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Every War Boils Down To Money: Mirran or Phyrexian at the Prerelease?

Friday, January 28 – As much as The Ferrett hates Phyrexia, money will ultimately determine who wins between the factions. Make sure you know whether to side with the Mirrans or the Phyrexians for the Prerelease this weekend!

When it comes to the Mirran vs. Phyrexian war, I feel like my friend Jim, who yells at Stormtroopers.

Jim, you see, attends a lot of sci-fi conventions, where nerds dress up as every damn thing under the sun — but if there’s the
equivalent of a nerdy costume business attire, it’s the white plastic of the Stormtrooper. You can get a passable one for seventy bucks; you look
all badass, and you get to pose with all the other Stormtroopers.

The ubiquity of Stormtroopers incenses Jim, though. He screams at them in hallways. “You’re g****mned space Nazis!” he
shrieks. “You’re complicit in mass murder, you cretins! You think that’s cool, pretending to be some brainless fascist? Why
not dress up as Timothy McVeigh, or a bunch of terrorists piloting a plane into the g****mned World Trade Center? ”

You would think that this would get Jim’s a** kicked. Fortunately, no man who’s ever donned a Stormtrooper uniform has ever actually known
how to fight. So they slink away like a kid caught stealing a candy bar.

However, like Jim, I’m known for taking fictional bits too seriously. Because I’m actually getting pissy when people take the
Phyrexian side.

I know, I know — it’s just a card game. But too much of Magic seems saturated with the kind of eight-year-old power trips that make me
wrinkle my nose in the first place. “Huh huh, Beavis! Look at me, I’m summoning an Angel. A hot Angel. She’ll do whatever I want. And dude, look at her large… stats. Get it? Stats. Those are double-D stats, man!”

Geordie Tait already pointed out how overwhelmingly upper class Magic’s user base is, so when
I see people looking at the horrors of Phyrexia and going, “Whoa, I wants some more of that!” all I see are a bunch of nerdy kids
who’ve never had a real fight in their life, never been shot at, never lived in a war zone, going, “My life is so utterly devoid of any
real conflict that I get off on watching simulated death! It’s so cool when innocents suffer. For my next act, I’ll get some
popcorn and watch two pit bulls fight for my amusement.”

It’s a card game
, I tell myself. It doesn’t mean anything. But the hooligans who are shouting, “FUH-REX-YUN!” just because it’s fun to
see the bad guys win strike me as folks who’ve never had to deal with a real bad guy.

Not that I’m less guilty — I’m just guilty in the past. When I was a young, upper-class, white-bread kid, I had my subscription
to Fangoria, and I watched movies about serial killers because that kind of power was awesome, and I read every book about murderers and death-dealers
because hey, I had to do something between playing rounds of Nintendo and attending my very expensive private college.

Thing is, eventually, I watched a movie called Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer. And Henry kind of turned my life around on that, because Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer has one fine distinction that made me realize something about every other serial killer movie:

Henry is told from the perspective of the victims.

If you think about slasher flicks, whose viewpoint are you seeing things through? Well, you get the frontal shot of the hatchet going into the
chick’s head — so guess what? That means you’re wielding the knife. Horror films are supposed to be about horror, but so much of
what drives that quote-unquote “horror” is that adolescent power trip where here are these deeply flawed people you’re not supposed
to like a whole bunch, and someone comes along and slaughters all of them one by one until the pure one is left. And she gets away. But in the
meantime, there you are in the killer’s shoes, feeling that thrill of knowing they’re dying because secretly you wanted ‘em to.

That’s not every movie… But it’s most of the summer slasher-thrillers.

Henry is told from the perspective of the victims.

Henry is shot not from the perspective of power, but of the poor bastard who’s tied up, helpless, watching two thugs brutalize his wife and kid,
with no jump-cut to let you condense it, no fancy film work to let you pretend it’s art, just long shots of people slowly being turned to meat.
And it’s not fun. It’s traumatizing.

Kind of, you know, like it is in real life.

So ever since then, I’ve looked down a little on the people who treat trauma as a synonym for good times. I’m not opposed to murder and
killing as a method of driving stories — hell, check all the stories I’ve gotten published recently, and you’ll find a mass-murdering scientist, a self-murderous boyfriend, an abusive father who drives an alien to suicide,

a man who kills his son
, a man who kills his best friend, and a guy who kills the current hope of civilization. Lotta death, there.

Thing is, I don’t treat it lightly. Even a fictional character deserves to be more than a faceless— 

—well, a faceless Stormtrooper. Even a fictional land deserves to be more than just chewed up for our entertainment.

So you’re a Phyrexian fan? Fine. I said I look down on you a little—not a lot—in the sense that you might look down on the guy who
brings the Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker combo deck to the Commander table, or the griefer who always wants to play the Stasis deck. They’re not evil
people. In fact, they probably have other wonderful qualities. But somewhere within, they’re a little not cool inside, and while you might like to be more casual about such things, you can’t ignore it.

So. With all that, you can understand that I want Mirran to win. Yet I am going to play Phyrexian at the Prerelease.

Because hot damn, I want to open a Blightsteel Colossus.

Yes, it’s shallow; yes, it’s silly, but which side I’m on is largely going to be determined by the rares. And which sides have the
best rares?

Oh, you might have thought this article was just thinly disguised, pro-Mirran propaganda. But no! I’m here to help. I’m here to do
the financial analysis to help you determine what side you want to open if you want the good cards.

(Full disclosure: I’m not sure what’s in the Mirran/Phyrexian packs at this point, and it could well be that they have rares from all
factions. I find that unlikely, though —and if Lauren can confirm or deny, that’d be great.)

So you’ll get three “normal” packs and three “faction” packs. Which faction packs are likely to get you the good stuff?

So let’s look at the Mirran side, prices taken from StarCityGames.com at 7:00 pm on Wednesday night:

Blue Sun’s Zenith

2.99

R

Contested War Zone

1.99

R

Cryptoplasm

2.49

R

Darksteel Plate

2.49

R

Galvanoth

1.99

R

Hellkite Igniter

0.99

R

Hero of Bladehold

9.99

M

Hero of Oxid Ridge

7.99

M

Knowledge Pool

1.99

R

Mirran Crusader

3.99

R

Myr Turbine

0.99

R

Myr Welder

1.99

R

Red Sun’s Zenith

0.99

R

Sangromancer

1.49

R

Shimmer Myr

2.49

R

Slagstorm

1.99

R

Sword of Feast and Famine

12.49

M

Thopter Assembly

0.99

R

Thrun, the Last Troll

19.99

M

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1.99

R

Victory’s Herald

0.99

R

White Sun’s Zenith

1.99

R

$85.28

 

So what do we have here? Well, the big money-shot is Thrun, the Last Troll, or “I am the tip of a very long shaft we are trying to drive into
blue’s, er, Mirrodin’s Core.” Yes, everyone wants this reasonably priced control hoser that is utterly not at all completely
nerfed by the Wall of Tanglecord that’s already found its way into blue decks everywhere.

Fortunately, as a side bonus, assuming the distribution is the same as normal packs, you’ll have a one-in-eight chance of opening Thrun, the Last
Troll in every pack. Which means that with three packs to open, you will have a…

…I’m not good with math…

…a not good chance of opening one. Okay? Fine.

You’ll also have a chance of not getting Hero of Bladehold or Hero of Oxid Ridge, both of which are probably fine. If you’re not interested
in building an aggro Battle Cry deck, then these aren’t going to do you much good.

So basically, of this $85.28 total, almost 58% of the value of the Mirran faction cards is bound up in Mythics. Understandable. But it does mean that
if you open up rares, you’re more likely to get chaff like Myr Turbine or Hellkite Igniter—maybe good in Limited, but not anything
you’re gonna play with once the tourney’s over.

On the other hand, you could open Darksteel Plate, which I think is drastically underpriced at the moment. Indestructibility is so key in many casual
games that I think this sucker will prove useful…. But is it Constructed-worthy? Probably not, since five mana to affect your first guy and not
give a boost is probably substandard, but still.

Or you could open White Sun’s Zenith, which I have an unwarranted love for, because every time I cast it I’m going to look at all my 2/2
tokens, say, “Da bears” and repeat, until all my friends beat me with soap bar-filled socks.

Or you could open Contested War Zone. Which, you know, maybe it’ll find a home—lands are weird that way. I just hate this card. I
don’t like losing land to a stray attack with an evasion critter. Which, given my amazing track record, means it’ll probably turn
up in every aggro deck for all of Standard.

So what about Phyrexia?

Black Sun’s Zenith

3.99

R

Blightsteel Colossus

14.99

M

Bonehoard

1.25

R

Creeping Corrosion

0.99

R

Decimator Web

2.49

R

Distant Memories

0.99

R

Glissa, the Traitor

7.99

M

Inkmoth Nexus

11.99

R

Magnetic Mine

0.99

R

Massacre Wurm

9.99

M

Mirrorworks

1.49

R

Mitotic Manipulation

1.49

R

Phyrexian Crusader

4.99

R

Phyrexian Hydra

1.25

R

Phyrexian Rebirth

1.49

R

Phyrexian Revoker

3.99

R

Phyrexian Vatmother

1.99

R

Praetor’s Counsel

3.99

R

Psychosis Crawler

0.99

R

Spine of Ish Sah

0.99

R

Consecrated Sphinx

7.99

M

Green Sun’s Zenith

7.99

R

$94.30

 

As opposed to Mirran, only 42% of the total value of Phyrexia is bound up in Mythics. And they’re better Mythics. I mean, Massacre Wurm goes into
every casual black deck, and as much as you complain how Blightsteel Colossus is a hack design and shouldn’t have trample and is devoid of any
sort of skill or elegance, don’t you tell me you don’t want one.

Consecrated Sphinx, BTDub, is the kind of card that makes me hate Adam Styborski. It’s the kind of card I always wanted to preview when
I wrote for the Mothership, dammit.

But even striding outside the “probably not” land of the Mythic, you still have some awesome cards. Phyrexian Crusader is probably just
better than its Mirran counterpart. Praetor’s Counsel is incredibly expensive, but nice for Commander decks. Phyrexian Revoker is your obvious
Pithing Needle on legs. Inkmoth Nexus is a money card. Phyrexian Vatmother might pick up value if the poison deck gets enough strength here. And…

Wait. Green Sun’s Zenith is a Phyrexian card? What the hell is Phyrexian about it? It’s searching up a green creature from your
library and putting it into play—which is kind of what green’s always done since, I dunno, Natural Order or Tooth and Nail or a ton of
other cards like that. So what makes this all twisty and poison, aside from the fact that they just needed to balance the slots? I don’t get it.

In any case, the message is clear: assuming that the faction cards have faction rares, Phyrexia’s oil is black gold.

So come Sunday, all will be one. With my wallet.

Signing off,

The Ferrett

[email protected]

Ferretthimself
on Twitter

The Here Used To Edit This Site Here Guy

P.S. — What am I doing on Saturday if I’m not slinging cards? As it turns out, a friend of mine is beta-testing a whole-room videogame.
That takes six people to play. That you play against other people with whole-room videogames. I’ll letcha know how it goes.