Home > 2013 North American WCQ, 2013/7 - Chicago, Illinois > Cards To Watch This Weekend – Magical Mallet and Reload

Cards To Watch This Weekend – Magical Mallet and Reload

July 13th, 2013

Apart from the counter-tech war going on between Dragon Rulers and Prophecy, there’s also an ongoing debate – or perhaps more of an arms race – about how best to increase the odds of hitting a first turn Spellbook of Secrets + Spellbook of Judgment combo.  In the early days of the post-Tachyon Prophecy deck, competitors dabbled with Upstart Goblin and Toon Table of Contents to create deck thinning and get to their power cards a little faster.  Unfortunately, neither measure was terribly effective: Toon Table required the Prophecy player to run Toon Gemini Elf, a painful topdeck, and didn’t actually get you to Secrets or Judgment on its own.  Upstart Goblin could draw you into your combo, but each copy only boosts your chance of drawing what you need by about 1%.  Not hugely impressive.

Breakthroughs came in WCQ tournaments across Europe in June, when competitors started making Top 8 finishes with triple Spellbook Library of the Crescent.  Though Crescent can’t be played when you already have a Spellbook in the graveyard, and can be a dangerous dead draw in the mid-game as a result, it really gets those first-turn odds up: playing three copies bumps up your chance to open with the Judgment combo by roughly ten percent, taking you from a less than 1-in-4 chance to a 1-in-3 chance instead.  That’s a big difference; statistically, it suggests that you’d hit the combo at least once over the course of a three-game match.

And for a couple weeks, Crescent seemed set to become the new standard.  But then we hit the South American WCQ, where noted Prophecy Duelist Emiliano Passoni – who took a Top 8 finish with Prophecy back at YCS Santiago before Tachyon Galaxy released – ran triple Upstart Goblin, triple Magical Mallet, and triple Reload.  With all nine cards Main Decked Passoni’s build easily kicked out the Spellbook of Secrets + Spellbook of Judgment combo more than 40% of the time on Turn 1, perhaps as often as 45% – way more frequently than the Crescent builds.  On top of that mathematical advantage, Mallet and Reload are both playable later in the game, compared to Spellbook Library of the Crescent which becomes a dead card.

A certain Duelist who made the top cut at last year’s North American WCQ was willing to let us run his comments anonymously so as to not spoil his strategy, and his commentary reflected a lot of the conversations overheard today: “After talking with numerous people, such as Emiliano Passoni himself, [a former repeated YCS Top player and Worlds competitor], and [a YCS veteran with numerous tops], I came to the conclusion that Mallet Reload Prophecy was the best deck. Then I saw the actual numbers behind it, and I was sold. Anything that can boost your first turn’s most optimal play by such a percentage shouldn’t be overlooked.  With Spellbook of Judgment to balance out the loss of Mallet and Reload, why is everyone not playing this?” Those comments touched on another big point: while the sheer card loss involved in playing Magical Mallet and Reload has largely kept those cards out of competition until now, the extra cards you search with Spellbook of Judgment erase the negative impact.  You don’t care about spending an extra card here and there, as long as you hit that combo.

Will we see Magical Mallet and Reload take center stage this weekend?  Both cards are certainly seeing a ton of conversation from Prophecy players in the know, but it’s impossible to tell how many competitors have committed.  We’ll have to wait and see how the weekend pans out.