On this, the last night of week two of official Gatecrash previews on the mothership, we're seeing one defensive spell that helps out control decks that want to drag out the game and one offensive one for any red-white deck that wants to end it right now. First, Brian David-Marshall's The Week That Was gives us a sorcery that seems to fit as a kind of neo-Gaea's Blessing, and then from Mark Purvis in Latest Developments we see an absurd Boros board sweeper that also locks opponents out of having answers. Behold Serene Remembrance and Aurelia's Fury, then let me give you my first impressions of each.
Serene Remembrance - Being in green, enemy to both of the partially-mill-based Dimir's colors, you might assume this sorcery is intended to work against mill strategies, which is reasonable. And indeed, that's probably what it'll do in a Return to Ravnica block environment. But outside that context, in the larger Constructed environment, this is actually a mill deck's best friend. This is the best card for stalling out games printed in recent years since Elixir of Immortality. Plus, it functions as a great hoser in Standard and Modern too - there's a huge number of graveyard-based decks in both of those formats since Innistrad block's release, and, as David-Marshall rightly points out, this card does unkind things to Runechanter's Pike and any given card with flashback. In other words, Serene Remembrance is worth consideration simply because of its versatility - within and against some specific deck types there's almost never a time when it won't be useful, and it keeps tucking back into your library for you to use again and again.
Aurelia's Fury - Mark Rosewater was adamant on his Tumblr that the multicolor X-spell guild cycle was not going to continue in Gatecrash. This is a clear half-truth, because the many cards that are either rare or mythic rare, have X in their mana cost, and are affiliated with a Ravnican guild are not a true cycle. But I'm going to come out and say that the latest mythic entry in the pseudo-cycle is up there with Sphinx's Revelation in terms of sheer power, possibly even exceeding that card. This is pure endgame devastation wrapped up in a shiny red and white package. Just look at what it does: It's an instant, you can divide that X damage freely among any number of targets (all of which is already worth two mana on top of the X), and it cripples anything it hits - not only creatures, but players as well. This card is like an alpha strike in a can. It's the textbook definition of one-sided mass removal in more ways than one; you're guaranteed to take out as many blockers as you like if you assign merely 1 damage to each of your opponents' creatures, and you can ensure nobody has any responses when you enter combat with that spell-stopping player damage clause. We have seen comparatively little from the Boros compared to some other guilds, but this is the sort of thing that will make them an insanely strong aggro powerhouse when the set comes out.
What do you think of these defensive and offensive spells? Let me know in the comments.