CHK It Out! Collaborate and Listen

Blue is back with a brand new invention! |*_*| No, I’m not starry-eyed because of Mike Flores’ boyish good looks; I’m genuinely impressed by the card.

Time to tie up a few loose ends:

What, me controversial? Wednesday’s article brought upon some criticism from some folks who thought I was being racist and exploiting certain negative Japanese stereotypes. Let me say first that the letter was real, though admittedly it’s obvious the writer was being facetious. That’s also always been my intention, but I’ll admit that there is a line (just not a necessarily clearly defined one), and I may have skirted it if not outright crossed it. It’s difficult for me to gauge because I’m offended by so little, but I’d prefer not to alienate my reader(s), so you’ll probably see less of this in the future. Either that or I’ll just try to offend every group equally. I mean, white people are so lame.

Or, as a wise man once said, "If you were offended, my sincerest apologies. If you weren’t, you’re an asshole."

Now that I’ve alienated everybody who comes here for the jokes, let’s check out today’s card!

Blue is back with a brand new invention! |*_*| No, I’m not starry-eyed because of Mike Flores‘ boyish good looks; I’m genuinely impressed by the card. (Speaking of boyish good looks, whatever happened to Jonathan Brandis of The Neverending Story II fame and that kid who played Jonathan on Who’s the Boss? I’d still like to smack those two.) Three simple lines of rules text + ninety three million miles of reminder text + six mana = not bad! What an elegant little card. Hard to believe they haven’t made it until now.

-3 hours later-

God, what was I thinking? I already smacked the guy who played Jonathan on Who’s the Boss.

I’ll begin with Limited, because it’s easier. The card’s rare, after all. You’ll hardly ever see it. Sigh. But when you do, it just might win you the game. Provided you don’t get killed before turn 6. Or while you’re stuck on five mana. Or when you have to mulligan thrice since this, a Swamp and a Forest are in your opening hand. Or if you don’t draw it.

The other times, it’s great! There are literally a jillion situations where Time Stop breaks the game wide open. If you’ve got a problem, yo, it’ll solve it. Imagine your opponent just attacked you with everything he’s got. You block with whatever creatures you have and leave a few unblocked. Your opponent plays Ninja Themed Combat Trick. Provided you play Time Stop before damage, it just became a Counterspell, a Time Walk and a Blinding Beam.

Two problems with this scenario: one is that most decent opponents will hesitate to commit to an Alpha Strike when you’ve got at least six mana open and a card you’ve been lovingly stroking and cooing at in your hand. The second is that having Time Stop in your hand, waiting for the perfect time to play it (and thus holding back on casting other useful goodies) is possibly what got you in the creature imbalance in the first place.

Because Limited is primarily about creatures and creature combat, Time Stop becomes less useful than it otherwise might be. For example, if your only concern in the current game is a particular bomb your opponent dropped game 1, then Time Stop is nothing more than a six-mana counterspell. Unless you’re going to win that next turn, you probably won’t want to use it as a straight-up Time Walk, as you still fear the bomb. And since most people wisely play sorceries, creatures, enchantments and artifacts after combat (with notable exceptions when they can influence that turn’s combat phase) you won’t want to "waste" it on any of the nifty combat stopping situations you otherwise could. While arguably the most powerful counterspell ever, in Time Stop is hindered by one of the cardinal rules of Limited: counterspells just ain’t all that good.

Constructed is an entirely different animal. Like a pot-bellied pig or something. Time Stop is the first legitimate Spike card previewed so far, though I concede (GG n00b) that even Timmies will like its mana cost and Johnnies will try to think of ways to get it to make French Toast. That is, unless it starts winding up in every Blue deck. It certainly has the potential.

Everything Mike said about the card is pretty much on the mark. (Except how it’s more of a Last Word than Last Word. It can be countered, people.) Control decks really want this brand of versatility and power. The only question is if a deck that can support it will exist once Champions rotates in. Chances are Kamigawa will be a much slower block than Mirrodin, as Onslaught was to Odyssey and (to a lesser extent) as Masques was to Urza. It seems largely based on a creature theme, for one thing. A legendary creature theme. An expensive legendary creature theme.

Nonetheless, every environment except Onslaught-Legions Constructed has a control deck, and those are by their very nature slow and reactive. Last Word will find a home in Standard, mark my words. No, seriously, bookmark this article and check up on it six months from now. Then track me down (I’ll probably be sleeping under a bridge somewhere) and tell me how wrong I was. Then toss me some spare change.

You call that Constructed strategy, Pugg? No, I call it phoning it in.

Briing briing! "Hello?" "You suck!" "Mom!"

And… scene.

Pugg Fuggly

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