Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Wonder of Defender

News has come (last night) than one of the sub-themes for Rise of the Eldrazi will be "Defender". That's right…good 'ol Walls.

It takes some guts to bring the immovable obejects back out into the spotlight. Few nowadays play with them, in favor of creatures who can also possibly attack.

To someone like me, a re-emphasis on Walls is perfectly understandable. They harken back to a bygone golden age. A time when about 50% of the game was either themed around landwalking, or around walls.

(Wayne's World fade out)

The time: REVISED!

(theme music)

Back in the day, everybody used walls. I used walls. My opponents used walls. Every color had its own special kind of wall to block those pesky attackers.

In past-me's opinion, two Walls stood out from the pack:

1. Wall of Swords! Maybe you don't share my experience, but back in the day Wall of Swords was the poor man's Serra Angel. It did basically everything the Angel did, except help you win the game. Yet in my mind Wall of Swords will always be the bookend to White Knight in the monowhite deck playbook.

Still a good casting cost, with only 1 single colored mana requirement. Big, bold 3/5 body. Ready to take on anything. Deals with the most common form of evasion handily. Stops Serra Angel and Sengir Vampire in their tracks…two of the more annoying creatures the Revised player was likely to come accross.

But there was another wall that I would argue is BETTER than Wall of Swords. It doesn't stop flyers, and it doesn't have any power whatsoever. But still, I like it. I like it a lot.

2. Living Wall was good then for the same reasons it would be good today. All the right reasons. The mid-range defense of 6 belied an amazing resiliency…even in this jaded age being able to regenerate for 1 colorless mana is a fantastic ability.

There's better deals on regeneration, Duskworker for instance, but they are few and far between. Heck, I might even run Living Wall in my EDH deck…it blocks all sorts of critters all day long.

And the colorless casting cost…music to the ears of anyone unlucky enough to never pull a single dual land in their entire random pack-opening career. Whatever wacky combination of colors we're trying this week…Living Wall is always ready for the iron-clad defense on turn 4, sometimes even turn 2 if Sol Ring comes online.

Runners up include Wall of Brambles and Wall of Air, both weaker versions of the listed cards. And the worst Wall?

Always has been, always will. Take a grain of salt and rub it into your eye. That's how a magic player feels when he opens up a Wall of Wood. And then it got reprinted in Tenth Edition!

Legends had a whole separate suite of Walls for defense. And some additional wall-specific spell-craft I really only got a glimpse of behind glass on the "singles wall" at the local Shinder's.

Believe it or not, this card was like 6 bucks at the time. I can't imagine for it's playability. More likely, it was to lasso any new magic players with more money than sense.

The Glyphs were a cool concept flavor-wise. To tell you a little secret…I hope they bring 'em back for Rise of the Eldrazi. Not necessarily the Legends Glyphs, but the same concepts. Spells that affect defender instead of walls. People would hate them…nasty people who don't understand. But I would love them and cherish them. Especially if there were real-world literary quotes!

A Wall I've always loved, but never got to play with is Wall of Glare. Here's the perfect weapon to use your Glyphs on, if only it had been printed sooner! Any number of creatures, indeed.

The realist in me thinks the defender sub-theme will take more of a theme similar to one of the already-spoiled cards.

Mnemonic Wall. A boring wall that wants to be "bounced" as much as possible. In the same nefarious league as Wall of Roots and Wall of Blossoms. But we'll see.

There's still plenty to be spoiled.

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