The golden domes of frustration

Library of alexandria old school mtg

But it's just a land?

“Keep.”

“Keep.”

Smiles all around.

“Good luck.” Or something in that manner.

You sit there with your opening hand, the game hasn’t really started yet but it starts to progress in your mind. “First I’ll play that card, then my opponent might do this or that … land, pass … land.”

But wait! It’s not an ordinary land no, no. It’s Library of Alexandria. So it goes … and maybe you will have your hopes up for that single Strip Mine in your deck on top of your library. But no luck. You could’ve drawn Tutor to go fetch it even but all this … hoping is just a big ol’ bag of shitty mistake to begin with.

The only three cards that most decks play that can destroy that nasty rebel base with the golden domes.

More smiles. My smile is a bit grumpy at this point though. Maybe we see a shrug from my opponent. A shrug that states that this is a game, and I might not like winning this way but it could very well have been you that did this to me. We have both agreed upon terms, time and place for this to go down. I keep looking at my opponent, trying to point out, without words how unfair it is. He keeps his gentle smile. This, it says, this here- my beautiful white marbled library with perfectly illustrated golden domes, domes that just point up at the rather nice weather that the people walking the stairs seem to be having. Not too hot, not too cold! This, this is a part of all the crap we’ve decided on. And sometimes it’s good crap, sometimes it’s bad crap. You know, as a kid, I have always dreamed of owning this little paper card, and here we are. We are in understanding about the situation we got going. And then you look down at your hand, your bleak future. You can’t keep up with two cards a turn when all you do is trading resources. But then you tell yourself that this is just a silly game, it doesn’t matter in the big scope of things. It’s all about spending time with some nice people and having a good time … But I’m not having a good time!

Sometimes, Magic is a bit like a game of Monopoly. It’s all laughs and shit- a great time with your family. Someone farts or make a joke on your expense and everyone points and you and they laugh. You just take it because it’s all good, we’re all good. But then the dice lands you on some crazy fucking expensive residential street that you don’t own. That’s when the farts and jokes ain’t funny no more. This is when shit gets real and you go Christian Bale ballistic and totally freak out.

“Hey! Calm down, it’s just a game. I will lend you the money.”

“I do not want your fucking money.”

“It’s all good. We’re just having a good time here.”

“Well, I AM NOT HAVING A GOOD TIME.

 But this is fun to isn't it?

But this is fun to isn't it?

People that play magic just for the fun of it lies. Yes, yes they do. They might not care as much as the next person about losing though, and that’s all mighty fine. That person is the better person in all this, no doubt. But if we all go about this like we are playing fucking UNO or Ludo- well, hey we’re not five year olds. We are here to play a respectable card game. A game where every game is a new adventure! And ANYTHING can happen, almost. And look at the art man. Do that with your UNO.

So we play another game, and it’s all good.

“Land, go.”

“Land, Lotus, Mana Vault, Mox, Mind twist.”

SMILES AND SHRUGS.

/Seb Celia

Fun times for everyone! Or maybe not?

Going to the library

Sylvan Library is a card that many players love, one of them is fellow Flippin’ Orbs host Grant Casleton. So i decided to write a couple of words about my thoughts about the card.

First of all I’m going to say that I’m not a big fan of just putting in Sylvan in every deck that has green mana. Because if you don’t have a specific plan for it, I actually don’t think it’s good enough. Let’s start by breaking down what the card actually does.

wakwak-4348.jpg

Card breakdown

It costs you two mana and it doesn’t do anything when you cast it, you first need to wait a whole turn until it does something. If it survives though, it will let you see two more cards that turn and it lets you choose the best out of three cards. That’s pretty good, but is it worth going down a card to do so? Also, Natural Selection does the same thing except it cost one mana less, you can cast it at instant speed and it also lets you reshuffle if you don’t like the top three cards.

After the first draw however, Sylvan Library let’s you see one new card every turn and choose that one instead of the two remaining cards so it effectively can remove two bad draws which absolutely can be nice. So both cards have upsides compared to the other.

But back to Sylvan Library. After the first turn you only see one new card every turn, so if you didn’t like the other two it’s exactly as drawing one card every turn and the Library doesn’t actually do anything anymore. So to recap, it lets you rearrange three cards and negate two bad draws for two mana. I’m not sure that is actually worth spending a card on most of the time.

So when could that effect be good enough to spend a card on? I would say it’s good in a combo deck, as those decks usually just want to find a couple of specific cards and do not care about card advantage as much. This is why the ability to “dig” two cards deeper is good in a deck like that.

And then one last thing, the card is horrible in multiples so a deck can’t contain too many of them.

Life as a resource

But Sylvan has one more ability that we haven't touched on yet and that is that you can pay 4 life to draw a card. So for 4 life the card replaces itself and you get the other effects for "free". Now we’re talking! But 4 life can be a lot in some matchups so it’s not always a choice you can make. Against some decks though, you can draw even more cards and that’s when Sylvan Library really shines. The question is if it's worth a slot in every green deck just because it can be good sometimes against some decks?

After reviewing the card like this I do not think of it as a card good enough to be worth a slot in most decks. If you are looking for a specific card or want to use it in the sideboard against control to outdraw them for the win, then maybe.

Every day I’m shuffling, shuffling...

wakwak-4350.jpg

There are of course a couple of other situations where Sylvan Library can be good and that is in combination with other cards. In other formats like Legacy and Vintage Sylvan Library is a lot better than in old school and the reason for that is the fetch lands which lets you shuffle your library. Because if you can shuffle your library you can see three new cards after you’ve drawn the best out of three the turn before. Of course this principle is also true in old school, we just need to find other ways of shuffling the library. A few examples are Demonic Tutor, Timetwister, Transmute Artifact, Land Tax and Untamed Wilds. If you play a couple of them than Sylvan can absolutely be a good card.

Another cool combo is to pair it with Millstone. That way you can take the best card out of three, mill away the other two and then see three new cards next turn. So for two mana each turn you can dig through your library quite quick to look for the cards you need.

The last couple of cards that interacts with Sylvan in a really good way are Sindbad and Petra Sphinx. These cards let you draw additional cards each turn as long as you are lucky and just happens to have the right card on top of your library. But if you pair them with Sylvan Library you can skip the luck part as you will always know what's on top of your library. It will probably be a land if you have Sindbad in play.

Edit: No actually, one more thing. I did forget that Sylvan Library also of course combos very well with Mirror Universe as you can get back all the life. It's so good it even has it's own deck. Also other life gain cards like Ivory Tower and Diamond Valley is quite good with Sylvan as it then lets you convert the life into card draw.

Conclusion

That was some random thoughts from me and I probably missed something or said something  stupid, hehe. My meaning of this blog post wasn't to say Sylvan Library is bad and you should stop playing it, I just want you to think twice before putting it in a deck. What do you think about Sylvan Library and in what decks do you think it's great in? Use the comments below to share your decks and thought.

And to wrap this up, here are a couple of decks I've built that utilises Sylvan Library in different ways. One new Guardian Beast combo deck that I haven't published before.

The power of Titania's Song

FullSizeRender.jpg

This is the first of many “Single Card Spotlight” posts that will come and we begin with the versatile card Tinania’s Song. This card don’t see very much play in Old School but it has it’s decks where it usually makes an appearance. But let’s get to that a little bit later and start with what the card actually says because I think many people actually miss one thing that is pretty unique with Titania’s Song, so here is the oracle text:

Each noncreature artifact loses all abilities and becomes an artifact creature with power and toughness each equal to its converted mana cost. If Titania's Song leaves the battlefield, this effect continues until end of turn.

So, the card makes all NONCREATURE artifacts into creatures with power and toughness equal to their cmc. This part is the easy part and most people know about it. The second part is that the artifacts also lose all their abilities which means that a Jayemdae Tome becomes a 4/4 which can’t draw you cards.

The third part is what I don’t think everyone has noticed, because usually it doesn’t even matter. But the thing is that if You get rid of Titania’s Song it will still affect all the artifacts in play until end of turn. This is probably most important if you are staring down a lethal army of artifact creatures and want to disenchant the song. Then don’t try to do it on the opponent’s turn for some reason because they will still be able to attack you. Maybe not something that comes up all that often, but if it does and you do it the wrong way you will never forget it.

So what is this card good for? Usually it has two uses depending on the deck. Most often you see this card in Parfait style decks or other artifact heavy control decks where the Song is your endgame. After you’ve locked down the game with Icy Manipulators, Relic Barriers, Howling Mines and Winter Orbs or something like that, you drop this and swing for the kill.

As a side note I can say that I for one is not a big fan of this in hardcore lock down decks as it breaks your lock if you’re not able to kill them in one turn. And getting 20 cmc artifacts on the table could be quite hard. Usually you win anyway but why take a chance hehe.

The other use this card has is in mana denial decks (which is once again why Parfait is the deck that this sees play in the most). The reason for this is that Titania’s Song also can work as an Armageddon for moxen as they become 0/0 creatures and die as soon as it hits the board. So in a land destruction deck 1-2 Titania’s Song could actually be a thing. It also stops Mana Vaults and Fellwar Stones to generate mana but then you have to deal with them as creatures instead so be ready for that.

 

Titania’s Song, a wincon and mana denial card in one. With those short thoughts we end our first Single Card Spotlight