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Conflux Review Part 1: Mana Fixing January 26, 2009

Posted by James in : all, reviews, previews , trackback

The Conflux Spoiler is complete. Conflux has a three color theme in addition to a newly founded 5 color theme. It appears that Shards is “evolving” into a 5 color set. One problem. We were already getting mana screwed all the time when playing Shards of Alara drafts. How will we handle 5 colors? Simply put:

  1. No one likes getting mana screwed, so we want a lot of mana fixing.
  2. A 5 color set is one of the best ways to make sure everyone gets mana screwed.
  3. Therefore, there better be a lot of mana fixing in this set!

Unfortunately this set does not have the best mana fixing ever produced. Fortunately there is enough mana fixing to make this set bearable in a draft or sealed tournament.
Let’s take a look. First, the commons:

We have a total of 10 common mana fixing cards that are worth mentioning. This is the same amount as in Shards of Alara, and this is a much smaller set, so there will be more common mana fixing. Since this is a partially 5 color set, that is appropriate.

Rupture Spire is the best common that produces a mana of any color, but that isn’t saying a whole lot. I wouldn’t play it in any draft tournament EXCEPT for Shards of Alara draft. All of these cards will be worth playing in a draft or sealed deck tournament, but only because we don’t have anything better to choose from. All of these cards are worse than the mana fixing we saw in Ravnica.

I applaud Wizards of the Coast for bringing back landcycling. It was one of the few abilities that gave us the kind of mana fixing we have always needed. However, there are two big problems with the land cycling found in Conflux:

  1. These cards require that you have colored mana. If you are color screwed and need mana fixing, chances are you can’t cycle the card for the land! The cards are pretty self-defeating in this sense.
  2. The cards are all terrible. (A 3 mana instant should do 5 damage to a creature.)

The result: Expect mana scew to continue when Conflux packs are added to the draft/sealed tournament. The common mana fixing is almost not worth taking. We have to face a dilemma: Play with the mana fixing, or refuse to play with the mana fixing and just hope to draw all the lands you need.

Now let’s take a look at the rare and uncommon mana fixing, which will be a lot harder to get in a draft or sealed event:

There’s almost no uncommon or rare mana fixing cards, which is a big problem. You simply can’t expect to get any of these in a draft, and if you do, you will have an unfair advantage. All of the uncommon and rare mana fixing cards are much better than the common ones. In fact, Shard Convergence is the only one that I don’t think is worth playing in a Constructed format. Exotic Orchard might not be that great in Standard since Reflecting Pool is already better, but it will be great in Shards block. Ancient Ziggurat could be pretty good in an all creature deck (or nearly all-creatures, like Bant or Naya).

Noble Hierarch and Exotic Orchard are both a couple of the best cards in all of Conflux, so they will probably be worth something.

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Comments»

1. michael - January 26, 2009

There are some other mana fixing creatures that you forgot to moention.

Creature - Human Knight
Knight of the Reliquary gets +1/+1 for each land card in your graveyard.
TAP, Sacrifice a Forest or Plains: Search your library for a land card, put it into play, then shuffle your library.

Notice he can search for any land, basic or otherwise.

There is also a RWG guy that can filter 1 colorless into RWG.

And Path to Exile can be used as mana fixing in a pinch.

2. James - January 26, 2009

I don’t consider Knotvine Mystic, Knight of the Reliquary, Path to Exile, or Exploding Borders to be mana fixing cards worth mentioning. A two color card is not going to help with mana fixing very often. It might help get the “fifth color” but that is about it. Knotvine Mystic costs RWG and gives you RWG. What mana did it fix? Not much. Path to Exile is a last ditch effort to get mana fixing. Explording Borders is the only one that I didn’t mention that will make a real difference in Draft/Sealed games, but not enough.