This entry is part 7 of 13 in the series (Vexing) Devil's Advocate

378127_10150441621792624_1477312954_n“Phew, just in time,” Drake sighed as he resolved his Phantasmal Image.

Sully looked down at his Sigarda, Host of Herons and shrugged. He separated her from the Sword of Fire and Ice she had been equipped with and dropped her back into his command zone. It was going to be a few turns before he could recast her.

“See?” Drake asked. “This is what I’m talking about. The new legend rule change that’s coming is goddamn stupid.”

“The new legend rule is fine, kid. Don’t be such a whiner,” Sully smirked at him as he took another drag from his cigar.

“Oh really?” Drake replied, waving his hand back and forth to clear the smoke. “And exactly how else do you propose you deal with Sigarda? How would the great and wise Victor Sullivan handle such a lady?”

“You forgot noble and handsome,” Sully remarked. Then he smirked and emphasized, “Especially handsome.”

“I get it, you love yourself!” Drake laughed. “But you didn’t answer my question.”

“Well kid, I can think of a few ways to handle a lady like Sigarda. But I’ll tell you one thing,” Sully said as he picked up his general and pointedly showed Drake the colour symbols in the top right corner of the card. “In these colours, I’m sure as hell not gonna be cloning her.”

"You've got to show some class when your wooing a lady who's got wings. Also a giant sickle, that's pretty good motivation to stay classy."

“You’ve got to show some class when you’re wooing a lady who’s got wings. Also a giant sickle, that’s pretty good motivation to stay classy.”

Oh sweet, I get to defend the hexproof generals! This won’t take too long. Here it goes: some people play generals because of broken interactions, some people play them for the colour or the flavour, and some people just want a really sturdy stick that won’t go away. It’s fine, they aren’t unanswerable. And if someone wants to pack resilience into the most important card in their deck as opposed to ramp, removal, or combo potential, then they should be allowed to do that.

Sweet, I’m done. No, really, that’s all. We’ve got nothing more to discuss. I’ll just put the header above that paragraph and we can move right into the silver bullets segment. Nothing else to really address here… Awww. Blue.

Another EDH discussion hijacked by blue!

Another EDH discussion hijacked by blue!

Right, that guy. I figured this might come up soon, I just forgot to check my calendar.

So we are now entering the month of July, which means that new clone rule is right around the corner. And as usual, this change to the game has split the community straight down the middle. So now instead of going straight into how to kill Thrun, the Last Troll, I’m going to have to spend a segment making my case about this ruling.

And which side will I be taking? The side of Wizards of the Coast rules comittee, who I have next to no understanding of and whom I barely pay attention to? Or the side of the poor persecuted blue players, who just lost their “kill any general whenever we want” button.

Pfft, what do you think?

In My Client’s Defence…

I googled “Legendary Rule Stupid” and got 128,000,000 possible results. To put that in perspective for you, “End World Hunger” got about 15,000,000 less results. Go ahead and try it out yourself. You’re reading an article by a Canadian comedian about a collectible card game, it isn’t like you don’t have the time.

Back? Cool. I hope you didn’t stray into porno land when you were consulting Google. And if you did, wash your damn hands before you go back to typing.

Ewww. That is just, bleghk.

Ewww. That is just, blegh. Someone get a wet nap.

Anyways, it’s pretty clear (from my totally inaccurate and wildly unscientific survey) that there are lots of people on the internet who really don’t like the new legend rule. So why isn’t this grand majority getting its way? Why won’t Wizards listen to the voice of its fan base when they all clearly don’t like the function or flavour of this new design?

Well, to put it frankly, because the naysayers aren’t the majority. Number of results if you Google “Blue is Broken”: 802,000,000.

It’s not surprising really, “Blue is overpowered” is one of the most common complaints you will hear around an EDH table. And it’s easy to see why; lots of tutors, draw, and two-for-one creatures. Not to mention that they have abilities entirely unique to their colour, such as taking extra turns, counter spells, and cloning.

But killing things is not in their colour identity. Yet their clones have been a convenient work-around for all these years, allowing them to always be able to kill the most important creature in their opponent’s deck, regardless of how it was protected. Now they are losing the ability to use these (still very good) cards as kill spells, and they are crying about how it’s not fair.

"Aww, tell us again how hard it's going to be for you, not being able to kill a legendary whenever you want." -The rest of the colour pie.

“Aww, tell us again how hard it’s going to be for you, not being able to kill a legendary whenever you want.” -The rest of the colour pie.

Frankly, suck it the f^%& up. You’ve been using these cards to get a “unfair” advantage in this format for years. Wizards did not print clones intending them to be kill spells for legendary creatures, and they didn’t design the legend rule while thinking that a format would eventually be designed around cards that were affected by it. Blue players found a convenient loophole in design that allowed their colour a huge edge because of the way everyone had to build their decks, and now Wizards is closing that window. Even if losing this handicap was unfair (which it’s not), all that would mean is that blue players get to see how everyone else has felt all these years.

“But Eric, now the hexproof generals are too powerful! How are we going to be able to kill them?” You scream at me through my tirade of mockery.

And I reply back, “Have you ever played a deck without blue?”

People who are playing generals without blue in them have had to deal with hexproof guys for just as long as you have. What, did you think all the other players just looked at Uril, the Miststalker and scooped if there wasn’t a blue player present? No, we have figured out plenty of ways to deal with hexproof, and we will be glad to share them with you. If you stop crying for five minutes. And apologize for your behaviour. And grovel a little bit.

Kiss my ring you puny blue... Okay, maybe I have taken this a little too far.

Kiss my ring you puny blue… Okay, maybe I have taken this a little too far.

(Tiny little footnote: Some of you don’t think the new legend rule makes sense because of how you interpret the flavour of the game. Don’t worry, I’m not ignoring you. In fact, you’re getting special treatment. Next week’s article is going to be an entirely narrative piece addressing my take on the flavour of the game, and in particular the act of summoning creatures and legendaries. If you liked the style of last week’s article, you are going to love it. If you didn’t, you have been warned, next week won’t be your cup of tea. But check it out anyways! For me, because I’m just so gosh darn cute.)

Kryptonite Rings and Silver Bullets

Ahh, yes. Welcome, blue players, to the anti-hexproof armory that the rest of us have been using. Take a seat, I have some nice pieces to show you. You won’t like them as much as your clones, but those won’t be doing you any good for very much longer, will they?

Let’s start with the obvious: blockers. It sounds like a joke, but I’m being serious. So many people get wound up over these guys having hexproof they forget that they actually have to go into the red zone to do anything. Pick your favourite flavour of beefy dude, and put it in front of them. Some people like to ambush their opponent with flash creatures. I’m partial to a little bit of deathtouch myself, but that’s just me.

Aww, you have hexproof! Isn't that cute! Let's see you swing past my bodyguard.

Aww, you have hexproof! Isn’t that cute! Let’s see you swing past my bodyguard.

Next we’re going to address Glaring Spotlight. This card is obviously designed to counter hexproof, but in my opinion it’s too narrow to stick in all decks. The deck that can make use of it is any sort of aggro deck, one that counts on creatures hitting face. This allows you to take advantage of both aspects of the spotlight, making it a much more versatile card.

Then we have the sweepers, which every single colour has access to. Wrath of God, Damnation, Blasphemous Act, Oblivion Stone, Terminus, etc. You need to pack these into your deck anyways, and they are very good at getting rid of a hexproof creature.

Also, don’t forget that these decks tend to rely on their general, so the usual general denial is very effective. Pack Nevermore and Meddling Mage as needed.

Now to get into some more colour specific answers, specifically black and… You guessed it, blue. Because even after the change in the legendary rule, blue is still arguably the best at stopping hexproof. Plot twist!

Did someone say plot twist?

Did someone say plot twist?

But first, black players! Never forget that Sigarda, Host of Herons is the only hexproof general immune to sacrifice effects. Meaning that Thrun, Uril, and Geist are still vulnerable to every edict effect under the sun. Not to mention a well timed Fleshbag Marauder or Slum Reaper.

And now blue. So let’s see, we can’t counter Thrun, the Last Troll but we can Force of Will every other hexproof general, or all their voltron pieces (ps: Mindbreak Trap and Venser, Shaper Savant still counter Thrun). We can Cyclonic rift or Evacuation the threats back into our opponent’s hand. Or we could cripple them with a well timed Ixidron. Failing all that, we can tap them down with Sleep or Cryptic Command. In fact, even after the clones cease to kill, blue still has more options for dealing with hexproof then all the other colours combined. Isn’t that funny.

No guys, you don't get it. If you take away his frost breath, he's cripplingly underpowered!

No guys, you don’t get it. If you take away his frost breath, he’s cripplingly underpowered!

We, the Jury, Find the Defendant…

Taking away the legend rule doesn’t suddenly make the hexproof generals unreasonably strong. If anything it helps balance out the overpowered nature of clones. And if you’re sweating because you don’t know how you’re going to handle Geist of Saint Traft without your clones, maybe the black player has a kill spell.

Or maybe you can just clone the Geist and then block it, because now your clones can do that. See, they are still very small mana investments for cards that give you access to the best creature on the field at any given moment.

Naw, the new legend rule makes these cards useless. They aren’t still overpowered at all. Blue will definitely need some hardcore boosts in the next set to be playable again.

F^%&ing blue.

Why!? Why would someone think this was a good idea!?

Yeah, because this is a colour that needs to be concerned about its power level.

When Eric isn’t leading the anti-blue resistance, he writes (Vexing) Devil’s Advocate for Commandercast.com. You can tell him how persecuted blue players are in the comments below, or send him an email at EricBonvie@gmail.com. 

Series Navigation<< (Vexing) Devil’s Advocate 6 – Group Hug!?(Vexing) Devil’s Advocate 8 – Summoning 101 >>