Mirrodin Besieged: Mirromancy Review (Part 2 of 2)
And we’re off! The first playtest for the new Mirrodin Besieged set, and Jimi’s ready for battle behind Path of Blight. In our initial review I found myself quite taken with the design of Mirromancy, but of course only time and experience would tell whether or not it was cohesively designed, or an assemblage of cards more aspirational than functional. Here are the notes from our opening clash.
I’m on the play, and spend my first two turns developing land. Jimi gets a slight edge with a turn 2 Plague Myr, then gets another Plague Myr out on turn 3. I enter turn 4 with 1 Poison Counter (PC), but look to equalise board presence with a Blisterstick Shaman, who takes out one of Jimi’s Myr. Jimi sends the other one in for revenge, and I go ahead and trade it out for the Shaman. They’re 1/1’s, sure, but it’s what they enable that I’m most worried about. Jimi ends with a Phyrexian Digester, and passes.
Now turn 5, I play a Peace Strider, not even bothing to adjust my life counter. Jimi swings in with the Digester for 2, then follows up with a Blight Mamba. Back to me, I send the Peace Strider in, and Jimi shoves the snake in its path. She regenerates it, and my Strider has a -1/-1 counter for its troubles, but the sacrifice was not made in vain. My Arc Trail wipes Jimi’s board, with Jimi not having the mana two regen the Mamba twice. Passing to her, she dishearteningly plays a second Blight Mamba, and I wonder if that’s how the Mirrans are feeling right about now- burn them out, and they keep coming right back.
My turn 7 play is an Ogre Resister, which Jimi meets with a Decimator Web. She swings in with the new Mamba, and I block it with my suffering Strider. Jimi regens the snake, and the Strider gets another -1/-1 counter. Back to me, I catch this Mamba out with a Burn the Impure, then swing with the Strider and Ogre. My first strike on Jimi is a hard one- she ends the turn at 12 life. Of course, Jimi’s Corpse Cur lands, and back goes the Blight Mamba to her hand.
I need to do something about that Hydra, so I Call to Mind the Burn the Impure, then fire it off against the Hydra. This makes it a much more manageable 4/4, and a possible trade partner with my still-intact Ogre Resister. The blowback from Burn the Impure drops Jimi to 9 life. Passing turn, Jimi swings for the fences. In come the Hydra and the Cur. I look to trade the Ogre for the Hydra and let the Cur through. It would have worked, too, if not for Jimi’s Safe Passage. The Hydra lives, the Ogre dies, and I’m at 7PC. I get one more Poison Counter when the Decimator Web is tripped.
Looking to buy some time and stabilise, I cast Sleep on turn 11, then attack with the Peace Strider for 1. Undaunted, Jimi sets down a Tangle Angler. I draw and pass on turn 12, and Jimi sends in the squad. I try to use the Myr and Strider as chumpers to stay alive for one more turn, but Jimi plays Unnatural Predation on the Hydra for the win.
It was especially painful because I’d drawn Galvanoth early, but couldn’t find a way to work him in. The card was calling to me.
Jimi’s turn 3 Priests of Norn open things up, but it goes quickly from there. I open turn 4 with an Ogre Resister, which Jimi meets with a Rot Wolf. And then turn 5 arrives, and I land the Galvanoth I’d lucked into in my opening grip! Win or lose, this was going to be a fun one.
Jimi starts the aggression next, coming in with the Wolf and the Priests. I offer up the Ogre to kill the Priests and let the Wolf through for 2PC. Jimi passes turn. I untap, then impelled by Galvanaoth I reach over to the top card of my library to find… a Neurok Commando. Ahh, well, maybe next time. I play a fresh Ogre Resister and pass. Back to Jimi, she repeats her last turn, with the same results: a fresh Ogre Resister kills the Priests, and I get hit for 2 more Poison Counters. She plays a Plague Myr and passes.
This time I hit paydirt- a Foresee! Galvanoth just paid for himself. Scrying for four, I find an Island, a Lava Axe, a Silver Myr, and a Lightning Bolt. I replace all four cards, starting with the Lava Axe, then the Island, with the Myr and Bolt on top which I then immediately get to draw. Leaving my upkeep, I enter my draw phase and grab the Island, leaving the nice, shiny Lava Axe sitting right on top for the Galvanoth next turn. Now into my main phase, I capitalise on Jimi’s slight land drought (she has four) by hitting a Forest with Melt Terrain. I then swing with the team, leaving Jimi at 9 life at the end of the turn. Passing to Jimi, she retaliates with a full attack. We trade Myr, but the Wolf again gets in for 2. She follows it up with a Blightwidow and passes, but I send the Lightning Bolt to her face at the end of turn taking her to 6 life.
Now turn 8, the Galvanoth reveals the Lava Axe which nails Jimi for 5 more. Clinging to life, I have the creature advantage to send in to finish her off, but I figure the deck deserves to claim its first win with a little panache. Instead, I Call to Mind the Bolt and re-Bolt her.
Now on the play, Jimi opens with a Forest, while I drop an Island. Turn 2 sees the next round of land drops, with me adding in a Silver Myr. The game’s first beater lands on turn 3 when Jimi gets out the trusty Rot Wolf. I match with a Neurok Commando, and the game is on.
First blood comes on turn 4 when Jimi sends in the Wolf for 2. I let it pass, then watch as she follows up with a Tine Shrike. Over to me, I send in the Commando, which Jimi lets pass. I hit for 2, and draw a card- an Ogre Resister- which I then cast. Next turn, Jim plays a Decimator Web and hits in for 2 more Posion Counters in the air with the Shrike. Looking to stay aggressive, I send in both my beaters. Jimi trades the Wolf for the Commando, taking 4 from the Ogre. Having not missed a land drop and helped by my Myr, I finish with a Lumengrid Gargoyle and pass.
Turn 6 for Jimi is something of a miss, as all she manages to do is activate the Web. Back to me, I clear out the red zone with a Quicksilver Geyser and swing in for 9. Down to 5 life and with a hand full of expensive creatures, Jimi simply can’t deploy enough blockers to stop my next-turn swing for lethal and scoops.
Thoughts & Analysis
It’s hard to consider game two in my consideration of the deck, for as joyous as it was to get a Galvanoth off to win the game for me, it’s not going to be a common thing here. There will be plenty of times where a 3/3 for five mana just isn’t going to solve the deck’s problems (as I found in game one), but even so the deck is an absolute ball. Spell-heavy with plenty of draw and maipulation, this is not only a deck for those of a less creature-driven frame of mind, but also for the tinkerers. Galvanoth begs for the right deck to showcase him, and although this is a very solid start, there nevertheless are many ways it could be improved.
We can shelve those thoughts for a future Ertai’s Meddling, perhaps, as we’ll want to judge the deck on its own merits- and it was not without its flaws. Very draw-dependant, there will be a number of games where it just flounders drawing meta-spell after meta-spell without coming across anything of consequence. Even with its vaunted burn package, there’s still plenty of bad draws to be had. Crush, for example, is hardly worth the slot when you have access to Shatter and artifact creatures are abundant and plentiful- the one extra mana is well worth the versatility. The same goes for Lava Axe. You can see the logic of its inclusion, despite being a rather poor and inflexible spell- it’s a chunk of damage for the Galvanoth to uncover. Still, even a Lightning Bolt would be far better for the versatility alone.
In this the deck can play a bit stiffly. Melt Terrain? In the land of precons, your opponents are far less vulnerable to land destruction than they are in the more delicate Constructed format where even a single Spreading Seas can ruin someone’s day. Bear in mind that of the three other intro decks for the set, only one of them has a lopsided mana base (Battle Cries), and even then it’s a two-thirds/one-third mix. On occasion you’ll catch someone in a vulnerable position, but far greater will be the times you’d just wish for another piece of removal instead.
In the end, weak card choices aside, the deck hints at the possibilities behind Galvanoth. It’s not common that a premium rare ties in so critically to the deck’s theme and game plan, and it’s a most refreshing sight. Even the generous dollop of Magic 2011 cards here feel critical to inclusion rather than just ‘splash-ins.’ Wizards took a risk here and it paid off- this one’s a winner.
Hits: Fantastic gameplay and theme; refreshing break from creature + support formula; good deck synergy in having all noncreature spells as instants or sorceries for the Galvanoth
Misses: Many of the card selections are rather limiting or expensive, begging for an overhaul; being creature-light can leave it vulnerable in the red zone
FINAL SCORE: 4.75/5.00