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Rhysticology

Have you seen that Pepsi commercial? I think it has Sammy Sosa in it, and all these people taking the “Pepsi Challenge.” The nice looking fellow steps up to the table with the meticulously disguised cans and little pristine white paper cups, looks at the camera and says something like ‘I’ve been a Coke drinker,…

Have you seen that Pepsi commercial? I think it has Sammy Sosa in it, and all these people taking the “Pepsi Challenge.”

The nice looking fellow steps up to the table with the meticulously disguised cans and little pristine white paper cups, looks at the camera and says something like ‘I’ve been a Coke drinker, my whole family has, for fifteen years. There’s no way you’re going to fool me.’

‘Will you take the Pepsi Challenge?’

‘Sure, why not.’

He tastes the two drinks and points at one of them. ‘That one,’ he says, ‘that one tastes better.’

And, magically, they lift the cover over the can and…

it’s…

Pepsi.

The guy is SO surprised, he says ‘wow. I’ve been drinking Coke for fifteen years, but Pepsi tastes better.’ Then he give the camera that “AHHH!” smile.

(musically) Ba-ba-ba-bap-ba, ba-ba-ba-bap-ba, the joy of cola!

COME ON!

You don’t seriously believe him, do you? I mean, really. I don’t drink much soda, myself, but I can CERTAINLY taste the difference between Coke and Pepsi. And I’d be willing to bet my Rishadan Ports that you can, too.

It’s. Not. That. Hard.

So, what this commercial wants me to believe is that this nice looking man, who has been drinking Coca-Cola for fifteen years, because, obviously, he has always liked the taste of it better, has been standing in this crowd for hours, for no other reason than to take the Pepsi Challenge? If he was so all-fired keen on Coca-Cola, seems like he’d have just blown Pepsi off to begin with. Fifteen years – if I drank only one soda for fifteen years, it’s probably because I LOVE IT TO DEATH AND WOULD NEVER EVER CHANGE BRANDS.

Can you say “paid actor?”

Personally, I don’t believe testimonials unless they come from animated characters.

Did you know that market research has proven that people respond better to an animated character than to a spokesperson? Even Bill Cosby. Why do you think they stuck Bugs Bunny on the Michael Jordan commercials?

Because paid actors aren’t always convincing.

Like the rhystic spells.

As much as I may want to believe I’m going to get to Tutor, I can’t make myself.
As much as I may want to believe I’m going to give my creature +5/+5, I can’t make myself.
As much as I may want to believe I’m going to get to draw three cards, I can’t make myself.

I have to ask my opponent, “hey, is it okay with you if I Tutor? Or wreck you? You mind?”

Of course he minds! The question is, can he stop you?

The answer is: probably. Especially after you’ve shown him your propensity for rhystic magic. If you hit him with it hard enough last time, he’ll probably hold two mana back.

That’ll learn you.

BUT. Is this necessarily a bad thing? I mean, let’s talk about mana usage. Counterspell is one of the most mana intensive cards ever printed, even though it only costs UU. Why? You’ve played blue – what is the ONE AND ONLY THING YOU CAN BE SURE THEY’LL DO?

Make sure they have two untapped Islands at all times.

Now, this effectively “eats” two mana each turn, regardless of whether any spells get countered. Since the mana has to be available, it is dedicated. If it isn’t used, it basically goes to waste.

Right? Right?

Now, that’s all fine for blue decks – they’re designed with this concept in mind. That’s why they spend the whole game doing nothing: they need that mana to keep you from doing stuff.

So. Once we stop talking about blue (because blue will do this, no matter what – and rhystic spells are GARBAGE in the matchup), we see that rhystic spells can cause other decks to do the same thing as blue does: hold mana back to counter spells. Because other decks aren’t designed to do this, it’s very disruptive to their strategies.

And they have to stop you. If you just let Some Kid with Rhystic.dec cast whatever he or she pleases, he or she is going to wreck you like you aren’t sitting there. If you DON’T prevent people from using rhystic magic, it’s the most amazing thing since Time Spiral.

My favorite of the rhystic cards is Rhystic Lightning. It’s so well designed. Look at it for just a moment. Admire its elegance.

Ten points if you see why this card is SO cool.

If you don’t, that’s okay. The rest of us aren’t judging you.

Look at mana parity. First, let’s compare it to Fireball (or, um, Blaze. Sigh). This is only a fair comparison when your opponent does not rhysto-fy the spell. Well, compared to Fireball, which would cost you 4R for that much damage, you’re saving a bundle. Let’s not mention that Lightning is an instant. So, there, Rhystic Lightning is a *very* sweet deal.

In a perfect world.

So what happens when your opponent rhysto-fies the spell, making it only hit for two? Well, as far as mana parity, two mana in the casting cost is deducted, since your opponent is tapping two lands too. Because of this, Rhystic Lightning is effectively costed the same as Shock, if your opponent exercises his option.

And I think people still play with Shock.

Or, you can think of it as a Shock + two Ports for 2R.

Whatever you want to think of it as, it’s good stuff. If you can disrupt your opponent with rhystic spells without actually suffering a disadvantage because of them, you’re taking full advantage of this interesting new mechanic.

take care.

Omeed Dariani.
Omeed@starcitygames.com
Eic – www.starcitygames.com
Contributing Editor, Scrye Magazine

“The problem with her is that she lacks
the power of conversation but not the
power of speech.

-George Bernard Shaw”

-Should have been the flavor text on Rhystic Scrying.