Oh boy, oh boy! It’s Christmas in July! Ok, maybe not, but it has been a very fun spoiler season for Eldritch Moon. From the return of Emrakul, awesome Planeswalkers, the final Oath, a pile of neat, new flip cards and even Meld, this set is shaping up to be loads of fun and something that is going to leave us all with something to talk about. Who needs Core Sets in the summer when you get things like this?! It’s been a blast and today I’m going through my top 10 cards from Eldritch Moon with an eye towards what Casual players are going to enjoy. Here we go:
10. Mind’s Dilation: I’m not sure how truly good this is going to be, but the effect is very unique and seems very fun. The idea of casting the spells off my opponent’s deck for free is extremely appealing and could make for a totally fun and unpredictable card. Maybe you get a board wipe? A card draw spell? A Fireball (which would actually suck)? Something else that I haven’t conceived of yet?! This gets even more fun in a multiplayer format where you will get multiple triggers as each player takes a turn making this something really spicy. This sounds like it has SO much potential and is going to be loads of fun around the kitchen table.
9. Prey Upon: This isn’t that spicy a card, but the new art is so cool. The original Innistrad gave us Prey Upon and the art had a Werewolf attacking a soldier. Well, in this iteration the tables have turned and now the Werewolf is being hunted by an Eldrazi Horror Werewolf. It is just such a great new art that harkens back to our first visit to Innistrad and I’m excited to see it. It is call backs to things like this that make me love this block so much.
8. Emrakul, The Promised End: If the titular bad guy of the set doesn’t make this list I’m probably doing something wrong. So many people have passed judgement on this card that one more opinion by little old me is not going to matter, but here is what I know: she is going to be the lasting image of this set. If you remember nothing else about this set you are absolutely going to remember the set where Emrakul reappears. Beyond just the sheer iconic imagery of the final titan arriving on Innistrad, her ability to Mindslaver your opponent remains to be something that I yearn to do. I managed to cast Worst Fears in Theros block and that was cool, but that doesn’t come with a 13/13 spaghetti monster with it. This sounds MUCH better and I can’t wait.
7. Spirit of the Hunt: This is for all the Werewolf Tribal players out there. Tribal Werewolf decks now have another way to save all their guys as a combat trick by flashing this guy pumping all your dudes with a little more toughness to fight off that pesky Languish or other potent sweeper. It isn’t super special, but it is on theme and is vastly preferable to Ulrich because Spirit of the Hunt matters to all your other wolves and werewolves. I know my tribal deck will be looking to pick up one or two of these guys and I suspect I am not alone in that regard.
6. Eldritch Evolution: This card just feels broken. It kind of feels like it is way to try and fix Birthing Pod. I still think this is too good for Constructed because it just allows you to tutor up whatever answer you need at that time. Don’t get me wrong, it is absolutely going to get abused in Constructed, but I wouldn’t be shocked if this gets banned fairly readily. However, it will be yet another fine addition to degenerate Kitchen Table Magic games everywhere. The possibilities are endless and the choices are ridiculous. I just can’t believe they are printing this card.
5. Docent of Perfection: The ultimate evolution of Delver of Secrets! I am very interested in seeing this card in action because we have now traced the development of this card through three iterations and each one has been super sweet. This final version is pretty wild because the Prowess trigger makes dudes, the dudes get pumped, and it makes yet MORE dudes. Who needs Thing in the Ice? This is flavourful, fun, and makes Tribal Wizard totally a thing.
4. Shreds of Sanity: This feels super powerful because there are lots of powerful Instants and Sorceries out there in Kitchen Table land and the ability to get them all back seems totally busted. Sure, you have to discard one, but with Madness still being a thing, is that even really a problem? I might be totally off my rocker here, but could there be a chance that a Storm deck is looking for one more spell to cast to buy back something, maybe as a form of insurance, to help them go off? I’m not sure, but I read this and could only conclude that this was extremely powerful.
3. Bruna, the Fading Light: Of the two Angels that make up Brisela, Voice of Nightmares, this is the one I expect to make a big splash casually. Gisela, the Broken Blade is a mini Baneslayer Angel and will get lots of play in Constructed. However, Bruna and her ability to buy back a creature and put it directly into play is insane. Think of all the really powerful reanimation targets? Angel of Serenity, Craterhoof Behemoth, Griselbrand (although I’m not sure where you’re playing these two together exactly), Prime Speaker Zegana, and on and on and on. Now, someone is going to say that she is pretty expensive at 7 mana. You’re right. However, this ability is usually very expensive. Defy Death, from Avacyn Restored was a 5 mana Sorcery for a similar ability. Emeria Shepherd is also an expensive creature and requires an 8th land to even get an effect. You’re getting your Defy Death plus a 5/7 flier for 7 mana…I’m not about to complain. She’s going to be an awesome Kitchen Table card that is just going to make your opponents weep…or have Nightmares…whatever.
2. Tree of Perdition: Is anyone surprised? This one is ridiculous because in formats that have more than 20 life you’re tapping this to deal a whole pile of scary damage. People have pointed out correctly that in Commander that tapping this essentially deals 27 points of damage. Assault Formation or Doran, the Siege Tower makes this a hilarious card that is just going to be abused. Oh, and I’m just going to say Triskaidekaphobia. The end.
1. Harmless Offering: Much like the tree, this is just waiting to be abused much the same way Donate was abused. Demonic Pact is the most obvious place to start, but I bet there are loads of other fun ideas. I’ll leave the particulars of that up to you. On top of the fun little combo, that cute little kitten is worth her weight in gold, but don’t look too closely at her tail and see that tendril sneaking around. Once again, a complete and utter flavour win and the card that I am most excited about in Eldritch Moon.
Ok, ok…I know. No Liliana. No Tamiyo. No Gisela. These are all awesome cards, but there is no doubt in my mind that these will all see extensive constructed play because they are among the most powerful cards for their casting cost in the format. However, the cards I’ve highlighted today are the sorts of things that people around the kitchen table dream about playing and using to maximum effect. That’s why I selected a number of cards that are a little off the beaten path. They might be cards you overlooked, discounted, or forgot about but will get good mileage around a kitchen table some Saturday night with your buddies. Give them a try and see for yourself.
Did I miss something? Is there something else that you have your eye on? Let me know by leaving a comment down below or finding me on Twitter. Good luck to all of you at your Prereleases and be sure to stop by next time for another Casual Encounter.
Bruce Gray – @bgray8791
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
Lately I’ve been a little quiet on the writing front and there are a number of fronts where I’ve had some ideas or thoughts, but just not enough to pen a whole article. Today I thought I would go through some of those MTG impressions and put them together to make a whole post. I’ll be touching on things like the newest Eldritch Moon spoilers, further supplemental products, and even some cards that you should probably revisit because they are super useful. Well, let’s get started.
Everyone has an opinion now that we’ve started to see new cards from Eldritch Moon. I’ve seen people posting about how they love it, others about how they hate it, and others how they are just really bummed that Eternal Masters has all dried up. From where I sit, Eldritch Moon looks like it is going to be pretty amazing and the number one reason is right in the Trailer video which is the new version of Emrakul. The new card looks sweet, the art is stunning, and the story across multiple blocks continues to converge which makes the card all that much sweeter. I’m not going to review big Emrakul right now, but if you’ve seen her you have to admit she looks very powerful and tons of fun.
The second piece of the trailer that got me excited was seeing the Gatewatch arrive on the scene to battle the Eldrazi menace. Now, I don’t suppose we’ll actually be able to get new printings of these Planeswalkers so soon, but the story should be very lively and interesting as our heroes struggle to save Innistrad. When the story is strong and interesting I always find that I enjoy the game a bit more.
One walker we are sure to see a new printing is Liliana and that’s totally ok. I fully expect her to be the black member of the gatewatch because we could clearly see that the cycle of cards was not complete from Oath of the Gatewatch and now that her adopted home is under assault it only makes sense. Now, we aren’t likely to see Liliana of the Veil any time soon, but some new iteration of Lili seems pretty sweet. Really, can they make a bad version of her? I seriously hope not.
The biggest thing with the arrival of Emrakul on Innistrad is that the Magic community seemed to groan collectively when they saw that the threat was the giant flying spaghetti monster. It had been hinted at for months, she didn’t show up in Battle for Zendikar block and was suspected to be elsewhere…and really, what other ultimate menace could really be left? Well, sure enough, we got Emrakul and everyone just groaned because we were sick of the Eldrazi. We just had Eldrazi decks of all sorts run rampant in virtually every major format. Eldrazi were everywhere and were really good and the community was tired of them.
Now, I can admit that I have also had a bit of overload with the Eldrazi recently, but I’m still pretty comfortable with the arrival of Emrakul on Innistrad. The reason I’m pretty comfortable with it is that it continues the story telling arc that began when Sarkhan returned to Tarkir and saved Ugin. From that point on there was no doubt that there was going to be a march towards seeing our intrepid heroes confront the Eldrazi menace and the story has now stretched across three blocks. To my mind that makes for better storytelling than stopping and starting with each new block. I think part of reason that Theros block gets a bit of bad wrap is that it is entirely a self contained story across three sets but come the end of the block the story has met a resolution…an unsatisfactory resolution because Elspeth dies (sort of). Well, now we have a story that has stretched across three blocks (and arguably a Core Set too) and could still extend beyond if the Gatewatch is unable to slay Emrakul. I think that the longevity of the storytelling has made for a far more intriguing story and something that I want to tune in for week after week to see how it unfolds.
There are some very interesting new cards that have been spoiled including Coax from the Blind Eternities which acts like a Glittering Wish variant but for Eldrazi. However, to my eyes the most interesting card is the new printing of an old favorite and that’s the new version of Thalia. Thalia, Cathar Heretic, is a super sweet call back to her original printing and still plays a valuable game in disrupting your opponent by being a Blind Obedience on a stick. My intrigue with her is not so much for Standard because I have no doubt that she’ll fit in many of the Human decks running around, but whether or not she could find a home in a Modern deck. I understand that Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is an integral part of the G/W Hatebears deck that periodically puts up good results and this version is slightly different, but might be a viable option. Modern is a format where plenty of Non-Basic lands are played and being able to slow your opponent down a turn and have their lands come into play tapped might be a significant advantage that shouldn’t be ignored. Is she fast enough at 3 mana to have any real impact in Modern? We’ll soon find out, but she seems interesting and fringe playable.
Also, the new Meld mechanic looks fun but it appears to be something designed to advance the story rather than for playability. The Gisela and Bruna Meld card means you need to have a pair of pricey, rare angels in your deck, get them in play, AND not have them die in order to have them transform. That’s a bit of a stretch in any limited format and with Bruna costing 7 mana to play I can hardly imagine competitive Standard decks being keen to play her. Maybe a casual deck will emerge out there playing these two angels at face value and if you can flip them then you are laughing but that seems like a stretch. Even the Common Meld cards feel like a stretch, but perhaps there will be more that are more playable. We’ll have to wait and see.
With Eldritch Moon just a few weeks there are a few cards that I’ve got my eye on that you might have forgotten about that might take on new playability because they work well with what we are going to find in the newest set. Here are a few things to keep your eyes on.
From Beyond: this is a really interesting enchantment that is going to shine in EDH in a few years as an improved Awakening Zone AND a tutor, but for the time being it is an ingenious way to a) ramp some colourless mana thanks to those Scions b) help you FIND Emrakul in your deck and C) reduce the cost of Emrakul. People are going to say that From Beyond is too slow to be really playable, but let’s look at the facts. If you really want to maximize the cost reduction factor on Emrakul you need a reliable way to get as many different types of cards into your graveyard. One type, namely Enchantments, can be tricky because usually you don’t want your Enchantments in the graveyard. However, From Beyond lets you sacrifice it to go find your biggest Eldrazi meaning you are assured to get an enchantment into your graveyard. If you can keep this thing online for a turn or two, crank out a couple of tokens, and sacrifice those you have now reduced the cost to CAST Emrakul by up to three mana (maybe more) and that’s very significant. I think this has some very real potential to be a card that sneaks into a few decks and that people experiment with because I feel like it could be very good. And then in 3 years time you can use it when you play EDH to go and fetch your scariest Eldrazi and slam it to break your opponents. But that’s for another day.
Harbinger of the Tides: if the game plan looks like it could become a race to how fast you can get Emrakul into play then everyone is going to be looking for ways to fight said race. Harbinger of the Tides might be a reasonable way for Blue decks to slow down the activation of an Emrakul by being able to be played an instant speed without it being an Instant. It doesn’t solve the resolution of the Cast trigger and inevitable Mindslaver effect, but it might set an opponent who has stretched themselves too far to get Emrakul on line back far enough that they can’t recast it and saves you from contending with a 13/13 flying, trample, protection from Instants monster of doom.
Stasis Snare: this is exactly the same plan as the Harbinger of the Tides in a very different colour. This is already widely played removal in White and will likely to continue to be extremely useful to combat Emrakul.
Sanctum of Ugin: I don’t really need to remind you why this is here…this just goes and gets you your giant Eldrazi. End of story.
Surrak, the Hunt Caller: this beefy 5/4 for 4 mana plays remarkably well with something huge and scary like Emrakul because you could potentially give it Haste. That is a terrifying prospect and really gives me a reason to go back and revisit Surrak. On top of the unmistakable synergy with really big Eldrazi creatures, Surrak is ALSO a human meaning that Thalia’s Lieutenant and he are best buds. If G/W human decks look like they need to tussle a bit more and need a little more beef then Surrak could get another lease on life again there too.
I have to admit I’m very excited for the new Eldritch Moon set that is set to come out and the new possibilities that could take shape in the weeks to come. I can’t wait to see the whole spoiler and to the full effect of what is included in the set. Hopefully some new additions will breath new life into some other cards and really make the rest of the summer fun as we head towards Kaladesh and Conspiracy 2.
Thanks for stopping in to read my MTG Impressions and be sure to stop by again next time for another Casual Encounter.
Bruce Gray – @bgray8791
It has finally arrived, the beginning of previews for Eldritch Moon. Be sure to check back regularly on our Eldritch Moon Preview Page to see all the awesomeness that is coming. And remember the Prerelease Weekend will be July 16th & 17th so if you’re going to be in Montreal be sure to stop by at Three Kings Loot to participate in what is going to be a seriously amazing event, we look forward to seeing you there. We also have Preorders starting up for Booster Boxes/Cases, Fat Packs & Intro Decks, please keep in mind we are only able to ship sealed products within Canada.
Set Name – Eldritch Moon
Block – Set 2 of 2 in the Shadows over Innistrad block
Number of Cards – 205
Prerelease Events – July 16–17, 2016
Release Date – July 22, 2016
Launch Weekend – July 22–24, 2016
Game Day – August 13–14, 2016
Magic Online Prerelease Events – July 29–August 1, 2016
Magic Online Release Date – August 1, 2016
Magic Online Release Events – August 1–17, 2016
Pro Tour Eldritch Moon – August 5–7, 2016
Pro Tour Eldritch Moon Location – Sydney, Australia
Pro Tour Eldritch moon Formats
Official Three–Letter Code – EMN
Twitter Hashtag – #MTGEMN
Initial Concept and Game Design
Final Game Design and Development
Languages – English, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish
Available in – Booster Packs, Intro Packs*, Fat Packs*
(*Not available in all languages. Not all products available in Magic Online.)