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Decisions (and why my new deck is DrawDrawDrawGo)
By John du Bois
To begin: Invasion does not suck. It only sucks to those who liked the game the way it was right before Urza's Saga was released. Invasion does not suck because it changes the game in a way that has not been seen since Mirage, and possibly since I started playing the game when Ice Age was released. I have heard reports that Invasion is the new Legends, and while I feel that those reports are erroneous, there is some truth. Invasion will impact the way we play Magic for some time to come.
There is one reason for this impact. Invasion provides Magic players with more decisions both when building their decks and when playing their decks. There are three main reasons for this. One is the kicker mechanic. A second is the split cards. A third is the vast number of cards in the set that provide one or both players with options during the game.
But first, let's look at the kicker mechanic. It's very simple, and is almost like an "anti-echo": you can play a card now for one ability, or wait and pay more for a superior ability. These cards are slightly overcosted for both abilities with a couple exceptions. One of these exceptions is Dismantling Blow. It is a 3-mana Disenchant (btw, mad props to WotC for not reprinting Disenchant) or it is a spell costing WU4 which disenchants and lets you draw two cards. This card grants a three-to-one card advantage when played with kicker, and a one-to-one when not. It's obviously better to wait and pay the kicker if you can, but can you always wait? This type of choice will make t2 a more interesting environment. A word of advice with kicker cards: don't be stupid. If that Idol is beating you within an inch of your life, try to balance things out before trying to cripple your opponent.
The next mechanic that lets decisions increase is the split mechanic. These five cards are two completely different spells on one card; this is versatility at its finest. However, 3 of these 5 cards are grossly inferior to their one-spell counterparts; the exceptions are Assault/Battery and Spite/Malice. Assault/Battery is only inferior to Shock because of its speed, and Spite/Malice is just good because it can stop anything except uncounterables, black creatures, and creatures that cannot be targeted by black spells. These cards provide the choice of "do I want to get things out faster, or do I want better choices when I cast them?" This leads to the question of what side to use. My advice on these is that if you are going to run a card of the type one of the sides is, run the split. For example, replace a Foil with Spite/Malice and see how it works.
The third of these decision-increasing factors is the large amount of cards letting you or making your opponent choose things. For this, I will use a case study: my new DrawDrawDrawGo deck. This deck works like the old DrawGo decks, except that it draws faster due to cards like Opt and Fact or Fiction. These cards are powerful because you can choose what cards you want to draw and which ones you don't. Fact or Fiction is especially powerful because it plays mind games with your opponent. No, it doesn't tap his stuff with buyback; it forces him to make a decision based on what he knows about your deck, and if he is wrong, he will feel Bloody Stupid. I prefer these to the kicker cards or the splits (except Spite/Malice) because of this idea. The deck already fools with the opponent by drawing huge amounts of counters and one or two Sibilant Spirits to win; now he must decide what I want and how badly I want it and is frequently wrong.
Invasion is certainly not another Saga, and it's probably not Mirage either. But it has a lot of possibilities, and there are no blatantly broken cards in it. Many cards will be stretched, but nothing will be too powerful. I personally look forward to the set, because I can make the choices needed to have fun and succeed. Can you?

feuoiseau@aol.com

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