Quite a few exciting new cards have been spoiled since my last spoiler review so why not start out with one of the most discussed card from the set, Tibalt.
That’s right. We are getting a two drop planeswalker. While its exciting that we have a ridiculously cheap planeswalker he doesn’t seem like a whole lot at first glance. Now before completely blowing him off keep in mind R & D was very careful with releasing a two drop planeswalker. They had to balance his cheapness with not overly powerful abilities while still making him playable. This new cheapest planeswalker feels a lot like baby Jace (previously the cheapest planeswalker) to me. Jace Beleren’s +2 was an incredibly useful ability that kept the net card gain 0 but his -1 really allowed you get some card advantage. He was a planeswalker you never intended to ultimate with and was never a super intimidating threat on the board but was still an incredibly powerful and useful card to have. Being able to draw a couple more cards and then giving your opponent one as well to up his loyalty made him an incredible engine. Tibalt feels a lot like that. His +1 while might not be ideal but it does allow for that necessary digging when you need it, doing so in way that isn’t over powered or intimidating to an opponent. Because of that it shouldn’t be to tough to get him to 4 and being able to fire off his -4 which isn’t a whole lot to scoff at. If you are able to get that off you there’s a good chance your opponent is going to be taking 4 or 5 which isn’t too shabby. All planeswalkers function as faux life gain, so I see Tibalt as a way for RDW to dig through your deck in hopes of finding that card you need who also then does one of three things: draw several attacks from you opponents creatures, lead to your opponent incinerating or blasting him giving up a card, or you killing him yourself with his -4. All of these for two mana is a pretty sweet deal if you ask me. I completely ignore his ultimate because by the time there are enough creatures in the opponents field worth stealing there is a good chance all of those creatures are going to stomping all over Tibalt. Tibalt is definitely going to be a player in the Standard environment and will definitely will be making his way into a good amount of RDW lists. While he might not make too much of impact outside of Type 2 there is paradigm of Magic we all should remember: planeswalkers are awesome. Not only is Tibalt a planeswalker but he is a planeswalker that cost 2. He might not seem like much now but I am sure he is going to do some work once he hits the field.
Lets move onto the next red Mythic that has been spoiled so far.
Bonfire of the Damned. More like Giant Wave of Lava Death. So most other Miracle cards have been consider kind of iffy because of their steep normal casting cost but Bonfire feels pretty damn (no pun intended) playable either way. I don’t think I need to sell anyone on why its awesome to top deck this bad boy and only have to pay its miracle cost, but honestly paying 2R to kill all of your opponents one drops while preserving yours as well as singeing your opponents face is pretty freaking sweet. Hell paying two more to deal two to everything is pretty sweet too! This is a good card. I foresee a lot of decks running a split of Slagstorms and Bonfires for the versatility. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this bad boy creeping down to Modern and possibly even down to the right Legacy deck. Sweet Miracle Card.
One last red card I wanted to mention was Zealous conscripts. Play my creature, remove your threat by stealing it, bash you for 3+X. This card is going to ridiculous in limited and could very very likely see some Standard play. Act of Treason effects are always good but when its attached to a 3/3 hasty body it’s just a bit more awesome.
Before completely moving away from red let me tell you a little anecdote. Innistrad debuts showing off new allied colored utility lands and they are awesome. Dark Ascension is released and with it come two enemy colored utility lands and they are awesome. Avacyn Restored spoilers come rolling around and with it comes the confirmation of the rest of the cycle and it looks awesome.
First off is the UR Desolate Lighthouse which lets you loot (who saw that coming?) for three. The other is the WR Slayer’s Stronghold which I find a bit more exciting. So for WR and tapping it one of your creatures gets +2/0, haste and vigilance? Not too shabby. I think this could lead to a lot more Rally the Peasants/ Boros decks coming into the limelight. While the Lighthouse will definitely be a solid addition to some decks I don’t think its going to make nearly as big of an impact as the Stronghold will. So that leaves us with only the UG land left which has yet to be spoiled. What do you guys think it will be? My guess is it will give one of your guys hexproof until the end of turn or maybe something with flash (two mechanics that both blue and green share). I am hoping for something a bit more exciting than that but then again hexproof is pretty damn sweet. I guess we will see! Leave your guesses in the comments below!
Green is a color that I haven’t talked about too much yet and it’s because outside of Sigarda it hasn’t gotten anything particularly exciting yet. Until now.
So Champion of the Parish’s big brother just walked into the room. So now not only do all creatures trigger his ability but he also prevents your creatures from getting blocked? Mono green decks just got the all-star they have been looking for. With cheap undying creatures like Young Wolf and Strangleroot Gesit who are going to retrigger his ability multiple times Mono Green aggro and RG aggro just got that much better.
Besides Champion of the Lambholt green still doesn’t have a whole lot of excitement. They have spoiled one of the green mythic so far which is surprisingly (there really needs to be a sarcasm font) a big ol’ green creatures who is expensive but in the right situation could be decent. Despite this there are still some 180 more cards to be spoiled so I am sure there are some exciting green cards in there somewhere. There is definitely at least one more green mythic coming out and there is a pretty good chance we are going to be looking at another feisty Miracle. Speaking of Miracle…
The second white Mythic has been spoiled and it is pretty sweet if I do say so myself. This card is pretty similar to Bonfire of the Damned in the sense that the Miracle cost is clearly powerful but it still isn’t that bad casting it normally. While it’s not nearly as playable as Bonfire when it comes to casting it normally a flying 4/4 for 2WWW isn’t terrible. Neither is 2 4/4s for 4WWW. This is a good card and it could definitely be squeezing itself into Mono White decks because being able to flood the field with 4/4 angels could be pretty game changing. Probably wont see too much play but I am foreseeing it will get some.
With Dark Ascension we saw Zombie Apocalypse; a fun card that didn’t really see any play due to the fact that Gravecrawlers got out of the graveyard easily enough on their own and six mana was just a bit too much for those aggro zombie builds. Now we are seeing the inverse of that but attached to a flying 4/6. While most Human decks probably won’t end up running her due to the spendy cost Angel of Glory’s Rise could really be that late game fuel they need. Needless to say she would do wok bringing all your humans back but imagine how amazing it would feel casting her when playing against zombies. Just saying.
If you are feeling like Angel of Glory’s Rise is too expensive and specific of a finisher might I suggest Cathar’s Crusade?
With cards like this and Champion of the Lambholt I am definitely starting to appreciate the power of flickering in this set. Everytime I play a creature my creatures get bigger? That sounds like every agro player’s dream. This card is definitely going to be a finisher in any white agro deck. This bad boy finds his place in Haunted Humans, Green White Aggro (which is going to be awesome with the release of AVR), and even in Rally the Peasant/ Boros decks.
Lastly we now have another reanimation spell in Standard. It’s another 5 drop except this time its white and it really wants you to reanimate angels. If it wasn’t clear enough that these big angels were meant to be reanimated now it better be.
Before I completely move away from white I have something to admit. I have the tendency to sometimes start reading or skimming over a card and then get excited and assume I know exactly what it does and stop reading it (Kyle has a quite a few stories about me doing this unfortunately). This is exactly what happened with me and Soulbond. I didn’t notice until these past few days that you can pair your creatures not only when the Soulbond guy enters but also again when any of your other guys enter as well. Please forgive me for not expressing more excitement for this mechanic until now. Soulbond is awesome and so far most of the Soulbond guys are going to be ridiculous. Silverblade Paladin is the new Mirran Crusader except you are trading off the pro green and black to give your 4/4 Champion of the Parish double strike instead. I would call that a fair trade. I already mentioned thinking Tandem Lookout having potential but after realizing exactly how Soulbond works it really is apparent how much of a machine it is going to be. Hell even the green common Nightshade Peddler will be great, functioning as the perfect defense for preventing your opponents from attacking by being able to throw your small and now deathtouch guys in front of any threat. Soulbond is awesome.
So I have been saving black for last because the have recently announced a card I am the most excited about so far in the entire set. But lets start with a few of the other goodies black has in store in Avacyn Restored.
Inquisition of Kozilek’s big brother just showed up! While a new one-black-mana-discard-card-from-opponent’s-hand is great and all its just not great as IoK is or even Duress. Sure it will be nice being able to pick off your opponents big threats from your opponent’s hand before he or she can even play them but it is more often than not those cheaper cards you really want to kill. You want to be able to snag that Mana-Leak to allow your threat to safely enter or you want to make them drop their Lightning Bolt so your Knight can safely come into play. There are quite of few tempo and faster paced decks that don’t run any four drops at all making it a dead card in a lot of match ups. It might make its way into side decks for Wolf-Run match ups but there are so much more powerful cards you could have instead. I doubt it will see any play at all outside of Standard if it sees play there. That being said the name, the art, and the flavor text all contribute to probably my favorite flavored card in quite some time. it’s a shame it’s not better.
Now this is a black one drop I can get excited about. I don’t know about you but I love my one mana kill spells. I was pretty damned stoked about Tragic Slip but have often been irritated by the extra work you have to put in to get the most out of it. But now we have Human Frailty. While at a quick glance it might seem pretty limited I suggest you think about it for a minute. This card can obvious effectively hit any threat from a Humans deck (excluding Mirran Crusader) in addition to some of the most powerful and most played creatures played in more than just Standard. Human Frailty can kill Delver, Dark Confidant, Knight if the Reliquary, Student of Warfare, Gaddock Teeg, Thalia, Noble Hierarch, and more. Even if you can’t justify fitting in the main board you bet you are going to be putting four in the sideboard because against the right deck it can be devastating.
So there is one last card on my list I wanted to talk about today. It is a card that has been getting an incredible amount of hate because in all honesty its going to suck playing against it and most situations it’s even going to suck being the one playing it.
Descent into Madness, now that’s my kinda card. Ever since I have started playing Magic, Pox and Smallpox have been some of favorite card of all time. The sheer power of them has always over shadowed the consequences of playing them. The same can be said about Descent into Madness for me. Right off the bat it looks like it is an unfun and ultimately unplayable card. Its one of those cards that can turn a fun game into something hellish pretty quickly if it goes unchecked. Being a Johnny and this card being an über Johnny card it really is just screaming for me to find some way to abuse it and god knows I want to! But where does it fit? The spendy mana cost makes it feel controlly but most control decks don’t have a lot of presence on the field until late game so they would have to start shaving off their lands which they need for their finishers. I guess if they ran a whole lot of means of drawing they could give up a lot of their hand but I don’t think this black hole of card is the best fit for UB control. It belongs in a deck surrounded by cards that give you value. As of right now I am toying with some kind BW Smallpox and token build, full of cards that net you permanents. Running things like Tezzeret’s Gambit to speed up the black hole and Hex Parasites to slow things down if necessary. Ultimately it’s a ridiculous card that has been getting a ton of hate and will probably not see too much play. But give it some time and some Johnny out there is going to find some kind of combo with this amazing enchantment and make one hell of a deck. My fingers are crossed it happens soon. I am very excited about this card.
Tune into Power Cords for future reviews of the upcoming spoilers. Leave your thoughts about the set so far and please let me know if you can think of a way to Abuse DiM! Check out the full spoiler list at MTG Salvation!
Ooh! I almost forgot. The Title of this post is Powerpuff Girls because if you haven’t noticed there a few similarities…
Check out my reviews of some the earlier cards spoiled too!