Category Archives: spoilers

Repercussions of the New Phyrexia Godbook Leak

Hello everyone,

As I’m sure many people know, Wizards recently made a statement about the leak of the Godbook of New Phyrexia.

I’m here to present my thoughts both as a player and as a writer who gets exclusive preview cards for articles.

As a player, I was happy that the godbook was spoiled.  One of my friends recently qualified for pro tour Nagoya, and this let us start brewing and testing for the full block format weeks in advance of the set release.  I’ve spent several hours on Skype with friends pouring over the GodBook on multiple occasions, and have enjoyed looking through every card in the set.  After all, I love spoilers and drew numerous hours of entertainment and discussion from the GodBook.  However, this is only one side of the coin.

As a writer for Power 9 Pro, as the person who took initiative to get us spoiler cards, I disapprove of the leaks.  We had hiccoughs with our first exclusive spoiler (Tunnel Ingus) because of a change in email servers, but when I previewed Go For the Throat some months ago, it easily became one of the most visited articles on the sight.  Exclusive spoilers like this help drive visits to the site, and therefore revenue for the company, with is obviously important.  With the GodBook spoiled, such preview cards would be pointless, because everyone knows what the cards do already and there’s no tension as you scroll down the page to find out what awaits you in booster packs on prerelease day.

So instead of writing to you all about the exciting new set of New Phyrexia, I’m writing a commentary on what can only be described as a ‘Magic Scandal’.  We have two of the most prominent players suspended from sanctioned play and nobody is really happy.

I’d like to clear up a few misconceptions about preview cards that I’ve seen pop up around the internet.

1) Spoilers are free.  That’s right, sites like Power 9 Pro, Channel Fireball, etc. do not pay to get spoiler cards.  We have a mutualistic relationship – we get more website hits with preview cards while wizards gets hype for the new set.  Everyone wins.

2) Who gets what.  Websites like Power 9 Pro and others do not receive the godbook.  Never have, most likely never will.  Because of the relative speed with which we can publish content, we can trow up an entire set review shortly after the set is spoiled.   A print magazine like Lotus Noir is a different story.  They need to have articles written in advance, so that they can be laid out, printed, and distributed.  This process is quite time intensive and so I understand why print magazines need advance notice of a set, especially if the issue is only slated for release after the set is spoiled.  Matignon did not get the spoiler by sheer virtue of being a pro, or being the world champion.  Rather, it was only because he works for a print magazine.  Patrick Chapin, Brad Nelson, and numerous other pros do not – I repeat do not get godbooks in advance.

Now there is obviously a potential for advantage to be gained by having the spoiler in advance.  Could Guillaume have purchased several sets of Stoneforge Mystic when/if he knew about Sword of Feast and Famine?  Sure – but that possibility exists with any spoilers.  Writers like myself get our preview cards in advance of the date we are allowed to publish them, and as such can do  “Insider Trading”.  When I first learnt that Mana Leak was reprinted in M11, I considered stocking up on textless copies while they were $2 apiece.  However, my conscience wouldn’t let me do that, and while not explicitly prohibited, it’s not something I would feel comfortable with doing.  It comes down to a matter of ethics and what one is willing to do with the privileged information.

As far as playtesting is concerned, that’s a different matter.  If the Guillaumes had just played with themselves, the set probably wouldn’t have been leaked and they’d have had a sizeable advantage at pro tour Nagoya.  This is obviously harmful to the integrity of the game, and I can’t done that sort of advantage.  A week or 2 is one thing, but over a month is quite startling.

Obviously this could be solved by simply not distributing godbooks to anyone.  This would harm the magazines when the do post-set articles, but one could argue that the age of Magic magazines is long gone, signified especially by the passing of Scrye a few years ago – or that they simply can’t do full-scale set reviews immediately after launch, and can just get preview cards like other sites.  However, I’m not in the magazine business and don’t know what the exact timeline is that they have to work with.  Regadless, I think this needs to be addressed in order to maintain the image and integrity of the game.

Anyway, that’s my take on this.  I’m disappointed that 2 of my favourite players were behind the leak, and wizards is well within their right to punish them as they have.  I hope that somthing of this magnitude doesn’t happen again, because I think it’s in the best interests of the game for everyone to see the cards more or less at the same time.

On a birghter note, New Phyrexia Prereleases are next week, so I hope you all have a great time there.  I’ll be at the Wizard’s Comics prerelease in Edmonton, so any local readers should drop by and say hi.  As always, feel free to post in the comments below, or email me at zak-AT-power9pro.com or via twitter at www.twitter.com/zturchan.

Cheers,

Zak

Mirrodin Besieged Visual Spoiler – Go For the Throat

It’s been a while since I’ve written a text article, in part because I find videos more enjoyable to do and but also more conducive to explaining my thought process.  However, it’s spoiler time for Mirrodin Besieged, and I’ve got a doozy of a preview card for you today.  Of course, I’m not going to give it to you right away – there has to be some lead up, a crescendo if you will, before I reveal the card.
Today’s card is a simple card – one that may not seem like such a great card until you actually realize how vastly superior it can be to current alternatives in both Standard and Extended constructed.  I’m not trying to defend something like Argent Sphinx, or some other card that will be relegated to gather dust in many trade binders.  No todays card is something powerful – something that the top tier decks will grab a hold of and latch onto.
Today’s card is one which many players have been clamouring for.  With the rise of blue-black control in standard after worlds, and the resurgence of both faeries and jund in extended, many people have been realizing that there isn’t a “perfect” removal spell to play.
Smother and Disfigure are fine, but they don’t deal with game-ending threats.
Grasp of Darkness is also decent, but not all decks can easily cast it, and -4/-4 sometimes isn’t enough.
Doom Blade is the de facto Terror replacement, but suffers from the inability to dispatch something like a Grave Titan.
My preview card today shores up all of these weaknesses in current black removal spells without an increase in cost.  It’s easier to cast than Grasp of Darkness yet able to destroy a whole subset of creatures that Doom Blade cannot.
One facet of this card I greatly appreciated when I first saw it was the unity that the name, effect, art and even flavour text had – they really made sense together.
[i]Having flesh is increasingly a liability on Mirrodin[/i] – (Flavour text from Go For the Throat)
In case you still haven’t guessed what my card does, I’ll give you one last clue.  Mark Rosewater recently said that Terror was in the Scars of Mirrodin design file for some time, until set size constraints forced it to get removed.  The logic behind Terror’s inclusion was that in an artifact-based set such as the first Mirrodin, players would actually pick Shatter over Terror in a draft.  I can almost guarantee that Go For the Throat is what was added to the limited format in that same vein.
Ready?  Ladies and Gentlemen, feast your eyes on Go For the Throat!
IMAGE
This is a black spot removal spell at its finest.  Although black does not normally get the ability to destroy other black creatures, this card creates a flavourful reason why black can now kill a Grave Titan.  After all, slitting someone’s throat only works if they need to breathe in the first place, right?
I fully expect black players to eschew Doom Blade, Smother and Grasp of Darkness for a few copies of this new spell.  No longer will a single Grave Titan or Creepting Tar Pit go unanswered while a Doom Blade rots in the opponent’s hand.
The presence of this removal spell now poses a new question to blue-black players.  What finishers do we want?  Many decks no longer use 3 of the black titan due to fears of opposing Memoricides, or if they do they sideboard them out for more diversified threats.  The ability to kill a titan in the mirror makes the all-titan plan even less appealing.
One card that I think we may see more of is Sphinx of Jwar Isle, a card which has not been seen in competitive standard in quite some time.  Grave Titan was attractive not only because of his obscene power level, but because he was very hard to deal with, especially in the mirror.  Time will tell if the presence of this powerful new removal spell will change the way players build their black decks.
Go for the throat is evidently a powerful card, and while it will not be in the same pack as Shatter, artifact-heavy Mirrodin Besieged may see this card often get sideboarded out in limited games.
Obviously this card will make a fine inclusion to any Commander deck or Cube, and it will be one of the premier removal spells for all its time in standard (that is, presuming that some heavy artifact-creature deck does’t take the metagame by storm).
This card is a very potent removal spell, and I can say with relative certainty that we’ll be going for each others’ throats a great deal in the near future.
Remember that Mirrodin Besieged prerelease tournaments are taking place on January 29 and 30 at your local game store, or if you’re so lucky as to have a large regional prerelease, you’ll need to get info from your TO.
Unfortunately for many people (including myself), we cannot go to both prereleases, because the Masters Edition IV release championship is taking place that day – a free sealed event on MTGO for people who have top 8ed a qualifier, which awards really awesome prizes.  So unfortunately I must decide between going to the second prerelease (to try out the other faction) and playing MEIV.  Since the MEIV is free, I’ll be taking that one, but this really seems like a fail on the part of whoever scheduled the release championship.  Anyway, that’s my rant for this article.
We still have over a week more of spoiling cards, so I’m sure there will be something exciting for everyone.  We’ve seen Tezzeret, Servant of Bolas and the infect-tastic Blightsteel Colossus, as well as a fair few cards that I’m eager to play with.
As always, feel free to contact me with suggestions, comments, or questions via any of the following media.
zakATpower9pro.com
twitter.com/zturchan
youtube.com/zturchan
Cheers,
Zak

It’s been a while since I’ve written a text article, in part because I find videos more enjoyable to do but also more conducive to explaining my thought process.  However, it’s spoiler time for Mirrodin Besieged, and I’ve got a doozy of a preview card for you today.  Of course, I’m not going to give it to you right away – there has to be some lead up, a crescendo if you will, before I reveal the card.

Today’s card is a simple card – one that may not seem like such a great card until you actually realize how vastly superior it can be to current alternatives in both Standard and Extended constructed.  I’m not trying to defend something like Argent Sphinx, or some other card that will be relegated to gather dust in many trade binders.  No, today’s card is something powerful – something that the top tier decks will grab a hold of and latch onto.

Today’s card is one which many players have been clamouring for.  With the rise of blue-black control in standard after worlds, and the resurgence of both faeries and jund in extended, many people have been realizing that there isn’t a “perfect” removal spell to play.

Smother and Disfigure are fine, but they don’t deal with game-ending threats.

Grasp of Darkness is also decent, but not all decks can easily cast it, and -4/-4 sometimes isn’t enough.

Doom Blade is the de facto Terror replacement, but suffers from the inability to dispatch something like a Grave Titan.

My preview card today shores up all of these weaknesses in current black removal spells without an increase in cost.  It’s easier to cast than Grasp of Darkness yet able to destroy a whole subset of creatures that Doom Blade cannot.

One facet of this card I greatly appreciated when I first saw it was the unity that the name, effect, art and even flavour text had – they really made sense together.

Having flesh is increasingly a liability on Mirrodin – (Flavour text from Go For the Throat)

In case you still haven’t guessed what my card does, I’ll give you one last clue.  Mark Rosewater recently said that Terror was in the Scars of Mirrodin design file for some time, until set size constraints forced it to get removed.  The logic behind Terror’s inclusion was that in an artifact-based set such as the first Mirrodin, players would actually pick Shatter over Terror in a draft.  I can almost guarantee that Go For the Throat is what was added to the limited format in that same vein.

Ready?  Ladies and Gentlemen, feast your eyes on Go For the Throat!

0043_MTGMBS_EN_LR_p9p_darker

This is a black spot removal spell at its finest.  Although black does not normally get the ability to destroy other black creatures, this card creates a flavourful reason why black can now kill a Grave Titan.  After all, slitting someone’s throat only works if they need to breathe in the first place, right?

I fully expect black players to eschew Doom Blade, Smother and Grasp of Darkness for a few copies of this new spell.  No longer will a single Grave Titan or Creepting Tar Pit go unanswered while a Doom Blade rots in the opponent’s hand.

The presence of this removal spell now poses a new question to blue-black players.  What finishers do we want?  Many decks no longer use 3 of the black titan due to fears of opposing Memoricides, or if they do they sideboard them out for more diversified threats.  The ability to kill a titan in the mirror makes the all-titan plan even less appealing.

One card that I think we may see more of is Sphinx of Jwar Isle, a card which has not been seen in competitive standard in quite some time.  Grave Titan was attractive not only because of his obscene power level, but because he was very hard to deal with, especially in the mirror.  Time will tell if the presence of this powerful new removal spell will change the way players build their black decks.

Go for the throat is evidently a powerful card, and while it will not be in the same pack as Shatter, artifact-heavy Mirrodin Besieged may see this card often get sideboarded out in limited games.

Obviously this card will make a fine inclusion to any Commander deck or Cube, and it will be one of the premier removal spells for all its time in standard (that is, presuming that some heavy artifact-creature deck does’t take the metagame by storm).

This card is a very potent removal spell, and I can say with relative certainty that we’ll be going for each others’ throats a great deal in the near future.

Remember that Mirrodin Besieged prerelease tournaments are taking place on January 29 and 30 at your local game store, or if you’re so lucky as to have a large regional prerelease, you’ll need to get info from your TO.

Unfortunately for many people (including myself), we cannot go to both prereleases, because the Masters Edition IV release championship is taking place that day – a free sealed event on MTGO for people who have top 8ed a qualifier, which awards really awesome prizes.  So unfortunately I must decide between going to the second prerelease (to try out the other faction) and playing MEIV.  Since the MEIV is free, I’ll be taking that one, but this really seems like a fail on the part of whoever scheduled the release championship.  Anyway, that’s my rant for this article.

We still have over a week more of spoiling cards, so I’m sure there will be something exciting for everyone.  We’ve seen Tezzeret, Servant of Bolas and the infect-tastic Blightsteel Colossus, as well as a fair few cards that I’m eager to play with.

As always, feel free to contact me with suggestions, comments, or questions via any of the following media.

zakATpower9pro.com

twitter.com/zturchan

youtube.com/zturchan

Cheers,

Zak

Scars of Mirrodin – Impact on Standard (Type 2)

Scars of Mirrodin.  Looming large over the horizon, Wizards’ newest expansion is set to hit the stores on October 1st.  With the release of Scars of Mirrodin new strategies will emerge and once powerful decks will disappear to the realm of Extended.  With all of the available spoilers it is time to speculate on what changes will occur to the Standard (type 2) meta-game.  This shift will be important with the 2010′s State and Provincial Championships on October 9th.  We will see if we can figure out which cards will make the biggest impact in the post Shards of Alara/M10 tournament world.  It is a time of new beginnings and a time to revisit places in our past.  Thinking about our past, I would like to take one moment to say goodbye to all of our Shards of Alara friends:

So long, Jund!

Time to hang up our Putrid Leechs and Sprouting Thrinaxs.  No deck was more dominant in the Shards meta-game than this B/G/R build.  High powered threats and spectacular removal made Jund the most feared and prepared against deck since the Faeries of Lorwyn.  The biggest loss?

Bloodbraid Elf

Forget Maelstrom Pulse and Broodmate Dragon, this Elf provided amazing card advantage to steal games all by herself. Without Bloodbraid, Jund would not have been remotely viable. This Elf Berserker found a home in every deck that could support her colors. Easily the best uncommon in the set. Now for a few more farewells:

It’s been fun, but now we need to move on. See you in Extended!

Out of the dozens of cards that have been spoiled already, I have picked up on a few that seem like they will make an impact on the Standard Meta currently dominated by U/W Control, FauNaya, Valakut-Ramp and Mythic Conscription.

U/W Control
Come rotation on October first U/W Control will loose a few pieces, most notably Elspeth Knight-Errant. It will be interesting to see if Elspeth Tirel will be able to replace her old incarnation. The new Planeswalker costs one more and cannot generate counters and token together. I think that the five mana casting cost will not prevent the switch initially but might come to really matter since the meta game is so fast right now. On the flip side, Elspeth’s new ultimate is very powerful. The next option in Planeswalkers is the powerful Venser the Sojourner. Also comining at a casting cost of five, the U/W walker has some interesting abilities. Being able to exile your Baneslayer Angel and following that up with Day of Judgment is a strong play in control. The other loss is the token generating Martial Coup. This loss should not impact the archetype to significantly since most build will only include it as a one-of. Path to Exile is another big loss to U/W, the role will need to be filled by the more situational Condemn.

FauNaya
This archetype is on the way out in my opinion. Scars of Mirrodin does not offer anything to this deck that is on par with Knight of the Reliquary or Noble Hierarch. The deck also looses Oblivion Ring, Qasali Pridemage, Realm Razer and the superstar Bloodbraid Elf. I am sure that the Vengevine/ Fauna Shaman engine will still be around but I think the deck will look vastly different.

Valakut-Ramp (Titan-Ramp)
The plan is simple; ramp into Primeval Titan and use him to set up a kill with Valakut the Molten Pinnacle. This is the big dog in the yard, Valakut-Ramp only looses Rampant Growth in the rotation. However, nothing in the new Standard will fits the curve of this card. Cultivate might work. I like Strata Scythe as an alternate win condition if you need to play around Spreading Seas. I also think that Genesis Wave fits nicely in the deck. Valakut-Ramp will be the archetype to beat early in the season until new strategies are discovered.

Mythic Conscription (Eldrazi Conscription, Mythic)
The biggest loss for this deck is Sovereigns of Lost Alara. The Exalted Spirit let you search up your Eldrazi Conscription in order to put the game away. Without the ability to tutor for the key enchantment, Mythic should no longer be a threat in Standard.

What’s Next?
Scars of Mirrodin offers us a vast selection of powerful spells that are sure to have an immediate impact on the new Standard. Take a look at some of the things you should be hoping to pick up at your Pre-release event this weekend:

Scars of Mirrodin will offer us plenty of new options and old favorites will soon go by the wayside. I am really looking forward to playing Phylactery Lich with Darksteel Axe. I recommend going to a Pre-release this weekend since there will not be much time to prepare for States coming up in October. The 2010′s State and Provincial Championships will be the first big events to play with the new Standard. Study your spoilers and see what you can do to deal with U/W control and Valakut-Ramp. Goodbye Bloodbraid Elf, and thanks for all the fish.

The New Rise of Eldrazi Mechanics

So, everybody wants to be a Figure of Destiny.

I just spent a week down in my favorite city in the world (New Orleans) and on my shaky flights home I took notes on an article I’ve been meaning to write since I landed this gig at p9p. However, when I got home and punched “Daily MTG” into google for the first time in eight days and found the Rise of Eldrazi visual spoiler and some crazy new mechanics, I knew that I’d once again have to shelve that other article and talk about power levelling.

So far we’ve got three Light Warriors who can level up at will (well, sorcery speed will):

Guul Draz Assasin Lighthouse ChronologistKnight of Cliffhaven

It’s pretty tough to analyze these guys after only seeing three of them, but their rarity speaks to me a bit. One mythic, one rare and one common; there will likely be a fair number of these guys in the set, maybe 2-3 per color.

I think the major thing to consider about this mechanic is how exactly to play it (even before we consider how good this mechanic really is or isn’t). For example, take a look at Guul Draz Assasin. When are we playing this guy? Play him on one, level him up maybe on 2, then on 3 you level him up again and make their 2 drop -2/-2. That’s obviously one streamlined option, but does this guy get worse if you can’t play him on turn 1? Maybe not. Turn 3 you can play him and pump him once, then on turn 4 you can pump him again and still have the option to make a guy -2/-2 which can make combat really tricky that turn if they can’t kill him. The main question we need to ask ourselves at this point is how does our board look? Is a casting cost of 2BBB worth it to have a 2/2 that can run shop on the board?

What this mechanic really is, is “slow-kicker.” The fact that the rare ones seem color-intensive could make things really problematic, but the common Knight of Cliffhaven (anybody else thinking of Cliff Claven?) levels for three colorless mana, making him a much better limited card even if his level up cost is pretty expensive. We’ve seen 2/2′s for 2cc go a long way in limited over the years, and we’ve seen 2/3 flyers do pretty well too. But a 2/3 flyer for 5 mana? Eh. If your curve falters it’s fine, and if you’re really struggling to stop a flyer he is obviously very handy, but really I think most times this guy is going to be a good limited staple (since we’re drafting triple ROE) for white but no real practical constructed application.

This mechanic gives us a new template which is cool if not fugly, and I think the power level of the rares will be the deciding factor on whether or not these guys can hang in constructed standard, because I’m sure some will be usable in block.

Dennis Rodman plays magic?!

Rebound is the only new mechanic with the potential to do really unfair things. This is what we have so far:

Prey's VengeanceVirulent Swipe

Right now we only have things that are pumps, which is fine because so far they’re both forms of removal that are really good when you play it on your opponent’s turn and rebound it on your turn.

I don’t think I really have to go too in depth into this, as it’s pretty obvious that if you can block, play Preys Vengeance to go +2/+2 to kill a creature and keep your guy alive, rebound into your guy being +2/+2 again and attack in bigger than anyone on the board you’re going to be looking pretty good. Same with Virulent Swipe, you can play it on defense to force a trade and then swing in the next turn with someone else and make them trade with you again or take some damage. It seems like a good way to make use of a guy who has become outclassed by the other creatures on the board.

It’ll be interesting to see what else they do with this mechanic. The two cards we have are uncommon so I wonder if there will be just one uncommon Rebound card in each color that’s some form of pump. It’s easy to assume that the white card will give us lifelink and the blue card will give us flying, but maybe R/D will be a little more inventive than that.

But it would be really cool if they gave us real board changing cards with rebound. Like a blue card that bounces a creature, a black that kills, a red that burns etc. It is a really cool, strong mechanic that doesn’t seem TOO powerful.

I’ve already said something on totem armor in the power9pro spoiler article two weeks ago, but this new card is exactly what I was looking for to think that this mechanic has potential:

Hyena Umbra

First strike is one of the most powerful of the most used keywords on creatures. It can absolutely rule combat, so casting Hyena Umbra to give a guy +1/+1 and first strike and “Regenerate for free” makes this a nifty little power package at a very, very low cost. Kindled Fury was one of my absolute favorite cards in M10 draft and won me many a pack on MTGO, this card reminds me of that. And, since it’s white I like it as a card that can make Knight of the Reliquary even better. I’m interested to see what the other colors with this mechanic have to offer, especially at such low costs.

The only other new mechanic is Annihilator and I think it’s pretty obvious that it’s one of the most powerful Mechanics magic has ever printed. Obviously it’s main hindrance is that none of the cards it’s printed on cost less than 8, nor do they have haste, so you’re not going to be Annihilating anything without great effort.

There’s also a little something going on with Defender, but that’s not exactly new or exciting, just that they’re getting really into defender for this set, which (with apologies) doesn’t excite me whatsoever. Though this card was spoiled today by WOTC:

Guard Duty

That’s it for me, I’m always excited about new cards even if I’m not excited about their constructed applications. I’m hoping we get a lot more out of rebound and some interesting Level Uppers in all the colors, until then I’ll be cascading.

Mike Gemme
BobbySapphire on MTGO
mike@power9pro.com

PS: here’s a link to the WOTC Visiual Spoiler, check it often.

Power 9 Pro Spoiler for Rise of the Eldrazi

The release of Rise of the Eldrazi is right around the block and as customary for the Magic the Gathering community that means, Spoiler Season!

Power 9 Pro is elated to participate in its first spoiler. To get a broad look at these cards, we thought we’d do another round table discussion (carried out via email). Without further ado. :)

Pathrazer of Ulamog, Rise of the Eldrazi
Pathrazer of Ulamog, Rise of the Eldrazi

Sean:
If this guy attacks he will just take over the game. The problem is the 11 mana price tag. There isn’t much more I can say. If there is the mana accel that people think there will be in the format he could be great. If there isn’t, he will never come into play.

Mike:
Just knowing that this guy is uncommon is his most interesting trait. I think WOTC gave us Everflowing Chalice and Eye of Ugin in Worldwake and not Rise of Eldrazi for a reason, and non-rare Eldrazi creatures are likely the reason. I have a feeling it’ll be hard to cast these creatures but when they’re getting passed around the draft table it could get awfully silly.

Justin:
I think this card shows that Eldarzi will all be pretty darn expensive CC wise (time to pick up any extra [card]Eye of Ugin[/card[). Annihilator seems like it will be an Eldrazi only mechanic. It fits if you have read any of the MtG fiction from this set. Makes me wish (shudder) for Urzatron to come back in M11.

James:
Rather than mana acceleration or cards that reduce the cost by one, there could be a mythic Master Transmuter like card as a way to cheat this into play–or any of the anticipated big mana Eldrazi? It would be neat if it turned out to be a 2/2 Kor creature.
Annihilate is ridiculous obviously; I just don’t get all drooly for an 11 cc creature. Annihilate 1 on a 5cc creature would be sick though.

Valakut Fireboar, Rise of the Eldrazi
Valakut Fireboar, Rise of the Eldrazi

Dillon:
The Valakut Fireboar looks like a nice finisher in Limited. I could see him being splashed for in a control style limited deck. I don’t see red wanting to run him in Constructed when they have three Ball Lightning effects at their disposal.

Rob:
Valakut Fireboar is a Wall for Red that can get there in a final push. If you are attacking with him and your opponent won’t die this turn, you’re doing it wrong.

Justin:
I have to agree with Rob “If you are attacking with him and your opponent won’t die this turn, you’re doing it wrong.” I want to put this piggy in a Chandra Ablaze red control deck. I HATE the flavor text on this card. Boo.

Mike:
I think in limited this is fine. We’ve seen similar creatures at similar costs stabilize boards. Now this guy can turn things around and Kill it. Probably counter intuitive to what you want to be doing with red, but there’s limited potential here.

Sean:
Rawr!

This guy is red’s convertible turtle. Sometimes you need a guy with a huge ass, which the Fireboar certainly has. He will only attack if the board is empty or if going for the win, but that’s fine. Sometimes red just wants a guy to keep the pressure off. I see this guy as a role player in limited.

Mammoth Umbra, Rise of the Eldrazi
Mammoth Umbra, Rise of the Eldrazi

Mike:
While this card isnt very strong (but, if ROE has a lot of trample it could see limited play), the mechanic is interesting. It’ll only be relevant in standard if there are low costs versions in specific colors. The creatures that could benefit from this right now are pretty limited and only Knight of the Reliquary leaps out in my mind as potential busted card with extra protection, especially when he can load you up a sejeri steppe to protect anyone else your opponent might try to destroy.

Sean:
Why are auras bad in limited? 2 for 1s. Unless we are talking about something absurd like Gigantiform or Power of Fire, this risk of bounce and removal are too great. WotC’s latest attempt to solve this problem seems to be Totem Armor. It could have simply been “If enchanted creature would be destroyed, instead regenerate it and destroy this Aura”, but they didn’t even go that far. It’s just remove all damage, which only saves the creature from burn spells and combat.

About the card itself, it costs too much. I expect the card will be fine in limited and never see play in constructed.

Justin:
Once again WotC is trying to make auras playable *sigh*. The biggest concern when playing an aura is obviously getting 2-for-1ed. This card would be house if we did not have O-Ring, Path, or an exile (rfg) zone. Limited seems like the only place we will see this hit the table. Maybe white gets a wall that brings back enchantments??

Corpsehatch, Rise of the Eldrazi
Corpsehatch, Rise of the Eldrazi

James:
This looks like the exact reason that auras just don’t make the cut. After counting the Spawn’s mana, this is the same cc as Hideous End and that card is obviously good. Everything so far has been uber-expensive, and this is certainly a form of the ramp everyone’s been alluding hoping for.

Mike:
This is fine removal for limited with 2 chump blockers or ramp. It’s pretty clear it won’t have any constructed applications but if removal is light in the next set then there’s no reason why this card wouldn’t be fine.

Sean:
This card is pretty strong in limited. 5 mana removal is a little costly, but always welcome in sealed. The value of the two dudes will largely be determined by the rest of the set, but at worst they chump block pretty well. I’m thinking this card could be comparable to Skeletonize, despite it’s sorcery speed.

Rob:
These give me a feeling of WotC repeating a mistake they made in the Kamigawa block: Pricing pieces higher to make up for generated advantage elsewhere. In Kamigawa block, pricing on Arcane spells was wonky and higher than they would have otherwise been because they can be spliced onto. Here, I think they are pricing things higher because there will in theory be plenty of abundant mana floating around.

Take Corpsehatch for instance. For 5 mana, we kill any non-black (non-pro-black) creature, Get two chump blockers, and those two blockers can become mana. With you investing mana into guys that can give some back, you get to do funny things. For example: Turn 6 you can kill the opponent’s Baneslayer, making the spawn, sacrifice the two spawn and tap mountain to Ghostflame his Kor Firewalker and be free to swing in.

Add spawn token generating spells to Storm in older formats and things could get out of hand fast. If you have ramping upwards cycles of spawn makers, you can cast devastating chains of spells, reclaiming the spawn to make more, until a finale. The only way to combat this is to make things cost more. Sadly, this is likely to be applied to most of the set.

Justin:
More bang for your buck. This card plays into M.J. Flores’s “Grand Unifying Theory of Magic.” (More info: Zvi’s original response and a recent post on Five with Flores) 5 mana to off an opposing creature and get 2 bodies that store mana is strong.

Mnemonic Wall, Rise of the Eldrazi
Mnemonic Wall, Rise of the Eldrazi

Dillon:
Mnemonic Wall has a lot of potential. It reminds me of Nucklavee, which usually targeted Cruel Ultimatum and Cryptic Command. Right now there aren’t powerful enough instants and sorceries in blue to target.

It can’t target Planeswalkers which would have been a bit plus. It also doesn’t have flying which is a bit hit to it. It is a card I feel that will see play, but just not right now. It targeting a Martial Coup is awesome, but you are usually winning after you resolve one anyway. It can’t get you an Oblivion Ring, but it can get you back a Treasure Hunt. It is obviously useful, but not right now.

Justin:
Recurring key instants is always huge so the cc price tag doesn’t put me off in the slightest. I think that blue EDH decks will make room for this guy. Don’t forget that Æther Tradewinds is out there to have fun with.

Mike:
If there’s a really strong instant or sorcery in limited I could see this being playable. But, in control decks right now, most people are not playing any creatures that will make an opponent’s removal “Live.” This card doesn’t accomplish that, and drawing into cruel ultimatum is just as good as regrowthing it most of the time.

Sean:
It feels to me like this guy is costed at 5 mana to be ‘safe’. At 4 mana I expect he would be pretty good, but at 5 he is just limited filler. Izzet Chronarch was a reasonable popular card in casual formats so I expect the Wall will be too.

James:
Hmm, I like this for Urzatron and Gifts Ungiven plans. Flying would have made that a little too strong I guess. Shrowd would make it a lot better. Nonetheless, I really had fun playing with Gifts Ungiven decks and the idea of this fitting in well is tantalizing.

Mike:
Totem armour seems extremely strong; if they make anything low cost I could see it being a real player.

These are all really expensive, I wonder if anything in the set will cost less than 5 haha.

James:
If we do get a reprint of Uraz’s lands, or a new variation of them as we saw with Cloudpost, that would be really helpful.

Rob:
Totem Armor will depend solely on casting cost as to whether it will be good or not. If I can armor a guy up when you don’t have mana for removal yet, then I just got a toy and a free regeneration shield. I think the Mammoth would have made more sense with Trample than Vigilance, but it also seems out of place flavor-wise in White too, so I digress. Also, how innovative will they get with the Totem Armor? Could we get one with Flash? Gives a Creature Regenerate? Enchant Creature or Land so that your man-lands can have a bonus and be safe from LD/Removal?

Justin:
All in all I think that most of these will be good in Limited. EDH will love the wall and any Kozilek decks will want Pathrazer. If the big mana Eldrazi thing sticks I don’t think it will make an immediate impact on our current super-fast standard.

Prey’s Vengence: A Rise of the Eldrazi Preview

Correction: When this article was posted, I mentioned cascading into a spell with Rebound. Note that this doesn’t work as assumed, for you must cast the card from your hand. The error has been corrected below.

Well today the 6 “pooled” spoilers have been released, and I’m going to talk about the one which has the most potential impact in standard. Let’s look at some cards which are similar to this new card, and how they’ve affected constructed magic throughout the ages.

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Force of Will is a card that has defined both Legacy and Vintage for the past few years due to the ability to get an effect for almost free. Why is this so relevant? Let’s examine it using Mike Flore’s Grand Uniffied Theory of Magic. Simply put, the player who most effectively uses their mana will win the game. Thus casting a card like Force of Will should give you the outcome of having played a Counterspell, but with the added benefits of not having to tap mana for it, and playing when its effect will be the most crushing. The printing of Force of Will showed Wizards that they had to be very careful with “free spell” mechanics, because they are so format defining.

Let’s look at another card, shall we?

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Bloodbraid Elf is a card that has defined the standard format since its printing in Alara Reborn. The cascade mechanic allowed you to get multiple spell effects out of only one card and one payment of mana. Thus decks like Jund and Boss Naya have flourished due to the combination of free spells and card advantage they provide. Note that the aforementioned Force of Will is inherently card disadvantageous, but the cascade mechanic (and today’s preview card) both create card advantage.

We’re getting closer to the preview card. Let’s look at the actual effect this card provides.

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Combat tricks are a part of almost every magic set, and Giant Growth is a classic. The ability to act as either a pseudo removal spell or an extra 3 points of damage is invaluable in limited, but very few of these cards become competitively played. Today’s preview card will (in my opinion) change all that, and should see play in a variety of constructed and limited decks.

The last piece of the puzzle is this little gem.

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Twincast has been a player favourite because of the ability to do some pretty insane things by doubling the effect of a spell for 2 mana extra. However, the problem that this ability has is that it’s a dead card without an appropriate target on the stack. Again today’s preview card solves this dilemma.

Okay, you’ve waited long enough. Here is Prey’s Vengeance.

Screen shot 2010-03-14 at 11.34.13 PM

Rebound is a new mechanic for Rise of the Eldrazi which lets you copy a spell during the upkeep after you play it, like a toned down version of Epic on cards like Enduring Ideal. While many players must make a choice between using a pump spell in combat or to make a more powerful attack next turn, Prey’s Vengeance allows you to do both.

Remember how much of the world considers cascade to be a “broken” mechanic? This seems to be just as powerful. This pump spell can save a creature from a Lightning Bolt and make it even more powerful next turn for an additional 2 points of damage. Best of all, this package comes in the form of a single mana instant.

Now imagine if a card like Shock were printed with Rebound. The explosive and pivotal plays that a card with rebound can have are profound, because they can easily swing the tide of the game over a few turns.

It should be noted that in this case, the free mana effect has been “fixed”, so that if the spell is countered, you don’t get the copy (unlike Cascade), because the reminder text states that the spell must resolve.

The implications that this keyword can have on a format are immense, and I sincerely hope that Wizards has carefully picked which cards get this mechanic, or we may very well be in for another two years of standard dominated by free spells and swingy plays.

With that, I hope that you all enjoy the rest of the Rise of the Eldrazi previews, and that you come back in around a week when I discuss extended here at Power 9 Pro.

Cheers,

Zak