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By: Flippers_Giraffe, Simon Smith
Oct 06 2010 10:09am
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Well the title of the article may have gave it away to some of the readers but I expect a few of you were intrigued and are currently reading this and wondering what I have to say for myself about the new set Scars of Mirrodin, well I'm going to be looking at what the set can do for your tribal decks and give you a few ideas to take home.

Now when I first view the spoiler on the Wizards site the first thing I look for are the really interesting creatures as I'm a creature person at heart but I seem to be hooked on playing combo decks so go figure that one out as I can't. Scars of Mirrodin is of course as you all know based on Mirrodin which is a plain we have all been to before so what do you remember from that set that stands out in your mind? Without looking back at the set which is quite easy for me as the system is down for maintenance as I'm writing this is affinity followed by the mighty Sword of Fire and Ice and Sword of Light and Shadow which may be the most overplayed cards I have from the block they will be joined with a new sword that was in the FTV: Relics box set Sword of Body and Mind which I am the proud owner of but haven't dropped it into a deck yet, sacrilege I know.     

Another card which still has a hefty price tag is an uncommon Eternal Witness I'm sure a lot of you will miss her now she's rotated out of Extended. She's still seen aiding a lot of Commanders though which is good to see. Other than those which are some of my favourite cards from the block the only other card that springs to mind is a card even I quit games to when it's played is Mindslaver and guess what its back I must admit the artwork is a lot better but it's still Mindslaver one of the most annoying cards printed if you have a way to keep playing it turn after turn.

Ok enough reminiscing on the past let's have a look at the future world of Mirrodin.

From the top the most wanted are the planeswalkers Elspeth Tirel, Koth of the Hammer and Venser, the Sojourner. They are a strong bunch Koth is the best of the bunch and has a standard casting cost with a very nice +1 ability that turns your mountain into a 4/4 elemental. His -2 will be devastating in burn decks and I'm not convinced about his -5 as I generally only use planeswalkers 1st and 2nd ability's but that's more than likely because I don't play control. 

Koth of the Hammer

Mana Cost2RedRed
Card Type: Planeswalker - Koth
Qty:  0
Description: +1: Untap target Mountain. It becomes a 4/4 red Elemental creature until end of turn. It's still a land.
-2: Add Red to your mana pool for each Mountain you control.
-5: You get an emblem with "Mountains you control have Tap: This land deals 1 damage to target creature or player.'"

The second most powerful planeswalker is Elspeth Tirel she has a bit of a high casting cost in my opinion. She works very well will her alternative personality. Her first ability totally fits white weenie decks giving you extra life. Her second ability creatures soldier tokens, last time round she created one for a +1 counter this time it's a negative ability at -2 but giving you three soldier tokens. Lastly her ultimate move destroys all permanents apart from land and tokens, hopefully your soldier tokens.

Elspeth Tirel

Mana Cost3WhiteWhite
Card Type: Planeswalker - Elspeth
Qty:  0
Description: +2: You gain 1 life for each creature you control.
-2: Put three 1/1 white Soldier creature tokens onto the battlefield.
-5: Destroy all other permanents except
for lands and tokens.

The third and final planeswalker in the first set is Venser, the Sojourner some say he hasn't got what it takes to be in the tier one Std decks and to that I say good as I will be including him in my Jellyfish deck and I hope to be able to afford a few copies to try it out. Let's have a look at the fellow then. 

His +2 ability would have been excellent in times gone by when time spiral and blink decks were popular although if you play BYOS (Bring your own Standard) than that time is whenever you want it to be. His second ability is very poor for a  planeswalker as most decks that try to use him will be control in the current Std meta. I really love his ultimate ability though to be able to exile a permanent every time I cast a card, Venser starts with three counters so you won't be able to start activating his ultimate until three turns later after you cast him without intervention.   

Venser, the Sojourner

Mana Cost3WhiteBlue
Card Type: Planeswalker - Venser
Qty:  0
Description: +2: Exile target permanent you own. Return it to the battlefield under your control at the beginning of the next end step.
-1: Creatures are unblockable this turn.
-8: You get an emblem with "Whenever you cast a spell, exile target permanent."

A lot of people hate planeswalkers but I do actually like them but only if I can afford them so I still hate Jace, the Mind Sculptor and will for a while but that's a rant at Mythic status which isn't something I want to cover in this article.

So now we have covered the so called stars of the set let's have a look at their minions the creatures of Scars of Mirrodin. I did a bit more of an in depth analysis of the creatures and their types as I always enjoyed it when AJ covered this for new sets.

Creature types  
Cat 5
Cleric 4
Human  13
Soldier 5
Elephant 2
Elk 1
Bird 3
Angel 2
Knight 1
Monk 1
Artificer 8
Hippogriff 1
Scout 2
Sphinx 1
Drake 2
Vedalken 2
Wizard 4
Beast 6
Shapeshifter 2
Serpent 1
Fish 1
Horror 9
Goblin  5
Zombie 5
Vampire 1
Warrior 10
Demon 1
Insect 4
Rat 1
Ooze 1
Dragon 3
Skeleton 1
Ogre 2
Berserker 1
Hellion 1
Phoenix 1
Elemental 3
Shaman 3
Spider 1
Wurm 3
Snake 1
Elf 6
Archer 1
Horse 1
Myr 12
Hound 1
Juggernaut 1
Golem 5
Construct 6
Masticore 1
Snake 1
Berserker 1
Wall 1
So there you go the most popular creature type is Human which is kind of expected followed by Myr which has been really pushed for this set which is a shame as I think they lost a bit of their individuality along the way. Another creature type that is very popular is warrior's and not all of them were red.

Ok lets have a look at some of the cards we will have to play with soon, I'll break it down by colour.

White is the home of Cat's, Angels and the very first Hippogriff. Let's look at the cats first we have our Leonin cousin Sunspear Shikari which when equipped becomes a bigger and better cat. Then we have my favourite White creature which is Kemba, Kha Regent I really look forward to using her. Her ability reads "At the beginning of your upkeep, put a 2/2 white Cat creature token onto the battlefield for each Equipment attached to Kemba, Kha Regent." if she's equipped with the new Sword of Body and Mind that's going to be insane. The third cat that I think will be very useful is Leonin Arbiter while he's in play players cant search libraries unless a player pays two mana. This will be a deadly weapon against decks that run a lot of fetch lands. I expect to see this kitty pop up in lots of formats all the way to Legacy.

Moving on to the Angels of which there are two in the set the first is a mythic Indomitable Archangel. She's going to be a very potent card for a mana cost of 2WhiteWhite you get a 4/4 flyer with the following ability. "Metalcraft- Artifacts you control have shroud as long as you control three or more artifacts.". Yes that's Metalcraft one of the new mechanics of the set showing you how powerful this angel can be in the right hands. The second angel which is most likely the one I will play the most is Sunblast Angel when she comes into play she destroys all tapped creatures, which is great in a format such as Tribal.

The other three creatures that caught my eye in White are the simple Glint Hawk which is a 2/2 flyer for White not bad but you need to be able to return an artifact to your hand from play otherwise you have to sacrifice it. This could be to your advantage with something like the new Mox Opal which I will show you later. Myrsmith is the next card that will mostly be played in Myr decks I expect, although it has the possibility of being broken. Lastly we have Glimmerpoint Stag which I'm going to be looking for ways to abuse, in a good way of course.  

If you take away the creatures there isn't much left for White that I find interesting, although I do like the story text from Soul Parry which reads 

"I was called to this world of steel, and it will be my steel that answers."

This is quoted from Elspeth and it really shows her warrior side, I may have to get a copy just for the text, the picture is quite good as well.

Green in Mirrodin first time round was based on Elves, Wurms and Troll's well the Troll's have been driven out I believe. So let's see what's left in Scar's. Green share's the infect ability with black in this set, the creatures that have this that are interesting are two horror's and a beast. We have Horror's in green now so Creakwood Liege will be over the moon. The first horror is Putrefax, I really do like this card it has Trample, Hast and Infect on a 5/3 body, the only let down is it get's buried at the end of the turn. The other horror is a bit odd it's Tangle Angler which has the ability to make creatures block it at the cost of Green but with a 1/5 body I'm not sure if it's worth the hassle. The beast is really a basic common blocker but with Infect it suddenly becomes a lot better.  

Next up are the Wurm's which has my favourite green creature Bellowing Tanglewurm, this wurm is great it costs 3GreenGreen for a 4/4 but it has Intimidate which means it can't be blocked by other creatures apart from green and artifact ones and to add the icing on the cake it also gives all your other green creatures intimidate as well. The other wurm in the deck is also very good as well which is Engulfing Slagwurm it's big and has a very high mana cost but has another great ability if it's blocked or blocks a creatures it destroys it and you gain life equal to its toughness.

Now the elves, well it wouldn't be green without them would it. In this set we get a legend with Overrun built in as an ability for elves, he's also able to regenerate other elves at the cost of Green as well, oh yes his name is Ezuri, Renegade Leader. So who does he lead well let's have a look at the next card which will make your hair stand on end. It's Ezuri's Brigade, you remember how good Vorrac's were in Mirrodin well now we have elves riding them. So what do you get for your mana, well for 2GreenGreen you get a 4/4 with metalcraft, if you have three artifacts in play to trigger the ability the Brigade get +4/+4 and trample now that shouldn't be hard in tribal as we have access to the artifact lands. Copperhorn Scout could be useful as well but I expect she will die after her first attack so plan ahead if you want to use her. Ezuri's Archers are quite good as well when you consider they only cost one Green.

The final card for green that I want to show you is Liege of the Tangle I'm not sure if I would ever use him due to his outrageous mana cost but I had him in a draft and he was a game winner, I'll leave you to decide if you think he's worth trying out.

Blue is very lacking in the form of good creatures in this set. We have a new Sphinx which can Exile itself as long as you have three artifacts (Metalcraft), the only problem is its a 4/3 so is in bolt range the art is very bad as well. I can't see this being included in many decks. There are a few new drakes they don't have much to offer but they do have nice artwork which is a bonus.

So are there any good creatures in blue? well yes there is a re-print of Trinket Mage which is always good as he can search for your Basilisk Collar. Then we have the blue lord Grand Architect, he gives all of your blue creatures +1/+1 and has a very nice combination of ability's to help you cast artifacts as below.

"Blue: Target artifact creature becomes blue until end of turn.

Tap an untapped blue creature you control: Add2 to your mana pool. Spend this mana only to cast artifact spells or activate abilities of artifacts."

 

Yes it also goes well if your playing Jaya Ballard, Task Mage or Spinal Villain. The next card I want to show you is a simple one but effective which is Neurok Invisimancer, which itself is unblockable and when it comes into play it can also make another creature unblockable as well. Lastly on the creature front for blue is Quicksilver Gargantuan it has a huge casting cost so may never get played but I'm sure you can think of a few creatures you would like to see as a 7/7.

Moving on from the creatures we have some very interesting enchantments in blue the first is Dissipation Field which I will be including in a lot of tribal decks the card reads "Whenever a permanent deals damage to you, return it to its owners hand" Now that could be really good you must admit it's like a time walk in a creature based format. Just make sure you don't play it if you're up against an elemental deck as they will be able to keep re-casting their Ball Lightnings as an example. The second enchantment is Inexorable Tide which has the new Proliferate ability. Proliferate works like this.

You choose any number of permanents and/or players with counters on them, then give each another counter of a kind already there.  

Inexorable Tide lets you Proliferate every time you cast a spell, I can't wait to start using this card with poison, infect and wither counters.

Now it's time to have a look at the red cards, I'm not too impressed with what we have to work with in this set, there are lots of cards for limited that are similar to cards we already have. There are only five cards that spark some interest for me which are Kuldotha Phoenix. Now this card is really good and I'm glad I've not played my phoenix deck yet, yes I have the same rule in tribal where I never bring the same deck twice. The phoenix is a 4/4 with haste that costs 2RedRedRed, it also has a Metalcraft ability which is

"Metalcraft- 4: Return Kuldotha Phoenix from your graveyard to the battlefield. Activate this ability only during your upkeep and only if you control three or more artifacts"

Now that is really nice, there is a chance you will see this card showing up in Red Deck Wins in Std as well. Next is an interesting card Spikeshot Elder for three mana you can have him deal damage to target player or creature equal to his power, he only starts as a 1/1 so you will need a way to boost him to make him powerful. The next card is Kuldotha Rebirth for a single red mana and the sacrifice of an artifact you receive three 1/1 goblins for your trouble. I think this could be a very good card with all the goblin lords available.   

The next card is an Ogre but I'm not sure how good he will be but he looks interesting, could be good for Commander. The card is Ogre Geargrabber and he does what it says on the tin, he grabs gear. Lastly in Red we have Molten Psyche which will be very good in Teferi's Puzzle Box / Underworld Dreams decks.

Sadly that's all I have for red apart from Koth of course.

Moving onto black which I find very exciting in this set, Black is home to the new Infect ability which works like this.

This creature deals damage to creatures in the form of -1/-1 counters and to players in the form of poison counters

It is quite a strong ability and will be interesting to see how it plays out black starts off with a few commons with the ability Blackcleave Goblin, Contagious Nim and Plague Stinger. There is also Ichor Rats which has an additional ability in that they add a poison counter to your opponent when they come into play.

Moving up in the Infect chain we have the Hand of the Praetors which is the lord of infection. While he's in play all your creatures with infect get +1/+1, also if you play a creature with infect while he's in play your opponent receives another poison counter combined with Ichor Rats and the game could soon be yours. Now we have a very stunning card sadly it's at Mythic rarity so won't be easy to get hold of but it will be deadly that's for sure the card is Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon for 3BlackBlack you get a 4/4 flyer with the following ability's.

Infect (This creature deals damage to creatures in the form of -1/-1 counters and to players in the form of poison counters.)
Black: Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon gains haste until end of turn.
BlackBlack: Regenerate Skithiryx.

Now that's not bad at all and if you can ramp into this dragon with say Dark Ritual, well need I say any more.

The next card doesn't have Infect but fits right into an Infect deck which is the Carnifex Demon, Have a look at this card and you will see why it's so good and fits in perfectly.

Now there are quite a few more black cards to cover let's finish off the creatures. There are a few more zombies that stand out the first is Geth, Lord of the Vault. He has an average casting cost and comes with Intimidate which means he can't be blocked except by Black and artifact creatures. Geth has a recursion/mill ability, I look forward to seeing this being used as long as it's by me of course! The other zombie is a very useful Uncommon think along the lines of Shriekmaw and you will be close this version is called Skinrender when it comes into play you can put three -1/-1 counters on a creature, not bad not bad at all. I nearly forgot to add one of the most popular creatures that will see play in the multi player room  which is the new ooze card Necrotic Ooze. This ooze has all of the activated ability's of every creature in all graveyards, yeah it's going to broken that's for sure. 

Looking now at the non creature cards we have a very nice removal card in the form of Grasp of Darkness it's an instant that gives a target creature -4/-4 for BlackBlack and it also has my favourite piece of art from the set. I'm sure that's a Pristine Angel being caught while tapped.

Memoricide is going to be a top card in standard let alone other formats, it's looking really strong but who is the young lady in the artwork I wonder a future planeswalker? The last card for black that I want to show you is Tainted Strike which is an instant that gives a target creature +1/+0 and infect, it may not look great by itself but if you play it on a large creature and then Berserk it, well it could be a game winner.

Lastly we have the artifact's which the block is based around there are two main creature types which are Golem's and Myr. Let's have a look at the Myr first as I don't like what Wizards have transformed them into. Back in the past they were a nice tribe that fitted into the block and you could take them or leave them as they were not one of the mainstream creature types. Yes there were lots as there are all the mana producing Myr which have been re-printed and I'm fine with that and there are a few nice new Myr as well like Palladium Myr which is now a colourless source of mana and Ichorclaw Myr is great as well as it fits the theme of the block being taken over by Phyrexia. Darksteel Myr is a nice addition as well.

Now we get to the badly designed Myr which are really out of place in the game I believe. I mean what is Myr Battlesphere all about we are going into Yu-Gi-Oh! territory here. Now it might be me and the card could fit in with the Myr theme but if it does then the artwork is really pushing me away from using this card it just doesn't fit in with what we have seen on the other Myr cards apart from Perilous Myr which is just as bad.

Then we move on to Myr Galvanizer which is totally broken, do we really need this? Wizards must think so as they couldn't have missed it in testing, infinite mana why yes please.

Well that's my Myr rant over and I want to end the Myr's on a good note with an excellent card Myr Propagator. This card is able to copy itself for 3 mana which could become very fun. I look forward to using this card. The Myr's are also now backed up with their own artifact Myr Reservoir which is another step in the right direction for the Myr.

Golem's where to start the first one in alphabetical order is Darksteel Sentinel which costs 6 mana to cast as you might imagine being made from darksteel makes him indestructible he also has vigilance and flash which makes him very interesting he's only a 3/3 but that flash ability could act as a very important combat trick. Golem Artisan is next in line and for an uncommon it's a great card to have in an artifact deck if you're running lots of mana cards like the Urza lands. For two mana he can give an artifact creature +1/+1 or your choice of flying, trample or haste until end of turn and it's not a tap ability. The next Golem is the new version of Platinum Angel he's slightly different with an 8/8 body but no flying thank goodness, he's called Platinum Emperion and his text reads "Your life total can't change" I'm not sure how relevant that is going to be compared to Platinum Angels "You can't lose the game and your opponents can't win the game." I think Platinum Angel is better but we shall see. The last of the Golem's that is worth mentioning is Precursor Golem which could be both an amazing card and an awful card at the same time. When it comes into play you put two 3/3 Golem tokens into play. now the next part of the cards text is "Whenever a player casts an instant or sorcery spell that targets only a single Golem, that player copies that spell for each other Golem that spell could target. Each copy targets a different one of those Golems." so if you get terminated that's your entire force lost but on the other hand if you play a Berserk or Giant Growth effect your going to stomp your opponent into the ground. I'm going to try playing around with this card in tribal as you don't see so many spells there.

Now while we are still thinking Golem's there are two relevant artifact's that are also interesting. the first is Golem Foundry which would be good in a deck like Myr's to generate loads of Golem's the second is Rusted Relic which is an artifact with Metalcraft, when you have three artifacts in play Rusted Relic becomes a 5/5 artifact.

Looking at the rest of the artifact creatures in the set we have another really powerful Masticore making 3 in total 12 for your tribal count just a few more and they can be their own tribe without having to use changelings. Molten-Tail Masticore is going to be an expensive card as it has really nice ability's which are colourless making it viable in all Std decks and it's a mythic, the current paper price is $45.99. Darksteel Juggernaut is another beast of a card I think this one will be better in Legacy though due to all the artifact lands so it shouldn't have too high a price. 

The next two artifact creatures are just as powerful, first we have a new artifact dragon Steel Hellkite which costs six mana for a 5/5. For two mana you can pump it's power and then its next ability is outstanding in an artifact block. Variable Colorless: Destroy each nonland permanent with converted mana cost X whose controller was dealt combat damage by Steel Hellkite this turn. Activate this ability only once each turn. Now that's good. The other creature is Wurmcoil Engine which I'm itching to play in my Wurm deck. Six mana for a 6/6 with Deathtouch and Lifelink and when it's killed you get two tokens both 3/3 one with Deathtouch and one with Lifelink. it truly is a great card and although it's mythic it won't be expensive as it's the pre-release card. 

I'm not going to go into too much detail with the non creature artifacts as a lot of them will require a lot of play testing to see if they are playable in the tribal format. These are the cards I have my eye on at the moment. Contagion Engine in an Infect deck. Lux Cannon in combination with Energy Chamber. Mimic Vat could be very interesting I'm sure I can think of some interesting creatures to use this with if not for tribal then for BYOS. Of course there is Mox Opal which will be good but only in certain decks as it requires its Metalcraft ability to trigger to give you mana.

The last two cards I have for this article are Ratchet Bomb which is going to be very popular in all formats and a good card for tribal which is Semblance Anvil naming creatures of course.

Well that's me for this week, I decided to do my set review for the whole set at once rather than break it down over a few weeks for a number of reasons the first is that I'll be running the Tribal Apocalypse events from this weekend so won't have as much time for writing other articles. The second is that I will be covering my decks in the Tribal Apocalypse weekly articles after Scars is released. If you liked this article then check out the Tribal Apocalypse articles for coverage of the events and all things tribal related or even better why not join us on Saturday and take part as well to show us what ideas you can come up with. For more details about each week and the prizes please click the link at the bottom of the article to go to my last article on the format which has the schedule for October.


 Links

 Tribal Apocalypse / The Rare Drafter - SeptemberThe Coalition League    

7 Comments

I highly doubt that we're by StealthBadger at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 10:36
StealthBadger's picture

I highly doubt that we're going to be seeing darksteel juggernaut in legacy any time, as it's not exaclt ysuper-fast, and it still dies to swords/path.

This article has great formatting but it looks like it hasn't been looked over by an editor? It seems in dire need of some punctuation! I also question the need to write out what a card does beneath a link to the card itself, but maybe that's just me.

It's certainly not the most powerful card of the set, but I think my favourite card is lux cannon. I like that i can cast it, then cast tezzeret next turn and use him to tutor up voltaic key. Then using tezzerets first ability and voltaic key, fire my massive death-cannon every turn. Probably rubbish, but definitely fun.

seeing a new set is always by JustSin at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 18:21
JustSin's picture
5

seeing a new set is always love hate for me... I get so excited and get all these ideas for building decks in my fav formats such as tribal, but then I'm forced to wait and wait for them to actually be released and I can never do it all just never enough time lol

Completely agree. Paper by MMogg at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 20:18
MMogg's picture

Completely agree. Paper pre-release events were weeks ago and we're still weeks away from MTGO's release, so I kind of get tired and frustrated with all the Scars reviews when I can't even play with them. By the time the set actually goes live, I don't think I'll be as excited. =(

This article, by the way, looks beautiful. =)

I agree I get excited with by Flippers_Giraffe at Thu, 10/07/2010 - 04:22
Flippers_Giraffe's picture

I agree I get excited with the though of a new set and it looks good when its spoiled but we have to wait another month to actually play with the cards and by then a lot of the excitement is lost and the top cards are already known from paper events.

Flippers, great article to be by Xaoslegend at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 21:01
Xaoslegend's picture
5

Flippers,

great article to be sure. I'm happy you allude to or directly state a lot of what my thoughts are about this set: that Wizards just got a ton of things wrong here.

The Mythics: too many that are too good with too few good rares,

Infect: Not a theme that seems possible to build a deck around, as finishers when its on a big guy sure but otherwise it's pretty meh, especially when you consider how good walkers are now and youre paying twice as much for half the dmg to the walker.

Myr: ya cartooney is not an area we want to explore with mtg. Mtg holds the top ccg spot for a good reason: it appeals to adults, leave the kiddy themes in the kiddy games.

X-

Interesting by NO_Peace at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 23:49
NO_Peace's picture

Couple of things.

Cranial Extraction is not seen in "other formats" what makes you think Memoriocide will be?

Your complaints about Myr seem petty. I get that you don't like the art, but they are no more or less horrendous in terms of design than what we see in each set. The Yug-i-oh reference particularly is just hyperbole. Mentioning that game is like the mtgo's equivalent of mentioning hitler. Doesn't prove your point, and just makes a sensationalist association. Call it bad art that someone's kid sister might like, but this comparison is unnecessary, and implies things about gameplay that are just untrue.

Other cards you seem to rate I find interesting, 6 mana for a combat trick is not really a combat trick, it is a last ditch effort to not be dead already. And as above, a 5 cmc cost for a 4/4 or 5/5 - in most decks that play lots of artefacts... 5 is too much for the finisher. Why would the golem be played ahead of Ravager? Which is presently not played.

I think the set is janky and over costed for the spells. I am hoping there are overpowered cards in it that force their way into legacy, but I doubt it. (Rachet Bomb, Wurmcoil engine, Necrotic Ooze likely to find their way into existing or adapted decks.) Cas Cas and non straight constructed might see some love, but most of the rest is meh.

Cranial Extraction was a very by Flippers_Giraffe at Thu, 10/07/2010 - 04:19
Flippers_Giraffe's picture

Cranial Extraction was a very popular card when it was in Std back in 2006/2007 there is no reason why it wont be used in the current Std its a great way to remove planeswalkers from decks.

On the Myr side its not just the art I don't like why on earth would Myr form up into a ball to attack. It just doesn't fit in with what we have seen in the past on Mirrodin.

I will also agree with you that the set isn't great, to be honest I was disappointed with it as well but it seems to be aimed more at the casual crowd this time round which is fine for the formats I play.