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Comic #53

Make A Card for January: Jules, the Girl!

Card Tags: Just read the spoilers for WorldWake
Taylor here. Well, I'm not going to complain about the number of spoilers we have this week. I was one minute away from being able to post one of them first, myself. Ah well, such is life. This week I will look at some more cards from WorldWake, but only a few of the ones we have seen.

Limited: Bomb. You should probably just use this to make 18 power worth of elephants on your side and swing every turn until you win. That's a deal at only 3 lands and eight mana in limited.
Constructed: Eight mana is a lot in constructed. This guy could see play as a two of or something, but I think I would rather have a Howl of the Night Pack or an Acidic Slime. But, then again, it is eight mana for 18 power worth of guys that can't all be Terminated, or could kill up to three 'Walkers when it comes into play.

Limited: Pretty good if you're drafting Allies. I would not pick removal over him or anything, but he is the best one drop you're likely to see for you're limited Ally deck. He can easily become a 2/3 by the time he swings.
Constructed: Last week, I was talking about how there was a Blue/White Ally deck that was looking for a few more cards to become Tier One. This is the kind of card it was looking for. I'm going to go ahead and say that if Allies get one more solid one drop besides this guy, it will be Tier One. I don't think this card can do it by itself, but it's a step in that direction.

Limited: Not really a limited card. Unless you're really worried about Ruinblaster.
Constructed: If this is within the first few minutes of you ever reading this card, you might be thinking "Well, I have not been worried about land destruction since Stone Rain rotated." And you should not be. This card is for the cycle of Manlands that are in the set, but even then, it will probably see about as much play as Earth Surge. It's a jank rare.

Limited: Well, it's a 4/4 the first time it attacks and it only gets better. For those of you that don't know, the counters stay on it when it stops being a creature. The only drawback in limited is its color requirement.
Constructed: Jund will run it. They need mana fixing and this is probably the strongest of the cycle. It's a 4/4 land that keeps getting bigger, and early game it fixes your mana. I think this could be one of the best manlands ever seen in Magic.

Limited: As most of you already know, removal is good in limited. This is a Last Gasp whether or not you have Vampires. It's even better as a combat trick.
Constructed: Looks like WorldWake will only make Vampires more playable. Last Gasp saw constructed play and this card is better. Kill their guy at EOT and make your army bigger. I like the mental image I get when I think about using this card while you gang block one of their attackers with Vampires, which, by the way, is a good idea. Very solid piece of removal.

Limited: Solid. It can make the cut. Not great because of how critical turn 2 is in super-fast Zend limited, but never dead. Remember to think of how it affects your curve. You'll want to run fewer three drops and more four and one drops.
Constructed: This card's main advantages over Rampant Growth are that it doesn't require you to run basic lands and it's not dead lategame. There's an outside chance that creature-light control decks would run it. It can get them Day of Judgment on turn 3, and the promise of never-dead late is important. My buddy wants to put it in a Pyromancer's Ascension deck.

Limited: Big huge bomb. Better than Figure of Destiny. He keeps getting bigger and bigger, he accelerates out the big drops by a turn or two, and he promises that you'll always have mana open for your Vines of Vastwood and the regeneration on you Savage Silhouettes and River Boas. Remember, with the new rules, this guy also causes mana to NOT empty at the end of turns too. As confirmed by Wizards.
Constructed: Not as fragile as he looks. Unlike any other shade, he can't be bolted in response to the pump ability. Once you tap the lands, he's already bigger. That Eldrazi Green deck is going to try him, and he could work out pretty well, but I don't think he will. He's a win-more card - that deck already spends all it's mana every turn until the game's already in the bag.

Limited: Well, it's a Wrath effect attached to a 7/7 body, which no one can block because they're all dead, or tapped from regenerating. So, in limited, it will win you the game when you attack with it. It is one of the two multi-color cards in this set.
Constructed: 7 mana green creatures don't normally see play in constructed. He is powerful and worth the mana, but there are probably other things you want to be doing in your deck. I think Day of Judgment or Martial Coup will be put in your deck long before this guy is.

Limited: This is an interesting card. It's also interesting that it seems like rares now a days are either made for limited or made for constructed. This card does very little in limited.
Constructed: And it does not do terribly much in standard. I know lots of lands come into play tapped, and it's only one mana, but is that really worth the cost of a card? I don't think so. However, I can't help but look at this card and think about the Ravnica bounce lands, like Dimir Aqueduct, into Dark Rituals you can cast every turn at the cost of a land drop. Seems like this card might see some play in older formats.
If only Golden Lotus was real.

Limited: It's good. See how you don't exile it until *your* end step? You spend 3R, kill an attacker, then you get to attack once with it. It's like removal that can swing for 6.
Constructed: It's probably not going to see play, but it might. No self-respecting aggro deck wants to leave 4 mana open, but it is 6 mana for 6 trample damage at EOT, even if they don't attack. However, even control decks are attacking now-a-days. So, it should always be at most 5 mana for a blocker and 6 trample damage. Which should make you ask yourself how much better it is than a Ball Lightning or an Elemental Appeal.

Limited: No sure how I feel about this sorcery speed cantrip. It really is only guaranteed to draw you one card, and it's as much mana as Telling Time. It might get you through a mana clump. So, if you're a luck sack, run it. If it draws you two cards it's worth 2 mana.
Constructed: Ok, the card draws you about 1.4 cards. So, if 3 mana is worth 2 cards now a days, I guess 2 mana is more than worth 1.4 cards. If you really want to you could 'combo' it with brain storming Jace, or Sphinx of Jwar Isle.

Constructed: The secret priests would take great Cthulhu from his tomb to revive His subjects and resume his rule of earth. Then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom.
Limited: Whoever speaketh of Cthulhu shall remember that he but seemeth dead, he sleeps, and yet he does not sleep, he has died and yet he is not dead, asleep and dead though he is, he shall rise again.
That is not dead which can eternal lie,
and with strange aeons even death may die.

The World According to Celestial Prism


A History of 5-Color Mana Artifacts You Don't Have To Sacrifice

By: jmathes

In the beginning, there was Celestial Prism. It was bad. It was in alpha, though. It was a simpler world, and we were all bad. I seriously considered playing it. Everybody played decks full of bad cards back then, and it wasn't even clear that most of the cards were bad, because everyone else's deck was full of bad cards. It would be a long time before everyone's decks were lean killing machines.

The next iteration on the five-color mana artifact came a few years later, in The Dark. Standing Stones, it was. It wasn't much of an improvement. Instead of paying 2 mana, you pay 1 mana and 1 life. Not really that great.

Next, in Alliances, we got Sol Grail. Alliances, when it came out, had a reputation for being full of very strong cards. It had a four mana 5/5 creature, which drew comparison with the at-the-time best creature ever, Juzam Djinn. It had Force of Will, which didn't really take long to catch on. Sol Grail, this one made you choose which of the five colors you were getting when it came into play, and it came into play tapped, but it was great because it was the first of the five-color mana artifacts that could actually give you a net mana gain once it was in play.

Soon after, in Mirage, wizards shipped us a direct update to Celestial Prism, sans fanfare, in Mana Prism. I remember noting how great it was compared to Celestial Prism. It only cost :1: to activate for colored mana, and it could produce mana all on it's own. It was actually a step down from Sol Grail, but not strictly worse.

After that, there was a long period of artifacts that fixed your mana but weren't five-color. This was when MaRo took over R&D, starting in Tempest, and put a lot of emphasis on the color wheel. It wasn't until the Multicolor Block, in Invasion, that we got Phyrexian Lens. It's strictly better than Standing Stones, costing zero mana to activate. It's comparable to Sol Grail in power level, because you rarely use these guys in the same turn you play them.

Arguably the biggest jump in power level was the next one, to Darksteel Ingot. It came into play untapped, could tap to produce any color mana at any time for no cost, and on top of all that, it was indestructible. Mirrodin was about the time Wizards decided that players didn't like drawbacks, and started printing cards covered in good abilities. This is a trend that has grown over time, resulting in more and more powerful and popular cards that don't require any thinking, eventually reaching it's pinnacle in the Worst Card Ever, Baneslayer Angel. I know it's a very powerful card. I think it's the worst card ever for the game. Everyone who looks at it knows it's good, and they want to play it, and they're right. The end. It used to take experience and testing to find out what was good, and which drawbacks mattered. Okay, enough ranting. I actually like Darksteel Ingot, because it demonstrated that Wizards had been needlessly shy of the power level of 3cc 5-color mana artifacts. it's indestructibility didn't really matter, because nobody wasted an artifact kill spell on it in Mirrodin block. In constructed, you needed them for Arcbound Ravagers, and in limited, you need them for equipment.

In Ravnica we got Spectral Searchlight. This was the best of the bunch until M2010, because it could mana burn the opponent. Because of this and the three-color nature of limited at the time, it was a second or third pick.

In Coldsnap, Skred decks were powered by Coldsteel Heart, a strict improvement on Sol Grail from way back in Alliances. Like Prismatic Lens, they were a reprint that cost one less. They had another bonus thrown in; they made Snow mana, which was the style at the time.

Time Spiral brought us Prismatic Lens, which is exactly the same as Mana Prism except with a mana cost of :2: instead of :3: . This saw constructed play in the five-color decks which would become even more popular with the advent of Lorwyn and Vivid lands.

In Future Sight, there was Coalition Relic. It packed a real punch, accelerating you two any-color mana into a 6-drop on turn 4. The last time a single card could do this, it was Explosive Vegetation, and that was it's own archetype, accelerating into Kilnmouth Dragon. Forget what I said about Spectral Searchlight; Coalition Relic is better. People used it to play turn-four Wild Pair, which would usually turn into an instant-win with slivers.

Things decayed from there. The five-color mana artifact never made a dent in constructed after coalition relic. We got Scuttlemutt, which tapped to change colors and had a 2/2 body attached. It was great in limited, but not good enough to contend with faeries, lieges, and demigods in standard.

In Alara, things took a big jump backwards with the Obelisks, which were strictly worse than Darksteel Ingot, Coalition Relic, and Spectral Searchlight. They're not even five-color. I only mention them here to show how bad they are in context.

Honorable Mentions, a little too weird to fit into the above list:
Fellwar Stone, Pili-Pala, Star Compass, Gilded Lotus

What doesn't count:
Black Lotus, because you have to sacrifice it to use it.
Serum Powder, because it doesn't produce colored mana.
Gemstone Mine, because it's not an artifact.
Phyrexian Altar, because you have to pay cards for mana.
Chrome Mox and Mox Diamond, because you have to invest cards up front.

Finally, here we are. Make sure to look at the cards below it so see where we have been:

At zero mana:

Chrome Mox
At 2 mana:
Mind Stone
At 4 mana:
Sisay's Ring
Thran Dynamo
At 6 mana:
Gilded Lotus
At 8 mana:
Sundering Titan

Talk about it.