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Another week of Scars of Mirrodin spoilers

September 20, 2010

It’s time for looking at some more Scars of Mirrodin spoilers! First off is the new (seemingly obligatory these days) dual-land cycle that are revealed to be in Scars. Lets check them out:

Ha! After several years of comes into play tap… sorry, I meant entered the battlefield tapped we finally have legit dual-lands that you can tap for color on turn one! Since the painlands rotated out of Standard I have lamented the fact that it’s so hard to play an “elf” on turn 1 in Standard. Noble Hierach, Bird of Paradise and their like have been in an awkward spot for the last year or so because of how relatively strong the taplands that we have been in Standard. In many cases decks and archetypes ignored the ability to play these creature and just went with the Shards of Alara tri-lands and the M10 duals… and then later on the Worldwake man-lands.

The Boss Naya deck that we saw somewhat flourish for a while in pre-Rise of the Eldrazi Standard was about the only deck that did some real splash in Standard (at least for a while…). But that deck was a really ugly baby if you ask me. Some draws that deck looked fantastic but at least as many time as you had that good draw you drew some really ugly hands where your lands and mana creature simply didn’t interact at all. Mythic (after Rise of the Eldrazi came out) is about the only deck that really has used all the sick mana creatures in Standard to really good effect. Partly why it’s because they are perfectly fine fodder for Sovereigns of Alara even later on in this game. But those dry times might be over (perfect timing with Noble Hirarch leaving Standard but maybe that was the point?).

Oh, I it’s also cool that their built-in drawback make sure that they don’t make the M11 duals obsolete. Deck like blue-white and their like would certainly play the M11 lands over these if they had to pick just one. All in all good cards that will be played but not super-duper exciting. Moving on to a new ‘amped version of Confiscate:

Now that is a Confiscate for ya. I expressed that I was a tad worried about direct answer to Planeswalkers in the upcoming Standard format. And with the revealing of Volition Reins that fear was somewhat eased. For limited I like the fact that it has UUU in its casting cost, making this card near to impossible to splash for. I was a little annoyed over how relatively easy it was to splash a Mind Control in M11 limited. I mean, if you had Cultivates it wasn’t hard to pull off. The untap-part of this cards ability I reckon will be most important for limited.

Paying 6 mana to exclusively take over opponents creature doesn’t seems like a plan you can realistically have (even if the option to do so it’s off course really good) in constructed. This card is more for dealing with annoying permanents like Planeswalkers. But back to limited, Volition Reins solves the “annoying problem” that every now and then you have with Mind Control. What if every creature your opponent has is tapped? Then Mind Control might not be enough tempo to help you in some cases (at least I have been there). But don’t worry! Volition Reins makes sure that that problem is no more! 

Other than that I don’t have much to say about this card. It’s good and strong but the base effect isn’t directly new even if we haven’t seen this type of effect in Standard for a while. The last card I want to mention from the past week of spoilers is Ratchet Bomb:

This card has gotten a lot of hype and it’s partly why I’m presenting the card here and now. I haven’t really made up my mind about this card as it’s really hard to evaluate an “answer”-type of card. When you are trying to figure out how good this card is going to be for Standard etc. you need to think about what people are playing and what card needs to be answered. That’s why it’s so difficult to say because we know like nothing about the upcoming Standard and Extended is going to change quite much when Time Spiral rotates out. But from what I imagine how the formats is going to shape up, I’m doubtful since Ratchet Bomb seems…really slow. Ratchet Bomb seems like a good way to deal with a lot of tokens (which I imagine might be relevant in Standard…) but if you play Ratchet Bomb to deal with Vengevines… I think you are out on deep water my friend.

I have seen a lot of people referring to Powder Keg and it’s greatness and uses that to prove that Ratchet Bomb is going to be good. The problem is that Magic has changed quite a bit since those days. Back then the number of creature people were playing wasn’t many and those you did play often costed around 1-3 mana. These days people play creature (and other threats) with a wide variety when it comes to mana cost. In the upcoming Standard you need to be prepared to face creatures that cost 0 mana aswell as 15(!) mana. That is a lot of ground for Ratchet Bomb to cover. You could make a case that you can play out a Ratchet Bomb prematurely and then just wait until the right moment to spring the trigger, but since you cannot remove counters from Ratchet Bomb that will (I imagine) be quite tricky.

Going back to Powder Keg, it also helped that Powder Keg back in the day was tutorable thanks to a wide variety of tutors that doesn’t exist anymore in formats such as Standard and Extended. I will probably cut Ratchet Bomb som slack if a viable tutor shows up but until that happen I’m a doubter. 

One more thing that is hard to visualize today is how important “charge counters” is going to be and if Proliferate might be good enough for Constructed. If either of those things shows to be relevant, Ratchet Bomb is off course is going to profit from that. The jury is still out on this card and I guess we just have to wait and see how the upcoming formats is going to play out. As I said, I’m a bit sceptical right now but I would love to be turned around :).

That was the most exciting stuff from last week of spoilers. This week wasn’t as spectacular as the week before, mainly because most of the “good” cards that was spoiled this week was answers and those kind of cards doesn’t excites me all that much. The fresh new cards that get my heart pumping are proactive cards. They can be combo cards, they might be creatures. They might be role players or build-around-me’s, they might just be tight little cards that glues together decks. As long as they are proactive and actually do stuff!

The prerelease is less than a week away now and I can’t wait! Have a good until we meet again!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Len permalink
    September 27, 2010 19:37

    About the Ratchet Bomb part

    I have to dissagree with you on a couple of points.

    First of – we don’t need to wait to see what people will play in order to see if it gets value – the value here is the versatility. It can take down artifacts, creatures, enchantments and in extreme cases planeswalkers. Yes it needs to be played carefully, but you shouldn’t treat it like a wrath effect on its’ own (altough it might work like that in many games) and more like a seal version of vindicate/maelstrom pulse.

    Secondly – I don’t feel that it’s too slow. Of course it will shine mostly in control decks (as did Powder Keg) working as a sort of a tempo-hoser against the agroo side. But it’s also a multipurpose disruption card.
    And yes the costs are various, but if you are playing against a certain archetype you know what you want to take down with the bomb and how many counters to stack – again, something you have to know how to do right when your playing control 🙂

    And honestly putting this card in the role of Vengevine removal was a terrible example on your side 🙂

    Thirdly – I remember when I used to play Powder Keg the most, was in the days of Ponza (the good old build with Ports, Tectonic Breaks etc.). The deck didn’t have any way of tutoring Keg and that fact didn’t prevent the Keg from giving the deck loads of value (try saying that three times fast 😉 ). In my opinion it’s even more so with the Bomb, again, because of it’s versatility.

    On the last note – the hype around this card being huge has its other reasons. And the biggest that I haven’t yet mentioned is the fact that it fits in a large number of archetypes. Moreover it actually makes some archetypes in the new T2 viable and playable, by giving them utility they would otherwise lack.

    • balthazar88 permalink*
      September 27, 2010 23:32

      Good input! As I mentioned I’m quite sure that I was bashing on Ratchet Bomb more than what’s really fair. Judging “answer”-type cards is always diffucult and I initially spotted more of the cons of Ratchet Bomb than the perks. You are also correct about that Ratchet Bomb might be the key card for new archetypes to prosper in the future.

      My point by bringing up Vengevine there was an example of a “must-answer-threat” control decks these days need to be able to handle, which Ratchet Bomb really can’t. That was kind of my que for “Ratchet Bomb isen’t the all-in-one antidote” which I was driving at and which a lot of people think Ratchet Bomb is.

      • Len permalink
        September 28, 2010 14:53

        In that case, sure, I agree with you. It definetly isn’t an all-in-one answer, nor should any card be. This one is just good and solid.

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