Last time we had a chance to game, we tested out the last deck we had to review of Shadows over Innistrad. Today, we’ll be bringing Oath of the Gatewatch to an overdue conclusion with Surge of Resistance, a Red/Blue deck that features- surprise!- the surge mechanic. Joining me at the table is Josh, who is running the Blue/Colorless Twisted Reality. Can Zendikar’s defenders keep the Eldrazi at bay, or will the relentless tide overwhelm them? Let’s find out! Read more
Departing the benighted plane of Innistrad for a moment, we’re back at the besieged one of Zendikar. When we last looked at Vicious Cycle, we found a sacrifice-style deck with some intriguing synergies. Of course, what looks good on paper doesn’t always play well, so we’re put it to the test. Joining me is Phil, piloting Concerted Effort, the White/Green support deck. Read more
“May you know the joy of finding an untapped design vein.”
So Mark Rosewater, head designer of Magic: the Gathering, concluded his column of 21 July, 2014. Entitled “At All Costs,” the feature looked at all of the different cost-reduction mechanics available in the game of Magic. In many cases, such as using life as a currency for mana, much of the design space has already been mined, from Snuff out to Dismember. That isn’t to say it won’t be used again, but it’s not entirely new.
It’s game time! I’ve been keen to put Desperate Stand through its paces following the disappointment from Battle for Zendikar, and at last I’ve got my chance. Standing between me and glorious White/Black victory is Phil, who’s going for the surge angle with Surge of Resistance. Can cohort carry the day? Read more
Nearly four years ago, we reviewed a deck called Slaughterhouse from Avacyn Restored. It was a deck that played in a space we’d seen before with preconstructed Magic, although not commonly. Following in the footsteps of Mirrodin’s Sacrificial Bam and Coldsnap’s Beyond the Grave, we summarized this style of deck as follows.
The objective of these decks is simple- take advantage of permanents that don’t mind dying to feed ones that reward you for when they do. Towards that end, many of its cards involve sacrifice and sacrifice outlets, along with the fodder that drives the deck forward.
If we were to summarize the objective of today’s Oath of the Gatewatch deck, Vicious Cycle, we could do no better.
Black/White (“Orzhov”) decks seem to be having something of a renaissance these days. Historically one of the less-common two-color pairings in preconstructed Magic, they’ve been on the rise since Return to Ravnica block. Some of this shouldn’t be surprising- after all, Gatecrash brought back the Guild of Deals with all of its extorting glory, and the Orzhov made the 50/50 cut to have a second deck devoted to it in Dragon’s Maze.
But it didn’t stop there.
It’s our next playtest for Oath of the Gatewatch, and this time I’m taking Twisted Reality for a run. Featuring Wastes and loads of Eldrazi, I’m up against Phil’s Vicious Cycle. Can the Eldrazi finish what they’ve started on the plane of Zendikar, or will they find a final, eternal sleep? Read more
We’re back with another playtest of Oath of the Gatewatch, the second and final set in the Battle for Zendikar block. We’re looking at the Green/White Concerted Effort deck today, which makes use of the support mechanic to grow its creatures over the course of the battle.
Joining me across the table is Phil, who has opted to go with the White/Black Desperate Stand, a Black/White deck looking to abuse cohort. Here’s how it shook out. Read more
Infect, from 2010’s Scars of Mirrodin, was an updated take on the poison mechanic introduced at the dawn of the game in Legends. It also has the distinction of being one of the very few mechanics in the game that intersects with planeswalkers. Dealing -1/-1 counters to creatures and poison counters to a player, attacking a planeswalker was indeed about the only way you’d see ‘normal damage’ from an infect creature being dealt.
When Ice Age released in 1995, it was only the sixth Magic expansion, but the first to be intended as a stand-alone set. While the previous year’s Legends was of comparable size to Alpha/Beta, it wasn’t structured to function as a stand-alone in the way Ice Age was, with a basic reprint level of core cards (like Giant Growth) that made for a well-balanced environment.