01/30/2011 Feature: "First Impressions"

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This thread is for discussion of this weeks's Feature Article, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Playing with Undying creature was fun for me at the Prerelease.  I had the luck to not play against too many across the table, except for the Vorapede that knocked me out of the Top 16, but it seems powerful.  I love Young Wolf in Sealed, and I hope I have him (and Feed the Pack!) in my Launch Party pool.

The store I went to didn't mention the mini-game at all, though, and never assigned anyone to be anything.  Some other players and I were discussing how we thought the game would be while waiting for things to get started, but it then slipped my mind to ask until much later that night.  I wish I'd gotten the chance to protect my humanity/convert my opponents/obtain previously-alluded-to spoils.

I went to the prerelease, and I can ensure you I didn't like Dark Ascension's limited as much as Innistrad : what thrilled me in Innistrad was that also there were strong rares (/mythics) in limited, which is normal, they could be outraced, they didn't win on their own.



But in DA, we have stuff like vault of the archangel. Just play a few tokens with it, and it's a straight win. You can't race a vault. The only thing you can hope is to attrition your opponent, but how can you when you're trading actual cards for tokens ? (hint : you can't) . And in the mean while, all your opponent has to do is to bash in every turn, meaning you also have to deal with the threat of hordes of tokens.

But vault is not the only one, also, I think, the most backbreaking. There are also Vorapede ... Vigilance, and trample really ? One ability was enough.

What about increasing confusion ? You know what I saw at the prerelease ? Someone tryng hard to mill her opponent, only to see he had increasing confusion. He flashbacked, that was game. Great. Personnaly, I wonder if I wouldn't just concede game 2.

And requiem angel, eh ? Tell how you can win when your opponent has a 5/5 flyer and a whole bunch of flying blockers ?



So please, please, stop making game-winning rares like this. I like that big rares matter, and that there is an actual battle with them. A battle, not just an onslaught as soon as they hit the table.

Well, I beat a player with Sorin out 2 out of 3. so...

anyway, really the reason rares are rares is because of limited. most cards that are in the 4+ mana area should be capable of winning the game.
Obviously, you didn't read my post.

I NEVER mentionned Sorin.

And I didn't say rares shouldn't help you winning, just that they shouldn't win the game on their own.
My point was that Sorin, on its own, is more powerful than any of the 4 cards you mentioned.
And also, the two creatures you mentioned cost more than 4, and Increasing Confusion typically will be cast with an X greater than 4, and I'm saying at that expense, yes, these spells should win the game. Thats why they are rares, because they are stronger, and so you dont see them often.
Blood Feud helps. Alpha Brawl should win.
Russet Wolf and Afflicted Deserter help. Mondronen Shaman and Moonveil Dragon should win.
Briarpack Alpha, Village Survivors and Hollowhenge Beast help. Gravetiller Wurm and Ghoultree should win. Vorapede should definitely win.
Silverclaw Griffin and Hollowhenge Spirit help. Requiem Angel and Increasing Devotion should win.
Garruk Relentless was the big player in my deck.  I won all three games that I got him out.  Sadly most of the other games that I played I lost because of uber mana flood and one of them to mana screw.  I had one game where I had 13 of my 17 lands on the field or in my hand and the others were within 8 cards of the top at the end of the game.  All of the games that I got mana flooded on I had Clinging Mists but couldn't do anything with the free turn it bought me.

The other good contenders in my deck were Kessig Recluse, Diregraf Captain, and Wolfhunter's Quiver.  The combination of deathtouch and the quiver really helped in a lot of games.

One other notable card in my deck was Havengul Lich.  Sadly, it was never able to survive long enough to provide any real effect on the board.  The only time that he stuck around long enough to do anything was in one of the games that Garruk was out and I was able to bring back an opponent's Young Wolf (which actually managed to keep them from playing Ghoultree).  However, after my first round where the lich was killed, I stuck my Undying Evil in my deck for the rest of the time as that would have saved the day if I had it in that first round.
IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)
I really like the set, but being forced to do Sealed made what could have been a great experience merely a good one.  Sealed, more than any other format, is all about luck.  I only had a great pool one time out of four (Mentor of the Meek, Thraben Doomsayer, Bloodline Keeper, Lingering Souls, Gather the Townsfolk) and even that got slaughtered by two players that were luckier than me.  Sealed is all fine and good, but it shouldn't be mandatory.

Also, I can't remember a time when WotC pushed for something in Standard so obviously.  Cards like Lingering Souls, Vault of the Archangel and of course, Sorin, Lord of Innistrad practically beat you over the head and demand you play some kind of BW token variant.

Despite my complaining, I did want to share that I lost two games because I was killed by my own Archdemon of Greed.  My opponents managed to kill all of my humans in a single turn.  It was funny, but then again...it wasn't.   

University of Charleston School of Pharmacy, Class of 2016

My Peasant Cube: A Cube for the Commoners

I had quite a bit of fun this last pre-release.  I ended up being randomly selected as the starting Werewolf player for the store and quickly set to work bolstering my pack's ranks.  By the end of the 5th round there were ten of us, which wasn't half bad for only having twentyone people at the event.  The other monsters didn't fare so well and I think only ended up making a second or third for their cause. 

The set itself had some pretty fun cards, and getting a few doubles due to the nature of the smaller card pool was rather helpful.  I ended up taking first with a G/U deck that focused on smaller agile creatures that I then pumped like crazy with my multiple coppies of Hunger of the Howlpack, Wild Hunger, and Briarpack Alphas, backed up with two Travel Preparations from my Innistrad packs. 

My only major complaint was the monster stickers.  I was kinda hoping that Wizards would spring for buttons again like they did durring the Phyrexian/Mirran fight a while back.  I'm a sucker for fun collectable trinketry and was somewhat dissapointed that while my pack and I could wear our werewolf stickers with pride during the tourney, afterwards they had to come off and we really didn't have any fun lasting token of our time like we did before.  We still have our Phyrexian/Mirran buttons.

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

I had a blast at my pre-release. We did in fact use the monster stickers. I was randomly selected to be one of the two progenitors of team swayzee. Unfortunately, all of team swayzee was paired against team fright night round 1, which put us impossibly behind team zed and team teen wolf in getting converts. It seemed like everyone enjoyed it a lot.

As for the format, I have to disagree that it seemed very bomb centric. The only two rares in my deck were Dungeon Geists and Snapcaster. Both very solid cards but I don't think either could be reasonably described as bombs. I was able to make top 8 with that deck, beating a guy with Garruk, double Bloodline Keeper, and the 6/6 demon that morbids to kill things every turn. In each game he played at least 2 of the above. Additionally, most games that I watched were largely decided by the overall quality of the deck (which itself is defined mostly by commons and uncommons) and the play rather than who drew the most bombs. There is a lot of removal in this format and the vast majority of the bombs are vulnerable to most of it.

I'm looking forward to drafting this set more in the future. It's already reminding me of Ravnica draft as 3 color decks seem very powerful due to all of the varying flashback costs. And, the mana is there to make it work with Evolving Wilds in pack 1 and Traveller's Amulet plus Shimmering Grotto in packs 2 and 3.

I'm saying at that expense, yes, these spells should win the game. Thats why they are rares, because they are stronger, and so you dont see them often.
Alpha Brawl should win.
Mondronen Shaman and Moonveil Dragon should win.
Gravetiller Wurm and Ghoultree should win. Vorapede should definitely win.
Requiem Angel and Increasing Devotion should win.



It's sad that some players think this way. Magic is not about just having the biggest rare. 



As for the format, I have to disagree that it seemed very bomb centric. The only two rares in my deck were Dungeon Geists and Snapcaster. Both very solid cards but I don't think either could be reasonably described as bombs. I was able to make top 8 with that deck, beating a guy with Garruk, double Bloodline Keeper, and the 6/6 demon that morbids to kill things every turn. In each game he played at least 2 of the above.



I also did nearly the same. Two rares, managed to beat my friend also he had archangel vault (after nearly one hour though), and made top 8. But still, I couldn't access higher because some decks were really overpowered. And rares still play a huge role. What bother me is that I feel rares could matter without being overpowered. 
As for the undying removal point, well, sometimes you don't open many of them. And even if you do, you don't draw them every time. And even if you cast them, they are tricks to prevent them at times. 





Sealed being about bombs is very different from Sealed being about luck. Sometimes you really do have a terrible pool, and sometimes someone really does have a ridiculous one, but if you don't build your pool correctly, if you make lots of play mistakes (which happen constantly at prereleases), and if you're not ready for the format (which again, is very true at prereleases), you're going to lose a lot of games.

Sometimes you have to do something you'd hate doing normally in draft, such as throw all your fast weenies together...from three different colors...and play to "get lucky", because you *don't* have bombs, or removal. Sometimes you have to get greedy and splash red *and* black because you're so desperate for removal, and then cut a couple decent cards for a pair of Traveler's Amulets. And sometimes you've got a few great bombs but not much in their colors, and have to make the tough decision: do I fill out my deck with mediocre cards and just try to stay alive, or do I shelve that Geist-Honored Monk?

Also, Sealed tends to be a (significantly) slower format than draft, plus Dark Ascension seems like it's slower than Innistrad. There were 40-odd people at my prerelease...and multiple draws every round! I anticipated the (lack of) speed (but not the draws) so was happy with my controlling deck with lots of looting in it - but I also made sure I had enough good, strong spells to dig for that would finish the game, and none of my matches went to time.
The organizers at my store didn't have time to read the material and set up the monster mini-game.  Perhaps promotional material like that should be given out farther ahead?
BORING.  Apparently everyone likes playing weenie aggro.  Apparently, Wizards feels it is the only "fun" way to play magic.  I wish Wizards just made basic cards and let us make great decks and great plays.  Wizards is just making decks for us and we just play them.  That isn't as horrible though as the way these games are playing out.  Seems like a game of war... I pulled it before you... I win.  I won the dice roll... I win.   There is no fun in Innistrad/Dark Ascension for me.  Hopefully my local store start up modern where players can be creative and actually play spells that matter.
Um...  It's possible to win against bombs.  I've seen a guy pull 2 Carnifex Demons in Scars/Scars/Scars draft and still lose.  I outraced someone with a Heretic's Punishment.  I've also managed to mill someone who tried to burn me to death with Heretic's Punishment out, and I didn't have any mill cards in my deck.

I went to the prerelease, and I can ensure you I didn't like Dark Ascension's limited as much as Innistrad : what thrilled me in Innistrad was that also there were strong rares (/mythics) in limited, which is normal, they could be outraced, they didn't win on their own.



But in DA, we have stuff like vault of the archangel. Just play a few tokens with it, and it's a straight win. You can't race a vault. The only thing you can hope is to attrition your opponent, but how can you when you're trading actual cards for tokens ? (hint : you can't) . And in the mean while, all your opponent has to do is to bash in every turn, meaning you also have to deal with the threat of hordes of tokens.

But vault is not the only one, also, I think, the most backbreaking. There are also Vorapede ... Vigilance, and trample really ? One ability was enough.

What about increasing confusion ? You know what I saw at the prerelease ? Someone tryng hard to mill her opponent, only to see he had increasing confusion. He flashbacked, that was game. Great. Personnaly, I wonder if I wouldn't just concede game 2.

And requiem angel, eh ? Tell how you can win when your opponent has a 5/5 flyer and a whole bunch of flying blockers ?



So please, please, stop making game-winning rares like this. I like that big rares matter, and that there is an actual battle with them. A battle, not just an onslaught as soon as they hit the table.




I was lucky enough to open both the Vault and the Angel, and I can tell you that while you are absolutely correct on the Vault, you are slightly overestimating the Angel. To be honest, I did play quite a few Spirits so its ability wasn't as powerful as it could've been, but it wasn't an auto-win (even the Vault wasn't, though it came pretty darn close). I think the most important thing here is the lack of good removal. I played against quite a few Moonveil Dragons and the lack of removal (to be fair, I did play blue-white, which shouldn't have too much removal) was really important: the Dragon clobbered me basically every time it came down. I could see the same thing for my opponents, as very few of my creatures ate burn or death this prerelease.

I feel that overall, the format is pretty good. I had a large number of very interesting matches this Prerelease, with very interesting board positions and to-and-fro battling.
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.

I'm saying at that expense, yes, these spells should win the game. Thats why they are rares, because they are stronger, and so you dont see them often.
Alpha Brawl should win.
Mondronen Shaman and Moonveil Dragon should win.
Gravetiller Wurm and Ghoultree should win. Vorapede should definitely win.
Requiem Angel and Increasing Devotion should win.



It's sad that some players think this way. Magic is not about just having the biggest rare. 



As for the format, I have to disagree that it seemed very bomb centric. The only two rares in my deck were Dungeon Geists and Snapcaster. Both very solid cards but I don't think either could be reasonably described as bombs. I was able to make top 8 with that deck, beating a guy with Garruk, double Bloodline Keeper, and the 6/6 demon that morbids to kill things every turn. In each game he played at least 2 of the above.



I also did nearly the same. Two rares, managed to beat my friend also he had archangel vault (after nearly one hour though), and made top 8. But still, I couldn't access higher because some decks were really overpowered. And rares still play a huge role. What bother me is that I feel rares could matter without being overpowered. 
As for the undying removal point, well, sometimes you don't open many of them. And even if you do, you don't draw them every time. And even if you cast them, they are tricks to prevent them at times. 








These cards' isnt relevant. Their strength is what's relevant. Because they are powerful, they are rare, so that no one sees them in limited as much. Would you be happy if Requiem Angel was a common, and you faced it against every opponent, sometimes in multiples. I dont know how else to make that point.
I got Vault of the Archangel, but didn't have enough good black (Unbreathing Horde didn't help) to make black a main colour. I played white-blue, with a little black splash for Evil Twin, the Vault and the flashback on Forbidden Alchemy. Vault and Twin were both good but neither was game-determining; Vault doesn't help much if you're behind on creatures and/or the opponent has more evasion than you.  My favourite rare I pulled was Snapcaster Mage; in Limited he's not backbreaking, but makes for lots of interesting game decisions: he often functioned as a 4/3 flash lifelink (Moment of Heroism), and on the few occasions I got my Midnight Haunting that was a good target too. 

Most interesting game was against a green-blue opponent who kept Griptideing my Skaab Goliath, thanks to his own Snapcaster Mage; at one point I'd flipped a Soul Seizer onto his 5/5 and deliberately traded it off against something of his so that my Soul Seizer would become another creature card in my graveyard to recast the Skaab! 

Second-most interesting game was when I got enchanted by Curse of Echoes. That's a very interesting card. It doesn't quite neutralise all my instants, but it makes a lot of them less good. Skillful Lunge is basically useless. Moment of Heroism becomes useless as a combat trick but still works to gain some surprise life. Bone to Ash still counters a creature spell, but the opponent gets to draw the card! Rebuke still works fine, but Divination becomes a distinctly double-edged sword. 

Least interesting games were when Heretic's Punishment came out and killed all my stuff, and when Ludevic's Abomination came down on turn 2 and beat me up on turns 5-6. Thing with the Abomination is I had solutions to it: both Rebuke, and Evil Twin as a 13/13. But he gave it hexproof and protection from blue, and there ain't much you can do about that. 

Hexproof is a really irritating mechanic. It was frustrating back in Mirrodin with Plated Slagwurm, and it's just as frustrating now. Bring back shroud - it's much fairer.

Oh, I was converted to vampirism in the first round, which made subsequent rounds quite fun. I converted three more into the bloodline; I think we finished on about 18 (of 64), far ahead of the werewolves and spirits (the 1 Zombie had gone 0/3 drop and gone home). Our vampire overmistress won a From the Vault: Legends set as her prize, but the rest of us didn't get anything. Which is fine; we all got 1 booster anyway as participation prize, which was nice.

Of course, the experience wasn't a patch on when prereleases were still allowed to run drafts and 2HG tournaments. Wistful sigh. Nor do I get to meet up at the big London prerelease with my brother and a bunch of other Magic-playing friends who've scattered around the country the way we used to. The game's become much less sociable with the loss of the big prereleases... I still don't understand why Wizards wanted to kill those fun times, but they're gone.


I was lucky enough to open both the Vault and the Angel, and I can tell you that while you are absolutely correct on the Vault, you are slightly overestimating the Angel. To be honest, I did play quite a few Spirits so its ability wasn't as powerful as it could've been, but it wasn't an auto-win (even the Vault wasn't, though it came pretty darn close). I think the most important thing here is the lack of good removal. I played against quite a few Moonveil Dragons and the lack of removal (to be fair, I did play blue-white, which shouldn't have too much removal) was really important: the Dragon clobbered me basically every time it came down. I could see the same thing for my opponents, as very few of my creatures ate burn or death this prerelease.

I feel that overall, the format is pretty good. I had a large number of very interesting matches this Prerelease, with very interesting board positions and to-and-fro battling.



Well, if you play the angel along other spirits, it's just a big flyer. Good but not gamebreaking. But when it provides a whole bunch of flying blockers, while allowing you rush into the red zone with basically anything you have, it's broken. 

Concerning removal, white blue seems to really fares well, I mean, with, say,  the human tapper, the spirit tapper, bonds of faith, claustrophobia, burden of guilt, smite, rebuke, bounces. For that matter, I was really amazed by the quality of white/blue cards. With both good removal, flyers, tempo and big buddies (the blue zombies). 

As for Hexproof, yeah it sucks. My friend plays The Mimeoplasm ashis  commander, and when his general hits the table copying an Ascetic troll, it's basically game over. It's really an unfun mechanic. My only question about it is : "Is it absolutely totally needed for constructed pruposes ?" 

Well, if you play the angel along other spirits, it's just a big flyer. Good but not gamebreaking. But when it provides a whole bunch of flying blockers, while allowing you rush into the red zone with basically anything you have, it's broken.



I agree, but I do think it says something positive about the format that both of the mentioned bombs (Vault and Angel) differ strongly in their valuation and still require you to build your deck around them to make full use of them. The Vault was easily my best card, but alextfish was less positive about it. The Angel was great for others but for me it was mostly a huge beatstick.

Concerning removal, white blue seems to really fares well, I mean, with, say,  the human tapper, the spirit tapper, bonds of faith, claustrophobia, burden of guilt, smite, rebuke, bounces. For that matter, I was really amazed by the quality of white/blue cards. With both good removal, flyers, tempo and big buddies (the blue zombies).



I'll admit I did have a Burden of Guilt, a Claustrophobia and a Niblis of the Breath (though I only got to use the last one in a single game). It was mostly the complete lack of black removal in my pool (and I mean complete lack) which prompted that statement.

But, yeah, it really seems as if Wizards is pushing blue in Limited pretty hard.
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.


I agree, but I do think it says something positive about the format that both of the mentioned bombs (Vault and Angel) differ strongly in their valuation and still require you to build your deck around them to make full use of them. The Vault was easily my best card, but alextfish was less positive about it. The Angel was great for others but for me it was mostly a huge beatstick.



Agreed. They need a little work during deckbuilding. But nothing too hard. 


But, yeah, it really seems as if Wizards is pushing blue in Limited pretty hard.



Again, agreed. My local draft group totally dislikes blue. It's like it's Christmas time every time I draft there : claustrophobia in the last picks ? Sure I'll take it ^^

But, yeah, it really seems as if Wizards is pushing blue in Limited pretty hard.



Again, agreed. My local draft group totally dislikes blue. It's like it's Christmas time every time I draft there : claustrophobia in the last picks ? Sure I'll take it ^^




I started playing in Prereleases around the time of Fifth Dawn and after a few rather disastrous attempts to play blue, I resolved to avoid playing it entirely due to the lack of removal and generally crappy creatures (a promise I broke a few times, but always to my loss). These days, though, blue's flyers are pretty darn good, and the skaab really help in giving it some punch as well.
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.