Cook’s Kitchen – Bryant Cook, the Planeswalker

Cook’s Kitchen – Bryant Cook, the Planeswalker

A year ago in Atlanta, Dan Walton, Carl Dillahay and myself attended the Star City Games invitational. During the event Carl lost a round and Dan made a joke about how if Carl was a Planeswalker, how his first ability would be “Plus one: Flip target table.” I asked Dan what my Planeswalker would be, he created my favorite currently non-existing Magic: the Gathering card.

(Designed by Dan Walton)

Bryant Cook, the Weatherman 1URB


+1: Your opponents can’t cast spells this turn.

-1: Add {B}{B}{B} to your mana pool.

-5: Reveal the top card of your library and put that card into your hand. You lose life equal to its converted mana cost. You may repeat this process any number of times.

3 Loyalty

To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure if Bryant Cook the Weatherman (BCTW) abilities reflect his colors. If this were an actual card, I imagine that the second ability would resemble Rite of Flame instead of Dark Ritual or possibly just red mana instead of black. This would justify the red mana in BCTW’s mana cost. I’m still on the fence about the first ability, while blue has traditionally stopped opponents’ spells in this game, it’s very much a white spell – Silence. Perhaps the colorless represents a Silence or Xantid Swarm effect while the blue is stopping spells? Is this reasoning good enough to represent color symbols on a piece of cardboard? The ultimate ability is perfect in my opinion. The only other ability I could see it being would be Past in Flames, if this were the case, the second ability would most certainly be Dark Ritual.

At first glance I thought I was too good as a Planeswalker. When most people hear my Planeswalker’s abilities, they tend to feel the same way. I’m not sure if I agree anymore.

Let’s discuss what decks would even play BCTW.

Because of the color requirements I see a few decks possibly casting BCTW in Standard at the moment. The first deck would obviously be some sort of control variant that was aimed at winning the control mirror due to the plus one ability of BCTW. After a few turns of ensuring that your Jace, Memory Adept, Sphinx’s Revelation, or some other big splashy spell the player could consider using the ultimate to draw enough cards to out card advantage the opponent. Another deck that could possibly play BCTW would be something on the wackier side of Magic, Epic Experiment.
All three of BCTW’s abilities would shine in a deck like this. Protection against control decks, mana to ramp into Epic Experiment and another combo engine outside of the deck’s namesake.

The last standard deck I could see BCTW in would be a deck trying to abuse insanely high-casting cost spells. Doesn’t make any sense, I mean, look at BCTW’s ultimate. It’s rather unfortunate that Omniscience and BCTW’s ultimate don’t play well together. But BCTW does do a great job at accelerating into Omniscience, Griselbrand and Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker. There’s probably a good chance that this deck also plays Farseek and Unexpected Results! You wouldn’t likely see this deck in the higher tables at your local Friday Night Magic.

In Modern, I’m not sure if there is a home for BCTW in Modern. There are no combo decks that can really abuse any of the powerful storm engines that are already available. The banned and restricted list has taken away any cards that would’ve made Ad Nauseam or Past in Flames already viable. What would make BCTW any better? Modern is a very fast format, I don’t see too many Planeswalkers running around. Perhaps someone could prove me wrong here?

BCTW would likely not see any play in Legacy. I won’t lie, it’s pretty upsetting that my own Planeswalker based on my deck wouldn’t be good enough to make the cut for my seventy-five. In all likelihood I would find a Japanese foil copy and make an excuse to put it in my sideboard for T.E.S. even though I know it’s not playable. It’s four damage off of Ad Nauseam, doesn’t impact the game state the turn it enters the battlefield and it’s ultimate is very slow for a “Fast combo deck”. Even though, it’s certainly possible for the plus one ability to be relevant the turn after BCTW entered the battlefield. The second ability is almost useless, if The EPIC Storm could’ve cast BCTW, it likely doesn’t need more mana.

As it currently stands, I don’t believe that my Planeswalker would be much better than Tibalt. This is pretty unfortunate, but I have a few ideas to make a Bryant Cook Planeswalker that would also see Modern and Legacy play. When you look at Legacy and the Planeswalkers that are playable you’ll notice they all share one thing in common, they protect themselves. Jace, the Mind Scuptor “Unsummons” a creature, Lilliana of the Veil “Diabolic Edicts” a player and Elspeth, Knight Errant… yeah, I don’t know a spell that puts a single 1/1 white Soldier into play. But that’s what she does. I’d like to copy the successful formula when creating my own ‘Walker but the truth is, Storm decks don’t protect themselves. They allow creatures to gnaw to the bone until it’s time to get serious, a storm Planeswalker must do the same.

Well, this leaves me wondering what else they have in common that makes them worth casting in a cut-throat Legacy environment. BCTW was a four mana Planeswalker as are Jace and Elspeth, but the truth is that Jace and Elspeth are undercosted for their abilities. Where I needed to look for was something more along the lines of Lilliana of the Veil, she’s the lowest mana cost Planeswalker in Legacy with a powerful effect that isn’t warping. She has three useful abilities and can end games on her own, this is where I should be designing from.

(Designed by Bryant Cook)

Bryant Cook, the Meteorologist URB


+1: Add {R}{R} to your mana pool.

-1: Your opponents can’t cast spells this turn.

-5: Reveal the top card of your library and put that card into your hand. You lose life equal to its converted mana cost. You may repeat this process any number of times.

3 Loyalty

Slightly better than BCTW. Bryant Cook, the Meteorologist (BCTM) is more on par with Lilliana than Jace or Elspeth, it’s three mana casting cost is a big difference maker. Unlike Lilliana, the abilities are not plus one, minus two and minus six. The reason being that BCTM is much more difficult to cast and therefore there should be some sort of an upside. One of the changes from BCTW to BCTM was the reversal of the first two abilities. With the first ability generating two mana it’s a bit reminiscent of Garruk Wildspeaker! One of the benefits of BCTM is that you’re no longer completely negating a turn casting the Planeswalker, but instead it’s entirely feasible to cast more spells afterward. With making the first ability a plus one, the second most likely should be a negative. As much as I would enjoy another plus one into the Ad Nauseam effect, it’s just not balanced.

I’m a firm believer that BCTM would be just as effective in Standard as the previous level of the Planeswalker. The abilities haven’t changed too drastically, they would still perform the familiar roles. The differences would be the Modern and Legacy playability.

While Modern still doesn’t have a dedicated storm deck at the moment, that doesn’t mean that BCTM isn’t a great place to start. Even if there isn’t a Storm deck for it to go into, by switching the first ability to the Rite of Flame type effect, it’s now much more synergistic with the Splinter Twin/Kiki-Jiki packages in the format. Maybe BCTM finds its way into Splinter Twin?

As for Legacy, BCTM is right on the edge. I can’t tell if it would actually be playable or not out of the sideboard from storm decks as a way to continually edge out control decks. The only other deck I could see BCTM in would be some sort of Griselbrand combo deck based off of Show and Tell.

I think Bryant Cook, the Weatherman just wasn’t good enough to be competitive while BCTM is slightly better and more likely to make an impact in multiple formats. What are your thoughts on BCTW and BCTM? How would you have gone about improving BCTW if you felt like improvement was needed?

Now only to create Japanese foil versions or find someone who works for Wizards to get these in print…

Well that’s all for this week, come back again next week! Until then, keep Storming!

Bryant Cook

Bryant Cook on MTGthesource


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