Insert Column Name Here – Morningtide: First Impressions!

Read The Ferrett every Monday... at StarCityGames.com!I missed out on the Morningtide Prerelease because, well, I had to go to a convention. At this convention, I got to talk to many beautiful women, many of whom gave me backrubs. So I refuse to feel bad about it. That said, I did get down to the release party this… And while I’m a little late to the party, here’s my initial take on Morningtide!

I missed out on the Morningtide Prerelease because, well, I had to go to a convention. At this convention, I got to talk to many beautiful women, many of whom gave me backrubs. So I refuse to feel bad about it.

Sorry, guys. I write for the site, but Magic < cute chicks. Just the way it is. (And yes, I am married, but that doesn't mean one cannot flirt.)

However, I did feel a curiosity about the new set, so when the Release Parties came out this weekend, I trudged on down to my local game shop. And it’s difficult to give a real take on what the cards are going to be like in Lorwyn/Morningtide Sealed/Draft, because the only game in town was triple-Morningtide draft with a side of rare-drafting. Which isn’t exactly conducive to making good decks. But lemme give you my first impressions, and I’ll share the actual details next week.

Kinship, the Mechanism
Like every other new mechanic that triggers off of things, it doesn’t fire as often as you’d like. There’s a reason they can put stupidly-good things like Pyroclastic Council and Leaf-Crowned Elder in there; even with a Draft deck where you’ve snapped up as many Changelings and on-class critters as you’d like, you still have seventeen to eighteen land.

Game after game I watched the whiff on Ink Dissolvers and Nightshade Schemers and Wolf-Skull Shamans. It was nice when it happened, but unless you were really lucky (either in the draft or in the game), you didn’t usually activate it two times out of three, rendering them nice but not game-breaking.

The Bannerets
How do you pronounce these, anyway? Is it “Banner-ET,” like you just et a possum y’all scraped up from th’ road, or is it “Banner-AY,” like some pretentious student coming out of his third-year French class?

In any case, these didn’t seem to be that popular in the Drafts, going extremely late, and I’m not sure how to value them yet. They were very nice in my Faerie Rogue decks, which were low on mana, and likewise with the Kithkin onslaught, but were they actually useful enough to warrant a slot? I dunno.

Burrenton Bombardiers
A really, really good card. It’s not only an aggressive flier, but its Reinforce ability is aggressively priced. I kept seeing these come around late, and maybe it’s because of all the loathing that Kithkin get in Morningtide. Maybe Kithkin still aren’t that good. But this is a stellar three-drop or a combat trick, and something to look for in Sealed.

Cenn’s Tactician
I faced this twice, and felt really stupid blowing a Violet Pall on a 1/1. But I had to, man, because it was making it really hard to block correctly. After a few turns of this, I was finding it very hard to keep up with his attackers.

Changeling Sentinel
Again, I don’t know if this new aggro-Kithkin deck is enough to make White something one aims for in Draft. I faced multiples of the Sentinel, and was never happy to see it… But then again, I never had problems killing it, either, since at a two toughness it wasn’t too hard to take out. The Sentinel was something that had to be handled, but wasn’t too difficult to handle, if that makes any sense. It probably fills a nice defensive spot, but it remains to be seen how this’ll do.

Distant Melody
There’s already been some debate over whether this is chaff in Draft or actually good. And it can be chaff, certainly; I played it in my deck just to see, and it was the worst topdeck when your board had been cleared and you needed a creature.

But in most cases, I’d blow a turn of tempo to get two or three cards. Was that worth it? Depends heavily on the deck, and my board position. I think this will turn out to be a slightly undervalued card in the end, but not so undervalued that people will want to snap it up right away.

Door of Destinies
Just stupidly powerful in Sealed, assuming you have any tribal affinities at all. Hard to deal with, too, since sometimes you don’t have artifact destruction. Do the little dance when you see it, folks, because it’s going to make every deck better.

Fire Juggler
I’ll talk more about it next week, but suffice it to say that a deck with seven Fire Jugglers and three Rage Forgers was near-impossible to win against. It’s extremely difficult to block this profitably when the Clash comes up, making it good on offense. But then again, perhaps I’m stinging from turn 3 Jugger, turn 4 Juggler, turn 5 Rage Forger, turn 6 Rage Forger, GG.

Kithkin Zephyrnaut
Again. If turning into a Serra Angel every other turn or so doesn’t make the Kithkin’s “I attack and attack and attack” strategy worthwhile, then apparently small White men just aren’t good enough. People were discussing how folks tended to undervalue this card until they faced it.

Lightning Crafter
I was playing Blue/Green when this hit, and there was nothing I could do. This card demolished me in two separate decks in two separate games, meaning that if you’re playing colors without any direct critter destruction and face this, you are in deep do-do. A reusable Lightning Bolt is huge, and and it’s not terribly hard to Champion it.

In other words, if it sticks early on and you still lose the game, I’d wager you probably did something wrong.

Lys Alana Bowmaster
I played multiple copies of her. I played against multiple copies of her, playing Faeries. Not once did I see her shoot down anyone down from the sky — either she was too late, or I/my opponent had the removal, or it had a 3/3. I’m not saying it can’t happen, but the stars just didn’t align this time around.

Moonglove Changeling
Hi. I can kill anything. And I fill a random slot in your deck and am only three mana. I don’t look that exciting, but you’ll probably be seeing a lot of me. Thanks!

Morsel Theft
Many of the players I was talking to seemed to think this was the most awesome common Prowl card in the set. But it can’t hit creatures, and I much preferred the hand-melty goodness of Noggin Whack, m’self. I mean, I don’t mind a six-point life swing, and maybe I just don’t understand the Rogue archetype, but surgically removing your opponent’s options is better than life. Right?

Mosquito Guard
He is a Mosquito Guard. And he does not fly. And he can not block fliers.

I think he’s not particularly good at his job, myself.

An utterly amazing blocker. He made the difference in any number of games, warding off attacks or slowing down future attacks long enough for me/my opponent to recover. The “putting a card on top of their library” is really a disincentive to go for the throat until you absolutely know it’s worth it.

Notorious Throng
I first-picked this in my good draft and never looked back. And by God, there were two games where it just flat-out won.

In one particularly stupid game, my opponent had ten power’s worth of creature on the table by turn 4. He attacked aggressively, getting me down to two life… And then, courtesy of an Oona’s Blackguard, a Violet Pall token (both with a +1/+1 counter thanks to my other Oona’s Blackguard, which had to chump block), and a 3/1 flier of some sort, I attacked the next turn for seven while he was tapped out and then placed seven 2/2 fliers into play.

He was so mad he left the game store. I can understand. That was a victory based off of a power card. (Though to be fair, I neglected to block in order to maximize the potential in case I ripped the sixth land to Prowl.)

Redeem the Lost
Some folks were calling it the “Best White common in the set.” I dunno; it’s certainly strong if you have something nice and pricey on top of your library, but the best? I have difficulty with that, especially since you can’t use it to fizzle an Earthbrawn or anything like that.

Release the Ants
I don’t care how good this card is. It is the best card name ever.

I had this in one deck, but never got the chance to play it. It seems like Some Kinda good in a Sealed Deck, which frequently comes down to who can outdraw the other; thinning four or five lands from your deck seems like a comparatively small price to pay for four mana.

The problem is that it doesn’t do anything else. But I know I’ll at least be trying it out.

Shard Volley
Again, the triple-Morningtide draft makes this kinda stupid. I was at thirteen life one game — and then, having been foolish enough to let through four power worth of attackers, a triple-Volley demolished me. The land hurts, but that didn’t matter.

Hi. You didn’t like the way Warren Pilferers would bring back cards that wrecked you? Well, here’s another one of them. And combine it with Revive the Fallen, and your life can become miserable.

I didn’t see it. But I still say it’s good.

Stinkdrinker Bandit
I played this in a Rogue deck, and it was key in any number of games. Basically, this reads, “If your opponent doesn’t have things to block fliers, he is utterly, utterly screwed.” And particularly if you can throw out flying tokens with things like Violet Pall, you can come back from almost nowhere.

Stonehewer Giant
It’s, um, good. But how many equipment are you going to fetch in this block? Particularly when you won’t know it’s in your deck until after Lorwyn’s passed? Fantastic in casual decks, but in Sealed? You’re gonna have to work at it. Still, a 4/4 Vigilant guy for five would probably make the cut anyway.

Thornbite Staff
Goblin Sharpshooter is one of my favorite cards of all time, and it’s nice to see it back… Well, except that it’s a lot more expensive. Two mana is a lot to ask for something like this. Which is not to say that a pinger is something you’d turn down, particularly with so many weenies running amuck, but I know Goblin Sharpshooter. Sir, you are no Goblin Sharpshooter.

Titan’s Revenge.
Oh, joy! Now I can die randomly to people’s lucky rare pulls. Oh, I missed this so much.

A Note From Our Non-Sponsor
As Evan Erwin has already noted, the new payout structure for the Pro Tour has been nerfed heavily, making it much much harder for people to accomplish the dream of playing Magic for a living.

Unfortunately, I have a riotous sore throat right now and it’s hard to think. So I’ll link to the Players’ Union site, which is attempting to address the issue, and next week I’ll write about why Pros are important, yet they need to adjust their strategy if they want to make this work.

Signing off,
The Ferrett
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