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Mercadian Masques, Part Eleven

Gary Wise

Continuing my analysis of Mercadian Masques booster, the following are my reflections on white's uncommons.

A few thoughts

Well, the abundance of riches continues for white in the uncommon slots, with bigger, badder rebels continuing the chain up to the rare powerhouses but not needing those powerhouses to be strong on their own. Where red's best uncommons outweigh White's, White has an amazing 8 first pick-caliber uncommon cards, to go with its strong common selection, fortifying it as the set's strongest color.

Uncommons

Charmed Griffin - The best non-rare flyer in the set, Mercadian Masques often sees players running 1/1 flyers main deck, so its pretty obvious that this thing is a beast. Its drawback can occasionally come back to haunt you, but the simple fact is there's only one common creature in the set that can trade for it. A great first pick.

Ramosian Captain - Like being a 2/2 First Striker isn't enough, this guy fetches every non-rare rebel in the set except the mediocre Jhovall Rider. Stopping opposing ground forces, the Captain provides you with the amazing combination of slowing your opponent's offense while providing you with huge card advantage, but what makes it so much better than the Ramosian Commander is that the Ramosian Lieutenant, a common creature, can fetch it. Another great first pick.

Ramosian Commander - a very tough call here for the third spot, the Commander gets the call because of its ability to provide offense as well as defense. Much harder to get on the table than the Captain, the six mana activation cost is a lot, but is well worth it once you get there, and unlike the Captain, it can fetch Jhovall Rider and Ramosian Sky Marshall while blocking red and green fatties.

Story Circle - I really love this card, being the control-style player I am. I always thought ROPs were worth running main deck in Urza's block, but man, do they pale in comparison. Never useless, the Circle's only drawback is that it doesn't apply pressure when you're on the offensive, but with the Circle you don't need to apply pressure, so don't worry about it.

Trap Runner - I originally thought this guy was a rebel, but when it was pointed out to me that it isn't, I was forced to breath a sigh of relief. A solid blocker at 2/3, the Runner stops creatures that no other creature in the game can stop, like Two-Headed Dragon, Saprazzan Breaker and Blockade Runner. A less than optimal 1st pick, taking it that early is nothing to be ashamed of.

Arrest - An incredibly efficient piece of creature elimination, if you aren't playing against White or Green, it's probably better than any of the black kill spells. For three mana, you can stop a Barrier from pinging, a Bouncer from bouncing, or a continuous Highway Robber from dying, but that's only the tip of the iceberg. Another decent 1st pick.

Last Breath - and again, here we have effective White creature elimination. In an environment where most of the top creatures are powered at 2 or less, this card is amazingly efficient. While the life gain frustrates the beatdown deck, there are times when using that ability on your own creature (to counter Sever Soul, for example) can win you the beatdown race. An excellent card.

Noble Purpose - Some people rank this card higher than Story Circle or Coastal Piracy. While I'm convinced they're dead wrong, the fact that it can make people think that makes it powerful. Five mana is a lot and there's a definite limit to how many of these you want/need in your deck, but regardless it's still an excellent card.

Afterlife - I remember playing white in a Mirage block PTQ and choosing to play Healing Salve over Afterlife in a deck with 10 creatures and being mocked for it, but having won that tourney, I'm convinced I was right to this day. One of the most overrated kill spells in the environment, the problem with Afterlife is the lack of synergy it provides, with the side effect providing an efficient enough blocker to kill your Glider, or an evasion creature you eventually have to deal with...i.e. card disadvantage. That said, if you pick it, play it, as you never know when your opponent is going to play an Enforcer, Dragon or the like, and as an Instant, it can take two cards with it.

Wishmonger - if your white deck is an aggressive one this guy is a powerhouse. Like Zur's Wierding, Wishmonger is the kind of card that locks the game down when cast if you have advantage on the table. Be careful of playing it in a deck with a lot of suppressing creature enchantments though: it will sit in your hand and never be cast.

Jhovall Rider - These White 3/3 tramplers keep showing up with different names, but the same problems persist: they're too slow for the mana. Definitely playable, the Rider is nonetheless 3/3 for 5, and therefore only makes decks because of its color. Moves up a slot or two if you have a Commander.

Cho-Arrim Legate -A big-time drop off starts here. Anyone remember Disciple of Grace? This guy is pretty weak, providing a sideboard creature that blocks efficiently but really doesn't kill anything but the mediocre Cateran Persuader. Don't pick it till late.

Tonic Peddler - if you really need a 23rd card in your fat beatdown deck, this guy can buy you enough time for your Ghars and Elementals to smash through for the win

Ignoble Soldier - Sometimes your UW deck just needs something that can trade for a 3/3 on defense.

Renounce - A potential sideboard card and one of the few ways to get rid of your own Highway Robber in the environment.

Righteous Aura - Okay, so you can stop 1 point a turn from a Snorting Gahr for 1 mana per turn and a card...what a deal!

Righteous Indignation - Um, R/B kills all of your creatures before attacking

Moonlit Wake - Bad enough that any other snide comment wouldn't do it justice.



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