Eyes of the Watcher: A Prophetic Sauna

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Last week in Eyes of the Watcher I discussed my first card: Grove of the Burnwillows. I was trying a new style of writing in an attempt to engage my readers but I did not quite succeed.

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These first two articles were originally together as one, discussing two cards instead of the single one, which left the first half feel a little lackluster. It also appeared that my conversion rates were not as clear as I had hoped.

 

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I’ve revisited the way I list the prices in the EU and in the US and hope it has all become clearer for you, my readers. After all, if you can’t understand what I am trying to convey, then why would I be writing? That’s why I appreciate the feedback I get and it’s why I like to show you guys that I also take it to heart. But enough of that, lets get to that article!

 

This week I’d like to highlight an innocuous little card from Theros called Steam Augury. It’s made its way onto my list of cards to keep an eye out for. Let’s look at the basics again, shall we? Steam Augury was the recipient of a lot of early hype when the card was first spoiled (with the normal amount of skepticism, of course). It did not take long before several pronounced writers took the task upon them to report on Steam Augury’s existence, from first thoughts to in-depth analyses comparing the intricate gameplay of the new card to its older counterpart, Fact or Fiction. Thus far, however, the strongest point made against Steam Augury has been Sphinx’s Revelation’s existence in the Standard format. With such drawing power available, why would anyone care to deviate into red for a weaker card? And those people were right for not playing it over Sphinx’s Revelation. The difference in power level is simply too substantial.

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However, Sphinx’s Revelation’s reign is slowly coming to an end with the introduction of Khans of Tarkir on September 26, 2014. The new set will usher in an era with limited amounts of drawing power. Behold, the Theros-block drawing cards:

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Font of Fortunes, Divination, Interpret the Signs, Thassa’s Bounty, and Steam Augury are currently the only raw card-drawing cards out there in the format. The options aren’t very enticing—a six-mana draw-three or a three-mana draw-two? Dictate of Kruphix helps your opponents too. Erebos, God of the Dead and Keranos, God of the Storms are the only other reliable card-drawing engines available for control decks. Once you bounce all the options off each other, you can quickly determine that only one fits a control in terms of sheer volume of cards for the cost: Steam Augury.

Barring the printing of another very powerful card-drawing spell, Steam Augury appears to be the way forward. However, Wizards of the Coast isn’t blind to the fact that Sphinx’s Revelation was the dominating force in the previous year of Standard and that it is still a very powerful role player now. Much akin to Opposition, once a card visibly changes its respective format around it, WOTC won’t be that eager to bring it, or something similar, back too soon. R&D has learned that lesson.

Another compelling argument in Steam Augury’s favor is the post-rotation removal we currently have available. With both Lightning Strike and Anger of the Gods as early removal, red becomes a lot more lucrative as a color pairing for blue.

I very much feel like Steam Augury is being completely ignored and disregarded as just, “That card drawing spell that isn’t Sphinx’s Revelation.” But is this disregard completely justified as we’re closing in on the rotation? With copies drifting around 0.35 USD / 0.20 EUR, are we going to be regretful that we all glanced past the piece that may just define the card-drawing power of new control decks? While no guesses can be completely accurate, there are only two sets left to fill that gap and only one set’s worth of time for us to act. Can we be certain we’re not going to be in a sour position come October? There’s only one way to find out: keeping an eye on it.

Do you have any comments, questions, or concerns regarding the lurking opportunity of a new control-defining card in Steam Augury? Hit me up on Twitter! You can contact me personally at @TheMeddlingMage. Do you need more than 140 characters? Send me an email at san_2_zee@hotmail.com. See you all next time!

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Sander van der Zee

@TheMeddlingMage     -     Email     -     Articles
Sander van der Zee is an industrial engineering student who specializes in lean-thinking. He stepped back into Magic in 2009 after a three-year break. Picking back up the pieces, he developed an interest in the financial, technical, and community sides of the game.
Sander van der Zee

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2 comments

  1. It’s hard to say. I really feel like they “nerfed” Fact or Fiction too much. In the current meta, making Fact or Fiction but with a casting cost of 2UR is perfectly fine. It makes it super narrow- there is no deck waiting for it. Will UW splash red just for Augury? No way! As it is, they weakened it too much, making it a hard-to-cast, dumbed-down version of the FoF we knew and loved. EOTFoF;YL made way for EOTSA;WGAF?

    • Mon I. on June 9, 2014 at 1:45 am
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    I would also look at cards with pseudo-card drawing like Courser of Kruphix. This card will be especially strong in a meta that you have described above, where decks don’t have access to usual amount of card draw. I haven’t checked the entire list, but it would be worth browsing Theros block card list again for these pseudo-card draw gems.

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