Ever ask yourself where the idea for the game of Magic first came from?
I know I have.
Fortunately, I think I’ve finally found the answer.
My best guess at the origin of Magic: The Gathering stems from the kitchen table game of Uno.
Think about it.
No really, think about it.
Back in Alpha we received Magic’s version of the Uno”Skip” card, Time Walk. If that’s not enough to prove my point, may I direct you to the Darksteel spoiler, specifically a little piece of Equipment called Skullclamp.
Draw Four Wild, Anyone?
That’s what you get when you combine the Clamp with Raise the Alarm.
Personally, I can’t understand why the card was even printed. Equipment is supposed to enhance a creature so that he’s better fit to do battle. It’s not supposed to allow you to draw thirty cards in five turns. The only purpose the card actually serves is creating trouble in every format it is allowed in. Yes, that also means it is likely to have a huge impact on Constructed.
I can hear it now, deckbuilders everywhere scurrying to their secret labs to get to work on a Skullclamp combo deck.
Honestly, I thought we’d seen the end of broken Mirrodin Limited uncommons with Loxodon Warhammer, Grab the Reins, and Crystal Shard.
Skullclamp is likely as big a mistake as Wild Mongrel, even if it isn’t as obvious at first.
This week at CMU I was lucky enough to get shipped two copies of the degenerate piece of cardboard, right into my near mono-White deck. I didn’t come close to losing a game, and especially not those games where I dropped the Clamp. One game I drew sixteen additional cards by turn 6 off of my Raise the Alarms and 1/1 dorks.
Even when the Clamp doesn’t kill your guys immediately, it turns them into super Aven Fishers that are essentially unblockable if your opponent wants to have any hope of winning. Clearly it’s at its best when it is just eating up 1/1 dorks though.
Got extra Myr laying around? Turn ’em into an Inspiration.
None of this even takes into account the fact that the Equipment will pump some of your guys and help out creatures like Skyhunter Cub. If that’s even relevant.
Not only is this the best card in Darksteel by a significant margin, it is also likely to be the best card in the entire block.
Now that I’ve finished my rant for the day, I’d like to ask that all of my readers pick the Clamp when they open it, instead of shipping it to me sixth pick like Betrayal of Flesh.
Always remember to Draw Four Wild.
What’s With Darksteel Anyway?
As a set, I have to say I’m a little less than impressed with Darksteel as a whole. I mean, not only did they print the broken Skullclamp, but they also decided to bring back a card that was never good for any Limited format, Fireball. Fireball just ruins games when you rip it off the top in a standstill and blast your opponent in the face.
The set does have a lot of good qualities in terms of Limited though, and we’ll start dipping into those now on a card by card basis.
This guy is so underrated it’s not even funny. I’m gonna go ahead and let the cat out of the bag though, because he’s too powerful to be passing up on a regular basis (though he is uncommon). Not only does he protect your artifacts from Shatters and all of the other artifact removal running around, he also allows you to Shatter your opponents colored creatures.
I had him in combination with Molder Slug this past Tuesday and it was silly to say the least. He allows the Slug to kill something like a Tel-Jilad Exile in that case.
All of the Echoing cards are maindeck worthy except for the White one. Not only are they maindeck worthy, but they are also really good. Combine Echoing Courage with five One Dozen Eyes insects and you’ve got a ready-made Overrun.
Spire Golem. Wow.
All of the Golems are rather good actually, but I specifically like the Red, Blue, and White ones. Razor Golem is exactly what most White decks need, an excellent ground creature that can also play defense and is very cost efficient.
Dr. Martel was saying on Tuesday that the Black Golem will gain a lot more respect as the block goes on, simply because you can drop a number of them rather quickly and some of the archetypes that are around (specifically Green based) have a hard time dealing with them. I guess time will tell if he’s right.
While this card has some excellent Constructed uses and basically screams combo, I’m pretty sure it won’t be of impact in Limited. I’ve been asked via email if I feel it is even playable in a forty card environment, and I’m going to venture a guess at No.
If you even end up using the effect, you’re removing a lot of valuable resources from your deck and you could even end up decking yourself. Prime example of this is when you draw a couple of your more powerful spells and 1 or 0 lands. Clearly since you included the Powder in your deck, you’re going to want to use it here and mulligan, but is it even the right play? I’d be more than a little worried about removing my bombs from my deck in exchange for one more card on my redraw. The times it is going to be good are outweighed heavily by the fact that you don’t have access to four copies of all of your spells like you do in Constructed.
Talon of Pain
While I haven’t had a chance to see this one in action yet, my instincts tell me that it’s quite ridiculous. With even the smallest evasion creature, like a Neurok Spy, this thing becomes a very quick clock. In situations where you’re just ramming your whole team into your opponent in the hopes that you’ll have enough damage to finish him before you lose enough men for him to stabilize, this card is ideal. There’s no way he’ll be able to stabilize with every point of damage being essentially doubled.
While it is somewhat slow to get on the board, the fact that you can just fire off all of the counters at once is very appealing to a deck that likes to tap out every turn until it is out of gas, and then can simply flame the opponent for a bunch more. This one is a high pick.
This is the perfect slowroll card, especially against someone running an Affinity deck or even one with just a couple Artifact lands. If the game stalls at all, you should just hold onto this guy until your unfortunate opponent drops out his Great Furnace. Then you just drop our little Falter man here and break a game because of it.
An interesting thing here is that an opponent with only a few Artifact lands is likely to sideboard them out once they’ve seen the Walker in your deck. If you can be sure to any degree that this is going to happen, you should respond by siding out Tanglewalker (if you have anything worthwhile to bring in, of course), and you effectively gain an advantage since your opponent clearly had some reason to be running those lands in the first place.
More often than not though, people will keep their lands in and you should probably just run this guy out there whenever you get a chance instead of holding him back in hopes of an ambush. The times it does come up, he will be worth his weight in gold simply because he functions as a Demoralize effect sometimes, and every other time he is still a 2/2 that isn’t a dead draw.
Am I missing something? Did Wizards just forget a few lines of text on this guy or what?
Protection from artifacts.
Protection from artifacts.
Two mana for one power. What a friggin’ bargain.
At least give him trample or something.
Somehow, despite all of that, he’s still playable. It is a sad time indeed for common creatures.
Nate Heiss new flagship card.
While I can see some possible implications where it would be good, I still find myself confused as to how the two abilities are related in any way. It seems like it would be really good in multiples though, kind of like a poor man’s Sun Droplet.
Okay, if you haven’t figured it out yet, this one is quite saucy.
With all of the Artifacts in the block, this guy serves as a mini-Mishra’s Workshop, and really does doubletime on activated abilities. It’s the kind of thing that makes me feel all warm inside when I know I can cast a Myr Enforcer quite easily on turn 3.
The thing that really gets me here though is the fact that you can activate all of your offcolor Replicas and Golems from Mirrodin. Offcolor Goblin Replica is no-longer relegated to Morph duty, as you can simply fire him off without running any Mountains. Quite enticing.
They finally got it right. This card is costed perfectly for the effect, and is the ideal Equipment of its kind. Leonin Scimitar was always a bit too small and the Battlegear a bit too clunky, but the Morningstar turns anything into a pressing threat (even Myr), and does so at a reasonable price. Another very high pick.
Well of Lost Dreams
While this is more of a Constructed concept, this card combos incredibly well with Sun Droplet. I’d play this in any Limited deck that had access to a good amount of lifegain, and it is the nut high in any deck with multiple Droplets.
Not totally sold here yet, as I prefer Neurok Hoversails in my Green decks in order to be able to stop incoming fliers. I’ve sided this card in before though (in the Green on Green matchup), and it’s only really good in a long game since the cost and activation are both sort of cumbersome.
I haven’t really hit on the Arcbound creatures yet, simply because I haven’t had the chance to play any of them yet. While I’ve seen them put to good use by other people, I’m still not convinced that I like them, while I do know for sure that if you play them you want to be playing as many as possible to power each other up. They also like the presence of Power Conduit, so if you’re planning to draft some, you should try to pick one of those up before you hit the Darksteel booster.
In the coming weeks I’ll hopefully be able to figure out what major changes Darksteel has brought to the format and bring those to you in an article. The set is still far too young to make any sort of analysis, especially since it contains a high number of quirky cards that need to be tested out on their own before any assumptions about archetypes and overall format can really be drawn.
Until then, I’ll be waiting for Fifth Dawn, where Wizards will hopefully unveil their version of the Uno card”Reverse.”
I can’t wait.
ThatsGameBoys and Soooooo on MODO