a card with interesting mechanics anyway? :P



Huh, what do you mean with "least mechanically relevant Legend"?
I see this has already been said, but to me it's pretty stupid that she has a foil-like straight sword (an estoc or rapier or something) in one hand and a curved slashing sword scabbard (for a katana, sabre, that sort of thing) in the other.

This is bad art. I mean apart from that the art is ok, but boring. But that is a fairly major issue with the way the card scans. It jumped out to me immediately - not like I had to see the blown up version or anything and it isn't like I'm any kind of sword expert.

You can explain the mismatch away, like most anything in a fantasy setting, but it's still jarring.



Anyway, kind of a boring spike card, but hey that's the column. I'd use her for fun as an EDH general though, in a silly aggro deck.
Yeah, I actually had to go back and check the art, and the sword/scabbard mismatch is pretty bad.  I thought she was holding two swords when I glanced at it first (I don't really look at a lot of card art because I don't really like the 'realistic' style that has been going on for a while - I like both the older card frames and art more than most of the new stuff).  It would seem that the effort to make a piece of artwork like that would mean that you would want to get the details right - and a katana scabbard for a rapier is not right.  It is a nice card for WW though.
Wow, it's interesting to see this printed on a two-drop now.  Does anybody else remember the first take on it?



I guess it is now time!
With the current meta as it is this card will definately see main deck play in UW humans. This is exactly the type of card the deck wants to run. It is better than abolisher with the exception of one thing: abolisher is not a legend.

I understand that gut shots kill it but every card has something that kills it. The neat thing with this is if they want to kill it with a gut shot they have to pay 1 and 2 life OR 1R. Most decks running gut shot don't run that much mana so that extra one mana can be detrimental to their tempo plan. Also, can you imagine how strong this is against Control? And what if they don't have a piece removal against it?

As long as there is some sort of white wheenie deck this will see main deck play. Speaking of which - they just keep adding and adding to potential UW Humans cards! If this keeps up white will be a very very strong color in standard.
Wow, it's interesting to see this printed on a two-drop now.  Does anybody else remember the first take on it?



I guess it is now time!

No, it's just the same "Legendary Discount" that let Glory Seeker cost one mana that time.

Flavorful artwork, flavorful pose, flavorful background, overall a very good looking card. And she does some wonders. I will definitely see her going into decks as SB cards for control matchup. Heck, she even screws WRR. The single mana increment really mess with people's mana curve.

And she has first strike... her flavor text should really be "DIE!!!! SNAPCASTER MAGE!!! @!#$%^&*^%@#"

P.S. As a sidenote, I found that the flavor text for Loyal Cathar also referred to a conversation with said girl. While not very matching (Especially the flipped side) it's still very flavorful.
IMAGE(http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a117/Nasrod/TownshipTokenscopy.jpg)
Speaking of which - they just keep adding and adding to potential UW Humans cards! If this keeps up white will be a very very strong color in standard.



"will be"? To be fair, I don't know about Standard at the moment, but for Innistrad Draft white was the winningest color by far the last time that I checked. Now they've added this card and the new Sorin planeswalker. I guess the new BU lich might be powerful if you live long enough to play it, but otherwise I've been thoroughly underwhelmed by the preview cards for all of the other colors, which were already lagging behind white in Innistrad. If the third set in the block follows a story line of, "Innistrad has now been saved by these great forces of good" then white could get even more of a boost.

Not that you can't make good decks in other colors, but white seems to have an awful lot of "goodies".

I understand that gut shots kill it but every card has something that kills it. The neat thing with this is if they want to kill it with a gut shot they have to pay 1 and 2 life OR 1R. Most decks running gut shot don't run that much mana so that extra one mana can be detrimental to their tempo plan. Also, can you imagine how strong this is against Control? And what if they don't have a piece removal against it?.



Oh I agree. At the very least it's a must kill that, just like Abolisher, messes up their tempo to deal with. But is it a 4-of? I don't know. 

A Flores article that's not about blue? What's the world coming to?

I don't usually pay much attention to card art, but Thalia's surprisingly bad. Like Baconradar and DaTuck said, the sword/scabbard mismatch is really glaring. Also, she kinda has a weird front butt.
With Gut Shot and Geistflame in Standard, this may be more of a sideboard card. It's still a great card, and I'll be getting four of them for my GW Human deck. At the very least it puts your opponent off tempo. Control decks can't play DoJ till turn 5. Mana Leak suddenly costs 3. Illusions, RDW, and any other deck that plays lots of instants but runs light on lands might find themselves in a bad situation if they took a one or two mana opening hand. 

The question is if it's better than Grand Abolisher, which seems to fill the same roll. 

This was my first thought, that it would put control on its heels a bit, but there's also the problem of against control, whether or not it would resolve. the jerks that counterspell Llanowar Elves or Birds to screw you over would definitely counter her too if they had the opportunity.
~ Current Decks I'm Playing or Building ~ (Click a deck's name to see list) [] CorpseJunk Menace/Township Counters (Standard) [] Reanimation/Clerics Theme Deck - Commander: Ghost Dad [] Devouring Tokens (Planechase, Multiplayer) [] Krark-Clan Ironworks: 2012 Edition (Modern) [] Azorious Turbo Fog (Modern)
Did no one else notice the teaser at the end of this article?

Next Week: "Everything but the..."



He'll definitely be previewing some sort of undying card that he'll compare to Kitchen Finks.

IMAGE(http://steamsignature.com/status/default/76561197995631463.png) No longer a commander as of 7/29/13.

Why is she a soldier when she's a knight-cathar??? all the flavor text points that she's a knight.