A eulogy for an old friend?

The number of creatures that has once seen play in Legacy but are now overshadowed by younger and more powerful alternatives can be made long. Werebear and Mystic Enforcer were both once played in UGw Threshold, which was the norm back when the format was almost brand new and everyone was playing Goblins, but they are both effectively neutered by the presence of Tarmogoyf. Fledgling Dragon was once played in UGr Threshold, but again, doesn’t hold a candle to the 4/5 for 1G. Tradewind Rider used to be a card, but if you walk a lap around the room at a Legacy tournament and ask everyone you meet what it does, I’m sure about half the people will have no clue whatsoever. In fact, Tradewind Rider was really only good in a specific build if Survival for a time, and even when Survival of the Fittest was the scourge of the format and eventually banned, it was the green-white builds with Iona, Shield of Emeria and Loyal Retainers as well as the straight UG combo build with Vengevine that finally got the enchantment banned.

My point is, there are a lot of cards, especially creatures, that have been very popular and powerful in Legacy but has eventually been overcome by the power creep of Magic in general. To me, the one exception is Nimble Mongoose. I remember opening Nimble Mongooses with my brother and thinking it was a pretty neat card “for an uncommon”, while cards like Mystic Enforcer were obviously better. I remember playing Nimble Mongoose throughout my last year of Vintage, in an UGw Threshold deck called “Birdshit” (which I will feature on here some day). I remember making the leap to Legacy and playing CounterSlivers for the first six months before coming to my senses and returning to my Nimble Mongooses and playing Canadian Threshold for the first time. By now, however, his old pal Werebear was nowhere to be seen, replaced by a really expensive rare from Future Sight, with art that nobody could tell what it was. I remember my brother giving me a misprinted Nimble Mongoose (the mana symbol is missing a part of the little tree) which I still play with to this day. I remember when Innistrad was released and Delver of Secrets, after much debate, was hailed new scourge of the format and the best threat in RUG, and though Nimble Mongoose took the back seat then, he was still firmly in the car.

Now, however, with a format that’s extremely hostile towards graveyards in general with Deathrite Shaman and Rest in Peace, Nimble Mongoose has a tough time keeping up. People have tried time and again to cut him from RUG, only to get stabbed by Miracles and other decks where he shines, before coming back, making reparations and adding a playset of him again. With the printing of Treasure Cruise as an Ancestral Recall competing for the same resource as Nimble Mongoose, perhaps it’s the final nail in the coffin.

I sure as hell hope not.

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3 Comments

  1. Grim Lavamancer

     /  September 25, 2014

    Hear hear! Back when I was still playing the format I had to watch many an old friend (names such as Kird Ape, Skyshroud Elite, and Quirion Dryad springs to mind) get outclassed and outperformed by newer and flashier creatures. Heck, I recall back when I started playing vintage and creatures such as Juzam Djinn, Phyrexian Negator, and Morphling was ruling the game board. Sigh… I’m betting none of the young whippersnappers with their fancy “enters the battlefield”-effects and cost efficient power houses even knows who they are anymore.

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