Wednesday, June 1, 2011

CCDD 060111—Izzet Cascade or Replicate?

Cool Card Design of the Day
6/1/2011 - I once made the claim that replicate was not the right mechanic for the Izzet guild and that cascade (had it existed at the time) would have been a much better (if not perfect) match. Recall that the goal of the Izzet mechanic was variance. While replicate does give a spell like Gigadrowse more modes (cast it once, twice, thrice...) the fact remains that it's always doing the same thing every time. Indeed, all the replicate spells end up playing like multikicker, which is just a finicky version of the standard X-spell. Cascade on the other hand always does something different. Well, except when you only run 4cc cascade spells and one spell (Blightning) that costs less. It's card advantage (which is very blue) and it's random (very red).

I'm going to propose a few spells that could have filled out the Izzet skeleton in Guildpact. As an additional challenge, I'm going to try to use the same art used on the replicate cards as if this change were being made after the art was commissioned but before the collector numbers were locked in. While the mana costs are much higher overall (by necessity since cascade is better with higher costs and replicate is better with lower costs), cascade still causes more spells to be cast than usual and so still fits in with the non-replicate Izzet spells like Izzet Chronarch and Gelectrode. Unfortunately, it's not great with the cycle Steamcore Weird belongs to.


  1. I agree it's a great fit for this color combo, and works well as a "flash of inspiration" for the Izzet in particular. Not to mention the benefit of a little bit of hindsight with regard to what makes Cascade into a problem mechanic.

  2. Exstruction is a better Ancestral. Do we really need a draw-four instant for U?

  3. Exstruction only ever draws one card.

  4. But it's very easy to cast it for X = 0 and guarantee a cascade into the zero-CMC spell of your choice, including Ancestral Vision as mentioned or the much more back-breaking Hypergenesis. There's a very good reason why no Cascade spell was made below three mana; any lower and it becomes much too easy to be able to set up your deck so that you will always cascade into exactly the spell you need for a certain combo. Even with just the Cascade spells available there was a fearsome Hypergenesis combo deck in Extended; making that sort of combo even easier and less restrictive to deckbuilding is a bad idea.

  5. I really love the flavor of Cascade for Izzet.

    Pyrotechnesis seems like a total blowout at 3 mana. I think LaPille was right that, in general, instant-speed cascade is pretty devastating (

  6. I definitely was not thinking of the good 0 mana cost spells like Ancestral Vision. Yeah, Exstruction can't be. That's okay, I had an alternate version: 1UU Cascade. Draw three cards, then discard two cards.

    I almost certainly underestimated the power of the instants as well. Being able to cascade after attackers are declared or at EOT is pretty ridiculous.