Tonight's preview cards are half and half: Half previously known, half unknown. The two mythic rares we knew about beforehand and got confirmation on are Hellkite Tyrant in Adam Styborski's Serious Fun and Aurelia, the Warleader (which is now even cooler now that we know it can trigger all your creatures' battalion abilities twice each turn) in Gavin Verhey's ReConstructed. The other two come from sneakier places: In the podcast, a Dimir variant of Smallpox that causes pain again and again; and from the card image gallery, the most evil white and black hand-manipulation creature since Tidehollow Sculler. Have a glance at Undercity Plague and Vizkopa Confessor, then let me give you my first impressions:
Undercity Plague - Bear with me here: This is very unimpressive on its original casting for six mana, I know, and that compares unfavorably with, say, other spells with cipher like Stolen Identity, which feel much more "worth it" from the outset. After all, it's only a 2-for-1 and 1 life loss at that prohibitive six-mana cost. But if you've got it on an evasive creature, those losses start to pile up with every unblocked hit, and I dare say this is the strongest of the cipher cards so far in the long term. After a few hits your opponent will be left with an empty hand, probably far fewer lands than he or she started with, and may have to start throwing away his or her precious creatures to the repeated Plagues. By then your other evasive creatures will be poised for the kill, especially with that life total having been sapped away a little more every turn by the water-torture that is 1 life per combat phase...
Vizkopa Confessor - I note in the slideshow that the Vizkopa Bank is a revered Orzhov institution, and like any good banker this creature will pay out life and then collect with interest. By the time Vizkopa Confessor hits the table your opponents shouldn't have terribly many cards in hand, so what seems like a steep life payment may in fact be quite a discount for the opportunity to see what threats they're holding and snatch the greatest one away from them. Then, in your ensuing turns, that extort ability will kick in, and you'll be able to bleed your opponents dry with every spell. Just goes to show that the Orzhov guild makes sure that everything on Ravnica has a price.
What do you think of these two devious new guild cards? Let me know in the comments.