|Or at least beat powered Distress with a bunch of 1/1s.|
I rarely talk about card prices, but let's take an aside today.
It would be easy to whine about increasing prices as the popularity of the format has grown. It's always easy to whine. But here's the deal with buying cards: if a card's price don’t correspond to the joy I get from owning it; I just don’t buy it. Like, if Flying Men were a $20 card, I would still buy them because they are awesome. I bought my first two copies for around $8 each in 1998, and if 18 years of time would have increased the cards price with $12, I would accept that. If they would cost $100, I'd give them a pass. Few cards pass the $100+ test for me; stuff like Juzam, Power, Mirror Universe, The Abyss, Duals, and a few more. It so happens that Flying Men instead cost $1.50 today, which is sweet. Same with Psionic Blast, which was an $20 card in Unlimited 10 years ago, but only costs around $6 today. If Serendib Efreet had a price tag of $35 like two years ago, I'd buy them (that's why I own three of them). Hell, I'd probably be a buyer at $70. But $150 is too much. I don't need to complete my playset that bad. The deck is good enough, and sweet enough, as is.
Last Friday I travelled to Sweden to have dinner at Törnströms, a Michelin Star rated restaurant, and drank some port from 1866. The cost of that dinner was in the same ball park as a Serendib Efreet. Would I rather have a 4th Serendib than eating that dinner? Nope. I would easily sell one of my Efreets to get the chance to get drunk on 150 year old Portuguese wine. As my resources to spend on luxury are finite; I have to prioritize.
Complaining about prizes never got me anything except annoyance. It's much easier to just not be an impulse buyer at a certain point, and instead use that money for something I think is worth it. And if we look at the old school side of things, it's not like everybody had access to all the cards in 1994 anyway. Playing Clone instead of the fourth Efreet certainly has some nostalgic value.
For my own curiosity while writing this article, I checked what the price of this Suicide Blue deck would be if we use Unlimited where possible, cut the Serendib Efreets for Dan-Dans, and cut the Masks for Boomerangs (arguably a better card in the deck). TCG Mid gave a price tag of 302.88 bucks. If we cut the Djinns for Phantasmal Forces as well, we're down to $161.49. That's a little boring though, and I think that the Djinns are worth almost doubling the price of the deck. Nevertheless, if we compare it with the price of the first Standard deck I found, Green-White Tokens (the deck that won the last Standard GP), that one had a price tag of $446.43. So if you'd rather buy an old school Suicide Blue than the flavor of the week deck in Standard, you still have enough left to get a played Serendib Efreet. Or you're on a good way towards a Timetwister. But I digress.
End finance rant, enter burn spells!
Then we have the utility cards. Four Unsummon seemed like the correct removal suite. In this deck they are basically a Time Walk against opponents playing Factories, and they are solid answers to first turn Hypnotics or early Djinns. I considered playing Boomerangs instead, but the extra mana makes a difference and there are not many non-creature permanents apart from Nevinyrral's Disk that scare us.
Sweetest card is probably the two Masks though. While arguably not a great card, they are not terrible and any lack in playability they make up in hilarity. The first time I played this deck was against Björn-Einar Bjartnes during a retro-game exibit at the Oslo Technical Museum. We had joined the exibit mostly to see John Romero's talk about DOOM 2, but took some time to swing cardboard from the era as well. I managed to win most of the games against his Red/Green concatenation and I the masks did a lot of work. Not only that they neglect the drawback of the Djinns and Efreets for a turn turn, they can make attacking a nightmare. If I spend three mana to cast a hidden creature, most players wouldn't dare to attack into it with a Kird Ape. Even though it's only a one in five chance it's a creature that could kill it, it's not a gamble many are willing to take.
I also got to use the Mask to cast Serendib Djinns under a City in a Bottle when playing against Hardy's Distress deck at a local pub (as the Djinns have no name when I mask them). They still die as soon as they would deal damage or become tapped, but you can use them to chump block or just bide your time until you draw one of the sideboarded Boomerangs.
|City of Serendib|