Jul 29, 2013

A quick look at the Core of Modern Peasant.: M14 and Modern Masters

Hello dear readers, it has been a bit quiet of late, but we're done with that. We've got a tournament coming up on August 18th, which will be really cool. A daytime tournament so all the time we need to play five or six rounds of delightful swiss. This tournament will be sort of a last chance qualifier for our invitational on September 29th, but it is also a tournament with the purest Peasant spirit at heart. Players without previous DCI registration pay no entry fee and there is once more a wide variety of decks that people could borrow if they don't have a deck of their own yet. It should be a doozy!

This even without considering the possible shake-up the format has been through these past few months with the release of Modern Masters and specifically the downgrading in rarity of several cards. Additionally, M14 has been released and maybe there will be a card here and there that will see play, but nothing will have the same impact as the arrival of the newest strain of sliver mutations! I'd like to talk a bit about the possibilities stemming from these developments.

First of all a list, a list of cards that were altered in our advantage in Modern Masters. First the new uncommons:

Reach of Branches: I personally like this card a lot. I like it predominantly because it is an instant, I like that it is recurring, I like the body, so I think it is maybe for the best that the card is green and not blue or black. I would adore this in a control shell, which of course is still very much possible, but not ideal. The Rock could use it, but they will be playing more creatures already and the Reach might be overkill. UG control does sound intriguing though...

Feudkiller’s Verdict: Cool card, but unsuitable as a wincondition for a control deck and in a more aggressive shell I would not want this to be my uncommon, gaining life and making a dude is something my commons should be able to do and preferably not for 6 mana.

Take Possession: No card in Peasant warrants the play of this card in my opinion. Perhaps Artisan of Kozilek is a fine target, but still... Play your own copy then?

Mad Auntie: A lord in Peasant? I am intrigued, but considering the arrival of new slivers you really have to have something awesome planned as an aggro deck to make it.

Pardic Dragon: I think most people would look at this card when you suspend it and go: Oh, so your threat won't be hitting the table in the next five turns because of all my spells? Sweet! Artificially removing the counters gives you a big fattie, but this has been possible before (errant ephemeron) and has not seen play then. Not too interesting imho.

Worm Harvest: Now this card is a very high potential one if you ask me. You could include it in Tortured Existence decks, however, I feel those decks don't really need the Harvest except maybe as a one-off. A Rock shell, however, with this card seems interesting. My lines of thought may be old school (control decks with only a few winconditions are my favorite), but I like them. I could see myself playing around with this card somewhere in the future.

Epochrasite: Well, I don't see a use for the recurring 4/4 per se. Purely for aggressive reasons this seems week, but of course if you are in the business of manipulating counters, or perhaps using them otherwise this might be a thing. I don't see that happening though. Combo players, you're up?

Masked Admirers: I personally feel this card is not relevant enough. I mean it is not overpriced or anything, but the recurring 2/3 is not that interesting I think and as a card advantage engine it seems too expensive.

The new commons:

Street Wraith: This card is very good, but not insane. It is worse than Gitaxian Probe, because it doesn't let you peek at your opponents' hand and it doesn't build storm. However, in any deck not caring about your life total and on a quest for specific cards these are simply probes 5-8. There have been burn decks that play probe, other combo decks could make use of the wraith, even infect might like this card in order to ditch some of the less powerful cards it needs to play after banning of Invigorate. Actually, thinking about it more and more makes this deck super appealing to me.

Perilous research: This card is ok if you can sacrifice a land in the later stages of the game. In the early game it is very poor however. The card becomes awesome with effects on permanents when they leave play though. It is better than altar's reap because your decision moment is postponed after drawing the cards, thus giving you better information. This might see play.

Dampen Thought: As Martijn Hennink already said, this should be awesome to have on common. Combo players, to your drawing boards!

Moldervine Cloak: Lovely spell in my opinion, but I am not too big a fan of aura cards due to the gigantic target you are painting on your poor creature's forehead. But wait, don't we have our own hexproof deck in Peasant? This could perhaps be a one or two-off in a deck such as that.

Imperiosaur: Sorry my friend, all my childhood-love for dinosaurs aside, I think Blastoderm is still much better. The downside of Imperiosaur makes it too 'expensive' in my opinion. You cannot have guildgates, nor mana dorks with this. Meh... But still: RAWR!

Petals of Insight: Super cool card, however, it is a sorcery so it is not a prime choice for me in a 8post deck, which seems to me the only deck that can afford it in the first place.

Otherworldly Journey: Blink seems just better? Although perhaps if you are in the business of doing something with +1/+1 counters? Perhaps white weenie wants to protect its creatures?

Test of Faith: Well than this card should simply be better, that is in a format with burn removal or creature combat. Maybe if slivers will dominate this might be ok. But honestly I think simply killing your opponents slivers is always the better play and white has plenty of ways to do that anyway.

Syphon Life: This seems like an ok card, although in MBC it limits the extreme power of your consume spirits. You could consider replacing a portion of those expensive drain spells with this, because on of the pains of MBC is having to play tons of land and drawing all of them in the lategame. You could seriously cheapen the deck down with this, but killing someone with this might be a bit slow, so you would need additional tools. I know I am going to think about this.

Warren Weirding: This card is a nice double as removal or token maker, but I think especially the token making part of the card can be achieved far more efficiently by Dragon Fodder or Krenko's Command. So you would have to get milage out of sacrificing your goblin. And with that I mean for other purposes than simply getting rid of the ugly bastards...

Hammerheim Deadeye: Not impressed by the giant. Echo cost is far to steep, and the card is too expensive in my opinion anyway.

Thundering Giant: This should have been a common from the get go I think...

Hana Kami: Does this have good combo potential, I am afraid not. Why invest three mana on sorcery speed to get a card back? That card should be so important that you could not simply do with any other card in your deck, be it control or combo. Having lots of mana and recurring the Hana Kami with soulless revival seems a bit much now doesn't it? Even on the splice and returning the other card seems too beat around the bush to me. But please I love splice unto arcane, so prove me wrong!

Walker of the Grove: As much as I like evoke shenanigans, this just seems unimpressive to me.

Arcbound Wanderer: See Thundering Giant... This is not an interesting card in any way.

Crush Underfoot: Even if Giants were a thing in Peasant, Pit Fight could still be good enough. And honestly if you wish to kill a creature, just use regular burn.

Bound in Silence: Pacifism is not really interesting if you have access to journey to nowhere. But the UW blink deck has seen 2 Ramosian Lieutenants in its list for the Aven Riftwatcher, including one Bound in Silence as a tutor target seems ok enough.

I think the Modern Masters downgrade should at least invite players to tinker a bit, I would say there are plenty of cards now available (or more playable) that warrant that. Infect, Harvest control and Dampen Thought decks are my top three interesting candidates.

Then M14. Apart from the couple of obviously insane slivers that have been added, the set is quite devoid of new additions worthy of mention (not strange for a core set obviously, because of the reprints). I have selected only one, Soulmender and Elvish Mystic were on the list but were dismissed while writing their comments ;).

The only card that sparks my interest, is the card that has been doing exactly that with deckbuilders across all formats: Young Pyromancer is an awesome card. I think the best deck by far for this card is the same deck that was its first home in standard, Dynacharge tokens. I have played a deck like that in the past and the Pyromancer on turn 1 with a Lotus Petal simply makes such decks explode. The only worrying part about the card to me seems the proclivity of it inciting magpie behavior: Ooh Shiny! Must haves! What I mean is that your deck should also be really good without the Pyromancer, because not only need you draw it, but you have to keep a feeble 2/1 creature alive if you are banking on it getting you the win. That seems impossible to me, so directly I am not too inclined to make a deck with the Pyromancer, too risky in my opinion.

I would like to finish with these words of warning: Beware Planeswalkers, you have stepped into the maw of the hive and as one it hungers, it is ravenous in fact. It has not fed in a long time and now it means to break fast its fast!