Entries Tagged 'Magic' ↓

What Exactly Makes Flame-Wreathed Phoenix a Casual Card?

You don’t click into Serious Fun during a preview week with the expectation of seeing the next Thundermaw Hellkite.

But this week on Bruce Richard’s column over on the Mother Ship, that’s exactly what you get (kinda sorta half the time).


Flame-Wreathed Phoenix

Flame-Wreathed Phoenix is kinda sorta a split card.

With the punisher Tribute in full force you have a card that half the time is a Rathi Dragon with no drawback and half the time a Talruum Minotaur (-Phoenix!) with wings.

Rathi Dragon was a powerful card for some versions of the Red Deck (in particular in mirror matches in its day); and as I noted in my original review of Bloodbraid Elf there was a time when Talruum Minotaur was capable of contributing to a Pro Tour Top 8 Constructed deck.

And now… More flying!

So… What’s the damage on this card? Why so casual?

I think I can imagine Flame-Wreathed Phoenix being played in serious Constructed decks. Even just as a 3/3 flying creature it gains a re-buy ability reminiscent of most of Magic’s many Phoenixes. This is powerful the same way that Chandra’s Phoenix is powerful. It’s kinda sorta built-in card advantage. For one more mana, you get a slightly bigger hasty flyer. As someone who has enjoyed smiting opponents with Chandra’s Phoenix, I can appreciate a flying, resilient, Talruum Minotaur-Phoenix.

The rest of the time it is just a 5/5 flyer for four mana. It’s like you took Juzam Djinn and erased the awful Nettletooth Djinn-ness and replaced it with the universal sign for not being blocked.

One side of this card I can see getting behind; the other side is just a mana less than Thundermaw Hellkite, which is an insane proposition.

Is the punisher Tribute dilemma really that big a deal?

Browbeat is a similar card that seems to have good value on both sides. For 2R you either get to draw three cards (better than most blue equivalents about the same cost) or you brain your opponent for five (better than most red equivalents at the same cost). Good and also good. But Browbeat, despite being legal in multiple Standard Constructed formats over the years, never really made its mark on history.

(Though Philosophy of Fire innovator Adrian Sullivan did at one point Day Two a Pro Tour with Browbeat in his Red Deck.)

browbeat
Hollywood

What was the problem with Browbeat?

Could this same problem limit the love given to poor Flame-Wreathed Phoenix?

Mere efficiency is a limitation. Yes, five damage for 2R is a good deal and three cards for 2R is a great deal. But you don’t generally want your opponent dictating to you which good / great deal you are getting. Think about the sheer number of times you have probably beaten a Vexing Devil. Am I vexed? I’ve been Vexed, sure. I think I generally have a good win percentage over Vexing Devil decks. Which is weird because I would gladly pay R for a 4/3 creature and I would generally love to pay R to deal four damage.

Sadly, my guess is the flexibility afforded the opponent will make Flame-Wreathed Phoenix even less successful over time than Vexing Devil.

Is 2RR a good deal for a 5/5 flying creature? I think so.

Is 2RR a good deal for a 3/3 flying creature with haste and a built-in re-buy? I think you are on rougher ground there. I did say I could appreciate it, but it is another matter committing to the card. At four mana, it’s not good enough to win the game on its own consistently, and you might just be stuck with a lot of land committed to doing very little against an able opponent.

On a punisher — SORRY. TRIBUTE. — scale, where would you put this card?

Vexing Devil > Browbeat > Flame-Wreathed Phoexix

That is my guesstimate.

This is the kind of card that I really want to be good because it looks cool; but I am not really sold on.

By the way last week Patrick Chapin reminded me that I gave basically the same preview rating to Rakdos Pit Dragon that I gave to Jace, the Mind Sculptor at snap judgment time.

In my meager defense, they made Rakdos Pit Dragon a Top Decks preview card; I assumed it was as good as, say, Lightning Helix (okay, this is a lie).

I think I see this as a role player; it has some attrition applications and could also, ahem, punish players who can’t easily deal five damage to a creature. Though it is kind of atrocious against Anger of the Gods.

Love,
Mike

(just kidding)

LOVE
MIKE

Mitigating the Pain on Pain Seer

This just spoiled:


Pain Seer

Second toughness.

Sometimes — but not all the time — a Dark Confidant.

Better or worse than Bob?

My first impulse was that Pain Seer is worse, generally, than Dark Confidant. For example, presuming you have made your Pain Seer-including deck correctly, you don’t get a freebie on the first fresh turn you’ve got Pain Seer on the battlefield. I mean, unless the opponent has Blind Obedience down or some such.

So… Card down.

Beyond missing the extra card on the first / next turn, you have a general requirement with this card to attack. I mean of course there are other reasons why your Dark Confidant / Pain Seer / Dark Confidant wannabe might be tapped / ergo need to untap; you could be on the wrong side of an Icy Manipulator, or Master Decoy… But generally speaking, your creature will be tapped because you just swung.

So: You swing; presuming Pain Seer survives, you get to untap it and net a free card. If you don’t swing, you are far less likely to [have to] untap, and ergo won’t get the free card.

So generally speaking… Worse.

Worse than Dark Confidant, right?

Especially given the fact that you won’t generally get the first card, I’d put Pain Seer < Dark Confidant; but I don't think it is 100% cut-and-dried.

Longtime listeners of the Top 8 Magic podcast (BTW BDM and I posted a new one just last week!) know that I think Dark Confidant is probably the most overrated creature of all time. I’ve always conceded that it is playable (fine… “quite good”) but just not the unconditional bee’s knees that everyone else seems to think. For example, I was once in the finals of a team PTQ where I instructed Paul Jordan to not attack with his Keiga, the Tide Star for lethal. We read the opponent for Shining Shoal (would have been lethal going the other way) and we could just watch the opponent die to his own Bob.

He did.

Moreover, I have been playing a lot of Modern lately. One thing I have noticed over and over is my opponents attempting to suicide their Dark Confidants into my various Elves and Merfolk. There’s a reason for that: You can’t very well control whether or not Bob kills you. His greatness comes at a cost… And that cost is sometimes your life.

Conversely — and a little perversely — you can leave your Pain Seer back (you know, the opposite of attempting to suicide your Dark Confidant) to avoid any chance of an accidental death.

Verdict?

Pain Seer isn’t objectively as strong as Dark Confidant… But to be fair Dark Confidant is widely considered one of the strongest two drops in the history of a game defined by great two drops. Given its inheritance of Dark Confidant’s attention to casting costs, you can’t just jam Pain Seer into any deck (limiting its efficacy somewhat). I do think that it might go in some sideboards for matchups where is it unlikely to be blocked (or where potential blockers are cards like Omenspeaker that will not prevent it from untapping and attacking to untap again).

Snap Judgment Rating: Role Player (likely upper mid-tier sideboard card)

LOVE
MIKE

Pick One, Pack One

Last night I put out a Tweet that got a surprising amount of feedback.

(In case you missed it, this references my new tumblr account, which to date has basically just been screen shots from Holiday Cube 2013.)

My good friend Tom Martell snarked my Cube skillz:

(A tweet that was favorite’d by the normally very nice Thea Steele… Probably Josh Ravitz is rubbing off on her.)

It was great because of all the feedback from…

Noted TCGPlayer and StarCityGames writer Anthony Lowry:

Grand Prix Champion Matt Sperling:

And Hall of Famer Luis Scott-Vargas:

But what I wanted to start a conversation on was the strategic psychology around the pack’s first pick.

For me, I took Lightning Bolt.

Had I not taken Lightning Bolt, I would probably have taken Stoneforge Mystic; my reason there is just that I want to experiment with playing beatdown decks other than RDW [in Cube]. My drivers in taking Lightning Bolt was probably obvious to serious students of Cube archetypes (or anyone who, at least, follows the Top 8 Magic podcast).

Red Deck Wins is my favorite deck to draft in Cube; my reason for this is that, lifetime, I have a sum total of one one-win drafts, and the vast majority of my Cube 3-0s are Red Deck Wins. Simply (at least for me), Red Deck Wins has produced the best results, Cube after Cube.

What I love about this pack is that there are no other red cards. Taking Lightning Bolt here cuts off red to the left, in theory discouraging players from cutting my precious Red Deck cards off from the other direction.

Everything came together in this draft. I successfully cut off the red cards, and ended up with a near-masterpiece:


(I could have probably built my deck a little bit better, but I really liked how the draft went.)

But my original question wasn’t just about what I took. It was about what whoever was reading might have taken.

Given that I was dead-set on Lightning Bolt (and would have taken Stoneforge Mystic second) I was pretty surprised at some of the responses I got.

Limited Resources front-man (and frequent Top 8 Magic guest) Marshall Sutcliffe would have taken Necromancy:

He was joined by Open Series standout Drew Levin:

… Oh, and Jon Finkel:

Is Necromancy THE pick then? It’s hard to argue with Jon… But I know where I want to go in Cube. Usually I force only RDW or Storm… And while Necromancy typically smacks of a “broken” B/U deck, it isn’t Storm.

Further, from Drew:

Tangle Wire is an interesting card that some folks suggested. I am not a huge Tangle Wire guy in Cube, and have cut it from my Red Decks in the past.

How about Mishra’s Workshop?

Mishra’s Workshop and Necromancy have something in common; and kind of common with [my] Lightning Bolt (if not strictly). Lightning Bolt can go in any kind of deck that can cast it. It can go in Red Deck Wins, some kind of control, or as just whatever removal. Lightning Bolt is flexible like that, just as it has contributed to everything from Pyromancer Ascension (combo) to Red Deck Wins (beatdown) to Jund (mid-range) to various blue-based control decks (obv). Caleb Durward once told me he thought Lightning Bolt might be the best red card, ever.

But Mishra’s Workshop and Necromancy go into particular decks. Mishra’s Workhop is not valuable unless you have lots and lots of artifacts. I know I’ve screwed up with various Signets and Time Spiral with Mishra’s Workshop on the battlefield.

Necromancy’s job is to get out the big bigs; Drew’s sevens and eights if you grok. Necromancy can play as an efficiency / value spell… But excels when you get to use cards like Survival of the Fittest or Entomb to put specific powerful creatures in the graveyard. When you take Necromancy, you are going down a certain path. You want to take big guys; you want to pick up resources that will help you dump the big guys into the bin.

And hey! Jon would have taken it.

(But, just so you know, when I take a Lightning Bolt, I am every bit as focused on an archetype as a Mishra’s Workshop- or Necromancy-taker.)

Most interesting to me was that some other notable players would have considered Counterspell:

The aforementioned Open Champion Caleb Durward:

And many-times Pro Tour Top 8 competitor Chris Pikula:

Counterspell?

A few weeks ago Tom Martell gave me an interview for the Mother Ship. One of the things we talked a lot about is what it means to be a good drafter. For my part, I have had runs at GP and Nationals stages that put me in the Top 25 rated drafters in the world (you probably didn’t know that). I did it by forcing U/W and Black decks only. When I qualified for US Nationals a few years ago, I needed to learn to draft… And forced blue decks over and over. I put on 200 points of MTGO rating and won every 8-4 I played for weeks going into Nationals. Needless to say, I didn’t really back up the ratings at Pro Tour or that more recent Nationals.

Interestingly, Tom says that those kinds of results don’t make a good drafter, but a flawed one.

I think my completely discounting Counterspell (and to a lesser degree not understanding some of Drew’s initial arguments around Necromancy) expose maybe a source of success for me in Cube… But also a flaw in my drafting ceiling, at least according to Tom’s model. I just don’t know how to draft a deck that wants Counterspell! What archetype does Counterspell go in?

Counterspell is, of course, Lightning Bolt’s Blue opposite number. But, Lightning Bolt in the abstract; NOT just “my” Lightning Bolt, that is a conceptual stand-in for “Red Deck Wins.”

Just something to think about.

But man, do I love Holiday Cube 2013!

LOVE
MIKE

Bogbrew Witch &c. | Bogbrew Beatdown!

This is bar none my favorite deck in Standard right now:

orzhov2

Bogbrew Beatdown

3 Bubbling Cauldron

4 Festering Newt
4 Bogbrew Witch
4 Lifebane Zombie
4 Tragic Slip

1 Blood Baron of Vizkopa
4 Cartel Aristocrat
1 Sin Collector
2 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad

4 Lingering Souls
4 Restoration Angel

4 Godless Shrine
4 Isolated Chapel
1 Orzhov Guildgate
6 Plains
8 Swamp
2 Vault of the Archangel

Sideboard
2 Devour Flesh
1 Doom Blade
4 Vampire Nighthawk
1 Blood Baron of Vizkopa
2 Obzedat, Ghost Council
3 Sin Collector
2 Fiendslayer Paladin

You may have seen a previous version of the deck on Twitter, which featured only three Bogbrew Witches main, but Skirsdag High Priest. I actually have great respect for making 5/5 Demons… But I made exactly zero, total, the whole time I was playing High Priests; I also attacked with one maybe once, though I don’t know what I was waiting for. Sin Collector has been largely better but hasn’t produced fireworks exactly; though the synergy with Restoration Angel has been pretty exciting in some matches.

I tested BDM’s more white-based Extort / Archangel of Thune deck more than any other decks of this class… But I think this one is the best of the B/W lot from a win expectation standpoint, though it of course has no Angelic Accord, which is what sent all of us down this road to begin with. You know…

“Bubbling Cauldron + Angelic Accord is basically a Batterskull.”
-YT

Brian’s deck doesn’t play the Bogbrew Witch combo, but I have grown to love those 9-12 cards tremendously over the past week or so. Though these decks can win on various dimensions I find myself becoming excited every time I can start chaining a Bogbrew With; and have had meaningful internal debates about whether I should try to stick a Witch, bait with a Restoration Angel at the end of the opponent’s turn, and the relative impact of a Witch on four versus Sorin, Lord of Innistrad. To tell you the truth, killing the opponent with just Festering Newts ain’t no joke. Sixteen you.

Festering Newt is one of the most surprising little cards you can drop on the first turn. Stromkirk Noble on the first turn has been one of the most bedeviling drops to play against for the past year and more for me; especially because my intended blockers have usually been Snapcaster Mage and Borderland Ranger… But Festering Newt is such a great answer! You can block and trade. They can remove it with Pillar of Flame, sure, but that is true for most everything; and essentially all other interaction will result in a dead Stromkirk Noble. Given the propensity of a Stromkirk Noble to get out of hand, I’m generally fine just blocking and trading one-for-one.

Lifebane Zombie is great in this deck; and overall great in the metagame. I have been stealing Boros Reckoners or Ghor-Clan Rampagers and then trading with Flinthoof Boars or Hellriders quite often. Lifebane Zombie is of course just as great with Restoration Angel as Sin Collector… Maybe better because Lifebane Zombie > Sin Collector.

The deck has a good amount of life gain, which buys a lot of time against aggro. It does not have a huge amount of lasting power against control, though; if you don’t keep your Bogbrew Witch around for a couple of untaps you are liable to run out. That is the struggle with this version, which has o Sign in Blood and no Angelic Accord. Sam Black suggested Dark Prophecy, rather said he didn’t think 0 in 75 was possibly right. Possibly he is right! Dark Prophecy would surely give the deck some lasting power against control, or in attrition matchups.

Anyway, just wanted to share this.

Like a lot of pleasantly surprised bogBrewers, I didn’t expect I would be playing many Bubbling Cauldrons in Standard but the combo has been very effective. It is just fantastic against aggro decks that want to race you as well as removal-poor midrange creature decks. Though this strategy can very likely be improved, it is going to be my jumping off point come the impending Theros rotation.

LOVE
MIKE

Angelic Accord, Podcast, etc.

angelicaccord2

Angelic Accord, version 1.0

2 Bubbling Cauldron
1 Elixir of Immortality
3 Trading Post

3 Bogbrew Witch
4 Festering Newt
4 Sign in Blood
3 Tragic Slip
4 Vampire Nighthawk

3 Angelic Accord
2 Fiendslayer Paladin
4 Lingering Souls
2 Terminus

4 Godless Shrine
4 Isolated Chapel
4 Orzhov Guildgate
5 Plains
7 Swamp
1 Vault of the Archangel

Sideboard
3 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
2 Fiendslayer Paladin
2 Orzhov Charm
1 Tragic Slip
4 Duress
2 Terminus
1 Liliana of the Dark Realms

For anyone wondering about the deck BDM and I were talking about in the most recent podcast the above is it.

I don’t want to spend a huge amount of time talking about the strategies, plans, and angles various on this deck as it ended up being a bit less than super awesome; but as BDM raved in the podcast it is fun to play, [presumably] fun to watch, and capable of some pretty exciting comebacks.

If you brave yourself up to give Angelic Accord a swing, keep these things in mind:

  • Trading Post + Angelic Accord is the basic combo. Once you have both of these in play, it is rare that you will do anything but discard to Trading Post every turn. But be careful! You have to discard before the opponent’s end step if you want to crash with a new 4/4 on your turn.
  • Bubbling Cauldron + Angelic Accord is basically a Batterskull. Almost anything can catalyze the first 4/4 Angel. You can crash on your turn, sacrifice the Angel, gain four, and net a fresh (untapped) Angel to block on your opponent’s turn. Okay, I’ll bite… It is probably a bit better than a Batterskull. Ya got me.
  • Elixir of Immortality allows you to loop your Festering Newts. The limit on the Bogbrew Witch combo is that you can only search up four Festering Newts. But if you can put your Festering Newts back into your deck, you break the normal limit on Bogbrew Witch. I don’t know if you’ve played much Bogbrew Witch in Standard, but the other two halves of the combo win a lot of games for me. Somehow… A real thing.
  • You can activate life gain abilities on both your turn and your opponent’s turn in order to trigger a single Angelic Accord twice per cycle. Truth.

Did I mention there is a new Top8Magic podcast up on ManaDeprived? Well there is! And BDM is back!

If you are somehow too lazy to click one of the several links to ManaDeprived on this page / in this post, I suppose you can listen to the cast here:

(I suppose.)

Hope you <3 it!

LOVE
MIKE

Five Banners Better Than Kalonian Hydra

MichaelJ:

Well BDM was off at the World Championships last weekend so I did a fill-in podcast with the incomparable Innovator Patrick Chapin over on ManaDeprived.

The only problem is… For the second consecutive week, we got Kalonian Hydra for our banner! Boo-urns!

On the bright side, KYT and company replaced the Top 8 Magic entrance music with a piece pilfered from the princess of pottymouthed chick rockers, Liz Phair. Yay! As such, here might have been a possible awesome banner:

liz

Okay, maybe that doesn’t scream “Magic: The Gathering” or even [accurately] that Brian David-Marshall is on this podcast.

How about this one, thematic of NLDB and Patrick’s guest appearance?

NLDB

Yeah, yeah… Not quite as beautiful as the cover design on NLDB… But I tried! (not very hard) Fine. You want to see “didn’t try very hard”?

top8mohawk

So… No. Gotcha.

How about the classics then?

tokens

Or bringing back to NLDB (stole this image from NLDB in part, in fact), and the whole “me and Patrick talking on the phone” aspect?

Phones

Reader / Listener / Beloved Customer:


Hold up, did you just say you did a new podcast, and that it was guest-starring Patrick Chapin?

MichaelJ:

Yes!

Reader / Listener / Beloved Customer:

Whatever dude. Carry on. No one cares about Kalonian Hydra re-run banners or intro music. I’ll be over on ManaDeprived listening to Deck Building and Life with Patrick Chapin thank you very much.

MichaelJ:

Um… Sweet?

Subscribe to the Top8Magic Podcast (usually starring Brian David-Marshall)

LOVE
MIKE

nldb

Weekend Update

weekendupdate

Concerning:

  1. The Moral Victory of 16 Thumbs and 7 Toughness
  2. The Destiny of 4 Kalonian Hydras
  3. The Next Level of The Next Level

So I was gone at the Star City Games Invitational in Somerset, NJ Friday through Sunday, and basically missed a whole bunch of stuff. Some of it is important; other stuff, simply awesome. Hence, this after-the-weekend Weekend Update.



Top8Magic on ManaDeprived Update

First of all, thank all of you cats who went over and liked our first podcast on ManaDeprived, “Save or Delete”.

In case you didn’t know, we posted another podcast last Friday.

Let me ask you a question: DO YOU WANT US TO DO THESE EVERY WEEK?

Is that like asking if the world needs more TAUNTING JON BECKER?

Answer in the comments below but I assume the answer(s) is / are em effin’ yes. If so, I need y’all to click over to ManaDeprived and Like the bejeezus out of this. Our first podcast over there got 10x the usual likes of a ManaDeprived podcast, but “The Moral Victory of 16 Thumbs and 7 Toughness” has to date garnered a pathetic 3 Likes. I don’t know what kind of Up North operation KYT has at ManaDeprived but I assume his servers are made out of maple tree twigs and run on a hydraulic system of syrup and snow. Go click over to ManaDeprived and break that thing! Come on BDM fans! Let’s go!

And / or…

Listen here:

Download and listen later…

But most definite, DEFINITELY, subscribe on iTunes:
http://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/mana-deprived/id489782347



Kalonian Hydra Update

In case you were wondering what happened to those four Kalonian Hydras I picked up [but did not play] for the Invitational, they found a fine home in the Zvi Mowshowitz-designed G/W Elves deck piloted by our good friend William “Baby Huey” Jensen:


William Jensen with YT’s four Hydras!

G/W Elves

4 Garruk, Caller of Beasts
4 Kalonian Hydra
4 Elvish Mystic
2 Loxodon Smiter
4 Wolfir Silverheart
4 Craterhoof Behemoth
4 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
4 Gavony Township
4 Arbor Elf
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Elvish Archdruid
4 Elvish Visionary
4 Temple Garden
10 Forest

Sideboard
4 Strangleroot Geist
2 Ranger’s Guile
3 Garruk Relentless
3 Tree of Redemption
3 Acidic Slime

Huey Made Top 8 of last week’s Standard Open with U/R/W Control but did poorly in the Invitational. He switched it up to the G/W deck for the Somerset Standard Open and crushed his way all the way to second place. I have thought about playing against this deck with a variety of strategies and I think it is both counterintuitive and tough from the control side. At first glance this is the classic deck you crush with Ratchet Bombs and Supreme Verdicts but I don’t think it is ultimately that cut-and-dried. You can’t screw up. You can’t give them operating mana for too long. You certainly can’t let them level up repeatedly with Garruk, Caller of Beasts. I played a Quicken + Planar Cleansing deck in the Invitational and Open specifically to crush Jund decks that had been accumulating Planeswalker-based battlefield advantages but I don’t think that works against Garruk-six. The last thing you want to do is to tap for Planar Cleansing, clearing their board… But leaving them with seven cards in hand (most of which are sweet threats).

I actually think that you want both lots of sweep but need Need NEED permission to fight Garruk, Caller of Beasts here. I would consider siding in Negate just to fight that six. The creatures are not particularly resilient exclusive of dealing massive damage in one big attack. You really need to keep them off their combination of acceleration and card advantage or you are going to eat a Craterhoof, I fear.

Anyway, great weekend for Huey, who made back-to-back Standard and Legacy Open Top 8s.



NEXT LEVEL DECKBUILDING Update

Are you living under a rock or something?

Biggest of the big that happened this past weekend was the release of Patrick Chapin’s new book NEXT LEVEL DECKBUILDING on Star City Games. Patrick is one of my best friends and as a writer, an inspiration. He was one of the driving forces that got me off my butt to do THE OFFICIAL MISER’S GUIDE and I wish him all the luck with NEXT LEVEL DECKBUILDING.

NEXT LEVEL DECKBUILDING is huge — some 472 pages — but I haven’t been able to put it down all day. It’s beautifully laid out by the ebook elves at Star City Games; the content is one-of-a-kind and often quite hilarious (more on that later in the week). I haven’t read it all yet but I am absolutely loving much of what I have so far. Don’t go out and immediately buy NEXT LEVEL DECKBUILDING before you buy THE OFFICIAL MISER’S GUIDE or anything silly like that; but if you are in the market for awesome Magic books… This one is pretty awesome. I’m going to be recommending this for years I think. Again, more deets later.

Okay friends!

Lots of stuff to do!

Action Items!

nldb

LOVE
MIKE

Paying the Naya Price: The SWOT of Kalonian Hydra

So… This actually happened yesterday:

kalonianhydra
Eep! Can this possibly be right?

I guess when you need a card you need a card; and when supply is low (but hype is not) you can’t really control your price; and honestly, what’s the point of having a little store credit if you aren’t going to spend it? Exactly.

Flores Fact:
I bought my Baneslayer Angels the week after Naya Lightsaber at $55.

You’re welcome, Luis Scott-Vargas!

(Baneslayer Angel currently lists from $12-$15 on Star City, but went as low as $5 at some point).

I guess this is as good an excuse as any to talk about hot new M14 Mythic Rare, Kalonian Hydra.


Kalonian Hydra

SWOT

Strengths:
Strengths are positive attributes that are internal or intrinsic.

Interestingly (at least for a card with this level of hype), Kalonian Hydra is non-exceptional on its own, by itself, when you tap out for it. However if you can untap successfully with this creature in play, it can hammer pretty hard. Eight damage for five mana is generally speaking a big game for a creature. To be very fair it has built-in trample (an evasion ability). One limiting factor of other big — especially five-drop — creatures competing for a limited number of slots is a lack of evasion. The last thing you want is to bounce your huge guy off of an Augur of Bolas that just found a Supreme Verdict. Kalonian Hydra is nigh-guaranteed to get in for some damage due to that trample.

Weaknesses:
Weaknesses are negative attributes that are internal or intrinsic.

Kalonian Hydra has the core weakness of a five drop: It costs five mana. Five mana is one more mana than the Mowshowitz threshold for a card that needs to be able to win the game by itself. It very clearly does not win the game unconditionally immediately (at least not without some hasty help).

Opportunities:
Opportunities are positive attributes that are external / outsite your immediate control.

Kalonian Hydra is almost the quintessence of a big creature that plays well with others. It is awesome with little guys that can power it out (Avacyn’s Pilgrim, Elvish Mystic, et al); especially if they are all best buddies with Gavony Township. Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch has few follow-up playmates with greater synergy and upside. Silverblade Paladin and Ajani, Caller of the Pride make Kalonian Hydra shine (you know, provided you can untap with it on the battlefield).

Threats:
Threats are negative attributes that are external / outsite your immediate control.

Just dies to Doom Blade.

You know what just got reprinted? Doom Blade.

Post Script:

I more-or-less buy cards I need for whatever tournament I am about to play in, which generally includes a bunch of small purchases (note the play sets of Quicken and Planar Cleansing in the above screen cap); but I’ve made two bigger current-card purchases in the last few months that may or may not have been linked to immediate tournament needs. To be fair, I eventually played with my Reckoners; also to be fair, I made back in tournament winnings more than 100% of my Voice of Resurgence outlay the day I made the purchase. Regardless, just thought I’d throw out the current states of my personal Paying the Naya Price:

  • Boros Reckoner: $5-$10; current price on Star City Games: $15
  • Voice of Resurgence: $25; current price: $50

Smile-and-a-wink! ;)

Just sayin’.

#MTGFinance

LOVE
MIKE

New Top8Magic Podcast on ManaDeprived.com!

manadeprived
Click the above to jump to the podcast on ManaDeprived.com


Top 8 Magic #340 – Save or Delete

omgslim

DVD Extras: “How About Astards-Bay?”

Today was the last ever episode of Top Decks. I’d ask for a moment of silence for the most popular column in the history of the Magic Internet, but instead I will moan and wail about censorship.

The bastards.

Bastards!

This is how “Ten by Ten by Four” opened on the digital presses:

punks

This is how nature* intended:

As I said last week, this will be the final edition of Top Decks. If we had gone two more weeks, it would have been nine years. Nine! Years! The bastards. Can I say “bastards”? It’s my last Top Decks. I’m saying “bastards” at least three times.

/ mic drop

I was actually a bit surprised editor Mike McArtor wouldn’t let me get away with “bastards”; just thought I’d throw this out there that Act 3/3 of “Ten by Ten by Four” was my Magic Pro Tour Hall of Fame ballot; on that topic my good friend and former Lead Developer Brian Schneider used the quote “100% ballplayer. 0% bullshit[,]” in his write-up of Dave Price in Year One. Don’t believe me? Go check and ctrl+”bullshit”

bschneid
100% ballplayer. 0% bullshit.

bschneid gets a “bullshit” and I don’t get a three “bastard”[s]? Come on! This was my swan song!

Mike gave me an option of softer curse words; I initially selected “astards-bay” but that didn’t pass muster either. Peruse at your pleasure:

email

Good journey, Top Decks.

LOVE
MIKE

* “nature” = your hero, michaelj

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