Having written over 300 articles is a great thing. I love it! However, one of the issues rises when brainstorming what the next article will be. Welcome to the column dedicated to your casualness. I don’t know what I am going to write about yet…
Formats, decks, reviews, cards, strategy, and other stuff all wrapped up. I have a deck article queue in which I put deck article ideas, but it is all exhausted. No immediate ideas. Now, once Zendikar pops back up, I have tons of new cards, ideas, and more to spark the articles. However, in this pre-Zendikar lull, I want to find a good article.
The only real life Magic I’ve played recently are a few pick-up games in my office with residents or staff. Here, Magic is more casual. Someone swings by, we play a game and talk how their day went, and then they leave. There’s no regular gaming extravaganza. I’ve played some Magic: the Electronic and some MTG Forge, and that’s the major way to scratch my Magic itch. I wrote about MTG Forge, but the online ME3 is out and a lot of fun, so…
There’s my article!
As you know, I love Prismatic online, and it uses all eternal cards, so why not go over the cards in ME3… er… Portal: Three Kingdoms (it really does seem like a P3K set), and list the cards that I think have enough value to consider for your Prismatic needs? Let’s go!
Prismatic — 250 cards, 20 cards of each color — banned list maintained by WoTC — yadda, yadda — let’s get to the cards.
While there are a lot of great cards in this set for Prismatic, there are not too many in White.
Guan Yu, Sainted Warrior — This is definitely the legendary set what with both the P3K cards and the Legends cards running all around it. Horsemanship is included in bundles, and in limited, it means less as a result. However, in regular play, most players are not going to play the 15-20 or so horsemanship creatures, which means all of these folks are virtually unblockable. Instead of mentioning each single one, I’m telling you now that creatures with horsemanship are very undervalued and quite powerful.
Kongming, “Sleeping Dragon” — Zhuge Liang is great because he is a Glorious Anthem on a stick, allowing you to serve with your Anthem. He has a lot of power as a result, because not only does your “Anthem” pump everybody else but you are adding pressure.
Land Tax — This is a format that doesn’t have mana needs anymore for those players able to afford the dual lands. For everybody else, mana is always something that can be smoothed, and Land Tax is great at it. Not only is it a great non-Green way to fix your manabase, but it is also severe card advantage. If you can turn those extra lands in your hand into something either by putting more into play or using them to fuel an effect, then you are already halfway to winning.
Green doesn’t give you anything amazing or broken, but there are some solid cards here for your consideration.
Arboria — I love Arboria and I have written articles about it. It’s in my Underused Hall of Fame, because it rocks the board when it is out. Note that playing a land makes you attackable.
Gaea’s Touch — This card has been a classic supplement to decks that want to play lands quickly through Exploration or Fastbond. Then you can sacrifice it for mana after it has done its job. The double Green and basic Forest requirement mean that most Prismatic decks will find it hard to use, but a Green heavy one might really love this baby.
Hunting Cheetah — This card is awesome in decks with duals. Just play it, hit people, and get lands that solve all of your mana issues. I’ve written about the Cheetah numerous times, and even had it in my Abeth Edition II in my Green cards, because I love it so.
Jungle Lion — Not only are they super common, but they also have no value, you can find them in bots for less than a nickel. Grab four and use them to build up your 250 aggro deck, where you will love them much.
Meng Huo, Barbarian King — Do you want a 5 mana 4/4 that only pumps your own Green creatures? I doubt it, but if Kaysa is not enough…Meng Huo and Kongming might be great generals for EDH.
Riding the Dilu Horse — You guys know what a fan I am of this card, since its effect never ends. I’ve built deck after deck about it. It’s probably not great for your Prismatic decks, though — there are a lot of better options. If you want something crazy and wacky, though, this is it.
There are several cards here of quality because they build in redundancy, but there is also an awesome broken play it now reprint from P3K here too.
Burning of Xinye — Prismatic is often about redundancy and having backups. It is hard to build a deck around just four of a card in 250 cards. You want multiple Wrath effects or Armageddons. Wildfire has always been this one of card, except for the rare Burning of Xinye. It’s such a powerful effect, that I wonder if you shouldn’t grab four of these, four of Wildfire, and see if you can’t rustle up a nice deck.
Chain Lightning — A one mana Lightning Bolt, at sorcery speed, is probably worth getting if you need a lot of cheap burn. It has a high pricetag of half a ticket right now, which is more than a lot of rares. I’d hold off unless you really need one.
Corrupt Eunuchs — It’s strong, but it probably gets outclassed by a lot of modern CIP removal from Shriekmaw to Murderous Redcap and even Flametongue Kavu and Thornscape Battlemage.
Dong Zhou, the Tyrant — Great in a format with big creatures, but that’s not often Prismatic. Regularly a Prissy match comes down to a few utility creatures like Etched Oracle and Trinket Mage beating down for a few turns. In EDH multiplayer, it’s probably a lot better. For more, see this little old article of mine from 2005
Fire Ambush — It’s another Volcanic Hammer, and good for Pauper-Prismatic-Singleton. I wouldn’t play it elsewhere.
Rolling Earthquake — With all due respect, this card is both broken, and undervalued, going for around half a ticket right now. Get some. It Earthquakes everything, because your opponent is unlikely to be playing creatures with horsemanship. If you want, play a few of your own to dodge your Rolling Earthquake. In Prismatic, you can load your deck up with some solid horsemanship creatures, and then Rolling Earthquake away your opponent’s creatures, while yours live to deal the beats.
Storm World — Where Storm World is good is in two areas. Firstly, at multiplayer, it is a Rack that effects everybody. Secondly, it is a backup redundant Rack. Also note it is one better than The Rack because it triggers with less than four, instead of less than three cards in hand. Yes, it will hit you too. It’s a good tool in the right hands and deck.
Most of the Black cards are either too Black for Prismatic (Hellfire) or sucky (All Hollow’s Eve) or banned (Grim Tutor). There are three cards of significant power here, though.
Mind Twist — This is awesome as always. It immediately replaces or supplements any Mind Shatters you might be running, and its splashability is strong enough that you can run it even if you were not running Mind Shatter before now. It’s quite powerful.
Nether Void — For aggro decks, this could try and be Armageddon 9-12 after Ravages of War and Armageddon. It basically destroys three lands for those who want to play spells. Even a Disenchant takes 5 mana, which basically taps them out for a turn, allowing you to get in one more hit of your creatures.
The Abyss — Currently going for less than two tickets, The Abyss is a classic shut down card, and you can build around it easily, even in Prismatic. Shards Block gave you colored artifact creatures to play with, and they cannot be sacrificed to The Abyss. You can also include creatures that are Pro Black, Pro Enchantments and Shroud to keep them Abyss-proof. You can find creatures in all of the colors that can help to shut The Abyss down, and then play them as 4 ofs.
With the exception of the obviously powerful Mana Drain, the cards here are strong role players, but do not rise to the level of Super-Amazing-Play-Them-Now. However, there are a few creatures that have strong value like Lu Xun, Sun Ce and Sun Quan.
Brilliant Plan — Instantly becomes an essential for Pauper-Prismatic-Singleton.
Capture of Jingzhou — And now all three Time Warp cards have been printed, giving you a ton of Time Warps. Play â€˜em all and go Time Warp crazy!
Lu Xun, Scholar General – Because he is an uncommon worth about .25 online right now, you can grab a playset for a ticket, and then score a bunch of cards when you play him. Imagine Thieving Magpie was unblockable instead of flying. Now, look at Lu Xun again.
Mana Drain — This is THE banner card for ME3, and now you can acquire them for whatever deck you want. They rock in Prismatic too.
Old Man of the Sea — Currently going for between 1/3 and 1/2 of a ticket, you can grab some of these for your Prismatic decks and then steal aggro’s creatures. You can also just use the Hurloon Minotaur body and CC to swing with, if no targets are currently out.
Strategic Planning — This is an amazing card at Impulse-ing as well as graveyard filling for a variety of strategies from Threshold to Dredge, reanimation to flashback. You need some ways to get started in these decks, and Strategic Planning is great at that, because it can find you key cards while doing you a service by putting cards in the yard.
Sun Ce, Young Conquerer — Sun Ce is an uncommon in ME3, and he has a low value on the market, but is one of the best creatures from P3K. Combining a Man-o’-War effect on a 3/3 unblockable (usually) creatures is simply money. Drop it for five mana, and you get a great creature plus solid tempo. The result is a powerful card that you should probably try out in a few of your decks for permanent spots.
Sun Quan, Lord of Wu — Sun Ce’s younger brother, who takes over Wu after his death, Sun Quan is one of the major of major powerhouses. I have singlehandedly won games with him. I have had him kill me twice off a Bribery targeting me. He turns every creature usually unblockable, and he’s a 4/4 one himself. The result is a game that ends very quickly. Sun Quan, Gamender.
With a large number of Legends from (heh)Legends, this includes some seriously good cards, but most legends simply do not compare to the raw power of gold creatures from Alara and Invasion blocks. Why is Nicol Bolas in here, when he was Timeshifted and in the Dragons’ Vault? There should have been another creature in here.
Angus Mackenzie — There are very few creatures that can Fog. Spike Weaver Fogs three times. Dawnstrider Fogs once each turn but requires a card. There are a couple of creatures, like Spore Frog, that sacrifice to Fog. However, Angus Mackenzie, for three mana, can tap to Fog and he can do it every turn, turn in, turn out. I’m sure you can find a deck where that has strong value.
Gwendlyn Di Corci — You get a 3/5 for four mana, which is respectable. You can also tap her to hit for a random discard, which is also respectable. She is still good, compared to modern day creatures.
Halfdane — This cheaper creature is as good as your (or your opponent’s) biggest creature but without the abilities. Most days, you’d probably prefer either a Clone or a Riptide Mangler, but you can sort of get both here with less power but some value.
Ragnar — There are not many ways to regenerate target creature turn in and turn out. Yavimaya Hollow (which is not online), a few others, and Ragnar are it. It’s a powerful ability that changes combat significantly. Its bit pricey, but it’s worth trying it in a few decks to see if you get enough value.
Rasputin Dreamweaver — Hs is reanimation/flicker combo-tastic. Note that he can make seven colorless mana by removing all of his counters. Flicker him, make seven more mana. Animate Dead him, make seven more mana. There’s a lot of ways to abuse this, so get out there, and abuse this.
Rubinia Soulsinger — She still has value for two reasons. With the new faerie lords in Green, you could play Green and Blue faeries, and she’s both colors. She also taps to steal a creature, and you can untap her to let it go and take another. There are no restrictions on the creature stolen, unlike Old Man of the Sea.
Tetsuo Umezawa — Tetsuo has stood the test of time. He still is a 3/3 for three mana, who can kill attacking or blocking creatures with ease. (The attackers have to tap, but then most do). It costs four mana and a tap, but killing a creature is usually worth it. He fits the curve, and impacts the board.
Bazaar of Baghdad — There are some obvious strategies you want to look at with this highly expensive card. If you can either afford it, or you crack it in a pack, then run with it. Run very far.
Black Vise — Obviously good in a lot of decks, and Prismatic would be a place you would expect it to shine. Players play a lot of things to draw cards, so you can use that to your advantage and Vise them.
Illusionary Mask — If you want to see if you can break this, be my guest.
Karakas — It has a tag of $1, it’s now a rare, it’s great in Limited versus all of the legends in the set, and it rocks in Prismatic because you can slide it in for a Plains and then have it if you need it for Legend control.
The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale — This is currently going for about 2 tickets, and it is a great tool in a creature light or creatureless deck.
The Duals — Yay enemy duals. That’s about it. It’s hard to say anything else about them.
We are now at the end of another article of happiness and joy. All of these sets are great to draft because they are the only time, ever, you will be able to draft these cards. You are basically drafting Legends, P3K, and a few other cards together, and it’s great. Yes, they continue to make highly questionable reprint choice (Giant Growth again? Nicol Bolas again?), but overall, the set is fun and well designed. Draft it, get cards from it, and love it.
Catch you next time!