Into the Scrapheap? Episode 14 (Megrim)

There are now several planeswalkers that want to make an opponent discard cards (e.g. Angrath, Davriel, Kaya, Liliana, and Nicol Bolas), which means we want to find spells that reward us for our opponent discarding. The most basic idea is to simply hit our opponent’s life total every time they discard a card, and there are a few cards that will allow us to do just that.

Megrim

The original version of this idea was Megrim from Stronghold. For three mana, we do 2 damage to our opponent each time they discard a card. This seems to have set the standard that a discarded card is worth 2 life, which continues up to today.

Liliana's Caress

Megrim was all there was until Magic 2011, when Liliana’s Caress was printed. This looks like a strict upgrade rendering Megrim obsolete: now we can do the same damage for only two mana. But do notice that the wording is slightly different. On the one hand, the opponent just loses the two life (it’s not damage, which might be prevented or redirected). On the other hand, in Magic there is always the possibility that some card interaction would want the enchantment to ‘deal damage’, so I think we can’t quite toss Megrim onto the scrapheap. (And, of course, for the purposes of Planeswalker Jousting, only Liliana gets access to Liliana’s Caress.)

Raiders' Wake

A recent upgrade to Liliana’s Caress is Raiders’ Wake from Ixalan, but we should note that it also costs twice as much—we’re paying for that upgrade! Still, this card has its own discarding engine, making it possible to force a discard every turn, without having to rely solely on instants & sorceries or specters that need to also deal damage to force the discard. If our deck can wait until turn four for this, then this would seem to be the best option.

Scythe Specter

One specter with a built-in discard engine that also does the work of a Megrim is Scythe Specter, but it’s even pricier (3X the cost of Liliana’s Caress). On the upside, the potential damage is even greater—if they discard a 5-drop, they are taking 5 damage rather than 2. We also did 4 damage during combat! The obvious downsides, though, are that we have to do combat damage to cause any life loss (this card does not work with a simple discard spell like Duress), and creatures are always a bit more fragile on the battlefield than enchantments. Still, this might make a nice finisher in a discard damage deck.

Fell Specter

Another creature with this discard damage ability is Fell Specter. It’s the same price as Raiders’ Wake, and it does cause an immediate discard when it enters the battlefield. Unlike most specters, though, it does not have the repeatable discard engine (“Whenever [Specter] deals damage to a player, that player discards a card.”) Overall, I would rate it below Raiders’ Wake, which I would have to objectively rate below Liliana’s Caress just for its mana efficiency (with the caveat that ratings of Magic cards are always subjective, depending on the needs of a particular deck).

Quest for the Nihil Stone

One other enchantment that can reward us for making our opponent discard is Quest for the Nihil Stone. It’s cheap, but it does come with some other hoops to jump through. Still, the payoff is 5 life lost (a quarter of their starting health) per turn if we can get our discard engine going. Again, this might serve as a decent finisher in a discard damage deck.

CONCLUSION: Nothing is technically obsolete here, but it does seem that we might want to think twice before using Megrim. If we can’t play Liliana’s Caress because of deck-building constraints, or we happen to be playing other cards that want Megrim’s particular wording, or one extra mana would stretch our resources too much, then it might still have a place in some deck.

Advertisements

Kasmina’s Wizards

I’m excited by all the new planeswalkers in War of the Spark—more Planeswalker Jousting decks! One of the more interesting new planeswalkers is Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor:

Kasmina

She slows your opponent down if he wants to start picking off your creatures, and she can create at least two wizard tokens to protect herself. Now, wizard tokens calls for something special, even if they are only 2/2 wizards (and I will say here that this token really should have been given some kind of ability, even if just a small cantrip, to really capture the flavor of a wizard; otherwise, these wizards are really nothing more than blue Grizzly Bears!). My thinking here is that Kasmina is a mentor, so the wizards she calls forth might be some of her young apprentices, rather than some crusty old Gandalf.

So, young wizards…

The obvious choice for young wizards in this day and age would be a raid on Hogwarts—lots of young wizards to choose from, but I went with the three obvious ones:

Token Wizard 22b Token Wizard 22c Token Wizard 22d

And if you’re into the most recent Harry-Potter-world movies, you might even think of young Newt Scamander:

Token Wizard 22e

I’m not a huge fan of the Harry Potter movies, though, so I’m looking elsewhere for inspiration. In fact, when you say a 2/2 BLUE Wizard, there’s only one blue wizard who comes to mind (ok, maybe the Genie from Aladdin also comes to mind, but I’ll save him for a blue Djinn token): Ryze, the Rune Mage from League of Legends. And there are several good skins to choose from:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Another modern, young wizard in popular culture, even though I didn’t really care for the show myself (but I assume it was fairly popular, since it went on for a few seasons), is from the TV show Merlin—I think a traditional Merlin would have to be tougher and more powerful than a vanilla 2/2, but this young version is probably just about right at 2/2:

Token Wizard 22a

Finally, if you say ‘wizard’ (or should that be ‘wizzard‘?), then one of my favorites has to be Terry Pratchett’s Rincewind, who is flavorfully depicted by Paul Kidby:

Token Wizard 22f

Saheeli, the Gifted Inventor

Saheeli Rai is apparently really good at copying others’ designs and making them her own.

Saheeli Rai   Saheeli, the Gifted

This means we need some special tokens for my Planeswalker Jousting Saheeli Deck. As usual, I made a couple of versions:

Saheeli is also an artist,

Saheeli's Artistry   Saheeli's Artistry

and when she shows off her artistry, she needs more tokens:

I also borrowed the Ornithopter from Kaladesh Inventions to make her deck a special thopter token:

Token Thopter Kaladesh

Nissa’s Land Elementals

Nissa, Worldwaker

So, Nissa here turns lands into Elemental creatures. How does one represent that on a card? Well, I had a couple of ideas. Of course, my Planeswalker Jousting Nissa deck is mono-green, so I only made Forest versions. Perhaps later I will need to make some other colors. Plus, I noted that a couple other Nissa planeswalkers do similar things in different sizes, so I may need to expand on this later. But for now, behold Nissa turning Zendikar into her own personal army:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Release the Kraken!

I find it a little hard to believe, but I cannot find a single example of a 9/9 Kraken token using the Clash of the Titans kraken. Kiora, the Crashing Wave from the Born of the Gods set created an emblem that produced these, and I remember reading or hearing Mark Rosewater say that the only reason they put krakens in the set was because viewers of this movie expected them in a Greek mythology setting. So, I made some of my own, and went straight back to Harryhausen’s 1981 film (not that dumb 2010 remake):

token kraken 99ctoken kraken 99btoken kraken 99a

Nissa Deck Elf Warrior Tokens

My Planeswalker Jousting Nissa Deck uses

Imperious Perfect

to create some

Imperious Perfect Imperious Perfect Imperious Perfect

But since my tokens are specifically for a Nissa deck…

TOKEN Elf Warrior 11p TOKEN Elf Warrior 11t

You can choose between a Terry Pratchett elf quote and a J.R.R. Tolkien elf quote! Now isn’t that just Perfect? Imperiously so!

I’m also going to include a link to this nifty little token, which would fit right into my deck, with art by some guy named The Blue Monkey or diosboss, because I had a hard time finding it again:

Imperious Perfect

Tezzeret Tokens

I recently acquired Tezzeret the Schemer for my Tezzeret Planeswalker Jousting deck:

As you can see, this Tezzeret needs some support: Etherium Cell tokens and a Tezzeret Emblem. I have three options for the Etherium Cell—a flux capacitor, a lightsaber hilt, or the ultimate in battery power: the Energizer Bunny!

Token Etherium Cell FC Token Etherium Cell LS Token Etherium Cell EB

For the emblem, I’m thinking why not use classic 5/5 Artifact Creatures that you just lay over the artifact being transformed (can you identify these classics?):

This slideshow requires JavaScript.