Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pauper Perspective: Rise of the Eldrazi

Well folks, it's that time again when everyone who writes about Magic does their mandatory review of the new set. I try to take a little different road at these times, as my article will primarily focus on the common cards of the set, which are often overlooked by other writers. These cards tend to flex their muscles most often in the Pauper format, Limited (Sealed/Draft), and the casual table. So off to the races!

There are only two commons in the Eldrazi category. Hand of Emrakul will really depend on value of other cards that make spawn tokens, because 9 mana for a 7/7 beater, even with annihilitor1 is a bit over costed. Ulamog's Crusher on the other hand, a 8/8 annihilitor2, is on or above the curve. Oh it has to attack each turn if able, but we all know that really isn't a draw back. The only common land in the set is Terramorphic Expanse hiding from it's creditors under another name. Prophetic prism is an artifact which does color fixing in the colorless matters set?? Reinforced Bulwark is a wall with even more life saving ability.

White has a total of 40 cards, ~18 of which are spoiled as commons. Of these 9 are creatures, all are weenie sized, and only one has evasion. Some of them are Level-ups, and get better with a bit more effort, but still don't push the envelope. White also has 5 instants (2 removal, 2 combat tricks) to offer. The onesided effect of Harmless assault will shift some games around. The removal is cheap, targeted, and restricted, but really not bad. White also has 3 enchantments, (2 auras, 1 removal-ish). Hyena Umbra makes any creature relivant, granting +1/+1 and first strike. Guard Duty is removal-ish, giving a creature defender, which is usually as good as removal. In this set, it be less effective against a defender matters deck, and may even be something you would want to play on your own creature, in the right deck.

Blue also has 40 cards, and ~18 commons, and has to be the most disappointing group of commons in the set. Nine creatures, only one of which nudges into being relevant in size, and only 2 have evasion. Instants, where blue usually shines, gives one combat trick, and 5 disappointing card draw or control spells. Enchantments are stereo typically lack luster, even for blue with one flash combat trick, and on removal spell. Blue also has a sorcery comabt trick, which isn't a trick, since you would have to cast it in your main phase.

Black is where the commons really begin to shine, 10 creature (6 beaters), that bring removal, evasion, or even spawn tokens. Enchantments are also pretty good, bringing land disruption, and decent auras. Even Sorcery is very good. syphoning life, granting evasion, control, removal, or creating spawn. Instants are fairly one dimensional, but it's a good dimension to have bringing 3 removal spells to the table.

Red is another great color for commons. 11 creatures (6 weenie size, and 5 beater size), and some have removal-ish qualities. Sorcery and instants bring a nice mix of removal, direct damage, and even spawn production. Red's enchantments may be the most interesting commons in the set. Lust for War, forces a creature to attack each turn, and then deals 3 damage to the controller when it is tapped. Raid Bombardment makes all your attacking weenies, deal an extra unblockable damage, simply by attacking.

Green is where the creatures live, 11 in total, 7 of which are beater size. Some bring with them death touch, fog effects, and spawn tokens. Sorcery are pretty mediocre, and the instants bring an assortment of restricted removal, lifegain, and combat tricks. The auras not only make the creatures stronger, but also bring aspects of card draw, and reach.

So that is pretty much it. I know what I'll be hoping for in my limited pool. Hope to see you all at a Prerelease this weekend.

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