Another day, another box of stolen pens. Unfortunately, Ken’s not answering questions anymore, but my inbox is always open for business! Today’s letter comes from Anohito Areka:
Hold Sea Brine is to good card. I am to having”AGES OF SWORD” for big long time. It have much power. Are you understanding? With Hold Sea Brine is for super”BROCK FIGHTER”, with fierce spirit! GREAT DESTINY for to play Hold Sea Brine with”Decree Of The Justice”. Miracle power, is it no? … <Let’s Magic Together>, but please not to play Sricing and Dicing from Onslaughts, its cycring bring ruin the miracle of Hold Sea Brine.
Kamigawa block is set ruling!
Thanks for your e-mail.
You seem to be a nice guy.
Do call me sometime.
Enough Japan bashing! It’s time for… more Japan bashing.
At least it’s not a seven-mana legend! Actually, I was pretty impressed when I first saw this. At only three times the cost of Righteousness, it’s got the capacity for twenty seven and three sixteenths times the card advantage! Oops, I forgot to carry the one.
To its credit, Hold the Line is very good at what it does. It’s got to be the most powerful card that depends on blocking! Too bad the competition is weaker than the U.S. men’s volleyball team. Alongi hit the nail on the head with this insight:”it requires a fairly specific action on the part of your opponent to work. (This may reduce its value in competitive, tournament play.)” For once he’s right. I mean, sure, all those Emperor draft players out there are going to love it – funny, I don’t know a single one – but this is not the tool White needs to deal with Affinity right now. Not that it’s being sold that way, but considering this card and yesterday’s new warty, portly keyword Bushido, Wizards is obviously trying to push blocking. We might as well start calling this the Block Block. (Rhymes with…) It’s strange how we’re living in the age of the creature deck but we’re blocking less and less.
Tell the truth, I can’t even think of a single successful ability or card that depends on blocking. Even when I was still building 150 card, 5-color decks with 25 lands I realized in short order how bad Righteousness was. I know that was another day and age – fine, last Saturday – but at least Righteousness only costs one-mana. Three is asking too much, even on such a potentially destructive card like Hold the Line.
But Limited? Sign me up! Okay, thanks. Here’s fourteen bucks. What was I talking about? Oh right, Hold the Line. I just don’t know; honestly, it’s very difficult to predict the draft environment based on what little we know about the set. And if you think the environment doesn’t matter, I usually draft on Tuesday and Friday mornings (MTGO nick: Pugg Fuggly). Stop by and say hello (and good luck)!
For example, back in triple Onslaught draft (or OOO, say it with me), Hold the Line would have made me crap my pants. With joy! That set was all about blocking, but even then you’d be hard pressed to have three-mana up on defense in those crucial early turns. Righteousness would actually have been much more desirable in most situations.
Mirrodin block suffers from a different problem in that little blocking actually occurs. This was far more pronounced in triple Mirrodin, when some winning draft decks packed as few as eleven creatures (and if you ask Turian, the same amount of land). In MD5, however, that number ranges anywhere from fourteen to sixteen, and two to four of those creatures are usually 1/1s like Myr or Sylvok Explorers, which aren’t even dead draws in the late game if you have useful equipment. I find myself chump blocking with them often enough, but somehow I rarely seem to cast pump spells on them like Predator’s Strike, Ferocious Charge or Baton of Courage on them, preferring to save those cards for offense (Test of Faith does seem to be an exception). Nevertheless, Hold Sea Brine would still have been good, just not necessarily a first pick. But we’re in Kamigawa now, baby! Wherever that is. And we’ll probably be brocking anything with a pulse. Why does this have to be rare, though? Why was Righteousness rare? Why are an overwhelming majority of preview cards rare? Could this card BE any more 9th Edition?
Anyway, join me tomorrow for yet another card preview review! It’ll be sure to have more content and less funny than ever before! Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue!
* Yes, I know this asterisk isn’t attached to anything. I wanted to mention that I just plumb forgot to say anything useful about Maro’s card yesterday. Oh, and this’ll be my last asterisk. These things are annoying. I hope I’m not forgetting anything else.