Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Grim Tidings #19 - World-weak's Impact on 5C

It’s that time again, and I want to be one of the first with their obligatory New-Expansion-Set review article. The spoiler is complete for Worldwake now, and I have to say I’m a little disappointed. I thought the second set on a Land-themed block would offer some fantastic Tier-1 cards for 5-Color, but instead just gives us some average ones.

Let me premise this article with what 5C is. 5-color Magic is a format that requires you to build a deck of at least 300 cards, with a minimum of 25 cards from each color. I encourage everyone to go to the actual link, but basically all cards are legal, except for the Unglued/Unhinged expansions, and there is a special Banned/Restricted list specific to this format. Highlander is optional, but extremely fun.

When I consider a card for this list, it’s in terms of a big-deck format. There will be a lot of cards out there that are better for Standard or Legacy or whatever 60-card format, but for this review, I’m really just looking at the best cards and their impact for 5-Color (and to a lesser extent EDH).

Worldwake or World-Weak?
My overall impression is that I don’t see many cards making into First Reminder from this set. I treat First Reminder as a collection of the best-of-the-best, so to make that list, the card really has to be special, or be strictly better than its predecessor. I don’t think Worldwake is complete crap for 5C, it’s just not Tier 1. There are a lot of cards that are beneficial for entry level decks, but for the uppermost echelon, there are certainly better choices available from previous years.

So anyways, let’s get started this time, I’ll stick to the traditional Top-10. (For now just reference the spoiler. I’ll add the corresponding card images as I find them…)

10.) Bojuka Bog - The Bog is an OK graveyard hoser, essentially a Tormod’s Crypt that costs B since it enters the battlefield tapped (ETBT). Of course it makes B too, which is a plus side. Unfortunately though, you have to RFG your opponent’s ‘yard when it enters the battlefield, so your timing ability to surprise them is limited. It would have been much much better if you sacrifice the Bog for the effect, rather than a “come into play”.

9.) Jace, the Mind Sculptor – New Jace is probably better for Legacy than 5C. However, don’t let that dissuade you from using him in your big decks. He Brainstorms for 0, so even if your 100+ land manabase dilutes the shuffling efficiency of your 10 Fetch-lands, it still has a lot value. I would never fault anyone for playing this, (just don’t count on exiling someone’s library with his ultimate.)

8.) Arbor Elf – Normally, I would suggest that you just play Llanowar Elves if you wanted acceleration, but Arbor Elf does something special in 5C. It allows you to untap a forest, which includes dual lands such as Tropical Island or Savannah. What you effectively get is a Bird of Paradise, if you have the lands to synergize with this. Not necessarily great on its own, but OK with the right manabase.

7.) Harabaz Druid – Likewise, the “Bird of Paradise Ally” is notable for 5C as well. Occasionally, you will have a second Ally in play (probably in the form of Chameleon Colossus) so you might actually get more than one mana when you tap it. Don’t count on it though in a 300-card deck, but consider Harabaz Druid a complement and/or replacement for Utopia Tree.

6.) Everflowing Chalice – It ain’t great, but it ain’t bad either. Chalice is a good early game card to give you a quick mana pump for 1, or midgame to get you over the hump with you 6-7 casting cost finishers. Too bad it only makes colorless. I’d still rank it behind Mind Stone for comparison sake.

5.) Raging Ravine – I’m lumping the entire cycle of all of the Dual Man-lands at #5. I’m honestly not too impressed. When you have the entire pantheon of dual lands to choose from in 5C, you have to be pretty darn good to make the cut. Any dual lands are still generally good though for 5C.

But consider the following (RG) alternatives, which I believe are superior: Taiga, Stomping Grounds, Wooded Foothills, Fire-lit Thicket, Rootbound Crag. What do they all have in common? They don’t come into play tapped. ETBT is a horrible attribute that you should be always wary of. I prefer to have as few as possible, running only 15 or so in First Reminder (most of which produce 3-5 different colors of mana).

All bashing aside though, I still may include Celestial Colonnade (That’s one L, two Ns for you spelin’ gurus) in place of Faerie Conclave, since it’s no worse tempo-wise, and it has a much bigger butt.

4.) Thada Adel, Acquisitor – On her own, Thada Adel probably wouldn’t make this list. In a 60-card format, her ability is far too narrow to be effective main deck. You really have to know what your opponent is playing before you dedicate a slot to artifact stealing. However in 5C, everyone has 300 options to choose form, many of which will be super-uber-powerful-broken artifacts. Why use your own when you can use your opponent’s Memory Jar, Umezawa’s Jitte, Tawnos’s Coffin, or Chaos Orb? I personally won’t run Darksteel Colossus due to Bribery/Acquire, and Thada adds to that fear. (That doesn’t mean I won’t give her a spin myself for shigiggles!)

3.) Stoneforge Mystic – Any card that is a tutor deserves attention in 5C. For a very reasonable 2 mana, Stoneforger lets you search out your Sword of Fire & Ice, Jitte, or Skullclamp. Combined with the fact this is a 187 creature, you have the makings of a recursive engine to victory. It still pales to Stonehewer Giant though.

2.) Tectonic Edge – To the Magi’s dismay, I wrote an entire article regarding the necessity of land destruction in 5C not so long ago. Tectonic Edge file is spot in line behinds Strip Mine, Wasteland, and Dustbowl. Is it better than Ghost Quarter? Probably. But if you’re playing a highlander version of 5C, go ahead and play both anyways. It won’t hurt.

1.) Chain Reaction - This might be the one and only Wolrdwake card that makes my First Reminder deck. Widely regarded as the Red-Wrath, it is an excellent board sweeper. I play in a lot of multiplayer games, so the reaction is likely to be big… well at least as big as a Firespout, which this card is destined to replace for me. I’ll give up that flexibility to nuke the entire board instead.

So there's my sarcastic analysis of the new set. Good luck with your 5C games with Worldwake!

1 comment:

The_Magi said...

I like the article. I'm really with you on the low power level for this set. I haven't finished my shopping list just yet, but I really don't expect it to be very large.