Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Grixis teachings, part 2

A supplement to my article here, for all you Magic folk.

I am not a fan of Teachings in Pauper for this reason: there is no need for such specialized answers. The best part of Teachings is just being able to go get multiple answers.
But is that enough? I don't think so. Unlike formats where Teachings was popular, there is no one overwhelming card you can go get that will send you over the top with card advantage. In other formats, you would be able to go get a Tendrils of Corruption and, with an Urborg in play, generating an immense tempo advantage in the form of life gain. No such combo exists in Pauper.
So what is the appeal about Teachings? It is for all those Blue control players who want to survive in a field of aggressive strategies but also for those who don't like to yield to formats. To me, Teachings lacks the ability to dominate against the field, but rather has the ability to be slightly above average or slightly below average to everyone out there. This does not suit my style of play.
Yes, those with great skill and perfect knowledge will succeed in a given metagame, but even the top Teachings deck at the recent Premier Event, I felt, was not well prepared for a field with a healthy dose of aggro- only one Echoing Decay main, for example. Teachings, rather, is strongest in a field on control, where the counters fetched represent a real advantage.
Why is this the case? The flat power level of Pauper means that getting one, or two, or even three cards does not really matter. Instead, it is when these advantages begin to stack that they actually matter. Teachings requires a huge mana and time investment to make such an advantage possible. In a format with a fundamental turn of four, this is just too slow for my liking. There are no big game changing plays, aside from Corrupt, that come after that turn.
This is why I favor aggro with disruption and midrange control decks. They have the ability to apply consistent pressure across the span of the game. They react to the flat power level of the format with an even amount of pressure, which serves me well.


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