Wally Mnemonic

A few quick thoughts on Mnemonic Wall.

The other day, I compared Mnemonic Wall to Eternal Witness. While this comparison still applies, I can’t help but think that the Wall may be even better than I originally thought.

Consider the applications of being able to clear the board with Day of Judgment against an aggro deck, then follow it up with Mnemonic Wall to simultaneously retrieve the Wrath from the graveyard AND put your opponent in a situation where they have to either a) play a creature that the Wall can’t profitably block, or b) overcommit to the Day of Judgment that’s now back in your hand.

On its own, it’s a two-for-one; but in the context of a deck with multiple X-for-one Sorceries and Instants, the Wall can bring back anything from Mind Spring to Mind Shatter, from Day of Judgment to Martial Coup. Or perhaps, “Hm, I think I’ll have that Blightning back, thanks.”

And lest we forget: It blocks! It blocks Bloodbraid Elves and Sprouting Thrinaxes, Kor Firewalkers and Nissa’s Chosen. It’s a great chump blocker to give you one more turn to replay that Wrath. It’s also one more permanent to sacrifice to any Annihilator Eldrazi that may somehow make their way onto the board (not that that’s a great reason to use it, but in a control deck that tends to have few nonland permanents, it’s something to keep in mind at least. Sometimes a land may be more important to keep around than an 0/4 wall).

Lastly, a blurb from Evan Erwin’s Twitter: “Mnemonic Wall seems pretty good with Reveillark in Extended. Just sayin.”

Of course, I’m not sure what else Rise of the Eldrazi has in store for us, but at the moment, Mnemonic Wall looks like an exciting, constructed-playable card that should at least make the short list when building any blue-based control deck.

CURRENTLY READING: The Glass of Time by Michael Cox.

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Six New Rise of the Eldrazi Spoilers!

Despite the prerelease being over a month away, spoiler season is already underway. Just like last time, these spoilers were given to several blogs/websites to spoil all at once on March 15, so you’ll likely be seeing these hit all at one time. There’s a chance that Yo! MTG Taps! will get an exclusive spoiler (which will be posted here after we podcast about it), so keep checking back for updates.

Without further preamble:

     

     

     

Magic: The Gathering
Rise of the Eldrazi

For thousands of years, Zendikar has had a reputation as a deathtrap. It’s been a world of deadly perils to Planeswalkers and native explorers, punishing any who seek to loot its hidden treasures and exploit its potent mana.

But unknown to the plane’s denizens, there’s a sinister reason for Zendikar’s danger: for millennia, the plane has served as a prison for the Eldrazi, astral monstrosities native to the Blind Eternities. Now, the perils facing adventurers on the plane of Zendikar have taken an even deadlier turn. The Eldrazi have been released.

Hailing from the Blind Eternities, the space between planes, the Eldrazi have transcended the colors of mana as we know them. As a result, the Eldrazi progenitors themselves and those closest to them are colorless. But don’t let the mana cost fool you—these Eldrazi are not artifacts.

Each of the colossal Eldrazi spawns its own “brood lineage.” The three brood lineages are composed of Eldrazi Drones and other subordinate beings, each reflecting the image of its progenitor. The smaller Eldrazi Drones that are aligned with colored mana and many of these drones, as well as some spells, produce Eldrazi Spawn creature tokens. These 0/1 colorless creatures can be sacrificed to add one colorless mana to your mana pool—perfect for casting those enormous Eldrazi.

The Rise of the Eldrazi set also marks the debut of colorless instants and sorceries. Like their Eldrazi creators, these versatile spells can be put into almost any deck.

Tournament Play
This new and deadlier world comes with a set of mechanics that are separate and distinct from
Zendikar and Worldwake, its predecessors in the Zendikar block. It is a large set and its unique mechanics mean limited play (drafting and sealed play) are played with Rise of the Eldrazi product. However, since it is part of the Zendikar block it will rotate out of Standard with Zendikar and Worldwake.

~

Anyone else think of Aragog (the giant spider from Harry Potter) when they saw the name Pathrazer of Ulamog? I know I did. Anyway, the Eldrazi are obviously prohibitively expensive creatures to cast, so I’ll go ahead right now and say that after seeing Kozilek, I’m not sure I’m going to be doing much more jaw-dropping when I see the remaining Eldrazi themselves. However, it seems that the set is going to provide us with ways to make them cheaper, (as made evident by Eye of Ugin and the above Corpsehatch), so we’ll have to wait to see if these tools actually push the Eldrazi into the realm of Standard-constructed playability.

Personally, I’m more excited about Mnemonic Wall than any of the rest. The Wall, while not OMGFNMBBE! exciting (sorry, Twitter inside joke), functions as a sort of cantrip that allows you to choose the card you end up with—as long as it’s in your graveyard. It’s no Eternal Witness, but it’s really not that far off.

Mammoth Umbra gives us a new keyword, “Totem armor,” which looks to be another attempt by Wizards to make auras playable. As I said about Canopy Cover, a resolved Umbra helps rectify the two-for-one problem inherent in most auras, although if your creature is removed before the Umbra resolves, you’re outta luck.

Another new keyword, “Rebound” (shown on Prey’s Vengeance), seems like it could be okay depending on what kind of spell it’s on. Personally I have very little reaction to the Giant Growth variants we continue to see (although I understand the reason for them). Vines of Vastwood seems much better than this card, simply for its ability to counter a removal spell while also providing some pumps. I’m sure we’ll see a Rebound cycle for each color, but the strength of the ability hinges entirely on the effect of the spell. A counterspell, for example, would be almost entirely useless (unless your opponent is a complete idiot and attempts to cast a spell during your upkeep the turn after you play the Rebound-counter). For blue, though, I could see a 3cc “draw a card” with Rebound—although, unless it’s instant-speed, it would be worse than Divination in most situations. If it IS instant speed, though, I think it would certainly be playable in Standard; playing it at EOT it would function much like the “draw 2” mode of Esper Charm, drawing you a card during your opponent’s end step and then again during your upkeep. This is all speculation, of course, but I would certainly be excited to see a card like this:

Think Again
1UU – Instant
Draw a card.
Rebound (If you cast this spell from your hand, exile it as it resolves. At the beginning of your next upkeep, you may cast this spell from exile without paying its mana cost.)

Stay tuned for updates!

Yo! MTG Taps! Episode 13 – Now Available!

Yo! MTG Taps! Episode 13 – Respect the Eye is now available for download!


Check it out over on MTGCast!

We talk about the first official Rise of the Eldrazi spoiler, Kozilek, Butcher of Truth! (Get your Eyes of Ugin!!) Also: GP Madrid and the SCG $5k Richmond.

See Kozilek spoiled on Magic Arcana!

Is Walking Atlas – the new Serendib Efreet, or something more?

Mananation – Eldrazi basic land playmats (check out that artwork!)

GP Madrid Coverage

SCG $5k – Richmond Coverage

**We now have STICKERS! Send us your mailing address and we’ll get ‘em out to you!**

Baltimore Open – March 13th. For more info, to go:
baltimoremtg.com

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Yo! MTG Taps! Episode 12 – Now Available!

Yo! MTG Taps! Episode 12 – Worldwake, But Still Groggy is now available for download!


Check it out over on MTGCast!

We talk Pro Tour San Diego; Joe’s PTQ experience (including the “bonehead play of the year”); M11 speculation; and hey, why not some more ranting about Jund? (just a little)

Contact us at yomtgtaps [at] gmail [dot] com

Leave us a voicemail! 331-MTG-TAPS

Follow us on Twitter!
@yomtgtaps (BHJ and Joey)
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Visit Joey’s blog:
AffinityForIslands.com

Visit BigHeadJoe’s blog:
OtherworldlyJourney.blogspot.com

Yo! MTG Taps! Exclusive Interview with Evan Erwin!

Yo! MTG Taps! MC2 Coverage Part 3 – Evan Erwin: The Man Behind The Magic Show is now available for download!


Check it out over on MTGCast!

In the conclusion of our audio coverage of the Magic Cruise, Joey interviews StarCityGames’ Evan Erwin!

We also hear from local Maryland player Nick Ayd (@lemonayd on Twitter) about his experiences on the Magic Cruise.

*Be sure to check out the MC3, coming up in February 2011!*
http://legionevents.com/magic/mc3

Contact info:
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Thanks for listening!

Chapin’s List (UW Control)

Pro-Tour San Diego: Patrick Chapin and his Blue-White Control deck were featured in a video deck tech late on Friday evening. See below:

So, sideboard notwithstanding, I wasn’t far off. Looks like Chapin ditched the Calcite Snappers (regrettably, considering the moniker I used for the deck in my last post), but otherwise a very similar list to what I have above. I’m actually surprised how close I was to getting the same manabase—I’m only off by +1 Scalding Tarn. Chapin does indeed run 2 copies each of Mind Spring and Martial Coup, along with maindeck Flashfreeze and Celestial Purge.

Notice also the FOUR copies of Cancel in Chapin’s deck.

FOUR!

CANCEL!!

AT THE PRO-TOUR!!!

     

     

At first, this seems a bit odd. Before now, the problem with most of the playable counterspells (Flashfreeze, Negate, Essence Scatter) was that they were narrow, which often made it difficult to have the correct counterspell for the situation. Enter Worldwake: along come Jace, the Mind Sculptor AND Halimar Depths—both of which help to correct this problem. With these cards, it is much, much easier to have the right counter at the right time. Still, Chapin & co. chose to run 4 copies of Cancel. Why?

The “problem” with Cancel has always been blatantly obvious. Counterspell=good. Cancel=bad. The only difference between the cards is the extra 1 mana. It might not seem like much, but imagine if the price of a staple such as gasoline increased by 33% (oh, wait…it has). Sucks, right? But Worldwake has also gifted us with a means of making up that difference: the mother-lovin’, Everflowing Chalice. As Chapin explains in the video, Chalice may be the “best signet ever,” due to its versatility.

For the curious, here are the differences from my original list:

-3 Calcite Snapper
-2 Negate
-2 Path to Exile
-1 Day of Judgment
-1 Scalding Tarn

+2 Cancel
+2 Flashfreeze
+2 Martial Coup
+2 Mind Spring
+1 Celestial Purge

Lastly, here’s Chapin’s maindeck (as he had it arranged in the deck tech):

Jace and friend

Photo by Alexander Shearer

[2] Essence Scatter
[2] Flashfreeze
[4] Cancel
[4] Jace, the Mind Sculptor
[2] Mind Spring
[2] Martial Coup
[4] Tectonic Edge
[4] Treasure Hunt
[3] Oblivion Ring
[1] Celestial Purge
[3] Day of Judgment
[1] Path to Exile
[2] Arid Mesa
[1] Negate
[1] Iona, Shield of Emeria
[4] Everflowing Chalice
[4] Celestial Colonnade
[4] Glacial Fortress
[4] Plains
[1] Scalding Tarn
[3] Island
[4] Halimar Depths

EDIT: Added Chapin’s sideboard:

[3]  Baneslayer Angel
[1]  Elspeth, Knight-Errant
[1]  Essence Scatter
[2]  Flashfreeze
[3]  Kor Firewalker
[1]  Mind Control
[2]  Negate
[1]  Perimeter Captain
[1]  Plains

Snapper Control for Standard

Just as a quick aside, I thought I’d post the list I’ve been working on for post-Worldwake Standard.

CREATURES (4):
[3] Calcite Snapper
[1] Iona, Shield of Emeria

COUNTERSPELLS (7):
[3] Negate
[2] Essence Scatter
[2] Cancel

REMOVAL (10):
[3] Oblivion Ring
[3] Path to Exile
[4] Day of Judgment

OTHER (12)
[4] Jace, the Mind Sculptor
[4] Everflowing Chalice
[4] Treasure Hunt

LANDS (27):
[4] Halimar Depths
[4] Tectonic Edge
[4] Celestial Colonnade
[4] Glacial Fortress
[3] Island
[4] Plains
[2] Scalding Tarn
[2] Arid Mesa

This list is inspired by a deck I watched Patrick Chapin play on the Magic Cruise last week. I didn’t get the list from him or anything, but I watched a couple of games and I liked what I saw.

UPDATE: Based on the coverage of PT San Diego, Chapin & crew (including Gabriel Nassif and possibly Mark Herberholz) may also be running maindeck Martial Coup and Mind Spring. I’ll update with the official list(s) sometime this weekend (as soon as I can get ’em)!

I don’t have an exact sideboard as of yet, but I’m thinking 4 Spreading Seas, 3-4 Flashfreeze, some amount of Celestial Purges, maybe a Luminarch Ascension or two. Into the Roil seems to be a great catch-all, especially for when a planeswalker slides past your Negates/Cancels; then again, a 4th copy of Oblivion Ring should do the trick (but I sure do love the cantrip option on Into the Roil). I need to test the maindeck some more to find the weak spots before I get a good idea of how the sideboard is going to end up.

     

So far, with no sideboard, I’ve been loving this deck. Originally I was thinking Esper was the way to go, but the Jace/Halimar Depths/Treasure Hunt engine makes Esper Charm a lot less necessary—and let’s not kid ourselves, Esper Charm is the best reason to play UWB. Cutting the black from the deck takes a lot of pressure off the manabase, freeing up space for Tectonic Edge. Having now actually played with Celestial Colonnade, it’s better than I expected. Vigilance on a manland in a control deck is just SO. GOOD.

     

To be honest, I’ve got mixed feelings about blue right now. Don’t get me wrong; it’s good. Really good. I love it. But the problem is, so does everyone else. While that won’t stop me from playing the decks I want to play, it’s never as much fun to play a deck when everyone else is playing it, too. On the other hand, maybe I should look at this as an opportunity to focus my efforts on how to edge out the pseudo-mirror match; that’s a skill I’ve always avoided, simply because it was not as enjoyable to play against a deck similar to my own.

Nevertheless, I’m really excited to see what the pro players have been brewing up for Pro Tour San Diego this weekend. Keep up with the coverage over at the mothership!