Street Wraith: best card ever?

Discussion in 'Single Card Strategies' started by Oversoul, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I've been thinking about Street Wraith recently and I can't get over how good it seems. Like "should be in every deck I ever build from now on" good. Sure, there are some exceptions, I suppose...

    -If you're playing Oath or another strategy where having a creature in your library is a liability, Street Wraith is out of the question.

    -If you're playing a slow control deck where losing life really matters and surviving over a long period of time is important, Street Wraith might not be a good inclusion.

    -If you're playing a deck that is particularly weak to aggro, dedicating slots to shoring up those bad matchups would be better than using a card that makes you lose life.

    -If you're playing a large deck anyway (Battle of Wits or whatever), Street Wraith is kind of pointless, although still not out of the question.

    For most decks, though, it's like playing with only 56 cards. While it's a subtle effect and you're actually hoping to NOT draw Street Wraith, it's giving your deck a higher chance of drawing into its best cards, which is very, very good.

    How do people feel about this card? Would your decks not be improved even a little bit by substituting the four worst slots for four copies of Street Wraith? In any case, I definitely need to get my hands on some of these...
  2. Shabbaman insert avatar here

    It makes evaluating your opening hand a lot more difficult, because you don't know what you'll draw when you cycle wraith.
  3. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I've heard this, but it seems like part of the problem is people don't want to actually think about whether to mulligan and would prefer it to be very straightforward, which for some decks it just won't be (Street Wraith or no). While having 4x Street Wraith really does make it trickier, it's only by a little bit.

    If you get an opening hand without Street Wraith, you can evaluate it as you always would. If you get an opening hand with one Street Wraith, note that you've got the six cards already in your hand plus one random card from your deck. Same deal with two Street Wraiths, except that you get even less information. If you know your deck, you should know all 53 cards that are in there, so it should be easy enough to analyze. Three Street Wraiths in an opening hand is unlikely, but if you do get it and the rest of your hand isn't golden, you'd probably mulligan anyway, so in those rare instances it really is forcing a mulligan by lack of information.
  4. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    Is it the cycling ability that makes it so appealing to you?
  5. Shabbaman insert avatar here

    Let's keep it with more realistic scenario's like just the single Street wraith in your opening hand. On what basis do you decide to mulligan? Number and color of lands, combination of cards, something like that. If you have a street wraith you could make an assumption of what the seventh card in your hand might be. This is no better than hoping to rip the needed card from the top. Imagine a 7 card hand you might want to mulligan. Now replace the best card in that hand with a Street wraith. You'd probably mulligan that hand. Result: bad. Same hand, but replace the worst card with a Street wraith. Probably turns it into a keeper. Result: good.
  6. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Yes.

    Well, I did say something about this, but you only quoted the last part of my post. I said that with one Street Wraith, it's fairly straightforward to evaluate your hand based on the six cards you have plus the knowledge that you have one random card from what's left in your deck. I fully admit that this could occasionally cause one to mulligan when, if the next card had been known, one would not have. This could also happen without Street Wraith and I just don't think it's THAT much more likely with Street Wraith.

    It's also a problem after one has already mulliganed. You could mulligan to six and get a Street Wraith, which means the percentage of your hand that you know about is even lower. Same for mulliganing to five or four.

    There's no need for an assumption, since you hopefully know your own deck. Assuming that the cards in your library are fairly random, which they should be, you have an equal chance of drawing any one slot out of the 53 that you didn't already draw. Proability analysis, not assumption. Unless you hate math, I guess.

    Such examples are possible, but unless the card Street Wraith is replacing also happens to be the one you'd draw next, which isn't any more likely than it being any other card in the deck, you're actually just saying that if you get a hand and replace the best card in it with one of the worst cards in your deck, you might mulligan, which is obvious. And if you get the same hand, but instead replace the worst card in that hand with the worst card in your deck, you're less likely to mulligan, which is also obvious.

    I'm not saying there aren't decks where the mulligan issue would make Street Wraith a liability. But I am saying that I don't really have an interest in playing those decks anyway, since they'd probably be rather inconsistent.
  7. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    And there's no other black cards that cycle? Or you think this is the best choice, being a creature too?
  8. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    There are no other cards, period, that cycle for no mana (except when Fluctuator is out).
  9. BigBlue Magic Jones

    I don't know that I'd call this the "Best Card Ever".

    I personally think of Time Walk as the "Best Card Ever." A close second is Ancestral Recall.

    It's funny how the remake "Time Warp" just doesn't see much play and it was a mere 2U more... But, who doesn't want an extra turn? Early game, Mid game, or late game it's usually a backbreaker.
  10. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    It was partially tongue-in-cheek. But I think most players would be opposed to calling Street Wraith anywhere near the best card ever. But I said that because it's in an entirely different playing field than other cards. Its effects within a game are generally mediocre, although it might have some synergy with some things (Ichorid, for example). But its effect on deckbuilding as a whole actually is significant in a way that no other card is (virtually cutting deck size down to 56 cards).

    But let's say there was a card that behaved not like Street Wraith, but more like the old ante cards, only not banned. For example, a card that read, "Before you draw your opening hand, you may search your deck for ~this~ and remove it from the game, then shuffle your deck and draw your opening hand." Such a card would be better than Street Wraith. No life loss from cycling. No problems with mulligans. It actually would be thinning your deck down to 56 cards, rather than just doing something pretty similar. If such a card were printed, I'm betting some players really would call it the best card in the game. Others would disagree because you don't even do anything with it. Street Wraith isn't quite that good, but the effect is similar. Any cards that it is better than (except for cards bad enough to actually be considered worse than a 3/4 swampwalker for 3BB, which would include most of our hall of shame nominations), it's better than in a different way than all other cards we've seen so far. Some might say it "counts" and others might say it doesn't. I do think it counts for SOMETHING.

    I think it really depends on a number of factors. Time Walk and Ancestral Recall are both so good that they're certainly way up there on the list. This is getting way off topic, but for a while now I've played around with various ideas in which no cards are banned or restricted and tried to build decks that are as consistent as possible. In that setting, Ancestral Recall is, of course, good, but I actually prefer Timetwister, Windfall, and Wheel of Fortune, which dig deeper. But that's only because every deck is trying to win first turn. In control decks, Ancestral Recall is superior to effects that let your opponents draw cards too. I've also found that Mind's Desire is incredible because of moxes jacking up the storm count. In Vintage, I'd usually rather have Yawgmoth's Will.

    I might just go with Black Lotus, which is basically always good for anything.

    I'd say Time Warp might be a bit underrated. It's no Time Walk, but it certainly has some good uses, including some cool infinite turns combos.
  11. Shabbaman insert avatar here

    That's just a play of words, because assuming that it's unlikely you'd draw that one card is basically the same as assessing the chance you might draw that card.

    I don't think I got the point through. But:

    That's actually what I meant. Some decks just need certain cards in the first turns, maximizing the good cards. With such a deck you'd have to mulligan more, and Street wraith becomes a liability. Other decks only need to mulligan if you have very little land in your hand. In those decks you can assume errr... I mean assess the probability of the drawn card from the cycling actually being that land you need. Then Street wraith is very good.
  12. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Yeah. My concern is that a lot of the decks where one wouldn't want to include Street Wraith are ones that do, as you say, need certain cards in the first turns. And I'm worried that, even without Street Wraith, such decks will crap out on me. Decks that are consistent and can work with all but the worst hands are more what I'd prefer. That's not to say that those other decks aren't ever good. They can be.
  13. BigBlue Magic Jones

    So, if not for the "Ante" part, you're saying Jeweled Bird is right up there... for 1, you get to remove it from the game for a draw... (and recover all your other ante cards to the gy!) If not for the "Ante" part, Contract from Below is insanely good giving you a fresh hand for B...

    Too bad about the Ante part. :)
  14. Ransac CPA Trash Man

    Guys! Guys! Guys!!!!!!!!!!!!! This conversation is pointless! Everyone KNOWS what the best card ever is:


    Dwarven Pony


    Ransac, cpa trash man
  15. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    Actually, there's Edge of Autumn. But the Wraith is better than that, for sure...
  16. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Well, the thing about the ante cards I was referring to was that they all read, "Remove ~this~ from your deck before playing if you're not playing for ante." Some have interpreted this to mean that you can build a 60-card deck with them and then, when not playing for ante, simply remove them before the game starts. Of course, they're banned in tournaments anyway and no one would want to play with someone who's doing this crap. But I used to try to collect four each of the ante cards so that I could, as a joke, use a 15-card deck.

    However, Contract from Below really is insanely good, or would be if you could actually use it. And in Shandalar, you can. :D

    Okay, yeah. I forgot about that one. Technically, that one doesn't require mana either. Actually, there are probably some circumstances where its cycling ability could be really good...
  17. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    I guess anything where keeping less lands than your opponent is a good thing... but not for your starting hand, unless you already have a bunch of 0 cc spells that can produce mana instead :)
  18. train The Wildcard!!!...

    I like the life-cost cycling - but if I had to go for a "go-get-er" card I would look to play in all decks - Gamble would be it... Costing one red - it will get me the card of my choice, with no life loss, and little chance of losing the card I just retrieved from my deck...

    Wraith, though it "reduces" the size of your deck is perilous late game, etc. There are too many early game interruptions that could draw the game to a mid-late status, and make the card much less useful...

    Spidey found Edge of Autumn ;)
  19. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    Thanks to the all-power of a search... :D
  20. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    What is this "late game" you speak of? :p

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