Thursday, 4 October 2012

Blood Artist: Just a 0/1?

Innistrad: October 2011.

Drafting B/x decks was quite fun during Innistrad if you managed to get your hand on a couple of Falkenrath Nobles. A 2/2 for 4, even with flying, is interesting while not being anything spectacular. However, adding a little ping of Drain Life that triggers on creatures dying and suddenly there's a huge amount more math that needs to be done around combat. Every creature that died negated a portion of an opposing attack and hurried that player closer to their demise. Having two on board was just heaven as you were generally going to come out ahead on life in any creature kerfuffle than when you went in.

While not the out and out bomb some cards are in limited, it got killed somewhat higher up the priority list than other creatures because of the potential for huge life-swings in the creature-centric matches limited games generally are.

Above and beyond drafts and sealed events though, the card was just not interesting. For the same cost you had better fliers or the same power at a cheaper cost. Until the format swings round to mass creature generation, it will probably watch from the outside.

Avacyn Restored : May 2012

Fast forward to the release of Avacyn Restored and the very curious case of exactly the same effect on a much smaller creature with no evasion.

How desperate were WotC to get this effect into the stand-alone that they weren't willing to push off Falkenrath Noble but preferred to print exactly the same effect on what is essentially a much worse card in Blood Artist?

But is it a worse card? No evasion, no power and about the lowest toughness you can go without automatically dying, all for 2 colourless mana less. It's a cheaper rip-off of a limited card. Who is going to play this?

Actually the question is more likely "Who is going to kill this?" It's a 0/1 that falls over when another player sneezes. It dies to everything. Why waste a kill spell or effect when it will wither away at the slightest suggestion of a Wrath of God?

Well, as it turns out quite a few people, mainly because that Wrath of God will be a 20 point life swing in favour of the controller of the Blood Artist. The little dork no one wanted to kill has just taken out the lowest hanging fruit on your Wrath of God, made his controller more comfortable and will likely come back with Sun Titan in a couple of turns, something the Noble never did.

In a strange turn of events the student has become the master in our play group with the presence of quite a lot of token strategies. Stuff dies all the time and each one is a little ping here, another one there and so on until you wonder how that Ghave player could still be alive and why your neighbour is cloning 0/1 dorks like crazy.

Rite of Replication, kicked, targetting Blood Artist? Sure, I've seen it happen.

Blood Artist: Not just a 0/1.

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