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I've really been enjoying the incredible Innistrad set, and advance previews of Dark Ascension (on the Wizards official site and elsewhere) have been living up to it so far. However, I had to do a double take when I read the text of this rare, Lost in the Woods, it seemed so bad:

Lost in the Woods, 3GG [Enchantment]

Whenever a creature attacks you or a planeswalker you control, reveal the top card of your library. If it's a Forest card, remove that creature from combat. Then put the revealed card on the bottom of your library.

I feel like the ability on this card would be bad if it Fogged all creatures on a Forest reveal, not just one creature. I feel like the card would still be bad if it cost G and you could cast multiples of it in early turns - but as an expensive late game card, it seems totally unplayable.

Obviously it's a "flavourful" card that will never see competitive play. But come on, surely no Magic card can be completely without actual play value? This is the hardest card to think of a good use for that I've come across in ages, though - can anyone else think of a great combo or other strategy for making Lost In The Woods a halfway decent addition to a deck?

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@Pat Yes, it triggers for every creature that attacks you. You reveal as many cards as creatures attacking you. The defender decides on the trigger order. –  Hackworth Jan 19 '12 at 9:13
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@AlexP Game rule 101.4c. 101.4c If a player would make more than one choice at the same time, the player makes the choices in the order written, or in the order he or she chooses if the choices aren't ordered. –  Hackworth Jan 19 '12 at 16:10
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or better: 405.3 If an effect puts two or more objects on the stack at the same time, those controlled by the active player are put on lowest, followed by each other player's objects in APNAP order (see rule 101.4). If a player controls more than one of these objects, that player chooses their relative order on the stack. –  Hackworth Jan 19 '12 at 16:20
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Bad card or not, the flavor is pretty awesome. –  DForck42 Jan 19 '12 at 20:11
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@Ian, I was thinking that: maybe a card reading something like "whenever you reveal a card from your library, do x" would suddenly make for sense of this. Even if such cards are in the pipeline, though, I can't really see Lost In The Woods benefitting much... I would love to be wrong though! –  thesunneversets Jan 20 '12 at 12:29

7 Answers 7

up vote 10 down vote accepted

This is a terribad card beyond redemption.

As already pointed out, it's too expensive to bring into play to have noticeable effect; also it's too weak and unpredictable an effect to be really useful. It doesn't even have useful side effects like only sending the forests to the bottom, it's just random.

Another problem is that it's pretty much restricted to mono-green decks because of the GG casting cost and because it works on forests only. Mono-Green, however, is typically all about stomping your opponent, not about gaining board control. This is a board control card, no color is worse in getting board control than green, and this card will do exactly nothing to change that.

That being said, the best card I can think to combo with this is good old Sensei's Divining Top, but if you, with a green-heavy or mono-green deck, have to rely on this card to win the damage race, then your deck has quite a bit of a problem anyway.

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With Sensei's Divining Top you could say that putting all cards (forest or not) on the bottom is a feature since you can remove other bad spells or lands if you wish. But as you pointed out, it's way too situational and expensive for just putting a few cards on the bottom of your library. –  AndSoYouCode Jan 23 '12 at 19:08
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I'm accepting this as the correct answer because, despite some entertaining and/or optimistic suggestions for ways to use this rare from other people, I think the bolded first line of this answer remains by far the best one-line summary! –  thesunneversets Feb 5 '12 at 9:11

Uses for this card:

1) In Commander format for a mono-green deck;

2) The only way to make this a viable fog would be to force a Forest to the top of the deck; There are some ways to do this (mostly all of them are blue):

  • Ponder and Brainstorm effects;
  • Cards with scry like Augury Owl, Cryptic Annelid, Crystal Ball, ...;
  • Other cards that manipulate the top of Library like Ancestral Knowledge, Crystal Seer, Descendant of Soramaro, Aven Fateshaper;
  • Congregation at Dawn/Worldly Tutor to fetch Dryad Arbor;

3) Some effect that could use the knowledge of the last card in your Library like Cellar Door (as @thesunneversets pointed out);

4) Some effect that could use the knowledge of the top card in your library like Druidic Satchel, Delver of Secrets, Abundance, ...;

5) Don't forget that simply filtering through your Forests isn't that bad either. To play this card you have to spend 5 mana, which probably is already enough to run your deck so it helps you make sure you're not drawing blanks!

Seems like I misread the card (kudos to @Hackworth) so #4 and #5 don't work.

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It doesn't just filter through your Forests, though, does it? It sends whatever's at the top of your deck to the bottom of the deck, after showing your opponent what you're playing and (once in a while) saving you a few points of damage... Cellar Door uses the knowledge of the bottom card of your library, but Cellar Door/Lost in the Woods is hardly what you'd call a killer combo! –  thesunneversets Jan 19 '12 at 11:05
    
It only sends the card to bottom if it's a Forest. Which means if it isn't you'll be revealing the same card for all opponents creatures (unless you shuffle in response to one of the triggers) and they will all attack as normal. –  rahzark Jan 19 '12 at 11:27
    
Actually, after reading it again, I'm not sure if all cards are sent to bottom or only the Forests ._. –  rahzark Jan 19 '12 at 11:29
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The revealed card gets sent to the bottom in any case. –  Hackworth Jan 19 '12 at 12:50

There are actually several rare cards that have nearly no play value. Look at One with Nothing for another example of a bad rare.

There are several reasons why cards like this are created though. Mark Rosewater, a designer for MTG has a couple of well-written articles that explains why bad rares are created. Read When Cards Go Bad and Rare, but Well Done.

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I agree with your point, but not quite with your example. One With Nothing has several, quite useful applications in the right deck: (1) guaranteed, instant-speed Hellbent practically anytime, (2) helps Threshold, (3) Madness cards (4) Dredge cards, just off the top of my head –  Hackworth Jan 19 '12 at 15:57
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This is very true. It's winter time right now and my house is cold, but thanks to One with Nothing I was able to keep a fire going all night. And just a few weeks ago, I'd run out of toilet paper... –  briddums Jan 19 '12 at 15:59
    
+1 for humor :) Magic cards as toilet paper, though? I'd rather be forced to build a deck around Lost in the Woods. –  Hackworth Jan 19 '12 at 16:17

It's a rather awful card with one very limited application that only really works in draft.

Here's a deck that can win a game or two (likely only games, not matches) in Dark Ascension draft and sealed:

  • 1x Lost in the Woods
  • 45x Forest
  1. Transform into it for game 2 after you're sure they don't have enchantment removal or enough mill or burn to bypass it.
  2. Mulligan until you get Lost in the Woods in your opening hand.
  3. Play a Forest a turn (you're guaranteed to draw one) until you can cast Lost in the Woods.
  4. Win the game by running your opponent out of cards, TurboFog-style.

This trick is rather fragile, but it was apparently good enough to win a few games on the Pro Tour.


Beyond that... no, not really.

As a defensive card, it doesn't really compare to staples like Propaganda and Spike Weaver.

Benefits:

  • It's a permanent, of a pretty durable kind.
  • Protects your planeswalkers, too. A lot of older defensive enchantments don't.
  • It's not a damage-prevention effect.
  • Multiples stack nicely.
  • You control how the triggers are stacked. If you know what's in first few cards of your library, you can use Lost in the Woods to stop the biggest threat.
  • The creatures it removes from combat don't become untapped as a result.

Drawbacks:

  • Only works on forests, not any land. This is quite prohibitive.
  • Cmc 5. If this were much lower, Lost in the Woods might still be worth it as a card that a ramp could drop to slow down an aggro opponent.

Basically the problem is that it's too slow for 60-card Magic but a singleton copy doesn't do very much for you in Commander. The card can be improved by synergy with stuff like Sensei's Divining Top, but that's like saying Siege Mastodon is more playable with black Black Lotus.

Beyond the fog effect, this card does do something else, though: it lets you go through a bunch of your deck. With something like Future Sight on the field, you can take advantage of the individual resolution of the triggers to cycle through a chunk of your library looking for stuff to cast. The major downside is that making effectively use of this requires not only a Future Sight effect, but also the ability to play most of your stuff at instant speed. It's much easier to set up the same combo with Top.

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The casting cost is likely one of the biggest issues with the card, a mono-green deck might be able to get it out turn three with a good to ideal draw but by then your opponent might already have a good board position as well. –  rob Jan 30 '12 at 12:37
    
Haha, I really like your creative idea with the 46-card fog deck. Which decks do you think it's best against? I feel like any deck with white would be problematic. –  AndSoYouCode Feb 2 '12 at 12:00
    
It's very fragile. The trick is to find an opponent who's not running enchantment removal (and give them no reason to side it in during game 1). Silverchase Fox maindeck would definitely screw you up. So does a moderate amount of mill, though (or burn, in an aggressive enough deck). –  Alex P Feb 2 '12 at 13:20
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Note that this deck was used by several players at Pro Tour Honolulu: wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/… –  JSBձոգչ Feb 12 '12 at 2:18

There are viable uses for something like this.

In a birthing pod deck, you're not going to be casting all that many creatures. At the very least, you can afford to not cast creatures, because you're still getting tons of them, probably a lot of tokens or other card advantage with all the battlefield triggers.

Assuming you have any decent acceleration, you're looking at podding into a turn 4 solumn simulcrum and a 4 drop, a turn 5 this and podding into an acedic slime, and a turn 6 5-or-6 drop and podding into a titan or wurmcoil.

I'm not suggesting its the best fit, but in a green heavy birthpod deck, it could be fairly useful.

There's also a card called Scouting Trek that says "Search your library for any number of basic land cards. Reveal those cards, then shuffle your library and put them on top of it." So obviously this would be very useful. (Note it does not say reveal the order in which you put them on top of your library, so the attacker does not know which one will hit what.)

You could also use it in conjunction with Cellar Door - it puts the bottom card of your library in your graveyard to put a 2/2 token in if the card was a creature. If you have a lot of creatures that can be cast from the graveyard (which is very popular here) this is an easy way to know what's on the bottom of your library.

And when you consider that they made lords uncommon in this set, they had to put something as rares... and if they didn't make this a rare they would (typically) increase its cost further, which would make it even less playable.

Admittedly the card would be better if it had a 3 or 4 cost, or if the creatures didn't untap during the next untap step or something like that.

tl;dr there are a couple ways to use this card that would be fun, particularly in a casual or sealed environments given the right circumstances. It's not a horrid card. I'd still take this over magnetic mine...

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+1 for the Scouting Trek idea, though I can't imagine it paying off in a real deck. I still feel like a 5cc card where we're having to jump through all sort of hoops to find a way it wouldn't be an actively terrible addition to a deck is probably worthless. Certainly it's hard to imagine there aren't better 5 drops to add in its place, in any given deck... –  thesunneversets Jan 31 '12 at 10:27
    
True, in most constructed environments, I'd agree. I think in limited where games drag out this could be useful. I also think in casual environments (which they must also make cards for) this is a very fun card. It's also dripping in flavor :) –  corsiKa Jan 31 '12 at 15:42

Now with RTR we get Overgrown Tomb then in gatecrash Stomping Ground will be back.

Id totally run a deck with 4 slaughter games, 4 Lost in the woods, 4 OGTombs and 4 Stomping grounds (+ forests)

Clearly the idea is to play a lost in the woods, then slaughter games yourself for lost in the woods. Leaving only forests in your deck. Ask your opp if they have ench removal, Then simply draw go for 30 minutes.

Sure it wouldnt win, like anywhere. But it would be pretty damn funny when you did get that guy who didnt have 20 burn in his deck/no ench removal/no other win con.

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I like the way you think :) –  thesunneversets Nov 5 '12 at 10:52

Well one deck idea I had was Lumber Mill. You run 4 Lost in the Woods and 4 Sands of Delibrium to do mill work since the deck will have 52 forests for Losts ability and enough mana for Sands ability to be effective. You would have a 65-70 percent chance of winning with it in standard. The only decks that oppose against this deck would be Burn and Control but with RTR it is mostly aggro and it would work extremely well in the format for now.

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Hmm, can't they potentially kill you in their first 5 turns while you do nothing waiting to be able to play Lost In The Woods? It's a nice thought but I'm just not sure it's as close to an auto-win as you say (though it probably is against some decks, for sure). –  thesunneversets Nov 19 '12 at 18:35
    
Setting aside surviving the first 5 turns, I'm not sure how you're guessing a 65-70% win chance. Chances of drawing at least one of four Lost in the Woods in your first 12 cards are 60%. Even if you draw it, what about counterspells? What about enchantment destruction? Direct damage? These things aren't played in standard? –  ghoppe Nov 19 '12 at 20:23

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