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Spreading Cheese – Selective Revelations

Hi everyone. I’m sure most of you have realized that Mirrodin Besieged spoilers are starting to pop up. You can find an official and nicely sorted spoiler here, and you can go to the The Rumor Mill on the MTGSalvation forums for the bleeding edge on the spoilers (some cards post to the official spoiler slower, MTGS has them instantly). There are some pretty interesting cards, and many of them show promise for several new deck ideas. However, I’m not going to be discussing the spoilers, since that’s the obvious thing to do and everyone will discuss them to death anyway.

There are several things that I want to talk about, though. First of all, the SCG Open Series. As everyone who comes to this site probably knows, our very own Joey Pasco and Bigheadjoe are part of the SCGLive coverage crew. I believe that the Open Series is doing something really good for the game. These tournaments provide an easy-to-follow and up-to-date window into the metagame. Remember a few years back, when everybody netdecked their decks from just a few events per year? Now everyone can get a new or updated deck pretty much every week, and the metagame evolves really fast. No more one deck that is overly dominant and everyone plays, now there are several tier 1 decks and quite a collection of tier 1.5/2 decks. I believe this is due to the Open Series constantly providing pros with a way to prove themselves and amateurs to see what’s good and what’s bad. The fact that they’re also doing this for Legacy is even better, because big and official Legacy tournaments used to be hard to find. With easy-to-follow coverage, detailed breakdowns and decklists, I believe this is the direction the game should go in. I don’t hear enough people showing appreciation towards this, so I wanted to put my opinion out there.

Now let’s go back to what I just said. What are the top/near top tier decks? Obviously RUG and UB, Valakut, Eldrazi Ramp, RDW, UW, UG, followed by Boros, Elves and Vampires. Don’t get mad at me for the ordering, it changes depending on when you look and who you ask. That’s not the point. Anyone remember what it was like a few months back? Jund, and decks that tried to beat Jund. Near the end of Alara’s lifetime we had a few other players like Bant and Turboland, but Jund was pretty much top dog for a long while. Now I must admit that RUG is top dog right now, but at least a few of the other decks have a good chance at beating it, while being able to beat other decks too. I think this is a good metagame, and remember that in a very short time we will get Mirrodin Besieged, thus spicing up the formula even more. The first few weeks when MBS comes out the metagame will be very exploitable, and that’s the time I love playing the most. When SOM first came around, I had just started writing articles, and while my first build ever wasn’t so awesome, the tips I have in my first article will apply again to the release of MBS. I’ll talk more about that when the time comes, but I want to point out the fact that we have a great metagame and the release of MBS will only enhance this.

I know I said I wouldn’t talk spoilers, but I want to point out one specific card, spoiled by TCGPlayer.com.

I shall say it right now: look out for this card. I believe this card has a good chance to be a serious player in Standard and Legacy (I’m Extended-challenged, so I can’t say anything about that format (maybe Wargate or something?). In Legacy, there will be a combo deck (if not, I will make one) with this card and an annoying creature, for example Progenitus. Yes, I know Natural Order exists, but that requires you to actually play some green creatures. Imagine this card in some kind of deck like Spanish Inquisition or something. If that doesn’t work, it can always fetch a Tarmogoyf (yes, I know it doesn’t go to the yard to pump the goyf, but that’s not too big a deal) or many other creatures that are scary for your opponent.
In Standard, the implications are obvious. This is like Genesis Wave’s cousin who is younger but smarter. It can fetch a Primeval Titan, and in my experience the worst thing that can happen to an Eldrazi player is not drawing their Titan, which this solves immediately. It can also work in an infect deck as a card draw source. If the blue zenith ends up being a card that can fetch a sorcery, I will officially declare this card to be broken.

It seems that WOTC is really pushing the land ramp angle as much as they can, which is a good thing if you enjoy playing ramp and an awful thing if you don’t. Either way, this means even more sales for Zendikar product. Speaking of Zendikar sales, it’s time for me to be a bit controversial now. So some of you might have seen/heard Mark Rosewater mention Zendikar was the best selling set of all time, thus the conclusion is that Zendikar is the best designed set in a long while. I want to challenge this assertion. Before I begin this, I highly recommend that you read this: All Market Research is Wrong. Now, that is a highly controversial text in itself, and you may or may not believe it. It doesn’t matter what my opinion is.

Fact: Zendikar sold a lot.
Assertion from this fact: Zendikar was well-designed. Do you believe this to be that simple?

Let’s take a look at some other facts:

There was a rumor (supported by many) that Vintage cards were inserted in very few packs of Zendikar (hence the “priceless treasures” theme). This made many, many collectors buy extreme amounts of Zendikar product in order to be able to pull some Power 9.

Zendikar was the return set for fetchlands, which are the second most popular lands in Legacy and Vintage, and the most popular lands in Standard (and possibly Extended?). Seeing as how the old fetchlands still hold (and gain) value over time, anyone with some shred of sense can see that fetchlands are a good investment, thus collectors/dealers buy more Zendikar product.

Not as significant as the above two, but Zendikar packs feature the universally loved full-art lands, which are a collector staple.

A few other factors not as significant as the above, like Lotus Cobra’s inclusion as a mythic in the set. (Note that the Cobra isn’t a flashy card at all, it is a pure utility card that is a very significant player in, which clearly contradicts Mark Rosewater’s statement of the purpose of Mythic Rares, “We’ve also decided that there are certain things we specifically do not want to be mythic rares. The largest category is utility cards, what I’ll define as cards that fill a universal function. Some examples of this category would be cycles of dual lands and cards like Mutavault or Char.” Now, I’m not complaining about Mythic Rares, but I wish Mark Rosewater would just man up and admit that Mythic Rares are (almost) purely a marketing move.)

As you can see, there are factors that are significant and unrelated to the design of the set that would have a serious impact on the amount of Zendikar product sold. I’m not saying it’s not a well-designed set, I’m just trying to put out some facts that aren’t mentioned that should be mentioned when making a statement like “Zendikar sold a lot, so it’s an awesome set”. I realize that WOTC doesn’t want to appear as an evil marketing giant, but I believe that as a lifetime customer, I deserve some more honesty and openness, especially when it comes to “selective marketing” stuff like this and utility Mythics.


That’s pretty much all I have to say this time, but I’ll leave with a tip for the casual players out there. I’ve been trying to build a deck around Selective Memory and Explosive Revelation. Here’s how it works: you play like a regular UR control/burn deck, and you get your opponent’s life down to 15. Then you cast Selective Memory, removing all nonland cards but a single Emrakul from your deck (See Beyond is really useful when it comes to keeping that Emrakul in your deck and out of your hand). Afterwards, you cast Explosive Revelation (with counterspell backup if you feel it to be necessary), and then win. This is pretty hilarious when it happens, and it happens more often than not. It’s quite easy to have this happen on turn 5 if you have the right cards and your opponent isn’t playing counterspells). I don’t have a solid list because I’ve been tweaking it and I still feel that it isn’t perfect yet, but it’s pretty fun to toy with. If you’re playing some casual format instead of Standard, you can also try playing with Draco instead of Emrakul, you have to deal 1 less damage and Draco has more casual appeal than Emrakul.

So that’s all for this week, enjoy spoilers week and come back next week for some more!

P.S. For questions, comments, feedback, send an e-mail to me at Spreading.Cheese [at] gmail [dot] com or follow me on twitter @nayon7
P.P.S: Here’s your weekly metal fix: Ulcerate – Burning Skies. By the way, I’m in the process of writing/recording a few songs of my own, so stay tuned in the following weeks for some original material by yours truly!

  1. browndr
    January 19, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Don’t know how much you pay attention to other magic websites, but the Deck Doctor series on ChannelFireball.com had the Explosive Revelation + Emrakul common as it’s third deck.

  2. January 19, 2011 at 10:13 am

    I heard that, but I was told that it didn’t have Selective Memory.

    By the way, imagine the green zenith with Painter’s Servant.

  3. maelstromreaver
    January 19, 2011 at 11:59 am

    solid comments on wotc (+1), nice song, plus a cool casual deck. casual’s the way i like it most, so i will try that out right away:D

    good luck with your recording!

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