The Mistform Wall Dilemma: Aven!

I think the real issue at hand is whether or not Mistform Wall is better than the Mistform Dreamer. For quite some time up to (and possibly including) Pro Tour Chicago, it was the general consensus that the 2/1 flier was better, and I was also under this impression.

Last week, I mentioned something about starting in on Legions picks for this article. As you can see, I have been convinced otherwise. Ken and I talked for a while, and I realized that it is indeed worthwhile to finish the set of five dilemma articles for Onslaught before moving onward for a number of reasons.

First off, Ken has some very radical opinions on the last two colors (Blue and White) that are definitely worth discussing just based on their extremity. Second, I haven’t had nearly enough experience with the Legions cards to go as in-depth as I’d like to, so we’ll put it off a couple weeks and make sure we’ve covered everything in Onslaught sufficiently.

As I said, I really wasn’t planning on doing these articles, in favor of doing something new and fresh that you guys would be more interested in, but when you see the profound difference in opinion here I think you will understand what I’m saying.

The card of the week is everyone’s favorite Horned Turtle, the Mistform Wall. Now if you know me, you know that this dude and I have a long and dated history as far back as the initial release of Onslaught. I love this card. But apparently, KK has recently realized that he loves it more! How can this be? Well, he ranks it first in his list of blue commons!

When he first told me this, my initial reaction was "Are you crazy!?!?" But let’s at least give the benefit of the doubt for now and look into some of the reasons why Mistform Wall is such a wonderful and necessary card for every blue mage to get his hands on.

I know that whenever I cast a turn 3 wall, I always feel very secure about my position because it is very difficult for morphs to break through it. This gives plenty of time to start a good airforce, or put a Lavamancer’s Skill on the wall or something like that. So the first check mark in the plus column for the Wall is definitely the defense it provides to allow you more time to set up your game plan.

Next, of course, is the fact that he is by far the best target for a Lavamancer’s Skill. This is for plenty of obvious reasons, like being able to survive both Shock and Solar Blast, as well as being virtually untargetable by Cruel Revivals as long as you have a mana up. This leaves only Swat and Pinpoint Avalanche as common answers to your machine-gun, and that’s a very narrow set of solutions.

Equally important to these is the Mistform ability that separates the wall from more common creatures of his variety from the past like the Horned Turtle I mentioned earlier. Being able to change into a Goblin to help out Sparksmith, a Zombie to avoid Cruel Revival, being able to attack, and much much more is important.

(And yes, I know all of this is obvious – but it seems important to go through all of the good points in order to see if KK’s argument actually meets up to mine).

So basically, we have a 1/4 body that serves many purposes and acts as the backbone to any blue-based deck. My question now becomes, how is this better than a sleek aggressive flier like Ascending Aven? I really cannot agree that it is based on the overall picture.

While I don’t have very much to say in regard to negative comments about the Wall, I really can’t ever advocate it as being better than a quick three-power flier. Everything about Ascending Aven is great; it morphs, it’s splashable, and puts your opponent on a fast clock. The only bad thing about the Wall is when you start to get more than three of them, your deck will start lacking severely in the offensive department. I’ve had decks with four or five walls, and it takes quite a while to actually beat someone down with them when they are your main force, trust me.

I think the real issue at hand is whether or not Mistform Wall is better than the Mistform Dreamer. For quite some time up to (and possibly including) Pro Tour Chicago, it was the general consensus that the 2/1 flier was better, and I was also under this impression. This was, of course, before about a month of straight-up forcing Blue/Red in drafts, and learning every in and out of the archetype. My sights are now definitely set on the Wall over the Dreamer, because the Dreamer is too weak and slow unless you have already established a good defense on the ground. This "defense" is usually made possible by the Wall that you should be taking over the Dreamer to begin with. The blue decks in this format simply have to stabilize the board and then win easily with fliers or recursive ping effects like the Smith and Skill. This is the main reason that the Wall is simply an all-around better card.

I certainly can’t agree with taking Wall over Aven, though, as the Aven is simply too fast and efficient and can often easily race the ground boys as it is…

Anyway, time for the customary pick order:

  1. Ascending Aven

  2. Mistform Wall

  3. Mistform Dreamer

  4. Choking Tethers

  5. Riptide Biologist

  6. Sage Aven

  7. Imagecrafter

  8. Mage’s Guile

  9. Disruptive Pitmage

  10. Slipstream Eel

  11. Backslide

Well, this list is certainly much shorter than the other colors, thanks to the presence of Sea’s Claim, Trickery Charm, and the like. Nobody said blue was the deepest color in Onslaught.

A few final comments regarding the list. Sometimes I will take Imagecrafter higher, such as if I have a card like Peer Pressure, or I’m blue/black with multiple crafters and Misery Charms to banish creatures with. Mage’s Guile is also a great card for any blue deck, saving your guys from removal, or countering creature enchantments, and I’m never unhappy to have to run two. The Biologist is obviously insane simply because of the number of beasts in the environment, and he gives you a way to deal with things like Snarling Undorak, which would otherwise pummel you into the earth in short order. Sage Aven, as I said in my underrated cards article, is a nice Skill target, as well as serving as a smaller Wall, but almost as good. Throw in his added deck manipulation for Erratic Explosions and getting you out of a mana glut and you have a solid creature.

Next week, we’ll wrap this up with White.

Nick Eisel

Team CMU

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