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August 9, 2011

7th Edition: Bomber Review (Part 1 of 2)

by Dredd77

In our last review- Green’s Way Wild– we discussed how each of the five 7th Edition decks looked to distill the core essence of what each of the five colours was about. White’s Armada, for instance, was a quintissential White weenie deck, while Way Wild ramped into fat creatures to smash face in the red zone. Ignore the bellicose name of today’s deck, the mono-Blue Bomber- instead, what we have here is Blue’s specialty, the classic permission-based control. Because of the entry-level nature of these decks, and because it must hold its own with what it’s given in a more aggressively-minded field, Bomber still finds itself a bit heavier on the creatures than you might expect, but its framework is unmistakably permission.

Let’s begin our look with the deck’s creatures.

Sharks of the Sky

The creatures of Bomber are a mixture of utility creatures, defensive-minded stallers, and flying finishers. Here is the creature curve:

As evidenced by the curve, there isn’t much to do here until you start getting into the midgame, where your options really open up. There’s a singleton Merfolk of the Pearl Trident, fairly useless except as a chump-blocker. A Coral Merfolk is also rather underwhelming, but the other two early creatures- a Merfolk Looter and Sage Owl– provide welcome boosts to your draw quality and help set up subsequent turns.

Heading into the loaded three-drop slot, we have some of our first true defensive options. There’s a Glacial Wall and Wall of Air, which should be sufficient to stop nearly any beater thrown at them. A Horned Turtle is a bit less impressiv,e but still has a solid shell for a back-end and will keep your opponent’s weaker creatures at bay. You also have the makings of an air force with a pair of Wind Drakes. The final two creatures here are strictly utility- it will be rare when you find either setting foot in the red zone. The Prodigal Sorcerer hearkens back to the days when pingers were Blue, not Red. Being able to finish off wounded creatures, pick off troublesome weenies, turning weenies-in-hand into dead draws, and drain your opponent gives the Sorcerer a great deal of versatility. The Daring Apprentice, by contrast, has but one job- counter target spell– and she can only do it the once. You’ll want to be sure to make it count.

From there we enter the four- and five-drops, which are exclusively aerial creatures. The Fighting Drake isn’t the most impressive bird in the sky, but it’s 4 toughness means it will be hard to get rid of. The Thieving Magpie is a little less robust for the same cost, but can more than make up for it through continuous card advantage. Finally, your big closer is the Air Elemental, which should immediately place your opponent on a rather short clock.

Of course, what good is a short clock if their answer is a Dark Banishing or Pacifism away?

“I Don’t Think So”

To help sustain your creature-based threats, Bomber comes equipped with an ample permission package. Unlike the aggro-control model of Decay, Bomber doesn’t look to control the board through attrition. Indeed, with its defensive-minded creatures it’s more than happy to let its opponent’s creatures live, so long as they don’t derail its strategy. And if they do, well, Bomber can always dispose of them, at least temporarily. With an Unsummon and two Boomerangs at its disposal, roadblocks are little obstacle. And if they’re a serious threat, they can always be countered when the enemy player tries to recast them. There’s also a Confiscate, which lets you take control of any permanent on the board. This is a very bomby card, as the results can be devastating. Not only will they lose their best creature, but you’ve now gained the use of it. It also can take away an enchantment, artifact, or even a land.

With a Force Spike and pair of Counterspells, you’ll have to be judicious with their use, but they can be indispensable. Try to save them for cards that swing the game heavily in your opponent’s favour, like if they try to kill off your Air Elemental or a massive Blaze pointed directly at you. One of the best side-effects of having permission in the deck is that it forces the player to play around it, even when you’re not holding any. Sometimes the ominous sight of two Islands left untapped is all a player needs to see to delay casting some nasty threat.

Finally, you’re going to want some way to refill your hand once it’s started to deplete. There is instant-speed card drawing available with Inspiration, and the deck’s second rare is Ancestral Memories. Although as a sorcery it’s slower, that it lets you pick the best two out of seven is not to be underestimated.

That’s all the time we have today for the 7th Edition. When next we return, we’ll have taken Bomber into battle to field-test it, and we’ll be back with a battle report!

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