Feature: Limited Cards Find Constructed Homes

Posted in Event Coverage on June 17, 2006

By Noah Weil

In the pantheon of Magic, Limited and Constructed have always had cards that just didn't fit well on the other side. Early Harvest and Heartbeat of Spring are two cards that are simply horrid in Sealed, yet they've made some small impact on the Standard scene. Similarly, Vigean Hydropon and Boros Fury-Shield haven't broken into Pro Tour Constructed just yet

Wait, scratch that last one. In the Ravnica Block Constructed environment of plentiful mana and beefy bombs, average draft picks suddenly take on a whole new cast. Here are some cards, due to the unique constraints and opportunities of Team Unified Constructed, which have gotten a new chance at Pro Tour glory.

Boros Fury-Shield

Boros Fury-Shield

This combat spell was found in Feenix Phoundation's Billy Moreno's sideboard. Billy was playing a highly aggressive five-color deck, mainly focusing on red and white for cards like Scorched Rusalka, Mistral Charger, and Skyknight Legionnaire. From the sideboard, the Fury-Shield can act as a protector for creatures, which also continuing to keep the aggression piled on. The trick can also serve as extra points of pure burn, with the benefit of preserving Billy's life for one more draw step, perhaps for the Char just waiting on top. Fury-Shield isn't worth starting due to the prevalence of the Simic Sky Swallower, but against the right deck, Fury-Shield can be everything Billy's deck needs to take the game and the match.

Gather Courage

Speaking of combat tricks, here's another that's been getting some play. A one-shot +2/+2 may seem inconsequential, but don't ignore that zero casting cost. Gather Courage is an excellent sideboard card in the base Simic decks, where mana is at an absolute premium. Plaxmanta, Plaxcaster Frogling, Simic Guildmage; all require heavy doses of mana to use effectively.

On defense, Gather Courage allows your green or green-blue monster to survive combat, while still keeping up Remand mana for the Skeletal Vampire looming. It's not splashy, but Gather Courage is often exactly the card the green-blue decks need to get their bigger and better online turns later. Crafty players haven't ignored its other purpose; two more damage to the nugget has won more than a couple of games this weekend.

Skullmead Cauldron

Skullmead Cauldron
This artifact was designed for Limited play as an enabler for the hellbent mechanic, but in truth hasn't shown up anywhere in that venue. The Rakdos draft decks just want to beat down, and the Constructed decks have better options for lifegain spells. Yet it is a very consistent lifegain effect, and that comes in handy for a certain Searing Meditation card that's been floating around the tournament hall. Osyp had some cauldrons in his red-blue-white Searing Angel deck, which had the extra bonus of being a discard outlet for Firemane Angel.

Leyline of the Meek

This rare has been tried and discarded a few times in draft, but has found a home in block constructed. The Selesnya guild has more than a few ways to create tokens, from their Guildmage to Scatter the Seeds, to Supply of Supply/Demand. The tokens are always plentiful enough, but as 1/1s they don't hit as hard and everyone's packing Rolling Spoil. Throw in a Leyline or two and suddenly your moss become big bears or mighty elephants. Games end pretty quickly when you cast a Seed Spark on their Signet and put two Hill Giants into play.

Trophy Hunter

Sir Jack Stanton was seen with this card, hoping to kill some Birds of Paradise or a Trygon Predator or two. What it really can do is take care of all those pesky bats from the wealth of Skeletal Vampires dominating many of the tables.

Netherborn Phalanx

This creature could be found in Jeff Cunningham's sideboard, both as a tool to find Dovescape and a weapon with it already in play. The Phalanx hasn't seen any play in Constructed yet, and even in Limited it's merely passable. In a deck that wants to find a certain six-mana card and wants a way to exploit that very same card, this 2/4 shines.

wit's end

Wit's End

One With Nothing targeting you! The groans of the players on the receiving end of this card has have even reached the ears of us in the writers' cloister. It's a sad day when players watch an opponent tap seven and hope to see SSS.

The Split Cards

That's not "the split cards except one," that's every single of these Dissension bonuses being played in some deck this weekend. Crime/Punishment and Odds/Ends are the most popular, fitting into the two common control archetypes: green-black-white and red-blue-white. Supply/Demand and Hit/Run have also been big players. The first is for finding and maximizing Glare of Subdual, the second going into any deck that can cast Hit; anything that could nail that darn SSS. The remaining six split cards have received less play, with probably Fall (of Rise/Fall) being the most popular of the rest. It's clear that players, even at the highest level, love the options and choices split cards provide.

Twisted Justice

TJ is a House Dimir card that has rarely, if ever, been seen in the 60-card decks. In sealed, this six-mana sorcery would usually pop a saproling token or Sell-Sword Brute. In Charleston, this card likes to nab its caster 4-6 cards, on its way to burying Firemane Angel or Simic Sky Swallower. It's a sideboard card because it does very little against the aggressive decks (and very, very little against Leyline of the Meek decks), but the decks it's good against, it's really good against. Most players don't mind tapping out when their creature is invincible or can return from the dead. Not so when your creature's death restores your opponent's hand.

As of this writing, rumors of TJ-killed SSS finding a Wit's End could not be confirmed.

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