A Wing Without Color

Posted in ARCHIVES - ARTICLES on October 16, 2014

By Bruce Richard

Bruce's games invariably involve several friends, crazy plays, and many laughs. Bruce believes that if anyone at your table isn't having fun, then you are doing it wrong.

Introduction | White | Blue | Black | Red | Green
Multicolored | Colorless and Lands | Multiplayer Hall of Fame Home


Welcome to the colorless and land wings of the Multiplayer Hall of Fame! No rose-colored glasses or feeling blue. We see things as they are here. Keep your hands in your pockets and no touching. These cards will bite!

The colorless and land wings were difficult sections to put together, with colorless cards and lands each offering their own issues. The colorless section was the only part of the Hall of Fame that already had 50 cards. Other sections each had 40 cards, so we had 10 extra spaces to work with. For colorless cards, the cuts would be extra harsh.

One change for the colorless cards was in the title. No longer were artifacts the only colorless cards, and artifacts weren't all colorless. The artifact section simply wasn't accurate any more, especially when the Eldrazi hit the scene. So the name was changed, and the new cards were considered.

Lands was a completely different story. There were only fifteen lands in the hall. We decided early on that we wouldn't simply add land until we hit 50 cards, but instead added cards that reached the 3.0 grade. This bumped the Real Estate list up to a healthy 32 cards.

Grading

Just a couple quick points about grading the lands. We decided most lands would score a 5 in the cockroach category. They are harder to destroy and generally have effects that can be repeated each turn. We also decided that a land had to do something other than tap for mana to be included in the Hall of Fame. Dual lands are nice, but they don't rate well in any of the hall's categories, so the lands need to do something else.

The Cards

While you can go ahead and look at the full list of colorless and land cards, I wanted to first talk about a few of my favorites here.

Coat of Arms

Coat of Arms doesn't see much play any more for the precise reason it ranks so highly in the Hall of Fame: it offers a benefit to you because of multiple opponents, but it gives those opponents the benefit too. Akroma's Memorial makes your creatures into walking keywords, but it gives nothing to your opponents' creatures. While this often means it is the better card for your deck, the hall gives marks to cards that benefit not just you, but others.

This benefit to others sounds like a problem, but don't be fooled. First off, if you're running Coat of Arms, you will probably be able to take advantage of it better than anyone else through your deck-building choices. Secondly, if someone is going to be better able to use Coat of Arms than you, you probably won't play it, although you might anyway if you and that someone really want someone else dead (or if you just love awesome things in your games).

Games involving Coat of Arms often conclude quickly, so that's another bonus in my books!

Umezawa's Jitte

I said these cards were my favorites, but I lied. I hate this card. I always have. I suspect it is because I don't own one and regularly find myself on the wrong end of this miserable piece of Equipment. Umezawa's Jitte gives the controlling player so many options! Gaining life is nice, but the ability to kill blockers or just pump up your creature to finish off an opponent makes this very difficult to manage.

Even when you can kill the equipped creature, the Jitte simply waits for the next one, with all the counters that the last creature earned, sitting right there. The counters never go to waste. Even when the Jitte is not equipped your opponent can still take counters off the Jitte to make your creatures smaller, or just gain life. All of this explains why Umezawa's Jitte is such a pain and so deserving of a spot in the Hall.

Dragon Arch

Dragon Arch sits a little lower in the colorless wing, but it gets better every set. When the Arch first came out, there weren't all that many multicolored cards in Magic, so the utility was limited. In spite of that it was still played. I managed to get an Elder Dragon onto the battlefield with it. My collection was limited and if I was going to run multicolored creatures, my mana base would be straining. The Arch for multicolored creatures made things much easier.

Mana bases are better these days, but Dragon Arch is still incredible. For only two mana you can put a multicolored creature on the battlefield at instant speed? It is clear why the rattlesnake and cockroach scores are up there for this golden Arch. I'm lovin' it!

Kessig Wolf Run

When a land can give a creature trample and make it big enough to take out one of your opponents, it ranks at the top of the hall's land wing. The danger of Kessig Wolf Run is its ability to get played early in a game, then be forgotten by your opponents. It sits there, innocuous and easily forgotten among all the other lands. Then out of the blue you are reminded it is there when your opponent's tiny 2/2 creature becomes a 12/2 trampler that kills your blocker—and you.

Emrakul, the Æons Torn

Sitting at Number One, Emrakul and his Eldrazi friends dominate the top of the chart. The hall cares about how good the card is, not what it costs, so Emrakul's only real downside, his exorbitant mana cost, is no problem. Extra turns, uncounterability, the chance to reuse your graveyard, and protection from colored spells on a 15/15 body is as spicy a package as you can imagine. Emrakul's only downside in multiplayer is that he doesn't get better with more players. And really, if you're complaining about that, you aren't looking at the card. There is a reason this bad boy is banned in Commander and plenty of kitchen tables around the world. He continues to get a place of honor in my Polymorph deck, but I suspect that may not last much longer. Nothing sucks the air out of a game quite like turning a 1/1 Soldier token into Emrakul.

I've included a deck that shows off a few of the cards in the colorless wing of the Multiplayer Hall of Fame:

Power of Artifice

Download Arena Decklist

Masticore

This bad boy does it all. A 4/4 for four mana that regenerates and, with enough mana, can kill most creatures in the game? Sign me up! While the upkeep discard is a downside in this deck, in many other decks you are using this to load your graveyard up for more recursion. With Masticore on the battlefield, other players tend to leave you alone, preferring that you target other people's creatures. That Gatling gun ability gives a great card advantage to you in many games, too, and is key to this deck functioning.

While Bonehoard will do some work, you are going to rely on Masticore for the heavy lifting. Masticore will clear its own path, then pound your opponents into submission.

Temple Bell

Temple Bell (everybody cheers!) and the original, Howling Mine, sit just outside the Top Ten. No one wants to come after the guy giving everybody cards, so players will tend to try to leave you alone, even when you are quietly hitting them a little. The benefit of Temple Bell is that we get to decide when we are going to use it. Rather than give everyone a draw at the start of his or her turn, making us wait until the last to get the benefit, Temple Bell lets us pick the best time to use it. Everyone will still be happy about drawing the card, and you get a little extra bonus.

For this particular deck, Masticore sees Temple Bell more as Taco Bell than anything else. Forcing a discard on our upkeep every turn is rough, and Temple Bell is there to help things along. Temple Bell earned its 8 on the cockroach scale by providing us with so many extra cards. In this deck, Temple Bell is doing double duty.

Phyrexian Splicer

This is a pet card of mine, but don't let you think that the Splicer made the hall because I scored it generously, as it was in the hall long before I got involved. Phyrexian Splicer works three ways.

On defense, Phyrexian Splicer warns every creature with evasion that attacking you is likely going to cause a problem. Fliers suddenly drop form the skies. That creature with first strike suddenly doesn't have first strike, but your blocker does. As long as you have a creature out, players avoid attacking you like the plague.

On offense, Phyrexian Splicer is a joy. Take a creature's trample and give it to your big guy. Fly over an opponent's creature that used to have flying. You realize just how powerful these abilities are when a creature that doesn't have one suddenly does.

The third way to use Phyrexian Splicer is to mess with other people's combat. Just when an opponent thinks it is safe to attack someone else, you stunt his or her creature, or give a defending creature flying so it can block. It can be really miserable for everyone else.

Since shadow creatures are rare to find these days, I included one in the deck. The Splicer can take shadow from it and give it to Masticore to make it unblockable. Phyrexian Splicer can give any creature shadow and let Dauthi Cutthroat kill it. I also enjoy getting two Splicers out at once. Give an opponent's creature shadow. If that player tries to double-cross you, use the other Splicer to take it away again. So much fun!

Mimic Vat

Mimic Vat loves to see big games with plenty of opponents. More opponents means more options! You take the first creature that dies. When the next one dies, you decide which is better, and keep the better one. Keep doing that and see just how awesome the creature exiled with Mimic Vat becomes.

In this deck, the Mimic Vat is a way to get around Masticore's discard-a-card upkeep. Simply choose not to pay the upkeep, and Masticore ends up in the graveyard, then promptly exiled by Mimic Vat. Tap it and pay the three to get a copy of Masticore. Hey, Masticore without the upkeep!

With this deck you need to keep in mind that the cards you are discarding due to Masticore can't be used by Mimic Vat. The creature has to die for that to happen.

Platinum Angel

Nothing says "Don't attack me" like Platinum Angel. There is a reason it received the 8 in the rattlesnake category. Platinum Angel provides that feeling of hopelessness. You know you will have to find a way to destroy it other than your creatures, because your opponent isn't going to let you kill it in combat. Your path to victory now demands you have a way to deal with artifacts, in addition to getting life totals to 0.

Platinum Angel is rarely ever just dropped onto the battlefield, either. Players love to confound opponents by making it indestructible, giving it hexproof, or providing a variety of other ways to keep it on the battlefield.

As a public service announcement, I want to encourage you all to attack the player with Platinum Angel until his or her life total is 0. Winning a game against the Platinum Angel player involves killing the Angel and reducing life totals, but not necessarily in that order. Don't give the player extra turns simply because you can't defeat him or her right away.

Nevinyrral's Disk

Finally, the Disk is in this deck to be the reset button it is meant to be. The deck starts slowly, so you may want the reset button when you are finally ready to set your plan in motion. Nevinyrral's Disk has been doing this for years for players who were stuck in a color that didn't grant them mass removal.

The reason Nevinyrral's Disk scores so well is its rattlesnake ability. Once it is out there, everyone knows that the controller will "pop" the Disk when he or she needs to, and that is usually when an opponent attacks that player. This discourages others from attacking, since players want to keep their stuff!

The dirty little secret about Nevinyrral's Disk? Attack the controller anyway. What the controller really wants is for you and everyone else to keep attacking each other while the Disk player fills his or her hand with all sorts of cards, ready to flood the table exactly when he or she is ready to pounce.

Don't let that happen. You are going to lose those permanents eventually. Do it now, before the Disk player gets a chance to prepare.

I hope you enjoyed your walk through the colorless and land wings of the Multiplayer Hall of Fame!

Bruce Richard
@manaburned
mtgseriousfun@gmail.com


Introduction | White | Blue | Black | Red | Green
Multicolored | Colorless and Lands | Multiplayer Hall of Fame Home