It wasn’t too long ago that I shared a few words about Plated Seastrider. Scars of Mirrodin is full of throwbacks but not all of them are to the original Mirrodin run. Plated Seastrider is an obvious play on Giant Tortoise.
A lot of the same things I shared about Plated Seastrider also apply to Giant Tortoise. Of course there are two not-so-insignificant differences between these two:
- Giant Tortoise is easier to cast at just a blue and colorless mana
- Giant Tortoise loses its defensive ability upon attacking (or otherwise being tapped)
The Tortoise is just as solid and useful defensively as the Seastrider but comes with the drawback of not being able to attack effectively. Any 1/1 on the opposing side can take out our defender. So why even bring this guy up at all?
Mana consistency in Limited decks: it’s an interesting concept. The double blue cost of the Seastrider will make it very difficult to effectively lay down on turn two but the Tortoise should drop in without a problem.
A guy like Tortoise or Seastrider is really worth their most on turn two. Stopping the aggro, or forcing removal early, is extremely valuable for any deck looking for longer plans. Every time a blue deck forces a one-for-one out of an aggro deck it makes the game lean slightly more towards control.
Of course, having Giant Tortoise or Plated Seastrider in your opening hand every game in a tough feat. Is the slight bonus to consistency worth the trade off in being able to attack more often? I’m not as sure as some others out there. We’ll see what some play testing reveals.