The Mirrodin Black Dilemma: Consume Spirit!

Mirrodin Black is good at attacking. Consume Spirit is good at finishing your opponent once all your guys go through unblocked. Without any decent counters in Mirrodin, Consume Spirit always hits for the full boat. Guaranteed damage. I like the sound of that.

You know why I hate Pewter Golem? Guess you’ll have to check inside to see…

[Editor’s Note: We are now breaking up the Dilemma articles and posting them on multiple days. Check back tomorrow for Ken Krouner take on Mirrodin Black.]

Hi. Welcome back to my little column. If you haven’t been paying attention, no worries. Let me recap the action so far.

In week one of the debates, White was the color of choice. I took Skyhunter Cub versus Ken’s pick of Leonin Den-Guard. The Cub’s flying and power bonuses took the title, with the Cub picking up three votes for every one vote the Den-Guard received.

Have you enjoyed Thanksgiving? I hope so. Let’s recap Thanksgiving.

In week one of November, you get a call from your mom. She wants to know if you are traveling to say Philadelphia for the holidays. You don’t commit because you know that if you commit right now you will come to first, forget that you committed, followed by regretting that you did.

I’ve been thinking a little about destiny recently. I have had a lot of time on my hands since I have been in Philadelphia for the past four days. I read an excellent book titled Holes by Louis Sachar. Some Hollywood types turned it into a movie in the past year. If you have the chance to pick it up from your local library do so. It is an excellent read.

Don’t worry if the longest thing you have read in the past year is one of Rizzo’s articles, the book is a short two hundred pages. I read it in under three hours. It also uses very simple language.

This word processor at my cousin’s hates contractions. Let’s changes to let us, don’t to do not, I am fighting it as we speak. I thought computers are supposed to be helpful.

As I am writing this, I have found out that Nick Eisel is a turkey hater! I have always wondered about why people hate America Online. They have given us Instant Messenger. Isn’t that something? I think so.

Week two of the debate saw me taking up the cause for Aether Spellbomb over Ken’s choice Regress. People who love Regress as a trick have no imagination. Aether Spellbomb is better. I hope you come to realize that it is elementary Magic skillz. The week featured the first ever double debate, but Annul versus Wizard Replica was lost in the shuffle somehow. I thought that was a neat gimmick.

Is the best part of my articles the common list ranking I give out?

There is No Sex in the Champagne Room. I am writing this at my cousin’s house. They are about the same age as my parents and I was going to write this listening to Billy Joel, as it was their best CD. Not exactly my cup of tea. Luckily, I realized my sister was still awake and had a CD collection in her car. Phish is playing right now. From No Sex in the Champagne Room to Phish, mix CDs ooze personality.

I really think that the whole Thanksgiving process is overdone. I must have spent a month talking about Philadelphia with my parents. I was kind of looking forward to going this year. My last class of the day on Tuesday was Discussion. Discussion is the name of the class mind you. I think I am getting an A in it, thanks for asking.

One thing I am good at is talking; I think that is why I am a Communications major. I like to talk. At the end of Discussion, the teacher, Marcus, asked us what we were thankful for. That was a nice way to start of the holiday weekend.

I am thankful for holiday weekends where I can stay up listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and writing a Dilemma article in the most inefficient way possible.

[Alright, who stole Turian? This is not the brief, to-the-point Potato we all know and used to love. – Knut, not complaining about the writing style, but curious to see where this is going]

Week three of the dilemma series found me fighting for another Spellbomb, more accurately the Spellbomb, Pyrite Spellbomb. Ken had Hematite Golem. I beat up Ken once again. Ken made the comment to me that he was”taking off the gloves” in regards to our future articles. First of all, I admire his candor. He has obviously been taking it easy on me. Just look at the arguments from this past week. He seriously thought that Hermy had any chance of beating Pyrite Spellbomb.

Hermy! Hermy! Hermy!

I like that nickname a lot for the Golem. Exclamation points should be in the names of more Magic cards. And instead of naming creatures after real words and practical meanings like hematite (or red iron ore for those who didn’t know), they should maybe consider including advertising on Magic cards. I bet Dodge would pay a pretty penny for a card called HEMItite Golem featuring the all new Dodge Durango.

I take HEMItite Golem over Spikeshot Goblin in a second. Honestly though I have been sitting here trying to find myself with Kid Rock.

Ken, typing with gloves on hasn’t been working for you. Taking them off would be a very good idea.

The phone here rings about every hour. Half of a ring is all and then it is quiet again until the next time. Meanwhile, every time I look away from the computer screen, a few more pop-ups appear and the word processor tries to un-contract all my contractions.

I am in the pop-up ring lock. This will be tough to break.

Nick Eisel, turkey-hater, suggested in his most recent article for Ken and I to take up Tel-Jilad Archers versus Deconstruct. Paul Sottosanti of Hobart House fame suggested that we add Fangren Hunter into the mix. Ken has mentioned how much he likes Kai Golem. (That is Malachite Golem for those who did not know – Mixed Mike)

Ted asked us if we liked the little cute comments in our articles. They make me sad. I always go re-read my articles hoping upon hope that I will be blessed with the witty words of the all mighty editor only to be disappointed when my article fails to win witty words of wisdom. I have been disappointed so far.

They say that depression is a reason many people eat. Well, I am not getting any skinnier with all the depression caused by lack of little comments in my articles. I am enjoying a hot chocolate right now. My cousin has the most amazing sink. One of the faucets is an instant hot water faucet. I have more hot chocolate over Thanksgiving than over the rest of the year, and I really like hot chocolate.

That’s for sure. That’s for sure.

The first time I played Black in Mirrodin Limited, I had four Consume Spirits and two Terrors. That was awesome. It was fun double draining Eugene from twelve to zero. The silly thing is, I know people have had decks with more Consume Spirits and Terrors than that.

[I had five Somber Hoverguards and a Broodstar in my last draft. I lost in the finals to double Spikeshot and Big-Dumb-Elephant-Holding-A-Big-Dumb-Hammer. – Knut]

I am switching CDs. Please hold. This will be The Sound of Silence. Now for a little U2 inspired writing. Apparently, my sister has a nice Billy Joel collection as well. Who knew?

You know why I hate Pewter Golem? Because when I have him, he always dies. I am a big fan of running cards out there, seeing what my opponent has. I rarely think that my opponent has got the goods. So out comes Pete (Pewter Golem) and then Pete dies. Sorry, Pete, sorry. I know he regenerates. So does every other Black creature, and if it doesn’t regenerate well then it has one toughness. What a weird mixture of mechanics. Black has the low-toughness, high-power regenerators.

Therefore, Mirrodin Black is good at attacking. Consume Spirit (Drain Life) is good at finishing your opponent once all your guys go through unblocked. Without any decent counters in Mirrodin, Consume Spirit always hits for the full boat. Guaranteed damage. I like the sound of that.

Philadelphia was really nice this year. My parent’s got to meet Rachel’s parents for the first time over dinner at Bubba’s Pot Belly Stove. I think that the dinner went well. Today, I met my best friend from high school for lunch. His name is Evan. He goes to Penn Law.

MagicTutorial.com interviewed me a few months ago. Here is the short story of when I realized I was good at Magic. If you want to read the full interview, it is located here.

“Reinhart: When was that turning point in Magic where you knew you were a good player?

“Michael Turian: I was playing against my best friend who was also very good at Magic. We were goofing around, playing the Pro Tour: Atlanta Sealed decks we had built with our own cards that Frank Adler and Darwin Kastle used in the finals. I beat my friend 10-0 then we switched decks and I beat him 10-0 again. That was when I realized I was pretty good at Magic.”

Evan is the person I was playing against in the story. He was good at Magic. Once we got in a car wreck with a drug dealer on our way out The Dungeon. The Dungeon held monthly tournaments. At one of these tournaments, I met Randy Buehler in the finals. We split the first prize Black Lotus in the finals so we had to exchange contact information.

I remember very distinctly yakking into the phone at him about Emberwilde Caliph and Howling Mine and how good they were in combination. Somehow, he still invited Evan and I over to test Mirage/Visions/Weatherlight. There I met Erik Lauer. Previously, Erik Lauer had been known as the Coke guy because he always carried around a 2-liter of Coke with him at tournaments. Eugene has since become the Coke guy although Geordie Tait has made a nice run at it as well.

Team CMU’s formation was put into motion that day down in The Dungeon. I qualified the week after our testing session in Akron. Randy drove down to Washington D.C. and qualified the following week and Erik qualified at Grand Prix: Toronto a couple of weeks after that. Dan Silberman had already qualified a couple of times for Pro Tour Chicago but made Top 8 at the Grand Prix as well. Dan, Erik and I all made Top Eight in GP: Toronto. Toronto has been good to me. Randy went on to win Pro Tour: Chicago and a ridiculous number of Grand Prix, so I doubt he regrets not making money in GP: Toronto.

I know I am supposed to be talking about Consume Spirit, but for a second let’s talk about spirit instead. Jon Becker wrote the best Magic article this year in Tomfidence. I thought it did a great job of informing people what they needed to succeed. If you missed it, go check it out; it is a shorter read than Holes at any rate.

More things I hate about Pewter Golem. He is an artifact. If you haven’t noticed I haven’t been too high on artifacts in any of my reviews. Considering that Affinity decks are among my favorite archetypes, I would think that to be unusual. I like the crappy artifacts and the really outstanding ones, but the solid ones don’t strike my fancy as much.

My opponents will destroy my Loxodon Warhammer, my Empyrial Plate, and my Bonesplitter. It is unavoidable. What bugs me is when I play against the heavy artifact kill decks and they blow up every single reasonable artifact I play. Shatter this, Deconstruct that, Detonate your face, GG!

Do you like Swamps?

If you said yes, then Consume Spirit is the choice. If not, Pewter Golem is probably for you. Consume Spirit rocks when you have a lot of Swamps. Taking Consume Spirit says to the world”I am Black! Respect me!”

Consume Spirit brings you back into games. Nothing is worse than getting hit with two fatties over and over. Don’t underestimate the life gain that Consume Spirit gives. There are games where being at eleven life instead of eight makes all of the difference. Killing one creature, while negating another for a turn swings races into your favor. While Pewter Golem gets chump blocked and Blinding Beamed until you are dead, Consume Spirit wins races and games.

Black has four common cards that kill artifact creatures, and only five commons that kill creatures. Nim Replica barely counts in both of these categories, as his ability is both expensive and minor. Wail of the Nim is another card that can kill both kinds of cards, but once again it really is only good at killing Myr and Nims. Terror is the king of Black removal because it buries creatures as well being the cheapest kill effect in Black.

This leaves only Irradiate and Consume Spirit to smash artifacts that have more than one toughness. Irradiate’s value depends entirely on your deck’s configuration. Irradiate can be awesome or awful. Irradiate is one of the cards which makes me value artifact lands so highly. Artifact lands give decks a nice boost without taking up spell slots.

As long as you are heavy Black, Consume Spirit rips through any artifact creature. It fills a need that Black has. Pewter Golem is one among many regenerators. Consume Spirit kills Goblin Dirigible, Spikeshot Goblin, and Clockwork Dragon and it gives a nice little life bonus in the process.

Consume Spirit is the most powerful late game common in the block. The tremendous damage-dealing potential makes it a huge asset to have in your deck. It is true that in the early game, it isn’t very efficient removal, but at least it is still removal. I might have to spend my entire turn to burn out a Spikeshot Goblin, but considering what would have happened if I didn’t then Consume Spirit has earned its keep.

If you don’t like Black, I can understand why you would rather take Pewter Golem, but you are submitting to a vicious circle. Say you open up a pack that has both Pewter Golem and Consume Spirit. If you take the Pewter Golem whoever gets the Consume Spirit will try and force heavy black. Therefore you won’t be seeing much Black at all in pack two and factoring in your dislike of Black you will often have the Golem as one of your only Black cards at all.

Now look at the scenario where you take the Consume Spirit. When you are taking Consume Spirit you are projecting some Tomfidence into your drafting style. Once again, you are saying,”I am Black! Fear me!” to your drafting table. Down the table someone will take the Pewter Golem, but because you are forcing Black they will often give up on Black quickly when they see no further Black cards.

Then in pack two, not only will you get the hook up, but you will get more Consume Spirits, making your decision smarter and smarter. The only other thing that happens in this scenario is that after taking Consume Spirit, you don’t see much Black coming down to you. When that happens, just give up on Black. It isn’t a great splash color anyhow, so just forget about it totally.

Pewter Golem is the better wuss pick. Drafting is about committing to cards and to strategies, while Pewter Golem is about being insipid.

In case you were wondering what insipid meant, here is the definition from Dictionary.com.”Wanting in spirit, life, or animation; uninteresting; weak; vapid; flat; dull; heavy; as, an insipid woman; an insipid composition.” Indifferent probably would have been a better word to use there but I couldn’t pass up my chance on being bold.

I feel obligated to mention that Pewter Golem gets shut down by Needlebug, Tel-Jilad Chosen, and Tel-Jilad Archers while Consume Spirit kills all three. I already have to play so many creatures that get raped by the trinity, why should my high pick creatures get shut down by them as well?

Why does Ken’s forum always get the vote poll? I wish that my forum did, or better yet that we had a combined forum. That would be swell so instead of having to check one forum and then the other we would be able to see everybody’s opinion at once. I love checking out the forums for the Dilemma series. The thoughts are always interesting and educational to read.

During Thanksgiving week I watch at least a half-dozen movies if not more. I have seen Finding Nemo (Woot! – Mixed Mike), 8 Mile, Chicago, The Sum of All Fears, The Missing, Catch Me If You Can, and Boat Trip. I also watched the Press Your Luck Scandal on the Game Show Network. In it, CBS is worked over worse than Nick Eisel was by the DCI.

Of course Nick does hate turkey. It is strange that he hates turkey, yet seemed to think that Talking Turkey would make for a good article title. [That one was me, as are the majority of article titles. – Knut] In the article he discusses how Black is weak in Mirrodin limited.

Green was weak in Tempest Limited but that is why Trained Armodon and Rootwalla were so good. You could draft a heavy Green deck that made these fatties’ color requirements non-existent. All of a sudden, your deck became a powerhouse with cheap, efficient fatties. Getting lots of Black in Mirrodin is the same. You can force Black and make your Consume Spirits into Disintegrates with a bonus.

Movies are great to watch at my cousin’s house here in Philly. Not only can you make hot chocolate in less than 10 seconds, but also they have Bose surround sound system hooked up in their family room. It is sweet.

Here is my pick listing for Black’s commons.

1. Terror

Consume Spirit

Pewter Golem

Nim Shrieker


Leaden Myr

Vault of Whispers

Moriok Scavenger

Nim Replica

Disciple of the Vault

Nim Lasher

Wail of the Nim

Dross Prowler

Wrench Mind

Necrogen Spellbomb

Contaminated Bond

Chimney Imp

Nim Shrieker and Irradiate are both very good in the same style of deck. The difference is that often I will have decks where the Irradiate doesn’t have enough fuel to be played. It is risky to cast when it is for exactly enough damage. Leaden Myr and Vault of Whispers both are excellent in Black-based decks. They provide artifact fuel for your creatures, and make Irradiate into a great removal card. Black has more double- and triple-colored cards than any other color, so the Leaden Myr is especially useful.

I really don’t like Moriok Scavenger. For as powerful and awesome Skeleton Shard has been for me, Moriok Scavenger has been equally disappointing. There aren’t enough creatures being played in any individual deck for the Scavenger to really shine, and unlike Skeleton Shard he isn’t good enough to build your deck around.

Nim Replica, Disciple of the Vault and Nim Lasher are all crappy filler creatures. The Replica is always playable, while the Disciple and the Nim need special circumstances to be worthwhile. Wail of the Nim is a solid sideboard card and a fine trick. Chimney Imp probably isn’t the worst Black card ever, but I hate that he exists so I am ranking him last.

Ok, I will shut up now. Good night and I hope you had as much to be thankful for as I did.

Thanks for reading and vote for Consume Spirit!

Mike Turian

Team CMU-Togit

[email protected]