04/26/2012 TD: "Penicillin and Post-its—A First Look for Spikey Sixties"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Top Decks article, which goes live Thursday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Talking about Milignus you said "Not that a Cephalid Life deck is that common even in formats where the ability to gain near-infinite life is legal, but... how awesome is it that red now has a tool to come right back in two swings?"

I'm not 100% sure what you meant but it sounded like you were saying this gives red a card to come back against a deck that can go infinite and gain a ton of life. Lets say that they go up to a small number like one million life. Then the first swing knocks them down to 500k, the second to 250k and so on so that it takes like 14 or so swings just to get them down to around 30 life. Of course if you have 2 of these out then gg but otherwise you are going to be swinging with him forever while the rest of your cards are pointless. 
Appetite for Brains has the best name in the set. :P

My short list for the best cards in Avacyn Restored (go get 'em):

  • Cavern of Souls

  • Thunderous Wrath

  • Griselbrand

  • Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded

  • Restoration Angel

Thunderous Wrath feels a little out-of-place to me on this list.  It just seems like it will hurt so much if you don't miracle it.  And it's only 5; doesn't kill Titans.

Cats land on their feet. Toast lands peanut butter side down. A cat with toast strapped to its back will hover above the ground in a state of quantum indecision.

Well, after this, I expect the price of Tibalt to go up. :-( I was hoping to snag a few copies when it gets cheap, but that might take a while...

And yeah, I disagree with Mike. I think Tibalt isn't going to find a place for himself in the new standard; maybe after rotation, but not until then.
It's worth noting that Temporal Mastery is at best a turn *three* Explore, rather than turn two (unless you open with e.g. Birds of Paradise and it doesn't get killed).  A lot of early analyses make this mistake and overvalue Miracle cards a bit as a result.

Also, I think Thunderous Wrath is being overestimated.  It's great in RDW-style decks that are happy to toss it at the opponent's head if it's topdecked on turn 2 and don't have much else to do with their mana by the time they reach 6, but it's a lot more questionable in a midrange deck with Titans (like the one recently reviewed by Gavin Verhey).
In all honesty, Cavern of Souls is too good. We've always seen lands able to produce any-color mana have a drawback, be it that the land could only power creature spells or that the land only did it a lmiited number of times. This has none of those drawbacks - instead it may be tapped for colorless which isn't that big of a deal - and I can hardly picture a tribal deck that wouldn't want to run four.
Yeah, as msedlak said, that Malignus doesn't work against Cephalid-like lifegain unless you're also packing something like Berserk or  Rush of Blood, which I doubt any decks will find it worth sideboarding both cards for.
Yes! Someone else caught the Wheel of Time reference!
Well, after this, I expect the price of Tibalt to go up. :-( I was hoping to snag a few copies when it gets cheap, but that might take a while...

And yeah, I disagree with Mike. I think Tibalt isn't going to find a place for himself in the new standard; maybe after rotation, but not until then.

I don't play much Standard, so take this with a grain of salt.   Red looting (discard first) is thematically/flavorfully great, but I always have a bad feeling I'm going to downgrade.  Unless I'm intentionally loading my graveyard, it feels like gambling. 

With Tibalt's cost, I'm probably playing mono red (or nearly mono red if there is sufficient mana-fixing).

Turn 2- I tap out and I MIGHT get a better card or bin a card that has value in the graveyard.  Loyalty is 3.
Turn 3- Assuming the opponent didnt take out Tibalt, I can again gamble on getting a better card.  Loyalty up to 4.
Turn 4- Now Tibalt can actually affect the board.  At this point, Tibalt is essentially a Sudden Impact.  

Essentially I paid RR to "Suspend" a Sudden Impact for 2 turns.  It's worse thann suspending a Sudden Impact because 1) the enemy could destroy/damage TIbalt before it gets to this stage, 2) it activates at sorcery speed, not instant and 3) Tibalt is less splashable than Sudden Impact. 

Does the looting effect make it worth it?  I suppose it depends on what you've drawn.  If you have a handful of subpar cards that you dont mind trading, it's useful. But why would you keep that hand?  Why would you construct that deck? 

Tibalt has to work with intentional graveyard use, so flashback and recursion are a plus.  But that also leans toward multicolor decks, which makes casting Tibalt on Turn 2 harder.  If I'm playing red, I'd rather have the consistency of an Incinerate. 

I think Tibalt is more useful in later rounds as a way to employ a couple of extra mana ina cheap RDW deck.  I would like to hear from someone more familiar with Standard about Tibalt's value as a second spell on turn 5.  By that point RDW may be operating off topdeck and you really are looking for specific cards i.e. those last few points of burn.  At that point, red looting is great because I throw away unnecessary lands, utility spells looking for burn.  Essentially, Tibalt's +1 ability is "draw, if you don't like it, try again.

Cavern of Souls should come into play tapped. It should be a Legendary Land even perhaps. It encourages Tribal decks and effectively reads, "Add one mana of any color. Use this mana only to cast creature spells," for these specific decks. Okay, not everyone is running giants, but this card makes splashing giants that much easier, especially if someone is dropping Primevial Titan first to fetch another Cavern of Souls.

I anticipate many more decks who will run:

4x Cavern of Souls
4x Heartless Summoning
4x Solem Simulacrum
4x Primevial Titan
4x Wurmcoil

And some combination of Inferno Titans, Frost Titans, and Grave Titans. Cavern of Souls is only required for the Titans, so naming Wurm or Golem is unnecessary. Never mind that Cavern of Souls is also going to be ridiculously expensive just as every other card I've listed already is. Throw in Mimic Vat and you've got something going.

As many people have mentioned, Ghost Quarters is definitely going to see more play. Perhaps I'm exaggerating about this, but people play counters to control the board and the stack. Cavern of Souls prevents control of the stack (can't counter creature spells on it) and the board (can't prevent certain creatures from entering). You can bounce things, but what does that do except delay doom? ;-P
You can bounce things, but what does that do except delay doom? ;-P

Terminus, Day of Judgment, Oblivion Ring, etc if you combine with white.
The fair number of spot removal in black.

Counterspells merely prevent the creatures from entering play to be an issue to begin with.  Control decks are simply going to need to switch away from counters. 

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