Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Edric, Spymaster of Trest…and Arcane Denial

So apparently the 3 generals spoiled on MTG Salvation weren't supposed to be spoiled. Which is why all my leech-rific links a couple posts back stopped working. But nevermind!

I see the ruling council at MTGCommander has gone ahead and "officially" spoiled Edric, Spymaster of Trest. Still in my opinion the best general out of the three promos leaked.

Genomancer makes some really good points about the survivability of the Spymaster. Your opponents are definitely going to want to draw a few cards first before they try to take him out…if even then.

He also makes the point that Arcane Denial is the best counterspell in EDH. Wha?

Now I have to go look at this card.

There are two things I know. The elders of MTGCommander have been playing the format longer than anyone. And now, after checking, I also know that the posted decks over there are filthy with Arcane Denial.

What's so good about it?

1) It's a hard counter. It can target any kind of spell; creature, vegetable or mineral.
2) It's easy to cast at only 1 colorless and 1 blue mana.
3) It lets your opponent draw 2 cards! Why would you ever want your opponent to draw 2 cards?
4) It lets YOU draw a card. Yay, I love drawing cards!

In a multiplayer game the balance of power is always hanging by the most delicate of firmaments. When you counter someone's spell, especially if its a spell they were really excited about, you are making an enemy. It better be a really good spell you are getting rid of.

Plus card advantage is a funny thing in a typical multiplayer game. I have read something over and over again and it makes sense: A traditional counterspell makes both you and your opponent inherently weaker. You both lost cards while some third or even fourth chucklehead gets to keep all of his while plotting to destroy you both.

Arcane Denial, on the other hand, rewards both you and your rival spell-caster, still negating whatever threat was pointed specifically at you. Unless you are heading towards the end game, and you are clearly ahead, no one is going to feel any animosity. The balance of power is maintained.

As I probably stating when building my Niv-Mizzet deck, I love my bizarre L.A. Williams counter spell. But now I find I'm going to have to search my collection in case an Arcane Denial just happens to be lurking in there somewhere. Because it just makes sense.

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