I shall set down in a few lines how upright Maldoror was during his early years, when he lived happy. There: done.
-The Comte de Lautréamont, Les Chants de Maldoror
A sad day, my friend. At this very moment, while you’re reading these very words, you’re reading the first words from the last article of the Golden Age series. Even though this daily column has gotten about as old as a piece of poorly-fashioned smørrebrød that no one at school will touch because Little Rasmus Rasmussen from Viborg might have burped on it; even though my jokes have become as stretched as those small, dark, stretchy things that you find in roast chicken; even though etc…I’ll miss it. There are so many brilliant Mirage Block cards I’ve yet to namedrop. Like Polymorph (Check!) and Reparations (Ditto!).
Nonetheless, I’ve come to terms with this column’s fate, and unwilling to let a precious word (like this one) slip away without meaning, this last article is going to be in real laundry list style. We’ve already scoured Mirage’s Black more often than the U.S.A. has supported foreign dictators, so we’ll start with White… Now!
With nearly the same speed as we can review a block, White can cast its creatures. Benalish Knight was, alongside King Cheetah, the first creature card that could be cast at instant speed. These cards have inspired such champions as Masako the Humorless and Caller of the Claw. A love for speed isn’t the only thing that Mirage’s Whtie and Green share: They both come together to form Asmira, Holy Avenger, a Legend who is, at worst, better than Chimney Imp and who can really take over once the blood starts flowing. So long as blood is flowing, we might as well take a gander (No, no. She’s an Avatar, not a Goose.) at Ethereal Champion, an off-flavor but wickedly dangerous creature for Control. The White mana in Ethereal Champion’s casting cost would be troublesome if it weren’t for the presence of Celestial Dawn in the set. Another advantage to Celestial Dawn is that it can turn Green’s mana acceleration into White’s gain: Sacred Mesa doesn’t become all that impressive until you start making a few Pegasuses a turn.
Also in the category of “Flying Hairy Things” are Mirage’s Griffins, a tribe of flyers that would be great for a theme deck if they didn’t all cost four mana. Wait… All cost the same amount of mana? Why else was Aether Vial printed?
4 Aether Vial
4 Diving Griffin
26 Lots of Griffins
2 Zuberi, Golden Feather
4 Griffin Canyon
Now, Griffins are all well and good (Except for Melanie. I mean, just look at her website.), but if I’m going to spend four mana on a particular creature type, by God, I want it to be a special creature type. An Artifact Creature type. Tin-Wing Chimera, Lead-Belly Chimera, Iron-Heart Chimera, and Brass-Talon Chimera are more synergistic together than a Zigeunerschnitzel and German men in funny clothes. The trouble with playing Chimera or Griffins is that, triumph as you might over White Weenie decks, you’ll lose consistently to the likes of Polar Kraken. Unless you play Retribution of the Meek.
Next is Blue. Take, for example, Chronatog. There: done.
Red brings us Illicit Auction, among the worst creature-stealer in Magic from a power standpoint. When, however, it comes down to fun, Illicit Auction is sizzling, and in a multiplayer game, it’ll turn “politics” into just another synonym for “life total”. On the other hand, Goblin Swine-Rider is nearly always bad even if its Darrow and Rabarot art is precious.
Speaking of swine, Warthog represents the pinnacle of Swampwalk and permits us to gently shift into our final color, Green. If you like your Green as Green as my Uncle Toby Shandy likes his Green (“As Green as Scryb Sprites, my boy.”), then you’ll be disappointed with Mwonvuli Ooze, an updated and improved model of Primordial Ooze. A rather wiser 1-drop, Rogue Elephant is capable of beating up every other non-Wall 1-drop and still coming back for more. Even if you run Harvest Wurm though, Rogue Elephant will slow your mana development and make it difficult to get Crash of Rhinos on the board. The answer? Not Kodama’s Reach. Kodama’s Reach is for people who have no concept of fun. Lure of Prey is more my style. The only trouble at this point is drawing Crash of Rhinos (naturally, you play only a single copy). Naturally, you play four copies of Preferred Selection, an enchantment which provides something resembling Scry 2 every turn. If you’re unsure of what to Scry away with Preferred Selection, you could consider ditching the horrendous Wall, Mindbender Spores.
Not all Walls are equally bad though. One of the more complex Green cards from Mirage is Jungle Patrol. As a 3/2 attacker for four mana, these Soldiers won’t turn many heads, but in flavor with Mirage’s splendid flavor, they can build miniature Tinder Walls wherever they go. Jungle Patrol combined with Wall of Mulch is also about as good of card drawing as Green can hope for. If, however, you’re the kind of person who likes your peerie creatures all at once, Waiting in the Weeds is the card for you. This sorcery was the prototype for Beacon of Creature, and while the Beacon is usually better, it doesn’t have the same shine with Raksha, Golden Cub (not to be confused with Rashka the Slayer).
The final card of this column is more powerful and more played than many of the others we’ve looked at over the past fifteen articles, but that doesn’t stop it from being underappreciated. Stampeding Wildebeests, central to the controlling Stupid Green deck, has some new compliments to its traditional groupies. Besides Wall of Blossoms and Uktabi Orangutan (the original Viridian Shaman), Stampeding Wildebeests can now be used with Eternal Witness and Caller of the Claw.
And that’s it.