2/6/2013 - Seething Song's recent banning got me thinking about rituals. The core premise is that you're trading card advantage for a one-shoot mana advantage. Despite that sounding like a bad deal at face value, Magic's mana system is so crucial to the flow of the game, that trading a card for two mana can be more than worthwhile, whether on turn 1 or 3.
Even so, one mana has never really been a problem (I'm thinking Elvish Spirit Guide as opposed to Sol Ring or Mox Ruby here), so can we find a mid-point?
So if you've got one Magma Pulse, it's a lowly one mana gain for your card, but if you've got two, you can net three mana for two cards. On the one hand, that's only 1.5 mana per card, but it's also more mana than a (single) Dark Ritual. It's going to be pretty hard to open (or mulligan into) a hand that has a Mountain, two Magma Pulses and a spell that's worth pitching two extra cards to cast on turn one.
The second version of the card has a higher entry requirement (you must pitch two cards to get any mana boost) but also a better minimum effect. It's just as hard to get the dream play, but much easier to get the expensive Dark Ritual.
I'm guessing the second version is still too abusable, but maybe the first isn't?