It’s like the 5th day of Christmas again…let’s see what Santa left us under the tree today!
Dictate of Karametra- So, it appears as if my prediction on the Dictate cycle is coming to fruition, this one is green. So, for 5 mana (3 colourless and 2 green) whenever a player taps a land for mana, that player adds one mana of any type that the land can produce. Like the other Dictates it comes in with Flash, which is kind of neat, but the real appeal of this is the mana ramp. This ensures that you land makes its regular mana, but then gives you an additional boost. This is a cool effect that reminds me very much of Mana Flare in its global effect. I don’t know if there is a Standard deck that is screaming out for this, but it will be a terrific casual and EDH card to allow players to ramp into all sorts of silly shenanigans. I’ll give it a C, much in line with my view on the other Dictates in the cycle, but at least this one I think is fun and cute to play.
Hypnotic Siren- a 1/1 flier for 1 Blue and had this stopped there it would be very playable in Limited. A 1 drop with evasion in Blue is super good and will automatically get consideration over a number of 1 drops elsewhere in the Block. The real treat is the Bestow ability that is in essence a Control Magic type effect. So, in the late game if you are being smacked around by some big beat stick , or you see an opportunity to take a particularly valuable asset from your opponent, this little guy could be your ticket. Now, the Bestow cost is very steep at a 7 mana (5 colourless, 2 Blue), but the effect is very powerful and not overlooked. I’ll give this a B+ because the efficient 1 drop with evasion is very valuable, and late game can turn the tide of battle by permanently stealing a creature from your opponent.
Kiora’s Dismissal– This is yet another Strive card and it is kind of interesting. For 1 Blue you get to return target enchantment to their owner’s hand. The Strive cost for additional targets is 1 Blue for each additional target. Now, ordinarily I would be down on this card because in many set enchantments just aren’t that prevalent. Furthermore, you are only returning it to their hand, not eliminating it permanently. However, in this set, with all the Enchantment Creatures with Bestow circulating around this is getting close to being an unsummon effect. Notice I say “close”. It isn’t an unsummon or even retraction helix, but it is cheap and can significantly impact a board with multiple enchantments at instant speed. I still think the fact that it limits you to targeting enchantments will be the reason players pass it over in favor of other things, if you are in dire straight for some sort of quasi removal effect in your draft or sealed deck then this could see play. Otherwise, I think this is just too limiting and will be set aside as an interesting but seldom played card. This is getting a C from me because of the conditions on it.
Launch the Fleet– A 1 White sorcery with Strive that says “Whenever this creature attacks, put a 1/1 white soldier token into play” and can target multiple creatures by adding a mere 1 colourless for each additional target. This is a Heroic triggering nightmare for decks playing against any base white Heroic deck in limited. This will basically ramp out a whole load of 1/1 soldier tokens, trigger Heroic on the whole team, and then allow for the White Weenie beat down to begin in earnest. I think this could be a very valuable and potent draft card because we’ve seen the value of inexpensive Heroic triggers, and this not only is a massive trigger, but also nets you extra value in the form of creatures. The value decreases significantly if you aren’t the Heroic deck, but adding extra, inexpensive chump blockers is also quite useful, so I can see it get a reasonable amount of play at draft. I figure this will be a B- because not every deck will want this type of effect, but when it goes off it could be very powerful and flood the board to put you well ahead of the race.
Mana Confluence- This Rare land allows you to tap it, pay one life to add one mana of any colour to your mana pool. This sort of damage land used to be the norm with lands that produced multiple mana types and they have all proven to be very good. Adarkar Wastes, Battlefield Forge and the lands of that ilk did at least allow you to tap for colourless without taking damage, but that doesn’t mean Mana Confluence won’t see play. This basically opens the door to splash all sorts of fun and interesting spells without the need to worry too much about trying to find the required fixing to make it work . So, no Sprinleaf drum, no Traveler’s Amulet, heck, no Sylvan Caryatid (unless you really want to), you can just put Mana Confluence in and off you go to Splash-ville. It will absolutely get played at Draft, of that there is no doubt, but the flexibility in terms of play at Constructed formats could allow this to sneak in to help decks splash new options and liven up the format with fun new spells that decks didn’t have available to them. I think this is a solid B for having a range of possibilities, but the drawback of taking damage will still deter some players from playing this overly aggressively.
Ritual of the Returned- This 4 mana Black instant allows you to exile target creature from your graveyard and put a zombie token into play that is the has the power and toughness of the exiled creature. Ok, first off, I love this spell. The G/B reanimator deck will gobble this up all day because it could very well allow them to cheat their big fatties into play for a modest price. Yes, 4 is a significant price to pay, the fact that this can be done at instant speed is really what makes this appealing. You can cast this on their end step, bring back your big fatty that you put in your yard with a Grisly Salvage, Commune with the Gods, or Satyr Wayfinder, and then it will be all ready to attack and smash face when you untap. Solid card…and at uncommon is EXACTLY what reanimator decks are looking for to make this a viable strategy again. This gets a B+ from me.
Worst Fears- A 8 mana sorcery that says control target player during that player’s next turn. Ok, there is trend with Mythic Rare cards and that is the ability is either absolutely crushing, or hilarious, and sometimes both. This one fits the bill for both. The problem is really in the casting cost…8 mana is very expensive. It won’t see play in Constructed. I doubt that it will see play in limited. The only place I see this fitting is in EDH decks (and incidentally, wouldn’t that be a riot to play at a multiplayer EDH game!) or by Casual players who want to see if they build some wacky deck. In all the games I’ve played, I have yet to see someone else actually control an opponent for a turn, but it is something I’d like to see and this just might open that possibility. I still can only give this a D+ because I can conceive of very few situations where I ever really want to draw this card…but some Johnny out there is going to love this spell and will break it wide open, I’m sure.
Well, that’s it for today. Thanks for reading and I’ll be back with more spoilers as soon we get them!