Monday, March 21, 2016

The Good, The Bad, and The Creepy (Part 1)

It's time once again to check out the latest spoilers. We've got a ton of cards to check out, so let's get started!

The Good

In this case, we're talking the best cards with the best applications for a variety of formats. Let's start off easy.

Archangel AvacynAvacyn, the Purifier


Avacyn is really powerful and works as a great way of protecting your creatures when blocking or keeping them alive when attacking. Of course, Avacyn basically obliterates tokens upon flipping, but at least you have a 6/5 with flying that kills many other creatures and deals damage to your opponent. As a finisher in some kind of White Weenies deck, you couldn't go wrong.

Now, the applications in Commander is even better considering you could wipe everyone's board and take all your opponents down three life. I look forward to seeing her in action.

Declaration in Stone

Are tokens a problem in the metagame at your local Modern FNM? Sideboard if you're playing white. Probably great in the mirror in you play tokens as well. Perhaps I haven't seen it yet, but I don't see anything that this would be used against in Standard yet and Commander is just useless unless there is some crazy token deck in your play group. Probably more important for Modern than anything else unless there is a very strong token theme in this set.

Odric, Lunarch Marshal

Odric is pretty great because a variety of creatures with the mentioned abilities allows you to boost your entire team. Now I don't see Modern, and he probably won't be very strong in Standard, but in Commander I could see him being played in a two color deck. Probably not as a commander because you'd want options and white only has a fraction of those abilities.


A cheap boost to a White Weenies deck that gets boosted by more creatures. It's a permanent anthem, but not up for use in the W/B Modern tokens deck because that deck isn't just about humans. Typically has soldiers and whatever the Sorin of the year happens to make.

Geralf’s Masterpiece

When I first started playing competitively during Innistrad, I was always concerned for self-milling and I'm apprehensive to the idea of discarding a ton of spells, however with Shadows over Innistrad featuring the new mechanic Delirium and all the cards around to return things to your hand from the graveyard, I'm more open to the idea. Late game, if you aren't playing control, this is a 7/7 with flying except when you draw. This will be one of those $1 rares that no one will blink at, but there's a way to utilize it for something stupid. Original Innistrad had a pretty useless card in Ludevic's Test Subject but before it rotated out of Standard, I witnessed a friend demolish an opponent with that card, so it requires the right people with the right deck in the spotlight I guess.

Jace, Unraveler of Secrets

Jace is... well "bonkers" is really the only word I have to describe it and I can't think of anything better. Sure he's five mana, but his +1 let's you setup your draw by ditching something you don't want or keeping something you do. His -2 is Unsummon. Sure it's costly, but he protects himself. Lastly, at minimum four turns after casting him, you basically win the game or has to play really carefully. Every first spell an opponent plays gets countered, so they have to play pointless stuff first and good stuff later, but any kind of control deck is probably running several of these, so it's a free counterspell and they'll stop anything else you have.

Thing in the IceAwoken Horror

I love this card. It's good protection at the beginning and you can basically cast all kinds of spells (probably counter spells) and get a 7/8 that unsummons everything. Control decks in Standard either as a one of or perhaps two and likely useful in some kind of Blue/Red spells deck.

Diregraf Colossus

Zombie tribal just got a new best friend. I'm going to have to revisit my budget Mono-Black Zombies deck for Modern depending on the price. Of course, that will be a little ways off, but I like it.

Elusive TormentorInsidious Mist

Basically any time you want, you discard a card, turn this guy into an unblockable mist that is a 0/1, then you flip him around all over again and hit for four damage by not being blocked while on the flipside. I'm having trouble containing my happiness at how awesome this set is turning out to be...

Relentless Dead

A 2/2 for two mana that can both return itself to its owner's hand and return a zombie from our graveyard to the battlefield. Can't go wrong with that.

To the Slaughter

Three mana kill spell. In a Delirium deck, you're killing both creatures and planeswalkers. It's good.

Fiery Temper

This is basically a Lightning Bolt. Sure it cost's two more, but just discard it. Easily some kind of staple for a burn deck in Standard and I'm looking at practical applications for Modern. Maybe do something with Tormenting Voice or any other red spell that draws cards and forces you to discard. It fits.

Harness the Storm

Let's just make Storm that much better why don't we? Let's cast a Grapeshot early, put this on the battlefield, do some other spells and shenanigans, then cast another Grapeshot and cast the one in the graveyard. Less work because they both have Storm and you only need to cast half the spells with twice the damage.

Sage of Ancient LoreWerewolf of Ancient Hunger

It's powerful because it relies on card advantage of either just you or of everyone. Probably better for Commander but with ramp, could definitely be good in Standard.

Anguished Unmaking

Three life is a lot for exiling a nonland permanent, but I guess it just depends on the stakes. This could actually be good in Modern against the Eldrazi titans (thinking TRON folks, not that new Eldrazi deck) or even good against them in Standard.

Arlinn KordArlinn, Embraced by the Moon

A werewolf planeswalker that makes a creature a ton better, or you can flip her and make a 2/2 token. Either way, she protects herself. On the back, all your creatures get a boost, bolts a creature or player and transforms, or makes an emblem that gives your creatures haste an the ability to deal damage to opponents and their creatures outside of combat. Can't go wrong here...

Nahiri, the Harbinger

Nahiri is back! See, here's that discard thing I was talking about. Discard Fiery Impulse, bolt an opponent, draw a card. Simple. Exiling tapped stuff and enchantments is good too I guess... Her -8 is a little... Why? Find a creature or artifact, put it on the battlefield, give it haste, and return it ot your hand at the next end step. I mean Commander could utilize Wurmcoil Engine or something that when it leaves the battlefield leaves a nice bonus, but nothing yet for Standard. She's cool, but I'm not seeing her go too far in Standard, at least right now.

Sigarda, Heron’s Grace

Pretty solid 4/5 with flying, gives some creatures hexproof as well as yourself, and then makes hexproof tokens. Simple, yet elegant. Maybe not very simple, but it's hard to ask for much else. A Green/White tribal commander for humans and a strong card for any Green/White decks in Standard.

Sorin, Grim Nemesis

The cost leaves a lot to be desired, however you make your opponent lose life based on the card on the top of your library, he deals damage and gains you life, and you get tokens with lifelink depending on whomever has the highest life total. He's not for Modern tokens because he costs too much, but for a planeswalker with the title of "Grim Nemesis" it's hard to want any more. He's perfect and quite possibly playable in Standard.

Westvale AbbeyOrmendahl, Profane Prince

I'm gonna say it again, White Weenies. Or any kind really. Personally, I'm gonna go with the whole White/Black Ally/Vampire lifegain stuff between Zendikar and here and I don't see why Ormendahl would be bad...

The Bad

Angel of Deliverance  Drogskol Cavalry

They cost too much to be useful for anything. Sure they're cool abilities, but they aren't for cmpetitive play.

Aberrant ResearcherPerfected Form

They were just having fun when they made this. Basically Aberrant Researcher is the backside of Delver of Secrets (Insectile Aberration) but with the ability to get bigger. Why is it bad? The same ability on Aberrant Researcher was on the one mana 1/1 Delver. Now it's on a four mana 3/2. It costs too much. It's for Limited and not much else.


Beguiler of Wills costed one more mana, was a 1/1 creature and is STILL better than this.

Mindwrack Demon

When I look at four mana demons, I like to think of my old friend Desecration Demon. A 6/6 that could be tapped by an opponent by sacrificing a creature. It got bigger, your opponent slowly had less blockers, Basically it mills you and you could lose life if someone figures out how to empty your graveyard or you take something back out of it that you need. Really not that great.

Vessel of Volatility

Let me guess... I'll figure this out later? At best it colors some colorless mana. At worst... you cast an enchantment, sacrificed it, and nothing really changed.

Shard of Broken Glass

It's basically Delirium enabler in Limited. We already have Bonesaw which is cheaper overall and has the same effect without the self-mill.

Forsaken Sanctuary  Foul Orchard  Highland Lake  Stone Quarry  Woodland Stream

Don't worry, I didn't forget... The whole point is for limited mana fixing. Also, for those who would play this in Standard or whatever format you choose, the card you own now matters next year, five years from now, or even ten years from now because all that changes is the art. The name is non-specific and can be used everywhere.

Now I like completing cycles so I'm happy we got them, it's just that they're not good in constructed formats. There, I said it. I love land art, but other than Limited, these won't be useful.

The Creepy

Declaration in Stone

Vampires embedded in walls. Can't get much creepier than that, right?

Just the Wind

"It's just the wind honey, go back to sleep..." *shudder* Famous last words.

Startled AwakePersistent Nightmare

I'm gonna go put a pot of coffee on. Clearly I'm not sleeping tonight.

Tooth Collector

I mean it's weird, and maybe he could just be an archaeologist of paleontologist? Or maybe not... Perhaps a sadistic dentist. That reminds me, I'm due for an appointment... but on second thought I'm okay for another few months...

Twins of Maurer Estate

Something about sweet, innocent little girls and horror stuff... The only things that bother me more is the art from the card Deathmark and Weeping Angels from Doctor Who.

Brain in a Jar

It's really not that creepy I guess... But then again I was once offered the chance to hold a human brain. I politely declined. I was in a hospital on a class trip for biology, not that the circumstances are very important of course.

Shard of Broken Glass

Something about that image in the glass...



Well, join me next week for more fun with Innistrad. Then maybe we can return to our regularly scheduled programming.

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