Last time I said I was making a conscious effort not to talk about only blue cards, but this one’s caught my eye after it worked its way into my new Bruna, Light of Alabaster deck. I also happen to think this format suffers from the use of too many tutors, and this card is a tutor, but it’s definitely a tutor with a twist. It’s a strange rare from Scourge called Long-Term Plans.
I said in Friday’s article that this would be about how much and what type of mass removal to include, but while I’ll address that somewhat, the main subject of the article is going to be about gauging the commitment level of other players at the table and how to know when to commit yourself. By commitment I’m not talking about going steady, but committing to the board. What this means is, you start committing to the board when you extend somewhat to secure a position. The commitment aspect really means something like, “commitment with risk” — you have to extend somewhat to secure a position, but you also have to be wary not to extend too much such that mass removal sets you really far behind. As such, it’s a Balancing Act, and requires some amount of skill, a lot of guesswork, and more than a little luck.
Happy Friday everybody! Today’s CotW brings you some end of the week cheeriness with an unmistakeable grin: Braids, Cabal Minion. She continues a streak of favorite cards of mine, an affair dating back to my first foray into competitive Magic during Odyssey block. There she fell naturally into a powerful mono-black control archetype along with Cabal Coffers, Cabal Therapy, Faceless Butcher, and Chainer’s Edict (most of which find homes in many decks sporting black still).
Welcome to the second edition of Deck Salad Surgery! I had the idea for this particular column while driving over to a friend’s place to sling some cardboard. The basic premise is this: what kind of deck would you make if there weren’t any banned cards (except the ante cards, of course)?
There’s obviously a few ways to go with it, but I chose to go top-down. What cards would I most like to play if they weren’t banned? Then, how do I abuse those cards? (Of course, many of the cards on this list don’t require much work to abuse.) Two sprang to mind immediately, but I won’t give away which ones just yet. Instead, let’s look at the banned list and break it down by colour.
After sitting on the 100-or-so cards we came up with in the last post for a few days, it’s time to start paring the list down a little. Once it’s down to around 70 cards, you can start collecting. In my opinion it’s not worth making a totally air-tight list before you start to play it, as it’s impossible (or at least very difficult) to know what cards are or aren’t working until they’re bricking in your hand, doing nothing on the board, or unexpectedly kicking ass. Further, getting the proportions right on all your various card types is impossible without proper testing. It’s possible to have too much redundancy in one area, as you can see in the Savra list I posted in the Decklists area. It’s also possible to have not nearly enough.
So, as regards Dralnu, let’s refresh our win condition. We’re going to try to accelerate into a board state where we’re taking lots of extra turns with Time Warp-style effects and flashing them back via Dralnu, until we assemble an infinite mana combination and either Exsanguinate or Blue Sun's Zenith for the win (possibly decking ourselves with Laboratory Maniac). Or we can steal everything with Memnarch or bounce everything with Capsize. We’re going to use weenie wizards to help with acceleration, card-drawing, and delaying our opponents. These are our strangleholds. We should evaluate all cards with how they facilitate this plan or delay our opponents from reaching theirs.