With the next core-set only a little over a month away now, spoilers are already jumping up all over the place. As I have mentioned already it has been confirmed that exalted is a major theme of the set and that we are also seeing the return of Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker, both screaming Alara. This throwback to the tri-colored set means we might be seeing a few multicolored cards creeping into what is normally a mono-colored set. While it is true that the only multi-colored confirmed at the moment is Bolas we still have a lot more cards to get spoiled before the release date and it would be kind of cool seeing M13 setting the colorful tone prior to the heavily multicolored Ravnica block coming this fall.
So as of right now most of the cards spoiled are reprints but there are a couple of new ones worth mentioning. So it is pretty much assumed we are not going to be seeing the titans reprinted because they essentially shut out all other six drops from seeing play which leads to boring play in the sense that we don’t see any variety in finishers. With that being said we already have two new black six drops spoiled worth mentioning.
First off we have Xathrid Gorgon, one of the very first cards spoiled for the set. So let’s be honest, Xathrid Gorgon is no Grave Titan. She doesn’t do anything once hitting the board, is half as strong, and her activated ability costs three to not even kill something. Sure she will be a fun card to play with and she will be decent in limited but otherwise isn’t worth noting.
Second we have something a bit more exciting: Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis. Now this is a creature I can see winning you a game or two. While also not being as exciting or powerful as a Grave Titan he is significantly stronger than the Gorgon. So the first thing worth noting is that he has exalted. This is the first time we are seeing black paired with the powerful mechanic. To accompany the keyword is his very exaltedesque ability which causes your opponent to sacrifice a creature. In addition to all of his exalted shenanigans he is also a 5/5 flyer before attacking which isn’t too shabby. So while he isn’t the best finisher available, swinging in for 6 in the air while also killing one your opponents creatures is pretty powerful and with Go For the Throat rotating out here soon Nefarox could potentially mean game over for an opponent.
The other two new cards worth noting at the time are both red. One is cool and one is disappointing. Let’s start with the bad news first.
So Searing Spear isn’t a bad card, it is just worse than two cards most people were hoping for in the core-set. First off this must mean we aren’t getting Incinerate here. It doesn’t make sense for Wizards to print off two two mana burn spells for three damage each and have one be significantly better. Sure the non-regeneration aspect of Incinerate was never incredibly relevant but it made for a nice addition, and with the addition of Wolfir Avenger to the Standard card pool Incinerate was looking as awesome as ever. The other downside is that this pretty much confirms that we aren’t seeing Lightning Bolt reprinted. Sure it was pretty doubtful that it was going to happen but it never hurts to hope. We know it won’t be showing up by the same logic that we used to figure out there would be no Incinerate: it doesn’t make sense for Wizards to print two cards that do the same thing and have one be significantly better. Honestly Searing Spear isn’t a bad card it is just not as great as Incinerate or Lightning Bolt.
The more exciting red card out of the two new ones announced is Flames of the Firebrand.
So this card feels a lot like a situationally stronger Arc Trail. It will definitely be alright in constructed and it will be a beast in limited. I feel like this card wants to be an Instant but its not and because of that it is significantly worse. Second, it costs three mana. Arc Trail was good because you were looking at two mana for two dead creatures or one dead creature and a bit of damage done to an opponent. Unless you are playing white weenie or something with lots of 1/1s you are realistically looking at only one or two dead creatures. In Standard you are better off just playing Bonfire of the Damned because for its normal casting cost it is just as efficient of a board wipe and for its miracle cost it’s no contest. Also the fact that Bonfire has the potential to be something way bigger ultimately makes it the better choice.
So out of the cards announced for reprint most of them planeswalkers. As mentioned several times already Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker is making a return as well as Chandra, the Firbrand, Garruk, Primal Hunter, and Jace, Memory Adept but we still have no word on who the white or black planeswalker will be. I love Gideon Jura and he seems like the logical choice for the white slot (fingers crossed we see some new exciting version of him) but the black one could really be anything. There is always the possibility that Bolas could be filling that spot but I doubt it. R&D is fully aware that people love cycles and that if one is left uncompleted it creates dissonance so we should be seeing some mono black planeswalker. I am not quite sure who exactly though. Both Sorin and Liliana made an appearance in the last block so there is little to go off there. Maybe we are going to be seeing some new black planeswalker? While I am hoping for something new I think we are going to be seeing Sorin Markov get reprinted again due to the vampire flavor of the one black mythic revealed so far: Vampire Nocturnus.
Most people saw this coming from a mile away. When this card wasn’t reprinted in either of the last two core-sets many people were disappointed but with the knowledge of horror themed Innistrad coming out soon it was generally assumed Nocturnus would be making some kind of return. So with the release of Innistrad we really only saw zombies taking the reins of successful horror tribal builds but with this vampire lord getting reprinted vamps might be making there come back from the Zendikar block. While Nocturnus contributes to the spicy pool of vampires we have in Standard the vampires just aren’t as epic as they used to be. If vamps make a comeback it most likely will be in BR builds so they could include Olivia Voldaren, Falkenrath Aristocrat, Stromkirk Captain and Stromkirk Noble and by including Red they are essentially weakening the effectiveness of Nocturnus. Sure it is only the Noble which doesn’t work for the Nocturnus but Stromkirk Noble is really your only source of early pressure. Zendikar vamps were great because you were really only looking at four four drops and four three drops and everything else being tiny and fast and aggressive. While we have a ton of great vampires in standard right now none of them are as aggressive and cheap as those old ones. So if we do see vampires reappear they will probably be a bit slower and a little less ridiculous.
So that’s about everything worth mentioning as of right now at least. So what do you guys want from M13? Who do you think will be the black and white planeswalkers? Are we going to be seeing more multicolored cards coming out? Is vampires going to become a much feared archetype once again? Let me know what you think in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!