• Magic: The Gathering
  • Magic: The Gathering Online

Which game do you want to buy from?

How to Buy at a Glance

  • 1. Search for items
  • 2. Purchase via PayPal or CC
  • 3. Receive items in the mail
    (usually in less than a week!)
Want Magic prices from CardShark.com on your Mobile device? - Try the Decked Builder app

CardShark Content - Beatdown Bedford Crenshaw (12/24/2005)

As promised, I am running a quarterly update on the state of Vanguard for MTGO.

==== New Avatars ====

Now, a word on the new avatars:

FRENETIC EFREET: People are thinking this will be a bomb, as with Krark’s Thumb it can guarantee extra turns most of the time. However, that only works in Extended Vanguard, which is not being played. The lack of Mirage Release events means this will be a fairly rare avatar, so between that and its interesting ability it should see the $25 price.

LOXODON HEIRARCH: Weak ability and little boost to Life and none to Hand doom this card.

SISTERS OF STONE DEATH: Has nice boons to Hand and Life, but forcing block on your creatures is a drawback for decks that might otherwise use this, especially as that 4 mana activation cost was workable for Caretaker, but is too much for Sisters decks.

STALKING TIGER: To be useful, it needs a lot of creatures being cast, which means weenie. Weenie decks have light mana requirements; too light to use this avatar.


==== Current Technology ====

The past three months of Vanguard can be summer up with one word: Caretaker. Relying of Gifts Ungiven
Gifts Ungiven
Gifts UngivenSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
62
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
Search your library for four cards with different names and reveal them. Target opponent chooses two of those cards. Put the chosen cards into your graveyard and the rest into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
, Yosei, Keiga and Kokusho, with mana acceleration and some initial beats, have proven formidable. Most Vanguard tourneys have featured 7 of the top 8 being Caretaker decks, with some oddball (usually the Sorcerer) making the eighth slot. I have only seen one in which Caretaker did not consist of most of the Top 8. This is why the change to the Caretaker avatar back on December 1, going from (+0 Hand, +4 Life) to (-2 Hand, -2 Life). Also, the Vanguard tourneys have all been Standard, not Extended. Probably just as well, as Caretaker Extended decks would have been absolutely broken.

As far as the preexisting avatars go (mentioning only those whose status has changed):

AKROMA: Occasionally sees the Top 8. With the recent neutering of Caretaker, many think this will be the avatar to beat. Personally, the only real advantage to this avatar is the huge life gain, as other avatars have a +1 Hand and the abilities act too random.

BIRDS: There has been some use of this avatar, but few successful. People are not using this one correctly; being able to easily gain all colors means you can use the best cards available regardless of color. I am working on a BIRDS deck that should prove awesome. More on this later (I’m saving it to win the chance to make a Visions
Visions
VisionsSet: Fourth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
NéNé Thomas
Text:
Look at the top five cards of any library. You may then shuffle that library.
precon).

ELVISH CHAMPION: Yep, he’s neutered pretty good, although he does see some use.

ETCHED ORACLE: Needs Mirrodin mana fixing to be useful; thus, its gone.

FLAMETONGUE KAVU: Someone tried this, but over half the time it dealt 0 damage. I did the counting. I think the pros were nuts to use this when they did the Invitational.

HIGURE: People have been using this with White Weenie, seeing some success against the Caretaker decks.

MARO: As I said, the life loss keeps this from being playable.

ONI OF WILD PLACES: It needed to abuse Mirrodin cards, which are now gone from Standard. Thus, so is the Oni.

PRODIGAL SORCEROR: Like I said, I believe this will be the avatar to beat. No disadvantage at all, as both a hand and life increase is there. Add in the card filtering, and this should prove to be hard to beat.

RAKSHA: People have shied away from this, as the only good equipment anymore is Jitte, which is awesome regardless of avatar. Still, it gives a huge life increase, and a +1 Hand, so don’t rule this avatar out.

SERRA ANGEL: Has seen some use in Eye of the Storm
Eye of the Storm
Eye of the StormSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
7
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
48
Artist:
Hideaki Takamura
Text:
Whenever a player plays an instant or sorcery card, remove it from the game. Then that player copies each instant or sorcery card removed from the game with Eye of the Storm. For each copy, the player may play the copy without paying its mana cost.
decks, which is always threat, but have proven too slow for Caretaker. One should never discount that life increase.

==== Immediate Future ====

As Vanguard is a rather casual format, I expect Classic Vanguard to be popular fairly soon. If so, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some old avatars come back. Here’s a potential Classic Vanguard deck of the future.

ONI Blue Beatdown

4: Eater of Days
Eater of Days
Eater of DaysSet: Darksteel
Cost:
4
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Leviathan
Rarity:
R
Number:
120
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Power:
9
Toughness:
8
Text:
Flying, trample. When Eater of Days comes into play, you skip your next two turns.

4: Clockwork Beetle
Clockwork Beetle
Clockwork BeetleSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
1
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Insect
Rarity:
C
Number:
153
Artist:
Arnie Swekel
Power:
0
Toughness:
0
Text:
Clockwork Beetle comes into play with two +1/+1 counters on it. Whenever Clockwork Beetle attacks or blocks, remove a +1/+1 counter from it at end of combat.

4: Emberwilde Caliph
Emberwilde Caliph
Emberwilde CaliphSet: Mirage
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Djinn
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Jennifer Law
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying, trampleEmberwilde Caliph attacks each turn if able.For each 1 damage Emberwilde Caliph successfully deals, lose 1 life.

4: Illusionary Pet
3: Taniwha
Taniwha
TaniwhaSet: Mirage
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Legend
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Ian Miller
Power:
7
Toughness:
7
Text:
Phasing, trampleAt the beginning of your upkeep, all lands you control phase out.

4: Teferi’s Drake
4: Sage Owl
Sage Owl
Sage OwlSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Bird
Rarity:
C
Number:
95
Artist:
Mark Poole
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying When Sage Owl comes into play, look at the top four cards of your library and put them back in any order you choose.


4: Chrome Mox
Chrome Mox
Chrome MoxSet: Mirrodin
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
152
Artist:
Donato Giancola
Text:
Imprint - When Chrome Mox comes into play, you may remove a nonartifact, nonland card in your hand from the game. (The removed card is imprinted on this artifact.) T: Add one mana of any of the imprinted card's colors to your mana pool.

4: Incinerate
Incinerate
IncinerateSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer
Text:
Incinerate deals 3 damage to target creature or player. Creatures damaged by Incinerate cannot regenerate this turn.

3: Kaervek’s Torch

14: Island
Island
IslandSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add U to your mana pool.

4: Mountain
Mountain
MountainSet: Arabian Nights
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Tap to add R to your mana pool.

4: Shivan Reef
Shivan Reef
Shivan ReefSet: Apocalypse
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
142
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
TAP: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool. TAP: Add U or R to your mana pool. Shivan Reef deals 1 damage to you.



With Mirage, I see a U/r Oni deck being a force to reckon with. Most of the creatures either have evasion, or have Trample. The Sage Owl
Sage Owl
Sage OwlSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Bird
Rarity:
C
Number:
95
Artist:
Mark Poole
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying When Sage Owl comes into play, look at the top four cards of your library and put them back in any order you choose.
and Beetle protect your bigger creatures from being bounced back to your hand. With haste, Taniwha
Taniwha
TaniwhaSet: Mirage
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Legend
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Ian Miller
Power:
7
Toughness:
7
Text:
Phasing, trampleAt the beginning of your upkeep, all lands you control phase out.
is actually playable. Incinerate
Incinerate
IncinerateSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer
Text:
Incinerate deals 3 damage to target creature or player. Creatures damaged by Incinerate cannot regenerate this turn.
and the Torch gives your deck the final push it needs to beat your opponent if your opponent can slow your attack. It’s too soon to recommend a sideboard, but I’d recommend 4 Merfolk Raiders
Merfolk Raiders
Merfolk RaidersSet: Mirage
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Merfolk
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Steve Luke
Power:
2
Toughness:
3
Text:
Phasing; islandwalk (If defending player controls any islands, this creature is unblockable.)
in the sideboard against other blue decks. Hunted Phantasm
Hunted Phantasm
Hunted PhantasmSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
R
Number:
55
Artist:
Justin Sweet
Power:
4
Toughness:
6
Text:
Hunted Phantasm is unblockable. When Hunted Phantasm comes into play, put five 1/1 red Goblin creature tokens into play under target opponent’s control.
is almost playable, but there are better, less risky, options. Of course, the U/R new dual land would also be great in the deck, once it’s available, as would be the Izzet Guildmage
Izzet Guildmage
Izzet GuildmageSet: Guildpact
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Wizard
Rarity:
U
Number:
145
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
((U/R) can be paid with either U or R.) 2U: Copy target instant spell you control with converted mana cost 2 or less. You may choose new targets for the copy. 2R: Copy target sorcery spell you control with converted mana cost 2 or less. You may choose new targets for the copy.
.


Anyway, that’s the current 411 on Vanguard. Watch in 3 months from now for another important Vanguard update.


Rate Article



Discuss Article

Click here to discuss this article in forum or leave comments for the author.

RSS feed RSS Feed


This article is provided to you by CardShark.com - A Better Way to Buy and Sell Collectable Games Online. Please check out the rest of our site - you won't be disappointed.

View More ArticlesView More Articles