Hello again from the recently distraught Lawyer. Recently, I’ve suffered computer problems resulting in no access to the Internet since Tuesday and a complete erasure of my hard drive and an illness that put me in the hospital for a while. So, as you can imagine, I’m a little out of touch with the Magic world. But, here I am, still writing another intriguing article.
But, before I get to the good stuff, I have a few preliminary things I have to say. First of all, let me publicly retract this statement from my last article:
"I know that you can never really trust probability, but the chance of drawing a Dark Ritual before turn three are 1:6. Not great odds."
I have been told numerous times about my slip-up. I had overlooked the fact that FOUR Dark Rituals would most likely be in the deck, not one. I had simply forgotten to put that into my calculations. As has been pointed out to me in several responses, the chances of drawing a Dark Ritual in the first three turns is actually nearly 1:2 (if I can remember what I read in those mails while suffering from the beginnings of feverish shivers correctly). Nevertheless (and despite what I’ve been told), I stand by my opinion of Skittering Horror. When the Rath Cycle was legal, did you see it in many decks? No, because there were better things. That’s all I’m trying to say; there COULD be better cards than Skittering Horror, but, since there aren’t, it’ll do.
Also, for all the readers who have taken the time to write to me, let me say that your voices do not go unheard. As you have seen, I’ve had some relatively unpleasant experiences lately, and I haven’t had time to respond to all the mails individually yet. But, hopefully, within a couple of days, I will; be patient.
Now, on to the article. Again, try to keep in mind that these are my opinions only (and my opinions usually don’t count for a lot). What follows are cards that are commonly overlooked that might find themselves in some (not all) decks of the appropriate colors.
Good: Parallax Dementia
When I first saw this card, I thought "wow." This enchantment makes even the smallest creature a 3/3 (because the smallest creature is 0/1) monstrosity. This card should go great in Suicide Black decks, and I don’t know why it’s not used more often. Is it because it gives the creature a short life span? Well, if you MUST, you can put this sucker on Skittering Horror making him a 7/5! After his second attack, you’re free to guiltlessly cast another creature. And, if you REALLY want to throw things back in my face, you can even Unearth the guy to continue the beats. Personally, I believe that this card can be a lot better than Twisted Experiment on some creatures (Skittering Horror) where Twisting others (Skittering Skirge) is better. I’d probably run two of each to see how they work.
I used to run this card in my permission deck back in the day. However, "the day" was dominated by crazy decks that had you flat on your back before you could cast this. So, it came out. A while ago, when I was playing a green deck against some weird blue deck on Apprentice, I boldly cast Creeping Mold only to have it Quashed(!). Boy, was I surprised! That got me to thinking… what screws Bargain more than anything else? Having its Wills countered? Close, but Bargain can conceivably kill you by Feasting four times and going mono with the Skirge. Think about the look on your Bargain-playing opponent’s face when you QUASH his Soul Feast, rendering him helpless for the rest of the game. (Remember, like all Lobotomizers, Quash removes the countered Instant or Sorcery from the game.) This card could also be brutal against Replenish, and it even takes red’s Hammer of Bogardan out of play. I think that this card should see at least a couple sideboard slots in blue control decks.
Also on the list of overlooked counters is Daze. I’ve heard arguments both ways with this card, but ever since I first saw it, I knew I wanted it. Granted, its usefulness in the late game is pretty much nonexistent (unless your opponent completely taps out), but in the first turn or two, it can be pretty strong. Even in the following turns, this can be a surprise. Countering a first-turn Negator is some good, I’m telling you, and so is countering that Duress that might take more important counters from your hand. Returning an Island to your hand can slow you down a bit, but remember two things. First of all, this card CAN be paid for; for instance, if your opponent pays two on Turn Two to cast Grim Monolith, you can tap two and play Daze. One of my philosophies is to cast your threats in ascending order, and Daze is not a particularly threatening card. Thus, getting it off early is ideal. Secondly, Daze doesn’t have to be played on the first turn. Against a fairly speedy deck, on the third turn, you can cast Counterspell and Daze to dwindle your opponent’s threats. Hopefully, from there, you can get up to the ideal four mana base for countering. Finally, if you want to get maximum efficiency out of that Island you’re using, take a look at the next entry.
The card is phenomenal! It’s an end step dream! What’s better than being able to stack your deck? Being able to shuffle it if you don’t like what’s on top! This enchantment for only U is the best first turn play of any blue deck (except, perhaps, Fish). Once, when playing my Permission deck against another Permission deck, this card won me the game. I managed to get mine out first turn without it being countered. It was downhill for my opponent from there. This game lasted a long time (one, two hours?), but in the end, the most spectacular scene ever played with a blue deck erupted. Using Soothsaying to search through ungodly amounts of my library, I had my hand full of counters. After several calculations, I had so much mana and so much deck appropriation that I had the ability to cast Morphling and back him up with SEVEN counterspells. Casting five or six and using one or two Thwarts, I believe. It was a long haul, but my opponent (with only six counters in hand, I believe) was forced to lose the war with me still having a counter in hand for any opposing Morphlings. This card is SWEET!
Good: Skyshroud Ridgeback
Another riddle: What’s better than a 2/2 on the first turn? A 2/3 on the first turn! Granted, it only lasts for two attacks, but the extra toughness CAN make a difference. First of all, the Ridgeback can block or be blocked by Pouncing Jaguar or Wild Dogs and still survive. He’s also Cave-in/Shock-proof. Additionally, it hurts the black player more to Vendetta this creature than the Jaguar or the Dogs. Plus, playing this puppy (err, Ridgeback) on the first turn allows for second-turn Albino Troll unlike the echoing Pouncing Jaguar.
So, am I saying "Take out Pouncing Jaguar?" Not necessarily. Green can always use more weenies; the more, the merrier. With such an excellent creature like Skyshroud Ridgeback, green should be pretty merry indeed.
Well, that just about wraps up this week’s article. I know that my opinions are off the wall (as many people pointed out to me about Installation I), and perhaps I am the only one who thinks this. Can a minority of one be in the right? Of course not. A minority of one must be convinced that he is insane. Well, even if I am insane, I’ll still go on writing (and, if you’re this far down in my article, odds are that you’ll still go on reading!). Until next time!