Why Nemesis Is Good For Magic

Did you know that the Chinese use the same word for "crisis" as they do for "opportunity?" If you answered "yeah, crisitunity!" score yourself three points. In Magic, I think we’re getting a bit of a crisitunity right now. That crisitunity is better known as Nemesis. When , president of www.starcitygames.com, asked me which Nemesis…

Did you know that the Chinese use the same word for "crisis" as they do for "opportunity?"

If you answered "yeah, crisitunity!" score yourself three points.

In Magic, I think we’re getting a bit of a crisitunity right now. That crisitunity is better known as Nemesis.

When Pete Hoefling, president of www.starcitygames.com, asked me which Nemesis rares he should try and pick up at the Prerelease, I had to bite my lip, trying not to laugh. If you’ve flipped through the spoiler, you know why. Nemesis is, um, not quite up to par. Carl Jarrell said it should have been called "Apology." Chris Otwell referred to it as part of the Homelands block.

Me, I call it a crisitunity! Because, for all of the doom-saying and negative press that Nemesis is getting, it really has a couple of beastly good cards. Come on, really! There are a few. Though the genius of some cards is not so apparent, the genius is still there. I can just imagine R&D designing this card:

Filler Golem #64
Artifact Creature – Golem, 4/4, R

If you control seven or more permanents, return Filler Golem to your hand.

Okay. This card is stupidly brilliant. The more you think about it, the funnier it is. Here’s how I picture their conversation going:

Lead Designer: "I have designed the brilliant Filler Golem #64. What do you guys think?"
Not Lead Designer: "Well, it’s not quite as good as Masticore. In fact, it’s awful, by comparison."
Caged Monkey: "Yeah."
Lead Designer: "I know. It isn’t supposed to be as good. As we all know, Masticore is WAY overpowered. But think, when Masticore rotates out! BAM! This guy’ll be a beast. A 4/4 beast."
Miscellaneous Designer: "But, it’s brilliant, see? People will love it! Blue can’t really Treachery it, because they couldn’t play another permanent. So, it’s going to be really good!"
Lead Designer: "I was hoping you guys would catch that. See how subtle and complicated the card is?"
Mailman: "Yeah, but aren’t Masticore and Treachery both in Urza’s Block?"
Lead Designer: "Let’s call it Complex Automaton, because it’s complicated." Not Lead Designer: "Sweet."

Sounds like a traumedy to me.

Because, you see, we are the victims of a comic trauma, or traumedy, called Nemesis.

But it’s also a crisitunity. Jeff Donais has said that Type II, a year from now, is going to be incredible. Looking over Nemesis, I agree with him. You know why?

Because Masques is crap. Nemesis is crap. Prophecy, in all likelihood, will be crap. The real question is: why is that? Is it because R&D is overreacting to the power of the Rath and Saga blocks? Or, is it that they overpowered those two blocks, and are now returning to their normal design habits?

Maybe Tempest and Saga were the crap. Now, we’re hooked on power cards the same way Americans are hooked on T.V. We don’t want to give them up! They’re broken!

I mean Morphling. MORPHLING. Morphling. Someone asked me why Morphling doesn’t regenerate. Why doesn’t it, really? Is that too much to ask? Would it really be any stronger?

I think that last W was supposed to be a C. Must have been a tpyo.

They don’t call Morphling Superman because he looks good in tights. I mean, has anyone ever killed a Morphling by result of anything other than player error?

Have you noticed how similar Mercadian Masques is to Mirage? There are a lot of similarities in quality ratios, general playability and junk rare quantities. Very similar, indeed.

Yeah, I know. Nemesis is no Visions. But still. The point is, toning down the power level of Magic is a good thing the same way toning down the level of chlorofluorocarbons in the air is a good thing.

Oh. I bet people will be living a lot longer they stop breathing all the junk in the air. Same premise works, Magically inclined.

I’m happy with Nemesis, even though it leaves me a little flustered, as I vainly try to figure out a top ten list. I’m happy that Winter Orb is back, and that it is blue, and that it costs twice as much as before. It is SO much better.

Why? I mean, really, how can I say that? It’s SO obvious that Rising Waters is STRICTLY INFERIOR to Winter Orb. So, why is it better?

Because it’s a fairer card, now. The four casting-cost won’t deter its play. It’s Armageddon, baby. Now, control doesn’t have to auto-lose to a turn-two Orb, but it still has to fear Winter Orb – it’s coming. And, once it’s in play, most decks will have an absolute FIT trying to get rid of it. It’s also more symmetrical – the means of abusing it are far more abstract and unprofitable than those that abuse Winter Orb. Rising Waters is everything Winter Orb is supposed to be. Man, I hope the art isn’t as lame as the flavor text.

To diverge, I’ve been talking with Jeff Donais about the Type II petition. The good news is, the DCI is taking it seriously. That goes to show what we players can do, if we get organized and DO something about it. Now that we know they’ll really take the petition into consideration, I want to make sure it is loud enough that they cannot ignore it.

Many people who have emailed me have sent very kind letters, asking what else can be done to help make a Type II Pro Tour happen. I appreciate the support and thank everyone for it. If you want to help, send your name in. If you want to help more, and have already done that, then get other people to send their names in, too. Print out a copy of the petition and take it to your local Magic retailer. Ask the owner if you can display it. Take it to tournaments, show your friends, show your opponents, show everyone. Get people to sign it and send their names (and email addresses, if possible) to me. It’s going great. If we do the work, we will be successful.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for today. I hope you enjoyed it.

take care.

Omeed Dariani.
eic, www.starcitygames.com.
Contributing Editor, Scrye Magazine.

"Here lies one whose name was writ in water.
Epitaph – John Keats"
– should have been the flavor text on Rising Waters