This is more of an info dump, but when I saw the card on the right, I had to do some digging.
Frank Lepore on TCGPlayer.com previewed this little gem today. If you notice, it’s very similar to Lord of Atlantis with the only difference being that it benefits your creatures instead of everyone’s. This is nothing new and something that WotC has been doing for years. But it is a little disheartening to see this guy printed.
I’m not against “Strictly better” cards; the game will need them as time goes on. I’m sure that none of you care that Elite Vanguard is “strictly better” than Savannah Lions (except the few Cat lovers out there. Wait, what am I saying, this is the internet, of course you’re Cat lovers).
Some of this boils down to Blue getting “good” creatures and, well, Merfolk don’t really need the help.
Now, this isn’t some vendetta against the original Blue Men Group, but somehow I think this is a little fishy that Blue gets something like this. I did a little research and looked up all the “Lords” Magic has up until now (M13 still has Lords we haven’t seen yet, so this is all pre-M13). While Lord can be used to describe anything that benefits a tribe I’m going to stick to the original use of the term: at least a +1/+1 bonus given to a tribe. There can be added benefits attached (Such as Islandwalk or First Strike given to the tribe as well), but not needed. There’s no color Lords either, as we’re just focusing on tribes. I’ve also only included Lords that give the bonus without any other restrictions (No leveling up/as long as it’s equipped, etc).
Here are my numbers:
- 54 Total Lords
- 10 White
- 7 Blue
- 10 Black
- 6 Red
- 13 Green
- 5 Multi-Colored
- 3 Artifact
- Tribes with more than 2 Lords:
- Zombies – 5
- Soldiers – 4
- Elves – 3
- Goblins – 3
- Merfolk – 3
- Slivers – 3
- Tribes that give more than just +1/+1 Twice:
- Zombies – 4 (Deathtouch/1B, T: Raise Dead/Cost Less/Dies, Lose 1 life)
- Goblins – 3 (T: Regenerate/Haste/Mountainwalk)
- Merfolk – 3 (Islandwalk/T: Unblockable/Twiddle)
- Soldiers – 3 (Vigilance/Cost Less/First Strike)
- Barbarians – 2 (Firebreathing/Haste)
- Elves – 2 (T: G for each Elf/Forestwalk)
- Vampires – 2 (Tap 5: Gain Control/First Strike)
- Avg CMC of more than 2 Lord Tribes:
- Merfolk – 2.67 (3)
- Elves – 3.0 (3)
- Goblins – 3.0 (3)
- Slivers – 3.0 (3)
- Zombies – 3.2 (5)
- Soldiers – 4.5 (4)
What do we have?
Each of the colors has a major tribe that has more that 2 Lords, which is pretty cool. Luckily (or as it should be), they are major tribes and fan favorites. But this is where it gets interesting. Let’s break down the average CMC of the tribes like what we did with their Lords:
- Goblins – 2.613 (261)
- Merfolk – 2.710 (131)
- Elves – 2.769 (251)
- Slivers – 3.171 (76)
- Soldiers – 3.287 (425)
- Zombies – 3.649 (276)
And here’s the break down of the CMC’s all together with the Lords:
- Goblins – 2.613; Lords – 3; 1 Lord for every 87 Goblin
- Merfolk – 2.710; Lords – 2.67; 1 Lord for every 43.67 Merfolk
- Elves – 2.769; Lords – 3; 1 Lord for every 83.67 Elf
- Slivers – 3.287; Lords – 3; 1 Lord for every 25.3 Sliver
- Soliders – 3.287; Lords 4.5; 1 Lord for every 106.25 Solider
- Zombie – 3.649; Lords – 3.2; 1 Lord for every 55.2 Zombie
The Soldier numbers are a little out there since Soldier is more of a class that it is a creature type. However, take a look at the Merfolk numbers: they’re the only tribe with a Lord average under a CMC of 3, and the only one of two with their Lord having a CMC under the average CMC of the tribe. Zombie’s average CMC is almost a full point higher than Merfolk’s with about twice as many cards printed.
Yeah, that’s the other thing; besides Slivers (which is a Lord tribe), Merfolk have most Lords with the fewest cards printed. And when we add M13 into the Mix, we currently only know three new Merfolk: Master of the Pearl Trident, Augur of Bolas and the new legend Talrand. So, let’s adjust Merfolk’s numbers to include these additions:
- Old Merfolk – 2.710 (131); Lords – 2.67 (3); 1 Lord for every 43.67 Merfolk
- New Merfolk – 2.709 (134); Lords – 2.25 (4); 1 Lord for every 33.5 Merfolk
That’s really, really good.
For fun, let’s add Coralhelm Commander into this mix as well.
- Merfolk – 2.709 (134); Lords – 2.2 (5); 1 Lord for every 26.8 Merfolk
Even if we break it down by CMC, 61.8% of all Merfolk cost between 2 and 3, which is an outrageous number; Goblins come in next at 53.2%. Merfolk are efficient creatures most of the time so having another Lord so cheap really pushes the tribe aggressively. This is odd because Blue isn’t supposed to be that good with aggressive creatures. Now you have redundancy with another almost exact Lord, something only the Slivers have, in the color with Cloning and protection (Counter/Bounce). In M12/M13 Standard, a player can have “16” Master of the Pearl Tridents in their deck (Master, Phyrexian Metamorph, Clone, Phantasmal Image). What other color has that capability?
With Master of the Pearl Trident, WotC is trying to push a Blue aggressive deck in Modern/Legacy. The only way that they can do this is keep pumping out Lord after Lord until most of the deck is nothing but Lords and, with the CMC under 3, having them hit on turn 2 consistently with counter backup. They have to be pushing this in the older formats because the only Merfolk in Standard are 3 cards from M12 and unless Ravnica suddenly ends up underwater, I doubt there are going to be many cards to push the tribe. Maybe it doesn’t push Merfolk to be the constant winner in Legacy, but this is a dangerous spot for design/development. Will they continue trying with this low cost?
At least we have Spell Snare. Oh, wait, that’s Blue too.