(If you don’t want to read about new cards from Mirrodin Besieged, you will want to skip this post. But come back after the prerelease, okay?)
One week from now I’ll be at the Mirrodin Besieged-prerelease defending the home turf from those Phyrexian nasties. While I fear that Phyrexia will submerge as the victor in the third part of the Scars of Mirrodin-trilogy, I’ll try to beat those vile poison counters using my favorite type of counters: charge counters. What I’m gonna do here is take a peek at the official visual spoiler and comment on the cards I could see myself sleeving up some time. No metagame talk or new secret tournament tech, just cards I enjoy. Gotta love having your own blog!
(I’m going down the spoiler by color, then alphabetical, using the cards that were on the spoiler as of January 22nd.)
The first white card to catch my prejudiced eye was the white card Phyrexian Rebirth. It reminds me of Martial Coup in more than one way (and I’m guessing I’m not the only one), but the idea of creating a big dude out of the wreckage is just so Vorthos! Sure, one big token is generally more easily removed than five (or more) smaller ones, and Coup is more flexible, but I just haven’t felt the urge to play Coup like I have the urge to play Rebirth. I love sweepers and will try to figure out a way to make the most of Phyrexian Rebirth. Too bad I can’t open this at the prerelease.
Second up is the first blue card in Corrupted Conscience. You should know I pretty much hate poison. I just don’t like playing with it, so it’s for the best that I can basically choose not to play it this prerelease. So why is a card that encourages poison on this list? It has nothing to do with the card. It’s the art. That’s Karn! Karn is on Mirrodin! Now it’s official. When I was reading through Jenna Helland’s article this thursday I was well and truly under the impression she was previewing Karn. I mean, how can you not think that when you see the art, all rectangular and all? While it was disappointing to see the final card being Corrupted Conscience, I cannot wait for the third set, which should contain Karn. Here’s the art, which I think is gorgeous.
Back to blue, we find Mitotic Manipulation, which has already been called the Blue Rampant Growth by various people. It’s true in one way, but it’s a bit more flexible – and risky. It’s probably best played in a (near) mono-blue deck so you have enough basic lands to flip. Ofcourse the potential lies in copying a giant creature for a paltry three mana. If you’re merely looking for acceleration in your blue deck, I’d just stick with a Mind Stone or Everflowing Chalice. If you have juicy copy-targets (Keiga comes to mind), I’d try out Mitotic Manipulation.
Vedalken Anatomist is everything I wanted Leech Bonder to be. God knows I’ve tried to break Leech Bonder, or even just try to squeeze some value out of it. I think Anatomist is better, in that he doesn’t need to attack to activate it’s ability, plus he both does small-term and long-term work. I’m impressed by the potential. Combining him with proliferate, my favorite mechanic in a long long time, is pretty obvious, but not any less exciting.
Speaking of proliferate, Vedalken Infuser is like a Horned Turtle having a Peter Parker-like accident in an Energy Chamber, being bitten by a radioactive Myr or something. Whatever the case, I like Energy Chamber, and I should like Vedalken Infuser even more. Most of the time being a creature as opposed to an artifact is considered to be a drawback (just take a look at the Magi from the Time Spiral-block), but in the decks I could see myself playing this, a creature with a four toughness-butt isn’t shabby at all. Plus, Vedalken Spiderman could pick up an equipment if you need him to.
So far the blue cards. We dive into the gooey puddles of black, starting with Black Sun Zenith. After seeing the first Zenith I could smell a cycle coming from a mile away. The Zeniths appear to be X-Beacons, an hommage to the original cycle that was in Fifth Dawn. This particular one reminds me of a B/r deck I used to play during the Shadowmoor-era, that played cards like Soul Snuffers and Incremental Blight to dish out -1/-1-counters. I feel I could revisit that deck based on the power of the Black Sun Zenith alone. Somewhere below I’ll explore that idea using some other cards from this set. On a final note, I’m sad yet again for missing out on a sweeper next saturday.
Go For The Throat. Wow, what a powerful name. In casual, this is a very powerful card as well. At least in my group there aren’t that many artifact creatures around – at least not as many as there are black creatures. Should replace Doom Blade in many a deck that is and that will be. Also, all hail to the terrifyingly beautiful artwork. You can almost feel the chills down your spine as you hear a primal hiss creeping up from behind.
Sadly, I haven’t seen any cool red cards (as of yet). Green isn’t much better, but it’s got some nice stuff. Like Lead the Stampede, another card in the long line of green carddraw that kind of started with Harmonize. For me, Harmonize is still the go-to carddrawer, with Gift of the Gargantuan coming in second. There’s no better feeling then drawing a lot of cards for three mana, but I just don’t see myself with a deck that can draw three or more with this. Even Gift of the Gargantuan isn’t always what I want, although it does it’s job admirably in my Eldrazi Green Peasant deck.
Thrun is, according to his name, the Last Troll. Apparently his younger ascetic brothers have died, and he is left to carry the family name of Trollshroud. Sounds nice, doesn’t it – Thrun Trollshroud. Could fit right into Lord of the Rings. About the card: he is okay, a nice throwback (Thrun Trollshroud the Throwback!) to the previous Mirrodin block poster-child of trolldom. He is also a Shaman. Maybe I can finally do something cool with Wolf-Skull Shaman. Hmm… I wonder what green card I could use in a creature-heavy deck to fill up my hand?
Next up is another Mythic, but probably not an expensive one (like Thrun, I guess). Glissa , the Traitor is back as one of the bad guys, apparently. Again, bummer I won’t get her prerelease card next week, but what can you do. A while ago I thought about making a green proliferate deck using Throne of Geth, Myr Retriever and Myr Servitor to amp up Mycoloth, Spike Weaver and ofcourse Everflowing Chalice. Primal Command glues the creature-base together. I thought about adding black, and now Mirrodin Besieged comes along and brings us (well, me) Glissa and Black Sun Zenith. Now how am I supposed to not add black to that deck? Deity of Scars becomes another tangible option, as well as Everlasting Torment and all-around black superstar Profane Command. This is probably the first new deck I’m going to try and build, conveniently enough right before the prerelease so I can try and trade for some cards.
The single most anticipated card for me was Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. I can’t imagine being the only one, so his spoiling was a bit of an anticlimax. Still, we know what he does and I think he will make a name for himself. So much for acquiring him on the cheap. Probably gonna build a deck with him (here’s hoping he won’t make any budges in the tournament world), since his first ability alone has won me over. Also, I can’t wait to buy and read the novel. Can’t go wrong with Karn, Tezzeret, and the name-dropped bad-ass Bolas.
I don’t have a whole lot to say about Ichor Wellspring, just that I wish he was around when I had my Master Transmuter-deck still in place. Maybe I could cook something up with Time Sieve and Tezzeret, both conveniently in the same color combination.
Shimmer Myr is another one of those cards that are very cool, but I don’t really know what to do with him. He has potential without immediately pushing me in a deckish direction. Looking forward to the moment he does, though. Also, another amazing piece of artwork and flavortext as well.
Do you know the feeling that certain cards find their way into your deck almost by default, and then a new block comes along and replaces those defaults by new defaults? For a long time, Pentad Prism used to be my default mana-accelerant. Sphere of the Suns does a few things the same and a few things better. It’s more consistent and therefore better suited for most of my decks. If it weren’t for Everflowing Chalice, I’d add this artifact to my upcoming G/b Proliferate deck.
Spine of Ish Sah is such a weird card. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the idea of a spine killing things, or better yet, how a bouncy jumpy spine does this. Also, who or what is Ish Sah? From the looks of it, he is – or was – an ancient and powerful dragon, laying slumbering – or dead – hidden in the mountainside. Next up in my cerebral queue is thinking of ways to break this spine (hah!), but other than Venser, I don’t get very far. Perhaps this spine is better left in the freezer for now, right next to Shimmer Myr.
Okay, my last card is Inkmoth Nexus. I can’t stress enough how much I like these verbal, visual and mechanical throwbacks, especially when all three are present in the same card like here. While he has infect and therefore gets an evil look from me, I love the idea of him as a win-condition in a slow controlling proliferate deck. I might have to add him to my U/w list, although the manabase is already tight as it stands. We’ll see. Into the freezer you go.
I hope you enjoyed my forays through the hostile environment that is Mirrodin (Besieged). As more spoilers drip in I will write new stuff if I feel I can contribute something worthwhile. If the work goes well, you can aspect an article about the green/black deck I mentioned somewhere this week or the week after that. And if I don’t see you before next weekend, enjoy your prerelease!