ZA WARUDO: How Reflect Changed the World (‘s meta).
by David Baker
With the recent ban of Reflect // Refrain, many players have been causing a commotion. Some members were in favor of the decision, whilst others felt it was not the right call. Today, I’m going to go in depth to how much power the first effect of Reflect had, and let you make decisions for yourself.
First off, the majority of you are aware that Reflect had an errata way back when, effective in February: he can only use the effect on his front side during your turn. Today, I’m going to start off with the most extreme example of what life could be before that errata. Let’s say you ran 4 Change the World, Orb of Illusion in your deck, and you opened with two of them post mulligan, alongside Morgiana, the Wise Servant. On turn 1, you play 2 Orbs, rest for a stone (it’s Ruler’s Memoria), then use Reflect’s filter ability. Note that you have 35 cards in your deck right now. Remember the hypergeometric calculator from our first Force of Math article? We’re going to abuse that later.
My favorite part of card games.
Morgiana triggers her effect when Reflect activates, allowing you to check the top 3 cards of your deck, then add 1 of your choosing (and place 1 from your hand on the bottom). Note: this will be called a Morgiana Filter (M.F.) henceforth for brevity. You pass turn, and your opponent draws. They summon a Wind Sprite and pass turn. During their end phase, you activate Reflect’s ability again, getting another M.F. to cut through the deck. Reflect currently has 2 counters.
Gonna be doing a looooot of filtering here.
Draw for turn, and rest 2 orbs to add 2 counters before recovery (4 total). Recover, call a stone (oh look, it’s Deep Wood), and use 1 wind will to summon Familiar of Holy Wind. This nets us a Morgiana Draw (M.D.), so we don’t even have to put one back! Reflect’s effect, hit an M.F. once more. We’re at 5 counters now, by the way. Use our second stone to summon Elvish Priest, and pass turn. During the opponent’s turn, we’ll rest Priest, and use his will to activate one of our orbs, removing two counters (3 total) to get a M.D. again. The opponent plays an Artemis Bow, and summons Viviane, Lady of the Lake by resting their Wind Sprite. When they go to pass turn, we’ll use Reflect’s ability (4 counters) to recover Elvish Priest during the End Step.
Figure out what kind of deck we’re running yet?
Draw, then rest Elvish priest again and use that will for another M.D. with an Orb (2 counters total). Recover, call a stone (Ruler’s Memoria), then rest the Deep Woods and the Priest to summon Hera, Goddess of Jealousy to destroy their Artemis Bow, netting another Morgiana Draw. Play a Cheshire Cat to get 2 M.D., then place 1 card on top of the deck. With our last open will, we’ll produce light and summon Gwiber, the White Dragon. We’ll go ahead and use Reflect’s final ability (3 counters) to recover Priest at the end of the turn.
Does anyone actually use these?
The opponent summons a Water Sprite with Viviane’s activate ability before their turn starts, and draw another Water Sprite off of it. They call a stone, summon a second Viviane, and the Water Sprite, missing the draw. They attack with the original Viviane. Due to Viviane’s buff ability, you eat 1300 damage, but it’s a small price to pay for the setup we’ve gotten. When they move to end turn, we tap priest to generate a wind will, then use Reflect’s ability to recover priest (4 counters). Then, when the chase opens once more, we’ll spend two counters (2 total left) and that wind will to get a M.D.
Here’s the current board situation, by the way.
- Opponent: Viviane, Viviane (rested), Water Sprite, Water Sprite, Wind Sprite (rested), 3 stones, 4000 life.
- You: Morgiana, Familiar, Elvish Priest, Hera, Cheshire, Gwiber, Orb, Orb (rested), 3 stones, 2700 life.
The end times, they are a-coming.
So, we draw, use that Priest and our second Orb to get another delicious M.D. (0 counters now), then call for stone (Moon Shade, how lovely). We’ll use Reflect’s ability (1 counter) to recover Priest at the end of the turn, then rest Priest to make a wind will. We summon another Cheshire, (2 M.D., then put 1 on top), and a second Familiar using the Priest will (M.D.). Now, we have 2 Ruler’s Memoria and a Moon Shade open. We play a Gwiber for 1 white, then swing in with our original Gwiber. He’ll be blocked, and now we go for the kill combo. Play Alice’s World for only 2 will since we have 6 types of resonators (paying 200 life for the Moon Shade), and pass turn. Back to me, Priest recovers.
I take a turn, then I take a turn, then I take a turn, then…
Draw, use Reflect’s ability (2 counters) to M.F., rest priest and remove two counters to use an orb ability (M.D.), then rest the last orb to add a counter (1 counter). Recover, call a stone (another Deep Wood). Rest Priest, play 2 Morgiana, 2 more Gwiber. Swing the first 2 Gwibers (both blocked, leaving no blockers), swing in the rest of the crew, then play another Alice’s World (again, 200 life for Moon Shade). Go to the next turn, and finish them off. Here’s board state before the last swing:
- Opponent: Viviane (rested), Wind Sprite (rested), 3 stones, 0 life.
- You: 3x Morgiana, 2x Familiar of Holy Wind, 1x Elvish Priest, 2x Cheshire, 1x Hera, 4x Gwiber, 2x Orb, 2300 life.
Now, some of you may call that a situational setup. What are the odds I’d have all those exact cards? Well, here’s where some math comes in. How many cards do you think you went through that game? Every Morgiana Draw and Morgiana Filter let you see 3 cards. In total, we had:
- 5 draws for turn (5 cards seen)
- # of M.D.s: 9 (we see 3 cards a pop with this)
- # of M.F.s: 4 (we see 3 cards a pop with this as well, but it’s not a raw plus. We have to put fluff back)
- Cards put back on top by Chesh: 2
So, overall, we got to see 5+(9*3)+(4*3)-2 cards out of the 35 in our deck, assuming no mulligan. Adding a mulligan would add another 1-5 cards more seen. Calculate that little arithmetic statement, and you get 5+27+12-2=42 cards. In other words, over the course of the match, we went through and saw every card in our deck, some more than once. This was the power of Reflect back in the day. We didn’t even tutor, or perform judgment, or play the most efficiently (trust me, I’m a bad pilot with this card). Remember that calculator? I lied. We don’t even need to see it, since the odds of getting the cards we need for this combo are astronomically high by the ending step. Now, the initial pieces? We’ll go into that in a follow up article in the near future. The purpose of this one was to show you how powerful Reflect // Refrain was originally, and the insane potential s/he created.
If there’s anything in the article you feel doesn’t make sense, feel free to comment or hit me up on my Twitter.
Sorry we got a bit wordy here, but the abilities of Reflect really push the game to its limits.
by David Baker