Thursday, January 30, 2014

Inspired by Inspired?

The full spoiler for Born of the Gods was released late last week, and as a result I am hard at work on my full review of the set for Standard Pauper. In the mean time, all this week, I will be bringing you previews from my article, which should be up soon on

Today I want to talk more about the Inspired mechanic from this set. I posted some initial thoughts on it a few weeks back when the first Common spoiler appeared. Now, having looked at the entire set in general and all of the Common Inspired creatures, I feel like I have a much clearer understanding of this interesting mechanic.

In my upcoming review of the set for Standard Pauper, out of the seven creatures with the Inspired ability word at Common, I wrote that only two will see widespread play. Here's why:
  1. By far the most frequent way to activate this ability is by attacking. This means that the creature must be able to survive combat and still be around to untap on your following turn.
  2. Since none of these creatures have Haste, the earliest you will get the effect is on your second Upkeep after you cast it. That's almost two full turns, during which a lot can happen to remove the creature before you get any value out of the ability.
  3. Generally speaking then, the only solid Inspired creatures are those that are already good attackers before getting any value out of Inspired.
Now wait, you might be thinking, aren't there some tricks that enable you to tap an Inspired creature without attacking? Well, yes. Those come in three flavors:
  • Spells that regenerate creatures, which cause them to tap if the actually get destroyed.
  • Creatures that can tap or untap one of your own creatures.
  • Spells that can tap or untap one of your own creatures.
Problem is, these effects generally aren't worth the cost of a card. Playing a bad card to enable a bad card to be good isn't typically a great strategy. Furthermore, all this does is save you the liability of attacking with the Inspired creature. It doesn't do anything to sidestep the slow speed or fragile nature of activating the Inspired ability word.

So what's my verdict? I am, in fact, NOT inspired by Inspired. It is not a mechanic that will make much, if any, of an impact in the Standard Pauper format. At least, that's my initial assessment.

However, remember that I did grade two of the Inspired creatures as good enough to see widespread play in Standard Pauper. Any guesses as to which two I picked?

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