The Magic Show #103 – Bittersweet

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Friday, July 4th – Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we’re going to recount the uplifting and saddening tale of the Richie Proffitt Memorial Tournament, take a look at my Exclusive Eventide Preview card, and check out the rest of the latest Eventide spoilers. Let’s go! Warning: Contains Spoilers.

Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we’re going to recount the uplifting and saddening tale of the Richie Proffitt Memorial Tournament, take a look at my Exclusive Eventide Preview card, and check out the rest of the latest Eventide spoilers. Let’s go!

Bittersweet Me

Last Sunday was an unequivocal success. There is no doubt about it. 328 – yes, three-hundred and twenty-eight – players decided to descend on Roanoke, Virginia for what had to be one of the most prize-packed tournaments ever seen. We raised over $8,200 for the Proffitt Family, and I’m unbelievably humbled to have both taken part and helped create such a thing.

StarCityGames headquarters had never seen such a turnout, and we even spilled over into the other half of their massive building as the registration just kept growing and growing. There were emotional announcements to be shared, door prizes to be won, and plenty of Magic being played. I decided to play the worst deck ever, Mannequin, and did about as well as you could expect.

Then, about three or four hours in… disaster struck the Magic Show. My shiny new HD camera, the Sony SR-HD11, my new pride and joy that I saved up for, showed an error message. “Recovering data,” it tells me. What in the hell, recovering data? What does that mean? Do note that this camera is a hard drive based machine.

Then came the horrible phrase “Unable to access HDD” on the screen. This, as you could imagine, is about as bad as it gets for this camera. I then put my ear up to it, and could hear the awful Hard Drive Click of Doom. If you haven’t heard it, this tiny click every few seconds basically tells you that inside of the drive, the mechanical parts have either broken off or simply broken, and can no longer access anything. Matter of fact, if you keep trying to turn it on, this behavior will slowly scrape all of the data off of the hard drive itself.

What I haven’t yet told you is that while the Richie Proffitt footage was on there, so was my buddy’s wedding for which I was the videographer. This is me, wretching. This is me, sick with guilt and grief and despair. This is me wondering what I’m going to do. Data recovery is a very expensive business, and I had no way on earth to raise the $2200 or so it would take to fully recover the drive.

Then, of course, I was saved. Saved not by the drive fixing itself, which would never occur, but by our own Pete Hoefling. I told you in my Richie Proffitt video that he was a good man, but you guys probably still don’t quite understand. I explain to him the situation, and he then comes back to me with three cards: They are from Unlimited, and on them are three very familiar pictures: Mox Sapphire, Time Walk, and Ancestral Recall.

“Auction these,” he tells me, “and try to recover that data.” I am, as you can imagine, floored. Still in the anger and denial stages of grief, I can only thank him and, of course, hope and hope and hope that the drive actually is recoverable.

So we now have our mission: We need to raise up to $2,200 to repair this data and bring you what footage I had from Richie’s tournament, and hopefully my buddy’s wedding will be saved to boot. Also, because I had hastily forgotten to bring it with me on Sunday, we did not get to give away the DCI Judge Demonic Tutor. The proceeds for these auctions will go toward paying for the data recovery, and all additional proceeds will be provided to the Proffitt Family.

You can find links to them here. For those with greater financial means, your support is truly appreciated.

While I would love to be showing you footage of people who knew Richie along with what it was like to actually be there, we can only hope that the data recovery is successful, and with your help we can ensure this occurs. I’ll have a report on both the auctions and the data recovery status next week.

The Creakwood Liege

Yesterday you saw my little ditty to the Creakwood Liege. For those who missed it, let’s watch it again:

Deep in the forest, where no creature wishes to live… there lives a foul thing. A being so powerful they call him a Liege… the Liege of the Creakwood Forest. And inside that Forest, deep, deep inside that forest, it lives amongst its Horrors and its Worms that infest anything and everything. All the while, creatures who share its colors will feel its strengthening embrace, and react accordingly…

This was one of those ideas that I had using some of the tools I had at my disposal along with a little voice modulation. So… Creakwood Liege. Check it out! My very own spoiler! Yes! It’s my very, very own, and it really feels like Christmas in July. This bad boy is mine, and I finally get to explain both my enthusiasm and my excitement over this guy.

Let’s take a look at the stats: Firstly, it’s four mana. Four mana is a hefty sum, but this is the baseline for all Lieges, though some are a bit more. Next, like the rest of them, the pumps are applied. This is always primarily for the Green half, but it’s nice that it pumps Shriekmaws as well.

It’s the special ability though. Mmm. Take a long look. You know what that says to me? “At the beginning of your upkeep, you may play Call of the Herd.” Just because this guy is on the field. Man, is that good stuff. In two turns you have five power worth of guys, and your opponent must immediately deal with it. Remember, many tournament cards need a few things to get played:

– Low mana cost
– Immediate Impact
– Impressive long-term ability
– High Power/Toughness ratio, or a Toughness ratio greater than most burn played in the environment

Oh. Oh. Wait a minute. 2/2.

Well, damn. I guess that does it for this preview! Thanks for checking it out!

Wait, what? This power and toughness, while fragile, is actually to its benefit.

Yes, I know, just a moment. Think about it. You’ll hear people say it should be a 3/3 itself. And, following most power/toughness to mana ratio, on a big rare, sounds about right. But its two power. That is the secret. Why?

Reveillark, of course.

Oh yes my friends. This guy will slide right in as an early, long-term threat that must immediately be dealt with. Do you want to know what bringing two of these back via an Evoked Reveillark looks like?

We’re talking two 4/4’s who creature two 5/5’s each turn. Haha! That’s just amazing. This guy allows you to yet again morph the Reveillark strategy into something that has an early and late game impact. He’s a bit less mana intensive than Cloudthresher and once you begin swinging with two 3/3’s or more per turn, you better believe your opponent will do anything and everything to stop him. Getting double Creakwood Liege means on Turn 5 you’ll be swinging for 9 thanks to the now 5/5 token and 4/4 Liege.

It’s got some awesome consistency with Reveillark and Green/Black is the color of Elves, meaning Turn 1 Llanowar Turn 2 Imperious Perfect Turn 3 Creakwood Liege is not bad at all. However, he is competing with the Protection From Nameless Inversion Chameleon Colossus.

But, Chameleon Colossus doesn’t let you play Call of the Herd each turn. He doesn’t give you a ridiculous advantage if you play two of him.

I’m not one hundred percent sure of this guy’s power just yet. But he feels really good to me. Besides his low power/toughness, he’s also a Horror, which, while cool, provides exactly zero synergy with the rest of the tribal block.

Regardless, I’m certainly a fan of any creature that pumps Tarmogoyf, and I do love me a free Call of the Herd. Its synergy with Bitterblossom is not to be underestimated, and for those scoffing at its power and toughness, remember that Imperious Perfect is just one mana less, and you have to keep pumping mana into her each turn, getting a mere 2/2 instead of a 3/3.

I’d like to thank Wizards for providing this preview card for me, and hope to find something shiny and perhaps even Mythic in my inbox for Shards of Alara.

Eventide Spoilers Week #2

Okay, so we’ve got a whole new batch of fresh spoilers, so let’s dive right in. Since I got the G/B Liege, how about we look at the rest of them we currently know of in comparison?

Wizards’ PR department once again correctly sent out a special FNM pizza and booster combo to various stores around the country, this time unveiling the R/W Liege. Now I don’t know about you, but “Play Lightning Angel, free Lightning Helix to your face” sounds pretty solid to me. Of course, if it could also hit creatures it would be absolutely insane, and at five mana its among the most expensive Lieges.

The G/U Liege is another five mana guy, and this one comes with the wiz-bang ability to untap all of your green and blue creatures at the beginning of each player’s upkeep. It seems destined for EDH decks but not quite PTQ tables.

The final known Liege, the B/W Mortality Liege is interesting in its synergy. Thanks to the order of the abilities whenever you play a black and white spell you’ll be able to tap and destroy the same creature if you wish. However, at five mana, no matter how good Unmake may be, I’m curious if this one has the power to go beyond the Kitchen Table. It appears all of the powerful White cards in this set have red on them as well.

This brings us to the Prerelease Foil, Figure of Destiny. Wow, wow, wow. That’s all I gotta say. Look at this one drop. Every color pair in Shadowmoor block got their own one drop in that pair, but this one pretty much stands head and shoulders above all of them. Sure, Nom Nom (Tattermunge Maniac) is close, but just look at this guy. He just smokes control decks. They have to deal with him, and soon, before he just takes over. And, of course, he’s also a Kithkin, immediately kicking that deck up a notch as it pushes Kithkin towards what will inevitably be its more powerful strategy paired with Red instead of mono White. Thanks to the new Graven Cairns lands in enemy colors, you’ll easily be able to pay for both Stigma Lasher and Knight of Meadowgrain without breaking a sweat.

Speaking of awesome White cards, let’s take a look at Cauldron Haze. This is a card that screams potential to me. For a mere two mana your entire army is at least somewhat safe, and to Kithkin players it appears quite saucy. Even Merfolk players can appreciate its power, I believe, and this is one of those sneaky uncommons that could be ridiculously powerful, annoying, or just plain junk.

As for annoying, what about Moonhold? This is a weird one.

Target player can’t play land cards this turn if {R} was spent to play Moonhold and can’t play creature cards this turn if {W} was spent to play it. (Do both if {R}{W} was spent)

Very interesting, no? First turn Figure of Destiny, second turn Wizened Cenn attack them to 19, third turn attack them to 15, Moonhold on their upkeep, Fourth Turn pump your mana into Figure of Destiny and smash for seven, bringing your opponent to just 8 life. However, Moonhold is one of those cards that’s amazing on the play, on turn 3, just when you want to have it. It is not, however, exciting on turn 15, when you’re trying to grind out some opponent and cannot seem to get ahead. Horrible topdeck but awesome when the time is just right sounds a little shaky to me.

While I’m on my Boros kick, what about the R/W Avatar? Take a look at Nobilis of War:

Nobilis of War
Creature – Spirit Avatar
Attacking creatures you control get +2/+0.

Uh huh. That’s what I’m talking about. And don’t tell me that Kithkin players don’t get to five mana in Block, because that’s what Cloudgoat Ranger is for. This monster looks like just the type of creature to fit in as a one or two-of to completely demolish a combat step. Goldmeadow Stalwart, Wizened Cenn, Three Dudes, Mirrorweave or next turn Nobilis of War is plenty friggin scary.

Up next we have Arcane Denial 2.0, a.k.a. Dream Fracture. This is the three mana nerfed version of that Alliances powerhouse, and is as good as three mana counters get nowadays. I don’t expect it in every blue deck, but many control decks would happily risk you getting another draw and countering your threat while at the same time potentially drawing into their own answers.

Last week we didn’t see any truly powerful Retrace cards other than Raven’s Crime, and this week we have Oona’s Grace. While this looks simply like the Flashback version of Think Twice, which technically it is, the better way of looking at this card is that it suddenly gives all of your lands Cycling for 2U. That’s very powerful stuff in the late game and I certainly don’t see why it couldn’t go into tournament winning stacks.

Primalcrux was revealed earlier this week on MagictheGathering.com, and while it looks like Timmy heaven, which it certainly is, I believe this one has more than enough power to make its way into Constructed. First, it tramples over those annoying Bitterblossom tokens; second, it makes it even more advantageous to play with Cloudthresher, a beast that has been seeing plenty of serious play; and third, it is an Elemental, meaning Incandescent Soulstoke and his cohorts got even better, if that was even possible. I love the ability to throw down a Llanowar Elf, Devoted Druid, and Primalcrux on turn 3. Take that, Ancestral Visions into Bitterblossom.

Last up, I’ll guess we’ll focus on a G/U card. This combination doesn’t seem to be getting a lot of love from Eventide as of yet, as their Avatar is yawn-inducing and this seems to the best so far. Take a look at Snakeform:

Target creature loses all abilities and becomes a 1/1 green Snake until end of turn.
Draw a card.

There was a time, not so long ago, in which I don’t think we’d see a cantrip on this card. However, now that we do, you can officially take this spell seriously. It takes care of meddlesome Tarmogoyfs, stupidly huge creatures that chump block innocuous 2/2’s and the like, and still draws you a card afterwards. This also allows the Faeries deck to trump Mirrorweave, so be careful of that, Block players.

As the spoiler train rolls on towards the Prerelease next week, I’m sure we’ll have plenty more to talk about then. Until next time, Magic players, this is Evan Erwin. Tapping the cards… so you don’t have to.

Evan “misterorange” Erwin
eerwin +at+ gmail +dot+ com
dubya dubya dubya dot misterorange dot com
Written while wondering how sick trip Creakwood is…