Saturday, September 1, 2018

Raging River: What is the battlefield?

 “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”--Sun Tzu

Alas, maybe next time my love.
       The battlefield, the field, or simply, in play, is one of the strangest area's in a flavor concept, particularly to design for. Few cards in the entire history of the game manage to invoke the concept of changing the landscape, or using it as a tactical advantage, and even less succeed in delivering that. The few others I can think that utilize the battlefield from a flavor perspective is 'Caltrops' and 'High Ground'. However, neither of these are as daring our and grandeous as Raging River.

Fun Fact: In the 90's, Raging River actually recieved Errata to count as an 'Enchant World' since multiples of them on the battlefield could be a rules headache.  This has long since been changed back to it's original functionality.

       Recently a local seller was parting ways with a Beta Raging River, to my depression and surprise it was recently bought out, and thus he was selling it 500 firm (though he did eventually offer me a discount). While I LOVE the flavor of Raging River, I honestly couldn't justify 500 for a card that I ran in a deck TWICE ever.

       Then I thought, why don't I try it in more decks. It's flavorful, it's effective, it's cheap, and while it does nothing by itself, it works well as a combat trick. It's amazing in it's own right, when played correctly, and since it's been a while since I evaluated a single card, I figured I should do this one.

Art: The art is probably the worst part of the card. While effective in it's own right, it's well, boring. Though a lot of small details, such as the mountain in the background and the jagged rocks on the water make it notable, it's still rather plain. No offense to Sandra, but I'm giving it a 3/5. It's good and effective, but doesn't leave much of a mental mark.

Flavor: The mechanic is actually where the card shines. The idea is, being a powerful planeswalker, you are literally opening the ground up, separating the battlefield. The river, in uncross able, however this doesn't effect things that fly, since they can fly over it. Honestly the only problem with it, from a flavor perspective, is that it can only be used when you attack. It would be interesting, if it worked with both players, when they attack. The final thing, you can see how your opponents creatures sit on the battlefield, you can tactically design your assault with that information. Flavor is a 4/5. It's an amazing, in both execution and deliverance, with it's one minor issue being its one sided effect.

Mechanics: The idea of dividing the battlefield in half, works wonders particularly when flying creatures aren't a factor. I've combo'd this in one deck w/ Gravity Sphere, so it wasn't, and it at best makes your creatures unblockable, at worse makes suicide attacks much more profitable. In fact, it's onesided-ness from a mechanical stand point makes it amazing, especially in a format where almost everything is assymetrical. The best part of this, in a time when countless evasive abilities have come out, this card still works on a flavor level as intended. Mechanics 5/5.

With a 4/5 in average, I feel, while doing nothing on it's own, it's an underrated, and beautiful card, which should be considered for anything more casual.

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