I hope your start to 2022 is giving you hope that this year will at the very least be better than the last two. I thought this would be a good time to reflect on 2021 in Magic since 2021 in real life mostly sucked. Thinking about how best to protect yourself and your family everyday has put a strain on us all, not to mention small business and our close friends who may also have struggled a bit to make it through. You made it, you're here, and that's worth its own pat on the back. Don't forget to call on a friend if times get tough.
This will be a two part piece and what would heroes be without villains? I chose the cards based on how often I see them played, how opponents interact, and their role in the deck(s). This is just my opinion so if I miss a particular card that grinds your gears, bring it up in the comments or shoot a message to the podcast so we can talk about it on the show. Without further adieu…
I could talk at length about why extra turn spells are no fun for me to play against and why I think they have a negative impact on the experience of the game, but that's just my take. In this case, it was as much about the deck as the card itself. It's been played in top tier versions since Kaldheim released, evolving with each new set and never really losing power in the format. Top tier variants of UR or URx have been dominant throughout the year. Still, it wasn't as eye rolling as Nexus of Fate. Epiphany took a nerf in alchemy but it wasn't long before a new card came along in standard that took the crown.
Thing in the Ice made it's glorious return to standard just in time for winter. Who needs extra turns when your whole deck can be bounces and counters. Lets just tell it like it is, having this thing on the battlefield makes all of your spells 2-for1s. This card is pretty much the definition of what control decks want to do. Was flash really necessary though? It probably would have been powerful enough even played one turn later in a main phase, especially with all of the treasure making cards in the format.
The Meathook Massacre
Let me hook you up with one of my favorites from Midnight Hunt. The card functions just like the name implies. It is the bane of every go-wide/aggro deck. It's perfect for early game interaction, usually a two for one at worst. It also has the upside of scaling power as the game goes on. The more mana you have access to, the bigger the massacre. It also lends itself to aristocrats archetypes, taking out your opponents creatures, while cashing value out of your own. Attaching all that value to a permanent that you can bounce and play again? Villainous.
You either love it or you hate it. It's a card that's difficult to deal with. It ramps when it attacks and while you need to deal with it immediately, it's a trap. You target it, the dragon makes two mana and the opponent has the choice of letting it go or using the mana that you made for them to protect it. If they let it go, your problems only escalate. It's probably being followed by an epiphany. Make them have it.
Four mana gets you a conditional 8 power across three bodies. It doesn't seem so terrible at first but it grows the board with every attack and makes perfect use of summoning sickness. It was perfect for the curve in mono green decks and was comparable to Goldspan in terms of value. Chariot got a nice partner in Wrenn and Seven. Because being able to play Chariot on 3 or 4, then play Wrenn on 4 or 5, swing and copy the treefolk is exactly what the world needed. Chariot is far from unbeatable but that doesn’t make it less of a headache.
You may not like Kaldheim as a set, but you can’t deny the power in some of these cards. I’m sure I missed a few, so if you have a card you want to rant about, give us a shout and we’ll hate it together. Stay tuned for the heroes in part 2.