We’re at the tail end of another spoiler season and it’s high time we started talking about Magic‘s newest offering: Eldritch Moon. Part two of the Shadows Over Innistrad block attempts to up the ante with terrifying cosmic – in lieu of gothic – horror and some thrilling new cards.
The story of Eldritch Moon is unravelling at a frantic pace with Jace reuniting with his League of Superfriends to protect Innistrad from succumbing to the cosmic frenzy of the incomprehensible Eldrazi.
Wait. Hold on a minute… Didn’t we just finish this exact same story in Battle for Zendikar? Short answer: Yes. Long answer: While Wizards is certainly adept at making one of the greatest cards games on Earth, their creativity in storytelling is sometimes a little lacking. Predictably, the Big Bad of Eldritch Moon was the only Eldrazi Titan noticeably absent at the conclusion of BFZ. Emrakul’s presence on the plane is the reason people, places and things on Innistrad are being warped and deformed into grotesque versions of themselves and while the threat of the Eldrazi might not be as menacing as it used to be since we discovered how easily they can be defeated in Battle for Zendikar, there’s still plenty of other things to get excited for in Eldritch Moon.
What they may lack in plot and originality, Wizards certainly makes up for it with strong flavour and exciting new mechanics. They’ve gone all-in with their concept of cosmic horror and it shines through not only in the art and flavour text of almost every card, but also in one of their more interesting new mechanics: Meld. Meld allows you to physically combine two different cards to form one massive new card in a mechanic often seen in other card games but never before in black bordered Magic.
Meld is certainly one of Magic‘s flashier mechanics but I tend to be more excited by simpler, idea prompting cards than I am by classic value creatures or clear cut powerful spells. I’m often inspired by and gravitate towards cards that allow me to build interesting and creative decks. Traditionally, Wizards tends to lead spoiler seasons with their marquee creatures and Planeswalkers – as they did with their Day One reveal of Emrakul, the Promised End – but I found myself being much more excited toward the end of this season when they unveiled a handful of incredibly interesting “Build Around Me” cards and/or cards playing in fresh new design space. Let’s take a look at some of the more recently revealed cards I believe are particularly noteworthy.
I absolutely love cards like Sigarda’s Aid.
It plays in design space that many of the pros abhor but I’m absolutely enamoured with: Enchantments and Equipment. Some of my favourite decks have been Enchantment/Enchantress decks and giving Auras Flash seems like a fantastic addition to those decks. The reason pro players dislike Enchantments and Auras is two-fold: 1) They’re usually slow (since they’re most often played on your turn) and 2) Auras in particular open you up to 2-for-1s (i.e. when you lose two cards to your opponent’s one card). Auras typically lack some sort of resiliency to them, meaning if your opponent can remove the creature enchanted with an Aura, you’ve lost two cards – the creature and the Aura – to your opponent’s one removal spell.
Sigarda’s Aid addresses a lot of these tribulations. By giving Auras Flash, they become no different from traditional Instant speed combat tricks. Did they block your 2/2 with their 3/3? Not a problem: Flash in Wolfkin Bond and your 2/2 is now a 4/4. You’ve now gained value that you might have lost if you played the Aura on your turn and had the creature removed during your end step. Another cute trick to Flash in could be a card like Defang on your opponent’s attacking creature. Giving cards that people usually play at Sorcery speed the ability to be cast at Instant speed can lead to a lot of very fun and challenging interactions.
As if giving your Auras the ability to cast them at Instant speed wasn’t enough, you can do the same with your Equipment spells as well as attach Equipment right onto a creature without even paying Equip costs. That seems amazing. Argentum Armor goes from a 6 mana to cast, 6 mana to equip, 12 mana total investment to a 6 mana Instant speed combat trick. That’s just dirty. In Modern, all the Swords of X & Y become that much better because they bypass not only the need for them to be cast during your turn but the requirement to be equipped during your turn as well.
I honestly feel this is a fantastic card and I’m really looking forward to seeing what types of decks are built around it. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see players trying to break this card because of the incredible power it represents. I feel like this is the card that Enchantment and Equipment decks have been waiting for. Wizards, if we can someday get this card’s abilities onto a creature, preferably a Cat, I’d be ecstatic.
Multiplayer formats aren’t my forte, but I’d like to talk about this little gem here.
I think it’s hilarious.
Granted, this card doesn’t seem like the optimal pick in a 1v1 game by any means. It comes down on turn 7 and does a whole lot of nothing when it finally does. You’ll get some fun shenanigans maybe, assuming your opponent casts at least one spell per turn and assuming they don’t reveal a land off the trigger. Not great at all.
In multiplayer games, this card seems insane. In a 4v4 game, you’ve got three times the amount of opponents to potentially trigger its ability. Not only that, but players can trigger it multiple times by playing spells on their opponents turns. I can’t even image what the game would look like with two to four of these in play. I have a feeling this card will create some rather silly board states rather quickly. The chaotic randomness to it makes me feel like Mind’s Dilation should have been a Blue and Red spell. It certainly feels like it has Izzet potential.
I’m quite sure this won’t find a home in Standard barring the most janky of FNM decks – which is fine; more power to you my Brewmaster Brethren – but I would definitely hang on to a few copies of this card to at least trade with your Commander or multiplayer Cube playing friends. This is exactly the type of effect those players love to dabble with.
There’s definitely something strange in this last card.
This is an effect that we’ve never seen before in Magic and I really hope it plays well, because on the surface, it looks hysterical. Green has had the ability to make copies of its own creatures before with cards like Essence of the Wild, Giant Adephage, Spawnwrithe and Sprouting Phytohydra. This, however, is the first time you can turn your opponent’s creatures into copies of one of your creatures. Turn all of your dangerous creatures into relatively harmless 1/3s? Yes, please.
Getting First Strike onto this creature seems essential; that way, he can turn bigger creatures into versions of himself without dying post combat damage. Be mindful that when he deals damage to your opponent’s creatures, they’ll become 1/3s with 1 damage marked on them. If you have a 2 damage burn spell or an effect that lowers their toughness by 2, you’ll be able to kill their creature.
I’ll be honest and say that I’m slightly disappointed that Permeating Mass doesn’t work with Fight effects. Building a deck based around this guy and cards like Rabid Bite to slime all of my opponent’s creatures is something I would have absolutely tried to do. Perhaps if this card plays well, we’ll have an updated version in the future.
That’s all we have time for with this edition of Spoiler Weeks. Did you enjoy the article? Let us know in the Comments section below! We’ll be looking at Eldritch Moon a lot more in the coming weeks including a Cracking Moon article where we’ll crack some packs of EMN. If you’re in the area, Three Kings Loot will be hosting three Eldritch Moon Prerelease events on 16th and 17th July! You can preregister for them online now!
JP Vazquez – Optimum Jank
Well, it is that time of year again when we have had a new set of spoilers and all sorts of fun stuff get revealed for Eternal Masters. Typically I go through my top 10 picks for Casual Play but that seems like a ridiculous proposition. There are so many cards in this set that are ideal in Casual circles of all kinds that it is kind of like shooting fish in a barrel…you just can’t miss! There are still countless cards that have got me excited for the arrival of EMA and I’ve got my own top 10 list that I’m going to share with you guys. I have this sort of list mostly because I know that I won’t be opening much, if any, EMA product because the MSRP is as high as it is. I should probably just buy a lottery ticket because the net effect is about the same. That said, I will certainly be looking to find some of these cards as singles in a few weeks. So, without further ado, here’s my top ten list from Eternal Masters.
10- Mother of Runes: What’s NOT to love about this card. In any deck running white she is just a blow out waiting to happen and if your opponent isn’t aware then they could see themselves walking into a bad block and having Mom give it protection. I love this for Commander and any deck running white will totally run her and just ensure that you have game against every colour in the format.
9-Necropotence: I love nothing better than drawing more cards. The more I play the more I’m prepared to spend my life points, sacrifice stuff, discard stuff, or jump through other hoops to draw more cards…and Necropotence is among the best cards for drawing extra cards ever. If you are familiar with the history of Magic there was a time when this card was just a dominant force because it allowed players to draw just so much more of their deck that the life spent was well worth it. In Commander that still holds true and Necropotence can allow you to draw such a higher percentage of your deck that the advantage gained is often overwhelming. It is hard to imagine this card not being on my list.
8-Mystical Tutor : So, many moons ago I had a chance to cube draft with some of my friends and I had a truly weird U/G deck (and I wrote about here). One of the fun things I drafted was a Mystical Tutor…in a deck with a Time Walk. Just that thought alone, of instant speed searching up something crazy busted and taking extra turns, wrathing away the board, or some other very powerful effect is reason enough to be excited for this. I’m sure many of you all have your favorite targets already and can’t wait to sleeve up this little treat and to go crazy.
7-Regal Force: So, when i’m looking for bombs I love a big body with upside. However, when the upside says draw more cards, I’m totally in. Like, unbelievably in. Green is my favorite color, this has a huge body, and it draws me a boat load of cards. I’m in love…and I didn’t even know this card existed until I saw the spoiler. This just calls to my inner Timmy and there is just no shame in admitting it.
6- Green Sun’s Zenith: Banned green creature tutor. Ok. I’m totally on board and imagining all the sick things I could do with this. My first reaction is to pair this with Nykthos giving my EDH deck the ability to go find whatever I need in my deck…Like a Craterhoof Behemoth or a Worldspine Wurm. Just imagine going and finding all the biggest and scariest monsters you can think up. Sounds like fun to me.
5-Vampiric Tutor: This is just an awesome tutor and in any commander deck you will happily pay the life to get the card you really want. What more do you want? This is your ticket to drawing that magic silver bullet and having that knowledge feels amazing.
4-Toxic Deluge: I wanted Damnation. I think we all did. But for casual games and EDH this is more than satisfactory. I mean, three mana kill every thing (with the added cost of some life points…which we have in spades in EDH) is pretty awesome. Also, it can shrink down and kill indestructible creatures, can be used flexibly to leave you with the biggest, beefiest creature on the board and still wax all of your opponent’s stuff. It’s no Damnation, but it is still pretty exciting.
3-Deep Analysis/ Burning Vengeance: These seem pretty innocuous to be third on my list, but anytime I can get more utility out of cards in my graveyard I am totally on board. Both of these can be cast from my graveyard making them very valuable and can allow me to draw more cards and dig for answers. Oh…and with a Burning Vengeance these are just hilarious. So, they may seem simple, but they are very useful and I’m excited to have renewed access to them for a whole range of decks I like to play including Pauper and Commander..
2-Maze of Ith: I’m excited for this one because I have an original printing of this from The Dark and love the card. Sadly, my version is slightly beat up, so the chance to find a new copy is kind of exciting. Add in the fact that it’s just a good card that just blanks so many creatures and you have something that is very appealing even if it seems somewhat underwhelming. Also, i’m pretty excited for the chance to search for it with an Ulvenwald Hydra and fetch it up because that feels like a fun interaction that no one really ever talks about.
1- Jace, The Mind Sculptor: This guy is number one when it comes to Planeswalkers. C’mon, the dude is banned in modern, has four abilities all of which are good, is a Legacy staple, and just feels unfair. I don’t play much Legacy, but when I do I want to play JTMS. The fact that the price might start being “just expensive” instead of “ungodly expensive” is reason enough to be excited. Honestly, if you had a chance to play Jace…would you? I know I would without a second of hesitation.
Well, there we have it. I know there are people out there that are pumped for the chance to get super pricey cards like Force of Will and Wasteland. For me, those cards are great, but they aren’t what gets me excited. I bet every player out there will have a slightly different list of what they like…and that’s the best part! I don’t think you can go wrong in a set like this from a gameplay perspective. I can hardly wait to see what new cards start making decks because they are now increasingly accessible and have a real impact on how games are played. It is going to be an exciting time.
Thanks for taking the time to stop in and have a read. Leave a comment down below or find me on Twitter to let me know has got you excited and if it looks anything like my list. And as always, be sure to stop by next time for another Casual Encounter.
@bgray8791 on twitter
Magic has a storied history all the way back to the Alpha release of counter magic coming from Blue mages. Clash of Wills follows in the same vein as the classic Power Sink, much like Broken Ambitions or Condescend have also filled that role previously. More recently we’ve seen Syncopate used as that necessary turn two counter, which scales up later in the game unlike other ‘unless its controller pays’ counters like Mana Leak. It’s almost as if Wizards is trying to push some of the more controlling styles with recent Blue FNM Promo Anticipate just finishing up its reign as the current FNM offering.
The art is truly stunning with that pose of Jace in a skirmish with an Eldrazi by relative newcomer Anna Steinbauer. This scene really is miles beyond the original art of Jace locked in the battle of will against Alhammarret. I can only imagine that the honor of showcasing her talents on a promo card means we can look forward to more of her working in the upcoming Oath of the Gatewatch release. And the piece de resistance is that chilling quote from Jace about the true mental nature of the Eldrazi.
I hope you all get your shot at nabbing one of these babies at an FNM near you in February, and if you happen to be in Montreal be sure to take in one of our FNMs at the Butin des Trois Rois. We hope to see you there, and good luck !!!
@ejseltzer on Twitter
18th Place at Grand Prix Richmond on 3/9/2014