It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything, and I’m not sure quite how to explain it. Sometimes I have things that I want to say; I’m full of ideas about Magic and life and I’m eager to get them across somehow. At other times, I don’t. And when I don’t have anything to say, I don’t say anything.
I find that other people like to fill the void. If there is silence in the air, they like to talk. I can’t bring myself to do that. So that’s my story and I’m sorry that it has been so long since I’ve had anything to say.
I want to thank everyone who voted for me for the Invitational; I was absolutely stunned to receive a spot this year. I’ve had a bad year as far as Pro Tour performances go and I’ve had "writer’s block" – if you want to call it that – for much of the year as well, so I’m really touched to find that so many people out there remember me and want me to play in the Invitational.
So I’ll be heading off to Seattle for the Invitational in about a week – and not only do I need to figure out how to play Two-Headed Giant, but I need a card to submit. I want a red wizard, or possibly a green or black creature card, but I don’t really know where to go with it. I want a good beatdown card, and I’m running low on ideas. If you read this and you have any ideas about what card I should submit for the Invitational, please send me an email; I’ll read all the responses and hopefully something will stick out as a good card for me.
I recently attended the team Pro Tour in Boston, where Chris Pikula, Tony Tsai, and myself got beaten down by everyone and their mothers. Our first set of sealed decks were good; we had a good shot at going 2-0 with them… But as luck would have it, we ended up going only 1-1. Following that, each set of Sealed Decks was worse than the last and we failed to make Day 2.
On the plus side, however, I had the rest of the weekend to play in the Onslaught Prerelease events. I like the new set! I heard plenty of people bitching about it already: Luck this and luck that. Me? I thought it was just plain fun.
One of the reasons I enjoyed it so much is because red seems to be the best color. The environment seems short on removal and of the three colors with removal, red, black and white, red seems to have more than any other color. It has Shock, Solar Blast, Erratic Explosion, and Pinpoint Avalanche in the common spots, not to mention Lavamancer’s Skill. In addition to that, there is an uncommon spell, Slice and Dice, that does four damage to every creature… and it even cycles. If removal is what you need, red is your color.
Not only that, but the best common in the set for limited, Sparksmith, is red. He reminds me a bit of Fireslinger, except that he can’t be used to damage other players and that if you draw another goblin or two, Sparksmith gets way out of hand. This guy just dominates games. I didn’t realize quite how good he was until I saw him in action. He is a 1/1 for one red and one colorless, and he deals x damage to target creature and x damage to his controller where x is equal to the number of goblins in play – which means that if you start with a turn 2 Sparksmith and then follow it up with another goblin, then Sparksmith can shoot down morphed creatures all day. That can really slow up an opponent’s game plan.
On top of that, Red has the best combination of Morph creatures. Basically, there are three main types of Morph creatures: One type are specialized creatures like guys with Protection from Beasts (Riptide Biologist) or that can help produce mana (Birchlore Rangers). These creatures have a very Limited use, so the ability to cast them as a gray ogre makes them much more valuable.
The second type of Morph creature is a guy that punishes you for blocking them: These include first-strikers like Daru Lancer and just plain enormous creatures like Krosan Colossus.
The third type of Morph creature is a creature that punishes you for not blocking them; the two best examples of this type are the Skirk Commando, which can deal two damage to a creature if it is allowed to deal combat damage to a player, and the Haunted Cadaver, which can be sacrificed to force the opponent to discard three cards if left unblocked.
Red seems to be the only color that has both a common Morph creature that punishes a player for not blocking, Skirk Commando, and a common Morph creature that punishes a player for blocking, Battering Craghorn, a 3/1 first striker. What do you do if a red mage casts a Morph creature on the third turn – do you block with your Morph creature on the fourth turn or not? The difficulty in making a correct choice against a red mage says good thing about the power of red in Onslaught.
So this is what it takes to make me happy: Just give me an excuse to play with Mountains.
I look forward to hearing your ideas for an Invitational card and I hope to have something to say again soon,