Coldsnap Casual Review
By DarkRitual on July 14th, 2006 · Filed in Casual · Comments not available just now
No one likes me =(I'm really excited about what Coldsnap is offering the casual player. There are a couple of pretty good constructed cards in the set. But for the most part, this is a casual set. I'm not going to talk about every card that will effect casual, but I will talk about the best ones. But instead of just presenting the cards normally, I will do it in countdown style. Why? I need a gag to tie the article together (If "Who's Line Is It Anyway?" can do it, I dont see why I can't). So if your favorite card isn't number 1, don't get upset. The ranks don't matter. They ranks are like... how many foil Mudholes a person owns. No one cares. So anyways, lets get started.
At #15, Juniper Order Ranger: Probably the only multicolored card in Coldsnap that also fits the theme of his respective guild in Ravnica. Scatter the Seeds becomes "put three 2/2s into play instantly and put 3 1/1 counters on Juniper at instant speed". But it combo's well with another card too:
Doubling Season is insane with Juniper Order Ranger. Most cards that combo with Juniper Order Ranger also combo with Doubling Season and are insane when both are in play. Scatter the Seeds will give you 3 2/2s and +3/+3 to Juniper at instant speed, with only Doubling Season out you get 6 1/1s at instant speed, but with both of them out you get 6 3/3s and a +6/+6 bonus to Juniper Order Ranger. Pentavus is also pretty stupid with both card out. First it comes into play with 12 counters, when you remove a counter you get 2 3/3 flyers and when you sacrifice one of those flyers you get 2 counters back on Pentavus. The rest of the cards are just there to make the deck flow better. There are tons of other cards that react well with both Juniper and Doubling Season, so you can try them out on your own.
At #14, Karplusan Minotaur: 2RR for a 3/3 isn't that bad. The culmitive upkeep ability is just flip a coin, so no harm there. But then you get to the ability, and thats where things start getting fun. First of all, any card that makes Chance Encounter twice as playable as it was before is good to me. Since you will be flipping loads of coins, getting closer to victory every time you get a successful flip is only adding icing to the cake. There are tons of other cool cards that flip coins, but my favorite is Stitch in Time. In this case it actually sort of fits the deck. Its a free coinflip, theres no drawback to losing, but if you win, you get an extra turn for the Minotaur's culmative upkeep (as well as 1 free point of damage), which might be exactly what you need to close out the win. Krark's Thumb makes the deck even more broken, because now you will win flips more often. So the quest to put 10 counters on Chance Encounter won't take as long. Then theres Lashknife Barrier, which keeps them from killing your creatures with the Minotaur's drawback. Of course, they can still target you.
At #13, Diamond Faerie: You can bet there will probably be a snow deck floating around your casual tables once ColdSnap comes out. And this is the perfect card for it. Five for a 3/3 flyer isn't bad at all. It's even better that it has an ability that pumps it, and any other snow creature you have on the table.
Hurray, I'm remotely breakable now!At #12, Balduvian Frostwaker: Another good card to go in the snow deck. Nothing is wrong with turning a creature into a 2/2 flyer perminantly, and since you are already playing tons of snow lands, you will have plenty of lands to animate. And hey, maybe those Earth Surge's will find there way into a deck for once. No? Ok... lets just move on then.
At #11, Field Marshal: Lets see, 1WW for a +1/+1 permenant boost sounds a lot like Glorious Anthem. What? It gives them first strike also? What? It comes with a 2/2 body as well? Sadly, it only works for soldiers. But there are plenty of soldiers in the casual world to throw in the deck.
At #10, Herald of Leshrac: Crazy good card. By itself its pretty good. Its sort of like a backwards Tangle Wire. Tangle Wire was really good at stalling in the early game, but this card stalls in the late game. But it probably costs too much and is too slow for its effect to be much use in constructed. This makes it perfect for casual. Throw in any kind of card that bounces lands, and you pretty much get a delayed Armagheddon effect. Meloku the Clouded Mirror is probably my favorite one. His ability only costs 1, so you can use the lands you steal, and it puts more creatures into play. If you want to get fancy, you can throw in Chisei, Heart of Oceans when you have about 2 or 3 counters on the Herald and you will have a good army of creatures to swing with for the next couple of turns.
At #9, Jokulmorder: The biggest creature in the set, and almost the biggest in the game. But its the biggest one with trample, so I think that makes it a cantidate for a this list. It's drawbacks might be hard to get around. You have to keep playing islands to keep him untapped. It might be hard to keep Islands in your hand to untap Jukulmorder with, but there are plenty of cards that could probably help you. Meloku the Clouded Mirror and Trade Routes come to mind. In fact, you could probably throw this in the same deck that you played Herald of Leshrac:
Pretty good for something I just threw together in 5 minutes. I decided to go with an enchantment theme. Annex, Dream Leash and Copy Enchantment are good at getting you to 7 mana as fast as you can, then you can play your bombs. Crucible of Worlds is good at getting around the "sac 5 lands" drawback of Jokulmolder, as well as providing a steady dose of islands to play. Don't forget you can sac lands you steal from your opponent with Herald of Leshrac. Anyways back to the countdown.
At #8, Sek'Kuar, Deathkeeper: Reminds me of Lightning Coils from Mirrodin. But these tokens don't leave play at the end of turn like on Ligning Coils, and they come into play immediately unlike the 'Coils, so it is easier to break. Immediately you think of creatures that have the power to sacrifice themselves or others to provid a cool effect. The two creatures that come to mind: Golgari Guildmage and Lyzolda, Blood Witch. Golgari Guildmage will keep putting creatures into your hand at the cost of sacrificing a creature (only to get another one). Lyzolda will hit your opponent or draw you cards while putting creatures with haste into play that you can sacrifice (since they are both red and black) to deal two damage and draw a card. By itself its not bad. Because Rotlung Reanimator was pretty good back when it was legal. I wouldn't be surprised to see this card in a RBG aggro deck that used Sek'Kuar as a way to dodge Wrath effects. In fact, going Starstorm with this in play isn't neccisarily bad, because you will wipe your opponents side of the board while you will have a bunch of 3/1 creatures with haste.
At #7, Braid of Fire: Fun combo card. The only drawback is that you have to use the mana during your upkeep. The good news is that you can choose not to pay the upkeep cost when it gets too high. There are lots of fun things to do with a bunch of mana during your upkeep. Quicken followed by a giant Fireball is a good choice. There are tons of activated abilities that you could use over and over again with Braids of Fire. Kumano, Master Yamabushi comes to mind.
At #6, Hiedar, Rimewind Master: Tradewind Rider was always fun. But this is almost better than Tradewind because you dont have to tap two creatures to get the effect to work. You need to control atleast 4 snow permenants, but that shouldn't be hard considering you are going to be playing this turn 5 anyway. Throw in Rimewind Taskmage and you can use his ability twice in one turn.
At #5, Thrumming Stone: Everyone thinks of Relentless Rats when they think of this card. I mean, who doesn't want to end their stories with "...so anyways, long story short, I tapped 4 lands and soon I was swinging for 400 damage!". The 4 lands would be Relentless Rats and Surge of Zeal, who knew this card would ever get used in any casual deck? But there are other ways to use Thrumming Stone. Any effect that puts cards on top of your library, like Congregation at Dawn, can abuse the powers of the stone. Going further back, Proteus Staff is easily breakable with Thrumming Stone. Just don't play any creatures, put creatures into play with spells like Raise the Alarm and then activate Proteus Staff. It will fail to find a creature so that lets you put your entire deck in any order you want. So, putting Thrumming Stone on top followed by 4 Lava Axes will spell instant death for your opponent.
At #4, Zur the Enchanter: I love cards that like this that let you put 1 ofs of random cards in your deck to tutor for. There are loads of cool enchantments that cost 3 or less that make Zur really fun to play with. Depending on your opponents deck you could get certain enchantments out of your deck and immediately put them to use. Playing against a beatdown deck? Moldervine Cloak will make yours bigger. Playing against a bunch of removal? Shielding Pax makes your creature untargetable. Annoying creature in your way? Faith's Fetters or Seal of Doom can handle it. I could go on and on... and I will:
Usually when trying to break a 3 colored card like Zur the Enchanter I'll try and play as many green mana fixing cards as I can. But Zur isn't green, so that idea went down the drain. So I went with an artifact theme. The artifact creatures help because they only use up colorless mana, so no more not being able to play creatures because you dont have the right colors for them. Then there are the mana accel artifacts Coldsteel Heart and Pentad Prism. If you can play two lands that produce two different colors of mana, you will be able to play either one of these followed by a 3rd turn Zur the Enchanter. Then you will have access to all kinds of enchantments. The enchantments are varied so that you have the ability to tutor up something for most situations, but if you want to get the same enchantmet over and over again, you can use Copy Enchantment to copy something that you got a couple turns ago.
Get your 20/20 industructibles here!At #3, Dark Depths: Who doesn't like a 20/20 industructible creature? How much does it cost? Oh... only 30 mana. Atleast you are able to pay it off in 3 mana intervals. But what about not paying it at all? Aether Snap says "free 20/20 indestructable" for only 4 mana. Then you have Power Conduit and Chisei, Heart of Oceans once again. But then you can also just pay the mana. Maybe with Braids of Fire or Heartbeat of Desire?
At #2, Arcum Dagsson: Tinker on a stick right? Actually, not right, because you have to sacrifice an artifact creature and then search for a non-creature artifact, but it's still breakable. You could use him to fetch equipment from your deck and use Leonin Shikari to attach them instantly. This provides for fun combat tricks. You could instantly make creatures untargetable or give them trample, +3/0 and spiritlink. Skeleton Shard can also be fun cause it will let you return the artifacts you just sacrificed so that you can play them again next turn (I would recommend something like Myr Retriever that can bring artifacts back from the grave when it dies). Or you can just go and pump out game-changing artifacts. One of my friends suggested to tutor out the Kaldra Equiment (Sword, Shield, and Helm). It would take you 3 turns to do this... unless you had a way to untap it.
And the winner is...
The moment you have all been waiting for...
At #1, Haakon, Stromgald Scourge: You knew it was comming. Personally this has to be the most insane thing Wizards has ever thought of. Playing spells from the grave (flashback)... ok. Playing creatures face down and then flipping them up (morph)... ok. But playing creatures from the graveyard? How crazy is that? The only problem is he can't be in your hand when you play him. No big deal. The good people at Rakados Inc. have provided us with some useful cards to help put him in your grave (Rix Maadi, Dungeon Palace, Avatar of Discord or Delirium Skeins are just a few examples). And then when you finally get him into play, he also lets you play Knights from your graveyard, or anything if you have Ashes of the Fallen in play. This card also might become something good in constructed. Morgan_coke recently wrote an article trying to abuse this card here
Now I have one last decklist. It has nothing to do with Coldsnap at all. Here's the story. About midway through June a friend of mine convinced me to join a deckbuilding contest. The contest was to build a deck around Psychic Possession. I submitted a version that ran around Leveler. I was surprised when I found that out of 270 decklists, I made the top 10. Then I got voted onto the top 4 by over 1/3rd of the votes. And after another week of waiting, Bennie Smith announced my deck as the winner. So here it is:
And on that note, thanks for sticking with me through the Coldsnap Casual Review.
By DarkRitual on July 14th, 2006 · Filed in Casual · Comments not available just now