Monday 12 November 2012

Top 10 Gold Cards

This list has been one of the hardest to do thus far as it includes lots of new cards that have not been fully tested. It also contains lots of cards that never get played in the same decks at all and are really hard to compare in many ways beyond abstract power and amount played. The last two slots were also incredibly close, more so than any other group, and could have included almost any of the following; Bloodbraid Elf, Qasali Pridemage, Rakdos Charm (which has been performing incredibly well so far), Izzet Charm, Sphinx of the Steel Wind, Olivia Voldaren, Lotleth Troll, Edric Spymaster of Trest, Lightning Helix, Shardless Agent or Geist of Saint Traft all of which are so similar in their power. Another thing that has made this list very hard is the combination of gold cards and hybrid/split cards, the former being a drawback and the latter being a boost to the playability of the spells.

Fire // Ice

11. Figure of Destiny
10. Knight of the Reliquary
9.   Abrupt Decay
8.   Dreadbore
7.   Baleful Strix
6.   (Lingering Souls)
5.   Kitchen Finks
4.   Deathrite Shaman
3.   Pernicious Deed
2.   Vindicate
1.   Fire / Ice

VindicateI am at least very content with my top 3 in this list which have been in my cube since the beginning. Fire / Ice is beyond all round good, it has everything and is never dead. For a supposedly subtle card like Brainstorm it can have some seriously impactive uses that pretty much end the game which on a two mana utility card feels a little gross. Vindicate is a little more reliable removal than basically any other spell but it clunkier than Fire / Ice and harder to fit into decks. They are both of a power level that ensures you auto include them if your of the right colours and have the option to play them. Pernicious Deed has remained strong despite an inability to kill planeswalkers. It is also still one of the quickest and cheapest ways to employ mass removal in magic with the added bonus of having control enough to have the result being one sided in your favour. One of the best control cards ever printed.

Baleful Strix
Deathrite Shaman is so new it is quite hard to tell how close to the mark this mighty 4th position is. The mana aspect has been less reliable than Bird of Paradise and is closer to Arbour Elf however the other abilities have been winning games in a wide array of decks. Kitchen Finks is the epitome of a solid monster, it gives loads of board position, loads of tempo and is easy to include in decks. It is so solid that it would be in the top 10 list of control dorks and in the top 10 of agro dorks. Lingering Souls is to Call of the Herd as Tarmogoyf is to Ernham Djinn. It is versatile, good value and difficult to deal with in a way that keeps you ahead in cards and tempo. I consider it a gold card rather than a white one however it is playable in both mono white and mono black decks that have just a small amount of ability to produce the other colour from something like a Mox Diamond.

Baleful Strix is the ultimate in speed bumps where before the crown lay with Wall of Omens/Blossoms and Sakura-Tribe Elder. When you compare these cards you begin to appreciate the power of the Strix which not only provides a cheap, self-replacing body like the others but trades with almost any monster it blocks and is able to block fliers. It is also able to go on the offensive effectively with evasion and power and offers good synergy with artifact style decks. Strix is the complete package and nothing will make you feel safer as a two drop when you are the control player. Dreadbore is a bit of a Vindicate, it never goes better than one for one and can't be used in a tricky way as it isn't an instant. It makes up for this by being very fairly cost, versatile and totally unconditional. Planeswalkers and creatures are two of the most common threats in the cube and killing your choice of either, dead without question, for the same cost as a Doom Blade or an Incinerate  is a bargain.

Knight of the ReliquaryCompared to Dreadbore Abrupt Decay trades some reliability for some versatility and trickery. It deals with most things you need and is a great early tempo removal spell. As it doesn't hit most of the most serious problem cards it is not quite the auto include that Dreadbore is however it will cause greater swings in games when it is good. Knight of the Reliquary combines a cheap powerful beater with a great utility card. You either lay it as a 4/4 or a 5/5 and beat the face in of your opponent or you use it to accelerate, colour fix and tutor up tricky lands as you need. Should you opt to use it in the latter capacity you will still have a fat beater at the end of it!

Should you not accept Lingering Souls as a gold card then the final spot on the list goes to Figure of Destiny. As a pure one drop beater it is comparable to Pouncing Jaguar as it consumes a chunk of mana, obviously it is way better but you get the idea as to why Isamru is going to better when you have a good curve out draw. Figure shines when you get flooded or when you rip him in the late game in your weenie deck full of bad late game draws. He is an acceptable one drop beater that doubles up as a serious threat without any of the drawbacks of damaging your early draws. Being playable in both red and white decks is also a great boost to the playability of the card as both of those colours employ the weenie strategy effectively.

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