Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Colorless in Oath of the Gatewatch

I have had several requests to start discussing the Commons from Oath of the Gatewatch, but I've waited to do so for a couple reasons. First of all, there were relatively few Commons spoiled early. Second, while the inclusion of true Colorless mana and sources is certainly interesting, it was impossible to evaluate whether or not it would even matter until after the whole set was released.

But now, with the full spoiler released early, it's time for me to start working through the card gallery and offering my thoughts on what this set will hold for Standard Pauper.

For today, let's talk about the new Colorless mana. As cool as it is to have a pseudo-sixth color of mana, the rewards for trying to build a mana base around it just aren't there at Common. Here's why:
  1. There is not a single card at Common that requires Colorless mana to cast. 
  2. Not including cards that produce Colorless mana, there are only seven Commons that even give you some effect for having access to Colorless mana, all of which are in the form of activated abilities. Of these, the best are probably Blinding Drone, Gravity Negator, and Stalking Drone, but even these are hardly amazing.
  3. Even if one of these cards end up being a significant roleplayer in a deck, there are plenty of incidental ways of generating Colorless mana without having to unbalance your mana base to do it.
So, while I don't share the widespread concern that this set is a dud for Standard Pauper, I don't believe the new Colorless mechanic will have much, if any, effect moving forward.

Now, the more interesting question is whether or not Wizards will choose to utilize this design space more in the future, or if this is just an aberration for a single set, and a small one at that.

1 comment:

  1. With Alex Ulman and rremedio sounding off their negaitive impressions of the set, I think it's so valuable for someone with credibility within (Standard) Pauper world to say, "So, while I don't share the widespread concern that this set is a dud for Standard Pauper..."

    That being said/written, I agree about the lack of obvious inclusion about <> colorless mana. However, a strong Grixis-Devoid mechanic may emerge, without influence of having to spend or have <> mana.

    I do think the new set begs for you to brew your Azorius deck. Will we see a review of White and Blue next?