This thread is for discussion of this week's From the Lab, which goes live Thursday morning on magicthegathering.com.
I don't think Garruk, the Veil-Cursed is allowed to be played in that Commander deck.
I'm torn between being happy that I was mentioned in FtL two weeks in a row and being upset that one of Noel's favorite things about New Phyrexia is "a direct griefing vision".
Yikes! There was a shocking moment for me in that article, and it didn't come from Innistrad.
When I scrolled down the M12 list, I caught a glimpse of "no way he's back!!"
But it was only
I take issue with Blightsteel Colossus being in any top ten list ever, aside from perhaps a top ten list of cards that shouldn't have been printed.
I too am slightly disturbed by the comment about the "direct griefing vision." I really don't think Wizards had this in mind. They don't set out to make cards that scream, "Play me if you want to lose all your friends." That's a bit dramatic, but the point is relevant. If you're cheating Blightsteel out into play (with obviously more ways to do this in non-standard formats), for instance, with the sole purpose of ending a game early and jumping up and down saying "I beat you all!" then I don't think Wizards is on your side of embracing the game. I'm a big proponent of decks being enjoyable for everyone involved. So is that really what New Phyrexia is about? Griefing opponents?
My understanding of griefing is pretty straight-forward: making your opponents dread playing against you. It's like playing Leyline of the Void in opening hand and then dropping a Helm of Obedience. It ends the game immediately. Sure, the cards interact really well with each other, but griefing is all about making your opponent unable to respond, unable to play, unable to enjoy any part of the game. That's not what Magic ought to be about.
As long as you win shortly after and can start a new game, then i don't see the big problem with "griefing"... the long and grindy victories are by far the worst for an opponent and friend.
This is the kind of article I read this column for! Please feel free to make this a mainstay for the end of the year!
New Phyrexia was explicitly stated on this site to have a "griefer" vision. Cards like Norn's Annex , Praetor's Grasp and all the lifeloss riders are meant to make life unpleasant for the opponent. Given all of which, and given that I make it a big priority to try to make my decks lead to games that are as fun as possible for both players, I'm surprised I like New Phyrexia as much as I do. I guess perhaps they just didn't really make it particularly griefer-y. (Certainly not as much as, say, Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir in combination with more or less anything ever.)
On a different note: "nucking futs"? On a family site? Really, Kelly.
I never noticed the Melira/Persist interaction before; it's very appropriate and makes me wish the Mirrans had gotten Persist in NP.
Phyrexian Metamorph does NOT obsolete Sculpting Steel, though it does do so to Clone (ignoring the fact that Clone can't be Shattered and Sculpting Steel cant' be Pyroblasted). Sculpting Steel costs 3 mana; Metamorph costs 3 mana and 2 life (unless you can pay blue and wait a turn). The ability to copy a nonartifact creature is worth that extra cost, but it IS an extra cost. Decks that mostly want to copy artifacts are probably still better off with Sculpting Steel.
I despise converted-mana-cost-matters mechanics for being impossible to justify in flavor, and so it puzzles me to see Noel liking them, as he's usually pretty Vorthos for a Johnny. But both of the cards he cites (Birthing Pod and Mindshrieker) are quite excellent in spite of their flavor dubiousness.
Chaos Warp is utterly wasted on Commander; I can't wait for it to become a real card. Riku, Nin and Animar would also be nice to have as normal releases. However Ruhan is an utter abomination in duels; he really should have been designed differently. I think making him have P/T equal to twice the number of players in the game or something would have been far preferable; in a duel he'd be a 4/4 for 4 mana in three colors that normally don't get such, but that's pretty reasonable by comparison to Lightning Angel. In 3-player he'd be a little smaller than he is now, in 4-player he'd be a little bigger, and in giant games he'd get utterly nuts but would be hilariously unpredictable, exactly as he should be. (Meanwhile given that the Riku commander deck is supposed to break things, I'm terribly disappointed it didn't have the name "Broken Mirrors", or any name for that matter.)
When I worked on M12 I was utterly delighted upon first reading Warstorm Surge; the art description specifically said it was on Valla and I got a huge kick out of that fact. Since Future Sight and Planechase came out, Magic has really felt to me as though it has a real setting unto itself, instead of just a bunch of individual settings that cross over with each other. Seeing all these planes out there which haven't had a whole block dedicated to them, but someday could, really thrills me and I am always hoping they'll move more in this direction with some future release. Hunter's Insight is also a personal favorite, being far and away my choice out of all the cards that got my writing in both sets.
I still maintain that Infinity Tree shouldn't exist just because there's no proper way of tracking its effect outside of MTGO. Permanent effects should always have counters or Auras or something associated with them; the game really shouldn't require anyone to remember anything other than whose turn it is. I always have this fear that I'm going to end up playing an important game, then have a fire drill or something where the building gets evacuated and when we go back to the game we can't figure out what something was because we don't remember some info that the game requires us to. Unrealistic, perhaps, but I still feel that the game should avoid this at all costs.
In the Maniac deck, I don't know why Spoils of the Vault might be preferable to Ad Nauseum. When you can't lose the game, Ad Nauseum just says "Draw your deck", while Spoils says "Exile your entire deck unless you accidentally name a card which was actually in your deck" (not that it should ever be hard to name "Black Lotus" or "Chaos Confetti" or something that you couldn't possibly have, but still). The only advantage I see to Spoils is that it's cheap, and I guess that's enough if you want to win ASAP, but me I'd always rather play Ad Nauseum in this deck. I might actually cast it straight if I didn't have the Maniac in play or an Angel's Grace to cast, whereas I don't know if I would ever cast Spoils under any circumstances (if I could stack my deck I would have better ways of drawing a card, and otherwise it's just far too dangerous).
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