#MTG Wording of the Glyph of Reincarnation

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Wording is everything when a player has to decide if they want to play a card, or even if a card is worth playing. Magic: the Gathering has designed cards that are well written and allow the player to have different interactions with different cards. But back during the Legends set there were some interestingly worded cards. Glyph of Reincarnation is such a card.

Glyph of Reincarnation (G) reads, “Cast Glyph of Reincarnation only after combat.”

“Destroy all creatures that were blocked by target Wall this turn. They can’t be regenerated. For each creature that died this way, put a creature card from the graveyard of the player who controlled that creature the last time it became blocked by that Wall onto the battlefield under its owner’s control.”

So right off it is a combat trick. Which is nice, destroy any creature blocked by target wall (Defender by the Errata/rule Change players know today as far as I know). Simple is like the target Wall/Defender gains Deathtouch. It is the second trigger that had me scratching my head for a bit. It takes a creature from the graveyard through the creature that was just sent there and buts it back onto the battlefield under the original controller.

It sounds like it is a Reanimation spell. And it is actually fun to figure this into combat.

The ruling states that you the player get to choose the creature to be put back onto the battlefield. So let’s say that a player has an Autochthon Wurm, or Cloudthresher attacking and decide to block with a Fog Bank, or Carrion Wall, or Cathedral Membrane and use the Glyph or Reincarnation to target your Wall/ Defender. And in your opponents graveyard there is an Argothian Pixies in their graveyard.

Use the Glyph of Reincarnation to remove the threat and place the Argothian Pixies onto the battlefield to give you a better field presence for your next turn, or just remove that threat from the field.

On the other side of the coin, if you see that your opponents has a Wall/Defender and you have a massive creature in your graveyard or even something bigger that can be used next round, you the player after blockers have been declared, casts Glyph of Reincarnation on your opponents Wall/Defender. While this destroys your creature the effect of the Glyph allows you to take any creature from your graveyard and give you an even sharper edge.

The design is interesting. Because it is a one drop (G) it can be theorized that the designer’s intended the Glyphs to be used either used in multiple giving a bigger punch, or to be timed precisely for that strategic outcome. Also like many other Low costing cards, it can be handled by counterspells. If this spell were unable to be countered it might have been a bit too powerful.

Apart from the Classic Ranimator combat Trick  The Glyph of Reincarnation puts a more strategic, albeit slightly wordy twist on the Reanimation idea. While all the Glyphs rely on Walls they each allow for players to use stratigical planning when thinking how to beat their opponent. If not for cards like Glyph of Reincarnation Magic: the Gathering would not have the specific text style that it does today. And yes, while there are still rule disputes from time to time, cards are more comprehended by players and give that cohesive feel to the already cohesive game.

Copperhoof Vorrac #MTG discussion

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Copperhoof Vorrac is interesting after I took a longer look at it. This card can either be a very weak late game bomb or can actually turn the tide of a battle given the right conditions. A five drop (3GG) with the ability, “Copperhoof Vorrac gets +1/+1 for each untapped permanent your opponents control,” seems to has potential. The ability to grow bigger off a condition on the opponent’s side puts the opponent on notice. Therefore, any untapped lands leads to each additional +1/+1 counter because lands are considered permanents. SO if an opponent has three untapped lands that makes the Vorrac a 5/5 creature.

That seems like it would make this card powerful, but because of the condition that exist it balances the Copperhoof Vorrac from becoming overpowered.

In comparison to other cards like Arcbound Ravager, Apocalypse Hydra, Cathar’s Crusade, the Vorrac does fall short. Arcbound Ravager has the added benefit of adding +1/+1 counters almost at will. And the Ravager can use this sacrifice outlet to stack combat and in certain cases get the creatures back (looking against Living Death, or Living End). Cathar’s Crusade utilizes enterthe battlefield from other creatures that a player cast to add +1/+1 counters, making low casting cost creature that much more dealy. The condition that hinges of the opponent having anything untapped can be disconcerting. However, and this is just my opinion, looking at decks that have creatures with Vigilance, or artifacts that cannot be tapped can be beneficial to playing the Copperhoof Vorrac.

Copperhoof Vorrac looks at the battlefield and the play of the game in a different way. It makes the player look at how their opponent plays their cards, and looks at how the player can respond to different interaction within the game. Not all cards can be Mindsculptors, but even cards like Copperhoof Vorrac can help players improve their game and learn from their experiences.

Week Review from #FNM #MTG with Jacob Collins

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Week review from Friday November 28th looking at Standard Mete and how the diversity of Magic: the Gathering has evolved in the meta-game-play. Along with a discussion of different decks that have seen play and what decks to plan for when thinking about competitions.

Jacob discusses the strengths and weaknesses to the Abzan deck, and why RDW still holds a place in all formats. A look at the Top8 top played cards. Mainly Sylvan Caryatid. And what the next FNM might hold for the planeswalkers.

The Price of Progress #MTG a new kind of burn

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There is no greater threat than the very resource turned against the player. In Magic: the Gathering When it comes to land many players prefer non basic lands. When a player wants to turn the tide and use this against the players Price of Progress makes non basic lands a liability.

Price of Progress puts a new spin on the idea of burn. While still a burn spell the stipulations for this all depend of the type of mana that is present on the battlefield. With the effect of, “Price of Progress deals damage to each player equal to twice the number of nonbasic lands that player controls.” Allows this card to be used in formats that depend on nonbasic lands.

The two time the number of basic lands helps the card be more effective. If the card just said one point of damage for each non basic land it would hurt but most players would just go for a Lightning Bolt or other burn spell. Adding that additional damage to the stack can be devastating. If a player was to have four basic lands equaling eight damage that almost compares to a Lightning Helix (without the life gain but the idea of that massive game shift still applies).

However, the design of this card allows for balance because it targets all players. So if you were to have a few nonbasic lands it will still hurt you. But thinking about this in terms of burn it seems, in my opinion, to fit best with mono-colored Red Deck Wins (RDW) or Red Aggro (Burn/Red Aggro). Looking at the casting cost of this card allows it to be used both early game for a good shock and awe, or even held off until late game to clench the victory. And threw the design of this card it also is not universal. It may not be proven against other mono-colored decks or even removed for something that might be just slightly more beneficial.

It is the design of cards like this that give Magic: the Gathering a diverse feel to the construction of decks and how taking the one resource that is sought after can be turned against players in a second.

Lillian of the Veil #MTG

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My Mistress of Black Mana, My Mentor when I began to really delve into Magic: the Gathering competitively, the beautiful horror which that can make men shudder and fall to her knees in blind obedience. None other than Liliana, Liliana of the Veil.

AS far as Planeswalkers and design are concerned Ms. Liliana of the Veil is unique. Looking at her when she arrived during Innistrad she fit in the set as perfect as zombies on the prowl. Perfect. She had the Victorian Gothic flare that tied all of the first block of Innistrad together nicely. And she was perfect for any Black Deck that needed a good threat.

At three CMC (1BB) Three Loyalty (3) “+1 Each player discards. -2 Target Player Sacrifices a Creature. -6Separate all permanents target player controls into two piles. That player sacrifices all permanents in the pile of his or her choice” she was what the essence of Black, in my mind, was supposed to be. She allowed the player to keep their opponents on edge with her +1. At the time there was Flashback cards so this ability was able to add more effect to the mechanics of the set if the player wished to splash another color that has a good Flashback foundation.

With her second ability of forcing a player to sacrifice a creature placed her in a very strong position. For a time one of the biggest threat before Ms. Liliana entered the foray was the Mirran Crusader. The sac-outlet the she provided alongside cards like Geth’s Verdict made her that much more threatening.

AS far as design is concerned she is powerful all-round. Because her CMC is only three player with Dark Ritual are able to cast her turn one. No other Planeswalker has that luxury (as far as I have seen).  It is in part, in my opinion, because of her CMC that she has flourished as a card in Magic: the Gathering.

But she is not overpowered. Her first ability must be taken into consideration and used carefully, less a player discard the card they need accidentally. The first ability keeps with the spirit of the original card Liliana Vess.

The final ability acts as a nice touch when the opponent must choose what they might loose and how they will lose it. But again Liliana is not overpowered and it is not like she gets to use the -6 frequently (unless you are up against a player who has never faced a Planewalker in battle before).

Also with the design aspect Liliana’s card is not overly provocative. Thanks in part to Steve Argyle who has managed to make many tasteful card art for Magic: the Gathering and has done so for many different sets. Art work itself has such a feel of fantasy that she is almost as believable as she is beautiful.

I consider Liliana one of my mentors in Magic: the Gathering because through her design, she has taught me how I want my decks to run when I play the, against an opponent. Since she has entered the game Liliana has risen from a $40 dollar card to an $80 dollar card and even in certain circles surpassed Jace in price and playability. And just another reason that I will always love the game of Magic: the Gathering.

#MTG land destruction, Worm of the Earth

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One of the few deck archetypes that I rarely see is that of Land Destruction. I wanted to look at a good land destruction card or a card that dealt with altering the play of lands on the battlefield. Therefore the card this time is Worm of the Earth.

Land Destruction Archetypes are interesting because in essence it acts as a third way to do damage to an opponent. Removing their means of playing spells. And one reason that these might not be as frequent because it may be seen as unfair or unbalanced in my opinion.

With Worm of the Earth it does not only affect just your opponent but you as well. Worm of the Earth, (2BBB), “Players can’t play land. Lands can’t enter the battlefield. At the beginning of each upkeep, any player may sacrifice two lands or have Worms of the Earth deal 5 damage to him or her. If a player does either, destroy Worms of the Earth,” puts the battlefield on a lockdown of sorts.

Due to the first two effects that prevent any land from entering the battlefield it makes the players use what is given to them. Not only that for the player casting Worm of the Earth they must first ask themselves, can they win with the land base they have?

Design wise this is an interesting card. With a CMC of 5 it can be considered a late game threat if the player has whittled the opponent into a corner and taking five damage is not optimum. But also because it uses three black mana it can be seen that on turn three a player could use Dark Ritual to get this on the battlefield much sooner.

Compared to other land destruction cards, Earth Rift, Rancid Earth, Molten Rain Worm of the Earth might not be the best choice for a land destruction deck. Rancid Earth and Molten Rain both cost three, and wit Molten Rain it has more benefits to crippling your opponent just by the type alone.

But Worm of the Earth is a permanent, and does force the opponent to make some tough decisions. By this time in the game or even if the opponent has missed a land drop or two this card can be effective. The opponent is forced to choose if they value their life total where ever it may lay at the tie Worm of the earth is cast, or do they accept the fact that they can live without two lands. Not to mention that the fact that the text says two lands is significant. Many of the Land destruction cards, save for the threshold in Rancid Earth, are a onetime use and must be recast to target the second land. Two lands can be the make-or-break factor of any game depending on the play style of a player.

Worm of the Earth is a card, ignoring set, which puts all players on notice, it is designed to where it can be both helpful and hurtful at the same time, or it can be useful or wasteful as well.

A look at Siege Rhino and the Abzan Midrage

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Looking at Top8 Abzan has 107 in the meta making roughly 27% beating out the RDW decks right now. Looking at the decks Siege Rhino is the one and that, to me, stands out as the defector card. Looking at the design and combination of other cards it does leave an impression.

Baleful Stare #MTG 10/26

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There are times in Magic: the Gathering where certain decks can become more of a threat than others. For decks like Mono Red Agro there have to be cards that for the player facing these decks can use to their advantage. In the case of Baleful Stare the entire hand the opponent has can be used against them.

Baleful Stare (2U), “Target opponent reveals his or her hand. You draw a card for each Mountain and red card in it,” looks at how certain cards can be used when you know what kind of deck your opponent has.

When looking at the design of Baleful Stare it has a CMC of 3 (2U) so it can be effective (this is taking into consideration that the player can stall until this turn) and combines two qualities seen in other blue cards. The first is that it allows the player to look that the opponent’s hand. With that trait it allows the player to better calculate how they want the game to progress. By opening the opponents hand to the player it now puts the opponents back a step. They now must assume that the player knows what the will play and are now forced to work around this knowledge.

Through the design of adding a condition to the card, “draw a card for each Mountain and red card in it,” adds a bit more kick. If an opponent is running a red deck the player facing them now has an additional card advantage.

If the player starts the game, the on turn three that player has a good change of drawing more than one card (this is on the assumption that the opponents as not emptied their hand).

This design that Wizards of the Coat and Magic: the Gathering incorporated to this card show the balance that the game revolves around.

And although Baleful Stare may be better suited for the Sideboard, it still utilizes the essence of what Blue players look for when trying to outwit their opponents.

Ana Sanctuary A look at tri colors in #MTG

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A card that has the player run three colors to have an effect trigger. This is not uncommon in Magic: the Gathering. With the emergence of Kahn’s of Tarkir the latest three color set, Magic players have more options when it comes to how colors interact with one another. Ana Sanctuary is just one example of how one card relies on different interactions or in this case different cards.

Ana Sanctuary (2G), “At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control a blue or black permanent, target creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn. If you control a blue permanent and a black permanent, that creature gets +5/+5 until end of turn instead,” is an interesting card. The card must be played with at least one of the colors mentioned in the text. And this give players a variety of ways to build with this card.  Regardless if the creature is blue or black they will get a small bonus for just being there. And the player has a nice opportunity to decide on how they want to use this ability if they have more than one creature on the battlefield. If a player has an Invisible Stalker out, they can do a bit more damage than with just the stalker. If they have a Vampire Nighthawk it give them a bit more to swing or block with and not worry about looking the creature when planning their move.

And if a player wishes to run all three colors, let’s say they run Mindleech Mass, that right there becomes threatening. What started off as a 6/6 creature with Trample and a damage trigger Ana Sanctuary makes it an 11/11 that is almost guaranteed a hit.

The design of Ana Sanctuary does not restrict the player to wait turn after turn until they can play it. A turn three Enchantment that interacts right at the next if you have a creature it can take effect. And it is in green so you have more options when adding this in a deck. You can ramp past it and play it plus another creature. It makes you play black or blue giving you protection with counterspells, and removal black spells.

Adding this card to a BUG (Black Blue Green Deck) build can have be just as flavorful as powerful. While it forces the player to work within the parameters of the card it give the player more of a boost if they play all three colors, even if they have to just slightly add one to get the desired outcome.

Sword to Plowshares discussion 10/24

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A lot of cards that deal with removal of creatures can either be plain or have a slight drawback to make them more balanced. In the case of Sword to Plowshares it is an interesting tradeoff for one of the more popular and powerful cards for white.

Like other cards I discussed, this card is a one drop (W) and has the text of, “exile target creature. Its controller gains life equal to its power.” This has always intrigued me when I first started playing Magic: the Gathering. Allowing an opponent to gain life for your opportunity to exile one of their threats.

And looking at it I thought that this card would not be as sought after as it is. This was until I understood the design of the card itself. First Sword to Plowshares does not limit you to exile just your opponent’s creatures. One option available is you can choose one of your own creatures. This may be seen I you need some last minute life and have enough creatures to support you exiling one of your own. Or if you have a creature that has, “when this creature is put into exile,” ability. The design on not limiting you to just your opponent allows the player to make more calculated options around how they want to handle the second trigger on Sword to Plowshares.

The only other card that come close to equaling the power and flavor of Sword to Plowshares is Path to Exile. Again with Path to Exile (W), “Exile target creature. Its controller may search his or her library for a basic land card, put that card onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle his or her library.” Again it can be seen that this give your opponents something in return for this effect.

The reason Sword to Plowshares is used, from what I’ve been told from players at Collector’s Cache, is in part because of the mentality of some players. When the option to remove an opponent’s Win Condition from the game is presented it is like looking a gift horse in the mouth, they just feel better to Exile that creature than let it stay on the battlefield. The other mentality I’ve head is that when it comes to Sword to Plowshares life really is more preferable that land from Path to Exile. A player can, in theory and practice, find that bringing an opponent down from where they are after Sword to Plowshares is better than giving the opponent an advantage on their land base.

And comparing it to other cards like Ashes to Ashes, which give you two exile triggers but ends up dealing five damage to you the player in return and while it cost three five damage may be too steep in some cases. And with cards like Icy Prison, it may remove a creature from play but only until it is removed by either an opponent’s spell or you not paying the three mana to keep it on the field. Then there are cards similar to Yamabushi’s Flame, ignoring the set it’s from, cards like these that deal damage then remove if the creature goes to the graveyard end up becoming dependent on if the damage is sufficient enough. While combat trick are nice and help, Sword to Plowshares has less restrictions to it. Then there are cards similar to Catapult Master, where it is more costly just to achieve the exile and if the creature dies then you’ve lost that outlets.

These designs like that of Sword to Plowshares give the cards not only value but also variety in formats. And one of the many reasons that Sword to Plowshares has been reprinted in different settings and formats. It shoes that you can never underestimate what a good removal spell can do.

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