Monday, January 28, 2013

Dragon's Maze Prerelease?


I'm noticing a theme. WotC is doing guild packs for all of the sets in the Return to Ravnica block. But get this... These boxes have what it takes to build the guild in it and another. I'm curious what this means, but I'm thinking guilds will be turning into three color guilds (which can be done based on allied and enemy wedges). So that means Azorius may have the ability to work for either Simic, Orzhov, or Izzet. More details will hopefully come soon.

EDIT: Based on the updated information from Wizards of the Coast, it is a secret guild in the pack with the one you choose. And something to note is that if you choose Azorious (since that is our example), it will be a guild with one of the colors. And on top of that, the guild will not be from the same set. So, Azorious can be Orzhov or Boros (White) or it can be Dimir or Simic (Blue). Additionally, the packs inside will be four Dragon's Maze packs, and will be the guild booster of the guild you chose (pretty much the same thing from RTR or GTC) and then one guild booster of your secret guild. They will not have the promos from RTR or GTC in them.


But wait's there's more!


We go back to the same "Everyone gets this one promo and you can't play it!" routine as before RTR. What a shame...

EDIT: I'm a bit confused by it, but Wizards said that the Dragon's Maze promo will be in the guild packs, but can't use it. So you get two?



But wait, there's more!


None of the booster packs in these boxes contain basic land. What does this mean? We get guildgates in the place of basic land. So guildgates will be reprinted in the same block under the Dragon's Maze symbol this time.


But wait, there's more!


Not only will the basic land slot be replaced with guildgates (which are considered commons), the slot could instead be filled by a shockland (using the RTR ot GTC symbols). This is only done by rarity, so guildgates are more likely, but shocklands are also possible, and you'd probably have a better chance at getting one then you would pulling it from the rare slot.


But wait, there's more!


If guildgates and shocklands will be in place of basic land, why not throw in a Dragon's Maze mythic rare land in that slot in some packs too! This will be the second mythic rare land to ever be printed (I am NOT counting From the Vault: Realms or Strip Mine from FTV: Exiled. They may be the mythic rare color, but they are only expensive boxes of shiny. That and they've never been legal in Standard. All lands from FTV were originally printed as rares or less, so that's what I consider them to be). What was the first? Eye of Ugin from Worldwake of course!

Eye of Ugin


But wait, there's more!


By now you have to be wondering what the hell could also be included in the prerelease for Dragon's Maze. Well, remember the Helvault from Avacyn Restored? Guild members work together to get through the "Implicit Maze" and the guild that wins gets special stuff. Once the maze in completed, all players who participated in the prerelease will also get a foil basic land promo.

Why do I get the feeling this is focusing a bit more on the land and they're also hiding basic land from us for a reason. Like maybe we'll see some full-art lands again? That'd be awesome. Why else would we not get basic land in our prerelease boosters, and then we get a special foil basic land promo? It creates hype, yes, but WHY? Think about it, and please feel free to comment with your opinions on the matter below. I think we'll see full-art land. Well, I hope anyway.

Gatecrash Prereleases

So I went to three prereleases total. Wanting to try as many guilds as possible (in Return to Ravnica, I could only do two), I chose Boros, Simic, and Orzhov. Everyone wanted Simic at my local store, and Orzhov and Boros came after that. Gruul was a front-runner for the first one with it disappearing, but after, no one really went for Gruul. Dimir was the least played, but the most over-powered.

Of the three, I managed Top 8 in the third one (with Orzhov/Non-Green).

Some other occurrences at my local shop were a flood of kids (I mean under 12) that had no idea how to play and came for the first time. Personally, I recommend starting out playing casually with friends, then FNM. A sealed prerelease where you have a friend build a three color deck with 68 cards isn't the best place to start.

Also, my local shop ran out of lands (no one was returning them) around the second prerelease (this is why I always carry my full-art Zendikar land), and also, an Orzhov box was mis-packaged and instead included everything from Simic. Weird. Kind of like the Golgari box for RTR in some stores having rares in the land slot in the booster packs...


Anyway, here are the decks:

Boros (Actually Boros with a splash of black)



Creatures:
1x Boros Elite
1x Dutiful Thrull
1x Sunhome Guildmage
1x Wojek Halberdiers
1x Basilica Screecher
2x Bomber Corps
1x Daring Skyjet
1x Skyknight Legionnaire
1x Warmind Infantry
1x Firemane Avenger
1x Scorchwalker
1x Towering Thunderfist
1x  Foundry Champion (promo)

Spells:
1x Beckon Apparition
1x Guildscord Ward
1x Shielded Passage
1x Smite
1x Boros Charm
1x Martial Glory
1x Skullcrack
1x Massive Raid
1x Assemble the Legion (totally awesome card!)
1x Orzhov Keyrune

Land:
1x Boros Guildgate
1x Orzhov Guildgate
1x Sacred Foundry (greatest pull from the box, aside from Assemble the Legion)
7x Plains
1x Swamp (foil, pulled from booster)
5x Mountain



Simic (Just Simic)



Creatures:
1x Experiment One
1x Shambleshark
1x Zameck Guildmage
1x Frilled Oculus
1x Simic Fluxmage
1x Slaughterhorn
1x Fathom Mage (promo)
1x Adaptive Snapjaw (in Limited/Sealed/Draft, this is pretty good...)
1x Nimbus Swimmer (art is sweet. So is the card...)

Spells:
1x Bioshift
1x Burst of Strength
1x Forced Adaptation
1x Hydroform
1x Agoraphobia (perfect to lock down someone else's Adaptive Snapjaw...)
1x Naturalize
1x Skygames
2x Spell Rupture (Step 1: watch opponent tap all lands, Step 2: counter spell, Step 3: swing for game!)
1x Miming Slime
1x Verdant Haven
1x Last Thoughts
2x Way of the Thief (Great card for pumping Adaptive Snapjaw and then casting Miming Slime)
1x Skyblinder Staff

Land:
1x Simic Guildgate
8x Island
7x Forest




Orzhov (Orzhov with blue and red splashed)



Creatures:
1x Dutiful Thrull
1x Shadow Alley Denizen
1x Syndic of Tithes
1x Deathcult Rogue
1x Kingpin's Pet
1x Skynight Legionaire
1x Basilia Guards
2x Court Street Denizen
1x Slate Street Ruffian
1x Syndicate Enforcer
1x Treasury Thrull (promo)

Spells:
2x Smite
1x Boros Charm
1x Dimir Charm
1x Martial Glory
1x Orzhov Charm
1x Blind Obedience
2x Contaminated Ground (perfect in Limited)
1x One Thousand Lashes
1x Killing Glare
1x Prophetic Prism

Land:
2x Orzhov Guildgate
1x Dimir Guildgate
5x Plains
1x Island (foil, pulled from booster)
5x Swamp
2x Mountain



Videos of box openings will come later today if not in a couple of days. They will be added to this post, and to the YouTube videos page.


Monday, January 21, 2013

A Look at Booster Drafts

Okay, so Monday I was a bit bored, so I took a couple of minutes to use the booster draft simulator that Wizards of the Coast has. (NOTE: You'll need flash enabled!)

If' you've never played with the draft simulator before, I highly recommend it. I played around with it when it was on M12, and just decided to try this one out. Drafts are pretty much the same (packs you see, the computer AI players draft a certain way, etc.) so if you follow the order I did this in, you'll probably get all the cards in the list, so check out each list and see why I chose what I did (it will be analyzed below each round).



Round 1:
Vampire Nighthawk
Tormented Soul
Rancor
Bountiful Harvest
Plummet
Deadly Recluse
Sign in Blood
Elvish Visionary
Titanic Growth
Disentomb
Arbor Elf
Dark Favor
Swamp
Swamp
Island


Okay, so the cards I look at the choose from are okay... A Cathedral of War (Rare), two artifacts for uncommons, and a Vampire Nighthawk? One of my favorite black cards to play in Standard? Something that could keep me alive and instill fear in my opponents? Hell yes. So I have a Nighthawk. Good start. Next pick was a Tormented Soul. One drop 1/1 unblockable. Still fitting with the black theme. I like it! Then I see Rancor after that. If my Junk deck (It's coming soon, I swear!) pairs Nighthawks and Rancors well, this will just go from good to awesome. Bountiful Harvest was just a "there is nothing here that fits my game plan. I'll just take something that will give me life. Plummet, perfect flyers control. And no one takes it to drop my Nighthawk. Next was another Plummet (didn't need another, really...) or a Deadly Recluse. Reach and Deathtouch for 2 mana. I couldn't resist. Sign in Blood. I'm gaining life, let's draw some cards with it. Honestly, what am I going to do with Farseek without shocklands? And in a draft, no less. Elvish Visionary. More with card draw. Titanic Growth for that pump spell I may need (+4/+4 to a Nighthawk? Yes please!). Disentomb so I can get some creatures back... Arbor Elf because there isn't much left, and a mana dork can't hurt (3 mana on turn two, essentially). Dark Favor was really the only option here. I lose one life and pay two mana for +3/+1 permanently (unless countered or destroyed) to a creature. I was drafting for keeps and not simulated, I would have taken then Reverberate, but I went with the Swamp. And another Swamp. And an Island.


So what am I looking at so far out of these 15 cards? Well, 3 land for starters, but I've grabbed some creatures with Deathtouch, life gain, and pump spells. See the theme? Good! Keeping with that theme/mindset, I go towards the next round...


Round 2:
Tormented Soul
Garruk's Packleader
Blood Reckoning
Silklash Spider
Fungal Sprouting
Vile Rebirth
Acidic Slime
Bond Beetle
Elvish Visionary
Spiked Baloth
Serpent's Gift
Fog
Forest
Timberpack Wolf
Island

I went with another Tormented Soul because sometimes you can't do much about unblockable creatures in limited. And because it was cheap. Garruk's Packleader for more card draw. And maybe some creatures with power 3 or greater could show up. I chose Blood Reckoning because it dissuades opponents from attacking. I chose Silklash Spider next because it is essentially a 2/7 wall with reach, and I can drop some flyers. I'm not quite sure why I chose Fungal Sprouting. Maybe because it meant more creatures, maybe it made sense. I guess it was better than Vastwood Gorger... Next, I went with Vile Rebirth. I can exile a creature from an opponent's graveyard or mine and get a 2/2 zombie. Why not? I chose Acidic Slime purely for the destruction ability. Now that I look back, it fits the Deathtouch theme too... Bond Beetle because it was the only card of one of my colors. and the ability of putting a +1/+1 counter on something didn't hurt either... Elvish Visionary, again, for card draw like last round. I chose Spiked Baloth next as a trigger for Garruk's Packleader and because of Trample. Serpent's Gift was purely for the Deathtouch aspect. Having a Fog never hurts... Forest because there wasn't much else to choose from. Same thing goes for Timberpack Wolf. Then I was handed an Island.
Okay, so now I've added Trample, more card draw, and more Deathtouch and reasons for opponents not to attack or block stuff I send their way. And if that doesn't work, then Silklash Spider will be a nice wall. Next round!




Round 3:
Primal Huntbeast
Liliana's Shade
Rise from the Grave
Vampire Nighthawk
Yeva's Forcemage
Vile Rebirth
Mwonvuli Beast Tracker
Veilborn Ghoul
Phylactery Lich
Bloodthrone Vampire
Sign in Blood
Crippling Blight
Crippling Blight
Faith's Reward
Mountain


Primal Huntbeast for Garruk's Packleader's trigger, of course... Liliana's Shade for getting the land out and for the pump ability. Rise from the Grave was chosen because I could kill off something awesome an opponent has, and then get it back. Or also just bring back my Nighthawk. And then I see another Vampire Nighthawk. I can totally make this work. Two of them in one limited deck? That definitely helps the game plan of hitting them with deathtouch/lifelink and keeping them from swinging back. I chose Yeva's Forcemage for the pump spell aspect. A 2/2 that gives +2/+2 until end of turn to another creature is definitely powerful in limited. Vile Rebirth was chosen for the same reason as in Round 2. Now I have way too many Mwonvuli Beast Tracker's in my collection. I think 10 or something. By far my most pulled uncommon, and I hate it. Yet in this deck, I think I found a niche for it. In limited, when I have all these creatures with deathtouch, trample, and reach, this is perfect. Let's me find a Nighthawk, which I could have by turn 4 (assuming land is played right) and hopefully played that turn (essentially I'd need two forests and one swamp by turn three, then play a swamp on turn four so I can play the Nighthawk). I chose Veilborn Ghoul because i could keep bringing him back hopefully. Of course, I don't have to use him, but still a good option. Honestly, Phylactery Lich came back to me (was the rare at the beginning of the round), so I took it, especially since it was the only color of mine... I chose Bloodthrone Vampire because I could sacrifice a 1/1 Saproling from Fungal Sprouting to get a 3/3... Not too bad... Chose Sign in Blood for the same reason as in Round 1. Gaining life and then trading it for cards... Okay, I got Crippling Blight and Crippling Blight because they were the only cards left of my color. But it does control opponent's creatures and keep them from blocking... When I got to Faith's Reward, it was the last pack, and I figured I might as well take a rare that was rotated around. I mean, why not? Then last, but not least, an Island.




So I have Green and Black cards, which I have creatures with Reach, Trample, and Deathtouch. The Vampire Nighthawks round out the deck perfectly.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Update on Future Deck Techs and Videos

I just recently purchased a camera tripod and an iStabilizer for my iPhone, so videos and deck techs will hopefully be soon added again. I can't wait to show off my Rakdos Deck and my Junk Deck, but I'm waiting to get the iStabilizer in the mail, and for me to get some time to work on it.


Also, I've been sick for a week, and lost my voice during this past Friday's FNM, so no videos for at least a week, except for the Introduction to Commander video that once edited will be uploaded, as well as a video for a look at the blog (as well as an appeal for donations for future unboxing videos and other MTG video projects).

GATECRASH SPOILERS (Part 6)

Okay, so instead of making new posts two or three times a week (which since I'm back at college, I don't have time for), instead I'll just update the new GATECRASH SPOILER page. Just click the link there (or at the top of the page) and you'll be taken to the page. I've arranged it like it would appear in the Fat Pack collecting book/visual encyclopedia, so it will run 1 to 3 across, then the next row 4 to 6, and so on. Only officially released cards through Wizards of the Coast have been added, along with my assessment of the cards (all previous posts with cards had the text copied). All other revealed cards will be added later. Hopefully I can update multiple times a week, but we'll see.


Anyway, enjoy, and please check out the pages.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Gatecrash Spoilers part 5

Skullcrack looks like it is similar to Havoc Festival, but only occurs for the one turn and also deals damage to a player, all for two mana. I predict this will be a staple for burn decks.
Our second guildmage revealed, Duskmantle Guildmage, is from the Dimir guild and costs one blue and one black mana to cast. The first ability makes an opponent lose one life if they put a card in their graveyard this turn (this stacks, so milling adds up). The other ability is a mill ability that for four mana, makes target opponent put the top two cards from their library to their graveyard. Pretty good.
Elusive Krasis is just a three mana 0/4 that is unblockable and has Evolve. I think I see a good opportunity for a blue/black/green unblockable deck now... Good card, if you ask me.
High Priest of Penance costs two mana, is a 1/1, and when it is deal damage, you can destroy a nonland permanent. Not too bad... I could see it in a deck, but I doubt I would see it in too many decks.
Skyknight Legionnaire is a three mana creature that is 2/2 with flying and haste. Boros is looking good if this is just a common...

Guildgates

Orzhov Guildgate  Dimir Guildgate
Gruul Guildgate Boros Guildgate Simic Guildgate

"Fires of Hell" Deck (Red Aggro)

I was able to talk to Carter H. at my local FNM this past week about this deck, which came in second the week before. Check this out:

Deck List

Creatures
x4 Stromkirk Noble
x4 Rakdos Cackler
x4 Lightning Mauler
x3 Ash Zealot
x4 Pyreheart Wolf
x4 Hellrider

Land
x16 Mountain
x4 Dragonskull Summit
x2 Blood Crypt

Other Spells
x4 Pillar of Flame
x2 Mizzium Mortars
x3 Searing Spear
x3 Dreadbore
x3 Brimstone Volley
Sideboard
x1 Searing Spear
x1 Mizzium Mortars
x3 Slaughter Games
x2 Rakdos Charm
x4 Flames of the Firebrand
x2 Bonfire of the Damned
x2 Zealous Conscripts



So the ideal hand to open with is 1 Stromkirk Noble, 1 Ash Zealot, 1 Pyreheart Wolf, 1 Hellrider, 2 Mountain and 1 of the dual lands.

With this deck, the idea is to throw around enough burn to destroy your opponent's creatures and to then flood them with yours. You can typically win by turn 4 or 5 if you can soulbond a Pyreheart Wolf to a Lightning Mauler on turn 3, and then put out a Hellrider on turn 4. Any creatures you attack with have to be blocked by two or more creatures, and for each creature that attacks your opponent, damage is dealt to your opponent. So, you can do pretty well with this deck.

I beat this deck with my Junk deck (video and details coming later...) this past Friday, but lost horribly to it the week before. So it really depends on what you draw and how you play this deck.

Lightning Mauler      Pyreheart Wolf
Hellrider

Blue/Black Unblockables in Standard

So with this deck, the idea is to win with your unblockable creatures. I built this solely based on what I have, not what I went out to buy... Well, except the Zendikar lands... I bought those... Anyway, here is the deck:

Deck List

Creatures
4x Tormented Soul
2x Fog Bank
2x Invisible Stalker
4x Walking Corpse
2x Cryptborn Horror
4x Latch Seeker
2x Chronomaton

Land
10x Island
6x Swamp
4x Drowned Catacomb

Artifacts
1x Ring of Evos Isle
3x Inquisitor's Flail
2x Trepanation Blade
2x Elbrus, the Binding Blade

Other Spells
4x Downpour
1x Essence Scatter
1x Negate
2x Spectral Flight
2x Rewind
2x Tricks of the Trade
Sideboard
4x Divination
1x Essence Scatter
1x Negate
1x Primal Clay
1x Ring of Xathrid
1x Tormod's Crypt
2x Spectral Flight
1x Demonmail Hauberk
3x Syncopate

So, most creatures are unblockable, I just don't have many, and several of them can be made unblockable or at least make them flying (which is a kind of unblockable, sort of) with Spectral Flight or Tricks of the Trade. I should also add that Soulsworn Spirit isn't included because instead of paying for a 2/1 for four mana that details one creature and is unblockable, I'd rather drop an Invisible stalker for half of that and then a Downpour on my opponent's turn, or just block everything with Fog Bank.

So aside from that, the deck should be pretty straight forward... You attack with your unblockable creatures, keep opponents from attacking with Downpour, and then increase your creature's abilities with the enchantments...

For instance, you play a Latch Seeker (3/1) and you attach a Spectral Flight aura and then maybe attach an Inquisitor's Flail if you have it.

If they can't stop any of that at all, on turn 4 (if you hit 4 mana drops) you have a 10/3 (3/1 with the +2/+2 from Spectral Flight and the dealing double damage). 10 damage by turn 4 or so... and on turn 5, you could hopefully play a Cryptborn Horror to give yourself a 10/10 with Trample. Trepanation Blade is also great for attacking with an unblockable creature as it mills them and each card milled plus the next land card adds +1/+0 to your creature.

Elbrus, the Binding Blade is one of my favorite cards, mainly because while it only gives +1/+0 to your creature, when an unblockable creature hits your opponent, you immediately get an awesome 13/13 creature. So it works great in this deck.

Trepanation Blade     Inquisitor's Flail

Elbrus, the Binding Blade     Withengar Unbound

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Gatecrash Spoilers Part 4

This post will update you with yesterday's (Wednesday) and today's spoilers for Gatecrash. We have our second planeswalker, which was already confirmed as a new version of Gideon. But we'll get to him... Lot of ground to cover, so here we go!

First up, we have Angelic Skirmisher. For 6 mana, you get a 4/4 creature with flying, and you can choose either first strike, vigilance, or lifelink at the beginning of each combat, which means all of your creatures get that ability for that turn. If you had three of this card, you could give all your creatures these abilities. Already seeing some great Commander stuff I could do with one, and some neat stuff for Standard.
Hey, look! It's our friend Gideon, except now, he's Gideon, Champion of Justice. He already has a really nasty +1. So on your first turn with him, not only does he have 5 loyalty, for each creature your opponent controls, you get an additional +1. This makes sense for his -15 ability... Okay, so he has a 0 ability as well, as did his original incarnation, Gideon Jura. With this one, he is an indestructible Human Soldier creature with a power and toughness equal to his loyalty counters. So no damage to him at all. Not bad. Pair that with the -15 which exiles everything but him, you're good. Might be hard to ultimate, but I could see it happening...
Hands of Binding, our next card, lets you tap target creature that an opponent controls, and it won't untap during it's controller's next untap step, yet you can encode this on a creature you have with Cipher. Despite this clearly being Dimir, I think this would go very well with Detain from the Azorious. Maybe. Still, for two mana, this looks good.
Skarrg Goliath is a 9/9 with trample for 8 mana. Or just a 7 mana pump spell that gives +9/+9 and trample. I am really liking Bloodrush, but perhaps it will wind up similar to Golgari's Scavenge. Is Bloodrush worth it? Probably in Commander/EDH, but I don't know about in Standard. Especially this card. 7 or 8 mana. The typical rule of thumb is if you can't do anything well enough by turn 6 or 7, you probably won't win or do very well. Assuming you play one lad every turn, this comes on turn 7 or 8. And with 20 to 24 land in your deck, chances you won't get to 7 or 8 mana when you want it, and there will be tons better stuff you'll want to throw out (Thragtusk?) I don't see this one being used very much.
Alms Beast, for 4 mana, is a 6/6 that gives blocking or blocked creatures by Alms Beast lifelink. So if you block a creature or are blocked by a creature when using Alm's Beast, that other creature gets lifelink. Not feeling so great about this one, but there is probably a stupid combo here I haven't seen yet. Just hope it is a 5/5 or less. Preferably less.
Biovisionary is a bit strange. 3 mana for a 2/3. At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control four or more creatures with the name Biovisionary, you win the game. If someone plays this, expect removal. Either there is something coming out in Gatecrash, Dragon's Maze, or sometime in the next block that will give you tokens that are copies of a creature for you to have more than 4. This will be difficult, but I bet someone will figure out a way. Either that, or this was made for Modern or Legacy.
Clan Defiance is a Devil's Play (Innistrad) for one more mana and it comes with options. 2 mana plus X mana to deal X damage to a creature with flying, to a creature without flying, and/or X damage to target player. You can destroy a creature with flying,  without flying, and bring the game closer to an end that favors you. Bonfire of the Damned (Avacyn Restored) was amazing, and jumped in price., but this is not all creature and the player, but the player and either one or two creatures. Pretty good, either way... Bottom line, yeah, this is powerful, so expect the price to skyrocket.
Foundry Champion, I think, is a pretty good card. It's Boros, so you should have a good amount of creatures to work on Battalion. 6 mana for a 4/4 that deals damage to target creature or player equal to the number of creatures you control. Already, with this and Clan Defiance (maybe Zealous Conscripts too), I think Naya will play well in Standard...
Our first Guildmage, from the Simic guild, we have the typical two mana of different colors for 2/2 with two abilities making Zameck Guildmage. So for one green and one blue mana, you can give each creature that enters the battlefield under your control an additional +1/+1 counter. The other one has the same cost, but lets you remove one +1/+1 counter from any creature you control, and you can draw a card. Not bad. I'm looking forward to Simic, for sure.
Nightveil Specter, for 3 mana to make a 2/3 with flying, lets us exile the top card of a player's library if it deals combat damage to them. And we get the added bonus of getting to play cards that are exiled with Nightveil Specter. By play, since it doesn't mention paying a casting cost, I assume that it can just come into play under your control.
Last, but not least, we have our second keyrune, Gruul Keyrune, which like all other keyrunes thus far, costs 3 mana, produces one of two colors, and then for one mana of each of those colors, you get a creature. So it makes either red or green mana, and for one red and one green, it becomes a 3/2 red and green beast artifact creature with trample until end of turn. I expected the trample bit.


Quick note: promo cards (pre-release, buy-a-box, game day, release day) will show up on the blog Monday, as will Friday's card preview. Unless Friday will have Friday's preview, but I can't be certain about that.

I hope you have enjoyed the spoilers thus far!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Gatecrash Spoilers Part 3

They're coming so fast, I'm just going to have to do a new post each day!

Check out the new art for the shocklands in Gatecrash! New cards on the left, old cards on the right.

Breeding Pool      Breeding Pool          
Godless Shrine        Godless Shrine
Sacred Foundry        Sacred Foundry
Stomping Ground        Stomping Ground  
Watery Grave        Watery Grave


First of the Guildgates:


Orzhov Guildgate

First of the Keyrunes:

Dimir Keyrune
So this one gets to be a blue/black unblockable creature? I know what goes in my unblockable deck then...


Two new guild leaders:

Lazav, Dimir Mastermind is intriguing. It stays the same, but he can become a copy of another card while still having the original name and hexproof. 4 mana for a 3/3 with that ability. Looks interesting enough. We'll just see what happens with it...
Obzedat, Ghost Council is the fourth guild leader revealed so far (just waiting on Simic guild leader to be revealed). When it enters, an opponent loses 2 life and you gain two life. Pretty much a blinking legendary creature that returns at the beginning of the next upkeep, so you can continue to gain life and make your opponent lose it, on top of Obzedat having haste on the second entry, and being a 5/5 for 5 mana. This will see play, I'm pretty sure, and at least be one of the favorites. Probably a sweet blinking life gain, loss of life deck could be made with this for Commander/EDH. White/Black exalted with Obzedat as the general, and then some lose/gain life spells and other creatures. Looking good...



All the rest:
Basilica Guards looks to be a pretty good card. 3 mana for a 1/4 defender that also has Extort. Looks to be a pretty good card...
Battalion looks like a pretty good mechanic. Whenever a creature with Battalion and two other creatures attack during your turn, the creatures with Battalion have an added bonus, like Boros Elite which gets +2/+2 until end of turn. One mana for a 1/1 that has a late-game appeal in that when it attacks, you essentially have a 3/3 creature you only payed 1 mana for. This is a great card.
Murder Investigation: So, for two mana, you enchant a creature, and when it dies, you get 1/1 tokens equal to it's power? I guess that's a bit like Worldspire Wurm that splits into three 5/5 Wurm tokens. Essentially when a creature dies, it gets split into 1/1 tokens. Not to bad for a token deck, for sure.
Cloudfin Raptor: Triggering Evolve on this creature shouldn't be too difficult. One mana for a 0/1 that on turn two could be a 1/2 is decent. I think playing Simic will be fun. Good opening hand, but wouldn't want this much further into the game. Depending on what other cards are out there or what the deck purpose is, you might just want to pass this one up. Even just using Evolve once and just using it as a cheap flyer would be good.

Or blink a 5/3 creature a couple times to boost this creature. I mean, it only has to have a greater power OR toughness... (If you did it enough, you'd have a 5/6 on your hands. With flying).
Gridlock: Great control spell once an opponent declares that they will enter the attack phase. Sort of like Downpour, except this does non-land (not just creatures) and can do more than three. Definitely going to use these...
Gateway Shade: I'm feeling this card coming up short. 3 mana for a 1/1, and even then, you have to pump it with 1 black mana for +1/+1 until end of turn, or tap a gate for +2/+2. I think I see this being better for Commander/EDH. I don't see a practical use in Standard yet...
Tin Street Market: Yay, more land enchanting! So, essentially five mana for a single land to let you tap it to discard a card and draw a card. I don't see how much this will be used unless there is some really nasty graveyard thing going on when you want to be doing a lot of discarding...
Viashino Shanktail: Four mana for a 3/1 with first strike. Not bad, but the Bloodrush mechanic just makes it better... Instead you pay just 3 mana for essentially a pump spell that gives a creature +3/+1 and first strike. Decent card. Bloodrush giving you the option of the creature or the pump spell screams Commander/EDH to me...
Experiment One looks like an interesting card. One mana for a 1/1 with Evolve. Of course it also lets you remove two +1/+1 counters to regenerate it. Not sure how worth it that will be, but okay then...
I like Call of the Nightwing paired with the Cipher mechanic. You get a 1/1 blue and black horror creature token with flying, and then Call of the Nightwing gets encoded on a creature, then when it deals damage to a player, it lets you put another 1/1 blue and black horror creature token with flying for free. For 4 mana, seems pretty worth it...
Deathpact Angel looks interesting... a 5/5 angel with flying for 6 mana. And... when it dies, you get a token that lets you tap, pay 6 mana, and sacrifice it for Deathpact Angel to be returned to the battlefield from a graveyard...
Drakewing Krasis is a 3/1 creature for three mana that has flying and trample. Pretty good for using Evolve, and just being an overall good creature. I like it, but it can easily be removed from the battlefield...
Zhur-Taa Swine: 5 mana for a 5/4, that also can be a pump spell for three mana to give an attacking creature +5/+4. Could be pretty good, I think.
Burning-Tree Emissary is pretty much a creature that is played for 0 mana, as long as you control two lands that produce red or green mana. What I mean by that is you pay two red, two green, or one of each, and you get one red and one green back. So a free 2/2 on turn 2. Yeah, that's an awesome card. I think it will see a lot of play and have a price set higher like Vampire Nighthawk currently has.
Last, but not least, we have Illusionist's Bracers. Non-mana abilities of creatures can be copied with new targets chosen for the copy... 2 mana for the artifact, and 3 to equip. So, pretty much a keyword doubler, I think. With Evolve, you would get two +1/+1 counters instead of just one, looks like it will work great with Battalion on Firemane Avenger. Definitely could see some applications, but probably won't be used very much in Standard, and it probably won't see much play in Limited. In fact, it'll probably just be considered a junk rare in drafts, despite how cool the artwork looks and the purpose (which essentially costs 5 mana for).