Earlier this week, LSV mentioned how his Spoiler Spotlight was chosen through a ChannelFireball Facebook poll. I would like to thank those that voted. Partly for participating in this site we all love, but mostly for giving LSV Vraska so I could talk about this sweet blue card:
+1: Is a 1/1 Gravecrawler even worth a card?
Until your next turn, whenever a creature an opponent controls attacks, it gets -1/-0 until end of turn.
Jace’s +1 ability is deceptively good. If the opponent only has a little pressure, it can buy you the turn you need to untap with your planeswalker. If the board is cluttered, it gives your team the edge in combat. Imagine a board of Gravecrawler and Geralf’s Messenger against your Augur of Bolas. Now the Augur blocks Messenger, and Gravecrawler gets in for one. Against two Messengers, you take two instead of six. The more developed the board, the more powerful the ability.
A creature’s stats take mana, meaning that Jace’s neutering ability must be valuable too. If there are no creatures, the +1 does nothing, but that’s the balancing factor. This is the fixed Jace. Powerful, playable, but not game over on an empty board.
While I see Jace working out in a variety of shells, it’s the +1 that has me excited to try it in UBx with a pile of Curse of Death’s Holds. Since control decks want to run both of these cards anyway, it should be a match made in Dimir heaven.
-2: Got there.
Reveal the top three cards of your library. An opponent separates them into two piles. Put one pile into your hand and the other on the bottom of your library in any order.
Assuming you’re activating it from an empty hand, the strength is about the same as a Thirst for Knowledge, although it does give the opponent information. From using cards like Ponder, Preordain, and Brainstorm, we know that three seems to be the magic number for consistently finding a bit of gas. Once you’ve hit your 4-drop, you’re going to need lands less and less, and the filter will get closer and closer to an effective draw three.
I love giving my opponents the chance to screw up. Odds are, they aren’t perfect players with perfect information. Assuming you can deduce what you need better than they do, you will get two cards more often than you should. Imagine your opponent needs to stack land, removal spell, and Thragtusk. He doesn’t know that you have double Thragtusk in hand and just need to hit that fifth land drop, he just knows that Thragtusk is bad for him.
On the downside, the cards unchosen don’t end up in the graveyard, which makes sense with all the flashback spells in the format.
-8: Holy Sh**
For each player, search that player’s library for a nonland card and exile it, then that player shuffles his or her library. You may cast those cards without paying their mana costs.
I first read this as “spells,” which was much worse. My dream is to get this off in EDH, potentially hitting multiple Cruel Ultimatums, Mind’s Desires, Terastodons, and other such shenanigans.
The quality of the -8 ability depends on how the format works out. The more top-heavy the average curve, the better. If Standard devolves into aggro control mirrors, Jace will still see play, but the ultimate will happen less often and be less powerful. More likely, at least a few people will be going big, and I can see a world where Jace fetches up a pair of Armada Wurms.
This is my first instinct:
This is a rough list, intended for a Zombie-infested metagame, but it felt strong in the few games I jammed with it. Favoring [card augur of bolas]Augur[/card] over [card snapcaster mage]Snapcaster[/card] looks strange on paper, but the difference between a 2/1 and a 1/3 in this format is huge.
I was torn on maindecking Ghost Quarter as an answer to Gavony Township, and settled on [card pithing Needle]Needle[/card] in the board. I want my [card nephalia drownyard]Drownyards[/card] for game one (before my control opponents can board in their Needles).
Is the freshest Jace playable in older formats? Sure. Jace 2.0 isn't legal in Modern, and if a control deck is viable, 4.0 probably fits in there somewhere.
In Legacy, [card jace, the mind sculptor]the Mind Sculptor[/card] is better than all, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for more Jace action. Just this last Invitational, I saw Beleren in a slew of sideboards, though mostly as a tool for winning the blue planeswalker war.
If the Architect of Thought is going to make a mark, any mark at all, it’s going to be because it does something different. And it does. Mind Sculptor is one of the absolute best tools against large creatures. Tarmogoyfs, Knight of the Reliquarys, even Emrakul, the Aeon’s Torn. While there are a ton of giant creatures in Legacy, there are also a few swarm decks.
Check out this spicy brew:
I tested a very similar list in a four rounder recently, beating Burn, RUG, and UW Miracles while losing in three to Maverick. [card thalia, guardian of thraben]Thalia[/card] is an issue, but the deck has some serious sideboard options for the card, and a miser’s Karakas is a potential maindeck answer. Academy Ruins, while powerful, was rarely activated, and could get cut.
Against decks without creatures, [card tezzeret, agent of bolas]Tezzeret[/card] and [card karn liberated]Karn[/card] should be enough to take over. Against decks with creatures, Jace 4.0 takes power off the battlefield while increasing loyalty, rather than dropping to two. After you have your mana base developed, the ability to sift through the acceleration to find gas (similar to Tezzeret’s +1) should be invaluable. Even in this deck, The Mind Sculptor might be best, but the new kid is unique enough to try.
And I will.