Lorwyn: First Impressions!

Read The Ferrett every Monday... at StarCityGames.com!Lorwyn is here! Oh frabjous joy, Lorwyn is here! And like the rest of you, I shuttled down to my local Prerelease tourney location, just in time to catch the last flight of the day. And here’s what I learned about the cards of Lorwyn by watching and playing in a four-round flight!

Lorwyn is here! Oh frabjous joy, Lorwyn is here! And like the rest of you, I shuttled down to my local Prerelease tourney location, just in time to catch the last flight of the day. And here’s what I learned by watching and playing in a four-round flight!

First Impressions of Lorwyn:
Here’s the thing I like about Lorwyn; for a tribal set, it’s surprisingly tricky. You have Clash to clear away the chaff from the top of your deck, and you have the various tutors to fetch [tribal card X] and put it on top of your library. This is a very consistent Sealed set, if you build your deck right. In fact, there are more ways to get answers than, in some cases, there are answers.

Unfortunately, like Onslaught before it, Lorwyn seems at first testing to be bomb-heavy and answer-light. I’m going to have to play it some more to be sure, but if I’m not playing Black or Blue, I’m not sure what the heck to do when one of the Incarnations hits the table. Or, say, Chandra Nalar. It may well be that I’m overlooking some commonly-found card that will take care of this, but for now I’m marking it down as an official Concern.

Let’s take a look at the mechanics, though.

I’ll probably be in the minority here, but I love Clash… And not because of its kiddie-style mechanics, which are at best okay. (I kept sarcastically saying, “I cast Paperfin Rascal. Are you ready for the fun? Here comes the fun…”)

No, what I love about Clash is the way I can get junk off the top of my deck. Every Clash card reads, “Do something you wouldn’t mind doing anyway: Look at the top card of your deck and get rid of it if it’s not what you want.” Yes, there’s the tip-off since your opponent now knows its coming if you want to keep it, but that’s the price you pay for mini-tutoring in a world that lacks a Demonic Tutor.

Plus, you can Clash multiple times (assuming you have the mana) and keep the card on top until the last Clash. Hey, you like having that Hamletback Goliath on there? Cool! You win every Clash this turn.

Is it the most inspired mechanic? No. Frankly, I’m waiting until Wizards unleashes the “Warlord” mechanic, wherein if two cards with the same keyworded name are in play at the same time, each player then shouts “War!” and reveals the top three cards of his deck. The winner has the highest casting cost, unless they’re tied, in which case they do it again.

But I like it anyway.

Deck-Fetching in Lorwyn
The various tribal ways of fetching a card (with cards like Faerie Harbinger) make these really flexible ways of fetching answers (and possibly setting up winning Clashes at the same time). For example, at one point in a game, I had a Faerie Harbinger in hand, and had to decide whether I needed a) to steal my opponent’s Pestermite with Sower of Temptation, b) get a blocker for my opponent’s Pestermite with Sentinels of Glen Endra, or c) prevent any future trickery with Faerie Trickery.

I made the wrong decision, of course (and I’ll go into that more next week when I reveal my amazing “play on five hours of sleep after a long day” tournament plan). But the point is that that decision revolved around my play skill, and that play skill was at that moment inferior. That’s a good solid trade-off for a Tutor… And having multiple Tutors in Limited will make for a very interesting game. Lord knows what’ll happen in Draft.

(In particular, I like the early/late game plays that Treefolk Harbinger can bring in Sealed — land or beef? Well, I guess it’s not beef if it’s wood, but you know what I mean.)

Adding to the shades of this are the loveliness of the Changeling mechanic, which means that effectively you have now a tutor for both [original creature type] and Changelings. I suspect some players will be asleep at the switch and miss that you can get Changeling cards with these guys at first. And it will be even funnier when someone casts a gigantic Changeling creature and is then beaten to death by it thanks to a Goatnapper.

Come on. Goatnapper. That’s borderline Unglued, and I like it.

Changeling seems kind of lame at first glance, but methinks it’ll be one of the underrated mechanics. Not busted, but underrated.

Planeswalkers are supposed to be legendary wizards, shrouded in mystery… And by God, they sure were at the Prerelease, because nobody had seen one. Oh, everyone knew about that lucky girl who’d opened two Jace Belerens and a Chandra Nalaar, but I asked the same question of everyone at the Prerelease:

“You open a Planeswalker?”


“Play against anyone with one?”


“Well, let me know how they are if you see one.”

So I can’t tell you if they’re OMG AUTOPLAY THESE or merely good or another mechanic that Wizards is going to be embarrassed about in four years. Maybe you can tell me.

The Commands (Black and White)
All of them appeared to be doing very well for the players who had opened them, but the Black and White commands seemed to be riding the top of the heap. The Black one in particular reads, “Your opponent can’t block anything this turn and is down X life when your creatures connect with his face”…. Or at least it does if he’s not playing Black. And White? Well, Wrath of God’s always a nice play in Limited, especially in a creature-heavy block like this one, so a tunable Wrath is even better.

And now some first impressions of the cards I saw!

This is some spiffy equipment that can lead to some crazy plays. At one point I was stuck at four mana (but still winning, thanks to an early onslaught), and attacking through with a boosted Kithkin Daggerdare. My opponent was just beginning to stabilize, but fortunately I killed him before he could rally.

Why is this relevant? Because I had a plan if he had recovered; I held both an Eyeblight’s Ending and an Oakgnarl Warrior in my hand. If my opponent had tapped out to cast something threatening, I could have Ended my Kithkin and warped my Oakgnarl in at end of turn. That would have been pretty spicy, and I was tempted to do it just for Johnny-style kicks, but I played it safe.

Dolmen Gate
“That can’t be that good,” I said as I watched someone playing a casual game for fun. He had it out and was attacking with relentless glee.

“Why do you say that?”

“Because it’s only two mana. If that was as insane as it looked, Wizards wouldn’t have priced it at two colorless mana. There has to be some hidden trick to it.”

“If there is,” he shrugged, “I haven’t seen it.” And he was at 3-0 at the time we spoke, so one wonders where the catch is. Is it that it’s useless on defense? Fragile, making you prone to awful attacking losses when it gets popped in mid-combat? Or just not particularly good if your creatures can’t kill theirs?

I’m betting some combination of all of the above. But it sure looks good.

Final Revels
Also read: “Destroy target army of Goblins, Elves, or Faeries.” Sure, you can attack for the win with it, but it’s sorcery-speed and thus only good if your opponent can’t block. Destroying all of his x/2s?


Gaddock Teeg
My first-round opponent played this, and I trembled. “Holy crap!” I said. “It’s Gaddock Teeg! That’s a house in Constructed!”

Then I thought about my deck, which was all creatures and a couple of combat tricks. Then I thought about how many of my combat tricks were four mana or over, and I couldn’t think of any; my trick curve, as far as I could recall, topped out at three.

Then I killed him. The lesson? Not really all that great in Limited.

Gilt-Leaf Seer
Sure, it’s good with Clash. But it’s also a Green mana, which is a surprising weighty investment at times. It’s not bad, but it’s a little narrow.

Kithkin Daggerdare
I cannot believe how much this card sucks. I drew it in pretty much every game where I didn’t side it out, and I was always disappointed by it. The idea of making my attacking guys bigger lured me away from the fact that my opponent was just going to make different blocks, meaning this is only really worthwhile when your opponent’s a) on the ropes or b) can’t block anyway.

Plus, as a 1/1, he could do nada himself in combat except for dying. Horribly. I hate this guy.

A solid quasi-removal spell for Green. Also, the most awesome flavor text in the game!

Moonglove Extract
I’m not here to tell you that this is a good card. I’m just here to remind you that it exists. Yes, your opponent is playing Green/White, but he can still cack your utility guy. Eff Why Eye!

I was never unhappy to draw this guy. Okay, I was once, because I was at two mana and horribly mana-screwed after a mulligan to five, and I couldn’t cast him. But aside from that reasonably narrow incident, a Counsel of the Soratami isn’t bad, and a Counsel with a body for an extra price is very nice.

Good players tended to put Time Spiral’s “Suspend” cards in the mana slot of their suspend cost, not their full cost, slotting Corpulent Corpse into the one-mana instead of the six-mana slot. I suspect most players will wind up doing likewise with Evoke.

Neck Snap
You know what hates this? Treefolk. I kept attacking with huge men, and snap.

Plus, it’s wood. It’s a much larger snap. Sometimes, that whole “Vorthos imagination” thing works against you.

My second-round opponent had at least two of these. This made it very hard to win. Which is to say that it’s about as good as it looks, if not more so.

Seedguide Ash
Interestingly enough, he wound up bottoming out twice. He got killed four times in the course of my prerelease flight — and I was only running six Forests. Twice, I went to fetch the Forest and find that I could only get two of them because four were on the table.

Of course, I also had two games where I drew an uncanny draw of land — fourteen lands in one game (and it didn’t go that long), and sixteen lands in another. Under normal circumstances that would have been a beating…. But in the world of Lorwyn? It was a hard-fought loss and a hard-fought win, since I kept clearing away all of the excess with clash mechanics and tutoring for what I needed with the Harbingers. Which is a lesson in how skill and new card mechanics managed to blunt luck a little.

I would be an oaf of a writer if I told you that a removal spell was good in Limited. What I am here to tell you is that my second-round opponent did this:

No, I didn’t win that one. But it’s something to keep in mind for Draft if the cards pass in the right order, no?

Sower of Temptation
A very powerful card. Yes, you have the difficulty of keeping a 2/2 alive (I often did it with Wings of Velis Veil), so you can’t play it without a trick in hand unless you’re desperate…. But if you can keep it around, then you get to swipe some incredibly nice stuff. I horked an Elf token-maker from my first-round opponent, and I later saw someone stealing one of the Incarnations from his friend. Ugliness.

Plus, you know, you can fetch it with a Harvester. Whee!

Home On The Strange
Home on the Strange is my webcomic about a bunch of nerds living a nerdcore lifestyle… And last week, we discovered that Tanner, the psychodramatic strip-club bouncer, had arranged for Karla to lose at a Buffy trivia contest.

This wouldn’t be quite so dangerous, but it was a Buffy drinking contest.

Now Karla is unconscious, and we have questions. Why does Tanner want Karla out of the way? What is he up to? And there’s only one way to find out.

Signing off,
The Ferrett
[email protected]StarCityGames.com
The Here Edits This Here Site Here Guy