Friday, May 25, 2012

Etherium Sorcerer, a lack of self-esteem?

So the saying from Mark Rosewater goes something like this: "You're not going to like some of the cards in the set. We don't just make cards for you. We have to make cards for everyone."

In the Magic: The Gathering product cycle, summer is probably the nuttiest part of the year. All the tourney talk gobbly-gook dies down a little. And people make room for the big multiplayer expansion. There was a time I got excited beyond reason for the Core Set, now the feeling is replaced by wondering what Planechase II will bring.

The latest idea, explored first in last year's Commander series, was to invent new casual-level cards for these sets to entice people to buy them. Mission accomplished there, gentlemen, well done.

Go see Mark Zug's other artwork!

Lots of love around the web for this guy, even if the deck ended up being a loathsome prison configuration.

There was a time when I never would have imagined that Minotaurs would become the gleaming avatar of the casual red/blue player. Yet this year again we are ultra-blessed by another.

Franz Vohwinkel…also a genius.

A 5 mana cascade is an interesting cost point. It's more than what you would get out of Bloodbraid Elf, but at 6 mana for the minotaur you are moving a whole lot slower.

Some people are going to find ways to get infinite mana, and then use this card to cast every other card in their deck. Which would be pretty awesome.

I will not be one of those people. My few experiences with "comboing out" have resulted in a hollow, meaningless victory I am not eager to repeat again.

Instead, and what I see as an entirely valid use of Etherium-Horn Sorcerer, is the slow and ponderous approach I am more comfortable with.

In typical multiplayer games, a state is reached where people are sitting on their hands building up infrastructure. You might have a mitt full of reactive cards, waiting for someone else to do something. Minotaur Wizard is a source of incremental card advantage since once 6 mana is reached you can cast him every turn for more stuff.

He gives you something to do, which is essential to keep boredom from making you take a leap you weren't prepared to make.

One turn, Jaya Ballard. The next turn, Magus of the Jar.

Now, with all this joy coming down the pipe there is also some sadness. I try to hold it back, but it is there all the same. Because while I am excited about getting awesome things like Grab the Reins on the field, I am equally un-excited about accidently casting Counterspell or Swerve.


Or maybe even Red Elemental Blast. The Horror!

But as much as I may cringe, I also gladly accept this as part of the chaotic nature red inevitable injects into the blue spell-casting arena. I've got other things that blow up in my face, and this card is just going to be another one. I try to look on the bright side. Uhh………bright side……uhhhh…

Ok, the bright side to potentially casting Counterspell straight out of your deck and into the chopper without doing anything is the situation you present to your opponents. They KNOW I have counterspell in my deck. They desire me to feel the embarrassment caused by this event happening. So when they see Etherium-Horn Sorcerer on the field they will SUBCONSCIOUSLY express the desire to witness this event taking place.

Somewhere in the twisted back-end of their brain will exist an impulse to see my Minotaur live. If he's the only threat on the board, sure they are still going to go after him. But if there are more than one threat, they might just be inclined to look the other direction.

No one is going to admit to this. But the impulse will be there no matter how camouflaged.

Like any good multiplayer game, the object is to destroy my self-esteem. But what my unfortunately opponents fail to realize…I don't have any.

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