Magic the Gathering stuff, so the usual disclaimer applies. If you only know the words “magic” “the” and “gathering” independently, chances are this is so far away from your alley, that reading it would be akin to an alley oops.
Speaking of basketball, how great was that LeBron block, eh? Swift bastard. He trying to steal Usain Bolt’s sport now too?
Oh right, nerd stuff.
Previews for Eldritch Moon, the latest MtG set started today. I don’t think I’m alone here, but I’m of the opinion that they knocked Shadows Over Innistrad out of the park. A fantastic gothic horror setting with mechanics based around unravelling sanity, solving mysteries and sinister transformations plaguing the plane of Innistrad. The art was gruesome and detailed, evocative and engrossing. The limited format was a blast to play, with a spate of interesting and deep archetypes. I don’t know if standard has fully embraced the set yet (given the hangover of Magic Origins and Dragons of Tarkir both being so dominant), but it’ll happen and I’ve got no doubt that it’s gonna be a fun standard environment.
In a thematic representation of reality following fiction, Eldritch Moon has been shrouded in mystery. Who’s the big bad? Does Nahiri have to be such a dick about everything? Why is everything going insane and stabbing everything else? When are we getting our fucking RG werewolf commander? Will there ever be a playable Tibalt card? MYSTERIES EVERYWHERE UP IN THIS BITCH! Has it really been that mysterious though? Since the set name of Shadow Over Innistrad was released back in November, the online community called it that Emrakul would return. It made too much sense. Her absense from Zendikar, the Lovecraftian imagery. Then Shadows Over Innistrad arrived and she was nowhere to be seen. Typical horror set up. Form your characters and plot, but leave the sight of the monster until it has something tangible to come in and fuck up. People started questioning themselves. Was Emrakul way too obvious? Might it be Marit Lage back to tear the world asunder once more? Or Nicol Bolas? Yawgmoth? PRETTY PRETTY PLEASE CAN IT BE TIBALT? Lo and behold, the big bad was none other than….
Well they promised, right? This ain’t your daddy’s Emrakul, primarily because Emrakul was a colossal threat that instantly made the game unfun. Yeah, it cost a shit ton and rewarded you for that, but people still found ways to cheat it into play for reduced (read: still brutal) effect. This Emrakul is more playful, a jaunty eldritch nightmare that still wants to fuck you up while flaying your mind and soul. Mostly though, it’s a harmless kind of monstrous (that is still fuel for the Magmaw. Aren’t we all? Everything is).
I guess I should cut the cutesy crap, even if this Emrakul is goddamn adorable Hello Cthulhu incarnate. Is it playable? I’m not a tournament kind of person, so that’s a disclaimer of sorts. Do I think people are gonna try use this rampaging spaghetti monster? Of course, and I hope they have fun with it. Let’s look at the card:
It costs “13” mana, which realistically is most often likely to be around 9-10 mana. It’s a 13/13 flying, trample creature. Sometimes the cost will dip down to 8. If you’re getting it for 8-9 mana, you’re pretty happy with that. I’m curious as to whether you’re gonna be able to keep enough gas going at that point of the game to play it out with any kind of backup (Forgotten Creation tech?). All in seems risky, especially since they can counter it. If you’re only getting the Mindslaver effect, I don’t know how stoked you’ll be. You kind of want to beat face too. Of course they did an excellent thematic tie in with Nahiri, since she throws things into the yard then summons Emmy with haste (meaning your opponent can’t interact with it much on your turn. No instants, remember) and bounces her to your hand so you can use the cast trigger. Best fwiends. In standard, it might mean people are more likely to use flash permanents with removal. Bounding Krasis makes Nahiri’s ultimate super sad. Stasis Snare is a bummer too. If you’ve spent that much on a big beasty, you really want it to connect. I can’t think of many reasons why people in modern or eternal formats would use this over your daddy’s Emrakul, but I’m happy to be corrected. Perhaps they’ll be able to utilise all those tribal cards to get its cost down to 5 mana in legacy. I want to believe.
Let’s talk EDH here. I’m of the opinion that all three of the original eldrazi titans are big fat bummers in the format. They have all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Like LeBron, they warp the game around them. It instead becomes a game of stealing/cloning them before people start to cry. Annihilator, that’s why. It’s a shitfuck of an ability. You know how bad you feel when your mum ruthlessly drove you to bankruptcy in Monopoly? Getting hit by annihilator instantly brings back those feelings. I don’t blame anyone who leaves the game to put out cigarettes on their arm just to feel something that doesn’t hurt quite so much. In comparison, baby Emrakul feels like a summer’s day. Yeah, it’s a huge fucking 13/13 flying trample UFO, but it still dies to Shriekmaw or Royal Assassin. It doesn’t haste and its cast trigger is still punishing, but not instant death in the format. Even when it is, it’s a coin flip of a splashy play that takes out one player. You can bet your arse everyone else will slit your throat straight away. Yeah, you can reanimate this version of Emrakul, but I’m not terribly worried by a 13/13 flying trample in this format. Wrath/Damnation exists. Or it can chump my Managorger Hydra (who, while impressive, is also fuel for the Magmaw). NBD. Throw it in your Mimeoplasm by all means. You might be able to actually hard cast the thing. Or you can have a turn 4 (you’re playing green, right?) 13/13 or bigger. Beat face. I’m fine with that. You still have multiple opponents. If your table can’t handle that, they need to learn to play removal.
Have fun folks. And always remember to feed your Magmaw (but not after midnight).