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December 27, 2016

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Try 2HG with your Group

I started playing Magic with the 3rd edition when I was 15. Since then, Magic has always been the one game that really followed us. Friends and family would gather to escape our day to day routine for the ephemeral time of an evening. Some people prefer to get together and play Poker, on our end, it’s always been Magic.

That being said, as our group mainly consists of casual players, most of the time we will elect to play 2 Headed-Giant. We prefer this format over any other as it allows for more social interaction while bringing a unique twist to the games due to the team-play dynamics.

2HG is a peculiar format to play as some cards are much stronger in this particular format than any other. Any card containing text such as “whenever an opponent” or “each opponent” have the potential to be much stronger in 2HG. I like to categorize those spells as 1.5 times stronger or 2 times stronger cards in the 2HG format. Let’s have a look at some of them.

1.5 times better and 2 times better

A good example of a card which I would categorize as a 1.5 times better spell would be the old classic Underworld Dreams. As your opponents share a common pool of thirty life in 2HG, Underworld Dreams deals at least two damages per turn, hence my calculation of 1.5 times stronger. Two points of damage on thirty life points yields 1.5 time more damages than one point of damage on twenty life points. This does not take into account any other damages dealt to your opponents, whether individually or collectively, should your opponents draw cards at any given time. An example of a card which I would categorize as a 2 times better spell would be the recent Crackling Doom, Exsanguinate or Grasp of Fate. Each of those cards double their respective effects when resolving. Another example of a basic common card which really becomes interesting in the 2HG format is Zhur-Taa Druid where this creature not only allows you to fix your mana but also deals two points of damage on top of providing one mana. These are only a few examples as there is a multitude of cards which becomes much stronger in the 2HG format.

Improved playability with the 2HG format

Another interesting and important dynamic of the 2HG format is that some cards just become easier to play by the nature of the 2HG gameplay. Cards such as Avatar of Woe check the amount of creatures in graveyards to decrease its casting cost. Another example would be Blasphemous Act which is usually much easier to cast and more effective to play in the 2HG format. Cards requiring multiple legal targets are usually a challenge to play in regular formats but not so in 2HG. Here is a list of some cards which shine in 2HG: Decimate, Hex, and Consuming Vapor. In my opinion, Myriad is an example of an ability that is under-rated in 2HG. Let’s admit that outside of Commander games, you will never see a card with Myriad being played. Yet, if you think twice about it, Myriad can powerful in 2HG games.

Finally, there are also a few cards which I play in 2HG just for the fun of it. Cards that are usually off the grid and that no one expect you to play nowadays but that can really be fun to play in 2HG. One example of such a card I like to introduce in my decks from time to time is Aetherspouts. In mid-game, on turn 5 or 6, this card can really surprise your opponents and turn the tide.

The impact of Kaladesh on the 2HG format

What is the impact of the new set Kaladesh on the 2HG format and are there any interesting cards in this format which would fit the 1.5 times or 2 times better label?

After testing Kaladesh for a few evenings, I am convinced without a doubt that the best answer to this question would reside in the new planeswalker Chandra, Torch of Defiance. This card is so strong in the 2HG format that we would qualify it as “over-powered” in our inner circle of friends. Of course we would still run it as I believe there are several ways to deal with it but this card definitely is a game-changer. I mean, a planeswalker with a CMC of four, that is very easy to cast, and which deals four points of damage the turn it comes out using its +1 loyalty ability, what more to ask from her? With five loyalty counters on her when you pass the turn, she is also very difficult to kill. Worst case, if she resolves and is allowed to survive for one turn only, you will still have achieved to deal four points of damage and keep your opponents busy for the low price of four mana. Not bad.

Keep your eyes open

Every new set brings new cards which truly shine in the 2HG format. I also like to think that some cards would just not be played after Game Day, drafts, or sealed events, but would definitely see some play time in 2HG.

Give 2HG a try at the Aether Revolt prerelease!