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Skywinder Drake

Tom LaPille is my hero. While I will certainly admit there’s substantial fanboy influence happening here, he actually created something amazing: he was the lead developer for Magic 2012.

That means he’s the man who signed off on including Skywinder Drake in set the final product.

Skywinder Drake 2U; Flying, This can't block creatures without flying; 3/1

Believe it.

(To be clear, it was the design team that put Cloud Spirit in, and the creative team that adapted it into it’s Drake form. My gratitude goes to those all of team members and the rest of the developers too, but my fanboy-ism still needs rationalizing.)

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a bigger fan of Cloud Spirit and Rishadan Airship than me, and our new Drake will be the first piece of redundancy to hit “three copies” in my cube.

Perhaps I’m warming up to blue again after all.

If It Flies, It Dies

Skywinder Drake, like it’s two brothers in crime, provides blue a much needed piece of aggression at common. I won’t rehash the “add blue aggro to your cube” argument, but when you’re dealing with just commons it moves beyond a modest suggestion.

Calcite Snapper and Giant Tortoise have their place, and they serve very valuable purposes too. The issue is that those kinds of creatures are just one half of the team. Blocking the ground while pounding in the sky is a classic Limited strategy, and it’s one that, I’m happy to share, is alive and well in my cube. More importantly, getting both the offense and defense online quickly makes this most effective.

I may or may not have once played a sequence of turns as follows:

  1. Island, Preordain
  2. Island, Giant Tortoise
  3. Mountain, Cloud Spirit
  4. Mountain, Searing Blaze, Miscalculation their 3- or 4-drop
  5. Island, sac tapped Island to kick Rushing River, Counterspell their relevant play
  6. Mountain, kicked Pouncing Kavu, opponent is at 5

Skywinder Drake is a simple but effective bump in the aggressive power of blue. I don’t believe the “3/3 with flying for five managuys are leaving anytime soon, but smacking in for six damage, forcing an opponent burn a kill spell to deal with that guy, before dropping the five mana dudes seems fine. In fact, that order of events seems much more appealing than the other way around.

While it may feel odd to have something that can’t block as an early drop in blue, it’s the attachment to “blue is control” mentality holding you back. Pauper doesn’t have Control Magic and other permanent “steal” effects. Pauper doesn’t have effective duplication of Wrath of God board-clearing effects. Under almost any circumstance, to win in pauper cubes you have to attack. Blue has to have ways to attack efficiently.

If it can be done in cube despite Control Magic and friends, it’s a breeze to bash in pauper.

Believe in the Drake (or Airship, or Spirit). It’ll get in there.

(“Poster” courtesy of Dan Tack.)

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  1. Matthias
    July 12, 2011 at 7:45 AM

    Skywinder Drake is a great card. I love myself a blue aggro deck and did use it to success at the Prerelease. I can’t wait for your M12 cube update.

  2. Richard Maurer
    August 1, 2011 at 9:32 AM

    Top post this month. Have to say I agree with everything you say. Only problem now is what to take out! :)

    • September 21, 2011 at 8:01 PM

      Tough decisions are often the best to make!

  1. July 18, 2011 at 3:13 PM
  2. August 2, 2011 at 7:24 PM

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