Friday, March 8, 2013

About Omen Machine

Let's talk for a minute about Omen Machine in the Mayael deck.

Omen Machine

"But Jasper," I hear you cry, "Omen Machine is a terrible card! It's a symmetrical effect and your opponents get to go first and Guthix only knows if you'll get a decent card from it at all!"

Well, you're wrong. Omen Machine is what we in the business call "tech."

See, the Mayael deck's main gameplan revolves around building up some mana and then eventually dropping large creatures onto the board one at a time. There's not a lot of card draw and no real rush to play multiple spells in one turn. Every individual spell in the deck tends to have a high impact on the board, so while it's possible to run out of gas, the deck gets a lot of miles per gallon, so to speak.

If the opponent trades one-for-one with Mayael's fatties, that's okay, because there's another one waiting in the wings to replace it. However, if the opponent is also drawing extra cards and getting 2-for-1s, it's easy to fall behind.

Omen Machine stops that strategy cold by forcing everyone to play on the same terms as Mayael: It brings all of the action out of the hand and onto the battlefield. Mayael is already only drawing one card a turn, so for us it's a strict positive effect: instead of having to wait and tap out to cast the fatty we just drew, we get to play it for free and still have mana up to activate Mayael! Kablam! But for the rest of the table, it's not so optimal. Removal? Use it or lose it, because you won't be able to save it for a better target. Counterspells? Ha! Good luck with that. Card draw? Nice blanks you got there.

When everyone is playing Mayael's game, Mayael is going to win. You don't invade Russia in the winter, you don't start a land war in Asia, and you don't fight a topdeck war against a deck where half the spells are enormous fatties.

Now, it's possible to really abuse it, if something like Sensei's Divining Top or Scroll Rack is in the picture. Really, though, rawdogging it is just fine—and if you're not visibly "abusing" the effect, it's less likely that the other players at the table will rush to destroy it.

So there's my little love song to this little-known piece of tech. It's an awesome card that's great for punishing control and combo decks.

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