9/11/2013 LI: "Aura Ordeal"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Limited Information, which goes live Wednesday morning on magicthegathering.com.

A factor I missed in this article is Heroic. As I'm thinking the W/x Heroic deck will be a major archetype in Theros draft I'm guessing that having cheap ways to target your own creatures is going to be neccessary to make the deck successful.

I'm also guessing, precisely for this reason, that the white one is going to be seeing a lot of play (maybe not as much as the red and blue ones, as those just have better effects).

It's worth noting that the three +1/+1 counters don't have to be from the Ordeals themselves, which should make them play differently in different deck archtypes. For example, any creature with 'Monstrosity 2' or more could trigger the sacrifice effect the turn you cast it.

Well I see the forums are a work in progress.  But considering their last great forum update took 2 weeks to come back and 2 months after that to be functional, I'd say they're doing well.

It's not relevant for Limited Information, but it occurs to me that as worded you can get the benefit of these auras if sacrificed to something else, like Auratog.  That alone isn't worth a deck, but if a more convenient sac outlet came along these blue and black auras are actually undercosted for their effect.  

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My prediction for these is Blue > Red > Black > White > Green.

Three counters is enough that the opponent will almost always be looking to kill or bounce the enchanted creature before it gets that big. As such, the difference between the cards only becomes relevant when the opponent can't do anything about the creature. At the point an Ordeal triggers you therefore almost always have the advantage in the game already. The Red and Black effects both help to press that advantage, which I think will make them more effective overall.

Also not to deal with limited, but I can see these finding a home in enchantress decks, especially with Gatherer of Graces.

Having played with the red ordeal it became obvious that you don't want to wait till you've attacked three times to trigger the ordeal.  It's best to have other ways of adding +1/+1 counters to the encahnted creature so that it triggers sooner.

I'm kind of shocked Marshall managed to be as positive about these as he was. They look pretty awful, and definitely not like his kind of cards.

Consider how marginal Forced Adaptation was. That cost a full mana less and gave you a +1/+1 counter every turn, whether you were attacking or not. And it was a 23rd/24th card.

These do stone cold nothing if you can't attack. They promise to eventually give you +3/+3 and a sweet effect, which is a lot for two mana, but so, so much can go wrong. Maybe Drecon is right and we'll be so desperate for ways to trigger Heroic that any bonus the actual auras give us will be gravy... but I highly doubt it.

So first impression: I do not want to play these. It sucks that they're taking up five common slots. Boo on bad common cycles.

(And for the record, pretty sure the white one will be better than both the green and the black.)

EDIT: As pointed out below, they're uncommon. So at least we'll see less of them.

best use seems to be to sacrifice the aura for some other effect...

these seem pretty good to me. they are not game changing huge, but they would be great in sealed.

You won't really be telegraphing 3 turns ahead when you play these. Without any other +1 counter help your opponent has 2 turns to deal with the creature (assuming you cast it on a creature that can attack that turn).

Scavenge, Evolve, and Unleash all reduce the wait time for the sacrifice effects. The truth is, if you run any kind of +1/+1 counters your more likely to cast one of these later in the game so you can sac it the same turn and give your opponent less time to interact.

 

Lotleth Troll and Nivmagus Elemental seem like prime targets if your willing to risk a lot.

 

Corpsejack Menace and Master Biomancer have some obvious synergy for the late game.

IsgardTheTerrible wrote:
It sucks that they're taking up five common slots. Boo on bad common cycles.
The Ordeals are uncommon, not common, I think. 

Don't know whether that's better or worse... probably better?

Demento_Recraves wrote:
It's worth noting that the three +1/+1 counters don't have to be from the Ordeals themselves, which should make them play differently in different deck archtypes. For example, any creature with 'Monstrosity 2' or more could trigger the sacrifice effect the turn you cast it.
I was also surpised this wasn't mentioned. They also have more interesting implications in multiples if you get one creature with 3 counters on it. Pop the aura on and add a 4th counter and sac same turn.

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alextfish wrote:

 

IsgardTheTerrible wrote:
It sucks that they're taking up five common slots. Boo on bad common cycles.

The Ordeals are uncommon, not common, I think. 

Don't know whether that's better or worse... probably better?

D'oh. You're right. Yeah, that's not as bad.

I actually think the blue one is too slow. Mulldrifter is a fine card, but Mulldrifter with a very conditional Suspend 3 is not. That's why I think the Red and White ones are the playable ones -- when they finally trigger around turn 7, they actually swing the race hugely in your favor.

The other factor that matters a lot is which colors have good targets for these Auras. Evasion is the best way to keep attacking safely, and high toughness is the second best (also avoids direct damage removal). Finally, good common Heroic abilities can justify including extra Auras.

I know blue has that 1/4 Heroic common. If they have a good set of flying/unblockable targets, then the Ordeal of Thassa will be a higher pick because it will actually stick around.

On the other hand, I'm guessing red has the fewest safe targets for Ordeal of Purphoros. 

Another card that will help is hunger of the howlpack. My immediate thought was that these might shine in Commander. As others have mentioned, they need help in being good. Cards with proliferation will help.

Thanks for pointing that out!

Akroan Crusader, a red one-drop, while it may not be safe, would be a good target for these auras. Not all decks pack removal or bounce in the main or sb.

stormbreath dragon seems like a good target for the auras. I'm not sure I'd be able to get his monstrous trigger in a Standard game as it costs 5RR, but it has haste and is pro white. 

Favored Hoplite would be a good one-drop for these auras.  (W, 1/2, Heroic: add a +1/+1 counter).  White Heroic cards (so far) involve +1/+1 counters, which match up very well with these.  I suspect these are stronger than people realize with the block's sub-theme of +1/+1 counters.

I'm surprised Marshall didn't mention (nor did anyone in this thread) the existence of Monstrous and Bestow on the valuation of the green ordeal.  It seems like a very significant effect in limited to hit your monstrous earlier and more consistently, and if it's looking like you'll trigger the green ordeal, you can hold your bestow guys and get big value from them.  Seems to me like it's at least better than the black ordeal.

None of these are likely constructed playable, but in a casual deck might be good with any of the hydras.  Could get the effect simply for landing the enchantment on the creature.

 

Monstrous effects seem like they're tough to trigger in Standard. In my experiences at tourneys, matches are usually over after 5 turns per player, maybe 6. In order to hit monstrous consistently you'd need to devote a lot of space to ramp, which leaves fewer slots for reaction spells or other things you may want to do. If any of these see play in Standard, I'm betting on the red and white ones. The green one, though in theory is nice, isn't nearly as useful in swinging games instantly in your favor as dealing 3 damage or gaining 10 life. 

Also, note that you don't have to go through the "ordeal" itself to repat its benefit. You can use any means to put +1/+1 counters on the creature, and you can use any method to sacrifice the Aura to use it's sac ability. At which point, the card is enticing you to try other things to make use of it, rather than having you care about having the ordeal.

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On the part about Monstrocity being gravy...I have to say Magma Jet would not be playable if it only did two damage.  I don't know of a two-cost red spell that only does 2 damage--there's always some added bonus or something.  Also, I don't feel like this argument for Monstrocity is a very good argument.  You get a relatively vanilla creature (in general) and then if a miracle happens I can use its "win-more" effect?  And I'm supposed to be thanking Wizards for that?

I understand most people are gunning for this set and think it is really awesome, but this just seems like a really dumb incentive to me.  I feel like people are trying to dupe me into believing the Monstrocity ability is just the most amazing ability.  It is "flavorful" for a set trying to directly mimic all of the most popular Ancient Greek legends and some of the more obscure ones--I got it, thanks.  I shouldn't have to cover up half of the card and pretend it isn't there in order to determine whether or not it is a good card.  With this mentality, even Chimney Imp looks like a great card until you uncover its CMC (exaggeration for effect, not as a direct comparison).

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I'm looking forward to either targeting a Heroic creature with a Bestow aura, or targeting two Heroic creatures with one of the Dauntless Onslaught cycle.

I've been playing a bunch of Theros draft on an unnamed-yet-popular online program, and here are a few things I've found:

1) There do not seem to be enough Scry cards in the set, or Scry numbers high enough, to use Scry as a way to reliably filter your draws.  Sometimes you get to "draw a card" by sifting a dead card to the bottom, but realistically Scry is just bonus value, and if you wouldn't play the card without Scry, it's probably not worth playing with Scry.

2) There is a Heroic + Bestow deck.  It's UG.  It's very good, imo the best deck in the format.  My first couple of drafts I was able to force it very easily, but as of now it's very difficult to find a good version of it reliably.

3) Having played with/against the God's Equipment, Bident of Thassa is marginal at best, Spear of Heliod is actively bad, and Whip of Erebos is the best of the 5, not close (I haven't played with/against Bow or Hammer yet so I might be exaggerating, but Whip is VERY good).

Regarding Bident of Thassa: What I've found is that by the time Bident of Thassa comes down, your opponent is likely not chump-attacking into it, so you're not getting value that way.  Your opponent's guys are likely quite large (due to Bestow or just being naturally big), so you're not just going to be able to force them to race (in addition you've ust spent 4 mana casting a do-nothing while your opponent spent 4 mana doing real things), and your opponent can deploy large blockers postcombat for your backswing to block when you try to go all Ophidian on them, so you're not getting (much) value that way.  Basically, this card looks like nothing but value and upside, but in fact it's quite durdly.

Regarding Spear of Helios: No Mercy loses a lot of value when the things that you're allowing to hit you are 4/4s and 5/5s.  Suddenly your 7 mana No Mercy (you have to put WWWW3 into this before killing anything) is actually a 7-man on-board trick Vendetta (since you can't realistically use it more than once per game), which is actively bad.  So basically we're playing this for Glorious Anthem.  Unfortunately there aren't a while lot of tokens in this set, so we're not casting Anthem into Spectral Proc or anything like that.  We're just making our guys slightly bigger.  Unfortunately all of white's creatures (at common and uncommon) suck compared to those in green, blue, and black, so giving a bunch of bad creatures +1+1 makes them...still bad creatures.

Regarding Whip of Erebos: Gray Merchant of Asphodel.  'Nuff said.

D34thM45k wrote:

On the part about Monstrocity being gravy...I have to say Magma Jet would not be playable if it only did two damage.  I don't know of a two-cost red spell that only does 2 damage--there's always some added bonus or something.  Also, I don't feel like this argument for Monstrocity is a very good argument.  You get a relatively vanilla creature (in general) and then if a miracle happens I can use its "win-more" effect?  And I'm supposed to be thanking Wizards for that?

I understand most people are gunning for this set and think it is really awesome, but this just seems like a really dumb incentive to me.  I feel like people are trying to dupe me into believing the Monstrocity ability is just the most amazing ability.  It is "flavorful" for a set trying to directly mimic all of the most popular Ancient Greek legends and some of the more obscure ones--I got it, thanks.  I shouldn't have to cover up half of the card and pretend it isn't there in order to determine whether or not it is a good card.  With this mentality, even Chimney Imp looks like a great card until you uncover its CMC (exaggeration for effect, not as a direct comparison).

No one can convince you if your mind is already made up, but we're talking about limited here, and it is gravy in limited.  I'll only discuss non-rares as this is limited.  Look at Nessian Asp.  It's a 4/5 reach for 5 cmc.  That's quite good in limited for a common, excellent actually considering Giant Spider is good.  Keepsake Gorgon-Good but a little expensive.  2/5 deathtouch is good againt weenies as not a lot of commons have 5 power so it becomes quite the defender.  Giant Scorpion was good in Zendikar because of all the 2/X creatures.  I think a 2/5 deathtouch for 5 cmc would be playable without monstrosity.  Late game it's ability is 7cmc and you destroy target non-gorgon creature.  It's an unabashed two-for-one late game.  Not shriekmaw or anything, but very good with sufficient mana.  Ill-tempered Cyclops-4cmc for 3/3 trample.  Meh Hill Giant with trample.  So yeah without monstrosity it's borderline, but playable.  It's the WORST of the lot and it's still playable.

I could go on.  But the point is ALL of the monstrosity creatures would be playable without the ability so the ability is gravy.

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