Friday, April 9, 2010

Stealy and Punchy: Two Great Tastes Together At Last

They steal…and punch!
Steal…and punch!
Steal steal steal!
Punch punch punch!
it's the Stealy and Punchy show!

A recent game has got me thinking about "stealy" effects, and the perfect convergence of effects that is the "Grixis" color wedge. My opponent was playing Crosis, the Purger.

While not exactly discarding a lot of my cards (I was playing Malfegor) he did find some time to play the "stop hitting yourself" game early and often. When I thought I was swinging in for some serious damage, instead I was cruising for a bruising. 

In particular, his tools were these two cards:

When you are playing EDH and you've taken an equal amount of damage from your OWN general as well as your opponent, you know events are not proceeding on the intended path.

The one creature left alone most of the game was Living Wall. Perhaps the secret here is to use creatures that cannot attack! Ah-ha!

In the old days we had Control Magic, and we liked it. We used it. We loved it. But Control Magic is straight-laced traditional blue…it gains possession of a creature and then lets you keep it. And you have to wait a turn to smack your opponent with it.

Somewhere along the way, it was determined that Red would also get a slice of the stealy pie. But its "stealy" effects were temporary, and usually also granted haste. See Threaten and Custody Battle.

"Pure" Black usually steals things from the graveyard, although planar chaos gave us the totally awesome Enslave. More commonly, Black is responsible for "sacrifice" effects, like Cruel Edict, conveniently slicing through the most indestructible of creatures like a warm knife through butter.

Once you see all these effects together, it starts to form a very convincing narrative.
Stealy. Punchy. Stealy. PunchyStealy and Punchy. It's like every 2 or 1 cards in your deck forms its own little combo.

I have never faced off against it, but it's my understanding that one of the "hottest" cards right now in multiplayer EDH "punchy stealy" is Herald of Lesrac.

Definitely a guy you never want to meet at the local White Castle. The secret sauce here is a cumulative upkeep payment that is actually a benefit, much like Braid of Fire. And in a multiplayer game, you'll probably never run out of lands to steal. I imagine this card being the quickest, easiest, most sure-fire way to pull that Wrath of God out of your opponent's hand.

Red also has some great weirdo land stealing in the form of Conquer and Orcish Squatters. And it also occasionally steals people's artifacts.

So when you're playing Bribery and Acquire, consider that by going 3-color you could be doing so much more. It's like a whole new world.

Tonight (or this morning) the most recently spoiled card to get my attention is of course Consuming Vapors. This seems like a perfect addition. Since it gives you a benefit for doing what you were going to do anyway…blow up creatures. Definitely good enough for multiplayer, since you even get to do this neato trick TWICE. Aim for the guy with the dragons, probably.

I can't say I'm too excited about most of the "Eldrazi" related stuff coming out. While the sheer majesty of the Elder Spawn still somewhat overwhelms me, the magic has worn down somewhat in other areas. But the allure of rebound still grabs me, as well as the "low mana cost" matters type cards. Will keep watching the spoiler lists like a complete sucker, have no fail.

See you in the pits!

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