Charmed by his new baby daughter, Bennie manages to pull
himself away from the crib long enough to discuss the impact of the Dragon Charms.

Hello, everyone! It’s good to be back. I hope my absence hasn’t dropped me completely off the M:tG radar. I have a good excuse, really I do!

For those who might have missed the announcement that StarCity was gracious enough to post, my wife and I welcomed our baby girl Anna Marie into the world on December 30th. Holding this adorable tiny little girl in my arms for the first time, I was charmed. Baby girls work their magic on their daddies from day 1, and I guess my wife’s gonna have to work overtime to prevent me from spoiling the tyke. Being our first kid (not counting four cats), becoming parents has obviously thrown a big monkey wrench into our life’s routine order. I’m still trying to adjust to interrupted sleep and the frustration of trying to interpret baby-speak (does that”WHAAAA!!!” mean you’re hungry, have gas, or you want your goofball dad to give you over to mama?). I had a friend of mine ask me if I felt like a Dad, and I told him that I did – holding this little tiny life at four a.m. with a bottle in her mouth, I definitely feel like a Dad. Maybe Ferrett will let me join Team AWWAJALOOM – being a Dad ought to meet Qualification #4 (You must have a life outside of Magic). Is that the coolest team name ever, or what? I love to say it aloud. “AWWAJALOOM!” Go ahead, try it. It’s fun!

Needless to say, I haven’t had much time recently to play Magic (hey, isn’t that another qualification for joining Team AWWAJALOOM?), and my brain has been fuzzy from lack of sleep. Of course, this lack of sleep means that I really should start hitting the PTQ circuit; doesn’t EVERYONE who does well start off their report by saying”So I show up at the PTQ with two hours of sleep…” and they somehow win the darn thing?

The impending release of Planeshift and the inevitable spoilers that are cropping up have managed to punch through the fuzz to get my mind’s Magic cogs turning again. Spoilers are quite funny at this stage of the game, especially when there are conflicting versions of the same card. Take for instance these two, as shown on Mindripper and magicplayer.de –

Falling Timber – 3GG
Sacrifice a forest: Put two 1/1 green Squirrel Tokens into play.

Falling Timber 2G
Kicker – Sacrifice a land
Prevent all combat damage target creature would deal this turn. If you paid the kicker cost, prevent all combat damage another target creature would deal this turn.

Could these two cards be more different? As someone who loves green cards, the first version really gets my blood flowing. Boy, that really discourages someone from casting Armageddon, doesn’t it kids? However, the card definitely seems TOO good, so I’m betting the real card looks like the second version, which is definitely less inspiring. Not bad as a Limited card, but nowhere near as fun as a squirrel generator. Sigh.

Of course, this is an Invasion block expansion, so naturally I’m gonna jump right to the gold spells. Lo and behold, we’ve got Dragon Charms! What a great cycle of cards in the tradition of the Mirage block charms, giving you the choice of three effects. As someone who just loves utility cards, I’m already a fan. Assuming they are real, let’s look at them, shall we?

Crosis’s Charm – UBR
Choose one: return target permanent to owner’s hand; or destroy target nonblack creature, it can’t be regenerated; or destroy target artifact.

So we’ve got the choice of a Boomerang, a Dark Banishing, or a Shatter. Not bad, really. Even the Shatter effect is useful in this Chimeric Idol-infested environment. In constructed, it’s not likely to make much of an impact, as building a three-color deck that can consistently provide all three of these colors simultaneously is unlikely. Should see plenty of play in Limited, though, especially with a little help from Dream Thrush.

Darigaaz’s Charm – BRG
Choose one: Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand; or Darigaaz’s Charm deals 3 damage to target creature or player; or target creature gets +3/+3 until end of turn.

A Raise Dead, a Bolt, or a Giant Growth. These are all solid effects that might even make it in Constructed. The thing to remember is that flexibility is what makes this card shine. If you’ve got the mana, this card will ALWAYS be useful at any point in the game, regardless of the deck your opponent is playing. This charm also benefits from having green in the casting cost, and post-Invasion green is just chock full of mana fixers. This is probably my second favorite charm. Can you guess which one is my very most favorite?

Dromar’s Charm – WUB
Choose one: you gain 5 life; or counter target spell; or target creature gets -2/-2 until end of turn.

The counterspell effect is nice, but the other options are relatively weak; lifegain is generally not worth the card slot, and though giving a creature -2/-2 is technically removal, it’s too conditional to be Constructed-worthy. Dromar’s Charm suffers from the same problem that Crosis does as far as the lack of decks that could provide these three colors of mana simultaneously. Might be useful in Limited.

Rith’s Charm – RGW
Choose one: Destroy target nonbasic land; or put three 1/1 green Saproling creature tokens into play; or prevent all damage a source of your choice would deal this turn.

Those of you who guessed this would be my favorite charm were right on. Go, Saprolings! I’ve been a fan of the Saproling Revival we’ve seen since Masques’ Spontaneous Generation, Invasion’s Mutation spells, and the mighty Rith himself. The three effects are golden in the current environment; there are plenty of non-basic lands played, and I imagine Rith’s Charm will nuke its share of Rishadan Ports and Dust Bowls when it’s all said and done. The damage prevention effect is quite nice with this wording, since it doesn’t target the creature. So triple-block that Blastoderm to kill it, but save your blocking creatures from a similar fate. This is quite a nice combat trick in this creature-dominant environment. And if all else fails, you can always just create three 1/1 creatures at instant speed; that’s not too shabby, either! Ontop of all this good stuff, having green in the casting cost means mana fixers, and currently there’s several deck listings that use this color combination. I’d be very surprised if this didn’t see much constructed play.

Treva’s Charm – GWU
Choose one: Destroy target enchantment; or remove target attacking creature from the game; or draw a card, then discard a card.

So we’ve got Wane, an Exile (sort of), or a little card cycling effect. Though being able to blow up enchantments is a useful ability in the current type 2, there are just too many better choices out there right now, with Wax/Wane, Disenchant, Seal of Cleansing, and Dismantling Blow. The Exile effect isn’t bad since most all creatures right now turn sideways during attack phases. The cycling effect is downright horrible, though. You’re basically burning two cards to dig one card deeper into your library. Yuck. About the only thing going for Treva’s Charm is the green mana in the casting cost. But that’s just not enough, and I don’t see this being used in even Limited.

Anyway, that’s my take of the Dragon Charms. Hopefully they’re real cards because I think some of them will be quite good, and I look forward to trying them out in post-Planeshift decks.

Take care,

Daddy Ben
Pledging for Team AWWAJALOOM!