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By: SpikeBoyM, Alex Ullman
May 22 2007 1:19pm
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PDC is an all player run format on Magic Online.  It consists of competitive games using exclusively commons cards.  Games can be found in the "/join pdc" room and events can be found on the Magic Online official message boards.  For more information please visit paupermagic.com.

 

As Rich told me when I published my Planar Chaos set review for PDC, set reviews are cop-outs. To some extent, that is true. Articles in that vein tend to be predictable and rarely provide anything new and exciting. This is even more true in the world of MTGO where the sets are in our virtual grips long after the set has been spoiled and used in the paper world. So, while I will be writing a set review, it will not be a card by card analysis. Rather, I am going to present cards from the new set and compare them to similar cards already existing in the Classic PDC card pool, narrowing my focus to the cards I feel are going to see a good amount of play. Unlike last time, I will be going by color.

White

Well, what a terrible way to start. Sadly, there just are not many White cards in Future Sight that compare with other cards in PDC Classic. Judge Unworthy is an okay removal spell, and might find a place in GW Cloak decks, and Saltskitter could be played, but has no real analog currently in PDC. However...

Marshaling Cry
VS
Fortify

The small creature rush strategy is popular, and often features White for Fortify's ability to deal an obscene amount of damage. The Cry has the nice advantage of being a live card early and not really going away. I think it has some potential, but I do not see if usurping the +2/+0 king anytime soon.

Blue

Aven Augur
VS
Man-o

The Jellyfish is a good card, but far from a Blue staple, mostly because it does not do much once it hits the board. Sure, sometimes it gets to swing for two, but not as often as the caster would like. The Augur has the upside of being useful the turn after in comes into play, either as an attacker in the air or a huge tempo swing. That being said, it does cost four and probably does not do enough to warrant the cost. Will it show up? I would not be surprised, but I do not envision it as a powerhouse.

Foresee
VS
Rush of Knowledge

Now this is interesting. At first glance, these two cards seem to have little in common, as one usually draws between four and seven cards, and the other only draws two. However, Foresee will consistently allow you to see more cards than Rush and is not contingent on other conditions to be met. Because of this, I think that outside of Affinity, Foresee will become the big Blue card draw spell of choice in decks that want to see cards. Compulsive Research will stil, and should rightfully, see play because of it's low cost to power ratio: for a low investment, you have a strong chance of increasing your card quality. What Foresee does, however, is let you see more cards than the Research. While not right for every deck, it does fit the motif of old Blue control decks in the vein of Pioneer (worst name ever), not so much the current batch of LulMUC decks. I expect Foresee to be a card that takes a while to catch on, but once it's strength is shown, to spread like wildfire.

Logic Knot
VS
Condescend

The Knot is a powerful counterspell. Often times it will be cast for UU and useless dead cards. In a long game where land count can often be even, being able to tack on extra tax to the spell at the cost of some graveyarded cards seems to be a small price to pay. I suspect this card will see play in Blue control decks that do not run cards such as Think Twice and Deep Analysis, and be a strong counter in those decks.

Other cards that have the potential to make a splash include Mesmeric Sliver, as fateseal in multiples could just get nasty, and Whip-Spine Drake in could provide UW aggro-control with the aggressive “fat” they desperately need. Infiltrator il-Kor might see play in some Blue aggro decks, but the one toughness really hurts it's chances; too many decks today can handle one toughness creatures, which makes his inclusion at this time, unlikely.

Black

Augur of Skulls
VS
Ravenous Rats

Both of these cards come down on the same turn. One has better synergy with Ninjas whereas the other is a better defender and has the potential to take out more cards, if it survives. I like the Augur, as it has the potential to do some real damage against control decks in the mid-game. The Rats are superior in the early turns however. I expect both of these cards to see play, with Rats taking the role in decks that want a stronger early game and run a “comes-into-play” theme whereas the Augur will probably see more play in mid-range and control decks seeking to eke out every advantage.

Deepcavern Imp
VS

Finally, a cross color comparison. These cards are very similar, but provide vastly different opportunities. As such, I do not see the Imp replacing the Legionnaire anytime soon, but I can see them playing along side each other in a RWB aggro deck. The Imp also opens up great deck design space, as he fits into the aggro Rebels strategy and the Madness/Threshold model. I expect both of these decks to be on the rise, with the Madness deck sticking around (what can I say, I'm biased). More than that, though, I feel the Imp will find a home in many decks where it will simply beat for two in the air.

Grave Scrabbler
VS
Pit Keeper

Both of these cards are conditional Gravediggers. And they can both work in the same Madness/Threshold model. These two will see play, but rarely along side one another. Rather, a deck will want one or the other, probably leaning towards the Scrabbler the more Madness outlets there are in the deck. Keep an eye on this one, as he will probably be showing up quite often.

Ichor Slick
VS
Last Gasp

People are up in arms about how Slick is a Sorcery, how it costs more, and generally do not like it compared to Gasp. However, Slick draws you a card in certain instances, and can help enable your deck while providing a powerful removal spell in other instances. I feel that the Slick will become a removal spell of choice in decks with discard outlets and in late game decks, such as MBC, that can pack other removal spells to handle the early turns. In decks that just want a solid removal spell, Gasp will still most likely get the nod.

Lost Hours
VS
Duress

The Hours just do not make the cut here, as Duress can just be plain better. I can see spots where the Hours is better, such as up against UR when they have an Izzet Chronarch in hand next to a Kaervek's Torch, but I am not sold on this card yet.

Death Rattle will probably not see all that much play, since so many of the great creatures in PDC are, in fact Green.

Red

Bogardan Lancer
VS
Benalish Cavalry

Lancer will only get the nod here in mono-Red, as there are simply better two drops in almost every color combination that could use a creature with Bloodthirst. Next!

Gathan Raiders
VS
Zombie Cutthroat

Neither of these cards actually have a color, but here is as good a place as any. In one of my previous articles, I spoke about how absolutely amazing I feel the Raiders will be. It will see much more play than the Cutthroat because of another reason: the Morph cost. In PDC, asking for five life is asking an awful lot. Yes, many decks can handle the life loss (such as Orzhov Blink) but those decks do not want to win on tempo, where the Cutthroat shines because it can function as a removal spell for no mana investment. Raiders also exists in an environment where there are highly synergistic cards in four out of the five colors (sorry White). In the late game, it is much more likely for most PDC decks to have an empty hand than have a way to get five life, and in this case, 5/5 is much better than 3/4. Finally, PDC is not exactly a grown up limited format, which is where the Cutthroat excelled. Raiders is so synergistic with existing cards that it practically begs to be played.

Henchfiend of Ukor
VS
Oxidda Golem

The Henchfied has Echo and costs more, but has the upside of playing Torch in a Rakdos deck. The Golem could be an 3/2 Haste for 3-4 mana, but he is by far the most ubiquitous. I really see Rakdos decks taking multiple directions after Future Sight: Madness, 2Drop, Rats and Removal, and other possible decks. My guess is that the Henchfied will find a home in the latter decks, as it can be a late-game breaker or a mid-game beater.

Ghostfire
VS
Yamabushi

This card will see play, end of story. It handles Guardian of the Guildpact and other various pro Red creatures. It also serves as a finisher if the Circle of Protections make a comeback. Very nice card, and will most likely be a staple.

Emberwilde Augur will be a fine beater and find homes in aggro decks. Other than that, the Red commons seem too Johnny to find a good home in a successful PDC deck.

Green

Edge of Autumn
VS
Sakura-Tribe Elder

I am not sold on Edge yet. It screams for a good mid-range deck that needs acceleration. Old BUG control might like this card for a small late game boost. I do not feel, though, that Edge will usurp the current batch of mana fixing. It might find a place in mid-game Threshold Green decks, as for the slim price of free it gets you two cards closer to the magic number seven.

Nessian Courser
VS
Gnarled Mass

Same card, but if a Green/X deck ever needs a generic 3/3, it will call on the Centaur.

Green, like white, really does not get too much in the way of analogs. However, cards such as Llanowar Empath and Sprout Swarm beg to be played. Virulent Sliver could get very nasty very fast in the right deck. Thornweald Archer also might find slots in some aggro decks that need pseudo-removal spells. If Saprolings really catch on, it might be because of Sporoloth Ancient's ability to speed up the process, in which case Kavu Primarch might find a slot as a finisher. While Green does not get many analogs, it does get quite a few new cards.

 

Overall, Future Sight looks to shake up things in PDC. Aggro gets many tools, most notably the Raiders. Control decks also get a good counterspell and an interesting denial card in the form of Lost Hours. The really winner from this set will be the mid-range decks. Between Ichor Slick, Edge of Autumn, and Foresee, the decks that want to dominate between turns four and ten powerful cards that do things PDCers have not seen done before (seriously, digging six cards deep is huge). Looking at the larger picture, Time Spiral block as a whole has done some great things for the format. It provided even better color fixing in the form of Terramorphic Expanse and a format warping card in Momentary Blink. Graveyard centered strategies got stronger and the color pie bled to interesting results. This block will have a long lasting effect on the format, more so than the Kamigawa block, but will be hard-pressed to reach the wide-swept influence that Ravnica block had. However, in the theme of the block, only time will tell.

 

And keep slingin' commons!

 

-Alex

 

13 Comments

Future Sight by GeoffH (Unregistered) 68.174.153.32 (not verified) at Thu, 05/31/2007 - 20:46
GeoffH (Unregistered) 68.174.153.32's picture

I don't think any of these cards will have an impact on classic PDC lol. This set kind of sucks. Probably STD though.

Future Sight by GeoffH (Unregistered) 68.174.153.32 (not verified) at Thu, 05/31/2007 - 20:46
GeoffH (Unregistered) 68.174.153.32's picture

I don't think any of these cards will have an impact on classic PDC lol. This set kind of sucks. Probably STD though.

Some cards I think you missed by zahori (Unregistered) 65.1.246.239 (not verified) at Wed, 05/23/2007 - 11:22
zahori (Unregistered) 65.1.246.239's picture

I have a feeling Sprout Swarm will be powerful in PDC. Even with the two Echoing removal spells, it is going to find a home in token abuse decks, especially when combined with other convoke and token generation cards. Kavu Primarch is also pretty powerful, I've seen it get kicked very early in limited, should be very good in a deck designed for convoke.

Thornweald Archer is pretty good against decks that rely on fliers. It can come down early and be a bit of a headache, plus it always trades in combat, which is pretty relevant in my opinion.

Emberwilde Augur is a fine two drop that will see play in red decks due to its versatility.

Sarcomyte Myr might be good in some decks. With two mana up it is nearly always card advantage, plus it can fly.

Vedalken Aethermage can cycle for Trinket Mage, so it should be playable.

Wrap in Vigor is a great card. It nullifies damage as a mass removal effect, and hence should see play.

Cool article by McCombs at Tue, 05/22/2007 - 16:05
McCombs's picture

I'm only just learning about pauper magic so I like this series a lot. Is pauper played in all the normal MTG variants? ie std, block, etc?

by hamtastic at Tue, 05/22/2007 - 20:40
hamtastic's picture

Granted, it's been a while since I've played PDC, but it seems the Judge Unworthy and possibly riddle of lightning could see some play. Removal + smoothing a draw is something that's pretty impressive in PDC land. As for the question of PDC formats there most frequent PDC formats are Classic and Standard.

Re: Hamtastic by SpikeBoyM at Tue, 05/22/2007 - 21:06
SpikeBoyM's picture

The problem with the cards you mentioned is that the decks they would want to go in tend to run low casting cost cards. Look at Riddle of Lightning- in most red decks, the most he will deal is 6 and the average will probably be three. For the same price, Barbed Lightning will deal 3 and 3. Simply put, the benefit of scry does not push these cards over the edge.

On Riddle of Lightning... by AJ_Impy at Wed, 05/23/2007 - 04:22
AJ_Impy's picture

Looking at the Riddle, the cards it reminds me of are the Erratic removal spells and the Scourge mana cost matters cards. Could we be approaching a critical mass of cmc-dependent burn to devise a competitive deck?

Not Bad but Still a Cop-out by Rich/Me5794 (Unregistered) 167.88.178.70 (not verified) at Tue, 05/22/2007 - 15:43
Rich/Me5794 (Unregistered) 167.88.178.70's picture

Alex, you beat me to the punch. While i do think that set reviews are cop-outs, i do think that they are necessary. They are good way to make people more aware of the new cards. Some of us (myself included) live exclusivly off MTGO and to us this is new stuff. The more we know about the new cards the more we can prepare ourselves for the coming season.

Not bad, but i would prefer PDC Theory :)

by Anonymous (Unregistered) 81.79.216.236 (not verified) at Wed, 05/23/2007 - 04:29
Anonymous (Unregistered) 81.79.216.236's picture

For me the top 4 cards constructed wise from the set are; Judge Unworthy ( I can finally investigate WX control decks.) Ghostfire (for obvious reasons) Gathan Raiders ( again obvious reasons) and Edge of Autumn ( I love any cards which do more than 1 thing reasonable and this does 2 good things very well.

You can't spell 'scary' with 'scry' by hamtastic at Wed, 05/23/2007 - 11:01
hamtastic's picture

5 mana for 3-6 damage is indeed risky and possibly sub-par. However, it's also giving red something very dangerous in the process. "Scry 3". Scry 3 in a red deck seems strong no matter how you're looking at it. Either you get rid of land and draw another burn spell or creature while either going to the dome or removing a creature.

by khirareq at Tue, 05/22/2007 - 13:58
khirareq's picture

I disagree with your analysis of FS on the impact of classic pauper. While it will have an immediate and powerful impact on Standard, I only see three cards here that I think will realistically have an impact. I guess three out of sixty isn't bad, considering the size of the cardpool.

by SpikeBoyM at Tue, 05/22/2007 - 14:14
SpikeBoyM's picture

What three cards do you think will have the impact? I count four (Raiders, Ghostflame, Foresee, and Slick) that will have a huge impact and many others that will have a less pronounced impact.

by khirareq at Tue, 05/22/2007 - 15:25
khirareq's picture

I think Foresee is going to be tested and then discarded for being too expensive and a sorcery. The only deck I could see playing it is storm, and even then I don't think it's going to get the nod over Serum Visions and Slight of Hand. If MUC wants sorcery-speed card draw, I think it's going to stick with the raw power of Rush of Knowledge. Ghostflame is going to see play in Burn Aggro, but probably only in the sideboard, since it has access to cheaper and more powerful burn effects maindeck and usually only needs the flame against sideboard hate in games 2 and 3. Still, that's an effect. I do think that the Raiders and the Slick will see maindeck play in viable archetypes, though I wonder what the Slick will replace in MBC. It's not as if black is suffering from a lack of ways to kill creatures, and six mana to kill a weenie is a significant tempo loss. Still - "Kill that thing; draw a card" is a powerful enough effect that I think we'll see it played.