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October 3, 2010

10

Scars of Mirrodin: Myr of Mirrodin Review (Part 2 of 2)

by Dredd77

Welcome back to our first round of Scars of Mirrodin’s intro decks, beginning with the mono-White Myr of Mirrodin. Our initial impressions were that it was a welcome move in the direction of consistency, packing in multiples of a smaller number of cards rather than a long list of singletons, a drawback of some previous decks. Boasting a solid removal suite and combat tricks, the deck supports its Myr with a somewhat singleminded, focused approach that seeks to compensate for some of the flaws inherent in a Weenie/swarm strategy. To find out how it performs, Sam and I squared off, with Sam opting to pilot the Green/Red Relic Breaker. With her behind the most aggressively anti-Artifact deck in the set, I had my work cut out for me. Here’s how the games unfolded:

Game One

A strong start on the play, I manage a turn 1 Origin Spellbomb and turn 2 Myrsmith to start the game off. Sam casts an Iron Myr and passes. Knowing she won’t trade and with a Seize the Initiative in hand, I swing in with the Myrsmith then cast a second Origin Spellbomb, activating the ‘Smith for a 1/1 Myr token. Sam lays down a Sylvok Replica, and passes.

Turn 4 arrives, and we’re still building our board presence. I go in again with the Myrsmith for another 2, then pop a Spellbomb for another 1/1 Myr token and drawing a Perilous Myr, which I have just enough mana to cast. Over to Sam, she mates her Sylvok Replica with a Vulshok one.

Things come to a head on turn 5, after I swing with my Perilous Myr for 1. I pop my second Origin Spellbomb, adding another 1/1 Myr token to my burgeoning army, and drawing into a third Spellbomb, which I then cast (paying an extra to get yet another token from the Myrsmith). I now have 4 1/1 Myr in play.

Sam, however, isn’t much for an army of weenies as she plops down the Hoard-Smelter Dragon– bad news. My Arrest on the following turn takes the Dragon out of commission, but her two Replicas standing guard dissuade me from attacking with my Myr swarm, opting to again send in the Perilous Myr on a solo mission. Sam’s now down to 14. For her part, Sam’s turn 6 play is a Horizon Spellbomb and a dour look from across the table as she picks at her Dragon with her fingertip.

At the start of turn 7, Sam sacs her Spellbomb and fetches a land, drawing an additional card. I go on the offensive, pushing all my Myr into the red zone. Sam blocks the Perilous Myr with her Sylvok Replica, and the Vulshok picks up a 1/1 token before being sacrificed to kill my Myrsmith. I cast an Inspired Charge, pumping up my Myrlings, and Sam then responds by sacrificing the other Replica to destroy the Arrest on her Hoard-Smelter Dragon. When the dust settles, I’ve dropped Sam from 14 to 5 life, but am out my Myrsmith while Sam has her Dragon back.

For her part, Sam begins to retaliate, and casts an Oxidda Scrapmelter, destroying my hapless Perilous Myr, who in turn destroys Sam’s Iron Myr. She replaces it with a Copper Myr.

Nex turn, I manage a Palladium Myr, but after passing have to watch as Sam slags three of my tokens with a Fireball, leaving me only one remaining.

Turn 9, and the life totals are horribly misleading with it as a 5-20 game. I’m as yet untouched, but am scrabbling to replace weenies while Sam has her Dragon and Scrapmelter out. The only thing saving me at the moment is her life total- Sam has circled the wagons, but it’s only a matter of time considering Sam can sit back and roast my Artifacts with her Dragon every turn. I pop my final Origin Spellbomb, then deploy Gold and Darksteel Myr. Passing to Sam, she draws into Barbed Battlegear, which she then tacks on to the Dragon. Things are looking grim, and our next turn is draw-go from the both of us.

On turn 11, some luck as I mise a second Arrest, which goes straight onto the Dragon. She responds by blowing up both my Palladium and Gold Myr with its activated ability before the Aura settles atop it. Passing to her, she moves the Battlegear onto the Scrapmelter, then passes. Despite the loss of the Dragon, I’m still little closer to finishing off those last 5 points of damage.

I gamble on turn 12, sending in a pair of 1/1 Myr to attack after exiling her Copper myr with Revoke Existence. The Battlegear’s -1 toughness modifier means her Scrapmelter is open to a combat trick, and when Sam takes the bait I snap off a Seize the Initiative to kill it. Alas, Sam has some combat trickery of her own, with plenty of open mana and an Untamed Might. Back to the drawing board.

Turn 13, and we’re in a poor spot. The board is stalemated, and neither Sam nor I have cards in hand, using the last of them for the last attack/defense. Now we’re just playing to see who draws their finisher first, because neither one of us can get our fingers around the other’s throat. The topdeck spellcasts come relentlessly:

Turn 13:  Gold Myr – Acid Web Spider

Turn 14: Ghalma’s WardenAsceticism

Turn 15: Sunblast Angel – Vulshok Replica

Turn 16: Darksteel Sentinel – Copper Myr

Turn 17 I draw Land, Sam plays Viridian Revel. Turns 18 and 19 are draw-go, then on turn 20 I land a second flyer, the Razor Hippogriff, returning the Perilous Myr to hand for a recast. This sets up the win as I’m able to go in with both the Hippogriff and Angel in the skies, and the land-mine Myr on the ground. Sam bounces her Spider off the Angel, leaving the Hippogriff and Myr to get in for 4 taking her to 1.

Sam draws, then scoops.

Game Two

We start our second matchup with a slow start, with my turn 3 Myr Galvanizer as the first play of the game. Sam’s only one step behind, though, as she deploys a Cudgel Troll next. I draw, then pass.

Sam’s turn 5 play looks to turn the corner as she casts the Oxidda Scrapmelter, destroying my Galvanizer. Coming in with the Troll, she’s disheartened when I tap and play Dispense Justice, removing a very nettling problem indeed. Over to me, I cast a Ghalma’s Warden, which is met by Sam’s next-turn Barrage Ogre. I have a Sunblast Angel in hand, but it’s going to take some finagling to optimise it. I bring out nothing new on turn 6, but swing in with Ghalma’s Warden for 2, trying to bait her into an aggressive posture.

It seems to have worked better than I might have hoped when turn 7 sees Sam cast Flameborn Hellion, swinging in with all three beaters. The 11 damage hurts, but all I need is one more Plains and I’m sweeping her board with the Angel. She passes, I untap, reach over and draw…

…a Myr Galvanizer. Herrgottnochmal! My hand now forced, I Arrest the Hellion and refrain from attacking, then snare her Ogre with my Warden and a tricky Seize the Initiative when Sam attacks the next turn. The 3 from the Scrapmelter hurt- I’m down to 6 life. Sam plays a Prodigal Pyromancer, and passes.

Finally, a Plains! After swinging with the Warden for two (taking her to 16), the Sunblast Angel hits the table, and her Scrapmelter is history. I pass to Sam, whose draws and passes back. I go aggro, sending in my Angel and Warden taking Sam to 10 life before playing the Myr Galvanizer and a Gold Myr. Sam pings me with her Pyromancer at the end of turn. I’m at 5 life.

Sam untaps, then casts Arc Trail to take out the Myr. I blow a Seize the Initiative to save my Galvanzier, but the 1 damage to the Gold Myr combined with her pinger is enough to finish the poor fella off. Somewhat thwarted, Sam then Shatters the Galvanizer in spite, but it doesn’t look to be enough.

Passing to me, I swing in again with my beaters, following up with an Auriok Edgewright. Sam has no answers, and concedes after her draw.

Game Three

A fast start this time, and good for a laugh as we mirror one another. Sam leads off with a Panic Spellbomb, then I cast the Origin one. Her turn 2 Copper Myr is met by my Gold one. She misses a turn 3 drop, though, and I am able to bring out a second Gold Myr. Alas, her turn 4 play is the nasty Asceticism. Still, with a Revoke Existence in hand I’m not too worried, and use turn 4 to play a Myr Galvanizer before swinging in for 4.

Sam follows up the Asceticism with Viridian Revel, then passes turn. Using my Galvanizer to squeeze a little extra mana out of my two Gold Myr, I Revoke her Asceticism and cast the top-performing Perilous Myr.

Back to Sam for turn 6, she brings out the Acid Web Spider, and I pop my Spellbomb at the end of her turn. I untap and swing in with 4 Myr (the Spellbomb token, two Gold Myr and the Perilous one), cautiously leaving the Galvanizer behind. Sam blocks one Gold Myr with her Spider, and the other with her Copper myr. I cast Inspired Charge, getting 8 damage through. The Gold Myr blocked by the Spider perishes, though, and allows Sam to draw a card from her Viridian Revel.

Sam recovers with a strong turn 7, casting a Sylvok Replica and Horizon Spellbomb before Shattering my Myr Galvanizer. I have just enough mana to cast a Myrsmith and Kemba’s Skyguard, taking me to 22 life.

After a draw-go from Sam, I cast a Darksteel Myr the next turn, netting another Myr token from the ‘Smith. Having enough from the Myrsmith, Sam smites her with Turn to Slag, then passes. I draw, and pass back.

Now at turn 10, a Molder Beast appears on Sam’s side of the table, and my reponse- a Palladium Myr- is a bit underwhelming. Still, all I need right now are bodies, and I have enough to go all in with a second Inspired Charge the next turn to eke out a win.

Final Thoughts

Although the deck performed well, I did find a few cracks in its card selection that hurt me more than anticipated. One of these was the singleton Dispense Justice. This card is ideal for a passive or control player, who is accustomed to being attacked. The best support you can have for a Weenie/swarm is proactive removal, cards that clear potential blockers out of the way and free up the red zone for your somewhat fragile beaters.

The pair of Seize the Initiatives were also underwhelming. A card that does only one damage to your opponent is not really worth a slot, so this is more of a “ersatz removal” Instant. Again, Weenie/swarm strategies rely on being fast, getting in the necessary damage before the opponent can stabilise the board state. Seize the Initiative- somewhat ironically given the name- is actually a rather slow card. If I have a 2/2 creature on the board and you have a 3/3 one, and you’re at 2 life, it will take me two turns to kill you with Seize: one turn for my ‘comabat trick’ to clear out your last defender, and one turn to swing for lethal. If instead I have something like Arrest which just clears out that 3/3, you’re done- no next turn, no hail-Mary draw, no lucksack mise.

So looking at it that way, Seize the Initiative might alternately read, “As an additional cost to play Seize the Initiative, tap a creature you control. Destroy target creature whose toughness is no more than 1 greater than your tapped creature’s power.” In other words, it’s removal, but not the optimal kind.

Otherwise, Myr of Mirrodin was a lot of fun to play, and held its own even against so much Artifact hate. It had a solid mana curve and arc, so I seldom had difficulty deploying what I needed (the Sunblast Angel in Game 2 notwithstanding). It’s a great introduction to the set, and well worth picking up.

Hits: Great tribal theme; solid mana curve with Myr ramp means you’ll have little trouble deploying your win conditions; lower variance than recent previous set’s precons due to inclusion of multiples; perfect balance of Rares between flavour and power

Misses: Reactive spells inadequate to the task of supporting a fast Weenie/swarm strategy; would have liked an extra Myr Galvanizer as they are so strong in powering up the deck

FINAL GRADE: 4.25/5.00

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10 Comments Post a comment
  1. michael
    Oct 3 2010

    How did Sam kill your Myrsmith game 1? I thought the replica could only damage players.

    Reply
    • Oct 3 2010

      Well I’ll be… That cheatin’ Sam!

      Great catch, Michael. Even the pros will say that each player makes multiple mistakes every game, and with these new cards from a new set, it looks like she made one that I didn’t question. +1 Lament points to you for the catch, and a useful reminder for me and others to always, always read unfamiliar cards.

      The good news is, it didn’t affect the outcome of the match. The bad news? I liked that Myrsmith! 😀

      Thanks again!

      Reply
  2. Oct 3 2010

    Interesting matchup … indeed a brave one to take on against the RG artifact haters …

    However, it sounds like the deck could use some casual support of Mirrodin (hey, we’re back on that plane *g*) commons, such as Leonin Elder, the Loxodons (Anchorite, Mystic, Mender) or a well targeted Blinding Beam 🙂

    Reply
    • Oct 3 2010

      I definitely would be looking to up the support here. I love the consistency, but its a mixed bag when it comes to tempo and momentum. This will be a fun one to Meddle!

      Reply
  3. Prophylaxis
    Oct 3 2010

    Was the stalemate in Game 1 caused by a lack of shuffling? One of my most hated things in buying precons is that they have all the cards in a neat, orderly fashion, so it often takes several, long shuffles to property mix up the deck.

    Reply
    • Oct 3 2010

      Not in this case. After being broken open and goofed around with, a precon is then broken down for our deck analysis pieces, which typically involves sorting into three piles: Creatures, Noncreatures, and Land (and then further sorted by casting cost). By the time that’s done, they’re reconstituted and shuffled thoroughly, then once played they’re shuffled again. (In fact, we precede every playtest session with a “friendly” match to see who gets to decide play/draw for the first ‘recorded’ match, and that game was fairly back and forth).

      Just random chance is all. I’ve found that using a pile-shuffle breaks up precons fairly quickly (six piles in a pyramid fashion, compiled by alternate piles and then riffled together). But just yesterday when playing Sam groaned, “I wish they’d just shuffle them at the factory.” We’re right there with you (though it would raise production cost)…

      Reply
  4. troacctid
    Oct 4 2010

    Yup definitely needs Tempered Steel. Also, Myrsmith is awesome.

    Reply
    • Nicade
      Oct 29 2010

      I prefer steel overseer if you can get them.

      Reply
  5. Dan
    Apr 16 2012

    If you combo the two myr galvanisers with 1 or 2 palladium myr you can get infinite colourless mana. With the addition of the card myr matrix, which has the ability “{5}: Put a 1/1 colorless Myr artifact creature token onto the battlefield.” You can acquire infinite 1/1 myr tokens. To add one more link to the chain, combo that with myr battlesphere, and create an infinite/7 creature. Pretty cool methinks.

    Reply

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