Friday, September 4, 2009

Why Is Warren Instigator Mythic?

Today, Evan Erwin revealed the following spoiler on The Magic Show:

Warren Instigator 

Creature - Goblin BerserkerMythic Rare
Double Strike
Whenever Warren Instigator deals damage to an opponent, you may put a Goblin creature card from your hand onto the battlefield.

This card is, without a doubt, amazing. I feel that Standard's plethora of removal can handle it, and that it's not as broken as people make it out to be. A Turn 3 hit is very different to a Turn 2 hit.

However, I have a complaint. In this article, Wizards made the following quote: 

"We want the flavor of mythic rare to be something that feels very special and unique. Generally speaking we expect that to mean cards like Planeswalkers, most legends, and epic-feeling creatures and spells. They will not just be a list of each set's most powerful tournament-level cards."

Flavor, Wizards. FLAVOR. Warren Instigator PLAYS epicly, but it doesn't feel epic to me. Planeswalkers are one-in-a-million beings that fly across the cosmos and are incredibly powerful mages. Legendary creatures are heroes or villains: the most powerful, charismatic characters on a whole plane of existence. Even Baneslayer Angel, neither legendary nor a planeswalker, is not something you expect to see as often as a rare locale, or the lord of a tribe.

Warren Instigator is. Ignore the pretty rules text for a moment. What is Warren Instigator, from a flavour perspective. Let's examine the card as it looks in booster packs.


That's better: now we can see the art and the flavour text.

So essentially, what we have here is a Warren Instigator, which does exactly what it's name is. It instigates warrens. A warren is a goblin habitat, and Google defines 'instigate' as

 "someone who deliberately foments trouble"

or as 

"a person who initiates a course of action".

Now, Warren Instigator could be either one. Perhaps the danger is real, perhaps the danger is not: but in the end, what we have here, and this is supported by the flavour text of this card is, occupying the slot reserved for legendary creatures and planeswalkers...

A goblin that yells out to other goblins and gets them to come outside and fight.

That's all. Someone who says "Hey guys! There's danger out here, come kill it!"

So why, WHY was this mythic? As a 1/ 1 double strike that puts Goblins into play, it's strong as a rare, but certainly not Baneslayer Angel swingy. The Orb of Insight says that the amount of times 'Goblin' appears in Zendikar is 17. Assuming that this makes up seventeen cards (unlikely, since there's almost certainly going to be a couple of cards that reference goblins without BEING goblins) that's still not too many goblins. Let's even weight it towards commons. There are 7 commons, 5 uncommon, and 4 rare (and 1 mythic, of course) goblins in Zendikar. Note, this is more than is probable.

There are a total of 101 commons in large sets as of Shards of Alara. There are also 60 uncommons. That means that on average, there will be about three goblins in five packs: or 15 goblins in a draft.

This seems like a lot, but you certainly won't get every goblin in the draft. If you're lucky, let's say you get 9. This includes a copy of Warren Instigator.

The odds of you drawing a Warren Instigator in the first 3 turns are 1 in 4. Half the time you draw it, it'll be the mid-late game and you might not even HAVE goblins in hand. Add to the fact that some of these goblins are going to be weak creatures, and you have the chance of a blowout being very slim. Most of the time Warren Instigator comes out, it'll shoot out one weak goblin, and then it'll be a 1/1 double strike.

Contrast this with Baneslayer Angel, the other non-legendary, non-planeswalker mythic.

If you draw Baneslayer Angel one in three games, she will still probably win you that game if your opponent does not have the removal spell. If you're at 5 mana, she's ready to fight. Contrasted with the highly situational Warren Instigator and she's clearly too swingy for rare.

Warren Instigator is not, so the only thing I can think of is that Wizards has broken it's own policy to print this money-rare: essentially, they've distorted the meaning of 'mythic' in order to sell more packs. Warren Instigator isn't MYTHIC. It'd still be a chase rare: why should it be mythic? 

What's your opinion? I could be wrong. I hope I'm wrong. I'd rather think Wizards had an excellent reason for printing this card at Mythic than they forgot about what a Mythic should be, or worst-case, disregarded it to sell more packs. 

The spoiler post will be on tomorrow, in addition to the tournament report. I just figured this had to be said.


  1. Well, I hate to burst your bubble but there's way less goblins then that in ZEN. The Orb of insight shows the number of times Goblin appears on a card besides flavor text. Goblin = 17, and it appears twice on this card (creature type, and effect) and if there's an average of 1.5 mentions of Goblin per "Goblin" card (Using Names as Goblin or Warren, creature type, and if it says it's own name or other goblin in the card text) which means there's far less than the number in the Orb.

    But Wizards didn't want tournament staples in the Mythic rarity. It's not Skullclamp/Jitte, or duel lands, and it's a very narrow card (You have Goblins to use it's effectiveness), so I could see that it's mythic. It doesn't really feel mythic (Nor does it even feel Red anymore, but that's besides the point), which is a little problem. But I'm glad it's not in Extended the same time as Onslaught. I really am.

    And I just realized that Siege-Gang is in M10. Sigh, oh well.

  2. That doesn't burst my bubble: that actually just proves my point further. That Warren Instigator is perfectly fine in Limited at Rare. You're right. I checked the Orb: Harrow is mentioned twice, and it appears twice on it's card.

    Thanks for the comment, as well!

  3. frack. i just left a comment and hit the back button. it's now been erased.

    summary comment:
    there aren't many goblins in zendikar; this one pulls those scarce goblins out of hiding.
    on a power level, this is a pretty dang impressive goblin. there aren't many "special goblins" (don't count seige-gang...he's just a win-condition in himself). because it is a special goblin, might as well be mythic. i'm thinking moving forward there won't be many mythic goblins.
    anyway, there's more than just siege-gang. i think outlander & razerunner are worth keeping in mind. putting two goblins into play (achem, O.T.B.) off one attack is pretty broken. it's as broken as baneslayer. in fact, w/ this guy you can kill pretty much win before your opponent has enough mana to cast the baneslayer...

  4. I'd imagine this is a goblin powerhouse in Legacy or similar. I wouldn't want to see it in Limited since it's ability is mostly wasted / unuseable there, so Mythic Rare seems fine to me.

  5. This is a Mythic because of Vial goblins and probably for no other reason. I'm no expert, but I think we should all know better than to trust what Wizards says about how they want cards to "feel." No matter what any salesperson tells me, rare means rare. They invented Mythic Rare as a way to decide which cards should be rarer than rare. That's all it means. Mythic Rare doesn't conjure up images of planeswalkers to me; it just means somebody has to bust more boosters to get a set. Yes, good flavor text is cool, and I appreciate the dedication artists put into these cards, but this is about money. No one could convince me that someone isn't in a conference room prior to release trying to figure out how to get people who would otherwise not buy new cards to go out and buy them. Such people are the legacy players who want to see goblins trounce thresh. Maybe this guy is a new toy for them--maybe he's not. But if he's not, Wizards will just try again next time.

  6. Idk, i could see this guy being a mythic goblin, on goblin terms atleast. I mean, what constitutes a goblin hero? I think the heroicly brave (for a goblin) goblin who manages to fight with double striking fury despite his weak 1/1iness and inspire his beleagered goblin brethren to stop hiding in their caves and fight the invaders of the goblin homeland deserves his mythic status. I mean, you just can't hold a goblin to the same standard as an angel, but if you think of the Instigator as a David, your opponent as Goliath, and all the goblins in your hand as cowering townsfolk, then he gains a whole new level of epic.

  7. If you draw this guy on your initial draw or at least by the second turn (so top 8 or 9 cards depending on if you go first or not), there's a decent chance that your opponent doesn't have a creature to block. Play the Instigator and get two goblins from your hand in play on turn two. That's three goblins before your opponent has one creature, and more each turn if you have a full play set of Instigators. There's enough goblins in M10 and Alara to warrant this card being the basis for a deck.

  8. OK I agree somewhat with what you have to say with Warren Instigator. It definetly deserves to be a Mythic Rare though! Two Goblins in play for one swing! The best goblins right now in Zendikar and MG10 go great with this guy! Can u say two Siege-Gang Commander or one Siege-Gang And a Goblin Chieftan! I know its only good for Goblins but it makes Goblin theme decks nearly too good! Now note the best deck to play with this is a suicide deck! Pretty much balls to the wall attacking! Mono-red baby! With Banefire, Lighting Bolt,Burst Lighting, and maybe even some Unstable Footing! Oh Yeah! Splash in some good Elementals if you know what Im getting at u got a seriously fast Mono red beats deck! Plus red has a lot of answers for a lot of great decks out there with the right side board! Its just my opinion though and I do value all of yours! The deck Im playing now Has Mr. Warren Instigator and his kicking some mayjor ass!

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  13. Umm, warren instigator let's u drop 2 creatures from ur hand not just one, the key feature is the double strike which by magics description means first strike, so u get to drop one creature. Then the regular strike then u get to drop another one, that's why he's a mythic my friends. You get him out early and u might have a chance at dropping two free creatures in the 2nd or 3rd round. That's pretty epic. Makes goblin decks to be feared

  14. dude this creature is really annoying, if you let it to you, in a blink eye you have many little bastards in front of you ready to hit you, for that reason I always keep a good Lightning Bolt in my hand, take that you little rat!!!

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  16. yeah I understand you dude, that creature could bring you a real chaos, for example this creature is a real danger if you let in, when you noticed you have in front of you something nasty.


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