The people have spoken — and a full 67.19% of you want me to continue finding the casual bargains through Kamigawa Block! I’m happy to do that, since this is a rather fun series to write; though it takes me a while to do the research and find all the cards (remember, I’m looking not only for solid casual cards, but cheap ones that haven’t been reprinted), I do enjoy stumbling upon forgotten treasures from older blocks.
I’m writing this the day after Christmas, in my Mom’s house, and so today will be a short one as I finish up the last of Invasion, Masques, and Urza’s Block.
Spectral Lynx ($1.00)
One of the things good multiplayer decks can’t get enough of are solid, low-mana cards — something you can cast on turn 2 or 3 that’s still going to be partially useful on turn 12 or 13.
The Lynx is good because it regenerates, and it has protection from one of the most common ground-pounding colors. Sure, you can’t block fliers — which is a lot to ask for a regenerating two-drop — but most of the things that will be attacking you on the ground are green, meaning you won’t have to waste black mana regenerating and being open to the next player’s attack phase.
The only problem is that it’s really only good in a deck that’s got access to early Black and White mana, making it less flexible than many. (And yeah, given that most of the great green creatures have trample, the protection’s note quite what it’s cracked up to be.) Still, if you’ve got a deck like that, get this.
The Spiritmonger is still one of the better multiplayer creatures of all time — no, it doesn’t trample, but it punishes opponents who block it with regenerators by getting larger, it regenerates itself, and it can change colors. (That comes in handy more often than you’d think these days, and it nicely circumvents any guys with protection from X.)
The best thing, however, is that you can get a nice and early start with this on turn 4 with a Birds of Paradise, making this a delightful addition to any B/G deck. The only real issue is the price — you’ll want four, making this a sixteen-buck investment. That’s not quite a bargain, but it’s not a rip-off either, because you will use these â€˜Mongers a lot.
Stroke of Genius ($4.00)
I mildly recommended Braingeyser; this is a far superior card-drawing spell because it’s an instant, allowing you to refill your hand at someone else’s end of turn. Yes, the extra mana can hurt when you’re squeezed for mana — but this is multiplayer, where the strategy is frequently to ramp up for the big end-game power plays. This often allows you to draw five cards in the late-game, completely repopulating your hand and allowing you to cast them in your main phase.
The additional cost, however, makes it a strictly late-game card — and worse, it’s a late-game card that merely draws threats, forcing you to either stuff your deck with high-end cards or risk drawing a ton of weenie, useless threats. That makes this a good four-of for controllish multiplayer decks that expect to get to the late game, and a solid onesies and twosies in Blue decks that hope to get to the late game.
Sylvan Messenger ($0.50)
One of the more underused cards in casual Elf decks, this card refills your hand with Elves — and while hand-refilling is good in most decks, in Elf decks (which tend to be very vulnerable to Wrath of God effects) it provides a critical resilience, allowing you to rebound out of someone’s Wrath with another two or three Elves in hand. Plus, the trample comes in handy when you have a Timberwatch Elf around.
If you have a non-combo Elf deck, the two bucks you spend to get a playset will be well worth it.
I like the simplicity of this: If you can target it with Terminate, it’s dead. Don’t ask any more questions. And at two mana, it’s the right cost for a combat trick, where you will often want to cast two or more in a single turn. Plus, you get to speak in your best Arnie impersonation, so what’s not to love?
…well, there is the fact that a lot of really solid creatures have protection from Red or Black, and either will cause this to fizzle – well, okay, technically you can’t even target ’em, leaving you helpless for the zillionth time against, yes, Akroma, Angel of Wrath. I don’t love that. Still, given that the â€˜nate will kill everything else, it’s a worthy investment for B/R decks.
When you can’t have four Tinkers in your Vintage-legal deck, it’s not quite as fun… Or as efficient. Still, even with a one-of (possibly fetched by Mystical Tutor), there’s still enjoyment to be had in a third-turn Signet-into-Darksteel Colossus, or even second-turn Sol Ring into Darksteel Colossus. Not the best investment, but still fun to throw in as a one-of.
I should also note that it is an uncommon card, so if you have a friend who drafted a lot of Urza he should have a ton of these hanging about. I have like seven. And as noted, that’s a lot when you can only have one per deck.
This is the best “steal a creature” enchantment, bar none. For one extra mana, you get the ability to untap your lands and defend your freshly-stolen dude with counterspells. There’s basically a brief interval when the spell lands and the “untap your lands” effect goes on the stack when you’re helpless, but after that you — as the Evil Blue Stealy Deck — have complete reign to counter any spell or effect that dares to take back your rightfully-thefted dude.
Every Blue stealy deck needs four of these. It’s an investment at fourteen dollars, sure, but one you won’t ever regret.
Tsabo’s Decree ($0.75)
For six mana, this reads, “Devastate target Sliver player the instant he taps out.” That’s a potent effect, even if it isn’t particularly great in multiplayer, since it only affects one player. Still, given that it is the absolute beating against any Tribal decks, it’s worth packing one or two of them in a Toolbox-style deck, since it’ll reduce them to nothing.
Urza’s Rage ($2.50)
Ah, how the mighty have fallen. I remember when this card was like twelve dollars; now, as time has passed, it’s down to two and a half. Yet it’s no worse — people have just forgotten!
Red players, I ask you: Ever had your kill spell stopped by a stupid Counterspell? You have? Well, Urza’s Rage can’t be countered.
Red players: Ever had your kill spell not be enough because you drew a Lightning Bolt in the late game and you needed to do seven? Well, go on long enough, and the Rage does ten — and it still can’t be countered
Red players: Ever had some dip standing behind a Circle of Protection: Red and felt frustrated because you were neutered? Well, when you pay the kicker, they can’t prevent the damage — and they can’t counter it! They’re taking it to the face unless they have a Misdirection (which I’ve waxed rhapsodic about in previous segments).
This is one of the best Red burn spells around — expensive with the kicker, yes, but when you need it it will come through for you. It’s $10, but it’s worth the price. Plus, it’ll be a nasty surprise to many players who’ve either forgotten or never knew the power of a kicked-up Rage.
Viashino Heretic ($0.50)
With Spectral Lynx, I talked about how good multiplayer decks need early drops that are useful in the late game. This is one of the best — with a three butt it can block Grizzly Bears all day long, and its effect is potent enough that you’ll always have a use for it if it untaps.
The ideal usage, of course, is to whap someone’s Darksteel Colossus or Stuffy Doll — you won’t blow it up, but they’ll take the damage to the face. But even without the fun of an indestructible paperweight, you can eradicate anyone’s artifact creatures, ping Signets and do damage, and basically make sure that the only artifacts that survive are ones you like. And you do damage while you’re at it.
This is one of my signature multiplayer cards because hardly anyone plays with it — but you should, especially for two bucks for a playset. (Combine with Anger for extra fun.)
Yavimaya Elder ($0.20)
At 1GG, it’s a tough sell in a non-green deck, but in a mainly-green deck the Elder can accomplish wonders — a three-drop that blocks and gets you two basic land cards is nice enough. A three-drop that can block, draw a card, and get two basic land cards is an extremely nice thing to have, particularly if your group’s taken to playing with Armageddon effects. It’s no Wall of Blossoms, but it can thin your deck quite nicely, and at twenty cents it’s cheap enough to purchase.
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