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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Budget Building: M2010 Additions

Up till this point my new, my new set budget article, has always focused on the Intro packs (and formerly the Preconstructed theme decks). Which one to get, and what you could do with it, what other cards you should pick up, and what to trade away out of it. I have not been shy over the last year when it came to expressing my general displeasure, and today will be no different. The M2010 theme decks stick firmly to the general trend of mediocrity in this product line. Each new release brings at most one of the intro packs worthy of consideration, while the others remain lack luster. My recommendation here is simple, if you are looking literally for your first product purchase, these are a great product that will give you a starting point, and instill a drive to expand your collection, and you will be fine picking up picking up what ever you can find, or is of particular interest to you. Otherwise, if you can get the White Intro Pack, you should. The cards included (looking at you Honor of the Pure) far exceed the the MSRP, and create an excellent value either for play or trade opportunities, all the others should be avoided by all but the newest players.

Since this would make for a remarkably short, and boring article, and in the interest of making the relevant to existing players, I have decided to examine the set from a budget perspective, and recommend certain cards for consideration in the budget collection. Since this is a budget perspective I am going to start by looking only at the un/commons, after all, if you want advise on rares and mythic cards, you probably can read one of the many other new set articles out there. In keeping with the budget perspective, I am only going to look at truly new cards. I am purposefully eliminating the reprints, and nearly functional reprints. Frankly you should already have what you want on these, and/or already know what is good.

My number one card from this perspective is Gogon Flail. This is a remarkable equipment, and a welcome addition to any limited deck. It gives the creature death touch, allowing it to have sudo-evasion under the new combat rules, and will make opponents think twice about swinging, even when they are other wise on the beats. Along with it's other colorless brothers Teramorphic Expanse, and Whispersilk Cloak it makes up much of the early pick MVP draft picks, and are nearly auto includes for any limited deck.

Next up is the collective strength of the Soldier class (clearly the strongest budget tribe in M2010), led by Rhox Pikemaster, and the Veteran commons. Elves may have more impact on constructed in the long run, but there is nothing new there, the budget player will be commanding soldiers. It is also relevant that these are strikingly absent from the White Intro Pack, and are any easy way to add focus and strength.

My third pick is a two way tie in the form of blue control. Wall of Frost lets you very effectively combat Time walk nearly any agro deck, while Sleep allows you to take the same combat time walk trick on the offensive, allowing you to swing into a nearly empty field multiple times off the one card. Control will lack focus this call when the collective crutch of Cyrptic Command rotates, but tools like this will make a more combat oriented control deck a real option.

In slot five is a well hyped white support card, Harms Way. I'm not certain this card will live up to all the press coverage it got pre-street date, but if it comes even close, you will be glad you picked them up early. Blue may be the color of control, but once again this spell dictates the difference between blue control, and white control. While a blue mage really needs 3 mana to ruin your day, the white mage only needs one. Playing around blue is an option, bu it is rare that you can play around a single white mana source. Harms way has a lot to compete with, against Path to Exile (also one mana), and Oblivion Ring as an answer package. I'd also like to give an honorable mention to Safe Passage, which may also add some thunder to white, if Soldiers have anything to say about it.

In the number six spot comes comes Windstorm. I know, it looks a lot like Hurricane, but it is strictly better (or at least significantly different), on two points. It's Instant speed, so it can be used as a combat trick, and it doesn't hit players, most importantly, you! On the down side, you can't use it as a finisher, but it's casting cost make sit highly splashable, and allowed it to edge out my number seven pick based solely on versatility.

Speaking of number seven, allow me to present Acidic Slime. It's a creature, it's removal, and it has death touch. I'm pretty sure it has been fluffing my pillow, and leaving me a chocolate at night also. This may be one of the most under rated uncommons in the set right now, simply because it can do so much.

In at number eight, is the non-elf creature, most likely to be seen accompanied by a swarm of little-green-men. No, not those, elves! Nothing says "Elves swing for lethal" like a Unicorn leading the charge, and flashing some horn. This is what Nath's Elite really wanted to be, without all the silly pretense. Why print lure, when you can just give it legs?

If you have been paying attention up to this point, you will realize that not a single black or red card, has popped up on the radar yet. That's right, these color are really lacking from this perspective. No redeeming value at all. All the good cards, are either out right reprints, or poorly masked functional reprints. Simply because I envisioned this as a top ten list, I am going to give the last two slots to Child of Night, because it's a vampire with Lifelink, and Burning Inquiry, because, well frankly, it's as close to imaginative as they got in red.

Now I couldn't leave an M10 budget article on M10, in good standing, without mentioning the new dual lands. They are rare, they are already expensive, but if you are planning on playing Standard over the course of the next year (and probably 2 years) I think you need to pick these up when you have the chance. I know $200.00 would be a lot to ask of a budget player, but this is the new mana base, and you should start investing in them as soon as possible. I see nothing driving these prices down at this time, and they are far more likely to go up. These are likely to be reprinted in M11, and we may even see the enemy pairs in that set too, only time will tell.

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