Monday, 16 May 2011

Dooooonuuuuuuuts!! (Or finally seeing the Birthing Pod light.)

I admit, I was foolish. I saw the gift horse and I looked it directly in the mouth. For this I will don my Dofus-Cap and go stand in the corner. I would appreciate a moment of patience on your part while I complete this operation.



Ok, I'm back and I have got something to say: I just got excited by New Phyrexia.

I mean really excited. Homer excited.

It happened about 30 minutes ago and only the rising tide of my homer-esque donut-inspired drool threatening to drown me finally managed to break my delirious funk about a seriously interesting card.

Everyone ready with their best Homer-seeing-fresh-donuts voice?

Birrrrrrr-thing Pooooooooooooood!!

I may have mentioned previously that I wasn't particularly excited about Birthing Pod, I mean, what's another tutor when we want better monsters, eh? It turns out that the Pod is a monster too, just a different sort of monster. As I was pondering what to do in my sealed deck, with a Pod in play beside a Trinket Mage and a Deceiver Exarch hiding somewhere in the untapped potential of my library. This is pretty insane as either one gives you and extra use to jump straight from your 2-drop right to your 4 drop (one with the COTB trigger, the other searching out a Voltaic Key)

What would happen if we opened this out to a Vintage card pool where we don't just have undercosted monsters, we also have a large number of overcosted monsters with benefits that allow us to skip up the chain a little Maelstrom Djinn & Scornful Egotist both allow you to invest 3 to play a morph, a similiarly pithy amount to flip it over (3 & 1 respectively) and skip directly from a 3 mana creature to a 9 mana creature with the Pod. Now there many not be anything at 9 worth adding such pityful cards to your EDH deck for.... what?! There is?

All the Bringers are 9 mana as are Inkwell Leviathan, Iona, Reya, Spirit of the Night, Nullstone Gargoyle and Demon of Death's Gate. The Bringers & the Demon raises another interesting category of creatures: Creatures that you can pay less for.

The sacrifice cost of the Demon allows you to pay no mana for a 9cmc creature. This allows you to trade up into a 10cmc creature for an investment of 1-2 mana with the pod. Allosaurus Rider allows you to do the same for an investment of 2 green cards (ouch!) though Vine Dryad pitching a single green card allowing you  jump directly to 5 seems like a workable deal.

The cost cutting doesn't stop there as all suspend creatures with a suspend cost inferior to their cmc will give you value when recycled through your Pod. It's perhaps fortunate that the Pod ability is only available at sorcery speed given the playability of evoke creatures, paying 2 or 4 to process a Mulldrifter through play and into your graveyard and a Primeval Titan onto the battlefield from your deck is probably a little too good.

A bit of noise has been made about Melira, Sylvok Outcast and creatures with Persist when combined with a sacrifice effect. It's also interesting to note that there are persist creatures on the curve from 2cc all the way to 6cc before skipping to 8cc with Woodfall Primus. With a means to re-use your Birthing Pod and sufficient mana, you can Pod your way to any CC up to 10cc without losing any of the creatures you are sacrificing barring your chosen 7-drop.

There's also another way to skip up your curve with Birthing Pod if you already have a creature-based, cotb, untap effect in play such as Deceiver Exarch or Pestermite. You play Clone / Sakishima / Phyrexian Metamorph into Vesuvan Doppelganger into a 6 drop. Unfortunately, there's two holes in the plan: firstly, you have to keep the Exarch or Mite in play to be copied by the incoming Clone and you'll have to skip a spot on the curve before you get to your Quicksilver Gargantuan but you'll either want to stop at 6 anyway or your 6-drop has given you some value on the way in (a Titan) or out (Wurmcoil Engine). The Gargantuan allows you to get to 8, the number of Akromas, Avatars, Hellkites, Terastodons and Elder Dragons among many others.

And while we're on the subject of Deceiver Exarch and Pestermite, let's look at the following chain: Pestermite -> 4 drop + Voltaic Key -> Karmic Guide (targetting your dead 'Mite) -> Gleancrawler. Here we're going to go straight from 2 or 3 directly to 6 and, if Gleancrawler makes it to the end of the turn, get everything back in addition to an extra creature from the returning Karmic Guide.

There are also a couple of creatures that you want to kill off for various reasons: Noble Benefactor, Veteren Explorer or something your've stolen from an opponent. Having it active in play beside a Grave Pact or a Butcher of Malakir sounds like it could be a lot more fun for you for you than for your opponents. While you are climbing up the curve, you get to fritter away your opponents' creatures.

Ok, it's obvious that you can play it and that it will be useful but where are you going to play it?

Untapping seems to be where the value lies which suggests that the Pod best be paired with Blue, the colour of untapping and finding cards that untap artifacts. Tezz 1.0, Clock of Omens and Voltaic Key along with the afforementioned Deceiver Exarch & Pestermite seem like nice fits. It also gives you Filigree Sages and, if you can transform the Birthing Pod into a creature, Voltaic Construct. These last two are of most interest to us given that they both benefit from Training Grounds. Suddenly your Pod reload costs UG or just G and it's re-usable.

Blue for the artifact related stuff and Clones; Green for the Pod itself and all of the "advantage" creatures you can search out; Black for the Oversold Cemetary that's benefitting from you throwing all this lovely food into the graveyard, White has some advantage cards as well like Sun Titan and Karmic Guide.

I think all that's left to say is that this little machine is restricted only by your imagination.

Oh, and sorcery speed.

And green Commanders.

Apart from that, what have the Romans ever done for us, eh?