Recently, the pattern Wizards has used for their Sneak Preview Weeks leading up to new sets has left me… underwhelmed. The focus is usually on the “flash” — getting people excited for the new set, showing off the flashy hot “chase” cards to pump up the set.
Which is great. I mean, I dig Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon as much as the next, uh, guy who loves big black flying fatties. (Today’s “quote Dave out of context” quote if ever there was one.) But most of the people who are reading this column are not doing so because they’re going to run out the moment the new set drops and pay two hundred bucks for a play set of Venser, the Sojourner or Elspeth Tirel. To me, the focus on rares and mythics in the previews just means I’m getting to see a lot of cards I’ll just curse at from the other side of the table.
(Primeval Titan! *shakes fist*)
So I watch the official previews with some temerity now. The Blight Dragon is intriguing, but is missing a home, and I think Black-based control is still missing something before becoming completely viable, despite Wizards reprinting great Mono-Black Control cards like Corrupt and Mind Sludge for us. Hrm. There’s the Mindslaver reprint; interesting. The planeswalkers are strong (have they made a weak walker yet?) â€” and, of course, they’re pre-selling for fifty bucks a pop . Yawn.
I guess I’ll just wait until after States for the Pros to tell me what to play. There’s no Jund to fall back on this year.
Okay, I’m just kidding. Be brave.
The first card that piqued my interest was, amazingly, not a rare, but an uncommon:
Artifact Creature – Myr (U)
Other Myr creatures you control get +1/+1.
1, Tap: Untap each other Myr you control.
Seems innocuous enough, huh? Everyone mainly remembers the Myr as the Limited mana-producing two-drops that stood in for Signets (or the other mana-producing artifacts that seem to crop up in every set). We know they’re coming back in Scars of Mirrodin â€” the various Assault on Mirrodin parties last weekend confirmed it. So what’s the big deal? Your little 1/1 mana donks get upgraded to 2/2, but they’re still essentially just artifact Grizzly Bears at that point.
But there are two things that niggle at the back of my mind.
One, the fact that he’s an uncommon certainly makes me perk up and take notice; the last time they printed uncommon Lords was in Lorwyn Block, and those guys were fairly dominant. Furthermore, they had plenty of support cards around them in their set. Wizened Cenn won at least two Grand Prixs, Imperious Perfect anchored Charles Gindy deck to win Pro Tour: Hollywood â€˜08, and Merrow Reejerey is strong enough to see play in Legacy still to this day. If Wizards is willing to put this guy into the set as an uncommon, it means that they expect him to be pumping up his little Myr buddies on a regular basis â€” which means that hopefully, they’ve put enough Myr into the set for him to be relevant.
Second, maybe it’s just me, but I remember that Mirrodin had more than just the mana Myrs. First and forefront is probably Myr Enforcer (though I always think of him as “just another Affinity dude” and never really think of him as a Myr), but there were also about fifteen other Myr just hanging out throughout the block. I actually used Alpha Myr in my early Affinity builds (back before we had all the actual “good” cards that showed up in Darksteel), and Myr Retriever had some fringe uses. So history provides another reason to believe that Myr Galvanizer might be relevant.
And as could be expected, we’re already seeing some of these secondary Myr showing up in spoilers as well:
Poison is looking to be a heckuva lot more viable than … well, than it certainly was in Mirage. I’m not going to quite go to Sliver Kids, but I think you get my drift. Backed up by a Galvanizing Myr, an Ichorclaw Myr can take down a Wall of Omens, can tangle with creatures that cost twice as much as it does like Obstinate Baloth, and certainly provide a “must-block” attacker. Sounds great.
We’ll need to see more Myr before we can determine whether Galvanizing Myr is going to support a weenie aggro strategy, but … wait! What’s this? A second ability?
1, Tap: Untap each other Myr you control.
I guess there COULD come a time where, in an aggro deck, you want to untap all your guys to get in damage and then sit back on defense, kind of like giving all your guys vigilance for a small price. But the real question is … how often are you going to make infinite mana using a pair of these guys?
Step One: Take two Myr Galvanizers and enough Myr to make two mana.
Step Two: Tap Myr for two mana.
Step Three: Use one mana to untap both mana Myr using Galvanizer #1.
Step Four: Tap Myr for two mana, three mana now in the pool.
Step Five: Use one mana to untap both mana Myr and Galvanizer #1 using Galvanizer #2.
Now you have two mana in your mana pool, and can start back over at step two to generate as much mana as you want!
Step Seven: Profit!
Yeah, still gotta work on that end game.
We know we have access to the Mirrodin mana Myrs, but we also have this guy:
Artifact Creature – Myr (U)
Tap: Add 2 to your mana pool.
That cuts down the critical Myr mass to three; couple one of those guys with a pair of Galvanizers, and generate colorless mana to your little heart’s content.
(Man, I am going to call that guy “Palladia-Mors” a whole bunch of times. Maybe on purpose.)
It’s two plans of attack, and that may be its ultimate downfall — not having enough focus to one of its jobs to the fullest extent. But my time is precious, and I’m not going to play an infinite-mana version of the deck one week and a poison-weenie version of the deck the next week to see which one I like better. I’ve included the infinite-mana combo (along with some Comet Storms to make use of the mana), but I’ve also gone ahead and snuck in a little of the weenie aggro strategy that Myr Galvanizer sets you up for.
It’s 10 p.m. on Wednesday night and Mike Flores just dropped the third fifty-dollar Planeswalker from the set, Koth of the Hammer, in his mothership column. (Well, it’s $40 as of Thursday, but that may change — T.F.) See what I mean? The other preview is a rare too â€” albeit one that’s more likely to end up in a future column of Tribal Thriftiness once its price plummets under a buck. No offense, Kuldotha Forgemaster.
Rare Cost Summary:
Tempered Steel ($1.99 x 4 = $7.96)
Now this is a different approach altogether: Amass and overwhelm. Drop a few guys, start generating some extra mana, refill your hand with Shared Discovery and then untap all your guys with a Myr Galvanizer. Foresee’s not the cheapest secondary draw spell, but at some point mana won’t become an issue (or, that’s the plan) and we don’t have Mind Spring any more, so it seems like a passable starting point. Draw a handful of cards, drop a few more guys, and let Unified Will protect your team, since at that point it’s essentially Counterspell for 1U. Drop a Tempered Steel the next turn and smash away.
The Time Has Come To… Galvanize!
(Let’s face it â€” there aren’t many lyrical options for that word.)
The truth is, we’re just getting started. At the tip of the proverbial spoiler iceberg, as it were. With The 2010s coming up hot on the heels of the release of Scars of Mirrodin, every single card that rears its head on these Interwebs is going to have to be discussed, dissected, and digested in record speed in order to really get a head’s-up on the competition come October 9th. And often times, especially when it comes to $50 mythics, card availability becomes a real issue â€” so processing the uncommons and commons (that should be readily available) becomes the real key.
Or so I think.
Look for me to be pushing what little envelope I have at States on October 9th. Until then, let’s keep seeing those commons and uncommons! Scars is shaping up to be a very interesting set!
Until next week,
dave dot massive at Gmail and davemassive at Facebook and Twitter