Friday, February 10, 2012

RCotD #91

Random Card of the Day #91:

Wall of Fire - 1RR
Creature - Wall
{R}: Wall of Fire gets +1/+0 until end of turn

Initial thoughts:

I haven't really gotten to talk much about defender cards yet, so I guess now is my opportunity to do so. So I'll just say it flat out: I don't like them.

Kind of like the same deal I have with Aura's I feel that for it's original purpose--that is to say, defending--it is too easily dealt with. You hold one creature back but you're opponent swings with two. It's not advancing the game, it's not particularly stopping your opponent, and most of the time they have a low power to compensate for they're high toughness.

Here's an example of a defender I did like: Wall of Spears. Why? A 2/3 first striker for 3 is a pretty good card. But put defender on it and you are like "meh" and to a degree that's true. But this is exactly the kind of card that stops swarm. First strike on it means that your opponents think twice with what their swinging with.

Here's a small list of other Defenders I somewhat have an affinity for:
Overgrown Battlements
Vent Sentinel
Wall of Omens

A somewhat biased list because they are all in the same block, but one's mana ramp, the other can actually win games, and the third is a cantrip. All of these have qualities that a winning card should have.

And the other thing about Defenders I don't like is Defenders are typically low costed creatures. Because of this, they are meant to fight other low costed creatures, yet the best way to fight a lot of low costed creatures is mass removal, whether it be Volcanic Fallout, Pyroclasm, Slagstorm, or even Day of Judgement. These are better answers to what's on the field than a normal creature.

However, later in the game you drop a Wall of Wood which you were so excited to put in your deck because it stopped Raging Goblins, but really you needed that Prey Upon to deal with the Hellkite Overlord. But any of the other cards that I mentioned to deal with swarm both deal with swarm and can optionally help out taking larger creatures.

At least that's my take on Defenders. It's a narrow answer to a specific archetype (swarm) that there are better answers to deal with it, and it also deals with other kinds of threats. As for this card in particular, if I pulled it (which I have) it just goes into the bulk box for me. I'll never find a deck for it, and it isn't particularly suited at taking on a specific archetype. It's also mana-intensive to actually a kill a creature, a move your opponent can see coming, making it predictable--just a bunch of design flaws.

But it still does it's job. 2/5

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