What is the difference between Helix and black drain?

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Hey guys I was thinking of a cool spell over in YMTC and it was something like this

Bigger Helix
Instant
Deals 10 damage to target creature or player. You gain 10 life.


then it occurred to me the almost same card was printed as sorins vengeance... so besides numbers of Helix being 2 mana 3 damage/life and sorin's thirst 2 mana 2 life and not being able to hit players..


What's mechanically different between w/r damage & lifegain vs blacks drain?

The biggest Vorthos Ever I'd rather have an awesome mechanic than the most flavor any day. Constantly coming up with cards all the time. So if you see a card you like tell me. Constantly trying to get into card of the week if you see a card you like please nominate.

Considering that Lightning Helix and Essence Drain have identical rules text, the answer to your question must be that they are mechanically identical. Did you perhaps intend to ask a different question?

"Proc" stands for "Programmed Random OCcurance". It does not even vaguely apply to anything Magic cards do. Don't use it.

Level 1 Judge as of 09/26/2013

Zammm = Batman

"Ability words are flavor text for Melvins." -- Fallingman

The difference is that Lightning Helix is multicoloured while Essence Drain is monocoloured. Neither nor could do Lightning Helix by themself.
could do a restricted Lightning Helix (only attacking/blocking creatures).

"Proc" stands for "Programmed Random OCcurance". It does not even vaguely apply to anything Magic cards do. Don't use it.

Level 1 Judge as of 09/26/2013

Zammm = Batman

"Ability words are flavor text for Melvins." -- Fallingman

Unlike red/white, black also sometimes gets cards that say a player loses life rather than dealing damage. These cards interact differently with Pay No Heed, Worship, Darien, King of Kjeldor, or anything else that cares about damage being dealt to a player.

Xweetoks = ♥Happiness


Unlike red/white, black also sometimes gets cards that say a player loses life rather than dealing damage. These cards interact differently with Pay No Heed, Worship, Darien, King of Kjeldor, or anything else that cares about damage being dealt to a player.




Yes. Black only deals damage if the spell affects creatures; if it can only affect players, it will use loss of life instead.

[<o>]
I'm still not sure what's being asked in this thread.

Yes, red/white and black can both deal damage to creatures and/or players and gain life, because of entirely different reasons. So? 
I'm still not sure what's being asked in this thread.

Yes, red/white and black can both deal damage to creatures and/or players and gain life, because of entirely different reasons. So? 

That was kind of my impression, too.

"Proc" stands for "Programmed Random OCcurance". It does not even vaguely apply to anything Magic cards do. Don't use it.

Level 1 Judge as of 09/26/2013

Zammm = Batman

"Ability words are flavor text for Melvins." -- Fallingman

OP might have been looking for an explanation as to why a cmc 2 instant has the exact same effect as a cmc 5 sorcery. The only answer I've got is that Ravnica is absurd.
(EDIT: and now I proceed to a long-winded explanation. You've got a one-sentence answer for your casual group, though )

Compare:
Lightning Helix to Essence Drain
Warleader's Helix to Absorb Vis
Brightflame to Exsanguinate
Taste of Blood, Sorin's Thirst and Sorin's Vengeance don't have analouges.
Debt to the Deathless is what happened in .

I'm sure there are more examples.

This effect costs more in black, but it can be more devastating there. Here's how I think all the things make sense:

White: Life gain, wrath
Red: Cheap and fast damage, high powered creature hate
Black: Life gain, life loss, creature hate, player hate, overkill

You can see that black is contributing the most, which is why this tends to be thought of as a "black" effect. It's fitting that black can do this by itself, but red and white need to be paired together. Also, it's particularly fitting to gain 2X life off the version.
What  im asking is... block doesn't have much of a mechanical identity anymore.... and if w/r gets a better drain life...what is blacks mechanical identity?

The biggest Vorthos Ever I'd rather have an awesome mechanic than the most flavor any day. Constantly coming up with cards all the time. So if you see a card you like tell me. Constantly trying to get into card of the week if you see a card you like please nominate.

-X/-X effects (similar to red's creature burn, but different).
Disentomb (primary; green gets it secondary).
Discard effects.
Intimidate (primary with red).
Deathtouch (primary with green).
Graveyard removal (primary with white).
Lifeloss effects (similar to red's player burn, but different). 
Lifelink (primary with white).
Forced sacrifices / "edicts".
Regeneration (primary with green).
.
Haste (secondary after red).
Sacrifice creatures.
Creature destruction ignoring toughness (similar to white's exile, but different, albeit normally less good).

And that's just from the commons in Standard with CMC 3 or less... 
While they do use a Lightning Helix variant almost everytime they can (Balefire Liege, Ajani Vengeant, Warleader's Helix, so every block where was a thing after Ravnica), it's still much less common than black.

That's like saying Frightful Delusion makes black lose its identity with discard.
Essence Drain should have never existed. I'd have never given black burn, except for hybrids. Besides, there are plenty of ways to do this without bending the color pie.

I would have rathered "Target creature gets -3/-3 until end of turn or target player loses 3 life. You gain 3 life." Or (for a much ceaper version) "Destroy target creature with 3 or less toughness and you gain 3 life."
Essence Drain should have never existed. I'd have never given black burn, except for hybrids. Besides, there are plenty of ways to do this without bending the color pie.

I would have rathered "Target creature gets -3/-3 until end of turn or target player loses 3 life. You gain 3 life." Or (for a much ceaper version) "Destroy target creature with 3 or less toughness and you gain 3 life."



If there are ways to produce almost the exact same effect without bending the color pie, then maybe it was never much of a color pie bend to begin with, no?
The World of Eldangard - a three act M:tG block by Fallingman Eldangard Stormfront Ragnarok
Just to be clear: you know there's a long tradition of this kind of effect - Corrupt, Consume Spirit, Spinning Darkness, Soul Burn - going all the way back to Drain Life in Alpha?

Unlike red/white, black also sometimes gets cards that say a player loses life rather than dealing damage. These cards interact differently with Pay No Heed, Worship, Darien, King of Kjeldor, or anything else that cares about damage being dealt to a player.




Yes. Black only deals damage if the spell affects creatures; if it can only affect players, it will use loss of life instead.



Usually. Taste of Blood. Sorin's Vengeance.

Also, that the OP's spell is pretty much Sorin's Vengeance, but as has been said Black does this all on its own and more often, whereas R/W are combining burn and lifegain. Its like arguing that Rakdos Ragemutt should've been a Boros creature instead.
Usually. Taste of Blood. Sorin's Vengeance.

Also, that the OP's spell is pretty much Sorin's Vengeance, but as has been said Black does this all on its own and more often, whereas R/W are combining burn and lifegain. Its like arguing that Rakdos Ragemutt should've been a Boros creature instead.


Pretty close, and I agree.

Red can burn, but can't gain life.  White can't burn whilly nilly, but can gain life.  Put red and white together and you can both burn whatever you want, AND gain life.  What makes that different from black is that Red and White have two seperate activities, while black has one (flavourully).

EXAMPLE A: Girl and a Date
Black is like a lady who convinces you to take her out to dinner and pay for the check. (3 life to her and $3 damage to you)

Boros on the other hand are twins.  One pulls a hogie out of the fridge (3 life), while the other jacks you in the face and steals your date money (3 damage).

Both result in a girl getting fed and you having a lighter wallet.

EXAMPLE B: Something Magic players are probably better accuanted with
Black is like a vampire.  It bites a neck and drinks the blood.  (Damage and life)

Boros on the other hand doesn't eat you.  It pulls a hogie out of the fridge (life), then the other jacks you in the face and steals your date money (3 damage).
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What  im asking is... block doesn't have much of a mechanical identity anymore.... and if w/r gets a better drain life...what is blacks mechanical identity?


That it can simultaneously deal damage and gain life on spells without relying on other colors to do so.
The fact that reducing your opponent's life to zero is the primary goal in the game, and putting creatures on the field is the primary way of achieving that goal, means that damage-dealing is too big a part of the game to be purely the domain of a single color.
The World of Eldangard - a three act M:tG block by Fallingman Eldangard Stormfront Ragnarok
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