It’s been a while since I’ve written a text article, in part because I find videos more enjoyable to do but also more conducive to explaining my thought process. However, it’s spoiler time for Mirrodin Besieged, and I’ve got a doozy of a preview card for you today. Of course, I’m not going to give it to you right away – there has to be some lead up, a crescendo if you will, before I reveal the card.
Today’s card is a simple card – one that may not seem like such a great card until you actually realize how vastly superior it can be to current alternatives in both Standard and Extended constructed. I’m not trying to defend something like Argent Sphinx, or some other card that will be relegated to gather dust in many trade binders. No, today’s card is something powerful – something that the top tier decks will grab a hold of and latch onto.
Today’s card is one which many players have been clamouring for. With the rise of blue-black control in standard after worlds, and the resurgence of both faeries and jund in extended, many people have been realizing that there isn’t a “perfect” removal spell to play.
Grasp of Darkness is also decent, but not all decks can easily cast it, and -4/-4 sometimes isn’t enough.
My preview card today shores up all of these weaknesses in current black removal spells without an increase in cost. It’s easier to cast than Grasp of Darkness yet able to destroy a whole subset of creatures that Doom Blade cannot.
One facet of this card I greatly appreciated when I first saw it was the unity that the name, effect, art and even flavour text had – they really made sense together.
Having flesh is increasingly a liability on Mirrodin – (Flavour text from Go For the Throat)
In case you still haven’t guessed what my card does, I’ll give you one last clue. Mark Rosewater recently said that Terror was in the Scars of Mirrodin design file for some time, until set size constraints forced it to get removed. The logic behind Terror’s inclusion was that in an artifact-based set such as the first Mirrodin, players would actually pick Shatter over Terror in a draft. I can almost guarantee that Go For the Throat is what was added to the limited format in that same vein.
Ready? Ladies and Gentlemen, feast your eyes on Go For the Throat!
This is a black spot removal spell at its finest. Although black does not normally get the ability to destroy other black creatures, this card creates a flavourful reason why black can now kill a Grave Titan. After all, slitting someone’s throat only works if they need to breathe in the first place, right?
I fully expect black players to eschew Doom Blade, Smother and Grasp of Darkness for a few copies of this new spell. No longer will a single Grave Titan or Creepting Tar Pit go unanswered while a Doom Blade rots in the opponent’s hand.
The presence of this removal spell now poses a new question to blue-black players. What finishers do we want? Many decks no longer use 3 of the black titan due to fears of opposing Memoricides, or if they do they sideboard them out for more diversified threats. The ability to kill a titan in the mirror makes the all-titan plan even less appealing.
One card that I think we may see more of is Sphinx of Jwar Isle, a card which has not been seen in competitive standard in quite some time. Grave Titan was attractive not only because of his obscene power level, but because he was very hard to deal with, especially in the mirror. Time will tell if the presence of this powerful new removal spell will change the way players build their black decks.
Obviously this card will make a fine inclusion to any Commander deck or Cube, and it will be one of the premier removal spells for all its time in standard (that is, presuming that some heavy artifact-creature deck does’t take the metagame by storm).
This card is a very potent removal spell, and I can say with relative certainty that we’ll be going for each others’ throats a great deal in the near future.
Remember that Mirrodin Besieged prerelease tournaments are taking place on January 29 and 30 at your local game store, or if you’re so lucky as to have a large regional prerelease, you’ll need to get info from your TO.
Unfortunately for many people (including myself), we cannot go to both prereleases, because the Masters Edition IV release championship is taking place that day – a free sealed event on MTGO for people who have top 8ed a qualifier, which awards really awesome prizes. So unfortunately I must decide between going to the second prerelease (to try out the other faction) and playing MEIV. Since the MEIV is free, I’ll be taking that one, but this really seems like a fail on the part of whoever scheduled the release championship. Anyway, that’s my rant for this article.
We still have over a week more of spoiling cards, so I’m sure there will be something exciting for everyone. We’ve seen Tezzeret, Servant of Bolas and the infect-tastic Blightsteel Colossus, as well as a fair few cards that I’m eager to play with.
As always, feel free to contact me with suggestions, comments, or questions via any of the following media.