Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Magic 2014 is Even Slower Than I Thought

A common 4/4 for four mana may look like a real hitter but all it takes is a 2/2 and a 2/3 to shut it down.  Accursed Spirit feels like it should be ending games once it comes down but Sliver Construct is seeing a lot of play.

Good slivers draws and Ronson Red aside, this format is very slow.

So does that change my analysis of certain cards in the set?  If we are willing to consider the impact of a card by turn nine, or even turn twelve instead of turn six, how much better would Strionic Resonator, Angelic Accord and Dismiss into Dream get?

Angelic Accord still has the problem that you have to get the cards to play with it.  As I noted in my original analysis, part of the problem is getting an Accord and a Cauldron into your deck in the first place, especially if other people think the card is playable.  Even if we extend the game to turn twelve, having only one accord and one cauldron would mean only a 17% chance that the combo gets assembled, but things get a lot better when you add a few more cards.  Put in two copies of Mark of the Vampire and now you have a 35% chance of getting an angel out of the deal - assuming your opponent doesn't have a Disperse ready when you go for it.

Of course things are much better than that because most of the time that you don't get to activate accord it is because you didn't draw accord at all.  As long as you can make cauldron and mark good cards in your deck without the accord, the payoff for playing accord is very high.  I still wouldn't be picking it first over a strong common, but if games are going longer then my estimate of it rises a bit - ironically making it harder to play.

Dismiss into Dream is a big winner from long games.  I have now witnessed five games won with dismiss, though I have also seen eight games lost by decks with dismiss and Zephyr Charge in them, three of which featured Dismiss in play during the loss and in one even topdecking a Zephyr Charge would not have been enough to save the dismiss player.  Two of the wins were about as close as you can come to losses despite having assembled the combo.

No matter how longer games affect the odds, the idea of sleeving up a seven drop that has little effect unless you have a two drop that has little effect unless you have the seven drop just doesn't seem like a winning formula to me.  On the other hand, in longer games the potential to bring dismiss in against equipment, auras and pump seems a little more realistic.

Resonator loves a long game, and your ability to use it goes up and up.  I would be significantly quicker on the trigger with the resonator, reducing the number of good resonator effects I feel I need to six or even five.

I don't think that Door of Destinies gets much help from longer games.  If you have the sliver deck then door is probably even better for you, but if you don't then it doesn't improve much.  If you are playing four copies of a few different creature types and plan on dooring whichever you have two of, the percentages for door don't go up that much, and because you have to make the decision on door early in the game, you have a very good chance at simply guessing wrong.

Another interesting note is that because the format is slower, Diabolic Tutor is much better than it would otherwise be.  A tutor to complement your combo approximately doubles your chances of drawing it.

And then there's a card I never examined that I'd like to give an honourable mention to.  I could easily have written, "Can You Draft Sanguine Bond?" but it was going to come out too much like the Angelic Accord article.  I've seen Sanguine Bond in play a couple of times now, and it is no joke.  The long games make it downright terrifying when combined with a cauldron.

I really like Magic 2014 as a set and I've seen lots of great games play out in it.  To me it has far more play and interest than Magic 2013 which was far too much about hitting a curve with overpowered low drops.  I'm glad to see some of these more esoteric cards outperform my expectations, because for me, Magic is much more a game of Anglic Accords and Strionic Resonators than it is a game of Flinthoof Boars and Crimson Muckwaders.  If I wanted to just push all my guys into the middle and see who wins I could play chess.

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