Saturday, April 23, 2011

New Phyrexia EDH Set Review: Part 2 - Blue

Welcome back. Let's check out what goodies Blue gets this time around. Will Proliferate strategies be pushed over the top? Spoiler: Nope.

Could be a cute trick for Rafiq decks.  Doublestrike bounces two of their guys. Neat. Probably not worth it, though. I'd rather this was an Aura global enchantment so it could go in Zur decks. But then it'd need to cost like 6 mana, probably, to be not broken. Oh well.

Now THIS will be worth a slot in Rafiq. This is almost strictly better than Jhessian Infiltrator, in that specific deck. I've vigorously defended my choice to run a 2/2 unblockable for 2, and Jhessian Infiltrator has never once let me down. But this obsoletes the Infiltrator entirely. Too bad the art sucks, though.

Arguably the worst of the Chancellor cycle, as its "reveal"  ability has no real impact on the start of the game. At the same time, it's probably the most playable in EDH, because by the time you draw and cast this there WILL be something juicy in someone's graveyard. It's janky but seems really cool and fun to play. I like it.

 The only Exarch likely to see play, it's actually not terrible by itself, but sadly it'll just be a dirty combo peice with Kiki-Jiki (a la Pestermite). I'd like it enough to actually play it if you could do both modes, but as is, I'll pass. 

Man, fuck this card.  10 mana for a 5/4 creature that has NO immediate impact on the board. Clearly this was meant to be EDH-bait, but this card is very anti-social. It's a "binary" card in that it has exactly two modes: utterly unplayable and utterly broken. No middle ground = no fun.

I'm not a fan of countermagic in EDH, and this one is particularly bad. I mention it here simply to point out that you can use it to counter Turn 1 Sol Rings or Sensei's Divining Tops, even if you haven't played a land. Yeah, that's not going to happen often enough to warrant running this, but it IS funny enough to warrant mention.

God what an awful card! If it said "each opponent" instead of "target opponent" it MIGHT be worth a slot in some Wrexial deck... As it stands, it's just plain terrible.

A vaguely Duplicant-like creature. And yet no where near as good. I do like that it's always going to be +3/+3 bigger than what it eats - that's a cool touch flavor-wise and power-wise. But at 7 mana, and requiring you to be in Blue makes this significantly less versatile. It should easily see some play in less cutthroat groups.

First a Duplicant variant, now a Clone variant. But woah mama, what a clone! This is just dripping with versatility (which looks a lot like mercury, oddly).  Copy a creature? Sure. Copy an artifact? Sure! A Clone that can copy a Sword of Fire and Ice? Hell yeah!! Sign me up for 12 of these puppies - it has "every deck ever" status written all over it.

People tend to really hate you when you exile their shit, so this seems like it would paint a disproportionately large target on your head, yet doesn't do much to protect you once you've earned the table's ire. It might be better than I think, but I really expect this to just get frowny faces all around.

Interesting. Far from universally playable, but there is more than one kind of deck that could play this. A fine supplement to any existing Proliferate strategy.

Infect and Proliferate on the same card is hilarious, yet stupidly obvious at the same time. I'd like to chide WotC for this no-brainer, but at the same time, it sort of HAD to be done. Will I play it? Not bloody likely, but I suspect some folks might. It does add a crucial element to any "defensive" Infect deck.

A "Johnny" card through and through, this will take some thinking to find those wonderful interactions. The obvious use is forcing a tribal theme. How GOOD that use would be depends on the tribe, of course, but it's kinda boring. I'd like to see something really creative come out of this.

And that wraps up our look at blue. This time the big fat Mythic is a horribly anti-fun card, and should never be played, in my opinion. I'm so disappointed! Fortunately the Metamorph goes a long way to making up for that let-down, Rafiq decks got another really good Infect tool, Proliferate got multiple options, and the Chancellor just looks like a really fun card. So, not too shabby, despite that fucking Praetor.


  1. OK, I totally appreciate the binary argument RE the Praetor, but I'd like you to elaborate on why that card is any worse than something like Consecrated Sphinx relative to its mana cost. CS is played in every blue deck I know of, and it's a whole lot of table buzzkill whenever it resolves. Bribery is really unfun at 5 mana and everybody plays that, too. The Praetor might have incremental more buzzkill, but it costs more than Tooth and freaking Nail. Yes, if it gets around the table, look out, but you could say exactly the same thing about CS. Our group outlawed Tidespount Tyrant because of the binary argument, and maybe we'll do that to our friend Jin, too, but until then I'm looking forward to seeing how it works. But any thoughts you have exactly why it's so broken would be appreciated (my thick skull needs some enlightenment from time to time, even about the obv :)).

    BTW, I really enjoy your site! The writing is clever and concise, especially for a blog. Keep it up!

  2. thanks for the comments and compliments maxwellian. I appreciate the feedback.

    As to my stance on Jin... Your comparison to Bribery is a pretty solid point - that card is kind of a buzzkill. I fully disagree about Concecrated Sphinx, though. CS only helps it's controller, whereas Jin actively hurts your opponents while helping you.

    If Constipated Sphix also had another ability that forced opponents to discard, the comparison would be more apt... but Jin is like a Concecrated Sphnix AND Myojin of Night's Reach all in one.

    Futhermore I CS extremely fun to play with, and while it MIGHT bury my opponents in an avalance of Card Advantage it does NOTHING to hinder THEIR game, save swinging in the air for 4. Jin does hinder my opponent's game in very un-fun way. Being in top-deck mode while your opponent has 7 cards in hand is NEVER a fun situation to be in, especially in EDH.

    I can also see your point about Tidespout Tyrant... that'd be a bitch to play against, but it's a card no one in my group has any interest in playing, much for the same reason. It's fairly "binary" too, in that using in "fairly" is often underpowered, but the minute you start doing enough to make Tidespout good enough to justify running him, he becomes very antisocial.

    I guess cards like that have always existed in EDH, but my worry is that Jin Gitaxias will be popular just because he's NEW.