This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series The Power of the Dark Side

By Phil, AKA BeltFedWeapon

True power is achieved through blood and sweat. But mostly blood. -Vampiric Tutor

Part X: Paying Life

 

One of the best indicators to separate out novice magic players from those that have more experience is to gauge a player’s reaction when a Black card requires its caster to pay life.  Newer players tend to value their life as sacrosanct – something that should not be lost and is a measure of if you are winning or not.  More experienced players have realized that your life total is a resource to be used, just like the cards in your hand, graveyard, and in play.  True connoisseurs of Black think: “I’m at 3 life?  No problem, I can still cast my Sign in Blood to draw two cards.”

 

While Black’s strength in having the best tutors is obvious, its strength in being the best color at exploiting your life as a resource is far less so.  With the recent printing of so many very good Black cards that revolve around paying life, it behooves me to give the topic the full treatment.

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This entry is part 26 of 37 in the series Generally Speaking

By Imshan AKA Sinis

A highly amusing feature of multiplayer games is the concept of a low-hanging fruit.  Perhaps it’s not so amusing, depending on how your last game went.  If your life total is low enough, players will eliminate you just because they can.  They’ll offer all kinds of reasons for it; they’ll tell you they didn’t want you to come back to win the game after everyone expended their resources, that they didn’t want to make an enemy that could respond in kind, or that they were sure you had a way to save yourself.  Justifications and excuses aside, the result is the same: you got too low, and people left you twisting in the wind because you were an easy mark for their Sun Titan, and suddenly you’re a figurative pinata until you fall to pieces after you leak out so much candy (the candy is also figurative).

On the other balance is lifegain, one of the most derided and underrated tactics in Commander.  And by ‘lifegain’ I don’t mean decks dedicated to lifegain as a deck strategy, which trot out Sanguine Bond as a roundabout way of dealing damage to players, or win through Felidar Sovereign or Test of Endurance.  Rather, I mean, run of the mill cards that gain life, often at card disadvantage. Read the rest of this entry »