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.
One of the landmark early theme decks released for 1998’s Stronghold was so staggeringly different from the precon decks of today that it’s almost hard to imagine a deck like it being produced for the modern game. The Sparkler was a Red/Blue deck best remembered for one defining characteristic- within its box you found a Mogg Fanatic, a Wall of Tears, a Wall of Razors… and nothing more. A grand total of three creatures. Of course, that left plenty of room for the burn (Lightning Blast, Shock), countermagic (Power Sink, Spell Blast) and general chicanery (Reins of Power, Intruder Alarm) and everything else. It was a bold and daring move, and created a very memorable and exciting deck.
It’s difficult to say whether or not you could get away with such a departure form the norm in today’s environment. Creatures in particular have come a long way since Tempest/Stronghold, and The Sparkler would certainly be under noticeably more pressure from the beefier modern beater. Most preconstructed decks have fallen into the familiar, comforting pattern of creature base with noncreature support. This formula is so entrenched in design that when a deck comes along that challenges it- even slightly- it’s a genuine occasion.