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Commence the siege: Sifting through MBS spoilers

January 24, 2011

The Mirrodin Besieged Prerelease is just around the corner, so I thought that I would drop some thoughts about a couple of the sweet cards that have been spoiled.

Starting off with what I think will right from the bat be the most appreciated card. It’s not super flashy but it’s very sleek and elegant, and looks like it will change some fundamental laws about Standard and Extended. Say hello to Go for the Throat :

One efficient removal spell

On the surface it’s another card in the line of Terror and Doom Blade, but the twist with Go for the Throat is very impacting. A black instant for 2 mana that can kill (virtually) any black creature? As I said, that changes some fundamental laws about Standard and Extended. Finally black based decks can actually kill a Grave Titan (seems like my prayers were heard) in Standard, which is a big deal. Also, Creeping Tar Pit’s dominating presence will be dampened a ton. It’s a bit sad in one way, since it will probably make Jace, the Mind Sculptor even more relevant in those control fights. Also interesting that Wurmcoil Engine might be getting more love as a finisher for control decks. I guess that card still is kinda poopy at fighting JtMS, though…

In Extended we have seen Faeries struggle with it’s removal suit. Grasp of Darkness used to be on paper the best one (since it kills the most relevant threats) but the double black in the casting cost made a lot of people shy away from the card or not be running as many as they would want to. Enter Go for the Throat. Problem solved. A funny thought is how Tempered Steel decks will profit when people shifts into playing Go for the Throat…

Moving on. The next card is the probably the most hyped one (at least when I’m writing this):

The last troll on the Mirrodin plane

The last troll, aye? Well, the name, flavor and the reference to our last visit to the Mirrodin plane is nothing but epic. And for gameplay? He is good, quite good in fact. But I’m not as sold as the majority of  the magic community it seems.

The upsides are pretty clear. Can’t be countered, can’t be the target of spells or abilities your opponent control, regenerate? Nice. Also has big enough butt to rumble with most guys without needing to be babysited with regenerate mana for every combat phase which was the case with Troll Ascetic. Another big plus since “last time” is that regenerate actually works against Wrath of God. And by Wrath of God I off course mean Day of Judgement. This has always been the backside of Troll Ascetic both time he has been legal in Standard, but “this time” around that is not an issue. And like Troll Ascetic, is there a better guy to stick an equipment to?

So with that said, Thrun sounds like an awesome guy. He probably is, but here why I’m reluctant to join on the hype train: Thrun doesn’t penetrate. I personally think the reason why green attack strategies in Standard doesn’t do too well right now is that they aren’t fast enough and they can’t beat the control or ramp decks late game. And Thrun doesn’t answer these problems. Look, take Grave Titan for example, which is probably the primear finisher for control decks in Standard. Does Thrun win a battle against Grave Titan? No way in hell. Thrun is both to slow and can’t get past the wall of zombies. Further on there are cards like Primeval Titan and Avenger of Zendikar which are very well played right now and just has this big stop sign o them. In Extended there are Bitterblossoms, Demigod of Revenge and even Knight of the Reliquary he poorly fights.

That’s why. Granted, he is probably better than I think he is and the reasons I point out is what keeping Thrun from be “broken” but we will see. A sidenote, I think Molten-tail Masticore was more exciting when I first saw that card and I still think it’s more exciting than Thrun. The masticore has legitimate reach versus any deck and when people will turn their Doom Blades and Grasp of Darkness into Go for the Throat? All I say here is stay tuned…

The next card, or series of cards really, is the Zeniths which are highlighted by the green one in the cycle, Green Sun’s Zenith:

Holy X-spell, Batman!

I think the whole cycle is pretty busted and I can almost guarantee that whole cycle will play in constructed (doubtful on the red one, but I can picture myself people playing that during the right circumstances). Like with the M11 Titans, the green ones is the one that clearly has the highest potential. Just imagine yourself adding 4 of those in a Standard Valakut deck for starters. Now you have a splitcard that either can find you ramp (in form of Overgrown Battlement) or your killcard (Primeval Titan). That is pretty sick for a deck that has so little in the ways of manipulating your draws. And from there it’s not too hard to think of immediate implications for Green Sun’s Zenith (elves anyone?)…

The black one is good but not that exciting. I mean it’s a black sweeper, isn’t exactly back breaking or anything. The blue ones doesn’t take much imagination to see the potential in. The white one has taken a lot of crap on various forums, but I think that card is quite potent. The fact that it’s instant speed sets up for some shenanigans. Slightly nerfed Decree of Justice anyone? What I really love with the both the blue and white Sun’s Zenith is that they are instant. Before Mirrodin Besieged there were very few instant speed threats that you would care about in control mirrors and even fewer that people actually played on a regular basis. Well, those days seems to be over. Should open up control fights more and make those match ups more exciting. The red Zenith is basically Disintegrate. A card of a type that has been very relevant in Standard before even if those types of cards hasn’t been recently. So I wouldn’t completely rule of Red Sun’s Zenith.

Mirrodin Besieged actually has a ton of exciting card, I don’t really have the time right now to talk about them all but there sure are some goodies (and the whole set hasn’t even been spoiled yet!). The crusaders, the new Tezzeret, Inkmoth Nexus, a bunch of artifacts with potential… For limited I think that Infect bleeding out into every color (I think?) is great. Hopefully you can basically draft any color in pack 1 and still build towards a Infect deck when the two packs of Scars of Mirrodin rolls around. Also, Living Armor is a sweet keyword. I mean, we played equipments before and now we get additional value? What’s not to love? Living Armor actually has enough value that I wouldn’t be surprised to see the mechanic in constructed even if I can’t pinpoint on a particular card right now (think about Stoneforge Mystic. That guy can now fetch a creature? Sick, much?).

All in all, Mirrodin Besieged looks like a sweet set and we can all sink our teeth into the set this weekend. Looking forward to that!

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