At the same time as the reveal of March's Friday Night Magic promo card as Banisher Priest, we were also treated to a look ahead at the following month, and our first glance at April's promo: Another Magic 2014 original, apparently destined for reprints in future core sets, which seems to be a recurring theme here. Yes, FNM winners will get to deny their opponents' mana in style with a spiffy foil Encroaching Wastes.
After Elvish Mystic, which is always useful, and the Priest, which is part of the backbone of a number of decks, Encroaching Wastes has been seen as a letdown of a choice. It pales in comparison to its overpowered predecessors Wasteland and Strip Mine, and has never really gotten respect due to the cost of its ability. Still, it's very difficult-to-counter land destruction, that only costs colorless mana, and is itself strapped to a land and thus doesn't take up a spell slot in a deck - this is definitely something that slower Standard decks want.
As for the new art, it too hasn't been receiving rave reviews. I tend to agree - the original was much more evocative of the destructive nature of the card, with that vivid contrast between the lush grassy left half of the artwork box and the brimstone-filled fire pit of the right half. The new art just sort of looks like rocks up and flying away, as they tend to on Zendikar.
Interested in picking one of these up at an April FNM? Let me know in the comments.