Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Big Game Hunting: Tooth and Nail

Many of you out there may have recently become acquainted with my Deck of Many Things. I have wanted to write an article detailing the card choices in the deck, but have found it to be to large a task for one shot. Over the next few weeks, I intend to put out several articles discussing utility cards in the deck, and using them to discuss the contents of the deck in broader terms. One other the key functions of any deck this size is being able to search out particular answers for the current game state. This allows you to balance the power of the table, or allow you to take an advantage.

Tooth and Nail is beyond question one of the most powerful creature search tools available to any Magic Arsenal. For an entwined 9 mana this spell allows you to search out any 2 creatures, and put them directly into play. This can be used for any two creatures in the deck, but for today, I am only going to talk about those with a converted casting cost of 5 or greater, since they make the best use of our invested 9 mana.

First up I'll quickly cover the 2 weakest options of Kavu Climber, and it's delayed card draw, and Angel of Mercy's life gain. The DoMT also supports several great utility options. Magus of the Jar works both as card draw for me and a virtual mill for my opponents. Thorn Elemantal allows me to get past silly chump blockers. Platinum Angel make sit impossible to lose until your opponent deals with it. Stonehewer Giant adds an additional search option to the board, and will be talked about at length in it's own time.

The most obvious options are creatures with on-board direct damage. Razormane Masticore, turns any dead card in hand into a lightening bolt each upkeep. Silklash spider can spin up a Hurricane effect at instant speed. Crimson Hellkite can spit up a red mana fireball targeting a creature at instant speed. Scourge of Kher Ridge wings around with 2 for ground pounding, and 6 for other flyers. Bothe these functions are at instant speed, and repeatable. I recently had the pleasure of giving this guy life link, it was broken. Bogarian Hellkite is simply 5 points of removal on a stick. Make that a flying stick, a flying stick that can come down at instant speed when it's hardcast. Last up in this category is Arc-Slogger, and it's pockets full of shocks, while filling the graveyard with goodies. This little beast will also have it's own day in the sun, to highlight it more fully.

Vesuvan Doppleganger, and Vesuvan Shapeshifter each allow me to copy a creature in play, and to upgrade to a new creature later in the game as my needs change. These also allow me the option of taking out a Legendary creature, but at a significant cost to my own board position.

Speaking of legends, there are several good options for Tooth and Nail;

Oros, the Avenger- with it's pro white board sweeping functions.
Intet, the Dreamer-with a better then card draw option
Kaervek, the Merciless punishes my opponents for playing the game.
Sol'knar the Swamp King is a substantial swampwalker, and potential life gain.
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir gives my creatures flash, and removes instants from my opponents arsenal, forcing them to play almost entirely in their own turn.

These creatures are all good options, but all play second fiddle to my Tooth and Nail creatures of choice. Reya Dawnbringer is and MVP for her ability to recycle creatures from my graveyard. Bringer of the Blue Dawn not only has an impressive 5/5 body, and the Trample to make it count but brings with him an unbelievable card draw advantage.

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