It’s been a while since I did one of these. Last time was Elspeth vs. Kiora. We did play Blessed vs. Cursed, but never got around to writing about it. Anyhow, Lauri and I got together and played some games with the newest Duel Decks, Mind vs. Might.
First, the Mind. This is Jhoira’s deck. Its blue-red and has plenty of cheap spells to enable storm, Young Pyromancer, and others. There’s some tempo elements as well.
The rares besides Jhoira are…
So, nothing valuable here, except the triple Rift Bolt.
Might, on the other hand, is Lovisa’s deck and she’s mostly interested in curving out with creatures. That 15 spells down there is a bit deceiving, as four of them are just ways to get tokens into play.
The rares besides Lovisa are…
Again, nothing special here. I guess Coat of Arms has some value, though.
Neither deck has much removal, although due to the number of tokens in Might, Mind’s bounce spells are often hard removal.
There was five tokens per deck. They were one-sided, which I don’t really understand, unless its a logistical thing. This is quite enough for Lovisa, but nowhere near what Jhoira needs. Two Goblin tokens don’t do much with Empty the Warrens. Nor does two Elementals with Young Pyromancer or one for Talrand, Sky Summoner. I guess the idea is to have one token for each card that produces them (although this doesn’t quite add up with Lovisa’s deck).
Last time I mentioned the deck boxes and there was definitely advances here, as they are now big enough fit a sleeved deck comfortably.
We played a total of eight games, which went 6-2 in favor of Lovisa. The instructions say that the Jhoira player should be patient, but the problem with that is that you have to expend your resources early to keep yourself alive.
The idea behind Lovisa is to curve out, but its not easy. There’s only two one-drops and the amount of two-drops is also lacking. The curve overall isn’t very good. The deck includes a couple of seven-drops, but I don’t see a need for them, because at that point, the game would be decided one way or the other anyhow (and I’m saying this with a lot of love for Boldwyr Intimidator which is one of my favorite cards of all time).
If Lovisa curved our properly, Jhoira didn’t have much to say, but in practice this didn’t happen too much, because the color requirements are often quite ridiculous. Beast Attack with 14 green-producing lands in the deck? Hardly. That isn’t enough for the cards that require two of a certain color. Of course, Rampant Growth helps a bit, but not much, as does Radha, but her inclusion feels more like a joke than anything else.
Jhoira, on the other hand, felt like she had way too many aspects to her deck. There’s the different storm cards and there’s Jhoira herself. Jhoira is way too slow. Being able to cast two cards for free on turn eight isn’t very good in the face of the barbarian hordes. Okay, you can maybe block one creature, but will that be enough? No. Actually, no cards ever resolved in our games, although suspending Deep-Sea Kraken with Jhoira does seem pretty good.
Most of the time the plans just didn’t come together. Again, there’s the mana constraints. You’d often be missing blue mana, as you’d want to play more than one blue spell in a turn. Often there just wasn’t a pay-off or enough mana for all the cantrips. Splicing that singleton Desperate Ritual would often be great, but not great enough. And yes, its singleton.
Who is this product for? Previous ones have had the bonus of making certain cards more accessible, but that can’t be the case here, because the number of Standard legal cards is 0 (besides basic lands). There are the three Rift Bolts, which are kind of hard to get, so that’s something. There’s some toys for EDH-players, but not that many.
So, maybe this is for the casual player, who just wants to have a playable deck to play with the significant other, without having the hassle of maintaining collections or anything like that. On the other hand, if they are into that, they might not appreciate the finer points of playing a less than mediocre Storm deck. Doing it right requires quite a bit of calculation.
Okay. What else? Nostalgia? I mean these are both characters from Dominaria, even though they are new enough to be Modern legal. But who’s nostalgic for Coldsnap? Must be some people, but can’t be too many.
Well, we’ll see in time. Just feels like they upped the amount of rares (the previous one had six per deck, these have 11), because they knew the themes weren’t very interesting to most of the audience. I don’t see anyone really enjoying the product.
Lovisa’s new version seems odd as well. Why didn’t they just make her a warrior or a barbarian and have her give all others that bonus. I guess there’s a slight synergy here with Boldwyr Intimidator, but it isn’t very prominent (and Intimidator didn’t get played once in the eight games we played).
Which actually reminds me. Here’s the cards that didn’t get played once during those games:
In some cases this was because we just didn’t draw the cards, but in most cases it was because there just wasn’t an opportunity to do so. The games were just over before there was enough mana to cast them. And even if a player would have cast them, it wouldn’t have mattered because the tide was already so strongly on the opposing side.
Of course, quite a few of these are the rares, which means that the cool factor of the decks take a huge hit, when you can’t ever do the cool things you are supposed to.
All in all, I didn’t enjoy the decks very much. There’s just too much to go wrong and something always seemed to. I hardly got to make decisions when playing Might and I never felt my decisions with Mind actually mattered that much. Might just plays everything out (because the opponent doesn’t have many answers, so there’s no real risk in doing so), while Mind does their best to do not make mistakes with their math. Doesn’t feel like something I would get invested in.