Wednesday, 5 August 2015
Card Spotlight: Satyr Wayfinder
Elvish Visionary is the best late game of the three as a card is far better than a land or nothing however you ideally want these kinds of cards early. You are mostly playing them to improve your mana curve after all. As such the ones that get you lands offer you more consistency. Ranger is annoying as it only finds basics and can require you to tweak your mana base, broadly Sakura Tribe Elder is just a better call than Sylvan Ranger when you have enough basics. Why then is Satyr Wayfinder seeing the most play of any of this kind of card now by a significant margin when it is so similar to Sylvan Ranger, the weakest of all those mentioned here?
The answer is subtle and very broad! It is the adding of cards to the graveyard combined with the ability to find non-basic lands and as such in no way alter or impede your mana base. The former is the main reason but the latter is significant. Filler cards want to fit in with your deck as it stands, they want to support the other cards rather than need support themselves. Sylvan Ranger needs a tiny bit of support and as such is kind of weak. It is worth noting that Wayfinder also gives you relevant choices while none of the others do in quite the same way. When you hit more than one land in the four cards you can be faced with quite an interesting choice between utility, tempo and/or fixing. Sylvan Ranger may seem like it reliably offers you some choice but really it doesn't. A basic is a basic and the type should be pretty clear and obvious almost all the time. Wayfinder is not just a card that replaces itself like the others but also a card that can offer some relevant card quality and options. Impulse is used to find lands a lot of the time and doesn't come with a free 1/1!
One thing to note about Wayfinder is that it can miss and therefore fail to replace itself . None of the other cards you might play in this role can (yes, technically superlate game or in a missbuilt deck the ones finding basics can miss, but they shouldn't ever when it is at all relevant) fail in this way. Firstly, your odds on missing are low, when you have around 50% lands in your library your odds of missing are less than 7%. When you drop to a lowly 25% lands in your library you still have around 60% chance to hit. Secondly, if you need lands and you miss with your turn 2 Wayfinder it is still very likely the best play you could have made. Clearing those four non-lands from your library means you are not going to be locked in to a screwing for four turns.
Now, to the real meat of why this badboy is so juicy. To really appreciate the value of dumping 3 or 4 cards into your graveyard I have compiled a list of the good A cube cards that can benefit from it. It is not a short list nor an exhaustive one.
Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
Dig Through Time
Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Life from the Loam