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By: SpikeBoyM, Alex Ullman
Feb 23 2007 1:00am
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The online community is coming up on that time of the year again. Approximately one month after the paper release of any set, the Online crowd is finally able to place digital hands on digital cards and play the same game our paper brethren have been playing for so long. Whereas other metagames can be adapted from paper to Magic Online, PDC is a different beast only because PDC as it currently exists is an online only community. While there may be groups of Pauper gamers that play in paper, PDC, with its structure, metagame, standings, and Banned and Restricted list, is uniquely digital. The time leading up to the online release is always an odd one for PDC. Many players will drift away during this period due to format stagnation. Thankfully Time Spiral kept this time period to a minimum due the abundance of great cards. Planar Chaos promises many of the same things. There is a huge swath of solid cards that both fit into existing archetypes (both strong and weak) and some that may spawn entirely new decks. As always, I will focus mostly on Classic, but might venture to opine on Standard as well. I will also only comment on cards I feel should be commented on (obviously). As a side note, I do not play nearly as much PDC Standard because my Student Development Theory class runs late on Thursday, and prevents me from signing up and playing in the event. Oh well, classic it is.

 

 Aven Riftwatcher 

We might as well start this off with a bang. This card fits very well into two UW aggressive strategies. One is Ninja of the Deep Hours/Silver Drake deck, the other being the Momentary Blink deck. Both of these would love an aggressive eight point life swing. Both decks also have a way around the fact that it vanishes. This card also has the magical toughness of three; making it a good blocker in the format- it stops Blind Hunter which is key in modern Classic. Additionally, this card might push a UW Rebel Fish deck into contention in Classic (as well as Standard) thanks to the fact that this card is a Rebel. This is a stellar card for PDC, and one I am very happy to see printed.

Aven Riftwatcher vs Blind Hunter

FIGHT

 Blightspeaker 

This is a nice card and a black Rebel searcher. It is good both early and late-it either gets your engine going or becomes a kill condition that gets around Circle of Protection: Black. There might be a decent Orzhov colored Rebel deck, but I would not bank on it. This card may be more at home in Standard than Classic, but you never know.

 Brain Gorgers 

This might see play simply because it has Madness. The chances are, though, you will always get what you do not want out of this card. They will either counter your 4/2 by sacrificing a meaningless elf, or let a worthless creature stick. Still, it does have Madness.

 Brute Force

 This card does something Red does not normally do. This is a true combat trick. Having Giant Growth in Red is great, because not only does it act as a pseudo-Volcanic Hammer, but it can also save a creature in combat. In addition to that, it will fundamentally change the way people enter combat as or against a Red mage. Now, having one Red available does not just mean Shock, it could mean Lightning Bolt or it could mean I am keeping this man around next turn. Suddenly, combat just got harder. This is something Planar Chaos will be known for in the foreseeable future of Classic PDC: changing the way people have to play the game. I for one am very excited.

Brute Force Volcanic Hammer

Come meet the new boss

 Citanul Woodreaders

 Tom thinks this card will make an impact. I am not sure. It provides a good early blocker in Green, and good late game card advantage in Green- two things that the color is not known for. I do not see any current deck that this card fits in to, but I the Green Horned Turtle/Counsel of the Soratami should see play in a new Green based control deck. 

 Dash Hopes

 A very interesting card, and one that might see play more than other punisher style cards. In a new style MBC deck, this card may be played. The best way to play this card is to create a situation where neither choice will be acceptable to the caster of the offending spell. In my opinion the best way to do this is to play a hybrid deck of Suicide Black and MBC. Given all that, I am still not sure it will be a heavily played card. Both sides of this card are amazing, it is just that little word “or” that makes it less than good.

Dash Hopes

Proving just how bad the word Or is

 Dawn Charm

 This card may cause Dash Hopes to see play as an alternate card in MBC. Dawn Charm helps to totally invalidate MBC as a deck. Since the deck relies so much on finisher spells such as Corrupt and Consume Spirit, the White charm has the ability to stop those “I win” cards cold. While this ability has been available before to White in the form of Hallow, it was never attached to such a useful package. In a mid-range White deck, every one of the choices on Dawn Charm will be useful. Finally, a Fog that is useful in multiple situations. This might be one of the most influential cards in Planar Chaos.

 Dead // Gone

 Neither side is spectacular on its own. By their powers combined, however, they are Captain Planet!!! Okay, not really. Still, it is removal early and a path clearer late, things that Red decks like to do. This might find a home in the sideboard of RG Beats as a more versatile (and cheaper alternative) to Skred. The common split card will be played because it is a split card; however it also happens to be quite good.

 Erratic Mutation

 It is Blue removal, and could possibly “combo” with Brainstorm. It might see play in some Blue control decks, but I think most of the ones in Classic have better ways to deal with creatures.

 Essence Warden

 This will see play because it says gain life. It will also see play as a way to combat Empty the Warrens. With this in play, it will take at least one extra turn for the Warrens player to win, which is often all you will need at that point in the game. This is a good role player in certain decks.

 Evolution Charm

 Doing any of these things by itself would make this card overcosted. Having the ability to do any one of the three make it powerful card. This card may help Rock style decks make a comeback and it also gives some versatility to Mono-Green Beef decks, because the only think better than a Krosan Tusker is being able to use it again, or make it fly!

 Fury Charm

 Another very exciting card. While I’m sure there are going to be applications for the time counter option, it is the other two that really stand out. This card is a Shatter plus. In a format where more signets are being played and Affinity is always a threat, the ability to either nuke an artifact or eke out another point of damage makes for a very powerful card. I would not be surprised to see this card popping up in maindecks and sideboards once the card becomes available.

 Giant Dustwasp

 It is a Green flier that is either a two drop or a five drop. It is a 3/3 Green flier that fits into multiple spots of a Green deck’s curve. It is a Green flier. This card will impact Standard and may become part of a UG Fish style deck that could become popular is the post-Planar Chaos Classic environment.

 Gossamer Phantasm

 Making him an illusion means that this Skulking Ghost plays nice with (Krovikian Mist). Watch out for illusion based Blue Skies decks- they will be a force to be reckoned with cards such as the Phantasm, the Mist, Fathom Seer, and other goodies.

 Keldon Marauders

 I am split on this card. It is a 3/3 for 2 that is guaranteed to deal two damage. It might do five, or it might take out a creature. This will probably make a splash in Standard where it can fight along side Bloodthirst creatures more, and may find a home in some RWU Blink builds. If that Blink deck can port to Classic, then maybe. If not, this card epitomizes the concept of “almost.”

 Mana Tithe

 Another card that will change how people play the game. White aggro-control may be viable now, as well as 8 Force Spike.dec. This card will see play in many decks that sport Plains, and will catch a number of people off guard. This is probably best suited for a more controlling RW deck that uses other denial style cards. It also gives UW Fish style decks even more options for color balance- a very important factor in all PDC decks.

 Mire Boa

 This will see play because it is a resilient Green two drop beater. However, he is simply worse than his river dwelling cousin. This is because Black has many ways to remove the swampwalker once he hits the board. If a River Boa sticks against Blue, it will slowly eat life until the game is over. Expect Mire Boa to see more play in Standard.

Mire Boa seperated at birth? River Boa

 Piracy Charm 

Brian David-Marshall and Mike Flores said that Funeral Charm did three things that its color could do well, did them poorly, and still saw play. They went on to say that Piracy Charm does three things its color does not normally do, and that makes this card stellar. This gives Blue based aggro a shot in the arm giving it options to deal extra damage or actually remove a threat. This card will also find a spot in most MUC sideboards because it kills River Boa dead. This makes Blue that much better. 

Funeral Charm Good Piracy Charm Gooder

 Rathi Trapper

 This only gets mentioned because he is a rebel. Because of that, it might see play.

 Ridged Kusite

 It is a halfway decent Madness enabler, and a good one drop for aggro black decks. This guy will see play in Suicide Black style decks if they become popular again.

 Seal Of Primordium

 Another solid card that gives current decks options. I see this as being a great sideboard option against Armadillo Cloak decks, since they will have to draw two Cloaks to get one to stick. This will provide for some interesting decisions regarding Cloak based decks, but I am not sure if this card is enough to really stop that archetype. It also happens to be really good against Spire Golem, so expect this Seal to see serious play.

 Shade of Trokair

 In new style White aggro-control decks, this guy might see play as a solid finisher. However, he is just a lot more exciting as a one drop than as a four drop, so who knows.

 Shaper Parasite

 Blue removal, and he is an illusion. These make him good. Illusion Skies is looking better and better.

 Simian Spirit Guide

 This might see play if there is a combo deck out there to abuse it. I am not sure if there is one out there right now. Which is good, since I hate combo.

 Skirk Shaman

 I really like this card. I am not sure if it will see play, but if a Big Red style deck, focused more on control than aggro comes out, this guy might see play as an evasive finisher. Because honestly, who blocks with Red creatures?

 Stingscourger

 Wow, wow, wow. This card does so many things. It clears paths and it is a Goblin. I can see this card helping out Goblinstorm and also giving Rakdos decks a needed boost. This is the post-Turn Five card that Red and Black decks could use to give themselves a decent long game, with help from Okiba-Gang Shinobi. This may be the biggest impact card in the set.

 Sunlance

 I do not need to go into all the reasons this card will see play. In many decks, it might outright replace (Faith’s Fetters) as removal. I am not sure if it is good enough for maindeck slots, but it will keep Wild Mongrel players on their toes, since Black is not the default color for the savage dog anymore.

 Uktabi Drake

 I love this card. Tom does not. I feel that it could be good in both Stompy and a theoretical Simic Skies build. Tom does not. Only testing will tell us for sure, but I think paying 1UG to deal two damage and draw a card, and then deal another two next turn for G is a fairly good deal.

 Utopia Vow

 Odd Green removal. It might see play, simple because it stops fat. However, with (Kaervek’s Torch) running around, it might not be the smartest card to use.

 Vampiric Link

 I normally would not mention this card, but after watching the finals of Pro Tour: Geneva, this card might find a slot in certain decks. Who knows?

 Whitemane Lion

 This card will see play. It fits into so many archetypes, and helps out White decks with late game antics. It also may move certain Orzhov builds away from Blink and back towards two colors. This is a great combat trick and solid beater rolled into one. While four will never be the right call in an aggro deck, the Lion will definitely play an important role in the future of PDC.

 Wistful Thinking

 I love this card and think it can prove to be a powerful crushing blow against certain decks. I mean, maybe it is the Timmy in me coming out, but forcing them to waste two draws when they have only two cards in their hand seems really exciting to me. Also, in the late game, holding land might make for interesting choices on who to target with the spell. If there is one card I hope sees play, this would be it.

 Rather than ending on this note, I am going to posit two deck skeletons that may or may not have merit. These are totally untested, and are simply the product of thoughts that are weeks old. The first is an aggro Rock style deck using the Rakdos colors. The idea is to use advantageous creatures that also beat down. 

4 Shadow Guildmage

4 Skirk Marauder

3 (Sting Scourger)

4 Pit Keeper

2 Lava Zombie

3 Okiba-Gang Shinobi

4 Phyrexian Rager

4 Terminate

Burn, utility cards, land. This would be my starting point for a post-Planar Chaos RB deck. It has adecent curve and lots of nice interactions. My kind of deck. 

The other is a more fully realized deck using my favorite color combination: Blue- Green

 4 Llanowar Elves

4 Silhana Ledgewalker

4 (Gaea’s Skyfolk)

4 Looter il-Kor

3 Ninja of the Deep Hours

4 Uktabi Drake

4 Piracy Charm

4 Brainstorm

4 Suspend Flier (your choice), counter magic, pump spells, land and other goodies. This is a different style of UG deck than I usually play, but should prove to be fun and I feel competitive. And although Tom disagrees, I would want to test “Wistful Thinking” as a “finisher” in the deck. Just saying. 

Keep slingin’ commons people and as always get in touch with me online- SpikeBoyM,

 Alex 

P.S. For this article’s music selection, I’m going with an oldie (for me) Big D and The Kids Table just came out with a split LP (sharing the billing with Chinese punkers Brain Failure) that is simply amazing. Big D attack the senses with a great blend of Ska, Punk, Dub, and Hardcore. And they have fun while doing it (seeing them live is something I recommend). Hope you like them as much as I do.

13 Comments

very informative by tusker at Thu, 03/08/2007 - 09:09
tusker's picture

Great article! It really helps me focus on which commons to get for now until the prices become a little more reasonable. Keep up the good work.

Good idea... by dragonmage65 at Sat, 03/03/2007 - 13:52
dragonmage65's picture

You could just have a little sidebar in each article (see Building on a Budget) that explains what PDC is and where/how to play.

Agreed by mtgotraders at Sat, 03/03/2007 - 13:56
mtgotraders's picture

I must agree that you need to at least give a link or something that tells what PDC is and how to join since it's not known to everyone.

Events by Player (Unregistered) 66.249.90.136 (not verified) at Sat, 03/03/2007 - 08:21
Player (Unregistered) 66.249.90.136's picture

You mention you play in events and that there is an online format but don't say how we can find out more and play. Where do i go to play?

by SpikeBoyM at Sat, 03/03/2007 - 10:31
SpikeBoyM's picture

Guess I'm going to have to do this at the begining of every article... you can find games in the online room PDC, getting there by typing "/join pdc" in any non0game chat box. Events can be found o nthe MTGO Boards under the player run event section.

by SpikeBoyM at Fri, 03/02/2007 - 17:27
SpikeBoyM's picture

You're right, Dude, I should give a brief description of what PDC is at the start of each article. A further description is found in my first article for this site, but it essentially online all common competitive gaming (for Magic the Gathering Online). I also love criticism of this type, Dude, but please go through the time and effort to leave your name, so I can at least give you credit for what you've done to improve my writing i nthe future.

Planar Chaos Article by thescale99 at Fri, 03/02/2007 - 15:40
thescale99's picture

Some good thoughts, but I agree that the terminology needs to be spelled out for those of us that may only be passive enthusiasts. Otherwise, though, well done.

by Anonymous (Unregistered) 66.162.65.129 (not verified) at Fri, 03/02/2007 - 11:17
Anonymous (Unregistered) 66.162.65.129's picture

The first article I read on this site, and the author managed to go the entire article without clearing up what PDC is. He states clearly that it is based online, but I can only guess from the content that it is some sort of pauper format.

Lots of writers seem to do this - assume anyone who reads their article is already well versed in the topic. Bad form, dude.

by SpikeBoyM at Thu, 03/01/2007 - 11:52
SpikeBoyM's picture

Tom is better known in PDC as GloinOin. And after playing with Wistful Thinking, I still think it has potential... just hidden potential.

by Dreager_Ex at Wed, 02/28/2007 - 23:00
Dreager_Ex's picture

Great Article Man, I really enjoyed it, although I planned on getting 4x of every PLC common anyway... this was very informative.

Nice! by Nitti at Thu, 03/01/2007 - 09:38
Nitti's picture

Nice article man. You sure are right bout pauper falling out when new expansions release, but I don't think it will be too bad with PLC. It definitely has some nice commons to abuse.

by Evu at Thu, 03/01/2007 - 11:48
Evu's picture

You mention "Tom" in this article without ever introducing him. Maybe you introduced him in a previous article, I don't remember, but not everyone will have read all your previous articles.

Speaking of Tom, though, I agree with him about Wistful Thinking. It's worse than Mind Rot, and nobody plays Mind Rot (though I admit I ran Unburden in my latest MBC build). And even if milling were a viable strategy, which experience suggests it isn't, WT only mills two cards. As for targeting yourself -- if you frequently find yourself holding three or four cards that you'd be willing to cash in for one or two new ones, there might be something wrong with your deck.

Regarding Essence Warden: interesting idea to use it against Goblinstorm; I hadn't thought of that. Though if it becomes widespread, I doubt Goblinstorm will have much trouble adding a little burn for it.

This is hilarious in by deluxeicoff at Fri, 12/16/2011 - 01:12
deluxeicoff's picture

This is hilarious in hindsight! Keldon Marauders "epitomizes the concept of “almost.”" YIKES, literally in EVERY burn list - Stingscourger, "...This may be the biggest impact card in the set..." I had to look it up ;)