Monday, April 4, 2016

Exploring Pauper

I get to cross yet another deck off my idea board today. Pauper is something I really don't have experience with (other than designing a Pauper Cube, but that's going to take a little while longer to work out the details), but this is a deck I've had my eye on for a while and wanted to design as my first Pauper deck.

Since we're returning to Innistrad, I figured it might as well be time to show this deck off considering the primary mechanic, Soulbond, was in Avacyn Restored, the third set of the original Innistrad block. So let's go ahead and take a look!

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Good, The Bad, and The Creepy (Part 2)

We're back with the second half of Shadows over Innistrad spoilers. Just because it wasn't in last week's article or this week's article doesn't mean it wasn't good, bad, or creepy, just that I didn't have time to include every card in at least one category. Besides, mediocre is between good and bad, but isn't a category for our purposes. So let's begin!

The Good

Chaplain’s Blessing

That's actually... really good. Sure it could be an instant and sure I guess you could cast it for zero mana or some other crazy thing some users on some forum I'm not mentioning could say, but yeah, five life for one white mana seems good. Good for control, good for lifegain decks, great in limited. Definitely good.

Expose Evil

Control is going to love Investigate. Do things to people, then sacrifice tokens and draw cards to do more things to people. It's cheap and does things.

Hanweir Militia CaptainWestvale Cult Leader

Tokens. Two mana 2/2. Three creatures to flip it and when flipped it's a 4/4 minimum and then a 5/5 at end of turn if you didn't lose any creatures. A Secure the Wastes on turn four where X = 3, you basically flip this guy next turn, or sooner depending on what you did turn one and turn three.

Unruly Mob

Yes. All we need is a Blood Artist in Eldritch Moon and some sacrifice outlet and we're in business... Or just do some crazy things with Eldrazi and Natuko Husk or something.

Essence Flux

It's better than Cloudshift...

Trail of Evidence

It's good because it allows for control to have a way to continue drawing cards and finding answers. I'm seeing a lot for control decks... Perhaps my view of favorite Magic decks is changing from aggro or some type of shenanigans to some kind of control deck.

Grotesque Mutation

I love combat tricks like this. Perfect for a life gain deck and seems well worth the cost.

Indulgent Aristocrat

Great for Vampire Aggro decks that I foresee as being either strong in bigger tournaments or at least the kind of deck you'd see at a local FNM. Seems good.

Goldnight Castigator

A four mana angel that happens to be a 4/9. With aggro, there may be downsides, especially in taking double damage, but any blockers to her should hopefully keep her alive.

Rush of Adrenaline

Combat tricks are fun.

Skin InvasionSkin Shedder

One mana to enchant a 1/1 creature that will likely die and allow for you to have a 3/4 basically with haste on turn three. I like it!

Cryptolith Rite

Fun mana acceleration. Given the lack of mana dorks for one mana these days, two mana to make all your creatures tap for mana is great. Think about it like this: Eldrazi Scions don't have to be sacrificed for mana and they now make colors.

Fork in the Road

A Delirium enabler that finds you a land. Seems good,

The Gitrog Monster

It's a really cool commander. Drop in Azusa, Crucible of Worlds, and City of Traitors, and Ghost Town, and seems like a good mix. I don't see how useful this will be in Standard, but Commander is a different ballpark.

Neglected HeirloomAshmouth Blade

I like this. Put it on any flip creature and flip the creature. It's a cool +3/+3 and first strike instead of +1/+1.

Choked Estuary Foreboding Ruins Fortified Village Game Trail Port Town

A dual land that comes in untapped when you reveal a land with basic land types. It's good early, not so good late game. Of course the tango lands from Battle for Zendikar are better late game. Seems good. Plus it's always fun to see new lands.

The Bad

Gryff’s Boon

It looks good Flying, +1/+0 and costs only one mana, but returning it to the battlefield... It seems like wasted space in a deck.

Stern Constable

Sure it adds cards to your graveyard for Delirium, but for just tapping a creature? Not good.

Vessel of Ephemera

Five mana for two 1/1 tokens with flying. Compared to the previous Innistrad block, absolutely terrible.

Nephalia Moondrakes

The high mana cost for small reward... it's what you want for a card in limited, but it's bad for everything else.

Stitchwing Skaab

The mana cost is bad for a flying 3/1 and paying mana and discarding two cards to get it from your graveyard back to the battlefield seems worse. No point really.

Vessel of Paramnesia

Three mana to mill three and draw a card. It seems all the Vessels just rehash cards from the original Innistrad block. Empire Strikes Back is typically what everyone says is the only good sequel, and if this cycle is a sequel to the original cards from a few years ago, I tend to agree.

Behold the Beyond

Basically you discard nothing and then get three free cards. At the cost of seven mana. If it costs seven to draw three cards in black, I had better be discarding everyone else's hand too. Perhaps it's a bias, but it seems pretty worthless.

Dead Weight

When I first technically started playing, I liked this. Everyone else said not to include this in the black/red aggro deck, and that's because it is bad. One mana to deal two damage to a creature in black, but it's an enchantment. So unless you're killing creatures, which there are much better spells for, this serves no purpose. You cast it and the creature you enchant dies one way or another. Many better cards to include in your 40, 60, or 100. Or 200, but this isn't Legacy and we wouldn't want this in a Battle of Wits deck anyway.

Sanitarium Skeleton

It's a similar principle to some of the above cards. Sure a one mana 1/2 is good, but outside limited, it serves no point. Why would you pay four mana to get a 1/2 out of your graveyard and back onto the battlefield? Unless you milled yourself and have no better options, but why go that method to begin with?


Too little, too late anyone?

Vessel of Malignity

I think at this point all the vessels are going to land on this list, just warning you now. One was on the list last week but the other four are here this week. I feel like I no longer have to explain why these are bad... I mean, MAYBE this one sees play in control in Standard as a one of. Where else will this ever be useful?

Lightning Axe  Reduce to Ashes

Okay... I feel the need to point these out together. First of all, with the knowledge that Lightning Bolt was in M11 (five years ago) and that several "Shock" effects have been in since as well as three damage for two mana, anything that costs five or six mana to deal five damage is outrageous. Lightning Axe is cute in that you can discard a card and pay just one mana to deal five damage, and I get that, but just leave it that way. Don't throw in the alternative. Suggesting a total cost of six makes it less cool, less unique. I'd prefer if all it said was "As an additional cost to cast Lightning Axe, discard a card. Lightning Axe deals 5 damage to target creature." Not that's sweet. I'd like that. Five extra mana as an alternative cheapens the deal, ESPECIALLY when Reduce to Ashes does the same thing but better for one less mana. It exiles the creature so you can't return it to your hand from the graveyard. Not to mention Reduce to Ashes is a common and not an uncommon like Lightning Axe.

I'm beginning to feel old. And get that irrational anger about things elderly people get. Check back with me next year and see how much more bitter I've become.

Crawling Sensation

Three mana and two lands gives you a 1/1 token and not even a good 1/1. Unless this is for that Commander deck I talked about with The Gitrog Monster... No, I still don't see this being good. Even in that, you'd have to Ghost Quarter a land to get this then do it all over again each turn for a 1/1 token. If it was better, or it was an Insect with deathtouch maybe, but there are so many better cards out there.

Deathcap Cultivator

We discussed mana dorks earlier, and a two mana enchantment that gives all of your creatures the ability to generate mana is a lot better than a two mana 2/1 that creates only two colors and could maybe have deathtouch. It's a 2/1. Most players would gladly block this with a 1/1 token since there are several 1/1 token generators out there...

Loam Dryad

A Springleaf Drum in creature form. Yeah... no thanks.

Vessel of Nascency

Three mana to look at four cards, maybe get to pick one to keep, then ditch the rest. It's the best of the cycle, but still bad over all.

Explosive Apparatus

Four mana to deal two damage. Again, it's like the Vessels... Honestly, I don't care for half the commons, but I'll admit to using them in a draft, sealed, or Magic Duels for lack of better options.

Runaway Carriage

You get one use with it fort four mana. What a waste...

The Creepy

Bound by Moonsilver

I'm not sure if that's Sorin. I don't think so, but I've always thought those things were kinda creepy/weird. And why people like to pose in them at theme parks and/or Jamestown, VA/Plymouth, MA is beyond me... Just always seemed creepy to me. And this one looks kinda pointy.

Survive the Night

I don't think she's gonna make it.

Invasive Surgery

I'm watching House M.D. on Netflix. During most scenes involving brains and other head stuff, I have to look away or skip. Anything else I'm up for, brains, especially *shudder* my skin is starting to crawl...

Sleep Paralysis

If you're afraid of sleep paralysis, you know why it's creepy. If you aren't or else don't know what it is, look up some stories. Then you might be...

Uninvited GeistUnimpeded Trespasser

Dementors. Moving on...

Grotesque Mutation



First, love the flavor, love the card. Art is a bit creepy.

Skin InvasionSkin Shedder

Uh... Actually, fun story... This reminds me a bit of a Stargate Atlantis episode... One of the first few in the first season. Don't remember which, but it has a giant bug (Irratus bug) on Shepard and... no, not I'm not going to spoil it for you. Season 1, Episode 4. "Thirty-Eight Minutes" Good episode...

Tormenting Voice

You know those paintings that look like their eyes are following you?

Inexorable Blob

Ah, the ever growing ooze...

Fevered Visions


The Gitrog Monster

The very idea of a giant toad that eats people is kinda... What's that word? Oh yeah... Creepy.

Well, thanks for joining me on this adventure through good cards, bad cards, and cards that either have creepy art or creepy ideas behind them. Have a wonderful night!