Tag Archives: Set Review

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.

Rise of the Eldrazi Set Review and Analysis: Red

Power 9 Pro is excited to bring you another set review for Magic the Gathering’s expansion set Rise of the Eldrazi. With Pre-release and Release tournaments coming up over the next two weeks and a full spoiler available, the Power 9 Pro Team is putting in a collaborative effort to review and analyze the entire set. We’ll be looking at the cards from the vantage point of limited, affects on standard, extended or legacy-formats and whether Rise will have any new must-haves for Elder Dragon Highlander. This post is for the red portion of Rise of the Eldrazi.

James
I don’t find this guy particularly interesting for any format.
Joe
This guy is behind the curve in terms of power / toughness compared to his cost, but the mini flametongue kavu effect will often steal an opposing creature post-combat, etc. In limited, these kinds of slower guys often have a place, but I’d be trying to fill my deck with more exciting guys first and use this as a filler after the first string is chosen.
Rob
Kills an x/1 in limited but even there, it costs a lot for little reward.


James
This is pretty attractive looking. Plop down one of your big Eldrazi with Annhilate (they all do I think) and your turn 3 blocker gives it haste. Sweet!
Joe
This is an interesting wall, presenting you with the choice of leaving a blocker, or hasting a guy. There are obviously a fair number of creatures in this format to whom extending Haste is an incredible benefit.
Rob
If you are running Red Eldrazi somehow, this guy can buy you time to hit your mana, and then fling your fresh freaks from the Blind Eternities at game winning speed. Of course, just because it can be done doesn’t mean it should be.
Mike
This guy is slightly wallish in a limited game, and could make combat interesting but I think this is the kind of guy to get double-tabled since 1 power isn’t what you want out of a red deck generally.


James
This is a great card for limited. Forces the pre-combat casting but the extra damage is probably worth it since it’s likely whatever you’re attacking with is now a 4/x. Pretty tough to deal with and at a much more reasonable casting cost than the Eldrazi. Essentially a role-player.
Joe
While the creature itself is fairly piddly for a 4-drop, in some cases, you can boost some evasive attacker, so sometimes this will make the cut.
Rob
What a quirky ability on a Common. Might find his way into Block Goblin decks and be a powerhouse.
Mike
This guy I like, he can really break up a stalled board.


James
Wow, this is crappy.
Joe
At first this struck me as a terrible prodigal sorcerer variant, but I think in the slower kinds of games I’m anticipating in this format, this guy will be strong. Even though it costs a whopping 11RRRR to fully level this guy, I suspect you’ll get there in some games, and then you’ve got lightning bolt on a stick, which is very strong indeed. The nice thing about these levelers is you can prompt removal, or get an opponent to over-commit without committing much to the board yourself. So paired with sweepers, these are quite strong.
Rob
I’ll stick with Cunning Sparkmage in general, thanks.
Mike
This guy is not better than Cunning Sparkmage or even Prodigal Pyromancer which are both in standard right now.


James
This is hilarious. I imagine people will try to use this in constructed. Getting 3 mana for 2 is alright but assuming no Day of Judgetment, you’ll get that big fattie out pretty fast. I’m just not convinced that the Eldrazi are really that doable in the current meta. For limited, you’d need a lot of spawn creators to make this viable…Hmm, I guess this is a “watch” card. Fiddle with and see if you can make something of it.
Joe
This looks like a key card for the ramp-to-eldrazi decks, as it’s common and produces 3 spawn for the low cost of 2 mana.
Rob
Spawn are going to be clogging up tables everywhere. I’m surprised we didn’t get even more Spawn enablers really, as seeing this requires a Spawn to start off. We could of had a cool land that Tapped for 2 colorless and put a Spawn into play under your opponents control, or something of the like. I don’t see this ever being played on turn two, but can ramp neatly later on.
Mike
An interesting ramp concept. It’s pretty weird that all the colors have these spawn cards, but Spawn: 3 is truly intruiging.


James
This card is going to win people games at the draft tables. The casting cost is so doable, it’s affect is explosive and it’s a 5/5 flier to boot. Hot sauce.
Joe
A strong enough creature on its own as a 4/4 flying for 6, the [car d]threaten[/card] effect really pushes this rare into bomb country, especially if you have any kind of sacrifice outlet on board to nuke their creature before you have to give it back.
Rob
More casual rares for Bazaar Trader decks. If he had Haste himself he’d be completely insane. But without Haste or some sort of blinking tricks, why bother?
Mike
Another in a long line of expensive, flying limited bombs for red. I would love to steal a baneslayer angel with this guy in constructed though.


James
Hmmm, I guess this would be more than broken if they had haste. I’m thinking it can’t be more than border-line.
Joe
Risky business here. This seems like more of a constructed card to me. Lands are fairly important, and to make the tokens worthwhile, you’d want to sacrifice most of your own lands. But if you float 3W, then cast this followed by, say, armageddon, that should work out okay.
This is all about Haste. If you can power this down around counters and give the tokens Haste, you should win the game.
Rob
This is all about Haste. If you can power this down around counters and give the tokens Haste, you should win the game.
Mike
This card is kind of good. I think it’s much better in limited, which makes its rarity annoying, but it’s a really fun looking card.


James
Whoa. This is narly. Constructed worthy? Maybe…pretty costly…
Joe
One-sided mass removal? This is a nasty bomb.
Rob
I love the flavor, but I’d rather use Day of Judgment, Pyroclasm, Consume the Meek, or any other number of just plan better sweepers.
Mike
So pricey but it’s got a badass text. If you can figure out how to use it in a real deck, there’s nothing better than mass-creature kill that only hits your opponent’s guys, but good luck doing so.


James
I really like this card. It’s so awesome for limited. It’s one reason I think Birthing the Brood will be pretty sweet. This is at common too.
Joe
Another common that will be central to many Eldrazi ramp stratagems.
Rob
3/3 guy maker makes guys, guys then make bigger spells. What’s not to like? Well, it’s no Siege-gang, but chumps and mana. Might not make it to Constructed without a combo or Spawn synergy concept.
Mike
This guy only costing 5 and being a 3/3 makes him playable if you’re trying to do something with high cost. These red cards getting Spawn: 3 is a lot better than what the other colors are offering right now.


James
Be-geez. This is looking awesome. Not really for constructed because red-decks are going to want lower curves (or traditionally do). Great for limited.
Joe
Wow, this is like a cantrip version of erratic explosion. If you have any kind of way to manipulate your library, this turns into a solid card, but otherwise it’s very luck-dependent. Still, this format seems to lend itself to very high mana curves, so you should usually do 5 or more damage for the card, which seems like a good deal.
Rob
This made me giggle a little. Jace, Selective Memory, Halimar Depths, or even some tutors in Eternal formats can make this 15 damage with an Emraluk, 16 with a Draco. That’s like casting 5 bolts at the same time. So fun. I like this for a run at an extended deck using Riddle of Lightning as it does very similar things.
Mike
I think this is a fine limited card. We’ve seen things like vengeful rebirth be good in limited and this reminds me of that in a lot of ways. It’s a cool take on the treasure hunt mechanic we got in the last set.


James
I guess…It’s aight. This would be pretty sweet at 4cc. 5cc just makes me not like this.
Joe
Versatile, but likely a sideboard card.
Rob
One mana and one restriction beyond real playability for now. Once Scars comes down and we have more must-kill artifacts, this will surface occasionally.
Mike
Pretty gosh-darn expensive of a card in a limited format where there really aren’t any blow out lands.


James
Sweet. Doesn’t hit players so probably not good enough to justify in constructed but certainly powerful enough for an early pick in limited.
Joe
Excellent removal that will change the typical math for creature toughness. 4 is no longer safe.
Rob
I like it. I think the Sorcery speed and the player exclusion makes up for the extra damage nicely. Becomes a strategy play as to whether to kill now, or wait till it comes back to you.
Mike
Inferno trap for it’s trap cost? Power creep? Magic is so weird sometimes.


James
Cool. Sorcery speed to knock out two x/1′s? Sure. So cheap.
Joe
I love the flexibility of this spell, even though it’s not an instant.
Dillon
The Fire side of Fire//Ice. I think it is really good, I was wondering when they would print it on it’s on card. I’m not sure if it is better than Staggershock, but perhaps in time.
Rob
Nice. I wish it was instant, but I’m a Red player a lot. Neutering Elves and WW are going to be the real order of the day when you have this card in hand. Of course it can also be a shock if you need to seal the deal.
Mike
This is something everyone is going to have to play around now. A nice little piece of removal/burn for very cheap.


James
There aren’t many early drops in Rise so I suppose this is okay if you want to try for an aggressive start. Just doesn’t seem right for the rest of the cards in the set. Probably great filler for a top-heavy curve. Constructed? Maybe, it’s similar enough to Mogg Fanatic that it’s probably worth throwing in a deck to see how it goes.
Joe
I’m not really into this. A 1-drop 1/1 seems out of place in ROE, even with the potential to help you profit in combat.
Rob
Mog Fanatic! So good to see you again!


James
Hmmm…are there enough creatures for this to be justifiable? I just don’t see it. Sometimes strategies change once you get to play more with the cards. I don’t see it though.
Joe
I think this will be another lynchpin of rush decks, should that approach prove viable. You will definitely need ways to squeak by the ubiquitous defenders and fatties.
Rob
Maybe in Block Goblins, but mostly it just feels like Filler.
Mike
Another thing for red to use to break a stalled board. That’s two sest in a row we’ve seen stuff like this, an interesting path for the red mage.


James
There ar emore than enough walls in this set to justify this. I’m pretty sure it’s an amazing SB option for limited and it’s going to be a great mid-pack pick. I’m even thinking this is a dream for constructed play SB options…
Joe
This is another bear that will go well in a rush approach. You need ways to kill big walls, plain and simple.
Rob
A good sideboard card if Wall decks become as prominent as WotC wants them to be. The Lunge effect is nice too.
Mike
The wall-killer! This guy is cool, there are a ton of walls in this block and I could see this guy being a neat sideboard card and a really good limited card.


James
Nice. I am definitly going to look forwad to playing with this card. Guess I can’t get my hopes up too high; it is a rare after all. Still, pretty cool. Maybe I’m just way too into the spawn meme.
Joe
Wow, this should be a bomb, assuming you have even mediocre eldrazi spawn generation.
Rob
Upgrade all of your Spawn into threats. Sounds good. I like that the Sacrifice is on resolution, so if it gets countered you aren’t left out in the wind.
Mike
This card is bad ass, man. Especially in those stalled out games when you have a bunch of eldrazi spawn on the board.


James
Great reprint that’s going to be so awesome for limited. X in the casting cost? Automatic amazing first pick. :)
Joe
Solid common removal. A high pick for any deck, and easily splashable.
Rob
Banefire is obviously strictly better, but in Limited, this will do a lot of heavy lifting in cleaning up the opponent’s board.
Mike
Another great piece of removal for red. Though these cards aren’t very versatile, they’re quite handy.


James
I’m pretty sure this is the best (or second best) level up dude. Level up is hotly debated and frequently bemoaned for being a sorcery ability but this is just great at any point in the game for a red deck. One of the simple lessons Ben Lundquist gave during our workshops was that it’s crucial to evaluate cards on a “early game, mid-game and late-game” basis. That is, good early? Yep. Good mid-game? yep. Good late-game? Yep. Not as good as Tarmagoyf which is the card Ben was using to illustrate the point but this is still very solid. Mythic so don’t expect to see him during the pods (very often).
Joe
This is one of the more powerful levelers, but you need to be fairly committed to red.
Dillon
I love this guy. He is nowhere close to “Mythic” but I think he will see loads of play. He flies over Kor Firewalker, he is something for red to dump mana into. I can see him in October, tearing it up side by side Obsidian Fireheart, and Staggershock. If he has protection from white or first strike he would be loads better, but I won’t be picky.
Rob
I don’t like how much mana it takes to get this guy to his first change. RRRRRR for a 4/4 Flyer seems odd to me, I really don’t like the thought of it dying with the critical level on the stack.
Mike
I dont like Levelers who can’t completely upgrade on the very next turn, but this guy has some potential to be a 4/4.


James
Pretty cool to be sure. This is the kind of card that makes me think a fast deck might be possible. Just maybe…pretty cool.
Joe
I don’t like this guy, but you will sometimes be able to do neat combat tricks with him. He seems easy to kill, even if you pump him. This is a creature that will usually be blocked, though, and if he isn’t, you might sneak in 4 or 7 damage.
Rob
This guy can just get wholly out of hand. Drop him Turn 2, Turn 3 I Bolt you, Bolt you, and swing with a 7/2 for 13 Damage total. And that’s not all that unlikely of a scenario with some variation.
Mike
This guy seems like filler, though he could do some serious damage with the amount of cheap spells that we normally see from red.


James
I mean, everything costs 8 mana so this is probably doable. lol. Everything in this set is super-sized so I guess this “pip-squeek” is minatureized. sigh.
Joe
Hill giant is usually playable. It remains to be seen whether this holds true in the realm of the Eldrazi.
Rob
Uh, yeah, filler. Nothing to really say here.
Mike
Another functional reprint.


Joe
An Overrun-esque effect on a gray ogre seems good to me, even if it’s much slower and lacks the trample clause. This is an ogre they need to deal with before you hit the magic 8.
Rob
I don’t like how small he is, but this might be the best of the Invokers, not that the bar was set too high. A goblin, he beefs up you whole team, and he’s a red mana dump for when you are in top deck mode.
Justin
How underpowered can you be? I imagine R&D had a pretty broken 1st draft of this guy to end up with such a watered down creature. Yuck.


Joe
Another strong leveler, and the kind of hill giant I can get behind in RoE. If he goes ultimate, you should win the game with this guy, which puts him near, or across, the boundary of the “bomb” category.
Dillon
Aggressively costed and a serious beater. Red will take him happily. I can see him in Big Red as the main skull shatterer for the deck.
Rob
Leveler tries to level, takes a bolt to the face, controller loses more mana and a card. Film at 11. And if you really can’t race its controller or kill it before level 6, you deserve to get a beat down.
Mike
Here you have another hill giant with some potential. I don’t see this guy making it past level 1 but I don’t think you really need it to. It’s just not really what you’re looking for when you open a rare, though there isn’t a lot of removal that will deal with it easily at 3/3.


Joe
This might not be that terrible if your opponent drops some smaller guy, or if you have an 0/X wall that can block him every turn without killing him.
Rob
This will be the difference in some Limited games, but I doubt it will see the light of day anywhere else.
Mike
This is a pretty interesting take on an aura. It could really blow out your opponent if he has a 1 power creature on the board that you can just trade 1 for 3 damage with all game.


Joe
Reusable removal is very strong, even if you have to sacrifice dorks to get it. Remember that you can block and then use this ability before damage is dealt.
Rob
This just seems bad. Did they really need filler in the Rare slots?
Mike
This guy has potential to be decent with some spawn but otherwise he’s just a 4/4 unless they allow you to stack damage again someday.
Justin
I feel like this guy has a rightful place in Goblin decks. Look for Magmaw’s value to jump as Extended season comes back.


Joe
A neat wall. Pretty unremarkable, as it does what it does and that’s it.
Rob
Red Wall. At least it will eat anything that plays interference while swarming you.


Joe
This is a strong wall, able to clear out armies of tiny creatures, controlling opposing eldrazi spawn, etc.
Rob
A Good Red Wall. It Flies, It Provokes, and it have huge power. If you can give it First Strike it’d be silly.
Mike
I like that this guy can force a trade with someone your opponent might be trying to protect but I’m not a huge fan of walls that look like they should be beating the crap out of my opponent.


Joe
This might not be a bad thing to play in an early-rush deck. Just remember that it does nothing on its own, so it isn’t as good as your central strategy.
Zak
Rob
This seems like it could be really good. Boros and Goblins can set this off like nobody’s business.
Mike
This could be really decent in a quick little goblin deck with a low curve. the fact that it’s common makes it scary in a swarm style 40-carder.


Joe
Yow! If this gets in there unopposed even once, you should have no problem going to Eldrazi town. I like the looks of this trampling uncommon. His main drawback is his high cost, as your opponent will likely have some sizeable defenses built up by the time this hits play.
Rob
Pretty slow and clunky. I throw it in the “Why Bother?” pile.
Mike
If this guy was just a little chaper I’d really like him, but 6 cost is a lot for someone who isn’t going to potentially win the game for you, and that 4 toughness isn’t very impressive at 6cc. He has a lot of great synnergy with a bunch of other red cards though.


Joe
First strike really saves this guy from being unplayable. As it is, he’s still only marginally playable. But with enough eldrazi spawn, he might be your best wall as you stall into your fat. Or he can just swing into wall after wall.
Rob
Meh. Too often this will be a really expensive 1/1 or 2/1 and that just won’t get there that well.
Mike
This guy could be off the wall with the amount of eldrazi spawn red looks like they can produce.


Joe
I like this spell. It lets you finish off a creature that your opponent assumed would live, and it gives you a spawn token. It’s not the most powerful burn, but I’ll run it either in a pinch, or in a deck that wants to spawn race. Remember that you can simply use this to nuke an opposing spawn token if you’re afraid they might win the spawn-into-eldrazi race.
Dillon
This is another spell for Big Red that will help buy it time and save it time in the same moment.
Rob
I kinda like this. You get 1 mana back in the form of a Spawn and you can pop off one of their Spawns, or better