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:
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.
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.
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.
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.