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Viridian Emissary

Sometimes, the world is a kind and gentle place. A warm, moist breeze wicking though a shade-dappled grove, with the warm-but-not-hot sun trickling through the boughs above. Fresh, seasonal fruit at hand without a care in the world.

Despite the watermark lying behind it, Viridian Emissary is completely and utterly amazing:

Viridian Emissary, a common from Mirrodin Besieged

While I’d like to argue that the black oil hasn’t infected me, I do know it’s clear that I’m totally and utterly in love with many of the Phyrexian cards in Mirrodin Besieged. Viridian Emissary is one that I particularly enjoy for a variety of reasons:

  • It’s an effective “bear” at two mana for two power.
  • It rewards early and repeated aggression.
  • It mitigates the drawback of late-game chump-blocking.

Bear Blasting

Almost 70% of my cube has creatures with two or less power. This is not an accident: the sweet spot for power with beneficial abilities is two. In fact, just over 46% of all creatures have just two power. And the percentage of creatures with two toughness or less? That’s just shy of 65%.

Two power is sufficient and solid for a variety of purposes. Any time I can pay two mana and get two power with something more I take a second look at it for cubing. Small fries that reward soundly provide so much value in a world where they are the predominate member of society.

I even considered Alpha Myr at one point to help diversity access to bear-like bodies. They’re like science: two mana for two power just works.

Rewarding Aggression

Drop Viridian Emissary on turn two or three then ask yourself this: how do you not swing? You lose almost nothing: either you start to chip in for two damage chunks or get a Rampant Growth – albeit a more potent one that may have dealt damage to your opponent. Viridian Emissary may not come with straight-up evasion, but Rampant Growth on-a-stick can be scary enough to deter any blockers from stepping up, and if they would odds are they’re trading themselves away in doing so.

And speaking of ramping effect, thanks to the mana cost the snap comparison here is to Sakura-Tribe Elder. What Viridian Emissary seems most like is a “fixed” version of the Champions of Kamigawa staple: now you get to deal two damage and ramp. That “and” is important because thanks to the Magic 2010 rules changes, the damage on the stack power of Tribe Elder was weakened. Now it’s back and while your opponent has some say in when the ramp effect goes off, pauper cubes are full of combat.

Odds are solid you’ll be trading early and often. If not, would you pay for a delayed Rampant Growth that deals damage to an opponent in the meantime? You know you would in a heartbeat.

Late-Game Chumps

Speaking of awkward situations thanks to Magic 2010, ripping the aforementioned Tribe Elder off the top of the library later in the game is frustrating. It’s often simply a land drop you have to pay mana for with the delaying factor of stopping your average ground-pounder from rolling into you for one turn.

Viridian Emissary flips that dynamic by giving you two damage to play around with in combat. Even if you’re on your heel the Emissary comes down to help out and actually deal damage. Two damage is sufficient to trade with most creatures at the pauper level, and gang-blocking to take out something bigger feels fine when you’re still getting a Rampant Growth out of it.

Get Down Tonight

If you couldn’t tell, I’m stoked for Mirrodin Besieged. I know I’ll be hunting  for this in foil from beginning to end at the two Prerelease events I’m going to be at.

You probably should too.

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  1. Pluckmyeyeout
    January 26, 2011 at 9:23 AM

    Like.

    Also want to know what you think of Loxodon Partisan, Master’s Call, Serum Raker, Spire Serpent, Tangle Mantis, Unnatural Predation, Myr Sire, or anything else.

    Aside from Viridian Emissary, I don’t see too much I’m that excited about. Looking back at some cards though, I think Totem-Guide Hartebeest and Knight of Cliffhaven both should be given a shot in here.

    • January 26, 2011 at 9:46 AM

      I plan to review more commons from the new set and there should be a special podcast soon where I’ll definitely discuss many (or all) of those cards.
      I hope that works for you!

  2. Tim P
    January 26, 2011 at 11:41 AM

    You probably should mention the downside is that you can’t always get what you want with this card. It starts looking pretty unimpressive when your opponent plays a wall and you’re stuck with a do-nothing 2/1 and a desire to ramp.

    Think it is a good card but I think still below Tribe-Elder by a good margin.

    • January 26, 2011 at 12:14 PM

      STE definitely still edges out at pauper and only gets even better in the comparison for higher-rarity inclusive cubes and every constructed format I can think of. Provocative statement was media headline misleading, my bad.
      However, my cube has just one true Wall, Halimar Wavewatch, and other creatures that serve as “effective” Walls (Calcite Snapper, Giant Tortoise, Yotian Soldier, etc.) carry at least one power. In this context, Emissary gets much more attractive. Any cube with more true Walls amplifies the “opponent’s choice” drawback.
      Thanks for highlighting this point clearer!

      • Tim P
        January 27, 2011 at 10:26 AM

        Wow, I never thought about how all the sicko walls are uncommon. I’m used to having them in Klug’s cube. Thinking about it now is obvious but was not before. God I love an 0/4.

        On a related topic; WHY IS WALL OF ROOTS NOT IN YOUR CUBE!?!?!?! That card is soooooooooooooooo nice.

      • January 27, 2011 at 10:49 AM

        I’m waiting for blue to get the “1U ETB draw a card 0/4 Wall” treatment because, thanks to Kraken Hatchling, it should be a common. The walls at common are pretty meh and I’ve avoided them for the most part to include bodies that can at least attack.
        That said Wall of Roots has been on the “ought to try it” queue for awhile now. I’ll give it it’s due Un the next update. I’ve hesitating because there are so many accelerators at common but Roots can’t attack or kill anything. U/G ought to like it though.

  3. Troy
    January 26, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    Loving the card reviews. This guy is definitely awesome. Two things. Thing one. With one toughness he is easy to trigger if you are desperate. I have used a fume spitter to kill my own perilous myr, for instance, when it meant an extra 2 dmg to win the game. If you are mana screwed and your opponent seems bent on taking 2 instead of trading, there are usually plenty of sac outlets and ways to kill one toughness dudes. Thing two. The art confuses me. I feel like this is a flavor fail. He’s an elf, either a diplomatic courier or a spy. Apparently he was corrupted and sent back? And his warning allowed the elves to bring more mana on-line? Frankly, I like dark art, but this set is going to gross for me. The vivisection card is another example. I am finding that I don’t want to play it with my son (11) because the art/themes are too graphically charged.

  4. January 26, 2011 at 9:19 PM

    I hate most cards that give an opponent a choice, so I can’t really say that Emissary is ‘insane’ or anything. But I like that he’s quite aggressive, and if you consider the ramp as more of a side effect than the real show, then it does get a bit more appealing.

    I’d still rather have Steve, but this is cubeable. xD

    • January 27, 2011 at 10:57 AM

      From playing G/B and G/R so much, this guy will feel just right. Come out swinging and benefit from the ramp in trades; I can’t wait.

      • January 27, 2011 at 6:01 PM

        Yeah, he and Flayer Husk I assume will suprise me. I’ve been hearing good things about them.

        Get to reviewing Kuldotha Ringleader! Then we’ll have something in common that we think is awesome (unless you stab me in the back and say that it’s nothing special).

  5. January 27, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    Kuldotha Ringleader? I suspect we’ll be in the same book but I might have a different page for him.

    • January 28, 2011 at 3:11 AM

      I might be giving him a little too much hype. Hopefully he’ll deliver. xD

  1. February 8, 2011 at 9:49 PM

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