Wednesday, December 14, 2011

RCotD #33

Random Card of the Day #33:

Hoarder's Greed - 3B
You lose 2 life and draw two cards, then clash with an opponent. If you win, repeat this process.

Initial thoughts:

Wow, it's been a while since I've seen a clash card. I used to like clash cards because it's also essentially a scry, but then I started weighing the benefit vs. it's cost. It's basically a more expensive, clashing Sign in Blood. So for 2 more mana and less mana intensive you can get to clash and repeat.

My first clash card was Pulling Teeth. This is kind of a poor card to compare it to, but to me at least it's relevant. For the cost 1B you trade a card for a card, you get to scry 1, and your opponent gets to scry 1. You each reveal the top card of your library, and if you win the clash, they lose another card--plus you know what they might draw next turn. (Unless they put it on the bottom.)

But then look at this card. You also have to consider, that your opponent knows what you will draw next turn, and if you won the clash, they already know it is in your hand. Another reason I don't like clashing is because the extra cost associated with clash. It is very easy to lose a clash because:
You LOSE if you show a land.
You LOSE if they have a higher cmc than you.
You LOSE if you have an equal cmc.
You WIN if you have a higher cmc.
Obviously this can be overcame by scry effects such as Foresee and Ponder, But it still stands that you will lose about 75% of the time, assuming equal deck builds. You can also fill your deck with high cmc cards but you will still have low cost spells to get there.

There's also a nifty trick in playing against this card. If your opponent plays this card and clashes with you and you show a land, keep your land on top. When your opponent clashes again, show your land, if they don't show a land they will keep losing 2 life and drawing 2 cards. Keep your land on top and repeat the process. I'm sure there a stories of someone decking themself with their own card or going to -30 life. (While the spell is resolving you don't lose the game until either of you have priority, you won't receive priority until you lose the clash.)

What is interesting is when you clash with no cards in your library, you will always lose the clash. This is because a zero-cost card will have a higher converted mana cost over no card at all. Clashing with no library doesn't mean you lose, because you didn't draw. You won't lose until your next draw step, if your opponent forces you to draw a card. But if you do manage to deck yourself, you won't lose until it resolves, which doesn't mean much because it's too late to respond anyways after it has started resolving.

As for comparing it to Sign in Blood, I don't really like this card. I mean, it sure is nifty and has it's uses, but drawing 6 cards over drawing 2 cards is not worth the 4 extra life, assuming you win two clashes. If you play this card four times, you can expect to win one of those clashes, probably less since land-drawing is weighted heavily in a deck. It also reveals too much information to my opponent, or at least in my opinion. If my opponent knows that I put my Dissipate on top, he is going to play around it. I like leaving my opponent in the dark--the less he knows the better. I mean sure you get to scry 1 so you can find the card you need faster, but your opponent is doing the same also. I don't really want to play a card that helps my opponent without me gaining a large enough advantage.

Sign in Blood demonstrates this. I lose two life, I have a net gain of 1 card. I played a card to dig through the top two cards of my library. 2 life is also a small cost to pay, especially if it wins you the game. Paying 6 life might be a larger cost to pay, but if clashing two times, and losing 6 life wins you the game, hot damn, that was a good card.

If I did want to play this card I would change it. Mainly giving it an optional clash effect if you chose to do so. That way it can still be reliable with an effect that you can do it if you wish:

Fixed Hoarder's Greed - 2B
Kicker {1}
Target player loses two life and draws two cards.
If Fixed Hoarder's Greed was kicked, clash. If you win the clash, you may copy this spell and choose new targets for it.

Now there's a card with some utility! It's a more expensive, but more splashable Sign in Blood, and for it's original mana cost, you can kick it and retarget it, whether it be you want your opponent to lose 4 life, or for you to draw 4 cards, maybe more! With copying being a may ability, maybe you only want to use it to scry 1, maybe you just want to see what your opponent might draw. You can draw 4 cards, and then choose to not copy it a second time because you don't want to lose any more life.

Mark Rosewater had actually said that he think the mechanic Clash was a failure. It's one of the top "failed" mechanics along with Kinship and Conspire. (You can read more about it here.) However, I think that the Clash mechanic is fun, but too random to see tournament play, reliability is one of those things you need in tournament play. (And I don't mean drawing cards random I mean spells resolving random.)

I think they they should revisit that mechanic but add kicker costs to it. That way the spell always has an option of being regularly casted, and then a "chance" to do something bigger. But because the spell always has to clash, it's really holding back a lot on the card.

Maybe it's just me, but I would never play this card, even in a black suicide deck. It's highish converted mana cost is not outweighing the clash, the loss of life, the unreliability, and the fact that it can backfire on you. I'll just play a Phyrexian Rager instead, at least for now. 3/5

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