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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Jan 07 2015 1:00am
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Counter Target Siege Rhino

I know why you clicked, and I don’t want to torture you by making you scroll down and click boxes. You want the card, so here it is:

Last set, we got to preview Disdainful Stroke. I predicted it would see play in Standard since it reads, in effect, counter target spell you care about. It does see play, but mainly in the sideboard right now. Stroke hits Sidisi, Elspeth, Hornet Queen, Stoke the Flames and Whip, but it does not hit much of anything in the UW Heroic deck and only a few cards in RW Aggro and Jeskai Tokens.  It is a question of the percentage of hits versus misses in the format. For D-Stroke that percentage is a bit too low right now.
Neutralizing Blast may suffer the same fate. It is clearly positioned to stop two of the biggest threats in Khans of Tarkir, namely (Jeskai Ascendency) and Siege Rhino.   It stops those even if the opponent has mana acceleration. Neutralizing Blast also hits Battlewise Hoplite, Fleecemane Lion, Anafenza, the Foremost, Rakshasa Deathdealer and all the charms, although you may need to be on the play to stop some of those turn two.   The downside, though, is that it does not stop Goblin Rabblemaster, Wingmate Roc, or (Hero’s Downfall).  It also cannot stop the new and improved Young Pyromancer: Monastery Mentor. That’s a problem.
Neutralizing Blast seems designed for a metagame where the majority of the threats, or at least the ones you care about, are multicolored. We are not there yet. The current Standard environment has too many mono-colored spells to let you get away with playing what could easily be a dead card. 
So, will the new Reforged Standard be any more welcoming? It’s too early to tell, but probably not. As I write this, just a small fraction of the Fate Reforged cards have been spoiled. Those cards, however, are overwhelmingly mono-colored. For now, I foresee Neutralizing Blast seeing play only in Jeskai Ascendency mirrors, as a way to stop the opponent’s Ascendency before it hits the table.
Where Neutralizing Blast could see play, however, is in Modern.   Some of the newest Pod decks have eschewed the combo kill for Siege Rhinos, plus (Kitchen Fink)s, Qasali Pridemages and Voice of Resurgence, which brings the number of multicolored cards close to critical mass.  
Looking elsewhere in Modern, some Zoo and burn builds are playing more multicolored cards; adding Geist of Saint Trafts to their Lightning Helixes.   Jeskai Ascendancy is still a thing in Modern, and there are some rumors that Jund may get Bloodbraid Elf back. People are also testing Naya and Bant build which are chock full of multicolored cards. Modern is getting close to the point where a spell that reads 1U counter target Knight of the Reliquary or Fulminator Mage makes the cut. I don’t think Modern is quite there, yet, but I do know that I will keep a playset of Neutralizing Blasts in my collection just in case.  It’s close, and if Treasure Cruise gets the axe...     


sweetness! nice work man. by Joe Fiorini at Wed, 01/07/2015 - 06:59
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nice work man. these previews are cool.

Thanks!! by CalmLittleBuddy at Wed, 01/07/2015 - 10:38
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It's at least another option. Stubborn Denial is probably better for countering turn 3 Rhino/Jeskai Ascendancy/Sidisi. It hits all the other early plays that tap out as well. It's not perfect either. Time will tell. I think you're right though. For The current Standard it's probably too narrow. Plus Fate Reforged's multi color twist is mainly in the abilities they said, with much fewer gold cards.

Stubborn Denial can't counter by romellos at Wed, 01/07/2015 - 12:31
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Stubborn Denial can't counter creature spells. I guess you mean Stubborn Denial.

Cool spoiler Pete. Neutralizing Blast seems very promising card for the Modern format

Yeah by CalmLittleBuddy at Wed, 01/07/2015 - 13:46
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Wasn't thinking when I wrote that. I haven't played Blue in a few months. Disdainful Stroke is the correct analogy, and he already made it in that article.

I'm going back to bed.

Card at the top of the by Doctor Anime at Wed, 01/07/2015 - 12:52
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Card at the top of the article. You're a good man, Pete.

This card is not something by Doctor Anime at Wed, 01/07/2015 - 12:54
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This card is not something I'm excited about but happy it's been made. It adds to the cycle of 1U conditional counterspells, alongside Essence Scatter, Negate, Disdainful Stroke.

I click and see 26560 views. by bdgp009 at Wed, 01/07/2015 - 22:59
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I click and see 26560 views. That is way more cooler than Neutralizing Blast. Nice one

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