Random Card Thursday – 26/1/2012

Teetering Peaks
Land
Teetering Peaks enters the battlefield tapped.
When Teetering Peaks enters the battlefield, target creature gets +2/+0 until end of turn.
T: Add R to your mana pool.

I’ve got some good memories about this card. In Draft or Sealed I’d play it everytime whenever I was already playing red, and I would actually pick it up higher than most. Two free damage out of a land is nothing to sniff at. You could easily play this early targeting a one or two drop when the opponent was tapped out and defenseless (it was a very agressive format), or later in the game targeting your evasion creatures.

But when it was standard playable, it was really good: I’d play it in my monored builds and take advantage out of the powerboost with other cards like Spikeshot Elder (who could now shoot 3 damage for each 1RR you had lying around). one of my most common plays with it was turn one goblin guide, into turn two peaks + Double strike from Assault Strobe = 10 dmg with only 2 nonlands cards in 2 turns. it was really hard for most decks to recover from that. (Assault strobe would seem like a dead card in most decks, but I also played Kiln Fiend)

Another benefit of playing this card in that format is the presence of Primeval Titan. You see, at the time I also played 3 Mark of Mutiny main (and one in the side). If you took your opponents Titan, you could fetch up Peaks twice and have a 11/7 trampling through.  If you add Assault Strobe to that equasion you have 22 damage, a one shot kill.

I would have loved to play it a bit longer, but it’s simply not as great in modern or legacy, so I’ll just have to keep remembering it fondly and leave it at that.

MTGO Online Draft – 20/1/2012

I start my draft with Gavony Township as the only remotely playable Rare, and it’s been a while since I drafted GW tokens, so I’m not too dissatisfied.

My second pick though, is not at all as easy to make: I could either go for Avacyn’s Pilgrim or a Falkenrath Noble. The Pilgrim is a great oncolor card, but the land really doesn’t mean i’m pushed into GW and I could easily not even play it. The noble on the other hand leaves me with the possibility to move in on UB selfmill or other archtypes. Even BW tokens is still an option, splashing for the township.

The Third card to be picked up was Dead Weight, with the only other remotely playable card being Armored Skaab, Weight is better and oncolor with the noble. My weird pick order was rewarded with my 4th pick: Spider Spawning. Easily my favorite card in this format, and it works amazing with the noble and township. When my 5th pick is a Splinterfright, I’m almost certainly playing BG and hoping to pick up cards like Mulch, Prey Upon and other efficient green cards. And I end up getting exactly that in my next few picks: a Darkthicket Wolf, a mulch and 2 prey upon. my last few picks included a Travel Preparations and a Traveler’s Amulet which will help me splash my white cards.

The second pack was nothing to write home about, I picked up a Victim of Night, a second Prey Upon, 2 Hollowhenge Scavengers and 2 Hamlet Captains. I tabled a Boneyard Wurm as one of my last cards. At least I got some creature count out of this pack, but I wasn’t amazed with my deck so far.

The Third pack however left me with a really interesting pick: Mausoleum Guards, Mayor of Avabruck and Mikaeus. Mayor was debatably the best card and certainly my main color. It’s also great with prey upon when it transforms and once it starts pumping out Wolf tokens it’s really a force to be reckoned with. But Mikaeus was a Mythic, hadn’t had the chance to play with it yet and I loved the idea of the +1/+1 counters on my spiders. The fact that it’s also worth a couple of tickets factored in as well. I’d be splashing white either way, so no harm done. My next pick was an Unburial Rites. Not the best card for my deck so far, but getting back a 4/5 or a noble is at least annoying for the opponent.

I also pick up a couple of Festerhide Boars, a Woodland Sleuth, a Caravan Vigil and a Disciple of Griselbrand (which will help get me that morbid on my 6 cards, help trigger noble and also gain me some life to stay alive if necessary). A late Spidery Grasp is also welcome as I don’t have much removal yet and it could prove to be very good with my Mikaeus (getting surprise counters on everything) or provide additional P/T for Prey Upon.

When I layed out the deck, I still wanted to cut a card for my 16th land, but accidentally clicked submit, so this was what I registered:

 I was probably going to add a second plains: it would be safer so I don’t accidentally mill it away (or get milled) and I had 4 cards to use a white source on (but only one would be dead without: Mikaeus) – The others were Township, Travel Prep flashback and Unburial Rites flashback.

My Screencapturing program was blocked during the first round, so I don’t have any screenshot, but I made some interesting (perhaps bad) plays: casting a T2 boneyard wurm so I could cast a T3 1/1 splinterfright is not something to be proud of. I was milling away at myself with splinterfright for quite some time without milling a lot of creatures, but a hamlet captain combine with Travel Preparations on my two creatures provided quite some offensive pressure. I eventually got a township into play along with spider tokens, but I first had to make sure I didn’t kill myself through milling. I used unburial rites to get back disciple of Griselbrand and sacked my now 8/8 splinterfright to it with only 1 card left in my library. Next turn I activated the township and this allowed me to swing for the kill.

The next Game was surprisingly similar as I had Boneyard wurm again, but this time I had some early plays I could make: Amulet to get a Plains, and casting Mikaeus for one. I played a Mulch which milled a Splinterfright, an unburial rites and a falkenrath noble. Then a 2/2 wurm with the forest i got off of Mulch. Luckily I was planning on  using mikaeus during my opponents end step, because he played a Purify the Grave Exiling Noble. When he tried to flash it back targeting Splinterfright, I activated Mikaeus so my wurm would stay alive as a 0/0 with a +1/+1 counter on it.

After this, I kept activating Township to pump both Mikaeus and the boneyard Wurm. I refrained from attacking with mikaeus so I wouldn’t walk into any white removal or tricks.

I then cast a 4/5 to seal the deal. my creatures were just too big fro him to handle. when I played a Travel Preparations + flashback to add insult to injury, he conceded the game.

 

 

My next round seemed to look real good when I saw my opening hand: I would play Hamlet captain followed by a 2/2 mikaeus. I unfortunately didn’t draw a 3rd land so mikaeus got played as a 1/1. My opponent, meanwhile, played a Cloistered Youth. I when I drew another Hamlet captain and saw some additional lands, I was suddenly winning the race.

He used a Lantern Spirit to halt my offense though: he always kept U open to return it to hand. Then, when he Claustrophobia‘d my Mikaus, I was able to get out a trick: Spider Spawning it, making both My captains 4/4 in the offensive. His 3/3 fiend died, I dealt him 4 dmg and it transformed his vigilance guy into Thraben Militia.

He didn’t attack this next turn. So I turned My Captains sideways again, after having them prepared for travel. He was going to have to block both as each was a 5/5, but unfortunately for me, he had Midnight Haunting.

An even greater misfortune occured the next turn as he played his 6th land, Butcher’s Cleaver, equiped, and swung for lethal. Orchard spirit left me alive at 2, but his lifegain made it impossible for me to finish him.

 

 The next Game was also pretty frustrating. I was able to curve out and swing with each guy once, but he had 3 consecutive claustrophobia to deal with my creatures. I also had a spider spawning in hand and almost no creatures in the graveyard.

So you can Imagine I was really happy to draw the disciple in this situation: It helped me stay alive, provide my graveyard with fuel and noble kept draining him one life at a time. when I cast Spider spawning, I had enough creatures out to deal him the 6 dmg necessary to kill him with this combination.

My 3rd game did not warrant a screenshot: I had sideboarded Urgent exorcism and silverchase fox + a plains (for a mulch and a boneyard wurm). I then had to mulligan 3 times as I had 0 land in each hand and finally kept a land with all 3 colors and a disciple. I drew a hollowhenge scavenger and a spider spawning as my only other spells, but he had murder of crows, sturmgeist and lantern spirit to beat me with in the air.

1-1: 2 packs and a Mikaeus as my only spoils for this 4-3-2-2

But at least I’m glad no one was joining the 8-4′s. Now I can take comfort in my 2 boosters to help me start a new draft with.

Custom Card Design – Limbo Soul

Limbo Soul {2WB}
Creature – Spirit (R)
Flying
As long as you have less life than an opponent, ~ is an Angel and has lifelink.
As long as you have more life than an opponent, ~ is a Demon and has “Pay 4 life: ~ gets +1/+1 until end of turn”.
4/4

I like designing cards that represent a duality between right and wrong, Good Vs Evil. So don’t be surprised if you’ll see more cards like this in the future.

For this card I wanted to represent a strong Soul that had to choose between going to heaven or hell and taking up the role that goes with it (Angel/Demon). I played with various effects to switch between good and evil, but I also wanted to have the possibility to be both at the same time.

By using an opponents life total, he will never be an angel demon in a one vs one game, but depending on the situation, he can be both in multiplayer games.

As for constructed, I like how you can pump his power and thoughness in the same way that you could firebreathe with phyrexian mana on Moltensteel Dragon. But because you’ll be losing life, he suddenly becomes an angel and can restore some of it with his newly gained lifelink ability.

Custom Card Design – Verbal Abuse

Verbal Abuse {R}
Instant (C)
~ deals 1 damage to target creature. That creature loses all its abilties until end of turn.
“Words can hurt.”

This was a card developed for ‘Club Flamingo’,  A custom card Creation thread on MTGSalvation.com

It was a design starting from the challenge: ‘That’s not something a gentleman would do’. I brainstormed on different things a gentleman would try to avoid while most other participants went for the obvious fart or burp jokes.

After a while I decided upon developing a card that deals with nonphysical violence. Beating someone up is not the only way you could possibly hurt them, words can hurt too. If you get hit by this card, the idea is that you’re unable to speak back because you have no idea what just happened to you. Hence, you lose all your abilities.

It can always outright kill small creatures, but the possibility is there to take out big ones in combinations with combat damage by removing their evasion ability or other advantages they were counting on (Bushido, First Strike,  Indestructability, Persist etc)

This could fill a crucial role in my set: as a common you will always need to keep this in mind when playing the set in limited form, your creature might not be as safe as you expected it to be…

Random Card Thursday – 19/1/2012

Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon

Ah, we start off with a doozy. Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon is actually playable in almost any format. This creature really has all the right abilities: Flying to provide her with evasion (I didn’t check her lady parts but something tells me it’s a she), Infect to double her clock and keep opposing/bigger flyers from blocking her effectively, haste for those surprise beatdowns and regenerate so she can keep coming at you, turn after turn.

She’s currently still in standard and she’s seen play in Monoblack or BU infect decks that did pretty well competetively. What makes her especially dangerous at the moment is the presence of the equipment that makes her lethal in one shot: Lashwrithe. It’s a combination made in heaven: you play lashwrithe in one of your earlier turns (which immediately creates a 4/5 token thanks to living weapon), but on turn 6 you go for the kill: Play Skithiryx, Give her haste, Equip with lashwrithe by paying 4 life and swing for 10 poison. (provided you had 6 swamps)

Modern and Legacy decks prefer to play a faster kill when it comes to poison decks, so I haven’t really seen her in action there. But I also think the meta isn’t really prepared for poison there, so if a decent deckbuilder gets to work on a competetive 60, maybe she has a shot there as well.

As for Casual formats, I’ve seen many use her as a commander in their monoblack decks. She’s persistent and can defend herself and she can kill anyone in 3 hits (as opposed to the 21 dmg you have to deal otherwise). Add some powerboosting equipment to the mix and you’ve got yourself a cheap threat (for commander standards) that will catch anyone off guard with his/her pants down.