Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Top 5 Modern "Core Set" Cards - Green and Blue

A little bit of Kiora all night long. A little bit of Simic in the sun.

Sorry, I promise I'll never parody Lou Bega again.

Top Five Green Core Cards
  1. Llanowar Elves (many times, most recently M12) - My pick for the top of Green is a card that's actually been cycled out of play. It's been replaced by the functionally identical Elvish Mystic. Regardless, it's a great Green card for two reasons. First, it's ramp, which is obviously Green. But more subtly, it's a spell effect that got morphed into a creature. It's exactly how Green does business. I choose Llanowar Elves over Elvish Mystic because I appreciate history.
  2. Giant Growth (many times, most recently M14) - Another card that's been around since Alpha, Giant Growth is Green's style of removal. Combat tricks are the name of the game, and it's a big pump for a small price. I prefer it over Titanic Growth because all you need is the power of a single forest to wreck someone's day.
  3. Acidic Slime (4 times, most recently M13) - Acidic Slime is a creature I took a long time to appreciate. But when I realized I was often considering playing Bramblecrush as a supplementary card, Acidic Slime really shined out. The utility of its enter-the-battlefield effect can't be overstated, especially if you find a Roaring Primadox in your set. Adding a 2/2 deathtouch creature is just gravy. And again, it's a creature that does a spell effect.
  4. Overrun (10E, M10, M12) - I chose Overrun over Rancor or Duskdale Wurm as my representative for the "Trample" mechanic, but I wonder if Overrun is actually too powerful for today's Magic. Enlarge is a similar card, sorcery speed, pump and trample, and the same CMC, but often not as powerful. It'll be interesting to see if it gets printed again anytime soon. Regardless, great Green card.
  5. Giant Spider (almost every set, most recently M14) - Giant Spider has been a definitive Green card since Green started having cards. Green doesn't normally get flying creatures, but it's always got a couple ways to deal with flying creatures, and often that takes the form of spiders. Deadly Recluse is a stronger card because it's a low drop, but Giant Spider fits flavor perfectly. And its value is still pretty solid as a 2/4 with Reach for four mana.

Green sometimes seems "simplistic," but hey, somebody has to be the guy who leaves it all on the table and asks you to find a way to beat him.

Top Five Blue Core Cards
  1. Unsummon (many times, most recently M13) - If you know me at all, if you've read my previous posts or watched the stream, you know I love Unsummon. It also happens to be one of the definitively Blue cards. It's used as an answer to removal by bouncing your own creature, or to buy time by bouncing an opponent's creature. Additionally, you can use it to destroy auras or token creatures. Flexible, frustrating to play against, elegant. Yep, that's a Blue card.
  2. Essence Scatter (M10, M13, M14) - Speaking of Blue cards, counterspells are a calling card of any good blue deck. I could've put Cancel or Counterspell on this list, but I like Essence Scatter's character a little more. It's a card that specifically tells you one of the other ways blue handles problem creatures. Blue never relies on out-and-out battle; it's subversion that bring their opponents to their knees.
  3. Mind Control (M10, M11, M12) - Some form of a Mind Control card has been in play since well before M10. Control Magic was the original, but the casting cost of taking an opponent's best creature seems more suited to five mana than four. Domestication has a more limited effect. I debated for a while before deciding to use Mind Control over Clone. They're both a means of taking advantage of your opponents' best creature, but when I think about Jace, I don't think about cloning vats. I think about him dominating weaker minds.
  4. Inspiration (5 times, most recently RTR) - I know I'm going to get a lot of flack for choosing Inspiration over Divination, so let me explain. Divination is a great card. But, it's so simple. How many cards are there in all colors that have the effect of drawing a card at sorcery (aka creature summon) speed? I'll give you a clue: many. But a spell specifically for drawing cards at instant speed, so you can leave open mana for potential counter magic? That's Blue.
  5. Wind Drake (many times, most recently GTC) - There have been a few different iterations of this kind of card, but in the end, it always comes back to Wind Drake. Blue has always had access to flyers, whether it be a Storm Crow or an Air Elemental. James has always liked Wind Drake more than I have, but I have to admit, dropping a 2/2 flyer onto the battlefield does a lot of good things for you. Not a top 5 card, but very, very core.
One note I want to make is that I think much higher of Welkin Tern than I do of Wind Drake. That single lower mana cost is well worth the loss of a point of toughness and the ability to block non-flyers. But Wind Drake is more "core," so it got my pick.

Next time: White probably? And maybe black. Red's not ready though, I'm still torn on a couple points.

1 comment:

Mike Mattingly said...

How can we talk about the green core cards and not even mention Scavenging Ooze. Its basically the perfect card to play against decks the rely on the graveyard (obviously).

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