## Tuesday, 31 December 2013

### Metalworker

Ah Metalworker, you broken, broken little robot man. There are a few of these "Reveal X" cards out there, but this is the most powerful of them all because it adds so much mana for so little. Reveal 1 card, it's a Mox Sol Ring. 2 and it's a Mox Scorched Ruins. 3 or more and it's a Mox Why-The-Hell-Did-We-Print-This. And all that mana for the low, low price of showing your opponent what you're about to play. The only real problem with this card is that it's a creature, meaning that it's slower and more vulnerable than a regular artifact. Other than that, it's further proof that the Urza's saga should have had more oversight.

Pros: Adds a bunch of mana for almost no investment
Cons: Creature
Rating: 4.5/5

## Friday, 27 December 2013

### A Christmas Treat

Yeah, I know it's two days overdue and I know it's a cliche, but I've decided to get you all a Christmas treat and review the card that everyone is talking about. Yes, it's a card from Born of the Gods that was recently spoiled that's getting everyone super-excited. It's the one, the only, Springleaf Drum!

This card has been a staple of Modern artifacts decks ever since it's original printing in Lorwyn. It can really help accelerate creature-heavy decks by just enough to make them win. It's one of those cards that seems pretty bad, but it has a lot of uses that you don't think about right away. Basically, I like to think of this card as having the text "You may have a creature you control enter the battlefield tapped. If you do, add one mana of any color to your mana pool" because that's essentially what it does (except you can use it on other people's turns too).

Pros: Gives your slow creatures some usefulness
Cons: Only uses one creature, forces creature to tap
Rating: 3.5/5

What? You thought I was going to look at Kiora? Not until at the cards in the set are officially spoiled!

## Monday, 23 December 2013

### Temporal Aperture

This card is pretty fun. It's kind of like Unexpected Results. Actually, it is Unexpected Results, only more repeatable. It costs a little more, but it's extremely repeatable and won't go away if you hit a land. There's nothing wrong with this card in my opinion. It's a random card every turn (at least) for only 5 mana. It's pretty awesome!

Pros: A random card every turn
Cons: Costs 5 mana (you might overspend)
Rating: 4.5/5

## Friday, 20 December 2013

### Teleport

Man, this card was really good in its day. Making a creature unblockable? Before this, the best way to do it was with Invisibility and that's not the greatest. It allows for some creatures to block it and telegraphs the fact that that creature will be pumped for extra damage. This card was really good in its good. The operative word being "was". Why do I say "was"? Ehem, Aqueous FormArtful DodgeDistortion StrikeInfiltrate, and Veil of Secrecy. Need I say more?

Pros: Makes a creature unblockable
Cons: Costs way too much, timing restriction
Rating: 0/5

Note: I just want to say how much I hate the change of "unblockable" to "can't be blocked". It's longer word-wise and clunkier to say. I think it's dumb and will not be using the terminology "can't be blocked" here. It will always be "unblockable" in my mind!

## Sunday, 15 December 2013

### Soul Sculptor

This is a sort of a repeatable Prison Term, but not really. It easily locks down any unshrouded creatures until someone casts a creature spell. This is a great card for a control deck since you don't need that many creatures and this is just a great control card. The fact that it turns creatures into the marginally more vulnerable type of enchantment. It allows for an Azorius control deck to run more than a couple true kill spells because it turns cards like Erase into a better Path to Exile. Yeah, there's a flaw in that its effect is undone by a creature spell, but it can be worked around by timing it just right. That Blightsteel Colossus won't do much damage during the combat step if it's an enchantment now will it?

Pros: Makes creatures into enchantments, makes creatures lose abilities
Cons: Undone by creature spells
Rating: 4/5

## Friday, 13 December 2013

### Black Cat

Don't be surprised, you knew this was coming today. This is a really decent card for what it does. A really good that I've seen of this card is in a Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker EDH. Sack it every turn to force summon to discard a card at random and for fun and profit. It's a pretty painful little kitty.

Pro: Force random discard upon death
Cons: Just a 1/1
Rating: 4/5

## Tuesday, 10 December 2013

### Spitting Earth

A decent card, but it's held back by its speed. I can understand that an instant-speed scaling damage speed for a flat 2 can sound scary, but since it can only target a creature, it's basically a weaker Murder. I'd really have liked to have seen this at instant speed. WoTC sort of corrected it with Seismic Strike, but I don't think it should have costed an extra 1.

Pros: Scaling damage based on lands
Cons: Sorcery, creature only
Rating: 2/5

## Monday, 9 December 2013

### The Eventide Untappers

This set is pretty awesome, although some are much better than others.

Ballynock Trapper
Being able to tap down creatures is very important for an aggro deck and being able to do it more than once per turn is really good, Tap a dude, cast a dude, tap down another dude, swing. It can also be used defensively to lock down potential attackers. I'd have liked to have seen this at CMC 3 instead of 4 though. It comes in a turn too late for my liking.

Pros: Very repeatable blocker removal
Cons: Costs 4
Rating: 2.5/5

Cinder Pyromancer
This is the second-best out of the set. It fits in really well into a red burn deck. It basically adds an extra damage to each of your red spells. It's like a universal mini-Pyromancer's Gauntlet, only it doesn't cost 5. I would have liked it with haste, but I can't have everything I want.

Pros: Mini universal Pyromancer's Gauntlet
Cons: No haste
Rating: 4/5

Merrow Bonegnawer
Eating graveyards can be really advantageous and this card is really apt at that. However, it's not always a good effect and that really holds this card back. I think this would have done better with giving out temporary -1/-1 instead.

Pros: Really efficient at eating graveyards
Cons: Effect has limited usability
Rating: 2/5

Merrow Levitator
This card fits into the same vein as Ballynock Trapper. It essentially does the same thing, except that it can't be used defensively. It sort of removes blockers from the equation by making your creatures flying, but without the defensive capability, it's just not that great. If it cost one less, then it might be better.

Pros: Hands out flying
Cons: Only hands out flying
Rating: 2/5

Nettle Sentinel
THIS IS NOT A DRAWBACK! This card is the star of so many green aggro decks it's not even funny. A pseudo-vigilance 2/2 for 1. There's not really another card like it. Most other 2+ power creatures that cost one have some sort of drawback (like sacking a land or creature) or are rare. The fact that is at common is ridiculous.

Pros: 2/2 vigilance for 1
Cons: Doesn't fly
Rating: 5/5

## Thursday, 5 December 2013

### Reprisal

Situational Murder? Pretty good. Most of the time, you'll want to use your removal on big things anyway, so this card's restriction isn't really a restriction. It's like how Nettle Sentinel has a "downside". Not a bad card, but you might get burned sometimes when you really want to take out a utility creature.

Pros: Cheap white removal
Cons: Only targets big things
Rating: 3.5/5

## Saturday, 30 November 2013

### Camouflage

Ok, so here's the oracle text:
Cast Camouflage only during your declare attackers step.
This turn, instead of declaring blockers, each defending player chooses any number of creatures he or she controls and divides them into a number of piles equal to the number of attacking creatures for whom that player is the defending player. Creatures he or she controls that can block additional creatures may likewise be put into additional piles. Assign each pile to a different one of those attacking creatures at random. Each creature in a pile that can block the creature that pile is assigned to does so.(Piles can be empty.)

This took me a couple of reads to fully understand, but I think it's pretty good. You may end up with some unfavourable situations, but it will probably work out well for you. I honestly don't know why they didn't just change the card to say: Assign blockers at random this turn or something to that effect. Other than that, it's pretty cool.

Pros: Random blocks for an opponent
Cons: Random blocks may mean bad situations for you
Rating: 3.5/5

## Tuesday, 26 November 2013

### Sacred Mesa

A mono-white flying token generator with a small upkeep cost? This is pretty awesome in my books. Yeah, it has a upkeep cost of 1W, but it's an instant-speed token creator, so what else can you really ask for? White kind of hurts for good token generators. They either have to tap (Thraben Doomsayer), require some sort of counter/charge (Twilight Drover), or have some sort of weird restriction (Security Detail). Even the other token generators that don't have some sort of restriction aren't as good as this. Heliod, God of the Sun costs 4 for a 2/1, Pegasus Refuge makes you discard cards, and Mobilization costs 3 for a 1/1 groundwalker. I know that the upkeep cost may turn some off from the start, but I think it's pretty worth it.

Pros: Instant-speed token creation
Cons: Upkeep cost
Rating: 3.5/5

## Saturday, 23 November 2013

### Special: Planechase

I figured now's as good a time as any to talk about one of the variants of Magic: Planechase. Back in 2009, WotC came out with this variant of Magic, wherein each player has a a "planar deck" that contains oversized card with varying effect on them (another set of decks came out in 2012). On a player's turn, they can roll the "planar die", a d6 with only two marked sides (the first roll is free, then it costs n-1 for each subsequent roll). The two marked sides either causes "planar travel", wherein the rolling player replaces the current plane with the top card of their planar deck or "chaos", which triggers the written ability of the plane. Now, the way my friends and I play is a little different: rather than each player having their own planar deck, we play with about 30 different planes mixed together and we find this variant a lot more fun than having individual deck.

What do I think of Planechase? I think it's pretty cool. It can create some really interesting swingy situations that completely turn tables in favour of a player that's doing really bad. Here are my top 3 and bottom 3 planes. Why? Because.

Top #3: Furnace Layer
One of the few things that New Phyrexia produced, I really like this plane. It's truly random since it can hit you too and players might be tempted to gamble and keep it around in order to hurt their opponent's but it could just as easily bite them for their hubris. You know, like an actual plane would do.

Bottom #3: Mount Keralia
Talk about a plane that you don't want to leave. While not the worst example of this (see #1), I still don't like this plane at all. Why would a plane hurt you for leaving it? I'll admit most of my dislike of this comes from my inner Vorthos coming through, but it just doesn't make much sense. A maybe boardwipe with a 16.6% chance of happening just seems terrible.

Top #2: Takenuma
This plane just seems so combo-happy that I love it. I can just see a scenario where a player loses the game when their Laboratory Maniac bounces when they roll chaos. It just really like it.

Bottom #2: Lethe Lake
Unlike the other two bottom planes, this is a plane that everyone desperately wants to get away from. Losing a sixth of your deck every turn just sucks and only having a one-in-six chance of getting away from it makes it even worse. It's like a blue player purposefully not ending the game so that he can toy with his opponent for multiple turns.

Top #1: Glimmervoid Basin
There's nothing about this plane I don't like. I love anything that can cause issues with control decks and this really does that well. Every direct damage spell becomes suicidal and every bounce spell becomes a boardwipe. It's just amazing.

Bottom #1: Sanctum of Serra
Usually when this plane comes out, we put the planar die away since no one wants to leave. There may be the situation where one player may want to try an planeswalk just so that they have a chance, but that player usually doesn't have the mana to roll the die more than thrice, so there's not much point in trying. And since when was the price of leaving Serra's house become burning everything you own?

## Tuesday, 19 November 2013

### Vanilla Value Equation (VVE)

So, if you remember waaaaay back in my Vanillas review, I brought up the idea of using a formula to determine the value of a vanilla creature. Tonight, I thought about it a little more and refined that formula a little more:

$\frac{\left ( \left ( Power + \left ( \frac{Toughness}{2} \right ) \right ) -0.5 \right )}{Converted Mana Cost} = X$

If X is equal to 1 or more, it is a passable card for Limited formats. For example, Border Guard scores a 1, meaning that it is a baseline passable vanilla creature. Leatherback Baloth scores a little higher, at 2 and Axebane Stag scores lower with a 0.86. Cards with a 0 CMC (such as Crookshank Kobolds) don't have a value and should be considered combo pieces instead of just creatures (at least, I consider them combo pieces).

Now, when I say "passable", I don't mean "good". I came up with this to help me determine the value of vanilla cards in a draft or sealed format and that's what the formula is intended for. It is also based purely on combat ability and not on interactions with other cards. Maybe in the future I'll add values to different keywords and abilities and come up with a comprehensive algorithm for more advanced cards...

### Unsummon

A staple of blue decks everywhere. This card is really great, but 99% of the time, Vapor Snag will be better since it adds a twang of damage onto a great spell. Still, if you don't care about the damage, this card will always serve you great.

Pros: 1-drop, instant
Cons: Doesn't deal damage
Rating: 5/5

## Friday, 15 November 2013

### Equilibrium

This is an amazing card that I didn't know about. It's a repeatable Unsummon except that it's colourless. Imagine what a Momir Vig, Simic Visionary or Animar, Soul of the Elements EDH could do with this. How about 60-cards based around ETB triggers and Cloudstone Curio? This card can easily air-juggle opponents' creatures and cause them to never leave turn 5 or 6, forcing them to constantly replay the same turn over and over again until you finally kill them with your tiny creatures. The one flaw that I can see with this card is that it would lose very hard to token decks, since you probably won't have the mana to keep the masses in check.

Pros: Repeatable colourless Unsummon
Cons: Requires mana
Rating: 4.5/5

## Tuesday, 12 November 2013

### Pain Lands

These are okay. I'm not a fan since shocklands will deal less damage in the long run, but I can see why some people like them. Still, not much of a fan.

Pros: Dual lands that come into play untapped
Cons: Pings you to produce coloured mana
Rating: 2/5

## Wednesday, 6 November 2013

### Avatars of Prophecy

In honour of my blog's 10,000th view (and my recent rewatching of the Avatar series), I've decided to look at some of the original avatar creatures: The Prophecy Avatars.

Avatar of Fury
This is definitely the middle-of-the-road avatar. Obviously meant for late game, its mana-reduction isn't really that useful (save against ramp decks or when you're mana-screwed). It's a dragon basically that sometimes costs 2.

Pros: Sometimes costs 2
Cons: Pretty much just a dragon
Rating: 3/5

Avatar of Hope
Definitely not the worst avatar but this has the worst mana-reduction cost out of all of them. By the time you're at 3 life, you've probably lost the game. I'd much rather have the card that this is clearly meant to be: Fog.

Pros: Decent blocker
Cons: Terrible mana-reduction, not that powerful
Rating: 1.5/5

Avatar of Might
This is actually my favourite avatar (being part Timmy and all) but it's not the best avatar. It's pretty much just a big stompy creature that works great against token decks. It's also the best avatar combat-wise since it will deal damage through almost every other avatar without combat tricks (stupid Hope).

Pros: Most powerful avatar
Cons: Only stompy, mana-reduction only really works against token decks
Rating: 4/5

Avatar of Will
This is the worst avatar but it has the easiest mana-reduction cost out of all of them. Getting rid of an opponent's hand is fairly easy, especially when you're playing a control deck. However, that fact is let down by this card's general weakness in combat. I'm glad that the blue avatar is the worst one (blue used to have the worst creatures), but it doesn't save this from being the worst avatar.

Pros: Easiest mana-reduction
Cons: Weak
Rating: 0.5/5

Avatar of Woe
This is the avatar that everyone knows and loves and for good reason. It's the best avatar out of the lot. The ability is great and its mana-reduction ability is probably going to happen in a black deck fairly early on. It's just the best overall, save for maybe its combat stats.

Pros: Best ability of all avatars
Cons: Not great combat stats
Rating: 4.5/5

## Sunday, 3 November 2013

### Resurrection

Screw your Zombify! I'll make my own! With the Pope and a hooker and white instead of black and I'll make a time machine to bring it back to Alpha! This card is pretty good. Essentially, read my review of Zombify to get most of my opinions on this card. The only realy difference is that you'll have to go into a second colour (black) to get the absolute most value out of this card. Still, it's a decent card for any white deck.

Pros: Gets something from your yard into play
Cons: Costs 4, requires black for maximum efficiency
Rating: 4/5

P.S. For those wondering about the lack of daily posts, I'm in the midst of packing up to move to the coast so I don't have as much time as I'd like for this. However, I'll still try to keep it at 2 posts per week for now.

## Monday, 28 October 2013

### Special: The Weird Cards I Use

Okay, since my "official" 250th post was... kind of lame, I thought I'd do a second post today on the strangest cards I use. These are the cards that make people say "why the hell are you running that?!" when I play them, but I have a legitimate reason to run each one (herein explained).

Now the reason people look at me weird for this is because I run this in my Talrand, Sky Summoner EDH. Most people say "Well, it's like running Mana Leak in EDH; everyone will have the mana to counter it". I don't see it that way. Often, some decks biggest spells require tapping out and they won't leave any mana open (save for maybe Path to Exile mana). Beacon of TomorrowsCruel UltimatumDin of the FireherdTime Stretch, and Twist Allegiance are just some good targets for this that can greatly shift an opponent's plans.

This is the best tutor in my Lyzolda, the Blood Witch EDH by far. Why? Lyzolda like sacrificing tokens (particularly by throwing them at people's faces) and each sacrificed token means two more counters on this card. While this can only tutor a limited number of cards from the top of my library, my deck is so redundant that the chances are that I'll hit what I need in the top 14 or so cards.

This one is fairly straightforward in my 8-Land Smash sideboard, but people are sometimes very confused by this. It's fairly simple: this goes in against Affinity decks. Why? It makes my opponent think about giving me a 5/3 for playing that Ornithopter without anything to back it up immediately. Besides, a one-mana 5/3 is pretty good right?

This is another "obvious" one, but it also confuses some people when they see it. It's a cheaper, more repeatable Acorn Harvest, especially since this is in my Seshiro the Annointed EDH. In the last game I played with this, it ended up netting me 12 snakes, which I think is pretty good for one card.

"It's just black Journey to Nowhere for one more! It's terrible!" That's what I always hear when I cast this for the first time. Why just the first time? Because I usually play this just before I activate my Oblivion Stone (or to prevent someone else from activating theirs) in my Maga, Traitor to Mortals EDH. You see, the important difference between this and Journey to Nowhere is that the exiled creature keeps its counters. That means that my 13/13 Maga will come back as a 13/13 and hurt someone badly when the Oblivion Stone goes off.

This is another odd card from my Maga EDH. Late in the game, if I have a big Maga (let's say 20/20) but can't attack for some reason, this card comes in really handy. For 3 mana, I'll have a 21/21 and the ability to cast a slightly smaller Maga (in this case 18/18). It's a pretty awesome utility card in my deck!

Those are probably the weirdest cards I have in my decks. Feel free to post any of your oddest cards in the comments below. Here's to another 250 posts in the next year or so!

### Phytohydra

Blasphemous Act's best friend and Malignus' worst enemy. This card also makes Double Strike and First Strike on your opponents' creatures a bad idea. For them at least. Now, it looks like this card is only a 1/1 for 5, but I like to think of it like this: it's either going to be a damage sponge and powerhouse or it's a 5-mana mini-Extortion (where you pick either a kill spell or a counter spell). And, it's honestly not that bad for either option. Not great, but not that bad.

Pros: Damage sponge, late-game powerhouse
Cons: 1/1 for 5
Rating: 3.5/5

Also: Happy 250th post everyone :)

## Friday, 25 October 2013

### Urzatorn

Well, the first three cards in this set are commonly known at least. Maybe not the last one, but I believe that it's part of the set. I mean, the other three cards produce exactly 7 mana so why shouldn't it be considered part of the set? Anyway, on to the actual set. The first three parts are really good, but the last one isn't that great. Albeit that the Factory can be used in the late game (or if you have the other three parts). Still, I like the set as a whole. It produces a huge amount of mana for very little. Now, only if there were a card that altered a nonbasic land type...

Pros: Large amount of mana for very little investment, entire set can make tokens in colourless
Cons: Requires set for huge mana output, only produces colourless
Rating: 4.5/5