Hello ladies and gentlemen; welcome back to a special supplementary edition of The Cardboard Witch. Unless you've been living under a rock you're probably aware that Mirrodin Besieged preview season is fully upon us now. Hopefully everyone out there is enjoying the previews as much as I am; there's something almost magical about the first time you lay eyes on a new card that makes preview season very special. In a few weeks the cards will actually be out and people will start actively play-testing with them but for right now it's all fresh and each new card represents a world of possibilities. With that in mind I'd like to take an opportunity now to look at one of the recently previewed Mirrodin Besieged cards and offer up a quick "snap judgment" on it. Please keep in mind that these observations are only my opinion after having done zero play-testing because the cards aren't even out yet. I can and will be wrong; one of my favorite cards in M11 was Cyclops Gladiator and that card has never even come close to seeing play in constructed. Let's start with a card that was previewed a couple weeks ago, Phyrexian Crusader:
Cons: Well for starters, Phyrexian Crusader has Infect. While this is excellent when dealing damage to other creatures at this exact moment dealing damage to a Player in the form of poison counters is a pretty good way to lose games. While it's certainly impossible to predict what else Mirrodin Besieged will offer us the fact that the Crusader can't "join in the beatdowns" with your other regular creatures is going to be a problem as of this moment. Additionally while First Strike and double protection are impressive abilities this guy is still just a Gray Ogre at heart; the game has almost moved by the 2/2 for 3 slot at this point and it's hard to say if the Crusader has enough extra juice to overcome that. He's certainly no Knight of the Reliquary. Finally while it's true that the Crusader has protection from White that's still not going to stop him from going down to a Day of Judgement; a card which is becoming more and more popular as the environment shifts from Valakut vs Control to Speed Aggro vs Control.
Final Destination?: While some people have been quick to assume this Zombie Knight is headed for the junk rares binder I myself have slightly higher hopes. While I haven't actually tried to build the deck I can envision a U/B based control deck that wins by Poison. Skythiryx the Blight Dragon has all kinds of potential as a finishing creature for example; it's just that he doesn't have any quality Poison friends to help him finish the job. I can see the Crusader serving a similar function to Sea Gate Oracle/Vampire Nighthawk in this version of the deck; locking up the early game as a "wall" with teeth and then joining in on the attack once I have board control/Skittles in play. This also goes a long way towards covering up his vulnerability to Day of Judgement too since it's highly unlikely this type of deck is going to run a swarm of creatures. Not entirely sure this works of course it's all pretty theoretical but as I said this is a "snap judgement".
PS: Feel free to tell me how wrong I am in the comments; last time I tried to say that Steel Hellkite was a Pernicious Deed on legs and despite getting 5-6 emails about how dumb I was nobody posted them in the comments. That woulda been way more fun guys :)