Sphinxes, Demons, and Gorgons, Oh My! Part 1: Monocolored Cards

So yesterday a couple dozen new cards were spoiled so of course I started a new spoiler review. When I awoke this morning I checked MTG Salvation for new spoilers and found myself staring at a list of 120 new cards. Due to the large amount of new cards announced I am going to split these articles into two batches of reviews.

Now, let’s talk about Return to Ravnica.

Now this is a card I can get behind. With the loss of the titans and Wurmcoil the Standard environment is running low on powerful six drops and I really think that all of the powerful seven drops lying around are going to fill this void. Enter Angel of Serenity. So I think the big thing about Angel of Serenity is that it isn’t just three Fiend Hunters in one card. First off once it leaves play the creatures aren’t returned to play but rather the player’s hand. Now while a triple Fiend Hunter is cool and all it really paints a big target right between this angel’s eyes and that is where this girl really shines. Angel of Serenity allows you to remove three cards from not only the battlefield but also graveyards. It enters the battlefield and you remove one of your opponent’s creature from the game and two creatures in your graveyard. Your opponent can kill your angel and get his creature back but at the same time he is going to be returning two creatures to your hand. This card is more or less a 5/6 flying body with any combination of Unsummons and Disentombs. Definitely a powerful card, especially with Restoration Angels and Cloudshifts floating around. Keep your eye out for this one.

At this point we have quite a bit of graveyard hate but Rest in Peace might be the best ones available in Standard. The fact that it cleans out all graveyards upon entry and then goes on to completely shut out everything else that would enter the yard is way too awesome. Definitely going to be a sideboard staple.

Precinct Captain 

wwCreature – Human SoldierRareFirst strike
Whenever Precinct Captain deals combat damage to a player, put a 1/1 white Soldier creature token onto the battlefield.Illus. Steve Prescott #17/2742/2

One thing is for certain: RTR definitely doesn’t mark the end of Humans. A 2/2 for two with first stike is pretty sweet but that last ability of the captain puts him over the top. If this human goes unchecked your opponent is going to quickly staring down a field of threats. Between the beaters like this guy and the white populate and detain cards coming out in the set, human decks or at least white weenie are getting quite a bit more fuel.

This card is awesome. Disperse was always sweet but it is also a rather limited card and isn’t spectacular late game. That is definitely not the case with Cyclonic Rift. Not only is it a Disperse but it also a potential finisher at the same time. It serves as great spot removal while simultaneously being a one sided board wipe in your favor all at instant speed. One effect is clearly more powerful than the other but the fact that it is both adds an amount of versatility to the card that almost guarantees that it will be seeing constructed play.

Dispel

This might not be the most exciting spoiler of all time but dispel is a very powerful card and is going to be a crucial cog in any control decks especially with the loss of Mana Leak in the format. My fingers are also crossed for some sexy new art.

If you thought that blue aggro decks were gone perhaps you should guess again. A flying 2/1 for one is pretty decent and the fact that it is blue is a little ridiculous. Sure the additional cost of bouncing a creature could be considered a negative but if you really think about it there really aren’t a ton of creatures in a UW Delver list I wouldn’t mind returning to my hand. The decks that get the most out of this guy are going to be returning Snapcaster Mages or Restoration Angels or in the worst case scenario a Delver which you will simply recast. 2/1s are usually decent cards but when it is paired with both flying and the most powerful color you know you it’s going to be worth paying attention to.

Sphinx of the Chimes 

4uuCreature – SphinxRareFlying
Discard two nonland cards with the same name: Draw four cards.Illus. Greg Staples #52/2745/6

Sphinx of Chimes could possibly be one of the go to win conditions for control decks. A 5/6 flyer for six is decent but that ability is just awesome. I could see this card ultimately missing but I can’t so easily overlook an ability that reads “draw four”. For control decks you spend most of the game controlling your opponent and shaping your hand. The decks that could benefit from using this Sphinx are the ones with large numbers of cards in hand and likely to have multiples. This card could definitely be a hit in standard but perhaps it will in Modern where it will really shine. By this I mean I really just want to see this dude in cahoots with Squad Hawk. Any who, this guy could be fantastic but at the same time I could see him flopping. I guess only time will tell.

I like this card quite a bit. This card feels a lot like Abyssal Persecutor and that card was incredibly powerful and saw quite a bit of play. Sure he doesn’t have trample but still a 6/6 flyer for four is the kind of power I want to be getting for four mana. Now your opponent does have the option to sacrifice a creature to tap him down which makes him a card you will probably side out against tokens but let’s look a little closer at that ability. So prior to declaring attackers your opponent can sacrifice a creature to take him out of the picture while at the same time making him a bigger threat. Now think about the scenario in which you would normally be attacking a 6/6 flyer. You attack and your opponent is either taking six or they are probably going to be chump blocking. His ability lets your opponent choose whether or not he is going to be chump blocking or taking damage prior to declaration of attackers which is significantly better than simply attacking and being chumped blocked. First off, if your opponent taps him he becomes bigger, something that is going to be incredibly relevant in a format dominated by finishers with five or six power. Second this all occurs before you actually attack. This means that you are going to be able to declare attackers with one less body on the other side of the field, fully aware that you are down one potential blocker ultimately letting you make a more informed move and play better. This is one of the cards I saw on the spoiler page and immediately knew I was going to be playing it. I cannot wait to start bashing with this demon.

As I just mentioned there aren’t a whole lot of creatures with six power floating around with the rotation of the Titans which is what makes this vampire worth paying attention to. Again, not only is it a bit bigger than the rest of the crowd it also has flying and one hell of an ability. If a 6/5 wasn’t good enough for you how about a 12/11? Attack with this vamp once and she is going to be able to pretty quickly go toe to toe with a Worldspine Wurm. Sure it doesn’t do anything immediately upon entering play but you can bet it is doing something the second you enter combat. Not only is it a notably strong body but it is going to turn all of your creatures –itself included—into absolute monsters. Necropolis Regent is definitely my favorite mono-colored mythic in the set.

Underworld Connections 

1bbEnchantment – AuraRareEnchant Land
Enchanted Land has “{T}, Pay 1 life: Draw a card”“If you need it, it’s available. The question is: how much are you willing to pay?”Illus. Yeong-Hau Han

This card is awesome mostly because it is so reminiscent of Phyrexian Arena. While being familiar it also different in several ways. First off the drawing is tied to a land. In some sense this is a negative in the sense that you are effectively losing one mana if you want to draw some cards. But with that being said it also allows for quite a few things. Being attached to a land also means you can do it at instant speed or in response to something, also allowing for potential Miracle triggers. Another big pro for this card is that you are in complete control for when you get to trade life for cards. Unlike Arena which will take that last life of yours regardless if you want it to or not, you can stop drawing cards whenever you like. If your life total is low this enchantment isn’t going to be grinding you that much closer to death. So again very reminiscent of the classic enchantment and like Phyrexian Arena you can bet it is going to be seeing constructed play. I know I want to abuse it.

When paired with a multicolored set this card might seem underpowered but there really are quite a few mono-colored creatures that are more than worth running a kill spell for. Depending on what archetypes become predominant after the release of the new set you can bet that people will be running atleast one these main board and maybe even a couple more in the side. Awesome kill spell that could trickle down to the other formats.

And those are just the mono-colored cards in this predominantly multicolored set. Be sure to check out Sphinxes, Demons, Gorgons, Oh My! Part 2: Multicolored Cards and Artifacts which comes out tomorrow! And you can check out the rest of the spoiler here, at MTGSalvation.com!

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