Patriot Games

Monday, 22 April 2013

Entering the Maze

I was quite concerned about Dragon's Maze after Gatecrash.  Gatecrash was a substandard set in comparison to Return to Ravnica and had few cards outside of the shock lands that you really wanted to own.  Then we were treated to the description of Maze's End:

I think the artwork is stunning, but that is the only good thing about this!

I know lots of you think it will be really great fun to build a deck with this as your win condition, but for the sake of your own sanity please don't do it.  With the perfect hand etc the earliest you could actually manage to pull this off is turn 8.  If you had just played normal land and 1/1 guys each turn by turn 8 you would have done your opponent 33 damage by the end of turn 8...

Fortunately Maze's End was not a fair representation of the cards in the set, adding in the consideration that we get "bonus" shock lands in the set (all be it at about 1 a box) and suddenly the worst thing about Dragon's Maze is the name.  So now that the whole set has been spoilt here, I thought I would look at some of my personal favourite cards from Dragon's Maze.

I think this should have a stylised S on its back.

I really hated the Delver of secrets decks of last year.  They were miserable to play against and all about flipping delver on turn two and ridding it to victory.  Wizards of the Coast obviously hate Delver too but I feel that this card in Dark Ascension would have made the whole Innistrad era a better play experience for constructed.  Expect this to see play in Legacy until people stop playing Delver of Secrets.

You can't touch this...

So a 3/2 flyer for 4 mana - seems ok in limited.  Oh but wait it has hexproof?  Now that is a bit different.  For those of you that didn't play M12 limited Aven Fleetwing was a 2/2 flyer with hexproof for U3 which with the help of the odd enchantment frequently won games.  Playing white in a deck with flyers is almost a given so the extra white mana in the casting cost is negligible.  Sticking a Holy Mantle on this gives you a 5/4 flyer with protection from creatures and players (technically).  Alternatively just add;

Haven't I seen this before?

Creature enchantment don't see much play.  The chance to being two for oned is usually too much of a risk, however occasionally a creature enchantment is worth the risk.  In Invasion 13 years ago we got just such an enchantment in Armadillo Cloak - for WG1 your creature got +2/+2 Trample and you gain life for the damage it does.  Now Unflinching Courage which does almost exactly the same thing...  I have no idea why Wizards didn't just reprint Armadillo Cloak, maybe they thought we needed something extra for Uril the Mistwalker EDH decks?  Speaking of reprints;

Killing is my business...

Kill spells, we love them and they are a major part of MTG.  This baby has always been popular when in standard and now makes a welcome return with very cool art work.  Better in Jund than Murder because you don't need to hit double black, it also has the fringe benefit of destroying key runes, Door to Nothingness and Gilded Lotus as well.

Whatever it was, no.

Ok so your opponent has a whole bunch of mana and look like they are working up to that combo to kill you  - not anymore!  Also you have to love a spell which is basically Counter Spell and Silence put together for the same cost as Counter Spell and Silence!

I'm not a big fan of split cards they tend to either be over costed copies of existent spells or only have one half you would ever actually play.  I really like this as a utility card though; been taking a beating?  Then a bit of willing kills their guys if they attack/block and gains you life.  Are you the Beats?   Well lets see how they feel about blocking your indestructible vigilant hordes, or vise versa.  The Fuse mechanic is a great addition to the split card format and seems to work well with the cards in this set.


Dimir had by far the best mechanic in Gatecrash and then had a terrible selection of cards with which to use it.  For 2 mana this seems to be full of possibilities to me.  Sticking this on Invisible Stalker opens up a whole bunch of broken things to do each turn.

I just love me a good mutant frog...

This may not seem like an obvious pick especially as I am going to suggest this as playable in standard.  "What? - but it is just a big derpy man that does nothing when it comes in!"  This is true but bouncing a creature every turn seems good when you are a Frog Beast as Cavern of Souls naming Beast gives you uncounterable Thragtusks every turn and Kermit here bounces Thragy back to your hand or a 3/3 beast token and 5 life every turn, and I still have a 5 mana Frog titan :-)

Trolling Legacy players just got even more fun.

I really like the creature cycles in this set, they seem to contain a fair amount of solid limited cards without having them at Rare.  The rare cycle is of course the Legendary Guild Champions who are running the Dragon's Maze.  I like nearly all of these champions although few of them will see play in constructed.  two of the exceptions to this are Ruric Thar, The Unbowed (great you don't dare kill it) and this guy.  So I sacrifice my Thragtusk (or Species Gorger) to regenerate Varolz and then pay UG3 next turn and Varolz is a 8/8...  I have also noticed that he is a Troll whose name ends in ROLZ, hmmmm.

There are actually a whole bunch of other cards I could mention here - I've not even really looked at the mythics and as we all get copies of Maze's End at the pre-release it hardly counts.  Don't forget that this Saturday and Sunday is pre-release, it is always a good idea to pre-reg for this and that can be done here.

I hope to be back with another blog on Friday - see you then.


  1. Yo, this might be a bit late but maybe you'll get it in time to help me out: I'm preregistered for the prerelease but I've no idea if it's at the store or what! And if I recall it was 10:30 start but I can't confirm that since it's NOT WRITTEN ANYWHERE ON THE PATRIOT GAMES SITE (that I can find).

    1. Its at the store. sorry just got the e-mail about your post.

    2. Awesome, I appreciate the reply!