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Guide to Momir Basic - Jacob Goodisman (4/17/2007)

Mods willing, I would like this to be just the first in a series of articles about Avatars on MTGO. This first article is about Momir Basic which is by far the cheapest online format. The deck itself may cost as much as $11 and you're set. Some lands common in other formats sell for more than that apiece. With that initial investment, you can play for free and always be able to play with the best of the pack. For the uninitiated, Momir Magic is a format based on the Momir Vig avatar, the avatar and 60 basic lands.

How many of each land isn’t really important since it only comes up about every third game. That said, there are some abilities you absolutely don’t want to miss when they do come. Red has firebreathing creatures and direct damage while black has a lot of creature destruction and discard. The other colors also have nice abilities, white has searching and green has regeneration. Blue has may different helpful abilities, but they are blue-mana intensive and don’t show up a lot. Plus, there are several islandwalk creatures.

Unlike most internet decks, there isn‘t a unified correct way to play these. Some players put in 12 of each, others don‘t put in islands, others only use swamps and mountains. Obviously the creatures you get in each game determine the ‘right’ answer. Each color has its perfect advocates: Stronghold Overseer
Stronghold Overseer
Stronghold OverseerSet: Time Spiral
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Demon
Rarity:
R
Number:
133
Artist:
Puddnhead
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying Shadow (This creature can block or be blocked by only creatures with shadow.) BB: Creatures with shadow get +1/+0 until end of turn and creatures without shadow get -1/-0 until end of turn.
for black, Crimson Hellkite
Crimson Hellkite
Crimson HellkiteSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
9
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Dragon
Rarity:
R
Number:
172
Artist:
Gerry Grace
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Flying X, T: Crimson Hellkite deals X damage to target creature. Spend only red mana this way.
for red, Crowd Favorites
Crowd Favorites
Crowd FavoritesSet: Onslaught
Cost:
7
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Soldier
Rarity:
U
Number:
15
Artist:
Roger Raupp
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
3W: Tap target creature.. 3W: Crowd Favorites gets +0/+5 until end of turn.
for white [Editor's note: This is a perfect advocate?], Memnarch
Memnarch
MemnarchSet: Darksteel
Cost:
7
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard Legend
Rarity:
R
Number:
129
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Power:
4
Toughness:
5
Text:
1UU: Target permanent becomes an artifact in addition to its other types. (This effect doesn't end at end of turn.) 3U: Gain control of target artifact. (This effect doesn't end at end of turn.)
for blue, and Kamahl, Fist of Krosa
Kamahl, Fist of Krosa
Kamahl, Fist of KrosaSet: Onslaught
Cost:
6
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Druid Legend
Rarity:
R
Number:
268
Artist:
Matthew D. Wilson
Power:
4
Toughness:
3
Text:
G: Target land becomes a 1/1 creature until end of turn. It's still a land.. 2GGG: Creatures you control get +3/+3 and gain trample until end of turn.
for green. And not to mention Dragon Legends, Guildmages, and other powerhouses. You just have to pick a deck and go from there.

The avatar itself captures the imagination so I’ll let it introduce itself:

+4 life, +0 hand size
X, Discard a card: Put a token into play as a copy of a random creature card with converted mana cost X. Play this ability only any time you could play a sorcery and only once each turn.

Keep in mind that ‘a random creature card’ means literally any creature online, promo creatures, like Morphling
Morphling
MorphlingSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Shapeshifter
Rarity:
R
Number:
85
Artist:
rk post
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
U: Untap Morphling.U: Morphling gains flying until end of turn.U: Morphling cannot be the target of spells or abilities until end of turn.1: Morphling gets +1/-1 until end of turn.1: Morphling gets -1/+1 until end of turn.
, and creatures from any set. One of the many splits in this format is the importance of life. Games often end in one of three ways: epic warfare where most creatures attack each turn, attrition where creatures are slowly picked off, or sometimes a creature with evasion wins while no other creatures on the board attack. If your creatures are being picked off, life points only rarely help you. Evasive creatures too make life points something of a burden rather than an advantage. Only in epic warfare will having life points really help you since it gives you options of blocking or not.

The first part of the ability, thus the first concern, is paying the mana. Creatures that can increase your mana production, like Iron Myr
Iron Myr
Iron MyrSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Myr
Rarity:
C
Number:
187
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
T: Add R to your mana pool.
and Birds of Paradise
Birds of Paradise
Birds of ParadiseSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Mana Birds
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Power:
0
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. This ability is played as an interrupt.
, are viable as attackers or defenders but their main function should be producing mana. Creatures that put a land into play give you acceleration and a body that you can throw into the fray. Creatures that let you draw or augment your hand are also good, in this context Civic Wayfinder
Civic Wayfinder
Civic WayfinderSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elf Warrior Druid
Rarity:
C
Number:
157
Artist:
Cyril Van Der Haegen
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Civic Wayfinder comes into play, you may search your library for a basic land card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. If you do, shuffle your library.
and Merchant of Secrets
Merchant of Secrets
Merchant of SecretsSet: Legions
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
C
Number:
44
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
When Merchant of Secrets comes into play, draw a card.
are practically the same. Augmenting your hand allows you to be powerful in the late game, rather than giving you better creatures now, its less of an advantage but still an advantage.

Because you are discarding often, your hand becomes a resource and, since extra cards are few and far between, each card is extremely precious. If they can walk, even the terrible creatures become precious. There are no spells to clean up after your creatures so you have to make your creatures count even if it's hard. Obviously the randomizer can give you terrible creatures but the best players can use even those well.

Blocking and attacking are the most common times people sow the seeds of their own destruction. The below examples concern blocking choices but don’t take into consideration life which is a very important factor of blocking. I bring them up cause because I’ve seen people, myself included, make poor decisions and lose because of it. Blocking and attacking well are always important, not just when either could mean a win or a loss.

Scenario 1

You have three creatures, a 2/2, a 2/1, and a 4/2, and your opponent has 3 2/2 creatures. During your turn, you can attack with any of your creatures. The 2/2 and 2/1 are about as good as they’re going to get here, since your 1 card is taking out their 1 card. Your 4/2 can do much better than killing a 2/2, it can take down a 4/4, so attacking with it is essentially wasting it. A good solution for you is to attack with the 2/2 and 2/1 and see what happens, your opponent can take 4 damage or have less creatures to counter attack. Keep in mind that your opponent is gunning for that 4/2 too and would love to trade 1 for 1, its size won’t get it special treatment. When you block too, remember that your 4/2 is more valuable than the 2/2s.

Scenario 2

Each person has 3 2/2s with no relevant special abilities. Your opponent attacks with his 3. You can take 6 damage and retaliate next turn with 6 damage to his head. Or you can block and kill any number of them but you would also lose your creatures. While it may be tempting to wait for a 6/6 they can all block, thus getting a merit badge for being really well used, they may be letting through significant damage. Also be aware of whether counter attacking may be impossible, like if they’re about to lay a creature. Attacking as a swarm, dealing damage despite losing creatures, is only rarely a good idea.

Scenario 3

You have a 7/7, two 4/4s, a 3/2 and your opponent has two 6/6s. While you have the biggest creatures on the field, attacking with any one would be a mistake. The lone attacker will be killed but attacking with all of them puts your opponent in a very bad position. If the two 6/6s go up against the 7/7, they trade 1 for 1 and let 11 points of damage through. If the 6/6s each take a 4/4, the attacker still gets through 10 points of damage. The tiny creature will almost always turn into free damage in these cases. Other things on the table can change what the ’best’ decision is, a damage sweeper like Bloodfire Colossus
Bloodfire Colossus
Bloodfire ColossusSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
8
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Giant
Rarity:
R
Number:
55
Artist:
Greg Staples
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
[R], Sacrifice Bloodfire Colossus: Bloodfire Colossus deals 6 damage to each creature and each player.
makes that 7/7 a very real threat while having lots of life, or substantially more than the opponent, makes the 7/7 less of a threat. The tempo of the game too plays a part, a 7/7 on the 4th turn is very different than a 7/7 on the 9th turn.

And the word that keeps any card out of tournaments, ‘randomly‘. The creatures you get may be random but winning or losing in this format isn’t. More important than the creatures you get are the creatures you keep. Choices about what to throw when can effect the game. For example, a 1/1 is terrible but a 1/1 shadow often will win. Some creatures allow you to sac or make you return your own creatures so you can still throw away creatures even if you can’t block incorrectly. Certain abilities can make or break a creatures career, evasion, acceleration for you, and disadvantage for the other person are vital in this game. A note about tempo, each person starts with 7 or 8 cards so only has that many turns to play a land and a creature. Some players advocate shooting for a high cc and forsaking the ’little guys’ but I’ve found the game is nearly over by turn 8, so choose your picks wisely.

The eternal question that haunts this format is to play or draw, whether to go first. Going first means that you’ll always be getting the ‘best’ creatures first. Drawing of course means that you can either get more creatures or go higher.

To help you do that, the chart below shows the gist of each converted mana cost.

0: There are four options here and none of them are innately good but they can be. They are however all artifact so all will be able to block a creature with ‘fear’ creature. Also, 1/4 of them (Ornithopter
Ornithopter
OrnithopterSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Amy Weber
Power:
0
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flying
) fly so it could be a good bet if you get another creature that can pump other creatures.

1: There are 1024 possibilities here and only a few of them are worth having: 40 are artifact, 9 offer some kind of evasion or other consistent damage source, 14 accelerate your next drops, and 2 others give your opponent some kind of disadvantage. The others all have ‘potential’ and could be useful if the situation is favorable, most of these have abilities which are nice to have if you have the right type of mana.

2: This is where the hits start. Among these 2060 possibilities are the mana-myrs (Copper Myr
Copper Myr
Copper MyrSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Myr
Rarity:
C
Number:
158
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool.
), Ravnica block Guildmages, Apocalypse
Apocalypse
ApocalypseSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
L. A. Williams
Text:
Remove all permanents from the game. Discard your hand.
’bears’, and a collection of many other very useful creatures. If an early creature will help you win, this is most likely where it will come from.

3: This is another useful early drop category. Of the 2720 possible creatures, almost half either deal direct damage, heal creatures, or fly. There are legends of great cards here too, Terravore
Terravore
TerravoreSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Lhurgoyf
Rarity:
R
Number:
278
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Power:
*
Toughness:
*
Text:
Trample Terravore's power and toughness are each equal to the number of land cards in all graveyards.
or Twilight Drover
Twilight Drover
Twilight DroverSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
R
Number:
33
Artist:
Dave Allsop
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Whenever a creature token leaves play, put a +1/+1 counter on Twilight Drover. 2W, Remove a +1/+1 counter from Twilight Drover: Put two 1/1 white Spirit creature tokens with flying into play.
for example, who are very powerful. Sadly, these aren’t as common as stories about them but they are nice to dream about.

4: This is a favorite hang out of no-name-beaters. Almost a fourth of the 2740 creatures here fly. Most have reasonable power and toughness but this isn’t a Mecca of power.

5: Here is were the large creature pool begins to fade in numbers. With only 1740 possibilities, there are some great beaters here and about a fourth of the creatures fly.

6: The party is at 6. A third of these 1028 bad-boys fly. Among those that don’t fly are the pit-fighters from Onslaught
Onslaught
OnslaughtSet: Exodus
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
C
Number:
92
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Whenever you successfully cast a creature spell, tap target creature.
Block which are awesome in their own way.

7: The other fantasy victim, there are 464 possibilities here. Among them, Platinum Angel
Platinum Angel
Platinum AngelSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
7
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
228
Artist:
Brom
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying You can't lose the game and your opponents can't win the game.
, Phage, Ancient Ooze
Ancient Ooze
Ancient OozeSet: Scourge
Cost:
7
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Ooze
Rarity:
R
Number:
112
Text:
Ancient Ooze's power and toughness are each equal to the total converted mana cost of other creatures you control.
and Molimo are here. I personally choose to get another 6cc here and forgo this cc because the 6cc creatures are just better as a hole. There is a lot of power here, make no mistake about it, but there is also many dreams.

8: Some of the most powerful creatures in the format are here, both Akromas, Hoverguard Sweepers
Hoverguard Sweepers
Hoverguard SweepersSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
8
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Drone
Rarity:
R
Number:
32
Artist:
Mark A Nelson
Power:
5
Toughness:
6
Text:
Flying. When Hoverguard Sweepers comes into play, you may return up to two target creatures to their owner's hands.
, Bloodfire Colossus
Bloodfire Colossus
Bloodfire ColossusSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
8
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Giant
Rarity:
R
Number:
55
Artist:
Greg Staples
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
[R], Sacrifice Bloodfire Colossus: Bloodfire Colossus deals 6 damage to each creature and each player.
, Avatar of Hope
Avatar of Hope
Avatar of HopeSet: Prophecy
Cost:
8
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Avatar
Rarity:
R
Number:
3
Artist:
rk post
Power:
4
Toughness:
9
Text:
Flying If you have 3 life or less, Avatar of Hope costs 6 less to play.Avatar of Hope may block any number of creatures.
and other powerful players. Of course Sadistic Hypnotist
Sadistic Hypnotist
Sadistic HypnotistSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Minion
Rarity:
U
Number:
159
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Sacrifice a creature: Target player discards two cards from his or her hand. Play this ability only any time you could play a sorcery.
hangs here too so buyer beware. None would deny that there is a lot of power here.

9: There is some power here, Blazing Archon
Blazing Archon
Blazing ArchonSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
9
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Archon
Rarity:
R
Number:
4
Artist:
Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai
Power:
5
Toughness:
6
Text:
Flying Creatures can’t attack you.
and Crimson Hellkite
Crimson Hellkite
Crimson HellkiteSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
9
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Dragon
Rarity:
R
Number:
172
Artist:
Gerry Grace
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Flying X, T: Crimson Hellkite deals X damage to target creature. Spend only red mana this way.
for example, but there is a lot of useless froth here too. Abilities that can only trigger if you play the creatures make appearances to give you underpowered and wholly useless creatures.

10 and up: 10 has a large percentage of useless creatures, Myojins without their divinity counters, vanilla 5/5s and other stuff.

11 has three options, 8/8 black flying, 11/11 indestructible trample, and a 4/5. While that has the largest percentage of powerhouses, 2/3s, its also hard to get there. My experience is games are far over by the time you get to 11 unless you get some kind of acceleration. If you want power, the absolute best place to be is at 15, 100% chance of a green-white 9/14 trampler. But like I said, the game is usually over by then.

So, that’s I’ll say about it for now. This really is the cheapest format to get into: $11 for the deck, about $3 for a spot in a tournament, and the best 8 of that tournament get boosters, worth about $5. For the best 8, that’s a great investment. I look forward to seeing you there. Until next time, may your top decks make you cheer.


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