M13 pre-release: Playing to your Weakness – Artifact
Hello and welcome back to Playing to Your Weakness. If you read my Avacyn Restored articles, then you’ll know what this article is all about. Playing to your Weakness is my opinion of what cards will be really strong during the pre-release weekend, but not just any card. No, this focuses mainly on the uncommons and commons of the set because lets face it, not a lot of people are going to get any of the rares or mythic rares that they want. What you’ll be stuck with are going to be a lot of commons and uncommon cards and you’ll have to figure out how you can make them work together. To kick off the week, I’ll be focusing on artifacts today.
But before that I want to make some observations about the colors overall. In the last few sets it really seemed like the 5 colors were lacking roles. I mean, what there the colors known for? M13 seems to have helped these colors find their identies. For example, white is full of life gain, small, easy to cast creatures, and lots of defense focused cards. Black is back as the main assassin color with cards like Murder and Mutilate. It can weaken your enemies to make them easier to kill or weaken your opponent through directly by siphoning life away from them. Of course, most of these cards come with a heavy cost of life in one way or another. Blue is about control, forcing your opponent to discard, and shutting down an opponents creatures. Red is always about the fast burn, but usually lacking in the defensive department. And of course green is all about the BIG MOFOs that will eat you in one bite. They cost a lot to get out, but their presence can quickly shift the game in your favor.
Be sure to keep these roles in mind when you’re building a deck. What cards will be the biggest threat to your deck and how will you deal with them with the cards you pulled? Keep in mind that all 6 packs of cards that you open are going to be your sideboard. If you’re opponent is beating you down with red attack spells, maybe you should change out a color in the second game for white so you can gain life and keep the game out of reach for your opponent. I made this mistake at Avacyn, playing only with the original 2 colors I chose to use, only switching to a more effective 3 color deck in the last match (which proved to be a lot stronger). And with Evolving Wilds in M13, it might just be better to do that.
Anyways, going back to the point of this article. Playing to your weaknesses. Artifacts rarely have had good commons and uncommons, but I think the rings are going to be great to play in any deck you have, even if you don’t get the +1/+1 bonus.
The BEST of all the rings in my opinion. So the hexproof isn’t always activated, but if you manage to get this on a Jace’s Phantasm on turn 3 you can start pumping it up and before you know it you have a 5/5 flyer after a few turns that is hexproof. Blue lacks the ability to pump up a creature, so this is definitely a welcome addition.
Not as good as the Blue ring, but regenerate isn’t bad, especially if you have it on a deadly blocker like Vampire Nighthawk. It’s like the Energizer Bunny from hell. It just keeps killing and killing and killing . . . and gains you life! This ring will also be good against other spells that destroy or deal damage coming from a red or white source. It can definitely save your butt in a pinch.
Again, not bad, especially if you’re playing in a sealed draft like at the pre-release. The upside is that the ability doesn’t need to be activated. It lets you attack right away or use an ability which can be really useful sometimes. Red has a lot of instants that boost power temporarily, but usually it’s only the power and not the toughness. The +1/+1 can be really useful if you’re going up against some creatures with trample.
Okay, maybe this ring is the best. Trample is pretty awesome, especially with Rancor getting a reprint as well. It doesn’t need to be activated and you’ll probably put it on an already beefy green creature. If anything, I think this card becomes more powerful later in the game, while the blue ring is great right from the start.
I dont’ know why, but I like this card a lot. It has a lot of utility, and after it becomes legal it will be great in a blink deck with Ghostly Flicker or Cloudshift. You can have it enter the field as exactly what you need. Got tons of large blockers on the ground? Go to the air as a 2/2. Need a big blocker? Enter as a 1/6 wall. And if you just want to pound your opponent, come in as a 3/3. You won’t have many chances to change it though unless you have a Roaring Primadox in your hand. This card will be really useful in a sealed tourney, and at 4 mana is fairly costed as well I think.
Well, I’m off to Monday Night Magic now, but when I have more time I’ll be sure to add in the rest of the colors (before next weekend’s pre-release). Thanks for reading, and if you have any comments or can think of any other COMMON OR UNCOMMON Artifacts that should get some coverage, please let me know!