Fresh Scars

Posted in Limited Information on September 28, 2010

By Steve Sadin

Last weekend was the Scars of Mirrodin Prerelease and I had a great time. I enjoyed the original Mirrodin so much that I just couldn't wait to open up a pool full of artifacts.

So why should I make you wait to see what I opened?

Scars of Mirrodin Sealed Pool

Download Arena Decklist

I looked over my pool and after reading all of my fresh new Scars of Mirrodin cards I noticed that I had strong cards in green, black, white, and blue—but not too much in red, except for maybe a Galvanic Blast that I could splash.

Even though I really wanted to play my copies of True Conviction, Razor Hippogriff, and Glimmerpoint Stag (which would have gone excellently with my Skinrender I might add) I felt like my white just wasn't deep enough to run.

My blue was similarly lacking in depth when compared with my black and my green, which were highlighted by excellent removal spells like my two copies of Slice in Twain, a Skinrender, and a Grasp of Darkness.

Knowing that I was going to play black-green, thanks to the excellent removal that the colors offered, I tried tinkering with a couple of different builds.

The first thing that I did was put together an infect deck.


Download Arena Decklist

I wasn't totally happy with the pieces that I had for the infect deck, but ... well ... I was at the Prerelease and I really wanted to poison some people to death. The fact that I had Hand of the Praetors (the infect lord) just made it all the more tempting.

I wasn't sure how aggressively people would block my infect creatures. Would they take a few hits early and accumulate a number of poison counters before finally deciding to lock down the board and stop my infectors?

Or would my opponents (correctly) realize that it was dangerous to start picking up poison counters early and go out of their way to block, bounce, or burn my infectors?

I figured that if players were willing to get dangerous and take a few poison counters before they tried to lock down the board, then I would probably be in pretty good shape with my deck. But if my opponents went out of their way to stop me early I would probably be in trouble.

Turns out, people were up to my tricks and I was having a lot of trouble winning by poisoning my opponents out.

The biggest problem with the infect version of the deck is that it was very fragile. The next biggest problem is that it was too slow. Combine the two problems and you have a perfect recipe for disaster. When you throw in the fact that this version didn't have a very good end game (I had cut a lot of the higher end stuff for cards that could help me break through and poison my opponents to death in the middle of the game) and you have an absolute delicacy.

If you think you might be interested in seeing this type of deck in action—the type of deck with a bad early game, a fragile, mediocre mid-game and a bad late game—then you need to look no further than the loser's bracket of your next Sealed Deck tournament and find the guy or gal who looks dejected because he or she opened a shoddy pool.

Me, I subjected myself to this type of a deck because I really wanted to poison some people.

I kept playing with this version of the deck until I won a game with poison counters. Once I finally inflicted the tenth poison counter upon a helpless foe I was ready to fix my deck up.

So I switched a few cards around and put together a non-infect black-green deck.


Download Arena Decklist

Needless to say, this, significantly more streamlined, deck performed much better than the infect version of the deck did.

I had a number of two-for-one removal spells in the form of two Slice in Twains, and a Skinrender. I also had a Grasp of Darkness and Galvanic Blast to help me deal with pesky threats that my opponent might put in my way.

I had a bunch of decent creatures in the middle of my curve (though, I will admit that it always feels a bit awkward to have a deck with four mana Myr and a bunch of three-drops). Then I topped out my curve with Alpha Tyrranax, Saberclaw Golem, a couple of Golem Artisans, and a Chimeric Mass.

All in all, I had a solid black-green deck with a very light splash. While I didn't really have any humongous bombs (except for Skinrender), I had a lot of very good cards, including a lot of good ways to deal with my opponents threats, a lot of good ways to gain card advantage, and enough big threats to reliably put my opponents away once I developed an advantage.

    In Defiance

By the end of the day I realized that I should have played my second Tel-Jilad Defiance. As good as Tel-Jilad Defiance is in Draft—and it's pretty good in Draft—it's even better in Sealed where your opponents will, on average, have access to a lot more artifacts.

Every time I drew my Tel-Jilad Defiance I had something really good to do with it. From having my 3/2 survive a combat against a Snapsail Glider, to protecting an attacking Chimeric Mass from a Sylvok Replica, to detaching a Grafted Exoskeleton from my opponent's creature (killing the equipped creature in the process).

Yes, in case you didn't already realize, you can use Tel-Jilad Defiance on your opponent's creature to detach any Equipment that is currently equipped to it (note also that if you Tel-Jilad Defiance your own creature it will detach any Equipment that it has on it).

While Tel-Jilad Defiance probably won't be a first-pickable card, I can see myself being very happy to pick it up 4th-7th pick. For two mana, it does a lot.

    Coming Equipped

While it didn't look like much to me while I was building my deck, fellow Daily MTG columnist Brian David-Marshall told me that I should definitely take a closer look at Infiltration Lens—especially in infect decks.

At only one mana to cast and one mana to equip, you really don't have to take much (or necessarily any) time off to cast it and use it. If your opponent never blocks your creature, then you've gotten a pretty good value paying only two total mana for a piece of Equipment that stops your opponent from blocking a creature.

If your opponent ever does decide to block, you will have gotten an even better value when you draw two cards for only two total mana and you still have the Infiltration Lens left around to give your opponent headaches.

If I could go back and rebuild my deck I would definitely make room for my Infiltration Lens and the second Tel-Jilad Defiance—probably in place of a Silver Myr and a Snapsail Glider.

    Some Initial Thoughts on Metalcraft

Over the course of the next few weeks and months, players are going to develop a much better understanding of how to make the most of metalcraft. But at the Prerelease, I was just starting to figure out ways to best take advantage of Rusted Relic and friends.

The first, and perhaps most obvious, thing that you need to know about metalcraft is that you need a ton of artifacts to be able to reliably turn it on. And you want as many of them to be cheap as possible so you have a decent shot of turning metalcraft on early.

This means that you should go out of your way to pick up mana Myr—even off-color ones—for your metalcraft decks. It also means that you want to grab as many spellbombs as possible as they will help you turn on metalcraft early, and you will be able to cycle them later (once you have a bunch of artifacts under your control) to dig for something more relevant.

There are also a ton of other good, cheap artifacts that might not look particularly flashy, but become pretty great when they provide some extra value. This helps you turn on metalcraft and makes your Carapace Forgers 4/4s and your Rusted Relics 5/5s.

For example, Perilous Myr might not look like much at first, but this little Myr is shockingly good—especially in metalcraft decks.

Then there are the cards that really take advantage of the fact that you have so many artifacts—cards like Vedalken Certarch, Myrsmith, and Golem Foundry.

Yes, Golem Foundry.

Golem Foundry is a card that really caught my attention at the Prerelease. Combined with Throne of Geth, Thrummingbird, Contagion Clasp, or the already devastating Contagion Engine, you can start pumping out 3/3s at a somewhat alarming rate. Just fill your deck with artifacts, pick up a couple of cards with proliferate and you are good to go!

    Wake Them Up!

The sleeper cards that I'm looking at right now are Tel-Jilad Defiance, Infiltration Lens, Perilous Myr, and Golem Foundry. While these cards haven't gotten a lot of widespread notice yet, I expect that they will all creep up on peoples' radars in the next few weeks.

What cards do you think are currently being undervalued? How about overvalued?

Let everyone know about your experiences at the Prerelease as well as your first impressions of the set in the forums! I, for one, can't wait to hear what you have to say about the set.

    More Sealed!

I hope you had a fantastic time at a Scars of Mirrodin Prerelease last weekend. But if you weren't able to make it to an event last weekend, or if you are simply looking for a chance to play more Scars of Mirrodin Limited, then you should make your way to a Scars of MirrodinLaunch Party this weekend. If you like artifacts, poison, promo cards, Sealed Deck, and/or Draft you won't be disappointed.

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