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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Sep 10 2014 8:38am
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Don’t be Dissing Our Preview Card

This article previews a card from Kahns of Trakir. 
That means everyone wants to see it.
It also means that I get to tease everyone by delaying the reveal. (But not by much. I'm not that sadistic.)

The Name: Disdainful Stroke 

As always, multisyllabic adjective, noun, and this combination actually makes some sense. Seems fine. 

Cost and Type: Instant, 1U  

Promising. Blue does some good stuff, and a lot of good spells have cost 1U.   Some famous counter spells, bounce spells, card draw and filter spells have all been printed at that CMC.


What it Does: Counter Target Spell…

 Okay, if it was a straight, unconditional counter at 1U, it would be way too good.   Wizards has told us that Counterspell, at UU, is too good to ever be reprinted, so you know Disdainful Stroke has a restriction.   We already have Mana Leak, Arcane Denial, Memory Lapse and Remand at this CMC.   Could Disdainful Stroke be as good?
Let’s see.
So, is this good? Is this worth mentioning in the same sentence with Remand, Mana Leak and Negate?  Yes, it is. It is a lot better than it appeared at first glance. I like it. This card will be played.

Disdainful Stroke in Limited:

Let’s look at limited first.  In a multi-colored set, this is easy to cast and potentially worth splashing. It won’t hit everything, but you don’t want it too. Disdainful Stroke is a card you hold until late game, then counter the spell that is going to wreck you. It’s not something to use in counter wars, since it cannot hit any counter spells seeing serious play (including itself.) What it can hit is pretty much any spell that might be defined as a bomb or near bomb. Seriously – pretty much any spell that breaks open the late game will cost four or more mana, and Disdainful Stroke will counter it. 
Think about it. Think about the bomb cards from formats past: Baneslayer Angel, the Titans, (Angel of Serenity), Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief, Soul of Theros, etc., etc. Disdainful Stroke stops them. Think about the planeswalkers (okay, not Tibalt, but all the planeswalkers you ever lost to.) Think of all the board sweepers (other than Supreme Verdict.)   Think of groan testers like Primeval Bounty and Assemble the Legion
Disdainful Stroke counters them all.
In limited, this is a counter spell that can hit everything better than a three drop. It will never be dead, and sometimes it will win games nothing else will. Most importantly, it’s like Negate and Essence Scatter combined, and it is never Negate when you really need the Essence Scatter.
How good is it in Khans? Well, I don’t have the whole spoiler yet, but one thing is clear. The set has a fairly high number of expensive bomb creatures that cannot be countered. Even blue has one. I think it is because Disdainful Stroke is in the set. It’s that good.

Disdainful Stroke in Constructed:

First off, I will admit that Disdainful Stroke would probably never have seen play in the blue Draw-Go decks of old. Those decks played Force Spike and Counterspell and Memory Lapse, and topped off at Forbid. However, those decks have not been a thing since 2003 or so. Magic has moved on since then. Yes, the current UW control is closer to those old decks that Wizards might like, but UW control will rotate when Khans knocks (Sphinx’s Revelation) and Supreme Verdict out of Standard.
Today, decks are built more along the lines of Counterslivers, circa 2000. They combine some fast, powerful creatures with enough disruption to slow the opponent enough to win.  Really, all you need is something to stop the opponent’s bomb or answer. For example, I am playing around with a Yisan / Kiora deck.  Right now it is soft to Pack Rat, but Pack Rat will be gone in a month. At that point, the things that can mess up my deck are things like Wrath of God and Elspeth. Disdaining Stroke can counter those. Of course, my opponents can also play Disdaining Stroke, and counter my Kiora. Turnabout is fair play. In short, I expect to see Disdainful Stroke played in Standard.   
Moving on to larger formats, it remains to be seen. In Modern, Disdainful Stroke hits Splinter Twin, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Birthing Pod, not to mention pretty much everything Tron plays.   On the flip side, decks like Affinity, Burn and so forth have almost nothing that Disdainful Stroke could counter.  I see D-Stroke appearing mainly as a sideboard card, if at all, in Modern. I can’t see it being played at all in Legacy, since Legacy has a bazillion good, cheap counters and very few cards costing more than three mana that are actually cast.
But don’t worry too much about Modern and Legacy. You will see plenty of Disdainful Strokes in play in Standard and Khans Limited.
It’s good.

“one million words” on MTGO


It does hit Force of Will :) by Paul Leicht at Wed, 09/10/2014 - 11:24
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It does hit Force of Will :)

this card is very good, I'm by JXClaytor at Thu, 09/11/2014 - 08:49
JXClaytor's picture

this card is very good, I'm excited to see it, and think it will see a good amount of play.

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