Tag Archives: worldwake

What We Should Expect from Scars of Mirrodin

We just recently had the last set in the Zendikar block come down the line and the Standard environment is starting to shift about to fit some of the epic Eldrazi and their associated mechanics and cards into winning and promising decks. So, I want to look at what the Scars of Mirrodin block will likely hold for us and what Zendikar block cards we should be excited about playing in the Zendikar-Scars Standard environment.

Some of you may feel that we are too far out from the Scars release to begin serious speculation as to what the block’s contents will be, but let me explain why I am taking on this task and the unprecedented support we have in this venture compared to other block speculations in the past.

Much like a couple of the people I follow over on Twitter, namely Kelly Reid of Quiet Specualation (@kellyreid) and John Medina of MTGMetagame Blog and the recent Pack-to-Power project at Mananation (@mtgmetagame), I believe in trading for value. It is partly due to necessity as our beloved Magic is not the cheapest pursuit to be enamored with, and because the trading is also like a game in itself, a place to practice salesmanship, bartering, and test your wits and savvy against others.

Part of the way I play the trading game is to get a slight edge in trades and get a huge edge in speculative growth. This is a strategy that I’ve read Kelly Reid talking about before, and many people participate in speculative purchasing when a new set is about to drop to ensure they get in on cards before a price spike, real or perceived. The biggest key to speculative trading or buying is to put together knowledge and make tentative conclusions about the future. Scars of Mirrodin gives us a special quantity and quality of fore-knowledge about what cards we can expect and what cards we should be making sure we acquire before any fluctuations in demand price them out of our grip.

Thanks to the below points of knowledge, I feel pretty secure talking about which cards to keep an eye on and what to look for as we get closer to the release of Scars of Mirrodin.

Rotation Situation

WotC likes to maintain certain staples in one form or another, as shown with the Onslaught fetches rotating out of Extended coinciding with the Zendikar fetches rotating into the format. We can expect similar rotational repeats to occur in this exchange. Certain staple cards of importance to the formats’ health will reoccur, possibly directly but more likely in an indirect approximation.

We can expect to see cards that will fill the roles of Engineered Explosives, Chalice of the Void, and Chrome Mox. Personally, I suspect that they will take yet another crack at the Lotus, attempting to create yet another variation of it that will be attractive but balanced, likely as the replacement for Chrome Mox.

Inter-block Synergies

Remember Vampire Nocturnus, the quirky mono-colored Vampire Lord who had barely any vampires to lord over at the time he dipped into the very multi-colored card pool? If you had the foresight to grab them for $2-$4 when they were first being cracked, just a couple months later you could have off-loaded them at the peak price of around $45 each. That’s quite a return. How about Knight of the Reliquary, which suddenly became super-relevant with the introduction of Zendikar Fetches and Spell-lands? I intend to feel out the next Nocturnus or Knight of the Reliquary while it is still in its larva ‘Junk Rare’ status.

Déjà vu

We’ve been to Mirrodin before, and we know what we saw the last time we were there. Last time we were visiting Mirrodin we had the following themes and these are my thoughts on their chances to return or matter, and which cards to grab or watch for with that in mind:

Modular

Modular isn’t likely to return in any meaningful way as the unintended consequences of moving +1/+1 counters around in mass with any artifact or creature sacrifice outlet can lead to much confusion, hilarity and terror. Cool concept, but abuse potential is too high.

Equipment

Equipment is going to be amazing, and there is plenty of support for this using the Inter-block Synergy premise. Look at Armament Master, Stoneforge Mystic, Kor Duelist, and Kitesail Apprentice. Mirrodin was the birthplace of the Equipment subtype in Magic history and would be a perfect place to explore new design space. Stoneforge Mystic and Armament Master might prove to be undervalued at current prices if juicy and innovative Equipment comes out of the Mirrodin Armories.

Artifacts matter/Affinity

Affinity is dead. There is too much danger in how easily it can and was abused to even touch it again. If something even looking like affinity drops. You can expect a massive chorus of people singing ‘The End is Nigh’ and also players just leaving due to having ‘been there, done that’ before. It should go without saying, but the Artifact lands will also be only a memory, just like affinity.

Other artifacts matter cards will of course be abundant and they should be. As such, I’d make sure I have some of the Zendikar Block Artifacts set aside just incase they should prove integral to one archetype or another. Khalni Gem, Eldrazi Monument, Eternity Vessel, and even Seer’s Sundial have use or abuse potential if made a little better by also adding to your ‘Artifacts Matter’ counts.

We also have a couple cards that already care about Artifacts in Thada Adel, Acquisitor, and Lodestone Golem. With Pilgrim’s Eye and Everflowing Chalice helping your mana develop and giant colorless game finishing creatures abounding, Scars may provide enough support for an Artifact/Colorless Control Deck to form and for an anti-artifact control deck to challenge it for superiority. With very strict counterspells being the norm lately, Annul might see print again, making a deck featuring Thada more attractive to battle the artifact hordes for diehard Blue players.

Charge Counters

There are five cards in Zendikar block that reference charge counters and three are considered junk Rares, Angelheart Vial, Sphinx-Bone Wand, and Surrakar Spellblade, one is a junk Mythic, Eternity Vessel, and the last one is Everflowing Chalice, a utility colorless mana acceleration card that could be broken in half if you can manipulate charge counters. Mirrodin had a few ways to play with charge counters on the various artifacts and this seemingly innocuously named class of counter could provide a subtle inter-block window to doing some very disturbing things in Standard. If you can somehow add counters to an established Eternity Vessel or Everflowing Chalice, you can begin an unexpected climb to recovery or victory where you would have otherwise been dead. Surrakar actually may have the most potential however as he generates charge counters that may be moved about and his own ability is pretty great as it is now with cards like Distortion Strike.

Sunburst

This one I’m on the fence about. Sunburst cared about how many different colors of mana you paid to cast something. After all of the multicolored pains of the past two years with Shadowmoor and Alara, this may be one thing they let fall aside to make room for something less colorful. There are also no cards at the moment that really would make this exciting to see, so put on the spot I’ll say this isn’t going to come back.

Imprint

This is dead. As much as Chrome Mox rocks, players want to cast their spells, not discard them from the game attached to something else. WotC has been particularly attentive to want players want to do lately rather than rewarding them for doing the counter-intuitive. I might expect something that seems reminiscent of Imprint in that you may reveal a card, use a card already removed, or use cards in your graveyard to apply some trait to the artifact in question, but they are going to let you keep the cards in your hand until you’ve used them or your opponent takes them away.

Indestructibility

This could become a theme that will make combat and various strategies more complex but also make playing the cards and killing them more rewarding. With the Edict effects on cards like Gatekeeper of Malakir and Consuming Vapors, the door is open to introduce indestructible permanents that can still be answered. Consequentially, Consuming Vapors may see a corresponding rise in price if playable indestructibles are spoiled. I’d also pay closer attention to ways to neutralize things without destroying them, such as Oblivion Ring and Path to Exile like cards that may show up in M11.

Entwine

We like modality and this seems ripe for a review and expansion just like Kicker received. We saw  Entwine in Mirrodin the first time around and I hope to see it again with a new twist, but I’m cautiously optimistic here. The reason for caution is that kicker had been gone for a single Extended Rotation before it returned, leaving a year that the Extended format had no kicks. We may see a similar period for Entwine when Mirrodin rotates out, but I hope not because it seems like just the type of flexibility we would want upon losing all of the multicolored support and options.

In either case, there are very few cards that I can think of off hand that could benefit value-wise from such a comeback. In fact, the only one is Pyromancer Ascension, and then only if the right kind of options show up on the cards. Perhaps a few of the Rebound cards can get together with some Entwine cards and make Johnny happy with a little Pyromancer’s combo deck.

Colorlessness

Ok, so this wasn’t really a theme, but you have to admit that Mirrodin’s colorless Artifacts and the Eldrazi seem to be made for each other. WotC also seems to be dropping a hint to this extent and some possible reprints in the issuing of Cloudpost, the massively colorless mana producing Locus, as the May FNM promo. The price of the Eldrazi titans and all the colorless spells could see a significant bump up if Locus reappears in either Cloudpost or an associated form. Another thing that might have a similar effect is if a good colorless manabase can be formed up out of Quicksands, Tetonic Edges, Eldrazi lands, and colorless man lands like Dread Statuary or new iterations of Blinkmoth Nexus or a Mutavault-esque land.  Finally, also be on the look out for  a reappearance of Urza-tron in M11 either exactly or a series of role sharing similar lands. People want to cast Eldrazi titans and WotC wants people to want and do just that, so they’ll be sending enablers down the pipe.

So there you have it. By analyzing WotC’s trends and past, as well as player’s behaviors and desires, we can make some predictions on what cards that are currently floating about our environment that may become suddenly much more relevant once Scars starts getting spoiled. In five months you’ll be able to look back to this article and thank me for convincing you to grab a couple extra Lodestone Golems and Consuming Vapors now, while they were obtainable.

Agree? Disagree? Predictions I missed? Say so in the comments section below, or catch me on Twitter @RobJelf!

Worldwake EDH: Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs

A while back I took a look at new EDH Generals from Worldwake.  I decided to make a deck-list featuring Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs.  I wanted to go with a build that was full of flavor, using the imagery of the powerful ogre warlord.  In most cases of card selection I used flavor as the deciding factor.

The premise of this deck is that the mighty Kazuul is marshaling a vast horde of evil humanoids to raid and plunder.  I stuck with some good ol’ fashioned D&D concepts; ogres bullying smaller orcs and goblins to do their bidding, which in this case means WAR!  Last time I mentioned Deathforge Shaman, Initiate of Blood, Heartless Hidetsugu and Rustmouth Ogre as possible options so I am going to put them in.  I took another look at Gatherer to see how many different ogres were in red.
Ogres (7):

Now that our ogre taskmasters are in place we need some orc and goblin minions to fill out the army.
Goblins (24):


Orcs (5):

All of these little guys form the backbone of our army.

No ogre warlord worth his salt would go into battle only relying on puny orcs and goblins, so Kazuul will have some hired giant muscle.
Giants (4):

Our horde is in place, so we need some gear to make our General and friends more formidable.
Equipment (8):

Now our army has plenty of fodder and gear so all we need is a way to promote our General’s ability.  Our plan is limit our opponents mana base by eliminating key lands and mana producing artifacts which are very common in EDH.
Land Hate(10):


Artifact Hate (3):

We have thirty eight slots for our own land and mana producing artifacts.

The deck is complete. It looks like Kazuul’s enemies are in for a rough time as his horde pillages the countryside. Can anyone stop the Tyrant of the Cliffs? Now this deck is not perfect but it has answers to problem artifacts and lands and can generate creatures early.  I think this is a good starting point for a really fun and flavorful EDH deck. Until next time.

Pack War: Tool for Teaching Magic the Gathering

I work a lot.  Such is life in the restaurant industry.  Managing a bar means working late at night (Friday and Saturday) and that means less time for me to enjoy my favorite hobby.  Luckily for me, my wife is always willing to flop cards with me.  Now my wife is not Pro-Tour caliber, she doesn’t get excited over the latest expansion and everyday things don’t make her think of Magic cards.  However, my wife has an EDH deck (Sliver Overlord), she has her favorite card (Avatar of Woe),  and will pilot any deck I give her so I can practice.  In short, my wife is a casual player, really casual, ranking magic with Monopoly or Clue.  She sees it as a game; something to pass the time with on a rainy afternoon.  This is easy for me to understand but hard for me to relate with (how can she read Wild Mongrel and not get excited?).

One thing I have found to be difficult for the casual player is the release of new expansions every quarter.  Magic is a game that constantly evolves.  Each new card brings with it a text block of new rules which can be overwhelming for the casual player.  The casual player doesn’t tend to read spoilers or set reviews.  Living with a casual player has led me to find a great format for teaching/learning the newest set without needing to learn new cards in advance.  I am referring to Pack War (also called Booster War or MiniMaster).

Pack War is really simple:  Each player takes one booster pack and three of each basic land.  This will give a thirty card deck.  The rest is just plain old Magic; normal life totals, phases, and rules.  My wife and I keep the cards from the booster face down so we won’t know what is in our “deck” before hand, which adds an extra level of excitement.  There are many variations of the Pack War rules.  Some people do not allow Mulligans, others have a smaller starting hand size, I have even read about allowing all players access to as much mana of any color they want so there is no need to add land (Fireball = autowin).  When my wife and I were opening Shards of Alara we decided to only use two of each basic land since the color fixing was so good.  Pack War offers plenty of options for people wanting to play a quick game.

packs

Pack War is a great way to make opening boosters a lot more fun.  It is even possible to squeeze in Pack War between rounds at a tournament.  It also gives really bad cards a chance to see some play (Feral Contest, Goblin Game).  Sure there is a bit more randomness to it, but I think that it adds to the charm.  Bojuka Brigand equipped with Kitesail ftw.

My favorite aspect of Pack War is that it is an easy way to teach the game of Magic.  I am always willing to teach people how to play and I find Pack War is simple without being overwhelming.  It allows us to focus on what the cards do and the basic mechanics of the game.  Pack War as a teaching tool is much more effective than using U/W Chapin vs. Jund.

Magic is my hobby and I devote a large amount of time towards it.  I research decks, use draft simulators, follow players on facebook, read articles and so on.  The casual player is not going to do these things.  When Wizards of the Coast decided to print less cards per year, they were addressing concerns from new/casual players.  Those players felt that the amount of cards was overwhelming.  Those players felt that they were too far behind and out of the loop.  Pack War addresses these concerns with its simplicity.  Pack War is a way to keep casual players somewhat up to date and it lets us teach the game without having to reference thousands of cards.  The next time you get some boosters, set some aside and try out Pack War.

While I was proofreading this article, I really got the itch to battle it out with some booster packs.  I went to the closest comic store and picked up their last two packs of Worldwake.  My wife and I used three of each basic land and got down to business.

My pack:

Bojuka Bog is not great in Pack War, but I liked the Angel and the Drake.

My wife’s pack:

O.O
Well, obviously my wife opened a great pack. Removal, check. Evasion, check. Chase Rare, check. Looks good. Which card had the biggest impact? It wasn’t old Blue Eyes. It was Brink of Disaster targeting my Graypelt Hunter to stop my early aggro. Caustic Crawler came down a turn later to prevent me from getting a decent block. The Crawler and the Shaman got me into the red zone pretty quick after that. Good stuff.  Go try Pack War for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.

New EDH Generals from Worldwake

Elder Dragon Highlander is one of my favorite formats to play.  The rules of this format allow for some very exciting interactions with cards that would be rarely played in any other format.  The most important aspect of EDH is the General.  Any Legendary Creature can be the General for your EDH deck with very few exceptions ( Braids, Cabal Minion is banned for example), and with the release of Worldwake some new potential Generals join the fray.

Anowon, the Ruin Sage is a strong new General for mono-black EDH decks.

Anowon has an ability that reminds us of the Abyss.   Mono-black is a strong color in EDH and with the addition of Anowon, vampire themed decks get a power boost.  There are plenty of Vampires running around in Magic but the fact that their creature type lets them dodge a bullet from Anowon makes them really shine.  Vamps that work well on team Anowon include Ascendant Evincar which can destroy token strategies; Repentant Vampire shines against other decks running swamps; Mephidross Vampire is a house when you start turning your opponents team with Krovikan Vampire and Soul Collector.  Anowon’s Worldwake friends are also welcome additions to the army: Bloodhusk Ritualist, Butcher of Malakir and Kalastria Highborn.

The next addition to the EDH world is Thada Adel, Acquisitor.

Thada Adel will give any opposing player fits as most decks run very powerful artifacts.  Thada will see play not only as a General just for the chance to steal things like Mindslaver, Nevinyrrals Disk, Rings of Brighthearth, and Oblivion Stone.  Even nabbing a Sol Ring can be devastating.

Next up is Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs

Kazuul is not quite as impressive as an EDH General as Anowon and Thada but it’s ability can be good.  Red has access to Land destroying effects that can make it more likely for Kazuul’s ability to resolve.  I like the idea of adding Pandemonium to prevent people from attacking you with swarms.  If you wanted to try an Ogre themed deck pick up Deathforge ShamanRustmouth Ogre, Initiate of Blood and Heartless Hidetsugu (who makes a good General himself).

Representing Green we have Omnath, Locus of Mana

The great thing about this General is that its low casting cost ensures that it will hit the battlefield early and often.  Cards like Early Harvest, Extraplanar Lens and Gauntlet of Power make this Elemental a beatstick.  Omnath’s best friend is Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary.  Mana ramp is a must when playing Omnath, so be sure to have Staff of Domination and Helix Pinnacle for alternate win conditions.

Last on our list of new EDH Generals we have the killer Kraken Wrexial, the Risen Deep

Big body, evasion and a relevant ability makes sure that Wrexial wrecks stuff.  Using a semi-mill strategy can ensure plenty of juicy targets for our sea monster friend.  Glimpse the Unthinkable, Mind Funeral and the other deep-sea threat Nemesis of Reason go perfectly with Wrexial.  Other graveyard loving cards that can go along with our General are Beacon of Unrest, Memory Plunder and Puppeteer Clique. Sexy Wrexy definitely has a lot going for it.

EDH just got more exciting with these new Generals.  I wish there was a new white Legend to round out the list.  Out of all of these newcomers I feel that Anowon and Thada will have the biggest impact, but that won’t stop me from putting Wrexial in my Szadek, Lord of Secrets deck.

Deckbuilding at the Worldwake Pre Release

Everyone is writing about Worldwake right now and we probably have at least another week or two of reading about the impact of the set in Standard, Extended, Sealed, Draft, Legacy, EDH, Type 4, Mental Magic… the list goes on.

This article is more focused on deckbuilding in the new sealed format. Any type of Magic player has the opportunity to run in this format over the next couple weeks whether it be release events this weekend, release events online two weeks from now, or maybe most importantly (at least for me) the Last Chance Qualifier for Pro Tour San Diego on February 18th in sunny Southern California.

I ran in two flights on Saturday and went 3-0-1, 3-1 with a sole loss to a pretty oustanding black deck featuring Sorin Markov and Butcher of Malakir among other fun things. My decks had some pretty slick cards as well; but I’m not 100% sure if I built my decks correctly, and that’s what this piece is going to try and figure out. I welcome and encourage any type of suggestion or criticism in the comments section. Like I said I’m looking to grind into the Pro Tour in two weeks so any help is appreciated.

Here’s a look at my first pool (a * denotes Foil):

BLACK – 14

Bloodhusk Ritualist
Dead Reckoning x2
Giant Scoprion
Guul Draz Vampire
Nemesis Trap
Mindless Null
Pulse Tracker
Ruthless Cullblade
Ruthless Cullblade *
Scrib Nibblers
Surrakar Marauder
Tomb Hex
Vampire Lacerator

BLUE – 13

Calcite Snapper
Dispel
Living Tsunami
Mysteries of the Deep
Paralyzing Grasp
Rite of Replication
Spell Pierce
Tideforce Elemental
Treasure Hunt
Umara Raptor
vapor Snare
Whiplash Trap
Welkin Tern

GREEN – 11

Arbor Elf
Cobra Trap
Explore
Feral Contest
Greenweaver Druid
Nissa’s Chosen
Nature’s Claim
River Boa
Relic Crush
Vastwood Zendikon
Vines of Vastwood

RED – 15

Bladetusk Boar
Deathforge Shaman
Goblin Roughrider
Goblin Shortcutter x2
Grotag Thrasher
Hellfire Mongrel
Plated Geopede
Quest for the Pure Flame
Ricochet Trap
Rotting Terrain x2
Searing Blaze
Stone Idol Trap
Torch Slinger

WHITE -17

Apex Hawks x2
Arrow Volley Trap
Battle Hurda
Caravan Hurda
Devout Lightcaster
Guardian Zendikon
Kabira Evangel
Lightkeeper of Emeria
Loam Lion
Join the Ranks
Kor Skyfisher
Journey to Nowhere
Narrow Escape
Nimbus Wings
Noble Vestige
Rest for the Weary

ARTIFACT – 8

Explorer’s Scope *
Hedron Rover
Khalni Gem
Lodestone Golem
Spidersilk Net
Stonework Puma
Trailblazer’s Boots
Walking Atlas

LAND – 6

Halimar Depths
Jwar Isle Refuge
Lavaclaw Reaches
Sejiri Steppe
Teetering Peaks
Turntimber Grove

I got to build across from my good friend Andy Roman in Flight 1 which is a great advantage in a Pre Release since you can talk about building and card choices and what not; since you really haven’t had any time to truly evaluate the cards before this point. Right away I knew that Black and Green were out (there were no black cards in my first pack at all), and that I would definitely be playing Blue or Red. The only decision I had to make was whether or not to run one of those with White. White was really lacking creatures even though it had some good ones with Evasion. All Five creatures I would run with White had either first strike or flying. There wasn’t a good chance of me playing Kabira Evangel or Devout Lightcaster since I had such little allies nor enough White to warrant a WWW casting cost. The only thing white gave me that I loved was Journey to Nowhere.

After a second glance at everything I decided that I was definitely playing Blue as my best cards were clearly Living Tsunami and Rite of Replication. 11 of my 13 Blue cards were striaght up good, and I ended up playing that many. I then do what I normally do when building a sealed deck, which is put my Blue cards in the middle by curve and the Red and White cards above and below to see how the decks would look. It became pretty clear when I had nine solid Red creatures as well as Searing Blaze and Stone Idol Trap which I felt was a pretty strong bomb even though Andy sorta disagreed. Turns out it was, especially when I got to say “I’ll Rite of Replication my Stone Idol token.” Leaving me with a permanent 6/12 trampler on the board (since the instant says “exile it at the beginning of your next end step” instead of the instant indicating the token has that text.

I went 3-0-1 with the following deck, choosing to Intentionally Draw in the final round so my opponent and I would each get six packs instead of eight and four.

Normally I run 18 land but I only curve to 5 (considering I’ll never cast Stone Idol Trap for 6), I had nearly no landfall and I have Living Tsunami, so I went with 17.

Some limited analysis of the new cards.

Treasure Hunt – I am pretty underwhelmed by this card, especially on turn 2. If you cast it on turn 2 on the draw you’re automatically discarding if you had no one drop. A couple of times I hit 3-4 cards off of it and most of the time I ended up discarding a land or two. One time it was huge though when I had 5 lands in hand and 2 spells I ran it just to discard and I drew 3 more lands and could dump 5 lands to my graveyard. That seems pretty rare.

Mysteries of the Deep – this card was great, even if I was wasting a turn playing it to draw 3.

Searing Blaze – Might as well just say sorcery in this format, but it’s a pretty good sorcery.

Stone Idol Trap – a total bomb. won me several games including a gunsling vs. Darwin Castle.

Hedron Rover – Was really good, a 4/4 attacker for 4 was really solid all day.

Halimar Depths – was always really, really good for me. Bouncing it every turn with tsunami was even better.

Grotag Thrasher – not great stats but he can really open up a clogged board for him and some friends.

Deathforge Shaman – Another game winner. This cycle of guys who multikick for their color are all really strong, this guy is good; the black version is great.

Vapor Snare – Unfortunately I never cast this card but it seems quite outstanding with a limited drawback, especially in a deck with a lower curve like the one I ran. Does not combo well with Tsunami.

Here’s my second card pool (again, foils have a *):

BLACK – 17

Agadeem Occultist *
Bojuka Brigand x2
Dead Reckoning
Death’s Shadow
Grim Discovery
Guul Draz Spectre
Guul Draz Vampire
Heartstabber Mosquito
Kalitas, Blood Chief of Ghet
Mire’s Toll
Nimana Sell Sword
Scrib Nibblers x2
Soul Stair Expedition
Vampire Hexmage
Vampire’s Bite

BLUE – 13

Aether Tradewinds
Enclave Elite x2
Halimar Excavator
Hedron Crab
Merfolk Seastalkers
Shoal Serpent
Sky Ruin Drake x2
Sphinx of Jwar Isle
Tideforce Elemental
Trapfinder’s Trick
Treasure Hunt
Twitch

GREEN – 17

Arbor Elf
Beast Hunt
Beastial Menace
Cobra Trap
Explore
Grazing Gladehart
Grappler Spider
Graypelt Hunter
Nissa’s Chosen
Oren-Rief Survivalist
Relic Crush
Scythe Tiger
Savage Sliouette
Slingbow Trap
Snapping Creeper
Turntimber Basilisk
Vines of Vastwood

RED – 12

Akoum Battleslinger
Bazaar Trader =(
Burst Lightning
Deathforge Shaman
Magma Rift
Quest for the Goblin Lore
Searing Blaze
Skitter of Lizards
Slavering Nulls
Tuktuk Grunts

WHITE – 13

Apex Hawks
Battle Hurda
Brave the Elements
Iona’s Judgment x2
Kor Hookmaster
Kor Outfitter
Kor Sanctifiers
Marshal’s Anthem
Shieldmate’s Blessing
Veteran Reflexes x2
Windborne Charge

ARTIFACT – 5

Adventuring Gear
Hedron Rover
Spidersilk Net
Trusty Machete
Walking Atlas

LAND – 6

Bojuka Bog
Dread Statuary
Graypelt Refuge
Halimar Depths
Khalni Garden
Piranha Marsh

I’m definitely interested in analyzing this pool because I most hastily built it. I kid you not, that the kid I was stuck sitting next to spelled so bad that I thought I was going to vomit all over my packs while waiting to open them. That and, interestingly enough, I opened both Sphinx of Jwar Isle and The Bloodchief of Ghet in my FNM draft the night before, played U/B and split in the finals of my pod. Now I have them both again not 24 hours later. Weird.

I had enough playables in Blue that because of the Sphinx I should run that color. Depending on how much you devalue the Bloodchief, you could consider going green here, but there just aren’t enough playables. I just put a list together and I struggled to get to 20 and I don’t want to run two Enclave Elite. Black just had way too much power with Heartstabber Mosquito, Guul Draz Spectre, plus it gave me a really strong ally subtheme due to the synergy with Agadeem Occultist, Halimar Excavator and Hedron Crab.

A quick aside about milling in limited: normally I think milling with just a crab that’s going to maybe hit for a few isn’t that great, but with the excavators you’re not milling 3-6 cards anymore. With six allies and the crab I had the potential to mill 20 or so cards per game, meaning that I’m no longer just changing my opponent’s next draw, I’m actively stripping their deck. That coupled with the Occultist’s ability to steal creatures and Guul Draz Specter stripping their hand, I was actively attacking their deck; so I went for it.

I end up with a pretty decent curve but very light on creature removal. My goal was to hopefully mill enough good cards to let my bombs do the talking. That went pretty well as I went 3-1 losing only to an absolutely ridiculous deck aforementioned.

Some takes on the cards here:

Agadeem Occultist: Sadly I never got to use his ability because he was a lightning rod for removal due to all my milling/allies, but if I ever tapped him it was going to be GG.

Tideforce Elemental: I love tappers, even bad ones (sup Vectis Dominator). This is going to be one of my favorite cards in limited in the near future. He was always oustanding be it on offense or defense.

Dead Reckoning: This card was extremely impressive. At one point an opponent of mine Heartstabbered my Kalitas and his friend said “that’s how they do it on the pro tour!” It was pretty embarassing when I Dead Reckoning’d his Machete equipped Flyer next turn and my board was soon Kalitas, Sphinx and vampire tokens.

Aether Tradewinds: Not very exciting but it gets things done.

Halimar Excavator: I’ll take a 1/3 for 2 in Blue, especially if I can swing more allies. I liked him all day.

Bojuka Brigand: These guys were great when I kept hitting allies but when a 3/3 comes down and they can’t even chump it kind of sucks.

Dread Statuary: I loved this guy, especially with grim discovery. He got into the red zone, he defended intimidators, and he killed guys the rest of my team couldnt. I’d run him anytime I have him.

Enclave Elite: Pretty dumpy, I sided the second one in against Blue for the Hedron Crab a bit. My friend Andy really liked multikicker but I didn’t use it much and found it pretty underwhelming when used to add +1/+1 tokens against me, and only really good with the guys who multikick for one color to make you discard or burn or gain life.

My initial thoughts on Worldwake was that it was going to be mainly inconsequential, and I think mainly that was right. I hadn’t considered the fact that it would be super fun, and I walk away from these events with the realization that it is. I’m sure winning certainly helped that feeling, but I enjoyed playing almost every card I laid on the table on Saturday.

I really feel like I want to be blue at the LCQ in San Diego. It is really easy to clog up the ground with white and blue but I think blue has a little bit more trickery with cards like Into the Roil and Whiplash Trap to get you through it. It’s already tough getting through Kraken Hatching, and Calcite Snapper one-ups it. I’m also in love with Tideforce Elemental. But really, I would follow your bombs because there are so many of them in this new set.

I will say this about draft: I think the draft format is going to be defined by allies. There are so many allies now it frightens me to the point that I don’t know if I want to draft much if I’m going to be fighting over allies for three packs; but we shall see.

I’ll leave you with my recommendation of the top three Worldwake cards I’m picking up right now, aside from the obvious mythic rares: Chain Reaction, Lavaclaw Reaches and Celestial Colonnade.

Later,

Mike Gemme
BobbySapphire on MTGO
mike@power9pro.com

Tales From the Worldwake Prerelease

This morning I woke up only to receive a telephone call from my friend Matthew, asking if I wanted to go to the prerelease in the nearby town of Sherwood Park. Normally I go to a closer one on Sunday, but with the offer of a ride extended, I packed my Dragon’s Egg and trade binder and was off for a prerelease a day earlier than I had anticipated.

When I got to the site, I was happy to see several faces that I hadn’t seen for several months, and exchanged pleasantries for several minutes until the product was handed out. Here’s what I received.

The first thing I noticed in this pool were the rares. We can safely say that Bazaar Trader and Emeria, the Sky Ruin are unplayable, as we don’t have an Abyssal Persecutor or enough cards to warrant a mono-white deck to make either worthwhile. We also have a Mordant Dragon, which is an amazing bomb, although ti requires a heavy commitment to red. Likewise, we have Celestial Mantle, but that is hindered by the same high-colour cost as the dragon. Finally we have Guul Draz Specter, a card I’m always happy to have, and the new Theda Adel, Acquisitor which has the potential to steal a timely Blazing Torch, Trusty Machete, or even a Lodestone Golem.

Looking at the white cards in this pool, we have some very good support cards, such as an Ionas Judgment, an Apex Hawks and the always amazing Brave the Elements, in addition to the aforementioned Celestial Mantle. All in all, I don’t think that there are enough high-quality cards for white to warrant being a main colour, which pretty much excludes the mantle from getting played.

Blue in this pool is actually quite deep. We have bombs like Living Tsunami, Vapor Snare and Merfolk Seastalkers, as well as the neo-Sleep: Permafrost Trap. This can definitely be a main colour, as it has some of the most powerful cards in the pool.

When we look at the black cards, we unfortunately come up a little light on removal. However, we have solid cards like Giant Scorpion and Vampire Nighthawk. Also worth noting are the 2 copies of Pulse Tracker, which can act as a pseudo Savannah Lions, so if we have the cards to play a bit more aggressive deck we can go that route.

The red cards in this pool are okay, but they all have a tendency to get outclassed relatively quickly. While Crusher Zendikon and Goblin Shortcutter are fine, I just don’t know exactly how much we can count on the red cards in this pool to still be relevant in the late game.

Looking over the artifacts and lands, nothing super-special jumps out at me, except for the pair of Adventuring Gear, the double Tectonic Edge and the Quicksand. However, I don’t want to play too many lands that produce colourless, and I think the Edges are best suited for the sideboard, to be brought in against any opponents lucky enough to open a new manland.

In the end I decided to play an aggressive blue-black build, using my early drops like Pulse Tracker and Welkin Tern in conjunction with Adventuring Gear to swing in for lots of early damage, and then use my late game cards to clean up the leftovers.

Here’s the list I ended up playing:

In round 1 I was paired against Tom, who told me that this was only his second sealed deck tournament ever, after starting around Conflux. I didn’t want to let my guard down, as I wasn’t familiar with the new cards he might have, so I made sure to treat him just like any opponent. I game 1 I got the jump on him with a pair of Pulse Trackers and an Adventuring Gear, and when he finally mustered a defense in the form of a Shepherd of the Lost, I had the Vapor Snare to punish him for playing such a good card, and he quickly succumbed to the beats doled out by his own angel.

Game 2 was quite different, with him resolving both the Shepherd of the Lost and an Archon of Redemption. He also had an Oracle of Mul Daya which ensured that he was able to dig through to his threats extremely quickly. I made one misplay in this game which probably would have bought me an extra turn or two. He had a 3/3 Gnarlid Pack which he attacked with into my Caustic Crawler. I blocked and used my Quicksand to weaken his attacker and ensure the survival of my creature. Looking back, I should have let the creatures trade so that the next turn I could cast Dead Reckoning for 4 to kill off his shepherd, rather than keep taking beats from the angel. Eventually I get a Vampire Nighthawk and equip him with both copies of Adventuring Gear, gaining 6 life in a single swing, but I fail to draw enough lands and quickly roll over to Baloth Woodcrasher and his fliers.

In game 3 he gets a Hada Freeblade on turn one, which I meet with my double Pulse Tracker and Adventuring Gear. On turn two me casts Explore and fails to play a land, while I augment my forces with Vampire Nighthawk and Thada Adel, Acquisitor. Even when he finally gets a third land, my fliers have dealt too much damage to him for him to recover.

1-0 (2-1)

In round 2 I’m up against Andrew, a player who was showing off his triple Windrider Eel and double Harrow earlier, so I’m wary of landfall creatures. He has a Wind Zendikon which trades with my Welkin Tern, and I play a turn 3 Theda Adel, Acquisitor when he has an Island on the battlefield. When the merfolk connects, I snag a Blazing Torch, which I use to later dispatch a Windrider Eel. Theda gets through on the next two turns to snag a Pilgrims Eye and a Walking Atlas over the course of the next 2 turns. Add an Adventuring Gear to my unblockable merfolk and the game is quickly mine.

When sideboarding I think about boarding in a Tectonic Edge to lessen the impact of a Zendikon, but I decide that my mana base is fragile enough with all the early drops I want to make, and the Quicksand is probably a better utility land in this situation. In the second game, I again get a Theda Adel, Acquisitor, as well as my Living Tsunami and a Vapor Snare to take a Windrider Eel. He can’t really do anything against this, and I take the match in 2 games.

2-0 (4-1)

In round 3 I’m up against my friend and ride for the day Matt. I’ve seen that he has a red deck packing both Mordant Dragon and Hellkite Charger, in addition to an Omnath, Locus of Mana. Needless to say, I’m worried. He starts out with an Arbor Elf and a Vastwood Animist, but doesn’t draw any mountains for a while. I punish him with my Ruthless Cullblade suited up with some Adventuring Gear, and his lack of removal spells defeat for him in game 1.

In game 2 he has a pair of early Harrows to ramp up his mana, and he quickly resolves a Hellkite Charger. I think I’m set when I draw a Vampire Nighthawk, but he has Claws of Valakut to make my vampire a lot less impressive. However, I have enough creatures on the board so that he can’t attack multiple times with his dragon and live, so he needs to spend 7 mana (including his Arbor Elf) to give his dragon pseudo-vigilance. Luckily for me, I draw the 5th land I needed to cast Vapor Snare, taking his untapped dragon and swinging for the win thanks to the dragon’s haste.

3-0 (6-1)

In round 4 I’m up against another one of my good friends, Josh. I know he’s packing Sorin Markov, Abyssal Persecutor, and Lodestone Golem. In the first game he resolves a Marsh Threader and swampwalks his way to victory, aided by a Hedron Rover. In game 2 I take the draw and Quicksand his threader as soon as he attacks with it, and I use Welkin Tern and double Adventuing Gear to pound for 6 repeatedly and clinch the second game. In the rubber match, I keep a 2 land hand on the play, and live to regret it, as I don’t draw a land for 2 or 3 turns. By the time I cast Vampire Nighthawk, I’ve been taking 4 a turn to the double Marsh Threader assault, and he has no problems casting a Journey to Nowhere.

3-1 (7-3)

Due to my tiebreakers I get second place, earning me 5 packs of Worldwake. I realize that I shouldn’t have kept the 2 land hand in the last game, and I realize that I need to mulligan more often, as I have a tendency to keep sketchy hands. I also realized that Treasure Hunt is a very poor card in limited. I must of cast in 7 or 8 times in the day, and I never drew more than a single card off of it. I think that it is much better in constructed, but in limited, I’d much rather have something that affects the game state more. Like Twitch, and I have a personal vendetta against the reprinting of Twitch. I also love the irony of how in yesterday’s article I touted Marsh Threader was extremely important in this new limited format, only to lose to a pair of them in the finals.

Anyway, the tournament was great, and I look forward to using what I learned tomorrow, when I play in another Worldwake Prerelease. If you want live updates of how I’m doing, make sure to follow my twitter feed at www.twitter.com/zturchan, and as always, post any comments, suggestions or questions in the comments section, or email me at zak -AT- power9pro.com.

Cheers,

Zak

Worldwake Set Review – Multicolored, Colorless, Lands

Welcome, dear reader, to the final installment of our Worldwake Set Review. We broke the set up into batches. Here’s links to the white, blue, black, red, and green reviews. As usual, I will add my comments, evaluating each card with an eye toward primarily limited play, but with the occasional anecdote on Eternal formats and the beloved EDH format. James will then add his comments evaluating each card for standard, block, and extended play.

Novablast Wurm
3GGWW
Creature – Wurm
7/7
Whenever Novablast Wurm attacks, destroy all other creatures.
Rarity: Mythic Rare
Set Number: #119/145

Well, I love this card in my old Sneak Attack deck! If you think about this card as a Day of Judgement, then you’re getting a 7/7 creature for 1GG, and in exchange for the “now” of the sorcery, you get the effect over and over again. When you drop this Wurm in limited, the game becomes “do you have a removal spell capable of killing this guy, or can you find one in the next ~1-2 turns?” This, my friends, is about as bomby as it can get. Anything that must be killed, the alternative being game loss, is a bomb, especially something costing a very castable 7. Thumbs up from me.

JAMES

This is crazy. If you can cast it and still have a Vines of the Vastwood ready…that’s crazy. I’ll let someone else figure that one out.

Wrexial, the Risen Deep
3UUB
Legendary Creature – Kraken
5/8
Islandwalk, swampwalk
Whenever Wrexial, the Risen Deep deals
combat damage to a player, you may
cast target instant or sorcery card from
that player’s graveyard without paying
its mana cost. If that card would be
put into a graveyard this turn, exile it
instead.
Rarity: Mythic Rare
Set Number: #120/145

This is a lame EDH general, IMO. There’s just not enough consistent effect on the board… I dunno… this just seems weak. Now, in limited, this could indeed be pretty fierce, but it’s not on the level of, say, Novablast Wurm. This will occasionally kill a few chump blockers, and then re-use your opponent’s removal or burn on them as you crush them. Also, you’re bound to run into a few players sporting islands and/or swamps, and luckily those two colors are also the most likely to have instants and sorceries to hijack. So it’s not like this isn’t incredibly good, it’s just not really an “I win” kind of bomb the way some of this other stuff is. Against blue or black mages, it may very well be “I win”.

JAMES

Crazy. I don’t think this will be a meta shaping card. It’s crazy though. I want 1-2x in my G/W deck now! lol.

Amulet of Vigor
1
Artifact
Whenever a permanent enters the battlefield tapped and under your control, untap it.
Rarity: Rare
Set Number: #121/145

Wow, this is a hell of a trinket. Even doing something as mundane as turning Ravnica dual lands like Hallowed Fountain into their Alpha counterparts, like Tundra, makes this thing pretty hawt. In EDH, I can see running these, since Nevinyrrals Disk is ubiquitous, and can function more like a sorcery then. I think I’d be pretty hard pressed to run this in a limited deck of any sort, however. It’s just not going to do a lot. So yeah, cool in constructed where you can abuse it, and a bummer of a rare in limited, where it’s all but worthless.

JAMES

I’m thinking about this as something affinity would play with…maybe a control deck in type 2 that wants lands to enter untapped? It’s a pretty interesting play on that premise. Turn one you’re not likely to see something you want to counter but T2 you need/want the extra mana open…? Does a Thopter-Foundry, Sword of the Meek deck want something like this?

Basilisk Collar
1
Artifact – Equipment
Equipped creature has deathtouch and lifelink.
Equip {2}
Rarity: Rare

Yikes! Another sick trinket. (For those who wonder, this is a reference to Trinket Mage, a mainstay of many decks with tutor-packages of 1-drop artifact toolboxes) Anyway, this will just rock some fools in limited, making every single blocker a removal spell in disguise. Not only that, but the lifelink will quickly get out of hand as well, and functions a lot like double-strike in terms of increasing the life total changes generated by any given attack. The nice thing about lifelink is you get half of the life total change even when they block! So yeah, I consider this a stone cold bomb in limited, and am tempted to run it in various EDH decks, though it’s probably sub-par to the other options there (umezawas jitte).

JAMES

lol. I don’t see this be played a lot. Maybe I’m missing something great about it but for constructed I don’t see it being a must-have.

Everflowing Chalice
0
Artifact
Multikicker {2}
Everflowing Chalice enters the battlefield with a charge counter on it for each time it was kicked.
{T}: Add {1} to your mana pool for each charge counter on Everflowing Chalice.
Rarity: Uncommon
Set Number: #123/145

Mike Flores did a good job evaluating this. A lot of times it’s like Mind Stone without the cantrip. Occasionally it’s somewhere between Worn Powerstone and Thran Dynamo. sometimes it’s a storm count, and sometimes it’s some weird 6-drop or beyond. In any case, it’s flexible and likely to see play. In limited, I can get behind this in basically any deck. Why not have a chance to ramp up? Quite strong.

JAMES

I don’t like paying 4 mana for 2 of any color because it means T4/5 is “dead.” Maybe as a 2 for one mana but Explore seems a lot better.

Hammer of Ruin
2
Artifact – Equipment
Equipped creature gets +2/+0.
Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, you may destroy target equipment that player controls.
Equip {2}
Rarity: Uncommon
Set Number: #124/145

Interesting Manriki Gusari variant here. This is a hollow shell of the original though. Still probably gets played in some limited decks, mostly those with fliers, but you’ll always be hoping instead for the trusty machete, etc. Having to connect to kill an equipment makes this mostly an expensive Bonesplitter.

JAMES

Not for constructed imo.

Hedron Rover
4
Artifact Creature – Construct
2/2
Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, Hedron Rover gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
Rarity: Common

Well, this isn’t TOO terrible, but it’s still sub-par in my estimation. It’s a wimpy Territorial Baloth. But then, any deck can run him. He’s too vulnerable for my liking, setting you up to be down 3 mana to a Disfigure or Burst Lightning.

JAMES

Constructs suck. They should all be allies.(thinking limited). Otherwise, they totally suck.

Kitesail
1
Artifact – Equipment
Equipped creature gets +1/+0 and flying.
Equip {2}
Rarity: ?

Excellent. Flying is key here, the +1 is like icing, or a nice wrapper. This should do some strong work, especially if the rarity turns out to be less than rare.

JAMES

I don’t like the question mark in this one, but whatever. It’s not going to make it. Equip cost is too high. Probably fine/great for limited though.

Lodestone Golem
4
Artifact Creature – Golem
5/3
Nonartifact spells cost {1} more to cast.
Rarity: Rare
Set Number: #127/145

This guy’s wicked cool, and probably has a place in several EDH decks. In limited, he’s pretty sweet, especially if you’ve got either good mana ramping, or many artifact creatures (thanks, Doctor Obvious!). I like the Juggernaut stats. Pretty solid all the way around. Even if this just comes down and beats until it dies, you’ve slowed down their advancement as well as their ability to kill him. Solid, but not killer. I wouldn’t call it a bomb.

JAMES

I love these cards that only provide minor advantage. It could be enough for control decks to like this a ground/offensive card. Probably worth trying due to the tempo play. Downside is lack of evasion.

Pilgrim’s Eye
3
Artifact Creature – Thopter
1/1
Flying
When Pilgrim’s Eye enters the battlefield, search your library for a basic land, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
Rarity: Common

Weird and wild. I like it, especially in the UW skies kind of archetype. This ensures a land drop and “replaces” itself in a pseudo cantrip. It provides a somewhat weak body, but it’s evasive, and again, you got a basic land. Just think of it as Borderland Ranger, but you trade a point of P/T for flying, and you can play it in any deck. Sounds good to me! Slow controlling decks might even just think of this as primarily chump block fodder, since they just want to stall and make land drops until the late game. This fits the bill.

JAMES

I like this for limited. Lots. For constructed it’s a little too slow. I don’t think the evasion is enough @ 1 attack…

Razor Boomerang
3
Artifact – Equipment
Equipped creature has “{T}, Unattach Razor Boomerang: Razor Boomerang deals 1 damage to target creature or player. Return Razor Boomerang to its owner’s hand”.
Equip {2}
Rarity: Uncommon

Yow, that’s a lot of mana for a single point of damage. I’d have to be quite desperate to go to these lengths. No thanks.

JAMES

Too expensive.

Seer’s Sundial
4
Artifact
Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may pay {2}. If you do, draw a card.
Illus. Franz Vohwinkle
Rarity: Rare
Set Number: #130/145

Nice. This should pay off at about the second activation. I’d probably play this, but alas, I’d probably not pick it high unless I was already a slow, methodical kind of control deck, worried about long-term card advantage and such. Not my typical deck. But yeah, this will probably prompt removal, and if you get two or more activations out of it before then, you’re well ahead in the card department.

JAMES

Too expensive.

Walking Atlas
2
Creature – Construct
1/1
{T}: You may put a land card from your hand onto the battlefield.
Rarity: Common

Yeah, I can’t see playing this. It’s only relevant really really early, which is never a good thing. Even then, it’s doing very little. This is poor.

JAMES

It’s aight…maybe the 23rd card.

Bojuka Bog
Land
Bojuka Bog enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {B} to your mana pool.
When Bojuka Bog enters the battlefield, exile all cards from target player’s graveyard.
Rarity: Common

Definitely got a place in many other formats. EDH runs this, as the graveyard is an oft-used resource. In limited, this will seldom matter, but keep it in mind for your sideboard if you happen to get one as your 14th pick or whatever.

JAMES

This is hella against Dredge. Can’t imagine it’s great against much more than that. Knight of the Reliquary I guess. Pretty narrow though.

Celestial Colonnade
Land
Celestial Colonnade enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {W} or {U} to your mana pool.
{3}{W}{U}: Until end of turn, Celestial Colonnade becomes a 4/4 white and blue Elemental creature with flying and vigilance. It’s still a land.
Rarity: Rare
Set Number: #133/145

No. Joke. The new man lands are all solid, and this one is no exception. Wow. Man lands on a dual land. I don’t want to go into all the nuanced ways in which lands with abilities are inherently more powerful than spells with the same or similar abilities, but they are! I’m willing to assert it. After all, this is an opinion piece. As such, these are all strong when they’re in your colors, and many will be rare-drafted anyway because they’re likely to be among the pricier cards in the set. When you get one in your colors, you’ll have a slight advantage over the chumps running mere basic lands.

JAMES

Awesomeness. When I saw this first revealed I cursed WotC for printing something that makes the M10 lands valueless. lol. It’s sweet. Great include for U/W/x

Creeping Tar Pits
Land
Creeping Tar Pits enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {U} or {B} to your mana pool.
{1}{U}{B}: Until end of turn, Creeping Tar Pits becomes a 3/2 blue and black Elemental creature and is unblockable. It’s still a land.
Illus. Jason Felix
Rarity: Rare
Set Number: #134/145

Again, see celestial collonade. If it’s in one of your colors, consider splash the missing color. These are HAWT.

JAMES

It’s aight. Can really only be activated when the opponent is essentially tapped out (path + bolt variations = too broad a threat base).

Dread Statuary
Land
{T}: Add {1} to your mana pool
{4}: Dread Statuary becomes a 4/2 Golem artifact creature until end of turn. It’s still a land.
Rarity: Uncommon
Set Number: #135/145

This uncommon is both more likely to be in your pack, and more likely to fit in your deck. It’s very strong as well. Play this whenever you get it. Pick it decently high, cause it won’t last more than 3 or 4 picks I’m guessing, as anyone can play this.

JAMES

Nahhh.

Eye of Ugin
Legendary Land
Colorless Eldrazi spells cost {2} less to cast.
{7}, {T}: Search your library for a colorless creature card, reveal it and put it in your hand. Then shuffle your library.
Illus. James Paick
Rarity: Mythic Rare
Set Number: #136/145

Arcum Dagsson‘s summer retreat, I think, eh? Well, this is pretty sweet. No telling what “Eldrazi spells” refers to, as Eldrazi Monument doesn’t seem to qualify. But the Planar Portal aspect is neat. I also like lands that don’t product mana… and we don’t see them much anymore. Back in the day there were myriad such lands, from the crappy ( Seafarers Quay ) to the weird and very good ( Maze of Ith ), to the outright insanely awesome ( The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale ). Anyway, this looks like fun, but it’s very narrow in limited, indeed.

JAMES

WTF?…are there any Eldrazi spells? Is WotC pulling a fast one on us? Is it just for the next set Wtf?

Halimar Depths
Land
Halimar Depths enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {U} to your mana pool.
When Halimar Depths enters the battlefield, look at top three cards of your library and put them back in any order.
Rarity: Common

In any U deck that’s not hard-core aggro, I like this. Why not Sage Owl yourself? That’s worth 1 mana, right? It’s like this land always taps for one Senseis Divining Top activation every time it comes down.

JAMES

Hmmm, so borderline. I’m not quick to think of a time I’d like to include this in a constructed control deck.

Khalni Garden
Land
Khalni Garden enters the battlefield tapped.
When Khalni Garden enters the battlefield, put a 0/1 green Plant creature token onto the battlefield.
{T}: Add {G} to your mana pool.
Rarity: Common
Set Number: #138/145

I like this less than Halimar Depths. Not too stoked here. Maybe if I had a convenient way to bounce this every turn… Living Tsunami or something.

JAMES

WAAAAAY tooooo narrow. lol.

Lavaclaw Reaches
Land
Lavaclaw Reaches enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {B} or {R} to your mana pool.
{1}{B}{R}: Until end of turn, Lavaclaw Reaches becomes a 2/2 black and red Elemental creature with “{X}: This creature gets +X/+0 until end of turn.” It’s still a land.
Rarity: Rare
Set Number: #139/145

Another manland dual. Not bad, but so far the Collonade takes the cake.

JAMES

Lol. Not good enough.

Quicksand
Land
{T}: Add {1} to your mana pool.
{T}, Sacrifice Quicksand: Target attacking creature without flying gets -1/-2 until end of turn.
Rarity: Uncommon

Nice reprint. This is solid. Play it. Pick it mid-to-high. It’s removal on a land! This is the kind of land that’s going to help pad those 19-land manabases we’ve come to enjoy in ZZZ.

JAMES

I’ll play this in limited. Even if I have to 2 4 1 a huge creature…Worth it.

Raging Ravine
Land
Raging Ravine enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {R} or {G} to your mana pool.
{2}{R}{G}: Until end of turn, Raging Ravine becomes a 3/3 red and green Elemental creature with “Whenever this creature attacks, put a +1/+1 counter on it.” It’s still a land.
Rarity: Rare

This one and the Collonade are roughly on par in my mind. Both avoid the easiest removal, though in constructed, the Ravine has to contend with Lightning Bolt.

JAMES

Interesting dual land, and may be will see play on that alone–for standard/type2 at least. Jund likes the tri-land savage land though.

Sejiri Steppe
Land
Sejiri Steppe enters the battlefield tapped.
When Sejiri Steppe enters the battlefield, you may have target creature gain protection from the color of your choice until end of turn.
{T}: Add {W} to your mana pool.
Rarity: Common

Yep, this one’s solid. An even better target for Living Tsunami and friends for recursion.

JAMES

I don’t think one creature is enough…

Smoldering Spires
Land
Smoldering Spires enters the battlefield tapped.
When Smoldering Spires enters the battlefield, target creature can’t block until end of turn.
{T}: Add {R} to your mana pool.
Rarity: Common

I like this one too. Protection is even better, but many red decks want to push damage through. Ironically, the tension here is that red decks that want to push damage through also want their early mana, so the EtB tapped plays against the deck that wants this most. Don’t fear splashing these EtB lands into off-color decks. Soaring Seacliffs proved the viability of doing just that as it launched baloths into the sky in ZZZ.

JAMES

Same

Stirring Brush
Land
Stirring Brush enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {G} or {W} to your mana pool.
{1}{G}{W}: Until end of turn, Stirring Brush becomes a 3/4 green and white Elemental creature with reach. It’s still a land.
Rarity: Rare

Hmm. Well, I think Ravine and Collonade are my faves.

JAMES

This color combination doesn’t want reach on a land.

Tectonic Edge
Land
{T}: Add {1} to your mana pool.
{1}, {T}: Sacrifice Tectonic Edge: Destroy target nonbasic land. Activate this ability only if an opponent controls four or more lands.
Rarity: Uncommon

Pseudo Ghost Quarter. This will be played in constructed, methinks. You should probably sideboard it in limited, and I dont’ know how high I’d pick it… likely not until the middle of the pack at the earliest.

JAMES

lol. Maybe a 1x in a Knight of the Reliquary deck? Hit the off color? Too narrow, so no.

And that does it! We hope you have fun at the pre-releases. Thanks for reading along. As always, tell us where we goofed up in the comments section below.

Worldwake Set Review – Green

Welcome to the Green section of our Worldwake Set Review series. We began with white here, for those just tuning in who’d like to see all the reviews. As usual, I will add my comments, evaluating each card with an eye toward primarily limited play, but with the occasional anecdote on Eternal formats and the beloved EDH format. James will then add his comments evaluating each card for standard, block, and extended play.

Here we go!

Arbor Elf
G
Creature – Elf Druid
1/1
{T}: Untap target Forest.
Rarity: Common

Hmm. Well, I guess he’s essentially a Llanowar elves, which makes him very playable. He’s got a slight edge on the original, though, since you might have a forest that’s a creature, or is enchanted with something like wild growth, or more likely some modern equivalent. Anyway, he’s a great mana ramper, and will let you drop a 3-drop on turn 2, etc. A solid common, especially for monogreen or base-green.

JAMES

Playable. I like this in extended for untapping Murmuring Bosk. This is defintily a good construction worthy card. I say, take out the Llanowar Elf and put in Garruk, Wildspeaker‘s little cousin.

Avenger of Zendikar
5GG
Creature – Elemental
5/5
When Avenger of Zendikar enters the battlefield, put a 0/1 green Plant creature token onto the battlefield for each land you control.
Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may put a +1/+1 counter on each Plant creature you control.
Illus. Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai
Rarity: Mythic Rare

This will be huge for the random monogreen drafter who opens it. Even better is someone who is in Gw or Gr, because they can splash Bold Defense or another global pumper… even something as seemingly innocuous as Goblin Bushwhacker could become quite deadly… the tension in non-mono-green builds, however, will be that the fewer forests you run, the fewer plants you get at the outset. Anyway, this is very solid, giving you a big beater, a ton of tiny guys, and a way to grow them. Alas, as a mythic, you can never really plan for this guy, you just have to get really lucky. Then again, this might be passed by anyone not heavy in green, so maybe you’ll see it more often than the typical mythic… so slightly-less-than-never rather than just “never”. :-)

JAMES

Wow. What a great ability. If you can stick this one turn and then next turn follow up with an Overrun it’s probably good game. It does setup up for boardsweepers like Day of Judgement and the new red sweeper Chain Reaction. But we can look at cards like Cloudthresher which was the same 7cc and know that it’s not completely out of the question for a Green player to plop something like this on the table. If you don’t have an answer it is seriously GG.

Bestial Menace
3GG
Sorcery
Put a 1/1 green Snake creature token, a 2/2 green Wolf creature token, and a 3/3 green Elephant creature token onto the battlefield.
Rarity: Uncommon
Set Number: #97/145

I love the wackiness of this card. How random! Wtf are a snake, a wolf, and an elephant doing together? It almost sounds like some kind of joke… “a snake, a wolf, and an elephant walk into a battlefield…” Anyway, this is a stone cold bomb in limited, and I’m already pumped for monogreen between this crazy uncommon and the Llanowar variant in common. this is not “just” 6 power and 6 toughness for the bargain basement price of 5 mana. It’s THREE bodies! This is very nice. It exponentially increases the relevance of spells like the aforementioned Bold Defense, albeit by an exponent of 3. Still, as Broodmate Dragon should have proved to us all beyond a shadow of a doubt, making several creatures is very very strong, often quite a bit stronger than a comparable creature that rolls solo. This is going to wreck shop, I’m convinced. Just be aware of the sweepers like Marsh Casualties!

JAMES

5 cc for three creatures totaling 6 power/toughness. Interesting. If it was something like “choose one: 6 1/1′s, 3 2/2′s or 2 3/3′s” I might be more inclined to say, “yeah, this is gonna make it” but the lack of options make me think it’s too underwhelming. Compare to the Avenger of Zendikar above and you get a LOT more for your mana.

Canopy Cover
1G
Enchantment – Aura
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature can’t be blocked except by creatures with flying and/or reach.
Enchanted creature can’t be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.
Rarity: Uncommon
Set Number: #98/145

This is an aura I can get behind. The main reason is that it shields the creature it’s on, protecting you from the ubiquitous 241 associated with auras. It also provides evasion, which is nice… Green has trample and that’s it, typically, but this is a neat combination of the abilities from Troll Ascetic and Elven Riders, all at an affordable cost. If you have something that needs to connect, this is the ticket.

JAMES

Nice. Evasion and shroud. What would you stick this on though? It better be damn worth not playing a more utility card. It’s also fairly narrow. Tough call. Auras just don’t get much loving and with good reason: they suck. lol.

Explore
1G
Sorcery
You may play an additional land this turn.
Draw a card.
Rarity: Common

Okay, this one was contentious on my discussion email thread, but we all ended up with a consensus: this is somewhere between solid and “da bomb.” Okay, break down the scenarios: Ideally you have this in your opener along with 3 or more lands. In that case, it’s a fine turn 2 play, especially if you also happen to have two 1-drops, or say, Arbor Elf and a 2-drop. This card propels you forward in a mana ramp fashion AND replaces itself! Okay, so the mediocre situation: you draw it early, but lack the land drop… you still get to cantrip. If you’re going to miss your 3rd land drop, you might as well play this to cantrip (draw 1). This is still a fine turn 3 play when you’re lacking that crucial early drop. Okay, so least impressive scenario: you draw this on turn 18, in top deck mode. You still get to just “cycle” this for 1G. That’s juuuust fine, folks. Hakuna matatta. No worries. This is solid. I’d probably run as many as 3 in a super fast mana ramp kind of deck, but 2 seems fine, and if you just have the 1, well, just hope to see it extremely early under good circumstances.

JAMES

Playable. Manaramp loves this kinda stuff. It costs the same as Rampant Growth and essentially does a better job at the task: get an extra land in play while also replacing itself. Very nice. Definitely a standard worthy card for Manaramp, Lightsaber and Jund–at least for testing to see how it goes.

Feral Contest
3G
Sorcery
Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature you control. Another target creature must block it this turn if able.
Rarity: Common

Hmm. Not really my style… it’s a pretty telegraphed “trick” and it’s the softest kind of removal, unable to hit tappers, etc. I dislike this.

JAMES

Sort of lame really. why is it so expensive? It’s not a guaranteed removal spell and it only marginally puts the attack phase in your favor…

Gnarlid Pack
1G
Creature – Beast
2/2
Multikicker {1}{G}
Gnarlid Pack enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it for each time it was kicked.
Rarity: Common

Again with an incrementally better update on a staple limited guy employing multikick. This one’s among the best of the cycle. He’s a grizzly bear! No wait, he’s a hill giant! No wait, now he’s… okay, he’s a 6-drop 4/4… not great but not terrible. Anyway, this is solid all the way around, and will be on par whenever you drop him, or above par really late, where despite being over-costed, you’re getting the flexibility part out of him… remember, this takes up the grizzly bear slot in your deck… you will still, hopefully, have high end guys too, it’s just that this grizzly bear doesn’t envoke the sigh of the original when you draw him late. Good stuff.

JAMES

I really don’t like this cycle. I guess big mana decks like green might see a use…but it’s stupid.

Grappler Spider
1G
Creature – Spider
2/1
Reach
Rarity: Common

Meh. Reach bear. Not bad, not thrilling either. Has its place, which will often be on the bench due to having better options.

JAMES

Wow. Very weak-sauce. I’d almost rather it be a 0/2…but still super lame. 0/2 Deathtouch. lol.

Graypelt Hunter
3G
Creature – Human Warrior Ally?
2/2
Trample
Whenever Graypelt Hunter or another Ally enters the battlefield under your control, you may put a +1/+1 counter on Graypelt Hunter.
Rarity: Common

Trample hill giant on common? This is strictly better than hill giant. This is very playable, even as your only ally. With any other allies, he increases marginally. In a full on allies build, this is going to be one of your premiere beaters thanks to the trample. This is a sick common ally.

JAMES

weak.

Groundswell
G
Instant
Target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
Landfall – If you had a land enter the battlefield under your control this turn, that creature gets +4/+4 until end of turn instead.
Rarity: Common

No joke! This is the kind of trick you should look for in green. It’s cheap, and usually doesn’t need the land drop to do its job as a simple combat trick type removal spell. For the times when you want to alpha, you should have no problem sandbagging a land for the right turn. This makes me happy. Monogreen was already flush with these kinds of effects, with Vines of Vastwood and Primal Bellow. Now you should be able to draft the exact number of such spells that you want. When I’m in monogreen, I obviously pick Primal Bellow very high, but I might start skimping on the vines, even though they have particular effectiveness against spot removal… but now you can expect to make up for one passed vines in pack 3, at least in terms of tricks / pump.

JAMES

Cool. Green never misses a land drop. “never” lol. Anyway, It’s a decent ability. Not strong enough for constructed necessarily but a neat little pump spell.

Harabaz Druid
1G
Creature – Human Druid Ally
0/1
{T}: Add X mana of any one color to your mana pool, where X is the number of Allies you control.
Rarity: Rare

Well, again we see a theme with the better allies: they’re good enough on their own, and superb in allies. This is no exception. I can definitely see running this without lots of allies, or picking it as my first ally in pack 3. If a constructed allies deck is viable, I’m guessing this is part of it, but it’s too board-committed for constructed I think. We’ll see what James says. All in all, this rare is cool in any green deck, and obviously, even cooler in any strongly allies deck that includes green, as many such decks will.

JAMES

Not bad. It’s no Noble Hierarch but few things in life are. Allies really needed a fixer and this is a cheap, potentially powerful one.

Joraga Warcaller
G
Creature – Elf Warrior
1/1
Multikicker {1}{G}
Joraga Warcaller enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it for each time it was kicked.
Other Elf creatures you control get +1/+1 for each +1/+1 counter on Joraga Warcaller.
Rarity: Rare

Whoa… a neat rare… also introduces a small elves tribal theme. Anyway, this is a bit slow unless you have several other elves. It’s just that he’s not really big enough to live long unless you pay 6 or more… I dunno. I’m skeptical for limited. I think the times this guy’s killer in limited are few and far between.

JAMES

Nice. Very freaking nice. Elves ala Eldrazi Monument will probably like this one. 3cc for a Glorious Anthem on all your elves? Not bad. Try it out in your Elves! builds. :)

Leatherback Baloth
GGG
Creature – Beast
4/5
Flavor Text: GEE GEE GEE, BABY BABY BABY
Illus. Chris Rahn
Rarity: Uncommon

Yikes! This is huge for monogreen, obviously. I don’t think any other archetype can even play this, unless you’re maybe base green with a small splash. But holy cow! What a 3-drop! It can stop everything you’ll see on the ground before turn 5 or 6 at the earliest. And it can throw down too! Beats for 4 will have to be contained, and good luck killing this guy with blockers… especially against monogreen! “You have G up? Crap, now what?” I love this… it’s the kind of card that will often be passed to the delight of the monogreen drafter, because others can’t really do with him what’s best. Anyway, monogreen was already a pet favorite archetype of mine in ZZZ. Now I’m even more excited for those packs that I open Gigantiform or something, and go into monogreen.

JAMES

Am I missing something with that flavor text? I’m hoping it’s random, mtg-salvation text that isn’t real. Prety cheap. I like this as Doran #2 but the trip-G may be hard for the builds. Very solid beater in mono-green/Elf builds.

Nature’s Claim
G
Instant
Destroy target artifact or enchantment. Its controller gains 4 life.
Rarity: Common

You know, I liked this a lot early. It’s reminiscent of the speed of Oxidize or Crumble before it. It’s definitely cheap and solid, so I think it will see play. But a pal pointed out to me that this kind of spell ( disenchant variants in general) have fallen out of favor, replaced by creatures with EtB effects doing the same. Krosan Grip will still likely be the de-facto spell for older formats too. But this is an awesome option to have in your sideboard, killing pesky quests or equipment for a low cost, usually putting you ahead on mana. The life gain is negligible compared to the effect of anything you’d spend a removal spell to kill. Anyway, I still like the spell, but I have tempered my impression of it for constructed formats, and I look forward to seeing James’ opinion here.

JAMES

This is a really cheap way of dealing with a Umezawas Jitte. Also great against Edrazi Monument. This is a great looking common. I dunno. I guess as a green mage (whether jund or whatever), I’m not particuarly worried about someone gaining 4 life. Lifegain doesn’t typically worry me when it’s not attached to a creature like Baneslayer Angel or Rhox War Monk.

Omnath, Locus of Mana
2G
Legendary Creature – Elemental
1/1
Green mana doesn’t empty from your mana pool as phases and steps end.
Omnath, Locus of Mana gets +1/+1 for each green mana in your mana pool.
Rarity: Mythic Rare

EDH General? Perhaps… he’s cheap and big, and lends himself to all the various green infinite mana engines. Also, even absent those combos coming together, he’s a fine general for giving him a sword (or jitte) or even a cloak, and letting him win the general damage race. He’s definitely unshielded though, and EDH has lots of answers to creatures… so I’m guessing he ends up marginal as a general. In limited… well, I think he’s still awesome in monogreen and playable in green with splash. He’s going to get bigger and bigger. He’s a must answer threat. These are attributes that translate into “playable” or even “strong.”

JAMES

weird. Very weird. It’s pretty cool if you think about it. Add three green to your pool, attack for 4, have mana ready for Vines of Vastwood or just ready for 2nd main phase. Very cool. Worth experimenting with at least!

Quest for Renewal
1G
Enchantment
Whenever a creature under your control taps, you may put a quest counter on Quest for Renewal.
As long as Quest for Renewal has four or more quest counters on it, untap all creatures you control during each other player’s untap step.
Rarity: Uncommon

An interesting take on Seedborn Muse. I like this spell in a deck with mana elves, and it’s even okay in a straight-forward aggro deck. It lets all your guys essentially have vigilance, except it’s even better for your tappers. Looks fine to me.

JAMES

Kinda neat. Pretty easy to get going too. I like this as a varriant to test for Elves (in standard). Quest cards are sooo hard to guage. They always seem borderline hot-sauce but end up being mild and borning.

Slingbow Trap
3G
Instant – Trap
If a black creature with flying is attacking, you may pay {G} rather than pay Slingbow Trap’s mana cost.
Destroy target attacking creature with flying.
Rarity: Uncommon

Yeah, this will be good. I’m not sure whether it’s maindeck or side though… green is traditionally weak against fliers, despite all the reach creatures… I think it goes in the side, but in about half of the game 2s you play, it will save your neck from some brutal flier or other.

JAMES

I like this for dealing with Vampire Nighthawk. What a big B of a card. I hate that card. lol. Certainly an interesitng SB option but probably a bit too narrow. Worth the Jund/Elves/Lightsaber Zoo players experimenting with though.

Snapping Creeper
2G
Creature – Plant
2/3
Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, Snapping Creeper gains vigilance until end of turn.
Its vastly spread roots alert it of distant dangers.
Rarity: Common

Lame ability, but this is still a decent ground clogger if you don’t already have enough. He stops bears, that’s his best attribute. He’s like the bear killa.

JAMES

Lol. I think of Little Shop of Horrors.

Strength of the Tajuru
XGG
Instant
Multikicker {1}(You may pay an additional {1} any number of times as you cast this spell.)
Choose target creature, then choose another target creature for each time Strength of the Tajuru was kicked. Put X +1/+1 counters on each of them.
Illus. Christopher Moeller
Rarity: Rare
Set Number: #113/145

Pretty dang good… this will end some games in a hurry because it’s an instant. EOT? Strength for 6 on my trampler! Have any removal? No? GG. Very strong.

JAMES

Sicko instant. Probably worth 5cc to put 2 plus Counters on two creatures. It’s a colorless multikick too making me think that this isn’t really restricted to mono color builds. What would this go in though? I’m not sure. It’s pretty steep on the curve but is the ability worth it?

Summit Apes
3G
Creature – Ape
5/2
As long as you control a Mountain Summit Apes can’t be blocked except by two or more creatures.
Rarity: Uncommon

Yeah, this is solid on color, and still takes either a removal spell or a big blocker / attacker with it. I’d play him.

JAMES
4cc for a somewhat evasive 5/2. Does lend itself well to taking out multiple creatures but it’s weaksauce butt makes it damn vulnerable. I guess it’s not strong enough for constructed…

Terastodon
6GG
Creature – Elephant
9/9
When Terastodon enters the battlefield, destroy up to three target noncreature permanents. For each permanent put into a graveyard this way, it’s controller puts a 3/3 green Elephant creature token onto the battlefield.
Illus. Lars Grant-West
Rarity: Rare

Very cool rare. Again, thinking about monogreen… often you’ll kill your own lands with this guy, believe it or not. In fact, I might wager that this is the usual way to play Terastodon. In that case, for 8 mana (and three lands which are mostly superfluous at that point anyway), you get 18 points of power and toughness on 4 creatures! Every once in a while, you’ll nuke an opponent’s ___________ (whatever) and take a mere 15 points of power instead. Either way, this is a mega-bomb, in my opinion, and should win you the game as often as not. This also happens to be a neat LD type spell for EDH decks, as well as a great reanimator target for some such decks. Recurring this thing seems naughty indeed, maybe with Moat in play?

JAMES

Might be okay but not as good as Avenger (above).

Vastwood Animist
2G
Creature – Elf Shaman Ally
1/1
{T}: Target land becomes a X/X Elemental creature until end of turn, where X is the number of Allies you control. It’s still a land.
Rarity: Uncommon

Well, this is an ally I’d only play in solid allies, and even then, I think there are better options. Still, in allies, critical mass is important, so the Type Line of this card may end up being its best feature.

JAMES

Too weak. the mass of Allies required to make this work is too high to justify playing.

Vastwood Zendikon
4G
Enchantment – Aura
Enchant land
Enchanted land is a 6/4 green Elemental creature. It’s still a land.
When enchanted land is put into a graveyard, return that card to its owner’s hand.
Illus. Rob Alexander
Rarity: Common
Set Number: #117/145

My least favorite Zendikon in some regards, but still decent. I think as a later drop, this has the advantage of being less of a tempo speed bump, since you’ll still probably have plays you can make, and being set back from 5 to 4 is a lot easier than from 2 to 1 mana, for example. So playing this “on curve” is easier on your tempo. I dunno… these are hard to evaluate. I’m usually going to hope for better actual creatures, but these are in the middle of my pick orders at present, especially the flying zendikon. Playable, I’d say, but uniquely weird.

JAMES

I’m not too hot on this. It’s definitly beefy enough on the attack and butt side that the stats don’t completely stink but it’s really not impressive.

Wolfbriar Elemental
2GG
Creature – Elemental
4/4
Multikicker {G}
When Wolfbriar Elemental enters the battlefield, put a 2/2 green Wolf creature token onto the battlefield for each time it was kicked.
Rarity: Rare

Bomb. Absolute bomb. Nearly a bomb without being kicked, but not quite. Kick it twice and it’s out of control. Even once is great. When you top deck this on turn 14 or whatever with 8+ mana in play, you’re going to win, absent a counterspell. Very strong

JAMES

Balanced on the cost side but it’s not as good as Master of the Wild Hunt because you can’t use the wolves for spot removal. Hmmm, it’s tough to say. It’s certainly big enough but I worry that if I pay 5cc for this and get a 2/2 I’m going to be a little behind on board position. It’s also not an “on curve” play like the Master of the Wild Hunt because I have to drop this on turn 5 or 6 to really get my mana’s worth… Maybe I’m being too conservative?

That does it for Green. Stay tuned: our multicolor, colorless, and lands batch will finish our review series up, and should be published in the next 24 hours or so. Thanks for reading, and as always, let us know where we screwed the pooch in the comments!

Worldwake Set Review – Red

Time to look at some red cards. If you’re just tuning in, we’ve broken the new Worldwake cards into colors and given you our initial reactions to them. I will evaluate each card with an eye toward limited play with an occasional word about EDH or eternal formats. My colleague James will gear his comments more toward constructed formats like standard and extended. To read the series from the beginning, start with our white review, here.

Tally ho!

Akoum Battlesinger
1R
Creature – Human Berserker Ally
1/1
Haste
Whenever Akoum Battlesinger or another Ally enters the battlefield under your control, you may have Ally creatures you control get +1/+0 until end of turn.
Rarity: Common

I like this global pump ally. It’s a more fleeting kind of ability than the counter based allies, but this should help fill out an aggressive ally build for sure. A nifty common.

JAMES

As I’ve mentioned a few times through out the set reviews (white, Blue and black), I don’t see Allies being much of a powerhouse. They’re generally “meh” so for the time being I’m going to forgo looking at Allies cards from a constructive perspective–at least unless something really catches my eye. The time frame for constructing a kick-ass Standard/Type 2 build using Allies is just not within the scope of these reviews. One avenue worth examining is whether Boros Bushwacker could be converted over to an Allies deck (at least partially)…

Bazaar Trader
1R
Creature – Goblin
1/1
{T}: Target player gains control of target artifact, creature or land that you control.
Illus. Matt Cavotta
Rarity: Rare
Set Number: #72/145

Well, I’m immediately reminded of Trix, a notorious deck that used Donate on Illusions of Grandeur as its kill. I’m not sure what the best thing would be to use this ability on in recent times. Abyssal Persecutor, also from Worldwake seems cute, but not very good, really. Immortal Coil? Donate your Platinum Angel…. no wait! Maybe you donate your Platinum Angel to the guy who controls Abyssal Persecutor! Then what? I’m getting sidetracked here. In limited, I can’t think of a reason you’d activate this either. Maybe I’m missing something huge, but I think this is the Steamflogger Boss rare of Worldwake, only for limited you don’t even get a hill giant, but rather an anemic bear I’d probably not play in my monored deck.

JAMES

why would I want to do something like this? I am writing this review through a fog of [what I hope is] a 24 hour flu but I’m not seeing this. Maybe I’m just a selfish player but I can’t think of a card that if I gave it to my opponent, he/she would lose…so wtf would I want to do this for?

Bull Rush
R
Instant
Target creature gets +2/+0 until end of turn.
Rarity: Common

Well, it’s an okay trick I guess, but it’s definitely nothing flashy. Seems old fashioned. I like its simplicity, which is has in spades, and doesn’t have much else.

JAMES

At least it only costs R is all I can think of. There are so many better cards for constructed that deal two points of damage and have more flexiblity than this.

Chain Reaction
2RR
Sorcery
Chain Reaction deals X damage to each creature, where X is the number of creatures on the battlefield.
Illus. Trevor Claxton
Rarity: Rare

Holy smokes! Say hello to one of the chase rares, folks. Feels a lot like a red Wrath of God, doesn’t it? Can’t praise this more than that. This is a global sweeper, and is an extremely strong card in limited. But sometimes it will be a lame pyroclasm, so it’s not quite the same as WoG. But for most intents and purposes, it’s a red wrath. Very cool.

JAMES

This is pretty sicko. A new varition on a Day of Judgement for red. Mass removal at 4cc is typically played extensively across a number of formats. I’ll wager this makes SB for Type 2 decks like mono-red burns (to bring in against Vamps and Jund). This is the kind of card that completely reverses the card advantage-nature brought about by Bloodbraid Elf, Sprouting Thrinax, Broodmate Dragon, and Gatekeeper of Malakir. I can also see this in the U/W/r control decks as another way of punishing players for over extending. That is [card]Wall of Denial[card] will likely sitck around (x/6 butt is huge) while the opposing players entire force will be reset. Hawt card.

Claws of Valakut
1RR
Enchantment – Aura
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets +1/+0 for each Mountain you control and has first strike.
Rarity: Common

A strong aura. I have an aversion to auras because I love snagging someone in a 241 by killing their dude in response to their aura, or just killing it whenever with an aura like this that doesn’t shield the creature. Also, I don’t like having to carefully play around this pitfall when I’m the one wielding the aura… I often fail and fall in the 241 pit. So I have this aversion. But… this is the kind of aura that CAN be an exception in some narrow circumstances. In a very quick monored or similar deck, especially with evasive creatures, this can be the nail in the coffin. As your opponent struggles to keep up with your early pressure, you’ll have an opening sooner or later to confidently lay this on an evasive guy, and get in for serious damage. Anyway, this is usually not my bag, but I’ve seen it done to great effect, and if I’m in fast monored, I’ll definitely try one of these.

JAMES

Pretty interesitng. If you can plop this on a creature with at least an x/4 butt this could be nasty. I can’t think of many auruas that see play–and the reason is obvious: auraus go to the graveyard if hte creature dies–contrasted with equipments that stick around. (ahem, Mr Obvious). So while probably a good play for a mono-Red play in limited it’s not that great for constructed. Too bad it’s not +x to toughness where x equals the nuber of non basics you control. that would be slick.

Comet Storm
XRR
Instant
Multikicker {1} (You may pay an additional {1} any number of times as you cast this spell.)
Choose target creature or player, then choose another target creature or player for each time Comet Storm was kicked. Comet Storm then deals X damage to each of them.
Illus. Jung Park
Rarity: Mythic Rare

I like comet storm, but I am of the opinion that banefire is superior. This is not germane to the discussion of limited, in which this card is hands down bonkers nuts, and I’m glad it’s a mythic. Fireball type effects that can dome or is creatures are already sick in limited, and ones that can do both are fantastic. Ones that can potentially hit several creatures AND dome for a significant amount later on? Well, that’s just nutty. Comet storm does have speed issues, but this is Zendikar, home of landfall and 19 land limited decks that curve out at 3. I mean, you’ll have a chance to do stupid things with this. Or, hopefully, you’ll just need the one target, amirite?! Love comet storm.

JAMES

Well, let’s see. 8cc to deal 5 damage to a Baneslayer Angel and 5 to an opponent. On the low-end it’s pretty cheap to knock out a bunch of creatures–it’s cheaper than Fireball at least that is massively epxensive to hit multiple creatures with any real affect. Anyway, this is a good card. I’d not be surpised to this going into a Mono-Red Burn deck as a 1-2x or a x/R-control style deck that needs more kill outlets late game, such as Crypt of Agadeem powered deck. (not really controlling, I know, but it came to mind as a “big mana” deck).

Cosi’s Ravager
3R
Creature – Elemental
2/2
Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may have Cosi’s Ravager Servant deal 1 damage to target player.
Rarity: Common

I’m not that pumped about this. This is too expensive for a piddly 2/2 that has a cute ability that won’t hit creatures. Nope, I don’t dig it.

JAMES

It’s aight. Not going to be very good in constructed.

Crusher Zendikon
2R
Enchantment – Aura
Enchant land
Enchanted land is a 4/2 red Beast creature with trample. It’s still a land.
When enchanted land is put into a graveyard, return that card to its owner’s hand.
Rarity: Common

Teetering Peaks, your time has come my friend.” TP: “I’m a real boy!” Sorry, Pinocchio reference. Yeah, I’m not into the red one as much as the blue and black ones so far. Still interested to see how this gets put to use.

JAMES

Lol @ Joe. Anyway, these aura series are okay. I mentioned liking the blue variation and I’ll stand by that being the most likely to see play.

Cunning Sparkmage
2R
Creature – Human Shaman
0/1
Haste
{T}: Cunning Sparkmage deals 1 damage to target creature or player.
Rarity: Uncommon

Yeah, this guy’s got the goods. Very nice. He’s even better than Vulshok Sorcerer, IMO, since the one power isn’t relevant on a pinger / timmy, and the extra R made the sorcerer less spashable. But a haste pinger is always superb.

JAMES

I don’t THINK this is good enough. I like pingers and a hasty pinger is definitly better. I just don’t think it’s good enough. I guess I have to ask myself, “If this guy/gal cost 5cc and did 2 damage, I would say, Yeah!” but as it is now, only 1 damage isn’t enough. I guess I just can’t think of a deck where I’d rather play the pinger over a straight up burn spell…

Deathforge Shaman
4R
Creature – Ogre Shaman
4/3
Multikicker {R}
When Deathforge Shaman enters the battlefield, it deals damage to target player equal to twice the number of times it was kicked.
Rarity: Uncommon

Pop Quiz: how many times do you have to multi-kick Deathforge Shaman before it is more efficient than a Comet Storm to the dome? You might be surprised to hear that a Deathforge Shaman multikicked four times (total mana cost 4R + RRRR or CMC 9 is more efficient than comet storm for X = 7, also costing 9, and the efficiency then grows in favor of the shaman. Kicked only three times, the two spells are equally efficient, costing 8 and doing 6 damage. This is all providing you have tons of red mana, as this multikicker requires. Plus Comet Storm is removal too, I’m just pointing out that this guy can be every bit as much of a late game neutron bomb laser beam as any X spell of old, and a 4/3 ain’t shabby either. I dig this guy.

JAMES

Cool. I like Joe’s breakdown actually. Need a LOT of mana to get it going but you do have the creature too. Neat. I’ll bet it’s too expensive as a 5 drop but the concept of a 1x is interesting. But building decks with a bunch of 1x’s is for the EDH crowd. ;-) What I mean is, this is too expensive for constructed play.

Dragonmaster Outcast
R
Creature – Human Shaman
1/1
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control six or more lands, put a 5/5 red Dragon creature token with flying onto the battlefield.
Rarity: Mythic Rare
Set Number: #81/145

Yowza yowza. Okay, so this seems totally crazed. Than goodness this is a vulnerable 1/1! I think if you even get one dragon out of him, you’re looking just swell. Man. I’d definitely run him and I think I’d splash him as my only red card if I see him but aren’t playing red. “Used all your removal yet? Let’s find out.” It’s a must kill removal bait if nothing else. And if they don’t have such, you just won the game for sitting there and then tapping a mountain. This is the kind of thug that makes removal king of limited.

JAMES

Ultimately the issue I have the 1-drops that do amazing things (like Scut Mob) is that they are seriously vulnerable and you don’t have much incentive or playing them early game. And Red decks don’t like have 6 mana on the table. That means they missed a copule of burn spells or the opponent was able to stablize and the game state is swinging toward the red burn deck ‘never’ winning. There is the off-hand chance that this makes an excellent SB option for Red that (as I just said) has serious issues digging out of late game states…Testing will tell.

Goblin Roughrider
2R
Creature – Goblin Knight
3/2
Rarity: Common

Well you can’t be strictly better than gray ogre and be less interesting than this, I think. Still, not bad stats for a vanilla guy.

JAMES

Nothing here.

Grotag Goblin Thrasher
4R
Creature – Lizard
3/3
Whenever Grotag Goblin Thrasher attacks, target creature can’t block this turn.
Rarity: Common

Yeah, I like this. I’ll wait a turn and pay more for my hill giant for this. Very cool.

JAMES

WAAAY to expensive for contsructed.

Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs
3RR
Legendary Creature – Ogre Warrior
5/4
Whenever a creature under an opponent’s control attacks you, put a 3/3 red Ogre creature token onto the battlefield unless that creature’s controller pays {3}.
Rarity: Rare

Hey, not bad! Swell body for the cost, and maybe an ogre here and there. More likely you staunch much of their attacks until they can kill this. Also, this is a dud EDH general.

JAMES

Very freaking interesting. Very. The general stats are good enough to warrant a look. My biggest hestiation is that it costs 5cc and doens’t “mana-sap” your opponent enough. There are plenty of deadly two drops like Putrid Leech that will take this bad boy out. I guess that means I don’t see this being a constructed staple.

Mordant Dragon
3RRR
Creature – Dragon
5/5
Flying
{1}{R}: Mordant Dragon gets +1+0 until end of turn.
Whenever Mordant Dragon deals combat damage to a player, you may have it deal that much damage to a creature that player controls.
Rarity: Rare

5/5 flier for 6 is damn good in limited, and this one pumps and represents long term reusable removal. This is a house in limited, in short.

JAMES

Cool dragon. It’s no Broodmate Dragon but it acts as a piece of flying removal too. That’s pretty cool. Red Deck Wins style decks should toy around with this. I know it seems expensive but being able to knock out creatures is nothing to scoff at. It’s an “investment” play. That is, you’re investing in next turn removal. Maybe too risky in the end but DAMN worth experimenting with.

Quest for the Goblin Lord
R
Enchantment
Whenever a Goblin enters the battlefield under your control, you may put a quest counter on Quest for the Goblin Lord.
As long as Quest for the Goblin Lord has five or more counters on it, creatures you control get +2/+0.
Rarity: Uncommon

Well, I dunno about this one. How many goblins are there? Torch slinger. Goblin shortcutters. I’m not sure you can get enough of them to make this even go active. Even if you did… well, I guess if you did it’s still a constant trumpet blast, which is good, I’m just highly skeptical about how consistently this will go active.

JAMES

Luckily there are enough very good goblins that this might be doable. Goblin Guide, Warren Instigator, Siege Gang Commander. Hmmm…Probably a playble goblin I’m forgetting. I don’t like this card as a main strategy but the only way to use it reliably is to play it as a 4x. Hmm, what does everyone else think? Too dependent on other goblins to make it worth it?

Ricochet Trap
3R
Instant – Trap
If an opponent cast a blue spell this turn, you may pay {R} rather than pay Ricochet Trap’s mana cost.
Change the target of target spell with a single target.
Illus. Jaime Jones
Rarity: Uncommon
Set Number: #87/145

I’ve always been a sucker for Deflection type spells, so I’m already in love with this spell, even at full price. The discount against blue is a tradition dating back to Red Elemental Blast. This is an awesome spell, in my opinion, and it’s a particularly insulting subtype of 241 interaction when you send your opponent’s removal spell back at their own hapless minion. I love this. Don’t forget that this spell is effectively “counter target counterspell-like spell with a single target” or something along those lines, because you can use this spell to change the target of a counterspell, cancel, flashfreeze, etc. that’s on the stack to target Ricochet Trap instead. This is a largely unknown use of these spells… I’ve seen people punt on this in the past, so know the trick!

JAMES

I’m trying to remember the rules around Cruel Ultimatum and whether you can swing this at the opponent’s dome. For some reason I remember it doesn’t work that way because it’s “target opponent” and (baring not a multiplayer game), you’re the only opponent so it resolves on you anyway. If I’m completely about that ruling then this is great. But I’m 99% sure I’m right. [Sad Face].

Roiling Terrain
2RR
Sorcery
Destroy target land, then Roiling Terrain deals damage to that land’s controller equal to the number of land cards in that player’s graveyard.
Rarity: Common

This looks like fun. In a lot of games, this will actually Lightning Bolt your opponent or better after nuking their land. Between fetchlands and extra lands being discarded and the land you kill with the spell itself, 3 seems like about the upper limit for limited. In constructed formats, this could be a nice 4-slot land destruction spell, since it doubles as burn and will do much more in those formats. I like it in limited simply because LD spells, even as late as turn 4, will punish most mis-step draws an opponent might have. If they miss one of the first four land drops and you don’t and you cast this spell… well, that should be game over right there in a majority of such games. Therefore, this definitely has a place at the table.

JAMES
This could be sort of interesting. There are a lot of fetch-based mana builds. The question is, Is removing one of your opponents lands (knocking them back a turn, granted) AND doing maybe…3 damage worth 4cc? I don’t think it’s enough. Wouldn’t a Red mage rather cast something like Hells Thunder AND have mana left for an EOT Lightning Bolt? That’s 7 damange for the same 4cc. Plus, what type of player are we doing this to? Vamps is going to scoff at your play because of the low mana curve–same for Boros and mirror Red burn. I think Jund and U/W/x are the most vulnerable to this card. It may be worth taking Jund off color–that is destroying their only green source for example. But then it’s likely you’re only doing 1 damage (they don’t run a lot of fetches…only 4x Verdant Catacombs). Yeah, I guess this is a “no” conculsion.

Rumbling Aftershocks
4R
Enchantment
Whenever you cast a kicked spell, you may have Rumbling Aftershocks deal damage to target creature or player equal to the number of times that spell was kicked.
Rarity: Uncommon

Nice. This could potentially sneak into a weird mini-archetype of its own creation. There’s enough multikicker spells, it seems, to have a deck that can consistently mutlikick a spell or two in the late game. But this doesn’t do anything “on its own” which is usually the hallmark of bad spells for limited. Still, I think if the critical mass is there, you might get away with this. Enchantment removal is seldom maindecked, and you can always play mind games in game 2, siding this out if it’s your main or only enchantment. This is a very narrow, unlikely deck to succeed with, but I still think it might be fun to try. For 90%+ of situations in limited, I would advise you avoid this card.

JAMES

Barfy, do-nothing spell.

Searing Blaze
RR
Instant
Searing Blaze deals 1 damage to target player and 1 damage to target creature that player controls.
Landfall – If you had a land enter the battlefield under your control this turn, Searing Blaze deals 3 damage to that player and 3 damage to that creature instead.
Rarity: Common

I like this spell, reminiscent of Lash Out. Ironically, the place I want this most outside of limited is a dedicated burn deck, the mirror match of which happens to make this the worst card in your deck, as you have to have an opposing creature to target in order to cast this thing. Anyway, that’s irrelevant to limited, where this will almost always be two lightning bolts on one card with the requirement that you hit one creature with the first bolt and dome them with the other. Sounds good to me.

JAMES

Proably good enough for limited…but even there I think “one damage isn’t shit.” I’d say “yes” if it was 2 damage divided as you choose between any number of creatures or players. Alas, it is not and you’re stuck doing an amazing 1 damage each for 2 red. It is good against Mirror Red burns where the player is running x/1 tramplers like Ball Lightning…I guess I really don’t like this. Seems too underwhelming to me.

Skitter of Lizards
R
Creature – Lizard
1/1
Multikicker {1}{R} (You may pay an additional {1}{R} any number of times as you cast this spell.)
Haste
Skitter of Lizards enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it for each time it was kicked.
Illus. Warren Mahy
Rarity: Common

Yet again we have a 1/1 that can be a gray ogre or a bad hill giant or an even worse… uh… 7-drop 4/4? Anyway, this is all helped by the haste in this case, making the 1/1 version a Raging Goblin, and the 2/2 version a Goblin Chariot, and the others…. well, the other versions are hasty, put it that way. I’m not sure there are historical antecedents. This is among the best representatives of this cycle so far, I’d say. I’m happy to play this guy in fast red decks.

JAMES

Weak sauce just like the whole cycle.

Slavering Nulls
1R
Creature – Goblin Zombie
2/1
Whenever Slavering Nulls deals combat damage to a player, if you control a Swamp, you may have that player discard a card.
Rarity: Uncommon

Not bad. It’s the right bear body for the money, and will sometimes nuke a slow opponent in the style of Ravenous Rats or some such. I think this has a lot going for it. What’s with the (mono)red zombie? That’s a Magic first, from what I can tell (not counting Changelings). Am I missing something? This one gets the nod, but barely. I’d rather have Goblin Shortcutter, for example.

JAMES
Turn three could be pretty brutal if you get hit with a Blightning AND this guy. In the black review, there was also a discard outlet I liked. (Bloodhusk Ritualist) Maybe R/B running this guy, blightning, bloodhusk ritualist, quest for the nihil stone, and good ol’ Hypnoic Specter could be good. Backed up with the standard suite of Lighning Bolts and Burst Lightnings and a Bloodcheif Assension???

Stone Idol Trap
5R
Instant – Trap
Stone Idol Trap costs {1} less to cast for each attacking creature.
Put a 6/12 colorless Construct artifact creature token with trample onto the battlefield. Exile it at the beginning of your next end step.
Rarity: Rare

Holy crud! 6/12? Twelve? Really? I can see this costing 2R a lot of times. It’s going to kill something, so it’s a decent removal spell, but then it also is going to either kill something else, soak a removal spell, or smash your opponent for upwards of 6 damage. So yeah, I think this is knocking on the door of Bomb country for limited.

JAMES

I’ve seen extended Doran, the siege tower decks running blue for counter magic but I wonder if against the Zoo decks this is better than blue. Probably not but it is a good stabalizer…Just don’t want to pull this off a Dark Confidant. I REALLY don’t like only getting the one chance to swing with it but it needed to be balanced I guess. Hmm, that was really the only immediate application I saw but in standard this is also viable. The trample makes it huge. I’m on the fence.

Tuktuk Scrapper
3R
Creature – Goblin Artificer Ally
2/2
Whenever Tuktuk Scrapper or another Ally enters the battlefield under your control, you may destroy target artifact. If that artifact is put into a graveyard this way, Tuktuk Scrapper deals damage equal to the number of Allies you control to that artifact’s controller.
Rarity: Uncommon
Set Number: #94/145

Interesting. Definitely gets played in allies, where critical mass is uber important. This will usually not hit a lot of artifacts though… I’m thinking 1-2 on the high side. Still, there are a couple of really annoying artifacts, and this uncommon helps allies combat them with little lost opportunity cost. I like it okay, even though it’s a very vulnerable 2/2.

JAMES

I like the idea of destroying a Trusty Machete but that’s limited. I don’t think this will see much play in any format outside limited.

As always we want to hear what you think. Did we miss anything? Are we completely off base on any of our comments? Let us know in the comments! :)

Worldwake Set Review – Black

Welcome to the black section of our Worldwake set review series. The series started here with white, for those just joining us. I will initially evaluate each card for Limited and eternal formats / EDH. James will then add his comments for the realm of standard, block, and occasionally extended. Let’s get down to business.

Abyssal Persecutor
2BB
Creature – Demon
6/6
Flying, trample
You can’t win the game and your opponents can’t lose the game.
Rarity: Mythic Rare

Oh man, Black starts with a bang. This guy made some waves in my dork email threads. Now obviously this twist on Platinum Angel is going to require that you have some kind of sacrifice outlet in your deck: big deal! Constructed has a plethora of options, most notable, perhaps, being Gatekeeper of Malakir, a card black decks love running anyway. All of this is germane to constructed, however, whereas in limited, you may not be able to play this guy simply because you have no way to kill him. And as a mythic rare in pack 3, you’re not going to be able to prepare specifically for this card, so your sacrifice outlet may have to come from your Worldwake booster. Just keep this stuff in mind when contemplating this otherwise rather deadly 4-drop flying trampler.

JAMES

I don’t see this as much of a drawback. I can just see people ussing Assasinate on their own guy so they can win. lol.

Agadeem Occultist
2B
Creature – Human Shaman Ally
0/2
{T}: Put target creature card from an opponent’s graveyard onto the battlefield under your control if its converted mana cost is less than or equal to the number of Allies you control.
Rarity: Rare

Another ally that will be gruesome indeed when the times are good, and pitiful to negligible when the going gets tough. Allies is very much an “all in” kind of strategy in this regard. This will he hawt for the heavy allies drafter who is passed this by other players with no interest in hating.

JAMES

Not bad for 3 cc but there really aren’t enough low-costing allies to justfiy this. I just don’t think Allies have much of a future outside limited and MAYBE block…Think we’ll see allies in later sets? Rise of the Elderazi? And afterwards?

Anowon, the Ruin Sage
3BB
Legendary Creature – Vampire Shaman
4/3
At the beginning of your upkeep, each player sacrifices a non-Vampire creature.
Illus. Dan Scott
Rarity: Rare
Set Number: #49/145

Now THIS might make an interesting EDH general! Sheldon Menery, prepare to hate this guy’s Timmy hostility. He’s cheap and disruptive. This is another guy who’s significantly better if you happen to have a few vampires already, but he’s also good enough that few people will pass him, unlike the ally above. I think he’s going to create some serious problems for opposing mages in limited.

JAMES

Kinda cool. Tons of vamps in these last two sets (Zendikar & Worldwake) but this is getting pretty pricy. I just don’t think it’s a game winner and for 5cc I want a game winner. I’m comparing this to Malakir Bloodwitch

Bloodhusk Ritualist
2B
Creature – Vampire Shaman
2/2
Multikicker {B}
When Bloodhusk Ritualist enters the battlefield, target opponent discards a card for each time it was kicked.
Rarity: Uncommon

This guy’s going to be great for monoblack EDH decks. My pal and I have slightly different Maga, Traitor to Mortals builds, and we’re both happy about this card. It’s another big mana discard spell that comes with a gray ogre attached to it. Not bad. He’s also solid in limited, because as I’ve said many times, gray ogre is often good enough to run on its own, and this just gives it some extra oomph. On turn 5 you’ll sometimes be emptying your opponent’s hand of those high-curve bombs he was about to drop. Not too shabby, I’d say.

JAMES

First reaction? “Holy Shit”. Seriously. Sitting on the bus (38L w00t) writing this and I said, “Holy Shit.” It’s so damn cheap!!!–Playable.

Bojuka Brigand
1B
Creature – Human Warrior Ally
1/1
Bojuka Brigand can’t block.
Whenever Bojuka Brigand or another Ally creature enters the battlefield under your control, you may put a +1/+1 counter on Bojuka Brigand.
Rarity: Common

Pretty mediocre guy, strictly worse than Oran-rief Survivalist but still essentially the same creature. Good enough as a “grizzly bear +”.

JAMES

Not strictly worse, joe. The same. Meh…I guess there could be a hybrid colored Ally deck in these cards…but for standard? extended? GTFOH.

Brink of Disaster
2BB
Enchantment – Aura
Enchant creature or land
When enchanted permanent becomes tapped, destroy it.
Rarity: Common

Well, it’s a bit expensive, and your opponent gets to decide when the permanent dies, typically. They can also buy themselves time to find removal if that’s what they want to do. I want harder removal than this. This is quite soft.

JAMES

Hits the battlefield too late to be viable. Meaning, it can be played around.

Butcher of Malakir
5BB
Creature – Vampire Warrior
5/4
Flying
Whenever Butcher of Malakir or another creature you control is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, each opponent sacrifices a creature.
Rarity: Rare

Another bomby rare here, but with far fewer strings attached. If your deck can live to drop a 7 consistently, then this will help considerably with the late game attrition war, if the 5 points of flying power doesn’t do the trick on its own. I’m thinking you can suicide attack with some confidence once this guy’s on the battlefield. Top marks from me.

JAMES

It’s aight. Pretty damn expensive for 7cc. So, yeah…too slow for constructed.

Caustic Crawler
3BB
Creature – Insect
4/3
Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may have target creature get -1/-1 until end of turn.
Rarity: Uncommon

This uncommon will be another element that can theoretically slow this format down a bit, taking out the various 1-toughness speed beaters of the ZZZ era. This guy isn’t bad at 4/3 for the cost, and the ability should help you out significantly. Save some land drops for that second main phase, folks!

JAMES

Very cool uncommon. So HAWT with Marsh Casualties. It’s a LITTLE slow at 5cc becuse a kicked burst lightning takes thsi guy out before you [concievably] start using his soft spot removal but it’s very appealing. I guess I’m talking limited. For constructed it’s just too hefty a cost for this meta.

Corrupted Zendikon
1B
Enchantment – Aura
Enchant land
Enchanted land is a 3/3 black Ooze creature. It’s still a land.
When enchanted land is put into a graveyard, return that card to its owner’s hand.
Rarity: Common

You know, I like the flying blue zendikon best, but this is a close second. It’s a watchwolf with a weird kind of built-in tempo loss and additional potential tempo loss, but it’s probably worth it. The more I think about these zendikons, the more I’m getting on board with them. I’m definitely interested to see how they play out. I’m on the fence, leaning toward embracing these.

JAMES

Pretty cheap actually. Not sure B wants to do this on turn two though. I’m thinking in Blightning packing decks. Turn two is (typically) reseved for Putrid Leeches and having to replay a recently lightning bolted creature isn’t very appealing.

Dead Reckoning
1BB
Sorcery
You may put target creature card from your graveyard on top of your library.
If you do, Dead Reckoning deals damage equal to that card’s power to target creature.
Rarity: Common

Wowzers. This is quite a removal spell. Common, too! I think black has a lot of recursion potential these days, enabling the already fast color to play a more deliberate long game strategy as well. I like this card as a mid game removal spell. You do exchange your next draw for the recurred creature, but you’ve nuked an opponent’s spell as well. If your returned creature was something like the aforementioned Gatekeeper of Malakir, then you’ve got a mini engine online. Should be a mainstay, I’m thinking.

JAMES

Sexy. I like how it potentially works off ETBF abilities like Bloodbraid Elf…Man, cascade on a 4cc creature is broken. lol. This is a cool card that has some power to it…I wonder if “to creature or player” was just too broken…question for R&D i guess.

Death’s Shadow
B
Creature – Avatar
13/13
Death’s Shadow gets -X/-X, where X is your life total.
Rarity: Rare
Set Number: #57/145

This is one of the most exciting and hyped cards of my email thread discussions. People are pumped about this guy. I love the silly combo with Lich myself, but that’s just me. I think the most prescient thing to note about this guy came from a guy on my thread who said something along the lines of: “drop this with 10 life, and it’s still a 3/3 for 1, only now the more life you lose, the bigger he gets.” Nice way to think about him, I think. I know this will play well with early Vampire Lacerators and such. Seems fine to me. As a rather obvious side note, this is likely unplayable in EDH. Lol.
JAMES

I wouldn’t be surprised to see this as a 1-2x SB option for bringing in against either Red Burn or Boros Bushwacker builds. It’s SO freaking cheap. It makes Scute Mob feel stupid.

Jagwasp Swarm
3B
Creature – Insect
3/2
Flying
Rarity: Common

You know, I think this card would otherwise be fine in limited. 3 power and flying for hill giant’s mana cost… usually this is fine. But this format can kill 2 toughness creatures with relative ease. I’d be a little hesitant about this guy, therefore. There’s a lot of creatures nowadays whose envelope has been pushed farther than this. Anyway, he can fill a needed gap, but otherwise, I’m looking for something a little better. This will still do some beating though. He’s on the solid side of marginal, if that makes any sense.

JAMES

Meh. Moving on.

Kalastria Highborn
BB
Creature – Vampire Shaman
2/2
Whenever Kalastria Highborn or another Vampire you control is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, you may pay {B}. If you do, target player loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.
Rarity: Rare

Not bad for a bear, albeit a rare bear. In heavy vampires, the ability could net you 8, 12, or 16 point swings… usually you’ll get at least a 4 point life swing if you play conservatively… and even if he dies when you’re tapped out, you still had a bear, so big deal. I think vampires might be a new archetype to force along the lines of allies in ZZZ and presumably ZZW. There’s quite a good pool of vampire synergy now. The mass appears to be approaching critical. We shall see.

JAMES

WOW. This card LOVES Bloodghast. Certainly worth playing with.

Mire’s Toll
B
Sorcery
Target player reveals a card from his or her hand for each Swamp you control. Choose one of those cards. That player discards that card.
Rarity: Common

Hmm. Well, it’s a weak kind of weak blackmail, since later on, they won’t have as many cards left as you have swamps anyway. I’m not crazy about this one. Sometimes, though, in limited, you can time discard right to nuke their high-curve bomb… so if your deck is wicked fast but lacks late game, this might be an option for you when your swamps equals their cards in hand, and you can ensure you ditch their best threat. Meh… I’m waffling here. This card has a place, but it’s not a real universal killer.

JAMES

Nice. This will definitly see some play. It’s no Mind Sludge or Duress but there are some distinct advantages to it; it’s SORT of like a cross between sludge and Thoughtsieze making me think it’s playable. Hmmm, worth tinkering with for Mono-B (or R/B) builds in Standard and for extended decks that run swamps. I’m hesitant to say the same for Jund-style decks because of the high dual/tri-color lands…Test it out! is all I can advocate.

Nemesis Trap
4BB
Instant – Trap
If a white creature is attacking you, you may pay {B}{B} rather than pay Nemesis Trap’s mana cost.
Exile target creature, then put a token that is a copy of that creature onto the battlefield. Exile it at the beginning of the next end step.
Rarity: Uncommon
Set Number: #61/145

This thing is nuts, IMO. Against white it’s through the roof, but even at 6 it’s going to usually be a 241, guaranteed… the only trick then is getting them to attack forcefully into your six untapped lands! I think it’s good enough though. Cards that will consistently 241 your opponent are good. This one will, and this one is. Imagine that they attack you with a Kor Hookmaster? Or a sphinx of lost truths, or a turntimber ranger, or a Bala Ged Thief, or, or, or… you get the picture.

JAMES

Craziness. I REALLY like this as an anti-Baneslayer Angel play. Certainly worth experimenting.

Pulse Tracker
B
Creature – Vampire Rogue
1/1
Whenever Pulse Tracker attacks, each opponent loses 1 life.
Rarity: Common

Not terrible, but wimpy. In dedicated vampires, with things to do with a 1/1 that becomes roughly irrelevant mid to late, then sure. I’m not playing this outside of a very dedicated vampire theme though.

JAMES

Not really good enough. I like that on T2, unblocked you’re doing 2 damage and if you keep presenting threats on-curve then really the 1/1 won’t be blocked making it essentially a 2/1 for 1cc. That puts it on par with Elite Vanguard which saw (and may still see) some play. It’s certainly no Vampire Lacerator though.

Quag Vampires
B
Creature – Vampire Rogue
1/1
Multikicker {1}{B}
Swampwalk
Quag Vampires enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it for each time it was kicked.
Rarity: Common

He’s a gray ogre usually. Late game he’s a 5-drop 3/3. Not exciting. Then he’s a 7-drop 4/4. He does make a great sideboard against black, and he IS slightly more versatile than a plain old ogre. But he’s not terribly exciting. Again, though, dedicated vampires might drop him as a 1/1, so he has uses.

JAMES

No thanks. No, really. No thanks.

Quest for the Nihil Stone
B
Enchantment
Whenever an opponent discards a card, you may put a quest counter on Quest for the Nihil Stone.
At the beginning of each opponent’s upkeep, if that player has no cards in hand and Quest for the Nihil Stone has two or more quest counters on it, you may have that player lose 5 life.
Rarity: Rare
Set Number: #64/145

Initially I thought you sacrificed to deal the 5, but knowing that it’s a recurring 5 any time they’re hellbent… well, that makes it significantly better. This is very easy to play around in limited absent discard though. I’m not seeing how this will wreck a careful player’s day.

JAMES

Wow. There are some very interesting quests coming out in this set. I’m very intrigued by the interaction between this one (Q. for the Nihil) and Bloodcheif Asscension. Esspecially on the back of some of the insane discard like Bloodhusk Ritualist (see above)…and a long time favorite of mine Blightning.

Ruthless Cullblade
1B
Creature – Vampire Warrior
2/1
Ruthless Cullblade gets +2/+1 as long as an opponent has 10 or less life.
Illus. rk Post
Rarity: Common
Set Number: #65/145

A weak bear and then later on, a 4/2 for 2. Solid all the way around. Should be a staple filler vampire warrior. Keep this kind of guy in mind for pack 3 when you’re deciding whether to fill a bear slot in your vampire deck with something like surrakar marauder or the like… it might be better to wait for a real vamp. Definitely a situational consideration, but know that there are common, decent, early vampires in worldwake.

JAMES

I’ve always liked Guul Draz Vampire and I still do–at least over this one. I like the evasion of Guul…it’s sickaliciousness. and this one isn’t.

Scrib Nibblers
2B
Creature – Rat
1/1
{T}: Exile the top card of target player’s library. If it’s a land card, you gain 1 life.
Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may untap Scrib Nibblers.
Rarity: Uncommon

Ah, book eaters. So you can potentially make someone miss a land drop… but it’s pretty random, and I can’t see what kind of game plan this would further. I’m not down with this rat.

JAMES

Puke.

Shoreline Salvager
3B
Creature – Surrakar
3/3
When Shoreline Salvager deals combat damage to a player, if you control an Island, draw a card.
Rarity: Uncommon
Set Number: #67/145

Nice hill giant! He’s Johnny Magic (shadowmage infiltrator, for the n00bs) if you’re in blue, a natural pairing for black, though this color combination wasn’t super popular in ZZZ to my limited knowledge. I think this uncommon will help make that color combination better for sure. But you can’t count on seeing any given uncommon in pack 3 really… I dunno. He’ll randomly be great for some people. I wonder where my own decision point will be when it comes time to potentially hate draft one of these. I mean, a plain old hill giant isn’t THAT terrible, really. I dunno. If you’re solid black or black with another non-blue splash, and you crack this in your pack 3, do you try to add blue? Hard question. But I think he’s around that powerful. I’d sure be tempted to get greedy.

JAMES

I sorta like this. I don’t see this being all that hot in constructed because the cost is so high. BUT it’s looking good for limited.

Smother
1B
Instant
Destroy target creature with converted mana cost 3 or less. It can’t be regenerated.
Rarity: Uncommon

Awesome reprint. Solid removal. Very strong. Moving on.

JAMES

I expect this to see play. I’m happy to see this solid reprint.

Tomb Hex
2B
Instant
Target creature gets -2/-2 until end of turn.
Landfall – If a land entered the battlefield under your control this turn, that creature gets -4/-4 until end of turn instead.
Rarity: Common

More excellent removal for black, the removal-iest color of them all. This is just plain solid. Trick some fools with a fetch land and sudden death one of their guys!

JAMES

HOLY SMOKES, BATMAN. this is redonk!! Well, not as good as Sudden Death (by a LONG shot) but it’s super solid. Next to Smother it’s not that hot either…man, i guess i’m resinding this. I just think it looks so cheap. But I was getting ahead of myself. Great for limited without a doubt though! (and I know weaker players will walk their Baneslayer right into this one……but we’re not tuning our decks for weaker players, or we shouldn’t be at least.)

Urge to Feed
BB
Instant
Target creature gets -3/-3 until end of turn. You may tap any number of untapped Vampire creatures you control. If you do, put a +1/+1 counter on each of those Vampires.
Illus. Johann Bodin
Rarity: Uncommon
Set Number: #70/145

Whoa mamma. A common with Tomb hex, plus uncommon smother, and this beautiful uncommon, reminiscent of Last Gasp. The removal looks good. This thing will be a cool play for the turn after your opponent drops a 3-toughness wall or whatever, thinking they’ve stopped the flow of vampire attacks. Then on their EOT, you smile and tap your team, growing them beyond that previous barrier, all while killing one of their peeps. Love it.

JAMES

OKAY, now this is getting a little insane. Declare blockers step has never looked more fun. ;-) Vamps will have to include this. To not include it would be silly.

Worldwake’s affect on Standard decks

Worldwake is an interesting set with a few tricks up its sleeve when it looks onto the Standard scene. We have some powerful cards that are sure to make it into every archetype available. Lets look at Jund first.

Jund became the most powerful deck when Zendikar first pushed Lorwyn and company out of the way. Jund only had to use a single card, Verdant Catacombs, from the Zendikar block. It was easy to build, and had so much raw power from cascade that decks could not compete with the card advantage. At Worlds, players were replacing Putrid Leech with Rampant Growth to help fix their mana, and ramp up to their more powerful cards such as Broodmate Dragon and Siege-Gang Commander. Now, Jund gets to look at the new face of mana ramping: Explore.

exploreImagine your turn 4 Bloodbraid Elf cascading into Explore. I like that it allows me to draw a card before I play my land, so I get a chance to draw a land that I might prefer to put into play. Explore will be a go-to mana ramp spell for decks that run off Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, or are trying to just play Warp World. It is a fantastic choice for many different decks other than Jund.

Speaking of lands, Jund gets the option of a couple new ones.

ragingravineRaging Ravine plays nicely with Explore, where it wouldn’t with Rampant Growth as it is a non-basic land and can’t be tutored up. Raging Ravine is the perfect example of how these new manlands are so powerful. They fix your mana and can be a threat at any moment. My friend Seneca pointed out a trick with this land as you can pay the 2RG multiple times to stack the “Whenever this creature attacks, put a +1/+1 counter on it” ability, so when it does end up attacking it will be granted multiple +1/+1 counters. This land can surely get out hand pretty quickly. The other beautiful thing about these lands other than being able to help your land and being almost no investment in a reusable creature resource, is that it will be living through Day of Judgment and will be unaffected by things like Sleep and Oblivion Ring. These lands will almost be invaluable in every deck they rest in.

Vampires is the pet tribe of Wizard’s right now. They want it to succeed, and they want it to be a powerful deck. With Worldwake they got their wishes. Vampires get access to a plethora of different spells one of them being Urge to Feed.

urgetofeedThis will be competing with the already powerful removal spells Disfigure and Tendrils of Corruption, but I see this replacing Disfigure in nearly all Vampire main decks. There is another removal spell that is returning from a hiatus nearly as long as I have been playing this game, its name is Smother. Both Urge to Feed and Smother are powerful cards, but Urge to Feed can do more relevant things such as kill Bloodbraid Elf, Ranger of Eos and even bring Baneslayer Angel down to size so that Vampire Nighthawk is able to tango with the big flier in town. The side to Urge to Feed that also interests me is its ability to pump an entire flock of Vampires. I can foresee turns where the Vampire player cracks a Marsh Flats and bring back their two Bloodghast from their graveyard, plays Urge to Feed on your Emeria Angel and pumps their entire crew of creatures getting ready for an alpha strike of their newly resurrected, now 3/2 Bloodghasts and a 3/4 Vampire Nighthawk. Its potential to turn combat so one-sided is what I love about this card. Smother on the other hand has fewer targets, but can hit things Urge to Feed can’t kill. For instance Smother can kill any token, be it a Broodmate Dragon token or a 5/5 Quest for the Gravelord zombie token. Smother can also hit the new manlands, which is pretty awesome. They both have their shining moments, but I foresee Urge to Feed being the crowd favorite by a long shot.

Another spell Vampires have in their clutches is Mires Toll. It is more of a controlling card but sure to be a hit among a lot of players.

mirestollIt reminds me of a middle ground between Ravens Crime and Blackmail, with a bit of Mind Sludge in there. I am still kind of up in the air about if it will beat out Duress, I’ll have to play with it a bit and see. What I do like about it is as long as they have cards in their hand, it will always hit, unlike Duress. It can also hit land, which might or might not be relevant. I do like the card though, it has a lot of power.

Vampire players get another gem in Worldwake, one that I think will be popular at first, but end up as a two-of in Vampires lists. Her name is Kalastria Highborn.

kalastriahighborn

Kalastira Highborn is obviously very synergistic with Bloodghast with perhaps even an Eldrazi Monument mixed in there. She gives the Vampire players a bit of reach, but she with be battling with Vampire Hexmage as the ‘other’ two drop to Bloodghast and you obviously don’t cut any of him for Kalastra Highborn as they are nearly meant to work together. Vampire Hexmage having first strike is sometime invaluable, but in some matchups it might not even be relevant. I see Vampire Hexmage getting the full boat maindeck slot while Kalastria Highborn perhaps comes out of the board. Her “put into a graveyard” clause sometimes does not as trigger as much as the Vampire player would like due to Celestial Purge and Path to Exile picking off Bloodghasts and Vampire Nocturnus‘ left and right. That all being said, Kalastria Highborn is a powerful card in matchups like red deck wins, where cards like Bloodghast are nearly useless. She also has a cool synergy with Bloodchief Ascension that almost cannot be ignored.

White decks of all shapes and sizes get some creatures that, for the most part, are highly efficient. Lets look at Hada Freeblade first.

hadafreeblade

This is the friend Kazandu Blademaster has been looking for. These two guys will work together with Honor of the Pure to create a serious army within the first few turns. Also, they are both Soldiers allowing Veteran Swordsmith to perhaps pump them into the red zone. Not to mention Ranger of Eos can pickup Hada Freeblade and bring him into the battle, along with Elite Vanguard and Akrasan Squire. There is another card that allies are going to enjoy, and coming in at instant speed is Join the Ranks.

jointheranksJoin the Ranks is a card that will usually be a blowout in Limited, but in constructed it can be a house too. Getting multiple triggers on allies at instant speed very powerful. Imagine having a Turntimber Ranger on the battlefield and then playing Join the Ranks as your opponent attacks you. Turntimber Ranger will get two +1/+1 counters, he will put two 2/2 wolf tokens into play and then you will get your two 1/1 allies. That is an army at instant speed. Lets look at Hada Freeblade and Kazandu Blademaster both getting two +1/+1 counters, probably becoming a 4/5 and a 4/4 respectively, and you are getting two 1/1 allies. That is without an Honor of the Pure on the field. It is a powerful card, but the only problem with it is that it competes with Ranger of Eos at the four casting cost space, and we already Conquerors Pledge. It has its work cut out for it, that is for sure.

White also gets Admonition Angel.

8bjdgc5ifh_EN

She is able to Oblivion Ring targets just from a landfall trigger, and has a steady 6/6 body for six mana to boot. If you are facing down an Admonition Angel and you can’t find removal, I feel sorry for you. There are going to be games where she comes down, you either Tendrils of Corruption her or perhaps you Terminate her. Then as you pass your turn, during their upkeep their Emeria, the Sky Ruin just brings her back. The mono white control decks are going to be cutting their Felidar Sovereigns and playing with yet another angel.

White decks get Silver Knight 2.0 in the form of Kor Firewalker.

korfirewalkerKor Firewalker is a creature that not only shuts down an entire archetype in Standard, but will be reaching his way across the formats. He makes Hellspark Elemental utterly useless, Ball Lightning just hit for a mere 3, and makes Earthquake cry. With his built in Dragons Claw, which is already in a few sideboards, you get the body of a soldier, and a seriously powerful sideboard card. Jund decks can kill it with Maelstrom Pulse and maybe block it with Putrid Leech. I see Smothers sliding into the Jund sideboard to kill this guy. The Boros mirror is going to be a fight to see who gets him out first. He isn’t exactly metagame warping, but his presence is sure to create a lot of waves.

Red also get some good cards. It might be all for not because of Kor Firewalker, but we shall see. The first card is Chain Reaction.

6mvou0qxyd_ENI nearly see this as a red Day of Judgment in some circumstances. Against Boros, obviously Pyroclasm is almost as useful, but it can kill Kor Skyfisher most of the time. Against Elf decks where they are all pumped up over 3 toughness, Chain Reaction can do some serious damage. I like because it can very easily do 3-4 damage to everything, which isn’t that common.

Next up, red gets Dragonmaster Outcast.

dragonmasteroutcastA new, and more powerful variant of Scute Mob, this gal can give you a board dominating presence in no time. Unfortunately, she has to live long enough for that to happen. Seeing as how every removal spell in the format can kill it, it isn’t going to be living long. It suffers the same problem as Elvish Piper, powerful effect, but too vulnerable. Obviously Dragonmaster Outcast has an advantage of only costing one mana, and she can be tutored up with Ranger of Eos, but at the same time, I just don’t see her being beyond a one-of card that you might get late game. She is good at what she does, but isn’t good at surviving.

Red got very few good cards, but the last one I think that will make some Red control deck happy is Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs.

kazuultyrantKazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs is the type of card that is costed just right. At five mana you can justify him almost all day long. Red doesn’t really get any good five mana spells other than Chandra Nalaar. The Tyrant and her seem like you could pair it with aforementioned Chain Reaction and you might just have a red control deck under your belt. Perhaps even some Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and some burn spells. I think Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs has just enough board presence and power to see play. I’m sure whoever builds this deck isn’t going to enjoy seeing Kor Firewalker though.

Eldrazi Elves got a few powerful cards, the big one is Joraga Warcaller.

joragawarcallerThis is what Eldrazi Elves have been waiting for. He has lots of synergy with Oran-rief, the vastwood, he is an Elf, and he makes their army of Elves really large, really quickly. The problem with cards like Elvish Archdruid is you usually just don’t have something to dump all that mana into. Joraga Warcaller is the guy who can take all that extra mana and make it worth your while. There are going to be those games where you just go Llanowar Elves into Elvish Archdruid and from there you can just play out your hand. Perhaps you just play Nissa Revane, summon up a Nissas Chosen, and then tap your Elvish Archdruid for GGG and get your Joraga Warcaller like another Elvish Champion on the table. There is also the ability to not play Nissa Revane and just dump it all into Joraga Warcaller. He is the type of card where he is sometimes ‘just’ an Elvish Champion but there are also times where is like an Elvish God, giving all your other Elves +5/+5. A cool trick I see is where you play Joraga Warcaller, as he comes into play he pumps your army, then after you attack some guys and your opponent blocks, you can tap your Oran-rief, the vastwood to put a +1/+1 counter on your Joraga Warcaller to pump them all a little more. Seems like something you can only really pull off a couple times against one person, but throughout a tournament could catch lots of people off guard. Once you do it though, be sure get back to me on how surprised they were.

Another card that has some serious board presence, and works well with Oran-rief, the vastwood is Bestial Menace.

bestialmenaceFor five mana you can get six power worth of guys, and they are all green. Also, the three different named tokens are Maelstrom Pulse proof, so it isn’t shut down like a Conquerers Pledge would be. I remember Cloudgoat Ranger seeing a lot play back in his day, although that is a bit different as they put Kithkin soldiers into play and they were all pumped by Wizened Cenn, but nowadays we have Oran-rief, the vastwood to pump them all. Although, we don’t have Windbrisk Heights to put this spell underneath. Either way, times have changed, but Bestial Menace is still a powerful card either way you look at it. There isn’t much else Green would rather spend five mana on. You could argue Ant Queen but Bestial Menace is harder to handle with removal, and if next turn you are looking to play Eldrazi Monument then Bestial Menace is going to deal more damage, faster, unless you have a bunch of mana to spill into Ant Queen, but at that point, you are probably winning anyway.

Control decks have mustered some power in Worldwake, too. First off is their go-to draw spell Treasure Hunt.

treasurehuntThis is one of the cards I am really excited to play with alongside Ponder. Going first turn Ponder and then setting up a beneficial Treasure Hunt turn is going to almost be backbreaking for your opponent. Control decks are notorious for running 25-27 land as it is, so they are the ones who will be getting the most bang for their buck with Treasure Hunt. The library manipulation will go a long way for these hunters. This spell would be great with Brainstorm.

In comes, Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

jacemindsculptorHis ability to Brainstorm every turn without losing loyalty is incredibly powerful. Then, when things get rough, he can start Unsummoning to create an easier board for you to find your Day of Judgment or Essence Scatter to deal with that nasty Baneslayer Angel or Knight of the Reliquary. Perhaps, you are in a stalemate so you begin building up loyalty, deciding what your opponent will draw with his +2 ability. Also, like most Planeswlakers, his ultimate ability is usually game winning, and Jace’s is no different. Exiling their library and replacing it with their hand will almost certainly win you the game. This is an incredibly powerful Planeswalker, and deserves to see a lot of play in anything running blue. If people are talking about how the old Jace Beleren came down a turn earlier, just show them Everflowing Chalice.

chaliceThis can come down on turn two for the control deck and push out a turn three Jace, the Mind Sculptor kind of like old times. Everflowing Chalice doesn’t stop there though, it can get you to Martial Coup mana on turn five if you play it on turn four. Unfortunately it isn’t Mind Stone with the ability to draw you a card, but it can help cast some really powerful spells much sooner than certain decks would have ever seen. I see Everflowing Chalice finding its way into many decks that are more top heavy. Also, it is important to note that how it produces mana is by having charge counters on it. You can remove those with Vampire Hexmage. Also, if you want to stop your opponent from removing those counters you can set a Pithing Needle on “Vampire Hexmage” and it won’t be able to activate. I also see Jund and Naya decks perhaps packing Vithian Renegades in their sideboard to destroy their opponent’s Everflowing Chalices. It will be an important card for the control player.

I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on Worldwake. Have fun at the Prerelease this weekend.

-Dillon

Worldwake Set Review – Blue

Welcome to the Blue section of our Worldwake Set Review. Thanks for coming! Let’s get to business.

AEther Tradewinds
2U
Instant
Return target permanent you control and target permanent you don’t control to their owner’s hand.
Rarity: Common

This is a VERY useful spell in limited, even post-M10 combat damage rules changes (before the change, this would have been absurd). This should let you avoid a bad combat step while simultaneously setting up either a guaranteed landfall by returning a land, or another Enters the Battlefield (EtB) effect from one of your creatures. All while messing up the opponent’s tempo. Strong one here.

JAMES

For limited it looks great. I always like playing a one-off Teetering Peaks–especially if I’m in white and have a Kor Skyfisher or get Living Tsunami–and I can see this fitting in well with that. Prevents a turn of attacking from your opponent…you see what I’m saying. So far as constructed…well, I don’t see the use.

Calcite Snapper
1UU
Creature – Turtle
1/4
Shroud
Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you
may switch Calcite Snapper’s power and toughness until end of turn.
Rarity: Common
Set Number: #25/145

This looks entirely unappealing to me. There are better options for holding down the ground, and this just doesn’t do much. I’m hoping not to play with this card until I make some kind of Turtle theme deck for my kids. Until then, this is a bookmark.

JAMES

No thanks.

Dispel
U
Instant
Counter target instant spell.
Rarity: Common
Set Number: #26/145

This should see play in some constructed formats, I’m thinking. It’s a good way to fight through counters. In limited, it’s very narrow, and is thus only likely to be in your sideboard. I can’t see ever maindecking this, but picking one up isn’t too terrible for your sideboard. I’d pick it low though, even then.

JAMES

Wow. What a great counter spell! It’s a narrow card making it more of a SB option than MD–at least for any U based decks I’m thinking of. That being said, all the major decks are running Lightening Bolts AND Burst Lightening (and of course Path) so there’s certainly an argument in favor of testing out the right number for your decks. I think U-light decks in extended may also run this to counter the Cryptic Command or [card]Mana Leak[card].

Enclave Elite
2U
Creature – Merfolk Soldier
2/2
Multikicker {1}{U}
Islandwalk
Enclave Elite enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it for each time it was kicked.
Rarity:Common

I really like these “Gray Ogre ++” variants. They’re passable on their own when dropped turn 3, albeit a little behind the modern curves, but they stay relevant (or more relevant than usual) when you top deck them late. I’m less pumped about this one than I am for the white flying version (flying instead of Islandwalk), but against some opponents, this will be even more of a trump. It’s evasive and relevant whenever you draw him. I like the looks of this cycle.

JAMES

I don’t see this being played outside of limited and even there it’s only marginal. The kick cost is too ridiculous after even one kick.

Goliath Sphinx
5UU
Creature – Sphinx
8/7
Flying
Flavor Text: Go ahead, TACCOM.
Rarity: Rare

Big. Flying. Any questions? This always makes the cut if you’re on-color, unless you have some kind of crazy aggro curve. Usually, he’ll be in. Lots of times, he’ll win you the game when you top deck him. Big dumb fliers are great in limited.

JAMES

Neat but damn expensive. Just too damn expensive for constructed play.

Halimar Excavator
1U
Creature – Human Wizard Ally
1/3
Whenever Halimar Excavator or another Ally enters the battlefield under your control, target player puts the top X cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard, where X is the number of Allies you control.
Illus. Kev Walker
Rarity: Common
Set Number: #29/145

An interesting addition to Hedron Crab based archetypes. Now, when you see a crab, you might be well advised to take all the allies you can as well. This should make the archetype interesting indeed… I think it may be viable. The key is getting an early crab to set you in the deck… you can’t really “force” this otherwise. In “regular” (crabless) allies, I don’t see this decking mechanism going all the way, but I could be wrong. You’d need at minimum 2, preferably 3 of this guy, I would think.

JAMES

Interesting. Getting milled always stinks…but I’m pretty sure block builds of Allies won’t include the mill strategy. This route is inherently too slow.

Horizon Drake
1UU
Creature – Drake
3/1
Flying, protection from lands
Rarity: Uncommon

Interesting protection clause. Take that Valakut! This guy’s nice mainly because he’s aggressive and evasive. Wasp Lancer was comparable, and did great things in its day. This will sometimes die, but will usually get some good damage in before taking down some kind of spider or opposing flier. I like it, but it’s not really my first string of fliers. I’ll take him though.

JAMES

Watch out! it’s a land!!!…oh…right. barf. Too narrow. There just aren’t enough lands worth worry about to justify this card.

Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2UU
Planeswalker – Jace
3
[+2]: Look at the top card of target player’s library. You may put that card on the bottom of that player’s library.
[0]: Draw three cards, then put two cards from your hand on top of your library in any order.
[-1]: Return target creature to its owner’s hand.
[-12]: Exile all cards from target player’s library, then that player shuffles his or her hand into his or her library.
Illus. Jason Chan
Rarity: Mythic Rare
Set Number: #31/145

This looks incredible to me. A bomb in limited, probably more so in constructed, but I’ll try to let James handle that. Limited is pretty straight-forward as well… this guy does so many useful things, it’s hard not to see why he’s great. I want to talk about EDH for a moment though. I think most EDH decks that can access this guy will play him. He adds another Hinder effect (in this case, I mean the “put a card on the bottom of your opponent’s deck” part of Hinder) for decks that run the Tunnel Vision combo, which is most blue decks. It also helps you with the brainstorm effects and the bouncing. Subtly, in EDH you might have more of a chance than you think to use the ultimate ability here. EDH tends to go long, and lots of decks can fend off creatures indefinitely in the late game. So Jace, tMS, should occasionally deck the sad EDH player. All in all, a very exciting mythic planeswalker.’

JAMES

This version of Jace is very interesting. Weird sort of telling time-like abilities. The draw backs are that this guy costs a LOT for his initial abilities. A control player has to REALLY be dictating the turns to justify this card. Certainly don’t want that player to activate the ultimate ability but I don’t see there being enough time to pull that off. …6 turns to “go off”? If you taret your opponent with ability one and you hit a land, dud. target yourself and hit a land, good. Use ability two, very nice. Ability three is also pretty sexy. I’m thinking the card’s use will be restricted to the first three abilities. Bouncing creatures is pretty hawt if you can then counter them. Hmmm, very interesting.

Jwari Shapeshifter
1U
Creature – Shapeshifter Ally
0/0
You may have Jwari Shapeshifter enter the battlefield as a copy of any Ally creature on the battlefield.
Illus. Kev Walker
Rarity: Rare
Set Number: #32/145

Hmmm… narrow indeed. If you happen to open it in an already-allies-dedicated pool / deck, consider yourself lucky. Otherwise, this will seldom see play, as it won’t be consistent enough. In allies, it’s probably only “strong” not even “bomb” levels of good… you have to have another strong ally in hand before this does much of anything aside from keeping the ally flow going.

JAMES

Pretty cheap. Pretty freaking good for limited but marginal outside that–but mostly because Allies seem weak in Block. I like the concept though. Maybe there’s a U/W/R Ally deck in block…

Mysteries of the Deep
4U
Instant
Draw two cards.
Landfall – If you had a land enter the battlefield under your control this turn, draw three cards instead.
Illus. Veronique Meignaud
Rarity: Common
Set Number: #33/145

I like this one. It’s a bit of a conundrum though… instant card draw is great because you can play it on your opponent’s end step. But this will usually get you one fewer card then… of course, you might have harrow or a fetch land, so who knows. I still like this even if you just main phase it out there for the three, or decide to live with the mere two cards to maintain a control posture.

JAMES

It’s costed somewhere along the lines of Mind Spring and Sift, both of which I’ve always felt were pretty expensive. I don’t think this does enough for constructed play.

Permafrost Trap
2UU
Instant – Trap
If an opponent had a green creature enter the battlefield under his or her control this turn, you may pay {U} rather than pay Permafrost Trap’s mana cost.
Tap up to two target creatures. Those creatures don’t untap during their controller’s next untap step.
Rarity: Uncommon

Whether for the trap cost or full price, this is a beating, and will win games. In the skies archetype, you will push through the last points of damage with this guy. It’s a tempo nightmare for an opponent that’s unprepared, or who over-committed. Very strong spell here, IMO.

JAMES

I like this for standard. It’s an interesting tempo play. Bloodbraid Elf played by opposing player. Boom, trap that down! Hehe. Thats’ really what I would play this for. It’s sweet for one mana because it buys two turns (one from the hasty bloodbraid and one for the next turn). Looks good to me in this currnet meta game.

Quest for Ula’s Temple
U
Enchantment
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may look at the top card of your library. If it’s a creature card, you may reveal it and put a quest counter on Quest for Ula’s Temple.
At the beginning of each end step, if there are three or more quest counters on Quest for Ula’s Temple, you may put a Kraken, Leviathan, Octopus, or Serpent creature card from your hand onto the battlefield.
Illus. Rob Alexander
Rarity: Rare
Set Number: #35/145

Gimmicky. If you have a ton of the right creatures in your deck, then maybe, but I guess I missed all the Krakens, Leviathans, Octopi, and Serpents… sure there are some, but… I dunno. I’m not touching this with a ten foot tentacle. Looks like crap to me.

JAMES

Lorthos is what comes to mind first. lol. Looks good for casual, fun, theme based decks but otherwise it’s just too damn narrow.

Sejiri Merfolk
1U
Creature – Merfolk Soldier
2/1
As long as you control a Plains, Sejiri Merfolk has first strike and lifelink.
Rarity: Uncommon

Another Kird Ape wannabe. This guy’s a house. Two very relevant abilities in the color combination that’s the best natural fit for blue aggro. This will be a fine super-grizzly bear, even if he just swings once, then scares off smaller ground attackers.

JAMES

Pretty neat. The abilities aren’t something to scoff at because a W/U control deck has something that is cheap and can take out Bloodbraids, gain life and stick around. It’s really a question of what to pull out of the U/W deck over this…Because the lifegain and first-strike ablity is so relevant and helpful for the U/W control build, this guy will eat removal. It’s certainly worth toying with.

Selective Memory
3U
Sorcery
Search your library for any number of nonland cards and exile them.
Then shuffle your library.
Illus. Chippy
Rarity: Rare
Set Number: #37/145

Very interesting rare here. Not playable in limited, but see Treasure Hunt below for some thoughts on what this thing can potentially do…

JAMES

[[[scrolls down to Treasure Hunt below…]]] Blah. Whatever. Maybe in 1.5/1 formats but I don’t see the point in exiling my own library. why not just NOT play this card AND whatever it is you don’t want in your deck. the concept of exiling my own library of cards I don’t want doesn’t make any sense to me. I look forward to reading the comment of someone who breaks this card and proves me wrong. I will happily say, “wow, I didn’t think of that. You rock.”

Spell Contortion
2U
Instant
Multikicker {1}{U}
Counter target spell unless its
controller pays {2}. Draw a card for
each time Spell Contortion was
kicked.
Rarity: Uncommon
Set Number: #38/145

Seems utterly insane in constructed, and not terrible in limited. Usually in limited, you’ll counter something early and be happy. Occasionally you’ll go all constructed on us, and you’ll nab this late. Then you counter their play, whatever it is, and kick it into infinity and beyond! The fact that they can easily pay the 2 is not really germane here, as what you’re really after is drawing (N-3)/2 cards (round down) where N is your available mana. :-) That is going to be great in constructed, and not terrible in limited.

JAMES

Pretty neat. It’s a little more expensive than Cryptic Command and a bit more narrow but very late game you could draw two cards off this. Most of the time it will be an expensive Mana Leak though. Worth testing out but I don’t see control players running more than a couple to round out a counter suite.

Surrakar Banisher
4U
Creature – Surrakar
3/3
When Surrakar Banisher enters the battlefield, you may return target tapped creature to its owner’s hand.
Illus. Matt Cavotta
Rarity: Common
Set Number: #39/145

This kind of guy has traditionally been way better than it might seem at first. The tempo is really nice here, clearing one of their attackers and leaving behind a hill giant. Every once in a while you’ll want to return your own creature. Not a terribly high pick, but no slouch either… this is a fine addition to most decks with access to him.

JAMES

Interesting tempo card. He’s big enough that with the bounce he’s not HORRIBLE. I just would have loved to see this guy cost UUU or UU2 because then there’s at least the hope of having counter mana open. Otherwise you’re bouncing a big creature that’s just going to be there again when it’s time to attack, gaining you a whole lotta nuthin’.

Thada Adel, Acquisitor
1UU
Legendary Creature – Merfolk Rogue
2/2
Islandwalk
Whenever Thada Adel, Acquisitor deals combat damage to a player, search that player’s library for an artifact card and exile it. Then that player shuffles his or her library. Until end of turn, you may play that card.
Rarity: Rare

Every time you see a new Legendary creature, you should be thinking “would this be any good as an EDH general?” I know that’s the first though I always have. In this case, old Thada looks a bit weak. He’s very killable, has a questionable effect, though against 99% of all EDH players, you can at least play their Senseis Divining Top! I just don’t think he has enough of an effect to be worth the coveted general slot. ANYWAY, in limited, this is also usually a dud, but occasionally great. You have to just think of him as a gray ogre with islandwalk when deciding whether to play him. Sometimes that’s good enough. Rarely is it anything to get pumped about.

JAMES

I can see this getting some play in extended mirror matches for Fairies/Wizards that almost rely entirely on their ability to get Jitte down for their win. There are a TON of U-splashed decks also running Jitte that makes this card pretty interesting. It’s all about the islandwalk and that will ultimately determine how playable this is. Not the worst card on this U list.

Tideforce Elemental
2U
Creature – Elemental
2/1
{U}, {T}: You may tap or untap another target creature.
Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may untap Tideforce Elemental.
Rarity: Uncommon

Very strong here. This can do a lot of tricky things, and because of the landfall effect, it does marginally more. This card is strong in limited. A wacky (read: cute and worthless) combo occurred to me, involving this card and two others from Worldwake, along with azorius chancery… the two cards are Amulet of Vigor (untaps permanents that EtB tapped under your control) and Ruin Ghost (creature with {W}, {T}: exile target land you control then return it to the battlefield under your control. All this does is let you loop picking up and dropping the chancery, with each iteration adding another “return a land you control to your hand” effect to the stack. Lame? Yes. Worthless? Yes. Funny? If you have a sense of humor like mine, then… kinda.
JAMES

Kinda cool. Super cheap. I like this for constructed because it will help with the turn-purchasing until the contorl player can setup a real win like Sphinx of Jwar Isle.

Treasure Hunt
1U
Sorcery
Reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal a nonland card, then put all cards revealed this way into your hand.
Illus. Daren Bader
Rarity: Common
Set Number: #42/145

Okay, this is a card I’m excited about for Legacy, and I don’t know exactly how it will pan out. There’s a popular deck known as 43Land.dec in Legacy which runs… 43 lands! The question, then, is how many non-lands in that deck can be replaced by this card, and if you do that, how many cards are you drawing on average? Another question I have relates to EDH. If you run this spell in EDH, where Muddle the Mixture and the like can find it for you, and you also run Selective Memory above, can this combo you out? I know that Lands End / Seismic Assault both come to mind here… can you combo? I think these have some potential. In limited, this is probably worth running 1-3 copies, since it will sometimes just cantrip, and sometimes run you through a land pocket into business, guaranteeing the next couple drops. I know I’ve been running 18 lands and up in ZZZ typically, because of landfall… this will be another synergy to play with high land counts. I love this card.

JAMES

This is a good draw spell. There will be times when this hits a pocket of lands and then your opponent is going to be a sad panda but mostly just hitting 1.5 cards on average is nice. I can also see this playing well with Ponder. Certainly a ‘see what you can do with this’ kinda card.

Twitch
2U
Instant
You may tap or untap target artifact, creature, or land.
Draw a card.
Rarity: Common

MEh… it cantrips and saves you from one attacker… not high on my list, really.

JAMES

Bummer. There’s just not much to this.

Vapor Snare
4U
Enchantment – Aura
Enchant creature
You control enchanted creature.
At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Vapor Snare unless you return a land you control to its owner’s hand.
Rarity: Uncommon

I like this. Steals a creature and turns it into a pseudo Living Tsunami. Sounds good to me! Landfall makes this “downside” an upside.

JAMES

the mana cost makes this mid-to-late game and stealing a creature at that point is awesome-sauce. Especially if it’s something like that Baneslayer. There won’t be a lot of landfall that the U-based plaer is playing (that I can think of) so I dn’t see the potential for landfall being a bonus but it’s not that bad of a card. A blue player should be in control and be leveraging this card as a win condition. good for Block and Standard

Voyager Drake
3U
Creature – Drake
3/3
Multikicker {U}
Flying
When Voyager Drake enters the battlefield, up to X target creatures gain flying until end of turn, where X is the number of times Voyager Drake was kicked.
Rarity: Uncommon
Set Number: #45/145

Man, oh man. They’re really pushing creatures these days, am I right? All by itself, this is a flying hill giant. Very strong. But then you get this gravy additional multikicker which might be relevant, but it doesn’t matter because you’re already playing a flying hill giant! I think it might be passe to compare everything to grizzly bears, gray ogres, and hill giants anymore… we’ll see. This IS uncommon, so it’s not necessarily the new hill giant. Man, this looks sweet.

Not so bad. I don’t think this will see constructed play but it certainly looks interesting for limited.

Wind Zendikon
U
Enchantment – Aura
Enchant land
Enchanted land is a 2/2 blue Elemental creature with flying. It’s still a land.
When enchanted land is put into a graveyard, return that card to its owner’s hand.
Rarity: Common
Set Number: #46/145

I’m still unsure about these zendikons, but I like this flying one a lot. It only costs U, which is very cool. Time will tell. There just aren’t a lot of ways to get caught in a 241 with these guys because there aren’t a lot of instant speed land destruction spells, so you’ll almost always at least get your land back when your creature is killed. This should make these good enough. I’m willing to try them, and I want to try this flier version most.

JAMES

I really like this version of the cycle. It’s a cheap flier for a color that’s only going to be attacking some times anyway. The risk is someone trying to bolt the creature down. But that’s using removal on land that a person can just replay. We’re also looking at the blue version so you should have a counter available. (like Dispel, above). Neat.