Points Announcement: Guilds of Ravnica

Points Committee Announcement: Guilds of Ravnica

Since the last announcement, Worldly Tutor and Wheel of Fortune have shown a healthy uptick in play as have both Combo and to some degree Aggro. We are still watching carefully the performance of Flash Hulk and Channel as the powerful Combo decks in the format, however this quarter’s announcement is more concerned with providing continual support to fair creature-based decks in their struggle against the strength of Control.

Here are the changes:

Skullclamp -1 (now 1 Point)
Mind Twist +1 (now 2 Points)

Here are the full details, followed by our current watch list:

SKULLCLAMP
-1 (to 1 Point)

In a vacuum, “Clamp” is powerful enough to warrant the status of other 2-point card draw like Treasure Cruise and Dig through Time. Unlike powerful pointed cards that have a one-time effect, a clamp on the battlefield defines the game in a fair matchup (especially with cheap tutors to access or recur the powerful artifact). However answers to Clamp have improved of late, with recent printings of Kolaghan’s Command, Abrade, and other maindeckable hate. These make for a hostile environment toward artifact synergies, which are traditionally a good way for creature-based decks to combat Control. Given the current state of Highlander we are cautiously confident that now is the right time to trial Skullclamp at 1 Point again.

This change may revitalise the waning White equipment package, bringing the Stoneforge-Jitte-Clamp trifecta (and relatively recent Steelshaper’s Gift de-point) to 3 Points in total. It benefits a number of underplayed White equipment archetypes like Dark Bant and Junk, as well as fringe decks such as WB Tokens and GW Hatebears which could use the support. Clamp at 1 also benefits non-white decks such as BR Aggro, which is well-positioned to prey on the currently dominant Control and greed-based 4-colour (non-White) decks. Last, a 1-Point Clamp becomes a much easier consideration for archetypes that could reconfigure themselves to take advantage of the powerful engine, including Elves, Big Zoo, Red Deck Wins, and more.

With this in mind, it is possible that the change will see a homogeneity of creature decks wherein they all play Clamp, pushing out non-clamp-based creature archetypes (e.g. double-Mox aggro, blue-based Tempo, etc.). We are prepared to revisit this tentative de-pointing in subsequent updates, and will be monitoring the metagame closely as it evolves. Regardless, outside of playing against Combo decks, a Clamp on the battlefield requires interaction, creating interesting game play and decision trees for fair matchups.

MIND TWIST
+1 (to 2 Points)

Mind Twist has been on the Watch List whilst it has been 1 Point, and now it returns to its previous status on the 2 Point list. The incredibly powerful hand disruption spell saw very little play back when it was 2 Points. However number of players sleeving it up didn’t change very much when it was reduced to 1, which was an indication that it may have been ‘under’-played in general (rather than ‘unplayable’ at 2). It continued its innocuous existence on the 1-Point list until Treasure Cruise became 2, after which Mind Twist became an easy replacement for decks like Kess Pile to generate similar swings in card advantage.

From that point onward, the status of Mind Twist as a powerful haymaker was undeniable, and the card has seen an extensive amount of play. It slots into a wide variety of decks at only a single B colour commitment, and often destroys an opponent’s entire hand in the mid-game (or even the early game off ramp or Mana Drain). This leads to un-fun game states which also disproportionately punish non-blue decks, as they do not have access to counterspells to protect them from the devastating effect.

Now that Mind Twist has had a chance to prove itself worthy of the status of a powerful haymaker, it returns to 2 Points and we expect that it will still see occasional play (albeit less than its current ubiquity).

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WATCH LIST

Spellseeker: This relatively new addition to combo decks has been performing well, but still has yet to thoroughly prove itself as a tour de force (it does display powerful potential to fetch pointed cards).

Flash: The Flash Hulk deck has received new printings like Spellseeker, and a de-pointing in the form of Worldly Tutor; the namesake, Flash, is a key to ‘turn-two-wins’ and therefore a potential target to manage the power level of the deck.

Mission Briefing: A new card that operates similarly to a pointed card (Snapcaster Mage) but requires some testing to prove that the restrictive manacost, lack of a body, and other differences actually warrant 1 Point status.