The Magic Show #102 – Odd or Eventide

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Friday, June 27th – Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we’ll get all up close and personal with some kick ass Eventide spoilers, prep for this weekend’s PTQs, and cover the absolutely monstrous Richie Proffitt Memorial Tournament happening on this Sunday. You ready to delve into the goodness? Let’s go!

Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we’ll get all up close and personal with some kick ass Eventide spoilers, prep for this weekend’s PTQs, and cover the absolutely monstrous Richie Proffitt Memorial Tournament happening on this Sunday. You ready to delve into the goodness? Let’s go!

Eventide Spoiler Season Begins!

Yes, it’s that time again, ladies and gentlemen. The spoiler season is upon us. We have quite a few cards already, and those are provided to us via Wizards of the Coast so far. Let’s see what we have.

We’ll begin with Overbeing of Myth, the ‘official’ spoiler from the Eventide preview pack, and I’m still not sure what to make of it. This Super Duper Maro has not really struck a chord with anyone except perhaps the Timmy crowd right now, as Spikes are far too skeptical of anything that costs more than two or three mana without having any immediate board impact, while Johnnies already have their Maro combos and sticking a Howling Mine on it may or may not increase its popularity amongst them.

Next is Bloom Tender. Take a long look at this card. Bloom Tender is made for both Constructed and Johnny decks. Constructed decks love cheating on mana, and Bloom Tender allows you to do that. With the current environment being so full of hybrid cards, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to get three or more mana out of this guy to power out silly cards early.

Of course, the argument that always arises when some new rare but fragile creature excites the playerbase is, “It dies to everything.” Yeah, and so does Tarmogoyf. I’m not calling this a $50 card, but what I am calling it is a card with ridiculous potential. As for the Johnny’s out there, I’ll just leave you with one card that instantly gives you infi mana: Freed from the Real. Enjoy that, you wacky combo lovers out there.

On Wednesday, Wizards unveiled the Spoiler Archive for Eventide, and with it almost a dozen brand new cards sure to whet your appetites for what looks to be an awesome set.

The most exciting has to be Unmake. Wow! Look at that art! Just incredible. And it’s common! I repeat, it is common! That is reason enough to jump for joy. This will be huge in Standard, Block, and will be a staple for years to come. If you’re lucky enough to crack a foil one of these, enjoy your new five dollar bill. I love every bit of this card. The cost, the effect, the artwork, even the flavor text is solid. Wonderful work. Already one of my favorite cards in the set.

Speaking of exciting, check out Stigma Lasher. Ruh-dic-you-luss. This is how to impress Magic players: Give them something that’s been needed in Red for a long time – that is, the ability to shut off lifegain until the end of the current game without having to leave mana up for something like Flames of the Blood Hand – then put it on an efficient bear. This is what you’ve got. This, again, will be impacting Standard, Extended, and Block almost immediately, as its effect is just fantastic in a world filled with Kitchen Finks and Dragon’s Claws.

Before we tackle one of the hot new mechanics, we’ll take a look at Endless Horizons. Yeesh, talk about your control player’s dream. Not only do they never miss a land drop in their mono-White or near mono-White deck, they thin their deck in the process. This is one of those cards that makes your eyes go wide but can easily fizzle due to the innate underpowered nature of White. This is a very difficult card to use with Kithkin, whose mana curve is so low, and in Snow White or Turbofog, because those decks need to be playing Martyr of Sands or pumping their mana into Sacred Mesa or Story Circle. However, the ability to never miss a land drop in that deck seems pretty friggin’ good to me…

Next up is yet another mechanic that makes Life from the Loam awesome: Retrace. Take a look at Raven’s Crime. Now this is a fairly harmless card, and when you first read Retrace you think “Well, this is just Flashback with an additional discard payment.”

Then you read it again. Do you notice that Retrace doesn’t actually have the words “and then remove this spell from the game” on it? That’s right, pay a Black and discard a land for the rest of the game and your opponents are discarding a card. Now that may be a bit underpowered, but when you can do it every turn because you’re land flooded and your opponent is not, at that point you’re trading excess lands for their spells. Retrace is one of those mechanics that can get annoying really easily, and so far there is nothing game shattering about them, but I’m guessing a Spikey Retrace card will pop up to wreak havoc on metagames as people run to their Extirpates and Withered Wretches in response.

Wrapping this up, we have Needle Specter, which seems a little underwhelming to me. Firstly, without a Giant Growth he’s just not that scary. He needs pumps to be scary, and while pumps are certainly fruitful in Lorwyn Block, you can’t rely on them and without that reliance his value drops considerably. Three mana 1/1 fliers that don’t have Flash or give other Faeries Shroud will probably not be making an impact, even with evasion. Consider this one Johnny fare only.

Finally we have Doomgape, who is ridiculously scary in the Elementals deck. Of course, with every set release, and particularly in a hybrid block, it’s hard to say what the Elementals decks may look like. With that said, I believe putting this guy into play with Incandescent Soulstoke to rock you like a hurricane for 11 trample damage is pretty friggin’ scary. Then, of course, you bring him back with Horde of Notions and show your opponent what scary really is. Rawr.

I for one am certainly excited about the new set after reviewing these, and I hope you are as well. It’s tough to do a multicolor block wrong, and Wizards certainly isn’t disappointing with Eventide.

Richie’s Shindig

Okay, so this Sunday the big tournament is happening. As you already know, the event is expected to be huge and I hope everyone is planning to make it. Remember, there’s a PTQ on Saturday, which is tomorrow, to allow you to sling your cards in hopes of a free plane ride to Germany. For those battling in that event, let’s take a look at the most recent PTQ stats. I believe these are quite telling.

First, of Faeries is ridiculously dominant. And I mean ridiculous. Look at this: 31 Top 8s, with five of them taking home the prize. How about over 45% of first place finishes being Faeries?

I don’t know what to say, but if you’re thinking about running anything but Faeries in Block, you better have tested that matchup quite a bit. It’s going to be rough. Mirror Master, a.k.a. the Kithkin deck, was second with 22% of Top 8s and almost 28% of first place. The next in line is Quick N’ Toast, the Vivid Land/Reflecting Pool deck that grinds you out with its wild mana costs, its powerful Commands and soul-crushing Oona, Queen of the Fae, whom we refer to as Big Perm in these parts.

After that, the field is a mix of Elemental decks featuring Incandescent Soulstoke, the Shaman deck with a hojillion Shaman and a few Lash Out, Merfolk powering its way to first place in Nebraska, with Doran the Explorer and The Rock finishing out the big archetypes.

If I were without those pricey Bitterblossoms, I would probably rely on Kithkin or Elementals. Both are fairly cheap, and while both the Faeries player and the Kithkin player believe this matchup is easy for one another, the truth is, in Magic, things are never quite so simple. Then again, remember, if you choose one of these popular archetypes, particularly the Top 3, you better have a solid plan against the mirror, because you’ll be bound to play it.

Moving on to Standard, things get much more interesting. Taking a look at the stats, Faeries, of course, still reigns supreme. However, you have plenty of interesting decks that can adequately battle Faeries on their own terms. Merfolk are the other big deck in Standard, as they rock eight lords and are powered with the ever-awesome Cryptic Command, a.k.a. the Blue Wrath of God. Reveillark is still so annoying it hurts, so be sure to get those Faerie Macabres in your sideboard no matter what colors you’re playing.

Green/Red Snow decks were surprisingly popular at Regionals, and Skred hits hard no matter what deck you’re playing. Meanwhile, the Red Decks and the Red/Green Aggro decks still loom large, while G/W Oversoul decks loom in the background.

As for my recommendation on what to play on Sunday, I would choose the archetype I’ve not yet spoken of, G/B Elves. This is a powerhouse archetype with plenty of big creatures, spells, and resilience. Quite simply, G/B is the deck to play if you want to consistently do well. It’s always the same with the G/B Rock decks: They have no good matchups, but they have no bad matchups. Even when it appeared Paulo Vitor would crush Shuhei Nakamura in Hollywood with his Faeries deck, it wasn’t quite that simple against the Japanese master. And as Charles Gindy can attest, Merfolk look scary but a few good draws and some tight play can get you through it – just remember, however, that both Mutavault and Chameleon Colossus gets pumped and gains Islandwalk via Lord of Atlantis.

Speaking of Mutavault, if you’re interested in a highly, highly sexy extended art version of this blockbuster card, then you better get yourself to Roanoke on Sunday and support Richie Proffitt fantastic Memorial Tournament. I’ll be on site both battling and filming, and your participation will determine whether or not we can continue doing this year after year.

So until next time Magic players, when you’ll see what happens on Sunday along with a brand new Eventide spoiler just for me – yes, it only took two years – this is Evan Erwin. Tapping the cards… so you don’t have to.

Evan “misterorange” Erwin
dubya dubya dubya dot misterorange dot com
eerwin +at+ gmail +dot+ com
Written while in Vegas. Money earned via blackjack so far: ‘Bout $100.