I am not sure if I’m excited about this or not but I decided I will take a look at this and blog til I don’t want to blog about this anymore. This is, of course, not a rant entry but rather a deep analysis on the card.
I’ve been thinking about this card since this morning not just because I am anticipating something BLUE today in the Return to Ravnica previews. I am not expecting much but I still wanted to see some good blue spells that would be previewed. Benefit of the doubt, there will be in the future. But…ok…we got this.
From the Comprehensive Rules, it states:
111.1. A spell is a card on the stack. As the first step of being cast (see rule 601, “Casting Spells”), the card becomes a spell and is moved to the top of the stack from the zone it was in, which is usually its owner’s hand. (See rule 405, “Stack.”) A spell remains on the stack as a spell until it resolves (see rule 608, “Resolving Spells and Abilities”), is countered (see rule 701.5), or otherwise leaves the stack. For more information, see section 6, “Spells, Abilities, and Effects.”
So yes, we still have to play the instant or sorcery spell. While it’s on the stack (while it is still a spell), you could then activate the ability of the Nivmagus Elemental and pay the cost by “exiling” the instant or sorcery spell you played in the stack. To exile the instant or sorcery is a cost and not an effect so before the ability of the Nivmagus Elemental gets to the stack, the instant or sorcery gets removed first. Then when the ability resolves, you get the two +1/+1 counters for Nivmagus.
Artful Dodge is nice and it will make your Nivmagus unblockable and the flashback can feed him. But Arftful Dodge is a spell that you can afford to feed him by. If you are going to go the aggro route, would you rather let Nivmagus chump up a Searing Spear rather than burn your opponents in the face or kill an opposing creature with it? I don’t think so. The two +1/+1 counter is very tempting, but I have to say no because basically Nivmagus has no defense on him. He is not hexproof or indestructible. He can be bounced by or get killed by any other kill spell there is, and sad but true, it can happen anytime after you’ve invested too much and fed him a lot.
111.1a A copy of a spell is also a spell, even if it has no card associated with it.
111.1b Some effects allow a player to cast a copy of a card; if the player does, that copy is a spell as well.
Great! So I don’t have to feed him good spells but instead feed copies of the spell. Nah. No thanks.
I think for a blue mage, it wouldn’t be possible even if you’re going the aggro route. You need to have mana open for spells that you could play on your opponent’s turn.. like counter spells. Oh, there is no good counter spells in RTR? Again my friend, benefit of the doubt. There is atleast one good spell in the form of Izzet Charm riding in the same colors as Nivmagus. Let’s just hope there’s something out there coming.
Moving on, doing a quick “copy spell” inquiry in the gatherer, I found 4 spells that can copy anything. They are blue and red. No other colors have the same effect. Here they are:
We can scratch Crackling Counterpart because it copies creatures (unless you want me to go on and say that you can feed that to Nivmagus). Copying a spell is mana intensive. Let me do the math:
- Reverberate – Cast an instant or sorcery spell, copy using reverberate to feed the copy to Nivmagus. Total cost: Cost of instant or sorcery + RR. So if you cast say Searing Spear (1R) + Reverberate (RR), your cost is 1RRR to either deal 3 damage to your opponent’s head or to his creature and get two +1/+1 counter to Nivmagus which you can attack for 3, or 1RRR to get four +1/+1 counter to Nivmagus and attack for 5.
- Increasing Vengeance– Again, using the same logic above but this time using Increasing Vengeance to copy Searing Spear, you could:
- Pay 1RRR to either deal 3 damage to your opponent’s head or to his creature and get two +1/+1 counter to Nivmagus which you can attack for 3 or
- Pay 1RRR to get four +1/+1 counter to Nivmagus or
- Pay 3RR, after A or B resolves, to deal another 3 damage to your opponent’s head or to his creature and two +1/+1 counter on Nivmagus or
- Pay 3RR, after A or B resolves, to put four +1/+1 counter on Nivmagus or
- and so on… and so forth…
Do the same calculations for Spelltwine. Get my point? The point is, you would have to spend ridiculous amount of mana just to copy spells and feed to Nivmagus. I don’t think it is worth it.
So at this point, I am not closing the door to our friend here, but until I find a more compelling reason to play it, I would let him move around the sides a bit.