Strength in Numbers

Posted in Card Preview on June 28, 2016

By Marshall Sutcliffe

Marshall came back to Magic after discovering Limited and never looked back. He hosts the Limited Resources podcast and does Grand Prix and Pro Tour video commentary.

Remember this card?

Kind of a cool concept, right? It crosses the line between gameplay and the actual draft by rewarding you for getting as many Kindles as you can in your deck, because each one gets progressively better.

It's also a clean design in that the goal is obvious to less-experienced players, and it can lead to some pretty crazy stories of people casting a ton of the card in a game.

A bit further down the line, they came out with a few other designs—like this one:

Who doesn't love drawing cards? In Limited, you can play as many copies of cards like this as you can get your hands on, so it could get really fun if you got lucky and had a lot of them passed to you. The fact that it counted both the copies in your graveyard and those in other graveyards probably complicated things a bit for Constructed, but who knows. Still, the design is cool and the cards that had this trait were popular.

With Eldritch Moon, we get to revisit this type of design. The two cards we are looking at today have similar properties to the ones I just showed, in fact. Let's take a look at them now!

All righty, let's get right into it.

Take Inventory is a sorcery that lets you draw a card for two mana. It only cares about other copies of Take Inventory in your graveyard, and it is a common.

On its own, this would be somewhere between unplayable and mediocre. And by "on its own," I guess I really mean on its own, since you'll rarely play one of these by itself. The fun begins when you start drafting a ton of these to put in your deck.

Let's walk through the progression together.

The first Take Inventory isn't great. It "cycles"—which just means that it replaces itself with a new card—and that's about it. This environment does have delirium in it, so getting a sorcery in the yard for little cost could be a thing, but it likely won't be. Like I said before, you would rarely just play one of these by itself.

The second Take Inventory is starting to approach interesting. You draw two cards for just two mana. That feels powerful, but really it's just Divination for two mana, likely later in the game then you would normally play a Divination, and with a pretty big stipulation in having another one in the graveyard already. Still, the ability to draw two cards and still have mana left over to cast one of them is pretty good.

The third Take Inventory that you cast is where things get awesome. You draw three cards for just two mana! Another way to look at this sequence is that you've effectively built one of these:

I know it seems like a weird comparison, but with Opportunity you pay six mana to net three cards in hand (four cards drawn, minus one for the Opportunity itself). With the third Take Inventory, you have spent a total of six mana to net three cards (six cards drawn, minus three Take Inventory).

That's actually pretty cool. Now, I could go to four or more copies of Take Inventory played in a game, but this is where we had better chat about reality rather than dreamland.

First, you have to actually get your hands on four or more copies of this card. That could happen—remember you'll get two packs of Eldritch Moon in each Booster Draft—but even if you do, you'll have to draw and cast them all! That's not super likely. If you do manage to unlock that achievement, you'll be rewarded with cards falling from the sky and into your hand and you'll be very happy. And I'll be jealous.

The thing to remember about Take Inventory is that it is not free to put in your deck. People often think cards that cycle like this are free, but the mana investment you have to put into such a card can have a real effect on the outcome of the game. Particularly when your opponent has an aggressive start, but even in a tight midrange-style game, this mana spent to spin your wheels can catch up with you.

If your deck is designed to go super long and you can pick up multiple copies of the card, you very well may be in a position to jam them into your list and dominate the late game with them.

We have one more card today:

Here is a card we would play most of the time even if it were just one red mana for an instant that dealt 2 damage to a creature (note here that it only hits creatures, not players). That is a solid little removal spell that lines up nicely with the type of card it's trying to kill.

You'll usually spend one mana in the early game to kill a threat, or later in the game to kill a "utility creature" (a utility creature is usually a smallish creature that doesn't engage in combat often, with an activated ability—think Reckless Scholar or Stern Constable).

While that's a useful card to have in your deck, Galvanic Bombardment goes further by rewarding you for having more copies in your graveyard. That's a nice and welcomed bonus, as the difference between dealing 2 damage and 3 damage is huge, and by the time you deal 4 damage at instant speed for one mana, you're likely cruising along to a victory quite nicely.

How many of these would we run in our deck? Probably as many as we could get our hands on, though it is worth noting that a card that only ever deals 2 damage to a creature isn't a catch-all removal spell and therefore isn't necessarily a card you want a ton of in your deck. Still, the upside to this one probably makes it worth pursuing.

Other Considerations

While these cards are pretty straightforward in how you play and maximize them, there are a few other factors to consider given the environment they live in.

I mentioned the delirium thing earlier, and that could be a factor, but what seems higher in potential is self-mill. Cards that put the top card or cards of your library into your graveyard have incidental benefits, and Take Inventory and Galvanic Bombardment are possible beneficiaries.

My guess is that it isn't a full-on strategy to mill these and get value from having them in the graveyard, but hey, you'll take a power boost on them if it's happening anyway.

I want to reiterate that you'll be drafting with two packs of Eldritch Moon and one pack of Shadows over Innistrad. Since both of these cards are common, and since Eldritch Moon is a small set, you'll have a reasonable chance to build up multiples of them, but with only two packs available it will be hard to go truly insane with them.

I expect that the cheap, instant-speed removal factor for Galvanic Bombardment will make it a higher pick than the slower Take Inventory.

That said, I intend to draw a million cards by assembling a deck with like eight Take Inventorys at some point. We'll see. Either way, good luck with Eldritch Moon!


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