I hope everyone enjoyed their pre-release events this weekend. I had a blast playing in a Two Headed Giant pre-release and got my first up close and personal look and feel for Journey into Nyx. The consensus around the room was that the set was very solid and very interesting. There are some terrific cards, some very intricate cards that will need careful timing to work, and a bunch of very useful and relevant creatures that make the whole process a lot of fun. I wanted to take a moment, now that we’ve all got a taste, what I think are some of the more exciting and interesting cards from Journey into Nyx.
Let’s start off with this disclaimer. I may not be picking the best cards, or the flashiest cards. I’ll leave that to players who will trying to brew up top level competitive decks. No, I’m taking more of a Casual approach and looking at cards that I feel offer us something interesting that we may not have seen in a while, offer some interesting deck ideas, or are just plain fun. So, without further delay, let’s get to looking at what new treats I can’t wait to get my hands on where Journey into Nyx is with us for real.
There are actually a number of really sweet commons that have been printed in the set and I had a hard time settling on one…so I picked 2.
Desecration Plague I love the versatility of this card. The ability to take out an enchantment or a LAND is super fun, particularly the land. With this and Red’s Demolish in the same set, the Casual Brewer in me is seriously looking at building a R/G land destruction deck and just make a wreck of the land base for my opponent and frustrate the heck out of them. I bet there is no one else on the planet that is actually jazzed for this card, but I think this will be a fun addition to our repertoire of spells. Nothing quite like undercutting your opponent by eating his land.
Flurry of Horns- The more I look at this card, the more I think it is going to be a ton of fun. I love me a tribal deck. Goblins, Merfolk, Spirits…you name it, I love it. Now, Minotaurs are a thing. They REALLY REALLY are. Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself. This spell will be an awesome addition to a Man-Bull deck and for 5 mana is suitably costed, gives you 2 more Minotaurs with haste, and lets you stampede over your opponent. If you’ve got Kragma Warcaller or Felhide Petrifier in play as well, well, wow, things are going to get ugly…FAST. This is dripping with flavour in a mythology inspired block and is a fun and card to rock in your new Minotaur deck.
Fleetfeather Cockatrice- This gold card has too much text for it to not be good. Honestly, Flying, Flash, Deathtouch and MONSTROSITY all on the same card? This will be awesome. Sure, it’s 5 mana, but it comes out of no-where thanks to flash and straight up kills something. It’s big enough that it could survive combat, which is awesome, and it can then take over the skies if you can trick it out with the Monstrosity ability to make it a 6/6…that’s a freaking dragon!? I love it. I am sure that my G/U flash deck is going to love seeing this addition in at least a pair of, but I might be prepared to take this guy out and see what other carnage I can cause with him. He doesn’t lend too much in the way of combos or wild synergy, but there is something to be said for just a straight up good creature that will do a lot for you. This is the sort of creature I want and will get good value from him. Oh, and I love the reference to the original Cockatrice from Revised which was a staple and can now have a new play mate in 2014.
There are a number of fun rares in this set and generally I feel like they are powerful without being broken. There has been lots of buzz around Eidolon of Blossoms, but I’m not convinced that the Constellation trigger on it will actually end up being that cool. No, the rare that caught my eye, just because of the simplicity is Dawnbringer Charioteer. This is a tried and true tested formula in Theros block and you can’t miss with this guy. We saw very early on that Wingsteed Rider was good. Like ridiculously good. Then, we saw that Akroan Skyguard was good too. We have seen that just about ANY Heroic Trigger that puts +1/+1 counters on it is good, and if it flies it is even better…so how can you miss with the Charioteer? Bottom line, you can’t. It’s a 2/4, flying, lifelinking, Heroic BOMB and it just destroys your opponent. I raved about this one when it was spoiled and I still think it is awesome. Is it going to be Constructed playable? Doubtful, but the Casual Brewer in me is already hard at work trying to brew up something disgusting to do with this guy.
While we are on the topic of Rare cards, I wanted to diverge a little. Yes, I said I would talk about cards that got me excited, but I wanted to take a minute to talk about a card that I can’t imagine playing. Dictate of the Twin Gods is just about as unplayable a card as I have ever seen. Yes, I get that there are some people that will love this one, but my honest sense is that it will backfire and end up costing the caster far more often than not. If you can’t close out the game the turn this lands on the table, my honest sense is that it is game over for you because you have committed to being all in…and didn’t get there…and now the backswing from your opponent is going to sting twice as much. I had an opponent run this at our pre-release and instead of allowing them to run up the damage with their Minotaurs, it resulted in double damage to the face when my Charioteer punched through for about a million. Yeah, this card seems like more trouble than it is worth and I am really struggling at seeing too much in the way of quality uses. Funny uses? Oh hell yes, I can dream up FUNNY…but they aren’t GOOD uses. Rant over…thank you.
It seems like a bit of a cop out to pick one of the Gods, but they all look really cool in this set. The one that has me most excited is actually the last one I thought I would like when I read his abilities. Kruphix, God of Horizons is actually super neat, but initially I misunderstood his abilities. Apparently I wasn’t the only one as the twitter universe was all a-buzz about his abilities. The first ability, of having no max hand size is nice. However, what makes him exciting is the second ability that basically means you get to store your unused mana as Colourless mana. The more I think about it, the more I think that the second ability is tremendous in some strategies and casual decks. The sky is now the limit! Just keep pouring in that mana into good ol’ Kruphix and watch the fireworks. Think about it! Giant Sphinx’s Revelation. The biggest Mistcutter you’ve EVER seen. Wild Strive Triggers. Going Monstrous with Polukranos for…oh…I don’t know…about a million and blowing out the whole other team. The options available are just about endless. Now, this is living in Magical Christmas land again, but honestly, there’s nothing wrong with living there for a little while. Heck, that’s why we love the new cards! Magical Christmas Land has come and you can see all the cool new treats and the silly things you can do with them…and Kruphix is just the same. I’ll let the Scrooges out there dump all over Kruphix for Constructed purposes, but for Casual he’s going to be HILARIOUS!
So, there we have my picks for cards for Journey into Nyx. It is interesting to see the difference between Born of the Gods and Journey into Nyx, both of which were similar add-ons to Theros, but while Born of the Gods was almost simplistic in nature, Journey into Nyx is actually pretty complex with a bunch of really interesting new abilities and mechanics to weigh when considering making a deck. Is a Constellation deck possible? Would it be any good? How good will Strive be? We didn’t have the same questions from Born of the Gods because the mechanics were pretty straight forward. This time we have new things to consider and some very serious options to weigh when building decks. Oh well…time to get down to work and see what else I can brew up. I’ll catch you guys later.
Until next time, keep it fun, keep it safe…keep it casual.
Felhide Petrifier- Ok, so tribal Minotaurs was scary already and there is a pretty reasonable Budget Standard Minotaur deck…and they got ANOTHER weapon. Felhide Petrifier is a 2/3 for a black and 2 colourless and it has deathtouch and gives all other Minotaurs you control death touch. So, now you don’t even want to block the Man-Bulls. He’s cheap, has HUGE upside for your Man-Bulls, and just makes the board state awful. I like him and might try a Man-Bull deck of my own.
Flamespeaker’s Will- An inexpensive Aura for 1 red that gives target creature +1/+1, so it’s ok right there. However, the extra with this is that when enchanted creature deals damage to a player you may sacrifice Flamespeaker’s Will to destroy target artifact. Frankly, the conditional aspect of the second half of the card is a really a disincentive to playing it because the set up cost to trigger it is actually pretty high. +1/+1 for 1 mana is ok, but hardly exciting…so, you can run this in limited, but you’ll probably want to pass on it.
Flurry of Horns- 5 mana (1 red and 4 colourless) sorcery that gives you 2 2/3 Minotaurs with haste. A friend was talking to me about this card and said that he looked at this as a 4/6 for 5 mana, because in essence, that is the net impact to your board state. When put in those terms, this is actually a reasonable card. It won’t see play in Constructed or anything, but it is a pretty useful card for Limited and is another source of Man-Bulls for the Minotaur deck.
Goldenhide Ox- A 6 mana (1 red and 5 colourless) 5/4 Cyclops that also Monstrosity 3 for 7 mana (2 red, 5 colourless). It’s a useful body and the single red in the casting cost could make him splashable…but he’s really just a dude with a big body that will plug up the board.
Goldenhide Ox- This is an interesting 6 mana (1 green and 5 colourless) enchantment creature ox that has Constellation that when it is triggered forces target creature to get blocked this turn if able. A 5/4 for 6 mana is ok with a solid body to attack or block with, and the single green means you could splash this guy easily enough, and the Constellation ability is potentially useful to take control of combat on your opponent. I think this is mostly just a big body, but the Constellation could become relevant in some decks looking to turn the tide of combat.
Grim Guardian- A 1/4 enchantment creature Zombie with Constellation for 3 mana (1 black and 2 colourless). The Constellation ability, when triggered, says that each opponent loses one life. This is actually a pretty solid card and very grindy in the B/W draft deck featuring Scholar of Athreos and Servant of Tymaret. The high toughness makes this a solid blocker for 3 mana, and the Constellation ability could really be useful to chip away at the life total of your opponent.
Harvestguard Alseids- a 2/3 enchantment creature Nymph with Constellation for 3 mana (1 white, 2 colourless). The Constellation ability, when triggered, says prevent all damage done to target until end of turn. This will be marginal and mostly used for the reasonable body, but is mostly just a big yawn because it’s pretty uneventful.
Hour of Need- A three mana (1 blue, 2 colourless) Instant with Strive that says exile target creature and put a 4/4 flying blue Sphinx token and for an additional 1 blue and 1 colourless you can target additional creatures. This is a pretty awesome card because it is ridiculous combat trick. Cast this, exile your dinky merfolk or little soldier, and trade it for a 4/4 flying Sphinx! That’s ridiculous! I’ll happily trade my little creature for an Air Elemental. The Strive makes this potentially really powerful because 5 mana for a pair of 4/4 creatures is very good. I like this one…if you see this in draft, don’t pass on it.
Hubris- This is a 2 mana (1 blue, 1 colourless) instant that is basically a unsummon effect. You return the creature and all auras attached to it to its owner’s hand. This is useful if you need to save something you have Voltroned up, but is really a removal spell for Blue and sets your opponent back quite a bit, particularly if they have Bestowed a creature (which is quite expensive usually) on the creature you just unsummoned. We saw that Voyage’s End was good in Theros, and Hubris will be similarly quite good.
Humbler of Mortals- A 6 mana (2 green, 4 colourless) for a 5/5 Enchantment Creature Elemental with Constellation. The Constellation ability, when triggered, says creatures you control gain trample. This will a solid 6 drop in limited and could really make your big fatty’s very relevant and help push through the damage, but I feel like what you REALLY want to do is on the follow up turn Bestow something on this guy, trigger the Constellation, and then Smash away. He’s a little conditional, but the big body helps to make this guy more playable.
Knowledge and Power- 5 mana (1 red, 4 colourless) enchantment that says whenever you scry, pay 2 colourless, deal 2 damage to target creature or player. This is a huge set up cost for a shock and frankly is pretty unplayable. Don’t get lured in. Pass this one up and keep moving.
Lagonna-Band Trailblazer- 0/4 Centaur for 1 white mana that has Heroic and gets +1/+1 counters when targeted by spells. He’s already a good blocker with high toughness, and then hit him with a spell of ANY sort and suddenly this guy is VERY good for the amount of investment. Yoked Ox version 2.0 with the improved ability makes this guy very good.
Leonin Iconoclast- A 4 mana (1 white, 3 colourless) for a 3/2 Cat Monk (love the creature type) that has Heroic that says whenever it is targeted destroy target Enchantment Creature your opponent controls. This could be really useful because this block is chocked FULL of enchantment creatures…and now I get a creature a solid body that can attack, get tricked, and takes out an Enchantment creature and can trade up to get a 2 for 1. I like this creature.
Lightning Diadem- a 6 mana (1 red, 5 colourless) aura that gives target creature +2/+2 and when Lightning Diadem enters the battlefield deal 2 damage to target creature or player. 6 mana for +2/+2? No way! Even WITH the Shock on the Enter the Battlefield this is a bad card. Don’t waste your time.
Magma Spray- Well, hello pillar of flame, my old friend, I’ve missed you. This will be useful removal, is cheap and inexpensive and exiles pesky creatures. You’ll play this in limited and it might even find a way to sneak into sideboards in Standard.
Market Festival- A 4 mana aura (1 green and 3 colourless) that targets a land and says that whenever the land is tapped for mana, its controller gets 2 mana in any combination of colours to his or her mana pool in addition to the mana it normally produces. This an interesting ramp spell that essentially produces 3 mana from 1 land, but is expensive to cast. If you cast this you had better have a handful of HUGE fatties you want to drop, but I think it’s a little slow and likely something you will pick up late in your draft and may opt to pass on as far as being in your 23 card deck.
Mortal Obstinancy- 1 white gets you an aura that gives +1/+1 to target creature and when enchanted creature deals combat damage to an opponent you may sacrifice it to destroy target enchantment. It’s still pretty conditional, but I might run this in limited because of the large number of enchantments in the block and might find it useful to take out a troubling enchantment creature.
Nature’s Panopoly- 1 green mana for an instant that also has Strive and says put a +1/+1 counter on target creature and you may spend 2 colourless and a green to target each additional creature. This is an ok combat trick, but lacks a little bite. It might be on the fence for your 23 card deck but likely won’t hurt you much if you run it.
Nessian Game Warden- a 4/5 Beast for 2 green and 3 colourless that has a really neat ability. When it enters the battlefield you may look at the top X cards of your library where X is equal to the number of forests you control, and reveal a creature from among those cards and put it in your hand and the others put them on the bottom of you library in any order. This is interesting card advantage and a big body that makes this one very playable and quite powerful.
Nightmarish End- a 3 mana (2 colourless and 1 black) for an instant that gives target creature -X/-X where X is equal to the number of cards in your hand. First off, the artwork on this is super cool as Ashiok has clearly done awful things to the poor dude in the picture. The ability is good in limited where you will likely have cards in hand because the format is a little slower and could quite seriously take out a big creature or two. You’ll consider this one as being a solid removal spell.
Nyx Infusion- A 3 mana (1 black, 2 colourless) aura that gives enchantment creatures +2/+2 otherwise the creature gets -2/-2. The versatility is nice here…it could be a form of removal for a pesky “bear”, or a nice boost to a creature on your board. Overall, it’s kind of meh, but playable if you are looking for the flexibility this offers. This will be around late in the round, so no rush to grab this up.
Oakheart Dryads- a 2/3 for 3 mana (a green and 2 colourless) this enchantment creature comes with Constellation that says whenever it or another enchantment enters play target creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn. This is a serviceable body, a reasonable Constellation ability, and is generally pretty reasonable, if not exciting.
Oppressive Rays- a 1 white mana aura that prevents target creature from blocking or attacking unless their owner pays 3 colourless. Also, activated abilities of the creature cost 3 colourless more to activate. This is pretty cheap and can really slow down an opponent. It acts much like a Pacifism and strangles off activated abilities making it pretty decent “removal”. You will have to pick your spot and use this strategically because they may just be prepared to pay the cost, particularly the later the game goes, but as an early ay to freeze up your opponent this will be a strong card.
Oreskos Swift Claw- a 3/1 for 2 mana (a white and a colourless) is a good aggressive creature in a White Weenie style deck. He’s a little vanilla, but still solid and aggressive in a draft.
Pensive Minotaur- a 2/3 Minotaur for 3 mana (2 colourless and a red). He’s a solid enough body in red and if you are drafting the B/R Minotaur deck he’s ok, but just a little bland. He’ll still make decks, but is just a dude.
Phalanx Formation- This is a 3 mana (1 white, 2 colourless) for an instant that grants target creature double strike and has Strive to allow you to target additional creatures by paying a colourless and a white. It could be a fun combat trick, but you will need to be careful with all the Strive combat instants that you don’t water down your deck by substituting tricks for bodies.
Pharika’s Chosen- This is a 1/1 for 1 black and you get a snake with Deathtouch. This will see plenty of play and will be an early deterrent to your opponent to attacking because NOBODY like attacking into deathtouch creatures. Sedge Scorpion is solid, and so is this.
Pheres-Band Thunderhoof- Another Centaur, this time a 3/4 for 5 mana (1 green and 4 colourless) and comes with Heroic and gets two +1/+1 counters when targeted by a spell. He’ll be playable, but is a little expensive considering Nessian Courser is a 3/3 for 3 mana, and you then need to work to make this guy bigger, but if you need a sizeable body and solid Heroic trigger this will be just fine
Pin to the Earth- Don’t look at this as an Aura. Look at this as actual blue removal, because a -6/-0 pretty much means the creature is useless. Yes, it can block and act like a wall, but if you’re casting this Aura it’s because you don’t want to get smacked across the face by a big beater, so that’s a trade off I’m prepared to make. At a mere 2 mana (a blue and a colourless) this spell is cheap, splashable, and quite effective.
Pull from the Deep- A blue sorcery where for 2 blue and a colourless you may return an instant and a sorcery from your graveyard to your hand and exile Pull from the Deep. This allows you to re-buy a solid combat trick, a Heroic enabler, or just grab your Divination one more time to fill up your hand. With no flashback in this set, this will be useful to get access to your spells in your yard, but will mostly a late game play as you would rather be doing other things with your mana earlier in the game.
Quarry Colossus- a 5/6 Giant for 7 mana (2 white, 5 colourless) this is a neat card with a quasi removal effect. When Quarry Colossus enters play return target creature to its owners library just beneath the top X cards, where X is equal to the number of plains you control. Let’s be real, this is a huge body and with 2 white mana will be in a pretty White heavy deck, so you should have a high number of plains on the battlefield. This guy makes your opponent’s best creature disappear for…oh…I don’t know…a large number of turns and gives you a chance to finish him off with the Giant beat stick you just cast. I like him, but at seven he’s a little slow. Cross your fingers and hope you get there.
Reprisal- a very funcational reprint of an efficient White removal card. With all the enchantments out there boosting the power of creatures it should be no issue to find a suitable target and at instant it will come out of nowhere and really shift combat. Basically, combat just got impossible to predict, so don’t bother trying to play around the removal…just accept that if your opponent has mana up and cards in hand that he has a trick or something make you go nuts.
Returned Reveler- A 1/3 Zombie satyr for a black and a colourless mana, this pretty vanilla creature says that when it dies each player mills the top three cards of their library. Here we go with the Mill again, this time on a creature that needs to DIE before you get the benefit…and…as if that weren’t already bad enough, it is symmetrical meaning the Mill hits you too! No, there are very few cards I’ve called poor in this set, but this is poor. Lots of set up, bad stats, symmetrical ability…more like don’t waste your time. This will be last pick regularly, I’m sure.
Reviving Melody- a 3 mana (1 green and 2 colourless) sorcery that allows you to choose 1 or both of return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand and/or return target enchantment from your graveyard to your hand. I get to re-buy 2 cards for 3 mana? That’s a pretty good deal and in a set with enchantment creatures it means you are basically getting back two creatures. Good deal! Anything running Green will play this.
Rise of Eagles- a 6 mana (2 blue, 4 colourless) sorcery that gives you two 2/2 bird enchantment creature tokens and then Scry 1. Ok, Talrand’s Invocation is the closest comparison I can draw, but that was 4 mana for a pair of 2/2 fliers. This is 6 for a pair of birds…and a Scry… umm…yuck?! Unless you are REALLY working hard for those Constellation triggers this will be a bubble card and will likely miss out in favour of something that will impact the board more directly.
Rollick of Abandon- a 5 mana (2 red, 3 colourless) sorcery that gives all creatures +2/-2 until end of turn. This looks PERFECT for the B/R Minotaur deck where all your Man-Bulls are 3 toughness…suddenly your stampeding horde are all 5/1’s at a minimum. The B/R deck doesn’t care that they die to a feather duster…all this deck cares about is trying to stomp on your jugular…and if enough Man-Bulls hit the mark it’s game over. It could also be a very unusual sweeper to wipe out a White weenie/Bear deck, but that takes work and I would rather bank on this being an aggressive card over the potential sweeper effect.
Rotted Hulk- a 2/5 elemental for 4 mana (1 black and 3 colourless). A decent body at a reasonable cost means that this vanilla creature will see play in draft. He’s just another dude with a big butt to hold off your opponent’s critters.
Rouse the Mob- This is another scary trick to make the B/R Minotaur deck really scary. For 1 red mana target creature gets +2/+0 and trample and you can cast the Strive ability for an additional 2 colourless and a red to start getting additional targets. Boost your Man-Bulls with Rollick of Abandon and then give one (or MAYBE more…but good god am I living in fantasy Christmas land then…think of the mana requirements!) trample to just keep the beat down pouring in. I bet your opponent will just about ready to scoop after that barrage. However, this one feels pretty narrow and a bit limited. Unless you are all in for aggro beat down you can probably do better.
Satyr Grovedancer- A 1/1 for 2 mana (1 green, 1 colourless) you get a Satyr Shaman that when it enters the battlefield put a +1/+1 counter on target creature. This is Timberland Guide from Avacyn Restored and is pretty fun. The Grovedancer can be a Bear if you need it (or lack another target) by pumping itself, but just like the Supply-line Cranes, can boost another creature for more value. A serviceable card and nice ability.
Sigiled Skink- This is a 2 mana (1 red, 1 colourless) 2/1 lizard that lets you scry whenever it attacks. What more reason does Red need to attack? All in…all the time…and now you get to scry to improve your card selection next time. It’ll be played in Aggro builds of all sorts if only to hit the Scry ability.
Skybind- A 5 mana (2 white and 3 colourless) enchantment with Constellation. This is an interesting card because it now can allow for repeatable Enter the Battlefield triggers on one of your creatures. This could be really handy way to abuse Eidolon of Blossoms or another fun ETB trigger. You could also use it as a way to remove a troublesome blocker from your opponent’s board for the turn in order to get in there for some more damage. My honest assessment is that this is too expensive to see much play in limited or constructed, but could see play in an enchantment-based EDH deck for some silly results.
Skyspear Cavalry- This is a 5 mana (2 white and 3 colourless) for a 2/2 flying, double striking human soldier. This will be a fine limited card and will pack a mean bite with something bestowed on it, but by itself as a 2/2 for 5 mana is a little overcosted. I would like this one better if it had vigilance and not double strike (and be a tad cheaper!), but this will be a solid card in limited and will do good work.
Solidarity of Heroes- This one looks like a fun card to abuse with a Heroic deck. For 1 green and a colourless you get to double the number of +1/+1 counters target creature has on it. You can also target more creatures with Strive by paying an additional 1 green and 1 colourless for each additional target. The Strive cost is really no different than casting multiple copies of this spell, making it reasonably affordable and a good way to exploit the Heroic ability on your team. It will also be a fun way to make one of the Hydras we saw earlier in the spoiler season into something HUGE for a relatively inexpensive investment. This could be a fun combat trick, but be wary of it because in limited it could sit dead in your hand waiting for a target.
Spiteful Blow- a 6 mana (2 black and 4 colourless) Sorcery that destroys target creature and target land. Let’s be honest, if Sip of Hemlock saw play in Limited when Theros dropped, so will this. This is powerful removal and the ability to set your opponent back by destroying a land could also be huge to keep them off their splash land, off of their last drop to hit 7 for a big fatty, or just slow them down. Sure, it’s steep at 6, but people will play it, and people will pay it. You just may not want 3 copies of this one in your deck…you may never see your 6th land drop.
Starfall- a 5 mana (1 red and 4 colourless) instant that deals 3 damage to target creature and if that creature is an enchantment creature it also deals 3 damage to that creature’s controller. 5 mana for a 3 damage is very expensive, and even with the extra 3 damage if you hit an enchantment creature it is still hard to swallow. In comparison, Searing Blood was a much more cost effective 2 mana for a similar ability. This will get run in Limited and will hit all sorts of Enchantment creatures, so you will need to be ready, but that’s where this one will stop seeing play.
Stonewise Fortifier- A “bear” with a plus. This is a 2 mana (1 white, 1 colourless) for a 2/2 creature that can prevent all damage done to Stonewise Fortifier by target creature by paying 5 mana (1 white, 4 colourless). You will play this in Limited as a ‘Bear” and will rarely trigger the ability. Bring on the Travelling Philosopher, Stonewise Fortifier, Oreskos Sun Guide “bear” deck in limited!
Supply-Line Cranes- This is a 5 mana (2 white and 3 colourless) for a 2/4 bird. When Supply-Line Cranes enter the battlefield you may put a +1/+1 counter of target creature. This is fine limited card and you could quite possibly be a 3/5 by the time you distribute the counter, or target something else for more value. It will do good work and has a solid body, but won`t scare anyone.
Swarmborn Giant- I actually rather like this guy. As a 6/6 for 4 mana (2 green and 2 colourless) he is significantly overpowered relative his casting cost. I`m not a big fan of his drawback because if you get swarmed by a small, yet aggressive deck, well, goodbye Giant, so you won`t invest the mana in the Monstrosity cost unless you are pretty sure you can control the board and combat. The fact that he gets reach when he has been made Monstrous is also very good. Don`t overlook this guy, but you can`t rely on him to fend off your opponent…he`s going to need some help.
Akroan Skyguard Heroic decks just got ANOTHER key tool to keep up the beat down. The problem with Heroic decks is that you are compelled to be very aggressive to get the job done. When you play aggressive and attack, stuff dies…like your Akroan Skyguard, Favored Hoplite, Battlewise Hoplite etc. This 3 mana 2/3 with Heroic allows you to go and return target creature with a converted mana cost of 2 or less from your graveyard to your hand. ALL RIGHT! All this means is that Heroic decks now are a little more resistant to removal and make you kill their stuff all over again. With a solid body and a good ability this will make for a solid mid round pick for Heroic decks.
Thassa’s Devourer- This is 2/6 enchantment creature elemental for 5 mana (1 blue and 4 colourless) that also has Constellation. I like the body and the mana cost because with just a single blue he could be splashable. I HATE the Constellation ability because it mills. U/B mill decks may want this guy, but I`m just not a fan of mill…it just isn`t enough of a premium for me. It feels like this was just sort of a throw away addition to this card.
Thassa’s Ire- 1 Blue gets you an enchantment that, for 3 colourless and a 1 Blue, you can tap or untap target creature. This will be fun and can be a useful way to take out pesky blockers, or to protect yourself if things start going sideways. It doesn’t tap meaning you could use it multiple times at instant speed, but the activation cost is expensive. This will be a late pick for decks with Blue, but I love the art and it is quite flavourful.
Tormented Thoughts- Oh boy…Hand destruction. Watch out. For 3 mana (2 colourless and a black), and as an additional cost sacrifice a creature, target player discards cards equal to the power of the creature sacrificed. In limited this could be very powerful, but tricky to time. There may be games where your opponent is holding a full grip of cards and you can slice that in half with a well played Tormented Thoughts, but I suspect that it will sit dead in your hand for much of the game as there are other things you would rather spend your mana on. However, I never discount hand disruption because it can be super crippling.
Triton Cavalry- 4 mana (1 blue, 3 colourless) 2/4 merfolk with Heroic. The raw stats on this one make him playable in Limited because they are comparable to Giant Spider which is a Limited staple. The Heroic ability, to return target Enchantment to its owner’s hand is also very useful to bounce Bestow creatures or other enchantment permanents (See you later Gods!). This will be a fine card and will probably make most decks with Blue.
Triton Shorestalker- 1/1 for 1 Blue and unblockable? Yes…this will see play. Voltron him up with a Bestow creature and suddenly the clock is ticking for your opponent. The lack of Hexproof suggests that Wizards has learned from the Invisible Stalker “mistake” because unblockable, untouchable creatures really suck the fun out of the game. However, he`s still a very solid card and will undoubtedbly see play in Limited.
War-Wing Siren- a 1/3 Siren Soldier with Flying for 3 mana (1 blue and 2 colourless) with Heroic so that it gets a +1/+1 counter when targeted will be a fine creature and can be splashed in a variety of decks. A solid body, evasion, and the ability to grow to be a bigger threat gives this lots of upsde. This will be a reasonably high pick for anyone playing blue sitting in your draft pod.
Wildfire Cerberus- This is a 4/3 Hound for 5 mana (1 red and 4 colourless) with Monstrosity where for 7 mana it deals 2 damage to each opponent and all of their creatures. This will be a fine card and with a single red in the casting casting cost could be splashed. I really like the mini board wipe effect that takes out `bears` and one toughness creatures when this goes Monstrous. Again, this will be a solid pick and won`t disappoint.
Aerial Formation- An instant with Strive for 1 blue mana that says that any target creature gets +1/+1 and flying until end of turn and the additional cost per target is 2 colourless and a blue. This will be a useful combat trick, will trigger Heroic, and could even be a devastating way to crush an opponent with a flying alpha strike. This will see play and will do good work in Limited decks
Agent of Erebos- A 2/2 Enchantment Creature Zombie for a black and 3 colourless, this creature with Constellation exiles target player’s graveyard when Agent of Erebos or another Enchantment enters play. I can actually see this making the grade as a sideboard card in Standard as a form of graveyard hate to shut out Junk and Dredge decks. It is also a very serviceable card that will likely get run sufficiently in Limited as well.
Akroan Line Breaker- A 2/1 human warrior for 3 mana is a little underwhelming, but the Heroic Trigger on this guy is actually pretty beasty. Whenever he’s targeted by a spell he gets +2/+0 and intimidate meaning that he gets a form of evasion and will likely bust through and lay down a beating. W/R Heroic will love this guy with a combat trick. Just think, cast Battlewise Valor on him, he’s now a 6/4 with intimidate until end of turn…and sneaks on by to lay down a nasty bit of damage. I like him
Akroan Mastiff- Another 2/2 for 4 mana, this time a white and 3 colourless. The ability on this hound is for a white and tap him you get to tap target creature. This could be reasonable in draft, but there have been lots of other sweet cards spoiled and I don’t see this guy getting much love. Sorry puppy!
Armament of Nyx- This is a pretty interesting Aura. For a white and 2 colourless this aura will grant Enchantment creatures it is targeting with double strike, but if it enchanting any other type of creature you will prevent all damage by that creature. I think the versatility of this will make it useful, either a quasi-removal “Pacifism” or boost up one of your enchantment creatures.
Aspect of Gorgon- This is a very serviceable aura that for a black and 2 colourless target creature gets +1/+3 and deathtouch. It doesn’t excite me, and it will probably get played, but it is a pretty straightforward aura.
Bassara Tower Archer- 2 green gives a 2/1 hexproof with reach. I like this because in green heavy deck the casting cost is totally acceptable and green usually struggles with flying creatures. Toss an aura or a Bestow creature on this guy and you suddenly have a pretty formidable aerial defender that your opponent can’t target with spells. I think this is totally ok and I like the Archer a great deal.
Bladetusk boar- This reprint has some sweet new art. Otherwise, pretty standard card that will be just fine in a draft thanks to the quasi evasion on him and can be Voltroned up to bring the pain. This guy will wheel and can be picked up late in your draft.
Blinding Flare- This will be a neat little instant with Strive where for 1 red mana target creature can’t block and the additional cost per extra target is one red as well. Cheap…and ruins combat for your opponent, this will lead to blowouts, or it will sit dead in your hand. This will be another late pick in your draft and a late addition to your 23 cards.
Bloodcrazed Hoplite- A 2/1 for a black and colourless, this is the ONLY example I’ve seen of Heroic hate because the trigger on this one says he gets the standard +1/+1 counter when targeted by a spell, but whenever he gets a counter you remove a +1/+1 counter from a creature you opponent controls. He’s interesting, flavourful, and something new and fresh we haven’t seen in this block yet.
Cast into Darkness- an Aura that gives target creature -2/-0 and can’t block for a black and a colourless. You’ll pass on this as the effect is pretty marginal and you can likely do better.
Cloaked Siren- a 3/2 flier for a blue and 3 colourless that also has Flash. Solid body, decent casting cost, comes with Flash…yup, this will see play. It won’t scare anyone, but in draft, where creatures are extremely valuable, this is another good one to have in your deck.
Colossal Heroics- An instant with Strive for a green and 2 colourless target creature gets +2/+2 and untap that creature and for an additional cost for the Strive of a green and colourless for each additional target they get the same. Savage surge meet Strive? Ok…that’s a good deal and will almost certainly see play in a draft.
Consign to Dust- Wow, a 3 mana (2 colourless and a green) instant artifact or enchantment removal that comes with Strive of 2 colourless and green for each additional target. So, potential for mass enchantment removal in a set jam packed with enchantments? Oh Hell yes! This will see play, even if only as a sideboard card, but will be useful and do good work. Am I greedy if I want it to exile enchantments so I target Gods with it too? Maybe…
Countermand- a 4 mana counterspell (2 blue, 2 colourless) that mills the top 4 cards of your opponent’s deck. 4 mana counterspell is likely too expensive…and the mill ability is meh. It’ll see play in limited because counter spells have been sparse this set, and maybe someone really wants the Mill ability, but it’ll be available late in your draft.
Cruel Feedings- A black instant with Strive that for a black target creature gets +1/+0 and lifelink and can target additional targets for 2 colourless and a black. I’m trying to think of a best case scenario for this one, but if you need the lifelink to gain you back the life you’re probably behind and in tough. If you can fire this one off a hit it big, well, you were likely winning anyway. It’s just a bland trick and the ability is pretty marginal, although gaining life is never a bad thing.
Desecration Plague- 4 mana (3 colourless and a green) for sorcery speed enchantment or land removal. This will see play because enchantment removal will be key, but the option to target a land is pretty interesting. I kind of want a play set and build a wonky Casual land destruction deck packing demolish and this guy.
Dreadbringer Lampads- This is a 5 mana (1 black, 4 colourless) for a 4/2 Enchantment creature with Constellation that grants a creature intimidate until end of turn. This feels overcosted for a 4/2, but with the massive number of enchantments the Constellation ability giving intimidate will be big to push damage through and to make your beat stick unblockable. It will likely be a mid to late pick for a player in black sitting at your draft table.
Eagle of the Watch- a 2/1 bird with flying and vigilance for a white and 2 colourless. Pretty bland, but I like fliers with Vigilance and can see him in a White deck pretty easily. He’ll be available pretty late, so don’t worry, you won’t need to burn an early pick on him.
Feast of Dreams- For a black and a colourless you get an instant that destroys target enchanted creature or target enchantment creature. Ok, so black got Disenchant…and potentially a Terror? Wow…cost effective removal that will hit almost everything in the Limited environment because of the enchantments makes this very good. This will be an early pick and at common you might even be able to scrape together a couple of copies if you are lucky.
There were some more cards spoiled overnight giving us just about a full complement of cards and a pretty good idea of what the whole set will look like. Let’s take a look.
Banishing Light- Let’s not kid ourselves…this is really Oblivion Ring. They’ve cleaned up the language so that it matches Banisher Priest, but this is Nyx Weaver-. There’s nothing wrong with Banishing light, and in fact it is actually very good. It’s quality removal in White, it will see play in all sorts of formats and is just a quality staple to have around. I, for one, am glad that it is back and ready to go back and do good work again.
Brain Maggot- This is nice card for limited, but I’ll hold off on other formats. For a black and a colourless, you get a 1/1 enchantment creature insect that when it enters play your opponent reveals their hand and you may exile a target card from their hand until Brain Maggot leaves the Battlefield. So, if you don’t have a Thoughtseize and you need info about their hand…and to slow them down by making them lose a card…this discard spell on a stick is just what you want. They I read the card is that when Brain Maggot leaves play, the card is no longer exiled and they get it back, but if you need to derail their plan or remove a quality piece from their hand then this guy will do the trick. There isn’t much attacking in this guys future, but he’s still a valuable piece of disruption.
Deicide- Ok, no doubt, this is my favorite card revealed today. For 2 mana (1 white, 1 colourless) you get to exile target enchantment and if the enchantment exiled is a God you may go through their hand, graveyard and deck and exile all copies of the card. This is going to premium enchantment destruction, of that there is no doubt and will be premium sideboard tech for any deck running White in Constructed. The mana cost is the same as Disenchant (for those who used to play with it), it is still at instant speed, and the ability to eliminate pesky Gods…well…wow…that’s a thing. Bye Thassa! See ya later Big P (Purphorous)! Catch you later Xenagos, God of Revels! Oh, and in case you haven’t checked out the art, that’s totally Elsbeth stabbing Xenagos with her sword. That’s AWESOME!
Dictate of Erebos- The final piece of the Dictate cycle. For 5 mana (2 black, 3 colourless) you get an enchantment with Flash that says whenever a creature you control dies, your opponents must sacrifice a creature. I actually like this, but not for limited or constructed play, but I like this card for multiplayer games where this could just be abused and have hilarious consequences. EDH players, enjoy!
Nyx Weaver- a 3 mana (1 black, 1 green, 1 colourless) Enchantment creature spider with reach. Right there you have a playable card, however, the cherry on top is that for a black, a green and a colourless and sacrifice it, you can return target card from you graveyard to your hand. Notice, not target creature card…ANY card. So, this is Regrowth on a creature…just a little more expensive. Dredge style decks won’t care about the extra cost, but they will be interested in getting their resources back! This is sweet card, not bonkers by any means, but a sweet card that is very functional. We’ll see where this one ends up.
Renowned Weaver- Wow, this is super flavourful and another salute to classic mythology. For 1 mana you get a 1/1 green creature that you can use to pay 1 green and 1 colourless and sacrifice it to put a 1/3 green Spider Enchantment Creature token with reach onto the battlefield. Honestly, the card is fine, but it likely won’t see much play unless someone out there is making a spider tribal deck. It just doesn’t do enough to take up a slot in a deck. So, it’s fun and flavourful but people aren’t likely to sleeve it up too often.