Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spotlight on Spellskite

So…one thing the New Phyrexia set has given us is Spellskite.

For 2 mana you get an 0/4 artifact creature, with the ability to change the target of a spell or ability to itself.

I really started thinking based on the latest Cranial Insertion column, from which we can gather a very important obstacle to our Spellskite-based mayhem.

"Spellskite can only redirect a target of a spell or ability if it could be legally targeted by that spell or ability."

So there are some pretty serious limits. For instance, as the article points out, you can't redirect the equip ability of an opponent's equipment artifact because your Spellskite is not a valid target. Unlike Willbender or Goblin Flectormancer, Spellskite only draws the pain to itself, not to any other unfortunate permanent. In this case, its a little more like Muck Drubb.

Let's go over a few other interesting bits about Spellskite.

1) Spellskite is a creature. He can be targeted by spells and abilities that target creatures.

2) Spellskite is a artifact. He can be targeted by spells and abilities that target artifacts.

3) Spellskite is a permanent. He can be targeted by spells and abilities that target permanents.

All three of these points matter a great deal to the casual EDH metagame. A dangerous place, where people are constantly going after your creatures, artifacts or permanents mostly in spectacular ways.

"But what about enchantments?" you might ask.

If a spell says "target enchantment" you are completely out of luck to redirect it to Spellskite. UNLESS the spell also happens to sneak "creature," "artifact" or "permanent" in there. What are the chances?

In EDH, the school of thought for removal is indeed "the more far-reaching, the better." Optimal deck builds typically go for higher-cost removal that affects a broader variety of things.

So what cards does Spellskite work on?

Qasali Pridemage would really like to blow up your back-breaking enchantment. But instead, it always seems to target your Spellskite…why does it hate Spellskite so much?

Acidic Slime would really like to blow up your Jace when it enters the battlefield. But for some reason it really hates your Spellskite instead.

If someone is playing with Pyroblast (but not Red Elemental Blast) you can redirect it onto your Spellskite with impunity.

Ajani Vengeant's tapping ability is suddenly drawn to Spellskite. And if the Skite is already tapped, Ajani Vengent can go ahead and try to tap him again. Tap Tap Tap. If he uses his "3 damage" ability…it goes right to the Spellskite. If he "destroys all lands"…

You're screwed. 

But the first 2 are pretty good!

Amber Prison. Angel of Despair. Archon of Justice. Argentum Armor. Avarice Totem (just keep redirecting the ability!) and of course Ulamog.

Most of the spells you see are chosen because of their versatility. And that versatility means a good chance to be able to target Spellskite. And then if you have a way to recur your artifact horror, you can keep doing it forever. Because the ability can be used whenever you want, however many times you want, and it can be paid for with blue mana or just 2 life.

All Auras (except for the ones placed with abilities like Zur and Academy Rector, boo!) target initially when they are cast. For the same reason you can't put an Aura on a shrouded creature, so too can your opponent be forced to put the Aura on Spellskite.

Finally, Spellskite does have a rather large "behind" of 4. Very important, because simple burn (which occasionally surfaces) can be safely redirected without too much harm.

So while Willbender might be able to save you from Door to Nothingness, Spellskite can save virtually any important permanent from many kinds of destructive or obstructive effects. For very little cost.

I might just have to hunt this one down.

P.S. I love Muck Drubb, you haters.

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