I'm reading some seriously wet blanket stuff about the new spoiler card…Echo Mage, and it leaves me wondering if people actually read the card. Now I can't honestly say how this will do competitively, but people are saying they won't even put it in their casual decks.
True, you have to pump a lot of mana into him before he does anything. But once he is online…copying spells is one of the more broken activated abilities there is. And for only 2 mana. If Echo Mage is properly set up over a couple turns, he is going to throw some serious chaos into things.
I'm going to give you my limited experience with another card. The card is Sigil Tracer.
Anyone out there who has even used Twincast…Sigil Tracer is the proverbial Twincast on a stick. Sigil Tracer beats out Izzet Guildmage, because you can actually copy the spells you want! She is the same cost as Echo Mage, but you needed two extra wizards to make the ability work.
In a crazy casual (maybe even EDH) multiplayer game, what kinds of spells are you copying? Enchantments and Artifacts rule the day, so actual spell-spells tend to be big. Some I've seen:
1. Decree of Pain
2. Tooth and Nail
3. Rite of Replication
4. Flame Fusillade
5. Conqueror's Pledge
Copying a huge game-breaking spell takes all the momentum and puts it heavily in your favor. The few times it's worked, the results have been delicious. Sigil Tracer does have a major handicap in that your oppoenents will stop at nothing to keep your Wizard count below the critical mass of 2 + Sigil Tracer.
Anything will do it…a lightning bolt or even a shock. Pyroclasm and Infest both tend to get rid of a lot of wizards in 1 fell swoop.
Echo Mage, on the other hand, is a bigger kind of Wizard. He grows the more mana you pump into him, and no matter how much mana it takes you are only ever down one card if he bites it. Maybe you even have something like Lightning Greaves or Whispersilk Cloak on the board. It's not unheard of.
If people are sitting around waiting for something to happen, sticking 2 or 4 mana in Echo Mage can be easily accomplished, leaving enough untapped for a suddenly-needed counterspell.
Leveling up is in easy payments of only 2 mana…and only 1 blue. And it can copy a spell TWICE. Every time I think of TWICE, me head explodes and I have to glue the bloody chunks back together again.
Ask me if I will be upgrading Sigil Tracer to Echo Mage if I get a chance, and the answer is a loud, sloshy YES without a moment's consideration. I will be happy to have him.
And if you're wondering what my Red/Blue Wizards deck looks like…here it is! I decided to post the current version. I never get sick of making card links! Okay, maybe once or twice.