In which MichaelJ reacts to a controversial comment about Alara Reborn common Captured Sunlight.
So this one is from the Twitter files.
Michael Dean Conway (aka @mikeconway13) shipped an interesting couple of Tweets over the last couple of days. Based on some of our recent reviews on Alara Reborn in general, Cascade specifically, I wanted to share this one with you:
This of course got the gears moving.
First off I had to go and look up Captured Sunlight. I didn’t know off hand which one Captured Sunlight was (I just had a vague recollection that I only liked Bituminous Blast and Bloodbraid Elf and not really any of the other Cascade spells in the set). Turns out it is this one:
Now remember, on Twitter you only get 140 characters to express your thought; but in this case Mike is able to squeeze out a pair…
- Everyone is touting Bloodbraid Elf.
- He thinks Captured Sunlight will be the top Cascade spell in Standard.
As for the first, I can’t disagree. In fact, when I first blogged about Bituminous Blast, the first thing that happened was that people started telling me to look at Bloodbraid Elf. Like I said earlier, I only remembered liking the pair of those cards (and to go with the sentiment of Mike’s Tweet)… Bloodbraid Elf, BLOODBRAID ELF, BLOODBRAID ELF.
Now as to the second, Mike actually got me thinking about Captured Sunlight. I immediately disagreed… but that’s not ultimately the point. My perspective changed to…
What would make Captured Sunlight the best Cascade spell in Standard?
To an extent, that one is easy.
Is Bituminous Blast the best spell in Standard? No.
Is Bloodbraid Elf the best spell in Standard? No.
Yet early consensus is that one of these spells — neither of which is the best spell in Standard — is the best Cascade spell in Standard.
Which of them is better than Loxodon Hierarch?
But wait! Why do I ask?
The superficial connections between Captured Sunlight and Loxodon Hierarch should probably be pretty obvious. Both cards share the same mana cost at four; both cards help you gain four life immediately. Unlike Bituminous Blast and Bloodbraid Elf, Loxodon Hierarch was at one point the best card in Standard (more on that tomorrow). If I can make Captured Sunlight as good — or even better than — Loxodon Hierarch, then by default wouldn’t that make Captured Sunlight the best card in Standard?
Not in this Standard, unfortunately *cough* Bitterblossom *cough* … Though we might arguably pass the efficacy of one of the two assumed default-best Cascade spells in the format.
This part is surprisingly easy…
- Four mana – check.
- Four life – check.
- 4/4 body… versus random card on top.
To make a long story short, we can bias a deck to spit out things on the order of Wooly Thoctar. When we do that, we can potentially over-shoot even the bar on Loxodon Hierarch!
Okay, here are the caveats, though…
Ultimately, I don’t think we want to engage in precision deck design just to make Captured Sunlight good. It was an interesting mental exercise, but our deck probably needs things on the order of Rampant Growth or even Firespout that are going to make the card look silly sometimes.
However it’s nice to know that if we wanted to, we could actually pass Loxodon Hierarch in card power.
Because we might also pass “interesting” to practical (like Mike originally started to argue)… Albeit probably not main deck.
But I think I’ll leave that for tomorrow.
Thanks for the firestarter, Mike.
(Totally different Mikes, of course).