04/16/2012 Feature: "Avacyn Restored Preview: Soulbond"

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This thread is for discussion of this weeks's Feature Article, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
The prevalence of Soulbond in this set is going to make removal, especially in limited, even more important than it was already.

Edit: Now that I've read through the meat of the article I see he touched on this a little.
Seriously? An 8/8 for five mana whose only drawback is that you have to control a creature. I don't want to play against this. I don't want to be forced to choose between buying this or playing my favorite, formerly-decent 5-mana green creatures and falling behind the power creep. Why are you doing this? This isn't a chase mythic rare; it won't sell tons of packs. It just obsoletes so many fun and interesting cards and creates another moment of "Does anyone have a removal spell? Nope. Guess we all lose." and there are already way too many cards like that printed this last year alone.

Stop printing overpowered creatures. Please.
Woah. Dat preview card. 12 potential points of power and toughness for a mere five mana in green is insane. A soulbond 1/1 blue flying and a soulbond 2/2 white double strike are costed the same as their non-soulbond counterparts since soulbond is a pro and a con. Nightshade Peddler is costed the same as Ambush Viper, Thornweald Archer, and Deadly Recluse which include an extra ability and point of power or toughness. Can't think of any precedent for an 8/8 green five-mana beatstick though...
The more I think about it, the more I like Soulbond. My initial reaction was negative, as it seemed so bland; however, now I'm starting to like it. It's got a lot of design space (admittedly almost all of it already covered by auras). I just wish it were flavored more as a mount mechanic, than as a "buddies for life", or whatever it is now.

I agree that five-mana for an 8/8 that also gives another creature +4/+4 is ridiculously over the curve. But hey, it's not the most over-the-curve we've gotten lately, so I guess that's fine... I guess.

I'm disappointed that the wolfir are apparently just going to be regular ol' Wolf creatures. It looks like werewolves are well and truly dead.
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Seriously? An 8/8 for five mana whose only drawback is that you have to control a creature. I don't want to play against this. I don't want to be forced to choose between buying this or playing my favorite, formerly-decent 5-mana green creatures and falling behind the power creep. Why are you doing this? This isn't a chase mythic rare; it won't sell tons of packs. It just obsoletes so many fun and interesting cards and creates another moment of "Does anyone have a removal spell? Nope. Guess we all lose." and there are already way too many cards like that printed this last year alone.

Stop printing overpowered creatures. Please.


This.

Wizards, you know for a green creature that costs >4 to become a constructed viable card it either has to be Primeval Titan or do something very different than just being a big dumb beatstick (like Avenger of Zendikar in Valakut decks). Where's Vorapede now? No one plays with Vorapede, even with all the synergy with Birthing pod and the weird vigilance and general power creep, it still doesnt make it for constructed. Will it take printing a 20/20 trample, vigilance, haste, undying, regenerating green dude for 4CMC make you realize you are doing nothing to solve this problem?

So why are you pushing this? How long will it take for you to realize that power creeping big Green creatures is not gonna help. They won't be constructed playable based on stats alone (unless you add Hexproof to them, but that's another story - and another thing you're messing up) so all you're doing when you print these kind of Green creatures is create the scenario Incoming_Wormhole described, which is not fun at all.

Green has always been my least favourite colour alongside White, and by printing this kind of dumb cards you are making it worse. "Hurrr durr I put 12 power worth of creatuers on the field with 5 mana", how fun!

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192884403 wrote:
surely one can't say complex conditional passive language is bad grammar ?
Toutatis save us for the sky is falling on our heads!

I love the ability of magic players to instantly jump up and down about a card and proclaim how broken it is. Let me say that I think this card is nice, but not overpowering.

Lets look at what you're getting without the soulbonding ability, a vanilla 4/4 for 5 mana in green. Now that on its own is a pretty bad card. This card is only good when it has its friend still present. On its own its fairly useless yes? Thats the crux of a soulbond card, it needs its friend. So why are people forgetting this? Its not like there's a ton of removal available to players or anything... And never mind that, its an 8/8 with no other abilities. How is it going to get past that 1/1 spirit token? Of course in combination with another thats a different story, but thats just it, it needs a buddy to do anything.

This card is fun, but not great. So quit dramatizing.

EDIT: re-read the paired text. So if you have a wingcrafter as well in play, as well as another misc. creature, all 3 get +4+4 and flying?

I'm pretty sure Daybreak Ranger is female, so I think it's pretty likely Nightfall Predator is as well. Unless there's some aspect to the werewolf transformation we haven't been told about??


But gender pedantry apart, this preview does seem pretty ridiculous. As the article says, 12 power for 5 mana hasn't been seen even at mythic; I suppose Grave Titan would get there given a turn to attack, but the Titans are not acceptable precedent for, well, anything, especially power levels of five-mana creatures.


All that said, I am really looking forward to playing with soulbond (just not this creature in particular). It does look a lot of fun. And I'm also happy to have at least two flicker effects at common.

To Popengton: "This can be chump-blocked forever" may be enough to keep a card out of tournament Constructed, but tournament Constructed is *not* the only format. I really can't see this having a good effect on Limited or Casual, both of which are places where it's usually not difficult to keep a creature on the board. Would you say a 20/20 for 3 mana is okay because "it can be chump-blocked forever"? 

The more I think about it, the more I like Soulbond. My initial reaction was negative, as it seemed so bland; however, now I'm starting to like it. It's got a lot of design space (admittedly almost all of it already covered by auras). I just wish it were flavored more as a mount mechanic, than as a "buddies for life", or whatever it is now.

I agree that five-mana for an 8/8 that also gives another creature +4/+4 is ridiculously over the curve. But hey, it's not the most over-the-curve we've gotten lately, so I guess that's fine... I guess.



I would take that as an argument that the rest of the stuff is nuts, not that this one is okay.

I'm disappointed that the wolfir are apparently just going to be regular ol' Wolf creatures. It looks like werewolves are well and truly dead.



I've been saying this ever since they announced double-faced cards weren't going to return. All tribal aspects of Innistrad block are gone. If we're lucky, we might just get a couple of enablers, but nothing better.

Toutatis save us for the sky is falling on our heads!

I love the ability of magic players to instantly jump up and down about a card and proclaim how broken it is. Let me say that I think this card is nice, but not overpowering.

Lets look at what you're getting without the soulbonding ability, a vanilla 4/4 for 5 mana in green. Now that on its own is a pretty bad card. This card is only good when it has its friend still present. On its own its fairly useless yes? Thats the crux of a soulbond card, it needs its friend. So why are people forgetting this? Its not like there's a ton of removal available to players or anything... And never mind that, its an 8/8 with no other abilities. How is it going to get past that 1/1 spirit token? Of course in combination with another thats a different story, but thats just it, it needs a buddy to do anything.

This card is fun, but not great. So quit dramatizing.



At five mana, Green gets a 4/4 with trample or a 5/5. That makes this guy waaaaaaaaaay above the curve. We all understand that the reason this card is so powerful is because a single Doom Blade can easily turn into a 2-for-1. But that just means that this is yet another creature which says "kill me or die." And people find that boring. Also, people are annoyed by Wizards' desire in recent years to obsolete half of Magic (I'm still angry about Phyrexian Obliterator).

You're right, though. This card isn't really that good. I'm pretty sure it won't see any play in Standard. Delver and Vapor Snag just destroy this guy.

EDIT: re-read the paired text. So if you have a wingcrafter as well in play, as well as another misc. creature, all 3 get +4+4 and flying?



Pretty sure they don't and they only see the one creature they're bound to.


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 going to have to echo the whines of the above posters.  Magic creatures have power-creeped massively over the past 3 years, yes, so I'm fine with some creatures putting older creatures to shame since WotC has obviously recalibrated what they see as an "acceptable" creature ( I disagree with the change mostly, but that's a different issue).  But one thing to be especially careful with is just plain dumb vanilla stat boosts.  A cool yet powerful ability spices things up, and there can theoretically be decks that it doesn't synergize with, or spoilers, or whatever.  Not every Green deck looking for a 6-drop cares about Primeval Titan's lands.  However a giant vanilla stat increase invalidates far more cards, as every vanilla-ish 5 mana creature is suddenly pointless.  Why should I bother jumping through Gorilla Titan's hoops?  "Control another creature" isn't much of a restriction.  It's certainly not a restriction in casual constructed or Limited, and the formats lately haven't had competitive decks that constantly clear the board like the old Wrath / Oblivion Stone / Akroma's Vengeance decks.

Meh.  If the card was something like "if you control another Wolf or Werewolf, this card gets +4/+4," it'd still be a rather boring undercosted fattie, but at least it's for a specific deck.  As is, it feels more like Tarmogoyf with even fewer ways to spoil the condition.  (Of course Tarmogoyf was far worse since it was 2 mana, but so it goes.)
Woah. Dat preview card. 12 potential points of power and toughness for a mere five mana in green is insane. A soulbond 1/1 blue flying and a soulbond 2/2 white double strike are costed the same as their non-soulbond counterparts since soulbond is a pro and a con. Nightshade Peddler is costed the same as Ambush Viper, Thornweald Archer, and Deadly Recluse which include an extra ability and point of power or toughness. Can't think of any precedent for an 8/8 green five-mana beatstick though...



Terra Stomper comes close enough. I'm pretty sure a 5 mana 8/8 vanilla green rare would be all kinds of acceptable. 

I'm disappointed that the wolfir are apparently just going to be regular ol' Wolf creatures. It looks like werewolves are well and truly dead.

 

This =( all these people will casual/FNM werewolf decks are very disappointed now. 
I like this card!
I strongly disagree with the complaints.. 8/8 for 5 is above curve for green but not excessively so.

A quick search shows:
Spectral Force : 5cc, 8/8 TRAMPLE.  Was popular paired with Scryb Ranger
Phyrexian Hydra  : 5cc 7/7 INFECT.  Weird drawback, not enough infect support, unpopular.
Changeling Titan : 5cc 7/7 Champion.  Never played.  Requiring another creeature made it too unpredictable.
Precursor Golem : 5cc. 3 3/3 creatures.  (9 total damge).  Not that popular.

Cloudthresher: 6cc 7/7 FLASH, REACH, 2dmg to flyers.  Evoke.  This was played mainly for the anti-flyer effect.
Terra Stomper: 6cc 8/8 Can't be countered, TRAMPLE.  Not played because Primeval Titan is so much better.

Wolfir Silverheart is better than these creatures, but it needs to be.  Those cards were only mildly popular/playable (except Spectral Force).  I think history shows that these creatures need to be pushed to be worth playing.

Also, it's much more fun to have options to choose from at a casting cost.  Would you seriously want Vorapede and Acidic Slime to be the only decent green drops at 5?  What about when Acidic Slime rotates out?  I'm not sure this card replaces those in the Pod deck anyway.   But it opens up fun NEW deck ideas like a last hurrah for poison, or a return to Dungrove Elder/Thrun.

 

You can add on Ezuri's Brigade, 8/8 plus trample for four mana (via metalcraft).  Although if 8/8 for 5 is fine in green alone, that's pretty insulting to Fusion Elemental.


I think the greater concern here is that he grants 4, with no summoning sickness in effect. A 1/1 flyer suddenly becoming 5/5 is potentially a bigger problem than "just" an 8/8 creature.  (And paired with Silverblade Paladin that's 14 points of doublestrike, though by then you're already in overkill.)

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.

So what happens if you pair one Wolfir Silverheart with another? Do they both become 12/12?
Ezuri's Brigade is a great example of this kind of card done right; Metalcraft is an achievable yet non-trivial condition to require for getting an undercosted vanilla fattie.  The brigade doesn't go in every deck with creatures that wants a big critter.  Spectral Force is the same; it has an interesting drawback, but as noted it can be worked around by pairing it with Scryb Ranger (or, theoretically, Darkest Hour type effects).  So you don't get an 8/8 trampler "out of the box."

Silverheart will be 8/8 most of the time AND grant a gigantic +4/+4 bonus to someone else, which is just crazy on the base "vanilla" power scale.  Now there's only so much call for 5 mana vanilla beaters at high-level Magic, so as noted I'm sure it won't set everything on fire there, but everywhere else?  Meh.
WAAAAAAHHH!!  This card is completely overpowered and unplayable!!!

wait.  what? 

I complained about the Miracle mechanic, but this is fine.  At five mana, power level is just another ability, one green should clearly have access to.  And it isn't even the best ability to have.  I predict Silverblad Paladin, with a very similar ability, will see more play than Wolfir Silverheart, because additional power is much more useful at 3cc than 5cc.
So what happens if you pair one Wolfir Silverheart with another? Do they both become 12/12?

Yes.
I don't see a problem with this card.  What's wrong with green getting an efficient beater?  It is the creature color after all.

They need to make the soulbond abilities this powerful otherwise they wouldn't be worth the chances of being sniped.  Imagine the following scenario:

A: I cast Wolfir Silverheart pairing it with my Silverblade Paladin.  Attack with Silverblade Paladin.
B: Doom blade the Wolfir.  Block the Paladin with my 3/3 vanilla.

I think it's perfectly fair.


I, for one, wonder if I can squeeze this Wolfir into my Feed the Pack deck. =)

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From Mark Rosewater's Tumblr: the0uroboros asked: How in the same set can we have a hexproof, unsacrificable(not a word) creature AND a land that makes it uncounterable. How does this lead to interactive play? I believe I’m able to play my creature and you have to deal with it is much more interactive than you counter my creature.

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Post #777

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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."

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MaRo: I redesigned him while the effect was on the stack.

This card represents what green should be: Huge creatures. The block has been a big departure from the traditional role of each color:
Blue-usually controlling, counterspells and library manipulation. Innistrad- beatdown flyers and ridiculously aggressive delver.
Red-usually aggro creature/burn. Innistrad- tribal and creature beatdown.
White-okay, you got me, not much changed here, except the human tribe.
Black-not much different here either, but more removal and tribal than normal
Green-usually the color with the "High, im the huge guy who's gonna rip your face off now" kinda creatures. Now they are smaller and more horde style, including a lot of cards designed to support werewolves. That, or morbid/mill.

Hopefully, this set will bring them back to more traditional roles. I can see this guy making green/blue a limited archetype, running aggro flyers+ soulbonders. the soulbond pump seems very real too.
This card represents what green should be: Huge creatures. The block has been a big departure from the traditional role of each color:
Blue-usually controlling, counterspells and library manipulation. Innistrad- beatdown flyers and ridiculously aggressive delver.
Red-usually aggro creature/burn. Innistrad- tribal and creature beatdown.
White-okay, you got me, not much changed here, except the human tribe.
Black-not much different here either, but more removal and tribal than normal
Green-usually the color with the "High, im the huge guy who's gonna rip your face off now" kinda creatures. Now they are smaller and more horde style, including a lot of cards designed to support werewolves. That, or morbid/mill.

Hopefully, this set will bring them back to more traditional roles. I can see this guy making green/blue a limited archetype, running aggro flyers+ soulbonders. the soulbond pump seems very real too.

In a tribal block, or a block with a large tribal theme, having tribal support is not a departure for a color. The only colors that actually did depart were Blue (which has been getting more aggressive lately anyway; see the Illusions in M12) and Green (which departed a long time ago, around the time of the Titans first printing, when suddenly ALL colors became the Fatty Color). This isn't a problem restricted to Innistrad; it's a problem that has been happening for a while now.

Blue has always been a problem child, with Wizards constantly pushing it too much. Its main weakness was supposed to be that its creatures were pretty bad. Then, Wizards decided to buff creature power level overall. Now obviously, you can't improve the best creatures TOO much, so the way to improve creature power level overall is to improve the weakest ones; this led to Blue getting a larger increase in creature power level than the others, and Green getting comparatively weaker as the other colors all closed the gap on it.

Then Wizards decided to keyword Hexproof and ditch Shroud, which meant that now Blue had to use Hexproof if it wanted to be untargetable. Of course, since Blue has fewer creature keywords, it started using Hexproof more than Green, thus stripping Green of one of its most powerful creature keywords.

Green picking up Fights was good, as now it can do creature removal, but it still needs more to make up for losing the 'creature color' name. The reason being a lack of variety; Blue is by far the most varied color, especially with the creature boost, as it can now play control, aggro, combo, mid-range.... White's got quite a bit of variety as well, as does Black. But Green and Red are sort of one-trick ponies: Ramp into fatties, and Aggro Burn respectively.
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Chronego:

I hear you. But your point really is why I'm annoyed. My Mono-Green is always gonna be ramp up, and loads of cool fatties, and with Green Sun's Zenith, it can have a lot of silver bullets/more diffirent fatties. But what can I do with Mono-Blue? In short, everything. Blue is currently the only color with a lord that boost its own color instead of type, and it is the most aggressive, and it can control the game better than anything. Only tokens and ramp compete. Red isn't a one-trick pony, but everything it can do is now done by another color. Removal? lots of black. Green got prey upon, uncharecteristic removal, Garruk Relentless too, and the other Garruk (in standard) has card draw. Every color is basically gaining every other colors tricks. Magic is becoming a homogenous game, assuming no trajectory change in Ravnica, and the fact that each color had its own thing was its greatest strength, aside from the concept of mana costs.
Chronego:

I hear you. But your point really is why I'm annoyed. My Mono-Green is always gonna be ramp up, and loads of cool fatties, and with Green Sun's Zenith, it can have a lot of silver bullets/more diffirent fatties. But what can I do with Mono-Blue? In short, everything. Blue is currently the only color with a lord that boost its own color instead of type, and it is the most aggressive, and it can control the game better than anything. Only tokens and ramp compete. Red isn't a one-trick pony, but everything it can do is now done by another color. Removal? lots of black. Green got prey upon, uncharecteristic removal, Garruk Relentless too, and the other Garruk (in standard) has card draw. Every color is basically gaining every other colors tricks. Magic is becoming a homogenous game, assuming no trajectory change in Ravnica, and the fact that each color had its own thing was its greatest strength, aside from the concept of mana costs.

I, personally, feel that card drawing and creature removal are so central to the game that every color should have access to them, albeit it in different ways. White's Oblivion Ring, Blue's Bounce, Black's Kill, Red's Burn, and Green's Fighting. White's Mentor of the Meek, Blue's Divination, Black's Sign in Blood, Red's Faithless Looting, and Green's Hunter's Insight.

It's everything else that should be divided up to make each color feel unique. And Blue has overstepped its boundaries by picking up such powerfully aggressive creatures.

At any rate, by variety I don't mean that every color should be able to do everything; they most certainly should not! What I mean is that each color should have two or three different ways to play, rather than a range of 'everything' (Blue) to 'one' (Green and Red). This requires making some colors less, and some more; it does not mean constantly adding new abilities to everyone in an effort to balance the weakest, which seems to be the route Wizards is currently taking.
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They need to make the soulbond abilities this powerful otherwise they wouldn't be worth the chances of being sniped.  Imagine the following scenario:

A: I cast Wolfir Silverheart pairing it with my Silverblade Paladin.  Attack with Silverblade Paladin.
B: Doom blade the Wolfir.  Block the Paladin with my 3/3 vanilla.

I think it's perfectly fair.


That's what I think will happen too (though less so in Limited, where the mechanic is frequent and removal is not.).  But I think that demonstrates yet another example of a very swingy design.  Miracle's difference between 2 mana and 6 is huge.  So is 12 power paired vs 4 unpaired.  It's like they're building for comparable means to yesteryear, but raising the variance.  I believe Aaron Forsythe has said that he wants Magic games to create stories, and that's what R&D is designing for now.  But I'm starting to worry they really want blowout stories, and not the close game, respect-the-skill stories that to me were always more memorable.

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.

Chronego:

I think that, even though you are right, the colors each should be best at one thing, and marginally better than others at two more. Blue's counterspells and manipulation should definitely be blowout better than another colors. So even though they all should have the draw, green and red's draw should just be massaging supplements while blue's shoulf be defining. Equally, red should be the most aggressive, with green, black, blue, and white being less aggressive, maybe blue not at all. Red's most aggressive Innistrad creature: Reckless Waif. Blue's: Delver. No contest, but red should be the winner. Okay, you can argue for stromkirk noble, but he lacks the more effective evasion and is far more specific. The control over whether it is an aggro card is in your opponents hands, while with blue its in your's, and white also has some very aggressive cards, although I guess it was always in second. In the removal dept., black takes the lead, but red is right behind. Prey upon is great, but your either using a deathtouch trick or eliminating a pesky chumper. In short, black/red's reverses the game, green's mops it up. Green's creatures should reverse the game, blue's control should stall it out and stunt our opponent, black's life-draining, removal and discard should pull our opponent down slowly, White's weenies should flood the board and keep us flooded with life, and Red's damage and hastily aggressive creatures should kill our opponent before they know what's happening. The other things the colors do should either massage the deck or help out the main color in the deck.
(though less so in Limited, where the mechanic is frequent and removal is not.).



We don't know that yet. If they have approprately upped the removal in the game, then this could be fine. If they haven't, then I agree.

I agree that they've gone WAY too far in the "want to create memorable moments" direction. Now every game is going to come down to who topdecked their big Miracle card first or who topdecked more. And if EVERY game ends that way they stop being memorable.