Saturday, November 16, 2013

Dragon's Maze Draft Toss-Up: Turn//Burn vs. Far//Away

Technically, this draft toss-up would be for the format of Dragon's Maze - Gatecrash - Return to Ravnica, and there are three sets worth of cards to look through there. But I'm going to focus on cards within the same sets, so we'll look at these two studs in the "DGR" draft format.

  vs.

The Numbers (courtesy of Bestiaire.org)
Far // Away - #5 uncommon, #30 overall
Turn // Burn - #4 uncommon, #28 overall

The Analysis
First off, if this is your decision, you're excited. You have an option between two really powerful cards here. They're both removal, they're both flexible, they both run at instant speed. Both cards fuse for 5 mana. In the right circumstance, each of them has the potential to be a complete blowout. And even in the wrong circumstance, each of them is a small piece of removal (Away and Burn, respectively).

So what's the difference between them? Well, Far//Away is made valuable by its ability to get through things like hexproof or regeneration, since you're forcing the player to sacrifice, and it incorporates one of my favorite effects: Unsummon. Turn and Burn is more useful as a combat trick, when you can Burn one creature and Turn another to make it susceptible to an easy block kill. Turn//Burn is also a bit more reliable, giving a guaranteed kill of one creature as long as you can cast both parts.

I think they're both really good cards, but my pick is going to be Far//Away. While fusing either card gives you a great effect, the individual pieces of Far//Away are better in my book. An Unsummon effect is always a positive, and there are plenty of circumstances where an opponent only has a single creature, where Away will do everything you need it to do. You can also always use Far during combat to save your own creature while using Away as a kill spell. Turn and Burn are good individual effects, but not great. The value of Turn//Burn is really in destroying one targeted problem enemy for five mana. Far//Away can regularly do a good deal more than that.

The Verdict
Far//Away

Monday, November 11, 2013

Magic 2014 Draft Toss-Up: Into The Wilds vs. Dark Prophecy

Well old friends, I'm bringing back an old favorite, the draft toss-ups. In case you don't remember, what we do is grab two cards that are similarly rated on Bestiaire within a single set, and I give you a rundown of what I think of the two cards. We evaluate them based on their usefulness in a limited deck, so the resale price of the card is not part of the equation. Then I pick one, and then you make fun of me for my choice. Here we go.

http://draft.bestiaire.org/images/m14/Into_the_Wilds.jpg  vs.  http://draft.bestiaire.org/images/m14/Dark_Prophecy.jpg

First, the justification for comparing them. They're both enchantments, both rares, and they're both new issues for M14. They rate #79 (Into the Wilds) and #85 (Dark Prophecy) overall on Bestiaire. They also both offer a form of card draw.

Another thing that they both boast is exceptionally appropriate flavor for their colors. Green's card draw is always based on creatures or lands, and black usually has a life cost for its card draw. So, both of them have that going for them.

At their cores, Dark Prophecy is a stronger card. Even with the life cost of losing creatures, nine times out of ten the card draw is going to be well worth the loss. It also opens up some profitable situations, like trading a Child of Night for a Coral Merfolk or Goblin Shortcutter in combat. While sometimes you're worried about pinging yourself to death, in general you're going to want to have the card.

Even still, Into the Wilds is a more playable card. It's got the lack of a downside which is nice, but the real value is in the casting cost. Dark Prophecy is basically unplayable except in a mono-black deck; in any other situation, you're not going to be able to get enough value by the time you cast it. Into the Wilds meanwhile will always get a little work done. It's not a bomb by any stretch, but it's perfectly playable. I'm actually pretty surprised that Dark Prophecy gets taken as high as it does. I guess with Bestiaire you don't actually have to play the deck, so you can be a little more loosey-goosey. But for me, this one's not close.

Joe's pick: Into the Wilds

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