Thursday, August 27, 2015

Card Spotlight: Mirri, the Cursed

Today subject that I'm proposing for review is

Mirri, The Cursed



2BB

3/2

Legendary Creature - Vampire Cat

Flying, first strike, haste

Whenever Mirri the Cursed deals combat damage to a creature, put a +1/+1 counter on Mirri the Cursed.

The Synopsys


Category: Beater

The Rundown:

Vampire Cat? Yes please. Seriously though, so while this does not have an inherent ETB affect, it has haste, which I generally count as a .5 etb. It doesn't protect itself (other than being black) but it outperforms quite a few cards in it's CMC. Just to be clear, this creature gets the counter when it deals damage to a creature, and has first strike. So to block and kill Mirri, you need a flyer with either 3 power or 2 power with first strike/doublestrike. So, as far as I know (and I could be wrong) at 4 CMC there are only 4 cards that exist with flying and first strike that have 2 or more power (including Mirri) and your probably not running them in your cube. So that leaves any creature that costs 4, has flying and a toughness of 4 or greater, preferably with a power of two or more. That is also a pretty short list, most of the cards having pretty significant downside. Biggest problem is removal. While this obviously dodges removal with the "Non-Black" clause, there are lots of removal spells that can hit it (you know who you are). All this said, based on the context of your cube, I think its at least worth a look to see what you're running for 4 Drop Black creatures. This doesn't take the slot of Nekrataal, but I would run this over Desecration Demon in some cases. She's a slam dunk for us with counters matter as a subtheme, and the fact that we promote grindy creature combat games.

TL:DR


Power Level:
Probably not making it in a powered cube, but a viable option in other builds.


Collected Pros:

  • 4 CMC for a black creature with 3 evergreen abilities as well as upside with the counters 
  • Very few cube cards even trade with this 
  • Evasion 
  • Carries Equipment like "a boss" - Etchesketch 
  • No Exploitable Downside (A. Persecuter, Desecration D) - Etchesketch 
Collected Cons
  • Yes, this dies to removal and has no ETB. It's a feel bad when a 4 CMC creature gets Pathed and you have nothing to show for it 
  • Depending on your cube, 4 CMC is the Nekrataalish slot, with skinrender etc. 
  • Too many better options for 4 CMC in black than a "Beater" - Fleme 


Swap/Compare



  • Desecration Demon - I've found that we have enough token gens in our cube, this guy's not even really scary anyway 
  • Demonlord of Ashmouth - Neither gets hit with Doomblade/Nekrataal anyway, they get hit with DD and exile. Demonlord wins the DD argument (since 4+ DD is more rare), but is worse against exile, plus no haste! They each have a role, depends on the cube. 
  • Lilliana's Reaver


Verdict: As a 4CMC 3/2 Hasty Flyer black creature which is the same CMC slot as Nekrataal/skinrender etc, any several other efficiently costed flyers in the slot (Desecration Demon, Abyssal Persecutor), Mirri requires the correct environment to shine. Vampires or counters as a theme most likely.


The Discussion


Fleme

First of all, it's great that you decided to start with these topics and I hope you cover Progenitor Mimic at some point down the road.

I'm not a fan of Mirri in any cube that is aspiring for power (not talking powered cubes) because of the fact that once we're past the 4 CMC territory, the investment in mana becomes that much more important and there's little demand for cards that are basically just beaters, even if on paper they're "ok" at it.

At 4 CMC the main contenders are Skinrender and Nekrataal who both take care of a creature when they ETB. Neither are impressive as far as bodies go but the fact that they come with a removal spell attached make them straight up superior because a creature itself doesn't need anything fancy when the board is empty. Braids defines an archetype by herself, Disciple of Bolas and Graveborn Muse are valuable card draw and when we go to beaters, you have your demon-duo of Desecration Demon and Abyssal Persecutor that both offer 6 power in the air for 4, which is in fact twice that of Mirri.

I have the luxury of being able to include all of the above cards due to the large size of my cube and I would not look to replace any of them with Mirri so in order for that card to be playable I think you need dedicated Vampire support to make use of her abilities. And out of those abilities, the ability to grow won't come to play or ever be relevant.

And talking about vampires with lots of keywords, Vampire Nighthawk is the superior creature since it can efficiently get in against most things (not Mirri though!) and stonewalls almost all threats on defense. Mirri unfortunately doesn't do this and can efficiently defend against 3 toughness which works against some threats but most definitely not all.

Verdict: If you have a medium-power cube and have suppot for Vampires, this is an ok card but even then most would probably have [[Bloodline Keeper]] in her stead. Still, even if I consider Mirri a solid miss on most fronts, I appreciate you taking the time to analyze the card. Discussions like this are welcome here and I'm sure there are a lot of cubes who could utilize Mirri.

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PlaidMagic

Just two things I wanted to clarify and make sure I'm on the same page here.

"the fact that once we're past the 4 CMC territory, the investment in mana becomes that much more important"

I think we both understand, she's not North of 4CMC, she's exactly 4 CMC. Pretty sure you know that and the argument still holds, just clarification.

"when we go to beaters, you have your demon-duo of Desecration Demon and Abyssal Persecutor that both offer 6 power in the air for 4, which is in fact twice that of Mirri."

So, here's my stance on this, and I'd love to get some feedback. First of all, both come with built-in downside, while Mirri's downside is not quite being so big. Either of them had haste, we're not having this conversation, lol.

DDemon, while super cool is a self locking card that give opponents choice. 6 Our cube, and I think many others, have a reasonable amount of token generators, some which recur every turn. Sacrificing some incidental creature tokens to tap out that flyer makes this guy effectively chump blockable by BOTH flyers and non flyers. additionally, you give your opponent both a choice (provided they have creatures to spare) of stopping it from attacking as well as a possible Sac outlet. The sac outlet part is not super common, it is something you should consider, within the confines of your cube. I actually like this card a lot, i've just never been able to attack with it, though I have both Flinged it and Rite of Consumptioned it ftw. It's probably better in most other cubes though.

A Persecutor - This is a different card I think. You cube wants this card or it doesn't, but I think it gets thrown into most. Though this is a great card to have against someone playing the aforementioned DDemon!

Thanks a ton for the input, love this stuff!
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Fleme


4 cmc and higher should be cards that facilitate a win in the next 3~ turns more or less, if we're talking aggro (that Mirri is) since those decks dont play the long game. The fat demons have downsides, but are they really a hindrance? If my opponent is saccing, then I have a rebounding edict that becomes more menacing each turn and is de facto card advantage after the second trigger is fulfilled and Persecutor just straight up gets the job done - black is so heavy on removal that a deck running this card can just swing in 3 times and wait to draw removal unless it already had it. Basically as beaters at this cmc and higher go, you want them fat and demanding answers or with some built in value/additional interest.

Haste is not irrelevant nor is first strike but the clock Mirri gives is just not fast enough and her bonus ability is no bonus at all. Dying to shock of all spells seals it and means that she has no place in more powerful lists. If she grew when she connected on the player, she'd be much better but still b tier.
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PlaidMagic

Very happy about the back and forth here. I am sure I'm losing this, lol, but this methodical back and forth is what should go on within a cube designer's head, so I think its useful, and I am glad for the rebuttals with all sincerity.

To illustrate my point (and yours), take these board states: Keeping in mind that the possibility for removal is not the same for DDemon or Mirri due to Direct Damage,

Your opponent has lets assume 3 1/1 Flying Spirit Tokens, since we're saying kill within ~3 turns you cast:

Mirri:

  • chump block for 3 turns, She's a 6/5 Flying First strike, but no damage thus far.
  • Takes it all and Mirri has done 9 damage T7
  • Some combination of chump block/allow 

    • Block, allow,Block would be 4 Points of damage. 

    • Allow, block, allow would be 7. 

    • Allow, block, block is only 3. 

    • Block, block, allow is 5. Block. 

    • Allow, allow, block is 6)
So with 3 flyers in play, she does 0-9 damage by T7, cost of 0 damage to opponent is 3 creatures.

Desecration Demon:

  • Sac 3 creatures, you have a 8/8 Flying T7 and done 0 Damage
  • Take it all, 12 damage!(nice/weird)
  • Alternate (sac, allow, is 7 damage. Allow, Sac is 6.)

So, in this scenario, DDemon does 0-12 by T7, cost of 0 damage is 2 creatures

Ok, now we have non-flyers:


Mirri: Does 9 damage by T7
Desecration Demon: Has the exact same variables as the flyers scenario.


This is a vacuum statement obviously, but it think its pretty common that your opponent has either pulled together 3 creatures by T7, and more likely they weren't all flying. Only point here is to illustrate that these two cards are not as different as they seem, and (I think) Mirri give you more choice.

Mirri get's an extra turn, which is not irrelevant, + she has the possibility of being a defensive creature if that's what you need, while with DDemon, its their choice. Throwing out there, thoughts?

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Fleme

Yeah, debates like this are fun and I'd say a good way for people to determine what's what. And for what it's worth, the point here is not to "win" but to point out what makes cards tick. You're right about some of your analysis - it's easy to lock down DDemon even if you don't have removal but that's sort of the point. Modal spells are fun and putting the burden of decision on your enemy is often times just the type of thing you want to do when you're black. Pick your poison.

Basically every cube across rarities plays edicts and an edict where your opponent chooses whether they take 6 or edict is just bonkers and made better by the fact that you are getting this package for 4. In the air. If the demon is on lockdown, it means that the board is getting emptier on the other side of the table which in turn means that our smaller threats can get in and often times you use your removal so that your demon either gets in or they have to sac their key creature. Bottom line however being that 6 power for 4 is a huge bargain and there are decks that just straight up don't have the tools to deal with it (thanks to 6 toughness) so it plays the attrition game as a rebounding edict unless the enemy is ready for their poison. As for Persecutor, it's not just 6 power for 4 but you also get trample. The downside is really no downside at all since the guy is a house holding down the fort even if the opponent stabilizes at below zero and at this point you're just waiting for your own removal to come up. FWIW, Desecration Demon is the more popular out of the two, appearing at 450 average list that misses Persecutor who appears at 720 average.

I'm sure there are scenarios in which you can have Mirri outperform the fat demons but at the root of things this means that this is a debate for cubes that are at 540+ because at 360 the demons aren't as hot due to your size constraints and Nekrataal/Skinrender/Braids just being better than all 3 of the cards we're now discussing.

Still, as a conclusion: Cubing is a very relaxed and open format. You are allowed (and I'd say encouraged) to make your own limited environment where you include your own pet cards. If you absolutely love Mirri the Cursed, then by all means she should be featured in your cube. We all have cards like that, cards that seldom exist in cubes but we like them so they're included. There's literally nothing wrong with that so with that in mind she's as valid of a card as any. I would not run it for the reasons explained here but this doesn't mean that the prospective cuber shouldn't, if their limited environment plays with slightly less power.

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Etchesketch

She misses a lot of cubes (including mine) but I think she is strong. No exploitable downside like Persecutor or Desecration is nice, and haste is a very powerful ability. Also, she carries equipment like a boss.
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jewbeard52

I think Mirri can have a place in any cube. Why her over any other of the black 4cc creatures? Just that she's a better beater than most other creatures in black at 4cc. Sure she isn't White Hero of Bladehold nor Red's Hellrider. She has Flying, Haste, and first strike which allows her great evasion and good threat. There's not much at that mama curve that can go toe to toe with her. So her weekneas is removal? Well I'd rather my opponent remove her than path my Gravetitan, and black can buy her back with [[Exhume]] and [[Reanimate]] if she's destroyed. What's hard is that, 4cc is just a really tight spot with all the options for black. She atleast earns a play testing spot.
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PlaidMagic

I think an important thing to intuit from what you said here is Mirri would probably be much more playable even if powered down somehow and was set to 3CMC.
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jewbeard52

You have a good point. At 3cc, Mirri would be a good beater and powered down. I guess she just doesn't do it for most. Maybe it needs a certain cube (like you counter heavy cube) to shine well over Nekrataal or Skinrender.
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ggop_

I have mirri as a pet card just because I am so in love with her abilities. She's more than likely going to wheel which facilitates the aggressive side of black.

Admittedly, she doesn't do much when compared to other four drops, she doesn't give immediate advantage, and double black in her cost in conjunction with these factors makes it something not worth playing in a three color deck.

But overall I really just love the card. I don't know why, but I think when I was first getting into the game, I really liked Mirri, Cat Warrior. When I found mirri the cursed, that got my Magic the gathering innocence tickled. Now i'm calloused. I want to go back T_T.

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