Saturday, June 18, 2016

What Could Have Been, vol 5: Spitting Image

I'm a fan of the Simic.
They understand a very simple philosophy; life is better with more toad.
Any opportunity to make a card more simicy is an opportunity worth taking.

To that end, Spitting Image is a perfect candidate.

It's the right colors, and the Simic are totally into cloning things.

So let's see what this might look like:

Colors: Green and blue

Location: A Simic laboratory.

Action: Show a simic biomancer in the middle of splitting a clone off itself. Identical in every way. Perhaps it is the mage from Biovisionary realizing his ambition.

Focus: The wizard splitting into two versions of itself.

Mood: "I'd like a second opinion."

I would love to see an updated Spitting Image with a simic flavor. How about you?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What could have been, vol 4; Accursed Centaur

Whenever Magic goes to a world that has weird, but not necessarily unique, creature types; I get excited. It's a perfect opportunity to bring back or reference others of that type from yesteryear.

So was Theros with centaurs. Centaurs have been present on a number of world before Theros, and will surely show up on worlds to come. But given their Greek origins, Theros seemed like a perfect fit to do whatever they wanted to do with the Centaur creature type.

Even kill them.

So I ask you today, if they brought back Accursed Centaur, last seen in Onslaught, and put it in Theros; what might it have looked like?

Color: Black

Location: a swampy grassland on Theros

Action: Show a Returned Centaur, a zombie centaur that has escaped from the underworld. It wears a golden funeral mask over its face. It is wandering through a marshy grassland. In its hand we can see the maimed carcas of some poor human soldier. This centaur was a warrior in life, and in death it can only go through the motions of what it knew in life; killing.

Focus: The centaur, a fallen warrior.

Mood: Forlorn. This creature kills what it encounters for reasons it can no longer remember.

Well that's what I think anyway. How do you like it?

Monday, April 25, 2016

What Could Have Been, vol 3: Deathgreeter

What if they printed Deathgreeter in Battle for Zendikar block?

I think it works well; after the Eldrazi Titans awoke, some of Zendikar's more spiritual population resorted to worshipping them as gods.

The original deathgreeter's flavor text speaks to how the people of Jund give death and the trophies of the dead a religious significance. This works well with a Zendikar transplant, since some of the faithful of Zendikar have given into appeasing the Eldrazi since they believe them to be gods.

What would a person, given to feeding the Eldrazi as a religious call look like?
Something like this maybe:

Color: Black

Location: A cliffside on Zendikar

Action: Show a human shaman of Zendikar, on his knees looking skyward. He is in awe of an Eldrazi before him, which is casting a noticeable shadows across the scene but is otherwise not seen. This creature is frightening and the source of his faith now.

Focus: the shaman dwelling in the shadow of an Eldrazi.

Mood: Nothing else matters, but appealing the Eldrazi gods.

What do you think? Were else would a Deathgreeter make sense?



Saturday, April 23, 2016

What Could Have Been, Volume 2: Battle Squadron

Been entirely too long, so let's get into it.

I love the card Battle Squadron. It's fantastic.
Look at that thing. Look at all those goblins, some of them are falling off the dang thing.

Know what else has lots of Goblins flying through the air with wacky flying things?
Imagine a whole fleet of those?

That gives me an idea...

Color: Red

Location: the skies above the streets of Ravnica.

Action: Show a fleet of Izeet goblins, equipped with a variety of strange flying devices. Hoverboots, jet packs, hoverboards, gyrocopter, and things too bizarre to describe. They are all clearly of Izzet design, lots of brass and electrodes. They are swarming, so many in number they could block out the sky. Show the view from the street level to give a sense of scale.

Focus: The incredibly weird fleet of goblin flying machines.

Mood: Wacky, but still a threat.

Is there anywhere else you think Battle Squadron would fit in?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What Could Have Been, vol 1: Worship

Hey folks.
This is the first in what I hope to be a recurring feature. I'm going to take an interesting card and re-purpose it into a setting different than its original one. The idea being that Magic's design and flavor allows for enough flexibility that there are cards that can easily be flavor-transplanted into a different setting.

My first subject; Worship.

Worship is a pretty distinctive card in effect and appearance. The possibility of being unkillable if you play your cards right (ha!) is a tempting one, and the viseage of the remarkable Planeswalker Serra has been present since the card's original printing in Urza's Saga. It's even seen some competitive play, having been a powerful build around effect in standard and extended and being the backbone of a fringe Modern deck.

In my mind, this card would have been a juicy reprint for Theros. It's an enchantment about the power of faith; that describes Theros to a T.

Let's imagine for a moment, what Worship would have looked like in Theros block. What would the art description have been like? Something like this I imagine.

Color: White

Location: A temple dedicated to Heliod, the Sun God of Theros

Action: Show the faithful gathered at the foot of a statue of Heliod. They are praying in reverence of him. The statue is glimmering and looks as though it could come to life at any moment.

Focus: The statue of the Sun God.

Mood: Powerful, impressive, imposing.

Are there any cards of old that weren't in Theros that you think should have been?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mayael's Army; Journey into Nyx

As done last time, I am reviewing a set that has been out for a while to examine how well its fatties compliment my commander of choice; the stunning and talented Mayael of the Anima.

She's so wonderful...


Gluttonous Cyclops + Swarmborn Giant

Meh. There are much more powerful six drops than Gluttonous Cyclops, and Swarmborn Giant's drawback seems way too steep in a multiplayer format.

Goldenhide Ox + Humbler of Mortals

I really like the effects these guys offer, but they both have a particular drawback in both needing a lot of enchantments to be more than one shot effects. There are certainly worse drawbacks to have as there are any number of really good enchantments that I'd happily play in a Mayael deck (Guild Feud, Mayael's Aria, Greater Good, Mirari's Wake, etc) and there's a lot of beefy enchantment creatures from throughout the Theros block that pull double duty of being enchantments for Constellation triggers AND beef for Mayael to hit.
So to play with either of these isn't particularly hard, but will require building with them in mind, which as I have mentioned with other subthemes in other articles, is entirely possible. Also, if we look at Humbler of Mortals in a deck built to take advantage of it, it allows for a redundancy of "your dudes have trample" effects that are attached to creatures alongside of things like Nylea, Roughshod Mentor and Mosstodon; and in a singleton format, redundancy is king.

Quarry Colossus + Spawn of Thraxes

Like the above, these are really interesting creatures that need to be built around to take advantage of them. Unlike the above, I'm not sure it's worth it. In a three color deck, the ability for either of the these creatures to have their effects scale very highly, even in longer games in this format, aren't great. And to build a three-color deck to take the most out of these effects, you're going to have to downplay the other land types, and therefor your ability to reliably use three colors worth of effects. These creatures just aren't good enough to make the cut in a three-color deck.

Cyclops of Eternal Fury

Now this one I'm not quite sure about. Everything having haste is amazing, even more so when it's also a creature so it be a threat and utility. But then you see it has three toughness. Three toughness in the format of mega fatties bigger than all creation. I'd really say that running this guy is a meta call. I'd rather not be playing this if the threat of it dying in combat is such that you always have it on defense, but your meta might be different than mine. The power is there, especially because your creatures are so much cooler than most anyone else's, but it's not for everyone.

Hydra Broodmaster

Golly. This thing is hecka scary. I love going tall, but when Mayael is able to go wide as well, that's a rare treat. The amount of board presence this creature can make by itself, especially in a dedicated ramp deck (disclaimer: You should absolutely be running Boundless Realms in any green deck) is absurd. Very interesting card with very scary potential. And there's a sweet promo version you can get, so you should totally be aware of this.

Bearer of Heavens

Hnnnnn.... I really want to live the dream with this guy, but I'm not sure Mayael is the way to do it. At least not my Mayael. The best way to make this asymetrical is with Avacyn, but with her this guy is so much harder to kill. But then by having Avacyn out, you need some way of sacrificing this because it will never die from a board wipe or combat. But then you're building in all of these effects to take advantage of a combo.
By all means, combos are ubiquitous in EDH, and green has lots of creature tutoring to make the pieces easier to find, but it's not my particular playstyle. If you are interested however, I might want to invest in a few creatures that can survive the heavens falling in case your combo falls apart mid-sequence. Things like Phytotitan, Vorapede, Twilight Shepherd, Mossbridge Troll, or hiding your things under your own Angel of Serenity. And there are useful spells that can break the symmetry like Boros Charm and Wrap in Vigor that you might like to be aware of.
Happy board wiping!


Praise be the Gods! I feel like this is fulfilling a similar role as Nylea in being a sometimes creature that makes blocking a pain in the butt. But where trample is better against lots of little blockers, Iroas is better against fewer big blockers. Being indestructible and also a 7 power creature at 4 mana is also insane, so i could easily see Iroas slotting up into most any Mayael build.

What has Journey into Nyx done for your Mayael deck?