Hello again! Thanks for checking out the Muse Vessel – we appreciate your support of the new site, and in exchange I’ll promise you something special that I didn’t offer in my first two articles: brevity. Looking at the remainder of the Mirrodin Besieged spoiler, I’ve picked two Mythics, three Rares and three Uncommons to discuss from a multiplayer perspective, and then I’ll finish with three decklists. On to the cards!
Massacre Wurm: There’s only one way to describe my reaction to this card, and it doesn’t belong on a PG site. Adam Styborski did a bang-up job previewing this, so there isn’t much for me to add. I’ll just say two things. First, I REALLY want a set of these and a set of Bloodchief Ascension in the same deck (does that make me a bad person?). Second, and more important, this card seems especially important in more evolved multiplayer groups, because sooner or later people will decide that the only way to deal with all of the threats that have accumulated in the game is to kill EVERYTHING. Most of you already know what I’m talking about, and you are always wary of playing a big critter only to see it swept away by a Damnation or a Disk. If your group hasn’t got there yet, believe me: they will, and cards like Massacre Wurm help you prepare for that inevitable day. My favorite critters are the ones that either have an effect before they can be swept, resist the sweepers, or give you an edge when they do get swept, and my new favorite Wurm hits two of those three (and the third point is handled by another of the other cards I’ll talk about today, so it’s good times for the Timmies!).
Praetor’s Counsel: Whoa! That is all. It may not go in every deck, but by God I am looking forward to getting this off!
Cryptoplasm: One of the best uses for the original Clone is as a 4-mana sorcery that kills Legends (including Commanders, depending on how your group interprets the EDH rules). Cryptoplasm doesn’t have that going for it, at least immediately, but it does have a BIG edge in flexibility. Back in the day (here comes the geezer speak…someone fetch my spectacles!), the Rare Vesuvan Doppelganger was considered better than the Uncommon Clone, and its only downside was that it didn’t copy colors (and could thus be Terror-ed, etc). Cryptoplasm is eminently comparable to either of these classic casual staples; like them it is a Pigeon card that will get stronger as you add more players; unlike them it is better in the early game (where you don’t need a heavy hitter immediately) than the late game. I’ll be looking to score a playset of these from the bargain bin on Friday.
Darksteel Plate: Have you seen Shield of Kaldra? It’s a 4-mana artifact that was totally playable in casual, especially Commander, until it was virtually obsoleted by Darksteel Plate. Seriously, in a deck (and basically a format, for all of us Timmies) that relies on big creatures, being able to protect your win conditions from 90% of the things that would stop you from winning with them is sex-on-a-stick. Personally, I’m hoping to get one of these for every single Commander deck I have or will have in the future, and I could probably find a home for one or two in every deck that relies on equipment or big critters, especially if I’m combining my own board-sweepers with those critters.
Galvanoth: Any instant or sorcery for free? Sign me up! Blue can keep its card draw if red gets a free action spell each turn. Like Cryptoplasm, this is a card that I want to get at least four of – plus one for my monored Akroma Commander deck – but I think I’ll be building a deck around this monster specifically. I’m sure I can find a bevy of instants and sorceries that I want to play for free – nothing with an X in it, obviously – and a few ways to either manipulate the top of my library or take advantage of the knowledge of what’s on top. It’s not my style of deck normally, and the very small number of Sensei’s Divining Tops I have are reserved for relatively high-performance Commander decks, but the rewards of finding some more creative ways of playing with my library will be more than worth it when the Galvanoth hits the table.
Metallic Mastery: I have two words for you: Nevinyrral’s Bloody Disk. For all of the powerful artifacts that you’ll be tempted to use this on, the most powerful (and probably most ubiquitous) is Larry Niven. As with all of the Threaten effects in red, it’s more powerful in a deck that can sacrifice or otherwise hold onto the permanents it pilfers. For extra fun if your meta goes crazy with artifacts during the return to Mirrodin, you can combine this with Radiate.
Nested Ghoul: And here I am with a new playset of Thrashing Wumpi wondering what to do with them. Let’s not get carried away, because this is still a 4/2 for five, but this is potentially a poor man’s Grave Titan, and if you’re like me then you’re salivating at that opportunity.
Piston Sledge: Far from the best card in the set, this is worth mentioning for all of those who have looked Furnace Celebration and thought “Can I do something with this?” And is that Goblin Gaveleer in the picture? I think I see a budget decklist forming…
This list uses what Maro said was one of the original themes in Scars of Mirrodin, sacrificing for fun and profit. The Gaveleer may not be a perfect fit – perhaps it should be a Kuldotha Rebirth, but that’s all part of the fun of thinking about new decklists. A deck like this obviously doesn’t have the legs to dominate a long game, but I always have fun building decks using the new cards and the new mechanics, especially using non-rare cards, just to get a better feel for the set and some of the possibilities it offers.
Secondly, let’s get some ideas for that Galvanoth deck.
With a card like this, the sky really is the limit. This deck is monocolored and pretty cheap, but it only takes a single basic land to add blue, or perhaps green, for deck manipulation (Cream of the Crop, Call of the Wild and Sylvan Library are some of the things green brings to the table). Serum Visions and Preordain would be good in blue, and turn three Cultivate in green ensures you can cast Galvanoth on turn four.
You could also focus on stacking your deck with SDTs, Crystal Balls, Darksteel Pendants and a small number of really devastating spells (Beacons, Decrees, Ultimatums and so on), or just stick in those Orcish Librarians from Time Spiral that you couldn’t get rid of. I actually have a set of Magnivores that are looking for a home, too…
Finally, here’s my take on really abusing Massacre Wurm, even though at current prices I’m fairly unlikely to get my hands on a set anytime soon. Of course, Massacre Wurm really stands on its own, but would get obscenely bad for your opponents if they happened to have a butt-load of smaller creatures. The preview article covered animating people’s lands, and using Opalescence or March of the Machines to animate other types of permanents is unlikely to be quite as satisfying, so we need to find ways of making sure there are enough creatures on the board, preferably x/2s, for the Wurm to turn…your opponents into roadkill. As creating armies for your opponents is generally not a popular strategy, there aren’t that many cards to choose from. Varchild’s War-Riders is one option, but I already have a zombie deck built around another old-school casual card that would be just as much fun, and would allow us to keep in monocolored and perhaps even tribal. It’s just down those stairs…
Half of your critters have cycling, so it should be easy enough to fill your graveyard. If you have more toys in the ‘yard than anyone else, then Tombstone Stairwell gives you a lethal army in no time flat. If not, then Tendrils and Bojuka Bog should help you to survive until you can cast a Wurm (or for preference discard one after drawing three or more cards from Syphon Mind and animate it). Once the Wurm is in play, anyone with creatures in their graveyard dies when their Stairwell tokens go away, and anyone without creatures in play sucks zombie beats!
Depending on budget and card pool, Khabal Ghoul, Grave Titan and Korlash, Heir to Blackblade would be awesome here. There is also a card from Legions that lets you draw card for each zombie you have in play, which is dangerous but potentially supremely powerful in a deck like this. My original (pre-Wurm) list was pushing the 80-card limit and also used Oath of Ghouls (reuse the cycling creatures) and Withered Wretch, although the purpose there was to make the Stairwell as one-sided as possible. Massacre Wurm means you can play fair with the Stair without a care, and still dare to declare that the end is near.
As I promised last time, a little more aggro in the decklists today, and if you enjoyed the blackness of that last one, then stay tuned, because there is a lot more coming up next time!!
Keep it casual,