SCG Daily – The Nine-Mana Men

Chris is steadily scaling the Mana Mountain, and the top is now in sight. However, before he reaches the summit tomorrow, he stops off at the Nine Mana Campsite. His Top 10 list will surely differ from yours… What would you pick?

Silly humans. We like our lists. I had originally written that Westernized people liked lists, but I did a little research (yes, we even do that for Magic articles) and found that humans have been making lists for thousands of years. Take, for example, the Ten Commandments. Heck, even God likes a Top Ten list. (He must also have a sense of humor because I was not struck by lightning when I finished typing that.) Nice round number, that ten is. Of course, we only think that way because we have a base ten counting system. If we had a base seven or base thirteen, we’d probably like top thirteen or top seven lists. We don’t, though. Chances are that we never will. So, we like The Top Ten list.

Regardless of the number, the best thing about a top X list is that it generates discussion. Mostly, that’s because of things like the words “best” and “top.” They are purely subjective words, and the lists, except in the most extreme cases, are also subjective. If the quality being “listed” can be easily quantified (e.g., The World’s Ten Tallest Trees), that’s one thing. When we’re dealing with opinions, though (e.g. Maxim‘s 100 Hottest Women), there’s always room for discussion. No one can be right or wrong. It’s just an opinion. You simply agree or disagree with it.

Having said that, these are my lists. Since it’s Thursday, we’re up to nine-mana creatures. I hope you appreciate the work on this one. The air’s getting thin up here. Do you know how hard it was to find ten good nine-mana creatures? I almost put Nullstone Gargoyle on the list. Seriously. That was before I decided to list all of the Bringers separately. (This is not meant as a slam to the Gargoyle. I’ve seen him in action in a Reanimation deck. It’s really very silly.)

Nine-Mana Critters – The Top Ten

10) Teeka’s Dragon – I’m a sucker for this card. So, it made the top ten. The guy who originally taught me the game loved Teeka’s Dragon. I’d never seen one, but he’d say things like, “Teeka’s Dragon would be great in this deck,” or, “I could really use Teeka’s Dragon right now.” I finally looked it up, and I was impressed, mostly by the fact that it has Rampage 4. By the time I got any, it had even rotated out of Extended. I have this killer deck, though…

9) Kuro, Pitlord – I spent many nights last Summer watching helplessly as my side of the board was decimated by this guy. He rarely got there by being cast. It didn’t matter. He’d hit the board. My guys would run away screaming. “Aieeee! Kuro!” I’d get beat mercilessly.

8) Blazing Archon – This lady hasn’t met her full potential yet. I’m thinking that’s because no one is really trying. She stops you from being attacked. Period. She doesn’t just stop creatures with power less than hers. She doesn’t just stop ground pounders. She stops anything from attacking you. What’s the problem? Well, she costs nine mana. Also, there are a couple of decks right now (Heartbeat, U/R Wildfire with Invoke the Firemind) that can win without attacking. So, maybe people are worried about hiding behind her. Hey, here’s an idea. Don’t use her as your only creature or your only defense. The fact remains that most decks are still trying to win by attacking. Stop the madness.

7) The Unspeakable – Even for nine mana, a 6/7 flying Trampler is great. That ability, though, is what makes this guy ridiculous. When he hits an opponent, he drags back an Arcane card. If he gets to swing, given that he’s a 6/7 flying Trampler – did I mention that yet? – he will probably be doing some damage. If only there were some good Arcane cards to bring back from your graveyard…

6) Bringer of the Red Dawn – The only reason that this isn’t higher is that sometimes its ability is irrelevant because there’s nothing for it to steal. On the one hand, if it can’t steal anything because your opponent has nothing on board, that’s A Good Thing. You can swing through. On the other hand, it sometimes means that what they have can’t be targeted, or has Protection from Red.

5) Reya Dawnbringer – This lovely lady was just nucking futs. Anything you get back with her is good, because it’s free. If it was something huge like a Dragon, or something with a st00pid comes-into-play ability like Flametongue Kavu, it was even st00pider. Having said that, I pulled a foil Reya in a draft once and lost horribly. Mostly it was because (1) I was thinking about the foil Reya I’d pulled and (2) I kept worrying about damaging the foil Reya I’d pulled. Distractions are bad, mmm-kay? Careful with that axe, Eugene.

4) Furnace Dragon – This guy may be Magic’s ultimate pinch-hitter. Or for those of you who don’t know baseball, the ultimate sixth-man, super-sub, nickel back. Whatever. He almost never started in the maindeck. Against Affinity decks, though, he’d come in from the side to devastate the playing field while flying over for the win.

3) Bringer of the Blue Dawn – What’s better than drawing one card per turn? Drawing two cards per turn. And what’s better than drawing two cards per turn? Drawing three cards per turn. (I think I’m at 800 words now, Craig.) Cards are options in this game. More cards mean more options. When you’re drawing three times the cards of your opponent, you’re probably going to win. Unless you’re playing against Owling Mine.

2) Bringer of the Black Dawn – What’s better than drawing three cards per turn? Drawing one card per turn. Huh? Well, if the one card is exactly what you need, it probably beats three random cards. Probably.

1) Bringer of the White Dawn – All by itself, the White Bringer’s ability isn’t all that great. The abilities on the Black and Blue Bringers are generally more powerful. The White Bringer, however, had a more powerful specific use: it could bring Mindslaver back from the ‘yard. White Bringer + Mindslaver = Game over, man.

Chris Romeo