Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,
MTG Realm has now churned over 1,000 articles (not quite daily) since hitting the interwebs in January, 2008. We are also now approaching our 4-millionth visitor to this casual Magic the Gathering blog. Thanks for being with us and listening to our drivels on our take of standard constructed day in and day out.
To change things up, we've decided to take a look back at some cards popular with the Vintage / Legacy crowd before we first got into this awesome game. As we will need a guide, we have found the right person to give us a tour -
- Please welcome Lucy Harris, a professional writer / reseacher with a fondness for Magic the Gathering . . .
Crafty Cards and Killer Combos
Combos are often the key to a successful duel. While many cards are powerful enough on their own, it’s when combined with others that complement their effects that things start to get interesting. You’re unlikely to find any decent combos in free samples, but collect Magic cards for long enough and the possibilities become truly endless.
The combos here are ones that don’t require specific timing to be of any use to you. For example, while nobody would deny that the Dark Ritual/Hypnotic Specter combination is an effective way to gain a swift advantage over your opponent, unless you’ve got both in your hand by the second turn it becomes somewhat redundant.
The Karplusan Yeti was a rare card from the Ice Age expansion, resurrected briefly in 9th Edition. It was a 3/3 creature with a tapped ability to “Karplusan Yeti deals damage equal to its power to target creature. That creature deals damage equal to its power to Karplusan Yeti.” Though a slightly laboriously wording, it effectively means that the Yeti can directly attack whatever creature you want it to. While this is a pretty good ability in its own right, especially for taking out the annoying smaller creatures your opponent has shored up their defenses with, the beast can be augmented to turn it into a cryptid nightmare.
The Basilisk Collar in an Equipment Artifact that imbues Deathtouch. That means that not only is no creature safe from the Yeti’s attack coming roaring from a snowdrift, the Deathtouch ability will allow it to take out anything, no matter how tough it is.
A combo doesn’t always have to be a series convoluted abilities twisted around one another for mass effect. Sometimes it’s as simple as making a card active.
Leviathan is a 10/10 Trampling behemoth that comes into play tapped, and cannot be untapped without the sacrifice of two islands, rendering it useless without the wholesale destruction of your mana reserves. That’s where Norritt comes in.
Norrit is a 1/1 Imp with the somewhat random ability to untap any blue creature. So with the Imp in play, the Leviathan can be untapped at your leisure, ready to send it rampaging at your enemy. Granted, the sea monster still requires the sacrifice of two islands to allow it to attack, but with stats like that it shouldn’t be long until your opponent is swallowed whole.
Army of Rodents
Deranged Hermit is a 1/1 Elf whose coming into play triggers the delightful effect of also putting four squirrel tokens into play, each counting as a 1/1 green creature. The Echo disability of the Hermit means that its casting cost must be repeated at your next upkeep or you must sacrifice it. However, if you also have Lifeline in play, this can be worked to your advantage.
Lifeline is an Artifact with an “always on” ability that returns to play at end of turn any creature put into your graveyard, so long as another creature is also in play. The Hermit’s squirrel summoning effect will occur each time it comes back, meaning that every turn you will receive another four squirrel tokens, so long as you don’t pay the Hermit’s Echo cost. Additionally, the Hermit’s other effect is that all squirrels get +1/+1, so before long you will end up with a legion of 2/2 creatures. Infestation never looked so cute!
Some cards come with useful effects and abilities, but unfortunately also those same effects can equally benefit your opponent.
Howling Mine used to grant every player an extra card during their draw phase, but this was errata’ed in 6th Edition to only be in effect if it was untapped. This still benefits your opponents as much as you, unless you utilize Auriok Transfixer. With an ability to tap any artifact, the Transfixer can be activated at the end of your turn, denying the opposition the same advantage. Then when your turn rolls around again it will become untapped, ready to grant you another extra card.
Some creatures with an obscene power/toughness level are balanced out by either extortionate casting costs or disabilities that render the advantage they give you virtually redundant.
Such a creature is the Phyrexian Dreadnought. A 12/12 Artifact Creature with a casting cost of 1 colorless mana seems too good to be true; and it is. Upon coming into play, you must sacrifice creatures with a total power of at least 12 or the Dreadnought is buried.
However, Stifle is a 1 blue mana Instant that counters any triggered effect, like, say, the requirement to sacrifice half your army. So, a 12/12 creature for 2 mana. Bargain.
And Finally -
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