one million words's picture
By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Nov 23 2008 7:17am
3.166665
Login or register to post comments
3418 views


Should I Gush?
 
Sometime in the near future, Jace vs. Chandra is going to be available online. I’m wondering whether I should buy a copy – or four. The answer is almost certain one of those two numbers: one or four.
 
Let’s look at the decklists.
 
JACE!!!!!
CHANDRA!!!!
 
 
Let’s look at what the decks contain.
 
First, some of the cards have new artwork, and some are foils. This is cool, if you like it. Personally, I don’t spend money just for foils – but I will admit that I play the foils I get in draft or sealed.   That said, the foils are a plus.
 
Next, let’s get the commons and recent uncommons out of the way.  I have been playing and drafting for several years now.   I started while Mirrodin leagues were still around. I kept playsets of commons and uncommons, when I got them. That means I have Condescends, Bottle Gnomes, Air Elementals, etc. I also played in the Mirage and Visions release leagues, so I have plenty of Ophidians and Man-o-War’s as well.
 
That’s just me – for players that don’t have them, many of these cards are actually worth playing in various constructed formats. I have seen Condescend, Seal of Fire, Magma Jet and so on being played in Classic, as well as formats like 100 card Singleton and Prismatic. If you don’t have them, they are worth getting. On the other hand, cards like Mulldrifter are hardly expensive, so you should have no problem picking up a few for a couple pennies. Some of the commons, like Fireblast, cost more.
 
The rares, and the uncommons form Invasion block, are the MTGO cards that interest me. Jace is a solid card which is seeing play in constructed at the moment. Ancestral Vision moves in and out of favor, and I did see some played at the Extended Pro Tour in Berlin. Guile and Hostility are nothing special, but can be fun in casual and multiplayer games – so they have a bit of resale value, if, like me, you already own a couple. 
 
The big two already-in-MTGO cards are Flametongue Kavu and Fact or Fiction. These are solid card, but beginning to lose their luster. Constructed Magic may have passed them by – but they are still fine in Prismatic and Singleton.  Of course, I don’t need four copies for Singleton – the single copies of each that I already own will do.
 
The two dragons – Quicksilver Dragon and Rakdos Pit Dragon – are really pretty blah. They are fine if you like dragons, but I can’t see playing them outside a dragon tribal or theme deck. 
 
That leaves just the cards that are new to MTGO: Gush, Daze, Fireslinger and Terrain Generator. Let’s look at them in reverse order.
 
Terrain Generator is a marginal land from – let’s face it – a marginal set. Nemesis is nothing that I really look forward to being able to draft again. I lived through the mediocrity of Masques block once before. In general, this land is too slow and too narrow to be of much value. About the only use for this land that I have ever found was to include it in a deck with Howling Mine or Storm Cauldron, so I could play all the extra lands in my hand. It is not exciting, but if I get a couple copies, I can probably find a use for this.
Magic: The Gathering
Magic: The Gathering
Fireslinger is a fine little pinger. In at least one format, he was commonly played and highly regarded. That format was Tempest block limited. I cannot see much value in playing him outside of limited – and if I did, I expect to get several copies of the card during the Tempest release events, later this month. He’s not a reason to buy Jace vs. Chandra.
Daze, on the other hand, might be. Daze is a Force Spike with an alternative casting cost. That might not seem like much, but it was huge in its day. I still see it played in some formats, including Legacy and Vintage.   It is a free spell with a strong effect – and all of those are good, starting with Force of Will and on down. (Okay – not going down as far as Scars of the Veteran – I said good effect.) 
Magic: The Gathering
Magic: The Gathering
And, finally, on to Gush. Gush is free card drawing. It is good – actually it is beyond good. It is insane. Gush is so good that it was restricted in Vintage for several years. Now it is back, and it brought its own archetypes with it.
 
Gush is the main reason to buy Jace vs. Chandra online. Sure, the foils are cool, and the alternative art is sweet, but if you are a constructed player, then the reason to buy four Jace vs. Chandra sets is to get a playset of Gushes.
 
 
Alternatively, you could wait for Mercadian Masques block to be released online. That would be a whole lot cheaper: both of these cards are commons. In many respects, this is the same “buy it now, or wait and lose” dilemma that we faced when the only source of Brainstorm and Swords to Plowshares online were the Coldsnap Precons. I bought my precons – and I’m not happy now that the cards are widely available because of MEDII. Still – for the many, many months before MEDII hit the store, I had my Swords and Brainstorms, and was winning games with them.
 
So, buy Gush and Daze now, for something like $80 a playset, or wait? I guess that depends on whether the cards have the support cards that made them so broken in the past. 
 
Personally, I hope that at least one of those support cards never, ever gets printed online. I’m talking about Stasis. The classic Stasis deck was a pain to play against, and the games were long, tedious and unfun. Yes, I did beat Stasis, routinely, back in the day. I still can. “Can” is not the same as “want to.” I have – and can – battled a blazing manure pile (spontaneous combustion on a hot day, and it smells almost exactly like you you would expect, only more so), but that is not an experience I want to relive.
 
Wizards – no Stasis, please. 
 
Stasis decks locked down the world with their signature enchantment.  Those decks had to pay upkeep on Stasis. One great way of paying upkeep for a couple more turns was to bounce a couple tapped Islands with Gush, then replay the Islands.   Each Gush kept Stasis in play for two more turn – more if the Stasis player also drew Islands. Gush and Daze were both standard four-ofs in the later mono-blue Stasis decks. As for the rest of that deck – most of it is online already. The deck’s kill was Morphling, and another key card was Claws of Gix, which let the Stasis player kill Stasis during the opponent’s turn – meaning that the Stasis player could untap first (and, way too often, play another Stasis.)  The missing piece is Stasis – and that may appear in MEDIII. Of course, Stasis could also use a couple of the counterspells from Masques block, like Foil and Thwart,  so waiting for Masques to appear online is the better option, at least if you want to play Stasis. 
 
 Let's move on to some historic decks that have featured Gush.  We will start with the deck that made Gush famous - a Psychatog deck.  With Psychatog, Gush translates directly into 6.5 points of damage:  return two Islands to hand to cast it, draw two cards, pitch all four to pump Psychatog, then remove all four cards, and Gush, from the graveyard to pump 'Tog.   When legal in the format, Gush / Tog decks were potent in Extended, Legacy and Vintage - to the extent that Gush was restricted in Vintage and banned in Legacy.  The Vintage restriction has been lifted, but Gush is still banned in Legacy.
 
Here's a pre-restriction Vintage Psychatog list.   
 
2003 Hulk Smash - JP Meyer
5  
Island
4  
Polluted Delta
3  
Underground Sea
3  
Tropical Island
1  Swamp
1  
Strip Mine
1  
Library of Alexandria

5  Moxen  (Mox Sapphire, Mox Jet, etc.)
1  
Black Lotus

4  
Psychatog

4  
Force of Will
4  
Mana Drain
4  
Brainstorm
4  
Accumulated Knowledge
3  
Intuition
2  
Misdirection
2  
Cunning Wish
2  
Merchant Scroll
1  
Ancestral Recall
1  Gush
1  
Time Walk

2  
Sylvan Library

1  
Yawgmoth's Will
1  
Demonic Tutor

Sideboard:
3  
Duress
3  
Back to Basics
2  
Pernicious Deed

A lot has changed since 2003, but this core of a control deck could still work in Classic.  However, a few critical pieces are missing.  The broken Power cards (Ancestral Recall, Time Walk, etc.) are not online, but some other tools have not been printed yet, either.  One major card drawing tool was Intuition and Accumulated Knowledge.  Intuitioning for three AKs meant you could draw three cards off the one AK, and four off the next.  It was even better when your opponent also played AKs.  Now Intuition will be online shortly, but AK will not show up until Masques block is released - and both Gush and Daze will be availalbe in those sets as commons.

Note that Misdirection - a cast-for-free target changer - is also only available once Masques block hits MTGO.  Misdirection is amazing verses Ancestral Recall/Visions (thank you - I'll draw those three cards instead of you.)  It is fine in many other cases as well.

Magic: The Gathering Magic: The Gathering
    
Even with Ancestral Recall, the power and the AK / Intuition engine, Psychatog decks could be extremely powerful in Classic.  My only question is whether the addition of Gush to the format will make Psychatog more popular than other finishers, like Tombstalker.
 
The Hulk Smash decks added green to the Psychatog decklist - something many Extended decks had also tried.  It worked better with Trpoical Islands, but Breeding Pool is a slightly-more-painful alternative, at least until MED III.   The addition of green allowed for the addition of another cheap finisher:  Quirion DryadQuirion Dryad is insane in Vintage, where the vast number of cheap card drawers and artifact mana can make it grow quickly.  I have seen games where the Dryad is cast one turn, and by the time it attacks the next turn, it is a 16/16.  In Vintage, it is frequently larger than Tarmogoyf.  I need to test more to see if that can be true in Classic as well.  So far, no - but Gush may change that.
 
Here's a classic Quirion Dryad / Psychatog build, for Vintage just before Gush was restricted.
 
2003 Gro-A-Tog - Stephen Menedian
4 Tropical Island
Underground Sea
Polluted Delta
Flooded Strand
1 Library of Alexandria
 
Psychatog
Quirion Dryad
 
Force of Will
4 Misdirection
Duress
Gush
Sleight of Hand
Brainstorm
Ancestral Recall
Time Walk
Yawgmoth's Will
1 Demonic Tutor
Vampiric Tutor
Regrowth
Merchant Scroll
Fastbond
Mystical Tutor
Berserk
Cunning Wish
 
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Sapphire
Black Lotus

Sideboard:
Berserk
Submerge
Hurkyl's Recall
Smother
Naturalize
Blue Elemental Blast
Duress

After the restriction on Gush was lifted, Gro-A-Tog came back.  The 2007 version is very similar.  The 2007 version added a Cunning Wish maindeck, and modified the sideboard accordingly.  It also added a few toold that were not available in 2003, like Ancient GrudgePithing Needle, Oxidize and Yixlid Jailer.

In some respects, the card advantage engines from paper Vintage might be replaced with the
Trinket Mage / Thirst for Knowledge / Top packages.  However, the current Trinket Mage decks seem to like a fair amoung of mana - I'm not sure that they will appreciate picking up pairs of Islands.  However, the provision for more instant speed, cheap card drawing may well enable more classic heavy control builds, that focus more on card drawing and counters and less on tricks like Stifle / (Phyrexian Dreadnaught).  Maybe.   

Let's look at another powerful archetype that was powered by Gush. This deck - nicknamed Super-Gro - used
Winter Orb to provide a Stasis-like lockdown, and used Gush to untap extra lands.  This dek was a powerhouse in Extended, back in day.  It more than just a powerhouse, it was format-defining.
 
SuperGro: Ben Rubin. Fourth, GP: Houston, 2002
4  
Tropical Island
4  
Tundra
4  
Flood Plain
1  
Grasslands
2  
Island
1  
Savannah

4  
Meddling Mage
4  
Werebear
4  
Merfolk Looter
4  
Quirion Dryad
3  
Mystic Enforcer

4  
Land Grant
4  
Force of Will
4  
Brainstorm
4  Gush
4  
Swords to Plowshares
2  
Foil

3  
Winter Orb

Sideboard
1  
Winter Orb
2  
Mind Harness
3  
Legacy's Allure
3  
Annul
2  
Wax // Wane
3  
Hidden Gibbons
1  
Submerge
 
 

The sideboard has a couple cards that are not yet printed online, but the maindeck has one critical part that is not yet here: Land Grant.  Land Grant was a free way of getting the dual lands that powered the deck.  The deck's extremely low mana curve meant that players could operate entirely on two land - and keep an openeing hand with one land and a Land Grant.  The current land-fetch options (like Rampant Growth, Farseek, Wayfarer's Bauble, etc.) are all much more expensive. 

For that matter, the fact that Land Grant is only able to fetch Breeding Pool (and Savannah) at present may also impact the deck - although the two extra damage is only occassionally going to matter. 

Once again, a Gush-powered archetype looks promising in Classic, but it requires a card that will not be reprinted until Masques is released.  At that point, Gush will be availalbe as a common.  Daze will have to wait until  Nemesis, the second set in Masques block, but that should be a short wait once Mercadian Masques hits the store. 

Magic: The Gathering
 
And that's where I have come down so far - I want the Gushes, but I'm not yet convinved that the cards will be all that good without the supporting cards that could accompany them, like Stasis, Accumulated Knowledge and Land Grant.  At best, I might test a control-heavy Psychatog build, but I'm not sure about that.  Alternatively, a control build with Winter Orb and the like - but that really wants Misdirection or some other pitch spells.   Or, maybe, just Daze.
 
So far, I have talked a lot about Gush, which is the heavy hitter in this set.  The other important card first released in Jace vs. Chandra is Daze.  Let's look at a deck that features Daze.  This is a Legacy deck - and remember that Gush is banned in Legacy, so don't look for it there.
 
 
 
 
Team America: by Dan Signorini and David Gearhart
4  
Wasteland
4  
Flooded Strand
4  
Polluted Delta
1  
Bloodstained Mire
4  
Underground Sea
2  
Tropical Island
1  
Bayou

4  
Tombstalker
4  
Tarmogoyf
 
4  Thoughtseize
4  
Snuff Out
4  
Sinkhole
4  
Force of Will
4  Daze
4  
Brainstorm
4  
Ponder
4  
Stifle

Sideboard:
4  
Tormod's Crypt
4  
Krosan Grip
4  Blue Elemental Blast
3  
Diabolic Edict
 

Note that this is also a mana denial deck.  It does not use Winter Orb - instead it uses Sinkhole and Wasteland to mess up an opponent's mana.  Daze (and other Force Spike effects) are quite useful when an opponnent is short on mana.  They are less useful when an opponent has plenty.  

SInkhole will probably never be printed online.  Wasteland, however, will arrive shortly.  It will have a huge impact on the metagame.  Right now, I am often paired against many-colored decks with numerous one-of lands, like Academy Ruins.  I suspect that Wasteland will significantly change the metagame.  It may evn create a metagame where Daze is quite good.

We will see.

Magic: The Gathering Magic: The Gathering
 
So - will Jace vs. Chandra be worth buying?  I still can't decide.  Personally, I'm still trying to get playsets of the dual lands, and that will have priority for now.  That said, I will buy at least one set for singleton play - and may get playsets.  Gush and Daze are really powerful cards, and may enable some really powerful decks.  For at least another couple years, Jace v.s Chandra will probably be the only way to get Daze and Gush online.  Right now, I won't buy four sets.  However, when Wizards announces that these will go off sale, I will have to consider buying playsets at that time.
 
PRJ
 
"one million words" on MTGO

 

 

10 Comments

Are you joking? by dangerlinto at Wed, 11/26/2008 - 08:34
dangerlinto's picture

Daze is a fantastic card in any format that doesn't include SoloMoxen.  You know, like classic.  Even then it'd probably be ok, but it's overshadowed by other free spells like Unmask, Massacre and Misdirection - none of which are online.

Daze is so good that is takes up a spot that is often otherwise previously reserved for disrupt.  Very likely it will also takes spots away from Spell Snare and even counterspell.

PRJ - all your lists are 5-6 years old.  Missing the Fastbond connection for Gush and instead concentrating on old-school tactics like Stasis is dating yourself to ages that have been long since forgotten by much better deck design.  And it's defintely of little value to those who'd instead like to learn about classic.  While Gush is ultimately the stonger of the two cards, as the many other classic vets have noted, it's not immediately going to make a splash in Classic.  There are places where it can go, and I can't see it NOT being used, but at this point, Daze will be a far more utilitarian card.

by Tarmotog at Mon, 11/24/2008 - 09:49
Tarmotog's picture

I understand where the classic people are coming from.. daze is indeed a v strong card esp in decks that have no choice but to become tapped out early. I tried a legacy deck with 4x daze in it and it did pretty decently in a tournament some time ago. It's really very close to force of will in terms of power level depending on how important the early game is in the format.

However, i do think that gush should not be too underestimated. gush will definitely grow in power level as more cards come online (like yawgmoth's will or fastbond) and i think the reason why people don't seem to like it is that there is no current deck build that can simply chuck gush in. (means they have to build from scratch) Many decks tried to abuse it in vintage and i'm quite certain, because of its raw power, that gush can bleed into classic, in the not too distant future at the very least. I'm not a classic player so I'll let the classic pple decide for themselves what is gd n what isn't.

in any case, i'm definitely getting one copy of the duel decks for:

-alternate art cards to decorate my decks
-"new" cards to kick ass

As said... by Javasci at Mon, 11/24/2008 - 19:27
Javasci's picture

What would I want to counter at the cost of losing a turn in lands?  Necropotence, Flash, Counterbalance.  Able to tap out for turn 4 lightning angel and counter opponent's mystic enforcer, or especially turn 2 meddling mage, and counter their counterbalance, then untap and play another 2-drop.  There's a LOT of stuff necessary to counter turn 1/2/3, and those are the turns when you least want to be holding up force spike mana.

Or, turn 1 top, turn 2 counterbalance, daze their counter.

gush/daze by whiffy penguin(Unregistered) 76.99.142.68 (not verified) at Mon, 11/24/2008 - 17:35
whiffy penguin(Unregistered) 76.99.142.68's picture

Im not hating on gush as it is a really powerful card just not one i did jumping jacks for. Daze however is redic and its so much more then a force spike. Take a look at modern legacy decklists and you will see that every deck running more then 10 blue cards will have 4x daze ..... EVERY deck. it its a two cc card so it plays really well with counterbalance making it counterspell tarmogoyf, and other such nonsence when you have your counter/balance soft lock down. Classic is very close to legacy in terms of speed and power and daze is a crucile card for control to derail combo and agro long enough to set up its controlling elements. It also is stellar at protecting your early agressive guys from spot removal and sweepers or blockers. and the last point ill make is that with a little finesse you can dodge the upcoming wasteland with this card. an all around 5star card in my opinion.

 

Gush is a fantastic card no doubt but we are missing the crucial cards to make it "brokan", and will continue to until wotc decides to print moxen, fastbond, land grant. these supporting mana cards help you to break gush for more then a eot +2 new cards and +1 land in hand -1 land on board.

 

all that said i have 2 different lists im trying to incorporate gush into that look promising. I have at the very least 5  decks  that i know to be good that want daze

gush? by whiffy penguin(Unregistered) 69.248.5.255 (not verified) at Sun, 11/23/2008 - 11:22
whiffy penguin(Unregistered) 69.248.5.255's picture

im sorry i had to respond as soon as i read your comments on gush and daze. Gush is NOT the reason to buy this, Daze IS gush is a card without a home atm in classic but daze is probbaly the second best card in classic right after fow. If any body is on the fence about this product its daze that should push you over.  Expect daze to ba a 5 dollar card out of the gates rising to 10 after a few classic pes where you will se about 6-of 8 top 8 decks running 4 of this stellar card.

by Bazaar of Baghdad at Sun, 11/23/2008 - 19:08
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

I expect one or both to be restricted 12/1.

by Anonymous(Unregistered) 97.115.52.58 (not verified) at Sun, 11/23/2008 - 22:25
Anonymous(Unregistered) 97.115.52.58's picture

Nobody plays classic. :P

Daze by Ivo(Unregistered) 193.136.161.107 (not verified) at Mon, 11/24/2008 - 04:48
Ivo(Unregistered) 193.136.161.107's picture

I agree with Whiffy - Daze is going to be the card to look for, not Gush.

Unfortunately (IMO) these cards are also legal in Classic PDC, where Gush actually may get played (Fathom Seer is), and Daze has a high likelihood to become a staple of (I'm not sure, but it will probably be used a lot)

Ivo. 

Agree with Whiffy by under_the_hammer at Mon, 11/24/2008 - 09:18
under_the_hammer's picture

I too agree with Whiffy Penguin.  At least for the foreseable future Daze is going to be relevant to the classic format than Gush.  That being said I dont think Daze will have as big an impact as Whiffy implies.   Classic is very diverse at the moment and Daze will not even suit all decks that run islands not to mention all of the diverse non-isand run decks that make up the majority of the current metagame.

by one million words at Mon, 11/24/2008 - 08:34
one million words's picture

I'll disagree.  I don't know that any of the current Classic decks will want to mess up their mana development that much.  Remember - it is force spike, so it is only really good turns 1-3, or if they forget to play around it later. 

Practical question - turn to, playing a Trinket Mage deck on the draw.  You laid a fetch last turn.  Your opponent casts something - what cards would you be willing to delay Trinket Mage until turn four to stop? 

I agree that Daze is insane in certain builds, but I played a ton of blue contol back in Masques block PTQs, in Standard and in Extended while legal.  I didn't find Daze all that useful.  It is in the same class as Dismiss - a great card in environments that are highly mana constrained.  I don't see that being the case in classic - certainly not once Wasteland appears (which should force people to up their land counts. 

That said, I'm certainly not saying that Daze is a bad card - but Daze was never that broken in either Legacy or Vintage.  Guch was/is.

In any case, time will tell.