Thursday, April 27, 2017

"Approach of the Second Sun: The Hour is Upon Us."

"Approach of the Second Sun: The Hour is Upon Us."
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.MD

Approach of the Second sun has been intriguing me since it was first spoiled. I have thought of the many ways that I could abuse it and one of them is to include it in my Tron Deck for another Alternate win condition. I wonder it would fit in nicely though since the whole point of the Tron deck is to control the battlefield and not allow anything except those that I want to live to remain. Hmmmm. 

It is too bad that Cloudpost has been banned in modern because it could have been another shell that this would go into. I find myself looking at Geeen as the possible means to catch it such as Cryptolith Rites deck or just really good ramp decks that have a splash of white. Selesnyan decks would also find a good place for this alternate win condition. 

The 7 mana cost sorcery requires you to cast it from your hand and if you have cast another sorcery with the same name this turn you win the game. Otherwise you will get a second chance of casting this potential game winning spell because you will gain 7 life and put it in your library 7 cards deep. So in exactly 7 draws you will have a chance to draw it again. Hmmm interesting.

Nicol Bolas and his horns are feature prominently in the art of this card and it makes me wonder what would happen story wise should the 2nd Sun approach and connect with the other sun. 

I am still searching for a solid way to abuse this but I am intrigued by it's possibilities.

"Gideon Martial Paragon: The Third Gideon"

"Gideon Martial Paragon: The Third Gideon"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.MD

With all this talk about Gideon Tribal being viable in standard and the much talked about two other Gideons hogging the spotlight I wanted to check out the third version who will complete the Gideon Triad. Gideon Martial Paragon.

There was a lot of talk that the Planeswalkers in these duel decks were actually made to be watered down versions of the other standard Legal versions but with the emergence of Gideon of the Trials  , Martial Paragon is sure to have some collectors on it's heels.

Martial Paragon has the biggest casting cost of all the existing Gideon , much like the original Gideon Jura who was similarly priced at 3 colorless mana and 2 plains. If I am mentioning Gideon , believe me I am as sick as you are at reading his name. It makes me want to do a Crisis on Infinite planes just so that other copies of him will be erased.

Now let us look at the Martial Paragons ability and what sets him apart from his other brothers. The +2 allows you to untap creatures you control and give them +1/+1 counters until end of turn. Hmmmmm. So what do we need to untap at this point? Exerted creatures that is what. I can see this pairing up with an Exerted Combat Celebrant so that the Human Warrior can also be untapped giving your armies another chance to attack and finish off your opponents. A wave of 3 successive attacks seems like a little excessive but just of the Martial Paragons strong points here. Oh and don't forget your creatures also have that added +1/+1. If you have enough mana you can even Blink Martial Paragon with a Felidar Sovereign and untap and enforce everyone for a 4th wave of attack. Overkill as my friend June Bryan once said. You just need to have Boros colors though.

Don't have anyone you can attack with? Martial Paragon is still the mighty 5/5 Soldier who cant take damage and is beyond the reach of a Dismember or Throttle. And for 0 cost activation too. Ever wondered how it felt like to have an indestructible planeswalker fight for you?Then wonder no more.

For the Martial Paragons Ultimate ability which is a -10. Creatures you control get a mass +2/+2 boost each and to make matters worse for all your opponents you get to tap all of their creatures regardless if they have hexproof of protection from anything since this is a non tar getting ability. Talk about a huge imbalance. You get to attack while even the biggest creatures are just lying on their sides absolutely helpless to defend against your march.

For a watered down card this final ability is something that most players actually want because it is all upside to whoever controls Martial Paragon and all downside to those on the receiving end of all those boosted creatures.

So there we go. Martial Paragon wasn't all that bad of a card now that I have analyzed him at length. I might just buy this planeswalker duel deck just because of him.And probably because I have an existing Mardu Superfriends deck that has a slot open for him

So what do you think of the Martial Paragon? Would you play him and if so what build would you want to put him in.Thanks for reading. Keep on Brewing.

"Liliana Deaths Majesty: Reanimation is a thing again"

"Liliana Deaths Majesty: Reanimation is a thing again"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. MD

Now that she is on the plane of Amonkhet seeking out the third demon whom she wants to break her contract with it seems that Liliana is once again making zombies among other things.

Liliana Deaths majesty is a mythic planeswalker for 5 mana and a starting loyalty counter of 5 as well. She once again makes a case for reanimation in a plane that is just teeming with zombies and somewhere where life and death seem like a natural progression that she fits in so easily. So let us look at all the necromantic goodness that our dear Lili has for us this time around.

Her first ability a +1 and lets you create a 2/2 Zombie creature token. You then put the top two cards for your library into your graveyard. You hope that you get something substantial in your graveyard like a good Golgari would wish for. Thank of it as a Library fuel for her second ability. 

The second ability is a -3 that lets you put a creature from your graveyard to the battlefield  , that creature is a black zombie creature in addition to it's other types. Can somebody say Eldrazi Zombie? because that is the first that comes mind right about now. Or how about Zombie Construct? Verdurous , Noxious or even Torrential Gearhulk seems like a very good target don't you think? And if you are playing in those combination of colors why not?

Now that you have managed to put zombies and more zombies on the battlefield with Liliana what else can you do to tip the odds in your favor. Why by destroying your opponents army with Liliana's ultimate ability. A -7 that let's you wipe the board of non-zombies. Hold on to that little celebration dance though.Of course there might be a little draw back here since Amonkhet is the same plane that makes embalmed zombies roam on it like it was as common as sand. 

If you also run into a mirror match with anybody using zombies heavily then you would be out of luck using this ability.

Of course this will not stop me with playing with Liliana if I do get her in my PR kit. I mean who would not want to make zombie gods and zombie gigantic wurms. Despite the looming drawback with the final ability I am still on board because this is a repeatable zombify for 5 mana.  

Time to check out the full spoiler and brew just a little bit more.

"Liliana Deathwielder: Ang Pricey mo Vess!"

"Liliana Deathwielder: Ang Pricey mo Vess!"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.MD

Liliana Deathwielder is the 7 mana version of Liliana Vess in this present plane. She is looking mighty fine now that her tattoos have faded into(I assume) the parts that are covered with that purple dress of hers. Why she wants to wear something that hot in a scorching plane like Amonkhet baffles me but then again she maybe cooler than I suspect her to be. 

Now that we have move past the daunting 7 mana that makes this card relegated to a dedicated Necromantic EDH somewhere , preferably Black Green or Blue Black so she is sure to fill up  your graveyard or your opponents.

This Liliana fills the graveyard differently than the normal the original Vess or Of the Veil that forces players to discard cards. Deathwielder's first ability is a +2 that puts a -1/-1 counter on up to one target creature. This means that a you have a mana dork killer on your hands but on the turn that you are able to cast her would it really matter if they have already used their mana dork several times? At least you can still kill something is what I say.

Her second ability allows you to take something more substantial. Let us say you po a -1/-1 counter on a 13/13 Korasan Cloudscraper. Of course it would not die. It is probably just annoyed that you now made it into a 12/12. Deathwielders -3 ability allows you to kill it no questions asked. The -1/-1 counter doesn't even need to come from you. I can feel a great synergy with Wither here. Coincidentally the same plane that Liliana and all the other planeswalkers started appearing on. The plane of Lorwyn. Oh and there are a lot of those creatures giving off -1/-1 counters in Amonkhet as well like the Archfiend of Ifnir that dishes them out like assists on your opponents creatures so that they can die when you cycle a card. Assist to death. Yeah. All the more to fill the graveyards. And speaking of graveyards.

Deathwielder's ultimate ability allows you return all of the creatures on your graveyard to the battlefield. While his feels ability feels really watered down since you cannot abuse all of the other graveyards that is right in front of you in EDH games it is still a good redundancy card albeit less better than Liliana Vess who has tons of talent. I guess this is what happens when she doesn't really choose to use the Chain Veil. 

In a world where you can cycle your creatures , kill you creatures , dump your creatures in your graveyard Deathwielder will fit right in and her necromantic gift though very slow in coming to you end(About 7 mana cost slow) might still save the day for you. 

Give Deathwielder a chance. She just might surprise you.

"Nissa , Steward of Elements: Simic XXXXXcitement!"

"Nissa , Steward of Elements: Simic XXXXXcitement!"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.MD

At long last a new Simic planeswalker! And she comes in with a lot of X as well! Welcome....Nissa?How in the world did Nissa get imbued with Blue mana? Does any one else find it weird that Nissa who actually dabbled in black mana first didnt get a Golgari colored version first? Well I guess it was just me.

Now on to the new Nissa who is the first planeswalker who has an X cost on her , Like a Hydra , Like Endless One. Like something I can add into a Simic Tiny Leaders deck some day. This card is so playable in standard that it hurts. So I guess the ideal time to cast it is if you have enough mana to abuse the top of you mana carve. Let us say that highest cost in your deck is 3 mana , you ought to cast it paying 3 for the X and Simic Mana. She now comes in with 3 starting Loyalty counters.

Now looking at her 2nd ability first which cost 0. You can look at the top card of you Library if it is a Land or a creature with converted mana cost less or equal to the number of counters on Nissa you get to put it on the battlefield. For free! So 3 mana cost creatures and below are free for you now per activation. Now imagine if you have infinite mana and in a Simic EDH deck that is not impossible(Deadeye Navigator + Palinchron anyone?) You can put at least 20 mana on the X cost and you almost get a creature card or land free all the time.

So now the biggest task is to make sure that you have cards that you can cast for free that are equal or less than Nissa's  counters. And this is where her first ability which is a +2 helps immensely. You can Scry for 2 and if you think what you see is not what you need then put it in the bottom of your library. On the other hand if you like what you see try and not act too happy about it so you can still bluff your EDH opponents.

At this point Nissa and her last ability are just a bit redundant but it is still an ability that can help you close out games. It is a -6 that lets you target 2 lands , awaken them to become Elementals, give them haste and flying until end of turn. Wow. You summon 2 creatures with a combined 10 points of damage! Unopposed it would only take two turns to finish an opponent. 

Well I think I have covered all of the planeswalkers in Amonkhet for now. Nissa is the one the makes me all excited here. So what do you think of the new Nissa? Should she have gotten a Golgari colored card instead given that the plane of Amonkhet is so connected with death? Thanks for reading. Keep on brewing.

"Who is the best Red God?"

"Who is the best Red God?"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. MD

The title is one of the questions asked during the start of Amonkhet spoiler season where Hazoret the pervert...err Fervent was compared to good Ol Purphoros , God of the Forge.

I was still gathering my thoughts and reeling from other things so I was not able to answer at that time but here is my 2 cents worth on the Bestest Red God Ever. It is Rhollor!
Kidding aside. Let us see what each god can do first.

We all know Purphorus , we paired him with that kid who kept on making Elemental creatures when you burn someone. He was the high end of mana curves in many Red decks because he was sure 2 damage when a creature lands on the battlefield. He doesn't even need to manifest in physical form. 

His 2R ability to give a +1/0 to each creature you control could just be the final push to finish off an opponent in the Red.

So let us now check out the new comer Hazoret the Fervent. His is similarly costed as old Purphy but he seems to serve a different purpose. 

He is indestructible and has haste because he is the intended finisher on the mana curve of some mono red decks that might be hitting standard soon. I can see him in some Red burner deck where you just point and shoot at someone and then when you have no other spells to burn with you just unleash Hazoret on the battlefield for 5/4 damage. 

His discard effects of 2R lets you deal 2 damage to each opponent but it does not work well with the Vampires of Innistrad who also requre you to pay mana to cast them for their madness cost. On the downside too is that Hazoret also succumbs to Dismember where Ol Purphy just becomes 2/1 and is begging for you to fire another Dismember at him. At which point he laughs at the idea that you just gave 8 life points to phyrexian mana if you are not playing black.

In the EDH setting Purphoros has many proven combinations especially with token creators like Prossh or Avenger of Zendikar. So he scores as the better Red God here too.

Of course I have often criticized a card and died to it in tournaments so I would rather say that Hazoret needs a little more research but he does appear a little weaker than the older Theros god.

So to be safe the best Red God is still Rhollor. And I wonder what kind of card he would have should he be ever shifted into Magic form.

"Pauper Kings: Black Metal Monster"

"Pauper Kings: Black Metal Monster"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.MD

And for my final Pauper deck using the Metal core that I was using in developing my Dimir Metal Standard deck. Here is the Black Metal Monster that features the Improvise Creature Fen Hauler. 

With the amount of artifacts it is reasonable to just ignore all those colorless mana requirements on the giant Insect and just cast it for 1 Black mana. The ideal play would be the following:

Turn 1 : Play 1st Swamp + Universal Solvent = 1 artifact
Turn 2 : Play 2nd Swamp + Play Cogworker's Puzzleknot = 3 Artifacts
Turn 3:  Play 3rd Swamp + Play Foundry Assembly(With Improvise)  or another Cogworker's Puzzleknot and Universal Solvent
Turn 4: Play  4th Swamp + Fen Hauler and still have mana available for Removal Spells.

I know I know it is not as explosive as I would have believed myself but you can also just take it slow for a bit and hold on to the Fen Hauler and deal with your opponents creatures first. Dhund Operative can be your early creature and is 3/2 Beater if you have played an artifact on your first turn. Even if you have not played an artifact when it comes in.  You could always make it bigger by plopping down one or two on your next turn.

There are 10 removal spells in this card and even if Tidy Conclusion is a bit on the heavy mana side it more than makes up for it because of the Life gain it will give you for having all those artifacts littering your battlefield.Universal Solvent is also a late removal if it is done helping you get bigger and bigger creatures out. 

This is a mid-late aggro beast.Let the Dhund Operative , Foundry Assembler and Fen Hauler do what they were made for. Smash. Here is the Black Metal Monster list below.

22 x Swamps

4 x Foundry Assembler
4 x Dhund Operative
4 x Fen Hauler
12 Creatures

2 x Tidy Conclusion
4 x  Dead weight
4 x Murderous Compulsion
12 Spells

4 x Cogworker's Puzzleknot
4 x Metalspinner's Puzzleknot
4 x Prophetic Prism
2 x Universal Solvent
14 Artifacts