This is going to be a hard one to win. Mike top 8’d Pro Tour Amsterdam while I wasn’t qualified. That fact almost makes me rethink what I was thinking about this dilemma. I am sure it will make all of you take notice too. This is the first time in a while that it has truly hit me that I am not as big a fish in this smallest of ponds as I used to be.
Well you know what? I may not have a bunch of points next to my name anymore, but I am the same player that 6-0’d the draft day at Nationals and Worlds in the same year. I am the same guy who made the top 4 of a Rochester Draft Grand Prix. I wasn’t qualified for Amsterdam, but I could have been. All I had to do was attend Worlds this year. For all intents and purposes, I met the criteria to play in that event. I just didn’t fulfill the DCI’s requirement.
I only preface my article with this to temper you all. It is hard to win a debate against someone who has put the numbers on the board in this particular format, and I don’t want all the bells and whistles to distract you. I am the same person you have been reading for four years. You have trusted me and read my advice for that long. If you read the arguments and decide that the Viridian Longbow is better, so be it. But I ask you to consider the arguments presented not the resume of the arguers.
Affinity for Artifacts. Where would this ability take us? There aren’t that many cards that seemed to leap out at us in the beginning. I, for one, considered Frogmite unplayable. Myr Enforcer didn’t seem insane at the time. Thoughtcast might be good depending on how much card advantage mattered in the format.
Like so many pros, I was way off in my reading of this ability. Frogmite is not only playable, he should be sought after for this deck Enforcer is arguably the best first pick first pack common in the set. And Thoughtcast is an easy pick for this deck.
Now how does this relate to the argument of Viridian Longbow versus Leonin Scimitar you ask? They are both one-mana artifacts, they both help Affinity. Well, I need to let you all in on a little secret: Affinity is an aggressive deck. I would love to spend all day shooting down dorks instead of attacking, but sometimes your opponents play things like Myr Enforcer, and Fangren Hunter. Mike mentioned there aren’t many bombs in this format, and he is right, but the bombs are big, and I want to make sure my opponent is dead before he has a chance to cast them.
You know one of the most amazing things about life? Everything is relative. +1/+1 doesn’t seem like much when compared to all 6000+ Magic cards. But you may want to compare it to just the 300+ cards in Mirrodin. Making your 2/3 a 3/4 or making your 4/4 a 5/5 can be absolutely devastating in this format. The one damage from Longbow, while also better in this format, doesn’t always help improve your board, and the extra equip cost tips the balance to the Scimitar.
I have focused on one deck type. You can see how the Scimitar improves a deck like Affinity. What about White Equipment decks? The Scimitar is just as effective with the Den-Guard and more effective with the Cub. To paraphrase Mike, what would you rather have, an Air Elemental or a Mawcore. I don’t know about you, but I like Air Elemental. Especially when it is so much cheaper.
How about Green/Red? Well, as much as I like the idea of giving my Fangren Hunter the ability to kill a Myr outside of combat, I think I am going to go ahead and keep attacking with him. Better yet, I am going to make him fight other Hunters and live. With Spikeshot Goblin, it is a give and take. Bow lets you divide up the damage while Scimitar frees up another creature.
In many games, you simply won’t notice the difference between the effects of Scimitar and Longbow. What you will notice in the early game is the mana commitment. I am unsure how Mike, advocate of thirteen to fifteen land counts, could favor a card that requires so much mana to be effective.
I know I ran down the pick order in my last column, but I will boil it down to the common nuts and bolts here:
This is still the king of the common Equipment. It deals the most damage the fastest. While it isn’t nearly as good as once thought, it still is automatically played in any deck you draft. The tempo it offers in the early game can be too much to over come and in the late game it can end things on a trampler or evasion creatures. Pick them up early, but not as early as you once did.
2. Leonin Scimitar
How different is this from Bonesplitter when you think about it? It gets the same total power/toughness bonus. There are certainly times where the extra toughness can help. The main reason this one falls to second is because it just is not as strong on evasion creatures. The strength and efficiency of this card makes it quite powerful.
3. Viridian Longbow
This card bounces around for me a lot. Once upon a time I thought it was the best Equipment. Later, I was cutting it from most of my decks. I am truly unsure where it stands, but I’ll be damned if I am going to put it above the aggressive Equipment. However this card is good in stalemates and against a weakly developed board by your opponent.
4. Vulshok Gauntlets
Very slow, but very devastating in combination with a small subset of cards. This is one of those famous cards that when it is good, it is great, and when it is not, it is near dead. When you have the cards it is good with: Den-guard, Cub, Spikeshot, Yotian Soldier, Goblin War-Wagon, Goblin Dirigible, go ahead and grab it. Otherwise you are looking at a card that is just too slow in this format.
5. Neurok Hoversail
This card can be great in Affinity if you pick up some Enforcers. These two cards are like chocolate and peanut butter. This card is also solid in Green decks and can have a place in a deck with multiple Den-guards.
6. Slagwurm Armor
This card can actually make a Black deck insanely broken. You can slap this on its creatures and they go from auto trades to unstoppable machines. Outside of this arena, the Armor is only used in desperation in Affinity decks and Equipment decks.
There isn’t much common Equipment out there, but it is important to know what you should take and where. Numbers one and seven are easy, the rest can often be deck dependent, and please don’t forget the lesson from my last Equipment article. Equipment in overrated, you don’t need to go nuts scooping it up.
Good Man of the Week
Throughout history there have been many famous players from around the world. Many have brought with them distinctive looks and styles. These are the players we find to be truly unique. These are the players to which we all aspire to be like. These are the players who have found their own form of cool and to hell with what others think.
But I am here to talk about Pat Sullivan.
Pat is about as white as they come. Pat is so white, that the sun looks down and says,”sorry dude.” Pat is so white, when you shine a flashlight at him you go blind. Pat is so white, they had to draw a smiley face on his driver’s license where the picture would go. Pat is so white, when he buys sun block the cashier just says,”good luck.”
To his credit, Pat has never let this physical impairment stop him from wearing the most thuggish of throwback jerseys while puffing on a clove. Pat can’t hide his whiteness, but he does seem to run from it like Vanilla Ice.
The co-proprietor of The Only Game in Town in Somerville, New Jersey, Pat is one of the founding members of Team TOGIT. He was also one of the primary forces in bringing Team CMU together with Team TOGIT. Soon after, Patrick was rewarded by being removed from the mailing list.
Patrick is a master slacker. He is co-owner of his own business, but to look at him you would think he drifts through life without a care in the world. Recently Pat has received some fantastic news. He has gotten engaged to the other CMU-TOGIT connection, Kate Stavola. He and Kate have been seeing each other for quite some time and they recently decided to tie the knot. Best of luck to the both of you!
So Pat Sullivan, for your ghetto look and feel despite your pasty-white skin, for your ability to hold together a store, a team, a love-life all while acting like a cast member of Half Baked (just attitude folks, not activities!), and for snagging one damn fine lady, I award you Good Man of the Week!