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CardShark Content - Michael White (4/28/2006)

Now that Dissension is officially spoiled for all the world to see, the obvious question is, is the set hot or not?

The power level is definitely higher than Guildpact, to the glee of any tournament lover. There are enough combo cards to keep every Johnny happy, and a few fatties for cousin Timmy.

But what really makes me get excited about a set is how many new decks can this set spawn? How many new cards can I build something cool around, and what kinds of new strategies can I come out with now that the set is around. And, with Dissension, there’s not so many.

With Ravnica, we got Friggorid from dredge, WWr was reborn, the mill deck became an option, and the duals allowed for so much flexibility with your colors. Ravnica didn’t have so many specific decks, but it opened our minds to possibilities that would have been impossible before it was released.

With Guildpact, we had a BW aggro, BW hand, BW control, GR weenie, GR bigger beats, GR land destruction (even if it didn’t work), Zoo, fun Izzet combo decks, and a few card to improve Red/Blue control decks.

Now, Dissension. I’ve got mixed feeling here. Here’s what I like:

Wakestone Gargoyle
Wakestone Gargoyle
Wakestone GargoyleSet: Dissension
Color:
White
Rarity:
R
Number:
21
Artist:
Jim Murray
: Ever since I began playing casually with my friends around the lunch table at school, their was one guy who I really didn’t like. Not because he was good at the game, or that he was a Spike. My problem with him was that he was arrogant, a bully and hated everything that wasn’t what he deemed worthy. He tore up my Wall of Wood
Wall of Wood
Wall of WoodSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wall
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Power:
0
Toughness:
3
on me. Ever since, I’ve wanted to build a good wall deck, and kick his head in with it. I don’t even remember his name anymore, but I’d still like to win with a wall deck.

Cytoplast Manipulator
Cytoplast Manipulator
Cytoplast ManipulatorSet: Dissension
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Wizard Mutant
Rarity:
R
Number:
23
Artist:
Dan Scott
Power:
0
Toughness:
0
Text:
Graft 2 (This creature comes into play with two +1/+1 counters on it. Whenever another creature comes into play, you may move a +1/+1 counter from this creature onto it.) U, T: Gain control of target creature with a +1/+1 counter on it as long as Cytoplast Manipulator remains
in play.
: Very cool, Simic control, in a very powerful form. Run a few more creatures with grafty goodness, and make sure to move your counters from your creatures, so that you can steal theirs. Risky strategy though, as you’ll be seriously weakening yourself until this guy comes down.

Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
Grand Arbiter Augustin IVSet: Dissension
Color:
Multicolor
Rarity:
R
Number:
112
Artist:
Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai
: This card has some seriously hot potential for brokenness. The only concern I have for it, is that the Rakdos in the set might be too much for it to see play. Their are lots of fun things to do with this in your deck.

Split cards: Encouraging multi-guilded play again, this is a very good idea. None of the cards seem broken at all, Trial & Error being the closest to it.

Pillar of the Paruns
Pillar of the Paruns
Pillar of the ParunsSet: Dissension
Color:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
176
Artist:
Dany Orizio
: Hot, awesome land card. Perfect, possibly a little overpowered, but makes extra flexibility.

The Azorius: I love the Azorius. You can build a flying Aggro deck, a control a-la Counterpost deck, a new breed of control deck, or many other flavors of decks. I just love the Azorius.

What I don’t like:

Hellbent & Rakdos in general: The Rakdos are strong and very tournament worthy. No doubt about it, they will spawn one very powerful deck, and many decks with minor tweaks for various metagames, but in the end, the Rakdos are going to be about two things, finding the appropriate balance between having more threats and emptying your hand, and properly judging which meta-game cards to play.

Having R&D say, “Here’s the idea for the deck, here are the options to build it with, now do the best your can with it.” is not what I would call fun. There’s not a lot of room to get creative with the Rakdos, and I’m disappointed by that.

Graft: I don’t like the mechanic. But I guess it’s not designed for me, it’s designed more for the Timmies out there. Shrink
Shrink
ShrinkSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Liz Danforth
Text:
Target creature gets -5/-0 until end of turn.
ing one of your creatures so that another can grow isn’t really my kind of idea.

Notice though, I didn’t say that I disliked the Simic. Simic has cards I really like, that do give some options to play with. I like the Simic, I just don’t like the mechanic.

In the end, I like more of the cards from Dissension than I did Guildpact, but I like Guildpact better as a set. The Rakdos really spoiled it for me. It’s too straightforward, and too narrow. No room to explore, or experiment with. The Simic are ok, and the Azorius rock, but the Rakdos really spoil the set for me.

I won’t be building a Rakdos deck, I refuse. I expect someone will come out with what they call the “right” build for the Rakdos, and people will debate back and forth whether or not these are right, and people will be arguing about minor tweaks, rather than discussing innovative ideas for new decks.

The Rakdos deck is very straightforward, which cards you pick for it, are not. I don’t like that the deck is so obvious. When I saw the first preview cards, and leaked cards, I got quite excited, they looked very good, and very strong.

Now that I’ve seen the spoiler, it’s like I’ve seen something to stimulate my mind, then take that idea, add more and more and more to it, until the room is so full of that idea that I’m suffocating under it. And then, it gets rolled up like a newspaper, and I get hit over the head with it until I go unconscious. Then when I wake up, it’s holding me hostage, making me watch videos about it a-la clockwork orange. And then I get to see a cool Blue card, and the second I start to like it, that Rakdos hits me over the head again.

Don’t get my point wrong, I don’t think they’re over-powered at all, just over-done.


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