MTGS Mini: Working for the Clampdown



I hope all you guys remember this little gem from Darksteel. Way back it was just a little card with a new card type that was introduced in the set before. Despite the very encouraging preview article by Mark Gottlieb who, already knew the potential of this card thanks to his R&D position, people were a little skeptic when the card came out. Two cards are nice, but are they really worth my aggressive 2/1 for 2?

The evilness of this card lies in its damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't concept. You see, if you block that creature with the clamp on it, it is probably going to slay your blocker and the opponent would draw two cards since his creature is probably going to die, too and he can just equip the creature he probably just drew and played. If you don't block, you get hit in the face for 3-5 (depending on the creature the clamp is on) and the opponent may still equip his other guy.

Normally, being blocked by or blocking a clamped guy means Ancestral for the opponent, for he probably kills one of your guys and draws two cards for the mere investment of a creature. Pretty good, isn't it? But the clamp does even more. It trades all your x/1s for two new cards, including fast mana creatures like Birds of Paradise that don't matter in the late game, as well as any sacrifice option you have, turning creatures that can sacrifice themselves into an Inspiration.

No wonder it wrapped almost every format it was legal in around it, especially Mirrodin block constructed, where a deck based around a sacrifice outlet and cheap artifacts was totally dominating.

The Clamp was found in almost any deck and even made an relatively underdeveloped Mirrodin Block deck a Tier 1 in Standard instantly, just by adding clamps and whole slew of x/1 elves. The funny thing is, this all happened because someone forgot to send a memo that this card needs more testing after he changed the card from +1/+2 to +1/-1. When the card got banned from Standard and Mirrodin Block not 6 months after its release, people where relieved that the games they played weren't decided anymore by who would draw their clamp first.

But one thing that always was my idea was that this card is actually black at its heart. Black often trades toughness for power (although the Flowstone mechanic is brought back to red recently) and also trades permanents for new cards.

So how could the clamp be fixed?. One way would to revert the P/T change it produces to +1/+2. This would make it harder to kill the creature with the clamp on it, and also shut out the combo potential it has with 1/1's, especially those with leaves play effects like Wirewood Herald. Or you could make the activation cost black. Either way I would recommend that this card should have drawn only one card at a time in the first place.

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