Monday, February 1, 2010

Manland Lovers

I made a poll that asked, "Which is your favorite Manland from Worldwake?"

Here are the results:

Creeping Tar Pit 33 (44%)
Raging Ravine 11 (14%)
Lavaclaw Reaches 5 (6%)
Celestial Colonnade 19 (25%)
Stirring Wildwood 6 (8%)

I am not too surprised, I guess. Creeping Tar Pit won by an enormous margin. Celestial Colonnade is second. Is this because all my blog readers love blue? Or is it just because these are the only two manlands with evasion? Or maybe they're exciting in some other sense.

Let's look at the manlands a little more closely.

Control might appreciate this guy. He is cheaper to activate than Colonnade, and there's no creature that can block him. I also personally love the art. Because of cheap activation cost, Control can have mana up to counter or react to the opponent's plays after beating down. Theoretically Control may never have to tap out for a big monster finisher with this guy. He can also block when you're desperate.

He can be used aggressively, too, but an aggressive UB deck doesn't look like it's going to be happening.

Do I think he is the best manland in the set? Not... really. I personally think this next manland will see many more activations and see much more play in decklists. 

Stirring Wildwood

Control players are pleased with some of the developments in Worldwake, but aggro will still dominate a huge slice of the pie. And this is an aggressive card if I've ever seen one. In this format, 4 toughness is really beefy. Shrugs at Searing Blaze, Lightning Bolt, and Urge to Feed. Path to Exile replaces it with something worse, but it can be beneficial too at times. And Knight of the Reliquary can just fetch more for you if you want to continue the beats.

A total of 6/74 people voted for this land. I think the reason is that "Reach" is a very unexciting ability. But really, this land would have been a little TOO good if it had Trample or Lifelink. And I think that extra point of toughness is really what makes this land good anyway. It's a good manland; it's just not insane. I think it's still going to be more relevant than all the other ones.

It still beat Lavaclaw Reaches.

Lavaclaw Reaches

This land is getting no love and having seen it in action (in Standard), it does seem to clash with what RB is all about -- and that is having lands enter the field untapped. The longterm benefits of this land are huge because it adds a lot of reach, but the early game will suffer if you have too many ETBT lands. Still, they're just better than having Akoum Refuges, so if you play THOSE you can definitely just replace them with these.

The ability is great, although I would have loved it if the activation cost was RB and not 1RB. Does that seem broken? If it did cost RB, I think it would have definitely be vying for 1st or 2nd best manland. As it is, it's solid. Just not super exciting

The last two, Celestial Colonnade and Raging Ravine. Well, I think most people value them exactly as they should be valued. Nobody really misunderstands these cards. Their higher activation costs make them a lot less interesting, since they'll be more rarely activated. Activating Ragine Ravine twice is interesting (I've done it once), but that's going to almost never happen, so that option doesn't really excite me either. I think people know which decks these lands go in, too. They're very straightforward.

Jund can play one or two copies of RR if it wants to. UWx decks can play 4 copies of CC over Sejiri Refuge. If the lifegain is relevant -- sometimes it is, I think doing a 2/2 or 2/3 split is not a bad idea either.

If you want to invest in any manland, I would go with any that are $5 or less, which at the moment looks like just Stirring Wildwood and Lavaclaw Reaches. I went ahead and bought 3 copies of SW (I have the 4th) as well as 2 copies of Raging Ravine (since I'll need it).

I'm certain Stirring Wildwood will rise in price. Even if by just $1 (it should NOT be cheaper than the other lands). Although I suspect it will reach $8 once Standard Season really kicks off.  Buying a playset of Lavaclaw Reaches might not be a bad idea either. They're the cheapest ones.

The M10 duals are still better. I would never replace M10 duals in a decklist with manlands. Having your duals enter randomly untapped is amazing. I never think of M10 duals as "ETBT lands". Because that's not what they are. All the M10 duals are around $6 now, which kind of implies (to me) that manlands will eventually end up at that mark or less. Of course, at some point the manlands may go as high as $10, but this peak will not last.

They might cost slightly more than M10 duals -- if the ZZW draft format impacts the supply of Worldwake. But since it's also a small set, each rare will appear a little more often. And people seem to like Worldwake, so I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of boxes were opened in the near future.