I love creatures that give me more for the mana. Whether it’s something as simple as Temple Acolyte or complex and situationally dependent as Whitemane Lion, doing more with less is something exciting for me.
One of the earliest “get more for less” mechanics was the “Penumbra” mechanic which basically reads “When this creatures dies, put a black creature token copy of this creature into play.” While certain variations meant that Penumbra is not equal to copy in the strictest sense, for the most part it worked. And Penumbra Spider, which sits comfortably in my pauper cube, paid homage to this idea years later in Time Spiral.
So it didn’t surprise me when Twitter friend pluckmyeyeout asked the following:
What is Penumbra Bobcat?
Meow, kitty cat! At first glance he seems pretty gnarly:
- Two power for three mana passes the sniff test
- Getting a second copy when the first cashes in is solid
But there is a slight problem: he’s green. My cube runs the following cards:
All of those creatures share the same mana cost as Bobcat yet bring so much more to the table than just two 2/1 creatures. Phantom Tiger is basically the same thing except you start with a 3/2 creatures and can play the equipment game to have a very problematic attacker for opponents. The Coursers would eat Bobcat alive. Ranger and Wayfinder help keep the mana flowing.
It’s not that Bobcat isn’t an okay creature it’s that it definitely isn’t a great creature. Were my cube bigger perhaps there would be enough room for the solid, self-replacing kind of Cat that Penumbra Bobcat is. As it stands, two Giant Spiders for the price of one – that is Penumbra Spider – is the level of power and utility I’m looking for.
Just because a card isn’t bad doesn’t mean it’s good enough.