Card Me: A favorite hobby of mine is playing card games. There is just something really remarkable about how laying cardboard onto a table can bring people together for lots of fun/frustration. As a naturally shy person in real life, I enjoy how card games can bring me out of my shell for quite the social activity.
So I went to some prereleases for Born of the Gods, a new set of cards for Magic: The Gathering.
And of course, this was a chance to get my hands on some goodies in the set. With green being my color of choice, getting ahold of Nessian Wilds Ravager was guaranteed at my prereleases.
Nessian Wilds Ravager is one of many cards that introduce a new mechanic called tribute. Basically, tribute puts your opponent in a tough situation by forcing them to decide if they want to deal with a larger creature or something bad is going to happen.
In the case of Nessian Wilds Ravager, your opponent either settles to make it a giant 12/12 creature or they let it duke it out with a creature of theirs (in which case, their creature will probably lose to this hydra’s 6/6 stats.)
Pretty cool if you’re the one playing the hydra, I gotta say.
At the prereleases, this card was quite the late-game bomb that put my opponents in a pinch. With cards being so limited, Nessian Wilds Ravager proved too tough to handle if a deck lacked proper answers.
However, I question whether this card is playable in a constructed format like Standard where plenty of spot-removal spells run rampant and are commonplace in many decks.
After all, the natural flaw of the tribute mechanic in itself is how you are going to get the short end of the stick in most situations. A decent opponent is going to pick the appropriate choice. So let’s assume Nessian Wilds Ravager is given the tribute to become a 12/12 creature.
Now, a 12/12 creature is pretty strong in Magic, so this most likely means your opponent has something up their sleeve to deal with this much power on the board from one creature.
Conversely, if your opponent decides they will toss a creature of theirs under the bus to let the Nessian Wilds Ravager duke it out, the same logic applies. Your opponent probably has a solution up their sleeve to contend with the 6/6 hydra.
In other words, the tribute mechanic will often be at its worst unless you somehow force your opponent into a board state where either choice is genuinely bad for them.
Nonetheless, despite the flaw of this mechanic, I think some viable deck archetypes out there could probably make use of Nessian Wilds Ravager and its fellow tribute-mechanic brothers and sisters.