Ken is getting very desperate. I think he is sore because I have beaten him again and again. I know he wants to believe that his choices have been the correct ones, but deep down he is insanely jealous. So jealous, in fact, that he has pulled a fast one on me. You see, the night before I was leaving for Grand Prix: Oakland we discussed our final dilemma.
The conclusion of the Mirrodin dilemmas is overdue. Darksteel has officially been released now. I no longer think of Mirrodin cards in a bubble, they are forever intertwined with Darksteel cards in my mind. When I see Grab the Reins, I start salivating because of the interaction between Grab the Reins and Modular. When I look at Nuisance Engine envision a board of 0/1 Pest tokens mixed with 2/2 Spawn tokens mixed with charge counters and +1/+1 counters.
I see a Giant Fan sitting at the end of each table waiting to blow out the game.
I wonder how Brass Man hasn’t made an appearance in the set. I loved Brass Man when he roamed the Magic universe years ago. I don’t want reprints of Inflame; I want to see Brass Man’s return!
Yeah! Brass Man!
Ken is sneaky like the Brass Man. I had agreed to debate the merits of Steel Wall, while Ken wanted to argue his points about Clockwork Condor. I agreed to this dilemma since I felt it is very close and that either card could win. I like that kind of argument, because I feel that our arguments often sway the readers’ opinions more than anything else.
So, I go off to Grand Prix: Oakland thinking about how cool it is to be debating Steel Wall. I played him a ton in Pro Tour: Amsterdam, even in aggressive White/Red decks. I wanted to have a forum to discuss the merits of Steel Wall. I had things to say about blocking, about Wall of Wood, about how much better Steel Wall is than Yotian Soldier.
But sneaky Ken ran off with the Brass Man and started cackling.
I changed it a little b/c I no longer had steel wall above condor, in fact I moved it above the spell bombs so I went ahead and argues that:)
Well, here is the problem. I really wanted Steel Wall, because I had a lot to say about it, and at the same time I thought I could do Ken a favor and give him the better card. Poor Ken decided instead to hose himself by doing the switch. Apparently, from the time I left for the Grand Prix until I returned, Steel Wall had risen tremendously in value for him. It went above the Clockwork Condor and above all of the off-color Spellbombs.
So he went ahead and argued that Steel Wall was better than both the Spellbombs and the Condor. This leaves me arguing Spellbombs for the third time! I don’t know how much I can say about them anymore.
How many different ways can you say a card is awesome?
There are the five Spellbombs plus Chromatic Sphere. I will clump them all together though, since they are basically the same. Chromatic Sphere is a little better, because it is one mana cheaper to use and it allows a splash color or a splash card to work a little better in a deck. Also, it has the advantage that your off color-Spellbombs work very well in combination with it. For the purposes of this article I will treat them as one and the same.
The Disciple of the Vault deck has been weakened with the introduction of Darksteel into the environment. I don’t know if this is because there are less Spellbombs to acquire or because Darksteel offers more mid-range aggressive creatures that punish slower goofy strategies. Perhaps it is a combination of the two.
One card that gives a lot of additional value to the Spellbombs is Vedalken Engineer. While the Engineer is fantastic with Chromatic Sphere, providing a mana to use for any spell or ability, he is very solid with the Spellbombs. He lets you activate off-color Spellbombs or cheaply cycle through them. The Quicksilver Behemoth joins Somber Hoverguard, Myr Enforcer, Thoughtcast, Broodstar, and all the Nims as another great way to take advantage of a cantrip Artifact. Lastly, if your deck is running short on spells, the Spellbombs provide a nice little boost to a deck that comes out a few cards short.
Clockwork Condor is better than the Steel Wall as well. Clockwork Condor flies. Steel Wall doesn’t. Clockwork Condor attacks. Steel Wall doesn’t. Clockwork Condor works great with the new Modular creatures. Steel Wall can become big, but it still won’t attack.
At Grand Prix: Anaheim, Dave Humphries killed me with a Clockwork Condor equipped with Vulshok Morningstar and Loxodon Warhammer. In the game before that, I died with a Bonesplitter on a Steel Wall. Which brings me to my next point, Clockwork Condor works better with Equipment. I think the Morningstar, in particular, really ups the value of Clockwork Condor, since the Condor equipped with a Morningstar is still a reasonable beater even when it runs out of counters
But wait, wait, wait… What did Ken even say in favor of Steel Wall? He actually likes the fact that you can equip it with Leonin Scimitar! Two mediocre cards combine! A 1/5 Wall! Wow!
Come on, we all see what Steel Wall is and does and comparing that to drawing an extra card that might actually do something exciting leaves the Steel Wall coming up short. Clockwork Condor may not be the biggest, baddest creature ever created but at least it flies. Anything that can trade with a Skyhunter Patrol deserves some respect.
Here is my non-colored artifact list.
Off-Color Mana Myr
Tooth of Chiss-Goria
Goblin War Wagon
Off-Color Artifact Lands
Scale of Chiss-Goria
Goblin War Wagon has dropped a lot since Mirrodin first came out. He just hasn’t been stellar for me at any point. I think that he probably deserves to be a little higher than he is on my list, but I am sick of him, so I shall punish him.
I have seen the off-color Artifact Lands be good, but I run too few lands for them to be really powerful. If I have a couple Artifact Land in the same color, I will usually look to splash a card or two from that color, so that I can gain both benefits from the Land.
It has been a pleasure doing the Dilemma series for Mirrodin. I have learned a lot just from writing these articles and looking at their feedback. I think they have proven to be a worthwhile exercise in Limited practice. Even looking at cards that are less important can make a large difference between winning and losing. Knowing what card to take in every situation is one of the first steps to becoming an excellent drafter. I know that this dilemma may not have been the most thrilling in the series but debating little picks can be very helpful.
One of the forum members commented on how low Yotian Soldier was ranked in Ken’s list. I have him even lower, because he is virtually unplayable. You are paying two more mana for a creature that is almost the equivalent of Steel Wall. For three mana you should be playing real spells, if you are playing a 1/4 creature then you are wasting your time and mana. With all of the theoretical ideas that bounce around the Internet, I can tell you this: Yotian Soldier is stinky. He doesn’t give card advantage, he doesn’t generate tempo, he is only good with Vulshok Gauntlets. I know you love him because he is a super cool reprint, but please stick with Steel Wall and Clockwork Condor.
He ain’t no Brass Man!
Ken: Did you mention that Brassman was pure unadulterated gas?
Mike: Of course.
Ken: That is why they called him Gasman.
Thanks for reading,