[mtgnexus] Random Card of the Day - Maelstrom Archangel

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Mookie
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Post by Mookie » 2 years ago

Energy Flux is a pretty potent hate piece - it makes keeping any number of artifacts around rather difficult, and effectively shuts off most mana rocks. The main upside (and downside) of it compared to cards like Stony Silence and Titania's Song is that it is in blue, which otherwise doesn't really have access to artifact removal.... but also often relies on artifact mana itself.

I'd like to play it in my Tasigur deck (which currently runs zero artifacts), but I have a personal deckbuilding restriction of no monoblue cards in that deck. Alas.

Obigatory Mycosynth Lattice callout.

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plushpenguin
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Post by plushpenguin » 2 years ago

It is very strong and only offset by the fact that blue decks really love their manarocks.

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Skello496
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Post by Skello496 » 2 years ago

I mean that's a cruel but effective way to shut down mana rocks. If I was playing a blue Stax Deck, I'd definitely run that.
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3drinks
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Post by 3drinks » 2 years ago

It's hard to get much more classic than our card for Monday, September 23rd, 2019; Howling Mine.

Last edited by 3drinks 2 years ago, edited 1 time in total.
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tstorm823
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Post by tstorm823 » 2 years ago

Opponent after playing mox something turn 1: "uh-oh, here comes something."
Opponent after using the mana for turn 1 Howling Mine: "oh, neat... wait a sec, I have to discard now!"
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Mookie
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Post by Mookie » 2 years ago

Howling Mine is a card I see primarily in group hug decks, and it's pretty reasonable there - it's the cheapest version of this effect available. There are other symmetric draw cards that are arguably better due to letting you draw first, such as Dictate of Kruphix, but if you're not trying to win, then that may not matter as much.

There are plenty of ways to make the card draw asymmetric (Notion Thief, Nekusar, the Mindrazer, etc). Howling Mine is unique in how easy this is to do, since it turns off when tapped. Clock of Omens, improvise spells, animating it with Karn, Silver Golem and attacking, Icy Manipulator.... there are a lot of ways to do that.

Ignoring ways to abuse it, there are also some arguments for playing it in a low-curve deck that wants more card draw. I think that an asymmetric draw engine will usually be better (Mind's Eye, etc), but if you stack this with Font of Mythos and a bunch of other symmetric draw, it may eventually reach the point where your opponents are drawing more cards than they can play, while you may have a lower curve and be capable of taking multiple actions per turn. Alternatively, run it with Rule of Law and a bunch of instants.

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3drinks
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Post by 3drinks » 2 years ago

It's funny you say that [mention]Mookie[/mention], because I've been using the Icy + Mine combo in white border Alesha...turns out the interaction still has some legs even today...
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hyalopterouslemur
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Post by hyalopterouslemur » 2 years ago

3drinks wrote:
2 years ago
It's funny you say that Mookie, because I've been using the Icy + Mine combo in white border Alesha...turns out the interaction still has some legs even today...
Yep. It's no Winter Orb, but still...

This is also good if you're playing Nekusar or something like that, or if you simply make it so you benefit more. You just have to understand that group hug is the flip side of Stax, with the same "hurt you more/help you less" trope. The problem is combo decks, which can't stand Stax (unless they're the ones doing it) but unfortunately thrive in group hug scenarios.
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3drinks
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Post by 3drinks » 2 years ago

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019; Phyrexian Arena



Interesting choice. How does old faithful stack up in today's climate? Is it still the gem it's always been?
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Mookie
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Post by Mookie » 2 years ago

I'm still a fan of Phyrexian Arena. There are new card draw options - Coercive Portal, Dark Prophecy, Grim Haruspex, Bloodgift Demon... but in terms of efficiency, survivability, and consistency, it still ranks among the best. Enchantments tend to stick around for a long time, and the card draw is usually innocuous enough for it to stick around for a while. Other than a simple cost of life, it doesn't have any requirements. And if you're in black, there are options like Gray Merchant of Asphodel to gain back any life you lose.

The only real downside to Phyrexian Arena is its speed - you may draw more cards overall with it than Read the Bones or Painful Truths, but sometimes you want cards sooner rather than later. There has to be some theory regarding the time-value of card draw.... Anyway, there are definitely faster options - Necropotence, Ad Nauseam, etc. The best option depends on how long you expect the game to go, I suppose.

Always interesting to see what sort of card draw people prefer for their black decks.

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Post by Sinis » 2 years ago

3drinks wrote:
2 years ago
Tuesday, September 24th, 2019; Phyrexian Arena
Remains good in slow grindy control decks. In decks that try and act a little faster, I find myself playing Read the Bones and other cheap draw 2 (or Painful Truth's 3). In the decks that blitz through cards even faster, I reach for the big reloads like Necropotence, Necrologia, Promise of Power, Damnable Pact, etc.

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pokken
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Post by pokken » 2 years ago

Probably one of the top 20 most overplayed cards in EDH, Phyrexian Arena is very slow. Very, very slow. With the number of generals who give insane card advantage these days, and huge gamewinning bombs like Vilis, Broker of Blood, it's usually better to either play cheaper, faster card draw like Night's Whisper, play a general that generates CA, or ramp into ridiculous bombs.

It also suffers from being a crapload worse than Necropotence at similar cost.

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Post by Sinis » 2 years ago

pokken wrote:
2 years ago
Probably one of the top 20 most overplayed cards in EDH, Phyrexian Arena is very slow. Very, very slow. With the number of generals who give insane card advantage these days, and huge gamewinning bombs like Vilis, Broker of Blood, it's usually better to either play cheaper, faster card draw like Night's Whisper, play a general that generates CA, or ramp into ridiculous bombs.

It also suffers from being a crapload worse than Necropotence at similar cost.
I agree! I mean, we always had Greed, and with 40 life to start, it really doesn't matter that much.

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Post by TheGildedGoose » 2 years ago

Is it no longer a hot take that Arena is one of the most overrated cards in the format? Have we reached the promised land?

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lyonhaert
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Post by lyonhaert » 2 years ago

Glances sideways at his decks still running a copy.

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Post by JoeyB11223 » 2 years ago

I have it multiple decks, but at the same time I'm not that competitive and prefer longer games. I know realistically it's pretty damn slow, I mean you're not getting anything when it comes down, then it's say 2-3 cards over 2-3 turns, even basic cards like Ambition's Cost are giving you what you want so much faster, let alone Necrologia and others mentioned above.

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Post by Sinis » 2 years ago

lyonhaert wrote:
2 years ago
Glances sideways at his decks still running a copy.
I mean, I'm not going to pretend that I don't play it still. My group is very casual, and slow games are what we do, and I think Phyrexian Arena shines in my environment. I just have no illusions about how good it is in an environment with frequent/incidental enchantment removal, or decks that move faster than a truly glacial pace.

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Post by hyalopterouslemur » 2 years ago

It's okay. If it were a creature, I would be complaining a lot more, since if your opponents can't remove creatures, you're already winning. Though any green or white player should still have an answer somewhere.

Its big problem is that cards like Necrologia and Damnable Pact do the same faster.
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Post by Toshi » 2 years ago

3drinks wrote:
2 years ago
It'll always have a place in my heart.

Yes, it is slow and uninspired, but it is consistent and reliable. As long as you're fine with its speed, you'll propably never regret running it.

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Post by toctheyounger » 2 years ago

It's slow, if reliable, value. I can definitely acknowledge there's a certain type of deck where it just won't cut the mustard, but I still like it, purely for the 'set and forget' nature of the card. It's cheap, minimal cost in life and CMC, and requires no more than staying in play.

It's no Necropotence, but in a grindy midrange deck there's plenty of worse things to do with 1bb
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Post by 3drinks » 2 years ago

Easily one of the best engines in my white border Kaalia/Alesha. Also favoured in decks where I care about discarding since you can't necropotence there.
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Post by toctheyounger » 2 years ago

3drinks wrote:
2 years ago
Easily one of the best engines in my white border Kaalia/Alesha. Also favoured in decks where I care about discarding since you can't necropotence there.
Definitely a point worth considering. I have at least a couple of decks that take this into account (Varina and Dralnu, both loot a ton). Necro would otherwise be great in them, but the graveyard interaction makes Arena a superior choice for either or both. I don't run it in either, but that's for other reasons - Varina wants bodies that draw, Dralnu makes better use of instants and sorceries.
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Post by 3drinks » 2 years ago

Wednesday, September 25th, 2019; Serene Master

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Post by Sinis » 2 years ago

3drinks wrote:
2 years ago
Wednesday, September 25th, 2019; Serene Master
When this was printed, I thought "What a funky design!"

I've never played with it, but I wouldn't say I never will. Maybe there'll be some deck that so badly wants to block it slots in all the other good-block critters and still wants more.

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