Magic Memories: Mist Dragon

Discussion in 'Single Card Strategies' started by Oversoul, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Mrs. Turner's classroom. After school game club, circa 1999...

    Player 1: I cast Tsunami.
    Player 2: In response, Power Sink for 2.
    Al0ysiusHWWW: In response, Mist Dragon loses flying.
    Player 1: What?
    Al0ysiusHWWW: I pay 0 to make my Mist Dragon lose flying.
    Player 1: OK.
    Player 2: Oh no.
    Al0ysiusHWWW: And then it gains flying.
    Player 3: Stop it!
    Al0ysiusHWWW: Loses flying.
    Player 1: Anyway, I guess Tsunami is countered.
    Me: And your lands are all tapped.
    Player 1: Right. Done.
    Al0ysiusHWWW: End of turn, Mist Dragon gains flying, loses flying, gains flying, loses flying, gains flying, gains flying, gains flying, loses flying, gains flying, loses flying, gains flying, gains flying...

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    W0tC still occasionally toys with 0-cost activated abilities, but they're sporadic about it these days. Mist Dragon comes from a time when it was more normal. Even so, matched pair of gains/loses flying is peculiar, unique, and always draws some level of interest. From a flavor perspective, the reaction might be, "Oh, it's a dragon that can land!" From a mechanical perspective, it's more, "So it can dodge Hurricane?" But if you have the right, uh, temperament, then interrupting multiplayer games to activate those abilities is really all the justification you need to run this thing.
  2. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Silliness aside, as a large creature, Mist Dragon is OK. The obvious point of comparison is Air Elemental, another 4/4 flyer. It costs 3UU. Mist Dragon costs 4UU. Ignoring the gains/loses flying utility (which is quite the niche), you're paying extra for the potential to have your creature phase out. In principle a "~ phases out" activation can be strong. I got a lot of use out of Rainbow Efreet.
    [IMG]
    The problem is that Mist Dragon's activation costs 3UU, the same as it would to cast Air Elemental. That's a lot of mana to leave open just to ensure that your 4/4 flyer can dodge removal. I did use it in some old multiplayer decks and it's not the worst thing, but that high cost is kind of frustrating.
  3. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    For most of the game's history, looping Mist Dragon's activated abilities (either both of them or just the same one over and over) didn't really do anything (other than let us mildly troll multiplayer games). But now there's an actual application for it...
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    Mist Dragon + Crackdown Construct is a two-card infinite combo. Of course, Mist Dragon isn't the only card that can let Crackdown Construct go infinite. I don't know that it's even a particularly good option, as it costs six mana and there are other, cheaper choices, like Nomads en-Kor. Still pretty cool, though! I could see Mist Dragon potentially being used alongside Crackdown Construct in a slower, more controlling, infinite combo deck.
    Psarketos likes this.
  4. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Overall, I think that Mist Dragon is a fun creature, a reasonable medium-sized flyer that's just a bit outdated in terms of efficiency for its mana cost. The activated ability to phase out has a cost that runs too high, but in principle that ability is very useful. Late game, when you have mana to spare, the capacity to dodge board wipe spells and other things that would kill creatures is nice to have.

    It's not especially impressive, but it's a level of value for a creature to have. The interaction with Crackdown Construct also makes it a bit better, but there are too few other cards that can really interact with 0-cost activated abilities, so that niche is pretty small. However, being able to instantly gain or lose flying does have some minor utility, which I haven't emphasized. I noted that Mist Dragon can dodge Hurricane, a card that was, where I played, once very prevalent in casual gameplay...
    [IMG]
    But that's not all. Here are some other cards that Mist Dragon's "I'm a flying creature but I can also land" set of abilities can deal with in ways that most other creatures cannot...
    [IMG][IMG][IMG][IMG]

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