As touched on in the deck analysis, we had some doubts about Totem Power from the outset. It seemed reminiscent of Deadspread from Scars of Mirrodin- a deck that highlights a mechanic for its own sake, when that mechanic isn’t particularly well-suited to building a deck around. Totem Armor is an intriguing twist on the periodic attempt to make creature auras playable (typically by mitigating the inherent card disadvantage), but aside from the Kor Spiritdancer and a couple role-player cards, there really didn’t seem all that much distinguishing this deck from just a generic creature deck with a few decent auras.
Knowing that the truth often emerges on the field of battle, I sat down with Sam who opted to meet Totem Power with the Blue/Black Leveler’s Scorn. Here are the results of that matchup.
Ahh, enchantments… what a long and sorrowful tale they tell. Ever the bridesmaids, and quite seldom the bride, it is a sad commentary on the state of the permanent that it’s rather big news when one makes Constructed play (see: Eldrazi Conscription). Far more useful in limited where their glaring weakness is somewhat reduced, they nevertheless magnify the risk-versus-reward element prevalent in the game. Their effects are often quite solid, but generally not quite enough to outweigh the vulnerability they leave their player with to being two-for-oned in response to their casting.
Very early on the player base came to this realisation, and Wizards has tried many times to offset their inherent risk of card disadvantage. Some have been splendid successes (see: Rancor), but for the most part they’re considered largely unplayable. But Wizards’ R&D keeps trying, and for Rise of the Eldrazi they came up with a new iteration: Totem Armor.