Sunday, 30 September 2012

Solemn Simulacrum

Solemn Simulacrum
I believe Machine Man from Nextwave encapsulates this card's general feeling: "My robot brain needs beer. Also? I want to die." The really great thing about this card is that it's immediate colourless land fetch as well as colourless card draw. Cards like Armillary Sphere let you look for more land for the same cost, but the fact that this lets you draw as well as search for land is what makes it awesome. This card is present in almost every EDH deck that I've ever seen for good reason. The one real problem is that it has to die to draw and a lot of players will purposely avoid killing this card in order to prevent the draw. However, it's still a Rampant GrowthDredge, and Balduvian Bears all in one and that makes it great!

Pros: Rampant Growth on ETB, draw on death
Cons: Has to die to draw
Rating: 4.5/5

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Giant Trap Door Spider

Giant Trap Door Spider
Green and red creature exile?! It exists?! Alright, alright, maybe I'm over-exaggerating things a little bit. Cards like Disintegrate and Red Sun's Zenith exist in red, but there's only 2 other creature removal cards in green (Treva's Charm and Whippoorwill being the other 2). This card is really good for that reason. If you're making a red/green deck (say a Stonebrow EDH), you're going to find yourself lacking a lot of good creature removal. This card was evidently popular since Wizards reprinted this card in Invasion under the name Hunting Kavu. However, it's not the greatest creature removal in the game. The creature does have to be attacking you and it has to be walking along the ground for it to be targeted. Also, this card has to be able to tap which means it has to be around for at least a turn to go off. Still, considering this is one of green's 3 removal cards, it's pretty not bad.

Pros: Green creature removal
Cons: Conditional removal, 1 turn warm-up
Rating: 3/5 

Friday, 28 September 2012

Artist: Jason Chan

How could I not do a post about Jason Chan? His art as of late has been some of the most beautiful and exquisite pieces to ever be put onto cardstock. My friends and I have come up with a general rule-of-thumb for Magic cards based on Jason's work: Did Jason Chan do the art for a card? If so, that card will  probably either be really powerful, really expensive (money-wise), or both (a friend priced out a Jason Chan-only 60-card and it came up to around $400).

Best Art: Luminous Angel
 Luminous Angel
There are a couple reasons I really like the art for this card. First and foremost is just the quality of the art itself. The wings and the way the light plays off the angel's hair (especially noticeable in the foil version) just work in all the right ways. The other, more minor reason is the comparison to the old version. Now, Matthew D. Wilson's art isn't bad, but compare that art to this art and you'll see a clear winner.

Worst Art: Nimbus Maze
Nimbus Maze
A friend of mine put it best: this is a watercolour background to a painting that someone spilled a little too much water on. It looks like there used to be art in the middle, but someone in editing decided to take it out (maybe it was too beautiful to behold with mere human eyes). I understand what Jason was going for, but the angle on the maze is too low and it just looks weird (look at Mystifying Maze for an example of what I think is a better angle).

Strangest Art: Massacre Wurm
Massacre Wurm
I think this the strangest piece of Jason Chan's work simply because the wurm looks... way too happy. To me, it looks like it should be screaming "HI GUYS! I WANNA JOIN YOUR PARTY!!!". The art makes Massacre Wurm seem like the kid who shows up to your 11th birthday party, starts running around the house hyped up on sugar, and smashes face first into your mom's china cabinet, making it fall on the table with all your presents and your cake, ruining everything in the process. 

I love Jason Chan's artwork. Even his worst artwork is really, really good. I just hope Wizards starts putting him to work on more common and inexpensive cards soon so I can have more artwork without losing a limb in the process.

Imperial Seal

Imperial Seal
This card is a slightly worse Vampiric Tutor, but that's not really a bad thing. If anything, it's more balanced than Vampiric Tutor because of one thing and that's its speed. This card lets you looks for anything and put it on top of your library on your turn whereas Vampiric lets you look at the end of your opponents turn and that's what makes Vampiric Tutor arguably the most broken tutor in the game (excluding the 6 Wishes of course). However, let's get back to the card in question. This card is really powerful, even with the timing restriction. The loss of life is peanuts compared to the power of a first-turn unrestricted search. This card would probably like to see a reprint, especially since Avacyn Restored brought us the Miracle mechanic, but it never will. This is a card you will probably never see outside of a Vintage tournament since they cost $600+ each, but I figured that I'd keep my promise to review everything on Gatherer and not just the stuff us peasants will be able to see.

Pros: First-turn unrestricted search
Cons: Sorcery speed
Rating: 4.5/5 

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Rain of Tears

Rain of Tears
Unconditional black land destruction is hard to find (11 cards in total) and this is one of the best cards that does it. The ultimate black land destruction card will always be Sinkhole, but this makes a great substitute. When you compare this card to another black land destruction card, Maw of the Mire for example, it's obvious that black isn't the best colour to deal with lands, but the attempt was made with this card and it at least works. It your deck really needs black land destruction, you can't really do much better than this card (except Sinkhole of course... or maybe Rancid Earth).

Pros: Cheapish black land destruction
Cons: More expensive Sinkhole
Replacements: Sinkhole (if you've got $20 for each), Rancid Earth
Rating: 3.5/5

Monday, 24 September 2012

Artist: Wayne Reynolds

Here's a new segment on MCaD: artist's profiles. For these posts, I'll be looking at an artist's work in Magic and my personal opinions on their work (best card, worst card, most unfitting...). So, here's the first entry: Wayne Reynolds.

First, some notes on Wayne Reynolds's art style. Whether or not you know his name, you will recognize his art style. His hard, crisp lines give his work a very distinct feel and look and it usually looks really nice and unique.

Best Art: Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni
Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni
Sexy, rat, ninja. Seriously, who would have thought those words could co-exist in the same sentence? But, Wayne Reynolds did it and it is glorious. I love this art and it is probably one of my favourite pieces of art from Kamigawa block entirely.  

Worst Art: Soulblast
I just don't like this art simply because it looks too silly. It really looks like the creature being burned is screaming "I'm meeeellllllttttingg...!" and it looks really cartoony. I know that Wayne was trying to go for an image of horrific burning, but it just doesn't fit. Also, the three guys in the bottom left look like they're calling a football game.

Most Ill-Suited: Tariel, Reckoner of Souls
Tariel, Reckoner of Souls
Metal? Yes. Awesome? Yes. Does it make sense? No. This art is just too full of lines and tassels, almost to the point of looking like a Rob Liefeld character from the 90s. I just think a much cleaner and neater picture would have done a lot better.

And those are my thoughts on Wayne Reynolds. Wayne, if you're reading, keep doing what you're doing. You're easily one of the best artists for Magic right now.

Kor Sanctifiers

Kor Sanctifiers
For the cost and versatility of this card, it's actually pretty good. It's an Alaborn Trooper with a better Nature's Claim attached to it. It's still within Lightning Bolt range, but it's already performed its duty once it's on the field. The really nice thing about this card is that it's two cards for one, which means you have card advantage, and since it's a creature, it can trigger ETB effects (like Aura Shards). The only real problem with this card is that it is at Instant speed, so it can't solve problem immediately like a Naturalize or Disenchant can.

Pros: Two cards for the price of one
Cons: Not instant speed
Rating: 3.5/5

Thursday, 20 September 2012


Are there any sweeter words than "counter target spell" for blue players? This was the original counterspell (as if it wasn't obvious) and it is still glorious. It is near-perfect and it really can't be improved (except by giving it Split Second). For 2 mana, you can stop almost any spell in the game from getting played and there are no restrictions on what it can target. It's one of the most perfect cards in Magic. That being said, there is one teeny-weeny problem with it: its mana cost. Double-blue is something that multicolour deck may have problems getting out. In certain situations (especially in 3+ colour decks), that double-mana cost can be tricky to get out occasionally.

Pros: Hard counter for almost every spells (except those uncounterable spells and those with Split Second)
Cons: Double-blue mana cost may be hard to acquire
Rating: 5/5

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Null Brooch

Null Brooch
This is one of those cards that may seem like it is really bad, but it can be really good given the right situation.  The first situation is in decks where you run light on counterspells like a red or green deck for example. Having the ability to counter spells, even if it's for a high cost, is better than not being able to counter spells at all right? Especially since it's colourless counterspell (albeit it's only a Negate). Another situation that kind of fits in with the last one is in Hellbent, Madness, or any other decks that likes discarding their hands. The final situation is one of pure necessity. If you're engaged in a counter war with another player, you don't want to lose simply because you ran out of cards. If you've got this out, you've got a final counterspell to toss into the mix to try and win the war. Now, this does require you to toss your hand when you activate it, so it's not that great early game. It also cost 4 to put down, so it's really 6 mana for your first counterspell. However, it is colourless counter magic and that's pretty rare in of itself (Chalice of the VoidNot of This WorldNullstone Gargoyle, and Ring of Immortals are the other colourless counter magic).

Pros: Colourless Negate and a reusable stick
Cons: First Negate costs a total of 6, must chuck your hand
Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Rend Spirit

Rend Spirit
NOTE: Just an update for my readers; I apologize for my lack of regular posts, but I've had a lot of work to do recently. But, now that that's done, I should be posting more often.

So, funny story behind this card. A friend of mine thought that this card was actually Rend Flesh, so he put a copy in his EDH deck. Needless to say, he was very sad when he tried to kill my Goblin Sharpshooter... Now, when you compare this card to its counterpart (Rend Flesh), you realize that this card is pretty bad. There are only 368 Spirits out of 6548 creatures, meaning that this card affects 6% of all creatures in Magic (not including tokens). That percentage is not very good. Since the printing of Murder, I'd honestly be surprised if I saw anyone use a deck with this card effectively or at all. Now, I will admit that in block this card was pretty good since Kamigawa had a lot of Spirits, but outside of block it's terrible.

Pros: Not colour-dependent creature destruction
Cons: Can only target 6% of creatures
Replacement: Murder
Rating: 1/5

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Platinum Emperion

Platinum Emperion
This card looks really good, but it can really be a double-edged sword. If it is played early enough in the game (say, turn 3 with Urzatron and a Plague Myr) and your life total is still near-normal, this card can really save you for a couple turns since your opponents will have to take a spell or two (depending on how you've protected it) to deal with it before they can deal with you. However, if you're at, say 2 life, playing this will prevent you from recovering any life and will leave you vulnerable to any damaging destruction (like a Detonate). 

However, this card does let you play with some other double-edged swords. Cards like ManabarbsSulfuric Vortex, and Dark Confidant become easily-playable with this card out since there is no downside to playing them. Unlike Platinum Angel, you won't immediately lose the game if this card gets destroyed since your life total doesn't change at all, rather than dropping below 0 with the angel.

The downfalls to this card are that you can't recover while it's out (like I already mentioned) and it's an artifact creature, so it's much more vulnerable to destruction than a regular creature or artifact. Also, it doesn't prevent poison counter death, mill death, or any alternate death that Platinum Angel or a Bazaar Trader'd Abyssal Persecutor can prevent.

Pros: Prevents your life from changing
Cons: Doesn't allow for life recovery, very vulnerable
Rating: 3.5/5

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Hornet Sting

Hornet Sting
Now, from the start this card looks terrible right? One mana for one damage is pretty bad, but take this into consideration: how many direct damage spells do you think green has that doesn't deal damage to you or have a limitation? 10, maybe 20? Wrong. There are only three unrestricted direct damage spells in green, including this one (the others are Bee Sting and Unyaro Bee Sting). Considering that the other spells have a 1:2 damage:mana cost ratio, it can be said that this is the best direct damage spell in green with no downside. Want to activate your Carnage Wurm but your opponent can block all of your creatures? Here's a solution. Is that Aven Mindcensor stopping you from finding land? How about that Ball Lightning that's charging towards you? Finally, what if Ali from Cairo is making it so you can't win through combat? That's a lot of "what ifs", but I think it demonstrates that this card isn't as bad as people may think from the get-go. 

Pros: One of green's few direct damage spells without a drawback
Cons: Only does one damage
Rating: 3/5

Friday, 7 September 2012

Lightning Bolt

Lightning Bolt
When you talk about non-Standard red aggro decks, this card will always be a staple. It's pretty much the quickest and cheapest way to deal your opponent a good chunk of damage (15% of a regular life total), although there are some possible exceptions (Galvanic Blast in very select scenarios, Mana Clash 6.25% of the time (assuming you don't want to take damage), and Firestorm in a 4+ player game or if there are 2 creatures on the field). Still, even though there are alternatives, this card will probably always remain the top red aggro starter but we never know what WotC might do in the next set.

Pros: 3 damage to any target for 1 damage at Instant speed
Cons: None
Rating: 5/5

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Anti-Landwalk Enchantments

UndertowGreat WallDeadfallCrevasseQuagmire
These cards have the potential to be really good, but there's one problem: in all of Magic, there are only 34 creatures with islandwalk,  4 with plainswalk,  33 with forestwalk, 20 with mountainwalk, and 44 with swampwalk (including creatures that have to pay to get it). So, these cards doesn't do much. That's really all I can say about these things. That's all that can be said about them.

Pros: Allows creatures that couldn't be normally blocked to be blocked
Cons: There aren't many creatures that are affected (135 combined)
Rating: 1/5 (because the forestwalk and swampwalk nullification can be useful in really limited situations)

Monday, 3 September 2012

The 5 Mongers

These cards aren't as bad as they may look. Sure, playing cards that help everybody aren't always the best, but these cards create a very tenuous peace within the game. When everyone has access to a power like that of Wishmonger's, people are less apt to use it since anyone can use it. It's also a rather big sinkhole for mana since each ability costs 2 to activate. However, some of these are better than others.

Probably the weakest of the mongers, Sailmonger will pretty much be useless since your opponent will give a creature flying and then you'll just give one of your creatures flying in response. Unless you have no mana available of course.
Pros: Gives creatures flying for 2
Cons: Useless as evasion if your opponent has mana available.
Rating: 1.5/5

Basically, this card equals no hands for anyone ever. Everyone will use this card's ability to make sure that no one else has cards in hand. Easily the second strongest monger.
Pros: Colourless discard
Cons: No one, including you, will have a hand
Rating: 3.5/5

These cards aren't that different from each other, except that they affect different creatures. They are token control in essence. Cards like Rhys the Redeemed and Talrand, Sky Summoner hate cards like these because they can easily counter their effects, along with dealing damage to players. They're like Pestilence on a stick!
Pros: Almost like Pestilence
Cons: Doesn't effect certain types of creatures
Rating: 3/5

The best of the 5 by far but also the most dangerous since it can give protection to anything. The worst part is that even if you were to use it on something that wasn't yours, you don't get to choose the colour; the controller gets to pick. Very dangerous indeed.
Pros: Gives creatures protection from colour of its controller's choice
Cons: Anyone can use it
Rating: 4/5

Saturday, 1 September 2012


I know I've been gone for a while, but I'm finally back at home and settled, so I'm going to back into the swing of things again.

This card is several levels of awesome. First, it's Instant-speed card draw, which is always great. Second, it's in blue, which is the colour that can use card draw most effectively. Finally, it can be free (essentially). One of the best scenarios you can use this card with is with things with Landfall (let's say it's a Hedron Crab) and draw effects (Jace's Erasure). At the end of your opponent's turn, you bounce 2 Islands to your hand to draw 2 cards and force them to mill 4 cards. Then, at the beginning of your turn, you draw another card which mills your opponent for 2. Finally, you play your Island, triggering Hedron Crab's mill ability, meaning your opponent has milled 9 cards over the course of a half turn. Now, that's just one combo that this card works with and there are many more out there and I can't possibly mention them all here. It would be amiss of me to forget to mention that this card does leave you a little lacking in the mana department since it sets you back 2 lands, but in the late game this shouldn't matter too much. However, this does allow you to return tapped lands, lands that you may have just used to counter an opponent's spell

Pros: Medium-sized card draw, potentially free, Instant-speed
Cons: Sets you back 2 lands if you pay its alternate cost
Rating: 4.5/5