Schlagwort-Archiv: white

Fixing Old Cards: Arabian Nights White

(This is a link to the previous installment of this series. Chain clicks to find them all.)

Wow, interest in this series waned abruptly, and once again I notice how much my motivation to blog is tied to getting feedback. (Which I still believe to be the norm among non-commercial bloggers.) Well, I had already started with this entry, so I finished it, but it just might be the last.


Army of Allah

Army of Allah Original

The biggest issue with this card is obviously its name. Aside from that, it would definitely be printable as is, although the restriction to attacking creatures isn’t especially white, and its power level is a bit below what we can expect – the staple card fulfilling this function nowadays is [card]Fortify[/card], after all. I actually consider another card the closest to an update, though, because of the religious connotations of the original, since it is tied closer to the color White:


Guardians' Pledge Original



Camel Original

Neither abilitiy of this card could be saved – banding is just way too complicated. Also, specifically referring to another card by name isn’t something I feel is good game design. (Okay, there is some merit in giving inexperienced players a direction in both limited and casual deckbuilding by pointing them that explicitly towards certain combos, but I still hate this, and it’s not what Camel does anyway.) Oh yes, and with my redesigned Desert that ability would of course be totally meaningless!

So, once again, I had to fall back on the card’s flavor, which is about helping your other creatures to survive harsh conditions. Actually, camels are themselves rather tough beasts, so I reflected that, too.

My design:




Jihad Original

That’s probably the greatest card name ever… on the causing trouble scale, at least. Apart from that, I’m not happy with this card’s mechanical execution. That is a very demanding mana cost here, and it is totally fine if an enchantment with that cost just gives +2/+1 to all of your creatures. Instead, though, there are no less than three disadvantages tacked onto it: The bonus only affects white creatures; it also affects your opponent’s creatures; and most importantly, your opponent (even a specifically chosen opponent in a multiplayer game) must have permanents of a specifically chosen color on the battlefield at all times, or you have to sacrifice your enchantment. That last stipulation alone makes this card essentially unplayable in constructed, but even in limited that is a real issue (in addition to that forbidding mana cost), since you will often attack with a superior force, only to lose your attackers after combat to your opponent’s smaller creatures because those take your stats-boosting enchantment with them if they all die.

I believe that Jihad’s mana cost is already enough of a hoop to jump through, and that it is also doing a fine job of conveying the card’s flavor all by itself in conjunction with its name. Note also that jihad is a religious duty which does not end with the defeat of an enemy (or even requires an enemy, for that matter), but needs to be upheld continuously. So I decided that all that was needed was cleaning this card up, and created a design for those limited environments where its mana cost can be supported at least by some decks.

My design:



King Suleiman

King Suleiman Original

Hating on specific creature tribes is another misguided concept in my opinion. It makes for terrible limited play, and produces fringe sideboard cards for constructed at best. Djinns and especially efreets being rather seldomly used creature types (Khans of Tarkir block notwithstanding) doesn’t make this any better.

The origin of this mechanic is the Islamic interpretation of King Suleiman as the ruler over jinns, and I see no need that this rulership expresses itself in killing them. However, positive interactions face the issue that djinns, efreets and demons are just not white creature tribes in Magic, so I looked for other hooks. Suleiman is generally described as wise, wealthy and powerful, and he is said to control the winds, which gave me more than enough to work with.

My design:

King Suleiman2


Moorish Cavalry

Moorish Cavalry Original

This card feels definitely out of flavor for White with modern sensibilities, but in fact each color is allowed to have trample, although White is probably making the least use of it. Its power level is low, even for limited, but it is still a perfectly usable creature, and if there were specific reasons to put in into a set (for example, tribal synergies with its current creature type, knight), the only thing standing in the way would, once again, be its name. Apart from that, this design is acceptable as is.



Shahrazad Original

So, this card is about playing a game within the game to reflect the concept of a story told within a story. No matter how adorable that design might look, it plays absolutely horrible. So, what to do?

Well, the story of Shahrazad is that of a young woman fated to get executed the next day, but prolonging her life by telling the king who would have her killed stories, which turn out so entertaining that he decides to let her live for just one more day, again and again. Now that is a concept which translates nicely into game terms, I think!

My design:


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Fixing Old Cards: Beta White & Black

(This is a link to the previous installment of this series. Chain clicks to find them all.)


Blaze of Glory

Blaze of Glory Original

Wizards redesigned that card a decade ago in a very clean way:

Valor Made Real

However, I’m not satisfied with that solution. I do not mind that the fringe utility of forcing an opponent’s creature to block has disappeared – that’s not what this design was about, and it didn’t feel especially white either – but I do mind that this card is unplayably weak even in limited. That is easily amended, though:

My design:

Blaze of Glory


Consecrate Land

Consecrate Land Original

Yet another unplayably weak card. Using one card only to protect another is rarely efficient. I doesn’t get better if that other card is already somehow protected by its card type (at least nowadays), and a single card of that type is usually less important than permanents of other types. I suppose it was designed to help a little against [card]Flashfires[/card], and to combo with one’s own [card]Armageddon[/card]…

Well, my misson is to make each card playable in limited – at least in some reasonably frequently encountered situations in some environments – so I have to give Consecrate Land a bit of a different spin, since all realistic applications of its initial function are constructed only (mostly casual constructed). I feel that consecrating a land should not only protect the land itself, but also those living on it; and this flavor translates well into a mechanic, because you now have a permanent actually worth protecting.

My design:

Consecrate Land

(Yes, I am aware that in modern Magic design hexproof has replaced shroud. I consider this an egregious mistake which needs to be fixed, though!)



Lich Original

Here we have another of those bizarre old designs which I believe would be best off ignored. Wizards seem to disagree, however, as they have revisited this concept a few times, for example with [card]Lich’s Tomb[/card] and [card]Nefarious Lich[/card].

There is a lot wrong with this card: Its prohibitive mana cost, its complexity, its weirdness that causes rules issues, and its complete unplayability in normal settings coupled with its potential to be abused (think [card]Nourishing Shoal[/card] and the like). Then there is the idea that you lose the game if that enchantment disappears, which admittedly resonates with the card’s flavor, but makes for terrible gameplay. On top of that, I do not even think it makes too much sense to convey the state of being undead with having zero life in Magic.

I opted for a clean design focussing on playability while preserving an element of risk here, borrowing concepts from existing cards ([card]Crumbling Sanctuary[/card], [card]Platinum Emperion[/card]).

My design:




Sinkhole Original

So, let us talk about land destruction. I agree with Wizards that it should never be a viable main strategy for a deck anymore. However, I still hold that the main issue with land destruction for three mana were the [card]Llanowar Elves[/card] etc. which made it a possible turn two play. (Well, Wizards seem to finally have come around on those at least…) The fixed version of Sinkhole – [card]Rain of Tears[/card] – saw fringe play in all formats at best, while four mana land destruction only sees constructed play if it does a whole lot more than just destroying a land. Still, for a couple of years Wizards kept weakening this kind of card until their designs were utterly unplayable in any format, like [card]Maw of the Mire[/card] and [card]Survey the Wreckage[/card]. They have finally bounced back a little, though, as [card]Reclaiming Vines[/card] and [card]Volcanic Upheaval[/card] from recent expansions show, which offer land destruction for four mana with an upside – a good place for this kind of card to be in, in my opinion.

Philosophically, my stance is that players should not have to fear an attack on their mana base if they do not abuse that security. This means land destruction should not be viable against „normal“ decks with reasonable stable mana supported by a good number of basic lands, but it should be possible to punish greedy mana bases (for example, splashing for a color using only a single land producing it which can be fetched in multiple ways; or excessively using non-basic lands), as well as strategies relying on utility lands, land auras or massive ramp. I believe that three mana land destruction which actually cannot be used before turn three fits that paradigm. Thus, Rain of Tears is fine with me for constructed purposes. I also believe that removal which only can hit non-basic lands should be allowed to be a bit more efficient.

Rain of Tears

Back to fixing Sinkhole: The reason I do not just say „I’m fine with Rain of Tears“ and call it a day is limited. A spell which only destroys a land is simply bad in limited unless a specific environment is warped very heavily towards giving lands value. Take Battle for Zendikar limited as an example: Awaken played a big part here, converge encouraged greedy splashes, and there were a couple strong utility lands at uncommon – and yet, Volcanic Upheaval was still 99% unplayable, and even the much more versatile Reclaiming Vines a rarely used sideboard card. While it is certainly possible to crank up the importance of lands even more (for example, by additionally introducing common manlands and dual lands), I do not think I should design cards specifically for such an outlier format.

In an environment warped too strongly towards lands, there is also the danger that three mana land destruction might suddenly become maindeckable. Usually, trading a spell for an opponent’s land isn’t a great deal in limited as well as in constructed, but it’s closer here, because limited mana bases are more shaky, and spell efficiency isn’t nearly as high as in constructed. A reasonable chance to actually have a big impact in a land-centric environment might push a card like Rain of Tears over the edge, or at least close enough that many players will start to use it, even if that is not correct – and then we have the very issue of those non-fun games which are about possibly colorscrewing decks with perfectly reasonable mana bases.

This is why three mana land destruction which can hit basic lands wasn’t on the table for me, meaning I actually had to find a new design. Going with the flavor of the card name, my thoughts immediately went towards a concept which has already found a home in Red ([card]Fissure[/card]), and a bit later even spawned a variant in Black ([card]Befoul[/card]). I can accept Befoul as is, although I feel it should lose the „non-black“ restriction, but I decided to instead try a concept that Black does not share with Red, and that plays less as „creature removal with a land destruction option attached“ and more like „land destruction you might actually want to use in land-centric environments“.

My design:



Word of Command

Word of Command Original

While you could argue that designs like [card]Psychic Theft[/card] or [card]Psychic Intrusion[/card] are closer mechanically to this nearly illegible abomination, in my opinion its vibe is best captured by Worst Fears, which I accept as a fixed version, although I would have preferred to cost it at 4BBB (and I do not use mythic rarity on principle). It may look quite different, but it is actually pretty exactly where I was going with my redesign before I remembered that such a card already exists.

Worst Fears

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My Limited Card Pool: Multicolor with White

This is the 13th entry in a series where I comment on and explain my choices for my limited card pool in detail. Here are my previous entries:

Lands & Artifact Creatures

Non-Creature Artifacts

White Lands & Creatures

White Non-Creature Spells

Black Lands & Creatures

Black Non-Creature Spells

Green Lands & Creatures

Green Non-Creature Spells

Blue Lands & Creatures

Blue Non-Creature Spells

Red Lands & Creatures

Red Non-Creature Spells

In this entry I listed a number of guidelines I follow when deciding which cards I want in my cubes.

Here’s a PDF you can open in a new window to look at the part of my list I’m taking about while reading:

Multicolor with White

And here’s a link to an explanation of the shortcuts I use in that list, if you need it.

My multicolor cards are structured extremely symmetrically, because color combinations are a theme which needs to be balanced out carefully. There is one odd card here: [card]Femeref Enchantress[/card]. She doesn’t belong to any of the cycles and groups which all color combinations share, but is instead a dedicated support card for an enchantment theme. Since this happens to manifest in White and Green only (and you probably want both colors, if possible), she’s a perfect fit. The reason she is in such a solitary position is simply that there is no other theme requiring and offering that kind of additional support.

Disregarding that exception, each guild has 27 cards in my pool. I’ll use Orzhov as an example to break them down:

[card]Isolated Chapel[/card], [card]Marsh Flats[/card] and [card]Orzhov Signet[/card] make up my guild-affiliated color fixers of choice (which are, of course, common). I do not want any non-basics with basic land types in my pool, and those duals are too strong anyway, making decks with three or more colors too easy to come by. Of course, if a cube is meant to support 3-color-decks, my manafixing is absolutely sufficient, but you better have a clear idea in which colors you want to end up instead of just wildly grabbing duals and seeing where this leads you. There are two more cycles of manafixers which would also work for me, the ones represented by [card]Fetid Heath[/card] and [card]Caves of Koilos[/card], but I do not need more of those cards anymore.

While hybrid cards will usually also be present in a multicolor-themed cube, they are even a bit more important supporting cubes which encourage (nearly) monocolored decks, increasing options for players of two colors at the same time, and thus helping to make the math work out. (Colorless cards are another big help here.) There is a common hybrid creature requiring only one colored mana ([card]Mourning Thrull[/card]), a common instant or sorcery requiring only one colored mana ([card]Cauldron Haze[/card]), and a third common without fast rules to supply the needed density ([card]Harvest Gwyllion[/card]). Then, there is an uncommon requring two colored mana ([card]Gift of Orzhova[/card]), and offering a bit more power. Lastly, I use the complete cycle of hybrid auras from Shadowmoor and Eventide – [card]Edge of the Divinity[/card] in this case – as uncommons, but although these are technically hybrid spells, they are obviously intended to be used as dualcolored cards.

Two more common cards are not strictly dualcolored, but obviously not too useful otherwise: [card]Mournful Zombie[/card] and [card]Scholar of Athreos[/card]. One is a black card needing white support to be decent, the second the other way around. Each of those cards only needs one colored mana to be cast. As for the support color, I made sure it works in a variety of ways: Sometimes the card asks if color of that mana was spend to cast it, sometimes there’s a kicker cost requiring that color of mana, and sometimes an activation cost. Sometimes the card looks for another permanant of that color, and sometimes for a basic land with the corresponding type.

For a while, I also used split cards (later the newer fuse cards), and cards with off-color flashback here. I gave up on that because of wildly varying power levels, and because the flashback cards always had players look out for self-milling effects even if a cube didn’t have a graveyard theme. Lately, I realized that even without those mechanics I still had more cross-color cards than I needed, so I’m probably not going back. Enough excellent new split-card designs in all color combinations might sway me, but this is really unlikely to happen anytime soon.

That leaves 17 „real“ 2-colored cards: 8 commons, 7 uncommons and two rares. (In Orzhov, these feature a minor theme of extort. Naturally, I can also use those cards to enhance a cube without a pronounced multicolor theme, but with an extort theme.) Not all my choices are perfect yet, especially in the enemy colored pairs, which have less support overall. Here, [card]Putrid Warrior[/card] is a bit close to [card]Tithe Drinker[/card], [card]Sin Collector[/card] feels a bit specialized, [card]Alms Beast[/card] isn’t an especially elegant design, [card]Agent of Masks[/card] feels like a misdesigned extort card, and [card]Maw of the Obzedat[/card] encourages alpha strikes a bit too much. These are rather minor complaints, but after so many years, I wish there was a better selection available.

I’m back to [card]Pillory of the Sleepless[/card] over [card]One Thousand Lashes[/card], since the latter is too close to [card]Faith’s Fetters[/card], while there is no card too similar to Pillory anymore in my pool.

I neither like convoke nor populate, but Selesnya still shows traces of a token theme in [card]Selesnya Evangel[/card], [card]Pollenbright Wings[/card] and [card]Seed Spark[/card].

Azorius features a bit detain with [card]Lyev Skyknight[/card] and [card]Archon of the Triumvirate[/card]. Its selection of non-creatures is overall a bit weak – mostly, because it does not offer decent removal. [card]Shield of the Righteous[/card] and [card]Demonspine Whip[/card] in Rakdos are a bit an experiment, but they should work out.

Boros offers the combination of White and Red another battalion creature in [card]Wojek Halberdiers[/card]. It has the most 2-drop creatures of all guilds in my pool, because WotC seems to concentrate most of its cool designs here.

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My Limited Card Pool: White Non-Creature Spells

This is the fourth entry in a series where I comment on and explain my choices for my limited card pool in detail. (Here’s the first, here the second, and here the third.)

In this entry I listed a number of guidelines I follow when deciding which cards I want in my cubes.

Here’s a PDF you can open in a new window to look at the part of my list I’m taking about while reading:

White Non-Creature Spells

And here’s a link to an explanation of the shortcuts I use in that list, if you need it.

[card]Eland Umbra[/card] is just more special than [card]Hyena Umbra[/card], being one of very few auras boosting toughness, but not power, and still being playable. ([card]Chosen by Heliod[/card] is another.) I use Umbras only in White and Blue, a common and an uncommon in each color, because the green Umbras do not convince me. I like these cards simple and elegant, with the ability to save the creature from destruction being an important feature. Drawing cards or untapping lands distracts too much from that – if I want that effect, I use an aura which focusses on it, like [card]Keen Sense[/card]. The more generic green choices do not play well or are too powerful.

I’d love to simply mirror [card]Bad Moon[/card], but [card]Crusade[/card] is a little worse, and [card]Honor of the Pure[/card] a little better. So, having to choose, I give the stronger pump spell to White, which tends to be a lot friendlier to creatures than Black overall.

Selecting enchantments which are strong enough to matter, but not too strong if an opponent can not remove them is tricky, but especially important, since only White and Green are really well suited to deal with enchantments, and Red and Black have practically no way. Auras, obviously, can be dealt with indirectly, but global enchantments can not. One of those which makes sense to me as a high-end play is [card]Martyr’s Bond[/card]. It obviously has a large impact, but is not an auto-win, and there might be ways to play around it.

Auras which aren’t very cheap need to be powerful to offset their inherent disadvantage, but still should not win a game too fast on their own. That’s why I got rid of [card]Armored Ascension[/card], which is somehow acceptable in a two-color deck (but less interesting and balanced than [card]Serra’s Embrace[/card]) – in a monocolored deck, however, it will often kill an opponent in two swings out of nowhere. Since the whole point of such a card is to reward a player for being as monocolored as possible, it makes no sense to keep it around for other environments.

Buyback has been cited by WotC as causing repetitive play issues, but is essentially a variant of a permanent with an activated ability which sits in a player’s hand. That makes it harder to interact with, but certainly not more repetitive. I have one or two buyback spells in each color, because they are both useful as normal, cheap spells, or mana sinks in the lategame, and are thus excellent fits for some environments (they go very nicely with landfall, for example).

I already explained in my former entry how cantrips and cards with cycling help to thin out decks and fill the graveyard. Instants and sorceries with these mechanics can also serve to increase the ratio of these card types in decks while providing compensation for a lower creature count – there’s always some tension here with an instery theme, and these cards help to alleviate it.

While reliable removal is important in a cube, I cut the most efficient versions from my pool (among more general reasons, to help auras a little), especially outside of Black, which is supposed to be the strongest in that aspect to compensate for its deficiencies in others. So, no [card]Swords to Plowshares[/card], [card]Path to Exile[/card], [card]Lightning Bolt[/card] or [card]Flame Slash[/card]. White, however, still has a lot of conditional (like [card]Condemn[/card]) or undoable (like [card]Journey to Nowhere[/card]) removal.

Flashback is another mechanic supporting a graveyard theme. Since there are several of those, I do not need high numbers in each.

There are roughly a million [card]Wrath of God[/card] variants, but the original is still the best – I do not at all like the idea that regenerating should save a creature from the ultimate creature removal spell, and four mana is fine in limited, since breaking that card’s symmetry needs a lot more work here than in constructed. [card]Planar Cleansing[/card] is a good companion/alternative, sitting in a clearly distinct mana slot, and having a clearly broader effect (although, unfortunately, it allows for regeneration).

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My Limited Card Pool: White Lands and Creatures

This is the second entry in a series where I comment on and explain my choices for my limited card pool in detail. (Here’s the first, and here’s the second.)

In this entry I listed a number of guidelines I follow when deciding which cards I want in my cubes.

Here’s a PDF you can open in a new window to look at the part of my list I’m taking about while reading:

White Lands & Creatures

And here’s a link to an explanation of the shortcuts I use in that list, if you need it.

This entry might be especially long, since I’ll say something about many cycles spanning several colors.

About the lands:

[card]Daru Encampment[/card] is part of a small cycle of tribal supporting lands I use. They’re especially useful because they’re of little interest to drafters not going for that theme, but also not worthless if that theme fails to manifest fully. A general note about tribal: Each tribe has 6 supporting commons and 3 supporting uncommons/rares, so that the average number of these cards showing up in the draft pool of a typical cube is five (6* 2/3 + 3* 1/3). (I treat red and black goblins as different tribes, so that I can use them either separately or together.)

[card]Kjeldoran Outpost[/card] is a nice card for a land theme, but it is also the closest thing I found for a generic token producer.

The cycle featuring [card]Secluded Steppe[/card] fulfills several roles: For one thing, they are a great option for advanced drafters to subtly improve their deck by taking a land which gives them a little flood protection instead of a redundant spell. They also lend some support to a threshold theme, as well as to cards like [card]Cartographer[/card] or [card]Grim Discovery[/card]. Then there’s the effect of thinning one’s deck (of course, you need a couple more cycling cards and/or cheap cantrips for it to become noticeable), which might become important in a cube where you want to give drafters a little extra help to find synergy cards.

[card]Vivid Meadow[/card] and its ilk are a cycle of mana fixers intended for environments encouraging players to draft mostly monocolored decks (but with the option for a few splashes), in contrast to mana fixers for „normal“ environments, where two-colored decks are the norm; or for pronouncedly multicolored environments.

About the creatures:

Exalted is just a mini theme now, centered in White, with one card each in the other colors except Red, where there isn’t one, and [card]Cathedral of War[/card]. There’s still room for another card in White, but only if the design convinces me completely.

The amount and rarity distribution, as well as the nature of support cards for an artifact theme differs from color to color. After Blue, White is supposed to lend itself the best towards a heavily artifact themed deck.

White and Green are the only colors which are able to support an enchantment theme. (White playing well with – and also against – both artifacts and enchantments might be one reason the amount of White cards in my pool is slightly higher.) Blue offers some aura-themed stuff, but as I already mentioned, that doesn’t really play that well. I still hope that Theros block will offer something usable in Blue, Red and Black (other than enchantments themselves, which are already plenty). Actually, even the selection in White and Green isn’t THAT great so far, but enough to work with (barely).

I’m not too happy with [card]Favored Hoplite[/card] as the white representative of heroic (a bit too explosive and too hard to kill), but was even less happy with [card]Wingsteed Rider[/card], which was the only double-colored card in the cycle, and also the only one which was both decent without ever triggering and impressive when triggering a few times (and thus overpowered overall). Here, the next two sets will likely present a better option, though.

I use [card]Soul’s Attendant[/card] over [card]Soul Warden[/card], because that trigger is forgotten so often, and in casual, neither having to always remind your opponent, nor NOT having to remind him of a mandatory trigger seems a good solution (one is incredibly annoying, one feels too much like rules-lawyering).

Landfall is another smaller theme, and I took care to somehow balance it out, so that it is not nearly completely about aggression, as it was in Zendikar, but in White, the only acceptable candidates clearly tend towards offense.

I decided to make all double-colored creatures for two or three mana at least uncommon: not all of them – like [card]Chapel Geist[/card] – really feel uncommon, but most do, and I needed more uncommons overall (because most designs I really like are printed as commons). Bumping all color-intensive creatures up to uncommon is another piece of the puzzle of making sure beginning players will end up with an at least playable deck.

Let me talk about [card]Leonin Skyhunter[/card] as a prime example of an absolutely perfect design which still did not make the cut anymore: [card]Mistral Charger[/card] isn’t any less perfect, but more important, and Skyhunter is too similar to it. The Charger and [card]Spectral Rider[/card] together cover all of the spectrum where the Skyhunter fits in.

Soulbond is another of those mini themes which simply does not need large numbers. It is also, like exalted, one of those themes which manifests in 4 colors, which is terribly unaesthetic. I used to avoid that on principle, but came around when I realized that this forced me to leave out too many interesting cards. By the way, I really don’t think it would be too hard to find a flavor for a black soulbond card, but this is unlikely to ever happen.

While I like shadow, I reduced that theme continually until it only featured three uncommons each in White, Black and Blue, which is enough because shadow works better on just a couple of cards instead of constituting an omnipresent theme. Since [card]Soltari Foot Soldier[/card] really only makes sense as a common, I replaced it with [card]Lantern Kami[/card].

[card]Wall of Essence[/card] showcases that I do not reject creatures with defender in general, but want to make sure that they play a very specific role. The generic defenders are colorless, to be useful to any drafters who find themselves wanting such a card, but I chose the colored ones to be high profile (and thus uncommon or even rare).

Another theme, which is the strongest in White and Black (and thus maybe also responsible for those two colors featuring the most cards in my cube), is color matters. Since I do not use hate cards, this means all those cards only refer to their own color, which makes them generically useful, but especially interesting in mulicolor environments, and especially powerful in (near) monocolor environments, where they serve to draw players into such a strategy in the first place.

[card]Azorius Justiciar[/card] is the sole white representative with detain. As much as I love [card]Azorius Arrester[/card] (which was, for reasons I still do not fully understand, one of the most undervalued cards in Return to Ravnica draft): Between the Justiciar, [card]Niblis of the Urn[/card] and Red’s [card]Goblin Shortcutter[/card], there is just not enough space in the crunch for the Arrester. White has access to a rather large part of the color pie, and I had to fight hard against myself not to include each interesting design in my pool, leaving too little room for the other colors. The Shortcutter is an excellent limited card on its own, so White shouldn’t one-up (more like two-up, actually) it.

I had to be careful with my selection of threshold cards. I do not use graveyard hate anymore (not the least because there is no good way to do that), and thus have to make sure I avoid cards which take over a game too easily, like [card]Nomad Decoy[/card] or [card]Cabal Torturer[/card]. I wonder if WotC will ever revisit threshold and improve the selection available to me…

A word about [card]Indomitable Ancients[/card]: This is what a dedicated high-toughness aggro stopper should look like! So, if you feel you would miss one of those horrible [card]Siege Mastodon[/card] / [card]Thraben Purebloods[/card] / [card]Silent Artisan[/card] type creatures, which WotC seems to be so fond of, in a cube: Here’s for you.

[card]Knight of Obligation[/card] is a common for frequency reasons. Extort is a theme which should show up often enough that it makes sense for players to tune their deck with it in mind sometimes.

[card]Loxodon Partisan[/card] wasn’t my first choice for the white battle cry creature, but [card]Accorder Paladin[/card] was too similar (and in my opinion, inferior) to [card]Daring Skyjek[/card], which is very likely to show up in the same cube. It also has the same mana cost as [card]Goblin Wardriver[/card], so I decided to mix things up a bit. I ended up happier with the card after thinking a bit about it than I had expected at first, because White now has a somehow generic 5-mana creature, which is both useful on defense and offense, and not nearly as boring as WotC’s standard 3/5 for 5 mana.

[card]Luminous Angel[/card] is a bit weak for my taste in the 7-mana slot – it really should be 5/5 – but it will do until a better design comes around. (Job description: A bit stronger, but not too strong; generically useful; and not too similar too other, more important cards in my card pool.)

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