Thursday, July 1, 2010

Black and White, Neon Knights

I was going to talk about Convoke, but the article ended up being a little longer than anticipated, so its going out to the workshed for a while.

In its place, I look at some creatures, and then I look at some spells which COMPLEMENT those creatures. If you don't think they work together, go ahead and send me a note. I'm not a genius or anything.

Back in Revised, creatures were really hit or miss. You had awesome things like Hypnotic Specter, and then you had things like Scathe Zombies.

You can imagine which card I was opening in starter decks (the common one!)

I got this one

I got this one

And even this slick black bordered number:

Oooh…new border.

Anyway, creatures in Revised were pretty hit or miss and opening a pack of today's cards is going to show you creatures that might have "creeped" in power over the old standby. Some have remained with same, since they were overpowered to begin with, like the Specter. Others have stayed (like the Zombies) as some sort of cruel joke on the part of Wizards of the Coast.

Today, I look at 2 creatures from Revised who still come out swinging despite their advanced age.

White Knight and Black Knight.

Like two peas in a pod they are. Black Knight was always slightly better than White Knight in part because of the removal on the white side of the color pie. Things like Swords to Plowshares, Path to Exile and Condemn.

But both Knights are solid 2/2's with first strike, a still-powerful combination in this day and age. And they aren't the only ones. The history of Magic is littered by rugged 2/2 bodies with additional abilities slapped on like they were going out of style. Just look at Knight of Meadowgrain, Hand of Honor and Knight of the White Orchid (it's like a mini Land Tax!).

You'd be surprised, but the double white and double black have never been much of a problem. In the olden days, no one would be attacking until at least the forth turn anyway, and today we have a world of enemy colored dual lands to choose from, many of them quite inexpensive.

What spells go with a large pile of Knights? Traditionally Swords and Wrath of God.

Today, I'm going to forget about obvious choices. We don't want to give our opponent life. We don't want to give him land. We want to give him nothing, other than the cold light of utter defeat.

Our guys are 2/2, and most of them have first strike. This means a lot, because if we can magically reduce their toughness to 2 or less, we have combat in the bag.

First spell: Zealous Persecution

This, ideally, becomes a one-sided Wrath of God. If they are 4/4 or smaller, your Knights are taking them down.

Here's another one:

This is probably the handiest creature removal even invented. Seriously. This is removal that doesn't target, removal that's completely one-sided and removal that can't be countered. Yes.

What can do 2 damage? Every single one of your knights.

What creatures does Sudden Spoiling work on? Every one of them. Every single one of them in all of Magic. Even Darksteel Colossus, even Progenitus and even Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.

How about another good one?

Sudden Spoiling takes its cues from Sorceress Queen, combined with a "sweep" version of Humble.

Neither of these are as good, however.

Incremental Blight makes lots of creatures die, and the ones still alive are no match for first strike. For another "sweeping" effect, look no further than Marsh Casualties.

Another goodie because it doesn't target! Reducing your foe's army by -2/-2 is also probably putting them in 2/2 first strike range.

What about more white removal, you may ask. White usually either destroys everything, like with Wrath of God, or it does a pin-point trade-off of a creature for some type of benefit. In my opinion, it is almost worth it to save creature removal for black, and instead use white for other problems regarding artifacts, enchantments and planeswalkers. Oblivion Ring takes care of them all.

And then there's Vindicate. But the problem here is of course the cost. I don't have any, probably won't get any.

So the overall message here is…when planning your deck, especially if its a casual deck, think BIG. You are going to have to deal with a lot of problems, and you're not going to get some measly sideboard to cherry-pick solutions off of.

Open up your mind, the sky's the limit.

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