Wait, it's the end of January already? Wow, yeah so I guess it's time to start the set reviews. After all we now have 249 new cards to shake up the constructed formats and all the limited formats are now rotating to be just the new cards. So I'm bad from the shadows to share my thoughts.
I know I've been kind of a hermit lately, but I started a new job so I'm skipping a lot of tournaments right now. Still, I'm hanging out on MTGO more to keep up my skills. So let's dive into the new cards and look at how much all the formats are going to change once Friday comes. As normal with my reviews I'll only be talking about the formats in which I think that the cards are good in.
Let's get this going with the Blue cards.
Ætherize -3U – Instant – Return all attacking creatures to their owner's hand. Wait, that's an uncommon? Lols. I mean come on it's like a blue wrath. I really, think this is going to see so action in the constructed formats. In limited it's going to be the fun hate to foil Battalion decks.
Agoraphobia – 1U – Enchantment – Aura – Enchant creature. Enchanted creature gets -5/-0/ 2U: Return Agoraphobia to its owner's hand. Nice, blue is looking very strong for Limited. Just drop these on a threat then yonk it back when you need to move it.
Clinging Anemones – 3U – Creature – Jellyfish – Defender. Evolve (Whenever a creature enters the battlefield under your control, if that creature has greater power or toughness than this creature, put a +1/+1 counter on this creature.) 1/4 I am an fan of this mechanic and it is part of why Simic is my second favorite Guild in the set, but this is just the Evolve wall for Limited games.
Cloudfin Raptor – U – Creature – Bird Mutant – Flying. Evolve (Whenever a creature enters the battlefield under your control, if that creature has greater power or toughness than this creature, put a +1/+1 counter on this creature.) 0/1 You know I'm thinking about putting this in a Ninja shell for Modern just for fun so the deck isn't all control based. As for this in Limited, well If I'm playing blue I'll be looking to draft this. Sure, it's not impressive on turn one, but with each turn if you are dropping bigger dorks this gets nastier. I'm loving it.
Diluvian Primordial – 5UU – Creature – Avatar – Flying. When Diluvian Primordial enters the battlefield, for each opponent, you may cast up to one target instant or sorcery card from that players' graveyard without paying its mana cost. If a card cast this way would be put into a graveyard this turn, exile it instead. 5/5 I'll trade you a cup of truck stop coffee for twenty copies of this card. Come on that deal is way more than fare. All kidding aside this card just sucks. I mean in limited all you are going to get is a removal card. I mean it's Limited and you used the last six turns to mill your opponent when they were casting creatures and attacking. Changes are they will have the removal for this and will kill you the turn after you cast it.
Enter the Infinite – 8UUUU – Sorcery – Draw cards equal to the number of cards in your library, then put a card from your hand on top of your library. You have no mazimum hand size until your next turn. I'm going to cast Show and Tell to cast Enter the Infinite and then cast leaving a land on top of my deck. Then I just drop some Eldazi into play along with four Flame-Kin Zealots and attack quickly before my alarm goes off and I have to get up for work. Alright, so maybe we will see this in the Show/Enter decks as a way to get everything into their hands, but why do this when you are already winning with the Eldarzi?
Frilled Oculus – 1U – Creature – Homunculus – 1G: Frilled Oculus gets +2/+2 until end of turn. Activate this ability only once each turn. 1/3 Limited dork isn't all that limited. Either you run it as a blocker or you can us it on the offensive when you have extra mana.
Gridlock – XU – Instant – Tap X target nonland permanents. I love it for Limited. I'm going to tap down you best dudes during you upkeep then when it's my turn i'm going to attack you with everything I got to win the game. You road raging Bro?
Hands of Binding – 1U – Sorcery – Tap target creature an opponent controls. That creature doesn't untap during its controller's next untap step. Cipher (Then you may exile this spell card encoded on a creature you control. Whenever that creature deals combat damage to a player, its controller may cast a copy of the encoded card without paying its mana cost.) Out of all the Cipher cards I have to say that this seems like the second most likely to be useful outside of Limited. Yeah, this is the second best one because all the rest have outrageous mana cost for small effects.
Incursion Specialist – 1U – Creature – Human wizard – Whenever you cast your second spell each turn, Incursion Specialist gets +2/+0 until end of turn and is unblockable this turn. 1/3 Come on kids let's jump through some hoops to get Cipher to work in Limited so that it isn't overpowered in Standard, but once you do it kind of doesn't suck.
Keymaster Rogue – 3U – Creature – Human Rogue – Keymaster Rogue is unblockable. When Keymaster Rogue enters the battlefield, return a creature you control to its owner's hand. 3/2 So with the extensive hacking away at all the good decks in Modern I think this might just be the final push that Ninja needs to be competitive. In limited, this is going to be the staple of any Cipher deck.
Last Thoughts – 3U – Sorcery – Draw a card. Cipher (Then you may exile this spell card encoded on a creature you control. Whenever that creature deals combat damage to a player, its controller may cast a copy of the encoded card without paying its mana cost.) Four mana just to turn a creature into Ninja of the Deep Hours, wait that's the real casting cost for Ninja of the Deep Hours, really? I normally only cast mine for 1U on turn two. I think this is only going to see play in Limited.
Leyline Phantom – 4U – Creature – Illusion – Whenever Leyline Phantom deals combat damage, return it to its owner's hand. (Return it only if it survived combat.) 5/5. That creature sucks so much that it would have been printed at uncommon when I was in high school. I mean this isn't even good in Limited. All you do is spend five mana just to recast it to block again next turn. So much fail.
Metropolis Sprite – 1U – Creature – Faerie Rogue – Flying. U: Metropolis Sprite gets +1/-1 until end of turn. ½ Limited flying, nothing to see, moving on.
Mindeye Drake – 4U – Creature – Drake – Flying. When Mindeye Drake dies, target player puts the top five cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard. 2/5. If you look closely you can see the following message under the the copyright date. “We wanted mill to be a think, but then we took it out of the set, but we left all the jank mill creatures in because we didn't want to remake them.” I mean this is a 2/5 flier, how is that going to die in combat.
Rapid Hybridization – U – Instant – Destroy target creature. It can't be regenerated. That creature's controller puts a 3/3 green Frog Lizard creature token onto the battlefield. It's so rare that blue gets removal that even this is an awesome card. Yes, it's a narrow Beast Within but in Limited this is going to allow blue decks to have even more removal. In Standard this could even be the card that brings back Snapcaster to power.
Realmwright – U – Creature – Vedelken Wizard – As Realmwright enters the battlefield, choose a basic land type. Lands you control are the chosen types in addition to their other types. 1/1 Part of me wants a copy of these that has been altered to have a picture of Seto Kaiba because “Screw the color pie, I have money!” That just doesn't seem like a very blue creature, I thought green was the color for mana fixing. Still, I'm getting a play set before it jumps up to over $5.
Sage's Row Denizen – 2U – Creature – Vedalken Wizard – Whenever another blue creature enters the battlefield under your control, target player puts the top two cards fo his or her library into his or her graveyard. 2/3 Talrand, Sky Summoner mill! Yeah, this does help out the Limited and Block mill decks, but this might allow the dream of a mill deck in Standard once again.
Sapphire Drake – 5U – Creature – Drake – Flying. Each creature you control with a +1/+1 counter on it has flying. 4/4 That is so great in Block and Limited when you are playing Simic. Turn five drop this and hopefully Evolve you board as they jump into the air for damage. Still over priced for the over formats.
Scatter Arc - 3U – Instant – Counter target creature spell. Draw a card. Yeah, that's some janky counter spell. Yeah, sure you get to replace the counter which makes it great for Limited, but this is just going to be laughed out of the constructed counter spell club.
Simic Fluxmage – 2U – Creature – Merfolk Wizard – Evolve (Whenever a creature enters the battlefield under your control, if that creature has greater power or toughness than this creature, put a +1/+1 counter on this creature.) 1U, tap: Move a +1/+1 counter from Simic Fluxmage onto target creature. ½ Because the Evolve mechanic will only trigger if the creature entering the battlefield has a large stat at the time it enters, you can't respond by moving the counter onto another creature, but if two creature enter to trigger Evolve you can respond with the second one still on the stack so you get both instances to resolve. Still, this is going to see much play in Limited and Block.
Simic Manipulator – 1UU – Creature – Mutant Wizard – Evolve (Whenever a creature enters the battlefield under your control, if that creature has greater power or toughness than this creature, put a +1/+1 counter on this creature.) Tap, Remove one or more +1/+1 counters from Simic Manipulator: Gain control of target creature with power less than or equal to the number of +1/+1 counter removed this way. 0/1 So many hoops, so many hoops to jump through to make this work. Still at uncommon this is going to see a lot of play in Limited and might also get play in Block Simic decks.After all it just keep growing and you can keep stealing dudes.
Skygames - 1U – Enchantment – Aura – Enchant land. Enchanted land has “Tap: Target creature gains flying until end of turn. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery.” Quidditch in Magic? I can hear them, as if millions of fan girls just squeeled in joy at the OTP of Jace and Hermione. All start in Limited that might be seen in Block as a reusable jump.
Spell Rupture – 1U – Instant. Counter target spell unless its controller pays X, where X is the greatest power among creatures you control. Wait, what? AWESOME! Delver's back baby! Turn one Delver of Secrets, reveal this next up keep to flip it, and now you have Mana Leak. Even better in Sealed because of the small number of removal spells in card pools.
Stolen Identity – 4UU – Sorcery – Put a token onto the battlefield that's a copy of target artifact or creature. Cipher (Then you may exile this spell card encoded on a creature you control. Whenever that creature deals combat damage to a player, its controller may cast a copy of the encoded card without paying its mana cost.) Should of invested in Lifealert. Six-drop cone spell that is only going to see play in... wait, ramp + trample = army of wurms. Yeah, this might just become what people thought that Cackling Counterpart should have been.
Totally Lost – 4U – Instant – Put target nonland permanent on top of its owner's library. Wow, too over priced for the constructed formats but that is going to tick-off my opponent when they are flooded/land-screwed in Limited.
Voidwalk – 3U – Sorecery – Exile target creature. Return it to the battlefield under its owner's control at the beginning of the next end step. Cipher (Then you may exile this spell card encoded on a creature you control. Whenever that creature deals combat damage to a player, its controller may cast a copy of the encoded card without paying its mana cost.) You know this might not be the best of the Cipher cards but it is the one that does inspire a number of cool deck idea. Sundial of the Infinite and Invisible Stalker makes this a cool combo to deal with trouble dorks but it will only come online on turn five. Then again you could use it with Invisible Stalker to blink other creatures that have powerful “enters the battlefield” ability. Yeah, this is going to get brewed around.
Way of the Thief – 3U – Enchantment – Aura – Enchant creature. Enchanted creature gets +2/+2. Enchanted creature is unblockable as long as you control a Gate. So many hoops to play the Cipher deck, they really starting to tick me off. Great, now I have to play four copies of Dimir Guildgate in the deck so I can end up with an opening hand that is flooded with lands that are going to enter the battlefield tapped. Thanks. Still, epic in Limited because you have to play the gates in that format.
Blue looks really cool over all. Granted all the Cipher and unblockable cards are hard to make work but the Evolve creatures are just awesome. Still if I'm kind of backed into covering the Dimir cards because I set thing up so I have to use Orzhov with the black cards. Yeah, the black guild sgot the short end of the stick for cool guild mechanics this go around.
Bane Alley Broker – 1UB – Creature – Human Rogue – Tap: Draw a card, then exile a card face down. You may look at cards exiled with Bane Alley Broker. UB, tap: Return a card exiled with Bane Alley Broker to its owner's hand. It's like a Looter that you can return the cards back to hand later when you really need them. Daddy likes this. Wait, it's in Dimir colors so this isn't going to get any love.
Call of the Nightwing – 2UB – Sorcery – Put a 1/1 blue and black Horror creature token with flying onto the battlefield. Cipher (Then you may exile this spell encoded on a creature you control. Whenever that creature deals combat damage to a player, its controller may cast a copy of the encoded card without paying its mana cost.) Making tokens. Again, blue/black spell that might be cool with Invisible Stalker so you get two the turn you cast it and one more each turn.
Consuming Aberration – 3UB – Creature – Horror – Consuming Aberration's power and toughness are each equal to the number of cards in your opponent's graveyards. Whenever you cast a spell, each opponent reveals cards from the top of his or her library until he or she reveals a land card, then puts those cards into his or her graveyard. */* All of my hate, all of my hate is directed at Maro right now. I mean we only have four all opponent mills cards and two cards that mill everyone. The best that could be done with this card is to put four of it into an Archenemy deck with four of all those other cards. Also some copies of Artful Dodge to make this lethal.
Dimir Charm – UB – Instant – Choose one – Counter target sorcery spell; or destroy target creature with power 2 or less; or look at the top three cards of target player's library, then put one back and the rest into that player's graveyard. Did Dimir also get the worst Charm in the block? Yes, yes it did. Even in Limited this doesn't do much.
Dinrova Horror – 4UB – Creature – Horror – When Dinrova Horror enters the battlefield, return target permanent to its owner's hand, then that player discards a card. 4/4 Really, yeah moving on.
Duskmantle Guildmage – UB – Creature – Human Wizard – 1UB: Whenever a card is put into an opponent's graveyard from anywhere this turn, that player loses 1 life. 2UB: Target player puts the top two cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard. 2/2 Dimir also got the worst of the guildmages. Damn, why did you have to bone the Dimir so hard MaRo?
Duskmantle Seer – 2UB – Creature – Vampire Wizard – Flying. At the beginning of your upkeep, each player reveals the top card of his or her library, loses life equal to that card's converted mana cost, then puts it into his or her hand. 4/4 So it's a bigger Bob that works for all players. It's fourteen dollars right now, but once people figure out that a Dark Confidant that works for everyone is only as good as Howling Mine. Also with the new trigger rules you can just “forget” the trigger if you are low on life.
Lazav, Dimir Mastermind – UUBB – Legendary Creature – Shapeshifter – Hexproof. Whenever a creature card is put into an opponent's graveyard from anywhere, you may have Lazav, Dimir Mastermind become a copy of that card except its name is still Lazav, Dimir Mastermind, it's legendary in addition to its other types, and it gains hexproof and this ability. 3/3 So yeah, either mill, discard, or removal allows you to make copies. You know, I kind of expect this to be a Commander only card. Might see play if someone is foolish enough to try and play Dimir in limited.
Mind Grind – XUB – Sorcery. Each opponent reveals cards from the top of his or her library until he or she reveals X land cards, then puts all cards revealed this way into his or her graveyard. X can't be 0. Yup, going to be looking for a few playsets of this card. Not because it's good but because it's going to be easy to trade to casual players. Casual players love powerful mill cards, and nothing is more powerful of a mill card then this one in casual.
Mortus Strider – 1UB – Creature – Skeleton – When Mortus Strider dies, return it to its owner's hand 1/1 Crap, they made a good three drop to defend you on the ground as you try to play mill. It's a trap! You think you are getting a repeat blocker but you just keep recasting the same dude over and over as you try to get enough lands in play to be able to cast this as well as a mill card in the same turn. It's like setting yourself back three lands for the rest of the game just to keep a 1/1 out to block.
Paranoid Delusions – UB – Sorcery – Target player puts the top three cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard. Cipher (Then you may exile this spell card encoded on a creature you control. Whenever that creature deals combat damage to a player, its controller may cast a copy of the encoded card without paying its mana cost.) When this is the best Cipher card as well as the best Dimir card, you know we have issues. Sure you could put it on an Invisible Stalker and try to Mill to win, but even then it's going to be a long grind.
Psychic Strike – 1UB – Instant – Counter target spell. Its controller puts the top two cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard. Nagle - “How do we make a counter spell that has a Dimir flavor?” Snaps fingers, “I got it. Take Cancel, change one of the blues into a black and make it mill two cards. I;m so awesome” Okay, so I decided to blame Nagle instead of MaRo for this. After all Mr I<3Fatties would make the card only mill two instead of the casting cost of the countered spell. I mean how cool would it have been to counter something like a mega fireball only to turn it into mega mill? The world will never know, and so we end up with more mill that will draw players into drafting Dimir deck when they should be going aggro.
Soul Ransom – 2UB – Enchantment – Aura – Enchant creature. You control enchanted creature. Discard two cards: Soul Ransom's Controller sacrifices it, then draws two cards. Only any opponent may activate this ability. I'm impressed. Finally a sweet Dimir card that might is awesome, but is rare so it wont have any cool stories from Limited. If this was only uncommon it might have saved the guild and made it good enough to play U/B in limited. Granted this being around might cause some to have Block dreams of casting this along with tons of discard and counters. After all they can't take the creature back it they don't have two cards in hand.
Whispering Madness – 2UB – Sorcery – each player discard his or her hand, then draws cards equal to the greatest number discarded this way. Cipher (Then you may exile this spell card encoded on a creature you control. Whenever that creature deals combat damage to a player, its controller may cast a copy of the encoded card without paying its mana cost.) Look even more Cipher cards that are never going to see play. Wait, four lands, Tormented Soul, Liliana's Caress, Megrim, cast this, Cipher on Tormented Soul, and attack... if your opponent has three or more cards in hand that is game. Holy cow! It looks like there's one Dimir card that might be good in Modern. I'm impressed.
Coerced Confession – 4U/b – Sorcery – target player put sthe top four cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard. You draw a card for each creature card put into that graveyard this way. More mill jank that is going to trap you into the deck in Limited as you get bashed in the face with creatures over and over.
Deathcult Rogue – 1U/bU/b – Creature – Human Rogue – Deathcult Rogue can't be blocked except by Rogues. 2/2 Hey, look we got a no hoops creature to power Cipher in Block and Limited. Took me enough cards to finally find one. I felt like I was playing “Where's Waldo” with the Enabler.
Nightveil Specter – U/bU/bU/b – Creature – Specter – Flying. Whenever Nightveil Specter deals damage to a player, that paleyr exiles the top card of his or her library. You may play cards exiled with Nightveil Specter. 2/3 I like it for Limited, but with that casting cost you need to be commited to Dimir which as I have stated means you will be heavy mill.
Alright, so Dimir really makes me feel like they got scared of blue/black and spells that could make Snapcaster Mage and Invisible Stalker epic. Now I have to hope that cipher is cool enough that they are willing to reuse it in M16 or M17 so it gets some cool low casting cost spells. Well I had better get started on black so I can finish with the let downs of Extort and Cipher. This has been...
Jeffrey Carmichael II
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