Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Artifact Fight! Eternity Vessel or Mindslaver?

Time for another Artifact Fight.

Background: I've been working hard on my Malfegor deck. In fact I should probably repost the list at some point since the current web version is horribly out of date. I would say about 20% of the cards listed here are actually still in the deck.

So with almost zero qualifying information, let it be known that a battle for dominance has erupted between two 6-mana-cost artifacts. Both are contenders, only one will emerge as the champion.

They are:

Eternity Vessel!



An interesting battle, since the two artifacts are nothing alike, apart from the casting costs. Yet they are both equally bound by a rule passed down from on-high…a COMMANDER deck must contain exactly 99 cards plus 1 Commander. So something's got to give.

Not a light decision to bring these two fine cards into the deathmatch ring. I'm sure some clever mind out there would be willing to slip back down slippery slopes to ask if there are other cards I could cut to keep both in. That is a direction I do not want to go! That is the path to madness.

So here are some preliminary observations.

Eternity Vessel!
1) Hopefully you are in good shape when you cast Eternity Vessel. Because then, going forward, you can return to your previous idylic condition by simply playing a land. And you do tend to keep drawing land as the game wears on.

2) Eternity Vessel gets more value out of the land you play, an awesome benefit provided by any card with the "landfall" mechanic. As the turns go by, I might not get too excited to draw my 6th Mountain. If, however, that 6th mountain resets my life back to 30 or so I would be much happier.

3) This deathmatch takes place in the arena of a red/black Commander deck. There are very few life gain effects, and MANY life loss effects where I pay my own life in exchange for other resources like cards. So regardless of my opponents, the longer I go the lower my life is going to get.

1) Mindslaver sits on your battlefield like a puffer fish, extruding waves of danger towards anyone who might catch your attention.

2) Mindslaver scales in power with the interactivity of your opponent's deck. If they have a sac outlet (which is normally a useful thing) suddenly someone else taking one of your turns looks like the ultimate nightmare. If they have removal in their hand, suddenly its used on their own stuff. And If they have a tutor in their hand? 3 Words…Fail To Find.

3) Again, this is my red/black deck. Mindslaver is vilified in many circles for its ability to be recurred again and again with cards like Academy Ruins. While one stolen turn might be fun…stolen turns every turn are apparently a problem. Parting the veil of the future, I cannot see a time when I will have more artifact recursion than Beacon of Unrest. Certainly, the temptation would be strong to locate a Goblin Welder, however this would be a difficult process due to its rarity and price. And I still have to get the Beacon of Unrest.

You can probably tell which direction I'm leaning.

Another big pro for Eternity Vessel is you can use the ability on a regular basis, without sacrifice and without any mana activation.

Yet I keep coming back to what Eternity Vessel actually does. It resets your life, which by definition is delaying the game and creating a stalemate.

The only person who benefits from Eternity Vessel is me. I'm gaining life and no one else. Mindslaver helps me mostly, but it also helps the other players (besides the guy I'm targeting with Mindslaver) by improving their board positions.

Mindslaver accelerates the game towards a final resolution. One player is going to be damaged, and I will probably lose my killer artifact in the deal leaving me more vulnerable to attack.

Finally, Mindslaver creates a lot of ill-will. But at least it does it all at once. Eternity Vessel creates a much smaller amount of ill will, but it accumulates over turns and is doled out equally to all of your frustrated opponents.

So despite the fact that Mindslaver seems like  kind of a jerky card, I am leaning towards using it.

Will I actually use it? I better do a Malfegor deck round-up soon to figure it out. But right now Mindslaver seems to be winning the match.

1 comment:

  1. Personally, unless you are planning on recurring Mindslaver, Eternity Vessel probably has more utility and value in a deck. And especially in multiplayer games, keeping your life total high matters significantly.