So Many Insane Plays – A Two-For-One Eventide Set Review

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Monday, July 14th – With the prerelease behind us, it’s time to rattle through the completed card list and pick out those card that inspire innovation. Today’s So Many Insane Plays sees Vintage World Champion Stephen Menendian examine Eventide for standout options in both Vintage and the more casual Type 4…

Vintage Review

In my Shadowmoor set review, I listed what I felt were the top five playables for Vintage. Here they were:

1) Faerie Macabre
2) Cursecatcher
3) Vexing Shusher
4) Guttural Response
5) Oona, Queen of the Fae

It turns out that my powers of prognostication are again imperfect. As with Morningtide’s Reveillark, I missed the most important playable from Shadowmoor: Painter’s Servant. I missed it for the same reason, I did not consider a critical combo interaction. If you don’t know by now, Painter’s Servant interacts with Grindstone for a cheap, two card, ‘win-the-game’ combo. The combo ended up winning the first post-Shadowmoor StarCityGames Power Nine Vintage tournament and placed high results in the months of May and June.

The combo is also incredible in Legacy, which is having fun using Imperial Recruiters to find Painter’s Servants.

The other cards in my list are probably accurate, although not in that order. In the new Vintage, Vexing Shusher and Cursecatcher will have a larger role to play in Control Slaver and Fish respectively. The restriction of all of the Flash components will make Faerie Macabre a less potent card, although the rise of Grim Long could offset that somewhat. There is also a chance that Manamorphose and Firespout will see more play than some of the cards on my list. If anything, Firespout has already seen more play than Oona.

In truth, it’s still too early to see how Shadowmoor will fully play out in the final analysis. It appears to have made some minor but important contributions.

Let’s turn to Eventide.

Cold-Eye Selkie
This card is quite potent, primarily because of his evasion ability. Islandwalk is actually a more powerful form of evasion in Vintage than even flying as there is nothing that can block it. And with the restriction of Gush, there will be nothing that can block it most of the time. Blue dual lands are probably an even larger chunk of the new Vintage metagame than they were in the previous, from Control Slaver to Drain Tendrils to Grim Long to Fish. In fact, even mana Ichorid variants will plop down an Island of some type.

If the metagame shifts to a Long/Slaver/Anti-Will type metagame, as I foresee it doing, Fish type decks will have a big place in that metagame. In fact, it was precisely in that metagame that this deck, Worse than Fish, emerged:

It is in a deck like this that I believe that Selkie could potentially see the most abuse, although this is not the only home for a card this powerful. I think the best abuse from Selkie would come from a deck that can naturally pump him. For that reason, I think that Worse than Fish, which is already equipped with Jitte and could potentially run more cards of that nature – perhaps even Unstable Mutation – could truly be explosive, drawing four cards in a single turn.

Double Cleave
A poor man’s Berserk. More importantly, it is a Red Berserk, so Vintage Psychatog decks can Cunning Wish for this card without having to splash Green.

Helix Pinnacle
If you have 100 mana and a turn, you can win the game with this card. It’s cheap, easy to play, and has shroud. The disadvantages are that it does nothing by itself.

There are many ways to win with infinite, or near infinite, mana in Vintage. The Worldgorger Dragon combo is premised upon generating arbitrarily large amounts of mana and then killing with Ancestral Recall recursion, or more recently, Oona, Queen of the Fae. MUD Domination is a Mishra’s Workshop combo deck that uses Metalworker and Staff of Domination to generate infinite mana to draw your deck and kill your opponent.

In each instance, the infinite mana is a built-in part of the combo. There are other ways to generate infinite mana, such as Grim Monolith and Power Artifact. In any case, these combos are generally unnecessary. You don’t need infinite mana, or even unusually large amounts of mana, to win the game. In fact, the basic standard for winning the game is seven mana.

1) Welder + Thirst For Knowledge + Mindslaver activation
2) Grim Tutor + Yawgmoth’s Will + 1 mana for post-Will Dark Ritual

Of course, there are cheaper ways to win the game. Today, Ichorid can win without ever having to generate a single mana. Flash won for two mana, provided you had a Protean Hulk in hand. And Yawgmoth’s Bargain and Mind’s Desire are functional wins for six mana.

Unless there is a very efficient way to skirt the mana requirement here by playing with Tower counters or something else, I don’t see this card seeing play in Vintage. Even if there were, it would merely be another two-plus card combo in Vintage… in which case I don’t think it would be very competitive.

Leering Emblem
Umezawa’s Jitte and Sword of Fire and Ice see decent amounts of play in Vintage, historically and present, because they are both incredibly powerful cards. It is possible, however, that Leering Emblem is superior to both. Leering Emblem has built in Storm mechanic, which at first glance would not seem that powerful in a creature based deck. However, when you consider the presence of cards like Moxen and the like, it is likely that, even in a Fish-type deck, your creature will be getting a +4/+4 boost every turn at a minimum.

This card is Vintage playable, it just needs a proper home. Oddly enough, perhaps it could replace Jitte and complement Cold-Eye Selkie in the “Worse Than Fish” deck posted above.

First of all, this guy is easily playable in Vintage with Mishra’s Workshops. Second, he can replace himself so he’s unlikely to be a dead draw. Third, his ability is potentially quite powerful. Unfortunately, I reviewed a list of every single artifact creature in Magic, and there was precious there that would make me think that this ability could be abusive in Vintage. The three cards that stood out were Bosh, Triskelion, and Triskelavus. Not much. There are also few useful scarecrows that could complement it. I think this card serves to underscore just how powerful an effect Goblin Welder is in Vintage. What costs four for artifacts is free with Welder.

Ward of Bones
This is another prison component, one that is potentially quite powerful, preventing opponents from playing even lands. However, it has several fundamental drawbacks. First of all, it is a tad pricey. If it were priced at four mana, or even five, I think it would be a more playable card. In terms of turns in Vintage, a four-mana artifact is a turn 1 card. A five-mana artifact is a turn 2 card. A six-mana artifact is basically a turn 3 card. This will be too slow to stop most development in Vintage. A more potentially useful interaction would be with Bazaar of Baghdad and Goblin Welder, or Thirst For Knowledge and Goblin Welder. The second drawback is that it still allows an opponent to have one copy of a card type. Thus it won’t stop an opponent from playing an Oath of Druids or a Goblin Lackey. It also can’t stop cards like Tinker or Aether Vial from putting creatures into play. It’s an interesting card, but one that I doubt will ultimately see any play.

So, here are my top Vintage playables for Eventide:

1) Leering Emblem
2) Cold-Eye Selkie
3) Double Cleave

I don’t think anything else will see play, but I’ve been wrong before.

Type 4 Review

Type 4 is a fun, multiplayer draft format based on three rules:

1) You have infinite mana.
2) You may only play one spell per turn
3) Whenever a player passes priority after targeting an object with an activated ability, that player may not target that object with the same activated ability until the stack clears.

The second rule limits abuse that follows from the first rule. The third rule resolves infinite loops that inevitably arise from having infinite mana in a way that is consistent with the basic spirit of Type 4 of having ‘defensive’ actions trump ‘offensive’ actions.

There is also a common house rule that is in keeping with the spirit of the second rule as the primary resource constraint in Type 4. That is the rule that spells with non-mana alternative costing costs may be played without counting as your spell for the turn. Since mana is not the primary constraint in Type 4, it makes sense to allow those cards to evade the primary constraint, spells per turn. For example, Misdirection may be pitch cast without counting as your spell for the turn.

You can see a sample Type 4 stack at the end of this article.

With that in mind, here we go…

Creekwood Ghoul
Cards like Night Soil and Reito Lantern quickly become solid maneuvers when you see the power of cards like Nezumi Graverobber; Chainer, Dementia Master; Yawgmoth’s Agenda; Eternal Dragon; Dawn of the Dead; Glory; Anger; Genesis; Bringer of the White Dawn and so on. This card is going to be a great Type 4 addition. It will lengthen games by giving you life and seriously hurt your opponents. Its presence will simultaneously annoy and help your opponents, which is ideal. I would pick this guy very highly, especially the more powerful your stack becomes. 2nd-4th pick.

Dream Fracture
Most counterspells are automatic Type 4 inclusions. This is no exception. This is a counterspell that draws you a card, which makes it one of the better counterspells. Also, since the player whose spell you counter gets to draw a card, this is a nice political counterspell that will not create enemies.

Divinity of Pride
A nice, fun addition for young Type 4 stacks. Probably not powerful enough for more mature stacks.

Dominus of Fealty
Automatic addition to every Type 4 stack. This effect is amazing. In fact, it may be so powerful that the chances of ever being able to untap with this guy in play approach zero. One of the top new printings from the set.

Unfortunately, I don’t think he’s quite playable in most Type 4 stacks since you won’t have creatures in play to sacrifice. If you play a creature-heavy stack with few Damnation type effects, consider him. He might be fun.

Double Cleave
If you have Berserk in your stack, you may want to run this as well.

Duskdale Wurm
A stupid, big dude for young Type 4 stacks.

Glen Elendra Archmage
This is a 1st-4th pick. This is Voidmage Prodigy times two, since it has persist. The fact that it has evasion is also nice. This should be an automatic inclusion into anyone’s Type 4 stack.

This guy is similar to the very powerful Aladdin’s Ring, but he can deal damage by attacking as well as untapping. He should be a fun addition to new or growing Type 4 stacks.

Kithkin Spellduster
Enchantment removal is not at a premium in Type 4. Artifacts tend to be much more troublesome. Nonetheless, the persist effect means that this guy can survive board sweeping Wrath of God type effects and still function as a blocker, whittler of someone’s life total, and enchantment removal. Depending on the power of your Type 4 stack, you may want to consider him.

This guy is nice recursion. Consider him for your younger Type 4 stacks.

Overbeing of Myth
Card drawing is powerful. He’s also not small. This is a playable card, and probably very good in young Type 4 stacks.

Sapling of Colfenor
He’s not terribly powerful, but he’s indestructible. He should be playable in many Type 4 stacks, although he won’t be a terribly high pick.

This card is Type 4 playable, especially since he replaces himself. But he could be quite abusing if you can get Bosh going.

Springjack Pasture
A nice way to clog up the board and prevent opponents from trying to attack you.

Spirit of the Hearth
In terms of flavor, this is a very nice Type 4 card. Its playability will be dependent upon the power level of your Type 4 stack. For relatively new Type 4 stacks, this should be a fun addition, preventing direct damage and cards like Mindslaver or even Acquire from targeting you.

Umbra Stalker
Here is another big, dumb dude for Type 4. He’s playable and should be a lot of fun for most mid-powered to low-powered Type 4 stacks.

Automatic addition to all Type 4 stacks.

Waves of Aggression
This card could be fun in a creature-heavy Type 4 stack.

Top Eventide Cards for Type 4

(note: my top 5 list is based upon a Type 4 stack of the power of Paul Mastriano, which can be found here.

1) Glen Elendra Archmage
2) Creekwood Ghoul
3) Dominus of Fealty
4) Dream Fracture
5) Unmake

Go have fun!

Until next time…

Stephen Menendian