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By: hamtastic, Erik Friborg
May 06 2008 1:03am
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Every set is decided by bombs.  And every time a set comes out, someone laments bomb-rare-x or Oni-of-th stupid-swingy-bomb-rare-y (if we were in Kamigawa or something).  And of course, this set will be no different in practice.  However, it's not the rares I worry about in Shadowmoor.  It's stupid commons.  And not just stupid commons, stupid commons that have little to no answers in time.  Walk with me through my experiences playing with Shadowmoor and see what you have to look forward to for the next few months...

Stupid Common #1: Giantbaiting

This seems like your typical jank common spell.  Until you've dealt seventeen damamge by turn four from them.  Let me explain with examples, since everyone loves an example.  Right?  RIGHT???

Turn 1: Red or Green producing Land, then any of the five available common one drops that can be played from that.

Turn 2: Land #2, then any of the eight common two drops that are available, one damage maybe

Turn 3: Land #3, tap the creatures, eight damage

Turn 4: Maybe no land, but cast another one, and you've dealt seventeen damage.  Finish up with another stupid conspire common and the game is over. 

And that brings me to another stupid common you should get used to cussing at: Burn Trail.

And again, this seems like your typical jank card, until on turn four, you get burned for your last three points of damage.  In a draft.   Look forward to this card taking you out from nowhere.  If you're against a red player in Shadowmoor sealed the magic number for your life total is Seven.  Repeat: SEVEN.  Any lower, and you will die.  Or maybe you can just keep him to two or less red creatures in play at all time.  Whichever is easier for you.

Next up is a silly card that should not even be hated, yet I do... Hungry Spriggan

Hungry Spriggan, hammy?  Surely you jest!  Nay verily, I doth NOT jest.  If you're the slowish/controllish deck you may be able to kill a couple of these buggers.  However, staring down four of them on turn seven is not a place you want to be.  There's not much hate besides burning a full removal spell on one, which leaves you behind in tempo almost always.  I also looked it up in Wikipedia...

"Spriggans were grotesquely ugly, found at old ruins and barrows guarding buried treasure and generally acting as fairy bodyguards. They were also said to be busy thieves. Though usually small, they had the ability to swell to enormous size (they're sometimes speculated to be the ghosts of the old giants)."

Certainly their disposition was poor, and they caused mischief to those who offended them. They sent storms to blight crops, and sometimes stole away mortal children, leaving their ugly changelings in their place." 

Seems to be perfectly at home in Lorwyn/Shadowmoor.  But that doesn't make me hate them any less.  Jerks.

Next up on the 'stupid common, I hate you' list is Ballyknock Cohort

He's like your roomate's friend who's just going to "Stay for a day or two, I swear" and ends up eating your last piece of pizza that he KNEW you were saving for later.  He's not worth killing, but his existence still annoys the crap out of you.  That's this guy.  He's a 3/3 first striker for three.  Which is decent, until you're looking at a handfull of them and realizing that your two fliers are tapped down for the rest of the game.  You know a long, drawn out deat awaits you while you can't successfully attack into the Cohort Sorority.

And don't even get me started about Somnomancer.  Yeah!  You heard me, Somnomancer!

Actually, it's not Somnomancer that I hate, really.  It's a turn two Somnomancer followed by a turn three Steel of the Godhead.

Nothing says "You're gonna die, homes" like a 4/3, unblockable, spirit link'd attacking creature on turn three.  And even if you DO manage to kill it in a couple of turns, you're going to be down to twelve against U/W while they're sitting at about 28 life.  That's a pretty great situation, I'd say.  Yawgmoth help you if they put the godhead on anything even remotely dangerous.  I've lost more games to this common than I have to Giantbaiting, and I curse MaRo's name every time.

Stupid midget kithkin and their big glowy sword thingy...  You know why they're so short?   Because they're dill-holes, that's why!

Another white common that randomly says: "screw you" is Last Breath.

I know that I just bemoaned the lack of valid removal.  This is the one that I keep forgetting about.  Because I never see it passed and never open them.  Woo!  I get four life, unfortunately I'm dead now since it let you alpha strike for the win despite the life gain.  But hey, I got four life out of the deal... Whatever.

Last up is Oona's Gatewarden.  Yeah, that thing.

There are only a few things that can pull off the 'Blue skinned, hermaphorditic, leapord print bikini, and I just passed some really nasty gas' look... and this thing is not one of them. I don't really have a problem with the power level or its mechanics or anything like that.  Nope, mostly this thing is just ugly as sin and needs to die.  I'd waste an RFG spell just to keep from looking at it in play OR in the graveyard.  F-- for whatever the heck was supposed to be going on in this picture.  And I'm pretty sure the flavor text is hinting about who performed the surgery, you know what I mean?

So, there it is.  The list of commons that just bug the crap out of me for various reasons.  I actually fear some of these more than the rares in the set, just because you know they're coming and yet, can't stop them in time.  I'm used that big bomby experience from my rares, but so much anger from the commons is surprising.


by OKCoyote at Tue, 05/13/2008 - 02:12
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Conspire isn't cumulative.  From WotC:

<<You may pay a spell's conspire cost only once. (If a spell has multiple instances of conspire, you may pay each conspire cost only once.)

A copy created with conspire will have a conspire ability itself. However, since that copy wasn't played, its conspire ability won't trigger. You won't get another copy.>>


by GigaClon at Fri, 05/09/2008 - 12:37
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you for forget Runes of the Deus.

by hamtastic at Fri, 05/09/2008 - 13:07
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That whole cycle is pretty much ridiculous actually.  There's a ton of hybrid guys that cost one less than their stupid enchantment that makes them insane.

Pick up/play scuttlemutts if you have them in your pool.  I killed an attacking Augery Adept just today by turning it black and making it blockable in mid combat.  Sweetness. 

Another couple by frankenhooter (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 05/07/2008 - 09:05
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Aether Tow

and that GW enchantment which makes the little GW 2/2 persist dude a sudden threat by being an indestructible 4/4 flier. 

by kalandine at Tue, 05/06/2008 - 08:06
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Good article with just the right amount of humor!

I love Giantbaiting - such a fun card and hugely powerful in limited.

by hamtastic at Tue, 05/06/2008 - 09:46
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Most of these rants are from drafts/sealed, where you'll notice how troublesome these guys are.  And I expect to see pretty much all of these across the table in the casual room from time to time.  Even giantbaiting.  I think this common is underrated at the moment.  I thought it was complete jank as well when I read the card.  But you can't really gauge the power of seeing a board of 2x weenies on turn three becoming tapped to conspire out 8 damage.  And in casual you have other silly things like Doubling Season, and the new auntie (and yes, Conspire is cumulative, so with auntie out you can conspire it twice... ick).

/me looks for the first Cas/Cas game that says: "Standard - No Giantbaiting". 

I expect it will happen at some point.  :) 

Agree with most... by MechtaK at Tue, 05/06/2008 - 01:55
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I've had more difficulty with the Ballyknock Cohort than any other common.  I've lost to that one so many friggin times, maybe because there are very few 4 toughness or greater commons out there.  Plus, they can easily get +1/+1 from the varied auras... ergh first strike!

On the other hand, in a draft I grabbed up 3 Hungry Spriggans and 3 Nurturer Initiates.  It was so ugly most games, my opponents conceded before I had done them more than 3 total damage, hehe.  I love the Spriggan!

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 05/06/2008 - 06:44
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Nice article (funny) but, except for steel and cohort, how can you remotely have any trouble with the other cards? They are just weak, slow, and won't see competitive nor casual play (except maybe for burn trail, but even that, why tapping your critters and pay 4 when you can thorw incinerates to your opponent's head?). Probably wither commons and shield of the oversoul are the only other cards that really can make a real damage in a game