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By: JBushEsq, Jordan Bush
Jun 22 2009 11:37pm
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 Hello and welcome back once again to Musings. This time around I'm going to take a look at what the Blue/Black cards - but first some of my customary preamble.

 

A lot has changed since I last wrote my article about White/Blue - some of it small and localized, some of it has rocked the game as a whole. I'd be remiss not to talk about some of this. The big stuff first - and I mean big - IE: the M2010 rules changes hit just last week. A lot of people have talked about this in more detail than I have, so I don't really feel much of a need to delve into the situation as well - rather just a brief comment: I think all of the changes are largely meaningless, some name changes here - some slight functionality differences there - no big deal. However the exception is the change to the combat system - which really strikes me as a poor decision on WoTC's part- but that being said, I don't really think its going to change too much. Since the rules dropped, I've payed attention to my limited games since then, and I think that M2010 changes rules would have changed maybe a single combat step. I guess what I'm getting out here is that its a big deal, but not as big of a deal as some people are making it - just my 2 cents.

As for some of the smaller changes - since I last wrote, another author has published a very similar article, which I would encourage everyone whose interested to check it out. There really is no right answer with this kind of thing, so looking at as many opinions as possible is a good thing. Remember, I'm not trying to put forth a hard or fast frame work for others to attempt to draft under - rather I'm attempting to explain my thought process that comes when looking at some of these cards. The ratings I give, while useful as a general guideline should not serve as absolutes, but rather think of them as shorthand opinions for how I think about a card in a reasonable pack.

My last article generated a decent amount of feedback which I really appreciate and am going to try and take as much of it to heart with this article and moving forward.

Basically, with this article I'm going to attempt to go into greater detail when looking at the cards, hopefully in an attempt to share both my own thought process when looking at these cards, as well as maybe shed some new light. With a number of these cards I'm going to be playing devil's advocate as well - while I'm saying that some of these are great cards, I do try and look at them from an angle that makes them worth playing for some decks. However, there are still going to be some cards for one reason or another that are just so basic, or useless for limited that I'm going to rate or dismiss without too much thought. If and when this happens, and you have any questions as to why, feel free to ask, and I'll be happy to elaborate.

With that out of the way, a little about my rating style: I use a two part system, the first number will correspond to a range of when abouts a I would be happy to take a card within a "normal" pack. Of course the packs are random, as are the drafters, so stuff happens and cards may show up later than they should - In which case, be happy. The opposite can be true too, as there might just not be any decent cards even though it's an early pick. Finally, this number is just a guideline - sometimes it 100% correct to take a weaker card over a stronger one based on your deck and the pack itself.

The second rating is a roman numeral that will correspond to the chart below. The purpose of this number is express the raw power level of a card, and to give a number that can serve for a quick reference.

 Tier Ranking  Rationale
 I Absolute, Windmill Slam Bombs - these are the cards that don't just help to win, but rather win the game all by themselves. They will drastically alter the current state of the game and very probably rip victory from almost assurred defeat. This are the cards that should be considered despite needing to change colors for them.
 II Bombs - These are the cream of the crop, if unanswered they will likely win the game in very short order. 99% of the time, an automatic pick for anyone playing the right colors, and worth considering if only a light splash would be required.
 III  The Bread and Butter - These are the cards every decks needs to function - the bombs will win the games, but these will keep the game winable. This category includes most removal, and the better than average creatures.
 IV  Solid - a step down from Tier III, but still very playable and effective cards, unless it was a particularly crazy draft, at least a few of these will end up in your deck
 V  Questionable - not bad per se, but they tend to be lacking for one reason or another, certianly not unplayable, but think of them more as the last few cards that you play to get the right creature count or such.
 VI  Sideboard - Cards that can wreck the right deck, but will be almost unplayable against everyone else.
 VII  Unplayable - Just bad cards that will almost never have a home in a draft deck - go for the highest rarity pick when it comes down to this point...

Finally, keep in mind that I'm writing assuming a traditional Alara/Conflux/Reborn draft. So by definition, these cards will all be found in the last pack, and I will assume at various points that your deck is already somewhat defined - IE in terms of color, general composition, and intent (aggro, control etc). So keep in mind that I'm going to be assuming this at various points, and while I will stress some of these points when applicable, some things will still go left unsaid - IE: this Blue/Black card goes will into a Grixis or Esper deck...

 

Anyway - sorry about the longer than usual intro - On to the cards.

 Architects of Will

I really like these guys/girl. Anything that cycles this cheaply is always ok in my book, and if that was all I had to say about them, I'd still think they were playable. However there is more to be said. Four for a 3/3 is slightly above par in this format, even more so in these colors. The cycling helps to decrease the risk from their U/B casting cost. However, what really makes me like this card is their CIP ability - good either in the early game when you can use it to set up your draws, or good in the late game to force your topdecking opponent into drawing as poorly as possible for a few turns - fun stuff. Remember that this ability will work on you or your opponent as depending on the situation, this can be really relevant. I see this as a very solid creature with the kind of versatility that makes me happy to have one or two in my pile. Its an artifact too for all the times when that matters. Tier III, 3rd-5th. Architects of Will

 Brainbite

From what I've read, this card seems to be getting a bit harsher treatment than it is due. I'm coming out and saying its a great card, because its not. However, I think it has its uses and should not be dismissed as another unplayable too quickly.

First, the bad. The casting cost. On turn four I want to be playing another threat and increasing my board presence, or at the very least responding and maintaining parity. Playing this during a close buildup of early drops can set you way behind on the tempo race, and for this reason alone this is not a card I see myself starting in most situations.

The flip side. Its a cantrip, so it has that going for it, and for this reason alone, I'd play with this as my last card if it came to that. Also, this means that it cycles in the late game if nothing else. Aside from that, this card has a lot going for it really. Being able to see your opponent's hand can really help steer you in the right direction for the next couple turns, as you'll know exactly what your opponent is up to. Also, of this will also take away their best card... and it doesn't have any restrictions, so every once and a while it could set up the dream and rip out the land that would let your opponent play the rest of his hand.

So when should I play this card? Well, as I said above, I'd make the argument for using this as a last card in a otherwise weak pool to flesh a deck out with. But, I really see this cards as a hidden sideboard gem. If your playing an aggressive deck, and get paired up against a slower or more controlling deck, then I wouldn't hesitate to bring this in, as it can slow them down even more letting you press an early advantage. If I see one of these late-ish and nothing else for my main deck, then I'd be happy to grab one for the board: 7th-10th. Tier VI.
Brainbite

 Deny Reality

This card makes me think of the Underpants Gnomes from South Park: Phase 1: Bounce a permanent. Phase 2: ... Phase 3: Profit.

I struggle with this card a lot. On the one hand it has cascade - and it's hard to argue with two spells in one. Yet, on the other, I have a hard time getting excited about a five mana sorcery bounce spell, it just seems too cumbersome to me.

I think the trick to looking at this card is not as five mana bounce spell, but rather as a Sedraxis Alchemist who costs more, but doesn't require a blue friend and will sometimes randomly be better.

Every time I've played with this though, I've generally been happy. Best in an aggro deck where this can serve as a decent sized tempo swing/free attack/warm body. I don't want to go out of my way to pick these up too early, in particular not at the expense of cards I'd want to flip with this - even more so if the lower part of your curve is weak. Still an above average card. 3rd-6th. Tier III/IV.
Deny Reality

 Etherium Abomination

I don't have a whole lot to say about this guy. Basically he's just a very average big man in colors that don't have a lot of big men. The fact that he has unearth is a bonus. I'd be fine with playing one to round out my curve, but I wouldn't got out of my way to pick one up. 5th-9th Tier IV. Etherium Abomination

 Illusory Demon

This is another interesting card that I think is being undervalued at the moment. Don't get me wrong, the drawback is significant - however it is my contention that in the right deck it can be offset and that leaves this guy as a big undercosted flyer. This guy reminds me a lot of Brackwater Elemental which is quite playable, sure he doesn't have the unearth - but he doesn't really need to. If you play him on turn three, and attack on turn four and five before casting something then you are in a better position than you would have been with the elemental. Furthermore, this guy is enough of a threat that if cast at the right time, your opponent is going to have to answer him anyways. Even if they don't and you end up being forced to play another spell, you've likely gotten in for at least four and maybe taken out a creature - also there is nothing preventing him from blocking too, so he'll probably gum up your opponent's attack.

In particular, I think that this would be a great inclusion for a very aggressive B/U/x type deck where he can supplement a couple of quick early drops (maybe a 'blade or two...) and force your opponent on the defensive and needing to answer him or die.

Not for every deck to be sure, but in the right deck I think he's a fine inclusion, as his drawback can be played around and the benefits of a turn three 4/3 flyer are fairly significant. Not to mention in the late game when you go into top deck mode a 4/3 flyer is still great, and his drawback is lessened even more by the lack of other spells to play.

I don't want to waste an overly early pick on him, but mid-pack sounds about right if I have a deck that i know can support/wants him: Tier V, 5th-8th.

 

Illusory Demon

 Jhessian Zombies

Ahh the landcyclers - I want to hate them, but just can't bring myself not to love them... A 2/4 with fear sucks (but is better than a 3/6 wall), However, I'd rather draw this in the late game instead of a borderpost of an obelisk. When exactly to pick this guy up really is a judgment call based on the pack and the rest of your deck - If need fixing really bad, then by all means take this over anything except for true bombs.

Generally speaking, I want to play one or two of these landcyclers, and I would pick them up accordingly. Tier III, anywhere from 1st - 6th based on specific needs.

On a side note, if the choice ever arises, I'd take this or another landcycler over a matching borderpost all things being equally - I'd rather have the option of another creature than a sub-par land.
Jhessian Zombies

 Kathari Remnant

 This one feels like its trying to go in two directions to me. Don't get me wrong, cascade is awesome, but I always want to use aggressively - why the Bloodbraid Elf is so good. This guy though is a good defender and seems to want to be in a slower more controlling deck.

That being said, and by virtue of cascade I'd be happy playing this guy in nearly any deck - as long as my two and three drops are decent, might as well pick up a flying defender along with them. Tier IV, 5th-8th.

Kathari Remnant

 Lich Lord of Unx

 Any creature that makes more creatures is ok in my book. Add in the second ability and you get some more bang in the late game.

I like this guy for a more controlling type deck, as he is just too mana intensive for a faster deck to make good use of in the early game (though if I ended up with one, I would still play him as you can drop him and start activating his second ability right away to get in those last few points). But for a slower deck he can slow down an opponent by giving you an extra chump blocker every turn. Then in the late game he can keep growing a little army and still activate his ability (more than once too - mana permitting) to through blockers and such. That being said, and while I'd be happy to play one of these, he's too fragile and mana intensive to be a true bomb: Tier III, 3rd-5th.

Lich Lord of Unx

 Mask of Riddles

I really loved Shadowmage Infiltrator... And despite the appearance to the contrary - this is no Finkle maker. On paper it seems ok, but its just too expensive to really make it worthwhile. The ability to draw and extra card a turn is always good - but the amount of mana and time this takes to get set up is prohibitive - not to mention that some removal on your opponent's part makes you wait even longer to get that extra card.

This card wants to be best in an aggressive deck, but its just too expensive to use early, and it might be too little late in game to get you out of a stall. All this being said, I don't think this is quite bad enough to be unplayable, I just wouldn't be excited about doing so - don't pick it early. Tier V, 6th-10th.
Mask of Riddles

 Mind Funeral

 Nope - not even with multiple Cathartic Adepts and a Memory Erosion. Milling just isn't a viable strategy in Shards limited. Tier VII, 10th + Mind Funeral

 Mistvein Borderpost

 Ahh, the Borderposts - I don't have a lot to say about these. They are pretty decent, no doubt, but I'd rather get my fixing from lands and or the landcyclers. That being said, fixing is fixing and massively important when playing three or more colors. As such I wouldn't hesitate to take a correctly colored one of these very early, even more so if I'm lacking other types of fixing. Tier III, as early as 1st.

On a side note, the Mistvein Borderpost is a notch above the other non-blue ones by virtue of being another artifact for Esper purposes.

Mistvein Borderpost

 Nemesis of Reason

 Everything I said not to long ago about milling doesn't apply when you get to do it in chunks of ten at a time for no other reason than attacking with your big-butted critter. This guy is a bomb, no doubt. At five mana he's cheap and big. Unless your up against Naya its unlikely that he's going to be killed by creatures. Add in the fact that he doesn't even need to go through to do his thing, which he does very good putting your opponent on a three turn clock. On the flip side, while seven is a lot of toughness, it's not going to be easy to keep this guy alive through three attack phases. Still though, any card that ends the game in a few turns by itself is a bomb, and I'd by happy to pick this guy accordingly. Tier II, 1st-3rd.

Nemesis of Reason

 Soul Manipulation

 I seem to contradict myself at every turn anymore - this is a counterspell I'm happy to play. If you can read your opponent correctly and wait for the right moment, this card can quite easily change the outcome of the game - 2 for 1ing, and giving a huge tempo swing. The fact that this can be used as a simple Raise Dead at any time is just a bonus. I don't want to take one of these over better reactive removal or really solid creatures, but other than that I'm always happy to grab one. Tier IV, 3rd-8th.
Soul Manipulation

 Soulquake

 This type of mass Evacuation effect just isn't that good in limited. Your spending your turn throwing every creature back into the hands, while your opponent gets to start establishing their board before you do. Not to mention that for seven mana, four of which is colored, I want to end up in a better position than my opponent - this doesn't do that. Whereas a Wrath can be a huge blowout by biding your time and resources, doing so with this would just be pointless - even if your opponent has used some removal on creatures you're getting back, it still doesn't merit giving your opponent a decent tempo swing - and unless you use no removal at all, their likely getting some stuff back too. Just not worth if for limited, Tier VII, its a rare, so take it whenever there's nothing else that even has a chance to make your deck.
Soulquake

 Time Sieve

 Maybe, just maybe this thing could work in some sort of crazy esper deck. However, unless you have a bunch of cards that can churn out artifacts or some such, this card won't do much, and losing four other artifacts for another turn is too heavy of a cost to offset in a draft. Still though, if you have that crazy deck, then by all means make a run for it with this. 99.9% of the time, Tier VII, and take it late when theres nothing else, because it a rare.
Time Sieve

 Vedalken Ghoul

 Generally I want all my creatures to be able to have some board presence, something which this guy as a 1/1 lacks. Then again, he's likely a (Lava Ax) for four or five. I'm not going to be happy about playing him, but he's not unplayable in an aggressive deck. Tier V, 6th-8th.
Vedalken Ghoul

Overall Blue/Black picks up a few decent cards, and while there's playable stuff here there is not too much that is all that exciting.

 And that wraps this one up. I don't have much to say here since I front-loaded this article so much. But as always - questions and or comments are welcome.

 Until next time when I look to Black/Red.

 

Cheers.

60 Comments

nice article much improved. by rainin6 at Mon, 06/22/2009 - 23:57
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nice article much improved. keep it up

Personally I am a fan of mask by Anonymous (not verified) at Tue, 06/23/2009 - 09:12
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Personally I am a fan of mask of riddles. Against any deck without black or artifact creatures it can turn all of your creatures into threats, that also give you cards! What is not to love. Sure it is not a bomb and I would take any removal over it but it is stronger than you rate it IMO.

Soul Manipulation is better by Radman99 (not verified) at Tue, 06/23/2009 - 11:09
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Soul Manipulation is better than Tier IV. It's a two for one when played correctly. You landcycle the Zombies early and bring him back with it while zapping a creature spell. What's not to love?

Mind Funeral by Anonymous (not verified) at Tue, 06/23/2009 - 14:40
Anonymous's picture

I'd be happy to drop a turn three funeral on you for its true purpose which is mana screw. Think about it. Worst case I send ~25% of your land to the graveyard. Best case I send those land plus border posts, obelisks, land cyclers, and/or maybe a bomb. What's not to like about that? True, it loses power as the game goes on and the opponent builds out his mana base, but a VII card... I don't think so.

No, Mind Funeral Is Bad by Godot at Tue, 06/23/2009 - 16:16
Godot's picture

Spending your third turn on a Mind Funeral with no plan to deck your opponent is not a good play.

"Let's play a game of Magic, but I'll go ahead and mulligan to six without looking, and I promise my only play on turn three will be to drop a land."

The vast majority of the time, that's what you will be doing with a turn-three Mind Funeral, and occasionally you will be providing your opponent with unearth, Soul Manipulation, or other beneficial graveyard fodder to boot.

Citing the potential to mill someone's bomb as a plus is a classically misinformed pro-milling argument. You are just as likely to mill away the cards on top of your opponent's bomb as you are to mill the bomb. At the moment you decide to cast a mill spell, there is exactly the same chance that they will draw their bomb next whether you mill or not.

A singleton Mind Funeral is absolutely bottom-tier unplayable in limited. If you convince yourself that dedicated mill cards have worth outside of a decking win condition, you have a hole in your game that needs plugging. Don't worry though, you are not alone, it's a common leak.

Mostly by Paul Leicht at Tue, 06/23/2009 - 16:37
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I agree, however in a game where you have played long enough to get to the last 10 or so cards and you have little land left in your deck a Mind Funeral becomes a lot stronger. Not saying that happens often but it does happen. On the other hand it is still probably a VII even if you do have the possibility to increase the odds in your favor in the case of a stalemated position. As I said I mostly agree.

Godot's picture

Any scenario anyone can construct where Mind Funeral in a non-mill deck is "good" is an edge case that will not make it better on average than an 18th land or virtually any castable creature.

The last two drafts I've been by Anonymous (not verified) at Tue, 06/23/2009 - 17:52
Anonymous's picture

The last two drafts I've been in have both been one by either Nemesis of Reason or Mind Funeral. All you need to do is stabilize the board, and drop either for the win.

Nemesis of Reason is not Mind Funeral by Godot at Tue, 06/23/2009 - 18:21
Godot's picture

A singleton Mind Funeral is a terrible card to have in your deck. A singleton Nemesis of Reason is not, it's downright bomby.

"All you need to do is stabilize the board, and drop [Mind Funeral] for the win."

Really? I thought the card milled until it found four lands, I didn't realize it read, "If the board is stabilized, you win target game."

If you saw a game won by a singleton Mind Funeral, it qualifies as an edge case as I stated above, not even remotely outweighing MF's predominant status as a spell with the effect "Mulligan to six, waste one turn."

Not only that, the MF may not have mattered to the win unless the holder of the Mind Funeral had the smaller library. Back in the day, good mill players stopped using slots on Millstone because the key to victory was total board control, not actually milling.

Anyway, if you think the edge case where MF ends a stalemate faster than it would have ended otherwise makes it playable, go ahead and run it. It's not good Magic, though.

It more or less reads... "I by Anonymous (not verified) at Tue, 06/23/2009 - 21:01
Anonymous's picture

It more or less reads... "I have won 2 4322 drafts with this card so pick me"

simmer down. by Bryant (not verified) at Tue, 06/23/2009 - 21:53
Bryant's picture

what's with the tone and 'witty' repartee? i don't see any need to get so agitated about it. some people love the card, some don't. much like most other cards.

You read 'agitation' where I by Godot at Tue, 06/23/2009 - 23:21
Godot's picture

You read 'agitation' where I intend 'animated confidence,' and if my tone annoys or wit fails, well, nobody has a gun to your head.

Which is kind of the point: it's a card game, there's no need to discuss it at all, much less get agitated about it. We're here because, presumably, we like discussing it. One of the primary reasons to write a list or ranking article on any topic is to generate spirited debate.

"Some people love the card, some don't."

This isn't a comparison two works of art, it's a comparison of resources in a strategy game. While there are some blurry lines where deck contents, personal preference, and Vorthos appeal can be a deciding factor, there are also many right answers. I'm seeking them.

"Really? I thought the card by Anonymous (not verified) at Wed, 06/24/2009 - 00:41
Anonymous's picture

"Really? I thought the card milled until it found four lands, I didn't realize it read, "If the board is stabilized, you win target game.""

all I'm saying, I suppose, is that there are better ways to phrase your comments. it's just not witty at all. it's just the know-it-all type of arrogance that's plain irritating. like Sheldon Cooper.

When I bring to the table a by Godot at Wed, 06/24/2009 - 11:44
Godot's picture

When I bring to the table a good-faith, clinical assessment of the correct strategy in a Magic scenario, and someone disagrees with me through worthless and patently-incorrect hyperbole that adds nothing useful to the discussion, you can expect me to be sarcastic and arrogant in response, yes.

fair enough :) by Anonymous (not verified) at Wed, 06/24/2009 - 20:25
Anonymous's picture

fair enough :)

Architects of Will at Tier by Anonymous (not verified) at Tue, 06/23/2009 - 20:30
Anonymous's picture

Architects of Will at Tier III seems crazy overrated to me. Cycling is fine, don't get me wrong, and the ability can be pretty solid, but to say that 'Four for a 3/3 is slightly above par in this format' is flat-out wrong. Canyon Minotaur is generally considered filler, as well he ought to be. Just at common, we have a cycle of 3/2s at two mana; we have a regularly 3/3 (Nacatl) for *one* mana; we have a 3/3 first striker (Ember Weaver) for three; a 4/4 for three that's barely a Tier III pick in his own right; heck, we have a 3/3 *flyer* for 4! Architects are fine, but they've never been more than filler-level fine for me, I'd put them somewhere on the lower levels of Tier IV (under this scale) and shading into Tier V, and I'm never surprised to see them table.

I couldn't disagree with this by Anonymous (not verified) at Tue, 06/23/2009 - 21:04
Anonymous's picture

I couldn't disagree with this more... Architects at common is A UB Blightning, with cycling. It also makes Soul Manipulation a Cantrip

Thanks for the comments by JBushEsq at Tue, 06/23/2009 - 21:31
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As always, thanks for everyone taking the time to comment and add in their two cents. Just a few responses on my part.

Architects: This is one of those cards that I personally really like, it's just so elegant. While I try and be as rigorous as I can when giving out Tier ratings, there is a lot of a gray area, and I stand by calling this guy a tier III - as by my definition and my opinion he is a better than average creature because he cycles when needed, and he has a really slick ability. However, I could also see the case for calling him a tier IV.

Soul Manipulation: I mucked up... should be a III, I even gave it pick orderings similar to other III cards.

I may have been a bit too harsh on the Mask of Riddles - its playable, I just find it too cumbersome most of the time.

Finally, Mind Funeral: I stand by what I said, I am never, ever going to play this card. Any game that would be lost to it is a game that you were losing anyways. Even in you draft the dream milling deck with a bunch of these and cathartic adepts and whatnot - its still bad. Sure you can spend turns 3, 4... whatever casting these spells - but any deck worth its salt will just take that opportunity and drop you to 0 life before you take out their library. Statistically these do nothing to the other deck either.

The key difference between the Nemesis and Mind Funeral/Cathartic adept whathaveyou - Board presence. Nemesis is a huge guy that must be dealt with. He could just as easily spit four poison counters at your opponent - the fact that he mills is irrelevant - he will kill you in three turns. Playing Mind funeral on the other hand does nothing to affect the board... and while you may even get 15 cards or whatever, it is still not worth giving your opponent a tempo time walk

I couldn't disagree with your by Godot at Tue, 06/23/2009 - 21:31
Godot's picture

I couldn't disagree with your disagreement more. That other anonymous poster nailed it perfectly.

A UB Blightning? Reordering the top of a library is not equivalent to discarding two and taking three to the face (and even Blightning isn't a super high pick). It makes Soul Manipulation a cantrip? Any creature in the yard makes Soul Manipulation a cantrip. If there weren't nine other commons in Reborn alone that also make Soul Manipulation a cantrip, that feature might matter more.

Wait a sec...are you the same anonymous poster defending singleton Mind Funerals?

Come on people, make accounts already, and join the discussion for real!

Cantrip in that you can Cycle by Anonymous (not verified) at Tue, 06/23/2009 - 21:39
Anonymous's picture

Cantrip in that you can Cycle it and get it back, not in that Soul Manip just gets it back. Sorry, I should have been more specific.

i am starting to see you as by Bryant (not verified) at Tue, 06/23/2009 - 21:58
Bryant's picture

i am starting to see you as the Sheldon Cooper of MTGO.

I don't know who that is, but by Godot at Tue, 06/23/2009 - 23:22
Godot's picture

I don't know who that is, but I've almost certainly been called worse.

I really enjoy your articles by Anonymous (not verified) at Tue, 06/23/2009 - 23:38
Anonymous's picture

I really enjoy your articles and your comments but I'm gonna have to respectfully disagree on Mind Funeral and Architects in Draft. I've just had too many personal encounters with these cards to consider them anything but 3rd tier or higher. Having just 1 Mind Funeral can be an alternate win-con if you hold on to it until the right time. Honestly, it's not that I go running for it if I see it, but if it's there and I'm already dedicated to running a deck that uses card advantage, I'll grab it b/c even though its gonna be a dead card for most of the game, it can break an opponent in two in the late game.

On another note, if I've already been handed one Mind funeral, and another comes my way, it just made the other one twice as valuable. It's just something to remember if you guys do decide to try it.

I had to look it up by JXClaytor at Tue, 06/23/2009 - 23:38
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But he is a character on the Big Bang Theory.

Meh in the ARB pre-release in by Anonymous (not verified) at Wed, 06/24/2009 - 10:54
Anonymous's picture

Meh in the ARB pre-release in my area a guy won the whole tournament w/ a singleton Mind Funeral but that is pre-release where you have at most 16 land.

what? by Paul Leicht at Wed, 06/24/2009 - 22:01
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Who ever plays less than 17 lands in a 40 card deck? Way to expect mana screw.

way to expect mana flood. by Anonymous (not verified) at Wed, 06/24/2009 - 22:56
Anonymous's picture

way to expect mana flood. that's practically half your deck.

Practically? by Paul Leicht at Fri, 06/26/2009 - 08:46
Paul Leicht's picture

40% is not practically 50%. It is 4/5s of 50%. :) But we both missed the mark since I was not really thinking about Borderposts which make up the difference as much as I dislike relying on them.

On Mind Funeral... by ArchGenius at Wed, 06/24/2009 - 13:45
ArchGenius's picture
4

I've never played it, but I've played against it in four matches, and I have never so much as lost a game against it.

There was one game that was close, I was down to about 7-8 cards in my library and I was just hoping my opponent didn't have another Mind Funeral. He didn't, and I won.

In another game, my opponent played Mind Funeral and put the top four cards, which happened to be lands, in my graveyard. I said a simple "ty" and my opponent then proceeded to tell me that I was not a skilled player and could only win because I'm lucky. I'm using nicer words than he used. It was an amusing game.

Anyway, Mind Funeral is only really a scary threat if you have 3-5 for them. If I'm drafting, I might hate draft them if they show up in the last 5 cards and there is nothing else I can use, but I'm probably not going to draft it higher than that, and I'm not planning on playing it anytime soon.

Anecdotes of bad players by Paul Leicht at Wed, 06/24/2009 - 22:40
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cursing out good players is stuff of legends on MODO. Your experience is no exception. Not quite as funny as being accused of cheating playing chess online but still pretty funny. I had a guy I was playing SWISS draft with tell me he was going to kill himself after our match ended. Next Draft he was merrily drafting away as if nothing happened. Then my finals opponent asked if I knew the player and I said yes Id played him in a previous draft. More anecdotes proceeded. :p

I will only say that I had a game where the player had a mind funeral after a long exhausting game and he won...only to lose the next two. So it is definitely not a bomb even if it can be a weird finisher. I can see why people like it though...it moves a random number of nonlands to your opponent's graveyard + 4 lands. That seems like advantage even if it isn't. It is really just a narrowing of the deck which makes it deadlier if you don't happen to mill off all the bombs/answers.

Allright people, let`s do by Anonymous (not verified) at Wed, 06/24/2009 - 15:10
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Allright people, let`s do some math, so those of you who happen to like a singleton Mind Funeral might be convinced that it`s chaff:

Let`s say you on average play 16 land in ACR, as you will play 0-2 borderposts. That means 10 randomly selected cards will on average contain 4 lands. This means that Mind Funeral will on average mill 10 cards. We`re not playing a card that`s only good if we`re lucky, we play it assuming average (the same thinking can be used on Skyclaw Trash, except that card is actually pretty good). Mind Funeral is a Glimpse the Unthinkable for 1 more, but the casting cost is pretty much completly irrelevant when you just have 1 copy in the deck.
So, is Glimpse the Unthinkable good? When is milling 10 cards relevant? Easy answer: when your opponent has 10 or less cards remianing in the deck. Next question, how often will this situation come up? I`m going to assume that you on average draw around 3 extra cards in the average deck, due to cycling and straight-up draw-spells that you would often find in blue decks. That means that your opponent will have (again, on average) 10 cards left in his library turn 20. Third question, how often does your games go to round 20? While I belive this would be easier to see on something like MTGO, I can tell you right away that the obvious answer is: Very rarely. If youre still not convinced, I don`t think you are able to understand how long time 20 turns take. Please, those of you who actually play the card, or are considering doing so, sit down and count the number of turns in your limited-games. I`m in little doubt you will find that this never, if ever, happens.

At the same time, ask yourself the question "why haven`t I won yet?". Maybe, just maybe, a real card instead of Funeral would have helped:)

Turn 20? I'd say that's a by Anonymous at Wed, 06/24/2009 - 17:53
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Turn 20? I'd say that's a little high. If they have 5 Mana Fixers, it's turn 15. Lots of draw? even quicker. And like I said before, they're only really useful if you get 2, but then, they can win all on their own, assuming you have other competent picks that help you block or control the board.

I also disagree on the mind by grapplingfarang (not verified) at Wed, 06/24/2009 - 17:12
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I also disagree on the mind funeral assessment. It is a great late game surprise when if your opponent has been using land cyclers or panorama to thin the cards in this deck. It is especially good if you can get more than one mind funeral, a nemesis of reason, or even a wall of denial to hold off your opponent. I am not calling it a bomb first pick or something, needs a control based deck, but calling it Tier 7 seems way overboard to me.

Hehe - When I wrote this I by JBushEsq at Wed, 06/24/2009 - 21:11
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Hehe - When I wrote this I never expected that Mind Funeral would be the one card to generate so much discussion. It's interesting how many people are so for it. I'm going to stick my original assessment however - remember at the end of the day these articles are just that. It's a card that I never want to play in my decks, nor do I anticipate losing to one in a game that I hadn't already lost.

I would be really interested to see a screenshot from any games you guys may have won or lost by casting the card. - IE: to see the game state and such

I would, but the two times I by Anonymous at Wed, 06/24/2009 - 21:21
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I would, but the two times I won with it I was playing in the Friday Night Magic draft at my local card shop, and granted, the level of skill you find there is nowhere near what you find online, therefore, both victories could be due to just bad play.

Mind Funeral Challenge by Godot at Wed, 06/24/2009 - 21:23
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To make the point again: unless it wins you a game via decking *that you would not have won otherwise*, a lone Mind Funeral is wasted mana on a wasted card. For every instance of "it totally won me the game on turn 15" (a significant percentage of which that player would have won anyway) there are 20+ games where it would have been a dead draw. That's just my estimate, but I think it's fair to suggest that fewer than one in 20 limited Magic games go to turn 15, or see a library under 10 cards, even with a "controlling deck."

All the pro-funeral people here are making the common card-assessment mistake of only viewing a card in its best possible light, like a poker player insisting 93 suited is a playable hand because of that big pot it won them that one time.

You want to judge cards by their worst-case scenarios and typical scenarios, and Mind Funeral’s worst-case scenario *is* it's most typical scenario: dead card, wasted mana. “But it’s awesome on turn 15!” is *not* what you want to be saying about your spells.

A challenge to all pro-Mind Funeral players: Go look at your last 20 draft replays now that we have replays back. Give the loser of the game a free Mind Funeral the turn before they die, and assume it mills for 10. In how many games would the loser turn into a winner?

If you are uninterested in making that effort with your replays, at least start taking note going forward with your new matches, and maybe you’ll eventually be convinced.

I'm not fully grasping your by Anonymous (not verified) at Wed, 06/24/2009 - 22:40
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I'm not fully grasping your point on this. In your latest draft article you picked up an Apocalypse Hydra which won you the game. Isn't that card comparable to some degree as it is pretty much useless in your opening hand? I really fail to see that argument. It's like saying that you shouldn't snag a burn spell unless you plan on burning your opponent to death. All the proponents of the card have simply said that it has worked as an efficient Win Con if the game goes late. How is it then different from your Hydra?

The Hydra is a man. Mind by Paul Leicht at Wed, 06/24/2009 - 22:42
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The Hydra is a man. Mind Funeral is a semi useless effect. He isn't say it is just useless during your opening draw but any time other than very late in the game. Akin more to the 10 CMC creatures that Timmy loves so much.

Men can be removed, tapped, by Anonymous (not verified) at Wed, 06/24/2009 - 23:02
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Men can be removed, tapped, countered, all sorts of vulnerabilities. That was more the point I was trying to make. So far, the only bad side to MF I can think of is being countered, or having it stuck in your opener. Remember now, those of us in favor of it have used it. It seems as if all the opponents of it are critics who haven't even tried it. Is that true?

Perhaps by Paul Leicht at Fri, 06/26/2009 - 08:40
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But our opposition mostly stems from the fact that we consider it a bad card based on our experiences on the other end and our common sense. My feeling is having faced MF many times in constructed (which is an entirely different animal) and a few times in draft that it is an inferior card except when the deck it is being used in is geared to take advantage of it and gets a little lucky. One MF is bad is the argument here. Not a horde of MFs is a bad plan.

To take it a step further the objection also stems from many personal experiences playing against mill effect cards and winning. Not because the mill player was unlucky but because their efforts were geared towards decking me not winning via men or damage in some manner. Having said that losing to a Glimpse of the Unseen or a Psychic Drain is very annoying. Heck I just milled someone with a Nemesis in an extended game last night. (That game took 38 rounds! So any reasonable deck should have beaten me before then lol.) So I get the impact of wanting to have MF for the alternate win factor. Even knowing someone is playing a MF could skew how that person plays their hand out. Extra Draw? Maybe not with such abandon. That is worth something but not a lot. If you know your opponents then maybe it is less risky because you know how they will react to the very knowledge of you playing it.

I guess I see it as the same sort of risky strategy one takes when running stone rain in a draft deck. Yes you may get lucky with one to take out the crucial land card your opponent needed in time to stop your juggernaut war machine but probably more risk than it is worth. Even a cantrip Land destruction gives me shudders. Now a deck based around land destruction and mana denial could very well be an awesome deck but you're not very likely to achieve it in limited.

As far as men being vulnerable, granted. Thats the upside as well as the downside. (Meaning we take that into account when deciding which men are best to play with.) It is not an argument for using nonmen.

"So far, the only bad side to by Godot at Thu, 06/25/2009 - 02:23
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"So far, the only bad side to MF I can think of is being countered, or having it stuck in your opener. Remember now, those of us in favor of it have used it. It seems as if all the opponents of it are critics who haven't even tried it. Is that true?"

Magic is an investment game. We generate resources and invest them in effects that advance our agenda of winning the game. You see it as a neutral result to invest three mana and a card in the effect "shuffle target library." and that's a failure to see the value of your resources. Good players see that as such an obviously bad and highly likely result, they don't need to try it to understand that a singleton MF is a poor investment of resources.

You said it better than I. :) by Paul Leicht at Fri, 06/26/2009 - 08:42
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You said it better than I. :)

You are correct, I have not by JBushEsq at Thu, 06/25/2009 - 08:30
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You are correct, I have not tried MF. So far no one has really convinced me that I'm making a mistake either. Sure, it might be a win condition for a game that goes into the extreme late-game (15-20+ turns). However, if the game has gone that long, either both decks are just terrible, or both decks and players are very evenly matched and the game has stalled with both players in topdeck mode. In the latter situation, any halfway decent creature has a better chance of winning the game than MF does - not only that, but the creature likely will still be good if it had been drawn earlier in the game - MF won't be.

Playing MF because it can randomly win some late games is the same as playing 42 cards with the game plan of decking your opponent. Both basically want to do the same thing, and if the games gone long enough for MF to end it, then it likely could be stalled out another 10 turns to deck the ol'fashioned way. Actually, on second thought, its worse, because playing 42 cards doesn't necessarily mean you're wasting a draw on a bad one...

I know that I'm being obstinate about this - and while I doubt I could be swayed, I would be really interested for one of the pro-MF's to post a screenshot of a game that they have won with MF.

I have been defeated because by Anonymous at Thu, 06/25/2009 - 10:17
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I have been defeated because of this card and can say from personal experience that there isn't a more humiliating loss in all of ACR drafting. It will make you want to reach across the table and strangle your opponent. For that reason, I think it deserves a little more respect.

Out of curiosity, what was by JBushEsq at Thu, 06/25/2009 - 10:25
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Out of curiosity, what was the game state like when you lost to it? IE: what turn was it, life totals, creatures on board and cards in hand? Would you opponent probably have won in a few turns if he had drawn an average creature with some form of evasion?

Nope.. I was about to alpha by Anonymous (not verified) at Thu, 06/25/2009 - 12:58
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Nope.. I was about to alpha strike next turn for the win, and I had about 15-20 cards in my deck. I was playing a Naya-Jund build with lots of fixing and a little draw, it was around turn 10-15, and he had slowly kept me from attacking with some early removal and then dropping a few blockers that were just too much for me to risk alpha striking early. I can't recall the exact creature's but it doesn't really matter.

He ended up top decking it and decked me. My 4th land was on the very bottom. The deck only ran 16, but as I mentioned it had plenty of fixing, so if you think about it, it can wreck a deck with alot of fixing on approximately turn 10-15.

"My 4th land was on the very by Shaterri at Thu, 06/25/2009 - 15:32
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"My 4th land was on the very bottom."
So you had 12 sources in play (well, likely at least 10 sources in play, assuming a couple in hand), somehow hadn't managed to kill him yet, and he *still* had to hit a roughly 1/5 shot (with four lands out of ~20 cards, the odds that the bottom card is a land are about 1/5; if it's not, you win, per your comment) to win the game there. I'll grant that it might have given him an out that he couldn't conceivably have had otherwise, but that's still a pretty immense long shot of a situation.

Those were my thoughts by Anonymous (not verified) at Thu, 06/25/2009 - 17:55
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Those were my thoughts exactly, but the dude went on to win the whole thing, so Idk. He had stuff like Scepter of Fugue, and Dominance, and a bunch of A-hole cards, if ya know what I mean. Just wanted to kill that guy.. lol

Why even encourage this? by Godot at Thu, 06/25/2009 - 11:10
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"I would be really interested for one of the pro-MF's to post a screenshot of a game that they have won with MF."

Why even encourage this? To re-use my poker analogy, it's like asking a poker player who is convinced 93 suited is a quality hand to posts hands where it won, but none where it didn't. "See? Here it hit a flush, and here it flopped trips! It's a great hand!" All cherry picking does is validate and encourage the selective memory underlying the poor card evaluation.

I want to see a screen shot by JBushEsq at Thu, 06/25/2009 - 11:17
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I want to see a screen shot in order to disect the game, and point out all the reasons why MF may have won the game, but that nearly any other card played would have brought similiar if not better results - which I believe to be true in any situation where a game is won with MF.