Grrr, dude, grrr

Yesterday, Mike Flores previewed a card that fits his mandate as the “competitive play” writer on magicthegathering.com, Tattermunge Maniac. Here it is:
TattermungeManiacP.jpg
Before I talk about the card on the mechanical side, check out the great Matt Cavotta art. I just wrote to Matt to compliment his great and appropriate art on this one. It’s a maniac who’s out to eat your face, and it’s wearing a monster hat. Roar!
If you’re curious, “munge” comes originally from Scottish slang for “munch into a chewed-up mess.” Yup, he’s going to eat your face.
Card-wise, this is a beautifully aggressive card, in both of the right colors.
Magic has a history of aggressive 2/x cards for one mana, but they’ve most effectively flourished in white, the king of small, aggressive critters, and in red, where an early aggressive creature can be effectively backed up by a mountain of burn.
Jackal Pup is the best-known 2/x in red, and it appeared as late as Shuheii Nakamura’s second-place finishing Red Deck Wins build at Pro Tour Columbus. Utterly non-aggressive art aside (seriously, click the link), the Jackal Pup was a great enabler of fast, aggressive red decks. It also has a substantial drawback if you don’t just kill the opponent off early, as a Pup catching a burn spell effectively lets the opponent two-for-one you, where you’re one of the two. Ouch.
Lorwyn brought us the Flamekin Bladewhirl, another 2/x in red. It made everyone sit up and take notice for a few seconds, before it became clear that an elemental take on RDW (or BDW) just didn’t work. It’s not looking like Shadowmoor will really change that. In contrast, Lorwyn brought white a new Isamaru in Goldmeadow Stalwart, trading the Legendary drawback of the doggie for a tribal drawback that’s not a big problem in a Kithkin aggro build — and unlike elemental aggro, Kithkin aggro pretty much works.
So on top of all this, we now have a 2/1 Goblin that will come out on the first turn and keep attacking until it dies, one way or another, whether that be from removal or from suiciding into something bigger than it can handle. The thing is that this is just fine — you’re running a 2/1 for one, right? You wanted to be attacking, attacking, attacking, and unlike Jackal Pup, the Maniac won’t deal you bonus hurt when it goes. Not bad.
(And it’s green. And it’s red. Sweet.)
This clearly goes in aggro decks in Standard, and depending on how things shake out once the full Shadowmoor set is known, seems like an obvious one for aggro builds in block, too. All that, and it’s uncommon, so people won’t be clambering over each other with large wads of cash in an attempt to acquire it. Good stuff all around.

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