critmancritman Posts: 389 Mover and Shaker
Why aren't there any 8/32 defenders? Or 6/18 defenders?

Or indeed ANY X/Y defenders, where X is a decent amount of damage to be dealing to an opponent each turn (in paper MTG we call this a 'clock'), and Y is useful amount of damage to soak up?

The problem with X/X defenders is that a creature's attack value must be low enough to prevent the creature from being problematic, but it's defense value must be high enough to stop it dying before it has made a useful impact on the game. I presume this is why we don't see any more Metalwork Colossus variants being printed.

We do see a number of defenders at the common or uncommon rarity which are, say, 1/6, or 3/6, but these numbers have no impact on a level 60 planeswalker and are quickly discarded from the arsenal of new players.

There's a huge amount of design space untapped here Oktagon. You're welcome!


  • TremayneTremayne Posts: 1,112 Chairperson of the Boards
    Well, the wall creature used to be a staple, but it is not utilised in MTGPQ all that much. I can’t name any walls that actually was a “wall”, e.g. something that gave a respite and he’ll back the opponent a few rounds. 

    But you are right there is potential in the defender creature you described.
  • GrizzoMtGPQGrizzoMtGPQ Posts: 776 Critical Contributor
    I agree with what you said about defender design.

    The following defenders have an impact because they have a special property. I routinely use all of these.
    • Razia, Boros Archangel
    • Archangel Avacyn
    • Feasting Troll King
    • Undergrowth Champion
    • Platinum Angel
    • Knight of the White Orchid
    • Angel of Grace
    • Walking Archive
    Honorable mentions (cards that have an impact that use defender as the mechanism).
    • Status
    • Saving Grace

  • madwrenmadwren Posts: 2,022 Chairperson of the Boards
    This has always been an interesting conundrum.  Combat works so differently in MTGPQ that some concepts simply don't translate well. I do agree completely, though I'd like to point out that Grizzo's list (which looks mostly accurate to me) has creatures that only recently gained defender. That emphasizes how useless defender has been.

    I'd add the following defenders and reachers to the list, though I'll call them all defenders for convenience:
    • The zombies (Diregraf and Amalgam)
    • Linvala
    • Majestic Myriarch
    • Metalwork Colossus
    • Noxious Gearhulk
    • Cavalier of Thorns 
    • Ulvenwald Hydra

    What's the motivation to play defenders? Typically a defender at the same price point as a non-defender is powered differently.  This is just guesswork, but I'd posit that a typical 11-mana defender is a 3/4, while a typical 11-mana non-defender is a 4/4, which means you've immediately lost both in terms of mana investment and creature exchange the moment you put it on the board. You're simply better off playing non-defenders.  

    That being said, one problem with revising defenders is that if you scale them too highly (say, an 8/32 defender), then they can become an impenetrable roadblock because all of your creatures are forced to engage with them. 

    So what makes defenders useful? 

    • Prevent damage or alternate damage mitigation (e.g.,Undergrowth Champion, Platinum Angel, Razia). 
    • Return to battlefield after death (Feasting Troll King, Prized Amalgam)
    • Significant effect on death (Avacyn)
    • Significant effect on etb (White Orchid, Angel of Grace, Linvala, Gearhulk)
    • Scaling power (Diregraf, Warchive, Myriarch, Hydra)

    Without those, defenders become unplayable. That's unfortunate, but a vanilla defender will almost always be suboptimal compared to a vanilla non-defender.  If Orchid didn't have the gem conversion, would first strike be enough to salvage it? 

    Anyway, obviously it would require a massive overhaul, but as we've seen with vigilance, at least they're willing to make sweeping changes.  Here are some potential ideas I've kicked around in the past, just as food for thought.

    1. Defenders having higher toughness, but not too high, so that they can absorb multiple rounds of punishment instead of frequently dying to the first opposing creature (and often, not even trading with that creature)
    2. Defenders being unreinforceable (or, simliar to newer cards, if reinforced it gains a minor +x/+x instead). This means you can have a 5/20 defender without watching it immediately reinforce into a 10/40 juggernaut
    3. Defenders having damage taken, or even having prevent damage as long as the opposing creature's power can't kill it. Suddenly at 11 mana, my 3/4 defender becomes more interesting if my opponent needs a 5-power creature to bypass it. 

    This game is so hyperaggressive and skewed against control that it would be nice to have more viable defensive shells available for players that prefer that style.

Sign In or Register to comment.